This is a concept that is deeply simple but can have profound implications. I learned this from a Buddhist teacher who recommended it in the context of meditating though it is relevant across absolutely anything you do. Before you begin, set an intention - what is the purpose of what you are doing, i.e. in my meditation it was to gain awareness, insight, calm, balance, to inquire. This is relevant for every moment of our lives - what we are meeting that friend for, what is the intention for this next hour, day, week or lifetime. Unless we have an intention for something we can get lost without direction, feel disconnected and purposeless. Setting our intention is a form of mindful behaviour which can ensure that on a daily basis you are leading the life you intend to, in small ways and larger ways.
From day to day (each morning I decide what I'll be working on, if I'll fit in yoga or a walk, whether Ill knuckle down and do my admin all day, or simply to be kind all day to me and those around me). We can check in with ourselves to see how we are doing and explore without judgement if we went down a different track. This awareness prevents us getting pulled in other directions in unhelpful ways - demands from others, we may actually be able to resist, emails etc.
When we extend this to setting an intention for your business or project, or perhaps your whole life it can give you a clearer perspective. What is it the intention for your life? To have a family, a thriving business, to be kind, gain knowledge, to make music, to get rich. If we don't have a direction or a destination how will we know which way to go.
I thought about this for myself when beginning to offer mentoring. You can read more about my thoughts in the section 'about me' and also the mentoring introduction blog post. My intention is to continue to lead a life that is satisfying, authentic and sustainable as possible, and be free from regret. Part of this is my wish for others who are like minded to live this way too, as much as possible given the limitations of the modern world, but it is possible!
So, your turn! What is your intention for this moment? for this hour? For this day? For your whole life?
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Getting lost in thoughts happens to me several times a day. This feels so indulgent and luxurious and most of them are wild fantasies about impossible futures. This kind of day-dreaming is a beautiful creative process of possibility, opening the mind in all directions in the most natural and gentle of ways. It reminds me of that lovely quote by Oscar Wilde "Reach for the moon, you will land above the stars" - it starts with just a little thought - and where is there better to land?
Wherever our daydreams take us, if we can have the time and space to let our mind wander a little (when appropriate I mean, please don't loose your job over it, and look both ways when you cross the street!) - we can expand our horizons. Everything good that happened in my life has started with a little moment of a daydream, a spark that was lit, a thought that was made, that turned into the dream, the action, the work and now, a life I actually like living. Looking back to my twenties to imagine that I would be working as a jewellery designer and silversmith, not to mention a psychotherapist and mother, I would never have imagined (as I stood packed into a crowded tube train in London at 8.00am) that this simpler and more rewarding life (in one of the imagined forms) I now lead would ever become a reality. I would love to go back to that me of twenty years ago and whisper into her ear that its possible - it might have saved me a number of years!
That expression 'dare to dream' is also so pertinent. If you don't dare, it will never happen. So please keep dreaming, and I'll tell you mine if you tell me yours - what are your wildest dreams?
This might seem like a strange topic for a blog, though I know that when I'm doing my therapy work, as well as when I was in my own training and therapy, the concept of the shadow was extremely important. I am going to talk about it in different ways here:
firstly, we all have aspects of ourselves that are in our awareness and 'the light' the parts we like, have been accepted as good in childhood and perhaps peers and society, and then there is the shadow side. All the aspects of the self that are normal in human nature but are forbidden or taboo to our conscious mind, our family or society. These aspects get buried, but sometimes they get buried too deep and in a way that their emergence isn't addressed and integrated into the psyche which it needs to be in a healthy functioning mind. For example if something terrible happened to you, and the natural result is pure rage, but then the rage is unacceptable it just gets buried. Unfortunately dynamics this strong can't really stay down and, in this example, can manifest in a different way such as anxiety, inappropriate anger (not directed towards the original source long ago), even obsessiveness or just a general lack of self awareness. This is just an example to illustrate, the purpose being that if we have any parts of ourself that are buried and not dealt with, expressed and integrated into our beings, it can cause blocks to our personal development, ability to grow (healthy humans are constantly growing through their lifetimes), and of course our self esteem and confidence, as a part of ourself that was actually healthy at the time is buried too deep, rather than an anchor when you are trying to swim or sail.
I have a great exercise to help mentees address the more unsavoury parts of the psyche and bring them into their awareness. By being more aware we can then make choices in how we act, towards others, towards ourselves, and this can have a profound impact on our business too.
If it manifests as a sabatour that was originally trying to sabotage something else; or perhaps low self esteem caused by shadow aspects that cause shame, but because the process isnt concious having no idea why they feel this way.
If you're interested in exploring your shadow side you can sign up to my mentoring where one of the many exercises, as well as face to face and email support, will help you address this and release it. We can look at patterns of thinking that are unhelpful, negative self talk, why you might hold back or sabotage your own development and growth.
We all have unpleasant aspects to us, though we do need to be able to hold them and be aware of them so we can be in charge of how to express it safely and healthily, and let go of anything that doesn't need to be there anymore.
I have been thinking about this for a long time now. I run my own business and have knowledge to share. I am also a qualified, practicing psychotherapist with, having completed two trainings and obtaining my Masters I have enough knowledge to be helpful to other people needing a springboard or lift. I wrote a course to help people with Etsy shops in 2017 and love writing my blog for creatives on my website. I feel bursting with information that I want to impart, and I absolutely love people, I even more love people who go against the grain, who are brave enough to forge out a life that fits them most authentically, and take the road less travelled, and to inspire others too - we are like ripples in the ocean.
For me it has felt quite strange for some time that I keep my jewellery business and my counselling practice entirely separate. This is partly to protect my clients who don't really need to know much about my life as they have their own things to deal with of course. Its also been practical as the skills were so different. But increasingly I notice that when I give advice or tips it is well received, and my knowledge and experience will be valuable to a small and very important group of people in the world. Not only that but I realised more and more that creating jewellery in order to inspire and be grounding, to maintain a close connection with nature and ourselves through jewellery, well this is exactly what I do as a counsellor (and now mentor) too.
I know I have said this before but the world does need more people like us. We don't need conformity (although it certainly has its place and I do conform in many other ways). But as long as there is conformity there is a need for freedom, thinkers, and those who can live authentically and creatively. I want to do my small part in making this happen and keeping it going, especially in the changing world we currently live in. I want to give people the skills and confidence to go forward in their path in a sustainable way and not look back. If you're interested in having mentoring or know someone who does please forward or share these details with them so we can keep the movement going.
'Be yourself, everyone else is taken" another Oscar Wilde quote. Please make sure you do your thing, no matter how weird or odd, new or crazy, if its yours and you love it then no doubt someone else will too. And if it has been born in your mind and in your hands then it has every right to exist! What is your thing? I would love to know what project you are devoting your energy to at the moment, big or small.
Also if you have suggestions or requests while I am still writing just drop me a message.