Do you ever feel lonely? I wonder what that is all about. I am a person who likes time on my own. It gives me time to relax, to walk or read or study. To do things I want to do. But I have noticed that there are times when being alone feels uncomfortable. Often I do nothing about it, and grind on through the day feeling a bit empty and dissatisfied. The feeling hangs out with me and, if left unattended, starts to morph in all sorts of directions. I start to wonder what is wrong with me? If I decide to go down that rabbit hole it can end up in all kinds of dark places (usually ending up with beating myself up) - and that's not a nice way to treat myself! Recently I decided to explore this more.
What does loneliness mean to me? I realized I feel this feeling when I separate myself from people. Quite literally I isolate myself. I do have lots of wonderful friends, but sometimes I unplug myself from that network and imagine that I am in the world all by myself. Instead of ringing a friend up, I focus on being isolated and alone.
One day I realized I could start to see that lonely empty feeling from a different perspective - to re-frame it.
I have noticed that as soon as I do this, I no longer feel isolated and alone. I have reconnected myself into my network. Dare I say it, I have connected into the flow of life And everybody loves feeling that they belong, don't they?
So next time you feel alone, try re-framing it and see what happens.
Elayne is a Massage Therapist. She is running a special offer of $50 for a 1 hour session during the month of July.
One of the reasons we are more prone to anxiety these days, is that we are constantly on an emotional roller coaster – stimulated by movies, social media, television and books with emotive stories. On one hand each one of these activities can give us some “time out” at the end of the day, on the other hand, it is important to note that our over-stimulated mind and emotions absorb it all and the constant input actually "adds" to the overall stress.
For example: if you watch a movie about a predator and you are involved in the story, your body cannot differentiate between the pretend story and real life. If you feel frightened whilst watching the movie, or your hair goes up on the back of your neck, you feel cold, sweaty or upset; then your emotional system is on! This means your adrenal glands are pumping the hormones that make the body to go into fight and flight mode. (Check out my deep breathing practice to reverse the affects of adrenal gland hormones)
Likewise if you see or read something that is really sad (I get triggered and cry every time I watch the movie Whale Rider), and you feel like crying, you are also having an emotional reaction which is affecting the chemistry in your body.
All this is fine if you are not over-anxious, but it is not okay if your system is already in overdrive. Our thinking and emotions are affected by the chemicals in our body: food, drugs, our own hormones, and toxins in the environment all have an affect on our mental and emotional health. For example, when I had my son, I did not sleep well (as is usual if you have babies!) and also had a lot of financial stress as my husband was made redundant. Eventually this lead to the break down of my health and I became fatigued. It was when I changed my diet, learnt how to relax and sleep, rebalance the chemistry in my body that I started to emotionally/mentally feel better again..
So, take some time out from movies,social media, books and TV. You could:
Please note that these blogs are from a lay person and not a counsellor, psychologist or medical professional. If you think you have severe anxiety or depression, you should consult with a professional.
Click here for my Worry and Anxiety resource page
To book a session with Elayne click here
Did you know that there is a direct relationship with our breathing pattern and stress/worry/anxiety or fear? And that it can work both ways?
When we are fearful or anxious, our breathing pattern and posture changes - this puts us in fight or flight mode. When we relax our bodies and breathe deep, we go into relax mode.
Here is what happens when we get stressed:
1. Our shoulders go up around our ears
2. Often our jaw tightens
3. We take short (sometimes fast) breaths in our upper lungs - or we hardly breathe at all!
4. Our thinking moves to the reptilian brain which triggers
off our flight/fight response read more.
The good news is that we can change this pattern, just by doing the opposite of the above...
1. Relax the shoulders and let them drop
2. Relax the jaw, puff out the cheeks and blow out through the mouth (like a horse blowing through its lips)
3. Breathe deep tummy breaths, filling it like a balloon - exhale extra slow
4. The thinking moves to the hypothalamus which controls the relaxation response
Its an interesting thing that even when we are not stressed or fearful, we can still breathe shallow breaths in the upper chest. To some degree the body still thinks we are stressed, even though we are not! If we have had a long period of stress, our body gets trained into being "on the edge" all the time - it stays in the fight/flight mode. Luckily we can un-train the body and this is done through breath work. Click here for two different techniques for breathing.
