The Strangest of Times – Staying at Home Week 9

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I like siting in the garden and quite enjoy doing ‘big’ things like building a new bed, a path or a wall, but hate the fiddly stuff, so as a non gardener I am fascinated by the fact that this year I am lovingly nurturing lettuce. They were purchased, planted in small pots and have now been transplanted to larger ones so they have room to grow. The photo is an early one and some are now big enough for us to be taking leaves for our tea. Some lettuce plants are also in a small bed in the garden and I visit daily monitoring their growth and comparing the potted ones with the garden ones. Now it seems it’s not only lettuce I am growing. A few weeks ago I had a conversation with some friends online about growing coriander from supermarket seeds. We all took a different approach. Both of them bruised their seeds as recommended by his Indian father, one soaked hers and planted hers in a pot, the other planted his straight in the pot. I researched online and placed mine between sheets of wet kitchen towel and waited for them to sprout. After about two weeks of nothing happening I got fed up with watering mine and with nothing happening, threw them away. At the weekend I was sent pictures of both sets of coriander plants, tiny little shoots peaking above the earth. So I have now bruised seeds and have them planted out in pots. Three weeks time all being well I should have tiny shoots appearing. If I am still writing this blog by then I will let you know.

This week I actually managed to do a live online yoga class. Really gentle yoga that worked on the psoas muscle. I have had an ongoing abdominal injury for well over a year now. The ‘it settles, I do something and it goes again’ kind of injury. Nothing serious but annoying enough to stop me doing lots of things such as a lot of exercises in the gym and also now Zumba which I am really sad about. Anyway, the psoas muscle connects to the abdominal muscles and by the end of the session of slow stretching, the right side of my body which is where the injury is, had felt tight at the start had loosened a little. So far so good ūüôā I woke up the next day and was aware my ribs were sore, by the end of the day I could hardly move. I couldn’t get out of the chair, cough or laugh without it hurting. Not an injury but muscles that hadn’t been used for the last months being woken up. So much for slow gentle yoga! I am doing it again as soon as this settles enough for me to move ūüėČ

We are now a few days into Phase 1 of easing the lockdown. Online there were pictures of queues at DIY shops and MacDonald’s which opened 6 of its drive throughs in Dublin. For me though the only difference it made was that the small garage in my village opened and I was able to get my car serviced and so keep the warrantee valid ūüôā

I tried to do Yoga Nidra this week, something I usually love but found it hard to settle in to. I am used to doing it at the end of a yoga session and not as a stand alone so this may have been part of it, maybe it wasn’t right for me today, or maybe I am just too scattered to relax in to it at the moment. I’m going to let it go for now and come back to it another time, see how I feel then. Like everything at the moment it seems best to simply acknowledge it, let it go and move on.

On a positive note I have managed to read not one but two books recently which is a huge improvement on how I was a few weeks ago. My concentration seems to be improving as far as reading is concerned at least.

I am still working with Air which is the energy that connects to the mind and so governs the intellect, reasoning, memory, thoughts, knowledge and comprehension. It is interesting that I have now begun working with yoga which focuses a lot on the use of the breath, the inhalation, the exhalation and the sigh, the cleansing breath to release as the body is allowed to settle.

I’m not sure how long my Air phase will last but I am certainly less ‘scratchy’ than I was last week, a little calmer and feeling a bit more like myself.

 

Finding balance

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When I first started teaching courses and workshops I did what everyone else does and blocked in weekends where I felt it would all work. The problem I quickly found was that although the dates worked for me they didn’t work for others. I would advertise a Reiki 1 course for example and have one person book a place with four or five others interested but looking for different dates.

At first I tried to juggle this, attempting to adjust dates, connect people up etc but the more I did the more of a mess it became. Even my husband was asking me if I wouldn’t just be better waiting and letting it all sort itself out.¬†Eventually I learnt that if I just handed it over to the Universe it all fell into place.

This was really hard for me to do though as being in control is what I was used to but somehow it worked and over time it did get easier. I also found the letting go of control spilled over into other areas of my life and I began to learn that sometimes it is best to just sit back and go with the flow.

Ever since then I have waited until I have enquiries and then arranged dates to suit everyone rather than planning things in advance. I never advertise unless I have spaces on a course or workshop that need to be filled. Recently though I became aware that my never having any courses or workshops arranged might sound a bit wishy washy to some prospective students and that I was maybe losing them. Perhaps they wouldn’t have been drawn to work with me or my energy anyway but there is never any harm in having a rethink. Maybe I have been going with the flow a little too much, after all there needs to be a balance in all things and I suspect I need to make a little effort too. Can’t leave everything to the Universe after all ūüôā

Yesterday trying to be a little more proactive I advertised on Facebook that I am looking to arrange a Reiki 1 course. So far I have had several enquiries and have been able to send out information. I have no dates booked but as before I will arrange these with  people who are definitely interested.

