Get back into it – part 1 (Running)

For me, exercise is like any habit that we get out of because ‘life’ gets in the way.  But when will we make our positive habits our life?  As a Hypnotherapist, NLP coach and with my previous 13 years career in learning and development industry as a senior manager across the Middle East and Far East, I have always been interested in the mind and behaviour. Working alongside 250 nationalities in Dubai I had my belief systems shaken and stirred in the most wonderful way, which opened my mind to other possibilities.IMG_7195

We can easily lose something but we can easily get it back too.  I have found over the years that I’ve been in and out of exercise habits; the most difficult part being the decision to get back into it.  Doing it is not actually that hard, especially when I’m we’re the zone, but the thought of it? Dreadful.  Yet it’s only a thought.  Therefore, knowing myself well and observing my patterns I decided to take a different approach to my habits and have applied it to all parts of my life in order to build a healthy and balanced life

I found that two things are essential for it to work; convenience and positive reinforcement.  How many times have you found yourself berating yourself for either promising yourself you will go exercise and ‘failing’ to do it, or not doing enough?  The bark is worse than the bite. When we decide to take a new habit up we take it to the nth degree.  We never make the statement:

‘I would like to become healthy and balanced by taking one step a day and taking it easy on myself, with the appropriate amount of pressure that works for me as this will be the most impactful, long term’.

No we say:

‘I’m going to be so fit that no one will even believe me at first sight, and I’m going to do it in 3 weeks!  First I’ll cut out all bad food and work my body like a dog!’.

This is why I don’t do ‘diets’ in the sense of the word when it’s used for the purpose of losing weight.  In this instance I don’t even use the word.  I still have wine, I still eat pizza and have a coffee here and there and this is what works for me.  What works for you might be something different but it starts by getting to know yourself and having a balanced and logical conversation with yourself about this when you’re feeling calm and practical, not when you are in the middle of negative self talk when emotions are ruling your heart and mind.  Balance is the key and a balanced mindset reflects the balanced approach to your overall health and well being and then nutritional choices fall under this automatically.

In Yoga we take the teaching from various Gurus and Buddha being one of the main ones would say that there is a cycle in everything that we do in life and peace comes when we can take ourselves out of that cycle. For example, we try to work towards being a selfless person so we give and give until we feel we are taken for granted and then we take back and take back.  Then we feel guilty for being selfish and so we give and give again to overcompensate.  We get stuck in this selfish-selfless cycle.   There is only yourself who can determine what the balance is for you – by going within and taking time out to understand, observe and continually work on yourself in that path towards peace.  It’s the same with attachment-non-attachment and working hard/ resting because the human experience is filled with duality; night and day, male and female and love and fear.  

So when it comes to building back any kind of positive habit, it helps to first approach it with a positive mindset and balance.  We always want the fastest results but long-term it’s not effective.  If we can step back enough to see this and have patience we can achieve anything.  So I took this method and applied to my running, another love of mine.  I am not a fit runner, I’m not an athlete by any means and this is where my acknowledgement and realism takes the first priority in my expectations on myself.  So how about start by setting yourself a realistic end result that is unique to you, taking into account your lifestyle.

running

Then…. it’s literally the first step; try the following:

  1. Start by dressing yourself as a runner with the intention of going for a walk for to clear the mind and enjoy nature or for solution finding (keep in the back of your mind that if you decide to run then that’s a bonus)
  2. Go out of the house (this bit is a must 🙂 )
  3. Start walking at a speed which increases your heart rate
  4. Most likely your body will feel the endorphins and be tempted to take it to the next level.  Try it.  Even if you only take a few steps. Walk again if you’re not feeling it straight away.  Try another couple of times before you reach home.
  5. Even if you didn’t get far, psychologically you have been for a run.  Tell yourself you are proud and that you achieved more than you expected and that you’re happy you achieved
  6. Now you will be motivated to go again the next day.  The reason for this is because you gave yourself positive reinforcement and you are more energetically ready, with new energy from the previous run.  The muscles will be regaining their memory from previous exercise and enjoying the benefit of oxygen to the lungs, blood, tissues, cells and your mind will be aware that they do not get berated but they actually get rewarded
  7. After this you can set your regularity of your routine because you have broken the seal!

 

 

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‘Dances with Waves’ – Positive people are always happy? No

waves

Blog focus: Looking at embracing the genuine light and dark side of us all, as a whole person, through understanding our unique selves and embracing a new way of thinking through choices in the real world.