Below is a poster with tips for releasing stress. Also some links to other websites for breath work.
Other blogs related to breathing and anxiety:
Please note that these blogs are from a lay person and not a counsellor, psychologist or medical professional. If you think you have severe anxiety or depression, you should consult with a professional.
Click here for my Worry and Anxiety resource page
There are times in our lives when we get either very busy or stressed. Our whole system seems to get revved up, and we spend most of our days in our head.
We can feel
I have noticed that how I feel depends a lot on where I place my attention. If I keep focusing on the bad/stressful things, then I tend to become more emotional and stressed. If I focus on what feels good, over time, I get more good going!
A quick way to to unwind is to notice that there are moments of okayness. Not every moment is bad or hectic. One of my practices was to take a deep breath and say to myself: “in this moment I’m okay”. Or “in this moment I feel alright”.
By noticing when I feel lighter, okay, awake, calm, peaceful and DRAWING MY ATTENTION to it, I realised that things weren’t bad all the time. It gives me a sense of relief!
The more I appreciate the periods of okayness, the longer they get!
Elayne is a trained Aromatherapist and Bodyworker. This blog is written from her personal experience - she is a layperson and not a medical practitioner. If you have on-going stress and anxiety it is recommended that you seek professional assistance.
To book a session click here.
For additional blogs, resources and information on stress and anxiety click here.
Letting go of the past is not easy, especially if the past holds something unresolved.
Questions haunt us and they take a lot of energy....
WHAT did I do wrong?
WHAT could I have done differently?
Pondering on these questions can drive us crazy. These questions can form a loop in our minds and take up a lot of "free to air space"! Often there are no answers to these types of questions. Even if the person concerned could give you an answer, it could be emotionally loaded or distorted.
The good news is that with a bit of effort on your part, there is a way to make them lose their grip and stop their obsessing.
Step 1. Every time you go back to an old thought (which may include he WHY or WHAT questions), write it down in a notebook. When it repeats again, give it a tick and have this conversation with yourself:
"Yep, got that thanks. I can’t change this and at this stage there is no answer to it. Maybe one day in the future I will know the answer, maybe I will never know the answer to it. I do know that the question has already been asked, and if I am meant to know the answer it will come to me in its own good time. Thinking about this question is not helpful to me right now. In fact, I think it so much it is becoming boring”.
This kind of self-conversation can be quite helpful as it helps the mind change its focus.
Step 2 is CHANGE THE RECORD. By this I mean:
Step 3. Every time you get a repeat thought do Steps 1 and 2 again. Before long it will begin to change. The periods of obsessive thinking will get less, and the “I am feeling okay” time will get longer.
Many years ago a friendship ended suddenly. There were lots of “whys” floating around in my head, I kept thinking about the person, even though I didn’t see them any more. So I found a photo of that person, said all that I wanted to say to them and thanked them for the lesson. I told them I wanted to be free now. I then said “I let you go” and asked for them to be surrounded in love. I didn't have to love them myself, but I knew that there is some kind of benevolent love out there which could go to them. I then changed the record in my head by saying affirmations, getting involved in an absorbing activity or giving thanks for what I have.
Whenever this person came back into my mind I did the same process again. In fact, the first day I did it a lot of times – such was my habit of thinking about them. I was very strict with myself and stuck with the programme. The second day it was less, and by the third day it was considerably less. It was such a relief to stop thinking about that person. I felt free!
In time some answers did come to me - often unsolicited and out of the blue! I realised it wasn't all their fault and that I had a part to play in it too. By releasing my grip on the situation things began to open up and come clear.
If you have trouble letting go and would like some help, please contact me.
Learning to forgive your self is not an easy task – it’s a process which takes place over a period of time. There are many ways to arrive at the point of forgiveness. Each step brings a subtle shift towards inner peace and acceptance. I recently watched this video on forgiveness and it inspired me to write this blog. Here is my personal story of forgiveness.
