Tag Archives: inspiration

The most magical time of the year?

Hello people of the internet. I hope this blog post finds you well.

I have decided to keep a record of all of the magical/out of the ordinary experiences I have had throughout my life. I’m going through a process of awakening at the moment, in which I’m coming to see what the human existence is really all about, and deciding if I have the strength and conviction to trust what I believe to be true. Since my beliefs are largely a result of what life and experience have taught me thus far, where better to start than with the things that I have personally seen and felt?

You see, all this spiritual stuff and personal development was OK when I placed ownership on anyone but myself. Spiritualism and the lessons self-help literature can teach us seemed like concrete things that I could grasp on to when I needed an anchor, but the whole point of all these teachings is that they enable us to connect with something inside of us. They are the catalyst for transformation, but the transformation is very much our own. This is scary for someone like me, who has always lacked her own voice and looked to others for what is right and wrong.

I hope some of this sounds familiar to one or two of you – surely I’m not the only one going through an existential crisis?!!

So here we go – a complete list of all the magical moments in my life (that I can remember and which are interesting enough to include in this blog post!). Because I need to start trusting my own inner voice, which has always led me to believe that there is more to life than atoms and molecules.

  1. Crying myself to sleep one night as a teenager, and begging for a sign that everything would be OK. My mum had told me to ask for a white feather, so this is what I did. On my way to college the next morning, a large white feather slowly drifted in waves and landed right by my feet.
  2. Again as a teenager, I was on my way home from college one cold winter afternoon, and for some unknown reason decided to walk back and use the payphone to ask for a lift. When I called it turned out I didn’t have my keys with me and no one was in the house, so walking home would have meant standing out in the cold waiting for someone to get home. I remember thinking as I walked back to college to use the payphone that it made no sense to do this, since I’d already been half-way home. I waited in the warmth of the college until I was able to confirm that someone was home.
  3. One night my sister and I played a game where she looked at random cards from a pack of playing cards and I had to see what number she was looking at. I got 10 right in a row and we got so spooked that we stopped doing it!
  4. I used to be able to predict lottery numbers – unfortunately, only when the numbers had been selected by the machine but before the number was revealed to the viewing public. I regularly used to get three of four numbers correct.
  5. On my way to college one day, I saw someone walking on the opposite side of the pavement out of the corner of my eye. I turned to look at them, and saw the lower part of a torso slowly fade out to nothing.
  6. Quite a few years ago now I worked for the NHS and used to make a fairly regular trip over to where some colleagues worked in a nearby hospital library. The library was supposedly haunted. One day, I was sat at my computer behind the library desk, and I heard a female voice singing, crystal clear and quite tuneful. It suddenly occurred to me that there was only myself and a colleague in the library, so I asked her if she had been singing. No, she had not. I also checked what the sounds from outside sounded like, since it was summer and the windows were open. I could certainly hear muffled voices and conversations from outside, but nothing as clear as the singing. When I later recalled this event to another colleague, she explained that one of the ghosts in the library was supposedly a lady in hospital gowns who wandered around singing. I doubted my own experience for long after this occurrence, but now I’m more inclined to trust that it happened.
  7. This is one of my favourites. I had booked a chimney sweep, and put the £45 fee in an old purse that I was due to throw out. It was two £20 notes, two £2 coins and one £1 coin. The purse was on the bookshelf in my living room, where the fireplace in question was being dealt with. I was aware of having someone in the house and made sure I only went as far away as the next room, so when I went to pay I was really surprised to find the money wasn’t there. What opportunity had he had to steal the money? He really didn’t seem like the type and, well, I was sure I’d have heard or seen something from the kitchen. I paid by cheque and did what we all do in these situations – beat myself up about it. Over the next few weeks I went back to the purse on several occasions, turning it inside out trying to make the money reappear. It just seemed so odd, and I had a gut feeling it hadn’t been stolen. One day, just as I was about to throw the purse out and forget the whole saga, I said a little prayer to the universe, along the lines of: “OK universe, I know I’ve been beating myself up about this and I know I need to learn to give myself a break. If I promise – really promise – to forgive myself for misplacing the money, please could I have it back because £45 is a lot of money!” I opened the purse and…. There it was. Two £20 notes, two £2 coins and one £1 coin. My husband swears he didn’t replace the money – and in any case he didn’t know the exact denominations.
