Adapting to our own uniqueness

With the new year upon us I feel a surge of energy, as though many of us are at a similar point, this being the cross roads and wanting to step into the unknown land beyond.  To move out of our comfort and rise bravely into the upward flow, into our own unique power.  This collective feeling is powerful in itself – collective goals, visions and intentions really do set the energy flow for the planet.  Our ripple, our energy, is as important as anyone else’s, we are each responsible for lifting and ultimately loving each other.

So how will we adapt to this new feeling, these new changes?  What will prevent the retreat?

Having recently returned from a magical trip 250Km north of the arctic circle, I feel compelled to share some observations from being briefly immersed in raw nature which never fails to quickly reveal life force adaptations at their very core.

In conditions of -30 degrees celsius, four hours of subdued daylight Dec-Jan, permafrost and deep snow from Oct through to June, life gets stripped back to basic pretty quickly.  Observing how the natural environment adapts can give us insights and clues as to where we, as humans, can possibly apply the same learnings.

Flora:

Trees: The back bone and I feel also connected to the neuro pathway and heart of our planet, in these harsh conditions they conserve energy, they have enduring resilience and they unashameably rest.  They preserve themselves, take care of themselves, knowing that ultimately this is taking care of their species and beyond.

They are tall and slender, arrow like, allowing themselves to reach the little light there is, plus shedding the burden of heavy snow that collects.  They have short root systems allowing them to grow in the shallow layers of earth that defrosts quicker.  In the dry conditions they conserve water by having a waxy bark and needles.  They grow quick and adapt fast when conditions allow.

They grow along-side their neighbours, providing shelter for one another against the harsh winds and create collaborations of nutrient and water exchange, they absorb our unwanted gas (Co2) and provide us all unconditionally with fresh new oxygen.

Fauna:

Like the flora there are minimal species that can survive such harsh conditions but those that do are incredibly successful.  The two I want to mention are the Reindeer of which there are more of than people and the Alaskan Husky.

Reindeer: They are so well equipped with tools for survival, just to name a few:

  • their hide is thick and in layers, collectively protecting from wet and insulating from the extreme cold.

 

  • hooves, soft in summer, hard in winter, clicking ankle tendons enabling communication in the darkest of conditions.

 

  • special ultra violet vision, seeing predatory urine and silouhettes on the horizon

 

  • Huge herds, timely rutting and extremely fast birth (90 mins) all linked to seasons and conditions. They are a master class of adapatation.

 

Alaskan Husky: The only mammal on the planet that can run up to 200km a day for seven days on the trot. Their endurance is simply remarkable.

  • They work as a team; those most experienced conserve every ounce of energy. They don’t even sit till they are sure they are about to run, and only then do they stand, and then with every bit of energy, they run out of the gate and hate to be told to stop.

 

  • They huddle together for warmth at rest, as soon as the run is over they lie down.

 

  • They choose their position in the pack, they know and play to their strengths and the females are predominately the leaders.

Light: Take sunlight away and you are left in darkness.  Take darkness away and you are left only with light.  The challenges each environment brings are equal in measure.

In the physical sense, continuing to work and maintain motivation while living in darkness and other extreme conditions, takes extreme adaptation. Only the life-maintaining tasks are important, the rest is extra.  From just being in this environment for a few days, experiencing first-hand how quickly body heat and energy deplete, it has given me even more profound respect to all those organisms enduring these conditions for months on end.  The simplicity of the fire and all that it symbolises: warmth, light, food, hope, rest, security….it really is that simple at times.

We humans like to over complicate everything. We believe we must work to live whereas other species simply live.

 

What can we learn?

  • Looking after self is imperative to the success of the whole. The whole as ‘self’ and the whole as ‘us’, the planet and its occupants.  This is not a selfish act, it is key to ultimate survival.  It begins with SELF LOVE, only through loving ourselves enough to respect our own needs in our own environment can there begin to be any understanding and awareness of what our neighbours require.  Love and acceptance of self is where success begins.

