Becky's World Blog

Validation - The antidote to self-doubt

Being dyslexic I see patterns easily. One of the ways this shows up is seeing patterns in people. You know, the kind of behaviour patterns that can indicate some psychological problems. It means I don't have to see clients for months on end to get to the root of a problem. But recently I have expanded my pattern observation focus and have started to look at problems in society, asking myself one question. If there was one need all of my clients have in common, what would that need be?

It struck me, that it's 'validation'. We all need to feel seen, heard and especially validated. Through all of the conversations I have had, a common thread has been to wonder 'Is there something wrong with me?', or 'Have I got this right?' 

The most common reason for anxiety is to wonder what other people think of you, or to wonder if you're doing the right thing by other people. Am I likable? Am I lovable? 

I decided to alter my behaviour towards other people with one simple change. I decided that when I see people I genuinely like, I allow my face to light up when I see them, for the first time, in a day. It's not that I don't smile, but I mean light up with delight. I don't know why, but it seems easier and less vulnerable to be indifferent. I think we have this weird idea that if we show someone that we like them, we will be rejected. As if fondness has a limit and if you get it wrong it becomes creepy. Wanting someone to like you is a bit creepy, but liking someone else with no expectation or desire for them to be or do anything, is adorable. 

Since putting in this one simple amendment, my life has changed. I feel different about myself. It seems to me that when you give out validation to others it comes back to you. I did feel vulnerable at first and I didn't want people to ask too much of me. But that hasn't been the case, it just feels as if the support networks that I have became deeper. I believe self development isn't sustainable without community. Validating people with a simple facial expression can build bonds, possibly deeper ones than words can say. 

Taming the black dog

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Friday night I did a stupid thing. I locked my dog sitter out of my flat. As luck would have it (or not), he didn’t find out until I was already in the flat in London tucking into take out from Pho. A door opening round trip back to Bristol and back to London again. What could have been a suck faced journey was made enjoyable by listening to Iain Lee on the new talkradio station.

On the show he's been inspiringly open about his depression, but last night he said something that made my heart splatter all over the inside of the windscreen, stupidly I turned on the whispers!

Iain said ‘I hate myself’. A caller jumped on the phone full of love and support and he expressed how he can’t feel those words. I’ve heard this from clients many times.

I’ve used the word stupid in the blog post a few times for a reason. I used to think I was stupid. But I’m not stupid, but I do sometimes do stupid things. Locking out the dog sitter doesn’t make me stupid; it was a stupid thing to do.

Depressed, like stupid must never become an identity. Not labelling yourself is seriously important for recovery and builds resilience.

There needs to be a separation between you, your feelings and your thoughts. If you believe you ARE your feelings and your thoughts they have power over you in the way your neurones fire in the brain.

For example, if you have ever been drinking you remember being so fish faced, you slur words, and look for Ralph in the toilet. There is part of you that is aware that you’re drunk.

Is that awareness drunk or sober? 

Same as being angry, when you’re angry you’re in the amygdala part of the brain that lacks reason, it’s job is kill or be killed (fight or flight). But you know in an argument, there is a wipe out point, that will end the argument, but likely destroy the person you are arguing with and kill your relationship dead. The part of you, that holds you back from saying it… is that part of you angry? 

The answer I’m expecting you to find is no. When you’re depressed there is part of you that is aware that you’re depressed, is it depressed? No! So where is it? It can’t be in your brain as it would be pissed (in every way) when you are.

You are your awareness. You are the thinker of your thoughts, not your thoughts. Thoughts create feelings. You are always one thought away from feeling differently if you can grab hold of the monkey mind with your awareness. But if you don’t know the awareness is there you can’t grab the thoughts and train them. That’s why the definition of ‘I am’ and ‘I feel’ is so important. Identity becomes hard wired in the brain.

When we have defined ourselves by our thoughts we think we are the sub-personalities or archetypes of our making. I’m going a bit Jung psychology here.

We all play characters. Like having many puppets but the real you is the awareness. The awareness is the puppet master and knows ‘it’s a puppet’! But if you don't master your puppet, the puppet masters you.

So when someone pays a compliment to your puppet, you can’t feel it because it’s not who you are. Unless you believe you are the puppet. So if you play from the puppet of ‘I’m not loveable’ and someone insults you, it feels real. Because if you have bought into the belief that person is right and there’s a match and endorphins fire in the brain as you have found supporting evidence in your limiting belief. When you believe you’re not loveable, you’re taking about the puppet, not the awareness.

However my argument falls flat when it comes to the topic of love. I can’t observe myself loving, because love is our default. The awareness is love and at the very least - compassion.

I used to not like or trust humans, but as I am one I could see I had a problem. Once I found the awareness, I found I do like the core of humans (love) I just don’t like what some humans do. That way I am open to love everyone.

Loving yourself is hard to do. We all can act like twats as well as have genius moments. I love the fact I can be a twat, I love the fact I don’t love myself. Loving yourself for hating yourself is an act of compassion and the start of real healing. That’s the best anyone can do.

 

How you light-up a life.

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Throughout my life I have been the seeker of experiences. I thought that the more I experienced, through travel, meeting people and doing some downright bizarre stuff, the more people I would connect with, as the more sides to myself I would have. Let me put it this way: imagine that every person is a light box. Each side of the box has its own light bulb. With every new experience we get a new side and a new light bulb. Some people describe this as being a rough diamond and as we go through life the sides of the diamond are smoothed into a sphere. I see it, as we’re a crystal constantly developing new sides with lights inside.

Depending on whom we are with, what we do or the circumstance we are in, we ignite different lights - so different sides of ourselves are seen.

I think this is why we feel fragmented when someone we love dies; the light pattern that came on in their company is unique. We rarely get to turn on the same formation again. The same thing happens when love becomes stale; it’s the slow turning off of all the parts of you that once fired up brightly in their company.

To love someone else is to love all of the parts of yourself you feel safe to be in their company. We even use the words ‘you light up my life’.

The more life experiences I had and travel I did the more I thought I would be able to connect my lights to others. That’s been true in part, but interestingly, the more lights you have the more you can feel alone. You miss what created those lights in the first place. You can’t be everywhere at once or connected to everyone you meet, no matter what Facebook says!

The more lights, the more a sense of fragmentation. You long to be in the company of people who get more of your lights.

We love lighting up, but we only turn them on if we believe they will be accepted and connect us to the person we are with.

All the spiritual teachings tell you to turn all your lights on no matter who's looking and don’t worry about who accepts you, burn brightly and fully as who you are. But the only reason you have these little lights is to connect to others. When two lights connect, they turn each other on and the connection itself becomes the energy for them to burn brightly. If you try and shine a light alone, it’s exhausting and can lead to burn out!

