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Write into November – writing prompts to start the month

November is the eleventh month of the year and although it feels like the end of autumn, it’s not. Autumn ends on the 22nd of December. The clocks have recently changed and the days are drawing in. Although I love going back to light early mornings, I’m not so keen on the dark evenings. What about you?

It’s the eighth sign of the zodiac. Anyone born under this sign is a Scorpio and we are often warned to look out for the sting in the tail. But what about your passion and intensity? My ascendant is in Scorpio so I always read my horoscope for this sign as well. Which is why transformation is a key theme in my life.

November for me is famous for NaNoWriMo. A month where fiction writers throw caution to the wind and write 50,000 words for their novel. Just a mere 50,000 words in a month… Imagine that.

I did attempt this one year and managed 20,000 and then realised that I needed a plan. I stopped, planned and have left the book ever since. It is on my agenda, just not for this November. Intuitively this is not the month for me.

Famous writers born in November include Mark Twain, who famously said “The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why.

And C.S Lewis who wrote more than 30 books and who is quoted as saying “You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream“. So what are you waiting for? Connect to your dream and go for it.

November is also very important for men’s health and Movember is an annual event. It involves the growing of moustaches during the month to raise awareness of men’s health issues, including prostate and testicular cancer, cancer and men’s suicide.

I invite you to reflect on the past eleven months with eleven wonderful things that have happened to you. If nothing feels that great, reframe and look at your life’s events with a different eye. Witness your growth. There is always something to be thankful for.

November’s intentions will be to connect with our intuition and think about what you want to manifest and create, not just for ourselves, but for the world.

Let’s kick November off with these writing 30 prompts. Writing prompts are a great way to think about where you are and where you would like to go.

Writing prompts to kickstart your November #1

Open up your journal for November (it’s a PDF).

  • At the start of the week, choose a mandala that calls to you, grab your crayons and colour in – What do you notice about the colours you are drawn to and the thoughts and ideas that come into your head?
  • Connect to your muse and meditate for 11 minutes
  • Scan the prompts and choose the one that resonates for that day
  • Write for 11(ish) minutes
  • Come back to reflect and add in anything important
  • What actions do you need to take?
  • At the end of the month – review the month and decide what next before you head into December

Remember, this month the theme is INTUITION. What do you need to do to ensure that you listen to your intuition? What has to happen to ensure that you trust and act on your intuition?

Whatever it is, set an intention which resonates with you as you start each month. It will be interesting to see what comes up for you with these seemingly innocent journaling prompts.

How to make the most of your November writing prompts

  1. This is not a race against time, savour each question and take your time
  2. Get into the right writing space
  3. Have a go at colouring in your mandalas even if you have never tried it. It will open up your creative side…
  4. Either print out your journal and scribble in that, or print just the prompts and
  5. Write in a beautiful journal with your favourite pen
  6. Pick the prompt that most resonates and use that, go with your intuition
  7. Allow whatever wants to be written come up
  8. Leave and reflect, let your soul whisper to you

That’s it, November is also the month for reflection on the year and contemplating what you need to let go off so that opportunities can flow in. Write often, enjoy the month and remember to spoil you every day.

If you’d love more of this writing stuff, grab a Love To Journal journal and connect even further with your heart.

Journaling Exercise: 101 Things I Love About Myself

What do you notice people who love themselves? I’m not talking about narcissistic behaviour but people who genuinely love who they are and find joy with how their lives are. I bet when you witness them they seem happier, and those who associate with them are happier too.

If you find it hard to see that in you, perhaps it’s time to turn off the inner critic and try this simple journaling exercise.

Be prepared for resistance from your inner critic. Your inner critic may not have been talked back to for years. It usually has the run of things so be aware of that. Flood him or her with love and get your pen to the ready…

Here goes!

Journaling Exercise: 101 Things I Love About Myself

101 things I love about myself is a wonderfully simple, yet powerful exercise.

All you need is a set of index cards, some coloured pens and a glass of water.

The water is for you to sip as you ponder…

Get comfortable, take three big deep breaths and let each go with a big sigh. Plant your feet on the ground and imagine roots flowing into Mother Earth. Connect your breath to your heart and flood it with love.

When you are ready write one thing that you love about yourself on each card.

When you have completed the exercise you can shuffle the cards and intuitively pick one for today.

I love that I allow myself to express my emotions

Is the one that I picked for the video below.

When you have chosen the card for the day, think about how you will connect that sentiment and feeling with your heart and embody it through the day.

Journal about what comes up for you as you start your day and at the end of the day reflect on what happened and what you learned about yourself.

If you love to journal I have a range of journaling books that are designed to help you to focus on what you what to create in your life. Each covers four subjects spread over 28 days. These subjects are designed to help you to create a stronger connection with your heart and wisdom.

How To Become More Conscious In Your Decision Making

Conscious decision making is both easy and hard. Easy because some decisions can be made on the spot based on gut instinct. Hard because the decision is harder, it needs more time, more reflection, you may not be good at making decisions for new things, or you are just rubbish (or think you are) at consciously choosing, you may need external validation or there may be some other reason that makes this a hard decision.

There are some simple rules about becoming fully conscious in your decision making and that is to first understand how you do things. If you do not know how you do anything, how can you know how conscious decision making will work for you?

What about decisions like food choices that are traditionally hard to spot?

What I am talking about is making choices about what to eat based on your emotional state. It’s something most of us do on an unconscious level.

In this video, where I chat with Mel Wakeman of Wakeman Nutrition I talk about choosing a Magnum ice cream over the more sensible choice of a banana.

I had been working with a client and we had a fantastic session that went on longer than usual. This made me late for someone I had an appointment with somebody to collect some eco veg. Halfway down the mountain, I got a call from the woman to say she’d got the wrong day. (I did pull over when I heard my WhatsApp call)

Because I was late and I hadn’t eaten I was immediately cross. As I sat in the car I could feel my annoyance grow. Taking a few deep breaths I asked ‘what choices can I make instead’ and ‘how can I make the best of this?’

I did a quick reframe and thought, well that’s okay, I know where I can get a gluten-free sandwich and there’s various errands I can run which will be useful.

However, my luck was out and the cafe was closed, I could feel my energy dip even more, but thought one last errand and I can get home.

When I reached the final shop I was feeling lightheaded and uncomfortable and so when I passed the ice cream freezers I was immediately seduced by a deliciously dark Magnum. Of course, I was and it was very tasty.

Gut, heart and head

In simple terms when we make a decision based on our guts it is usually fast, we just do it, however, we often do not listen to our guts and immediately override it with our heads, missing out that vital ingredient of the heart.

The head is usually best left for slow decisions that need some reflection time. If too much head is given (excuse the picture in your head) then you can risk never making a decision.

The heart is where your divine inner wisdom resides, where you have a knowing based on your values.

Each of these has a rightful place in conscious decision making. The question is how do you know when you make decisions, which of these is right for which situation.

Four stages of the conscious competence model

I believe how we form our decisions is progressive. You can use this model to consider how you made decisions through the stages of your life and how you learn.

Competence and incompetence
  • Unconscious Incompetence – You don’t know what you don’t know.
  • Conscious Incompetence – You know you don’t know. This is a fantastic learning stage.
  • Conscious Competence – You know that you know, you’re just not entirely clear on how.
  • Unconscious Competence – You can do what you are doing with your eyes closed. At this stage, you will have gathered immense knowledge, skills and experience.

One way to understand how this works is this.

Stop and think about how you might make a cup of tea. Now write all of the steps down and then teach someone else what you do. Easy?

You might think it’s easy, but I bet you missed loads of things out like you had to pick up the kettle and carry it to the sink, before lifting the lid, placing it under the tap, etc.

What I mean by this is we forget how we make decisions, because we become competent at making them.

