New Year is a chance to reflect on the difficulties and adversity of the year gone by and to embrace the normal everyday, as the present it is. We all get thrown a curveball from time to time to remind us of what’s truly important. Ying and Yang, light and dark, they’re ever present and co-dependent on one another.
Often, they mean nothing but philosophical comparisons but it’s not until you experience the dark, do you cling onto the faith of a future light, and do you appreciate the need to know the difference between the two. When everything is going to plan, to connect to humanity and evoke empathy, every now and again, we need to experience those dark moments to remember those feelings.
We don’t hurt less but we heal quicker when we appreciate contrast and the dance of life that we came here to experience and co create.
Inner peace comes from being present and not ruminating on the past or worrying about the future. When we ruminate or worry, we waste so much of our precious lives that’s impossible to get back.
Bring your focus on the now and enjoy everything that’s already good about life. When you look around you there’s so much to appreciate and be thankful for. When we’re too busy focusing on the lack, we miss what’s actually important in life right now. You have so much to offer. It’s time to realise your value and what you contribute, rather than focusing on what’s missing or wrong.
Who needs your smile today?
Who wants that phone call?
What can you do to reward yourself for everything you’ve done during last year or for being the wonderful human being you are?
Don’t worry, be happy now, because you only grow through, what you go through.
It’s time to get that zest for life back into our everyday lives.
Yes, we’ve had Brexit here in the UK and the world has had a Covid Pandemic, but as 2022 looms closer, let’s move forward with a more positive, optimistic look towards our futures.
Starting with what’s right with us, the world, and what we’ve achieved so far, despite all the disruption on a global level.
It’s time to celebrate our successes and pat ourselves on the back.
When was the last time you appreciated yourself and your accomplishments?
Now more than ever we need to congratulate ourselves for getting through the toughest of times.
Anyone can find fault.
Anyone can blame themselves.
Anyone can make excuses.
But it takes a special sort of person to find what’s good, what’s gone right, and what can be accomplished in difficult testing times.
The hardest thing for most of us is finding the love within, for ourselves. I know there’ll be squirmers out there feeling repulsed by…’finding the love within themselves.’ But it’s got to be time now to build that person up, rather than trying to put them down.
No one’s probably harder on you, than you.
Stop being the bully. For today choose to be more like Pollyanna, she saw the good in everything.
This negativity bias can be overcome. But we need to consciously recall all that’s good in our lives and celebrate those successes. We have to learn how to reprogramme our unconscious mind that keeps running the negativity shit show, without us even realising.
We can do this through hypnotherapy and meditation. I’m working on creating these downloads for you now, and should be available early in 2022, but you can start consciously shifting your negativity bias this very moment.
You aren’t going to suddenly wake up and bounce out of bed with a Pollyanna attitude overnight. Those negative thoughts have been planted over time and re run over and over in your head for so long, you don’t always know they’re there.
But one positive thought or deed at a time, soon snowballs into a huge ball of feeling better.
Becoming conscious is the place to start.
Notice those thoughts, feelings and corresponding emotions.
Catch them and nip them in the bud.
Replace them with a more positive thought, which will lead to a more positive feeling and emotion. Sounds easier said than done, I know. But I also know it can be done.
I’m a very happy, optimistic person right now. But I spent 25 years of my life being the exact opposite. I was negative, self-defeating and anxious and I felt I carried the world on my shoulders wherever I went.
It was a horrible time in my life.
A dark time.
A lonely time.
I saw the light at the end of the tunnel but it took years to be free. Now I’ll never look back.
Happiness can be a choice for most of us.
But it takes practice.
It’s not an automatic in the moment thing.
It’s a gradual building of many good things, thoughts, memories, successes and mind programming, to reach.
But just as you lose your definition and fitness when you stop exercising your body, if you stop feeding your mind positivity with affirmations, good intentions, positive self -talk, meditation, hypnosis, inspiring podcasts, positive people in your life and uplifting books, then the bias slips back to negativity mode.
There’s been lot of debate recently among my writer /reader community friends on social media, on what’s better, a physical book, eBook or an audio book?
