How to be a Good Egg at Easter

Egg with heart
It’s Good Friday today, this year of 2017.

I woke up slowly, dreaming the day ahead…

Now there are things to celebrate and things to plan for. Then there are things to fret about and things to be scared of.  So to counteract them I try to smash the uncertainty – by making arrangements, tying down time and filling my thinking hours.

But still there is the unknown of the next few moments, days and years to be anxious about…

And I am anxious… The anxiety sits in my body like a tightly wound coil, right where my solar plexus used to be.  My heart was used to resting there; but now sits in the centre of the coil, constricted and beating its’ bloody rhythm, alone in the darkness…

In the everyday transactions of life I can forget the grip of this anxiety, and the hold it has – there at the centre of me, temporarily.  But always it usurps and rewinds…

But in between, there’s the doing of life.  Already I have cooked my celebration breakfast; I’ve meditated; I’ve spoken with a coaching client and had a business meeting.  Now I’m writing a blog and it isn’t even 11.00 am yet…

And I laugh at my perception that so often I’m lazy; but this anxiety drives me – it jangles through my senses, urging me on; keeping me awake and busy.  It drives me to impose structure and exert control, because fundamentally I feel that the powers that created this current craziness, can also stop it – but they are elsewhere, outside of me.

So I’m still again and thinking my thoughts.
‘Be still enough for long enough’, so it is said and the answers will come to you.
Or… instead a thousand answers may come back to flagellate and torture you…

But in the stillness I reflect on my day so far.  It’s Good Friday – a sacred day in the Christian calendar, when the crucifixion of Jesus Christ and his death are commemorated.  In my own life Good Friday is sacred too – my father died on this day, 31 years ago.

He didn’t have an easy death.  It was messy and ghastly.  He had a fatal mental breakdown and his mind and body conspired to give up on life.

That sudden remembrance scares me.  How long can I take this pain and this continued tight torture? Is this me now, writhing in my own anxious death throes?

No… I’m not ready to give up on life.

Instead my stubbornness to have things only the way I want them is keeping me locked within this coil of hellish anxiety.

I cannot change the fact of my father’s death, but I can evolve beyond it. I can heal it and I can choose the hope of new beginnings; because as well as death, Easter is also about resurrection – a new start and an ascension to greater things.

As a coach I was taught to distrust the concept of ‘hope’.  A hope that things will work out suggests that there is also a strong chance that they will not… This is in the sense of wanting something to be the case, rather than believing it to be so.   As a coach, lack of certainty is certainly not what I want to be giving to my clients.

But for me the fascination of language is the history and variety of the nuances of interpretation, and how these embellish my interpretation of the world; so I dig deeper into my psyche and vocabulary – then see that in history, hope is also a feeling of trust.

Now trust, yes, we coaches thrive on that word. Trust is a more implicit commitment to the fact that everything will be alright, not that it may be.  In an uncertain world though, the strength in trust is the fact that we don’t necessarily have to know how things will resolve, evolve or move on.  But there however, lies the anxious rub – I crave certainty, I want answers; but I’m not getting them right now.  It’s as if nearly every area of my life is on hold, waiting for someone else to pick up the phone and explain to me whatever is going to happen next.

God, it’s galling. It feels like an appalling waste of my time and emotions, whilst I sit here and listen to the muzac of my untidy mind, waiting for the questions to be answered.

But still life goes on.  Still I coach others.  Still I’m a killer in business meetings.  So on the surface it’s business as usual and I’m still working in my role as go to support.

But to underpin that, I need to have support, and despite the fact that I haven’t wanted to, I have felt that I have had to share my current stress.  It’s a vulnerability because I don’t want to be perceived as weak.  But I can’t hold it in.  And I can’t support others if I can’t take care of myself and show that I struggle too, and how, at this moment – I struggle mightily.

As a coach I know that this goes deep with me now.  It goes deep into my living history and along the family tree even beyond my birth, to the influences and influencers who have passed their trials and fears back along the trunk and branches, to me.

The patterns of history I had long tried to tame are coming back to torture me; so there needs to be a deeper level of knowledge and healing that has to take place.  I just know that as this happens, it is going to be one of the biggest evolutions of my life; a huge break through and a re-birth into things I can only currently glimpse or grasp at now – because I’m not simply ready for them.

