Embracing Anger


This is one of the five Reiki principles I learnt, which I’m afraid to say I completely lost sight of last week when some anger erupted from seemingly nowhere with my kids. The whys and wherefores aren’t important here…..but the anger is.

A&A went off to school but the anger stayed with me. I felt it flow through my veins like it’d been injected into my system. Then I became really dull, like all my emotions had somehow been dampened. After a while I felt really tired. So much so that I fell asleep.

When I woke up I had a throbbing headache and my neck ached. My body was trying to tell me something and I needed to figure out what.


Interestingly we’d just had family over from the UK. We had a lovely time together but we were really sad when they left. As soon as we were up, we were out and about showing them around so I hadn’t meditated for a few days.

I knew I needed to connect with my deeper self to not only come face to face with this anger but to also go deeper than it. That way I could observe my feelings objectively, hopefully enabling some healing.


I sat quietly and asked my self ‘Where is my anger stored?’ and wrote down all that came up.

I then asked ‘What is my anger saying?’ and listened for the answers.

I kept this inner dialogue going until I got to the bottom of it. It was really interesting what was revealed and what it connected to. It turns out that my eruption was deep-seated and created a kind of body armor tightening the muscles in my head and neck. They were literally holding onto my repressed anger, creating tension. My energy was so depleted that my system actually shut down for a bit making me need to rest for a while.

Left unattended these repressed feeling can actually damage the immune system, eventually leading to all sorts of physical ailments including inflammation (literally being ‘inflamed’).


Once I’d addressed where the anger had come from I gave myself permission to release it. The headache and neck ache gradually ceased and I was right as rain the next day!

So we need to deal with these things as they come up (or get help doing so). We mustn’t let them go back down again to only reappear stronger another time. Our amazing bodies try to give us clues via disturbances, ailments, feelings, dreams etc….

Let’s not ignore them.

Let’s tune-in and listen!

The Power of Mind Mapping


fullsizerender
I personally absolutely love mind mapping and use it pretty much daily in all that I do – for personal and business coaching; for brainstorming, goal setting and problem solving; for question asking, story building and creating; for highlighting the mind body connection in illness and unease; for prayer and contemplation and a whole heap of other things. You’ll see a lot more of how I use mind mapping in upcoming blogs but for now I’d like to share a special story with you.

Last October my then 79 year old father was being operated on to remove a very large brain tumor. I sat with my mother and aunt in his hospital room for the duration of his operation. I told my mother I’d be ‘zoning out’ and connecting with ‘out there’ to focus on dad. She understood but I think my aunt thought it was a bit odd!

I put some earplugs in, sat still, closed my eyes and just focused on my father and the people in the operating room with him. I wrote ‘Dad Brain Tumor Operation’ in the middle of my notebook page and drew a circle around it, (I call it a ‘circle of blessing’). And then I waited for whatever came to me. It was surprising what did, to the extent that a few times I asked ‘really?’ But I’ve learnt over the years not to question, just write:

dads-mind-map

At a quick glance this looks like a very nice mind map, but if you’d known my father before his op you may have asked ‘really?’ too. Dad was a workaholic and a perfectionist so he always seemed to have his head down rather than up. A few months after his surgery he pointed out all the beautiful things around us – anything from a lovely view to a bird singing to the kindness of a person – things we’d overlooked, (see ‘the beauty around him’, I’d written). He used to get very anxious about the future and worried about what might happen in it, but that all stopped after the surgery. He started living very much in the moment and not worrying about the future at all. In the old days he could be very grumpy and sometimes difficult to be with, but now he’s happy, fun-loving and full of joy. He’s also become hugely affectionate with his children and grand children (love, loving, more heart). It really does seem that dad has somehow hit the ‘refresh’ button and undergone some ‘re-programming’, changing ‘old patterns’ and is now back to ‘where he’s meant to be’. On top of all that, he was recently given the all clear at the one year check up and declared ‘healthy’ and ‘healed’. Wow!

