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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Ageing Shamelessly: Part Two!

Thank you for the lovely messages after I posted Ageing Shamelessly. It’s great to know so many of you feel similarly, that we are not resigned to growing older the way society tells us we must!

I wanted to share a lesson I’ve learnt this week and it’s a bit of an abstract one so bear with me…

We recently adopted a cat, called Shaylou but we call her Lou Lou. She’s a very special girl. We adopted her when was abandoned by her owners to live outside after they moved. The reason little Lou is extra special is because she is 20 years old! In cat years this makes her 96 which is amazing!

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Our little old girl, Lou Lou! 

Since she’s been living with us, I’ve learnt so many things about ageing which I just instinctively know can translate to humans. We’ve been conditioned to accept so many things in our later years that just do not need to happen.

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Guarding my fancy chocs!

So I’ll details the things our little 96 year old girl does on a daily basis…

  • Eats heartily
  • Exercises: stretches, runs around (cardio) and bone strengthening jumps!
  • Plays with the joy of a kitten
  • Naps when she needs to
  • Cuddles
  • Speaks up when she has something to say! (Food please!)
  • Socialises with her friends
  • Keep herself groomed and neat
  • Has maintained a healthy constant weight

I have no doubt that this list could apply to 96 year old humans if we believed it more possible. The key difference is that no one has ever told Lou Lou to “act her age” or “she’s just too old to be doing that”. She is doing everything that feels natural to her and on the timescale that she chooses. Humans on the other hand (or paw?!), are so tied up with our belief systems that we follow what we think we should be. Old age to us, is not seen as increased energy and vitality but a loss, and often a huge loss at that.

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Let’s be amazing at 100 like Beatrice here!

Having no societal rules on ageing thrown at her, means that Lou has continued the natural behaviours that served her well as a young cat- stretching regularly, resting when tired and lots of activity in between. We can learn so much from this! Keep the joyful behaviour from childhood. Continue to play, laugh, sing, dance, eat well and rest when needed. Listen to your own fluctuations of energy flow, don’t try and fit in a box of an existence thought out by someone else!

I’m not saying she still has the full spark of a kitten. We have two other cats aged 7 and 6 and they are faster and a little brighter than Lou, but only marginally when you consider in human years they are only in their 40s!

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Our other two rescue girlies, Hazel and Saffrom! 

Again, I will say that we need to rethink our ideas about ageing. Looking to nature is a great way of seeing how we CAN age well, keep the activities we love and have a beautiful old age experience!

Best Wishes,

Bexi

xx

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

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

Get Turned Off: How I learnt to switch off the TV!

One of the great things about the Mind on Music travelling is that it has left me with a lot less time for idly watching random TV. My mind is much clearer and happier for it!

As a nation, we watch too much television. There’s no arguing with the statistics that tell us the average person watches five to eight hours per day in front of the TV. That’s almost a third of our lives! Before the 1930s though, television wasn’t even available to the public and during the Second World War, broadcasts were suspended. Afterwards, the schedule only contained three hours of broadcasting per day and obviously no catch up TV! Even during the 1950s when television started to become more widely used by the general public, it was upheld as special occasion. We can look to these past ways of living in order to enhance our present!

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Break the TV Cycle!!

Here are some simple ways from the past to break the TV cycle;

