Breathwork

IT’S YOUR RESISTANCE TO LIFE THAT STOPS YOU ENJOYING IT

Life is not intentionally painful but instead you create the suffering for yourself. This is my morning reflection as I ponder why my days can feel heavy and laden with obligation, rather than uplifting and joyful. I love what I do, and yet this still happens. The feeling that I should ‘do’ something brings resistance with it, and that resistance in turn creates pain and discontent. 

As I write this a squirrel hops across the lawn, clearly enjoying himself! Happiness is a choice, peace is a choice. Our human minds are so caught in the miasma of trauma, tech overload and a culture that’s racing at a million miles an hour, we are unable to pause, take a breath, and see beneath it all that we have a choice. 

Slowing down is an art. Paying attention to self is also an art. In a society where your attention is captured and commoditised, we no longer know how to attend to ourselves and deeply pay attention. If we did, we would make changes. We would make different choices.

Living in each moment
Enjoyment and pleasure is always available in every moment. It’s just that we choose something else instead, and most likely have a ‘set point’ or base line that is something different. Fear, scarcity, anger, contraction are examples. When living this experience, it’s hard to imagine something different exists. Yet it does. We are living in the stories in our mind, and they keep us trapped. We replay over and over again in our bodies and energetic fields, the past, and projections of the future that may never come to bear. When we are fully in the present moment all of that fades away. We sink into the pleasure and enjoyment of life that naturally exists. The joy of a blooming flower, the comfort of a warm breeze on your skin. Why should it just be on ‘holiday’ a few times a year that we really get to enjoy life? It shouldn’t, the world is completely backwards.

One of the main reasons we don’t have the experience we desire is because we are resisting being in life. Fully in. Fully feeling everything that is happening in our experience and our body. We have become body phobic, worried that if we feel we might die. This is our resistance to life, to living, and to experiencing our true desires. In order to feel good, we must go through whatever exists in between us and that state. Often that’s the resolution of our pain and trauma, that is stored in our bodies, our thoughts, our energy field. The only way out is through. If you’re not where you want to be, it’s because you’re not prepared to open and fully surrender to what is required – to release and submit to the greater force of life that moves through your body – which will ultimately bring you to wholeness and peace. 

Breath is the number one tool that will help you cross the bridge EVERY SINGLE TIME. Your breath is a powerful prayer, one that can be directed to supporting you in releasing whatever no longer serves you, so you can connect deeply to yourself and to life. 

Allow yourself to feel
If you run scared of the sensations and feelings in your body, you will become a slave to them. They will keep you stuck, small and suffering, probably in silence. Emotions are not meant to be stuffed down. The energy and sensations that are moving in your body are supposed to do just that  – MOVE! When your mind creates a story about the situation, perhaps how it’s ‘bad’ or you’re ‘not allowed’ to express something such as anger for example – those energies turn inwards and create rigidity and blockages in your body. Life stops moving. You become stuck and stagnant. This causes pain and lack of enjoyment. Quite literally the juice is sucked out of life, everything is flat. We feel disconnected and dissatisfied, and nothing will fill that gap – not even our ‘go to’ addictions. 

When we go farther along this route we become numb, empty and depressed. Nothing lights us up, there is no hope. Life is happening but it feels like there’s a pane of glass separating us from it. We can’t connect. 

Breathwork offers an avenue to close this gap, to come back alive and connect once again with life. With purpose, joy, and excitement. The feelings you regularly experienced as a child before the outside world got its dirty hands on you. 

Remember those days? What did you love to do? What lit you up? What would you spend hours doing and never get bored? These are some clues, some breadcrumbs to follow to uncover your path for coming back to life. It’s never too late. Every day is a new day, one to start over if you desire. 

It all comes back to your willingness to be in the moment and to be IN life. This is not a dress rehearsal and you won’t get this unique moment back again. 

Take a deep breath.  Connect with your heart.  What will you do to come alive today?

Remember,

Breathe the change you wish to see in the world.

Philippa xo

MY VISION: CREATING A HEALTHY SUSTAINABLE FUTURE FOR HUMANITY

As I write this my heart is in my throat. I feel exposed and vulnerable.  The truth is leadership is far from easy, it’s an ongoing journey of releasing everything you thought you knew, to align to a greater good. One that is sustainable and healthy for all.

5 years ago I had a vision for a business.  In a burst of inspiration I quickly put together a presentation and shared it with my ex-boss.  (Sidenote: for those of you who are new to my story – 9 months earlier I had quit my successful insurance career for a break and to work out what my purpose was.)

