How to let go of your dreams (in order to manifest them)

Birthing naturally

Birthing naturally

You know those times in life when you have a dream, a vision of something you really want to do, have or be, but however hard you try it just won’t work how you imagined it would?

It’s not easy to walk away and trust that life knows what it’s doing is it?

Sometimes however it’s the only way.

Maybe your timing wasn’t right, or maybe what you think you want and what’s for your highest good are two different things!

It’s usually only when we look back, with the benefit of hindsight, we realise and understand this.

Soren Kierkegaard said (this quote has profoundly affected my life):

“Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards.”

Talking about ways to bring new life into our days, takes me back to my quarter of a century in midwifery …

Natural birth

How was your birth?

No, not the birth of your children. YOUR birth.

Was it fast, slow, early, late, complicated, painful – or gentle and unhurried?

Do you even know? Have you ever asked?

I was born at home, which I see as a great gift. My mum may not agree, as she was alone for the whole labour – the midwife only deigned to arrive at the last minute.

From what mum’s told me, the labour was uncomplicated and drug-free. The only part that was a particular ‘problem’, was when the midwife finally came and proceeded to instruct mum not to push, as she hadn’t quite got her equipment ready!

Ridiculous woman. It’s just not something you can forcibly stop, once the baby’s ready. Having said that, entering the strange confines of a hospital whilst in labour can halt progress, but that’s another story …

I do wonder if mum did attempt to resist that forceful expulsive urge. She was only 26 years old, with no-one to support her (my dad was working away). In which case, it’s feasible I got frustrated, as the strength of muscle contractions would’ve been forcing me further down, despite mum holding back.

What has this got to do with anything you may ask? In a previous post I discussed the importance of breathing, and said I’d share this with you.

During our Holistic Life Coach training, we were encouraged to discover more about our birth story. It seems possible for messages to be processed by the brain during the process, which can subconsciously affect our life.

So I can postulate that my fear of being buried alive, and importantly my ‘fear of drowning’ that wasn’t overcome after the white water rafting incident, could have originated from being ‘forced’ to stay longer in the birth canal than necessary, at a crucial point, and feeling suffocated.

It sounds far-fetched, but who knows what information could be hard-wired in our brains?

I’m also aware of being prone to impatience. I figure being held back like that, could be one of the reasons! However, mum’s story is she told the midwife in no uncertain terms she was pushing whether she liked it or not.

I could also picture the fact that my birth was a fairly rapid one, with no obstructions. And I was early! Well, only a week or two, which isn’t exactly ‘early’, in fact it’s well within the parameters of ‘normal’. But I didn’t hang around.  Once I was ready I was coming out!

Mine was a ‘good’ birth. How often is birth in the twenty-first century as gentle, physiological and ‘normal’ as this I wonder?

The 4 Ps – Power, passenger, passage, psyche

During labour, there’s four major factors affecting progress:

1/ The Power is around the strength of the contractions, how well nourished is the mother, how well rested is she? What position is she in – lying flat on her back in bed is unlikely to assist the power of labour, though lying on her side if she’s exhausted could. Changing position frequently can also help. Standing up and walking around helps enormously.

2/ The Passenger of course relates to the baby as she/he descends the birth canal – or not! There is an ‘ideal’ position of course, head down and flexed (chin on chest), ‘left occipital anterior’. Or in layman’s terms, on the left side and looking down. In this position the fetus is optimally placed to negotiate the twists and turns of the pelvis. Other positions may birth vaginally, but could cause more challenge.

3/ The Passage relates to the anatomy of the mother’s pelvis. There’s a number of shapes and sizes, the measurements of which drifted out of my head as swiftly as I read them, like most anatomy and physiology! Suffice it to say, some dimensions work well and others not at all.

4/ The PSYCHE – such a vital P, and one that’s not always acknowledged in the production line assembly of birth in a modern, ‘keep to budget, get them through quickly’ labour ward. In a planned home birth the psyche is calm and in control, in a noisy labour ward such as those seen on dramatic TV programmes, adrenaline kicks in and can halt contractions in an instant, leading to a cascade of unnecessary interventions.

Little can be done about the woman’s anatomy, but the other three can be helped to progress in a variety of ways that can literally shift the process from ‘stuck’ to ‘smooth’.

Breathing, as always in life, is crucial.

One of the (sadly many) practices I found extremely distasteful in professionally ‘managed’ childbirth, was encouraging women to take a big breath, hold it, and push forcibly as long as possible until her face was beetroot red and she soon became exhausted.

What also happened during this process is that the oxygen supply to the fetus was interrupted.

When the woman is ‘allowed’ to adopt a position conducive to giving birth, and follows the spontaneous nature of breathing and automatic expulsive efforts, the baby is more often than not born gently and with as little trauma to either party.

No force, letting go and allowing nature to take her course.

Listen, learn, change your mindset and let go 

You have a dream.

You’ve hit a brick wall.

You’ve worked hard to push through the barriers that have been presented to you. But they’re not giving.

It can be frustrating. But continuing in the same direction regardless of the obstacles can be foolish.

Like the obstructed birth, it may happen eventually but at what cost in terms of trauma?

Consider what you can change that may lead to a different outcome? Maybe you can look at the dream differently? Or move the timescales you’ve put upon yourself?

Start to consider a change to your mindset …

Or is it time to let go?

If things aren’t moving, then don’t keep forcing it. Because when that happens, when you force against nature, you’re much more likely to encounter an obstructed labour!

Wait a while. Let go of expectation. Be open to possible changes of direction and opportunities that weren’t originally around.

“Don’t push it, don’t force it
Let it happen naturally
It will surely happen
If it was meant to be” ~ Leon Haywood

Your dreams

I’d love to hear your thoughts and experiences of following your dreams. When it worked well, what was different to the times when it didn’t?

