Reading the "Braille of our heart"

Reading the "Braille of our heart"

Live in your hands

and your mind will learn

to bow like a root”

Mark Neppo

I was not surprised when I opened Mark Neppo’s Book of Awakening to a random page and these poetic words appeared before me. I was looking for inspiration to write and there it was. Hands. Of course!

“To live in our hands humbles our mind into accepting something other than itself. It is how we heal each other and ourselves. We all come alive through a Braille of the heart,.” (page 146, The Book of Awakening, Mark Neppo). How beautifully written and described. A Braille of the heart. Yes! I love Mark Neppo’s poetry and unique approach to life and living with awareness and connection with our soul’s purpose.

I have often mused about how wonderful my life has become since I have listened to my heart and followed its lead to use my hands. There is something magical in bringing touch and gentle awareness to others through reflexology and all the while being able to tune in to the present moment with delicate detail and poise. I am home when I am with your feet. My soul knows that my hands will find the way.

I have finally surrendered to the meaningful purpose that my hands have longed to provide my whole life. They seem to come alive when I treat your feet and hands. As if they have been on this healing journey before and they yearn to reconnect this present version of me, with the long forgotten past. It is not an accident that I have yet again been brought to awareness of my hands seeking fulfilment by being used to their full potential. I have recently sought out piano lessons. My hands love to feel the keys on the piano, and to play without structure, but create beautiful sounds for my heart and voice to sing. As if once again, they have been here before and seek to reunite their gifts with these present day hands.

I am surrendering to the calling. I am awakening a joy that has not been alive in me since I was a child filled with curiosity and wonder. Using my hands allows me to return to a beginners mind. Each new task I seek to learn and to master, whether it be typing, writing, painting, crafting, sewing, or treating in my clinic. My hands allow me to let go of my ego mind and practise patience, poise, grace and dexterity. These traits often come with frustration, and often a need to rest and stop. However when I return to a task the next day, the muscle memory reigns supreme and my hands rejoice in the progression I have made seemingly miraculously. This always happens when I play the guitar!

I have since learned that I am a kinaesthetic learner, which may come as no surprise to you. I learn by doing. Allowing my mind to be quiet while my hands support my understanding of a problem or new challenge, helps everything just fall into place. In addition to the learning side, I am a sensual being. I love using all my senses to experience life.

There is something tangible that can be gained from being practical and present, that can not be gained from thinking alone. In fact, I often find that when my hands are being purposefully used and I am present, the most wonderful realisations, thoughts and ideas come to mind. My hands therefore really do speak the Braille of my heart. Carl Jung in fact, describes this very sentiment with this quote “ often the hands will solve a mystery that the intellect has struggled with in vain”.

I suppose I wish to share with you the joy I have found in following this inner knowing that I need to work with my hands. I am so very grateful that I listened. I have found more fulfilment, more peace and more purpose through using my hands in a vocational setting than I have ever experienced before. I am at peace and at flow as if my heart speaks through my fingertips.

My aim in my reflexology practice is to nurture you to find your feet in life. I invite you to explore how your hands connect you with your heart. You may not be a practical person, but you may find that picking things up, using touch to explore flowers, grass, paper, the hair of your children, your loved one’s face perhaps, may just bring you into connection with a part of your heart that has lain dormant. Perhaps there is a hobby the you have long forgotten or that calls to you. Why not be curious and give it a go?

When I work with your feet, I listen to the words you use to describe your health, your life and the state of your feet. I then feel your feet with my hands. This is when you soften. I listen then through my fingertips to what your feet have to say, through tightness, resistance and softness. I then apply the layers of reflexology theory but it is really through the wonderful medium of touch that allows me to explore more deeply into your emotional and spiritual landscape. My fingers and thumbs seek out tender places on your feet and hands and question the depth and extent of the congestion. A conversation takes place. The pain reveals something more than just physical discomfort, there is more there and my fingers know it, so my heart asks the question. What is really going on? We arrive at the past or the present depending on the foot, we discuss past hurts or present frustrations that are weighing you down, hence your recurrent shoulder problems and your jaw tightness from holding in thoughts that need to be expressed. It seems like magic. Perhaps it is in that it can’t be proven, yet, we know that it resonates at your soul level. Your soul seeks to be heard and known.

That is the beauty of hands and heart communication. That is why I am so grateful for finding my own feet by communing with the power my hands can yield.

What can your hands help you to find out or challenge today?

Sit a while, be present. Give in and surrender to touch, exploration and wonder. Read the Braille of your heart.

It might just change your life. Hands can do that! :)

Catriona is the heart, mind and soul behind Finding Your Feet. A reflexology practice that supports your soul through your soles. She is a mindful observer of life and all its treasures and loves to nurture you to find your feet in life. Catriona is available for reflexology treatments in her clinic in Geelong on Tuesdays Thursdays and Fridays and is a regular blog and reflective writer and creative explorer.

You can make an appointment online here: https://finding-your-feet.cliniko.com/bookings#service

Follow her on Facebook @findingyourfeetgeelong and Instagram @finding.your.feet

She has also been interviewed on the “Wild Success Podcast “ which you can access by clicking this link:

https://itunes.apple.com/au/podcast/wild-success-podcast-with-lizzie-moult/id1378568706?mt=2

Here is a link to the show notes: https://wp.me/p7XjJN-1tr

One step at a time...

One step at a time...

“I must give you this warning: your journeys will rarely ever go as you plan. You will make mistakes, and you will feel lost. Whenever that happens, look to the light and keep moving forward in faith.”

Seth Adam Smith, Rip Van Winkle and the Pumpkin Lantern

Keep on keeping on. My Grandma used to say these words to my Mum and my Mum passed them on to me. I hear this phrase echoed in my mind every time something happens that may not have been part of my master plan. The quote above resonates deeply with this sentiment.

Such wise words. Such simple words. Nothing fancy, nothing convoluted, just keep going and you will rise above whatever obstacles have come your way. Persistence. With this wisdom however comes frustration if not mixed with a little (or a lot!) of patience and self compassion.

If I am one thing, I would say I am not a quitter. My husband Andrew would say that this is just my stubborn streak, however, I like to believe it means that I have a creative approach to problem solving! I think laterally and perhaps for some not always logically, but if I am determined enough, I will find my way through. I keep on keeping on until I reach my desired result. This does not mean I will pursue something aimlessly. I do discriminate and (mostly) make informed choices, I am just a bit more reluctant to quit if I can see that there is an avenue that has not been explored. Where others see impossibility, I see a challenge! ;)

Sometimes, I need help though to remember my true path. This blog is about conceding that there are times when I stop listening to my inner compass, I lose faith and allow my ego to steer me off course. During these mis-adventures, when I finally wake up I am so far from alignment that I feel stuck and a little lost. When this happens, it always means I need to lean in more deeply for spiritual guidance as well as to my family and friends. This however is easier said than done. It makes me so grateful that I have such a supportive network around me. Often it is not from my own wisdom that change comes, but from my loving tribe that notice and gently nudge me back into seeing through the fog. My tribe includes loving family members, dear friends -old and new, healers and spiritual guides as well as Universal love. I need them all.

Just a few short weeks ago I experienced a bit of a setback that sent me off on a tangent. I was playing basketball with my 6 year old son and the ball bounced up and bent my right middle finger back. My joints are hyper mobile which means they extend past their normal range and are easily injured, however this jar caused me much more than physical pain. At first I didn’t let it bother me, I actually thought nothing of it. I thought it would heal quickly and what can you do for fingers anyway? But, the pain didn’t go away and it seemed to migrate up my hand into my wrist. I went to the doctor and was scolded for not taking my hands seriously given the work I do. I was sent for immediate urgent x-rays, a CT scan and follow up with a hand therapist and specialist. All revealed no broken bones but there was soft tissue damage and I needed to rest my hand for up to 3 weeks. It was surprising how quickly I allowed it to get the better of me. You see, even though I have all the tools and know how to help others, I am not immune from the effects of pain and feeling sorry for myself.

All the while this was going on, I was busy preparing to move into my new clinic space. I was choosing paint, buying furniture, arranging new business cards, signs and eftpos facilities. I fluctuated between feeling elated and excited to feeling overwhelmed.

I allowed my head to rule and my heart was lagging somewhere behind confused and battered. I wanted to feel buoyed by my new plans, but the pain and discomfort and stress were too great and too loud. I think it is somewhat sheepish to admit this, but I definitely wallowed for a little while. My ego had the biggest pity party that ever was! I began catastrophising that perhaps I could not ever return to reflexology and that Finding Your Feet would be no more. I worried that I had taken out a new lease and spent time and money in setting up my new space and that I would need to find someone else to rent it from me!

Ah, how the mind likes to do all it can to keep you safe and to keep you playing small. The way my mind kept me ‘safe’ in this instance was to stress me out and convince me I wanted to quit!

I felt myself spiralling into a dark place. I knew I had to do something but I wasn’t sure what. I started to jump to the worse case scenario. I was stuck. Lost. My stubborn streak can sometimes be adversarial when I feel this way. I didn’t want to admit that perhaps stress was causing me to feel more pain. It is exactly what had happened. I was so overwhelmed by the pressure of moving clinic spaces that I felt out of control and so my physical body was sending me stronger messages to slow down and stop. It didn’t mean the pain wasn’t there, but my reaction to the pain was heightened and my resistance and distress towards it made it more acute. What I needed was rest, relaxation and time to play.

It is during these times I am so grateful that I am surrounded by earth angels throughout my life that can shine a light on my thinking and offer suggestions to crack through the darkness. Coffee with one of my oldest friends shone a light on a solution for me and I instantly went about following up on her advice. A good cry and debrief with my husband afterwards and a realisation that I had perhaps over reacted, got me back on track. A visit to my dear mentor and reflexologist also gave me some much needed perspective, stress relief and balance. Rather than feeling scared of the pain, I leant in to it. I asked it why it was there. In bed at night when I couldn’t sleep, I focused on the pain, got curious about it and noticed as I allowed it to be there, it began to shift and move to another part of my body. I implemented meditation strategies to respond to the pain by acknowledging it and feeling it, rather than trying to push it away. I prayed and asked for support and love to help me to be kinder to myself and to allow my body to heal. After resuming my usual supplementation of magnesium, I woke in the morning almost pain free and much less sad. It was almost miraculous. If you had told me this story, I may not have believed you, but this is exactly what happened to me. I got back on the path of ‘keep on keeping on’.

It was a curious exercise in self exploration and has raised my awareness of the psychology of chronic pain. The three weeks off had me questioning my business and its sustainability in its current form. My faith in the future is hopeful and I know that there will be new ideas, opportunities on the horizon for change and redirection. I am however, no longer scared. I know that I am supported and I know that whatever happens will be for my highest good. I know this because I am surrounded by people that support and love me. If I just ‘keep on keeping on’, I know that I will find my way, one step at a time.

The rest has done me good.

My hands have survived to work another day. I have been reassured that my hands are strong and in good working order. My heart is restored. I am now happily treating feet in my new cosy work space and I love it!

If this resonates for you, or if you’re in a holding pattern and feel stuck, be kind to yourself. Lean in a little bit more or lean on others. Please allow others to support and love you. Perhaps it’s time for a reflexology treatment? I am here if you need me to be your guide through to the other side of the fog. Finding your feet is a path that requires courage, vulnerability and trust in life and those around you. It is also about having faith that when you need it most, you are loved, you are supported and in spite of what you may feel, you cannot fail. Failure only comes from never trying in the first place.

Be all you can be with this one precious life.

With love,

Catriona xxxxxx

Catriona is the heart, mind and soul behind Finding Your Feet. A reflexology practice that supports your soul through your soles. She is a mindful observer of life and all its treasures and loves to nurture you to find your feet in life. Catriona is available for reflexology treatments in her clinic in Geelong on Tuesdays Thursdays and Fridays and is a regular blog and reflective writer and creative explorer.

You can make an appointment online here: https://finding-your-feet.cliniko.com/bookings#service

Follow her on Facebook @findingyourfeetgeelong and Instagram @finding.your.feet

Let it grow

Let it grow

“…Sometimes it takes darkness

and the sweet confinement of your aloneness

to learn

anything or anyone

that does not bring you alive

is too small for you”

Taken from a poem “Sweet Darkness” by David Whyte

I was out walking the other day, something I do often because it gives me new perspective, keeps me healthy and allows my mind to expand and relax. I find myself drawn to the ocean’s edge more often than not, and it was here that I saw a council sign, that has become the inspiration for this blog post.

