Working together

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”

Margaret Mead

As a volunteer for the non-profit Museum of Happiness, I offer playful, gentle and compassionate workshops and facilitation to help smart, sensitive individuals;

  • Uncover greater stress resilience through self-kindness, mindfulness and affirmation of common humanity;
  • Become unstuck through discovering, shifting, or reframing internal stories and beliefs.

The gentle power of self-care

“I know God won’t give me anything I can’t handle. I just wish he wouldn’t trust me quite so much.”

Mother Teresa

Everything I do is built around these three words: nurture then manage.

We need to nurture ourselves in small, regular, sometimes creative ways before we can successfully implement any plans or strategies to handle the stress in our lives.

Why? Because when we’re stressed our emotions divert our brain’s resources. We end up starving the rational part of the brain that takes more considered decisions.

Until our fight-or-flight response is reduced, trying to manage ourselves is like trying to turn down the oven in a kitchen that’s currently on fire; misguided, inefficient, and somebody’s gonna get burned. Luckily, self-compassion is our emotional fire-brigade.

Building stress resilience through self-care involves the three areas of self-compassion which Dr Kristen Neff has identified; self-kindness, mindfulness and common humanity.

  • Self-kindness: Being friendly, generous and considerate towards ourselves. Unlike numbing, which often leaves us feeling guilty, self-kindness and comfort leaves us feel restored, renewed and peaceful.
  • Mindfulness: Which can be summed up in one word: notice. By noticing our thoughts and how we feel, without being caught up or impressed, we can see that we’re something separate from our thoughts and emotions. Meditation is simply giving ourselves the time and space to notice while we put our more usual distractions on hold.
  • Common humanity: Accepting that we’re only human, and that we’re not alone in being human. We all feel scared, a failure, too much or not enough in various areas of our lives. The shame of those feelings keeps us isolated and disconnected from ourselves and others. Common humanity helps us know that what we fear set us apart from others actually connects us to others through shared feelings and experiences.

Life happens, and just keeps happening. I can share simple strategies to be kinder to ourselves when it does.

Uncovering our stories

“If I could give men and women in relationship and leaders and parents one hack, I would give them; ‘The story I’m making up [is],’ .. [it says] ‘I want you to see me and understand me and hear me, and knowing what you really mean is more important to me than being right or self-protecting.'”

Brene Brown

We’re wired for stories; they’re how we make sense of the world and our place in it.

When we’re stuck it’s because we’re lost in our story’s Second Act; something happens, we’re called to take painful action, but we keep resisting and trying and find an easier way out.

We resist because of the stories we tell ourselves about ourselves; ‘I’m strong’, ‘I’m weak’, ‘I can do this’, ‘I’m not enough’.  Whether we’re conscious of them or not, these narratives colour how we feel about ourselves and the world.

Unchecked, we’re left with our emotions and actions becoming reactions to “the story I’m making up”, the meaning we give to what’s happening.

Through perceptive questioning and playful humour I can bring a new perspective on old stories and help write new ones.

I’ve delivered workshops on stress resilience, becoming unstuck and elevator/personal pitches to The University of Liverpool’s Institute of Infection and Global Health, the WI and The South Hill Centre’s Executive Forum respectively.

I’m now a volunteer for the Museum of Happiness (museumofhappiness.org) for whom I’ve delivered occasional workshops on self-care and local pop-up events on happiness.

Contact me if you’d like to attend or host my next workshop or event. I’d love to meet you!