Are you really a fraud? Will you be found out?

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Just been inspired to write about this so very common phenonema that strikes us down, regularly and unwittingly.

In my life I know that I have frequently felt inadequate and often had to battle with lack of confidence. Did I become a master of camoflaging the nerves before presentations or face up to the fact that I really was an imposter as my inner voice kept warning me. Young adults, graduates or those who have just passed their driving test are great examples of those who act brave to save face. They feel that now they have to show up in the world and compete with everyone else. ” Fake it till  you make it” Some put on a shiny new facade and tackle the world with defenses and bravado, sharing with nobody the absolute fear they carry within. Those inner voices of the imposter often arise and the voices can take over and riddle our confidence with holes.

Others hear their peers bragging about their great career paths and inside they crumble and want to hide. They are not worthy of an interview for they scrapped through training college or university and will be found out as a loser if put into the headlights in an interview room.

Imposters—- frauds — clowns— comics can present themselves and we can crumble or shine but how do we go about this without experience and maturity?

Firstly we have to be aware that we indeed are full of self conflict. I remember having a track record of getting “straight A’s” or “gold stars” in most things in junior school. Then frequently as a child I heard  I was the smart one in your family or peer group? Wow did this set me up for feeling like a fraud. I knew that I had to work really hard to achieve, so that did not measure up to being smart.

Sadly this fear of failure and not being good enough stayed with me until adulthood and parenthood. Facing  my fears and doing it anyway became such a very precious mantra for me. I was for many years so terrified of being found out as the fraud.

To be continued.

 

No Time to Stand and Stare

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Leisure by WH Davies

What is this life if, full of care,

We have no time to stand and stare.

No time to stand beneath the boughs

And stare as long as sheep or cows.

No time to see, when woods we pass,

Where squirrels hide their nuts in grass.

No time to see, in broad daylight,

Streams full of stars, like skies at night.

No time to turn at Beauty’s glance,

And watch her feet, how they can dance.

No time to wait till her mouth can

Enrich that smile her eyes began.

A poor life this if, full of care,

We have no time to stand and stare.

 This poem, a classic, still sums up everything that we might miss if we forget to stop, breathe and be. Mindful awareness brought home to help us live in this moment…….. not every moment but at least a precious few each day.

Mindfulness in East Lothian

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“Wherever you go, there you are”
― Jon Kabat-Zinn

If I know one thing then I am sure that I can only be here in this very moment. Nothing else is available to me for certain. I may feel as if this experience is the same as one in the past. I will know that I have visited this place before and that my memories connect me only with this new moment. Memories connect us with the past and dreaming and planning with the future. Giving my attention to this present moment is really all that is guaranteed.

I was born and brought up just a stones throw from where I now live. I left almost 40 years  ago and now I hold the fragile balance of past and present in my very being. Each day as I venture out through the vast expanses of this wonderful county, I see, hear and taste the freshness of being present right now. Little memory bubbles may float to the surface as friends and family recount tales or mention names and the rich tapestry of times gone by is being gentle sewn.

However, much more importantly, I am enjoying each day and each challenge, each new possibility as I step from one moment to the next. Mindfulness, maturity and a sense of truely being rooted, allows me the openess and curiousity that I perhaps lacked many years ago. “Mindfulenss in East Lothian” is  a new Facebook page where I would love to share with old friends , mindfulness colleagues and all those who are open to new moments together —– some caring , sharing and compassion.

Please join me and re-connect……………

Discovery through Mindfulness

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In life’s journey we have moments when we change jobs, locations or partners but we, as individuals, take all that we are, with us.

Our path is marked with points where we have decided to change our course or take a risk.These are often due to external factors around us prompting us to take responsibility for ourselves and often for our families too. Fear of failure may be a major obstacle and we all need to process logically how feasible this change is. However, I know that from practising Mindfulness for many years that the deep seated messages that I hold inside me often serve me well and are more dependable than just pure thinking. That intrinsic knowledge that is embedded in ever cell of our bodies is the best resource that we have.