I think we often do or say things that harm ourselves or others when our needs are not being met. This could come from an early childhood experience where we feel we are not “good enough” or “not accepted”. There are many reactions to feeling not good enough – trying to be better than someone else, feeling we have to prove ourselves, trying to obtain as much attention as we can from other people at any cost, treating other people like they are not good enough, being selfish, being invisible… the list goes on.
For much of my life I was blind to how I was behaving – I was doing the best that I could with what I knew. It was only through many years of experiences (sometimes difficult ones), personal reflection, asking questions, reading and learning that I realised how much “not good enough” was affecting my life – and hurting others.
I remember at one point writing my story in two different versions. Firstly, as the victim(poor me) with all the things that went wrong, blaming everyone else and taking no responsibility. Secondly, as the heroine, the person who learnt and adapted from each experience, who was helped by others and was willing to change. A person who became a better one over a period of time. Writing these two stories was quite a challenge for me. As the stories unfolded I started to see the effect of my actions – and the impact it had had on people close to me. Upon this realisation I wept with sadness: I felt ashamed and guilty.
This guilt stayed with me for a long time. I remember trying to appease a past relationship through a new one. Somehow I felt if I could “make things up” with the new partner, I would get be forgiven and get off the guilt hook. Of course this didn’t work! My new partner refused to accept my attempts to make things better, and I felt desperate and frustrated. I had no way of healing this situation with the original people. I had definitely learnt my lesson and wanted to do things differently (restorative justice) but how could I be free of this guilt? I was in a no-win situation – lesson learnt but I was stuck in prison with guilt. The guilt made me feel so bad. It fed back into my “you are not good enough” conditioning.
In the end I realised that the only way forward was to stop punishing myself and let myself out of jail. Ohhh it was hard. Had I punished myself long enough? I had certainly been flogging myself with remorse, regret and recriminations for a very long time.
And yet, I could not really stand strong in the lesson, if I didn’t free myself of the guilt. I had two choices:
Option 2 seemed the only alternative. So I tentatively stepped out into forgiveness. I let myself off the hook. I decided I would forgive myself once and for all. To do this I created an imaginary process where I talked to all the people concerned. I talked about my needs and how I had wanted them met, and how I acted to try and get them met. I stepped in their shoes to see things from their point of view. I was fair to myself, I accepted that it was a two way interaction and I wasn’t totally at fault. I was gentle with myself. I wasn’t born with the manual on how to live life – and sometimes mistakes are made. I told them what I had learnt and how I choose to behave now. I explained what I could have done differently, and what my new standards are now, based on this knowledge.
I asked them to forgive me. And then I FORGAVE MYSELF. I said goodbye to the guilt and walked out of the prison I had made for myself. I then celebrated that it was all over and thanked them for the experience.
Over the following months I watched my mind for the old punishing thoughts that wanted to return. Each time they came, I reminded myself that I am forgiven, and that it’s over now. I have learnt the lesson and live differently. I give love to myself, I accept what happened and that I cannot change it. I let myself feel inner peace.
Forgiving myself has brought inner peace to me. I am still learning and growing. I expect I will do many forgiveness processes in my lifetime – for mistakes in life are common. However it is wonderful to be free and shining my light once again.
Please do not think this is a magic formula for forgiveness. It isn’t. Many people have helped me along the way: friends, family, counsellors, authors, healers. We all have our own way of getting to inner peace. It’s just a matter of conscious choice. Do we want our heart to be hurt and closed all our lives? Or do we want to have it open, trusting, wise and free?
I recently watched the movie “Mr Holmes” – it is a wonderful story of forgiveness and healing for an old man and the people around him. Life is such a mystery and one of the greatest miracles is that of getting to a place of forgiveness.
Beginner's Massage Course 3/4 October. Cost $200. There are limited spaces so please book early. Click here.
Women's Pamper weekend 7 p.m. Friday 9th October, all day Sat 10th and Sunday 11th until 5 p.m. Cost $300 ($250 if paid by the 6th September). Click here.
Crystal Healing course Saturday the 19th September 9.30 a.m. - 5 p.m. Cost $100. Click here.
