Crafted with Love

I spent a week in June at the annual conference for Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) which took place in Seattle, Washington (USA) this year. It was an incredible opportunity to deepen my knowledge of ACT while meeting many super inspiring people.

My husband joined me after the conference and we travelled around the region, visiting Portland (Oregon), Olympic National Park, Vancouver Island and Vancouver in Canada, and stopping in a few places in between.

The landscapes were breathtaking – the vast wilderness of nature looked like something off an indie music album cover.

fir trees

And I loved the dynamic, creative energy of the Pacific West Coast as this region is called, especially the pride taken in making food and drinks that are ‘hand-crafted’ with love and a lot of attention to detail. Portland is even called ‘Beervana’ because of all the microbreweries there are! My husband took it as his mission to taste as many different beers as possible!

beer

We even did a coffee tour of Seattle independent coffee shops with a very coffee-passionate guide, learning about the various techniques for making coffee such as this drip coffee.

Ghost alley coffee

Inspired and moved by this, I started thinking: My work through Healthwise is also ‘hand-crafted’. This work truly matters to me and I put in a lot of love, care and attention to detail. Perhaps I could even say it is crafted with love?crafted with love

So I started thinking exactly what this looks like – and what matters to me most when ‘crafting’ individual sessions.

Here’s what I came up with:

♥ Providing a safe space in which my clients can step back and see things differently.

♥ Creating a judgement-free zone where my clients feel heard and supported, regardless of what they are going through.

♥ Helping my clients learn new ways of relating to their internal village of thoughts, feeling and sensations so they can drop the struggle with themselves. Much of the pain in life doesn’t have a ‘solution’ yet we can learn to relate to the pain differently.

♥ Creating a compassionate space where my clients also learn to bring themselves kindness, to better listen to their needs, to have their own back – whether or not they think they ‘deserve’ this.

♥ Helping my clients get unstuck and moving towards what matters to them. Because living with a genetic kidney disease myself, I realize that life is not unlimited, that we all have precious little time on this earth to do what matters to us, to be in the kind of relationships we truly desire, to live the life we really want to be living.

 I want to treat each session as if it were the last, to provide value in each session so that my clients leave with a small step to work towards or a new skill to practice.

Crafting with love is definitely something I want to keep being inspired by – isn’t it a beautiful way of approaching life and what we put out into the world?

Here are a few more photos:

IMG_5965stumpskayak

Hiba cafe

PS – If this inspires and you are interested in getting unstuck and moving towards what matters to you, please get in touch.

Fear: A Personal Confession

Healthy Arabic Cooking Class Geneva

“The amateur believes he must first overcome his fear; then he can do his work. The professional knows that fear can never be overcome. He knows there is no such thing as a fearless warrior or a dread-free artist.” – Steven Pressfield

I had been wanting to give a cooking class for almost a year now.

But something kept holding me back.

You’re not a chef.

This wasn’t something someone said to me. This was something my own mind kept reminding me of.

It also told me that nobody would come. That I suck at organization and logistics. That I would probably forget some vital ingredient. And it even came up with lovely, and really inventive images of me forgetting to put on the blender top…before turning on the blender.

Ah, minds. Such creative, imaginative – and sometimes unhelpful instruments.

I used to waste a lot of time trying to change fearful thoughts and images.

And then I discovered ACT (Acceptance and Commitment Therapy) and it changed everything.

ACT helped me realize that our minds evolved to constantly broadcast negative thoughts.

One of the reasons is because when we lived in a world rife with physical danger like wild animals prowling around, we needed to be constantly on alert, to notice any danger in our environment to avoid being eaten.

Minds also evolved to compare and judge us as a way of protecting us from being rejected by the group. Humans can’t really survive alone in the wild in the same way children can’t survive without their parents. So we have a strong aversion to being rejected because for our minds…

Being rejected = I might die

Russ Harris, one of the thinkers behind ACT calls the mind a ‘Don’t Get Killed Machine’ and that is basically the starring role of our minds. To keep us safe. To keep us cozily ensconced in our comfort zone so we don’t have to face the possibility of rejection.

Realizing this changed everything for me.

It made me realize…

That there’s no point in waiting for my thoughts to turn positive and supportive or to feel fully ready before taking action. This very rarely happens.

That it is normal and completely on equity for my mind to come up with thoughts like Nobody will come and if they do, they’ll want their money back. It is simply what minds evolved to do. Instead of reacting to these thoughts by not holding the cooking class, I could simply realize that my mind was doing its thing, and trying to keep me safe…and still take action towards organizing the cooking class anyway.

Because as soon as there is change in the horizon, there is always fear.

But that fear doesn’t need to push you around. In the end, it doesn’t matter if thoughts are true or not. They are only thoughts and they don’t need to dictate action if you don’t want them to. How often have you thought I want to go to that yoga class without going? Or had uncharitable thoughts about someone without acting on them?

We tend to take our thoughts so seriously but they do not necessarily dictate action.

My mind telling me You suck at logistics and will never be able to plan a cooking class for 15 people has a grain of truth. I am not a natural organizer and it is not something I enjoy. But just because it is true didn’t mean I had to allow it to stop me from moving towards something important to me.

Which brings me to the most important part:

Focusing on what it important is a much better strategy for moving forward in life than buying into fearful thoughts and images.

Negative thoughts and fears will always be there. The question is, can I have these thoughts and feelings AND STILL move towards what is important to me? In this case, what was important to me was sharing my passion for simple, healthy food that I love creating. ACT talks about being ‘willing’ to have these uncomfortable thoughts and fears in service of what’s important for you. After all, fear wouldn’t show up if I was in my comfort zone rather than trying to do something that mattered to me.

We tend to believe that people who are ‘out there’ and doing things are different to us. That they don’t have fear. Yet if there is one certitude in life, it is that where there is change, there is fear. The question is, will you allow this to keep you in your comfort zone or will you Feel the fear and do it anyway in the words of Susan Jeffers?

I would love to hear from you – what helps you deal with fear? Are there any quotes you find inspiring?