The same thing applies when you choose food and drink – you become competent at making your choices.

This model shows us the stages that we go through when acquiring new skills and knowledge. It is really useful to consider this when reviewing our decision making as it reminds us how we become unconsciously competent and serves as a useful reminder of the stages we go through when acquiring new knowledge and to be mindful of this when making choices.

This model is also known as the Learning Stages model was developed by former Gordon Training International employee, Noel Burch in the 1970’s.

Naturally, the more experiences and skills you acquire, the easier it becomes when making a decision.

But as you will know that isn’t always the case, things can come at you and throw you off track when you least expect it.

In my case, eating the Magnum was an aberration and a decision that I would come to regret. Later that night I woke up with horrendous itching from the sugar in the ice cream. Which mean that I didn’t sleep. The knock-on was that my energy was lower and I was a tad ratty that day.

Conscious decision making journaling exercise

When you are faced with things that you do at an unconscious level which could go on to cause you problems there are a few things that you can do. One is to stop and assess and two is to become aware of what is happening – this is often hard to do in the moment.

Use this exercise to record the event and to then discover what your decision making process is.

Grab your journal and write about the event. This is best done while it is still fresh in your mind. When you have finished stop and reflect, allow your muse to connect the dots.

Stop

Just stop. Allow yourself a few moments or minutes to take in what was going on. Breath and assess the situation. You will find all kinds of thoughts going on.

Aware

What is coming into your awareness?

What are your unconscious rules that you are playing by? All you need to do is become aware of them. How do you do things – is there a process or a pathyway? What are your criteria for decision making?

Consider, three other similar events. What do you learn? Do you see a pattern?

Awake

How awake are you to the effect your decisions have on you, others and your environment? Again go back to the last decisions you wrote about and consider this. Also, look at how connected each was to your beliefs and values. What does this tell you? Consider the outcome and how awake you are to what this means to you.

In my example, my belief was that it would be ok, just this once to eat this ice cream. Of course, I now absolutely believe that it is never ok…

After being very unwell with a fractured spine and other complications I value my health. So why I ask did I eat this ice cream? This goes against all of my values around my health.

The bottom line is I don’t believe it is ok to eat rubbish as I value my health. However, I was hijacked by my low energy and emotions. As I am sure you will be occasionally.

Alive

How did your decisions make you feel? What was the core emotion and how does this or these emotions run your life?

Good decision making should make you feel more alive.

This is not in the sense that you are leaping around for joy because sometimes good decisions are gut-wrenching and difficult. This is alive in the sense that they are completely connected to who you are and you believe that they are right in the moment.

Acceptance

No, you cannot turn back the clock. What is done is done. Accept the decision you made and then decide what next, what did I learn and what, if anything will I do differently next time?

There are power and peacefulness in acceptance. This is not about giving up or not taking action, rather it is knowing that pushing against a closed door will always hurt. Whereas finding ways to open the door and walk through it without resistance will deliver far greater rewards.

Acceptance is a choice. You can see the positive or you can fight what is going on. Why would you want to wander around a littered battlefield?

Acceptance is living fully present in the moment. It’s not about the past, while that is a great source of reference for peeling the onion; it’s not where to live. Neither is it about the future because we cannot force it.

We can create visions, make decisions and we can take action, but we already know stuff can happen to throw these visions off course. That is why it is important to understand yourself, just a bit more…

Action

Whatever happens, you need to take action, even if the action is inaction. I know that there have been times when my decision has been to simply let go, to not be attached to the outcome and quite frankly let others get on with it.

My action was to throw the rest of the ice creams in the bin and remind myself to be better prepared. Because of how important my health is to me I know that this will not happen again. The pain of the night long itching is far too good a reminder…

Ask your heart

When faced with a decision that right choice will depend on so many things. However, I like to take my choice (if I have time) to my heart.

Typically when I am journalling and I feel that the piece is finished when I stop this is when I place a hand on my heart, connect my breath, ask for guidance and wait. I will feel, see or sense something.

It is always interesting to notice what comes up.

What happens for me I find that I am checking in with my values when connecting with my heart.

I’ll look at how I can reframe something so that I get a better outcome. I like this opportunity for reflection.

My favourite question is do I love myself enough to? If the answer is yes, the decision is also easy.

Do I love myself enough to.

What do you think?

Another fundamental part of conscious decision making is to also stop and ask ‘what do I think?’ Out loud, not just in your head. That question is not for your conscious mind to analyse, more to ask the question and go deep into yourself – trance-like to allow the answers to surface.

It is not sufficient for you to look at my journey, my healing or my transformation and to say ‘I’ll do the same.’ The same will not work. What works is self-enquiry. What works is considering what I or others have done, trying things on for size if you want.

Most importantly is to always ask your divine inner wisdom what she thinks. You must only take on board what you can. After asking ‘what do I think?’ take action based on your intuition (gut) and divine inner wisdom (heart) – not mine or Betty down the roads – yours.

Decisions from the gut

We make reference to our guts for all kinds of actions and activities that are going on. This is because unbeknownst to us our gut is a powerhouse that serves and supports the rest of the body and as a result our lives.

It’s fascinating to think that science mainly focuses on other aspects of the human body and has mostly relegated the gut to the bottom of the pile. It’s tended to be thought of as a plumbing system that takes in nutrients and sends the waste out – which it does

In 1998 Michael D. Gershon, M.D wrote a book called “The Second Brain. The Scientific Basis of Gut Instinct and a Ground-breaking New Understanding of Nervous Disorders of the Stomach and Intestine.” I think he could have shortened it!

Professor Gershon’s work describes something called the enteric nervous system (ENS), which controls digestion. The ENS has a complex system of approximately 100 million nerves, all found in the lining of the gut.

He was shocked when the scientific world did not laud him as a genius. Instead, they ignored the fact that the first brain is connected to the second brain (the gut) via something called the vagus nerve.

The gut-brain connection

The vagus nerve goes straight from the stomach to the brain. This second brain sends signals to the first brain which advises it of our emotions which naturally affects our thoughts, beliefs, and behaviour.

It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that the gut is responsible for a lot of how we feel, our ability to live well and make decisions for our well-being. It’s a bit of a circle, what you eat affects your brain.

What’s going on in your brain affects what you eat, how you eat and why you eat the way that you do and how you think.

What you eat (and drink) affects every cell in your body. In his book The Biology of Belief, Bruce Lipton talks about how our thoughts affect our cells. If you are living in a perpetually stressed place, imagine what kind of thoughts are being passed to your cells. The cells will respond in the best way that they know-how, which might not be very beneficial.

I certainly feel that the better my diet the better my ability to listen to my gut. Maybe that’s just me?

You may get something different, but I get a funny feeling in my gut and a knowing, which alerts me to be on the lookout. When something is ‘right’ for me, I get the funny feeling in my tummy and all the hairs stand up on my arms.

Check out what happens for you.

The energy of your decisions

Energy has been described by many different cultures, as Chi, Ki, Prana, and a life-force. Scientists describe in a different way by measuring ions and atoms. Both are valid and have a place in our understanding of self and transformation.

Energy for me is everywhere and everything. Our food contains energy, the air that we breathe has energy, and every cell in your body has an energetic impulse.

As you sit quietly and consider you – you are using and harnessing energy. Breathing circulates and connects your energy. Without breath you are dead.

Healers harness energy to heal. People with passion bring energy into everything that they do, and this energy creates action. To transform and grow, you need energy.

Everything you do consumes large quantities of energy. If you cultivate good habits (conscious decisions) and look after your energy, it will stay healthy and provide a powerhouse for your life.

To become physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually healthy, one must have an energy system that is balanced and in harmony.

I believe gut decisions are also based on energy, which is connected to how well you are looking after yourself, your thoughts beliefs and behaviours and your connection to your consciousness.

