Celebrating Alcohol Abuse

More and more, on every social platform, there is a recurring theme of fashion magazines promoting and encouraging women to drink alcohol … lots and lots of alcohol.

I know for a fact that we are powerfully intuitive, wise and sensitive, beautiful women who feel everything, all the time. This power is easily and swiftly reduced by the numbing effects of alcohol.

This latest delish promotion from Marie Claire is selling the solution to all your problems, “Did we mention you’ll always have a drink in your hand? … the fruit punch is booze goals”. The insidiousness then goes on to play to your guilt and lets you know that the tour company will give “20% of it’s proceed to [hurricane] relief efforts” and remember ladies, “Ready, set, booze!”. A beautifully edited video with lashings of gorgeous cocktails, beaches, palm trees, crystal clear water and sunshine to tantalise you into booking. Throw in a few shots of hurricane devastation and you have the perfect seductive package to justify a ‘glamourous’, alcohol fuelled vacation that you will send you back to work needing a detox.

Here’s another classic from Marie Claire via Cosmopolitan celebrating how you need a jug and not a glass to drink wine. Actually, don’t worry about the jug, just drink vodka straight from the bottle.

National Vodka Day (is that even a thing?!) was a big hitter for Cosmopolitan with this video getting a tidy 6.2m views – that’s a lot of shots ..

Cosmo are also encouraging hiding wine so you can keep your habit hidden “When you need a desk-side pick me up” or you need to take your meeting from business to boozy”.

Harpers Bazaar are really giving it up for women to start drinking on Friday with this latest offering that has over 62k views (and counting!) and the comments from women celebrating how drunk they get on Friday

Cosmo strike again, I’ll stop for one drink *three drinks later* – 1.7m views!

There are numerous ‘studies’ that are released that celebrate that “three glasses of champagne a day/a glass of red wine is good for you” … Harpers Bazaar’s obvious advertorial piece with this informative embedded video from Elle promoting the benefits of drinking rose is among the many articles promoting alcohol consumption.

Every single one of these videos promotes the denigration of women – and these are only a few examples of the many out there. I know they are seen as just-for-fun and that no-one takes them seriously … but in truth they are celebrating self-abuse and excess consumption and making it normal to need, hide, indulge and binge on booze. It’s on your holidays with you, your Friday night and all your friends are with you when you have it. How can I have fun without it? I deserve it!

We have created a drinking obsessed culture.  According to Breastcancer.org women are now 15% more likely to get breast cancer than women who consume none. Breastcancer.org are really clear in what the facts reveal about alcohol and it’s direct links to breast cancer.

“Compared to women who don’t drink at all, women who have three alcoholic drinks per week have a 15% higher risk of breast cancer. Experts estimate that the risk of breast cancer goes up another 10% for each additional drink women regularly have each day.

Teen and tween girls aged 9 to 15 who drink three to five drinks a week have three times the risk of developing benign breast lumps. (Certain categories of non-cancerous breast lumps are associated with a higher risk of breast cancer later in life.)

While only a few studies have been done on drinking alcohol and the risk of recurrence, a 2009 study found that drinking even a few alcoholic beverages per week (three to four drinks) increased the risk of breast cancer coming back in women who’d been diagnosed with early-stage disease.

The bottom line is that regularly drinking alcohol can harm your health, even if you don’t binge drink or get drunk. All types of alcohol count. One drink equals 12 ounces of beer, 5 ounces of wine, or 1.5 ounces of hard liquor.”

Sobering statistics? One can only hope.

Based on the consumption promoted by our best selling women’s magazines, there’s no amount of breast cancer research that will help one iota of women if women continue to buy into this alcohol infused life that is supposed to be so glamorous and acceptable. A life that is supposed to build amazing friendships and memories …

The fashion mags are being read by young women who are being encouraged to drink a lot, often and with their friends. Where is the responsibility by our elders? Where are the women publishers who are being mentors to our young women? Alcohol related violence towards young women in universities, colleges and schools is on the rise. When are we going to be responsible and lead by example?

These NHS statistics released in May 2017 expose:

“Alcohol-related hospital admissions in England have increased by 64% in a decade and are at their highest ever level, prompting experts to warn that baby boomers are continuing to risk their health through frequent and excessive drinking.

Surveys found 60% of women aged 45 to 64 and 69% of men of the same age had drunk alcohol in the last week – the highest proportions of any age group.”

For women aged 45 to 64, we are in the most divine period of our lives. Our true expression is to mentor, support and nurture people at home, in the workplace and society as a whole.

Step up ladies. It’s time to try another way, this one isn’t working.

Brand New Day

The glorious sun rises, sometimes from behind clouds, but it is always there, reminding us of a new beginning. The sun feels like a reflection to me of the opportunity I have every day to re-set and make new choices.

