Thoughts on the world, homeopathy, mindfulness and food...
A collection of blog posts - feel free to respond with your thoughts and comments - I love to have feedback - thank you!
Most of my clients come to me having heard about me from someone else. The word of mouth option. Yes, I do lots of marketing, update the website frequently - and people do find me through these routes, but the majority of new people come to me as they've been recommended me by someone who's done well through the sessions. Or their child has improved significantly and they think they'll come too. People love to know what works for someone else, and equally love to tell you what helped them. And so I think that the Find a Homeopath website is particularly great in that it gives people an option both to share their good news stories and to read about what has worked for others people. It's a brilliant place to have a say - and it would be great if you'd share your story.
It's just here:
http://www.findahomeopath.org.uk/HaveYourSay and only takes a moment to complete the short sections.
For homeopaths, these stories are valuable, for the public, who may have thought there was no other option for their dis-ease - they can be more than valuable. They can change lives. I can't imagine how it would be for me struggling through with migraine after migraine. As a patient said to me recently 'my Doctor told me that there were some people who just got headaches and I was one of those'. It's wonderful to see that after a lifetime of chronic headaches, she knows that she no longer has to be 'one of those people' and there are options out there.
If you've a story to tell please share it. It could help someone just like you.
Many, many thanks,
PS Just click here!
As part of a mindfulness exercise I've been working with recently there's a section whereby you access a time you've felt as powerful as you've ever felt, a time where everything is flowing. I've practised the technique a few times and have gone to the same place - where I felt totally empowered as a woman, at one with women throughout time and space, a primal place where there was just me, and everyone, everything was a part of my consciousness and I was a part of everything. Like a cell, doing it's own individual job but a part of the pulsing, alive whole. Intricately connected and yet exquisitely separate.
It's an incredibly powerful feeling, that connection, that lack of anything else but the one task in hand. And to access that now and again is a beautiful thing.
Where is your place that you feel on top of the world? Where things are running smoothly and flowing freely? Creativity coursing through you or harmony flooding your cells with a peaceful feeling. It's worth spending a little time by yourself to tap into that feeling. And just to breathe that sensation in every now and again...
I want to devote this blog post to some amazing women. The passion, fire and power out there is phenomenal and I am frequently inspired and amazed by the drive and love of many of them. And the support, gentleness and compassion for each other in the midst of some crazy times. Truly beautiful.
I was musing today after some iPod shuffle tunes put me in mind of a friend and a conversation we'd had recently whereby I'd got a little upset, a tad defensive, had stepped away and then used some of the mindfulness techniques I've been working with to help me continue on with my day in a calm and rational manner. I absolutely know there was no intent to upset, and yet I found it difficult to totally let the situation go and fully move on. Until probably today when I realised after working with a client that whilst I'd used some great techniques for myself at the time, I'd not done so to the best of my capacity with myself.
I worked with Byron Katie's Work whilst hiding away in the bathroom and had felt was doing well. Well enough to carry on with my day without needing to do anymore about it. And to continue in a happy frame of mind although it still niggled at me. Today I realised that it was nothing to do with the statement made by them, it was about my belief that I'd allowed to be created in myself.
Talk about penny dropping! The realisation that it's nothing to do with what someone might say, it's about what belief we attach to that statement is so often the issue. The projections we put onto so many things that we do. This I knew in theory but living it is just so incredibly liberating. The belief I attached that day? That I was doing a bad job of parenting. No wonder I found it hard to put away when I allowed myself to believe that. Not to say I feel I'm a perfect parent - far from it, but I do know I do my best and allow myself to learn on the job.
Questioning the belief fully today has brought a wonderful sense of relief. It was just a thought. Nothing less, nothing more. Attaching to it (or any self limiting belief) is generally going to give rise to constriction and discomfort, dis-ease with ourselves. Allowing it to be free, to fly off and look at it with compassion and a sense of humour is a far more peaceful thing.