My job in my one to one sessions, is to help people replace their light bulbs, to dust the ones that have been off a long time (that burnt dust smell is bad!). I also screw them in more tightly, when people think they have a screw loose - sorry bulb loose!

So I guess my life experience has come in handy as all of the sides of me get to show up with all of the different clients I meet.

Deep down past all these different sides to us, no matter if you are a square in your experiences or a mirror ball of sides and lights, one thing is true for all: there is one light bulb inside all of us. It’s right in the heart of our venerability and our courage. We search to meet ‘the one’ who will turn that light bulb on for us.

We seek spiritual gurus, teachers, loving relationships or anyone who seems to have that inner light on. Some have it on in short bursts, perhaps on stage when singing, or maybe the Dalai Lama has it on all the time.

You can call it the God spark, the part of us that is oneness, our inner light our higher self.

My seeking of experiences has always been to find that light. We look for it in the outside world, as we believe others can turn it on, as can beauty and awe. We feel it. Some teachers say it can only be turned on by a journey inwards. Some people try to ignite it by trying to be perfect and have all their little lights on, only to beat themselves up about the dark bulbs.

When the lights are off we are closer to fear, when the lights are on we are closer to love.

Being in the company of those who light you up and burning brightly in doing work we love is what we live for. Seeking what will turn on that big light bulb in our soul is a spiritual calling.  I’ve had that light turn on twice in my life, and I’ve always been trying to get back there ever since.

My hope for this world is in that inner light. That hope is the core of everything I do.

Why we repeat patterns from one love to the next.

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Ever found yourself having the same kind of experiences you had with your ex, but with a new partner? It’s almost like dating the same person but with a different face.

It often starts off so well, but it ends in the same way. Of course the common denominator is you, but when you met, you thought they were amazing and different and you might even have thought that maybe this time we have a chance. But then it ends up the same.

This is an archetypal relationship.  

From Jung psychology we understand that archetypes are the masks we wear socially. Often these masks were created as a form of protection or a way to find love and attention in our childhood. They are the layers of our ego-self.

The most common is ‘Parent, adult and child’. But there are many more:

The Explorer

The Rebel

The Lover

The Jester

The Magician

Perfectionist

Pleaser

Saboteur

Just to name a few!

When we first meet someone, we often come from an archetype we know will work for us. You might say it’s being the best of who we are, but it’s also a form of protection.

However some of our outwardly hidden selves can still be sensed if not outwardly spotted. There was a test done where a woman was asked to choose a date from one of ten men. She’d had three failed marriages with men who became violent alcoholics. During the test the 10 men were put behind a police screen. She picked the one man who was a self-confessed violent alcoholic in recovery. Now that’s interesting, but when they put her in a line-up of ten women, he chooses her.  

I believe we get attracted to a particular archetype, based on the archetype we are. In this case, he is the addict archetype and she is a rescuer or a victim - in addictions this causes a co-dependent relationship.

There are many forms of archetypal matches. In my clients I often see the female archetype of the abandoned orphan, who falls in love with a man who is the lover archetype. He’s charming and makes her feel like she is the only person in the room. 

The lover often gives out the love they wish they had been given as a child; a fully present attention. Of course there is a 'like attracting like' in this circumstance, as behind the lover is an abandoned child.

If these two do get married, and she has a child, he himself will become childlike when fighting for her lost attention.

The female vision of the lover is the ‘femme fatal’. Of course an abandoned orphan doesn't have to be someone who really was an abandoned orphan in childhood. It's an archetypal representation of how they get love and attention.

Many abandoned orphans go for father figures, a strong man who will love and protect them. I have seen this happen when clients fall madly in love with a married man who has children, only to find when he leaves his wife for her, he loses the father figure/protector archetype she was first attracted to.

He also finds this wonderful 'femme fatal’ turn out to be emotionally needy and becomes jealous of the weekends he spends with his kids. 

Understanding the archetypes you have running your life, really helps you break the patterns in relationships that might stop you finding a perfect match.

Two acts can date, but a long term successful relationship needs a self awareness (often only of one of the couple) to have congruence between their head and their heart, so they can see the caricatures they are playing and have some control over how the story ends, happily ever after or an endless search for prince charming. 

If you'd like to know more about your archetypes, feel free to book a 'Breakthrough' appointment with me and we shall work them out together.  http://beckywalsh.com/breakthrough/

Allow yourself to be inspired by others.

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Sad loss this week of David Bowie, yet right up to the end of his life he was creating. I almost wonder if he held on for the release of his album, which came out last week. Many of the tributes are talking about how he influenced people. He crossed over so many eras and his reinventions and range of work kept him fresh. He was an inspiration for many.

It’s brave to work creatively in a way that’s new and have no one to follow. Since the rise of social media, we tend to look at what everyone else is doing. I don’t know about you, but I’m easily inspired. I also want to be able to do everything. So it’s easy to get fragmented and start to spread yourself thinly and lose your message or what it is you stand for.

It might sound like I’m only talking to people who have a business creating something. But I believe we are all creative and we all came here with our part to do something to make the world a better place. Bowie did that and I think this is why we feel such loss, as even at his age, we know he had so much more to give.

It makes me think of a quote by Wayne Dyer “Don’t die with your music still in you”, which means that you don’t allow yourself to live any life other than the one you were born to live.

It sounds like a tall order, but when I think of Bowie’s life, that’s what inspired me about him the most. Play your own tune, find your own rhythm, be inspired by others, but never feel you need to be the same as anyone else.

The dark passenger - Living with the shadow.

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Has anyone ever confessed to you that they have a ‘dark passenger’? 

I know I’m getting a little bit ‘Dexter’ here. If you haven’t seen Dexter, it’s an American TV show about a really nice guy with a dark secret that he is a serial killer that only kills bad people, which makes him kinds of likeable, weirdly. 

I’m asking as it’s something that isn’t talked about openly. Everyone who has confessed this to may have never told anyone else. They think they are the only one that holds this dark secret.

It’s a burden and it troubles them.

Interestingly, most of the people who tell me this are men. In my line of work, my job is to make people feel safe to open up to me about their shadow. Like Dexter, the dark passenger does go as far as having been a killer or having murderous thoughts. Right the way through to battling an internal negative voice that vomits bile over any opportunity for love, dream, plan or great business idea. 

The problem many of us women have is we are often attracted to these men, because that neanderthal instinct often comes along with an attractive kind of masculine power that makes us feel safe in their company, but slightly wary of getting on the wrong side of them. This type of man is often looking for the kind of woman who inspires him to be a better man, he will be devoted (that doesn’t mean faithful) but when that relationship breaks down, he will fall harder into a dark place, as she was the woman who kept him in the light. 

