Awakenings…..

tor

It has been a long time since I have written here…I think its time to wake up this muscle.

It is a glorious morning. I woke up to find a thick layer of mist lying low on the levels, the mumps and bumps of the hilltops peaking through. The mist has given way to a clear, blue, cloudless sky. A bright Winter’s morning invites me to set foot in the crisp, white, frosty fields.  Opening the door,  I was greeted by a songbird welcoming me to the day. The garden is bursting alive with birdsong, a live-stream of twittering and cheeping, from my garden friends.  Life is good.

My awareness turns to my stomach and solar plexus, alert to the growing discomfort of these last few days, I have been obsessively following the actions of the regime that is establishing itself across the seas.  Fearful that with each new action there seems to be a retreat from the world I was longing to create, that is conversely provoking uncertainty, unrest, threats, disrespect, inequality and separation.   It feels like a global conspiracy to undo the humanitarian efforts we have been working towards in the world to create peace, justice, equality, shared wealth, accessible, comprehensive health care, to be compassionate, tolerant and inclusive, to undo the environmental damage and stop global warming.   And yet with a few signatures and the careful manipulation of the world’s media, we are slipping into a time that feels familiar and yet advances into a precarious world of men, determined to create a new / old world order, armed with nuclear codes, and a thirst for oil.

I try to remind myself that fear is what men like this and regimes like this survive on.

There is a curious balance to be had here.

How do you hold both the fear and the hope?

With each new waking moment we get to breathe hope or fear into consciousness. The more fear we breathe, the more that is projected into our reality. Our collective dream creates a fear reality of separation and injustice… how is it that across the world we have enabled narcissistic, fear-based, megalomaniacs to rise to power?  It can not be coincidence that this growing tide is happening around the world.  Powerful autocrats climbing up through their secular or religious propaganda machines of protectionism and isolationism.   What is the root cause of this instability?   What are those that support this tide longing for?

What if there is a deeper truth outside this illusional life of fear we are choosing to create, the one that awakens us each morning to call us into its beauty, abundance and potential.  What if this life, which sits outside our collective ego of separateness, is the true reality, and does exist and will always exist, whether or not humankind can see it, or is awakened to it. What would happen if collective consciousness tuned into that?  What would be the dream then?   What would you dream?  What would it look like if all there was, was love?

So perhaps it is time to remind myself to tune into what is here now. And Now. And Now. I invite myself to wake up and contribute to and grow the collective consciousness of hope.

 

 

 

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The Wall

games-of-thrones

There is not a cloud in the sky today, the wind is billowing through the sheets that I have hung out to dry, reminding me of my childlike delight of sitting on a beach, listening to kites swish and swirl around in the sky above and the windbreaks flapping backwards and forwards. Egg sandwiches.  It is a glorious day, the crows are gathering in our orchard to feast on the cherries: cawing in celebration.  A blackbird is singing somewhere its healing song.   I am embraced by an abundance of life, singing its gratitude, joy and praise for such a wonderful world.

And yet I am not there.   And I should be.   I have everything, my health, my freedom, wealth, gifts, skills…. but somehow there is a disconnect.   I know where I want to be and yet there is a barrier, a wall that separates me from this reality.   Eckhart Tolle would say it was my ego and my pain body.   I am not here.  I am not present. I’m sure that’s right.   Marianne Williamson would say that it was the emotional bricks in my wall.  I am carry the weight of my human burden in my soul.  I’m sure that’s right too.

I experience it as a punctured tyre, deflated.  It feels like the air has been let out and I am driving along the path of life with a wheel that is grating along the surface, damaging the car, damaging the road.    The discomfort shifts but it is mainly in the lower part of my body,  an ucky feeling, a low level dissonance.  I know the secrets of life, and I can even teach the secrets of life and yet my life feels disconnected.

So what is in the way?

The next brick in the wall of emotion to release and take down is judgement.    This horrible feeling I have inside me, a poison, stems from my ego’s identification with its need to be better than or worse than you.  It is all the things I make up to be unfair, unjust, unpleasant, insufficient about YOU.   You are not enough  (I am better than you)  I am not enough ( you are better than me)    –  each and every judgement I have about you and this world we live in adds to the disconnection.   I have a very busy mind.   There is a lot there.   This may take some time!

Ten years ago I started a chapter of my life which would change its course forever.  I hired a co-active Life Coach  Kate Franklin – Kate convinced me to try out the CTI Fundamentals Course and not long down this journey I did the CTI Leadership Course with Henry Kimsey-House and L.A. Redding.  The Course and these remarkable people and indeed the CTI community have continued to have a profound affect on how I live my life.

