Interview with love expert Cate Mackenzie

Love and vulnerability are two themes I’ve been exploring in my own self healing work. Vulnerability is the one thing we all have in common. In order to fully open up to love we have to be and meet our own vulnerability.

Cate Mackenzie is a Love Coach, Psychosexual Therapist, stand up comic and Artist. She has appeared on Channel 5, BBC 2, Sky, Psychologies Magazine, Harpers Bazaar, Radio 5 Live and Radio London among others. I was drawn to Cate because of the deep work she does with helping people to open up their hearts.

“It’s worth allowing yourself to be a fool for love,” explains Cate. “If you can open your heart you’ll be able to attract someone into your life. This means daring to take a risk starting to have fun (doing all the random and rare things you’ve always wanted to do) releasing the past (making a list of all the people who have hurt you and find one thing to thank them, even if it was to show you how you do not want to be treated) and making a commitment to have love (with no expectations of how this will be) then you may be surprised how you can be rewarded with love!

“When we can allow ourselves to have fun and engage with life again you may find yourself starting to smile, laugh and compliment people. This immediately opens us to new connections.

Looking for love

So what if you’re looking for love but not being successful?

“I am often asked whether it is possible for everyone to have a partner and I always say, ‘of course it is’. If it is a true wish then you have the power to make it come into reality. Sometimes it may have seemed such a long time that a person is scared to believe they can have what they want. Or they may have been through so much disappointment that they are afraid of repeating these experiences. I encourage them to take baby steps towards the journey beginning with doing things they enjoy.

“I also suggest taking time to release the past and all the previous pain by listing all your past loves and thanking each one. Once you have done this then the contract with them is complete and you can let someone new in. You may now also be able to create a clear list of what you do want. For example if your ex betrayed you, you may now want faithfulness. Create a list of what you really would like in a relationship. Your true love will have at least two things in common with you so as you move to doing things you love you are more likely to meet that special person who likes them too.

“As soon as you are enjoying yourself, you are opening your heart again”, says Cate. “Fun is the key. I have people come to me because they’ve wanted a partner and we work with what will give them fun, be it singing, living in the countryside, dancing, painting or sport.

“That is the key to dating because if you’re having fun you’ll relax enough to dare to take the risk to date!”

Cate works with individuals and couples and groups around relationships with themselves, their partner and the relationship with the whole of their life.

Being single and having fun

“If a single person wants a partner, we look at the whole picture of their life and start to work on helping them to feel good and then get them to go into dating. We go on a journey of dating – meeting different people in different ways. It always includes what’s loving for them and they’re given practices to think about and take home. As they learn how to date it gets less and less scary and then they get used to it. Very often if they stay and commit to the process they will meet a partner.

“It’s not about age, what you look like or what your life is like; it’s about the willingness to be a soft. When someone takes the steps and I see that they are really committed to the process I somehow know that they will bring a partner in soon. Before that they might have wanted the universe to deliver without wanting to commit. It’s through their commitment that they make this shift and go into new dimension. It’s the same with couples, when they both decide they’re going make the relationship work then magic happens.”

A partner will show up

“A lot of people think I’ll create the great life when I get the partner, when actually it’s about creating the life now and the partner will just show up because you’ll be having so much fun. When you are in this kind of childlike energy, a partner shows up.”

Cate is engaged to her partner. She met him following her own medicine after giving herself a three week holiday to dance, have fun and play. “I went to meet a friend for coffee and got chatting to a guy. The old Cate might have had a set diary and needed to go home and do lots of things. The new Cate was exploring everything that came her way.

“We ended up spending the next 14 hours together taking an adventure around London. I met him in a place of spontaneity and he has continued to be my playmate. At the end of three weeks of pure fun and bliss he showed up and has continued to inspire me to have more and more fun, rest, relaxation and laughter!”

Helping people

Cate’s sex therapy work helps women and men to go on a journey to explore their femininity/masculinity sexuality and body. The therapy gives them confidence around different aspects of sexuality and works through any issues. She helps women and men to discover what they want, how they want to treat their body and connect with their womb/hara.

