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The Relationship Series with Mandy Spray

Posted by on Oct 4, 2017 in Featured, Uncategorized | 0 comments

The Relationship Series with Mandy Spray

]Here is an episode from the Relationship series with Ankush Jain about the Misunderstanding of Stress & The Power of Support. Enjoy!...

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A pretty good Mum ………..or am I?

Posted by on Mar 23, 2017 in Blog | 0 comments

A couple of weeks ago Brian and I went to Scotland to do the finishing touches (again) to our beautiful little house in Scotland (no, not a stone-walled croft with roaring fires, but a seventies bungalow with central heating, stunning all the same!) When we left home in London in the early hours of Thursday morning, our daughter was feeling unwell. She had a fever, a back ache and was feeling miserable. I suspected flu. I was tempted to stay at home with her. But, we went anyway and, as she pointed out, she is eighteen, her brother was at home and she would be fine. Roll forward to the early hours of Friday morning and a 5 am phone call from Jen, and boy was she upset!! The pain in her back was terrible, she had been googling, and she was convinced that she had kidney stones or worse and was probably going to die! She wanted to call an ambulance, there and then. I wanted to be at home, there and then. So, what do I do? The ex-nurse, the homeopath and the oh-so-enlightened human being. I panic, that’s what. And then I start googling. Not to see what her symptoms mean, but to see the quickest way to get home to London. My racing mind became encyclopaedic as I entertained thought movies of kidney disease, slipped discs, meningitis, cholera (cholera?!). Now, I’m ashamed to say that a lot, probably most, of my thought movies were not really about Jen at all, but about me (sorry Jen), as I hit a rich seam of guilty mother gold. I shouldn’t have left her. I should have known she would get worse. I shouldn’t be having a nice time in Scotland. I should have made sure she had all of her vaccinations. I should have hugged her more when she was a baby (really? I never put her down, ask anyone!). I should have breast fed her (hang on a minute, I did until she was 2!). I should have been a better mother, I SHOULD BE BETTER. At that point, I ground to a halt as I realised exactly what was going on. I was making movies, freaking myself out and pacing around on a toxic high of adrenaline, cortisol and whatever else my perfect body produces in response to my panicky thinking. I suddenly became aware of my surroundings. I was back in the room. So, already feeling calmer I looked around for something to do, only to notice Brian on his mobile calmly chatting to Jen and making suggestions. Jen was also in a calmer state, funny that! To cut a fairly short story even shorter, Jen got better. With the help of big brother, water, remedies, paracetamol and sleep, a couple of days later she was back at work. She did go to the GP and was given antibiotics, but that’s another story! I also became helpful. Once I had returned from la-la land I knew exactly what to do, what suggestions to make, how to be good enough. And we even stayed in Scotland for another five days. And that was fine. So, to make it all about me again, what was that all about? Simple really. I temporarily forgot about my natural state...

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With Magic on my Mind

Posted by on Oct 4, 2016 in Blog, Three Principles | 0 comments

Those moments of magic seem to be appearing more frequently these days, and todays moment was particularly special and poignant. Let me explain ……….. My children and I are like the proverbial ships that pass in the night. My son, aged 22 works weird hours in a pub and for a performing arts school. My daughter, aged 18, also works in a pub, has a good social life and often sleeps late. We are rarely in the same place at the same time. I count my blessings regularly. I am constantly amazed at these two special human beings, so different from each other and yet sharing some common and beautiful values. They share their views with passion and compassion, with a fierce honesty and integrity that leaves me quaking as I try to find the middle road of middle age. They are good for me, and I for them. We share stories, ideas and opinions. Not always agreeing but always listening. I love the way that they, and I, are so curious and fascinated by each others opinions and experiences. Living with and loving them has made a difference to the way that I coach the teenagers that I work with too. I seem to have a better understanding of their issues with exams, relationships, parents and uncertain futures. I hear the voices of my wise and wonderful son and daughter, as I lovingly coach other people’s equally wise and wonderful sons and daughters to a place where they remember that they too are magical and majestic human beings. And I feel humbled by the privilege of sharing their hopes and fears as we clear up their innocent, sometimes awesome, sometimes painful misunderstanding of how Life works. I often hear “Oh, now that makes sense” or “Wow, it’s really simple isn’t it?!” as they look lighter, younger and less burdened by their seemingly complicated lives. “When did you last smoke weed Mum?” asks my daughter, with genuine interest and knowing with certainty that the answer will be an honest one. I admit to being a wee bit grateful that my honest answer is “before you were born honey” and not “last week”, although I know that there would be no judgement coming from her, only me. My son explains that weed is not what it used to be and people need to be more careful these days. He talks about his plans for work and travel and I bask in his words and his earnest passion. Seriously! How did they get to be so gorgeous?! Fifteen minutes we had together this morning. Just fifteen minutes before my son left for work and my daughter went upstairs to beautify an already perfectly beautiful face. Suddenly and abruptly there was silence around the kitchen table and I held my breath in order to savour the moment, to hold on the the magical experience of what had just happened. Then I exhaled a deeply satisfying sigh as the moment passed. For I knew that everything was okay because more magical moments were waiting in the wings for me, for us, for everyone. In fact every moment can be magical, every moment is magical. The very fact that we are experiencing this amazing life is magical! I sigh again, get up from the...

