From disbelief to manifesting your dreams

Being an entrepreneur is exciting, creative and inspirational, yet sometimes it can be challenging. One of my favourite quotes in life is “It is not enough to have a dream if I am not willing to pursue it.” I hold this as a core and central mantra. I pursue my dreams with my heart, body and soul. However lately as I have been working, creating and manifesting my dreams, the people who care for me have been raising concerns. It comes down to this. They think I am taking on too much. That I might not be able to do the things it takes to manifest my dreams.  That I can’t do what it is I want to do. In short they can’t see the vision I can and they are concerned for my well being. Although well meant, their concerns have became an increasing source of irritation and frustration for me. I felt as though no-one believed in me, that their limiting beliefs were limiting my possibilities. Like I was the only person on the planet that could see my potential. Do you know that feeling? It’s hella de-motivating ain’t it. Especially when disbelief comes from your own internal doubts.

Infact let’s be honest, it’s more than demotivating. It can feel almost vampiric in the amount of energy in how other peoples disbelief drains you. Two things happen. Either you believe them and lose all belief in yourself. Or you fight it (as I used to) and use too much of your energy trying to get them to believe in you. Either reaction is exhausting. And in the worse case scenario, their seemingly lack of belief in you means, that you don’t put everything into making your dreams and you end up giving up altogether. Yey way to go loved ones you crushed my dreams! Or at least that’s how you can view it if you like to play victim.

I don’t. I believe that everything in life is trying to teach us something. And after the universe had sent 6 people, all close to me, to say “hey are you sure you can do this?” I decided that instead of reacting in the two traditional ways,  I would take the third option. Respond. Find the teaching. The gift of learning from their non belief and the teaching of their concerns. All at once their concerns became an opportunity to really find out if I could make my dream a reality in a very practical way. I am now more certain than ever I can achieve my dreams because now I have looked and KNOW how I can do it.  Because of this process  I now know that if someone else asks me “Can you really do this?” I can answer with a confident “YES!”  It also had the extremely beneficial effect of silencing my own internal doubts in my abilities because I now know what I can do and how I am going to do it.

If you are in a situation where you have a dream that you want to pursue and someone doesn’t believe you can do it (even if that someone is you,) follow my process for turning disbelief into a belief and you will discover how you can manifest your dreams.  

Accept the gift

First things first accept the gift. You have to see the disbelief as a teaching gift and opportunity to learn. You have to do this to free up the energy and motivation inside yourself to find out how you are going to do what you want to do. If your emotions are frustrated and irritated you won’t be able to find the teachings. Mentally, or even physically thank them for their concern and caring for you. After all they are trying to help.

Find the why

Why are they concerned? Ask them. Maybe they can in their objective position see something you can’t. It doesn’t have to be something that will stop you manifesting your dream. It could just be something you haven’t thought of that you need to factor in. This is seriously useful to be made aware of. So find out why they are concerned for you and again be grateful for the fresh perspective they are giving you.

Take on the realism glasses

Look at your dream. Really look. Not through the rose tinted glasses but through the realism glasses. What will it take for you to create it? Brainstorm this. See each step of the creation process.  And then take a step back and look at it. Ask yourself if this is realistic? What will need to change in my life to create this? What am I willing to change in order to manifest my dream and what am I not willing to change?

For example: One of my dreams is that I want to create a better steady income doing something I love. However in order to create that steady income I was going to have to have a period of building up my business. The reality was I would have to become a lot better to sticking to a budget than I am currently am.  I was willing to go self employed however I knew that I would need to get professional advice to create a realistic budget and a fixed income from a part-time job to build up my business steadily. I didn’t want to have a part-time job, and if for a few years if that’s what it takes, then that’s what it takes.

Know what you can and can’t do

In order to believe you can create you dream you need to know what you can and can’t do. You will already have a toolbox of skills and some you need to gain. Write a list of what you can do and what you can’t do. On the can’t do side if there is something there you need to manifest your dreams how can you get the help you need? Do you need to be educated? Can you call in specialist help? Do you know someone already in your network who can help you with this? Turn those can’ts into cans by finding a solution.

And keep adding to your I can list. It will boost your self confidence. So read it whenever you need a reminder of how talented and clever you are.

Answer their concerns

Now look at each concern. Write them down. Respond to each one. Relate back to your skills and your realist understanding of how to manifest your dreams. Use this process as a secondary reality check list.  If you have investigated all of their concerns and do your research you will be able to  answer their concerns with facts and knowledge. Most people’s concerns are often about potential emergencies so this is a great way to cover your back, especially if your dream means a dramatic lifestyle change.

Make a plan

By now you should have a really great idea of exactly what it’s going to take to manifest your dream. This gives you a great foundation for planning out the steps you need to take to create your dream. Make a plan. Keep it realistic. Overestimate the time you will need to manifest it. This is going to be your guidebook to making your dreams come true. Make it detailed. Also be honest with yourself. If there is anything on that plan you doubt you can do or are unsure if it is realistic make it real. So for example if you want to set up your own marketing business but are unsure if you know enough about accounting then include getting an accountant or financial advice into your plan.

Plan your response

Now it’s time to go back to the beginning. Plan your response for when people raise concerns. This is not so much to defend yourself it is a really useful tool for gainig clarity . It make you 100% clear in your own mind that you know what you are doing and how you are going to do it.

