Tag: healing

Ditch the blanket fort for some sunshine

Ditch the blanket fort for some sunshine

I love the sheer power of nature. Even in the most serene of settings, nature never fails to have a profound impact on me. To be honest, several hours before I wrote this post I felt awful. I felt that the only solution would be:

  1. glass bottle of Merlot
  2. Ferrero Rocher and Lindt chocolate
  3. a blanket fort.

But then I stepped outside and felt the warmth of the sun. A few hours later I realised that I had indeed needed three things to transform my mood. I had just thought of the wrong list. What really worked in the end was:

  1. a cup of green tea
  2. Autumn sunshine
  3. my hammock

This just reinforced my thoughts about nature that I’d had during a road trip… A few months ago whilst travelling through South Africa I had the opportunity to stay in many little towns along the way. There was one area, just outside one of these towns, that I found to be particularly magical. We stayed in a cottage luxurious unit in the middle of an ancient milkwood forest. We were surrounded by unspoilt fynbos as far as the eye could see. And where there wasn’t fynbos there were mesmerizing views of the sea and an incredibly beautiful bay. I felt truly immersed in nature. (No snide comments about the luxury accommodation, please.) In an incredibly short space of time we were able to completely relax and unwind. I really felt as though I was able to re-balance my body, mind and soul. It enabled me to be mindful, with remarkable results. Words simply cannot describe how my sense of wellbeing was completely transformed in this idyllic place. Whenever I enjoy spending time outdoors, I always have the same thought: we should do this more often. There really is a tangible healing power in nature. There’s some irony here too, because we wouldn’t need the curative powers of nature if our modern lifestyles didn’t take us away from nature in the first place. So we need nature to be a healing balm for the modern lifestyle, because this lifestyle prevents us from spending sufficient time in nature in the first place. Time for a change, methinks. What have been your healing and relaxing experiences in nature?

Will you please quit pouring that green goop over yourself?!

Will you please quit pouring that green goop over yourself?!

In my last post I confessed to starting to go organic and natural. It’s not an obsession by any means. Promise. It’s just about trying to eliminate physical toxins such as harsh chemicals from our home. Despite what my Pinterest boards might seem to be proclaiming, I am not trying to be a domestic goddess.

It’s really made me start to think about toxicity in general. And not just slimy green goop that’s stored in dubious barrels.

eliminating toxicity

 

You might remember that I also wrote a post on emotional toxicity. Basically what I was trying to say is that being negative towards others, being unduly critical of others, gossiping, etc all just adds to the negativity in your own life. Plus, you pass that toxicity onto others. And nobody needs green goop of any shape or form in their life.

But there’s something else to consider. In some weird slimy version of the vaguely recent ice bucket challenge, many of us seem to pour toxic goop all over ourselves. And it is also a viral sensation.

Sure, by being negative about others we are encouraging negativity in our own lives. But all too often we assume unnecessary blame, feel inappropriate guilt, wallow in self doubt, and subject ourselves to undue self-criticism. Do you pour this green toxic gunk over yourself?

You are who you are.

And who you are is enough. 

I think that it’s time to take a more zen-like approach to life. Accept life for what it is. Accept others for who they are. Accept yourself for who you are.

I’m not trying to suggest that we should never try to improve. What I do think, however, it that constantly focusing on the future and trying to improve encourages us to be negative and critical about our present circumstances. It also prevents us from being mindful of the present and accepting ourselves with loving kindness and compassion.

Let’s face it: we all need a little love, kindness and compassion in our lives. Let it start as an inner personal phenomenon because your internal world ultimately determines your external reality.

I’d love to know your thoughts about eliminating the toxicity from your life?

It’s time to ‘fess up

It’s time to ‘fess up

I have a confession. I’m becoming one of those people. The people who make you sigh, grimace, and roll your eyes. I’ve been sucked into the world of leading an organic and natural lifestyle. If you know what ACV is without referring to Google, then you’re one of us. And there’s no way out!

Coconut oil is a fad that might actually be worth all the fuss…

Just to be clear: this does not mean that I’m becoming some sort of woo-woo hippie who doesn’t adhere to modern hygiene. I shower daily and wash my hair regularly (more on ‘no poo’ later).

It all started innocently enough. Well, as innocent as it can be with Pinterest. As far as I can tell, only women suffer from this addiction.

Pinterest addiction

Beware: I have heard that men can adopt the tough love delete-your-app approach. But I think this only applies if you have a DIY Project board. Something about the words ‘but it shows you how on Pinterest – it’s so quick and easy’ is akin to an evil curse.

