TRUTH HURTS

RE-MEMORY

Memory and truth are, and always will be, uncomfortable bedfellows. Memory is never exact but rather a construct built by the individual to make sense of their experiences. Sometimes the process of memory, remembering, is conscious and sometimes it is not. Some of us may never become aware of how or why we remember things in a certain way. Others of us will consciously write and rewrite our memories, eating up all of the information afforded to us through our lives. Most of us will fall somewhere in between, drifting from consciousness to unconsciousness as needed. Instinctively knowing what to retain and how to retain it to survive.

How we remember enables our ability to carry on with our day to day lives. Denial might serve to help us live through whatever it is we need to forget. Creating a sense of right and wrong might help us ignore how we might be complicit in our own trials.

Each perspective feels like truth, and is in fact at least one person’s truth. Complete and whole for that person, but paradoxically it is also only part of the whole - a mother might remember an event differently to a son, and the differences might seem incompatible to each but who’s right is it to call the other a liar? Cannot these two versions of what should be the same memory exist together, wholeheartedly and in truth?

THE UNIVERSAL

What is truth and what is so important about it? The word itself stands above us, monolithic in its hold over how we connect. The truth becomes something we think we must discover, through a process of elimination and investigation we think we can unearth it. Archeologist, artists and scientists all hunt for it, teachers teach it.

Truth is singular; there can only be one. Or is it?

I may speak in the first person singular but I am talking about the third person plural. All of our individual stories, the narratives of our lives, tell much more than just our personal journeys. When we speak up we speak out for others. The details are never exactly the same, but the details are ultimately unimportant. The truths we speak of are universal, even when they may seem conflicting or contradictory.

Paradoxes exist as truth. Yin and yang.

Memory is not exact, and the process of remembering is not scientific. We remember what we want to remember. The facts as we see them are not the only way to see them. Two different memories of the exact same event can be different and still both be true. Both mother and son speak from their truth, which is bigger than the single event which they are narrating. All narrators are unreliable, but what they reveal through how they tell their stories are the emotions and the relationships the teller has to these emotions.

FREEDOM FROM HAPPENSTANCE

The narrative is just information, the truth lives in how we feel. When we can become conscious in the telling of our stories we can learn how to actively write our own lives, we can choose our truths. And the truths we live are through choice, even if we are often trapped by our perception of the past. Boxed in by our need to blame rather than accept, our inability to see the past as information from which we can and should grow. To forget the pain is not to forget the memory. Use the emotion to leave behind the terror and fear of the dark nights and rise into a daybreak that is wondrously clear.

Even anger can lead to a clarifying expansion of self when we let go of the language of violence.

Choose the truth you want to speak, and speak it knowing that your truth doesn’t negate the truths of others. Practice and embody your truth, be that which you want to see in the world.

Listen to see and not to judge. Learn to hold more than one paradigm at once. Care deeply about your truth and still be unattached to a specific outcome, keep your heart, mind and will open to the diversity and commonality of feeling.

PASS IT FORWARD

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SAY HELLO, WAVE GOODBYE

THE POWER OF GOODBYE

The end of a relationship is sad. Often unbearably so. We make up that we are not good with endings and so don’t engage with the real power of goodbye.

My very recent split from my partner has shown me how consciously writing the ending helps the healing process. The ending is part of the story and yet we don’t usually experience it as such, allowing instead the intense swings of emotion to dictate our reactions.

In this moment now I am able to notice, acknowledge and be with what I am feeling. I am able to fully experience all of our lasts as our final month together comes to an end. And as I watch myself, almost as if I were having an out of body experience, I realise how very different this behaviour is for me.

My old pattern was to descend into isolation and a crippling fear of loneliness. I surprise myself by not going to this place now, and then I realise that  I have been  expecting caterpillar behaviour when in fact I have transformed into a butterfly.

And as a butterfly my physical environment must change. Caterpillars and butterflies may live in the same forests, but they occupy different parts of the tree.

By intentionally feeling the power of goodbye I am working towards creating a life that is purposeful and meaningful. A life lived deliberately and not because of familiarity. Life is an experience within which we must fully immerse ourselves. Where I used to turn left I will now turn right.

love is...

Love is often seen as something to give, or something to get. A commodity to be traded in needy declarations and heart shaped gifts. Something to be quantified, multiplied or divided. But this is not love.

Love is cultivated when we allow ourselves to be seen and known, and it is this act of deep vulnerability and true strength that creates an intimate and spiritual connection.

Loving honours this connection with trust, respect, kindness and affection. Love is only cultivated between two individuals when it exists in both and is nurtured by each. We can only love others as much as we love ourselves.

Shame, blame, disrespect, betrayal and the withholding of affection damage love, but love can survive these when they are named, healed and rare.

All too often we come to love from a place of loneliness and need. We are unable to approach falling in love consciously, and so awareness is sacrificed for the giddy emotions we don’t even try to understand.

Love is good, right -  so what else could we possibly need to know?

Intimacy and sex become confused, in turn confusing body, heart and brain. The intoxication of the process we think of as falling in love stops us really listening to what is going on. Our primal fear of loneliness makes us bedfellows with an image we desperately want to call love.

We look outside of ourselves to be loved, we imagine that someone else can complete us. But unless we love ourselves we can never really feel loved. We can only love others as much as we love ourselves. Our range is set internally, and what we don’t feel inside we can never feel from the outside. What is in is out.

SOULFULLY NUDE

Love is self love.

If we can't love ourselves we can’t stand naked before anyone else. And I’m not talking about having sex with the lights on, I mean soulfully nude. Vulnerable. Proud. Strong. Seen. A deeply intimate and spiritual  connection can only start from here.

When a relationship starts from need, when it has its roots in self doubt and shame, it is fated to end. In good times and in bad, love only continues to grow when it is nourished consciously. And by both individuals.

Too many of us stay in relationships when the initial flash of lust disappears, hoping that the familiarity it is replaced with is love. But love is not familiar. Like us it grows and changes as we grow and change. As we learn to love ourselves more we become able to love others more.

And when an unnurtured loves dies allow it to go. Write the ending of the story together. Part consciously acknowledging the ending, the ‘last times’. Don’t fight the sadness, be with it and notice how you are.

Love deserves both a conscious beginning and a conscious ending. Love only survives from a state of consciousness. Cultivation is an intentional activity.

Knowing and accepting the end allows us to write it ourselves. When the firsts return make sure you cultivate love rather than trying to give or get it.

By saying hello we wave goodbye.

OVER TO YOU

Feel free to share this post if you enjoyed it.

If anything in my blog has resonated with you I would love to hear about it. Tell your story or share your insights in the comments box below.

GET IN TOUCH

I am a fully trained Co-Active Coach, and I work with people who yearn to live a fulfilling life but feel trapped or at a crossroads. In partnership my clients and I create the environment from which they can fully experience a purposeful life.

I see life as a diverse network of stories that ultimately reveal a commonality of human emotions and feelings. Our narratives may be different and diverse in their detail but how and what we feel is common to all, regardless of gender, sexuality, age or race.

