Tag Archives: happiness

My lovely bubbly friend


Do you find that being happy, being a life and soul of the party tiring?

Do you ever wish for quiet but you too scared to go there? If you’re bubbly and loving then everyone will love you. If you stop being bubbly and lovely they won’t like you anymore.

I’ll let you in to a secret, your friends will love you for who you are and not what you are trying to be, trying to be lovely and bubbly is just a front, a front that hides a lovely bubbly person.

Trying just gets in the way of life, just STOP IT.

Stopping may be hard cruel thing to say; STOP IT.

Emotions can be like a pendulum, when with friends the trying starts and you are lovely and bubbly however when you are alone the pendulum swings the other way, the trying moves to an upsetting way, the opposite to my lovely bubbly friend.

STOP IT.

STOP IT doesn’t really work, STOP IT is the goal, the end state, there is a journey you need to travel on to reach your goal. This takes time and commitment, non-judgmental commitment.

With all journeys you need a plan on how you are going to get there with the acknowledgement that the journey may go down dead ends and detours until you reach your goal, oh the goal may change as well as you learn things along your journey.

Once you have your plan, the first activity you need to do is to notice what’s happening within you when you feel uneasy. Live with the unease for a few moments so that you can better notice it the next time it appears. My trigger is a tightening in my stomach, yours may be that, it may be something else, perhaps eyes glazing as you start thinking about what may happen in the future.

When you notice pause for a moment, and make a decision. The decision can be anything, carry on with thinking about the future, cuddle your dog, or something completely different.

You may need a distraction from your worry, you may need a distraction from trying to be lovely and bubbly, slowing you pendulum down so that all your trying slowly disappears, it’s scary but you will discover your authentic self; I know who you are, you are a lovely, bubbly fantastic person witha personality that just emits love to whoever you meet. You need to rediscover this person, your authentic self.

I have some ideas that may help you on your journey.

I want you to do nothing, there’s a lot to do to do nothing, I want you to notice any excessive muscular tension during these thoughts and ideas, if there is you’re are doing to much. Pause and restart the idea.

If you are sitting slide your hands between the chair and bottom, you have two boney bits, these are your sit bones, wobbly around so that you can notice and develop some feeling sensations around these bones, take you hands out and wobbly again on the chair, you should now be able to feel more weight going though your sit bones on to the chair.

You first activity when you notice your worry rising, find your sit bones, you don’t need to use your hands again just the contact with the chair will do, if you are standing wobble around so that you can notice your weight passing thought your feet to the ground.

Thoughts just last a moment then they are no use, they are history. Let the thought go and another will appear, let that one of again, keep your attention to your sit bones, if standing, your feet, let that thought go as well and the next thought and the next, just have your attention to where you are being supported by the ground, let that thought go as well. You may notice that your worries have disappear. There is no space or time from them, if they do arise go back to where you are being supported from the ground, let the thought go, let it go over and over again, faster and faster. I find I have greater clarity and authenticity in my thinking, how is it for you?

This is the first step in discovering your authentic self, my lovely bubbly friend.

Remember if a worry appears, focus your attention your sit bones and let the thoughts go over and over again.

More to follow.

With a side order of happiness

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Rediscover your elegance


When I go to London, I sometimes meet a woman sometimes I don’t; Last night I did. She was doing her usual thing being very busy, being very efficient. She always stops what she’s doing and we have a chat and a catch up from last time we met.

This blog is about her.

What I see is a very capable woman however she doesn’t know how capable she is;

  • she tries to hard,
  • she works too hard,
  • she tries to please to hard.

Her trying stops her true potential to shine through, I’m just the same as are many others.

Trying is a vicious circle which is maintained by the doubt of not being good enough, not being good enough make you want to try harder and harder, becoming a slave to your own self doubt.

Once stuck in this circle of trying and doubting it is very hard to see a way out, some may want you to stay in it as become a reliable employee or so they think!

Trying and doubting are exhausting, wouldn’t it be better to be good at what you do without all that effort!

The first thought is to notice your surroundings whilst going about what you are doing, you may have an intention to get somewhere but enjoy the journey. It probably won’t take anymore time and you maybe quicker however you’ll get there happy, contented and more at ease.