Rebecca Gambles is running courses on Past Life Healing, Angelic Reiki and Animal Communication over the next few months. Please contact her here for more information or go to www.angelicsoulhealing.com
Massage Special Offer
Relax and unwind with a 1 hour back, neck and shoulder massage
If you have a sore back, then this is the treatment for you.... Relax and ease out those tight muscles - wonderful for releasing tension and stress relief - a superb way to unwind.
Massage Special Offer: A 1 hour massage for $50 (normally $70)
Do you ever wake up in the morning feeling low?
Are you always struggling with your mind to get into a positive state?
Our minds can be pretty funky places at times.... And it if occurs often enough (we feel flat every day), it can become a habit. When we feel low, everything feels bad. Our body tends to have more pain and tension, our diet deteriorates, the day at work seems harder, the verbal dialogue goes around and round, we beat ourselves up and stop being fun to be around.
The trick to changing this is to change our thinking. (After all it is the one thing we do have control over).
We all get a bit flat at times, and I am no exception. One morning I got the idea to rev up through using affirmations (this has always worked for me in the past), so I took a look on internet to find some fresh ideas. I came across a talk by Abraham Hicks on called "The Easiest Way to Start Positive Momentum". It was a great talk, and I want to summarise it for you in this blog.
Esther Hicks and Louise Hay both say that using affirmations help shift our mental state and reality, but unless we get into a positive feeling state, affirmations do not work. Let me give you an example. You own a heater. You know it gives you warmth. But it only works when you turn the power on. Likewise with affirmations, they only work when we have a strong positive emotional feeling behind them. The emotional power literally turns the affirmations on.
So if you wake up and invest emotional energy into self talk about how flat you feel, that is what you will get - a bad day. If you wake up and invest your energy is a "rev up" pep talk with positive emotional energy behind it, then your day will be much better.
The easiest way to do this is to make yourself a recording of your affirmations when you are in a good mood and play it to yourself first thing in the morning. Leave enough space between each affirmation to repeat it, and remember to get into the feeling - like you already have it. BE excited!
I have one below which you can download.
Abraham Hicks says best way to start your 'rev up talk" is with something general.
What do you appreciate right now? Think of all the things that are easy to appreciate.
Think generally: your body, your home, your comfy warm bed, food in your cupboards, a hot shower...
Then go out into the community: people at the bank, your friends, the library service, the supermarket...
Then globally: the electricity to your house, the roads...
Take a moment to appreciate the wellbeing of the people around you. People who inspire you.
You could compare yourself with all the people who live in other places, and appreciate where you live and what you are accomplishing right now
GOOD VIBES ATTRACT GOOD VIBES
When you can put a good, excited, happy, uplifting feeling into your words/appreciation, this puts power into them. Often we let our good feeling go, and slump back down to apathy. So set an alarm in your phone a couple of times a day to remind you to lift your vibe again.
Abraham Hicks says the next step is to receive what comes your way. Allow yourself to go with the flow. Let your positive vibes carry you along throughout your day. We all know how good it is to be around someone who has these vibes. You can be like that too. People sense this - they will want to help and support you.
It takes commitment to keep picking yourself up and getting into a positive vibe. But ask yourself: which mouth do you want to feed? The happy one or the sad one?
One day is not enough to break a habit, but one week can start showing you some positive results. It takes about 28 days to change a habit, and probably 3 months to have it embedded into your system Practice pays off!
If you would like a recording to use to rev up your day: click here and download it to your ipod/mp3 player.
Take a moment to listen to your thoughts about yourself.
How you feel about your body?
Your state of health?
Do you like the way you look?
Many people would say:
I am too fat, too thin, too short, dumpy, stupid.... and so it goes on.
This week I saw a three minute video about a woman who hated her body. It struck a chord with me... I realised that I quite often verbally beat myself up! I want to share this video with you - it's about a woman who chose to look differently about her body. Click here to look at this video (it is a promotional video but the message is well worth hearing).
So often when I work with people, I get a sense that they don't like their body, or the part that is hurting them. For some it is their hormonal system because they can't conceive a baby, or it makes them moody, or menopausal. For others it is their "pain in the neck" or "pain in their butt". I have noticed there is a kind of tension that sits in the body, and it appears when we go on a negative self talk rampage. Many a client will tell you that during a session I have asked them to breathe deeply and SMILE into their body. To appreciate it - after all the body still keeps working, even if we have a poor diet, bad posture, don't move enough, laugh enough, play enough.