These men can often be on the psychopathic spectrum. Not all psychopaths will turn into killers.

It depends on if they had a balanced childhood or if there was abuse in childhood - these can be the things that flip the mental switch. Psychopaths on the highest part of the spectrum are often loveless and fearless and the way to tell the difference between the psychopath dark passenger and the non-psychopath, is if they tell you about their darkness with a touch of pride, or if they  are trying to scare you. 

Non-psychopaths fear it themselves. 

If you want to know more I can highly recommend ‘The Psychopath Test’ by Jon Ronson. I met Jon at a radio studio and he really is more of a detective than simply a journalist, his books are often spot on and fascinating. 

So what’s the cause of the dark passenger and is there a way to drop them off on the side of the road and hope they never find a taxi? 

Humans are killers; we hunt, we fight and we rage war. It is part of the human condition. What’s exciting, is that these men who tell me this are becoming conscious. The have separated instinct and biological programming, to see that darkness as not WHO they are but who they have WITH them. 

We are all made up of a monkey mind of archetypes, the voice in our head isn’t who we are, it’s not even our personality, it’s the constructs of personal defence and survival that keep us alive. It creates the drive for survival and creation. We are the thinker of our thoughts and it is the thinker that speaks of a dark passenger and not the thoughts. Seeing the dark passenger as a separate entity allows choice. 

Some people have this dark passenger and have no idea. They just get drunk at weekends and cause fights and blame it on the booze. They join wars and find other like-minded thinkers as the darkness loves banding in groups for self-righteousness. 

So you might be wondering why women don’t have a dark passenger? Sorry to tell you, we do.

But ours isn’t external world, it’s internal. Our dark passenger tells us we’re are not good enough, too fat, thin, old ugly or boring. It beats the crap out of us and sabotages us, if we allow it to. It attracts us to relationships and jobs where we lose ourselves to service. It makes us hold other women back too, as it hates to see any other woman whose value might be higher than our own. It’s taking us a little longer to see this separation between that dark passenger, as we have called it ‘fear’. 

It’s fear for the guys too, but when a man feels fear he speaks to destroy the cause, and when a woman feels fear she looks to changing herself to never feel a negative emotion again. 

Advertising hasn’t helped as it plays on the female darkness to get us to buy stuff. So it’s seen more as normal. But the male darkness, rather than being looked to be understood, it is being dehumanised and is shunned by society. I wonder how much of this leads to the suicide rate being three times higher in men. As women we can talk about our feelings about ourselves, sadly often being recommended a face cream for that! But for guys you couldn’t have a conversation about the darkness of your thoughts without raising alarm in the person you’re talking to.

I feel very grateful to have these conversations. We need more of them. We need to find a way to not box everything as being ‘good’ or ‘bad’. A bad thought doesn’t make you a bad person, acting on it does. We are the sum of our actions and not the thoughts in our head. The more faith you can put into a person the more they can see themselves as light, light hearted, light spirited and lightened up! 

For all the darkness in the world we live at a time of exciting change. As the darkness rises (wait… Batman!) the light in others is rising at a rapped rate, as we say ‘no more’ or ‘not in my name’. The power is coming to the people who stand lovingly in the face of fear. It’s the light we need to bring to the world, but it’s the light that starts in the way you love yourself first.

Humans have a choice of love over fear, and I’m so excited we are all getting so clear in that at this time.

The interactions of love you get when you’re single

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Being single isn’t loveless; in fact it isn’t even being without relationship. But if you look at being single the way society seems to view it, i.e being alone, rejected, on the shelf, we can feel that we need to drive ourselves to find that special someone. If you view being single as a sorry state of loveless-ness you can become closed down and miss the beauty of it. 

If you love to travel, you will know the difference between travelling alone and travelling with someone else. Alone, you meet more people, you are forced into being social; the connections are quicker and deeper. When you come home, you remember more the people you met, than the sights you saw. When you travel with someone, you remember the things you saw, but don’t get into those deep connections and in fact you can get a little irritated with your travel partner.

This is a great analogy for being single. 

As a single person your smaller connections form more deeply. Your friends in relationships steal time away from their loved one to be with you, it makes that time kind of special for both of you; for that evening, you were the chosen one. 

You can also connect with people of the opposite sex without worrying about if this will be a friendship a partner will have a problem with. Male friends often pull back from female friends when the woman is in a relationship. I have known it happen; my male friends vanish when I am with someone and then flow back into my life when I’m single again. I’m never quite sure why, it’s like a guy respect thing. As a woman however, you can be ‘the friendship secret’ for guys in relationships with jealous girlfriends. 

All of the interactions seem deeper when you’re single. They are all little tastes of love. In a relationship you might cook dinner as an act of love. I took a cake into work and everyone who took a slice and thanked me, were feeling my love. The same as if I’d done a whole Sunday roast for my partner. Some little things that are unexpected can have more love in them, than the exception of dinner, because it’s your turn. 

You can stop being ‘in a relationship' with the world because you’re ‘in a relationship' with someone else. We can really miss that relationship with the world and find ourselves feeling disconnected. Some people end relationships because they feel they have lost themselves, when it might be the connection with everything else. You only really understand who you are by being in connection to multiple things. I think that’s why the word relationship is so brilliant,

‘I know me, because I see myself in relationship to …’

You know how young you are when you are next to someone old; it’s all about self-reflection, which can only be done when you have many things or people to be reflected against. This doesn’t mean taking many lovers; it’s about many acts of love and kindness that are not reserved for someone special. Loving in this way is the best way to love yourself, because the external reflection of your loveliness is reflected back to you in the form of happiness you help create in others.

Something switches on when we become curious about the world, being single opens up our curiosity as we have a need to connect. We feel more value when we have personal space.

Connections can be deeper when you don’t need time alone.

For me personally time alone, contemplation, meditation, allows me to be less of a grumpy cow bag. Openness and space allows tolerance. 

So if you’re single don’t mourn your lack of relationship, but find your relationship to everything.

If you’re in a relationship, don’t lose your relationship with the world. Your love life will be stronger single or otherwise when you can love the world you’re living in.

For more love stuff, check out my book Intuitive lovers

Embracing the 'up grade of no'.

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Whilst I was speaking in Dublin, I met a lad who my mother would describe as 'canny'. That's because she's from the North of England and it's slang for a cheeky chappy, bit of a chancer but all round nice guy. At my talks I normally give away stuff, and Dublin was no exception. But you have to be quick to put your hand up or you miss out. The Canny lad missed out. He came to my stand to let me know he wanted the freebie but was late to put up his hand.