So as it turns out - thisSo as it turns out – this hated, hurting time, is the time of my life.

I don’t want to live in the grip of this anxiety – which is fundamentally a fear of what happens next; so I am choosing to focus on the now.  And I do that despite the tightly wound coil in my chest or whatever negative stories my thoughts are telling me.

So this morning I sat in meditation and the mantra that came to me was this:
“Every moment I’m born into a universe of infinite possibilities.”
So I breathed the words in and spoke them with my soul, over and over…

In fact I’m reborn and renewed constantly, every second of the day.  And each new second brings with it a whole plethora of distinct and dreamed of possibilities.

And it’s Easter, heralding Spring – the cyclic and constant new start I see in every year I live on this barren and beautiful planet.

So I will share my anxiety and my vulnerability with whoever is listening, and that includes my cherished clients. I’ll admit to the world that I don’t have the answers yet.

But I also acknowledge that whilst this is painful now, I relish in the opportunity to grow and change in ways I can’t even begin to imagine and that in doing so, I allow the whole world to expand with me…

It is Easter after all. Time to commemorate and celebrate.

Time to die and be reborn.

Time to stop, rest, heal for a while.

Time to stop and smell the daffodils.

And so all I have to say now, is this:
A very Happy Easter and Birth Day to you.

Yours trustingly,
Sandra
Sandra Peachey – Born Again Egg

currently have a special offer… You can buy the paperback of my ‘Love Letters to Life’ on Amazon for £11.99 or you can get an author signed copy on my website – for just £7.99 including P&P…

Featured on the BBC as well as local and national media (including Psychologies Magazine and The Lady), the book was also honoured as a Finalist in the 2015 International Book Awards.  

‘Peachey Letters – Love Letters to Life’ takes the best posts from this blog, adds new content and wraps it all together in a sweet bookish structure.

It’s an easy yet satisfying read, which sees love in everything we do in life – from the big themes to the tiny, trivial minutiae of it too.

If you want to get in touch, you can contact me by clicking here…

My external plaudits include the following – being:
* The Director of LifeWork Consultancy & Coaching;
* The Author of Peachey Letters – Love Letters to Life and Co-Author of The F-Factor.
* A 2015 International Book Awards Finalist, in the Women’s Issues Category;
* The Winner of a Women Inspiring Women Award in 2013;
* Being shortlisted for Women’s Coach in the APCTC Awards 2014, also nominated in 2012 & 2013; and
* Being nominated for a Networking Mummies National Recognition Award in 2015.

Banishing the Christmas Gremlin

christmas-goblin

I have a gremlin… And he is both constant and transient.  The constant is that I have named him Martrucio and transiently, he takes different forms at different times.  He can be just like a mangy dog, tagging at my heels and tripping me over.  Sometimes he is a dark cloud floating above my head, obfuscating my positive view of the world with his heavy rainy presence.  He manifests in many ways, not least inhabiting my head when I’m vulnerably tired or laid low by life in some way.

Regardless of his form, he is most definitely dogging me, this gremlin of mine. He is having so much evil fun, chipping and smashing and dashing my planned Christmas happiness into multifarious sharp shards of sadness.

What can I tell you – at this time I feel exhausted, and in this state he finds me a particularly easy target. He trips me up; makes me drop and break things; muzzles my memory and somehow, shortens my tolerance and temper.

He gets me this gremlin – he knows that I like to plan and organise and make my Christmas as easy and as stress free as possible. But he is always determined to find a chink in my organised armour and seek to turn it into a long, vicious crack

As usual I’ve planned my Christmas through from start to finish and I know that this includes working around my gremlin.  I know of old, that Gremlins love Christmas – they feed gluttonously off the combined combustible stress of the crescendo to Christmas Day.  Yes, they like nothing better than to shorten tempers and lengthen impatience – it makes them laugh loudly and dance with undisguised glee.

