Pause: to come to a temporary halt in one’s activity

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Pause : I wanted to paint on this piece of driftwood I found on the beach recently
Illumination – where do I need to shine a light in my life ?

As I woke with the sunrise at 0512 a couple of mornings ago I watched the rays illuminate the world, and my bedroom, and I asked myself ‘ what needs to be illuminated in my life? ‘ and now I have answer…

For me, as for so many of us, the last 15/18 /whatever months have been about surviving, about getting through the days and nights and weeks of pandemic and lockdown and all that last year brought us, and not truly about thriving. I have indeed survived, but during some recent personal development training I realised I felt a buzz of excitement about my life / work for the first time in a long long time. Actually Excited with a capital E 🙂

I felt a huge sense of possibility. And I am now following that trail, as I want life to excite me and not leave me feeling drained and overwhelmed and often fatigued. I am only 62( and a half!) and it is not too late to make some life changes. My life has been a series of changes, with some challenges along the way, and I want to continue making choices for myself and not wait for life to happen ‘to’ me.

I have commited to some further training as an Emotional Wellbeing Coach, ultimately so that I am more able to support others in their wellbeing, and this means first looking at my own emotional wellbeing. This training will be taking place during July and August, starting next weekend.

I want to dive in to my inner self again, and discover once more, what it is I need to help me feel like I am truly thriving and living my best life – what do I need more of and what do I need less of ?

The best way I can love and support myself right now is to pause, to step back a little, to come to a temporary halt.

I am going to be looking at my life and my business, which are of course deeply connected, and see what arises, I am eager to gain clarity on and to progress my plans for my ‘ one wild and precious life’.

Part of this is looking at how I am using my time in this ‘one wild and precious life’. Part of it will be letting go of some things and making space for others.

And so, I am intending to place my business on a Pause, and take no new clients other than commitments I already have , and I am going to Pause my social media activity for a wee while also. I love reading about the lives of friends and feeling a connection and sharing my own life too, and, of late I am finding social media quite noisy and if I am not careful I am finding it drowning out my own thoughts.

wrt Facebook, I won’t be posting or commenting for a while, though I will keep messenger open and will check messages regularly. There are a couple of groups I participate in and I will still be there, I will be quietly leaving other groups . I may post some nature /sunrise / sunset photos on Instagram , and I may not ❤

See everyone in August sometime 🙂

( and I expect to return with a Business offering which currently has a working title of ‘ Fill up your own teapot, before pouring out your energy to others’ ; if you are interested in joining a waiting list to hear more about this in a few weeks, please comment or private message me,thank you)

Is there anywhere in your own life which you feel you could benefit from a Pause ?

Do you need to eat an orange? Or do you need a good cry? ( or both, as I did today?)

On becoming unstuck

I realised this morning that I have been feeling stuck. Stuck health wise, not recovering to full health just as quickly as I expected to, stuck creatively, ideas and words not flowing, trying to create an online course and losing momentum….

 Stuck in the mud, walking through mud stuck, each step a reluctant one, a really can’t be bothered stuck, a ‘do I hufftae ‘ stuck , a maybe-I -will -just -take- a -nap -instead ,and oh well,I will have another slice of toast with peanut butter, then maybe toast and honey.. 

If I had any wine I would no doubt have tried that too. I did find a bag of cheese and onion crisps and some really quite stale marmite rice cakes, at the back of the cupboard, did I eat them? you bet I did! Did I enjoy them, nope ..

And, there is nothing wrong with all of this, nothing at all , but today, I realised that the ‘ problem ‘ is simply that I needed to cry , I needed a really good releasing howl , and to heck with what the neighbours might think!

And then, I realised that not crying, or not realising I needed to, is what was keeping me stuck, and what kept me awake for most of last night. Accumulated fear, sadness, and anger swirling around.

The trigger for the tears? A video of my kitty cat Socks from 2 years ago, I heard her miaow, and that was it, I was sobbing. And when I finished crying and had a shower I went to the kitchen and realised I have been stuffing down my emotions with toast. A quick fix, not even a fix, more a numbing ..

