Which me is reacting to you? (A guide to understanding tour reactions)

When Shrek told donkey that ogres were like onions he wasn’t wrong. We are all like onions we all have layers. No matter who you are on the surface today, there is layer beneath layer of your past and personality bubbling just under that surface. And sometimes these layers, these different versions of you, react to situations in your daily life without you even knowing it. Infact it’s often hard to know which you is responding to a situation.

This week I was fortunate to have a chance to peel back the layers in my life and wow did I get a shock. As I peeled back through different stories of my past I began to find parts of myself I thought long gone, were actually still there, large as life, and often influencing my reactions to people and situations in my now. It was an incredibly powerful experience and gave me a deeper understanding of myself and the way I interact with people. The biggest shock was although my grown up nearly 40 self thought I was in control it turns out that underneath the surface there is a frustrated teenager and a scared little girl who alternately react to the people in my life without me realising it. Once I recognised them it became so clear as to why I immediately begin to rage the minute a parental figure tries to interfere in my future plans and why it was that a person who represented consequences for me sparked off my insecurities. Completely unbeknown to me this little girl and teenager had been running a huge part of my adult life and my default reaction patterns came from me then not me now. Wow.

Now as you may know I am a big advocate of responding as opposed to reacting to things in life, consciously choosing rather than running on autopilot. So you can imagine my surprise at this new discovery. However it’s a great teaching, suddenly I am so much more aware of which me is trying to react to a situation, I can understand on a deeper level why things are affecting me emotionally and I feel so much more in control. It’s empowering.

Many of us have a struggle with reacting rather than responding. It’s partly due to our dna response fight or flight. However if we learn to peel back the layers and get to know the roles and dramas that lie inside of us, then we can learn to consciously take control of our emotional responses. With that knowledge we can begin to naturally respond to life’s curveballs. Obviously this is a HUGE journey of self discovery and cannot be covered by a quick how to guide. However if you would like to begin peeling back the layers of yourself then here are a few steps you can take to begin this journey.

Identify milestone versions of you

You need to look into your past and identify the main versions of you that are close to the surface. Look at how do you remember yourself as a child, a teenager, in your 20s, 30s, etc

Were there any significant events in your life that you remember effecting you. For me I had a specific photo as a little girl who embodies my memory of me as a child and an old beanie hat that reminds me of my very confused teenage self. Find these versions of you and give them a name.

Identify emotional characteristics of these versions of you

Now in a journal start to define these versions of you.Take each one and try to write some key words down emotions you associate with them. So for example my little girl was scared and desperately wanted to be good enough. My teenager was frustrated and angry, ready to defend herself at the drop of a hat. Write as many keys words or insights as you can for each of the versions of you that you have identified.

Investigate the triggers and reactions

Look at each version one at a time. Try to remember through free writing what triggers would be the catalyst for the emotional characteristics, and what  response this version of you had to specific situations. So for example with my teenager I could identify that when she felt disapproval of her she would react defensively, angrily trying to justify her actions, usually resulting in arguments with loved ones. My little girl would get scared by arguments because she thought they were her fault and so she tried to be good enough. If you have identified a lonely little boy you might discover that he would tease his sister at home when he felt lonely at school. Try and find the triggers and reactions for these versions of you. Don’t worry if you can’t get them all at once, baby steps is definitely the way here.

Compare the triggers then and the triggers now

Ok this is a little harder but incredibly powerful. Take one version of you. Look at the triggers you identified and now try and find a similar situation or a similar emotional response on your life now. I found that when me Mr T asked me why I did something a particular way it actually kicked off the “I am not good enough” feelings of my little girl. It is amazing the more you look into these triggers and responses the more you will see patterns emerging.

What next?

So now you have all this information what to do with it? This is now a guideline for you. You can look at your emotional characteristics and response patterns of the past versions of you, if you have unhealthy patterns then start to work out strategies that are healthy. I am now working on discussing my frustrations with parental interference with them instead of exploding behind closed doors. You may have discovered some unhealed wounds that are too big for you to deal with alone, if that is the case then please do seek support.  You may find that simply by having identified which you is responding to a situation that this makes you more conscious in your interactions with others. Each of us is different so what we do with this journey of self discovery is up to us.

