Category Archives: Imagery

When things get tough


Sometimes I feel that things aren’t going my way, something is said, I hear something, I interrupt what I hear in a certain way, it may be put across a certain way to make me feel small, inferior, inadequate.

It hurts for a while and the pain can linger for a long, long time.

These are their views on life, they conflict with my views but it is all they have. Pushing bad vibes onto others can only mean one thing, they aren’t happy with their lives, they feel inadequate, things and people aren’t responding they way they want, so they are forcing their will; they have no right to do this as it is against my will, my beliefs, what I live for.

So what is to be done, simply nothing for them but offer kindness, support and time. For myself move away from feeling small, inferior and inadequate, booze could help for a few hours but those feelings will be even stronger when I wake up.

It’s the old classic, quieten myself down and think of things about the present, become interested in everything I do. Making a pot of tea, writing this blog, the ironing is to come later this morning, make the ironing a game for myself to enjoy.

Being interested in things when feeling inadequate I feel isn’t that authentic, it is just doing a diversion, so how do I bring authenticity to the party?

Authenticity comes with being present, that is in time and space, with an intention to do something, I’ve mentioned time and space in other blogs but I’ll mention it again. For time, I ask myself where is my thinking is, am I fretting about something other than what I intend to do; writing a blog about feeling inadequate. If and when the fretting rises I ask myself is it true in this very moment, I find the answer is always NO.

If it isn’t true then why am I fretting?

I find the fretting disappears and I can get on with writing, I notice some butterflies in my stomach just before doubt appears, I use the butterflies as a trigger to ask this question.

For the space part, this is thoughts about re-establishing my thoughts about head, neck, back relationship, my head gently supported on my neck, this support passes down my spine to the bottom of my pelvis where my sit bones are, I have thoughts that my torso is fully supported on my sit bones and I have loads of space between my sit bones and the top of my head. I used to get a bit rigid at this point of my thinking, I now have thoughts that my torso and head can move gently to and fro or sideways freely as I breathe and type this blog.

Whenever those butterflies rise I repeat my thoughts again, this does get better, honest.

I now have thoughts about my intention whilst being here in this moment and space. My inadequacy has disappeared.

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Quiet Dogs


The blues hit me yesterday, some old habits do like to show theirs heads when I’m feeling vulnerable. Is it

  • post holiday blues,
  • going back to work blues,
  • returning to normal blues

Do you have any blues that kick you between the legs when you least expect it?

I find the blues a fuzzy place to be, I want to do loads but I want to do nothing, I’m stuck in limbo land. A sort of fuzzy floaty space that just lingers on and on.

So being a master and expert in noticing these thoughts in myself and others, sometimes my thinking goes awry, it just proves that I’m human. However I do have a back up plan, something that you could use in your blue days!

Pause for a moment to reset yourself, find out where the ground is and where’s the top of your head, now get these two points connected. The getting connected is a thought, I think of space getting bigger between the two points, if you feel any muscles joining in you are thinking and doing, pause again and get connected without any muscular effort, this is achievable but does take some practice.

You may have noticed your blues have quietened down, even without any blues you should notice a change in mood, I sense a quietening, you may notice things get louder.

I was at the vets today with one of my dogs, I helped the vet by holding my dog whilst the vet did the procedure, I’ve done this a few times before, what I’ve found that my dogs really quieten down if I think of space between the top of my head and my feet and today  the clock on the vets wall became very noisy then more I thought about space. The vet did comment on how well behaved my dog was.

An other layer of thought you can apply is to be nonjudgmental about yourself and what is happening locally, being nonjudgmental about politics may be a little too far.

You now may feel a little quieter and the blues may be disappearing.

Now for the bad news, these thoughts you have just developed cannot be kept, they are only valid for a moment, they age off in a moment, if you try to keep them they will trip you up and the blues will return.

They need to be refreshed constantly, this does sound like an onerous task, it is when you first start but it does get easier the more you practice. You will find that you don’t know to do this continuously, only when something is bothering you.

That’s enough for today, there is plenty more in my tool box to help me and you if you wish. You have a few options, you can always search for my blogs and read about my ideas, come to my workshops, and soon you will be able to do my workshops via a webinar. Let me know if you are interested.

 

 

 

Muddy paws on a London bus


I had a very lucid dream last night, it’s still with me this afternoon, without going into too much detail it was about not holding myself back. 

As with many dreams it was surreal reality, real people I know in what could be real situations, oh, with a dog (not a spinger spaniel) with muddy paws on a London bus.

