Everything about it was perfect and it healed me all the way to the core. There are no words for what I feel because of this. I will carry these memories in my heart forever. Can’t wait to share it with my new family.
- Francesca Federici
“It is never too late or too early to Stand Tall.” – Zita
How to retreat and strategise.
We have created a world in which not one day goes by where there is not someone selling us, telling us to buy this, watch that, be this, do that, de – stress, watch your weight, be mind full of your mental health issues, meditate on your lack of this, telling us that you are not enough of this and you are definitely far too much of that and you could certainly do better at that. Buy this new face cream now so that you can have the skin of an undernourished pre-teen as you glide towards your 40s and 50s. Why? Because all of this will “change your life.”
Sadly, we are never told what exactly it will change our life to. Clearly it is not something better because if all of it were working proportionately to the amount of it sold, we would surely have enough of it by now to have made a noticeable difference. We would all feel relaxed and very happy. Right? Apparently not. Other than a few fleeting moments of joy, some hours of euphoria at best, life stumbles on and you continue to do the best that you can with what you are given.
The true question is: When was the last time you experienced a real radical shift in your life outside of the major life events of growing up, getting married, having children, getting a great job, getting a great promotion, a remarkable pay rise at said job, a difficult time in your relationship? The constant low level, deep hum of stress buzzing around your ears, now managed mostly with wine and a massage hovers. Hopefully, one day, there will be time – you will make the time – to deal with whatever unprecedented life event has made life a bit more challenging than you had hoped.
When was the last time you really shook things up? When was the last time that instead of brushing another thing under the rug, you lifted up the rug to see what you were actually storing under it? My guess is probably not very often, if ever. It’s not normal but it is accepted, more or less, that after a while you just sort of give up and get on with it all as best you can. People become too afraid to look under the rug, they lie awake at night, hoping, praying that the rug won’t misbehave, jump up and bite them. You never really smile on the commute to work anymore because the stuff under the rug is quietly sucking away your joy. And as life gets faster and busier, the moments to truly reflect become fewer. The sugary silt of the food and drink consumed to act as a buffer between you and the stuff under the rug starts to settle in. Before long, whole years have slipped by without you even noticing that the rug is now on the ceiling drip feeding the unresolved mess into the parts of your life you wish you could avoid or get away from. All you notice is the tension, the colds, the stress, the disappointments, frustrations and challenges rising up each morning to greet you. If it is not the nanny or the cleaning lady, it’s the boss, or that creepy annoying guy from god knows where. Strained relationships tugging at the seams of loosely woven lies. Papering over the cracks as you look for another pot of miracle cream, another detox diet, another remedy to keep the rug in place, all perfect and nice as your whole being starts to feel the fizzle and crack. Last question. When is enough, enough?
It is a great tradition for many to take annual leave, go on holiday and effectively press pause for a few weeks or so. You’ve earned it. There are a plethora of holiday companies offering getaways in paradise to help you take the weight off your shoulders as you exit the arrivals hall at destination X, Y or Z. Only to then return home buoyed by a renewed sense of joie de vivre and good intentions to make some serious changes.
Constantly evolving we are. A spa-retreat was the new upgraded version of a holiday for those high achievers as more and more people realised that to be on top of their game they had to rejuvenate their body. First, it was the retreats that offered detoxes, fasting, dieting, mega fitness pump, boot camps, fire eating, womb lighting and man caving. Like anything that is worth doing well, these too are starting to become more refined, too much high intensity of anything creates more burn out for the burnt out.
Thankfully, the new wave is wellness and wellbeing retreats; these are the holidays of choice for those who sense they are not realising their full potential whether they are hard working, high achievers or are among the many whose dreams never seem to get off the ground. The difference: a more long – term approach to your wellbeing, they seek to touch upon your physical, mental, emotional and spiritual systems to bring them and you into harmony. So instead of coming back a few pounds lighter, glistening with good health that soon fades, there are programmes tailored by exceptional coaches and therapists that serve to allow you to embrace change, meaningful and lasting change, not just for your body, but for the whole of your life too.
Life Therapy Retreats.
Zita invites you to join her on Life Therapy Retreats. Tailor made for the woman who wants to come back with the resources to be fully, wonderfully her best self and to be present for her life. From under the rug comes what you have been afraid to look at.
From my years of experience as a coach and a therapist what you will find under the rug is yourself, including all the hidden gems, the parts of you that you did not feel you had a right to own. Whilst you were busy getting everything else right, taking care of others needs, doing 150% to be as good as a man worth your 100%, you lost touch with who you really are. What is your true potential? I doubt you even know the answer to that yourself. I imagine by now you are starting to grasp that it is far more than you dared hope or imagine.