 

  • We all have our own seasons, metaphorically speaking. These seasons bring periods of growth and abundance and those of perceived lack; in motivation, energy, creativity, resources. Here we can learn to reframe these perceptions and learn where it is important to conserve our energy.  To rest, recharge, and know when to begin to sow again.  The natural seasons come and go, as do our working/life seasons.  We can predict our yearly spring and we can predict our yearly winter, we can do this annually and throughout our lives.  These do not need to mirror nature’s seasons, but our actions do well to follow nature’s lead.  This is where looking sideways at others in their own season is unhelpful.  You, and only you, know where you are at and where you are aiming.  Keep that vision clear, keep it true. It’s important to maintain our own routines and rituals, making clear our own intentions.  Let those around us see how we do it, therefore inviting them to do the same.  Let’s lead through our actions.  The huskies learn well from their peers, the youngsters soon learn that the energy they expel in all the excited barking and jumping is better placed on the actual run, than before. They soon learn where their unique strengths lie and naturally excel in that pack position.

 

  • What have you got which makes you unique? Each of the species in these harsh environments not only have, and celebrate, their own unique adaptations, but they also each collectively supported each other. Whether in large herds, forests or packs, they feed off one another’s energy. Like them we need support, we need to be in environments where we depend on each other’s success and not be jealous or overly competitive of one another.  Surrounding ourselves with like-minded positivity will fuel momentum and encourage bravery. Knowing we have a tribe to support us in our moment is enough to get us over the fear. Knowing what we need and having that clear intention attracts that tribe. First step is to ask.

 

  • Balance is key. Whether 24 hours of light or darkness, both have the capacity to drives us mad. The ideal is balance, and when the balance is tipped temporarily in one direction, the key is planning, adaptation and simplicity.  This can be applied to everything.  Too much work leads to burn out, too much rest leads to boredom.  Knowing what grounds us, reconnects us and builds us vs what takes from us, depletes us and blocks us, is essential for creative adaptation and success.  I know that I can easily slip into ‘permanent on’, and I struggle to find the off switch. This can drive anxiety of overwhelm, panic and ultimately leaves an empty shell. At the same time trying to be ‘off’ at home feels false.  The only true place I can be off and truly 100% present is when surrounded by nature.  It is core to my very being.  I am so quickly absorbed,  inspired, and in awe, that I leave behind my monkey brain for a few moments.  Knowing this is key to my existence, to my success. I need to get outside every day.  There is no excuse of no time as the consequences are too profound on those I love, including myself, if I don’t. Know your needs and put them first. Make a daily date with self.

Like the fire, we all work better with a beacon of light guiding our way. This light keeps us focussed, determined and stepping forward.  When we work out what we need as our light, we can build it into our routine. Is it an image, a person, an experience, a vision/goal, a habit, a ritual? You, and only you, know your light – so use it.

With this new year I feel hopeful, and it is the first time in a long time. We have such power within each of us not only to achieve individually but collectively too.  I am excited to work with those who feel the same energy and who are vibrating on this wavelength.  It is my intention to partner those who are on the cusp of change, who are ready to look at a new horizon and choose who they want to be, what they want to represent and who they want to inspire.  Each of us has that choice every day, waking up to accepting our own uniqueness, recognising our own strengths and celebrating those in others.

Welcoming in 2018 with an open, grateful heart, and ready to help you adapt to your own uniqueness.

With love

Sam

Successfully Navigating the Scene Changes – Danish Delivery

I am learning fast that it is crucial when navigating change, or multiple scene changes, to be soft and gentle on yourself throughout. It doesn’t matter if it’s big or little, intermittent or fixed, long or short-term change. If you can find some softness in your approach to yourself and how you are feeling during this period then it will flow through into creating a more successful transition.

