session, this person had very gently started to open up again.
A few days later, I saw them again, and thanks to the love and support and activities they had joined in with at the Retreat, there was such a marked difference in their vibe.
They paused, as they came in to the Coach House, and read the message on the white board, slowly taking it in. I acknowledged the changes I felt from them, and they confirmed that they were feeling very different.
We carried on with the session and near the end we were talking about how when we are looking after ourselves, giving ourselves that self-love, care and attention, we top up our tanks and we do start to walk taller, breathe deeper and look outward more.
I pointed out to this courageous lady that the white board had been there the previous time, and that the message had been there the previous time as well. But when we are struggling, down, when we are closed up, or closed off, we literally don't see what there is around us. When we are topped up, we start to notice more, spot opportunities, get in to conversations, have clarity as to what we are after, and it blows me away, every time, what can come in to our life when we are coming from that topped up, green zone, kinda place.
If you are honest with yourself, where do you feel you are at now? Self care isn't just about pretty nails and spas, it really needs to be a non-negotiable in our lives for so many reasons, and this is only one of them.
Liz our Life Coach
Kia ora e te whānau
Its been week of extremes in Taranaki. Ranging from beautiful, unseasonably warm days with our majestic maunga in full view, to torrential, unstoppable rain and flooding. The streams we have on stie are mostly gentle trickles around the site. Yet last week they turned into raging rivers, levels rising alarmingly and flooding the delighted ducks in their area. We can see still the marks in the banks of how high the streams rose, the acculmulation of debris brought in by the extra water and grass flattened around the edges. The water only stayed very high for a few hours and then settled down but the effects can still be seen. Sometimes life is like that for us. Something happens that overwhelms us with its intensity, the intiail event can be relatively short-lived but often the consequences linger and stay with us for a long time afterwards. How do we cope with the crisis and then the after effects?
At our daily reflection-time on that downpour day, we ventured where angels sometimes fear to tread. We talked about our tears. Bloke-tears; pent-up tears; tears we brush aside; the tears that won't seem to surface when needed; where tears have been 'disallowed' or 'against the rules', or 'a sign of weakness' in childhood, or in a particular relationship. Where tears are a 'trigger' from our past. The spectacular rainfall of that day was powerfully symbolic of what was being carried, not just by those present for the refleciton, but much more widely, by our community's grief and loss. I wonder where all that tear-related negativity comes from, in our social or cultural wiring; I see that it was something I trotted out when I was younger, because that was what I had been taught and modelled (the cry-baby stuff). I guess it's something to do with the stiff upper lip or to do with a mistaken view that expressing emotion is somehow embarrassing or awkward - like we would do better to pretend to be androids or something. Yet it's generally ok to laugh - and that’s just another physical expression of a feeling deep within. Crying can activate the body in a healthy way. Studies of the various kinds of tears have found that emotional tears contain higher levels of stress hormones than do reflex tears (the ones that form when you get something in your eye).
We often talk, at the Retreat, of keeping your tanks topped up. That means remembering to do some of that stuff that energises you, whether it is spending time with loved ones, friends, going for a walk, doing gardening, watching a good movie, enjoying a good coffee outdoors - whatever it is. It is important to keep on top of the good stuff, so that we have reserves to deal with life's curved balls. Our Life Coaching encourages this especially and Coach-Liz works with people to help them identify the good stuff as well as offering techniques to deal with the negative (or 'red zone') stuff. A new way of seeing our own situation can make all the difference. Our Outreach Support Workers also offer support, with a compassionate, caring, one-on-one peer-support approach. Haivng someone who is on your team and there to offer a listening ear can make all the difference. We also offer a buddied up, secure, online journaling system, where many write regularly as an outlet. This journaling or blogging is done alongside your buddy who is there to encourage you as well as reflect when, just maybe, you are being too harsh on yourself! Regular journaling can be truly healing - especially when we find it difficult to speak the words. It offers an outlet for thoughts that may be churning or racing; getting them down on 'paper' can be a true relief and a release. Over time, we begin to spot our own patterns and notice tricky defaults before they become a problem once again! It takes that bit of discipline to journal regularly (how many of us have started a new diary... done those first couple of entries, then happened upon the book a few months later....!). Interested in giving it a go? Drop us a reply to this email to learn more.
sulk. He doesn't worry about what might happen, he never has a problem sleeping!