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As I said before this is a huge journey and much bigger than I can cover in one article. However I hope that this gives you some inspiration to begin to understand the layers you have within you. For me this journey has been a wonderful exploration of myself. It has raised my consciousness of self to another level and is bringing a sense of peace to my life in areas I didn’t know needed it. And that in itself is a powerful healing. I hope that you enjoy this discovery process as much as I did

Enjoy your journey<3

Do not allowyour

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#lifelessons101 What to do when when your past attacks your now (3 min read)

Recently I watch a short video on Facebook about the Syrian ballet dancer Ahmad Joudeh, it is immensely powerful and inspiring. However one thing he said struck me on such a personal level

“It’s annoying when you past is attacking your mind when you are trying to build a new life.”

I could completely relate to this. Can’t you. All of us who are into living conscious lives and manifesting our dreams know the destructive and demobilizing power of the fears of our past. The hit hard and swift and take us completely out of ourselves, the moment and the focus. I used to get this a lot. In fact it was so strong that I would find myself reacting in the now to past events. For example if Mr T and I were arguing (and yes we do) I would actually be reacting to and ex partner’s behavior not his. It was scary.

So how to break the chain and stop those past events or fears taking over? Well it is not an overnight process and it takes a form of being completely honest with yourself and with the people closest in your life. However it is possible. You can keep those fear dragons in the past where they cannot burn you.  

When the past comes knocking try these steps to send it on its way

Stop and breath

When you feel the fear or memory rising and reinforcing all of your negative thoughts then Stop! Breath. Don’t allow it to take over and start a negative spiral in your mind. Tell yourself this is from the past not from the now, This is not happening or true to who I am or where I am in my life right now.

Which drama is this?

A drama is a way of acting that has become an unconscious reaction and defense in certain situations, created from past events. Ask yourself what drama is this? Which drama is affecting my reactions right now? Mr T and I do this together and honestly from the minute we started our arguments have gone down to 10% of what they used to be, Now we discuss the emotions, the back story and then analyse the feelings in relation to the now events. It makes for a much more rational and cooperative communication and we both know each other so much better because of it. Of course if you are going to do this with someone you have to trust each other completely. There has to be an agreement that you will not use this information about each other against each other. It’s an important pact to get in place from the start. Looking and understanding your dramas is really therapeutic

Accept that your past is in your past

It’s over. Accept it. A healthy way to do this is to understand it. I can recommend both journaling and counselling here. Getting our emotions out of our body and sharing them with another person can give us objectivity. When you understand the root of something it is easier to accept it.

Forgive

I know. This is the hard part. You need to forgive others and most importantly you need to forgive yourself. Forgiving frees you from the weight and power of the pain of the past. When you forgive you are in a different position. Not a victim. You stand in a place of power. Again here journaling is a great resource. It is best to do this after accepting so that you can understand why things happened to forgive them. Write a letter to you or whoever it is that hurt you and make your peace with them.

Let it go

When I met Mr T I was post bad break up and very angry. One of the first songs he sent me was the frozen let it go song. I hated him for it. Although today acknowledge that he was absolutely spot on in his musical advice. That was what I needed. Anthony Giddens theorized, that we become the stories we and other people tell about ourselves. It’s true. And for a long time I used to tell the stories of my past the homelessness, the domestic abuse and the reckless youth, until I realized that I wasn’t that person anymore. Yet I and everybody else thought I was because that was what I told them about myself. You’ve met those people right ? You know, the ones that tell about how their life was and how hard they had it. They are stuck. You have to tell a new story about yourself. One about you now. You are a different person.

See yourself in the now

Remind you how great you are now, how abundant your life is and the amazing person you are today. Bring yourself back to the know. A great way to do this is the gratitude list. I am thankful for………….. Or another powerful way is to write your own pep talk which reinforces your greatness

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We can allow our past to be the monster in the closet or a closed chapter. It really is our choice. When we make our peace with it we free ourselves, tidy up inside and make space  physically and mentally to open up for a future. So whenever the past tries to mess with your mind show it who is boss now and take a stand. Remember you write your story so make sure it is one you want to read

Enjoy your journey <3

When you

De stress before your summer holidays!

