Category Archives: purpose and meaning

Have you given up on your new year’s resolutions?

Have you given up on your new years resolutions

 

Tomorrow (there truly is a day for everything) is Ditch New Year’s Resolutions Day.

How does reading that make you feel? Are there some resolutions you’ve not stuck to but that you’re not ready to ditch? Maybe others are old standby resolutions you, deep down, have no intention of ever sticking to but feel you ‘should’ make each year?

Notice how your energy rises or falls as you ponder each resolution and decide which ones to maybe tweak (or gleefully ditch!). Honour where you are sticking to them, too.

If you’re feeling especially brave, you might want to involve others. Often, they can see, with blinding clarity, what we keep missing about ourselves.

What do they see us doing to sabotage our attempts to change that we’ve not even noticed?

Opening ourselves up to feedback can feel vulnerable (do choose who to open up to carefully) yet others’ insights could potentially save us remaking – and failing at – the same new year’s resolutions for years to come.

How do you feel about asking loved ones to weigh in on your resolutions?

What’s the most helpful feedback you’ve received from someone else?

What might support you handle tougher feedback? How might you ask for it to be delivered in a gentle and respectful way?

Feel free to comment below.

love,

Eve

 

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Are you letting strangers tell you you *should* be feeling blue?

 BlueMonday
Apparently, Monday’s ‘blue Monday’. Maybe, if you’re already feeling blue, knowing you’re not alone helps? Perhaps you’re bewildered as you’re having a brilliant 2017?
Today, Monday and everyday, let yourself feel however you actually feel. Amazing or really low, it’ll pass.
If you’re feeling a bit fragile, be extra kind to yourself. This means different things for all of us – ask yourself what might help you most right now.
If you want to lift your mood, notice how you want to move. If you enjoy yoga, gentle backbends can help us feel happier. You might want to play with these: Click here for Restorative Fish,  here for Bow and here for Camel.
Ultimately, every day of the year (of your life) you know yourself best. Tune into what you need instead of being swayed by others’ perceptions – especially when they’re worse than how you might actually be feeling.
Do you buy into Blue Monday?
When do you notice low mood?
What helps YOU?
How might you do more of those things?
Feel free to post below.
love,
Eve
(PS – I’ve tried editing this several times but can’t correct the formatting)
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What’s your vision for a better 2017?

VisionBoardblog

 

Happy New Year!

I’ve written so much about vision boards over the years, I’ve decided to keep this Really Simple (but, as with everything, YOU know yourself best so adapt accordingly):

  1. Spend some time gathering images and words that you feel drawn to. No need to judge or censor at this point, simply gather them together
  2. Ponder some of your goals and hopes for the year ahead. You may want to think about different areas of your life such as work, relationships, health, fitness, home, money, the world at large, your communities, travel, long held (or new) dreams, what your spirit needs – whatever crops up for you
  3. Stick the images and words down in a way that pleases you. I use a big canvas and glue. You might prefer cardboard and tape.
  4. Play with your design. The most important part of this whole endeavor is that it inspires YOU
  5. As you can see from my censored version of my latest above, apart from apparently wanting to become an elephant, I’ve written down each as if it were already the case. I like the affirmation starter ‘I am so happy and grateful that…’ so pop that on a bigger note near the top
  6. I scatter the other goals around the board, sometimes near images or words I’ve cut out that feel relevant
  7. On another larger note near the bottom, ‘Thanks for all this or something better’
  8. Play with it until you’re happy with it. Know nothing’s set in stone and it will evolve as you do
  9. Steve Harvey says he’s had words from his embroidered on clothes he sees each day. The more we can remind ourselves of our aims, the more likely we are to take practical steps towards them. I have a picture of mine on my laptop as well as the original hanging on the wall in World HQ (my teeny home office)

Have you created a vision board before?

What did you learn from it?

Have you done one for this year?

Feel free to share pics of yours in the comments below.

Wishing you a wondrous 2017 filled with all good things!

love,

Eve

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Feeling our feelings

Clare Goodwin's Egg Diagram
Clare Goodwin’s Egg Diagram

A big benefit of counselling is increasing our emotional landscape. In psychosynthesis, Assagioli’s ‘egg diagram’ is a handy visual for showing our capacity for sorrow and joy as well as different levels of consciousness and our connection with Self.

I often well up (or sob) at something that hits me either because it’s so beautiful or sad.

Happy tear catalysts include a video of people dancing in celebration after succeeding in protecting the earth, drinking water and sacred ground from the Dakota Access Pipeline, a stunning piece of art, a moonscape and many, many other things (especially involving acts of kindness and compassion).

