What a Springtime Walk Can Teach us.

This week I am thinking about the rhythm of life …

I am always talking about the benefits of getting out into the countryside; the green fields and the chirpy birdsong usually manage to lift the spirits for a while at least. It’s always a comfort somehow to see the same old trees in the woods standing stoically strong; their trunks immovable and their roots firmly planted alongside the path where we often walk deep in thought. How many footsteps must have passed their way over perhaps hundreds of years and how many more still will? I can look at the trunk of my favourite tree in wonder. I can sense a benevolent charm in its being and almost see a kindly expression in the depths of its bark. And then I can look up and see its lofty branches reaching for the light. It knows what to do, my tree, it doesn’t need a set of rules or list of suggested requirements for better tree development.

I am a bit of a scaredy cat – I have even written a book about a scaredy cat. I am one of those people who sometimes have to cling on tight to the things I hold dear in times of strain and here is where I find nature has many ways of literally grounding me. We may not find the soultion to all our problems but we sure can get them more into perspective after a walk in our favourite part of the countryside.

Last week we took a break from Dove Lane and spent a long weekend in Devon. I can’t recall a time the countryside has ever looked more beautiful but maybe the spring has a way of renewing our outlook and refreshing our surroundings so that every time we revisit it is like the first time.

Walking through an apple orchard it was as though we could breathe life from the abundance around us and win hope from all the promise; we could listen to the music of the birds and see the beauty of the surrounding colours. A million petals seemed to gleam and red buds sparkled, the bees were busy in each open flower preparing for the vital matter of honey. Beneath our feet there was spread a carpet woven of many greens, of sunlight, and spring flowers. The last of the bluebells lowered their heads where the ferns were uncurling beside them. Trunks of old apple trees leaned at random angles; all shapes and blotched with the lichen that Mother Nature inscribed on ancient barks. Against a curtain of apple blossom we could see a blackbird flitting about – who alone of the birds can put imagination into song like him?

Some of the later trees still held their buds tightly clenched, as though half a hundred Springs had taught them to fear the oncoming of summer, yet Mother Nature gently commands, and soon every reluctant bud will open to fulfill its destiny.

So when we are being a scaredy cat – when we have those days when we can’t cunjour up much effort to stride forward – it is good to look at all the signs around us and take the reassurance that everything turns and moves and goes full circle. I could almost imagine Pamona the wood nymph who was reputed to be the goddess of fruitful abundance talking to me with all her ancient and modern wisdom. I certainly felt she was making us welcome  – her light laugh mingling  with the surrounding sounds. I think she was saying “I do love this time of year best, although I shouldn’t have favourites; it is dear to me because it is all about life – and the promise of good things to come later. And remember, dear one, no winter lasts forever.”

And that is what I feel we need to remember – good things will come.

 

   ‘The Earth laughs in flowers’.    

               Ralph Waldo Emerson 

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Anton the Brave Viking and the Scaredy Cat is a children’s book based on some members of our family. Great to read to your kids or to yourself when you need cheering up a bit!

It is available from http://www.blurb.co.uk or email me and I’ll have a copy winging its way to you in no time!

Finding Courage When You Need It

So many times we are encouraged to be fearless and bold.

 

Courage is the foundation of freedom.

Thucydides (460BC-395BC) wrote: ‘The secret to happiness is freedom…And the secret to freedom is courage.’

Today for various reasons I have been thinking about courage. Letting go, not blaming others, and taking responsibility for your own life takes courage, but until you find that courage you will find it difficult to enter the calm and happy place in your heart where you can just ‘be’.

So many times we are encouraged to be fearless and bold. To follow our desired path. Many life coaches and authors focus on the need to be fearless and authentic and that’s wonderful advice. We all appreciate that friendly push to find the strength to be authentic; be fearless and inspired. But what if the fear soon returns? Then we hear our inner critic return again which fills us with the old doubts. The thing to remember here is that no one is truly fearless, but the people we admire – the ones who seem brave and do amazing courageous things, are the ones who have learned to move through their fear. And so bravery is in feeling fearful but doing what you want or need to anyway.

We all have ‘free space’ in our minds, a place which we can choose to go into and be calm, but it takes a while to train ourselves to use that space and not just resort to old familiar feelings when we are stressed or worried. In that calm space we can make our own conscious decisions without reacting to negative situations coming from outside. We can be in charge. This involves not making snap decisions and assumptions i.e. ‘that person was very rude to me in the queue, there’s no excuse: he’s not nice.’ The person may be nice normally but may have had a bad day or bad news. When you are in the free space, you cut people some slack, or at least do not let their behaviour get to you.

