Strong As A Rock

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Today I find myself on a wild, deserted beach on the North Devon coast, overlooking Lundy Island, as usual contemplating life. 

A total contrast to my usual sandy beaches around Exmouth, this isolated cove is much more rugged, robust, unruly even.

There’s only the two of us on the beach even though it’s a great expanse. There’s a new energy, strength and calm in equal measure – perfect balance. 

My slightly-unhinged travelling companion is preparing to tackle Blackchurch Rock, practise for some filming they are doing in a few days time. 

While Spider-Man makes his way solo up the 400m cliff face, I’m thinking I just want to get on the rocks, get in the sea, and get fully engaged body and mind in the landscape. It’s like doing exercise and a puzzle at the same time. 

I’m lost in the moment, so lost in it, I’ve lost my flip flops. It doesn’t matter, I’m enjoying the sensation of barefoot on the stone. It’s like I’m getting energy from the Earth through my feet. 

I feel strong today. It’s the end of a pretty unusual month, but I can safely say that’s it’s been my best month to date this year, in terms of how happy and grounded I’ve been. I look back on August with some great memories, in amongst recovering from surgery, there were some magical moments, including today. 

It’s been scrambling over rocks, finding my feet, not too far from home that I’ve found my inner strength. I’m free from all the shackles that were holding me back, I’m wild and free, but calm and centred. I have a sense of home, and I’m at peace with myself. 

I’m strong like a rock, grounded more than ever before, and no matter what waves are crashing in around me, I’m letting them all wash over me. 

Inspired by my new hero, Faith, in the series “Keeping Faith” I’ve decided I can get through anything. 

Everything happened to try and break her, but she refused to go down. She fought for her kids, her rights, her freedom. 

The theme tune is still rattling around my head, the words that helped me keep my head straight when I started to feel sorry for myself:

“Although I am broken, I am still breathing”.

Now on the last day of the month, in the perfect place, in the perfect moment, I’m not just breathing, I’m strong as a rock. 

Tribe of Love

 

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Tribe of Love

The world has a funny way sometimes of waking us up to what we need to learn.

Sometimes our life lessons do not arrive in the most attractive of packages.

The gift inside is not often seen at first. But when it appears, it’s like a ray of sunshine amongst the dark clouds.

A recent accident, leading to some major facial surgery, had left me feeling broken. Not being able to work, or socialise, initially panicked me, wondering if I’d be all alone, when I had nothing to give.

I was so wrong.

It’s overwhelming, but in a good way. In terms of love, my cup runneth over today.

Of course there were disappointments. Some of those I thought would be there, as I had been there for them, literally disappeared off the face of the Earth.

Others, I hadn’t seen for some time perhaps, or had just been there quietly on the outskirts, came up trumps and were instrumental in my healing, bringing me food, comfort and just being there for me.

Everyone showed their true colours.

Everyone that was there will always be there.

I know for sure now who I can trust, who is a true friend.

When given the space, when having everything taken away that I felt made me valuable to others, I came to understand that there are people who still care when you have nothing to give.

These are our tribe.

The people who make us feel accepted just the way we are. The people with whom we don’t feel we need to make ourselves small. The people who help us shine, even in the darker times.

Our tribe are the ones we can trust not to share our secrets as idle pub gossip, the ones that have our back when we need defending, the ones that are there when you ask “can I call you?”.

In a world filled with disconnection, having a tribe feels like a warm comfort blanket, a safety net, and like coming home.

I will be eternally grateful for these people. I will never forget the random acts of kindness, every message, card or gift, bringing of flowers or essential provisions. Every single one of those moments is implanted in my memory as an integral part of my healing.

I’ve learned that even more important than a positive mindset is feeling loved and nourished. Knowing you’re not alone. Realising that there are a lot of good people out there.

When we’ve been let down, by people or by events that have occurred, it’s easy to believe that the world is a hostile place, and certainly there are people operating from a place of fear that can make it seem so, but in general, there’s a shed load of love going around.

Our tribe is our proof, that no matter what, we are loved.