Cycling this afternoon I realised a sense (as the lorries hurtled past me and cars sped along at 60mph overtaking me on my shiny new bike) of my own mortality. What was the worst that could happen? Well I guess I could collide with one of them and then end of play. To compare it to my conversation that upset me - what was the worst that could happen? Someone could think I was parenting badly in that situation. That I can live with. And the funniest realisation? That wasn't even what was being said. I certainly wasn't really listening.
And I thank them, wholeheartedly, for their part in my growth.
Within a relatively short space of time, two posts had come to my attention highlighting the naked body. One, a beautiful collection of images of yoga poses, done completely naked, and the other, a blog offering 5 reasons to get naked everyday.
For me, the most beautiful sentence in the blog, or at least the most thought provoking was:
'When was the last time you looked at your body in all its naked glory? I mean really looked at it. No squeaming at chubby thighs or grimacing at lanky arms. Just looking at, understanding, and accepting your body in all its perfectly imperfect brilliance'
How many of us think 'I'd like my body if...' I'm definitely not immune to it, although aspire often enough to elevating myself beyond this place. Elevating may be the wrong word - total acceptance of my body in all it's perfect imperfection is, I suppose what I'd like to aim for. And I have no doubt I'll get there. It's been a lifetime's work so far, and from a place of fairly intense food restriction to gain control in an uncontrollable part of my life story nearly 20 years ago, I've come a long way.
What saddens me though is how young this judgement starts. I hear my 7 year old tell me that 'friends' have told her she's fat and ugly. She's neither, but that's not really the issue here. What are we thinking that these gorgeous beings are calling each other these names? And, more importantly, how do we strengthen their inner knowledge that they too are, imperfectly perfect. People will, at various points, or at least may, knock our confidence in ourselves, in our bodies, in our beliefs. I just wasn't aware that the training starts so young.
For me, mindfulness comes in, self confidence in ourselves, taking time to get to know our bodies, accepting and giving thanks for the beauty that is within and without. Not to be ashamed of our own bodies in front of our daughters and sons and to work on our own stuff with the hope of releasing them from a similar place. I feel lucky I grew up in a house where we could all wander around in with nothing on (not that we often did - it wasn't quite that sort of house...) but there was no judgement - and still I fell into a self loathing trap of telling myself I was fat daily so I would have the resolve to restrict my food (and probably covered up more so no one was aware of my journey at that point). Beating myself up to get results didn't lead to happiness - although I suppose it did lead to an unhealthy level of weight loss at the time. And so now I see the BBC news around obesity suggesting that they use terrorising tactics and light stigma to assist in our obesity crisis.
I don't doubt the crisis - I would call it a health crisis, an overabundance of processed food crisis, and probably a shocking lack of foresight in people who are in government handing out watered down information in the hope that people could achieve it instead of trusting our intelligence and giving real, true information crisis.
Damn I've done it again. My blog was about the beauty of the naked body and it's becoming a food rant. But hear me out, there's a point to it all. If we eat well, we feel well. If we feel good about ourselves we are inspired to eat well and look after ourselves. Making people feel bad - whether it be in the playground, in the workplace, in the consultation space or even just sat at home watching an advert doling out some 'light stigma' tactics is unlikely to lead to an enhanced sense of wellbeing and ambition to give our bodies life enhancing foods.
Let's learn to love. Ourselves, others, our bodies. Our glorious naked bodies which do so much for us and get so little thanks. Today I stood in front of a mirror and thanked mine for being what it is. Doing what it does and helping me everyday.
So let's go naked now and again. Even if that's only naked, unprocessed food to start with. Imagine funding for subsidised fruits and vegetables (or even just buying more ourselves) and a campaign on TV for juicing, upping fruits and veggies, starting every meal with a large salad, increasing the greens, learning to love greens. And ourselves. Loving us for being imperfectly perfect. Just the way we are.
I thought I'd share a little about one of my recent discoveries which I'm incorporating into my daily routine. As ever I'd read about something and my curiousity was piqued so I thought I'd give it a go. I used coconut oil, scooped out a small quantity, let it melt in my mouth and swished it around as directed. I didn't manage anything like the suggested 15-20minutes of swishing. Maybe 2 minutes. But it was a start. I built it up to longer durations then had a break as we went away and I forgot my oil.