I’m sure I’m like many others, I have a plan to do something then some thought or other pops up, “you can’t do that because ….” then I’m deflated and everything stops, if I’m forced to do something I know I can do well, another though pops up “you’ll get it all wrong” and then I mess it up.

Perhaps that sounds familiar?

Time for an experiment, either think back to one of those times it didn’t go to well or notice the next time you hear your words of doubt. 

Are the thoughts a verbal thought, were you talking to yourself even if the words were silent? Mine are.

Now for the scary bit, what would happen if you asked for these thoughts to be quiet whilst you got on with your task. This is very difficult as I find these thoughts just want to chip in and take control. There is probably a few ways to quieten these thoughts, I find the best way is to go somewhere these thoughts can’t get to. 

Intrigued, read on.

These thoughts thrive when I’m reflecting on the past or worrying about the future, they have free range in my thinking. The place they can’t get to is this very moment in time, I wrote about this place yesterday in the last grain of sand. Yesterday’s blog was how I had a panic in the sauna, panicking comes in many forms, my view on panicking is that it’s overlaying past events with future what ifs to guess what is about to happen.  I may steer the outcome and fail fantastically, failing fantastically was in my verbalised plan but not in my original plan, my deep down plan, this plan was all about success.

Not holding myself back. 

With a bit of practice you may start to notice some muscular tightening, mine is in my stomach, when these negative verbalised thoughts pop up. When I notice them it’s time for action, I observe something without judgement, if words rise I let them go and intensify my intention to observe something, for example, I’m in a hotel reception, there’s specks of dust on the white floor tiles. Just wondering, listening to the hum of busy people, I’m just here without judgment. 

This does take practice, I’d guess, my whole life to truly not hold myself back, so there is no time like now to start.

I’d say practice, practice, practice, but I don’t believe in practicing, just do it or even better be it, be a non judgmental human being.

I don’t know what happened to the dog with muddy paws, I woke up

The last grain of sand


I was in the sauna today, I am on my holidays, I turned the sand timer over to start my time in the sauna, or rather, when I should get out of the sauna. Wow it’s hot in here, can I last until the last grain of sand has left the top bulb?

My instant panic surprised me, I’d set myself a rule and I’m going to struggle though, whatever!

So how am I going to struggle through, one way is to grim and bare it, I opted for another way. I decided to be interested in the wood on the walls, looking at the grain and knots, wonderering if any of the planks are off the same tree. I noticed that I was having verbalised thoughts between myself, I was saying words to myself, they were silent but I was definitely saying them to myself. 

I wondered if I could have similar thoughts without words, as it happens I can but words still pop up. I noticed that there is a different quality to non verbalised thoughts, they lack judgement. I have a sense of wonder, a quietening, a loss of time and in the sauna the heat became bearable, in fact it stopped being a nuisance. 

When words popped up I let them go and returned to observing without words. 

I felt grounded and content, oh, I looked at the sand and it was all at the bottom.

Time for the hot tub.

Your furry friend will thank you for it


In my last blog Dogs are a mirror of your thinking I wrote how you calm your dog by just knowing where you are in time and space (it’s at the bottom of the previous blog).

It’s useful for children too but it takes a little longer for them to notice.

If your dog is a mirror to your thinking then you can use their behaviour to notice what you are up to, you may not notice that you are on edge but your dog is messing around, may be chew things that shouldn’t be chewed. Noticing that your dog isn’t calm could be your opportunity to reflect on what you are thinking.

Are you:

  • angry
  • sad
  • depressed
  • anxious
  • extremely happy
  • being humorous
  • having a great time

If you are having a good time, well your dog just wants to join in with your happiness

If you aren’t feeling to happy , then it is time to stop for a moment and discover where you are in time and space. Your furry friend will thank you for it.

If you confident at stopping and resetting your ‘time and space’ you may be ready to check yourself out a little more.

We tend to, including me, know how well we move, we all move almost perfectly, our posture is pretty good, if you ask your friends about these points, you’ll probably get positive answers but when you look at how they move you may think otherwise. We all have a faulty sensory awareness, we think we know where we are in space but what we think is inaccurate. In Your boney hollow I write about the first step to reducing your faulty sensory awareness.

 

 

 

Acetabulum is one of those words I just love


Continuing on from Your boney hollow now lets move to the other end of your spine. At the very end is your tail bone, the coccyx, then slightly higher is your sacrum and the sacrum attaches to the lumber spine, then to the thoracic spine on to the cervical spine to the base of your skull.

