A Guitar Loop – Face the Blue Light Blues!

I can see too much red in the autumn and winter and too much blue in the middle of summer. Spring is only time when I feel I might be seeing the right amount of blue for my brain to be able to relax.

When I see the blue light of spring though, the light is starting to get brighter and my first instinct is to hide myself away. I think I can’t ‘do’ the brightness. But the brightness knocks away on the door of my heart asking to come in. I know really that this particular blue light of spring has enormous energy and power contained in it for me. I feel if I don’t do my best to harness it I might go crazy!

I hope you enjoy my loop. The pictures that I have chosen take you on little journeys we have been on as a family in our endeavour to face the blue light!

 

Colour Sensitivity – Me and My White Kitchen!

Luca Cooking

We have lived in our house for 20 years and in that time we have never had a new kitchen. Our kitchen was a sort of yellowy cream yellowing with age with wood trim, slightly pinky walls and a very geometric patterned floor in reds and browns. I know – it doesn’t sound to good does it?! But you just get used to these things.

When I tried to cook in our kitchen I felt a strange sensation in my legs, a bit like I was being pulled down into a swamp.  And I would feel less and less energy in myself until I would feel like screaming and giving up. Often I wouldn’t finish cooking a meal. My husband would have to come and rescue me! And then I would get very cross if people weren’t appreciative of my efforts because I had suffered so much to do it.

Now I know – I was feeling a sensitivity to the geometric pattern on the floor and the dark brown colour of our gas hob.

When I tried to wash up in our kitchen I would feel a jangly sensation in my body. I would also go very hot, would feel achy and my face would always itch. I tried using washing up liquid without perfume but it didn’t help.

Now I know – I was sensitive to the grey colour of the stainless steel sink and also to the finish of the stainless steel itself. When light falls on stainless steel especially brushed steel it moves in a certain way creating rings and lines that were giving me a feeling of unease.

When I tried to eat in our kitchen I couldn’t taste my food. I would keep saying to my baker husband “Are you sure you put salt in the bread?” because I just couldn’t taste it. I would choose sweet things sometimes just because I could taste them better.

Now I know – Firstly I was sensitive to the blue light in our fridge so even looking for food in the fridge made me feel unwell and much colder than would be normal for a person to feel with the fridge open. Next I was sensitive to the appearance of the colours of some of the packaging under the poor lighting of our kitchen. Next I was sensitive to the orange pine colour of our kitchen table. And finally I was sensitive to the green rim of our Denby pottery plates. No wonder I couldn’t taste my food!

Solution

We finally have our new kitchen. It is not all clinical white as that would be too cold and not good for us at all. We have light ivory cupboard doors that have a certain warmth. We have surf white work surfaces which make every coloured package on the top appear more to their true colour. We have a white composite sink and white tap. We have a white glass splashback and upstand and a white glass hob and white oven.  All the whites are slightly different – a little blue, a little green here and there – but I like this. Our floor will be a polished concrete effect vinyl and our walls F & B All White paint. Our lights are all dimmable.

Yes, it does look cool (!) but more importantly it feels amazing. I fully interact with the kitchen, happily going in the cupboards and drawers, using the sink and the hob etc. Whereas my kitchen used to repel me, now it it draws me in and hugs me. I feel very alive and I tend to do things more slowly than I used to as this feeling of calm overtakes me. I no longer rush to get out of my kitchen. I relish the time I spend in there and look forward to it taking me on many happy cooking journeys.

My son (11) who takes sensitivity to a whole new level and literally would spend no time in our kitchen and not even eat with us now goes in there and dances around happily wanting to learn to cook and do everything himself. It is the most amazing thing to see.

So . . . how do you feel in your kitchen? Is it helping you to nourish yourself or hampering you?

To read more about mine and my son’s experiences of colour sensitivity please see my book:-

I Can’t Sit on That Red Chair – The Relationship Between Sensory Processing Difficulties and Colour Sensitivity

 

 

 

 

Colour Sensitivity – What Does it Feel Like?

blue sky

Colour Sensitivity feels like being a human spectrometer! I pick up every change in the colour, quality and feel of light.

I am not colour blind and I do see colour very clearly but it just changes a lot.

On a November day I may be driving and suddenly notice the sky appears quite turquoise and the grass appears quite bluey green. The seagulls appear whiter than last time I looked and the cattle more reddy brown. I feel as if I am driving though a painting.

