Live Life. Don’t Just Survive

Here, right now, stop.

Breathe deeply in and allow that breathe out slowly.

Breathe in and out a few more times.

Turn your attention to your heart centre.

Maybe you would like to place your hand over your heart.

Ask yourself the question:

Am I just surviving, or am I living my life creatively?

The Curse Of The Modern World

With the busy lives that are led in the modern world, it is easy to get caught up in just surviving. Rushing from activity to activity. Never stopping, never relaxing, never just having fun. Never allowing yourself to use your creative side to enrich and grow your life.

Scientists who study our ancient ancestors contend that once people were able to move away from spending all their time surviving, they had time and space to be creative. It was this creativity that allowed them to expand their lives and further improve their situation.

It was this time for creativity that allowed our ancestors to become farmers, then to devise new tools and weapons. This creativity allowed progress to occur.

Growing Creatively

In order to grow this way, our ancestors had to allow space in their lives to allow creativity to work.

When you become caught up in surviving, you lose that ability to expand your life and improve your situation. You get caught up in surviving. That is a scary, anxious place. It is a place where your quality of life deteriorates.

But it doesn’t need to be that way. You need to allow creativity back into your life. Creativity feeds your mind and your soul. It should work alongside survival, with its focus on your body.

Yes your body needs to survive, but so do your mind and soul.

Finding The Balance Between Survival and Creativity

Finding that balance between survival and creativity is essential for a happy, full, productive life.

One of the ways you can survive and be creative is to meditate. It is that action of stopping and allowing yourself to just be. In this moment. With nowhere to go. With nothing to do. Just be.

At the start of this blog I invited you to have a moment to just be. At the end of that moment, I invited you to ask yourself a question about how you are living your life.

It is in the moments that you stop and just allow yourself to be that allow you to find space for creativity in your life.

After you meditate and clear your mind to allow that sense of just being, there is a time for creativity to allow yourself to connect to your creative inner self. Your soul.

Connecting To Your Creativity

There are many things you can do. Some people write a journal. Some people write poetry. Others dance to their own sound or music.

Then there is painting. This is my preferred method of creativity. After I meditate I use water colour paints to paint what comes up for me in that moment.

This act of creativity has allowed me to discover deep insights into my life and my place in this world. This has allowed me to live, not just survive.

I run workshops to teach people this method of meditation.

Do You Want To Know More?

If you would like to find out more about meditating and creativity, please contact me on 0409396608 or

If you would like to learn more, I write a regular newsletter with helpful information, tips, information on courses, and the occasional freebie. At the moment I have a free mindfulness meditation for anyone who signs up to my newsletter. This meditation offers a way to safely explore your feelings and learn to be okay with them. If you would like to subscribe please click on the link here:


When Shame Blocks You Grieving Properly

Grief is a natural part of life. Ever since humankind was capable of feeling love, we have grieved for the loss of that love.

It is natural for us to cry and reach out to others for comfort. That is considered the way grief has happened for millennia. Part of grief is to allow the putting into the past of our grief.

Shame is a big emotion that causes other emotions, mainly sad ones, to be stuck. When Shame complicates grief you are unable to put grief in the past and it just keeps on in the present.

Grief and Shame Often Appear Together

When I work with people who are grieving I have noticed that grief is often experienced alongside shame.

Grief is designed to help us loosen, release and reach out. Shame has the opposite effect. It causes us to freeze and isolate from others.

Shame leads to endless loops of worry and rehashing the shameful episode. This keeps it in the present instead of the past where you fervently wish it would go.

Grief involves crying and grieving for what has happened and putting that grief in the past.

Grief needs to be worked with in a different way to shame.

Complicated Emotions

Complicated emotions are difficult. They require different approaches and sometimes need to be separated in order to work through them.

This complication is probably why most people dislike complex emotions in themselves or in others.

Interestingly, children have no difficulty managing complicated emotions. It is as if that maturing, and learning to identify our emotions, stops us from being able to work with the different emotions we are likely to feel at any time.

Accepting Complicated Emotions

One of the best approaches to working with complicated emotions is to accept they are there. To accept that they just are.

Shame is one of the emotions we fear the most. One of those reasons is that when shame is present, we can’t process our emotions as we are supposed to. Instead of being processed and moved on quickly, they remain stuck by shame. Emotions are manageable when they are processed quickly, but when they remain unresolved, they become difficult to manage.

Shame does have a purpose. Its purpose is to keep us safe by lowering the intensity of other emotions. This allows us to curb our reactions to emotions such as anger. That is fine if we then later attend to these emotions. But what happens more often is that shame binds with those emotions and they remain.

All those bound emotions makes for one crowded mind. And a mind that struggles to process emotions. And shame creates an endless loop of being trapped in emotions.

Working Through Grief and Shame

Most people who come to see me about their grief have shame caught up in the grief as well. When I work with you, it is important to identify all the emotions you are working through and then separate them all out to deal with them.

