Resiliency, Endings, Laughter and Scariness

In numerological terms 2016 is a 9 year – a year of closure and letting go of the past so that you can make room for the present and the future. Apparently unhelpful friends should be avoided and bad habits should be dropped. Study, contemplation and travel are meant to be favourable during this time.

It certainly has been a year of endings for me – some major life changes, challenges and endings did occur. If someone had told me 18 months ago what would happen in my life over the next 18 months I would have just laughed at them. I did study a bit – Quantum Energy Coaching (QEC), I had some wonderful bucket list holidays and have had plenty of time to contemplate as I seem to have lost the ability to sleep.

I have contemplated resiliency quite a bit. Rod Warner from the Building Reliance Group has done research on how people deal with adversity and in his article explains 7 Building Resiliency Principles.

  • Connect to your purpose and meaning in life
  • Use your unique strengths
  • Maintain perspective
  • Generate positive feelings
  • Be realistically optimistic
  • Persevere by being open minded and flexible
  • Reach out to others

I certainly have used these principles for myself and was doing pretty well – I have had a lot of fun restructuring my life, jumping out of my comfort zone, making decisions, and was feeling excited and positive about my future.

But then one change too many, in too short a time, happened and I ran out of emotional energy. In September my dad was diagnosed with cancer and has subsequently also had a very minor stroke due to the treatment he was having. I lost perspective, could generate no positive feelings, was not optimistic and had no idea who to reach out to. I hugely resisted it – in my mind my dad was meant to stay healthy to look after my mom who was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s last year. I did not want to worry about two frail parents living in a different city. I did not want to have to go visit regularly and spend time in the retirement village with two people who are no longer who they used to be. I very selfishly just wanted to get on and live my newly restructured life.

But we do what we have to do, and in the process someone always comes along to support and impart very necessary information, we learn who to reach out to, we use our strengths, we persevere and we gain perspective.

I am still resisting the situation a bit but have explored what lessons I have learnt in the past few months. The first is that I have realised that I am not the reincarnation of Florence Nightingale. The second is that it is not a good idea to lose your temper (and have a rant about human decency and karma) with one of Gauteng’s large and corrupt traffic officers who is trying to intimidate you into paying a bribe. I had a couple of incidences with intruders on my property in the middle of the year and neither the traffic officer nor the intruders seemed to find me very scary. The third lesson is that it is absolutely vital to continue laughing, connect to your inner child, not to take yourself or life too seriously, and be grateful for all you have in your life.

I then looked for the positives in the situation – on my few trips up to Joburg I noticed wonderful and random acts of kindness and care between our different cultures. I was impressed by the care of the nurses, the concern of a young air steward who could see I was taking strain and every time he walked past me gave my shoulder a squeeze, I saw men helping women with suitcases, old people supporting each other, and I noticed a general sense of connectedness and warmth between strangers. It made me feel more positive about our wonderful country.

I wish you all a restful ending to 2016 – we have ten more days left to drop bad habits – and I need to find out how to increase my scariness factor.

Weekly TRE® (Trauma and Tension Releasing Exercises) ‘Drop In’ Group

I have been asked to run a weekly TRE® (Tension and Trauma Releasing Exercises) ‘drop in’ group on a Tuesday evening at 7pm. This group is open to all people who have some experience of TRE®.

“I have benefited a great deal from doing TRE® with Lynne. I first did a few private sessions and have since joined an ongoing TRE® group. The group sessions are wonderful in that they are more affordable and you are with other people with whom you can share briefly at the beginning and end of each session. It has helped me to maintain the practice of TRE® which I may otherwise not get around to. TRE® really helps take the edge off my stress, which is priceless! Having Lynne’s support is really wonderful, too – I so enjoy her gentle, listening and non-judgemental approach.”  Kyle

TRE® is a wonderful and very effective method to release tension from the psoas muscle – in this article Jacob Devaney writes about the psoas muscle and the negative impact of accumulated stress.


We are all affected by stress – it is part of life.

Designed by David Berceli, TRE® is a simple technique that helps your body release stress or tension that has accumulated from day-to-day life experiences, immediate or ongoing stressful situations, and traumatic life events. A set of simple exercises invokes a mild tremor which helps bring the nervous system back to a state of calm and balance. Once learned TRE® is a gentle and effective self-healing tool.

Some of the reported benefits of TRE® include:

  • Greater sense of calm and inner peace
  • Less anxiety and worry
  • Reduced pain
  • Improved sleep quality
  • Reduced symptoms of PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder)
  • Increased emotional resilience
  • Relief from chronic medical conditions
  • Release of muscular tension from exercise and sport
  • Increased mobility and flexibility
  • Thriving in times of safety
  • Increased spiritual connection

Date:  Every Tuesday

Cost:  R100 per session

Time:  7.00pm to 8.15pm

Venue: Claremont

Please phone or email to make your booking before you come as spaces are limited.