Its not enough to just get by anymore. If you are serious about the life you are living then your wellbeing matters. I can assure you there is nothing fun about a life where your wellbeing is not high on the agenda. You can’t really sit and say it’s because of men that you aren’t seen or acknowledged, when you resist seeing and acknowledging yourself. That makes no sense at all. Sure men have their stuff to look at, but women do too.
Make a strategic manoeuvre, change your life and find your purpose.
Come and join us on the Stand Tall retreat.
When we are stuck we need to shake ourselves up. The more we are shaken, the more we must let go of our former selves, assumptions and limiting beliefs to begin again. Rebuilding ourselves can be a truly challenging process. It can be demanding, excruciating, exhausting. It can also be exciting, liberating and rejuvenating. Most importantly it can open the door to a new life, a life more suited to who you really are. Nothing is more fulfilling than living life from the place of your true potential.
It is the role of each generation to become a little more free, to secure a piece of freedom that wasn’t available to our ancestors and previous generations. It is absolutely necessary to recognise those who came before us, those who made way for us. Because of them we are able to build our own dreams and overcome every obstacle placed in our way—physical, sociological, spiritual and mental.
“Because it is not an organized religion as such, but rather a spiritual practice, shamanism cuts across all faiths and creeds, reaching deep levels of ancestral memory. As a primal belief system, which precedes established religion, it has its own symbolism and cosmology, inhabited by beings, gods, and totems, who display similar characteristics although they appear in various forms, depending upon their places of origin.”
– John Matthews, The Celtic Shaman
Shamanism has been around for hundreds of thousands of years, and is once again growing in popularity as a way for people to de-stress and reconnect in a world that has pushed nature and meaningful relationships towards the side-lines. The purpose of Shamanism is to heal the four bodies; spiritual, emotional, physical and mental. In my travels across this planet there is not one place I have visited where Shamanism is not practised and revered by many. As part of my training as a Coach and Therapist I have found that there are many elements of traditional Shamanism that have great value in supporting our every day experience of life. One aspect in particular that I often employ in my work with clients is ritual.
“You are what you repeatedly do” – Aristotle
I remember in my early days of training one of the first things I learnt about ritual was how it could be effectively used as a device to break old habits and patterns of behaviour and illicit new and healthier ones. I had a client who persistently got moving violations for not fastening his seatbelt, and he had come to me to break this very expensive habit through hypnosis. The solution was simple. I told him to perform the ritual of leaving his house, getting into his car and fastening his seat belt and repeating the action 21 times, whilst repeating a sentence that I had specifically crafted to suit his new pattern of behaviour. He never forgot to fasten his seatbelt ever again. This is just one example in which hypnosis and ritual can be highly effective in creating meaningful change. It is an incredibly simple process that we can draw upon to great effect.
There is this common yet misguided belief that life is beyond our control, or that we can just magically change the way we think and we will change our lives. One of the simplest and most effective ways to create lasting change in our lives for the better is to create a visceral experience. Simply put – to change what we repeatedly do – that a subtle yet profound emotional shift is quietly acknowledged at the deeper levels of our consciousness. We can make that change at any moment. I often find that today is always the best day to start.
Our life is not shaped by big external events, it is not changed by decisions we make, it is not changed by the opinion of others. Our lives are changed by ritual, the ritual of our daily actions, and if that action is repeated often enough we create a new habit. We learnt to walk and talk – two of the most complex skills for humans to master – when we were incredibly young. These great feats were achieved by repetition driven by a need to belong. That is a very powerful combination to inspire and motivate significant change. The ability to walk and talk assured our belonging to the tribe into which we were born, our family, our social group and our country. This innate need to belong gives added depth to the task of repeating an action. Similarly, ritual brings in a sense of sacred meaning and power. So when we have the desire, and the impetus to create change, there is tremendous value in giving honour to the action by ritualising it. Hence some of the most important moments of our life are marked by ritual to clearly indicate that something profound has happened.
The golden number is 21 days. Once a ritual has been performed and repeated for 21 days consecutively it is certain that change will occur. You can change your health, wellbeing, work performance, relationships and so much more. Recent research from the university of California shows that your brain is led by your actions, if you start by making your daily actions positive then your daily thoughts will be positive. Action creates a vibration in our bodies, and when vibration and thought are combined the change in thinking has greater depth than changing our thinking alone.
