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Welcome to the Aura Holistic Therapies Blog.

 

A sharing of the feminine through  awarenessness and wellness.

 

 

By Leora Leboff, Apr 5 2015 12:57PM




It's a Bank Holiday weekend.


A time for family? A time for friends? Or may be a time when you choose to step away from the usual connections you make in the week.


As I learned earlier this week, in a searching, challenging and enlightening workshop on Constellations, our lives are made up of systems; groups of people in which we have our place and make our connections.


Perhaps a long weekend such as this, will give rise to many emotions - from feeling easy and comfortable, perhaps excited, happy, joyous to feelings of uncertainty, unease, frustration and even loneliness. These emotions are most certainly linked to where we stand in our systems.


How many groups or systems are you part of? Our ancestral lines; family; different friendship groups; work colleagues; those you share a hobby with - a book club, a walking group; the same people you commute with each day; parents on the school playground..? The list could go on and on.





Our place within these different systems has a huge impact on who we are and vice versa.


The theme of the Constellation Workshop was Belonging. The space was held safely and skilfully by Betsy Gibson and Sara Poss and we explored what this meant to each of us with depth and authenticity. As thoughts, feelings and emotions were shared, I began to realise something my truth. What belonging meant to me.


My physical reaction surprised me - sweaty palms and a racing heart! I was unnerved at how uncomfortable I felt at the prospect of verbalising it.


Confession time! Belonging is something I've always struggled with but I've never explored what it truly meant to me. As a child, it was a hard feeling to live with; as a teenager it was sometimes excruciating; a steep learning curve at University and entering the world of work throughout my 20s and into my 30s. By my early 40s I began to feel more comfortable with the feeling. And now, particularly after the workshop this week, I realise that I can actually embrace that feeling of otherness and cosy up with that part of myself.


It is sheer perfection that I have chosen to work in the world of complementary medicine. There is often a feeling of having to fight against the tide, just by the nature not adhering to the norms of conventional medicine. But, it's now crystal clear to me why there is such pleasure and delicious joy when clients embrace and allow the beauty of the otherness of the work.


Not just in my work life, the personal struggle with the sense of otherness has meant the connections and friendships that I have, make my heart truly sing and are so much more precious.


Whatever your relationship with the concept of belonging, of all the systems you are part of, why not try to shift the amount of time spent with those people who love and accept you for who you are and allow your authentic self to thrive?


So, this holiday weekend I wish you peace with your version of belonging - if it's with family, friends, your pets or whether you prefer your own company and your sense of belonging is to your self - Happy Easter, Happy Passover and love to all.


Blessings


X


PS Otherness may actually be my birth rite! I spotted this on a Facebook share this week - What kind of bitch are you based on your star sign? Born under the sign of Libra - I'm a Weird Bitch! That did make me giggle!


For more information on Constellations and the Parenting Programme designed to help heal family dynamics you can find information on Sara here and you can contact Betsy at betsygibson@btinternet.com


Top Art image: "Moon Dancers" Angela Ferreira

Lower Art Image: Diane Solis


By Leora Leboff, Mar 23 2015 09:35PM


My friend Trauma? Really?


It's an incredibly hard concept to fathom that companionship can develop with trauma. How can you possibly build a deep and comforting relationship with an event, a feeling, a pain, even a thought that has had such destructive consequences on your whole being?


Trauma is one very powerful force.


You experience the cause, you move through the shock, you may be left with the physical scars, but you're also left with the memory, often developing into Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (in this piece, however, I wont be discussing PTSD). You try everything your conscious self allows to "deal" with it. This could be counselling, psychotherapy, medication, natural remedies, homeopathy, meditiation, healing, whatever you chose as your methods of care. But something remains, you just can't seem to extricate yourself from the repetitive thoughts, the replaying of the experience in your memory, over and over again, until it becomes a narrative.


It becomes your story.


At this point the relationship may shift, it feels as though your story has entered every cell of your body and becomes such an intrinsic part of you that an uneasy friendship starts to form.


It might be a deeply uncomfortable bedfellow, but you begin to find that you can't be without it. It gradually takes on a persona of its own and eventually you find yourself having the urge to say to people "Come and meet my good friend Trauma..."


This friendship has power.


Maybe it gives you an identity, a purpose; you actually feel safe with the discomfort as it shows you're alive.


