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

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.

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. 

I Just Need Some Space

by Helen Williams

As a couples’ therapist, my experience is that “I just need some space”, has always been a well-worn phrase, often used by couples to describe their need to escape from each other.  Commonly it brings fear to the partner hearing it because it infers that something is wrong with their relationship, that being apart may create greater distance and bring the relationship to an end.

Parents often use the same phrase to describe their need for some timeout from 24-hour childcare, even though this may be the life we have chosen, it can at times become all-consuming and separates us from the essence of ourselves.  Finding that space, even if only briefly, can bring us a sense of welcome reconnection to our own sense of wellbeing.

Children too need to be given the space to be, without direction, without guidance and without the interference of their parents, siblings or other children.  Teaching children the importance of time out for themselves to replenish is a very healthy way of teaching independence and self-hood.

The need for space is deeply inherent within all of us and when used well, finding and giving ourselves some space becomes the way we can discover the deeper connection and relationship with our own inner knowing that intuitively we are all searching for. Needing space is another way of describing our need to connect with the core of ourselves – to rest, restore, revitalise, repair and relax into the sense that we can be held, supported and released from our busyness and the pressure of stress.

Mindful ME are delighted to offer retreat experiences that enable a connection to your own inner voice.  Our retreats are designed to de-stress, unwind and bring clarity and calm. Our trusted team of professionals have the knowledge, training, and experience to provide this. Learn more about our retreats here or contact us to book. 

Nuestros Hijos No Son Nuestros

De forma inconsciente manipulamos a nuestros hijos, les exigimos que se comporten como deseamos, o si no, les retiramos nuestro afecto. Así hemos sido educados y así educamos.

‘’Si no te comes la papilla mama se va a poner triste’’. ‘’No disgustes a papa.” ‘’Me has decepcionado.” Hemos crecido tratando de ser lo que no somos, tratando de agradar y cumplir con las expectativas ajenas, y pasamos gran parte de nuestras vidas aterrorizados ante la posibilidad de dejar de ser amados y aceptados.

Hemos creado una sociedad competitiva donde solo puede haber ganadores o perdedores. Debemos cumplir unos estándares, aunque sea a costa de sacrificar nuestra esencia. Ganar dinero, tener buena apariencia, obtener méritos académicos y profesionales son las máximas aspiraciones en nuestra cultura.  Nuestros hijos viven desde bien temprano sometidos a la presión que implica estar siempre bajo examen. Hay que obtener resultados, pasar exámenes, aprender idiomas y destacar en esta carrera desesperada por salir adelante. Ya no hay tiempo para ser, para jugar, para aprender por el mero placer de hacerlo.

Nuestra cultura ha hecho prevalecer la mente sobre el corazón. Nos enorgullecemos de nuestras conquistas en el terreno científico y tecnológico, pero hemos perdido algo fundamental en el camino, nuestro corazón. Sin el estamos incompletos, somos seres tripartitos: cabeza, corazón e instinto.

Enseñémosles a desarrollar una relación consigo mismos en la que escuchen sus tripas y su corazón, además de a sus cabezas, en la que puedan reconocer lo que necesitan y desean, no lo que se espera de ellos. Así podrán compartir desde su grandeza, desde su pleno potencial, en lugar de encogerse para amoldarse a nuestras expectativas.

Que es la autoestima?

