I adore this space. Right in the heart of Colchester town yet peaceful and quiet. When I got in touch with the owner about the possibility of having a Colchester book signing / workshop event, I liked the space so much I decided to expand my practice from Witham (where my Feel Better Every Day Consultancy is based) to offer a few slots each week in Colchester.
On Saturday, I facilitated a yoga and meditation workshop in the loveliest space I’ve ever taught in.
We had a little visitor before the yoga nidra segment.
Enormous thanks, Jo, for welcoming me to your spectacular space.
I’ve received the rest of the photos from last week so, thanks again to all who came and all who wanted to and all who’ve been so supportive. And special thanks to Kathie Bishop for organising it and Mae and Imi for selling lots of books! And… so many people. So happy and grateful
Mae and Imi doing a magnificent job selling the book to people who wanted to buy it
And for local (to Witham, Essex) people, am doing a book signing at Cabello Hair and Beauty of Friday from 6-7pm so maybe I’ll see some of you there.
What feels like hundreds of years ago, Witham MP, Priti Patel came to my pre-feelbettereveryday.co.uk business launch when I took on my first lease for a teeny coaching and complementary therapy space.
In the several years before then, I’d been renting space by a few hours at a time when seeing coaching clients across Essex and London. Looking back, it was incredibly inefficient in terms of travel time (although I’d work on trains) and I’m really glad I took that step.
I’d hoped to dig out the old blog post but can’t find it.
Since then, I’ve met Priti at several local Chamber of Commerce events. I’ve rebranded and moved twice (all within the same full postcode), added services and gained loads more experience.
I’d nearly finished my counselling training back then. I’ve since become accredited and also added yoga therapy, classes, integrative coach-therapy, clinical supervision and become Chair Elect for BACP’s Coaching division.
While I’m a member of the Green Party who really appreciates Priti’s support for local businesses (mine wasn’t the only local business she took the time to visit this morning), we’ve never talked politics.
One of my work neighbours was in when I arrived. I’d asked her earlier if she wanted me to introduce her to our MP and she was like, ‘No, but thank you.’
When Priti and Chamber Chair, Tina Townsend arrived, though, I heard a, ‘Priti Patel???? I’m such a huge fan! Hope you become Prime Minister!’ She was beyond thrilled to get a picture with her.
And my giant Ganesh (overcomer of obstacles and god of ‘yes’) was happy (I imagine) to be admired, too.
Are you making the most of local and online communities that could support you, personally, professionally or even helping you feel less alone regarding special interests?
At this time of year, I look at what I want to leave in the ‘old’ year in hopes that freeing myself of unhelpful thoughts, beliefs, energies, behaviours and so on will make the new year even better.
Creating more space to bring all good things in.
And then I think about my sankalpa. Julie Lusk, in Yoga Nidra for Complete Relaxation and Stress Relief defines a sankalpa (often translated as ‘resolve’ or ‘intention’) as ‘a vow and commitment we make to support our highest truth.’
Actually, just typing that makes me feel a little overwhelmed. But sankalpas vary from traditional resolutions in that we, in yoga, ponder them during yoga nidra (yogic sleep). In a nutshell, this makes it less hard work.
Imagine you want to make 2016 the year in which you bring more calm or peace or joy or love (or whatever YOU choose) into your life?
By setting a sankalpa, such as, ‘I welcome calm’ and revisiting it during your yoga nidra practices, anything that doesn’t support your aim can fall away.
Lusk writes, ‘Our day to day frame of consciousness (beta brain waves) makes it extremely difficult to make and maintain these good intentions because they crash into our long term conditioning, habits, and social pressures. Through no fault of your own, your mind is simply not very receptive to making these changes. During yoga nidra, we knowingly, consciously, and consecutively experience a range of different types of brain wave levels: alpha, theta and delta frequencies. The level reached at the end of practice is very receptive to change. When we implant a sankalpa in the subconscious mind, useless thoughts and behaviours can be weeded out, and the conditions are created for significant and transformative change to take root and grow.’
I’ve just added some Yoga Nidra – Ease Into Your Weekend classes to my schedule (Fridays from 6-7pm) so, if this deep relaxation (after some gentle, restorative physical practice) appeals, click here for more information.
And, of course, while many people love yoga nidra, it’s not everybody’s cup of tea. You can still set an intention for your year ahead (or the day or whatever period of time you choose) and reinforce it with what Assagioli, creator of psychosynthesis (click here for more information) called ‘evocative words’.