Personally, I’m a fan of all 3.
I love the instant access I get to audio and eBooks and that I can store hundreds of books on one device. But I just love the feel and smell of a physical paper book and the realness of it. And if I’m honest, the anticipation and excitement of waiting for it to arrive in the post.
I haven’t had a physical book sent to me in a long time, so I was super excited to get my copy of Anthony Jacksons book in the post this morning. Packed full of inspirational poetry for me to dip in and out of each day.
But here’s the science bit (you know I love to meld the creative stuff with science! 😊)
A study was done into the same participants reading from an e reader before bed and compared them to then reading a print book. They found when reading the eBook before bedtime, it took them longer to fall asleep, they had a later circadian rhythm and were not as alert the next morning. This is probably due to the blue light that’s in e readers, computers and smartphones, that suppresses melatonin levels.
Anyways, I’m happy to have both my books available in all three formats, so you can choose what suits you best.
Try the bedtime reading experiment yourself and join the physical book v’s eBook debate in the comments section below.
In the meantime, let’s start building our positivity muscle.
Make a list of 7 things now that you like doing.
Then, every day this week do one of those things.
Choose a different thing for each day if you can and write down what you did, when, with whom, and how you felt and what you thought about.
When making your list, consider what things you could do to experience fulfilment and connection within yourself?
When we rely on other people to make us feel good, this can end in co-dependency and disappointment.
Try bringing pleasure into your everyday work if you can too. Who said work should be hard or boring?
Most of us spend most of our time working, so this a key area to inject some positivity and fun in.
TIME TO CELEBRATE!
Talking of working and celebrating our successes, this month I’ll be celebrating my Best Seller Book Anniversary!
Most writers dream of that day they hit Amazons’ Number 1 Best Seller ranking. Last November I was lucky enough to hit it with both of my books in the same month.
In November 2020 The Powerful Proactive Parent’s Guide to Present Parenting received a total of 112 downloads, and achieved International Best Seller Status across 9 categories in the USA, UK, Canada and Australia (by Notebook Publishing’s standards [achieving at least Top 10]), including 5 #1 ranks across the USA, UK, Canada and Australia, and International Best Seller status across an additional 7 categories in the aforementioned countries, with the inclusion of India (by Amazon’s Top 100 standard).
And The Confident Parent’s Guide to Raising a Happy, Healthy & Successful Child, had 2,061 downloads. International Best Seller Status across 13 categories in the USA, UK, Canada, Australia, France and Germany (by Notebook Publishing’s standards [achieving at least Top 10]), including 8 #1 ranks across the USA, UK, Canada, Australia, France and Germany, and International Best Seller status across an additional 6 categories in the UK, Australia, France and Germany (by Amazon’s Top 100 standard).
To say I was over the moon was an understatement.
But I didn’t write those books for me, and what actually makes me happier is knowing both books have been consistently reviewed as, being a ‘must-read’ for parents, described by one reviewer as ‘just what I needed’, Ultimately advocating for, as mentioned by one reviewer, a way of being that is ‘more mindful and… in the moment’
It has also been documented as being a ‘lifesaver’ for parents during the quarantine period, as well as the perfect start to a new parenting beginning.
If you haven’t read them yet, you can get the audio books here
As children are back to school and routine is restored, October brings an air of normality.
But do you find you have more time to pursue your creativity or less?
Anything that brings us joy is usually a treat. It’s something special that we look forward to. A box of chocolates, a massage, watching our favourite film, going for a meal with friends, a nice bottle of wine with a loved one, a book curled up in bed, a long soak in a bubble bath, a duvet day with your pet.
All moments of joy.
Some you’ll share with others, some will be time just for you and you alone.
Writing is one of those such moments for me.
Your creativity may come in the form of painting but It’s still much needed you time. A time dedicated to doing the one thing that brings you joy!
People or things will always compete for that time we’ve reserved for our pockets of joy. I call these – Time Takers.
Time Takers aren’t always people, they come in all sorts of disguises, but all have one thing in common, they need you, but you don’t need them.