So working up to Christmas I am tired and feeling under the yuletide weather.  My body has had enough of the dark winter and intermittent wassailing.  It’s rebelling – it rejects and reacts to nearly every meal I eat.  I cut back and add in natural nutrients, fruit, vege and supplements, but still this moon maiden swells and doubles up in gastric discomfort.  It’s hardly fair, but such is (my) life and I just have to keep taking care of myself until it passes. I am sure that this too shall most definitely pass.

So I may be tired and even testy, but I’m aware of it and I work with it and make sure I rest and plan – so true to form I have a gorgeous text book time mapped out this coming Christmas tide. I have places to go and friends to hug. Even my tiredness can bear all this activity, if it’s about socialising and fun.

But gremlins don’t relish this and so they gang together to coerce and spoil our best laid plans…

I had it all worked out, months ago. I arranged to meet my two best friends on the Saturday before Christmas. A restaurant table was booked and also tickets bought to go carol singing at a local stately home. The perfect Hallmark girlie Christmas outing…

Well when the day finally dawned, the gremlins I have to say, had gone all out to put the kibosh on our precious night out. I awoke to find my phone riddled with messages: One friend’s mother had had a near fatal stroke and the other’s daughter was very sick and needed to go to hospital too.

“Well we won’t be carol singing tonight then…” I thought.  I know these two gorgeous girlfriends of mine from old and they would of course be worried and needing to take care of their kin.

So I got out of my tired bed and I checked in on each of them – there was nothing I could do to support them at that moment. But then I was left alone with my gremlin.  And in hindsight, I realise that I actually sought his company out.  And sure enough, he soon started to sing to me – not carols, but dirges of woe:

“So you’re alone at Christmas then. No support. No attention. No children. No one’s priority. Parents gone.  No one to care for and no one to care for you…”

I felt sad. My expectations for the perfect Hallmark Christmas experience had disintegrated into ashes, in a matter of mere minutes. Instead of sisterly sharing, I was now solo.

So I wallowed in the murky mud that Martrucio threw at me. It was sticky and dark mud – hard to see through and even harder to wash off.

Yet the Christmas spirit was still inside of me and I changed my gremlin-ated mind and determined to push him aside… My brain ticked over… I wondered if I could share my planned Hallmark experience with someone else.  Yet all of the ‘someone else’s’ in my life were busy on a Saturday so close to Christmas.  Well fair enough – I hadn’t really pinned my hopes on that option any way.

So – what next? “How can this situation be turned on its’ head?” I wondered.

So then it came to me – I would pay my Christmas experience forward…

Quickly I went onto Facebook and with about 3 hours to go, made the following post:

“I have 3 tickets for carol singing at Warwick Castle to give away for the first taker. My free Christmas gift to whoever would enjoy them! Message me if you would like them and are able to collect…”

Very quickly there was a handful of people posting their interest. I just wanted the tickets to be on their way, so as far as I was concerned – fate and the principle of ‘first come, first served’ would decide who they went to.

A little while later there was a knock at my front door.  I grabbed the tickets and opened the door to a bright young woman with a radiant smile. “A very Happy Christmas to you” I said and handed the tickets over. “And to you too,” she said, handing me back a bottle of mulled wine in a festive Christmas bag, “and thank you so much!” As it turned out, she was newly married and she and her husband were now going to have a festive night out – it would be their first Christmas together.

When she left, I looked at her Facebook timeline, which was filled with wedding pictures of a young, smiling and radiant couple.

My sadness had suddenly been replaced by a smile.  I’d done it – I now felt that some good had come out of this strangest of doubly disastrous days.

Instead of warbling carols, my evening was then spent industriously getting the steal on my Christmas preparations, as I sat and wrapped a myriad of presents, accompanied by soppy Christmas films, blaring away in the background.

I checked on my friends again. All was as well as it could be for them. There I was in my own, but giving thanks for my health and happiness – all wrapped up in my wrapping and having a truly festive time.

And as for my gremlin – Martrucio… well – he was nowhere to be seen…

Merry Christmas to me then!