My Explanation

Typically in November the red light in the atmosphere is starting to increase. This is fact. So why is the sky turquoise? Because I am seeing less yellow light and so my sky is made up of red, orange, blue, violet and green. The seagulls appear more white and the cattle more reddy brown because I am not picking up yellow. Why am I seeing less yellow light? At certain times of the year when the light is dim compared to mid summer I seem to see from either end of spectrum, picking up more of the blues, indigos and violets from one end and more reds, oranges and greens from the other end.  Yellow appears to be low sometimes.

However . . . just a month previously yellow was bouncing off the walls. I couldn’t bear to go to Bradfords (a local Building Suppliers) because all the yellow lines on the car-park jumped out at me. Why was this? Because the light was that bit brighter (being earlier in the year) and so I was still picking up yellow. But now I wasn’t picking up enough red (as this increases later in the year)  and lacking red makes yellow far too bright for my brain.

And in the Spring, I go through the same pattern in reverse. In February I lack yellow and in March it jumps off the walls again!

Then as the light gets even brighter the colours balance themselves until mid summer when I really start to lack red and feel that I see too much blue. Again it is fact that there are more shorter lightwaves (blue and violet) in the atmosphere in the summer and less longer ones (red and orange). Colours appear drained and/or strange. I can sit in Waitrose car-park and think “Did people really choose these paint colour for their cars?!”

So . . . too much yellow, not enough yellow, not enough red, too much blue. . . This is my daily experience. No colours are constant. Even the grass changes its colour on a daily basis.

The best I can do is live with the change and embrace it. I don’t focus on colours I don’t like or that feel uncomfortable to me. I focus on the ones that make me feel good.

If you would like to know more about my experience of colour sensitivity please check out my book:-

‘I Can’t Sit on That Red Chair!’

 

 

The Problem with Gaming is . . .

unhappy

I have a 11 year old son who is big time into gaming – even if isn’t all rough and killing people – it is still gaming! Minecraft is still gaming.

I am constantly telling my son what I think the problems with gaming are and he said I should write a post! So here it is . . .

My Son’s Story

My son, Luca, has a visual problem which means he feels more comfortable using the screen than he does in real life. This has been a dilemma for me. I was the Mum who said ‘only 2 hours of computer a day’ and really stuck to that. But over the years the time has climbed and climbed and now sometimes it is 11 hours before Luca emerges tired and agitated from his computer screen.

I have feared for my son’s eyes. I have feared for his nervous system. But I have felt powerless to change anything because my son would just complain of multiple symptoms if he had to encounter daylight, especially sunlight, without the screen. And I knew he wasn’t pretending. His distress is genuine. If I mentioned the word ‘rest’ he would wince at the thought of doing nothing without the screen. So I thought ‘Either my son has a supernatural ability to manage 10 -11 hours of computer time or something is going to give.’  And surprise surprise, it turns out he doesn’t have supernatural powers! (Well not that sort anyway!)

Following a bout of wobbly toothitis, poor eating and lack of sleep, Luca’s body started to send some messages that all was not OK.  He started to have spasms in his gut developing into typical IBS symptoms. Weakness in the gut tends to run in our family and I just hoped Luca would be exempt but apparently not. Thankfully due to my own lengthy experience of working with my own health I knew what to do.

1.Help Luca with his diet. We talked about his body making too much acid as he had too many complex carbohydrates and too much sugar. Also constant excitement or anger contributes to us making too much acid. He had been living on pasta and cheese, bourbon biscuits and multiple hours of Minecraft games and videos! We talked about the need for balance in the diet with protein, less wheat grain, some oats, some rice, some fruit and vegetables (to alkalise the acid)  and some dairy. We avoid beans and pulses and much raw food as we don’t feel this is easy for us to digest. And we drink 1 tbsp of kefir a day –  a life saving remedy for anyone prone to yeast problems. All quite basic really and my son already knew it but suddenly he found more motivation to try to achieve it.

2. Teach Luca about rest and comfort. He says he just can’t rest but when he knew he felt too unwell to use his computer he did find the capacity to rest. We sat and watched cookery programmes together. He said that when our new neutral coloured kitchen is complete (in a few weeks time) he is looking forward to doing some cooking and trying out some recipes. As we sat together Luca actually let me cuddle him and he usually resists all contact because he is so hot, agitated and over stimulated from gaming. He usually just paces and twirls around the room talking one endless Minecraft monologue! I sit and listen and try to resist feeling dizzy and spaced out as much as I can!  But on this occasion I felt Luca suddenly remember the wonderful benefits of being cuddled.  He felt unusually calm and grounded.

