2 Ways To Tell Your Story!

Who Holds The Power ?

Last week I posted a short message about story telling and I thought it would be useful to expand on that – because how you tell your story and how you hear others tell their story is a sign that someone in moving on .. or holding on . Dependant on which , depends on where the power is.

In this day and age it is even easier to share your stories and experiences through social media. It is often used by people including myself to give reference to our empathy of others situations. That we have gone through life challenges and we have come out the other side. Telling your story can be powerful both to you and to your community.

When something happens to an individual , when we feel upset , traumatised , embarrassed or on a lesser scale hard done by or treated badly, we initially hold onto that emotion.  It is quite normal to spend time thinking about it.  However at some point people start to process the emotion and part of this is an ability to talk about their experience.

In the beginning it may be too hard to talk about – it may not feel possible and you don’t want to say it out loud as you have to then accept it – it makes it real. As time goes by you start to share and then some people get to a point where they want to talk about it .. and finally it can become therapeutic to be able to tell your story.

A sign that someone is working through the experience is how they frame it – when it includes details of who they are now, of moving on , what they have done since , when they talk about it to express emotion but are not ‘ in ‘ the emotion .. these are all signs that the story telling is on their terms. And this can be a powerful healing tool! When this happens it says – the power is in my hands ! – to tell my story my way ! – to let others hear my experience and share what happened next.

Incidentally this story telling isn’t triggered by a reminder or a chance encounter with the person – it is told when you feel it will be beneficial. You are not at the mercy of circumstance!

But what if it’s different .. you know the way .. the person , the friend , perhaps it’s you .. when the story is told but it focuses on the hurt , the betrayal. Every telling is feeding that initial emotion and bringing it all back. Creating deeper feelings of negative talk. This person is brooding still , holding onto everything that happened. Anything can trigger the need to tell the story- certainly any mention of perhaps the other party will cause it all to be brought up again ..  ‘ let me tell you about them ! ‘ ‘Don’t you know what they did?’

There is very little or no mention of what has happened since – the whole piece focuses on the incident and the person in hand. They or you are driven on impulse to tell the story when it dictates!

When this happens .. much as you or the person telling it will think they are in control .. actually they are handing the power over the other person. They are allowing that person to create emotions in them and allowing them to set them off balance. They are allowing the incident or event to still impact on their lives and control what happens to them and how they feel.

So as you can see there is very much 2 ways to tell a story !

It’s important to be mindful of where you are at. If after reading this you are thinking ‘ oh that’s me’ I keep going back to that ‘ then it’s time to make change. It’s a simple process but it’s not easy – but you can make it happen – it just takes practise.

You have to watch for those thoughts starting to come through and you have to make a point of saying no to yourself – that you won’t go there and allow yourself to build it up.

If you hear yourself start to tell that story again – take a moment and say out loud ‘ actually I am not going there today !’

Ask your friends to be supporters not enablers ‘ If you hear me start to tell that again – please remind me I don’t want to bring that all up and please don’t let’s talk about it when we meet’ .

And be a good friend in return – let your friends know when they are falling into that trap themselves that you kindly bring them back on track ‘ I notice you still seem really hurt by that ‘ or ‘ I notice you bring that up a lot still and it is very raw’.

The more you focus on allowing the emotion to settle – the more you will find you get to a point where you see past it… and at that point you may feel you can tell your story in a different way – from a place of power and a place of nurturing

Have a fabulous and mindful week and why not come over to the Bemoore Facebook community and join in the chat .

https://www.facebook.com/bemooreandroar/

or join my group 

https://www.facebook.com/bemooreandroar/

and don’t forget to sign up for your Empowerment Day Ticket for the 8th May or come and see me at the Tower of London on May 13th for the Feminist Fete event!

https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/womens-empowerment-conference-2018-tickets-42978293232

https://www.hrp.org.uk/tower-of-london/explore/feminist-fête/#gs.bf3bqeE

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It’s Not How Loud You Roar on the Outside!