For a long period of our lives we may have handed over the responsibility of our lives to others; we may have created a certain belief about ourselves and the world in a way which was not benefiting us. Perhaps we didn’t believe we were free; free to live in love, abundance, and good health. Because of this, it takes courage to re-introduce yourself to the world and to let go of all the old energy blocks and take back the power for yourself. It can be overwhelming to adjust and to take back the power that you once gave away. That is why we say –‘it takes courage to be, it takes courage to do, and it takes courage to have’.

Courage ‘to do’ is relatively easy to understand; we may be afraid to contemplate bungee jumping, or public speaking for example; these are things we can be frightened about but we can picture doing them without having to change our lifestyle. However, if we want to change and be different do we really need courage then? The answer is yes, because unless you are really ‘being it’ you cannot live it. A lot of people dream about having or doing different things but they look from the outside; often we are looking at a façade rather than looking at what is real. It can take a long time to decide to change – to cast away all the old thoughts and ideas we have clung on to for so long.

Who are you really? What is your essence and your purpose? Do you dare to say you are unique? Not only is your fingerprint different from any other, so are you! You are extraordinary. There is only one you. Remember also, that trying to be someone else or putting on a different persona will not help you long term.

So do you really have the courage to be yourself? Only then will you be able to feel really free – be free to decide what you want to do, to be or to have. This sounds simple, but is it?

Admit Your Scared

It’s important to admit it to yourself when you are stuck in fear. Too often though, this process allows you to let the fears become worse. By admitting you’re fearful you will be asking yourself what being scared means to you and you will start filling in the blanks with the answers that don’t help, such as: ‘I’m scared I can’t handle this.’ Whatever your story is – it is just that – a story. It can be changed. Aim to stop adding to your negative storyline and get rid of any over dramatic feelings. Remember that being fearful just means you’re human.

Once you have admitted you are fearful it doesn’t mean necessarily that you just need to move past the fear without a backward glance. It may be nature’s way of making you check something out. Take time to get your thoughts clear. If the fear is groundless then you can tell yourself all is well. If you have a genuine worry then find the time and strength to run your worries past the right person that can help you. (That takes courage too, I know, but once you put into words whatever is bothering you, you are on the road to healing).

Recognise you aren’t alone.

You are in great company. Everyone, even your greatest role models have had to cope with fear at one time or another. So don’t put yourself down. Recognise you are part of a tribe of people who have, through time, taken a risk and moved beyond perceived safety to something more rewarding. To join the tribe of the brave, don’t focus on what you feel, focus on what you can do about your situation. Once you have ruled out any danger you can take fear as a good sign, a marker that you are alive and engaged. You are completely present in the moment. You are out of your comfort zone but in a funny way, you can actually take comfort from that!

Keep the free space in your heart.

The word courage is related to the French word ‘coeur’ which means heart. When you experience those anxiety filled moments remember to connect with your heart – your core. This is the place where all your emotions flow from – love, warmth and wisdom, and where you get to the heart of the matter.

                        ‘Confront the dark parts of yourself, and work to banish them with illumination and forgiveness. Your willingness to wrestle with your demons will cause your angels to sing.’       August Wilson 

Forgiveness takes courage.

I’d like to think a little bit about forgiveness too and how showing forgiveness is the pathway to freedom. Showing forgiveness is not easy for any of us to contemplate and real forgiveness takes a lot of courage. But again, when you are coming from that free space in your heart you find a new way of moving forward. Think about a situation in your life – perhaps when you have felt you didn’t deserve the upset that came your way – then think about letting go of old hurts and resentments – the churning of old turmoils and the bubbling feeling of being hard done by that lies not far from the surface – let them go – let them really go. Wish the situations you encountered love. Show forgiveness and tell yourself you have no further need for resentful feelings in your life and feel yourself grow.

I urge you to think about your life, to go through the issues that need your forgiveness. Take the time to ask yourself if you are really ready to be the person you want to BE, to be ready to DO what you want to do and are really ready to HAVE what you want to have. It takes courage to be ready to receive. But if you are prepared go deeper with your thinking you will understand that with courage you will have the necessary requirements to BE.

So we are all individuals, each with our own way of accepting and facing our fears. Most of us are by no means always masters of control but if we think about going into our clear space – let go of our fears and aim to be courageous and bold, we will feel much more alive and vibrant and our new found inner strength will shine through.

Are you willing to allow yourself to be more courageous? You may just find you are more bold and courageous than you knew. In fact, I think you already are.

‘Though an ordinary woman,
Nothing about me is plain;
Like a single fingerprint traced in dust,
No other is the same.’
© Lyn Halvorsen

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Why Do We Keep Up Appearances? Be Yourself and Feel Better…

Do you ever feel a bit like Eeyore?

