Losing a Relationship

Beautiful people I felt so called to share this message with you today that I didn’t even dry my hair! I talk about loss, grief and giving yourself permission to feel how you feel about loss in your relationships. It’s not light and it’s not always easy to go there…but it’s so important. I share a quote from Glennon Doyle (and realised I can’t pronounce her name properly!) about allowing pain to stay for as long as it needs to in order that is teaches you all you need to know.

Sending you love xx

Relationships are mirrors of yourself

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Most of us have heard this, right? That your relationships are a reflection of yourself…but what does that actually mean for you? And how can knowing this help you, and your relationships?

Firstly, how we feel about ourselves, how we treat ourselves and how we talk to ourselves is very often mirrored by the people we choose to be in relationships with. That means we actually set the stage for how we are treated by others. For example if we don’t value ourselves very highly and our internal dialogue is negative, it is very likely the people around us will treat us in just the same way. The treatment we tolerate from ourselves, even if it’s subconscious, leads to us to attracting and tolerating the same type of treatment from others.

Secondly, from a spiritual perspective relationships are fertile grounds for growth and soul learning. We attract, and are attracted to, partners whose wounds match and/or compliment our own. In this way a partner can throw a spotlight on areas and issues within ourselves that need healing, the sneaky part of this is that we often see our partner as having the issue and want to change them, rather than taking a long hard look at ourselves. For example through my conditioning I learned to be over-giving which leads to exhaustion and depletion, I connected with a partner who through his conditioning tended towards being a taker. Over time I gave & gave & gave and he took & took & took until I had nothing left to give. I was deeply drained and at first blamed him for taking so much, when really it was only in my control to stop over giving, not his. I was then able to heal this part of me and consciously choose a different pattern of behaviour.

Thirdly, and I learnt this through personal experience, a large part of our experience in close relationships is actually us experiencing ourselves. This ties in perfectly with the concept of the relationship being a mirror. When we lose a relationship we miss that person terribly, we miss how we felt and we miss the experience we had of that connection. However, much of what are missing is available when we are in close and loving relationship with ourselves. Funnily enough this is especially true if you, like me, were living out patterns of codependency in your relationship as you were more than likely giving well over 50% of the energy to the union. This was a huge source of hope when I was grieving a lost relationship.Our first relationship is with ourselves and spending time and energy to nurture this relationship is where so much juicy goodness lives.

Having the awareness that so often our relationships mirror ourselves right back to us is all we need as a starting point. From there you can observe the patterns of behaviour you both engage in and where you are blaming (and what that could possibly mean about you, rather than your partner)…this is all such useful insight and information for your understanding of yourself, for your own personal development and for the growth and harmony of your relationships. And ultimately your relationship with yourself is the start, end and middle of it all – so make that your priority and the rest will follow.

Sending love xx

 

 

 

 

Image credit: Pinterest

At home ‘rehab’ for anxiety & life trauma

Yup, you heard me right – rehab for anxiety & life trauma – that’s what we’re talking about.

There is no heroin in this story, but there is addiction. There is no horrifically shocking event, but there is anxiety & trauma. There are no visits to The Priory, but there is a cottage in the countryside with a cat.

At the end of 2018 I was seriously struggling, my anxiety levels were crippling and the Christmas period was one of the worst ever. Since the trauma of my marriage ending nearly 4 years ago, swiftly followed by a year in bed with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, I had been working hard on my healing and recovery. My nervous system was so strung out for so long (even before the end of my relationship), couple that with being an ambitious woman rebuilding my life from zilch/ zero/ nada and throw in a few more seriously challenging life events over the following years – and the result is a very messy, extremely anxious, struggling through each day version of me.

It was hard and it was horrible. I only really realised the extent of the spiral I had swung down over Christmas, so I went to my doctor in early Jan and asked for help – I wanted Diazepam (quick fix chill drug) and he said no (the correct answer, as it is very addictive). He also said come back in a month. Which at the time felt a little like I had been left out in the cold, literally, as it was the first week in January. Until I picked myself up, reminded myself I am an extremely talented and experienced Intuitive Life Coach with a huge box of excellent life skills & tools – so I embarked upon my own personal, self prescribed ‘rehab’ – and I am very pleased to tell you – it worked – a treat!

While my house in London was being renovated I moved into my Mum’s cottage in Oxfordshire = peace, time alone & space (not mention my actual Mum & Saintly Step-Dad) – perfect! I devised a programme to heal my hideous anxiety, build my physical fitness, feel good about myself & my life, develop much better boundaries & stop vaping – a little addiction I had fallen for as a much loved crutch through all the above. Now we are only 4 months on and how I was feeling, and my life choices then, feel like a lifetime ago – it literally feels like I was a different person, because in many ways I was. I was being overwhelmed by my trauma behaviours and a racing, fearful mind – whereas now I have shifted the balance so I choose how I feel, I choose what I do, I am the powerful creator of my life, not the helpless victim.

