Katie

Aug 112015
 

 

When I was first diagnosed and joined AYME (the Association of Young People with M.E.) in the UK, one of the first things I received in my welcome pack was a leaflet about the CFS/M.E. Functional Ability Scale. (In hindsight, it felt so strange receiving a ‘welcome pack’ in this way, even though I was incredibly grateful for it at the time. “Welcome- you’re really, really sick!”)

The Ability Scale gives you a rough indication of how far along the recovery ladder you are and is often used by experts, doctors and patients to monitor progress.

An Ability Scale Example

functional-ability-scale

Should I Use The CFS Functional Ability Scale?

The Advantages of using the Functional Ability Scale

  • It can give you reassurance when things are going well and also in the early stages of illness.
  • You can cross-reference your symptoms and find out whether or not a new symptom is something common or unusual.
  • It can help you track your progress.
  • It is a good way of explaining your symptoms/condition to others.

The Disadvantages of using the Functional Ability Scale

(This is going to sounds like I’m completely bashing this system, but I’m really not!)

  • The criteria are based on someone else’s idea of what your healing journey should look (i.e. your 40% might be different to someone else’s 40%)
  • The symptoms described are quite formulaic and although designed to help, they might only cover some of your symptoms, not all of them. (sometimes, you might be a mixture of two bands, for example).
  • The big one- if you have a relapse, you might feel like you’ve failed in some way.
  • The scale can encourage striving and pushing yourself too hard which, again, could lead to relapses.
  • Too much focus on the scale can cause a certain amount of stress and worry in the body, which might make you feel sicker, in the worst case scenario. Click here and here to understand what I mean.

At the end of the day, if referring to and using the scale works for you, then I think it’s a brilliant tool. But if you find yourself feeling disheartened and like you’re putting too much pressure on yourself, then maybe take a step back. Using the scale as a reference point occasionally is perfectly acceptable as well.

Let me know below, do you use a scale like this? Do you find it useful?

Love, Katie       xxx

Aug 072015
 

 

I’m often asked about which supplements I think would help with CFS/ME and Fibromyalgia, so I thought I’d round up a few of them for you today. Some of these featured prominently in my recovery and I still take a few of them today. Some are just for general maintenance and I’m not so rigid about.

vitamin pills

Obviously, I’m not a doctor or don’t have any medical training, so pleased consult with your physician or a pharmacist before starting anything or if you want to check if these bits and pieces will interfere with anything else. Just making sure, you know!

1) Flaxseed Oil

This was the first supplement I ever took while I was experimenting during my recovery and I have to say, the most effective. I really noticed the difference when I wasn’t taking it and just had to sing its praises in this MindBodyGreen article. I took about 1000-2000mg a day in vegan capsules. Flaxseed oil is great for replacing fish oil capsules if you’re vegetarian/vegan and really helps with your body’s levels of omega-3 fatty acids. It has been claimed that omega-3s reduce inflammation in the body and can help prevent chronic diseases such as heart disease (source).

However, I’ve recently been reading a few bits and pieces about the toxicity of flaxseed oil if consumed to high quantities. I haven’t as yet read anything which proves this completely (please feel free to let me know if I’m wrong!), but click here for additional information.

2) Magnesium

Whenever I’m feeling a bit stressed, angsty and all-over-the-place, I make sure I’m taking magnesium supplements. Magnesium helps me sleep better, feel a bit calmer and can also help with horrible Restless Leg Syndrome, which I used to get when I was ill. If you’re taking everything under the sun and you’re not sure what’s missing, this might be it.

3) A Good B-Vitamin Supplement

B-Vitamins help to release the energy we get from food, so we can have sustained energy throughout the day. It’s always worth asking at a health food store or pharmacy to see which supplements they would recommend. Some tablets seem to be more effective than others, and unfortunately, a lot of it comes down to price. With this and magnesium, you’ll have all ‘energy bases’ covered.

4) Coenzyme Q10

When I last lived in the UK, there was a bit of a Coenzyme Q10 craze- it was in anti-wrinkle creams, face wipes, you name it. I decided to buy them to see what all the fuss was about, and I have to say I was pretty impressed. If I missed a day of taking Q10, I really noticed the difference- my Mum still takes them and swears by them. I’d love to know if any of you have tried it.

5) Evening Primrose Oil

Our hormones often get forgotten about in times of stress, but ironically, they’re probably the things we should be looking after the most. Since I’ve started taking Evening Primrose Oil, I’ve noticed a big difference in my skin, especially around that time of the month, and in my overall moods. If you’ve been feeling a little bit moody and get those annoying hormonal spots once a month, I’d definitely give it a go.