A Roar Comes From Within !

n my networking this week we explored the difference between Introvert and Extrovert. As a dedicated Introvert it has often occurred to me that people might assume that the louder you Roar the greater the impact… and this might be true, but it really is all about what you mean by Roar.
Being the person who talks to women about Roar on a regular basis it’s good to be clear on these things. In the business world and the realm of Women in Leadership there is often debate on what makes a great leader. Previously it was all about being one of the boys, being tough but of course not coming across as hard- nosed – a difficult balancing act and in my few often very much an act, based on what we thought was expected and needed.
Looking back on my most influential and effective women leaders it was those that could create a moment without raising their voice , that could command a room simply upon entering it , those that when called you into the office would quietly explain the feedback, which seemed much more dramatic than being shouted out … and those were the ones I felt most inspired by and most wanted to impress.
For me Roar is not about introvert or extrovert … it’s about that belief in yourself. Embracing your skills and your attributes and letting them shine through. It’s about handling situations in a way which is congruent with your choice of intention and behaviour.
Roar isn’t about the external it’s all about the internal. .and you know when you have found it. You can channel it and you can almost feel that physical straightening of your back, head going slightly higher, resilience kicking in. The knowing that you can take on the challenges without taking on the act.
Start by taking some time to explore your own skills, thinking about how you put them to use. Explore your personality and your chosen way of communicating.
Think about times when you had success by embracing your attributes. Now consider those times when you put your true skills to one side and notice whether it felt different.
Start to be aware of situations when you don’t feel comfortable being you and ask yourself why this is?
What would be different if you could be more you and what holds you back?
Embracing your youness is not about being inflexible or not taking others into account – quite the opposite in fact – when you are comfortable with who you are, you can really start to see how your relationships are panning out and whether adjustment is needed. If you always put on an act it will always be slightly different so how can you really see the dynamics?
Fundamentally your Roar is your being not your doing… you can have the loudest Roar in the room … and not speak a single word!
Ali is a Therapist and Coach committed to empowering women to feel confident in self. Ali is the Lead Speaker for the up and coming Tower of London Feminist Fete in May 2018.
Her book – 30 Days to Reconnect to Your True Self based on her Reconnection Therapy Programme is due for publication in Summer 2018. Her weekly radio show ‘Life Challenges ‘airs on Monday’s 7pm to 8pm on http://www.secklow1055.org
Why not join her FaceBook page and get involved in the Bemoore world.
https://www.facebook.com/bemooreandroar/

Thoughts and Feelings – Not Threats and Facts…

OCD  – Breaking the Cycle #Recoveryispossible

‘It’s there again – the buzzing in my head , moving outward like an itch under the skin , the anxiety creeps in .. the voice keeps talking – the buzzing gets louder .. I try to ignore it , suppress it .. it just keeps coming like a drill in my brain .. and then the fear .. If I don’t listen, if I don’t do it , get it just right, something bad will happen .. no it won’t what are you saying ? – yes it will .. do it  .. do it … DO IT!

The compulsion builds and there is  only one way to break this , to make it go away and that is to take action .. to get it right , to keep doing it until the thought is soothed. And so I work through it – the relief floods through my body …. the tragedy is averted … but then .. a small buzzing like a fly start to appear .. what if .. what if… what if ?’

This is a description from one of my clients who was trapped in the cycle of OCD. As we spoke about during my awareness week this is a very different picture than one sometimes portrayed by people who use phrases such as – ‘oh that’s my OCD kicking in .. ‘or ‘I am a little bit OCD with that.’.so let’s be clear you are never just a little bit OCD. If you have OCD – Obsessive Compulsive Disorder – then you have it full on . Yes to different degrees but to have a disorder it needs to be having a direct impact on your life and your ability to function in the way you would want to . – so there is no such thing as ‘ a little bit OCD!’ .. and those reading this who are living with it or have experienced someone living with it will know it’s not be belittled and it’s not something you want.

However just as it’s my firm believe that you can’t just be a bit OCD  – it is also my firm belief that you can become totally NOT OCD.. yes permanent relief and recovery is possible.

I can’t go through the whole process in one blog but in this I want to focus on one of the first and most important principles I teach when working with people in this space – the principle that allows them to gain a different perspective and to lay the foundations for what is to come.. this principle does not cure the problem in itself ( much as I wish for my clients it would) but it gives them a view-point that creates a change .. and with change we have transformation and with transformation we can move from the space of simply doing things differently to actually being and feeling different.

