TAKING THE LEAP by ALEX SHEWAN

TAKING THE LEAP by ALEX SHEWAN

Fear. Possibly the most debilitating feeling and the biggest barrier to freedom. I have felt a sense of fear for most of my adult life. As a child, I was fearless and would try anything. Yet, over time, that feeling gradually became erased and a new mindset became embedded within my thinking. Safety and security became central to my life. I went to university, trained to be a teacher, and was successful in my work. I had a regular wage, a brilliant career, a pension (very important), and the knowledge that I could pay my bills and my mortgage. This was safe and I knew that, as long as I was safe, I was ok. Was I happy? I thought so. I had everything that society dictated I should. I was everything society said I should be. Well, almost: that’s another story. Importantly, I was financially secure and independent. All good.

Two years ago, the pandemic hit, and something in me changed. Suddenly, I was not ok. Suddenly, I didn’t recognise myself. I felt a fear that I had never felt before; a terror. Everything I knew and understood was threatened. This terror was to become a turning point in my life; the beginning of an exciting journey.

At the time, it was far from exciting. Like millions of others, I was thrown into turmoil; so many unknowns, so many questions, so many fears. Fear. That word again. For 20 years, I had been living with the same mindset, a mindset that was debilitating and restrictive. A mindset that I didn’t even realise I had. I was fortunate in that destiny had plans for me and brought the most extraordinary, perceptive and truly wonderful friend into my life. A person who was so much like me in many ways yet, at the same time, the complete opposite of who I was, or who I thought I was. This was a person who was to unlock the closed door in my head and show me that there is a whole world out there. Freedom.

Deep inside myself, I always dreamt of something else. I didn’t know what that was but I longed for something different. As a teacher, I had become institutionalised. I loved my job but I had become defined by it. The person I had become was a construct; a product of other people’s expectations and conditions of worth. During my teaching career, I had developed another passion. A passion for supporting other people, listening, helping, supporting and guiding.

I then considered leaving my present job, but then the doubt set in. Of course I had to stay with my job. It was secure, it was permanent, it was safe. It was me. The thoughts in my head repeated this unrelentingly. Plus, I might fail. Leaving my job was too big a risk and it was all I knew. I did not believe that I could exist out of the teaching profession. I had reached a point where I had lost any concept of who I really was and could not see past the classroom teacher. Destiny once again stepped in and brought the most incredible people into my life.  People who saw the world in a different way and helped me to recognise something special within myself. I realised that I was being held back by fear and it was controlling me completely. Fear of failure. I was its prisoner. What would I do if I left my job? Who would I be? Would I survive?

I took the leap and believed.

Three months later, I am in the most wonderful place. I have learnt so much. Most importantly, I have learnt the importance and value of taking risks. I am working as a freelance tutor which I love, and have made some wonderful new friends along the way.  I am also studying to be a counsellor, I love my course and I am successful.  I have control and autonomy over my life and my choices. I am discovering who I am – not someone new but the person I really am; the person deep inside my soul was lost a long time ago. She still there and I’m connecting with her. I’m loving getting to know her – she’s amazing! She’s intelligent, kind, brave, caring, capable, courageous, confident, self-assured. People like her a lot because she’s good to be with. More importantly, she’s learning to like herself. She’s on a journey and it’s a lot of fun. She smiles a lot. She is happy. This is who I am.

I have learnt the value of positive energy. I have learnt that I have something to give, I have something valuable to offer; I am going to do it. For many years I was a prisoner within my own mind. I was afraid to take a risk because my self-worth had become defined by others. Changing that mindset and taking a leap of faith changed my life and I would never go back to where I was. Making the jump was scary; it was brave but it was right. In doing so, I have not just brought something to myself but I am able to give to other people. That means everything. All because I took a risk; a leap of faith.

Follow Alex on Twitter at @alex_7619


FESTIVITIES OVERFLOWING WITH JOY AND GENEROSITY

FESTIVITIES OVERFLOWING WITH JOY AND GENEROSITY

As we enjoy copious amounts of food and wine over the festive season, and generally push the boat out and abandon ship where our diets are concerned, let us spare a moment to think about those less fortunate, whose only hope of a Happy Christmas is the generosity of a friend, neighbour or complete stranger.

