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When asked what my favourite season is, I answered without hesitation, Spring!

For many of us, Spring is an eagerly anticipated time of year.  It’s an opportunity to say goodbye to dark nights, cold weather and the anti-climax of Christmas, whilst welcoming a renewed sense of optimism in its place.  For me, it’s no different.

There is something quite magical about Spring.  I always feel it’s another chance to regroup and to refocus on my goals for the year ahead; picking up the slack from any January intentions or resolutions I might have missed.

From the sight of the first snowdrops peering above the morning frost to later enjoying abundant fields of dancing yellow daffodils, I have really started to appreciate the beautiful transition into this life-giving time of year.

On a recent walk with my little Audrey, I felt a sensory overload from the surrounding green landscapes and the sight and smell of newly emerging flowers and trees.  It made me realise just how many opportunities for mindfulness this season brings.

Mindfulness seems to be the ‘buzz’ word again at the moment, but it’s quite simply an easily adopted act of gratitude and a way to be present.   It’s even something you can get the kids to do!

It’s nothing more than a conscious decision to bring our wandering minds back to what is going on around us and to acknowledge the moment in all it’s witnessed beauty.   It can be the simple decision to stop and smell the flowers, the awareness that we are feeling a strong emotion, the decision to walk with our head up and not down so that we may take in our surroundings, or the appreciative focus on the inhale and exhale.  It is everyday tasks that so many of us take for granted, rush through or even suppress.

With the stresses and strains of modern day life, I quite often find myself slipping out of the present and either into the past or time-travelling to the future.  This can be a very dangerous way to live as not only can it bring unnecessary worries, but it also stops me living and understanding what’s going on within and around me.

Unlike guided forms of meditation, albeit a similar exercise, mindfulness isn’t about escaping the mind or body in order to relax.   We no longer want to imagine our feet in the sea or walking barefoot on lush grass, it’s now about doing those things in ‘real time’ and enjoying every bloomin’ minute of it…even the bits that seemingly go wrong!

During mindfulness practice we are encouraged to ‘check-in’ and to feel our pain within the body, note our feelings, ask our fleeting thoughts to come back to the here and now, and to really engage every one of our senses.  It does take an element of effort and practice, and initially can even be frustrating as it’s human nature to allow our minds to wander too far without significant training.

Mindfulness has become an essential part of my self care routine.  It is helping me to live more in the moment and in turn build abundance through acts of gratitude.

For me, I often find that I do my best thinking and feel more centred when in nature.  Whether that be by the sea or in the countryside, I always try to take in my surroundings and appreciate the simple pleasures such as the changing seasons, a birds song, a dogs wagging tail or a butterfly resting on a leaf.   Treating the experience with some effort in order to imagine I was using my eyes, ears and touch for the very first time, with the excitement and appreciation an infant would.  I even enjoy using the process to bring awareness and rationality to my feelings and blocks within the body; as they say “when you feel it, you can heal it”.

The official start of Spring will vary from person to person.  Some will see the 1st of March as the start of this abundant season, others witness the turning of the wheel to Imbolc as the seasonal marking, but for me I invite the upgrade with the celebration of the Equinox.  This is when I change the altar within my home and when I feel confident I have fully released and integrated the lessons and blessings of the seasons predecessor.

Spring really is a cycle of liberation and exploration, which encourages us to try new things, to take leaps of faith and above all else to give thanks for our wholeness and our surroundings.  It is the best time to practice mindfulness and gratitude.  Whether that be appreciation for my senses, for my freedom or for the simple pleasure of walking with my best friend Audrey.

I encourage you all to try some mindfulness today by getting outside to take in all that this wonderful season has to offer or by simply laying in stillness as you concentrate on the life giving breath moving freely around the body.

Yours in love and Spring light,

 

 

 

Sharing is caring!  Sharing my blogs, quoting my insights, and your continued support is always appreciated.  However, if you reference any of my work then please credit Honeysuckle Healing, and include links to the appropriate piece so that others may benefit from these tools too.  I work hard to ‘give back’ to my community through my free blogs and self-empowering online content.  I can only continue to meet this dedication through your respect and recognition.  Thank you

I have always been cray for Christmas and up until a few years ago I was still acting like an Elf on crack!