And, dear reader, may your gremlins be banished and your Christmas fill you with love, laughter and light this year…

With warmest wishes,
Sandie
Sandra Peachey: Blogger and Banisher of Gremlins

If you want to get in touch, you can contact me by clicking here…

I’m also variously known as:
* The Director of LifeWork Consultancy & Coaching;
* The Author of Peachey Letters – Love Letters to Life and Co-Author of The F-FactorThe perfect Christmas gift – you can buy them both on Amazon (in paperback or Kindle) by clicking on the hyperlinks above or else on most bookseller websites around the globe. Your local bookshop may even sell them, or you can ask them nicely to order them in and stock them high;
* A 2015 International Book Awards Finalist, in the Women’s Issues Category;
* The Winner of a Women Inspiring Women Award in 2013;
* As being shortlisted for Women’s Coach in the APCTC Awards 2014, also nominated in 2012 & 2013; and
* Being nominated for a Networking Mummies National Recognition Award in 2015.

Mid-Life Dating: When Hot Flushes have a whole new meaning…

gift-of-loveMy dear Apostle

Well here we are, in a newish relationship, and me being me, that comes with a mixture of emotions – positive and negative.  Dating in middle age comes with a whole set of intricacies that I never ever envisaged (hot flushes for example, have definitely taken on a whole new meaning) and of course, at least two sets of baggage.

Yet today I’ve decided to transmute baggage into learning, and anxiety into appreciation.

We’ve been together for a short enough time that sometimes it still feels strange, and long enough that somehow it feels like we’ve been an item for our own infinity.

I find myself dwelling on the difficulties that come with our being together (or not as the case may be) and bemoaning them, though I try not to communicate all that to you.  I decide instead to commute it – filtering it away or boiling down it down to sound bites of reasonable requests and latent ideas.  I did choose you after all…

Oh, but sometimes the frustration spills out of me in real time and I get stroppy (I’m blaming the menopause…).  I apologise for that, but also think that some of the barbs I come out with at those terse times are – in my own funny opinion – really hilarious.  They lighten the mood, (the one about the voodoo doll is my personal favourite)…

I often muse that one of the reasons I chose you, is that there are hurdles to climb and that those same hurdles – which drive me crazy at times – also slow me down in a good way.  So for me this means that I don’t ‘run ahead’ – planning and imagining as is my wont, other than in the short term.  It also means that I am practicing patience (which I don’t tend to be very good at) and have chosen to live with what we have, in the present.

So in the present I am pondering all the gifts you come with and here are just a few of them:

  • When we have a real conversation, about life, our histories and any old random stuff.
  • Snuggling.
  • When you hug my friends good bye.
  • The look you gave me at the end of our first date.
  • That you are such a good snogger (halleluiah!).
  • When you take my head in your hands and give me that kiss…
  • When you pull me in for a hug and sigh happily, like it’s the best thing in the whole world.
  • You, me, and the cat, with our feet / paws all lined up on the sofa, in purring harmony.
  • That you wiggle your foot at me in a ‘come closer way’ if I’m sitting too far away from you.
  • Seeing you in Andrex dad mode – soft and strong, all at once.
  • The sense of contentment.
  • That you are a happier person than the one I met a while ago…  I’m taking some of the credit.
  • The ‘night, night’ texts you send when we’re not together.

So I wanted to write an appreciation of you with words that ground me in the positive present and have no expectation beyond this moment of gratitude.  They are a simple celebration of what is.

Thank you.
S xxnight-night


Sandra Peachey – Lover and Writer

If you want to get in touch, you can contact me by clicking here…

I’m also variously known as:
* The Director of LifeWork Consultancy & Coaching;
* The Author of Peachey Letters – Love Letters to Life and Co-Author of The F-FactorYou can buy them both on Amazon (in paperback or Kindle) by clicking on the hyperlinks above or else on most bookseller websites around the globe. Your local bookshop may even sell them, or you can ask them nicely to order them in and stock them high;
* A 2015 International Book Awards Finalist, in the Women’s Issues Category;
* The Winner of a Women Inspiring Women Award in 2013;
* As being shortlisted for Women’s Coach in the APCTC Awards 2014, also nominated in 2012 & 2013; and
* Being nominated for a Networking Mummies National Recognition Award in 2015.