  8. Only a few years ago, I was in an interview for a job I really wanted. With extra special emphasis on the really. I can’t exactly explain why, but I felt a strong magnetic pull to this job – almost as though it wanted me as much as I wanted it. So I was understandably nervous leading up to and during the interview, and when I was asked a question I couldn’t instantly think of a good answer to, I used a trick I’d read somewhere, which is to ask if you can take a moment to consider your answer. As I pondered, I stared into the corner of the ceiling and realised that my mind had gone completely blank – like a clean, white sheet of paper with no trace of any useful information. So I was surprised to discover myself giving a full and eloquent answer, without knowing where it had come from. The interviewees just looked at me for a few seconds, seemingly impressed with what they’d heard, and moved on to the next question.
  9. After three long and joyous/gruelling years of working in the job mentioned above, I reached a point whereby the only way forward for me was to quit and make a big change in my life. The change was calling to me, and it made me quake in my boots just thinking about it. If I did this, I sensed that everything would change for the better, but I didn’t have the courage – not least because I had no concrete plans whatsoever for what I would do with my life from that point onward. So I asked the universe for some guidance on my way into town to meet my mum. The guidance came in the form of a greetings card, which caught my eye in this gorgeous little gift shop I’ve been visiting for years. The card (of which there were many, but only this one called to me to read it) said this: “Life is like riding a bike – to keep your balance, you must keep moving”. That was all the confirmation I needed, as I had been going through a particularly magical phase in my life and listening to the ‘whispers’ from the universe was a daily occurrence for me. So I quit, and everything changed, and I’ve never been more scared or prouder of myself than in that moment.
  10. A year or two later, whilst walking to my sister’s house, I remembered that it’s important to ask for the things we want in life. So I silently asked the universe for a friend, and I was very specific that it had to be a proper friend, that I could be completely myself around, and who was on my wavelength. Basically, I was in need of a soul friend, which is something I’ve never truly had before. The other day, I was round at my friend’s house and I suddenly remembered what I had asked for. And boy oh boy did I get what I asked for: a friend like I’ve never had before, and who I cannot now imagine my life without. She has opened up my world and encouraged me to be more and more of who I am, and in return, she has gained the friend that she has always wanted.
  11. A doctor once mentioned something called Emotional Freedom Technique to me. I filed it away in my list of things to explore, and was later reminded of it when I read about it in a book. Hmmm, I thought – now feels like the right time to pursue this, but where on earth am I going to find a practitioner close to my home town? I had a look on the internet, couldn’t find anything, and settled on teaching myself how to use the technique, even though I knew this would never happen. Then one night I was giving my mum a shoulder rub and she asked where you can go to get a proper back massage that isn’t one of those beauty parlours with the false nails and eyelashes (nothing wrong with either of those things, obviously, but it’s not my mum’s style and she would feel uncomfortable in that kind of environment). I mentioned a local therapy centre I knew of, and upon checking the list of treatments they offer, there on the list was Emotional Freedom Technique. I was blown away, and subsequently signed up for sessions which have proven to be life changing. I realise that many people would dismiss this as coincidence, and of course I am open-minded to the idea. But this was one of many instances in my life where exactly the right thing/situation/person has come along exactly when I needed it.

It feels scary sharing these stories with you, because I know many people would dismiss or ridicule them. But that’s OK. No one should be forced to believe something they don’t. All I know is that these experiences are real, and that trusting my inner voice includes making room for the fact that there is more to life than meets the eye. Slowly but surely I hope to become more and more sure of my right to be here on this planet, living this life; not because someone else has told me so, but rather because I am able to know things without needing to be told.

