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New Year Kindness

Life has been such a journey for me this year and I am thrilled to be approaching New Year’s Eve with this latest review of my book No Damage:

‘Must read for getting inspired in the New Year’

Isn’t it incredible to think we all have the power to inspire others with simply our words and gestures? It really is that simple to help brighten someone’s world and the best bit is we can ALL do it! We can choose to help others with supportive, kind words and a gentle touch every single day. Now there’s a positive resolution for the coming year.

I am humbled today that my words have found their way to a reader in California and inspired her. Just as I am deeply touched that a reader in Brazil messaged me to say how my words are helping him through his marriage crisis. I couldn’t ask for a more wonderful end to my year than to know my story is helping someone.

Are you looking for an inspiring New Year’s read? Maybe No Damage is just what you need. If so, enjoy! ( with a glass of bubbles and a heartfelt ‘cheers’ for 2015).

http://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/B00R2ZF14Q

Happy New Year all and may you receive kind words and gestures when you need them the most.

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The Yes in saying No

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I saw this image on the internet this morning and it caught my attention as a timely reminder of the importance of letting go. Of knowing that I can’t always make it okay for other people, I can’t always keep on giving or solving others problems relentlessly in the hope of being liked or respected in return. It is not my job to do that beyond a point at which I am comfortable or able to without detriment to myself. I hold both hands up and admit I am hopeless at setting my personal boundaries and have a long history of allowing people to invade my personal space when I didn’t want them to. I have changed and moulded myself to suit others and to say yes when really I mean a loud and definite no. I have often found myself giving far beyond the point of what is needed or what is healthy and always regardless of how the recipient treats me. On my journey towards setting important boundaries and living a life that is true to who I am, not who I feel I ought to be, I have come to know that I did those things in order to feel a greater sense of self worth.

 

Day by day I am learning that I don’t need to give just because someone asks me to do so. I know that true giving comes from the heart and not from neediness or a feeling of obligation. I can decline respectfully when I need to and hold something back for me. I can say no with politeness and grace and choose to say yes to my needs instead of throwing them to the wind in favour of pleasing others. As I practice the art of saying no and of letting go where my fear asks me to give more when really it is not my place to do so, I am learning a new form of self respect and worth. And interestingly I then have more to give and I do so freely with a huge sense of joy and love.

 

What made me write about this was hearing from someone in my past whom I had stopped being in touch with a long time ago. There had been much hurt between us; that person had turned my life upside down and left me and my life in tatters for me to rebuild. Until now, they had held back from offering any apology or compassion. That person had walked away when I was on my knees and they hadn’t looked back. They had got in touch two years down the line to apologise and wished to renew our friendship. I suspect that fairly radical and recent changes in their own life had brought about a sense of wanting to find peace and heal their past – great stuff. I am appreciative of that apology and it must have taken courage to get in touch. The old version of me would have leapt to be their friend and make it okay for them. A part of me wanted to do so, almost did as much, and then suddenly I realised one simple fact.

 

It is no longer my responsibility

 

It is not my responsibility to heal their wounds and offer soothing words (which may not have been needed or asked for anyway). They didn’t jump a puddle for me when I was in much need of support (or wellingtons) and yet there I was, for just a moment, willing to cross oceans again to help them. Today I chose to say thank you and no, politely, and I reigned myself in from trying to fix it for them. I wished them well with a genuine sense of compassion in my heart and let them go with love and hope for their future. And the best bit of doing so? It feels fantastic. I am amazed and in awe of the fact that a simple two letter word NO can bring such peace. I am in my wellies, I have drawn a mark in the sand called ‘my personal boundary’ and I am merrily skipping onwards. May you have a lovely day, draw your own line in the sand if you need to, and practice saying no. 

