Emotional Freedom


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 –

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.

Breathe the change you wish to see in the world.

Philippa x


Let’s talk about the human condition shall we?

Our organism is wired to survive at all costs. When stressful events happen our biology kicks in to protect our life and save us from danger. Fundamentally we have an animal nature. This is not in dispute.

Biologically you’re wired to survive. Psychologically – you have an opportunity to reflect and view your position on death. It would seem that the preoccupation of the human is death. When, how, under what conditions etc will it happen. So much worry and concern about something that may or may not happen, today, tomorrow or whenever.

Here’s the kicker

At some point in time you’re going to die. We ALL are. I appreciate that may be an unsettling thought, but if you have the courage to face it full on, it will actually set you free. You see humans are continually scanning for danger and creating ‘what if’ scenarios – does anyone suffer from anxiety out there? Hands up…. – I thought so. Anxiety is typically a projection into the future, of some unwanted event.

The mind is a helpful ally but a terrible master. What you focus your attention on grows, and what you resist persists. So the fear of death will create, you guessed it, more fear. And then fear of the fear… and then total overwhelm, meltdown, and shutting yourself in isolation wrapped in cotton wool….or whatever else you do in the face of a global pandemic.

Simply because we make the assumption that death is ‘bad’. Certainly nobody wants to bow out before their allotted time, but it’s pointless worrying about ‘when’ that time might come. By all means get your life insurance in place and make arrangements (like i said it will happen one day…) but don’t allow your very existence to be sullied by the continuous babble of the mind that wishes to create all multitude of disaster scenarios to keep itself occupied.

Like I said we make the assumption that death is bad. I expect because we then no longer get to experience this physical existence with our nearest, dearest, pets and lovers. To hold, touch, and taste the sweet nectar of life.

Worrying about nothing?

However let’s be frank – nobody knows what’s on the other side. So why are we making the assumption that it’s a bad thing, or any worse than the current reality in which we co-exist? Depending on your beliefs you may argue the point that the other side IS known. This is a personal view I share, however you are invited to make up your own mind. I don’t believe consciousness is limited to this physical vessel, and this belief is formed from my direct personal experience.

It’s for each of us to determine for ourselves whether the ‘afterlife’ in whatever guise, fits our narrative. In much the same way that a child in the womb does not know what will come next as they enter into this vastly different physical reality, neither do we. The babe is born and enters this realm – one totally alien and new. We forget that we have each had this experience too.

Making the assumption that death is bad limits our ability to experience and enjoy life. If your fear of death is propelling you to live a more wholesome and fulfilling life, and inviting you to go after your dreams – then great! Keep going! However if your rumination on death and it’s inevitable yet undetermined date of arrival is leading you to anxiety and depression, this is an invitation to start living NOW.

Time to take control

It’s never too late. Accept the unacceptable. Face up to the reality. And instead of cowering in the corner waiting for the day when the grim reaper arrives with his cape and scythe, take your life by the horns and do the things you’ve always wanted to do.

Today is the first day of the rest of your life. You get to choose how you want to live it. Are you waiting for the other shoe to drop? Or are you going to boldly step forward and claim your living?

Breathe the change you wish to see in the world.

Philippa x


The ground is continuously shifting under your feet. The goalposts are moving. What was proclaimed ‘fact’ last week has been reclassified this week, and downplayed or hidden by the media. Agendas are being pushed. Increasing levels of chaos abound. You couldn’t keep up if you tried.

It’s fair to say we’re living in a time where our ability to cope with the pace of change is implausible. We’re experiencing what’s known as ‘future shock’, where dramatic and cumulative events overwhelm our ability to process and adapt, leaving us stunned and confused. Not knowing which way to turn. Overwhelmed.

First of all, it’s OK. Take a breath. We’re all in the same boat.

The world is changing and I understand it’s terrifying – like a rollercoaster that you just wish would STOP RIGHT NOW. But we know that’s highly unlikely to happen. A tipping point has been reached and there is no going back.

What matters now is how we go forward. Take a moment to pause and recognise that this IS within your sphere of influence.

Letting go of control

A few years ago I’d have been completely paralysed and overwhelmed by the current situation. [Sidenote: I was a little bit of a control freak, and liked to have things ‘just so’. An ex-boyfriend once refused to cook with me after I insisted on telling him how to chop onions. Poor guy.]

Yet in 2014 that all changed when I detonated a bomb on my neat, tidy, comfortable existence. I intentionally threw everything out of the window – left my corporate job, my apartment, friends and family, to live in a foreign country, learn a new language and start over from scratch. I didn’t realise that’s what I was doing at the time, but the truth is you never know what lies on the other side when you hurl yourself into the abyss. I had the finances, yes, but beyond that I had no other solid ground. I pulled up anchor and cast off for distant shores, with no clue what lay ahead. And guess what….

I survived.

More than that – I completely reinvented myself, overcame my demons and THRIVED. In the midst of uncertainty, chaos and not knowing what was next. Upon releasing the tight grip I had on life, I learned to trust grace to lead the way. To flow and respond to the here and now. Paying attention to what’s in front of me and taking action accordingly. Dancing in the present moment and allowing the next step to be revealed in exactly the timing that’s required.

