Know Your Space

We hear a lot about finding our “place” in the world. The way I like to think, is that we are actually taking our space within the world.

What I mean is, the sentiment of finding one’s place assumes we are on the outside from the beginning and that we must do something to fit in. Whereas if we assert our own space, we already take up space literally with our physical mass from the moment we’re born. And we can also make our space energetically with the volume of creativity we put out.

(By creativity, I do not mean traditional forms of being creative such as music, art, craft etc. We are ALL creative beings, just in different ways. I spoke more about this here.)

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Take your space!

The word place also has several negative connotations. We use it to denote the outcome of competitions…1st place, last place etc. So it could be seen that life as a whole is a competition when it absolutely is not! We are not here to compete with each other, but to build one another up.

“Place” also has bad historical associations for women and the working class, “A woman’s place” “know your place” “Your place is in the kitchen” so it can become entwined with identity and a form of prison, not an expansion. The word “space” is completely the opposite! Space suggests infinity and limitless possibilities. It suggests an abundance of room in which we can all fit. Not a restricted area where there may not be provisions for us all to exist.

My own personal relationship with the word place is born from that competitive aspect. I always needed to be first place, top, the best. Of course I very often wasn’t and that was hard to deal with because I’d taken on so much pressure.  These feelings exist in our society to keep people looking sideways, suspicious of others. It’s good to strive to grow and improve, but we can do this together through supporting one another and being happy for others’ achievements. There is enough space for everyone!

 

So go forth beautiful souls and find your SPACE in the world!

 

Best Wishes,

Bexi

xx

 

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Me and My Music

This week I begin work on a new project with a local community centre (The Belvidere Centre, Wirral) called “Me and My Music.” It will be an exploration of our relationships with music and the young people will choose songs that are special to them, we will listen, play, talk and work through what music means to us. I’m so excited about it as I just know the power music has.

I thought I’d use this space to explore my own relationship with music, how it has helped me and explain a bit more about why I’m so passionate about the use of music and sound in helping others.

This will be very honest and is a look back on some darker times in my life so please only read if you feel it will help you or someone you know, I don’t want to make anyone feel worse by sharing my own challenging experiences.

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Breathing is so simple but we make it so difficult for ourselves!

As is the case for most of us, music has been a constant, consistent companion through my whole life.

I’ve always loved music but one of the first times I turned to it for therapeutic reasons was in Secondary School. During the first four years, I was teased a lot for the way I looked. Not hurt physically, but very much so verbally with what felt like intense hatred. This affected me more than I realised and I would shut myself away with headphones and books to escape. I actually listened to a lot of intense rap music as I related to the hatred and anger in the lyrics. It matched my frequency at the time, now though if I listen to the same tracks, I can appreciate the beats and rhythms but can’t relate to the tone, which tells me I’ve let go of that anger.

During this same time, I was also singing in school choirs and other little groups. Joining in music groups gave me a connection with others who were also feeling isolated but loved music. I’m really grateful to my parents and teachers at the time who encouraged my music and singing and gave me a lifeline during a difficult time. I struggled to express what I was feeling through talking, but singing always felt right. This is one of the reasons I love using music as an opening way of connecting with others, it forms a common ground that we can use as a gateway for a deeper bond.

I truly have forgiven everyone in my past who may have been cruel to me. We have no idea what happens in people’s lives. At school we think we know our classmates but we only see them for a few hours a day and don’t really know what they have to deal with at home. So I only wish good things for them and am always saddened when I see people post things like “The bullies at school are all wash-outs now and I’m doing this incredible thing blah blah blah”. Life isn’t about your position on an imaginary scale made up to boost your own ego. Have compassion and love for them instead of misusing the term”Karma”, which does not mean what you think it does.

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Our group for “Me and My Music”

I thought I was ok after school but when I moved away to Uni, I became very depressed. I absolutely loathed myself to the point I would not leave my room for days. I either ate junk food or didn’t eat at all in order to punish myself for that. Singing was one of the only constants in this as I could play music in my room and my voice sounded the same no matter how I felt I looked. Luckily, throughout all the abuse I put my body through, my voice did not suffer or give up on me.

Every time I sang or played piano, I felt better. I didn’t know why at the time but now I can see all the ways it helps. Singing helped calm my breathing. It made me more mindful of the present as it’s hard to worry about future possibilities or cringe about the past when you’re in the middle of a song. Piano practice gave me something to focus on to, to build up on and learn, thus giving me reasons to get up and out of bed.

