Blog – Bright Heart towards Self during Lockdown

During usual times, those days of known substance, people face challenges and seek support from family, friends or therapists. People who have the resilience to look at stress and strains when life is normal, may not have the resilience necessary for deep exploratory therapy during periods of stress, like covid-19, due to a greater sense of becoming destabilised. Exploration of difficult past experiences may become overwhelming during these times of lockdown.

Remember to rest, be self-compassionate and seek companionship with good friends who are well-anchored and kind. Routine can be useful for having a sense of control over certain things and knowing the things that are consistent, concrete and reliable will be of help to stabilize the wobblyness.

Be kind and gentle towards yourself and prepare to be patient, give yourself permission to trust that you will seek the right help at the right time. Ask the universe to support you and remember, sometimes it’s those little signs and symbols which guide you in a really good direction. Listen to your inner voice. Feel it inside, in your body, what makes sense, and what feels good and useful.

Blog – A Beacon for Hope

This morning whilst watching the news I heard the word ‘beacon’ mentioned and it caught my attention like a moth drawn to a light. I think it was used in a sentence as describing a fundraising event as a beacon for hope. The very first image in my mind’s eye was of the aircraft warning beacon we have on the ridge of hills behind us. It is a wild place of wonderful views across Somerset. I then went up to feed the ponies and thought about it again and was reminded of lighthouses and how they have those magnificent beams of light to guide seafarers to safety and  how both those beacons are strong and sturdy to resist the strongest of storms. I thought about how old ancient beacons of fire would carry a message of warning, for protection and hope, to nearby villages and towns. I’m sat here now just wondering what my own Beacon of Hope could be? What is my source of guidance and inspiration? I will share that it can vary, depending on the situation and where abouts in my life journey that I am in.

This morning I had already decided to write a blog about how to be at our most resilient during these testing times of lockdown. However, for the past 3 weeks I have been skimming my eyes across similar posts on social media and assume everyone else is too! So I am going to keep it brief today. I invite you to spend some quiet time thinking about what a Beacon of Hope means to you and how you engage with your own resilience.

I’ve recently realised, that the ways  I have been working with my clients over the telephone seem to have something in common. In the first session I am purposefully checking out whether they have a solid foundation. This is also the way that I work with Trauma support. Due to this time of Lockdown, Social Distancing and Isolation, it seems to me that we are all currently in a place that may feel like we’re caught up in the wind and blown about a bit, then entrapped and stuck, then settle into a solid resting place, but then another gust comes along and we’re taken off again. Much of this can feel out of our control and very unsettling when hearing all the sad stories of people losing their lives and the constant loss and tragedy that surrounds the news.

It is really important to know how to be grounded yourself. Know what makes you feel safe and secure. Identify with who that may be as people, animals, special places etc. This relates to emotional, physical and spiritual groundedness. We can quite quickly feel more ‘settled down’ by sitting on the ground and rubbing feet into the ground. The solidness of well rooted sturdy trees and old ancient buildings that have weathered a few storms are really excellent to lean upon. The gentle sensory mindfulness in nature that I practice is wonderful at soothing raised alertness, so I wholeheartedly recommend that too. Spend some time knowing that you are feeling grounded and it is much easier to take yourself into that familiar place when life throws up a blustery wind.

Much love – Claire x

 

 

Blog – Untangle, See Clearer & Move Forward

Sometimes we hold onto past experiences and tuck them away somewhere quiet, but they can become a bit tangled up with each other. Counselling can really help look at these things and make better sense of them. When we gain insight and understanding this is the first step towards feeling much better and more able to move forward. I offer a non-judgmental and empathic environment, a safe place to explore and find new ways forward. Counselling in my studio at home, or Equine-assisted Therapy & Wellbeing at Dove Retreat from April through to October.

Bright Heart ‘Nurture your Heart’ experiences and ‘Listening to Your Inner Voice’ workshops available April – October at Dove Retreat with Native ponies in Nature

Blog – Bright Heart Hope Fullness and releasing Worry

Hope – Desire – Intention: Welcome them with open heart into your life. Let them settle, in the solid ground of your Soul.  Breathe them in, during  your quiet times of rest. This is when you can give them full attention and give them a place to grow.

