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This is a space for musings and insights inspired by my practice and designed to help Mums on their own healing journey.

 

 

I'm 100% committed to my own growth and would love to help with yours, too.

 

By Sonya Whaley, Apr 10 2016 09:40AM

It's so easy. We find the best way to do something and then stick to it like frost on a windscreen.


But what if this succession of best practices is unwittingly keeping us stuck?


What if it is our undoing?



Discovery


My daughter's favourite bedtime book is called Mix It Up. It's all about blending paint to make exciting new colour combinations.


Young kids' lives are a continuum of newness and discovery. We grown ups have to work a bit harder at it.


But if you want to create lasting change, establishing fertile ground is hugely helpful.



Quick Tricks For Busy People


Hands up if you'd like to quit your job, take a year out and sail around the world?! Probably a fair few of you. But we don't have to make a change at the macro level. Micro changes make a difference and are much easier to commit to and action.



Here are 5 ideas to mix it up and feel different in your day-to-day:



1. Wear Something Outlandish


Outlandish for you, that is. I was once obliged to wear a suit every day for work and will now only wear one at gun point. In the spirit of mixing it up, I wore one for fun recently and noticed all day how different I felt. I walked differently, sat differently, imagined other people regarded me differently.


If you usually wear navy, try out pillar box red. If you always wear trousers, try sporting a dress. You get the picture. Notice feeling different.



2. Brush Your Teeth With Your Other Hand


This was recommended to me in a workshop with FasterEFT expert Deirdre Maguire. Give it a go for a month. This feels really strange and sends a signal to the brain that you are open to change.


When brushing with your opposite hand starts to feel normal, try using your non-dominant hand to control your mouse. Your work rate will plummet but your subconscious will realise there is more than one way to skin a cat.*



3. Use Your Lunchbreak


Get on Google Maps and draw a 2.5 mile radius around your work place then pinpoint any landmarks and interesting features. Make a plan to visit them. 2.5 miles is about as far as you can jump on a bus and walk back in an hour.


This is as much about noticing the buildings and streets on the walk back as experiencing the landmarks themselves.



4. Rebuild Bridges


We get so nostalgic on New Year's Eve singing Auld Lang Syne about our past acquaintances fading into obscurity. Let's learn from it and keep alive our network and friendships.


Go through the address book on your phone and send a text to or call someone you have not had contact with in a while. It can also help get a fresh perspective to talk to someone outside our inner circle from time to time.



5. Walk your journey home from work


We are sometimes so eager to sprint out the door and get home, it can be easy to forget that there is a world out there. One evening, when you finish up, walk or run or cycle home instead. Take the time to observe your surroundings. They say the devil is in the detail but so is the beauty.


Alternatively, stay on the train all the way to the end of the line and make yor way home from there. Turn your journey on its head. You will be amazed at the change in perspective.



Possibilities


Use these tricks to break your routine and get outside your normal headspace. There are any number of variations and possibilities.


If you want changes to stick, make sure you create an environment that welcomes change.




▪ I am not really advocating skinning a cat. My 7 year old tabby insisted I include this disclaimer.

By Sonya Whaley, Mar 13 2016 08:00AM

Remember going to the Careers Advisor at school? Waiting your turn and then trotting along the corridor to meet with someone who felt lightyears older than you? Where they quizzed you on what you were good at and what you enjoyed, all keen to get you started on the right footing?


Their hearts were in the right place and those Careers Advisors had the right idea: doing what you enjoy is important. Yet so often it falls away.


When I was young and all through Uni, I wanted to be a writer. I even moved to North Devon and wrote bad poetry amongst the sand dunes for a few months.


I finished up at my hotel job each day by 2 o'clock and had the rest of the day to myself. I wrote, read, spent a lot of time walking and climbed a lot of hills.


It sounds better on paper than it actually was. I lived in a cottage on the edge of sublime and stretching Saunton Sands beach but it was so damp and spidery I was scared to turn the lights off at night and could never get warm. My Summer campsite friends had long since left and the locals I worked with at the hotel never really accepted me as a non-Devonian.


I soon realised I needed money to live and friends to be happy and moved on.



Reality bites


Fast forward fifteen years and I was working long days holed up in that charmless corner of London known as Paddington, consumed by a job I had fallen out of love with but swallowed up all my time and energy regardless. Call the Careers Advisor! Something had gone wrong.


If I had to pinpoint it, I'd say it was lack of evaluation. I was working hard but had lost sight of the point and most certainly the passion.


They say the opposite of happiness is not unhappiness, it's boredom. I'd agree with that. Happiness is progression. It's the feeling you're getting somewhere.



Beware of aimlessness


Those who take pleasure in slacking off and who seek out passive entertainment like TV and shopping for enjoyment are missing a trick. I never got to the end of Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance but I got the gist. There is joy in applying yourself to something you care about!


