Freeze – Considerering All Options Again

FreezeI woke up to frost this morning. The sunshine was doing it’s best to beat the freeze but the ice wrapped the world in a white coat. A very pretty coat. But one I hoped would dissolve soon.

The freeze could be felt in the air too. My breath was a white fog. The ground crunched underneath my feet. A real blast of winter weather making me think about how stuck we sometimes get. I’ve known what it feels like to be frozen with fear. Paralysed and feeling helpless. Even when there is warm and comforting haven ready to shelter me. I’ve been that rabbit in the headlights too scared to fight or run. Suspended in the moment and unable to decide. When I freeze like this it can take me a while to thaw. But the start is to recognise that it is fear holding me back.

Fear of change. Or fear of getting things wrong. Even fear of getting things right. A freeze can give a momentary pause to all sorts of things. But it can’t last. A thaw happens eventually. Because life always resumes, shifts, moves on. Although I know that sometimes it can take me a while to accept that. In the end I do. Like today, by mid afternoon most of the ice had gone. Dissolved by the sunshine. I could move around once again without thinking about sliding or slipping. When I remember that a thaw is inevitable I let myself take those frozen moments and study what my fear is. Understanding my fears gives me options. Even new ones I have been blocking because of the fear.

I enjoyed the frost today. It gave me time to look again at my choices for 2018. I am busy sending out my wishes to the Universe. Getting ready to take the actions that will bring them back to me fulfilled. Fear has been excluded from my agenda. After all, I don’t want to freeze when all my dreams are starting to come true!

Day 764 of my blogging challenge 

Progress Through Focus and Determination

progress in loveThis Mercury retrograde period has been really good for looking at my progress. Especially in a year where there has been so much change energy. It’s also been something I have been lucky enough to encourage my mentees to do.

One of the things I love best about mentoring is that I get to share someone else’s journey through a period of self-development and change. I can monitor the progress they are making. It gives me a chance to remind the person how much they have actually achieved. Because when we are making changes it can sometimes be hard to see how we are different. And what has been achieved. Today I’ve had the chance to discuss with several mentees how brilliantly they are doing. I have been able to point out their determination to make their lives different. And the focus they have brought to getting nearer their goals.

I feel that all too often we ignore our progress. Certainly I do. I drift into looking at what hasn’t changed yet, instead of what has.  But I am learning to recognise what I have done differently, where I have grown and how positive I can feel about more changes. Because I want to keep going towards my dreams. Even if I have to keep changing what, when, where and how I do the things in my life. So sharing the successes of my mentees gives both of us a renewed sense of more progress to come. I’m really excited that anyone who sticks at it, understands the need for self-discipline and takes responsibility for themselves can achieve everything they want. And I am fortunate to be working with people who have decided to do just that.

Progress is what brings me back to the service I do for the Spirit World. They are already in a place where progress is a natural party of their community approach. Each one aligned to the results of what they doing being a part of the greater good. I know that my mentees will contribute so much more than they imagine at this present moment. Our community down here will benefit so much. Here’s a big shout out to everyone determined and focused on growing and contributing their best!

Day 749 of my blogging challenge

Staying Flexible and Focused: Change Happens!

I’ve had a muddle of a week. My diary has shifted around quite a bit. I’ve had to be flexible. At the same time I’ve also had to be focused. It’s the nature of dealing with change.

There has been an spect of this New Moon where Saturn has thrown in a bit of a curve. I know these kind of curves. I’ve had a heavy Saturn influence in my birth chart for the last few years. That certainly means I have been tested. Or even that I’ve tested myself. The key to dealing with the impact of Saturn has been for me to learn to be flexible. I have had to respond to last minute changes. Recognising that the way I try to control my life can be a limitation as well as a structure that helps me. Because my diary has often turned up side down. Or got in a muddle. Things cancelled, then added and then cancelled again at the very last moment.

