The 7 steps to Self love – the key to building a relationship with yourself.

By now we all know that we need to love ourselves. After the initial pioneering work of self development gurus like Louise Hay, ‘self love’ has become a buzzword. When life gets tough well meaning friends, family and even (some) therapist throw it around willy nilly. “You need to practice self love”, “you can’t expect someone to love you until you love yourself”, “I need to take care and love myself more”. You have all heard these phrases. And although there is alot of truth and good intention in them without truly knowing how to practice self love then they are about as useful as a chocolate fireguard.

In the past year I have been really working on self-love. I have been battling my demons, putting my needs first, journalling, working with my inner child and of course pampering myself whenever I really needed it.  It’s an in depth journey and is one that constantly evolves, reshapes itself and is a continuous lifelong process. During this journey I have had some realisations about the process of practicing self love, that no-one has ever told me about. It surprised me when I began to experience it that when we work towards achieving self love we actually have to go through a period similar to grieving, followed by a choice to honour yourself building up to the place of a strong and loving center.  I have found that to really go in depth, to close the doors on patterns of self loathing and to arrive at the so advertised zen like state of acceptance and truly loving yourself there are 7 stages we need to go through.  (A guide if you like to the emotional roller coaster you begin to ride when you truly set out to love yourself.)  

Now I am not finished with my journey of self love (not by a long shot). However I feel as though I have cracked the key to creating a conscious relationship with myself coming from a place of self love. So if you have heard or thought recently, that it maybe that self love is the key to your healing follow my guide to self love and take the steps towards building a strong loving relationship with yourself. Oh and I highly recommend you get a notebook for this journey, you will want to look back through your thoughts and reflections during this journey.

Finding and facing your demons

What is it about yourself that makes you not love yourself? In you there will be somewhere negative patterns of behaviour, ways in which you talk yourself down. In order to do something about these you first need to understand them. Also you need to understand where these feelings and habits come from.  Often if you can find the root you will find it easier to know how to change this pattern or behavior. Brainstorm all the qualities you don’t like about yourself and then through journaling identify where your negative perspective comes from.  As an example I have a drama or overwhelming feeling that I am not good enough, it comes from my childhood my parents rows and pressure to be academically better than I was. See where these demons come from in you.

This stage can be hard to do alone. It maybe easier to call in a counsellor, life coach or psychologist to support you. Facing our demons will have a powerful effect on you so call in a support network to take care of you in this part of your journey.

Grief

It can be hard to see your demons. I find that as something pops up in my journey of self love, it brings with it sadness. It brings grief right to the surface when I can see where it came from. This is normal and natural. Often things we don’t like about yourself come from a place of hurt or shame. And facing them seeing them for what they truly are hurts.  Allowing yourself to grieve. allows you to release the hurt, the shame and the negative association you have. In a way your grief is the loss of something you didn’t have. The loss of what could have been, the guilt of how you could have done things differently. You have to let go of this in order to move forwards so cry it out, talk it out and please write it out. Writing out our sadness is a cathartic healing process. It stops your head an heart filling up with your grief. So write, write, write.

Anger

Just as in in any process of acceptance after the sadness anger often bubbles up inside us. It’s normal. It’s healthy. And like the sadness it needs to be worked through. One of my biggest challenges with self love had created a lot of anger in myself and it wasn’t until I figured out that actually I could have had help with the situation that my anger rose and release.

Express your anger. Write it out. Go somewhere far away from anyone in the woods and shout it out. If you can’t find a place to go and are scared to shout incase you upset neighbours or housemates then grab a pillow and scream your anger out into that.

Forgiveness

Eventually if you are going to love yourself you have to forgive. Just as in any relationship when there has been an argument you have to be able to forgive to heal. Forgiveness is not easy and it takes practise. I find writing yourself a letter of forgiveness a powerful tool.

Also the Hawaiian practise of Hooponopono, is a powerful practice of forgiveness There are four simple steps to this method, and the order is not that important. Repentance, Forgiveness, Gratitude and Love are the only forces at work – but these forces have amazing power. Simply repeating again and again:

I am sorry

Please forgive me

I love you

Thank you.

You can read more about Hooponopono here.

Acceptance 

Yes things could have been different. The things that created the hurt, the feelings of guilt, shame or even the frustration at a diagnosis you have could have been different. Your body could be thinner, your face different. However they are not. Things are as they are. Acceptance is simply that accepting things as they are. Not judging. Not trying to improve. Just simply as they are. Acceptance is the art of moving from feeling happy to being happy.

Making something meaningful can help with acceptance. By this I mean look for the teaching. What is the thing that it teaches you?