A path of discovery

I’m not going to lie – there were some pretty rough lessons I learned along the way, and some magical, unreal experiences too. The more I pushed my fear mind out of the way, the more surreal and mystical my life was. I had found breathwork and in doing so, discovered hidden depths within myself that I didn’t know existed. I became one with life, and in turn life became one with me. After all, there is no separation. We just imagine there is.

I expect you’re wondering how I coped, what was my mindset, what actions did I take etc…..Perhaps you want to know how I came to make sense in a mad world. The truth is I didn’t. You can’t. The world IS mad (or certainly chaotic) and you won’t make sense of it. So stop trying. [And no, I don’t mean give up, read on] The only thing for it, therefore, is to MAKE SENSE OF YOURSELF.

This is the secret to what I did, and I now extend the same invitation to you…

Get to know yourself on a deep level. Let go of the past. Become aware of your thoughts and behaviours. Respect your body and form a relationship with it. Align your life with your soul. Support yourself, and in turn you will be strengthened to support others.

Making sense of yourself is the best antidote to a mad world. It’s the one thing you DO have influence over and you can start right this minute.

Take a breath. And another. Another. Deep into your abdomen. Keep going. This is where the answers lie. This is where transformation happens. One breath at a time. This will reveal that you’re magic too. Everything you need is within you, I promise.

Now it’s your turn to breathe and believe. You’ve got this.

Breathe the change you wish to see in the world.

Philippa x


It’s fair to say yesterdays message ruffled a few feathers! Some people reached out to say thank you and share that it woke them up, others were checking if I was okay. LOL. I’m fine!

So, how do I feel about that? Nothing particular, and satisfied at the same time.

Because I’m not here to fit in and make everyone else feel comfortable. We have been playing that game for hundreds (if not thousands of years) and look where it has gotten us…

No. It turns out that I’m here to make people uncomfortable.

The people pleaser or people pusher

Growing up as a conditioned people pleaser makes this laughable and exquisitely awkward if I’m honest. But what good ever came from a comfort zone? It’s a false illusion and one we are painfully now waking up from.

I’m here to make waves. Ruffle feathers. Trigger people. Say things publicly that are usually only said behind closed doors. Bring awareness to unpleasant truths. And ultimately make people uncomfortable. So much so in fact, that they cannot bear it any longer, and they have to move.

They have to do something different, take action, get real.

And the irony is that on the other side of that my work is to make people comfortable. To find ease in the discomfort and move through the layers and blocks holding them back. My work is a paradox and I’m slowly coming to terms with that realisation.

The purpose of pain

Because without pain, there is no movement. Humans are funny creatures and our wiring messes with us. We are much more motivated by pain than pleasure. That’s why marketeers focus on pain points in case you hadn’t noticed. it makes people wake up and take notice. A bit like my email yesterday.

Surprisingly I only had 1 person unsubscribe. So I guess if you’re still here then you get where I’m coming from. The message that comes through me is resonating with you. That’s what it’s about at the end of the day. Energy.

Beneath the words on the surface, my message is a reminder to step into your higher calling. To go after your dreams and quit playing small. To bring your whole self to life and recognise and embody the divinity that you are.

My message is an invitation to listen to your own soul which most of the time is drowned out by the noise and distractions of day to day life. I’m a reminder that you keep forgetting something, and it’s time to remember.

Be true to yourself NOW

A few years ago writing these kind of messages would have scared the hell out of me. The nice girl certainly wanted all and sundry to like and adore her.

That was then and this is now. And more to the point, NOW is the only moment we have.

After today the doors close for good. Will I see you on the inside?

Breathe the change you wish to see in the world.

Philippa x


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?

Breathe the change you wish to see in the world.

Philippa x


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.

Breathe the change you wish to see in the world.

Philippa x


Deep at the core of every human heart is the desire to connect..

We are highly animalistic in the physical sense and seek solace and comfort in communion with others, be it in romantic or platonic relationships. There is something about touch that soothes the soul. And given the situation we currently find ourselves in, the lack of this lifeblood connection is felt more than ever. Yet we often get mixed up between our longing for connection and our emotional wounds.

The vast majority of us are the walking wounded, and the search for connection is like trying to put a band aid on a bullet wound. It’s just not going to do the job. The wound is too deep, and no amount of sticking plasters are going to fix the gaping void. What is needed is surgery, to remove the bullet, the cause of the wound, and seal up the skin so it can heal.

Recognising your wounds

However if you don’t know you’re wounded, you’re likely to be spraying blood onto everyone and everything you touch, wondering why you’re in pain and why your relationships look like a crime scene from a murder mystery movie. Other people can see the problem a mile off, but you stay stuck because you’re too numb to your own sh*t to recognise the bigger picture.

We can’t change what we can’t see or feel. Living in our own little bubble we create our own stories and illusions in an attempt to maintain control and gain a sense of comfort. It may work for a while, but life has a way of making growth happen, whether you like it or not.

