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Tuesday, 25 June 2013

Forget those tums and bums classes

I have borrowed this image from www.dazzle.co.uk
All my friends will tell you, I am not a big fan of gyms. I like outdoors. I like fun. And I have never found fun and outdoors or at least fresh air... or air that is breatheable in gyms. I am sensitive to smells so I get easily overwhelmed. So, I hold up my hand and say that I have neglected my abdominal muscles. And after having four babies, I think my body is coming back with a vengeance of a message... and asking for help.

Well, it so happens that last week I followed my body's calls without really knowing what I was doing. I work intuitively, so it doesn't matter. Sometimes I do random things and I only understand afterwards, sometimes years later, why I did. But don't we all.

I had been nudged by life to try a laughter yoga class for ages. I spotted one in the Pierian Centre, at the Centre of Bristol and kept on wishing I could make it. Well I was then a single mother working full time with two young children and no relatives (I am an immigrant) or friends to help. I was a nearly arrived immigrant then. Oh what sweet and terrifying moments these were. I am not trying to find excuses of why I didn't go. It was actually a very valid reason. There are only so many hours a day. And as delightful Joe Hoare, founder of the Bristol Laughter Club, said in the class, when I finally made it, we all have journeys that lead us to places at our own pace.

Then my friend Mary Rives mentioned Laughter Yoga, because she actually teaches it. And I thought.... funny I have heard about this before. That was probably eight years after me hearing about it for the first time. I still had no idea what it was, so this made me a little nervous. Aren't we all? Is it yoga? Is it humour? Do I need to bring a yoga mat? Are they going to ask me to do a stand up comedy on as stage... crickey, I don't know. But I sure am curious about what it is all about.

Well, fate had it that I had to make it to the last Laughter Yoga class run by Joe. As some of you might recognise, the Universe conspired. I got a free babysitter. I got free parking. Everything rolled. And you know when that happens because when things aren't meant to happen, obstacles keep on coming up. But then, I was in the flow.

The class was incredibly amazing. I am not American, OK? I don't do amazing and incredible very easily. If I say it, then that is what is. I say things the way they are. Let me try to explain what it did for me and you will understand what I mean. First of all, it relaxed me. My body was so tense from all the worrying about a million things that I became aware of how tense my neck and shoulders were because laughing actually hurt. I yawned so much you wouldn't believe. And instead of becoming self conscious of it, we (Joe) included it in the process of the session. I told Joe I was delighted for once that he didn't feel offended that I yawned whilst he was talking because I am so tired all the time and when my body urges me to yawn when someone is talking, I have to repress it, or else my loved ones get offended. In Joe's Circle, though, I was allowed to do that. I had a safe space to be me and to honour my body. The other thing I need to do which usually gets me into trouble is drink water. So I kept on asking if I could go and get more water. And again, Joe gracefully included that in the process of the class. Of course because I listen to my body's needs, I usually also interrupt a lot to go to the toilet... instead of suffering in silence and getting dehydrated, as I was taught too. Luckily that day, I only disrupted the class by getting the water and not also by going to the toilet. I mean I was the new girl on the block, how disruptive can I allow myself to be? Well, this is a good question because although I don't like to inflict myself upon others, this was my treat. And I wasn't going to let anyone spoil it. I hope the others will forgive me.

I had so many shifts that evening. Some were happy, some were sad. I managed to relax my body to a level that I never thought was possible. The sadness, mixed with joy, was to realise that I missed my grand mother who taught me how laughter is the best medicine. And I realised that since 2000 (and maybe even before) I have missed her a lot. Somehow, however, I get the feeling that from heaven she led me to that class.