 

The Magnificence of Mistakes

I’m evolving… Having been the proponent of the Peachey Letters Blog for four years now, I find that my writerly maunderings often form a pattern of starting with a confessional release about an issue that I am finding difficult or painful.  It’s as if I’m a client on my very own coaching ‘couch’ unburdening the psycho-emotional load.  Then having laid it bare, I proceed to coach myself through the lessons to be learnt and also to resolution.  The process takes me through from earth bound protagonist in my own stories of life, through to the ‘all seeing eye’ that I then become – being the narrator and navigator – steering me on a path of enlightenment.  It is a process which is both vulnerable and victorious, and so to go with the flow I’ve come up with a new nom de plume that reflects the journey.  These new blogs will be under the aegis of ‘The Transient Goddess’ – a creature both earthbound and divine – switching between psyches and working my way through the lessons of life…

mistake

The Magnificence of Mistakes

Ah the games that the ego plays…  Mine was recently playing a stealthy game of hide and seek.  First it was craving attention and so wanting positive validation; then suddenly it wanted to hide, and in doing so to turn me into a her hermit – a mad witchy creature sitting alone in my dark she cave, abstractedly knitting up quiet comfort in order to warm me from the draughty distractions of the outside world.

And sometimes the very best thing for us is to roll a big boulder across the mouth of the cave so we can help and heal ourselves and our souls, but then again, we all have to live and move through the big bad outside world much of the time too.

Recently though I realised that I had felt like hiding, because I seemed to be making so many mistakes, errors and wrong decisions.  It felt as if, that in nearly every hour of every day I got something wrong.  I broke something.  I forgot something.  I misunderstood something.

I would be innocently tripping along through life, breathing and doing and getting on with things, when suddenly I was pulled up sharp – winded by the internal or external realisation that I had fucked up – yet again.

I hate fucking up! Internally I am an innate perfectionist who loves nothing better than to get things right.  But this trait somehow makes me a fraud, because externally I so often get the feedback that I am laconic, laissez-faire and laid back… Oh – if only!  It really could be a classic case of the elegant swan apparently gliding gently across the water – who is actually being propelled by frantic pedalling below the surface and against the current.

Well, I’ve decided to stop silently pedalling and to out myself, rather than waddle wetly back to my cave to smooth down my ruffled feathers.

You see the muck ups, messes and muddles got so bad that I resorted to joking that the only illogically logical explanation was that there was an invisible gremlin riding my back – causing mayhem in my world and having fun at my emotional expense.

As a latent perfectionist I really hate admitting this, but there it is – I’ve had a big loss of confidence lately because it just feels like I can’t do anything right anymore…

This is all an ego-centric exaggeration of course – the simple fact is that if I were to document and analyse all my transactions, thoughts and tryings, then in reality the well-executed and ordinary ones would vastly out-number the inane, inept and incorrect ones…

But somehow, at this stage in my life, it’s as if my consciousness is constantly drawn to all the mishaps and misunderstandings, and they have all gathered together into a nasty, sticky mass, containing a dark mixture of anxious and frustrated self-loathing.

Like many people I have a tendency towards self-castigation, so it is bad enough if someone else points out an error or a flaw, but then times that to the power of ten when it comes to the flagellating misery that my own inner critic will inflict upon me if I let it.

And therein lies a large part of the answer – ‘if I let it’.  And I let it when the horror of error just washes over me and I go through the cringing motions of internal complaint without even noticing what I am doing.  It just happens, especially when I’m tired or poorly and I forget that supposedly I actually have a choice over how I respond to what is going on / not going my way.

I am also mildly obsessed with the notion that with advancing years comes advancing anxiety.  I recall now how people older than me had been known to say that with age they had lost a level of confidence, and hence liked to stay within the confines of the safe and familiar.  Damn it! When as a callow youth I thought of middle age, I assumed that the up side would be that when it happened I would have it (life) all sorted – emotionally and materially, not be creeping backwards into my dank cave.

So, I’ve admitted my erstwhile lack of self-assurance – now what to do about it?

The first thing is to notice that if this happens to me again then it is just a pattern of thought and reaction.  This simple act of self-awareness is very powerful – it allows me to step back and take stock.

