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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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