The Masters Of Transformation

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I think about the seasons a lot. How the life of summer dances with the life of winter. How different the dance is, depending on who is leading!

Today is the spring equinox. Summer is definitely cutting in on winter’s dance; breathing new energy into the air and the earth, delighting us with warmth in the daytime and light in the evening. Winter still rules but her reign is ebbing away. As always, she will bow out gracefully, but not quite yet; the trees are bare, the ground hard and often she will call us back to rest. Don’t resist her call.

The seasons teach us everything about powerful transformation. If you are reading this you are interested in changing your life in someway. The seasons role model how to do it, but we have disconnected from their way. Mostly we resist their way; we favour one season without truly appreciating the role that each has to play.

Many of us obsess to only be like that most favoured season of summer: vibrant, seemingly carefree and productive. But truly enjoying the fruits of summer is impossible if we don’t appreciate the magic of each season. If we resist one season we resist them all. Can you accept each season and surrender to its work in your life? Which season do you resist most? Which do you crave most?

Without the destruction and decay of autumn there would be no space cleared, no bareness to allow the plants and earth to rest. With the space created there is fertile land in which to plant new seeds, with deep rest there is recuperation and there is space to dream new dreams. This is winter.

From these deep dreams we don’t want to be rudely awaken into action, no we are gently roused by spring; playful and nurturing, still allowing us the rest when we need it, she is summer’s forebearer and this is the time of building strength, gaining the skills and resources to be ready for summer.

And when summer comes, it is true she is the most glorious season; joyful, abundant and life giving. The flowers bloom, dreams become manifest and there is energy enough for our work at full strength, to celebrate, play, lie in the sun and do it all again the next day. Summer can do it all. But not without her sister seasons. And even while she is in bloom, winter begins to dance again, she shakes the fruit down from the trees with her winds.

Yes winter interrupts the party and it is done with wisdom, with a loving and protective aim. We’d burn out if we stayed in summer for too long so she gradually invites back to rest. But not before we harvest and enjoy the fruits of the summer. Gentle autumn days can be lazily enjoyed in the warmth, but eventually they will turn to wet and wild afternoons as winter strips away the deadwood that bore the fruit. Then we return to rest and make space for new dreams that build on the achievements of summer.

Without the entire cycle there is not new, expansive growth each year.

While they might seem just like poetic metaphors, these are the truths that all our lives live by. Not exclusively though, sometimes freak weather comes in and changes things in one fell swoop. If we are fortunate, our change is gradual like the seasons, if we use the process then we don’t need a storm to clear the debris from our lives.

For me, the most pertinent lesson of the seasons is patience. It doesn’t happen over night. The transition is gradual but the transformation is incredible. Sometimes it is one step forwards, then two steps back. Ever noticed that in your own life?

Resist the temptation to berate the pattern. Why bemoan the wintry spring days for not being as warm as the summery ones. It is just the dance. Each day as precious as the last. Perhaps you have warmer and more energized days, where you “achieve” more and somehow those days feel more worthwhile. Are you missing the worth of the more wintry days? Can you surrender to the season? To the stage of the cycle? 

I often wonder whether if we all lived more seasonally all year round, if we ebbed and flowed with the seasons, rather pushed for constant high productivity, whether we would be more content, happier, healthier? And give the planet’s seasons more chance to be themselves too. For the unseasonal weather is all of our own creation.

Questions or comments below or to me angela@coachingandretreats.com 

What’s Love Got To Do With You?

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Your task is not to seek love, but mearly to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.                                                                            Rumi  

 

Working with a client recently, we looked at patterns in past relationships: how things tended to start and end for this person. Like many friends and clients I know, this person is looking for someone with whom to share a deep and fulfilling relationship, and was wondering what keeps getting in the way.

That conversation, and many others about relationships, returns me to the question of self-acceptance.

In the past I’ve been asked if I have a “type” (ok it was in my 20s and no one asks this anymore) I have always answered: someone comfortable in their own skin. Genuinely cool is way sexier than a six pack. Though I’d take both.

This piece is about relationships but at its heart it’s about authenticity and that applies to every corner of your life. 

Although I’m a coach I don’t believe you need to change. There’s nothing you need to fix about yourself or your life. You are wonderful as you are, and actually your life as it is now is perfect for you. I believe that if you could see that, you would enjoy your life a whole lot more, and probably do more good in the world.