The next tactic is to celebrate the fuck ups, messes, errors and mistakes.  Celebrate?  What?! Now if your boss (or how ever has that role in your life) has just pointed out a fault, I’m not suggesting that you do a jig in front of his or her nose, but what I am saying is this – acknowledge to yourself what has happened.  But instead of criticising it, celebrate it – bring positive attention to it, punch the air and say ‘yes’ – I messed up – ‘hurrah’!

Why do this? Well because in doing so I am removing the negative power from it.  I know that when I do it often enough, I get out of the habit of criticism, and not least then if I take the sting out of it, then I can step back from it and see the situation for what it really is.  And, when I step outside of it, then it is far less likely to be an actual, bona fide, fully blown fuck up.

Having stepped back, now you can decide that whatever happened, you can learn from it and decide what, if anything, you want to do differently or better next time.  Then you have another cause for celebration – new lesson learnt!

So I give myself a choice here – how would I prefer to feel, given the choice – criticised or celebrated?  I choose celebrated, of course.

One of my mentors – a certain Mr Richard Wilkins, often asks this question: ‘What do you remember for the longest time – a compliment or a criticism?’  Everyone I know, myself included, always truthfully answers ‘a criticism’.  We are programmed instinctively to spot errors and remind ourselves about what has happened as a protective mechanism to prevent ourselves from doing it again.  But this stone-age tendency also has the effect of knocking us off balance whilst we take time to castigate ourselves and others.  It saps our positive energy and focusses us on the negative.

These negative thought patterns are natural, so you have start brain training to counteract them.  My favourite method for doing this is also a gorgeously simple one: I give thanks.

The constant attitude of gratitude and willingness to celebrate every small victory in life and every lesson learned is one of the most effective ways to gain a more positive pattern of thinking.

I advise every single one of my coaching clients to get a journal and chronicle their gratitudes and gone wells every day.  Personally I love to do this first thing in the morning and last thing at bed time and at the very least, before I go to sleep each night, I run through my day in my head and celebrate all the things I have learnt (and that includes the perceived mishaps), all the things that have gone well (no matter how trivial) along with the myriad of things that I have to be grateful for.  And when I focus on my gratitudes and count my blessings, actually there are a lot.

And when I focus on all my happenings (otherwise known as fuck ups, muck ups and messes) along with all the victories, and then decide that they are all blessings of one sort or another, then there really can’t be any mistakes, any more…

So finally let me raise a champagne glass for me and for you: Here is to a life of realisation and of celebration – cheers!

Sandra
Transient Goddess, Coach and Author

Contact me by clicking here…

I’m also variously known as:

* Director of LifeWork Consultancy & Coaching
* Author of Peachey Letters – Love Letters to Life and Co-Author of The F-Factor and you can buy them both at Amazon and all good book sites by clicking on the hyperlinks
* Winner of a Women Inspiring Women Award 2013
* Shortlisted for Women’s Coach in the APCTC Awards 2014, nominated in 2012 & 2013
* Nominated for a Networking Mummies National Recognition Award 2015
* International Book Awards Finalist 2015, Women’s Issues Category

Love Letter to Time Travelers

February 2016 Blog Challenge: Blog 4 of 29

This latest blog is one of my more traditional Peachey Letters posts, where I analyse aspects of my life and muse them through to a decision, resolution, celebration, or all of the above.  Some are funny / trivial and some are quite dark and personal. 

As a coach that supports others to remove blockages and reach their goals (in all senses, from emotional to transactional), I have to start with supporting myself; so my Peachey Letters are a therapy that helps me to work through the ‘knots’ of my life and unravel the emotions and thought processes underneath them and then to weave them back into a satisfactory cloth of conclusion. 

The writing of them is both an exercise in ego and self- love, and the sharing of them lets others know they’re not alone, gives them something to think about, along with a whole host of other positive spin- offs beyond my ego that I never anticipated when I started writing them four years ago, including the publication of my first book – Peachey Letters – Love Letters to Life.