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Relationship counselling (or not)

Posted by on Aug 7, 2015 in Blog, Innate wellbeing, Three Principles | 0 comments

In my last blog I talked about a friend who thought that I was a relationship counsellor, which I’m not, or am I? I’m sure that I’m not a counsellor, more of a facilitator or teacher I guess. I call myself a coach but even that doesn’t always sit right with me. I decided a while ago that it doesn’t matter what I call myself so I’ll leave it there, for now at least! Now the word relationship intrigued me more, so I decided to look it up to see what it means according to google. The first meaning that I came across jumped out at me, so that’s the one I’ll go with. Here it is: the way in which two or more people or things are connected, or the state of being connected. I love this. The state of being connected! So in actual fact, because of the fact that we’re all made of the same thing (stardust!) we’re all connected and therefore we’re already in a relationship with each other, everybody and every thing? So, in practical terms, I work with people who are wanting to fix/end/start/change/understand their relationships with their partner/children/parents/boss/neighbour/teacher/friend and of course themselves. And my job is to lovingly connect with them (have a relationship,) in such a way that they are in the state of being connected, and will, from that place, have new ideas and insights about the situation that they are in or indeed anything else that comes to and from Mind. Whilst in that state of being connected I can talk about the inside out understanding of life and they will hear that as a truth because we are together, connected and in a relationship! I love my job ………………………… If this blog makes you curious to find out more about this stuff, please do contact me. If you are left feeling totally confused and discombobulated then please don’t worry – you’ll know what to do when you need to know! Much love Mandy...

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Party time!

Posted by on Aug 6, 2015 in Three Principles | 0 comments

I was at a party last week and found myself sitting next to a friend who I hadn’t seen for a while. It was great to catch up. After he’d told me about his retirement and what his children were up to, he then said, “So, what are you up to these days? Sue tells me you’re doing some sort of relationship counselling.” I immediately felt awkward and panicky as my thoughts tumbled into a frantic search for some sort of description that would serve to explain what I actually do and, to be honest, let me off the hook! This split second of discomfort was followed by my head clearing and a feeling of relaxation as I started to explain what I do. “Well, it is sort of like that” I explained, “although not exactly counselling. it’s more like listening to how people are seeing their lives playing out and exploring why it might seem like that” Fortunately, he wasn’t put off and actually asked for more. What followed was a really gorgeous conversation about thoughts and feelings, Universal Mind and relationships in general. It turned out that his beloved dog had recently died and he was well aware of the poleaxing thoughts that seemed to come from nowhere, remind him of his grief and create a storm of uncomfortable feelings. He was also well aware of the fact that, although these thoughts appeared to come from nowhere he was able to let them pass through if the time wasn’t convenient for him to fully feel them. “It’s the same with the kids” he continued. “One minute I think I love them to bits and the next minute I think I can’t stand them! So that’s just random thoughts and I don’t need to do anything about it. Now, that I like. Same with the wife and the mother-in-law! Hah, now I like that even more!!” “So really” he said “what you do is help people see that any thoughts that they have are just passing stories and because they’re not real we don’t have to do anything with them if we don’t want to?” I don’t remember much more of the conversation, although I do remember him saying how much this all made sense and how, when he was a policeman, he and his colleagues could clearly see that one thought believed and acted upon could send people down a path to the courtroom and even prison. He wasn’t sure that some of these people weren’t born bad and deserved everything they got, but we’ve got time and he wants to explore more. We finished the conversation with him saying; “You need to talk to kids about this, if they knew that their thoughts weren’t real, we could save a lot of them going to prison and ruining their lives”. We went our separate ways with me promising to send him some more information (and of course, The Little Book of Clarity!) and I’m sure the conversation will continue, after all there’s plenty more parties booked in the diary…………………………… If this blog makes you curious to find out more about this stuff, please do contact me. If you are left feeling totally confused and discombobulated then please don’t worry – you’ll know what to do when you...