A daily ritual is a way of saying I am voting for myself, today in this moment I am going to take good care of myself. Rituals require commitment, engagement, ownership and accountability. There is no half-mast. If you start a ritual and then stop before day 21, don’t be surprised if nothing happens.
There is little benefit for a Coach to support someone who is half hearted. A good Coach will not do it. If however, you are committed to making change and are interested in exploring rituals to do so, then contact me here.
When we are stuck we need to shake ourselves up. The more we are shaken, the more we must let go of our former selves, our assumptions and limiting beliefs to begin again. Reshaping ourselves can be a truly challenging process. It can be demanding, excruciating, exhausting. It can also be exciting, liberating and rejuvenating. Most importantly it can open the door to a new life, a life more suited to who we really are. Nothing is more fulfilling than living life from the place of our true potential.
We have entered an Age of Disruption. Mass poverty. Mass migration. Climate chaos. Fundamentalism. Terrorism. Financial oligarchies. The desire for profound personal, social, and global renewal has never been more pressing. The need for purposeful leadership has never been more wanted and needed.
The age of disruption addresses endings and new beginnings as an old civilisation and a ‘me’ mindset recedes into the past. As the yet unknown future starts to emerge, it is clear that resistance and fighting is not enough. What is clear is that the shift requires us to expand our thinking from the head to the heart. It is a future that requires us to tap into a deeper level of our humanity. Who we really are and what do we want to be as a society? Rather than collectively creating results that nobody wants the emerging need is a shift in our awareness from ego – systems to eco – systems, a new approach to living not just as groups and organisations, but also as a global community.
As human beings, we are on a journey of social evolution, of becoming who we really are. The journey to our true selves is open-ended, we may experience it as confusion, depression, breakdowns and disruptions in our lives but the journey can also lead to extraordinary breakthroughs. It is the breakthroughs that give not only a deeper understanding of that which makes us uniquely us, they also contain the potential to strengthen us in all areas of life.
Everywhere we look in life we can see evidence of remarkable individuals and communities that have managed to break through the walls of trauma, tyranny and suffering in order to form a deeper connection with humanity. What makes this possible? When we shift our focus from what takes place in the exterior world to what takes place within, we become aware, transformed. Rwanda is an example of a country that has made staggering and inspiring leaps forward from its past to become the secure and stable country it is today by openly engaging such an approach.
This inner shift to greater awareness of ‘what is’ and sensing into the emerging future possibilities lies at the core of all deep leadership work today. It is a shift that requires us to expand our thinking, to pioneer new principles and personal practices, for any leader it is perhaps the most vitally important undertaking of our time. It is within this process of updating leadership that we find a way to preserve identity and incorporate new useful insights and mental models to survive and thrive.
Purposeful leadership requires us to suspend our judgements of how things should be, how we traditionally believe individuals and organisations should function, redirect our attention, let go of limiting beliefs and ideas inherited from the past and allow the future that wants to emerge to reveal itself to us. Purposeful leadership has a place and value not just for the individual, it can also be of great benefit for businesses, government bodies, education and the various systems which exist within our local communities and cultures.
We cannot change the past and it’s events, however, we can address the effect it has on us today and use that wisdom to create outcomes that benefit the greater good of all.
“The moment we believe we can learn something new, we begin the process of learning something new” – Zita
” I would change nothing in my life if it meant not being here now.”
When such words are spoken with integrity that can only come with stating a very personal truth, when there is no falter in speech, no withdrawing or hesitancy, the implication is that we have arrived at a place of peace and acceptance. The suggestion being that we now understand how every trauma we have suffered in our lives has played its role in bringing us to full self-acknowledgment.
A fully acknowledged self is not only achievable but is a rich and rewarding way to experience one’s life. We are able to joyfully accept and harmonise all of who we are in the most productive way. More and more people are achieving it as they understand that being happy is an achievable goal, it may not come in the form of a life hack or a ten point bulletin marketing joust, it’s so much more than that kind of clap happy happy. In truth, it is a more disciplined and concerted effort to reach one’s full potential. It is not a life goal for the lazy or faint of heart, but it is definitely an experience none who come to it ever regret.
And so such profound words resonate when we realise that life has damaged no part of our true nature, and that despite all the apparent suffering and obstacles, we have come to remember who we are, why we are here, and what we are supposed to be doing.
One always has to know when a stage comes to an end. If we insist on staying longer than the necessary time, we lose the happiness and the meaning of the other stages we have to go through.
Closing cycles, shutting doors, ending chapters – whatever name we give it, what matters is to leave in the past the moments of life that have finished.