Acceptance is the practise of letting go. And in order to love truly we have to let go the past behaviours and negative thought patterns or treatment of ourselves. By letting go and accepting you will free up space within you that you can fill with self love.
Honouring is the start of self love

Honour yourself. How would you treat someone you love? That is how you need to treat yourself. When you feel yourself mentally beating yourself up or wearing yourself down ask yourself is that how I would treat my partner, my friend, my child? If not then why are you doing it to yourself. Your relationship with you is the most important relationship you will ever have, cultivate it as you would a relationship as someone you love.

Appreciate yourself and what you have. This is a great way to honour yourself from a place of self love. Write a list every morning of ten things you’re grateful for, you’ll start feeling more love and appreciation for yourself.

Becoming your rock

If you, like me, are a huge fan of the book Eat, Love, Pray there is a moment in the story where her internal self promises to be there for her. To always be there for her. To love her unconditionally. To be her strength. It is beautiful and true. We often look for security outside ourselves and yet here we are always there and waiting to be trusted enough to be relied upon. Allowing yourself to live from a place of integrity, living your truth and being honest with yourself will allow you to see how strong you are. You are enough. You can trust yourself to guide yourself. So live in according to your principles and you will see how strong you are.

Kindness and caring

Be kind with yourself and care for yourself. One of the greatest ways to do this is to speak to yourself kindly. Become more aware of your harmful negative internal voices and gently set them aside. Thank them for raising concerns, but let them know you’ll do just fine without them. Be aware of how you treat your body do you take care of it ? Do you allow yourself rest? Do you set boundaries as to how other people treat you? Stand up for yourself, respect yourself and be nice to you. After all if you treat yourself well it stands to reason that others will do too.

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As I said earlier I am not finished with my journey of self love. And in a way I never will be. Nor will you. Loving ourselves is a lifelong mission. ANd is one of the most important missions we will ever have. Being conscious around creating self love and building a healthy loving relationship with ourselves is the most important gift we can give ourselves. It builds a strong foundation for everything in our lives be it career, family or a lover. It is never too late to start a journey of self love, to give yourself the gift of the most loving, supportive friend and guide who will always be with you every day of your life.

Let us love ourselves so fiercely

 

Have a beautiful week and enjoy your journey <3

#Lifelessons101- Slow down and be more productive this winter (3 min read)

Over the years I have had many different ways of managing my time ranging from the doing stuff every minute of every day and burning out, to getting to here, where I am now with a life structured around when I need to take breaks. I feel pretty balanced in my planning and I get stuff done, which I love. However in the last few weeks some well meaning people have been telling me to slow down some more. This has provoked a strong reaction in me one I didn’t really expect.

At first I went into the but I have been seriously focusing on taking breaks RECOGNISE MY EFFORTS mode. Then swiftly followed by the OF COURSE I AM NOT DOING TOO MUCH and the THERE IS SO MUCH TO DO HOW WILL I DO IT mode. However when I took a step back I realised if this has been said to me by more than 2 people then the universe was trying to communicate with me and I needed to listen. However as any self employed person knows it’s seriously challenging to wind down when there is a lot that you want to get done. So how can you slow down and at the same time be more productive?

Be organic and frugal with your time. No seriously, it’s true. In order to slow down and be effective we have to pay more attention to our bodies and our circumstances and make choices based upon those. In the last week I have been re thinking how to be productive but easier on myself and now here is my guide to help you take more care of you whilst getting stuff done during the hibernation period of the year.

Accept and surrender

First things first you have to accept that your mind, body and soul can’t do everything right now (I know, I hate this part too however it is seriously necessary.) Remember it’s not just you. Winter is a time for slowing down be you a plant or a human. This is hibernation time. One of the reasons I believe we get more stressed in the winter is that we are fighting the natural order of things and instead of slowing down we try to overcompensate and do too much. Nature doesn’t work like that and neither do we, that is the path to burn out. So accept it’s ok to slow down and surrender to this natural rhythm.

Pay attention to your body

Your body always has feedback for you we just have to listen. For a week or two observe your sleep patterns, your energy shifts, when you are focused, when your concentration is wobbling. Now look at the data you have observed and use this in your planning. If you are foggy headed every day between 9am and – 10am this not the time to be writing project proposals or having seriously important meetings. Simultaneously you might find out that on thursdays you are simply exhausted so going on a date that night is not the greatest idea. Plan your working day around your “golden hours” (your most effective time of day), and your need to wind down time. Especially make sure you give yourself breaks or easy days after you have had a social event. Winter makes being social more straining and trying to pack in a lot will end up draining you.

