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Following the thread to fulfilment

In True Living, True Purpose, True Self, True Work on April 3, 2017

“Our deepest calling is to grow into our own authentic self-hood, whether or not it conforms to some image of who we ought to be. As we do so, we will not only find the joy that every human being seeks–we will also find our path of authentic service in the world.” Parker J Palmer

Life is a precious gift. Yet I, maybe you, forget it too often.

Sucked into the busyness, the pressures, roles and expectations bestowed upon us or chosen by us, we loose our thread, our sense of meaning, ourselves.

Yet all of us, however busy we are, press pause at points along the way. Maybe it’s a holiday, a journey or an illness, enforced or chosen, these times create space and help us to see and feel with a clarity we rarely experience.

In these moments we remember who we really are, what we believe deep inside and what really matters. We realise what needs to change and how much we crave it.

Sometimes all it takes is a moment, or a series of moments sprinkled over time, to change course and steer our life deliberately. To make that change and feel we’re living our life our way. To contribute in our own unique way to this world. And isn’t that true fulfilment?

I know, all too well it would seem, when I haven’t found the pause button often enough.

I feel myself drifting further and further away from being deliberate to being on auto-pilot. I feel totally set adrift from the thread I’ve been following and find myself filling my time with mindless activity to ease the emptiness.

What I’ve learnt, time and again, is that it doesn’t take much to reconnect with your thread, with yourself.

It doesn’t need to be a 10 day holiday or a year long training course.

What it takes is space and a dedication to you. Start with a cup of tea, a minute sat in the sun or a walk in the woods. Start.

Find yourself and your thread and follow it with all you’ve got.

“If something burns your soul with purpose and desire, it’s your purpose to be reduced to ashes by it. Any other form of existence will be yet another dull book in the library of life” Charles Bukowski

 

 

 

 

The Words of Freedom

In True Living, True Self on March 8, 2017

In honour of International Women’s Day I’m sharing a piece I wrote for a deliciously inspiring and totally free ebook launched today called Voices Rises. Collated by the wonderful Sas Petherick, with contributions from a diverse group of creatives from around the globe, Voices Rising aims to help women find their voices.

 

 

I don’t have a loud voice; well, not on the outside.

Throughout my childhood, I was told to “speak up”. Year after year, I would recoil as people pasted me with the label “quiet and shy”. On my wedding day I sat in dismay as my father-in-law’s speech revealed to our guests that even his first impressions of me had been just that – quiet and shy. It was as if the real me was completely invisible.

I felt misunderstood, often ashamed. Other people’s expectations of me were so loud. How could I be worth anything if I appeared so quiet?

The outside can be deceptive, though. It’s on the inside that you find what I call the real world.

This real world has for me, and maybe you, always been a rich and engaging world of curiosity, ideas, insights and dreams. It has always felt deeply important and a precious place to experience life and what really matters.

Yet, so much of what floats naturally around on the inside never sees the light of day, is never heard or valued by others who may desperately need it, and never takes its rightful place in the outside world.

Each one of us has pieces inside us with a role to play. Like a puzzle, each unique piece fits together to form a world we all want to inhabit, a world that thrives. Hidden inside us, each of us, are the answers that slot together to make positive change. More than ever, isn’t this what we need?

But what if your voice is quiet on the outside like mine was? Perhaps your words are different to everyone else’s or you fear they would be lost or unwanted if you let them out. Maybe you feel others have said it all already, and said it better? What if you feel there’s no point in letting your words find their way out in an increasingly loud and confusing world?

Every single one of those thoughts has drifted around my own mind. Yet all the while, my words resounded louder, clearer and stronger. Finally, they ate away at me from the inside with a deep hunger to be let loose.

Sometimes this hunger to voice my True Self in the world took the form of physical symptoms: I would have muscular tension in my neck and shoulders. I was flooded by the all-consuming emotions of frustration and anger. But there was always a latent feeling of dis-ease, of not being myself, not valuing myself or doing myself justice because I was vacating the words of my soul for the words of conformity and acceptance.

