Emotions : conditioned to find a cause

From a young age we’re taught our experience can’t just be experienced. There must be a cause. This piece explores how we got here and why it trips us up.

I see it from raising my own kids. When they were babies and were crying – poop, food, burp, sleep checks all done – still crying. What’s wrong? What’s the problem? How do I fix this?

Already assuming there was a problem with this experience of crying. With a small baby you can’t tell if there’s a ‘real’ problem or not, they obviously can’t tell you. Sometimes there is — maybe the onset of an illness, or reflux, or… — but sometimes there isn’t. They were just crying. read more

Numb to life : how to reconnect

We’ve layered up stories through life that make us numb, disconnecting us from life and from our deeper wisdom and intuition. And we can return to connection. We can de-layer the stories.

Our nose stops smelling when we’ve been sniffing the same thing after a while.

Our ears stop hearing the background noise of traffic and planes. read more

Wellbeing: what’s not working?

Last night a group of coaches, HR pros and leaders gathered in the pretty town of Castle Donnington to talk about wellbeing and explore what’s not working, why are the figures going up, what is needed? All facilitated by Debbie Leafe using Nancy Kline’s Thinking Environment.

The group

In the context of the work I do with clients – reconnecting them to their innate ability for connection, clarity and calm – this session was important to me, both to give our delegates an experience of those innate qualities on the day, but also for them to explore what wellbeing really means and what really needs to happen. read more

Why should we be happy?

Seeking happiness seems to be the thing to do. These are the messages all around us: Go on this holiday to be happy. Eat this food to be happy. Get this job to be happy. Have the perfect family life to be happy. The research would say we’re wired to go towards pleasure and away from pain and therefore we should seek a life with maximum happiness. But could this be an over-worked concept that isn’t serving us? read more

Stop the search

All that’s ever going on is we’re having a full 4D experience of the power of Thought. Every single moment of every day.

Image of search bar

You’ll be familiar with search engines and algorithms in tech work. When you search for a new sofa suddenly new sofa adverts pop up everywhere on every social media channel, on every search engine page. Showing you what you need. read more

Racing with square wheels

I was with a Board team last week who were talking about change. How it takes courage and can be hard because we’re having to lose something of us to adopt something new or move to something different.

This is true but only when we attach to our personal thoughts

When we attach to our personal thoughts it’s like putting square wheels on a racing car. We clunk along. Sometimes stopping all together, unable to move forward. Certainly not able to quickly change direction when needed.  But we believe in these wheels, we created them. Even if “horrible” or “negative” there’s a familiarity about them that brings comfort. We know where we are. We’ve adapted ourselves to drive with these wheels, forgetting how things used to be before we had them.

Then we start to consider maybe this isn’t ideal. Maybe I would benefit from a smoother ride. Normally we start working hard to change the wheels. Intellectually analysing how they were fitted, what they are made of. But some of the bolts seem stuck. Or maybe there’s a square wheel we subconsciously like the look of so we find a justifiable reason not to change it.

Now we’re driving with 2 square and 2 round wheels. Better but not exactly a smooth ride. Then you meet someone who glides on round wheels. You’re fascinated & slightly freaked out by their difference. It reminds you of glimmers in your life when you’ve glided, when smooth wheels suddenly appeared and for that short while you enjoyed it! Thinking it must have been what you were doing at the time that created that feeling, you repeat the activity, repeating the external conditions to create the smooth-ride magic as often as you can.

Maybe you didn’t realise that you brushed off the truth of what was going on because it seemed so simple and we all know simple doesn’t win kudos prizes.

The truth is that round wheels are our natural state. Round wheels are what we are born with. We just acquired the square as we grew up & blindly followed the square-creating rules of the world. Once we really see the truth of how the square are created, moment-to-moment, and what they really mean, then our attachment to them drops away with a natural ease and we slip into the round. The natural place we fall back to. Our innate state of clarity, wisdom and wellbeing. From here we glide round the corners, speed along the straights and rediscover a life of richness and fulfilment. All the while connected to our innate brilliance.