Say no more often

In the winter you don’t want to take on more than you can chew. People always seem to see the yuletide holidays as a down time yet when you think about it with all the prep, all the people, the shopping, the parties it’s not only santas busiest time of the year it’s also ours. Even if you don’t celebrate Christmas the world is getting caught up in that rush. So think carefully about the work you take on. Say no more often than you do in the spring. A great trick is actually to ask yourself “why am I saying yes to this ?” It could simply be you are doing out of habit. Be careful with you “yeses”. It is a way of being more realistic with your time and energy.

Choose your tasks wisely and do them one at a time.

Multi tasking is out in the winter. Our brains are colder and therefore slower. If you are going to be productive you have to choose your tasks with care, prioritise and do them one at time.
I know multitasking is supposed to super effective however in the winter it often ends in two jobs getting done badly and a brain too busy to focus on one thing.

Disconnect

The world is hibernating, our bodies and minds need to hibernate too. Disconnecting from constant bombardment of social media gives us time to go internally and reboot. Try a week where you stay offline (phone, laptop and computer) for 30 mins each day and see how much better you feel.

Watch your sleep and your sun intake

Get sleep and sun. Both give us energy. Keeping your sleep habits in check during the winter is really important for our bodies. If you aren’t getting a full night’s sleep then look at your sleep habits and if you need to cat nap during the day. Equally getting our hit of vitamin d helps all of us feel happier. If you can’t get out in the sun then find a sun lamp or a local sauna that has this function. (And who is going to say no to a sauna in the middle of winter).When we are happy and rested we can be our most productive.

Relish your down time

Down time is precious, even more so in the darker half of the year. Make it special, Light those candles, treat yourself to that facepack or a cuddle on the sofa. Right now I have just given myself one of my favourite luxuries, a choco chai latte, (I even made Mr T one) and life feels so much cosier already!

Plan and implement a slow build up to Christmas that is non stressful

Last year I wrote my guide to planning a non stressful Christmas and in fact this system is so effective I am using it every month now. I won’t explain it here however if you want to not experience yuletide burn out and collapse during your holidays then read my article December without stress
Be kind to yourself

In winter you need to more lenient with yourself than at every other time of the year. So you still have to do list items not done at the end of the week. Sod it. Don’t focus on that focus on all the things you did and plan to get those tasks out of the week next week. And then allow yourself to have a break. Another great way to be kind to yourself is to ask for help. Winter is traditionally a time of community. Why? Well my theory is that we needed to band together to survive the winter, that need is still within us today. Two hands are definitely more powerful than one. So if you are getting overwhelmed reach out for help.

Create rhythm in your week

Create a rhythm to you week in terms of repeating tasks at the same time. Shopping, washing, answering emails or recycling, whatever are your repeating tasks each week create a structure (based on your energy cycle) where you do these things at the same time every week. By doing this and creating a habit of say doing the washing on a friday morning you will eventually use less energy as you do these tasks on auto pilot saving your energy for other things.

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Slowing down does not have to mean you are less effective, it means making smart choices that are right for you. It is something no-one can really tell you how to do because when we take notice we all know our own bodily, career and life needs. Even if you adopt one of these habits you will find that you give yourself a gift of a little more energy this winter and after all we all love presents, right ?

Have a cosy weekend <3

Taking time todo nothing often brings everythinginto perspective

 

My 6 steps to living a connected, conscious and happy life that you will love

One of the benefits of living abroad is that despite of spending long periods of time away from the people and places we love the most, when we finally get to see them it is possible to see the growth and changes that have taken place in them and ourselves much easier than if we saw them day to day.  Distance gives us the benefit of objective perspective.

This autumn I appreciated the benefit of such perspective when I  visited a place and some of the people I love most in the world after a long break. Not only was it great to catch up, I repeatedly heard “wow you are so strong and grounded now” (something we all though I wouldn’t be when I lived in this community over 11 years ago). I felt my own strength through their observations. I felt grounded. I felt powerful. I realised that I am living a conscious, connected and happy life. I mean that’s what I have been aiming at right, and when I was with these darling people I knew that all my efforts are truly working and that I am blossoming into my own potential. It felt great.

And it got me thinking about how was it I started this change, this evolution inside me? In essence what was it that I shifted in order to allow myself to grow? Big questions which have, as it turns out, fairly simple answers. If you are at the stage right now where you are thinking I want that kind of shift in me, I want to change my life and live a life of power here are some of the initial things I did to begin on this journey of the conscious and connected lifestyle that I love today.