My words were imprisoned, and yet it was me who was their jailer. As the struggle to keep them incarcerated intensified, my body buckled under strain, finally collapsing with chronic fatigue. I had lost the battle to keep the words of my soul locked up. They were free at last.

In the depths of my exhaustion, before I could even rebuild what had crumbled, I was forced to let my words flow out, releasing my true self into the world, unconstrained, unsuppressed for the first time.

I unplugged myself and let the words gush out. I wrote page after page after page. Words flew out of me. My true self, my pure voice, filled the paper and fed my soul. My whole body benefitted; I got stronger physically and emotionally. Slowly, I re-built a life that sustained this flow every day.

Liberated from my self-imposed oppression, my voice grew in strength, courage and a desire to claim its place in the world. Not a big and loud place but a small and meaningful place that fits me just perfectly. That place is there for me, and only me, to claim. You have your own place to claim, too. Whether it takes the form of words, photos, creations, movement or another creative expression, we all need to see the expression of your soul, your true self. More importantly, you need to let yourself feel free.

Open the door, let you out. Let yourself out in your purest form. Leave the worries of what might happen aside, whilst you claim your birthright to express yourself in this world, human to human, contributing in your own precious way. Drop the pressure of needing to say the right thing, or the big thing, and just express your thing in your way.

There are days when I wonder whether life would be easier without my inner truths being outside in the world. It still feels risky and vulnerable to share openly and personally in a world that encourages us otherwise. On those days, I remember not only that I am brought alive by expressing my true self but also that by being myself I am helping others to be themselves. Because together, and only together, can we make the change that this world, our world, so desperately needs.

Whoever you are, wherever you have journeyed in your life and how imprisoned your voice has been, a deep sense of freedom and worthiness is yours for the taking and the worlds to receive. Quiet or loud, are you with me?

Spaciousness in the real world

In True Living, True Self on November 30, 2016

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My year has been guided by the word spaciousness.

I honestly knew it was what I wanted, but so much of me doubted it could really happen.

Life felt busy. My mind felt messy. My reality felt chaotic in the midst of a renovation and spaciousness felt one step too far removed from the here and now.

Yet, without a doubt, spaciousness was what I craved and the decisions I had made the year before enabled it to be delivered in a surprisingly generous way amidst the reality of life.

I have had room to think and observe as life has mesmorised me in its meandering trails. So much has come my way, very little of which I expected, and I’ve felt the space amongst it all to be an observer of my life rather than that way too common feeling, of being consumed by it.

Life has felt like it has been lived in slow motion rather than my historical gut wrenching fast forward. This slowing down has meant I’ve seen so much more of the precious things I used to miss and have gathered so many more of the clues that have lead me closer still to my true self.

I have had the chance to be more curious than ever before. To sit beneath the events of life and really get clear on how I feel about them. To use this grounding to not react or fix and get an appreciation for what truly reflects the real me and what reflects something I thought was the real me.

I have found the peace to hear my true voice and walk towards it, despite the contradictions and fears it has surfaced within me.

There has been air to savour. To really breathe deeply in a way that replenishes and allows the nervous system to settle.

There has been nature to marvel at and feel entwined with, to be mesmorised by and to draw inspiration and wisdom from.

There has been the opportunity to go deeper still, under the layers that I never knew existed, to get me closer and closer to my truest self.

It has been a year of staying with myself within the challenges, a way only made possible by being enveloped in spaciousness.

It has been a year of truly being me.

So much of this year has surprised me. So much has thrown my “plan” to the wayside. I’ve realized that everything that lead me to being here right now, has been needed to let me hear my deepest truths. Now is the time to really embrace these truths and break the last threads of conformity and striving that remain.

I have had to let go of a lot of what was not serving me, step by step by step moving away from what I thought I wanted and moving towards what the space has allowed me to realize I truly want.

I have been called to be more courageous than I ever thought possible and go to depths of myself that I never knew existed.

From a tangible perspective I’ve realized I want more connection locally and globally alongside my coaching and solo writing and creative pursuits. I’m an introvert but I’m sociable and fed by connection and collaboration.