Sent from my iPhone

Woohoo I’m Back! Come join me for a new season…☀️🙏❤️

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Namaste lovely yogis,

I’ve missed you!!

It seems like it’s been so long but I’m delighted to tell you I am well on the way to a full recovery and will be back to classes from this Saturday 1st September, although I’ll be being careful for the next four weeks whilst the fractures are still healing.

This season is one of my favourites, called Late Summer / Autumn it’s all about “letting go”, so we will be focused on releasing long held tension in the body and mind, working with the fascia and mindful movement to bring about a sense of freedom and ease. I think we can all say a big “yes please!” to that!

Now is a great time for a kickstart and I’ve got some new simple packages for the upcoming term, so here are all the details

Term Dates:

September 1st 2018 – October 21st 2018

October 27th 2018 – December 15th 2018

Pricing:

Pay as you go for £8 per class (or £10 Powderham evening classes)

7 class credits to be used over 7 weeks for £45

Unlimited classes to be used over 7 weeks for £70

You can buy these now at http://www.bookeo.com/behappyfit/prepaid or go to the Customer Area when you log in.

Yes it really is that simple (always learning!) and I’ve priced the packages to account for the fact you may miss a week if you’re away on holiday for instance, but not lose out.

If you want to continue on a membership and that’s working out for you, you can still do that.

Class Schedule

Mondays 645 – 745pm Powderham Castle
Wednesdays 715 – 815am Ocean Physio
Wednesdays 930 – 1030am Powderham Castle
Thursdays 645 – 745pm Powderham Castle
Friday 715 – 815am Ocean Physio

Saturday’s Yoga On The Beach 10am will continue whilst weather allows, although I am in the process of sourcing a new venue close by so watch this space!
NB due to unpredictability of the weather this is not included in the packages but if you are on a package you pay just £5 instead of £8 (cash on the day)

I’m really looking forward to seeing you again. I will be away for some of the classes during this time as I am working abroad but I have some fantastic teachers covering for me when this is needed. They will mostly be Thursday nights and Friday mornings.
Sending love and light, from my heart to yours

Gillie

 

 

Trust Your Gut

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“Aren’t you nervous?”, I keep getting asked by well-wishers.

“Not really”, I answer, honestly yet perhaps quite surprisingly.

I’m waiting to go down for a surgical procedure which entails being under general anaesthetic and a short stay in hospital, but I’m quite relaxed about it all.

The way I see it is that I’m “in safe hands”. I know this instinctively. I’ve met the surgeons and they’ve explained everything, the anaesthetist, the pharmacist, the nurses and doctors – they’ve all made me feel very at ease.

There are situations which cause me greater anxiety than this, and they mostly boil down to a sense of not feeling safe, of not quite being able to trust.

It’s not my logical or critical mind that tells me it’s not safe, it’s my stomach. It turns out I’m not alone in this, and that our guts tell us more than we realise about whether we can trust the situation we are in or what we are being told at any given time.

Science is only just scratching the surface with regards to the connection between the gut and the brain, but what we do know is that this connection goes both ways.

It’s widely accepted that a troubled intestine can send certain signals to the brain, leading to anxiety, stress and depression. That’s why so many of us are turning to probiotics to maintain a healthy system.

What is also interesting is how sensitive our gastrointestinal tract is to emotions.

There’s also been some really interesting studies done on how we can spot lies or danger based on the reactions from our bodies.

We’ve all heard about “gut instinct”, we ask “what is your gut feeling on this?”, and it turns out that we should trust this instinct, as it’s more reliable that our conscious, thinking mind.

I consider how my belly always knows when something’s “off”. Whether it’s what someone is telling me, or a general atmosphere when you walk into a place, I get this uncomfortable feeling in my stomach, which I can’t explain logically, but that is there nonetheless.

If you’ve ever experienced this, you’ll know just how annoying it is when you know someone is lying to you, but they are very convincing in their way of presenting information to make it appear true. There’s a disconnect between your brain and your gut, and it leads to confusion, self-doubt, feeling ill even.