Like so many of us, I spent many years buying into the ‘hype’ and chaos at this time of year and continued to actually find it hard to sleep through my excitement on Christmas Eve.  But something my healing journey has surprisingly taken away from me is the spirit of Christmas; to the point where my spirit is well and truly 6 feet under this year!

It died as I began to awaken, and every year that I continue to ascend it means that a little bit of my festive cheer falls away inside.  This was quite a sad reality for me, and this year has been my hardest to face yet, with many tears for what I feel I cannot single-handily change in the world.  With strong Pine Bach tendencies to my nature I instantly beat myself up; asking myself what had happened to make me assume a Grinch-like identity and to lose my love of Yule…had I become too hard after heartache or too removed from my community?

With no festive fancy left in this body, I find myself no longer being able to belt out the hits of Wham! or the original Band Aid as they play in every shop, on every radio station and even in lifts.  I have adopted a more typically ‘male’ approach to present buying, whereby I have left everything to the last minute (and I’m not even affected by that very reality despite usually having all my gifts bought and wrapped by October).  And I wouldn’t honestly care if I spent the entire day alone at home, in my pants and face down in a box of mince pies!

So what changed?

Well, healing for me is about removing the many blankets of BS we have wrapped ourselves in, and about getting back to the very essence of who we are.

You know, all those beliefs that are your parents and not yours, all those labels and restrictions that society like to place upon you in order to keep you subconsciously conforming, and all those heartbreaks and traumas that program you into thinking that you no longer know who you are.

All the things that basically take you off of your true path and put you onto someone else’s; which is hurtling towards a destination you don’t want to go!  They become blankets or layers that stop you being your authentic self, which often means that you become someone who is lost and as a result can find it hard to connect or to understand what is really important to you.  Heck, sometimes it can even feel like you have lost your mind because nothing resonates and you find yourself taking long strolls in spiritual no-mans land, just waiting for something to click!

In my own personal healing journey I have discovered many things that I realise I had forgotten or suppressed about my very character.  My blankets, my labels and my personal restrictions have all contributed to me thinking that I wasn’t the woman who now stands more in her power today than she ever did.  This woman loves nature.  She strives to be the change in the world that she wants to see.  She cares about the environment, the world and the humans and animals who reside in it.  She is wild and a deep shade of Indigo.  She is passionate about equality, individuality, creativity and duality.  She does not tolerate injustice or fake news!

With that in mind, every Christmas has got harder.  For every layer that I remove, I find it is steeped in guilt and sadness.

For every-time I have an overfilled plate of Christmas dinner a thought enters my head about how many bellies are painfully hungry across the world.  Every-time  I open yet another present, I think just how many children or older people do not have one single gift to acknowledge the day.  When the Winter chill fills the room we reach for the radiator thermostat or throw another log on the fire, when there is someone somewhere shivering on the streets for the night.  And when I think of how much love is in my home from friends who visit, family who support me, yuletide cards that adorn my windowsill and cuddles with my little pup, I then think just how many people and animals remain victims of abuse and neglect.  NONE of this sits easy with me, and every year it gets harder to keep up the charade in order to enjoy this one day.

This year, I believe that we will have the highest number of people emotionally struggling with Christmas and all that it entails.  For it is not possible to be ascending as individuals and as a collective alongside the Winter solstice this year and the many opening gateways, and to not take through a desire for change in the world.  When change presents we often go into personal resistance or trauma.  We adopt ‘old’ ways of doing things and we often get reflective or low in mood because it can force us to lose our identities.  Something as magical as Christmas no longer cuts the mustard and we want more.  This year on a global level we have watched plastic in our oceans reach new and alarming heights of appeal, we have seen an advert banned for being ‘too political’ just for showing us the devastation palm oil is having on our forests and we all panic as we head into uncertainty over Brexit!

WE ARE CHANGING.

