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The 4 Essential and Effective Steps You Need for Long Lasting Change

As the end of the year approaches, there’s a lot of talk about change. What the next year might hold for us, what we’re going to do differently. We talk about New Year’s Resolutions, old habits we want to get rid of, new skills we want to learn. We naturally start assessing the year gone by and envisioning what next year might or could hold for us.

And for some of us, we know we NEED and WANT to make changes. Sometimes significant and dramatic ones.

We might recognise we’re up to our necks, that things have been out of sync for a long time and that essentially, we’re unhappy and craving for things to be different. For there to be a turnaround.

But knowing how to even BEGIN making these changes, let alone knowing what they are is often difficult and daunting.

When we’re overwhelmed and stressed out, with tons of things going on, it’s in fact been proven that we actually CAN’T figure out stuff and analyse things properly. Not only can we not easily see the changes we need to make, we can’t even see HOW we go about making them.

And we end up feeling lost. Confused. Disillusioned.

We may even give up on the idea of changing what’s not working for us entirely.

A Framework for Change

Change truly begins when we start moving and working through the correct succession of steps within a framework.

And once that framework has been identified, and the process mapped out, change is truly possible and available to anyone. Even if it feels in that moment of uncertainty, that moment of doubt, that it isn’t; it is.

It’s available to you. Find the right framework and change becomes possible for you.

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So, the question is then, if we’re ready to start shifting things in our lives; what does this change framework look like? And what are the processes and steps involved?


Step 1. Admit to where you are – and who you are at this moment in time.


analog-art-beautiful-963486You may or may not have the life you did 10 years ago.

You may not be the person you were 10 years ago, even 2 years ago.

A lot might have happened in your life.

Working from the point where you are RIGHT NOW as an individual is key to getting the lasting and authentic changes you want. Taking a good, honest and open look at everything going on in your life, at who you are, what you like, what your beliefs are, what your values are is the absolute starting point.


Step 2. Reconnect with your body and physical self and start healing from there first.


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Your connection to your body – to your sense of your physical self in the here and now and to what your body needs is the next point to work from.

You have to start healing and growing from this place first, listening to what your body needs, combatting those damaging stress hormones, and relieving fatigue using effective techniques that have tangible results behind them.

And by doing this, you also tap directly into the intuition and knowledge that is at the core of who you are, the place that knows what you need and how brilliant and capable you truly are.


Step 3. Start using your voice.


arm-girl-hands-709801 (1)Articulating honestly to yourself and others about what’s going on, how you’re feeling and why it’s come to this is essential to change.

This may sounds obvious but this step is so often overlooked and people jump right into making changes, and then wonder why the old issues arise, why little progress has actually been made.

You need to start speaking up and addressing things.

And to do it in a safe and nourishing place where you’ll be validated, where you won’t be judged and where you’ll will be listened to.

Somewhere you can be truly honest without fear of repercussions.


Step 4. Create a vision for yourself and take action.


paper-text-1029800This final step starts by being open and truly honest about what it is you want.

No matter how big or small.

Once you have this clarity, as hard as it might be if you’re confidence is low and overwhelm is high, you then have to see and BELIEVE that these changes can happen. That change is possible and available to you. It is then, and only then that you make a plan, with appropriate steps and safety nets and markers along the way.


All we have is now.


Change can feel uncomfortable and unsettling.

Moving into unchartered waters, from a place you’ve known for a long while is frightening.

But we only have one life, one shot at this. All too often we hear how when people are on the brink of death, they rarely regret what they’d done, only what they hadn’t.


Happy….and beyond…


american-best-friends-blond-hair-1574650I work with women and mums like you who want to make changes, who recognise that things aren’t working.

I work with them within my programmes and classes using the exact framework above, and the framework I’ve used myself to see dramatic changes in myself and my clients over the last 18 months.

My Happy & Beyond 2019 Programme begins in February 2019, with my first online course starting this January.

So. if you’re ready to take the next step towards change, even if you have no idea where to start when considering what changes you want to make, book a consultation call with me here and let’s not waste another second.
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WHO looks after you ? If you don’t, who will?

I hit a mini wall last weekend. It doesn’t happen often thankfully, and certainly MUCH less often than it did 18 or months ago, but hit it I did, and it felt as painful and raw as it ever does.

I talk a lot about the often detrimental effects of continuously serving and pleasing others – your children, your partner, your colleagues and so on – can have on you. And in particular when you do this above and beyond what YOU need, and what nourishes and supports you. And I think part of me talking about it a lot, is not only to reach out to women who feel this way to say I understand and I want to support you to change that, but to remind MYSELF of it.

