How to Heal from Emotional Trauma

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Trauma is a big and loaded word. In this post I am writing from my own experience of emotional trauma, and my healing journey, as experienced as an adult.

We often think of trauma in the frame of PTSD (Post traumatic stress disorder) which occurs when an individual experiences a terrifying and earth shattering event, such a war zone. However we all experience trauma to a greater or lesser extent in our lives through our relationships, life choices and painful events. It’s also worth mentioning that what is traumatic to some, may not be to others, we have different nervous systems and different ways of perceiving the world and what happens to us.

My most extreme experience of trauma was in my relationship with a long term partner. During the relationship there were toxic and destructive dynamics which led to the end of the relationship, by which time I was utterly depleted. The somewhat messy ending and aftermath was additionally traumatic, resulting in an emotional breakdown and eventually the onset of an autoimmune disorder; physical breakdown. My life ground to an abrupt halt in many ways and I was forced to focus on my healing.

Looking back now I can make sense of what happened and how the breakdown was inevitable, although at the time I was spinning trying to understand and hold myself together. My body getting sick was perfect because I absolutely needed to take a big time-out to heal and learn crucial lessons.

During the height of the breakdown my nervous system was high alert 24/7, I had panic attacks when I left the house, I was anxious all the time, I was medicated…I was a mess. Here are some of the tools I used to facilitate my healing:

Journaling

Now when I say journaling, this was no ordinary journaling, I was desperately trying to make sense of my life and hold onto any shred of hope and positivity I could. I would write down positive experiences I had, nice things people said to me and affirmations. I would also write down what I was learning; how this situation had happened and revelations from work with healers and coaches. I took my journal with me everywhere and the most important part was re-reading what I had written. I used it to remind myself that there was hope, there was goodness and there were people and a universe who loved me.

Healing professionals

A huge part of my healing process was working with healers and teachers, such as reiki practitioners, massage therapists, doctors, psychotherapists, hypnotherapists and intuitive coaches. In my opinion, deep healing requires some external support and guidance. The time and money spent on these experts was invaluable to my health and wellbeing and to learning the soul lessons, which are offered to us in abundance during the darkest of times.

Connecting with and receiving support from the people in my life 

When we are at our most vulnerable, we are also at our most open. I had a number of incredibly touching and healing experiences with family members, neighbours and even total strangers. For example I went to have tea with a neighbour who I didn’t know very well, but I knew she was a kind and spiritual person. She offered to talk me through a type of meditation to receive clear guidance from God, which I readily accepted. It was so vivid and so meaningful, it gave me hope and love and gratitude.

Surrendering to the greater, loving power

I had my fair share of ‘come to Jesus’ or ‘on my knees on the bathroom floor’ moments. Those times in the dark night of the soul when you are utterly at a loss as what to do, how to cope and how to bear this pain. It’s in these times that we realise we cannot do this alone, that living life from our very limited ego self (or mind self) is futile, exhausting and impossible. When we have tried everything and we have nothing left, we throw our hands up to God/ the Universe/ our angels (or whatever you call the divine power of creation) and surrender control, asking for help and healing. This was hands down the most healing and life altering experience of my healing process. To learn that I wasn’t in this alone, that there is a loving force that is guiding me and holding me, even when it feels like all is lost.

It is my most heartfelt hope that some of these suggestions, and sharing a little of my story, will help and encourage you if you are going through pain and trauma. Please do feel free to reach out and tell me your story or ask questions about mine – I want to serve and support you.

Sending so much love x

Image credit: Pottercounceling.com

The importance of feeling good

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If, like me, you’re a touch prone to worrying and anxiety you will know how difficult it can feel at times to convince yourself that everything is ok, you are ok and you can relax and feel good.

However, it is crucial to check in with ourselves and take steps to feel good and positive. The main reason is because the frequency of our vibration (meaning the level of energy we are holding and emitting) directly affects what we allow into our experience. Good feelings and thoughts attract good things, high vibes attract high vibes and low vibes attract low vibes.

For example, what does your energy feel like when you are feeling crappy about yourself? About the day you’ve had? About a recent rejection or bad news? Your energy feels low and contracted. Now what does your energy feel like when you have had an awesome day? When you signed up that new client? When you have just been given a promotion? Your energy feels expansive, uplifted and excited.

Generally we want more good feeling things and experiences in our lives, therefore we must commit to taking steps to ensure our energy (our frequency) is consistently high.

But Gemma! (I hear you say) What about when I have very good reason to feel bad, sad or crappy? Am I just supposed to ignore those feelings and force myself to feel good?