In our household the wording is more along the lines of ‘but I found it on Pinterest and it’s natural and doesn’t have chemicals’

This latest compulsive sage started when I happened across a few posts about natural alternatives to chemical detergents. I thought it was worth trying out. They sucked me in! It was the gateway drug of all things natural and organic. I read a few articles about the ingredients in ‘conventional’ detergents and toiletries and then there was no going back. (What’s worse, I’m not only guilty of addiction, I’m also guilty of dealing – leading to others’ Pinterest addictions.)

And then it snowballed: from detergents, to all sorts of products. In this way, Pinterest has an unfair advantage over those of us with a compulsive streak. Pinterest led me to Thank Your Body. Google led me to Faithful to Nature – and they courier the stuff to you. It’s all too easy and available. One kitchen cupboard is now dedicated to my stash.

Not that I’m a die-hard organic-or-nothing gal. I mean seriously, could they not have come up with a better term for ‘no poo’? It sounds like a constipated toddler rather than an alternative to chemical shampoo. Terms aside, I still believe in the aim of all things natural.

My aim from the beginning has been to eliminate as many chemical toxins from our home as possible. And I feel good about that. But it got me thinking about the broader meaning of toxicity. Make sure you read my next post about emotional toxicity and how it’s everywhere and needs to be eradicated (just like those carcinogenic germs)…

I’d love to hear from you. What’s your take on going the organic and natural route?

Overcoming Depression: Confessions of a Sloth

overcoming depressioDespite a sense of overwhelming optimism at the start of 2015, so far this year has not gone as planned. I’m not surprised that life doesn’t always go as planned. I’m not surprised that life has its ups and downs. What does surprise me, however, is realising that I’m not terribly bothered by this. Perhaps it’s a sign that I’m making progress in overcoming depression. That would be quite ironic, given how this year has gone.

So far, I have not managed to do what I know I should be doing on a regular basis. So far, I have not done the following:

  • follow a health eating plan
  • exercise regularly
  • practise mindfulness
  • pursue hobbies
  • engage in creative activities

overcoming depressionThat list is a pretty basic outline of what you need to do if you are intent on overcoming depression. But life is just not that straightforward. I have a long-held belief that one of the most debilitating effects of depression is that it fosters an inclination to do exactly what you should not be doing. It takes every ounce of willpower, and then some, to vaguely muster up the energy and determination to make a salad, go to gym, etc. It feels like every cell in your being is screaming for you to climb back under the covers – with a slab of chocolate.

So how do you climb out of bed and find your way to gym?

Overcoming depression is not a war: a war has an end.

Dealing with a chronic physical illness is an ongoing battle. Fortunately, the fight does get easier and a little less intense every time you launch an attack. And just how do you launch a successful attack?

  • Make the decision. I believe that you need to firmly and consciously make a decision to fight this illness. You need to focus your energy on doing whatever it is you need to go to rediscover your true self.
  • Get support. You need someone in your life who understands what you’re going through and can give you the type and degree of motivation you need to get going.
  • Be flexible. Sometimes a routine can help to get you going, but too much rigidity can induce anxiety that will see you under the covers again.
  • Don’t wait for Monday. As soon as you make that decision, start immediately. Don’t procrastinate even more.

If I make it sound easy, I don’t mean to. I was tired just walking up the stairs at gym to get to the treadmill. After fifteen minutes I had a headache and a blister from my running shoes. I made the decision to pull up my socks – literally – and keep going. There have been some lapses… A fondness for baking is not a great hobby if you’re trying to follow healthy diet, and yet I found myself in the kitchen baking some of my favourite goodies. But the point it, I’ve made a start and I’m trying. More importantly, I’m not beating myself up about the fact that I haven’t been doing what I ought to.

overcoming depressionIt’s taken me a long time, but I’ve finally learnt to simply accept that life happens. Overcoming depression means accepting that this illness has its highs and lows, and knowing that all that you can do is your best. And that’s what I’m going to do: try my best to look after my physical, emotional and mental well-being.

The Beauty of Change Lies Within You

I think that all too often we underestimate ourselves. We underestimate our ability to heal, to bounce back, to create, to transform. We spend too much time listening to and learning dis-empowering messages, and far too little time (if any) listening to our own inner worlds and realising what we, paradoxically, can teach ourselves.

This is from me to you…

You have the potential to discover and realise the life you want and deserve. Within you lies the answer to transforming your life. You have the innate ability to change – it’s just a matter of tapping into this potential within you and unleashing your own power. There is true beauty in who you are. It’s time to embrace that and all that it means for your reality. 

You Have More Strength Than You Realise

People are incredibly resilient. It’s amazing how, when you are faced with challenging circumstances, you can draw on reserves of inner strength that you never knew you had.

