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I post (hopefully) useful, seasonal articls to help navigate the emotional year. I'd love to hear from you.

By cwhyte, Dec 11 2018 12:03AM

I've been reminded of the oxygen mask analogy today. the one where we're told to put on our own oxygen mask on first, before we can help anyone else.


"All these things and more, that's what Christmas means to me my love," The Stevie Wonder song is playing through my mind on a loop.


I was reminded tonight about the importance of listening to myself, and now that I am listening (thank you Stevie), my body and mind have been shouting STOP for a good couple of weeks now.


It's easy to get tired, overstretched and strained at any big holiday or birthday, as we struggle to reconcile the dream of 'perfection' in our head with the reality of our circumstances. Whether it's a religious or secular festival, if it's 'supposed' to be 'wonderful' and we feel we are carrying other peoples expectations on our shoulders, it's going to be hard going.


This year I'm feeling that I need to make new Christmas traditions, now that we're one person down. It's also very likely to be the last year our youngest child thinks of Christmas in THAT special and lovely way.

I've been steering the festive ship close to the wind and I've just realised, I'm knackered. It's time to stop, put the oxygen mask on by going out in nature, digging in the garden and being alone for a while. When I'm re oxygenated I'll look into delegating and scaling back and making the next few weeks enjoyable for me too.


And that's a new tradition I can really get behind.


By cwhyte, Mar 18 2018 10:08AM

We all have a story with our Mother. Having no Mother doesn't except us. The stories are as varied as a patchwork quilt, as we are, and we all have our story.

Many of us are defined by these stories in clear ways or in ways that we don't easily acknowledge. Everyone has had a Mother. Even when we step away from our stories the story remains, we just become less engaged in the story.


At this time of year I like to re-read, and dip into Clarissa Pinkola Estes, I like her definitions of mothers.

I agree with her thoughts that none of us need a perfect Mother just a good enough Mother.

So what if you have a 'not enough' or a 'too much' mother, what if yours was 'good enough' or perfect for you, eventually we all need to become our own Mothers; and our own Fathers too.


How do we even do that?

One method that I absolutely love is the blanket.

Picture the archetypal Mother, the Mother every baby deserves: Strength, full of love, giving, nurturing. Hold the image or feeling that you get for each word. If any of those give you discomfort take a second to think why then let them go and replace them with other Positive definitions, leave no place for discomfort or unpleasantness, you're aiming for feelings of security, being held, boundless love.

If your experiences with your own mother fall away from the archetype, then look to your relationships with others who have provided you with that experience, for some this may be the love and care you have given to a child. You deserve the same for yourself.

For each sensation, imagine that you have made or been given a patchwork square, it could have a picture, a pattern, words, sounds, anything that resonates with you. Connect your squares so they start to form a small blanket. Make it as big as you can, it doesn't really matter if it's just a facecloth.

It's your gift to yourself from the mother in you to the child in you. Whenever you feel inclined, summon up those yummy feelings and add more squares to your imaginary blanket until you can just sit with it wrapped around you feeling all that love and care whenever you need it , in the way you need it.


By cwhyte, Feb 8 2018 02:09PM

A time of hope, 'We welcome the growth of the returning light and witness Life's insatiable appetite for rebirth.'

The folks at The Goddess and The Green Man, Glastonbury


I'm normally making candles and weaving things, going for bulb spotting walks and enjoying this expectant time of year with a gusto.

This year I'm late to the Imbolc party because I'm feeling the loss of my Dad. When my Mum died it was almost as if she hadn't. I felt her with me and would reach to dial her number and would dream of her frequently. All of which I found comforting. Dad died and he was gone. Just Gone. For months any memories of him just gave me pain. In February I would normally be looking for gardens with a good display but also wheeled access, checking how many stairs before I decide to go anywhere. All small things but huge triggers for me. The last 2 weeks have been hard but still the sight of snow drops and crocuses coming up lifts me and makes me glad.


I'm looking out of the window at all the small plants starting to poke up out of the ground and realising that slowly this ache in my chest and throat is turning back into the feelings of love that they used to be. I'm reminded that my grief and yearning are just my feelings of love with nowhere to go.

Very slowly as the year turns I'm remembering that my Dad loved me for my entire life and that feeling doesn't have to stop now.

All that love that I am pouring into the void can be directed to the memory of him and then, quite suddenly I can feel him clearly again and that is making a world of difference.


I wrap myself in the memories and feelings and they don't hurt so accutely, some of them even make me smile. And so now, with the snowdrops and the daffodil leaves and the newly found memory of my Dad, I can finally begin to walk down an old path, one that leads me to celebrate Imbolc and that will lead me to remember what living feels like again.

https://www.irishcentral.com/roots/how-to-make-a-saint-brigid-cross-see-video-114998679-237367401

By cwhyte, Jan 23 2018 03:19PM



It's nearing the end of January. I wanted to make a post about Light in the Dark, and the basics of base chakra, safety.

