Category Archives: Life balance

The Power of Metaphor

What is metaphor?

It’s a way of speaking that uses words or pictures to describe something in a symbolic way.

At the workshop I presented at today, I used both words and pictures as metaphors to bypass the conscious mind.  This was to get the participants thinking more deeply about their EQ or emotional intelligence in regard to how much balance (or not) is in their lives.

Without giving too much away…. and because I’m planning on repeating the workshop quite soon, I asked them to think about what tools that they might have on hand to apply in various situations.

Using a variety of photos, including that of my own toolbox, we segued into how they might successfully navigate situations or people using various Emotional Intelligence strategies.

My real toolbox contains a good selection of Homeopathic remedies. Many years ago I used to take it on home visits for some clients who had children diagnosed with ADHD. Much easier than having a bored and disruptive child confined in an office and a wonderful way to observe their behaviours in their natural habitat!

The metaphoric toolbox

This contains various tools that can be used to change perception of self or situations. These tools enable one to respond rapidly to changing situations or to be creative and innovative in an approach to new or novel ideas.

Setting life goals is much like having a garden. You’ve designed the garden beds, carefully planned where the trees have been placed and planted a variety of plants – perhaps even a lawn area. But the work doesn’t stop here. The lawn needs to be mowed on a regular basis. The plants need to be tended and occasionally, plants such as roses need to be pruned to produce the next seasons lush growth.

And so it is with life goals.  You’ve planned the goals, placed a few key elements to stand out. All this needs maintenance and constant action to keep the momentum to get the end result. Along the way you may encounter a prickly person or what you thought was a beautiful flower which turns out to be a weed and needs to be removed.

With no way of knowing their story, a metaphor can be transformative to many people as they apply and adapt it to their own life experience or goals and bring about an inner awareness of their own strengths or weaknesses.

Three Keys to building your Emotional Intelligence

There is an art to being emotionally intelligent.

How so you might say?

Whilst there have been stacks of books and plenty of research on the subject, when it comes to improving your Emotional Intelligence you have to get in touch with your inner ARTist as I outlined in a recent presentation.

Firstly you have to Assess your emotions. Positive or negative, feel the emotions and name them and then let them go.

The second key is to Recognise that all emotions are feedback in some way.

  • Can you recognise patterns as you experience a particular emotion?
  • Is there a trigger that creates your response?

When you start to recognise these patterns, then you will have created a neural pathway that causes you to respond that way. Once you become aware of your own patterns of action or reaction, then you will also start to notice how other people react to triggers.

The third key is Transformation. This will begin to happen as you acknowledge your emotions as useful tools for feedback. Part of this transformative process is reflecting whether you are doing one of several things.

  • Are you denying the emotion or your feelings?
  • Are you over reacting or are you repressing the emotion?

Take a step back….. pause and do some deep breathing and allow yourself some space. If you feel you need some help in building your Emotional Intelligence muscle, then call or use the contact form to schedule some coaching sessions.

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Taking a step back…

The most recent visit to the retreat was after the olive trees were planted and they looked as if they had settled in quite well. The grass in the labyrinth had grown by about a foot and it seemed an ideal time to use the newly acquired whipper snipper to good use.  With a brisk north wind blowing and forgetting that I have a rye grass allergy, I had a shot at redefining the paths. After a short time, I had to retire to re-hydrate and to take some antihistamines!

The antihistamines went to work, but I couldn’t shake the tiredness and a cough had developed. Returning to the city, I grabbed some take away for dinner, but didn’t have much of an appetite and went to bed quite early by my standards. Monday morning I tried to get a doctor’s appointment, but no luck. Probably something to do with the political announcement that doctors fees were going up because of the government restructure of Medicare.  I stayed in bed…. by Wednesday, I knew it was time to see a doctor. Again, no appointments available at my usual GP, so off to the bulk bill clinic down the road.

Pneumonia was diagnosed….. just what I didn’t need with a busy Reiki teaching month and hypnotherapy clients coming up.  After a bout last year, which took ages to recover my energy from, I decided then and there that I had to take a deeper look into why I was manifesting this. Being in an altered state from the illness has given a different perspective and rather than wanting to be in a state of helplessness, I decided that I would use this enforced “time out” as a positive exercise.

Louise Hay in Heal Your Body sees pneumonia as being “tired of life. Emotional wounds that are not allowed to heal” – her aphorism for this is ” I freely take in Divine ideas that are filled with the breath and intelligence of Life. This is a new moment”.

