As children we rely on our parents for everything – literally for our survival.
This means that we tend to believe what our parents tell us.
We strive to support our relationship with them (our attachment) over our relationship with ourselves (our authenticity)…
Forty year old Sara* is having a meltdown in regard to applying for a job that she’s well qualified for and that she knows she’d be good at.
Each time she goes to apply she finds herself distracted and is unable to complete the application. She says she feels like her body wants to collapse but she can’t understand why.
Working with this through Embodied Processing we track this back to her memories of feeling fearful as a young child and being told by her mother to ‘not to be so stupid’ and ‘to stop being such a sook’.
Since our parents are who we look up to as children and we rely on them in order to survive, we tend to take in these messages as beliefs.
In this case the message from her mother translated from ‘I’m stupid/a sook to feel fear’ too ‘I’m wrong to feel fear’.
It became shame, a disconnect from her authentic or ‘true’ self… and this was held within her body, holding her back from what the more adult part of her knew she was capable of.
We worked together to support this younger part of her, to see, give space and give a voice to it. Sara was then more able to move on with her life and apply for the job.
'Until our childhood beliefs can be uncovered and examined they will have lifelong effects'
... often creating blocks or a sense of stuckness... as it did for Sara until we were able to work through it together.
Wishing you well in this crazy human life.
Looking for support to move through stuckness? Book a free 30min strategy session with me and we'll see if we're a fit.
(*details changed to protect privacy)
This message is for those who are working through a long term relationship ending either with a partner or maybe a relative or long time friend. It comes from my own lived experience both directly and in witnessing and helping others…
When a relationship ends there are likely still parts of us that loved a past part of them. While that past part of them may no longer exist, the energetics of that part of the relationship and that part in us, may still exist and often requires some processing. For example the younger version of ourselves likely felt very different about the younger version of our ex partner/friend than we likely do now and as we process it all those memories tend to flood back in and bring up grief (sometimes considerable grief).
The more years there are, the more memories there are. A song in the supermarket may trigger a pleasant memory and we are reminded of what was but we don’t have now… because things have changed… we’ve changed… they’ve changed… We don’t have to make anything right or wrong. Just simply hold an awareness that we’re grieving for what was. There is a part of us that still feels in love (and can’t just ‘unlove’). Welcoming this in and making it okay, along with an awareness and strong boundaries around what is now in the present is key to healing these parts of ourselves.
Wishing you well in this crazy human life.
Looking for support to move through a challenge? Book a free 30min strategy session with me and we'll see if we're a fit.
It’s raining today. Here are our thoughts on the message a rainy day might carry…
A rainy day can be a beautiful thing because it encourages us to stay indoors, to turn inwards, towards ourselves. To almost force ourselves to be with ourselves. Rain is much like tears, tears help us turn back inwards to ourselves. On the other hand, a sunny day tends to turn us outward, external of ourselves as we get out and ‘do’ various outdoor based activities.
It makes sense that most people don't like the rain since most of us cannot be with ourselves much like we sometimes struggle to be with our tears. So we long for the sunny days to feel good again by moving outward of ourselves and feeling the beauty of a sunny day.
But if we connect to ourselves regardless of the weather (or external events) we can find beauty within. In every season there is beauty.
Wishing you well in this crazy human life.
Joanne and Lana x
Looking for guidance on going within, connecting with yourself and living a more authentic life? Book a free 30min strategy session with Joanne and we'll see if we're a fit.
While it has been worth it to come to where I am now, it does not mean that there hasn’t been times of pain. Aching, sobbing, heartfelt pain. Occasionally it still comes now. A reminder that I am human. I allow myself to feel it, to wash over me, to process it and it naturally moves. On the other side is peace.