Enjoy the space that you are in, we all occupy space as we move around, have a thought about how eligant you are as you move around in your space. However don’t float around in your elegance, you need to use the support from the ground, enjoy the touch of the ground with your feet as you elegantly move in your space.

Now include your surroundings with your elegance, so your space now includes the room you are in, the people, table, chairs, just everything. There is a catch however, if you feel doubt then you are holding on to a thought. Thoughts are like a film reel with on image for each frame. If the projector stops on a frame the projected image will freeze

The world is your oyster


In my previous blog A dog with a new bone I wrote about the shield I held in front of me, nobody saw it whether I was hold up or thrown it on the floor, my shield was pretty pointless, I know that now but for the past decade or so I thought it was very important to use, it protected me. In reality it stopped me from doing things I wanted, stopped me saying things I wanted to say, stifled my creativity and most important of all it stopped me from being the real me.

Have you ever thought that I could do that but decided not to because:

  • They won’t like what I say
  • It’s too hard for me to do
  • It’s out of my comfort zone
  • They don’t respect me so it’s not worth doing.

I have and now I regret things I haven’t done.

The thing is, these are your thoughts about whatever the topic is, no one else’s, they don’t know what you are thinking as you don’t know what they are thinking. These thoughts have been my shield, they prevent me from moving on.

What I did was experiment with these thoughts and turn the thoughts around by making them positive, for example ‘they will like what I say’ and get on and speak, notice their reaction, I’ve been pleasantly surprised, no bad remarks and thanks for honestly.

I’d got in the way of my own authenticity.

There is a little more to this, I NEEDED TO BE TRUTHFUL TO MYSELF, if I didn’t like what I was saying, it didn’t work; people know authenticity and they know the opposite.

What I’ve learnt and written in previous blogs is that these skills take time and determination to be developed, there is a shortcut, find someone to help you, I found the Alexander Technique and have since trained to teach the technique.

I learnt that the very first thing is to notice negative emotional and physical reactions to activities, once a reaction is noticed then the change can happen, perhaps turn the thought around to ‘they will like what I say’ then notice what happens. To start to notice things you need to know where you are in time and space, if you are too busy worrying about something else or hurting from physical pain then it will be very difficult to start noticing other things, I can help with this, part of the many hours of training over 3 years is to show people how to rediscover their capacity to be here in this very moment and also to enjoy their own space. From this point the world is your oyster.

A dog with a new bone


Another day, another happy dog, I don’t why I started the blog this way, however I’ve been as happy as a dog with a new bone, the sense of happiness has been overwhelming, in fact I’ve been so happy I’m apparently becoming annoying with it. Smiling from ear to ear for no reason. There is a good reason for feeling ecstatic, there is really, I’ve discovered that life in this very moment isn’t that bad really, it’s fantastic.

So how have I changed?

Same job, same house etc etc, nothing physically has changed, what I have changed is how I think about things and how I respond to things.

I’ve discovered that I was putting a shield up every time I had an awkward thought, ” they won’t like that”, ‘they might disagree’. What I’ve done is to notice the shield but carry on with the action from the thought, say what I mean or do what I planned to do. What a relief, I’ve discovered that that my life is a lot easier and my shield was pointless, it was doing absolutely nothing apart from stopping me being me, now I’m happy as a dog with a new bone. The annoying thing is nobody noticed when my shield was up and nobody noticed when my shield was down.

What a lot of wasted effort!

These discoveries don’t come easy, firstly I wanted to be happy and free, I used to be like that but life just built some defences to protect me from an imaginary foe.

I needed to find a way to be happy. There’s plenty of ways out there, I chose the one that found me. It’s been very difficult process. I had a lot to discover about myself, now with this sense of happiness and compassion for others it has been well worth it. I’m getting somewhere closer to my true authenticity.

This sense of happiness comes from applying Alexanders discovery to myself, it may sound strange but if you understand the relationship between your head, neck and back; your head sits freely on your neck. Then freedom and happiness will come. I needed some help with this discovery as you may do as well. Wouldn’t you just love to have that sense of   freedom and happiness that you deserve?