Owning how wonderful you are is a sure fire way to let people fall in love with you. That doesn’t mean you have to like everything about yourself – or your life. 

Simple, if not easy.

You have probably heard that to find love, you need to love yourself. You’ve probably vomited, cringed, or thought fuck off at the notion. I certainly have.

Owning, accepting, allowing, loving yourself, whatever language you can handle, it is how you get to be comfortable in your own skin. Cool. Not arrogant or bullish, but comfortable. And my god that’s sexy.

You won’t like everything about yourself. You are supposed to be imperfect, but you do have to allow it to exist and yes, love it – because it does exist and if you reject parts of yourself you are asking the world to do the same.

The place in our lives where we most fear rejection is in relationships. And it starts from the moment we set eyes on them and want, on some level, their approval, their admiration, their love.

I can easily spiral into people pleaser if I meet someone who’s approval I desire – whether that’s in the context of romance/work/family/social life. We all do it to some degree, we present the side of ourselves that we think will land us the job.

The ability to please can be skilful in a job interview but longterm unhealthy in a relationship. Humans are hardwired to fit in, so showing up warts and all does not come naturally. However if you are turned on by authenticity it’s worth trying!

Here are some questions to help you see where you might be hiding in all of this. Use the following questions but first pick a context, it can be a specific relationship whether that’s romantic, family, friend or work colleague, or a more general scenario of work or social encounter. Choose an area in which you would like to be more at ease.

What do I want the other to notice in me? What am I making effort to demonstrate so that they notice: intelligence, sex appeal, morality, knowledge, opinion, lifestyle choices, sense of humour, wealth, status, something else? You are putting somethings at the front of the shelf – what are they? Make your first list.

What do I comfortably “own”, take for granted, that I’m happy for them to notice but I’m not eager for them to: intelligence, sex appeal, morality, knowledge, opinion, lifestyle choices, sense of humour, wealth, status, something else? You are allowing parts of yourself to be seen without putting them on the front shelf – what are they? Make your second list.

What do I want them to not see in me? What would I cringe if they recognised and worse still, named: intelligence, sex appeal, morality, knowledge, opinion, lifestyle sense of humour, wealth, status? Fear, weakness, fragility, love of Disney films… You are hiding somethings – what are they? Make your third list.

Now you have 3 lists. One list of things you are at ease with, and two lists of things you are not at ease with. Now let’s play. It’s just a game so don’t take it too seriously but feel free to be sincere and kind.

Take list number 1. Ask yourself: what if I recognised these things in myself and knew them to be true? Undeniably true. And cherished them exactly as they are right now? How would I show up differently in the world if I didn’t need others to recognise these things?

Take list number 2. What if others thought these things were my super powers and regarded me highly for them?  

Take list number 3. What if everyone already had this list and loved me anyway? Or loved me because of these things? What if I didn’t give any energy to hiding these things? What could be different in my life?

What if just one thing hopped over into list 2? What could that look like for you? 

HOT TIP: Pick out 20 mins over the next week when you can sit, entirely undistracted, light a candle, and answer these questions. Better yet, get a friend to do the same and share your findings. 

Just play with these ideas and know that everyone has 3 lists, even those who seem comfortable in their own skin, even those who have actually learned how to be; they have just learned to soften in their responses to the needs both to be validated and to hide their shadows. Loving ourselves is about allowing all of ourselves to be. And I guarantee love will flow in return.

Questions? Email angela@coachingandretreats.com or leave a comment below. x    

 

Longing For Summer?

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The seasons come and go, but they don’t just stop and start.

The seasons don’t change suddenly, although the weather might. 

The seasons transition.

There is no one specific moment when autumn has “made it”. “It” happens in conjunction with summer for a while and then with winter, and along the way we get all the things we call autumn.

Our lives are a series of seasons. 

At this time of year we’re often longing for summer to be here. It makes me a little sad, how many people tell me they “need” to book a holiday to have something to look forward to. Can life be beautiful now, and look forward to summer?

WANT TO PLAY A GAME?

Imagine there is something in your life that you would like to be different? Health, house, relationship, work, whatever. Pick something, we all have something, right?

Imagine that area in your life being at its fullest, the most energy and power, really blossoming. Let’s call that summer, for that area of your life.

