Self Love Workshop

For some reason, I ended up partying like I was 17 last night which didn’t bode well for the self-love workshop I was booked onto at 10am this morning. I could think of so many things I’d rather be doing than going to a hippie dippie workshop with gongs and chanting – I could lie on my sofa and catch up with Celebs Go Dating, I could go and get a McDonald’s breakfast, I could go back to sleep… but no, I was going to this workshop damn it, it was my friend Heidi’s birthday (the same friend who made me drink tequila shots at 2am) and she wanted to go, so we were going.

When I arrived (5 minutes late) Lisa Pascoe greeted me with a mug of mint tea and I took my place in the circle. Everyone had a yoga mat, pillows, cushions and in the centre of the circle there were candles, flowers, crystals and oracle cards. Lisa told us a little about herself and her work as an NLP practitioner and life coach. NLP stands for Neuro-Linguistic Programming and it’s used for personal development and success in business. It’s the practice of understanding how people organise their thoughts, feelings, words and actions to produce results.

A talking stick was passed around as we took it in turns to share our tales of woe. We explained our daily struggles to the rest of the group; areas of life we found difficult, what we wanted to work on, what we were proud of. We thought about how different our lives could be if we took some time out to do things that made our soul happy, whether that’s yoga, meditation, journaling, reading a book or whatever self care looks like to you. We reflected on what we’d do if we weren’t afraid and we dared to imagine how life could be if we worked on overcoming a thing or two.

It was then time for an hour of ‘cocoon time’ where we could check out Lisa’s selection of books, read a magazine, do some writing, pick an oracle card, lie down, eat chocolate and flapjacks, whatever we wanted to do basically. How often do you have that time and space to yourself? I know I don’t. It was heaven. Lisa gave us a sheet of creative writing prompts. One of my favourite points was something I’ve heard somewhere else recently that I really like: ‘Imagine you’re an older, wiser version of your current self. Reflecting over the years gone by, you smile. You’ve had some great times and achieved all you wanted to. From this vantage point, what words of wisdom would you give yourself today?’ I decided I would tell myself to slow down, don’t panic and to trust life. You don’t need to be manic to achieve your goals. It’s so easy to let our inner critics hold us back but how about listening to your inner mentor?

When we regrouped we listened to some music and Lisa read a poem that was so beautiful I shed a tear. We did more sharing in the group and we finished off with an energetic song and some dancing. Yup that’s right, we were crying, we were dancing… it was a world of euphoria.

Sitting on that mat this morning I had a real sense of being exactly where I needed to be. I didn’t know what to expect, I was unprepared and hungover but it didn’t matter. I realised how urgent it is for me to slow down and give myself a break. I also quickly identified another area of my life I really want to work on and explore. Lisa offers coaching sessions using dynamic guidance and positive focus so it’s definitely something I’d like to try. I got so much out of the session it’s a no brainer for me to delve a little deeper into this world and she offers a free 50 minute, no strings discovery session.

Lisa will be holding these sessions monthly and she also explained about the Rewilding Retreats she runs with Lucy from Portsmouth Yoga; a weekend of nourishing food, yoga, sacred circles and other restorative practices. The next one is in April at The Sustainability Centre, check out her website for more information. I think I need to go.

I can’t wait to put what I’ve learned this morning into practice. Often I schedule in time for yoga or a swim, or some journaling but so often it gets pushed aside as I manically work. I need to realise that getting off that metaphorical treadmill is not something to push off the to-do list, it’s something that needs to go at the top of the to-do list. Making self care and self-love a priority will allow me to function well in all areas of life.

Thank you Lisa for creating this valuable space.

By Helen Ruff