Taking responsibility

The biggest shift I had to make, anyone has to make, to live consciously and powerfully is to take responsibility for themselves. You simply cannot live consciously and powerfully when you live in a victim mindset. Through the eyes of the “poor little me” mindset everything happens to you, nothing is your fault and you are powerless to change your circumstances. Understanding truly that we are responsible for our lives, what happens in them and the way we respond to the events around us is to be empowered. When we understand that we create our experience in life we get the freedom of choice, the choice to create the experience we want.

It took me many years to understand this until the final aha moment where the penny dropped and I got it. So do get put off if takes you too long to get it. Jim Carey gave a great speech on youtube explore this idea further, our intention creating our experience, check it out for inspiration

The past is in the past

We all have a past. Be it good, or bad, or both. However it is simply the past. Unchangeable and over. When moved to a new country I had the horrible experience of discovering that when you leave everything you know your emotional baggage is still there. Sometimes shouting louder than ever before as there is little to distract it and a lot of new uncertainties to stimulate old wounds. It was all down to the way I told my personal narrative. The stories we tell define us, become us if we lt them. If we keep mentioning the past then that makes it part of our present. Reliving past hurts makes them current in your present. Consider the stories you tell about yourself when you meet a stranger, who do you tell yourself, and them, that you are?  

You have to accept your past. And accept that you cannot change it. Logically there is nothing you can do about what has happened only what does happen. When we accept that our past is over and put it in its rightful place behind us, we can begin to live in our now.

Asking questions

Analysing what is happening in your life. Allowing the understanding that everything has a teaching for us if we look for it makes every part of life more conscious. When life hurls something at you ask questions such as “why did I create this?” or “what is the teaching here?” will empower you to respond rather than react. Looking for teachings helps you understand yourself so much better. We have a saying at home with us “if you understand it you can do something about it”. Understanding and learning are both essential parts of maintaining a connected conscious lifestyle.

Daring to fail

Daring to fail, is daring to do. Nothing is more powerful than taking the first step and then the next. If you don’t dare to fail at something you don’t give yourself the opportunity to grow. And the great thing is if you do fail it is not the end of the world, it is another opportunity to grow. Mistakes after all, are teaching gifts. Use those gifts, learn and then dare again.

Knowing,  loving and being true to yourself

This is a HUGE part of the process. In order to live a conscious and connected lifestyle you have to know yourself, know what is truly important to yourself. There is no point in throwing yourself out into a yoga retreat just because it is supposed to be good for you when you inner you prefers to play ice hockey and gets a healthy buzz and connection doing just that.  Walk your own talk, noone elses. Holding your integrity and living your truth is a major part of having a satisfying life where you respect yourself.

And love yourself as you are. (I know massively huge journey for many of us however the principle holds true). If you can’t love a part of yourself see if you can find out why and what you need to do in order to love that part of you. Then do it. Theoretical thinking, soul searching  is all well and good, however without the support of practical action you won’t get much further in your process. Take the time to connect with yourself as often as you can. I know there are kids, career and other things clamoring for your attention however if you can’t take care of yourself and take the time to love yourself, you cannot do your best in all the areas of life.

Loving the journey

There is no end goal in life. Well unless you count the one where you are in a box. Your life is right here, right now. Life is a journey so make sure you enjoy it. Obviously creating your perfect life will help you do that but in the meantime it is equally important to love your life now too. Enjoy the small things. They are the infrastructure of a strong and powerful life. Practise gratitude. Celebrate successes no matter if they are big or small. And make memories as often as you can. After all when we make it into that box who wants to think I didn’t make time to appreciate and enjoy my journey. Cat Stevens summed it up perfectly “We are only dancing on this earth for a short time” so dance and enjoy. Happiness is a choice we get to make and who wouldn’t rather have a happy life.

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Now all of these mindsets and actions don’t come overnight, or even in the short time it has taken you to read this article. They need to be practised over and over again to become natural to us. I still struggle to maintain them. A burnt ruiner lasagna I made for a party was my most recent challenge. However being aware of these choices in our mindset and our actions creates an experience of life that is connected and conscious and mostly rewarding. I love my life, all its ups and downs, small moments and teachings.  Most of all I love the opportunities I have created to continuously blossom and evolve being the strongest Emma I can be. I know that you have the power within you to do just the same.

Have a wonderful week <3

Happiness isa concious choice

 

 

#Lifelessons101 -Reluctance to change – how to bust through that big old block in 6 easy steps!

