What started your descent into love with yourself?

In my 30’s it began.

I romanced myself in the gothic bathroom of the old semi in Balmain. Jasmin grew from outside in the cracks of the rotting window sill and hung long down into my bath-tub. I lit candles. The floor was concrete, the room was big, it was a dreaming space and a sexing space. I sang made-up songs loudly with the shower steam amp on full.

I bought a big case of chalk pastels from the lovely old art supplies store and sat in bed playing with colour. Some nights I traded the chalk for paint and allowed the energy within to create shapes and colour and movement on the page, and sometimes on the bedsheets. One night I did this with a friend. We drank vodka and created an art show of woven limbs on a page that really could have exhibited anywhere.

Workshops. Journals. Books and books and books until no books had anything to add to what had woken up inside. The Hum. The every question has it’s own answer; question and answer being one, no more questions. I dreamed big dreams. I played happily in small moments. I cried and ached and dreamed again. I started a business to bring spiritual awareness to the corporate world and pounded the pavement and achieved some perhaps, a little here, a little there.

I walked down into the cliff face at the Dawn Fraser pool and sat on the rock in the middle of the amber wall and meditated, merging with the water, the trees and the old town.

I danced through many, many nights, running across the city with my heart open and heels high … heels … high and made very many new best friends.

I had Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and in my room I was all kinds of ill and lonely and desperate and wise and expanded. So much life inside and so much watching and waiting as the world went by over there someplace. Day turned into night, then day and night waiting endlessly for my body to fire up with energy again.

I got clear about all the things I wasn’t – I wasn’t an “ungrateful child”, I wasn’t the awkward fat one (or maybe just a little, but with all kinds of deeply sensual woman love fuelling me), I wasn’t the ambitious career woman (except when I was), I wasn’t the suburban girl, after a time I wasn’t Little Miss Inner City either, I wasn’t a hippie (although a sweet flower child resides inside), I wasn’t a push-over, whilst sometimes in desperate straits I wasn’t a desperate person, I wasn’t much of a follower … so freeing to experience and notice this, one by one.

In my 30’s I experienced wild freedom and great limitation. Somewhere, in the tension between these two forces, I fell in love with myself.

Something woke up. I touched my body as a lover would. I offered the same touch to trees I befriended (no drugs involved, honest). I looked in the mirror and it warmed and stirred me. No matter what pain or darkness followed, and it did, my primal state, the ultimate known truth, was of being in love and absolutely lit in joy and awe and wonder at the energies that moved through me.

Looking back I guess I see some kind of imperfect alchemy between expression and containment, the feminine and masculine and a burning desire for truth and wholeness.

So, I ask you, what would it take to fall in love with yourself?

Not to hate yourself, not to have a balanced view of yourself, but to let go and surrender into yourself, so that each breath beats alive with the pure joy of being you. So that you lose yourself as in a lover, but in truth fall more deeply into and through the layers of you; an open heart field through which universal energy flows. Welcome flow, river rising you to higher and higher. Expanding you way beyond places fumbling lovers touched.

You and the flow are one … and not. For the dance remains. And the dancer being danced. A delicious all that melts your field and changes what your eyes see.

What would it take?

For me it was chalk and tears, midnight and mad dancing, rising, falling, rising, falling, til it no longer mattered if I was rising or falling, or maybe a little, but the essence of me remained, the voluminous river running through, ever expanding me.

What would it take?

Some places to start.

1. Retire the tired.

Notice what is tired and old in your life, the roles you’ve outgrown, the mental habits. In the slowing down and noticing, you may find you have less energy or desire to keep it up. Notice the needs you were trying to meet in this way and hold them kindly and consciously.

2. Tune in to you.

Think about the people and places where you are most yourself. Notice how that feels in your body, how you behave and express yourself. Now imagine expanding this way of being into other areas of your life.

3. Love into the closure

Become aware of where you may suppress you true needs and desires around certain people. Take a moment to really notice and be with that. Feel into the closure, the state of protection and from this safe place, what would be the next small step towards opening. Even staying present in the dynamic, but consciously opening up your chest and your breath, connecting your belly and your breath, while the same-old, same-old is going on, will start to change things.