Sometimes when we imagine things that we really want, fear based responses can pop up: that’s not possible (for me); it would take too much to get there; I have to make this happen or I’ve failed; this means everything to me, I have to do it or I’ll never be happy – or versions of all of them.

These are common thoughts, but they aren’t helpful. Even the ones which propel forward movement can trap us.  

As we’re just playing a game these thoughts aren’t needed. They have no power in a game. If they pop up, let them know you’re just playing.

Return to what it is you’d like to be different and enjoy a little day dream of how wonderful that could be in full bloom. Play with what it could be like.    

And now think of the same area of your life today. Whether you judge it as good or bad, note all the ways in which it exists for you (which may be about lack). What are its strengths? What are the things you do in relation to this? Today is summer too. Today that area of your life is as powerful as it can possibly be.

It might look completely different to the summer you dreamed of but that is a different summer, in a different year. In fact it is the next summer, a full year away.

You can’t jump straight to it, you can’t skip a year. Nor can you know everything that will happen in the coming year. Well not in this game anyway.

Now play with the seasons.

How does autumn need to come into your life to celebrate all the bounty of the current summer? To acknowledge and enjoy the warmth that remains? What does it need to help break down? To start to loosen with its winds? How beautiful could it be as the leaves fall? How much fun?

As winter comes to play what does it need to strip back to its bare minimum? What mess does it need to make? The dead leaves on the floor will ultimately nourish later growth, what needs to be in your mulch? What rains need to mix with the leaves to make it?

As winter takes hold, what might you need to bear? Does this area of your life need to be quiet, empty, still? Does it need to rest? Do you need to allow space for the new seeds to germinate? How might you enjoy the darkness, make it pretty and magical?  

How might spring gently emerge from winter? What would it look like for this area of your life to thaw and tiny buds appear? What gentle ways could new life appear? How could you protect those fragile shoots? What do they need? As the joy of spring builds what is happening?  Might you still need cooler days? What does the sun allow to happen when it shines brightly on this?

As summer comes, how does the strength and energy build? The energy is higher, the opportunities greater, what is happening? How is it effortless? What has the work of the previous seasons allowed to be possible? What are you able to enjoy most?

What have you learned over the year?

What might happen if you followed the seasons in real time? Allowed them to play in your life for real?

What if you tuned into the season in your life today, what would it prompt?    

For life to transition from where you are, to where you want to be can be overwhelming. I believe in flow and transition over willpower. For you to “make” everything happen is too much. So let the seasons do it with you.

The tree doesn’t make itself blossom, it allows itself to do so with the seasons, the weather, the other trees, all of it. It’s not all on you. But it is possible for you.  

        

 

  

 

EVERYTHING FROM NOTHING

Nothingness.

We are terrified of it. We busy and distract ourselves from it. Reach for our phones, food, shopping, anything to avoid the void.

Silence is one of the most powerful tools for a coach. It feels very uncomfortable for many people, they desperately want to fill the gap, or have me fill it, but allowing the space gives room for truth and wisdom to pour forth.

We have learned to be scared of nothingness. It has caused us to fill our lives and our homes, sometimes to breaking point.

But when we fill our lives with anything, we miss out on the right things.

And we wonder why we feel unfulfilled.

At this time of year the earth becomes bare. The night is at its longest, the day is at its shortest. I advocate clearing out the year and relishing nothingness for just this short time.

The winter solstice is a beautiful time to allow the field of your life to lie fallow.

It prepares the ground.

What if you allowed an area of your life to be empty? What if you stopped trying to fill it?

Let go of everything you know about it? Let go of everything you want for it and allowed absolutely nothing?

Scared? Liberated? Both?

This is not how it will always be. That’s the fear. That if we don’t control, do, plan, fill, we will unravel and never have what we want. But the opposite is true.

The more we can clear and let go of the plans and dreams, allow nothing, the quicker the right thing comes in to our lives.

The beautiful of nothingness can do its job.

No plans. No rules. No castles to build and fill. No judgements. No shoulds. Nothing.

Desires will come in. They can be sweet. Let them go for now.

Let the ground become more fertile still.

And when all the elements are right, the seed will make itself known to you. The right seed. It will flow into your life without very much effort at all and begin to take hold.

It will be so perfect you’ll wonder if it was sent just for you.