Sending you all my very best wishes for the New Year.

Kath

p.s. Image courtesy of Andrew Melnychuk via Flickr Creative Commons: https://tinyurl.com/y9yd37u8

Recipe for the perfect human being

This is a simple recipe, which can easily be followed once you realise that all the other ingredients you once thought were important are in fact completely unnecessary. The recipe is as follows:

Take 1 human being

Add a dollop of doing the best you can with the knowledge and skills you have

See life as a gift which is unfolding just for you, and never question your right to be here, to make mistakes or to struggle.

Take a whole heap of love and hold it in your heart

Additional notes:

Please don’t add any of the traditional ingredients, such as people-pleasing, judgement, perfectionism, self-loathing/lack of worthiness, or a heavy focus on achieving what you believe others see as important. All of these things look good enough, but they will make the finished recipe taste bitter and unsatisfying.

I have yet to master this recipe myself, but I intend to keep practising it until I have it just right – or as close to just right as I can manage!

Lots of love,

Kath

 

p.s. image courtesy of tinyfroglet via Flickr Creative Commons: https://tinyurl.com/yca3kqez

Self-acceptance is a unique and personal journey

There is no rule book or set of processes to go through to gain a sense of self-acceptance. How could there be, when we are all so unique and have experienced such different life circumstances? That’s not to say that there aren’t tools and resources that we can use, and teachers (in the form of friends, authors, movies etc.) that will encourage us on our journey. It’s more that how we interpret them and what they mean to us as individuals will be highly personal.

This, of course, is no bad thing. If anything it’s part of the wonder that is human existence. Life is beautifully messy and chaotic. We are beautifully messy and chaotic. We are all united in our uniqueness and the complex twists and turns that life sometimes takes. Difference is a unifying factor – not a reason to find fault, or fear what we don’t understand.

My problem of late has been realising that who I am is so very different to the person I thought I was (or ought to be), that transitioning – or allowing myself to transform into the person I was always meant to be – is downright terrifying. Let me give you some background…

I’ve always been someone who feels things intensely and is highly emotional. I soak up other people’s emotions like a sponge, making many social encounters emotionally and physically draining. This has made working in a shared office environment practically impossible for me in the past, and I’ve had to come to terms with the fact that I’m not suited to a busy, fast-paced lifestyle. I used to believe this meant that there’s something wrong with me or that I’m deficient in some way, but I’m coming to understand and respect this aspect of myself and not view it as a weakness or a failing.

My environment has always been extremely important to me, and the smallest detail such as lighting or the position of my desk in relation to the door has always had a huge impact on me. I know I’m not unique in this and that many people are ‘fussy’ about their office or home environments. I’m sure I’m not the only person who drives by houses in the winter time and wonders how on earth people can stand to sit in a brightly lit room with the television on full blast, with not a scented candle or joss stick in sight! I also detest brightly lit supermarkets and shops, which seems to be the norm these days. Something about those harsh overhead strip lights just does something to my brain and I can’t think straight or concentrate. Modern day living just doesn’t seem to suit me, no matter how much I’ve tried to make myself fit in. I often wish I was living in a small town with cobbled roads and a smattering of local shops – all lit by candlelight! I’d probably hate this is reality, but something about it really does appeal to me.