Autumn Blanket

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Today I am in utterly in love with autumn. Despite the fact I live in the southern hemisphere and it is notably warmer than an autumn in the UK, I can still feel the change that moving through autumn and into winter brings within me. The shortening days undoubtedly send me into a slower pace of life and I find myself longing to hibernate under a thick blanket with a bottle of red wine and a pile of nostalgic films. The golden crushed leaves on the sidewalks have been swirling up around dogs and walkers alike and the south easterly wind sends my long hair flying free. As the wind whips past I am craving deep rich hot chocolate of an evening and thick oat-filled syrupy biscuits. I long to see root vegetables on my plate in all the colours of autumn from the blackest purple beetroots to the vibrant yellow of squashes and roasted sweet potatoes. As winter sets in I wish to have my dear friends over for poker nights and share my love of food, books and writing with those I know that care for such things. In all I am craving warmth, comfort and companionship.

 

In a nod towards those desires I have taken to making my own granola and I have packed the freezer with the resulting little niblets of heaven. My granola has so far consisted of a happy mix of oats, pumpkin seeds, chopped figs, cranberries, pecan nuts and almonds. All mixed up with a generous dollop of raw cacao paste and virgin coconut oil, many dollops of raw honey, a dash of olive oil, a sprinkle of sea salt and a generous sneeze of cinnamon. I baked the mix in the oven for 20 minutes on a low heat and I can honestly say it makes a perfect snack to go with a cup of tea. My next plan is to find a way of making it without baking so I don’t lose the goodness of the raw honey. Raw honey is number one on my list of must eat foods these days for health and wellbeing.

 

Autumn here is also a time of new beginnings for me. As the heat of the summer is becoming a distant memory I am able to run through my local wetland without falling into a heap of sweat and dizziness. I still turn heart attack red but at least I don’t actually feel like I may have a heart attack during the cooler autumn days. I am stretching my limbs to the bright blue sky in an attempt to regain my fitness one step at a time. I will become a better runner and I am also going to start practising yoga, which is something I have always wished to do but have so far avoided. It is time to get stretching my body and also my mind – which will be achieved with the inspiring world of TED Talks. I recommend to everyone that they watch at least one TED talk a week to experience their vibrancy and inspiration. The talks cover every topic one could wish for and really are an incredible motivator. First up on my list are these little gems and I can’t wait to watch them:

Success, failure and the drive to keep creating – Elizabeth Gilbert

Why giving away our wealth has been the most satisfying thing we have done – Bill & Melinda Gates

Why I must come out – Geena Rocero

My daughter, Malala – Ziauddin Yousafzai

The sunrises at this time of year are spectacular here and I am incredibly lucky to be able to witness many of them from the boat at work each day. Check out this little number courtesy of Mother Nature. A perfect work of art.

 

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As if that were not enough happiness I have also had the pleasure of my Dad visiting us for the past ten days and it has been blissful. My Dad and I have always shared an especially close bond, like many fathers and daughters, and our latest adventure has been perfect. I had the delight of showing off my gorgeous partner in crime to my Dad and vice versa and I have watched them form their own friendship and bond over long walks in the hills, evening fires and bottles of wine from Stellenbosch. Look at those happy faces!

 

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They say it all to me about the importance of family and friendship. I have also finally been able to share my beloved sharks with Dad and it was such a privilege to share his first cage diving experience with great white sharks. My Dad is an adventurous soul and inspires me to be positive and full of life in the years to come. I will always remember him lying horizontally in the cage, feet up on the edge, the sunshine beating down on him, without a care in the world and surrounded by magnificent sharks. What an awesome example of being free. I really couldn’t ask for more. Have a wonderful Monday and may you all be free and happy this week whatever the season and weather.

 

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Giving ‘UP’ — The Way of Surrender!

This is so beautiful, a great reminder to work together. We are one.