You know, I could sit here and write so many stories of how I’ve used mind mapping over the years, for myself and with others, but I thought it’d be interesting to read some other perspectives. So I asked three people I’ve had the honor to draw alongside in different ways if they wouldn’t mind sharing their view of what it was like for me to mind map with them, or for them. Here’s what they had to say:

Business Coaching

From the get go, I loved working with and being coached by Yas. She established a strong bond straight away and was easily able to steer me in the direction I needed to go. Her questions are very specific and thought provoking and she quickly identifies the areas that are holding you back and the goals that you need to focus on. Yas introduced the mind mapping technique in our very first coaching session. Mapping out ideas together enabled us to brainstorm in a focused and concise manner. With brainstorming, as opposed to being questioned / interviewed, you feel very much a part of the process. It’s a fun and liberating creative process and that encourages exploration of a specific issue. As a visual person, I love how this technique evolves into a graphic decision-making/planning tool that you can pin up as a reminder of your goals and the direction in which you are headed.

Caroline Pulford, Co-Founder and Chief Creative Executive at La Legsie

Personal Coaching/Mentoring

My sessions with Yasemin have helped me weed through all the chaos of ideas and desires in my brain to show a clearer and more focused path forward. Her mind mapping technique has shown me connections and meaning where I couldn’t see any sort of cohesion. What I love about her process is that she comes alongside as a guide helping me untangle what is already in me, the things I already knew but just couldn’t quite see properly. Every time we go through one of her mind maps together I end up feeling empowered and encouraged. She’s direct and bold in her statements, but I never feel that she’s giving advice or opinions of her own, I feel that she is pointing me back to who I really am and what I really want. Somehow she is able to listen between the lines and see the things that I’m missing. I consider myself to be a pretty self aware and self analytical person, but having Yasemin along as a partner, diving into my heart and brain, has been invaluable. My direction as an artist and small business developer, and as a person who is wanting to craft an uncommon life, has been honed and focused through our sessions. I’m left with a sense of peace and positive energy where I only saw a knotted nest of tasks and interests. I’m so grateful to add her as a tool in my resource box!

Phaedra Taylor, Encaustic Artist

Prayer Mapping

Going into surgery is a scary thing. Hearing someone is praying for you is comforting. One always wonders, however, whether or not the prayers really happened, and if so, what they were!! Receiving a prayer map from Yasemin was unlike any other gift I have ever received. It was tangible evidence that a real, flesh and blood person cares about me. The prayers were specific, accurately imploring God on my behalf, both for things I perceived I needed, and for things she perceived I needed by listening to me and the Holy Spirit. Seeing this beautiful gift made me want to do it for someone else!

Araceli Jonsson, Language Teacher

I’m so grateful for those three people writing from their viewpoint. There really is power in mind mapping like this. I’d love to know what you think and if you’ve used mind mapping in this way yourself. And please do share with your friends. There may just be one who’d love someone to draw alongside them and map something out with them in this way. You never know!

Wishing you the very best

Until next time…

Yx

Who Pushes Your Buttons?

Hi there!

I hope this finds you healthy and well my friend.

We’ve just celebrated our first American Thanksgiving with our very kind and hospitable neighbours and I have to say I loved it! It’s just like a British Christmas really, turkey ‘n all, but no presents. NO PRESENTS! Bliss! Just focusing on what we’re grateful for. The day after, however, brought ‘Black Friday’, where the malls are stuffed full of people buying, buying, buying. Consumerism at its worst/best! What a complete contrast to the day before (and my idea of hell!)  So, needless to say, I went nowhere near the malls, opting instead to stay at home to paint and draw (now to be known as ‘Black Ink Friday’ in my book!)

Anyway, there’s something that’s been brewing on my mind for a few weeks, so I thought I’d share it with you: it’s all about the people who push our buttons!

I don’t know how you view your public self but I think mine’s quite a happy, patient and (mostly) mature one yet my buttons still get pushed when I’m out there! In fact some people in life seem to be master button-pushers! They know exactly what to say (or not to say), do (or not to do) to transform us from calm, happy people into intolerant, impatient and, quite frankly, horrid ones!

IMG_1867

We know that the best button-pushers are usually the people closest to us…..our other halves, our kids, family, close friends, work colleagues…..people we see all the time (or have grown up with). But every now and then a complete stranger or someone we don’t know that well manages to push our buttons too (especially if they work for BT)!

So why is that? What are these so called bloomin’ buttons anyway? And why do they trigger such negative emotions?

I’ve been pondering on this lately because I recently had one of those nasty eruptions with someone I didn’t know that well, which really upset me. It upset me on a few levels: firstly, that I publicly lost my cool and I wasn’t able to control it. Secondly, my preference was normally NOT to react there and then but to take a deep breath, disengage and work through it in my journal at a later stage. That way I get to look at the bigger picture, prevent myself from upsetting anyone and avoid the inevitable counter-attack! And lastly, I’d really rather not be revealing that real and vulnerable side of me, at least without some prior notice, for all and sundry to see!