——————————————————————————————————————-

This process is great for insights and clarity into manifesting you dreams, as well as transforming disbelief into belief. Of course you can’t plan for every eventuality along the path of manifesting your dreams. Minor hiccups and massive unseen opportunities will always turn up. However if you have worked through this process you will be prepared and confident. Two of the major ingredients of success. Isn’t it amazing how irritation, frustration and disbelief can be a great gift in manifesting our dreams. It just takes changing our perspective to looking for the teaching and choosing to respond with positive, determined action. In a way the process brings us full circle because when you know what you have to do and how you are going to do it actually empowers you to pursue your dreams

Enjoy chasing your dreams this week <3

Believe in your

 

 

#Lifelessons101 – Hygge – the art of making your life lovelier

7 years and 1 month ago I relocated my life The art of making life lovelierto Denmark. The reasons why and how it all happened are long enough to fill their own book so I won’t tell you that story today. Today I want to tell you about one of the most important life lessons I have learnt by living in this lovely, flat, cold, expensive country and that is hygge. (pronounced huoo-gah)

Hygge is (well until recently), the Danish cultural pearl hidden in the oyster. It is a word that does not translate into any other language, yet every country in the world could benefit from. Let me explain. Hygge is not a thing, its a feeling. It’s that feeling you get inside you when it’s raining outside, the fires is lit, you’re on the sofa under a duvet with a cup of hot chocolate and a good book. Hygge is the feeling you get when you are sitting having a meal with friends or family where everyone is laughing and just enjoying being together. Hygge is a feeling of happiness, contentment, and cosiness all rolled into one. In my definition Hygge is  simply the art of making life lovelier.

And the Danes do this all the time. In Denmark it is a cultural must to “hygge”, it would be weird if you didn’t. I remember in my first few weeks in Denmark when watching a film, my then boyfriend (who later turned out be Mr ‘never going to be perfect in a million years’ but at this time was still sweet and new) actually said to me “why aren’t you making effort to sit well and be cosy?” My english ‘I’m perfectly well thank you very much’ drama kicked in. However when I look back over this incident 7 years later I can see that he was just trying to get me to feel hygge.(I expect this clash of cultures confused the poor guy as much as it did me.)

Making life lovelier for yourself, having moments that are lovely and cosy are a seriously important social norm in Demark. As is making time for enjoying the benefits that joyful moments can bring in our everyday. Who doesn’t want a piece of that? I mean just think for a moment about where you are in the world and imagine, how different your life would be in everyone you know made making life lovelier for themselves and sharing lovely moments with each other an important social norm? See? Wow. You can see why I stayed here right? In essence the Danes have done what no other country in the world has done. Which is making the art of loving ourselves enough to make our lives lovier, as well as, enjoying simple moments of contentment a cultural norm. See and you thought it was only lurpak and bacon, the danes are culturally geniuses!

By now you are probably thinking about checking out flight prices and investing in moving boxes however, just hold your horses a moment. Hygge is something you can do right now. Right where you are. And if you share this article around with friends and family you can start to build the same cultural norm of hygge we have here. So today’s life lesson comes to you straight from my 7 danish years of learning how to hygge. I hope that you use these tips to make your life lovelier too….

Candles

Candlelight has a magical quality to it. No matter what you are doing lighting candles always changes the atmosphere. Before I moved to Denmark I would have probably described lighting candles as a female activity yet here that is not the case. Both men and women will light candles to create hygge. Especially now in the winter evenings when we light our candles at home it brings an instant feeling of inner warmth and cosiness (even when the electric lights are on). The candle light changes our environment and our mood.

A big part of hygge is about making your environment more cosy. Making it a nicer place to be.  And it doesn’t just have to be adding candle light. For example when I work I play music suited to the task at hand. And recently I found that by adding aromatherapy oils (such as lavender and mimosa) into my cleaning products that my weekly house clean became a much nicer experience.  So if you are doing something, and you want to make your experience nicer put some thought and action into how you can do that, and you will find you can have hygge even if you are just cleaning the toilet!

Pillow fort rituals  

Every friday night in Denmark at six forty-five pm you will find a flurry of pillow forts being built and bowls being filled with snacks, as the children (and often their parents) get ready for the the Disney show.  (I know if you are a danish reader you are now smiling because at some point in your life you did this too). The Disney show with friday night ‘slik’ (candy) is a time honored tradition in Danish culture. Now although thanks to the Disney Co you can find a disney show in almost any country, it doesn’t specifically need to be a disney show ritual you have to create in order to experience ‘hygge’. It is the ritual part that is important.

Creating something you do together the same way, at a regular time is a way to have hygge. Every friday night Mr T and I have date night. We make nice food (if our date is at home), we pre arrange whether we will seeing a movie, playing a game or doing crafts (currently I am teaching him how to tattoo!) It starts at 6pm every friday and it is lovely. A gentle and cosy start to our weekend every week.  A weekly ritual (or monthly if weekly is too much, together with your family or closest friends) gives a comfortable feeling of hygge . Oh and take a tip from the Danes and build a pillow fort once in a while, everything in life is more cosy in a pillow fort no matter what your age!

Snuggling

By now most of the world is familiar with the Ikea catalogues. Scandinavian design flat packed to every corner of the world. But have you ever noticed all the blankets and throw cushions on those glossy pages? They are everywhere. And we the non scandinavian parts of the world have adopted these blankets and cushions into our own homes. The difference is we don’t use them like the Danes. Every Danish home has blankets and throw cushions. However these get used constantly. All those stylish cushions get moved around, blankets are draped over shoulders and legs to improve the quality of snuggling and relaxing.
Snuggling is a big part of hygge and a big cultural norm in Denmark. As an ex teacher from the UK I got a huge shock the first time I walked into a Danish primary school staff room filled with sofas, cushions and blankets and  2 teachers with their feet up, catching 20 mins shut eye and EVERYONE was ok with it. Completely alien to English cultural work values. But over the months I was working there I found it was so great to do the same. Group snuggling is also something that is a cultural norm over here. Now being British (and from a certain type of british family) I had never laid down and cuddled with my girlfriends while watching a film. Yet here it is completely normal for girls and guys, women and men to do this. (And it is without romance this is just normal friendship). It’s for want of a better word awesome. For the full danish experience of hygge cuddle down with a warm cup of something, covered in a blanket and cosy with a pile of cushions and see how your internal smile starts to grow.

The eating experience

Untitled design (8).jpgEating and hygge go hand in hand. Snacks in bowls, coffee with cake. However none of those compare to the big danish eating together hygge experience. The whole family/group of friends gets together to eat and enjoy time together. Instead of one stressed out person creating all the food and activity. In Danmark collectively everyone helps in the kitchen, lays the table, washes up and is part of creating the experience. Everyone pitches in. It’s like Christmas dinner or thanksgiving but without the holiday as an excuse for getting together and enjoying each others company.  