‘This too shall pass’

Positive people are happy people aren’t they? They’re always happy and smiling.   Not so. But it doesn’t mean that those who smile are fake.  It’s deeper than that isn’t it?  

Maybe some people are just born positive by nature, and sometimes the happiest are the ones whom have been through the worst and come out the other side, with strong appreciation. Isn’t this true? Because taking life lighter is sometimes the only way to deal with some things.  This realisation and appreciation of life then this becomes a habit. Maybe this has happened to you, or maybe you are going through something difficult right now.

When you are down you have two choices; you keep going down or you choose to come out of it, and each one has their own limit and messages that encourages that choice. When you find that, and you want to come out of it, you find a way to see things differently.

comfort zone

With a learning and development industry background I do believe that sometimes, learning and growing is also connected to some element of pain. It doesn’t have to be extreme, but maybe sometimes uncomfortable or frustrating; being out of the comfort zone (whether physical or emotional, or otherwise). Sometimes when things are at the worst, it’s often the cusp of something wonderful that is about to happen. Yet it should be mentioned that there is a difference between growing pains and unacceptable pain.

No one can really advise you. No one can help you understand a situation. They can walk you to the door, hand you the key, even unlock it for you and open it, but only you can walk through it. You have to experience it. Can someone tell you about how love feels if they have never been in love? It’s not tangible, and no one can tell you what a broken heart feels like either, even with in depth description. Life is experiencing.

After each experience in our lives somehow after it there is more calm; with learning comes growth, comes an understanding. But only with a conscious awareness can we see these as opportunities.   How many times have we been told to ‘find the learning and growth in this?’ At the time it can feel nearly impossible but when we look back, it’s the truth.  Think about that and your own experiences. If we can’t find the learning, healing or growth while we are in it, then we have to hope there’s a rainbow at the end of the storm.  For me I don’t say ‘the calm before the storm’, I say ‘the storm before the rainbow’.

weather

We have to have faith and hope. I look at life like the waves of an ocean. When I lived near the ocean, I would sit and look out and find answers in what I see.

One day I realised what a metaphor it was for life. When we think about the ocean it has so many meanings and analogies. The waves will always come regardless, up and down. They never stop, not for a second. Sometimes they are high, sometimes low and sometimes misleading; they look big but it’s nothing, or they look small and then come out of nowhere and knock you down. Sometimes, you jump over the waves and sometimes you dive under, you make a call.

Maybe sometimes you just sit on the shore looking at the waves, and sometime you run in confidently with a friend, laughing and getting knocked down together. When the sea is calm, you might float upside down, silencing out the world with a gentle smile. Some might say it’s too cold to get in and nervously flick water on themselves, easing themselves in, some say the water is lovely, calling out to the others and encouraging them to get it ‘it’s ok when you get in’.  Do you wade in or do you jump? Do you watch while they others take the risk?  Do you use it to observe the beauty of a sunset, alone or with a loved one? There is no right or wrong, and every day is different, you are different.

You choose. It’s your choice. Everything is about choice, including how we react and feel. It’s about finding your way, getting to know yourself; increasing awareness and choosing whether or not to be influenced by others or not. It’s about assessing whether the pain is growing pains or if it is unnecessary pain. The waves are always there, and so too are the choices. The waves will still come. Who or what these waves are, we might not yet know, but our approach to them is what is important because anyway they will come. And the sun goes up and comes down the waves will go up and go down, the tide will come in no end go out. The key is maintain that neutrality in all instances, that inner peace and calm.

I used to be more fiery than now, after some awareness I am more calm.  For example, I used to curse erratic idiot drivers diving on the roads, moving in and out of lanes and showing off the size of their engine, which was the norm when I was living in Dubai. Until one day, I was driving to work to meet by strict deadline of an 8:00am start, preferably 07:50 in the company I worked for. I would have rather risk racing to work and getting a ticket, or worse, than arriving at 8:01 with the unwelcoming unfortunate consequences of being late.

As I was beeped at by one or two drivers, I shouted back from the protection of my metal cage, ‘WHHAAATTTTT!’…. and simultaneously I squirmed down in my seat as I realised that I was that idiot on the road that people were cursing at this time! At this, I was able to feel some compassion for others behaviour, not just on the road but in other scenarios. As I buy petrol, clothes, step into an elevator, experience someone else’s bad energy in a meeting.  I began to wonder what their story was, could my experiences be a series of me misunderstanding people and people misunderstanding me, and I became more compassionate and less judgemental. Regardless of how I was treated, at least I wanted to treat others well and at least trust that this was the case.  ‘Everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about, be kind, always’.