A cellphone provider ran an advertising campaign a few years ago called Be More Dog, which seems to sum it up qiute well. Sometimes our worries stop us enjoying a good moment, refocussing our attention on the good things we have, giving them more attention, can help balance out all that we are going through. The Retreat's ethos is summed up in 'Space to Breathe'. But that's a way of life, rather than a specific place. This newsletter comes with encouragement to make that space, snatch moments of it if necessary in our busy lives; to counter all the busyness.
Thank you for being part of the conversation, and for taking the time to read our newsletter - we always, always value your responses, and simply being 'all in this together' :)
EO, Taranaki Retreat
Liz, our Life Coach often finds that when people start the journey of reconnecting back to themselves and finding the things that really bring them joy, it is people's creative side that has long been surpressed/pushed down/pushed under the bed/stuffed in a cupboard or forgotten about altogether...
Often, Liz finds that this can be poetry, how people used to love to write and let the words flow, how it used to be healing/inspiring or bring hope.
So now Liz is on a mission to get a poetry book published with a collection of people's works, be it poetry or prose, as a fundraiser for the Retreat.
Are you keen to be part of this project? Would you like to see your work in print? Have you been looking for a way to support the Retreat, but not sure how? Maybe this is it!
Keen to know more? Please email Liz at email@example.com
Connection to me is vital, and I see four different areas that connection is important to me. Firstly some will have a connection with a Higher Self or Being, the Universe, or God, and the relationship and connection you have there.
Secondly, it is how we are connected with those around us, we know that different people come in
to our lives at different times and for different reasons, and as above some people love having lots
of people around them, and others are much more focussed on having a trusted inner circle. Quality
over quantity. There is no right or wrong, different people have different needs.
Thirdly, is how well connected are we with ourselves, and that could be anything from how well we
know ourselves to how much we love ourselves, what makes us tick, what makes our heart sing,
what makes us sad, what do we need, what is on our bliss list when it comes to self care, and it is
this one that is the real core for me and the journey I go on with a lot of my clients.
Fourthly, how are we connecting with nature, our environment, the world around us. Are we getting out enough, fresh air, toes in the sand, walking mindfully through the bush, or sitting watching the water? Whatever may be your thing.
When you look at these three, does one of them stand out to you? Why's that? Is it because you feel you have a great circle of support and friends for example, it stands out in a positive way, or maybe one stands out because it isn't happening, and its standing out in a negative way. When we can identify what we are feeling disconnected to, then we can start identifying things that will help.
We can often turn to people as our go to when we are struggling, or maybe a particular person, often a partner. When we can identify that there are other ways to help us feel connected and supported, this can become a healthier way to meet our needs for ourselves and ultimately heal.
What do you feel would help you feel more connected right now?
Liz our Life Coach
iFor some, Lockdown, Level 4 will seem a distant memory. Life has started happening again, and whether that means the old normal for you or a new normal, it certainly didn't take long for our roads to get busy and things to start moving again.
Whatever Lockdown held for you, this could be the time for rethinking the next chapter. These choices may have been out of your control through job loss, change in housing situation or plans in some way. Or maybe it has given you time to review where you are at, and how you want to make some changes in life.
We can so easily get caught in routine, and stick with what we have always known and done, but now could be a time for you to have a think as to what you want the next chapter to look like.
Did you enjoy more family time during Lockdown? How can that be brought in on a more regular basis? Did you get out and walk more, can that be part of a regular routine?
Or maybe Lockdown highlighted what you don't want more of. Maybe it highlighted the number of hours you have been working, or that actually life has been lived at a crazy speed up till now, and is there a way of slowing it down again.
Maybe it has shown you changes that you want to make in your life, or for the environment. Maybe it is now time for you to take a different route on your career path, to retrain and maybe fulfil some of those dreams.
Maybe it is time to be gentle on yourself, to give yourself a break, to just focus on the basics, and ensure they are covered.
Maybe it is time to reach out and ask for help.
We are always here.
Liz our Life Coach
Kotahihanga - Recovery Together: We Got This
Kia ora e te whānau,
We are so thankful to be able to be fully operational for our Residential Guests - it has been a looooong haul operating through our Community Outreach without the Safe Sanctuary of the Retreat to be alongside people in need of that extra Space to Breathe.
We acknowledge the tough challenges of these unprecedented times - and this last week has seen a huge influx of people reaching out for support. We are just so thankful that people are indeed reaching out.
