the science behind the myth of enoughness

April 20, 2017

Well, we survived spent Easter in the Brecon Beacons!

For four days we lived in a small wooden cabin with no electricity and one hot water tap. We cooked on a little gas camping stove and paper-scissored-rocked to be first in the bathwater.

During the day we explored the mountains before returning to read books and do crosswords in front of the crackling fire. At night we star-gazed and listened to an entire parliament of owls hooting through the trees.

We had just enough.

As we sat out on the stoop one night, I was trying to connect the dots from when we all lived so simply, to how we got here, with our complicated, often overwhelming lives now.

I came up with this imperfect analogy: imagine if you were lost and alone, in the cold and rainy Welsh valleys. You see the candlelight and smokestack of a wooden cabin. Imagine the relief! And then you are welcomed in to warm yourself by the fire, you are fed and cared for.

You went from being miserable, lost and alone, to warm, happy and cared for, with very little stuff.

I wonder if somehow we made the leap – if a warm room and a bowl of soup feels that good, imagine how much happier we would be with WAY more stuff?

And we all got seduced by the idea that happiness comes from accumulation; that our internal longings can be fulfilled by external means.

When I have enough, I will feel I am enough.

It’s a totally understandable conclusion to draw, but it’s a complete myth.

We can spend our whole lives chasing the trappings of external validation – seeking more followers, likes, clients, money, square footage, gadgets – but these things, this stuff, can never cultivate a sense of enoughness.

Mostly because of the psychological phenomenon of ‘Hedonic Adaption’.

We humans, are hard-wired to adapt to changes in circumstances relatively quickly. And a metric tonne of empirical research and anecdotal evidence suggests that within a few months of any big positive life event – falling in love, getting a promotion, buying a new house – our levels of happiness will adjust, settle and return to ‘pre-positive event’ levels.

Hedonic Adaption means nothing outside of us, can bring a sense of lasting happiness.

The rumours are true: enoughness is an inside job.

Of course, most of us know this intellectually. And if you have ever visited a self-help website or opened a pop-psychology book, at some point, someone (probably wearing a flower crown and/or a macrame bikini) is going to tell you that you are enough, exactly as you are, right now, at this very moment.

Which is a perfectly lovely sentiment.

But what if you don’t believe it?

What if this doesn’t reflect your lived reality? What if you want to be, feel, do, have more, but you don’t believe you can?

This is exactly where I was a few years ago when self-doubt was running everything in my life.

I didn’t believe there was ever a way I could feel ‘enough’.

I doubted my whole self – I did not believe I had the ability to feel comfortable in my own skin, in my work, my relationships, my life.

And it wasn’t until I was willing to go into my self-doubt that I was able to find my way home to myself. I stopped looking outside of me for fulfilment and found the help and the resources to cultivate trust, acceptance and belief in myself.

The most surprising part of this whole process, is that there was no big epiphany, nor was there one sudden shift and then everything changed.

What made the difference to the real ‘bone-deep’ changes, were the seemingly small revelations and realisations I had. These helped me make connections between the formative experiences of my life, and how these stories had woven their tentacles into my adult life. I developed creative tools to share what I was learning.

And then I researched the pants off of self-doubt! I learnt about the neuropsychology behind it all and had my Masters research into self-doubt, published in an academic journal.

I coached with hundreds of women over several years – parents, creatives, leaders, coaches – and helped refine these ideas.

Self-doubt has been one of my greatest sources of growth.

This is my heart and soul work. And it works. I’d love to help you navigate through your self-doubt with Your Self-Belief Map. We start on the 1st of May.

wales, puppies, ghosts and macrame for easter

April 13, 2017

I’ve kind of lost my blogging mojo a bit over the last few weeks. However. I just listened to this cracking podcast interview of two of my favourite online Brit birds, Kate Molesworth & Sara Tasker, chatting about why blogging is not dead.

And given it’s Easter and the theme of resurrection is in the air, I feel like I just need to rip off the band-aid and write something, anything, for you. And for Jesus.

So here’s a recap of major events since we last connected:

Biggest news: IN 38 SLEEPS WE ARE GETTING A PUPPY! We have named him Bodhi, he is black and white and a mash-up of spaniel and poodle, and while he will resemble a small shaggy bear, I am hoping my lovely sidekick will be trained as a therapy dog (Bodhi will be coming to the Sacred Rascals Retreat in November).

We are off to Wales tomorrow for Easter: three nights in a handmade wooden cabin which looks totally instagrammable, but I’ve since found out, is solar-powered. And I love Wales with all my heart, but I am not sure I would want to rely on April sunshine to run the place. Given this is our last holiday before Bodhi, we should possibly have chosen a more luxurious option. But we are where we are.

The aforementioned Sara Tasker interviewed me on her podcast we opened the kimono on all things self-doubt, and it was loads of fun!

If you want to explore this further, I’ve just opened enrolment for my new programme: Your Self-belief Map: navigating through your self-doubt.

I’ve also just (as in last night) set up a Facebook page for my coaching work so if you want to pop over and like me, I will feel immensely validated. In return, I plan to do some Facebook Live videos and share more behind the scenes of this work – starting next Thursday. I’ll be answering your questions about my new programme: Your Self-belief Map: navigating through your self-doubt. Go check out the details and post your Q’s on the Facebook page.

And some stupid weird life stuff has also been happening.

I have a huge painting of a sunrise that takes up an entire wall of my office. I opened the door on Tuesday morning, and it was as if ‘someone’ had taken it off the wall and put it next to my chair. It had fallen off the wall in the middle of the night soundlessly.

We subscribe to Gousto, who send a box full of measured ingredients and recipes each week. It’s aces – we eat so well, and there is no food waste. Yesterday I got a text message saying the box had been delivered, only to find it was not there. Therein ensued a surreal conversation regarding the electronic message and that while it confirmed the delivery, it was not the actual delivery, in much the same way that pointing at the moon is not the moon. This conversation went on too long, and we still don’t have any food. #therobotsarewinning

And then: macramégate. I bought macramé curtains for my office, and they only sent one curtain – singular – even though the photo clearly showed a pair and the stream of 87 delivery progress text messages repeatedly mentioned curtains (plural). So now I have one curtain hanging up, and I am taking my sweet-arsed time ordering the other half in protest.

Ok, that felt really cathartic. Thank you for reading along.

May your hot crossed buns be served warm, by the dozen, and slathered in salty butter!

voices rising :: nothing happened in the woods

March 08, 2017

I heard snuffling and panting and turned around to see a large dog on the path. He was stocky and grey and reminded me of our big cat, Rex. His face was scarred and scratched, his eyes beady: he was an old soldier and he had clearly been in more than a few battles. My inclination was […]

on leadership + finding your fire: an interview with Jac McNeil

February 16, 2017

It’s always a slightly odd experience to meet someone you have only known via Skype and Instagram. And it’s even rarer to meet someone who is just exactly who they appear to be online. Jac and I have known each other for a really long time in internet years, and in 2016 our friendship went […]

be the change: it matters more than ever

January 30, 2017

I believe wounded people create a wounded world. And so before we can become effective agents for change, we must tend the personal wounds that stir our reactive emotions, cloud our vision, and cause us to act unconsciously in ways that undermine our intentions and values. The willingness to look at our wounds is a […]

what I’m (somewhat reluctantly) learning, about asking for help

January 17, 2017

Rex: the original lone wolf. From a mildly troubling encounter to a full-blown crisis, my default response has always been to brace myself and cope. Alone. I’m so used to noodling around issues for days; I’m the Mistress of the Pro-Con List, I take long contemplative baths, I journal my tits off. Only when I’ve decided […]