The poem below describes my last few years and was written while working with arts therapy on myself. I am sharing it as a reminder that it does take courage to grow, it does hurt, their will inevitably be pain… but when one can work with it, it does move… and there is the most brilliant light at the end of the tunnel. This is the human journey, and even in its times of apparent ‘ugliness’ it is somehow beautiful because it all ultimately brings us to rediscover our wondrous authentic and full self… we experience what it is truly and fully like to be human on this planet… the painful lows and the exuberantly joyful ups interspersed with the peace in between… and not this numbed out shell that so many people on this earth become trapped in (including where I once was).
A growing fracture
Becomes a divide
A valley too big to bridge
That fills with lava
Boiling, raging, hot and damaging
For both of us
It burns, does its damage
Leaving a brittle, fragile landscape
A barren nothingness
That demands escape… space, distance
So tears can begin
And pour in for what once was
For a past of hopes and dreams
But painfully remembered
Until they can be released
Let go of
With me from this divide
A fresh slate
Awaits my writing
And exciting new beginnings unfold
Following the passing of a much loved Uncle and his choice to NOT have a funeral (or any sort of remembrance service), I am reminded of the role ritual plays in our human experience. While I totally respect his choice, I found myself feeling a little peeved that I wouldn’t be able to celebrate his life with my relatives. Humans have had rituals from the beginning of time around all sorts of things. Some are somewhat dubious but others such as weddings and funerals serve a purpose by helping us get together and both feel and begin to process the relevant emotions. They also mark beginnings and endings. Rituals may also be used to open and close gatherings, even small ones. In therapy I often use some sort of ritual to open and close sessions. These are usually simple and short ‘presence’ based exercises with the opening one often designed to help relax the client and the closing one to help ready the client for going out into the world again after what can be quite a deep and sometimes emotional experience.
Oh and I celebrated my Uncle’s life by journaling, writing a letter to him in the afterlife (which will remain in my journal) and sharing some of my memories of him with a cousin whom I’m very close too… in this way I created my own ritual, and it helped with my grieving process.
Wishing you well in this crazy human life.
PS Are you going through a challenge (big or small) and/or perhaps feeling a bit stuck?... Check out my website and if it resonates, book yourself a free 30 minute zoom call here so we can have a chat about how I might be able to help you.
This is a message for those who have been through relationship break ups or endings with partners or maybe family members or friends they were once close too. It’s one that resonates with me and that I reminded myself of regularly when I processed the end of my own long term relationship…
Love does not just go away. It is okay (perhaps even healthy) to still hold love for someone when a relationship ends, although this is with the proviso of having it balanced with STRONG boundaries including an awareness as to why that relationship ended. Hating someone, I believe is a bit like the post I did about holding a grudge… it tends to just poison us and potentially have no to little effect on the other apart from potentially inflaming things.
I reiterate that we do still need to create and hold our boundaries. This may include ‘no contact’ as we’re likely to be very fragile early on and feeling strong emotions that can quickly become overwhelming, so creating a sense of safety within ourselves is crucial and more easily done when at a distance from the other. We also have no control over the other and where they may be at, so it’s important to be mindful of protecting ourselves.
Having been through a long term relationship break up I have the lived experience as well as the therapy training to help others in similar situations. If you are in need of support after a relationship breakdown and if working with me resonates, book yourself a free 30 minute zoom call here so we can have a chat about how I might be able to help you.
Wishing you well in this crazy human life.
In the first of a series of vlogs, Joanne and Lana discuss the theme of relationships, touching on navigating relationship, anger, perception, astrology, human design, triggers and more.
We all want to feel joy. It’s important to find and feel something that feels good to us because it keeps us in balance especially when there are so many challenging things that come up in this life here on this planet, and particularly in these current times. We tend to cling to these type of warm feelings. We don’t want them to go away… but like all emotions, they are designed to flow, so are best felt with as much presence as possible, rather than bringing in the fear of them leaving and not actually experiencing them fully in the first place! We humans get so caught up in the concept of time…
I feel joy when I’m out walking in nature with my dog. I contemplate how he has no real concept of time… I imagine asking him ‘what’s the time?’ and him perhaps answering ‘the time is now’ as he moves away from me to delight in something he can smell or taste or preferably roll in... Animals are such a great example for us of being in the present moment and leaning into it.
