What’s your Golden Buzzer moment? Making your dreams a reality

I have a guilty secret pleasure. I love to watch golden buzzer moments from Britain’s got talent on you tube. We abstain from television in our home so I never get to see the whole show. However I love these moments where the judges and the audience get surprised, raw talent shines forth and in that moment people realize their wildest dreams. I also love the stories that come with these moments. The stories of normal people overcoming everyday challenges and coming out the other side stronger, more powerful. And in those golden buzzer moments it is as if all they have been through is celebrated and honored.

Now I know that these shows are edited to emphasize this emotional moments. But I am a sucker for them. And that is because for me the essence in those moments, the real story, the real joy, is not something that can be edited. It is simply beautiful. And recently as I indulged in a five minute golden buzzer break I began to wonder, what is my golden buzzer dream? What is the moment that would take all the trials and tribulations and make all of it seem worth it?

During the American civil rights movement Martin Luther King delivered his iconic speech starting with “I have a dream.” It was a big dream. A dream still in creation. However, how do you think Martin Luther King would have felt to see Barack Obama voted into office? Would have that been his Golden Buzzer moment? We will obviously never really know. The important thing is he knew it.

We all have dreams in life. Big. Small. Middle sized. No two dreams are alike. And I believe an important part of achieving our dreams is to know where it is we are shooting that star to. To know what is our Golden Buzzer moment. It is our success criteria. The point where we know we have achieved exactly what we wanted, no matter what. Napoleon Hill said “A goal is a dream with a deadline”. And that doesn’t necessarily mean date deadline. (Although of course it helps). For me the deadline is knowing what your success looks like. Knowing where it is you are heading and what it will feel like when you get there.

If you have read this far I am guessing you have a dream. Something you want. Something you will fight for no matter what. I have a dream. It is getting my first book published. And I know that for me my golden buzzer moment will be when I hold that finished book in my hands. That will be the moment when everything I have been through, everything I have worked towards is realized. No matter if it sells a million copies or not, when it is in my hands in my mind the golden glitter will fall down on the stage and the audience will be going crazy. I know exactly who I want to run on stage to celebrate that moment with me. And even when my fears and doubts try and get the better of me it is this moment that keeps me going.

So today I’d like to invite you to find your golden buzzer moment. Just imagine yourself standing on that stage. Take a deep breath. And look deep inside. What will be the moment when the crowd goes wild?  When the stage lights up in a blaze of gold? What will be the cause of your tears of joy as you see that you have made it and your dream is real? And who will be there to celebrate it with you? See it. Play out the scene in your minds eye. Feel the joy. And when you have found that moment this is the goal for your dream.

It is this golden buzzer moment that will make your dream a reality. From here on in this is the moment you are working for.  Your golden buzzer moment is the foundation of your motivation. The thing that gets you to keep on going despite fear, despite hardship. Remembering of course that  “A dream doesn’t become reality through magic; it takes sweat, determination and hard work”. Knowing where you are going is half the battle to getting there. And knowing your golden buzzer dream moment will make your success all the beautiful when it comes.

So what is your Golden Buzzer moment?

Let’s start today making our dreams a reality by sharing our moments in the comments below. And inspiring each other to success whatever that looks like for each of us.

Have an amazing week <3

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#lifelessons101 – Living the dream life? How do you keep on leveling up in happily ever after?

The last five years of my life have been an amazing journey.

I not sure if started at the moment I sat in my apartment after 6 months of homelessness and told myself that I was going to break the repeating destructive cycle that kept leading me through violent relationship to homelessness. Or if it was the point where when faced with the opportunity to start a new potentially toxic relationship, I decided I was worth more than that and said thanks, but no thanks. Or it could have been the decidedly un romantic life clarity moment I had when doing the washing up, where I suddenly knew exactly what is as I wanted to do with my life. It was probably a combination of the above. However these moments lead me to this point in my life now. A moment where I am creating my dream job, living in the home I have always wanted and have a relationship I never before believed could truly exist. There is no doubt about it. I have created an amazing foundation. My life is good.

Sometimes it feels as though I am at that point in the story where the writer says “and they lived happily ever after” and the book closes. You know that point where you wonder well what happened next? Well for me the ‘next’ has been the new challenge. Oh don’t get me wrong I am loving the journey of my life and I am grateful every day for the experiences and opportunities it gives me. It’s just that it can be easy to get comfortable here. In a way to stagnant. Have you ever experienced that? You have this intense period of life changing growth. Then you get to the first level of living your dreams and although delighted, you find it hard to level up.

Some would say this is due to the fact that you no longer have the motivation of getting out of whatever cycle you were in before and that’s why it’s harder to level up. And in my experience that has been true. Adversity can inspire great change. Contentment is simply just a harder place to motivate yourself from. If you look around on the interwebs you will see there is lots and lots of articles about how to start changing your life. There are not so many on how to keep going and evolving once you are living the life of your dreams. Some might ask, do you need to level up once you get there. Yes! Personally I have a belief that the point of existence is to learn, grow and most importantly evolve. If I am not doing these things then for me there is little point. It is one of my keys to life happiness.  

So how do you level up once you are living your happily ever after? How do you get motivated from a place of contentment opposed to starting from adversity. My life lesson this week has been just this, and it’s been a surprising journey. I have found that the answer to leveling up in ever after land lies in 4 very simple things:

  • Redefine your personal view of success
  • Make a plan
  • Find a fear and face it
  • Eat your frogs

Redefine your personal view of success:

When you started your journey to happily ever after you probably had an idea of what success looked like to you. However, as we move through life our view of success changes. If you want to jump higher you need to raise the bar. So take 30 mins, with a cup of tea. (I am British. Tea is an important muse in my life.)  And brainstorm what does success look like to you now. Dig deep and find the dreams that you haven’t realized. You know the ones that scare the heck out of you. Look at what you are grateful for and appreciate in your life now.