Is that it? Life gets magically sorted by doing nothing?

Not quite. There will be work, yes. But that is for another season.

Slow down.

Without winter, summer will not fully flourish.  

This is just a part of the process.

For now, emptiness.

Make space. Allow nothing. Get ready to receive.

 

TRY IT

Notice yourself reaching for something today and see if you can embrace nothingness instead.

I’d love to hear what pops into your life in the wake of nothingness?

Or what has already from a past experience?

angela@coachingandretreats.com 

 

 

GET READY FOR 2016 WITH A POWERFUL GOODBYE

cropped-20150513_200054-e14355109697651.jpgHow are you with goodbyes? Personally I drag them out, I usually leave at least 15 minutes after I say I’m going to. I’m astounded by people who say they are leaving and then just go ahead and leave!

Sometimes we wish to delay the moment of separation as long as possible.

Sometimes we do it quick and efficient to get past the moment of separation.

Sometimes, goodbye is satisfying, we’re fulfilled with the experience and ready to leave it behind.

How do you mark the end of the year, say goodbye to it and greet the new one?

I actually don’t drag out my goodbyes as much as I used to. I can let go of people more easily because I know how to be more present when I am with them, to give and receive what I can. So when the natural time to part arrives, it is no longer scares me, it is no longer the moment I am prompted to face that I haven’t got what I wanted from the occasion. 

Life is precious. Truly, deeply precious. 2015 has been a whole year of life. You are a year older and wiser. 

Do you want to leave this year satisfied and ready to move on?

Whatever the year has brought you, you can leave it feeling fulfilled.

By connecting to your year and all it has brought you, you will allow all your experiences to be felt and acknowledged.

This allows that sense of satisfaction that means it is a contented pleasure to then say goodbye, like a party where you actually talked and connected with everyone you wanted to, and can leave content, not wanting more time or having stayed too long.

If there is longing for more of something then you can note it for next year, but for now it is about letting go. No need to rush ahead to 2016 yet!

Choose when you will do this. If you don’t schedule it will you make it real? I suggest 10/15 minutes in the evening over the next week or so, that way as things bubble up in your memory you can add to your list.

A leisurely appreciative goodbye to the year will unearth insightful moments.

Connect to 2015 through these questions and any others you choose:  

What are you grateful for? What did the universe gift YOU that it hasn’t gifted everyone?

What did you learn? Older and wiser whether you like it or not – what do you truly know now that you didn’t 12 months ago? About yourself? About life? About a subject?

What inspired you? What place, person or thing touched you and invited you to have / want more of it in your life?

Who did you love? Who have been the people who have brought the most out of you through your relationship to them? Fleeting or familiar, who made your year?

Small wins! What have been the things that have made you smile. We are curious folk, what little things have delighted you this year?

Big wins! What were the highlights of your year? This was the year that you…?

Challenges? What did life send your way that you was challenging for you? How did you navigate it? 

What might have been? What didn’t happen that you wanted to? Be honest. Be gentle.

Regrets? Does anything weigh heavy on your heart from this year? Who or what do you need to forgive to let go of this regret? What do you need to learn from it?

Your team. Who has been part of your inner circle this year? Who have you shared the year with? Who has been rooting for you through your challenges and smiling with you at your small wins? Who have you done the same for this year? As you recall your nearest and dearest notice what your relationship brings up in you. Is there room to be more open to their love? Or a desire to be more boundaried?

What are you proud of this year? Achievements, challenges faced, contributions made, relationships developed…what are you proud of? Be honest. Bragging is good for you.

Start this work and know that you have all year to finish it! And of course add anything else that is relevant to you.

You will emerge from this work knowing yourself a little better, who you are is directly related to your purpose in life. 

You could invite a friend to do the same and make a little ceremony of sharing your acknowledgements.

The long darkness loves a fire so why not make one (safely) and burn your acknowledgments. It is great for letting go of things whether you deem them good or bad, let the flames take your year and all the meaning you have given it and start fresh.

This work will clear the space and lay the ground for the work of filling 2016 with the life you want. If you want the garden to flourish, you need to prepare the ground.

I’ll follow up this post with a piece on creating the intentions and actions for the 2016 of your dreams. Get ready!

 

SHE’S COMING

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The paths are flooded now,

The forest floor is cluttered:

Broken branches, swathes of damp leaves.

