Exciting news! I’ve joined the Slow Down Retreats team to deliver a very special retreat weekend from 22-24 November in the luxurious surroundings of Cotswold Park Barns.
It’s going to be a weekend of relaxation, yoga and meditation, and nourishment for body, mind and soul. Time for you, time to breathe deep and press pause. Time to rest, to unwind, to find some headspace, and to sleep.
I’ll be leading a group session during the retreat focused on self-care and self-acceptance – do you know what your body and mind need and what replenishes you (and conversely, what drains your energy)? How kind are you to yourself? We’ll be working to identify your personal strengths and your unique self-care recipe, and discussing how we can all move towards self-acceptance.
As I work out my next career steps I’ve been applying for new part-time roles that might fit well alongside Quiet Space as part of a coherent career portfolio, and recently got news that I’d been unsuccessful in an interview for a job I’d really wanted.
Naturally I was disappointed, but I’d been satisfied with my interview performance and had pretty much expected the outcome. So by the time the news came, I think I’d already mostly moved on. In that context the prospect of exploring other opportunities has become exciting and liberating, for which I’m grateful.
Coaching others these past few years has been incredibly helpful for my own personal development, particularly in terms of my appetite for risk and attitude towards the unknown.
Embrace pushing yourself out of your comfort zone. That’s where the growth comes. It is stressful and scary and destabilising, but it is without a doubt worth it all. Everything will be all right. Things will take shape. At the end of this you will look back and be amazed to see how far you’ve come.
I’ve felt several times over the past eight months like life was unravelling. Things falling apart; questioning maxims I’d thought I lived by; reevaluating lots of things about me and my relationships with various people. When I’ve lost ground in the past my faith has always been there for me but lately I’ve felt distanced from that too. It’s been an interesting time.
This week I visited Salisbury Cathedral and was struck by the beautiful font in the nave and the reflections in the water.
This life has got to be about something beyond yourself. Something bigger than you. Not necessarily God, if that isn’t part of your belief system. But as humans we naturally seek meaning, purpose and connection. What am I doing this for? For whom am I doing this? Who’s got my back?
“How long is forever?” asked Alice. “Sometimes, just one second.” replied the White Rabbit.
There are dreams lasting but a moment in which everything is suspended in eternity.
Get more of those moments. Don’t be afraid to dive deep with someone. Love intensely. Make that connection, take that leap, embrace the now. It’s all we have – the past is gone, and the future is promised to no one.
As we look ahead to Monday, and as you take on whatever challenges and journeys this week brings, I want you to remember this. Don’t be someone who looks back at the end of their life, wistful that they never took a chance and never followed their dreams, and is filled with regret for wasted potential and opportunity.
You want it, go and get it. Make it a priority. Support is vital – you don’t have to do it on your own. But you have to do it.
This month I’ve written a guest article for clouds+dirt, an online platform that seeks to ‘redefine spirituality for the modern woman’. The article may ostensibly be written for women, but there is a message for everyone in there. If you’ve ever felt an unravelling of the path you’ve hitherto been following, and realised how vital it was for you to re-evaluate what matters to you in your life and career, then have a read – and let me know what you think.
Are you making space for things in your life that truly excite you? (We’re not talking thrill-seeking, although I do like this photo from the Storm at this year’s Kenilworth Carnival.) Or, as T.S. Eliot’s Alfred J. Prufrock so memorably said, are you measuring out your life out in coffee spoons?
Shakespeare, he knew a thing or two. People sometimes misunderstand what Antonio meant by ‘what’s past is prologue’, taking it in isolation to mean that the past predicts the future. The full quote, however, says quite the opposite.
“Whereof what’s past is prologue; what to come, in yours and my discharge.” The past is written, but the future is yours to wield, subject to the choices you decide to make.
Make good ones. Each day is a new day with no mistakes in it yet.
– Written by Natalie Snodgrass Tan, Quiet Space Ltd
I’m curled up in a cosy cafe this morning thinking, reading and drinking chai. I’m thinking primarily about two people I’ve been in touch with recently who were seeking coaching, except I had to gently explain that based on the information they had given me, it was my view that coaching was unlikely to be an appropriate intervention for them at this time. So I signposted them to their GPs and various resources, explaining why they might first need to seek some clinical or psychotherapeutic help to support them in coping with daily life.
If someone is in need of therapeutic intervention, it’s important for coaches to recognise this and be clear about their ethical remit. Once someone is receiving the right therapeutic support, however, coaching can be a useful adjunct to support them in reaching specific goals in the present (focusing on achieving potential and improving performance, rather than the more coping-oriented nature of therapy).
I’m finding this book interesting (Lost Connections: Why You’re Depressed and How to Find Hope, by Johann Hari). The blurb on the back talks about a ‘radical new way of thinking’ about depression and anxiety, but I’m not so sure – it strikes me as common sense to uncover and address the underlying causes, not simply seek to treat the symptoms. It’s why, in my coaching work, we focus precisely on some of the ‘prescriptions’ Hari writes about: meaningful work, meaningful values, and reconnecting to others and the natural world.
Perhaps, though, it’s been my own journey through and out the other end of depression that has taught me these things. So I wholeheartedly recommend this book to you, even though I am only on page 46.
– Written by Natalie Snodgrass Tan, Quiet Space Ltd