The current world of being personally disconnected whilst we are in a more connected electronic world
The whole concept of connection is of interest to me. With the internet and social media we have today, we indeed should be more connected than ever. However, it saddens me to see so much disconnection in the world. Seeing people walking along the streets with their iphone in front of them, not looking at the people around them, or the beauty of nature, as they check their emails, messages, facebook or instagram. It also makes me wonder about the loss of connection with families as I often see families out to dinner and they are all looking at their iphone instead of having a good old fashion conversation.
I am not for a minute dismissing the current world of connection through the internet. For a lot of people who are lonely, isolated, depressed, with mental health issues or being unwell, this link to the outside world can be a life saver to them. But I wonder have we gone too far?
There are meditation Apps you can get which show you where in the world other people are meditating at the same time as you – amazing!! To feel that energetic connection with others who are thousands of miles away – or in the next street, is something I feel very grateful for.
Of course the topic of addiction needs to come into play here as well. How many are addicted to their iphone/ipad or computer? What would it be like to have one day a week where you are electronic free. Some people feel like their right arm is missing if they don’t have their phone with them. So can we become addicted to electronics? Yes absolutely, it can take over your life. People can become addicted to smoking, drinking, gambling and drugs, which are often ways of zoning out and avoiding difficult feelings. However, people can also become addicted to exercising, eating healthy food, cleaning and yes social media and electronics.
Some would say that having an addiction to social media and electronics is not in the same category as addictions to substances and gambling, however the reality is that being addicted to electronics can have negative impacts upon your relationships and your connections. Not only connections to others but connecting with yourself and what you need.
I have personally made a commitment to not having any electronics in my bedroom – no I phone, computer or ipad and I consciously do not look at my iphone for the first hour after I get up. Being in my own business, my telephone is important to me, but so is my balance and connection with myself. When I get up I do my morning yoga and meditation, have breakfast and then look at any messages. Initially this was hard for me to do and then I realised that I could have a problem here if I cannot leave the outside world alone and just be with me.
Set out below are some strategies on how to take control and gain more connection with yourself and others:
1. Challenge yourself to be mobile/computer free for the 1st hour of the day.
If you don’t do anything different nothing will change – how about giving it a try. You have nothing to lose and the ability to gain more connection with yourself, with others and with the environment.
Swap the morning check into your email, Facebook or Instagram by taking this time for you. Perhaps go for a walk, stretch, do some yoga, meditate, read the paper, have a conversation with your partner/parents/family over coffee or breakfast.
Imagine what it would be like to check in and connect with yourself, with your own needs before you dive into the electronic world, your work and checking out what others are doing on facebook. Give it a try and start to take back control.
2. Set boundaries – you do not have to always be available or switched on
In today’s world with modern technology, you can be reached, or reach out to others at any time of the day or night. How about setting some healthy boundaries around technology habits. Try putting your phone on silent or not answering or checking messages after a certain time of the day/evening. This is particularly important if you work for yourself. I know as a therapist, I need to have these clear guidelines in place, so other than an emergency (if I have a client in danger of hurting themselves) I make it clear that I am only available during working hours. Otherwise having a lack of boundaries in this regard can contribute to burnout.
So no need to be plugged in all of the time. Try unplugging from time to time and enjoying the connection with others or YOU.
3. Phone free zones
It is important to create some phone free zones in your home. Phones can create a barrier between the person using the phone and the other.
Some phone free zones to consider might be – the bedroom, the dinner table, or when you are out with friends having a meal.
I understand that it is enticing to pull out the phone and take a photo of where you are, who you are with and then post it on social media, however, when you do this you are not being present and in the moment with where you are and who you are with. Be selfish and keep it for yourself, rather than needing to share it with others.
These are some suggestions on ways to become more connected with yourself and others around you. In doing so and trying out some of these ideas it is also about taking back control in your life and let’s face it, often life can feel a bit out of control.
If you want to gain more connection – with yourself, others, the environment, and with your true passion, meaning and purpose –
Join us in beautiful Ubud Bali for our Exploring Connection Retreat
31 st May – 6 th June 2018
Learn this amazing technique and broaden your abilities as a Resource Therapist
When I was invited to attend the Foundation training in Resource Therapy, I was a bit curious to find out what is Resource therapy? I have studied Ego state therapy and I am a Gestalt therapist and Hypnotherapist, so why do I need to explore yet another modality? So I followed my intuition and did the training.
When I heard of some of the amazing shifts that clients had experienced I was intrigued even further. My trainer talked about clients who have been able to overcome things like phobias, addictions, fears, anxiety, all in 1-4 sessions.