Which is why retirement turns out, for some, to be an anticlimax. That combination of endless free time and lack of purpose can cause the unprepared to come undone. Aimlessness is insidious and deceptively treacherous.


Of course, the opposite can be true and often is. A close relative of mine intuitively grasped this as she took up choir singing as a hobby upon retirement and took pleasure in learning a new skill.


Not only was she rewarded with a whole new band of friends, this culminated in an unexpected opportunity to sing and act alongside some top British talent in a cinema-release film. When you set foot on a path, you never know quite where it is going to take you.



Play the long game


The takeaway from all this? Do something! Do something you care about, immerse yourself and be in that moment.


Moreover, play the long game. Apply yourself, chart your progression and applaud your milestones. You will be merrier for it along the way.

By Sonya Whaley, Feb 28 2016 08:00AM

A fortnight ago we welcomed our new son into the world. As the drama of a birth fades into the background, as a family we take a brief hibernation from the world and working. The postman brings cards and gifts to our door daily. It is a happy time. We slow right down.


We begin to appreciate the little miracle hatchling with the slowness and wonder a new life deserves.


The wonder of his physicality. Of holding in your arms something so new that it is still tightly wrapped in a womb-like ball shape, like a curled up hedgehog.



First few days


For the first few days, he barely opened his eyes. When he did, it was just one eye at a time for the shyest peek. This cute habit quickly earned him the nickname 'Mr Mole'.


His eyes open wider now and are bolder, revealing a curiousity. Yet when he blinks it is in slow motion, bringing to mind the unborn baby in Massive Attack's Teardrop video with ethereal backdrop beats and lyrics:


Love, love is a verb

Love is a doing word.


The in utero state captured perfectly.



Unfolding


As he physically unfolds in his first few weeks, there is an awareness of the unfolding of a path stretched out before him. A new life waiting to be played out, with any number of variables.


If life is a rich tapestry, at this moment it is blank, outstretched and a huge opportunity for joy, variety, fulfilment.


There is hope, scope, possibility and it is exciting.


With new life comes new hope, for sure, and opportunity for us all to reflect on our own lives. Are you happy with the way your life is unfolding?


What can you do today to close down on your unhappiness islands and maximise your happy ones?

By Sonya Whaley, Feb 7 2016 08:00AM

It’s easy to confuse our emotions with our identity. About fifteen years ago, my friend and I took a weekend trip to Berlin. It was an early flight and we were desperate to bed down for a nap as soon as the hotel would let us check in. We were so tired that we resolved to have a nap before doing anything else. As we lay in our twin beds, my friend turned to me. “I’m homesick,” she said. I could hardly believe my ears. We were a mere two hour flight from home and had the Berlin Wall, Brandenburg Gate and Checkpoint Charlie Museum, a whole city of history and culture, waiting for us to explore. “I guess I’m just a homesick kind of person.”


It is easy to confuse our emotions with our identity and people do it all the time.


Language perpetuates this. In English, we say (unfortunately!), “I am angry.” We could almost capitalise the ‘A’ and suddenly we have ourselves a second name. French and German speakers are more illuminating and phrase it a little better by saying the equivalent of “I have anger”.



Flux


Yes! Emotions are something we have and, what’s more, they are in a permanent state of flux. Like the radio’s constant flow of songs, they are a mixed bag and move on their timeline from euphoria to reflective to downright sad and everything in between.


This is obvious in my three year old daughter, whose moods change as quickly as flicking on a light switch. Even with my knowledge of NLP state-changing techniques, I cannot switch in and out of emotions as easily as she does. To forget about her anger and glide effortlessy into mirth in the next moment, what a lesson she teaches!



A shy person?


For years I thought I was a shy person because I felt shy in large groups or when meeting people for the first time.


Since I had been like this for as long as I remembered, it felt true. There is an Instamatic-shaped photo of a fancy dress party in 70s hues, where I took my place in the periphery. A blond curly-haired kid in angel wings and a white fairy costume, head hung low, hiding her face from the camera.


I see that shyness now sometimes in my daughter, refusing to join in the carol singing at her Nativity play and eyes averted from the gaze of sentimental parents. I also see her bounding around the park, showing off and shouting with glee, “Look at me, look at me.”


It is easier to see the well-rounded picture as a fly on the wall, much harder when you are in your head and looking out of your own eyes.



Enormous freedom


To know that we are not our emotions gives us enormous freedom to be however we want to be in the moment. Remember that when you feel a negative emotion, you don’t have to keep it.


Just like my favourite lines in the movie Boogie Nights, the story of a young man who finally finds the essence of himself after years of being manipulated by the profit-seeking Californian pornography industry of the late 70s:


“You’re not the boss of me, I’m the king of me.

I’m the boss of me.”


Whenever you feel exasperated, envious, despondent or enraged, remember that it’s just your emotional reaction to something, an electrical storm that will pass.


You are more than that. You’re a composite being, comprising presence, thoughts, physicality, sensations – lots of things. And yes, you are sitting at the controls.

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