If you’re curious to learn more, this is what we’re going to be exploring through LearnConnctDo this year. The thread that’s going to weave through all the sessions.

We’re starting on 14th March* with an introduction to the psychological understanding that underpins this smooth-wheel place. The Eventbrite will be up very soon on this page – if you don’t want to miss it jump on the mailing list by getting in touch with me here. As last year, all ticket profits will be going to Twenty:Twenty as we continue our partnership with this wonderful charity.  Thank you to PKF for continuing to host us so we can maximise how much we donate.

*3-6pm at PKF Cooper Parry’s East Mids offices (near East Mids Airport).

Self Care Week 2018 : don’t make it another “should”

I saw a tweet recently from someone whose goal is to “drink more water”. This is the world we live in now….. a world where we don’t prioritise our own needs, not even our most basic need to stay hydrated!

It might just be me but I find this incredibly sad and I hear my internal voice of desperation asking “what on earth are we doing??”.

I also wonder how many people find expectations of self-care just another stress to add to the pile of other things “I’m not good enough at”.

It’s all with good intention but it’s not getting to what really needs to be got at.

Yes, look after ourselves better but not in this way.

Not when looking after our own health is a to-do list or goal.

I have a lot of time for you Michelle Obama (assuming she actually said these words in the quote!) but self-care can’t be attached to a “we need to” i.e. “we should”. Anything along those lines is a force, a push, a cajole, a tell, an expectation that’s being put on us from outside of us, a standard that if we fall short we’re rubbish (and then we give up).

Yes, look after ourselves better but not when we believe we have an important role to play in getting things “right” with our health and wellbeing, because the more we do this the more we get in our own way.

Layering our thinking and piling expectations into our heads only takes us further away from our innate wellbeing that we already have inside us; in all of us. It takes us away from letting our system right itself, which it does all the time if we stop meddling.

Instead, when we drop all that thinking, looking after ourselves becomes the most obvious thing to do. Anything else just looks bonkers! And we don’t need someone outside of us to tell us what to do or how to do it.

 

If you’d like to talk more about what this means for you just get in touch.

 

 

 

 

Self Care for People Professionals @ Learn > Connect > Do

Today’s post is brought to you by Janice Keyes.  Janice is a wonderful, dedicated HR professional and coach who’s bringing her self care expertise (learned through her own challenges with bringing balance to life!) to Learn > Connect > Do next Thursday (15th March).  All profits from these events go to Twenty:Twenty and when you join us you

LEARN new things,

CONNECT with like minded people,

and then go DO something different to make work better!

We’re excited that PKF Cooper Parry are hosting the event at their amazing East Mids offices (check out the image at the end!) and we’d love to see you there.  Click here if you already know you want to book.  And read on if you’d like to know more…..

P.S. Please make sure you check out the great boat metaphor for self care at the end!

Now, over to Janice…..

I have a little self-care graphic that I keep visible by my desk. It’s a simple hand-drawn graphic that serves as a reminder on those busy days of the things that keep me healthy. It prompts a bit of structure around my self-care and reminds me to keep it high on my agenda. And as you’d expect, the more I engage with activities that nourish my soul, the more rewards I reap. Not only in that short-term joyous time of connection with whatever it is I’m doing but for the long-term too as I continually reinforce those behaviours. Reminding my brain and body what it feels like to be nourished with those feel-good vibes on a regular basis.

And why am I telling you this?

Because hands up! I haven’t always been great at self-care. I know that self-care can be difficult. And so if, by any chance, I can enable your journey to greater self-care to be a little less time-consuming than my own then I’m happy to share my ideas.

So what makes self-care so difficult in the first place?

We live in a forever changing world, where we’re moving at a pace we, perhaps as humans, have never moved at before, constantly driving forward to keep up, take new stuff in and change. Our minds are constantly stimulated. Our mental health continually pushed to its limit whilst we strive to live our lives to their fullest. And with that we are continually challenged to keep everything in check (work and life) AND to deal with whatever has cropped up.