Really? Well – then I experienced how powerful this therapy is. I have done a lot of therapy and healing work over the years. Particularly as a Gestalt therapist working with parts and polarities, so I was fairly familiar with working with the different personality or parts of us.
Expanding on these parts a bit more, let’s use the metaphor of a bus and in that bus we have all of the different parts of us – the happy, sad, depressed, angry, responsible, anxious parts etc and how one part can metaphorically get into the driver’s seat and take over.
Let me share my first experience
My first experience of Resource therapy was a class exercise – working in pairs we had to vivify and explore what the energy was like for the fun part of us and give that part a voice. I surprised myself that I had trouble accessing this fun part as she had been overshadowed by ‘responsible’ and ‘worker’ part. This simple exercise in group built awareness for me that my ‘responsible’ part was in the driver’s seat and ‘fun’ was under the back seat. In fact the only time she came out was when I was away on holidays. So through a process of parts negotiation – giving each part a name and a voice, I was able to gain integration and to acknowledge both parts and how they can in fact work together.
Aligning this to the neuroplasticity of the brain. My ‘work hard, be responsible’ part was like a well entrenched neural pathway – well really like the M1 with a great groove cemented in place with early childhood messages such as ‘if you start something you need to finish it’ and ‘if you do something you have to do it well’ and ‘don’t be silly’ etc. By exploring ‘Fun’, giving her a voice and negotiating with ‘responsible’ I visualised a new path being formed at the side of the M1 – like a goats track. I am happy to say that because of this process, my goats track is now like my M1. Of course ‘Responsible part is still there and has a role but no longer takes over to the detriment of my health and wellbeing.
Now I was intrigued, if I could gain that much awareness from something so seemingly simple as exploring my fun part, imagine if I explored my suppressed anger or frustration – where might that go to? Well I did explore this in the more advanced training and was able to do some healing work around something that happened to me which was pre verbal where I felt fearful and frozen. Throughout the process of bridging back, I felt safe, fully supported and was able to find my voice (which is something a child cannot do) and build on my own internal resources as a way of supporting myself. I felt amazingly free and powerful after the session.
Be trained in Resource Therapy
I have now completed the Advanced Clinical Resource Therapy training and I am now a registered trainer in Resource Therapy. I am passionate about this therapy and I have had so many positive shifts from my own clients. Some examples of the shifts are overcoming gambling addiction, overcoming fear of stepping up and being seen, overeating/emotional eating, phobias. After the sessions, every client has fed back that they had no idea of what just happened but ‘wow’. I have beautiful testimonials of how they feel more aware, more integrated, more able to support themselves, feel healed and transformed.
Resource therapy may not be for everybody and that’s ok. I don’t use it on every client, but generally if they are willing to try something different, they have a go and it works.
Resource therapy was developed by Dr Gordon Emmerson. It looks at our parts or ‘states’ as internal resources. Often because of situations which are out of your control, one state will take over – perhaps as a way of keeping you safe, but it brings with it some unwanted behaviours or emotions, such as numbing, rage, addictions etc. RT gives this part a voice by bridging back to the initial event, goes through a process of expression, removal and relief and then builds on internal resources so your client can self support and self regulate in a healthy way. Very powerful.
For more information on the process, please visit http://www.resourcetherapyinternational.com/
Book into my next training session
If you would like to learn more about Resource therapy and add this powerful therapy to your tool box, I am running the Foundation training on the 11th and 12th February 2017 – click here to book online.
This training is recognised as continuing Professional Development (CPD). 14 hours of professional development can be registered with AHA, CAPA and PACFA.
Christmas can be a stressful time of year. There seems to be a lot more shopping, financial pressures, more drinking, more food, more socialising (sometimes with family members that we usually do our best to avoid, which is a major stressor on its own). All of this occurs over a few short weeks.
Christmas can also be stressful for those who have lost family members. Christmas can highlight their absence and be a sad reminder that the loved one is no longer with you.
Bearing all of the above in mind, it is important to look at ways you can care for yourself over the festive period.
Taking time to be around people you love and who make you feel good
Whilst you may feel obliged to catch up with the family, remember to maintain balance with social connection with friends or people who care and support you.
Be aware of what feels right for you – in other words follow your intuition and limit time with people who put you down or who are toxic. If you find yourself going somewhere from a place of ‘should’ you will find that you will be doing it with resentment. So if you feel obliged to attend a family function, perhaps this is the year to limit the amount of time that you attend – instead of going all day, maybe leave early. Remember balance is the key here, not obligation.
