blog

Write a comment

Dr CNo, I’m not about to belt out The Beatles’ “Sgt Pepper”: but there is an opportunity for reminiscing, and it might even make mention of “lonely hearts’ - we’ll see where my writing takes me. Twenty years ago this August, I completed my PhD; and in attending the Graduation ceremony for the students of our psychotherapeutic counselling and psychotherapy courses, much of that experience came flooding back. The very same venue (The Brighton Centre), the very same gown (complete with Beefeater floppy hat!), and a very different Helen. I’ve been on quite a journey since August 1998, much of which is documented here on this website: certainly the professional and career steps, but also some of the personal shifts that have been integral and parallel. Sitting in the auditorium, watching our students walk across the stage was a moving experience. I know their journey - or at least, I have experienced how they have changed and I can imagine (from my own version of that experience) what they must have been through. Each student has shared to lesser or greater extents how much they have had to open to the processes of unfolding, deconstructing and re-identifying themselves: so necessary as we take up the mantel of being a therapist. How else can we expect our clients to do so?

Write a comment

little and oftenAs a coach, I used to talk to my athletes about operating a ‘total lifestyle’: rather than thinking 5 days for work, 2 days for the weekend and good training, how might we make a weekly structure be more fluid across 7 days? This could be useful for an athlete, as our traditional 7 day week doesn’t map over our bodies’ physiological rhythm - why should it? There were many instances when an athlete’s training required 3 day blocks - and 3 doesn’t divide in to 7 very easily! And this predicament exists for may situations outside of sport: indeed, my work as a life coach revealed the client’s dilemma around work / life balance: and a ratio of “5 to 2” wasn’t sustainable when working days are long and family / social commitments start to pile up. With these clients, I would help them look at their working week and their “non-negotiables” - those life priorities that often get squeezed out. We discussed how to live a life by the “important” and not respond to other people’s “urgent”; and we looked at how we could throw out the rule book (or re-write it at least) concerning traditional working patterns of “5 days on, 2 days off”. By adopting a ‘total lifestyle’ we might end up doing a little work on every day of the week but we accommodate more down time in the mid-week too.

Write a comment

sit thereLike last Monday morning, I took myself to the beach for an early morning meditation. I sat on the thousands of pebbles, in front of a big sea, and under a vast sky. Everything in the external was highlighting magnitude and space; and I used those external markers to point to the space within, the vastness of my own mind. In Buddhism, this vastness is often described as ‘emptiness’ - not in a conventional ‘nothingness’ way, but rather speaking to the potential that is. An aim for practitioners is to learn how to rest in this vast, potentiated awareness. For those of us in the West who are more in tune with our ‘doing’, this spaciousness can be at the very least challenging, and to some of us, it can be terrifying. Even now, nearly a decade in to my ‘career’ as a meditator, there are times when I can feel the compulsion to get out of the space arise deep from within, to get up off my cushion and do something. The antidote is said to be to keep opening to anything that arises - so I resolve to stay on the cushion and allow that compulsion to be felt. Slowly, I notice I am less compelled to ‘doing’, and I am allowing more ‘being’ in my life. Its a well-worn habit though, some 4 decades ingrained.

Subcategories