Because the wall I hit had a big fat “DANGER! LOOK OUT, UNBALANCED NEEDS AHEAD!!!” painted on it, and I didn’t take notice and so smashed straight into it.

For the last couple of weeks I’d been letting things slide with the children – doing their tidying up for them, hanging their school bags up, putting their shoes and socks on (and the two eldest are 8 and 5 for goodness sake!!!) – the things they can easily do for themselves. I’d been saying yes to all their requests for my time, when I knew I’d needed (and wanted) to get something else done, and that they were OK to watch TV by themselves for a bit.

I’d said yes to more requests to help out than I knew I should have done – at school, with the extended family, with work things. And I’d allowed people to talk over me, and I’d held back on talking about how I’d been really feeling and what I wanted to say.

And I’d picked up my whingey 2 year old out of childcare/abandonment guilt too many times, which has just added fuel to the fire.

And it got too much. It was inevitable that I was going to hit that wall.

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Because, if we don’t make the effort to put ourselves on equal footing with everyone else, and we don’t build and maintain our boundaries, who will? If our children, our partners, our colleagues and our friends and family don’t know where to draw the line because we haven’t made it clear that actually, enough is enough, why would they stop asking for more of our time, more of our support, more of US? How do they know what enough is enough looks like?

 

So, after a cry, and a burst of angry frustration from hitting that wall, I took myself off and sat down to figure this sh*t out. What had led me to that point? What was out of balance? What was it that I wanted that I wasn’t getting? And who was looking after me? Because I certainly wasn’t.

And if I wasn’t, how could I really expect anyone else to? We’ve all got our own thing going on, our own crap to deal with, and ultimately, we are the only ones truly responsible for ourselves.

It isn’t easy creating these boundaries. Figuring out where to draw your own line, and in fact believing and not feeling guilty that you should have one. It’s actually pretty bloody hard to even start thinking about what you want in life, and what’s important to you when you’re so consumed in looking after others and keeping your busy, demanding life in check.

But as hard and as daunting as it might be,  it’s so imperative that it’s done. Because if not, that wall is only going to get higher and stronger and the speed at which you hit it will just get faster and faster.

 

Are you looking after you? Or are you headed towards that wall??

If you need a bit of help getting it together, or getting back to it, my easy, daily wellness routine can help you get back on track. Download it here now.

Alice xx

 

 

How And WHY I Do What I Do (even when it’s really bloody tough)

Below is a post that was shared on Facebook which moved me to tears. It is truly beautiful. I wish I knew the author’s name.

This piece encapsulates why I do what I do…

…and why, even when running happy birth and beyond gets hard and overwhelming (because, like any job does, it can), I just have to carry on and reach Mums and babies and I hope, change their lives.

Because I want Mums to be able to tune in and fully connect and love and nurture their babies and children. And to thrive in it and enjoy it. This to me is what humanity and the continuation of our society and an evolution in the world to more happiness and love is all about.

But in today’s society – for whatever reason (because there are a ton of them) – this isn’t happening.

The connection is being lost.

Mothers are feeling alone and unsupported and incapable. Judged. Lectured. Inadequate. Overwhelmed. Anxious. Unhappy.

And their babies and children are suffering as a result. They grow up feeling more insecure, less confident, less happy and more alone. Less loved. They don’t fulfill their potential. They hurt.

And in time, they go on to have their babies from this place. And because they’ve missed out on the nurturing they needed when they were small – again for whatever the reason was –  the nurturing and love their physical, emotional and mental health they needed – they raise their children with less love and nourishment and attention, because they don’t know how to do it, they never felt it, they never learnt it. And their babies grow up in the same way, lacking the love and the essential elements that make us human.

And the cycle continues.

Until one day, there’s nothing left.

There’s no memory of love, nothing in the tank, everyone’s forgotten what it means to humanely look after a baby, what it takes to raise a human, where love and life and happiness starts from and continues.

And then what???

It genuinely terrifies me.

But connecting to your children and loving them, and enjoying and thriving in this experience and time of your life (the both of you) isn’t always easy.

Isn’t always natural.

But I believe it is so essential.

And so I work to help Mums experience and develop this connection, this love, this nourishing relationship critical to the human race.

As an ante-natal teacher I help to develop it before their baby is even born.

As a doula I help to grow it through helping a mum have the optimum, healthy experience of birth she can.

And as a Mother’s empowerment coach and teacher, I help ensure the connection is maintained and if it’s been sent off track, how to put it back on the right road again.

I do what I do so that the world hears what babies like this are saying in this beautifully written piece, so that we can hear them when they tell us how much and how crucial it is for them to be loved.