Here is a list of what my at home ‘rehab’ consisted of in those first few weeks and months:

  1. I stopped drinking alcohol for a period of time and read Sober Curious by Ruby Warrington – I had slipped into drinking regularly to numb my feelings – never a healthy place to be.
  2. I step-by-step reduced the nicotine in my vape until it was at zero, then I ran out of vape liquid one day and stopped completely. (This was over a period of months.)
  3. I created a very simple morning routine – starting small. The worst time for the anxiety was often in the morning, it would envelop me as soon as I woke up; thinking of all the negative & scary possibilities, what could go wrong and worries about the day ahead. I got into the habit of thinking from my Chronic Fatigue mindset – that I couldn’t get through the day, that each task was too big and tiring to surmount – and this was not my reality anymore, but my mind had not moved on from it – it was holding onto the pattern of trauma thought. My morning ritual allowed me to interrupt this habit & thought pattern and instead choose how I started each day. It included:
    • 5 mins meditation
    • 10 mins yoga
    • 3 things I am truly grateful for (no lip service here – gotta really feel it)
  4. I had weekly therapy sessions with a counsellor – this was vital to understand what patterns of behaviour and thought had contributed to my downwards spiral – and the support and space to express my feelings with no judgement.
  5. I created some very clear boundaries around areas of life that had been draining my energy and causing more trauma and pain.
  6. I shared my ‘rehab’ experience by spending time with trusted friends and family members – the inner circle.

Sounds fun right?! It wasn’t that fun, but it also wasn’t that hard either, I had lots of support and took each step slowly, bit by bit. Very quickly I started to feel the benefits of committing to my at home ‘rehab’, I started to push past my comfort zone a little more, each step forward I took gave me a bit more confidence, a bit more energy and bit more lust for life.

I share this with you to be vulnerable and show you that we all struggle, even if we keep it private at the time. Also to show that we all have what we need within us to heal and create the life experience we most want. I happen to have had thousands of hours of experience and knowledge this area – so I could DIY-this-shit-baby – but maybe you need someone to help you set up your healing programme. And you don’t need to be ‘sick’, the Doc can even send you away and you still might need a whole heap of healing, love and care – you can give it to yourself & you can ask for it from others. If I hadn’t fully committed to this programme, and many steps after the list above ended, I would be no further forward than I was in January, and I would probably have been prescribed some medication that I don’t really need.

Now I am doing so well – I am finally getting back to peak fitness – going to the gym 5/6 times a week – eating clean – no vaping – loving my work – loving my family & my peeps – lots of fun & travel. I have taken huge leaps forward in healing from my anxiety and moving on from my trauma patterns – it feels like FREEDOM and it’s awesome.

Sending love xx

 

 

 

 

Which of the ‘3 Kinds of Love Relationships’ have you had?

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I love reading articles about relationships, delving into info about romantic relationships is definitely the juiciest. Some time ago I read about the concept of the Three Loves we have in our lives and I like it, it certainly rings true for me – as in it’s the story of my love life! How does it fit with your romantic history?

The idea is the first love is a young love (I don’t think each of the three loves are connected to only one person, although that may be the case for you) ‘This is the naive kind of love, the impractical, movie-esque type of love.Nadia Makorova describes this kind of love as the one you see plastered all over social media, gushing about each other, wanting the relationship to appear magical and perfect to the outside world.

The second of kind of love is the hard love (who can relate?!?!). This is the love that teaches us the hard lessons that our souls have come to learn in this lifetime – and it hurts like hell! This love often involves emotional manipulation…’The second love is usually unbalanced and unhealthy and can be selfish and narcissistic. Due to these facts, there is almost always drama, and you become trained to think that it is your fault.

Can I get an ‘AMEN SISTA’ from all of you who can relate to this? Oh my, oh yes, 100%. And there’s more…’Yet, instead of giving up on the relationship, you hang on, thinking that one day suddenly everything will change and they will realise how desperately they love you. This emotional swing of extreme highs and lows is exactly what keeps us addicted to this kind of unhealthy relationship. We push through the lows, no matter how bad they are, to get a slight tingling feeling from those wonderful highs.’ I lived in this painful, wonderful, crazy second kind of love for years – this can be the long terms lovers, the husbands, the fathers of your children – it can get messy as all hell – but the lessons you need to learn about yourself will be burnt into you from the flames of this extreme type of love. It’s here that we learn what we need in relationship, and often in life. What we want from a partner, and what is unacceptable.

