Best Present Ever!

I turned 44 this year. It was pretty uneventful, but I received the most brilliant present EVER.

My eldest daughter Catherine loves art and creating lovely things. This year she made me a jar with “44 things that make you awesome!” in it. It came with instructions – “add more as you carry on being awesome” and a caution: “you may need to get a bigger jar.” I thought it was just fabulous and a perfect inspiration for a series of blog posts.

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And here’s a picture of me with my lovely kids and gorgeous man. It was a great birthday.

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So watch out for some more blog posts, inspired by the wonderful thoughts in this precious jar…

 

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It’s been a while..

It feels like coming home. There’s a bit of dust everywhere, but the sunshine streaming through the windows looks so beautiful. I’m not sure whether I need to redecorate this space, first I’ll give it a dust and a vacuum, light some incense and give it time…

2013 has been an amazing year, so many ups and downs. It started off pretty badly when I managed to piss off my dad and we haven’t communicated all year. I still feel sad about that but at the right time it will get better. I’ve been horribly short of money, then money came in time for the summer holidays. I passed the baton of Area Governor to an energetic and caring woman and was voted Division Governor in May. I’ve spent a lot of the year travelling around the division, meeting the amazing toastmasters that make this division so successful. I confess this space has been neglected in favour of my Division blog.

I have educated myself this year. I did a Reiki 2 course with the Reiki Academy London, not to become a reiki practioner (although I can now) but to go deeper into the philosophy of reiki. I have found the Five Principles to be a really helpful centering tool, a way to calm my mind and not be overwhelmed by the stresses and difficulties that arise. I’ve also been able to use what I’ve learned to help a student of mine, and that alone was worth the time.

I’ve also completed a Discovery course at the Goddess Temple in Glastonbury. I’ve learned a lot about Goddess and I’m now on a beautiful journey. I trust my intuition a lot more now and I’m enjoying doing things that feel right and leaving things that don’t. The main challenge for me is putting my focus on what I want, the things that make me happy and the wonderful things there are in the world. I have spent a lifetime freaking about all the bad stuff and the hard stuff and it just doesn’t get me anywhere.

I have been a member of the Amazing Biz & Life Academy for three years but it’s only now I’m starting to dig into the richness of information and support that’s available in that amazing circle. I have started meditating twice daily and already finding it’s making a huge difference to my outlook and state of mind. I have decided I’m serious about wanting a successful business so I’m getting educated about business. I am reading a couple of business books recommended by Leonie Dawson and another book I bought for the title – The Wealthy Woman – Because a Man is NOT a Financial Plan. I realised with a jolt that I was waiting for a man to look after me in the financial sense and I’m not going to get it. Well, I might, and to be fair my ex is so wonderful and generous, but I need to be doing something for myself. It’s really hard, mainly because I am changing my attitude to myself and my ability to succeed.

2013 has been a year of considerable change. 2014 is going to be even more amazing and I will be using this space to chart what I’m doing and to share my progress. I am an affiliate for the Biz & Life Academy, so I’m going to share about how the Academy is helping me and share links to the workshops and meditations that I’m using and that make a difference to me. If you decide you’d like to buy something, you’d be really helping me out if you purchase via my links.

Right, I’m off to the loft now, I’m going to fill my car with junk that’s going to the tip.

Bright blessings, everyone!

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Today

TodayA sister goddess shared a photo on Facebook today. A mundane thing, we do it all the time without a thought. I’ve seen probably hundreds of such photos, briefly thought about how great they were then promptly forgot about them. This one was different. This is the picture I have been searching for these past five months since I last posted. This is the one that landed between my eyes and smothered my heart.

I’ve felt for some time that I needed to start a daily meditation practice and today was my first day. Today I spent five minutes asking the question: what does my soul need me to know? Only five minutes, because the answer was short and sweet: you can choose your thoughts.

Then I saw the picture above, I copied it down onto a sheet of paper, stuck it onto my wall and meditated. I’ve literally just finished and I wanted to share my meditation with you.