They can be jobs that need doing, places you have to go to, commitments you don’t need, want or enjoy.
Feel free to make your own list, as this will be invaluable in taking that time back in the future. Here are some examples to kick start you off:
• Your boss asks you to do over time.
• Your partner wants you to entertain their friends.
• The dog needs a walk.
• The school needs a volunteer.
• Family is coming to visit.
• There’s a course you must take.
• A friend wants a gossip.
• Email & Social Media notifications keep going off.
• Your Sister needs a babysitter.
• Your Dad needs help with the gardening.
• Your Mum needs a lift to the hospital.
• The housework/decorating needs doing.
All feel they urgently need attending to, and all are worthy, loving acts, but you don’t have to be the one who attends to them all, all the time.
Doing too much can feel like you’re being stretched beyond your limit, and this scattering of time and attention, anywhere and everywhere, can result in you going nowhere and doing nothing fast.
It’s about learning to say ‘No’ without feeling guilty or upsetting people, and like anything else, it gets a lot easier the more you practice saying it.
We need to practice saying ‘No’ more often to others, and stop saying ‘No’ to ourselves and our creativity.
The problem isn’t not having time, but how much time you choose to use on your creativity, with the time that you do have.
We should never neglect or underestimate the importance of time for ourselves and our creative pursuits.
Self expression releases tension and negativity and helps us to relax and feel free to be our true selves.
Book that time in your diary now, at least an hour a day to indulge in creativity.
Let friends and family know this is YOUR precious time to create, and you need to be left alone in peace and quiet, in your own space.
You could be daydreaming, conjuring up ideas, not necessarily physically creating anything.
The point is everyone including you, needs to respect this time.
I write about U Time in my first parenting book The Confident Parents’ Guide to Raising a Happy Healthy and Successful Child, it was vital for me as a mumpreneur, to have this time for me every day.
It’s not a luxury- it’s a necessity!
If you’re interested in hearing more about U Time and you don’t have the time to read, you can now put your feet up and listen to the audio book on Audible and iTunes.
I could choose to use that U Time to do something else, like binge watch a box set on TV, but that wouldn’t bring me as much joy as creating my own.
So, if you want to be a writer / painter/ dancer/ musician / crafter/ knitter /culinary creative /candle maker….. use your precious U Time to do it!
Looking at my writing practice as something that I choose to do for me, helps me to appreciate and understand it for the real joy it is.
When I view this time as precious, I can’t sit there, staring at a blank screen swearing at myself for not writing enough words. I simply sit there and appreciate the time I’m affording myself to do so.
Yes, I have an intention to write an article/blog/book, always, but if that’s not writing itself today, I’m still going to enjoy this time as part of my precious life.
I’m not going to waste my time.
It’s only a waste of time if I’m sat there angry and frustrated.
I may have quiet periods of contemplation but instead of berating myself for them, I ask myself;
‘What could I write about today just for the joy of it?’
If there was no pressure to achieve 1500 words today, what could I write about?
Could I channel my negative thoughts and emotions into my writing practice and write about my frustrations as they occur, in the moment?
I’m still writing, and those words and minutes will add up to U time well spent.
Every sentence is practice.
Every sentence is without restraint.
Try it yourself and you’ll find; every stroke of that paint is given life, every stitch will have a chance, every note exists in that moment, as all creativity, the good, the bad and the ugly, is being freed from within.
There’ll be no blank page, ball of wool or silence harassing you anymore, unless of course you want U time to reflect, think and daydream – and that’s all good too.
I know from coaching parents on making daily U Time a priority, that finding an hour is not easy for everyone.
I still don’t know exactly why that is, as we all have 24 hours in a day, but I’m constantly met with reasons why it’s impossible to do or excuses of why it won’t happen or work.
If you can’t find one hour in your day for you to enjoy your life, then your life needs looking at. You either need to plan your time better or get rid of unnecessary ‘Time Takers’.
You deserve your time more than anyone else.
That’s why its called ‘Your Time’ and not ‘Their Time.’