At some level we’re all in pain, just for the most part we’re completely unaware of it. Pain is something that typically we get told to ‘poke up’ with, get on with it, man up and keep trooping on. Our cultures have taken trauma and edified it, turning it to stone and entombing our very life force in the process. You see, the vast majority of us are codependent. We are dysfunctional in relationships.

We are not sovereign, but woven into enmeshed and contorted emotional and energetic connections that corrupt who we really are. Codependent. Not interdependent. And this is a BIG problem which most people are living through but not aware of. I had no idea what that meant until 8 years ago when someone close to me introduced the concept, and the book Facing Codependence by Pia Mellody. And just like that, a whole new can of worms opened up.

Until that point, as far as I was concerned, I was ‘all right’. I considered myself to have my head screwed on, and that I was fairly adept at navigating the world. I had good relationships, plenty of friends, a fantastic job and my life overall was pretty wholesome. When I read the book it was like reading my biography. People pleasing. Poor boundaries. Emotionally sensitive. Manipulation and control. Fear of abandonment. Intense feelings of shame and guilt. The list when on and on.

Breaking through

God damn, ‘this is me’ I thought. Whilst my stomach sank with the realisation, it was also a breakthrough moment. It finally gave me the strength to see a therapist and begin unravelling my convoluted emotional dealings that had unknowingly permeated my existence.

Codependency is sneaky. It’s like one of those untraceable STI’s you get that flies beneath the radar and you don’t know you got a problem until, well, a few other people do too. It makes you think that everything in your life was and is ‘normal’ until, well, all of a sudden it isn’t. Because essentially codependency describes dysfunction in relationship, and guess what, your life is riddled with relationships. Dysfunctional ones at that.

Uuff I appreciate that may sound like a judgment, but I’m pointing the finger firmly at myself too. Until I knew about the phenomenon of codependency I thought all my relationships were healthy and normal. Well now I know they weren’t. Part of me already knew that, but this new knowledge gave me deeper insights and how I needed to heal and change, to make my life actually work for me.
What I realised during my journey is that my life and energy were being directly impacted by those around me, especially my close family relationships.

Playing the codependency game

Everybody is codependent to a greater or lesser extent. It depends on the luck of the draw of the family you were born into, and the amount of healthy emotional coping mechanisms that were present (or not). Unfortunately the majority of our modern cultures do not support or encourage healthy, free and open expression of our wants, needs and feelings. As a result we learn to manipulate and control our reality in order to get our desires met, without asking directly. We become incredibly sensitised to the needs of others around us so that we can meet them, and in turn get rewarded or recognised, and ultimately receive love.

Codependency is born as a result of conditional love. Love that is only given when certain conditions or circumstances are met. Instead of being something that is freely shared, love becomes a currency that may be withheld or provided, depending on the demands and needs of the giver. When children receive this type of conditional love from adults, they learn to comply with, meet and/or anticipate all of the adults needs. When they are successful, bingo, they receive love, praise and acceptance. If they fail to comply, then guess what? Shaming, ignoring, guilt tripping, criticism, anger, and emotional manipulation.

I think you’ll agree that’s a highly toxic cocktail most of us wouldn’t wish to knowingly drink. Yet most family systems have been brewing this foul tasting concoction for centuries. Conditional love is sadly the norm, and hence why we are all codependent. I have compassion for us all because the way I see it, our situation reflects the direct result of generations of emotional repression and collective trauma. When something becomes so normalised it becomes inherent and woven in to the fabric of society. It also forms part of our DNA, and now the science of epigenetic proves it. Hence the reason I thought I was fine, when in actual fact, I wasn’t. I couldn’t for the life of me see the wood from the trees.

Is it longing or connection?

Codependency is where we confuse the longing to be in connection, with our emotional wounds. Our wounds are the delicate places that were created because we never got our needs met when we were children. When love was given conditionally and we moulded ourselves to survive. In order to fill the voids that remain deep inside our child self, we seek something out in the world to plug the gap and soothe our pain and sense of lack. In this moment our inner child is crying out for healing.
Rather than searching in the world for something that can’t be provided, as adults we can give ourselves a precious gift instead. This is the gift of unconditional love. It is the surgery for the bullet wound.

Bringing full attention to our child self and nurturing it as we wished we had been loved. Wiping away the tears and allowing emotions to flow, gently holding ourselves and allowing our cuts to slowly heal so that we can come into genuine connection once more. Firstly by connecting with our own innocent selves, and then from a place of genuine longing and expression, sharing our unique essence with the world.

Healing codependency is a journey to claiming your sovereignty and power.

It can feel overwhelming because you’re disrupting an ancestral pattern and drawing a line in the sand for the next generation. I want you to know that this IS a big deal, and one you should celebrate and thank yourself for taking. Whilst we’re replaying the past, we can’t move forward. We all know that a brighter future requires something different. Making the decision to heal your wounds is a great act of courage and the rewards will be unfathomable. Let’s make the next cultural revolution one that’s driven by love.

Ready to enrol? Sign up now by loving yourself unconditionally. It is not for the faint hearted, but it’s a step in the right direction.

Breathe the change you wish to see in the world.

Philippa x


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?

Breathe the change you wish to see in the world.

Philippa x