I also realised that I had never allowed myself to laugh as loud as I am able to for fear of sounding stupid or being judged as unfeminine. I have a loud laugh. I can go into hysterics easily. In fact I have one other friend who took on my grand mother's role to laugh with me but she lives on the other side of the world so we don't get to do that so often anymore. Joe did an amazing exercise where we all lied down with our head in the centre and spread like a sun and we allow ourselves to laugh freely, as no one knows precisely who is laughing at any particular moment, although of course they do... but it creates a space. And that was when I really let go and had a true moment of bliss. It is also the moment when I realised that laughter yoga is definitely what I want to use those tummy muscles. It was so much fun... and it hurt. But it was more fun that it hurt if that makes any sense.

I can see that the years of doing spiritual practices such as yoga, tai chi, zazen, nia dance and everything in between had prepared me to fully enjoy the class. You don't have to have the experience that I have to enjoy it. Everyone can get something from it.

So as the creator of the holistic movement that the journey of the slim soul is: I highly recommend laughter yogas as a form of holistic physical exercise. And it's also good for the soul. Don't they say that laughter is the best medicine? If you are not feeling well, go laugh with the Laughing Yogis of this world. Your body doesn't know the difference between forced laughter and spontaneous laughter. Give it a try. Get the laughter ball rolling. It's got to be better than pills. Right?

Have a blessed day

Ange de Lumiere
(c) 2013 Ange de Lumiere

PS: And let all the laughter yogis of this world freely share this blog to promote their work. They have my blessing.

Thursday, 18 April 2013

Prayers for the Boston marathon runners


I am grieving. I am sad. I am in turmoil. The events that just happened at the Boston Marathon have hit me straight to the heart. I send love and healing to all those affected directly or indirectly by this event.

I am grieving as a runner. I am grieving as a mother. I am grieving as a peacemaker. Because I know that when horror hits at the core of innocence, then the temptation to tip into hate and fear and a desire for "justice" which is a mask for vengeance, is huge. I am grieving also because I have been hit close to home during the bombings that happened in the nineties in Paris and I actually escaped death by a few minutes so I know what it's like to feel threatened in your sense of security very close to home. 

And event like this can create feelings in us like:

- fear for our safety
- reinforce a possible belief that there is evil on the planet
- tip us into thinking that there needs to be justice or vengeance or both
- create a "us" and "them" world where there is a goody and a baddy and all our energies are focused on punishment
- tip us into choosing a race or religion that will carry the "responsibility" for the heinous crime (when in reality there are only individuals and no group of human beings should be thrown into the bag of hatred under ANY excuse)
- irrational feelings (albeit justified) that makes us more prone to manipulation from governments or people who have an agenda.

All of you have my prayers. But my prayers is for an open heart and for forgiveness.

There is no point pretending you are not tipped into fear when something like this happens. There is no point pretending there is no pain. So I want to invite you into a practice that I learnt from Linda Howe in her wonderful book "Healing in the Akashic Records" which is the practice of acceptance.

Start with saying "Of course": Of course we are outraged. Of course it hurts. Of course we are angry and we want to separate ourselves from the people who have perpetrated this heinous crime. And we need to forgive ourselves for those feelings. Trying to be positive when you can't is counterproductive because it sweeps those emotions under the carpet and stores them into your body and energy field.

My invitation, however is to embrace them fully with the "of course practice" but not let them active in your psyche for too long. Embrace them fully and then release them. Because if you hold onto them, whether you have been hurt, someone you love has been hurt or even died, you live in Boston... or live in America, or are a runner... or a mother... or a father, or like me a citizen of the world. Everyone can hurt and should hurt. There is no one that shouldn't be touched by what happened.

Take a piece of paper and write down everything that you feel. Pour your heart out. Even the ugly thoughts. The ones you wouldn't want anyone else to read. Then burn the piece of paper whilst saying to yourself, I release this energy into the Universe and ask the angels and the fire to purify them.

Once you have done that then if you can, focus on the light. Worrying about people or feeling horrible for them will not help them. Pity is a horrible energy to project onto anyone. Believe me, as an energy worker: I see the yuckiness of it. Instead send love and support. I know that the people involved in this strategy are incredibly courageous to have been at that particular spot on the planet at that moment in time and they need all my admiration and my strength to carry on. For those that have gone back to the creator, I send a bridge of light to help them in their transition. And this goes for anyone who has been affected directly or indirectly by this event.