This can be a tricky area in the conversation of Law of Attraction and manifestation – when is it OK to feel bad? Is it ever OK? My answer for you is yes – it is absolutely ok to feel bad at times. It is normal and human and denying or bottling up our feelings is destructive in itself. So how do we navigate these confusing waters?

My opinion is, allow your feelings to move through you. Emotions are called ‘e-motions’ for a reason – they move. When we allow ourselves to feel the feelings and lean into them, they will move through us. What we need to get good at avoiding is allowing our feelings to get stuck, to dwell on them for ages and to ruminate on them. This is where the work comes in…

Say for example you have experienced a loss, you will almost certainly experience grief, sadness and feel very down. It is completely right and good to give yourself space and time to experience them fully. However it is also important to allow those feelings to move at the appropriate time. Even in the darkest times we can experience beauty, gratitude and love, often even more poignantly and deeply.

Abraham Hicks suggests we choose just a slightly better feeling thought, gratitude is the quickest and most powerful way to do this. When my mind and heart is consumed with worry and uncertainty I often list in my head all the things I am grateful for, from the really tiny things to the big things, as many as I can think of. Doing this helps me to raise my vibration just a bit, to feel a little more ease and hope.

This is why ‘wellbeing’ is so important – the things we do to keep ourselves feeling good are our number one priority, no matter what is going on around us at the time. This will be somewhat different for all of us, although there are some that generally work for everyone: exercise, eating wholefoods, spending time with loved ones, self care, being in nature etc. One of my favourite comforts is a cup of Earl Grey Rooibos tea and toast with marmite and marmalade. (Sounds gross, but it’s delicious!)

Committing to your dreams becoming your reality unavoidably includes committing to actively participating in you feeling good, as much as you can, and as much as is appropriate for you at the time. If you are not clear what makes you feel good, spend some time figuring it out. If you know what makes you feel good, ensure you give those things time and energy as a priority in your life. It is a discipline and sometimes won’t be easy. but it will be so worth it.

 

Do you feel free?

Do you feel a sense of freedom in your life?

Are you free to choose, free to come and go, free to give yourself what you need?

It’s an interesting question and one we often don’t even consider – how free am I?

I recently wrote a script for a video about what so important about the coaching work I do. The word that resonated with me the most and felt the most weighty was ‘freedom’. In our western lives of plenty I think we often take for granted that we are free; if we are not in prison, we have an income, we have a passport…then we’re free, right?

Take a moment to ponder what freedom means to you in your life. Do you feel a sense of freedom with your time? Do feel freedom in your financial life? Do you free in your relationship?

These can be quite uncomfortable and unsettling questions because they may bring to light areas in which you really don’t feel free. Perhaps your time is mostly governed by your boss or employer, or your family. Perhaps you earn an ok salary but there’s not much wiggle room after the basics of life are paid for. Perhaps you care about your partner, but feel you need to fit into a certain mould in order to keep the relationship on an even keel.

Just for a moment, suspend disbelief and imagine what being truly free would feel like. I don’t of course mean getting rid of your kids or immediately quitting your job! Just for now, what would being free feel like, in the knowledge you will not harm anyone or yourself. Perhaps it’s a vision of a warm, sunny beach with a gentle breeze and a cold drink. Perhaps it’s the feeling of flying down the slopes in the glistening snow with the wind racing past your face. Perhaps it’s waking up in the morning feeling able to choose how you spend your time?

Now that we have established what the feeling of freedom is to you, what areas of your life do you feel the opposite of free?

I think the experience of freedom is a combination of mindset, your perspective, and your life situation. For example perhaps you have a job you love that takes up a lot of your time, you could feel a lack of freedom with your time, but if you remember you love your job and you are constantly choosing to stay in it, then you are empowered, you are free because you are free to change it.

The road to freedom is just that, it’s a road, a journey, not necessarily a destination. Or perhaps there are many destinations on your road to freedom. Say you want to create a location independent business, then you do and quit your day job! Yay – freedom! Then your next level of growth is asking you to give yourself more time freedom by leveraging your time in your business, to create new strategies and systems to allow you more freedom. This is the next destination, and so on.

The key is to take responsibility: where you are now is a result of your decisions and your consistent vibration, know that you are free to change your situation by taking action and making decisions, get clear on what your ideal experience of freedom is and take the next right action to move in that direction. Rinse and repeat!

What happens when you ignore your intuition?

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Have you ignored your intuition before? I’m sure we all have at some point or other… And what was the outcome? Did you take the job you knew in your gut wasn’t right for you, and you struggled for ages before leaving? Did you say yes to the invitation when you felt the right answer was no? But went anyway and felt exhausted and depleted, kicking yourself for knowing better?