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What’s my job here?

Posted by on Jun 11, 2015 in Blog, Innate wellbeing | 0 comments

My daughter has recently sat her last AS level exam and is in that lovely state of euphoria when, despite a few more weeks of school, she has the summer stretching ahead of her with the promise of a heat wave! The last few weeks have been fascinating for me, watching her wrestle with a whole jumble of feelings as she revised for her exams, and knowing that I had nothing to do except love her. Don’t get me wrong there were times (usually when I was tired or busy) that I wanted to give well meaning advice or platitudes, and a few times it seemed to be such a good idea that I did exactly that. Saying things such as; “You’ll be fine honey” or “Exams aren’t that important”. I even suggested that “you know that if you stop having worrying thoughts, you’ll feel a lot better”! I’m sure that you can picture the cold, stony stare as my ‘helpful’ suggestions were met with either scorn or tears. After a particularly tricky evening where two hours work on the computer had been lost at the press of a button, I tried to make things better. I gave advice, sympathised and commiserated. Generally interfering in a storm that I had forgotten would choose it’s own path to a calm place without any help from me. When my well intentioned support met with more tears and upset I took myself off and asked myself what I thought might be going on. My thoughts were rattling and revving up. “Surely my job as a Mum is to be supportive and helpful? Offering advice where needed and even sometimes being firm with my suggestions to take it easy or stop worrying. No-one said that parenting was easy and of course teenagers have strops and can be unappreciative and even rude sometimes!” As my thoughts escalated into seemingly justified disappointment and righteous indignation I could feel myself getting more tense and het up. I took a deep breath and in that moment I remembered exactly what was going on! I was sitting here making up stories about my daughter, about teenagers in general and even about my role as a parent, and all of this was of course accompanied by revved up feelings. With that remembering came a sense of peace and even humour as I settled into a far nicer feeling of love and compassion. Something led me to the kitchen to make my daughter’s favourite drink and as I waited for the kettle to boil I felt a huge wave of compassion. Of course she was feeling stressed and annoyed, who wouldn’t when so much seemed to be riding on them doing well in their exams? Her expressions of upset were perfectly natural, her own innate wisdom knew exactly what to do and would settle her into a calm place, particularly if there was no interference from a well intentioned Mum! I took the drink up to her and apologised for my interference. She was already feeling better and now in a place where she felt safe to talk because I could listen and respond from a place of love and not interfere. No doubt there will be more times of upset between us (you should see us clothes shopping together!)...

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Jus’ leave ‘em be maid, they’ll settle down