I lit some of my favourite incence, selected a couple of green crystals to stimulate my heart chakra, stuck them in my bra (cold!), sat cross-legged on my bed and closed my eyes. I concentrated on my breathing, in and out for the slow count of eight. Then I focussed on my heart chakra. I imagined it glowing gently like an ember, but green, like the kryptonite in Superman. I imagined the glow got bigger until it covered my whole body and settled like a blanket around me.

Suddenly, I was in a grove of ferns. It was cool and dim, but felt safe and comfortable. I turned and saw a door in the trees. It was a very heavy wooden door with large iron straps across it and a big, heavy ring you turn to lift the latch. This door was really solid. I reached out and my hands were my five-year-old hands. I gripped the ring and tried to pull the door closed. It took a lot of effort, my hands were little and I had to put my whole body weight into it, but eventually the door started to swing to. This was the door to my past. As it moved I reminded myself that I could open it again any time I wanted to, the door wasn’t locked. When the door finally closed, the sound reverberated through the fern grove and I jiggled the ring a bit to make sure it was properly closed.

Then I turned and saw a clear glass sliding door. Through it I could see a beach, the home I want to live in, the work I want to be doing, the relationships I want to have. No specifics, just a knowing that that’s what I was looking at. I reached out towards the door. This time the hand was my adult hand and the door slid to one side with ease. I took a deep breath and stepped through. I felt the sunshine on my face and took a few more deep breaths, taking a moment to absorb the feeling. I opened my eyes and smiled.

I want to remember this. I want to do that meditation every day. Thank you for reading. I appreciate you sharing this with me.

Love and light xx

PS: This is a link to the wonderful woman who share the picture, thanks Maryann!🙂

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Reflections

2012-11-07 20.56.19Being December the 31st it’s time for reflections on the year that’s been, time to clear out the old and make room for the new.

I set myself some goals at the start of the year with very mixed feelings and I am very pleased to find myself feeling quite proud of what I’ve achieved this year. I attended a Leadership event this year and while chatting to a recruitment consultant there I learned something I have really taken to heart. She said that if you give a man a list of attributes required for a job, he will look at what he can do and decide he can fudge through the points he doesn’t yet have. A woman will look at the list and disqualify herself from the job if she feels she lacks one or two attributes, irrespective of the fact she has the vast majority of the skills needed to do the job. I resolved then to try much harder to focus on what skills I have, what goals I have reached and to allow myself more kindness when I don’t quite make it.

So, here’s my review of my 2012 goals.

I will have paid public speaking engagements. – I have a Womens’ Institute speech booked in January. I will get a lunch and maybe a bottle of wine. Not quite a paid engagement, but you’ve got to start somewhere. WI engagements are notoriously hard to get. You’re supposed to have an audition in front of a panel and I didn’t have to do that at all. I’m so grateful!

I will acheive my Advanced Communicator Bronze and Advanced Leader Bronze awards in Toastmasters. – Done and done! I’ve just about completed my Advanced Leader Silver too!

I will set up an advanced speakers club in the Guildford area. – Working on it. I have found a venue, there are a number of other toastmasters who are interested. I will have this done by March or April 2013 I think.

I will develop my leadership skills. – Definitely done this! It’s been an awesome year as chairman of Guildford Harmony and I have loved the fun and challenges of my first 6 months as Area Governor of Area 14, Division H, District 71, Toastmasters International. The process is an ongoing one and I’m loving it.

Guildford Harmony will achieve an improved placing at the national competition in October. – We improved out score but our placing didn’t improve. As it turns out, the score is more important than the placing anyway. I am sooooo proud of my ladies!

I will lose 20kgs. – Fail. There’s always next year!

I will have 6 Smart Talkers groups running in Woking and a plan in place for expanding to Guildford and further afield in 2013. – Fail. It’s been so hard to overcome my fears this year and I’m still working on it. I feel more positive now than I did at the start of the year so hopefully 2013 will see Smart Talkers really take off.

I will visit my friend Josepha in Munich. – Fail.

I will go to Australia in November. – Fail.

I will feel in control of my finances. – Fail. Money is such a stress for me, I wonder if I will ever feel in control of it all..

I will appreciate more and be grateful for it all. – Mixed. I have definitely appreciated more, been grateful for more, but certainly not grateful for it all.