 

So when you think about it, isn’t it any wonder that so many of us can’t get excited about one day of the year, when so many of us want equality, the end of austerity, animal and human rights to be accelerated to ascended levels and an end to homelessness and poverty?  Christmas is a time of triggers and of bringing out our shadows in many ways, so if like me your Christmas spirit is fading, please see this as a positive that you are ascending.  You are questioning what is now important to you and perhaps flowing into new times.  I have seen so many people change this Christmas.  Shopping locally rather than lining the pockets of tax-evading chains, or cutting down the amount they spend, or simply doing more for charity…which is so great!

Don’t get me wrong, I am not saying that Christmas isn’t a time of deep joy and that we should all sit around feeling guilty.  In fact, your feelings around Christmas that have drawn you to this blog won’t necessarily even echo mine, as your healing journey and authentic self is unique just like mine.  But I am sure if you are reading this then something within you has died too, and you want more.

Simply put, the journey of a fading Christmas spirit can be hard and it can take many years to understand just why it’s happening and what you can personally do about it.  For me, its been to adopt a more ethical Christmas this year in terms of limiting my waste with wrapping presents, asking Santa for gifts that ‘give back’ to charities and animals, and even just supporting more local projects with a donation or my time.  And whilst at times it still doesn’t feel ‘enough’, I am working on letting it be enough for now.  Letting myself be enough this year.  Without the need to drink, or entertain the family, or even running around visiting everyone as my body craves rest and integration this year.

 

So this Christmas, to help any dwindling spirit and cheer, put yourself first.  Do what you need to do, free of guilt.  Your inner voice needs to be acknowledged more than ever this year in order to avoid the blues.

What is your heart and soul asking of you?  What does Christmas really mean to your authentic self?

Wishing you all so much love at this difficult time of year.

Yours in love and festive light,

 

 

 

A Christmas Wish (a poem by Ami Smart)

This year I don’t want gadgets, gifts, money or rings; I want change, I want peace, I want all manner of things

I want orangutans to have homes and bears to stop dancing.  I want tigers to be free and caged dogs to stop fighting

I want no more lotions or potions to hit each shop, for animal testing and cruelty simply has to stop!

Plastic in our oceans and deforestation, please Santa, hear my cries and save our nation

For this year I see that I am beyond blessed!  For I have a family, friends and a safe place to rest

I have freedom and voice, I have wellness and a dog; but I can’t help but cry when I think of the ole’ hedgehog

For she roams at night with no place to bind, in search of food and kindness from each human she’ll find

Santa, my darling, I can cry no more.  I cannot do this alone, and I don’t mean to be a bore

But today as I was writing my usually long list, I realised I have everything I need but just one wish

To sleep on Christmas knowing that all animals are happy; that they have beds for the night and bellies full of Chappie!

So please send me vouchers for Greenpeace and not the high street, for my heart can’t take another year of riding on this global backseat

I want change TODAY and I want animal freedom…so please help me Santa to build a happier kingdom?

 

 

Sharing is caring!  Sharing my blogs, quoting my insights, and your continued support is always appreciated.  However, if you reference any of my work then please credit Honeysuckle Healing, and include links to the appropriate piece so that others may benefit from these tools too.  I work hard to ‘give back’ to my community through my free blogs and self-empowering online content.  I can only continue to meet this dedication through your respect and recognition.  Thank you

Foreword by Ami Smart of Honeysuckle Healing:

Welcome everybody to the first Guest Blog of the year!

With the Winter Solstice, Yule and Christmas seeming a distant memory already, we pack up the decorations for another year and put on thicker jumpers to get through the increasingly colder days and nights as we find ourselves in January and in 2018!

January’s Honeysuckle News has had a theme of taking care of ourselves and bringing patience and kindness to our lives, as we head into the month that can bring a bit of a lull and anti-climax, as well as evoke a lot of emotions and self administered pressures to ‘perfect’ ourselves in some ways.

That said, I am so pleased to welcome Aubrey to this months Guest Corner who is a hypnotherapist, counsellor and generally beautiful lady.  I met the lovely Aubrey at a meditation circle some time ago and I can’t remember if it was her amazing tattoos or her amazing energy that I was drawn to first! Needless to say I was hooked as soon as I met her, and knew that this was a good egg that I needed to get to know.