We all have those things we do that we would like to change. I know I do, the list is actually quite long. And if like me you have such a list it is so easy to get into a routine of self doubt, guilt and shame around the inability to make the positive healthy changes we know would benefit us and our life. In my life the biggest most glaring item on my list is my lack of exercise. I can seriously get into my stuff on this one. The guilt spiral runs deep and it has become a huge block of beating myself up (mentally) about my inability to commit to myself, my body etc etc etc. It has got so bad that when my wonderfully supportive man Mr T tries to suggest ways in which I could easily exercise he is more likely to get his head bitten off by my impression of the tasmanian devil than receive the (rightfully deserved) gratitude he should get for his support and care. In short it’s become an issue. A lifestyle habit I want to change and yet don’t seem to be able to make that shift. Until that is until this week.

I was doing so research into new coaching techniques and I stumbled upon a fantastic video by the energetic coach Jeannine Yoder on 4 questions that really investigate the blocks behind our reluctance to change in a powerful and insightful way. The technique is built upon the premise that any behaviour INCULDING negative behavior gives a form of positive benefit and value to our lives. It’s so logical. If we didn’t get something out of the behaviour we wouldn’t keep doing it. The NLP technique she described in her video is based upon 4 questions to help you analyse your behaviour from this perspective of positive value instead of negative judgement which makes the change so much easier to make because you come from a place of wholeheartedly accepting the change. I was blown away

I immediately implemented this technique into my coaching and my own development. Especially using it to look at the mental blocks I had to exercising more in my life. I tweaked and developed the technique a little (as every coach does).  And I now have this effective and brilliant formula for handling reluctance to change and smashing through the blocks to changing out negative behaviours which can be easily applied to anything you want to change. Already through my own experiences and my clients experiences in using this techniques during this week I have been amazed at how effective it is in manifesting new habits for change in a personally created bubble of motivation and I couldn’t wait to share it with you all.

So if you want to make a change in your life and are struggling to do so here are 6 easy steps you can manifest a new behaviour that serves you and your life

Step 1:  The positive things

Ask  “ What are the positive things that this behaviour is providing for you?

Dig deep and find out what it is you get from this behaviour. I was extremely shocked when I discovered a benefit for me  of not doing exercise was that it gave me the opportunity not to fail. I did not see that one before. This thought process really helped me get clear around why I liked not to exercise.

Step 2: All the benefits

Ask “ What else do you get out of this choice? What are all the benefits?

Dig even deeper and make a list of all the benefits this behaviour gives you. Keep writing them down until you can seriously not find more. My list was challenging to drag out. It took some big self admissions and yes it hit that pile of self doubt and shame. However rather than going there I kept going motivated in the knowledge I was being proactive to resolve the dramas and challenges I had.

Step 3: Keeping benefits

Now look at that list and ask yourself “ Which of these benefits do you want to keep?

Some of these benefits are things you really don’t want to let go of. For me with the exercise I knew that I needed to keep the benefits of affordability, giving myself time, the experience of not failing and the lack of pressure on myself. Circle these benefits in your list so you can really see what is most important to you.  These are the positive needs of your habit.

Step 4: Meeting positive needs

Now ask “ In what ways can you meet each identified positive need?

This is the behaviour changing part. You now look at each positive need and workout how to fulfill that need by positive behaviour. So I had to identify a form of exercise that I could easily put into my schedule, didn’t pressure me and that I would enjoy to give me a successful experience of exercise. Make a list of ideas of all the ways you can fulfill your positive needs in a healthy and beneficial way.

Step 5:  Embracing change

Identify “ Which behaviour can you wholeheartedly embrace?

Change doesn’t happen if you don’t really want it to. You have to feel in your heart of hearts that this is right for you. So from you list of ideas circle the ones that you really feel you can wholeheartedly set into action. Follow the feeling in your stomach, if something makes you feel reluctant then don’t choose it now, it maybe that you come back to it. I had written down thai chi as a potential exercise form that might work for me however it doesn’t feel right for me yet so I have chosen this. Going for walks however is definitely an option.

Step 5: Manifestation

Lastly ask “What positive actions do I need to take to create my new habits?

The last step is simply a list of the actions and agreements you make with yourself on how to move forward and manifest your new habits. So for me putting the dates in my diary of when I want to take a walk is a step for example. Make these steps achievable and realistic. If you want to start running don’t have as the first step  say sign up for a marathon. A realistic and achievable step would be plan a route and get some running shoes. 

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As I said before these is my own interpretation of Jeannie Yoder’s NLP technique found here on youtube. My clients and I love it. It brings an objective and fresh perspective and a judgemental free system to create new and beneficial habits that serve us in our lives. I hope you enjoy this process and after you have tried it let me know in the comments the new actions you are going to be taking to make your life a better experience!