By the end of your brainstorm you should end up with a clear view of where you need to get to and what you need to appreciate in order to level up and jump over the next bar. Redefine our success gives you the opportunity to design the next stage of your life.

Make a plan

Anyone that knows me ( or reads this blog regularly) will tell you I love making plans. Plans minimize decision stress. They translate a dream into actions. And they bring clarity. So look at your brainstorm and translate it into actions. How will you reach this next level? What do you have to do and what will you get out of doing it? One friend I know uses a primary school lesson plan concept to this process where she not only creates the actions she also creates a success criteria so she know she is on route to success.

Find a fear and face it

Some of these, if not all of the things you want to achieve will be scary. It is the next level of realizing your dreams. The deeper dreams closer to your heart. And much more frightening. When you are living in your happily ever after you are in a much better place to reach the highest part of your potential. Claiming your potential. Making that a reality and owning it is hella’ scary. For me, this centers around my book I finished writing it 2 years ago and now I want to turn it into an actual published book. The idea of making this a reality challenges every hidden layer of self doubt, fear of rejection and highly strung nerves I have in my body. Yet it is this fear which is creating a similar energy or driving force to the one I had in my place of adversity. It is only by facing it and working on it can I grow and level up again. So find your fear. Acknowledge it. And face it. Remember my favorite phrase, Bravery is not having fear. It is having a fear and doing it anyway.  

Eat your frogs

My favorite time management tool ever. Mark Twain once said “ If it’s your job to eat a frog, it’s best to do it first thing in the morning. And If it’s your job to eat two frogs, it’s best to eat the biggest one first.” Basically if you have a hard job to do get it done quick and the day will only get better. Bite the bullet. Face those fears and get it done. Every day I eat my frog I get a sense of accomplishment and pride. Mr T and I have got into the habit of giving each other high fives whenever we tell each other about our daily frog eating. And as simple as a high five is, it makes me celebrate my achievements and keeps the journey of leveling up fun.

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The whole point of leveling up to enjoy and enrich your life’s journey. Happily ever after is an amazing place to reach and you should enjoy it. However it’s not the end of your story. After happily ever after there is another adventure, and another, and another. Looking for new adventures and creating new dreams, new values and learning new lessons is the key to realizing your fullest potential. Being the person you were born to be.

Keep leveling up and enjoying that journey and you cannot help but be the biggest, brightest most beautiful shining version of you. Lighting the way in your own life and inspiring the lives of the people you meet to create their own happily ever after. Now what could be more fulfilling that that.

Have a beautiful weekend <3

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The key to keeping your new year’s resolutions

So here we are already at the beginning of the 3rd week of the year.

How is it going with those new year’s resolutions?

Are you still burning ahead in a blaze of glory smashing your goals? Kudos to you if you are. Or has the shine and glitter of the new you started to fade and your focus or motivation disappeared? Don’t worry you are not alone.

Week three of a year is the traditional point where most people abandon their resolutions, feeling that ‘real life’ is taking over and they don’t have the time or energy to dedicate to their new year, new you dreams. In fact this point in the year traditionally 31% have given up and by February just over half of us are still on track. Kind of depressing really. When you think about it that means that just under half of us ill be suffering will failing resolution remorse by the 3rd week of the year. No wonder January can sometimes feel so grey and bleak

But does it have to be this way?

How is that other half of us manages to keep going when so many of us struggle. Well how long is a piece of string? There are many reasons why we fail to keep our new year’s resolutions. But that is not really the important. What is important here is if you really do want to make the changes you originally decided up how do you get back on the horse and keep to your resolutions when it seems impossible to achieve? In fact is it even possible?

The answer my friends is YES!

It is possible to get back on that horse. Take it from me. In my past I was the expert in letting the new year’s resolutions slide into guilt and doing nothing. It was a regular yearly occurrence and I hated it. I let it lower my self esteem and drag my motivation down so that accepting defeat and giving up seemed like the vicious option. I felt as though I couldn’t trust myself to make agreements or believe that I would keep them Does it sound familiar?  But now after 40 years that girl is gone and I have managed to turn it around. I found the key that unlocked the secret of keeping my new year’s resolutions and since then, well it’s not been plain sailing, I have been achieving my goals and my confidence has soared. And it’s this secret, I should say secrets, that I want to share with you today.

Acknowledge & evaluate your test run

Now whenever there is a new product on the market they have a test run. The new product gets tried out, it’s consumer tested etc. This is what you have been doing with your new year’s resolutions in the last few weeks. Testing them out for size and practicality and most importantly achievability. Now is not the time to stop. It is the time to evaluate your findings and make improvements to the product so when you launch it, it will be successful. In other words make your new year’s resolution something you can achieve. So check out what is working and what is not and tweak your resolution to make it more achievable.

Pick a Year Theme

I cannot recommend this enough. A theme helps you to focus. For me this has been the game changer in my ability to keep my new year’s resolutions. It maintains my focus and my theme becomes a mantra for me to return to throughout the whole year. So for example 2019 is my year of health and happiness. I am focusing on nurturing my body and soul. Which includes doing regular exercise, eating good foods, going out in nature once a week and prioritising time at home with Mr T and the new vegetable garden. The theme refocuses me every time I don’t want to do my yoga practise or want to push myself over my limits with work. I ask myself is this going to benefit my health and happiness and if the answer is no then I don’t do it. Themes need to be simple a keyword or phrase that sums up what you want to get out of your resolutions, basically define the benefit in a word or statement. It helps to write it down somewhere. It can help to put it up somewhere where you will see it and be reminded every day.

Create your benchmarks

It is surprising in an age where there is a wealth of information on the interwebs about goal setting that people still fall into the trap of creating a new year’s resolution statement that is wildly unachievable or completely vague and ambiguous. So I am going to improve my lifestyle in 2019 or I will be abundant in 2019. Sounds great but what the heck will you actually be doing?  Use that sentence as a heading and create some benchmarks that mean you can measure your progress, keep focus and above all give you baby steps on the way to success that will keep you motivated.