Other Supplements I Love

  • Spirulina, or any other ‘greens’ supplements- the amount of iron and protein in spirulina is nothing short of staggering.
  • Maca- great for hormonal balance, but should be taken in moderation. I love adding the powder to my smoothies.

I would absolutely love to hear from you all on this one. Which CFS supplements have you tried and which have you found effective? Let me know in the comments below and let’s share with each other!

Love, Katie    xxx

Aug 062015
 

 

Ok, it’s time to get honest with you all. It might appear that from what you know about me already that I love, live and breathe yoga. Well, I do now, but if you’d asked me a few months ago, I would’ve been lying if I’d said I was practising regularly. Ultimately, even though this was painful to admit at the time, the reasons why I resisted yoga helped me to appreciate my practice as it is today.

You see, this is one of my patterns which has been unveiled to me during my healing and as I’m going through life at the moment. I have this horrible, perfectionist habit of projecting what I think something should look like on to a situation and then running away if there is even a shred of evidence that the experience is not living up to my unusually high standards. Living life like this is boring, unadventurous, limiting and suffocating, but it’s what I used to do with everything- jobs, studies, social situations and more recently yoga.

main_yoga

Picture taken from here

Here’s how this habit played out in my yoga practice (or not, as the case may be). The excuses I used to resist getting on the mat were:

  • that studio’s too far away
  • the classes are too expensive
  • I think I’ll be too tired after working all day if I commit to going at ‘x’ time
  • I’m sick of being in downward dog in that style of yoga
  • I don’t like ‘x’ style, so I won’t go today
  • the classes are 90 minutes, but I prefer 60 minutes
  • I hate triangle pose, so I’m not going to class in case I have to do it
  • I haven’t drunk enough water today, so I’ll just be crazy dehydrated if I go now
  • people always look at me funny when I go to that studio
  • I’ve been away from that studio for so long that I’m frightened people will think I’m rubbish
  • I’m scared that I’ve forgotten everything I’ve ever learned
  • I’m pretty sure that I won’t be able to get into ‘x’ pose as easily as I used to

Granted, some of these excuses might be quite valid, but as for the rest? They say more about me and my attitudes than they do about yoga, and as we all know, what you resist, persists.

I was avoiding yoga as a way of avoiding myself. How you do one thing is how you do everything. Yoga meets you right where you’re at- if you’ve had a stressy day, you’ll have a stressy yoga practice. If you’ve had a breezy, kind-to-yourself day, your practice will reflect that.

When I eventually made it back to the mat and dived into practice, it was one of the best sessions I’ve ever had…and now, I’m hooked. The poses that you want to avoid are the ones that you can learn the most about yourself from, so I try and dive into them whenever possible. Handstands, bring it on- I’m not great at them, but one day, I will be.

Yoga, like everything in life, is a constant journey of discovery and self-knowledge. Let go of the fact that it has to look a certain way. It’s one of the best self-love practices you can give yourself and you’ll learn more and more about yourself than you ever thought possible. It doesn’t have to be athletic and you don’t have to bend yourself in half or look like you have 12 limbs to do it. Just tip-toe into it gently- give thanks if you brush up against that thing you’ve been avoiding about yourself. It might just save you.

childs pose group yoga

I choose to surrender on the mat

Love and pigeon pose (my person favourite!),

Katie     xxx

 

Aug 042015
 

 

As many of you have read in my recovery story, my life as the typical Type-A personality career girl I was destined to be turned out to be completely different from anything I could every imagine. … I just need to stop and pause for a while after writing this- the difference between who I am now and who I was then is just so staggering. Wow.

candleImage taken from here

Having spoken to some of you on a one-to-one basis and having experienced all this myself, many of you are probably wondering how to move on from the past and how to cope with losing who you once were. Your body and mind want to hang on to what they know is safe- they want you to stay small, keep you in a bubble and protect you from more pain, and to be honest, when you’re feeling so vulnerable, feeling protected and secure is often what you instinctively want to do. You know what happened in the past, and you managed to get through it, so it’s comforting just to think about it some more. I know why it’s so difficult- in all honesty, you don’t really want to let go. There’s a vain glimmer of hope somewhere at the back of your mind that if you just keep thinking about what life was like before that you’ll somehow be able to relive it. That the sights, smells, colours and natural physical vitality you once felt come flooding back to you almost as quickly as you became sick, and you’ll wake up from this horrible nightmare that’s swallowed you and your life.

