Sunday, 26 September 2010


In 5 sleeps I'm going on holiday with my 10 year old son and my middle daughter who will turn 21 years old while we're away.

My daughter will be sorting herself out, and we'll be meeting at Glasgow airport on Friday.

Today...a full 5 days before the event I started freaking out about all the stuff I have to do! All the stuff?

Make sure I have the tickets, passports, money, some clothes, toiletries. Then there's the bit before I go...water the plants, turn off the heating, give the neighbours any perishable foods I have left.

STOP! Wait a minute! Other than the tickets, passports & money there really is nothing else I actually need to remember to take. Also, as far as the things I need to do before I leave, of course it would be good if I could remember to switch off the heating before I go, both for environmental and cost reasons, but ultimately it wouldn't be the end of the world if I forgot to do everything on that "before I leave" list.

I need to go and write a list, that will quieten down my headmind and help me stay grounded and realise there is nothing to worry about!

When we let headmind take hold it really can run riot and have us going into panic mode as we lose our connection to being grounded in this moment NOW!

"Don't let your mind bully your body into believing it must carry the burden of its worries." - Astrid Alauda

Thursday, 16 September 2010

The mum excuse

I have been listening to Wayne Dyers, "The Shift" on CD.

He made me laugh when he spoke about how many times we blame our mothers for the problems in our lives.

He explained that in a session with a client he got so tired hearing her go on about how she couldn't do this or that, as result of how her mother had been when she was growing up, that exasperated he said, "Okay, get up and go home!"

"Why? What do you mean?!" questioned the confused client.

"Go home and get your mother! I'll work with her and once she's fixed you'll be fixed!"

By passing the buck and continually using, "the mum excuse" we avoid taking responsibility for our own happiness, which in turn means we are only depriving ourselves from achieving the life we want.

I too have been guilty of buying into that theory. I listen to a story from a client and think, "No wonder they lack confidence with a mother who criticised so effectively!" At some point, for our own benefit, we have to throw that belief away; shed it like a beautiful butterfly leaving the cocoon.

Mothers parent to the best of their ability. Sometimes it will have felt wrong, and often they were right, but what use does it serve us now to trawl through the memories of how they parented?

You are an adult now and can make choices for yourself. There is no time like the present to make a conscious decision to get on with achieving what you want from this life. Your time here is precious. Enjoy it!

"One of the blessings of becoming an adult is finally seeing Mom and Dad as people, not just parents." - Sara Shandler

" I think being an adult is learning not to be ashamed of what you want. And I think for a lot of us, it's hard to admit even to ourselves what it is we want. Much less to have other people see it." - Ira Glass, in a conversation with poetry editor Zoe Francesca.

Monday, 13 September 2010

Knowing what you like

My son Charlie (10years old) has just come home from school in quite a sad (not bad) mood. I asked him what was wrong, "My teacher says I'm low-level, and I don't want to be with someone who tells me that!" I asked him what was going on when she said that. He looked at me glumly and explained, " We had some sums to do. I got 2 of them wrong and she was checking them with me and that's when she said that. "

I gave him a hug and told him that me and his Dad love him. His sisters and brother love him. Lots of people love him - and none of them would ever think or say, "Charlie! You're at a low-level!" It doesn't really MEAN anything. I explained that school is something that we go to, and sometimes we love what we learn, and we love the person teaching us - and other times we can't be bothered - nor do we particularly like the person teaching us...but the good news is that every night he gets to come home to a person, or people that love him very much.

He smiled and said, "I know Mum."

I also explained that we're all good at something and I know he loves to play football, and make little movies with lego figures. I explained about the importance of following what you feel passionate about and he agreed saying, "When I'm taking photos of my lego figures for a movie I don't even notice if I'm hungry or what the time is!" He does make me laugh! Children are so aligned - they have far less trouble connecting to what "feels" right than we do as adults. He knows it doesn't feel right to have someone pick fault with your ability, especially when it's really about him achieving something that she needs him to achieve.

The photo above is one from a sequence of 83 shots Charlie took as part of an animation he's putting together, and right now, having only been in from school for 20 minutes, he's setting up his lego figures for movie sequence number 2!

I do wish teachers would appreciate children for the individuals that they are and not dampen their belief in themselves. I know they have plans to stick to and targets to meet - but if a child isn't good at some thing is it right to label them and chip away at their self-esteem? I don't think so.

"Nine tenths of education is encouragement." - Anatole France

" If you want your children to improve, let them overhear the nice things you say about them to others." - Haim Ginott

Sunday, 12 September 2010


We are unlikely to ever find our true calling if we spend days endlessly searching and looking, hunting high and low as if we've misplaced something. If we practise mindfulness and staying grounded in the moment, we can then really tap in to our intuition, that peaceful knowledgeable part of us that can gently guide us in the right direction, if we'd only allow it to!

I've been thinking about doing some volunteering recently, and as I sat at the traffic lights today pondering what options there are a car in front of me stopped, and the notice on the back windscreen said, "volunteer hospital driver."

I'm going to find out more about that and see if it's something I could do. Having a few points on my license might mean I don't fill their criteria, but I'll look into it, and if it's not the right thing perhaps I'll find something else in the process.

Whatever we do, be it in our job or volunteering by being mindful we can genuinely tap in to the feelings we have in relation to what we're doing and notice if it "fits" with who we really are. When we feel enthusiastic we can work passionately - no matter what the job is.

We've all had experience of meeting the check out person who clearly hates what they're doing. Their disgruntlement is oozing from every pore. The opposite is also true, the passionate , bubbly, chatty check out person who seems energised by their interaction with the shoppers.