So what did I do? I went to my room, put a metaphorical spotlight on the whole episode and worked through it. I wanted to know what the story behind it was. Why? Because I know that if this kind of thing stays inside us, it does far more damage in the long run.

Mark Twain Quote

So it needs to be addressed. Whenever it comes up, for whatever reason, it really needs to be interrogated there and then. If we don’t work through it, ‘it’ would just ‘go back down’ and that would be like continually brushing dirt under the carpet. Eventually there’d be such a large accumulation to inevitably trip up over that we’d probably hurt ourselves! So we have a choice: either let it stay put knowing that it would keep rearing it’s ugly head at unwelcome times and potentially manifest into some sort of dis-ease, or work through it. The former is certainly the easiest route, but I prefer the latter!

If you don’t heed the messages from your body the first time they’re delivered, you’ll get hit with a bigger hammer the next time.  A delay or denial requires your body to speak louder and louder to get your attention. The purpose of emotions, regardless of what they are, is to help you feel and participate fully in your own life. Stop and experience them! Then change your behavior accordingly.

Dr Christiane Northrup

I personally believe, through my own experiences, that our bodies are so much more amazing than we believe they are. And when ‘something comes up’, whether it dulls us, drains us, makes us react unfavorably or ails us, then we really should listen! Our body is trying to tell us something. And we must have the curiosity to find out what!

Aristotle believed that everything happens for a reason, always. And that every experience in our lives was designed to shape us and reform us into the ultimate and greatest version of ourselves that we could ever imagine.

I’ve been working on this for most of my complicated, beautiful life…..and it’s still very much a work in progress…..but I do love it! Love it? Yup, love it! Don’t get me wrong – the process can be hard. Sometimes very hard. It takes courage. But the things that are released, recovered from and restored to make it so worth it in the end.

Having said all that, the most rewarding thing about all this for me started the moment I turned from looking inwards to looking outwards. I began wondering what other peoples’ stories were and how they got to the point they were at. Better still, in the midst of my curiosity, I discovered I was actually able to help people work through their own ‘stuff’ too.

Now this might sound strange but we should actually be grateful for all those button-pushers of ours out there! If it weren’t for them we may not be ‘challenged’ to work through our issues and we certainly wouldn’t be able to help others either. So let’s consider button-pushers as some of our greatest teachers!

IMG_1864.jpg

That’s it for now my friend. Do let me know if you there’s someone you think might be ‘stuck’ with any feeling, thought pattern or dis-ease in anyway! I’d love to help them work through it, wherever they are in the world! And if there’s anyone you think would like to read this blog…..please go ahead and pass it on:

www.naturallyyas.com

Bye for now! Until next time…..
Yx

Positively Irritating!

Hi there!

Sorry I haven’t written for a couple of weeks. I wasn’t really sure what to write! I’m guessing that you’d really like news of what life’s like out here but there’s been no major event that’s happened or anything that’s really stood out. I think I’ve been weirdly putting some sort of pressure on myself to come up with something interesting. Something inspiring.

Nothing!

Nada!

But I did want to keep in touch…so here’s where I’m at: we’ve been here for nine weeks now. (Nine weeks!) I think it might actually be sinking in that we’re not here on holiday, that we’re here to live! And if I’m to be really honest, that feels a little ‘blaaah’ right now. (And it’s not helped by the fact I’ve come up with some strange rash on my face). Weird really, because whilst Big A’s at work and the mini As are at school, I’ve been really loving having my own space…..reading, writing, painting,……bliss! (Or so I thought!)

IMG_1655
Perhaps the ‘blaaahness’ it’s because the weather’s getting cooler (by ‘cooler’ I mean it’s been going down into the 80s/30s – ºF/ºC!) Think not! Maybe it’s because the rugby season’s started and, having been such a part of it for the last 9 years or so, we’re now feeling well and truly out of it! Perhaps all our toing and froing this year has finally caught up with me? Or it may just be that we’ve hit the two month mark?