I’ve been a career person most of my adult life; ticking off the list of things to do as you enter and work your way through adulthood:

  • Get a good education
  • Get a job and stay there for approximately three years
  • Move on to a better job with greater prospects and increased pay
  • Get married and start thinking about having kids

In the last few years I’ve come to realise that this life was not serving me. It wasn’t allowing me to give the best of myself, to express who I really am, or to live anything other than a half-life. Now, I’d like to say that I came to this decision myself, by a process of careful analysis and deduction – but the truth is that life forced me to take a huge step back and reevaluate just about everything in my life, from my relationships to my career and my style of dress. My way of perceiving the world also changed, as I could no longer believe that our existence on this planet is just a happy accident and that human existence has no real meaning. I’m not religious. I do not believe in God in the sense that a member of an organised religion does. But I do believe that we are all part of something much greater than ourselves, that we are surrounded by guidance at every step of the way, and that we each had a purpose (or ten) when we entered this lifetime. I’ve experienced enough strange and magical moments over the last few years that I have no choice now but to wholeheartedly believe such whimsical notions as:

  • Life loves us all
  • We have a soul/higher-self that is always trying to guide us towards our highest good
  • We all have something unique and meaningful to offer the world

I’m finding these things very hard to come to terms with, because I still feel like a bit of a nutcase when I express my views on life. People regularly giggle at me, and I often make a joke of myself by making reference to hippies and rainbows, and generally poo-pooing my own belief system. It’s just going to take time, I guess. The day will come when I can stand tall, look someone in the eyes and say: “You are a beautiful beam of light”, without laughing nervously afterwards! In the meantime, I’ll just keep giggling.

So, as you can see, self-acceptance is quite a roller-coaster for me, because to accept who I truly am, I have to accept that:

  • My life now looks completely different to how it did
  • A lot of people in my life either don’t approve or are taking a while to get on board
  • My views are more than a little ‘out there’ for the average conversation over a cup of coffee
  • The more I believe in myself, the happier and more fulfilled I feel, so I have no choice but to keep going, no matter how much I want to run back to the safety of my old life. Anxiety and depression come when I deny something fundamental about myself, and follow social constructs about what I should do and who I should be.

What does self-acceptance mean to you? Are you gay but don’t feel able to come to terms with it? Are you a geek surrounded by people who don’t understand your passion for 18th Century literature? Are you a wild soul who lives in the suburbs and longs to sell up and build a tree house in the forest?

No matter who you are or what you’re going through, self-acceptance is possible. Please don’t tell yourself that your life is so unique that no one else has ever overcome something similar and found peace within themselves.

The one thing that we can all benefit from, no matter who we are or what we’re aiming for, is a tribe: a group of people who are on our wavelength, who help us to become more and more of who we are, and who inspire us to live our best lives. This tribe of people will look different for all of  us, but they will all have the same effect of supporting us and providing space for us to explore our true selves in a safe environment.

I’m at a loss at the moment. My old journey seems to have come to an end, and I haven’t fully embraced the next chapter of my life yet. I’m in a state of limbo; too scared to move forward, but even more scared to go back to my old ways. I’m not 100% sure where I belong or what my ‘tribe’ looks like. I guess for now all I can do is respect the process, be kind to myself and know that no matter how small my progress may be, I’m moving towards something wonderful.

I love you all, because I’m a great big hippy – yay!

Bye for now,

Kath x

 

p.s. Image is by Travis Simon via Flickr: https://tinyurl.com/ya6d6vtg

Have you got a problem with me?

OK, so for a while now I’ve been wanting to write a book by the same name as this blog. The title actually came to me one night when I was having a pretty hard time. I needed to do something to keep my focus and help me stay in the moment, so I got out a big blank sheet of white paper and some pens and pencils, and I sat in my little hideaway upstairs and wrote – in extremely large cartoon-ish letters: ‘Have you got a problem with me?’ I don’t know where it came from. I don’t use language like this in my everyday conversations (because it’s a little on the aggressive side, and heaven forgive me if I ever cause slight offence or let someone know how I’m actually feeling for once!). But it came from somewhere, and I just knew that one day I would write a book by that title, all about how to care less what others think and live a life of worthiness and self-expression – and FREEDOM. That’s the big one right there; it’s amazing (and incredibly sad) how so many of us can feel like prisoners in our own lives.

Anyway, I had some inspiration from somewhere, and I acted upon it by starting to write the book in question, and when I realised writing a book might take a while, I set up this blog to give me an outlet for my ideas in the meantime.