If I don’t attend to your shame and help you work through it you will be stuck in your grief. Usually that stuckness is what brings you to me.

Can I Help?

If you would like to talk to me about how I can help you with your grief and shame, please contact me on 0409396608 or

If you would like to learn more, I write a regular newsletter with helpful information, tips, information on courses, and the occasional freebie. At the moment I have a free mindfulness meditation for anyone who signs up to my newsletter. This meditation offers a way to safely explore your feelings and learn to be okay with them. If you would like to subscribe please click on the link here:

What you seek is what you are

This quote from a Tara Brach lecture is a reminder that you need to find your purpose in life. This is not some mystical endeavour, it is actually relatively simple.

What are the things you love doing?

What is your passion?

Not what others tell you that you are good at, or that you should be doing. No. This is about what you love doing. What you dream of doing.

What Makes You Happy?

Think of the things you long to do. The things that make you happy.

When you identify what makes you happy let your purpose come to you. Practice mindfulness. Sometimes meditate on the things the make you happy.

Explore without agenda, just with curiosity, what it is about those things that makes you happy. Allow the exploration to lead you to where it sends you.

Learn To Listen To Your Intuition

If you haven’t already done so, learn to listen to your intuition. That feeling in your belly that alerts you to things that you are uncomfortable with and things you love doing. That feeling that longs to do things.

Do the things you love. Allow your imagination to dream about them. Follow your intuition. In time create your ideal reality. Realise that the longings you feel, the call you hear, is calling you for a reason. This is the path, the path you follow with purpose. This is your purpose in life.

Your Purpose

Your purpose is what YOU follow. Nobody else has to follow that path. Nobody else has to understand why you follow it. Nobody else has the right to criticise or judge your path. It is your path, your responsibility, your choice.

Finding that path is great. Following it is often daunting.

Following Your Purpose

Tara Brach talks about how in times like this you forget your oceannness. You identify with the waves crashing on the shore, tossing you around when you swim in the surf. Those waves can be scary. They are hard to learn to ride. Even experienced surfers fall off waves frequently. That can be scary.

But Tara reminds us you are not the waves. You are the ocean. Never forget your oceanness. You should be identifying with the ocean, not the waves. The ocean is vast and powerful and the waves have little impact on it. The ocean is bigger than the waves and you don’t have to be afraid of the waves, because you are the ocean.

You Are The Ocean And The Waves Are Thoughts and Feelings

See the waves as thoughts and feelings you are experiencing. Just listen to them. I love to watch the waves on stormy days. Their power and their ferociousness is awe inspiring. But if you look out beyond the waves, the ocean if fairly flat. If you were to travel out way beyond the continental shelf you would see the vast ocean, stretching as far as you can see in all directions. This vast body of water that hardly moves at all.

The waves have little impact on the ocean itself. And your thoughts and feelings have no power over you. Using the essential skill of mindfulness meditation, you can listen to those thoughts and feelings. When you ground yourself in the present moment, in reality, and use mindfulness, you can take a step back from those thoughts and feelings and just observe them.

Learning To Identify With the Ocean

You are the ocean and you are not the waves breaking on the shore. You can see them and observe them, but they have little impact on the deepest part of you.

When you identify with the calm, deep and steady ocean and use mindfulness you can just observe the emotions and realise you may be experiencing them, but you are not the emotions and thoughts. You are the calm, deep, steady ocean.

How To Manage Overwhelming Thoughts and Memories

You can do this every time emotions or memories overwhelm you. Focus on your breathing. feel into the sensations in your body. Connect to the ground. Take that step back and observe the emotions.

Sometimes it is helpful to say “this too”. I have found this a really helpful phrase to remind me to step back from the emotions and observe them rather than be overwhelmed by them.

Be the observer watching the waves crash on the shore, not the person being thrown around by them, struggling not to drown.

Journalling after you meditate is really helpful. It is especially useful after you have meditated to manage overwhelm.

How Do I Learn To Meditate?

I will shortly be making available a recording of how to do a basic mindfulness meditation.

It often works better if you can get spoken instructions. If you were sitting in my therapy room, or the location where we have chosen to hold a therapy session, I would instruct you on how to do this.

For now, I will write some instructions. If you sing up for my newsletter you will receive a free mindfulness mediation that guides you to explore your feelings safely. It is a helpful interim measure and you may learn from it too.

Practicing Mindfulness

Practicing mindfulness is about allowing yourself to be present. Really present. It is about paying attention to what is happening in you and around you. Sometimes, too deep an exploration of your internal feelings can be overwhelming so it is often helpful to be mindful of your boundaries and what is going on
around you.

I am going to describe a mindfulness mediation that focuses on your boundaries and what is around you.

