Sunday, 12 April 2015

Listen...really listen!

I listen to the radio a lot.
The radio in my living room is a bit ropey, it hisses and coughs it's way through my favourite programmes and shows.
I've tried hanging the aerial in different positions, but it never really improves things.
A favourite tune comes on and I somehow manage to ignore the background distortion and pick out enough of the music to be transported on a nostalgic journey to another place.
In my kitchen however the radio is a rather fancy DAB contraption.  The clarity is second to none.
I can almost hear the broadcaster create another laughter line the precision of the sound is so exact.
I only notice the difference in the quality of the two radios when I walk from one room to another.  If I stay in the kitchen all day I get lulled into the false belief that this is the quality of my radio listening life.
Maybe this is true of many aspects of life.
We ignore the annoyances that seem to be irreversible, we tolerate the background distortion and "make do" with the quality of life we believe is as good as it can get.
Why don't I just save up and buy another DAB radio?  That is a feasible and very do-able way to fix the fluctuating quality of my radio listening life.  Is there something you're tolerating because you think this is just the way it has to be?
"Where you are, be there totally.  If you find your here and now intolerable and it makes you unhappy, you have three options: remove yourself from the situation, change it, or accept it totally. If you want to take responsibility for your life, you must choose one of those three options, and you must choose now.  Then accept the consequences." - Eckhart Tolle

Tuesday, 31 March 2015

As Taylor Swift would say...."The haters gonna hate!"

Recently, on a fairly uneventful day, I haphazardly discovered I've been the focus of someone else's hatred and determined attempts to sabotage a loving relationship  I have with a member of my family.
This revelation felt weird, confusing and disturbing.
Energy of the most negative type had been directed my way for nearly three years while I was blissfully oblivious!
Without foundation or reasonable cause this person wanted to damage me and damage a person they claimed to care about.
This left me feeling a strange mix of emotions.
On one hand I was saddened at the apparent desperateness of the individual orchestrating the hate campaign, and on the other hand I felt angry that a fellow human being could choose to instigate such a toxic plan based on their own insecurity.
I'm still a bit perplexed, and I don't expect I'll ever fully be able to understand their motives.
However, the ramifications of their master plan being exposed to my family and close circle of friends means that the lovely family member who had the strength to confide in me can now get even more love and support to prevent this sort of thing ever happening again.
Despite the attempts this person made to hurt me and my loved one, I don't hate them.  I feel sad they thought this was an acceptable thing to do, and I hope they can find a way to live a life based on being responsible for their own happiness and not continue to have expectations that their life is dependent on the input of others.
"Do not let the behaviour of others destroy your inner peace."- Dalai Lama

Sunday, 22 March 2015

The risks of retrospective gratitude.

If only we could truly be glad for what we have in this moment, right now.  Retrospective gratitude is to me the saddest and heaviest of emotions.
Reflecting back brings a rush of warmth and joy, only to be followed by a heavy hearted sadness when the realisation hits that that time is no more - it can't be brought back - it's gone forever.
Only in my mind can I  re-create those memories, there's no tangible way to grab it back and haul it into my life today!  Try though I might, even when I concentrated my efforts on remembering the minutiae detail, the lead weight in my chest drags me back to face the harsh truth; no matter how good my memory is; that place and time is fading deeper into a sentence, a page, a chapter in my history.
That elusive past.
So today I must stay focused on the reality of the quality of my life. The peaks and troughs are an inevitable part of being human. But if the main thread running through my life is strong, with only a few frayed fibres on the edges then I have little to concern myself with.
But then there's the battle with my self indulgent head. It teases me with flashes of significant experiences in a less than illustrious life, and in that moment I'm giving too much attention to the frayed, tattered, irrelevant fibres and I need to return my attention to the core strength of the thread holding my life together.
My husband, my family, my friends; bearers of so much love and loyalty that I am truly cushioned and protected from the more negative aspects of the world.
I have so much to be grateful for!
Right now find one thing in your life to be grateful for and feel that gratitude in your body and mind!
"It is strange how we hold on to the pieces of the past while we wait for our futures." - Ally Condie

Saturday, 14 March 2015

Let your art flow!

When an artist is crippled by the need for perfection, disabled by their own doubts and criticism that the work they're crafting and shaping from their heart is in some way deficient, a potentially debilitating situation can ensue.
A self perpetuating downward spiral can lead to that place; the loneliest of places called, contempt for oneself.
In the early stages of creating, you start to produce your art because in that moment you were inspired.  Pay attention to that sense of creative clarity that evokes a tingle of excitement in your belly, a buzzing in your head as the mind and body work harmoniously together.  
If this resonates with you - whatever your art - you must work on letting your heart win over the battle with your head, and return to that beautiful union between your emotional, intuitive, creative bodymind and the more critical, analytical headmind.  However, we must be careful not to condemn the headmind because when it's working with the bodymind the results can be tremendous.  Artists know that their best work is produced when they have a feeling about a particular piece they want to produce and they use the headmind constructively to put that idea together - bliss!
Meditation, mindfulness, yoga, whatever it is that helps quieten down the chatty headmind - do it! Do it so that you can maintain that peaceful core both in your body and mind, and then your most wonderful creations will flow from you.  Happy creating everyone!
With love, Kathleen x

"Rational thoughts never drive people's creativity the way emotions do." - Neil deGrasse Tyson
"Creativity requires the courage to let go of certainties." - Erich Fromm

Friday, 27 February 2015

The importance of movement.

Sometimes I forget to look up and remind myself that all is well.
So pre-occupied and busy with work related emails and concerns about my family, I get too involved with my head and ignore my body's needs to get outside and just breathe!
To feel so separate from myself and separate from the world can be catastrophic - a catastrophe caused by my own inability to stay right here, present in this moment now. I must learn to stay attached to my body and mind, not ignoring the importance of the flow between them both!
When I feel myself drifting up and up further into my head and even more distant from my body - my emotional centre - then I know I must take back control and move.
Sometimes the move is simply walking into the kitchen and making some vegetable soup, sometimes it feels right to make a bigger move and get out for a walk, a run or a bike ride - away from the house and away from anyone being able to contact me.
At times it can feel like it's an inescapable fact that I can never truly be alone - except when I'm out in the garden or out in nature.  And yet, it's when I'm outside that I stop and truly listen for the activity surrounding me and I find myself looking up in awe at the company I have.
The busier the birdsong, with the blackbirds, the tits, the robins, chaffinches and yellow hammers surrounding me in the garden the happier I am.
I had a buzzard accompany me on part of my bike ride recently, a union between two species I'd not expected.  I pedalled effortlessly through the crisp, clean air watching as his legs hung down, his upper body moving with a strength I knew I could never comprehend,
"I see why you love your life!" I whispered to my feathery companion.
Just a short time away from all things electronic and I feel my head clearing, my passion returning and I can rest assured all will be well.
Back in my house again, kettle on, I hear the first, "ping" of an email hitting my inbox....that's fine! My head is clear again, my body feels good too.  I want to sit down with my cup of tea and get on with helping others help themselves - just as I have to help myself.  I gently remind myself not to let things build up again, you know the signs Kathleen!  Feel what you feel and take action according to those feelings; and that message is relevant to each and every one of us!
"To keep the body in good health is a duty..otherwise we shall not be able to keep our mind strong and clear." - Buddha

Saturday, 31 January 2015

Me, myself and the sensible one.

The swooshing and rushing sound of the wind rattling through the gaps in the tiles, woke me with a start.  In that startled state I notice the rushing speed of my thoughts and the loudness and urgency of the questions,

"Where am I?"
"What was that noise?!"

Then comes the reassurance....

"You're on Islay."
"It was the wind."
"There's nothing to worry about."
"Go back to sleep."

That cyclical conversation with myself is just a snippet of something that happens all the time. That sensible, invisible person quietly providing comfort and solace to the anxious child.  Both the adult and the child reside in my head, both vie for my attention, it takes patience to settle the anxious child and when I do, all is well.

I don't want to get rid of her though...she loves to laugh, do cartwheels, run like she ran when she was playing tig in the playground and has a freedom about her that the adult would surely scoff at.

To keep my body and mind together I must embrace both aspects of who I am.

The sensible adult provides a level- headedness that ensures I can help the clients I work with, while the child invariably injects a bit of humour into the sessions.  Don't shy away from any aspect of yourself that makes you your wonderful unique self.

"Be happy with being you.  Love your flaws. Own your quirks.  And know that you are just as perfect as anyone else, exactly as you are." - Ariana Grande

Tuesday, 23 December 2014

Friendship, creativity and serenity.

On Sunday I got home at nearly midnight after a long day, a flight and a two hour car trip to find this gift waiting in my garage. It was interesting to notice how quickly my fatigue and grumpiness lifted when I tore through the packaging to find this pleasingly tactile creation!
A beautiful hand turned wooden bowl, lovingly made by my friend David Kuegler, accompanied by a spoon made by his friend and Greenwood Craftsman, Steve Tomlin.
I was truly moved by the thoughtfulness behind my gift from David.  The HM (headmind) BM (bodymind) lettering on the spoon is very apt indeed.  That flow between both parts of us is absolutely essential while we eat, but also while we make the food we want to eat, and how David, Steve and any craftsman or creative person should be in order to be in that wonderful aligned place where anything is possible.
We must be careful not to slag off the headmind too much, without it where would we be?!  What I love is knowing I can rely on my headmind to "come up with the goods" providing I keep my feet on the ground, feel what feels right and use my head to put those feelings into action.  When I write I choose carefully the music I want to listen to, based purely on the way I feel. There's minimal headmind involvement in the making of that decision. I sit for a moment and breathe deeply into my tummy, and then I pay attention to whatever comes up from my intuitive bodymind into my headmind and start putting those feelings and thoughts down into my blog, newsletter or other piece of writing.
So, whether you're eating your food, walking in nature, creating something wonderful or simply sitting chatting with your family - be present and be fully there. Being peacefully aware of this moment right now allows your headmind and bodymind to be in its most natural flow.  The beauty of being in that aligned place is that you permeate a serenity the like of which oozes from you and extends to all those you interact with.  What a win win for you and those you care about!
"Every breath we take, every step we make, can be filled with peace, joy and serenity."  - Thich Nhat Hanh

Saturday, 6 December 2014

Listen up! I want to hear your voice!

When you're silenced there is injustice.
The bodymind feels this injustice deeply and will not let you bite your tongue, or swallow your words without responding in some way.
For most, this response comes in the form of symptoms.

Lower back pain.
Brain fog.

Shut your mouth.
Hush now.
Be quiet.
Shut up.

It's not okay, and never will be for you to think that it's safer to keep quiet, or for you to think that what you have to say is irrelevant.
Who is making you believe that your voice, words and thoughts are not worth hearing?

Surround yourself by those you can share with, those who you enjoy listening to and who want to hear what you have to say.

Please don't give your power away to anyone who needs to keep you quiet in order for them to keep control of you.

No matter how many excuses your headmind comes up with - it's not okay.

Your bodymind doesn't want to use symptoms in order to encourage you to pay attention to what's happening, but it will if it sees you "making do" with a situation that isn't healthy for you.

Listen carefully to your symptoms.

How much louder do those symptoms have to get before you take action?

Loving you isn't difficult, and it starts with caring enough about yourself to remove yourself from loveless people.

"Never be bullied into silence. Never allow yourself to be made a victim. Accept no one's definition of your life; define yourself." - Harvey Fierstein

Monday, 20 October 2014

The importance of change

Nature is an infinite source of inspiration for my writing.  I never take for granted that in this little part of the world the beauty surrounding me serves as my constant muse.
On this morning's drive to Kirriemuir I observed the beech, the oak, the sycamore and the ash trees all perfectly still - yet the forecast warned of impending gales and I wanted to whisper to them an early warning of the severe weather which will, inevitably cause them some damage.
Driving on it reminded me of that stillness that I love so much, that stillness which often whets my desire for more and more of those quiet, peace filled times.  I know just as the trees do that the stillness will pass, and it will return just as the gales will too.
The ebb and flow.
The dying and the new born.
The rain and the sunshine.
Each means more with the knowledge of the other.
We cherish the new born because of the transience of life.
We are thankful for the rain, as the crops need that source just as much as the sustenance provided by the sun.
I appreciate the stillness of the trees, laden with their autumnal leaves just as much as when their branches dance in the wind scattering a carpet of orange, gold and brown across the roads and fields.
I'm grateful for my eyes and their ability to see all that's around me, equally glad as night falls and I can close them while I descend into a dark place where sleep restores me.
Tomorrow my drive to Kirriemuir will look a bit different as the weather front will have scurried over the east of Scotland leaving a battered and bruised landscape in it's wake - and so the ebb and flow continues.
Life and the natural world is richer because of diversity and change, so instead of dreading it enjoy watching the colours and darkness that unfolds effortlessly, unpredictably, uncontrollably around you.
"Life is a series of natural and spontaneous changes. Don't resist them - that only creates sorrow. Let reality be reality. Let things flow naturally forward in whatever way they like." - Lao Tzu

Saturday, 9 August 2014

Peace, calm and the passage of time

I was recently reminded of an event several years ago which resulted in my total immersion into sadness and confusion the like of which  I'd never before (or since) experienced.  The dawning of the truth that I had been duped -  tricked into believing something which had in fact been a complete lie.
My mind racing, my heart pounding I couldn't think straight.
The reality of what I'd perceived to be the truth, completely and utterly shattered.
My broken heart felt dark - weirdly heavy - strangely blackened and weighing heavily in my chest - I was unsure how it would ever repair itself, and kept asking myself in crazy whispers, " How did I feel before this revelation?"
Normality felt like a life time ago.
The trees looked different.
Were they sneering at me?
Everything looked weird.
Could nature be fake too?
As I walked I was sure the stony path was laughing at my naivety - silly girl!
As I lay my heavy head and body on the verge, the grass seemed to stroke my brow, perhaps in an attempt to comfort and slow my racing thoughts, my panicked head kept circling round and round, going over and over again and again the details of the event that had unfolded earlier in the day.
How could I speak again?
I needed to speak!
But who could I trust with this?  Who would believe what I so desperately needed to share?
"Breathe", I reminded myself.
"Just keep breathing"
I'm unsure now of the time frame, but I did - over time - start speaking again.  And, the beautiful thing was that all my wonderful  friends I spoke with held me close.
Cried with me.
Held me tight in their thoughts, prayers and physically held me too.
My lovely husband Andrew often feels sad (and a tad confused maybe) when he reads my blogs - asking, "Why do you share that type of story with the world? It's so personal and upsetting!"
And the reason is this:
If just one person out there is reading this and is dealing with devastating news then my hope is that my words help "hold" them and provide some comfort.  I'd hope too that this blog post provides them with some reassurance that the pain they feel right now really will pass.  I know too well that in the depths of it, that can seem like a trite and empty thing to say - but it is true!
"Our wounds are often the openings into the best and most beautiful part of us." - David Richo