 

Gone is early autumn with its warm sunshine,

Gone is the crunch of crisp leaves,

Now it is wet and grim,

Soon it will be bleak and grim.

 

Don’t frown, sweet one.

It is just the mess of clearing out,

Going back to earth.

Yes the paths you know may be blocked, yes, what of it?

 

(What of it?

I don’t like it, that’s what!

I can’t bear the mess,

I hate the loss, it hurts,

I liked it before, I was happy in summer.

 

Were you?)

 

She is coming.

Cutting in on autumn,

May I have this dance?

They are one for a while,

What havoc they wreak together.

 

Then,

It will calm,

It will clear,

The music, the bluster of their dance will fade.

Stillness.

 

Then we see her silent power,

No leaves left to fall and make a sound.

Peace,

Emptiness,

Beauty.

 

It is not nothing,

It is Life,

Life in winter.

 

Everyday we venture deeper into her world,

Resist her not,

Futile to wish she were different,

To wish it were summer again.

 

Love her for all she is in this moment,

All the mess she has strewn across your street,

The chaos she causes,

Before she wraps us in calm.

 

The calm into which she sucks all life.

Inwards,

She draws it down,

To a tiny light within,

Into the earth,

Until it looks like death.

 

It is not dead,

Winter can not kill Life,

 

She saves it.

 

Appearing as nothing,

It is everything,

All power,

All potential,

Condensed,

Preserved,

Resting in space,

 

Until

 

 

 

Prepare for winter magic

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This week we felt the first truly wintery how-the hell-am-I-going-to-be-able-to-get-out-of-bed cold mornings. But they were just a signifier. If you dressed for winter all week then you will have found yourself like me, sweltering and carrying your coat. Autumn is a mild season. The seasons, like most of the change in life, is gradual. There is time to prepare, to anticipate and to enjoy what is to come. Winter is just letting us know that she is coming before she truly takes hold.

So are we going to listen? Listen to winter’s call? Because it is a call, an invitation. We don’t have to dread the dark nights and the cold mornings if we go with the flow of them – and put the heating on a timer.

Slowing, stopping, resting, listening, hibernation, cocooning, incubating, gestating, space, empty, peaceful, dreamful. To me this is the invitation of winter. Burying seeds deep, deep in the ground, allowing the magic to happen which will allow them shoots of fresh new life in spring. If winter doesn’t get to do its thing, nothing will flourish.
The work that comes up again and again with my clients is need to connect to what they truly want in their lives. Often, they are overwhelmed by their options (or apparent lack of) and the beliefs that have been layered on them. With lots of ideas about what they “should” want, they have disconnected from what internally drives them and are left looking for purpose. When we disconnect from our internal drives and motivations we are ultimately dissatisfied and unfulfilled, and this can leave us depressed and ill.

The seasons offer us a wonderful guide; they trigger our internal drives naturally, we just need to connect to them to allow this to happen.

So as the season dances between autumn and winter, what can we do to connect?
Winter is beautiful and purposeful. It is a time for rest. It is a time for nothingness. That’s not depressing that’s exciting. I love decluttering and the best way is to empty a cupboard or shelf then clean it, then refill it. There is a beautiful moment when the shelf is totally bare. Life clears a space for you to fill with what serves you and the world. We get to fill it with beauty and purpose, but not yet.

First we prepare. Physically it’s a great time to clear out spaces in your home. What about your mental and emotional world, your inner world? Now is the time to begin to let go of the year. Don’t wait til new year’s eve, prepare yourself to say goodbye to this year of your life. Prepare yourself to stay home and do nothing, prepare yourself to rest and dream.

Slow down.

Schedule nothingness. Life is often so busy and perhaps December is already looking full. Plan some time for you to do nothing, or not very much at least!

Aim to go to bed at 8pm at least one night a week. Do it before you get ill and are forced to do it. Do it with a good book if you like but go get snuggy early.

Begin to reflect on your year. What gave you greatest pleasure this year? What has made you most proud? What are glad you did? What do you wish you’d done more of? What do you wish you’d done less of? Anything you would have liked to do but didn’t? Start acknowledging now and you’ll be ready to let go as the year ends.