I’ve realized how tough it can be running a business on your own in a rural area. I no longer want to do it alone and am looking at ways to work with others, whilst remaining true to myself. I want to step away from so much of the activity that goes with the online world and ground my true work in helpful reality.

I have fallen more and more in love with writing and know it will form a greater part of my future. I will no longer force it to look a certain way or put financial pressure upon it in the knowledge that there are pure words that need to pour out of me. I am ready to devote myself to them despite the compromises this will mean.

I have found a yet deeper level of love for my husband and son and a true sense of interdependence. Being a mother has not come easy to me and I am so much more accepting of how my kind of mothering looks. Blessed beyond words.

I have all at once fallen in love with this home and realized I can live without it. I know deeply that we are privileged to be the custodians of such an old soul and will always feel a sense of pride with bringing her back to life.

I now appreciate that I was searching for simplicity in the wrong places and I am committed to shifting my focus to find ways that bring simplicity in alignment with my true self.

I have accepted the imperfection of life, the compromises that come with it and the steps that need to be taken.

There will be changes in the year ahead. There will be courageous steps. There will be words sent from me to you and I hope, from you to me too.

But mostly there will be more and more and more of my true self and true work.

Your presence this year has been a wonderful blessing.

When you don’t know who you are

In True Living, True Self on November 9, 2016

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I vividly remember standing at the make-shift change table in the corner of our living room, dressing our baby boy whilst my husband asked me what I wanted to do with the time we’d carved out for me to be on my own.

One delicious day, all to myself.

This was a day we had fought to make possible. The first time I would be on my own since my son was born 4 months earlier. I knew I needed it, and my goodness did I yearn for it.

My first reaction, like most mothers, was to say sleep.

The next, which followed closely behind, was the realisation that I had no idea what I wanted to do.

Literally, none.

The enormity of this struck me and I felt a deep sadness. I didn’t know what made me happy. I didn’t know how to have fun. I didn’t know what I wanted.

And more than this, I didn’t know myself.

How the hell could I take care of myself, let alone a baby, if I didn’t know the first thing about me? How could I teach him anything about life, if I didn’t have a clue about it myself?

It was one of a number of soul shocking moments that made me realise how far I had drifted from myself. How far I had travelled from home.

How I had deserted the pure and simple girl who had lived mesmerised by the world around her, questioning everything, writing her deepest truths and in love with everyone and everything.

But this precious girl had been shown that life’s answers came from the world outside of her; teachers, priests, doctors, parents, newspapers, books, politicians, televisions. These were the sources of knowledge to be absorbed for a good life, not the deep whispers from a home within.

This precious girl was so deeply open and sensitive, she took it all in. She sucked up every last drop, finding a place for it within her slender frame. Everyone’s knowledge, fears, pain, advice and expectations. Everything.

She busied herself with what she heard, what she learnt, what she was told to do. She focused on doing the right thing, being the person that she was told to be. Successfully anesthetizing her true feelings with the busyness of the monumental task at hand.

The home within her became more and more cluttered, confused and overwhelmed. Her truths, hidden so deeply, even she could not find them.

Her deeply sensual body was aching, screaming to be listened to, but she was so overwhelmed, she had detached from it, no longer able to feel it.

She focused on coping, getting through each day until she could collapse in bed at night. She learnt to achieve, to drive through the loneliness, and find the way to make others happy.

Fast forward many years and this little girl became a mum, a role she had wanted for so long, the ultimate she thought in making someone happy.

Yet motherhood arrived and she could no longer think. Her whole life was about someone else.

Every second of the day given up to another.

There was no space, no air to breath for her and her alone, no sense of home, only living far, far away from anything that felt remotely like home.

But her holy home, deep within, continued to share its gentle and wise whispers, its kind words. They fell on deaf ears and, after years and years of the cold shoulder, they started to scream in the life stopping form of chronic fatigue.

Like a shot to the heart, she collapsed. I collapsed.

Mother of an 8 month old, owner of a business, on the other side of the world from family, totally and utterly helpless.

A husband who would do anything to make it right, and yet I had no idea what to tell him.