Beware though, trauma isn't exclusive - trauma hooks up with a bad crowd - the leader being your inner

critic - you know the one who shouts, sometimes far too loud at you, and for women, mostly when you're premenstrual, but she can pop up at any time! Trauma hangs out with her.


Sometimes it consciously doesn't feel right to give up the trauma.


It's too hard to step away from the friendship. How will I be able to feel after breaking up? What's there to replace the strength of the attachment? Maybe I'll actually feel lonely without this companionship. You may even feel an intangible connection that is almost imperceptible but far reaching, perhaps there's a generational or even ancestral link that binds you to your friend?


This relationship can keep you in a cocooned world.


In a world where you don't have to expose your true inner self. I don't mean that self who is holding hands with the trauma, but the one who can fly, who can create, who truly feels life, sees colours in their full brightness, see beauty around them, the one who allows the world to be seen in HD, rather than through a slightly fuzzy-screened 1970s cumbersome tv. That self is kept hidden away.


But what happens when you want the friendship to end...?


I had my story, my own relationship that developed when I lost both parents and my baby all within six months of each other. I recall times, months after, when I had to just cry and cry and cry. I'd momentarily check in with myself - which loss was I crying for? The wrenching sadness of not having Mum? The deep emptiness of losing my baby? The sometimes debilitating disbelief of Dad passing so unexpectedly and suddenly? All traumatic events individually, but squeeze them in to a six month period and you have yourself there some deep dark trauma!


Sometimes I would just be sobbing from the overwhelm of all three. But with each sob, I knew I was where I had to be. Comforted by the trauma; my new friend sat with me as a cried those tears - not just for the losses, but for almost every sadness I had felt throughout my life.


The friendship deepened and sadly pervaded so many areas of my life that it almost stopped me growing. As my personal work on healing the trauma developed, the realisation came, that what had become integral to my being, actually no longer served me.


I spent years trying to free myself from the now unwanted friendship, but the companionship persisted.


We will each have our own methods of breaking off the friendship with trauma.


For me counselling and psychotherapy, and many other forms of treatment each eased feelings and emotions, but the friendship persisted. As my journey continued, Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT) or tapping and Abdominal Massage come in to my life. Both of these therapies finally facilitated the much longed-for break up with the wholly unhealthy friendship I had with trauma.





The dichotomy of trauma being an uncomfortable yet deeply reassuring companion is breakable. It is possible to see the beauty again and to fly.


I understand that this will not be everyone's experience and I wish those who do and those who do not identify with this premise, a peaceful journey in your healing.


As I work with these therapies alongside my Aromatherapy practice, I continue to be moved and in awe of how beautifuly they allow someone to be held in their experience. Witnessing shifts, whatever the source, is so incredibly heart-singing. If you would like to get in touch and see how these nurturing and healing therapies can support you please do contact me


For a list of Abdominal-Sacral Massage Therapists click here


For a list of therapists trained in Fertility Massage click here


Blessings


Top artwork: "Moonlight Walk" by Lucy Calhoun

Lower artwork: Lisa Rough




By Leora Leboff, Feb 21 2015 11:51AM




We all have our stories, histories, journeys that lead us to where we stand today. I didn't expect to share part of mine so soon on here, but reading an article led me to want to scream out - why was judgement being made on such a defining decision in my life?


As a word of care and warning, some of this may be hard to read, but the subject of baby loss in any form is never comfortable.


The article which prompted me to write this, is brilliantly written by Milli Hill and I am so truly grateful to her for writing it and to the women who bravely contributed their baby loss stories, allowing much needed awareness.


But there is a frustration; why does an article written with such tenderness about stillbirth and miscarriage, change its tone when referring to baby loss due to finding anomalies and making the choice to terminate the pregnancy? As I read on, the reason for the change in tone was very clear.


The word "feticide" was standing there starkly staring me in the face - foetus killer.


Why include such a punitive word in a beautifully touching article?


When I was pregnant with our second child, we discovered at the 20 week scan that our baby had brain, heart and kidney defects, he didn't have a stomach and after he was born they were unable to tell us his sex as his genitals were so deformed (test results told us later we'd had a baby boy). He had Trisomy 13 or Patau Syndrome, a chromosome disorder resulting in the baby rarely going to term and if they do their life expectancy is short. With barely an organ working in his poor little body, how our baby had lived to 20 weeks was unfathomable.