So improving your lifestyle bench marks could be for example:

  • Decluttering my home
  • Have a me day once a month
  • Swim twice a week
  • Eat out once a month
  • Redecorate my bedroom

Remember to check in with your bench marks regularly, So yes, write them down. Checking them off the list will give you a dopamine boost and keep moving you forwards.

Assign time in your year planning

For each of your benchmarks assign time in your year planning. Choosing a start and finish date keeps the focus and makes your resolutions achievable. Often we try and do all 10 of our new year’s resolutions at once. And that my friend’s is a recipe for disaster. And a really great way to set yourself up for a fail. Spread your resolutions out across the year. Then you will move from success to success and give yourself the proper time to make the changes you want. So I am focusing this month on my yoga. (So far 12 days in of my 30 day challenge!)  Doing yoga is already nudging me towards wanting to eat more healthily but I am not putting my focus on that until next month when the exercise has become and habit. Slow and steady progress.

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So it’s time to grab those resolutions by the ears and give them the overhaul you need to really make the changes you want in your life. These 4 actions are really the key to achieving your new year’s resolutions. There is a 5th and it’s the one you can really plan. And that is simply getting on with it. A new year’s resolution is not a boundary you have imposed on yourself. It is a gift you are giving to your future self. So whenever you do something to achieve your resolutions thank yourself for giving yourself that gift, be awesome and get it done.

What will your theme be in 2019? Share in the comments below.

Having an amazingly awesome week

Enjoy your journey <3

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#lifelessons101 – Creating  Happiness- Designing my Happiness Project – an alternative to the New Year’s Resolution.

You do not finda happy life (1)I have made a decision. 2019 is going to be my magical year of happiness. Not that I was unhappy in 2018 in fact I think right now I feel the happiest now  that I have ever been in my life. However, whilst I am growing an business at a rapid rate, designing a new vegetable garden, writing and trying to publish 2 books, running workshops, acting as a combat trainer and of course have my wonderful Mr T and our relationship to enjoy, I am a tad busy. And when one is a tad busy it is so easy to forget to take care of yourself. And as far as I am concerned self- care is one on of the most important ingredients to a happy (not to mention balanced) life.

So I correct my previous statement. 2019 is going to be my magical year of happiness and Self-care. It sounds so good right. However in order to make this statement a reality whilst being so busy I am going to need a plan. And that I have.

I have been inspired by the imaginative (and practical) Gretchen Rubin to create a happiness project. Now for those of you who haven’t read her book The Happiness Project  ( and I seriously recommend you do), it is built on the premise that a happiness project is an approach to changing your life. A Happiness Project is made up of three parts.

Part 1: The Preparation Stage

Part 2:  Making Happiness Resolutions

Part 3 : Keeping the resolutions

Basically instead of setting a couple of resolutions for the whole year you break it down into mini resolutions of (what I call) happiness resolutions for a month that are themed.In an extremely busy life it seems to be a practical and simple system. And  I have been itching to try it out since I read the book!

Sooo I want to invite you on this journey with me. As you know on the Re:root blog the #lifelessons101 are always real examples taken from my life and the lessons I learn as I enjoy my journey. So in 2019 I am going to once a month check in and update you all on progress. Now if you are inspired by this idea of focusing life on your own happiness and want to join. Please do! The more the merrier! And to get you started here is how I approached the planning and resolutions stage of my 2019 Happiness Project.

Part 1: The Preparation Stage

Before deciding what I wanted to do to make me feel happier I followed Gretchen’s lead and created a list of commandments that are made up of my absolute Truths. This is like the Pirate Code. The guidelines for which I live my life and the foundation on which to build happiness. So I included for example

  1. Be you
  2. You are not responsible for everything
  3. Treasure the little moments
  4. Baby steps create dreams.

These might not make much sense to you but for me they are the pearls of wisdom that are the most relevant to who I am, where I am in life and most need to remind myself of.

Time to grab markers, pens and paper and set some time aside for your brainstorming phase. I basically brainstorm all of things I would like to do in 2019 that would make me happy. This included both silly and sensible things, goals I wanted to reach and areas of my life I would like to improve and focus.

Part 2:  Making Happiness Resolutions

So now I  grouped these ideas into themes and tried to make sure there was not too many actionable suggestions to each theme. It meant I had to let go of some of my babies. Very important to remember Rome wasn’t built in a day.  So for example One of my themes is Dedicate. The actions I included are:

  • 30 days of Yoga
  • Bullet journalling
  • Follow budget
  • Do morning and evening ritual

Then I looked at the calendar for the year. And made the decision of which themes and actions I could do and when. Again there was some pruning here. With my life it is important to be as realistic as possible. And the end result looked something like this.

Part 3 : Keeping the resolutions

This is supposed to be the hard part. Yet, after all that planning, getting started has been relatively easy. I signed up for the 30 days of Yoga with Adriene and now I have already done 10 days!! (A little proud) I am doing my bullet journal and the habit tracker is based on my happiness project to I am getting to see what is working for rme. I am currently sitting with my accountant as we speak. And I am steadily working towards building a good morning and bedtime routine. Do I do everything every day? No. Well yes to the yoga. However I can feel that by tracking my progress and not trying to do everything at once I am am slowly making baby steps. And yes I do feel happier already!

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So I am going to keep on with my month’s theme of Dedicate and I will see you lovely people at the end of January for the next installment of Creating Happiness 2019.

Keep me informed of your happiness projects for this year and let’s support each other to have a magical happy 2019.

