“All men’s miseries derive from not being able to sit quiet in a room alone.”
Blaise Pascal 1623 – 1662
The Mindful Athlete, George Mumford
Chapter Name: “Be Like Water” Bruce Lee
The iconic martial artist Bruce Lee, famously declared: “Be like water.” Those three words pretty much sum up the mindset of the mindful athlete and spiritual warrior who lives life in conscious flow all the time. Water, for starters, responds rather than “reacts”. It literally flows. It’s powerful, yet it yields to the lay of the land rather than exerting unnecessary force. In fact, it actually gets its force through yielding.
Many people use water and the ocean as a metaphor for our emotional states of mind. Even with the waves crashing on the surface of the ocean, there’s always a vast, calm space deep below. When we meditate, we access that inner space within ourselves. (Along these lines, Sharon Salzberg wrote in her book LovingKindness that practising meditation produces a tremendous change in perspective…) At first it is as if we were sitting on the shore and watching the waves dance on the surface of the ocean. Later in meditation, it is as if we were under the water, in the calm, still depths, watching the waves above us moving and playing. Still later we perceive that, in fact, we are the water, not apart or separate, and that waving is happening.
In keeping with the metaphor of the ocean, remember this: Waves only wreak havoc on the surface, or on a very small part of the vast ocean. Most of the ocean is unimaginably spacious, calm, and deep. In the vastness of this space, things that seem gigantic and dangerous on the surface dissipate and even seem inconsequential. There is distance and objectivity – even intelligence, because intelligence is present when you see things from a larger perspective. Mindfulness helps us to “be like water” in this way and to truly understand that whatever waves are rocking our personal boats – or whatever stresses or challenges are flying our way – we have choice to reconnect to that deep place within at all times and act from that space between stimulus and response. In so doing, we aren’t tossed around by those waves. We see them for what they are. There is great power and wisdom in this.
“As a rule, whatever is fluid, soft, and yielding will overcome whatever is rigid and hard. This is another paradox: what is soft is strong.”
Lao Tzu (unknown – 6th – 4th century)
My resilient, beautiful, Piscean Queen. You ARE here, you ARE now, you DO matter… forever and always.
Your strength continues to propel you into versions of yourself that you have always known you CAN be, despite the struggles, despite the doubts and the uncertainties of the unknown.
Let sleeping dogs lie. The past is the past and is not definitive of you. You ARE current, you ARE here, you ARE now, and you EXIST for a reason.
Lessons have been learnt and will continue to be learnt, as growth and change is fundamental. Your buds are open, and the rays of the sun continue to beam down on your petals, through your stem and penetrates deep into your roots.
You bloom and dance graciously with the change of the seasons, inviting wind, rain and wintery showers to test your foundation and durability… After it all, YOU stand TALL, again and again… and again.
An old soul, a mother, a child, a sister, a niece, a friend and everything that comes in-between – an empathetic, talented, driven young woman who is destined only for greatness. A generational curse breaker, worthy of unconditional love and companionship.
Continue to be selfless and give abundantly. Love hard and allow yourself to be loved harder. Smile from the inside and laugh like you’ve never laughed before. Pray for further knowledge and wisdom, and give thanks for every moment you’re able to draw breath… for this life is never guaranteed. Explore the world as you see it before you and shine from the pit of your very being – without self-judgement and without fear.
You are MY inspiration.
My resilient, beautiful, Piscean Queen. You ARE here, you ARE now, you ARE extraordinary, and you are FREE.
Your purpose awaits you… forever and always.
“You are not a drop in the ocean. You are the entire ocean in a drop.”
Rumi (1207 – 1273)
Donella was divinely sent to me on recommendation from one of her previous clients. I say ‘divinely sent’ as she came to me at the right time as I had seen a few therapists, some who practiced the same kind of therapy as me (hypnotherapy), which helped cover the ground work of my self-development, however I always felt there was something missing or for whatever reason it just didn’t work out.
I really resonated with The Reach Approach’s strategy to healing (the 4 stages). More than this, I was supported and gently encouraged to go down the paths I NEEDED to go down. Therefore, change felt like a constant flow rather than a staccato process, which was my previous experience in therapy.
Donella is kind and gentle, even in speech and at times we can laugh together (usually me making the jokes out of the irony of life’s twists and turns). I always feel that what I have to say is important and there is no judgement whatsoever, which helps me to judge myself less. She patiently listens or reads my long emotional expressions (and rants) and allows me that space to just ‘be’ and not hurry along the process. I feel heard and am always surprised that she remembers details, which is great as I don’t have to keep repeating myself!
We have been on this journey for around 5 years (with some breaks) and I am grateful for this journey. I have a tendency to want to rush to the finish line, however I have learnt through one of The Reach Approach’s key principles: Change is a process, not an event. A principle that has not only been a big turning point for me through our sessions, but one that I am able to use as a guide for my own clients.
I will forever be grateful for being introduced to Donella I can honestly say that being her client has changed my life for the amazing! I have already recommended her to quite a few people and guided them to The Reach Approach website, as I fully believe in what they do and the noted changes and break throughs I have had are testament to this.
“Don’t be pushed around by the fears in your mind. Be led by the dreams in your heart.”
It’s hard to know exactly where to begin when trying to capture in words the magic of the journey I have undertaken because of Easton Hamilton, so I shall begin at the beginning.
The first time I met Easton I had travelled 3 hours on the train from Aberystwyth where I was at university. I had just turned 21 and two of my best friends had both begun therapy with Easton because of difficulties in their lives. Faced with similar difficulties – cripplingly low self esteem, severe bouts of depression and a fairly sizeable drug problem – they had both told me that Easton had basically blown their minds (that’s how we talked, we were young people!) and could be of tremendous help to me. Seeing the change in them, and their budding enthusiasm for the process of personal growth and development, I was more than happy to make the six hour round trip to gain access to that kind of help.
