Home » Blog » calmness

Tag: calmness

Forgiveness – a powerful tool for mindset shift

forgive yourself

As I’m sure you can guess from what I’ve keep banging on about ( ūüôā ), a huge part of Self-Change is re-framing our Mindset and the decluttering process¬†is not just about clearing physical space, it’s about mental decluttering also.

“Don’t let it rent your head” is something my Mum said to me a long time ago, and what’s happened to us in our past can very literally “hold us back” in that past and that story.¬†When I spoke about simply observing feelings in the¬†letting it go meditation, the emotions we feel are often driven by our¬†stories, and the top¬†tactic for dealing with the ones that linger is forgiveness.

Mental de-cluttering can be very difficult – Lifting the memories and beliefs that shaped our current thoughts into the light of objectivity, feeling them and then asking “Does holding onto this experience serve me and my higher good?” can be very hard indeed, as our amygdala is usually telling us (very loudly) that holding on to the memory and all that entails is the “safe” thing to do.

However, as Ana√Įs Nin said:¬†‚ÄúAnd the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom‚ÄĚ

Mental de-cluttering¬†is something that we do again and again¬†– yes, there are big pieces of the past that come up when we think about this the first time we do it, but mental decluttering and forgiveness is like an onion – it has layers. There is always more to de-clutter, always more to forgive, and we always feel better for working through the (very easy) process. After all, hanging on to the more toxic memories that drive our lives through pain, resentment or anger is like¬†“eating poison and harming ourselves, yet expecting the other person to die.”

In the same way as when we physically de-clutter our stuff (and I recommend reading The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying: A simple, effective way to banish clutter forever by Marie Kondo –¬†an excellent physical de-cluttering system ) we de-clutter memories and experiences by topic, with a focus on “Love”, “Money”, “Work”, “Siblings”,”Parents” or any other life topic that we feel is “renting our head” –¬†¬†naturally¬†there is always cross-over, but don’t let that stall you. If you don’t think a memory would fit in where you want to do the work right now, then leave it for later.

The actual process is easy – Allow yourself some time, pick your topic, grab pen and paper ¬†(because writing activates both sides of the brain) and start writing out emotional memories on the chosen topic. Include anything that still has an emotional charge – anger, resentment, embarrassment, shame, etc and write a short paragraph on each memory as it comes up. Keep going until you can’t think of anything else, aiming for between 20-100 memories.

Don’t get stuck or over think it, you may end up with pages and pages, or just a few lines. The memories that are “missed” this time aren’t yet ready to be forgiven. Just like cleaning out the¬†wardrobe usually takes more than one go, emotionally charged memories that are driving current behaviours often hide behind each other.

Once you have the list formed, and you are ready to start forgiving (It’s perfectly fine to write the list and then leave it to one side for a short¬†while if you need to do so)¬†read the first¬†memory, then take a breath and say out loud “I forgive you, I’m sorry, thank you, I love you.” and then physically cross the memory out with your pen. Repeat the mantra for each item on the list, crossing them off until you reach then end. You can then discard the list in whatever way you see fit; rip it up, shred it, burn it or just chuck it in the recycling.

Why these words? Because they release you from carrying the emotions – ¬†it’s not at all about the cause of the memory, be that a person, organisation or circumstance. And whilst remaining engaged in the exercise, you don’t even have to mean the words that you are saying all that much. Remember, the Limbic brain doesn’t have “words” it has “feels”

Energetically, “I forgive you” is¬†acknowledging the memory and the emotion, “I’m Sorry” covers forgiving ourselves for carrying the emotion for so long and clears any residual entanglements around the event (It’s not about “apologising to the other person”, there is no condoning of past grievances or victim blaming here), “Thank you” is about appreciating the lesson it taught you, even if that lesson was hard to carry or had negative consequences at the time, and “I love you” seals the deal, wrapping up the experience and energies with love and releasing them.

You may well feel some resistance to doing this (I know I have in the past) because letting it go is very, very scary. However, know that doing forgiveness work on the past will change your future life, so leave me a comment about what you are forgiving, and we can start working on connecting those dots!

Catch you next time!

Image used, FORGIVE YOURSELF by miguel
Used Under Creative commons licence: Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Get stuff done – make your bed

Make your Bed

One of the little things that I ask of people that I coach and mentor is a very simple and mundane thing РI ask them to make their bed every day. It only takes  a minute to pull the duvet up, straighten the pillows and make sure it all looks good.

It¬†really¬†seems so silly, that such a small thing would have such a big impact, but it really does. Making this task automatic means that¬†you achieve¬†the first task of the day before you even leave your room, and by doing it, it sets the mind up to “do more” with the day. It also gives you a little lift¬†when you see it later, especially if you come home after a crappy day.