4. Find it and amplify it

Now let’s try the other way, think big. If you knew you would always be safe and respected and accepted, what would you like to explore, speak or play with? Be known for? If you took the essence of you-ness and turned up the volume to 100, what would that look like, who would you be with, what would you be doing, what would that feel like?

5. Never forget to breathe

With your whole body and all five senses.

 

See the article in “elephant” conscious living journal here:

 

Interview on Australia Counselling: Helping clients achieve mind-body wellness

I was recently interview by CEO of Australia Counselling, Clinton Power, about my practice.  It was great to have a chance to think carefully about who I help and how.

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Australia Counselling member Deborah Jackson is a psychologist practicing on Queensland’s Gold Coast.

Deborah provides counselling services to help individuals heal through trauma, mood disorders and life crisis, to embody more of their essential self and make their true contribution to life.

In particular, she is passionate about supporting her clients in achieving mind-body wellness through a holistic approach that respects the client’s own internal wisdom.

Here’s what Deborah had to say about her counselling work when we spoke to her recently.

Tell us a bit about your practice – where it is, who you work with and the services you offer?

I work with adults who are troubled by a mood disorder or life crisis and seek to work through it using a holistic framework. My clients are seeking not just to heal through the mood issue or life crisis, but in doing so to connect a little more fully with their essential self and what wants to create in their life from that place.

My face-to-face practice is on the Gold Coast and I work via Skype anywhere the time zones line up, offering counselling and life coaching.

How did you become interested in counselling and working as a psychotherapist with mood disorders?

I have always been a big champion of the potential in people and possibilities in life. For a long while I worked in
organisations, helping people to uncover the true and needed essence of a brand or business and to deliver that through people, culture and authentic customer relationships. It involved a lot of working with business leaders and uncovering their hopes and fears, losses and secret desires to make a difference.

These are often high stress, highly competitive environments. Without the right coping skills, stress can morph into an anxiety disorder. Too much stress over too long, without enough resources or hope for change or positive sense of self can lead to depression.

Depression and anxiety disorders can get in the way of people offering up their gifts and making their best contribution to life. Seeing this, I wanted to hold a space for deep healing where people’s true self can come through and make a difference.

What do you consider a mood disorder and how would someone know if they had one?

A mood disorder reflects variations and intensity in mood that go beyond the normal ups and downs of life. Usually the person has difficulty managing stress, anxiety and low mood and this impacts their work, relationships and general health and wellbeing. For example, they may find themselves avoiding things that are important due to excessive worry or negative thinking. It also tends to have a physiological impact and may affect sleep, appetite, concentration and energy levels. Anxiety and depression are two common mood disorders.

How do you believe people overcome mood disorders?

First up, it’s important to develop skills for calming down the physiology that goes with the stress response, settling down the fight-flight-freeze response, reducing the flow of adrenaline and cortisol (stress hormones) and allowing access to more of the whole brain, particularly the regions that help us stay in the present, to give expression to true feelings, to reason and have some flexibility and choice in the way we respond to the world.

Once in a calmer and more present state, learning how to think in a realistic rather than overly negative way, is the next step. This includes evolving the core beliefs about life and how to be in it that hold us back. Even so, difficult things happen to all of us and developing a capacity for accepting what life is calling on us to accept is also an important step towards healing. This frees us to take action on what matters most, without denying or fighting ourselves.

Cultivating our capacity for present moment awareness, including deep appreciation of the small things, can go a long way towards recalibrating neurochemistry to support calmer and more manageable mood states. Working with natural character strengths and the things that energise and light a person is also a big part of the way forward.

Tell us about your approach and why you believe the way you work is effective in helping people with mood disorders

I bring a mix of the disciplined approach that comes with psychology as a profession and also a holistic awareness, helping people to integrate their mind-body wellness and also to listen out for and act from the wisdom of their soul-self.

Tell us what a client can expect to experience in an initial counselling session with you

To feel deeply heard, understood and accepted. To get clearer about the real nature of the problem and how the issue is impacting their health and wellbeing. To receive feedback about the likely path we will take towards wellbeing. To take away something immediate – a new perspective, a tool, some feedback, some reading or a new process to try.

On a personal note, tell us something that you’re passionate about or love to do in your spare time

I’m big into photography – love to go on dates with my camera into the great outdoors and also photograph people in a way that shows them back something beautiful about who they are.