I could literally write a book about all the times I haven’t listened to my intuition! And I am writing from experience when I describe what the results of ignoring your internal guidance system can lead to. Following your intuition will certainly pay off, and not following it will lead to some pretty painful lessons.

IMPORTANT NOTE: this is not meant to scare you or freak you out, your intuition is forever loving and we have free will to choose whether we take action on our intuitive guidance or not. If we choose not to, it may make life more tricky, but all is not lost, it’s all part of the learning process and the universe gives us unlimited opportunities to course correct.

What happens when you ignore your intuition?

  • I love Oprah’s explanation of how the universe, or God or your guides (intuition) whisper to you, she says ‘life is whispering to you all the time’ and you need to listen to the whispers. She says if you don’t listen, the whisper gets louder, it starts off as a pebble, then a bigger pebble, then a thump on the head (when it’s become a problem), then a brick to the head (a crisis) and then the whole house falls down.
  • Not listening to your intuition, and acting on it, can lead to living parts of your life out of alignment with your true self and your true purpose. This can result in health issues, emotional crises and in extreme cases the life you’ve built crumbling down around you. This is what happened to me; my old patterns and codependent behaviour drowned out my intuition in a long term romantic relationship. I built a whole life around him and eventually my body was the first to literally stop functioning as a massive sign I was in a hugely toxic situation. Reconnecting to my intuition, and making it priority in my life, was an important part of my healing process.
  • Our intuition is our best inner GPS or sat nav: by connecting to our guides and higher selves we have access to information that is impossible to attain through the 5 senses. Using our sixth sense by listening to our intuitive nudges, and acting on it, allows us to be in the flow of our lives, flowing with the divine. When we are not in flow, or making all our decisions from the thinking mind and/ or the ego, it can be really hard work. Feeling like we’re constantly pushing and striving and clawing our way forward. Whereas being in flow feels energising, inspiring and full of ease.
  • Living without being relationship with our spiritual selves, with our higher selves or our intuition can feel like we’re in this alone. Like we can only achieve success through our own mental and physical work, that when the chips are down we need to figure it all out on our own. This is 100% not true, we have a whole team of angelic and spiritual guides to support us and who want to see us fulfilled and happy. They are available to us 100% of the time, it is up to us to get quiet and tune in, to learn how to hear the whispers, and to trust them.

To help you tune into what your intuition is telling you I created this short video – click here to watch it now.

 

What they don’t tell you about manifesting…

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I’m sure you’ve heard of the Law of Attraction, or the book The Secret, which is based on the Law of Attraction. Manifesting what your heart desires is a spiritual process, to which an understanding of these universal laws is extremely helpful.

I use manifestation practices in my life every single day and the results constantly amaze and delight me. However there more to it than ‘think positive thoughts and all you desire will fall in your lap’.

For the purposes of this blog I am assuming you have a basic understanding of the manifestation process, as rather than write another book on how to manifest (there many wonderful books out there!) I want to share 3 tips which are little talked about, but crucial to getting the results you want.

  1. There is often a gap between setting your intention, taking action and the result actually appearing in your life. So many people do wonderful work of setting up their manifestation, then it doesn’t appear immediately and they lose hope and faith. Holding your intention, and your belief, that what it is you most want is true for you, in that space in between, is crucial. You can imagine the universe is responding to your desire, has started moving to give it to you, in line with the action you’ve taken towards it, then you stop and start to doubt, and the universe gets the message that you maybe don’t want it so much after all. This is meant in no way to scare you into never having doubts, it’s to make you aware of the importance of maintaining your level of commitment and belief, even when it may seem your heart’s desire is no where to be found.
  2. What limits our ability to manifest is so often to be found within ourselves, our thoughts playing a big part. Thoughts lead to feelings and actions, which lead back to thoughts and so on and so on. Being mindful of our thoughts is our job during the manifestation process. For example, say you are wanting to create more financial abundance in your life and you have got clear about how much money you want to make and doing the work of taking action to create it. Great start! But if you are going through your days saying to yourself, or out load, ‘I can’t afford that, I’ll never be able to afford that, I am destined to be struggling financially, I don’t deserve more than I have’ you are negating the process. The universe only says YES! So if you are offering those thoughts of lack, the universe will respond with ‘YES, you can’t afford that, YES, you are destined to be struggling financially…and so on’. The first step in overcoming this limiting factor is to become aware of your thoughts and whenever you notice a lack thought you consciously step in and change it. For example; ‘I can’t afford that’ could be flipped to ‘I can easily afford to buy 5 of those if I really want to, and give the rest to my friends’. I’m not saying go ahead and buy it if the money has not yet landed in your bank, however changing the thought will change your vibration to one of abundance resulting in the universe saying ‘YES!’
  3. When we delve a little deeper from the level of thought, we find ourselves at the level of beliefs. I’m sure you’ve heard the term ‘limiting beliefs’ and our beliefs can empower us to wonderful experiences, or keep us stuck in realities we dislike. The tricky thing about beliefs and our brains is that our brains are programmed to filter what we experience to actively support the beliefs we have established. For example if you were doing a presentation to a group of people and you had a belief that those people would not enjoy, pay attention to or support you. You would be looking around the room as you are speaking and your mind would focus in on the one person who is on their phone and barely looking at you, your mind would say ‘see, I knew it, they don’t care and this is a waste of time’. What your mind wouldn’t see is the rest of the room who are hanging on your every word and looking at you with encouragement. The result this can have on your manifestation process is you don’t even see the opportunities that the universe has placed right under your nose! The good news is you can absolutely re-programme your beliefs to support your dreams, the bad news is it’s not always easy. It is your job and your responsibility to do what it takes to break down old, limiting beliefs and create new supportive ones. Whether that involves reading books and self study or working with a coach or therapist.