Nothing says hygge like doing things together instead of alone. So if you want to feel a massive burst of hygge invite your friends over for a co creative dinner or lunch. Make the food together, eat the food together and enjoy each other.

Active hygge

Have a hyggelig weekend (1)Although a big part of it hygge is not all eating and blankets and snuggling. Having hygge can also be active. Going for walks, bike rides, having a day trip or even just regularly training at the gym with a friend also constitutes as hygge. Although more often seen as hyggeligt (adjective of the noun hygge pronounced hoo-ga-lee) when done with someone else,  doing things alone, just because it’s lovely, is also seen as ‘hyggelig’. In Danish you can say Jeg hygge mig (I cosy me). So if you want to hygge you then getting out and doing something you love is exactly the right thing to do.

Self pampering is all good

One of the things I love about a culture that prizes hygge is that self pampering is completely socially acceptable. Basically loving yourself is all the rage. Doing hyggelig things for yourself is healthy and improves life quality 100%. So to create more hygge in your life practise some self love and some self pampering. For me this often comes in the form of saunas and facemasks (both easily accessible where I live). Find out the little things you can do easily to pamper yourself and make it important to do them will bring more hygge into your life.

Notice what is not hyggelig and what is hyggelig

Noticing what is hyggelig and what isn’t hyggelig is an important part of making your life lovelier.  Noticing that what you are doing isn’t hyggelig for you, and then doing something to make it hyggelig, is half the battle of learning the art of hygge. (I refer again to the cleaning the toilets comment above).  And at the same time noticing what is hyggelig, and appreciating it makes hygge much more effective in your life. The Danes often say “hvor hyggeligt”, or “how cosy”, when you tell them a story about something you did. They make the point of verbalising that a thing was in fact hyggelig and this makes them notice the good things in life. In other words practising active gratitude makes your life a lovelier place to be.

Making time for hygge

Now this is the BIG one, and is the fine art the Danes have really got down. They make time for hygge. If you asked a Danish person to imagine a life without time for hygge I honestly think their brain would implode. It simply would not make sense to them. And I completely agree. A life where you don’t make time to enjoy being cosy or make time to appreciate and be content with simple pleasures, is not a life well lived (in my opinion). Everyone needs hygge. Make hygge important for you and make time to enjoy it.

———————————————————————————————————————–

Hygge is an amazing daily practise I have learnt from the Danes. By actively making life more hyggelig for myself I make loving myself, and infact loving my life and my journey in life, more important. If we all did this. If we created this socially accepted culture of self love and creating moments of cosy contentment in life imagine what a world this would be to live in. All it takes is taking a moment to hygge and valuing the gift of a lovelier life that brings.

I hope you take some time to hygge you today….

Happy weekend <3

Have a hyggelig weekend

The 7 steps to Self love – the key to building a relationship with yourself.

By now we all know that we need to love ourselves. After the initial pioneering work of self development gurus like Louise Hay, ‘self love’ has become a buzzword. When life gets tough well meaning friends, family and even (some) therapist throw it around willy nilly. “You need to practice self love”, “you can’t expect someone to love you until you love yourself”, “I need to take care and love myself more”. You have all heard these phrases. And although there is alot of truth and good intention in them without truly knowing how to practice self love then they are about as useful as a chocolate fireguard.

In the past year I have been really working on self-love. I have been battling my demons, putting my needs first, journalling, working with my inner child and of course pampering myself whenever I really needed it.  It’s an in depth journey and is one that constantly evolves, reshapes itself and is a continuous lifelong process. During this journey I have had some realisations about the process of practicing self love, that no-one has ever told me about. It surprised me when I began to experience it that when we work towards achieving self love we actually have to go through a period similar to grieving, followed by a choice to honour yourself building up to the place of a strong and loving center.  I have found that to really go in depth, to close the doors on patterns of self loathing and to arrive at the so advertised zen like state of acceptance and truly loving yourself there are 7 stages we need to go through.  (A guide if you like to the emotional roller coaster you begin to ride when you truly set out to love yourself.)  

Now I am not finished with my journey of self love (not by a long shot). However I feel as though I have cracked the key to creating a conscious relationship with myself coming from a place of self love. So if you have heard or thought recently, that it maybe that self love is the key to your healing follow my guide to self love and take the steps towards building a strong loving relationship with yourself. Oh and I highly recommend you get a notebook for this journey, you will want to look back through your thoughts and reflections during this journey.

Finding and facing your demons

What is it about yourself that makes you not love yourself? In you there will be somewhere negative patterns of behaviour, ways in which you talk yourself down. In order to do something about these you first need to understand them. Also you need to understand where these feelings and habits come from.  Often if you can find the root you will find it easier to know how to change this pattern or behavior. Brainstorm all the qualities you don’t like about yourself and then through journaling identify where your negative perspective comes from.  As an example I have a drama or overwhelming feeling that I am not good enough, it comes from my childhood my parents rows and pressure to be academically better than I was. See where these demons come from in you.

This stage can be hard to do alone. It maybe easier to call in a counsellor, life coach or psychologist to support you. Facing our demons will have a powerful effect on you so call in a support network to take care of you in this part of your journey.

Grief

It can be hard to see your demons. I find that as something pops up in my journey of self love, it brings with it sadness. It brings grief right to the surface when I can see where it came from. This is normal and natural. Often things we don’t like about yourself come from a place of hurt or shame. And facing them seeing them for what they truly are hurts.  Allowing yourself to grieve. allows you to release the hurt, the shame and the negative association you have. In a way your grief is the loss of something you didn’t have. The loss of what could have been, the guilt of how you could have done things differently. You have to let go of this in order to move forwards so cry it out, talk it out and please write it out. Writing out our sadness is a cathartic healing process. It stops your head an heart filling up with your grief. So write, write, write.