I know that ten years ago I was much less flexible. I expected my diary to run the way I had set it out. My life was neatly organised. Work was a set routine. In fact my focus was on so much routine that there was no freedom for the unexpected to turn up. Much less disrupt what I was set on doing. However, working intuitively doesn’t respond to the logic of a plan. It means I go where I’m sent when it’s the right time for me to be there. It’s taken me years to learn to go with the flow. And more years to learn to stay focused. Focused on what? I focus on the moment I’m in. Doing whatever I’m doing to the best of my ability. I know there is a bigger picture somewhere underneath it all. But I don’t worry over much what that is.

In fact the changes this week have left me with an opportunity to take some ‘me’ time. I’ve already got my art stuff out. I’m going to play. And be flexible about what I decide to focus on. Bring on the changes!

Day 612 of my blogging challenge

Expressing Grief: Why Moving On Matters

I love how my day brings everything into focus. The background topic this week has been about expressing grief. Or the risk of getting stuck in grief.

I recalled today a general thread of conversations about letting go, moving on or feeling loss that had been demanding my attention for several days. Of course when there is a period of great change I have to let go of the old in order to be able to get hold of the new. There is a process to that which involves feeling the grief of letting go, of loss. Yet I know I am reluctant to express the grief. Even though I know I have to step through expressing the shock, disbelief, denial, anger, depression and acceptance of each loss in our lives. Sometimes the loss doesn’t matter too much – like loosing a glove – but often the loss is much more significant. So it’s painful.

That’s when I feel it’s important for me to make sure I am expressing the feelings as freely as possible. When I don’t do so the energy becomes stuck. Stuck energy creates problems. As more and more emotions pile up on top of old stuff it can take a lot of effort to hold it all in. To keep plodding on trying to convince myself that nothing has changed. Yet if I express my feelings as soon as possible there is one thing I definitely avoid. An emotional blow out. A volcanic eruption. Though I’ve had a few in my life because I tried to ignore the grief. Now I try to allow myself more freedom with expressing my feelings. Eventually the energy is exhausted. There is no more for me to express. I am at the point where I can move on.

Moving on is a different kind of expressing my feelings. It’s the point at which I know I’m ready to re-engage with my life as it is now. Not as it was.

Because no matter how hard I try my life has changed. Though there have been times when I’ve tried every way I could to make it go back to the way it was. Usually ending up angry, depressed and still trying to deny a new reality. So moving on at the right time is a positive aspect of grief. When I have reached the point of accepting that my life is going to be different. Moving on gives me a space to bring in the positives that change has brought. Perhaps I’m stronger. Or I have a new focus for my life. I might even have found new people to enhance my experiences of relationships. Or a more optimistic outlook.

Whatever it is, I will have my hope restored. Because grief dims hope for a while. Expressing hope even feels like an impossible ask. But when I have started to move on it means I’m prepared to give myself another chance at life. To have dreams again. And to remember with gratitude whoever or whatever has been lost. To be thankful that I can feel enough love to recognise the pain of loss. Today I reminded myself to honour my grief. I am moving on in so many ways. There is no place for the old feelings, thoughts or patterns. And I reminded myself to let go, gently, easily and hopefully.

Day 543 of my blogging challenge 

Faith, Hope, Change: Dream On

I seem to have talked a lot about change this year. Especially since it has been a year of big changes. Today I thought about what has carried me through the challenges. It comes back to faith and hope.

Interestingly I was talking about hope this morning. I had a discussion about the way we enter each year with a long list of wishes and dreams but often find they don’t manifest. Later on I read and article that suggests Michelle Obama has said we are experiencing a time of hopelessness. Certainly this year has pushed all of us to face our fears. I know that the faith in the structures we live by has been fading for quite a number of years. Because it really is time for us to change the way our world is ordered.

Manifesting a new way is going to be a challenge. I see how stuck some people are. It is hard to move from what I know to what is yet unclear. With all my faith and hope in the Universal Divine flow of love I still struggle. So what about those people who haven’t reached the same understanding of manifesting peace as me? It certainly explains the flat feeling that is underneath all of the holiday energy. Yet I want to suggest that 2017 is bringing much moreover positive energy for all of us. It might feel hard to list your wishes and dreams but it is important to do so.

The future I want, and you want, can only come in if we ask for it. I know we have to back that asking with the faith that everything can be delivered.