Notice the thoughts that distract your attention, those worries that change your mood. Imagine you are sat in your most favourite place in the wild, held by nature and all your favorite creatures around you. Picture in your mind’s eye that you have a special bag sat in your lap, reach inside and gently take out a delicate bubble, give each bubble the name of a worry. Stretch our your arm and release it into the fresh breeze. Down by your feet you have a wicker basket full of seeds. They may be flowers or plants or trees. These are the seeds of your hope, desire and intention, take a handful and scatter them all around you, watch as they drift in the warm breeze, then sit down and notice as they start to grow. Enjoy the connection.                                                             ‘Never lose hope my dear heart, miracles dwell in the invisible’. Rumi

photo of person s hand across flying hot air balloons during golden hour
Photo by Oziel Gómez on Pexels.com

With Self-compassion we are being gentle and kind to ourselves, if some of those worries need different attention, imagine you have a box beside you and place those worries in the box for keeping to be shared with the right support. You can bury the box outside of your special place, take a walk and find the place that feels right for you. You can return at any time to give them the attention they need.

With love and warm wishes – Claire x

Blog – Rabbit Proof Fence and the Tree Guard

A few months ago we planted some new trees, four golden aspen and a willow tree, unfortunately last week I noticed that the bark around the base of each of them had been nibbled by rabbits! We had put up rails and stock wire around them to stop the ponies getting to them,  but I had forgotten the tree guards.

Before I go any further I am going to share a decision that I made this morning, that is I am going to write as I think, in a bit of a backwards and forwards fashion. You know, when you’re trying to make sense of something and you are pondering about it and different thoughts come in? Well if I try to write like an experienced writer I will be here all day, lose my thread and the feel of where I want to get with it….and my daughter Grace isn’t at home to edit for me, so here goes. (Grace, I still need a hand sometimes though x)

So last week I put up tree guards (as well as having the wire fencing) but have been feeling a sense of sorrow and guilt for letting the trees down. Every other day I wander over to them and ask the universe for a blessing that they are given the strength to grow strong. I stroke their branches, conveying my heart felt intention and hope through touch. These winter sunrises shine bright light on us as I go through this little ritual and I welcome the sun light as love and healing from the universe being channeled through my caring stroke.

Earlier this morning I had risen whilst it was dark to read another few chapters of my current book of interest. At the moment this happens to be Coyote Medicine by Lewis Mehl-Madrona. Coyote is said to be mischievous and powerful, and encourages people to test boundaries, to challenge and be true to oneself, even if that means rocking the boat al little. By no coincidence my supervision session this week brought up the theme of a person following their Soul rather than their personality, to bring richer life fulfillment. So after daybreak I go to feed the ponies and check them. I was going off across the girls’ paddock to get their hay and calling Cookie to join Pixie. Cookie was walking slowly and I watched her carefully to check if she was ok or lame. No concerns there, and I wandered up to where I had left Summer eating from her bucket. It was a few moments walk on my own and I realised how much I was enjoying the fact that I was doing exactly all that I wanted to do, I was totally in charge of my decisions and feeling complete. I was looking at Summer who had started to amble towards me, then I looked over at the boys and saw Tonto watching us. I realised that whilst in this current time I had got to a stage where I could make my own decisions, but had a strong sense of looking back on my younger Self and connected with her. Younger me who would wait for direction, as to think, feel and act.  I felt a sense of how that ‘old way’ has travelled with me over the years, stepping into some present moments, with me seeking direction from another. I shuddered as I  brought myself back into the present moment and I had reached Summer. We met and I did the usual thing of tickling her behind the ear and saying good morning. She sighed out and then stretched her legs and started to pee. I wanted to pee too! I felt her take away that old memory tension of waiting for someone to tell me how to be. I thanked her and smiled with gratitude. I knew in my heart that the way forward for me was to follow my soul more and put up a boundary from the past habits. A conscious effort to stay on track. The boundary, the barrier, the….and as I walked over to my trees with their Rabbit Proof Fence, thoughts, memories, words crossing over in my head and my heart, I was reminded of the film and pictured the Aboriginal women tapping their sticks on the ground for their children to be guided home along the fence line. This is one of the most moving films to watch, I always sink into the depth of it with quiet respect and reverence. Tears have often moved whilst watching it and I am reminded of this powerful trust of faith in the spiritual connection, from the movie, now playing in my mind’s eye, as I walk to the trees. I walk to my trees and stroke the dangly branches of the willow, asking the universe to heal this tree, whilst I picture the tree healthy, like the one in the other paddock. I stop for a while and contemplate the trees’ rabbit proof fence here, and what was going on, linking me to the film, and it came to me that I can watch a film 10 times and take 10 different ‘observations’ from it, so to stop thinking and just accept what I was feeling in this moment of now. Freedom and a spiritual connection that seemed to help me stand as tall as I am.