Better Endings for Your Life Path

A Month of the Best of Better Endings, ‘First Principles’Day 7:

Giving UP! — The Way of Surrender

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Never Give Up, but you can always give UP—or, surrender—to attain Better Endings. Giving UP means, to me, releasing a problem or an attitude to a Higher Force and Higher Awareness, however you choose to define that. “I give UP!” releases my attachment to a situation or to a specific outcome. Then, what is truly needed or appropriate is free to manifest.

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Surrender. What a concept this is, riddled with a dual character. A warrior might regard surrender as a failure of mission, although it allows for them to survive to another day. I imagine the Wicked Witch of the West on her broomstick, spelling out “Surrender Dorothy!” in the sky over Munchkinland. “Never!,” we think. At the same time, though, surrender is a path to freedom from attachment; letting go…

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Tailor-Made Life

Tailor-made (Adj) ~ made, adapted, or suited for a particular purpose or person

 

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I am feeling very inspired by the story of my sister-in-law after speaking with her yesterday. Let me introduce her to you; her name is Lisa and she moved to Australia from the UK a few years ago. Since moving she has been embarking on an incredible journey of self discovery and of creating a new career in Australia for herself and for her family. My conversation with her has really lifted me and reminded me of the importance of not just following dreams but of making them true to who you are.

 

I believe wholeheartedly that we should all strive to achieve our dreams and live our lives how we want to rather than follow what society expects we should or ought to do. But what is even more important is that we follow the path that is right for who we are as individuals, for each dream is no doubt as unique as you or I. We shouldn’t all try and conform and do what we see is available or possible based on what others have already done when they followed their dreams. Be more creative than that! I think it is better to be building our own reality based on our own set of gifts, talents, needs and desires. A tailor-made life for each and every one of us and it doesn’t matter what it is you choose to do. All that counts is that is brings you a feeling of peace and contentment, a sense of being true to who you are.

 

Let me come back to my sister-in-law for a moment to explain this more clearly. Lisa is in the process of retraining as a hypnotherapist, which is pretty cool in itself. I am a huge advocate for alternative therapies and will highly recommend Lisa in the years to come because I know she will be fantastic. Anyway, when she told me of her new career I imagined the hypnotherapists I have seen in the past with their lovely quiet treatment rooms, their row upon row of fascinating books and their soothing voices. Voices that heal. I imagined a stereotypical therapist and then I heard her story. Lisa’s plan is not just to be a hypnotherapist but to also incorporate her other talents and loves into her business. Lisa paints beautiful pictures and, as a mother of two, is very interested in the healing power of alternative therapies during pregnancy and birth. She has a strong connection with dolphins, longs to own an art studio, practices yoga and meditation and is also a very talented writer (and yes Lisa is also an awesome wife and generally great person. We all love her). Check out some of Lisa’s writing at her blog Deep Field. Whilst Lisa isn’t writing her blog at the moment her existing posts are well worth a read and maybe this will give her the nudge to get back into it….hey Lisa what about Deep Field as a name for your blossoming business??

 

I felt sheer admiration when I heard how Lisa is going to bring all of those aspects of who she is and her passions into her future business. I could hear the excitement in her voice. And guess what? Lisa isn’t superwoman and she doesn’t know how to run her own business but she is doing it anyway. Lisa hasn’t started off thinking…

 

 

How should I behave as a hypnotherapist? What stereotypes and expectations should I adhere to?

 or

How do I earn lots of money doing this?

 

My amazing sister-in-law has come from the viewpoint of…..

 

What do I absolutely love to do?

 And

How can I combine all of those passions and interests into my daily life and my business?

In short, she is putting her talents and desires first and working on it from there. Not once did I hear the words shouldn’t, can’t or failure. All I heard was someone who has spent time discovering who she is and what she wants to do. And now she is doing it. Failure isn’t an option, money isn’t the driver. Passion and self belief are the words of the day.