You matter – self-care as a priority
Over the Christmas break why not make it a personal challenge to make you a priority. Check in with what you need, perhaps it could be reading a good novel, taking walks along the beach, catching up for coffee with a friend, sitting outside with a cuppa and enjoying nature.
Whilst Christmas is about giving to others, this year you could also include giving to yourself
Stay centred, calm and balanced
With the busyness of Christmas (they do call it the ‘silly season’) it is so easy to get pulled off centre with the shopping, preparation, school holidays, family gatherings, socialising and entertaining.
When you feel off balance or get drawn into the storm around you, it is hard to find joy and peace. However, if you are able to stay connected with yourself you have the ability to be the ‘calm in the storm’. This is possible by taking a moment (or 2 or 3 or 4) where you take a breath and bring yourself back to the NOW. The body is always present; it is the mind that takes us off into the future. We worry about what might happen or focus on catastrophic possible outcomes, as we take ourselves off onto a journey to who knows where. Or the mind takes us back into the past, where we ruminate about things that have occurred, or been said.
So staying calm, present, centred and connected is vital to your health and wellbeing at this time of year.
Below is a link for a short ‘coming to your senses’ recording by Petrea King from the Quest for Life Foundation. Taking some time out to do this short practice will support you in looking after you this holiday season.
Click here to access the recording. It is not necessarily about the gifts but more about giving.
Families can spend an immense amount of money each Christmas on buying gifts. Often this can be money that they don’t have or cannot afford. Do we really need more stuff?
As a family, we no longer buy gifts for each other. We do buy for the grandchildren, but the adults in the family have all decided that we now donate whatever money we were going to spend on presents to a nominated charity. This feels right for us and you will know what feels right for you and your family.
If you do give gifts it can be the thought that counts or celebrating loving and joyous time with family.
So with the end of 2016 approaching, rather than focusing on what you want to bring into 2017 and making resolutions about how you want things to be different, perhaps this is the time to reflect on all that you have accomplished this year and in your life. Also to get in contact with your sense of gratitude and appreciation for your family, loved ones, friends, your health or work.
A family ritual we have adopted is before we eat our meal at a family gathering, we go around the table and each say what we feel grateful for. It has become a family tradition that we all love
So taking this opportunity to stop thinking about your life, your job, and everything you want to change, and for one now, this time, this year, to be filled with gratitude and being present in the moment, surrounded by people you love and support you.
I hope by applying some of these principles will allow you to have a joyous, peaceful and loving holiday period.
Wishing you and your family a Merry Christmas and joyous New Year
Does it seem selfish to make yourself a number one priority in your own life?
I admit that many years ago I used to be a workaholic who ran around like a crazy woman trying to get it right for everybody else. I think if you were to look at a pendulum with selfless being at one end and selfish being at the other, my pendulum was definitely swung permanently to the selfless side. In other words I abandoned myself in order to please others.
So I found out the hard way that this is not a healthy or effective way to live as I felt burned out. I was running a Wellness Centre, teaching and facilitating groups, was co-founder of a Foundation (where I put in a lot of energy and hours) was in private practice as a Therapist and I think in amongst all of that I was studying. Wonder woman! Not really more like crazy woman. I coped and had lots of energy and in all of that did some amazing work, but other areas of my life suffered, being, my relationship with my partner, my connection and time with my adult children and my health.
I was never diagnosed with a breakdown or burnout but it felt very much like that. One day I just woke up and thought, ‘I can’t do this anymore’. I ultimately ended up selling the Wellness Centre, cut back on seeing clients
and eventually made the decision to close the Foundation (which could have ended up being a full time job). I retreated into the back of the valley where we live – a beautiful, serene place where I had an opportunity to STOP and smell the roses. I took time to potter in the garden and have a cup of tea in the sun and spend some quality time with my partner, my family, my friends and ME!!
At that stage I could not have cared if I never saw another client again. I liked the serenity and was actually scared of heading back out into my career again for fear of falling back into my well-worn pattern of being that woman who can do anything.
It was through supervision where I explored the possibility of it not having to be one or the other. To completely pull my energy back and withdraw from the world and my career OR being the ‘rat on the wheel’. I could make a conscious choice to have more balance in my life. After all I love what I do
and I love teaching and supporting my clients.
So I experimented and gradually put myself out into the world again, but on this occasion I set very clear and concise boundaries on how and when I would work. Before if I had a client in crisis I would make the time to see that client on days when I would not normally work. With my new balance, I would naturally support a client in crisis over the telephone and ensure they were safe, but I would only see clients on the determined days and times. A huge shift for me and I felt so empowered by my decision. I actually learned to say NO I can’t fit you in or I am booked out until —. My clients survived and waited and I was in a far better space to see them.
