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Grounding, Uncategorized

The importance of grounding

The practice of grounding ourselves is about ensuring that our energy is connected to the earth, that it is anchored and providing us with a steady base. This may be something that we feel is done naturally as part of our daily routines, but unfortunately this is not the case.

When we carry on with our busy lives, rushing here and there, with our mind full of thoughts of what we must do and what is the next thing that we will rush into, we are at the behest of our ego mind.  The ego is where our everyday thoughts reside, as well as where our self-protection tendencies are also stored. The ego is an essential part of our nature, but it is the one thing that can also create disassociation with our true selves- the physical and spiritual being that we are. When we become disassociated, we become ungrounded.

We know what it feels like to be ungrounded.  It is the short breaths that we take, that do not go further than our chest area. It is the low-level sense of panic that is our constant companion. It is the feelings of being overwhelmed. It is the restlessness and poor sleeping patterns that develop. And it is the constant tiredness that we feel, even after a good nights rest. This is because stress and anxiety naturally increase when we are ungrounded. So you can see the benefits of practicing this regularly to help you.

Tree.jpg

The best image that you can think of to help you, is a tree.  A tree grows forever upward and outward.  Always reaching for the sky to express its best and most beautiful self. Yet a tree knows that is can only continue growing and reaching from a strong firm base. Its roots grow at a similar rate to its upper branches, reaching further and further down and across to support itself.

We can learn to be like the tree and ground ourselves through some simple practices.  If you are a regular meditator, you will already be doing many of these. Here’s one technique ( out of many) that might help you.

A simple practice to anchor your energy

  • Before leaving the house in the morning, stand up in bare feet in a quiet space you will not be disturbed.  Make sure your spine is straight, your shoulders are relaxed and your head feels like it is floating above your shoulder.
  • Take a few centering breaths and when you feel calm, bring your attention to the soles of your feet.
  • Imagine a warm energy moving down from your heart to the soles of your feet.
  • Feel the strong connection that the soles of your feet are making with the gound.
  • Now start to imagine that warm energy travelling though your feet, down into the floor.
  • Imagine it going deeper and deeper into the ground, travelling all the way down to the centre of the earth.
  • When you are fully rooted in the moment, set an intention to be grounded for the rest of the day.  Say to yourself ‘I am anchored in the present moment and will remain so throughout the day.’

At the end of the day, make a note of any changes you felt as a result of the grounding exercise.  Repeat daily. Enjoy.

Acceptance, Change, Happiness, Personal Transformation, Resilience, Self-love

An intentional new year

For anyone who’s new year’s resolution has become a distant memory, perhaps the issue is more to do with where you started from than, rather than where you were aiming to get to.
We talk a lot about resolutions at this time of year, as if we have to fix something within ourselves; a judging voice inside us, telling us we are not good enough. Such a starting point is hardly motivational and its not surprising that we find that our resolutions dissolve before the new year has begun. A cycle of negative self-talk only compounds our sense of failure and gives us the impression that we cannot stick to anything and have no will power.
Resolutions come from a world of lack, they are borne from a view that we are unhappy with ourselves and that there is something implicit within us to be fixed. Our thinking, when we are resolving on an issue looks something like this:
I need to lose weight – I am fat and ugly (or worse unloveable)
I need to go to the Gym more – I am lazy and becoming a slob
I need to read more books – I am out of touch and becoming boring.
When we set resolutions like these, we start from a place where something is lacking in our essential make up and only by showing dissatisfaction with our current position can we move to a more satisfying one. The negative self-talk that drives these resolutions is hardly motivating, which is why we can run out of steam very quickly when we set them.
Setting intentions has a much higher chance of success. When we become intentional we focus on a motivating goal and put our energy into achieving it, without the negative self-talk that accompanies resolutions.
When we feel passionate and motivated to achieve something, we feel an endless flow of energy to support us, because passion is the very fuel of life. Intentions still drive us to make big changes, without the dragging and judging voice that is behind resolutions.
There is a general rule here that we can apply to any changes we wish to make in life: if we start any change by being more supportive and encouraging to ourselves, we can cope with setbacks and challenges we experience along the way in a constructive way and stay on course to achieve our goals.
So, if you are starting with a goal in your life that you want to achieve and you are struggling to do so, here are some things that might help you along a different path.