Every one of us has to deal with change and often on a very regular basis. Sure, we may all move house every once in a while, and the statistics show this is one of the most ‘stressful’ things we can do. Moving is certainly a biggie, but what about the other, less radical changes? For example, have you noticed or experienced;

The Friday night to Sunday night journey and the inevitable sinking feeling as Monday morning looms! Some of us are working where we want to be, and some of us are not. Even those with dream jobs sometimes feel the Sunday night vibe. It can be coming back from a super holiday or returning to work after an incredible weekend. Not all of us have the perfect balance of work and play sussed.

A shift in energy at home when a partner departs or returns from being away. While you are so excited to see them again, it can be frustrating when your routine gets changed. The washing pile doubles, the house appears messy, there is an extra voice to consider, and extra dynamics to navigate.

A huge empty nest when kids embark on their own journeys away from home. Whether that be little ones starting school, or big ones leaving for university. Even though you are super proud of them, know they are their own people, and you have your own busy life, there is still a sense of loss to overcome with the change of energy and routine.

Seasonal changes. We are all connected strongly with the earth; we feel and react to the seasons. Are you aware of how much they influence your wellbeing, your mood, your energy? Losing an hour or gaining an hour; the change of light, temperature and colour, have an impact on how we feel. It takes a moment of awareness to appreciate how the changes affect us personally.

Physical changes, regardless of age or sex. This is another inevitable change where our bodies and our minds do not stand still. When do we take a moment to become aware of how this may be impacting us?

The list is endless.

I write about this because I have noticed how, in between big and obvious changes like moving, there are all sorts of other shifts going on which often go unrecognised.

While I am well equipped and experienced in being spontaneous, living in the moment and taking risks, I am also aware that I sometimes take a while to adjust from one moment to the next. In this moment of adjustment, tasks, work and thoughts can easily feel overwhelming, and somewhat negative. It’s during the moment of adjustment that I am most vulnerable to self-doubt, negative chatter, and wanting to hide and give up. It’s in these moments of adjustment that I can lose my cool, my flow, my breath and my grounding. It’s not really surprising that it can take a tiny bit of time to adjust between scenes and that often we are totally unaware of how we are communicating this energy, this vulnerability outwardly, possibly even leading us to struggle and bicker with loved ones. Is it any wonder that at times we may think about taking the easy path, or running and hiding?

Moving backwards and forwards between countries and homes will undoubtedly open up countless new opportunities and growth. But only with huge self-awareness, softness, love and compassion towards myself will I be able to navigate myself and my family through the increased number of adjustment periods.  By looking at this differently I can help myself shift un-serving patterns. By recognising that we are nearly always in a period of flow, of movement and energy exchange no matter where we are or what we are doing.  In-fact transition is one of the hardest thing to crack in a yoga practice or many other sports, the start of a race, the dive into water, the jump or turn.  We often forget our current present state and focus too far, striving for the destination, the perfect pose, but what is proven time and time again and is fundamental to success, is how are we getting there.

To help me navigate this more effectively, I plan to proactively practice the following steps. To those of you who are with me and following this journey of transition, I call on you to keep me accountable! And if you are going through significant change yourself, please join me in using this approach

Plan to manage successful scene changes:

  1. Keep reminding myself of my reasons WHY. My anchors, my ideal scene, my vision. Keep it relevant, keep it near, make it visible, create reminders (daily, weekly, monthly)

  2. Proactively and frequently connect with my core values.

  3. Document even brief moments of vulnerability. Acknowledge what it felt like, and what actions I took to navigate through.

  4. When the wave of adjustment is reaching surge point, take three deep breaths and notice what is happening, mentally and physically. Shake it out if necessary.

  5. Take an action to pause and get outside. Walk, even if briefly, in fresh air and connect with breath.

  6. Notice all thoughts, assumptions and get slippery of mind. Let the unhelpful ones pass, capture the good ones. Be my own self-perpetuating dream catcher.

