Category Archives: Personal peace

I know, I know, but, in case you’ve started your Christmas shopping…

giftideashomepage

I can already hear the outrage. It’s only the start of November! And yet, some people LIKE to sort Christmas and other holiday shopping early. Some people (including me) are already REALLY looking forward to making 2018 the best yet.

If you’re interested, I’ve put together a few potential gift ideas – maybe treats for yourself, maybe a gift for a loved one.

My book, Sleep Yoga classes, 9 Week Chakra Coaching Programme and any integrative therapy session (ie, you can choose which you’d like to include – some coaching alongside yoga? Crystals? NLP? EFT? Meditation? Recently, I’ve been working with yoga and crystals at the same time – really interesting, powerful work) are a few potential gift ideas.

Click HERE for more information and ideas and get in touch if you have any questions.

I work with individuals and groups in Essex (Witham, Colchester and Frinton on Sea) and worldwide via Skype/Vsee and telephone.

I look forward to working with you (and your loved ones!) the rest of this year, in 2018 and beyond.

love,

Eve

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Billericay Library book signing on Saturday, 25th November

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Am really pleased to be doing a book signing in the town I did a lot of growing up in. If you’re local enough to Billericay, Essex and would like to join us, please come along.

And if you have any friends, relatives, colleagues etc there who might be interested, I’d really appreciate your letting them know about this.

Hope to see you there!

And you can find out more about this and other upcoming events HERE.

love,

Eve

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What comes after #metoo?

metoo

Alyssa Milano’s suggestion that all women who wanted to show how widespread sexual harassment, sexual assault and abuse are use the #metoo hashtag has gone viral with variations being taken up in other languages.

Some find it empowering, some infuriating. Some simply have used the hashtag (personally, I didn’t go over my stories – I didn’t take all of them to therapy but I did enough work on it to know that, for me, it wouldn’t have been helpful to dredge things up to an even greater extent again this week) while others have pulled no punches in detailing the examples.

Some have seen their perpetrators charged, tried and jailed.

Some have never told a soul until now.

And some men (notably, the wonderful Terry Crews from Brooklyn Nine-Nine) have spoken up about times it’s happened to them. And the fact that it happened to HIM, in front of his WIFE, shows that even with people who stop thinking of women as sex objects and instead like The Rock (click HERE for the brilliant, Rock endorsed advice), size, strength and power doesn’t ensure safety.

When the sky turned an eerie yellow and the sun red on Monday afternoon, I imagined, for a few seconds, that it was the result of so many women’s rage. That our combined anger and rising to say ENOUGH had literally shaken up the world, changing the colour of the sky.

Reading story after story emerge, my emotions rollercoaster in a way they’ve been rollercoastering since 45* announced his candidacy for the Presidency. Sometimes, I feel jaded like nothing can surprise me. Other times, the outrage rises again. Sometimes, this feels empowering. Other times, I feel exhausted by it all.

On the Tube today, seeing  a strange (to me) man glancing at the new report I was reading in the paper, I wanted to ASK him, What do YOU think about all of this? What will YOU do differently, as a man, to help ensure more women and girls are safe if you witness dodgyness? Obviously, I didn’t. I realised also that while I was raging (again) reading it, my face was in normal Tube Face mode and no one would have known about the turbulence I was feeling.

I don’t imagine I’m the only one. So I thought I’d share some thoughts in hopes some of them may help you:

  1. If you’re a man, please pause and bracket your feelings about how the revelations make you feel and ask the women in your life what, if anything, THEY want you to do to support them. The whole ‘What women want’ thing is as ludicrous as trying to define ‘What men want’ as if we were one homogenous group of people who all think and feel the same. Just like you, we’re whole people. My favourite definition of feminism, from Gloria Steinem, is simply this, thinking of women as whole people TOO
  2. If you chose not to #metoo, honour your decision to do what’s right for you. ALWAYS do what feels best for you
  3. If you shared your stories, BE SUPER GENTLE WITH YOURSELF. It’s a brave thing to do. Brene Brown’s work around shame and vulnerability teaches us that when we share our vulnerabilities with people who can hold and support us, we can avoid shame spiralling. The internet is a phenomenal tool for putting us in touch with support we could never have known about before. It can also be used to hurt people. Block people as necessary. Turn off comments if need be. Honour what is right for you
  4. Let your loved ones know what support you need. This isn’t the end of it. More and more high profile cases are coming to light and hard as it can feel to stomach the brutality and injustice, there’s a power in truth coming to light. Again, quoting the glorious Gloria Steinem, ‘The truth will set you free. But first, it will piss you off’
  5. Keep reminding yourself that you are safe now. You survived. You are so much more that what has been done to you.
  6. Notice what you feel in your body. Pay attention to how you want to move your body, maybe miming fighting back or lashing out many years or even decades later (it may sound silly but so much trauma gets trapped in our bodies, it’s amazing the difference listening, tracking and moving can make – read Peter Levine’s Waking the Tiger and Babette Rothchild for more if you’re interested). You may want to mime punching or kicking or screaming or any of the things you were unable to do as you did whatever you needed to do in the actual moment/s
  7. You may simply want to stamp your feet and scream and shout – let it out of your body. If this feels like too much, a walk or, better yet, a good run or energetic swim or push ups or any thing physical which honours the body’s natural fight/flight instinct.
  8. You may want to take up kick boxing or something similar. Lifting weights, becoming more powerful physically can be healing. Maybe dancing it out is more your style. Go to a class or even draw the curtains and go wild in your living room
  9. Drag out your mini trampoline if you have one and JUMP it out. Stamping feet can feel scary or too silly for some but with a rebounder, you can get similar effects
  10. Write a letter to the perpetrators you couldn’t protect yourself from. This is not to send but to get it all out. Burn it and maybe decide if there IS anything you want to say or do in reality (pressing charges etc). Again, whatever you decide, YOU KNOW WHAT IS RIGHT FOR YOU.
  11. Journal the full spectrum of emotion as and when it feels helpful (if that feels too permanent, use looseleaf paper and burn it safely afterwards or even loo roll and flush it)
  12. Think about a time or imagine a time you felt happy, contented and at ease. Really comfortable in your own skin. It might be a moment from a holiday, from years ago or it might be something completely imaginary – when I was first asked to do this many years ago, I cried because I couldn’t imagine feeling so happily embodied and at ease in my own skin. I started out by imagining myself floating in the sea, far away from people. While I still adore the sea (in real life, too), I’ve built up a comprehensive mental library of happy places to imagine – time giving your brain a break from the horrors of the news / intrusive thoughts not only feels nice but has an impact on our physiology, reducing stress and boosting performance
  13. Woman or man, get whatever support you need and deserve – no one is broken beyond repair. Find a good therapist and/or support group. We can use the rage to heal and make the world a safer place for everyone.

What helps you? Feel free to comment below.

love,

Eve

* Self-confessed sexual predator and white supremacist President of the US – since Lawrence Fishburne calmly called him 45 on The Daily Show many months ago, I’ve found that this simple number helps take some of the heat out of the pain and disbelief I’ve felt since enough people disregarded his recorded boasts of sexual assault and voted for him anyway

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How pain can* become a real gain

 PhysicalPain

I loved seeing Lisa Sanfilippo’s segment on Save Money, Good Health recently. She shared some of her yoga for sleep tools (I did some sleep yoga cpd with her years ago and love this gentle way of working with the mind-body connection to aid sleep without any side effects).

What astonished me was the presenter’s conclusion that asking people with insomnia to do 5 or 10 minutes’ yoga before bed was ‘a big ask’. When my insomnia was terrible (from primary school until my mid twenties), I’d have LOVED to know about yoga but it wasn’t part of my world. Instead, I felt doomed and permanently exhausted and on edge.