A related practice of breathing work was also so helpful in reducing my panic attacks. One time, I was hospitalised with a suspected pulmonary embolism. Thankfully, it was not this serious, it was intense panic attacks causing shortness of breath and dizzyness. I remember at the time though wishing I had a physical illness as that seemed so much easier to deal with than a mental one. Now though, I can look back with gratitude that despite all I put my body through I remained relatively healthy and did not have any illness other than what I was experiencing mentally. Learning how to breathe properly and fully, changed my health a lot. Less colds, a clearer head and a feeling of more time developed after a few sessions. This is why I always begin our sessions with breathing work as not everyone is starting from the same inner tempo.

I did feel better but never truly ok so later in my mid-twenties, I asked to be prescribed anti-depressants. I was also self-medicating with other things and so again, pushing my body to its limits. Medication did help level out my moods but also meant I couldn’t feel extreme happiness. During this time, I cut a lot of people off and let down those who had been so supportive and I’m very sorry for this. I can’t explain it other than I just wanted to hide from the world and so I did! At the time though I was just grateful not to be feeling so low any longer so I kept on with the tablets for a time, even though I knew they were not helping me progress.

Then, everything changed and again, I have music to thank, as well as supportive people around me. I was encouraged to take up singing again and to build it up to something more than blasting out songs in my room. I was so lucky to have my wonderful partner Tim and several friends and family who supported me in this and when I got my first gig, I knew that I had to take care of myself. I needed to be physically healthy now to do well. This was the end of punishing myself, self-medicating and damaging my mind and body and I’m so thankful to music and the people around me for that. If I’m honest, I do still have days where I get down but these are more so when I feel overwhelmed by outside events in the world, rather than through introspection.

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My first proper gig!

More recently, I discovered sound healing. A beautiful, ancient practice that uses tonal frequencies to resonate with us in order to create balance, which is needed for optimum health. This practice has enhanced my breathing and meditation work so much and it does feel transformative in that I always feel so lifted after a session and for days afterwards feel better and more energised yet relaxed at the same time.

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Beautiful sound therapy!

So this is my journey with mental health and music. I can see how much it has helped me in different ways. This is why I want to use music and sound to help others and share my own experience in order to connect more truthfully and I really hope I can!

Do get in touch if you’d like to share your own experience with me, or see how I can help, always happy to listen!

 

Best Wishes,

Bexi

Playing Around!

As adults, we are often made to feel that “playing” is not something we should be doing. It is only reserved for young children. Even teenagers are encouraged not to be playful and to become serious. Ever told to “stop messing around” when you weren’t being harmful, just laughing?

This also extends to our imaginations and the play worlds we create in our minds. When I was a teenager I was discouraged from reading fantasy novels by a teacher I respected and so started studying “the classics”. This served me well in ways but I should have been shown (or realised myself) that I could read both! We don’t have to leave joy behind when we become adults. The two ideas can exist in the same universe!

We are also made to confuse being playful with being sexual as we become adults, particularly as women. If someone is described as playful, it often means flirtatious. This shouldn’t be the case. Anyone of any age should be encouraged to bring more traditional play into their lives, just as we would have as children.

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The energy of children is so… well energising!!

Ways to bring more playfulness into your life;

1.Play like a child, literally! At what point do children’s pastimes become a no-go? When you start secondary school? When we leave school? I think it’s the moment we become more self conscious and that can happen at any age, even during childhood. Or rather, we are made to be self conscious by the world around us. Well I say no thank you to this, carry on playing like a child! Play on the park (don’t scare any actual children though!), skip around, use colouring in books, anything that seems fun- do it!

2.Leading on, play with children. Spending time with little folk is so energising, even if  at the time they tire you out with their games. I have a young brother and sister and am so grateful to have them to remind me the playful fun that can be had in childhood and beyond.

3. Use your imagination. This is the biggest difference between having a sense of play and not. If we are able to use our imaginations, we can build a more colourful world for ourselves. We can turn a simple trip to the supermarket into a grand adventure. Or a walk in the woods into an expedition. This helps us see the wonder in the ordinary. It might take practice. We have our imaginations pushed aside as we grow  to make room for facts and figures but with repeated exercises such as pretending a simple boat trip is an exploration of a new world (which it can be, even if you have seen the place a thousand times, find the unknown) our ability to imagine will strengthen and a whole new life might just unfold. Remember, if we don’t have imagination, we also can’t picture a better way for our lives to be. So if you’re in a situation you don’t like, the best way to begin to leave it behind is by creating that new life in your mind first, just as children do with make believe lands!

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Never stop playing, it’s the base for how we can create the life we truly wish for ourselves!

Are you already playful? Feel free to share your tips below and we can start a playful revolution!

Best Wishes,

Bexi

xx

Finding True Creativity

We’re a funny society aren’t we. The way we box people up, some are this way, others are like this. Some are creative, others aren’t. When the truth is we are all made up of so many different things but what unites us is that we are all supremely creative!