The real point of my Peachey Letters, though, is to see how Love permeates every aspect of my life. This is Love in every sense of the word (an incredibly all-encompassing phenomenon that reaches far beyond simple romantic connotations) as a force of light, as positive energy, and in its many manifestations and methods; motivating me and those around me, somehow, in every way, shape and form. 

time

Love Letter to Time Travelers

Dearest Friends

I’ve been musing on the concept of The Present for a while, as various aspects of my life in these last few months have been sliding and shifting, as perspectives and people around me are changing.

This has turned me into a time traveller as I’ve been reflecting on the past, whilst simultaneously imagining various, and synthesised futures.

In my head I often browse the time space continuum – somehow I can never completely disconnect myself from the past that has shaped me and led me to where (and who) I am now.  When it comes to where I find myself today, I’ve decided to be good with my choices, and to practice forgiveness – always with others and especially for myself.

Sometimes these thoughts of what was and what will be, just keep running round and round my head.  It was most definitely time to stop the Time Machine and get out.  In other words, to get it all out of my head.

As a coach, I bring many things to the table, but one of them is not being a got together guru… I started my self-development for myself, to heal and be happier.  Very quickly into my learning I had the epiphany that the skills and strategies I was learning and the insights I gained, would also be an amazing gift to give to others.  As a woman – I’m ordinary, brilliant, empathetic, insightful and silly (and many more things besides), in turn.  I’ve been there, done that and worn many tee shirts, of many different sizes and colours. So when I coach others, I’m truly in my gift, understanding the patterns and complexities of life. This in turn means that I am present for and focussed on those I support, in guiding them to healing, reconciliation, achievement and greater emotional health.

As the LifeWork Coach – as well as giving coaching, I believe it is healthy and necessary to receive it too. So on my most recent visit to my own Life coach, I had a very specific request – I wanted to air and then jettison all the heavy reflections on my recent past.  I likened it a rocket – being propelled by the large and heavy fuel pack, but jettisoning all that heavy machinery for the ascent to its final destination to the stars.

So my coach held the space for me and listened. We laughed and cried together.  We ruminated and reflected.  And this was just what I needed so I could return to The Present – fully present; and not just walking, running or crawling to the next transaction, destination or distraction…

Then of course, as a seasoned time traveller – woven in between the past and the present, I inevitably contemplate the future. Depending on mood and circumstance – my many futures can be either dark or rosy tinted.

It’s natural to plan and to look forward, but when I do this with the negative weight of the past, the future inevitably seems black.  To bring this back into balance I then remind my recalcitrant mind what I have to be grateful for along with the positive past – i.e. what has worked well for me, and then I can constructively contemplate what new things I now choose to explore.

So as a time traveller I can easily find myself concentrating on my past and concurrently future pacing, meaning that somehow I then find myself stuck between these two time zones.

It’s a contradiction of coaching that although I will spend time assessing the past and planning for the future, I frequently have to remind both my clients and myself, that neither of these actually exists.

The past is a memory. The future is a projection.  The past and the future are not real, because they are not now.  The present – this precise moment in consciousness – is our only true reality. This is all completely logical, but still we find ourselves focussed on our divergent past and future lives.  How could we not?  We have memories and we have the capacity to make plans.

When it comes to describing and labelling such temporal phenomena, a definition often used is that a negative focus on the past is Depression, and an unhealthy interpretation of the future is Anxiety. In the context of the support that I provide, I believe that these offer a really valuable explanation of the definitions, but I prefer to use them concepts to elucidate, rather to label.  I am absolutely not decrying all the people in the world who live with these as conditions (not as labels) and are treated for them in variety of ways, including through the conventional health system.

This isn’t my area of expertise or the types of people I tend to work with, but it appears, to a greater or lesser degree to be a universal experience. During my time as a coach it seems that either of these labels could have been applied to most people at some point in their lives.  Often therefore, part of my role as a coach is to guide people to reinterpret their past, deal with what comes up and then learn from or simply accept it.

Often in coaching sessions I will be told ‘stories’ about the future along the lines of ‘this will happen, that could happen, what if, then, etc, etc’.  Indeed, when it comes to such future projections, I often have to remind clients that the future doesn’t actually exist.  What they are telling me are in fact, stories.  This is of course, an issue of degree – frequently we do have a notion of how things could pan out, but we often we have the power to change this or to disregard the story telling / negative connotations so that we then have more power to manage any resulting fears .