The base chakra begins to form as soon as we are born and continues to be built over our first 7 years. It's strength is founded on our birth rights: Being held; being fed when we are hungry; being made comfortable being physically cared for; and feeling ourselves and all that we bring, reflected in our caregivers. (We feel happy, a face smiles back or a loving squeeze is given.)

Simple and straightforward. What every baby should experience.

In my working experience, adults who did not experience all of these most of the time struggle with self worth. They are quick to anger, they are vulnerable in highly emotional situations and they question their choices and descisions more readily finding fault.


A video has had a lot of response recently (within a number of groups I use) of a father talking to an upset child about feelings. Some have celebrated this 'hands on' Dad while others have pulled him up for not apologising for calling her a 'butthed' and so going on to gaslight her.

Whilst I am concerned about the motives of the person filming the incident, and the father himself for allowing it to be filmed and then shared, and am concerned whether the child (whose face is not shown) gave permssion for this interchange to be forever on the internet; I want to put them aside and assume that the father and the person filming has the welfare of the child as their highest motive, and that they want to share his non mainstream approach to parenting so that others can become aware of other approaches.


In the video he talks about all feelings being acceptable and about coping mechanisms to deal with difficult feelings, so far so friendly. Where it falls is the point where she tells him she is angry because he called her a butt head. At this point he never apologises but reflects on times when she has called him names and how it made him feel and goes on to say that 'for today' he won't tease her and that she needs to communicate her hurt so that he knows when to stop.

This, to me, is the dodgy territoty and my heart reaches out to the poor kid. But this is not where I'm going right now.


Reading through some of the comments on the video, I can only applaud the makers for being a light in the dark because, yes, there are still too few people (even on supportive parenting forums) who know that acknowledging all emotions as valid reactions to uncomfortable scenario, helps to make individuals who are kinder and more loving to themselves, are more resilient, and therefore have a better starting abilty for compassion to others.


I want to go over that, because that really is my whole point.

Because of his responses to her and not-really-listening (and that it's even on the internet) this is a parenting fail, in my opinion and I won't be putting a link to the video; but because of his theme at the beginning and because of the way it is being received in parent communities where it appears, the big discussions and light bulb moments it elicits, it's a more general team parent win.

An alternative message is being spread to and by people who need to hear it, which is Be the Light in the Dark:

Speak at the level of the child,

Speak more softly if you are up in their face, (don't get up in peoples faces if you are aiming at nice)

Acknowledge all emotions as valid reactions to situations,

Don't take other peoples emotional reactions as personal triggers (he does),

Name calling has no place in consensual family living,

and most importantly

If your actions have triggered a hurt response in a young child- own it and apologise in a way that is meaningful to them so that they know you were at fault, not them (if valid, explain that this was your emotional response to a bad situation- reflect on that and be kind to yourself about it) and that you are disapointed in yourself for doing it and that you are trying right now to be a better person at anticipating their simple, simple needs.










By cwhyte, Jan 12 2018 11:28AM

Grief can be caused from any sort of trauma involving loss, from loss of a loved one to loss of an ideal or dream.

It affects us all differently and it is impossible and wrong to judge one persons grief as more valid than anothers.

Grief is a natural and healthy process that we take on to assimilate shocking change into our reality.

Some people talk about grief in 5 phases or stages *, Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression and Acceptance. I personally feel that these are not mandatory and when they are present don't follow a specific order, we don't progress one at a time from denial through to acceptance, more, we pass back and forth as needed and that Anxiety is connected to then all.

Denial can give us grace, space to process the shock safely. The detachment that depression brings is another safety mechanism. Bargining, I think, is the most transient of stages; being the promises and pledges that we make to ourselves to express our responsibility. Anger is a super effective way of breaking out of detachment. If we are in a sea of nothing and no one but we are able to focus (even in anger) on someone or something then our anger makes a bridge away from our self focused isolation. None of these phases are ideal but they do seem to be for most people at least temporarily necessary. Then comes acceptance.

Acceptance isn't about feeling fine about loss, it's a process of accepting our new reality and how we live with it.


For some of us, these steps of grief don't stop. For some these feelings are entwined with anxiety. We get caught up and feel our grief more deeply after time. Our anger seems boundless and can be frightening. Our isolation is overwhelming, we are irritable and joy is lost. We experience panic, become obbsessive in our thoughts and feel helpless.

Grief is hard, it's exhuasting and when it becomes prolonged can take an enormous toll, not just on our realtionships and our work but on our bodies too. Prolonged grief symptoms do nothing to honour our loss. they tarnish our memories and warp our love.

If you are here maybe you recognise yourself. The first step to making change always seems to be acknowleding that there might be a problem. If you recognise yourself in these pages, then you are ready to make the changes that will let you move forward.

Contact me.

I'm happy to hold the safe space you need for us to work together to lift the pain from you, so that you can feel more in control and begin to move forward with your life..


*Kübler-Ross 1969


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