Was Amy Winehouse Crushed By Sudden Fame?

The kind of sudden popularity Winehouse achieved can be disorienting and paralysing, experts say. Breakthrough Retreats takes a look at the life of the great star.

amy winehouse breakthrough retreats

Some stars seem born to be in the spotlight, thriving in the attention and adulation of their adoring fans and finding a way to navigate the downsides of intense public scrutiny with seeming ease. Others, such as troubled singer Amy Winehouse, appear to have difficulty handling the harsh spotlight and retreat into a destructive cycle of substance abuse and self-harm from which they never return.

Winehouse died at age 27 on Saturday 23rd July 2011. And though her cause of death has not been determined, it would seem with her sadly short career, which saw her rocket from obscurity in 2006 to tragic demise just five years later, she is the latest example of an artist for whom fame was to be too much, too soon.

“Anyone who is thrust into that kind of celebrity with that kind of attention needs a solid, well-built foundation and support system that they can wrap around them like a blanket,” said Dr. Charles Sophy, a psychiatrist who has appeared on VH1’s “Celebrity Rehab” and “The Housewives of Beverly Hills” and is the author of a new book on conflict-free communication for mothers and daughters, called “Side by Side.”

“If you don’t have those key elements, you’re more likely to implode and hit a wall,” Sophy said.

Read what Winehouse producer Salaam Remi had to say about working with the singer.

Winehouse, a child of divorce, appeared drawn to destructive personal relationships — including a tumultuous marriage to Blake Fielder-Civil that resulted in a number of public spats and arrests. To the public at least, it seemed she lacked some of the foundation Sophy says is necessary.

And though it’s impossible for outside observers to know for sure, Sophy speculated that genetics may have also played a part in Winehouse’s difficulty in dealing with fame, especially if there is a history of addiction or mental health issues in her family. “If those things are not dealt with, then they are huge issues too,” he said. “And if all that hits at once, you need coping skills and if those aren’t there …”

Though her legend was based almost entirely on a single album, 2006’s Back to Black, which spawned just two singles that charted in the U.S. — “Rehab” and “You Know I’m No Good” — Winehouse was among the few young women in recent pop history to have attained worldwide critical and commercial success only to either spin out or retreat in the face of the rigors of fame.

Some, such as former Fugees star Lauryn Hill, continue to perform sporadically, but have been unable (or unwilling) to release a proper follow-up. Others, like Alanis Morissette, survive their moment and go on to solid careers that never quite reach the same zenith. And some live somewhere in between, such as Courtney Love, who cracked up for years before getting clean and continuing her career at a lower orbit, or Fiona Apple, who seemed uninterested in playing the fame game and retreated into privacy, releasing just three albums over a 15-year career.

None of those examples really fit the Winehouse mold, though, according to Jenny Eliscu, a Sirius satellite radio host and Rolling Stone contributing editor who profiled Winehouse for the magazine in 2007, as the singer’s star was about to go supernova.

“It would be easy and understandable to think that this is a phenomenon that afflicts female artists, but the parallel that makes the most sense for me is Kurt Cobain,” she said of the troubled Nirvana singer, who committed suicide at age 27, after years of battling with drugs and struggling to deal with the limelight.

“He had a band to say, ‘What the f—?’ But when you’re solo, it’s entirely your own operation with no one there to keep you in check,” Eliscu said. “You can languish in your problems. … It’s easy to get in your own cave.”

Even if you’re not abusing drugs or alcohol, getting it together to make a follow-up to a huge album is hard. But Eliscu said that if you compound that with the loneliness of being a solo artist, particularly one who probably never expected her authentically pained music to reach such a wide audience, you have a recipe for major trouble.

For every Britney Spears and Lindsay Lohan who spin out after achieving early celebrity, there are Justin Timberlakes and Taylor Swifts, who appear able to handle the pressure. Sophy said that could be because they have that support system in place early on to help them deal with the pressure.

“Someone who is 27 is not necessarily 27 years old emotionally,” said Sophy. “A 27-year-old can often act like an 18-year-old, because oftentimes addicts stop growing emotionally at the age they started using.”

This is something that Maureen Courtney of Breakthrough Retreats supports.

Even if, as father Mitch Winehouse said in a statement released after Amy’s funeral, his daughter had been drug-free for three years, Sophy said it can take a long time for the brain’s chemistry to return to normal long after a patient leaves rehab.

Sophy said that any artist who puts themselves in the spotlight is taking a huge risk, regardless of their sobriety. As they look for affirmation that they’re talented enough, once success begins coming in a rush, it can make them doubt their skills more than ever.

“When they hit it and it becomes a big thing, then there’s more pressure on them and their self-esteem, which might have been an issue to begin with and that’s a bigger mountain to climb,” Sophy explained.

