Last week I was in Scotland having some much needed down time with the boys ahead of Fox starting school. Even though my work emails were off, work still kept coming in. I was creeping off to the toilets to reply, snatching moments to sneak a peak. I didn't like it, I didn't want it. It was making my heart tight, my stomach flip and me impatient with the boys.
I wanted and needed to be away from everything other than what was here, really here, in flesh and blood, in the air.
So after some tears from the guilt and stress of the work magnet I turned it off and put it in a drawer.
Yep, I turned my phone off and put it in a drawer.
I checked it once a day for the rest of the holiday, 10mins max. I used my camera instead of my phone so I didn't miss capturing moments I wanted to store.
It was powerful.
A weight lifted.
It was easier to chat, to laugh, to watch, to smell, to stretch, to play, to notice, to listen, really listen.
I've been really ill from food poisoning this week and I didn't put my phone into the drawer, I wish I had. I've not had chance to recover so now I'm getting migraines.
In my work with people we feel our way through space, what it is to notice space, breathe in space, hold space, have more space.
I definitely need to build in new ways to have space from my phone, from the demands of work.
I'll let you know when I've got a plan.
Step 1 is to take Whatsapp off the websites, you'll be ok without it, won't you?
FYI A friend (you'll find her down the road at The Forge!) just used the phrase "phone hygiene" and I thought I'd pinch it, thanks Sheena!
It’s been a funny few weeks being away in Newcastle, Manchester and Leeds. I’ve dropped my routine and I’ve been really poorly. The easy thing is to head down into chaos, something I would’ve done in the past. To say “all my hard work was for nothing coz I’m back where I started”. But that’s not true, is it?!
I feel weak and fatigued. My body is sore. And my mind feels like mush. All of those things tend to make me crave junk and sugar and I have a pull to disappear into the sofa. Which makes me feel worse.
I’ve stopped. Checked in. And listened. What my body needs is gentleness and compassion. It needs water, nutritious food and fresh air.
So I’m catching myself. I’ve reached out. I’ve returned to an old friend Free Writing to start my day and I’m doing the things I know will help me rebuild and bring the spring back into my step:
Daily intentions (ie a chance to make some mindful choices)
Cleared my space
Reach out to connect with people I know will fuel me (we danced)
Outside little and often - moving at a speed that's right for my body
Taken work and Facebook off my phone
Sorted PT sessions with Lucy and been honest about how my body is and asked her to help with accountability
Logging my food (gently)
Breathing and stretching
Lit a calming candle (jasmine & rosewood) to help me be focused with my work
Showered and put proper clothes on
and and and...
I benefit deeply from routine. I used to say I hated it, that it suffocated me. But really it’s one of the things that keeps me safe and able to listen and honour myself. Already with a couple of days of routine back in place I’m feeling safer and more steady.
The reality is that for years I've fed the "bad wolf" - the part of me wanting to shut down - I've fed it with food, with horrible words, with avoidance tactics. But I choose differently now. I choose to stop, to listen and feed the rest of me with the stuff it really needs.
I wonder if you’ve checked in with you today? How do you want your day to go?
If you fancy working with me, you should absolutely come to do my Mastering Me Retreat.
It’s no secret that many people talk about mindfulness and meditation and the heaps of benefits they both bring. They say that meditation is stress-busting, self care done ‘right’, and a source-of-all-goodness.
But what if mindfulness and meditation don’t work for you?
What if the very word mindfulness sets your teeth on edge and makes your toes curl?
Thankfully, you don’t have to buy into one word to find some balance.
I’ve had a funny relationship with both words. They provoke an image of floaty hippies sitting in a field for hours on end. I’m a mum of a 2 & 4 year old, I run and manage the studio and Both Feet Actor Training, all the admin, the creating, the website, the social media, the bookings and I do the teaching and coaching. I do not have time to sit in a field for 3 hours a day!
When I met Barbara Houseman, she began to change the way I viewed it - she was down to earth, sweary and funny, not the airy floaty hippy I always conjured up in my mind. So I jumped on her Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy Course to challenge my understanding and extend my development. An email came through telling us we’d need to meditate for around an hour a day for the length of the 2 month course. I nearly choked, resistance bubbling. Instead of pulling out, I reached out and asked if I could do the meditations whilst moving instead, luckily she said yes - so that’s what I did.
Over the weeks and months I discovered ways of being mindful without sitting in a field for three hours a day.
When I washed my hair and brushed my teeth.
The last weeks of breastfeeding. Sitting in the darkness.
Running outside with the boys in our pjs to breathe in the sunrise.
Drawing a breath and allowing stillness into my body every time my feet touched the doorstep to stop my perpetual moving.
Slow motion drinking when I felt chaotic.
And the bigger stuff like slowly moving into 2 degree water.
These small moments peppered throughout each day have changed my life and really will be the difference between me dying sooner and living longer. I’m not being dramatic when I say that - I have literally been killing myself by not stopping, not breathing, not noticing.
Have I made peace with the words meditation and mindfulness? No. I still see hippies in a field but l do now do both automatically in my own way, the way that works for me.
I’d love to explore how you do you so you can find realistic ways to live a better life.
my brain and
a decade ago
over who was
to blame about
how big of a mess
I have become
they couldn't be
in the same room
with each other
now my head and heart
share custody of me
I stay with my brain
during the week
and my heart
gets me on weekends