So that was the beginning of my new found self-care regime. By making me a priority in my own world, it is amazing what a difference it makes. I feel alive, refreshed, balanced, calmer (my partner says I am nicer now) and I love my life.
So I wanted to share with you some of the things that changed my life. Things that I currently put into my day – everyday without fail. Because I do matter and it is my job to look after me. To look after my emotional, physical and mental wellbeing.
Yoga and the 5 Tibetans
Every morning I do my own Yoga routine combining the Five Tibetans
I have found that my flexibility has improved, my core strength has improved and I feel amazing. I do these in the morning simply because it gives me energy for the day. I began with 7 repetitions, then moved to 14 and now I do 21 repetitions.
Set out below is a YouTube link so you can view the Five Tibetans.
Mindfulness, Meditation and Coming to my Senses.
I make it my everyday practice to slow things down and notice things around me. Years ago I could have driven along the lovely country road where we live and not even remembered I had driven, let alone what was around me. Now I take time to look at the trees, the people who are walking their dogs,
smile, sometimes stop and say hello, so I am far more present and in the here and now – not focused on where I need to be or worried about some issue.
Mindfulness has been a life saver for me. I am mindful about everything in my life, including what I eat and drink. Slowing everything down and enjoying every precious moment of every precious day.
Daily meditation has also become routine that I love in my life. I find that I do this in the mornings after my exercises and it gives me a good start to the day. I usually do a guided visualisation or sometimes I will sit quietly out the back in the morning sun. This practice takes about 20-30 minutes each day. I do want to say don’t make this another thing that you have to do. Yet another chore. If you only have ten minutes, just do ten minutes. Your mind, body and soul will love it.
Coming to your Senses!
Wow this has also been life changing for me. I initially learned this at the Quest for Life retreats and it has become something that I religiously do throughout my day. I have added a link with a free download from the Quest for Life Foundation
Laughter and joy.
Spending time with my grandson is precious as it allows me to be silly, laugh and get down on the floor and get into my own child, so being playful, dropping any inhibitions and letting go.
Laughter and joy also come into my life spending time with my partner, my children and my friends. Also watching a good comedy.
Quality time with my man
Love sitting out the back or by the pool with a nice glass of wine or a coffee and communicating/ chatting/ connecting with my partner. Precious
Ah spending time with our beautiful old horse. She is an ex race horse who was very skittish and afraid when we first rescued her. With much patience and love she now runs up when she sees me and puts her head on my shoulder for a hug. Just gorgeous. I miss old Border collie who passes away just before Xmas. She was 15 and a real gift in our life.
Getting out in the garden is music for my soul. Calms and soothes my system and I get great joy and satisfaction from the results. Not only is this self care for me but I find it’s a great way of releasing energy. If I’m feeling frustrated about something or somebody, expending my frustration or anger with digging up the weeds is extremely helpful.
Every day I say a prayer of gratitude for my health, my partner, my family, my grandson, my friends, my horse, our beautiful home and get in contact with an immense set of appreciation for everything I have in my life.
Being gentle with myself
My critic can be a bit harsh from time to time. Particularly if I am resting by the pool instead of ‘doing some work’, so for me it is about being gentle and compassionate and telling my critic to have a rest:)
I also find that I question my inner talk and give myself permission to feel whatever I am feeling at that given moment. Feeling the feeling, acknowledging that I have a right to feel this way and leaning into and giving myself permission to be angry, sad, overwhelmed etc.
Reading a good book
Love it when I get a great novel and get lost in the story. What pure pleasure it is to give myself permission to sit by the pool and read my book. This is a huge shift for me and when I say ‘giving myself permission’, this took some serious challenging of my work ethic. For those who have studied Schema therapy, back in the day I was extremely high in the ‘unrelenting standards’ schema, so very high expectations on what I ‘should’ be able to do. A lot of this came from early childhood beliefs and expectations. I know that if I did the schema questionnaire now it would be much lower as I have made conscious decisions around change.
Water baby- just love the water and find it calms me down and brings me great pleasure. Walking along the beach or sitting near the water is very soothing for the soul.
These are just a few of the things that have helped me to lead a more balanced life. I hope you find this useful as applying self-care strategies has made me a better partner, mother, friend, person and I feel a better therapist.