If you want more details why not join up to me mailing list so you too can discover how to be the dog with a new bone!

 

 

I’ll hold my breath so I can make sure I’m breathing


Now you understand where your sit bones are and also where your head neck joint is, if you  don’t then please read Your boney hollow and Acetabulum is one of those words I just love then you will discover where they are in your body and also what an acetabulum is.

What are your views and beliefs on how breathing happens and how does breathing happen within yourself.

Once I had some really skewed beliefs how I had to breathe, I thought I had to consciously breath when I did any strenuous activity and also I didn’t trust my breathing to happen on its own.

Unfortunately we can learn to control our breathing, this is necessary if you want to hold your breathe when hiding from someone and something or swimming under water. When stress and anxiety becomes a way of life, being conscious of your breathing becomes second nature.

Thoughts of:

  • He going to be angry with me – I’ll hold my breath so I can make sure I’m breathing
  • Thats a steep hill to walk up – I’ll hold my breath so I can make sure I’m breathing
  • I don’t want to face up to something – I’ll hold my breath so I can make sure I’m breathing
  • I need to go shopping – I’ll hold my breath so I can make sure I’m breathing
  • I need to go to work – I’ll hold my breath so I can make sure I’m breathing

The list is endless and you may have other reasons to hold your own breath. This breath holding is the initiation of conscious breathing.

Conscious breathing with anxiety is not a very successful partnership. The anxiety sets your breathing to a quiet mode with minimal diaphragm and rib movement Breathing takes place just at the top of your lungs, you may notice short shallow breathing with some movement of the scapula, the scapula moving forward so the glenohumeral joint rolling forward in space into a shrug.

Conscious breathing with the smallest use of your lungs is not adequate in fact it’s hopeless but that is what may people with anxiety do.

I know I was one of them.

I changed my breathing with help from others and I learnt how my breathing happens and the anatomy involved in breathing. I found the anatomy so important for me as it dismissed the beliefs I had in how I breathed.

Did you know your ribs move up and down hinging about your vertebra and sternum as you breath, this was a shock to me. I thought my ribs were just there to contain my lungs and heart, they didn’t move. Discovering my ribs moved down on an out breathe and up on in breathe was hard discovery to make, first because my ribs moved and secondly the direction of movement was illogical to me and sometimes still is.

The curve of the ribs with their movement changes the volume of air in the lungs. The ribs go down the air is displaced out of the lung, when the ribs go up the volume increases causing a vacuum in the lungs, air is drawn in to the lungs to equalise the vacuum with atmosphere.

There are many muscles that are involved in breathing, if you want to know more then it time for your own research. I might do a later blog about them if you want to wait.

The important thing to know about breathing is that you can just let it happen, when you start interfering with it, you will mess it up. Knowing the physiology and anatomy gave the confidence to leave my breathing alone. I still have certain triggers that bring on an asthma event, instead of jumping to my old trusty inhaler, I use the knowledge of how my breathing happens, notice any rising anxiety, and consciously control the rising anxiety and allow my urge to control my breathing to diminish.

These skills didn’t happen over night, it was may months, in fact a couple of years, so don’t put your inhaler in the bin and do it my way, things my turn nasty for you. Gently, gently is the key.

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I thought it was just chocolate


We’ve had a week of ups and downs and sometimes nothing, it’s been horrible, we have only just survived.

Luckily after several pleading phone calls to strangers it’s all sorted out.

What shocked me was I thought I could live without or live with it when it was in short supply.

I could understand if this was;

  • water
  • food
  • shelter from the weather
  • heating
  • transport
  • electricity

but

broadband!!!!

I struggled because of broadband, I couldn’t do things that I took for granted. I wasn’t just me it was my phone, my music;

  • they wouldn’t play my music
  • they wouldn’t connect to each other, I thought my wifi would look after that, obviously not, its broadband they need.

It was an annoying week but I got used to it, I started reading books made out of paper – whatever next!

Actually I read quite a lot of books print on paper, perhaps not as many as I could if the internet wasn’t so available.

