Apparently I am Writing a Book.
I always thought you had to be famous to write a book. A slightly blinkered view, as when I really thought about it, were Deepak Chopra or Eckhart Tolle famous before they wrote their first book? Originally didn’t think I had a ‘market’ for it, but as my life has unfolded and I embraced social media, the feedback I had from blog posts and tweets was that I really should write. I should write in a way that the average person can understand. I should write as if I am talking to my clients. Write from a real point of view, of how you can grow and develop without having to sit on a mossy tuffet contemplating your navel.
Timing is everything.
This is not aimed as a coffee table self help book. There are plenty of those on the market; heaven knows my bookshelves are full of them! This is my story. This is the story of a relatively ‘normal’ girl, developing skills that have helped many people in the past and may also help you. I am not a clairvoyant and I do not have a story of how I used to see spirits as a child with my parents not believing me. I have no scary ghost stories, I do not talk to angels, nor do I see auras. I have developed my intuition over many years in a way that many of you reading this will have. Or you may begin to realise that you have skills that you never knew you had. You may even have a few ‘light bulb moments’ along the way that enable you to see the bigger picture.
As a child, I didn’t have any imaginary friends, nor did I actually see fairies at the bottom of the garden. I was just a normal child of the 1970’s in a normal family……..
This book is aimed at those who feel that something is missing in their lives. Those who sometimes, or all the time, feel that they are treading in treacle or taking three steps forward and two steps back. I will attempt to talk to you as a real human to another human and not as some scientific professor or an angelic channel from the ether. I have many clients, who would like to free themselves of constraints and stresses of everyday life, but they find the books they have read, or the talks they have been to, far too confusing. They like the way I speak and they need a little book to refer to. Some people reading this may find it too simple. Some may find it just right. After all, just as we have to find the therapies that work for us, or the hairdresser that just ‘gets us’, we also need to find the book or the teacher that resonates well.
Light Bulb Moments
There have been many of these throughout my life, although some of them were not actually noticed at the time. More of an after-event, and an ‘ah ha!’ when someone points something out that really makes sense or they actually switch the light on for you. One of my first big experiences of this was when I realised that I no longer wanted to own my two salons. I wanted to change the life plan.
The saying ‘a plan is a basis for change’ has always been thrown around our household as dates alter and times are never set in stone. Always write in pencil, never in pen. I decided to implement the rule changing process. The life plan that I had made completely shifted. I had built up two salons. I had staff and I had responsibilities. I was making plans and manifesting my dreams. My dream was to have four salons by the time I was forty. Brand them and sell them all as a chain. I had the blueprint and it was working. I had avidly watched The DVD of The Secret by Rhonda Byrne well before it was available in the UK. Since then it has become a household name in the manifesting world for beginners and is also a book. Some find it too simple, some find it life changing. It’s a great starting point.
As my businesses evolved over the years and the salons grew, the beauty industry changed and so did employment laws. Business Rates kept increasing and VAT took a leap from 15% to 17.5%. Everything was becoming more difficult rather than easier. I found I was working all the hours in the day, most of the evenings and Sundays were spent doing paper work. I wasn’t quite big enough to employ a bookkeeper, and I still enjoyed the practical side of treating people. I had been to the seminars and read all the books. Really successful business people worked ‘on’ their businesses and not in them. I wasn’t prepared to stop treating people just yet. I was holding on.
In 2005 I had the privilege of receiving a treatment by a superb holistic therapist Ben Barnett, who used to hire space in my salons to do Hydrotherm Treatments for my clients. He was the area trainer for this beautiful massage system, which involves the client laying face up on top of warm water filled pillows. Totally supported by the water, there is no need to turn over half way through the treatment, so there is total relaxation right from the start. Often with massage, a client will not ‘give up’ and relax until half way through, as subliminally they know at some point the ‘turning over process’ will have to be done.
Ben had started to develop this treatment further with a guided meditation technique that enabled the client to reach a deeper state of relaxation. Often people hold tension in areas of their body even the deepest massage cannot physically iron out. As we have learnt more and more about the connection between physical tension and emotional issues, some holistic therapists are able to work at the root of the problem which is usually emotion based and that in turn releases tensions within the body……
Journeys, Pathways and Crossroads.