This excerpt from the Austin 2014 Commencement Address, University of Texas by Admiral William H. McRaven has been animated and is doing the rounds on the internet lately, is all about this, and really sums it up perfectly:

Every morning in basic SEAL training, my instructors, who at the time were all Viet Nam veterans, would show up in my barracks room and the first thing they would inspect was your bed.

If you did it right, the corners would be square, the covers pulled tight, the pillow centered just under the headboard and the extra blanket folded neatly at the foot of the rack (‚ÄĒrack‚ÄĒ The Navy term for your bed.)

It was a simple task‚Äďmundane at best. But every morning we were required to make our bed to perfection. It seemed a little ridiculous at the time, particularly in light of the fact that were aspiring to be real warriors, tough battle hardened SEALs ‚Äď but the wisdom of this simple act has been proven to me many times over.

If you make your bed every morning you will have accomplished the first task of the day. It will give you a small sense of pride and it will encourage you to do another task and another and another.

By the end of the day, that one task completed will have turned into many tasks completed. Making your bed will also reinforce the fact that little things in life matter.

If you can’t do the little things right, you will never do the big things right.

And, if by chance you have a miserable day, you will come home to a bed that is made‚ÄĒthat you made‚ÄĒand a made bed gives you encouragement that tomorrow will be better.

If you want to change the world, start off by making your bed.

If you want to watch the full speech, it’s on YouTube (And you should, it contains excellent life advice for us all, not just a bunch of going-to-be Navy SEALS: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pxBQLFLei70
And the full transcript: http://alcalde.texasexes.org/2014/05/mcraven-to-grads-to-change-the-world-start-by-making-your-bed/

Leave me a comment about how you are going to make making your bed an automatic practice, and then we can start working on connecting those dots!

Catch you next time!

Image used, Our new handmade bed! by Miss Yasmina
Used Under Creative commons licence: Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-SA 2.0)

“Let it Go” – Holding on too tight is not the path to change

Running Dog

This one’s actually not that easy to write… The concept is a slippery one, and I keep false starting the writing in my head, I suspect because I’m holding on too tight to the concept! (I also have “Let It Go” from Frozen in my head, which is both helpful and not in equal amounts! ūüėČ )

It is a counter intuitive concept after all, in some ways. We all carry baggage, both good memories and bad, and generally, these memories shape how we interact with the world. This can keep us trapped in the past, very much preventing us being present in the now.

And whilst knowing how the world works can be a good thing, letting go is very scary. After all, some of the things that we carry that drag us down we don’t even consciously think about any more. The negative experiences become part of “us” – ¬†But letting go of these negatives means removing known structures, removing the “comfort blanket” of what we think we know about how the world works.

And of course, as we know, the Amygdala likes keeping us in known past patterns, because “change is bad right?”

However, we don’t need to make a fuss about letting go, we just make the choice to see how are Amygdala is working and simple brush past that. In essesence, there is nothing to it but to do it.

Take Wednesday just gone for example.  Around 2 weeks ago, my Central Heating Boiler started making very very loud noises and then turning itself off after running for 4 hours or so.

I’m pretty hands on, so I do the obvious stuff; check the water pressure, check the condenser outlet isn’t blocked outside, bleed the radiators to get rid of air then re-pressurise the system. But nope, if anything, the noises be worse and it starts turning itself off even more.

It’s overdue servicing anyway, as I’ve¬†been a bit lax with managing that. So, I ring the servicing company and I’m quoted ¬£95 for the service and an additional¬†¬£85/hr call out for the repairs labour.

I’m good with that, the company are a good & reliable company with well trained staff, not rip off merchants at all.

So, the chap turns up and does his thing. The boiler was in generally good shape, but what was causing the noise and turning off issue was Limescale gunk build up in the Condenser trap (the other end of the pipe I checked outside!) – which had built up cos of my lax servicing.

So, how is this about letting go? As I was brushing my teeth Wednesday morning, waiting for the repair person to show up, my brain leapt to “what if my boiler is totally broken… where will I find ~3K from?”

Which could have causes a spiral panic, and all the yukky fear that goes with that.¬†Instead,¬†¬†I then just saw the thought for¬†what it was, shook my head at the silliness of the thought and let it wash out as a negative voice thought… I let it go.

That thought came from a scarcity mentality, from the past when where I worried about money and lived a small life because of that. Now, because I know the universe has my back and I let abundance in, this story also has a good ending РAs it was a simple fix, the admin lady back in the office only charged me for 1/2 hour labour, so the bill was actually £42.50 less than expected!