❤️Socksy❤️

And so, I began to prepare meals with the food I have sitting there, I started with making fruit salad, chopped up a grapefruit and peeled an orange, and oh! The aroma of that orange! I popped each segment straight in my mouth and savoured the juice as it ran down my chin, why had I not fed myself this pleasure, this nourishment?

Orange Grapefruit Blueberry Plum fruit salad #sogood

I continued making a huge mixed fruit salad. I peered in the fridge and found and prepared broccoli, tomatoes, leeks, potatoes, and later I will make soup.

As soon as I began to take steps towards feeling better, I began to feel better, I felt lighter, brighter and more positive. 

We usually do know what we need, and sometimes we don’t realise, or refuse to listen to that little inner wise voice, until we do, until we are ready. And then we can begin. So now, I am taking my own advice, and topping up my nourishment with the medicine I already had in the fridge. 

Not saying I will never eat peanut butter on toast again, but I know that too much of this makes me sluggish and heavy, and, the rainbow of fruit and veg, pleasing all my senses, has me feeling so much more ALIVE today. Truly a case of healer, heal thyself 🌟

Just for today, I am unstuck enough to resume writing this blog, which I have wanted to do for quite some time, so three cheers for me. Hurray 😊

( p.s. Once I’d written this blog a little bell rang and I looked back over previous blogs to find a similar one from May 2019 , called Mary, heal thyself ! One of these days I truly will take my own advice 😊)

‘I feel more comfortable with myself’ choosing Trust as my 2021 guiding word.

As last year came to a close, I was delighted to be asked to deliver Wellbeing & Relaxation workshops to several organisations locally, both in groups and as 1 :1 sessions , for staff and for their clients.

Feedback after the sessions has generally been

‘ I feel so peaceful’

‘I feel very calm’

‘ All of that going on out there isn’t bothering me so much now’

‘I feel slowed down inside ‘

‘ My shoulder has stopped hurting, I didn’t realise that I was holding myself so tightly’

and. one participant told me ‘ the best way I can describe it is that I feel more comfortable with myself

It was so rewarding to hear this and know I had indeed made a difference. This feels the very best feedback I could wish for. Don’t we all hope to find ease in our lives, and feel comfortable with ourselves?

May we all #belikeleo and feel comfortable in our lives.

My website does refer to the phrase ‘ come home to yourself’ and right now, I think this feeling of being comfortable with yourself might explain the outcome of working with me more clearly than any words I could have imagined.

I believe it might be resonating so fully because right now in my life, I am personally feeling more and more comfortable with myself. As I settle into my 60’s, and settle deeper into work I enjoy and have created, and a life I enjoy and have created, even here in lockdown just now, I feel incredibly comfortable with myself.

As far as possible, I am following my own rhythm and honouring what I need in the next moment and the next hour . A few nights ago I woke a little after midnight, after about an hours sleep. I felt warm and relaxed and knew I was trusting myself to soon sleep again, instead of worrying how I would manage the next day on little sleep ( insomnia has been with me increasingly of late ) .

I suddenly knew that Trust is my guiding word for 2021, and with that knowledge, I felt Trust settle over me like this warm quilt, it covers me and settles around me quietly , like the first blanket of snow outside.

I feet I am lying on a soft bed of firm supportive Trust, that Mother Earth has my back.

This is about Trusting myself (Trust in my self ) to do the next right thing, make good decisions for myself and know when I need to make different life choices and decisions, I will do so. Trust that whatever comes next, I will know what to do. It is also placing my Trust in something bigger than me ,feeling that I have company along the way and am not alone.

This feels a great way to begin 2021. I can’t remember ever feeling so calm.

( and if you would like to also feel more comfortable with yourself, please get in touch <3)

Soulmidwifebythesea

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View across the Clyde from Innellan

Today I am launching a new IG account: soulmidwifebythesea.

I have begun training as a Soul Midwife , studying via a distance learning course, with Felicity Warner at www. soulmidwives.co.uk.