3. Teach Luca about finding his natural rhythm. The problem with gaming . . . as I say, is that children lose touch with their natural sense of rhythm. If they were playing a board game or riding their bike they would naturally get hungry, tired or just feel they have had enough of that activity. However when children game they have so much adrenaline in their systems that they are completely out of touch with their natural rhythm. Luca can easily go 4 hours without blinking. Scary really!

These are pretty simple things but they make a massive difference to a child’s health and well-being  Thankfully we can already see that if Luca eats well, has some rest, lets in some comfort and lives more to his own rhythm, he can stay well.

The problem with gaming . . . is that it can affect our health and well-being. Stay healthy!

 

 

 

Colour Sensitivity – Lightwatcher Story – February 1st 2019

 

Snow – wonderful snow!

For me and my son, snowy days are the best days.

We woke up to about 4 inches of snow today and Luca wasn’t really feeling that well so I guessed we wouldn’t be going out. But at about 10:00 Luca suddenly said he thought he should go out – that he would feel better if he did. He started doing that sudden needing things all at once thins that children do when they are excited! I feel like I am suddenly being blown around by a whirlwind!

Anyway we wrapped up warm and ventured into the snowy wastes! It has been a slow burn over the years for Luca liking snow. As a toddler, he disliked seeing us sledge down the slope away from him and burst into tears. As a smaller child he didn’t learn the art of wrapping up warm and so was always grumpy with cold. When we had ice he seemed quite distressed which we only understand in the light of knowing about his visual issue with water and glare. So this year is very special. Luca has decided that he REALLY LIKES SNOW. And more than that – snow makes him feel really good as I find too.

Outside today I noticed that Luca’s eyes were open wide and I could see their real beautiful blue in the light. And his pupils were small, as were mine and my husband’s. Usually Luca’s pupils are bigger that ours’ as he is trying to shut out the light. He appeared wide open to the experience of being outside in the snow. He was even happy to have me look at his eyes and happy to look at the camera. This was so unusual.

Now as a light theory person I have a theory. It is simply that white reflects all the colours of the spectrum and so looking at white is our most balanced experience of the spectrum. When we perceive the spectrum as BALANCED our light sensitivity disappears.

Fear of Separation is Always at the Heart of Anxiety

waving goodbye

The biggest epidemic in our societies today is separation (disconnection with self and the world)  It is this feeling that leads people to suffer with low self esteem, live a life where they find it difficult to be true to themselves and ultimately dis-ease.   So why do we feel separate?  We send our children to childcare and nursery school, separating them from the essential mother child bond for hours at a time before they are barely able to hold their heads up.  Many families are separated by broken marriages.   Many families who live together live quite separate lives.  Many of us don’t know our neighbours. We travel separately and don’t meet in towns as we used to.  Isn’t it amazing when it snows and we meet people in the street, walking to town to get some bread because the Waitrose delivery lorry couldn’t get through and our car won’t start? That’s my favourite day of the year!

Some of us choose a form of spirituality that continues in us this feeling of separateness. We separate ourselves from the rest of the world when we feel that we have the answers.  We separate ourselves from the goodness of the world when we decide that we have to eat this food and that food and do this thing and that thing just to survive on the planet.  We separate ourselves from our very beings when we try to empty ourselves in spiritual practices and meditation.  We separate ourselves from God when we decide that we are in control and that we can use the power of our thoughts to draw to ourselves what we want.

Anxiety has little to do with being dependent on a significant other.  This is simply the symptom.  The cause is a sense of separation that runs deep in the core of our being.  It may have happened at our birth or in childhood, we may have inherited it from our parents but however it happened, I believe it is our deepest journey to find our sense of safety within ourselves and the world.  When we find that feeling, we will no longer tolerate separateness and we will do everything in our power to create strong bonds with our children, our families and the world.  We will fall into God’s arms and gladly admit that we can’t do it on our own.

All we all really want is to feel safe, loved and at home in ourselves and the world.

Proprioception Problems – Push Against a Wall or Connect with Your Passion? Your Choice

wall            images (1)

Heavy energy                                                           Vibrant energy

 

What is Proproception?