I first heard about this from my biological Mother and pretty much dismissed it at the time. She used to work for the American School system in Istanbul. Her job was to help ‘orientate’ the new English speaking teachers into Turkey. Most of them were initially excited about their new roles and the new culture they’d be living in for the next two years. But at about two months in, when the excitement had waned and it became more the norm, they usually had a wobble! (It was part of her job to be there for them at that point too!)

So perhaps that’s the reason for my flatness right now! Then I hear my lovely friend’s voice saying, “It’s alright for you, Yas. You’re naturally positive.” Am I? Naturally? (I’m not sure!) Though what I am sure about is that I’ve worked hard to get to this place…..and it’s definitely still a consistent work in progress!

IMG_1637

All that stuff I do…..journaling, living in the now, gratitude lists etc. that I’ve mentioned in this blog…..are just some of the ways I keep working at it. And it’s all very well writing about me, me, me and us, us, us but it’d feel weird to me if I weren’t giving something back too. So even if one person benefits from all this….then I’m a happy bunny! (And that’s what encouraged me to write today.) But I’m also only just realising that when I’m in that positive place, it can be hugely irritating! (“Change that statement’, I say. “Make it positive!” I say.)  It may be how I try to be but that’s my story…not someone else’s! What I don’t want, however, is to come across as someone who’s life is just perfectly peachy all the time. (We have enough of those types plastered all over the internet!) And the truth is, it ain’t!

So it’s back to the drawing board to see what’s really up, what’s at the heart of this ‘blaaahness’ and this rash and what I can do about it. I’ll write in my journal, for sure, but before I do I’m going to sit in silence for a while and just meditate on it. It somehow penetrates right to the core of me when I do that. And in that place an answer or an idea may ‘pop up’ to help!  (I’ll expand on that more another time!) But for now…

IMG_1629

So onwards and through it is!

I’ll be back in touch soon. Promise!

Take care of you!

Yx

New School, New Semester, New Habit.

Hi there!

I hope this finds you well!

I just firstly need to declare that I’m very proud of my two scallywags! They went off to their new schools ever so bravely last Monday. (Unlike me, the mess!) I wanted to get on that bus with them, see where they sat and who they spoke to, if anyone. I wanted be a fly on the wall in their classrooms, ring them throughout the day to ask if they were ok and watch how others treated them. I wished they’d make friends easily, hoped they’d like their teachers (and that their teachers would like them!), wondered how they’d cope with being back in a school environment (after having been out of one for so long) and just that everyone would be really nice! Despite having spent the last six months with the children and really, REALLY looking forward to having time to myself, I watched the clock all of that first day wondering what they’d be doing at that moment! I then waited at the window in the afternoon watching out for the school bus, just so eager for their return!! (Crazy woman!)

They came back really chilled, “Yeah, had a good day”. Right. Ok. That’s good. (Phew!)

Anyway, I decided that if A&A were starting something new then I would start something new too! That and the fact a cold sore decided to appear (meaning low immunity and emotional stress!) It was definitely time to get back on top! So I returned to an old habit: LEMON WATER!

Why? There are soooooo many good reasons: it reduces inflammation, cuts through phlegm, aids digestion, boosts energy, helps the immune system work at its best (yay!), assists in reducing colds and viruses (!) and decreases “bad” cholesterol. Plus, and probably most importantly, it helps avoid the accumulation of acid waste in our bodies. (Acid waste?!) Yup! So how can acidic lemons help get rid of acid waste? Well, though lemon juice outside are body is acidic, once we’ve drunk it and it’s inside our body, it quite brilliantly becomes alkaline-forming.  So why is it so important for us to be less acidic? Because in the long-term a permanently acidic state can damage our normal cell structures and functions, which in turn can cause a whole heap of nasty health issues. And we don’t want that! So, as Hippocrates said:

Let food be thy medicine and let thy medicine be food

But it’s not just our diets that affect our acidity levels. Lack of exercise, repressed emotions and ciggies can all make us waaaaay too acidic. Emotional stress plays its part too (like moving house…and country!) by releasing acid-forming hormones into our system. (By the way – some of the things I’ve brought up in previous posts are great little tools for any DIY ‘working through emotional stuff’ kit.)

So, from here on in, I’m definitely adopting a daily lemon water habit! If you fancy joining me……I just squeeze the juice of 1/4 lemon into lukewarm, filtered water and drink it every morning before breakfast. Then I take great pleasure in knowing that all those lovely cells of mine are being drenched in alkalinity!


One little habit…..one mighty detox!