Even when you are faced with something that pushes you to your limits of emotional tolerance, you will somehow find the strength to endure it. There will be times when you feel that you cannot go on, that you cannot endure more, that you cannot possible shoulder what life is throwing at you, but you will go on, you will endure, and you will survive everything.

It is only when life threatens to destroy the sense of balance and safety in your life that you will realise just how strong you are. And you are strong. You are resilient. You will get through it, and emerge a stronger and more confident person as a result of the process.

The 4 Keys to Learning from Failure

All of us face failure at different points in our lives. Sometimes it takes the form of a small failing, something that is easily dismissed and disregarded as part and parcel of life. But sometimes it’s not so easy to dismiss from our consciousness. Sometimes failure can be overwhelming, debilitating even. However, no matter the scale of the failure, or how it is perceived, every such instance can be regarded as an opportunity for learning, for growth, for self-development.

  1. Accept failure as an inevitable, even necessary, part of life

When dealing with many things in life, acceptance is oft cited at the first stage in a constructive process of dealing with difficulty. And responding to failure is no exception. There can be no growth if at first there is no acceptance. Accepting that we have failed at something can be difficult, and that’s understandable. Failure can challenge our notions of who we are, where our strengths lie, what our life roles are, and other psychological constructs that are central to our psyche.

Often people make the mistake of confusing acceptance with tolerance. We have to see the critical differences between these two concepts. Tolerance is the equivalent of ‘putting up’ with something. It doesn’t necessarily mean that there is an absence of resistance, distaste, prejudice or even something as powerful as hate. Acceptance, on the other hand, involves embracing an experience for all that it is, without any lingering feelings of resentment. We need to accept failure unconditionally as an integral part of our lives, and something that can be harnessed as an agent of positive change.

      2. Develop an objective perspective

The feeling of failure is an intensely personal one. It attacks our thoughts, feelings and conceptions of ourselves. It can be a destructive force that penetrates to the core of our psychological being. It can cast a shadow not only over our present, but over our perceptions of the future as well. It can colour everything in our lives and be the sole lens through which we see ourselves and everything around us. Because the feeling of failure is so potentially harmful and overwhelming, we need to gain a more objective perspective. Clarity is essential.

One of the best ways to gain clarity and perspective is to speak to someone you trust. Whether it’s a friend, relative or health professional, an outsider’s perspective can help us see our failure from a more objective viewpoint. Because failure is such an intensely personal experience, our immediate heightened emotions more often than not warp our sense of perspective. It’s not unusual for our immediate reaction to be coloured by an exaggerated sense of failure. You need to see your failure and its repercussions clearly, without the distorting lens of intense negative emotions. This is not to say that we should negate our failure and replace feelings of failure with those of denial. Rather, it is important that we gain a realistic sense of our failure, its causes and its repercussions.

      3. Analyse the failure to see what it reveals

In order to learn from our failures, we need to understand their anatomy. This can be a difficult and painful process because it requires us to face our failures head-on without the protective shields of doubt and ignorance. But it is a necessary process, and one that will enable us to reap rewards that are surprisingly fulfilling.

We need to understand what caused our failure. Here again, objectivity is important. Too often we fall all too easily into the trap of attributing failure to ourselves as inadequate human beings. We all possess faults, and these faults can lead to failure. But that does not mean that we ourselves are failures. We need to separate our failures from who we are as individuals. Once we have accomplished this, we can then start the process of analysis.

Our personal common culprits of failure are usually known all too well by us, if we are truly honest with ourselves. We know if we are selfish, if we jump to conclusions, if we don’t look before we leap. It doesn’t really matter exactly what the cause of our failure is; what matters is that we identify it accurately. It is only through this process of identification that we can then learn and grow from failure.

      4. Adapt you attitude, behaviour and habitual responses accordingly

It has been proven time and time again that behavioural change is unlikely, and probably impossible, without prior attitudinal change. Therefore, once we have identified the root cause of our failure, we need to genuinely want to adapt our lives accordingly. We have to have the attitude that whilst failures are inevitable, we can choose to learn and grow from them. It is then up to us to effect the necessary changes in our lives to alter whatever it was that caused the failure in the first place. This is not as straight-forward as it sounds. It requires effort, motivation, and determination. It won’t be easy, and it won’t come right the first time. But with the right degree of resolve, we can change. We can improve ourselves. We can develop as people. And that’s what life is about.

Failure comes into our lives to teach us lessons, to grab our attention and focus it. Without failure, we would be less likely to address our shortcomings and develop as people to enrich our lives and the lives of those around us. In this way, failure can be seen as blessing. However, it is only a blessing if we respond in a constructive manner when things don’t go as planned. If we do nothing about it, failure is failure. If we accept it and what it can teach us, failure is yet another step along the path to self-development and true happiness.