So next time you’re feeling really good try fully feeling that moment and allowing that experience to fully arise. Oh and make sure you create some space in your life to do things that bring you joy, it’s crucial for your well being.
Wishing you well in this crazy human life.
PS When do you feel joy?
We hold a grudge when someone hurts us and we can’t, or maybe aren’t ready to face the pain of that past interaction (or maybe what that interaction triggered in us). We have this idea that we can somehow transfer our hurt back onto that person by holding a grudge against them, and that will make us feel better. But does it ever make us feel better? And does it actually hurt the other person?
The saying above suggests otherwise… our expectation of hurting the other person is often unrealized and instead we just end up hurting ourselves. Having the pain stuck in us ends up being like a festering wound with a band-aid over it. The hurt does not go away, it’s just suppressed, waiting to boil over at some future point in time when a similar experience triggers it.
So next time you feel like holding a grudge consider what it might be doing to you. Look at the emotion behind the situation that’s set off this feeling. Give yourself the self care so that you can process this emotion and the hurt behind it. Seek support if you need guidance on how to work your way through this, and ensure you are well enough resourced to cope with what might come up.
Wishing you well in this crazy human life.
Nothing stays the same. Everything is designed to move, to flow, to change. Emotions are no different. They are literally energy in motion. We try to cling to the ones we perceive as positive… such as ‘joy’… only to find the more we cling, the more they tend to go. We attempt to repel, push away or push down the ones we perceive as negative… such as ‘grief’ only to find they pop up elsewhere – again and again.
Ensuring that you are feeling safe to do so… allow yourself to feel your emotions in the moment as much as you can (note it may be necessary to do this in small chunks depending on the strength of emotion, and what might be underlying it*) and eventually they pass.
*The more painful and/or ingrained emotions (those arising from traumatic imprints) may take a number of times to slowly be felt, balanced with knowing what to do for yourself if or when it becomes too much… this is where a trauma informed therapist can help guide you. A well trained therapist will firstly guide you in methods of finding safety within your body, either directly or through various other ways, and from this position will guide you to begin feeling into the discomfort of the more challenging emotions, returning to safety as needed, until eventually the emotion reduces in intensity and eventually flows away. This is a slow, gentle process that will take a number of sessions.
For more information on how this might work for you book a free strategy call with me.
Adverts are full of unsolicited advice, both on TV, in papers and online. TV programmes and movies model it and generally we are encouraged in our culture to give advice, whether asked for or not. While there’s absolutely nothing wrong with offering advice when it’s asked for (because we all have our different strengths), offering it without asking first and in a manner of ‘I know best’ with an expectation that the other then needs to follow our advice, is not helping anyone…
At the very least, giving advice when someone hasn’t asked for it, disempowers them from coming up with their own solutions. At worst, it can create shame in that person if they take it to imply that they are ‘not able to look after themselves’, a bit like a small child cannot, and this can be sometimes even be taken one step further (particularly by highly sensitive people) as ‘I’m not good enough’. Such shame creation (particularly by well meaning parents) can lead to major things such as poor career choice and the resultant, huge amount of unhappiness.
So please, next time you have well meaning advice (and I reiterate…there’s nothing wrong with this), ensure you’re either responding to someone who’s already asked for it or you ask them first if they’d like your suggestions… and make sure you have no expectation around whether they follow it or not (perhaps even encouraging them to make up their own mind/follow their own intuition etc).
Wishing you well in this crazy human journey.
I imagine asking my ex if he ever thinks of me and him answering… ‘Geez Jo, we spent 34 years together, of course I think of you’… my eyes moisten until the droplets of tears coalesce and then roll down my cheeks. I wonder what could have been if he’d been willing to do the emotional work.
I’ve spent the last 1 ½ years healing from a marriage break up. I’ve been working with my emotions, using arts therapy (which I’m trained in), nature immersion and various other modalities such as qi gong and mindful self compassion. It’s been quite a rollercoaster journey of extreme lows and joyous highs (that I’d never felt before). In retrospect I now see how numbed out I was before.