Creativity isn’t to be rushed but savoured.
If you’re writing a novel enjoy the story unfold in its own sweet time, get to love and know your characters so that ending the story is not the only goal. If you’re writing to get published and make money, and there’s a deadline, then you’ll have to pick up your pace to stay in the race. But writing for money, and writing to express your creativity, are two different things.
One will be about perfecting for others, while the other will be a messy out pouring of joy for you.
If you’re happy to write for enjoyment, with the possibility of getting published and maybe making some money, then your mind will be freer and your words will flow faster.
Being creative is an end goal in itself because it helps us to relax and feel free.
So why aren’t you?
Grab your notebook, pen, and a cuppa, and let’s see where you’re spending your time.
Where is your time going and what are you doing that’s more important than spending time on your creativity?
Try this simple exercise; make a list of all the things or people you spend your time on each day. Next to them, put how many minutes or hours you dedicate to each one.
Here’s a rough guide fill in the bank with the number of hours you use on each one or minutes.
Sleeping – hours
Work – hours
Housework – hour
Time with my children -hour
Writing /Reading – hour
Having a bath -hour
Hobby – hour
Watching TV / Social Media – hour
Time with friends/partner – hour
It’s impossible to segment each activity/ person into a time slot, as our time usually interlinks with more than one.
This ‘Where Does Your Time Go?’ listing process, highlights time given to a particular person or purpose and physically shows how we do have enough hours, we just need to choose what we feel is important to do with them.
Physically seeing where most of our time is spent, and where time for creativity is lacking helps us to change how we use our time, making it easier to swap watching TV or social media for your creativities.
I feel a cosy air surrounding me, while walking over a blanket of crunchy red and golden leaves, invigorates my soul.
And I’m warmed by candlelight cuddles and hot chocolate on the sofa, as those dark nights draw in.
It’s like a fresh start, as the children return to school and life gets back to business, after the laid-back summer vibes.
This month’s New Moon in Virgo apparently signals a time for organisation.
Where I love the idea of decluttering my home as procrastination from serious writing, I know, now is the time to organise my creativity.
I love nothing more than letting words flow freely from my pen, but I have so many creative ideas that it’s time to get down to some planning and considered action.
So, I’ll be spending this weekend (and month) researching, writing and putting my words in order.
I have exciting plans ahead for some creative projects whose time has finally come 😉
Naturally combining my love of writing with my hypnotherapy and speaking again, I’ll be creating Guided Meditations and Affirmations audios.
As a qualified Clinical Hypnotherapist, I’ve been helping others one on one, to overcome their unwanted anxiety, habits and phobias. Now I’m extending that to help those who want to create more joy, peace, abundance, confidence and love in their daily lives, through more Spiritual meditations.
As someone who has a foot in both worlds, I’m still pursuing my Nutrition through scientific routes though and hope to marry the science with the spiritual to help those who want to combine a practical and spiritual solution to their lives. Meditations for weight loss for example, will be backed by up-to-date nutritional advice and suggestions.
If you are interested in hearing more about them, and how they may help you unblock your creativity and release resistance, sleep better, stress-less, grow in confidence, and be the ideal person you choose to be, then feel free to sign up to my monthly Mumatherapy Newsletter and receive your free Creativity Affirmations video now.
I’m so lucky to work with children. They constantly teach and remind me of what I most need to remember every-day.
When starting something new, like writing a book, we tend to take the pursuit so seriously. I did anyway.
When I returned from a holiday break this Easter, I realised how much I’d missed the little ones I care for role playing with one another. As I overheard their made-up stories about pink trees and grumpy uncle Stan with the wonky pose, I mused at their understanding of one another’s description and eagerness to continue adding to the story the other had begun.
It made no sense to a grown up like me listening in but those pre-schoolers knew exactly what the story was about.
They were using their imagination.
They were being creative.
They were playing.
They didn’t even stop to question the correctness of what they were saying, they cared not that the trees aren’t really pink and its nose and not pose.
They just didn’t care.
They got it.
They understood the point of what they were doing.
They were in joy.
