Hello and welcome to my February 2020 newsletter -the month of valentines and a spotlight on relationships!
“Love is nature’s way of giving
A reason to be Living”
From the music score and film “Love is a many splendid thing” by Sammy Fain and Paul Francis Webster 1955
This month of valentines puts the spotlight on relationships and I want to share my thoughts and mindful compassionate approaches to all our relationships-including the most important one of all-the one we have with our self.
Relationships grow and evolve and the most enduring and long lasting relationships are those filled with love and compassion, compromise, tolerance, equanimity, forgiveness, and gratitude.
A Valentine’s message and a story of re connection.
Following the holiday season and moving into the final winter month, I am reminded of the nature and importance of all our relationships. A lot of relationships end or become strained during the festive season, yet many friendships and relationships are rekindled too.
A few years back I was invited to talk on radio Derby about valentines and the impact on couples and also thinking about the wider nature of all our human relationships. It was a very special interview for me as I was able to highlight the importance of all our relationships. I told the story of an enduring friendship that had lasted almost 30 years. This was my friendship with my pen pal from the Netherlands. At the time I was unaware she was listening in to the show and I talked about the fact that we had never met although we had kept in touch and how I would love to meet her one day. She got in touch with the radio show and we arranged to meet on air!
Aleena Naylor was the radio host and we were going to meet that summer and the meeting would be recorded and shared with the radio listeners. Sadly that meeting was not to be, my friend had become seriously ill and we lost touch- I thought I had lost her forever. I missed our connection terribly and prayed for the day we would be reconnected.
A few years past, I never gave up hope, and then one day I got an email…. after almost 40 years, the day finally arrived, and we met. The relationship is so precious to me that distance does not keep our connection apart and we are in regular contact. Why I am telling this story? Because its valentines again and a good reminder to think of all of the people we love in our lives and the very precious nature of human connection.
I think the most important relationship we have is with our self. Mindful self-compassion practice and teaching has taught me so much about how we converse with ourselves and the impact this has on all relationships with others. So, this is a good time to revisit your new years’ resolutions and look towards being kinder to yourself.
One way to do this is by connecting with friends and family. Regularly connecting with others is proven to be beneficial to our emotional well being as we are social creatures. So why not take some time this month to get in touch with old friends or commit to meeting with friends more regularly.
A note on forgiveness
All relationships have their ups and downs as unique individuals come together to share the journey of life through friendship, partnership, family, colleague, neighbourhood, community, and throughout the world. Although we are all unique we do have much in common. Kristin Neff talks about the power of common humanity in her definition of mindful self-compassion and its three distinct elements where she talks about common humanity versus isolation.
The mindful self compassion programme covers many aspects of human relationships, including the pain of disconnection-when we disagree or are hurt by another. Forgiveness is an important aspect of enduring friendships and relationships as none of us are perfect and we all make mistakes, and if we can make allowances for this and are able to accept ourselves and each other just as we are with as little judgement as possible, then relationships can grow stronger from disagreement and reconciliation. You can read more about forgiveness and relationships in my article ” Forgiveness -five steps through mindful self-compassion”
A word about gratitude
One important aspect of the strongest and long lasting relationships is gratitude-appreciation for all the good things we know about others that are in our life-especially those closest to us.
It is so easy to fall into the trap of taking each other for granted. How often do we pick the phone up to call friends or family we haven’t seen in a while, or make firm arrangements to meet on a regular basis? It seems we believe they will always be there…until they are not.
Life is busy and we don’t always have as much time as we would like, and quite often it is relationships that take a back seat when we are raising families, paying bills, and working hard. But friendship is important and connecting with others-we are social beings and flourish in relationship.
As I walked around the supermarket after work tonight , gathering my shopping and realising that I couldn’t reach the top shelves – I looked around for someone to help me – and there was my husband who I had not expected to see as he and I had travelled separately to fill up our cars with fuel for the following day. He had come to look for me and see if I needed help with reaching, carrying, and packing. Now this may not seem such a big deal, but I deeply appreciated this and, it was a very welcome gesture. If you add up all those gestures of kindness and all the things you appreciate about those who are closest to you rather than mistakes and shortcomings, you will never be disappointed and your relationship will be strong.
When we take time to appreciate even the smallest acts of kindness in a relationship and the deep connection with another, we are more resilient and flourish through the support of another.
I thought you might like to have a look at Rick Hanson’s latest offering. His podcast is enlightening-check it out here https://www.rickhanson.net/being-well-podcast-friendly-and-fearless-in-relationships/
Finally, a note on the most important relationship-the one we have with ourselves
It is true that we are our own harshest critic and may often look for fault rather than celebrate our achievements- we tend to compare ourselves with others and most unfavourably. We judge ourselves through imperfections. However, if we were to take away all the parts of ourselves that we didn’t like, and all the mistakes we made in our life then we would not be us- we would only be a part of who we are -not the full and whole version.
But, as Leonard Cohen said “There is a crack in everything, that’s how the light gets in”.
Kristin Neff looked at the difference between self-compassion and self-esteem which is based on striving and comparison rather than acceptance.
If we practice self-compassion and self- care we are more able to contribute to loving relationships and are generally happier and more resilient.
The benefits of mindful self-compassion – an interview with Lauren McQuade
I always think of mindful self compassion as a saving grace for me and am passionate about sharing the benefits. So I was thrilled to be invited to talk on radio Stirling online last week with the lovely Lauren McQuade.