Before looking to make change we must first understand that the cycle which starts with the obsessive thought and then moves on to the emotion or feeling is just that, a thought and a feeling. Generated in our mind with nothing to do with the external reality we are living in right now. That the thought and the feeling cannot influence our reality and cannot live outside of our mind… just because you think something doesn’t make it true and just because you feel something doesn’t mean it will happen …

This is a different type of thought and feeling which is owns space alongside logical thought and working as it should – to protect ourselves from danger — so for example you might have a thought that if you step out in front of  the car approaching you will be injured .. and this creates a  feeling of natural nervousness and then we take action by stepping back. Then you cross when it’s clear and you pay no more attention to it.

The thoughts and feelings in the OCD cycle are not working in the space with our logical thought – they are not based on actual events – they are based on illogical thoughts and perceived reactions.

With Mindfulness Based therapy we don’t spend energy at this stage trying to change the thought – we look to accept we are having this thought .. and it is just that a thought we having. However we are now learning to be fully present and understanding that right now we are sitting in the therapy chair perhaps , holding a warming cup of tea , the thought can stay there but we do not have to act and it cannot, on it’s own, become more than a thought.

In the same way a feeling we experience is our body going through a physiological reaction or a psychological reaction. It is the feeling it is – we acknowledge that – perhaps it is anxiety , perhaps it is fear , – however again we do not need to take action. As we learn to explore this we see that when we do not take action – the feared event does not happen. .. and so our brain starts to be re-trained with the evidence.

More and more I find that Mindfulness is a tool which works alongside traditional therapy – to create the space in which to see different choices – to remove us from the noise that is hindering us and allow us to start to simply be and breath … and in this space #recoveryispossible.

Why not come over to the Bemoore Face Book Group – Reconnection and join in the conversation and find support ?

https://www.facebook.com/groups/Bemoorefindyourroar/

If you need help with OCD or Self Harm Behaviours drop me a note at amoore@bemooretherapy.co.uk.

Coming soon – dedicated webpage to OCD/Self Harm Support

Online coaching course to introduce you to my Reconnection Programme.

 

What ever gets you through the day !

Faith , Belief , Hope … and mugs of tea ….

Fresh start week is coming to a close at Bemoore  and people have been exploring the process of valuing self , making themselves a priority and also following on from last weeks blog, acceptance of now.

Something which has been on my mind lately around this is the thought of what we turn to in times of difficulty for comfort and support. What keeps us on track outside of that inner motivation?

In my studies for becoming a Celebrant in my community there is much about valuing different types of faiths and beliefs. Celebrant services can be based on anychosen religion or faith system and this can of course include Humanist views or non religious beliefs. The importance for us in our role is to be mindful and respectful of all the different faiths and beliefs we can come across.

In my professional life as a therapist I am all about the science behind the support. What evidence is there that an approach works? – firstly through traditional forms of therapy and then through our newer approaches such as Mindfulness it is important to understand the actual tangible impact on the brain … but brain and mind are two different things ( something worth exploring further in the wonderful Dan Seigal book – Mind ).  Brain is making changes and re- wiring but mind is about mind-set and our inner thoughts. For me a combination of both scientific approach and embracing a belief and a way of seeing the world are a big part of my work with clients.

I can be discussing the reconsolidation of memory through the neurological system one moment and just as happy to chat through a spiritual view or a form of visualization in the next.

In my private life faith plays a role for me and my exploration in recent years has expanded. I started out being brought up in the Church of England – non practising really apart from the usual but I remember going to Sunday school – I am not sure why I went or whose choice but I went for quite a while. Then as a teenager I went to the local Catholic school – my dad’s family were lapsed Catholic’s but I had no knowledge of this faith system – the school was very local and I had been bullied in my previous and this was a fresh start for me as not many of my previous peer group were transferring.