What I now know, many years later, is this was the most disguised gift I have ever received. The gift I never wanted, but am deeply grateful for every day.

This gift has been one of being forced to make space, to dive deep and clear the layers I had willingly accepted that didn’t belong to me.

To find what lay beneath, the precious girl that lay waiting, the home within. I found her creativity, her joy, her sensitivity, her wisdom, her words, her gifts, her deep purpose and lifelong friendship.

I gave her my friendship and let her, my true home, guide me to creating a new life. A life which involved epic change from moving with my son and husband from Australia to the UK. From bustling city to deep, lush countryside. From corporate career to a deep calling. From doing motherhood, to being me as a mother.

I came home to myself.

My life has been transformed into mine, no longer everyone else’s, but mine. I fiercely claim it every day. I listen to that home within me, nurture it, share it, know it’s my truth.

I have been given the calling to travel home to myself everyday and travel the journey home with others whose home is lost and buried, but always lying in wait for them to take up residence.
I am home.

 

Michelle offers coaching to clients around the world and solo retreats at her home in rural England to enable people to press pause, to journey home to their true self and build a lasting daily commitment to coming home and live their true life.

How to find your truth (and not scare it away like I did)

In True Living, True Self on October 26, 2016

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“If we find ourselves with a desire that nothing in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that we were made for another world.” C. S. Lewis

 

I was born to live in a different world to the one in which I found myself, or that’s how it felt.

Somewhere along the way I had been transplanted into the grey-to-me world of function. A relentless world that was filled with the mundane and meaningless.

It was a world where toughness, achievement, conforming and image reigned.

It was filled with pretenses, broken promises and clocks ticking fast.

Filled with noise and busyness and competitive talk of bigger and better.

Filled with shallowness, breathlessness and emptiness.

I lived in that world, although I don’t know how.

Somehow if you bury yourself with enough of what doesn’t belong to you and make your footsteps and breath so fast and so loud, you can scare your truth away.

Because who wants to hear the pain, confusion and emptiness that a surface level life creates?

So we keep going don’t we? We stop ourselves from hearing anything real. We miss the quiet corners, the pockets of peace, the opportunities for depth and meaningful connection.

But when we’re planted in the right environment for our unique selves, we can thrive. Like really thrive. We can come to life and feel deeply satisfied.

And an environment is so much more than just the physical, although that’s so very important. There’s the social world, the working world, the emotional world and the spiritual world. Each adding up to create the world we live in every day.

For too long my body had been living in a world it clearly wasn’t designed for. It told me in no uncertain terms and shut down with chronic fatigue.

I have written about it here, it’s a gift I’m truly grateful for but was so utterly horrified about at the time.

Despite so much of my world fitting me, so much did not. I needed to make change but I didn’t know what or how.

I, like many, was craving silence, unhurried breaths and nourishment.

I was craving meaning and purpose, deeply satisfying connection and simple pleasures.

I was craving to be set free, to be heard, to be myself.

With the compulsory space forced upon me, I finally had the permission I needed to get to know the real me. As it turned out, this was the first step of the journey from which everything else could flow.

My journey to really getting to know my true self involved amongst others a coach and psychotherapist, a huge amount of journaling, the love and unrelenting support of my husband and son, reading, mother nature, more space than I ever imagined possible and getting so used to saying no that I became surprisingly good at it. A long list and yet, bit by bit, each helped me to piece myself together. To get to feel utterly proud of who I was and enabling me to choose to be my own friend.

This new relationship with my true self changed so much and guided me towards the world in which the real me felt at home. The world I knew so intimately as a child but had turned my back on for so long.

Changes started small and then they got bigger and bolder as my confidence grew and my sense of purpose got crystal clear and fuelled me forward.

I’m so deeply grateful to myself for having the courage for making change.

But the changes never stop. Despite how well we know ourself, we’re always presented with decisions, unexpected twists and turns and challenges.

Amongst this time of great change and ever since, one question has helped me when making decisions:

Does it bring me closer or further away from my true self?