Nuestra autoestima depende de la aprobación externa y de unos estándares que nos sirven de referencia para dar valor a lo que somos.
Si una determinada sociedad o grupo humano valora positivamente ciertos aspectos, estos serán percibidos como deseables y cotizaran al alta.
A su vez los criterios de valoración se plantean en términos binarios, en polaridades. Guapo o feo, trabajador o vago, egoísta o generosos, fuerte o débil. Es una manera de percibir el mundo algo rígida y limitada.
En las ultimas décadas hemos constatado los efectos indeseables de una baja autoestima y hemos tratado de compensarlo con una nueva forma de educar a nuestros hijos utilizando mensajes positivos que refuercen su confianza. Es un progreso el haber superado un modelo basado en la exigencia y en la descalificación. Ahora tratamos de cultivar nuestras fortalezas en lugar de poner el acento en nuestras debilidades porque sabemos que elevar nuestra autoestima repercute en toda la areas de la vida de manera positiva.
Sin embargo este modelo sigue basado en el juicio y sujeto a la aprobación externa.
Sigo necesitando que determinadas autoridades, que van variando a o largo de mi vida, me perciban de manera positiva. Esas autoridades que un día fueron mis padres y maestros, mis compañeros de clase, los vecinos y la sociedad que me rodeaba, ahora viven dentro de mi en la forma de un critico interno que esta a cargo de juzgar mi comportamiento,  mis sentimientos y mis pensamientos.
El problema de raíz no ha sido resuelto.Nuestra autoestima es siempre precaria porque esta condicionada a las caprichosas y azarosas circunstancias sobre las que no tengo control alguno. Puede perder mi dinero, mi status, mi belleza y juventud,…Y entonces quien soy/ Cual es mi valor? El ego se compara, compite y teme al prójimo porque lo percibe como un rival. Vive en un permanente estado de ansiedad temiendo no llegar a ser o  perder lo conquistado.
Cuando me acepto tal cual soy y comprendo que no necesito demostrar nada o probar nada, empiezo a disfrutar del  momento presente y suelto el miedo.
Dejo de identificarme con una serie de atributos y de rechazar otros, dejo de estar dividido y peleado conmigo mismo.
Cuando me percibo en proceso en lugar de como una obra acabada, me puedo permitir distintos estados de animo, distintas experiencias de aprendizaje, distintas vivencias. No necesito etiquetar lo que siento o por lo que estoy pasando. Simplemente estoy en el ahora y asisto con curiosidad y apertura al despliegue de mi existencia.
También dejo de percibir al otro como un rival contra el que tengo que competir para ser mas. El otro se convierte en un compañero de viaje porque también esta pasando por diversas experiencias y aprendiendo, creciendo en este mágico viaje que es la vida.

Afirmando la vida

Por Isabel Galiardo
El instinto contradice a nuestra mente racional y las emociones nos arrastran mientras que nos esforzamos para que nuestros valores morales prevalezcan.
Deseamos sentirnos seguros y pertenecer, por eso formamos una familia, pero también sentimos la necesidad de explorar nuestra individualidad y nuestra libertad.
Deseamos crecer y aprender, pero tememos los cambios.
Queremos jugar y disfrutar, pero también alcanzar nuestras metas, lo que requiere disciplina y esfuerzo.
La sociedad espera que encajemos en el molde, la familia que cumplamos las expectativas, mientras que tratamos de ser lo mas fieles posible a nosotros mismos, a nuestra propia autenticidad.
Nuestra condición humana esta inevitablemente abocada a lidiar con el conflicto y la fricción.
Nos sentimos internamente divididos, tironeados por multitud de voces que habitan en nosotros.
A menudo huimos de nosotros mismos para evitar confrontarnos con semejante caos. Aliviamos la tension interna buscando placeres como la comida o el alcohol o distracciones como las redes sociales. Muchas personas escapan del dolor tratando de no parar, de mantenerse activos y ocupados.
El problema es que esta situación no es sostenible en el tiempo y esa division tarde o temprano acaba manifestandose en forma de una crisis nerviosa o problemas de salud.
Cuando descubrimos que podemos dialogar con esos aspectos dentro de nosotros, que nos son tan amenazadores, les damos bienvenida.
Cada uno de ellos nos habla de una necesidad, una creencia, un anhelo o un temor. Algunos son viejas heridas que buscan ser sanadas, otros son viejos sueños que no nos atrevemos a contemplar pero que hablan de nuestro potencial,…
El mindfulness nos enseña a abrazar nuestra personal y singular experiencia de la vida en cada momento. Nos invita a ser curiosos y compasivos con nosotros mismos. Nada es juzgado ni rechazado, ni las emociones supuestamente negativas como la ira o la tristeza, ni los eventos dolorosos o incomodos. Todo cumple una función en el desplegarse de la existencia, aunque nuestra limitada perspectiva humana no sepa reconocerlo.
Asumimos que la vida es mas sabia que nosotros y nos entregamos a ella.
Nos desapegamos de ideas preconcebidas, expectativas y miedos y comenzamos a fluir.
 El Mindfulnes es una practica basada en el amor y la confianza en la vida porque la afirma, diciendo SI con valentía a todo lo que esta propone.
Book an individual or couple’s session with Isabel here.

