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feet upJung famously wrote about synchronicity - and I think my deepening interest in Jung’s approach is in part fuelled by spotting auspicious linking of events and phenomena more and more. Currently, it is as if the whole universe is pointing out the importance of space to me - I can’t help but sit up and listen. I recognise that insecurities and vulnerabilities developed in childhood have biased me towards structure and form - the more static masculine aspects of the psyche; and in the pursuit of harmony, I am being invited to consider the feminine. Regular readers of this blog will know I’ve been writing about this theme for some weeks now.

My drum beats to the rhythm of the academic calendar, and the summer often presents contradictory responses to its call in me. Longing for the space and the rest it will bring (and I need); then the arriving of that space and me reacting like I have an insatiable itch. Aided by my path as a meditator and therapist, I recognise the messages that life sends me - this is an obstacle that needs working through (rather than jumping over). I have been contemplating how to work with this rather than find a way to “get rid”.

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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?

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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.

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