Can I also invite you not to let yourself be dragged into the constant non stop flow of negativity that the media are going to rehearse. They think people want to hear about it, watch the video and all that jazz. This appeals to the lowest of our instinct: the morbid curiosity. All it does is created more pain. It doesn't help the situation. If anything those who have an agenda to start wars or agendas to sell weapons or anything else from insurance to house protection will ride on the wave of this terrible event, whether you believe me or not. This is the way our society works. But we have seen with 9/11 and the Tsumani that there is another part of us that opens to compassion and to love and that extends a helping hand to total strangers. This is the place in your heart that I want you to reach for.

If I tapped into the Akashic Records of the Boston Marathon I would be able to see the bigger picture of why this happened. At this point I won't. I can already see that this is an invitation to love. These things will keep on happening as long as we still have hate in our hearts. Hate for a family member (which sometimes hides under resentment), a neighbour... someone with a different skin colour or another religion. We all have some work to do. What are you waiting for? Explore your areas of darkness and bring the light in.

I am here to hold the space for you.

Blessings of love and light

Ange

Saturday, 30 March 2013

Healing (crisis)

On our journey of the slim soul, we have to take responsibility for our health and learn about how energy and invisible things that affect us. Amongst those invisible things are our feelings.

This is the gift I offer here: there is no point pushing your body and your digestive system into slimming if the weight that you have been carrying has been the way that your body has put in place to protect you from whatever it thinks you need to be protected from. This is why on my journey and on the journey I offer, we first go to the root of the weight issue before we even take any action to help the body slim. Let me illustrate this with an example from my own journey.

Let's turn the light on to what is really happening when we put on weight. :)

I wrote my book in 2009, inspired by angels (nudged, you could say). I felt great and my body was in a shape that I loved. Then in 2010, I got pregnant with my fourth baby. And during the birthing process (right after her birth actually) I experienced bullying from the very people who were supposed to support the birthing process of my precious baby. Then four months later, I was again bullied by some health providers who tried to separate me from my baby for reasons I won't get into at this stage. In effect, I experienced two huge emotional traumas that knocked my socks off.

Two years down the line, I am carrying some extra weight on my tummy area that is the direct result of that trauma. At the time of the trauma, I had no one to talk to, no one to help me go through it, so I INTERNALISED the emotional pain. This made my body feel HEAVY and unsafe. And I have carried that feeling ever since. As one of my most precious friends remarked: you are doing everything right to slim and yet it is getting worse (she was doing an intuitive reading for me). I nearly cried with joy because I felt so stuck to the point of doubting my very work and words. She added that the solution was very easy: I needed to repair my solar plexus chakra that had been attacked and which as a result I had covered in fat to protect.

This is PRECISELY the kind of work that I do... except, I wasn't able to do it for myself. I am so grateful to have her in my life. So the very thing that I felt was questioning the validity of my work at the Journey of the slim soul was actually the very thing that was validating it: I just needed a little help from my friend.

Now I know, just as I have witnessed it with so many of my clients, that the slimming is going to be easy because I have gone to the root of the issue. No amount of healthy eating and exercising would have had any effect until my body was comforted in the fact that I was safe and that my tummy fat was no longer needed. Don't you love the simplicity of this work?

What is your body trying to tell you through the weight that it carries? You can find some possible answers in my book but ultimately it is your body that is going to tell you what is really going on. Why? Because the body reflects the truth of your subconscious. Your subconscious is here to keep you safe. It doesn't matter if what it thinks is a threat to you is real or in your imagination or if it happened years ago and you can let go of the fear. It is your subconscious-body intelligence that needs to be aligned with your intent. The work of the journey of the slim soul can help you do exactly that.

Blessings of light

Ange

Friday, 29 March 2013

Listening to my body

Day 7 of my detox: Update on my progress.