Have a great weekend <3

NEVER underestimate the importance og having fun (1)

 

#lifelessons 101- Shedding light on the joy in our lives – inspiration for creating your own Yuletide/Solstice traditions

Today is a special day. It is the shortest day of the year. The Winter Solstice. When the sun sets today the longest night will start and at dawn the summer sun is born as the days gradually get a little bit longer. I love the duality and the magic of this time. The idea and fact that in the middle of the dark grey winter the summer is born.  The days getting longer is truely something to celebrate. And humans have been doing it since the dawn of time.

In many spiritual paths wether its Christmas and the birth of Jesus, or the Winter Solstice and the new born sun, or you celebrate Chanuka the festival of light or Pancha Ganapati in honur of the god of culture and new begingings, in human collective world culture we all agree that this is a time of celebrating joy, light birth and new beginings.  The amount of spiritual tradtions bulit around this time of year goes to show that before the internet,  electricity and indoor toilets and way back beyond the time when you were just a twinkle in your great grandparent’s eyes the winter solstice was important to us as a species.

Today Christmas has become a holiday that many celebrate not out of faith but out of habit, family culture or just simply because they get time off work as it’s a national holiday.  It has become indesputably commecialised and many people feel that the true spirit of Christmas is forgotten about. Now what that is can spark a whole different debate so we are not going to go down that rabbit hole today. And that seems as shame to me as beyond the coca cola red santa or the pre christmas bargin sales, we all have a basic need of celeberating the good in our lives here in the midwinter.

Now I have always loved Christmas ( I am my mother’s daughter). However, the tinsel did start to be a little too guilded as I grew older. Not because I didn’t enjoy the time, I just couldn’t find the sustenance in it and that for me took some of the joy. By shifting my focus to the Winter Solsitice, to celebrating the themes of birth and light and creating my own tradtions I have found a way to shed light on the magic and recconect with the joy in my life as I do at no other time of the year, that I would love to share with you.

So how did I do it? Well I simply took inspiration from the Yuletide traditions that made sense to me.  I kept the parts I love of my childhood christmases, the tree, the presents, the eating lots of good food and combined it with other tradtions that make sense to me based on the themes of light, joy and rebirth.  By refocusing on Winter Solstice and the returning light I feel not only more connected to the world around me I feel it sheds life on all the good I have in my life,  giving me reason to celebrate and at the same time the birth of summer brings my awareness into the work I would like to do in the coming year.  My own personal cocktail of spiritual celebration and personal development work.

So instead of moaning about the commercialisation of Christmas or grumbling and stressing why not take some time this year to create your own tradtions to celebrate the light in your life now and the light to come.

Here are a few of the tradtions that I have adopted, created adn personlised that bring me joy at this time of year. I hope they light a spark of inspiration for you to find your own – Merry Solstice xxxx

Bringing in the Green

Throughout history mankind has decorated both homes and tempels with everygreen plants such as ivy, pine or holly. In some tradtions it was to keep bad spirits away, in others to encourage the return of the summer sun at solstice. To me these plants represent the coming of life and the perseverance we have to survive and evolve. Every year we go out into the forest and collect some everygreens and take them home to create decorations with hot chocolate or mulled wine. There is somthing very primal about this acvity and is a fun way to start the celebrations.

The Yule Log

The custom of burning the Yule Log goes backin time and is thought to be originally a Nordic tradition.  The Yule Log was originally an entire tree or gigantic log, that was carefully chosen and brought into the house  and decorated with ever greens with great ceremony. The log burnt for 12 days (the original 12 days of christmas) and then after the ash would be taken out and spread on the fields to bring abundance and fertility to the crips they would plant in the spring.

Every year I work with seting goals and manifestation of my dreams so I have interpeted the Yule log tradition into this process. Each year I use some of the evergreen I collect to make a sunwheel which I hang in the home all through the year and then burn on winter solstice with my yule log. Then I collect the ashes and spread them on my vegetable garden ready for the new plants and seeds in the spring.

Being grateful for the gifts in life

This time of year has been, and still is, a time of celebrating the living people in our life that we love.   A huge theme that has survived throughout history it the tradition of giving gifts. The people we give gifts  tend to be our nearest and dearest. Giving gifts is in a way a chance to acknowledge the gifts these people bring to our lives. By looking at these gifts consciously we can begin to identify not only why people are important to us but also why we need to learn the teachings their gifts bring to us. At Yule I chose one of the people who are important to me in my life and look at the gifts they bring to me or how they enrich myh life.  I then write them a letter thanking them for the gift they bring to mylife and telling them how much they mean to me.

My light in the world

On solstice night some people like to light candles to wecome back the sun. I have interpreted this in a different way. I light 3 candles but for a very specific purpose. Each year at Winter solstice I look at my personal gifts that I share in the world. And I choose 3 that I want to celebrate. I light each candle say I bring the gift of …….. to the world and I am grateful and proud that I am able to share this gift. This simple ceremony reminds me to be proud and grateful of myself. No matter how up or down life is we all give the people we care about something by being in their lives, this is a great way to celebrate and honour how great you are.

Random Acts of kindness

At this time of year I love to go a little above and beyond to share random acts of kindness around. By looking at the gifts I have in my life I feel so thankful and I want to be able to to spread that feeling of joy  around. So weather its a random donation here or donating your time there it all makes a difference and brings a smile to your lips 🙂

Inner Child day

An important part of my yule time traditions is my inner child day.  Fo me the winter solstice is the perfect time for me to connect with my inner child so I reserve one day that is for her. I do stuff on that day that I always loved to do as a child or always wanted to do. The inner child day is just a day for creating your own kind of fun and spending your time the way you love it best.

Yearly review

As I said before I work alot with goal setting and manifestation in my own life. And I see the birth theme of the wintersolstice deeply connected to this.  I don’t, however, set my goals until febuary. Instead I use the time from Solstice to feb to  prepare and plan. When the solstice dawn has come I find this is perfect time for me to review the previous year and begin to gather my dreams and thoughts for the year ahead.