They were sharing their stories and they just understood one another perfectly.
This helped me put writing into perspective. And life itself.
Both are meant to be an expression of my creativity and joy. Not an enduring chore that I must get factually correct, with no mistakes or typos in sight.
If a reader resonates with me or my story, then just like the toddlers in role play, they will get my message, they’ll hear my story and to them it will make sense. They won’t need to criticise or find fault.
That’s my reward. I’ve exercised my imagination and expressed myself. Interpretation and understanding-that’s the readers reward, just like connection, play, and joy is the children’s role play reward, when they understand one another.
They don’t expect to be right, get recognition or earn any money from it.
They do it just because they love it.
I never correct a pink tree story because, I know in their happy world, the trees are pink. I prefer pink to green anyway. You can argue for correctness, I just love to write.
I have a new author page on Facebook, come and join me on my joyous writing journey, I’d love to connect with you.
It has become apparent to me that I’m not the only person in the writing community that has a secret story.
It seems common for us writers to scribble away on a piece of writing we never plan to let see the light of day. For whatever reason, (embarrassment, fear of what others will think of us or the judgement our words may receive) we decide this will be a private rendezvous between ourselves and the page.
A sordid little affair that we indulge in when the urge takes our fancy. Nothing serious, just fun. Or maybe we take it so seriously that, we pour our heart and soul and the wounds we’ve incurred onto the page, in the hope of self-healing somehow?
Either way, we are afraid that someone might read our words and get to know us. The real person deep inside. Whether that’s the lighter fun side of ourselves or the deeper darker self, we want to keep that part of us a secret.
Its unfortunate if we do, as this is likely where our passions, talents and our true beliefs are kept.
Like nuggets of gold that need uncovering and sharing, with a world of interested people who, if of like mind, will appreciate the beauty that’s been buried for so long.
But there’s a block in mining those treasures. It keeps the riches of our souls to ourselves. It’s the one thing we need which is within.
Confidence is the only thing that impedes our progress on our writing journey.
No one is born a great writer.
No one has all the answers.
No one is truly original.
No one can write something that will appeal to everyone.
But you can write your truth, your way.
You can learn to be a great writer, with practice. And you most certainly can write something that will appeal and resonate with someone.
I’m sure your secret story is not a one off. There are other people who have shared similar stories. If not, you can help others to avoid experiencing the same story if unfavourable or help them to achieve the same story if its a good one, teach, reach or at the very least entertain.
No matter how new or old you are in your writing life, with nearly 8 billion people on the planet, someone will laugh at your jokes, cry at your sorrow and get motivated by your anecdotes.
Anyone who reads your words will certainly undergo a change in some way, whether positive or negative, consciously or subconsciously, the mind is moulded and modified by the information it receives.
So, allow yourself to be exposed, get naked in your writing, this is your sea to go skinny dipping in.
You may pen a far-fetched fantasy, that some won’t stretch their minds to envision. Their imagination is not your problem. If you’ve had fun on the adventure, others will surely too. But if its left festering in a drawer somewhere, like a deep, dark, dirty secret, then you are denying yourself a chance to find out where your words can take you. Worse still, you deny your readers the gold they may be seeking in their lives.
Have the confidence to try.
The truth is, you’ll never know if something you write is good or bad, until you let it go out into the world and let it be judged. Then it’s only the person judging’s opinion and not necessarily a fact. Every reader will perceive your writing differently, as every person perceives their reality differently in life.
I can watch a film with my husband where he laughs all the way through, when all I feel like doing is crying. You see, we are hearing the same words and watching the same characters but feeling different feelings.
You have to be brave. Be bold. Be honest. This is what it takes to share a secret. To be open and vulnerable takes trust.
Trust in the writing process.
“Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement. Nothing can be done without hope and confidence.” Helen Keller
It takes confidence to overcome resistance. Whether you are guarding a far-out spiritual manuscript on unicorns, a hot and steamy erotica or an encyclopaedia on steam trains, you were inspired to put the pen to paper for a purpose.
Don’t shy away from your story, embrace it and others will too.