Dear mama,
Could you wake up for a minute? I know it’s hard for you to open your eyes – we haven’t slept a lot yet tonight. But mama, I kinda need you right now. You see, the thing is, I feel a bit lonely at the moment. I’m laying here in my crib and I’m somewhat cold.
I didn’t mean to cry so I’m sorry I did. I’ve been trying to get your attention by making some noises for a while now but you were in such a deep sleep, you couldn’t hear me. I don’t know how else to get your attention.

During the day, I see and hear you all make noises and I see you respond well to each other. You talk to me like that too. And I try very hard but I don’t know how to do that yet. So I cry so you’d listen to me.

Mama, I’m sorry for crying. Like I said, I feel a bit lonely. I just spent nine months inside your belly where I’ve always felt safe. It’s a bit scary to me to be in such a big bed all by myself. I miss your heartbeat, the rushing of your blood, the warmth and the food.I miss your breathing and your hands you put over me to protect me when I still was inside your belly.

So mama, would you please listen to me? I’m calling for you in the only way I’m able to. I feel really alone. I need your warmth and your peace for a moment. I need to know for sure you’re still here. So can I come lay with you for a little while to feel your warmth?

Some cuddles first. Mama, this feels so nice. When I feel you holding me while you gently rock me and when I can smell and feel you, I feel so safe. I can feel your hand on my back and my ear is placed just right on your heart. Mom, this is home to me. Do you remember back when we were always together? I always felt like this back then. Sometimes I miss that time. It was so nice to be close to you.

I hear you softly whisper into my ear “Everything is okay little one, everything is fine”. Your voice is so soft and familiar. You smell good mom. A bit like me and a bit like you.

Mama, will you hold me just a little longer? I’m really tired and I feel so relaxed in your arms. It almost feels like before. I’m going to close my eyes for a little while, okay? Can I please stay with you here a little longer to enjoy your love and your presence?

And can I drink some more? Mama, since we’re laying like this anyway…I’d like to ask you something. I know, it sounds pretty sad because I can’t talk like you can yet so I’m sorry for crying again. But mama, can I please drink some more? My throat is dry and my tummy is empty and since we’re here anyway…maybe I can have a few more sips? Your milk tastes delicious and is so warm and familiar.

Thanks mom, that’s exactly what I needed. I was really really thirsty. Your finger on my cheek feels great by the way. And you’re smiling at me. Nothing makes me happier than seeing your smile and feeling your presence. I’ll close my eyes again, okay? Please don’t put me away straight away, I really enjoy falling asleep here. This feels really good. Can I stay with you for another hour or so?

My tummy hurts. What is that?! Mama! Can you feel this? Mom? My tummy hurts so bad. What is happening? Please help me mama, I don’t know what’s happening. I’ve never felt anything like this.

Thank you for rubbing my belly mom. It’s late and everyone is asleep. I’m so happy you’re here for me. I don’t know what I’d do without you mama. My tummy already hurts less and when you hold me like that…I feel pretty tired. Maybe I’ll close my eyes again. Please hold me a little longer?

Can I have more cuddles? You won’t believe this mama! I’m a bit scared. I just woke up and I didn’t know where I was for a second. It was all dark and a little cold again. I know you’re tired mama. But I really missed you, can I please be with you again for a while?

Mama, I can see that you’re tired. There are tears in your eyes and every now and then a tear rolls down your cheek. I’m sorry mama but I feel really strange in this new world. I miss home. I miss always being close to you.

Sometimes I feel a tear fall on my head while you gently rock me. You’re singing me a song so that I can go back to sleep. You softly dry the tears that fell on my head with your hand. That feels nice mom, do that again?

I fall asleep on your chest. You feel so soft, so familiar. There’s nowhere I sleep better than here. My legs are pulled up, just like they were back when I still lived with you. I can hear your heartbeat again and I move along with your breathing.

I will learn soon. Mama, you’re the best place to be. I’m so glad I get to come to you over and over again. I don’t like being unable to just ask either but I’m really happy you listen to me when I call for you.

Soon, I’ll be able to be there for you. Or for my brothers or sisters. Or for my friends in school. You’re teaching me how to take care of someone. You’re teaching me that you listen, even when I can’t ask. You’re teaching me I’m safe, even when sometimes it feels like I’m not. You’re teaching me that you love me, even when you’re very tired. Thank you.

And mama, I love you.
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3 Ways Yoga Nidra Smashes It As A Meditation Practice

I love Yoga Nidra.