Sending love xx

 

Create Magic with your Morning Ritual

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In the last few months I have massively upped my commitment to my morning ritual and all I can say is how I feel each day, and the results I’m seeing have been f**king epic!

Magical is right, there is 100% magic in creating and following a morning ritual everyday. Before you start rolling your eyes and clicking away, let me tell you it doesn’t need to take hours! It can take just 6 tiny minutes – I think we can all set aside 6 minutes in the morning to fill our selves up and set ourselves for fabulous, creative, successful days.

My initial inspiration for my morning ritual was taken from the book, The Miracle Morning by Hal Elrod. Hal outlines 6 elements to the miracle morning:

  1. Meditation
  2. Gratitude
  3. Affirmations
  4. Visualisation
  5. Reading
  6. Exercise

Perhaps you have already figured out how you can fit it into 6 minutes…? Yes – you spend one minute on each. This is great for super busy days, parents with kids up at the crack of a sparrows fart, whilst travelling etc. etc. However I do invite you to give each step a little more time when you can.

Below I will break it down for you and give you a few practical tips to make it super easy to kick start your days with magic and miracles.

  1. Meditation – if you are daunted by this – don’t be, find a short You Tube meditation, or download one online – there are thousands you can get for free. Have it handy on your phone so you can put it on first thing when you wake up, before you get out of bed. (If you share your bed – that’s what headphones are for :-))
  2. Gratitude – write down, or list in your head, 3 things you are grateful for and try to feel that sense of grateful wellbeing flood over you. Some days it’s trickier than others, but I bet can you find 3 little things. Mine are sometimes as simple as my bed, my fluffy cats and my warm home.
  3. Affirmations – these are ‘I am’ statements in the present tense which remind you to keep up with something or command something new into your reality. E.g. I am happy and high vibe or I am earning £X each month. The trick with these is to write them down and have them somewhere close by so you can remember them easily. 3 – 5 is a good number.
  4. Visualisation – this is the fun part! Don’t worry if you’re not a very visual person, you can still close your eyes and do this and it will be effective. You can visualise how you want to feel today, bringing that feeling into your body. You can visualise a specific event or circumstance, for example being pregnant or holding your new baby. It is limitless! The trick here is to really feel how would feel if that vision was your reality right now.
  5. Reading – just a few pages of a good, educational book. My absolute favourite for this is The Power of Awareness by Neville Goddard. It was written a long time and has lots of bible references but it is so short, so clear and to the point. I read it over and over again in these bite sized chunks.
  6. Exercise – so this is the point at which I get out of bed! This can be whatever you like – most recently I have added a bedroom dance party into my exercise and it is now my favourite part! Create a playlist of your favourite up beat tracks and dance around your room, sing along for extra good vibes! I also do yoga, running, walking, at home toning fitness – what you like – just don’t skip it.

A few general tips when starting out…

  • You can start with just 1 or 2, set yourself to succeed by not taking on too much, then bring in the rest when you’ve created a habit.
  • Create a visual of your morning routine and put it by your bed – I have one in pretty colours with all my affirmations and the list of practices so there is no way I ‘forget’ to do one.
  • Do not beat yourself up if you don’t succeed in completing your morning routine everyday from day 1! Give yourself break, understand that creating a new habit takes discipline and work, and re-commit.