So how many vertebra do you have?

It’s very easy to remember, excluding the coccyx and sacrum you have breakfast, dinner tea. You breakfast at 7 (the cervical spine, C1 to C7, the neck), then dinner at 12 (the thoracic spine T1 to T12) and tea at 5 (the lumbar spine L1 to L5).

You can now impress at the next quiz.

Back to the sacrum, the sacrum is part of the pelvis with the two hip bones, these bones are connected by a movable joint the sacroiliac joint, the movement is very small but it good to know that there is movement, and at the front where the two hip bone meet there’s a disc similar to the ones in our spine, the symphysis pubis, so though you may think the pelvis is a fixed boney structure there is some movement  between the bones, more akin to shock absorbers.

Each hip bone is made up of three bones which fuse together during childhood, these are the ilium, you can feel this bone, the top part is the iliac crest, if you prod around your waist line the bone you can feel is the iliac crest. The other two bones are the pubis which is at the front where the symphysis pubis connects and to the rear and the ischium. You will need to do some research on the shape of the pelvis as I can’t describe it fully in words.

The centre where these three bones meet is the acetabulum, the socket for the ball of your hip bone. Acetabulum is one of those words I just love, whoever and whenever our bones where named they sometimes used common terms that were useful, acetabulum is one of them. Acetabulum means vinegar bowl, I imagine they used an animal pelvis for their vinegar during there banquets and feasts

Back to the ischium, the lower part is the ischial tuberosity, also know and the sit bones, lets find these sit bones. Please sit, they are easier to find when sitting, move over to one of your sit bones and on the other side put your hand under your raised sit bone and the chair, then move back to upright, now for the warning, this may hurt as your fingers get squashed so look after yourself. Hopefully you have felt something boney, that’s your sit bones.

In the world of Alexander the sit bones are very important, when sitting they contact you to the ground via the chair or stool you are sitting on. If you consciously know the location of your sit bones and your head neck joint, connecting the two ends of your spine with a thought of your head lightly resting on the top of your spine, you may be able to extend that lightness down your spine to your sit bones and sense that you are fully supported on your sit bones, gently balancing. I have the image of a gently moving grass in a meadow, each piece of grass is fully connected to the earth with the head of seeds just move with the gentle breeze.

We have evolved to be in movement, so whilst you are sitting image a blade of grass moving with the breeze and transpose the thought to yourself, being grounded by your sit bone and allowing your head to gently move with freedom all the way down your spine.

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Is Shoulder such a bad word?


In my last blog Your boney hollow is misled you, you may not have noticed, I mentioned your shoulder. Some people take umbrage about have an area in your body called the shoulder. I tend to agree however it is in our common language.

If you have an image of your shoulder as being like a doll with moveable arms perhaps you will need to read on.

The area of the shoulder is where the upper arm (humerus) connects to the body via the scapula and via the clavicle to the sternum, there is no skeletal connection on the back.

The range of movement in the arms and hands are huge and also must be strong and stable to allow lifting and pushing heavy objects. To achieve this we have evolved to have a very movable structure that is stable and very strong as well. The muscles on the whole of your back and front of your torso are involved in your arm movement. In fact all your muscles are involved.

Lets experiment, that’s if you feel it’s appropriate to you, move a hand out to the side or in front of you avoid touching anything with your hand. Now imaging your arm is the jib on a crane, just like the one’s used in building very tall buildings. Start lifting a very heavy load that is too heavy for your imaginary crane, now what happens, my crane starts to topple, does yours?

You can put your arm down.

The crane operator has a few options, firstly stop and lower the load, then either reduce the load or strengthen the crane, perhaps adding more counter balance weights and adding heavier load bearing cables would be successful.

We do these adjustments when we lift an arm with or without a load, we adjust muscle tone around our body to counter the effect of falling without even knowing it. This activity is happening continuously, even when I’m sitting writing this blog. Name an activity and this need to be in balance will be paramount in that activity.

I digressed, the shoulder.

I used to think that the shoulder was something a bit nebulas between my neck and upper arm joint, my shoulder blade also had something to do with it as well. Is that similar to your thinking? Add a comment, if  you like, and tell me about your shoulders beliefs.

Here’s a bit of anatomy, I’m deliberately brief as you can always do your own research to know more.

Three are three joints from the sternum to the humerus,

The sternoclavicular joint between the clavicle and the sternum.