Science tells us that we should trust this “gut feeling”. It’s more accurate than rational explanations, or critical thinking, especially when it comes to “lie-detecting”.

Our bodies know the score and we should listen to them. Even if we don’t know exactly what is “off”, just knowing that’s it’s “off” is enough. We don’t need to explain ourselves, but we can take heed of these “red flags”, and proceed with caution, or even step away from a situation altogether.

For me this morning, my stomach is fine. Everything these amazing medical professionals have said to me, I have instinctively trusted. My gut feeling is good – no lies, no sugar-coating, no keeping of secrets, or saying what they think I want to hear.

Just genuine, open and honest communication coming from a place of care and integrity.

My gut instinct is that I can relax and get on with some work, as there is nothing to worry about.

Until the food arrives that is…!

 

 

 

Making Memories on Pirates Cove

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Making Memories

I surprised myself this week on two counts:

1. I was pleased about it being the school holidays.

2. I found myself enjoying the new Mission Impossible film.

Before I get slammed for this, let me first say that I’m sure for many it is bloody hard work in these six weeks, and I can’t even guess at how difficult it must be for those, especially single parents, finding the time, energy and money for all that is required.

I just hope that the glorious weather has helped in some way, in that there has been more outdoor options.

Not being a parent myself, I’ve had the best of both worlds. This past week I’ve enjoyed the company of two wonderful young men, aged six and three, and they’ve literally lit me up whilst recovering from an accident.

It turns out that they’ve quite enjoyed my company too, and their Mummy tells me that each day when she’s asked them what they want to do, they’ve said: “We want to go to see Gillie in Exmouth”.

My heart melts when I hear this and watching them play, when we take them to the beach for some swimming, fishing, sand-burying and general fun, I can see all the upsides of parenting.

We get to be kids again. We get to play. We get to spend time with young, innocent curious minds who approach everything with openness, honesty and without the pre-conceived judgements we later acquire as adults.

It’s the simple things that often have the biggest impact. I guess we are lucky to live where we do, but it gave me such pleasure to see a packed beach last week, teeming with different generations all enjoying the outdoors and looking happy.

Usually I’d be hoping for a quieter stretch of sand to walk down, but to see so many people filled with so much joy was an even better feeling.

These are memories that will stick. I don’t think that perhaps I’d realised what an impact it has on children, the little things really are the big things.

On Monday I took Mummy and the boys to a nearby bay, which I call Pirates Cove because of the writing in the sand made out of stones. It seemed like a little thing showing the boys, but it must have stuck with them because the next day they show up with a gift.

It’s a sign for my door saying “Pirates Only: Enter At Your Own Risk”. They had chosen it themselves.

I almost cry at the thought and it will always make me smile when I look at it, reminding me that for all of us, at whatever age, these days are so special because we are not just spending time but creating memories, that will last a lifetime.

That gives me a whole new perspective, on everything.

Which brings me onto my second point. Inspired by the curious, open minds of the boys, I agree to going to see a film I would never usually go for. I find myself lost in it, it’s a fantastic couple of hours of escapism, which left me with new inspiration and motivation for what lies ahead.

I don’t expect to find my quote of the week from an action film, but here it is:

“The greater the suffering, the greater the peace”.

It was a bit of a mission getting there due to my discomfort, but worth it in the end for Henry Cahill!

Imperfectly Perfectly Human

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I’ve been thinking a lot this week about what it means to be human.

After a challenging six months, I’d taken myself away on holiday for a week with the sole aim of taking care of myself. Rest, recuperation and recovering my spirit and strength to come back refreshed – a formula I’ve used before.

It’s an odd thing though, because when I’m at work, in a state of “flow”, moving in the magical spaces in nature, everything feels like light and love, and it’s just easy. The people are nice, kind, and respectful and perfectly imperfect.

It’s just all the “stuff” around it that makes it tricky, the “stuff” other people may refer to as “real life”.

Someone told me recently that it was like I was living in a “bubble” and that it wasn’t “real”.

At risk of starting an argument, I silently disagreed.