Acknowledging the Changes

My first realisation that I have to grieve some parts of my life wasn’t when I went to hospital, or was clawing along the walls trying to make it to the bathroom as you might think- it was when I came home just before Christmas and I had to deal with my school friends. We’d all just gone our separate ways to start University and the inevitable ‘I haven’t seen you for 3 months- isn’t Uni amazing?!’ pub meet-up had been in the calendar for months. My friends got in touch with me, not knowing I’d been ill, to arrange this night out. Thinking I just had the flu, they kept ringing me over the next few days. The calls then became sporadic ‘what’s the point, you’re probably not coming anyway’ texts…and then they just stopped altogether. Forever…

I was hurt, I mean really hurt. It wouldn’t have killed them to come and see me- I mean, it wasn’t like I was going anywhere, right? This really upset me for a few days, but one day, after I had no more tears left, I just melted into acceptance. How could they even begin to know what was going on with me? How could I even entertain having them in my life when I’m so ill? It’s not their fault- they did try to involve me. This had to be someone’s way of letting me know that I just need to be alone for a while.

Losing my friends and ‘grieving this loss’ however was just the first thing I had to let go of and forgive myself and the circumstances for. I came to grieve the loss of my freshers year at Uni, the loss of my physical strength and enjoyment of exercising, the loss of my thoughts which were seemingly always being carried away by someone else (they can’t have been thoughts that belonged to me.) I had to mourn the loss of my dream career, the loss of my independence, the loss of choice, fun and spontaneity, and more importantly, the loss of life.

Changing Emotions

I went through a period of being beyond angry- I just could not accept that things were going to be this way. I had to ‘wake-up’ from this soon, surely? I was angry with my parents, when all they’d done was care for me and made sure I was ok. I was angry with my friends for having abandoned me and for living out their Uni years in the way that I should’ve been.

I was angry with this stupid, stupid illness, but most of all, I was cripplingly angry with myself.

How to Accept Changes

Forgiveness became a vital part of my acceptance process- I have done a lot of forgiveness work, and I mean, a lot. It doesn’t have to be hard or dark or emotionally fraught. For me in fact, I always felt incredible lightness and clarity after doing it. It’s not the type of thing that can just be done or said once (there’s a lot of emotion to wade through), but it gets easier. You don’t feel as though you’re carrying so much anger around in your body, you might notice that you get in an extra half an hour of sleep than you normally would or just feel ‘different’.

After this comes the acceptance part. Oooooh boy. This is not easy, especially when every instinct in your body tells you that all you have to do is get on with things and you’ll snap out of it any day now. You want to get more medication, do more exercise and get on with your 9-5 careers- anything to show your body who’s in charge and that you’re really not that sick, honestly. But the truth is, as you probably know already, that this is the fastest way to relapse I know and shows that you’re really not listening to your body.

grieving-quote-1

Image taken from here

So, how can you move through all this?

Go easy on yourself. Write one of these. Do this. And this. Have fun. Love being in bed- you certainly won’t be able to do this as much when you’re healed and running around like a lunatic. Make friends with your illness- understand it and be kind to it. Be completely indulgent and go gaga for self-love.

Please know that for every little thing you have to lose, get angry with, forgive, accept and move on from, that there is something else bigger, more beautiful and more dazzling waiting for us at the other end. It cannot be any other way. For every tear, there’s a smile just waiting. For every heartache, there’s something just around the corner that’ll make your heart burst with joy. For every missed opportunity, there’s another one with your name engraved onto it in huge gold letters. For every ying, there’s a yang- this is how our world is balanced and maintained.

Think about how flippin’ great it’s all going to be. It doesn’t have to be great right now, but trust that one day it will be, and more than you could ever possibly know. More than I could ever possibly put into words or convey to you. There’s just love and it’s all for you.

Turn your loss into your greatest teacher and your heartache into outrageous courage.

Love and patience,

Katie   xx

Aug 022015
 
Screen Shot 2013-08-16 at 7.58.44 AM

 

I just wanted to speak to you all about your own, unique healing journey and how we can go about starting our own. I know that a lot of you are wondering what it should look like and how to go about it, so I put this video together for you.

There might be a few things in the video that you don’t want to listen to, but ask yourself why the idea or ideas make you uncomfortable.

Hope you enjoy the video my darling- I’d love to hear your feedback below!

Love and healing,

Katie      xxx

“In the midst of difficulty lies opportunity.” – Albert Einstein

On a technical note, there was something very strange going on with the sound on my computer (think I was sitting too close to it!), so maybe turn your speakers down a touch! 

Some blog posts that you may find useful after watching this video:

Are you Frightened of Change?

5 Reasons You Might Be Scared of Getting Better

The Chronic Fatigue Manifesto

11 Ways to feel Instantly Better with CFS

What do you need right now to heal your CFS/ME or Fibromyalgia?

Aug 012015
 

 

This recipe is adapted with gratitude and love from one by the amazing Queen of Quinoa

Ok, I’ll admit it- I’m definitely one of the ‘stick to the recipe’, not particularly creative cooks (I’ve had some huge disasters in the past!), but soup, I can make. In fact, I think it’s probably my ‘thang’. My Mum makes amazing soup- I think a bit of what I’ve learned comes from her (thanks Mum!)

