Happy New Year and a Resolution that might just be achievable this year!
I realise I am late in both the well wishes and also in setting a resolution but I do have a reason and it is a very familiar one. Every year I reflect and decide on what I want to focus on in the coming year and every year I end up with a long list that never gets completed.
And why? Because like other busy people, I have goals for many areas of my life and I sprinkle my energy over them much as I do when I turn the water sprinkler on in the garden; point, aim and hope for the best.
This is not to say that just like the flowers in my garden, where my focus goes, things do indeed flourish but also just like the weeds, certain events, people and habits also gain the benefit from my energy sprinkler. So rather than well cultivated patches of achievement, my life becomes a hotch potch of mixed growth and no significant improvement in any one area I had highlighted as important.
So this year I decided that instead of making yet more resolutions that will probably yield the same mixed bags of results, I would instead look at my energy and time as a valuable commodity just like that water or money, something to be allocated and invested wisely.
Yes I know that sounds easier said than done. But if, like me, you spend your life constantly juggling what is important, not just to you but to other people and never making time to say no in order to replenish that dwindling commodity of energy, it is no wonder that we end the year still feeling frazzled and no further forwards. Indeed, we may even be feeling resentful of how others seem to take our time and guilty that yet again, we have failed to focus on the people or things that truly matter to us and that will truly make a positive difference to our life and goals.
So what can we do? Well, stop judging for a start and start evaluating. The key thing successful people do that others don’t is they have incredible focus. They get clear about what it is they want and why they want it and then they tailor their thoughts, feelings and behaviours to bring that about. They are great at saying no, at prioritising their time and in focusing on giving themselves what they need in order to achieve their desired goal.
So, here are my tips to help make that happen!
Some simple tips for this include:
While the concept of being clearer as to where focus goes, energy flows, I drew inspiration for this blog from a You Tube video entitled ‘The Energy Alchemist’. In it, an ex-monk, Dandapani, shares his wisdom and advice on how to improve your clarity, willpower, focus and commitment to spending your energy wisely.
If you would like any other information or would like to book a session with me to clarify your goals and gain confidence in how to prioritise your life more then please do get in touch! Meanwhile, I hope you make this a happier year for you, focusing on yourself first!
Minding how you are Mindful.
If you are anything like me the very word ‘mindfulness’ might bring you out in a nervous rash and cause your eye to twitch. My fear of not doing something ‘properly’ caused me to shamefully at times dismiss the practice by saying, ‘A daily mindfulness practise? Who on earth has the time?!’
The time of loving and giving is upon us again!
Lifehouse Christmas Prosecco and Pamper Event this Friday and Saturday!
And on the 10th and 11th November, Lifehouse is helping you prepare by holding a two day Christmas Fair complete with workshops, treats and tips galore!
The Stick Shop
One bright sunny morning, a confident and beautiful woman named Sue was walking down her local high street. As she turned a corner, she noticed a woman coming out of a new shop. The women paused and looked each other up and down as women do, comparing hair, clothes, shape and general air of confidence. Sue decided they were evenly matched except for one thing. Their sticks. Sue’s was short, shabby and gnarled with overuse whereas this woman was carrying a magnificent stick. Long, firm and, more importantly seemed to match exactly the woman’s image and demeanour.
‘Oh My God!’ Sue cried. ‘I love your stick! Where did you get it?!’
The woman smiled. ‘It is rather fabulous isn’t it? I can’t believe how well it goes with everything I own and that I can take it with me wherever I go and is just perfect for any situation.’
The woman then smiled and nodded her head toward the shop she had just come out of. ‘Go see for yourself! They are brilliant at finding what works best for you.’
Intrigued, Sue entered the shop. It was a dimly lit space with rows and rows of shelves, all containing sticks. Long sticks, short sticks, knobbly sticks, different coloured sticks all nestling in their own box.
A young girl appeared from behind a long desk, smiling briskly. ‘Good morning. Welcome to Sticks. Do take a seat. ’She pointed to a large chair in front of the desk which contained a pen and a very long list of questions.
‘Did you bring your current stick with you?’ the assistant asked.
Sue glanced down at the stick held in a loose bag across her back. She always had it with her and couldn’t remember a time when it wasn’t there.
Carefully, she laid it out on the table in front of the assistant. The girl picked it up. ‘Hmm, his has obviously been used well, from early teens I would say but has lost some of its sharpness and you clearly aren’t using it as much as you used to.
Sue looked at the girl in amazement. ‘How do you know that?’
The girl smiled. ‘Oh, I’m very experienced. Now let’s get started shall we?’
There then followed a long list of in-depth questions.
How old were you when you first started to use your stick?
How old are you now?
How many times a day do you use your stick?
Are there any particular situations where you use your stick more?
Are there certain people that inspire you to use your stick more often?
Do you use your stick when just alone or when prompted to by others?
Do you use your stick in all your relationships or is it used more with some than others? For example, husband, parents, old friends, work colleagues?
