Psychotherapy Articles

Living Mindfulness And Seeing The Little Things In Life

Sunday, June 10th, 2012


Close up photo of blades of grass in the sun

All around you, they’re growing, like tiny blades of grass, if only you’ll stoop down to see them. Little moments of living mindfulness.

So come down for a moment, down from the seemingly lofty heights of ambition and theoretical knowledge and social matters. Drop out of the school of thought that teaches you there’s only one right way to be.

Drop down to earth (perhaps literally). Down to just yourself as a living being right here with other moments of aliveness running through you.

And, wherever you are, just be


The Story Of The Sky Within You

Wednesday, May 23rd, 2012

Just when the storms in life seem too much, a metaphorical rainbow can emerge

 

It’s an old story. Old as the hills. And yet new every time it tells itself again.

Have you heard it told to you lately?

The clouds have gathered, thick and dark, on your skies. They’re banked up and rolling heavy to your horizon. Maybe the rains have already started, pouring their grief over everything you know and soaking it all through with shadows. And then maybe the wind starts up. The lightning. It seems everything is going wrong at once.

It’s hard to imagine ever riding out this storm.

And yet, if the story has its way, there will come a moment. A moment you might not notice at first. A moment that can start out smaller than small. But it’s enough.

Enough to invite a shift – an infinitessimal shift – that’s almost no shift at all. Except that it is.

So something tiny changes.

And somehow that awakens the next little change.

Until, gradually, all these fragile moments come together – like countless particles of light converging – almost invisible on their own. But together, slowly, they can start to pull the temperature of your day in a warmer direction. Together, they start to matter.


Shedding Your Skin And Releasing Yourself From Old Habits

Friday, April 20th, 2012

Do you have to 'break' habits? Or can you shed them like this tree sheds bark?

 

One of the things I love about living in Australia is the grace of the gum trees.

Even in the bustle of the city, they’re dotted around the streets, their leaves quietly whispering of stuff more grounded and true. And recently it’s been the time of year for some of them to shed their bark (like in the photo, above).

It’s an inspiring process in a metaphorical way – a time to slough off the old and let the new parts of you come to the surface.

Sometimes, for the trees, it might look messy for a while, with great strips of their old selves peeling off and swinging in the wind before they fall away. But, with a bit of time and persistence, they come clean again, with brand new skins to face the world in.

So, if you could shed your own bark like these trees, what would you be shedding?


Do You Trust Yourself To Heal? Bringing Therapy To Life

Monday, April 16th, 2012

 

These ideas from therapy might remind you how to trust yourself to heal again

Trust is such an important part of therapy. And, of course, of life

So do you trust yourself?

To know yourself.
To grow yourself.
To heal.

A gentleman born in the early 1900’s trusted you, even though you’ve never met. His name was Carl Rogers, and he was a psychologist. And he believed that you – that all of us – have the innate power to understand and heal ourselves. He believed that somewhere inside, you have the solution, the answer, the salve for your life’s struggles. And that trust will help unlock them.

So how do you do that?


What Transience Can Teach You About Holding On

Saturday, March 10th, 2012

Photo of shopfront window notice saying "all things must pass" - part of a mental health blog post by therapist Gabrielle Gawne-Kelnar

 

On a day that started with torrential rain and umbrella wrestling (and weather forecasts of doom), it seemed almost miraculous to be able to stroll the street in a dry golden-blue-sky evening.

But that’s what happened. Unexpectedly. And it was exactly then that this notice on a shopfront window caught my eye (you can see it in the photo, above):

 

“All things must pass.”

 

(And they certainly seem to).

Sometimes this apparent truth about the world feels confronting. Unfair, even. Because these “things which must pass” inevitably include the things we love, and the things we celebrate. The things we might want to hold on to and never let go.

But they’re not the only things that this saying is on about…


Spotting Your Patterns: How Your Life Can Be Your Therapist

Monday, March 5th, 2012

Image of patterns in a therapy room

A lot of therapy is about sort of stepping back and seeing things – seeing yourself – from a different perspective. Getting out of the weave and the warp of the moment and looking more at the whole fabric of the situation you’re in. Seeing if there’s any repeating motifs or themes that might help you unlock some solutions… or even unlock parts of you.

And the wonderful thing is that you can do this without being in formal therapy.

Don’t get me wrong, traditional therapy is a great way to get the hang of this pattern-spotting business. And it’s incredibly powerful to work with someone who’s got your back and can help you see any blindspots you might have. But once you’ve become a pattern watcher, you can use it anytime you like, to find deeper insights and often deeper healing, too.

So what sort of things might you try to notice? What helps spot the patterns?

Sometimes questions like these are a good place to start:


Therapy For Your Thoughts: Fact, Fiction And Functioning

Monday, February 27th, 2012

Image of fiction bookshelf for therapy article on how your thoughts relate to your feelings, and how to use cognitive behavior therapy to stop a "fiction overflow" of anxiety

Have you ever felt anxious about something that turned out to be nothing?

Worried about an event that never ended up happening (except maybe in your own imagination)?

Perhaps you’ve caught yourself planning for trouble before it actually hit.

And feeling the feelings that comes with all of this… 

It can be pretty sickening – a lurch in your gut, a fast-beating heart and sometimes you might even get the sweats. And no wonder. For your thoughts are joined to your feelings – intricately linked. As one moves, the other will probably follow.

So it’s important to keep an eye on your thoughts, to monitor them a bit, so a sudden downward spiral into darker feelings doesn’t catch you unawares. And so you can nip any unnecessary anxiety in the bud if you want to.


If “Eternity Is Now” Then What Will You Do With It?

Tuesday, January 31st, 2012

I came across a little piece of eternity the other day (there it is in the photo, above). Or, more precisely, it came across me. Tumbling towards me on the footpath. Blowin’ in the wind*.

Ok, so it was also just a loose page of a newspaper, blowing around the street, with an advertisement on it featuring a stone angel pointing towards a single word: “Eternity.”

Just a banal moment of dodging some floating flotsam on my way home. And a bit of a wake-up call.

What do you do when eternity comes barreling right down the street at you?

I picked it up. And could suddenly feel my heart beating. I took it with me.

What will you do with yours?
(Your eternity).
(Your heart).


Is Perfection An Imperfect Idea? Lessons From The Natural World

Sunday, January 22nd, 2012

I was walking in the park this morning. Past the hundreds of thousands of millions of leaves, all applauding each other in the wind.

Which one of them isn’t perfect?

Which leaf hasn’t “lived up to its potential”?

Which has “fallen short”?

They seem like slightly ridiculous questions. (And yet, are there times that you ask them of yourself?)

In light of all of these leaves, the idea of “perfection” seems suddenly a bit lifeless and arbitrary next to the endless, vibrant variations dripping from the boughs. 


Living In The Small Moments – Mindfulness And Everyday Miracles

Tuesday, January 17th, 2012

This little duck (in the photo, above) was swimming in the clouds in my local park this morning, rippling the upside-down sky in the pond.

It’s moments like these I want to remember to see. To live. To pause and breathe into in the midst of the day.

That’s about as close to a New Year’s Resolution as I got this year. Just to stop. To look. And to remember to see the small stuff.

And this morning there seemed plenty around to see: little crystalline moments of inexplicability that you can climb into and rest in if you just get down to their level.

Do you want that sometimes?


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