One of the lessons of leadership is that the things that get in the way,  ALL the things that bug us about the people we live and work with, the people we love and the people we don’t,  the world we live in and the world we see in the news,  are all about us, they are a reflection of what we think and feel.   The thoughts and emotions that arise from any particular observation, interaction and transaction – are entirely subjective, they come from the ‘I’ – and even if you are lucky enough to find people who share the same thoughts and emotions and in so doing ratify your own judgements,  they may appear to come from the ‘we’  – but they are still about the ‘ME’ and they make me RIGHT.   In other words all the nasty thoughts, the bitterness, the judgement and resentment, the anger that I think is caused by another person – is actually ALL about ME.    (Even if they did trigger it.)

It takes a while to understand this concept.   What do you mean I am not right?   What do you mean that I wasn’t justified in thinking what I thought about that other person?   What do you mean?   That’s not fair…..   That’s not just…..   That’s not right.  I was wronged.  I was abused.  I was humiliated.    I can feel the indignation arising within my body.

It is difficult to let go of a concept of me and my life where every observation and thought I have ever had may just be an illusion, or an attachment to who I think I am and how the world ‘should’ run.   I don’t get and yet I do.   I can feel the struggle of my ego, saying oh not here again…  I can’t stand the surrender,  I can’t exist in surrender.   What do you mean ALL that suffering was meaningless….

So now to release the judgement  (that frankly isn’t pleasant) because its all about ME.   Oh and release the self-judgement too….  meaningless.

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STAY

STAY
March 7, 2015Uncategorized Edit
Forty days ago I stopped eating sugar, starch and gluten. Forty days – Well done Emma. I have lost some weight. My body isn’t healed yet. January and February were months dedicated to changing my diet. March is about building in exercise and stamina, but also resilience.

I am sure that it is not by accident that the last two weeks have seen a great deal of conflict in my life. There have been a number of situations where I have been required to process other people’s energy and beliefs and reprocess them in a more productive way. It has been incredibly intense, and stress would be my normal catalyst for emotional eating. It hasn’t happened. Well done Emma.

In fact it might be safe to say that not relying on food or other emotional props has made me more self reliant, trusting myself more, trusting my instincts more and trusting my wisdom.

It has called me into leadership, rather than hiding away from the conflict and stress, I have stayed. I have answered all the emails, answered the phone, made phone calls. I have dealt with the conflict as it has arrived and head on.

So as I build resilience to my own emotions and to those of others. It seems to me that most of the conflict I have been experiencing stems from people’s Fear…. fear of not getting my own way, fear of not being heard, fear of not being good enough, fear of not feeling valued, fear of losing control. The fear is expressed as anger, it is expressed as frustration, it is expressed as silence. It is not personal.

The image I had of myself this morning which I think is a great metaphor for fear, is a hamster running around a cage and on a wheel, enclosed in this grilled prison, waiting to be fed, waiting for the water to be changed. In fear I believe my happiness is given to me through the grills on the cage, I am controlled, I am not free.

In this freedom from being controlled by my emotions..in this resilience.. I have the key.

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Point Zero

Do you ever find that you have come in from a grim rainy day, to notice that suddenly there is glorious sunshine?

I don’t want to be trite but I think that is where my life is at the moment! This sort of Point Zero! My life was one thing and now it has the opportunity to become something else.

I realise that I am in danger of becoming a reformed eater… (and they are the worst..) like reformed smokers (I was one of those) and reformed anything… THAT conversion experience… THE ONE AHA that means you don’t stop banging on about it.. bore the living daylights out of your friends… when nobody calls you and you suddenly feel a bit ostracised!! I know you are probably thinking “stop here”.

However my friend Mary wants me to write the unedited version, the one that comes straight from the heart!

About two weeks ago I was sitting on a plane with my recurrent fear that one day a steward is going to offer me an extension belt for my waist. (Worse still that I need to ask for one) Aware that as I walk down the aisle before getting to my seat, people are looking at me, hoping that I am not going to sit next to them. Aware, that as I went to the theatre the other night that the man on my right was sending me signals that he was not ok, and it was not ok that he was sitting next to a fat person. Its these kinds of apologies that you make for being you, that are so painful. So shaming. Especially when you think you are doing the right things but still the weight is not shifting.