A Mindfulness Meditation

  1. Find somewhere comfortable to sit or lie. Somewhere where you won’t be disturbed.
  2. It can be helpful to listen to gentle music, there is plenty you can find online or you may have some in your music library.
  3. You may choose to close your eyes, or if that is too difficult to do, soften your focus so that you are not looking at anything.
  4. Breathe in deeply so that you feel your tummy rise. Then slowly release that breath.
  5. Pay attention to what it feels like as you breathe in, as the air enters your nose, as your tummy and chest rise.
  6. Then pay attention to what it feels like as you breathe out, your tummy and chest drop and you can feel the air leaving your nose.
  7. You may even hear yourself breathe in and out.
  8. You may choose to say to yourself “I am breathing in”. “I am breathing out.”
  9. You may choose to say to yourself “As I breathe in, I breathe in peace”. “As I breathe out I breathe out tension.”
  10. Continue breathing gently and easily for a while.
  11. When you are ready you may choose to check in with your body to identify how you are feeling. This involves focusing on each area of the body as you breathe in and out and noticing anything you are feeling there. It may be tension, pain, discomfort, heat, cold, relaxation. Don’t judge what you feel, just notice it.
  12. If at any time you find yourself noticing other things, maybe a thought pops up, just notice it and don’t engage with it. It is as if someone has come into the room and you know they are there but you choose not to talk with them.
  13. As I mentioned earlier, it can be distressing for some people to explore the body. If you notice that you may switch to observing your boundaries.
  14. Notice your body as it touches whatever you are sitting or lying on. Notice the feeling of the fabric where your skin is making contact. Notice the feeling of pressure where your body is making contact with the other surface. If your feet are touching the floor notice your feet touching the floor. If you are in a room with a breeze, notice the feeling of the breeze on your skin.
  15. Once you have paid attention to your boundaries (your skin) you can turn your attention to things you are hearing. Maybe you can hear a clock ticking, or a bird calling outside the window. Maybe you can hear rain, wind, cars, a far-off lawn mower, children playing. Just gently notice those things without judgement.
  16. Continue breathing in and out and just observing what you are paying attention to, whether it is inside your body or outside of your body.
  17. When you are ready you may open your eyes, stretch and go about your day.

How Often Should I Practice Mindfulness And For How Long?

Mindfulness meditation does not have to be long. I suggest at least 5 minutes at a time. If you can manage that once or twice a day then you will become familiar with this practice and be well equipped to practice it whenever you are overwhelmed.

Just practicing mindfulness when you are overwhelmed won’t work because you will be trying to learn a new practice when your brain is not able to do that. But if you practice mindfulness when you are calm then you can just quickly use it when overwhelmed and your brain will be able to use mindfulness to help you regain calm.

Can I Help?

If you would like to talk to me about how I can help you with discovering your life purpose and/or learning mindfulness,, please contact me on 0409396608 or

If you would like to learn more, I write a regular newsletter with helpful information, tips, information on courses, and the occasional freebie. At the moment I have a free mindfulness meditation for anyone who signs up to my newsletter. This meditation offers a way to safely explore your feelings and learn to be okay with them. If you would like to subscribe please click on the link here:

Love And Accepting The Rites Of Grief

“My grief says that I dared to love, that I allowed another to enter the very core of my being and find a home in my heart. Grief is akin to praise; it is how the soul recounts the depth to which someone has touched our lives. To love is to accept the rites of grief.” ~ Francis Weller, The Wild Edge of Sorrow: Rituals of Renewal and the Sacred Work of Grief

We lose so much in our lives. There is the obvious death of loved ones, of pets, of dear friends. There is also the loss of homes, jobs, health, fitness, for some, their country.

There are also the losses of dreams, community, nature.

There are too many losses in life to mention them all.

They all have something in common. You need to grieve for them.

The Unspoken Emptiness Inside

If you don’t grieve for the losses then you always have unprocessed grief, an emptiness, inside.

So many people have an unspoken emptiness inside. There is a hole there that you struggle to fill. The emptiness if the hole of unprocessed grief. It is a constant pain, sometimes sharp, but mostly dull. You try to push it aside, but it continues to gnaw at you and hide under the surface, waiting for an opportunity to resurface.

There are many in the field of unresolved grief research who believe that the desire for more in our society has its roots in unresolved grief.

People try to fill the hole by being busy, by frenetic activity, by buying more and more things, by wanting bigger houses and plenty of storage to hold the things that are accumulated.

People also try to control the external environment. Maybe you do that too. An obsession with bodily perfection, with having the perfect house, the nicest car, the picture perfect family, the right friends, the perfect kids, the helicopter cotton wool parent, the hothoused child.

The Myth Of Being Able To Control Your Life To Fill The Emptiness

All this is an attempt to control your life. It is a cover for the emptiness and feeling of being out of control inside. But controlling your external life does not fix the emptiness inside.

All that focus on external things does is deny you the necessary processing of your losses.

