Acceptance, Essential Self, Gratitude, Grounding, Healing, Self-love

Practicing Self Love at a time of giving

Wherever you are, and whatever you do, be in love. Rumi (13th Century Persian Mystic)

As we hit the time of the holidays, we start to think about all the people around us who we love and care about. We want to reach out to them, show them we love them and buy them special presents to reflect our appreciation. In what is already a busy life, we are also building up to the biggest celebrations of the year. This can be exhausting, and so many of us collapse at the table either on Thanksgiving or Christmas day unable to fully be present and enjoy the very thing we are thankful for; life.Love quote in tree

By practicing a little self-love, we can avoid being fully spent on the day of celebration, by being mindful of who we are and what is important to us amid all the noise and activity. Self-love can sound like a very indulgent concept. Aren’t I being selfish if I only think of myself? Shouldn’t I be thinking of others at this time of year? Isn’t love about giving not receiving?

I can understand these concerns, but let’s demystify the nature of love. Love is energy; it is as simple and as complex as that. It is the life force of energy that is all around us and resides in its most concentrated form in our heart. If we remember this, we can then start to think of the analogy of a mobile phone – bear with me on this!

We all have one of these devices these days and they are great. We can talk to people, we can shop, we can pay our bills, we can play games on them, the list is endless. Yet the phone’s energy is not. So, what do you do to ensure that your phone continues to provide the same fantastic activities each day? You plug it in and renew its battery. If you don’t it dies and then there is no more fun to be had.

We are like our mobile phones, in as much as we need our energy boosting every day so that we can continue to be the loving, generous and compassionate person we want to be in the world. Recharging our batteries is the supreme act of self-love. It allows us to have a loving flow of energy constantly coming to us which we can share with everyone in our lives. In the book ‘A Course in Miracles’, it says that I give what I receive. In truth, we can only give what is present within us. I am not talking here of physical items (although the principle holds here too), but energetically. We can only give, what we have in ourselves to give.

Here are some of the ways you can practice self-love so that you can be your most vibrant, thankful and loving self during the holidays.

  • Get a good night’s sleep. This is something that we so often compromise in our busy modern lives. The body needs time to renew itself, given the highly complex biological processes it runs for us each day. Aim for at least 7 hours sleep at night.
  • Centre yourself before you start the day. Start a morning ritual that allows you to start the day in a positive way. After you have dealt with all the essential morning things, sit quiet for a few minutes (5 minutes is enough if you are always short of time). Read an inspirational quote for the day (there are lots of books out there or online resources. Look up Rumi Quotes for an example or have develop a personal affirmation (I’ll be launching an affirmation deck soon, so you can pick a fresh card every day). Use the words in your quote or affirmation to guide you into a brief meditation. Focus on your breath and repeat the words to yourself silently, until you feel calm and centred.
  • Be Grateful. We hear about the power of gratitude increasingly and that is because it is the most powerful tool in our manifestation toolkit. It’s easy to be grateful when everything is flowing our way, but far harder when we are having difficulties. Yet it is precisely at this point that it is as it is most powerful. Next time you are finding yourself angry, annoyed or upset with someone in your life, take a moment to connect with your breath and ask yourself ‘what from this situation can I learn about myself? How can this situation teach me the value of happiness?’ If you stay focused on your questions, you will see the dynamic start to shift and allow you to come up with a better response.

 

I send you the very best of wishes over the holiday season. Remember that to love yourself is to love all others. Self-love is the supreme act of bringing love into the world. There is no better gift than that.

On December 7th, I’ll be jointly running an evening of Yoga and Mindfulness with Emma Heald, near Hull. We will explore the theme of self-love. If you are local and want to join us the details are HERE.

 

Acceptance, Book Writing, Forgiveness, Healing, Oneness, Self-love

Three reasons why forgiveness helps us to heal (Does this resonate?)