I found myself back in my old office, explaining to Jon Davies about my business vision – that revolved around wellbeing, innovation and change. The energy of the vision was incredibly strong and I knew there was a powerful link between health, stress, and insurance claims.

The name of the business was Versicle.

It was a play on words – virtuous circle – and encapsulated the all round positive benefits that I believed would emanate from what I was proposing. This wasn’t necessarily ‘my’ vision, but what I was shown was ready to come to life. The world was changing and I understood that I had a significant part to play in that shift.

As the presentation ended Jon shared his enthusiasm for my proposal. Then he asked me the question – so how are you going to deliver it?  I was stumped.  Truth be told I wasn’t sure. It was half baked, even though in my mind it was crystal clear. I just didn’t know what it looked like in the physical – so I wasn’t able to answer the question.

After the meeting I questioned what the hell I was thinking. I’d purposefully left the industry to do something more ‘meaningful’. At that point I wasn’t ready to commit to bringing this huge thing to life.

So I decided to shelve it and carry on with my globe trotting adventures. After all, I didn’t need the money, so why go to the trouble of getting myself embroiled in a new venture that I had no clue about where to start.

The long journey back home
For the next few years I continued to educate myself in many different areas, including breathwork which I had fallen in love with and that was guiding my life in magical ways. I lived in Brazil on and off for a couple of years and learned to speak Portuguese. I taught workshops in Bali, Australia, Mexico and beyond. I met incredible people from all over the world and immersed myself in psychology, healing modalities and understanding human behaviour. I also started my coaching practice Breathworks to share the knowledge I was acquiring and held retreats in the rainforest outside Rio de Janeiro and Bali. I ventured to Costa Rica for deep dives into the mystical and worked teaching breathwork at a legal psychedelic retreat centre in the Netherlands.

Yet all the while this vision stayed with me. It wouldn’t release its grip. It wanted to come to life, and specifically through me. No matter what I did to distract myself from it I couldn’t.  After much journeying, last year I found myself back in the UK after 4.5 years living as a global nomad. It felt strange. Same same but different. I had changed so much, learned incredible things, and wondered what was next. I honestly didn’t know.

What I did know was that I had to release all the projects I’d been involved in. Every single thing had to go. My next step was to sit (again) in the void of not knowing and wait to be shown what was next. It was uncomfortable as hell.

For 6 months I went through the deepest transformation yet. Slowly but surely the pieces started to come together. I came out of the wilderness on LinkedIn and posted my first article. It got attention and my old colleagues started asking questions about the work I was doing.

Conversations started, which led to meetings, which led to being asked to speak at a conference I previously organised.

When the timing is right
Something incredibly synchronistic and sad happened which confirmed once and for all that I was on the right track. On the same day that I was invited to speak at the conference I found out that one of my dear friends had died. This friend, Francis McGinty, had introduced me to many new concepts in the field of health. He was involved in writing the HSE guidance for Stress Management in the Workplace and we had regular discussions over the years about how our work needed to come together. I was saddened and shocked by his sudden death, yet it galvanised my thinking that it was time for Versicle to come to life. This was in early January 2020, before this whole pandemic business had begun. Health and wellbeing was now firmly on the agenda and people were ready to listen.

But yet again, after the lockdowns began and everyone was focussed on figuring out how to carry on business and survive, I distanced myself from the idea and focussed on my private coaching work and supporting people online who really needed my assistance.

Fast forward a few more months and people in my circle started coming to me and having similar conversations. The world was waking up. People were suffering and needed a different solution. After getting thrown a curve ball, businesses had adapted to survive but that’s all they were doing. The pandemic had presented different more serious challenges than just a virus, instead it capitulated most of the population into deep introspection and questioning.

I feel fortunate to have gone through a similar experience ten years ago when I experienced what could best be described as a quarter life crisis. This had started my awakening journey to deeply question what I was here to do on the planet. 2020 did that for the majority of people I know. As a society we are asking more questions than ever before, as we unravel and try to make sense of the world we currently live in. Let’s face it, not much makes sense right now. I believe that’s because we are going through a shift in the collective consciousness, one which is necessary to wake ourselves up from the destructive amnesia we have been shrouded in. Much is coming to the surface and it is uncomfortable to say the least. Uncertainty and fear abound, and these are the two things that unsettle humans the most. We are in the midst of a rebirth, one that is painful and ugly. Whilst it can feel overwhelming, I do believe the result will be for the greater good  – for humanity and the planet on which we live.

Over the past few months I too have been going through a deep process of understanding my role here, and how I can best serve the greater good. Getting my ego and personal identity out of the way has been the main challenge – hence writing this is quite exposing and feels risky and raw. I know that’s my fear mind, and that the medicine I share here gives permission for others to do the same.