Losses are a core part of being human. Running away from the things that frighten you doesn’t make them go away. It makes them grow and become more problematic.

Gratitude, Humility and Reverence for Human Life

Instead you need to allow the pain. Be courageous and sit with that pain. You will find that the pain isn’t as large and insurmountable as you thought it would be. In fact, allowing yourself to feel the pain allows you to access great skills that help you heal.

These skills are gratitude, humility and reverence for human life.

This may sound very airy, but it isn’t.


Gratitude allows you to see those things in your day that you can be grateful for. Even on the worst days there is something to be grateful for. You don’t need to acknowledge gratitude through gritted teeth.

Sometimes the fact that you are alive is gratitude. Even when life seems too miserable to be alive there is still gratitude for that. Gratitude can be about people who in your day did something nice to you. The person who held a door open for you, the driver who let you out into the traffic when you were struggling to get out of a side street, the person who smiled at you and acknowledged your existence. These are just some examples of things you can be grateful for. You can also be grateful that you are breathing, that your heart is beating, that you can think, that you can explore things in your life to be grateful for.

Gratitude means looking for the good and not focusing on the negative.

Turning your attention to positive things is a great help in processing your grief.


Humility removes the sense of entitlement we all suffer from occasionally. The one that says bad things shouldn’t happen to us. The one that protests at the bad thing that has happened. When you humbly acknowledge that loss is part of being human you remove a burden caused by resisting what has happened and open the way to grieve and process the loss.

Humility doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be angry at what has happened. Far from it. If you are angry then honour that and allow yourself to acknowledge the anger. But allow that anger to dissipate when it is ready to go.

Do the same with other feelings you are experiencing. If you want to cry, then cry. Acknowledge what you are feeling and allow it be there.

Humility means you accept you are human. You accept that something has happened that you are upset about. That you have lost something that mattered to you. Humility means you accept that you are hurt and this is going to require some attention to allow yourself to feel and release the pain.


Reverence for human life is important. All life is important and deserving of honour. You are important and deserving of honour. You deserve to be shown kindness. And the person to give that kindness to you is you.

Other people are not always available to give you kindness. If they are, then their kindness is like a cherry on top of a beautiful cake. But your kindness is the beautiful cake. It is the comfort and support available to you all the time. Make sure you show reverence for your own life and give yourself the kindness you need and deserve.

Can I Help?

Sometimes you need help with the grief you are feeling and the pain. It can be difficult trying to find gratitude, humility and reverence for yourself and others. You may need to talk through all the emotions you are experiencing.

If you would like to talk to me about how I can help you with your rites of grief, please contact me on 0409396608 or

If you would like to learn more, I write a regular newsletter with helpful information, tips, information on courses, and the occasional freebie. At the moment I have a free mindfulness meditation for anyone who signs up to my newsletter. This meditation offers a way to safely explore your feelings and learn to be okay with them. If you would like to subscribe please click on the link here:

Learning To Feel What Seems Unfeelable

I often write about the importance of learning to feel into your body. It is in your body that the keys to unlock the things that hold you back can be found.

I always write this knowing that it is possible to learn to do this, as I have done. But I am also aware it is not easy to reach there. It is virtually impossible without the assistance of a trauma trained counsellor.

I was reminded of this recently when I read a blog by a trauma yoga teacher.

She wrote about leading a yoga and meditation class in the mental health ward of a hospital. Her clients were people with dissociative disorders.

Feeling Into Your Body Is Something You Have To Learn To Do

Having learned, as I have, to be able to feel into her body in safety, she realised she had to allow for the difficulty these people experienced feeling into their bodies. When you have unresolved trauma from the past it is very hard to feel into your body where all those unprocessed and very scary memories are stored.

This experience forced the teacher to explore how to bring attention inside without being so frightened that you dissociate. She explored how to bring attention inside without feeling like you are floating, disconnected from your internal and external environment.

Being In The External World Is Easy, But Go Into Your Internal World And It Becomes Very Hard

We find it so easy to get angry or irritated by people in our external world, why is it so hard to turn out attention internally to situations in our past that hurt us?

Why is it that we can be courageous in the world around us, but when we come to look in side ourselves and allow us to feel what we find there, we are terrified?

Every Child Needs An Adult Who Loves Them And Can Teach Them How To Self Regulate

If you never had an adult in your childhood who was able to attune to you. Able to teach you how to make sense of what was going on in your body. Able to help you learn how to regulate your emotions so that your internal world is not terrifying. Then how could you learn?

When you lacked someone to guide and teach you then how do you navigate your internal environment?

Trauma Trained Counsellors Learn How To Do This

This is what a trauma trained counsellor knows to do. I have learned how to connect those broken pieces inside. How to piece your body, mind and heart together so that you can feel safe to look inside yourself.

I know these techniques work because I used them myself to learn.

