Saturday, 11 February 2017

Love and Being Single on Valentine's Day - #notjustforvalentines

So once again we all find ourselves in the hearty wash cycle of February. Marinating whether we like it or not immersed in love marketing, preparing mentally, emotionally and physically for the DAY of LOVE that is Valentines Day  ta dahhhhh, so nearly upon us.

"Love" is now literally flooding our purchasing world, in supermarkets, card shops, social media, wine shops, more supermarkets, coffee shops - we are all swimming in the expectation of the possibility of love.   Except for one thing, "Where is the love?" asks the Black Eyed Peas.  If the figures are right, currently in the US 1 in 4 people have no one to turn to or talk to... The saddest of stats on this burgeoning, over-populated and increasingly lonely planet of ours...  Yes indeed, where is the love?  

Perhaps then, we could start with the place we are least likely to look for love and that is within ourselves?  Why so?  Are we so disjointed, distracted or disinterested in who we really are, that we have forgotten that love truly begins with ourselves?  So here is a little experiment... take a few moments, either in your mind or on paper and note down a list of people and things that you love................. How many of you had "me", "myself" or "I" on your list?  If you did, I would love you to say why in the Comments box... people need to hear how good it feels to love yourself... I will start... I love myself because I make myself laugh, I make a mean paella and I trust my intuition.

So if love begins with ourselves, surely then the love we can give others from this place within us is our most authentic love?  Is this why perhaps self-love is sometimes the toughest love?  Is this why it is always an easier option, although not necessarily a less painful one, to go looking for love elsewhere?  Caring, loving and cherishing ourselves gives us the rock-solid foundations and equips us with a whole ocean full of abundant love to give wholeheartedly to another.

Recently, whilst teaching a teen mindfulness session I mentioned February 14th. What I observed were the veils of sadness, despair and anxiety that dropped across lovely, fresh, gorgeous faces with one commenting how she "hated" Valentines Day.  Hate is a strong word for a day supposedly about love... but for this young woman, Valentine's Day is synonymous with everything that is, on so many levels, wrong with our society. Shame, embarrassment, the 'lack' of love, the loneliness felt by too many during the February cloudy gloom?  I am on a roll with my soap box, so throwing in humiliation, judgement and the one-up-man-ship of cards, flowers, tables for two and the contrived extraordinary efforts of the marketeers to continue the shameless highlighting. Or could this be seen as supporting a less than love healthy world helping us all to feel the love? 

What I love is this .... there are so many people old and young in love, and there is nothing so wonderful as seeing love in its most kindest, affectionate and longevitous form. Be it the first buds of young love and shy glances, a couple giggling with their children or later life lovebirds walking hand in hand.... these are all reminders that love is amazing, real and there for us all.  

Are you feeling the loneliness of Valentine's Day? So whether you are single, married or divorced?  I dare you to rise to the challenge of being your own Valentine this year ... Gift yourself some lovely s, buy beautiful underwear and wear it for the day, call someone you care about and tell them you love them - family, friends, children, grandchildren... Let's just not stop the loving because it isn't happening the way we want it to... 

Be the change #notjustforvalentines, use the hashtag to remind your friends and followers that love is not just for Valentines Day... spread the love, be your amazing, loving and authentic self...

Peace and love gorgeous hearts, peace and love Xx

Friday, 3 February 2017

Love is Reaching Out So We Can All Talk More

There are moments in our lives where we all really need to talk.  We bottle up our thoughts and emotions, feelings and experiences until we either suddenly explode in anger or we harbour our 'stuff' and become a prisoner of the darker days of depression.  Divorce can be a place of shame, guilt and sadness and invariably is the big elephant dressed up in fully stigma regalia in most rooms and is absolutely difficult to talk about.  

After we agreed to divorce, I spent time with coaches and counsellors talking and I talked a lot!  It felt good to talk and to be listened to.  The relief of having a safe, non-judgemental place to speak of my shoulder burdening worries and fears, helped me feel better. I realised too that it was not just me feeling the way I did... this was huge and is, on a simple level, it was just being human.
With this in mind I wanted to share with you 3 simple ways to remind us all how we can help make the biggest difference to those we care about and love today, this week or month...

1.  Pick up a pen and write to someone, telling them how much you love them no matter how little time you spend with them. Let them know how much they mean to you and the gratitude you have for them being in your life.

I am so fortunate, my wonderful Mum always, always sends me newspaper clippings, a card she has found or a scribbled note, in her familiar, crazy, smile inducing handwriting with a quote she has seen and feels I would benefit from.  

And without fail in amongst the faceless junk mail and formal letters, there is, the oh my goodness, the gift, the moment of joy I feel as I open postbox and find an envelope in there with handwritten script on - AND it's not my birthday. 

Whether you are on your own, divorced, or not, the very fact that someone has taken care, time - and money, because stamps are not so cheap anymore, to put pen to paper and has given you time in their thoughts and efforts is loneliness salve.  It shouts a big "someone cares" out and we feel the warmth of kindness. 

So this month I have bought a book of stamps, inspiring cards and I am sending gorgeous people I care about a note telling them I love them, handwritten... simple. And it's not even Valentines yet!