  7. Ask for feedback and remember to TRUST in the journey.

  8. Proactively create space around the adjustment surges to enable pressure points to be handled effectively. For example, if landing late at night, keep the morning free to re-stock the fridge, collect the dog, and plan for the week without carrying guilt of ‘I should be…..’

  9. Reconnect with those in your tribe that build you up. One positive face to face meeting and I am often raring to go.

  10. Be accountable to myself, eat well, get to bed on time, use core grounding routines and rituals. Don’t bypass the basics, as it will only catch you out later.

Just listing these out and keeping them close will remind me for next time. Reading them through, or having a friend remind me, is all it takes to refocus and get back on track. I look East every morning, grateful for every sunrise bringing new energy, fresh choices and opportunities.

It’s never too late to begin making a positive change.

Thank you to all those supporting me.

With love
Sam

Previous blogs on this personal transition can be found at:http://naturaledgecoachinguk.co.uk/blog/category/danish-delivery/

Self-Awareness and Limits Are Your Answer!

Do you get hooked in?

Picture the scene, you bump into a friend and they immediately begin off-loading on you about how very busy they are, with work, kids, family and how everything sucks in life because of it. You are standing there taking it all in and you get hooked, like Velcro. You get pulled in and attach onto the mood or one of the emotions yourself.  Then you start to say things that were not even near to featuring in your thoughts until a second ago…

How many times do you hear yourself saying out loud things like:

‘I can’t, it’s not the right time. I don’t have the money right now. I wish I could, I just don’t have the confidence. I will do it, just not right now, it’s too much along with everything else.’

or your internal voice saying;

‘I want to do it differently but no one will understand me. What will they think? I don’t want to make a mistake, look stupid. What if I am wrong? I know I want to do it but it scares me. I can’t change it so may as well just accept it and be quiet. It’s not worth the stress. My needs are less important than everyone else’s so just get on with it.’

These are just a few examples of the daily chatter we have with ourselves and others, and often we never stop to even acknowledge what we are saying. We get hooked in and attached and let the chatter grow uncontrolled.  Although we cannot avoid the ebb and flow of our moods or our emotions, we can begin to notice them and then delve a little deeper.  The more times we hear the same chatter, the more times we repeat the same stories, the more we believe it and then take it as fact. But is it fact?

To shake up this pattern we first need to see it and hear it and look to remove our unconscious attachment to it, or in other words become more insightful and compassionate with ourselves.  It is not just about noticing only the seemingly negative emotions, it’s also about learning to recognise what triggers our good moods too. To know what brings these mood swing changes will help us understand that they are not so solid and are each a reaction to what happens to us in this world around us.

There are many ways to become more conscious in our daily lives, for example through more formal meditation and mindfulness practices such as yoga. But there are also other less formal ways to practise in everyday encounters.

The key is to begin to notice yourself and listen to what you are saying to yourself and others, to develop some increased self-awareness.  This can be achieved by actively listening to the conversations you are engaging in.  Hearing how many times you repeat the same story daily. Who do you engage with often? How do you feel afterwards? Has your mood been impacted?

During the conversation, before you jump in and offer your story, your side of events, perhaps ask yourself a couple of quick questions:

‘What value am I adding here and how can I best serve them and myself?’

By simply asking yourself a quick question before you jump in will bring you back to the present moment.  We have all heard about being more present, well that basically comes down to being more conscious and that in itself is a gift as it offers you more choice.

Then you have options, do you want to add fuel to the drama?

If so,  jump in knowingly and notice the emotions that it creates in you, like rage, anger, tiredness, sadness or excitement.  We all need a rant now and again; we all need to get it out.  Take a moment to notice, to say ‘hang on I’m here again’ and ask yourself what triggered you to attach to the conversation in the first instance?

Once you begin to notice the underlying cause, you can let the emotion or mood dissolve and give yourself a break, be kinder to yourself, more compassionate and choose ‘how to be’.