It is far too soon to tell how this will work but it does feel a slightly better balance and allows me to put some energy out there, the energy of being willing and available to work. I am not really taking back control but just giving the Universe a bit of a push and maybe finding a better balance which now feels as if it should be a partnership.

14 Reasons Why It Is Important to Ground Yourself 


As a follow up to my post the other day about how to ground yourself I thought it was worth a quick look at why it is so important to be grounded.

1. If you are always in your head rather than connected with your body it is not good for your mental health and contributes greatly to stress and anxiety.

2. Being disconnected from your physical body can also make you unbalanced and even physically ill.

3. If you are working with energy, or developing your spiritual self for example, and not grounding yourself it is very easy to become unbalanced, which you’ve probably guessed, can make you physically ill.

4. If you are drawing energy down from the Universe via your crown, no matter what that energy is or how you are working, if you are not grounding yourself then you can become quite spaced out, which as I remind my students, may feel lovely, but isn’t very practical.

5. We need both Spirit or Universal energy to feed and nourish our souls/spirits but we also need Earth energy to feed and nourish our physical bodies. This sometimes gets overlooked or forgotten and again can make us unbalanced and eventually sick.

In addition: 

6. Grounding yourself boosts your immune system.

7. Grounding yourself helps to allieviate physical.

8. Grounding yourself helps to reduce stress and anxiety.

9. Grounding yourself can improve your sleep.

10. Grounding yourself can improve your circulation. 

11. Grounding yourself can increase your energy levels.

12. Grounding yourself can reduce the effects of jet lag.

13. Grounding yourself can reduce the effects of acclimatising to altitude. 

14. Grounding yourself can help you ‘feel at home’ when you arrive in a new place.

Don’t take my word for it, get out here, take your shoes off and try it. 

You will probably find more benefits than I’ve suggested here, as I said this is just a quick look………and if you do please post them in the comments so others may know them too. 

New Experiences

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I am just back from holiday and like all holidays it has been full of new experiences. This can be something as simple as trying a new cocktail but in my case included seeing an Ocelot on a night drive, mastering how to stand up on a paddle board and making tamales and tortillas with a women’s co-operative in a Mayan village.

I really do appreciate I am very lucky to be able to travel and I have come back home full of enthusiasm for trying new things whenever I can.

I am also very lucky in my work as every new client or student brings me new opportunities to grow, develop and learn as I work. This is the nature of shamanic work and of teaching anything.

I make no apologies at all for highlighting how important new experiences are to us.

New experiences help to:

  • keep our brains functioning
  • slow down the appearance of time passing quickly – our brains take longer to process new information
  • stop us being bored
  • help to alleviate fear and build courage
  • open up new possibilities
  • help us to grow
  • develop new skills
  • keep us up-to-date
  • ¬†enhance self esteem
  • feed creativity
  • breaks us out of ruts
  • provides new perspectives

So how can we gain new experiences on an overcast day at home when we have empty pockets?

These are just some of the things that come immediately to mind

  • walk a different way when you go out
  • turn left instead of right
  • pick up a different type of book when you go to the library
  • talk to a stranger
  • try drawing/singing/painting/dancing/skipping/something you don’t usually do – do it when no one else is around
  • write with your left/right hand, the one you don’t usually use
  • walk to somewhere you don’t usually go
  • write a book/an article/a letter/anything

I was going to keep going but if this has wet your appetite Tiny Buddha has 50 ways to Open Your World to New Possibilities 

Go, experience and enjoy, I certainly will be.

 

Shaman Pathways Web of Life Review 

It can be really difficult to publicise and share reviews of my own work without it feeling like my blog is a sales pitch which it really isn’t in any way. It’s so much easier to share other people’s work than it is my own anyway but I think all authors feel that way.

This week though I had contact with someone who really loved my book. She was so enthusiastic about it that I really wanted to share what she said in case anyone was feeling lost or was searching for something that Web of Life might help to give them. 

The review was posted in a Facebook group so the only way I can share here is via a screenshot so I apologise for the size of the text, any smaller and it’s illegible. 

Shaman Pathways Web of Life Uk
Shaman Pathways Web of Life  USA

Taking time

 


I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how much we rush around nowadays and how little time we all seem to have for anything. We only have to look at over the counter pharmacuetical products to see how this lack is reflected in what we are being fed by companies too. Everything is express this, faster acting that, delivered yesterday or at worst in a few minutes.