I passed by an area of the dune where the vegetation was worn away, around it was a fence and in front of the fence was a very small sign that simply said “Let it grow”. There was no large domineering sign saying “keep out”, or “do not enter” or “revegetation project, please stay on the path”. Simply “Let it grow” (the actual sign is pictured above).

Immediately my mind began to contemplate this sign and thoughts began to flow. Let it grow, let it grow, let it grow. These very words are so powerful, so nourishing, so defensive and protective but at the same time allowing what is to be and grow in its own way, in its own time. It lead me on a path to thinking how am I letting things grow? And probably more importantly, where am I allowing things to be trampled?

My reason for walking this day was to relieve my fear and trepidation of being interviewed for a podcast the following day. On the outside I was excited and looking forward to the opportunity, but on the inside my self doubt was having a huge party. I was invited to talk about how I found my feet in business and the very thought filled me with that familiar dread and yet excitement that comes with reaching beyond my comfort zone. All the limiting beliefs around not being good enough, not being an expert, the imposter syndrome and the ‘less than’ fears kicked in big time. I was choosing to let these things grow in favour of self compassion and self belief. Yet, when my eye caught this sign, “Let it grow”, it completely changed my perspective.

As I write this blog post, the podcast is now in the past. I overcame my fears, I enjoyed myself and had fun. I chose to let the thoughts that gave me strength grow and knew that no matter what, if I did my best and showed up as me, then that is good enough, even if it was imperfect. I think of this blog as an epilogue to the podcast now.

My mind likes to think in metaphors and if you’ve read my blogs in the past, you will notice that is also how I write. As soon as I read those words “Let it grow” I began to think about its message. This vegetation was being impeded from growing. What was stopping it from growing? It had been trampled by people walking off the path and making a short cut through the vegetation. In order to allow it to grow, this sign was there as a reminder, but there was also a fence around it to encourage people to stay outside the area and allow what was inside to regenerate and thrive.

‘Let it grow’ speaks so gently yet is assertive and clear. What I thought about is that perhaps this vegetation is a metaphor for hopes and dreams. Have you let your heart and most yearned for dreams be unwittingly trampled upon like this vegetation? They exist, but have they been squashed into submission because other people wanted to take a short cut and your dreams got in the way? Your dreams need you to speak up gently but assertively. You need to let others know that what they are trampling on is actually not their path but an important aspect of you that needs protecting and defending, with love and compassion. Just like this vegetation supports an ecosystem, your hopes and dreams support your growth and future self.

How I see it, the sign “let it grow” standing by the vegetation is like your inner compass, your inner wise being that gently whispers encouraging, loving, compassionate and forever supportive words. It is your guardian that stands by you. Urging you to grow, grow grow. The fence around the vegetation in this story represents the metaphorical fence or personal boundaries you need to set in order to truly allow yourself the space and time you need to grow. Healthy boundaries are those that allow you to be yourself and not compromise on your integrity or your sense of self. Invariably, following your dreams and making decisions that your heart yearns for will often be met with resistance from some people in your life. Are you going to allow those people to trample your heart? Or are you going to set yourself some boundaries and be more mindful of the people that you allow in to your deepest and most precious dreams? Are you going to set boundaries with your own inner critic too? How can you allow nurturing, compassionate thoughts into your heart and send the mean, negative, doubting thoughts to the other side of the fence?

Sometimes those boundaries may need to be very strong, other times they may just be about allowing yourself some time to go for a walk and reset. Knowing what a ‘yes’ and a ‘no’ response feels like in your body is a good place to start. Simply practicing where you feel these responses in the body. Think of a number of things you love to do and practice out loud responding with a clear ‘yes’ response. Feel how it feels. Now contrast that with no. Think of something you don’t want to do and then respond out loud with ‘no!’, or a ‘no, thank you’. Feel how that feels. Now think of a time that you said ‘yes’ but you really wanted to say ‘no’. This is a really good way of understanding your own body and your own boundaries. If you are someone that says yes all the time, it may be difficult at first, but establishing healthy boundaries will allow you to grow and you will find you are able to make more heart centred decisions. Your dreams will begin to flourish because they will see that you have their back!

Following your dreams and taking a leap of faith in your life is such a wonderful and liberating experience. Yes, it can be terrifying and disorienting. However, with time, you will gradually let go of old limiting beliefs because they will no longer serve you as you step up and shine. They have kept you safe. Being safe however, in the comfort zone, is no way to grow. This vegetation is still at risk of being trampled, but with boundaries it will become more resilient. How you see yourself is very important and the more you grow, the more you will be confronted with your inner self doubt, fear and your shadows. Importantly though, as you grow your inner strength will too. Your resilience or ability to respond to your fears increases and your courage grows too. You will feel the fear, and do it anyway! You will look back at how far you have come and see that the once trampled vegetation with a path through the middle, is now a thriving scrubland supporting a flourishing microcosm of life. You will be truly living the life you are here on this earth to live.

If I can leave you with any piece of wisdom it would be, take one small step toward your heart’s desires today. Do something that allows you to glimpse that which truly sets your soul on fire. You will know what that one thing is, it may be as simple as making a phone call to enquire about a course you have always wanted to enrol in, or visiting an art shop to look at paints and paper, or picking up your guitar and playing a few chords. Follow your own internal compass, your own nudges, your own wisdom. Journal, meditate, get in touch with that wisdom by finding your quiet space. Defend it like you would your own children or the love of your life. Your dreams are your soul calling you to grow. Will you answer the call and allow them to flourish?

Lots of love to you and happy feet finding. You can do this, one step at at time. Let it grow.

Catriona xxx

You can listen to the podcast by clicking here: https://itunes.apple.com/au/podcast/wild-success-podcast-with-lizzie-moult/id1378568706?mt=2

Here is a link to the show notes: https://wp.me/p7XjJN-1tr

Catriona is the heart, mind and soul behind Finding Your Feet. A reflexology practice that supports your soul through your soles. She is a mindful observer of life and all its treasures and loves to nurture you to find your feet in life. Catriona is available for reflexology treatments in her clinic in Geelong on Tuesdays and Thursdays and is a regular blog and reflective writer and creative explorer.

You can make an appointment online here: https://finding-your-feet.cliniko.com/bookings#service

Follow her on Facebook @findingyourfeetgeelong and Instagram @finding.your.feet

Three things to remember this Christmas

Three things to remember this Christmas

I have just three things to teach; simplicity, patience, compassion. These three are your greatest treasures. Lao Tzu

It’s December and I must say I am a bit weary but instead of remaining so, I have decided to be more mindful this Christmas and holiday season. I set an intention with my husband, that whatever happens, we will remind each other not to get carried away with the “end of the year” chatter about how fast things are going. I have decided to be mindful of my words, actions and reactions. Rather than feeling panicked by the thought that things are coming to a close, I will embrace each moment as it comes to me. After all, there are many moments left of this year to be experienced and shared.

I came across the quote above by Lao Tzu which defines my wish for peace perfectly. These three treasures are in fact gems that are so powerful and I believe truly embody the meaning of Christmas. It is a time to be grateful, to be kind, to be thoughtful of others and to be more loving. We have just put up our advent calendar and I always fill it with tasks for the children to practice acts of kindness as well as the obligatory treat. I think we can all do with this reminder to focus on how we can make others feel good.

I am not a saint. I too have been known to get caught up in the rush and hustle of the end of year crazies and the resulting temper tantrums from my children that arise from pure exhaustion. But I have made a quiet vow that I will do my best to uphold the three treasures of simplicity, patience and compassion. I will be patient and practice self compassion if I forget and get carried away or lose my cool! We’re all human, but I will make every effort to take a breath, slow down and embrace all the endings, the celebrations and the goodbyes. I will experience all the emotions that bubble up as a result, rather than pushing them aside and be fearful of change. I will allow myself to feel joy, happiness, sadness, grief, perhaps even frustration as patience is something that I am learning to embody and am constantly tested with two small children... But I will practice. In time it will come without effort.

So my thoughts on how to embrace these three treasures this Christmas:

Simplicity

-Keep gift giving to a minimum, we have opted for Kris Kringle for adults but children receive from all families.

-If you’re hosting the family, ask others to bring food to share, preferably their favourite dish, then everyone has something they love to eat at Christmas and your load is lightened.

-The most simple things in life are free. Remember to smile. Give hugs. Speak kind words. Write thoughtful messages. These can be the most profound gifts to receive.

-Ask for help! You don’t need to do it all by yourself.

Patience

-Take a breath at any opportunity. If you feel your shoulders rising to your ears, take a break. All you need is three deep breaths to bring you back to equilibrium. Pause. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, sit still for 3 breaths, hand on heart, or if you are in a public space, just stop, breathe deeply into your belly for the count of 3 and out for the count of 3. Phew!

-Another way to practice patience is to be mindful of all your senses. Wherever you are in this moment, whether it be waiting in line at the supermarket, held up in traffic, waiting on children to get dressed (!) take a minute to pause and experience what you see, feel, hear, taste, and smell. This act of presence can help to re-set your inner compass and bring back some peace.

-Give yourself a nurturing treat. Patience is all very well and good, but almost impossible when you feel stressed, anxious and overwhelmed. It could be you take 5 minutes to enjoy a cup of coffee or a decadent hot chocolate, or an hour to receive a reflexology treatment (I can help with that! ;), a massage, or a hair cut. Do something that makes you feel good. If your cup is full, you will find that patience is much more readily available.

-Practice active listening. Have you ever noticed that when you are upset and you are speaking to someone that doesn’t listen to you it makes it worse? Be the person that has time to listen. Take your time. Patience will lead you to peace.

-Plan ahead! If you know you get stressed, or flustered, re-set your watch or clock to 10 minutes earlier so that you will always arrive on time. This will reduce your stress levels and allow you to be more patient if you get stuck at the lights! When I am frustrated by something, it can be hard to think of the other person or the reason you’re being held up, however, practicing a simple exercise of wondering what might be going on for that person, can actually help to take the edge off impatience. It follows nicely into compassion actually. We never know what the other person is thinking. Cut them some slack. Be mindful of others. Put yourself in their shoes.

Compassion

-You never know what anyone else is going through.

-This time of year is very hard for some people. It can be lonely, and distressing. Be kind, caring and thoughtful to those around you and help to spread joy and love, it’s contagious. Start right where you are. Do you know anyone that you could reach out to that you haven’t in a long while?

-Practice random acts of kindness. Buy a coffee for a stranger. Fill up someone’s meter at the car park. Give away presents to Christmas charities. Donate to a cause that is close to your heart. Giving is receiving. It feels good!

-Practice self compassion too. Allow yourself to feel loved, cherished and nurtured. Allow yourself to receive. By filling your own cup, relieving stress and keeping healthy you are better able to provide love and support to others. Nourish yourself. You are worthy.

-Finally, practice gratitude. We are all abundant. Practice being grateful for what you have and you will find that you can be more compassionate to the needs of others, plus you might find that you already have all that you need!

It can be hard to change from being a stress-a-colic at this time of year to someone that is calm, centred and joyful, but I am going to do my very best to pledge that this is my intention this year. I’m not perfect and I’m sure I will stumble, but I have the courage to try. After all, I’m slowing things down, not speeding things up. How hard can it be?!

I hope this has given you some food for thought.

May you have a wonderfully magical Christmas, filled with simplicity, patience and compassion, a sprinkle of cheekiness, lots of love, laughter and most of all hope for an abundantly beautiful 2019.

Lots of love,

Catriona xxxooo

Catriona Weinmann is the body, mind and soul behind Finding Your Feet. A reflexology practice with heart. She is a Reflexologist, a creative entrepreneur and a mindful wanderer and observer of life and all its treasures. She believes that true healing comes from within and will gently and lovingly guide you to find your inner wisdom through reflexology and more recently in her Paint Your Sole workshops.

She practices in her clinic on Tuesdays and Thursdays in Geelong.

For bookings visit: https://finding-your-feet.cliniko.com/bookings#service

If you liked this blog, subscribe to the Finding Your Feet newsletter to receive updated information as it is written.

You can also follow Finding Your Feet on Facebook or Instagram.

For when the road gets a little bumpy...

For when the road gets a little bumpy...

“Compassion is by definition, relational. Compassion literally means “to suffer with.” which implies a basic mutuality in the experience of suffering. The emotion of compassion springs from the recognition that the human experience is imperfect.” Kristin Neff, Self-Compassion: The Proven Power of Being Kind to Yourself

I was out walking today by the coast, my usual place of both escape and renewal. I love to walk as it allows me time to think and put my present moment into perspective. While I walk I often listen to inspiring podcasts. A favourite podcast of mine is “On Being” with Krista Tippet. Today however I listened to a podcast by “Sounds True” with Tami Simon. She interviewed Kristin Neff, a prominent and forefront thinker on self compassion.