Problem is, I’m not writing the book anymore, and in fact don’t post to this blog as often as I’d like to. But even so, I keep feeling as though writing is somehow meant to be part of my life, and I certainly do carry around a lot of ideas each and every day which I hope might help one or two people to take life a little less seriously and relax into who they really are. I mean, if only one person read the book and took a small piece of inspiration from it, then it’s a job well done, right? I’ll have got all my ideas out of my head and onto paper, so I don’t have to keep mulling them over all the time, and someone, somewhere in the world, has learnt something valuable to take forward and maybe even share with others.

There’s something about writing of your own volition – rather than because you have a deadline or someone has specifically asked you to put pen to paper. It’s just that much harder to motivate yourself and to feel that what you’re doing is worthwhile. So to help me achieve my goal of one day finishing this book, which I think could be really good (and hopefully useful to lots of young people who are struggling to know what’s ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ in life), I’m going to make a commitment to you, my readers, that I will finish a draft of ‘Have you got a problem with me’ by September 2018. I already have chapter headings and around 17,000 words, so I think that’s realistic. Only one way to find out I guess!

I feel terrified making this commitment in case I break it or in case no one is even reading this blog post, which I’m writing with such enthusiasm and gusto! Here I am, bashing away at the keyboard, and you guys are like: “yeah, you lost me at the first paragraph lady!” I’m just going to be positive and assume that at least one person is still reading at this point. Hi, whoever you are!

OK, so thanks for being here to listen to me, and I am hopeful that, as some of you have been kind enough to follow my blog, I might not be too far off the mark when I tell myself that this book could be a really good thing. Maybe it’ll just be a small book/guide which I provide free as an instant download, or maybe it will be self-published on Amazon, or maybe it will get published by an actual publisher. Does it really matter? Well, if you asked my mum, she’d probably say yes because she doesn’t believe in working for no monetary reward, but if there’s anything I’ve learnt the last few years, it’s that parents are frequently wrong! Huzzah!

Bye for now folks x

p.s. wish me luck!

 

Image by Kevin Doncaster: https://tinyurl.com/ybwnjrvw

Mountain of fears

Hello lovely readers and fellow human beings! How’s your day going so far?

I was just flipping through an old notebook and found the following poem. I don’t often (if ever) write poetry, but in the last few years I have found myself spontaneously putting pen to paper in an attempt to express something about myself or the emotions I’m feeling at the time. As far as this poem goes, I’m still stood on the mountain of fear, but I have taken my first brave few steps towards the valley below.

Mountain of fear

I’m stood on a mountain

All on my own

I’m scared of my shadow

I’m scared I might fall

Who will be there, to catch me when I stumble?

And yet the view is magnificent from up here

I see new places for me to explore

I see sunshine and happiness and love

I see beautiful rich colours

If the mountain is my fears, the valley below is my dreams

Step by step I will descend into joy

Not prize-winning by any means! But still, I quite like it. I remember not really being in control of the words that came out. They just sort of poured out of their own accord. I like this, because it reminds me that there is such a thing as a subconscious mind to be listened to and respected. Our subconscious can teach us a lot about who we are and what we want for ourselves. If we don’t take the time to listen, we might find ourselves feeling very lost indeed. So give it a go. Just take a blank piece of paper and a pen and see what appears on the page. Don’t be afraid of what you might write, and don’t judge yourself for it. It is what it is, and you are who you are. And there ain’t nothing wrong with that!

Peace out! x

Companionship, connection and togetherness. Are they the meaning of life?

I grew up believing that I had to do certain things and be the version of me everyone else wanted to see. Sound familiar? One of the side-effects of this was that, although I had friends and socialised regularly, it was always a bit of an inconvenience to me. I was always partly waiting to go back home where I could completely relax, because I didn’t have anyone else’s needs or opinions to take into account. I’ve never been great at maintaining eye contact with people – even those I’m really close to. I guess every encounter with someone or any social situation had the potential for me to get something ‘wrong’ or to be judged negatively in some way.