Proprioception is the ability to feel our connection with the world around us – whether that is the chair we are sitting on or the pair of scissors we are cutting with. Or is it? Could it run a lot deeper than that? Could it actually be rooted in our connection or disconnection with ourselves?

My son who is 11 and I both have proprioception problems (in terms of struggling to feel our connection with the physical world) but we both reject standard forms of therapy such as lifting weights or pushing ourselves against a wall. if we try these things we find we actually feel worse.  On a deeper level we seem to feel an emptiness and feel more disconnected than ever.

So what should we do?

We need to find a different way to feel connected. We need to stop being too concerned about the strange feelings of our struggle with proprioception and find better feelings. And the better feelings are always about connecting with ourselves. And they are always 3 things:

Connecting with our voices

Connecting with our hearts

Connecting with our power to be ourselves.

And when we do that there are things that we enjoy more than anything else and that fill us to the brim more than anything else and these are RELATIONSHIP and CREATIVITY.

When we are spending time with someone we find warm, engaging and interesting and are actively contributing to that experience we feel GOOD

When we tune into our intuition and do something creative straight from our hearts we feel GOOD.

So . . .push against a wall or connect with your passion? . . . YOUR CHOICE!

 

What is Really at the Heart of Adult Separation Anxiety?

holding hands 2

I have always suffered with separation anxiety and still do as an adult but slowly slowly I am finding my way through the complex maze that is this condition.

For me the anxiety is that bad that I haven’t wanted my husband to go out to the corner shop or the doctors without me. I have trailed along here, there and everywhere because I have been too afraid to be by myself. 

I have wanted to change but just haven’t been able to make that first step. 

But this year I decided to have a play with the anxiety, to try to test its boundaries and get inside it to find its heart. 

The first thing I decided to do was to make sure my husband recognises it as a real problem. If we run out of onions and he says “I could always go up the corner shop  but there again you probably won’t let me out.” then we have lost before we have started.  In the same way if he goes out and comes back 10 minutes later and I say I struggled and he laughs because to him it is funny to miss someone in such a short time, then we have no where to go from here. I feel humiliated and guilty and the pattern starts once more.  I must say at this point that my husband is possibly the kindest man on the planet so if he has misunderstood my needs I know it is because he is human.

So . . I explained to my husband that the anxiety is obviously a problem, otherwise we would have had a very different lifestyle a long time ago. 

Next I decided on a realistic step. When I look out of my work room at home I can see into the next street (a gap between some houses) and by road this a 10 minute walk from our house. I thought it would be fun if my husband walked to that spot and then waves at me. We tried to add the fun of the tracker on his phone but unfortunately we couldn’t get this to work. My husband left the house, I timed 10 minutes and then sure enough there he was waving at me from our chosen spot. 

How did I feel in those 10 minutes? Empowered, confident, happy!

Where do I go from here? I don’t know yet? I gave up guilt when I admitted I had the condition and so there is no standard to achieve for me to feel good enough. We will go where the adventure takes us.

The important elements in taking that first step were HONESTY, SINCERITY, KNOWING AND ASKING FOR MY NEEDS, PLAYFULNESS . . . AND BEING PREPARED TO MOVE FORWARDS ONE STEP AT A TIME!

So . . what is at the heart of separation anxiety . . . . I think, a feeling that you are silly because you don’t like being by yourself!

 

Antibiotics or Talking about Connection? – My Choice!

jaw pain

I have had a hec of a Christmas!

Nearly every year I suffer with jaw pain at Christmas. It usually starts three weeks before Christmas and builds to some sort of crescendo around Christmas Day! Over the year I have named it Christmasitis!

And this year I planned an easy, no pressure, cosy little family Christmas. So how could it all go so wrong?

Because . . . I can only connect with myself in any moment of time and that means I could feel  anything. I might feel quiet, feisty, inspired, introspective, active, inactive, sociable or more insular. I might feel any way on Christmas Day!

And. . . I can’t pretend and I can’t act.

This year I was enjoying my simple, cosy little family Christmas in the first instance . . .or was I? I seem to remember in the morning I tidied out the entire games cupboard. I was deciding which coloured games were good for me at this time of year (as you do, or rather, as most people don’t do!) Then I remember having a little strop about having too many boxes in the hall and pleading with my husband to take some of them to the garage or put them in the loft! But oh no!  It was Christmas Day – How dare I have a little strop?!