Solstice night and solstice dawn

I find the solstice a magical time of year and wherenever possible I like to spend the longest night with people I care about eating good food and sharing stories, if possible around a fireplace. And then in the morning I go out to see the dawn. A sunrise is a beautiful thing but for me it is evening more magical when you know that the one you are watching is the first one where the day gets a little longer. I find it gives me hope.

I hope however you spend your holidays you take sometime to enjoy it and spread some of the new coming light into your life this year

Merry Solstice <3

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How to recover from a verbal attack and turn the pain into wisdom

We have all experienced the feeling of being insulted or verbally attacked. Whether the playground jibes, a  loved one lashing out. And often is can be easy to forgive and forget. However some insults, some exchanges affect us so deeply that weeks later we are still feeling the insult and the consequent pain. In these cases of verbal attack we often feel disempowered and are left speechless, ultimately leaving us emotionally vulnerable to the core.

It is easy in these situations to enter into a victim role. To play up the poor me. And it is perfectly natural when we feel attacked to feel defensive. But once the initial shock has worn off if you want to be able to move on and let it go, you need to turn your reaction into something positive. “Take that pain and turn it into wisdom.” and take the sting out of the words. In short turn it around by looking for the teachings.

Recently I  experienced a verbal attack that has truly shocked me to my core.  In the most unexpected of places. I place where I normally feel empowered. I was unjustifiably accused ( I won’t elaborate on the details,for politeness sake). I was left drained, shaken and feeling thoroughly disempowered. Weeks after I was still feeling the effects. The action replay. The words I should have said in my throat.And the ultimate sadness from being unjustly accused. It was horrible. However I know that everything happens for a reason. I wanted to recharge and step into my power once more. And that meant doing some digging. As I dug I discovered my role in the conflict. I unearthed insecurities that were unconsciously in play. I looked at his motivates and could see myself mirrored in those. By looking  I found teachings in the situation.and even things I could work on to grow from it. I turned the deep pain into personal power. Did it resolve all my issues? No. As there will always be an element of us that will want an attacker to apologise and own their part. However it gave me a form of peace, a way to move forward and positive action within my own life.

And the best part is when I got down to it, it didn’t take me too long to sort out. So here is my guide of how to recover from an emotional, verbal attack. Next time I won’t be leaving it so long!

STEP 1 -The love letter technique

John Gray in his book ‘Men are from Mars. Women are from Venus’, gave us a technique called the love letter. This is a structured way of free writing that helps you process and understand your feelings and your desires within an argument situation. The first step to transforming pain to wisdom is too properly understand you are feeling. Why did it hurt? Why are you angry? How does it affect you and what response from the other party would resolve this for you? As far as I am aware this technique was originally created to resolve relationship conflicts. However I have found it is a great way to process any conflict.

Here is a guide the technique

https://www.marsvenus.com/blog/john-gray/the-feeling-letter-how-to-communicate-difficult-feelings-to-a-loved-one

STEP 2 – What was my responsibility?

It takes two to tango. In every conflict we have some part. However small, that we can take ownership of. Even when we feel unjustifiably attacked when you look back there will be in some part something that is your part or your responsibility in the situation. So in my case I discovered through the love letter technique that  prior attack the other person’s presence and manner had provoked some of my insecurities. Although I was concious of these it could hvae been that the other person subconciously picked up on my vibe and reacted to that. I could have been more concious in my communications prior the attack, as the trigger for the attack was a misunderstandin through miscommunication. There is always something that is your stuff. Owning it allows us to start to look for the teaching in the incident.

STEP 3 – Why did they attack me?

Everyone knows the premise that a bully bullies because they are feeling insecure. It is the same when you are verbally attacked.

An unwarranted verbal attack can be seen as the other person projecting their fears and insecurities on to you. When I looked at my situation from the position of the other persons possible insecurities I saw clearly that to them I represent many thinks they want both professionally, and personally. The attack became more about the other person trying to make themselves feel more secure by weakening me. This part of the process really helped me detach myself emotionally from the attack. Ask yourself what about me makes them feel insecure?

Sometimes someone will attack you because of something you have done or have not done. In this situation the teaching is pretty apparant.In this case it is good to assess your actions and ask yourself why did I create this? And look for the lesson there.

STEP 4- What are the teachings ?

Through this questioning process you will have a better understanding of the whole situation. Now look for the teachings. What in this situation did you need to learn? Where is the opportunity for you to grow? Not them. You.

STEP 5 – Moving forwards

The last stage is too look forwards. Sometimes the conflict can be resolved through dialogue. Sometimes it can’t. What you can do is to choose how you move forward. How you will activate the teachings you have learnt to create personal growth. You cannot change their actions then now or in the future, However, you can change yours. Make some resolutions about how to move forwards. If miscommunication caused the attack then you could choose to work on your communication skills. If your insecurities have been highlighted you can work with them. If understanding the other person’s insecurity has given you a new sense of compassion or an understanding of where you need to set boundaries work with that.

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I recommend writing this process out. It gets you out of your head, giving you the opportunity to take a step back. Gaining an objective perspective. Verbal attacks will always hurt, but they don’t have to scar. By treating them as a learning opportunity, a chance for your grow you transform your hurt in to growth, into wisdom that will serve you throughout your whole life.

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Knowing where you are going starts by knowing where you come from (The gift of Halloween and Samhain)

With the pumpkins in the supermarket, the skeletons, witches and ghosts decorating every shop window, it’s hard to not have noticed that on Wednesday it will be Halloween.  Now I know a lot of people get frustrated at this commercialized holiday. I get that with all the hype and merchandise it can be difficult to remember or see the deeper meaning and teachings of Halloween. Yet if we don’t look past all of that we can miss one of the most important life lessons we need in order to grow and develop. Let me explain…

Way back in time, before Christianity took root in the Celtic lands, Halloween was celebrated as the festival of Samhain. Samhain was an incredibly potent time for our European ancestors. Not only was it the ending and the beginning of the Celtic year. They believed that at this point of transition in the year the veils between the worlds, between the living and the dead were thinnest. (As do many people who celebrate a pagan spiritual path, or the Celtic wheel of the year today). Samhain was the night where the spirits of the deceased could walk amongst us once more.

