Try to be like the turtle – at ease in your own shell – Bill Copeland

Currently I am a third of my way through Yoga Teacher Training.  Yup, I said it, have now come clean, and regardless of the outcome of all this – I have found my happy place.  Well, I think I have at least, because pessimists such as myself are terrified of feeling good, secure and certain about much at all.

It can be quite remarkable to have been searching for much of your adult life for something that truly felt good and the right thing for you to do, (and that you could turn into an income – however modest) to find you’ve actually been participating in it for over 30 years.

I have known for a lot of years that helping people navigate their way through ‘stuff’ is something I have always wanted to do.  Psychology studies, Lifeline Counselling, volunteering, all these were leading towards … Yoga teaching?  Possibly a long bow to draw but one that for me now makes complete sense.  When I was undertaking my Lifeline training over 20 years ago – someone asked me “but why would you want to do that?”.  My answer was then and still is, “Because everyone deserves to have someone really listen to them”.  Simple.  This one thing had been missing from my life for a long, long time, and sometimes the path to health and wellness begins with someone just listening to you – not fixing – just listening.  And caring.  My mat and my practice gave me the confidence to know that I’m more resilient than I think I am … and I can do this thing called Yoga, even if I’m not as ‘good’ at it as some.  Thinking of the earlier covers of Yoga Journal here.

It was in my 20’s that I started going to Yoga classes.  They were part of my local high school’s night classes program.   Over the years I studied Italian language, Italian Cooking, Art, Creative Writing etc., etc.  And the one thing I continued when I moved to Oz?  Yoga.  Why?  Because for me it works.  I have always felt better physically and mentally when I step off the mat, then when I step on it – and the practice in between those two steps is medicine.  I also started looking into the why’s and wherefores of the whole Yoga experience – not just the asana’s which are a small part of Yoga – but the holistic, spiritual, experiential side of Yoga.  But I never, ever believed I could be in a position where I might be able to share some of that with other people.

And I am grateful.  So grateful to have the opportunity to learn with people who live and breathe Yoga.  I am very aware how little I know about it.  I am also very aware this is going to be a lifelong learning opportunity and one too that I will never truly master (hopefully I have a long life – I’m getting up there in the numbers now).  But if I become adept enough to share what I do learn, and more importantly through that encourage others to start their own journey into the wholeness of Yoga – then I’m good.


When Intention goes out the window

At the end of 2018 I was embarking, so I thought, on a new direction.  I had been out of work (voluntarily) for a few months and was beginning a new phase of my life.  I had decided to retrain as a Life Coach (see first blog) and was embarking on this in a positive and enthusastic way.

I had reconnected with someone who had done the training and was working as a Life Coach herself, until life got in the way.  She now works full time – corporate training within an organisation – mindfulness and life coaching related courses.  When I say life got in the way I mean – making a living and being able to manage those responsibilities with what you feel is your right path.  Sometimes the two just don’t gel.  Or not immediately.  And so life gets in the way.

But it doesn’t need to completely.  What I’ve found is that, for me personally, I get distracted very easily.  I have ‘things’ that need to happen in the course of my day and as a result I don’t allocate my time effectively.    I’ve boldened that wee line because that is the issue – I just don’t allocate my time effectively.

We’ve all read books and articles, listened to podcasts, etc., etc.  Reminding us that there’s 24 hours in a day and what we do with those is our choice.  Well, choice is a bit bold because quite frankly I know women (& men) who have most of their time allocated to just getting through the day.   And any free time they have is taken up with even more external duties eg: spending time with our kids, walking/feeding the pets, trying to juggle the mental list we’ve created for the ‘downtime’ after work AND just getting s**t done.  And then when we finally collapse either on the sofa or in bed – we are mentally and physically spent.

So what happened to that extra hour or two to do what we wanted?  Exercise, meditate, study for our future career?  Well we allowed it to be eaten up by things that maybe just maybe we can delegate, or just stop worrying about.