Anger & Fear

By Helen Williams

We are often asked to teach workshops on anger management for people who struggle with the explosiveness and impulsivity of their angry reactions to daily events in their lives. For many people, anger is their “go to” emotion, the emotion that arises first, has the loudest voice and is their default reaction, and people are desperate to learn ways to manage, modify, control, change and redirect their rage.  In the heat of the moment, flipping into anger can destroy relationships, jobs, opportunities and even lives as some of you well know.

It may surprise you to know that I have never run an anger management workshop in all the years I’ve been teaching courses, classes and workshops on aspects of Personal and Self Development, Mindfulness and Authentic Living! Interestingly, I’m not going to run one now either because rather than learning to manage anger, the focus of our upcoming Mindful Living Workshop will be on understanding why anger has become our default setting, what lies beneath this noisy emotion, and how fear plays a pivotal role in anger’s explosions.   We’ll also look at how anger can go underground for some people and become a deep ice-cold sense of repressed feelings.

Come along prepared to share some of your anger experiences, hear from others about theirs, and participate together in new and different ways of tackling anger and fear in your daily life.

We look forward to welcoming you to this thought-provoking, stimulating and informative evening which is run as part of our fortnightly series of Mindful Living. Contact us to register and join us!

The Simplicity of Mindfulness Practice

By Helen Williams

Mindfulness helps us to pay attention to our thoughts, to the impulses that come from them.

In our daily lives we are learning to notice what our thoughts are creating. For example, when we become aware that our work is difficult we can notice our thinking becomes “I’m going to stop now because this is too hard” and if we just observe that thought is becomes, “Oh my thinking is pushing me to stop what I’m doing because it’s hard”.  We don’t have to obey the impulse to stop working. We can simply notice that is what our thinking is doing, take some steady mindful breaths and quietly, with awareness, make a choice about following the impulse, or not.

A few moments of focussed quiet awareness can be all it takes for us to choose to continue to push through, mastering a difficult moment instead of giving in to it.

It’s like learning to disobey ourselves!! It’s such a simple act of clarity, insight and freedom! Have you ever stopped to see it like that? You are not your thoughts.  You don’t have to obey the voice of self-sabotage, of taking the easy way out.  Instead, harness the power of inner awareness and disobey your thoughts!

Wonderful outcomes can occur from the simplicity of this insight.

La Paradoja

por Isabel Galiardo
Suelta todo y mantente presente. Cuando escuchamos estas palabras suena como si nos pidieran que hiciéramos dos cosas opuestas a la vez.

¿Como podemos estar centrados en el ahora y a su vez no aferrarnos a nada?

La repuesta a esta encrucijada esta en la comprensión de lo que debemos soltar y lo que debe permanecer.


El testigo en nosotros es lo que permanece. El observador, la consciencia permanece alerta y despierta; presente en el ahora. Esta conectada con lo que en ese momento esta ocurriendo, con lo que esta vivo, con lo que emerge. Lo que soltamos es el constante ir y venir de la mente, que asocia, etiqueta, anticipa, interpreta,…

Si realmente queremos sentirnos vivos a nivel espiritual necesitamos soltar las viejas historias que impiden que podamos estar en el ahora. Cada aliento que tomamos es nuevo, cada encuentro trae algo diferente, cada paso en el camino es fresco y desconocido.
Como dice el proverbio zen:
”Cuando camines, camina. Cuando comas. come”.