The Internet has been with us for the past decade or so and is now so embedded in our lives it’s difficult to understand how we live without it. Just three or four days without it was initially difficult and annoying but I soon got used to it. I enjoyed not being pulled to my screen to check up on the world, I got a sense of freedom from the chains of the internet.

This did get me thinking about how we cope with change, firstly I was very annoyed and angry then I calmed down and developed a coping strategy. My coping strategy was to stop checking the latency, download and upload of my internet connection and get on with other things. I shed the need to check up on the world every few minutes and let it be.

My behaviour, I suspect, was normal but what I was doing was observing myself going thorough these emotions, where I felt it physically; my anger in my stomach and sensing lightheadedness because I wasn’t in control of my internet, my head pulling down with despair. I must say that these where quite subtile sensations but they were there all the same. When I changed my view and started doing other things these sensations diminished though there was a longing to use the internet again.

How about giving it a try, stop doing something that you habitual use or do for a couple of days, it could be not using the internet for a couple of days, or my other habits; chocolate and coffee.

You will have your own habit you could experiment with.

So to remind you, it is not about stopping whatever you choose to stop, it is noticing the thoughts and what happens in you physically when you can’t have what you want. It is best to note what you are feeling as and when they appear and also what you did when you noticed.

Please be safe and if gets too much, stop the experiment. I’d love to hear about your experience.

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Tricks and Techniques


A few weeks ago I wrote a blog about how simple Alexander’s discovery is, well it is but if you are like me it is hard to understand its simplicity. It is in all of us if you are willing to find it and let it blossom.

Simply stop getting in the way of yourself and you will find yourself, that’s more difficult than you think hence why you need the likes of me to help you on your journey, show you the tricks and techniques that have helped me over the past few years in my training to teach his discovery.

So why is it so difficult and why has it taken me so long to grasp it all. If it’s so simple, why so long.

Not allowing myself to change is the simple answer, not allowing my habits to change that were stopping my elegance to shine.

It’s the elegance of freedom that is available in all of us but knowing this is a completely different thing to being this. My difficulty was transitioning my understanding to actually allowing myself to be my elegance.

The trick is knowing where you are in any single moment of time and being comfortable in not knowing what is going to happen with your intension to achieve something.

This is scary!

But when I have this trick working, I have a clarity, a very clear clarity, of what is happening as I move towards my intension and time seems to slow down and I can enjoy the clarity and elegance of the activity in undertaking.

These tricks and techniques are available to everyone, you just need to slow down your busy lives and become aware of what you are doing, noticing your reaction to things and people and challenge yourself to think that there could be another way, an easier way, an elegant way to approach these things and people.

Once you start noticing yourself and your reactions then you may be ready to learn these tricks and techniques.

These tricks and techniques are like the one’s you used many years ago when you learnt to ride a bike. Stabilisers, first two then one, then the one raised up. A hand supporting you under your saddle, then all of a sudden no stabilisers or helping hand and you are off on your own, slowly your skills improve with practice and plenty of hours.

How did that happen?

You learnt to trust in your own abilities in riding a bike. The tricks and techniques are only aids to get where you want to go; ride a bike, sing, swim, type or being content and pain free. The learning process needs to fit with the student and not the teacher, the teacher needs plenty of tricks in their back pocket that could help their students. I’ve collected a few over my years of training. But remember these tricks and techniques are only an aid to move you on to the next step, some will be lost on the way, some you will keep, and some may come back to help you later.

If you live in or near the Forest of Dean you may want to learn Alexander’s discovery face to face or you can alway subscribe to my mailing list

 

 

Something new for the better


It’s nearly the end of the year, so perhaps it is time to ponder.

What I’ve realised this year is that I have for many many years wanted to please others, even when it felt wrong, awkward, something that is not useful to myself.

I have a worry alarm in my stomach, a sensation that makes me more aware if something feels wrong or awkward or strange. Unfortunately it is very close to the ‘something new for the better’ warning they both have very similar sensations but there is a subtly; this subtly is easily missed and the wrong choice could be made.