By 2:00 my jaw pain was starting to develop on the right side of my face so I took some pain killers. By tea time I absolutely couldn’t eat. I didn’t sleep that night, took more pain killers  and the next day phoned the out of hours dentist. He suggested it could be a tooth infection or a sinus infection. We spent Boxing Day going to town for some antibiotics.

The thing is . . . I don’t really think I have an infection but I have never taken so many tablets in a couple of days. Usually I am wary when it comes to pain killers. But this time the pain has been different. It has been a deep emotional pain and at times I have cried real deep tears. I have just been willing to do anything to numb the terrible pain. But it isn’t really going and that is why I am writing this.

Because . . . It is OK to be myself, it is to ask for my needs and it is OK to speak my truth – on any day of the year! (even if it’s Christmas!)

Why Don’t We Teach Healing as a Craft?

J: What do you mean by healing through creativity?
Jennie: I mean that healing is a process.  Rather than being about shifting stuff and clearing the old it is more about transformation – like moulding a beautiful pot.
J: How do we heal creatively?
Jennie: By being self aware and observing our thoughts and feelings particularly the way that we react to people and situations in our life and then pondering on our reactions and asking for insight.
J: Could you give me an example?
Jennie: Today I was late for a therapy session and on my way there in the car I felt tension building in my arms and shoulders. I didn’t ignore or fight the sensations – I simply observed them and asked myself what I feeling emotionally.  I found that one moment I was feeling how important the session was and the next moment I was disassociating with my feelings.
J: What did you do next?
Jennie: I received insight that my symptoms were related to my feelings about having support. I could also see how the situation I found myself in that morning was bringing all these feelings to the surface?
J: What do you mean?
Jennie: Well, I’d only booked my therapy session the day before and in order to be able to go I had to have a lot of support. I needed my husband to drive me there, I had to find someone to look after my son before school,  I cancelled a dentist appointment, we all had to get up early and drive across town in the rush-hour! I knew this session was important but as the time grew closer I began to doubt more and more my right to have all the support I was having that morning. The doubt led to the symptoms
J: Where did this insight lead you?
Jennie: It became the basis of my therapy session and I was able to work through some of my feelings about receiving support.
J: So does healing through creativity mostly happen through self awareness and asking for insight?
Jennie: These things take people a long way but we also need to express our healing and we need an outlet for this.
J: Do you mean we need to talk about our process?
Jennie: Well sort of.  All creativity needs an outlet. There is no point in painting a picture and then putting it in a drawer. When I paint, write or create music, some of the work I do is my own personal journey but sometimes I want my work to be seen and heard. Healing is a craft or skill, something we can hone and be proud of.
J: Are you proud of your skill at healing?
Jennie: Yes, I am but I don’t think other people recognise it!
J: Why do think this is?
Jennie: Well, it is not a recognised skill. You can’t get a PhD in creative healing – well not yet anyway!  And some people think that is very self indulgent and that while you are choosing to heal you are not being much use in society.
J: Do you think this is true?
Jennie: No. I think if we are to heal others we have to heal ourselves first. The path of the healer certainly has a selfless quality.
J: Going back to what you said about expression, could you say more about this?
Jennie: Yes. I suppose when I have insights I am excited about them because healing is a passion.  I naturally want to share my insights with someone I think will understand them just as I might want to share a painting with someone who ‘gets’ my art.
J: Do you actually enjoy your own healing?
Jennie: This is an interesting question.  What has made it hardest to enjoy my healing has been my difficulty with receiving support and my difficulty with intimacy.  What I have enjoyed about my healing is seeing transformation at work in me.  In therapy this has led me through times of beautiful openness, rich closeness, feeling held, loved, cared about and this has been both enjoyable and deeply enriching.  Also there have been times of struggle, feeling pain and discomfort – emotional, mental and physical, times of feeling lost and helpless, times of uncertainty about the therapeutic relationship and feelings of deep and unsatisfied need.
J: Do you think the good feelings have out-weighed the difficult ones?
Jennie: I don’t think we can see it that way. If we are determined to heal we have to take the rough with the smooth.  Some phases may feel very bumpy and hard and others may feel a lot softer and kinder.
J: Do you think people need to share their journey and their insights to heal?
Jennie: I don’t think it is essential or the only way to work but I think it adds another dimension. I think if we can see healing as something exciting, dynamic and transformative it lifts us out of the mindset that healing is simply about working through and shifting stuff.
J: Do you think healing could be taught more as a skill?
Jennie: I think that would be amazing and it is definitely my life’s work!