Anger

Just as in in any process of acceptance after the sadness anger often bubbles up inside us. It’s normal. It’s healthy. And like the sadness it needs to be worked through. One of my biggest challenges with self love had created a lot of anger in myself and it wasn’t until I figured out that actually I could have had help with the situation that my anger rose and release.

Express your anger. Write it out. Go somewhere far away from anyone in the woods and shout it out. If you can’t find a place to go and are scared to shout incase you upset neighbours or housemates then grab a pillow and scream your anger out into that.

Forgiveness

Eventually if you are going to love yourself you have to forgive. Just as in any relationship when there has been an argument you have to be able to forgive to heal. Forgiveness is not easy and it takes practise. I find writing yourself a letter of forgiveness a powerful tool.

Also the Hawaiian practise of Hooponopono, is a powerful practice of forgiveness There are four simple steps to this method, and the order is not that important. Repentance, Forgiveness, Gratitude and Love are the only forces at work – but these forces have amazing power. Simply repeating again and again:

I am sorry

Please forgive me

I love you

Thank you.

You can read more about Hooponopono here.

Acceptance 

Yes things could have been different. The things that created the hurt, the feelings of guilt, shame or even the frustration at a diagnosis you have could have been different. Your body could be thinner, your face different. However they are not. Things are as they are. Acceptance is simply that accepting things as they are. Not judging. Not trying to improve. Just simply as they are. Acceptance is the art of moving from feeling happy to being happy.

Making something meaningful can help with acceptance. By this I mean look for the teaching. What is the thing that it teaches you?

Acceptance is the practise of letting go. And in order to love truly we have to let go the past behaviours and negative thought patterns or treatment of ourselves. By letting go and accepting you will free up space within you that you can fill with self love.
Honouring is the start of self love

Honour yourself. How would you treat someone you love? That is how you need to treat yourself. When you feel yourself mentally beating yourself up or wearing yourself down ask yourself is that how I would treat my partner, my friend, my child? If not then why are you doing it to yourself. Your relationship with you is the most important relationship you will ever have, cultivate it as you would a relationship as someone you love.

Appreciate yourself and what you have. This is a great way to honour yourself from a place of self love. Write a list every morning of ten things you’re grateful for, you’ll start feeling more love and appreciation for yourself.

Becoming your rock

If you, like me, are a huge fan of the book Eat, Love, Pray there is a moment in the story where her internal self promises to be there for her. To always be there for her. To love her unconditionally. To be her strength. It is beautiful and true. We often look for security outside ourselves and yet here we are always there and waiting to be trusted enough to be relied upon. Allowing yourself to live from a place of integrity, living your truth and being honest with yourself will allow you to see how strong you are. You are enough. You can trust yourself to guide yourself. So live in according to your principles and you will see how strong you are.

Kindness and caring

Be kind with yourself and care for yourself. One of the greatest ways to do this is to speak to yourself kindly. Become more aware of your harmful negative internal voices and gently set them aside. Thank them for raising concerns, but let them know you’ll do just fine without them. Be aware of how you treat your body do you take care of it ? Do you allow yourself rest? Do you set boundaries as to how other people treat you? Stand up for yourself, respect yourself and be nice to you. After all if you treat yourself well it stands to reason that others will do too.

——————————————————————————————————————–

As I said earlier I am not finished with my journey of self love. And in a way I never will be. Nor will you. Loving ourselves is a lifelong mission. ANd is one of the most important missions we will ever have. Being conscious around creating self love and building a healthy loving relationship with ourselves is the most important gift we can give ourselves. It builds a strong foundation for everything in our lives be it career, family or a lover. It is never too late to start a journey of self love, to give yourself the gift of the most loving, supportive friend and guide who will always be with you every day of your life.

Let us love ourselves so fiercely

 

Have a beautiful week and enjoy your journey <3

#Lifelessons101- Slow down and be more productive this winter (3 min read)

Over the years I have had many different ways of managing my time ranging from the doing stuff every minute of every day and burning out, to getting to here, where I am now with a life structured around when I need to take breaks. I feel pretty balanced in my planning and I get stuff done, which I love. However in the last few weeks some well meaning people have been telling me to slow down some more. This has provoked a strong reaction in me one I didn’t really expect.

At first I went into the but I have been seriously focusing on taking breaks RECOGNISE MY EFFORTS mode. Then swiftly followed by the OF COURSE I AM NOT DOING TOO MUCH and the THERE IS SO MUCH TO DO HOW WILL I DO IT mode. However when I took a step back I realised if this has been said to me by more than 2 people then the universe was trying to communicate with me and I needed to listen. However as any self employed person knows it’s seriously challenging to wind down when there is a lot that you want to get done. So how can you slow down and at the same time be more productive?

Be organic and frugal with your time. No seriously, it’s true. In order to slow down and be effective we have to pay more attention to our bodies and our circumstances and make choices based upon those. In the last week I have been re thinking how to be productive but easier on myself and now here is my guide to help you take more care of you whilst getting stuff done during the hibernation period of the year.

Accept and surrender

First things first you have to accept that your mind, body and soul can’t do everything right now (I know, I hate this part too however it is seriously necessary.) Remember it’s not just you. Winter is a time for slowing down be you a plant or a human. This is hibernation time. One of the reasons I believe we get more stressed in the winter is that we are fighting the natural order of things and instead of slowing down we try to overcompensate and do too much. Nature doesn’t work like that and neither do we, that is the path to burn out. So accept it’s ok to slow down and surrender to this natural rhythm.

Pay attention to your body

Your body always has feedback for you we just have to listen. For a week or two observe your sleep patterns, your energy shifts, when you are focused, when your concentration is wobbling. Now look at the data you have observed and use this in your planning. If you are foggy headed every day between 9am and – 10am this not the time to be writing project proposals or having seriously important meetings. Simultaneously you might find out that on thursdays you are simply exhausted so going on a date that night is not the greatest idea. Plan your working day around your “golden hours” (your most effective time of day), and your need to wind down time. Especially make sure you give yourself breaks or easy days after you have had a social event. Winter makes being social more straining and trying to pack in a lot will end up draining you.