Come along and taste how taking time to be with yourself, getting to notice how you think and where your fear is hiding by being gentle. Mindfulness gives you so many subtle ways of finding out how wise you really are!

Community Mindfulness Taster Haddington Session

The Art of Going Slow –2

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A year ago I wrote my original blog with the same title and said that this theme would be continued…….So what has changed in the world in which we live. What are we all craving for or striving to get. How much have we taken note of our own inner voices that continue to keep us moving forward, no matter what.

I know that you are all aware of how much we are conditioned by the external world. The voices of others ” should” “could” “must” are the words of others that we have adopted as how we must lead our life. The opinions around us at home, work, in the media can hold really powerful expectations for us. Here we are being dictated to by the world we live in. Our huge need to conform takes us by the nose and leads to decisions that we are not comfortable with. Even when we get little niggling feelings, irritating inner thoughts and critical gremlins, we may ignore them and remain living incongruently. That is we know that the truth for us is different than for those we are connected with. We however feel less than confident about speaking or acting on our own personal values and beliefs.

Are you just going along with the crowd? Will we watch and compare the slow process of Brexit to the fast impulsive rate of the new Trump Administration. Can you tune in to what your gut is telling you about the speed?

Can you find your own inner congruence and then choose how best to be with uncertainty. How will going slow benefit you?

 

Mindful Little Christmas

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“Mindful Little Christmas” came to me last year in the form of a Christmas Blog written by Harriet McGuigan  in ” My Mind”—– with her advice on how to practice mindfulness to combat the stress of Christmas. 

As Andy Williams sings, ‘It’s the most wonderful time of the year
with the kids jingle belling and everyone telling you be of good cheer
It’s the most wonderful time of the year!!’

She talked about how we all have good memories, sad memories, regretful memories, painful memories  of Christmases that have passed. We may have lost someone, have a new member join our family, have developed a serious illness or quite simply, be too much  of a perfectionist, thus creating self inflicted stress. Just being aware of the busy mind, feelings of panic and the reality of each day leading up to Christmas, allows us time to pay attention.

In daily life, it may take some courage to get up, put your feet on the floor and face the challenges but for many of our neighbours or for ourself, Christmas morning may be exceptionally difficult.  The getting through each day of the Festive Season means facing the day despite the heaviness we feel in our heart, the physical pain that we are holding or indeed the deep suffering of grieving. For others courage is being vulnerable with a loved one, asking for help or for some company.

Mindfulness allows us to stop and really notice how we are? There is no magic wand! However using the stopping, breathing and noticing may allow you to be a little less stressed, a little more loved and a little more loving if you can allow yourself to do something which is authentically you.

Have you ever sat with an elderly family member who spends the day reminiscing about past; how Christmas is not the same anymore! The negativity quells any momentary enjoyment of what we may be eating, sharing, smelling and gifting! Others escape the moment by hoping for a better future filled with financial security, health and happiness.

Mindfulness is about bringing yourself back as much as possible into your present reality – Taking one breath at a time. It is about being conscious of what ‘is’ rather than going off into fantasy and wishing for what you wish you could have in the future or getting drowned in the past when things were easier or at times harder.

With a little discipline, choosing to have a few mindful moments during the festive season could bring you inner peace, contentment and appreciation.

  1. Take a risk and breathe into your reality right now. Not the reality you wish you had, not the reality that you imagine your friends or family have and not the story the  TV adverts would have you believe – I invite you to breathe into your own life.
  2. It could help if you share your reality with a loving other (a friend, a partner,  or a person of trust) and perhaps sharing how celebrating the ‘most wonderful time of the year’ in your unique way  works for you this year.
  3. When you are eating just eat, when you have company just observe and absorb.
  4. Invite you guests to name one thing they are grateful for today.
  5. Forget the keeping up appearances and enjoy your Christams within your own emotional and financial budget.
  6. Make YOUR unique Christmas this year by allowing more of authentic you to shine through.
  7. If you are alone or know someone alone then step into that moment with them. Just a moment and the gift of time together

The key is to meet yourself where you are at.