We have heard that 'unprecedented' word so much recently. Yet, on a personal level, so much of what we have to deal with is unprecedented for us. Life is full of changes as we grow up, as our family changes, relationships evolve, jobs, children, housing - the list of situations we have to face, that we have never faced before, is huge. And that is why the Retreat exists; the pearl formed from the grit of suffering. We firmly believe that we all need support at some point in our lives, no matter our background.
There is no shame in asking for help; our whole team have faced their own challenges, and know that life throws us curve balls that sometimes are too big to catch on their own. Sometimes the supporters need to be supported and sometimes the supported can become the supporters. The very existence of the Retreat, which was built through huge gifts of time as well as money by this community shows without a doubt that we are all in this together and to survive we need to look out for each other.
Meanwhile.... We have SUCH exciting news to share with you! Watch this space - we'll be in touch next week with more. For now:
You'll be much in our thoughts over the long weekend. Very very much hoping that there will be some good times in store for you over the break.
Jamie, and all at Taranaki Retreat
PS: Click here to read last week's newsletter, and to flick through further resources in our blog.
Probably the most out of date title for this blog! They started changing quite quickly a few weeks back. We have been asked to change and adapy regularly at the moment. Whether it was changing how we shop, what we do with our time, how we work, how we support kids, how we move our bodies, whether we have work to go back to, how we travel, the list goes on of how we have been changing and adapting recently, and there will be more to come as we move further through Level 2 and beyond. (Sounds a bit like Buzz Lightyear from Toy Story - to infinity and beyond....)
Anyhoo, even if we are fully supportive of the restrictions that have been in place recently and can understand why they have been necessary, it can still be hard to adapt to change. A wise man once told me that change comes from chance, choice or chaos. Chance being that random conversation that led to an opportunity, or I remember someone telling me the story of how they were meant to be going to Australia for a holiday, their plane got diverted over here for some reason, they ended up with a stopover in Auckland, went out for the evening, started to like what they were seeing, so didn't get on the plane the next day, had their holiday here, went home, sold their house and then moved over here. So a big change purely down to chance and a diverted plane.
Change through choice is when we make those steps, take those decisions to make some changes in our life, whatever area of our life it may be, changing our job, moving out of somewhere, ending (or starting) a relationship, changing eating patterns or lifestyle habits. Change coming through our call, our decision, our taking responsibility for our lives.
Finally, change through chaos, for example a pandemic. Again where something has happened or is going on around us, and was not something we had directed. It may be the end of a relationship, the loss of someone, a landlord wanting their house back, a redundancy, all things that don't feel in our control.
And maybe we don't have control, but we do have control over how we respond to any of these ways of change, but particularly the last one. We may not have felt in control over these weeks, or even now dealing with the ripple effects. But we can control how we respond. This could look like researching and finding out what our options are, reaching out for help, getting a support crew around us, getting clear on what we want the next chapter to look like, being conscious of how we are looking after ourselves, recharging ourselves, so that we are giving ourselves the best chance of turning things around.
Do you feel you want to be making some changes, or maybe its got to a stage where you feel you need to be making some changes, but not quite sure what some of those next steps are, why not get in touch with the Retreat and have a chat, there are many many options and ways of supporting you and getting you moving forward again.
Liz the Life Coach - Some of my favourite times working with clients are when they are on that point of change. It can be daunting but its made so much easier sharing the journey with someone, whether that be a coach, another therapist, a good friend or positive family member.
Kotahihanga - It ain't easy, reaching out
Kia ora, e te Whānau,
Always been the strong one?
Find it massively awkward to ask for support?
Are you caring for others? Sometimes it feels like a juggling act!
Sometimes the hardest thing going can be putting up your hand for that little bit of support. We know that feeling of not wanting to be a burden on others; yet deep-down we know reaching out to someone who we trust or someone we have a connection with........... can help. It goes back to that old saying, ‘a problem shared is a problem halved’. The moment we reach out to someone who we confide in, it allows us to process what is happening for us. It can feel hard to ask for help when we’re always the ones that needs to be strong for others, but connecting and sharing our stuff with someone who is open to listening, can make a a world of difference. We feel lighter, have space to heal, forgive others AND ourselves.