Debbie Shapiro in Your Body Speaks Your Mind goes a little further, suggesting that we need to look at what might be so deeply inflaming our feelings about breathing…. or if it is something within that we are unable to express. “….there are hot emotions her, as well as pain and exhaustion, depleting our energy. The act of breathing is the act of living. Are you feeling exhausted or overwhelmed by the burden of having to keep going? Is there a longing to stop and take some time out?  ………The relationship of breath to spirit is often seen in this illness, as mystical or spiritual experiences are not uncommon in those suffering from pneumonia…….”

Caroline Myss in Why People Don’t Heal and How They Can, states ” When an illness is part of your spiritual journey, no medical intervention can heal you until your spirit has begun to make the changes that the illness was designed to inspire…..the most effective healing option. when you are facing an illness as a spiritual challenge, is to rely on your spiritual practice to bring you the insights you need. ………Seeing illness as a spiritual challenge does not reduce our chances of healing, but we need to understand that spirituality is first and foremost the path of gaining inner rather than physical strength. Physical healing can certainly follow, but whether it occurs or not is part of one’s spiritual destiny………..”

She continues….”healing requires a willingness to make changes in both your physical and spiritual ways of life. Healthy changes of lifestyle and spiritual practice are parallel roads leading to the same goal, and each road needs to be driven along every day.”

So in the company of good teachers, I’m taking a little time out to make some changes with both the physical and spiritual ways of life.

5 Steps to Surviving the Summer Holidays

Summer is just a few weeks away and the festive season is getting closer. Whether you look forward to it or dread it, the holiday season can be stressful for many reasons but it is possible to get through this time by following these steps.

  1. Remember to breathe…… establishing a routine for deep breathing prior to the holidays will result in this becoming second nature to you when you are in a stressful situation. A simple and effective breathing technique, done first thing in the morning and last thing at night, is to lie on your back with your hands over your belly and the fingers just touching each other. Take a deep breath into your belly area and your fingers should separate slightly and then exhale slowly allowing your belly to go flat. Do this ten times. If you find you lose count, then exert a slight pressure on each finger after every exhalation. Do it often enough and it will become a habit, then when there is a stressful situation you can trigger the relaxation by placing a hand on your abdomen and gently counting the breaths and exerting a slight pressure on the fingers.
  2. Stay in the moment…cultivate mindfulness as a strategy. When you are eating…..eat. Avoid distractions such as eating in front of the TV or whilst reading a newspaper. Be aware of the flavour, texture, smell, feel of the food and be especially aware of when you feel full. It’s OK to say “No” to second helpings or to leave some food on the plate. If there is a vast array of food, see this as an opportunity to create a small “tasting plate” and again be aware of the presentation, texture, flavours, smell of the food and whether it is a “friend or foe” to your body. Be curious about the preparation, the combination of flavours or where the food originated from. Listen to a hypnosis CD so that your subconscious mind can help you to make the right decisions about food choices when in social situations.
  3. Give within your means….. this applies not only to presents, but to your time and also what you are giving to yourself in the way of “treats”. If you love to bake, then do so and give away your creations to family and friends. If you are giving your time, make sure that you leave enough for yourself to enjoy the occasion and remember that it is OK to say “No” to demands on your time and energy.  Visualize a bubble around you that allows loving thoughts in and blocks any negative vibrations. If you are intending on giving yourself a “treat”, make it a massage instead of a meringue or a pedicure instead of a pie….
  4. Stick to routines and structure as much as possible…. Have a plan. Most holiday stress comes about from that last minute rush to make everything perfect. Set goals that are realistic. Map out whether there are any obstacles to achieving the goals and work out the best way forward.
  5. Acknowledge your emotions….. the holiday season can be difficult if you have had a bereavement or change in family structure. Spend time reflecting on what traditions you would like to keep and what you would like to change. Have a plan, this may be that you decide to keep the celebrations the way they have always been. Plan B is always a good backup to default to if you realize as you head to a social situation that you need some time alone. It’s quite alright to plan to leave a celebration a little early if you feel overwhelmed. Rescue Remedy is a great help at times like this and if you see a homeopath, ask for some specific grief remedies to help you get by.  Another useful therapy is Hypnotherapy, where you can bypass your conscious mind and use a variety of techniques to help you deal with either difficult people or situations. Smile….. even if you don’t feel like it…. the muscles in your face will send messages to your brain and release endorphins to reduce stress…. Laugh…. a good laugh is contagious and also reduces stress. ….. but above all – be authentic and acknowledge how you are feeling and share how you are feeling.