As I walked, I pondered on how self critical we can all be at times and that being kind to others is much easier than being kind to ourselves. What I learnt from listening today was in fact, although being kind to others is an important part of compassion, if at the same time I am still being cruel to myself I am creating artificial boundaries that separate and isolate me. How can I love others yet silently berate myself? Can you relate to this?

I think as a mother of small children it is easy to get caught in the world of caring for others before ourselves. Yet, self compassion is perhaps the most important and profound form of self love. It is different from self esteem. Self esteem is related to comparison and can be inflated or deflated by feelings of success or failure. Self compassion however acknowledges that we are in fact fallible and that none of us are perfect all of the time, and that my friends, shock horror (!) is totally ok, and in fact normal. Who wants to be superhuman anyway?! How can we really appreciate our wonderful highs if we have no lows to rise from?

Further into my walk I looked ahead at a hill I needed to climb which is pictured above. It had bumps on the path for stormwater drainage. As I was contemplating self compassion, the bumps on the path reminded me of the many bumps we face in life. Each day we face challenges, sometimes small, sometimes mountainous. In order to keep on going, we need support and love of those around us. But what if we can also give ourselves a pat on the back or a hug or a gentle loving reminder that, “yes, the road ahead is all uphill, yes, it may be tough, but I am here for you and I know you have got this”. What if, we could give ourselves the nudge we need to make it to the top? Self compassion is all about doing just that. In Dr. Kristin Neff’s research, she says that mammals as well all are, are hardwired to respond to gentle nurturing touch. In fact simple touch allows the sympathetic nervous system to de-activate and our parasympathetic nervous system to activate. The parasympathetic nervous system allows us to feel soothed, calmed and relaxed. This is one of the reasons that reflexology is so healing, as nurturing touch is so powerful. When I treat my clients with reflexology they describe this response as a warm wash of relaxation that oozes over them. How wonderful that we can in fact create this response for ourselves! One of my favourite ways to give myself some love, is to hold my hand over my heart and just say, “it’s ok, I love you, or I forgive you, or it’s not your fault”. If one of my clients is distressed, I will share this gem with them and we will do it together and they learn that it is very soothing. Try it for yourself next time you’re feeling anxious or sad or feeling overly self critical.

In winding up this post, I wanted to share with you that even when the road ahead is bumpy and feels like it’s never going to end; remember that one day, it may be tomorrow, next week or next year, but you will come to the top of the hill. When you reach the top, you will be able to turn around and see just how far you have come (the second picture above). The bigger picture will present itself and you can see that your suffering was part of your growth and that it has made you who you are today. Enjoy the view!

When you find time to love yourself, or at least take off the self critical lenses even for a few moments, you will find that you have more love, energy and compassion for others too. So, if you’re someone that loves to make a difference by helping others, start where you are now and really completely love you. Give yourself a pat on the back and some self love talk. You have so got this. You have come so far! Well done! You are so very loved.

Catriona Weinmann is the body, mind and soul behind Finding Your Feet. A reflexology practice with heart. She is a Reflexologist, a creative entrepreneur and a mindful wanderer and observer of life and all its treasures. She believes that true healing comes from within and will gently and lovingly guide you to find your inner wisdom through reflexology and more recently in her Paint Your Sole workshops.

She practices in her clinic on Tuesdays and Thursdays in Geelong.

For bookings visit: https://finding-your-feet.cliniko.com/bookings#service

If you liked this blog, subscribe to the Finding Your Feet newsletter to receive updated information as it is written.

You can also follow Finding Your Feet on Facebook or Instagram.

Listening is healing

Listening is healing

Take my hand dear inner child

Let us shine your light

Make your needs known – we are one      

by Catriona Weinmann  

Last weekend I was suddenly struck by an overwhelming sense of fatigue. The sort of fatigue that I just couldn’t push through. My brain slowed down. Communication was difficult. I needed to rest. I couldn’t do anything else. 

It took me by surprise because I have been so well. I’m not stressed. I’m living a healthy lifestyle. I am exercising. I am not overwhelmed in life. Yet, here I was knocked over by fatigue and left sided symptoms of numbness and tingling and an aching body. It wasn’t fair, I thought. ‘Poor me’ entered the building. 

Living with a chronic condition like MS is such a curious phenomenon. For me, I have been so well that I almost believed that I no longer had the condition! I believed I was misdiagnosed! This belief however has cost me. I thought that I was being resilient. I thought that not dwelling on it was a good thing. I still don’t think dwelling on anything is good thing, but my belief about ‘fixing’ myself, has caused me more pain than the actual reality of what I am facing. My genetic makeup has a built in ‘fix it’ mode. Yet, I have since realised trying to fix everything is not very healing nor is it always the most compassionate response. It ‘assumes’ what is best rather than listens to what is really needed. Thoughts of being wrong, or not enough stem from the need to fix. 

You see, I have been deceiving myself. These last few days of being ‘unwell’ have shone a light on the fact that I was still very much in battle with MS. I have been seeking to ‘fix’ rather than listen to my inner wisdom and learn what it is I truly need in this moment. Instead of accepting it for what it is right now, I have been holding it at arms-length just out of reach of my consciousness, doing all I can to keep it at bay. I have not wanted to focus on the future, yet, when I feel the familiar numbness settle in, my mind goes straight to catastrophising. It has been a very big wake up call.

I have since realised that despite my outward belief to the contrary I have not actually been able to accept, regardless of whether it is good, bad or indifferent, that MS, like my skin, my blood, my smile, is now a part of me. I thought I had it covered. However, these last few days, I realised I am still scared underneath, still fragile and still very much at war. Instead of noticing the symptoms, listening to what my body needed, responding with love and compassion, I allowed my judgemental beliefs to make me feel bad. It’s ok to be scared and vulnerable. It is not failure to be feeling less than my best, just part of a condition that is relapsing and remitting. Like the tides of the ocean, there will be good days and bad. In my case so far, there have been many more good days than bad for which I am grateful. I now see that my beliefs about how I ‘should’ be coping, feeling or being were the reason it hit me so hard. You see, in the middle of the night when my vulnerability peaked, it was my belief that somewhere I had failed that caused me the most pain. In feeling these uncomfortable sensations, it brought me face to face with reality that I have this condition. A reminder that I am living with a chronic illness. A reminder that life is uncertain. A reminder that life is precious.  

Life is precious. To be reminded of this in itself is a blessing.

So, in turning around my belief that “I should be well”, maybe I shouldn’t be?!! Or maybe, just maybe there are positive outcomes that MS has brought into my life. Of its many blessings It has taught me to ask for help and to graciously receive. I can’t do this alone, nor would I want to and that is more than ok, I accept that now. I need support from my family, my friends, my healing tribe, my mentors, my clients. It has allowed me to follow my dreams, live more truthfully and open up to my intuition. Most importantly it has given me the gift of empathy and understanding how it feels to live with uncertainty. In fact, I wouldn’t be a healer without MS. Finding Your Feet was born out of my need to heal from within and find my feet.

So I thank these symptoms. I thank them for showing me and reminding me that yes, I am living with a chronic condition. It is part of me. That phrase is powerful in itself - I am LIVING with a chronic condition. I am living well. I am living my life. I am making the most of opportunities and following my heart.

What this weekend has taught me is that perhaps I do have a way to go in truly, honestly accepting that I am living with MS, but that’s ok. But I no longer feel like I have failed. I have also learnt that MS is here because it is. For no other reason. I have learnt to see MS as an inner child that needs to be heard and embraced. I have been neglecting it and holding it apart.

Just like MS, my inner child also yearns to be loved and nurtured and accepted for who she is. She doesn’t need to be fixed. She is perfect the way she is. She just wants to be heard. I am ready to listen now. We can help each other through this and hold each other’s hand. We are one. 

Catriona Weinmann is the body, mind and soul behind Finding Your Feet. A reflexology practice with heart. She is a Reflexologist, a creative entrepreneur and a mindful wanderer and observer of life and all its treasures. She believes that true healing comes from within and will gently and lovingly guide you to find your inner wisdom through reflexology and more recently in her Paint Your Sole workshops.

She practices in her clinic on Tuesdays and Thursdays in Geelong.

For bookings visit: https://finding-your-feet.cliniko.com/bookings#service

Seeing.. as if for the first time..

Seeing.. as if for the first time..

Many of us have made our world so familiar that we do not see it anymore. An interesting question to ask yourself at night is, what did I really see this day?” John O’donahue

This blog post was inspired by the late John O’Donohue. I am reading his poetic and beautiful book on Celtic wisdom called Anam Cara (Gaelic for soul friend) at the moment. He writes with Celtic charm and sage-like wisdom but the most poignant message for me at the moment, is his recognition that in familiarity we can become isolated and limited in our perception of the world we live in. There is comfort in familiarity, but it does not allow for growth.

I have been inspired to see my own world through new, curious, hungry eyes. I made a simple decision yesterday to go for a walk. Walking for me is my soul food, and one of my non negotiable activities for sanity. I do however have a few favourite tracks, but this day, I decided to explore an unfamiliar path. What followed was an explosion of gratitude. I took my time. I noticed public art and saw tiny details that had been lost in my preoccupied gaze in the past. I saw vibrant flowers, sparkling water, smiles on faces. I read historic signs, learned new facts about a city that I have always called home. I bumped into familiar faces, but saw them with new eyes, and an open heart. I engaged with the world around me. The smells, the warm sunshine, the refreshing cool breeze. I chose to walk to the end of a pier. I chose to sit. I chose to meditate. I listened, I heard. I asked for guidance and I received. This simple decision to walk a different path opened my heart, my mind and my sense of connection with my inner landscape and that around me. Such wonder!

You see, I have been pondering lately and this very blog is the answer to my questions. I have been seeking to reconnect with my ‘why’ in my business. I wanted to remember, what drew me into the world of reflexology and why I called my business Finding Your Feet. This meandering walk yesterday has had a profound and revelatory impact on my reason for being. I have remembered. I have regained inspiration and now I am clear. You see, I love reflexology, yet being in the clinic had become a very familiar place. My familiarity is in the way I practice. It is a lovely feeling as I have gained a rhythm that wasn’t there when I began, yet, my heart is seeking to feel the way it did when I first realised this is where I belong. I had lost sight of my ‘why’.

Walking yesterday brought out my curiosity and inner joy for just being here. Alive. It was this feeling that lead me to ponder, what is Finding Your Feet? I now realise it is all about this very experience I have just described. Seeking inner wisdom and listening to the quiet stillness that is all knowing and nourishing, yet gently nudging us towards our better selves. This is why I have created Finding Your Feet. To help you to connect with your heart, to hear your soul speaking to you in its beautiful wise way. Finding Your Feet is all about helping you to see yourself through fresh eyes!

Some of the most lovely experiences that bring me the greatest joy to witness and facilitate are moments when you connect with your inner wisdom and finally see a way forward. These A-Ha moments are pure gold. This is where the true healing unfolds. You are the master of your own healing, my hands just guide the process. My tool is reflexology but it is so much more than reflex points on your feet that provide this metamorphosis. I have created space for you to allow your soul to speak. My clinic space is quiet, calming and cosy. It allows you to let go of your world for an hour. It allows you to be receptive to inner guidance, wisdom and the healing benefits of relaxation and balance facilitated by reflexology. My hands listen and gently encourage this conversation to begin. I work on a very holistic level. I have struggled for a long time to articulate and explain to the world what it is that reflexology does, because fundamentally, I believe it is only part of what I do. But now I have realised, that perhaps I don’t need to. I am not going to say that I can heal your sore neck, shoulders or diabetes. I am not going to say that reflexology will fix conditions or illnesses. That is not what I do. I don’t treat conditions, I don’t treat isolated parts of you. I do have faith that reflexology will assist you in healing these conditions, and will take away pain and discomfort, however, I will treat you as a whole person. I will listen to what may be behind your headache or recurrent cough. You see, Finding Your Feet is more than treating ailments. It is here to support you to literally and metaphorically find your feet in life and grab your best life with an open heart and mind. My hands nurture your soul through your soles. You are the only person that can heal yourself. Isn’t that so empowering? That is what I am all about. I love to see you transform from tired, stressed and overwhelmed to calm, peaceful and connected to your heart and mind.

In following my nudges yesterday, I found my own feet. My heart is buzzing with overwhelming joy, a newfound sense of connection with my heart and my purpose, inspiration to bring that to you. Fresh open eyes. I have found my why!

If you are ready to heal then lets start the conversation!