I have had a massive migraine on day 1 and 2. It was so huge that at the end of day 2, I reached out for my migraine medication. There is only so much pain one can put up with. I am refusing to judge myself for it. In the detox group I joined, I saw a lot of people say "keep with it, it will go away" or "just go to bed". I hear their advice, but at the end of the day: it's me and my body. My body said: that's enough.

I welcomed that migraine, however, because it helped me to understand its cause. I have had migraines since the age of 12 (same age I started my periods). I could say: it runs in the family, as my mother, aunt and brother also suffer from migraines, but I am an energy worker and I know better about the link between the body and the mind. As I asked my body why it was manifesting those migraines and it said to me "Unthinkable".

It all made sense. I have been subject to the unthinkable. I was abused by people who were very close to me from when I was wearing nappies and it was such a betrayal that the cells of my body have decided to express that trauma through migraines. I am hoping that now that I have listened to my body, it can express it differently. In fact, this revelation enabled me to affirm for myself "I release the need to express the unthinkable through the excruciating pain of migraines". They say that detoxes bring a lot of emotional stuff to the surface and I have to say I agree. That shouldn't put you off doing one, by all means. Be brave. The healing process takes courage but it is so worth it.

And today, on day 7, I have a cold. A full blown cold with a running nose, itchy ears and a painful throat. I am so proud of myself: for a whole week, I lived on juices, smoothies, salads and nuts. Even better, my mind didn't create havoc by telling me it was not possible to do that and not be hungry at the same time.

Despite this great achievement, I decided tonight to stop my detox. Most people will tell you that the first four days of a detox are the hardest and that after that you feel great. At day 7, I still feel miserable as I now have a cold. I had to listen to my body and ask it: is this good for you? And it said to me "not the right time". There is a combination of things but I think being an energy sensitive, this year's combination of the equinox energies so close to the full moon and to Easter made me very vulnerable. The tipping point, however, was the outside temperature: here in the South West of England, we have had temperatures below 0 Celsius (freezing temperature) and that is highly unusual. My body was struggling to cope with the cold as well as coping with the detox, so I had to make the choice of seemingly giving up.

I have not given up. I have not failed. In fact, I am a victor because me and my body are in harmony. We work as a team. It is so important on your journey to a healthier you to learn to listen to your body, whether you are starting an exercise programme, a new healthier eating habit... or anything else. I cannot emphasise enough how important to see what works for you. I already knew detoxes right after Christmas do not work for me. Now I know that detoxes on the equinox, when the weather is freezing, does not work either. I will get back to my wonderful raw food detox when the weather warms up and when the sun shines more. Not enough vitamin D and warmth for me to survive on salads.

Blessings of light

Ange

Sunday, 24 March 2013

The secret behind my success at slimming

So I am on day 3 of my detox. I cannot believe how well I am doing. I managed day one despite having to cook brownies for my son's birthday party and having to deal with seven overexcited seven year old boys at a build-your-own-treasure-chest workshop-birthday party. wow.

I thought to myself, I have not done all this good work of using a juicer for the first time, following the delicious recipes for a few hours to blow it.

But I think the secret lies in three things for me.

The first thing is that I take one day at a time, and even one hour at a time. I tell myself (and it is true) that I can stop anytime I want. Funnily enough, this is the best foundation for my success. I find this is the same in relationships and in any long term project that one commits to: one step at a time. It makes the whole thing much less daunting.

The second thing that helps is knowing intuitively that we can live without food. I know this is a radical statement that denies everything I have every been conditioned to believe, but since reading "Life from light" by Michael Werner, I know it's possible. This sounds crazy but up to reading that book, I thought only mystics and yogis who spend their lives in caves meditating could do without food. Not anymore. Michael Werner is a chemistry teacher in a secondary school in Switzerland who doesn't even call himself spiritual. He started the experiment, as an experiment. He met a woman who lived form prana, and it got him curious and because of the scientific mind that is his: he decided to try it out. He hasn't eaten anything in eight years. Well that was at the time he wrote his book. Does that blow your mind? It did mine.