I will say one thing to finish off. When I first started to do things for me, like attending retreats or travelling to India for an astrology conference with some friends, I recall that one day over the phone my son said to me ‘ Ma I need to say something to you, I think you are getting a bit selfish lately ‘ I was so shocked by this comment. When I had taken a breath and centred myself, I said to him ‘ no mate not selfish, it’s SELF CARE!!!! Happy to say that by modelling self care, my son ( who had taken on a lot of my work hard and be selfless ethics) is now starting to do some self-care stuff for himself – like paddle boarding, taking time out with his wife on their new yacht and saying no. Great to see the ripple effect when one person changes in the family system.
I am also very happy and excited to share that I am now taking this concept of self-care even further. My friend and business partner, Penny Brenton and I are now running retreats in beautiful Bali. So, if you would like to explore and experience your own self-care, why not join us.
Relationships! It is our basic instinct to be in a relationship, to feel loved, connected, supported and needed. Remember when you first met your partner and how you looked forward to seeing each other? How you could not stop thinking about them and remember what it was like giving and receiving little messages of love and desire? Often you see couples walking hand in hand and looking happy. It is a beautiful feeling, being in love. So how do those couples keep this connection?
Do you want to regain your connection with each other? How? This is usually through hard work and commitment. Often as time goes on and the relationship falls into normality, the initial connection can become strained due to busyness and everyday stresses. Sometimes this results in the romance and intimacy fading from our relationships. We are aware that there is still love between us but the spark may have gone. As you and your partner grow, evolve and change so does the dynamics in the relationship.
When considering a ‘relationship’ it is often said that a comparison can be with your garden. If you don’t tend to it, weeds will grow and overtake the beauty of the flowers. Just like our garden, we need to put time and effort into maintaining our relationship.
Some of the key points for maintaining a healthy relationship are:
Allocating time for each other and the family– Often work commitments, children, after school activities and general busyness stop us from having quality time together. Some suggestions for enjoying quality time with each other are;
- Taking time out for a ‘date night’ once a week
- Sitting down quietly after the children have gone to bed and talking to each other, without the distraction of the radio, television or mobile phones.
- Allocating 10 minutes to have a cup of coffee together each day to catch up on each other’s news whilst the children are individually occupied and respecting the need for parent time.
Communicating openly and honestly with each other – Communication is integral in maintaining a healthy relationship. The key to good communication is to listen to each other. One way to do this is when you are taking the 10 minutes to connect over a cup of coffee, allow your partner to talk about what is going on for them without interrupting. This can take practice as it is normal for us to want to interrupt our partner’s conversation or even try to fix things. Taking the time to genuinely listen and be interested in your partner will create a solid basis for a healthy relationship.
Be respectful to each other – How you treat others is often what you get back in return. Treating your partner with respect and displaying gratitude for what they do, as opposed to complaining about what they don’t do, will have a positive ripple effect in your relationship. When we argue, hurtful words can cut deep and we need to be mindful of these interactions, remember to apologise and express feelings of appreciation.
Sometimes you may have to agree to disagree – Often in relationships there are things that you will disagree on. If this cannot be worked out through compromising and you feel that you are both ‘right’, there will be times where you may have to agree to disagree. As two individuals in a relationship, it is ok to have different views on things. We often waste time and energy disagreeing and arguing.
I know this is hard to hear, but you can’t change your partner – think back to that time when you first met and fell madly in love. You accepted each other totally as you were. As time goes by, things that never bothered you may start to grind on you and you think you can change your partner. This often results in finding fault in each other and being discontent. If you want something to change in your relationship, try something different that will have a flow on effect to your partner.
Spending time apart – A healthy relationship is where two separate individuals have their own interests and hobbies, rather than being totally reliant on the other. You can spend time apart and then feel excited about coming back together again to interact and share your experiences.
Honesty is the best policy to maintain a healthy relationship – Being open and honest with each other is a key factor to maintaining your connection with each other. Sometimes being honest can be hard as you may have to say things that your partner may not like. Again this comes back to being respectful and mindful of how we communicate. Using ‘I’ statements and talking about how you feel is a way of being open and honest and your partner will not feel attacked and become defensive.
These are just some of the many ways we can maintain that initial connection and love that we feel for our partner. Why not take a risk and try just one thing and see what a difference it can make. Take this article and sit quietly with your partner to read together and discuss what you would like more of… how can you take more time out for each other to reconnect and rebuild intimacy?
Tamika Dwight-Scott is a Gestalt Therapist, Counsellor, Hypnotherapist and group facilitator. Tamika facilitates relationship workshops, which are experiential and fun, assisting you to reconnect as a couple.
Remember, if you don’t do anything different, nothing will change!
Please contact Tamika on 0404884257 or click here to make an inquiry.