Remembering that a little love shared and a little compassion for yourself and for others, goes towards  the original Christmas message. In the tradition of Christmas I wish you peace, joy and happiness in your unique heart.

‘…….and have yourself a ‘Mindful Little Christmas Now’

Autobiography in Five Chapters

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Autobiography in Five Chapters by Portia Nelson

Many years ago a client of mine gave me a copy of this poem which I have been sharing with coaching clients, retreat clients and now my mindfulness participants. You may have already heard this but it is of such rich significance in our daily lives that I encourage you to ponder and reflect upon its meaning for you.

1.  I walk down the street.

There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.

I fall in.

I am lost … I am hopeless.

It isn’t my fault.

It takes forever to find a way out.

2.  I walk down the same street.

There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.

I pretend I don’t see it.

I fall in again.

I can’t believe I’m in the same place.

But it isn’t my fault.

It still takes a long time to get out.

5 chapters,3.  I walk down the same street.

There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.

I see it is there.

I still fall in … it’s a habit.

My eyes are open.

I know where I am.

It is my fault.

I get out immediately.

4.  I walk down the same street.

There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.

I walk around it.

5.  I walk down another street.

Letting Go through Trusting

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In my previous blog I spoke of much that is personal to my self but also shared by very many others.

Trusting, like every other thing  should begin at home. Why do we automatically look outside and examine the people and the services in a purely practical, functional way. Are we remiss in settling for something that actually we don’t trust! In fact we often pretend that it will be fine. Letting go of our control as a carer, parent or partner has to be based on trust but let’s look at self trust, a little more deeply.

I watched another TV programme last night about Home Carers and the mistrust that has arisen about the terrible service often provided to the sick and elderly in their homes. I watched with such sadness to yet another programme that depicts the over-loaded systems, waste of the tax payers money and the total unacceptable levels of care in some pockets of our communities. I am greatly concerned at the greed and lack of genuine concern.

I empathise with the family and friends who have to put their trust in others to look after the needs of the people who are dearest to them and who will stay with them in memory, forever.

Speaking from my heart, I inwardly carry, a well, of shed and unshed tears, for the damage done to a very personal relationship of mine. I have put my trust very often into others hands to care for this very important person.

If only I hadn’t acted from my deep frustration, from my anger and made decisions in times of high stress! I know now that by tuning into the very, very deep knowledge that we hold, we can make much wiser decisions about who should best care for those who most need it. Being unwell myself when some of the major decisions were made could be used as a part excuse—- I however know a little more about myself now.

Mindfulness allows me to touch in with where my gut responses live, where my heart is telling me that something is  very wrong and indeed often there is a felt sense that there is something amiss. Oh so easy to look in retrospect at what might have been, if only I had been listening to my intuition when I allowed someone to influence and turn my dear one against a lifetime of love and support. When I allowed someone else to define “independance”.

Take time to stop, let go of other peoples’ voices and sit with your own self trust. You are wiser than you will ever know !

Mindfulness and the allowing to turn towards what our bodies are holding onto is step one again! So whether you are letting go, accepting or trusting. Turning inwards and trusting your own deep senses, will serve you better than being driven to finding quick solutions.

We so often ignore our inner hunches—————- step back, stop and breathe.

 

Letting Go

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It's natural to let go

It’s natural to let go

Letting go of control and relaxing into the flow of our lives is a theme that I bring into my Mindfulness practice and introduce as a teacher and as a coach, to my clients.