Never has this failed me to make a decision that feels right for me. Of course, that doesn’t mean following through on the decision has always been easy, but it has always been a decision I’ve made for the real me. And surely that’s the only person we can make a decision for?

 

 

 

I’ll never leave you again

In True Living, True Self on October 6, 2016

 

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When I was a little girl, from 4 or 5 to around 9, I wrote.

I wrote to understand the captivating light glowing within me. I wrote to feed my deep curiosity, growing by the day. I wrote to feel a sense of liberation like no other. I wrote for the pure love of it.

My pen would carry itself with the poems that lay within me, the words that were ready to see the light of day.

It felt like a we. A true partnership of the best kind.

Together, in my bedroom, we would embark on magical journeys both mesmerized by where we would end up.

An adventure between me and the home within. The home that housed the precious truths planted deep inside. The truths that had been entrusted to me to nurture and share with the world.

Like a popcorn maker frenetically popping, there was a free flowing supply of words. Unfiltered, uninhibited, pure and fresh.

This time in my bedroom seemed completely normal. I firmly believed that it was what everyone did when they went home from school. Because, why wouldn’t they?

It was where I felt so free, so swept up in the spirit of my being, so at ease, so utterly alive and energised.

It was my home within my home.

 

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I can’t remember exactly when it stopped, I think it was gradual.

There was more schoolwork, more worries, and more expectations around what I needed to do and who I needed to become. My head became fuller.

That bedroom turned from a sacred space in which to be joyfully alive, to a functional workshop for homework and sleep to rest my weary body.

I took on the words of others, the thoughts, the worries, the fears, and the expectations. And of course, I started to feel further and further from home.

At school I worked hard and did well, always getting top marks. English and Art were judged to be my weakest subjects and I assumed the uncreative label.

What nobody ever told me, and what I didn’t realize on my own, was that I was trying to do English. To think about it and work it out. To follow the rules. To switch off my heart and home and attack it like a maths equation to be solved by the mind.

I felt the pressure to be good, to succeed in their eyes. Literally no pleasure, no freedom, no joy.

I had taken myself so far out the picture in my attempt to create someone else’s dull-to-me picture, that I had no idea how incredible it could look.

I was deemed a scientist, a mathematician, a hard worker, a future doctor or researcher, a valuable member of society.

I followed the grey path, or more accurately, let myself be lead down it. It was on that path I travelled until, at the last moment, my inner home could be quieted no more.

Her words, and the promise for a better life that came with them, gave me the strength to rebel. There was no choice.

I switched subjects and allowed the compelling and deeply wise woman within to lead the way.

It was scary, there was shame, there was fear and, my goodness, was there excitement. We were together again.

Her path enveloped me in people, understanding them though Anthropology and Behavioural Psychology at university. Made for me, and yet never heard of in the world I came from.

A 10-year career in Human Resources, Executive Coaching and Leadership Development all furthered my curiosity and let me bring more of myself into the world.

But it wasn’t enough for her, or I. So, after many twists and turns, 9 years ago, she gave me the courage to run my own coaching business. At first doing it the way I thought it should be done, and then letting it truly be an expression of me.

Now, surely that’s creativity?

What I now know is that creativity is a way to express our inner truths, our unique voice, in a way that only we can.

So, of course, we are all creative. Beautifully creative when we access our inner truths and let ourselves be lead by them.

To say that still makes me feel emotional, the fact that I denied that precious voice within me for so long, still pains me.

Yet, when I lay bed bound from chronic fatigue 8 months after my son was born, it was that voice, and the creative expression of it in the form of writing, that saved me. That lead me home, back to that young girl, back to her freedom, back to her joy. Back to what matters in my life; my calling as a mother, a wife and a guide to bringing people home to their true lives.

She had never left me, she guided me through the twists and turns of life, back home.

 

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I made the big moves, a new continent, the lush English countryside and a business guiding women on their way home. And I welcomed writing.

I wrote programs, articles and two personal development books but something was missing.

Then I met Anna Lovind. A soul sister and lady whose path overlapped with mine in so many ways.

I had found myself, knew this girl within me and was ready to channel its creative muse and share the journey. All the time doing it our way, the way that reflects my true voice. Anna’s course is what turned it into action.