What sounds like a fun way to spend the deepest winter in January and February? Drawing, learning a musical instrument, sorting out the photos you’ve been meaning to print, completing a massive jigsaw, writing a story, reading a classic. Muse over what activity will be a fun way to make the most of the slow season –you might actually be able to ask for something you want for Christmas.

When winter is in full force, the seeds will plant themselves in your dreams. All you to do is ensure the space and the quiet to let winter do its job.

Drop any crap about needing to be busy and/or productive and step into the flow of the season.

Give yourself this. Not easy with Christmas approaching. The advertising world sells us a magical Christmas but somehow steal the magic in the process. Take it back.

How to practice gratitude

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I know that being out in nature is good for me. Really good for me.

I know it, but I don’t always do it. Often I let comfort and apathy rule the show, especially as autumn progresses and more wintry weather greets us. This can leave me feeling guilty about not doing what’s good for me. An unpleasant and futile little dance.

The other day I was inspired to do two things that are infinitely good for me: get out in nature and practice gratitude.

I was busy but made time for a stop-off, en route to a meeting, via the supermarket. If I can find 10 minutes to answer a pointless email, or read a Facebook post, I can find 10 minutes for this.

I was dressed in heals for my meeting but I tottered into the woods and soon took them off. I stood in my bare feet and faced the sun. The breeze was gentle and musical in the rushes surrounding the nearby pond. The ground was cool and squidgy under my feet. 

There I stood, paused from the busy-ness of my day, connected to the ground, feeling the warmth of the sun. Not rushing through the world, but stopping and feeling it. And I felt into what I am grateful for in my life: the obvious things of my home and daughter, friends, family and health, but also my challenges and the things I don’t have. Because the things I don’t have but desire to have one day, well they are the things I am not ready for yet. And I’m grateful that they aren’t on my plate when I don’t have space for them. 

You may have heard the term gratitude practice before and thought that you get it. You know it’s good to appreciate what you have, so you get it, right? 

But as with many of these practices, that in some way offer to improve our lives, it’s not about getting it. It’s not about knowing what it means and understanding it in your head.

It’s about feeling it.

In fact, it’s all about feeling. We love people because it feels good. We make all our choices based on how it feels – or how we don’t want it to feel.

And true gratitude feels so good that “negative” feelings don’t stand a chance, not in their corrosive form anyway. When infused with gratitude, it might be that the underlying message that the anxiety/ guilt/ fear/ whatever shows up as, transforms into clarity around a choice you can make.

Cultivate a gratitude practice.

To feel it, not just get it, can absolutely happen spontaneously. But it can also be cultivated through practice, and when you cultivate it, it becomes a skill you can reply on. Like playing the piano. You can turn to it and enjoy it at will.

It takes practice because really connecting to our feelings isn’t always easy. From the head to the heart can be a long road.

Ask yourself what you are grateful for and your head will come up with a list. That’s a great start.

Now feel your heart. Put all your attention in the heart area of your body. Ask your heart. What is your heart grateful for? 

Don’t overthink it, just feel and ask. Feel the answer. It may well be the same answer/s. Enjoy whatever comes up from your heart.

Feel the gratitude. What does it to you? Make you smile? Make you want to dance? Want to give? Want to share? When you cultivate gratitude it radiates out of you. 

Today.

Give yourself 5-10 minutes. If you can do it when others ask it of you, you can do it when you ask it of yourself.

Connect to nature, to the world. Feel your feet on the ground (barefoot if possible) and the air on your skin. 

Travel from your head to your heart. Feel it. What are you grateful for, that you have and that you don’t have?

Enjoy feeling it. Enjoy radiating it out.

Practice. Cultivate it. 5 minutes a day will have you actually feeling what it is that those “inspirational” (and often time-wasting) facebook posts actually mean. 

 

The Winds of Change

IMG-20151030-WA0001Many people’s favourite season, Autumn is without doubt spectacular, and not just visually. Ever been caught in a leaf shower? It’s magical having leaves swirling and raining down on you, there’s nothing else to do but enjoy it. It’s like nature wants to have fun in letting go.

As summer’s blooms fade the season of transformation is playful, beautiful, and changeable. Do I need my big coat? Do I need my sunglasses? Maybe. 