That over used word ‘Journey’ makes me cringe. Over used by those on reality television often in a competition for singing, dancing or ice-skating. It used to be a word used by those seeking spiritual enlightenment, but now everyone uses it without often thinking about exactly what it means to them. We are all here to experience life. We are all on a ‘journey’, we all have pathways to choose and we all have choices to make. It is part of being human, and we are beginning to realise this. As a human race, we are beginning to wake up and realise that life is for living and there really is a purpose to it all. We are gradually getting off the hamster wheel of monotony and seeing the bigger picture.
People are realising that, in the grand scheme of things life is short. We are making ‘Bucket Lists’ and with the development of the Internet in the last 20 years, it is much easier to plan holidays where lifelong desires can be realised. We are climbing mountains, travelling to the depths of the rain forests, helping with conservation in remote areas of the world. People feel they need to try sky-diving, white water rafting, jungle trekking and scuba diving. Some choose to do charity work, others enrol in college courses and take qualifications they never had chance to do when they were young.
Sometimes a life can seem quite uneventful, no extreme sports and no worldwide holidays, but everyone has a life in front of them. What feels right for one may not interest another. This is what makes us all different and so unique…..
We are all on a Pathway or a Journey. We are all experiencing, and we all have life paths. All of us have a story to tell and the older you become the more wisdom you have, and the more roads you have travelled. You have more stories, and with any luck, more answers.
The Crossroads? Well, we have all had those. A road trip wouldn’t be much fun without a few cross roads to negotiate. No doubt there will be a few chicanes along the way and some very uneven bumpy lanes, but effectively, we all end up in the same place. We just have different ways of getting there. The key is seeing a crossroads as a collection of choices. Looking back on your life, I am sure you will be able to remember many times when you have said ‘I should have never done that’. Or, ‘if only I hadn’t taken that job/car/house’. Well, you did. You made a choice at that time. You may have been given a few options and you chose one.
Was it the ‘right one’? Well, remember, there is no such thing as right or wrong. Things just are. A plan is a basis for change, and it isn’t set in stone. If you don’t like the pathway you are on, you can change direction. You can’t go back, but you can find an alternative route. That route may well be up a mountain or down a slippery slope, but it’s workable and it’s a choice you are free to make. You can even get off a motorway if you wait for the next slip road.
Many years ago my husband at the age of nearly 40 was reaching his ‘break point’ in the Royal Navy where he had been an aircrewman on Seaking Helicopters for 20 years. There used to be an option to offer people an additional ten year contract, but this was stopped due to the job he had been doing being taken over by the Royal Marines, and he was faced with a choice. Stay and hope that he may be offered an extension or accept an offer of a job within the RAF for the next 10 years. This wasn’t an easy switch over; it meant leaving the Royal Navy, a service he had joined as a young man straight out of school, and one he loved. It also meant joining what he had always regarded as ‘the enemy’, with all the upheaval that entailed, and later on a move to work in Northern Ireland for a few years. This was workable, but a big choice to make. We made the decision together. He moved over and had the immense pleasure of working on the old, soon to be retired, Wessex helicopters in Ireland, something he had always wanted to do. Afterwards, he was offered a much sought after instructional role in a brand new Squadron flying the new Merlin helicopter at RAF Benson.
There were good things and bad things about the move. Most were subjective depending on the way you looked at it and it would be inappropriate to list all the pros and cons here, but suffice to say, there were may times when I heard him say ‘I should never have joined the RAF’…..Many many times.
Since my evolution in the more esoteric ways of the universe and my understanding of how there is no such thing as right or wrong, I was able to ‘check’ him when he said ‘I should never have done that’… I was able to say, ‘But you did. We made the choice together and at the time it was the right thing to do. If it no longer serves you, change it, but don’t beat yourself up about it.’
Present Moment Awareness.
By focusing on what is happening in the present moment, and developing kind, non- judgemental attitudes to ourselves, we can learn to develop a different relationship with what upsets the balance and causes dis-harmony within the body and mind. We can become deeply attuned to our breath and our bodies, learning to be aware of thoughts and emotions. The key here is to become aware and not overwhelmed by them. We can become better able to manage these limiting thoughts and emotions and we can discover new ways of responding intelligently to difficulties, rather than reacting in old, often unhelpful, automatic patterns.