Back home and I've restarted it again. And I really, really like it. My teeth feel really clean, I've not had sore gums once (which very occasionally had happened previously) and I think they're looking fairly healthy. They did get a compliment from my wonderful market veg man the other day. I've just added turmeric into the mix which again feels like a bit of an experiment but I've seen plenty of reference to it being helpful in teeth cleaning in the raw food world, with lots of benefits. This one I'm a bit warier of - brushing my teeth with a bright yellow powder and watching the brush go a shade of ochre makes me feel less confident. But hey! What's the worst that can happen? Day-glo teeth for trick or treating? However I'm going with it, experimenting and we'll see...
So, why oil pulling? I'm not planning on a full history or comprehensive list of qualities but thought would share just a few features and benefits:
Historically it's an age old practice originating from Ayurvedic medicine but has become popular in recent times (I know it must be as it takes me ages to catch onto any 'new' trends - am always at the back of the queue there!) for oral cleansing. There's lots of books on the practice and plenty of information on the web about it.
Studies have highlighted that coconut oil may help prevent tooth decay (reducing 'bad' bacteria in the mouth and bad breath) and others claim reduced sinus problems, stomach and digestive issues, as well as improved skin symptoms. Some state that the oil pulling is able to detoxify the body. My thoughts? I'm open to it - I don't have an answer and according to some, what I know and love is a load of placebo peddling rubbish so who am I to judge?
What I do know though is that my teeth feel cleaner, I'm feeling good and life being, afterall, one big experiment - why not give it a go and see what you think?
I was lucky enough to be able to spend some time with my Grandma today, in between a mindfulness peer support session and a Skype homeopathy appointment. Just to slow down for a bit was a luxury this week - it's been and is being a great week and very busy along with lots of lovely times. But what I really noticed was the stuff. And really the stuff that doesn't matter, the clutter that we accumulate, with no intent or need. It really set me to thinking about what's important in life, the people around me, the experiences. The empty jewellry boxes not so much. The relationships, the loves, the joys, the constant gifts that are unseen.
And so I desire to slow down again from time to time, to really take in the moment. It's all there is right now and moving onto the next task with a burning desire to get it done and out of the way is dissolving the potency of this moment.
So cuddle, love, laugh, be filled with joy. And don't sweat the small stuff.
Easier said than done sometimes. But there is help out there should you need it. Homeopathy, I believe, can be one of the most potent ways of coming into the moment, into the here and now and being able to leave the past and the future out of it more. A well prescribed remedy, Jeremy (Sherr) used to tell us, can bring us out of the there and then and into the here and now. I don't think there is much out there to rival it in it's beauty and grace.
Mindfulness too, can be used, in one to one sessions, as a self taught activity and can create much more presence in the present moment, enabling us to sleep better, experience less anxiety and generally be happier. Like homeopathy, it can be used to great effect with both children and adults.
Sending love and light,
I thought I'd share a couple of things as I'd mentioned I would be water fasting. For 3 days. So... about that! More like 36 hours. Which was, in itself, an insightful and valuable 36hours. And, boy was I glad to see that watermelon for my break-fast!
Mostly I learnt how often I absentmindedly eat, tasting a bit of this, grabbing a bit of that, how much I eat on the go and don't appreciate my food fully. It was an interesting experiment, one that I'll repeat sometime and maybe for a little longer but for now will share my thoughts here as a result of it, and around weight loss in general.
I've for a long time intended to stop and eat but realise how often I can get swept up in the things going on around me - making school lunches, dinners, washing up, study to do.... But now I aim to sit, give thanks and cherish the meal in front of me. Appreciating the food instead of distractedly reading, watching or planning. I want to think about what foods will nourish my body - and fully enjoy them. When I started my vegan lifestyle the biggest realisation that drove me was that if I'd been told I had compromised health I would want to eat better. Why wait til then? That would be crazy!! I know we are our own best nutritionalists, we know what we're doing. If we can just listen to ourselves.