All those trapped memories need to be processed. Until you learn the skills and have someone skilled to walk beside you and help you, you will not be able to process this trauma. And it will cripple your life.

Childhood Memories Of Trauma Are Frightening

Those memories are frightening. They hurt. They are full of a child trying to understand a very frightening world. There is a deep sense of shame, of being wrong. Of thinking that what happened was your fault and because there was something wrong with you.

There is despair at never seeming to get any better. There is rage at the unfair things being done to you. There is hurt that someone who should care for you can do this. There is disappointment that no matter what you try, nothing gets better.

All these terrifying memories are the reason you become numb. Feeling them is terrifying so blanketing them, freezing them, dulling them is the only way to survive. And because they are still there your body reacts to them in the only way it can.

How Your Body Reacts To The Pain

You get terrible fear and pain from these memories.

You get anxious, depressed, you do whatever you can to shut down the memories.

You take pills, you drink too much alcohol, you try an array of drugs, you go on spending sprees, you do any behaviour that is repetitive to drown out those horrible memories and feelings of deep shame and unworthiness.

What You Need

What you need is someone to teach you how to manage those emotions. How to release the feelings of unworthiness, exclusion and shame. How to release these harmful feelings.

You need to take it slowly. To only visit those memories when you have the skills to calm yourself.

Yes you can reach a point where you can make the choice to be who you want to be. A place where you know how to respond to calm yourself. Where you know how to respond to not put yourself in a fight/flight/freeze state. And I can help you with that learning.

Can I Help?

If you would like to talk to me about how I can help you with your childhood trauma, please contact me on 0409396608 or

If you would like to learn more, I write a regular newsletter with helpful information, tips, information on courses, and the occasional freebie. At the moment I have a free mindfulness meditation for anyone who signs up to my newsletter. This meditation offers a way to safely explore your feelings and learn to be okay with them. If you would like to subscribe please click on the link here:

Focusing on the Emotions of Grief

So many people come to see me because, in the wake of their grief, they can’t handle the swirl of emotions.

It is not just the emotions that they struggle with. It is the belief that there is something wrong with them for having those emotions.

It is heart breaking to see people feeling they can’t express their emotions. Either because someone tells them it is bad to do so, or because other people immediately seek to shut them down.

Like it or not, grieving involves a swinging from the emotions of protest at the death of the one you love and despair that they are not there anymore.

Things that Complicate Grief

Complicating grieving are the security of the relationship you had with the person, and any unresolved issues within that relationship.

By this I mean how secure your relationship felt. Did you feel safe and secure with this person? Or were you constantly battling to feel reassured of the security of the relationship? Were there hurts that you had never had a chance to resolve with that person? It will be hard to grieve for that person while those hurts remain unresolved.

Also relevant is anything that has happened in the past that impacts on the current grief.

Factors that Impact How You Cope With the Emotions Around Grief

A major factor in how you will cope with the emotions is your history of how you regulate emotions. If you find it hard to express your emotions then expressing those around grief are going to be difficult.

If you can’t express your emotions then it is impossible to be able to sit with those emotions, face them and work your way through them.

How Rituals Can Help

Rituals around death can also be helpful. What were you raised to do when someone died?

Some are taught to not show emotions, not talk about the death and feel intense shame if you cry.

Others are taught to cry as part of the ritual around the death of a loved one.

Then there are the rituals where the person is commemorated, maybe you will have “sorry business”, or you may light a candle every day for a prescribed number of days in honour of the person.

The above are just some of the ways rituals are used to mark a person’s death.

All, with the exception of the one where you suppress emotions, are very helpful to those who are grieving.

Learning to Manage the Overwhelming Emotions

When I see a grieving person I look for ways to manage the overwhelming emotions. Ways to process what has happened.

I never look for pathology. Although, if you come to see me and it has been 6 months since your loved one died I will ask you to fill in a questionnaire as an aid to measure your progress while seeing me.

Often all you need in your grief is a companion to walk beside you. Having that companion a grief trained counsellor is really helpful. I won’t pathologise your experience. I will help you to express what is so hard to express. I will ensure you realise how normal your reaction is.

Questions to Consider

As we walk together I will ask you to tell me about the one you lost. Tell me about your relationship. What about the history of their death? How did they die? Did you have to make a decision to turn off life support? Did they choose a medically assisted death? Was their death long and painful? Was their death peaceful?

What was the experience of their death like for you?

Were you present in the moment, or did you push your own feelings aside to support your dying loved one, or other family members.

It can be very easy to get stuck, unable to express your own feelings, when you are in a situation of supporting other people.

Were you isolated at the time of death and its aftermath? Being isolated is very traumatising.

Did you feel unsafe in the situation, with all your emotions swirling around and no one there to support you?

The Goal of Therapy

When you work with me the goal we work to is to help you see the strengths that have carried you this far.