I looked around, a pigeon was sat very still nearby. four blackbirds were quite brave scurrying around for food, and I crow jiggled around behind the pigeon.

“Hello Crow! Are you my coyote today?” I asked with a grin. “Are you challenging me or just cheeky?”

The doves were now flying all around us and I chatted with them too using my own soft dove language. I thanked them for listening and carrying my loving intentions in the breeze, to the directions that they needed to go in.  I have released the guilt of not protecting the trees earlier, as this is not an energy that I want to hold on to. I welcome new teachers and guides in my life and put trust in the fact that some lessons are learnt through challenge and loss but to be able to see the gain will be growth too.

I have put a respectful ‘extra’ tree guard in place for myself. Honouring younger me with love. I make sense.

 

Blog – Bright Heart Intention and Instinctive Hibernation

 

For some people at the moment there seems to be a sense of resting or waiting, as though their attention is not on any one thing in particular. I myself have recognised a feeling that nothing in particular is bothering me at the moment, and have come to the conclusion that I am conserving my energy for something around the corner. I also wonder if I am in a form of natural hibernation, instinctive  self-care, or whether there is some astrological or other universal influence at work.

I was reading about the Festival of Imbolc, the Celtic beginning of Spring, on 1st/2nd  February. There are many references in folklore and medieval traditions to look at natures’ signs at Imbolc to determine how the rest of the winter weather will fare, which caught my attention today when the subject of climate change is prominent on the news and I wondered how on earth this is going to be in the future. In Siberia it was the bears’ hibernation patterns at Imbolc that folk determined the rest of the winter weather. Are we going to recognise new patterns in nature? Who is going to take notice and make sense of nature’s messages? Or is nature’s symphony less harmonious now? (Another blog coming on sound and vibrational healing).

Imbolc is also known as the feast day of St Brigid, the patron Saint of Kildare, who as a little girl was said to look after the wealthy landowners’ cows, freed her mother from slavery, then became a nun. Her reputation is for kindness and healing and she is associated with St Brigid’s cross. Legend says that she made one from reeds whilst calming a pagan Chieftain and bringing ‘peace to his soul’ on his deathbed. The St Brigid’s cross is still made as an Irish custom, on the eve of Imbolc.  Made from straw or reeds then placed on the front doors of homes to keep evil, fire and hunger away from the home, then burned and replaced after that year. St Brigid built a church under an Oak tree, which was called Kill-dara, church of the Oak Tree, and this then became Kildare.

I believe ‘Intention’ can be magical, and that wonderful goodness can come from positive focused desire. lift your own sense of bright heart with glorious, positive, hope and faith.

Bright Heart experiences and personal development workshops aim to give you a wonderful time filled with joy and spiritual enlightenment. We look forward to welcoming you in the Spring – Claire & The Healing Herd

Blog – How Not to Drift into Dread and Zig Zaggy Doves

 

 

A few weeks ago I was watching the doves up the field, they were all flying around above my head, and I noticed there were about four at the back, zig-zagging behind the rest. I wondered what that was all about, and was reminded of how with indigenous people, they would brush out the track in the dirt they were leaving as a trail, so they couldn’t be followed. I wondered if these four doves were ‘rubbing out’ the trail they were all leaving in the air, to put off predators from being able to follow them in some way, maybe energy ripples that are picked up through sensing.

At that time I was working through a 6 week programme to better understand ‘motivation and confidence’. I realised during this time that my own motivation can slow down when I am hoping for a brilliant outcome and my motion towards that brilliant outcome can slow down to a grinding halt.

I was discovering how quickly my mind can wander back into old memories of times when I’ve met challenges at a time of similar action. As an example, I have gotten into such a messy old muddle in the past when I do my annual book-keeping, that I seem to automatically remember the chaos and frustration from previous years, which hinders my motivation in the present moment when that time of year comes up now. Whilst remembering the past frustrations my mood was being altered and actually becoming ‘of the same’ as then. Hence the lack of motivation. Chatting this through with one of my daughters we recognised how procrastination is really common, that it can develop so quickly and like a snowball building in size as it rolls along, the outcome can be really disheartening, causing self-criticism and low self-esteem.