“Women can be afraid of showing their emotions in a relationship – they think they have to be nice all the time. It doesn’t mean being critical, nasty or moaning. I’m talking about real vulnerable, clear emotions. This can help to put a man in touch with his emotions. Men can also be afraid of expressing themselves and what they want and be seen as possibly dominant or threatening. They can learn to assert themselves clearly and become more confident in relationships.”

Vulnerability and love

In relationships, you’ll start off as open and vulnerable, then experiences and pain show up and make you close down. We start off with the best of intentions to have an open heart and after a while the protective shells come back on.

“Most of us have experienced loss and when a new experience comes in the temptation is to think it is all going to go wrong and just close down. There is nothing wrong with protecting ourselves, but it is important to learn how to allow yourself to open again.

“Sometimes you may want to pull away to have boundaries and this is also really important to know you have choice and that you can open and close. It’s about learning to flow with the opening and closing. Being soft and vulnerable but being aware too, it takes practice.

“If you’re used to being closed to protect yourself you end up thinking it’s the best way to be. In fact an open muscle has more elasticity and we’re able to move away quicker when we’re relaxed and open. Being open and soft is gives you more freedom and access to movement than if you’re closed and hard with no leverage.

“I spent a lot of time protecting myself because I thought I then wouldn’t get hurt. I’d stopped taking risks, being vulnerable and shut life down. Teaching dance in community settings started to heal and open my heart and began a lifelong journey and study of love. The people with disabilities I was teaching showed me such incredible unconditional love and I felt myself melting and softening.

“It’s an ongoing process, but it gets easier to embrace myself fully. I want to be a channel of love, living my life in service of love and letting go of any parts that can get in the way, so I can live from my highest self. I am human and can feel all kinds of emotions but the journey I have chosen is also teaching me how to love more and more each day and for that I am very grateful.”

Cate’s tips on opening up to love

  • Do daily practices that support, ground and open you to feel safe enough to dare to be loving. For example meditate or visualise, read, write a gratitude list.
  • Find out what grounds you and do it.
  • Follow your heart, do what excites you.
  • Relax and release old pain through writing or talking.
  • Breathe in nature and take regular exercise.
  • Find out what food suits you and eat well.
  • Take lots of support, good feedback will help build your confidence.
  • Clear out your home of clutter, clear out toxic friendships and allow space for new balanced friendships and a clear clean home.
  • In the far right hand corner of your bedroom create a love zone with an image of love or two objects symbolising a pair for example.
  • Ask people how they found love and make an action plan for you to do it too.
  • Commit to you having the life you want.

You can find out more about Cate, including her artwork, comedy nights and workshops at www.catemackenzie.com.

 

Living from the heart

For me, 2014 is all about living from my heart. It’s about breaking down the shells that stop me from connecting fully with myself and other people so I can be in a more authentic, heart centred space.

Over the past two months I’ve personally shared grief and loss with close family members and friends. It has made me realise that not only is life short, but it is sacred. Nothing throws you more than when tragedy crosses your path.

Heart transformation

Being in a compassionate energy was the start of my heart transformation that has made me softer, more open and alert.

When a Opening to loveJourney Practitioner friend gave me a Journey process recently, I went to a hugely vulnerable place. It felt like the vulnerability had been hidden by layers of hardness around my heart, shutting me down to myself and to different aspects of my life.

I broke through protection shells around my heart chakra. The result was that I was able to access a deep love that washed through me. To be and feel love instead of an unconscious protection is an amazing place to be. I’m more flexible, open minded and lively.

Manifesting from the heart

The more you clear out internally, the easier it is to receive from the universe. The intentions that I’m putting out are being delivered at lightning speed. I’m watching my thoughts as I know they are real living things that life reflects straight back to me. I am manifesting what I want from my heart and using it to see if something feels right or wrong.

 To top it off, I’m more flexible, relaxed and have tons of energy. In fact, since letting go of what no longer serves me I’ve been hitting the gym more often and am now leaner and more toned. This is really a great way to start the New Year! I’ve got no doubt that our emotional baggage literally keeps us physically weighed down on an unconscious level.

Sending love

The heart is so open that I’m much more in tune with other people’s state of being and I’m able to respond from a loving place to whatever is thrown my way. I am of course a human being, life happens and yes I get frustrated. The difference is I am gentle and compassionate with myself and recognise when I am resisting something. The most supportive and nurturing thing is I am sending myself and others love.