Do you ever feel as though you are the only one in your circle or tribe that has dark times? Times when you struggle to put one foot in front of the other; you feel bad and you don’t even know why sometimes, or you are feeling low and worries and anxious feelings creep in? These are often the times when you look around you and see everyone’s else supposedly getting on with life – skipping around looking like they don’t have a care in the world. You may look upon them with feelings tinged with envy because they appear to have everything sorted out. But do they really?

During my counselling years, one of the most striking features about some clients I worked with was how terrifically well they appeared to be coping. Smart appearance; good fitness regime; holding down a career and running a home: it could have been easy to imagine such people didn’t have a care in the world. And maybe that’s what their family and friends thought too. And yet when the person began to open up during their sessions I would often find that behind the smart facade was someone suffering deeply, and feeling alone in their distress. Often, they were the sort of people who didn’t want to burden their families  – maybe other issues were going on which they didn’t want to add to, or maybe they just didn’t want to appear vulnerable. The trouble with keeping up appearances though, is that stress can gradually build over time and feelings of isolation can keep growing.

One of my mantras in life is ‘never assume anything’, and this actually stands me in good stead in many ways. I’ve learned over the years that virtually everyone we meet in life has had moments when they feel like escaping from the world; getting under the duvet for twenty four hours or setting off down the road like Dick Whittington, carrying nothing more than a few belongings tied in knotted handkerchief on the end of a stick and with just a faithful cat for company.

Most of us are lucky to have good friends and yet how many times do we really open up and tell them how we really feel. If you are like me, the normal stock reply you give to most questions about how you are doing is ‘I’m good thanks’. None of us want to be a burden with our woes and none of us want to appear negative or grumpy. And of course, being positive and upbeat is a really good way to be and plays a part in lifting our spirits and can help change our outlook. But there are times when we can really benefit from being honest and getting something out in the open; and we can also find that we gain much more insight into another person’s feelings and behaviour. To show a friend or loved one that we trust them with our feelings is showing them how much we value them too. We don’t want to be glad to hear other people have been through bad times but it does help us when we hear someone’s personal story – to hear how they overcame their fears or adversity and found light at the end of the tunnel – and even transformation – for what can be more encouraging than that? And if we recount our worries and someone says “ It’s okay, I’ve been there – here’s my thoughts which might help” – it can feel literally like a trouble shared is a trouble halved as the saying goes.

This ‘opening up’ to people takes time. I find it much easier to give than to receive in all areas of my life. I love sharing gifts and know too, the importance of giving out kindness and being generous in all ways, not just financially. Sometimes, even when we seek help professionally (which I would advise if you really can’t seem to cope) and we are paying for counselling services – we may still struggle to look right and still try and maintain a good front because it is so ingrained in us to do so. Why is it hard to ask for kindness, advice or attention? We need to remember that there are good and loving people out there who would love to help given the chance.

Another point to remember is this: you may feel totally fed up with your story; your particular angst and worry. You may think no one will be interested in hearing it, or you may fear they will think you are daft. If you have been overtly anxious you will be tired –  (trust me, anxiety is the most tiring emotion in the world), but to the person you talk to, this is a new story; one to be viewed with fresh eyes, from a new angle and a new perspective. I doub’t very much if there is a person who wouldn’t want to reach out to you and be kind, to take on the privilege of helping you feel better. And if you do come across someone who isn’t on your wave length, don’t take it personally. They may be suffering too and not in the right place to help. For now, they are not ‘your’ person but I promise you, your person is out there.

Think about Eeyore. He was grumpy and he was miserable but his friends knew he had a good and loving heart.

    ‘One awesome thing about Eeyore is that even though he is clinically depressed, he still gets invited to participate in adventures and shenanigans with all of his friends. What is amazing is that they never expect him to pretend to feel happy, they never leave him behind or ask him to change, THEY JUST SHOW HIM LOVE.’

I hope you are in a good place, but if you are not, reach out to someone today, even in a small way. Open your heart a little. Let in a little beam of light as you lift the corner of the duvet. And remember –  Dick Whittington may have been in dire straights when he walked off into the distance but he eventually found good fortune and became the Mayor of London! You may not wish to be Mayor (or you may but that’s another story!) but you CAN change things.

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Bluebells and Turtle Doves….

Spring is at its prime and the hedgerows and the fields are at their most vibrant. The blackbirds are busily feeding their chicks and nature seems at its most active. After a long, cold winter how could one not be inspired? Suddenly the world around us is coming to life and as I drove around the country lanes today I was tempted to stop to look at the bluebells carpeting the woodlands. Sometimes, at times like these I am prompted by the lines of a favourite song or the words from a favourite guru. There is so much to be grateful for and so many heartfelt words that make my own heart sing. So today, I’d like to share with you some of my own words; some are taken from the inspiration of others, so maybe they are not totally mine, and yet, they are. All things come from little threads we pick up and blend into our own tapestry of life.