I have personally sampled both Counselling and Hypnotherapy with Aubrey, both of which have been fundamental on my own healing journey and helped me to be where I am today.  I utilised hypnotherapy with Aubrey before running the Bristol 10K and know this positivity and change in mind-set kept my legs turning through the pain, alongside my Reiki and Bach remedies.

This month, Aubrey talks about seasonal affective disorder (otherwise known as SAD) and just how common it can be amongst us all at this time of year.  As with all guests who kindly write for Honeysuckle News, Aubrey brings with her some empowering tools, which help us to recognise and in turn manage this disorder should it resonate with you.  I really enjoyed reading this blog and it definitely gave me some seasonal tips and food for thought.

Heartfelt thanks to Aubrey for bringing her skills to our guest spot this month.

With love and new year blessings,

 

 

 

 

January Guest Corner

Q&A With Aubrey Dye-Welch

 

‘Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)’

 

What is SAD?

SAD is the abbreviation for Season Affective Disorder, which is a condition that affects our mood and can present in many ways.   SAD can feel like depression; low mood, low energy, negative thoughts and lack of motivation. However, it can also present as increased anxiety, insomnia, feeling overwhelmed, or having mood swings. 

Isn’t SAD something we all get at this time of year?

Knowing whether it’s a problem for you is really about noticing if your ‘normal’ changes for the worse when the days get shorter.  Things may just start to feel harder for some people, with symptoms and ability to ‘cope’ worsening for those affected by it.

What are the common symptoms of SAD we should be aware of?

Aside from the already mentioned, common symptoms are:

  • irritability
  • feelings of despair, guilt and worthlessness
  • low self-esteem
  • tearfulness
  • lack of sex drive
  • less sociable
  • difficulty concentrating
  • have an increased appetite or craving for carbohydrates

 

Is it a physical or mental health issue?

So, is something happening in your body to make these changes occur?

The truth is, doctors aren’t 100% sure what causes SAD. However, they have a pretty good idea that it’s linked to the amount of natural sunlight we are getting. We get vitamin D from sunlight, and without enough vitamin D, we can’t produce the hormones (such as serotonin) which make us feel happy or relaxed. So, in summary, SAD is both a physical and mental health issue. As a result, the best treatments will address both problems.

How do you know if you have SAD?

I think it must’ve taken me a few years, a few cycles of experiencing it, before I realised I suffered from SAD. In fact, the term was probably mentioned to me several times before I really took notice. Largely, it is understood that SAD, or Seasonal Affective Disorder, is when the changing of the seasons makes you feel depressed or tired; but it is so much more than that.

The best way to find out is to start keeping a diary, and then to ask your GP or therapist. It’s a very difficult disorder to diagnose, so it may be several seasonal cycles of experiencing the symptoms before you can be sure it’s SAD and not another condition. Luckily, most of the treatments for SAD are things you can try yourself, and that won’t harm you if it turns out to be something else!

What are your tips for feeling better at this time of year?

To help the physical health issue (i.e. try to get more vitamin D), you can:

  • Use light boxes (10,000 lumens; these can be bought online)
  • Take vitamin D tablets
  • Use a sun bed (5 minutes every 2 weeks or so worked for me!)
  • Take walks regularly and sit near windows in the day
  • Light exercise
  • Balance your diet
  • And if you get a diagnosis, you can be prescribed antidepressants to supply your serotonin levels

For the mental health symptoms and energy levels, you can:

  • Use positive affirmations
  • Meditate
  • Have reiki treatments
  • Seek Cognitive Behavioural Therapy
  • Try hypnosis
  • See a counsellor

Overall, what is your advice to help us to take better care of ourselves this Winter?

My advice would be to use your instincts and trust your knowledge of your body; you’ll know what has worked for you in the past, and what you’re naturally drawn to. It’s always good to seek a professional opinion before trying anything you’re not sure about; check out the NHS website, or contact specific holistic practitioners for further information. We are generally helpful and friendly!