The upshot is this – that NOW is the time – the world is ready for this vision. It must come to life.

The Rebirth
So Versicle is currently in the process of being born. Like I say, this feels raw and vulnerable to share. Like I’m exposing my ‘baby’ to the world for the first time by writing this. What if I fail, what if people judge me, what if…what if… All the excuses under the sun emerge when my heart and soul are on the line. And I guess that’s where leadership comes in – recognising that it’s my job to steward this thing into existence – in the best way I can.
I am human. I have flaws. Yet I was also born to overcome any challenge and thrive. All of us have that capacity, and it is often fuelled by something greater than ourselves. Something that has a bigger purpose and more meaning than just putting food on the table and a roof over our heads. Understanding what I needed to live a purpose-full life was the quest I embarked upon when I left the insurance industry. To make a difference, to leave a legacy, to create something new that would help humanity grow and evolve.

Welcome to Versicle.

Cultivating organisational health.

More than that – it’s the beginning of a revolution in how we approach health full stop. I believe that healthy people make healthy businesses – where everyone thrives as a result.

What will it be? So many things I often lose count. But as a starter for 10

  • Wellbeing Consultancy
  • Human Resources Support
  • Thought Leadership
  • Insurance Consultancy
  • Leadership Training & Development
  • Stress Management Guidance


The list goes on….. it’s a bit like an octopus at this point in time and literally the sky is the limit. At it’s core is about catalysing an evolution in consciousness so we can solve our current planetary problems and support humanity to thrive.

One of the reasons I’ve been avoiding it is because it feels so HUGE. And if I’m honest I know that’s because it IS. It wants to be. I believe it literally has a life of it’s own, and it is here to support us to thrive as individuals and organisations.

In modern business we are overwhelmed by technology. With all the talk of AI, data analytics and automation – where are we considering HI – Human Intelligence? The very valuable thing that powers our businesses in the first place. We must find a healthy sustainable balance between the two – so that technology becomes our helper rather than our master. I see organisations as organisms – and in order to thrive we have to take good care of our organic material – our people.

As is shown by the new cutting edge developments in epigenetics, it’s not just our DNA that affects our health, it is our environment that dictates our destiny. If the culture we live in, both in business and the wider context is unhealthy, then all of us will suffer the negative consequences of that. It is our individual and collective responsibility to create an environment that is sustainable for everyone involved – the people and the planet – for which we depend upon for our very survival.

Creating the connection
Close your eyes for a moment and imagine a planet without people. It’s an incredibly lonely place. Imagine there is no planet. Then what even is life? We need to come back to basics – the fundamentals of what makes our existence here meaningful. Connection. People. Love. Nature. All of the things that money can’t buy.

Now more than ever we are seeing the interconnectedness of all things. Whether that’s global supply chains or the impact your presence has on own your children. Everything you do and say has a ripple effect – it all matters. The question is – Are you making it matter? Are you present? Are you fulfilled? Are you embodying the best version of yourself? If not, why not? It’s never too late to start.

At the age of 63 my mother said lockdown is the best thing that ever happened to her. She’s lost 20+ kilos and is training to be a personal trainer. It’s never too late to make a change, to go after your dreams, to lead and inspire in the way that feels expansive and aligned for you.

Likewise lockdown has shown us what really matters. What we care about, what we get out of bed for, what makes us come alive. Everyone has a powerful song to sing. Isn’t it about time you shared your unique voice?

I doubt I’m alone in feeling I’m here to change the world for the better. I’m sure you feel the same way. We don’t all have to do it in the same fashion, or on a grand scale. Reading a bedtime story and being the best parent you can be might be yours, or starting a global movement to educate and inspire people back to health might be mine. It doesn’t matter, there’s no wrong or right. That’s what’s beautiful to the human experience – no two are the same – but collectively we create a harmony that is out of this world.

Now is the time
I believe we are at a critical point in our evolution as a species. My hope is that this crisis provides the impetus for us to reconnect with what truly matters and begin to build foundations for a healthy sustainable future.
Personally I feel like the last ten years of my life has made sense over the last two weeks, as if I’ve been playing Tetris and the final blocks have slotted into place. People are arriving that are part of this divine plan which has been so long in the making. Perhaps you are one of them?!

As the saying goes, good things come to those who wait.  I think 5 years is long enough. It’s go time.

​How about you?

Remember,
Breathe the change you wish to see in the world.