This doesn't mean everybody should stop eating now. And certainly I wouldn't use this argument to starve myself "anorexic" style. God forbid. What it means to me is that there are other ways to nourish ourselves than food. And being the energy worker that I am, I have experimented with a few things, such as for example barefooting, and it's actually reduced my appetite.

The third thing is that I am LISTENING to my body. And that is the boon of working with the journey of the slim soul. I know I am a unique individual whose needs are different from EVERYONE else. What works for my best friend doesn't necessarily for me. What works for a celebrity might not be what works for me. So I have learnt to listen to MY body wisdom. And everybody can connect to their own body wisdom. This is my gift to you.

This is the third detox I am doing. The first one was cutting out dairy, wheat, meat, coffee, alcohol and sugar for a whole month. I never even thought I could do so when I reached the end of that month, I was elated. I didn't even know I had it in me. The second detox I did was a green juice one. I have to admit it was a good thing I didn't know what I signed up for, because otherwise I would have ran away screaming. It was a whole week living on only green juices (a third cucumber, a third celery and a third spinach). I am obviously simplifying because there was a build up of cutting out the bits from my first detox gradually and then launching into the week on juices. And again, amazingly enough, I did it. For a girl who was convinced she could NOT live without her carbs, that was an eye opening experience: I wasn't hungry once.

This third one is taking it to the next level. Its a juicing detox. And in fact, on the journey of the slim soul, I recommend three levels of detox, depending on what your diet is like to start with. If you eat a lot of junk food, go out a lot to restaurants, then level 1 is more appropriate. I wouldn't recommend my juice detox to someone who just started from there. There would be too much of a shock to the system.

I have approached this detox with this knowledge that it is actually possible to live without food: if you are able to tap into the universal source of energy that sustains all life. And that has given me the strength to do this detox and not worry about being hungry or not having enough food. In fact, the opposite happened. As my mind relaxed and embraced the process, I found myself struggling to drink and eat everything that is suggested on the plan. Now that is amazing from a girl that used to be hungry all the time.

Have a great day my lovelies.

Speak to you soon

Blessings of light

Ange

Thursday, 21 March 2013

I haven't run in a few weeks. The reason is, I was exhausted. My little girl has changed her sleeping patterns again and I am left inching my way through the days feeling sluggish and tired. No amount of napping can "repair" the lack of sleep at night and the shortened nights.

What has helped however, is some homeopathic remedies that Sarah Johnson-Knight has sent me to help with the feeling of despair. Little miss is now nearly two years old and it's been a drag. I have been doing the nights on my own, as with my other three children and sleep deprivation is hard.

Not to worry though, the beauty of the journey of the slim soul is that you can always work on some angle. I don't use food as a crutch. I have started in the past six months to eat healthily again. I cook meals again. It's one little step at a time.

And now, in the midst of this beautiful Spring Equinox, I am about to start a smoothie and juice detox. The first step was to get into the mood of starting a detox. I find it takes a few day for my "inner critic" or as I prefer to call it "monkey mind" to calm down and accept the fact that I am going to do it. What it does, however, and I have to laugh at it, is push me to reach for crisps - which normally I don't really care about. Oh, don't get me started on the monkey mind: it's a character. It is super clever at sabotaging anything good you want to do for yourself. Luckily, I have devised a way to engage it. I talk about it in my book: start a dialogue with it. It's only scared and it wants to make sure you don't make a fool of yourself. It rehearses all the criticism and silly arguments against taking risks and trying something new.

I have already started brushing up my eating in the past few weeks. I cannot and will not recommend launching into a detox without listening to one's body and my body was telling me to ease off the wine first, then the coffee. And that is what I have been doing for the past few weeks. It has also asked me to eat wholemeal bread with organic butter, marmite and houmous every morning and to replace my nut coffee by a hot lemon. I can already feel a difference in my energy levels.