This green vegetable soup recipe is a thick, luscious meal for those cold winter nights, or for when you feel as if you’ve been lagging behind on the nutrient-front.

soup with copyright

Ta-daaaaaaaa!

The Low-Down

Prep Time: 10 minutes (ish)

Cooking Time: 30 minutes (ish)

Total Time: 40 minutes (ish)

Serves 4 – 6 (I always make double and freeze some for later- nice!)

The Ingredients

  • 3 cups broccoli heads (the heads of about 2 large broccoli – save the stalks for your juices!)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more to garnish (optional)
  • 250g frozen spinach
  • 250g frozen peas
  • 1 large Spanish red onion, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1½ cups chicken or vegetable stock
  • 1½ cups filtered water
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • A pinch of ginger (optional)
  • A pinch of mint (optional)

soup pot with copyright

Cooking up a storm!

The ‘How’

  1. Preheat the oven to around 218°C/425°F. Drizzle some coconut oil or olive oil into a baking pan.
  2. Put broccoli heads into a large bowl and add 1 tablespoon olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper. Toss broccoli around in the bowl until covered with the oil and throw onto the baking tray (not literally!). Roast for 15 – 20 minutes until broccoli has softened and browned slightly (keep an eye on it!) Flip the heads over halfway through.
  3. While the broccoli is roasting, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil in a large sauce pan over medium heat. Add chopped red onion, the garlic and sauté lightly for 2-3 minutes until fragrant. Add the spinach, peas , water and stock and bring to a boil, stirring until spinach has thawed and is mixing in well with the other ingredients. Season with salt, pepper, mint and a dash of ginger. Turn down to a simmer and cover.
  4. When broccoli is done, add to the pot, give it a good stir and keep covered on simmer for another 5 minutes.
  5. Remove the soup from the heat and blend on high until smooth (if you have a blender, you might want to do this in batches, but my zizzy stick seemed to handle the whole lot in one go pretty well!) Return to the pot, season with additional salt and pepper to taste if required.
  6. Serve immediately. Garnish with additional olive oil in the cente of the bowl for a bit of a flourish!

Others Ways to Jazz it Up!

  • Use coconut oil instead of olive oil (that’s what I used in the first picture above- it tastes divine!)
  • Garnish with walnuts, almonds and/pine nuts
  • Add a squeeze of lemon over the top just before serving
  • Experiment with left-over greens or veggies you have- celery and carrots would go well here as well
  • Serve with gorgeous gluten-free rice bread or homemade crackers for a bit of a change
  • Experiment with using cumin and turmeric if you want a spicier soup

So, there we have it! Hope you enjoy it my darlings- looking forward to diving into my second batch of this later on in the week!

Love and greens,

Katie   xx

 

Jul 282015
 

The CFS Collective is now live! Click here to be take to the main page.

The number one complaint I get from those with Chronic Illness?

Nobody understands what it’s like. Nobody gets it.

I know exactly what it’s like to spend hours and hours on your own, feeling totally lost and not knowing exactly when it’s all going to end. My recent experience with a nasty hip injury has really brought this terrible feeling of isolation back to be with a thump.

(Click here to read one of my articles on loneliness).

Well, I think it’s time to try and help anyone out there who’s been feeling lie this. My heart goes out to you, and I really needed to take action in some way.

Introducing…

CFS Collective launch

What is the CFS Collective?

The CFS Collective is a way of enabling those with Chronic Illness or with an interest in the Chronic Illness Community to come together and share stories and support.

You can communicate with your partner as little or as often as possible, but it’s all about knowing that someone else gets it and you can support each other in whatever way you like- sharing stories, quotes, friendship and wellness tips.

How does it work?

After processing your application, you will be taken to Google form in which you will fill in some information about you and in what you’re looking for in a partner or Collective friend.

I will then try and pair you up with another member of the community as soon as I am able and as soon as there is a suitable match for you.

You will be matched based on your interests and preferences in a partner.

Is it like a Chronic Illness Forum?

No, this is not a chronic illness forum- it’s unlike any other chronic illness community. You will simply be communicating with another member of our community via email initially. You are then free to share other contact details afterwards if you would like to.

chronic illness community

What if I don’t get on with my partner?

I completely understand- we’re all different! If this is the case, you can just contact me and I’ll try and pair you up with another member of our community asap. Please understand that I can only match you up a certain number of times if friendships are unsuccessful.

Will there be a charge?