I knew that I wouldn't want to be taking shakes, supplements or concocted manufactured powders or drinks. I'd want to know what I was eating and why. And so I began. My journey has taken me far and is still continuing to drag me into awareness as I study hard, watch, learn, comprehend on a daily basis. What I would want then I decided, as I know still now to be true, was minimally processed, whole foods which were kind to my body (and I realised that that equates to being kind to nature too - killing them to assist in killing me seemed totally illogical).
Animal based products, as do fats and oils, tend to enable and assist rapid growth of our bodies, so for anyone wishing to lose weight then dropping the milks, dairy products, meats (which includes fish - it's still muscle of another animal) and losing the oils should often see the pounds fall away too. Upping the greens, getting hold of some great cookbooks (I particularly recommend The China Study Cookbook and also a read of The China Study (which is not half as dry as it sounds) to fully understand the whys
Exercise too is an essential part of the equation - to do what you can whatever that may be. There's so much available that's free to us - walk, run, ride, swim, dance (even if it's just around the kitchen) and love your body. It's good to you so be good to it.
We've just arrived back home from a wonderful year so far, the bad Welsh weather gifted us another day with our lovely friends so whilst not the intended plan I think every cloud indeed has a silver lining. I think I wrote about 3 blog posts on my way back although this one stands out the most right now so will share away.
I was recounting another trip to a friend where my old car started to make a decidedly odd noise. Obviously I took the best course of action that I could and turned the music up so I could no longer hear it. Perfect. Until the noise got louder. Well, if at first something doesn't work - what's a girl to do but try again? Louder still. Problem solved. For a while. After a bit it didn't totally seem to be fixing the problem and after a call home to the number one mechanic in the family (thanks dad!) it turned out the AA was the best bet. Not wanting to hang around on the M60, and wanting to get to my appointment in Manchester there was only one course of action. Full volume and meet the AA at the location.
I've heard people talk about our bodies giving these signals - others have compared them to a warning light on a car... You can either take the warning light out (give suppressive medication) or look to see where the problem is coming from, deal with it and the same outer result is apparent - no warning light.
Homeopathy offers an option to look at where the problem is arising, deal with the issue and allow the symptoms to resolve. A gentle, non suppressive but incredibly dynamic and potent option. So to take the light out or fix the car? It's our choice.
PS It's great to get back home and get started on the New Year calendar with the gorgeous Guy (see below although he does have significantly less clothes on on the calendar and as such is my constant inspiration to get myself doing yoga and pilates) from Finland kick-starting my 2014 in his brilliant way. We do still have a few calendars left (all the funds raised go straight to the wonderful Homeopathy for Health in Africa in Tanzania where they put it towards their life changing work with people who have HIV and AIDS). Just here for gifts and calendars. Thank you so much!
With love and brilliant, sparkly wishes for a fabulous, fun and very fruit filled 2014,
There's something incredibly liberating with testing and questioning our version of reality as we've perceived it in that moment. An insult? A compliment? Is it true? And if it provokes a strong reaction then maybe there's something in it that needs looking at, questioning further. The mindfulness work I've been doing allows for compassionate, gentle questioning and investigation whilst examining the truth for ourselves.
To be able to look beyond what's been our perhaps limited perception of events, facts, thoughts or feelings and have life open up to us is an incredible thing. And brave - who knows what discoveries it might lead to, what liberation, love and peace.
Hahnemann was brilliant at this, not accepting what he'd been told for his medical training as enough. Whether he knew, believed, suspected or just hoped for more he pushed on, prepared to discover what he could. And, thank goodness he did as our reward was this wonderful therapy so many practice, make use of and benefit from regularly.
So for today, dare to know!
I'm a Homeopath working in the Skipton (North Yorkshire) area. I am also able to offer food intolerance testing using Kinesiology and advice around diet and lifestyle.
Em Colley MARH, Practitioner of Classical Homeopathy
BSc(Hons) Psychology and Neuroscience
Laughter Yoga Leader
Focussed Mindfulness Practitioner
Dip (SNHS) Kinesiology
Dip (SNHS) Holistic Nutrition
Certificate in Whole Food, Plant Based Nutrition