Introducing Anchored for Life

It’s been a long road putting together Anchored for Life. A road with many twists, turns and even a few dead ends. Completing my Master of Clinical Counselling at the end of 2017 was no mean feat!

Along the way I’ve been reminded “Why” I chose to do it; been tempted to “cut and run”; had moments of self-doubt and way too many occasions when the financial implications of study, both in terms of overall cost (they don’t come cheap!), but more so the loss of income and cash flow due to employment changes made to accommodate the needs to complete the course and it’s required placement hours, took a hefty toll!!!

At one point I faced the hard conversation that nearly resulted in my inability to cover my mortgage. Talk about stressful!

Yet, I remained dedicated, driven even, in my efforts to finish. There was merit in finishing in and of itself. But there was more to it, at least for me anyway. I’ve long had people joke about me being a psych; psych friends who said I was more psych than they were; others who after talking to me about some concern, challenge or dilemma they were confronted by would comment about how helpful I’d been, how gifted even. Others used phrases such as calling or destined to be a counsellor.

At the end of the day, others opinions, affirmations and accolades, whilst lovely to hear, aren’t my motivation, nor my reward.

I’ve tried to do a one-take video describing the basics of how the unfolding story of Anchored for Life came to be. This blog was really the first “testing the waters” of my larger vision and dream.

It’s now been several years since I was involved in a cause-based role requiring me to advocate the needs of others. Now it’s my turn. I hope that after watching this short video explaining the logo, values and meaning underpinning Anchored for Life that you may give consideration to a concept I call “Community Counselling Fund”.

Simply, would you contribute to the cost of others accessing Counselling who may otherwise be unable to afford it?

Check it out and let me know what you think.

YouTube video: Introducing Anchored for Life

Beyond broken…was it worth it?

Anytime we embark on a new venture, whether it be in business, job, sport, hobby, study, relocation or relationship we have times we look back and pose the question “was it worth it?”

Question-asking is important. Questions help explore, unpack, uncover and dig deeper beyond what presents itself as obvious. Questions can be comforting “How are you coping?” Questions can be inquisitive “I was wondering…” Questions can be creative “If there was one thing you’d love to be doing…” Questions can be confronting “What were you thinking?” Questions can give voice to the mysterious “What the hell is going on here?” Questions can be asked of questions “Why is that important?”

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When all hell breaks loose, how do you stay anchored?

During storms, during conflict, during stress, how do you remain centred, stay calm with a strong sense of security, and retain your sanity and the substance of who you are?

Wondering how you can build (or perhaps rebuild) values-based resilience and wellbeing?

Looking for a listening ear and need competent confidential counselling?
Need a life coach to walk with you through transition and change?
Need someone anchored to reality during uncertain times? Continue reading

TSOTLS Ch6 – Feelings follow behaviour

Emotions are neither right, nor wrong. They just are. The one truth is that we cannot deny their existence. They is what they is and that’s that.

So why is it that we so frequently look for ways to numb, discount, deny or deprive our emotions? Can we trust our feelings? Continue reading

What’s next? TSOTLS Ch 4: The statute of limitations has expired on most of our childhood traumas.

“The slender threads of causality are rewoven and reinterpreted as we attempt to explain to ourselves and others how we became the people we are.”

There is no doubting that our past influences our present state. Counsellors and psychologists worldwide are familiar with the impact, influence and often ongoing unexamined integration ones family of origin (FOO) has on why we as individuals act the way we do. We long for meaning. We long for connection. We long for authenticity, to be.

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TSOTLS -Ch2: We are what we do.

Welcome to week 2 of this blog series.  For those who missed week 1 you can check out If the map is wrong and if you’d like to know the context that led to doing this series you can read Mid-Career Confidence Crash.

“We are not what we think, or what we say, or how we feel. We are what we do.” Livingston states this simple profound and pertinent truth.

He does so after drawing out the reality of his psychiatric experience where people would come to him seeking medication as a quick fix for their mood, mental health or mere boredom with life. They primarily wanted to minimise the pain, downplay the depression and despair, or desperation for the capacity to better manage their own emotions & thoughts as they battle unsatisfying daily routines.

His message: “The good news is that we have effective treatments for the symptoms of depression; the bad news is that medication will not make you happy. Happiness is not simply the absence of despair. It is an affirmative state in which our lives have both meaning and pleasure.”

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Mid-career confidence crash

CHANGE – here we go again!! Cash, calling, crisis, confidence, compassion and crap….oh crap!

In years gone by I worked as an employment consultant, with a focus on long-term unemployed and those at high risk of long term unemployment due to poor education, mental health or employment history issues.

I recall in particular chatting with older people, mostly men in mid-to-late-life, those who had experienced a redundancy, downsizing, restructuring and the occasional one who had made a risk-taking decision for a complete career change. For many their sense of value and worth was intrinsically linked to their status, income, and title and so their struggle with despair, despondency and even depression was very real.

Then there were those who came out of various corporate high-paying high-stress jobs who wanted to ‘give-back’, make a difference or simply got bored and wanted a new challenge.

Working in non-profits for over 15 years I’ve seen my fair share of people who come in to stamp their mark, leave a legacy, or be a positive influence for something that stands for more than just money. Whatever spin you put on it, people seeking to somehow, in someway, connect their personal values with their professional expertise, experience and skills.

The truth is that for most employed people we don’t love what we do, we don’t wake up breathing in fresh air and feeling intoxicated with joy for the day ahead. Or am I the only one? 

How then do we, how do I, navigate the tension between holding down a ‘normal’ job (whatever that is???); paying a mortgage, going through the motions of maintaining vigour and vitality in life and finding at least a sense of fulfilment and dare I say, even purpose?  Is that even possible?

Is it realistic to find this through a form of work/employment/job that pays sufficiently to alleviate financial stress and ideally even generate enough surplus income to pursue some simple pleasures and enjoyable activities – both for myself and for those I love and care about?

I’ve recently re-picked up a book called “Too Soon Old, Too Late Smart” by psychiatrist Gordon Livingston.  It first gained my attention with its subtitle “Thirty True things You Need to Know Now” and I am again intrigued by this collection of values and views.

The reason I’ve picked it up is that I guess I’m going through a minor (perhaps not so minor) identity crisis. Life for me has changed considerably over recent months and I find myself asking lots of questions, and alas, finding few answers.

Whilst I know there are no silver bullets for defining and redefining identity and fixing instability, I also know that it is self-destructive to hide away from ones circumstances and say that we cannot change. It takes courage to delve into the depths of one’s own soul, and it can be scary to explore the unknown. Staying stuck in the status quo has never been my style and I know ultimately limits or restricts growth, especially from our own fears.

So my plan is to read and reflect on each of these 30 minuets, one per week. Perhaps you’d like to follow along and interact with the conversation over coming weeks?

For now, be gentle with yourself, patient with those you love and care about, but most importantly, be true to who you are…no matter what may be going on in this thing we call life.