Yes, there will be a charge for all the administration involved in processing applications and matching you up with other members. This is a one-time only fee, and you won’t have to pay again for the duration of your participation in the programme. As you can understand, we are a group increasing into the thousands- that’s a lot of admin!

What are the advantages of the CFS Collective?

Support in your ongoing wellness journey, keeping the vibes and support high, and sharing stories with a like-minded person who knows what you’re going through and what you’d like to achieve in life.

In a nutshell, it’s beautiful, shiny, warm and worth its weight in gold.

This video might also help a little to explain how it works:

I’m interested- what’s next?

The program is now live! Click the button below to be taken to the information page.

buy now button

I’d love for you to comment below my daring if you’re interested in this project- I think this could be the start of something big!

Sending you so much love- thank you for your love and support,

Katie    xxx

(P.S. You are not alone.)

(P.P.S – because we all love another P.S! Please share this with any of your friends and relatives who would benefit from it- it might just make their day.)

Jul 272015
 

its ok

It’s ok.

It’s ok to just go to yoga because you want to move your body, not because you’re looking for spiritual ‘ah-ha’s.

It’s ok to enjoy your job (yes, really) and not be swept up in the need to change it.

It’s ok to be like your parents.

It’s ok to procrastinate sometimes. Maybe you’re not really up for the end result after all.

It’s ok to want to learn more, and all at once.

It’s ok to fail (that’s how you learn).

It’s ok to go for the greasy option from time-to-time. Just promise me you’ll enjoy it.

It’s ok to just want to flop on the couch all day if your body’s tired and calling for it.

It’s ok to just work for the money, just for a little while (Be gentle with that light at the end of the tunnel).

It’s ok to try something once and not go back to it.

It’s ok to not be ok.

It’s ok to want to read fiction amidst the quest for spiritual enlightenment and greater meaning. Your brain needs to ruminate, breath and imagine.

It’s ok (and safe) to say ‘no’.

It’s ok to have unending to-do lists and get lost in reveries.

It’s ok to not know what your dreams are. Let them chase you.

It’s ok to speak your mind gracefully and with elegance.

It’s ok to sway.

It’s ok to feel stuck, petrified, made of concrete- all in one hour, one minute, one second.

It’s ok to go against the grain, just do it wilfully. We have eyes in the front of our heads to keep us looking forwards, not back.

It’s ok to switch off from the internet for a while.

It’s ok to keep things simple (My word of 2014, my only resolution for this year. Keeping things simple, you see?)

It’s ok to stand up for yourself (sometimes, this muscle grows weak).

It’s ok to flop.

It’s ok to feel like you’ve done a damn good job.

It’s ok to feel proud. Puff that chest out. Own it.

It’s ok to surrender (this is not the same thing as giving up).

It’s ok to go for the cheap option sometimes.

It’s ok to cry for no reason. Let it all fall out of you.

It’s ok to go out for walk because the walls feel as if they’re closing in on you.

It’s ok to admire. Be in awe and wonder. Savour it.

It’s ok to dance, sing, ponder and sigh.

It’s ok to connect.

You’re ok my dear….you’re ok.

Love, Katie      xxx

Jul 272015
 
Quotes about Change

 

If you’re anything like me, you love a good quote! Even though I think it’s easy to be bombarded with motivational quotes, especially on social media, that feeling when you read something and it just grabs you is pretty special.

I love collecting pretty, uplifting quotes, and you can see them all by following my Pinterest board, ‘Word to Live By’.

I don’t want to take up too much time with my thoughts in this post, but just let the quotes speak for themselves.

Quotes about Change

10 Quotes about Change

  1. “When we are no longer able to change a situation – we are challenged to change ourselves.” – Viktor E. Frankl
  2. “Since we cannot change reality, let us change the eyes which see reality.” – Nikos Kazantzakis
  3. “We can’t be afraid of change. You may feel very secure in the pond that you are in, but if you never venture out of it, you will never know that there is such a thing as an ocean, a sea. Holding onto something that is good for you now, may be the very reason why you don’t have something better.” – C. JoyBell C.
  4. “The first step toward change is awareness. The second step is acceptance.” – Nathaniel Branden
  5. “Change will not come if we wait for some other person, or if we wait for some other time. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. We are the change that we seek.” – Barack Obama
  6. “When we least expect it, life sets us a challenge to test our courage and willingness to change; at such a moment, there is no point in pretending that nothing has happened or in saying that we are not yet ready. The challenge will not wait. Life does not look back. A week is more than enough time for us to decide whether or not to accept our destiny.” – Paulo Coelho, The Devil and Miss Prym
  7. “The only way that we can live, is if we grow. The only way that we can grow is if we change. The only way that we can change is if we learn. The only way we can learn is if we are exposed. And the only way that we can become exposed is if we throw ourselves out into the open. Do it. Throw yourself.” – C. JoyBell C.
  8. “Stepping onto a brand-new path is difficult, but not more difficult than remaining in a situation, which is not nurturing to the whole woman.” – Maya Angelou
  9. “Some changes look negative on the surface but you will soon realise that space is being created in your life for something new to emerge.” – Eckhart Tolle

My Favourite Quote about Change

10. “We can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.” – Albert Einstein

Do you have a favourite quote about change my darling? I’d love you to share it below- let’s spread the good energy!