Philippa x

LOVE IS NOT SUFFERING

What we believe to be love is co-dependency and addiction playing out. That’s the template we’ve been given and it causes an incredible amount of suffering. ⁣ If I do x for you, then you’ll love me. We are programmed to barter for attention, and when we receive it we feel high. It’s a dopamine hit that keeps us coming back for more.⁣  A bit like the isolated rat in the famous cocaine experiment, where in social isolation the rat becomes addicted to amphetamine laced water. ⁣

Humans are the same. We’re stuck in a highly addictive cycle which is literally tearing us apart. ⁣ Co-dependency is not love. It represents highly traumatic and dysfunctional relationship patterns that we are led to believe are love.

If it wasn’t love, then why does it hurt?⁣

It hurts because it’s tapping directly into our biggest wound – that we’re not loveable as we are. That we are in some way defective and require fixing or saving. That we’re inherently not enough, worthless, unless we do/say/act in a certain way. ⁣ Love doesn’t attach. It allows life to flow freely. It’s the holding on, in an attempt to control which causes the friction and pain. Let go or be dragged is a phrase I use often. We are unaware that we are the cause of our own suffering. ⁣

We make meaning out of everything, and we usually get it wrong. Love is fluid, it just is. There’s never an absence, you’re just not tuned into the correct frequency. It’s always there, like the blue sky behind the clouds. Waiting for you to remember. ⁣ We are all looking for connection, belonging and comfort. Yet we are also petrified of real intimacy. The gateway into love is created beginning with the intimacy with yourself. If you can’t be real and honest, without masks or protections with yourself, how do you expect to do so with another human?⁣

Feel into your love
Relationship dynamics are complex. We lose our centre and life us continually inviting us to come back to the truth. That our perceptions create our reality. That love, if you tune into it, is here all along. In every moment including this one, within your heart as you read this.

Feel it.

Anchor it into your body and remember this sensation whenever you feel you’ve lost the signal. You’ll catch the subtle beat when you slow down and take a breath.⁣​

Remember, ⁣
Breathe the change you wish to see in the world. ⁣

Philippa ⁣X

WAKING UP IS A PAINFUL PROCESS

Coming to the realisation that life may not be what you perceive is a harsh reality to deal with.

When the world you cherish and hold onto as fact starts to disintegrate before your very eyes, it’s incredibly painful.  All your hopes, dreams and expectations are thrown into disarray. You don’t know who or what to believe anymore. You might even think you’re going mad. And in a way you are, but instead of going mad, you’re actually releasing the grip madness has upon you.

This collective dream is not what it seems. Attempt to perpetuate it all you like, but it’s fast becoming like sand running through your fingers. The tighter you grip, the faster it slides away to scatter on the ground. Living in a house of cards has risks. When the wind blows, all known structures come crumbling down because they were built on illusory foundations.

Many of our societal systems are built on such foundations. They are a house of cards, and attempting to save the flop is going to wipe you out. Instead it’s time to go within. Commit to the truth of yourself, who and what you really are. It’s a time to go deep inside and cultivate the seeds of truth for yourself. If you’re not sure where to begin, start exactly where you are.

​Take a breath. Get curious. Ask questions. Then sit in the silence and listen. Not to all the external sensationalism that seeks to addict you to pain and suffering, but the whisper within. The voice of your soul that has been long distant but never forgotten. Therein lie your answers, and most importantly your peace. From the deep rooting in your essence no harm can come to you. Rest on the earth and feel her support. You are being guided back home, to yourself.

Waking up is painful, but you don’t have to suffer. Instead align to the flow of what you’re being shown and guided towards. Release your grief and sadness and return to the sacred vessel of your beating heart. Release the need to know or be right. In open curiosity the answers will become clear and peace will return.

Remember,
Breathe the change you wish to see in the world.

Philippa x

DROP BREATHS NOT BOMBS

Have you noticed how traumatised we all are? Look around. Fear. Masks. Judgement. Hysteria. If this isn’t a highly traumatised society I don’t know what is.

Let’s get real for a minute. We are at the beginnings of a deep and painful healing process. Your world. Your society. Your family.

YOU.
ME.
EVERYONE.

It’s a healing process we don’t even know we need because we’ve been programmed so deeply to believe that everything is functional just the way it is.

NOPE.

Human trafficking. Racism. Poisoned food. Profit above everything. Does anything about that sound healthy to you?

Disconnection. Nihilism. Co-dependency. Tribalism. FEAR.

Not a cocktail I’d like to drink but it’s being pumped into your system 24/7 by the existing media paradigm and societal ‘normalities’. Far from normal. A long way off healthy.

So what’s the solution?

