Sheena Oxer

Sheena Oxer

I believe that every person has the right to a peaceful and happy life and be set free

What makes you happy

There are a lot of lovely, well meaning, people sharing with us what ‘makes them happy’, exercise, baking, drawing. Are you finding it overwhelming?

Have you ever wondered why one person says that exercise makes them happy, or another person says baking does it for them? They are so passionate about it.

Do you wonder why it isn’t the same for you? When you have just finished exercising and you want to be sick and never do that again, they are saying that they feel great and will be doing the same again tomorrow morning.

Do you wonder why you aren’t filled with joy as you stir the batter of a cake? The person who wrote the article you read said that it would make you feel better.

The reason why it didn’t make you feel better is a seemingly small thing. You aren’t the same person as anyone else. You are unique. And in our own unique experience of life, we all get to think and feel differently about the same things. That is how we experience life. You don’t think the same as anyone else. Others may get joy from baking as they have similar thoughts coming to them about the baking.

It isn’t the baking itself. It is the thinking about the baking.

It isn’t the drawing or painting itself. It is the thoughts that come about the drawing or painting.

It is not the exercise, it is the thinking about the exercise.

If it was true that it was the drawing/baking/exercise that made them feel then we would all feel the same way about it. This is so logical, yet we can’t see it as we all believe that things, people, circumstances and places can make us feel. It is an innocent misunderstanding of our psychology.

I read an article recently which said that a certain percentage of people feel better when they are in nature. Do you get curious as to why that might be? If it was nature making us feel better then it should be 100%. What is different about that percentage that doesn’t feel better? Well they think differently about being in nature. We don’t all think the same. They might be thinking that nature is dull or that they have a belief about it being depressing or whatever, but the real crux of it is we all feel as we think. Every thought we have comes with a feeling.

Thoughts come and go very quickly. They don’t last long.

Understanding our psychology in this way allows us to do what we enjoy doing and know that the feelings we are having are coming from thought. We don’t wonder why ‘it’ didn’t work today. Why the exercise, or baking, or drawing didn’t make us happy. We don’t wonder why we feel as we do. We know all of the time where our feelings are coming from. It is such a relief not to be analysing ourselves all the time. Such a relief to know ‘how am I feeling’ isn’t really the question. The real questions is ‘how do I think I experience life’?

Knowing how I experience life gives me peace of mind. I don’t have to do anything to get it.

This helps me and could help you

I was asked recently how the understanding is helping me with this current situation (That being: we are in lockdown due to a coronavirus spreading worldwide).

This was my response…

I only have one place to look to for all my feelings.

I am not feeling isolated.

I have all the mental health I need right here.

I know that there is nothing I need to change to feel better.

I know that my sense of security doesn’t come from something out there,
like if I can get the things we need to eat, or from knowing what is
going to happen in the future, but from within me.

I know that whatever happens to me, my parents, or my children – I will be OK.

I see how resilient and creative I am and we all are.

I know that it is normal to feel all emotions and they have no meaning for me, other than to be felt and pass through.

I know that I am not in control of life, life is in control.

I see a lot of people chasing their mental health, doing exercise to
make themselves feel better, doing mindfulness or art. I do exercise
because I want to, but I don’t expect it to make me feel better, I feel
differently in different moments due to different thoughts coming to me.
I create things because I want to, and not because I think it is going
to keep me mentally healthy. I reach out to others because I like to,
not because without it I will feel isolated and lonely.

As soon
as we think we need to ‘do’ something to feel mentally healthy, we are
missing the fact that we are already healthy and that in itself causes
the problems. By understanding myself psychologically life changes for
me.

I am so so grateful to know this about myself, without it I
would be feeling lonely, isolated and depressed. I would feel that I
would need to change myself and what I am doing to feel better. I would
be feeling immense sadness for me, my children, my relationships with
friends. More than that, the sadness would be a problem for me and I
would be wanting to change it, to move away from it, to feel
differently. I would be feeling grief and that grief would be a problem,
something that I would need to process or change in order to feel
better. With this understanding all emotions are welcome, all are energy
passing through. None mean anything more than a feeling coming with a
thought… right now. I only have right now to live life…

I wonder if this answer makes sense to you, or touches you? Are you curious?

If you have any questions please call or email me to ask. I would be more than happy to answer them.

info@sheenaoxer.co.uk

+44(0) 7879628312

Mental health, a different perspective: Can we always choose our thoughts?

There seems to be a lot of misunderstanding in our culture that the answer to some our problems of mental health is to think positively or calm our mind.

Yes it does seem sometimes that I have control over my thinking and I can choose to think about grey bunnies right now, but at other times I don’t seem to be able to do anything about what I am thinking about, despite how uncomfortable it is and how much I want it to change. In fact it seems as though the more I try to change these uncomfortable thoughts the more they seem to hang around.