To our modern mindset, this may seem morbid. However, for our ancient ancestors, this time was a time of celebration. A feast of the dead. A time to honor those who had gone before. At this time in history know who you were and where you came from was culturally significant. Back then people knew who their ancestors. They knew their lineage, they could name them. For example, Welsh people used the word ‘ap’ meaning ‘of’ to connect your name to your lineage e.g “John ap Bernard” John son of Bernard. (The Welsh, in fact, could often be linked through their “surname” to 7 generations “John ap Bernard, ap Peter, ap James, ap william etc etc etc).  A far cry from us. How far back do you know in your family? Your grandparents ? Maybe if you are lucky your great grandparents? This connection to our ancestors, to those that came before us who we are connected to by our DNA contains, in my opinion, the gift of Samhain/ Halloween and one of the most important keys to our personal development. The gift of knowing where you come from.

As the legendary Sir Terry Pratchett so accurately said “It is important that we know where we come from, because if you do not know where you come from, then you don’t know where you are, and if you don’t know where you are, you don’t know where you’re going. And if you don’t know where you’re going, you’re probably going wrong.” Our ancestors, our loved ones who have passed over gave us in our DNA our skills, our personal qualities, our talents and our vulnerabilities, the code that makes us. Our nearest and dearest, taught us lessons in life, whether through actual lessons or the example of their lives. And it is by connecting with both these lessons and our genetic code we can get a better understanding of the root of who we are, which in turn gives us insight into where we are going.

To re vist these teachings at Samhain it is not only a powerful way for us to both reconnect with this understanding of ourselves but also a powerful way to honour the lives of those who have gone before us.

Each year at Samhain I take time to go through the family album. I choose one picture of a deceased relative. Sometimes one I knew, and sometimes one I have only heard stories about. I spend time with Mr. T or friends, or in a circle, sharing stories of their lives, sharing how this person affected my life and looking at what they taught or showed me in or by, their lives. Each time I discover something new. Even if I have chosen the same person a few years in a row.  I can highly recommend this process. Especially for the ‘a, haa’ moments of understanding it brings.

Sometimes this process can be a little painful. Of course, we feel sadness that this person is gone. Often it is simply that we cannot thank them for the amazing gifts they gave us. So the other half of my Samhain process is to find a way on that day to celebrate them. So, for example, this Samhain I am celebrating the life of my Grandma, Christian Dean. She loved to make things and inherited from her a copious sewing, knitting and crochet equipment. I have always wanted to crochet but always been scared of trying (I am a bit dyslexic when it comes to making things). However this year with a cup of tea, and a cigarette (My Grandma smoked like a chimney) I am going to start to crochet. It’s a little thing that I think she would have loved to see me do. I am also going to be having a proper English breakfast as I remember the smell in the morning at her house was always full of tea, bacon, and eggs. These little things I know will make me feel closer to her, but instead of making me sad will make me smile (and probably swear with the crocheting!) And in that smile I will be celebrating her life.

There are many ways to connect with your ancestors as Samhain. You can meet up with members of your family to stories of their lives, or tell the stories to the new generations. You can visit their graves, or even visit a burial mound if you want to connect with the generations who came before that you didn’t get the chance to meet. You can bring out pictures of your family, or make a family tree. Or in the Celtic style, you can have a feast of the dead by making a meal with an extra plate at the table, for the person/people you are thinking of, symbolically sharing that meal with them.

Amidst the trick and treating, costume parties and pumpkin carving this Halloween take a moment to However you decide to do this check in with your ancestors this Samhain. By honoring and remembering them and their lives, you will also be honoring the roots from which you grew. And by connecting with your roots you will begin to understand, appreciate and value of the person you are today. And I know from experience that you will find will make your way forward in life a lot easier to see.

Have a beautiful week – Happy Samhain <3

“It is important that we know where we come from, because if you do not know where you come from, then you don't know where you are, and if you don't know where you are, you don't know where you're going..jpg

#lifelessons101 – How to help a friend without getting caught in drama

Humans love drama. We do. Our entire entertainment system is built upon that fact. On the big screen, in the tabloids, we revel in emotionally and intellectually demanding situations and stories.  We indulge in the details, the ups and downs of other people’s lives. The most enjoyable part in this is that we can disengage, we are not emotionally invested. No matter what happened in that last episode of Game of Thrones, or the details of the latest celebrity break up we can walk away unaffected. We can easily follow the Polish Proverb “It’s not my circus, not my monkeys”. Basically, it’s not my drama so I am not going to stay engaged.

However in our own lives. When the situation is about people we care about, not being engaged becomes much more difficult.  I find it extremely difficult. When a friend of mine is a situation filled with drama, which hurts them it is impossible for me not to want to help. However, it can be really difficult to help without being drawn into the drama and usually getting caught in the crossfire. Recently life threw this kind of situation at me. Someone I care about is in a horrible situation, one I have been in myself and wanted my help. It is a very volatile situation and has the potential for drama written all over it. I knew this drama would be harmful to me emotionally, especially because it was so close to the bone of one of my past traumas. But I still wanted to help. It might not be my circus, but it sure as heck has one of my monkeys in it. I felt stuck in the dilemma of how could I help without getting caught and burned in the drama myself?  Have you been there? If you have you will know how hard a situation this is. How do you take care of yourself and help someone else in a drama situation?

So I took a step back. I know from working with distancing myself from drama in the past, that the most important thing I could do is create firm boundaries. And from my work as a coach I also know that when helping others is that we are all responsible for our own decisions, and our own outcomes as are they for theirs. With that in mind before I helped I made myself some guidelines of how I could best serve my friend and myself. Honestly, it’s been a lifesaver. By having these guidelines to keep me true to myself, take care of me and my friend I have been able to keep both my sanity in the situation, keep myself free from negative drama and help her at the same time.