There is always a moment when you just know, isn’t there?

Ok, massive subject – we’ll look more at intuition, energy and the gut more another time.

11 quick decision-making points

  1. Get to know you and how and why you do things
  2. Know why you have made previous decisions
  3. Look for patterns in your gut, heart and head
  4. Practice asking and listening to your heart
  5. Understand your values, and you will certainly know what decision you will make next time you are faced with something
  6. Get in tune with your gut and look out for your bodies signals
  7. Ask. Other people can be very insightful, even if they don’t know the answer
  8. Always know that you are using the best resources you have available at the time
  9. Practice journaling around different decision-making choices and ideas, from the very easy to the very hard. What do you learn?
  10. Look at decisions from many angles. What do you learn?
  11. Remember you cannot turn back the clock, so make a conscious decision to be more conscious next time you are faced with a choice

Have fun, I’d love to know what you discover…

PS: Check out 28 Days To A New You

Harness Anger To Ignite Action And Love As The Fuel To Drive Forward

This week I was pretty mad as the heavens poured forth anger upon me. Another full moon and another round of my emotions in turmoil. I am learning to embrace whatever comes up and witness it from a more positive perspective.

It’s ok to not be ok. I wasn’t ok.

Instead, I was perplexed why this normally peaceful and contented woman should want to vent her spleen at the world.

There was too much animal cruelty. Too many nasty people. There was too much everything, which had me running for the hills, except on Sunday the hunters were in my hills, invading my peace, stopping me walking my dogs and I was mad.

And something that really got my goat was eating a delicious magnum icecream. It wasn’t so much the ice cream, but more how I had got myself into a pickle where I felt it would be ok to eat one instead of a banana.

I had been late for a meeting and so didn’t eat lunch (you know healthy food). Instead, I figured I could get a gluten-free sandwich from a café. I was wrong, and the person I was meeting didn’t even turn up.

Trapped in a sea of emotions, the only life jacket seemed to be ice cream.

In bed that same night I couldn’t sleep because of itching because of the sugar overload. And I was mad at my stupidity.

I felt trapped by this strange feeling. The only two places that felt safe was to go inside to converse with my inner wisdom and to hurl abuse at my journal.

For the few days that followed, something strange to me happened. My normal positive, I can see the good and lessons in everything left me.

Calm disappeared, and I was furious, I had an anger that I had not seen in years. I watched myself get into a tizzy – I became a curiosity to myself. Watching from the outside in.

Strangely I found solace writing about the digestive system and how to craft a diet just for you. I also wrote about checking your poo and urine, along with good questions to ask when your energy dips and your sleep has been overtaken by the dark mistress of unslumber.

Later, when I was no longer engrossed in my writing I sat pondering the anger, the helplessness, the pain and suffering in the world. Anger about the things I couldn’t change. I could only change me and my reaction. So, what was the point of my anger I asked?

I will love the light for it shows me the way, yet I will endure the darkness because it shows me the stars. Og Mandino

Anger is the ignition for action

I realised anger was an igniter. What I did next had to be in love. In love, I could achieve anything. To achieve anything, there needs to be tinder – the situation – the igniter for change – anger and the fuel for change – love. Anger is just an emotion that is igniting something bigger. Not necessarily world-shattering, but something greater than me, and that has to be good.

Working from love

Enjoy the journey. Every day work towards being your best self. Never lose sight of the love that you are.

We may not be able to stop the things that are making us angry. However, it’s well known and well-trodden advice that we can change how we choose to respond.

Think of how much energy it takes to respond with anger. Yeah, loads. We could end up feeling drained of energy and unable to think clearly. If instead (after the first flush of anger) we chose to focus on our hearts and send love to ourselves and the world while affirming that today you choose peace and love – how might that feel?

Be aware of your anger

Anger is a natural emotion. I think because we are taught to not show it or deal with it by suppressing it, that we see it as one of the not so good emotions. But all emotion is good. It just depends on how you view it. Through what lens does this emotion need to be seen?

There are triggers for all emotions. Someone loads up the metaphorical gun and shoots it. It could be a beautiful romantic scene in a film or photos of extreme cruelty.

No matter what the trigger, there will have been a thing which launches a 1000 ships into the neural pathways of your brain.

Learning to become aware of your trigger points is essential. I know quite a few of mine, and they mostly involve animals. I also know that when I do not set good boundaries and allow someone to take advantage of my kind nature – I get cross.

I’ve learned through journaling and reflecting to reframe and walk around my emotions to understand what I need to learn and what I need to do.

Because of writing, I am so much more self-aware.

Harness it

I used to think that holding anger was good. That anger was ugly and destructive, and in a way, it can be. It can help to destroy something not so great to let the young shoots of hope emerge. Once you acknowledge it and are aware of it and the triggers, you can harness that energy.

What can you learn about you and why this emotion might occasionally highjack you that you can use for something else?

Release self-judgement

Because you have anger or feel angry, it does not make you a bad person. It makes you human. When the devil dances with your demons, you have choices. Make the first one to not judge yourself. Remember you are feeling anger in the moment, just as you would joy or love.

Be aware of your emotions and experience them without judgement. Avoid adding in tales of why and who you are because you acted or felt a certain way. Simply observe.

Dig deeper into the roots

I always want to know why I acted or felt a certain way. After all of these years of writing and digging into the muck, I am used to allowing my curiosity to go on an adventure with my past. It’s in the roots of who we are and those things that have moulded us that the answers lie. 

I see the past as an encyclopedia to be referenced rather than a place to dwell. But this is only after years of writing and burning my journals and probably jumping on bits of paper with peoples names on.

Write to explore and reflect. Talk it through. Scribble and mind map. The roots will expose themselves for you to explore.

Stay connected

I am a bugger for isolating myself when I get upset. Other people find it easy to tell me all of their woes, and I am a good listener, and I think because I do this for others, I don’t want to inflict myself on them.

The truth is talking and being heard is so helpful. But you must find the right person, and they may not be your friends. When you feel like hiding under the bed and telling the world to eff off, find someone you trust and can pay to listen.

Please stay connected to the world and don’t isolate yourself.

Working from love

We may not be able to stop the things that are making us angry. However, it’s well known and well-trodden advice that we can change how we choose to respond.

Think of how much energy it takes to respond with anger. Yeah, loads. We could end up feeling drained of energy and unable to think clearly. If instead (after the first flush of anger) we chose to focus on our hearts and send love to ourselves and the world while affirming that today you choose peace and love – how might that feel?

Mirror

When you feel angry, go and find a mirror. Open your eyes, take a good hard look into them and let it rip. Watch your face contort and be a witness to your rage.  Another way to tackle this is to film yourself. Believe you me this is not attractive, but it is eye-opening. And very releasing.

Journal

I keep saying it, but this is one of the best ways to find yourself. Sit with your pen and stir the pot of inner stillness once you have released the words onto the page.

A lovely way to view your anger or any emotion from a distance is to write yourself a letter. Put it in an envelope and in a few weeks, send it to yourself. I’m sure you will be tempted to tear it up but do it.

When it arrives, you will be some time away from the event, and it will be curious reading. I wonder how you will feel?

If you think that you will not send it, do it on Moonpig, buy the card and put in a future delivery date.

Creative life writing

This is a favourite activity. Take your anger and write a piece of fiction. Be creative. Make it short with a twist at the end. There was a period of my life when I was prolific with these and boy did some people come to a nasty end.

Start sketching out your story with your challenge, what are your choices, and which outcome will you choose?

  • Challenge – What was your challenge? Why did you feel it was a challenge? It could be a challenge that you set yourself or a challenging situation.
  • Choices – Why did you make the choice you did? Choices are about our choices, not the ones you feel others forced on you, although that in itself is a choice.
  • Outcome – Why that outcome? What did you learn? What is the moral of your story? If someone reads your story, how would you want them to feel and to learn?