What if the very fact that I am trying to change them is the thing that is keeping them in place?

What if I simply know where that feeling is coming from and know that it will pass on its own?

Well how do I do that? I hear you ask.

The good news is that you don’t have to do it. It happens automatically when you understand where all feelings are coming from and that is from a thought right now.

We were are all brought up to think that feelings come from ‘out there’, life makes us feel a certain way:

The sunshine makes us happy.

The film makes us sad.

Our children make us feel worried.

But we are missing the reality of how we experience life. I would very much doubt if everyone felt the same on a sunny day.

Someone may be sitting in the sun and feeling deeply depressed.

Some may not find the film sad at all but manipulative or nauseating.

We feel very differently about our children in different moments on different days. We cannot possibly worry about then 24/7.

We feel differently on different days due to different thoughts, all coming with a feeling.

We experience life via our thoughts about life in any given moment. 100% of the time. This is absolute truth.

Knowing this, insightfully, takes so much off our minds, as we are no longer judging ourselves for having different feelings, or worrying about why we have them, or trying to change them.

Thoughts change on their own.

It is the 100% rule that gives us peace of mind even if we are feeling something truly terrible that, in the past, we would have been judging the hell out of and been very upset about.

If you want to see this for yourself you could challenge yourself to feel the same way about the same thing all of the time. You will notice that this is not the case and this gives you evidence that our feelings are coming from our thinking about life and not life itself.

This is a simple yet truly liberating thing to know as you will not be trying to change yourself or life to feel better. You will begin to be able to accept yourself and others more and you will see life from a totally new perspective.

If you do challenge yourself I would love to hear from you to see how you get on.

If you are interested to hear more I have blogs and podcasts on my website.

www.sheenaoxer.co.uk

Please do contact me, I would love to help you through this time of change:

info@sheenaoxer.co.uk

+44 (0) 7879628312

Happy Families

What is a ‘happy family’? What is parenting success?

When I was first a parent, I had so many ideas about what being a good mother was. I had a huge long list in my head of what to do and what not to do. Then as my children grew up I found words slipping out of my mouth that I had promised to myself I would never say. My children argue, we have times where it feels like the people in our home are at war with each other. But there is something that I know about myself that enables me to ride these situations with so much grace and love even when is looks differently from the outside.

I have been wondering about the ideas that we all have around success generally. We go through our lives wanting the next thing that will make us happy. The next thing that will give us the relief we are looking for, that ‘I have arrived’ settled feeling that means we are no longer searching.

We often think that when I have the new job, then I will be happy. When I earn £X amount, then I will be happy. When I have a bigger house, I will have more room and that will definitely make me happy.

But what I have realised is that this also transfers into my parenting. I used to think things like:

– when everyone is not fighting, then I will be happy,

– when we can all eat a meal together in quiet, then I will be happy,

– when we have had a fully peaceful day then I will be happy,

– when everyone else in the family is happy, then I will be happy,

– when I have a glass of wine at the end of the evening and the children are in bed, then I will be happy.

Having a happy family is so important to most parents. I have come to see so clearly recently that we need to redefine what it means to be mentally healthy and also what it means to have parenting success. I had so many ideas of how my children had to behave in order for me to be happy, I put my happiness on their behaviour and how they were, as I innocently didn’t know the truth of where my happiness comes from. When I saw insightfully that my happiness comes only from thoughts that come to me, my children were more and more free just to be who they are and for me to be who I am – separate and loving.

I have had so much insight into family life, I have been blessed to see things from a different point of view which has made a huge difference to my peace of mind, no matter how it looks from the outside.

I thought that to be a good mother I had to have happy children. Happy children who did not argue, who did not hit, who did not have tantrums, anger or big feelings. I have come to see that this is not possible. I have come to know that it is entirely human to have all of the emotions and to try to reject any as not wanting them is completely nonsensical. I welcome my children’s worry, fear and anxiety as it has no meaning for me. The one that I struggled with the most was anger. Anger for me was not OK and was something that needed addressing. However anger is also passing through. It can have the meaning that we give it.

I innocently thought that my children’s happiness was my responsibility. I thought that I had to make them happy. I now see that this isn’t possible. I can be there for them, give them what I think they need: love, attention, food, warmth, shelter, activities, nurturing. But what they think about life, is what they think about life and I cannot change that. I cannot change thought for them. That changes on its own. I can teach them about the nature of reality and thought but I can’t change them.

Happiness only comes in this moment and if we pin it on some other time then it, most likely, will always evade us.