*article shared with Healthy Energy Summer 2015 Newsletter.

Clarity

 

Can’t see the wood for the trees?trees

Sometimes you just need to step away to get a better perspective on things.

Stop……… relax……. breathe deeply…….look up and then into the distance and realize that by re-focusing your eyes or your energy, you can take a look at what you have been doing in a different way.

Just recently, I threw myself into a project that I thought would benefit others. I immersed myself in research, looked for the best possible expert in a particular field and in the process, lost my perspective and personal work/life balance. big tree

What happens when you get too close to a project? Maybe it’s a case of seeing too much wood and not enough of the tree and beyond…..

Look at the difference in perspective…. same tree, different angles. In the latter, the detail of the bark shows up and in the former, the greatness of the tree is revealed. Tapping into the beauty of the tree and the saplings around it, allowing the leaves to create a canopy that shelters the creatures nearby. There is more room to move, to cast one’s eye over in the first photo.

In focusing closely on the second picture,  the field of vision is narrowed. The eye is drawn upwards, following the grain of the bark to a focused point at the top. This pathway guides you in no uncertain terms to a focal point at the top, but is not  a flexible, fluid pathway.

It’s important to choose a perspective that allows you to move forward that honors and respects not only others, but yourself. Quiet contemplation and reflection will allow you to choose a path that takes you forward in such a way that the shared journey is pleasant and productive.

 

A moment in time…

Lawn Hill …..accompanied by that sinking feeling as a post or an article that you thought was reasonably interesting or informative disappears into the ether….

I wrote an article earlier in the day about dreaming and lucid dreaming, posted and thought nothing more about it until later in the evening when all the notifications popped up on various feeds. Curious to see how it presented on the mobile device, I clicked to check…. and all that was there was the title and a short intro……but no article.

Had I saved the article to Word or pasted it from there….. ummmm … no! Gone … gone….. like the early morning mists, much like the dreams that I had written about….faded away and disappeared…

I guess the positive note being, that in the writing there was a subconscious resolution. Maybe some of you read the post before it  disappeared and that’s who it was meant for. Can I reconstruct it? Probably not.. I still have the memories of the many dreams and last nights remains strong in the conscious mind, but I’m of the opinion that the post was not meant to be read by many.  So if you missed it… I’m rewriting something similar for inclusion in a future book.

Listening to the clues….

61de5-labrainDo you believe in synchronicity?

I do…

Yesterday I received an audio study program and took a break from it to have a Skype conversation with a LinkedIn connection for the first time. We shared thoughts and I reflected on how clever the universe is to allow like minded people to connect over the ether!

I decided to start today with some energy work, a meditation and some Reiki for friends in need, then on to working on a new business plan for this financial year. Part of that was to merge my original blog “Meg’s Place” with this one.

Taking some time out for a tea break (a big cup of Bengal Spice), I decided to draw 3 cards from The Ascended Masters with a question about how to resolve any spiritual blocks I might be experiencing in regard to my business.

I got a pretty clear answer:

  1. WRITE ; either daily journal, channel messages from my guides and angels and my life purpose is to write a book…the kernel of which is forming already….
  2. TAKE CHARGE OF THE SITUATION:  I have the tools/power to heal and alter my current situation. Take charge and assume a leadership position
  3. FOCUS ON YOUR STRENGTHS: ..not on the weaknesses. The more one blesses and appreciates the strengths – the more they will grow. The final part of this card also suggested to begin an exercise program, which I had a chuckle about!!

This afternoon’s tasks are to begin to move the face to face workshop material developed over the past 5 years to downloadable files so they can be accessed anytime, anywhere.

My skills as a teacher and the years of writing curriculum documents are standing me in good stead….The Meditation workshop has already been written up and most of the recordings done…

Polarity Therapy, Homeopathy and Coaching will follow, but Reiki will continue to be taught face to face.

Wintry Weather

winter temperatureWinter has definitely set in up at the retreat.

The purpose of the trip was to make sure that there had been no storm damage or trees blown over in the last couple of weeks. We always seem to bring the rain with us – even in summertime – although it was mostly showers, which meant we could get out for walks.

This means mud inside the cottage and the next priority is to pave an area near the door and put a verandah up so that boots can be taken off and left outside.

Not being a huge cottage – it’s 6 metres by 6 metres – there is not a lot of floor space to have to wash, but after this trip I have decided to wash it on arrival instead of on departure;  as I’m wondering if leaving the damp floor to dry in our absence is what is causing the condensation overnight.

