I am returning to Cochabamba, Bolivia South America, late Summer to volunteer with www.boliviadigna.org.
I will be volunteering on a project designed to protect and defend children (2-18) at risk in impoverished neighbourhoods, who are often victims of violence of any kind. The project helps promote human rights education, responsible leadership and Christian values. I will also visit terminally ill children in the cancer hospital who are often left alone. I hope to teach arts and crafts, face-paint, play with Tai Chi and mindfulness relaxation and bring a little joy into the lives of young ones.
How Can You Help?
There are 2 ways you can help out.
Just an update everyone, Jellycat https://www.jellycat.com providing one of each book free and some more merchandise!
Lovely note from their PR department ” we are more than happy to send out donations, however we do not expect any sort of recognition for this as we are more than happy to simply support a worthy cause.”
I think we are up to 20 Teddies sponsored now! Yeah !
Once I know what Jellycat can offer and Francesco (Bolivia Digna) can estimated how many children are in the wards, we can get moving.
You can choose your Teddy or book and make a note to the child,
If you want to sponsor at Teddy, follow the Facebook page link below or email me Lou@elementas.co.uk or call me 07715814833. Thank you!
2. Project Bolivia – Sponsored Swim – 100 lengths –Target £800
My good friend Jo has agreed to join me in the UK for a sponsored swim, to raise funds for the children We hope to do this by end of July. All sponsorship is appreciated, by the length or total please.
Last time your help purchased face paints, games and toys, you bought the children essential clothes, re-kitted out their orphanage with cooker, fridge and furniture to create a living area and created fun with pizza and the cinema.
If you want to help by sponsoring our swim or a Teddy get in touch Lou@elementas.co.uk. Thank You!
Please note all my trip expenses are self-funded.
PS did you know Bolivia was landlocked?
In a valley in the Andes mountain range, Cochabamba is known as the “city of eternal spring.” At around 2,558 m (8,392 ft) altitude, the sunny dry highland weather rarely gets too hot or cold…. Time to get fit and ready for the altitude…
On a recent trip to Holy Island off Arran, I had reason to contemplate this question personally.
We are living in a world that increasingly values our success and status by materialistic standards. Our ability or inability to achieve materialistic worth can impact our self-confidence and self esteem. Jobs can be hard to find, or hold on to in uncertain times. This can cause our brain’s Driver and Threat systems to be continually on alert to ensure we prosper and survive at work and play. Not allowing us time to Rest and Restore.
I wonder what would happen if we did something different? If we were able to confidently shift our thinking and were able to redefine what success and achievement truly meant in our hearts.
Imagine being able to unearth new ways to find greater focus, wellness and motivation to achieve our inner potential.
On holy Island I was fortunate enough to join fellow colleagues and challenge myself to climb a rather big hill. We were celebrating passing a testing first year of our MSc Studies in Mindfulness. It gave us time to relax, to connect with each other and get fully into our bodies, after two days of teacher training tests. We had all grown up in so many ways, helping each other, learning and demonstrating that together we flourish.
Nature can be our companion to insights; well articulated by these ancient and wise words.
If this resonates and your are interested in a mindfulness coaching approach, please get in touch and arrange your free 1/2 hr session. Lou@elementas.co.uk
Mindfulness Coaching is suitable for business executives and owner managers looking to think differently. It is suitable for those wishing to make career transitions and rethink their lives.
Early into a New Year, with hope high on the horizon, employers and potential job candidates alike are planning their next move.
So just how do you both ensure it is your best move?
Maybe you are looking to recruit someone new to grow? Finding the right person can make a difference to success or failure. Keeping a project or service running effectively while the new person dovetails into their role, means months of extra cost. In some cases, if the candidate is not suited, the employer has the cost of helping them smoothly exit the organisation.
So just how do you ensure you recruit the right people and find the right job? It can be tricky. Would you agree?
“The most important asset your organisation has is its people. The biggest asset they have is their health and wellbeing. It, therefore, makes good sense to look after it.” Dame Carol Black (source Investors in People)
From designing the right job specification to finding the right people to fill their future roles there is a lot involved to enable success, whether you are a recruiter or candidate.
