Facing my fears
How and why did zombies keep me awake last night?
This is a story which is somewhat humiliating and yet also the opposite because I’m so damn proud of myself!
Last week, I was on holiday in Norway with old friends who live there. Every few years we get our families together and we tend to do lot of activities. Our fit friends in Norway, with its beautiful mountains, coast and general outdoor attitude that seems to entice these things. This is unlike my Cambridge home that I love that is flat, landlocked and really doesn’t do a lot of outdoor enticing and also unlike me who is currently unfit, chubby and pasty pale even though the Sahara sun seems to have got stuck over England. I’m not just pale, I’m that blue colour that slightly hypothermic people go.
Our friends suggested many things, such as staying in a lighthouse over-night (that’s an entirely different nightmare story if you don’t like outdoor toilets with no running water, but using wind to clean you, on a tiny rocky island, with no electricity and you have a weak night time bladder), tubing on their little boat, swimming in lakes and finally an activity park based on the same idea as the Go Ape style climbing parks. It was here that was my downfall, almost literally.
Why Star Trek gave me my values
I hesitated to write this because on the surface it’s hilarious and humiliating, but if by being vulnerable I can help you have a giggle and learn something, it’s a fair swap. On one level this is very funny, it’s just that at 3.45am when you are tired… it’s not.
A bit of background. I don’t like horror films, or in fact any film where anything scary happens, I think my fear reflex is probably around a PG, pushing to a 12A and a 15 is a challenge! However, I love cinema and have one of those monthly card things, so I see a lot of films that I probably wouldn’t ‘pay’ to see. I’m also trying to challenge myself if I think the film is worth seeing. For example, I really wanted to see ‘Flatliners’ as I thought the original was brilliant. The new one is terrifying, especially for those of you with a slight culturally inherited shower curtain fear.
Where are all the men?
‘Make it so number one’ spoken by Captain Jean-Luc Picard of the starship Enterprise, is a phrase captured in my head as if I was sitting on the bridge of the starship Enterprise myself, having heard Picard say it thousands of times. There wasn’t much that was great about having a mother with poor mental health, but at least she had good taste in TV.
With hindsight, being ‘taught at home’ (I use speech marks because I never really was) meant that I got my education from TV, copious amounts of books and random visits to churches, floods and whatever else took my mother’s fancy each day. Unfortunately, this meant that I didn’t know what the English flag was by the age of 23, but I do now, and it never really held me back.
Why your brain is like a computer and anxiety (or anything else) really isn't your fault!
I have many male friends, colleagues and clients. I feel a deep empathy for men as they don’t seem to have their own space in the world anymore. There’s no room for their masculinity to be seen positively. Masculinity seems to have been tied to physical strength which gets tied to violence, or if you are into the gym, you are a himbo. If a women goes to the gym, she is empowering and enabling herself, getting in the feminine strength zone, taking me time, it’s all very positive. Men in the gym are preening, over confident and physically - slightly threatening. I’ve never heard anyone say to a man, well done for taking time out and empowering yourself.
Why I don't mind that today is a stressful, rubbish day...
I’m all for us taking responsibility for our own actions and this isn’t going to be a blog about how to blame the rest of the world, but it does help to know how your own brain is busy tripping you up when you are desperately trying to do your best. Throughout my life, I have had many things that I didn’t like about myself, but my anger was the main one. I used to get so angry, full blown tantrum. It took quite a lot to trigger me but then, as a friend described it, I could go ‘nought to nuclear’ in a split second.
How to enjoy being alone
Ever have a day where everything goes wrong, or nothing goes wrong, but you are just in a foul mood? That's today for me. Don't show me positive quotes, don't tell me to re-frame or any other helpful techniques I teach clients, it won't work, not today. And you know what? That's just fine.
It's okay to have rubbish days and it's okay to accept that life isn't all sunshine and roses and that sometimes for no reason we just feel a bit rubbish. Whether it's hormones, relationships, lack of sleep or, well, anything else I can blame that means I can pretend to have no responsibility, it actually doesn't matter. It will pass.
If you are too busy to read this, you definitely should.
Tonight I’m off on holiday, but before I go I’m spending a large portion of this weekend completely alone, something that would have left me feeling rubbish a few years ago. Now I’m savouring it. So how did I move from hating being alone, to loving it?
I learnt to like myself.
I see lots of clients for whom being alone is a big problem. They feel lost, left out as if they are missing something, rejected…I could go on and on. Many create a world where noise is constant and will even use music or TV to get to sleep. Why? So they don’t have to listen to that voice in their heads that criticises them and makes negatives comments.
Are you scared? If so, what of?
Are you stressed out or feeling the pressure but feel you can’t stop?
Most of us spend our time rushing from one thing to the next. Life seems to be a continuous to do list and we never get most of it done.
You’re already skim reading this article, aren’t you?
Why it's what's under the suit that counts. Lessons from Iron Man
Fear is a thought-provoking word in that we have applied it to so many different situations and yet we never lose context. Fear of threat - terrorism for example, fear of failure, fear of humiliation, fear of challenge, fear of change, fear of the future. We can place the word fear in front of almost anything and make it a ‘thing’ to fear. My ex-husband has a fear of clowns – in other words, a phobia, the word phobia is derived from the word fear.
Fear is a basic emotion, along with anger, that in my opinion, gets a bad reputation..
Why are we surprised at homeless heroes?
In the trailer for ‘Spiderman: Homecoming’, ‘spider boy’ – You can tell I wasn’t paying attention in the beginning because I have no idea what his name is… messes something up, millions of people could have been killed, but aren’t – you know, the usual superhero learning lesson scenario. Tony Stark aka Iron Man takes away, *gasp*, his spider suit...
I’m full, of mindfull..ness
Amid the chaos in Manchester on Monday, two homeless men ran into the arena and helped rescue people, give first aid to them and in one case, hold a dying person. Since then, one of the men at least has been found, given accommodation for six months, job opportunities and had thousands of pounds raised to help him.
How to train your decision making gremlins!
Do you remember the year the, ‘keep calm and carry on’ sign came out? We all liked its strong message and had a little chuckle about how and where it was used. Suddenly, it was everywhere: mugs, posters at work and even a pair of knickers – ‘keep calm and carry on’ changes its meaning! Unless you have been living in a time capsule, you will have noticed the bombardment of the ‘mindful’ culture: books, toys, downloads, apps, classes and even our beloved Ladybird books doing a satirist take off of mindful books – which is brilliant I might add...
Parent versus Professional, the continuing struggle for balance!
If asked, we often say we make decisions ‘from my gut’ and that’s brilliant if your gut instinct is working from a good place. However, if we look over the shoulder of intuition (and I work extremely intuitively so it’s hard for me to do!) our gut instinct is actually arrived at by our subconscious making a series of decisions itself to come to a point where it feels it has gathered enough evidence to label it as a feeling and hand it back to you. Hey presto! Based on that feeling, you make a decision. I’d like to say this has worked for me and I’ve led a faultless life, but unfortunately it hasn’t...
What keeps you present in your life?
I stood yesterday evening poking holes with a roasting fork through my living room ceiling while water poured out on my head and into a series of tubs, bowls and a cool box, (having grabbed anything and everything to hand) I realised that flooding my bathroom was entirely my own fault. . The fact is that so many of us spend most of our days, NOT calm and under A LOT of pressure and therefore we make poor decisions, sometimes these decisions don’t matter too much and sometimes they rain a deluge of consequence upon us.
To keep me present in all areas of my life I have a slightly macabre mantra. ‘If I died to tonight, would I be happy with what I did today?’ ....