And to help if you are in the same situation here are some tips for you to create your own guidelines that will help you decide how you can help without getting caught in the drama yourself.

Is this your circus?

First and foremost take a step back and have a good look at the situation. Is this your circus (situation) or theirs? Does it affect you, your life? Ask yourself why do you want to help? And ask yourself is my help necessary? Do you really need to get involved? We all love to help people we love. But sometimes they don’t actually need us to jump in and fix things. Decide if you want or need to be involved and if you want or need to help.

How can you help?

Looking at the situation objectively how can you help, really? And equally important how does your friend want you to help? Identify what you can and can’t do. Keep in mind this is your friend’s situation to fix. You are in a support role. So unless its absolutely necessary (in a life or death type emergency) don’t jump all in as the knight in shining armor. Merlin was just as much help to King Arthur as an advisor as his knights who went on quests for him. (Sometimes more of a help actually) Outline what help you can give and are willing to give.

Look for personal triggers

If your situation is similar to mine, there may be elements of the situation that trigger you personally and emotionally. You are not going to be able to help your friend by reacting from your past situation and projecting it onto theirs. You need to know what will affect you in the situation personally and how to deal with that. You will probably need someone outside the situation to talk to about your own feelings. Remember to explain this to your friend and to choose support in someone you both trust. Preferably someone who is not involved and can be neutral and there for you.

Set the boundaries you need.

Know your boundaries. Are you willing to rehome the person if needed? Are you willing to spend your energy helping them if they are not willing to change the situation they are in? Best-selling author Dr. Brene Brown teaches the importance of setting boundaries when helping others. As she says “The most compassionate people I know also have the most well-defined boundaries,”. Before you jump in know how far you are willing to leap.

To help you check in with yourself and stick to your boundaries you can make a mantra that you repeat to yourself every time your boundary is tested to help you stick to what you can do and not overstretch yourself and your resources. Remember to let your friend know your boundaries in a gentle and caring way.

Remember this is not your journey

This is not your life journey it is theirs. Remember that in the end, as invested as you are in someone else’s happiness and success, it’s not your journey. Don’t take the situation personally. Similarly, don’t take it personally if they reject your help. People have to find their own solutions and live life at their own tempo. If you have done your best to help them from a place of love and caring you have to accept they have the right to live their life the way they live it. You can intervene but ultimately as a friend, your job is to be an honest supportive guide that is there to help them make the right choice for them.

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Helping a friend who is in a challenging, or in a potentially harmful situation is a precarious business. As Dr. Kaplow a known therapist says “Always remember that it’s very easy to project your preferences, your thoughts, your values on to your friend…Our natural tendency is to look at a relationship and say internally, ‘If this were me…'” he adds. “The problem is that no matter how well you know your friend … you are now distorting the relationship dynamic.”  You have to think before you speak. Keep it simple and honest. Speak from the heart, but choose your words carefully. Keep yourself strong by setting boundaries so you can truly be the best help and maintain your own strength. And know that even though you have done your best your friend may reject your help or advice.

This is their journey,  you have your own. You can only be responsible for your choices. So choose to help in a way that best serves you and your friend and leave the drama to someone else.

Have a great weekend <3

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How to live a life less ordinary :Prioritise doing more of what you love

I am very fortunate to have created a life I love for myself. However, at this time of year when the pre -winter blues echo in the back of my mind, I often find that I am disgruntled, less than satisfied with my life. When this niggling feeling started to get the better of me I decided to step back and take an objective look at what was going on. What I found, and the answer to my problems what both shockingly simple and easy to fix.

I wasn’t doing enough of what I love in life

You see on paper, at first glance it was hard to see. Because if you look around online the “do more of what you love” theory relates to work life. And sure enough, my work life contains many elements of the things I love. Coaching clients, teaching, writing even creativity in my weekly inspirational quotes, learning, and research. On paper, I am doing it right. However, I had fallen into the classic entrepreneur trap. I wasn’t applying the same principle to my own life, my life outside of work. To be fair it’s easy to do. Even if you are not an entrepreneur. Life sometimes just feels like all work and no play. And isn’t it funny that in a society today that recognizes work/life balance as incredibly important, that all the advice out there to re-address the balance in your life is geared only to one side of that equation. Doing what you love at work.

 

Now I know that there is little time in the day what with work, kids, shopping, washing, social commitments etc. However, if you want to have less burnout, more energy and a better quality of life it is seriously important to prioritise doing more of what you love in life. And I mean on a weekly basis. The key here is that with the limited time available (depending on your life) to prioritise doing more of what you love has to be qualitative focused rather than quantitative. Basically prioritise by doing more of the things you love that really boost your energy in a focused manner, rather than doing lots of things you love in an unfocused way.

Take these two examples and you will see what I mean:

Fiona is a working mum with 2 kids and a large social circle. Fiona loves to see her friends regularly. So 3 times a week she meets for a quick lunch with a friend during her break or for a coffee after work before picking up her kids. Now even though this is making use of her time efficiently the quality of the time spent with her friends is low. She often finds herself during these times thinking about the next thing she has to do and is not really present. As a result, friendships decline and she finds the times she spends with friends don’t really satisfy her and have become a chore.

 

Rebecca is also a working mum with 2 kids and a large social circle who she loves spending time with. To ensure the time she spends with her friends is qualitative she cuts down on how often they see each other and prioritising spending more time together where they can really enjoy each other’s company. She will sometimes invite her friends to spend the weekend away together with their families or arrange childcare to have an evening out together. She dedicates one hour a week to call a friend when she does not have other tasks in the way. As a result, friendships strengthen and she finds the times she spends with friends satisfy her and enrich her life.