It’s hard for even the most self-assured person to say, “I’m really good at this,” and so, Sophy said, when that doubt creeps in while the world is watching, it sometimes makes it difficult to stay on the straight and narrow without self-medicating or finding some other way to cope with the pressure.   “Instant fame is like a drug,” he said. “It starts out slowly and then you can get a big rush from a big blowup and that little high you got from your first big interview or show is like a drug and you get addicted to the rush and adrenaline. Then you have that big [magazine] feature, and that really sends you over the top. And how do you beat that attention? You have to get another one.”

While Winehouse often seemed unaffected by the attention, if not downright uninterested in it, her music came from what seemed like a genuine wellspring of pain and emotion. Because of that, Eliscu said it’s not surprising that someone in that state of turmoil might retreat into a kind of cocoon of safety and escape the public world they’ve been thrust into.

“When you get to the level of someone like the Jonas Brothers, you have so many people protecting you that you can almost be sheltered from expectations of what people want,” she said. “But [Winehouse] never had that level of structure in place around her. Even after the success of the first album in the U.K., she could never have known how well [Back to Black] would have done.”

With Thanks To and Original article by By Gil Kaufman (MTV USA 2011) http://www.mtv.com/news/articles/1668091/amy-winehouse-death-fame.jhtml

Alternative Therepy; Dancing Yourself to Happiness; This Morning Report

Breakthrough Retreats take a look at ITV This Morning’s May 2011 feature on alternative therapies with Jo Wood to help us all de-stress:

Dance Yourself to Happiness ITV This Morning

We all strive to find ways to wind down and de-stress so model and entrepreneur Jo Woods, who lives a totally organic lifestyle, is here to introduce three alternative therapies which can help to relax, and banish the blues.

We take a look at Drum Therapy with expert Mark Hunter, Dance Therapy with Chris Linnares and Laughter therapy with Leela Bunce to see how effective they can be at lifting your spirits!

You can see ITV’s This Morning’s Video Report here.

We at Breakthrough Retreats think that this is a great idea – Shimmying your way to happiness! – It certainly puts a spring in Maureen’s step to have a little boogie around her kitchen early in the morning!

Breakthrough Retreats offer an insight into some of these therapies at our exclusive Retreats in great location.

Photo courtesy of ITV This Morning

Spring: From Yangxiety to Yinsight: The Balance of the Equinox

Well, friends, here it is. The long-awaited beginning of spring (Yes, the warm weather is finally here!) and the point of sacred balance between the dark and the light. As Uranus leaves Pisces, where it’s been lurking for the last seven years in Neptunium formlessness, it now moves into Aries, the start of the zodiac, signifying the start of a whole new cycle, with new fire and focus. No wonder we’re getting earthquakes and threats of meltdowns. The fires of transformation are upon us. But how do we ride all this energy with balance and equanimity?

Too much fire can be too much yang, and with all the radiation panic, it seems the whole culture is suffering from yangxiety. Most people are yangedout – too much to do, too much stimulation, moving too fast, and face it, too much masculine paradigm superimposing itself on the natural world.

Isn’t the threat of nuclear radiation pouring into the air, water, and earth near one of the largest and most productive cities in the world enough cause to make us all stop and think about what we are doing and where we are going? (As if we didn’t already have enough reasons!). If this doesn’t do it, what will it take?

What we need for balance is a little yin-sight. Slow down, take some quiet time to reflect, have a nice long bath (or maybe try some water therapy?) and think things through. Emptiness softens, informs, allows new things to come into being, and creates ease. And who couldn’t use just a little more ease in their life as we head round the bend into the future? If Springtime signifies rebirth as well as balance, it may be that balance is necessary for rebirth.

There are many things out of balance in our world, but none quite so long-standing and globally pervasive as the imbalance between masculine and feminine. Here at the Spring Equinox, the Greek Goddess of the Underworld, Persephone, returns to the light and brings back the flowers and greenery—and with them, food for the people and hope for the future. She’s had a long hard winter, birthing the souls of the dead back to life again and living under Hades rules.

So let’s give her some room to distribute her magnificence. Let’s take time to smell the flowers and remember the miracle of spring. Let’s combat global warming with some chill space – less driving, less doing, less stuff. Let the feminine lead a little more in your life – your own feminine side, or the women in your life. You may be surprised that your life gets a little easier as corners turn to curves, hard edges to softness, and that dry job gets a little juicier.

If this yang civilization collapses, we won’t be able to go anywhere or do much of anything. The yin will then predominate, and we’ll be out of balance again in a different direction. So we may as well do it now, while the Divine Partnership that gives birth to all possibilities is still possible.

