About Joanna Butler

Joanna helps people achieve their dreams and create a rich life in every way. Click here now to schedule a chat with me and find out how I can help you.

Turn mistakes into love

 

Yesterday on the mat these words just kept echoing over and over again.

Turn mistakes into love.

For the last month or two I’ve begun a new type of spiritual yoga practice. I’ve basically been answering my own calling to go deeper into philosophies, to find my own spiritual practice that grounds me and helps me begin my days with a learning and curiosity-type of approach to life.

One of the books I keep coming back to over and over again is called The Yamas & Niyamas* and it’s by Deborah Adele.

At the back of the book she gives a brief comparison of how, here in the west, we are used to seeing mistakes as BAD. Whereas in the east, especially in the ancient philosophies, mistakes are seen as LIVING.

That got me thinking about how I used to be crippled with perfectionism, especially during my teens and twenties. I’m still going deeper in undoing the beliefs that supported those behaviours. Lately I’ve been wanting to take action and get to a place where I am worrying EVEN LESS about what the outcome is. Let go of needing reassurance that it’ll work.

Instead, like what I’m aiming for in my physical yoga practice, I want to take action but be curious about how things ACTUALLY pan out.

Life has this way of teaching us as we go along. We’re really not here to accumulate things.

I think one of the best gifts we can give ourselves and each other is the ability to see a mistake as an opportunity. Turn it into ‘love’. Perhaps that means forgiving yourself or another person. Maybe that means honouring your disappointment and nurturing yourself to try again. Maybe it means seeing how it’s time to try something different. Maybe it’s simply time to let it go, whatever it is.

Your heart knows. 💓

Mistakes mean you’re trying. They mean you’re living! They are unavoidable. But what IS avoidable is an attitude towards them which can bring you down or keep you trapped. That is optional!

*This is an affiliate link to Amazon, which means I may receive a tiny amount of commission if you make a purchase through this link. You’re welcome to find the book via this non-affiliate link here: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Yamas-Niyamas-Exploring-Ethical-Practice/dp/0974470643/

On suits and hippies

On suits and hippies

 

Working for yourself is such a fascinating journey. Personal development is catapulted forward – it becomes essential to help you get out of your own way.
 
While that’s not always easy – some fears and blocks can be TOUGH to see – it comes with such incredible rewards that I am forever grateful I took the ‘road less travelled’.
 
I’m currently doing a bit of copywriting (an icky cold bug that I have right now has actually helped me get in the zone which is surprising!) and reflecting on how I have written about myself and my work in the past and which photos I have chosen.
 
I am a mindset editorSO many people adore the photo that I’ve posted before of me in a white/cream suit jacket. Most have said it’s their favourite shot of me from the whole photo shoot! I must admit I love it too, except, I couldn’t quite put my finger on why I didn’t quite feel same about it being the best choice to represent me and my work today. I know we always have a different view of ourselves than others do, but that wasn’t quite it…
 
The suit photo is amazing (truly blown away by Caroline White’s photography talents!) and I’m sure I’ll use it for what it was intended for some day (as a professional biography photo), but the act of wearing a suit feels a little odd to me and not natural. I suppose, in my eyes, it reminds me of the ways I actually lost my connection with myself because of the fact it doesn’t feel natural to me and is quite a corporate look versus who I am day-to-day (getting dangerously close to being a hippie!).
 
To illustrate what I mean: when I was lost… I had just read the book called “Yes Man” (Danny Wallace) which describes how wonderful life can be when you say ‘yes’ to every opportunity. It was a leaving gift from my last job and wow it took me on a ride…
 
Rather than being an experiment in surrendering to what life had in store for me, I followed a path of ‘shoulds’ and other people’s recommendations for me, sure that I would be taken on an amazing journey and nothing could go wrong.
 
Let me tell you that opening up to opportunities and surrendering is a beautiful thing… but when you STOP listening to your OWN intuition and checking in to see if those opportunities are actually things that feel good to you, that’s when life gets ALL KINDS of crazy!
 
I am an introvert that likes connecting deeply and meaningfully in small groups or 1-to-1…. Yet I did conferences and public speaking on a GRAND scale (ended up speaking at an international conference in front of peers and colleagues at the Excel Centre in London… gulp!) This did NOT give me the connection that I craved. I definitely did not thrive on stage nor in big crowds. Sadly, on the other hand, I had very few close friends with whom I could connect with and spent most of my spare time alone, yet amongst thousands of strangers. Such a paradox, but sadly it seems to be a common one for people these days.
 