Then in my twenties I discovered Paganism and initially an interest in Wicca . It seemed quite daring and was still not covered by laws such as the Religious Discrimination Act which didn’t come into play until 2005. I found it fascinating to learn such a different way of thinking and to discover such a peaceful and nature based way of life. This faith system has stayed with me throughout my adult life.  I again can’t say I am the most dedicated but I like to attend the Chalice Well for main celebrations and my faith was tested, but also a great sense of comfort for me when I lost my son 10 years ago. I like many was angry at my loss ,but I was blessed in the sense that the hospital chaplain ( a Christian man) came to visit and he was respectful of my beliefs and he agreed to hold the funeral service incorporating some key points and words which meant I could have my faith included . It was a wonderful sign of religious inclusiveness which often I feel is missing for many people. It showed me that we could comfort one another, even though we believed different things, we could still be a community.

As the years have passed I have become interested in many different paths – Buddhism and now the new belief system which is seen as Spirituality but not always alongside a faith in something bigger.

Spirituality is about how you feel in side . Whether you are in line with your intentions and purpose – anyone can experience spirituality of self and others and world even if they hold no religious beliefs – that is my view anyway. And it comes through with clients who have not got a specific faith but in times of challenges look for something to turn to. To describe how they feel , to comfort and to look to answers that they cannot put their finger on. Many people I speak to now talk of the Universe listening ( something I firmly believe in) .. or of giving and receiving of the right energy to make positive change.

My view I guess is that all faiths and believes are worth respecting – do not be dismissive.. however as we say in the Pagan world – ‘Do as you will – lest it harms non or thrice back it will come’ – basically be kind to others or the universe is listening and karma will out.

For me what ever gets you through the day or the difficult time or gives you some peace is something worth holding onto. Whatever you call it and of course not forgetting that all important fixer of all things – the mug of tea which is ever present in my therapy room at home.

Have a mindful and peaceful week . Ali x

Acceptance

First you need to accept the you you are now .. and the memories which have already been made .. then you can make change.

 

A theme through this week’s thoughts and posts at Bemoore HQ has been about facing up to past events, taking on past emotions and accepting the you you are right now.

Clients are often very keen to move on and make change – to escape and put behind them past trauma. This is so understandable. However when past incidents are still not resolved and past emotion is still lurking, the current presenting problems in the now will not simply go away by thinking about things differently – although this is a part of making change… but only a part.

You see the past does matter .. it is part of where you are now and who you are now. Everything which we experience leads us to make choices.. some we feel very in control of and others we feel are made for us.. but each of these experiences leads us to the now.  So trying to simply pretend the past did not happen in itself to me is madness. It did happen , it cannot un-happen.

Two of the most common ways people look to work through is :

  1. Just filing it away in that invisible box and closing the lid – hoping and hoping it never starts to peak through. – Yep done that myself a lot!

OR

  1. Brooding over what they could or should have done differently . – Yep again also that !

Just as the first won’t truly resolve things then the second is using wasted energy.

Two of my most inspirational teachers I look to when seeking wise words say the following

Iyanla Vanzant says ‘ You can cover up the past and try to block it out with drink , with drugs , with eating , with shopping .. but it will still seep through. Until you reach in there and pull out that pain and look it in the face you will not find resolution’

Maya Angelou said that ‘ the choice you made at the time you made the choice was the only choice to be made .. and that world you think might have been with a different choice or action .. it didn’t exist then and it never will.’

Which brings us back to facing up to it and accepting. I work with clients to help them safely go back to those traumatic experiences and reconsolidate the memory with the lingering emotion. To gain a greater understanding of what happened and to see things from a different perspective. It can seem scary at first to have to go back and re live what has happened.. it is not always clear what incident or incidents need to be addressed but with time and patience it happens…. and the more the client sees that by doing this they feel released from those symptoms happening the present they can make peace with the past and create a truly new future.

A part of this is also accepting who you are and your own responsibility and accountability.. learning to accept who you are and in many cases learning to like yourself and forgive yourself ( because actually that’s the forgiveness that matters)

And that’s the other point – the past does matter but you can make choices about how it effects you going forward. You can’t change what has happened but you can redefine your path and change course going forward. I suggest reading The Path by Michael Puett and Christine Gross-Loh who talk about being open to new paths and not just following what you believe is pre defined .. ‘when you are open to new paths you find parts of yourself you didn’t know existed’

Acceptance does not mean liking but it does mean to settle and from there you find the peace and the space and the stillness to truly make change.