All you need to do is find a journal entry, connect to your muse and write a short story.

Affirmations to heal anger

  1. Today I cultivate peaceful energy in my body, heart and soul
  2. Today I transform anger into peace, love and joy and offer love to the world
  3. Today I am free of anger and angry thoughts
  4. Today I transmute the anger I feel into the energy of peace, love and joy
  5. Today I breathe out peace
  6. Today I recognise that anger is energy ready to be transformed
  7. Today when I chose peace of mind over anger my life, gets better.

Journaling promptS

When you look at the last time you were angry or upset at something, ask yourself if you were to die tomorrow, was it worth wasting your time being angry?

Explore the anger, look at it from different perspectives and ask what are you here to teach me?

What could this anger ignite in you instead?

Spell ANGER in a mindmap and explore the words you choose.

Keep On Top Of Your Mental Health and Fear With A Journal

Every year World Mental Health Day is observed on the 10th of October. One day to highlight a massive problem. There are often no obvious signs that someone is suffering until their body complains, they are overcome with emotions like fear and then it can feel like it is too late.

For some, it has become too late.

Anxiety and depression can affect anyone.

When I was in the corporate world mental health was not discussed, but as a manager, I was very aware when people around me were not coping. Many a private conversation, a cuppa and a walk in the fresh air have provided someone with the space to be heard and to be empowered to take some other action towards better choices.

This is not always the case when you work alone or you are living with others whose needs come first.

Quite a few years ago, I found myself in front of the doctor complaining that despite the many miles I trudged every day with my dog, I couldn’t breathe. He asked me some questions and suddenly there was my space to be heard.

We talked about who I was living with, what the relationship was like, work and general health. I explained that for the previous two years I’d struggled with sleep and had tried everything I could think of. I remember him laughing at the comprehensive list I handed over. He glanced over it and said quietly ‘you have anxiety and it is no wonder.’

The miracle of Prozac and my journal

Walking away with a prescription for Prozac felt like the end of the world. Having been a party animal I was used to abusing my body for fun, this felt very different. I felt a failure.

Before long I was sleeping and a calm descended. Deep inside I was ashamed of giving in and although I didn’t want anyone to know, I found myself sharing with two friends.

At the start of taking them I had an exit strategy. Changing my diet and writing in my journal became an essential part of my healing.

I was a bit silly with my diet and cut out practically everything that could possibly be an allergen to anyone, ever. Losing vast quantities of weight did nothing for my skin and my skinny legs looked more matches like every day. I didn’t love me so I couldn’t and didn’t look in the mirror.

By the Christmas of that same year, I stopped taking them. Then the then husbands mother had come to live. She had dementia and he was a bully, I felt trapped and alone so I went back on the pills. It was the only way I could cope.

Knowing it was time to go

I poured my heart into my journal and I recall one night when lying awake staring at the ceiling I knew it was time for me to die. While everyone slept I Googled ways of dying. They all looked painful. What the fuck can I do I screamed silently into the slumbering beams?

Held by the most fragile gossamer, I realised I wasn’t meant to die but I was dead inside.

Shortly after his mother’s death, I weaned myself off Prozac (again) and tried to get back to some normality.

Fast forward to a new fear

Time moves on and in January 2018 several years after I left the bully, my spine fractured and so it seems did my life.

I was diagnosed with osteoporosis. It didn’t surprise me to learn that there is a link between this and depression.

I was scared. But also determined, somewhere under my jumper was a brave soul who was not going backwards into a slump.

The specialist doctor simply handed me a prescription and told me to go to the gym. I was in pain. The fear escalated like nothing before.

I found solace with my pen and knew in a short while that I couldn’t let this new path just lead me astray, I needed to focus. It was then that I decided to pour my energy into a book so that others would be able to understand my reasoning for natural healing, have a basis to work from and create their healing path.

The fear took it’s time to abate. Feel the fear always reminds me of a book called Feel the fear and do it anyway. However, the last thing I wanted was to feel the fear, or do it, whatever ‘it’ was, I wanted answers. I wanted information and knowledge so that I could work through the fear in my way.

How could I take action, if I didn’t know what I was up against? Sure I knew that the medical system that I had just encountered would not support me, but I had to know what this thing was and how you reverse it. Knowledge is power, and without it you are helpless.

In my journal, I asked what was going to come at me next? In some way, I needed to know that I could press a cancel button and this would all go away. It didn’t. At least not straight away.

They say that peak performance equals potential minus interference and that the body’s prime objective is to keep you safe. What then in each of us is causing interference that contributes to this feeling of being unsafe?

If you search on the Internet for fear, you will see a list of names for fear of things. Just as if you search for it internally, you will find it. For me putting a label on to something gives your body permission to embed it.  

If you own it, in my opinion, things can only get worse. Yes, you have something to deal with, but do not own the fear beyond your initial reaction to your news. Ok, easier said than done and I understand that.

Some people tell us that the opposite of living in or with fear is to live fearlessly, but these words don’t resonate with me either. I don’t like it because the fear word is part of it. Although I like the idea of being fear-less so that there is less fear. It’s more how you deal with it. This is where lots of other things like faith, trust and courage come into play. These are the friends of fear.

Emotions and triggers

I kept wondering why if the bodies prime objective is to keep you safe, did I hurt so much? This was both physical and emotional pain. I certainly did not feel safe.

Fear is another emotion, like anger, sadness, joy, and love. In this case, the fear was triggered by a perceived threat. I felt threatened by osteoporosis and the system. I knew enough about osteoporosis as my mum has lived with it for years and that scared me too.

Triggers can come at you from anywhere, and this was certainly happening. Think for a moment outside of fear, what might trigger you to become angry or to have a gorgeous belly laugh.

I know that to deal with my anger, I used to have an anchor. So that when I felt it arising I would put four words on my fingers – rage – anger – annoyance – miffed. This was how I, in my head counted down my emotion. If not, I guess there would have been a chance that I could have become aggressive. These days I notice and breathe. And so I tried to breathe love into these feelings.

Please don’t think for a moment I have this off to a fine art, can click my fingers and fear or any other emotion is sorted just like that. What I have developed is a way to relax into what is happening and notice how it feels in my body. I usually write to make sense of it, until whatever it abates.

The trouble was that I am visual and I could see all kinds of devastation coming at me from different angles. Which was crazy. Right at the point of hearing my bad news, I knew that my mind would go into temporary insanity. And that’s ok, I figured that’s normal, and I can deal with it. I kept saying over and over again I can deal with this, I can do it, I can…

Fight or flight

I used to teach assertiveness skills, so I knew intellectually that in relation to fear, there were several ways that we typically respond. One is to fight and another is to run away. This is known as the fight or flight response.

When we sense danger, our bodies release hormones to an area of the brain called the amygdala. Depending on your response to the danger you may experience a number of things. For example, you may get a racing heart or a bad tummy.  What’s important is that you recognise your typical response.

This response is due to cortisol and adrenaline being released into the body. They, in turn, signal the adrenals (on top of your kidneys) to release hormones. Adrenaline increases your heart rate, blood pressure and the amount of glucose (sugar) in the bloodstream.

Cortisol also releases increased amounts of glucose into the bloodstream, which your brain needs to deal with the perceived threat. Glucose is food for the brain. The brain with an increased supply of food can do its work. When the fear response diminishes everything goes back to normal.

Problems arise when we constantly live in fear. You may have heard people who are newly diagnosed with something saying that they are constantly tired. That’s possibly because unconsciously they are fearful and the adrenals are taking a pounding. Not only was I in pain, but I was also immensely tired. My body was certainly responding to all of the triggers.