"Sorry about that, but you missed out, I'm not giving any more away". I said He protested, whilst playing with his mobile phone which was tech spec new and much nicer than mine, about how broke he was and I'd be really helping him out. "I'm saying no" I said On and on he went oblivious of the other people are waiting to talk to me. "I have said no" and I added a hard stare "I know" he said, "but I'm a bit of a chancer and I like to manifest stuff for free, so if I keep talking to you, you might feel sorry for me and change your mind". "Would you like the up-grade of NO? Because I am really happy to give you the up-grade of no, and you know what that is don't you?"

And without me even to mention those two powerful words, which are an up-grade of no, he did as they describe and went off.

In my fifteen years of doing this work there are a few things I have learned:

  • Not everyone's definition of broke is the same as yours. Some people think they're be broke when they're close to having to spend savings.
  • Not every emergency is really an emergency. Some people's emergency is really a lack of patience caused by anxiety.
  • The person with the quiet request often needs you more than the person in tears.
  • Let no-one waste your time because you don't want to be impolite to them. The time you give them, you are robbing from the people who love you, and that is far too expensive to waste.
  • The greatest healing tool is the listening ear, but active listening requires effort. You have to have a lot of down time in silence to allow the listening mind to recover. If you don't you can go deaf to the people you love.
All this comes down to one super lesson, YOU and YOUR time are precious, don't let anyone mess with it, and don't mess with anyone else's.  Even if it means embracing the 'up-grade of no'. 

 

Open your mind palace to new ideas

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If you have ever watched the TV show ‘Sherlock’, you will have heard of a ‘mind palace’. It’s a place in your mind where you can put patterns together and create big ideas. 

We all have a mind palace but it is in fact the questions we ask ourselves that gives us access to it. 

There is one repeating question that has bugged my life: ‘How can we make the world a better place?’

It feels like a responsibility that haunts my every move; from picking up plastic litter in the street to buying fair trade coffee. I have a desire for personal and global improvement. 

If you have this same desire coursing through your veins then I’m sure you have wondered ‘What is my calling in life? Am I living a life to the best of my potential?’ 

The answer can only be found in the right questions. So here are three to set you off:

1 - What are you doing when you like yourself the most? 

This isn’t want do you enjoy, but what makes you fundamentally LIKE yourself? I enjoy eating cake, but cake doesn’t make me like myself. I hate the gym, but once I have been, I like myself for having gone. So these are more points of personal pride than what makes you happy. External things that makes us happy don’t tend to last. But the things that make us like who we are, have fed us and given us substance in a way that creates long lasting personal fulfillment. 

2 - What don’t you like about the world?

Unlikely to be mushrooms or trees, so what don’t you like about people? It’s ok you can be honest. Flip your answer on it’s head and look at how this might be a call for love, if it was a call for love, what might be your answer to it?

3 - What do your friends thank you for?

What use are you to the people in your life? What compliments do they give you? We really learn who we are and our natural talents when we start to see ourselves in someone else’s eyes.

So this is the tip of your potential iceberg. If you want some clarity on some of your answers or would like to dig deeper with some fundamental questions, please join me on my free webinar: ‘The one BIG calling - Know your mission and do it’ - Free webinar With me - Becky Walsh Tuesday, 8 September 2015, at 07:00pm. 

Sign up!

Plenty more fish in the sea? Bringing optimism back into your dating!

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There is an epidemic of women who are reaching that age and haven't found someone to start a family with.  This is the generation who decided to get degrees, travel, work overseas, gain life experience and have lovers, knowing all along that ‘one day’ they would settle down. Not wanting to have regret over not having lived before becoming a mum, they lived life to the full to be able to share more of themselves as a fuller person and a mother.

There was an abundance of boys and first loves were thrilling.

Then suddenly all those available guys were married off. 

The realisation that everything has a time scale seems to hit around the age of thirty-eight and panic sets in. You begin online dating, speed dating and freak-out flinging as the fear of ‘what happens if I never meet the right guy’ sets in.

You can freeze your eggs if you really are panicking; this will help reduce the panic. But what really needs to happen is to bring back that girl in her twenties who believed everything was limitless, had a spark in her eye and lived life to the full. That girl is still inside, and even though the number of single guys is fewer, you stand a better chance of meeting someone with an open heart.

By our late thirties we may have been hurt a number of times.

The heart gets shut down and we start playing love safely instead. No one works well under exam conditions and so on a date we can’t get a clear vibe of a person.

The way to open the heart is through curiosity. Let go of the desired outcome and become curious about who this person is. Then let attraction step in and feel the chemistry before looking into the future. Be in the ‘right now’. What shuts us down is treating men like they are an object to get what we want. We lose the romance that way and believe it or not, men are highly intuitive about women! Even a man who wants to start a family, wants to start that family being in love and being loved. It's such a simple thing to forget, that love makes families and without love, no family can truly thrive.

Anxiety - Is your panic alarm stuck on? Neuroscientist gives you the answer

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Twitter is great for connecting you to people. My twitter @beckywalshcom just connected me to a man on the other side of the world. Dr Mark Rogers, a neuroscientist from Australia. Mark popped me a tweet asking me to take a look at his brainy blog. Well what else could I do, I love a good brain! Loving Mark's blog I asked him if I could have a chat with him and further expand on his research into anxiety. I’m seeing a growing number of my clients coming to be over feelings of anxiety and being out of control. But first of all I asked Mark how he got started.

Mark: I did my PhD in Australia on major depression, looking particularly at the slowing of thought and movement that can happen with depression.We tend to think of depression as being sadness, but it’s really more about terrible emotional pain and difficulty with concentration and memory. After that I went to the University of Tokyo and worked on schizophrenia and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder PTSD).

Becky: And PTSD relates to anxiety. In terms of PTSD I can see a practical use for anxiety - ‘don’t do that again’ but is there a really a point of having anxiety or is it just kind of brain malfunction?

Mark: Well anxiety is related to fear and fear can certainly be very helpful. If you are crossing the road and see a car coming that isn’t going to stop, then you’ll get a surge of fear, and adrenaline and that will help you get out of the way.

The part of the brain that gives us that initial jolt of fear is the ‘amygdala’ (from the Latin word for almond).

It’s like a smoke alarm, but it’s sensitive to all sorts of potential dangers. When we hear or see something that might signal danger, the amygdala bursts into action and sends signals to the rest of the brain (and the body) to get ready to fight, or to run away. That’s why you feel a sudden shock as your heart begins to pound and the release of adrenalin acts to make your mind alert and increases the fuel supply to your muscles.

The amygdala is incredibly useful because it gets visual and sound information before we have had time to fully process it. That means it can react very quickly to potential threats, it doesn’t wait until we’ve thought about the situation.