Say no more often

In the winter you don’t want to take on more than you can chew. People always seem to see the yuletide holidays as a down time yet when you think about it with all the prep, all the people, the shopping, the parties it’s not only santas busiest time of the year it’s also ours. Even if you don’t celebrate Christmas the world is getting caught up in that rush. So think carefully about the work you take on. Say no more often than you do in the spring. A great trick is actually to ask yourself “why am I saying yes to this ?” It could simply be you are doing out of habit. Be careful with you “yeses”. It is a way of being more realistic with your time and energy.

Choose your tasks wisely and do them one at a time.

Multi tasking is out in the winter. Our brains are colder and therefore slower. If you are going to be productive you have to choose your tasks with care, prioritise and do them one at time.
I know multitasking is supposed to super effective however in the winter it often ends in two jobs getting done badly and a brain too busy to focus on one thing.

Disconnect

The world is hibernating, our bodies and minds need to hibernate too. Disconnecting from constant bombardment of social media gives us time to go internally and reboot. Try a week where you stay offline (phone, laptop and computer) for 30 mins each day and see how much better you feel.

Watch your sleep and your sun intake

Get sleep and sun. Both give us energy. Keeping your sleep habits in check during the winter is really important for our bodies. If you aren’t getting a full night’s sleep then look at your sleep habits and if you need to cat nap during the day. Equally getting our hit of vitamin d helps all of us feel happier. If you can’t get out in the sun then find a sun lamp or a local sauna that has this function. (And who is going to say no to a sauna in the middle of winter).When we are happy and rested we can be our most productive.

Relish your down time

Down time is precious, even more so in the darker half of the year. Make it special, Light those candles, treat yourself to that facepack or a cuddle on the sofa. Right now I have just given myself one of my favourite luxuries, a choco chai latte, (I even made Mr T one) and life feels so much cosier already!

Plan and implement a slow build up to Christmas that is non stressful

Last year I wrote my guide to planning a non stressful Christmas and in fact this system is so effective I am using it every month now. I won’t explain it here however if you want to not experience yuletide burn out and collapse during your holidays then read my article December without stress
Be kind to yourself

In winter you need to more lenient with yourself than at every other time of the year. So you still have to do list items not done at the end of the week. Sod it. Don’t focus on that focus on all the things you did and plan to get those tasks out of the week next week. And then allow yourself to have a break. Another great way to be kind to yourself is to ask for help. Winter is traditionally a time of community. Why? Well my theory is that we needed to band together to survive the winter, that need is still within us today. Two hands are definitely more powerful than one. So if you are getting overwhelmed reach out for help.

Create rhythm in your week

Create a rhythm to you week in terms of repeating tasks at the same time. Shopping, washing, answering emails or recycling, whatever are your repeating tasks each week create a structure (based on your energy cycle) where you do these things at the same time every week. By doing this and creating a habit of say doing the washing on a friday morning you will eventually use less energy as you do these tasks on auto pilot saving your energy for other things.

———————————————————————————————————————————–

Slowing down does not have to mean you are less effective, it means making smart choices that are right for you. It is something no-one can really tell you how to do because when we take notice we all know our own bodily, career and life needs. Even if you adopt one of these habits you will find that you give yourself a gift of a little more energy this winter and after all we all love presents, right ?

Have a cosy weekend <3

Taking time todo nothing often brings everythinginto perspective

 

My 6 steps to living a connected, conscious and happy life that you will love

One of the benefits of living abroad is that despite of spending long periods of time away from the people and places we love the most, when we finally get to see them it is possible to see the growth and changes that have taken place in them and ourselves much easier than if we saw them day to day.  Distance gives us the benefit of objective perspective.

This autumn I appreciated the benefit of such perspective when I  visited a place and some of the people I love most in the world after a long break. Not only was it great to catch up, I repeatedly heard “wow you are so strong and grounded now” (something we all though I wouldn’t be when I lived in this community over 11 years ago). I felt my own strength through their observations. I felt grounded. I felt powerful. I realised that I am living a conscious, connected and happy life. I mean that’s what I have been aiming at right, and when I was with these darling people I knew that all my efforts are truly working and that I am blossoming into my own potential. It felt great.

And it got me thinking about how was it I started this change, this evolution inside me? In essence what was it that I shifted in order to allow myself to grow? Big questions which have, as it turns out, fairly simple answers. If you are at the stage right now where you are thinking I want that kind of shift in me, I want to change my life and live a life of power here are some of the initial things I did to begin on this journey of the conscious and connected lifestyle that I love today.

Taking responsibility

The biggest shift I had to make, anyone has to make, to live consciously and powerfully is to take responsibility for themselves. You simply cannot live consciously and powerfully when you live in a victim mindset. Through the eyes of the “poor little me” mindset everything happens to you, nothing is your fault and you are powerless to change your circumstances. Understanding truly that we are responsible for our lives, what happens in them and the way we respond to the events around us is to be empowered. When we understand that we create our experience in life we get the freedom of choice, the choice to create the experience we want.

It took me many years to understand this until the final aha moment where the penny dropped and I got it. So do get put off if takes you too long to get it. Jim Carey gave a great speech on youtube explore this idea further, our intention creating our experience, check it out for inspiration

The past is in the past

We all have a past. Be it good, or bad, or both. However it is simply the past. Unchangeable and over. When moved to a new country I had the horrible experience of discovering that when you leave everything you know your emotional baggage is still there. Sometimes shouting louder than ever before as there is little to distract it and a lot of new uncertainties to stimulate old wounds. It was all down to the way I told my personal narrative. The stories we tell define us, become us if we lt them. If we keep mentioning the past then that makes it part of our present. Reliving past hurts makes them current in your present. Consider the stories you tell about yourself when you meet a stranger, who do you tell yourself, and them, that you are?  

You have to accept your past. And accept that you cannot change it. Logically there is nothing you can do about what has happened only what does happen. When we accept that our past is over and put it in its rightful place behind us, we can begin to live in our now.