Faith is such a hard thing to hang onto when the chips are down. I know this year I have had to work really hard to believe that what my intuition was telling me was correct. There were times when I felt lost in a thick fog. But also times of immense clarity. I’ve also had to wander around inside myself and measure how much faith I had in me. There have been plenty of wobbles. Yet talking today I realised how much I have returned to having faith in myself. Being tested is hard. But I now know I can go towards my dreams full of confidence that they will happen.

That has given me a huge blast of hope. Over this year my hope has played hide and seek. I’m usually an optimistic person. I’m so stubborn that I don’t like to be beaten by a problem. I always hope there is a positive solution to any issue. However several times this year I have had to dig my heels in to get me through disappointment, pessimism, an absence of all hope. It feels like I have been sharpening my sword of optimism. My hope can slice through any difficulty now. I have finally realised that whatever happens I have already faced the worst fears and got past them.

So I’m sending my New Year wishes out with the full backing of faith and hope. I know my dreams will be delivered to me in 2017. Is it time to send out your dreams?

Day 397 of my blogging challenge. 

Time for Full Steam Ahead

Today I’ve been sorting through things I want to let go of. It’s all the New Moon energy pushing me to move ahead.

It’s sometimes very tempting to hold back. Intuitively I’ve been getting messages about a new path for some time now. Yet to follow that road I have to change what I’m doing now. To get ahead I have to stop holding on to what I know I can do. Instead I have to grab for what I’m not entirely certain I will be able to do. I’ve talked about the fear of change in my blogs before. And still when it’s time to leap forward I find myself hanging back. That’s why I decided to change my surroundings this week.

I have started reorganising the Centre so that I can let go of all of the stuff I no longer need. I know that moving ahead I need to be lighter. Have less to be responsible for. Or I will get stuck with the weight of it all. That action of change can feel hard to begin with. In fact today it has got me feeling exhausted. There is still a little bit of me resisting what I know I have to do. The bit that is resisting is the shadow of fear. We gather things to make us feel safe. I’m asking myself to make me feel unsafe.

Looking ahead when I’m resisiting change is a challenge. Sometimes I can’t see anything at all.

That’s why I love having my Spirits and Guides around me. Tonight I went to an Open Circle service at Hebden Bridge Spiritualist church. I wasn’t particularly expecting a message. But my lovely Nanna popped in twice. Both times she wanted to tell me to believe in myself. She wanted to remind me that I am going in the right direction so to get on and follow the new things up. Perhaps I had to hear it from her because of that resistance and fear. To help me recognise that whatever I do th epoint is to enjoy it.

So I’m ready to jump off the cliff again. To let go of the old and move ahead to the new. I’m loving the part of me that wants to keep me safe. The bit that prefers a small comfort zone. However, it’s also tough love. Because, despite that part, I am going to step further and further outside of my comfort zone. I know that there will be times I wobble and want to run backwards. There are, I am sure, going to be times I’m loving what I’m doing and want to run forwards. It’s taken me a long time to really get the idea that life is a journey that I can make as easy or as hard as I like. Now I feel ready to make mine as easy as possible. Bring on the new!

Day 380 of my blogging challenge.

Oxygen Mask Required?

9d615800-7c7a-4ec4-acc9-8f6f2ae802cb-pngHere is the first step into my next year. I’m continuing to blog. I feel that the times are rather challenging at the moment so my blog is a necessary blast of oxygen that helps me get through the turbulence.

I’ve had several conversations recently about an ‘out of sorts’ feeling that seems to affecting many of us. Knowing that the energy is shifting is one thing. I find dealing with the actual shift something else. Noticing my general muddled headedness I’ve been trying to be kind to myself and not push too hard to get anywhere with anything. I’ve also been very aware of a general level of shadow side thoughts and feelings that I’ve been expressing. And so have many other people. This clearing out is good. It gives me room to breathe in the oxygen of positivity. My Guides have always encouraged me to be more aware of myself. Because then I can choose what energy I radiate out into the world.