Say hello to panic

The other thing you may do is panic. What the ‘beep’ am I going to do? Panic is normal, and it’s usually our first response. Think for a moment when as you are driving away from home to go on holiday and you ask, did I turn the iron off? What happens? Yes, panic. Then you calm down as you go through those final steps of closing up the house and you can see yourself doing what you always do, and the iron is off. Of course, you can ring a friend and ask them to pop in to check so that you feel reassured.

Fear will attach itself to the memory of the event, and you will code and remember this memory as a time of potential unpleasantness. Then what we often do is future pace our fear, and this becomes anxiety. You start to worry about things that may never happen.

Sometimes this endless worrying does bring about the event, something which is called a self-fulfilling prophecy. You have through constant mithering have given your body permission to bring you the thing that you fear the most.

Then there is the interference we mentioned earlier. Once you feel fear, it starts to interfere with your rational and conscious thought. The knock-on effect if you let fear take control it can have a longer-term negative impact on your health.

Fear, chaos and osteoporosis

So if you have something like osteoporosis you are sending more signals to your body which will impact your healing. All of these chemicals while having a place in keeping us safe are now contributing and feeding the condition we want to reverse.

So here we are on the playground of chaos. Before order will always be chaos. Some call osteoporosis a dis-order which to me is a system out of order. When you view your emotions and understand that you have a system that is not in order or is in chaos, it’s easier (sort of) to know that order will follow.

All will be revealed. True you cannot be certain of what is going to happen next, but the truth is old perceptions need to die. Chaos must be allowed to roam free to stir things up, so that you can start to make sense of it all

How your body responds

It can seem like time has ground to a halt as you process the news that will change your life.  When I was at the chiropractor the day after I had my x-rays done, a few minutes after he delivered his verdict, I was in the bathroom.

My body reacted through the digestive system. It usually does. Years of preparing to go on stage to deliver a talk and needing the bathroom right up to the point of speaking is now a distant memory. I learned to breathe through this and now I actually I love presenting. So over time, I unlearned my response. Because there was nothing to fear, in fact speaking on stage is exciting.

But is it exciting to learn that you have been labelled with a potentially life-changing dis-ease? No, it’s not, but what is exciting is understanding that you can use your knowledge of this response to turning things around for the better.

Before I reached the exciting part I had to deal with the fear, but something else was eating away at me more, and that was trust and betrayal. I started to not trust my mind and was constantly thinking about how my body was betraying me. I was asking crazy questions about whether I could trust it to heal. I knew that it could, but this acid from my past was eating at my intuition and my intellect.

Quelling the ghosts of the past

Before I could deal with the osteoporosis, I needed to quell the ghosts from the past. So that’s what I did. I went back and looked at every time I felt betrayed and where I had misplaced my trust, and I wrote letters to each person, burnt them and let them go. When I felt cleansed, I turned to my body and considered what is the opposite. In the case of fear, it might be courage. This helped me to put what was going on in context.

You do not need to push it away, feel into it or embrace it and you certainly do not need to feed it. Noticing fear is creating a deeper connection to the bones of who we are. We create a relationship with it as we might another human, and you learn things such as trust, and faith. You trust the trigger, and you have faith and courage to deal with it. This is not a time to apply intellectual thinking, this is a time for as I have said, faith, trust and courage.

Surrender

It is also a time to surrender. This is not giving up this is not about waiting for miracles or asking some higher force to step in and take over. This is asking for what is needed for your highest good to be met. I was busy trying to set outcomes such as I want to reverse osteoporosis within six months and I want my fractures to heal by April 2018. We do this don’t we, set outcomes based on business rules or others expectations and based on our fear?

SMART goals are another way that we decide what we want. But in life this approach while sound doesn’t take into account the highest good of all – our highest good. Highest good doesn’t have a deadline because time doesn’t really exist. Highest good focuses on achieving what is right for everyone when conscious choices are made for the good of all – your highest good.

When you surrender remember that the key foundational thing that we need here is self-love. Once I allowed the bile to bite into my fear and faith, I asked myself did I love myself enough to deal with this? So once again I found faith and courage through self-love and went to work on betrayal and trust.

I could see a cycle where I was prejudging myself and others because I didn’t trust that they were doing the best for me and I would not get the outcome that I desired. This leads to fear. And around we go.

When you get into this vicious cycle, a natural reaction is to isolate yourself. This is another aspect of staying safe, but isolation does not create safety. Instead, it sends a message to your cells, and they in their wisdom follow your orders and start to not communicate with the other cells in its community. Without this vital connection, healing cannot take place.

Journaling my way back to me

Sense prevailed as I journaled and the more I acknowledged my hurts and opened my eyes to another lesson the grip of terror reduced. I started to view my predicament with grace and love.

But this wasn’t before I had contemplated not being here. I wanted off this planet. Knowing that my dogs would be ok, I had a will and a funeral plan, made it somehow easier for others when this useless life and body were gone.

At night I wrote furiously and in the morning when I was licked (by one of said doggies) I was pleased that the only savagery I committed was with a pen.

How about I asked if I embrace what I have learned and choose what I want instead? What if this detour was actually the route to my salvation? I understood that I was being taught about faith and trust. I considered that rather than feel fear what if I felt excitement at the prospect of turning this around and doing some more letting go of my fractured past?

Fear and excitement

Fear and excitement trigger similar responses. One can have not so great effects, and one doesn’t. They are both drivers to change. It is up to us to make conscious choices.

One thing that always works for me is this journaling exercise. I use the word fear and find another meaning. As an example

  • F- Feeling fabulous when in FLOW
  • E- Excitement
  • A – Acceptance
  • R – Release

Or

  • F- Faith
  • E- Excitement
  • A -Acceptance
  • R- Resilience

Have a go while you focus on your situation. It’s quite fascinating what comes out when you look at fear this way. It makes it easier to surrender and surrendering, faith and trust are like muscles, like writing, it gets better and easier the more that you practice.

Take a walk once you have written. Take time to reflect. Physical activity can have a positive effect on your mental health.

If hindsight were a currency, I would be rich. If writing in a journal were a paid profession I’d be a mega-billionaire.

I have found that writing in a journal has saved my life many times. It may yours. Have a go, you just may find a safe place to find who you are and heal.

Please look around you, one of your friends could be where I was. You might be there now.

Buy them a journal and be prepared to hug and listen.

Go well today and every day. With love.

Rejuvenate Your Life And Find Joy With Juicy Life

When I think of a juicy life I think of vitality, fun and how to relish each moment. The practise of self-love is part of having a juicy life. I also think of simple things like singing, dancing, and having a bit of an adventure. Being with people who bring me joy is a big part of my juicy life plan. Most of all I ask myself how and where can I bring joy into my life?

How do you awaken the senses and get more ‘juice’ into your life?

First of all, you need to look at what experiences leave you feeling dry or dried up and give them a colour red for dry and green for juicy for example.

Look at your day to day experiences and make a list of activities and grade and colour code them. What do you have more of? What needs upgrading, letting go or grabbing more of?

Before you rush out and stop all of the drying or dehydrating experiences ask if there is something that you can do to make them juicy. For example, let’s imagine that you and your partner go out every Saturday evening to the same pub/bar and see the same people. What if, instead, you had a date night somewhere else, just the two of you?

What if like in our house when I was growing up, Friday night was always fish. What if, instead, you picked a random recipe and created a dining in experience?

What else?

  • How about creating a bucket list of simple joyful experiences. You can take a spa day with friends. Go for weekend walks. Do some volunteering. The list of simple pleasures that takes you out of the mundane every day will massively enhance your life
  • Stop waiting to be happy, see and feel joy in the simple things of life
  • Follow your curiosity and try things out
  • Do something you have always wanted to but have felt afraid
  • Send yourself love notes in the post
  • Enrol yourself into a radical self-care program of your own design that you can do at home
  • Journal daily about what you are grateful for – a simple reframe to appreciation is sometimes all that is needed

Where Do You Need More Juiciness In Our Life?