I am initially approaching this as personal development for myself, as I recognised I almost had a fear of death, certainly a discomfort, a turning away from it, and certainly didn’t feel comfortable discussing it in any great depth. I remember many years ago, my mother starting to read more about death when she lost her mother and brother, and at the time I felt it was a strange fascination.

Sorry Mum, I totally understand now .

A couple of months in, I already find myself much more at ease with the idea of turning towards death, accepting that we are all going to lose someone and we are all going to die ourselves, why not choose our experience as far as possible? We create a birth plan, why not think about and consider how we might choose our death , our surroundings, with music? soft lights ?company, or not? sacred oils ? a favourite blanket ? while aiming to make this the most comfortable and peaceful experience we can.

I am learning about grief, and living with loss and how of course, life goes on around us as we grieve.  Recently I lost my friend Val. In her last week I was able to share with her that I have embarked on this training. Her response was that it is ‘a very useful skill to have’.  I think so too.

I also have a dream to be living by the sea within the next two to five years , and so I have combined the two to create this account, and who knows, sometimes dreams come true ❤

I plan to share here about my learning journey, what I am learning about myself and eventually how I may help others.

In time I hope to hold Retreat Days and Gatherings at my home, where we can discuss and explore not only what makes a Good Life, but also what we need to experience a Good Death.

Thanks for reading along and if you would like to know more, come find me @soulmidwifebythesea.

‘ For life and death are one, even as the river and the sea are one ‘ – On Death, Kahil Gibran ( The Prophet)

 

 

Mary, heal thyself!

Today I have given myself a shake and decided to show up for myself and my own health and vitality, in a new and improved way 🙂

Over the last few days, and quite often of late, I have had a sore throat develop into a bad cold, accompanied by a huge weariness.  I was recently diagnosed with iron deficiency and am to take 3 iron tablets a day for the foreseeable future ,and I know I have probably remembered to take the tablet only once a day.

I have rested over the weekend , slept alot and watched the clouds and listened to the rain. I was due to visit my 86 year old godmother in Oban and had to cancel my trip , I wasn’t feeling like travelling and when I contacted her, she said ‘ I don’t want even a whisper of a cold as I am going to visit family in France next week’  ( I want to have her energy when I grow up!)

As I was thinking about breakfast this morning, I realised I have basically lived on toast and marmalade all weekend; plus gallons of hot drink of lemon, honey and ginger – that is the one good thing I have been able to do for myself.

Even though I know that ‘feeding a cold’ does not really mean toast and marmalade, I am aware this is probably a comfort food habit from childhood, and when you are ill, there is often little left over energy for cooking.

Thankfully, when I investigated my fridge and freezer, I found plenty of fresh veg, and also some greek yogurt, some frozen fruit for smoothies and frozen portions of broccoli soup, and some other as yet unidentified soup portions too. I took everything out of the fridge and added in onions, garlic and ginger and saw that I have some apples and an avocado, I also have dates and dried apricots, and almond butter. I have a couple of pink sweet potatoes and 2 leeks which will become soup and plenty of pulses and brown rice.  I patted myself on the back virtually that I do not need to do any shopping, and set to work preparing to wage war on my cold and my aching joints.img_2668

I heated and ate the broccoli soup , with added Lancashire cheese.

I made a huge berry smoothie from frozen fruits ( and discarded some frozen kiwi fruits slices from 2017!) img_2678

I have prepared a kind of salsa , with red onion marinated in lime juice, added peppers, tomatoes , cucumber and parsley.img_2681

I have prepared red and yellow peppers ready to roast ,and stuffed with garlic, tomatoes, salt and pepper, drizzled with olive oil.img_2673

I just ate some muesli and ginger flavoured greek yogurt , drizzled with some raspberry syrup, gifted from a Polish lodger last year. I remember he said it can be used to mix with gin or vodka, I have found it soothing to drink by the teaspoon for sore throats, concentrated Vit C

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So, why was I not able to do all of this for myself on Saturday ?!