The unconscious dread of ‘now will become the same as then’ can be quite disempowering.

I had identified this process for me and perhaps others, as ‘Drifting into Dread’ and spent some time reflecting on this at the same time as noticing how the doves as the back zig-zagged, maybe to wipe out their trail they were leaving behind. I realised that I too could wipe out the trail I was creating, where my thoughts were linking the present to the past, remembering the frustrations that were affecting my present mood. So I decided that every time I caught myself ‘Drifting into Dread’, I would ‘rub out’ those memory thoughts of previous years, ( I actually use visualisations myself a lot, and in this case I picture the zig-zaggy doves, imagining they are rubbing out my wandering thoughts) and distract myself with some present activity which would enrich and lift my mood. And have now found a new way to manage my filing system and a very understanding accountant!

How Not to Drift into Dread – Every one is different, so spend some time looking at how you can make positive changes to the subject your would like to improve, in a practical way. Notice when you are drifting and ‘rub out’ the old stories and memories that alter mood in the present by:

1)Take a break. 2)  Do something really fun for half an hour. 3)Spend time with your animal companions. 4)Go outside for some Mindfulness in nature, using your senses to come back to the present moment. 5)Visualise something that rubs out those thoughts in picture form, like I now use my zig-zaggy doves. 6)Wrap yourself in Self-compassion and kindness.

 

 

 

Nature Can Nurture

 

 

Last month I visited a region in Ireland, of wildness and beauty, a range of hillside, woodland and river. The Wicklow Mountains rose above us, and ancient history was seeping out from every direction. Our stay was 3 delicious days of fresh, sweet smelling air in the valley, picking up the different fragrances was so invigorating. The river water singing it’s tunes, the trees making their own music in the wind and sprinkling of rain showers. The sun shone, making art from the shadow patterns and each moment was a gift, a renewal of ‘what belongs in this moment of now…’ When we connect with the present moment, we know we are precisely here, and not in some old, past memory. This is the truth of now, this is a different time, this is where I am now. Spending time in nature with mindfulness attitude, gives us an authentic experience of feeling calmer in our body and our mind. We are actually demonstrating self-regulation of the nervous system, something you can attune to at home, work and socially. Sessions here will support you in becoming familiar with this, whilst in a safe environment, empowering you to transfer this healthy life skill to your personal life. Trauma related incidents can be supported here, with myself holding the space, in a way to bring about positive change.

 

The weekend was filled with incredible insight and inspiration as I listened to and participated in experiential workshops, led by professionals who had brought Nature into their practices with clients. Some were working directly with clients and others were sharing their intrinsic high regard and working with supporting these times of climate change.  I absorbed every second wholeheartedly, bringing home with me delightful memories of new-born high regard, respect and understanding of how working in Nature supports client work, aids healing and these are necessary times for us all, to do even the small things to help in the bigger picture of supporting climate change.

 

I met some truly lovely people, of like-minded kindred spirit and shared moments in Nature, connecting with each other, with ourselves and with those from the past who belong to the systems of that region, with whom we held in honourable regard.

I am very much looking forwards to returning, to Laragh, Glendalough and the Wicklow Mountains.

Contact me to schedule an Experience:        ‘Mindfulness and the Joy of Companionship,’ with ponies in nature

This will run through the winter, we can choose to  have a ‘wild wander’ up the country lane too  – 1.5 hrs

Please look on the ‘Work with Horses’ page

 

 

Listening to your Inner Voice

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Working with Symbols is a way of expressing our emotions and experiences, without using words. In this ‘Listening to your Inner voice’ session, it was ‘Hopes and Dreams for the Future’ which was explored by using symbols, chosen by a client. The Native Americans painted symbols on their horses as a ritual, which may include for protection, intention and celebration. We work with energy awareness and one-on-one connection with a horse or pony, and are grateful to be supported by all of nature that is holding the space. This was a very powerful session, bringing things up from the unconscious and making sense of true desires. Writing messages on ribbon that are tied to the horses’ mane, such as troubles or burdens that are difficult to carry alone, is a request for the horse to carry it away, when they are released back into the herd. Time at the end, spent simply observing and processing this was important and valuable too providing unique moments of insight.  It is always a privilege to be a part of this spiritual journey of healing.

Thankyou for allowing me to share these pictures, with love ~ Claire & The Healing Herd