The bluebells made such a pool that the earth had become like water, and all the trees and bushes seemed to have grown out of the water.’

Do you sometimes make up your mind how things are going to go, worry about reactions of others or how they are going to respond to you?

Some days surprise you; people surprise you: sometimes in ways that you hadn’t expected and in ways that can spur you on. Remind yourself never to assume anything. All is well.’

Do you spend too much time worrying? Cast your cares aside, even if just for a moment. Start again tomorrow.

Put your thoughts to sleep; let them not cast a shadow over the moon. Drown them in a sea of love.’

Do you sometimes feel confused and wonder what life is all about for a moment, and then you catch the notes of a familiar well loved song playing on the radio or read some old notes you wrote long ago and all of a sudden, things fall into place again? You remember what is important to you. You feel like things are okay.

Look for signs from the Universe; open a favourite book at a random page and see what’s written there. Look out for your friendly robin; pick up a stray coin. Look at the abundance all around you.’

Make it your mission to spread love and kindness.

Reach out and say hello; reassure one another when times are fraught; be kind. Look for sunbeams shining through the clouds.’

It is easy to forget to look around when we are busy. But remember to stop and look at the small things. Really in life, it is the small things that are important.

Remember too, when you are out and about – look up! It surprising what you miss when you focus on the ground – look at the pretty windows, the unusual architecture, the doves perched on their window ledges. See the sunlight filter through the tall trees in the morning and the stars twinkling in the inky blue sky at night.’

Walk in the sunshine. And if it rains tomorrow the fragrant flowers at your feet will be ever more beautiful.

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Your Tomorrow Starts Today – Winspiration Day is Nearly Here….

Just imagine the power for good we can create when we all work together…

This week I want to tell you about a very special day which is coming your way!

Winspiration Day

Winspiration Day Was founded by Wolfgang Sonnenburg in 2003 and since then has been celebrated every year on May 7th. It is a day for all of us – every single one of us. A day when people from all corners of the Earth can unite joyfully in contemplation and can be of one accord.  This year, Winspiration Day events are being held in many parts of the world but you can take part wherever you are.

Have you ever wished you could make the world a better place? You are not alone. So many people wish for a better future where opportunity and vision combine with positive belief and action, to strengthen both their own lives, and the lives of others. Winspiration Day gives us the chance to do just that.

Between us all we have the enormous potential to bring about change, both in business, in our own lives and all over the world!

Winspiration is unique, but it is a little like Valentine’s Day or Christmas; it brings about a feeling of ‘togetherness’ and optimism, and unites family and friends, and even businesses. It is a day where creativity and imagination is shared and therefore inspires us and stays with us for the whole year ahead.

Winspiration Day is everywhere and can be celebrated wherever you are and wherever you live!

This year Winspiration is bringing you an incredible 36 hour free life-stream event with over 90 coaches, teachers, actors and more, sharing their wisdom and powerful teachings from all across the globe! This will include insightful and powerful content that will create abundant thinking and unity, and stories from those who dared to dream and took a leap of faith. There will be testimonials from people who have come back from lives of chaos or adversity and now live their lives with deep appreciation, and there will be creative talents who sing, act and dance with the marvellous energy of the Universe.

You Are welcome to join! Whether you join for 36 minutes or for the whole 36 hours, you will be enriched by the wisdom and love of the unique souls who will sharing their life-changing stories with you.

You can join us and join up for the amazing 36 hour live stream at:

http://www.winspirationday.org

I am very proud to be part of the UK Winspiration Day Ambassadors team and as I have been listening to the videos that have come to us I have been incredibly moved and this is what I wrote a few days ago….

‘ I like to think I have a reasonable take on life; do my best, ‘live, laugh, love’ as the saying goes. But being part of Winspiration has taken me to a whole new level. As I have listened to the videos from our amazing and incredible speakers I have been astounded by the outpouring of wisdom, honesty, love and care that each and every one of them has so freely shared with us: freely given to me and to YOU. Time and again I have heard their words and they have just taken my breath away; words that both pinpoint the obvious when I hear them yet show me a new way of thinking. Most of us have ‘feel good’ moments now and again –those moments when something in our soul is briefly stirred and we are overcome with the feeling that all is right in our world. That is the feeling that Winspiration Day will evoke in us all, but this time, we can hold on to these feelings for they will be here to stay.’

Winspiration Day has changed my life and it can change yours. I urge you to take a look at the Winspiration Website to learn more. You will be glad you did.

Just imagine the power for good we can create when we all join together; when we reach out with love in our hearts and minds and embrace new thoughts and ideas!

Being Part of Winspiration can make a difference. Between us, we have the power to change the world!

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