Theresa Russell Counselling
Counsellor based in Lyme Regis, West Dorset and Axminster, East Devon

Feelings

Try welcoming in your feelings and actually making friends with them. Just as you would with a guest that you had invited into your house. Spend time with them and embrace the experience. Stay present and notice, seeing what they have to say. Remember, feelings are neither good nor bad, they just are and it is ok to feel exactly as you do.

The Guest House

This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.

A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
As an unexpected visitor.

Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they’re a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.

The dark thought, the shame, the malice,
meet them at the door laughing,
and invite them in.
Be grateful for whoever comes,
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.
- Rumi



Boundaries

Setting, healthy flexible boundaries in any relationship means:
- Being your own person.
- Accepting responsibility for your own happiness.
- Communicating open and honestly and asking for what you need.
- Focussing on the best qualities in each other and respecting difference.
- Maintaining a sense of balance in your separateness and togetherness.
- Realising that relationships inevitably change and may even end.



Integration

Integrating mind and body is integral to being creative, productive and fully alive in each moment. This means not getting lost in our thoughts as we walk, cook, drive and generally go about our daily business of living. Adopting regular mindfulness practice is essential to the development of mind/body awareness. Realising how inseparable our mind and physical body are, in creating perceptions and experiences of life, means we are greater empowered to create personal wellbeing.



Joy

What does joy mean to you? Repeating the word joy and reflecting on its meaning can actually help create the feeling. Say it over and over again, varying the speed, tone and tempo. Notice how your body feels when you do this exercise. Does your face relax? Does your chest expand and your heart feel lighter? Conjure up images in your mind and experience the feeling of joy associated with people, places and things.



Self-compassion

Are you hard on yourself and caught up in getting things 'right' rather than having love and compassion for yourself? Do you beat yourself up and find it hard to accept that you are 'good enough'? Try this online test and see just how self-compassionate you are.
Pema Chodron writes, 'Compassion isn’t some kind of self-improvement project or ideal that we’re trying to live up to. Having compassion starts and ends with having compassion for all those unwanted parts of ourselves, all those imperfections that we don’t even want to look at'.



Wild Geese by Mary Oliver

Very often the words of a poem can speak to us and offer insights and encouragement. Wild Geese by Mary Oliver sums up the need for our own self acceptance and being 'good enough'. Metaphor and analogy invites us to be brave enough to admit our own vulnerability and practise self compassion and forgiveness. The poem acknowledges our connectedness with each other and the natural world. It invites us to notice the beauty within and to value and cherish who we are as individuals in relation to the bigger scheme of things and, above all else, not to be a victim but to believe in ourselves and follow our dreams.

You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
for a hundred miles through the desert repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting-
over and over announcing your place
In the family of things.



This Too, Shall Pass

Remind yourself that whatever is happening in your life at this moment, the good and the not so good, it will pass as surely as night follows day. If things are tough for you at this moment, then hang on in there, it will eventually pass. If you are enjoying a good spell right now, then be thankful but realistic and know that it too will pass. The secret is personal resilience and the ability to ride the waves of change, the ups and downs of life. Just do your best and go with the natural ebb and flow of life.



'When you lose touch with inner stillness, you lose touch with yourself. When you lose touch with yourself, you lose yourself in the world. Your innermost sense of self, of who you are, is inseparable from stillness. This is the I Am that is deeper than name and form'. - Eckhart Tolle

If you tend to attach negativity when using the words 'I Am', as in 'I am unhappy' or 'I am no good' then it creates stuckness and limitation. Encourage positivity by affirming that you are the power of 'I Am' and fill yourself with a greater capacity for transformation.
Try meditating with 'I AM' as the focus and pay attention to your breathing. Say to yourself, 'I' on the in breath and 'AM' on the out breath. It will help if you focus on this practice for as long as you can. As you continue with your day, bring yourself back to the 'I AM' whenever you wish and notice an increased sense of peace and wellbeing.



Do not let the behaviour of others spoil your inner peace. - Dalai Lama

When we rely on the behaviour of others to make us feel happy and content we inevitably set ourselves up for frustration and disappointment. Our own sense of inner peace has nothing to do with external circumstances but everything to do with how we respond in any given situation. Start today with an attitude of gratitude and set the intention that you will make the best of whatever happens; vow to retain a sense of inner peace and calm throughout.

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