Letting go of Attachment

“Most of our troubles are due to our passionate desire for and attachment to things that we misapprehend as enduring entities.”  Dalai Lama

Since seeing how peaceful, gentle, friendly and kind the people of Bhutan are I have been trying to get a deeper understanding of Buddhism. In his book, What makes you not a Buddhist, Dzongsar Jamyang Khyentse says that you are only a Buddhist if you accept the following four truths or ‘seals’ (not to be confused with Buddhism’s four noble truths):

  • All compounded or fabricated things are impermanent
  • All emotions bring pain and suffering and that there is no emotion that is purely pleasurable
  • All phenomena are illusory and empty, things have no inherent existence
  • Enlightenment does not exist within the spheres of time, space and power, it is beyond concepts.

Once you have realised that the self and all its possessions are impermanent and have no truly existing nature, you have non attachment. This is a lot easier said than done, and I find it difficult, especially in our society that is so attached to possessions, status, looks, image and happiness.

Lori Deschene gives some ideas on how to let go of attachment which is a day-to-day, moment-to-moment commitment that involves changing the way you experience and interact with everything you instinctively want to grasp.



The Fledgling’s Prayer

I came across this poignant poem written by Gretchen Schmelzer – a poem written by a young adult child to his/her parents.

The Fledgling’s Prayer

These are my wings—
Feathers and muscles and sinew
grown from your love and care,
sewn and mended
with your devotion and constancy.

And now—
I am ready to soar
with all that I am,
from all that you gave me.

All flights are practice flights.
They happen in that
blessed space between us.
A space wide enough
to stretch my wings
but not lose touch.

Tossed into the air
an arm’s length away.
Jumping off the dock,
three feet away.
Dropped off at Kindergarten,
three blocks away.
Dropped off at college,
Three hours away.
All flights are big flights.

And how did this happen?
None of us ever knows for sure.
I think perhaps Joy and Sorrow
grabbed hands and leapt
—forming the wings
that carry me forward.

But remember no one leaps, really.

I didn’t fly because I
jumped—so much as I simply
forgot for a moment to hold on.
I did. I forgot.
I forgot because the wind,
or is it God? –
whispered in my ear,
and sang the melody of my future.

I forgot for a moment to hold tight
and the wind caught my wings
pulling me forward.
It does. Life pulls you forward.

You are not the wind beneath my wings
as that old song croons.

No, you are the wings themselves.
I carry you with me and
you will always carry me.

The wind? Well that is God’s song
for each of us, our purpose, our passion.
It is the tidal pull of the universe
helping me to find my place,
helping me to share my gifts.

And you, sitting proud and brave
on the edge of our nest.
This small prayer is for you.

May the sight of my wings flashing
and the tales of my long flights
bring you as much joy as they bring me.
I can hear the wind calling and my heart
is full of the hopes we have both carried.

The fullness of myself,
the fullness of your love,
and the fullness of the world you gave me
take up my whole being.

This fullness defies language
except to say
that it used to be the feeling
I had when I leaned on you,
when you had hold of me.

And now—oh joy—
the nest I used to rest in
has made a place inside of me.

But for you, as for me,
there is also sorrow.
I am sad that this prayer
is all I have to offer you
in return for my wings.

And my heart aches imagining views
and vistas we will not share.
Do they exist if you don’t see them too?
Do I exist, if you can’t see me?
If I forget you for a moment,
will you remember me?

I pray that we both may find comfort
in the pages of books you read to me long ago,
that no matter what—
we are doing or
no matter where we are flying—
we both live under the very same moon.
And all we need to do is to look up
in to the night sky
to know that we are still connected,
to know that we will always belong,
to know that wherever we are,
we are home.”

           Gretchen Schmelzer

I am glad, but even more sad, that my two fledglings have left home (mostly) and are soaring (mostly).
I would love to think that they look at the moon and think of me. Realistically though, I think that they look at their rapidly reducing bank balances, lack of data, empty fridges, piles of laundry, and then think of me.
But I live in hope!

8 Simple Words to say When Someone you Love is Grieving

“Our culture treats grief like a problem to be solved or an illness to be healed. We’ve done everything we can to avoid, ignore, or transform grief. So that now, when you’re faced with tragedy, you usually find that you’re no longer surrounded by people — you’re surrounded by platitudes.”  Tim Lawrence

So what can we offer instead?”

This article was shared on Facebook by a good friend of mine. A friend who knows how to “be there with” people who are grieving. To her and my other friends who know how to “be with”  – a big heartfelt thank you for many years ago!