Kotahitanga- unity, connectedness, collective action and collaborative recovery
Aroha - that well-used vital word - translates as showing love and appreciation to someone. It is an action word; how do you show love and support to someone you care about? Sometimes going the extra mile to call someone, instead of texing or using social media to communicate, can show loved ones that you have put in the effort to maintain that relationship. Acts of kindness are gold. Never underestimate the power of ‘showing up, or being there' for somebody. Often we don’t realise that our loved ones are just waiting for that opportunity to share and connect. If you haven’t heard from them for a while, check in, make an effort, show up, make the time for that cup of tea.
And don't forget about you. Self care is just as important as feeding your cats, or your children. It never helps to deny your wairua the nourishment that it needs to endure the long haul. So remember, 'Do more of the things that light your soul up’.
The purpose of community is the uphold the philosophy of ‘no one gets left behind’. A whakatauki or proverb that we may have heard time to time, ‘e Waka eke noa’ a canoe which we are all in with no exception’ or 'Naku to rou rou nou Te rou rou, ka ora ai te iwi e' - with your basket and my basket, the people will be well. These whakatauki highlight the importance of collective action, community and connectedness.
The Retreat is made up of a beautiful whānau of volunteers and staff; we are a wonderfully eclectic mix - each one bringing our lived-experience with us. Our objective is to match the need shared to the right support person from that mix; so that, when you do reach out, there is a good connection waiting for you. Sometimes, people find the easiest way is to reach out, as if their inquiry were for someone else... telling the story, and speaking hypothetically. We welcome that approach too.
Why not click this link right now, and start the process of halving that problem?
With much aroha from us lot, on behalf of the well-over 100 people who make up our team.
When people come to stay as Guests at the Retreat, we talk about taking time out to breathe – this means eating well, sleeping well, keeping our bodies moving, being mindful, and connecting with others. Sound like stating the obvious? I guess that's because they are the critical building blocks that we ALL need to come back to, especially during times of increased stress. So, this week we want to go back to basics, to relook at how we can support our own well-being and increase resiliency everyday.
Here are some of the ways you can support yourself, and also some things we have found inspiring over the last few weeks!
We have been missing our shared kai with our Retreat Guests, and our weekly lodge baking with volunteer baking-guru Jude. Some peopel have enjoyed having more time to cook – there are so many resources online but we love the BBC Good Food site where you can search via ingredient, specialist food type, and they have great options for singles to large whānau and people on tight budgets!
For some of us, the last few weeks have meant a total change in routine, or perhaps a lack of routine all together! If this is you, try the following tips for a good nights sleep:
Research shows a strong correlation between physical activity and well being. There are so many options for exercise it can be totally overwhelming. Some of our favorites are back to basics like gardening, walking, stretching, dancing (like no ones watching), and playing with the kids or pets outside. Here’s a little inspiration!
How we all need this. Call us for a chat during office hours. We are here to provide support and can talk you through the options. If you prefer to write then we have supported online blogging. If you experience prolonged anxiety or are unsure if what's happening for you is more than what's to be expected, reach out and we can chat this through and provide information and education about responses to stress and trauma.
We are also knowledgeable about other organisations within our community that could provide specialist support, sometimes finding the right information for you can be tricky or feel too hard.
For many of us a fantastic to way to be ‘in the moment’ is to head out into nature, and, at last, we are free to take that beautiful hike while the weather is still good.
Music and the arts are also wonderful ways to take a breath from day to day stresses, take some time out from everything to do what you enjoy, listen to music, get creative, a dose of positive activity can leave you feeling stronger inside.
For a wee mindful pause right now, check out this beautiful performance.
We got this whånau. One day at a time.
Jamie, and all at Taranaki Retreat
Want to make a difference, but funds are low, here are some ideas that may help...
Clean out your pantry at home and donate what you don’t need, use or want anymore. I mean everyone has a random can of something that’s been hiding in the pantry for a while right? Kai Pantries are a great place to drop any excess off or your local food bank.
Recycle, as much as possible, set up a recycling system for your home or work, start small and get the hang of it, the planet will be grateful.
Thank an Essential Worker, if you see them, say thanks! or email or by way of social media, it only takes a minute to make someone feel appreciated and they’ve been more essential than ever lately.
Volunteer in your area, there is something for everyone on a small or large scale and even things that you can do from home. Use your passion, whether it’s animals, kids, people or connection to find the right fit for you. Once a week, once a month, once a year, everything helps.
Shop Local, when you are spending - your town, your city, New Zealand, more than ever all of our businesses need us to support them whether your spending $1 or $100.
