Conscious Connection

By Helen Williams

Part 4 in a series on Conscious Relationships leading up to our November Conscious Relationships workshop. Read Part 1, 2 & 3 here: 

Conscious relationships = commitment to growth as an individual, as a couple, as a community where we are an addition to another’s life, but not the foundation on which it is built. Growth is the goal, both for ourselves, our partner and our relationship.

To know and to be known, to love and to be loved in return, to feel visible, safe, wanted, precious, special and to be able to trust this.  This is conscious connection, and this connection opens us deeply within ourselves to be able to be our highest best for each other.

It is the notion of deliberate intent, of being able to trust your own feelings, your intuitive sense, and to be able to communicate that freely to another and to know that you will be respected, secure and not held in judgment.

This, of course, requires an understanding of your own worthiness, your own specialness, in such a way that you come to know that partnership with the other is not to get this from them, but to live it within you.  Relationships become more conscious with the understanding that you are responsible for commitment to your own growth as an individual.  You first, then the other, then the relationship.

Mindfulness practice helps us to connect more authentically to ourselves, makes us aware of the inner voice of shame, blame and guilt, the voice of unlove we feed on in ourselves, and directs us toward a clearer sense of our own conscious connection within.

At Mindful ME we delight in the teachings of mindfulness as a vehicle for personal, relationship and community growth.  We see and experience this growth happening daily within our mindful community.

Come join us as we experiment with conscious connection in our daily lives.

Contact us here for more details or to book.

Conscious Communication as a Relationship Growth Goal

by Helen Williams

Part 3 in a series on Conscious Relationships leading up to our November Conscious Relationships workshop. Read Part 1 & 2 here: 

Conscious relationships = commitment to growth as an individual, as a couple, as a community where we are an addition to another’s life, but not the foundation on which it is built.

Growth is the goal, both for ourselves, our partner and our relationship.
The opening sentence for many a couple session is, ‘’We are in trouble through lack of
communication’’. This oh-so-familiar phrase with a lifetime of pain behind it. Learning to communicate consciously is as much about learning how to hear, how to deeply listen and ‘’hold a space for each other’’ as it is about learning how to speak, to use words, body language and emotional wisdom.
Our fear of being hurt, being vulnerable, or revealing our shames and fears, means we have a lifetime of learning how to be defensive and offensive when we feel unsafe. I have long believed that we are conditioned into our defences from an early age and that it is completely possible to relearn new and powerful ways of communicating with each other. The experience of being really heard, really held, and really seen, and still loved, is one of our deepest longings and therefore also one of our deepest fears.

On Tuesday nights in November Helen will be running a series of workshops where we will explore some tried and true approaches, and some not so familiar, to make a new way of communicating available to us. To book your spot on our Conscious Relationships workshops contact us here. 

Codependency & Growth

by Helen Williams

This is part 2 in a series of blogs leading up to our Conscious Relationships workshop in November 2018. Click here to read Part 1

As we continue our exploration about conscious relationships, in preparation for the upcoming workshop in November,  let’s look at what being conscious in a relationship would mean.

Conscious relationships = commitment to growth as an individual, as a couple, as a community where we are an addition to another’s life, but not the foundation on which it is built. Growth is the goal, both for ourselves, our partner and our relationship.

Commitment to growth as an individual is often the first faltering point of a new relationship as couples tend to focus wholeheartedly on each other in the early days and often this means forgetting to caretake your own needs and becoming absorbed into your partner’s life agenda.  It also is a most convenient way of projecting your hopes, dreams, fears and wounds onto your partner instead of staying responsible for them yourself.  This often means becoming lost on your own pathway without even realising it.

Being an ‘addition but not the foundation’ on which the relationship is built, means investigating co-dependency, a topic close to my heart and one which often shines a light on a problem area bringing fresh clarity and insights.   Come prepared to learn ways of identifying co-dependency in your relationships and the impact of it. There’s much to explore here and many tools are available to navigate this tricky way of relating.