Have a happy weekend <3

Old habits won't open new doors

Personal development and lifelong learning is an act of self love (4 min read)

Personal growth is easy when we are young, I mean biology is on our side, so is society, As a child we are literally bombarded with opportunities to learn from kindergarden, school, after school clubs, libraries, museums even summer camps. Our physical and cognitive development is constantly challenged to evolve and how fortunate we are in that. But once we reach adulthood learning, growing and developing becomes our own responsibility and that is often where our development stops. Ironic really when you think science with all of it’s ologists (psychologists etc) has proven that lifelong learning and personal development is a necessary part of mental and physical health. Our cognitive skills can keep developing even as we mature. The brain after all is a muscle and we all know the more we use a muscle the stronger it becomes. Personal development and lifelong learning improves our mental well being. It is in fact (although rarely thought of as such) an act of self love

No one I have ever met knew this better than my Grannie. She died at the grand age of 103 with all of her mental capacities in full function many years after her physical body failed her. While she could she travelled, she read, maintained a voluminous correspondence, she went to lectures (and I mean geology and archeology), gardened and loved her documentaries. She improved her brain constantly and consciously. I remember her saying it was important to keep the brain growing, to keep learning in life to maintain a good quality of life. And she really did. I am certain that if she had been my generation personal development would have been something she would have wholeheartedly embraced and participated in. The point being is that my Grannie born in 1912 was onto something important. If we don’t make the time to cultivate ourselves and grow then we and our quality of life will only wither and deteriorate.

I have met people, and been one of those people, who both doesn’t have time to invest in self love and self growth and boy is the deterioration obvious. Personally my brain felt foggy, I felt stupid and I kept making the same mistakes in my life over and over again. Until I invested in myself. Making me important enough to care for by motivating myself to grow and learn. I can feel the benefits. I am turning 40 soon (the point of cognitive decline apparently) yet I know through the self love I give myself of learning and growing as a person I will continue to evolve mentally and reap the benefits of that growth. And the great part is that in today’s world the opportunities for us as adults to learn and grow are both plenty and easily accessible. We just have to make ourselves important enough to grasp those opportunities.

Over the last few years I have really dedicated the time to this journey of self love, lifelong learning and self development. Am I perfect- hell no! Am I learning – everyday. If you want to focus on giving yourself this self love and care opportunity, even with a hectic schedule here are some of the things I do that might help you on your way.

Ted Talks

Oh how I love these. Short enough for those us with limited time, topics for every taste and always a positive experience. I aim to watch one everyday during breakfast or when I have to commute. A great and easy way to learn something new, provoke a new habit or action.

Personal development gurus

There are literally hundreds out there. However again university youtube gives you access to all of them. As do audio books, ebooks and the traditional paperback ( my favourite). Thousands of hours of other people’s lives and learning out there for you to access and grow from. I  read one personal development book for at least 10 minutes everyday. This way  I can read at least 6 personal development books a year. It doesn’t take a huge chunk of my life and yet it gives me so much.

Brain gym

Do you remember the fad for brain training products a few years back? Ok well at least 10 years ago. These guys (although got into law suites for bad advertising campaigns) had a good idea. Now whether or not the health benefits they promised are true, my own opinion is that brain workouts such as sudoku, crosswords puzzles, rubik cube or even mindfulness colouring books all increase the brain’s cognitive activity which will exercise that big old muscle. Again easy to do whilst commuting, in lunch breaks and after the kids are asleep. I like to do colouring when I am watching some netflixs on evenings where I just need to wind down and get re-energised.

Journal

Whenever you can in moments of stress, happiness, or just for 5 mins everyday, write. On a computer or in a notebook. Allow your thoughts to stream out and clear your minds. A clear mind has space for new information so write, write, write.

Get a new or improve an existing skill

Not rocket science to figure out how this works. Applying for cpd training at work (continuous personal development) solves a time issue for studying. Or if you want to go all out there are evening schools, online courses and universities. You don’t even have to go down the education route. Documentaries are a really good way of learning new stuff in a short space of time. I love the Crash Course series on youtube and of course the networks are bursting with options. Wether it’s career orientated, or pleasure oriented there is so much info out there which you can access in a way that fits your life.

And of course you can always learn something new, hobbies are a great way of challenging yourself to grow. These days youtube, google and pin interest not to mention thousands of online forums, make it so much easier to try a new hobby. I have in the last 7 years both learnt a new language and been back to school for a year to do an education in that language, as well as re started my belly dancing. This year I am already signed up for two new courses one career related and one to support my own personal development.