 

The business that Lisa is creating is very specific, unique to whom she is and that alone has made me pay attention. As I look towards the next five years I have various ideas of the business I wish to create but I find myself limiting my mind to what I have seen done already and what I believe is financially possible. By doing that I am already clipping my wings and feeling a loss of dreaming big and free. So today I am taking this reminder to heart that I need to be focusing more on what is right for me, not what is right for everyone else. I am going to open my mind to infinite possibility over the next few years and get creative. I am planning to be spending the next five years working on yachts and traveling the world and I will use that time wisely to also consider who I am and what I want to do when I put my roots down on firm land. It is my time to imagine the finer points of what I want to do without any fear of not being able to make it happen and it is my time to then get creative with it. So far I can tell you this:

 

1. My life will involve being a writer and it will involve helping others. I will write book upon book and publish them all in the hope that somebody will pick them up and it will brighten their day, inspire them to keep going or simply make them laugh out loud.

 

Watch this space for my first book…No Damage. It is already 40,000 words in the making and I can’t wait to share extracts of it with you when it is a little nearer completion and ready to be seen. But then maybe it’s already time for me to be brave and showcase some of my words on here with you?

 

2. My home will have sunshine and the ocean on my doorstep, there will be two much-loved dogs at my feet and I will be creative. My life will reflect who I am and my work will contain art, baking and so much more. Did I mention my love of painting marine life and seaside life on scraps of wood and other natural materials?

 

Check them out here at KatFish Creations. Maybe you’d like to purchase a painting or commission a coffee table piece? Or maybe you’d just like to look and dream of summer and the beauty of the oceans. Enjoy!

 

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This post is my commitment to creating a life that includes those aspects of me and more in the years to come. I start walking that journey today.

 

Are you on the cusp of following a dream, maybe a passion, or perhaps you are thinking of changing your life? Are you holding back for fear of failure? Whatever it is you are dreaming of I urge you to make a commitment and get started today. Here is to being unique and to creating a tailor-made life.

 

Check out Alan Watts awesome motivational speech – What if Money Were No Object? Absolutely everybody should listen to this at least once in their lifetime. We need more happy people and I believe this is the way to create them.

 

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Related Articles that inspired and lifted me today

–          Gazillian Zinnias

–          29 Life Lessons

–          How to Manifest Everything you Want

–          What is your Bliss?

 

I love the sunrise, she makes me smile

This month I am developing a fascination with the sunrise. This beautiful melting pot of colour happens every single day and most of us rarely bother to get out of bed to see it. My work upon the ocean means I am required to be up at 5.15am every single day (no that doesn’t get any easier over time) and one of the upsides of this is that I see the sunrise almost every day of the week.

 

I can’t help but notice how the sunrise is entirely different each day; sometimes she is merely a gentle wash of pale gold across a cloudless sky and turns the surrounding land where I live a beautiful warm orange. I love to watch the windows of houses reflecting the golden hues of the morning as we head out to sea and leave the sleeping people of the coastal town behind. I doubt they realise what they are missing as they run carefree in their dreams.

 

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On other days the sunrise is pretty in pink and dusts the low mountain clouds with a hint of colour to remind us that the day is just beginning. She silhouettes the boats in the harbour perfectly for photographs and on occasion turns the lighthouse into a perfect work of art.

 

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But it is the days that the sunrise is a riot of colour that I adore most of all. On those overcast days with puffy grey clouds she is like a child on too many E numbers – wildly creative and running amok. It is on those days that she leaves me speechless with a fire of reds, pinks and oranges that spreads across the sky. An ever changing picture that in the blink of an eye is slightly different.

 

 

 

I am incredibly lucky that I get to see these sights each day and to think that with a little effort, most of us could see the sunrise more often than we do. The sunrise is free, it happens every single day. Get out there and see it happen, feel the magic of it. I cannot help but feel warmed in body and soul when I see this beauty around me. I love the sunrise, she makes me smile and reminds me just how precious this life is.

 

“The morning always has a way of creeping up on me and peeking in my bedroom windows. The sunrise is such a pervert.”
Jarod Kintz

 

 

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