Over the ensuing ten years (almost to the day, in fact, as I write this) my life has changed immeasurably. Everything I have ever managed to achieve in my adult life owes a debt in some way to seeds that have been sown through the unique relationship I have been lucky enough to form with Easton. He has displayed incredible wisdom, kindness, boundless patience, empathy, humour, incredible faith in me, and an unbelievable honesty which has inspired me to try and do the same for others, and perhaps most importantly, for myself. He has helped me deal with all that life has thrown at me – from health difficulties to complicated personal relationships, and helped me face these situations with my head held high. I have been drug and alcohol free for 8 years now, and this is directly attributable to the work we have done together.
One of the many high points in our relationship came when my mother and I went to see Easton for a few sessions together. We had both undertaken our own therapeutic journeys but frequently ran into problems with each other. We had both suffered some fairly major trauma during my childhood, and we often argued bitterly, despite our best efforts and intentions. Our relationship has been completely transformed by the process that Easton facilitated, and is now incredibly mutually supportive and beneficial. I think it’s fair to say that most people would have thought that it would have been impossible for us to achieve the kind of friendship we have now, and of all the many blessings I have received through my work with Reach, this is perhaps the one I am most grateful for.
I feel incredibly fortunate to have begun this journey at the very beginning of my adult life, although it is not over for me as I feel I’m still blossoming. Ten years down the line from that first meeting my journey is very well established. It is proving to be better than I could ever have hoped it would be, and that certainly wouldn’t have been the case without the incredible work of Reach.
“Every thought of yours is a real thing – a force, and thoughts become things!”
Prentice Mulford (1834-1891)
I look back to how I felt and the person I projected at the start of this journey and I can barely recognise myself. Although those memories are very vivid, I feel a hundred miles away from who I was then.
I always new the real me was asleep somewhere inside of me, but I had no idea how to reach me! Through ‘Reach’ and my wonderful counsellor I found the courage to reach out to myself, to steer myself through what were some of the worst times of my life, the most difficult emotions I have ever experienced.
At times I felt as if I had been turned inside out. I felt physically sick, my body ached. I felt raw. All of the fears I had tried to run away from (and in doing so, had twisted me into someone I did not even recognise) were exposed. I was exhausted for a considerable amount of my journey but I always felt that I was supported and cradled by Judith and Easton. I felt that between them I was re-parented with the love, encouragement, guidance and security I now know I desire. A million ‘thank yous’ does not sufficiently express my gratitude.
I began this journey as the biggest skeptic you could ever imagine. I end it restored – with self- awareness I could not have imagined. I began feeling that my blockages lay in one area and found out that they lay in another. I found out how to take care of me, as a whole person – mind, body and spirit. I will continue to use this knowledge throughout my life. I know I am now equipped to meet the challenges of life head-on.
For the first time in a very long time I feel alive inside. I feel free, cleansed and confident in my own abilities. I want to live forever, as thoughts of my future now give me a warm glow.
I would sincerely encourage anyone who is suffering, whatever the cause, to take the plunge! Believe change is possible and trust that you will be safe. I remember feeling (before Reach) that if I opened up I would fall into a never-ending black hole and be drowned by my own self. Well, this did not happen and I am so happy I took the plunge and trusted someone else. This is definitely the BEST thing I have done in my life and for myself.
I am peace, I am Love, I am abundant and I am success.
I am blessed with good health, creativity, humility and a great sense of humour.
I have found my purpose and it gives me great pleasure to be of service to others.
I give my best in all that I do and I overcome adversities with grace, humility, calmness and a sense of knowing that all will be ok.
From my place of stillness I easily re-connect with the divinity in me and as always I am eternally grateful to God who loves me endlessly, the universe which sustains me and to myself as I now appreciate the importance of being patient.
As the daughter of a violent alcoholic I had grown up to be what I can only describe as ‘half a person’. Crippled with depression and anxiety, I could not shake off my past. My memories of the abuse suffered by myself and my siblings and the horrific attacks on my Mother were always with me. I developed a drink problem at a young age (probably about 14), which I used to block everything out. This would continue fro the next 20 years, a growing drink problem, a huge self-destruct button and a tendency to ruin anything good in my life.
At the age of 34, a single Mother with 2 children, I hit rock bottom. I had met the love of my life and was going to lose him as I was pushing him away with drunken outbursts and arguments. I had hit such a low that my doctor had prescribed valium. I knew there must be another way. A colleague who had received counselling through Reach gave me the number for one of the counsellors –Judith. Knowing this might be my last chance to change my life, I started counselling. I thought it would just last 6 weeks or so, little did I know the journey I was about to undertake.
12 months on, my life has changed beyond all recognition. While at times my journey has been painful, the joy I have found and the peace in my life is nothing short of a miracle. I no longer drink, I have become a good Mother to my children and am about to marry the love of my life.
My journey is not over yet. I still have a little way to go but I know that with Reach I have the courage and support to get there. Without the help I have received I would probably be dead by now. My pain felt so huge that at times suicide was an option. At best I would be an alcoholic being a bad Mother and passing my pain onto another generation. I am dealing with my past and looking forward to my future.
Counselling with Reach has saved my life, please let it save yours.
The experience I had with Reach was no less than liberating. My guide was Elaine Jackson who is an inspirational woman and who has given me the tools I needed to be able to cope with all the things that life throws my way.
Throughout the process she was never judgmental, just encouraging and understanding and is the primary reason why I now feel complete, the total package and the real deal, just so, me!
Thank you for reading and it is your time to step into the light and shine.