The third love is one we never expected and still can’t really believe is happening, is working and is so happy! Often this love is with a kind of person you have not dated before and it works surprisingly well, it just doesn’t end, there are no big issues, it’s easy and it mostly feels good – crazy right?!?! ‘Sometimes, you’re not happy. Sometimes, they are not happy. But that doesn’t mean that it is the end of the relationship. You come together with your unhappiness and try to solve it.’ And you do what it takes to resolve it. ‘Because that’s what love is, it’s making things work because you love one another and want to be together.’

This is the love I am in now and it is so different from the first and second, there is peace, there is space, there are grounded choices and there is grown up respect. It doesn’t have the magical thinking of the first, it doesn’t have the huge adrenaline rushes of the second, but it does have the consistency, care and tenderness that is required to build and nurture a beautiful, nourishing, awesome life.

I would like to add that just because someone was a first or second kind of love for you, that doesn’t in anyway take away from how you felt or feel about them. You may well love them deeply and cherish many things about them – which is wonderful! I think this framework helps us understand the purpose of the relationships we go through, and to show us where we might be on the journey. I also think you can have many second types of love, and perhaps some of us never get past the second, or even first type by reliving the same type again and again with different people.

Which of these kinds of love have you experienced, and what did you learn?

Image credit: http://www.southernliving.com
Quoted text: https://swoon.theodysseyonline.com/too-immature-for-marriage

Love and Loss

 

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Today is my birthday, a time for celebration, happiness and being showered with love by those around me. It’s beautiful. As I have experienced more years on this planet and more of the interwoven tapestry of life I have realised how closely happiness and sadness live to each other. How love and loss are two sides of the same coin. On the happiest of days, like a birthday, wedding or new baby being born, we cannot help but be reminded of those we wish were still near.

This is not meant to be morbid, quite the opposite; being utterly present with what is, it is undeniable how love does not exist without loss from a human perspective. Any and everything we love will be at some point lost to our human selves, in the most extreme sense one or other will eventually die, with so many other types of loss in between.

From a universal perspective there is no loss, and love is unlimited; we are all love and whether our relationships change or one of us dies, our love continues infinitely. But our sweet human selves struggle deeply with loss and grief, my understanding is that grief is love with no where to go. As we travel through this life, love and loss are going to be our carriage mates, without doubt. So how do we move through and integrate these experiences?

The only piece of advice I am going to share is this; FEEL YOUR EMOTIONS. Feel them all, let them exist in you, let them move through you, let them devastate you when you are devastated, let them lift you higher than you could ever imagine when you are joyful. I know how scary and painful it can be, and how much we might want to escape those feelings by abandoning and numbing ourselves. Brene Brown, excellent author and researcher, did a Ted Talk in which she talked about the extreme version of any emotion, good or bad, is what triggers addicts to fall off the wagon. Isn’t that interesting? That really feeling the depth of our love AND loss feels just as uncomfortable to us. Which is why we see alcohol as the societal norm for all happy and sad occasions; why people get so drunk at weddings and at funerals. Different sides of the same coin.

There is no judgement for numbing, we have all done it in some way or another, at times it may even be essential. However I have learnt that when we allow our hard feelings to truly be felt, at an appropriate time, it hurts but there is hope and connection, and when we suppress and numb our feelings there is despair and disconnection.

This subject is on my mind as I have lost a most beloved soul in my life recently. At his memorial I adapted a poem, of unknown origin, which I would like to share with you in the hope these words may soothe you too in times of grief….

Am always with you

When I am gone, release me, let me go. I am safe and happy, I want you to know. You mustn’t tie yourself to me with too many tears, but be thankful we had such wonderful years. I gave you my love and you can only guess, how much you gave to me in happiness. I thank you for the love that you have shown, but now it’s time I travelled on alone. So grieve for me a while if grieve you must, then let your grief be comforted by trust, that it is only for a while that we must part, so treasure our memories within your heart. I won’t be far away for life goes on, and if you need me call and I will come. Though you can’t see or touch me I will be near, and if you listen with your heart you’ll hear, all my love around you soft and clear. And when the perfect time comes for us to meet again, our hearts will whisper ‘I know you’ once again.

Be brave and have difficult conversations

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As I was planning to write this blog I was watching an IG live video from the one and only Brene Brown – what a superstar she is! (The quote above is hers). She was talking about her new book, called Dare to Lead. She was showing us the different elements of what it takes to be an exceptional leader, and they are; brave work, tough conversations and whole hearts – how perfect!

Now being a leader doesn’t necessarily mean being a leader of a country or a company, it also means being a leader in your life – leading yourself – being the one who designs your life, rather than allowing life to happen to you.

