Thursday, November 9, 2017

5 Secrets to Calming Re-entry Conflict

After Returning Home from Overseas

I felt I was choking – the oxygen I needed was draining out of my body.  And yet my body seemed to be alive and well in one country whilst my mind took a detour into what felt like outer space.

No worries – except that space felt more familiar, more normal and more real in so many ways.   I had arrived “back home” and was sitting amid what I had assumed would be my new tribe, my soft landing – a group I had visited and identified with prior to my arrival.

They had courted me, right?   They knew me, right?     They had shared the secret bathroom code, right?   

I was in the arrival stage of Re-entry after almost 20 years’ continuous years of living overseas. A seismic shift felt like it hit me like a bear raiding a campsite of fully stocked cars brimming with food. 

My feeling of tribe changed from a calm, soft landing to feeling like I had slid through a black hole and was once more adrift as an alien with a very tenuous link to reality back home.

Supposedly I was “back home” whatever that meant.  I was in our new chosen destination, a wee town in the Pacific North West almost on the Canadian border.  I was at a community meeting; this was supposed to be my brand-new tribe, having visited many times over the last ten years – they knew me – or did they?

For the very first time I opened my mouth and contributed some ideas towards an event about to occur in the community.   Apparently, they were “too far out, “unimaginable”, or lived in the land of “are you kidding?”  I felt like I was in a space odyssey – again.  Yuck – cultural dissonance – I felt I had been hit by a truck.

In my alien mind, these seemed small, possible and easy.  “How on earth could I be thinking those sorts of things” – was the message I heard on my invisible headset.

Truly I was living in another atmosphere – one that didn’t relate, wasn’t acceptable and me and my ideas were in that moment totally unwelcome.

I felt crushed.   Like the last 20 years away were invisible and the vast experience and learning I had enjoyed was simply a blip on an invisible radar screen, dissolving as I sat there. 

      “Ground control to Major Tom” Can you hear me, Major Tom?
       Can you hear And I'm floating around my tin can
       Far above the Moon
       Planet Earth is blue
       And there's nothing I can do."

I felt like all my experience - the invisible vault within – just didn’t exist, like I didn’t exist. I felt like oxygen was leaking through my spacesuit. I was completely untethered to either my old location or new geographical locations. The joys of inner-space travel.

In that one instant, what would have brought my global world-view into perspective?

Here are a few tips from the playbook of mindfulness to use when healing those cracks, when we feel like a cultural tsunami is about to overwhelm us, grab one of these tips from the toolbox.  I have learned to use and apply frequently.

Take a deep breath – a fast and effective tool for stopping a reaction dead in its tracks; intercept that fight or flight response by breathing deeply and distracting the mind.

Remember you are walking around in a meat-suit called a body.  Take a moment to notice that one common denominator everywhere you have been, is your body. The journeys you have had, the miracles you have enjoyed overseas are lodged in the cells – just gently take a moment to notice and connect.  Wiggle your toes and fingers, notice your body – send it some love.


Choose each word carefully – like you are selecting the best peach out of a barrel at the supermarket. Be selective while being authentic. Get clear you’re in a seismic moment, that you have slipped into a cultural gap and pause before responding.  

Be Prepared

As you know when you have lived overseas and returned home, it’s not a question of “if” you will have these moments, it’s more like “when” and “how frequently”.  To be ready, have some short 20-second-long responses. When people ask me a direct question like, “where are you from”, I don’t answer the question.   I segue into “My home base is in Denver, Colorado – if there is still light in their eyes I add “and I was born in Glasgow, Scotland”. Communicating your life overseas in bite-sized pieces and taking things slowly helps to build your communication. 

When we take these mini-steps to be quiet, to interrupt the pattern, barriers break down and conflict dissolves or dissipates faster.