Love and Light,

Maureen x

P.S We will be releasing the date of our Summer Retreat very soon.

Picture of Persephone courtesy of this site.

Transpersonal Psychology: Mind, Body, and Spirit at Last!

At Breakthrough Retreats we are always looking for ways to help clients with whatever dilemmas face then in their everyday lives.

Maureen has recently began working with a clients whose partner has ADHD – Already a specialist area for Maureen – They have been working closely together with the client actually giving Maureen a few ideas on what she wants!

So at Breakthrough Retreats we have been doing some research into Transpersonal Psychology, Chakras and ADHD. Here are the findings;

Transpersonal Psychology: Mind, Body, and Spirit at Last!

Transpersonal psychology is a branch of psychology that examines the spiritual aspects of the human experience. Modern psychologists and psychiatrists are aware of this branch but most dismiss it.Your spiritual life is crucial for you and others to be happy people. You can’t ignore it because it’s always staring at you in the face.

This isn’t New Age. People are finally waking up and going back to Ancient Wisdom for answers. Too much human experience gets squished down into little intellectual boxes of “rationalism”.

The following picture is an optical illusion. What are you really missing? What are you really seeing?

Chinese Medicine Is Part of the Movement

  • You are a soul. Chinese medicine just happens to have two, one that governs your inner self. The other governs your physical being:
  • The science of the Mind. It explains what the Mind is like when it’s healthy and when there’s illness.
  • Chinese spiritual science explains your behaviour. There are two souls in Chinese philosophy. They are the Ethereal Soul of the Liver and the Corporeal Soul of the Lungs. They are very significant in your life.
  • Your Intellect resides in the Spleen and is responsible for critical thinking, applied thinking, studying, memorizing, concentrating, and generating ideas.
  • Your Will Power which is housed by the Kidneys. It’s responsible for drive, determination, single-mindedness in the pursuit of your goals, enthusiasm, and motivation.
  • Chakras Are another Ancient System That Explains Human Behaviour

Transpersonal psychology leads you to answers. This system is extremely useful for explaining why your life is the way it is. I’ll start with the basics. These include

  • What are chakras? Again, it’s all about energy.
  • Where are the chakra locations? There are 7 of, but not on the body.
  • Chakra definitions. Why they are significant.
  • Chakra colour chart. Each chakra vibrates at a particular frequency or band width.
  • Chakra health. What happens when your chakras are balanced?
  • Chakra blockages. What happens when your chakras are imbalanced?

Transpersonal Psychology and ADHD Autism

Modern medicine says that ADHD and autism are mental problems. BUT they keep looking at the brain for clues for causes. There is nothing consistent about the structure of the brain from “sufferer” to “sufferer”.  At best they are only guessing. And they test out their theories on your children.

All physical “injuries” and accidents originate at your spiritual level. If you keep thinking the same thoughts and repeating the same bad habits, you get into trouble. If you’re not dealing with your mental/emotional issues, then you WILL suffer physical symptoms. The body is always a reflection of your past (at any time instance). The longer you don’t deal with the emotional issues in your life, the harder it becomes for you physically.

If you’re not dealing with your own issues then you WILL pass them down to your offspring. Unless their own consciousness is strong enough to reject yours.  That’s the true meaning of genetics and heredity. That’s why there’s racism, prejudice, and war. That’s why there’s prosperity in some families and poverty in others. It works both ways.

So, transpersonal psychology has the answers that most people are looking for all their problems. Since we at Breakthrough Retreats are most interested in spiritual well-being in anyone we are helping, this is a good way to start. What’s really bothering you? What’s bothering your children?

True Cause and Effect

What you think about most of the time creates your reality. Transpersonal psychology must be taken seriously. Can you afford to continue to disconnect from your very being? Can you afford that for your children?

Depending on your constitution you will develop either mental or physical problems. That’s why something like transpersonal psychology is a breath of fresh air. People who study these aspects realize that there’s a reason why people aren’t healthier.

Transpersonal Psychology Helps You to Connect the Dots

You are different from your children. You are different from any other human being. It comes down to your experiences and how you dealt or did not deal with them. The thing is, you probably haven’t been taught where to start, never mind what to do! Start looking and paying attention to the individual and you start getting answers! Transpersonal psychology is an important step in the right direction. Until proponents of modern medicine start getting out of their head and intellectualizing everything, they will continue to fail to deliver real solutions for ADHD Autism.

You got a quick overview of the chakras here. Then in Stages of Child Development you can look at how the chakras are involved in your development as a human being. You have to connect all the dots: the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual. This is what Being Human is all about. And really the spiritual is the basis of all health, in all of its forms. That’s because if you’re not dealing with an upset in your life right away then eventually the problem escalates. It escalates until there is pain or disease in the body. You see, your body demonstrates what has happened in the past.