Nature has always been my church and yet I moved to the centre (Zone 1) of London (11,760 people per square mile!), sure that this is how I would improve my life. Instead, I struggled to sleep because instead of the gentle sounds of birds or trees rustling outside the window I would hear brakes screeching on the buses going past that sounded like someone was dying… all through the night.
 
I’m naturally very spiritual and yet I felt like I broke my own spirit by driving myself so hard in work, working all hours in my job and side projects. I made no room for spirituality, only science, analytics and tech. All hobbies were actually career-based side projects, not an opportunity to switch off either. While I adored this type of work and still do in many ways, the softer, more ‘feminine’ and creative parts of my personality and the emotional parts of it were suppressed, only to come back into action at night when my dreams of how my life should have been would haunt me and remind me of how far I’d got it wrong.
 
The result? Crippling panic attacks on every commute, energy mysteriously fading away, hair loss, and paralysing loneliness to name a few. My lifestyle was horrendous: poor nutrition, insomnia, sporadic yet brutal exercise, no creativity, no true moments to be myself and BREATHE. My internal dialogue was probably the worst of it all: full of self judgment, berating myself for every little thing, totally being a slave driver to myself with NO love or compassion whatsoever.
 
The only person I had to blame was myself for not remembering who I truly was and honouring that, and especially for trying so hard to be someone I wasn’t on the outside. OF COURSE it was impossible to keep that up… something had to give eventually.
 
And it did.
 
Life had an intervention planned for me. Health would mean I had to take a diversion away from this path to self destruction. Thankfully, I chose to learn from it all and truly came back to myself.
 
I didn’t come back to the place where I began, though, I came back to a place that included all the lessons from the journey and accounted for the fact I am older, wiser and craving different things than I did when I was younger.
 
I genuinely DO enjoy wearing the jacket in the suit picture, but I wear it in a different way than in the past. Instead of wearing it because I’m needing to be formal for work and to impress others, I wear it because I want to and it feels good. It’s a big change – but it’s an internal one. Back when I was living in London I’d be wearing the ‘London uniform’ black, grey or navy, too! Now I know better and that the colours I love to wear are the ones that suit me best anyway: cream (like the jacket), warm autumnal tones and gold.
 
So, I’m going with my intuition now. The suit photo will be used how it was intended (maybe I’ll even discover a different type of speaking event that works for me and my work today and use it for that!) and I’m pulling out the photos that show a more approachable person that *I* wish I could have connected with back when things were crazy. That means a mix of beautiful and imperfect photos, some by Caroline and some questionable selfies by me! Oh, and plenty of colour and photos of my world, too…
 
Simply love how all this is evolving! What a journey it has been. It’s so nice to stop sometimes and take note of how far we’ve come and all the transformations along the way. 🌱
Lonely persons immune system

Loneliness affects your immune system and may leave you open to viral and other invaders

 

Doing some research on the PHYSICAL impacts of loneliness and I am shocked at the picture that is being formed.

The excerpt below is from an article that shows how gene expression is altered due to loneliness to affect the immune system. Wow.

Remember – loneliness is defined by the individual. That is to say that ‘solitude’ and ‘isolation’ are not the same. In fact, someone can feel the benefits of solitude in the same situation that they can feel isolated (even swinging between the two). The presence of others is not as important as the CONNECTION with others. In ALL research studies, it is the perception of the individual that counts.

“In one study, Cacioppo and Steve Cole of UCLA examined how the immune system changed over time in people who were socially isolated. They observed a change in the kinds of genes that lonely people’s immune systems were expressing. Genes overexpressed in the loneliest individuals included many involved in immune system activation and inflammation. In addition, several key gene sets were underexpressed, including those involved in antiviral responses and antibody production. The result is that a lonely person’s body has let its defenses down to viral and other invaders.

“What we see is a consistent pattern where it looks like human immune cells are programmed with a defensive strategy that gets activated in lonely people,” Cole told LiveScience.”

Read more:
https://www.livescience.com/18800-loneliness-health-problems.html

If you find yourself affected by the issue of long term loneliness and you’d like to chat, I’d love to speak with you. There is no expectation that you will work with me; I provide a listening ear and am ready to share whatever experiences of my own journey into and out of loneliness I can that may help you. Bring a cuppa and let’s chat. Book a chat now.