I don’t know about you but for years June has been one hectic, pressure pot waiting to explode, then at the end the glorious summer holidays arrived and I, would collapse. Worn out to the edges and totally over stretched when my body finally got told it was ok to crash, it did. Teachers I know especially can relate to this. Somehow as a teacher all the bugs you have been fighting off all year tend to hit you the first day of the holidays.

This year is going to be different. I have 2 and a half weeks until my summer starts so I am going into holiday mode now. This year instead of running on overdrive up until summer I intend to wind down slowly, consciously and get the most out of this precious time out as possible.

How to do it ? Well just follow these easy tips and slide gently into your summer chillax mode:

Know you have time

Yes you have deadlines. Whether it is the shopping for the summer holidays or the corporate merger meeting before your plane takes off to Bali. Know you only have a limited amount of time and that you will achieve what you CAN and NEED to achieve in that time.  make a list of your deadlines and then prioritize in the following way

A: What needs to be done now

B: What can someone else do – delegation

C; What can wait until I get back

Delegate and then focus on the A tasks.

Incorporate you time into your day

15 minutes you time a day will help with your wind down and will give you the energy to get the last things done. Try and take it midway throughout the day. 15 minutes meditation, yoga, nap, walk outside (in nature- it’s definitely the best) or reading will help your body and mind wind down,

For even better results plan a day off before the summer, and I mean a day off, no cleaning, no I have to I should dos. Nada! if you can’t manage a day try two evenings. Any break time you can give yourself do it, your body needs this.

Sleep

Get to bed earlier than you normally do. If you are over stretched then you need your sleep. It truly is one of the best healers in the world. Go to bed 30 mins earlier than usual. If you cannot sleep read or talk to your partner. I find doing mindfulness colouring books in bed (something I have done ever since childhood) is a great wind down. Just make sure you switch off all phones laptops, tvs and tablets. Make the last 30 mins to an hour of your day for you.

Plan your summer holidays

Motivation is what we need. So loosely planning your holidays and how you will use your free time will help your to get motivated and at the same time make sure your get the break you need when you get there. I plan to have the first two days of summer holidays to wind down. I have the usual cleaning, washing and a workshop to write but I am putting those on day 5 and 6. The first 4 days are for me. Then I am going to have a few days to enjoy being at home before packing and hitting the road. My wonderful friend once showed me her first day of summer holidays ritual. She made a poster with all of her things she wanted and had to do on it. She had a great time with it. Putting on glitter glue and drawing, her kid makes one too. With champagne in one hand and glitter in the other this is the start of her summer. However you plan your holidays just make sure there are some nothing days. Completely unadulterated days with no plans and complete freedom.

 

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Start your wind down to summer this week and feel the benefits of arriving on holiday stress free and ready to enjoy your freedom, however you choose to do it!

Relax Unwind

#lifelessons101-When the sh*t hits the fan, stop running and read these 6 tips to help you turn it around (2 min read)

Sometimes things go wrong. It’s part of life. Actually its an important part of life that can bring us new possibilities. However when shit hits the fan it is a natural reaction to panic and run away, yet in the long run that gets you nowhere. Take it from one who knows, the problems follow you. At the same time when everything is going wrong it can demotivate you so much that you want to give up. What does that achieve? Well nothing. So when the shit hits the fan what can you do to ride the wave and bring your life back into harmony?

Here are six tips on how to take stock and take control of the runaway train in your life and come back into the flow.

Stop running

Firstly stop running. When things go wrong we can often keep pushing against the tide of chaos. A bit like a hamster on a tread wheel. It is exhausting and counterproductive. Stop. In order to see and solve a problem you need to get objective. So stop pushing against the tide and get some perspective.

Get objective

Whatever the problem is you need to break it down into edible chunks. Take a step back and get out your notepad and start to analyse. Ask yourself what exactly is the problem? What are the consequences of the problem? How do you want the situation to look? Sometimes just writing it down helps you to create structure in the chaos. And when you take a step back solutions will present themselves.