Of course, this may show itself in very different ways. We traditionally see creative people as the artists, musicians, poets of our world. Yes, this is beautifully creative. What we don’t see is all the other ways people are being creative every single day. Teachers creating new ways to pass information, parents creating new ways of reaching their children. Everything we do in life is creative from the obvious- making a meal- to the abstract- constructing a sentence to speak with one another. If we viewed ourselves differently we could open the flow to even more creativity. Who knows what we could access in our minds if we all saw ourselves as having the ability to make what we want out of the materials we have at hand whether that be words, wood or even our thoughts. It’s all the same when we reduce it down- it’s all a bare form that we can build with and transform into something else. True alchemy.

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Music is only one way, not the way of expressing creativity

If you say to yourself you’re not creative then that is a definite way to block any motivation you may have. Trust in your ability to make things happen.

Deep down we know we have this in us. Our language reflects it. It’s why we speak of “building relationships”, “making a home” or “forging a path in life”, all are ways to describe forms of invention. Think about it. What is creativity other than bringing something into being that was not there before. So if we think traditionally, this would mean to us a new song or a new artwork. How is a nurtured relationship any less than a song. It is also a new thing on this Earth that didn’t exist. It too takes work to bring it to life. It also needs work to thrive.

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Creating can be whatever that means to us

Begin your year with a new way of thinking. You ARE creative. You CAN make the life you want. We are all the architects of our time here. We are all the alchemists, transforming what we find into works of art. We are all the creators of our lives.

Just because you do not fit into categories we have so far reserved for creativity does not mean you are any less creative than the poets, artists and musicians. We all create every day and if we do so with love then we will add as much beauty to the world as every single song or painting in existence. I would also add that if you do follow a traditional path then that’s perfect too. I express my own creativity in many “accepted” ways as well as in many abstract forms too. I see them all as equally valid.

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Here I am bring creative…

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…Here I also am being creative, just in a different way!

That will be our contribution so let’s make it a beautiful one.

 

Best Wishes,

Bexi

xx

A New Way to do the New Year!

I will wish you all a Happy New Year now! I also want to share some thoughts on an alternative way of living the New Year. Let’s have a kinder New Year. No more broken resolutions, no more guilt, no more feelings of failure. We don’t have to treat ourselves like that, we are worth so much more!

This post is a revisit of one I made last year as I feel it’s a message that still needs discussion and I want you all to have a beautiful start to the year. I want people to know  that they can break the resolution tradition. I broke out of it only a few years ago as I hadn’t realised how it was affecting me and certainly wasn’t setting me up for creative and happy year ahead.

The way we treat ourselves this time of year is often very unkind. We push ourselves to the limit in December- a time that is full of magic and joy and yet it often passes us by in the hectic haze. We berate ourselves for not buying all we can for our loved ones when our time together is more than enough.

And then comes the New Year. We see it as a time for renewal and hope and indeed it can be a wonderful time for rest and rebirth. This is not how we act it out. Rather, it becomes a punishment for over indulgence or a desperate attempt to balance out the excess of Christmas.

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Let’s be kinder to ourselves this winter

Here is some of what I wrote last year which I hope will help…

If we look to nature, we see that this time of year is generally not the time of new beginnings. In January, Squirrels are still squirrelling their food away and focusing on warmth, hedgehogs are hibernating and other animals are slowing down. Most flowers are still in waiting for their bloom to come in a few months time and the trees have yet to re-grow their leaves. All of this points to a time of nurturing ourselves restfully, yet we are told to speed up, this seems a little confusing doesn’t it?!

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Be like a squirrel!

Here are my 5 tips to renew yourself more gently…

  1. Certainly start eating more healthily and naturally if you feel you don’t already, but unless you have a few stone to lose for medical reasons, don’t bow to pressure of New Year marketing saying you must lose 10 pounds in a few days, this is not healthy and not necessary! If you need to, you’ll lose weight and keep it off with a few smaller changes.
  2. Gym memberships up the advertising this time of year and whilst there are better deals to be had now than at other times, ask yourself if you really need the gym and that power pumping exercise style? As we saw earlier, nature likes to slow down this time of year and be more restful…perhaps pilates, yoga or dance would more helpful as well as winter walks outside on frosty sunny days?
  3. I applaud all who want to learn new skills and better themselves, but we don’t have to master two languages, go on a cookery course, write a novel, learn flower arranging and knit a jumper all this month though! Choose the new activity that truly calls out to you. It may be the thing you thought you’d end up working as when you were a child…dance or gardening for example and then focus on that with all your heart instead of rushing between several things half-heartedly.
  4. Know that it’s ok to be quiet and restful. Christmas is viewed as a very social time which can be overwhelming for introverted or sensitive souls. Take this time of the year to reflect and restore the balance. Learn to like being in your own company, treat yourself well- make yourself your favourite dinner, make time to read a book you’ve wanted to for a while, and have lots of early nights.
  5. Remember that change can happen all the time. That’s the magic that we have within us, we have the power to make changes all the year round, not just in the mythologised January 1st or on a Monday! Saturdays at 3pm can work very well for making changes too if you have the right mindset!