Well, let me tell you something about where I’m at right now! I’m in the process of discovering the joy of connecting with people – of sharing my existence and physical space with like-minded (or completely different!) individuals who make me laugh, inspire me or make me feel welcome and comfortable. There will always be people who make us feel, well, completely the opposite of this! We’ve all met a few of those people. And perhaps there are some friends or family members who sometimes make us feel on edge. That’s fine. Life isn’t about becoming a perfect human being, totally free of worry or judgement of others. But it is about connecting and companionship; fostering a sense of togetherness by engaging in tasks together and helping one another out. Today my neighbour and I worked together to cut back some ivy which has slowly but surely been taking over the wall between our two gardens. It was fun! And there was a real sense of achievement afterwards.

I’ve felt quite lonely recently. I think any time in our lives when we are going through some emotional trauma can feel lonely and isolating, but it’s exactly at this point that we need to remind ourselves how very not alone we are. At the risk of sounding like a complete hippy (peace, man) we are all connected by our very existence as living things on this planet of ours. There is always someone out there who loves and cares about us. Even the ones who judge us and make us feel inadequate secretly love us – they’re just too wrapped up in their own ‘stuff’ to express it as often as we sometimes need to hear it.

So this discovery of mine has led me to actually want to spend time with people. Imagine that?! I actively seek out conversations and opportunities to meet up. I see the opportunity to get together as just that – an opportunity, rather than an inconvenience. I recognise that these people I’m lucky enough to share my life with don’t like me because I’m perfect. I mean let’s face it, no matter how hard we try, we never do quite meet that gold standard, because it just doesn’t exist. No, they like me because I’m me. They see something in me that they like, as I do with them. If only we could see the magical spark that others see in us. Talk about medicine for the soul.

I’m admittedly very late in the game when it comes to valuing and enjoying my social connections, but to be honest I think my appreciation of it is all the better for having come from where I have. Never waste a moment on regrets, and always look for the blessings…

I am human. You are human. We’re all here to celebrate our shared humanity, and to explore each other’s opinions and ideas. Competition comes from a place of feeling unworthy and ashamed, and if saying goodbye to these negative emotions means more time spent in the company of my friends and family, then I’m certainly willing to let them go.

And remember, you were born worthy, and you will die worthy. Find small ways to start believing this and just see what magic unfolds.

Also, I LOVE LOVE LOVE being by myself, and sometimes I can’t think of anything worse than going out to a pub and having to actually talk to someone! This will never change. Enjoying feeling your connection to others doesn’t mean that you can’t also value some alone time.

Bye for now x

A definition of spirituality, and how you might be more spiritual than you realise…

Spirituality is a word that I have always found a little uncomfortable. I do not come from a religious family, and whilst I respect all religions and try not to judge others for having a different belief system to me, I have always associated being spiritual with being religious, and that, I find, just isn’t quite the right for for me.

There’s also the whole ridicule thing. People who live a hippy-ish sort of existence and believe in crystal healing and the power of love to heal all wounds, tend to be seen as being a bit wacky and ‘out there’. You know what I mean? We’ve all heard jokes poked at people who talk about releasing their inner child and going on a journey of self-discovery.

So what is spirituality? I’m someone who has seen and experienced a few things which just can’t be explained through science. I have seen and heard ghosts, I’ve had random moments of complete intuition – like a sixth sense. My sister and I once played a game when we were teenagers. We were especially close at the time, and so had a strong bond. She would look at a playing card and I would tell her what number she was looking at. I once got about 10 correct in a row, and we got so freaked out we stopped playing! I’ve had clear signs from the Universe (or God, or whatever you wish to call that feeling that there is something bigger than us, surrounding us at all times and helping us along the way) as to what steps I should take next in my life. I’ve had strange things happen that others have called coincidence, but which I know is something else. My mum always used to say to me growing up that things have a funny sort of way of sorting themselves out, and I have certainly had moments in my life where exactly the right person, job or situation has come along exactly when I needed it.