See the positive and learn

Although something has gone wrong, there will also at the same time be things that are going well. Make a list of what is going well and what is not. It can help to rebuild your motivation when you actually see in the midst of a crisis there is still things working. Looking at the positive and the negative will give you the opportunity to learn from the situation. I have a saying “Nothing is a bad experience if I can learn from it”, so use this as a learning opportunity.

What needs to be done ASAP

In a crisis situation there are things that need to be dealt with straight away and things that you can take your time over. Make a plan of the actions you need to take to solve the situation. Then look at each one and decide what needs to be done now and what you can leave until later on. Then follow your plan.

Take a break

Stress is one of the most demotivating factors in a crisis. With our body in fight or flight mode we are running on adrenaline and consequently cannot work at an optimal level. Take a break. At least 24 hours where you do something else and focus on something else. If you can do some exercise. It helps your body release the stress hormones and gives you dopamine improving not only your energy but your mood as well.

Trust and look for the opportunities that come your way

In any situation, especially a crisis, there is only so much you can do. Sometimes you have to sit back and cross your fingers. When you have done what you can to solve a situation you can simply do no more. At this time you have to be honest with the people involved, let them know you have done your best and look for the opportunities that come your way.

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Shitting hitting the fan can create crisis but it is our reaction to it that can turn it from a negative situation to a positive one. After all a crisis can sometimes be the catalyst to open up a whole new avenue of possibilities, you just need to be open to them.

If you are having a bad time of it right now. Don’t give up or runaway. Take stock and create a clear plan of action. Nothing is impossible and I know you can turn this situation around to be a fantastic opportunity for you.

Your Setback

 

 

#lifelessons101- Being authentically you in the spotlight in just 3 steps! (2 min read)

When was the last time you were naked? (And no I am not talking about physically I mean metaphorically). In this past week I have had the privilege of participating in the Wonderfully Wierd Women’s Branded workshop created by Esther De Charon De Saint Germain

This workshop for me has been a breath of fresh air.

Why? Well because I dared, I committed and I was authentically me. I put myself out there. And everybody liked it! Now that might not sound so difficult, when put like this, yet it is. Let’s take daring. Daring to do something that you are afraid of doing is natural. Especially when you have to end up in the spotlight. And I mean YOU have to out YOU the real YOU in the spotlight. We are all of us petrified of being us and being rejected. And actually that’s ok. It’s normal, almost genetic you could say. Theories say that this feeling comes from the days when we part of a tribe. Then our survival relied on that tribe, so daring to be in the spotlight was risking the tribe rejecting us, or worse killing us. It’s a basic survival instinct in our subconscious, However we don’t need to be scared of rejection anymore. Because the world is actually a smaller place these days. No-one is going to kill you if you stand up at work and dare to be different or present something. The fear of not daring actually causes much more pain to us than actually doing it. So we have to take charge of this fear.

This week I took charge. I dared to tell a bunch of strangers about me on a personal level. I dared listen to feedback on some really vulnerable things. Was I scared? Hell yeah! Did it stop me? No way! I fought that fear and did it anyway. And the result? A bunch of people I never met saw the authentic me as a strong powerful and even inspiring person. They saw the raw me. It was so empowering. I simply employed the power of fuck it and fuck them. (Not the most poetic of names I know but truly descriptive.)  

What I decided was simple. In 3 steps I found a clear path to being authentically me in the spotlight, and I want to share them with you.

Step number 1 : Acceptance

I basically accepted that not everyone would like me or resonate with me. I can’t please everyone and not everyone is going to like me. So what was the point in hiding me away trying to do the impossible and make everyone like me. And the ‘fuck them’ was born!

Step number 2 : Daring and do

Well if you can say ‘fuck them’ and decide to ignore all the people that don’t resonate or appreciate with you then you can say ‘fuck it’. Why ? Well because really if you know you won’t please everyone it stands to reason you will please someone. So ‘fuck it’. And once you have said ‘fuck it’ you have the power to dare, so do it. For me it was turning up at the workshop, doing the challenge and then putting out there for people to see. It might be the presentation, taking the talk with your partner or simply putting on the dress you are hella nervous about wearing (Oh and when it comes to the dress people won’t notice. This happens to me a lot. I debate, worry, take it on, off etc when I think something is too daring, then I wear it anyway and people just act like , well like normal around me! After all my stress it is a little insulting).  Nike is right “Just do it” be bold be brave and step into the spotlight.