The Creative Doer, so aptly named, was the final step home to the writer within. Joining the dots between the world of my free spirited inner home and the world of making it happen.

It’s a blessing to have Anna’s friendship in my life and the friendship of my beautiful home within.

Now I can call myself creative (as can you, regardless of who you are).

Now I can come out of the closet and call myself a writer and let my words flow freely knowing how needed they are in helping others on their journey home.

And all of this, because I came back home.

Committing to your truest life every day

In True Living, True Self on September 29, 2016

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Pressing pause on life and welcoming space, can feel unachievable.

Like a luxury item we aspire to one day secure whilst being resigned to the fact that it will always elude us.

Like something people only do once they’ve done everything else, which let’s face it, never happens.

For so much of our life we’ve been taught, role modeled and rewarded for keeping going. For pushing through the daily grind, the mountains of activity, only to start all over again.

This is how my parents lived, and still do. Despite being retired, they never stop.

Literally never.

Always carrying a jumbled to do list around within them. Time chasing them down, hurrying them on and forcing them to move that bit faster, riddled with pressure.

As you can tell, this is a topic close to my heart and affects so many that I love.

Maybe this no-pause way of living has become the norm in our culture. Maybe it has taken over to such an extent that anyone who secures that elusive rest and spaciousness, is seen as abnormal.

Or maybe worse than that, maybe we label them with terms such as taking the easy route, not having what it takes or wasting their life and somehow marginalize them in our society in fear of what they may do to it, do to us.

Yet, amongst the majority who adopt the no-pause way of living, there’s a rising curiosity. A deep-rooted attraction towards another way. Do you feel the rising questioning around whether it’s really possible to pause?

  • Can you really have space and get things done?
  • Can you still be a valuable part of the world if you’re not on the go all the time?
  • Can you really live comfortably if your not working 24/7?
  • Or is all this talk abut pressing pause just another marketing ploy to make us purchase that one thing that promises to change everything?

It feels like we’re slowly gaining awareness around the pit holes of the keep on going, keep striving, don’t stop for anything lifestyle that rules.

  • It’s not enjoyable: maybe there are snippets of fun along the way but they are short lived and surface level. What truly makes life enjoyable is deep, sustainable fulfillment. The stuff that literally feeds us like no other, the stuff that is baked in the deep knowing of who you are and what truly matters to you. This is sadly absent in the no pause world.
  • It’s not efficient: We’ve been sold a stonking great lie; keeping going gets more done. It’s just not true. When we push through, we’re unlikely to know where we’re headed or why we’re headed there and not somewhere else. We’re likely to lack the clear head, resilient mind and strong body to make things really happen We’re likely to get distracted easier, be closed to alternatives and be much, much slower in our progress.
  • It’s not healthy: every part of our body, mind and soul needs to be nurtured, allowed to recover, rest and replenish if we’re to avoid dis-ease which sadly, as a culture, we’re not very successful at.
  • It’s not me: when you keep striving you struggle to factor yourself, your desires, your gifts, your uniqueness, you into the world. You don’t have the time or space to hear yourself, know yourself or find yourself. You turn into a robot on autopilot reducing your ability to alter course so it reflects you and you alone. You feel set adrift from your life and don’t know how to get back.

Life is precious.

Too precious to bland yourself down or forget who you are. Too precious to just survive, to exist as one of many in a culture of exhausted, unfulfilled and lost robots.

But I know, and I think you do, that there is another way. A way to live anchored in yourself, focused and hard working, but fulfilled and on purpose. A way that presses pause daily and reconnects your true being with your true doing.

A way that has time carved out to be with yourself, to come home. To remember what matters to you, to reconnect with your true self and sit with her, listen to her and let her guide you. To feel clear about the work ahead, to re-jig the course and set sail with confidence and courage.

This pause is my daily journey home. It didn’t used to be, I had drifted so far from home and had to take the long and winding road home but now I’ve found it I’m committed to my truest life every day.