  1. Visit friends and family! This has the added bonus of helping others watch less TV too. The evenings are still light and even in Winter instead of spending your Sunday on the sofa, go for a walk with the family in Nature.  Decades ago, visiting others was a more regular occurrence as there was no Facebook to keep in touch with people!
  2. Cook. If you cook a meal with several ingredients, by the time you’ve made and eaten it, a few hours may have passed. The key is to enjoy the process of cooking for itself, not to rush through it and then hurry through the meal.This has the added bonus that you’ll know exactly what’s in your food, just as our grandparents did.
  3. Craft. Learn a new craft skill or re-engage with an old pastime you used to enjoy such as crochet, or playing an instrument. Hours used to be spent darning and mending old clothes but this is something we don’t have to do as much now. However this is a useful skill which has largely been lost and helped keep waste down so re-learning it will save you some pennies!
  4. Read.  There are also whole realms of imagination and information ready for you to dive into. You don’t need to read classics, pick up whatever you’re drawn to and get lost in another world.
  5. Rest Finally, know that it’s ok to sit in silence with your own thoughts! We feel we must be constantly entertained but this isn’t true. Some of our best ideas come to us when we’re resting quietly. Keep a notebook handy for these times so you can quickly jot ideas down. Years ago, people often daydreamed for hours, just wistfully sitting at a river bank, but in our ‘notification generation’ we feel a constant need to check our emails, social media, what’s on TV later…always doing instead of just being! Stop and remind yourself of this once in a while.

 

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Get Outside!!

Sometimes we get stuck in cycles, especially in the darkest months of the year but Summer hasn’t left us yet so we can get outside and switch the TV off, just as we used to do in years gone by!

 

Best Wishes,

Bexi

How to Keep Smiling!

With everything we’re surrounded with in our modern world, it can be a challenge sometimes to keep smiling through it all. I love to laugh and smile (often to people’s annoyance but who cares!) and this leads people to assume I never get sad or I’ve never had anything bad happen in my life or seen anything bad.

Of course this isn’t true, just like for most of us! On my travels and in daily life I’ve seen animal abuse, been treated horribly by a few people with closed hearts, had loved ones die, family dramas and had years of past personal depression- things a lot of us go through- but I always see that the good always outweighs the bad. And that’s what I really do believe- that the goodness here is always stronger than any badness.

 

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Singing always makes me smile!

Here are a few ways I keep smiling…

 

  1. Avoid the News. This isn’t saying be ignorant to current events, just choose how much you are surrounded with images of death and hopelessness which is the mood those who script the News programmes and publish papers seek to create. Avoiding biased, fear-based programming is the first step to clearing your head of the fog that keeps us from being happy.
  2. Nature! It’ll be a running joke soon that I suggest nature as the answer to most challenges, but it is true that immersing yourself in a natural setting gives a perspective that is hard to find otherwise. Using the calm of nature to still your own anxieties and running commentary really helps if you find it difficult to switch off at home. With practice, you’ll be able to bring this peace with you anywhere. Take deep breaths and focus on the birdsong, letting your own thoughts drift away as you listen to the music of nature.
  3. Connect with others. My recent blog post on this shows ways to become involved in your community to help others which in turn will help yourself. Volunteer, see family, support local shows and music and art scenes and a beautiful community spirit will grow, one you’ll be very much a part of.
  4. Travel. See the truth in the world before believing everything the media tells us. Meet people from different cultures and decide for yourself where you think people’s hearts lie and who they truly are. This again will connect you to the truth in the world, that we are not so different from each other at our core.
  5.  Create! Feeling you’re making a contribution to the world will increase feelings of happiness. This is closely related to the connecting with others idea, that by creating something others find useful or beautiful, you’ll be helping to make the world better and. Music, crafts, art, poetry- anything that you feel drawn to. It’s probably something you enjoyed doing as a child and once you pick it back up, it’ll be like you never stopped and you were meant to do it! This is how music was to me after a long break which left me very down, but once I came back to it I realised how much I love using music to make others (and myself!) happy.
  6. Get off the Internet!! I do realise the irony of saying this whilst writing a blog, that I’d like people to read- on the internet. Too much though is soul destructive as it drags us down into a world of frantic notifications and comparisons to people we barely know or people we think we know but don’t really because everything is edited beyond any meaningful reality! So spending time away, doing the above can be so beneficial. A lot of us use social media for work now so I know it’s not always easy to cut ties completely but limiting use is a great start!

 

There’s a reason smiling is also called “beaming” and that’s because it’s like a ray of sunshine beaming across all those who encounter it! Smiling really is infectious and if you share your smile with others, it’ll spread across all those you connect with and beyond so share your beautiful smile today!

Best Wishes,

Bexi