Catriona Weinmann is the heart, mind and soul behind Finding Your Feet. She is here to guide you to your greatness and your inner wisdom by working the soles of your feet. Her tool is reflexology, intuitive guidance and listening to your soul with her hands. If you are feeling stuck, too familiar with life or just need some nurturing back to your sparkly self, then she is the reflexologist for you. Catriona is based in Geelong and is available for appointments on Tuesdays and Thursdays. You can book online here https://finding-your-feet.cliniko.com/bookings#service

The healing act of picking up a paint brush

The healing act of picking up a paint brush

Ever since I was a little girl, I have loved to draw, paint and be creative. I loved to fill the whole page with colour. I often begged Mum growing up to let me get out the easel so that I could create art. There was something magical about it. 

As I grew, I became interested in illustration and in late primary school I was selected to attend an art camp to learn how to illustrate a children's story. I loved it! I thought then that I would be an illustrator. Somehow that was abandoned.

Fast forward to secondary school and art became less of a focus and more of an afterthought. I studied art at school but didn't take it into my final years. I was guided by well meaning teachers and advisors to follow maths and sciences, much to my chagrin and so left behind any desire to create. 

During my university years, art was not very big on my agenda. I was busy meeting new friends, partying and living the life of a uni student away from home. I still yearned to create, so I enrolled in a water colour course once I returned home and had finished my degree. I loved it. Yet, once again moved on. Later in my 30s I joined a botanical drawing class, but once again, didn't take it any further. 

My poor artistic soul was always left hanging. I'd tease it here and there, but never acknowledge it for longer than a lingering thought even though it wanted so desperately to be fully expressed. I did play with colour with my children and loved to encourage their creative instincts, but didn't indulge my own desire to participate fully even then.

Then, I began meditating and for the first time heard my heart and soul speaking to me.  I couldn't help but hear a gentle whisper..."you need to paint"! I had listened to my guidance in relation to becoming a Reflexologist and that has held me in good stead, so perhaps there was something in it. It took me a while to act, but one day, on a seemingly spare of the moment decision I visited an art shop and bought some paints, a canvas and some paper.  I set aside every Wednesday to paint. It was my time and it didn't matter if I only painted for one hour, that was enough. Well, my heart sang! I was transported to another place, I was present, I was relaxed and the time just dissolved. 

During the time when I was reunited with a paint brush, our family was facing some turbulent times in relation to ill health and my paintings were a cathartic experience. They assisted me to express what my inner being was feeling. My healing was unfolding one brush stroke at a time and I felt at ease in being with my emotions. I just needed to pick up a brush. I painted with my favourite music and often I would find tears streaming down my face as I released emotions that had found a way to be expressed. My paintings were often dark and stormy. Even when I consciously set out to paint a blue sky with bright colours if I was feeling flat, my subconscious would take over and the painting inevitably became a mass of dark stormy clouds over a rough seascape! In fact, since I have harnessed my creative inspiration to paint, I have noticed that MS has taken a back seat too!

You see, my inner being is so wise. It called me to paint. My childhood self knew this innately, however often the world, however well meaning it may be, shapes you in a way that leads to confusion of how to express your soul's truth. 

I have released a lot of this turmoil and now my paintings are beginning to shine with bright colours once again. The painting included with this blog is one I completed recently of my 40th birthday party. I loved the night. It was an intimate garden party picnic dinner with my closest friends in our back garden.  It filled me with so much happiness and gratitude, that I just had to paint it! I feel the painting reflects my mood of the day. It is a joyful celebration of good friends and life. 

So you see, finding a way to express your creativity is so healing on so many levels. Sometimes it's hard to find words to describe a feeling or an emotion, but if you allow yourself to pick up a paint brush, or pencil without much thought about the end result, you may find that you can understand what is happening within you with much more clarity.

As a Reflexologist, I understand how emotions if left unexpressed can manifest in physical symptoms and ill health. I see it all the time in my clinic where people present with ailments that have been with them their whole lives.  Often they come to Reflexology as a last resort and have tried everything. Reflexology works with the soles of the feet to balance out the physical body and allow the emotional and spiritual aspects of ourselves to be released. By calming the central nervous system, Reflexology helps the body to relax and slow down. When your body is in a calm state of being, your soul speaks to you. If you listen to it, you will find that it is wise and has your best interests at heart. It will lead you to true healing. When you follow your soul's path, you will live in alignment and will find peace. 

Is your soul yearning to be creatively expressed? 

If you would like to explore your inner being more, in a fun and non judgemental way, I have created a workshop called "Paint Your Sole" for you to paint with and about your feet. By intuitively selecting paint colours, shapes and images, you will be able to express your soul's message to you. There will be guidance, and no artistic experience is required, just an open mind and a heart that yearns to be heard. Ultimately you will be guided by your own inner being and what you create is your own message.

If you are curious and would like to know more, contact me on 0400 431900 or email catriona@findingyourfeet.com.au. The workshop is being held on Saturday 30th June, 2018 from 10am-1pm.

Spaces are limited so please get in touch or click the link below to book in now as soon as possible to avoid disappointment. 

http://www.trybooking.com/WJEB

If you live in Geelong or nearby and are seeking a calming Reflexology treatment to hear your soul's voice, please contact me for an appointment and I will hold space for you in my clinic. 

Until then, be kind to the feet that support you. xxxxx

 

 

The timelessness of nature

The timelessness of nature

This blog is actually a re-post of an old newsletter I sent out to my clients almost exactly one year ago. I came across it accidentally and as I read the words, it was as if I was writing to my future self that sits here today! As you read this, I am now one year older reaching the milestone of 40 years last month. Time marches on and life gets busy, things happen, yet, the present moment is timeless and for me, nothing brings me into this stillness and beauty more than when I am in awe of nature. It doesn't have to be far away, I find this place just as easily by enjoying the beauty of a leaf fluttering in the breeze glowing translucently with the sun's ray shining through it, hearing the bird's song or laughing with a friend. I hope you can find your place of timelessness and you enjoy this blog.....

I have just returned from a beautiful weekend away with my husband (sans children!) to celebrate 8 years of happily married life..I feel very blessed. 

We returned to one of our favourite places in the whole world - the Cradle Mountain- Lake St Clair National Park in Tasmania. We met there 12 years ago, and then 9 years ago got engaged at the base of Cradle Mountain at Marion's Lookout, this time, 8 years later, we made our pilgrimage as a happily married couple. I have attached a photo to share with you of our hiking feet (it's a bit wonky, as we were lying down exhausted after a long day's walk!).

In seeing Cradle Mountain in all its glory once again, I was surprised by the range of emotions I experienced. I felt such a strong connection to this ancient timeless peak, yet, feeling this way also reminded me of all the time that has passed. It made me reflect upon how this landscape has shaped me and my growth. I first experienced Cradle Mountain as a 19 year old, as an idealistic, environmentally conscious Ecotourism undergraduate. A work experience placement had me guiding other people through the Overland Track carrying 23kg on my back. I learned about people and grew resilience in my body and mind. I also got some pretty hard-core rock hard legs! 

7 years later, I returned to the mountain to walk the Overland Track again with friends, as a 26 year old. I was now a seasoned world traveller, had undertaken a Masters degree in Social Science and Environmental Planning and was working as a corporate career woman as an urban planning consultant. Little did I know that when I took off for Launceston, I would meet the love of my life...That was 12 years ago. 

9 years ago as a 30 year old, I returned for a weekend away with the same love of my life who in mid winter on the snowcapped plateau of Marion's Lookout proposed to me and made me the happiest woman alive. Auspiciously I saw an eagle soar overhead as I breathed in the fresh alpine air, contemplated my joy and pondered how this new direction would change my life as I knew it. 

This weekend just gone, I returned with my darling husband, a somewhat wiser, more worldly 39 year old woman.  I have transformed yet again into a wife, a mother, a mindful, more calm self and have chosen a new heart centred path into health and wellbeing. I have become a Reflexologist and am helping others find their feet in life and seek out their dreams. 

I am wiser yes, but now I see that wisdom comes quietly and with plenty of reflection and introspection as well as a very healthy dose of gratitude. 

I am forever grateful for this mountain and its wisdom. It has watched me grow from an enthusiastic and 'green' teenager to a busy erratic twenty something, to a more calm, centred and mindful thirty something. I'm almost in my forties, and feel that it can only get better as ageing softens and allows me to breathe and be more authentic and comfortable in my own skin.

So, upon my reflections, I have realised that even though in this case nature has given me this wonderful gift to see myself as I am - I realise I can be my true self wherever I am, whether I'm standing looking up at this beautiful peak, washing the dishes at home, engaging in meaningful conversation with close friends or facing life's challenges. I have always been me...the mountain has silently observed me...now I am at this point in my life where I can see more clearly who I am and I am comfortable with what I see. 

How are you feeling today?

If you don't have time to get away and experience nature, you can still explore your own inner wisdom by looking within and listening to your heart. Being mindful of your thoughts, listening and taking time to be quiet is just as wonderful and healing.

Anyway, enough from me! If you have read through to the end, I appreciate you taking the time to indulge my musings.

I would love to see you, so give me a call if you feel you would like to experience some Reflexology, reflections of your true self and experience some gentle healing. I'm more than happy to just have a chat with you too, if you're interested to know how reflexology might be able to help you and to work out a treatment protocol. 

I'm now available on Tuesdays and Thursdays. 

As one of my client's said:

"I am not someone who stops very well - being still is something that I actually find uncomfortable to do, so when I had my first reflexology session with Catriona, I was hesitant to say the least. BUT I am so glad I embraced this experience, it was truly amazing, deeply relaxing and incredibly informative- Catriona has a wealth of nurture and knowledge and intuitively adjusts your treatment to suit your needs. I was able to just 'be' for a whole hour and felt so full of energy afterwards. If you can't grab a holiday in the sun for a week just do this for an hour - not quite the same but damn close!!"

L.V.

Lots of love, peace and calm to you,

Catriona  xx

 

 

 

Flipping my world upside down - on purpose!

Flipping my world upside down - on purpose!

"you have brains in your head, you have feet in your shoes. you can steer yourself any direction you choose."   Dr Seuss

Perhaps it's because I recently celebrated my 40th birthday, or that my youngest child, Albert started school this year, or that we have experienced some tumultuous family health challenges which have rocked my equilibrium, but I have been feeling very overwhelmed and exhausted of late. I have been facing huge milestones in my life and more serious realisations about life and morality. 

Change has always brought with it for me a sense of uncertainty and anxious anticipation. My initial response is one of denial or fear rather than acceptance and yet, if I look more closely for most of my life, ironically, I have invited change into my being. I moved to Adelaide to study at university as an 18 year old leaving everything familiar behind. I travelled the world, I lived in Japan. I have had many part time jobs, even dabbled in a range of careers. I love new surroundings, creating art, meeting new people, being in the moment. I have become a parent for goodness sake! That is inviting one huge dose of visible constant change to test my resilience on a daily basis! This is all evidence that I am resilient, adaptable and can accept change and embrace the potential of what is to come. So then, why do I feel so incongruent? Why do I feel such pain and grief for particular events and others don't even register on my radar?

Recently a very wise woman in my life helped me to see that perhaps the real issue is not that I don't like change. Everyone has to face change, it's as certain as the sun coming up every day. What it is that I have trouble with is not change itself, but my perceptions of change and my anticipation of what may happen. The funny thing I noticed was that I was feeling bad about the change, but I was also feeling bad about not being able to change the way I felt about change! What a vicious cycle! The delightful realisation that I could in fact feel better by shifting my perception of change, blew my mind! When I decided to notice how I felt about change, allow it to be there and focus on the present moment, I noticed that change had much less power over me! When I shift slightly from dwelling on the thought of losing something and notice what I actually have in front of me along with the opportunity or insights that change can bring, it no longer feels so heavy. Such a relief! 

My daughter Edie also assisted here, as always my children are my most profound teachers! Last year Edie desperately wanted to learn how to cartwheel. We were playing in the backyard and she asked me if I would show her how it was done. I knew I used to be able to cartwheel when I was younger, but haven't attempted one in many years so was quite apprehensive! Yet, filled with motherly love and the desire to help Edie fulfil her wish, I launched into action. I did it! It felt amazing! Edie was impressed and then we set about working through the process of how I did it, so Edie could practice. Little did we both know that this would be the beginning of an exploration in being upside down - for me too! The feeling of doing a cartwheel awakened that joyful child within me and it felt so good! 

I started attempting handstands next, up against the back fence. My neighbours probably think I've gone mad as all they can see is my feet popping up over the fence! What started as an experiment, and demonstrative activity has become a regular and joyful part of my day! I have slowly increased in courage to attempt to free stand, which is a huge thrill because I still feel the fear of toppling over awkwardly into a backbend, yet it hasn't stopped me trying! You can see me doing just this on the beach in the photo attached - it was actually the day of my 40th birthday! 