Practising this often naturally leads to a more conscious or mindful way of living.

So how does all this relate to limits being your answer?

With this increased self-awareness, I believe there is great insight to be had by identifying and writing down all our limits around any particular project or vision.  To clearly identify our own limits gives us our gems, nuggets, and clues to help us move forward.  We can creatively develop ideas to move around, through, under or over the perceived obstacle. I believe once we know our limits, we can get creative with them and turn them into our needs, our functions and integrate them into our action plan.

This is really useful when you are beginning something new, or facing a problem or challenge.  Perhaps a new project, or new relationship, a relocation, or new job… it really doesn’t matter.  If you are ready to brave up and listen to yourself then this is worth a try.

I must first acknowledge Looby Macnamara, as she has developed a Design Web model taking permaculture philosophies and applying them to people based systems [http://loobymacnamara.com/people-and-permaculture/].  She takes the limits and delayers them into 4 groups:

  • Visible Limits – these could be physical barriers such as distance or time zones, or if something like a garden project, pathways, pond, fence line etc.
  • Invisible Limits – such as unseen communication flows between teams, partners, family or energy levels of a team/group; the unknown skill level of individual or group; or unseen/spoken expectations.
  • Internal Limits – this is where self-limiting beliefs enter, how we see the world and other people.  Some are inherited, cultural or arrive via main stream media.  We have been conditioned since birth, ask yourself how are they showing up in this instance?
  • External Limits – these can be more practical limits for instance policies, regulations, school holidays, office hours, school hours etc.

Sometimes limits are missing in our lives, for example you may identify a need to set a boundary around your work or your health for example.

Take a moment to consider your situation, what is your vision i.e. what is the ideal scene you are looking to achieve for this ‘project’ and then consider what is keeping you feeling small when your ideal scene may appear so big? Get creative, draw up a table, diagram, or drawing, and note them all.

Here is your opportunity to get honest with yourself, what are you holding on to which is holding you back.  What do those behaviours look like? What is your comfort blanket?

We often use time and money as a real limit, which is legitimate as they are both a top line limit, but what is underneath each of them? Is the time or money an excuse? What is the base layer limit, is it confidence? Is it a limiting self-belief? What is really blocking your connection with your ideal scene?

Once you have them identified, do you see them forming any patterns, do they naturally correlate into groups? What are your priorities? Do these link to your core values? If you were to flip each one upside down, 180 degrees, and make it into a need, what would that need look like now?

I have recently taken myself through this exercise as part of a change that I am embarking on. It is a transition involving myself and my family.  Being able to document all my perceived limits in a clear format and then flip them into clear needs in my action plan has already given me huge insight and benefits.

Here are a few personal observations:

  • With all my perceived limits documented clearly in one place, some of them, already no longer appear as a limit! Those remaining do not now feel unsurmountable.
  • It has left me feeling more focussed with room for creative solutions.
  • It has given me a vehicle or vessel to discuss quite sensitive areas non-emotively with my partner.
  • I feel empowered as I have approached this transition differently with a greater sense of control and positivity.
  • The limits listed out provided the structure for my action plan. They provided the stepping stones and were easier to prioritise than expected.
  • They have given me connections to other areas of my transition plan, such as my overall vision, ideas, patterns and integration.
  • I have learnt some key insights on where my ‘hooks’ were, with this knowledge I am more aware and therefore have more choice around my reactions.
  • They provide me with another anchor and they give me a sort of baseline to work from. It therefore provides me with momentum and energy to progress further when perceived obstacles are eventually overcome.

The benefits to taking a few minutes to identify your limits are quite staggering and I truly believe knowing them is one of your biggest assets to moving forward in growth.

If you would like any help with this, or need a brainstorm as to what is holding you back right now, then please get in touch.  I offer a free 30 min discovery session so there is nothing to lose.  It is easy to contact me through the website or via my Facebook page.  I look forward to hearing from you.

Warm wishes

Sam x