Some people, bless their cotton socks, are able to do just that.  Delegate some of the things we overburden ourselves with, say NO to the kids constant demands for time and attention, and just shut ourselves away to nurture ourselves both mentally and physically.  So why do so many of us feel guilty doing that?  I think it’s because we are raised to feel that unless we are ‘doing for the rest’ all the time we are therefore selfish and self absorbed.  Granted there are a few of them around and I’m sure we can name some, however, it is proven in numerous academic studies that unless we nurture and care for ourselves, then we ain’t gonna truly be any good for anyone else.

So little steps folks.  How about you revisit what makes you happy?  Do you even know what really makes you happy?  or if not happy – a bit contented?  Something that takes you out of yourself and into a plane of contentment and relaxation – even if there is madness around you – the ONE thing that can allow you to distance yourself from that.

Physical exercise?  We all need it and it’s proven that we now can get our physical exercise in smaller doses – it need not take an hour and a half.  We can exercise in blocks of 10 minutes a few times a day and that goes a long way to improving our health.

Sleep? One of the most important things we can do for ourselves is dedicate time to sleep.  We should as adults get an absolute minimum of 7 hours a night.  So, if you need to be up at 6am – then off to bedfordshire by 10 or 11pm … that allows for the downloading of busyness from our brains so we can start to relax.

Reading? Well if you need to read a few pages before bed – try and make it something light – not something horrifically violent or disturbing, and definitely not the report you need to finish before you head to work the next day.  Light, refreshing and easeful.  That will not leave you thinking about it long after you should be falling into a restful snooze.

Try a few things to make the bedroom, the relaxing room, and ease on in to a good nights sleep.






To Finish … Begin

“I don’t see how he can ever finish, if he doesn’t begin”                                                                     The Mock Turtles Story from Alice in Wonderland

Beginnings are always fraught – with questions, anxieties, doubts, and fear.  For me that’s how they’ve always been, but what if we approached beginnings from a slightly different angle?

Some years ago I trained as a Lifeline Counsellor, and years later again started studying Psychology at university (as a mature student).  This was all done with the idea I had that 1) everyone should have someone to talk to, and 2) what really makes us think and behave the way we do? 

Lifeline taught me to listen, and encourage others to open up.  Studying Psych taught me that there is a lot to learn about #2 and it would become a lifelong journey to find an answer.

A few months back I quit my job, with the support of my partner, and asked myself what next.  I mulled this over, but not for too long, and decided to retrain as a Life Coach.  So what qualified me to think I could even do that?  Well, over the years I have always been the ‘go to’ person when colleagues and friends have had questions, doubts, wanted to ‘chew the fat’ or ‘spitball’ any worries or concerns.  That either makes me a good listener, or the office gossip.  I’ll go with the former, as I also learnt that discretion is the better part of valour and the sanctity of the confessional (my office or cafe stop) is never broken.  Which, on that hamster wheel of life, means people kept returning to my office and new people came in regularly.

A lot of what I heard revolved around people not achieving their full potential, or not reaching the goals they thought they had set themselves.  Personal relationship issues came into it as well, but mostly these chats revolved around people feeling ‘stuck’ and unable to move forward.  When I say people weren’t achieving goals they ‘thought they had set themselves’ I come back again to that stuck feeling, that, I’M GOING TO DO THIS … and then it never quite happens.  That; I am going to get fitter, healthier, become a better me, slow down, speed up, GET STUFF DONE mantra we have but many of us can’t deliver on.

There starts the Life Coach training – another arrow to put in the quiver in order to truly be able to help guide someone on their own journey.  Not provide answers, not tell you what you’re doing to slow your progress or self sabotage, you probably know a lot of that already – but to be the one that enables you to move forward, confidently.

So how to deliver on your own mantra?  How to better define and agree what that mantra or goal even is?  That’s where I hope I or someone like me steps in.  A coach can help you to; define your goals, work out your strategy to suit your own needs, and hold the mirror up so you can fully realise your potential and ability to make change happen. 

This is a journey for me as well, as I find my way, set and achieve my goals, stumble, get up, start over and hopefully provide some inspiration for you along the way. 

Via ElementalU I want to look at the whole person; holistically, realistically, totally – all the elements that make you, you.  

I’ll be blogging regularly and will share links, readings, books, and inspirational people and organisations I come into contact with that will help you and me get our stuff done.

In the meantime check out … just do it … she’s inspiring and had her own share of ups and downs…