What I have recently acknowledged and the reason for this blog is that this simple childhood activity has actually given me a powerful tool to shift my perspective. Not only am I learning a new skill, developing strength, courage and physical alignment, but I am also developing a sense of mental and spiritual alignment as I practice being upside down. By literally flipping my body upside down, I am able to flip my thoughts, shift my perspective and change my inner being from one of turmoil to peace. It's mindfulness in action. I focus on my breath, and have learnt to gracefully raise my legs, rather than spring them heavily with no awareness of my body in space as I did in the beginning. I have developed a sense of mind body awareness and feel more aligned and centred in a physical and emotional way. I deliberately and purposefully flip my whole world upside down! 

Not only do I gain a new sense of vitality after a handstand, but my whole body is innervated and alive, I can think clearly again. I am nourishing my brain through allowing the blood flow to rush to my head. I am giving my feet a rest and allowing the blood flow to drain out of my legs while allowing my internal organs to have a break from the heaviness of gravity. Most importantly for my MS I am developing improved proprioception or balance and am connecting and re-connecting broken neurological pathways or synapses through teaching myself a new skill as well as thinking in new ways. It's all very nourishing and invigorating! I walk away from the wall buzzing with stimulated nerve endings, a smile on my face, a shift in my thinking and a spring in my step. What a tool! My body, mind and spirit are in alignment and my soul soars with happiness. 

So you see, for me, as someone that used to and still sometimes does feel threatened by change, I have found a way to take the edge off, and feel empowered by shifting my perspective. I understand that handstands are not everyone's cup of tea, or perhaps may not be physically possible for you, however, trying something new that gives you a bit of a buzz and takes you out of your comfort zone can be a powerful perspective shifter. 

A good friend of mine recently shared with me an alternative activity that may be more accessible to try which will give you a similar feeling of invigoration. It's called the 'bounce and shake' exercise. All it requires is this: Stand up, bounce on the spot, and at the same time shake your arms all around your body, up and down and all around. Next tap or slap lightly with your flat hand all over your body along your arms, legs, torso back and front, and finish tapping your head. You will feel rejuvenated, stimulated and it will literally shake you out of your current way of thinking. It may make you look silly so you may like to try it when you're alone! I encourage you to give it a go, next time you feel like a thought is taking over your mood. 

Change doesn't have to be the bad guy! In fact, I think I have demonstrated how lovely it can be to welcome change or rather a change in perspective. Give yourself the freedom of deliberate change. 

It might actually change your life! ;) 

Lots of love 

Catriona xxx

P.S If you're feeling in need of a more gentle soothing approach to changing your perspective, and you live in Geelong, why not book in for a Reflexology treatment with me? I'm now open on Tuesdays and Thursdays. I'd love to see you and your beautiful feet. My philosophy is all about you and finding your own way in life and what makes your heart sing by exploring what your feet have to say. Curious? Come and see me to find out! ;)

www.findingyourfeet.com.au 

 

 

Rekindling my inner sparkle

Rekindling my inner sparkle

Remember that feeling as a child when you were given a present that you had always wanted and it filled you with such ecstatic joy that you could burst? Or the feeling when you saw the love requited in your partners’ eyes and you knew, along with the butterflies and the electric current running from your hand to theirs, this was love? Or the feeling of being in a place that filled your heart with peace and you had an innate sense that you had been there before, you just felt a sense of belonging?

Well over the past few months I have been experiencing a resurgence of these feelings, you could say rekindling my inner sparkle, or finding my feet?! A recent family holiday to Japan is where it began. That little bubble of excitement when we applied for our passports again after letting them lapse 7 years ago, the same year my daughter was born. Family life halted our international wanderlust, that is until now...!

For me, there is nothing like the sense of freedom that travel brings. I missed it. Yet, now, I can shout from the roof tops, regaining a sense of freedom while on holiday with our children - has been a wonderfully liberating and exciting revelation! My husband and I have well and truly reawakened our love of exploring and the world is once again only a plane trip away. Perhaps with much more luggage (less backpack more suitcase with wheels) - the children both had matching R2D2 suitcases, very cute-  and it was a tad less spontaneous, but you know what?... adventure comes in all forms...!

So off we went! Returning to Japan after 17 years was an amazingly familiar yet foreign experience. It was the catalyst for so much growth, learning, adventure, awe, curiosity and an all-round feast for our senses.  It was wonderful to revisit and remember a place I knew so well in my early twenties and see it anew through the eyes of my children and my husband.

Yes, we did need to clip our wings slightly, but the joy of seeing our children relishing small things like: speaking Japanese words and receiving smiles from impressed locals; spotting kooky drinks in ubiquitous vending machines; soaking up the soothing hot water of an outdoor onsen (hot spring); making up songs to the sound of the traffic signals that beep in a rhythmic musical tune; befriending wild deer roaming around Miyajima; learning to use chop sticks (proud parent moment!); and my favourite, Edie praying (or was that wishing?!) for a pet unicorn and writing it on a wooden tablet to be blessed at Meiji jingu Shrine in Tokyo. All these things helped us to see the lighter side. It also allowed me to find my inner child, rekindle my curiosity and see the world from a child’s perspective. For this, I owe my children a huge thank you.

We were blessed with wondrous contrasting experiences; from the crowds and many weird and wonderful sub- cultures of Tokyo, to seeing a live volcano puff out smoke (Sakurajima), swimming at deserted beaches and breathing in the forest air surrounded by 3000 year old cedar trees in Yakushima. We climbed moss covered stairs to a Buddhist retreat in a sacred mountain town just outside Kyoto, squeezed into packed peak hour trains and experienced the lightening speed of many shinkansen (bullet trains). We marveled at robots (even had one draw our portrait!), and fell in love with the magical world of Hayao Miyazaki's creations at Studio Ghibli. We were humbled by the futility of war, yet filled with the hope of world peace seeing the thousands of coloured paper cranes in Hiroshima; and gained perspective on the power of world trade after seeing its impact on Japan from a small island in Nagasaki (where Japan re-opened its doors to the Dutch after hundreds of years of self-imposed exclusion). And the food! Yum Yum Yum! So many delights for our senses that will live on in our memories forever, all the more special for being our first overseas family adventure. Perhaps one day, our children will one day revisit Japan and have similar recollections and rekindle their memories of a place once travelled? 

Returning home to routine was strange and a bit disorienting. We had had this wonderfully rich and engaging experience, and now, we were home. Life as usual, yet we were different. I was confused and felt as though my heart was in two places. It occurred to me though that despite feeling a bit flat, with post-holiday blues, I had awoken something in me that was stirring me to live more fully. For this, I was grateful. Then, I remembered that gratitude is a surefire way to quickly get un-stuck. How grateful I was to have had such an amazing experience and to share these priceless moments with my family. 

Despite feeling a bit lost, last week I had a rather comforting realisation. My curiosity could also still be sated here at home! Even though travelling to faraway places is a wonderful gift to the senses and it has definitely positively impacted on my growth and my understanding of the world we live in, I now know I can feel this sense of wonder and freedom anywhere. I need not go so far! Being fully awake is a choice! I can choose to experience the same sense of awe in my every day by simply applying the same level of curiosity and interest to my routine life as I do when seeing something for the first time.

In fact, you can try this too. Deliberately choosing to seek out something you may not haven’t noticed before, taking an alternative route to work or school drop off or any other routine walk or drive, or just being thankful for and observant of your blessings in your home environment can lead you in fascinating directions. My favourite piece of (borrowed) mindful advice that I love to share is to simply ask the question, what am I not noticing right now? It is surprising how this simple question can ground you and bring you in touch with how 'un'-usual your 'usual' surroundings actually are! Curiosity and gratitude are doorways to presence. Presence is the doorway to peace. The reason we feel so alive when we travel is because we are always open to seeing and living what we are experiencing, and therefore more easily and more often present! 

A recent weekend away with my husband lead me to reflect on the importance of this very idea and to put it into practice. We had the opportunity to reconnect and rekindle our love, not only romantically but also from the perspective of shared dreams, both as a couple and as individuals. Finding peace in each other's company we were able to be truly present and real, yet allow each other space to be in our own thoughts. We found the same sense of wonderment that we experienced in Japan here on the Great Ocean Road, rediscovering our favourite hideaway beaches and exploring rain forest walks as well as talking and really listening to each other. 

Walking and pondering as I do, soaking up the replenishing energy of the ancient rainforest at Mait's Rest, I was drawn to the detail of an ancient tree fern. I noticed what I hadn't noticed before, how the fern fronds begin as messy furry balls, scrunched up, yet, patiently waiting their turn to elegantly and gracefully unfurl into a splendorous verdant branch. The newly budded inner fronds are surrounded and supported by mature fronds as they grow and unfurl one curl at a time, stretching slowly into greatness. As they open out to a perfect complete branch, they too will allow water to roll down their centre stem into the centre of the plant to support the next generation of buds curled up waiting to shine. Just as these ferns, we too are at different stages of growth and various levels of sparkle. Wherever we are at, we are gently supported to grow and unfurl to reach our true purpose, sheltered by our elders and mentors (the outer branches) and by the universe. Even if we feel we are not supported by others, our small voice, call it intuition, heart, or soul, is always there, gently calling us to take that next step. When we have grown into our full potential, we too will take our places to support and nurture those around us to reach their higher purpose and best selves, to achieve that inner sparkle. The beautiful circle of life. 

I am so grateful for the tree fern as it along with my recent Japanese adventures have reminded me of how far I have come. My recent rekindling of love, empowerment, passion, curiosity and wonder have helped me, along with the love and support of my family and friends, to unfurl another layer. I have been able to release old fears and limiting beliefs to stretch and grow, breathe and sparkle again. To find hope and the sparkle of wanting to know what is unknown. Not only has travel allowed me to rekindle my sense of awe and wonderment at life, culture, people and nature, but also my sense of playfulness, cheekiness and fun. I have returned to feel more open hearted and longing for connection. I yearn for good conversation, to listen mindfully and to share my voice and equally have my truth heard. To rekindle and nurture meaningful friendships and relationships. To swim at the beach, to sing with my friends and to myself wherever I am, to go to my mosaics class, to strengthen my physical body, to deepen my spiritual practice, to write, to laugh, to heal and be healed and to play. 

Travel has reignited many things, but most importantly it has reminded me that my inner spark shines eternally, it just needs a little fuel sometimes...

So, it is only fitting to conclude that when travelling home from our time away, my husband and I stopped off at a country pub to watch the Melbourne Cup and of course we put a few dollars down! In my unsophisticated way - I scanned the list of horses for names that resonated with me – and in keeping with my recent epiphany I couldn’t resist the horse “Rekindling”! As you may now be aware -  it won! Yippee! The rest my friends is history!

 

 

 

The space between the clouds

The space between the clouds

As I was out walking today, gazing at the clouds as I often do, a thought voiced itself loudly in my mind, "look at the space between the clouds".  I pondered on this thought just popping into my head and it became clear to me that the clouds are like a metaphor for our inner being. As I realised this metaphorical connection, a feather floated down in front of my path. I took this as validation from the Universe, so here I am writing another blog!

So, how can the space between the clouds be a metaphor for my inner being? The blue sky is constant. Ever present always waiting behind whatever comes to block it from being seen and whatever weather pattern decides to have a go at hiding its radiance. This is also true for our inner knowing, loving and supportive beings that wait in the background patiently, never complaining, always present. Even when there are dark clouds looming heavily in the sky, when the weather blows over, as the weather always does, the brilliant blue is once again revealed, always there, always patient and kind, always present. 

It occurred to me today to notice not the clouds forming, but the spaces between the clouds, the small sometimes tiny specks of blue that peak out behind the clouds, whether they be fluffy and white or dark, grey and foreboding. We can always take a few moments to notice these small halos of blue sky that bring hope of more milder weather underneath. Is it no wonder that when the clouds part to reveal the blue, the sun is able to shine through?

You see, in this metaphor the clouds represent our moods, our judgements our unkind thoughts towards ourselves or others, our darker days and all the layers of frustration, hurt and thick muck that blocks our clarity of heart and mind. Yet, underneath these clouds there is always a wonderfully loving, kind, gentle, nurturing inner soul that is never judgemental, only supportive. So next time you feel like it's all getting too much for you, take a few movements and tap into this place within you. Use the sky for inspiration. Does it echo your inner turmoil or loving radiance? Can you see the little patches of blue beneath? Know that this soon will pass and that with the breeze or gusty wind, you will soon be closer to clarity if you trust that this part of you is waiting patiently to be noticed and embraced. 