`The approach of ‘Mindfulness’ was developed by Jon Kabat-Zinn in the late 1970’s. It draws from ancient eastern philosophies, but back in those days it was seen quite secular in its approach The more modern way of teaching ‘Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction’ (MBSR) has been designed to suit the more modern world.
Mindfulness has recently become a real buzz word, and I hope people won’t think it is a phase or a ‘trend’. It is the most perfect way to keep our bodies and minds healthy without having to spend hours on end gazing at our navels! Research, over three decades, supports this relatively new approach of enabling people to cope more effectively with their every day stress and anxiety, helping to increase feelings of wellbeing while decreasing the impact modern day living has on your health. It helps decrease pain, increases immunity, and lowers blood pressure, with conditions such as IBS, fibromyalgia, Chronic Fatigue being helped considerably. Recovery from operations, illness and cancer therapies can all be speeded up with Mindfulness………
Becoming mindful offers you a way of staying PRESENT, giving you another place in which to view things. You can begin to live life from another perspective. A more colourful, less fragmented, more complete place in which to deal with any stress life deals to you. Mindfulness gives you a sense of peace. Your life is full of experiences, and it is how you deal with what life gives you that really matters. Becoming more mindful makes us more AWARE of our thoughts and helps free us of habitual methods of REACTING. Mindfulness helps us RESPOND with more skill. Using our BREATH we can FOCUS. We can notice our feelings. Notice how situations make us feel, rather than over thinking them. As I say to many of my students, I can’t take away all the rubbish stuff in your life, but I can help you realise how to deal with it without getting so stressed!
When your day starts to go pear shaped, the trick is to take a moment, and breathe. Notice how your body is feeling, notice your breath quickening, your shoulders hunching, your face starting to frown or your jaw beginning to clench. STOP. Take a breath. In fact make it at least three slow controlled counted breaths. This will enable you to focus only on that. Then notice, how do you feel? How does the situation make your body feel? How is this situation making you feel and REACT? Now change your reaction…. to RESPOND.
Sit in the present moment and Choose. How would you like to RESPOND?
Embrace the Fear
Most of your fears never come true. Whatever little scenarios you have mapped out in your mind about the ‘what ifs’, are a complete waste of time and most importantly a waste of energy. But without fear, we would not be human. As spiritual beings in a human body we are meant to be experiencing things. I was accused; many years ago of having an unhealthy need to be happy all the time. I thought this rather odd and actually took great offence when it was said to me. I was disappointed that maybe I had got it all wrong and maybe I was meant to be sad. Then I realised, we are not meant to be one way or the other. We just are.
Everything is exactly as it is meant to be. Emotions are part of being human and these emotions shape our lives and personalities. Some people will always be born worriers; others will always have the luck fairy following them around, while some will be living in poverty and others with have ill health. This is as it is. I have seen many clients in my career who, I wished I could change. I wished they could see the bigger picture and switch their thoughts or take that plunge. It used to frustrate me so much until I had a light bulb moment and realised that if we were all the same and ‘got it’, the world would be quite a boring place, with us all being on exactly the same path. The delightful part of being human is that we are all different.
………My love for yoga was disappearing. Then, I had a light bulb moment. Well a few little ones put together actually!
I had missed some workshops during the winter, and my Yoga Mojo took a while to return. After a day with Ann-See, enabling me to reconnect with the essence of my practice and not be frustrated that I had an injury, I found my love of yoga again. I had got caught up in the drama of why I was injured and what pose had done this to me, that I had become disillusioned by all yoga. I needed to take a step back and get down to basics. To be kind to myself and focus on the needs of my body and not what I used to be doing. I needed to be in the moment. And I realised that even the tutor had back issues and indeed many other people in the class had some kind of specific ailment and stiffness. Yoga will move with you. If you are injured, sad, happy, energetic, or just needing some TLC, yoga can do so much. Just listen, breathe, and notice.It’s not all about the shape of the pose. It’s about how you feel in the pose.
Every body is different.
Every time you approach your mat you will feel different and your practice with reflect this.
Every teacher is different.