In summary, try to take time for yourself over these dark and cold months. Notice any changes and try to address them early enough so that they don’t affect you too much (though an extra nap or two won’t hurt you). Be kind to yourself, and kind to others who may also be finding winter tough. And don’t forget to always ask for help if you need it!

 

Aubrey is a hypnotherapist and counsellor who has been practising for 5 years.  Aubrey offers 1 to 1 sessions, group sessions, and personalized hypnosis recordings Details of her practice and services can be found on her website or for more regular updates you can follow her on Facebook 

 

Sharing is caring!  Sharing my blogs, quoting my insights, and your continued support is always appreciated.  However, if you reference any of my work then please credit Honeysuckle Healing, and include links to the appropriate piece so that others may benefit from these tools too.  I work hard to ‘give back’ to my community through my free blogs and self-empowering online content.  I can only continue to meet this dedication through your respect and recognition.  Thank you

 

Legal disclaimeras always, my guests are invited to share their work with you in order to support your healing journey as a whole, by giving you empowering tips and food for thought.  I only invite guests whom I know to be insured and practising to the best of my knowledge at the time of their guest spot.  I will only welcome guests that I have personally used the services of, and have found to benefit my own individual healing journey as a result.  However, if you choose to book any treatments or use any guests services as a result of my monthly interviews, then please be aware that you act personally on this decision.  Honeysuckle Healing take no responsibility for the outcome of this decision and these guest blogs do not act as a referral or recommendation service.  Please ensure that these guests and services meet your individual requirements prior to booking.  Thank you

 

Events

HONEYSUCKLE HEALING IS PROUD TO PRESENT A NEW MONTHLY SPIRITUAL AWARENESS CIRCLE FOR WOMEN

Held within my home in North Bristol, this intimate gathering around the new moon will be an opportunity to connect to your own guides and helpers as well as to set witnessed intentions with Goddess Luna.

There are now two opportunities to attend each monthly circle.  Following the sell out of the new moon circle, this ceremony will be held on the closest Thursday to the full moon, which naturally supports us in addressing shadow work.

The theme will change monthly and utilise a quality natural dried loose leaf tea alongside carefully selected harmonising Bach flower remedies. Whilst not all tea may be certified organic, the origins are known to the supplier and they will not be mixed with any synthetic materials or chemicals. Where possible, teas will be sourced locally or within close proximity.

Each event will begin with a different guided meditation to support connection, followed by a tea ceremony and sharing circle. Using a myriad of techniques and supportive tools, this safe space will be created through a combination of channelled guidance, appropriate qualification and experienced practice.

You will be invited to join a CLOSED FACEBOOK GROUP when you book, which will allow you to become a supported member of a growing Honeysuckle Tea Tribe.  This is a place to be witnessed pre and post ceremony with your intentions and beautifully unique experience.  You will also have the opportunity to purchase a discounted ceremonial Bach blend at the event to enable you to get the most from the ceremony.

THIS MONTH: We go savoury with our blend as we utilise Rosemary tea to invite clarity, and to wave goodbye to the repeating traumas of the past. Rosemary is believed to promote concentration and to protect the eyes, so we will be thinking and seeing people and scenarios a lot clearer after this one! Together with the accompanying Bach remedies, we will be able to decipher what can stay and what needs to go, taking only the lessons and not the triggers of replaying stagnant cycles. If anyone or anything has been in your life for too long and you’ve noticed it beginning to hold you back then this is the ceremony for you. It’s time to cut those cords and to move forward in all your beauty.   My guidance has called the spirit animal of the Sheep into this ceremony, so we will be utilising the energy of humble and sentient being to over-light this circle.

Ami Smart is the founder of Honeysuckle Healing in Bristol, which is an empowering and enabling holistic health concept. She is a fully qualified and insured Bach Foundation Registered Practitioner, Reiki practitioner and channel. Ami is an experienced space holder and will always create a loving and safe space for you to address your unique healing needs.