  • Start by thinking about what is really motivating you towards your goal. For example if it is about losing weight, what is the reason why your current weight and body shape needs to change.
  • Take some time to reflect and go inward and really listen to the reasons behind your need. As the thoughts start to take shape, notice if any of them are negative. If they are, just let them go and continue to allow a more constructive understanding of the need to emerge.
  • If you hear ‘I’m too fat.’ ‘Nobody will find me attractive looking like THIS’, notice the thoughts as they arise and rather than letting them take hold – just say inwardly notice it and then allow it to pass.
  • As you allow the negative thoughts to dissipate, stay in a quiet reflective mode until you hear more encouraging thoughts arise.
  • These might sound something like ‘My health is important and I want to support it.’ ‘I’ll be able to do more for myself/ my kids/ with my partner, if I am slimmer’. These are thoughts without judgement but with clarity and if you remain inwards you will notice a lighter feeling in your heart and perhaps a little buzz of excitement as a level of motivation comes behind the thoughts.
  • Go with it. This is the path to intention. And if you develop it in yourself and believe in it, you will succeed.
  • When you are clear about your intentions, write them down in a journal. When we write down our intent, it has a powerful multiplying affect in our mind, allowing us to feel the reality of a goal, through the process of articulating it and recording it. It will also be a line in the sand that you can use to review your progress.

So if you need to re-visit your fading new year resolutions, do it today, but in a more mindful and intentional way. Try out the approach above and do let me know how you get on by leaving some comments below or emailing me on mary@findyourjoyfullife.com.
If you want more ways to become intentional, you can find more details in ‘Coming Home to You’ A handbook for personal transformation, available on Amazon.com.

Take the free 7 day email course below to enjoy a daily guide to make positive changes in your life.

Acceptance, Change, Gratitude, Mindfulness, Resilience

Irish Times Women’s Podcast – Book Interview

Quote of connecting to our subconscious from meI was recently interviewed by Jennifer Ryan of the Irish Times Women’s Podcast.  In the interview we cover a range of topics including the nature of resilience, the power of writing down our thoughts, why perfectionism get’s in the way of us learning and how to develop a daily mindfulness habit.

To find out more listen here:

Acceptance, Change, Personal Power, Resilience, Self-love

Using compassion to deal with bullies – the Four S Approach

I was asked by Kindred Spirit magazine to outline how we can use compassion to deal with bullying.  I have learned from a lifetime of dealing with bullying, first as the victim and then as the strong advocate of anti-bullying workplace cultures, is that the bully is as much imprisoned by their own actions as their victims.

Bullies are always wracked with uncertainty and anxiety, which is often what drives their behaviour. They have very little belief in themselves, which is why they can show very little belief in anyone else. By understanding that you are dealing with a deeply insecure individual, it can help you to feel more secure in your own ability. Sticking to what you are good at and not giving ground, you can show that you have the skills and confidence to deal with a situation which will ultimately minimise the impact of the habitual bully.

The other thing to remember is the power of your own thoughts. Our thoughts create our reality, and if you allow these thoughts to be created, shaped or controlled by the bully, you will certainly find yourself playing the victim very quickly. Keeping strong positive thoughts in your mind, especially during a bullying incident is highly effective in minimising its impact.

If you are the victim of a bullying in your home or work life it can be very undermining and make you feel isolated and unhappy. Using compassion to tackle bullying does not mean being weak, in fact it means the very opposite. We need to connect to a stronger sense of our love and compassion for everyone, even the bully, in order to transcend their effects on our well-being.