The conversation covered many aspects of Mindful self-compassion and we also focused on the inner critic and how self-compassion helps us to discover the ‘wise voice within ‘ which motivates us for healthy lifestyle changes and letting go of old unwanted habits.
I have put the link here for you to have a listen to https://www.mixcloud.com/SOULKRAFTRADIO/82b-breaking-habits-self-compassion-with-special-guest-annette-boden/
An act of self-care-going on retreat
I am reminded daily of the need to take care and listen to my body as I suffer from fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue. I often go on retreat which nourishes and replenishes me.
The mindful compassion partnership
I am deeply grateful for the opportunity to attend a week long retreat this Spring with Dave Oldham and Tina Gilbert – The mindful compassion partnership has many offerings this year and I have put the link here for the retreats that are planned and I recommend booking early if you would like to attend as places get filled quickly!
Mindful compassion is also important in our working relationships as these are often the relationships we spend most of our time with, and the ones that are not of our choosing, which reminds me of the Miller Williams poem “Compassion” that I quoted in my article on “Forgiveness”
“Have compassion for everyone you meet, even if they don’t want it. What seems conceit, bad manners, or cynicism is always a sign of things no ears have heard, no eyes have seen.
You do not know what wars are going on down there where the spirit meets the bone.”
So, onto my offerings
The dates are confirmed for the 2020 Mindful self-compassion courses and you can find full details and download the application form here.
New relaxation class in Knutsford next 4-week course starts March 4
I am thrilled to be now offering my relaxation class in knutsford, cheshire.
A weekly session of deep relaxation with mindfulness, self-compassion, and guided visualisation.
I have been running these classes for many years now and am pleased to be offering them once again.
You can bring a mat and blanket if you like to lie down but sitting on a chair is also beneficial. The sessions offer a unique opportunity to relax and unwind deeply with experienced and compassionate guidance and learn a powerful technique to help you relax, manage anxiety, sleep well, and generally enjoy an improved sense of well-being.
The venue is 98 King street
When: Wednesdays -the next course of 4 weeks starts March 4
Time: 6.30pm – 7.15pm
Cost: £20 for the four sessions when booking the full four or £7 per class if booking a single class
NB:Places are limited so booking is essential and can be booked up until 5pm on the day.
Payment can be made either via bacs -contact me on 07753 957371 for details
Willersley Mindful self-compassion weekend retreat 2020
These weekends provide a wonderful opportunity to practice self-care and compassion and take some time for you to replenish and rejuvenate and strengthen your relationship with yourself.
This is a beautiful and popular weekend and I am looking forward to delivering this special retreat again this Autumn October 9-11.
NB Deposits are now due for the retreat to reserve your place ! Early booking is recommended as I only have limited spaces so get in touch ASAP and note that just a £50 (non-refundable) deposit secures your place
The Mindful Self Compassion programme 2020 dates now published!
It is good to remember and be drawn to the fact that in amidst the pain and suffering there is always light and enduring beauty when we look mindfully and with gratitude for all that we love that surrounds us in each present moment, all that we accomplish, and all that this precious human life we are given can enjoy.
All MSC courses will now take place in Mid Cheshire and South East Cheshire.
The original ‘six weekly gathering‘ will continue to be held at Disley Quaker meeting in East Cheshire which borders with the High peak. Other gatherings will take place in South Cheshire also as the year progresses.
For more information about this empowering programme take a look here
NB: Places are limited get in touch here to learn more and get the application form. You can also download the application form here
As always, do get in touch if you are looking for support and help. My clinics in Knutsford, Poynton, and Macclesfield are open and I welcome you.
In my private practice I teach mindfulness based compassion focused- approaches alongside psychotherapy and cognitive counselling to bringing about change and improving quality of life and I have the privilege of seeing huge change and success from these approaches. So do get in touch or call me on 07753 957371 if you would like help with anxiety issues, low mood, or other issues you feel I may be able to help you with.
Corporate and Community well-being
I am really enjoying my role as chair of the board of trustees on the board for Anxiety UK. I look forward to supporting AUK and the wonderful staff and board as we move into a very special year next year! I will be offering more discounted courses and retreats to AUK members! and I will be keeping you posted on all the news from AUK HQ!
Anxiety UK is a national registered charity formed in 1970, by someone living with agoraphobia, for those affected by anxiety, stress, and anxiety- based depression.
To read more please Click Here »
As you know, I have the enormous privilege of being the chair of the board of trustees for the UK’s leading and multiple award- winning anxiety charity. This May we will be celebrating 50 years of this wonderful charity and I hope to share news about fund raising and events throughout this year.
I have written a piece on ‘Pure OCD’ for the Spring edition of anxious times which is the magazine for members of anxiety UK.
“The grief collection”
Also this week Karin has put together an excellent article “coping with Corona virus fear”and you can read the article here
My online shopping page is a new venture and I hope to update it regularly adding items of interest and enjoyment. At the moment I have downloads available. I will also be uploading videos and downloads in a free resource section as I get my new website fully up and running, so watch this space!
Wishing you all well and happy, as we look forward to all that life has to offer in the weeks and months ahead.
Thank you so much for your continued support and as I continue to develop my programmes and offerings.
Please forward this email to anyone you think may find the above of interest/ useful.