Stay open…

Let’s talk yoga and the energy centres of the body for a moment: chakras.

Did you know you can open and close chakras?

Did you know that it’s not only normal to close them when feeling threatened, but that you can actually get stuck and keep them closed even after a threat has passed?

ChakrasWell, the great news is that you can open them whenever you want. It might take a little help at first if you’re not used to it, but it’s possible.

It’s also possible to keep these beautiful energy centres open, like the heart, even WHILE going through challenging times.

The root chakra is a common one to close up due to the fight/flight response as it is where your deep seated fears reside can affect your feelings of security, stability and groundedness.

It doesn’t need to be that way, though.

I’m exploring how I close my first 3 chakras – root, sacral and solar plexus – when under stress. I’ve noticed it’s a habit to close them faster than lightning. While this is a natural response that we learn due to growing up in the cultures/environments most of us have experienced, it is actually MORE beneficial to keep these energy centres open.

This does NOT mean you act the fool or are constantly vulnerable. It’s the opposite.

This means you open up to allow MORE energy into those chakras, opening up to feelings of energy and stability coming in despite the challenges.

I’ve noticed I’m great at keeping my heart open constantly, perhaps thanks to my yoga practice so far, but by closing my first 3 chakras, it’s like choking myself. My upper chakras do the best they can but I become top heavy. I feel unstable, heavy, tired. The upper chakras work overtime to compensate but this can never rebalance me for long; nothing can substitute a strong foundation.

So, I’m working on allowing myself to feel stable, secure, grounded (starting with the root chakra) when I experience challenges. Energy is infinite and staying open is key. Closing is like chopping a tree at its roots: it falls and the upper branches eventually wither and die without the nutrition from the roots.

If you cannot stay open, consider working through the fears that are stopping you and causing you anxiety using a modality if your choice. Make it a deliberate effort. Naturally, I’d recommend a mindset editing session with me, but more important is that you choose the method that is calling you.

Stay open to life’s infinite energy source; only you can shut it off.

Stay open to the miracles. 🌸 They’re everywhere and waiting to be found! 💫

Please don’t shut down. The world needs you. 💓

It’s about time.

It’s about time.

How is your relationship with time?

Over the last few weeks – perhaps couple of months – I’ve felt myself crumbling.

Not in the bad way. But in the way that an ever-evolving sculpture is made; parts need to be allowed to fall to the ground so new forms can take shape.

Before those parts can break off, there might be a bit of pain. Perhaps resistance. In fact, the call to release those parts can be repeated until you finally relinquish what is no longer needed for your evolution. The metaphorical chisel might be representing an external trigger such as a life event that keeps digging into you, asking you to soften.

That life event for me has been tiredness. This is something I’ve written about before on my Facebook page. Until recently I have felt GREAT shame around this.

I should do or be more” is a thought that has circled around and around in my head.

But… why?

The problem lies with keeping my physical challenges a secret. If noone ever knows about my challenges, noone will ever know why I behave like I do, taking actions that preserve energy, or spending a little longer on self care that may not make sense to the next person who has never experienced such challenges.

I don’t need to be understood.

However, my body needs a voice.

By denying my body of a voice, I deny myself the chance to stand in and live my truth to the fullest, and not always be holding myself back.

To be clear, what I’m saying is that by feeling shame and judging myself as much as I have and then deciding not to talk about it, I have kept myself locked inside a cycle of trying to live up to impossible standards that I’ve been setting myself.

But, the moral of this story that I want to tell today is not so much about my denying myself of my true voice, it is more about what came about to make me do this to myself in the first place: the shame.

Everyone has and will experience shame as part of the trials and tribulations of life. There can be many, many reasons for that. But I wish to uncover one significant and specific factor that may help YOU today.

Time.

Let’s come back to the question I began this post with: how is your relationship with time? How do you usually talk about time throughout the day?

If you can, take a moment to recall the regular phrases you use day-to-day.

Common ones might be “time is running away with me”. Or, perhaps, “there’s never enough time”. Do you feel that time is always moving too fast, or maybe too slow? It’s likely that how you view time changes depending on the situation – one minute it’s your friend, the next it’s your enemy.

You are not alone.

We grow up with this habit of using time as the nearest and easiest scapegoat when things don’t go our way. We love to claim we are a victim to time simply because it’s a factor out of our control.