Like making a purchase, say a car. You go into the showroom, you know what you want but as you discover more the worry alarm switches on, it doesn’t feel right so its time to stop and leave, however you’re caught by the sales person who explains why you need this car and it does have an easy payment plan. Little do you know that the sales person has the skill to move your worry button over to the ‘something new for the better’ warning and your hooked with a car you nearly wanted but didn’t, you now own a car you but you didn’t really want it.

This happened to me this year except I didn’t buy, left the showroom really tempted. I thought for a while in fact a couple of days, I needed time to reset my worry button. In hindsight my worry button was correct and I’m still looking for a replacement car.

Our feelings are emotive and sometimes don’t reflect reality, we all know this and some use this knowledge for their own benefit, the benefit of their employers and sometimes to the detriment of the customer.

It can happen the other way as well, the ‘something new for the better’ warning can start flashing, so you go with the opportunity, really enjoy the opportunity but something changes over time and the worry alarm starts, firstly there is denial as I know this opportunity is right so the worry alarm is just plain wrong. Then just persisting in suppressing the worry alarm until eventually it just gets too loud.

Time to change tack and do something else.

This also happened to me as well, I left the Alexander Technique Training school I was training in to seek another, my worry alarm was persistently ringing that something wasn’t right with my relationship with the school, I’d become stuck in the habits of the relationship between the school and myself. This is a difficult worry alarm to accept but once accepted it’s a great release.

The art of identifying the difference between the alarm and warning is to turn off all the  hype, bling and noise associated with whatever sets the alarm or warning off, if the alarm is still ringing walk away, if the warning is still there you now have the choice to go with it or not.

So whats happened to me this year is that I’ve started to listen to myself, my worry alarm and my ‘something new for the better’ warning. In the past I just ignored the warnings and just got on with doing what I was being told to do by others. Stopping and reflecting give me time and opportunity to do what I want to achieve, it is very empowering and freeing. Being my authentic self really helps, thought it is taking time for my family and friends to come to terms with the new me as I now say  what I think, well most of the time.

Have a great 2017.

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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Thinking this, is what freedom feels like.


Do you ever do deep thinking, so deep that you can’t do anything physical?

The garden is ignored

The car needs a wash

Planning goes out the window

The only thing that matters is deep, deep thinking.

Well, I discovered last night I’ve been doing it for the past few years. It was a shock but it answered at least one question that has been lingering with me.

I thought that learning to be an Alexander Technique Teacher was all about thinking, I did a lot of thinking, thinking about being present, thinking about being in the here and now, thinking about where my body is in relation to gravity, thinking about my head neck back relationship, thinking about not doing anything. There’s more but that will do and you have got the idea.

I was thinking about far too much.

My blogs past will probably say as much.

Last night I discovered that there are two parts to Alexanders discoveries,

In reverse order there is an activity plan.

This is how you do something, playing golf, running, singing, brushing your teeth, you name it you have an activity plan. To become professional or just good at something, unless you have natural talent, you will seek out a coach to learn the why’s and wherefores to the activity you want to learn. Have a coach is a fast track to your success, they help you to miss the short falls on the way to being good at your dream. This is the second part and I guess you will be familiar with it

The first part of Alexanders discoveries is

The co-ordination plan

This is how you use your body in your activity plan, this has two basic parts, firstly you need to know how your various joints operate and where they are, not where you think they are but where they physically are. Secondly having thoughts about how you move your body in space freely without any undue stress or strain.

Putting the two plans together, and hay presto your activity is undertaken with a lot less stress and strain.

There is a catch, probably only available to Alexander Trainee Teachers, they turn the second part of the co-ordination plan into their activity plan. Everything eventually crawls to a halt and deep thinking emerges and physical activity stops, a vicious circle. The thoughts of freedom turn themselves into tight muscles as the vicious circle rotates whilst you are using your senses to notice freedom. Tighter and tighter until your stuck in the perfect Alexander Student position, straight back, tight neck. All the time thinking this is what freedom feels like.

I’ve been there and done it. I even got the badge!

The co-ordination plan should be a light touch over the activity plan, they work together not inside each other.

If you want to know more about co-ordination plans you can always sign up to my mailing list and I’ll send you the next blog by email.

Happy planning