I think sometimes, we just need to rest and trust the nourishment will come when we are ready. I am ready today. I have thanked my shopping self from last week, for taking care of my future self today. the ingredients  and nutrients were there when I was ready.

Even the rainbow colours , as I gathered and prepared the food , brought joy and I felt my spirits lift and my general weekend grumpiness began to lift. I am still sneezing, however, I can feel that the healing has begun.

Also,something in me is now saying Noooooooo, to the thought of toast, maybe I have finally maxxed out on toast, time alone will tell. For now, I have an apple and almond butter to snack on, while the peppers roast.

And , although it has been quite pleasant to have a rest weekend and listen to the rain, I certainly intend to continue really listening to what my body needs next and give myself a fighting chance at increasing my own energy and wellbeing.

Stillness and Silence

I woke up this morning and realised I felt sad. My body and mind were screaming for silence and stillness.

Yesterday I felt tired, had a sore throat developing and it was an emotionally demanding day in many ways. We can’t underestimate the effects on our bodies of our own lives and the lives of those around us. What we can do is be aware, listen to those signs when our bodies wave a flag and say Hey! Listen to me ! and then do what we can to compensate and try to regain balance.

So, this morning – a quiet breakfast to begin the day – my personal comfort food of toast and marmalade, a cup of good coffee and writing for myself about how I feel.

I am reminded of the poem The Guesthouse about welcoming each emotion as it arrives ‘ Be grateful for whatever comes , each has been sent as a guide from beyond’ https://www.scottishpoetrylibrary.org.uk/poem/guest-house/

Also, now I realise it’s needed , I am planning some time in late June where I have plenty of silence and stillness in my days.

And ,instead of waiting a month, perhaps I can also think about how to find stillness and silence everyday 😊👍🏼❤️

Safe presence

This week I have had a bad cold and had to reschedule some in person clients – I then had a request for a long distance / on line Recalibration Session, from a client who has already had 2 sessions and knew the benefits for her. I explained I had been unwell,  and may be sneezing, and she reassured me –

’ it is just your safe presence I need ‘

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held

Oh, to see ourselves as others see us – her words helped me realise that part of what I offer is being a safe container for someone else to feel heard and listened to. Being deeply listened to is incredibly powerful – I remember the first time I experienced this, and it moved me to tears. I felt truly heard and validated and didn’t need someone to leap in with advice and fix me, I simply needed to be heard and know that my words and emotions were held.

Thankfully, by the time we spoke yesterday afternoon, I was able to hold the session without sneezing and coughing – some listening and hearing, some relaxation techniques and some distance Reiki shared, a plan made and the outcome I believe was a sense of relief and ease and hope.

If you are reading this and feel you would benefit from experiencing my safe presence, to feel emotionally held, please do get in touch.

https://www.maryelizabethmcconnell.com/recalibration-sessions

 

The Rowan Tree in Wintertime

img_0571As we approach the end of the year, I am thinking back on this year of 2018, realising that I although I post random thoughts and musings on Facebook I have completely ignored my blog here. My first post of the year ‘ Steady as she goes ‘ was entirely appropriate as a guide for this year ; it has been rocky at times, but I now feel ready to step confidently forwards into my 60’s and plan to write more often here about ‘Mary’s Journey’ .

I won’t promise to write every Monday morning, or every Sunday afternoon, but words and thoughts and intentions are gathering and I may be sharing quite often , we shall see.

I begin again with some thoughts from this afternoon as I gazed out of my window.

Though bereft of berries now

The garden birds still gather

in the branches of the rowan tree.

Now that the snow and blizzards of yesterday have blown through

The day is calm and relatively mild,

(At 5 deg C , I hesitate to say spring like)

My attention is caught by the flurry of activity of the birds

and I step outside to watch.

They flit about

Hither and thither

Alighting momentarily

And then flying off again,

To land elsewhere.

Other birds land

and cling on in the breeze,

Perch, and pause a while,

Swaying and

Surveying the scene below.