For more info on the Conscious Relationships workshop series click here. 

Contact us to book your spot for our Conscious Relationships workshop or to book a private individual or couple’s session with Helen. 

Love & Heartbreak

by Helen Williams

During the month of November, this Mindful ME workshop will be focusing on relationships – all kinds of relationships, not just couples, from a Mindfulness perspective.  This means looking at how we ‘see’ relating, how we have learned to believe, experience, know and live within the context of relating both to ourselves and others.

After a lifetime of working in this field, I know that this means we will be talking about LOVE!  How we have experienced, and how we yearn to experience, connection with another.  It is commonly a very difficult field of inquiry, fraught with tension, and difficult, uncomfortable emotions and lots and lots of vigorous defence!

Not one of us will escape this heart opening, heart stopping, roller-coaster of emotional experience as we search for warm and loving connected awareness.  Each of us will discover that opening to love immediately equates to fearing the loss of love and for many, experiencing this loss slams the door tightly shut on our hearts.  Opening again requires the mammoth task of healing the break soundly enough to be able to negotiate again the fear that being loved may once more bring painful dislocation.  Sound familiar?

Exploring this terrain with a new focus, in a safe environment with adequate support can help us find ourselves both opening deeper within and exploring farther beyond our previous comfort zones.

Come and join with us as we explore the heights and griefs of conscious, loving connections, and discover the growth and richness that undefended love can bring.

Learn more about our upcoming Conscious Relationships workshop in November here.

Book your spot on the workshop by contacting us here. 

Learn more about Helen’s work with relationships by meeting her in her bio. 

 

artwork: Ivan Guaderrama

Mindfulness and the Sacredness of Play

by Helen Williams
I’m currently enjoying some precious inside playtime with my two youngest grandchildren in the depth of a cold New Zealand winter. Enjoying it because it is a daily study of Mindfulness as we all first learned it!  As small children, when we are given the time, the space and the peacefulness to play, then a mindful approach can be observed first hand as our natural given state.
These little ones spend hours at play, completely absorbed in the work of just being, learning through applying their centred attention to the job at hand.  There is little to distract them.  No rushed deadlines or need to be anywhere. No television, or screens of any sort, and not that many plastic toys either.  Mostly their play comes straight from their imaginations,  drawing on their daily experiences of family life.
Mindful awareness of the moment brings openness and joy to whatever is happening right then, and it’s fascinating to watch the ease in which the children weave their story of now in and around the twists and turns of movement and change, ebb and flow.
It’s an awesome mindfulness practice just sitting quietly knitting and being with them in their wonderful, gathered moments.  Observing this reminds me afresh how Mindfulness isn’t hard to learn as it’s an acquired childhood state which many of us lose and re-enter again by choice is adults.  It just requires us to re-remember it.  

It takes a Village to Raise a Relationship

by Helen Williams 

There is a wonderful quote from Esther Perel, a Belgian psychotherapist and author which is particularly pertinent to those of us living as expats.

Esther Perel said “Today we turn to one person to provide what an entire village once did: a sense of grounding, meaning, and continuity.  At the same time we expect our committed relationships to be romantic as well as emotionally and sexually fulfilling.  Is it any wonder that so many relationships crumble under the weight of it all?’”

In many ways, this quote sums up a lot of the couples work that I encounter – this turning to one person for all of our wants, our needs, our wishes, our hopes, our dreams and our life.  This notion that one person could, can and ought to supply all our emotional needs is what so often leads to ‘good’ relationships crumbling.  I often have the sense that many couples would flourish more smoothly if they were planted in or near their familiar roots – that is, surrounded by their extended families, friendship groups, and other familiar people who have known them over time.

This, of course, would bring accountability for connectedness, for personal boundaries and our own expectations for predictable behaviours.  It is when we lose this familiar base of personal accountability that the test of our own unpredictable behaviour arrives.  If nobody knows us, then we have no one watching to help us keep a check on our reactions and behaviours.