But the drawback is that the amygdala is not very smart. The information it gets is raw and ‘fuzzy’ and it often causes false alarms. So this is a trade-off; we get great speed but we pay a price in accuracy.

Normally that’s OK since it’s better to be prepared for a real threat and put up with some false alarms than to have no false alarms but miss a warning of a real danger. Just like it’s better to have a smoke alarm that sometimes goes off just because the toaster was set too high, than to not have one at all. We can think of anxiety as being like a smoke alarm that you can’t turn off. It’s OK if your smoke alarm sometimes goes off unnecessarily, but it isn’t OK if it won’t stop!

A smoke alarm that won’t go off would soon drive you up the wall. And an amygdala that won’t stop signalling danger is just as bad.

Most of the time the amygdala is ‘turned off’ by the frontal, ‘intelligent’ parts of the brain. Once we know that the danger has passed are that there was a false alarm, these brain regions send signals to the amygdala to calm it down and stop the danger response that the amygdala initiated.

But sometimes that feedback mechanism doesn’t work very well. In severe cases this can be associated with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) or social phobia. But even in less severe cases it can lead to chronic stress because of the feeling that we are continually under threat

Becky: And sometimes smoke alarms are too sensitive.

Mark: Right. Imagine if your smoke alarm went off when there wasn’t even any smoke.

Say it went off just because you opened a cupboard where the matches are kept, or it went off in response to steam from the kettle. That smoke alarm would really be a headache. And the amygdala can become like that smoke alarm, especially if we have learned to feel anxious in particular situations. When I first stated lecturing at university I was thrown, with no training or guidance, into lecture halls with 500 students in front of me, and left to sink or swim.

So I was extremely nervous.

Now, one of the things that the amygdala is very sensitive to is facial expression. A hostile, angry face looking at you will trigger an alert signal from your amygdala. And that’s great. But when you are as nervous as I was in front of those 500 students, your amygdala becomes like the smoke alarm that responds to steam. Almost any face begins to seem hostile. A bored face, a neutral face, even a smiling face can seem hostile.

Becky: That’s why it can be so hard for some people to be comfortable around others. When a smiling stranger seems potentially hostile, it’s not going to be be easy to socialise!

Mark: Right. And that constant signal of danger from the amygdala makes it all but impossible to calm down enough for the intelligent parts of your brain to turn the amygdala off.

Becky: So how can we turn off that danger signal?

Mark: To switch off the alarm we need to change our viewpoint

It’s great that the amygdala becomes more sensitive when we are in a dangerous environment. When danger is all around, great sensitivity to anything that might be a threat is a huge advantage.

But it’s a huge disadvantage if we treat a normal environment as if it were dangerous; like I did as a nervous lecturer just starting out. What we need is some way of changing our view of the situation, some way of convincing the amygdala that this is just a normal situation, and not a dangerous environment.

This technique is called “Cognitive restructuring”. It’s a simple process you can use to help reduce your sensitivity to something that makes you anxious. All it really means is that we change our thinking about something. And that change of thinking leads to a change in how we feel about it.

Research has shown that cognitive restructuring can act to reduce activity in the amygdala and increase activity in the intelligent parts of the brain that switch the amygdala’s alert signal off.

Becky: So that’s really getting to the mechanics of the problem.

Mark: Absolutely, it stops the amygdala from being over sensitive and causing fear when there is really no need for it.

Becky: Great, so how do you go about doing cognitive restructuring?

How to cognitive restruct.

1). Get as relaxed as you can

You need to be in a relaxed state before you start.

One of the best (and quickest!) ways of doing this is 4-7-8 breathing. This just means breathing in (down to your tummy) for 4 seconds, holding the air in for 7 seconds and then a big breath out for 8 seconds.

But, if you have a particular meditative practice or other means of getting yourself into a nice relaxed stare, then do make use of that.

2). Visualise the event that causes anxiety.

Now there’s no need to wallow in your anxious experience here- but you do need to spend enough time thinking about it to allow you to do the next step.

If you begin to feel too anxious then just stop.

Try the 4-7-8 breathing and start again when you are calmer.

3). Pay attention to your thoughts

When you visualise the anxious situation you will almost certainly start having certain thoughts. These are thoughts that occur automatically whenever you face the situation, or even just think about it. For this reason they are called automatic thoughts.

These thoughts are a huge clue to what is really troubling you and becoming aware of these thoughts is one of the important aims of cognitive restructuring.

You see, when you start having those feelings of anxiety, they are accompanied by anxious thoughts, but the thoughts are often hidden from us.

That’s why I say cognitive restructuring is like turning on a light, allowing us to see what is really there.

This is so important because thoughts are something over which we can readily gain control. But feelings are more difficult.

And although we can change our mood once we know how, without changing the thoughts that give rise to negative feelings, they are likely to recur.

So in this step we want to really concentrate on capturing the thoughts that come to mind when we envisage this situation.

And the thoughts we really want to get a handle on are those that are accompanied by anxious feelings.

So notice those thoughts and write them down.

The next thing we need to do is a realistic and objective evaluation of those thoughts.

4). Is there anything to suggest your automatic thoughts might be TRUE?

This is where we start to test these thoughts, to weigh them in our hand and see whether there really is anything to be anxious about.

First, think about, and write down, any evidence that supports the thoughts you identified.

When I was a nervous lecturer, I thought that nobody liked my lectures and that everyone was bored.

I could certainly find evidence to support that. Looking around there were bored looking students and even resentful looking students.

So, if I was doing cognitive restructuring, I would write that evidence down next to the relevant thoughts.

5). Is there anything to suggest your automatic thoughts might be FALSE?

When we have those automatic thoughts we tend to believe them unquestionably. That’s why they can have so much power over us.

But chances are that the evidence isn’t all one way. In this step you think of evidence that doesn’t fit in with the thoughts you identified in step 3.

This is excellent at weakening the hold these automatic thoughts have over us.

It might take a bit of effort to find facts that argue against your automatic thoughts.

But don’t give up! Keep at it and you will find something to balance up the ledger.

So, thinking back to my anxious, early lectures; there were students who came to see me after the lecture to discuss things they found interesting. That’s pretty good evidence that not everyone found my lectures boring. And isn’t it true that some students find pretty much any lecture boring? So it isn’t necessarily ME that’s the problem.

Obviously the more positive evidence you can find the better. But don’t worry if you can only think of one or two things. Remember, all you need is just a bit of evidence that stands against those automatic thoughts.

Again, write this information next to the relevant automatic thoughts.

6). Think about the situation again, putting all the information from steps 4 & 5 together to give a more balanced view.

Becky: So, after going through that you might find that there really are some negative things you need to deal with.