Friday night was a chilly 3’C outside and although there is a small wall heater in the cottage and we had a nice fire outside, it was bedtime by 8.15pm  as that was the warmest place! Saturday wasn’t too bad as the rain clouds kept the chill away, but Sunday morning was clear, bright  and brisk. Inside the cottage humidity rose to 90% and we opened up the doors and windows to air out the place…… equilibrium was reached just after midday with the temperature rising to 11.3!!

The pace of this visit was somewhat slower than before as I was finishing with a bout of the flu and the paddocks were too wet to take the tractor into. A little yabbie fishing – only small ones, which were returned – from the bottom dam…. which was surprising, although the neighbour did let us know that  he often saw people jumping the fence and putting nets in there.  A couple of larger  ones from the top dam provided an entree for Saturday night’s dinner. On a side trip to Echuca on Saturday, I saw a resin crocodile head that floats and thought that would make an interesting visual for the bottom dam – especially if it it didn’t float away down the overflow!!

Pinwheel hakeaA Pinwheel Hakea decided to turn up its toes on Saturday afternoon which was a shame as it was a good size tree. I have harvested a few seed pods and we already have 4 seedlings growing as an experiment. Pinwheel Hakea blossom

When it browns off, I will drag it to a small pile where 2 others are and burn it. Apparently the seeds only germinate with bushfire smoke and it will be interesting to see if this creates a small colony of hakea seedlings! Saturday also saw the planting of a passionfruit vine along the home paddock fence. The first of the composting toilet buckets was tipped into a very large hole and the vine duly planted on top. I think we may have to wait a bit longer for the other buckets to be used, although perhaps the holes can be dug for the proposed fruit trees whilst the soil is damp and easier to get through…. I’m also wondering if the composting process wouldn’t be quicker in the ground…..

On Sunday, a few of the wattles lining the driveway had branches broken off, presumably by some over excited kangaroos on their way through … I was fortunate to be standing quite still (I was checking my step tracker app) when 3 large roos bounded past within a metre of me. I don’t know who was more surprised ….!!  A walk around the perimeter of the retreat is about 2500 steps, not accurate as I got sidetracked going back to look at a couple of things and made a small detour here and there.

The main water tank retank leakmains a problem… there are several leaks which seem to be made worse by the increased pressure as it fills….The small tank next to the cottage only holds 500 litres and is filled quite quickly. To prevent damage from the overflow, it is regularly emptied into the big tank which would hold an estimated 40,000 litres when full. At present it is still only half full even though we have had some good rains.

The recent visitors helped to paint on a compound which is supposed to react witTank leakh the water and create crystals in the cracks to seal the leaks, but it is only partially successful so far.

At one stage there was a significant leak and a patch of tractor tube, wood and held in with a fencing post sufficed until underwater cement from mending the pool tiles at home was applied.

Fingers croOrb in labyrinthssed that the repairs can continue successfully – otherwise it will mean a new tank as this is the main water supply for the retreat.

The labyrinth was walked … the sage and the lavender continue to stay green and not nibbled by animals. The wattle trees inside the path are just about to bloom and will add to the ambiance…..

I didn’t have the energy this trip to re-define the pathway. Tiny toadstools

Just to the north of it lies what I call the “wild area”.. fenced off, it has a stand of tall gums, but mostly bush mallee and rocks.  I discovered a mossy “pathway” and thought immediately of faeries and the like….

 

Observing the environment

 

Prejudices, it is well known,are most difficult to eradicate from the heart whose soil has never been loosened or fertilized by education; they grow firm there, firm as weeds among stones.