The acromioclavicular joint between the scapula and clavicle, this joint is at the acromion process of the scapula,

The  glenohumeral joint between the humerus and the scapula, this joint is at the glenoid cavity of the scapula.

The scapula, the shoulder blade, is a plate like bone that has many muscle attachments to your back from down to your pelvis and up to the top if you neck, please read Your boney hollow if you want to know where the top of your spine is. There are also muscles attached to the sides of you ribs that move the scapula forward around your ribs. We have a huge range of movement in our scapula so that we can use our hands in activity, without the scapula’s range of movement we would be severely constrained.  How about experimenting by moving your scapula to experience the range of movement but don’t strain yourself, be kind to yourself.

You may think that your scapula is all on your back but it isn’t some of it wraps over the top of your ribs.

Put a finger on your sternum and follow along your clavicle, collar bone, until you reach the end of the clavicle at the glenohumeral joint, at the top of this joint is the acromion and just below and slightly to your centre line is the coracoid process, these are both parts of the scapula and at your front.

So what is a shoulder?

Can you tell me!

If you want to know more click here.

 

 

Pass your beauty on to others


Christmas is almost over, it’s a time when people either love it or hate it. I’m one of the later. It brings back memories of lost loves and lost families. I wonder what they are doing,  why don’t they contact me, why don’t I contact them? I seem to be stuck in my stubbornness to resolve these contacts, perhaps I like the hurt that this time of the year brings, perhaps it’s because I’m a bad person and deserve to feel this way.

I’ve hated Christmas for a couple of decades, I’ve tried many coping methods to live through this week; getting drunk, going away on holiday, food and TV for the week, being busy and walking. Some years a mix of them all, some years it works and I get through the week without any sadness, some years it is a week from hell.

This Christmas has been a particularly good time for me, I did have a dull point on Boxing Day morning. I spoke to my wife about it and she reminded me that we have friends that support us as we support them. Reminiscing of what could have been doesn’t help me or anyone else. I don’t have control of the past as I don’t have control of the future, so perhaps I might have control of what is happening now. Maybe, maybe not; I really don’t have the answer to this, I find this is a profound and impossible question to answer.

Being present has so many facets, so many habits, beliefs and behaviours it is really difficult to know if I have control of what is happening in this very moment.

Take typing, some people can touch type and don’t have a care where their fingers are going, they know that what they think will appear on the screen. They have had years of constructive training to magically get words appearing on the screen, I’m jealous. I’m partly trained, I know where the keys are but I still have to check the keyboard that I’m typing correctly, it’s so annoying.

A proficient typist has a different view on whats happening in the same moment than me, I’m concentrating on typing words correctly and they may be thinking about the sentence structure and story.  These comparisons can be applied to an athlete and a spectator watching the athlete. They are both in the same moment, at the same location but they are having completely different experiences. We don’t know what mental anguish anyone is going through at any one moment. We may see things physically but psychologically things may not be visible. You may see my eyes moving from the screen to the keyboard but you may not my annoyance of not being able to touch type.

You may see the athlete beat their record but you may not see the pain they are in. The spectator may be enjoying the athlete get their personal best but can you see the anguish they are suffering and they are only watching the athletics to get away from their suffering. The same is for Christmas, just because you are enjoying the festivities others may be there quietly and politely suffering from memories of the past, these make Christmas a painful time of year.

From my point of view, don’t get involved in the memories of those who are suffering but instead offer them love and support, dwell in the moment and make every moment you are with them a moment to remember. Be your authentic beautiful self and pass your beauty onto others then we will all have fun over this festive season.

Remember some people don’t like New Year, so here’s another opportunity to pass your beauty on to others.

Simply change the volume in your chest cavity


This is a series about breathing, the first part is Troublesome Breathers

Try this out, but first please read Troublesome Breathers.

Intertwine your fingers of your hands, knuckles pointing up. Now imaging your knuckles are your diaphragm and your arms are your ribs.

I’m going to ask you to move your hands up and down, if you can keep your shoulders quiet so they don’t move too much.

Hopefully you are sat down, if not please sit down.

Now lift your hands up, if your shoulders are still your elbows should come close to your body. Do this activity a few times and notice what your elbows are doing.

Hopefully you have done this a few times and may be discovered something, if you want add a comment of what you have noticed.

Now for more imagination; your fist is your diaphragm, your arms are your ribs and your shoulders are the joint where your ribs attach to your spine. Hopefully that makes sense.