Sometimes, our situation is the way it is whether we like it or not.  Often Carers are there to offer support and love to those with chronic illness or conditions where emotional or mental disturbances are the living reality. When we fight the truth of a situation, we create a state of fear, upset, and tunnel vision. Often we believe that this is a permanant, concrete, forever situation and here we create the inner state of resisting. We remove the options and become fixed and try to tolerate rather than letting go of trying to control and handle things on our own – self sabotaging a possible new way.

Letting go is the inner process that removes the fear, upset, and tunnel vision.  Before we can let go however we need to know what we are holding onto. Ask yourself some big questions.

What am I most frightened of? What is not my responsibility? What is stopping me from letting go?

The moment we do let go, we can restore your ability to see clearly.  A good way to see how letting go works is to look closer at our fear. Fear is really created by our thoughts and is often compounded by not accepting or resisting a future event. For example, if you have a fear of losing someone, you are resisting the future event called, “losing the person.” The more you resist losing the person, the bigger your fear. The bigger your fear, the more you feel threatened. The more you feel threatened, the more you hang on and often push the person away.

I know that my fear can dissipate and lose its power, by being strong enough to do the opposite of what created it.  If I am scared of being left alone and unloved then I need to befriend the part of me that pushes others away. Relationships can morph into something new rather than ending a perfectly acceptable friendship, in a bitter and uncaring way.

Instead of resisting the future event, be willing for the fear to come true – not in your actions, but in your heart. If just for a moment  I sit with being alone and unloved, there is always, a new option for dealing with the person we are caring for or those who we depend upon. We begin to see clearly and become very effective in handling the situation. Solutions appear and this area of life starts clearing up. This is the purpose and opportunity of letting go.

 

The Art of Going Slow

 Cat napping on the go

Cat napping on the go

“The Art of Going Slow” has now become such an urgent consideration as we see the ever increasing range of children and young adults with mental health problems, behavioural issues and the inability to cope with all that is being forced upon them. I used to think that it was mainly we older people who could not keep up with this ridiculously fast information sharing, small screen learning, competative world.

I watch young parents rushing in and out of their cars; bags, jackets,children tumbling out looking bedraggled and tetchy. Rushing to school, to after-school clubs, community activities, sports clubs, adventure centres, parties and finally home. The physical activity and energy expended in one solitary day is immense ! Why are they doing this to themselves the adults? Is it not enough to run a household, hold down jobs, commute and bring up a family? The modern day family seems not to know how to live a sustainable life.

We talk endlessly about the sustainability of the planet, of energy sources and food development. All this is vital to the future of mankind. However whatever happened to the sustainability of humans?

Mums often come to see me as a Wellbeing Coach because they are weary, demotivated and desparate for some  purpose and meaning in their lives. Tired of the continuous life-style of doing, competing, stimulating their children and dealing with the inevitable exhausted child who has been over stimulated. Or indeed living with children who have become addicted to their own adrenaline buzz. I love seeing happy, healthy children enjoying a sport or two.  Childhood may seem short but so much of what we do with children, may not be remembered. Life and learning hopefully will continue for a very long time— so what is this rushing all about?

This endless focus on what is outside in the environment leads to this continual seeking for happiness, achievement AND ULTIMATELY SUCCESS— out there!  I accept that we always want to offer our children as many skills and interests as we possibly can. We fill them full of every possible opportunity. Often we give them all that they ask for, through our own ” need” to be seen as the good parent.

I know, I did it too.

Each individual child has their own unique needs. The very basic are food, shelter, education and healthcare. Then the love and care of supportive parents or guardians. The loving hug, the listening ear, the discipline of learning right from wrong and knowing that happiness need not be found in the complexities of this western world.mindful teens

We are in serious need of revisiting the way of life of our ancestors or of other cultures who hold quiet reflective time, as sacrocanct. There is nothing more wonderful than seeing a family walking together or choosing to have as many healthy living options as possible.

Inviting you all to model to those younger and still impressionable, that life requires time for silence, for settling and sitting with our own thoughts. That over-tired minds create less than healthy people and we the caretakers of their futures have a duty of care………………………. to be continued.