My friend Adele gave me a book by Dr Gillian McKeith – “You are what you eat.” – oh yet another bloody diet book! I put it aside and on my list of things to read! While I was in Iceland however, my friend Edda explained that she had been attending a nutrition course, spending three hours each week learning about what you should put into your body and why. She shared with me the principles behind this regime she was following and I thought well why not – lets give it a go.

It so happens that it was right inline with the regime Adele had given me. The upshot is that for over a week I have not had sugar, gluten or starch, and very limited dairy products and I have been taking supplements to improve the overall functioning of my body. I feel absolutely fantastic. And I am eating delicious food. All my sugar cravings and mood swings have disappeared, I am now in a place where I have SPACE to prepare food, where previously my anxiety meant that there was no time, I had to eat it now. My sugar levels have balanced and I feel balanced.

I am now eating a healthy amount of food and yes – all you doubters… much more than I have ever done before, and I can feel the difference in my body. Its not about calories, its about what you put into your system to make it function. Your body responds immediately…. it is extraordinary. My organs have been so toxic with the various ‘healthy’ things I have been putting in it, that it has been unable to digest and process food correctly, my sugar levels that have been blasted around all these years by the various starches and glutens, and instead of processing it have just stored it as fat.. The food craving signals, have been trying to send me information and I’ve just not known how to interpret it.

I am so happy, because having felt for years it didn’t matter what I did, I never seemed to lose weight, now I feel that I am able to feed this body of mine in a way that will give it what it needs and then it will function like other bodies.. … fat people of the world there is hope. Its actually a shift in your entire thinking about nutrition… AND it really isn’t about depriving yourself. It really matters what you put into your engine! Check out Gillian McKeith !

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Zen days…..

In process coaching we look at the areas we can’t be with, often they prevent us from being present and experiencing the moment.   We have crafted many ways to avoid being with what is.   I think some of my deepest fears have been realised, and I am still alive… and still smiling, if a little jaded.   So for me, often it is the fear of the pain, that I can’t be with, more than the pain itself.

I have never been stabbed or wounded by another, not in a physical sense.   So I don’t really have a clue what it feels like to be stabbed.   I used to be punched in the back regularly at school,   ‘banter’ my children would call that now.   And my dad used to lash out from time to time.  Happily though in terms of physical punishment, I have had a pretty good ride.

Emotionally the journey hasn’t been so easy.  In fact emotionally I could see myself as someone in a film script, lying on the floor of some basement or carpark, curling and cowering to protect myself and having the shit kicked out of me by a gang of youths.   An emotional punchbag.   I have a label on my head saying ‘kick me’.   And another on my back saying ‘stab me’ !!     The Alice in Wonderland of emotional abuse!!!   lol.

When somebody, somewhere, does something and I get hooked, the emotional response is often violent, and by that I mean it seriously feels like a knife being dug into to my solar plexus and twisted.   Or it feels like someone kicking me in my kidneys or punching me in the stomach.  I literally feel winded by it.

Somebody, somewhere, has done something.   And I have a response.   Ok, so lets say they have dug the knife in,  and perhaps they have got some satisfaction, some feeling of power, out of it…  but this isn’t about them.  This is about me, and receiving the knife.

Metaphorically, what are my options?  I guess I know its not going to kill me,  its not really a knife, it might be a behaviour, it might be something unkind, but its not really a knife.   So I don’t need to fall to the ground and take it, waiting for the punishment to stop.  I don’t need to react either….  its only a pretend knife.  Its not real.    In the past I have wanted to shout out, to respond, to retaliate, an eye for an eye,  I have wanted people to see,  to know, to take sides and protect me.  I have wanted someone to take care of me.

What if I choose a different approach to my defence, a kind of Tai-Chi style response to being stabbed. (inserts clause)  I haven’t done Tai-Chi so this is entirely an intuitive understanding of what that might be.

Somebody, somewhere, does something.  And I respond.  The knife is thrust in to my solar plexus.   Instead of my body tensing to resist the blow,  I catch the knife as it penetrates,  I put my hand on the hand that twists and my hand twists round with it,  going with the flow of energy, rather than blocking it.   Instead of reacting, creating a story, I am now receiving, with thanks, focussed on the energy rather than the knife….

Zen days!

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Storytelling

I know this is meant to be about Fat… and in a subtle way it is.   My body image, my body size, the relationship I have with my body, is so inextricably linked to my emotional and mental health journey.   The blockages, the cravings, the way I use food, is entirely tied to what is happening internally, inside my body and inside my mind.  Food is my protection,  I use it to ground myself when I begin to spiral up or down, it is my friend when I feel lonely,  it shifts the pain when someone hurts me,  it masks my jealousy, my anxiety….   it is my  ‘crutch’.   It is my darkness.  And yet it is paradoxically my light:  it is where I create, family, community, love and laughter.