If you would like to work with or talk to me, get in touch.

A LONELY OFF WHITE ROOM

CRUEL INTENTIONS

My intentions for this year are to live with courage, purpose and connection; to be the person whom I long to be; to see and be seen.

It sounds easy as I read that back, as I retype it, starting this post where I ended my last one. But what I have discovered is that living an intentional, purposeful and connected life is the opposite of easy. It is a radical act, it is fulfilling, and it is essential. But it is not easy.

The intention is not cruel and the word courageous feels almost admirable. Inspirational even. But stepping into the vulnerability needed to be the person I am constantly becoming requires conscious choice; and all too often we allow choices to be made by the passage of time. We shy away from what we intuitively know and we allow the material content of our lives to become a measure our happiness.

A LIFE LESS ORDINARY

Sometimes we pray for a forest fire, something to burn away the trappings and paraphernalia of modern living, knowing that from the ashes we will rise again, but this too feels wrong. We have to choose, we cannot allow the choice to be done onto us.

Living a fulfilled life is a radical act. Living a fulfilled life is making choices that are aligned to your values. Choices that honour your truth, whatever that may be. We imagine that the path to fulfillment is a yellow brick road, and at times it is.

But fulfillment and happiness are not the same thing. Sometimes they collide, and fulfillment can lead to happiness. But making choices that honour who we are does not always make us happy in the immediate.

And so fulfillment is not always a yellow brick road, sometimes it it is more like a lonely off white room.

CONTEXTUAL LIVING

The lonely off white room is a vulnerable place, one that we have to consciously choose to inhabit. It might seem like a place of desperate loneliness and fear but it is actually a place of expansion and growth. The radical act of fulfillment is to open the door to this off white room.

Living a life radically is living a life consciously. A life in context. To be courageous, purposeful and connected we have to look at what we are tolerating in our lives. We have to really look into the compromises we are making. We have to choose self love, it might be cliched but we have to put on our own oxygen masks before we can help anyone else. And self love is not a selfish choice, bringing a nourished you into to the world is a gift to the world.

Loving the self, yourself or your big ‘I’, rarely starts in a state of comfort.

NO COMPROMISE

From this place of discomfort, our lonely off white room, we must look into why we are prepared to compromise and tolerate. What is stopping us from standing up courageously and making ourselves vulnerable? Is it shame or fear, or both, holding us motionless when we should be constant motion.

Even the stillness of space sows the seeds for forward movement.

When we choose consciously, rather than allowing life to just happen to and around us, the stakes of our decisions are much higher. The responsibility is much greater. It is a responsibility to ourselves, those around us and the world at large.

CHOOSE LIFE

The choices we make have an impact. So choose, but choose well. And choose with intent. Indeed choose life, but know that life is not all TV and cars, the material burns and dies but our legacies survive.

What do you want your legacy to be?

And why wait to be remembered, choose it now, live it now, be known for your legacy whilst you are still able to fully inhabit and live it.

What does your lonely off white room look like? What does vulnerability feel like for you? And if you avoid it what shields do you use to protect yourself?

What are you tolerating?

OVER TO YOU

Feel free to share this post if you enjoyed it.

If anything in my blog has resonated with you I would love to hear about it. Tell your story or share your insights in the comments box below.

GET IN TOUCH

I am a fully trained Co-Active Coach, and I work with people who yearn to live a fulfilling life but feel trapped or at a crossroads. In partnership my clients and I create the environment from which they can fully experience a purposeful life.

I see life as a diverse network of stories that ultimately reveal a commonality of human emotions and feelings. Our narratives may be different and diverse in their detail but how and what we feel is common to all, regardless of gender, sexuality, age or race.

If you would like to work with or talk to me, get in touch

GUESS WHO'S BACK

THE PARADOX OF MAGNIFICENCE

To live with courage, purpose and connection; to be the people who we long to be, we must be vulnerable. We must allow ourselves to be seen. And we must see.

We are conditioned to believe that we are not enough, that we should always strive to be more. We are conditioned to contain our dreams, to hold ourselves small and to fear exposure. We are conditioned to believe that unless we are perfect we are not ready.

To embrace vulnerability is to embrace our imperfection and accept that we are enough. Our best, our 100% no more no less, is everything.  We must believe in what we are in this moment. In each moment we must be fulfilled by what is in front of and within us. And yet the journey to fulfilment is on going. We don't conquer vulnerability once and then it is done. Being enough everyday takes conscious effort and intention.

THE VULNERABILITY HANGOVER

We must remind ourselves of our magnificence and still know that we have places to grow. Being enough is continuous and not finite. There is not a place of enough that once we reach we are done.

I haven't written a post in about a month. I used Christmas and the New Year as an excuse. I told myself I was breaking my rule of posting once a fortnight, but that I was breaking it with intent. Rules are made to be broken and so I told myself I was learning by ignoring my own self imposed structure and doing things differently.

In truth I was feeling exposed. I am a loud silent person. I am an ambivert. I had opened up through my writings and ways of being. I had shown a wide circle of people who I was, what I had survived and who I am becoming. I was praised for my artistry and craft. I was praised for modelling the vulnerability that I know will change the world, for standing up and speaking the truth that I call ancient and instinctive.

THE NURTURED EGO

At the age of 39 I started to really believe in myself. To see my ego as something that needed to be nourished rather than suppressed. To see self love and care as necessary rather than the tools of the arrogant. I began to believe that I could make a difference. That I had a voice and something important to say.

By being vulnerable I connected more authentically to myself; more intimately with the people in my life, even when this lead to conflict and upset; and more consciously to the energetic field we all create in our partnerships, friendships and communities. Even when being enough I was able to grow and be more, and this paradox is truth. Growth comes to those who are enough.

ALWAYS DO YOUR BEST

I knew viscerally what it meant to be enough, and I knew that I was enough. My best, however that showed up in any given moment, was enough. And as long as I was being honest with myself about being the best I could be I could be proud of me. And 2016 was a year of self pride.

And then at Christmas I floundered. From believing in myself I started to doubt. My saboteur had learnt how to become sneakier. I confused laziness with self love. I confused sleep with space. I confused fear and shame with writer’s block.

And then the shame which I had beaten off came back. The anxiety about the future snuck in. I could say I was enough but I couldn’t be enough. What had been visceral had suddenly become intellectual. My brain knew the words but my body didn’t feel it.

THE LOUD SILENCE

I am a loud silent person, or maybe I am a silent loud person. And while I can be a great social connector, I don’t get my energy from my extroversion. I survive in the world of the introvert. I go back to spaciousness and stillness to re-energise. It’s not that I have to disappear inside but rather that I need to nurture the part of me that loves me. And I have to be intentional in doing this. I experience being as active, I do being because being is an evolutionary thing.

We don't just become and then stop. But transformation is a state not a stage of life. A butterfly can unbecome and reverse back into a caterpillar.

What does this mean for humanity?