Gratitude list

So what small practical step can you take to open your heart? Start by appreciating everything that is going well in your life as it creates an abundant energy around you. Remember when you focus on lack you get more of it. Make a gratitude list and note down everything you are thankful for – even the tiniest things. When you open your heart in this way you let the universe in.

My intention for this year is to really follow my heart. My prayer for you is that you open your heart to do the same. 

Let go and live in the moment

Let me share a recent experience that really taught me to live in the moment and trust…

Eleonora and NeelaHaving never been to Asia before, I decided to book a flight to India as part of my birthday celebrations. Another reason I decided to go is because a good friend of mine lives there. Neela is a huge inspiration and the personification of present moment awareness and trust in the universe. Three years ago she left her corporate job to set up her own holistic therapy business. Her heart is drawn to India and she is now based there.

Let go and trust

Moving from city to city and not knowing where her next income is coming from, Neela has learnt to let go of the need for security and attachment and to simply open into trust. Travelling around the northern part of India with her, I had to eventually let go and do the same.

Firehouse

Settling into the energy of the firehouse they call India took some getting used to. Although I’m well travelled and acquainted with different cultures, it was a shock to arrive in central Delhi. The noise, the crazy traffic near missing other vehicles, the smog, the humidity, the poverty and intensity all had me on edge. I was forced out of my comfort zone.

Eleonora at the City Palace, Udaipur

Go with the flow

Whether we were arriving in a mountain village shattered after a 12 hour bus ride with no hotel booked or waiting in the pouring rain and sweltering heat hoping our bus would show up, I had no choice but to go with the flow. In fact the whole holiday itinerary was planned in the moment, including flights and our chosen locations. This was something that Neela insisted on before I even arrived and I had to admit that it made me anxious.

No certainty

“This is India,” Neela told me, “there’s no certainty here.” Coming from an orderly country like England I felt slightly lost. The truth is that there is no certainty with life – yet we hold onto security with a tight grip.

“I’ve no idea where I’m going to be from month to month,” Neela explained to me. She travels around to work with clients, run workshops and serve as an emotional trainer at events, including the Journey which was recently introduced to India.

Neela described the process of leaving behind her life in the UK: “There comes a point when you need to just let go. I had to really push myself and just do it. I’m always taken care of out here and I’m the happiest I’ve ever been in my life.” Having built up a network of close friends and spiritual community, she is never far from support.

Emotional Freedom Technique

Eleonora and Neela

During my time in India I also had the privilege of learning Emotional Freedom 

Technique. It helped me to release tension that I’d been holding in my body. Being great for fears and phobias, I also used it to overcome my fear of flying cockroaches! For the rest of my holiday I was able to happily get by if I saw one.

Letting go of tension

I held on tightly to Neela when I first arrived – scared of the unknown and tense as I walked past the animals, speeding autos and all that the streets had to offer. By the time my holiday was nearing its end I’d taken on a new, more relaxed approach. I blended in, picked up some Hindi, connected well with the people and even began to enjoy the uncertainty each day. If I’d planned everything out in a regimented way it would have taken the spontaneity and spark out of the trip.

Being taken care of

To top it off, the universe really did seem to take good care of us. When Neela left her phone in a taxi it was returned the next day by the friendly driver. My missing phone charger was also returned by helpful hotel staff.

Overall we had an amazing time and lots of fun. My birthday evening was spent in Udaipur, known as the City of Lakes. We ate fantastic food and drank cocktails on a riverside rooftop restaurant under the stars. Another highlight was visiting McLeod Ganj – home of the Dalai Lama. Waking up each morning and hearing the monks chanting in the temple was amazing. Everything always works out well in the end. 

Sunset on Lake Pichola, Udaipur, India

Blessings and gratitude

India has taught me to be grateful for all I have as the poverty in some areas is shocking. The petty things we seem to complain about bear no relevance in comparison to some people’s lives. The air we breathe and the roof over our head are blessings we take for granted.

The adventure has helped me to let go, trust and enjoy life from moment to moment. I know I will always be taken care of and the more I affirm this, the more the universe confirms it to me.

Sitting in our hotel room I caught sight of Neela’s screen saver on her laptop. It sums up my whole Indian experience: Life begins where fear ends.