Have a happy and mindful week

Ali x

p.s why not come over to my Facebook group Bemoore Reconnections and join in the conversations and live videos – be part of a community to support and share .

https://www.facebook.com/groups/Bemoorefindyourroar/

 

Snow Days

Reflection and Retreat .. 

This week in the UK we have been in the grip of the Beast from the East who has now been overthrown as is the way of a high achieving woman by Storm Emma… overall it’s been snowy and cold and for many chaos.

For me this is the first time we have had real ‘ weather’ since I became fully self employed and actually therefore have been able to adjust my schedule and in some way go back to living with the seasons in a way we are perhaps meant to be.

Most appointments were cancelled and road trips postponed so I found myself with a few days to fill and to simply be able to focus. I noticed that throughout the chaos what I did observe was a coming together of community. People sharing stories of adversity, charities helping those on the streets , checking in on relatives -coming together in the well known phrase ‘ Spirit of the Blitz’ . For although we get snow and cold weather on a regular basis in the UK it always seems to be a total surprise when it happens!

My community groups were exploring self care and gratitude and someone said about living seasonally. Being active and outside in the summer months and gathering and retreating in the colder times. Of course in these modern days we expect to carry on as normal but this  week has made me think perhaps our minds and our bodies at still programmed to need that seasonal life and this weather has for many forced some downtime on them they would not normally have had. Snow itself brings a feeling of stillness – a different type of light – as if nature is taking stock.

With no pressure to go into work for many , schools closed and public transport down there has been a quiet acceptance of the space – the term Snow Day has been coined when families and friends are coming together to enjoy the activities only snow will bring.  For me the snow days have brought about not just a sense of peace but also a weird productivity. Rather than feeling the days stretching out I have found myself focused on individual tasks – study , reading , admin – the things that bother me and that I normally fight to fit in between tasks. With the ability to simply sit and work on  something without watching the clock my attention span appears to have increased and I no longer feel restless. Even my morning routine is back on track- sleeping in slightly later without ‘fear of lateness’ and then enjoying the activity of yoga and dog walking.

Now many will say ‘well other countries simply just carry on’ and yet I do believe that cultures that live with extreme weather do make adjustments. One of my members talked of the notion of ‘ Hygge’  the Danish way of approaching life – it’s a feeling not a interior design concept as much as we seem to be bombarded with this theory, and means to truly embrace the moment and have slowness- not surprising this seems most embraced in the dark winter months.

Perhaps other countries are more prepared from a logistical point of view but perhaps also their view of what this time of year means allows them to appear more at one with the elements. – there is no bad weather – only bad clothing !

Next week the snow will clear for most of us and the routine and pressures of day to day life will resume – I will be interested to observe the impact this will have on my mind-set. Certainly I have enjoyed this slow time that snow time brings whilst of course being mindful of those who have experienced hardship or loss because of it.

 

As always have a mindful and happy week

Ali x

Random Acts of Kindness..

A Pleasant Surprise

Last week we explored the topic of Random Acts of Kindness. There is now an official day 17th February in which individuals are encouraged to carry out these small acts and this is lovely but it got me thinking ..

Why do we need a day in which to practise kindness? Should we not be practising kindness on a daily basis without thought of repayment or agenda?

As I explored the world of the web in search of these recorded acts what I noticed was that we are hit so much more frequently with acts of cruelty.. everywhere on every news page there are headlines of terrible things which have been done to others. Yes there have been some natural disasters and some tragic accidents but on  the main we are looking at a web filled with hate stories.  It can appear as if we are inherently bad .. the world seems very small and a very scary place with no escape from the atrocities which have occurred.

Is it really then any surprise when people are taken aback from kindness from others?

Human beings seem programmed now to expect the worst from others and step back and take stock when someone does something just good. I recalled in my FB Live how I went into a well known coffee shop and simply because I looked up from my phone and I wasn’t deaf to their words ( no headphones) – I actually made some small talk and I smiled that I got a free coffee.. they were surprised by my kindness and manners and I was equally surprised by their generosity.