First, turn off the TV. Nothing coming through the traditional media channels is going to make you feel any better or assure you. Consuming it will just lead you to a black hole of despair and contraction. The exact opposite of what makes your immune system healthy and strong. Be highly aware of what you are consuming on social media or from anyone in your circle. Nobody has all the ‘facts’ (if such a thing exists) and the only way you are going to know what is right for you – is by connecting to YOU. That’s not possible if there’s continual interference. Right now you might not feel like meditating or going to the gym but I can hands-down guarantee you’ll feel a million times better for it.

Whilst you’re being mindful of what you consume, be mindful of what you put out. Nasty media posts, criticism and judgement of others isn’t going to solve this situation, only make it worse by feeding the feelings of separation, tribalism and isolation.

This is the biggest part – if you feel emotionally triggered, either by the shituation* you are in personally, or by someone else’s words, actions or the audacity to breathe without a mask covering their face – STOP. Don’t move. Don’t react. Get still.

Be guided by how you feel

This is what everyone needs to learn. Your emotions are just telling you stuff. It’s not about the other person. It’s about how you feel inside and how you interpret those feelings. The beauty of this is that you also have the tool to resolve your emotional activation – but most people don’t realise it – because it’s not taught in schools – and it’s even poo-pooed as being some woo woo stuff. Well, how about this.

Lets start with a breath

Instead of dropping bombs on each other, blowing stuff out of proportion and making our nervous systems go haywire – we drop BREATHS. Lot’s of them. DEEP BELLY BREATHS. Into the core of your being.

You want to resolve that emotional wound?  Breathe.
​Change how you feel inside?  Breathe.
Create more abundance in your life?  Breathe.
Love yourself more?  Breathe.

Basically, you get the picture. It comes back to the simple thing every time. Your breath is your superpower, should you choose to engage with it. In a couple of minutes, you can take yourself from suped-up nervous Nina to chilled out Cathy – if you weren’t so fixated on someones outrageous internet opinion. Stick to your own lane, use your own breath.

Here’s how:

  • Find a comfortable position
  • Close your eyes
  • Breathe in through your nose for a count of 4
  • Hold your breath for a count of 7
  • Breathe out through your mouth for a count of 8
  • Repeat 4 times

If you don’t feel 100000% times better, then I’ll eat my hat. That’s how easy it can be if you take a moment to think for yourself. You’re in control of your mind and body, now it’s time you acted like it.

If you know you’ve got more emotional gunk in your system to deal with – then I’m your woman.

Tried everything? Good. You probably haven’t tried this.

You probably won’t. But if you do? It will change your life, and you’ll be free once and for all.

Remember,
Breathe the change you wish to see in the world.

Philippa x

DO YOU TRUST YOURSELF?

Here’s what I recognise – the overwhelming majority of people don’t. They’re always second-guessing their decisions and there’s an underlying feeling of anxiety that pervades their life…. Just waiting for the other shoe to drop….

I know because that was me.

Internal guidance

For years I double-checked and took on board other peoples opinions. And guess what…..When you do that over and over (as our systems of learning/society/authority teach us to do) then you end up with a deep mistrusts in your internal guidance system. It’s like driving a car with a blindfold on – getting fed directions by somebody else….. Essentially you’re there, primed, waiting for the car to eventually crash. I think you’ll agree it’s not a good place to be.

Recently I’ve been working with one of my mentors on TRUST. It’s a big thing. I’ve also been on a deep dive with the kinesiology emotional clearing tools I’m trained in. What dawned on me a few days ago during one of her sermons was that trust is a DECISION. It’s an internal belief system. You might be thinking …. NO Philippa…. I need to trust BEFORE I can actually trust. Well good luck with that, because it’s NOT going to happen.

You either trust and believe in yourself or you don’t. It might sound simple but it’s true. It might be confronting, and if so, then it’s time to shift your paradigm for the better. My mentor has made $15m online from a soul-aligned business. It’s fair to say she knows what she’s talking about.

Belief system

So it got me thinking – how is it possible to flick the switch on trusting yourself?

To feel –
CERTAIN
CONFIDENT
EMPOWERED
& DEEP TRUST IN YOURSELF?

Then for the AHA moment… by using my kinesiology clearing tools to directly install new beliefs!

Go in and hack the system (because that’s essentially what these tools do) with a new belief system. It’s like hitting reboot on your computer after loading new software. Load new beliefs and new experiences await.

Like trusting yourself!

I’ve been experimenting on myself and it WORKS. I’m so excited to share this so I’ve designed a session specifically for you. We go in and rewrite the code. And then… miracles unfold.

Steps forward

If you’d love to overcome:
– procrastination
– second-guessing yourself
– anxiety
– worry worry worry
– the early and unnecessary onset of wrinkles

Then reach out to me and we can book you in a session.