Mark: Yes, you have a more realistic picture of the true situation. There may well be some truth to some of the anxious thoughts you’ve been having. But you now know that there is more to the story.

There is also a brighter side. There are things about the situation that aren’t so daunting.

There have been times when it’s worked out well for you. Or perhaps you’ve learned a lot since you last tried, or maybe there is a new ally on your side.

In my case, I would try to keep in mind that while some students do look bored in my lectures, I know for a fact that at least some of them find it interesting and helpful by getting a hold of our automatic thoughts and bringing them into the light we can judge them objectively and work out whether or not we really have anything to be concerned about.

Becky: So it’s not just a matter of trying to think positively and expecting that to fix everything.

Mark: Right. Notice I said 'concerned' about and not 'anxious' about.

The purpose of cognitive restructuring isn’t just to make ourselves feel better, it’s also to help ourselves to do better. After going through the process, I can see that my anxiety about boring all my students was misplaced.

But I can also see that maybe I needed to do something to improve how I taught. After all, engaged students learn better than bored students. Feeling less anxious means you are much more able to act effectively. And that, in turn, further banishes the anxiety. It’s a virtuous cycle, and it all starts with taking a close look at the thoughts that lie under your feelings.

Becky: The breathing exercise I have learnt before and it was called ‘Heart Math’. I’m trained in EFT Matrix reimprinting and I use that for anxiety in clients and it’s had great results in PTSD. Like what your teaching here, it gets the brain to rethink it’s beliefs and uses meridian points (as used in acupuncture) to tap away the anxiety feelings from the past, so you’re not bothered by them in your future.

Thanks so much for chatting with me Mark I think people will find this information really useful.

Unleash the real you

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Do you hear people talking about being the authentic you, and then you think, I would… if I knew who the real me is!  The truth is we are not one part we are made of lots of parts. Some of our reactions to situations come from the learning in childhood. We don’t really know who we are as we are constantly evolving and changing with circumstances.

The key to unleashing the real you is embracing all of the aspects of who you are.

I love self-development; I wouldn’t be a self-help author and speaker if not. But whilst you are doing the inner work about self-refection, you also have to include an outer acceptance of yourself and the world you’re living in. Without being powerless about changing what doesn’t work!

Outer acceptance is about having compassion for yourself and your reactions. Often you are having a normal reaction to a ‘F*-up’ situation, rather than being ‘F*-up’ yourself!

It’s about finding your voice to express your wants and needs without fear of abandonment or ridicule.  Knowing you are of value and that the real you has a place in this world to be a creative force.

Unleashing the real you isn’t about becoming spiritually selfish, and I see this happen sometimes. People when they first step into the idea that they deserve to have their needs met; inflict those needs upon others irresponsibly. Often feeling that ‘I’m just saying my truth’ which you know will hurt someone else is only half a truth.

The whole truth, if you knew it would hurt them but were only willing to act from your own end of the truth, that’s a half-truth.

The more you can be compassionate towards yourself the more you can be authentic. Because you start to become fearless if you know that you won’t be punished by your inner voice for making a mistake. You know your future won’t be one of regret, so you take bigger steps and make bolder statements.

Personal compassion is the key to showing up at the authentic you.

 

Irrelevant ageing, how to stick a wrinkly finger up and be happy!

dejavu1.1I’d like to rant to you about advertising, and face creams and the sense that anything old is past it and young is great. Even though we secretly all know we were a bit of a twat in our youth. I’d hate to be young now and fear getting old, with all these ritual beauty standards. In fact I would like to go back and tell my younger self a whole load of stuff about having fun and not worrying. I wouldn’t start with ‘wear sunscreen’. But I’m not going to rant about that. Instead I want to encourage you to ignore all the stuff that is telling you to buy lotions and potions to make you look better.

I want you to think about being an ambassador for ageing.

Firstly you don’t have a choice, I mean you do, but you don’t want the alternative! You can love yourself as you move through your life or you can hold onto anything that will slow ageing and worry about those wrinkles thus causing more wrinkles.

Attraction isn’t about what you look like; it’s a glint that you have in your eyes. Beauty is vitality, a love of life and a shine about you. Every line on your face tells the story of your life. I once heard the saying, ‘you grow into the face you deserve’. That might sound harsh but your personality does show in your face as you get older.

I do believe that the way you feel about yourself has an impact on your cells and your body as a whole.

I don’t think polluting your skin with too many products is healthy either. But above all the message in this blog is to love how you are now and love your life. The more you look up at the tops of the trees and not the cracks on the pavement (or your face!) the more joy you have and the more happiness shows on your face. The more attractive you are.

The happy carefree people are the attractive people. Youth is overrated.

Master the art of confidence

pathYears ago I was interviewing radio presenters to be my co presenter for my show on LBC in London. Most of the people came to the interview with a ‘give me a chance’ attitude. We didn’t have the bandwidth to ‘give anyone a chance’ - we needed confidence. At the top of the interview we explained what the job was about, what we needed and why. Every person would then go into how the job was a match to what they were looking for. But only one person really listened to what we needed and then told us what we were looking for. He had the confidence not to sell himself, but to listen. That was BBC 6 Music’s Chris Hawkins. What we found out on the second interview, when I asked him why the nail on his middle finger was blue, was that he had trapped it in the door on the way to the first interview! He never mentioned the pain as he answered our needs effortlessly in the interview, while his finger slowly turned blue.

What Chris really gave us was professionalism and professionalism is a perception you create based on your standards. It’s a standard of service. Once you are clear on your standard of service, you can create a role that delivers that standard of service.

This ‘act as if’ technique comes from a creative idea of what you believe is correct service in that situation.

No matter how unconfident you feel about your own abilities, when you tune into what is needed in a given situation, you can elevate yourself above your fears. 

So here is a list of tips to look confident in any situation in which you haven’t a clue what you’re doing!

1 - Listen to what is required - What is needed in this situation? What is lacking and how can you step into that role. Listen and don’t be afraid to ask questions.

2 - Always react from the best of yourself - Stress makes an ass of us all. If someone acts rudely towards you, decide they are unconscious of their actions. Even when you’re sure it was a deliberate undermining pop at you, react with the professionalism you see lacking in them.

3 - If you’re unsure ask questions, but never put yourself down or say sorry. Everyone is allowed a learning curve. If you embrace your lack of knowledge you won’t look like a numpty.

4 - Act from service first and freak out later. Be professional in the moment and make a deal with yourself to fully embrace your ‘OMG WTF’ later. When you do freak out, do it in an empty toilet with full body actions. Shaking is really good for you and a fantastic way of getting rid of pent up flight or fight stress.