It’s the same for every one of us. We are tripping up over our own shadow and the energy we have put out there at some time in the past. That’s why the apparently resolved issues are cropping up again. It’s time for all of us to find a new way of being ourselves. Whenever I think about this process my Guides are really good at giving me a mental prompt to help me. It was their energy that got me to pay attention on a flight to the words in the safety demonstration. The airplane is pressurised so if anything compromises the seal oxygen escapes into the sky. At the point when the cabin looses pressure the oxygen masks drop out of the storage compartment. The instruction is to put your own mask on before you help others to put theirs on.

It makes perfect sense really. Oxygen is what keeps us alive. But there is a limited time we can hold our breath for.

So we need the masks. But if your are struggling to get a mask on someone else you are depleting your own energy. If you get your mask in place you can breathe the oxygen whilst helping all those around you who can’t breathe yet. So being kind to me is about putting my own mask on first. Then I can help by being kind to others. Of course, someone gasping to breathe might not agree with my choice. I actually know what that feels like since I have asthma. Yet the worst thing is if anyone panics for me. The more calm I and they stay the sooner I can draw a breath again.

It’s about choice and what the greater good should be. I know that when I consider my own oxygen mask I realised that sometime I put the mask on, sit back and say well, I’m ok. Sometimes I put my mask on then run up and down the plane choosing who ‘deserves’ my help. Sometimes I do the best thing . I put the mask on and start helping anyone within reach so they can help others too. Yet there will still be people struggling to breathe who might feel upset that I haven’t chosen them. The reason I try to help those around me is that when they have their oxygen mask on they can also help. Together we can make sure the whole plane has the energy to survive.

It’s that kind of time at the moment. The world is on a flight towards a greater understanding of how we connect intuitively to one another.

The energy blasts, including the two in December, are the releasing of pressure in the cabin. Eventually we will be flying smoothly again when the pressure is rebalanced. But in the meantime we have to be ready to share the energy of survival. The oxygen we need is positivity. I am working hard to stay in the optimistic flow of energy. I want to see a changed and better world so I live at the moment with that vision in my mind. No matter what surfaces I believe that human beings all have the capacity for compassion and love.

If I hold onto that I am giving myself pure oxygen that can lift my spirits and get me over the hurdles. Of course there will be those who try to pass along their fears or negativity. Some of the people who are too far away for me to reach their oxygen masks might be upset. Or unhappy that they have to wait for help. Perhaps they may even decide they aren’t going to help themselves. In a very real and practical way I have to accept that I’m not there to rescue the whole plane. No one is. We start with ourselves and then help how and where we can.

When I think of the times I rushed around the plane trying to help or sat back concentrating on only being ok myself I recognise another strand to this.

Sometimes I grab my oxygen mask or someone else’s because I’m looking to be a hero. I’m doing it because I want approval or praise. The fear of disapproval is a strong urge in all of us. Being authentic and true to self may attract adverse reactions from others. Especially where our choices and actions are described by others as selfish. There is a fear and judgement that keeps us being ‘nice’ in the wrong kind of way. I know that a bit of me wants to help so that I get a reward. It’s the bit of my ego that can trip me up by making my service to others a self-seeking exercise. But I know this shadow really well.

Now is the time to shift that energy out of my life. Because the oxygen of compassion and love can help me to change for the better. I know that service is actually it’s own reward. Most of the time that is how I choose to do what I do. Knowing that I still have a way to go doesn’t disappoint me. I am living my life as authentically as I can for this point in my life. I am sure that there is plenty of room for improvement. No wonder that I am going to grab all the change energy that is around at the moment. Life is about change. Life is about loving myself enough to change. And if I change then an optimistic life of service to others will be all the reward I need.

Day 366 of my blogging challenge.

Change, Confusion, Challenge & Clarity

img_2249I have had two really interesting conversations today about how to decide what to do. In each case I noticed that the issue that really got people stuck was making choices about what to change.