Warning: This might just completely change your life for the better.

Remember,
Breathe the change you wish to see in the world.

Philippa x

WHAT STORIES WILL YOU TELL THE NEXT GENERATION?

Last night as I walked along watching the sunset, I passed by this bench and stopped. It was one of the last spots I remember spending time with my grandmother. I drew a breath and remembered some of the stories from her life. She was always one of those real ‘characters’ that had tales to tell that were sometimes SO far fetched we often wondered if she made them up. Perhaps some of them, certainly, but she was so audacious that I believe that many of them actually happened. As children my brother and I would ask her to recount these stories and it kept us entertained for hours on end.

Like the time my uncle ran away from home and cooked sausages along the river, or when her kids painted a whole room in black and white without her knowing. Then there were tales of mystical India in the 80’s, royal sailing connections, NOT being permitted to study at RADA and her father throwing her shoes on the fire. It was always a rip roaring ride, often interspersed with memorised poetry that she enjoyed immensely. She definitely had a penchant for spinning a good yarn!

As I reflected and laughed to myself, I began to ponder my life and started to recount the many varied experiences I’ve had.

What stories are you telling?

We are assimilating bits and bobs and they ‘make’ us who we are. Some of the stories are empowering, the vast majority are not. They are based on loss, separation, pain, conflict, drama and judgement. One way to unite the people? Give them a common enemy. Cos’ haters gonna hate and all that. We’re telling stories to our children before they’re even born. What happens to us in our lives directly imprints the same stories onto the younger generation. Emotions experienced by the mother during pregnancy are felt by the unborn child. The programming begins earlier than you think.

Once we physically arrive, the onslaught continues and is assumed into the subconscious mind before you can say ‘Bob’s your uncle’… Many of the stories in society are false. Plain lies. Perpetuated and spread unconsciously, sometimes labelled as ‘tradition’ or ‘how things are’. Yet we fail to recognise that we are passing on ‘human behaviour’ by rote and from a place of both ignorance and arrogance.

The ego has us believe that we know ‘right’ and how life ‘should be lived’. False. The majority of us have no clue about living. Freedom of thought. Relating. Parenting. Even basic self-care and nutrition.
We are ignorant, and risk passing on more layers of ignorance to the next generation. In this moment of stillness and introspection we have the opportunity to consider what we choose to hold dear, and to release everything that is poisoning our hearts and minds. Stories have the capacity to be a blessing or a curse. The right story can rewrite history. The wrong story can end it once and for all.

My path lies with re-writing my story and co-creating a magical, harmonious and empowered life.

How about you? What stories will you tell the future generation?

Remember,
Breathe the change you wish to see in the world.

Philippa x

YOUR EMOTIONS ARE THE PATH TO FREEDOM

Yesterday I recorded a video and spoke about how some people perceive breathwork and emotional healing as scary. I totally get it, because for most of my life I was one of those people too.

The thought of recalling the past and opening long welded shut closets petrified me. It felt infinitely more comfortable to stick with the present, thank you very much, and not go poking around in places where I didn’t know what I might find. My strategy worked for years until my life took a turn for the worst and I didn’t get a choice any longer. The skeletons suddenly broke loose and decided to have a party in my bedroom at the ungodly hour of 2am. After weeks of waking in the middle of the night with a paralysing sense of overwhelm, dread and grief I couldn’t ignore my pain any longer.  

It wanted my attention and now it had it.

Because I’d developed a thick shell (read: coping mechanisms) and was not accustomed to feeling my emotions it was a very rough patch. The dam had broken and there was now a thick and torrid current of energy that had been unleashed…. and I didn’t know how to swim. These waters were unfamiliar and it took everything I had to stay afloat and learn to ride the waves and follow the current.

The emotional flow

You see emotions are like water. They flow and mould. They change rapidly – one minute there’s a still and placid lake, the next minute an effervescent geyser. This my friends, is pure energy in motion. The energy that is actually meant to fuel your body and soul, rather than boil you alive. The dam breaking was my initiation into the water world and one that I’d been avoiding and as it turns out, desperately needed.

It’s only when our emotional energy is diverted that we have difficulties. Unlike the dam, the river of our emotions has a natural course. As the river bends and twists to find its way across the terrain, it naturally follows the path of least resistance and greatest flow. It moves unabated, until something gets in the way. Then it goes around.

Mans meddling with nature is apparent to see, and the same goes with our emotional dealings. Our emotional energy is blocked for the most part, and is creating a build up of energy. It’s like a stagnant pond, where things are rotting and dying and the stench is pretty nasty. The emotional energy that wanted to flow naturally, is now creating a problem. Repressing and suppressing this energy takes a considerable amount of force and drains our vital energy. It also creates rigidity and disconnection – just like the dam.