5 - Don’t bond through bitching - Try really hard not to gain alliances by bitching about anyone else. It’s a great way to make friends with the wrong people. We build tribes to feel confident in numbers. But when you do this you’ll only ever be part of a herd and never been seen as a leader of the herd. You make yourself impossible to promote.

Confidence is over-rated; self-faith is greater. Confidence can be knocked, whereas self-faith isn’t about what you do, it is a deep belief in who you are. That comes from your standards of professionalism.

Turning tables on weakness

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I woke up early on Friday morning. Maybe a dream had triggered the memory, and what triggered the dream was a film I saw on Facebook. It was a social experiment film of a transgender woman, being verbally abused in the street. She acts feminine in a Penelope Pitstop style shouting ‘Heeelp Heeelp’ then turns completely masculine and very cockney, grabs the guy and gives him what for in some very colourful language.

It’s hilarious and empowering to watch, even though it was set up. What it triggered was a memory of a situation in which I was attacked in Australia, in a dark suburban street by an aboriginal man. At first he was on the other side of the road and called out to me whilst playing with himself. I took him as a flasher and yelled back ‘My baby brother’s bigger’. He crossed the street and walked behind me.

I stopped, turned and in a posh British accent I said ‘This is a little cliché don’t you think? Dark street, girl alone. What exactly are you planning to do, I mean really? You’re not scaring me, and I warn you: you have picked the wrong girl.’

He said nothing, but kept wanking! So I turned my back on him. That’s when he grabbed me from behind.

I don’t think there is any woman who hasn’t played this scenario out in their mind. I know I had, and I would punch, kick and aim for the balls. But of course reality is very different. I went banshee! Using my nails and teeth, fingers in eye sockets and feet kicking, but mostly gouging and all the time yelling in a cockney accent ‘I’m gonna f**king kill you!’ ‘Think you can mess with me!’ It was so colourful that when the police asked for a word for word account, they were shocked and said, ‘we will just write: shouted obscenities’.

At one point I was on top of him with my hands on his throat, he wriggled out from under me and ran off with me in hot pursuit. Until I realised what I was doing, stopped and returned to the backpackers’ hostel where I was staying.

It’s almost twenty years since that event. Lying in bed I curled my body inwards and thought about how brave I was. Feeling a little sorry for myself I thought about all the times in my life I have had to be brave. I pulled myself in a little tighter and I hugged myself.

Then I fully woke up to myself and remembered:

THESE ARE MY BEST EVER STORIES!

These are the same stories I tell all the time. The hero me stories. I have even told them during stand up shows.

There is only one way to define the difference between brave and stupid and that’s hindsight! If you succeed then it was a brave decision, if you fail it was stupid!

I have travelled the world a lot on my own. I have experienced more kindness and good people than I can tell you about. But it’s only through the villains do we get to be heroes. This isn’t an invitation to be a villain, but it’s also not an invitation to be a victim.

I was falling into that ‘poor me’ as I lay in bed and I started to wonder why, having never felt like this about these events. You might be angry with me for what I am about to say, but I do feel in society we have to be careful not to victimise women. For example, we seem to focus more on the recovery and saving women from abuse than we focus on the abusers and what we can do to help them. I think of Nigella Lawson the UK TV chef whose husband was snapped being physically abusive to her. The focus was all on her and if she would leave him, rather than the focus being on him and his actions.

Afterwards, when I had talked to the police, I found out my attacker was known to them. He was mentally ill and from an institute on that very street. There was a bigger story at play than my incident with him. There often is. But the real thing is not to favour the weakness, but to favour your strengths.

It’s great to have compassion for yourself and your experiences, but allow every experience to make you a hero in the end. Even if you felt it was stupid at the time!

How a dog can ward off the black dog of depression

At the start of his book on self-love, ‘I Heart Me’ Dr David Hamilton credits many of his insights in self-love to his dog Oscar; a two year old labrador. Oscar is sadly no longer with us, but in Oscar’s life, David said he made him laugh every day. Most dog owners will be nodding along with great enthusiasm, but there is more to the science of it as David Hamilton explains in his book ‘I Heart Me’.

There is the production of serotonin and dopamine; the brains’ own versions of morphine and heroin. These brain chemicals can be activated by smiling - even when we don’t feel like it. Dancing works - even when we’d rather not, and also doing silly walks. Now you have an excuse - it’s science!

I worked in theatre as a stage manager for many years. We have what we termed as ‘Doctor showbiz’, which was a term to explain that no matter how exhausted or ill you were feeling and no matter how little you felt like going on stage, once on stage Dr showbiz would click in and you would feel a whole lot better. It helped that I predominately worked on musicals, which were full of jazz hands and singing. Having read David’s book, I now see Dr showbiz was created by our own happy chemicals in the brain being activated by the body movement and face-grinning required for performance.

David Hamilton also says that standing in a power posture for as little as a minute can change how we feel about ourselves. A power posture is that iconic wonder woman pose, hands on hips with elbows bent. Experiments have taken place with people in mock job interviews.

Those who did the power pose before the interview would have got the job more often than those who didn't in the fake interview experiments, even though it was a blind experiment and the interviewer didn’t know who was who.

So what does all this have to do with dogs? Well, I’m coming to that.

It’s been a tough few weeks, . I decided to join a gym, as I know swimming laps of a pool and taking a few extra yoga classes are good for helping me to stay balanced emotionally. That was until I got there and remembered the horror of the female changing rooms. Getting changed as quickly as possible in an over-crowed room, I headed to the pool. On the way back I realised I had forgotten to take my towel and now I would have to drip to the locker. I grab my towel and headed to the shower to hear the yell of a very tall naked woman who had taken personal offence to the puddle of water I left behind, as if I had squatted and taken a widdle. An attempt at a public shaming is what happened next. I held my own explaining I was new to the gym, but I held back from guilting her with the ‘my step dad just died’ card. As David also points out in his book 'you never know what is going on in someone else's life, best not to judge!'

By the time I got home I was in a horrid funk. I lived in an unfriendly world, what was the point of anything. I pulled my wet gym gear out of my bag along with David Hamilton’s book, now with newly sodden edges.

Being greeted at the door by a dog no matter where you have been is the best thing ever. Kash, a nine year old Cavachon, grabbed a toy and tried to temp me with it. I’m not in the mood, but it’s not her fault, so I begin to play even though there really is nothing else I want to do other than go back to bed. Of course you can’t play with a dog, unless you are willing to get with it. They know when you’re not into it. So I fake it at first. When playing with a dog you find you have to make the noises, the face expressions and really care about getting that squeaky thing. All of which creates the Dr showbiz effect. It is acting after all! After two minutes, the woman at the gym had faded into a distant memory. This is living in the moment, and this is being alive.