It is never too late to teach an old dog new tricks, my Grannie is proof of that.  Write a list of the things you always wanted to learn whether it’s waterskiing or patchwork and then choose something that fits your time and your budget and go for it.

Get physical, get outside

Not only does your brain need input and challenges, it also needs oxygen and blood pumping to it. I am the world’s worst at doing exercise or training  (at the moment) however I found gardening helps me to move and get outside. Also going for walks. Or scouring the local area for places to visit. New things, new sights are wonderful for mind body and soul. And if you can’t afford a holiday every year finding fun adventures where ever you live makes life more fun and more active.

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There are many, many ways to give yourself the self love of personal development and lifelong learning. They don’t have to be big major habit changing things, sometimes just a decision to prioritize yourself and one simple action can be the nudge you needed in the right direction to improve your mental health and make your life a better experience.

Remember a good day is a day where you learn something new ……..

Have a great week <3

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#lifelessons101: Strengthening your relationship with money energetically and practically (4 min read)

This year I made the decision to change my relationship with money. In fact in March I wrote a life lesson 101 on how to invite financial abundance into your house and home in the spirit of this new relationship. A for a while this new relationship functioned beautifully. I fell in love with money as physical representation of abundance. I did my daily abundance practise. I created my abundance altar. And thanks to Lynne Twists wonderful book The Soul of Money I really got to grips with understanding scarcity and abundance mindsets. For a while there it was amazing and it seemed as though I had hit the utopic state of health, wealth and happiness.

Then as happens in every new relationship the honeymoon period was over. And eventually, as was potentially predictable; I fell into old habits. I allowed dramas to rule and without noticing it I had slipped back into the very habits that led me to wanting to change my habits and relationship with money in the first place. Ugh. Am I right back to square one? No, not really. I now have more of a flow with my money. I now understand money as an energy to be transferred and exchanged instead of my mortal enemy (as I had previously felt it was). However recently my spending habits have been running away with me and I now have a massive £500 debt I have no idea how to resolve. I can feel the edges of old fears and dramas about money trying to creep back into my mind. Luckily due to my resolution of creating a new relationship with money I am more conscious than ever before of this process and now it is time for me to reassess my relationship with money both energetically and practically.

So having identifying these current issues I am having with money I turned once again to my mentor for advice and he really came through (as he always does).  He simply explained that as within in any new relationship when the honeymoon phase is over you have to work out the new ground rules. It made so much sense. The guilt I had felt at “failing” by returning to my old habits and dramas just lifted from my shoulders. This is natural and normal and is not essentially anything to do with me messing up. Phew!  He also reminded me that in every failure is a teaching so look for the teaching.

This conversation was so powerful it has lead me to once again re look at my relationship with money and now I can see how to move forward and strengthen Thise relationship  by setting some new ground rules. Just as we do in any relationship. If you are here where I am now then here are 3 things I have come to realise about how to strengthen my relationship with money both energetically and practically.

Understand the drama

What is the drama that is being provoked right now? Within in every relationship when we have a fight we act unconsciously out of a pre learned pattern of behaviour or drama which we need to resolve, understand and accommodate.

I realised for example that right now I am acting out of my drama that says “Emma you are no good with numbers”, simultaneously it provoked my “ I don’t like to have my behaviour and desires limited” dramas.  Once recognised I could see that this subsequently led me  to work out of my fears. The one where I hate to do budgets because I “can’t make them work” and the fear of limiting my freedom that I unconsciously feel a budget and savings plan creates. Therefore I was operating on hand to mouth living again because I had got back into my scarcity mindset – WOW!

When you look at the dramas you are working from you get that realisation moment. The WOW that makes your behaviour suddenly understandable and which makes it a heck of alot easier to do something about (and this of course applies not only to finances but to everything in life.)

Look for the teaching

In learning to form a new habit, a new way of doing something the straying from the initial path and failing is actually a huge gift of learning. It says ‘hey I need to do something differently in order to have a harmonious relationship’. So look for the teaching of the situation and your dramas. What is it that you need to learn from this?

My teaching was simply that I need to get over my fear of numbers to be conscious of my abundance by keeping track of my finances. And I needed to understand that freedom is actually created financially by being conscious around my money as that would give me the freedom to make sensible abundance spending.

Apply the practical solution

Now understanding the energetical flow and the psychological impact of your relationship with money is seriously important however it is not the only root you need to strengthen this relationship. Practical action is essential in having an abundant relationship with money.  So what actions can you take to stay on top, preempt negative patterns of behavior and create healthy conscious habits which serve you and your relationship with money.