I ordered a juicer-masticater... it's an investment in my health. I much rather would pay less for a holiday and use the money for that than fly to an exotic destination (at the moment I still have to chose, but I am in the manifesting game so soon, that won't be an issue anymore). My health is my investment in my self. My body is my temple.

I have also done a couple of weeks of green smoothies. I used to do green smoothies by just adding a couple of greens such as spinach or herbs to a fruit smoothie but I found recently that mixing a third of celery, a third of cucumber and a third of spinach with some organic pressed apple juice is just fantastic. It must taste good because little miss, at two years old, always asks for my drink. We call it the Shrek juice.

Anyway, must go. Will be blogging about my detox in the days to come.

Blessings of energy and light

Ange

Tuesday, 29 January 2013

Barefoot half marathon

It's official. I am mad. Most of my friends know that already. I guess now it's reaching a wider circle. I have decided to run a barefoot half marathon this coming September. Not only that, I am not afraid to talk about it. I have never run one before, but I saw myself running one and this is what I am going to prepare for.

I am not doing it for any particular reason other than the sheer joy of it. And I think that is the reason why I am going to succeed.

No, I am not doing it to slim. That would be the wrong reason. I am doing it because I love running and it's great to set oneself some targets.

I want to raise money whilst doing it. I have just not decided yet what cause for. My heart hesitates between two causes: the Penny Brohn Cancer Care, a wonderful holistic centre that supports people living with cancer or the PDSA. I still have a couple of months to decide. I am little concerned that running for the Penny Brohn Cancer Care might bring some painful feelings related to the death of my three favourite aunts in the past three years so I think I might chose the PDSA instead. It would fit quite well with the fact that I am currently studying to be a pet whisperer with the wonderful Sarah-Jane Le Blanc. I would prefer to help animals in the wild though. I will check if the WWF or the WildLife Fund sponsor the Bristol Half Marathon. I'll keep you posted. I was so sad to learn that the Bristol zoo male lion, Kamal, died a few months back. I had talked to him and his mate for years, apologising for the human race which forced them to live in cages to survive. As one of my Facebook contact said: he can now run freely in the jungle whenever he wants. R.I.P. His companion, Shiva, was so sad. I send her plenty of reiki hugs and told her I was sure that the Zoo was going to find her a new mate. In a matter of months she lost both her cubs that were shipped to other Zoos and her mate. Apparently she was French and he was English, which made soul man smile when she came first to replace Kamal's previous mate.

In the meantime I am just excited about running. I managed to dissolve one of the resistances I had to run with shoes. It was silly really. Due to the fact that I had been running barefoot for months up to the autumn, I resented having to put my shoes back on when the weather became too cold. My stubborn nature led me to refuse to run unless I had the freedom of my naked feet. Until I realised it wasn't the right part of me that was putting the stops but probably my inner saboteur. I have a particularly strong one. She is just so stubborn and so persuasive. Sometimes she even manages to convince me that she actually has a good point. And this time, she nearly did. She was saying that unless I ran barefoot, it was not worth running at all. The more intelligent me knew this was a trick and yet it took me a few months to jump over the hurdle that my inner critic (I also like to call her the monkey) had created.

The way I usually bypass her is by just not listening to her voice in my head and just doing things spontaneously without any pre-intent. And that's exactly how I did it: I put my shoes and running gear on and declared with bravado that I was going for a run and went out the door before my monkey mind could convince me otherwise.

It was bitterly cold and windy. I pushed through the wind. I feared a little having pain in my ears as they can be quite delicate so I got the earmuffs out and put my hoody on top for extra padding. The biggest surprise was that the coldest part of my body was my lungs. Ha ha. I was caught unprepared. The air was so cold that I felt I was freezing from the mere act of breathing.

After my run, I coughed and coughed for a good half an hour. I wasn't worried but found great comfort in soul man telling me that he experienced the same thing after going for a run after the Christmas holidays. It seems that running clears the lungs of an awful lot of gunk, not so different from the smokers' cough. I am so glad this is way behind me. I can't even imagine that I ever smoked when I was younger. It feels like another lifetime.