The Roots of Shame – the Shaming Witness

“When we become more compassionate witnesses to people’s challenges and traumas, we not only open ourselves up to better understanding of others and healthier relationships with them, but we also set ourselves up to receive that same compassion and understanding for, and relationship with, ourselves; and we then contribute to the growth of a society that makes validating and embracing our genuine experiences and feelings the new norm.” – David Bedrick

In this article on shame David Bedrick writes about the Shaming Witness – a really good read and sadly also very true for many people.

Flourishing with TRE

In his article on Kicking the Stress and Trauma Bucket Before it Kicks You Richmond Heath speaks about how our bodies possess ancient wisdom and movements designed to recover from stress and trauma, and to move towards thriving during times of safety.

TRE (Tension and Trauma Release Exercises) is one of the most wonderful modalities I have come across and it enables the body to shift into a restorative mode. Please come and join me on my next 6 week course and learn how to use it by yourself at home.


We are all affected by stress – it is part of life.

Designed by David Berceli, TRE is a simple technique that helps your body release stress or tension that has accumulated from day-to-day life experiences, immediate or ongoing stressful situations, and traumatic life events. A set of simple exercises invokes a mild tremor which helps bring the nervous system back to a state of calm and balance. Once learned TRE is a gentle and effective self-healing tool.

Some of the reported benefits of TRE include:

  • Greater sense of calm and inner peace
  • Less anxiety and worry
  • Reduced pain
  • Improved sleep quality
  • Reduced symptoms of PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder)
  • Increased emotional resilience
  • Relief from chronic medical conditions
  • Release of muscular tension from exercise and sport
  • Increased mobility and flexibility
  • Increased spiritual connection

Date:  6 Sept – 11 Oct (every Tuesday for 6 weeks)

Cost:  R950 (paid upfront)

Time:  7.00pm to 8.15pm

Venue: Claremont

Depression – if you are sane you need to read this

A friend of mine who battles with depression commented on the brave and honest article written on depression by Mia McCarthy. It is a long article which tries to give an understanding of depression.

My friend commented that the author’s list of things that people can do to help a person with depression is good – so if you do not want to read the whole article scroll right to the end for the list of seven things that friends and family can do to be of help to the person that is depressed.



Touch – David Whyte

Touch is what we desire in one form or another, even if we find it through being alone, through the agency of silence or through the felt need to walk at a distance: the meeting with something or someone other than ourselves, the light brush of grass on the skin, the ruffling breeze, the actual touch of another’s hand; even the gentle first touch of an understanding which until now, we were formally afraid to hold.

Whether we touch only what we see or the mystery of what lies beneath the veil of what we see, we are made for unending meeting and exchange, while having to hold a coherent mind and body, physically or imaginatively, which in turn can be found and touched itself. We are something for the world to run up against and rub up against: through the trials of love, through pain, through happiness, through our simple everyday movement through the world.

And the world touches us in many ways, some of which are violations of the body or our hopes for safety: through natural disaster, through heartbreak, through illness, through death itself. In the ancient world the touch of a God was seen as both a blessing and a violation – at one and the same time. Being alive in the world means being found by the world and sometimes touched to the core in ways we would rather not experience.

Growing with our bodies, all of us find ourselves at one time violated or wounded by this world in difficult ways, and still we live and breathe in this touchable, sensual world, and through trauma, through grief, through recovery, we heal in order to be touched again in the right way, as the physical consecration of a mutual, trusted invitation.

Nothing stops the body’s arrival in each new present, except death itself, which is intuited in all cultures as another, ultimate, intimate form of meeting. Nothing stops our ageing nor our witness to time, asking us again and again to be present to each different present, to be touchable and findable, to be one who is living up to the very fierce consequences of being bodily present in the world.

To forge an untouchable, invulnerable identity is actually a sign of retreat from this world; of weakness, a sign of fear rather than strength, and betrays a strange misunderstanding of an abiding, foundational and necessary reality: that untouched, we disappear.

Excerpted from ‘TOUCH’ From
CONSOLATIONS: The Solace, Nourishment
and Underlying Meaning of Everyday Words.
© 2015 David Whyte: Now Available

Nature as the antidote to modern life: Why it’s so good for us!

“Imagine a therapy that had no known side-effects, was readily available, and could improve your cognitive functioning at zero cost? It exists, and it’s called ‘interacting with nature.’” – These words come from a study run by Rachel and Stephen Kaplan, US professors of environmental psychology, known for their research into the effects of nature on people’s health.

For those of us lucky enough to live in Cape Town – here is some information on nature therapy and some ideas on how to  interact with nature  on Youth Day tomorrow.