How did I do it? I learned to sit with my emotion. To hold space for it, and allow it to be there. I learned to fully express and allow my emotions through arts therapy… movement, sound, visual art, sculpture, creative writing, poetry and more. I learned to sit with myself and just be there. At times I sobbed so hard my body shook. I learned to connect to a higher part of myself that could witness and allow my emotions. I learned to connect to and have compassion for that little girl inside me who was deeply, deeply hurt… and to support and nurture her through it all. And gradually the pain, the grief, the anger lessened as I reconnected to all the different parts of myself. I began to feel peace and joy in this life again.
I continue to do this incredibly healing work on myself, acknowledging that this work is an ongoing process. I am in a good place now, feeling better than I ever have so after a pilot test run with my first few clients, I am now opening up to work with others using these techniques that worked for me. I am currently offering a six session (one per week) online programme where you work directly with me. It is tailored specifically to each individual so we would have a free presession zoom chat to see if our working together would be a fit for you, as well as to help me gauge your specific needs. The programme is currently discounted when paid upfront.
I see many, many people struggling with emotions like I was. Struggling to contain them and often getting sick with it. Some plaster over their repressed emotions with addictions such as drinking alcohol or working far too hard. Many are completely numbed out… they feel very little, like they’re living life on autopilot, and one day they may wonder where their life went. I don’t want this for you. If this resonates please click this link to book your free 30 minute zoom pre-session consultation and come see if this programme might be a fit for you.
Taking a step back and witnessing or observing ourselves when we become triggered is an important step in helping our emotional well being.
This can be challenging especially initially so please go easy on yourself... a momentary pause before a reaction is a good start, with the reaction reflected on later.
Things to observe and/or reflect on:
At some stage in your past a traumatic imprint was created. Trauma is what happens within us and not what happened to us. Various events in our lives, even apparently ‘minor’ ones (especially if they are repeated), can deeply affect us and bring up various emotions. When we perceive a ‘new’ event as similar to our past imprinted event, we become triggered and tend to repeat the same reaction we have in the past.
Breaking these patterns begins with awareness, being able to feel into our body and allowing the emotion to pass before responding. All much easier said than done!
Wishing you all the best in this crazy human life journey.
Most of us think of trauma as ‘BIG T’ traumas such as major car accidents, loss of a family members or friends, sexual abuse etc but there are many many things that traumatize us as we go through life - right from in utero when we may have been traumatized by taking on an unconscious belief from struggling parents or to being bullied at school or later in a work situation. More recently we are likely to have been traumatized around the lockdowns, the fear of getting sick, the fear of injections, being excluded or having friends excluded, job threats, division due to different opinions and much more.
I believe we are all traumatized. The only difference is the degree, and the situation that led to it. Trauma is not so much what happens to us but what happens within us (it is often subconscious and plays out in our belief patterns, triggers and emotional reactions). So in order for us to start feeling better we must firstly acknowledge the possibility of its existence, then we can begin to process our triggers and associated emotions, uncover our unconscious belief patterns and process the unresolved trauma, and heal.
Anger is shamed, minimized and portrayed as a ‘bad’ or ‘negative’ emotion in our culture. In my childhood, I was never allowed to be angry, it was shutdown. I never saw my mother angry but I did witness many frighteningly, explosive outbursts of anger in my father. As a parent myself, a similar pattern occurred in my household and it’s only been quite recently that I’ve learned to sit with my fear of other’s (particularly male’s) anger and to even be aware and allow my own anger without minimizing it or worse still, suppressing it, as I’d done in childhood.
I now realize that anger serves an important purpose and it is pretty well always justified. It’s what’s done with it that is sometimes inappropriate, and that’s where it gets its bad rap particularly on TV and in the media, where it’s almost always associated with violence.
So what might be the meaning behind anger?