When recruiting, organisations need to be clear in what they want from an individual and role. We live in a world that is often referred to as a VUCA (Volatile, Uncertain, Complex, Ambiguous) organisations are continuously changing and evolving.
Susan Skjei Director of the Authentic Leadership Center at Naropa University suggests that the challenging nature of change and complex business environments are creating an appetite for mindfulness.
“We may think of change as an organizational process, it actually happens one person at a time.”
Finding the right job takes hard work and commitment, but often people are unaware and do not think about their real authentic needs.
“Lou is good at asking the right questions to get you to think around the issue rather than in one dimension. This opens up new possibilities and a breakthrough in terms of how you can deal with issues. Lou has helped me to change my approach to interviews and now have a new and fulfilling job. ” Sue (Senior Business Growth Specialist)
This is where career coaching is key. It allows you to think deeply about your abilities, your values and what you want from a job and organisation – including how it fits with your lifestyle, total wellness and approach to life.
The benefits of mindfulness coaching include:
Where appropriate people can get over personal issues, reframe their attitude, and re-engage with their current organisation to explore opportunities closer to home.
If you are looking for a new job, mindfulness coaching works. The more you are in touch with your personal needs and priorities, the greater your chance of finding your route to success.
This year, let mindfulness-based coaching enable you to become more fully aware of what is really important in your life!
Want to know more? Get in touch email@example.com
I am often stunned by the natural beauty that surrounds us.
Walking by the beach recently I was arrested by the sight of the Cobalt Blue sky, the Viridian Green sea, the glimmer of Orange on the horizon as the sun was setting. Wrapped up warm and snug to brave the chilling wind, soothed by the hush of the waves lapping the seashore.
Sometimes, overwhelmed or lost in the distraction of our thoughts and emotions, we loose sight of what is in front of us. Travelling to the future or past it is easy to miss the gift of presence. In presence our senses are soothed, as our nervous system relaxes and we are bathed with nature’s magic.
Try it see what happens!
2018 was a memorable year. I was celebrating a special birthday, and I had planned to visit Canada, but one of my closest friends had been diagnosed with terminal cancer. Canada felt wrong. I needed to visit somewhere to lift my spirit, to hold her in love and in hope of wellness. Tibet seemed to speak to me. My partner rose to the challenge of Tibetan travel. I trusted my instinct and in May 2018, following my heart, we departed to Tibet. Travel restrictions were plentiful and we risked not being able to get to access to Tibet. We opted to enter via Lijiang, in the northwest part of China’s Yunnan province. We flew to Lhasa at 3 700m, to explore the ghostly Potala Palace and the mesmerising Jokhang Temple, known as the most sacred temple in Tibet, a magnet for Tibetans and fellow travelers.
Then we set about driving hundreds of miles, with numerous Chinese checkpoints. Sharing music, laughter, kindness and often receiving insightful Tibetan teachings, on route from our local Tibetan guide, Jigme and driver Phuntsok.
We climbed deep into the beauty and wilderness of the Hymalayas, navigating some of the most spectacular scenery I have ever experienced in my life. Journeying by sacred lakes, untouched landscapes and crisp mountain passes to reach Everest’s majesty.
As we drew closer, I was faced with my altitude fear in the first aid oxygen sentinels lined up at the hotel entrances, on the route. Our serene and wise Tibetan guide Jigmay encouraged me to shield my eyes. He smiled, helping calm my fears, “do not look at the oxygen tanks, you will be ok Lou Mam”. Trust, you are safe. He was right.
When I reached the stunningly dizzy heights of Everest Base Camp at a lofty altitude of 5500 metres, again I was a little fearful, but a kind little voice inside kept telling me I would be fine and I was. Jigmay and Martyn quietly and gently encouraged me to climb, at attitude, to experience ancient caves and magnificent sights. I felt truly blessed.
At Everest, I experienced presence. For me, it came in the form of feeling true peace. I felt peace in the energy of the limitless azure skies, as I rested beside freshly, flowing, glaciated, aqua waters and the simple, uncomplicated natural landscape. Still getting over the loss of my mum, I felt her peaceful presence in the shadow of Everest. Einstein’s quote came to mind.
“Energy is neither lost or created it is passed from one form to another.”