2.  Pick up the phone and have that intention to talk to someone... Take advantage of the free minutes you may get to speak to and check in with a person, who you know may just be having a hard time.  These tough periods of time happen in all our lives and it won't be difficult to chose someone to put a call out to. 

Talking to someone, giving them space to share how they are feeling, letting them compassionately and gently know you care about them and hearing them by acknowledging their problem can be so powerful.  

Those going through separation, divorce or bereavement do not always have someone to talk to.  Couples currently in a difficult relationships may have challenges finding a non-judgemental ear and for many lovely people there can be a gaping hole needing to be filled by caring lovely people close to listen to them.  Pick up the phone, make that call and if they don't pick up, do LEAVE a gorgeous message - tell that person you love them.

3.  And lastly, my top tip, is when we are feeling alone and sad, a little lost and overwhelmed in our lives it is so hard to make contact with others, even with our friends.  It is worth remembering that we too can also reach out and ask for help.  Having courage, being brave and feeling worthy of being heard is part of the process of picking up the phone or writing a note, this is how others know how we are feeling.

Even if we do not always think we are such good company in those darker moments and our inner joyous mojo is feeling less bright - make a list of those you can call, the friends, family and loved ones who do care and will listen to you talk, cry, grumble... 

Everyone has tough times in their lives, SO reach out, smile, send love, write, speak, talk ... and the big fantastic happy bonus is... we feel better in ourselves too... winner!

Wishing you all a happy communicative week ahead.

Natasha x  

Time to Talk is a campaign to encourage and support those suffering from depression, isolation and January blues to talk about their experiences and to give them a safe place to share how they are feeling.  With 1 in 4 people suffering from mental health issues communicating has never been more important.  

Monday, 2 January 2017

Wishing you a wonderful, kind and positive year that is 2017

Wishing you all a truly wonderful, positive New Year that is 2017... may you give present moment awareness to those sometimes scary areas of life that need tending with kindness and love.

May you feel brave enough to speak your words of truth as you honour those in your life who you love with respect, support and compassion.

And finally nurture and tend to yourself so you can shine your lovely light...

Wednesday, 21 December 2016

Shortest Day of the Year, Elvis' Lonely This Christmas and Elisabeth Kubler-Ross

Today is the shortest day of the year and as we move towards Christmas for so many who are separated, divorcing or on their own through loss, even on this shortest of days, it can feel so very, very long.  

I felt this very recently, having taken myself off to a local supermarket with a cheery smile and thoughts of the days becoming longer, lighter and with a new year looming.  When I suddenly found myself at the droning mercy of dear Elvis and his Lonely This Christmas permeating my happy thoughts as I bought my Christmas fare.  

It got me, it hit me hard and I swallowed and fought back leaky tears - aaaaaahhhhhh why this song is still being played I have no idea!  It is not a cheery song, it is a bloody miserable, self indulgent song and serves nothing more than to remind those of us on our own that it is lonely at Christmas. Opening up that Christmas stocking full of emotional wobbles to the goose fat display, the teary eyedness to the chocolate yule log stack and the so fully conscious of what their personal situation is to the lines of bottles of champagne!!

No, no and no it is not a good song to play at this time of year - for all you good folk around the country arranging white noise that includes this song whilst we purchase our parsnips please stop it!  If nothing else I suddenly wanted to escape said supermarket, I didn't feel the slightest bit cheery anymore, I felt small, alone and I left without buying the milk I had originally come for.  

So this time of year is really hard, for those divorced, separated or on their own through loss of a partner, loneliness pervades.  

And what can you do to avoid the deep and unseen wells of human emotions.... happily, with a smile on my face and a cup of tea beside me it is .... SHOPPING ONLINE.  I have thankfully found this not only avoids the frenetic, energetic, mad purchasing power of the masses, but it has the smugness of lack of overspending with a single 'click' of a button. Plus the benefit of listening to maybe BBC Radio 6 Music in your own home.   Easy, calm and less draining ... it works for me. 

And it is during these challenging times I am reminded of this wonderful piece written by Elisabeth Kubler-Ross... 

"The most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss, and have found their way out of the depths.  These persons have an appreciation, a sensitivity, and an understanding of life that fills them with compassion, gentleness, and a deep loving concern.  Beautiful people do not just happen."

...when I am caught in the emotional headlights I try very hard to remember the many, many people who are not only on their own, but who are dealing with the most saddest of situations, losses, fears and in many parts of the world, with a lack of pretty much everything.  And it is the beauty, compassion and kindness that we can all feel in our hearts, that we can hold, no matter what our personal life challenges are during this festive period. And do we feel loneliness, sadness and dread simply just because we care...? 

So look ridiculous and SMILE at everyone, GREET those you only know a little well, tell those you love - tell them, email them, tweet FB them, tell them you LOVE them... we can all do it... and it feels good when it happens, our hearts burst with feel good emotions, happiness tickles our bodies and lights up our brains like a decorated Christmas tree... and how good can that feel?

With love and few festive Ho Ho Ho's .......x