I’m so pleased Brene agrees that having difficult conversations is a key part of being a leader in your life. The difficult conversations we usually need to have are with our partners, our family, our friends and our work colleagues – not all at once hopefully! They are difficult because we care about the other person and sometimes it feels like there’s a lot at stake, e.g. having a difficult conversation with your boss could make you feel like your job is on the line, as you’re not just ‘towing the line’ and being a ‘yes (wo)man’.

Why is it so important to have these conversations? And to practice and be good at them? Because relationships are central to our lives, our sense of fulfilment and can lead us to feel wonderful, and terrible. It is important that we communicate our boundaries, our needs and our feelings in order for our relationships to be healthy and supportive.

I’m sure you’ve had the experience of not having a difficult conversation with someone close to you, putting it off because it’s awkward or uncomfortable, or both. As time passes your mind is chattering about ‘the thing’ and you start to build up a little resentment. Your mental and emotional space and energy is being taken up by all this noise, when it could be filled with possibility, imagination and inspired creation. Which would you rather?

So having the conversations clears that space for you, and it honours the other person by allowing them to take the part in the monologue that otherwise only happens in your head, or worse it becomes gossipy and judgey when you talk to other people about it. None of that makes you or the other person feel good, because just because you’re not saying it, don’t think they aren’t feeling the vibes you’re putting out.

As an Intuitive Life Coach I teach my clients a set of principles and steps to follow when preparing for a difficult conversation. Doing the preparation may seem laborious, however it will set you up in the best possible way to: a) get a good outcome from the conversation and b) have you both feeling loved and creating deeper connection, rather than separation.

The 2 main principles of having good, difficult conversations are:

  1. Vulnerability (another Brene favourite!)
  2. Honesty

As you are the leader of your life showing up to your difficult conversations being vulnerable is essential, it allows the other person to connect with you and a heart level which means they will much more likely hear you and not immediately jump to defensiveness. Honesty is crucial too because there is no point in skirting around the issue, or sugar coating it, as the message will not get through and the outcome will not be effective.

The steps to prepare your difficult conversation well – these steps are to be written out to get yourself very clear on what you’re saying and ensuring there’s no blame or shame:

  1.  Ask the other person for their permission to have the conversation, if now is not good, set up a time.
  2. Be vulnerable – how are you feeling about it? Are you feeling nervous or scared of the outcome? Embarrassed or upset?
  3. Say what you want to say – be kind and loving, no blame and shame, but also be clear and honest – don’t soften it so much the message is not received.
  4. Ask the other person if it made sense to them? Do they need you to explain anything.
  5. Allow them to talk – ask them how they feel? What their thoughts are and really listen…
  6. Repeat back their points and feelings – this is called active listening and it shows the other person that you have really listened and care about their side of the story.
  7. Ask for the outcome you would like and together negotiate a solution or plan going forward.
  8. Thank them for having the conversation.

Below is an example of how a difficult conversation plan might go:

Hey Sam, there’s something I’d really like to talk to you about, is now a good time?

I’ve been feeling very nervous about bringing this up with you because I feel silly and I’m worried about what you might think about me or how you might react. 

When we spend time together, or go on dates, it upsets me when you spend so much time on your phone. It makes me feel like you’re not having such a good time with me and maybe even find me boring. I feel like you’d rather be somewhere else, with someone else and that makes me feel sad and bad about myself. 

Does that make sense? 

(Sam talks…)

So you have got into the habit of checking your phone regularly at work because you need to respond quickly when issues come up, and you sometimes don’t even realise you’re doing it. You didn’t know it made me feel like that and don’t want me to feel bad. Is that right?

Would you be open to switching your phone off, or keeping it in your bag/ pocket, when are out together? I would really appreciate that.

Thank you so much for your openness in having this conversation with me, I feel so much better.  

Once you’ve prepared it’s time to be brave and go have the conversation, it will feel scary, so feel the fear and do it anyway. You don’t need to follow your plan word for word, none of us are perfect and there is no need to even try to be. Your unique way of expressing yourself, with vulnerability and honesty, is perfect and this tool will deepen your connections with those close to you, freeing up your energy and cultivating relationships to enable you to be a fabulous leader in your life.

If I can get through it, you can too…

In this video I share a little bit of my story, some of the darker times, because I think it’s healing for us to hear how others have suffered and come out the other side an even brighter version of themselves.

This is super vulnerable, so I am very nervous about posting!! It feels like cutting a hole in my chest and revealing my beating heart. (OK, slightly dramatic!!)

It’s my intention that you will feel my belief in you and know that you can overcome whatever obstacle is in your path, and I am here cheering you on, my love.

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

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