Change… Seasons and Us

Autumn, one of my favourite seasons. Spring, summer and winter are all special in their individual ways but I do look forward to this golden, crispy-leaved time.  It being a favourite has probably got something to do with being an autumn baby and my childlike excitement as I looked forward to my birthday. To this day many years on, I can still remember the anticipation and joy of opening my birthday parcel.  One year it was my first grown up watch with its red leather strap and another year I remember feeling so proud taking my ‘new’ blue bike out for the first time.

For me now, Sept/Oct signals the end of summer which is usually a busy, busy time. I,  and many others like me pack in whatever we can, making the most of the longer sunshine hours, doing things we either want to do, or think we ‘have’ to do, whether that’s mowing the lawn, weeding, painting windows, dusting off the bbq or going to summer fetes. Air and ferry ports become huge magnets for armies of people (and stress!) as families walk quickly in line one behind the other like ants trying to avoid bumping into other ant-like families! (‘Ant-like’ families consists usually of Mum or Dad striding out first with an authoritative air of ‘‘follow me I know where we’re going’’… then a gap..Then a child or two whose legs are frantically trying to keep up as they wrestle with luggage doing 360 degree flips!) Summer’s a busy time in nature too as flowers and trees stand tall and proud showing off their best colours and nicest scents, each in competition to attract insects and bees as they go busily about their pollinating business.

And so as summer changes and transitions into autumn I’m also now aware of so many other different kinds of transition. In human terms it’s children starting school for the first time or graduating up to the ‘big’ school. Parents adjust to emptying nests as fresh faced teenager’s make their own way in life leaving home for college or uni. Plants and animals start to slow down, preparing for hibernation, nestling down for colder times ahead. The oncoming period of stillness allows a much needed ‘dying down’ of activity which then allows new strength and energy to build up, regenerate,  ready to burst forth again in Springtime.

Pondering life and the universe on a recent walk I looked at an acorn, such a small ‘insignificant’ thing, with fresher eyes. This small thing has so much potential inside itself; and with the right conditions of sunshine, rain and soil, this small thing is capable of growing into a mighty oak tree. That led me to thinking about people and how with the right conditions we too can become that mighty oak tree. So this autumn as leaves turn gorgeous shades of gold in the last of the summer sun, I’ll ask you the question, what conditions do you need to grow?  Are you who you want to be? And if not, what changes or transitions do you want or need to make?  If you’re someone who’s always busy and on the go, I offer you the option being like the nature, of kicking back a bit, taking the time to rest and recharge in order to be magnificent once again.

I for one am looking forward to the clocks changing although I know it can be an incredibly hard time of year for some. For me it’s time to ‘winter’ up my lounge with tartan throws on the sofas (my homage to a little bit of Scottish’ness on the south coast!) logs will be stacked at the side of the fire and I’ll be hunkering down for a bit of my own recharging.

pondering the universe…                                                                                   from little acorns…


What’s in a Name?

My plan of setting up a counselling practice is happening and I’m excited! With that comes all things new, blogging for example (who on earth decided that name?!). My thinking is the blog will share articles on subjects like self care, different aspects of mental health, media coverage of all things therapeutic and so on. But you know what they say about best laid plans…so I’ll hold my ideas loosely and see how they go, grow and evolve. I thought for this first posting I’d go back to when the idea of establishing my own practice seemed a very far, distant idea.

Years ago in a previous life I worked in creative publishing and I remember one day looking through piles of pictures for a particular project. I didn’t find what I needed for my project; instead I found a picture that really resonated with where I was in my personal life at that time. I guess you could say I actually did find what I was looking for.  (So fond am I of that image and the message it delivers, I still have it twenty plus years later). Eventually after many years passed I did a complete career change into counselling whereupon I wanted a name that reflected this favourite image I had and the unknown personal journeys that many take when in therapy. It was by chance during a walk with one of my favourite people in the Scottish highlands, that it all became clear (the walk, in fact was where they filmed a quidditch match for one of the Harry Potter movies).

Setting out, a waterfall could be seen in the distance that we were aiming for. As we walked, the path often changed never sure what we were going to be faced with around the next corner. At times it was clearly defined gravel and earth, at others muddy and slippery and sometimes there were stepping stones in just the right place to jump across streams or scramble up rocky slopes.  Then there were the choices. The path divided in two, sometimes three, which one do we take? If we take this one, it means climbing up that (too big) hill, if we choose the other – that looks like a river and is there a way to get across it?

Choices, decisions, consequences…

Then came one of those infamous light bulb moments – this walk we were on and life could be one and the same. At times it’s easier; you know where you’re heading and how best to get there. Then there are occasions when you’re lost, stuck and don’t know which way to turn. There are times when the way forward’s clear, and others when it’s obstacle after obstacle. Sometimes it feels like we’re walking a tightrope (hanging on for dear life!) and at others there’s the comfort of a hand supporting us, silently saying ‘I’m here for you’. There’s also the satisfaction of making it, whatever ‘making it’ means for each of us. For me on that day, it was sitting in the most amazing spot almost underneath the waterfall, looking up as the water tumbled down, relentless in its journey.

And so there it was on a cold November day a couple of years ago, PathFinder Counselling found its feet.  Like arriving at the waterfall, it’s taken me a little time to get to where I am now, but with ‘consistence persistence’ I’ve got here and what’s more I’m fine with the fact it’s ok to take the long way round.

So if this has got you wondering about the path that you’re on and you’re not sure where you’re going, take your next step and get in touch. We can work together as I help you  understand you have everything inside of yourself to find your way, sometimes it’s just reading the signs a different way.

I’ll leave you with a quote and images from that November day, oh and of course the one that started what would be a whole new life journey for me in years that followed…

There are no wrong turnings. Only paths we had not known we were meant to walk.”
Guy Gavriel Kay

If you’d like to get in contact with me on a one-to-one basis about any issues you’d like to discuss further, please contact me.

Starting out
Follow where it leads
Choose your stepping stones
I’m here for you
What awaits round the corner?
The end goal
The way through
Sometimes you need to trust the process and keep your nerve
Water finds its way over and around
Mission accomplished…..mindful moments in nature