But also – and more importantly in my case – we can use time as our slave driver.

Have you ever compared yourself to someone next to you and concluded that you’re too slow? You should have achieved more? You need to do more in your days? That your days aren’t worthwhile because you didn’t find time for X (even though you did A, B, C… to W!)

Healthy competition is a GOOD thing and keeps us striving to be our best. What I’m talking about, though, are the types of comparisons you make that are followed up my self judgements that conclude with forming harmful beliefs such as “I’ll never be good enough until I do…X”.

I have been using time as a way to beat myself up for not keeping up with my visions of how I’d like my days to go. “I don’t get enough done in my days” is a common belief I have allowed myself to hold on to. But enough is enough!

What if you LET GO of time?

What if time was NOT an indicator of value?

What if what you’re creating and your destiny is bigger than all the collective little things you could have done but didn’t manage to do?

What if it DIDN’T MATTER how much you did in your day, only that you chose wisely what you did and didn’t do?

I want to give you a few examples of how the very passing of time itself is a benefit to allow you the chance to develop new, healthier goals and beliefs for yourself, no matter how much/little you do in your days:

  • Dancing: If dancing was confined by time and the only benefit of the dance was the result, the final pose… that’s all we’d have. The beauty of a dance is in the dance itself. Movement to the music. Expression. The enjoyment lies in the duration of the dance.
  • Music: Again, if the only benefit of music was the final note then we’d only ever hear that last chord. What a pity it would be not to experience those highs and lows, and fail to feel the emotions that the composer/artist felt in the creation of the piece.
  • Art: While art is often thought of as a final piece such as a painting, how often have you heard the phrase, “an artist’s work is never done”? That’s because art is created via a process. It’s the living through the process of creating the art that means artists are able to create something that is beyond words and is almost impossible to express in the same way via an instant printout. Immersive art of any form is just the same.

So, I ask you to challenge your beliefs that ALL the tasks on your calendar must be tightly boxed into a set time frame. Sure, some do – most people who read this likely live in a Westernised culture like I do which is defined by time. But I challenge the belief that ALL activities in your life need to be defined and boxed in by time, or even VALUED by the duration of time spent on it (fast / slow… but did you enjoy what you did?)

I also challenge you to find a new way of judging the value of a unit of time – can you make it less about the density of tasks completed in that time frame and more about the enjoyment felt.

Life is for living and enjoying. Be. 💓

Dance. With all the paradoxes of life.

Dance. With all the paradoxes of life.

Made huge leaps forward today in learning how to love myself. The relationship with ourselves is the first and most important relationship we have in my opinion. We can choose to accept ourselves or not, support ourselves or not, help ourselves thrive and feel joy… or not. What we choose influences what we allow ourselves to experience in the world.

So, today I remembered where I came from (love and dust) and where I am headed (love and dust). I remembered who I was (something intangible, unrelated to ego, social media profiles or accolades). I remembered that the best way to love someone else is to BE myself.

For a little while I veered off the path. I was determined to bust down any walls or perceived blocks to allowing love to come in from any (healthy!) directions. What I didn’t realise is that in my determined state I started busting down my own foundations. I was trying to reduce my ‘me’-ness so that I could accept more of others into my life. Except, that’s not how it works and those foundations help me to function and LIVE in fundamental ways.

To put it figuratively, I wanted to reduce my footprint so that the people around me could have more space to stand and exist in my life. However, the only way to reduce your footprint is perhaps to remove a foot… fine until you lose balance!

So I’m remembering – and accepting – that I have a footprint. I’m learning what that means and that it’s part of being human. I still feel a little awkward about it all and yet I’m recognising that this is a lifelong process. It’s a dance. Our boundaries and footprints change and shift all the time as we dance with others in our lives. The more we practise, though, the easier it gets. When we resist, we may be left on the sidelines. When we go with the flow we create something magical, far beyond the dance itself. It becomes less about us as a single person and ALL about us as people together, as one, in this dance called life.

Dance. With all the paradoxes of life.

How knowing that you are loved changes everything

Self love

Baby steps. A self-love revolution doesn’t often happen overnight. Loving ourselves can be HARD. However… infinitely worthwhile. We can’t imagine the value of it until we TRY.