But I digress, and this is the power that time travelling through the past and the future can exert – they distract us from where we really are, right now, in the present. But if we are aware of this, we realise it is a power that we have (unconsciously) allowed and so with that realisation, we can take the power back and focus it on the here and now.

The trouble is that the here and now is often – troublesome, ordinary, boring or painful, just as the past could have been and the future may be.  We live through a whole range of positive and negative experiences, so would we really want to actually live in the now, when the now we are experiencing is not what we actually want?

To live fully and freely in the present, starts with a decision to do so. A decision that we are prepared to let go of whatever the past or the future held / hold for us.  This is also a decision to concentrate of making the most of what we have now, right in front of us.  My favourite practise to get me into this ‘present’ state of mind, is to think of all the things that I am grateful in my life – be it from getting out of bed that day, to the other trivial and momentous things that have gone well, along with the people I’m grateful for, the opportunities, the lessons and so on.

The next decision is to choose to let go of the past and the future. The past has passed, and the future will take care of itself.  Naturally there are times when we should plan ahead, but we can’t do this all of the time.  I therefore teach my clients various techniques around ‘letting go’ and these are some of the most simple yet powerful tools we can employ to live fully in the now.

The next step is a concept which is, I’m glad to say, becoming more common currency and less hippy and that is the practise of mindfulness. This is essentially being in ‘the now’ by focusing your awareness on the present moment, whilst calmly acknowledging and accepting your feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations – usually centred on your breathing.

All of us are different and so I work with my clients to create bespoke solutions for their individual requirements. There is a wealth of resources about mindfulness, so you can research what will work best for you, but the fundamental starting practice is just to be still for just a minute and breathe

Give yourself the gift of 60 seconds to just focus on your breath. Breathe in slowing and deeply through your nose, filling your lungs as far as you can.  Hold that air there for a few seconds and then slowly release it through your mouth, deliberately pushing as much air out of your lungs as you comfortably can.  Do this at least 3 times, concentrating all of your focus on your breath.

And despite following all these practices, you will still often find that there’s that voice in your head which still wants to linger on the long lessons of the past, or else point out the pitfalls of the future. But know this – it is just that – a voice.  Just that recognition in itself, is so powerful. It allows you to start distancing yourself from the time travel and to ground yourself instead in the here and now.

All these practises and thought patterns take some practice and effort, so you should always do your best to ensure that you are in the best energy you can be, by nourishing yourself. See a coach, talk to a trusted friend, read a good book, go for a walk – deliberately make time to do whatever it is that works best for you, to get you into a clearer and more constructive head space.

So to summarise these steps:

  • Tell, speak or write down your memories and stories. Get them out of your head and off your chest.
  • Let go of the need to remain attached to them. Accept what is.
  • Decide to live in the now.
  • Practise gratitude – give thanks for all you have and all you have learnt, generously.
  • Focus on the now. Take time out to breathe deeply and practise Mindfulness.
  • Recognise when you are ‘time travelling’ and get out of the tardis.
  • Nourish yourself.
  • Then decide what to do next.

Take and repeat these simple steps to bring you back into the now. Then you will be in a stronger position to accept the past and know when you are really ready to plan for the future – not worry about it.  This gets easier when it is complimented with the right kind of support, so explore hiring your own coach.

The thing is with time travel that it takes up so much unnecessary time and energy. However, what is really important is that your time is most definitely now.

Yours, mindfully…

     Sandie

Sandra Peachey
Coach, Student and Optimist

PS: To explore how coaching with me could make a difference to your life, drop your details in here and I’ll get in touch.

PPS: A collection of my ‘Peachey Letters’ have been gathered together in to a beautiful book, exploring all the facets of my ‘real’ life in all its’ badness, banality and beauty. This is love seen in every aspect of the life that I live.  In it you will find the dark and the light of love, in a way that will make you think, entertain you and let you know that you are not alone in life, what ever it holds for you… You can buy ‘Peachey Letters – Love Letters to Life’ by Sandra Peachey, from book websites any where in the world, including on Amazon (in both Paperback and Kindle)