I am so excited for you to get started, or re-commit to your magical morning ritual, I know it will raise your vibration, get you feeling excited and positive, keep front and centre in your mind what is most important to you – and the results will start to show up in your life.

Sending love xx

What is FREEDOM?

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Ooh – it’s a big questions isn’t it? What is FREEDOM? The dictionary says:

  1. the power, or right, to act, speak and think as one wants
  2. the state of not being imprisoned or enslaved

A lack of freedom in the extreme is literally being in prison, or being in a family or community where you are not allowed to be your true self. However, to me, freedom is not just not being in prison or being able to speak your mind…it is something we feel at a cellular level in our bodies, it’s how experience each day and each moment, it’s what our thoughts and beliefs are and the reality we are living.

So the real question is, what is FREEDOM to you?

What does it feel like? What does it look like? What does it smell like, even!? What and who are surrounded by? What are your daily actions? Where are you in the world? What do you give to yourself and to others?

I freaking love the term in the image, eleutheromania: a great desire or obsession with freedom! This has been a theme of my life, and I think for so many women in these times.

What does FREEDOM mean to me?

Freedom is waking up in the morning feeling excited for the day. Freedom means having an abundance of money, of loving friends and family, of beautiful things, of opportunity… Freedom is dancing naked. Freedom is swimming in the ocean. Freedom is living my life’s purpose. Freedom is success. Freedom is the ability to choose how I spend my time. Freedom is creativity and self expression. Freedom is nature. Freedom is moving my body in a way that feels amazing. Freedom is the ability to choose my thoughts. Freedom is manifesting my heart’s desires. Freedom is health. Freedom is happiness. Freedom is allowing the full range of human experience into my life and body. Freedom is healing.

I invite you to take a moment to ponder how free do you feel you in your life, what would make you feel more free and how would you feel if you had/ created/ were experiencing that right now?

Sending love xx

Photo credit: Canva.com

 

Valentine’s Day – Self Love

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Firstly – Happy Valentine’s Day!!

Secondly I wanted to write you a little note about all this ‘use Valentine’s Day to love yourself’ chat that’s flying around social media. Don’t get me wrong, I 100% agree with this message and support self love everyday as a priority. However not all of us find it easy to really love ourselves, in fact for me it has been a long and painful journey of discovery to learn how essential it really is. My concern is that the self development tribe, while expressing an incredibly worthwhile sentiment, might be causing some people to feel inadequate because they find it hard love themselves. Potentially adding another reason for us to doubt ourselves…you see where I’m going with this…?

I am here to tell you if you find it hard and icky and weird to show yourself love and tell yourself that you love yourself, you are not alone, you are not weird and you are not missing something!

When one of my mentors first suggested to me, years ago, that I stand in front of a mirror and tell myself I loved myself I literally couldn’t do it! I tried, I really did, the words wouldn’t come out of my mouth, and when I forced them I didn’t believe them in the slightest, I found it embarrassing (even though it was only me in the room) and it actually made me feel worse because I was ‘failing’ at something that seemed so simple.

What I’m saying is often, especially for us ladies, the process of learning to really love ourselves, and allowing ourselves to put ME first, is a journey. At times it can be a painful journey because in starting the practice of self love all the parts of us that we don’t love, or all the aspects that block that love, come right up to the surface and stare us in the face.

My experience in the mirror all those years ago was actually a real turning point for me, I realised I really didn’t love myself and I needed to delve deeper into what was going on there and do some course correcting. My personal experience of learning to love myself was incredibly painful and involved huge life changes, perhaps because I only really learned the lesson when there was absolutely no other option. I’m in no way saying this needs to be the case for you, or anyone. But I do feel it’s important to say this is not a subject to ‘pour pink paint over’ as Marianne Williamson says, that is to gloss over and make it look pretty with insta posts about rose petal baths and heart shaped cakes. Haha – I’m sounding like the Valentine’s Day scrooge 🙂 Which is funny because I actually really like Valentine’s Day!

My point is, yes, please do love yourself as much as you can, especially on Valentine’s Day when many people feel left out if they are single or hurting. However please don’t be down on yourself if you find it difficult to love yourself today, it’s normal and it’s OK. You’re absolutely OK and wonderful and we’re all in this together.

As Prince said ‘Dearly beloved, we are gathered here today, to get through this thing called life’. Whether we are feeling loving to ourselves, or not, loving to others, or not, lets hold hands and do this thing together.

With all my love xxx

Image from movemequotes.tumblr.com