What does a juicy life look like to you? It’s such a simple question, which when you start to write will unlock so many things. You’ll soon realise that there are so many simple things that you can do.

Write about your juicy life and then start to envision it. What one action can you take right now that will move you one step closer?

What about the people in your life?

People really do enter and leave your life for a multitude of reasons. Sometimes you will feel sad when someone you consider to be a friend does something you don’t understand, and suddenly you are no longer as close as you once were.

Or you meet someone fleetingly who leaves footprints on your heart, never to be seen or heard of again. No matter who you meet, when and for how long they bring something to your life. They are all your reason, season, lifetime lesson people.

This speaks to me and explains this concept beautifully.

A Reason, A Season, or A Lifetime

“People come into your life for a reason, a season or a lifetime.
When you figure out which one it is,
you will know what to do for each person.

When someone is in your life for a REASON,
it is usually to meet a need you have expressed.
They have come to assist you through a difficulty;
to provide you with guidance and support;
to aid you physically, emotionally or spiritually.
They may seem like a godsend, and they are.
They are there for the reason you need them to be.

Then, without any wrongdoing on your part or at an inconvenient time,
this person will say or do something to bring the relationship to an end.
Sometimes they die. Sometimes they walk away.
Sometimes they act up and force you to take a stand.
What we must realize is that our need has been met, our desire fulfilled; their work is done.
The prayer you sent up has been answered and now it is time to move on.

Some people come into your life for a SEASON,
because your turn has come to share, grow or learn.
They bring you an experience of peace or make you laugh.
They may teach you something you have never done.
They usually give you an unbelievable amount of joy.
Believe it. It is real. But only for a season.

LIFETIME relationships teach you lifetime lessons;
things you must build upon in order to have a solid emotional foundation.
Your job is to accept the lesson, love the person,
and put what you have learned to use in all other relationships and areas of your life.
It is said that love is blind but friendship is clairvoyant”.

— Unknown

As the above says some are here to support us, and we, them, some test us, some will use us (our perception and choice to let them), while others are here to teach us. They are all important. But most important are the ones who bring out the best in us, they respect us and accept us for who we are. These are the ones worth keeping around!

Some people come into our lives and quickly go, while others become our friends and stay awhile, leaving beautiful footprints on our hearts, and we’re never quite the same because we have known them and grown with them. Who and where are these people?

Reason, season, lifetime lesson people

Ask yourself who are your reason, season and lifetime lesson people. Why are they? Once you have determined who these are, if there are any that you feel that you would like to thank, pick up the phone, and send an email or a gift. For those that you don’t want to connect with, write a note in your journal or send them a silent prayer of peace. Acknowledging with gratitude is great for the soul.

Write in your journal about each and what you bought to each other’s lives.

This may be a time when many people are moving from your path. Know that this is meant to be. This space will be filled with more reason, season, lifetime people.

Juicy Life Journaling Prompts

  • What does a juicy life look like to you?
  • What parts of your life feel a little dried out?
  • What do you have to do to bring more juiciness into your life?
  • Ask yourself who are your reason, season and lifetime lesson people. Why are they?

To work more on your juicy life grab a copy of the 28 Days To A New You Journal.

Love to Journal 28 days mindset _ juicy life _ nourishing me _ declutter db (1)

PS: I’ll talk about hydration another day…

The Crazy Ways That Dogs Teach Us About Love And Life

I remember feeling rather detached when the ex decided he wanted a dog. My nan had dogs, and I’d always adored hers, so much so I would often beg to stay when mum and I went for a visit. This, however, was different. He kept showing me pictures of dogs that he had evaluated according to a set of rules in his head. I confess to not knowing what these were except it must not moult. Finally, it was settled it would be a Hungarian Vizsla.

Driving four hours to the rescue place, a one-hour turnaround and four hours back, I marvelled at how calm this dog was. He lay quietly on the back seat, I guess, not knowing his fate, merely another journey with some strange humans. He had some behavioural problems and after a psychological assessment, it was declared that he should be rehomed. Knowing nothing about dogs, that meant not a jot.

Back home, him indoors was uber excited and went out to buy some rather gorgeous things for the boy. Ferdy none too impressed with being left at the other end of the lounge decided to shred his expensive bed. That first night he was put into a basket by the front door of a three-storey house and proceeded to howl and yes damage the wall. I think I felt bemused and not sure what to do, other than observe, as a bystander might.

Love and Life lesson #1 – look at yourself first

The next day, I was left alone with Ferdy dog. This was when I received the first of my lessons. He was discovered in the hall with the contents of the bin spread all over. Not thinking I put my hand down to grab the stuff and found a large set of teeth around my face. Quite unperturbed, I stopped, managed my energy and contemplated the event.

In a fraction of a second, the jaws left my face as quickly as they had arrived. In those moments, I realised that this was my fault. I had not thought about how to relate to him, what distress he might be in and that I had caught him off guard. Calmly I collected the rubbish while having a quick chat with him. Yes, I know he had no idea what I was saying, but I felt we had reached an understanding.

He taught me that despite all of my skills, I needed to consider the part I played when interacting with others. To notice how my behaviour affects others.

Love and Life lesson #2 – Love changes everything

Two nights later, Ferdy dog was still giving his beautiful bed in the lounge a good tearing. As I looked at him, I knew that all he wanted was to be a part of our family. I dragged his bed over to us and declared that ‘he’ could do the discipline, and I would do the love. I fell in love. All dogs lovers know that huge heart swelling love connection, and now I did. I was smitten. He taught me to love unconditionally and that in giving and receiving pure love, everything changes and nothing else matters.

Love and Life lesson #3 – Enjoy the moment

A nearby field where I took Ferdy for walks turned into a muddy bog when it rained. He loved nothing more that to charge through it, covering his chestnut pelt in the wet sludgy mud. I adored the way that he had no cares or worries, he just galloped. He was free and liberated.

This was great fun to watch, but the best fun came when he arrived home to the beige house (beige husband, beige house). Yes, I know its wrong to laugh, but what’s the point of being with a dog if he can’t lose himself in delightful moments? And frankly what’s the point of a beige house? I often tittered , even as I cleaned the mess up.

He taught me to enjoy the moment and to make time to play every day.

Love and Life lesson # 4 – Everything is possible

Several years down the line, Ferdy was joined by Marley Moo, a timid beauty sporting an unusual coat of black and grey. Ferdy dog was naffed off, to say the least, and I found myself picking Marley up on many occasions and cuddling her better after his attacks. She was frightened. In return for sanctuary in my safe arms, she gave me the most incredible love and licks – I fell head over heels in love with her again.

Fast forward to 2015, I’d left ‘him indoors’ after discovering his double life and was enjoying my new life with my two babies when I found an abandoned puppy. Thinking that a charity would take her, I fetched her home.

Wrong!

I tried to not get attached as I searched for a home. Ferdy dog did the same thing as he had done to Marley and attacked her, and I found myself with her in my arms many times. In those moments of cuddling her, I became fond of her. There wasn’t that instant love connection that I felt with the other two. Possibly because I was convinced she would be leaving soon.

Angel didn’t leave. Of course, she didn’t. Because each time I looked into her eyes, I knew she was here to stay. She has become the most adorable, sweet, funny and engaging dog you could wish for. Shame about the things she ate in the early days, but hey what’s a pair of jeans between friends?

I struggled with the dynamics. I resorted to getting in a dog trainer to help me to learn how to cope and live in harmony with three dogs.

They taught me that anything is possible if you are prepared to try.