Our synchronistic journey introduced us to numerous special sights, meetings of local people, ceremonies and blessings by Tibetan monks in frightfully exciting ancient Indiana Jones locations. I felt present at a pivotal point in Tibetan history amidst the major changes to their country, landscape and culture. I learned about the humility, respect, and compassion shown from Tibetans to all even, those that challenge their culture. This presence gave me insight into the mystery of wellness. I smiled to witness the local Tibetan and Chinese Guard sharing music on their phones in Everest’s Tearoom. Two young men with common humanity and shared interest.
Tibetan people, the lost temples, the clear blue skies, and breathtaking mountains amazed me. No doubt, waking to a Yak by my window, then watching the golden sun go down on Everest were some of the highlights of my trip.
As we move thought the season of Winter, what do you need to do to support your wellness?
Traditionally winter has been a time of coming in, of keeping warm, of rest and of renewal.
The Midwinter Solstice (Hibernal Solstice) 21 December reminds us of our connection to season cycles. It marks and grounds our relationship with our earth, linking with the light and energy of the sun. In the dark, as in life, we know and appreciate the light.
“Ancient peoples whose survival depended on a precise knowledge of seasonal cycles marked this first day of winter with elaborate ceremonies and celebrations. Spiritually, these celebrations symbolize the opportunity for renewal, a casting off of old habits and negative feelings and an embracing of hope amid darkness as the days once again begin to grow longer.” CNN Travel.
Today, most of us live in a world that is always taking us out. Even within the winter months we have little time to come in and life often does not slow down naturally.
Maybe when you have chance take a moment to come inside. To rest your body on the earth and rest your mind in the safety of your body, for a short while.
Connect both body and mind, and recall your natural cycle of life. Remember to call upon your inner wisdom; often rediscovered in these moments of stillness and of calm.
And in those moments of reflection, dare to plan, to dream, to nourish yourself and hold sacred your hopes of Spring’s horizon and another New Year.
“Adopt the pace of nature: her secret is patience” Ralph Waldo Emerson
So as we all move through the darkest months, enjoy the journey back into the light.
Into new beginnings.
Merry Christmas and here is to a wonderful New Year for you all.
All the Best,
For more information on coaching please get in touch:
Her colourful coat begins to descend on our outer landscape, a sweeping technicolour brush. Magically transforming our natural landscape from rich shades of green to an artist’s pallet vibrant with rich golden ochre, oranges earthly siennas, burnt umbers and fiery reds.
A reminder of all I love about this world and the changing nature of everything, the good the bad, the uncomfortable, the comfortable, the happy the sad. The impermanence of it all.
We see this in our moods, our weather systems, the moving clouds, rain showers and sunny days and our thoughts, our feelings. Present in the beautiful nature that surrounds us from the trees, hills and seascapes to the seasons.
Recently I heard young man tell me he didn’t like change. He caught me unaware, but reminded me that an appetite for change can be less about age and more about our character. Our wealth of experiences and associations with change can mark our response and our attitude. As can our level of inner confidence to deal with change. As our world and our external landscape changes we will respond in relation to where we are in our life. This is relative to our inner world and current mental, emotional and physical wellness. Psychologist Rick Hanson talks about how we manage our challenges, protect against our vulnerabilities and increase our resources. Imagine having a true knowing and trust of our inner and outer resources to lead us through change.
On reflection I sense change is more unsettling when it happens without our permission, without ‘our say’. It often does. Much of my working life has been helping organisations and individuals to plan for and navigate change, or to help both deal with the impact that change has had on their lives.
This happened recently to a coaching client who in his words had a “Career change – but not through choice. “
“Having worked for a company I absolutely loved with a team of people I had grown and developed it came as a complete shock to be notified of a re structure and it was pretty clear that my role was to go and whilst other opportunities existed, whether it was hurt or middle aged stubbornness, that I opted for voluntary redundancy. Clearly, I was angry, upset and confused, and it was pretty clear to me that I needed a sounding board…..” Stuart
All eventually unfolds, the expression of trust and of patience ‘further along you will understand why, further along you will know more about’ that sees me through many transitions comes to mind.
“Lou was inspirational and provided me with the environment to safely vent, which I needed to. It was only then was I able to re focus, yes, I was challenged, it was at times uncomfortable, I didn’t know how to respond sometimes, but Lou persisted and it worked. Very quickly after only two sessions do I now have clarity, my confidence and self esteem is not just back, but far better, I have a new job already and excited. Thanks Lou,” Stuart.