Can you summon that power that calls you to create and share?
P.s. don’t forget to join me and the Writing Community on Instagram and Twitter, for daily writing inspiration and support 🙂
You’ll be amazed at how many writers never ask themselves this question or if they do, never answer it honestly. But if you don’t know why, then you’ll most certainly not end up achieving what you really want from your writing.
This is a question I’ve had to ask myself a lot over the last decade. I’ve been writing books, blogs, scripts, magazine articles, journals, and still, I ask ‘Why?’
And still I question if I am even a writer. A writer writes full time as a job don’t they? Or at the very least, get paid to write.
Serious writing is not just a side hustle. If it’s something you only do when you fancy it, surely you’re just a hobbyist, not a real writer?
Does it even matter whether you’re a real writer or how, when or what you write?
The only question is why?
We will all have different reasons why we write but hopefully the main one is because we enjoy it. We cannot, not write. It’s in our blood. Whether good or bad writers, we are born with this urge that takes over our lives. Like an addiction, it can affect our relationships, social life and work.
When I’m swept up in words, I can happily ignore the mountain of ironing, the dog that needs a walk and the planned movie night with a loved one.
The therapist in me knows that its not my fault. Some people drink alcohol, take drugs, have sex addictions, or eat for fun, I like to write. And that’s alright with me.
Sometimes I write things that I’m proud of, other times I write rubbish, but that’s okay too because- I write for me.
That’s why writing is my side hustle, my hobby, and not my full-time job, because if I had to produce perfection or even good stuff on a daily basis, I wouldn’t enjoy it anymore. I wouldn’t feel free or creative if someone else told me what I had to write about, when, and how.
I started writing again today and I’ve got those creative butterflies of excitement dancing inside me.
AS I delve into the hub of possibilities, I find there’s something quite spiritual about the writing process. When we sit down and connect with our superconscious mind, we’re able to unleash the unlimited well of information, ideas, concepts and craziness, a place where we’re not confined to time or space, right or wrong, good or bad.
The ripe out pouring of the first draft of rough ideas, is akin to falling in love with a stranger and not knowing how the story will unfold and where you’ll end up. Free of self-doubt, full of pleasure, as words flow freely onto the page. Guilt is absent as you’re swept up in the romance of an idea. And in that moment, thoughts of, you should be doing this or doing that, or spending time with someone else, pales into insignificance, as the pleasure of the pen takes over and a love affair begins.
The sky could be falling in but your determination to get your thoughts down on paper are focused on nothing else.
In creative joy nothing else seems to matter.
Momentarily your nature of reality changes and you enter into new, unseen worlds and theories. Suddenly tapped into universal knowledge and inspiration, that you never knew existed in the recess of your mind.
In the afterglow of prose conception, as you read it through for the first time, you know your pen was poetically guided. Although in the first throes of inscription, no striving for perfection was present, yet, what unfolds from joyous writing is always perfect.
How about you, where’s your joyous writing taking you today?
At the beginning of every New Year, I sit down and plan my year ahead. I write down my dreams, desires and goals.
Then I compile a list of ‘To Do’s’ to help me achieve them, which usually motivates me to get going.
To get busy weaving my dreams into reality.
But one thing 2020 has taught me is that, even my best laid plans can go awry. Although I had big goals for last year, the most important ones I achieved were not through planning or doing but through unforeseen circumstances and just going with the flow and ‘being’.
Spending more family ‘Us Time’ present in the moment and feeling relaxed and content just doing nothing, happened naturally during lockdown.
Having time to get both of my books completed and published arose from a misfortunate Covid-19 set of circumstances, forcing me to close my childcare business for months.
Appreciating friends and family more was another side effect of being kept apart from those I loved.
And being grateful for everything I had, such as my business, my home and family became enough to make me stop and see that- I already had everything I needed and wanted in life.
So today on January the 1st 2021, as I sit in the warm glow of sweet-scented candlelight, notebook and pen in hand, ready to plan 2021, there’s only one goal on my list this year and that’s simply to enjoy each and every moment with those I love.