Posted by on Jun 2, 2015 in Blog, Three Principles | 0 comments

I was brought up in a small Devon village, in the midst of an active farming community. As child I was part of a gang of bony kneed, freckle faced explorers who loved nothing more than to roam around the countryside making dens and searching for escaped convicts (that’s a story for another time!) I particularly loved hanging about the farms, helping the farmers with their chores whilst trying desperately to avoid being bitten by the farm dogs or pecked by ferocious gaggles of geese. Farmer Brown (honest, that really was his name!) was one of the good guys, he seemed quite happy to have this grubby little tyke helping out and would patiently answer the barrage of questions that I would fire at him. A job that delighted but infuriated me was letting the hens out of their henhouses in the mornings. They would flap around, squawking loudly and pecking at each other and anything else that got in their way – they always seemed so excited to be free of their nocturnal prison and acted as if the whole world was new to them. I would tear about with them; trying to stop the fights, steering them towards their feed and generally aligning myself with their frenetic energy. Farmer Brown would stand quietly watching, with an amused smile of his face, saying nothing. I remember one particular long hot summer when I spent most days ‘helping’ on the farm and, each day would be given the job of letting the hens out. After one particularly crazy morning where I had been pecked too many times and felt as if these hens were never going to learn how to behave I welly-stomped over to Farmer Brown and fired my frustration at him in a form of endless questions: “Why won’t they learn? They keep hurting each other and they’re stupid. Why won’t they just be nice to each other and just eat their feed and take turns!” I was hot, bothered and near to tears and waited for some wise words from Farmer Brown. His reply was short and sweet and made no sense to me at all. “Jus’ leave ‘em be maid, they’ll settle down” he said, before wandering off to see to the calves. Even though his words made no sense to me, I thought hard about what he had said and decided to try exactly that the very next morning. So, there I was, the next day and against my seven year old better judgment, opening the hen houses, stepping back and leaving ‘em to it. Yes, there was some squawking and flapping for a while but I resisted the urge to sort them out and just stood back and left ‘em to it. As if by magic, and just as Farmer Brown had suggested, every one of them, within a few minutes had settled down. Now they were all feeding, pecking for worms and roosting quite happily. Their ‘pecking’ order had been established without any interference from me and they really were settled down. The peace that settled over that beautiful and magical field in Devon can’t be described adequately here but suffice to say that Divine Wisdom was at play in that little piece of Paradise. I was reminded of this memory recently...

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Why I decided to call myself a Coach

Posted by on May 27, 2015 in Blog | 0 comments

I had always thought that being a coach meant being an expert at something, sharing your expertise with another person in order for them to increase their skills and showing them how to attain a pre-set goal. I now realise that a coach can be that, but it can also be something quite different.   One of the dictionary definitions I came across is as follows: someone who you pay to give you advice about how to improve your life.   About six years ago someone close to me hired a Life Coach as they were having problems with life; feeling stuck, not knowing where to go and how to get there. The Coach they chose was a lovely woman who would spend an hour a week, helping to identify goals and setting targets to reach those goals. My friend enjoyed the sessions and always felt good after them, but, within a day or two they would feel like rubbish again and any motivation they had felt would seem to disappear. After a couple of months and several hundred pounds my friend stopped the sessions as he felt that he was obviously just the type of person who naturally felt rubbish and was not going to get anywhere in life. Now this Life Coach, a lovely lady who cared deeply, was working to the definition above. My friend paid her and she gave him advice to improve his life. To do that she needed to believe three important things – that he would pay her (he did), that she would give advice (she did) and that his life needed improving (she did). Now this is where I got confused. I could not see that my friend’s life needed improving, because I knew without a shadow of a doubt that he was absolutely fine, in fact he was perfect as he was. Yes he was feeling that he was stuck and directionless but I knew that that would change and that he would come out of the fog when he remembered that he was perfectly fine, with a resilience and wellbeing that equipped him to really enjoy life. I also knew that he didn’t need advice because he knew everything that he needed to know. So, to me Life Coaches, at least the one that I met, were caring, decent people who had others best interests at heart but just had things a bit wrong. So that’s where I left it. Fast forward a few years and I came across the Three Principles. I quickly realised that this understanding made sense of life and pointed me to something that I and everyone else, including my friend, had had all along – innate health, wellbeing and infinite potential to live life to the full. Wow! This realisation was so profound for me that I knew that I wanted to share it with anyone who would listen and boy did I try! Now the thing that caused me the most sleepless nights was what to call myself! A teacher? Maybe but not really as that had a different meaning to most people. A Facilitator? Maybe, but that seemed to cause a lot of confusion and resulted in my struggling to explain what on earth I meant! I toyed with other names; mentor,...

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Having trouble making decisions