It has taken a summer of being unwell to make me stop and take time. Firstly I had allergy asthma that progressed to bronchitis. This required three lots of antibiotics each one progressively stronger and each wiping out my body and immune system as fast as they were ‘curing’ me. I had no choice but to take these as without them my lungs and heart are seriously compromised but this doesn’t mean I liked doing it. Anyway, a few weeks after recovering I picked up a viral sinus infection which had vertigo like symptoms. It was, according to the Dr I saw, a mild version although it didn’t feel that way. She put it down to the effects of the antibiotics and I learnt then that it takes the body six weeks to overcome one lot of antibiotics so I can only imagine what three lots had done to me! This virus again cleared up only to return with a vengeance.

As a result of all this I decided to give myself what I clearly needed which was time. I stopped rushing around, I made space, once I felt well enough to go I allowed myself to wake up properly before going to the gym and to sit and have coffee and food afterwards. I have done things in small bites rather than all at once, and yes this is taking longer but so what.

I also made time to go for a massage and the conversation with my therapist reinforced my thinking. We were talking about the changes in my body, seven years after a car accident, lots of physio, Reiki,  Chi Kung and Tai Chi, massage, Bowen treatments, sound healing, cranio sacral work, and finally five months  (minus the time I’ve been unwell) in my local Curves gym. My muscles are different, stronger, my back tightens but lets go now rather than holds on and my body feels different now to both her and me. This has all happened because I allowed time, time to heal, time to recover, I listened to my body and what it needed, I paid attention to when things weren’t working, like yoga and Pilates, worked out why and then sorted out what might work. It’s been a long journey and it’s not over yet for there are still things I can’t do and which need more time.

This has all helped me to realise that we need to allow ourselves time to heal all the time and not just when something drastic happens to us. We should stop expect quick fixes where our health is concerned and give ourselves the gift we really need, we should be patient and allow ourselves to heal. We are and our bodies are immensely powerful but only if we give ourselves permission to take time and give ourselves what we need.

So heading into the winter I am doing what I can to build up and support my immune system, feeding and nourishing myself and I am going to continue to be patient with myself and allow myself to take time.

Clean vs Dirty

 

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I’ve been seeing quite¬†a lot or posts and articles recently about clean versus dirty eating. Now don’t ask me what they both are exactly as I haven’t been reading them in any depth, my interest has been more in the extremes to which people are going, both in their choice of diet and in their vilification of anyone who disagrees with their views. Last night I read of a blogger who hides the fact that, for the sake of their health, they are no longer vegan. They are hiding this because of online attacks by others who feel they should remain loyal to veganism. I suspect I could have equally written this about any type of diet and anyone who blogs or vlogs about their way of being, holding it up as an example of something we should all follow.

One of the things I do is allergy and intolerance testing and much of the time my work is about helping people be aware of what works for them, what feeds and nourishes their bodies and what causes their systems to protest in some way. This then allows them to make informed choices about what they consume and the effects it has on them. What this work has taught me over the years is that we are all different. What suits one of us in terms of diet, supplements or environment, like so much else that we do, does not suit the next person, and indeed why should it.

In order to test I work with a pendulum, charts and lists and more often than not, much of what comes up as a problem is not any real surprise for my clients. Many of us do listen to our bodies, to things we crave and which make us feel better and things we eat or expose ourselves to, knowing that afterwards we will feel worse in some way, and not just through guilt at having eaten the whole box of chocolates/doughnuts or having drunk the whole bottle or wine/vodka, (substitute food or liquid of your choice here). Our bodies are amazing machines and our intuition is something we all have which can guide us, if we listen to it. Much of intuition is about just that, listening and paying attention ,not ignoring it and our bodies do try to send us signals when anything is wrong, signals which intuitively we are more than capable of picking up if we are in fact paying attention.

If anything we are doing be it diet or something else, is making us feel ill, tired, lacking in some way then we should change what we are doing. Extremes are rarely good for us so why would a diet that is extreme either in a ‘clean’ or ‘dirty’ way be any different. Balance is what is really ideal for us¬†in all areas of our lives ,or at least as much of it as we can obtain, and balance can only be found once¬†we get better at recognising and responding to whatever it is that tips us out of balance.¬†If we understand this there really never be any¬†need to vilify or attack¬†anyone¬†for not eating or behaving in the way that is right for them.

Practicing Patience

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I am not by nature patient with myself even though I can be very patient with others when I need to be. Over the years I have learnt to be a little more gentle when it comes to me but it is still not something that comes naturally and I do have to work at it.

Whatever ‘bug’ I have¬†had these last couple of weeks is really testing my patience, even though I know others who have had it and who talk about it lasting two or three weeks. I am used to being well and on the odd occasion when I am not, usually find that once I begin to feel better, I continue to do so day on day. Not this time though, this time I might have a day when I feel a bit better followed by one where I feel worse. It really is strange and I am certainly finding it difficult.