Additionally, when you had to support others at the time, I give you the space and support to make that emotional contact with your own feelings so that you can support yourself now.

Together we can be curious and open to explore your experience and the places you are frightened of visiting. My aim is to help you make contact with yourself again. To give you the chance now you are out of survival mode to experience your feelings.

Visiting that experience will most likely involve a lot of reminiscence about your relationship with your loved one. Reminiscing about the things you did together and the events of the end of their life is also important. It allows you to experience the things you may have pushed aside to support others.

What about the present?

An important aspect of grieving is learning to live in the present.

The one you love still exists in your mind. That is something that needs to be explored. How do they exist to you? In what ways do you still rely on them? Do you have a sense of their presence? Do you imagine they help you when you feel lost and not sure how to proceed?

All this is known as continuing bonds. This is an important part of grief. Forming these bonds is how you form the new relationship with your loved one.

“I have a new life. Death ends a life, but it does not end a relationship, which struggles on in the survivor’s mind toward some final resolution, some clear meaning, which it perhaps never finds.” ~ Robert Anderson

Grief is not something you ever “get over”. It lasts for the rest of your life. It just gets easier over time to think about the person. You learn to forge a new relationship that is based on them being dead.

That Can Impact How You Grieve

There are many things that impact on how you grieve.

Grief you have experienced in the past, and the way it was managed, has a deep impact on how you are grieving now.

Trauma in your past will also impact on how you perceive grief and how you are able to regulate your emotions and access support.

Having previously learned to suppress your emotions will make it hard for your to experience them now.

One thing I like to do is to take your back to those final moments for you to experience the feelings you had then. It is helpful for you to experience those feelings in a more receptive way. At the time you would have been barely surviving. Now you are better able to be aware of the experience.

Working on that Moment

Sitting with what you were feeling at those crucial moments in the death of your loved one allows you to experience emotions you had to suppress in order to get through these moments.

Many people will realise they felt great sadness, anger, sadness and longing.

One man told me that at the moment in his life when he was in the worst situation he had ever been in, losing the one he loved, the person he could count on to support him wasn’t there because they were dying.

The person is dying or dead and you don’t want to let them go.

Learning to accept the pain

In time most people are able to live with the horror of their grief. They can learn to accept the pain rather than avoid it. They give themselves permission to cry and not try to hide what they are feeling.

Most people learn to continue a relationship with the one who has died. They may still have conversations with them. Some even write a journal for their loved one of all the things they want to tell them.

It becomes possible to be reminded of the one you lost. You no longer avoid the places that strongly remind you of them. You can remember the good and bad times.

Most importantly, you can accept that you are a different person now. And being that different person is not bad. It is okay.

Can I Help?

If you would like to talk to me about how I can help you with your grief please contact me on 0409396608 or

If you would like to learn more, I write a regular newsletter with helpful information, tips, information on courses, and the occasional freebie. At the moment I have a free mindfulness meditation for anyone who signs up to my newsletter. This meditation offers a way to safely explore your feelings and learn to be okay with them. If you would like to subscribe please click on the link here:





The Real Impact of Trauma

It is one thing to process memories of trauma, but it is an entirely different matter to confront the inner void – the holes in the soul that result from not having been wanted, not having been seen, and not having been allowed to speak the truth. If your parents’ faces never lit up when they looked at you, it’s hard to know what it feels like to be loved and cherished. If you come from an incomprehensible world filled with secrecy and fear, its almost impossible to find the words to express what you have endured. If you grew up unwanted and ignored, it is a major challenge to develop a visceral sense of agency and self worth.” ~ Bessel van der Kolk, The Body Keeps The Score

This quote from the book The Body Keeps The Score, by Bessel van der Kolk has always hit home for me.

It is such a powerful summary of the impact of abuse, neglect, lack of attunement, poor attachment, emotionally unavailable parents, narcissistic parents and more that include the range of wounds that comprise childhood trauma.

It is horrible to not be wanted. It is devastating to not be seen. The wounds left by never been greeted by your parents with love and lit up faces are immense.
When all those things happen the child feels like they don’t exist. They feel unsafe. The feel they have to fight for their survival. They learn to people please and fawn to be given the tiny bit of attention needed to survive. They do things that make them feel ashamed and cripple them in adulthood with shame. They learn to feel like a nothing. To have no way to express their fear, sorrow, anger and more.

My Own Experience

I understand this because that was my childhood. I was never wanted and was told that often. I was deliberately ignored. There were never any proud parents watching my achievements as a child. There were never words of congratulation around the dinner table at night.

I never knew what it was like to be greeted by someone whose face lit up when they saw me, that is until I met my husband. The things my parents did to me were never discussed.

In adulthood when I tried to discuss them with my parents and my siblings there was a wall of silence. My mother constructed a narrative to dismiss my recollections as me being neurotic, or over exaggerating, or making a mountain out of a tiny molehill.

