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Kirsty Keating a life coach.


Four stages of change - The Bravehearted way.

Kirsty Keating

4 stages of change

There are many theories of change and this is more a bravehearted mish-mash of how I see it right now as I go through changes past, present and future. The only thing guaranteed is change really. I know there will be changes that are forced on me and I will have to live with them and adapt and hopefully try and see the beauty in them if they are unwelcome. These stages of change are more about things we WANT to change or HAVE to change.

‘Just when I think I have learned the way to live, life changes.
Hugh Prather

Stage ONE: Oh shit, I need to change.
Yes, denial has left the building. That niggling feeling that something is not quite right has changed into a full blown horn tooting in your ear saying ‘WE need to do this sugar!’ When the fear of staying the same outweighs the thought of what you have to do, you know it is time. It can be a positive feeling, invigorated by your ah-ha moment or a realisation that enough is enough.

I felt ‘enough is enough’ after a conversation with my ex-husband who just ‘didn’t know’ for the millionth time and that was enough for me. The line was drawn in the sand and I had to move. I was stuck and only I could get myself out of the quicksand. Sometimes I can be rash and just do something for the sake of shifting the status quo but that particular time I knew it in my bones. Whilst sadness overwhelmed me and grief was about to engulf me. I knew, and it was the hardest but easiest decision to make. I do not regret it at all to this day.

Most big changes you may feel in your bones that it is messing with your soul, your integrity, your essence or just feels ‘icky’ when you repeat the pattern and feels more and more so as time goes on.

The knowing gets louder and louder till you say ENOUGH! What’s next?....

You know now, and once you know, you cannot ‘un-know’

Stage TWO: This is too hard.
Where do I even start? Who will help me? It is all a bit big and scary and not really ME. The first bit, when you start is so new to your brain that taking that first step may be the hardest part of the journey. You are challenging your brain to rewire, you are having to use all your usual energy that you didn’t use daily, as it was a familiar habit, tried and tested and bring forth new resources to re-think minute by minute, or hour by hour, day to day a new way. Yeah, it is big! You won’t feel it’s so hard as you do it more but it will feel new and challenging at the start.

Recognising this is a good start. Be kind to yourself as you are strapping on those hiking boots to a new life one step at a time. It will feel easier and then a bit harder maybe, then hopefully it will just be ‘life’. Let go of the expectation that you will master it first time or 100th time. Behind most successes are a multitude of failures. Read about some of them. Richard Branson, Shaq O’Neill, Cheryl Strayed, Oprah even. You are in good company.

New changes may spark resistance in you and in others. People do not like change.  Fear may rear its head and your mean girl may say “who are you to do this?”  You just tell that inner critic ‘Who am I NOT to do this?!’ I hear this in my head often when I write a blog (You are not a writer!’) or say no to alcohol again. The negative beliefs that I am THAT girl who ALWAYS drinks and is a ‘laugh’ resurface. They are persistent and ingrained and sometimes I do give them headspace but I try hard to question or ignore them more often than not and replace them with the kind loving, best friend voice.

Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?
Mary Oliver

You CAN do this. You may fail, you may fail many times but we can all get back up. It just might take time.

Stage THREE: Ah-ha, I get it!
Ah, the juicy bit where you get a super boost! Its beginning to come together. You get past that 10k mark. You are back in the jeans you wore 6 months ago or you do not reply to THAT guys text. One of the things that just clicked for me was meditation recently. I’d read books on it. I’d googled it. I’d sat on a cushion and got a sore bum over it but it just did not work for me. I kept hearing how groovy and life changing it was going to be and how I just had to ‘turn up’ and sit there. Well f*$k me it did not work and we are talking about a good few year’s of pondering this damn thing frustratingly- how zen ehh?.  UNTIL – I got some guided meditations by Gabby Bernstein. 5-8 minutes long on my iphone. Sit up in bed, or on my lounge, plug myself in and well it was doable, bit sized, non hippy hard and well it damn well clicked!

I appreciate it every single day. Rejoice in it and I am grateful for it. Because……..

It ain’t over yet…

Stage FOUR: I gotta KEEP doing this?!!.... What the…?!
Oh yeah, this is the challenge and the bit that separates the attempters from the achievers. The keeping going bit. Through the hard times (Just have one drink, here have a bit of cake, come on! Hit the snooze button) you may fall down but you get back up and you are NEVER EVER back at zero. You will have learned something about yourself. You have rewired your brain. You can keep going.

Integration, discipline, consistency all take courage as they will take you places you have never been before and those places are SO worth it.

I do not want to switch on my meditation on some days. I want to have that glass of wine some days too.

However… If I play it out in my head where it goes it will go something like this…..