Yesterday was a good day, today when I woke up I felt ok but by the time I had got up and showered I had to sit down and recover. This is not like me in any way.

So I am practicing being patient. I am breathing, working with my breath ¬†and am yogic breathing to exercise my lungs. I am grounding myself, walking barefoot and breathing in the energy of Earth to feed and nourish my body. I am being still and allowing my body to do whatever it needs to do to heal. When I have enough energy I am working on my¬†art and when I don’t I am reading or playing online. I have given up the idea of planning to do anything and am taking it one day at a time in the hope that ‘today might be a good day’.

I am not a good patient which is maybe why my energy is as it is. If I feel ok then I will dive back into life and maybe, just maybe, I need this time out, time to be still. Perhaps it is good for me to be reminded about what this feels like, but if so, trust me I have got the message, loud and clear and hopefully¬†this ‘bug’ will let go of me soon and then I can stop practicing¬†patience.

 

My body is in charge

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Well I am now at the end of my second week of feeling decidedly rubbish ūüė¶ Unusually for me I had just given in and rolled with this which means I am at the end of my second week of doing …….. nothing very much.

I have been listening to my body and my body is screaming at me ‘rest’ even when my mind is saying I really should be doing something. Listening to my body and allowing it to be in charge, hard though it is, is actually making this all much easier than had I been fighting it.

When my mind is in charge it tries to make me do things, makes me feel bad when I am not doing anything, makes me eat even if I am not feeling hungry, makes me move about, makes me try and work through being unwell because that’s what we do isn’t it. We tell ourselves we do not have time to be ill and we push ourselves on.

The problem is that when we do that, when we push ourselves, when we ignore the messages our body is giving us, we can end up being worse than we would have been if we had stopped and given ourselves chance to recover. I have done this many, many times before now, sometimes because I am too busy to be ill, sometimes because I feel, incorrectly I might add, that I am too indispensable to stop, sometimes just because I can.

I have a book in my workspace ‘The Secret Language of Your Body’ by Ina Segal which is all about the messages our bodies try to get to us by not being ok in some way. I talk to my students and clients about how important it is to be paying attention so that we don’t end up really sick or so we can help ourselves to heal. Perhaps if I had been paying more attention before I was unwell I might not have reached this point, the pulled muscle in my side and torn muscle in my arm might, had I been aware enough, have been signs to stop or at least slow down, but rather than give myself a hard time over this I can at least allow¬†my body to be in charge now so that I do not make myself worse.

So I have been paying attention and I really have been listening. When my mind tells me that it is two weeks since I was in the gym but my body reminds me that I barely have the energy to make a cup of tea I am sitting down and resting and when my mind says I should get up and do something but my body is struggling to hold itself upright I am staying put. Hopefully my body will take pity on me and recover quickly now as I am reaching that dangerous stage of beginning to feel a little better. I just hope I can continue to listen and allow my body to be in control.

Under the weather

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I seem to have been neglecting my blog recently but to be fair I have some good excuses.

Firstly I injured my arm at Boot Camp. I didn’t realise I had injured it at all until I got home and noticed the bruise on the back of my hand. Red at first and situated between the middle and ring fingers of my left hand, this gradually turned black. If I traced a line from the bruise down my arm it was tender and then it began to ache. Deciding I had probably done ‘something’ I strapped it and ignored it but out did restrict the little ability I have to type.

Then came the weather along with pollen, dust and mould spores at which time my allergy asthma kicked off and I ended up at the doctors on a nebuliser and came home with antibiotics, steroids, something for nighttime and the normal inhalers and antihistamine. The good news was though that I got my arm checked….a torn muscle, the remedy for which was to support it so its now, even as I type I am wearing a support and will stop when it begins to ache.

To say all of this has wiped me out is an understatement. Breathing and getting enough oxygen into our system is something we take so much for granted. Even with allergy asthma, because it is system overload and fortunately only happens occasionally, it is easy to forget this. I really had forgotten how much my body relies on my being able to breathe to feed the muscles let alone anything else. It has been quite a shock to go from three sessions a week at Curves to not being able to potter around for an hour without feeling like someone has unplugged me. I’m not sure I have ever known my energy to drop so quickly and so dramatically.

And then there is the cough and the light purr that even now on the final day of my meds is still there. I won’t bore you all with these but they are part of it.

I am grateful that I can now see signs of improvement, that I can almost sleep through the night without shocking myself awake coughing, that I have good friends I can call on to send Reiki, that I know to drink wild garlic tea (harvested and dried in the spring) to stop it sinking to my chest and I am grateful that I live somewhere where I can see my doctor on the day I need to and not a week or more later, or even not at all.

Anyway, my arm is aching now so I am stopping. If I’m not around for a bit you at least know why.