This is the analogy I give to my clients about our self talk:
Let us pretend you work in a factory. You have been there a long time and some of the machinery is a bit unpredictable, which affects your output.
Boss A comes in. This person is always grumpy with you, telling you what is wrong, making you feel useless, picking holes in you, yelling sometimes. How do you feel? Do you shrink down? Do you dread Boss A? Would you grumble and complain outside of work? Would you even want to go to work? And if you had a good idea about how to make things better, would you tell this Boss? Probably not.
Boss B comes in. This person really likes you. They praise you for your work, despite the difficult circumstances you are working in. They tell you what they appreciate about you, admire you. How do you feel now? Stand up tall? Feel proud and appreciated? Do you look forward to showing up at work? Would you be willing to share with this Boss any of your good ideas for improvement? Yes, because they are likely to be well received.
I believe it is like this with our body. When we berate it, it shrinks, constricts and gets tense. When we love and appreciate it, it softens, relaxes, gives us feedback, and tells us what it wants.
Every cell in the body is connected. If I were to stamp hard on your toe, every part of your body would know about it, right? So it only stands to reason that when we are internally beating ourselves up, the body responds.
I have noticed that when I really care and speak highly about my body to my body, a type of new wiring happens. I get ideas how to look after it, I make different choices about my health and activities.
How do we love our bodies?:
1. Talk to it in a loving/caring manner (even if it hurts)
2. Ask it to tell you what it needs and imagine getting wired up - painful body part to the brain - so that the information/inspiration can come to you on how to help it
3. To consciously do caring things for your body... have a bath, do a relaxation exercise, take a walk, have a nourishing meal.
To download a FREE audio on the Inner Smile Visualisation click here.
Click here for my Women's Rejuvenation Chi Kung Class this Saturday.
If you are a woman, dealing with moods are part of your life.
Our hormonal cycle, health of our organs, stress levels, past experiences and
state of mind all have an impact upon our moods. Being able to experience the highs and lows of life can be quite a ride. Emotions are part of being human and make up the tapestry of life. There are times when it is appropriate to be angry, it moves us towards making positive change in our lives. Other times its okay to be sad - grief is a natural process of letting go. But sometimes we get stuck, and this "stuckness" can stay with us for years. Unresolved issues of the past
takes away our enjoyment of the present moment.
Prolonged moods, such as depression, anxiety, fear or anger can affect the chemistry of our body. Once our chemistry is out of balance it then feeds into accentuating our moods. Likewise, if our chemistry is out of balance through poor diet, alcohol and drug use, then our emotions will be affected.
What helps our moods:-
Firstly we need to balance the chemistry in our bodies. A healthy diet (avoid alcohol), along with herbs which calm our emotions, tone the organs and balance the hormones. Very often if we experience prolonged stress our adrenal glands become exhausted. Licorice tea acts as an adrenal gland tonic (not to be used with high blood pressure).Calm the mind. This could be through meditating, using visualisations, deep breathing practice, or doing an ascetic activity that requires your concentration i.e. gardening, painting, sewing or dancing.
Deal with the issues. If you have problems or work, suffer from long term grief or anxiety, feel constant fear - get help. Sometimes all we need is a trained listening ear to unravel how we feel and some new skills for dealing with feelings when they
Learn Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT). We are always going to have issues and feelings coming up. So why not learn a tool which you can use whenever you want to deal with them? This is a marvellous skill which can shift negative feelings very quickly.
Love yourself. Often our health and well-being is out of balance just because we beat ourselves up with our words and thoughts! Imagine if you were an employee doing the best job you could and your employer said you were no good. How would you feel? Crushed...Deflated....Discouraged. Now imagine if that employer said you were "awesome". Would you feel Excited...Enthusiastic...Keen....Proud? In chi kung we use a practice called The Inner Smile where we send loving thoughts to our inner self and develop self love. Its simple and easy to do.