Returning from overseas can catapult us into feeling adrift. Living a great life overseas required us to change our identity, now we are home we need to pivot to remain global.  Bringing your fresh world-view to the party in every conversation will take some practice.  Be mindful, use the tools and be fully present. Your alien self will be grateful!  Mindfulness is a healing balm which when applied can soothe your soul and keep you calm mid the possible re-entry spaciness.

Keep in touch!  Let us know how this works for you.   Sounds easy - takes practice.  We’d love your feedback.

Join the FB group Rock Your Reentry

Friday, October 6, 2017

Anatomy for a Successful Return Home!    

Anatomy for a Successful Return Home!

I got to thinking about what a great metaphor our skeletal system is for returning home or moving in general.

There are lots of moving parts in bodies.   Bodies do better when they are flexible, strong and healthy.  Our bodies house our spirits and require regular daily maintenance.    They constantly need movement, feeding and watering just like our re-entry does.   If we are flexible and take loving care of our re-entry we get wonderful healthy results.

How is our anatomy a metaphor for a successful Return Home? 


How are you using your head?  What are you thinking?   Which thoughts are filling your mind?  How organized or chaotic are your thoughts?   Are you paying attention to your headspace? 

Taking the time to write down your reflections upon your relocation journey, daily if possible,  will help you become more present to what’s going on in your head.  If you pay attention you will start to notice your patterns, how frequently they repeat and how entrenched or how flexible you are in your thinking.     

              “Those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything”.
               George Bernard Shaw       


What are you shouldering?  What is weighing you down?  Are you taking on some burden that could be divested or shared?

If you are reeling from the shock of Re-entry and your relationships are out of sorts, some of you might feel weighted down by this.   Devise a plan to lighten up your load and remove some of the heaviness.  Fun the most necessary part of any day.    If you are not having fun (for at least some portion of the time), where can you build fun into your day?   Our brains work best when they are lit up.


If you were to guess what is your most unconscious or subconscious worry? 

Back pain is often associated with the subconscious mind and with deep seated feelings and beliefs that we are not even remotely conscious of. 


Are you loving being back home?  Or are you upset by your return?  What do you love about your expat life that you want to continue back home?

How rarely we are encouraged to follow our heart, to focus on our personal dreams and aspirations in Re-entry.  Give yourself a healthy dose of permission and take the time to listen to your longings.  Let your deepest-seated desires rise to the surface.  No matter where you are in your Repatriation journey it is possible to thrive, to live and to love your life to the fullest. 

 “Grow to love yourself, you are the person you spend every 
waking moment with."    Brigitte Nicole 

What are the stressors that might be upsetting you?  What can’t you stomach?
Isolate the most torturous parts of the process – whether it is financial, physical or emotional. Focus on the area that challenges you most.  

What are you moving towards?  What are you running away from?  How much ground are you covering?  
Take stock and pay attention to your results.  Create a clearer picture of where you are in relation to where you would love to be.

Arms and Hands
What are you holding onto that you need to let go of?   What actions are you taking?
Move into action so that you can experience momentum and success.  Consider the returnee journey as a game that you are winning.   Every day ask yourself “what one action can I take today that will move me closer to the new life I really want”?

How grounded are you?   What activities lead you to feeling grounded and centered? 
The feet are wonderful tools and mostly we are unaware of them until they hurt.   Are you taking the best, most appropriate steps to reengage yourself in your new life? Take steps, whether they are baby steps or giant leaps, just keep taking them.

I suggest using your body-map to create the best mindset and take the physical steps necessary to close the gap, make the leap and enjoy the journey we call Repatriation/Re-entry or Relaunch.  We wish you the best of success wherever you are in the process.  

Use this tool and let us know how you get on!

Rock Your Re-Entry FB group

At Rock Your Re-entry we have designed signature systems that help you transform your rocky re-entry back home to a rockin' success.

Dream Building Your Way Through Repatriation         6 weeks course (online soon)
Mastering Re-Entry - Enjoy the Voyage                        6 months