Positive Pause – 14th November, 2016 – Awareness and Nightmares

awareness and nightmaresThis week the world needs as much positivity as it can get: is seems almost unbelievable that Donald Trump is in power.  The less said the better…awareness and nightmares
Instead, I prefer to turn my attention to the passing of Leonard Cohen.  Death is always sad, but in this case, we have much to celebrate – Cohen has left a wealth of music, poetry, and inspirational quotes for the world to enjoy.  Before his career in music, he dedicated himself to writing, mainly poetry and lived a semi-reclusive life on the Greek island of Hydra. The world should be thankful that, due to a lack of financial success, he came out of his shell to pursue a career as a singer-songwriter.  A clear example here of every cloud having a silver lining. Cohen lived his life to the full and released his fourteenth album only last month at the age of 82, writing and creating right up to the end of his life.

This week, the political events in the USA must have crawled into my subconscious because, despite  my best efforts to remain positive, I had a number of nightmares.  If you are the type of person who remembers your dreams, you will know how disturbing a nightmare can be.  Symptoms can include hot sweats, panic and overwhelming fear. When I was younger I used to get quite upset whenever I had a nightmare and saw it as a sign that my mental health was not good. However, I now choose to embrace these disturbing dreams as a  necessary part of my mental well-being. The nightmare is a mechanism whereby the subconscious mind deals with anything that the conscious mind has not done during your waking hours.  Thank you subconscious mind! My subconscious seems to be particularly suggestible which is why I have to be careful about the information and experiences that I expose myself to.  If you think of children and how impressionable they are, you can begin to see how your subconscious mind works. awareness and nightmares

On Friday morning I had the chance to impress 200 young minds by giving a short talk on mindfulness to Luca’s school assembly.  I explained to the children aged from 4-12 that they have a choice in how they wish to feel, think and behave and that this choice lies in their ability to be aware. I sincerely believe that this is a message that needs to be sung from the rooftops or at least taught in every school and not just once, but every day.

One of my favourite Leonard Cohen quotes is,

“Act the way you’d like to be and soon you’ll be the way you act.”

Awareness is the greatest gift of the conscious mind and is what separates us from most of the animal kingdom. Choosing to use your awareness to shape your own life will allow you to rise above all the fear in the world that is created by just the opposite, a lack of awareness. Just like Cohen, you have the choice to be brave and to bring out the best in you today and everyday, no matter what is going on around you.  And don’t worry about having nightmares – your subconscious is dealing with it! awareness and nightmares

Positive Pause – 26th September, 2016 – Imagine

ImagineIt can be hard to recall what it is like to be a child, a teenager, a younger more vulnerable version of yourself or even what it is like to be old or to be very  ill when you feel healthy.  However, this week I came to the conclusion that it is definitely worth the effort in order to maintain positive relationships with the people I love. Imagine

I love my son unconditionally. However, truth be known he takes conscious eating to a new level and he can literally take a full two hours to finish his breakfast! Now this is all very well when there are no work and school deadlines looming.  I  promote stopping and smelling the roses and the need we all have to slow down, but I found this week my mindful moments were being pushed to their peaceful limit.

After a lot of deep breaths and exhortations like “come on, you are going to be late,” I found that I had to take a step back from the building frustration I felt inside that that was leaking out of me.

The morning is an important time for setting the tone for the rest of the day (hence my daily morning walks and mediation).  On one of these walks, the words of John Lennon’s song came to me –  ‘Imagine all the people, where do they all come from,” which encapsulates the concept of what it is like to imagine the world through someone else’s eyes.  I then thought how this might help me to step inside Luca’s shoes and see the world through his eyes. Most kids are much better at living in the moment and we have a lot to learn from their outlook; they are genuinely in, what positive psychology refers to as, a ‘state of flow.’ Their minds’ are totally absorbed with their actions and they are unaware of the passing of time (hence the long breakfasts). It’s an incredibly healthy place to be for us all to be but can be tricky to accommodate on a weekday morning!

This week, if you run into any relationship challenges whether it is with your children, your husband, your wife, your parents, your siblings, your friends or your colleagues it can be helpful to imagine how they see things from their stage in life, their conditioning and circumstances. We owe it to ourselves to work on nurturing positive relationships with those we love and those we meet on a daily basis. Feeling close to others is a strong signal that we feel close to ourselves.

Safe to say, I need to encourage Luca to eat faster on school mornings but also to allow him to keep his natural mindful state.  There is a balance and I’m hoping to find it …Wish me luck!

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Positive Pause – 5th September 2016 – Find your Pocket of Peace

pocket of peaceSeptember is often a busy month and an ideal time to shed unwanted habits in the same way as the leaves fall from the trees. Back to school and work after the holidays provides a opportunity to form new positive habits. pocket of peace

While on holiday in France I  got into the habit of taking a walk as soon as I woke up, before breakfast, before anything. This walk provided me with an amazing amount of peace and allowed me to ease into the day. I would focus on making it a mindful experience by choosing one of my senses or my breath to anchor me in the present.  I would then keep this moment-to-moment awareness and an awareness of the sense that I had chosen as I went through the rest of the day.

In the busyness of being back to a routine with my son going to school and my first client at 8.30.am I was concerned about how I could  maintain this mindful walk. However, I was determined to keep up this morning ritual and each morning this week I set the clock 15 mins early. I  am fortunate enough to have my walk along the beach and witness the sun just after it has risen. This time before work and the busy day is a pocket of peace that sets me up with the resources that I need.
This week, if you can (and I appreciate just how busy most of you are), please consider finding your own pocket of peace before the day begins. Setting your clock that little bit earlier can make all the difference. Take the time to either go for a walk, do some yoga, meditation, write a journal, anything that provides you with the opportunity to create a space just for you. This time allows you to connect in with yourself and ease yourself into the day before it gets busy.  This is especially true if you allow it to be a mindful experience.
Taking time for yourself is not a luxury but a fundamental need that benefits not only you but all those around you.
Many thanks for subscribing to the positive pause. If you enjoy these posts please encourage your friends and family to subscribe by sharing using the links below.
Please also check out my online self-help programme, The Positive Habit which is receiving five star review from users who have completed the course.