For many young expats, this journey of self-accountability can just be passed on to our new partner and by believing that they are responsible for all our wants, hopes and needs we can then blame them for our relationship failure.

It takes a village to raise a relationship too! I believe it’s really important to feed, nourish and nurture varieties of relationships, not just our couple relationship.  There is great strength in diversity and different age groups and in the recognition of others watching our world with us.

How to “Let Go”

By Helen Williams
For as long as I can remember I have said that if I ever found the time to write a book it would be called, Learning How to Let go. This has been a troubling question for me as it has for many people I have spoken with over the years. It’s always so easy to say, ‘just let it go’, to anything that we find painful, confusing, fearful and anxiety creating. However, is letting go really going to bring us the fulfilment and freedom we are seeking? I’ve completely changed my mind about this book title nowadays. I’m experiencing it quite differently instead.
Here are some good questions to ponder.
  • Is the demand to let go really serving us, or is it just another diversion, a way of ‘getting over’ something?
  • Does ‘letting go” actually bury something even deeper?
At our recent Mindful Living workshop our conversation formed around these questions and we asked each other what we really wanted to let go of. The answers were shared willingly and agreed upon by all as common to each one of us.
Grudges, people, the past, judgements, expectations, grievances, pain, rigidity, needing validation, feeling stuck, replaying old stories, fears, the future, obsessive and negative thoughts, clutter, difficult and uncomfortable emotions…….and on and on.
What if we were to see letting go as just adding to our shadow self, the inner storehouse of all we have disowned and cannot or do not want to understand within ourselves? Robert Augustus Masters calls this our unilluminated conditioning.
Rather than letting go of all the hurts, pains and grievances we hold within us, what if we were to illuminate them with the light of understanding? To cultivate intimacy with all that we are – all our wounds and pains. To see them as little children asking to be held, to be known and wanted and welcomed home, not banished into the other room, or into the forest forever like characters in a fairytale.
We spoke about learning to turn towards ourselves, to the lost, frightened and hurt parts of ourselves that we’ve been trying to let go of and to discover what could be our experience if we instead made a space for them, offered sanctuary to them and allowed them to release themselves from us when they are ready to. How uncomfortable would that be!
The wonderful psychologist, Susan David, says this: “Discomfort is the price of admission into a real life.”
There is a difference between pain and suffering she tells us. Pain is inevitable – suffering is optional. We can end our suffering by entering the pain – by being attentive to our bodies and cultivating a strong sense of what’s happening beneath the surface, by seeing our emotions as data and learning to read them for understanding.
So what does it feel like then, to realise that within the notion of letting go there lies an invitation within it? To turn towards and offer sanctuary to the parts of ourselves that are longing for us to hold them. Come and learn about this at our next Mindful Living workshop on Sunday 11 March. We will focus on Meeting and Understanding our Feelings. We’d love to see you there.

Mindfulness and Thoughts

By Helen Williams and Kristine Enger

As you know, Mindful ME consultants focus on mindfulness as an approach to truly living with meaningful, authentic, present moment awareness.  This means learning to notice and practice awareness of our thoughts rather than being controlled or lost by them.

Recently Helen and Kristine sat down to chat about how this approach enhances wellbeing and changes our experience of fear and anxiety within our daily lives.

HELEN: I’ve noticed a sharp increase in people wanting to engage in conversations about mindfulness and particularly in relation to the way we experience our thoughts.  How have you experienced this in your work lately and why do you think we are noticing this growing awareness towards mindfulness?

KRISTINE: Yes – I’ve noticed it too – I’m having more and more conversations where people are becoming more aware of their thinking, which indicates an expansion of awareness. When our awareness expands, we start to see and experience life from a more elevated perspective, with more depth of feeling. The more aware we become, we also begin to notice how often we are stuck in unhelpful, repetitive thought patterns, which we then want to end, preferably immediately! That usually begins a conversation around non-judgement and self-acceptance.