Love and life lesson #5 – take time out

There is only me and my pooches. I work hard and have been guilty of being a workaholic. All three dogs Ferdy Dog, Marley Moo and Angel have instilled in me the discipline of taking time out, even when I have a piece of writing, I just have to finish. They let me know in no uncertain terms that it is time for a walk.

Through them, I have learnt that time out for reflection during the day is an absolute must. We all need to recharge our batteries, don’t we?

Love and life lesson #6 – stop before you are forced to stop

In previous years, I have run myself into the ground working and trying to sort out my headspace, home and life following the end of a dreadful relationship.

When I discovered Angel, I had been slowing down. Clearly, the cosmos thought otherwise and with this tiny terror in my life, I was brought to my knees. I called her Angel because I knew that she was a messenger.

We’d arrived home one day and I’d wound their leads around my wrists. Don’t ask why. Then Angel – just a puppy,  spotted a cat, all three dogs ran and I went flying through the air. Well and truly stopped. Ouch, those bruised ribs, knees and head hurt…

They all taught me that the world doesn’t stop because you take time out. What is important is to stop. In the stopping, you will find opportunities.

Love and life lesson #7 – the past does not exist

Every day, we walk a similar pathway. For them, it’s a whole new experience with new smells and things to investigate. Yesterday doesn’t appear to exist. It’s all fresh, new and exciting.

I have no way of knowing if Ferdy and Marley miss their old life. or if Marley remembers why she was so fearful. As for Angel, who knows who let her go, she has settled in and is a part of the family. It’s as if it has always been this way.

They have taught me that the past is not a place to dwell. That having the freedom to enjoy today and this moment is the best feeling ever.

Love and life lesson #8 – accept who you are

I never had children, and now I find myself with three furry children by three different fathers. Each is different and each I feel is comfortable with who he or she is. I’ve yet to catch them in the mirror asking if their bum looks big in this?

They have taught me to love and accept myself.

There are many more love and life lessons, the truth is they have become my life and every day they remind me how wonderful life and to feel loved is.

Animals change your life and perspective. You do not own them; they are furry bundles of love here to guide and support without judgement your journey through life. The least we can do is to show our furry companions the same respect and big love back.

If you are thinking of a dog, please rescue. Take the time out to understand how to share your life with them. Make room in your heart and life for the biggest love bomb ever.

Your life will change forever.

Simple Gluten-Free Banana Bread

This healthy, simple gluten-free banana bread is easy to make and can be amended to suit your diet. So if you are vegan, swap the eggs for soaked chia, linseeds or psyllium husks.

Today when I made this banana bread, I used rice and coconut flour and I added cinnamon and apple – yum!

Ingredients list

  • 300g/2 cups rice flour (or combination of flours – try your own mix) or use almond or coconut flour for grain-free
  • 1 tbsp raw honey/maple syrup / sweet freedom (can replace with Stevia or Xylitol for Candida free) or you can soak a handful of dates and blend them
  • 1 packet baking powder (gluten-free)
  • 125g olive oil / coconut oil / butter
  • 2 – 3 eggs*
  • 2 – 3 large ripe bananas – mashed (use sweet potato for candida free)

*options

1 egg = 1 tablespoon of flax meal or chia + 3 tablespoons water
1 egg = 3 tablespoons nut butter
1 egg = 1 teaspoon psyllium seed husk + 1/4 cup water (let it stand for 5 minutes; use = binding and moisture)

Other optional ingredients

I will often add other yummy ingredients such as papaya, raw chocolate and raw grated beetroot, cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg.

Directions for gluten-free free banana bread

  1. Pre-heat oven to 180 (my gas oven goes on mark 3)
  2. Place flours and baking powder in a bowl and mix well
  3. Rub in butter or oil, until it is like fine breadcrumbs
  4. Add honey/maple/sweet freedom syrup
  5. Mix in beaten eggs (or substitute – see above)
  6. Add in mashed banana little by little until you get dropping consistency
  7. Put into a greased bread tin
  8. Cook for approx. 40 minutes or until your knife comes out clean

Using a food processor – the simple way

  1. Add all of the wet ingredients to the food processor and blend for a few minutes
  2. Add all of the dry ingredients and blend until well mixed

Other options for your gluten-free banana bread

  • Cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg
  • Cinnamon and apple
  • Raw chocolate
  • Raw chocolate and beetroot
  • Lemon and poppy seeds
  • Chopped up dates (do not use if you want to be candida free)
  • Goji berries (do not use if you don’t eat nightshades)
  • Nuts (obviously do not use if you have a nut allergy). Remember to soak first to remove the phytates

Basically, add in other stuff that you fancy and can tolerate.

Eat and enjoy – I know I will be.

28 Days To A New You, How Is It Possible?

Is it really that simple to change in just 28 days? Could you change ‘your’ habits in just 28 days?

Everyone knows it takes, mmm how many days to change a habit? It might take you 21 days, or it could take 365. The truth is we are all different, and the time taken to change a habit will vary, because each of us is unique and has had different life experiences.

What I do know is this. Given the right ingredients, which include your desire to change, taking action, asking for support, understanding how you do things, calling on your inner resources and sticking at this thing you want to change – you can change.

Some habits are harder than others to implement. As I write this, I am giving up sugar for life. I have a personal reason that affects my health and well-being, and I will do it. How long will it take me? I hear you ask. I ate the last shop bought gluten-free brownie and that is me.

You may wonder how I can be certain. Let me tell you; it’s as simple as, I will do it because this is the kind of person I am. When I make a decision about my health, well-being, self-care and self-love, I take action.

It doesn’t mean that it’s easy; it means that it is important to me. And that’s the thing, if it is important, you will do it, and if it isn’t, you will procrastinate. When you set your goals and put them in order of importance (I rate mine each month), you will find that you are more focused.

And anyway why would you write a goal and not want it? Ok, that’s one for the journal.

When Mel Wakeman and I designed 28 Days To A New You, we recognised that this could only ever be a kick-start. We knew that without a crystal ball we could not predict who and that includes us, would make any lasting changes.

We designed so that each of us could take a good hard look at ourselves and make some conscious decisions about what we want.

When you know what you want, you can move towards it.

The key I think is to create better habits a step at a time rather than go at it like a bull in a china shop and say it’s all or nothing. I like the idea of being gentle with myself. If you start with habit-changing actions now and fall off the wagon, you don’t have so far to go next time around – do you? Unless you are duty-bound and headed for complete self-destruction and I hope that you are not.

After I’d made the no more delicious brownies, I started to crave sugar, but there was nothing in my house save organic peanut butter and fruit. It didn’t work, I wanted cake.

I knew that I could go and ask friends to give me sweets, I could drive 30 minutes to the nearest shop, or I could get off my backside and make a healthy cake.

By 8 pm I was making a cake. It was a bit of a faff as I didn’t have enough rice flour, but I mixed in all kinds of other stuff and went for it. 45 minutes later, one healthy cake and a very happy me.

I love the saying done is better than perfect and the Salvadore Dali quote which says ‘have no fear of perfection, because you will never reach it.’ I think he means that perfection is an ever-moving target. So do your best, learn, let go of what doesn’t work, review and carry on.

I also believe that we are already perfect so why strive to be something you already are?

Of course, the habit you desire to change can also morph into something else along the way. If you are journaling and reflecting, which I also hope that you are, you will get some great aha’s.

I look at my sugar thing as more of an ‘I’m creating a healthy body’ rather than I am giving something up. I am very much a towards person. What about you?

Knowing what kind of a person you are could be one of your aha’s.

When you get aha’s, what you will know is that next month when you come to review your goals, desires and intentions, you can amend them in line what you have learned.