Charlotte Bronte
Another all too brief sojourn up at the retreat, with some more clearing of bushes, tending to the labyrinth and the beginnings of a walking track (fire break) around the perimeter.
Mound of Biddy Bush alight in the overflowClearing the Biddy Bush or Chinese Bush has just about been completed and the debris was pushed into a large pile in the damp area of the dam overflow to minimize the fire spreading.
Whilst it was sad to see so many tiny Blue Wrens and other little bush birds displaced and homeless, the ongoing fire risk is too great to let the bushes stay. They kept busy collecting twigs from previously slashed bushes and rebuilt during the day.
Just one small section of the debris was lit and within seconds, this inferno took off. Some 5 hours later – after burning red-hot, the pile was reduced to ashes, which will be added to a composting area.
AshesEventually deemed safe to leave, we made periodic trips to check on it during the evening (& the Yabbie nets). On one of these trips, not only kangaroos were sighted in the headlights, but a large hare. This is the third time I’ve caught a glimpse of it!
The evenings are spent thinking about building projects. Now the proud owner of a metal bath, which originally was sourced to have as an outdoor bath heated by a small fire under it, it will most probably reside (still outside) on a verandah to built at the front of the cottage.
A bath with a view!
The first of the fruit trees has gone in  – a lemon tree and although kangaroos and wallabies have inspected it, so far it seems to be off their menu.
A passionfruit vine was gifted to me and it will possibly be installed as part of a green fence around the labyrinth.
Other trees in pots are waiting to make the trip up to the retreat.  There are half a dozen pomegranate trees – a result of planting out the spent seeds from a pomegranate feast 3 years ago. Quite small still, but hardy as they have been in a crowded spot, they should take off now they have been potted up. They should do quite well  and I’m intending to hedge them in front of the labyrinth, which should also offer a little more privacy as people walk.
There is also a 7 year old Avocado tree that has been on the deck for some time and is calling to have its roots set free and the half dozen or so Oak seedlings are progressing well.
Just yesterday, a small almond tree was given to me and that will be planted out on the next trip.
As with all projects, enthusiasm needs to be balanced with practicality… but there is the trap of over intellectualizing and doing nothing…

Values

TruthAs Tony Robbins put so succinctly in his book Awaken the Giant Within,

Values guide our every decision and, therefore, our destiny. Those who know their values and live by them become the leaders of our society.”

It is helpful to go over and review what our values are from time to time to see if we are heading in the right direction. Occasionally we can discover that we are in conflict with our values and then dig around a little to discover the emotions around the conflict.

One of my values is honesty. There have been times in my life where there has been conflict around this, particularly when I’m self sabotaging my success and I’m not overly proud of repeating the patterns.

Lately the values of honesty, trust and integrity have been coming up for me. Are they one and the same?

I’ll give you a couple of examples:

Firstly, I recently bought a floodlight for the shed up at the retreat. Not overly expensive but with a compact fluorescent globe in it to save on power.  I took it up to the retreat and discovered on opening the box that the globe had broken – there had been a small impact to the side of the box which caused the damage. The consensus amongst the gathered people was to take it back to the supplier on return to the city.

“No big deal “,you might say.

I didn’t sleep that night. I woke at one stage and realized that I had opened the box in the store and checked the globe against a shelf of other globes for size and pricing. The globe had been broken in transit…….I felt sick…..

When I mentioned this at breakfast, the group opinion was to take it back anyway and get a new one. Perhaps sensible as the cost of a new globe is more than the assembled floodlight.

I reflected on the night’s lack of sleep and what values and energy I intend to bring to the retreat and decided that I would buy a new globe regardless, and did so on my trip to the local hardware store later that day.

Secondly, a little while ago a woman called for an appointment.

I booked her in and when she arrived, she commented that it was a little further than she expected to drive. I asked her why and she said that when she looked at the website, the address was closer to home.

I had been working on a commission basis at a colleague’s practice and she had found me on that website, not my own. Oops!

I explained the difference and the session proceeded.

As she left she said, “Well you don’t have to tell xxxxx that I came here”…… But with my values, how could I not?  (& yes I did tell)

 

How do others perceive honesty?

Over the past few weeks I have observed that there are many shades of honesty and dishonesty. Layers of trust and distrust all wrapped up in the cloak of integrity…….

For example:

Is it dishonest to keep a $50 note found in a carpark?

How would you know the owner? I remember finding a note when I was a child and my mother taking me to tIntegrity 2he police station to hand it in. I returned months later and was given the note. Just last year I found a $50 note in a large, city carpark. Most of the other cars had departed and I pocketed the note, using it to pay the carparking and donated the balance to a good will tin at my local bakery.

What if the checkout person didn’t scan an item correctly so that it didn’t record?

Would you go back to pay for that item? Or think that the supermarket makes enough profit anyway or see it as a bonus for your loyalty in shopping there?

What if you went to a therapist and couldn’t use your credit card there? (maybe the internet was down or they didn’t have facilities for credit)

Would you try to pay as promptly as possible through a bank deposit or ignore the invoice? Perhaps you might make excuses that the therapy didn’t work. How would you know it hadn’t worked? Wouldn’t you still be paying for the time that person spent with you? Is the failure to pay, as much breaking the trust the therapist has in you as a lack of trust within yourself?

So does it boil down to honesty or is it integrity?

Susan M Heathfield says “Honesty and trust are central to integrity.”

I see it as a triangle – each side supporting the other and crucial to the strength within. When one is absent the structure no longer exists……