Happiness only comes from thought, if I think that it comes from outside of me and only when all my ducks are in a row, then most likely I won’t be happy, or I won’t notice when a happy feeling passes through.

My father has an expression,

‘You are only as happy as your unhappiest child’

This makes sense if we think that happiness comes from people, circumstances and places, but if we realise that happiness only comes from thought then this cannot be true. It is true that I am only as happy as my thoughts about my children – if I am thinking about my children in that particular moment. My children can be happy when they leave me and then unhappy when they see me and then thought changes and they are happy again.

One example of the transient nature of thought is this: A coach I once listened to many years ago, when I was still searching for the solution, said so beautifully and honestly that she lost two babies through miscarriage, she really mourned them and desperately wanted to have children. She went on to have two lovely children who she was delighted to welcome into the world. It was what she had always wanted and she thought that she would always feel this way about them. However, one day she wished that the children had never been born. She didn’t understand why. Why, having lost the first two children, would she possibly wish the second two to not be here. It didn’t make sense to her. But it makes perfect sense when we understand the nature of thought. Thoughts come and go and then we give it the meaning. It is OK that we give it meaning, but when we see that this meaning isn’t really true it feels such a relief. This coach had the thought that she wanted her two alive and well children not to be there but in fact of course she didn’t and as she noticed the thought passed through.

I innocently thought I could save my children from feeling as I did about the world. However I have come to realise that we cannot save others from their human experience.

One example of this is: My lovely mother in law died when my daughter was 6. We were devastated. I didn’t know how I psychologically worked at the time and I was really searching for peace within the turmoil that her death felt like it brought us. She was an amazing support to all of us in my family and we were very close. My daughter had a tough time. She thought that she was going to get cancer and die, Granny had died of cancer. If her hair touched her mouth she would scream and spit out all the spit that came into her mouth for a few minutes. I knew a little about feelings and I didn’t want to stop her from expressing herself. I held her and said that I knew it was OK. We had big chats about how you get cancer. But beneath it all I thought there was a problem and I wanted to solve it for her. I projected into a possible future that she was going to get OCD and have a real problem. I spoke to a charity who deal with bereavement in children and they told me it was normal for a 6 year old to react like this, but I didn’t hear it. I still wanted to save her. I didn’t realise that ‘it being normal’ was such an enormous message for me to take in. If I had realised fully that it was normal then I wouldn’t have tried to save her from her experience. I wouldn’t have had all the angst about it, I could have simply loved her as she went through the crying and spitting. I didn’t know any better so I don’t look back wishing it had been any different.

When we realise that most things that families go through are normal. We see that we can redefine what a happy family is – it is a normal family. We have this idea of what a family should be, and when the shoulds drop away we are left with a moment to moment experience of life.

When my second child was born, 18 months after the first, my husband went away with work. On his return he said ‘you have done brilliantly, everyone is still alive’. I would like to redefine parenting success to:

‘if everyone is still alive you have done brilliantly’

Or even

‘You are doing brilliantly’

This feels more true, as I know that you are always doing your best giving the thinking that you are having. That is such a precious thing to know about ourselves.

Thanks for reading to the end. I hope that this has inspired you to see that you are doing a great job at parenting and if you would like to see life differently then please do get in touch or come to a meeting I organise:

+44 (0)7879628312

sheena@sheenaoxer.co.uk

Parenting workshop: 17th March, 10 -12, Nancy Potter House, Topsham

Meetup: 1st Monday of the month, 1.15 – 3.15 Nancy Potter House, Topsham

Virtual meetups starting soon.

 

We are part of nature

I think it is time we were honest with each other. I mean really honest about how and what we feel.

There may be some people that breeze through life and feel great at every turn, always feel good about their decisions, their parenting and who they are as a person. On the other hand this may be a figment of my imagination. In any case, I am not one of these people. I feel everything- happiness, bliss, pleasure, peace, contentment, love, neutrality, frustration, anxiety, sadness, depression, confusion, anger, trauma, grief. I used to think that this meant that there was something wrong with me, as I should be happier. Now I realise that this is not true.

I have found a description of the way we experience life that has illuminated my innocent misunderstandings about my judgement of myself.

Within this movement of people, who see this description to be true for themselves, there is an honesty I have never encountered before. We say “All is well”, even if we are sad. We say “We don’t need fixing”, even if (in this moment) we feel depressed.

When we understand why we feel as we do:

We are not trying to push our emotions away.

We are not trying to choose the ‘good’ feelings.

We are not trying change the ‘bad’ feelings.

We are not judging how we are feeling.

Feelings come and go like the natural ebb and flow of life.

How refreshing to sit in front of a coach and say “I feel sad” and for them to say, in the most loving way possible, “I feel sad too sometimes, so what”?! Or “Me too” Wow! Really? I thought it was only me! Are we really able to say that to each other? Isn’t the coach supposed to be saying “Why do you feel sad?” and “How can I help you out of it?”.

There is something magical about knowing that other people feel sad. We realise that we are like every human being on the planet. We have our experience normalised. We all feel different feelings in different moments. We cannot hold on to a ‘good’ feeling, any more that we can get rid of the ‘bad’ ones. Feelings change. That is their nature.

I meet people during the day and no one really knows how I am feeling. What pain I may be in, be it emotional or physical. What peace I am in. We guess from the way people look how they are feeling. If I smile, people assume that I am having a ‘good day’ or feel good about life. If I say I have had a great day then they may be thinking that they should say that too.

I invite you to consider that a change in the way we see ourselves is possible. More and more people are depressed and suicidal, including sadly, children. More people are feeling traumatised by life. What if what we were feeling was completely normal, and completely OK. Could we really be OK with those feelings that had us running to the phone for support and comfort in the past? Could we really tell each other it is OK to feel whatever you are feeling?

Maybe we could see something different about life? We are part of nature and the way we experience life is part of that nature too, there is a pattern to all natural life. We see it all over the place, in fern leaves unfurling and spirals of snails shells, in viewing rivers from the air and blood vessels. There is pattern and logic.

There is a logic to how we are experiencing life. When we really see this logic to be true we are freer and freer of the things that used to be unbearable, or even annoying, for us. Nothing is wrong and there is nothing to fix. We are in this moment with whatever feeling we are having and all is well. Can you imagine that we could live in a world where that would be OK?

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Thank you for reading my blog. If you would like any more information about what I facilitate then please do get in touch for a chat. Also I have written a book that is simple enough for children, and it contains an adult explanation, it could help you to see life differently. The book can be bought here.

info@sheenaoxer.co.uk

+44(0)7879628312

I work mostly online so you don’t need to  be in Devon to speak to me. It truly is as transformational a conversation as in person.

 

A Gift

I was asked by someone, who also facilitates the Three Principles as a Paradigm, to recommend a book that teaches children about this understanding of the way we logically, psychologically experience life. She asked me because I have children of my own. I did buy a book a few years ago, only to find that my 8 year old, as she was at the time, was able to point out that it had misunderstandings in it. In fact, when I asked my daughter what they were she rushed off and brought the book back and showed me a page in which thought was being judged as good and bad. I was blown away. I didn’t know that she saw what I saw about how we work and I was delighted that she could see that you can’t split thoughts into good and bad ones.

So, finding that I couldn’t recommend the book I had, I had a go at writing a book myself from the logic of how we experience life as I see it, as best as I can. It was based on a situation that actually happened with my daughter. I was inspired to write a normal life story from within the logic of how we experience life and from outside of that understanding. It is a very simple story and one that I hope will be as much of a gift to others as this knowledge has been to me.

It has been the school holidays and over the holidays I had planned to let others know that this book is now available. However, my time has inevitably been taken up with my children. It feels good to know that this is OK too and that I don’t have to feel bad about not reaching my goals for myself. How often do we give ourselves a hard time for not doing the things we think we ‘should’ have done? It is such a relief to have that idea fall away as being important.

This book is my gift to you: it contains an understanding of how we experience life. Knowing how I experience life has made a huge impact on the quality of my life, reducing the ruminations and taking so much off my mind. I hope that this book will do the same thing for you, or set you on a path of curiosity of how you think you are experiencing your life.

Click here to order your copy from Amazon

It is written with children in mind but really it is for anyone who finds themselves searching, or overwhelmed with how they are feeling. It may well give you the peace of mind you have been searching for. Not just because of the words that are written, but because you may well have an insight when you read it.

Below are some comments from people who kindly reviewed this book before it was published.

If you would like to talk to me about the book or about the understanding and the difference it can make to you then please do get in contact with me. You can reply to this email or call me on +44(0)7879628312.

If you have any groups in mind that you think would like some relief from life then please do get in touch. I am happy to come and talk to any group.

Comments from others:

As a retired primary school headteacher and school improvement advisor (and as grandad to three children) I have seen first hand some of the struggles children face when they live in an innocent misunderstanding of where their feelings really come from. This simple tale, in two parts, will be so helpful in illuminating this. Children will easily identify with the story and by having the comparison of outcomes the simple but far reaching implication of knowing where our feelings come from is simply made. A great present for any child!
— Peter Anderson – Cert. Edn, Adv. Dip Edn (Cambs)

I work with business leaders many of whom happen to be parents. They often ask me to recommend books for their kids. I can’t wait to recommend this one! The simplicity of Sheena’s message and her illustrations really hit home. I expect the book to be read again and again planting a valuable life lesson in kids of all ages.
— Sandy Krot – Director of Learning at Insight Principles and co-author of Invisible Power: Insight Principles at Work

I love it. I work with business clients who have a tendency to overcomplicate and intellectualize the simplicity of the Principles. While this book will certainly serve as a wonderful introduction for their children, it may also help them have insights for themselves. There’s a beautiful innocence and hope in seeing our thoughts as neutral bubbles that will disappear. That’s a message for everyone.
— Cheryl Bond – (she is happy for us to edit) – Essential Resilience, Executive Coaching and Business Consulting.

I have taught this understanding to many hundreds of adults, and
when they see how much it reduces their psychological suffering and adds to their quality of life, they almost always say: ‘why aren’t children learning about this?’ Sheena Oxer’s story is a lovely and enjoyable way to help children catch on to the magic secret behind their experience, and likely save themselves a lot of the unnecessary anxiety and stress that so many people experience in life.
— Annika Hurwitt, Ph.D

As an author, teacher and therapist I often get requests from my students and clients for something to share with their young children. “If I only knew this when I was growing up!” is a refrain I hear often. Well, here it is in this early childhood gem on the Three Principles. It will be wonderful to now have something to share with parents. Just yesterday a young mom of four kids asked if there was anything she could give her children. I am so grateful I now can send this to her and all future requests.
— Joseph Bailey, Licensed Psychologist, Author, and Counselor

This simple book has the potential to eradicate the complexities, issues and problems that naturally occur when we don’t know where our experience is coming from. It offers a profoundly practical understanding that I feel is the future of the education system and indeed human evolution. What a wonderfully helpful resource for children – our future.
— Rudi Kennard, International Speaker, Innateevolution.com

Countless books have been written about underpinning of the imagination to the world we inhabit. Being and Time of Heidegger has 590 pages and Being and Nothingness of Sartre has 638 pages (to name but two). But nothing has been written so childishly simply in our choice of worldview as Understanding Thoughts and Feelings. In this book we are relieved to find that we all knew about a happier way of being already and so do not have to read through the history of philosophy (phew!) We do not have to think and see our thoughts as something outside ourselves talking about a world outside that. We can live with all of our being the nothingness and time of the moment. I recommend Understanding Thoughts and Feelings, A Walk to Grandpa’s by Sheena Oxer (16 pages including illustrations) as a guide for all ages and backgrounds!
— Philip Franses – Senior Lecturer Schumacher College, Director Global Synapses

How are you?

How many times a day are you asked ‘How are you?’ How many times do we answer this question in a day, a week, a year?

Have you noticed that when you are answering this question you have different answers for different people?

I have noticed that when I answer this questions it depends on who I am talking to, whether I feel that they really want to know or whether it’s just a polite thing that we say to each other, and they don’t really want to know the answer.

However, more recently I have been noticing that the answer that I have been giving has been dependent on what has happened to me in the past and has no bearing on what is going on right in that moment.

Before I knew about how I experience life I would have felt that there was no other way of answering this question but launching into what had happened in the past. It was normal to me to reel off what had been happening to me over that day or in the past few hours or even in the past few days.

For example: If a good friend asked me how I was on a Monday morning I would answer based on how my weekend was, how happy my children had been over the weekend- as I have a child who has a tendency to anger easily it had a great bearing on how I would feel on a Monday morning. It would depend on whether I felt my weekend had been scarred by a family fall out, or whether we had been so busy I hadn’t had a chance to sit down! I would answer ‘Exhausted!’ because it has been so busy. Or been very emotional as the weekend had been very difficult with my family issues.

However, now I insightfully know how I am experiencing life, life seems to be falling naturally more into the moment for me. So it was delightful for me to notice that after a weekend that was very busy and fraught with my nuclear family fall outs (… by which I was meaning nuclear as in close family but could also mean the bomb!…) I was answering ‘Very well thanks’. All the momentary angst from over the weekend had gone. I was not experiencing it any more as I wasn’t thinking about it. I didn’t feel as thought I needed to fix it in any way and I wasn’t thinking about it. Magic!

Another thing that can happen is that I answer the question based on what I am going to be doing that day… ‘Well I am so busy today I am feeling stressed about it’, and then list off all the things I am going to be doing. I didn’t realise that I was feeling the overwhelm of the future via my thinking about it.

Also more recently I was asked the question ‘How are you?’ when I wasn’t feeling very well at all. I was in bed feeling very tired and obviously had a virus of some sort and when I answered the question I said ‘Actually in this moment I feel really fine’. Had I tried to get up I might have felt like lying down again. However, this answer was also surprising to me as in the past I would have automatically said ‘Dreadful!’ based on how I had been feeling a few minutes ago. Also whenever I was ill I would get very low about it. Now there is nothing wrong with feeling low at all so I am not judging here, it is just an example. I would suffer with it greatly and have a lot of thinking about whether it was going to go away and how I wasn’t going to be able to look after the children. This time I sent my husband away with his friends to his planned ‘jolly’ and put one foot in front of the other. Whenever I felt overwhelmed with it I thought to myself, ‘What am I being asked to do in this moment?’, ‘What is right in front of me now?’ and whatever I needed to do, I had the energy for. I am certain that in the past, had I been feeling that ill, I would have asked my husband to cancel his jaunt. I would have been totally overwhelmed at the very idea of having to look after the children solo when feeling like that.

So next time you are asked ‘How are you?’ you can have a play if you like. Have a curious play and ask yourself:
– Am I answering from how I feel based on what has happened in the past?
Or
– Am I answering for how I feel right at this moment in time?

When we truly see that there is only NOW to experience life it really does become much simpler.

Most of what I had been saying in my replies to this question was bringing the past through time and space into now and answering with, in my example, what had happened to me over the weekend, bringing it into this moment. There is nothing wrong with this, it is what happens to us all. When we see how this is happening it can be there still or it can fall away but we know what is real and what is an illusion.

My motivation for this blog is to find those people who would like to change their experience of life in some way. You might have anxiety or depression or be searching for a way to make sense of life. If this is you then please do get in touch for a free chat.

Alternatively if you know someone that this might help please do pass it on. I was very much suffering with life even though from the outside I had a very good one. I was fully functional and successful while inside I was in turmoil. This can change and I would very much like to be that catalyst of change for you.

info@sheenaoxer.co.uk
+44 (0) 7879628312

I work mostly online so you can be anywhere in the world to speak to me. It truly is as transformational as in person.

What are your thoughts telling you about yourself?

On a Sunday morning I take my children swimming, and this month’s blog is all about swimming lessons as they are a beautiful illustration of what I would like to share.

Watching a swimming lesson the same time each week, week in and week out has been fascinating. And I think it is worth sharing what happens to me, so that you can see that you are working psychologically in the same way.

I sit at the site of the pool, or should I say crouch, as the benches are quite small. I wait for the lessons to start, and send my beautiful children off to their lesson feeling calm and content with myself and the world. During the course of the lesson I notice something, something that would have caused me some suffering in the past. I notice that I am feeling bad. Why? Well, I would have thought in the past, that I needed to change this bad feeling, and find out why I am feeling bad. To try to work it out and get to the bottom of it.

Now that I understand where that feeling is coming from, I don’t need to ‘do’ anything with that feeling. My feelings are simply a barometer for what I am thinking in the moment. Even if it is a subconscious, unseen thought. I don’t need to do anything with that bad feeling. It isn’t telling me anything about myself, it isn’t telling me anything about my past, it isn’t even telling me about something I need to do. It is a thought in the moment passing through.

I see this so clearly in swimming lessons. One moment… I am watching my children, feeling so proud of their listening skills, then I see that I am willing their elbows to move in a different way, then I notice that I want to check my email on my phone, or something will occur to me to tell my husband who sits beside me, and then I am feeling bad. Then I am wondering what we are doing next, then I make a mental list of what I need to get from the shops. Then I am feeling bad, and then I am looking at the clock, and then I am wondering if the life guard I am looking at is doing their job properly. Then I am thinking about a conversation I had last night, and then I notice I am feeling bad. Then I notice the children are doing their last jumps into the water…

… and they are out!

I am not very aware of the other feelings that come with these other things I have listed here, but that bad feeling… well, that catches me. Jerks me into the moment, makes me pay attention to it.

It is constant – the fact that we think. Not WHAT we are thinking about.

Before I knew about the interconnectedness of thought and feeling I would have got very caught up with the bad feeling and had my ‘morning ruined’ by trying to understand two things:

– Why I couldn’t be in the moment more, and

– Why I was feeling bad.

When I say my morning would be ruined. It would have gone something like this… I wouldn’t have been able to really enjoy myself as I would have been:

wondering why I felt bad,
feeling bad about feeling bad,
feeling guilty about feeling bad,
feeling that I shouldn’t feel bad,
judging myself for feeling bad,
wanting myself to feel different, and

willing myself to feel better.

… So many additional thoughts about feeling bad.

And these would tumble about in my experience when I innocently thought that I had to get to the bottom of it all in some way.

What do you think your thoughts are telling you about yourself? I thought that they were telling me that I was an anxious person, I even thought that I had a core of sadness running through me. I thought that they were telling me what kind of person I was, whether I was doing well today or whether I was doing badly. Now I realise that they are a – constantly changing – constant in my life. That I could not experience anything without them, sight, sounds, textures and feelings all come to us via thought.

If we all realised this about ourselves then life would be considerably different on this amazing planet we share. We think that life is about what we can achieve, how much money we can earn, what car we can have, how big a house we can afford. But life isn’t about that. It is about this moment right now. Nothing more, nothing less. People get concerned about that, fearful, that ‘If I truly see that there is only this moment, I will do nothing’ Well it isn’t really possible to do nothing for long and then we are moved into doing the next thing and the next thing and then all of a sudden we are moving in a completely different direction to the one we had anticipated, dreamed or imagined for ourselves.

Nothing of what I have said here is theory to me. Prior to finding this understanding of life I knew this in theory but very little of it in practise. There is something very life changing about insightfully seeing the interconnection of thought and feeling which changes our experience of life.

I offer one to one sessions online and in person. If you are thinking about booking a session with me and would like to see if we are a good fit for each other, I offer a free half an hour chat.

Please do get in touch if this speaks to you.

I also co-run Exeter Three Principles Meetup every month in Nancy Potter house, Topsham Devon.

This is a monthly blog and if you would like to be added to my mailing list please do get in contact with your email address: info@sheenaoxer.co.uk

How should I feel?

“Life is a contact sport” Sydney Banks

We feel differently about the same situation at different times. Knowing why this is, is the key to our freedom, yet we don’t see what is in front of us as we are innocently misunderstanding our psychology.

Our society tells us that we experience life via things external to us. We believe, for example, that our children can make us feel angry, that our past can make us feel depressed and that the sunset can make us feel relaxed. It is the message that I got as a child and it is the message that, at times, I am innocently passing on to my children. But it doesn’t stack up if you look at it logically.

I ‘suffered from depression’ for many years and was told that this was caused by something in my past. I spent a lot of time, money and effort trying to find out what that was, so that I could come to terms with it and move on with my life. I tried many different modalities, too many to name them all. With some I would talk about my past and all the ‘bad’ things that happened to me and the result was that I talked myself into a big black hole from which life looked very bleak. At no point did anyone explain my psychology to me or tell me that I was working beautifully. Yet we are, in any given moment, working fine. There is nothing wrong.

Other modalities told me what to do, for example mindfulness meditation where I needed to meditate, to train and quieten my mind and I needed to do this every day. I found that sometimes it worked for a bit but I was very much judging my experiences and it was an effort. The message I got was that I needed to DO something to feel better. With this way of understanding how we experience life, we don’t have to DO anything. It is a knowing that comes from within that lets us know that we are OK. This comes to us via insight.

I would like to point out that I see nothing at all wrong with any modality per se but this is my experience of them. If they work for you then absolutely wonderful. We are all on our own pathway through life and it is not my job to tell you that your pathway is wrong, but I feel passionate about letting people know how they are experience it at all.

Then I found the Three Principles Paradigm which explained how I work psychologically, how I am able to experience life. I went from searching for something outside of myself, something to try to fix or change me, to seeing the perfection of life. I could see ‘my depression’ for what it was. I didn’t need to change my experience of life in any way, I didn’t need to DO anything. This sounds like a big leap but it was effortless in the extreme and all it required of me was a curiousity about where I thought my experience was coming from.

So going back to our examples:

Our children can make us angry. If we look at this logically then we see very clearly that this cannot be true. I feel very differently about my children’s behaviour on different days, or in different moments. Also I can feel angry with my child and my husband does not so it cannot be coming from the child. It is my thinking about the child.

Our past can make us feel depressed. Well, how is it that our past can make us feel? we aren’t living the same thing over and over again, we are thinking about it and that comes with a feeling. In my case I didn’t ever get to why I was depressed but understanding that a depressed thought comes to me with a depressed feeling is enough. It frees me from wondering what it is all about, it frees me from trying to find out why. I simply know that it is a thought. I don’t need to change the thought, thoughts change on their own very quickly.

The sunset can make me feel relaxed. Not everyone feels relaxed when they look at a sunset, yes a lot of people do, but not everyone. As soon as there is an exception, we know that it cannot be true. For example a commuter coming home on the train may see a sunset and be so stressed about the day she has had that she doesn’t feel relaxed. She is thinking about her work, not about the sunset.

And back to my original question. How should I feel?

We have this idea that life should be a certain way. That some feelings are bad and we don’t want them and other feelings are good and we do want them. When we split our feelings into good and bad we spend a lot of effort trying to keep away from the ones we don’t want. But with this understanding more and more people are seeing that in any given moment I should feel exactly as I am. Sometimes I have feelings of sadness or depression or anxiety and I know where it is coming from. I don’t need to do anything with it, the feelings don’t define me in any way, they are simply telling me what I am thinking right now.

Syd Banks said ‘Life is a contact sport’. To my mind he was saying that we experience it all – the good, the bad, and the ugly. That we shouldn’t try to shield ourselves from feelings but see where they are coming from, and not expect it to be a smooth ride. We do and will hit bumps in the road and will experience all the emotions.

This was such a relief to me and it is a relief to clients who see it for themselves. I invite you to get curious about where your experience of life is coming from. Do you think it is coming from your past, present circumstances, or people around you? Or do you think it is coming from thought in the moment.

If this has sparked something in you and you would like a free half an hour chat with me do get in contact with me, I would love to talk to you.

I offer one-to-ones and intensives online and In person.

www.sheenaoxer.co.uk

I also co-run Exeter Three Principles Meetup every month in Nancy Potter house, Topsham Devon.

This is a monthly Blog and if you would like it to conveniently plop into your inbox next month please do get in contact with your email address: info@sheenaoxer.co.uk

One step to peace of mind

I
offer this blog in the hope that it will reach people who feel stuck
and that life is difficult. I want to connect to people who are
searching for a different way to look at life or who feel that they
need to change something about themselves to feel better. This is how
I felt about life and what I found was that I didn’t need to change
myself at all, all I ‘needed’ to do was understand myself in a
different way and the changes happened to me via insight.

I
was looking at my mothers magazine a few months ago and saw an
article ‘10 steps to Peace of Mind’. My reaction was a strange
and a new experience. I haven’t really seen self help articles
recently, I haven’t been reading books or magazines, as the search
for help outside of myself is stopping. In the past I wanted to do
something about my lack of peace and I would pour over such articles
taking notes and wondering if I would be able to get to the peace of
mind the writer was referring to.

10
steps sounds like we can really get on with doing something about it.
But what if we didn’t need to do anything? What if peace of mind is
available to us in any given moment just by insightfully knowing one
thing about ourselves? Would you be interested in find out more about
that?

In
fact what I have insightfully seen is that there is only one step to
peace of mind. This one step is to know where my experience is coming
from. I can only experience life via thought in the moment. Thought
always comes with a feeling and a feeling always comes with a thought
and that is, in essence, all I need to know for peace of mind,
regardless of the emotion that is coming up. Well that doesn’t sound
life changing! But it is.

I
had been innocently taught that a feeling comes from the past, or it
comes from my child, or what someone did to me. But in fact this is
not the case. Logically if we look at this – it doesn’t make sense.
If my husband could make me
feel something then surely he would make me love him. He cannot make
me love him, and in the same way he cannot make me angry. The only
thing that can make me feel is a thought. A thought that I am having
about my husband. Another example is that if my child can make me
angry, then how is it that I get angry with my child at a time when
my husband does not, and vice versa. It is my thinking about my child
that makes me angry and my husband’s thinking about our child that
makes him angry. When we look at our experience with this logic in
mind, a lot of what I said or thought about doesn’t make sense any
more.

My
feelings cannot come from the past, they come from my thinking about
the past. This incredibly simple missing link changed everything for
me and I went from feeling bound by my past to feeling freer and
freer from it. People who I have facilitated with this understanding
of life express such a relief knowing this about themselves in the
same way as I feel relief.

When
we get interested in this and start learning through insight we can
get stuck, feeling like it is us making ourselves feel things that we
don’t want to feel. But we can and do move past this when we see
this understanding more deeply, that it really isn’t talking about
‘what we are thinking about;’, it is talking about ‘the fact that we
think’. That ‘thinking’ is the only way I can experience life. If I
didn’t think then I would be dead. I used to want to stop my
thinking as I was judging it and sometimes it came with feelings that
I considered intolerable. But now I see thinking and feeling in this
moment is the only way I can experience life, and actually I don’t
need to be concerned about feelings so much as all they are telling
me is what I am thinking about right now. Nothing else.

This isn’t very sexy, it isn’t very glamorous. One of the educators of this said – if it was a box on the table, it would be the dullest box among other boxes made with gold and jewels. But inside this box is a depth we have never experienced before. The jewel of who we really are and how we can experience life at all. We see the miracle of life and fall into gratitude for it.

If
this sounds interesting to you and you would like to know more I
offer one-to-ones and intensives.

www.sheenaoxer.co.uk

I also co-run Exeter Three Principles Meetup every month in Nancy Potter house, Topsham Devon.

This is a monthly Blog and if you would like it to conveniently plop into your inbox next month please do get in contact with your email address: info@sheenaoxer.co.uk