I found three definite actions I could take to create healthy habits:

  • I realised that I need a person to help me create a realistic budget, someone with objectivity.
  • I also realised that I found it challenging to keep track of my spending during a month and so I have downloaded an app to help me keep track and I am implementing a new habit of checking in with my finances once a week (both business and personal). These are going on different days of the week so I don’t feel overwhelmed by the numbers.
  • I need to forgive myself for failing instead of judging myself for it and believe that abundance is possible and that I can be abundant. (Which means returning to my abundance practise and mindset).

What pratical actions can you take to strengthen your relationship with money?

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As I said in March this journey my new relationship with money is not going to happen overnight or in two articles. However each step on the road is an enriching experience. When tackling a failure, as I have now, and learning from it failuer also reminds us not only how abundant we am but also how many resources we have in our lives.

I have a feeling that installing my new healthy habits will take longer than my initial honeymoon phase with money. However I feel confident that I have taken the steps to create a stronger foundation in this  relationship  which in time I will see blossom and amplify my beautiful abundant life.

I hope the teachings that have given me this confidence will also empower you…..

Happy weekend <3

 

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Nature as a mirror for our growth – the teachings of autumn

In you live in the world where it is autumn you cannot help but notice the beauty as nature shows us its full glory before the year darkens and hibernates. John Howard Bryant called autumn “the year’s last, loveliest smile.” For me it is a time when the world burst with it’s final boost of energy creating a masterpiece whilst gracefully surrendering to the winter. Autumn reminds me of a grandmother and child walking together through the piles of golden leaves. On the one side is the wisdom of a long life and on the other the playfull bursting energy of youth. Love it or hate it you cannot deny that the autumn is a striking time of year and one I find that has much to teach when we take time to listen.

This weekend I have been hosting two workshops about rerooting with and learning from nature and the wheel of the year (my heart project).Whenever I run these workshops I always learn and grow myself, which of course is a huge part of why I love to hold them. In the last two days I have had the opportunity to observe, reflect and connect with this beautiful time of year and as always in this time of reroot mother earth has given me some insights into my own and other’s life situations.  I would like to share these reflections with you.

The teachings of Autumn

In the last stages of life we are at our strongest and most beautiful. Autumn really shows us that the last stage of life, the last stage of growth is the most beautiful. The winds of change surround the trees but in that turbulence they stand strong and beautiful gracefully surrendering each leaf and the last seeds to the earth. The leaves are brittle as are we in old age however in their frailty they have a core strength which holds them on the trees until the moment when it is right to depart. In a way this can relate not only to the later stages of life but to our own struggles within life. During times of turbulence when we draw on our resources we can even when at our most fragile be strong and beautiful. When we surrender and let go we will fall to the forest floor however this fall is only the beginning of a new journey where the old feeds the new growth in the coming spring.

Letting go and Acceptance with dignity

It is in this process of shedding of leaves and turning to winter autumn is one of the most peaceful times of the year. Take a walk in a forest, park or even a graveyard and you will see that as our human world rushes by when we are with nature this time of year in particular has a special feeling of dignified peace. Autumn teaches us that change is inevitable and that it need not come with drama and struggle, that in fact natural change evolution happens in peace and dignity every year. For me it particularly reminds me that even within our time of dark (or the winter) that even in our shadow we are beautiful, graceful and dignified when we accept without judgement the process we are in.

Letting go does not mean we are weak and not effective

For some autumn represents a time of death and yes I agree with this as obviously all around us the non evergreen plants are dying. Yet I do not completely agree. If you take the time to look you will notice that there is still growth in autumn, it is slowed down, however in this time of peace it is there, the land is still fertile. I had the amazing opportunity to hear the inside of a tree gurgling (just like when you listen to a stomach). I had always thought that the sap within a tree retreats in the winter however what I learnt after (thanks google-fu) is that the sap within a tree slows down in the winter. It is still there hidden within nurturing the tree. Autumn shows that when we let go and slow down we can still be effective. We can still nurture and grow and achieve however it is at a slower pace. Slowing down can be just as beneficial and pushing towards a goal and by surrendering to the process as autumn does we are simply allowing ourselves to be efficient and productive in a different way.

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I believe that each season has a teaching for us if we take the time to look for it. One of the greatest things we can do for ourselves is to use nature as a mirror and learn how to observe what is happening to nature and compare it to where we are in our life at the moment.  Find some time to go out into the world this November and watch as the world turns from autumn to winter, give yourself the opportunity to reconnect and learn as well as simply enjoying this beautiful time of the year

Enjoy your journey <3

If you would like to find out more about working with nature as a mirror for your personalet growth then the Walking the Wheel of the Year personal development program could be for you – find out here

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