We’re doing something we really do not want to do (or we’re not doing something we do want to do)… in other words we’re violating our own boundary
OR our needs aren’t being met in some way or other.
How might we appropriately channel anger?
Creating space to sit with and process our anger without harming ourselves or others is key.
Expressing the anger through art creation, sound, movement and/or journaling (especially free writing) is helpful.
Breathwork to self soothe and calm the nervous system down if we’re feeling dysregulated.
When the anger has passed (it usually passes quickly) revisiting the boundary that was violated (or in some cases what boundary needs to be created) and then (if appropriate) expressing to whoever else was involved, what the unmet need or boundary violation was.
Were you taught to suppress anger in childhood too?
by guest blogger @deakeronwheels
I've always been terrified of making mistakes, in fact I used to go into shut down in fear of making mistakes. If mistakes are not seen as life or death and instead are seen as a learning experience they can teach you some incredible things.
Earlier in the day I had gone to speak to someone about a mistake that was made by them that had affected me. Based on my childhood experiences of dealing with others around mistakes I remember feeling angry and scared. I allowed these feelings to be there knowing they were a younger part of me, while trying to hold them in my adult self. When I spoke to the person that made the mistake, they reacted perfectly well and it all got sorted. What I found really interesting was that my feelings towards their mistake felt like a reflection of my feelings towards myself when I had previously made a mistake.
That afternoon I went all the way into town to get some forms signed and realized on my return that I’d forgotten to get one of the forms signed. Just one. I was so bummed because I knew that meant I had to take the whole lot back into town again. But that wasn't really the issue, it was more about the feelings and the identity this created in me, that this mistake brought up. However, this time rather than internalizing my feelings, I allowed them to come up and didn’t shame myself like I would have done in the past. Eventually those feelings passed and I realized there was just going to be the consequence of going back into town to repeat the whole exercise. Frustrating yes, but maybe it might teach me something and it did, because before I'd even had to leave, I bumped into someone who showed me a way that actually made the whole process easier. As a 1/3 profile in human design I am here to learn things and then implement by trial and error. That means I will make mistakes but I am learning that these mistakes help me to understand more efficient ways of doing things. That experience was necessary for me to finally see making mistakes in a positive way and to see just how beautiful it can be when it becomes a way to deepen my connection with myself.
Our ability to deal with mistakes that others make is a reflection of our ability to deal with our own mistakes. The only reason earlier in the day I had felt angry towards the person who made the mistake and was afraid of their reaction to me marking them aware of the mistake, was because when I made mistakes in the past that same anger was towards myself and I was afraid of my own reaction. But in having the awareness earlier in the day that that was an inner child part of me and wasn’t me, I could hold that and still go and speak about the mistake made. But interestingly even when the person reacted calmly like they did, those feelings in me did not leave. They lessened but they were still there. But in having the experience of the afternoon and finally feeling those feelings and forgiving myself for mistakes, those feelings would not be in my energetic field. When someone makes a mistake, I would no longer feel angry at them or feel afraid of their reaction when I pointed it out. Instead I would just go and have an open conversation about the mistake and because I am more okay with making mistakes I would be more forgiving. This ties in with the original quote that we are never truly okay with something unless we are truly okay with it within ourselves. We are never truly okay when someone makes a mistake unless we are truly okay when we make mistakes. We may say it in our words like I did earlier in the day but it will come across as people pleasing because inside of us we are not okay with it. Our energy does not match our words. It’s just like after I made the mistake and I spoke to myself and said it was okay but it didn’t change how I was feeling. It wasn’t until I just allowed the feelings to be felt, no longer took them in as part of my identity (ie no longer shamed myself) and let them go that I could truly say to myself that it was okay because energetically and somatically my body knew too that it really was okay now.
Unlike art simply as a pleasant therapeutic process (what I call art as therapy), arts therapy goes deep into the psyche and can intentionally be used to access our inner knowing.
It does this through the medium of our body, maybe as...
Arts therapy goes beyond words… although it will also ultimately use some words, as a medium to help understand or make sense of what is created.