So, how do we go about being able to let go? It’s nothing but simple practice really; the brain is a bit like a puppy, it runs around enthusiastically, going everywhere willy nilly in the territory that it knows. What we have to do is obverse our own thoughts, and when they start to stray into negative patterns or repetitive thoughts, we simply have to “pick up the puppy”, acknowledge that it was getting a bit wild running about over there in the past and bring it back to the present.

The more that you do this, the better you will get, as by seeing your own patterns you can then learn that they are just that, repetitive patterns, and that by holding onto them, you are almost certainly not serving your higher good.

Conversely, we don’t want to stop the puppy running about, because we would lose inspirational thoughts, what we want to do is just observe and train our puppy to walk the lighter, more inspirational paths, and generally leave the dead-end negative ones alone; just take a sniff at it, know it’s not worth the effort and then pass it by.

Whilst doing this day to day is good, you might want to kickstart the “puppy-training” learning process with a¬†touch of meditation. Have a go and see what arises for you. This is a short meditation, will take around 15 minutes.

  1. Find a comfortable posture for you.
    Sit, stand, lie, whatever you want and however you can be relaxed. Close your eyes or not as you feel. Become aware of your breathing and take slow full belly breaths. (Often, we breath in small pants, with only with the top of our lungs, meaning we are really not taking in enough oxygen to keep our brain working at optimal speed)

  2. Then, notice, right now, the position of your body has ended up in and how it feels.
    Are you balanced through your spine, or are you canted to one side? Can you feel any physical tensions in your body? Do any parts feel warm? What about cold? If there is tension, or pain, could you give it a description? A shape, a colour or a texture? Be aware of these tensions. Also, what happens to the tensions and pains as you become aware of them? Do they release or stay with you?

  3. Next, become aware of emotions that are touching you at the moment.
    What happens when you observe your emotions? Can you rate how strong the emotion is? At this point, don‚Äôt try to let go, just feel it. Counter-intuitively, putting effort into letting go creates more tension ‚Äď instead, simply become aware of it, acknowledge it and allow the emotion to take its course. If you want to laugh, laugh! If you want to cry, or yell do so. There is no wrong here, it’s all good to simply feel. Us “logic based westerners” generally don’t do enough of it. Take a good belly breath or two. If any of the feelings lingers on, for the now,¬†be okay with that, and accept it as it is. If things¬†do linger, there are other tactics that we can use to process these, but that’s not a topic for right now. Just know that you are going to have more work to do later.

  4. Finally, are you willing to let go of anything that you found out?
    Is there anything that you‚Äôre now holding on to that you can see isn’t serving your higher good? Take a few more belly breaths and just relax. Let whatever it is that you are ready to let go of just drain¬†softly away as you breathe, trusting that you have within you all that needs to be known.

  5. Have a good stretch and come back to the day.
    Reactivate the body with a yawn and a good old glorious stretch, wiggle your fingers and toes, shake out your hands, stand up and gently jump or wriggle.

Are you willing to Let It Go? Once you’ve stopped humming Disney, leave me a comment below about how this experiment works for you, and especially how it feels, even if those feelings are negative. Because, as I said last time, negatives are as valid as positives for self-learning, as all “feels” are generated by the Limbic brain in the now. Once we know where we stand, we can start working on connecting those dots!

Catch you next week!

Image used, Untitled by Stewart Black
Used Under Creative commons licence: Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Can you “sit still” or do you need to “fill up your eyes” ?

Sit Still Or Fill Up Your Eyes

I’ve been doing personal development work the last 10 days or so, working on some of my “money stuff”, generally working on discovering and clearing my money blocks, creating an abundance mindset and specifically around¬†making crucial mindset shifts for making passive income¬†(Disclosure: Affiliate links) because hey, I want to create content and courses that improve the world, be a successful female entrepreneur role model for the next generation and gain clarity in my own world so I can help you to connect your dots and improve your life!

I love Denise Duffield-Thomas, she is just so down to earth, practical and totally speaks to the way I think about life. (NB: This¬†is so important. You must resonate on a positive and human level with¬†the people you work with and listen to in life. A good coach will turn you away if she feels that you will not work well together. Stress and combat over “personality-issues” do not make for successful self-improvement!)

Some of the work I’ve been doing has been all about my “sitting still”; being in the moment, breathing, focusing and listening to various messages. This made me think about how we “fill up our eyes” these days – using our Smartphones (Which are actually the ultimate personal computer) and tablets to “just check in”, “play a game” or various other activities that really just waste time and aren’t really¬†engaging with the world or ourselves.