I have had to fight very hard to heal from that. To learn that I am worthy, that I do have a sense of agency, that I matter. I have learned to feel safe, to learn to trust others, to fearlessly speak my truth.

Because I have done that, I know you can too. It is scary. It is hard to trust. Progress can seem so agonisingly slow. But you will get there. You can heal.

As well as my own lived experience, I have studied extensively the latest research on trauma and the best practice approaches to heal trauma. I have helped countless people heal from their trauma, and I can help you too.

Can I Help?

If you would like to talk to me about how I can help you with your childhood pain and trauma, please contact me on 0409396608 or

If you would like to learn more, I write a regular newsletter with helpful information, tips, information on courses, and the occasional freebie. At the moment I have a free mindfulness meditation for anyone who signs up to my newsletter. This meditation offers a way to safely explore your feelings and learn to be okay with them. If you would like to subscribe please click on the link here:

Grief Is About Living, Not Just Losing

Everyone lives life with expectations about what life will be.

Eventually there is disappointment when life doesn’t turn out the way you want it to. The way you believe it should be.

In life there are two ways to deal with disappointment.

The first is to protest: I didn’t sign up for this!!!

Life has not turned out as you wanted it to. The trouble is you can get stuck in that protest place and feel miserable and never free yourself to grieve.

Or you can choose to grieve and transform the disappointment.

Some people have learned to transform. They take life as it comes and roll with the punches. They can manage with uncertainty. But for most of us, we have yet to learn this lesson and disappointment, coupled with surprise or shock, leads to grief at the loss of our expected life.

Learning to accept the uncertainty of life allows you to:

• See things as they really are. This allows you to understand life better.

• See opportunities you didn’t realise were there.

• Feel more at peace and comfortable as you switch your attention to what you have instead of what you want and don’t have.

Grief Is About Every Loss In Life

Grief is not just about losing someone you love. Anything in life that is lost, be it a limb, friendship, home, job, life expectation and so on is a loss that you grieve.

The fact that these losses are not recognised as things that are grieved for, makes it harder to grieve.

Examples of big losses in life that need to be grieved for are:

• Having a child born with severe disabilities that changes the expectations you had for the life of that child. You may love that child and determine to always support them, but you still grieve for the lost expectation.

• Future plans to retire and enjoy life changes when your partner becomes very ill and you have to be their full time carer.

• Losing a much loved and valued job.

Grieving Is A Skill

Grieving is a skill that you can learn. People who experience a lot of grief often learn the skills to allow them to process their grief faster.

Whatever the cause of your grief, remember that it is normal. The normal trajectory of grief is that over time the grief diminishes and becomes less. You also start to discover meaning in your life again.

How Long Does Grief Last And Is It Always This Intense?

To answer this question, I am going to ask some questions of you first.

What Was Your Relationship To What Or Who You Have Lost?

If your emotional needs were primarily met by the one you have lost then you are going to need to find someone to meet those needs.

Initially a counsellor can help with that. You can also join a grief support group. In the long term you need to find ways to get those emotional needs met.

How Supportive Is Your Social Network?

The strong supportive social network helps you meet your emotional needs and is there to support you when you need help.

Do You Have Meaningful Activities In Your Life That Are Not Affected By Your Loss?

Having activities in place that are meaningful for you will help you continue with your life.

Part of grieving involves finding new meaning in your life. Having some meaning already can help shorten that process. For some people, their loss changes their life priorities. If that is you, then you may find you need to seek new ways of finding meaning in life.

How Counsellors Help

The biggest way I help people is to allow them to talk to me without any judgement or “fixing” from me. Being able to express your feelings in a safe place allows you to process them better. You can contextualise your grief better with counselling. You can also organise your grief better so that it is more manageable.

So What Does This Have To Do With The Grief Of Lost Expectations?

One thing to consider when you grieve lost expectations is to identify where they came from.

Society is great at teaching you what you should expect from life.

From birth you are introduced to concepts of the ideal life. From the story books you have read to you, to the children’s television programs. These all teach you expectations of what life will be.

As you grow up you observe what people around you are doing. You learn to expect your life to be like that of others. Older people in your life teach you this too. Maybe they talk about what you will grow up to be. There are expectations that you will have a job when you grow up. Expectations that you will find a life partner. Expectations that you will have children. Expectations that you will live in some sort of home.

Advertisements, movies, television series, the conversations of those around us. All these give you a picture of the life you should expect to live.

So where in this perfect picture does a disabled child fit? Or a partner requiring your care? Or you becoming disabled and needing to be cared for? Or losing that wonderful job that means so much to you?

All these things are contrary to what you learned to expect in life. All lead to grief. All need to be grieved.

Life Wasn’t Meant To Be Easy

That may be some put down by a politician, or a platitude thrown at you by someone uncomfortable with your struggles. But the reality is that all life contains suffering. Some people may get a lot more than others, but all will experience some.