Step number three – Enjoying the results.

So if you followed the step one and two thought processes by now you should have already dared and are standing in the spotlight being authentically you. What next? Well stop closing your eyes and waiting for a thunderclap, open them and enjoy it. When you are authentically you, you will find that the right things happen, the right people are attracted to you and equally the right opportunities open up for you.  When we are authentically and honestly ourselves in the spotlight we inspire people. People actually begin to expect us to do it, it becomes our norm so to speak. So quit worriting and enjoy it.  (Celebrate your successes remember!) And if you meet someone who doesn’t like you then authentic you go back to step one and start all over again!

Have a great weekend and be authentically you while you are at it <3

REMEMBER

Have a healthy life by celebrating your success! (2 min read)

I’m sitting here alone on a Monday afternoon, in a cafe on a sunny day in Denmark with relaxing jazz in the background and a tall cold, glass of bubbling wine in my hand. I am celebrating my latest success! It’s lovely. I probably don’t look as chic as I feel but it’s the feeling that is important not the way I look. I feel fantastic. And part of the reason I feel so great is not just because I have been successful. It is because I have taken this hour to celebrate my success.

In our busy lives we actually have many successes be they small or large and yet in the hectic schedule they can often be overlooked and therefore go unnoticed.  All work and no play made jack a dull boy and the same goes for you too. Our successes in life are our high points. If we don’t acknowledge them then life is seriously boring.

In today’s society we are all incredibly focused on what is wrong, what is not working and how can we fix it. I am not saying that is all bad, good growth comes from this form of processing; HOWEVER if we only ever focus on the bad, we will only ever see the bad. And if you are seeing only bad then guess what? You will attract more of it. And that my friends creates a negative mindset and we all know how unhealthy and damaging that can be.

There are many reasons why you should celebrate your successes and when it becomes a habit you will find that life actually becomes EVEN MORE successful for you. Why ? Because as you send out a vibration of success the world around you ripples back a wave of success.

Here are 5 reasons why you should celebrate your successes, no matter how big or small, today

It feels great!

It feels wonderful to celebrate something we have achieved. It energises us. When we achieve something our body releases dopamine the happy chemical into our blood. And as  after all being happy and enjoying our life is what we all want, right? So why miss a perfectly good opportunity to enjoy yourself!

It’s inspiring!

 

Celebrating or success can be inspirational to our future successes. Just as we can learn from something going wrong we can also learn from it going right. Make a note of what you did that helped create your success and look at it when you are aiming for a different star.

It’s motivating!

It’s logical. If you are working towards a goal and it always feels like that goal is slipping away and is un-achieveable then why would you want to keep going. By marking our successes big and small, especially the small, we remember them and we can feel how close we are getting to our goal and that makes us want to keep going. Your success are proof that you can do whatever it is your set your mind to do.

It attracts more success!

Basically the more you celebrate your successes you develop a success mindset. And that is a mindset you need to keep feeding. By noting your successes you are telling yourself “look at what I can do”. Keep looking for opportunities to celebrate your success and you will surprise yourself with how often you have success.

It’s shareable!

Celebrating your success with others is a form of sharing abundance. Think about all of your friends happy pictures and statuses on Facebook that make you feel good. People want to have fun, they like to hear good news so let them join in your fun and make everyone feel great!

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So no matter what successes you have had today, big or small, it could be managing to do the washing up when you are seriously depressed or celebrating your first big movie deal, whatever it is celebrate it. Remember as Osho says “Life should not only be lived it should be celebrated”
Have a wonderful week <3

celebrate your success

What’s your secret Disney Identity? Disney films and characters as a self development and motivational tool (3 min read)

I was recently asked if ‘You were a brand what brand would you be?’ ‘What brand would describe your personality?’ Wow great soul searching questions and the answer? I would be Disney. (And seriously for a natural conscious earth respecting hippie like myself I was shocked at this however the fact remained that I as a brand I would be Disney.) Creative, playful. A Walt Disney quote is even one of my mantras “If you can dream it, you can do it”.