Transition for us humans is as unpredictable as the autumn weather. Change and loss in our lives is unpredictable and can feel unsettling. What unsettles us most is our fear of what happens after. Winter: coldness, darkness and scarcity. In Brene Brown’s new book Rising Strong she talks about her 3 day intensives of The Daring Way, and how in all the years of running it there is no way to make day 2 pleasant, it sucks, but it is needed to make day 3 possible; the transformation, the rebirth. The message in her book is that those who do rise strong, who come out of adversity transformed and empowered, are the ones who allow themselves to experience winter, who don’t try and skip day 2. Without allowing autumn and winter to do their job there is no space or energy for renewed growth in spring, and no fresh fruit in summer.

I saw Katie Piper speak recently. Inspiring is a word that is easy to bandy about in my field, but she truly is. And that is because she didn’t skip day 2, the winter, the misery and pain of her recovery. She might have if she’d had the choice but after being attacked with acid, there was no option to skip the hardest times. She talked about it in graphic detail, it was heartbreaking and horrifying. It is easy to see her now and think life looks easy for her, that she is successful, but she rose strong because of journey through the adversity. That isn’t to say she doesn’t wish it were different, but she accepts how it is. Thankfully, few of us go through such horrendous transformations as hers.  

Nature shows us how gorgeous transformation can be. The leaves spent the sunnier months catching light for the tree. That no longer being the best use for them, they turn glorious colours and then dance down to the ground where they are played in and trampled on, till they turn to mulch and nourish the very tree that bore them.

But we humans often resist change, we even resist and bemoan the changing seasons. We don’t want the discomfort of winter. I sometimes wonder how different the world could be if we actually embraced the seasons: resting and incubating in winter, gently coming to life in spring, at full productivity and force in sumer then playfully rejoicing in Autumn. What illnesses and waste might we avoid, what joy and satisfaction might we experience…just a thought.

So to autumn, how can we take a leaf out of her book. How can you let go of something that no longer serves you and let it dance away in the breeze? Watch it go with love, knowing that it will serve the world better as a dead leaf on the ground than with you clinging on to it. It doesn’t mean you didn’t love it during summer, or that you don’t love it now. It just means it is right to let it go.

What faded leaves are you clinging on to? Have a look round your home, could you move some things on? Look at your daily activities, what could you weed out? In your social life? Your business life? What about a creative idea that you love but until you kill it off, it might hinder the growth of the overall project?

There are always places you can clear out some dead wood. Yes it might leave a space that looks dark and cold. Maybe that won’t be 100% pleasant but allow some fallow time and then choose your seeds to plant, or fill it with something spectacular. Unlike the forest you get to choose what grows. 

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A Fearless Game of Love

198860_5083701429_6518_nOur thoughts only come from one of two places: love or fear.

What if you had no fear?

Fear is a normal and common part of the human experience. It is also debilitating and often sneaky. It dresses up as rational thought or “being realistic”, when in truth it is irrational. It can come from a desire to protect ourselves from either the threat of attack, accidental harm or rejection and isolation. Pretty useful really, except when the threat is entirely imagined. And even when the threat is real, or only partly imagined, here’s why we still don’t need fear: fear causes us to defend ourselves, love causes us to protect ourselves. 

Do you want to play a game to tap into thoughts that come from a place of love?

You might be saying “ yes, but”, yes that’s all very well, but in the real world there are fears and they are real and justified, about money, safety, going outside of societies norms. That’s understandable, but remember that being fearless doesn’t rule out protecting yourself or others.

When children play, they experiment and they learn. As adults we have become trained to want to know what we are doing, what the outcome should be, and focus on being productive. Put that training aside for a moment.

What follows is a game. Just play.

What would you do if you had no fear?

What would you do tonight if you had no fear?

What would you do next year if you had no fear?

What would you say to your closest loved one if you had no fear?

What would you like to be the legacy of your life if you had no fear?

What else do you want if you were without fear?

Was it fun? If not maybe try again. How would you answer those questions if you had no fear?

I’m not telling you to act on anything that came up necessarily, but you’re a grown up, you knew that. What I do advocate is listening to the desires that came up when the fear is not stopping them. What desires were hiding in there? How might they shape your life? Your happiness? Your purpose? I also advocate listening to the protection that arises, it comes from love, but beware its evil twin defence.

Our thoughts only come from one of two places: love or fear.

What fearless, loving thoughts are coming up for you? I’d love to hear from you in the comments below or on email angela@coachingandretreats.com 

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