I’m speaking of my own experience. Yesterday was a big up-level for me in terms of self love. I spent quite a bit of time alone yesterday, especially because my man was out. As soon as I had the house to myself the inner thoughts started kicking in. By ‘kicking in’ I mean kicking my butt 😜 yeouch! But really, really early on in the day I decided to CHANGE that.

As I got up I was the passive observer, listening to what thoughts I was creating. “I should do this”, “I haven’t done that”, “I’m not good enough / worthy”… you know the way it goes.

Next I witnessed how it changed my behaviours. I was impatient with my body, didn’t give myself time to think, let alone eat. I saw how I had a whole day laid out ahead of me… BEAUtiful things planned… yet I was choosing to make it all a chore.

THEN… I decided to stop all that and switch. Right then. Immediately.

I started telling myself silently “I accept myself”. Started reminding myself of my love for myself.

I took it up a level and sent myself reiki. Using whichever symbols I felt I needed. I added in everyone in the world as a recipient… so I wasn’t just sending love to myself but to EVERY person on the planet. Reminded myself of how we are ALL worthy of love, always, no matter what.

My thoughts began to slow. I felt a warm glow within. Peace. 🕊

It didn’t matter how much I had got done, will get done or anything else… all is well. I’m loved. I love.

Later there were some minor hiccups to my plan for the day BUT I was able to change my experience from suffering through it to LOVING the chance to practice what I preach. The day ended beautifully. My man came home from his trip and I was able to share the magic of my day with him. Now, I’m able to share it with you ✨

It starts with you. You are ALWAYS loved. Take action knowing this is true whenever you can and watch it change your day.

What are your intentions for the next 90 days?

The 90 day year

Happy summer solstice to those in the northern hemisphere for yesterday! (And winter solstice to the rest!)

There are about 3 months until equinox. 1/4 of the year. 90-ish days. A season. However you want to view it.

What do YOU plan on doing in that time?

It’s a powerful length of time – enough time to plan, build and launch something. What would you aim to launch during this time? Perhaps something to do with work, the house, your body, a creative project, a vacation… the choice is yours! ⭐️

Pull out that vision board or get dreaming up the most happy / fun / rewarding things you can imagine… you’re in control!

Whatever you choose, now is an ideal time within that 90 days to be planning… Checking where you are now, where you want to go in 90 days’ time, and finding out what you need to do/have to get you there.

That’s the stage I’m in right now. I have work AND body (fitness and health) goals. I’m sketching out my ideas on my whiteboard and seeing what I could aim for that’s realistic in that time. S.M.A.R.T. goal setting 😉

It’s my first time taking this approach so I’m taking into account that the working strategy itself is part of that goal. Go easy on yourself if you’re new to it too: the more likely you are to achieve the goal, the more likely it is that you’ll continue to work this way and achieve more awesome stuff for yourself! That means a little #selflove and #selfcompassion goes a long way!

Let me know – where do you want to be in the next 90 days?

How to be happy every day

Having an attitude of gratitude

What would be your one-word tip for happiness?

For me it’s GRATITUDE.

Doesn’t matter what is going on, how my day is… I can always tune in to an incredible amount to be grateful for.

It shifts my mood as soon as I do this.

It’s a wonderful way to go to sleep at night too.

Such a simple practice that it’s easy to forget about how powerful it can be.

What tip would you give?

Take responsibility. Say yes FULLY.

Take responsibility for your experiences. Show up FULLY.

SOMEtimes my mindset editing techniques are a little less…. comfortable! Just done some work on myself and just given myself a royal kick up the backside. OUCH! My ego hurts! But it was EXACTLY what I needed…

My lesson?

When tackling an issue just now I was reminded that only *I* am responsible for my experiences.

👉 First, learn when to say yes and when to say no… I am allowed to choose and speak up.
👉 Secondly, when I say yes… SHOW UP fully. Just because I’m there physically doesn’t mean I am automatically there in any other way. Say yes in every way, even if I’m saying yes to challenges that might push me out of my comfort zone.

If I don’t say yes fully, I was shown that I am likely to start to use language that creates an even MORE challenging experience for myself. In fact, I can even re-create old fears that I’ve cleared in the past simply by acting in the same way as before.

The message was loud and clear: take responsibility!

Step into your power. You are allowed! You have a choice.

And this completes the second episode of #reasonsIdomywork
#soreego

Want to chat about Mindset Editing for you? www.joannabutler.com/chat