People spoke of how individuals were surprised if eye contact was made in the street – some thought is a pre curser to being attacked … and yet  as I searched through the stories I saw that actually faith perhaps could be restored – there were stories of providing help for the homeless , of work done for charities by those being treated or effected by life changing conditions , volunteering and communities coming  together . I noticed that in stories of dreadful tragedy underneath there were the aftermath stories of the people who supported each other and would not be broken.

And it occurred to me that many of these are done without agenda and without need for sharing – just because .. On the other hand one of my listeners raised the point of why we have so many people wanting to share terrible events. For me the answers are two fold – firstly we should admit that we look for drama to read – and drama sells – we only need to look at how the talent shows all seem to be based on the X-Factor story – the worse the story and background the more people route for them. However I also believe that people share for genuine reasons – to share their story to help others and show that people can overcome and that people are not alone in their struggles.

So I guess my closing comments are that you can look beyond the bad things , you can find those acts of true kindness and remember that a small act of kindness can truly make a change in someone’s life – don’t wait until next February 17th before you act.

Have a blessed and mindful week . Ali x

Stressed and Overwhelmed

It can happen to us all …. 

If last week saw me feeling like I had lost my mojo a bit, this week saw me heading to totally overwhelm and it was and is time to make some changes.. I was over the moon to have been selected the key speaker for the Tower of London Feminist Fete and yet whilst this should have spurred me on and relit my motivation it seemed to do the exact opposite. I was ignoring the pebbles and the signs that I needed downtime and this week the boulder came along and rolled right over me !

I woke early ( very early ) on Monday morning with a list of things I hadn’t done churning in my mind , things I needed to do .. should do and was behind on .. my morning routine has gone out of the window and I dozed fitfully on and off until the very last minute before needing to wake up my son and get him ready for pre school – all in a quite a brain fog . After one client it seemed the universe had listened because a scheduled photo shoot and a further client all wanted to reschedule .. did I use this time to be uber productive and plough through my list  – study and make notes and plan ?

No I did not ! – I said thank you very much and crawled back to my bed emerging a couple of hours later to binge watch original Will and Grace . I took the day off ! I thought that would be enough … I was so wrong ..

Tuesday came and I had things to do but I still couldn’t shake the feeling of exhaustion and questioned constantly why I was not totally #onit with the projects I have lined up.. and so we are here on Thursday and I am realising that it is not going to be a quick fix and I need to start practising what I am preaching !

I am in overwhelm – the stress that comes when you have loads to do  which should be great but actually leads you to simply wanting to put the duvet over your head.. ( which I did on Monday). And I am right when I say it won’t be fixed over night but I have taken steps which I hope in turn might help you if you are feeling this way ..

Firstly I have asked for help – I have booked meetings with key people such as my uni lecturer , my book coach and my business mentor . I know that meeting with them will be productive in terms of planning and give the confidence boost to see what I have already achieved and can build on.  I bit the bullet with uni and asked for an extension also – I haven’t done that all year but I know that it’s needed and will take some of the pressure off.

I did something else I don’t normally do and I backtracked on a commitment to be at someone’s event – I knew I was already double booked and it would be a mad rush to prep and I made a good choice to make life slightly easier for myself.

I outsourced – I looked through all the meetings and 121 requests and I asked someone I trust to help me do that and take it all over.

I allocated short periods of time to completing some key pieces of work so I felt I had achieved something.

I also gave myself a break on the – ‘I am not exercising enough and I am not getting up early enough ‘ nag that we often have constantly going on – when I could sleep in I have done that . When I have wanted to watch Loose Women because my brain needs a break – I have done that ..

Plus I have unsubscribed to social media groups where I am constantly seeing how productive other people are being .. because that just wasn’t helping!

And today I have looked back over the last few days and I have said actually you have still achieved a lot – you saw all your clients , you found a new home for your community group and a bunch of other stuff that needed to be done ..and everyone is safe and well .. so I have given myself a break again .