Love, Katie    xxx

(Looking for a few more ideas on how to navigate change? Click here  my darling.)

Pinterest quotes about changeFollow my special ‘Words to Live By’ board on Pinterest

Jul 222015
 

 

To round off this amazing week of chakra exploration, I just thought I’d go through each of the chakras and give you all some insights as to what I uncovered about my emotions and the symptoms I was feeling in my body. When I started exploring energetic healing, I was about 85% of the way to full health, but the work I did through energetic healing, together with some really uncomfortable, sometimes confronting personal work, brought me up to 100% and beyond. Energetic healing would bring me up to about 90% on the days I had it, but I had to go the other 10% of it on my own. I’m still learning about the mind-body connection everyday, but am so pleased to know intuitively that I am healed of CFS and that it’s never coming back.

chakra

Image taken from here

Let me go through each chakra individually and see if anything resonates with you.

Chronic Fatigue and Chakras

Root Chakra (Chakra 1 / Red) – Represents feeling ‘rooted’ or grounded, represent our foundation and stability

Although I always felt as though I was someone who had both feet firmly planted on the ground, I realised very quickly that my root chakra wasn’t reflecting this belief. There were a few things behind this imbalance. When as I was ill with CFS and when I would relapse, I was constantly worried about money. Even though I was incredibly lucky to be supported during my illness, I was always petrified that one day, the rug would be pulled out from under me and that I’d have to force myself into work for security and stability. If you’d seen me back then, you’d know that there was no way I was well enough to do this, so I had to change my thinking.

Instead of being petrified that the money was going to run out, I decided to be grateful for the money we had and that I was fortunate enough to be looked after. I trusted that the money would appear and that the universe would provide security, strength and stability for me. Meditation and yoga have really, really helped me with this.

Sacral Chakra (Chakra Two / Orange) – Represents creativity, sex and your ability to accept new relationships/situations into your life

I’ve always been an incredibly creative person. I come from a long line of fiercely creative and independent people, so I figured that my sacral chakra would be fine. The truth is, this is often my most troublesome chakra, and it still is when I go for treatments today.

My creative outlet used to come through music- singing, playing the piano, improvising, absolutely anything related to music and I was there. However, after I made certain decisions in my life, this area kind of shut down- I had minimal creative expression, and we all need this to remember the playfulness and joy in our lives. This translated through hormonal imbalances and incredibly painful periods. I also found that I wasn’t as adventurous or open-minded as I had been and that accepting new perspectives or opinions in my life was incredibly difficult. After energetic healing however, I found that I was able to open my heart and thoughts a bit more, and was therefore able to sing again, and enjoy the process without hanging on to the outcome or worrying about what others thought of me.

Solar Plexus (Chakra Three / Yellow) – Represents confidence, thoughts and feelings, and our ability to be in control of our lives

When I’ve spoken to healers and therapists, they’ve said that everyone has chakra 3 issues. When I was very ill, I wasn’t really eating so much, so my 3rd chakra was completely undernourished. Even when my diet improved, I still found that I had digestive issues and that I’d often have an upset stomach.

The 3rd chakra is our seat of power. It takes in all our nourishment and therefore keeps our immune system and our bodily functions strong and in working order. If our solar plexus chakra is out, we know immediately because there’s something not quite right with our digestive system. I also noticed my stomach was bloated and upset when I was going through stress or an emotional time, as if my body was not ‘digesting’ new information or new situations properly. Your liver also forms part of the 3rd chakra system, so the fact that I was holding lots of anger meant that my liver wasn’t always functioning and detoxing as well as it should (having jaundice after glandular fever when I was 21 was a huge indicator that chakra 3 was out of whack!)

If you’re having digestive issues, ask yourself whether there’s anything in your life you still need to accept. Are you still struggling your way through your illness and putting up a fight?

Heart Chakra (Chakra 4 – Green) – Represents our ability to love and be loved, to enjoy what we love

Having always thought that I had time for others and that I was an outgoing, bubbly person, I was incredibly surprised to find that my heart, to a certain extent, was blocked through anxieties and stresses I had gone through in the past. Surely after years of questioning and trying to live my life it would be ok by now?