What is your pain threshold gauge for using your stick?
Do you ever share your stick or indulge in group stick use?
How do you react if someone tries to either persuade you to stop using your stick or tries to forcibly remove it from you?( If this happens frequently you may need to also see our additional range of customised armour and self-defence tools.)
What do you do with your stick when you experience any feelings of happiness or self-acceptance?
In a daze but with a growing sense of shame, Sue answered all the questions, distraught at recognising how often in her life she had been tempted to put down her stick and stop using it.
‘Who will I be without my stick?’ She moaned.
‘Don’t worry,’ the girl said as she gently removed Sue’s stick from her. ‘You’re not losing your stick, it will always be a part of you but the time has come for a new stick that more accurately reflects who you are now.
The girl went to a shelf and selected a stick. It was beautiful. Longer than Sue’s previous one, thicker and with a sharply pointed end.
‘This is one of our most popular models,’ the girl explained. ‘The sharp point is excellent for reaching those really deep places that have had a lot of memories and habits attached to them.’
Sue held up her new stick and felt wonderful. She couldn’t wait to start using it!
Sue handed over her payment and the girl explained the guarantee and warranty.
‘Now, this rarely happens but we want to be through in our service to you. If, for any reason, you feel you no longer need or want your stick we ask that you return it so it can be donated to a charity we have set up for young girls who are just beginning to learn about using sticks. If however, your stick becomes damaged or broken through overuse, then we will replace it immediately and also provide you with a celebration certificate and membership of our exclusive stick club which meets here every Wednesday.’
Sue emerged, dazed and happy from the shop, proudly carrying her new stick. As she did so, she caught the eye of a young, attractive girl whose eyes widened in amazement when she saw Sue’s stick. Sue smiled and went to greet her.
The sticks we carry come in all different shapes and sizes and are used for reasons that are as unique as the people that carry them. Get in touch on the askbeccy@lifehouse page to share your stick stories or to ask any questions as to how you can lose them!
It’s September, already! And if you are one of the millions of people bemoaning the fact that summer is over and so is all the holiday fun, consider the advice offered yesterday on the Chris Evans Breakfast Show. According to research, September, is actually much more a beginning of a new year, complete with making resolutions, than January and I think he makes a very good point.
And why? September is the beginning of a new school year, so it feels more like a natural time to make a fresh start than I the aftermath of Christmas. This actually makes complete sense. Summer is the traditional time when most people take a well earned holiday or break and use that time to reflect over the past year before beginning a new term or new phase of work. If you are lucky enough to actually go away then a holiday affords us a true break from all the stress and pressure of everyday life and is when we try and cram in all the promised ‘quality me time’ that has been neglected for months into a few short days or weeks. It may also be a time when we take stock of where we are and what changes we want to make in our lives.
And this is exactly what I did. For a whole range of reasons, I began the summer feeling frazzled, unfocused and frustrated with certain friendships while not following through on any of the self -care practices I so regularly preach to others as essential for our emotional as well as physical health. Instead of choosing to focus on one thing at a time, I scattered long lists, notes and to do lists for each area of my life in my study, creating a backdrop that Jackson Pollock would have been proud of.
Far from feeling focused, I was feeling woefully inadequate, not to mention emotionally and physically drained coupled with the stress of seeing the health of my beloved Labrador deteriorating and the guilt of feeling I was losing precious time with him.
So, I took a holiday. I didn’t go away anywhere but instead, I gave myself permission to simply stop. Stop worrying, stop running around, stop obsessing about my endless to do lists and stop trying to be there for everyone else except myself. Now, I’m not saying I kept this up for the entire summer, the guilt monkey jumped up and down a fair amount and I also didn’t become a recluse and totally neglect my nearest and dearest. I just chose not to neglect myself for once and to actually take the time out to figure out what exactly was motivating me to run around the way I did and to reflect on what was really important to me
So I did absolutely nothing. Well, that’s not strictly true as I did a lot of things, mostly involving hanging out with the pooch who was delighted to have so much more of my focused time and attention, spending hours at the beach or going on outings. What I mean is I gave myself permission to only spend time doing what I genuinely wanted to do and not what I felt I should do and what a revelation that was!
By considering more carefully what I actively chose to do I found myself naturally spending time on projects I had long been promising to do such as studying Reiki and EFT, spending time with friends I hadn’t connected with in a long while and spending less time with others. The rest of the time I read, made plans, overhauled my long term goals, took better care of my physical health and needs and actively sought out time to just be, not do, just be.
Now I know this is completely unsustainable in the real world but actually, is it? Chris Evans continued to say that the research he was referring to also advised that we keep some elements of the holiday feeling alive in our day to day life. What I learnt was that the very things I often didn’t find time for are the very things that enable me to have the energy and even the enthusiasm to do more of just with a different focus.
I will be expanding on this in the coming weeks but for now, I urge you to embrace this new year and whatever plans you have made over the summer and to keep some daily time to still give yourself a sense of holiday freedom, we just won’t tell anyone!