I remember when I was a kid, technology was really just breaking into the home environment, the mobile was a good 15 years away. So, as well as watching telly, I read books, played out, built things, made cakes, talked to my friends for hours on the phone. I could also¬†“sit still”, because I didn’t feel the need for the “need to be doing” i.e. 100% engagement/stimulation, at all time. I look at my behaviours now, and the behaviours of my friends children, and we are all attached to our technology! We are “filling up our eyes” with minutae, most of which we don’t actually need to know, and some of which (especially for children) isn’t actively developing cognitive connections.

I’ve not denying that our level of tech. can be very useful; it is definitely life improving, and provides valuable learning and problem solving tools, but I’ve actively had to remember how to reach stillness again, remind myself that I can “just sit”, that I have no need to¬†get agitated if my phone is not in my hand if there is nothing else going on, that it doesn’t matter if I’m not checking FaceBook or Twitter (the information I really need will find me) and to sit, breathe and also engage to absorb knowledge when I’ve been actively¬†learning new stuff.

I feel that losing this stillness is a big issue. Having stillness in life allows for “reset” time, for me, this is the time where I engage with my orchids, dye my yarn, or just sit for 15 minutes on a sunny day enjoying the like on my face! I also have concern for the kids who have not actually learned about this stillness in the first place. ¬†Yes, we all know that kids run around and pretty much never sit still, but when they do sit down, I see the automatically reaching for a device as potentially not the best idea for them…

So, can you sit still? Summer’s the perfect time to start to regain this vital skill. This week, I want you all to get out from behind your desk at lunch, go sit in the sun (Or, if you are like me, “sun-adjacent” i.e. in the shade!) and just be in the world for 15 minutes. Enjoy the sun, listen to the world around you, breathe and don’t touch your tech. during that time. Note how it makes you feel. Are you calm and enjoying the time, or agitated that you are taking time out and can’t “fill up your eyes”. Afterwards, are you feeling energised and ready to get back to your day with renewed vigour (hint: this is the desired outcome! ūüėČ ), or did you just feel a bit silly and fidgety, or that it was a waste of time.¬†Leave me a comment below, and we can work on finding the moment and connecting those dots.

Catch you next time!

Credit for Sitting Still half of image used What is this life if, full of care, we have no time to sit and stare…. by Nagesh Jayaraman
Used Under Creative commons licence: Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)

Be Selfish – It’s a vital part of Mindfulness

being-selfish-word-cloud

It’s almost swearing isn’t it, making that “I’m being selfish” statement, and it’s used as an insult, “You’re so selfish!”

However, being selfish is quite probably the number one factor in personal health and well-being.

I’m not talking about the type of being selfish where you detriment others, take the last biscuit or don’t stop to give someone a hand if they need it, I’m talking about the kind of selfish that is centred on self-care.

  • Being selfish enough to stay home when you are sick and not “just struggle on” because it is expected.
  • e.g. Flexible working here is so good – When the brain is active enough, but you feel wiped out and can’t face the commute, a day or two of Working from home may well be the recharge you need!
  • Being selfish enough to look after your own needs so that you then have the energy and capacity to take care of your loved one’s needs.
  • e.g. Booking a babysitter for an hour or to and then taking that time to get out of the house, relax and recharge – Read a book, go to the gym, get a manicure or a haircut.
  • Being selfish enough to take the time out to create art, to look after plants or to make a good nutritional choice.
  • e.g. find that moment of stillness within that allows you to paint, write, draw, cook, dye, knit, do origami. Have the moment to find and follow the inspiration that comes as you cook a good but simple dinner. Enjoy focusing on how your orchids are growing, taking that ten minutes a day to check them over for damage or rot, ¬†and to talk to them about how beautiful they are, how well they are growing and what beauty they add into your life.

Women in particular are really bad at this style of selfishness, I know I’ve done it more times that I care to think of, caring for my loved ones to the point of my own exhaustion. However, taking that time out to self-care, to “be selfish” can carry with it¬†massive amounts of ¬†guilt.

We have to learn to let this guilt go, as¬†being selfish gives us the focus and clarity to be our best, to show up in each moment with calmness, kindness and compassion. It sends a message to your limbic brain that you are ready for “good things” and promotes focus to¬†serve the world with our own superpower (we all have one!).

After all, as the saying goes: “Put on your own oxygen mask before you help others.”¬†If you¬†are constantly leaving your own “oxygen mask” to one side, starving yourself and your soul of love and care, you will simply not have¬†the resources to live life to its full potential.

After all if you don’t look after yourself, you won’t be able¬†to love and serve others in the world. So, how can you be more selfish in your life? Think of three ways that you can be more selfish, leave me a comment below and we can start working toward connecting those dots.

Catch you next week!