So its no wonder when we live in the world we do that life or work can sometimes ‘get in the way’ and can knock your self-care routine off-balance.

But here’s the thing…

There is ALWAYS going to be something that will get in the way. The experience of life is not one that is always in balance as much as we’d like it to be.

And these days we perhaps find that it’s unusual to get a ‘steady’ moment in work or in life… That is, unless we create one ourselves!

And so to create one we will….

On Thursday 16th March, I’ll be facilitating a session on self-care at the quarterly LearnConnectDo gathering. Learn > Connect > Do was founded by Helen Amery who is passionate about making work better. So if you care about making work better too by being better connected to your own self-care and if you have ‘people’ as the core focus of your work : HR, L&D, OD, coaching, leadership and management, then we’d love to have you along.

I appreciate that it can sometimes be difficult to figure out which meeting, activity or event is the most important for you to attend in any day. It seems we’re forever prioritising. But let’s not forget that “Learning self-care is like building your own lifeboat, plank by plank. Once you’ve got your boat, you’ll still be rocked by the waves of life, but you’ll have a feeling of safety, and a stability that means you can pick other people up on your way.” (Nadia Narain & Katia Narain Philllips)

So if you are ready to build the next plank in your own lifeboat to get to that feeling of safety and stability, book on here

We look forward to seeing you!

PKF Cooper Parry Offices, East Mids – this is where we’ll be on the 15th!

 

 

When did you last check under your carpet?

Bansky street cleaner – Chalk Farm, London

It’s not that unusual for people to cry when they work with me.  Stopping the daily busy-ness and task-focused activities to pause, reflect and to think well can often bring things to the surface that people hadn’t noticed were there.  Our always-on and busy lives lead us to sweep things under the carpet and carry on with an “it’s all fine” and “I’m fine” face on.  Sometimes a client’s upset is “normal level” upset, sometimes it’s a symptom of medically-recognisable anxiety for which they need different help than I can provide.  And when I say anxiety, don’t picture “jibbering mess, barely able to function”.  Instead picture the reality which is genuinely what’s in front of me – capable, confident leaders who are very skilled at what they do and who are able to hide their anxious turmoil REALLY well.

It happened to me too.  Not anxiety but definitely the surfacing of a collection of stuff which I’d been sweeping under my carpet for about a year.  For me it was starting yoga that brought my tears to the surface and my yoga teacher tells me I’m most definitely not the only one.  Taking time out to spend an hour in my own headspace while doing gentle yoga poses, flows and meditation gave me that non-task-focused space to allow my hidden stuff to come to the surface.

Since then yoga has become a weekly class and I don’t cry.  Doesn’t mean I never will, nobody and no life is perfect, but for now I’m not.  I’m also going to seasonally-timed yoga & art retreats for 5 Sundays this year.  They’re amazing, luxurious time out from everything.  I’ve worked with a fantastic therapeutic coach who helped me look deeply into myself and my past to reconcile some things and help me feel OK as I move forward, which has also helped with some relationships around me.  Still some work in progress but a definite, significant shift, and lots of learning about me as coach.

And so what?  Well, all this reflection was prompted by reading some good news in the world of mental health – that organisations are starting to make talking about mental health OK and that they’re providing solutions.  The fact that The IOD are talking about it and not just The CIPD is a significant step in the right direction.  Being able to help people consider a range of support options is brilliant to meet different people’s needs.  Yoga doesn’t work for everyone, and neither will coaching, but an Employee Assistance Programme might, or counselling, or medical support, staff networks or buddying, and more.

For me, coaching on its own provides fantastic headspace to reflect, and I’ve also expanded what I offer to clients, making walking coaching and yoga + coaching definite options for those who want to give them a try.

Whatever’s right for you, the more you can address the causes and check under your carpet more regularly the better.

 

[Photo credit :https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Bansky_street_cleaner_-_Chalk_Farm_(1205714884).jpg]