If you allow it to, suffering can teach you things.

You may find good people who help you when you didn’t expect that to happen.

You may discover strengths you didn’t realise you had.

You may learn to appreciate life more.

You may find a different way of living that suits you better.

Expectations Around Your Latter Years

For many people I see whose long-term relationships break down once they are over the age of 50 there is often a lot of grief around the future. When you have been in a relationship with someone long term there is that expectation of a future together.

As the Beatles suggested in “When I’m 64” there is the expectation of being in the relationship forever and growing old together. What happens to that? Will you grow old alone? What does that mean for your quality of life? Will you have no one to care for you? No one to notice if you fall? No one to be there should you die at home? What about money? How will you survive? Will you actually have a home to live in? Or will you end up homeless?
These are very real concerns. So Grief is complicated by fears for safety and companionship in the future.

The Value Of Problem Solving

A lot of these lost expectations revolve around what you imagine will give you happiness.

But what if happiness, true happiness, is found elsewhere?

Researchers have found that people who solve problems in their lives report greater happiness and sense of agency than those who don’t solve problems.

That may sound strange but it makes sense.

If you encounter a problem in life it can feel very disempowering. But if you work out how to resolve that problem then you feel good.

Working through your grief and learning how to solve the problems that grief has caused is empowering and builds happiness.

How To Engage Problem Solving

So you had a picture of what your future would be like.

What was that picture?

How has it changed?

What is missing from that picture now?

You have identified what is missing. Now you know what you have lost.

Was what you thought the future would be like realistic? After all, we all imagine amazing things, but they rarely happen. And we are usually fine with that because on some level we know they were unrealistic. Also that realisation usually unfolds slowly, not abruptly when something major happens.

Identifying the unrealistic expectations can help with being able to let go of them.

What you are left with are the expectations that were more realistic. Maybe they were long cherished dreams that are now shattered. These are the ones you need to grieve. Because you put in the work to identify these deep losses, it is actually more manageable to work through them. That doesn’t mean it will be easy, but it is now a more manageable size.

You may be able to work through these losses on your own or you may need help.

Can I Help?

If you would like to talk to me about how I can help you with your grieving your losses in life, please contact me on 0409396608 or

If you would like to learn more, I write a regular newsletter with helpful information, tips, information on courses, and the occasional freebie. At the moment I have a free mindfulness meditation for anyone who signs up to my newsletter. This meditation offers a way to safely explore your feelings and learn to be okay with them. If you would like to subscribe please click on the link here:

Trauma Blocking Behaviour

I often write about the impacts of trauma in childhood. I also write about the way our society teaches us to avoid uncomfortable feelings.

Today I want to talk about some behaviours people engage in that are designed to cover up deeply upsetting feelings.

These are:
Excessive use of social media and compulsive mindless scrolling.

    I am not referring to people looking on social media to catch up on what friends have posted. I am referring to people who search and search social media pretty much all the time, even when there is nothing to read. I know we can all do that to a certain extent, but when it becomes every day, all day, then it is a problem and most likely to be a trauma blocking behaviour.

Drinking alcohol to excess, including binge drinking.

    Taking drugs of any type, smoking, vaping are also trauma blocking behaviours. In fact experts in addiction agree that the addictions are caused by trauma.

Excessive and mindless eating, even when not hungry.

    Like alcohol, drugs and smoking this is a behaviour that helps to block trauma.

Compulsive exercising to reach an unattainable goal. Or just exercising compulsively.

    As with other addictions, this behaviour blocks uncomfortable feelings so it is compulsively adopted.

Being frightened of being alone so you stay in toxic relationships, even when you are unhappy or in danger.

    It is the idea of it being better to be in any relationship than none at all. But is it better to be in a terrifying and potentially deadly relationship?

Being frightened of being alone so you constantly surround yourself with people and activities to stop you ever being alone.

    This can also involve manipulative behaviours to ensure you have people around you. And when you are alone, you may well use alcohol, drugs or self harm to suppress the fear.

Feeling unsafe if you have nothing do you so you keep yourself busy with constant projects.

Compulsive shopping, especially online, for things you don’t need and going into debt

Being a workaholic with poor work boundaries so that you end up being available 24/7

I am sure you could add others to that list.

Do you find yourself adopting these behaviours?

If you do, you are not alone.

Do you want to stop using these behaviours, or others like them?

This is where a counsellor can help you learn how to face and heal deeply upsetting feelings.

Can I Help?

If you would like to talk to me about how I can help you with your trauma blocking behaviour, please contact me on 0409396608 or

If you would like to learn more, I write a regular newsletter with helpful information, tips, information on courses, and the occasional freebie. At the moment I have a free mindfulness meditation for anyone who signs up to my newsletter. This meditation offers a way to safely explore your feelings and learn to be okay with them. If you would like to subscribe please click on the link here: