For as long as I can remember i’ve liked to do things my own way. Even on our home videos I would say to my mum ‘I can do it Helen!’ when she tried to help me. When my mum tried to teach me how to tie a shoe lace I refused to listen and had my own complicated method that took twice as long, I was stubborn then and still am now!!
When I was nineteen I had my daughter Holly and was fiercely independent about being a mum, I felt I had to prove to those people who said things like ‘ah what a shame’ when I was pregnant (yes people actually said that!) and to myself that I could do it on my own and that I could do it well. I moved into a flat, just the two of us and those first two years of Hollys life taught me so much about myself, my strength, determination and will power. I am still extremely proud of my strength at that time and the mother/daughter bond that we have.
However, this has meant that I sometimes find it extremely challenging to accept help and support in more recent times and somehow feel like I’m failing if I allow people to help. This past year has given some great opportunities to work on shifting this attitude. Collaborating with other therapists has been a brilliant opportunity to join forces and create something really rich, something that one person would not be able to do on their own. It has been a time to reflect on my own strengths but also to acknowledge that there are somethings that I’m not so good at, like making a website for example, and that there are people around that can help.
Two weeks ago I collaborated with the wonderful Kate Larkin of Natural Wellbeing, we pulled yoga, mindfulness and creativity together to form a nourishing day retreat for a group of amazing women. The support I felt on this day from everyone involved was tangible, from working with Kate, Jo at Happy Yoga for providing the beautiful space that felt like a sanctuary in the middle of Newcastle and from all the women that showed up on the day. There was a moment when everyone was lying in Savasanna and Kate and I looked across the room at each other with big smiles because it was all going better than planned and everyone looked so happy and relaxed, a really magic moment that would not have happened if I’d been doing it on my own. We’re already planning our next day retreat for Autumn.
In yoga I am really enjoying using props such as blocks, straps, double mats and blankets during my practice for the extra support that they give my body, they help me work in a way that feels struggle free. Working in partners has also been a fun way of accepting help, a favourite at the moment is in handstand having a partner put their fist between my ankles, then squeezing the ankles so that its easier to balance away from the wall.
Yoga in the sun for donation based day organised by Shanti Bee
I feel so excited about the different collaborations ahead, the many things I can learn from people and being able to utilise the skills I have to give in such creative way. I also feel I can take a HUGE sigh of relief because I don’t have to do it all on my own!