No meditation – cranky, unclear, testy day which will be tinged with a hint of desperation, restlessness and disappointment.

Wine – well if one feels good and takes away the ‘edge’ of course 5 will be EVEN better – cue nonsensical talking, hangover, guilt, shame, trash food, no exercise, total unproductiveness, no meditation (see above) and generally not walking my talk.

So, there you have the bravehearted version of change. A stepping stone to helping you make life a little sweeter.

Always learning…………….

What I've learnt from Mother-in-laws

Kirsty Keating

I’ve had a few mothers-in-law’s, (MIL’s), official and un-official over the years. I’m no Elizabeth Taylor (she must have had a long Christmas card list!), married once, divorced once and a few serious relationships book-ending that, however along the way the ‘other’ woman in my partners lives have given me a few insights, painful reminders and wisdom. I didn’t always see it at the time as something to be mindful or appreciative of but hey that’s getting older for you, hopefully wiser too.

When you meet and fall in love with someone you often think you are in your own little bubble together. Nothing external will affect you, no-one else’s opinions will matter, other people’s histories will not mar your fairy tale. Oh well we can hope that it’s that way ehh?

Perhaps your partner’s family history seems smooth sailing and its intimidating to you that level of perfection or they have a more battle scarred existence that scares the living hell out of you to be up close and personal to. Usually it will reflect a few insecurities in you as to what issues it may bring up for you. That’s ok, integrating two lives can be a messy business.

I have battled the different values and opinions of the mother in law fiercely. The natural fighter and insecure female in me always wanted to be ‘top dog’ in my man’s life. This caused me, the other women/MIL’s and no doubt my partners, great drama, pain and discomfort at times, but we will keep doing what we do till we learn. Sigh…. I have railed against my MIL’s stance on religion (which comforted her through many hard times and offered her community and support) I have argued till blue in the face as to why I should have the right to work (of course!) and ‘have it all’ (oh yes this was the 90’s) when I am sure all she meant was to appreciate balance and time with small children as precious. I have been baffled, with equal measures of my then youth and severe judgement, by a wife standing by her alcoholic husband and suffering depression (little did I know how those things would affect me later in life and judgment comes full circle) or why someone found it hard to forgive an ex-husband even though forgiveness was not my forte either. I just thought these were not my issues or life. Why did they not just DO … fill in the blank with my opinion.

Scroll forward a few years and a few heartbreaks, rude awakenings and some soul searching and I found myself reflecting on what these wonderful, kind and amazing women offered me, apart from embracing me into their families and sons lives. They attempted with varying successes to offer their wisdom of life’s ups and downs. These women that came into my life by proxy of my partner or husband and they just wanted to connect, be involved and embrace my love of their son, not fight me for the perceived small patch of their son’s heart.

No-one came with an instruction manual unfortunately or an app!

I now have a son (early days as we are still in Ninja Turtle territory not aftershave and taking girls or boys home) God help me and any future partner of his. However, looking on these lessons I can say sorry to the few that I did not offer the kindness I hope someone will extend to me one day. One I cannot reach as she’s unfortunately gone, one who I can speak to and I know it will touch her heart and the current MIL who knows more strength and courage in her pinkie than I have seen in my few years here on earth and I know will appreciate perhaps a softer me.

Here is what I’ve learnt from mother-in-law’s:

·         Listen, then listen some more – they are trying to share and you may learn something.

·         You do not have to agree but you can disagree politely or walk away.

·         It’s a gift – they have given you a part of their heart to care for – their son. Be grateful or at least polite.

·         All mothers are just trying to do their best whether they are 18 or 98. Cut them some slack.

·         Their religion, world view, whatever, may differ from yours, that’s ok. Maybe there is something in it for you to learn.

·         It is respectful to your partner to at least try to connect or set boundaries that work for your relationship.

·         Walk a mile in her shoes regardless of the style.

·         Send a Christmas card occasionally.

·         One day I may be one – god help them!

(p.s Mum, don’t worry! I will write a post about what I’ve learnt for you too!)


Kirsty Keating

Ready! I will start when I'm ready.

I will start when the kettle is boiled.
I will start when nothing's spoiled.

It will be right in the dead of the night, or maybe when I've lost the fight.
I will start when my hair grows.
I will start when nobody knows!
I will start when I'm the right dress size
I will start when I don't eat pies!
I will start when he says yes
I will start when I feel my best.

It will be tough and it will be hard.
I will start when I pay off my cards
I will start when the moon is full
I will start when I have the right tools

I will do it starting, never
Said, no-one, very successful EVER!
Kirsty (sorry Dr Seuss)#seedcoaching #bschool