Grace, Ease + Sacred ~ 2021

In 2021, ways of being, in the form of key words, began to weave their way into my life.

Grace

The beginning of the year started explosively with a breakdown and ending of a long-term professional relationship and a life-threatening experience for a close family member requiring an emergency operation.

I choose not to go into the details, or the stories that I could so easily create around both of these situations – that for me is not what is helpful. It might help my ego/mind but that descent brings further confinement in living life from the head and not the heart.

Instead, I allowed Grace to enter into my life. The word resounded around me for several weeks and it felt right. Then I realised I didn’t really understand what it meant…

A few internet searches later and a mixed bag of responses, some with religious connotations that are contradictory if you really think about it.

I decided to allow the word to give me its own meaning.

To know that despite the difficulties, f@#k ups and challenges we experience in life – those that are done to us and those we do to others – we are all reflections of each other…

We’re all just walking each other home” Ram Dass

It is easy to stay in the drama triangle of victim, rescuer and perpetrator. It takes courage to break free and Grace is the key for me.

Grace ~ blessings given even if we may have done wrong ~ kindness regardless ~ considerate of others and towards yourself ~ compassion for others and self which includes having boundaries, in fact they are essential.

If it’s not for you, walk away, without judgement. Even if that has to be just metaphorically.

There have been beautiful synchronicities of this word presented to me this year – in the name of a someone re-entering my life, in the re-naming of a building on my door-step, in the art on a beach I walked upon…

Ease

Ease came to me when undertaking an Emotional Body workshop in June. I continued to be in physical pain following a car accident the year before. Anyone that experiences sustained pain knows that over time it wears you right down in its relentlessness.

During one of the sessions, we were invited to engage in a practice that involved saying repeatedly “I am free to notice my ease.” For me, this just became I notice my ease. Rather than focusing on my pain that was demanding to be noticed, I shifted my awareness to all the parts of me that were at ease.

This practice became the fourth pillar, that I called attitude, to my full recovery. The others being time, right treatment (a long and winding path to discovery) and posture.

I’ve kept the word Ease with me to aid in other areas of my life. We all have multiple choice points in our day to decide how we wish to proceed – with ease, or with stress. The outcome is often the same, but the journey there can be different, as is who we are when we arrive.

It’s a work in progress. Take a deep breath and notice your ease.

Sacred

I initially thought my third word or theme was going to be patience, then beauty… but Sacred is what finally landed and that I’m currently embodying and integrating into my life.

Patience I sense was more linked into the time needed to heal. Beauty led me onto Sacred.

In the Shamanic traditions there is a teaching called the Beauty Way. Whereby you practice appreciation and gratitude for the beauty in everything and everyone. Not just visually but in a full sensory way including how you feel. And in whatever way it presents itself, whether perceived as negative or positive.

For example, a favourite phrase of mine I was reminded of this year ~ Autumn shows us the beauty of letting go… Not just in the beauty of the array of colours in the leaves changing to then drop to the ground, the bountiful berries on show for the wildlife to forage, but also in the decay, the compost, that provides the richness for new life. That we have to let go to allow the new in. That change is inevitable. Holding on only delays the inevitable.

Sacred turned up when I began working with a Shaman. One of her mantra’s is to live life as sacred. What does that mean? I’m still exploring that and celebrating the moments when I really feel it.

I’m finding it interestingly challenging to define experiences using the written word. Words can be quite limiting and ambiguous. One definition I came across described Sacred as being something that is set apart… Not something I want to do. Why can’t we live life as sacred in each moment? To do so, I believe, requires bringing conscious awareness to our daily lives, actions + interactions, thoughts + feelings. Quite a commitment that is helped by creating ceremony each day ~ a moment in time to connect with yourself, express gratitude, witness what is, and set intentions ~ in whatever way aligns with your own soul being.

For now, for me, Sacred is ~ connection, presence, freedom, respect, ceremony + witnessing

and the word that is currently whispering in my ear as 2022 begins… Brave.

What is the difference between counselling and psychotherapy?

From the perspective of how I work the answer is ‘nothing’ and there are many therapists who practice both but chose to label the work they do with either ‘counselling or ‘psychotherapy’, depending on personal preference.

The labels are often used interchangeably and there is a lot of overlap between the two if you explore each of them in more depth.

There is much debate in the industry about what the differences are ranging from counselling being a briefer form of therapy and psychotherapy longer-term, to a psychotherapist requiring more training and experience than a counsellor. There is also a public perception that psychotherapy feels more clinical than counselling.

There are so many factors that make a counsellor or psychotherapist unique in their own practice that are beyond these labels – their training, experience, expertise, own life experiences, personality, theoretical approaches and models they use, on-going personal and professional development. What is most important is how you feel and what you think about your therapist and whether you feel able to work with them, to share your concerns, feelings and vulnerabilities.