One of the most undermining things that a bully can do is to infect us with their own lack of belief. Every time you start questioning ‘Is it me?’, stop that thought in its tracks and hold on to a mental picture of all the times you have handled the situation perfectly well before the bully came into your life (or when you were outside of their influence).

The only way that a bully can belittle us is when we start to accept their view of the world, with all its projected anxieties. If you have a sustained and long-term bullying situation, start to use your own mindfulness practices with strong affirmations of your own ability to minimize any caustic effects they may be having. The ultimate act of compassion is towards yourself, and if you know that the situation is not going to change, then seriously think of removing yourself from it.

Try the Four S’s to bring more compassion to a bullying situation:

  • Show concern. Even after an aggressive outburst by the bully, show concern for their well-being. Share your observations that they seem upset, angry, tired or unhappy. Ask them if they want to talk and offer them some time if this feels right.   If they continue to behave inappropriately, tell them you are there for them when they are ready to calm down and then gently extract yourself from the situation.
  • Smile. This one simple act has an immediate effect on our own sense of well-being and a positive impact on our relationships. For the bully that seeks to belittle or undermine, the smile can be very disarming.
  • Speak up. Bully’s get away with their behaviour precisely because people are afraid to speak up; yet you take away their power by doing exactly that. If you cannot address the bully directly, then start by talking to someone you trust. Many organisations have a welfare line to report the incident, or talk to your local HR who often have policies that will help to address the situation. Or if its at home, start to share your issues with a trusted friend.
  • Say thank you. Although this sounds like the very last thing you should do, saying thank you for the person’s feedback and telling them you will bear it in mind, gives the bully and their bluster very few places to go. It’s hard to keep going on at someone who appears to have agreed with you. You have done no such thing of course, for you have only thanked them for the feedback, not agreed with their comments, but you have used gratitude to stop them in their tracks.

Remember that everything we experience in life brings important life lessons our way. When we explore more mindfully what we might be learning through this situation, it can help us to navigate and overcome the effects of bullying.

 

Change, Coming Home to You, Mindfulness, Personal Power, Resilience, Self-love

How to be resilient, when thing go wrong. Recent Feature in Irish Times

Resilience is the art of bouncing back when setbacks or challenges come our way. There will be many times in our life when we are beset by failures, painful situations or conflicting priorities and these can really undermine our self-confidence and belief. Yet resilience is like a muscle that we need to build and test over time so that we can become more and more honed in life’s forge, like a master blacksmith will temper a great sword, so that we can arise stronger each time.

Sometimes when we are in the midst of hardship it is hard to see any silver lining, yet if we persistently focus on the negative and reinforce our undermining self-talk, we are likely to find our self-confidence dwindling before our eyes.

But with practice, we can build our resilience and learn to take life’s knock backs in our stride.

There are four steps we can take to build our resistance:

The building blocks to resilience

Having a healthy belief in ourselves
This is the cornerstone to building resilience. We cannot achieve anything if we do not believe in who we are and what we stand for.

Staying connected to the present moment
Resilience comes from understanding that the only moment that is real is the present moment. By connecting to this through our breathing and through our awareness that all moments will pass, including the present one, we can learn to release difficult and painful experiences more easily.

Learn to take criticism well
Nobody likes being told that their idea is rubbish or their plan is unrealistic and if we are caught up in the excitement of our own ideas we tend to shy away from getting any realistic feedback. Yet criticism, when offered constructively, can help us to avoid pitfalls and failures which come down to our own lack of experience.

Be realistic
Learn to be more self-accepting and more gentle with your inner thoughts. A harsh inner critic is hardly motivating if you are trying to pick up the pieces and move on. Self-love will be a much kinder way to move forward.

If you want to start building your resilience today, start by connecting to what really excites you in life and build your ideas around something that matters to you. Your own belief and passion will take you further and help you to cope with setbacks better than anything else.