Asking questions

Analysing what is happening in your life. Allowing the understanding that everything has a teaching for us if we look for it makes every part of life more conscious. When life hurls something at you ask questions such as “why did I create this?” or “what is the teaching here?” will empower you to respond rather than react. Looking for teachings helps you understand yourself so much better. We have a saying at home with us “if you understand it you can do something about it”. Understanding and learning are both essential parts of maintaining a connected conscious lifestyle.

Daring to fail

Daring to fail, is daring to do. Nothing is more powerful than taking the first step and then the next. If you don’t dare to fail at something you don’t give yourself the opportunity to grow. And the great thing is if you do fail it is not the end of the world, it is another opportunity to grow. Mistakes after all, are teaching gifts. Use those gifts, learn and then dare again.

Knowing,  loving and being true to yourself

This is a HUGE part of the process. In order to live a conscious and connected lifestyle you have to know yourself, know what is truly important to yourself. There is no point in throwing yourself out into a yoga retreat just because it is supposed to be good for you when you inner you prefers to play ice hockey and gets a healthy buzz and connection doing just that.  Walk your own talk, noone elses. Holding your integrity and living your truth is a major part of having a satisfying life where you respect yourself.

And love yourself as you are. (I know massively huge journey for many of us however the principle holds true). If you can’t love a part of yourself see if you can find out why and what you need to do in order to love that part of you. Then do it. Theoretical thinking, soul searching  is all well and good, however without the support of practical action you won’t get much further in your process. Take the time to connect with yourself as often as you can. I know there are kids, career and other things clamoring for your attention however if you can’t take care of yourself and take the time to love yourself, you cannot do your best in all the areas of life.

Loving the journey

There is no end goal in life. Well unless you count the one where you are in a box. Your life is right here, right now. Life is a journey so make sure you enjoy it. Obviously creating your perfect life will help you do that but in the meantime it is equally important to love your life now too. Enjoy the small things. They are the infrastructure of a strong and powerful life. Practise gratitude. Celebrate successes no matter if they are big or small. And make memories as often as you can. After all when we make it into that box who wants to think I didn’t make time to appreciate and enjoy my journey. Cat Stevens summed it up perfectly “We are only dancing on this earth for a short time” so dance and enjoy. Happiness is a choice we get to make and who wouldn’t rather have a happy life.

—————————————————————————————————————-

Now all of these mindsets and actions don’t come overnight, or even in the short time it has taken you to read this article. They need to be practised over and over again to become natural to us. I still struggle to maintain them. A burnt ruiner lasagna I made for a party was my most recent challenge. However being aware of these choices in our mindset and our actions creates an experience of life that is connected and conscious and mostly rewarding. I love my life, all its ups and downs, small moments and teachings.  Most of all I love the opportunities I have created to continuously blossom and evolve being the strongest Emma I can be. I know that you have the power within you to do just the same.

Have a wonderful week <3

Happiness isa concious choice

 

 

#Lifelessons101 -Reluctance to change – how to bust through that big old block in 6 easy steps!

We all have those things we do that we would like to change. I know I do, the list is actually quite long. And if like me you have such a list it is so easy to get into a routine of self doubt, guilt and shame around the inability to make the positive healthy changes we know would benefit us and our life. In my life the biggest most glaring item on my list is my lack of exercise. I can seriously get into my stuff on this one. The guilt spiral runs deep and it has become a huge block of beating myself up (mentally) about my inability to commit to myself, my body etc etc etc. It has got so bad that when my wonderfully supportive man Mr T tries to suggest ways in which I could easily exercise he is more likely to get his head bitten off by my impression of the tasmanian devil than receive the (rightfully deserved) gratitude he should get for his support and care. In short it’s become an issue. A lifestyle habit I want to change and yet don’t seem to be able to make that shift. Until that is until this week.

I was doing so research into new coaching techniques and I stumbled upon a fantastic video by the energetic coach Jeannine Yoder on 4 questions that really investigate the blocks behind our reluctance to change in a powerful and insightful way. The technique is built upon the premise that any behaviour INCULDING negative behavior gives a form of positive benefit and value to our lives. It’s so logical. If we didn’t get something out of the behaviour we wouldn’t keep doing it. The NLP technique she described in her video is based upon 4 questions to help you analyse your behaviour from this perspective of positive value instead of negative judgement which makes the change so much easier to make because you come from a place of wholeheartedly accepting the change. I was blown away

I immediately implemented this technique into my coaching and my own development. Especially using it to look at the mental blocks I had to exercising more in my life. I tweaked and developed the technique a little (as every coach does).  And I now have this effective and brilliant formula for handling reluctance to change and smashing through the blocks to changing out negative behaviours which can be easily applied to anything you want to change. Already through my own experiences and my clients experiences in using this techniques during this week I have been amazed at how effective it is in manifesting new habits for change in a personally created bubble of motivation and I couldn’t wait to share it with you all.

So if you want to make a change in your life and are struggling to do so here are 6 easy steps you can manifest a new behaviour that serves you and your life

Step 1:  The positive things

Ask  “ What are the positive things that this behaviour is providing for you?

Dig deep and find out what it is you get from this behaviour. I was extremely shocked when I discovered a benefit for me  of not doing exercise was that it gave me the opportunity not to fail. I did not see that one before. This thought process really helped me get clear around why I liked not to exercise.

Step 2: All the benefits

Ask “ What else do you get out of this choice? What are all the benefits?

Dig even deeper and make a list of all the benefits this behaviour gives you. Keep writing them down until you can seriously not find more. My list was challenging to drag out. It took some big self admissions and yes it hit that pile of self doubt and shame. However rather than going there I kept going motivated in the knowledge I was being proactive to resolve the dramas and challenges I had.

Step 3: Keeping benefits

Now look at that list and ask yourself “ Which of these benefits do you want to keep?

Some of these benefits are things you really don’t want to let go of. For me with the exercise I knew that I needed to keep the benefits of affordability, giving myself time, the experience of not failing and the lack of pressure on myself. Circle these benefits in your list so you can really see what is most important to you.  These are the positive needs of your habit.