I know of women who have chosen to wait for their baby to go to term, die in utero, or at birth. I know women who have chosen not to see their baby after the birth. For me, all I could do after birthing him, was share a tender moment with him, giving him a cuddle and a kiss. He had been born sleeping and as tiny and unexpected looking as he was, I will always be grateful for that time with him. I have photos of him and his hand and footprints which I cherish. Whichever decision is made in this desperate situation, there is no right or wrong, and certainly not worthy of judgement.


So, seeing that punishing word "feticide" made me angry, misjudged and sad that once again those who have experienced baby loss, through anomaly and termination, go largely unrecognised or castigated because they took part in the decision to end their baby's life.


My children know about their brother, he will always be part of our family. Just last weekend we went to visit him at the beautiful Memorial Woodlands where he is buried. For the first time, I asked to be alone with him. Later that night I wrote:


"As I stood by my little boy's grave, I thanked him, for all he had given me. For his footprints, on paper and in my heart. We had journeyed a harsh, physically, emotionally and spiritually painful path together. But finally without tears, I told him that I could allow just the sadness, now that I had released the trauma. But also now it's time to learn, teach, raise awareness, be proud of what he has given me. I am honoured that I kissed him that night, because that's all I could have done.


My tiny little boy, truly rest in peace son."


Surely, not the words of a killer.



On Baby Harry's tenth anniversary, I wrote an article to honour him and raise awareness. This was shared by several beautiful women on their own blogs. Here is one of them.


Around 800,000 women in the UK become pregnant each year. 40, 000 of them will be told there is a risk that their baby has a serious fetal anomaly. Antenatal Results and Choices is the country's only charity to provide non-directive support before, during and after screening.


I have since been in contact with Milli Hill. She was incredibly apologietic about the inclusion of the word "feticide". She had meant to take it out of the article and will do so. The hospital that one of the mothers she interviewed had used the term. It feels shocking that such an emotive word could be used by a hospital, even if it is the correct medical terminology. Thanks again to Milli Hill for raising the issue of baby loss.


Artwork by Charlie Leboff


By Leora Leboff, Feb 14 2015 02:01PM




What if you were able to gain access to a source of power, of creativity, of action; a place where your voice will be heard, usually taking different guises - sometimes with enthusiasm, sometimes with sheer glee, sometimes with uncompromising honesty, sometimes with tenderness? This place can also be a gateway for deep emotion, anger, revelation, but also love, empathy and understanding.


Could all of these dimensions be found in one place? Spend some quality time with the wise and inspirational Alexandra Pope and Uma Dinsmore-Tuli and all will become clear.


I did just that last weekend on Alexandra's and Uma's Womb Wisdom Retreat in stunning Stroud. Here, my head, heart and psyche were held, tested, at times turned 360 degrees by relinquishing to vulnerability, but most importantly nurtured.


Shared with other beautiful souls, we coupled with our source through Womb Yoga. We were taken through exquisite Yoga Nidra by the equally exquisite Uma Dinsmore-Tuli; we connected yet floated around our bodies. How was that possible?


And we were taught gently, purposefully and formidably, by Alexandra, how to access this source I've alluded to.


Where? How?


Ladies, it's within us. Oh yes! It is held within us, in the form of our monthly cycle. If we can acknowledge the different seasons throughout our cycle, we can allow ourselves a freedom and most importantly an acceptance that what we experience on day 1 of our cycle, will be different to, say, day 8. Again by day 15 we will be experiencing a whole other force, and by day 24 we might not even recognise who we were a few days before. There is a sound and sensible reason for how and why we shift throughout the month. Each phase serves a purpose.


All this from the menstrual cycle? The key word here is cycle. Once you delve in to the powerful world of the menstruality, a theme becomes most apparent - as women, because we do cycle, we ARE not and CANNOT be linear. Ironically and sadly, many of us live and work in a fashion, where we are expected to perform to same level of ability, energy and clarity, day in day out.


Let me share a rather freeing concept, that at each stage of your cycle you will be able to harness a different kind of power. I look forward to sharing some of these ideas in later blogs.


All I know is since the retreat, since delving deep into my seasons, I have been an unstoppable force! The procrastination has halted; unexpected, unplanned conversations to clear old demons have taken place; future plans have been actioned; heck, I've written my first blog!


In fact, put 17 May in your diaries as Love Your Belly will be back, when Kate Codrington and I will be sharing our next self help workshop in a rather menstrual centric direction!




So, you know that uncompromising honesty I talked about earlier...? I look forward to unleashing it again soon!


Art image: "Love Unfolding" by Kristy Gjesme




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