Friends of mine who are very well off spent half of last Christmas day serving food to the homeless at their local Shelter, and said it was one of the best festive holidays they could remember.  You don’t have to turn up in person to help, just donate what you can to the Charity as the money will go straight to a counsellor or family and could turn around a life in a heartbeat.  If you go onto the Shelter website, there are numerous cases of how lives have been destroyed, often by unseen circumstances, but can be turned around by our own contributions and good will.

I have recently been aware of the food banks in my local supermarkets and am pleasantly surprised at the amount of food and gifts that generous shoppers have donated, but it isn’t enough – we could all be doing more.  Perhaps like me in recent years, you have been so hell bent on a perfect family Christmas, you have forgotten to consider how others are suffering with little or no hope of any sort of celebration at all.  Guilty as charged, but it is not too late to change.

I am not saying we should all take ourselves down to the local food bank, but remember what Meghan Markle used to do in LA with the leftover food from a film shoot – which was quite a pioneering gesture at the time.  She even extended it to helping to support victims of the Grenfell Tower tragedy by cooking with its charity members in their multi-cultural kitchen.

We all know that Princes William and Harry have carried on Princess Diana, their mother’s legacy, of supporting the homeless, and are regular visitors at Centrepoint in London.

It doesn’t even have to be someone who has lost their home, It could be an elderly neighbour who is too proud to tell you they will be lonely, or someone suffering from depression who could benefit from even a phone call, let us all give one minute of our time. So never mind Brexit or our own economy, the world would be richer and a far better place if we just paused for a moment amidst all the mayhem, and considered how we could help improve someone’s life this festive season and extend it well into 2022.

THE LOTUS CLINIC – LIVING UP TO IT’S NAME

THE LOTUS CLINIC – LIVING UP TO IT’S NAME

The Lotus Clinic is situated on the outskirts of Golders Green, and has the feel of a family run practice and the expertise of the best in cosmetic dentistry.

Dr Michael Frankl is the founder and at the helm of the practice, and has transformed the lives of the rich and famous and people from all walks of life in need of dental rejuvenation and aesthetics.

Dr Michael Frankl

Dr Frankl qualified at The University of London in 1993, has a degree from the Royal College of Surgeons and is a member of the Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry. He has developed particular expertise in dental implants and cosmetic dentistry, CEREC (ceramic reconstruction) and laser dentistry. Dr Frankl has brought together an aesthetic medicine team comprising leading practitioners in each particular treatment. He has 25 years of experience in general dentistry, dental implants and cosmetic dentistry.

My first impression of the practice was formed by Greg Bewsher the Patient Co-Ordinator, who has worked with Dr Frankl for a number of years, and reassured me that in spite of my horror of the dentist’s chair, I was in good hands and would be pleasantly surprised by the experience and outcome.  He also negotiated an attractive financial package for me.

I tentatively booked for my first appointment having urged to go by my own dental urgency, and was immediately impressed by Dr Frankl’s calm and professional approach, coupled with the practically painless first session.

I then went on to book several other treatments including implants which I had avoided at all cost, having had bad experiences of bruising and a terrifying encounter with a dentist who literally hammered an implant into my mouth. 

Once again, Dr Frankl seemed to hold the secret of success with a completely painless session, coupled with a speedy and sensitive approach, reassuring me all the way.  I had absolutely no bruising, and very little down time.

The Dental Receptionists are also clued up as to any after treatments and assistance, and are equally as supportive, offering drinks and TLC both before and after the appointment.

I have now booked and experienced several appointments with The Lotus Clinic and have to say they live up to their image of a Lotus Flower, without putting too deep a spiritual spin on it, regeneration and rebirth, which in my case it most certainly is, certainly where my dental wellbeing is concerned. 

Would fully recommend and go as far as to say, are as good as it gets.

www.lotusclinic.co.uk

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