In the same way the river flows to the sea, our emotions seek to lead us to where we need to go. This is the navigation system of our soul. Sadly most of us don’t know how to switch the system on, let alone follow the instructions! This is a big problem. Whilst we are led from our minds, we cannot follow our true path. Our feelings and emotions have a different quality and communicate with us in a different way. It’s a whole new language to learn and it can be very confusing. However, this is the language you must learn if you want to uncover true freedom and create a meaningful life.

Where’s your programming leading you?

One of the difficulties we face is that many programmes and maps in the navigation system are wrong. There is faulty programming, so we therefore cannot fully trust the directions or the map. These coding errors are our unresolved emotional wounds and trauma, our misconceptions, our warped perceptions and our attachments.

The system is certainly not free from bugs and this is why emotional healing and breathwork are so important. Because they help you release old stories of the past so that the navigation system of your soul, your emotions, become more reflective of reality, rather than fantasy. When you clear out the errors the route to freedom becomes more and more clear. That’s what the real role of our emotions are, to guide us towards or away from things in our life, in order to deliver us to our greatest potential.

Fixing bugs and rebooting the system allow us to learn to trust in our inner sense to keep us safe and lead us home. That’s why your emotions are the path to freedom.

Remember,
Breathe the change you wish to see in the world.

Philippa x

GRIEF WILL BURY YOU ALIVE

A few nights ago it hit me. I hadn’t stopped and dealt with life. As I sat for my evening breathwork session I found myself suddenly rewinding and arriving back 14 months earlier. February 2019. At the time I was working in a psychedelic retreat centre in the Netherlands, holding space and teaching breathwork. It was intense, and one of the most challenging and beautiful experiences of my life to date. I was working most weekends facilitating the healing and transformation of others from around the world. I was in the right place certainly, and I was on mission. Yet life was about to throw me a curve ball.

One Friday evening after our first day of retreat I arrived back to my apartment tired but satisfied. Out of the blue I received a phone call from my Dad. He was crying and incredibly distressed. My grandmother had been taken to hospital and was in a critical condition. I immediately burst into tears on the phone. She was experiencing heart failure and having difficulty breathing. To hear that someone (even at the age of 80) so fit and healthy was in dire straights sent a shockwave through my entire being.

He was at her bedside in hospital and so I asked him to put the phone near her so I could speak with her. I heard her voice croaking and could viscerally feel her pain and terror. We spoke for a couple of minutes and I told her she would be okay. I told her I loved her… and then my Dad came back on the line. A few moments later he said, “it’s not looking good. I don’t think she’s going to make it.”
I didn’t want to believe it. I couldn’t believe it. It all seemed so absurd.

As we finished the call the reality started to sink in. This couldn’t be happening. So sudden, so surreal. One of the people I looked up to the most and had inspired my adventurous spirit was about to pass over. All without getting to say goodbye. It was unbearable.

I felt powerless, weak and childlike. What could I possibly do? Nothing. I was in Holland and she was in the UK and it was 11pm at night. There was no way of getting there in time. Tears flooded from my eyes and my body contracted with shock. I froze like a statue. My world stopped spinning and became very still. As the situation sunk in I did the only thing I could possibly think of.

I breathed on her behalf.

Riding the rollercoaster

My emotions were up and down for days. It was intensely painful, but I also knew that she was in a good place. I would hear her comforting words as if she was still here in the physical and it would reassure me to know she was okay, and reunited with her beloved mother. In some ways it was a blessing that she passed so fast, because if you knew her, you’d know she would have hated to lose her faculties or health. She was a tour de force to the last.

After a difficult few days it seemed the universe wasn’t done with me yet.

The following day my other grandmother had a seizure. I was staying with her and I was woken up by my aunt. After the ambulance arrived we headed to the hospital. I spent hours there, calming my Nan down. She wasn’t lucid and her mind and thoughts were all over the place.

She wanted to get off the bed but was hooked up to machines. I kept repeating what was happening and reassuring her. It went on for most of the day. Little did I realise that my time spent at the retreat centre had prepared me for this situation – to support my own family member in an altered state of consciousness whilst everyone else around me was in meltdown. It seems that life has strange ways of preparing you for the next challenge…

After what seemed like an eternity (and was probably more like 7 hours) she began returning to a normal state. It wasn’t the first or last time this type of event would happen, but after such an intense preceding few days I was exhausted.