At the turn of the millennium, when I was in pain every day, not just a few days a month, I think I’d have wanted to punch (and me practically a pacifist!) anyone who suggested that one day I’d be grateful for the pain.

But the other day, I realised that the pain was a catalyst to my completely overhauling my life. Without it, I wouldn’t have celebrated my 13th Business Birthday this month.

Thanks to the pain, I have created a business that is sustainable throughout my energy cycles. After minor surgery, I was told I’d have to keep having surgery every couple of years until menopause (I was in my 20s) and there was no cure. Volunteering on the (then called) National Endometriosis Society helpline meant I routinely heard far worse stories than my own and I became determined to find ways to deal with it myself.

Feeling let down by the medical profession led me to yoga and quitting caffeine (apart from in chocolate) and alcohol. Cat Cow pose was better than hospital prescribed painkillers. I think modern medicine is wonderful and always recommend people see their GPs but am maybe more aware than many, because I was in so much daily pain and desperate, that there’s an awful lot we can do ourselves.

Thankfully, due to all the major and minor lifestyle changes I’ve made, I generally only have a couple of painful days each month and even they are much better than they were. I’m taking fewer painkillers than ever before and some months, don’t need any at all.

How motivated are you?

Everyone who knew me back then didn’t believe I could quit alcohol (I had drunk too much from my early teens) but, with immediate pain from my abdomen encouraging (yelling at me), I managed to find other ways to deal with my emotions. It was hard – I remember imagining myself taking myself for a walk into the depths of the woods in the snow with a giant bottle of whisky in an effort to stop feeling things. Quitting alcohol was probably the most dramatic change I made. And I needed that pain or I wouldn’t have done it.

Are your symptoms easy enough to continue living with or are you ready to try something different?

Back then, my work’s EAP meant I got some counselling to support me pre-surgery (and pre-diagnosis). I still remember the counsellor asking me what my ovaries (where I felt so much of the pain) might be trying to TELL me. I thought she had lost the plot completely but quickly realised that it was worse when I was bottling up my emotions and not saying what needed to be said. My body, in being so painful, coached me to learn to be a little (progress not perfection) more assertive and expressive.

If there’s a part of your body currently screaming for your attention in the only way it has available for communication (ie PAIN), what might it feel like to tune in? Just for a moment? What have you got to lose? No side effects (other than potential embarrassment but this is just in your imagination – no one else need ever know).

What might your symptoms be trying to tell you?

Louise Hay, who died recently, has left an amazing legacy helping the mind-body connection become more mainstream.

Her books can be a lovely starting point, a bit like a dream dictionary might give you ideas about yours but ultimately, you know yourself and your body best. Even when you’ve been ignoring it.

What clues is it giving you now?

 Feel free to comment below.

love,

Eve

*please note that while this was the case for me, am not by ANY stretch suggesting that everyone reframe their pain

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Happy International Day of Peace!  

 

InternationalDayofPeace

When I became a freelance journalist in 2004, I’d met many incredible peace activists and thought I’d be sharing their stories with a wider audience.

Am blushing writing this because I realise that 20-something me was imagining myself as a Christiane Amanpour type without the experience.

Still, this was the impetus behind my going freelance in 2004.

Unsurprisingly, I only got a couple of ‘peace’ pieces commissioned but, as a coach and complementary therapist (later adding other therapies), I was being commissioned to write about what I began to see as personal peace and self-care. It was better known as wellbeing.

Over the years, I’ve learned that I’m far better able to focus on the larger world when I’m OK. Otherwise, I don’t have the energy to take any kind of action in the direction of contributing to a more peaceful planet.

Even on a micro level, if I’m not well myself, I’m far crankier than usual. For example, if I then hold a door open for someone and they don’t say thank you, I’m likely to feel irritated. This then has the potential to ripple out and connect with others’ irritation and anger.