I got hooked after my first session back in Chicago in 2012 and I’ve taught it for the last five years (with short breaks here and there, aka giving birth to children 😉 ). I see it on the faces of the women in my sessions how amazing it makes them feel which is really wonderful to see.

Yoga Nidra translates as “yogic sleep”. It’s name sounds quite off putting in a way (I certainly receive very confused looks when I tell people I teach it, like “what the heck is that???!”). But it’s so simple and transformative that I’m amazed it isn’t as mainstream as it is…

And particularly since it blows most other meditation practices out of the water (in my opinion anyway!) And here’s why…


During Yoga Nidra you lie down AS IF YOU ARE GOING TO SLEEP.


Yep, you read that right.

You lie on a mat, cover yourself with a blanket, support yourself with cushions if you need to and shut your eyes.

Most other meditation practices require you to sit up, often with a straight back and crossed legs, which for many, can be pretty uncomfortable to maintain for an amount of time. Lying down on the other hand is probably the most natural pose our bodies does. And if you can’t lie on your back for whatever reason, you can do yoga nidra lying on your side or sat in a comfy chair.


Yoga Nidra takes you down into the deep sleep/brainwave states where true healing and transformation can occur.


And it does it a lot easier, and faster than most other meditation practices which simply scratch the surface of these deeper states of consciousness and healing.


Yoga Nidra uses a technique called breath awareness.


This is where you consciously follow the movement and direction of your breath into and out of your body without controlling it in any way. This keeps your mind in the present moment, without having to concentrate on controlling your breathing.

It’s about noticing and watching the breath as it naturally heals and soothes your body. Breath control (which is a very powerful and effective technique that I also use a lot in my classes and programmes) tends to be used a lot more in other, more traditional meditation practices and can often be a tricky and more uncomfortable technique to learn and implement.


I could list many more I’m sure, but for me, these reasons alone are why I consistently and exclusively use Yoga Nidra as my preferred type of meditation.

I like an easy life – or rather, simple things. Life is bonkers enough without having to put ourselves under any more pressures or expectations. So lying down, getting comfy and simply listening as I’m guided down to a deeply profound state of relaxation without having to do very much at all wins hands down every time!

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Have you tried yoga nidra? How does it compare for you with other meditation practices? I’d love to hear what you think…

Alice x

5 Things I learned About the Importance of Stillness and Peace This October

It’s half term this week so inevitably, its not all about stillness and peace with three children at home at the moment…! It is about kicking back, lolling around and being silly though…but in amongst it, trying to find pockets of time when I can retreat, and when the children can retreat and get some quiet down time to recharge and switch off after the busyness of the last term; it’s important for them to also experience peace in their non-stop, busy little lives.


It’s fair to say I love peace and quiet.

I love tranquility.

It doesn’t make me a recluse, and it certainly doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy listening to power ballads on car journeys, but it is something that connects me to me, so finding time to be still and just sit is so important, and feels soooo good.

We’re always learning stuff in life, and here a few things I learned this last month about the importance of retreating and being in silence.


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1. Being quiet helps to “de-stimulate” me.

I can get over excited and over stimulated easily, especially in large groups of people, so finding somewhere to step out of the noise and activity means I can get back to the party and re-engage when it gets a bit overwhelming.

2. When the world around me is quiet, I notice things a lot more.

Especially my surroundings and the objects in it. Seeing things, actually looking at things and taking them in helps me feel grounded and connected to the moment.

3. In moments of peace, when things slow down, I can consider situations, circumstances and decisions with much more clarity and objectivity.

Decisions don’t feel quite so rushed. The pressure feels off.

4. When the world around me is quiet, my body relaxes.

I can physically feel it release and surrender. And it feels amazing.

5. Peace and quiet makes me appreciate the lovely sounds I live amongst every day.

My son’s sweet little voice, the old inherited clock ticking in the hallway, the wind in the trees outside, the kettle boiling. The soundtrack to my life. The things that comfort and fulfill me.

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Growing up in the middle of the Welsh countryside played a fair part in my love of quiet.

But it was only when I was living in Chicago in 2013 when I really connected back to it again through yoga nidra. The place it took me to, and takes me to, is the most soothing, comforting and authentic place of quiet there is.

So spending time not only being in quiet in my everyday life, but practising quiet too through yoga nidra, means that when school holidays get a bit too rowdy, and the volume is cranked up to the max at home, I not only have a bank of peace to dip into, but a tool to use to get me back to the stillness and silence I always need.


Do you need regular quiet in your life too? How does silence and stepping back from the “noise” make you feel? I’d love to hear about your experiences in the comments box below.

Alice x