Since that first run I have gone out again. And again, it was cold and windy. I am going to go out running so much in the coming months that I am sure I will be able to catch a sunny and glorious day. I love how running gets me to merge with the elements and connect with nature.

What about you? Have you decided to get out of your comfort zone?

Blessings of light

Ange

Thursday, 24 January 2013

Barefoot running

Last summer, I tried to get back into running after a nearly eighteen months pause due to my pregnancy and the birth of my beautiful daughter. I had planned to run during my pregnancy but I had some early bleeding after only a few weeks and you don't want to tempt fate. My baby was born very healthy and all is well. Thank the Lord.

I got back into my running in the summer 2012 and was doing fine. I was slowly building up again, but finding it a tad tedious. Little did I know that a blog was going to change my life forever about running, yet again.

I was invited as a guest blogger on a conscious parenting website and I decided to explore barefoot living for the little ones and what are the advantages of it. I was sparked by a lovely article in the mother magazine, which I find very inspiring. You know how I like to walk the talk, though, so I decided to start going everywhere barefoot to see how it felt so that I could write about it first hand.

One thing led to another, and the bookworm in me found the time, over the summer holidays, to read both Barefoot running step by step and born to run. I was fascinated. Slowly but surely, I was discarding the myth that feet needed shoes to be protected and that feet weren't strong enough to be left without shoes. I remembered the soles that were put in my shoes to "support" my foot arch as a child and wondered where on earth all this had come from.

Fast forward five weeks and I decided, after having walked barefoot EVERYWHERE successfully, to go for my first barefoot run. It happened to take place on Weston-Super-Mare's beach, the precise location where I went for my first run on 5th September 2009 (at the grand age of 44). I decided to make the most of my run and get on the beach at the edge of the water  for a good splash. I loved the coming and going of the waves and the gentle caress they made on my feet and ankle. I also enjoyed getting wet. I found it added a wonderful dimension to my run that I would have never experienced had I worn my high performance running shoes.

The biggest surprise, however, was how much easier it was to run without shoes. As long as I made sure I didn't make the mistakes that runners who wear shoes make very often (the heel strike) and made sure I was gentle on the foot sole, then it was pure delight.

Encouraged by my success, I continued with the barefoot running well into the autumn. I had to stop around mid October because I cracked my little toe. The way it happened would have happened regardless of whether or not I had worn shoes, I have to say (just in case you were tempted to say "I told you soo").

I happened to go for my last barefoot wander on my birthday. My birthday is on 6th November so it can get pretty cold here in England. However much I loved barefooting then, I can't deal with pain. I am a strong opponent of the no pain no gain philosophy. And on that day, when I tried to walk the Labyrinth in Glasonbury, my feet hurt. I felt immensely sad at the thought of having to wear shoes possibly for months when walking outdoors. But there you go.

More about my barefoot adventures soon.

With love

Ange

Tuesday, 15 January 2013

Running with the angels

In 2009, I was stuck on my slimming journey. I had done quite a lot to slim my figure without doing any particular kind of exercise but I had reached a point where I was plateauing. I wasn't displeased completely with my figure but at the same time, there was still a long way to go for me to feel comfortable in my body. 

I went to visit some relatives in France and got faced with the fact that my closest cousins from childhood who had been chubby like me had both been thin for a long time and I was the only "fatty" left in the family. I did the old thing, which really is pointless but I do it anyway: I compared myself to them and came back with tears of shame in my eyes. 

So I did what I do best when I have exhausted my own resources: I prayed to the angels and asked them to help me find a way so that I could have the body I wanted. That was on the 3th September. On the 4th September, I woke up with the bizarre feeling that I was meant to run. You might wonder why I thought it was a bizarre idea. Well, up until then: I had always HATED running, to the point that I wouldn't even run for my bus or train. I missed quite a few ones in my life because of this. So how did this happen? This sudden change of heart? I could only put it down to my prayers to the angels the night before. 