Find out more about Neela’s BluEnergy Healing business at: www.bluenergyhealing.co.uk.  

 



 

Support through challenging times

How do we give ourselves the support we need during challenging times? Support seems to be a big topic right now. Over the past few weeks I’ve seen many people go through some sort of issue, or encounter what I call a ‘bump’ along their path.  It could be a relationship issue, dealing with change, a challenge or a strong emotion triggered by an unexpected event. Whatever it is, it can send us into turmoil. How we deal with this turmoil is another issue in itself.

Dealing with our emotions

Most of us are not taught from a young age how to deal with our emotions. We therefore grow up as adults afraid of them, and in turn afraid of what lurks beneath. It’s like we’re afraid of meeting ourselves fully and therefore not really standing in our own power. When turmoil comes up we’ve created plenty of strategies to varnish over the depths of what is really going on inside. Our emotions are narcotised – be it through eating, watching TV, gossiping, shopping or generally keeping ourselves super busy.  

Internal jungle

Many of us simply don’t have the tools to deal with ourselves at a deep level.  We are all humans and life happens. Dealing with your own issues can feel like a jungle that you’re never going to find a way out of. The mind chatter and anxiety that takes over can be overpowering.

As a therapist I’m lucky to be able to catch myself at my own game. I’m even more blessed to have the support network around me through conscious friends and other therapists. If ever I’m feeling stuck they support me to the highest standard. The more of my own internal clutter I’m able to meet and clear, the more I can support other people to do the same.

Opening to support

 I’ve recently been making a conscious effort to be more generous with myself through nurturing my body. This week I took myself away to a beautiful part of the Yorkshire Dales to stay with a fellow Journey practitioner friend. It was a deeply healing retreat and has reminded me of the power of opening to support.  I’ve come back refreshed and rejuvenated.

A way out of  the jungle

If you are currently going through a period of turmoil, give yourself the gift of letting someone else support you. Using the tools that work for me I can shine a light on your jungle to gently guide you out of it. It all starts with speaking up and I am more than happy to talk with anyone who is drawn to work with me. 

Spring affirmation: I love and nurture myself

Spring has finally arrived! The turning of the new season has made me want to reflect on the first quarter of the year.

The past six months of my life have been chaotic and quite frankly, wild! It’s been a huge learning curve and I’ve had a chance to take heed of my corporate, spiritual and fun loving worlds.

I gave birth to a whole new me and rediscovered several of my long lost passions, creativity and joyful past times. In true Eleonora style, it all took place in a larger than life fashion and being on the go all the time left me ungrounded and feeling energetically scattered.

I’m fully aware that the energy you give off is reflected right back to you and the people and situations that I attracted into my life during this phase were a complete mirror of me.

I love me

At the beginning of 2013 I put out a strong intention; to make time to love myself more.

You absolutely have to help yourself before you can help anyone else. It’s a bit like during the safety demonstration on a plane when you’re told to put on your own oxygen mask before helping others.  

Putting yourself first can be quite hard as many of us may have been brought up to give rather than receive. Women in particular can be nurturing of others and end up leaving themselves till last.

A holistic healer friend recently gave me a gentle reminder to really look at my actions and the way I treat myself. When I stopped and reflected, I realised that I wasn’t fully practising my new year’s intention.

Internal spring clean

It made me wonder; how committed am I to nurturing myself and being as authentic as possible? It was enough for me to take snappy action come off my hamster wheel and back into my centre – the most powerful place we have.

I have reviewed and let go of the people and patterns that were not serving me one hundred per cent. On top of this I am now more conscious of where I spend my energy. If something does not feel right I am out the door.

It’s time to make way for the flowers to sprout up. My internal spring clean has begun and I am now welcoming in the nurturing and self love that I deserve. This love absolutely comes from the inside. If we look for it outside of ourselves we will eventually become exhausted and disappointed.

I commit to me

Being a writer I believe that when you write something down it becomes energised. So I am announcing to the universe via my blog:

I commit to loving and nurturing myself both energetically through healing and physically through nutritious food.

I put myself first and act with integrity, even when faced with a difficult situation.

I listen to my gut instinct and take guided action.

I am a human being who makes mistakes – I forgive myself and move on.

This self love completes me.