I slung the swimming costume over the line in the garden and headed on out to the park with the dog and a ball. On the way I took the opportunity to smile at everyone and even took part in a little silly walk en route.

I’m not saying we should gloss over those deep and dark emotions that we all sadly have to face at some point in our lives, but I do believe the love of a good dog can protect us and ward off that black dog of depression. The love of a dog is truly transformational, and if you don’t have one I recommend Borrowmydoggy.com’.

Dr David Hamilton and myself will be appearing at the Alma Tavern theatre in Bristol with a show, which is a blend of self-help and comedy. It’s called ‘It’s all about me: the science and comedy of self-love’ and is on June 6th, followed by a workshop the next day ‘From self-love to Self-awesome’, all about stepping into your authentic greatness.

Healing the libido of a broken married man

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It's common in the marriage for the sex to die over time. You become partners in projects, running the house and having kids. The dynamic differences between the man and woman start to blend, as we find ourselves waring matching jackets and finishing each other's sentences. Then the list of unsaid announces build, until it becomes impossible to want to have sex with the same person you want to grab around the neck and wobble the head of. The partnership and the friendship maybe there and solid. One partner may like to keep the love alive, but the other has a headache. Other time it's done, but like a washing machine at the end of its cycle, it can take a while for the door to open with a click and you can pack up your laundry.

Then into the frame steps the marriage rescuer, she's young, free and unlikely has kids. She is the other woman, and she will save this marriage. Because the husband cant tolerate a sexless life and he may also be in need of repair after being a bit broken from a string of sexual attempts that got rejected. A low libido and a girl who is really into him is a winning combination.

He might play with her heart like a string quartet and make some beautiful music, but it is his wife that plays the fiddle he will dance to.

When a woman gives birth a man’s child, especially if he watched the birth, a hormone is realised that bonds the man to the mother. A little like a mother having 'the baby brain' full of the love hormone oxytocin, a man has a similar reaction.

In my private practice it has come to my attention that we have stepped into a new family paradigm and I'm not convinced enough people have noticed the enormity of it.  Twenty five to thirty years ago, mothers were telling daughters 'all men are only after one thing'. There was a generation of crap dads. These new dads grew up with those crap dads and are now the most amazing dads and no matter what they won't leave their families. However the women are now projecting on to them the teachings of their mothers and no matter what he does, he I tarred with the same brush and in many, not all but in many cases, the men are holding fast to their family's whilst getting a ego, libido and mojo bashing from inside their own homes.

The marriage rescuer, isn't just saving the marriage, she is saving the man. She can sometimes show up when the marriage is over and do a broken wing repair job in time to watch him fly and feather a nest with someone else. As a man needs to be a hero and will hardily ever stay in a relationship with the woman who saves him. That's his job.   

The marriage rescuer never gets to keep the guy, but the kids get to keep a daddy due to her external support. She will remain, daddies little secret and the key to holding his family together.

For her she gets to escape the things she heard through-out her childhood ‘all men are bastards’ with this arrangement, she gets to be the one who is saved the real heartache of being the woman in the dark.

Having a birth 'do-over' provides a personality make-over!

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I love understanding how we tick, so the moment Sharon King invited me on her EFT Matrix Birth Reimprinting three day workshop I was in. It was full of really interesting facts!

Did you know -

  • The egg that was fertilised to bring you into the world, was formed in your granny! Your Mum was born with all of her eggs for fertility already inside her!
  • Oxytocin the love hormone we create when we have a baby, when making love, in a nice hot bath, when giving birth also needs to be present to be able to have a poo! So if your not fully comfortable, you won't GO! (Ok forgive me for that one!)
  • Natural birth babies placed on the mothers belly right after birth, will make its first crawl up towards the breast and start to suckle unaided.

But the big jaw drop for me was about incubators. When I was born I was shipped off to one of those for an hour or so. That first hour when the baby is born is when the baby's brain develops it’s capacity for bonding. It seems that my passion for lighting (I was a theatrical lighting designer) is because I bonded with the florescent light above my head. That sounds funny, but I'm sadly not joking! ‘You're too independent, why won’t you let me help you’ is an echo that has followed me around through-out my… past relationships!   

Through Sharon’s work I was able to go back to the point of my birth, (even though I thought I couldn’t remember it) and create a new birth. One where I could have time and bond with my Mum. If the subconscious mind can’t tell the difference between reality in the here and now and a strong visualisation we can rewrite our history and reprogram the wiring of the brain.

I am now qualified to do this work with my clients. It’s powerful stuff.

See more about Sharon King's work here Her book will be out soon and I'll make sure I review it for you.

The joy of out takes!

A few years ago I set up a company with a friend called Open Beyond. When the recession hit we were watching many of our friends who were coaches and the like struggle. I was also struggling, I went from an easy successful business to having to learn how to market myself. I hated it!

You see, self development is a luxury item when survival has to come first for people.

Open beyond was a platform to help people in the self-development industry create an income from on-line courses. But we were ahead of our time, and many people didn’t believe on-line education would be as good as workshops. Well the workshop bums on seats got skinny and many places were offering two bums for the price of one.

Open beyond folded when Microsoft did an up grade and the system we were using became too down grade!

Now everyone is into on-line education. I love it and I have loved it for years. I have now got a new platform with lots of bells and whistles and I am launching my ‘Get clear on your book idea’ six part course next week. This is the first of a tumbling of ideas, not just for will be authors, but all sorts of topics I can present cost effectively as I’m not paying room hire!

It has been a really big learning curve doing all the tech and editing myself. You see these things on-line for example Marie Forleo’s ‘Marie TV’ and it looks easy. So I thought I would share with you some of the things that can go wrong in filming. Just for the fun of it ;)

Get over the fear of writing a book - A Mike Dooley interview

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Do you believe fear is holding you back from writing your book?

Well guess what, it’s not! Fear isn’t holding you back, the perception that fear is a bad thing is what is really holding you back.

Ok, I get it, fear sucks; it makes you feel weird and your tummy goes tight. We associate fear with some really bad things, the ‘I got home ok’ call that doesn’t come, finding a foreboding lump, losing your job when you have kids to feed. We fear things that often haven’t and might never happen. When it comes to living your dreams we fear success, failure and looking stupid.

Fear is normal; it tells us that what we are doing matters. You will never be clear of fear for any great undertaking you ever do; the trick is to do it anyway. The emotional rewards and personal transformation would not be possible without the existence of the fear in the first place. Use fear as a motivational tool for your writing, it proves you’re human… Congratulations! It matters! 

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I talked to author Mike Dooley about the subject of fear, and he's what he had to say about writing. Very inspirational!