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.

Forgiveness is crucial to creating a life you love

forgiveness is crucial

How do you feel about forgiveness? Are there still people and situations that you are holding to resentment about? How do you feel about forgiving yourself?

The path of consciously creating a life of full of freedom and love is a continuous process of manifesting and clearing: manifesting is reaching into the future, into your vortex, to summon your desires into your reality and clearing is removing the blocks and behaviours that are keeping you stuck. Forgiveness is a clearing practice, and not necessarily an easy one.

Can you imagine that your body and your mind can hold a limited number of ideas, memories and feelings, that your body and mind are split up into different compartments containing all these experiences, and how you feel about them. Now let’s think of a happy, positive time – how does it feel in your body? To me it feels light and bright like a bunch of fairies dancing about on a breeze. Now bring to mind a bad or sad experience – how does that feel? To me it feels like a brick, weighted down with a barbell tied up with a massive anchor – heavy right? Past resentments and feelings of guilt are just that, they are heavy and weigh us down.

We can release much of that weight by letting go of the resentment, we let go of the resentment through forgiveness. Allow me to add that forgiving someone doesn’t condone their behaviour, it doesn’t mean you have to like them or have anything to do with them, it’s actually not about them at all. It’s about you.

For me the biggest challenge in the practice of forgiveness is to forgive myself. I can quite easily see how others have caused me hurt and suffering as a result of their own pain and destructive tendencies. But shouldn’t I have known better? How did I let that happen? Often I need to forgive things I have done, or decisions I have made, which have only really hurt myself.

So how do we actually forgive others and ourselves? I suggest writing a list of people, situations and/ or organisations who you still feel hurt by or resentment towards, this is usually quite an easy list to make as these experiences stay relatively fresh in our minds (taking up valuable space that we want to fill with beautiful thoughts and dreams and images of unicorns :-)). Going over the list though may not be so easy, it may bring up some of those old feelings and stir up emotions you have buried. Give yourself some space and lots of love during this process.

You can take one thing from your list each day and sit with it, feel the emotions, perhaps you run through the series of events in your head. Now can you start to look beyond the impact it had on you for a moment and question what was toxic, what was in pain and what was suffering in that person (or yourself) at that time? Can you start to eek out a little compassion for what pain in the other (or yourself) precipitated the pain you then experienced as a result? As I said you don’t need to condone it, you don’t need to make it OK, you can forgive things that are absolutely not OK.

You can repeat to yourself: ‘I forgive you, I forgive you, I forgive you’. This process may take time and some resentments and past hurts will probably take numerous intentions to forgive before you are able to fully let go. Know that each step you take on this journey to forgiveness is clearing out heavy, negative compartments from your body, and from your energetic field, in order to make space for the good, happy and delightful to come in. It is not easy, but it is 100% worth it.

 

 

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.

Some of my favourite things…

Oh this is going to be so fun! I am so excited to share with you some of favourite people, podcasts, books and general awesome stuff to feed your soul and make you happy.

Lindsay Mack – Tarot for the Wild Soul 

Lindsay.jpgLindsay is a grounded, connected, trauma survivor and deeply healing tarot reader and guide. My most favourite of her offerings is her monthly tarot medicine podcast where she gives us a collective reading, including astrology, for the month ahead. It is deeply nourishing and I find myself listening to it again and again, especially when things are feeling tricky. She makes me feel held and like everything that we are going through and feeling is ok, is right and is for our highest evolution.

Sonia Choquette and Sonia & Sabrina Choquette Tully

ChoquettesThis family of awesome women (Mama and two daughters) have been my guiding light, teachers and biggest supporters on my journey to deeply connect with my intuition. They emanate deep love and lead by example in listening to and following their intuitive guidance. Not to mention they are fun, funny and master teachers and coaches.

Rob Bell’s podcast – The Robcast

dixon1-square.jpegYou may have seen Rob Bell on Super Soul Sunday with Oprah, he is friends with Liz Gilbert of Eat, Pray, Love and is most excellent. He was the leader of what became a huge church in the US, but has since written numerous books, tours with his speaking events and hosts a podcast. He is somewhat of a controversial figure in American religious circles for his open, liberal and inclusive beliefs and way of interpreting the Bible. I LOVE listening to his podcasts on a weekly basis for his sermons (not like in church), his endless wisdom and interesting guests.

Jen Sincero – Author of You Are a Badass at Making Money

jen sincero.jpegI have listened to this audio book so many times! Jen is a writer and a coach, I love her style because she is very clear about the tools and steps to take to make money, she is an excellent story teller and she’s f**king hilarious! She says ‘If my broke ass can get rich, you can too!’ She has written numerous books on how to be a Badass in various areas of life and is generally someone to check out.

I could go on and on for a very long time listing my favourites!

I’ll leave you with these fabulous lot for now – enjoy – sending love x

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

feeling good

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!

Valentine’s Day – Self Love

self love quote

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