Just like an old friend that holds space for you no matter how much time has passed, your inner  knowing self is always there for you to find or meet. It knows you, the authentic you and is kind, loving and supports you to be your truest best self. 

I will leave you on that note as I am about to take off into the clouds for a holiday in Japan. 

As always, love the feet you walk on, take yourself a little less seriously and enjoy the small moments! I look forward to sharing my adventures when I return. 

Lots of love,

Catriona xxx

 

SHOULD or WANT?

SHOULD or WANT?

For some reason, I feel a great urge to talk about the way we treat ourselves through our thoughts and our words. I love words. I love how certain words can heal your soul and others can tear it slowly to shreds. It occurred to me recently when I was out walking that my life has been dominated by a word that is quite frankly a bit of a bully....you know the one.....SHOULD...Arghh!

Just typing the word increases my heart rate and makes me feel tight in my solar plexus right in the centre of my chest. The solar plexus relates to the sense of power we have over our lives, it is our power centre. I can guarantee that when I feel out of control of my own decisions I feel a knot at this point in my chest. The degree of control we have over our own decisions, thoughts and desires, all stems from the strength of our power centre. The thing is, we always have a choice and we always have the power to make our own decisions, it's just sometimes we are  not quite strong enough to say no when it is necessary for our peace of mind and sanity. Just as we strengthen our muscles with weight training, learning to be in control of our needs and wants or to simply stand in our own power is a skill that needs to be honed. The more we practice taking back our own control the less frustrated we will feel and the more liberated we will become. It is through gaining this control we can open the door to greater fulfilment and peace. I am one of these people and am still building this muscle, so I can speak from experience!

As a reflexologist I love working with the solar plexus reflexes on the feet. By stimulating this power centre in a person, it brings about an instantaneous feeling of peace and calm and brings the person back to equilibrium...funny that! ;) 

Here is an acronym I made up to demonstrate how this one word weighs heavily on my state of mind and influences the way I feel...

S - saps energy

H -hard

O -obligation 

U -unsatisfied

L -lack of choice

D -don't want to!

I'm sure many of you can relate. If you are an empathetic person and like to please others, then this will be something that you need to confront in order to gain some of your own self back. I'm not saying that we need to be less compassionate, but what I am saying is we have a choice. It is not altruistic or compassionate to help someone out of obligation. This kind of obligation leads to resentment and frustration. Listen to you heart. If you really want to help someone, then do it from a place of love, not obligation. 

It is not always easy to reclaim something that is rightfully yours to claim. For example, if you are a people pleaser, like I am (I am beginning to learn to please myself first...it's a very long reforming process!) then, saying no to something that you feel you should do in favour of something you want to do, is probably a very difficult task and will have your stomach in knots...what will others think of me?! How selfish or how dare you put yourself first...others' needs are much more important than my own... That's what we tell ourselves, and yes it is very kind to look out for others' needs, but you cannot be of use to anyone else if your candle is almost burnt out, much less use when it IS burnt out! Plus, no one wants to be a burden to anyone else and therefore in most cases would understand if they heard a no in response to a request. If someone gives you the impression that you have wronged them for saying no, in spite of your apologies then this is a sure sign you are being taken advantage of and time to stand firm in your power centre! 

I have grown up a lot in the last few years. Yet, perhaps every now and then I need to return to my tantrum throwing 7 year old self and say -"NO! I don't want to and you can't make me!" Perhaps we could all do with a watered down dose of our younger selves just for a quick hit of that egocentric power, but temper (pardon the pun) it a bit with some grown up tact and diplomacy! This makes for a recipe that will lead to a very strong power centre. Standing up for our own needs is not selfish nor is it rude or inconvenient. It is being loving and respectful of ourselves just as you would love and respect another person.

I invite you now in order to begin to take back your power...make a list of ten things that you would like to do and haven't done in a while because should has dominated. Sometimes just knowing what it is that you want is a difficult task in itself. I know after years of should-lead behaviour, I found it really hard to even know what I wanted!

I ask you to be bold and brave with your list, outrageous even and don't take too much time, write it as quickly as possible, ten things - done! These things will show you what your heart really desires. I now invite you to choose one and incorporate it in some form into your day today, or week ahead. See how it makes you feel. Do not under any circumstances let SHOULD bully you out of achieving this activity. When you have done, celebrate the small victory and give yourself a high five! Now pick another one. Like I mentioned in a previous blog, it's only one step at a time that is required and SHOULD will lose its power over you. 

Tell should to should-off! ;)

Lots of love to you,

Catriona xxxx

 

 

 

 

I invite you if you have read this far, because it must have resonated with you...make a list of things that you would like to do and haven't done in a while. Be bold and brave. These things will show you what your heart really desires. I now invite you to choose one and make it a part of your day today, or week ahead. See how it makes you feel. Do not under any circumstances let SHOULD bully you out of achieving this activity. When you have done, celebrate the small victory and give yourself a high five! Now pick another one. Like I mentioned in a previous blog, it's only one step at a time that is required and SHOULD will be no more!

 

 

One step at a time

One step at a time

Well, 12 months in and Finding Your Feet has come of age! A dream come true that is evolving and growing every day as I too change and recover my sense of self and my true identity. It has been fun, challenging, and also a bit scary uncovering what lies beneath. What a daunting idea, yet oh so liberating! 

When you have a dream, sometimes working out how to get there can seem so daunting and clouded with fear. I liken it to walking in the fog. When the path ahead is often only visible for a short distance, it is difficult to see where the path is leading. There is a need to slow down and carefully take one step at a time. As you move forward more of the path is revealed. The message here is that all you need to be focused upon is your next step. Some steps are easy, others may need a leap of faith. With a little patience and perseverance all will be revealed in time. 

As a little person, I loved to dream, to sing and pick flowers as I meandered home from school each day. My imagination firing with different dramatic scenarios. I loved dancing to one of my parents' records of The Chieftains, the gaelic music spoke to my Celtic heart and soul and took me away to another land. I danced, I became light on my feet, I was swept away. I also loved to paint and fill the page with colour. Not only did I fill the page with colourful drawings, I remember rampantly filling pages with creative writing in primary school and I always wrote a diary. Life was colourful with endless possibilities. 

Then, for some reason, as I grew up, my creative inspiration became shaped by what was expected of me for my age. I was shaped by society and that little creative spirit was pushed aside ever so stealthily, completely without intention. I did however still maintain some sense of creativity through my choice of clothing (although I suspect that was my middle child syndrome wanting to be different!). It seemed to be my one rebellion. My creative energy was still alive, but seemingly less part of my daily existence. 

Growing up is a funny thing. It makes me feel sad to think of all that latent creative energy sitting on the sidelines in favour of academic growth and learning, professional life and being a good citizen. Don't get me wrong, I was nurtured and loved and supported in whatever I chose to pursue but I did become a bit closed off to that lovely freedom of my inner world. Why are simple pleasures often perceived as idle activities? I see my children now, their minds are amazingly engaged in creative and imaginary play, from one character to the next, from one world to the next. Ordinary objects become infused with super powers or can be used for anything their game requires. Art is colourful and wild and free. Why is this not harnessed and nurtured? This expression of a child's heart and soul is beautiful and raw. It flows so freely from them and is not hindered by the thought or judgements of others. Such a special and inspirational place to be. 

I have been doing a lot of exploring lately of the things that light me up and fill my heart with joy. All too often the needs of others override the urges of my inner child, beckoning me to sew, sing, create, laugh, play and live life. These things are slowly making a come back into my every day. I have made a conscious choice to be more true to my inner nudges. I have made a list of all the things I wish I did more of, and have begun slowly to introduce them into my life. I am hoping that in time, these will be as normal to my every day as my morning coffee. Ah, my morning coffee. Another delight for my senses. 

One of the passions I intend to reignite is music. Music for me is soul food. It lights me up and fills my whole being with goodness. When I sing I am lifted to a higher place. I love to sing. Yet have always felt shy to sing in public. This has always brought with it a nagging sense of cognitive dissonance for me, because on the one hand, I love to sing and want to be free, but on the other hand the fear of being heard is petrifying. It feels wrong to deny my inner child this love of music. I am rectifying this now, I am having singing lessons and although I tend towards folk I am experimenting with jazz, funk, classical and pop. It's fun! My brother has asked me to join him in his band - a very terrifying prospect but also quite exciting! Watch this space - I'm not quite at that level of bravery - yet! My Mum and Grandmother always said "if you don't use your gifts they will be taken away". I don't want to lose my voice. So I now choose to be brave and sing! 

I also love the idea of painting. I have taken a variety of art classes over the years and would love to try again in water colour or oil paints. I love the muted shades of winter; blue, green and grey that has lately been peppered with a brilliantly yellow spray of golden wattle. The You Yangs inspire me every day. The water does too. I am drawn to the ocean. I am always in awe of natural beauty and how even seeing the same landscape or seascape over and over, it still takes my breath away with its ever changing colour, light and opportunity to marvel and enjoy. My heart feels very alive when I am in touch with nature. 

So how does all this talk of creativity relate to Finding Your Feet? Taking a leap of faith to follow my heart into reflexology has had unexpected results to my entire being. I have not only become a successful heart based business owner and entrepreneur, but I have unleashed my creative wellspring and realise there are endless opportunities awaiting me. I am excited to see where the next 12 months lead. My heart fills with gratitude when I think of all the wonderful support, love and encouragement I have received over this past year. 

Thank you all from the bottom of my heart for being part of Finding Your Feet and all that it represents.  It is so much more than reflexology and I feel extremely privileged to have shared your healing adventures and supported you on your way to greatness.

If you're in transition at the moment, feeling like there might be something out there for you but you're not sure what it might be? I urge you to take a few deep breaths, think of something or a memory that never fails to make you happy. This is your heart space. Feel how good this feels and take a few more deep breaths. When you're in this space of inner peace, you will hear a small voice. Listen. This voice will feel knowing and familiar. This is where the magic happens. You can even ask a question of yourself, and set an intention, I would like to know.....and see what comes up. You will be surprised at what will happen if you follow your nudges. Remember to stay in your heart and not in your mind. Once you start thinking, you have left your heart space. My philosophy at Finding Your Feet is to help you tune in to your body, mind and soul and really hear what your body needs to heal not just at a physical level but at your very core. Magical things happen in my clinic! 

So I shall close with a personal challenge to you all. Enter your heart space, listen and then answer these questions. If you could choose one activity that you have always wanted to do, what would it be? What is stopping you and how can you bring it into your every day life? All it takes to find your feet is one small step at a time. 

Lots of love to you all.

Catriona xxxxx

 

Winter warming, rest, and rejuvenation, allowing and accepting

Winter warming, rest, and rejuvenation, allowing and accepting

"We humans have lost the wisdom of genuinely resting and relaxing. We worry too much. We don't allow our bodies to heal, and we don't allow our minds and hearts to heal."     Thich Nhat Hanh

Winter is cold. It is time to put on our old faithful warm woollies and coats, beanies and scarves or just snuggle up in front of a crackling fire or heater.

Although it can be a time that gives many people grief, as in colds, flu, aches and pains that seem to circulate endlessly from one person to the next (if you have day care, kinder or school kids especially).... there is also a sense of allowance and acceptance that comes when the sun hides behind stormy clouds and the temperature drops to an icy low. 

Our bodies crave rest and rejuvenation. Yet how often in this busy life do we actually allow and accept that this is important and paramount to our health and wellbeing? 

Let winter be your guide. Allow the season to slow you down. Winter is a time for rest and for your body to heal. As is often the case at this time of year, you may have sinus trouble, coughs, perhaps seasonal mood changes that leave you feeling less than your usual chirpy self. If during these times you allow the body to rest and return to a state of calm and relaxation, it will heal faster and give you the rejuvenation your body craves so deeply. It is also true that if you ignore the body during these times of stress, it will react more strongly and chronic illness will set in. It is so important to listen to your body while it whispers to you with sniffles rather than wait until it screams at you with sinusitis, or other more serious concerns of pneumonia or chronic pain and stiffness. 

So my tips for allowing and accepting this winter? 

1. NOURISH your body

Do something that makes you feel warm on in the inside. Drink a hot cup of nourishing tea, soup or hot chocolate and feel its warmth slowly seep into your bones as you drink in its goodness. Cook up a nourishing slow cooked casserole, curry or stew and soak it up with crusty bread, rice or mashed potato. Be mindful that the body craves more food during this time, so fill it with goodness as much as possible...easier said than done on some days. Be kind to yourself. 