Similarly, I regularly cry at the news or horrors which I won’t repeat.

Often, the kinds of emotions that were ‘allowed’ when we were growing up are used to suppress feelings that were deemed intolerable. For many of us, feelings like sadness, fear and anger were discouraged. For some of us, even ‘positive’ feelings like joy (for example, if a parent was depressed and needed quiet) might have been discouraged.

Often, in an effort to numb ourselves from pain, shame, fear and trauma, we similarly cut of our capacity for joy. By healing what’s repressed – both ‘positive’ and ‘negative’, we can live life more fully.

I regularly recommend Elaine Aron’s work around the Highly Sensitive Person to clients as, so often, sensitivity is seen as a bad thing. Obviously, we don’t want to be so raw that we’re incapacitated (although, looking back, I see that when this was the case for me, it turned out to be a good thing as it made me make some big changes in my life) but sensitivity and empathy are strengths.

This time of year can make us feel more raw in lots of ways – bursting with love for people and also cranky and irritable.

When we accept all of our emotions as fleeting and equally valid, it can be easier to handle no matter the intensity.

When you think of the weeks ahead, does anything spring to mind as a time when you may feel emotionally overwhelmed?

What might you do in such moments to support yourself through it?

How might you better honour (or hone) your sensitivity to a range of feelings and emotions rather than numbing yourself?

Feel free to comment below.

love,

Eve x

 

 

 

 

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Feeling stuck? Can you go outside?

CeciliaAhernGardening

Getting outside is almost always a great idea when we’re feeling stuck. The simple act of moving means we’re instantly starting to change the way we feel.

And nature is inspiring.

In Cecilia Ahern’s The Year I Met You (Harper Collins, 2014), the protagonist, Jasmine, is put on gardening leave for a year. She starts gardening. And healing.

If we have gardens, brilliant. But even indoor plants offer hope.

Visit a local park or woodland, the seaside or whatever you have access to and which most soothes your soul.

A short walk even from a city center will usually take us towards some kind of natural wonder (even the resilience shown by weeds fighting their way through a crack in the pavement).

What are your favourite natural spots to get you out from your stuckness and into the wondrousness of nature and life?

What can you access within half an hour, walking?

What can you get to easily enough by public transport or car?

What might you plan a special holiday around?

Feel free to share below.

love,

Eve

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My Weekly Summer Health special – mental health feature (published 4/8/16)

MWmentalhealthspecial

If you struggle with anxiety, post traumatic stress, depression, OCD or any other mental health issues, what helps you be extra kind to yourself?

You can read the full piece by clicking the links below. I used to be able to easily create one pdf from several pages but this skill has (temporarily, hopefully) eluded me today.

MWMentalHealthBeyourowngoodfriend

MWMentalHealthBeyourowngoodfriend2

MWMentalHealthBeyourowngoodfriend3

MWMentalHealthBeyourowngoodfriend4

Hope you find it helpful.

Feel free to comment below.

love,

Eve x

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What glass ceiling are you ready to crack?

I love this video so much. So hopeful.

While Hillary is of course flawed (like all of us, she’s a human being), she’ll make a brilliant US President.

But whatever your politics, man, woman or however you identify, while maybe not making history, what springs to mind as a glass ceiling you want to crack then break through?

How can you make it safer for yourself to do so? What supports can you put in place to minimise cuts from the broken glass (not all of us have Hillary’s resilience!)?

How can you (like Hillary’s address to the little girls watching, encouraging them to believe in themselves) light the way or offer a helping hand to those coming up after you?

Also, how can you support yourself when it feels like you’ll never make it? When it’s just all too much, too hard?

The Olympics start again soon and we’ll be swept up in athlete’s triumph, never fully understanding all the sacrifices they’ve made to become the best in their fields.

Hillary Clinton has been at this for a long time.  We have more of an idea of some of the challenges she’s faced.

What challenges did you think you’d never recover from?

With hindsight being 20/20, can you see some that actually did make you stronger?

Feel free to comment below.

love,

Eve

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What to dooooooo? Working with our shadows

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What can we do to avoid historian’s predictions of Holocaust-like-history repeating itself? As individuals? How can we tap into the loving, expansive, inclusive, generous parts of ourselves and humanity instead of giving into fear and loathing?

Yes, there are petitions and demonstrations.

But what about the rest of our lives? The gazillions of thoughts and beliefs we rarely even notice but which contribute to our experience and the way we relate to others?

Apart from sending Metta to places we feel helpless around, we can take a look at our own shadow stuff.

