Hi all, just letting you know that I am available for sessions over the Christmas period (aside from stat days) for those needing some extra support. For many people Christmas is not a time of celebration, togetherness and fun, but can be a challenging time away from the usual routine of work which for many is their main source of social time and for gaining a feeling of purpose and meaning. For many Christmas can be a time of great loneliness and sadness. It can be a time when family members who are no longer around are greatly missed or when childhood memories of unhappy family gatherings come to mind. Please be mindful of those around you at work or socially who may have no close family nearby who may need some extra support and to be included. There is nothing quite so healing as being remembered, noticed, accepted and included.
I have become fascinated by the idea that all struggle, feelings of discontent or unhappiness is due to having preferences, likes and dislikes that we become very attached to. I recently read a book called ‘The Untethered Soul’ by Michael A singer (If you haven’t read it yet you must, it is fantastic!) and although I have come across the concepts in this book many times before, something about the way he explains and describes these concepts are very captivating. (He is also on YouTube and well worth listening to). Basically he talks about how if things go differently to our preconceived ideas (usually from experience) of what is “good” or “bad”, “right” or “wrong” , “OK” or “not OK”, then we get upset to the extent to which we have an attachment to this idea. So for example we may say to ourselves “ It better not rain tomorrow or that would completely spoil the hike I’m planning on”, the next day it rains and we feel upset, as if the weather is going to “behave” just because we wanted it to. How absurd is it to think that we can wish things into being and if it doesn’t happen the way we want it to go, it can really mess with our heads and our lives. Think of all the people thinking this way, and often having opposing thoughts! The world happens the way it does, not the way it’s supposed to in our minds and yet we get so upset. How would things be different if we could let go a little? When things don’t go to our plan, how would it be to stay open hearted and open minded. How would we be different or the situation seem different if we didn’t have the thoughts in our minds about how wrong this is? What if we could just say to ourselves “ OK so its raining, so now I either go fro a hike in the rain or do something different. If we stay open to the reality of the moment, to what really is going on, we can have other experiences, ones we may not have thought of.
One year as a new year’s intention , I decided to say “yes” to more things I would normally say “no” to and “no” to more things I would habitually say “yes” to. It was very interesting! I remember being asked if I wanted to go bowling, usually I would turn this down fast, you see I’m not a bowling kind of girl! (I had never been bowling actually) well this time I said “yes!” and you now what? It was fun! Another time I went to the local bottle store for some cold beer on a hot day, I was bare foot as planned to go home straight away. Someone I hardly knew asked me what I was up to, I told her “nothing much, just going home to drink a cold beer” she said “well I’m off to a party on a boat, want to come?” “yes!” I said, I’m not very comfortable socializing at the best of times, and especially not with strangers, well off I went and had a fantastic time!
On the other hand I would often offer to help people out without any asking on their behalf, and while I’m all for supporting and helping others sometimes I would go too far and compromise myself by spreading myself too thin, or not leaving energy for my own challenges. This tendency would be stressful at times. So I started to give myself some space, I wouldn’t offer straight off, if I was asked to help I would say “ I will get back to you on that” giving myself some time to actually think it over. Sometimes after thinking about it I would get back to them and tell them that “no” I could help this time. This new way gave me more energy for myself and I didn’t feel as taken for granted and unappreciated. Being more open, less fixed and structured in how we think we need things to be and more steady and relaxed on the inside (try mediation, it settles, relaxes and makes one less reactive fast!) so that we are not so reliant on external things being a particular way, opens us and our lives up to unexpected and often amazing experiences. Try it for yourself!
I bought myself a bike this weekend, a really really cool bike! I’m so excited by it and this feeling has taken me by surprise. I feel like a child full of joy at having something new. I haven’t had a bike for 20 years so was actually wandering if I would still be able to ride one. Part of my excitement I think is due to last year having some serious health issues where I went from running in the hills everyday to not being able to walk across a room unaided in a very short time. I love being physical, I always have, it makes me feel energized and bubbly and I’m sure this is part of the joy of riding. The wind in my face, moving faster than a walking pace and having moved from Lyttelton (all hills) to Heathcote (all flat) I feel my options have opened up. Oh the places I can go! I’m reminded of the importance of trying new things, going to different places, seeing new sights and trying new activities. It is so easy to do the same thing week after week and lose some of the joy and variety life has to offer. I’ve made it my recent goal to travel somewhere different every Sunday, at least one hour from home as a way to keep my life interesting and stretch my wings a little. I’ve been a single parent for 18 years and it is time for me to explore a little more.
I you haven’t yet watched Brene’ Browns A Call to Courage, you are missing out immensely. It is a fantastic look at what it means to be vulnerable in life and the importance of choosing courage over comfort. Check it out on Netflix