Sadly not, as I’d been keeping my heart closed to avoid getting hurt again, to protect myself and to avoid diving into anything I loved, just in case it was taken away from me. It was safer that way, no? Even though, I was head-over-heels in love, this was the only glimmer of green light shining through my heart chakra. The pains I used to get between my shoulder blades was the back of my heart trying to heal (honestly, when was the last time you thought about the back of your heart?!)

The heart is a powerful, beautiful energy centre that keeps us going, pumps blood round our body and keeps us in the now. When we’re excited, our hearts jump- when we’re nervous, our hearts go into override. Our hearts intuitively know all.

Throat Chakra (Chakra 5 – Blue) – Represents our ability to communicate clearly and to speak our truth

Throat chakra + stifled passion for singing = major 5th chakra issues!

Aside from not singing as much as my soul or spirit would like me to, lots of forgotten throat chakra issues made themselves known to me during my sessions. When I was explaining past experiences, my throat would clam up, go dry and I’d cough like a mad woman. I had trouble admitting that I wasn’t ok, and that everything hadn’t been going as well as I’d let everyone believe. I was very much brought up to believe that parents were hugely important (which of course they are!), and I saw my parents as authority figures to be obeyed for a lot of my life, rather than realising they were family and just wanted the best for me. I found it to incredibly difficult to speak up, often not even bothering because I didn’t want to argue, or I knew what their answer would be.

Although this didn’t manifest physically, I felt deflated, alone and unheard, like my opinions and thoughts counted for nothing. Where in your life do you know you should speak up and get honest? Are you really being heard by others?

Third Eye Chakra (Chakra 6 – Indigo) – Represents our ability to see the big picture, inner knowing, insight and vision

I think out of all 7 chakras, this is the one that I’m having a great relationship with at the moment and that I’m coming to trust more and more. Over the last few years, I’ve become very intuitive and seem to have an ability to read between the lines. I’ll often the hint that what someone’s saying isn’t exactly what’s going or that there’s more to the story than meets the eye.

This can, however, by a bad thing, especially if you’re feeling vulnerable, paranoid and you’re really concerned about what others think of you. In my younger years, I’m sure my third eye chakra was completely overactive- I worried so much about what others thought of me and seemed to suffer a lot from Impostor Syndrome, especially when I first started my working life.

I am now much more secure in my feeling sense and in my emotional intelligence, and see it as a gift rather than as something I have to dumb down or keep quiet about. I’m absolutely intrigued to see where my 6th chakra takes me- woohoo!

Crown Chakra (Chakra 7 – Violet) – Represents our ability to connect fully with our spiritual selves

Up until about 4 years ago, I had no interest in spirituality, yoga, self-knowledge or exploring our place in the universe. I was brought up Catholic and went to church, well, religiously(!), but decided at the age of 16 that there were things that I had to figure out for myself. Chakra 7 has been my constant guide and companion now for the last 4 years and I’m completely in awe of it. Having forgotten about it, or not accepted it for so long, getting to know it is a constant thrill and learning journey. I love knowing what the universe throws into play and what I’m guided to do and seek on a daily basis. I know therefore, that my crown chakra is balanced, clear and in working order. This is not to say that it always is, but I’m very easily able to bring myself back into my innate spirituality and accept the messages and gifts the Divine has for me.

———————————————————————————————————————————————————————

So, there we have it! The last in this week’s series of chakra posts! I really hope you’ve enjoyed them my darling. Chakras and the whole realm of energetic healing are a constant sources of fascination for me and I learn something new about them whenever I dive into another book or article. Consider working with the chakras and incorporating this knowledge into your own life- it doesn’t involve huge changes or financial sacrifices, and who knows what you’ll discover?!

Love and energetic healing,

Katie      xx

My favourite chakra cleanse meditationbelinda davidson

Jul 212015
 
Give Up Self-Improvement

 

As many of you know, I’m off work at the moment with a hip injury that I actually first suffered with 5 years ago. Well, the devil makes work for idle minds and you can spend a lot of time on the internet when you’re recovering and can’t move about very well! (It’s amazing how much time you can waste on the internet!)

Fortunately, there is a good side to this. I was speaking with my gorgeous Take Care Project lovelies about the work of Robert Holden recently, and have just bought his beautiful book, ‘Life Loves You’, a collaboration with Louise Hay. This phrase, ‘Life loves you’, is bringing me so much comfort at the moment, so I really feel called to dive more into these incredible teachings.

Give Up Self-Improvement

Why You Should Give Up Self-Improvement

‘Why You Should Give Up Self-Improvement’ in an incredible YouTube video that I stumbled across this morning. It might seem strange that a self-help teacher should give us such crazy advice, but there is a lot to be said for Robert’s way of looking at things and it makes a lot of sense. If, like me, you find yourself striving and trying hard to make yourself a better person, the advice Robert offers in this video is like a breath of fresh air.