Once we have experienced transformation we can’t go back to being our old selves and play with the same habitual behaviours. Once we know our patterns, once we break our cycles, we can’t stop being aware. Especially when the positive effects of our awareness are not only within us but also shine back to us through the faces of those on whom we have had an impact.

WITH INTENT

In short, I am back - most of you probably didn’t even notice that I had been away. But I felt it. My Christmas wobble has shown me that being enough is both complete and ongoing. Vulnerability isn’t something that we conquer but rather something we have to work at daily, and it is essential for connection to self, other and community.

My intentions for this year are to live with courage, purpose  and connection; to be the person whom I long to be; to see and be seen.

What did you learn last year that you can’t unlearn, and how will you use this knowledge intentionally this year?

OVER TO YOU

Feel free to share this post if you enjoyed it.

If anything in my blog has resonated with you I would love to hear about it. Tell your story or share your insights in the comments box below.

GET IN TOUCH

I am a fully trained Co-Active Coach, and I work with people who yearn to live a fulfilling life but feel trapped or at a crossroads. In partnership my clients and I create the environment from which they can fully experience a purposeful life.

I see life as a diverse network of stories that ultimately reveal a commonality of human emotions and feelings. Our narratives may be different and diverse in their detail but how and what we feel is common to all, regardless of gender, sexuality, age or race.

If you would like to work with or talk to me, get in touch

THE OPPOSITE OF PATRIARCHY

MY BIG FAT TURKISH WEDDING

I come from an extended Turkish Cypriot family. Patriarchally structured, my grandfather was the head for years. He lead by virtue of being the eldest male. As a child I felt pride being the grandson of our leader. But what qualified him to lead? Nothing but our patriarchal traditions. A tradition which was, and is, founded on exploitation and denial.

The women in my family have spent their lives in denial; always in service of their fathers, husbands and now their sons. Oppressed by societal and familial structures that are so entrenched in a patriarchy that fails both its men and its women.

The real problem however is that no one is brave enough to take over. Our fathers and their fathers have brought us to the brink of self destruction, the old traditions of leadership have left us unloved and spent and no one is willing to hold us all together.

What makes a good leader? And what qualifies them to lead?

JOY, DIVISION

As the generations of my family fall apart into separate and independent entities we also collapse into each other. Into an ineffective mess. No one able to inspire the others. And in the mess secrets seem to be rising to the surface, but shame still thrives and binds us to patterns too familiar for us to break.

No one is willing to lead because no one is prepared to be lead.

What is the need of this disparate, broken and ineffective tribe? We are held together by blood ties that go way back in time. We are held together by memories of the past which are at once nostalgic and violent. Our minds, hearts and wills are closed off to the possibility of a new emergent future. We have stopped listening, not just to each other but to ourselves. To our collective sound.

SHAME, SHAME, YOU KNOW YOUR NAME

The answer must start with openness and truth telling. We must name our shame. We must share our vulnerability. We must acknowledge that our forefathers failed us. As did our foremothers. No matter how much we love them we must correct their mistakes, break the old traditions that have not served us for as long as we can remember.

I can love my grandfather and still say he is complicit in the struggles we face today.

The women of my family must name their truths and leave their denials behind. They must tell their stories, their individual narratives of denial and oppression. They must show up in their full glorious strength and power.

The men have been made to feel weak because we are not as powerful as these patriarchal structures demand us to be. We have fought back our own shame and vulnerability because in this world we are not allowed to show up as anything other than omniscient. And so we haven’t shown up at all. We are running scared.

The old leadership has left both women and men feeling not enough.

A NEW ORDER

If the opposite of patriarchy is not matriarchy, what is it? I don't quite know. I am seeking. In my search I look for how to lead or be lead, I look for that critical awareness that will bring me back into the heart of my family.

What I do know is that we must connect from a place of truth, honesty and openness for the sake of genuine love, intimacy and support. From here we will lead together, each bringing forth our own special skills, our own unique abilities. From here both women and men are enough. Denial enables old patterns to repeat. Denial supports the old power structures.

Leadership starts when we name the shame that holds us back. Leadership starts when we stand strong in our vulnerability, overcoming our fears. 

And the need is not just for this one Turkish Cypriot family but for a world in which Trump is currently the President-elect of the United States.

Maybe then we can lead together, interdependently. 

OVER TO YOU

Feel free to share this post if you enjoyed it.

If anything in my blog has resonated with you I would love to hear about it. Tell your story or share your insights in the comments box below.

GET IN TOUCH

I am a fully trained Co-Active Coach, and I work with people who yearn to live a fulfilling life but feel trapped or at a crossroads. In partnership my clients and I create the environment from which they can fully experience a purposeful life.

I see life as a diverse network of stories that ultimately reveal a commonality of human emotions and feelings. Our narratives may be different and diverse in their detail but how and what we feel is common to all, regardless of gender, sexuality, age or race.

If you would like to work with or talk to me, get in touch

NO ONE ON EARTH CAN ALWAYS BE AN ANGEL

IF SOMETIMES YOU SEE THAT I'M MAD

My dad would have turned seventy seven this weekend.

My dad was mentally ill, violent and an alcoholic.

My dad died alone, it was five weeks before we were informed of his death.

My dad was estranged from his family because he was a bully. I was always scared of him, even as an old man and especially in death.

After his death I heard his voice almost everywhere. Not his exact voice but his words through the words spoken or sung by others. Particularly in Lana Del Rey's version of Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood. The pathos of it being Del Rey’s cover rather than Nina Simone’s is not lost on me.

I would play this song on repeat whenever I found myself alone.

As Del Rey sings “With a joy that's hard to hide / And then sometimes again it seems that all I have is worry / And then you're bound to see my other side / But I'm just a soul whose intentions are good / Oh Lord, please don't let me be misunderstood” it felt like my dad was speaking directly to me. Asking me to understand not just him but the cycle that I must consciously choose to break.

He was telling me that he knew he was a bully but that he too had been a victim once. But he had never been able to transcend his victimhood and so lived out a destiny that he was born into. One which is both ancient and huge.

The sins of his father and his father’s father played out through his life and bled into mine and my brother’s.

And so these words became his words “If I seem edgy / I want you to know / I never mean to take it out on you / Life has its problems / And I get more than my share / But that's one thing I never mean to do / Cos I love you”.

In this ghostly way I was able to make peace with my father in death in a way I was never able to in life.

SOMETIMES I FIND MYSELF ALONE REGRETTING

Seeing my dad’s dead body was at once haunting and healing. His mouth was open as if gasping for one last breath, and his eyes were neither open nor closed. In death as in life he was a figure of torment. To me and to himself. Death didn’t offer him peace.

His demons didn’t allow him to break the chains of the cycles handed down to him by his ancestors. His childhood, his neglect and his madness all controlled everything he did. He never gave himself the power to choose, his will was weak and all he could do was follow the pattern laid out for him.

He never lived in alignment with his true design. His paranoia forced him into a world of his own psychic reality that was often at odds with the physical reality of the world around him. The world within which his sons existed.