If yours was calm (or peace or wisdom or whatever), you might want to simply write it on little cards (or paint it or add it to your vision board – play with what feels best for you) and have it somewhere visible where it will remind you, on a regular basis, of the quality (or if you’re like me, qualities) you’re inviting into your life.
Early this year, I started experimenting with making these evocative words even more present by turning them into affirmations and making them my passwords for my computer and various other devices.
You can play with visual anchors, too and choose images, photos and artwork that somehow represent the qualities you want more of. Placing them in prominent positions (such as near where you brush your teeth) can, again, help keep your intention more conscious.
And maybe, life is pretty fab and perfect exactly as it is and you have no intention of changing ANYTHING! In which case, continue enjoying it.
If you do want to upgrade in some way/s, how do you imagine 2016 being better?
What have you done to support positive changes in previous years?
Have you tried any of the ideas above? What are your favourites?
Feel free to comment below!
Happy New Year and wishing you all good things for 2016 and beyond!
The President of the National League for Democracy, Aung San Suu Kyi was in the news this week for literally cleaning up her Kawhmu constituency (Metro, 14/12/15). As the now 70 year old Nobel Peace Prize laureate from Myanmar, who survived nearly 15 years of house arrest, picked up litter (after promising to clean up her country), she was joined by villagers also doing their part to improve their local environment.
It’s easy to see heartbreaking decisions (like the UK planning to start fracking under national parks (click here for more information) as overwhelming and potentially catastrophic.
One of the most disturbing scenes from Mad Men for me was an early ep, where Betty and Don were still together. After a picnic in an idyllic looking spot, they announced it was time to go, dumped all their trash out the car and drove off, leaving the unspoiled environment they’d just enjoyed spoiled.
When I first moved to Witham, I started picking up litter around where I live and along the River Walk.
I don’t do it every day by any stretch (or even every week) but notice that some days, it feels like a really good thing to do. Other days, I wasn’t doing it from a full-hearted place and I was instead filled with resentment for all the ingrates ruining their local environment, potentially harming the ducks, rabbits and so on.
Now I only do it when it feels like an open-hearted (rather than furiously judgypants) thing to do. I’ve not yet been able to join them (work conflicts) but am often heartened to hear that Friends of the River Walk have group litter picks planned.
If your heart lifts to see the beautiful, natural world around you, you might find taking practical steps such as removing some of the debris blocking it might feel good for you.
Maybe you’re unmoved by litter but other issues fire you up.
Whatever you’re motivated by, why not look into local organisations (food banks, Calaid, Shelter, whatever you’re especially grateful that exists) that you might want to get involved with?
Stephen Covey’s Circle of Concern and Circle of Influence is a self-help tool that’s stayed with me many years after reading his best-seller, 7 Secrets of Highly Successful People. In a nutshell, this is about expanding our areas of influence so we’re not impotently stressing about things (in our Circles of Concern) that we can’t change.
What kind of thing bugs you consistently?
How might you expand your Circle of Influence in this area?
When you read of high level politicians like Aung San Suu Kyi literally walking their walk (she promised to clean up her country), what do you imagine yourself doing to leave the world slightly better than you found it?
While I can’t believe it’s nearly 2016, it IS. So I thought I’d flag the remaining classes I’m teaching in case you’d like to bring some extra peace into your festive period by joining one of my small, friendly yoga classes.
Or maybe you’d like to book yourself in for the New Year.
Focusing on emotional health and wellbeing as well as strength, stamina and flexibility, they’re ideal for beginners (all levels welcome). You can find out more about my teaching style here.
I currently have two more spaces for my Yule classes on Monday 21st and Tuesday 21st December.
And I’ll be teaching on the Monday and Tuesday between Christmas and New Year – a great time to think about what you’re ready to release as well as what you want to invite into your lives and practices for 2016 and beyond.
Also, after more than a year teaching a weekly yoga class on Wednesdays at 5.30pm at DS Fitness, this Wednesday (23rd) will be my last (unless I cover).
Big thanks to Mark, David and the rest of the staff and all my students there – you’ll be in very good hands with Mina who’ll be taking over in the New Year. And if you want to take some much needed time for yourself before Christmas Eve, hope to see you there this Wednesday (this can be booked via Reception at DS Fitness).