That morning, there was no stopping me. I went up to soul man with a pair of sports shoes in my hand and asked him "Can I run in these?" He looked at me as if I had been star struck. "Did you say "run" love?" He asked. "Yes I want to run. Can I go today?" Soul man is a runner. When I met him ten years ago he run twice a week and nothing could stop him from his run and yet he never managed to inspire me to go running once in ten years. Even my friend Lizzy who started running a year before, despite asking me several times if I wanted to join her, hadn't managed to make me budge. 

I put my kit together: a sports watch my son gave me, a pair of trainers, some black lycra shorts and an orange top. I made a pony tail and waited anxiously by the door. Soul man laughed. "Not today love. How about tomorrow?" But after lunch, he gave in. 

We went to our local beach with my partner and the children and I left him to make sand castles with them whilst I went for my run. I had never run in my entire life so soul man advised that I only do five minutes, a small pause and then five minutes back. I wanted to do more. But I trusted his advice. And so I did.

The first minute was bizarre. My super strong inner critic kept on saying: "You won't be able to do it, you fool. Why did you tell anyone you were going to run? You won't last more than a minute and you will be a disgrace." But you know what, I ignored it and kept going. After one minute, I was surprised to see that I was doing fine. And I managed to silence my inner critic. And then it hit me: the runner's high. I felt so good I swear I was floating above my body. The next four minutes were child's play. Soul man had told me to pause before coming back but I didn't feel the need to, so I just turned back and ran back to where I had left him. When I reached the lot of them making sandcastles and having fun, I didn't want to stop, so I kept going a little because it felt so good I didn't want to stop. 

My inner critic started talking again "You are going to regret this tomorrow. You won't be able to walk." I think at that point, I told it to shut up. When I walked up to soul man feeling relaxed and probably an inch taller than usual, I said "when can we do this again". He laughed and said "You did well honey". And we took the kids for a fish and chips before going home. 

After that day, I ran twice a week for a couple of weeks increasing slightly how much I ran until I reached twenty minutes. But I wanted to do more and I wanted a running buddy. So I prayed again. I said "wouldn't it be nice if I had someone to run with I said before going to bed". Not because I didn't like running on my own, I loved it, but I guess to have a bit of company now and again. And within hours, my friend Lizzy called and asked me if I wanted to go running with her. I got a kick out of it, because although she is fifteen years younger than me, and teaches bums and tums and other wonderful stuff at a local gym, I easily kept up with her and even managed to chat almost the entire way. She couldn't believe it either. 

On our second run together, we went on my favourite bridge (the Severn Bridge) and we ran 35 minutes. Within six weeks, I run three times a week, 40 minutes. And two months after going for my first run, I ran 50 minutes fror the first time. The following summer, I ran a 5K with the race for life. One of my favourite aunts had just died of bowel cancer and my other favourite aunt was battling with lung cancer. I reached the finish line in tears.  

I guess the reason why I am sharing this story is because I want to inspire you to do something different and to understand that our own mental limitations can be our worst enemy. If I hadn't asked the angels to help me overcome my own limiting beliefs, I would have never given running a try. And what a shame it would have been. 

Once I was able to cancel that belief, I was able to tackle another belief of mine: that I was born fat and that I had a fat gene. In a funny sort of way, I had always associated runners with slimness. And now I was a runner... well... My subconscious finally allowed me to be slim. The plateau on my slimming journey became a memory. 

I wasn't even aware that I had this limiting belief until I went to a running shop with my friend to buy myself some decent running shoes. The guy put me on a treadmill to check my feet. I had never been on a treadmill before so I nearly fell off it when I switched it on. That was funny. Luckily I didn't know he was filming me otherwise I would have run out of the shop. He then routinely said to me, come and look at the video to see how you run. I looked at the video and thought there was a mistake: who was that thin person running on the screen? Lizzy laughed out loud and said "You silly woman it's you". 

That was my running story of 2009. There is a new story for 2013 and I am just about to start blogging about it. 

Have a great day

Ange de Lumiere