Yesterday was my final day at work – as predicted, they couldn’t get me out of there fast enough and I am feeling relieved to be returning to London, and a little sad that the Melbourne journey wasn’t as I expected. I know I had very high expectations and was in illusion about what the position held and what I thought the job was going to bring to me, instead of the truth – which would be to see the job for what I would bring to it.

I reflected yesterday about a comment from a very dear friend that said “Love yourself a billion percent” – and I know that there is an opportunity for me to have another crack at that in the next job! I know that I will continue to have opportunities to bring another dollop of Sarah to the corporate world 🙂

In truth, in every moment, I can Love myself a billion percent – and with every new sunrise and in every moment, I have that opportunity to change how I see myself and give myself the grace to take the sunrise into my heart and feel that new beginning. And a sense of graceful urgency to begin each day with tender acceptance of change and my responsibility to be me a billion percent.

Yesterday, one of my female colleagues gave me a big hug and said, “I’m going to miss the energy you bring.”

London here I come!

Changes at Work

On Monday we were told that the business I manage has been sold. The new owners have been in the office for the last few days meeting with all of us and going through a consultation process to get more of an understanding of the business. This deal has been rumoured for many months so the first feeling was relief.

Since Monday’s announcement, I have experienced many different feelings and emotions which has posed the question for me – how much do I see myself as what I do?

There’s the obvious financial reliance on working, and the reflection on the excess in my life. But more than that, I have been contemplating on whether they will see me as a value to them or whether they will let me go.

Read – Will they like me or not?

The deep self-doubt – which I know is not real – has shown me that I still have a need for acceptance that drives how I am in pressured situations on which my livelihood depends. I felt anxious and nervous in one phone call in particular with the new MD and was “trying to say the right thing”. I was comparing myself to him without giving myself the space to see how far I’ve come and to honour my knowledge during the brief conversation. And it stayed with me after that and left me wondering if they were going to keep me on in the new structure.

That feeling of self-doubt is feeding from all the times I was hurt at work in the past. Yelled at, criticised, undermined, patronised, ridiculed – and the list goes on. There’s a battle scar from every one.

Albert Einstein is quoted as saying – “In the middle of every difficulty lies opportunity”

Once I got home, I realised I needed reassurance and a hug! With no hugs available, I had a little cry to release some of the hurt I was feeling, and phoned a friend. The support and clarity of true friendship is a God-send and the flow of that ‘let’s de-brief the day in 20 minutes’ conversation had us both laughing and realising that it’s only energy and I will be OK – I am already OK.

How the new business owners see me is their choice and I am not privy to their decision making or their master plan for the structure or my role within that. So today I will allow myself to be more ME and come back to the true knowing that I am OK and will be OK whatever the decision made in the boardroom. I have absolutely no control of that.

Another true friend responded in email to say that “If they are feeling the love you truly are, Sarah, they will either fight tooth and nail to keep you there … or get you out of the door as fast as they possibly can.”. How true is that! And still this morning the giggles over that comment keep a lovely smile on my face.

There is only one solution and that is to keep returning to love, no matter what. And to continue to keep counting my blessings and not my imperfections.

With Love, Sarah

From a Puppet to Essence – No Strings Attached!

Today I watched a documentary on a puppeteer on Sesame Street, Kevin Clash, “Being Elmo”. He felt so shy and sensitive growing up and didn’t know how to express that, so used puppets to be the vehicle. His parents were completely supportive of him making puppets and putting on shows for other children – but what I was contemplating while watching it was – Why do we hide behind a character or a created role?

Kevin is amazing and totally loves being the Executive Producer of Sesame Street and teaching children, being Elmo and working in his field – but his private life is not how he expected – spending more time as Elmo than being a husband and father had an impact and he’s divorced and his daughter had to write to him to remind him that she was going to college soon and would like to spend some time with him.

There is a truth to how Kevin expresses when he’s Elmo – a gorgeous, super gentle, loving quality/essence/expression that loves hugs and kisses and is tender with everyone, no matter what the colour of their skin, whether they are sick or healthy, young or old. And, in truth, every single one of us has those true qualities equally.

The reflection for me as I watched it was how I have spent many years not knowing how to express my essence with others and hiding behind a role or character I have developed to manage my life.

Working in film/television/advertising for 26 years has developed the ‘role’ into a career, which I love and always have (the career, not the ‘role’!). I just haven’t known that it could be possible to express and be in my essence within that. I used to say, “it’s who I am” – now that doesn’t fit anymore with the new person I see in the mirror. The old ‘role’ isn’t able to express my new awareness of the impact I have with everyone I meet.