Did you lose your job? Has a loving relationship come to an end? Did you leave your parents’ house? Gone to live abroad? Has a long-lasting friendship ended all of a sudden?
You can spend a long time wondering why this has happened.
You can tell yourself you won’t take another step until you find out why certain things that were so important and so solid in your life have turned into dust, just like that.
But such an attitude will be awfully stressing for everyone involved: your parents, your husband or wife, your friends, your children, your sister.
Everyone is finishing chapters, turning over new leaves, getting on with life, and they will all feel bad seeing you at a standstill.
Things pass, and the best we can do is to let them really go away.
That is why it is so important (however painful it may be!) to destroy souvenirs, move, give lots of things away to orphanages, sell or donate the books you have at home.
Everything in this visible world is a manifestation of the invisible world, of what is going on in our hearts – and getting rid of certain memories also means making some room for other memories to take their place.
Let things go. Release them. Detach yourself from them.
Nobody plays this life with marked cards, so sometimes we win and sometimes we lose.
Do not expect anything in return, do not expect your efforts to be appreciated, your genius to be discovered, your love to be understood.
Stop turning on your emotional television to watch the same program over and over again, the one that shows how much you suffered from a certain loss: that is only poisoning you, nothing else.
Nothing is more dangerous than not accepting love relationships that are broken off, work that is promised but there is no starting date, decisions that are always put off waiting for the “ideal moment.”
Before a new chapter is begun, the old one has to be finished: tell yourself that what has passed will never come back.
Remember that there was a time when you could live without that thing or that person – nothing is irreplaceable, a habit is not a need.
This may sound so obvious, it may even be difficult, but it is very important.
Closing cycles. Not because of pride, incapacity or arrogance, but simply because that no longer fits your life.
Shut the door, change the record, clean the house, shake off the dust.
Stop being who you were, and change into who you are.
“You live through that little piece of time that is yours, but that piece of time is not only your life, it is the summing-up of all the other lives that are simultaneous with yours… What you are is an expression of history.”
– Robert Penn Warren, World Enough and Time
You are more than just an individual. You are part of a family, a culture and a time. This history has an enormous influence on how you act and how you relate to the world in which you live. Quite often the way in which you relate to the world and how that is then expressed through your nature is suppressed by the way you have been conditioned to think in order to belong to your family of origin; such conditioned thinking is inherited from the past, as opposed to being true to your intrinsic nature or serving your best interests in the present.
Through his work with thousands of family systems, Bert Hellinger has found what he describes as a natural order of love which is deeply embedded in the family history and memory. There is a conscience unique to each family that in an invisible and unconscious way for its members is passed from one generation to the next, and which conditions the behaviour and mode of survival of each of the individuals of that family. What one generation leaves unresolved is taken on by members of succeeding generations, in an innocent and unconscious effort to re-establish balance. This can often lead us to assume behaviours and challenges which do not belong to us and in fact create more disorder instead of less. We often bring this disorder with us to our couple relationships for example, but many other areas are affected also. Issues for example around work, depression, finances, difficulties with children, and relationships with parents and siblings.
There is very little written about the work of systemic family constellations, for the simple reason that it detracts from the liveliness of the work; there are no absolute truths to be found in its theory without context, as each life situation is different, unique even. With regards to relationships in particular, it is understood that a balance needs to exist between give and take; much like breathing one can only breathe in as much as one can breathe out, the nature of life demands that a balance be sought and sustained between opposing forces. In the following clip from youtube one can see a demonstration of Bert Hellinger working with a couple. The simplicity of the approach is apparent, so too the peaceful resolution to the issue reached. It is a fine example of restoring the balance of give and take, first in the relationship with mother and then in the couple’s relationship. One is reminded of the power of gratitude to resolve seemingly intractable relationship issues.
You can watch the clip here. Gratitude
Our hidden loyalty to our family system can even be expressed through the body in a wide range of illnesses that have at their core a systemic root. Alcoholism, panic attacks and epilepsy all have systemic components to their origin. Life Therapy, through the lens of family constellations, is an honest yet humble way of looking at the systemic causes of repetitive suffering.
“When the family has been brought into its natural order, the individual can leave it behind him while still feeling the strength of his family supporting him. Only when the connection to his family is acknowledged, and the person’s responsibility seen clearly and then distributed, can the individual feel unburdened and go about his personal affairs without anything from the past weighing him down or holding him back”
– Bert Hellinger
Everything about it was perfect and it healed me all the way to the core. There are no words for what I feel because of this. I will carry these memories in my heart forever. Can’t wait to share it with my new family.
- Francesca Federici