This blog came to my mind when I was asked to give speech on positive thinking to a group of managers, and it got me thinking deeply on what is positive thinking.  It was a day that I was not in a positive mood. And even though many people tell me I’m positive, it isn’t always so.  It has been a development of habitual process of my own journey. What I came to conclude is something that can apply to all.  The key is to have a conscious awareness about making choices in many ways, but as a starting point about choosing to rewire a belief pattern or thoughts which influences emotions and therefore behaviour and in turn actions and therefore, your life.

wolves

I wondered, was I then a fraud in my own projection of positivity? So then what is positive thinking anyway? What does it mean to you? How? Perhaps appreciation, acts of kindness, seeing with compassion. But again, I could say it, but it doesn’t mean anything without walking through the door. Words are guidance with the comfort that we are not alone in this inner battle; we each need to find our own way, but recognise it’s a choice. What I discovered was that positive people are not always positive. Therefore those on the quest to positive thinking can fall into a cycle of guilt or failure when they feel sad. But it’s not human to be positive all the time. We are build up of emotions, light and dark and it’s about accepting all of us, which make us whole.  It’s also about working with them, and not against them.

So how do ‘positive people’ do this differently? When they feel down (which is a completely normal – we have a spectrum of emotions for a reason to guide us) there are a couple of actions they do:

  1. They get back to feeling positive more quickly because they know themselves; how to switch the light back through self-awareness and how to do prevent and recognise when their own downward spiral.
  2. It’s also about prevention of feeling bad (risk assessment) and making new life choices, in terms of what they do and how they think and making that into a habit. They are conscious of the feeling and objectively see it is a separate entity to themselves. Non-attachment

I realised that anyway you get over it; the wave goes. So you may as well get over it faster if it’s a small thing. If it’s a big thing, avoid making it worse by feeling bad that you feel bad! Feel genuine compassion for yourself and issue/ person involved.  Move yourself onto the positive spiral.spiralBehind every behaviour is somewhere a positive intention. It doesn’t excuse a behaviour but it gives some understanding around it, and we can all be that idiot in the car, at different times. We all have similar fears and anxieties behind the mask we put on. No matter how cultured, mature, professionally experienced, educated or spiritually developed; the trick is to find some release through compassion and choice.  Emotion means ‘to move out’.   It’s about self-leadership; bringing peace and balance to yourself, leading by example to support others who are experiencing their own turmoils.

So my questions to you are:

  • What will you choose to think?
  • What will you choose to do?
  • What have you done to become self aware
  • What can you chose to do today?

Try to be the one person who considers that the other perspective, not the one that adds to it.  The gift of giving is the fastest way to feeling positive and that can be done every day, even with a genuine warm smile.

Healing Past Pain – A Knot in a Chain of Events

To become who we are we have to un-become everything that we were

To become who we are we have to un-become everything that we were

As I looked at my knotted, once beautiful necklace, I made a choice that today was the day to untangle.  As I observed myself untangling my necklace, I found my mind wandering; bringing me an a image here and there.  With the image came one or two realisations, interpretations or summaries in the scenarios of what I saw.

It was a person usually that popped into my mind, from now or from the past, which seemed to still hold an unresolved feeling in my mind; an interpretation of a stranger, a conclusion of conversation I had had (and how I had felt as a result), or an emotion about a person’s character. A final opinion was formed while untangling the knots; generally it seemed it was a decision on an action that needed to be done, inwardly or outwardly.

knots

It wasn’t an emotional struggle, but more of was a conscious choice of letting go and surrendering to the outcome of what I had no control over, or actioning what I could control. Thereby this task of untangling my necklace seemed like an opportunity to relax, focus and allow natural resolutions to flow,  encouraging me to move on from confusing scenarios that did not involve anyone but me and my own inner monologue.

Sometimes meditation can bring solutions, an understanding, or simply create a space of stillness and silence to clear the mind, bringing peace.  Not always is it guided, and not always is it silent. Meditation holds many different methods for different objectives; it can even be through hours of fun and laughter, or sport, walking, or watching a funny film, being with nature. So long as it brings you what you need by focusing the mind in the present, while holding a positive intention in your objective, rather than going round and round on the same issue, causing more pain and multiplying the negativity.