With all that’s going on in the world, it might seem futile to attempt to, as Gandhi said, ‘Be the change you want to see in the world’ and yet, as individuals, we have more impact than we sometimes realise.

Irritation and anger (rage even) have their benefits but when we’re taking good care of ourselves, we can use our emotional storms to make us stronger.

What are your warning signs that you’re contributing to angst rather than peace in the world?

What helps you take better care of yourself and those you care about?

What are your dreams for peace at a global level? If you have children and/or grandchildren, what kind of world do you want to be leaving for them?

How can you infuse more peaceful energy into your day today?

Feel free to comment below.

love,

Eve

 

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Last weekend’s library workshop in Witham

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Thanks again to everyone who came to my first library event for 365 Ways to Feel Better: Self-care Ideas for Embodied Wellbeing and to Witham Library for hosting.

I wanted to share a taste of the tools from the book without (I know, a lot of my weirdness is there in the book) being too weird. So we started with a simple goal setting exercise moving on to some exercises that worked with the mind-body connection to boost confidence in the moment and while thinking about goals.

We also did some meditation and grounded the workshop with some crystal work. It was delightful to meet everyone.

If you’re Essex based (or near enough) and would like to find out more, I’m doing a couple of library workshops at Frinton on 16th October and a yoga and meditation workshop in Colchester on 30th September – click HERE for more information.

love,

Eve

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Happy Positive Thinking Day! (Bleugh)

 reframe

 Urgh. It’s a bit forced, isn’t it? The idea that no matter what’s going on personally and/or globally, we ‘should’ be seeing the positive.

Sometimes, it’s really important to honour however we’re feeling even if that’s saying ‘Bleugh’ to the idea of seeing the positive.

Still, in honour of the day, if you’d like to reframe something you’ve been seeing in a limited way, it’s an ideal time to play with it.

How might you feel if you think about the potential benefits behind whatever issue you’re finding challenging right now?

Maybe it’s making you stronger?

Forcing you to learn to ask for support even when that’s the last thing you want to do?

Recognising that you’re not a machine and need to say ‘no’ to some of others’ demands on your time and energy?

Even if you have to dig deep, notice the possibilities that arise as you imagine how Future You will have grown so much stronger as a result.

What problems have turned into benefits (long term) in the past?

How did you do this?

This isn’t about rushing ourselves through the bad to feel the good, just holding the possibility that something positive is trying to emerge and being open to that.

Feel free to comment below.

 love,

Eve

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What helps you notice the beauty in life’s dramas?

 innerturmoil

I left for today’s sea swim in the rain. The forecast for the coast was (a little) different but I genuinely like swimming in the rain. We’ve been spoiled by so much glorious weather this summer.

The sea was so choppy that it actually knocked my goggles away so they filled with water. Not my most restful swim. It felt like a proper workout even though I only stayed in for 20 minutes. The water was much cooler than last week but still divine.

On the way home, my soul felt happy to have had its sea swim fix (am still hoping for a couple more this year). Sitting on the train home, watching the dramatic rolling clouds over expansive fields and basking in the beauty of it all, it occurred to me that I’m much better at appreciating nature’s moods and rhythms than I (still – after all these years of doing this work) my own.

I see a thundery sky and think it’s stunning. But in my actual life, I can still get caught up in judging myself for feeling whatever turmoil I may be feeling.

I am far quicker at doing what I encourage clients to do and notice that judgment and instead ask myself what I need in that moment but still, it’s far from instant.

Which problems feel like storm clouds brewing over your life right now?

How might you see the beauty in them even as you batten down the metaphorical hatches and take whatever practical precautions you need to take?

What might help you express your needs and wants to the people around you? How can you access all the support available to you?

Feel free to comment below.

love,

Eve

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Do you have TOO much empathy and compassion for others?

boundaries

 When someone hurts you, do you immediately imagine where they’re coming from and see their point of view in an effort to forgive and forget?