Learn how to breathe. Put a hand on your chest and one on your tummy and take a breath. How do you breathe? In the upper chest or tummy? Do you breathe shallow or deep? Rapid shallow upper chest breathing causes anxiety. Slow deep tummy breathing causes relaxation. Our breath is related to our nervous system.
Transform your emotions. There is an ancient practice I use called The Six Healing Sounds. It uses movement, sound and colour to transform negative emotions into positive ones. Let us say our body is like a garden in which plants grow. The
weeds are like negative emotions and the vegetables are like the positive ones (virtues). Like weeds, negative emotions contain energy and nutrients, and if we compost them in the garden, then the energy and nutrients from the weeds can be used to enable the vegetables to grow. Likewise when we use the Six Healing Sounds, a composting of emotions happens and good feelings/virtues are able to develop.
If you want to transform your moods, why not try my Women's Chi Kung class starting this Thursday?
My chi kung teacher, Gabrielle is coming to Nelson to teach 4-7 July. She has many years experience and has learnt directly from Mantak Chia - a Taoist Master living in Thailand. I want to invite you to two different events:
1. An Introductory night on Thursday 4th July (donation only) where Gabrielle will lead our Women's Chi Kung class. This is a unique opportunity to experience Chi Kung. For further details and testimonials click here
2. The Tao of Healing Love weekend course 5-7 July in Marahau. For further information click here
Here is Gabrielle’s experience of these ancient practices: “More than 30 years ago I attended my first Healing Tao workshop. I was on a spiritual path, but had so many health issues. I practiced Yoga for years, but it didn’t improve my immune system. I was looking for answers - how to move in
my life - and I didn’t expect working with my sexual energy will be the key!
I learnt the sexual energy massage as a preparation for a meditation and was amazed by the outcome.
Massaging the breasts (on top of my clothing) and the lower abdomen whilst connecting with an inner smile, changed the chemistry of my body. After the sexual energy massage came a healing meditation.
My mind was quiet effortlessly! It was easy to sit in silence and just observe what the massage had
created. 15 minutes practice per day already can shift our vitality.
I am not someone who does an exercise, because it is good for me. I do need a motivation, and this Tao
practice holds this promise. Before I started the practice, I had premenstrual symptoms and pain during the menstruation. When I learnt the practice, I continued to do it once a day for 10 - 30 minutes.
When the next cycle came, the symptoms were already much less. I was amazed from the outcome and within 3 months they disappeared completely. Minimum effort made a great result”.
This is Elayne's personal experience of the Tao of Healing Love:
“This is a system designed to cultivate my energy (chi), good health, foster self-love, and grow spiritually. It has had a huge impact upon my life, and I love to teach it! The Tao of Healing Love teaches us how to awaken and combine our sexual energy with our heart energy, and use it for health and longevity. I liked it because it was practical and I could actually experience the benefits of doing the practice. It helped me immensely in my private practice as a healer/masseuse, as well as in my personal/intimate life. The course sets out a way of working with our sexuality on our own, and then how to use the practices with another person. The self cultivation helps balance hormones, balance the sex drive (too little or too much), increases vitality, helps process emotions which come up when you fall in love and brings about deeper connection when you are with a partner. What I personally have observed since doing these practices are as follows:
1. I am more steady emotionally and less affected by other people’s emotions. The Inner Smile has helped me to love myself and puts me in touch with my body
2. My sex drive balanced out
3. I have a sexual/heart practice to use during periods of celibacy which gives me health and vitality
4. My breasts are healthier, with less pre-menstrual breast lumps. They are also more sensitive
and responsive to touch.
5. It has helped me grow spiritually by loosening blockages and teaching me through the wisdom which arises from my inner knowing
6. When I have a deep connection with a client in a massage session, I stay centered through the practice of circulating my energy in the Microcosmic Orbit
7. It has helped me open up as a healer: I am able to send more chi/energy to assist my client’s healing process
8. I am more sensitive to my clients’ emotions because I am more aware of my own through the Six
9. I have more vitality and stay well
10. I have techniques which I can use to sleep better, to quiet my mind, to release stress, to balance my hormones and clear my energy field.