Like so many of you I am one person juggling many things and overwhelm is your brains way of saying – this is enough now.. I didn’t listen to those first signs so my brain did it’s job and it upped the stakes until I couldn’t ignore it anymore. I know that if I tried to keep going the way I had been I will be on the floor. In our society we see so much pressure to be on point all of the time – with very little downtime. We talk of self care but we pack our schedules with appointments and our self care can become stressful in itself- am I meditating every day , am I prepping the right foods , do I take down time and read the right books .. we can start to self care in a way that is all about achieving and therefore loses the benefit.

I don’t have all the answers and I am not going to plan to stick to a routine that I may not keep but I am going to keep making small changes , be mindful of the messages my body and brain are sending and see where that takes me …

 

Playing By Whose Rules ?

In the ongoing campaign for equal rights are we now having to conform to a new set of rules ?

Slightly different vibe this week but it’s a topic which has been on my mind a lot and will continue to be in the coming months.  I am currently in study mode ( no change there) but I am studying this time a lady known as Leonora Cohen.

Perhaps not as famous as one of her counter parts Emily Pankhurst – Leonora is known as The Tower Suffragette. In February of 1913 Leonora gained access as a visitor to the Tower of London and entered the Jewel House – where she took an iron bar from under her coat and promptly smashed the case containing the The Insignia of the Order of Merit – wrapped around the bar was note explaining that this was to ask for Deeds – Not Words and raise awareness of the ongoing campaign to gain the right to vote for women – something that would take a further 5 years to even start to become legal.

The Suffragettes and the less prominent but just as passionate Suffragists were indeed campaigning for equal voting rights – the chance to have a voice. This movement for equal right and the ongoing Feminist movement continue to this day and of course there has been much in the news recently regarding both gender pay gap and continued sexual harassment of women in the workplace.

I see my self as a feminist . Certainly I am a keen advocate for women to achieve and parts of my business are set up specifically to enable women from all backgrounds to do this But I am also I will admit a little nervous now of the word and I also wonder if my own views are up to date and this has been brought into question all the more by 2 things which may at first not appear linked  – the banning of the board girls in F1 and Darts and the fact that this week I was asked by Historical Royal Palaces to be a lead speaker in their up and coming recreation of the 1909 Feminist Fete – speaking about women achieving , raising confidence and discussing the way the campaign is now being continued in present day.

It is of course an amazing honour to bring my Roar workshop to the Tower of London – and I had a most engaging conversation with Rosanagh from their learning department on the way women in history have been portrayed and treated by the institutions such as the Tower and how we should start to learn their real stories.

So where is the link – well because I, like it seems many women I have spoken to, am baffled by the recent ban on women carrying the board at the events mentioned. For me equality and feminism is also about choice . The right to choose my occupation , the right to be seen as I wish to be seen. For sure educating women about  equal opportunities and allowing them from an early age to understand options can be limitless is vitally important. The right to be heard, the be paid equally and for parents to have childcare options which do not then effect career or pay structure – this all must be addressed.But when we start to dictate what is right when there is no exploitation and there is a clear choice – and we then remove that choice – I feel uncomfortable. I feel as though we are in a society which now wants to have everyone be included but then makes a lot of rules and labels to ensure people then conform to beliefs which are seen to be right. Who decided this wasn’t right , who was offended , who are the They that can make these types of decisions for other people.

I will give another example of where I may be out of touch – I was very happy to take my husbands name and yet a friend was just recently telling me how someone berated her for an archaic system.. which brings me back to choice, if you don’t want to – then don’t but there is almost a unspoken thing which states that there is a right choice and a wrong choice and if you are on the wrong side are you a feminist ? .. and don’t get me started on the recent story of some poor women who asked for ideas for her husbands sandwich’s which she CHOOSES to make daily – and instead of answers such as ham and mustard she got a whole host of opinions about how she must be oppressed , was not working with the sisterhood and what was wrong with her life. Why must we assume that she is oppressed or forced and why can we not just simply accept that women make choices in many aspects of their lives .. some will fit our views and some won’t . Can this woman a feminist ? – I believe she can – others won’t.