Yoga is an old practice. According to Wikipedia yoga is the physical, mental and spiritual practices or disciplines, which aim at transforming body and mind. The term denotes a variety of schools practices and goals in Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism, the best known being Hatha Yoga. The origins date back hundreds of years and Hatha yoga emerged at the turn of the first millennium. Gurus from India introduced yoga to the western world and in the late 19th Century yoga became more of a physical exercise throughout the West. Since the 1980s there have been many ‘new’ types of yoga emerging to fit in to our lifestyles, but all have their roots within Hatha Yoga. If you are a newcomer, try a Hatha based class first so you can become familiar with the postures.
When someone says to you ‘Oh, I do Yoga’ remember they may not ‘do’ yours. When someone ‘gets’ yoga they will have found their breath and understood the essence behind the moves. There is no need to learn the Sanskrit names or to wear the latest trendy clothing. Just be mindful on your mat. Be present to how your body feels and use your breath. Remember chapter 4? Everyone will have a different natural breath length. Find yours, and use it. Use your mindfulness skill and be aware.
Where’s the Juice?
I am not a nutritionist. I did not go to university and study nutrition, but back in the day it was a big part of my Beauty Therapy training and thankfully when I was at school Food and Nutrition was an ‘O’ Level subject. I was fascinated with how different foods affected the body and what foods went well with others in the cooking process. I was always been interested in preparing balanced meals and I like to think I am a good cook. In fact, teachers had no interest in helping me pursue my career as a Beauty Therapist. They wanted me to go in to catering. I defied them and took my own pathway, and now to some extent I can combine the two together.
As we have evolved over the past 30 years different diets have come and gone. There was the cabbage soup diet, pineapple diet, Beverly Hills Diet. My mother used Weight Watchers and then in the mid eighties Slimming World was born. We have had Low Carb, Low Fat, Fat Free, The Atkins Diet, and Cambridge, 5:2 ….on and on…. diet, diet, diet. Everyone is so wound up with choosing their diet to lose weight that they often fail to see that if health came before weight loss; their weight wouldn’t be so much of an issue.
In my view education in basic nutrition is lacking, with most teenagers these days thinking that cooking is piercing film tops on plastic tray’ and throwing them in the microwave. Getting the population to understand what they are actually eating is quite difficult, as we have evolved in to grabbing a sandwich and a diet drink on the run. We have become people who want things faster and easier. I remember as a child when Pot Noodles were created, and it was so exciting! Instant noodles by just adding boiling water. This was amazing! We had no idea exactly what we were eating. No interest in the chemicals and the lack of actual nutrition. The instant food industry was growing fast! Microwaves were no longer an elite kitchen appliance. Every kitchen soon had one, and instant fast ‘cooking’ became the norm.
As students in the 1980’s we didn’t have much money and our diets could have been a lot better than they were despite taking nutrition as part of the course. As a student you rarely practiced what you learnt, because you couldn’t. Those faddy diets were of great interest to Beauty Therapy students. We too wanted to be thin. Tablets, shakes, and all from a bottle or a sachet.
My mother and stepfather had a dairy farm, which meant at weekends when I was home from college I drank the most glorious unpasteurised milk skimmed directly from the top of the tank. My mother bought nice food for me to eat, which included lovely cheeses. Unknown to me, I developed an intolerance to dairy. I had eczema and a sluggish digestion. I developed a congested complexion despite using a professional brand of products.
In those days you used to treat the skin by using topical preparations, and back in the 80s there were a lot less skin care ranges than there are now. Organic brands were relatively unheard of and Clarins was the widest used salon brand. Clinique was what most non-salon visiting women would opt for if they had a skin problem as it was available in department stores being sold by white coated, medical looking consultants. For a consumer there wasn’t really much to choose from.
My first ever salon was very quiet, and I spent a lot of time running myself ragged trying to work after hours by treating friends and nursing home residents to make enough money to put fuel in the car to get to work the next day. It wasn’t easy and I became quite run down. If this had happened now, I would have a completely different outlook and there would be more available to me to get me through the stress on my body and my mind. Mindfulness, yoga, and most importantly nutrition! Well, to be honest, this wouldn’t have a chance to happen to me now. I have more knowledge and I have evolved into being more food savvy.
The most important liver cleansing detox is JUICING. And if I had all the knowledge and information I have now back then, I would have been a lot healthier, but then I wouldn’t have such a story to tell.