From Stress to Peace

During this global pandemic it’s easy for us to get caught up in the distress, overwhelm and anxiety of what is happening to people and economies of all countries – and especially those who are our nearest and dearest. You may worry about your own health and well being – that is normal. I will always be an advocate of taking care of your mind, body and spirit. These 3 parts are all interconnected and need to be nurtured and looked after. When your mind is whirling away doing whatever you can to relax your body and stay grounded. Every time you feel yourself slipping into an anxious state acknowledge your feelings – they are valid. On my twice weekly group call, I shared 7 ways you can practice daily, which may help you to feel more grounded and relaxed especially during this often overwhelming time. 1.  Close your eyes, still your mind. Take a deep breath in through your nose and slowly count to 3, hold your breath for the count of 3 and exhale from your mouth slowly. Repeat this for 3 rounds. How do you feel now? 2.  Get outside however you can. Most of us are allowed outside for one hour of exercise a day. Even if it means going out in the evening, take that hour and consciously take notice and look at the beauty of nature all around you. Time time to feel the air on your skin, is it cold, warm? What signs of spring can you see? Colours, fragrances. Can you hear bird sound? Notice how spring continues to unfurl. Feel your body soften as you slow down. 3.  When you get out of bed in the morning, imagine stepping into or pulling up a big, gorgeous bubble around you – a protective shield. You can imagine it to be any colour your like. Set an intention for this bubble to keep all negative energies away from ‘getting to you’ – from other people (energy vampires), upsetting Covid-19 stories in the news and anything else you would like to be protected from. I always imagine that those negative energies just ‘ping’ off me, like arrows failing to hit a target. 4.  One of my guides, Gabrielle Bernstein has a beautiful de-stress and empowering tool. I’ve been using this for years. Touch your index finger against your thumb and then each finger your thumb in turn and say “peace, begins, with, me.” You can choose another positive feeling – and say “joy, begins, with, me”. Practice this until you feel at peace. 5.  Take time each day to do something that takes you out of stress and into peace. What do you love to do for you? What will you give yourself permission to do? Have a bubble bath? Yoga? Read a book? Write a letter to a friend or loved one? 6.  Create or double down on daily spiritual practice. Take time each day to still you mind during meditation, burn incense, defuse essential oil, listen to devotional music. Read an inspiring book – even if that means dipping in and reading random passages and pages. 7.  Each day, say to yourself and/or write down what you are grateful for we can easily overlook our blessings. The roof over our head, food in our cupboards, the courageous NHS and all front line workers… technology to keep in touch with family and friends. The increased community spirit and volunteers behind the scenes who make life so much better for all of us. We will get through this time. We are all in this together. It’s normal for you to feel stressed and that is ok – it’s also ok to move into peace and calm. I’m here for you.

Jan, where did it go?

Perhaps you’re like me and although we’re on day 5 of February, you don’t quite feel like you’ve got yourself going yet?  Anyone seen January? I’m sure I had it some place…  My truth is my New Years Eve was a sad one.  I heard from my Aunt who lives in Sri Lanka that my Uncle Graham had passed away.  It wasn’t a total shock as we’d heard he had been unwell over the last couple of months, but never the less, the news came like a slap in the face.  My Aunt (his wife) send me a very brief email to say he’d died – and I didn’t know who else she’d informed.  One of the big reasons I moved to Devon was so that I could nurture my relationship with my parents – and be around them more often.  I wiped my tears, put on my boots and drove the 13 minutes to my parents home, not knowing if they knew or not. They didn’t.  And with a tight hug, I broke the news to my Mum that her beloved brother had passed. Somethings in life just jolt you, don’t they?  A wake up call of types. When there is no funeral to attend, no knowledge if it’s happened already, it leaves you with a sense of non-closure.  As a family, we’ve decided to have a ‘Graham Day’ in May, the day before what would have been his next birthday. That feels better. I started looking though old family photo albums, looking at pictures of my Uncle and it made me realise how important physical photos are and what a comfort they can become. So since then, I’ve begun a big project of converting my digital photos (many lost, some retrieved through Facebook) into prints and filling photo albums in date order.  I’m working back from the start of this new year until they join up with my former albums that stopped in 1999… the year my ex husband and I parted, when I lost the appetite to continue creating them. I’ve spent much of January doing this, in between supporting my clients and working with my coach.  Giving myself permission to heal and do what lights me up. As an empty nester, it feels like the right time to start this project which has been on my mind for years – something I’ve kept putting off.   Are you like me – have your digital photos scattered on external hard drives, in the Cloud, social media, with others and on your phone?  Would you like to put them into albums or perhaps boxes so you can actually hold and look at them? So this is my 2019 big project. And it’s lovely reliving the memories. Oh and I joined Slimming World last week!  All those cakes I’ve been baking and the delicious Devon cream team have caught up with me… darn it!  I intend to lose a stone by April. This first week I lost 1.5 lbs just by cutting out the cake.. chocolate…nom nom… biscuits…  yum…  (I’m going to pretend I haven’t seen the box of Victoria Biscuits I stashed away for Christmas that remain unopened!)  Stop calling to me!!! 😉  I am strong, I can do this. I am interested, what are your plans for this year – short term and longer term? Just email me and let me know! Much love Ali xx

Random acts of kindness

It’s been such a lovely Christmas time, spending it with family here in Devon. Laughing, eating and enjoying the seaside. Yesterday Becky and I met an elderly gentleman who chatted to us in Sidmouth. It hadn’t been a particularly happy time for him as his wife had recently passed away and then his brother just before Christmas. We let him talk, watched him light up as he talked about his wife, poetry and his time leading scout troups in his earlier years. I gave this strange a kiss when we said good bye… I think our chance meeting brought us both a great deal of warmth on a chilly day. If you know of an elder who maybe lonely, please go and visit them or call them, let’s each of us make a difference, it’s a win win I assure you ❤️

Book ‘Dream Time’

Yes! A thousand times Yes! Dreaming is good for your soul. Dreaming is allowing yourself to break free from the expectations of others or following the herd and instead opening yourself up to discover what deeply resonates within you. Your wisdom is within. Give yourself time to dream, book ‘dream time’ ‘still time’ into you week ☺️ maybe it’s when you walk the dog, relax in a luxurious bath, meditate, journal, awake first thing, are on a road trip, doodle, or gaze into a fire… hey even when you do the washing up! Allow whatever ideas bubble up from within to be witnessed and honoured by you. Write them down as we all know that dreams can often fade. Take baby steps towards making your dreams come true! What are you dreaming of? How could you make things easier? More fun? What’s next?

Make time to play

When both my girls had grown and flown, I was living alone. I missed the crazy play we enjoyed, like floating trays of dinner in the bath. Late night drives during school/college holidays into London at what ‘should be bedtime’ for no good reason other than to picnic on Westminster Bridge in the car – so much fun. Putting on accents (I was terrible, btw). Anna my younger daughter picking me or Becky up and walking around with us playfully protesting and asking her to put us down. Hiding and jumping out on each other! We were pretty childish and we LOVED it! So when they had gone, it felt so quiet and I felt lost, disconnected from a part of myself and old. After selling up, putting my things into storage and travelling around the UK, I ensured that fun was high on my agenda, and the loneliness faded away. Now in my new chapter with Andrew, we both laugh and play everyday. Usually at ourselves. And it’s usually quite childish 😂 and I feel young again, it’s a special kind of lightness. ❤️ Are you getting enough ‘fun, laughter and playtime’ into your days?  What would you like to introduce into your day/week?