Sometimes it looks like a walk in the wild, or a writing session with no purpose but to release the contents of my mind. At other times its meditation to gain insights on what I’ve struggled to hear whilst busy in the doing, or a long bath where I soak in what matters. It’s prayer grounding me and bringing me back to what calls me, its staring out the window watching the sheep or lying in the grass and simply listening in.

 

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Some days it’s one, others its many, judging what I need to bring me home every single day. There’s no perfect science, no formula to follow, just a deep commitment to myself, my true self.

Sometimes the daily dose is enough, but at other times we need longer especially if the pause button has eluded us for so long or life has thrown huge changes our way.

Then, its about pressing pause for longer. Maybe taking a day, or days, or a series of blocks of time to get to know yourself again, to come home.

Finding your way back home, to who you truly are, changes everything.

Maybe we do it on our own or maybe we need someone to journey with us to help us learn how to make space. Learn how to hear our true voice amongst that of others. Learn how to build that daily commitment to our very being.

Maybe we can do it where we live or maybe we need to step so far out of daily life to forget who we were trying to be and remember who we truly are.

Whatever we need on any one day, this pause is the basis of making your life yours. This pause is a commitment to you. This pause is what sustains the real you in the world.

This pause is how you find your way back to yourself every single day.

 

Michelle offers coaching to clients around the world and solo retreats at her home in rural England to enable people to press pause, to journey home to their true self and build a lasting daily commitment to coming home and live their true life.

The Weight of the World

In True Living, True Work on July 20, 2016

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“Be soft. Do not let the world make you hard.

Do not let the pain make you hate.

Do not let the bitterness steal your sweetness.

Take pride that even though the rest of the world may disagree.

You still believe it to be a beautiful place.” Unknown

 

On Saturday, my five-year-old son and I were getting ourselves changed for the day whilst listening to music on Spotify. A new song came on and my son said, “that’s a sad song mummy, isn’t it?’

He listened intently to the words as the sadness visibly enveloped him, his eyes brimming with tears and his body descending heavily to the floor.

Instantly, I felt his palpable emotion spread to me. I lowered myself down to hold him in my attempt to ease the pain that this precious, emotional sponge was feeling.

Every day we’re bombarded with emotions. Some of these emotions we gladly welcome, whilst others feel like unwanted trespassers invading our space.

From the simple act of looking at the face of another or reading the black print in a newspaper, to watching a sitcom or sitting in a meeting, emotions are everywhere.

We ‘re encircled and right now it feels like it ‘s reaching a new level of intensity on a global scale. Whether it’s Brexit in the UK, racial violence in the US, terrorist attacks world over or political instability, it all takes its toll.

Yet, we can’t carry it all because if we try to we literally become weighed down. We become unstable and unable to function or move freely, or even move at all.

We would never expose our children to all of this, wishing them a degree of innocence and protection, yet we do it to ourselves.

I believe in being informed and having an awareness of what’s going on in the world but not to the extent that we need to absorb it all, solve it all, hypothesise or catastophise every single possibility. Aware but not hyper-vigilant.

Hyper-vigilance leads our nervous system to feel  overloaded and in pain and not long after, so does our body. And that pain leads us in so many directions, none of which are good.

So how do we cope in this global age, this time of uncertainty and pain? How do we lessen the load so we can continue to live unconstricted?

Choose wisely

“No matter what the situation remind yourself “I have a choice”” Deepak Chopra

When we boil it down, we get to choose how we live and this applies to so many areas of our life. Often we forget this choice because we haven’t exercised it for so long, but it’s still there, hidden deep down.

I was brought up in a household where the newspaper landed on our doormat every day and we sat around the television together watching the morning and evening news so we were suitably informed on the state of the world.

For years to come, I felt I had to observe this news hungry routine religiously if I was to be a good person. I forgot to ask myself if it was serving me. I forgot I had a choice.

Now I’m deeply aware of my choices and exercise them with conviction once I’ve got crystal clear on the answer to my guiding question; what feels true for me today?

This goes with everything. Yes, there are some things we can’t change, but most things we have a degree of control over, so be your own friend and choose what you need today.