Step 4: Meeting positive needs

Now ask “ In what ways can you meet each identified positive need?

This is the behaviour changing part. You now look at each positive need and workout how to fulfill that need by positive behaviour. So I had to identify a form of exercise that I could easily put into my schedule, didn’t pressure me and that I would enjoy to give me a successful experience of exercise. Make a list of ideas of all the ways you can fulfill your positive needs in a healthy and beneficial way.

Step 5:  Embracing change

Identify “ Which behaviour can you wholeheartedly embrace?

Change doesn’t happen if you don’t really want it to. You have to feel in your heart of hearts that this is right for you. So from you list of ideas circle the ones that you really feel you can wholeheartedly set into action. Follow the feeling in your stomach, if something makes you feel reluctant then don’t choose it now, it maybe that you come back to it. I had written down thai chi as a potential exercise form that might work for me however it doesn’t feel right for me yet so I have chosen this. Going for walks however is definitely an option.

Step 5: Manifestation

Lastly ask “What positive actions do I need to take to create my new habits?

The last step is simply a list of the actions and agreements you make with yourself on how to move forward and manifest your new habits. So for me putting the dates in my diary of when I want to take a walk is a step for example. Make these steps achievable and realistic. If you want to start running don’t have as the first step  say sign up for a marathon. A realistic and achievable step would be plan a route and get some running shoes. 

———————————————————————————————————————

As I said before these is my own interpretation of Jeannie Yoder’s NLP technique found here on youtube. My clients and I love it. It brings an objective and fresh perspective and a judgemental free system to create new and beneficial habits that serve us in our lives. I hope you enjoy this process and after you have tried it let me know in the comments the new actions you are going to be taking to make your life a better experience!

Have a happy weekend <3

Old habits won't open new doors

Personal development and lifelong learning is an act of self love (4 min read)

Personal growth is easy when we are young, I mean biology is on our side, so is society, As a child we are literally bombarded with opportunities to learn from kindergarden, school, after school clubs, libraries, museums even summer camps. Our physical and cognitive development is constantly challenged to evolve and how fortunate we are in that. But once we reach adulthood learning, growing and developing becomes our own responsibility and that is often where our development stops. Ironic really when you think science with all of it’s ologists (psychologists etc) has proven that lifelong learning and personal development is a necessary part of mental and physical health. Our cognitive skills can keep developing even as we mature. The brain after all is a muscle and we all know the more we use a muscle the stronger it becomes. Personal development and lifelong learning improves our mental well being. It is in fact (although rarely thought of as such) an act of self love

No one I have ever met knew this better than my Grannie. She died at the grand age of 103 with all of her mental capacities in full function many years after her physical body failed her. While she could she travelled, she read, maintained a voluminous correspondence, she went to lectures (and I mean geology and archeology), gardened and loved her documentaries. She improved her brain constantly and consciously. I remember her saying it was important to keep the brain growing, to keep learning in life to maintain a good quality of life. And she really did. I am certain that if she had been my generation personal development would have been something she would have wholeheartedly embraced and participated in. The point being is that my Grannie born in 1912 was onto something important. If we don’t make the time to cultivate ourselves and grow then we and our quality of life will only wither and deteriorate.

I have met people, and been one of those people, who both doesn’t have time to invest in self love and self growth and boy is the deterioration obvious. Personally my brain felt foggy, I felt stupid and I kept making the same mistakes in my life over and over again. Until I invested in myself. Making me important enough to care for by motivating myself to grow and learn. I can feel the benefits. I am turning 40 soon (the point of cognitive decline apparently) yet I know through the self love I give myself of learning and growing as a person I will continue to evolve mentally and reap the benefits of that growth. And the great part is that in today’s world the opportunities for us as adults to learn and grow are both plenty and easily accessible. We just have to make ourselves important enough to grasp those opportunities.

Over the last few years I have really dedicated the time to this journey of self love, lifelong learning and self development. Am I perfect- hell no! Am I learning – everyday. If you want to focus on giving yourself this self love and care opportunity, even with a hectic schedule here are some of the things I do that might help you on your way.

Ted Talks

Oh how I love these. Short enough for those us with limited time, topics for every taste and always a positive experience. I aim to watch one everyday during breakfast or when I have to commute. A great and easy way to learn something new, provoke a new habit or action.

Personal development gurus

There are literally hundreds out there. However again university youtube gives you access to all of them. As do audio books, ebooks and the traditional paperback ( my favourite). Thousands of hours of other people’s lives and learning out there for you to access and grow from. I  read one personal development book for at least 10 minutes everyday. This way  I can read at least 6 personal development books a year. It doesn’t take a huge chunk of my life and yet it gives me so much.

Brain gym

Do you remember the fad for brain training products a few years back? Ok well at least 10 years ago. These guys (although got into law suites for bad advertising campaigns) had a good idea. Now whether or not the health benefits they promised are true, my own opinion is that brain workouts such as sudoku, crosswords puzzles, rubik cube or even mindfulness colouring books all increase the brain’s cognitive activity which will exercise that big old muscle. Again easy to do whilst commuting, in lunch breaks and after the kids are asleep. I like to do colouring when I am watching some netflixs on evenings where I just need to wind down and get re-energised.

Journal

Whenever you can in moments of stress, happiness, or just for 5 mins everyday, write. On a computer or in a notebook. Allow your thoughts to stream out and clear your minds. A clear mind has space for new information so write, write, write.

Get a new or improve an existing skill

Not rocket science to figure out how this works. Applying for cpd training at work (continuous personal development) solves a time issue for studying. Or if you want to go all out there are evening schools, online courses and universities. You don’t even have to go down the education route. Documentaries are a really good way of learning new stuff in a short space of time. I love the Crash Course series on youtube and of course the networks are bursting with options. Wether it’s career orientated, or pleasure oriented there is so much info out there which you can access in a way that fits your life.

