In this Issue
Reflections: Grace and Ease
Archive piece: Compassion and Change
News and Events - including an offer to exchange coaching for assistance at an event
Reflections: Grace and Ease
For 2016 my 'words of the year' are Grace, Ease, and Sovereignty. I will write more about the last of these in a future piece, today I am reflecting on grace and ease. After many years of working, and running my business, and writing, and doing things around my home .... etc,etc., like many people, I often used to feel overwhelmed and exhausted. I am working full time on 'Dare to Blossom' activities of various sorts at the moment - including art and creativity, plus time to read, meditate, walk - and of course - play with our two kittens, who are rapidly growing up.
So, I am still working hard; still experience anxiety about finances and paying the bills; still have challenges of various sorts. And, as 2015 ended and 2016 dawned, I have begun to feel a softening, a yielding, of my commitment to worry and stress. I was surprised, as you may be, to find I was using that word 'commitment' - but it feels true. Now I feel that I was almost determined that I 'should' feel that way. Not all the time, over recent years I have been feeling less and less lke that, but it was there all the same.
Since those words popped up in my mind for this year and I have relaxed into them, I have found things beginning to flow. Many coaches and writers talk of feeling the emotion you want first and then reality will follow. In my experience this is true, though not always easy to achieve. With my adoption of 'grace and ease' almost as a mantra to live by for this year, it seems that I can slip into those states quite readily, and then circumstances do seem to shift around me so that things work out, gracefully and easily.
This theme feels significant for me to follow for this year, and probably beyond. 'Grace and Ease' are becoming an additional support in shifting my state of mind (as 'magic days' still is for me - see the piece from my 2008 book below). So much so, that I have started a FaceBook page and group called the Grace Pack (a name arising in a session with Soleira Green - thank you dear friend and genius coach extraordinaire!). The 'Pack' refers to the support and community of a wolf pack, or a human tribe. It also reminds me of the wisdon in the book 'Women who run with the wolves.' I think those of you who are not FB people will still be able to see the page here, though the group is private for sharing of thoughts and ideas. I have registered the domain as well so in due course there will be a website.
This is linked to my Dare to Blossom work, and also new - it feels like a way to explore my growth into my third age as a woman, the 'crone-age', and the claiming (reclaiming?) of my sovereignty, my power within.
For you: in your meditations, art, collage work or journaling:
- What does 'grace' mean for you? What images come to mind? What words?
- How can you bring 'ease' into your life?
- How can you share grace and ease with those around you, to spread the ripples and help the world be more graceful and easy?
I am intending to do some painting on this theme myself, for the moment you will find some of my work on the website page and more on Dare to Blossom Art on FB. Many people (not least me) sind these useful for meditation and inspiration. The one that calls to me as I write today is called "Into Flight" and is the last one on the section of mounted paintings if you scroll down the page.
Archive piece: Compassion and Change
This piece is from my book Dare to Blossom: Coaching and Creativity, and was suggested by a regular reader. I hope you enjoy it, even though I feel I have changed considerably since I wrote this. Or rather than changed, become more of myself, more truly me.
Compassion and change
What have these two qualities to do with each other? I feel that I have paired them together to remind us that when making big changes it can be useful (vital in fact) to remember to have compassion for ourselves. I know I am much more critical of myself than anyone else would ever be. I give myself a hard time for every little mistake. As for a big one, well, I never let myself hear the end of it! Or that used to be how it was.
You may have heard the expression “negative self-talk”. Take a metaphorical step back and listen to how you talk to yourself (mostly in your head silently, though, like me you may occasionally find yourself doing it out loud). You will hear an endless stream of mostly junk thoughts: “What shall I get for dinner? That’s a nice dress. I wish I was as thin as her. Oh what a fool I am for stubbing my toe. I am a stupid idiot…..etc.”
You have just said something to yourself that you would probably feel really bad saying to someone else. You may have done something stupid (though stubbing your toe is more likely a minor accident), but that does not make you an idiot. (An aside to this is that if you listen to how you speak to your closest family you may also be horrified at how you treat them at times.) The more we allow this stream of negative and self-critical thinking to continue unchecked, the lower our view of ourselves sinks. We don’t expect anyone else to respect us or admire us because we do not respect or admire ourselves.
Exercise: Compassion and reducing negative self-talk
Try, for just one day, noticing how often you say negative things to yourself. You may well find that after a very short while it becomes impossible to keep count of how many times you do this. Once you have had this illustration of how you are treating yourself, trying stopping those thoughts in their tracks and replacing them with something more positive, or at least more compassionate.
One way of doing this is to visualise a big, red STOP sign every time you notice yourself putting yourself down or wallowing in misery. Choose a word or phrase that you associate with happy times, something funny: anything that will make you smile. Have fun with this, you don’t have to share it with anyone else so it can be as irreverent as you wish. Make a note of it in your notebook, though the idea is that it should be memorable.
My phrase is “magic days” – it never fails to lift my mood, make me pause, step back, remember that “this too shall pass.” “Magic” reminds me of that childhood excitement and expectancy we were talking about earlier, of glorious sunsets and stunning harvest moons, of a brilliant magenta flower bud bursting out. “Magic days” emphasises to me that I will only live this particular day once, every moment of it is precious and deserves to be lived to its best.