PLEASE READ PRIOR TO BOOKING:

If you are pregnant, have any disability or access needs or have an intolerance/abstinence to alcohol please get in touch prior to booking your space. Please be aware that the Bach flower remedies contain a small amount of alcohol.
Spaces are limited to 5 women for your comfort, so your absence will be missed if you fail to attend.  Therefore you will need to follow the PayPal link or contact Honeysuckle Healing to obtain bank details prior to the event in order to secure your place. Tickets cost £10 and are non refundable. Please pay via the ‘family and friends’ option rather than goods and services if using PayPal (or else you will have to pay a fee).  Please also specify in the notes section at the till which ceremony you are booking for.
There are no side effects when taking Bach flower remedies and they can be taken safely alongside any medication. Your ability to drive will not be affected after the ceremony. However, please ensure that you do not have any sensitivity or medical reasons as to why you cannot consume the listed tea each month. You will be responsible for doing your own research into any personal side effects of tea consumption and booking your place will indicate that you have read and understood these terms and conditions.
Exact circle location will be sent to your PayPal email address shortly after booking.

HONEYSUCKLE HEALING IS PROUD TO PRESENT A NEW MONTHLY SPIRITUAL AWARENESS CIRCLE FOR WOMEN

Held within my home in North Bristol, this intimate gathering around the new moon will be an opportunity to connect to your own guides and helpers as well as to set witnessed intentions with Goddess Luna.

The theme will change monthly and utilise a quality natural dried loose leaf tea alongside carefully selected harmonising Bach flower remedies. Whilst not all tea may be certified organic, the origins are known to the supplier and they will not be mixed with any synthetic materials or chemicals. Where possible, teas will be sourced locally or within close proximity.

Each event will begin with a different guided meditation to support connection, followed by a tea ceremony and sharing circle. Using a myriad of techniques and supportive tools, this safe space will be created through a combination of channelled guidance, appropriate qualification and experienced practice.

You will be invited to join a CLOSED FACEBOOK GROUP when you book, which will allow you to become a supported member of a growing Honeysuckle Tea Tribe.  This is a place to be witnessed pre and post ceremony with your intentions and beautifully unique experience.  You will also have the opportunity to purchase a discounted ceremonial Bach blend at the event to enable you to get the most from the ceremony.

THIS MONTH: We go savoury with our blend as we utilise Rosemary tea to invite clarity, and to wave goodbye to the repeating traumas of the past. Rosemary is believed to promote concentration and to protect the eyes, so we will be thinking and seeing people and scenarios a lot clearer after this one! Together with the accompanying Bach remedies, we will be able to decipher what can stay and what needs to go, taking only the lessons and not the triggers of replaying stagnant cycles. If anyone or anything has been in your life for too long and you’ve noticed it beginning to hold you back then this is the ceremony for you. It’s time to cut those cords and to move forward in all your beauty.   My guidance has called the spirit animal of the Sheep into this ceremony, so we will be utilising the energy of humble and sentient being to over-light this circle.

Ami Smart is the founder of Honeysuckle Healing in Bristol, which is an empowering and enabling holistic health concept. She is a fully qualified and insured Bach Foundation Registered Practitioner, Reiki practitioner and channel. Ami is an experienced space holder and will always create a loving and safe space for you to address your unique healing needs.

PLEASE READ PRIOR TO BOOKING:

If you are pregnant, have any disability or access needs or have an intolerance/abstinence to alcohol please get in touch prior to booking your space. Please be aware that the Bach flower remedies contain a small amount of alcohol.
Spaces are limited to 5 women for your comfort, so your absence will be missed if you fail to attend.  Therefore you will need to follow the PayPal link or contact Honeysuckle Healing to obtain bank details prior to the event in order to secure your place. Tickets are non refundable. Please pay via the ‘family and friends’ option rather than goods and services if using PayPal (or else you will have to pay a fee).  Please also specify in the notes section at the till which ceremony you are booking for.
There are no side effects when taking Bach flower remedies and they can be taken safely alongside any medication. Your ability to drive will not be affected after the ceremony. However, please ensure that you do not have any sensitivity or medical reasons as to why you cannot consume the listed tea each month. You will be responsible for doing your own research into any personal side effects of tea consumption and booking your place will indicate that you have read and understood these terms and conditions.
Exact circle location will be sent to your PayPal email address shortly after booking.