That’s it for now! Take good care!

Until next time…..!

Yx

Let It All Out!

Hi there! Welcome back!

Thanks so much for the lovely comments I’ve received on here, Facebook and private messages. They’ve really inspired, encouraged and spurred me on to write some more! I was initially soooo tentative about putting my words ‘out there’ because I kept telling myself I wasn’t a proper writer! But bashing that thought around in my journal made me realise that, actually, I AM! It may not be well known but I’ve been writing for over thirty years (albeit to myself)!

I don’t write every day and I don’t list what I ate for breakfast (!) but I do use it to express, express, express! Express what? Well, all sorts of things…..my thoughts, feelings, mulling ideas over, problem solving, reflecting on inspiring stuff, getting to the bottom of why things push my buttons, dream analysis or just a frustrated…..

image

Whatever the reason, the bottom line is that journaling helps me feel happier, calmer, clearer-headed and focused on the present. I recently read about Dr James Pennebaker, a professor of Psychology at The University of Texas (of all places!), whose research has shown that ‘writing about emotional experiences can have tangible health benefits’.  Better health too? Even more reason to write, write, write!

As you can imagine, this move to Houston has been coming up in my journal quite a lot over the past few months! The latest is we’re at the final stage of the immigration process (yay!).  Angus has an interview at the US embassy in London on 30th July when they’ll give him a defintie ‘yay’ or ‘nay’! (Why wouldn’t they give him the visa, right?!) I’ll report back on that soon after but if you have a spare, positive, thought for us on the day (1pm to be precise) then please do send it over!

In the meantime, we’re enjoying being here…….now!

Oh yes….nearly forgot! If you fancy getting notifications via email when I post something new…..then please just click the ‘Follow’ button to the right and below. I didn’t know to add that particular little ‘widget’ to my last post…..ooops! Learning as I go!

Bye for now

Yx

One last thing……someone asked it I’d mind if a friend of hers read this blog. I said of course I didn’t! If someone doesn’t know us and reads this it’s still a story…..and if it can inspire along the way, then all the better! So please feel free to pass on to a friend if you think they’d be interested!

Hi there!

An enormous WELCOME to my very first post!

I thought I’d be brave and dip my toe into the blogging world….so I have! Mainly to write about our transition from the UK to Houston but also to highlight some (hopefully) inspirational stuff on the way! I must warn you though – it won’t be a literary masterpiece. More like colloquial scribble! Anyway, here goes!

As you may know, it’s been a weird old time for us preparing for something that was meant to be happening and then wasn’t! We moved out of the house, sold the car, pulled the kids out of school, sent our belongings off to the States and then a day before we were meant to leave…BOOM! The US weren’t ready to have us yet! Not without the correct paperwork anyway! So for the last four months, whilst that’s being compiled, we’ve been living out of a suitcase, borrowing cars, staying mostly with my in-laws and attempting home schooling (more like ‘unschooling’!)

It’s certainly been tense at times, to say the least, but there’s been something that’s really helped through the ‘what ifs’ (worrying about what the future holds) and the ‘if onlys’ (dwelling on the past). When my mind goes wandering into the future, I can get anxious! Very anxious! Or when it goes back into the past, I can feel really very sad. Either way it does my head in!  The past is done…..there’s nothing I can do to change that. And I’ll just have to wait to cross future’s bridge before I worry about what the conditions may be like there.

So I bring myself back to the present moment. How? I’ll give you an example……I’m sitting in a car jam, which’ll make me late for my appointment, and I start getting stressed about it. But what can I do? That stress won’t make the jam disappear or get me to my appointment any earlier. So I send a message to say I’ll be late, then take a couple of very deep breaths in and deep breaths out! I start looking around…..seeing what’s there…..listening for sounds…..becoming aware of what I’m sitting on and how that feels. Why? Because it helps me realise that right in that moment I’m actually absolutely fine. And that rebalances me.  (And I notice the stress disappearing!) I may very well be arriving late for my appointment…..but at least I’ll be arriving happier!

My best teachers on this? The kids……and our dogs! They’re all naturals at it! Plus Eckhart Tolle’s book The Power of Now has been hugely inspiring.  If you haven’t read it …..I highly recommend it! It’s certainly transformed my thinking!

For now, thanks for reading! I hope you’ve enjoyed it. I’ll be back in touch again soon.

Until then, may we….

IMG_0924

Bye…for now!