Thursday, December 21, 2006

Happy Christmas and a fun and prosperous New Year!

Last post before Christmas and I go away and don’t look at my computer until the New Year. :-) A client asked me this week if I could recommend a way of reflecting on the past year and looking forward into the coming year – and I could! So I thought that I would also share this reflection with you. Take some time with it, if you are a lover of rituals create a sacred space for it. This is a moment for you to paint whatever picture of 2007 that you want.

The passage from 2006 – 2007

It is always useful to take some time at the end of the year and review what has happened for you in the past twelve months. This time of reflection is useful as an acknowledgment as well as a time to take stock of your progress through life.

So before New Year, so you have time to remember all that has happened, take some time and ask yourself what were the big events in the past year? How did you handle them, what insights did this year give you, how are you a different person now than at the beginning of the year? Who have you met this year that has made an impact on your life? Who has moved out of the close circle of friends? Sometimes by the time we get to December we forget a lot of what happened in the beginning of the year so it helps to take a look at your diary. Ask yourself what has 2006 taught me about me? What lessons has this year held for me? What have been my strengths this year? Where could have I been more flexible? How balanced was my year? Really take stock of all that has occurred.

On the eve of the New Year, find some quiet time for a meditation. Bring all the things you remember about the past year to mind, acknowledge them and let them go one by one. When you feel complete with this see yourself standing at the doorway to 2007. Turn and take one last look at 2006 and then walk through the doorway into a totally white room. As you stand there just take a look and see what or who has come with you. These may be anything or anyone, just know that they have come through the threshold for a purpose yet to be revealed. Now notice a set of paints and brushes, with these brushes you can create anything you wish on the plain white walls of 2007. Pick up the brushes and start to paint, don’t censor the art of 2007, just paint. Once you have finished stand back and admire your handiwork, let it become part of you and if you wish you can make some notes or sketches so you can recapture this at any time during the year.

Make your entry into 2007 a conscious one.

Then, after you have put the next year in motion, CELEBRATE, in whatever way feels appropriate for you!

Happy New Year!

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Handling Negativity

Handling negativity seems to be the theme for the week; I’ve come across it personally, with friends and with clients so it is definitely in the air!

In relationships it can be difficult to stay positive if your partner is down in the dumps especially as we have a tendency to take our relationships personally! However it is useful to remember that it is not about you but about them. I suggest that within relationships you devise a way of handling this seesaw situation before it hits. Discuss it and find out from your partner how they would best feel supported. Do they want cheering up or simply support? The tendency is to try to cheer someone up when they are down, but sometimes this is actually the worst thing you can do. For the one who is feeling negative just being heard is often all that needs to happen. However the one who is positive also needs to devise a way to stay positive in the face of negativity. This can be aided by not totally focussing on the ‘problem’ of the other (but ensuring that it is not ignored it either) but also keeping a clear focus on what is good. That may be immersing yourself in something that reminds you of the good stuff, listen to CD’s, watching inspiring films, talking to someone who is also feeling good or even simply taking some time out to stay in the happy place. When we feel negative it is not to bring the other down to our level, but sometimes it is hard to get out of the black hole. In those moments having a partner who demonstrates that there is an alternative (without trying to get their partner to be there too) can be very important.

We can also find ourselves in friendships that feel negative and toxic. Maybe we were once in that space of always seeing the world through a black cloth, but as we grow and evolve we can outgrow our friends. If you find yourself in this situation it can then become a choice. Does the friendship mean more to you than the down side? If so then know it is a choice to be in that energy and you can work to not let it seep into your life. If however the friendship is no longer nurturing then maybe it’s time for the hard question; do you still want this person in your life? I had a situation many years ago when I had to make this decision and saw that I no longer wanted the repetitive negative conversations. I talked about this with my friend and said I was happy to be a support to her but not as it was now, the focus needed to be different. In that way we both had a choice.

Negativity at work also raised its head this week. How to handle someone in the work place who can never see the good in something? That is a tricky one. Limit the amount of interaction if you can. If not, then do not enter in to the negative talk but constantly turn it round to solutions. In this way you mirror the behaviour you’d like to receive. If you have a good relationship with the person you could point out what they do, often people are not aware of their habits. And, one I like is to imagine yourself as a duck. Yep a duck! Ducks have totally waterproof coats, imagine yourself with a totally negative proof back – let it pour off you like water off a ducks back.

It doesn’t have to touch you and part of living life with a bigger picture focus is choosing your thoughts. Make them the good ones.

Friday, December 01, 2006


Funny how things tend to go in themes – this week’s theme in my coaching practise has been talking about overwhelm so I thought that it was a good subject for the blog.

Why do we feel overwhelmed? Often because we feel that we have too much on our plate, that we can’t get everything done, that the job ahead of us is too large we don’t know where to start. And that’s a key – picking a place to start. Most times it doesn’t actually matter where we start but simply that we do. Once we get going we can find that the momentum carries us forward with much more ease than we thought.

So just starting can be a help. It is also useful to notice that overwhelm is a futures thing – things have that feeling of being overwhelming because they threateningly loom ahead of us and take our focus off what we are doing right now. It is large problem in our heads but not in reality. But it’s real right now I hear you shout, well yes but if you really take few deep breaths and become REALLY present is it still real? No. So if being present with what is happening right now is an aid, how can we help ourselves to get present?

One way to help your mind relax and drop that overwhelm feeling is write a list of what needs to get done. You don’t have to know the ‘how’ right now, simply the ‘what’. By creating this list we are telling our minds that we will take care of it, it can relax. We can then refocus ourselves onto what is right in front of us at this moment and start with that.

Worry often accompanies overwhelm and a very effective way of handling worry to give yourself a 15 minute time slot each day to use solely for worrying. At any other time in the day if you catch yourself worrying you have to say, “No, I can’t worry about that now, I’ll do it in my worry time”, and write it down on a list. Then when the time comes round you can sit down with your list and worry away to your hearts content! You will find that it is a sure fire way to reduce your worrying and realise that worrying has absolutely no benefits at all. If you do this your worries and therefore your feeling of overwhelm will shrink immensely.

Remember it is all in the mind – what’s in yours?
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