And of course you can always learn something new, hobbies are a great way of challenging yourself to grow. These days youtube, google and pin interest not to mention thousands of online forums, make it so much easier to try a new hobby. I have in the last 7 years both learnt a new language and been back to school for a year to do an education in that language, as well as re started my belly dancing. This year I am already signed up for two new courses one career related and one to support my own personal development.

It is never too late to teach an old dog new tricks, my Grannie is proof of that.  Write a list of the things you always wanted to learn whether it’s waterskiing or patchwork and then choose something that fits your time and your budget and go for it.

Get physical, get outside

Not only does your brain need input and challenges, it also needs oxygen and blood pumping to it. I am the world’s worst at doing exercise or training  (at the moment) however I found gardening helps me to move and get outside. Also going for walks. Or scouring the local area for places to visit. New things, new sights are wonderful for mind body and soul. And if you can’t afford a holiday every year finding fun adventures where ever you live makes life more fun and more active.

———————————————————————————————————————————–

There are many, many ways to give yourself the self love of personal development and lifelong learning. They don’t have to be big major habit changing things, sometimes just a decision to prioritize yourself and one simple action can be the nudge you needed in the right direction to improve your mental health and make your life a better experience.

Remember a good day is a day where you learn something new ……..

Have a great week <3

Never stop learningBecause life never stops teaching.jpg

 

 

#lifelessons101: Strengthening your relationship with money energetically and practically (4 min read)

This year I made the decision to change my relationship with money. In fact in March I wrote a life lesson 101 on how to invite financial abundance into your house and home in the spirit of this new relationship. A for a while this new relationship functioned beautifully. I fell in love with money as physical representation of abundance. I did my daily abundance practise. I created my abundance altar. And thanks to Lynne Twists wonderful book The Soul of Money I really got to grips with understanding scarcity and abundance mindsets. For a while there it was amazing and it seemed as though I had hit the utopic state of health, wealth and happiness.

Then as happens in every new relationship the honeymoon period was over. And eventually, as was potentially predictable; I fell into old habits. I allowed dramas to rule and without noticing it I had slipped back into the very habits that led me to wanting to change my habits and relationship with money in the first place. Ugh. Am I right back to square one? No, not really. I now have more of a flow with my money. I now understand money as an energy to be transferred and exchanged instead of my mortal enemy (as I had previously felt it was). However recently my spending habits have been running away with me and I now have a massive £500 debt I have no idea how to resolve. I can feel the edges of old fears and dramas about money trying to creep back into my mind. Luckily due to my resolution of creating a new relationship with money I am more conscious than ever before of this process and now it is time for me to reassess my relationship with money both energetically and practically.

So having identifying these current issues I am having with money I turned once again to my mentor for advice and he really came through (as he always does).  He simply explained that as within in any new relationship when the honeymoon phase is over you have to work out the new ground rules. It made so much sense. The guilt I had felt at “failing” by returning to my old habits and dramas just lifted from my shoulders. This is natural and normal and is not essentially anything to do with me messing up. Phew!  He also reminded me that in every failure is a teaching so look for the teaching.

This conversation was so powerful it has lead me to once again re look at my relationship with money and now I can see how to move forward and strengthen Thise relationship  by setting some new ground rules. Just as we do in any relationship. If you are here where I am now then here are 3 things I have come to realise about how to strengthen my relationship with money both energetically and practically.

Understand the drama

What is the drama that is being provoked right now? Within in every relationship when we have a fight we act unconsciously out of a pre learned pattern of behaviour or drama which we need to resolve, understand and accommodate.

I realised for example that right now I am acting out of my drama that says “Emma you are no good with numbers”, simultaneously it provoked my “ I don’t like to have my behaviour and desires limited” dramas.  Once recognised I could see that this subsequently led me  to work out of my fears. The one where I hate to do budgets because I “can’t make them work” and the fear of limiting my freedom that I unconsciously feel a budget and savings plan creates. Therefore I was operating on hand to mouth living again because I had got back into my scarcity mindset – WOW!

When you look at the dramas you are working from you get that realisation moment. The WOW that makes your behaviour suddenly understandable and which makes it a heck of alot easier to do something about (and this of course applies not only to finances but to everything in life.)

Look for the teaching

In learning to form a new habit, a new way of doing something the straying from the initial path and failing is actually a huge gift of learning. It says ‘hey I need to do something differently in order to have a harmonious relationship’. So look for the teaching of the situation and your dramas. What is it that you need to learn from this?

My teaching was simply that I need to get over my fear of numbers to be conscious of my abundance by keeping track of my finances. And I needed to understand that freedom is actually created financially by being conscious around my money as that would give me the freedom to make sensible abundance spending.

Apply the practical solution

Now understanding the energetical flow and the psychological impact of your relationship with money is seriously important however it is not the only root you need to strengthen this relationship. Practical action is essential in having an abundant relationship with money.  So what actions can you take to stay on top, preempt negative patterns of behavior and create healthy conscious habits which serve you and your relationship with money.

I found three definite actions I could take to create healthy habits:

  • I realised that I need a person to help me create a realistic budget, someone with objectivity.
  • I also realised that I found it challenging to keep track of my spending during a month and so I have downloaded an app to help me keep track and I am implementing a new habit of checking in with my finances once a week (both business and personal). These are going on different days of the week so I don’t feel overwhelmed by the numbers.
  • I need to forgive myself for failing instead of judging myself for it and believe that abundance is possible and that I can be abundant. (Which means returning to my abundance practise and mindset).

What pratical actions can you take to strengthen your relationship with money?

——————————————————————————————————————–

As I said in March this journey my new relationship with money is not going to happen overnight or in two articles. However each step on the road is an enriching experience. When tackling a failure, as I have now, and learning from it failuer also reminds us not only how abundant we am but also how many resources we have in our lives.

I have a feeling that installing my new healthy habits will take longer than my initial honeymoon phase with money. However I feel confident that I have taken the steps to create a stronger foundation in this  relationship  which in time I will see blossom and amplify my beautiful abundant life.

I hope the teachings that have given me this confidence will also empower you…..

Happy weekend <3

 

A healthy relationshipdoesn't drag you downIt inspires you to be better.jpg