What is “real” to me is the natural world – the sun, the moon, animals, wildlife, but also love, light, connection, acceptance, sharing and respecting the Earth, and doing what makes our soul come alive.

What’s not real (to me) is Love Island, overly filtered selfies, beauty obsession, trying to look like everyone else, keeping up with the Joneses, power struggles, control, manipulation, bullying and most of all, shaming others who don’t conform or buy into this stuff.

I guess it all depends on our definition of “real” doesn’t it?

What I do know is that, no matter what our “filters” on the world are, we are all human.

Which, by definition, means that we are neither perfect, nor without fault.

When I realised the freedom I had in spending a week away on my own, I decided to put some of it to good use. I printed off over 150 of the ramblings I’ve written for this paper and I set about reading them and choosing the ones I found most useful for when you’re going through dark times.

I guess being told all the time I should “take some of my own advice” started to sink in, so I did just that. It did me the world of good and though it may seem a little “self-absorbed” to some, it was beneficial on so many levels.

Disregarding the judgements of me through that time, I decided instead to be kind to myself, and accept that, I may be a yoga teacher, but I am first and foremost, human.

The fabulous Brene Brown reminded me of the important of this:

“What we don’t need in the midst of struggle is shame for being human”.

No, indeed we don’t. Neither from ourselves, nor others.

The beauty of being away on my own was that the only person with the ability to “shame” me (to my face at least), was me.

I knew that shaming myself would not be helpful in any way, and I knew that, above all else, the greatest healing tool we have is self-compassion.

No matter what judgements are coming from other “imperfectly perfect” souls, we are all “only human”.

Sent from my iPhone

If…

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If…
Ever had one of those weeks where you just don’t know what’s happening anymore?
On a global level, a national level, community level (anyone following seagull-gate in Exmouth?), and on a personal level, there seems to be a lot going on, and none of it seems to be making a lot of sense.
I’ve begun to really choose my environment carefully and who I spend time with. A far cry from my partying days, I love to spend time with people on a one-to-one basis, maybe with a walk down the beach and a stop off at my favourite cafe, so we can properly connect and share quality time.
I’m lucky to have some good friends who inspire me, who are consciously aware, and always have pearls of wisdom. Last week I have three such walks with three different friends – a kinesiologist, a marketing consultant and an actress turned Countess. The diversity excites me, and they are the smartest, most divine creatures I could hope to spend time with.
They give me faith in humanity, and the light that exists in us all, when there seems to be so much darkness.
They help me make sense of some of the nonsense, and realise that it’s not mine to take on.
They keep me straight after I’m questioning my faith in karma like I did the other day. I’m probably the only pro-seagull person in Exmouth at the moment, and while everyone else is complaining about them, I’ve been a lot more sympathetic and compassionate. So it just doesn’t seem fair that one poos on my favourite jumper whilst sitting out at The Point minding my own business.
I’m venting my frustration at this (and other injustices) with one of my friends when something crops up in my mind. It’s a poem and I think there’s something in it for us all. My friend knew the words and just which ones related to me, and the whole world made sense again.
I knew exactly what to do, which is nothing. I read the poem again, it’s called “If” by Rudyard Kipling, you may have heard of it.
It reminded me that no matter what is going on around us, all we can do is attend to ourselves, and this may include keeping a dignified silence in some situations, and letting things all unfold in time. It all comes out in the wash, as they say.
Sometimes the best action is nothing, but just sitting and making peace with yourself, for in the end, that’s all that matters.
There are things going on around us all the time which may not seem to make sense, there may be people who want to draw us into their gossip and their stories, but it is always our choice as to whether we engage in it or not.
Others may choose to be drawn into the darkness, the moaning and complaining about the seagulls nicking our sandwiches , the judging of those they nothing about, and the spreading of lies and hatred.
But in the end, if we all keep our counsel and decide who we want to show up in the world as, we can go a little way to making it easier for each other.
Perhaps if we spread love as quickly as we spread hate, there would be more peace in the world.
No one is ever going to convince me to hate the seagulls.
The world is full of nice people, and if you can’t find one, then be one.