Changing habits is a process and not a destination. Yes, I want to never eat sugar again, and I might slip in a cheeky dessert when out one night, but that doesn’t mean that I have failed, more that on my journey, I have accepted that I may indulge. As soon as I have and I will enjoy it, I shall be back to my ‘normal’ way of life.

What I have done is to set an intention, which includes enjoying the journey. Along the way, I’ll do things like look at cake recipes that I can change to suit my way of eating, I’ll enjoy experimenting and I’ll find other ways of satisfying my needs. I want this to be fun and not something to beat myself up with. You can adopt this attitude too.

The key to moving forward is to decide that this is day one, choose what has to be done and do it until you feel satisfied that you have achieved your goal.

What you will find it that as you dive into your 28-day kick-start, you’ll probably feel more motivated than say in 35 days. That’s why I recommend that every 28 days to do a reset and look at where you are and what you want to create. Plus if you ask yourself how important is this, you can gauge if this is still the same thing or there are things you want to change.

The keys are to be kind you, remain open-hearted and minded, be flexible and use your feedback to make more informed conscious decisions next time.

Try this 28-day exercise

  • Grab your journal. It’s day 1 and I invite you to write your goal and make it SMART, add in how you will feel, and what you will see and know when you achieve it.
  • Take a 10-minute break.
  • Close your eyes, take your hands to your heart, now see yourself in whatever way works for you telling a best friend what you have achieved in just 28 days.
  • Tell him and her some of the obstacles that you overcame and what amazing skills and talents you used. Share how it feels to come this far and what you will be doing next.
  • Open your journal and write about this experience.
  • What do you learn?

Come and join Mel and me on our next 28 Days To A New You Adventure and be supported through the first of what could be a series of 28-day transformational blocks.

We will take you through our four pillars:-

  • Week 1: Reset your focus and relaunch your motivation with MINDSET 
  • Week 2: Rejuvenate your life and find joy with JUICY LIFE 
  • Week 3: Renourish your body, mind and soul and energise with NOURISH ME 
  • Week 4: Release all that is holding you back, so you are free to thrive with DECLUTTER

There will be loads of support, plenty of journaling to help you see life through a different lens and of course nutritional advice.

How To Bring Simplicity To Your Life

I wonder what simplicity means to you? To me it’s about getting rid of stuff, saying no to things, not buying stuff that I don’t need and enjoying the simple things in life. Having a simple life is not boring, but sometimes it may seem that way. That is until you start living and enjoying a simplified version of how you are currently living.

Ask yourself – what would happen if I did lead a life of simplicity?

I believe that when you simplify, you’re left with a life filled with meaning, and a life that is lived on your terms. You have the time to pursue your interests and to create the life you truly desire. How does that feel?

What if when you lived a simple life you were able to find true happiness?

To create a simple life, it pays to consider your needs. You can start this by thinking about what is important to you. Ask what do you really need?

I know when I thought about how I was living, I, for example, found that I didn’t need so many shoes, handbags and clothes. I also discovered by planning my meals properly I no longer bought food that used to end up in the bin.

To live a simpler life, examine what’s important to you, and acknowledge your choices and their impact on your life’s needs.

How To Bring Simplicity To Your Life

Say no to more and yes to more quality

Do you keep saying yes to doing things that do not feed your soul? What about attending social events that require you to extend your wardrobe beyond your financial capability? What about holidays with friends, doing things you don’t want to do, just because you think you are missing out?

When you start saying no to things you don’t really want or enjoy, you can start saying yes to quality. When there is less, you will have more of what fills your heart. Think about it.

Ask where you can save money

I adore books and it’s been one of the hardest things to say no to them. In another life, I owned six pairs of black boots and the last time I looked, I only had one pair of feet. In my closet, I had rows of shoes and handbags that I rarely wore or used. When I moved home and was forced to downsize, I realised that I did not need all of these.

These days I ask myself if I will make use of and get value out of it before I buy.

Take food, for example, I no longer say yum yum and fill my trolley with things that I don’t need or will eat. When I found myself throwing food away, it made me realise not only what a waste it was, but also how disgraceful it is when some parts of the world can’t get food to throw away.

If you look at how much you have to spend each month, you may find that you have an overspending habit and tend to put things on a credit card. The best thing to do is keep your life simple, build a budget and stick to it faithfully.

You could sell the stuff you don’t need or give it to charity. Then make sure you only buy what you love, will use or need. Consider that this is investing in your future.

How can you feel less stressed?

Stress can be a killer. Stress can affect so many parts of your life and this is where you take your eye off the self-care ball. Start to focus on keeping things simple and notice how relaxed you start to feel.

If you say no to things that don’t serve you and focus on what’s important, your stress levels will start to lower and your overall health will benefit. When you eat in a simpler way that too has a positive impact on your life. Remember to breathe and slow it down will help you to be in the now.

I am sure you can think of many things that if you took a simpler route you too would notice your stress levels lowering.

Create more meaningful relationships

I found that when I focused on the important people in my life and chose to cultivate our relationship, I enjoyed my life more. None of us needs 1000’s of friends, despite what the social media platforms say.

You can be more honest and sincere with your true friends. They know you, you do not need to spend time trying to impress them and they will accept you – warts and all.

To enjoy a simpler life, start to think about people who you do not need in your life or at least people that you do not want to spend so much time with.

Choose people who you love to be with. Perhaps you could rank people by love, like, ok and not ok. Get rid of the not ok’s, and then look at the others and ask are they in the right category, can I move ok to like and like to love or the other way around. When you have done that, work out how – in an honest way.

How can you learn more about yourself?

When you spend time with you without the many distractions in your life, you’ll find that there is more space to get to know the most important person in your life. In that space, you can reflect and say thank you for all the great things you have.

You can learn more about you with one of the simplest self-help tools in the world – a journal.

Live a decluttered life

With fewer possessions and commitments you will have less clutter. You won’t need to be in your diary or clearing things away. I wonder what you can do with your free time? And the answer isn’t to fill it with more. More it’s to fill it with less. Does that make sense?

Learn the art of decluttering and constantly question do you need the thing you are about to purchase? Ask if you need to do that thing that you are being asked to do.

Some Benefits Of Simplicity

You desire fewer material things

When you get used to having less or buying fewer things you will find you desire fewer things. This goes against all the marketing hype which is to torment you with the idea that more things mean happiness and a fulfilled life. Stuff will never make you happy.

More free time

When you have free time you will discover that living in the now is pleasurable. You may find at first, it’s hard to relax. Just think about how you felt when you were running around. I know when I do I feel exhausted. Free time is a gift that only a few truly appreciate.

According to Confucius, “Life is really simple but we insist on making it complicated.”

How do you feel when you read that?

In my free time, I binge on Netflix, read or walk my dogs more. That may not be your idea of fun, but I enjoy these things because they are so simple.

Better health

Lots of people find it hard to buy just what they need and making meals from scratch. I used to pop to the supermarket and buy a ready meal because I believed that it saved me time and was good for me.

When I embarked on a natural healing plan, I started to buy fresh and natural food. Each evening I would ask my body what it wants and make my daily meals from what is in my fridge. My body really appreciates this simpler approach to eating.

Think about how you could reduce your health challenges by eating in a simpler way.

Journaling prompts

  • What could you say no to which will make space in your life?
  • What do you waste your money on, that if you didn’t would give you a pot of gold to use in a more productive way?
  • Who are your love and like people, how can you create more meaningful interactions with them?
  • How could you enjoy life more if it wasn’t filled with so many things?
  • What foods could you swap for healthier options that would save you cash and give you better health?

These prompts are designed to get you to think about how you could start to bring simplicity into your life.

What else could you do?

Invest in the simplicity, smiling, friendship and kindness life journal (Printed or as a PDF) and explore these concepts some more.

Join the journaling club and take this up a notch within a safe and supportive community.

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