Power down

“Almost everything will work again if you unplug it for a few minutes….including you” Anne Lamott

We live in a world of speed, activity and achievement. A world in which there is little space to be still, to restore and to opt out.

Gift yourself with the treasures that come from feeling space encircle you, comfort nurture you and stillness soothe you every day.

For me, some days that looks like meditation and a walk in nature, others its yoga and a long lunch sat outside whilst others its sleep and a book. Listening to my deep need for rest has been a long journey, one which will never end, but I savour the joyful rewards, deeply knowing that when recharged I can engage with the world in a more grounded and mindful way.

Let it out

“Don’t keep all your feelings sheltered – express them. Don’t ever let life shut you up” Dr Steve Maraboli

When emotion comes in and takes up residence, we can be left with its ramifications for days, weeks, months or even lifetimes. Emotions flow in two directions, inwards but also outwards.

When I was striving hard in my corporate career I forgot this. I forgot to let them out. I pushed them down, drove through them fearful of what might happen if I stopped to fell them.

Then I was forced to stop. Forced to feel. Forced to let them flow in the form of tears on my cheeks, ink on the page and words in the air.

Let them out by giving them the space they need to feel heard and understood. Cry, write, talk, move your body, whatever you need to get them out.

Marvel at the world

“When you look at life through the eyes of gratitude, the world becomes a magical and amazing place” Jannifer Gayle

The world we get to inhabit every day, is a miracle. It’s filled with incredulous beauty that boggles the mind when we allow ourselves to be mesmorised by it.

My favourite way to unravel when life feels stressful is to lie on my stomach in the grass and stare at the blades growing infront of my eyes.

I notice their colour, their uniformity, their differences, their ability to sway in the wind, their gentleness to touch. All of it. So utterly amazing and I feel beyond blessed in that moment to experience it and be grounded by it.

Look around you and be mesmorised by this world, see the goodness and blessings that encircle us and feel cradled by it.

 

I’m not sure how you’re going with the world’s course right now, but I do hope you find your way to listen to what you need and give yourself permission to receive it and take the weight of the world off of you.

For my son, he knows the answer. After a big hug and wiping his tears he asked me to put on a ‘happy song, one that takes the sadness away’.

Everyone’s ‘happy song’ looks different, but knowing where to find it is key.

A deep calling

In True Living, True Self on June 29, 2016

 

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I send this letter to you today as the words bubble through me in response to the political uncertainty surrounding the UK, the history of striving of many of my clients and the weariness that is surfacing from within me around life on a renovation site (although thankfully will soon be over!).

I write this letter to me and I write it to you, together let’s listen to the calling.

 

My dear friend,

Rest.

Lay down your work, your worries and responsibilities in the knowledge that nothing is, or will ever be, more important than you.  Nothing deserves your care more than you, my precious friend.

A clear mind, a free body, a heard soul and sweet clarity are all on the other side of rest.

Let your body unfurl and watch the tension slip off of you to the floor. Feel ease and effortlessness spread through your body, strangers who are so very very welcome.

Let your mind feel cradled in space. Let go of what was and what will be and breathe in the mindful aroma of what is.

Welcome your soul whispers as they bubble to the surface sharing your deepest yearnings and well earned wisdom. Savour each one knowing how deserving they are of your attention.

Watch the slithers of clarity dangling before you, each feeding the courage and strength within you to live your life with purpose.

Rest.

Let it be this way, not as a rare exception when you can struggle no further, but as a most tender and savoured part of your every day.

My dear dear friend, we need you conscious. We need you whole. We need you rested. We need you.

Love,

Michelle x

 

A Daily Blessing From Me to You

In True Living, True Self on June 23, 2016

Today I felt a spontaneous desire to make a little video for you.

It’s straight from my soul – no planning, scripting or steps taken to look a particular way.

A huge heartfelt desire to envelop you for a few minutes and allow you to step out of your busy life, reveal your inner musings and befriend your beautiful self.

My wish is that, amongst the busyness, we can all find small moments of time every day to know ourself, care for ourself and feel at one with ourself.

Blessings to you x