Choice was what we wanted – the right to say how we lived our lives and yet now we seem to putting pressure back on ourselves to conform to a new set of rules….   And choice is my point with recent ban. We have removed choice and anyone who disgrees risks being seen as a bit behind the times. Are the women who have helped place the ban feminists or or the women who worked in the industry , strong indpendant women – are they feminists ?

By the way whilst my head may be very much on the chopping board here I will also say  say I find a wolf whistle very flattering – it is isn’t degrading to me and there is a clear difference between harassment and a wolf whistle which  for me brings a smile to my face!  .. btw it appears it is still OK for women to make comments about men ? !

So as a plan my talk for the Tower on the 13th May and I consider the debates I have in my Roar workshops I find myself questioning some of the new rules of the world we live in – where it will go and of course whether I may be at the grand old age of 44.5 already out of touch.  I am looking forward to some lively discussions at the May event and I remain firmly interested in where we shall see future generations heading and in ensuring women can truly be the person they wish to be… and I wonder what Leonora would have thought of the world we live in and whether she would feel we had made progress?

The Other Side of Darkness

Overcoming and Working Through Depression.

It was an emotional start to the week in Bemoore as my Life Challenges radio show hosted the amazing Hannah Armitage of Mum’s Life. She is now making her name as an on-line influencer – Hannah is confident , well presented and bubbly. It was a delight to interview her – and she is a radio presenter in her own right! So it was a honour that Hannah chose to talk about an event in her past that led to depression and her overcoming through therapy. It may also have been potentially a surprise to those  that see her public persona.that Hannah had not always felt like the confident sparkly young woman she presented herself as.

However it is not an uncommon story – many individuals will be able to put on their game face, get out there and be the person they need to be – all the while hiding the feelings which can be all-consuming and prevent them from embracing what life has to offer.

I personally held down a very tough role whilst battling on a daily basis negativity and massive lows. When I asked women what achieving meant to them on the original launch of my webpage someone said – just getting out of the bed in the morning. I get that ! …

Where Does it Come From?

Depression can come over someone for many reasons but two types are the depression caused by experiencing a specific event which you can remember and pin point as a starting point. The other feels as though it just appeared and you cannot understand what has happened to cause it. This could be due to chemical changes in your body – a physical process you are going through ( think of post natal depression for example) or it could be that there was an event you experienced and you are not able to recall it because it happened when you were very young or your memory has chosen to suppress it..

Depression itself can feel a very lonely place and yet it is the world’s leading  mental health problem and in 2013 a survey by mental health.org showed it to be the leading cause for disability in 26 countries. Scary as those statistics are the fact is you are not alone and there is no shame in seeking support.

What To Look For ?

symptoms vary according to individuals – ranging from just not feeling themselves to insomnia or the need to always sleep , changes in relationship with foods ( not eating enough or binge eating) , leading to poor concentration and lack of energy, feelings of guilt and a drop in confidence and self-worth. People will describe at a physical tangible thing which is upon them and Winston Churchill famously described it as his black dog which followed him.

People may experience strange thoughts and or dreams – remind me to tell my own story of the chimp that I created which became the big boulder of a hint that it was time I got myself sorted !

What Can I Do?

We are thankfully seeing a big change in people being able to talk about mental health problems and sharing your feelings and thoughts is the first step to getting support.

Find someone you can simply confide in and also see your GP who will help to identify what additional support will help. This could involve medication and or counselling or therapy.

Take small steps to review what is going on in life – make time to look after yourself and start to look for those small but important positives that you have on a daily basis – even getting out of the bed in the morning is a big achievement so celebrate it.

Overall listen to your gut instinct. You will get small signs that things are not right and if you try to ignore them they will just grow.. Oprah talks of listening to the sand and the pebbles otherwise they will become rocks and then a boulder which will come hit you upside the head.

There is so much I could write about this topic and a blog just doesn’t do it justice but if you want on-line support why not come over to my FaceBook Group Bemoore -Reconnections where there are loads of hints and tips and lots of fabulous people supporting each other.

My final message is that recovery is possible. Through initial medication , therapy and support I ( just like Hannah) was able to overcome and create a life filled with purpose – it actually led me to where I am today supporting others to be able to do the same.

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