We all have, at different times, a sense that there is something more to this life. Some of us believe in fate, or that ‘if it’s meant to be, it will be’. We have all (I hope!) experienced love, which is that most magical thing we can’t measure or test with scientific instruments, but which we nonetheless know exists.

So I think, in our own ways, we are all a bit spiritual. This doesn’t mean that we can’t then believe in science, or that just because you believe in ghosts you also have to believe in crystal healing etc. There is no fixed definition. We are our own definitions of spirituality, each and every one of us. So the next time you hear a beautiful piece of music and you are transported to another place, you can think ‘ah hah, I think I just had a spiritual moment!’

I hope this post chimes with some of you. It’s something that has been playing around in my mind for a while. I’m determined not to be embarrassed or feel I need to make excuses for any aspects of myself, including my spiritual beliefs. I want to be able to own every aspect of myself, and show myself the same respect I try to show others.

Bye for now x

Why everyone should watch Kung Fu Panda. No really, it has some great messages…

I don’t know if this is true, but my husband tells me that the Kung Fu Panda films are quite highly regarded in China because they manage to explain in quite simple terms the message behind a lot of ancient Chinese wisdom. Regardless of this, they are amazing films and I wholeheartedly encourage anyone and everyone to watch them at least once.

Some of the messages I picked up by watching the 2nd film yesterday are this:

  1. Inner peace is a journey that we can all make, and it is down to us to make this happen. Some find it through dedicated meditation practice, and others through pain and suffering.
  2. If you are holding on to traumas from your past, the best thing you can do is to let them flow. Feel the emotions you’ve been avoiding, and trust yourself to let them flow through you until you begin to feel peaceful again. Obviously this may need to be done with the help of friends, family and/or a therapist. Whatever works for you – just don’t keep things bottled up. We all deserve better than that.
  3. It’s not what has happened to us in the past that matters; it’s who we choose to become and the life we decide to lead.

I’m not a religious person, but I am becoming increasingly spiritual. Maybe this qualifies as religion, I don’t know. But I definitely believe that our lives have meaning, and that the trick to a happy life is to accept and believe in ourselves. This includes all the rubbish, and all the good bits. I am who I am in part because of everything I’ve experienced, not in spite of it. It has served to point me in the direction of joy and happiness, and in those moments where I am able to sigh deeply and accept absolutely everything about myself and my past, I feel truly content.

So let it flow! Accept who you are and where you have come from. Face up to your emotions and know that (in the wise words of the Kung Fu Panda): That’s the thing about scars, they fade (I’m paraphrasing!).

You are all perfect versions of yourself, so start believing and see what magic begins to unfold…

Bye for now x

Know yourself

The only person who can ever truly know what is right for you is YOU. You, after all, are the person living your life. You have a full record of important memories and life events, and you know what does and doesn’t make you happy.*

*And if you don’t know what makes you tick, you deserve to take some time to figure it out. It’s something I’ve had to re-learn, and which still catches me out from time to time.

Anyway, as I was saying… Other people can make pretty good guesses at what you should/shouldn’t do, but they can’t ever know your soul, your inner-most desires, your darkest fears, or what you had for breakfast last Wednesday. What they have is part of a giant puzzle. They have some, but not all of the pieces.

So remind yourself of this next time someone is giving you some advice. It doesn’t mean that the advice should be ignored. After all, it might be very good advice! It just means that in order to filter out the advice that is no good (for you personally, not in general) you need to first KNOW YOURSELF and trust yourself to do this.

It can be so hard sometimes, when all the evidence suggests that you should be doing a certain thing…

“But everyone else I know is doing X, so surely this is what I should be doing?”

“But it might upset X, and surely it would be selfish of me to put my happiness before theirs?”