He not only died alone but he also lived alone. The torment he suffered exacerbated by the alcohol. The lessons learnt in his childhood taken out on his own children.

I know he had regrets. Lana embodied him just to let me know. And because of her generosity I have been able to forgive.

The truth is much bigger than one man and his sons. The truth is an ancient wisdom. The truth is huge. He had responsibility, but because of his illness he didn’t have the wherewithal to be responsible. I do.

PLEASE DON'T LET ME BE MISUNDERSTOOD

I no longer listen to this on repeat when I am alone, but it still helps to remind me that it is our responsibility to be intentional in life. It is our responsibility to take on the sins of our fathers for the sake of breaking the cycles we are born into.

Our ancestors may not have cared to protect their future but we must lead from a different place. One of openness, vulnerability and true strength. Together we must start creating a future based on healthy arcs, where death is a necessary part of life. We need to learn to let go for the sake of new beginnings, new arcs.

The circles and cycles of our past must be shattered to make space for new habits and patterns of being, and these in turn will also need to be destroyed as the next new arc begins.

Every end is a beginning.

OVER TO YOU

Feel free to share this post if you enjoyed it.

If anything in my blog has resonated with you I would love to hear about it. Tell your story or share your insights in the comments box below.

GET IN TOUCH

I am a fully trained Co-Active Coach. I work with people who yearn to live a fulfilling life but feel trapped or at a crossroads, as well as people who struggle with anxiety, so that they can experience a calmer more purposeful life.  If this sounds like you, get in touch.

ON KISSING, TICKLING AND BEING BORED

ON PURPOSE

What would claiming your space look like for you? How do you ensure that you reach out into your full range and not just play it safe? How big do you hold yourself and know yourself to be?

Most of us find our groove and stick to it. We stay in the same loop because it is familiar and safe. Because when we first played it that way it served us well. As children we may have felt popular, as adults we may have earned a full wage. For whatever reason the tune we chose resonated and so we stayed and grew comfortable, becoming more and more fearful of change. Of doing things differently, of perhaps being different not just from others but from how we were before.

IN THE LOOP

We now find ourselves stagnating, repeating. The notes we looped together are no longer intriguing but instead tired and boring. Even that which was once fulfilling becomes a drain on our energy. Either our values change or we discover that the dreams we dreamt were in fact empty. Meaningful becomes meaningless.

Life is in constant flux. It ebbs and flows as we pass through space and time. New adventures offer themselves up but often we forget the excitement of the first kiss and so we sit where we are and do more of the same. Again and again.

We’ve all kissed a boy. Or a girl. And we all liked it. We made the choice that very first time. We chose to kiss and be kissed. We said yes rather than no. Things quickly become habitual and we forget that we are always at conscious choice. We all too often do because it’s what we’ve done before. The choice is there we just don’t actively make it.

Life starts happening to us. The passage of time takes over. Human experience becomes linear. But human experience is not linear. We don’t remember, feel or even think in linear patterns. In fact time is not linear, as counterintuitive as this may seem, life and time are much richer than the linear suggests.

THE EGO AND THE ID

We forget to be because that involves some kind of higher consciousness, some kind of awareness of self. And instead of turning up the self we play out loud with the I.

The I is just the outward manifestation of the self. It is not who we really are, it is just a projection for the rest of the world. The I can change without compromising the self. Toning down the I is not compromising the self, and turning the volume of the I up to max is not being yourself authentically.

The I is the impact you have in the world. Be deliberate and intentional with how you play the I out. Be on purpose purposefully.

When we confuse I and self we either over perform or underplay our parts. We lose authenticity and in our own ways we allow the ego to control our destiny. Some of us become too loud and others too quiet.

For some loud voices are white noise and for others silence is not always golden.

PLAYING IN NEW WAYS

Each of us has our default.

We all have a preference for big or small. I know I certainly do. It is often the place we feel most hidden, the place from which we feel less vulnerable. I challenge you to start playing from the different place. And when you notice yourself falling back into your old habit, push yourself to do it differently. Open your heart up to yourself. Trust yourself.

We all know where we are most comfortable and so let’s make ourselves uncomfortable for the sake of our own personal growth, fulfillment and happiness. For the sake of being intentionally impactful in life.

The richest place of learning and growth is that of discomfort.

The victor always takes the spoils, and it is by breaking our habitual ways of being that we are reminded of the joys of kissing, the excitement of being tickled and ultimately avoid the tedium of being bored.

OVER TO YOU

Feel free to share this post if you enjoyed it.

If anything in my blog has resonated with you I would love to hear about it. Tell your story or share your insights in the comments box below.

GET IN TOUCH

I coach people who struggle with anxiety, who yearn to live a fulfilling life but feel trapped or at a crossroads so that they can experience a calmer more purposeful life. If this sounds like you, get in touch.

LEGALLY BLIND

MACULAR DYSTROPHY

I suffer with Stargardt’s disease.

Stargardt macular dystrophy is an inherited eye condition that affects the macula. The macula is a tiny part of the retina, it is the light sensitive film at the back of the eye.

Stargardt macular dystrophy causes a reduction in the central, or detailed, vision. This is the vision used when looking directly at something or someone. Stargardt macular dystrophy doesn't usually affect the peripheral vision.

Last week, at my annual check up at the specialist clinic in Moorfields Eye hospital, I was told that I would be registered as partially sighted. I am still waiting to be told what this means exactly but I know that my left eye has degenerated so much that I find it hard to focus at all when using just my left eye. I am told to expect my right eye to go the same way.

Rather than being upset or anxious I am curious about what my unique way of seeing will allow me to actually see? What do I know because of the way I see? What is my body trying to tell me? What are my eyes actually showing me?

SEEING AWARELY

Because of my visual impairment I don’t watch the world go by, rather I see it go by. The detail of all the people, places and things disappear. I am instead much more aware of the beauty in front of me. The scratches, dents and imperfections come to life as I get closer to look closer.

I have to take the time to appreciate because the fleeting gaze just throws up shapes or colour blocks, sometimes with shading but rarely with much more detail.

Stargardt's forces me to see mindfully.

With a constantly softened focus I don’t register detail properly, I even sometimes need someone to describe a photograph to me before I can make it out. Once told I seem to remember the words and in turn seem to see the picture. But if truth be told the content often just escapes me. I live a life in context.

SEEING INTUITIVELY

I have to bring my other senses to establish content or detail. Touch and smell. Or taste where appropriate.

It’s always been like this for me, from even before I was diagnosed. It has degenerated, but I wonder how much of that is awareness and how much of that is physical reality. And although I do wear glasses they do not correct my vision. I mainly wear them because they act as a structure for other people. It seems odd, almost incomprehensible, to most people that glasses cannot correct all visual impairments other than total blindness.

Stargardt’s has forced me to slow down.

When I finally listened to my body and saw what it had been trying to show me I knew that I had to re-pace the way I was living. I had to slow down and give myself the space I needed. To see and feel seen I had to stop trying to watch and just notice.