2.  WARM your body especially your FEET!

Put on a pair of warm socks. Keeping your feet warm will allow your whole body to be warm, no one likes cold toes! Better still get a heat pack and place it on your feet at night when you go to bed. If you have poor circulation, you will feel the cold more during winter. Reflexology is a wonderful remedy for poor circulation so perhaps it's time to schedule a visit?  

3. RESTFUL sleep  

Allow the body to rest and rejuvenate by ensuring you get a good night's rest. Aim to get to bed early and turn off your mobile phone half an hour before you close your eyes - blue light actually inhibits the production of melatonin which is the hormone that allows restful sleep. Wear an eye mask to block out excess light. Eating a handful of almonds before bed will help increase the production of melatonin too, plus it's a healthy evening snack. Also, if you haven't done so already, I encourage you to sign up for my newsletter and get a copy of my home guide "Reflexology for more restful sleep" or email me and I will send you one (catriona@findingyourfeet.com.au). 

4. BE GENTLY active

Don't stop all activity just because it's cold, rather, rug up and take a gentle stroll in your favourite place or attend a restorative yoga class that allows your body to unwind more quietly. Gentle exercise is encouraged to support the Yin energy of the season. You want to recharge your batteries in winter so that you can bounce into Spring. If the sun does shine - embrace the day! Like today, the photo of me above is at the You Yangs today. We made hay while the sun shone and had a BBQ at the Big Rock picnic ground. What an amazing place. Plenty of soul food and restorative opportunities in this one spiritual place. A gentle walk, a chance to rest and watch the clouds, and close my eyes and envision my greatest desires. Perfect!

5. RELAX - Reflexology could help with this ;) 

Do something that allows your body to relax and activate your parasympathetic nervous system. By activating your parasympathetic nervous system you are giving your body permission to rest, digest and heal. So for example, meditation, deep breathing, a massage, REFLEXOLOGY (!), reading a book with your feet up on the couch with a glass of red wine! ....anything that helps you feel good and happy. 

6. BE KIND to yourself and others

Go easy on your negative inside chatter! Accept that winter is cold. Accept that winter sometimes means you can't get out and have a picnic in the park, accept that winter means your kids will get sick. Accept that you might not get everything done. Allow yourself some time to just "be". Allow your mind and heart to heal. Allow your body to rest. Be kind to yourself and know that if you don't feel like doing something because you feel tired, listen and rest. You will do a much better job once you have more energy. 

The Winter Solstice is just around the corner too. It marks the shortest day of the year while at the same time allowing the days that follow to increase in length until we come upon Spring time and sunshine once again. It is a time to be mindful of our intentions and our beliefs. The energy one week either side of the solstice is powerful and can supercharge your intentions so it's a time to reflect on your deepest desires and activate your visionary meditations. 

So what are you waiting for?! Time to reflect, be mindful and "be" more, do less. 

Come and see me for a treatment during this potent time for setting intentions and see the magic unfold in your life! 

Lots of love and dreaming to you. 

Catriona xxxxx 

A Decorator Crab's Art of Disappearing

A Decorator Crab's Art of Disappearing

This is dedicated to my good friend Lou who long ago showed me how important it is to live your dreams no matter what. She removed her mask many moons ago and is living a fabulously real and powerfully authentic and influential life....I told you I had a blog in mind for this little decorator crab!! Lots of love and gratitude to you xxx

On a beautiful sunny morning a few weeks ago now, I met my good friend Lou for a play on the beach with our two sons. It was one of those glorious days where the water sparkles and the sea breeze is refreshingly light. We were the only people on the secluded rugged back beach. 

Our little men were splashing in the shallows as the waves washed in an out over rock pools. They were running around chasing each other and playing tug of war with sea weed. Fun. Then out of the corner of my eye I saw some seaweed moving. It caught my eye because this small piece of seaweed was on the sand far from the lapping water yet, it was moving!? I was certain I saw it move? 

..so I took a closer look.. and it was in fact a walking piece of seaweed! You know the type that grows legs? Ha, ha just kidding (terrible joke) it was a Decorator crab. I called the boys over and we watched fascinated by its ability to completely disappear beneath its chosen adornment. 

It lead me to thinking, (I'm a ponderer)... in nature, disguises and camouflage are an effective and necessary means to protect an animal from being eaten, very clever and very safe. To blend in with surroundings is an art form and a method to ensure your genes are passed on to the next generation... however in humans (in most cases) the opposite is true. If we hide away or disappear our true nature or never 'show up' as our authentic selves, it's a real shame because we are never truly seen (even by those close to us...ponder that). Our given talents and desires are left unrealised when we choose to blend in with the masses for fear of 'outing' what really makes our hearts burst with happiness. 

How many of us are like this Decorator crab? It has a unique yet ingenious disguise. It is very difficult to distinguish it from a small piece of seaweed that has washed ashore. Yet, if you watch it closely, it pays a heavy price to be hidden from birds of prey and other predators. Every time it gets knocked over by a wave on the shore, its burden of seaweed is heavy and cumbersome. The weight on its back impedes its ability to turn back over, leaving its belly exposed and vulnerable. 

The Cambridge University Press online dictionary states that camouflage means (among a range of definitions): 

"something that is meant to hide something, or behaviour that is intended to hide the truth"

In the crab's case, by covering its back in seaweed it hides its vulnerability from predators. It's camouflage therefore serving a very useful purpose to keep the crab from being eaten! 

In our case however, by not revealing our truth we are in fact disappearing behind a false facade. Unless our lives are threatened, how can that be in our best interest? The antonym of camouflage? Authentic! The definition being:

"if something is authentic, it is real, true, or what people say it is..." 

Enough said? 

Being authentic and true can be a big leap for some people, it was for me. But and there is a but... I find being myself so much easier! I thought it would be harder. But now I can see that when I am me, I allow others to be themselves too and a wonderful thing happens. People start being real. Conversations become less about the weather and more honest and interesting. 

Life is more fun because quite frankly I take it far less seriously! 

Have you recently had a moment where you realised life is too short to be donning a different mask for different occasions?

Thank you little decorator crab for showing me just how hard we make life for ourselves. Your disguise was magnificent, but I was more impressed with what was underneath! 

 

 

Part 2: my feet told me all along....

Part 2: my feet told me all along....

....If you haven't read "Part 1: Chronic illness and returning to the spunky 5 year old" - please have a look as it sets the scene for the content of this blog... 

This is the story of how my feet have been a guide for me all along, however I have only just begun to notice and use their wisdom for my greater good.....

Did you know that your feet are actually a window into your soul? Your feet say so much about you as a person? Have a look at the soles of your feet...observe the colour, the shape, your arches, your toes: are they straight? do they bend? are they flat at the ends?, what about the texture and fee: are they smooth, rough, warm or cold? Do you have calluses? Is one foot bigger than the other? Are any parts of your feet sensitive or sore?  

Not so long ago, my feet reflected my emotional inexpression and suffering. I had large yellow calluses on the balls of my feet and my heels. The balls of the feet reflect the heart/lung/chest reflexes. The heels reflect the pelvis and lower back reflexes which mirror our sense of stability or belonging. The colour yellow signifies being irritated from holding on to resentment or unexpressed anger. Calluses are the body’s way of forming a layer of protection. Metaphysically speaking this hardened skin was in fact protecting my heart from feeling too deeply (I have always been a very sensitive soul) in case I was hurt or speaking my truth hurt others. These reflexes were also tender and congested. The congestion which to a reflexologist feels crunchy or bubbly represented all the unshed tears and emotions I was holding close to my chest. Physically my body was tight, my chest was hunched and my posture reflected my inner desire to shrink away and not be seen. I also had tight shoulders particularly my left side. This was reflected in large calluses on the outside edge of my little toes as well as the outside edge of the ball of my feet just below the little toe. It is no surprise that these areas reflect the shoulder reflexes and that I was shouldering the burden and weight of expectation. I am a closet perfectionist. I hold myself to unreasonable standards that I would never expect of others. In metaphysical terms, MS is actually a result of pushing too hard, not being able to communicate my needs (nerves carry messages to and from the brain) and feeling overwhelmed. Sound familiar? 

As I began to express myself with art, music, returning to nature as much as possible and by deciding to study reflexology, amazing things began to happen. During my reflexology treatments in class.. I and my fellow students noticed that the calluses began to shrink! I still have work to do and some calluses remain, but it is no longer a mystery why these calluses are there, and I am slowly peeling away the layers and any barriers that have been holding me back from fear or lack of self belief. I still walk in bare feet and haven't changed my shoes, so it's not because of footwear that these calluses have appeared or disappeared. Change has occurred because I have begun to own my truth and live in line with what I believe. In response, people are now mirroring me and showing me that my voice is important. I seek to model for you that owning your own truth can set you free. 

I am now much better at listening to MY intuition rather than the opinions of others and I am much more at peace. Do you know what else? My arches have begun to rise! I thought I would always have flat feet. Yet, now I feel more supported by life standing in my truth. When we feel unsupported, our arches begin to flatten by the weight of the world pushing us down. I am returning to my sassy 5 year old self and owning her unselfconscious way with a slightly wiser more compassionate head on my shoulders. I am dancing to the beat of my own drum and walking my own path. I am living authentically and my heart is singing more and more each day. I am embracing joy more often and am grateful for the smallest things in my life. My chest is open and my posture is too. I feel taller! I am more healthy now in spite of a medical diagnosis of MS than I have ever been. Sounds crazy but it's true!  

I know I have a long road ahead of me, but suddenly it seems less daunting.  All physical pain and disease (disease is dis-ease of the body and soul) is a manifestation of our soul’s need to be heard and find the deeper truth. My soul was crying out for self compassion and acknowledgement of the healer within me to heal myself and to share it with others. I invite you to look within.  What physical niggle keeps recurring for you? Look at your feet. If you are brave enough or curious enough to seek an answer, amazing things can and will happen! 

I chose the picture above because it is a training photo for Oxfam Trailwalker where my team mates and I all walked 100km in 29 hours straight last April to raise money for Oxfam projects worldwide. I think the name of the town in the background and message on the seat beside me is quite appropriate for the tone of this blog...Before we launch ourselves and spread our wings we must "Rest a while"  to take time out and listen to our inner yearnings...they are wise and will not lead us astray...once we have noticed them and believe in them... then we can truly soar. 

My mission is all about sharing and shining a light on how chronic illness need not be a life sentence, pain does not have to hold you back and hope and liberation lives in your heart if you choose to pay attention. What's your deeper truth? Find your feet with me! I'm only a phone call away....

Until then, love the feet you walk on! 

Lots of love and thank you for allowing me to share my deeper truth with you. 

xxxxxx

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Part 1: chronic illness and returning to that spunky little girl...

Part 1: chronic illness and returning to that spunky little girl...

The only person we are destined to become is the person we decide to be Ralph Waldo Emerson

It occurred to me recently that I haven’t been completely transparent with you. I have been sharing lots of insights into being calm, more mindful and grateful yet haven't shared that I haven't always known how to live this way. The truth is, up until relatively recently, I have struggled to find my own feet in life. Through sharing today, I aim to shine light on how living with a chronic illness has helped me to overcome many of my limiting beliefs and in so doing helped me discover the deeper truth...

As a little girl (the picture is of me on my first day of prep - check out my swagger!), I was a dreamer (still am) and I lived in my imagination, I loved to paint, sing and pick flowers. I was also head strong and although cheeky, in a loveable way, I have been told I pushed my Mum’s buttons…much like my 6 year old daughter does for me now (history repeating or karma?!). I knew what I wanted and I wouldn’t back down if I didn’t get my way... Picture a little girl stomping her foot down in protest!

Then things changed….

I started school. I became quiet, shy and a lot less feisty (though I know this little soul lived on waiting to be rediscovered). Society had started to mould me. I learnt it was not appropriate to assert myself ahead of others' needs and so I began to disappear myself, my needs and my voice. Fast forward to secondary school. I continued to day dream. I was well liked, sporty and musical and therefore fitted in to my private school. Yet, in spite of all the evidence to the contrary and my many blessings and opportunities, deep down I never felt like I truly belonged and never really felt 'enough'. My inner critic was taking a leading role at this point. 

I always aspired to be and do 'something different' and wanted to help people. Yet, in spite of this need to set myself apart, my lack of clarity and self belief was amplified every time I had to make a decision. I looked to others to make my decisions for me and confirm my path. This ultimately lead me further away from my true self. How can anyone else know what I really want? Yet, I gave my power away. This is where my intuition took a long holiday and I became a reflection of what others thought was 'good' for me. Can you see how easily this happens? Don't get me wrong. I have had amazing opportunities in my life and lived well, but it has not been until relatively recently that I have really begun to own my life. To take full responsibility for my successes and failures. To stop blaming and judging.