Posted by on May 26, 2015 in Blog | 0 comments

Decisions, decisions This morning I had a problem with making a decision. For a while I stood statue-like, barefoot in my kitchen, genuinely not knowing what to do. The paralysing decision that I had to make was whether to have mint tea or chamomile! I felt myself getting tight and irritable as I tried to force a reaction towards green or yellow, I was even holding my breath – how crazy! Then the increasingly familiar ‘remembering’ crept in. The remembering that my tight, irritated feeling had nothing whatsoever to do with the choice of teas, but rather that I was locked into paying attention to a neutral, powerless thought about the tea and giving it so much attention that there was no room for anything else, in particular knowing my next step! After a while I started to breathe again, felt my mind clear and came to an easy decision – fresh lemon water was to be the preferred option. Hah, where did that come from? Five minutes later I found myself sitting with my drink thinking over the whole decision making process and gently pondering over how many decisions I make in an average day. My mind was clear and relaxed as the thoughts about the whole decision making process came into consciousness – this was an interesting ride. I had always thought about decisions as being Big. Things. To change jobs or not, to get married or not, to take up the ‘offer’ to have a mammogram or not, to start a diet or not. I had been unaware that I must make hundreds or even thousands of decisions every day, most of which appear to be made unconsciously. So who, or what, was making those countless decisions if it wasn’t Me? The Me that I thought had to focus and concentrate before any decision could be made. Something else was deciding for me; when to breathe, when to digest, when to put one foot in front of the other, even when to whistle a tune or scratch an itch! So, what is that Something if it’s not the Me that I thought was Me! The decision maker, the decider, the rationaliser! Okay, so now it was getting weird as I tried to make sense of these thoughts. I started to feel irritated and uncomfortable. Then again, just like before, the increasingly familiar ‘remembering’ crept in. The remembering that my irritated and uncomfortable feeling had nothing to do with decision making or even thinking about decision making! Once again I was locked into paying attention to a neutral, powerless thought (this time about decision making) and giving it so much attention that there was no room for anything else, in particular finding the answers I was seeking! And so it happened, just as before. I felt my mind clear, the irritated and frustrated feelings softened and left, to be replaced by a spacious and delicious calmness that showed me that the other Me was always there. Admittedly often invisible because of my cluttered mindful thoughts, but Always There! Once I found myself in that space, the need to ‘know’ how decisions were made just disappeared, in fact the need to ‘know’ anything disappeared to be replaced by a deep Knowing (capital K!) that everything I ever needed...

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Here comes the sun!

Posted by on May 20, 2015 in Blog | 0 comments

A moment in the Sunshine Today I woke up with a full ‘to do’ list in my head. Thoughts seemed to be racing and tumbling over each other as I lay there working out priorities, essentials and maybes. These thoughts appeared to juggle and fight each other in an ever increasing circle of competitiveness – “I’m the most important ”, “No, I’m more important, you should pick me”, “ Don’t pick any of them, disaster will happen if you don’t pick me!” As these thoughts became louder and louder, my feelings of irritation, guilt and overwhelm started to dance alongside them. I suddenly remembered what was going on here and climbed out of bed, heading to the bathroom to start the day. The remembering came from my understanding of how life works – you can’t have a feeling without a thought and all of my thoughts are made up anyway! Phew, that’s a biggie! I definitely felt a bit better and I just started getting on with things – I put in a load of washing, made a cup of tea, emptied the dishwasher, checked my emails and facebook messages and started gathering bits for a meeting I had later in the day. Although it felt good to get these things done I still felt a bit unsettled and edgy and decided to just accept that and get on with it. Makes sense huh? After all, these things needed to be done and feeling unsettled was okay – can’t feel great all of the time. As I was going about my business I happened to glance out of the window and took a momentary interest in one of the garden chairs being lit up by a shaft of sunlight that had managed to find a spot amongst the clouds to burst though and show us that it really was still there! I carried on pottering but kept glancing towards the sunlit chair, until against my better judgment (after all I still had loads to do!) I grabbed the cup of tea that I just made, went into the garden and sank onto the chair. I smiled as I felt myself relax, as if every cell in my body were sighing a deep note of appreciation and gratitude. I closed my eyes as my mind quietened, and then expanded to release the tight, cluttered thoughts – allowing them to float around in the increased space, as if they too appreciated having room to move and stretch out . As I sat there I noticed that those little bubbles of thought stayed in my consciousness but I no longer felt them as hostile or irritating – they had become strangely neutral. I then noticed new thoughts appearing, thoughts that had a different quality to them, a gentler and quieter feel as if they were suggesting rather than demanding me to pay attention to them. As I relaxed more I noticed that I had a lot more thoughts floating by, but that all had that quiet, neutral quality and felt helpful rather than hostile. The feelings that were firmly linked to those spacious thoughts were ones of calmness, hopefulness and, dare I say it Love! After only about five minutes a large grey cloud covered up the sun and I decided to...

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