Perhaps my soft focus allows other channels to open up. Because I cannot always see in detail I have had to hone my intuition to sense what is in the space. I have always had a strong intuition but rather than being born that way maybe I have just exercised that muscle more than most because I haven't been able to rely on eyesight in a world where seeing has replaced sensing.

But what does this all mean?

SEEING MEANINGFULLY

Maybe nothing. Meaning is arbitrary. Made up even. And this is why meaning is so meaningful. The facts don’t change. The narratives of our lives remain as they always were. As they are, however we remember them.

It is how we respond to our personal narratives that changes.

We are ultimately responsible for our emotional reactions. When we are hurt it is because pain is triggered from within. We can control how we respond, often as simply as not taking things personally. Some challenges are tougher than others but the game is still the same.

I could’ve asked, why me? And when I was first going through the process of diagnosis I couldn’t move beyond the fear of what might be wrong. Blindness scared the shit out of me.

SEEING EXPANSIVELY

Now I see my disease as somewhere else to grow from. Rather than looking at what it closes off (I can no longer watch Almodovar films because I cannot read the subtitles fast enough) I look at what is available to me now. What new truth can I learn? What ancient and huge wisdom is my body revealing to me? How does Stargardt’s disease support my life learnings in a more visceral way.

My aim is to expand our worlds, and I know that expansion can be found in any space we choose to see it. Stargardt’s is an opportunity to be expansive.

OVER TO YOU

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CHASE THE TEAR

WINTER’S SIGH

Why do we stop ourselves crying, or try to hide our tears? Why do others tell us to stop crying, or wipe away our tears? We are encouraged to laugh and smile but persuaded that big boys and girls don’t cry.

Tears are social pariahs.

Tears are an outward sign of our inner body language. They speak to how our bodies are responding to internal and/pr external stimuli. Mostly we assume they are a sign of sadness, but we see that sometimes they are also a sign of joy. We cry at weddings as well as funerals.

Tears are deeply intimate and ultimately this is why we are uncomfortable with them.

SUMMER’S GONE

I cry a lot.

I cry when I arrive and I cry when I leave. I cry for love and I cry for death. I cry for me, I cry for others. Films, TV, music, books, theatre can all make me cry.

I have tried to hide my tears my whole life. I have been proud when successfully stifling back tears. When I have thought I had fooled those around me by flooding my tears back inwards, drowning me inside out. And that is exactly the feeling, by not crying we feel flooded.

Even the happy tears became something to be ashamed of.

HOLDING OFF TOMORROW’S SORROW

Shame is the key.

We are normalised into wiping tears away before they fall. A tear drop has become almost impossible to look at. Impossible to feel. As if wiping it away wipes away the emotion. Resolves our response to the pain or happiness we are feeling in that moment.

Wiping away is an act of trying to wipe out the motion of the emotion we should be connecting to. Emotion is after all energy in motion (e-motion).

My tears come directly from my body. So even though the eyes are pockets of the brain my tears come from my throat mostly. My tears don’t just fall from my eyes. But also my mouth and my nose. Crying is not typically beautiful. When we really allow ourselves to cry most social conventions of beauty are broken.

Crying involves tear, bogey and saliva. But crying is beautiful.

RUSHING OUT

All the muscles in our faces are engaged when we cry. Our whole bodies are involved whether we are crying gently or sobbing. For me, it starts in the throat and moves up but the feeling also moves down, into my gut and out into my thighs and shoulders.

I feel whatever I am feeling entirely viscerally when I allow myself to cry. Even when the tears are just watery eyes.

I wipe away my tears because I feel exposed. Because I feel that the intimacy is too much. Because I feel that I am too much. In contrast I was recently told that I am at my most compelling when in these moments of intimacy, that I am my most masculine when I allow myself to cry.

See, boys at least do cry.

RUSHING IN

I am learning that there is a diversity in tears that I need to explore. Put simply we all cry when we are happy and we all cry when we are sad, but there is something much more intricate to get curious about here.

Tears are not just simple cyphers of basic emotions. They can tell us much more about ourselves, about how our bodies work and about the primal visceral knowledge we all hold within us.

Mine are a physical sign of my connection to my inner world, the world of those around me and the spaces we create in between. Tears leave an indelible mark on all of the above.

I am learning to be more comfortable with this. I am learning to see the power, strength and compelling authenticity of tears. I know this is true for all of us, I believe it wholeheartedly for all of you. And I am at the beginning of really knowing it for myself.

OVER TO YOU

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LISTEN WITHOUT PREJUDICE

MORE, MORE, MORE

We have been taught to always want more. It is taken for granted that economic growth is good and recession is bad. So when GDP is up we should be too, right? Wrong.

Our parents packed us off to university and sealed our fate. With education came debt, or credit if you’d rather. We learned to listen to our brains and ignore our hearts. The intellectual trumped the visceral. The masculine energy trumped the feminine. Being direct and decisive gave the individual more credence than being sensitive and spacious. To listen whole and full heartedly, word by word, implied a lack of opinion. The insatiable ego fooled us into believing it had the answers and should be listened to at all costs.

And so now success is measured in how much or how big. Clothes, cars, houses. To do better is to have more. We live our lives in the overtime so that we can increase our credit and spending.

Credit is rated, life is spent.

A GROWING NEED TO BE PRESENT

Growth is good! We’ve just been concentrating our efforts in the wrong place. We have replaced our big hearts with big cars. We’ve forgotten how to be present and so turn up, smart phones in hand, with our minds somewhere across the globe playing Words With Friends with someone we’ve never met.

We’re neither in one place nor the other. We should be growing our presence not our followers. Or our credit.

Presence is an active move away from the ego and into a collective; the self as an integrated and complete part of a whole rather than as a separate entity within the whole.

LANGUAGE IN THE PRESENT TENSE

Being present is being wholly and mindfully in the current moment in time and in space. The idea is about being here rather than over there.

Listening to hear rather than to listening to respond. At the simplest level just being in the room, and not distracted by anything exterior to what is here now.

The present tense is present.

The word ultimately is unimportant but the concept is essential. The word is necessary because we need a common language with which to communicate, but it is the feeling that we must understand.

The feeling can only be known viscerally. Here is where our brains can no longer help us. Our minds, by their nature, want to wander. The wisdom of our guts leads us to an understanding of the importance of presence, and in turn we are able to be present.

LET GO AND LET COME

I invite you all to listen from silence. To listen without prejudice. Allow yourself to feel into what your have heard. Think in metaphors and imagery. Draw if it helps. Offer your picture as your response. See what comes back. Let go and let come. Detach yourself from the outcome. Build upon what you receive. Again let go and let come.

Be generative in conversation. Be in dialogue not debate.

This is not a soft process, it can be fierce. Truths can be spoken, even when they are uncomfortable. Especially when they are uncomfortable. When we let go of our expectations, when we detach from the outcome, we let go of paranoid sensitivity. We stop taking things personally.