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Finally, keep in mind that the New Year is only our New Year because some people in Rome decided it should be a long time ago. Ask if that feels right to your body and soul? Or whether you would prefer to tune in to another time of year that is truly about renewal and revitalising? I know I’ll be resting for a while longer before emerging restored and rebalanced ready for a beautifully active Spring and Summer!

To me, January is still a time for being more restful and nourishing and that’s how I intend to start my year. Being loving and kind to myself, not in guilt or punishment as I have in the past but finding balance and a different kind of motivation to start a new year of possibilities

Lots of love for the year ahead!

Best Wishes,

Bexi

xx

Surround Yourself With All People!

I listened to a presentation this week where we were told that we are the average of the people we spend the most time with. This echoes the ever popular (and slightly cringey!) “Your vibe attracts your tribe”.

I understand this mentality, I really do. It’s great to surround ourselves with inspiring people and boost each other.

However, there’s a danger that this mentality is going too far. Imagine if a nurse told her patients they can’t be around sick people, “bad vibes, soz babez!”

Imagine if every husband that cares for their chronically ill wife decided to tell her he couldn’t be around her as “you’re bringing me down, love!” and vice versa.

Every parent with a difficult teenager told them they had no time for them as they’re not in a positive enough “zone”.

I have personal experience with this having had depression myself and living with my boyfriend Tim who has dealt with deep depression for years, and we’ve both only begun to heal the last few years of our near ten year relationship. He could have easily left me, saying I was bringing him further down, but neither of us thought like that. We know we love each other and wanted to grow together and get better.

I do actually believe that we attract the people in our lives. Sometimes though, we attract them so we can help or they can help us. So we can learn. So we can grow ourselves and help others grow in return.

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With my amazing Tim!

Apply this attitude of only surrounding yourself with positive people to the way we think of money. Money is energy too so it’s a good analogy. Only associating with rich people and helping those who are rich means the rich get richer and this is how people get pushed further and further downwards.

We need to surround the people you think of as “low vibe” people with love and support even more so, not decide they are bringing us down and abandon them! Yes of course, protect your health and only each of us truly knows our individual situation so there is no blame being thrown here on those who do choose to separate from others. Do what you feel is right and the best for yours and the other persons’ good.

I know this blog is a bit of ramble sorry, it all came pouring out quickly! I’ll probably edit it soon to make more sense haha!

 

Best Wishes,

Bexi

xx

Winter Well-being!

Winter can be a challenging time to keep our well-being up and our health balanced, here are the best ways I find to stay healthy and happy during the darker months of the year! 

  1. Stay hydrated. Even though it’s not as warm as Summer, we still need to keep our water levels up. I aim for 2-3 litres a day, but mainly drink this in herbal teas which have the added benefit of keeping you cosy too. You can find water in lots of great foods too, so plenty of soups and warming gravy dishes are great if you’re struggling to drink as much as you need.
  2. Get outside! Obviously we have less sunshine hours and overall daylight in winter so it’s even more important to make time to spend time outdoors to top up our vitamin D levels and boost our happiness. Make it a double well-being boost by taking a walk in the woods or on the beach- any time immersed in nature will make you feel better. 
  3. Following on from that, a walk is good exercise too and it’s vital to keep up exercising in Winter too. It’s definitely more difficult as we often want to stay wrapped up indoors rather than heading to a gym class or a run in the rain, but if we want to stay fit all year round we should aim for at least 30 minutes a day!  
  4. Keeping in touch with people. It’s easy in Winter to fall into a cycle of staying in and not seeing anyone. Darker evenings make us feel it’s later than it is and the cold can discourage us from venturing out. Turn your mind against this thought pattern though and aim to stay connected with others and to keep attending any events, groups, meet ups that you would in summer.
  5. Saying that though, any extra time spent indoors is a great opportunity for re-organising your living space. Having a good clear out will translate to a good shake up mentally as when our surroundings become cluttered this can be a reflection of mind clutter. So getting rid of what we no longer need can be so helpful for our mental health. It seems like a chore at first but once you get going it feels great and you can donate lots of things to charity shops too!

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Hope these tips help keep you feeling good over the winter months! Come back soon for updates on my Mind on Music Travels!

Best Wishes,

Bexi