Sometimes I feel we don’t give ourselves enough credit. Change is a challenge. At every stage of our lives we have to learn new things, adapt to new circumstances and find fresh ways of dealing with life events. Otherwise I am sure none of us would ever have learned to walk, to talk, to make things or to form relationships. So many of our activities depend on learning and evolving. Yet I’ve noticed that when it’s time for me to change my head and my heart immediately start a war. My head does a lot of ‘what if’ thinking whilst my heart keeps sending me the signal that something has to give.

I also go into a ‘what is everyone else thinking and feeling’ mode. It’s as if I want to take responsibility for any changes I make having no or little impact on those around me. So I bounce backwards and forwards. Is it ok for me to think about my needs only. What should I do to make sure everyone else is happy with the change. Perhaps I’d better not make any changes at all. Or maybe I need to dive in and do it. It’s so easy to become confused. I’ve often wandered in that maze of confusion. Sometimes for months or years. It’s as if I’m finding sorting out the detail of what needs to change is too difficult. Or too complicated. Even completely unclear. Then I reach the stuck point.

I find myself agonising over going back or going forward. I’ve lost all sense of direction. My feelings flip in seconds and it’s as if I keep pointing in a new direction every time.

This is the bit that is the most challenging. Staying calm. Keeping my focus on being prepared to change. I know that if I accept I’m stuck, confused, unclear it will somehow be easier. Giving myself time to feel and think a whole range of things will eventually bring me clarity. Letting myself take all the time this particular change needs. Recognising the fear I have buried underneath the tumble of thoughts and feelings. Reminding myself that I have made many changes already in my life and this is just the next one. I am also helped by my belief in many lives.

That means that I can understand this particular shift in myself and my circumstances as part of a much longer process. It means I can allow myself time. As much time as I feel I need or want. Because if I don’t change this time round there will always be another chance. Nothing is quite as urgent as it seems. So I embrace that confusion knowing it will stop when my heart and head get into harmony with one another. The way to move my life forward will become clearer with every pause for thought. Giving my feelings room to be expressed will bring me a peaceful transition into the next phase of my life. The changes that are right for me will happen in their own good time if I trust they will. My job in all the changes is to stay calm and let it be ?

Day 340 of my blogging challenge.

Discovering Confidence

confidence-is-the-only-keyA theme that has cropped up several times today is confidence. How do I know that I’m doing accurate readings if I don’t have trust in myself? Will I be able to get to a new venue if I don’t agree with my Sat Nav? When it’s time to make changes in my life how will I know what to do if I don’t have self-confidence?

These are all good reasons to think about confidence. It is a mix of what I think backed up by what I feel. So it can be wobbly at times. I wanted to share with you a piece I wrote for a lovely magazine that we have locally. It was written just before I went on holiday and I was aware that lots more changes were coming through for me. I’m not always the best at coping with change. So thinking about how I could help myself to stay confident was important. I hope you find what I wrote of use for you.

Many of us present a confident face to the world. We smile and say everything is fine while we are really trembling inside. What we are feeling is a lack of confidence.

It can be hard to admit that you don’t feel capable or able to handle your life. Yet a lack of confidence in yourself is a very common thing. I’m used to people saying they don’t feel confident about exams, job interviews or driving tests. But it’s much less said that we don’t feel confident about being a parent, a team member, a provider or a person.

Somewhere inside our mind we carry a description of the ‘perfect’ person. That description has been built over the years by the things people have criticised us for. Or our own beliefs about what is good or bad behaviour. That ‘personality’ can trip us up any time we get into a testing situation. Or any time we test ourselves against it. When stressful situations arise we want to handle them like the perfect personality would . When that’s not possible it nibbles away at our confidence. Some times we feel so lacking in confidence that we don’t want to deal with the world at all.

The first step in discovering, or re-discovering, your confidence is to admit that you feel wobbly about what you are doing.

I remember as a new mum a sense of panic every time my baby cried. Somehow, despite my lack of confidence my baby survived and thrived. And I found as I got better at looking after her my own confidence grew. So it’s ok to feel like you don’t know what you are doing. Keep trying and it will get better. Before long you will wonder why you felt worried in the first place. That’s the same for a new job, a new course of study or a new hobby.

If the wobbly feeling stays with you perhaps it’s time to have a talk with yourself. Ask yourself why the anxiety is there. Are you expecting too much of yourself? It’s like learning to play golf. No one would expect you to be able to get a hole in one so why would you expect to do so on your first, second or seventy fifth go. If you don’t seem to be able to find the reason for the wobble think about talking to someone else. Having a ‘second opinion’ so to speak can often get to what is causing the lack of confidence. Pick someone who has listening ears and give it a go.

Finally, confidence is something we can build so long as we give ourselves time to do so.

Getting your confidence back may take a little while. Especially if there have been big life changes happening to you. So take it steady. Set yourself little goals and praise yourself when you have achieved them. Ask your family and friends to give you feedback and encouragement. Notice the times when you have done something you thought you never could. Celebrate each step forward and you may surprise yourself at how quickly you can boost your confidence.

Day 319 of my blogging challenge.

This article also appears in Valley Life Magazine October 2016

Changing Things or Staying the Same.

imageI’m off on my travels again soon. The chance to go and stay in an old monastery was too good to miss. I’m looking forward to some time to write. Or reflect. Or both. My life has been so full of change recently. I need my retreat!

I had to find my passport so I could check in online. Ploughing through all of my filing – ok, random piles of paper – I asked myself why I put things in safe places then can’t find them. It seems that particular habit is hard to change. I could find all sorts of paperwork from four years ago but nothing for the last three months. Since I know my postman does call here regularly I can only assume that I’ve found a really safe, not to say really secret, place for my bills. Having eventually found my passport in a bag under a pile of other random stuff I asked myself How to go about changing this habit.

It’s not as if I haven’t had to search for my passport before. On one famous occasion the day before I was due to travel I had a side trip to Liverpool Passport Office to get a new passport. Only to find the old one in a suitcase the next morning. It’s the same with my birth certificate. I know I’ve got it somewhere. It’s sure to be safe. Only it’s gone into hiding. In my valuables drawer – ok it has some sentimental birthday cards, my daughter’s birth certificate and one or two crystals in it – I have the other passports I’ve had. Plus a library card from when I was a teenager. And an old photo. I store these in a place I can find them. I guess I must like the excitement (stress!) of turning everything up side down once in a while.

At least looking for something let me throw away a lot of old papers. Something else I need to consider changing.

I know that I keep paperwork long past any useful time. Perhaps it’s because being self employed for 18 years I am used to keeping things for six years in case the tax man calls. It sounds like I have a good excuse but I suspect I’m a hoarder at heart. I always wonder if something will come in useful just after I might have thrown it away. So I keep it. Or if it has some ‘life’ left in it yet. I’m especially resistant to changing when it comes to getting rid of clothes. Having said all of the above, I have noticed I’m getting better. Slowly but surely I am clearing things out.

When I look at my life and the world as a flow of energy it’s easier to see where I get stuck. Possessions are only necessary in the moment. After all, I don’t know how much future I have and the past is a place I no longer want to visit. All I really need are memories in my mind.  Making a change by practicing remembering the good stuff and not holding on to the material stuff of the past has been a great step forward for me. I like that I can travel lighter. In the same way as I’ve learned to pack a really small bag for my travels I understand that I carry my memories with me all the time. I’ve learned to store the best ones and forget the challenging ones. After all, there is nothing I can do about the times it all went wrong.

That’s a key point for me. Making changes is also about working out what went well and what didn’t.

I would like to hope that I’m better at reflecting on how things turn out. Back to the retreat again. Stepping back from my everyday concerns, even for a short while, helps me to work out what changes are necessary next. I believe that we all try to do our best for ourselves and the people around us. It doesn’t always work out that way. Yet unless we look at what the unexpected outcomes have been how can we improve the way we act in the world? Change is a process of small, or occasionally giant, steps from what I have been to what I will become. The things in me that have ‘worked’ will stay the same. They are my foundation. But the rest of me must move, change, respond to different challenges.

Perhaps my paperwork will always be a bit messy. I guess I don’t believe that the time spent tidying it is worth the reward of findings things quickly. Who can say? One day I might find it necessary for me to set about changing that habit too, lol.

Day 290 of my blogging challenge.