A neighbour puts out a bird feeder

Causing such excitement and twittering

Word is out, they call and alert the others.

They gather together and

The tree holds them

Offers support in the stronger and sturdier lower branches

And in the uppermost and more frail,

Higher branches

Which wave around and wobble with the impact of each bird landing

But do not give way.

I am reminded of a village gathering

Or a family group

Whether family by birth or chosen,

And how support is found

As each bird  lands and surveys the scene and decides which way to fly next.

And I think about where I personally find support and where I can land in a safe place when I wobble, and feel grateful for those places to pause as I decide which way next

And where and how do I give support to others as they wobble?

Feeling grateful again that I can do so.

We all sway in the branches, in the breeze,

and in the storm,

Singing our individual songs and stories,

Alone and yet

Together

2018 – Steady as she goes

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After thinking and waiting and reflecting, I have my guiding word for 2018 – Steady .

Steady  feels solid and safe , stable, consistent, soothing and calming , reassuring, settled.

It does not mean staying in one place; it means steady forward motion over the sometimes choppy sea of life in a seaworthy vessel.

I am not about setting goals and smashing them; that feels kinda painful to me , I am more about using what I already know and the skills I already have to set intentions for the year.

I have set my course for 2018 , and if and when required, I will adjust my sails. I am the Captain of my own ship, and I trust myself to know when i need  to :-

  •  course correct as required
  •  hoist extra sails , or take them in
  • increase to full steam ahead, or reduce to slow ahead
  • to seek safe harbour and drop my anchor for a while
  • take on board only quality fuel and ensure my engine is running smoothly

Mainly, I intend to savour my journey through 2018, take time to enjoy the scenery on the way, while ensuring I don’t lose sight of the distant shores I have set my sights on.

Supporting words are Savour , Rest,  Appraise , Intuition, and Deepen ( bearing in mind the ideas in this article http://www.raptitude.com/2017/12/go-deeper-not-wider/)

I will remember to Rest in between busy times, Appraise the horizon ahead, use my Intuition as true guidance, and Deepen knowledge and skills and habits I already have.

Previous guiding words have been

2017 – Exuberance and Stillness  – I experienced both , in good measure

2016 – Foundation and Whoosh – I built stable foundations and enjoyed lots of whoosh!

2015  – Epic – it totally was.

2014  – Vibrant – this was how I wanted to feel, and I often did.

2013  – Flow – I wanted to ‘ live like a river flows , carried by the surprise of its own unfolding’  < J O’D > , and life did indeed Flow.

* with thanks to Susannah Conway for Find your word 2018, and also guidance  from Rhian Lockard.

Peering at 59 – this ‘Is’ my life

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Here I am

Breathing, reflecting ,

6pm, on the eve of 59

Wondering what lies ahead for me

and what , if anything, might have changed,

12 months from now, or even 1 month from now.

Sit with me a while

It has taken some time to feel focused today,

But I am here now

My feet solidly planted on the floor,

My back straight,

My shoulders soft

and a smile playing on my lips and in the corners of my eyes.

I am here now

No longer waiting for anything,

Waiting for the beginning of this

or the ending of that,

I am not waiting

I am here anyway, and living my life

This ‘is ‘ my life

I am in it

Amidst the insomnia

the laundry

the achey neck,

the reports,

the cat litter

and that annoying hair which keeps re appearing on my chin.

I am here,

facing the future

making soup,

eating cake,

lighting the fire,

texting with friends,

listening to the wind

still blowing around the rooftops and rattling down the chimney

I am here,

Taking the next step, and then the next,

Steering my own boat,

I have got my own back

Shaking myself up when I need to

and when life sometimes shakes me unexpectedly

I know I will always land on my feet again,

and I can always alter my course and try a new direction,

I have done it before, and I can do it again.

I am here anyway

Seeking kindred spirits

Claiming my joy

Sharing my joy

I have learned how to recalibrate myself

face the future and in each moment, begin again

59 – I am ready for you 🙂