I read an interesting piece by Deepak Chopra today on Donald Trump being a manifestation of America’s shadow.

We all have our shadow aspects and they’re not easy to recognise when we’re caught up in them.

Just as we all have the potential to do amazing things with our one, precious life, we could find ourselves in unimaginable circumstances and be capable of the worst, least imaginable acts.

When we notice them, we can integrate them by owning what we’ve been repressing in ourselves and projecting onto the other.

Something we can all do is pause before posting or speaking or lashing out in any way.

Notice where our shadow might be in that moment.

Who are we most angry with right now?

What does he or she represent to us?

What hidden aspects of ourselves resonates with what they’re doing?

How does it feel to own that feeling? To acknowledge that at some point, we’ve all felt homicidal?

Again, I’m not at all advocating acting on such feelings. Oddly, making this more conscious means we’re less likely to act out aggressively. 

It can be scary.

I’m a pacifist by nature. I wish we could all just get along. We’re all the same. Where we were born had nothing to do with us. Hippie, peace, love, blah…

Years ago, I learned that trying to send peace and love to people who were annoying me was, frankly, beyond me. I think Metta’s wonderful but even that varies day to day. This was years ago and I eventually realised that owning the fury, the rage, the anger and the despair was freeing.

Obviously, I’m not talking about acting on any of this. But recognising however we’re feeling and letting that be OK actually enables the feelings to move through us more quickly than when we try to deny them.

So writing this, thinking about certain politicians and their seemingly bullyish ways, I can either judge them and pretend it’s all about them or be open to acknowledging that bully part of myself.

The part that I don’t want to acknowledge I have yet that I realise of course I do, otherwise it wouldn’t upset me so much to see it in others.

Once I’ve done this, I can better see how I am connected to, for example, a politician. Or someone who votes differently to me. Or a terrorist. Or a serial killer. Or someone who puts his or her feet on the seats on public transport. Or child or animal abuser. Or any number of people I don’t want to think I have anything in common with.

As with everything, it’s a practice. But the more I do this, the less likely I am to add fuel to the emotional fires of the world right now with mean, small minded, unpleasant posts (I’m deleting A Lot).

Embracing our shadows not only helps us integrate and be more whole ourselves but we’re better able to reach out to others with compassion and kindness.

And this depends on us embracing our shadows (rather than beating ourselves up for not being saints, having said shadows).

Who are you most angry with right now? Who do you hate?

How does it feel to own that hatred and fury in yourself? (If a lot is coming up, you might want to work with a therapist – use all available support.)

Personally speaking, just through drafting this post, I’m feeling something closer to empathy for certain politicians than I’ve previously been able to feel.

How about you?

Feel free to comment below.

love,

Eve x

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Embrace your inner superhero

WonderWoman

I regularly teach clients, yoga students and workshop participants about Amy Cuddy’s fantabulous research into how changing our posture can change our lives.

You can see her Ted Talk here.

And her delightful book, Presence gives many more examples.

In a nutshell, when we expand our posture and hold it for 2 minutes or longer, we increase our testosterone (confidence! competence! courage!) while reducing our cortisol levels (so we feel less stressed and more empowered.

We might make like Wonder Woman or Superman, creating a star fish shape, making the kind of victory sign with our bodies athletes make when they win (arms outstretched, chest out) or taking a yoga pose like Warrior II (click here for more information). Anything expansive.

Essentially, by taking such a pose, we’re sending signals of confidence to our own brains (which get us out of that hunched posture that indicates we’re under threat and then relays the information that it’s safe to relax and be present to the rest of our body) as well as letting others know that we’re confident and capable.

We’re not going to be risk taking but we can bring our, as Amy Cuddy says, ‘boldest selves to our greatest challenges’.

I’ve heard of people power posing in car parks next to their cars before going in to make a presentation.

Shonda Rhimes is such a fan, she wrote it into an episode of Grey’s Anatomy where Amelia was about to perform an especially arduous 25 hour brain op on a colleague.

Sometimes, just taking a power pose can make us grin and remember we’ve got this (be it a first date, job interview, exam or even getting dressed on a particularly challenging day).

It’s not about dominating anyone, just getting our own bodies into a state in which we remember our own resourcefulness.

Other times, unfolding ourselves to take up more space in our lives might feel quite challenging. We can build up.

Try it. Choose one at a time and time yourself for 2 minutes or longer. See how it makes you feel.

Which is your favourite?

What did you notice about how you felt afterwards?

Feel free to comment below.

love,

Eve

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