I had to laugh when I stumbled across this video, as in many ways it echoes an old article of mine that I shared on my Facebook page last week. Self-help is a fantastic tool, but it’s not designed to make us feel inadequate. We need to use it more as a guide, rather than constantly believing that we’re a problem to be fixed.

Interviewed by Addictive Daughter, Robert addresses this in this incredible Hay House video and lots more besides.

(The main lesson of the video starts from 9:20, but the rest is fantastic too!)

What did you learn from the video my love? Are you striving for self-improvement or self-acceptance? Let me know in the comments below- I’d love to chat about this.

With love from the sofa, Katie     xxx

* Image by Alex Wigan via Unsplash

Click for: Robert Holden’s Website  //  Robert’s Facebook Page

Jul 152015
 

 

It’s been a while since I’ve put a vlog together for you all, so I thought I’d talk about a topic which a lot of you seem to mention at the moment, which is…… guilt. Guilt and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome from my experience go hand-in-hand.

Screen Shot 2013-07-26 at 8.35.10 AM

I can see you all nodding your head already…well, take a look at the video my lovely. I hope there’s something in it that resonates with you. Make sure you do your homework!

If guilt is an issue for you, please take a look at these other posts:

I’d love to hear your comments below- how does your illness make your feel guilty? Did your homework bring up any issues for you? I’m ready for you all, with a big hug and mug of tea!

Love and zero guilt,

Katie     xx

Jul 152015
 

I’ve never considered myself to be a dishonest person. I’ve never told lies, and I don’t make a habit of it. When you look at the concept of honesty really closely, you’ll see that for most people, it means not being dishonest with other people. You don’t want to upset or disappoint someone else, you want to cover up for the fact that you don’t want to do something, you make over-elaborate excuses. Everyone does it and society, unfortunately, is full of it.

But have you ever stopped and thought about how honest you’re being with yourself? As ‘woo-woo’ as it sounds, this was one of the hardest things for me to deal with and it still challenges me every day. Having said that, getting honest with yourself in CFS is one of the most liberating stages on your journey.

TypographicFolio-14

Picture taken from here

I’ve always been incredibly independent, fiercely and stubbornly so, so having to move back in with my parents when I was 18 after my diagnosis was beyond all comprehension at the time. It was embarrassing, irritating and made me feel so small and defeated. My parents are two of the most wonderful people in the world, but taking this huge step was such a blow for me. Being reliant on them was even worse.

When I felt strong enough to go out, or even just go to the supermarket with my parents, I saw it as a huge achievement. I’d made it, there was no going back. I’d get stronger every day and then I’d be back to normal…until I woke up the morning realising that all my energy had been zapped in that one afternoon, leaving me with an empty tank once more. I know you know what I’m talking about- you want to use the slightest amount of energy when you’ve got it, not build up your reserves and take your time. Here is where I had to get really honest with myself. I had to pace it. I had to reserve my energy and work with it. I had to have faith.

This was a very long process. I’ve lost count of the number of times I said I was feeling fine to do something, when in fact I knew I was going to regret it the next day. My body begged me not to bother this time, but just to wait a day or two.

Here’s the thing. You have to honour yourself and be honest with yourself, especially in the early stages of recovery. You owe it to yourself and your life. If you know that saying ‘yes’ to the girly shopping trip (hours of walking  and waiting around, chatting, trying on clothes) will leave you feel wiped out the next day, ask yourself if you should really do it. This doesn’t mean abandoning meeting people all together. Maybe you could meet for a lovely green juice in a cafe in the morning, and then let them get on with it. It’s heartbreaking, I know, but even more heartbreaking is the ultimate realisation that you are not looking after or honouring the most important being in your life. You.

There’ll never be another one. You. Are. Essential. You. Are. Divine.

I still struggle with this today, and have made many mistakes by letting my ego get the better of me. I’ve taken full-time jobs when I knew deep down that I wouldn’t be able to handle it and would barely be able to manage part-time. I’ve come home exhausted and barely able to speak, knowing that I should’ve listened to the warning signs and not gone to meet people after work. These actions were usually generated by what other people might/might not think of me if I did/didn’t do something. Dishonesty is a form of fear, and man, was I frightened. Just remember, the people that matter will only care about you and want what’s best for you.

You have to be honest with yourself so you can be honest with others. 

I’m still working on this, and it’s hard and humiliating, but ultimately humbling. You need to prioritise yourself. I used to be terrible at this, but I’m getting a little better, day by day.

Love your vulnerability. Love being true to yourself. Let everything else fall away.

You.

Love-yourself-first1

Picture taken from here

Love and sincerity,

Katie   x