 

Read the full article HERE

Acceptance, Change, Personal Development, Personal Power, Self-love, Women in business, Women in Leadership

I was asked recently: If you could change one thing for women in the workplace, what would it be? – this is how I responded

I have been very busy with various publicity interviews and articles as interest for my first book, ‘Coming Home to You‘ grows.  In one interview, I was asked: If you could change one thing for women in the workplace, what would it be?

Here is what I said:  I think it would be about increasing their belief in themselves. There are many successful and inspirational women leaders in business, but they are very much in the minority for the business world in general. What I see more than anything in women is a lack of belief in themselves and their abilities, often times when their skills far outweigh that of a male colleague who they watch climb the career ladder.

Success starts on the inside, and if capable and talented women believed in themselves more I believe we would start to see some shifts in the workplace gender balance.

 

If you want to see the full article, read more HERE

Acceptance, Coming Home to You, Emotions, Featured, Happiness, Healing, Personal Power, Self-love, Uncategorized

Make peace with your body

Humans are the only mammals on the planet that have a negative image of their body.  Nothing else quite demonstrates the madness of our human condition, quite as much as the way that we reject, abuse or ignore our bodily needs.

Think about it for a moment.  An orangutan does not sit and brood at her companions and clan and feel disgruntled that her body is not as lithe or shapely as that of others around her.  A leopard does not sit and mope that his spots are not quite as well spread out as other males in the group.  In fact the idea is quite laughable.  Yet, when we turn the lens our ourselves, we seem to find it perfectly acceptable to compare, contrast and condemn our own body, based on some external notion of what it should be.

If we become disconnected and start looking at our body in negative or fragmented ways, it leads to many difficulties. We start to see our body with a critical eye to its external appearance and how this compares unfavourably to other people. Women in particular are prone to this dissatisfaction with their body due to this external pressure to conform to unrealistic expectations.  Bombarded as we are, by images of thin and under-developed models. When we start to over-identify with these images we become unhappy with ourselves and start to put our body through harsh regimes to try to achieve standards it was never designed to meet.  The thoughts we send to our body are equally negative and punitive; ‘You’re fat’, ‘You’re thin’, You’re ugly’, ‘You’re too tall’, ‘You’re too short’ or perhaps the most defeating of all, ‘You’re not good enough.’  Since our thoughts create our reality, we are allowing ourselves in these moments to create a battlefield between us and our bodies.

blog body image
Photo credit: Archishadownlight.com

When we separate our thoughts from our body, we stop listening to its needs.  We start to develop body dysmorphia because we are literally unable to see our body the way it is.  When someone has become extreme in their eating habits, through too much eating, or starving themselves, they have stopped connecting to their body.  The mind and the body are working in two different spheres.

Making peace with our body starts with learning to connect and communicate with it.  Read more here

Guided Meditation, Happiness, Personal Power

Free Guided Meditation – Power up your powerhouse!

Solar Plexus

This brief guided meditation will help you to connect with your inner power house – your solar plexus. This energy centre can be found just above the belly button. If we are feeling weak and overwhelmed, this can often be due to a lack of energy or alignment in the solar plexus. Listen to this brief guided meditation, to help you to reconnect with your inner sun centre and feel reconnected and grounded again. Enjoy.

Book Writing, Change, Featured, Happiness, Personal Transformation, Resilience

Radio Interview with TippFM

TIPP FM logoToday I was invited onto the Fran Curry show at TippFM, a local radio station in Tipperary, Ireland.

Our conversation covers many things including the process of coming out to my parents thirty years ago, how to turn our troubles into tribulations and how to manage the nagging voice in our head.

I hope you enjoy it.

 

Book Writing, Change, Coming Home to You, Featured, Personal Transformation

Coming Home to You featured in Irish Press

Mary in tree 3 (3)More books are sold between September and December, than at other time of the year. Precisely because of this, I have started the publicity campaign for Coming Home to You.  I’ll feature press clippings and radio interviews here over the next few weeks.

 

Today the Irish Press interviewed me for a feature article on how Coming Home to You can transform lives.  Read more HERE

 

I hope you enjoy it.  More to follow.