I don’t tend to believe in many rules with meditation, self-discovery and healing.  When we share our own stories and journeys, it is great gift of experience coming from another’s reality, without a right or a wrong.  This is extremely valuable and important as it can be a comfort, inspiration and a guidance on where to heal and how, and at the same time we are each our own person, with our own complicated mind and rich experiences, as well as senses and self-healing capabilities coming from our own intuition.  There is no definitive book, video or guru that can support your individual journey, for the one and all who can help you, is actually you. This is why there are so many options available to us in books, in healers, in more and more from traditions across the world, for you to choose. Not to mention the experiences along our own path that offers lessons and development along the way, if we choose.

I believe everything comes from the energy in the form of intention, and with the right focus and intention, accompanied by love and positive affirmation.  From this comes the result you are looking for, whether that result is clear, or still lying within and yet to be discovered.  Either way, your subconscious knows your path and will guide you there with its 7000 times stronger drive than your conscious.  When you are not following that you are bound to feel predicaments and conflicts, mainly with yourself.  Try not to let these times burden you, let it come and pause; it is a message – any discomfort is a message for you, listen to it, for it will not cease until you listen. It will simply start to knock louder and louder.

This is when the psychological conflicts manifest into the physical. Healing is about the mind, body and spirit.  It cannot be a part by part process as it is all connected. It’s not necessarily easy or fast but often it is our beliefs that hold this very notion of perception of difficulty and speed.  If it is us we are healing, is it not us who are holding us back?

It was these thoughts about meditation that came into my mind while I embraced the challenge of untangling my necklace. I prepared my environment to support the outcome of success; I began with a peaceful mind, music softly playing in the background. I had no agenda for the day and so no pressures externally placed upon me, there could only be those of which I placed upon myself, internally.  I took upon the opportunity to observe the mind and the process of the internal and external interruptions on the task and consequently, the result of the task.

As I observed my emotions and feelings and how they impacted the progress of the task, I noticed that the ease or difficulty in which I untangled the necklace was effected by the status of my mind at that particular moment.  It reminded me of a quote I once heard; this person had explained that they felt they could understand the character of a person by how they dealt with tangled Christmas tree lights. Sometimes I remember who quoted what, and more often than not, I forget and I let it submerge into my subconscious.  So many times in academia and business especially, we are trained to remember specific qualities by specific accredited people and we feel embarrassed if we forget who said what, and we feel we sound intelligent or add credibility when we remember.

During my Masters qualification I felt I had many perspectives and suggestions but we were advised to look and research who said that before us.  We were not encouraged to explore more with our own perspective, creativity and so on. I can understand that this is to ensure we are not taking credit for someone else’s’ work and thoughts but I felt some frustration because I felt compelled to remember the theorists who first stated this or that, rather than my own collective knowledge I had gained through experience, observations and teachers.  Therefore, while there is value, credibility and importance placed on these great thinker and leaders of their time, for me it’s about who put the quotes into practice that is most admirable; living and leading by example.

I choose now to not concern myself over remembering who said what and why, accepting this is a quirk of my character and one I am happy to embrace. It applies to remembering names and places too! I’m useless at that and not going to exhaust myself perfecting these elements.  Instead I will work on areas that either I want to develop even more, or areas that might be causing me pain and suffering.  Everyone has different strengths, it’s meant to be this way. I place my energy into embodying what I hear, learn or observe and truly put them into practice.  Surely this is what those visionaries would like us to do with their insights? This again is how I feel about healing modalities, spiritual teachers, therapists and so on; take it all in, soak up as much as possible, and leave out what doesn’t resonate with you.  Blend it all together as a random and unique recipe that you are, and deliver up the wonderful homemade dinner that you made.

And so as I began tackling the task at hand – the necklace, it was interesting that despite the calm mind and music, there was certainly some stronger intensity of feelings when thinking about certain people, than others.  The emotion dissipated once a conclusion was seemingly made in my mind. It was only during this heightened sensitivity of the very calm place, physically and mentally, that I was able to sense this subtlety of shifting energy.  Emotion means ‘to move out’, so finding our tools to do this can help us move forward.

Another interesting observation was how I noticed when a decision was made.  If it wasn’t the right one (as perceived by my higher self) the knots got more tangled. I knew this meant I needed to make another choice, and when I made the other choice, the tangles were more easily unravelled.  

I started to think about the necklace as a metaphor for life. The most obvious one being that a necklace is worn around the neck; with two outcomes 1. of beauty by glimmering against the skin, complementing the natural colours in a person’s skin tone, using colour in the necklace. Necklaces can also be used for a connection to a faith or loved ones with the pendants chosen.  They can also be used as an expression of identity. 2. On the other hand it could be a source of frustration, tightness or heaviness, even discomfort or pain if it catches on tiny hairs or the hairline. Often certain types of material can cause discolouration and every allergic reactions.