Arts therapy can also be used to help us understand more deeply about why we might be feeling something. To help us find the message in an emotion.
Here's an example of how arts therapy can be used in this way...
When you work with me, we would extend, expand and explore this further using a range of processes (the one described above is only one of many we might use). This is balanced with our working together to resource you so we can pull back when it becomes too much. Your care is of prime importance and emotional work does take work. So a big part of my supporting you through arts therapy is in resourcing you so you can cope and bring yourself back up when needed. Over time as you learn to gently be with, and work through your emotions, the discomfort around them lessens and we open ourselves up more and more to the higher, better feeling emotions such as peace and joy. We begin to see the world again in a range of colours rather than shades of gray.
Wishing you well
Remember the safety briefing last time you flew on an airplane?
It goes something like this: You’re directed to where the emergency exits are, you’re told to remain calm should the cabin experience sudden pressure loss, where upon oxygen masks will drop down from above your seat. There’ll be a demonstration of how to fit the a mask.
Then, here’s the crucial point: “If you are travelling with children, make sure that you put your own mask on first before helping your children”.
Well the same goes for you and your life when it comes to self care.
You must look after yourself IN ORDER to help others.
Having grown up as the ‘good girl’ among 2 brothers in a conservative family, I was always a people pleaser and, if I was to admit it to myself, I derived a sense of my own ego from being self sacrificing and looking after everyone ahead of myself.
This was to my detriment.
Later, as a Mum I’d often think of myself as a Mother Duck – prepared to put myself into harm’s way for my ducklings aka children.
I thought it was selfish to be different, until I came close to burning out, and I realized I was wrong and that NOT taking time out to care for myself was SELFISH.
I repeat if you do NOT take time out to care for yourself you are being SELFISH!
You are no good to anyone if you cannot be good to yourself! Charity begins at home… with you. Think of yourself being a cup. You need filling before you can overflow out to others. So you need to get out, find and DO whatever fills you up.
For me being in nature fills me up. Coupled with some art creation that to helps me see and feel into the wonder of nature, I'm in my element. Below is a pic me creating a watercolour sketch of the head of the Earnslaw Burn (an overnight hike out Glenorchy way (near Queenstown, NZ).
I watched the news a while back and saw, the tremendous show of solidarity in Paris when around two million people took to the streets... and then I read Marianne Williamson's blog "How Terror Loses and Humanity Wins". Here is an excerpt from it:
"A rally of 2 million people on the streets of Paris is a beautiful show of solidarity, ultimately even more so if it becomes a template for how we live our lives each day. We need to join as brothers and sisters now, not just as a reaction to tragedies, but as a way of preventing tragedies. Every decent man, woman and child at that rally felt like they belonged to something, felt they were part of something, felt they were standing for something meaningful that day... and that is the answer."
Coincidentally I'd not long completed a painting that illustrates this, so it felt appropriate to share it here. It's titled "Remember Our Humanity"...
...and this is the story behind it: My original intention was to illustrate the idea of 'connection' by jigsawing people together. Once I began the concept (on paper), the idea took on a life of its own. Eventually, I produced a unit tessellation of an interconnected man and woman which I repeated and formed into a sphere. This became the initial painting. I could see all sorts of possible interpretations related not only to our connection with each other but to all other life-forms and our responsibility as caretakers of the world. I titled it "Remember Our Humanity", after exploring and linking my work to my answer to "How long will we remain masters of our creations?", a question posed in a design thinking paper I was taking (another whole story!). I added in the white t-shirted figure with the watch to bring in the human concept of linear time (the watch) and -the white shirt - in reference to our responsibility not only to the earth and its nonhuman inhabitants, but to providing peaceful solutions to human conflict (ie not war), which will be essential to ensuring the survival of our species.
May life bring you much love, joy and happiness. May the inevitable challenges you face be endurable and may you realise the gift that you all are to humanity.
Sending you all my love and best wishes.
PS This painting is available as an A4 pigment ink print...click here to see it.