The ‘role’ was developed over the years and was usually different with people at work, with friends and with family. I was exhausted, frustrated and felt that people didn’t understand me. Truth was that I didn’t understand myself and had no gauge of myself. All I had been shown was that you needed to get on with your career and be successful. But all the time I felt like a fraud. Like I was in a reality television show!! Always performing, on edge and a ‘forced’ persona that wanted everyone to like me. Being rejected was my worst fear.

We play a game of what we are NOT – we put out something we can’t sustain. There’s no where for me to hide anymore.

The groovy reflection of Elmo for me is the quality of expression of love we all have equally and when we allow that love to simply unfold and be super gentle and loving with others and ourselves, a new acceptance begins to break the hardness and protection I have put up as a barrier to keep myself from not being rejected. It’s been my choice to keep people away and stay in separation. Ouch.

Time to take off the puppeteers strings and express uninhibited by patterns and expectations I’ve put on myself in the past.

In slowly developing my connection with my essence, and letting people in, I have been exploring how I can simply be me and nurture the expression of my connection every day while still working in my field. There are times when I am simply me and there’s a panic that creeps in – can it be this easy?

I’m so much more than that panic and self-doubt and will have a crack at that barrier with a big smoochy Elmo hug (no strings attached!) for myself and know that when I re-connect to the love that I am I will always be there for myself and know the true essence of me.

With love,
Sarah

A Corporate Perspective on Energetic Truth

My career in television/film/advertising is now over 26 years. Since 2001, my whole perspective on my work, and who I am in it, has changed fundamentally after meeting Serge Benhayon.

My modus operandi prior to that meeting was always to ‘play it like a man’. The career I chose is male dominated and so I hardened myself to meet men on their terms. I worked hard and played hard; working 14-16 hours a day and drinking and taking drugs excessively for many years. This was off-set (or so I thought) by running about 3 miles a day.

The hardness in my body numbed me from feeling the self-harming way of life I was choosing and was using the industry as an excuse. I was anxious, nervous and reactionary. My outer ‘sales confidence’ belied the self-loathing I felt and that drove my insatiable need for recognition and acceptance from colleagues, managers, clients and inevitably, my family and their expectations.

Mistakes have been made along the way – I have been exploring how I express truthfully at work and it’s backfired sometimes. Due in part to the words I used and in part to the fact that truth is not often expressed in a corporate environment and most people I have encountered find it very uncomfortable and confronting. But that hasn’t stopped me. I will continue to rely on the true knowledge of my own wisdom to support me in my decisions for myself at work, and know for a fact that the impact of truth on my work environment will absolutely affect people. I have a big responsibility with that.

The true knowledge is something I feel to expand on:

We are not taught to connect to the boundless wisdom we have at our disposal when we are connected to our true selves. When I am expressing or listening from my soul, there’s nothing I need to call in from outside me in response to any business situation. Obviously, my temporal knowledge of the extremely technical career I have chosen means I have a lot of tools already learned that I can call on, but when it comes with the wisdom of ME, there’s a confidence and natural-ness that is supportive and true and I will always be able to trust and rely on. True knowledge is there to support everyone equally – no exceptions.

By not being true to myself, I have made some decisions that have cost me financially and that is part of the ongoing ‘work-in-progress’ that is the amazing Sarah Cloutier! I will continue to be strong and consistent with myself and be open to show my loveliness as a woman at work. The change begins with how I treat myself first, then as a reflection to my environment.

The Universal Medicine courses, which I started attending in the UK in 2004, started a process of growing up that has empowered me to take full responsibility for how I am with myself and with others. Serge Benhayon has always asked me to be me – nothing more, nothing less. The techniques I’ve learned, e.g. the Gentle Breath Meditation, support me to re-connect with myself at my desk if I’ve been shaken by the inevitable spin that happens at work when situations occur that are beyond my control. Serge has shown me by example that there is another way to live that will energise me to perform at a level I could never have dreamed of.

No longer will I accept the path of disregard. The illness and disease I see around me every day now is a very real experience for me from the choices I made in the past – I was extremely unwell by 2004 as the consequences of my ill choices came to fruition in my body. The healing techniques of Universal Medicine have profoundly changed my physiology and the weight, tension, angst and years have fallen away and I look younger and healthier now (at 44 years old) than I did in my twenties. Today, I am truly well and make self-loving choices with food, gentle exercise and sleep rhythms that support my busy workload to ensure I am clear and ready for anything that comes my way – bring it on!

I’m proud to say that the changes my mother calls ‘miraculous’ are not a miracle, they are the result of the choices I have made to reconnect to who I truly am and to express that truth as much as I can with the deep kindness I now feel for myself.

With thanks and kind regards,

Sarah