This pattern of not trusting my gut instinct occurred over and over. I travelled the world to 'find myself' only to return home with more questions and wanting to escape again. How many of us have done that? I studied multiple degrees, worked as a consultant in the corporate scene, contributed to the community, yet still felt no closer to finding me or feeling 'enough'.

I did find fulfilment when I first became a mother. I felt proud and knew I was good at it. Yet, even though I love my children deeply and completely, even this was not enough. My heart (and soul) was still yearning for something else, but I still had no idea what that was….arghghghhhh! 

My physical body was tired and sore and I was suffering from mild post natal depression after the birth of my son (my second child). I was struggling. He decided to wean himself a week short of his first birthday and I was devastated. It felt like rejection. Early parenting was and still is hard. I had lost me completely in the fog of sleepless nights and what seemed sometimes like 'Groundhog Day'- life.

I was NUMB...............................Enter life changing illness...........

Along came MS (Multiple Sclerosis). It showed itself in the form of numbness in my tongue. This mystery lack of sensation hung around. It spread to my face and later my whole left side. The numbness I felt in my heart had found its way into my nerves and played out as physical dis-ease and 'spots' on my brain. Is it a coincidence that it first showed itself in my tongue, when I had always found it hard to express myself?! I don't think so. Furthermore, it expressed itself on my left side. This side of the body that reflects the feminine aspects of the personality and our emotions. My heart was crying out to be acknowledged, yet, I could not or would not see. 

This was the beginning of a tumultuous time of not knowing and “what if's”…? The time between investigation and a diagnosis was so precarious. It was a rollercoaster of hope, fear and trepidation of what might be or could happen. It was a playground for the imagination of the worst kind. There were days when I allowed myself to cry, and it was like a flood gate had opened. I cried a torrent of tears. I wept for the future, grieving for what might happen to my body and for what might become of my ability to love and parent my children and love my husband. 

It was this process of not knowing, that was in fact most humbling and in its frankness enlightening. An actual diagnosis took 2 and a half years. In that time, after much reading and researching current scientific breakthroughs, I finally realised that the most profound answers could be found within. All my life I had been seeking validation from sources outside me that would never satisfy my inner yearning for me to love me, just the way I am. 

I made major lifestyle changes including becoming a vegan. I never thought I could ever enjoy a soy flat white, but I actually prefer soy now! I had to laugh when I exclaimed in delight to my neurologist that my taste buds had changed - as if he had no idea about the way the brain worked!!  I began to meditate to calm my nerves and busy mind. I sought relaxation and looked after my body with treatment through reflexology, massage, yoga and of course nutrition.  I began to listen and rediscover what made me happy. Looking to others all the time, I had lost the ability to feel into what actually made me happy. I always sought to please others but what made me happy?! Arghghgh? I had no clue and felt so boring.... still so hard on myself! 

Sitting with my busy overactive mind to meditate seemed like torture at first, would it ever slow down to rest? 3 minutes seemed like an hour! Slowly though I began to notice small shifts. I began to feel more comfortable in my own presence and I was able to observe and not react to my thoughts. Major breakthrough! I began to hear my gentle inner voice, my intuition and heart speaking. I noticed how I yearned for the beach, to create art and to use my voice to sing. I also noticed my heart nudging me to see that my gift was helping people with my hands. I have always been fascinated by reflexology, so I trusted this nudge and enrolled in a reflexology course. This my friend, is what brought me to you! I wasn't afraid any more when I heard the words - "you have MS". You see, I had already begun my own healing and my heart was beginning to open!

By acknowledging my relationship with chronic illness I seek to empower you to see that illness does not have to take your power away. I am not a victim, quite the contrary, the last thing I want is pity. I realise though by not openly acknowledging the presence of MS in my life, I am not owning it and taking responsibility for its message. Now I allow it to be present without judgement or desire to fight it - rather - by noticing what it is teaching me (to let go) I can heal at soul level and soon it will have no purpose being present in my body anymore. Can you see how this can be possible? This is my intention as a reflexologist. By treating the physical symptoms and encouraging exploration of the deeper truth behind aches and pains, we can heal ourselves from the inside out. It is so empowering!

It sounds so clichéd but MS has given me permission to reveal my true self and show up without apology. 

You see, now I am much more free and liberated from so many of my old beliefs and patterns, all because I needed to stop and listen to my body. I rest when I'm tired. I nurture my body when it aches or I have been pushing too hard. I no longer take on more than is realistic. I say no (still a work in progress, but I'm getting quite good at it!). Spunky 5 year old Catriona is making a comeback!! 

Did you know that you can discover a lot about you from the soles of your feet (texture, colour, shape, size, where they are tender.... curious?)? There is a whole other side to this story that I will share in my next instalment. I can't wait to share it with you.....

 Stay tuned for Part 2: The feet are a window to our souls....

For now, I am honoured that you have read all the way to the bottom, thank you for indulging me.

Until my next post, love the feet you walk on...

Lots of love

Catriona xxxxx

 

 

 

 

Happy New Beginnings!

Happy New Beginnings!

Hello hello hello, 

Happy new year! Are you as excited as I am to welcome this new year? 

There's something about welcoming in a new year that feels so hopeful, fresh, unchartered...I feel inspired and ready to embrace all that comes my way. A new year feels to me like a refreshing deep breath into my lungs and the softening that comes with the corresponding deep sigh out....My mood is lighter, less inhibited, less tense...

New beginnings. 

How has your 2017 been so far? Did you celebrate new year? Do you have rituals or family time? We saw the new year in at the Geelong waterfront with the early fire works at a more child friendly hour of 9.30pm. The fireworks were lovely in the balmy night, reflecting on the water so beautifully. I love fireworks. I love watching the fireworks with good company, a glass of bubbles and my children and their friends gleefully running around with sparklers and glow bracelets. It's communal and intimate at the same time. Every second year we go to Adelaide for my husband's family Christmas. New Year is spent in almost exactly the same way on the beach swimming until dark, in our bathers with sparklers watching the early fireworks with good friends! Priceless. 

New Year's Eve was a special celebration in our household growing up. Mum and Dad would have their friends and our grandparents for a party. We would be sent to bed early and they would wake us at around 11.30pm to come and welcome the new year in. True to our Scottish heritage (I was a MacLean before I married) and steeped in tradition, a dark haired person must bring burning peat into the house. My grandmother had brought some home from Scotland once (not sure that would be allowed now?!)....My brother has dark hair and so in Scottish tradition for luck I assume, he was given the duty of carrying some burning peat into the house accompanied by my grandfather on the bag pipes. I assume it is to clear away any bad energy. We would all then link arms cheerfully and sing Auld Langs Ein. We gave thanks for the old year and welcomed in the new one.  I am so grateful for this sense of tradition and community that my family created which at the time seemed so normal for our family, yet on reflection was quite magnificent.

We are creating a new tradition now with fireworks and friends, but there is still a strong bond of togetherness and wonderment that is a common thread in both these tales of celebration.  I love how the kids bring a new sense of awe that allows us to be more playful and free.  These kinds of family celebrations have become some of my most memorable moments (don't get me wrong, I had some pretty fun New Year's Eve celebrations pre kids!). Perhaps I'm growing up, and perhaps I'm getting older, but I am really loving this time and place. 

I am already grateful for so much in the short time that we have shared in 2017.

I am loving that Summer really brings us together as a family in a more playful way. It has been an old school Summer weather wise allowing us to embrace beach going whenever possible and feel very sun kissed and rejuvenated by the crisp ocean waves.  In fact there is a running theme here. My summers are returning to how they were as a child, except, now I'm the parent slathering sunscreen onto my squirming kids who just want to run into the water!! I have realised as I type this that not much changes in life and yet everything does. The scenes are the same, the characters just move into their next role as they grow up and move on.

Thank you for reading this blog. I am really enjoying just typing as I think. I never really know where they will take me, so I appreciate you being with me as I allow my stream of consciousness to take us on an adventure of memories, moments and musings. 

Oh!! I was about to sign off, but I forgot to share my latest and most exciting new beginning! I need to introduce you to our newest member of our family.  Meet Licorice our kitten. Her photo is attached above.  We brought her home from the animal shelter a few days ago and we love her! She is playful, cuddly, super cute and a perfect fit for our family. Thank you Geelong Animal Welfare Shelter for looking after her so well and allowing us to adopt her.

Given my kids are blond and Andrew and I have brown hair, perhaps Licorice can be the family member responsible for carrying in the peat next year?! Hee. 

On that note, I think I will go and give her a snuggle.

Lots of love to you and hope you're feeling refreshed and ready to embrace your new beginnings.

xxxxx

A time for reflection....

A time for reflection....

Well, it's been a while since my last post...and as the year draws nearer to a close I feel a need to reflect...

I always feel nostalgic at this time of year, the first hint of a Christmas carol,  particularly when I am lulled by the dulcet tones of Bing Crosby during my grocery shop and then woken by the piercing high notes of Mariah Carey 'sodelling' out another of her Christmas tributes ...ah yes, and that feeling that everyone steps up a notch in the rushing around stakes. It is inevitable as soon as the calendar flips over to December 1. Am I right? 

We're bombarded by Christmas breakups, dinners, catch ups, and in my case, the bittersweet realisation that school is finishing and my daughter is about to graduate from prep (sigh- where has the time gone?!). We may be planning our Christmas menu, or getting organised with presents and thinking about how things will unfold with excitement or trepidation, however that may be for you. It can be completely preoccupying, and stressful.... So, for those that fall into this category...

NOW is the time to push pause, especially if you're taking some time to read this (thank you). Where are your shoulders sitting right now? Are they up around your ears? Check in. Give them a gentle roll and pull them down to their natural position. Ah that's better. Take a big deep breath and sigh it out -audibly- so that you can let go of any pressure that has built up. I just did that now and already feel a sense of release.  Now, smile. Go on, smile. I can feel your grin! Even pretending to smile can make you feel less 'Scrooge' like and more like the benevolent soul that we all know you are. This season is after all a time for sharing and giving to others and spreading joy and love. Being kind. A message my husband and I feel is most important to instil in our children.

In saying that, Christmas for me now is lived vicariously through my children and in their delight and awe at the magic that this time brings to little people. We have just put up our Christmas tree, bought from a seller within walking distance from our house, carefully selected by our daughter. We carried this lovely tree home on the back of our pram...A novel and comical experience for me yet, slightly frustrating for my husband!  It now adorns our living space in all its decorated splendour along with its delicious pine scent...now that is nostalgic!

I loved decorating our tree as a child, it brought me so much joy and excitement as our family came together to help. It was a ritual that started Christmas in our house and symbolised all that was to come. Our tree now, as it was in my childhood, is laden with a beautiful collection of home made trinkets that pay homage to past kinder or kitchen table projects. It's not a style conscious tree, but it's decorated with love and home made goodness. It represents us. What more could you want?! 

I'm yet to bake our Christmas treats, but there's still time. I guess that's what my message is today - that choosing to focus on 'being' while 'doing' and actually experiencing the small moments that bring us joy can change our whole perspective. Try and remember that this is a time of love and of reaching out to those that need us. It can be a distressing time for some people, so perhaps when you feel your shoulders start to rise, be grateful for your blessings and donate something to charity or visit an elderly neighbour. You will gain just as much from being generous with your time as the joy you spread will fill your heart too. 

I intend to be mindful this Christmas of all the wonderful blessings in my life and be consciously grateful. Next time I feel an urge to grumble, I intend to reframe my thinking and practice gratitude for all that I have. Just typing this now, makes me feel better! 

I would also like to take this opportunity to thank all of you who have read my blogs, supported my business and helped me to grow in this new (ad)venture into reflexology. It has been such an affirming experience to build a heart centred practice in healing and wellbeing and meet all the beautiful souls (and soles) that have sought my treatment. I am excited to share that this is only the beginning - there's so much more to come - so watch this space for the evolution of Finding Your Feet, but for now, I am grateful for the very fact that I have found my feet and I am here. If you love my work, please - I would be especially grateful if you spread the word! :)

Wishing you peace, joy and abundance this Christmas and holiday period and a healthy and happy 2017. May you be calm, centred and balanced. If you need some help to get to that place, you know where I am, just give me a call. 

Much love to you.

Catriona xxx

PS: I have gift vouchers available so if you are stuck for a gift idea, why not give someone you love a reflexology treatment and help them to float into the new year with bliss and balance? Just visit the tab that says vouchers on the webpage and a voucher will be emailed to you instantly. Easy! :)