Carrying on as normal

A few days later things were back to ‘normal’ and I returned to Holland. I did what I’d learned to do with pain and grief, which is to keep busy and get on with life. The following weekend I had another retreat. A week or two after that I was due to be facilitating a retreat in Costa Rica and the dates coincided with my Nans funeral.

I expect that if I’d needed to, I could have cancelled my trip. But a part of me didn’t want to. I wanted to run away and not have to come to terms with my grandmothers death. If I didn’t face it then it wasn’t real. And after all my work was also important and I couldn’t cancel. Decision made. My family understood the situation. Off I went to Costa Rica. The day of my Nan’s funeral came in the middle of the retreat and I did a little ritual on the beach (her all time favourite place) with sage. Every time I smell it burning I think of her. I said my goodbyes and closed the ritual. I sent some messages to my family back home and returned to ‘normal’.

But in all honesty it wasn’t normal. With everything that had happened my system had been overwhelmed and got totally blocked up. I packed up my pain and grief, compartmentalised it and forgot about it. I moved on. Every now and again I’d remember she was gone. During meditation and breathwork I’d sometimes feel someone holding my hand. I knew intuitively it was her. Like a reassurance I was on the right path.

Fast forward to a year or so later…

Grief revisited

A few nights ago in my breathing session it all came flooding into my awareness – I was transported back and shown everything that I’d done. I realised how I’d packed everything away and hadn’t allowed myself to deal with life. A tidal wave of grief flooded over me and consumed me. I cried and cried until my face hurt. She was there holding my hands, I could feel it. As the tears rolled down my cheeks I knew it was time to feel and release the pain. Something I’d been avoiding for over a year. I finally allowed myself to experience the depth of my sadness and breathed into it. As I did I could feel the wall that I’d built around my heart, and with each breath it was like a brick was being removed.

My heart had been buried alive and suspended in time, and had blocked part of me from living. I came to see how closed, guarded and disconnected that tender part of me had become and how I kept the world at a distance so I wouldn’t get hurt. Because part of me rationalised that if you never love, then you can never lose. Don’t get attached or let something fully in, because you’ll end up getting burnt. It’s safer to keep your distance and not go too deep. Bury and avoid your pain and it will go away. Keep busy and just get on with it, don’t look back and you’ll be fine. Life had indeed given me some of those experiences and I developed a very good memory and subconscious response to protect myself.

Understanding the pain

Yet in the midst of my deep discomfort I found myself rightfully asking: Is that really how I want to live my life? Withholding my full self and floating above the complex human experience? Detached, numb and with a fortress built around my heart? To my mind this made perfect sense, yet my soul knew it’s wasn’t the answer.

In the book The Places That Scare You – Pema Chodron thoughtful asks:
“Do I prefer to grow up and relate to life directly, or do I choose to live and die in fear?” 

It’s incredible how such a simple question cuts deeply to the heart of the matter, but here’s what I came to understand: 

Whether you like it or not, pain IS part of the human experience. Grief is the very proof that you did indeed love, and at a very deep level.

It makes sense that humans rationalise our emotions in order to avoid hurt. Yet if you never allow yourself to love, are you really experiencing the full spectrum of existence? Or are it just skimming the surface of life, in fear and anticipation of loss before it even happens? Keeping closed and guarded against some unknown eventuality that’s unlikely to materialise.

Is that really LIVING or just existing? Living? Existing? What will it be?

I decided I’m here to live, and to the best of my abilities at that. It might be the only life I get so I’m going to make the most of it. Why would I choose otherwise? I’ll be dammed if my fear mind is going to get the better of me.

Furthermore, Pena explains the second aspect of bodhicitta (awakening mind) as “our ability to keep our hearts and minds open to suffering without shutting down.”

This is what I believe our experience is here to teach us and it is the path of a true warrior. To keep opening ourselves and loving MORE, even through painful experiences. Much of our early life and ancestral trauma keeps us stuck here, yet the only way out is through.

I realised that I don’t teach breathwork because I’m an expert at it, far from it. It’s because I need to be reminded regularly that my feelings matter and they need to flow freely for me to stay healthy and sane. Whenever my mind leads me off the path, my breath continues to show me the way home.

Living in the colour of life

The infinite breadth of human emotion is what living is about. If contrast didn’t exist then I believe the world would be a very bland place.

Feeling my grief and sadness has begun to open my heart once more. With each breath the colour of life is returning and I feel softer and less guarded. Taking the time to allow my emotions to exist, be witnessed and freed, has in turn created more beauty in my life.

After a long slumber my heart is coming back to life. Perhaps it’s time for yours too?

Remember,
Breathe the change you wish to see in the world.

Philippa x