How to relax and allow change at the start of 2023
PlayfulMonk PlayfulMonk
Stay calm and connected in complex situations - Awaken to your true potential -

As my hand moved the whisker through my morning gluten-free pancake mix, my thoughts were with a title for this new years newsletter. My mind barked out saying you should send a newsletter soon, whilst the observer part of my mind listened in its equanimous way, my body pulsing between these two thoughts. Suddenly as the mixture got softer a title arose in my mind “relaxing into change.”

Whilst my intention was to send this newsletter out on the 1st January, I was not ready to do this; I needed more rest and time for reflection. On new year’s eve, I spent the day in a silent personal retreat. As part of my coaching work I use the Oura ring which tells you about your heart rate, heart rate variability (HRV), sleep, oxygen and activity levels. You wear this all the time and so during my periods of formal meditation I allowed it to monitor my heart rate variability, which shows you how well your nervous system is relaxing and to my surprise during the retreat the HRV spiked positively.

As the nervous system rested, it created for me a sense of space, openness to possibilities and physical well-being. It was not asking to be somebody but to be more deeply myself.

After this rejuvenating and delightful experience, patterns and habits can occasionally be disturbed inside, causing an internal wall to suddenly hits you. For me it appears as mental constipation: my thoughts don’t want to move. I’m blocked up like a sewer pipe, waiting for a good flush out. I’m lost at the frontiers of the liminal space looking for somewhere to go, some point to focus on and all I get is a blank stare, deafening silence and wobbly thoughts.

In the northern hemisphere where nature is dying and pulling our attention inside of ourselves, this inner yearning for change can be strong even if not totally conscious. You can start dreaming of futures, looking for books or people and so on. Cultural pressures and the return to work, if you have been lucky enough to have a break, ask of us something different, they pull us outside of ourselves to do something, to be somebody.

My good intention to send a newsletter on new year’s day was thwarted as I listened to my body, which asked for rest and my mind asked for kind attention of the type a mother gives to a new-born baby. 

This for me is our natural ability to be with whatever is going on including being totally happy, lost, in pain, in bliss or anything else in between. It allows change to happen to you rather than by you. It is a continuous unfolding of latent tendencies, desire and needs until it is no longer needed. I call this presence, and this is both a way to relax and is relaxation itself. In essence this has no attributes or labels, thus it cause no concerns and hence relaxing!

It brings me great joy to be part of helping executive/leaders and teams recognise this for themselves. This year this has continued to happen with my part-time role as Head of faculty and leadership for Blend Associates where I have supported and developed the coaches and coaching supervisors community that support the NHS executives in the tough environment they have to work in.

I have given workshops to the coaching community via the European Mentoring and Coaching Council (EMCC) and to coaching supervisors at the American Supervision Network, focusing on a workshop called What happens when nothing happens, on the resource of using silence to enhance listening. I developed workshops for peer to peer coaching, and team coaching as well as effective feedback through play. And I gave an online talk to, they tell me, 350,000 Chinese people interested in mentoring!

This is what a fellow coach said about my EMCC workshop

You have a surprising, unorthodox approach that led to a personal experience and insight: often we bother about things, thoughts, and concerns that are not as important as they might seem. By opening up for our inner space and allowing silence, to temporarily mute these concerns, we develop not only peace of mind, but also new insights about ourselves and the tactics that we use. “

You may say be silent, be still, let it all come and go - really? So I leave you with the paradoxical words from Greta Thunberg who I saw on a new series about leaders called Live to lead. She said

“So instead of looking for hope, look for action. Then, and only then, hope will come.”

Here is the clip

The action I use to remember, is to be present to what is, is a gift to yourself, our fellow humans and to the planet.

During, the last few years I have posted regularly on Linkedin and I am slowly moving these posts to my website. Here are some resources about what I have been writing about.

Time for a rest
What is the one free gift you can give to another?
When did you last listen to your internal notifications?

Wishing you all a peaceful and nourishing new year.


If you feel you would benefit from a free one to one 30 minute discovery session to pinpoint your blocks - you can know book a date and time directly on my websites. We will look at ways of transforming those so you can fully embrace the life you came to give to this planet. Sometimes these sessions are enough.
To find out more about Mindfulness-based executive or coaching supervision you can book a free 30-minute discovery session  here
To find out more about Mindfulness-based life coaching and to book a free 30-minute discovery session go here
A last request if you know somebody that might benefit from working with me or know about my work, please share this email with them..
Mindfulness out of the box
Lelystad, Netherlands
Modify your subscription    |    View online