It is also worth remembering that sometimes having compassion for ourselves may be allowing a time for a good cry or a wallow in self-pity. If possible choose the time and line up some things to help you afterwards, a good book, a treat, lunch with a friend (one with a positive disposition rather than one who will encourage you to continue wallowing). Emotions are there to be expressed not suppressed. Learning how to express them in a safe way for all concerned is a key part of developing emotional intelligence. Daniel Goleman and other writers have developed this into a whole area of study. There are some references at the end of this book to follow up if you wish to know more.
Exercise: Approaching change with compassion
If you already have some big changes planned, this exercise might be useful as a reminder where and when to remember to check if compassion is needed for yourself, and for other people around you.
Try this: take a new sheet of paper, on the left hand side write the heading “Change” and the date. Then two further headings: “Compassion: me” and “Compassion: others”. (You may want to make more headings for individual people).
Underneath the heading “Change”, list the things that are changing – whether under your control and planned or not. As you go, list how you need to show yourself compassion in relation to the changes, and what you can do for the others you have listed.
For example, if you are planning to become self-employed and start your own business, there will be all sorts of changes taking place: working hours; how much you earn; becoming less (or maybe more) available for your family.
Once you have a good list, you could use them in a similar way to the “What” and “How” lists in Chapter 2. You can decide which actions you can take immediately, perhaps put them in order of priority, always remembering that you are as important as the other people in your life.
News and Events
Dare to Blossom Workshops
A Magic Carpet Ride to Rediscover your Spark and Focus Saturday 6 February in Hayle, Cornwall
The first of these workshops on 23 January seemed to flow beautifully. I asked people to send feedback and testimonials after a space for the work we did to settle and distil, so I have none yet to share with you here. One comment certainly conveys the shifts that can happen within that short space of three hours - "God almighty, I feel different!"
The second of these events is this coming Saturday - and there are still a few spaces if you are interested, please do contact me.
Themes are still emerging for future workshops, with some dates already booked - the next being Saturday 16 April in Hayle (with dates also booked there on 25 June, and 24 September). Followed by a full day event in Glastonbury on Saturday 21 May. I am still looking for a suitable venue in East or North Cornwall so if anyone has any suggestions for a place with a calm, supportive atmosphere, please let me know.
The half day on 16/4 and full day on 21/5 will be on the theme of 'A Magic Carpet Ride to Reconnect with Grace and Ease' - and I will be able to share more details with you soon.
Thursday 17 March - Cornwall Business Show 9.30 - 4.00, at The Royal Cornwall Showground, Wadebridge
This an enthusiastically organised and well attended local business event, and this year I have a stand in the Health and Wellbeing Zone. There will be a chance to experience a brief taster of how the Dare to Blossom Rediscovery Cards can work for you, and to book a complimentary twenty minute consultation on the phone or Skype to discuss how coaching could help you move forward.
There are a wide range of exhibitors, free entry and a chance to win a big support package if you pre-regiater on-line.
I need someone to help me on the stand please. If you are free for the day on Thursday 17th March, and can travel to Wadebridge by 9.00 am at the latest, I would like to offer you two coaching sessions (phone or Skype) free of charge. You will need to take these up before the event as then you will be able to talk to visitors to my stand about what Dare to Blossom Rediscovery Coaching involves and how it can work. (You wouldn't need to share any personal details, but just be able to answer questions people may have about the process). I will be on the stand most of the time but need to be able to take comfort breaks and have lunch with the knowledge that the stand is well looked after.
If this appeals to you please email me with your contact detail, by 8 February.. If there are several people interested I will speak to each of you and if still for you, enter names into a draw so the decision is fair and random.
Saturday 19 March - The Vibrant Living Show 10.00 - 4.00 at Heartlands, Pool, Cornwall
This is a health and wellbeing show with stalls, therapists etc - where I wll be showing the Dare to Blossom Art original art work, as well as greetings cards and the Rediscovery Cards.
Talks at networking meetings
As well as enjoying local networking again, I have been asked to give talks to various groups.
7 April at TME Networking Lunch, Lanivet and 10 May at Roadford Lake, both events include lunch and run from 12-2.
12 April at LifeTalks, at the Victoria, Threemilestone, 19.00 - 21.00
I recently attended the Aspire Foundation M.A.D (Making a Difference) Global Laedership Conference in London. I have been a volunteer mentor for about sic months and this was the first event I have been to in person. What a tremendous group of people! The mentees are all people setting up or working in social enterprises, and the mentors come from all wwalks of life. For the first time, this year men were invited to attend. As Sam Collins, the founder said, if men are committed to empowering women and helping everyone achieve their potential, of course they shuld be included. If you visit the FB page you can see a video of the closing celebration
As always, please feel free to comment below with your thoughts and comments.
If you would like to own a set of cards to explore their power for yourself please visit the dedicated page.
Thank you dear friends for visiting with me again this month and sharing my musings.