Riding the Waves of Life…

How often have you thought that you need a little help in sorting out things in your life?

Lots of people are used to joining a gym to look after their bodies however it is a shame that not so many people think about looking after their psychological wellbeing.

“Life is Easy!”

We find that from the experience we have running our company that a solution needs to be tailored to the individual, as, well, every individual is different! Whether this be through coaching, counselling, NLP, the general information given and hypnotherapy sessions, they all should be tailored to the individual for the best possible outcomes. It just works!

It has taken time and energy to master this approach as there is no out of the box solution, there is no magic pill and certainly no quick fix. We are the product of our life experiences and sometimes these experiences diminish our ability to move forward and enjoy our lives the way we are meant to.  Taking time out for ourselves to focus on our needs and solutions is essential.  Giving time to ourselves can be seen to be self indulgent but how can you possibly make anybody happy if you yourself are not happy and living life 100 per cent?

Whether it be a week by the sea in Cornwall, a few days in Hertfordshire or a weekend away at a Country House Hotel/Spa the mind needs nourishment, confidence needs restoration and self esteem (you’ve guessed it!) needs building.

Imagine taking that time out to relax the body!

You may have tried to sort out your life before with limited success but that does not mean that you cannot achieve amazing results if you try again.  There are an array of therapies that are available to achieve accelerated learning and turn people’s lives around quickly.

So, if you are stuck in your life or past experiences are holding you back or you have a phobia you would like to conquer or relationships are problematical or family dynamics a nightmare or suffering a bereavement or have an addiction or weight problem or you are lonely or know your life is not right at work or at home and want it to change – Maybe now is the time to open that mind to what is out there!

Isn’t life wonderful that you needn’t waste a minute before changing your life for the better?

“Having a heart for making a difference means that thing or someone made a difference in my heart first” (Lee Wise)

Love and Light,

Maureen x

Could This Be The Beginning Of Something Big?

Hello Everybody,

February is here and the first signs of spring are in the air. It feels warmer at least!

Pretty Gate at Bosweddon House, Cape Cornwall, a home to Breakthrough Retreats
Pretty Gate at Bosweddon House, Cape Cornwall, a home to Breakthrough Retreats

Everyone needs clarity in their life and to be able to see things with new eyes.

You may have already been on a Breakthrough Retreat and have turned your life around or you may be thinking that this is a gift that you would like to give to yourself.

For those of you who haven’t visited our website recently and read the testimonials we recommend that you do and read the amazing stories.

This time of the year is all about growth and potential.  Everything has a season.

Everyone has something they want to achieve or have been putting off whether it is finding that new job, redefining your relationships, looking at your core values and belief systems.  You may be asking where your spirituality has gone? Make this your Best Year; Ever!

You can do something about this and we are here to assist you on your journey.

As ever we are always ready to respond to your needs.

We are organising a group event to increase your energy levels and focus on results and we will give this the same careful attention to detail as we do for our one-to-one Retreats. We promise to make it affordable and exciting!

In the meantime, we want you to be thinking that in a day’s time you could have already spoken to Maureen.  In a week’s time you could have booked your place or secured a coaching program to suit your needs, in a month’s time you could have already changed your life and stepped forward into the new, wonderful you or you could stay doing the same as you have done and achieved nothing.

It only takes one step to start a new life!

IT’S ALL ABOUT YOU!

Can you make the first step?

Maureen x

My Thought for the Day…

Life is full of contradictions, Like the Good photograph, contrast brings out the drama of the experience, Light and Dark, emptiness and form, joy and sorrow, success and failure.

Dance partners in progress on the path— three steps forward, two steps back. Just like the planets, sometimes we need to go retrograde for a while before we can get things done.

In Hindu mythology the Devas (Gods) and the Asuras (Demons) line up on either side of the ocean of Milk and churn it into a froth, out of which comes Amrita, the nectar of immortality.

Carl Jung said that maturity requires the psych’s ability to hold the tension of opposites, insisting that things are all good or all bad – or even worse expecting them to be so— is bound to leave us confused and disillusioned. The polarities of the Second Chakra generate power in the Third Chakra when they are harnessed in balance.

We can think of the 11 of 2011 as the two pillars of polarity that we must integrate to find our power. Like the High Priestess Card shows us in the Tarot, walking between these pillars takes us into the mystery of initiation.

The pillars between Heaven and Earth unite above and below and go right up the Sacred Centre within each of us, balancing, yet embracing polarities. This is the middle way that will steady us on the journey and take us through to the other side. The Chakras are the stepping stones along the core that provide the formula for wholeness.

Maureen Courtney