The more I thought about it the more I wondered why is it that I connect so much with Disney? And the answer came to me relatable characters, adversity  and bravery to follow their dreams and stories that connected with me at the right place and time in my life when I needed to hear a particular message.  Honestly the Little Mermaid was me at 11, rash and daring, Belle at 14, desperate to go out into the world and escape my small town life, Mulan the warrior facing and winning against all the odds inspired me in my partially homeless 20s and Tiana now in my 30’s determined to create my dream into reality. I have been a constant Peter Pan all of my days, with the optimism of Winnie the Pooh and lived all of the fears and bravery of Piglet. And not forgetting Up, the film that inspires and epitomises my dream of a true love and partnership.

Most of us have a favourite Disney film and a favourite character. But have you ever thought about what your connection to that story and character is ? (Apart from your tshirts, mugs and cuddly toys either hidden about the home or proudly displayed.) Every story we have heard or seen  and remembered has affected us on a conscious or unconscious level. As we feel drawn to a character we admire them, their personality traits their resilience. I mean who wouldn’t love to have Rapunzel’s effectiveness in housework chores. Seriously though these characters we love display qualities we wish to possess or mimic. For example take my connection with Belle. She didn’t fit in, neither did my 14 year old self. She didn’t seem to care and stayed determinedly herself, my 14 year old self desperately wanted to do that. Belle made sacrifices for her father who she loved and put his needs before her own. Something I have always done (although the latter was not a healthy experience it did teach me a lot). Her story is as much a transformation as the Beast’s and oh didn’t my bespeckled, teeth braced awkward self want the transformation from bookish outsider to a loved and appreciated beauty.

These films, these characters we identify with have messages for us all throughout our lives if we look for them. Recently I re-saw Beauty and the Beast and I was shocked at the power of my emotions. Honestly I was crying and afterwards when I looked at which songs I had been so moved by I realised that my life situation at the moment was reminding me a lot of my teenage gawky school days as I now face my recent Asperger’s diagnosis and living in an entirely new place. The film helped me see the challenge clearly and from that I have now been able to work with it.

Try watching your favourite Disney movie. Make notes of where you feel emotional pulls. Who do you identify with and why? How does this character, plot line relate to you now or in the past. Journal this and see if you can find a teaching in the message the film has given you. (And sorry no I cannot be more specific the message is yours to interpret I can’t guide you there, just keep looking until you find the answer).

Disney characters can also be used as a way of identifying our ideal personalities. Now please don’t get me wrong I am not saying any one Disney character is absolutely perfect, they are not. However as I mentioned before they have qualities we admire that we would like to see in ourselves.

Think about the qualities of your favourite character. What do you admire in them? Write a list. Now look at each quality ask yourself how am I like this? If you cannot see this but would like to then ask yourself ,how can I bring this quality into my life?

Many years ago I found out quite by accident that not only can Disney character’s help us learn about ourselves, they can also act as motivators and inspiration. A girlfriend was in a bad situation. She loved Pocahontas. So I, in my desperation to help ,asked what she though Pocahontas would do. To my surprise her body language took on a different quality. Her head went back and she knew exactly how her favourite character would have handled her situation. So I told her to connect with her inner Pocahontas when she need the bravery to face her problem. A few days later she was on top of the world and the problem was on her way to being solved! I have tried this time and time again and I have always found it works. We just find it easier sometimes to think through another’s perspective and character. Plus when we think of them we smile and feel good, which just goes to show Disney is doing what it does best if it can evoke that feeling even years after we have seen a film.

Or maybe it is as Tinkerbell said “Imagination has no age”. So allow yourself to connect with your inner child and find your secret Disney identity this week. Allow the magical kingdom to open doors and pathways to healing, understanding, bravery, imagination and empowerment whether it’s from a mouse, a fairy, a princess, a stuffed bear or simply a warthog <3

 

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