As I worked through the untangling, I also realised that the one necklace could very easily become tangled either in itself or in other one or two chains, if not taken care of.  I realised that to solve the knotted necklace we cannot not do it fast, it cannot be cut, for it will be broken. We cannot tug at it or else it might snap. During the process we might even drop the necklace, and depending on where we are working on the necklace, it can even drop on the floor in a heap, folding up so small into a messy ball.    When it is free from knots it can be stretched out fully – it looks so long, elegant and is smooth to the touch; the flexibility allows the chain to be moved around like fluid on the table; there are so many shapes it can be moved into, gracefully like a piece of art; like drawing in the sand with your finger.

If we are prepared and cautious about where we approach the solution of untangling the necklace, we might sit at a table and it might just land gently in front of us.  Depending on what happened, it might take time to pick up from where we left off, especially if it drops all the way to the floor and we have to pick it up again and seemingly start from the beginning.  And so with all the potential inner and outer distractions, I realised that the way to successfully untangle the necklace was with dedicated time and focus, with love and positive energy on the outcome, with a clear vision and motivation for it; to wear the necklace.  

Focusing on our outcomes visually and with positive emotionally can support a process, even if it seems a world away.  We can also draw upon our previous positive experiences where we remember something seemingly taking forever but looking back each problem was always resolved.  Sometimes we have to wait for the storm to pass but sometimes we need to learn how to dance in the rain (quote by someone).  We cannot change what we cannot control (quote by someone else… but also by me 🙂 ). So we may as well learn to manage our inner if we cannot our outer.  It is a choice.

When we break the necklace down and get through one knot we might be surprised it was actually two separate knots. Sometimes there are knots on knots and it looks like there is no way in. We might get a needle and prod around; sometimes gently, sometimes firmly sometimes; one way works and sometimes the other.  We feel our way through. It first seems impossible when the knots are so tight, but then we find a way in, sometimes after trying many ways and angles… but we get in, because there is always a way in. It depends only on the person and their intention and choice to do so.

On a very knotted necklace it can take time, and after completing the release of many knots, we may see there are still one or two tiny ones left. It’s very tempting to leave it, with the intention of coming back, after replenishing energy and intention.  In some cases this is fine, it takes time to get to the root cause, as always, it’s a choice.   And we might not be able to iron out those knots all in one session.  Just remember one thing; it is the root cause that begins the multiplication of the knots in the first place; so we have to keep the awareness in our consciousness; the awareness and intention to return after a break with the same positive intention as at the start.

With an appropriate break, we try again but with a refreshed energy we see this time only to a tiny knot and this time the knot released with more ease, more than anticipated.  And so imagine an environment where there is no peaceful music, there is drilling going on outside, you slept badly the night before, there’s a work deadline, your back is giving you grief, your relationships are not running smooth…. You attempt to tackle the necklace, how does it start?

What happens when despite this, you still take a deep breath and with positive intention attempt the untangling, and then the phone rings and you get more distractions?  Does it even get started? Or does it get put back on the shelf gathering dust and tangling more and more with other chains as a result of you ruffling around in your jewellery box, looking for an alternative, a distraction?  It’s always a choice, led by your subconscious; make that choice at the deepest level and your subconscious and conscious will lead your there hand in hand.

Begin with the self-awareness to get the necklace off the shelf and to look at it and recognise it needs to be brought back to beauty, to live its purpose and life it was intended for, which was not on the shelf.  This awareness and peace at this awareness is healing in itself.  It can move out some suppressed feelings from simply acknowledging it and making a decision to begin. From here, you will find some knots easy and some hard, but the right tools, environment, mindfulness and positive intention will achieve the results.  It’s about the choices you make surrounding this.  There are a million ways to approach the task, externally and internally; it is your choice. Everything is choice, yours.

And so when we are along our path and we are moving forward one by one…..imagine this….all the knots will be out… You will wear your chain beautifully.  Little knots might come along, but with our new awareness and learning, they have a whole other energy. It’s easier this time because mindfulness is present.

And so becomes the habit of looking after ourselves, to try preventing any knot coming in the first place but gently untangling if it does. These are the choices we make; it’s all up to you.

© Inspire and Rewire 2016


© Inspire and Rewire 2019