As always, if you want to consider a coach to support you to birth your dreams, do get in touch.

How to push past fear to awaken and liberate your life


“We awaken in others the same attitude of mind we hold toward them.” Elbert Hubbard

How many times do you catch yourself saying “If only he/she/they would change, life would be so much better.”? Or, “I’d love to do …. (fill in the blank) but I’m too scared.”

It’s something I often hear clients verbalise,  and I’m aware it’s been something I’ve succumbed to at various times.

Liberation comes when we wake up to the fact that we can’t force someone else to change, as much as we feel what we’re seeking to change could be of benefit to them.

However, by changing ourselves, we discover that magically those around us begin to change too.

Or do they?

Could it just be the way we see things that changes? And when we react and respond differently to events, and life in general, due to the changes we’ve personally instigated, then our perception of others alters accordingly.

Take an example of changing the way you look at things to face your fears …

Facing fear

Can you think of any fears you’ve faced and overcome, by changing the way you see them? Maybe it’s happened by talking yourself through them, and seeing a new perspective, with a cleaner, sharper and brighter lens?

I can recall a few from the past twenty years or so of my life:

  • Arrivals at Auckland Airport

    Arrivals at Auckland Airport

    Fear of flying – In the 1990s, I had an irrational fear of flying – nothing major, it didn’t stop me from holidaying in Europe, but I hadn’t ventured further than that. I recall during those short flights, breaking out into a cold sweat during take off and landing.

  • However, in 2001 I flew all the way to New Zealand, literally to the furthest point you can go from England without being on your way back again.

I’ve repeated the journey south or north 24 times since then!  I can’t recall how I changed my mind, only that my desire to go was greater than my fear of flying. Once there, my need to remain in contact with my family and visit them frequently, enabled me to maintain my mindset. I told my mind a different story to the one it had previously pictured.

I read about the risks of flying and informed myself that there was more risk crossing the road than flying in the twenty first century. I discovered that long haul flights are so much nicer than short ones. And I chose to see the journey as a part of the ‘holiday’, the joy of time to sit still and eat, drink, read, sleep, watch movies, chat.  Visiting different airports became a delight too, so I added that into the reasoning.

  • Fear of enclosed spaces – I have no idea where or when this originated, but I had a fear of being buried alive. I remember watching a film where it happened (thankfully she escaped at the last minute – I held my breath and could hardly watch!). The absurdness of my fear brings to mind the YouTube video ‘Stop It’, by Bob Newhart – if you haven’t watched it yet I recommend it. You can’t fail to laugh out loud at his direct coaching style.

I took steps to overcome this fear during my 2001 to 2002 sabbatical to New Zealand. On a solo road trip , I visited ‘Waiotomo Caves’ in the west of the North Island and went ‘Black Water rafting‘. This entailed crawling into a hole in the ground, sitting in a cave, then walking, jumping and swimming underground in a wetsuit and hard hat with light, before finally sitting in the rubber tyre we carried, leaning back, holding the feet of the person behind, turning off our lights and watching glow worms illuminating the cave roof – resembling hundreds of brightly twinkling stars.

It was one of the most magical experiences of my life, and one I repeated three years later with my younger daughter – just to prove I could! But it took some self-talk initially to persuade myself I could do it and enjoy it.

  • Fear of drowning – I suspect this is similar to my being buried alive challenge. I’ve tried scuba diving in a swimming pool twice, but each time my fear overwhelmed me after only a short time. Then in 2005,  on my aforementioned daughter’s NZ visit, she asked to experience white water rafting.

Buoyed by the black water rafting experiences, and feeling I’d taken myself way out of my comfort zone a number of times, I imagined I’d accomplish a change in view once more. Unknowingly, I chose to book us onto an adventure that would heighten my fear rather than diminish it. We rafted on the Kaituna River near Rotorua in the North Island of NZ.

At the bottom of the Tutea Falls, which, unbeknown to me at the time is the world’s highest commercially rafted waterfall with a 21 foot drop, our raft overturned (you can watch a clip of a raft descending it successfully here). I woke up underneath the boat, due to thankfully still holding tightly onto a rope, in an air pocket only slightly higher than my head, and managed to scream and hyperventilate simultaneously. 

I don’t dwell on the possibilities had I not held on, though did initially imagine the scene of me waking up at the bottom of the waterfall, panicking and completely forgetting the instructions to curl into a ball and allow the water to lift me up should such an event occur. The outcome of a black eye and a few tears was minor considering the potential alternative of something far more sinister.

React, respond or retreat?

Throughout our lives we’ve been watching and listening to events that occur around us – and even those we have no personal experience of through the media’s portrayal and more recently the Internet.

We make assumptions and form beliefs about the world and others, from the knowledge we gain daily. The interesting thing is that we all do this differently. If four people watched the same film simultaneously, in the same room, and then were interviewed, they’d each recall parts that resonated with them and spoke to their particular beliefs – and they’re unlikely to be the same ones.

So when we’re faced with a situation that daunts, scares, enrages or confuses us – take a step back. Consider what story is being brought to the forefront of your mind. Then consciously choose to look at it from other angles, not just the first reaction. Respond thoughtfully, rather than reactively. See if you can find an alternative tale to tell your brain.

Or retreat. Walk away. Be ok with it not being ok. We don’t succeed at everything, and if we can be open and honest with ourselves, we’ll learn a great deal when we ‘fail’ – it doesn’t make us a ‘failure’.

Know that most of the time, you CAN push past your fears and change your self.

Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgement that something else is more important than fear.”~Ambrose Redmoon 

Did you notice how my last two posts have had quite a focus on the importance of breathing? More about that next time …