Change can be unnoticeable. It can be exciting or challenging or dam right scary, activating our hidden fears! It can be absolutely major, reshaping our lives and relationships with family, friends and colleagues. It can impact our roles, our jobs, our health, our wellness. Change can bring gains or losses. Change can be minor from our favourite beauty, brand or food product being discounted, to shifts to our daily home and work routines, journeys and traditions.
Well worth a read is the book Lost Connections , author Johann Hari explores some of the issues around the “Causes of Depression and the Unexpected Solutions”. Hari brings into awareness the normal big and small changes we navigate. He talks about the benefits of living to our intrinsic value systems, where we can and the challenges of living in an unpredictable world. All can seriously cause havoc and impact different dimensions of our mental, emotional, physical and spiritual health and wellbeing. Such awareness and building, restoring and retaining our wholeness and health is core to elementas wellness coaching.
I realised the importance of having certainty in change recently when I felt a subtle draft of change blow through areas of my life. I found myself rather perplexed when my some of my favourite and delightful food haunts from Todmorden to Brighton closed their doors. Silly really, especially as I pride myself as loving adventure travel. I know, with support, I’ve navigated some big and painful changes, close family and family losses over the last few years. A gentle reminder, that during big life changes I take joy in the simple and the familiar. And that certainty acts as an anchor to the choppy seas of change!
We often need anchors and ‘the certain’ to light our way in life’s storms. As I reach for Rick Hanson’s book “Resilience” where Rick clearly simplifies our three basic needs for safety, satisfaction and connection. Explaining why perhaps our mind likes and needs certainty and habits. That our mind is often on alert, constantly scanning to keep us safe. This is why I believe by keeping open to what is unfolding, yet retaining some routine helps at times of transition. Routine means we can rest and relax, and or focus on the areas of our life that bring us satisfaction and reward, bringing in the good.
Sometime change is small and incremental, yet eventually it can add up to something bigger, valued or not! I am definitely learning of the benefits of being more mindful and present. To appreciate and be grateful for is, what is no longer and what may be.
So as Autumn beckons, I recall my favourite season. I bring out my favourite winter clothes, make some soup and take a joyful walk and rustle through Autumn’s tailcoat of leaves.
And I feel truly grateful for her annual familiarity.
Coach, Wellness Mentor, Mindfulness Practitioner
Peace can be often difficult to find in our busy, hectic day to day existence. Crowded out by the demands and commitments of daily life. Can you remember the last time you experienced the presence of Peace?
But where do we find real peace. You know those audible moments of silence and emptiness that bring some welcomed space to our day?
The moments when our world stands still, and we see our senses are arrested into a gentle submission of wonder?
I may find moments of peace walking in nature, in moments of stillness in my daily mediation, or maybe during a swim or a yoga session.
Personally I find more profound peace is far more difficult to achieve. It takes work. Would you agree?
However, undaunted, receptive and open-minded I found serendipity was at play, on a special birthday trip traveling in China and Tibet.
Image, Everest Base Camp. Tibet May 2018
And I was to happen upon the elusive Peace, in an audience of her full grandeur.
She mindfully met me in the shadow of Everest. In the limitless azure skies, resting beside the freshly flowing, glaciated, aqua waters. In the simplistic, uncomplicated natural landscape.
Here I felt peace, real peace. I found her in nature’s deafening silence.
She was arresting and profound. I can feel and almost touch her now as I type these words, she is firmly etched and home in my “inner scape”, and so I gratefully hold and recall Everest’s soothing majesty.
Can you remember, when and where you last encountered Peace? And are you truly receptive to her presence in your daily life?
Waves like thoughts and feelings, they roll in they roll out.
Sometimes big sometimes small.
We can’t stop them so watch them, appreciate them, witness their rise and fall.
Notice what happens when you do.
Notice the mindful moments of stillness.
Notice what happens when you pay attention to what is happening when it is happening (without a need for it be one way or another, without a preference).
And use the tip from Jon Kabat-Zinn
(Wherever You Go, There You Are)
“Try: Asking yourself from time to time, ‘Am I awake now?’”