Business AssistanceMany people have asked me why I have chosen for my second book to write about forgiveness?  In my first book ‘Coming Home to You’, I focused on the many ways we can live a joyful and happy life, by reclaiming our relationship with ourselves. Once we balance our relationship with our body, our mind and our spirit, we find that we have harmony with all of life and the happiness and peace that comes from this will naturally flow to us. Yet, as I speak to many people through my work and travels, I find that many live in a stuck-ness that is not borne from their inner world, but from their outer one.
We find ourselves dwelling on past sleights, hurts, transgressions and bodily assaults that have left us feeling weak and vulnerable. In a world that feels scary and hostile most of the time, the one thing we most want to avoid is feeling vulnerable, so we become hard, close our heart and vent our anger at the source of the cause of our anguish. In many ways this is a natural reflex built into us, that we may not even realise is there until it has come out through our words or deeds.
So if it is one of our most natural human responses, why should we think about changing it? What we create from these natural human responses is a spiral of decline in our relationship with others which leads to the madness that we see in the world around us. Our lack of forgiveness is part of the destructive cycle that we see in our age. It leads to conflict, war, aggression, hate and deep unhappiness in our hearts. Yet it is possible to transcend these responses, to find a different path, one that is no less easy, but leads to a place of healing, understanding and ultimately to peace. Forgiveness is not an easy concept to live by, but as we see in our daily lives and in our media every day, living in a world without forgiveness is not easy either. In fact, we can see that living without forgiveness can only ever lead us to destruction.

Three reasons why we need to work on our forgiveness:

  1. We become more humane, gentler and kinder, when we can learn to be tolerant and accepting of the differences of those around us. This is true in our personal relationships, but also in our work as well. Rather than living a life that is constantly fueled by irritation and annoyance, that can spill into anger, we can be calm and learn to see the differences in others as a way of learning more deeply about ourselves.
  2. We can appreciate that we have no real control of the world around us. When we live from our ego state, we are only concerned with control. We want to know that our plans will go exactly as we have laid them out, we want people to behave they way we expect them to and we want the world to comply with our own view of how it should be. Living from this ego state is a sure path towards madness. We are warring as much with ourselves as everyone around us in our wish to find the illusion of control. Once we let go of this illusion we can learn to be free and accept and respond more appropriately to what is happening around us.
  3. We take full responsibility for our emotions and only our emotions. What happens if we are hurt of have suffered transgressions from others, is that we start to not only trap the trauma in our body, allowing it to fester and grow, but we also start to project emotions we want the other person to feel.  We want them to know our pain, to know suffering and feel the same indignation that we felt at their hand. This is a false path, that will only prolong our own suffering. We have no control over anyone else’s emotions and spending time trying to come up with ways to influence them is taking precious time from our own life when we could be coming to terms with our own needs and learn to move on. We are continuing an emotional entanglement with someone that continues to erode our sense of who we are. At some point you have to ask; is it worth it? Is my peace of mind less important that my projections towards another.  Our path to healing starts with attending to our own emotional needs, healing our own wounds and forgiving ourselves first. Anything else binds us to our suffering.

 

Would you be willing to share your experiences of forgiveness?  Throughout August, I’ll be launching a survey to gather views on how forgiveness is experienced as part of my research for my book.  If you have the time and are willing to share, please click 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

Book Launch, Book Writing, Coming Home to You, Healing, Personal Transformation, The Joyful Press, Uncategorized

What motivated me to write a book – the birthing of Coming Home to You

It is often said that there is a book in all of us and I am sure that I am no more unique than you in this case.  Coming Home to You: A Handbook for Personal Transformation is not my first book, but it is the first one that will get published, under my own company: The Joyful Press.

There are many reasons why people write a book, but for me it was my desire to share my own healing journey with others, so that they may feel encouraged along their own.

The book deals with major life themes such as:

  • Dealing with Change – and learning to appreciate that change is all around us.
  • Taming the Inner Critic – realising that the constant negative voice in your head is not you and how to tame it.
  • The power of intent – and how to use this to achieve your goals
  • The nature of consciousness – that we can access and use to connect to our own happiness
  • Finding meaningful work – and learning how to put your best foot forward and deal with conflict constructively.

The writing of it was extremely cathartic, as the telling of each theme came with an insight into my own life and my struggles.  It was only when I could see beyond my struggles and realise that there was a deeper more important truth to all of life, that I could access the energy to turn my life turned around.

Healing and harmony are as much about state of mind as they are about our lifestyle choices.  Through my own healing journey, from a meltdown of my immune system in 2008, to the vibrant healthy person I am now, I had to learn how to connect with my inner life and with the energy which is the life force inside of me.  Experiencing this first hand convinced me that many people would want to be able to do the same, and so the motivation for my book was born.

I have made sure that it is practical, as I am a pragmatic person and if I cannot put something into action, how can I expect anyone else to? So I have included practical exercises at the end of each chapter.

I’ll be adding meditations, quizzes and short video insights to this website www.findyourjoyfullife.com in the coming weeks, to share with you.  I’m also collaborating with my good friend Vikki Roberts to bring you some wonderful mindful poems that will help you achieve a calm and wistful state.

I will be sharing details of the book launch parties very soon so watch this space!

Next blog:  The main themes for your transformation journey