Whatever you are doing in this life, sit with it, do you feel you are on the right path? Do you do it enthusiastically? Does it feel effortless? If you are thinking it's too much to be looking at changing your career path right now, economics being what they are....remember this...THIS is the life you are living. Can you really afford to be spending most of your day doing something you don't enjoy?

"When you discover your mission, you will feel its demand. It will fill you with enthusiasm and a burning desire to get to work on it." - W. Clement Stone.

Friday, 10 September 2010


Night-time is a precious time. A time to drift into blissful sleep, a time to dream and float off to another place, and of course a time to let our body rest and heal.
I realise now than in order to make the best of those hours I need to prepare myself. Nothing too dramatic, more what I need to avoid really!
If I watch the late news at 10pm I can become quite upset by the media coverage of bad news, harrowing stories and the latest statistics on UK crime.
I can't do anything about the information they're bombarding me with, and it won't benefit anyone if I'm lying awake with the dramatic news footage going round and round in my head, so I allow myself the early news (if I really feel the need) but no news after that!
A cosy bath, a gentle book - bliss! Your night-time regime might not fit mine of course, so do whatever helps you make the most of those special few hours.
On that note...I must go to bed :)
"And if tonight my soul may find her peace in sleep, and sink in good oblivion, and in the morning wake like a new - opened flower then I have dipped again in God, and new created." - D. H. Lawrence

Monday, 6 September 2010


Mother Teresa of Calcutta once said, "the most terrible poverty is loneliness, and the feeling of being unloved," I hear of loneliness so often from a cross section of my clients. It is not an older persons problem - it doesn't seem to discriminate, and can affect anyone.

It can be really daunting for the lonely to imagine taking steps towards meeting new people and building friendships. They often find it hard to believe that with great regularity I meet clients who are desperately sad as a result of feeling completely alone.

They can have busy work lives, surrounded by colleagues, and when the day is over those colleagues might drive home to a house full of family members - while they dread clocking off time as they know it will be many hours until the morning, and a time when they can feel "normal" again, back to the hustle and bustle of their working day.
Holiday time can see an increase in the depth of despair the lonely person feels. So sad when it should be a time to recoup and recharge their batteries.

I encourage all my clients to have some time on their own every day, as I do believe it to be health inducing, but when solitary time is all a person has, it becomes quite destructive to them emotionally and physically.

If you think you might know someone who is alone, speak to them - sometimes that's all it takes to get them to let go of the belief that no-one cares.
"The person who tries to live alone will not succeed as a human being. His heart withers if it does not answer another heart. His mind shrinks away if he hears only the echoes of his own thoughts and finds no other inspiration." - Pearl S. Buck

Saturday, 4 September 2010

Material goods

When my girls were little and I was a single Mum I was constantly struggling to make ends meet. Sometimes I would run out of electricity for the meter and pretend we were playing "living in the olden days." With candles burning and the open fire keeping us warm I managed to play a game, which enabled them to be completely oblivious to the reality of the situation.
Fast forward to 2010. My girls have left home now and are doing really well as grown-ups, I am immensely proud of both of them.
My 10 year old son Charlie has never wanted for anything, and his childhood experiences are quite different to theirs. I drive a nice car, I live in a lovely renovated cottage in a beautiful village - and I never forget how heavy hearted and inadequate I felt when I couldn't provide for my children. In the late 1980's I bought my first book on Buddhism and since then, as my work life has ensured a better (financially more secure) quality of life, I can remind myself of the irrelevance of material goods.
I meditate, practise yoga and enjoy sitting in peace.
I tell Charlie (more often than I should maybe) that he doesn't NEED every single bionicle figure, he doesn't NEED to play x-box live. Maybe I should play "living in the olden days" with Charlie too? Sitting in candle light with no electricity is no bad thing. Children become creative again, tapping in to who they really are rather than filling the void with mind numbing media.
Of course being financially stable is preferable, but we don't have to lose sight of what really matters just because we can effortlessly pay the bills and drive a nice car.
Ultimately all of our material possessions can disappear - and then what are we left with? If we forget to work on ourselves, and avoid practising finding inner peace, no amount of material wealth or belongings will ever satisfy us. Take time every day to be quiet, focus on your breathing and realise the transience of this life. Accumulating belongings is no substitute for inner peace.

"Possession of material riches, without inner peace, is like dying of thirst while bathing in a lake." - Paramahansa Yogananda

Wednesday, 1 September 2010

Making plans

Most of us have dreams about what we'd like to do in the future - a future often far removed from where we are right now.

I'm all for staying grounded, living our lives as fully as we can whilst staying mindful of the moment we are in right now. However, this doesn't mean we shouldn't make exciting plans for our future.

Our headminds often try to sabotage our dreams by saying things like, "Yes but when you tried that before it fell flat!" or, "If you do that, what will your Dad think?!" and on, and on it goes.

If we really do practise the art of staying grounded in the moment, we can take effective steps towards realising our dreams.

We need to practise mindfulness in order to let go of the old belief that because we've failed in the past, we're therefore bound to fail again. Failing is part of succeeding! Only through making mistakes can we really learn.

I never shy away from trying something new. If I did how would I ever know what I like, what I want and what I definitely want to avoid?

Make a plan of what you want to achieve in this lifetime and start making plans. Write things down so you can see, step by step what needs to happen for you to get there.

" The things you want are always possible; it is just that the way you get them is not always apparent. The only real obstacle in your path to a fulfilling life is you, and that can be a considerable obstacle because you carry the baggage of insecurities and past experience." - Les Brown.