HELEN:

Yes, I agree. So many people look for ways of dealing with their unhelpful, repetitive thinking patterns and discover that practicing mindfulness is a wonderful way of working with this in a loving and safe way. The difficult thoughts that we start to notice can sometimes be a bit daunting and it can be helpful to chat with an experienced practitioner about them.

KRISTINE:

Yes, having support while exploring our relationships with thoughts is so helpful – otherwise it can be easy to fall into self-shaming and anxiety around try to “get rid of them”. I usually gently help my clients see that thinking is beyond our control. Thinking will forever be the backdrop of our lives, constantly streaming through us. There is literally no escape from thought, because there is not supposed to be – and that is ok! Judging ourselves for the pesky thoughts that we might have, makes no sense. It is more helpful to remember that the majority of the thoughts we think in a single day are actually not true, and not become so attached to them.

HELEN:

Yes – I guess the question is then – what are thoughts and why do we have them?

KRISTINE:

Thoughts are just unrealised, completely neutral, potential. Not “good” or “bad”. When we give energy to them, over and over again, and they swirl around in our heads, trapped. As human beings we don’t understand how our thinking mind works. One teacher called thinking ‘the missing link’ between formless and form. It would be helpful for us as humans to redefine our relationship to thought as a creative, streaming, helpful force, at least be open to the possibility. Then, with clarity and space, we can choose our relationship with them. Again this is where talking with someone who understands this can really help – and why it is so important that this is done in a safe, honest and kind way.

Kristine and Helen are both mindfulness teachers and consultants, based in Dubai, who support individuals learning and applying mindfulness practice in their lives. You can book an individual session with Kristine or Helen by emailing info@mindfulme.me to learn more about your thinking mind or attend one of our workshops. Contact us for more info. 

Happiness and Authenticity

by Helen Williams

Did you know that happiness and authenticity join hands in our lives? Happiness is a by-product of the other ingredients that are necessary to feel at ease with ourselves, our choices and our daily lives. Authenticity is one of the most important!

It’s hard to be truly authentic because fear often prevents this. We grow up needing approval, validation and comfort in order to feel secure and loved and so the fear of not receiving approval can mean we create an inauthentic self as a way of protecting ourselves. Learning to be true, real and vulnerable takes courage, practice and support from those around us. Especially the notion that we must be who we’re not in order to be loved. This is the most open secret shared by everyone – that we do not and cannot honour our true selves for fear of rejection.

Vulnerability means taking a risk to really put ourselves out there – to embrace ourselves as we are and risk being uncomfortable, seen, experienced and still stay open to ourselves and to others.

Ask yourself some questions!
Who am I really? What am I afraid will happen if I show you who I really am? What does being authentic really mean and why do I struggle with who I am?

Everything is about love and approval – about being wanted, feeling special, being visible, and feeling safe in the context of a relationship.

Come and join our Authentic Living workshop for the month of February as we explore questions like these and while finding self-acceptance with a group of like-minded people.

Contact us to book

Authentic Living February_Social Media Art 1

What is Codependency?

by Helen Williams

Understanding codependence is another part of the search for ourselves, the discovery of why and how we are lost and about to journey back home to a full and rich inner life.

Codependence is fundamentally about disordered and chaotic relationships.  We become codependent when we turn our responsibility for our life and happiness over to other people – to our partners, our family or our friends.

Codependence is often seen as learned behaviour which is expressed by dependencies on people and things outside ourselves which neglect and diminish our sense of self.

We become codependent when we focus so much outside ourselves that we lose touch with what is inside us – our beliefs, our thoughts, our feelings, choices, experiences, decisions, our wants, needs, our intuitions.  These all form our inner life, the major part of our consciousness.  When we believe that someone or something outside of ourselves can give us fulfillment and happiness, then we look for people, places, things, behaviour or experiences for this fulfillment and neglect ourselves.

If you are interested in learning more about codependency come and join us for a discussion on Sunday 10 December where we will explore together what being codependent means to each of us and why it is such a common human condition. Contact us to book.