These are some of the things you and I probably find ourselves thinking when faced with a dilemma. But there is no dilemma! There is only one answer: do what you feel is right for you. It doesn’t have to be the perfect solution, and it doesn’t all have to work out as you want it to for you to feel justified in being authentic. It just has to feel right.

And if you’re really struggling with the idea of being selfish (a word which seriously needs re-defining), just remember that everyone benefits from you living life as the happiest possible version of yourself. You will emanate something really positive for others to draw upon, and provide a good role model to others struggling with the idea of what their lives should look like.

Ooooh, that feels better. I just needed a bit of a rant on this topic, so thanks for lending an ear!

Bye for now x x x

Keep on keepin’ on

I have so many ideas for what to write on this blog, and most of the time I neglect to write them down and they are lost until the next time they occur to me – possibly never?!

But the one thing that I keep coming back to is the idea of keeping on going. Reaching a stage in your life where you no longer mind what others think of you – or where you at least care a lot less than you used to – is all about realising that you have the power inside of you to make this happen and dedicating time to personal development: reading books, discovering people who inspire and motivate you via social media, writing down your thoughts and emotions and examining them for clues as to why you fear ‘getting it wrong’ and how you might overcome that fear etc. … The list goes on.

The point is that an increased sense of wellbeing and happiness is something that we can choose for ourselves, but as with dieting and other ‘New Year’s’ type resolutions, it is all too easy to give up. Most dieters will be more successful if they join a group and meet with like-minded people. We’re only human, and we need to feel motivated to be at our most successful. The same goes for any kind of group or human contact – anything that gives us a sense of structure or connectedness is likely to help us keep on keepin’ on.

So how can we go about motivating ourselves to work on our mental wellbeing? There are some obvious answers here, like counselling sessions and groups. But these inevitably run their natural course and we are left to fend for ourselves once again. I realise that this sounds a bit bleak and depressing! There certainly isn’t anything wrong with a course of counselling or a self-help group coming to an end, and it is only natural to feel a sense of loss for a while afterwards. But once we’ve expressed our sadness, we need to formulate a plan to keep all of our good work going. We need to identify our personal needs and goals and find a way to ensure that we keep moving in the ‘right’ direction.

Do you need to get a friend involved to help you stay motivated? Do you need to go and buy that book you’ve heard recommended so many times but never actually got around to buying? Perhaps you need to cover your house in post-its with little reminders, or place decorative hearts in each room of the house as a reminder to love yourself and others. There are all sorts of online courses, forums, websites etc. that are devoted to helping individuals to work through their fears and live a more fulfilling life. Go explore and find the one that works for you (but be careful not to get drawn into other people’s problems and focus instead on resources that provide constructive advice).

Some other ideas:

  • Find music that inspires and motivates you and make a point to listen to it on a regular basis.
  • Exercise regularly to keep your energy levels up and keep you feeling positive and motivated
  • Doodle and draw: it doesn’t matter if you aren’t all that artistic, you will still find that the act of putting pen (or pencil) to paper will release tension and help you to identify your emotions (both helpful and unhelpful). It also helps to focus the brain and keep you grounded, much like all those colouring-in books that are so popular at the moment.
  • Celebrate any victory, no matter how small it may seem, and write about the differences you are seeing in your life.

In in ideal world, we would all have our own pocket-sized cheerleader to cheer us on throughout the day and remind us to keep going. In reality, we must harness the little cheerleader that lies inside all of us! The little guy or girl that is incredibly proud of you and can see nothing but potential and possibilities. We all have one, it just needs waking up from time to time. The more you practice listening to that positive spark of light inside of you, the more natural and effortless it will become. I promise.

Wishing you all a happy New Year, but no pressure. If you’re unhappy right now then that’s OK too. So long as you’re taking time to figure out what it all means and working towards feeling happy and free.

Bye for now you utterly wonderful bunch of human beings x