Monthly Archives: April 2016

Landscapes, Gaining Perspective, and Counselling

April is a truly beautiful time of the year to go walking or running. When I go out walking or running I enjoy connecting with the sound of birdsong. There are some sounds that are very special, like a woodpecker hammering a tree or the exciting sound of swans as they take flight. Trying to stay in tune with the songs that birds create helps me to develop a softer, more kindly, approach to my walking and running, because if I make too much noise then the bird that I am hearing or watching may depart. I become more mindful of taking a slow and steady step, not placing too much strain on my legs or too much vibration on the ground beneath me. I thank the birds for their beauty and I am in awe of the birds that I see diving and then floating upon invisible aerial waves, wishing that I had that ability.

Another dimension to my walking and running that I have discovered in April is the power of landscapes. The terrain where I walk and run is quite hilly and I enjoy reaching the top of a hill and then just cruising along its summit, as I survey the land around me. I notice the many different fields with their different colours – green, brown, yellow, grey. I see the hedgerows between the fields, creating a patchwork of boundaried sections. I notice how some fields are bathed in sunlight whilst others are dark and shadowed.

I have noticed that by looking at the landscape around me, and gaining a sense of perspective and distance regarding what I see, helps me in terms of gaining a perspective over my own life. Some parts of my life contain shadows, difficult periods when I have felt alone and in despair. Some parts of my life contain beautiful birdsong and colourful flowers, also joyful and sensitive creatures like hares or horses. By taking the time to walk or run and reflect upon the landscape I am better able to put the difficult and the joyful times to my life in perspective. My life is a patchwork of different terrain and different colour but the important thing is that I continue to walk or run, I continue to feel the sunshine on my face or the raindrops on my back. I am grounded, in the moment, not overwhelmed by any particular experience or life history. I can observe my life without getting stuck within any particular field; I can place a boundary over a challenging experience as a way of containing this.

In counselling we too can gain perspective over our lives, the challenges, the devastating experiences, alongside any joy. In this way we do not forget about times when we felt positive emotions, when we felt connected. We can draw boundaries over experiences we would rather forget, so that we can appreciate the here and now rather than getting bogged down. We can learn to draw attention to beauty, to be kind to ourselves and to let go of any anxiety, fear, shame, guilt or anger. Wisdom is there for us to behold.





Letting Go of Toxic Relationships

Sometimes we can get involved with people that harm us, psychologically, emotionally and even physically. We may not always see this coming because when we first meet a person they may show us their best side – the funny, easy-going, even sexy side to their personalities. We may at first experience a lot of attention from them that we really like, unaware that the person who we are attracted to has deeper complexities. As the relationship progresses we can begin to experience control, abuse, rejection, even betrayal from our partners and this is very difficult to come to terms with because we can find ourselves looking back and craving the relationship that we used to have, before the toxicity set in. This is even more difficult when we feel alone because our partner has helped to isolate us from our family and friends. It becomes very easy for our lives to then become dominated by a toxic relationship. We can find ourselves constantly thinking about our partner, what they did and said and how bad this made us feel, rather than getting on with leading our own lives. We can lose sight of who we are, our dreams and hopes for the future.

If we find ourselves in a toxic relationship it is important to seek support from another person, and this can be found in a good counsellor.   Counselling can help us to explore what the toxic relationship is about, how it is sustained, and how we might try to move out of this. It may be that we have developed an anxious attachment to our toxic partner, whereby we believe that we need our partner, that we cannot continue with our lives if abandoned by them, even though they are not good for us. Counselling can help us to build a secure base from within our own selves, so that we no longer fear abandonment or rejection. Counselling can help to make us feel independent rather than co-dependent, where we feel we are able to live our lives independently of a toxic partner. Self-compassion is key. We must not blame ourselves or be filled with remorse. It is important to build our own self-confidence and self-worth so that we can let go of any toxic relationship.