Now raise your fist, what happens to your arms? For me my arms rotate about my shoulders and are drawn into the side of my chest.

Now lower your fist, what happens to your arms? For me my arms rotate about my shoulders and my arms move away from the side of my chest.

This is what happens to your ribs when your diaphragm rises and lowers.

Air is exhausted from your lungs by two major activities, your diaphragm rising and your ribs rotating downward that reduces the volume of your chest cavity.

Air is inhaled in to your lungs by two major activities, your diaphragm descending and your ribs rating upward that increase the volume of your chest cavity.

Now for a warning – please be seated the first time you experiment with this activity and stop if you get dizzy.

Revisit the activity of moving your fist up and down in front of your chest, notice your arms moving in and out to the side. Do it a few times.

Move your fist to the lowest point in the activity above, now this time imagine your fist your diaphragm. Breath out, as you are breathing out raise your fist, stop when you want to, don’t do any forcing. Now on your in breath allow your fist to lower as your diaphagm descends.

Repeat a few times.

Stop if you feel light headed or dizzy.

Repeat again but this time synchronise your diaphragm with your fist and your ribs with your arms. As your diaphragm rises your fist rises and your ribs descend as do your arms, reducing the volume in your chest cavity.

As your diaphragm descends with your fist your ribs rotate up and away as do your arms, increasing the volume in your chest cavity.

That is how we breathe, we simply change the volume in the chest cavity, on the in breath a partial vacuum is created as the chest cavity volume is increased, air is drawn in to balance the chest pressure with atmospheric pressure. On the out breath the air in the chest cavity is displaced as the diaphragm and ribs reduce the chest cavity volume.

You may have notice a change in your breathing, when I practice this I have a change in the quality a my breath, it’s hard to describe apart from it feels cleaner and I feel more buoyant.

Here’s another warning, take care, wait a moment, you may feel light headed so remain seated until you feel safe to move.

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It’s nearly Christmas, why a Christmas tree?


Sunday again, that sounds like I don’t like Sundays. That’s not so, Sunday is my favourite day as I choose to do what I want. I wake up late, breakfast and then do whatever. I do plan to write a blog every Sunday as well, if you want to keep up to date with them click here.

Today as it is nearly Christmas, we went to buy a Christmas tree, I do have thoughts about bringing in a tree to my house to decorate it whilst it slowly dies so we always buy one planted and with roots, at least on has survived and is now living in my garden, others haven’t been so lucky.

Is it lucky or is it the opportunities that we gave it, kept it watered, not too hot and not in the house too long.

We all have these opportunities but the secret is to firstly notice them then take the opportunity the opportunity offers. Trees will take the opportunity when it is presented for water and nourishment out of the earth and air, us humans sometimes rationalise and generally think too much and then miss the opportunity. We have loads of names for missing opportunities,

  • deflection – changing the subject because current subject doesn’t feel comfortable
  • blame – blaming others and not realising there’s an opportunity hiding in the blame
  • shame – feeling that the opportunity is outside the comfort zone or norm and the opportunity make you feel ashamed of yourself
  • anxiety – my personal favourite, worrying about the bad things that could happen if I took the opportunity
  • Its not for me – the opportunity will push me and I can’t possibly take this opportunity because … (add your own words)

The list is probably endless, most of us like to live in our own little bubble, I’ve written about that a few times, here’s one that you may want to read.

It’s safe in our bubble, we know what’s going on in our bubble, things and people can’t hurt us or so we belief in our bubble.

What our bubble doesn’t allow is any change, we don’t develop. There’s plenty of good reasons to live in your own bubble, it was right once but life and time moves on, if you’re stuck in the past in your bubble for some reason

  1. you haven’t resolved the reason you found it safe in your bubble
  2. you may feel that one or more of the points above are valid for you
  3. you haven’t discovered that
    1. you are in a bubble
    2. you know you’re in a bubble but you can’t find a way out

As I wrote above, the first thing to happen is to stop and notice, you may need some help in that, everything will be normal to you, that’s what happens you your bubble. You sometimes need someone to prod and poke you, that’s the job I do; get you to notice things you know about but you deny their existence. It’s challenging to discover that you have avoided and squandered many opportunities over the year and it was your beliefs that held you back.

I still miss opportunities and I still use those listed above but I’m getting better at noticing the urge to stay in my bubble. This work is continual and we all need someone to talk about ‘the elephant in the room’.

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