Qualitative wins over quantitative. But how to implement this in your life? I found that a few simple questions helped me to step back and make the adjustments I needed to enrich my life by prioritising doing more of what I love. It will take you 5 minutes tops and both save and give you the energy you need to enjoy the coming darker months of the year.

  1. What things do you love to do? Brainstorm a list
  2. Which if these things truly enrich your life? Candy crush and Netflix may be fun, but do they truly relax or recharge your energy? Eliminate from your list all the activities that don’t really give you energy.
  3. Identify which of these things you want to do on a weekly, monthly or yearly basis
  4. For each item on your list workout how you can prioritize this in your life. This includes what will you have to sacrifice or delegate in order to prioritize doing what you love.
  5. Accept you can’t do it all. So refer to your list each month and choose one thing you will prioritize in a day / week and one thing you will do for that month.  

 

This month I am prioritizing my self care by making sure I do something creative (which is not writing) each week, stretching out before bed each night and having an adventure weekend with Mr T. In order to do so I am sacrificing my Netflix series binging, pre-bedtime social media trawling and some money to pay our cleaner so I can have a guilt-free adventure with the man I love. How will you prioritise doing more of what you love this month?

Have a wonderful week <3

 

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#lifelessons101 – How to cope when you have to be around people you just don’t like

At some point in time, we all have to spend time with people we just don’t like. Whether it’s a family member, colleague, in-law, best friends boyfriend or even that toxic person you really can’t drop due to circumstance. It’s crappy and it is a fact of life. I recently spent some time in this situation with not one but many people I don’t like, click with and/ or generally bore me beyond the point where pulling out teeth without anesthetic would be preferable. It happens.

However, this last session really got me wondering how the heck am I going to continue to cope with this. Because of the circumstances, I cannot simply drop these people.(Even though I know that is the best and safest policy with toxic people). So I have to put up with these occasions resurfacing, and I simply can’t play the sick card too often. So what to do? How do you cope when you have to be around people you just don’t like? How do you keep both your sanity and integrity in these situations?

As always I turned to the internet for support. And as usual, it gave me the objectivity to remember and find, the inspiration I needed. I imagine I am not the only person in the world with this particular issue so here for your sanity are the gold nuggets of the vast amount of advice out there that has either worked for me in the past or I intend to try out in the future.

Accept that you don’t have to like everyone

You don’t have to like everyone and vica versa. It really is ok not to like your husband’s sister, the colleague that shares your cubicle, or your Auntie Ida for that matter. We all waste a lot of energy beating ourselves up for things we perceive ‘we should’ be doing. Tell yourself it’s ok and move on.

Find the why

There is a reason you don’t like a person or persons. Find out what it is. Often when we don’t like someone it is because that person reflects back a part of personality we don’t like or are ashamed of in ourselves.  This is a great place to do some self-development. However sometimes we just plain don’t like them. If we know why it’s easier to deal with and do damage limitation so you don’t place yourself in a situation where those irritation buttons are likely to be pressed.

Vent in the right places

Now when you don’t like someone you often will need to vent and do an emotion dump of the frustration and irritation that person’s presence creates in you. You need to do something with this emotion and that needs to be in the right place. No bitching to your co-workers about your toxic colleague, or your husband about his Mum. It’s gonna create issues and generally will not improve your life quality or people’s perceptions of you. Have a neutral friend who you can vent these emotions with. Get it out, whether through talk or type, release these emotions so they don’t eat you up from inside.

Find the game

There is always a game. You just have to look for it. One of my favorites around toxic people is to use language to deflect their passive aggressive or manipulative comments. So if for example, they refuse to come to a social gathering because so and so has been invited, I will respond by saying something like “that’s a shame. However, I am sure you will enjoy the pictures”. Ping! Emotional blackmail deflected. There is always fun to be found if you look for it.

Boundaries and Breaks

Boundaries are really important when it comes to having to spend time with people you don’t like. So choosing how often you have to do this. For example, do you have to go to all of your partner’s family gatherings or can you limit it to the major ones?  Plan a strategy for visits. Let’s say it’s a member of the family you can’t get out of seeing who drains you. Invite them over for a cuppa, but make sure you have an appointment you have to go to so that the visit is naturally a short one.

Equally, make sure to give yourself breaks. Especially after you have spent time around these people. It is energy draining so give yourself a chance to recharge your batteries. Of course, this can be more challenging if the person is someone you see on a day to day basis, say at work. However, even in a busy office, it is possible to plan some breaks. So you can keep your interactions on schedule as a part of a time management and productivity strategy.  

Choose your battles

Some battles are not worth taking. Some are. If the people you don’t like are related there are potentially many different battles that can pop up daily. Do you need to take all of them?  Check in with yourself before you push back in the fight and see if this is really important to you, or are you just being caught up in the drama of it all. If it doesn’t affect your core values, the things that are really important to you in life is it worth using up your energy on a conflict. Remember fire needs fuel to burn, if you don’t feed it will go out.

Take the conversations

Sometimes, however, you do have to take the conversation with the person/people you don’t like. Boundaries get crossed. So instead of letting it fester and rot, take the conversation. Work out what you want to say before it. And say it carefully in non-accusatory language. Try this combination: When you do X it makes me feel Y and could you do it (this way) in the future. Talking about the issues however hard will dust out the cobwebs and you may often find out that your assumptions about a person’s behavior were actually completely wrong.

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We all have a limited amount of energy. And spending time with people we don’t like does hit that I could be doing something so much better with my time frustration button. So to avoid feeling like a trapped victim when you have to be around and interact with people you don’t like, take charge. Choose where and when you use your energy, how you will use it. Trust me you will feel 100% better if you do. Why? Simply because you will be more authentic in how you are using this time. The falseness of spending time with people we don’t like is often the most draining part of the whole business. Taking conscious action about the situation removes the false factor and that in itself will bring a form of peace.

Have a great weekend <3

Conserve your energy for something worthy of it