Give Blood. It doesn’t take long and can help so many people and maybe even save a life. Check out nzblood.co.nz to see if you are eligible to donate, where and when.
Donate to your local Op Shop, if it doesn’t spark joy anymore, thank it for its service and pass it on for someone else to enjoy and your favourite Op Shop to profit from.
Adopt a Pet that needs a home, change their life and yours. Pets find their way into shelters for many reasons, my in-laws just adopted a 7 year old dog before lockdown as the 96 years old owner was going into a rest home and they will all keep in touch - heart swell right there.
Adopt a Neighbour. Whether it’s a quick hello over the fence, a wave out the window or having a cuppa, there are many Kiwis that have no family in the area or even in NZ. You’ll get as much out of the relationship as they will.
Pass Books and Magazines onto family and friends. You never know what they might find interesting, educational or motivating or donate used books to a local café.
Plant a couple of extra seeds in your veggie garden and share the love and produce around when it’s ready. You might have fruit trees in your garden too, a bag of fruit or a few veggies may make a difference to someone’s budget.
When Baking at Home double the recipe and share the love with friends and neighbours. It’s a special way to connect and catch up with folks.
Show your Happiness for someone else’s success! Offer to help them to continue with their success, we all have different skills that we can share.
Welcome In new members to your neighbourhood and community, they will acclimate to the neighbourhood quicker and you’ll make a new friend or three.
Leave Messages with your favourite quotes in library books, on café tables, the bus or train. You’ll brighten up someone’s day and maybe start a chain of good vibes.
Mentor or Tutor someone you know. You might be an expert in a subject, have a love of teaching or a wealth of knowledge in business that could really help someone with their future plans.
Community Garden. Find some like minded gardeners in your area and create a sustainable community garden. Start small and watch how it grows as you meet new people and create a central hub for all those with green fingers.
Clean up an Area. It might be the local beach, walking track or park, by taking pride in a communal area you might just inspire others to keep it tidy or to work on tidying a different area.
Exercise / walk /run with a friend or neighbour, some folk like the company and motivation to exercise together, help them to get active and you in the process, it’s a win win.
Visit Aged Care homes in your community. Call in and talk to the office manager and activities coordinator to see if you can share any of your time and talent - singing (if you can sing that is), reading, music or just company and chatting.
Tech Support. Teach the young and old in your community how to use a computer, ipad or mobile phone. It might be the main way they could keep in touch with family and friends out of town or out of the country. You remember how daunting it was with a new device but practice and patience does wonders.
Transportation. Escort neighbours, friends or family to the shops when you’re going if they don’t have a car or carpool to work for companionship and to save some dollars on gas.
Leave a review. Pleased your local cafe has opened up again, or got a favourite local business that you support, why not leave them a review or contact them to thank them?
Jigsaw Puzzles, you either love them or you don’t. If you do love them check with your local Op Shops if they need a puzzle checker. I didn’t know it was a thing but it totally is, all puzzles are checked before they go out to sale.
Set Up a Driveway, street, neighbourhood whatsapp, facebook messenger group so everyone can communicate easily and help each other out if and when needed.
Start a Book or Cooking Club. In person or online, there’s something special about sharing your thoughts on what you’ve just read or made. The ripple effect from a club based around people’s passions can be magical
Kombucha mania is sweeping the country, if you’re making it at home ask around and see if anyone is interested in learning how to make it or maybe a local is on the hunt for a scoby.
Sport, if sport is your thang see if you can use your skill, talent and time to help a local school or club. It will give you all, all the feels.
Phone someone you haven’t spoken to or connected with for a while. It’s always nice to know someone is thinking about you and you sometimes don’t know what people are dealing with so a call for no other reason than to say HI can be real nice.
Turn Up to a Community meeting, a party, a club, a book reading. Show up by yourself or take some friends and make that hosts day. You know how it feels when you’re the host and you wonder if anyone is going to be there on the night.
Share a Meal with a new friend, an old friend or a neighbour you know is alone. Breaking bread together is a human universal experience, it can be so simple to do but so powerful for you both.
Any others you can think of? Do please share them in the comments.
Compiled by Liz the Life Coach.
Compiled from a recent post on our Facebook page. Thank you to our followers that contributed. If you know of any others please do comment on this blog for others to benefit from.
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A collaboblog! Contributed to by a group of awesome people on Facebook.