Monday, 30 March 2015

Where it starts

I find Attachment Theory a helpful lens through which to look.  This is, after all, where we begin and the point from which our stories are developed.  

Attachment comes first.  As human beings, it is our primary instinct:  we prioritise it over everything else.  And this is where Bowlby disagreed with Freud...

I am, today, less concerned with the intellectual rift between these two mighty influential thinkers and far more interested in thinking with my clients about their attachment styles and how these play out in each and every one of their relationships.

Evolution has not reduced the power of the attachment instinct.  It is hard wired.  

An infant has an innate capacity to engage his or her caregivers through a range of behaviours designed to attract and elicit their vital attention.  This is how we boost our chances of survival.  

Attachment Theory provides a very comprehensive framework through which to explore and come to understand a wide variety of relational issues.  A history characterised by secure attachment provides an emotional backbone which some of us must work to stabilise and strengthen in later life.  Attachment informed therapy provides an opportunity for healing to take place and I seek to provide the secure stable base that may promote the likelihood of this reparative piece.  

Nobody can go back and start a new beginning, 
but anyone can start today and make a new ending.
Maria Robinson

Sunday, 22 March 2015

Back to Basics - in the pool

The swimming lesson I attended this afternoon took me right back to basics, on my back.  In breaking down my 'technique', I was able to feel, immediately, how much more difficult I have been making it for myself.  

I swim, firstly, to relax.  This afternoon, I learnt how much tension I take with me into the pool.  I carry it (like most people, I was reassured to be told) in my neck and, as a direct consequence, swimming has become (I now realise) something of a battle, whether I'm swimming on my front, or my back.

There is something different about re-learning backstroke:  it highlights the bad habits I have gotten into very clearly.  You cannot help but notice when you're head is submerged, and you're gulping pool water.

The mis-alignment is particularly pronounced when you're on your back, meaning that I came away from the 3.5 hour workshop with some key learning points I will be packing to take with me down to the pool tomorrow.  

In some ways, I envied the lady in the lane next door to mine, who had very little swimming experience.  She hasn't fallen foul of the desire to run before one can toddle, let alone walk, and was mastering the basics beautifully and with a lot less mental effort than my own re-education involved.  

I got out of the pool feeling pleased to have actually felt the difference between my own idiosyncratic 'style' prior to this afternoon's class, and the recommendations my brilliant teacher Maciek had so patiently highlighted, with the help of his phone and the video footage he had used to show me, in slow-motion, exactly what I was doing.  

Tell me, and I'll forget.  
Teach me, and I may remember.  
Show me, and I'll learn.  

This is my homework...

Thursday, 12 March 2015

Brockwell sur la plage

Enjoying lunch overlooking the Lido was delicious confirmation that the summer months are on their way.

I'm only ever one swim away from a good mood...  Swimming feeds my soul.  I left not only feeling full of the joys of spring (and my halloumi burger), but inspired to take the plunge and return to outdoor swimming after a break that now feels to have been too long.  

Even knowing the beautiful azure water, whilst beautiful will be deceptive, I have come to the resolve that I will make it in before the end of March!  

Tuesday, 10 March 2015

Sane New World

I enjoyed Ruby's new show.  I particularly enjoyed her 'take' on what it is that we are apt to do to ourselves, and how mindfulness represents something of a practical (and cost effective!) remedy - not to the challenge presented by living life on life's terms, but to the additional suffering we cause ourselves through the less helpful habits of mind we are very good at mindlessly repeating over and over again (just in case this time it might turn out different), engraining them ever more deeply. 

Her neurochemistry presentation was accessible and fun.  What mindfulness meditation offers us is an opportunity to temper the fight-flight reflex that gets all too often triggered all too easily in the stressful demanding lives and which (because we suffer with the disease of busy) we are none too effective at turning off. 

"We are not equipped for this century, it’s too hard, too fast, and too full of fear; we just don’t have the bandwidth. Our brains can’t take so much information in a world where we’re bombarded by bad news and force-fed information."
Ruby Wax 'Sane New World'

Thursday, 5 March 2015

Life goes on and carries me with it

There is a sudden surreal realisation that life has gone on 
with little notice of how your life has been forever altered.
John Pete

Time moves, and passes.  Things settle, and change.  I feel as though the change has been taking place somewhere deep within me.  I have a shifted outlook.  My reality has altered.  Profoundly.  And with it, my perspective is somehow different.

The capacity to grieve is as much a part of us as the capacity to love.

These changes are hard to pinpoint.  They are intangible, yet perceptible each and every moment that I choose to 'tune in'.  I have a different 'take' on the loss.  It is somehow no longer so immediate, or raw, yet always close by.

Each person's grief journey is as individual as a fingerprint or a snowflake.  
Earl Grollman

I carry it with me, but have found a way of holding it close without feeling consumed or restricted by it.  Like the many little things I transport in my handbag:  it is there, and I feel comforted knowing of its presence.  But I need not recollect it every minute of every day.  

Loss and heartache do not define you.  
They are part of your story.

Reminders abound.  Pieces of music.  Familiar phrases that I hear from others' mouths.  The redirected mail I will sometime get a handle on.  Your presence, sitting there peacefully on my kitchen window.  Delighting in the spring sunshine.