Then what? The emerging future forces us to occupy our own life completely. Take our space, be as big and as loud as we can be. As we are.

Dissonance can also resonate, and so discord is not necessarily conflict. Always hold true to what is being said in the moment. Don't jump in from a place of knowing, or from a feeling that you deserve something different to that which is in front of you. That which you are living right now.

Be playful, see how connections and intimacy can grow through a big present heart.

OVER TO YOU

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THE MALE PIECE

FROM THATCHER TO MAY

Everyone, man or woman, possesses masculine and feminine energies. The masculine and the feminine don't need to correspond to the male and the female. For the purposes of this blog I would like to see masculinity as direct and decisive, and femininity as spacious and sensitive.

The masculine and the feminine are both powerful energies which we all need to access at different times and for different purposes. There is no hierarchy. There is no need to suppress one in favour of embodying the other. They can and do exist in equal measure, and with equal authenticity, within all of us. We are all equal parts masculine and feminine.

The masculine and feminine are not binary in the way our DNA may imply that gender could be. The masculine and feminine are in flow, or at least should be. Somehow our Western Corporate Society has placed a higher value on the masculine. It has become almost unacceptable for men to access their feminine energies.

To achieve 'success' women have had to channel the masculine at the expense of the feminine. We only have to look at Margaret Thatcher and Theresa May to see the truth in this statement.

REFLECTING OUR VULNERABILITY

We assume that to show up vulnerable is to show up weak. Or that to be receptive is to be easily led. Men just don’t behave in these ways. And more and more women don’t, or shouldn't, either.

When we make ourselves vulnerable we are encouraged to feel shame and forced to apologise for the honesty we have offered out or demonstrated.

I am not sorry.

My blog is all about me owning my truth and showing up vulnerable. It is about finding my voice authentically. Not a brand that represents what I want you to see but a form of expression that is uniquely mine.

It is important to me that my voice goes beyond me and that my truth holds something of the universal. That it reflects the external world.

A CLEAN MASCULINITY

I want to model a more mindful masculinity that embraces the spaciousness and sensitivity of the feminine. I want to be these energies because I want to see these energies in the world more. I want to show others that it is not just ok to make ourselves vulnerable, it is essential. Men must start to diversify. It is not about being gay or straight. It is not even about being a man, a woman, trans or non-binary.

The masculine is like an arrow, it is to the point and forceful. It’s achievements are tangible and probably quantifiable. The feminine offers the chance to collaborate, to build from each other in positive ways, creating a process which comes with no strict agenda but rather grows collectively. We need more of this energy in our Leaders. Political, Business and Community.

Men need to access a clean healthy masculinity, not one which is pent up and explodes under pressure into controlling and aggressive behaviours. The balance needs to be redressed.

A DIVINE DIVERSITY

One possible first step is for us conscious men, men who understand that we are at choice, to choose to model the feminine out in the world. By evoking the feminine energy in our outward behaviours we model this for other men. We give other men permission to do the same. We become the change we want to see in the world. We imbue the feminine with its real power, not at the expense of the masculine, but rather in collaboration.

Let’s build an understanding of the non-binary essence of masculine and feminine energies.

Let’s stop the misunderstanding between the male and the masculine and the female and the feminine.

Let’s aim to become the diverse creatures that humans naturally are.

Women too must embrace the feminine. As I have written before, the opposite of patriarchy is not matriarchy. Matriarchy just creates a new authoritative hierarchy.

Fraternity, community, collectivity. These are the places from which equality, acceptance, diversity and truth grow.

The conversation starts here...

OVER TO YOU

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HAPPY BIRTHDAY MUM

SOUL SURVIVORS

It is my mum’s 70th birthday next week. She is a survivor. Happy birthday mum. She might have been queen but for the fact she had me for a son…

I used to be a mummy’s boy as a child. I felt so much guilt for her sadness. I wanted to do anything to protect her and prayed for her happiness, even if this meant that I shouldn’t have been born. I believed that our family negated her, that our existence ruined what had been a happy childhood and the beginnings of her adult life.

I carried this around for most of my own life but as an adult it turned to resentment. We drifted and our relationship became quite fractious. I found it hard to see her true humanity beyond motherhood. I found it hard to let go of my childhood shame and so employed the same survival techniques I used as a child.

In adulthood this started to look aggressive and bitter. Rather than stepping into my adult relationship with my mother I kept us in the same space we occupied when I was a child. We were unable to presence ourselves to each other, choosing instead to live in the past and play out our history on repeat, each time more painfully and vociferously.

EAT THE CAKE ANNA MAE

My dad was a bully. He bullied my brother, my mother and I. I don't remember him spoiling my mum on her birthday, not even once. There were no cakes, cards or gifts from him to her. Birthdays were not celebrated. We entertained others but we did not celebrate.

Somehow I lost sight of my mother’s humanity and became too involved in our own pain. In my own shame. My ego telling me that I deserved better, pushing me into battling to be heard above everyone and everything else. I couldn't hear her words because I believed she wasn't hearing mine. I could only hear my own words for so long because I was not prepared to see beyond my own experience.

THE INNER CHILD

My shame was so big that even though I couldn't help but repeat myself with my mum there was no way I could share my story elsewhere. That would be weak. And even though I wanted to scream my narrative at my mother I couldn't tell her how I was actually feeling. It was not a story of my emotions but rather a story of fault and blame.

Through a process of detaching myself from my inner child I have been able to free myself of the words of my story. By telling my inner child that he did well and it is because of him that I am here today, but that he is no longer needed, I was able to let go of his shame. What he had to deal with has gone. I have said thank you and goodbye and in doing so have let go of the shame he felt - it is his not mine - and open up to a genuinely adult relationship with my mum.

I AM HER CHILD, BUT I AM NOT A CHILD

I want to hear her story, I want to listen to her from a space of hearing not responding. I want to acknowledge her vulnerability and let her know that she is strong. I want to let her know that she too no longer needs her old modes of survival. Today is a new day.

I love my mum because of who she is and not just because she is my mum. She was a person before she was a mum. She is not just defined by her motherhood, no matter how much I may have wanted that to be true I have had to learn that it just isn’t. Finally, at the age of 39, I am starting to show up as an adult in my relationship with my mother. I am her child, I am her baby, but I am finally no longer a child.

I can see a future emerging for us, a future that is grounded in vulnerability, equality, beauty and love. Above all it is strong, and from each other we can only grow stronger.

THE OPPOSITE OF PATRIARCHY

In this moment I am reminded the opposite of patriarchy is not matriarchy but fraternity. Or sorority. The gender of the phrase is unimportant, the idea is that we succeed as a community, as a collective. Not as individuals. When we let go of an ego driven past we genuinely learn to nourish what is here now and from this emerges a possibility of future growth. The details change from story to story but the truth feels universal.

I love you mum. Happy birthday!

OVER TO YOU

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PUPPY POWER

ONLY CONNECT

Vulnerability is a big, scary word. Or rather being vulnerable can feel big and scary.

When we feel vulnerable we often turn inwards, looking within to recover. But what would happen if rather than feeling the shame associated with being vulnerable we accessed the strength available to us through vulnerability?

Rather than turning in, what would happen if we stayed out, stood firm and showed our vulnerability to others? Could this possibly allow a deeper level of intimacy, a stronger connection or the opportunity to genuinely recover in a collaborative way?

We are not islands. We do not need to suffer, or survive, alone.

ONLY THE STRONG

Shame creeps in when we think too hard about how we feel. By rationalising our vulnerability, our emotions, somehow we persuade ourselves that openness is too much for the world. We persuade ourselves that we must gather ourselves up, straighten ourselves out and make ourselves presentable. Often even with those we love the most, or with those we feel the most connected and intimate.

What are we risking if we ask for help? What is at stake if we trust that in our vulnerability the need for help isn’t a weakness? Isn’t the need for help just a need - asking for help is a strength.

Only the strong ask for help.

TEACH AN OLD DOG

Last December my boyfriend and I decided to get a rescue dog. We were matched with an eight year old Staffie called Winston. He had been a stray and so the dog’s home didn’t know anything about his past. When we brought him home he was an anxious dog, manic at times, generally quite nervous and massively underweight. He was vulnerable. He had been abandoned and in his own way he was now looking to us for help. He didn’t need to ask, his vulnerability was out for all to see.

He still displays some anxiety. He can still be nervous and manic. But he has put on weight and has bonded to us both. He knows who is more likely to play fetch with him (my partner), or who will stroke him for longer (me). He has connected to us and is not afraid to ask, obviously in a nonverbal way, when he needs something.

Whatever he is feeling, Winston turns to us. He doesn’t look into himself to process his emotions - he looks to others to survive. Through his relationship with my partner and I Winston creates everything he needs. Together the three of us have built a home that doesn’t ignore his vulnerability, rather it uses that as the basis to positively give him access to everything that he needs.

Home is built from vulnerability, not despite it.

BE MORE DOG

Bonding with a pet doesn’t involve language or thought. Bonding with a pet is visceral. Their bodies and behaviours tell you what they need. They don’t assume you know what they’re feeling, they show up in their full honesty - often they're full vulnerability. They can’t even eat without you and so their basic survival is dependant entirely on you.

Winston models an open and honest, deeply intimate way of connecting for me. He bonded with me without shame and in a completely vulnerable way. All I could do was the same. His strength in needing me made me stronger for needing him. Through him. I learnt to live without guilt.

Winston and I sit in our present moments with what we are feeling. There is no past on which to hang our emotions and no future over which to fret, just the now. And this is freeing for me.

Unfortunately human to human relationships are more complex, but do they need to be complicated?

Stay in the moment with whatever you are feeling. Stay open to those you love. Acknowledge the humanity of others and connect more intimately. Build on each other rather than in competition with each other. And then stay with this relationship you have created, whatever it’s impact. Always breathe in this current moment, with all of its sensations. Together with others, not alone with thought.

It’s telling that dog behaviours have something to teach us all. Dogs show us what language alone cannot. Puppy power.

OVER TO YOU

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THE PRESENCE OF RELATIVITY

THE FABRIC OF SPACETIME

The Earth not only moves through space as it orbits the sun but also through time. No two orbits ever end up in the exact same spot. As the Earth returns it is in another place in time, at a different set of coordinates. It is this movement through time that we notice most, as we age, rather than the spinning through space, which counter-intuitively we don’t feel at all.

We know the movement through space to be true because the laws of physics tell us it is, but we know the movement through time to be true because we physically experience it through the passing of each second, minute, hour, week, month and year. Clock time even conveniently tracks it for us.

The truth we are experiencing is that as each moment passes it is gone.

Time has moved on, or rather we have moved forward through the fabric of time. What does this mean for us? What does this mean for you, or indeed me? The scary reality that whatever we do, one day everyone we know will die. We are mere mortals.

DEATH BECOMES US

My first conscious experience, or acknowledgement, that time moves us on regardless was after the death of my first serious boyfriend. The first person who told me he loved me, and the first person I told I loved.

And then he was killed in a road accident and I knew what it meant to miss a single moment, and many single moments. No matter how hard I cried all of these single moments in time were gone.

I kept a t-shirt of his, unwashed, to try and go back there through my olfactory senses. Trying to taste and feel what was now past. I slept with a photograph of him that I had taken, the only picture of him I ever took. He is looking directly at the camera in this photograph, and so for that moment he is looking straight at me. I wanted to believe that through the picture that gaze would live on. That he would always be looking at me and so the moment would never pass. I was stuck here for a long time, grieving what I had lost, both the man and all those moments.

I lacked presence, and I was lost.

THE PRESCIENCE OF PRESENCE

Working through grief I became aware that you can never be stuck if you are present. Presence is prescient. Or more truthfully when we are present we have the foresight to experience the stream of both external and internal stimuli as they occur. In other words we live our lives - acknowledging, sensing, feeling and leaning into each moment. We know this viscerally when we are present. We are aware of the act of just being.

Being present teaches us that whatever the condition of our minds or our bodies if we are breathing there is more right with us than wrong.

We are all here, so let’s be here now. Present in the present.

CALLING OUT OF CONTEXT

I would love to hear what you think about this or any of my blog posts, let’s stop with the small talk and start making it big. Let me know your views and experiences. How do you present yourself? What does being present mean to you? Join the conversation...

I am Co-Leading a practical workshop on Mindful Masculinity on Saturday 23rd July. There are limited spaces still available, please contact me on cahit.ali@icloud.com if you are interested in attending or would like further information.

OVER TO YOU

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I FEEL THEREFORE I AM

ON BEING

In Seventeenth Century France Descartes wrote je pense donc je suis -  I think therefore I am. Essentially he is saying that he exists because he is able to think.

For Descartes philosophical proof of existence is based on the fact that someone capable of thought necessarily exists.

Descartes’ brand of rationalism believes that truth is intellectual, that our brains can deduce fact through a logically structured reality. In his philosophy there is no room for the sensory; for feelings, urges  or vulnerability.

THE COLLECTIVE CONSCIOUSNESS

I think therefore I am is so entrenched in the modern collective consciousness that we see comedic variants almost daily; I drink therefore I am, I speak therefore I am or I shop therefore I am.

We place such a high value on thinking that we take the truth of Descartes’ philosophy as a given. We praise our children for thinking, we encourage them to learn by memorising the rational truth of the real world, of History and of Geography, or the universal facts of Maths. The intellectual takes precedence over the visceral.

We teach our children to use their heads, rather than their guts, to guide them through their lives. We encourage them to ignore their intuition and to listen to their intellect instead. In turn our intuition is left undeveloped.

Intuition is like a  muscle, and left untrained it becomes flabby and untoned. Left unused we never learn how to fully trust our intuition. Leaning into our gut feeling is so alien to most of us that we can’t always recognise the signs our bodies are so obviously spoon feeding us.

THIS WAY MADNESS LIES

My father was mentally ill. Although I didn’t know this as fact when I was growing up (my brother and I were told when we were adults and because it could no longer be hidden) I sensed the madness in our family. My intuition would alert me to the unspoken atmosphere at home.

My parents praised me for my academic achievements, teaching me to use my intellect to succeed, but the visceral learning was to listen to my gut feelings. Thinking pleased my parents but feeling kept me safe.

This tension often made me a cautious child, eager to please but desperate to survive. Eventually I used my head to escape the insanity, and I went to university.

My fate was sealed. I had proof that brain trumped gut and so I used my head and aimed high on the corporate ladder, measuring success in how much or how big. My head served me well, for a while at least.

GROWTH IS GOOD, RIGHT?

Right! We’ve just been concentrating our efforts in the wrong place. We have been growing our brains at the expense of our intuition. We have replaced our big hearts for big heads.

We should be growing our brains alongside our intuition, always present to both and listening to the visceral wisdom our bodies have to offer.

I invite you to follow where your gut is leading you. Lean into what your body intuitively knows. Start listening to that feeling and just blurt your intuitions. Strengthen that muscle, through constant use, until you not only hear it but listen to it with ease and without fear.

We feel, that is why we are.

OVER TO YOU

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PIFF! PAFF! POOF!

The UK today is a ‘liberal’ society. Diversity is accepted. Equal marriage is law (with the exception of Northern Ireland). Being LGBT is celebrated. So why are we starting to look and sound the same as our ‘straight’ friends, neighbours and colleagues? In a society this ‘liberal’ why are we all flocking to the heteronormative? Fast tracked ambition, weddings, children and possibly (probably) divorce.

We are living in the same little boxes we so desperately wanted to get out of when we were growing up in suburban Britain. Some of us are even wearing the same chinos as our fathers, this time round they’re Autograph not Blue Harbour though...

ASSIMILATE AND DISAPPEAR

Acceptance has taken on the form of assimilation. It’s ok to be different as long as you are in essence the same. As long as you dream the same dream. As long as you wear the same shoes. And as long as you only apply glitter at festivals.

Work and all its trappings are turning down our voices. We are quietly being pushed into a new closet, one full of pin striped suits and size 9 brogues. The result is a qualified peace. Happiness is bought in shopping malls and department stores at the end of every month. Two weeks in Sitges recharges our corporate motivation and we return to work browner, silent once again.

BUSINESS CASUAL

My own corporate career was dogged by trying to look right and wear the correct clothing. What’s business casual anyway? Desperately trying to fit into the club, thinking that an accent colour was all I needed to allow myself my own unique voice, my own diversity. But this stifling of me, by me, and aided by the homogenous world around me, was too fragile to last - cracks appeared and became chasms. Something had to give and I had to speak out. My father’s death showed me how precious my life is.

My drive to actually live my life was ignited.

I need full expression. I need to leave the old story behind and step into who I want to be. Show up how I want to be seen. Speak in a voice that I want others to hear. For me the pinstripe was changed for breton, and Doc Martens replaced the brogues. Starting to step into the diversity I want to take out into the world. Be the change I want to bring.

THE SECOND COMING (OUT)

So, if a loved one dies. Or we are made redundant. Or both. Life’s brevity hits us hard. Meaning falls out of what we thought we wanted and we find that our identity has disappeared in the ensuing rubble. Piff! Paff! Puff!

To build back, to fill our wardrobes with clothes we actually want to wear, we have to find our voices once again. Find our new story. Take back our breathing space. It is almost like a second coming out, but this time we are learning how to be us. Somewhere along the way we forgot the power of who we are and decided to live the life less ordinary.

STATUS QUO?

You can stay in the easy, comfortable existence or you can chose to inhabit the dreams you once dared to dream. I chose to dream big and live life.

We are all at a place of conscious choice. I know you will make yours count.

OVER TO YOU

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I coach people who struggle with anxiety, who yearn to live a fulfilling life but feel trapped or at a crossroads so that they can experience a calmer more purposeful life. If this sounds like you, get in touch here.

WHEN LIFE SERVES YOU LEMONS

In his 1915 obituary for the comedic actor Marshall P Wilder, Elbert Hubbard coined the phrase “When life serves you lemons, make lemonade”. The obituary was entitled King Of Jesters and Hubbard praised Wilder’s optimism and continued success in the face of his dwarfism.

Fast forward to 2016 and Beyonce’s most recent album, Lemonade, plays on the same theme, but here the lemons are marital. Through the telling of the story of her cheating husband she creates positive outcomes. By the end of the album she is making lemonade. Art from the ashes, rebirth in life through the creative process.

The image is still as resonant today as it was over a century ago, it is at once domestic and political. The human experience is essentially the same, it’s just the outer narrative that keeps changing. We struggle, we survive.

The question each of us needs to explore is how we can make our situation be of service to us. How do we make the bitter, sweet?

JUST ADD SUGAR

The question is simple, the answer is too. But the learning is harder. How do we make visceral that which we know intellectually?

For me the answer is in our hearts. We live too much in our heads. We treat our bodies as taxis that ferry our brains around. We have forgotten that our physical bodies often know before our brains have time to register that knowledge.

Our muscles have memories.

When we fully engage with our bodies we can bring our whole selves in a meaningful way. We can be truly present. We can use our feet to ground ourselves and give us strength. We not only overcome, we create and make.

Our lives serve us rather than us being in servitude to the situations we find ourselves in.

PANIC! ATTACK!

Having suffered with panic attacks for most of last year I’ve had to learn how to ground myself in the given situation. Literally how to make my feet anchor me, using my body to stop my head spinning out.

The anxiety was often triggered by the seemingly insignificant, a lemon pip in the blender so to speak. Connecting with my body in a visceral way, allowed it to know what I needed, helping me to step out of my mind and away from the panic. Often just breathing into and through my entire body allowed me to just be. Giving me peace. Sweetening the bitterness.

How can we connect with our bodies at a deeper level? How can we embody ourselves and embed our learnings? I do it by running and meditating. Through both I learn to breathe into my body and connect in a mindful way.

And my drink of choice here - lemonade of course.

...MAKE LEMONADE

We need to give ourselves time to just be, time to wake up properly each morning. Deliberately. Purposefully. Set a daily intention, something simple yet resonant and important. Something that will inform how you show up that day. State out loud that you will be kind, or fierce, or whatever you set. Always be nice, especially to yourself.

Look into your life and see where you could be sweetening the load. How could you make lemonade? Where could you create positivity in the face of challenge?

Come, together we can make lemonade.

OVER TO YOU

Feel free to share this post if you enjoyed it.

If anything in my blog has resonated with you I would love to hear about it. Tell your story or share your insights in the comments box below.

GET IN TOUCH

I coach people who struggle with anxiety, who yearn to live a fulfilling life but feel trapped or at a crossroads so that they can experience a calmer more purposeful life. If this sounds like you, get in touch here