I was raised Catholic and when I was about 5, I had the very odd ambition of wanting to be a saint. Ideally a martyr (I blame having read waaaayyyyy too many Lives of the Saints books).

As I got older, I stopped going to Mass but hugely admired fictional characters like Atticus Finch (in Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird, NOT Go Set a Watchman) who turned the other cheek.

While still very pro peace, a key aspect of my work (and I was my first client) is encouraging clients and students to look after themselves first.

When people have experienced interpersonal trauma, been in any kind of minority group or have been bullied, it’s easy to automatically connect with the needs of more powerful people than your own.

But by recognising you deserve so much better, you can set healthy boundaries and maintain them even when people are taking the p.

It’s another practice (progress not perfection) but so worth doing.

Next time you notice yourself being compassionate and empathic towards someone you’re struggling with, ask yourself if you’re also being compassionate and empathic with yourself.

The more we can be whole ourselves, the more we CAN extend that compassion and empathy towards others but now it won’t be in a way that gives mixed messages or leaves us vulnerable to abuse.

Being boundaried is a practice – I have been working on it for decades and still get sudden crash courses which remind me I’m still vulnerable to getting hooked into old habits – but it’s so worth getting better at.

And now, when I get triggered, I’m a bit better at saying, ‘Thank you, Universe, for this new opportunity to practice setting and maintaining healthy boundaries’. Not immediately. I still often shame spiral wondering what I’ve done to attract the situation but not to the same degree.

Have you ever sided with a bully, abuser or oppressor over yourself?

What helps you turn your compassion and empathy spotlight back onto yourself?

 Feel free to comment below.

love,

Eve

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Advanced practice alert

DarylDavis 

Last week, I shared a Facebook post about a man who has been engaging with those who want to kill and oppress him in an effort to befriend them and let them get to know him as a person.

Daryl Davis has kept their KKK robes. Even typing the words makes me feel nauseous. Since the Charlottesville horror where a neo Nazi killed Heather Heyer and many other anti-racism protesters were hurt, the regular sight of them on the news, emboldened by their president, in 2017, has made me feel like I would physically be sick.

Yet Daryl Davis has found it in himself to do what Barack Obama encouraged us all to do before he left the White House and not only engage with the ‘other’ but befriend them.

Daryl Davis has been doing this for decades. You can read more HERE.

As the piece says, ‘He gets to know them because, in his words, “How can you hate me when you don’t even know me? Look at me and tell me to my face why you should lynch me.”’

While it hurts my soul to give any headspace to people filled with such hate, I think it’s phenomenal that Daryl Davis has found the strength to meet hate with love.

While I’ve always been what many of my nearest and dearest call ‘hard work’ (challenging casual racism, sexism etc), it feels more important now than ever to engage with the people we know personally who have been taught to hate and, with as much love and compassion as we can muster, attempting to hear the ‘other’ and be open to whatever is trying to emerge.

As Nelson Mandela wrote in Long Walk to Freedom, ‘No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin or his background or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.’

Resistance is hugely important. People acting out or threatening must be stopped. But pretending they don’t exist isn’t working.

So when we hear those milder versions by people we know or work with, we can curiously and compassionately encourage them to think about what they’re saying and explore. Not condone (at ALL) but pay attention.

This still feels beyond me, even as I type. And yet we all share the one planet.

What helps you listen to people you feel very opposed to?

Do you find that repeating your opinions louder and louder works or does opening up and hearing what someone else is trying to say create more room for progress?

Daryl Davis is an extreme example (I simply cannot imagine the courage and openness it must take. Even the keeping of the robes, I’d want to burn them and all they stand for) but we all have much smaller ways accessible to us to listen and hopefully, by doing so, help release some of that hate.

How do you feel at the prospect?

What has helped you if you’ve done something similar in the past?

Feel free to comment below.

love,

Eve

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