The more conscious I become about leaning on food as my ‘crutch’ – the less I am resorting to use it.  This is GOOD.   However it exposes me much more effectively to the rawness of my emotions, and the reasons why I depended on it in the first place.  My emotional responses can be quite violent and punishing,  especially when I enmesh a story with my response.   I am very sensitive and have a lot of emotion stored within, so when the knife digs in, feelings just want to explode out.   They have been imprisoned within for SO long.

Of course to make sense of all that is occurring, my mind naturally generates a narrative,  the story line will also fuel and give further meaning to the emotion.  For example,  an event happens on the outside, somebody does something,  for some reason,  (usually based on one of my compelling fears) it is something that I take personally whether it is personal or not, and the event is now internalised and I create a story.   Indeed my mind adeptly dramatises, catastrophizes , and provides the event with a context, it has come from somewhere, it then has a past and a future.    In itself the event meant nothing, it was insignificant, until I gave it significance.    As the protagonist, my mind will either portray me as the victim or the hero, am I above or below.   According to Eckhart Tolle, the egoic self is always striving to be either more than or less than another.   It is an important aspect of self identification, to value yourself in terms of another.   It is also the key that separates us from the present moment and reality.  We can not be here, now, if we are also a protagonist in a story.

So the knife digs in.  When I think about it, there is often someone, somewhere, digging the knife in.    Mmm.  Good information.   Notice the genesis of the thoughts… they may be important.   So someone has taken my power away.   Intuitively I may be correct, on some level this person may be trying to get a reaction, or hurt me, it may be a way of their ego identifying itself,  or they may well not be aware of their impact…. after all the impact is all in the story I have generated.    I am a gifted storyteller.

Ah, but what if there was no story.   What if I allowed the event to remain insignificant.   It has no value, it is merely an event, neither good nor bad.   What if instead of generating a story from my emotional response, I just allowed myself to sit with the discomfort. …..      Try it…. it is amazing.   It is the peace that surpasses all understanding.

Namaste.

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Blocked

Yesterday I was heading to a meeting along a narrow single track road across the levels.  I was aware that I was tussling with something inside.  It was a sense that I want something to be different and its not, and it doesn’t matter how much I want it to be a certain way, it won’t be… not anyway I seem to look at it.   And yet I couldn’t let it go.  However much I tried to let it go, it was still there.  I was locked, stuck, hooked and then I was blocked.

Suddenly in front of me on this single track farm road, outside a farm was an enormous lorry, blocking the path, and a tractor from the farm was unloading these enormous bales. The lorry wasn’t going anywhere,  I wasn’t going anywhere.

I thought about the meeting I had to go to.  I thought about the inner state of being that I felt, a frustration, an inability to move beyond this obstacle in my thinking and I had the perfect metaphor in front of me.    Well, I realised that I had to surrender, there was no way past the obstacle, I would have to wait for it to move.

I am still in this process however of evolving to a different way of thinking.   I habitually think in black and white terms, its either one thing or another, “this situation isn’t serving me, this person isn’t serving me, this job isn’t serving me… so I need to let it go, let them go…”  I don’t do that, but that is how I think about it.   It is safe to cling to either pole.  It is much less comfortable to stay in an situation that feels difficult, to stay with a friendship that is testing the boundaries, to stay in a role that is sometimes hard to do.

I was watching the process of unloading going on ahead of me.  Focussing my attention on the blocked path, the obstacle in my way, and then I happened to look up.   There circling about the car were hundreds of starlings,  and as I looked further, there on the telegraph wire, were thousands of starlings, jostling for position, and I was suddenly overcome by excitement, that feeling you have when the horses are getting into line at the races, the anticipation that any minute now, a murmuration of starlings was about to take off…

And suddenly I was thankful for the blockage in front of me.    If I hadn’t stopped, what would I have missed.   And perhaps there was a different perspective available to me in this tussle.  What if it was exciting,  not frustrating.

I was afforded a similar lesson again this morning.  Walking my dog in a forest, my mind was playing with all sorts of thoughts and ideas.   Suddenly something caught my attention, and I was aware that the forest floor was covered in mushrooms and toadstools.

How much more do we miss when our minds are caught up in thoughts?  And what are the blockages really trying to teach us?

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