So that’s it for my goals for this year, quite a mixed bag! There are two other things I achieved this year which I am very proud of. I swam 5km for Marie Curie Cancer Care in April and I did a Reiki Level 1 course. Next year I would like to do the level 2 course and have a belly dancing lesson. This year I had a pole dancing lesson and I loved it, so maybe I will do more of that too. I have also discovered meditation and learned a little about many ancient Goddesses worshipped around the world. I have loved taking time to focus on a particular aspect of life each month in this blog. It’s made me think carefully about what matters, where I want to put my attention, what I want to invite into my life and what needs to be left behind. I know this is an ongoing process, not an instant thing, and I embrace that continuing journey in the New Year.2012-12-22 10.01.18

The thing I am most grateful for this year is the number of people who have liked, commented and followed my blog. I am humbled that you have taken the time to read my posts and awestruck that sometimes what I have written has made a difference, however small.

Happy New Year to you all, may Peace, Love and Light infuse every part of your life.

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Now that’s passion!

A lesson in how to deal with rejection while never letting go of the passion that drives you. Love it, Emilia!

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Divine Passion

This month’s card just makes me want to leap around my house with the joy and abandonment of a child. I feel compelled to shout about it, do a little dance, run around in happy circles yelling ‘squeeeeeeee!!!!’

Pele: divine passion.Image

This goddess is possibly my favourite. She is a Polynesian goddess who resonates with me because my grandfather was part Maori and I feel quite proud of that background. I plan to do some work with her in the New Year, read her story and make a picture or some sort of creative project with her. She has a very special message which is challenging, scary and so wonderfully exciting.

Be honest with yourself. What is your heart’s true desire?

The heart and the breath – two rhythms integral to our survival on the physical level, yet when do we ever take the time to listen to them? The incessant drumming of the heart, the fire that pumps the water that is our blood, the air that is our breath, sustaining our earthen bodies, connecting us all to the Great Mother Earth. We occupy ourselves with the busy-ness of daily life and move further away from the sustaining energy that is all around us, the rhythms of our bodies and our surroundings.

I’ve spent too long being asleep, ignoring my dreams and deepest longings to the point where I felt lost and unknown. Pele reminds me that my dreams are as much a part of me as the beating of my heart, the breath in my lungs, the family I adore, the blue skies and moonshine that delight me. I can no longer ignore them. It’s time to listen to my dreams, to allow them to activate the passion that is within me. That passion will propel me forward towards a wonderful future full of excitement and fulfilment.

This month I’m going to fully immerse myself in my blissful work. I’m giving myself permission to be fully engaged. I’m not going to be afraid to take actions that will manifest my dreams.

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Blossoming and Creativity

Blossoming was my card for October and it was certainly an interesting month. I have generally avoided talking to people about my journey, other than this blog of course and thanks to bad experiences in the past I have avoided counselling or coaching of any description.

Events conspired last month and now I am in a subtly different place, which I think is a good thing but it’s been a bit painful, as usual!

In June/July time I was talked into joining a women’s networking group called WIBN. I love it now, but I felt cajoled into joining. Networking seemed to me to be a nice jolly, have a meal, chat with some interesting people, but frankly there were better things I could be spending my money on. At my local group there’s a coach/therapist and one meeting I opened up about how I felt blocked in my business, how I struggle with the confidence that what I’m offering is actually worth something, that I’M worth something. The coach was offering a free hour-long session and I took her up on it. Now I’m getting some coaching and help re-writing my program, like Sue was talking about earlier in the month. The process has been a bit like putting a dislocated joint back into place. Necessary for the overall health of the body but bloody painful. I still catch myself doing a shitload of negative self-talk, but at least I recognise it now so I can do something about it.

November’s card is Sarasvati, all about expressing yourself through creative activities. I never thought of myself as particularly creative and said so at the beginning of the year when I pulled the card. Now I see my singing and speaking as very creative activities but I find I need to work on being creative in my business life too. As I write I’m printing the 2013 Create your Incredible Year Workbook and Planner (Life and Business editions) and I plan to be more focussed in writing and working through the plan as the year progresses. I’m considering blogging about my progress next year as a way of maintaining discipline.

One big thing I’m changing as of right now. I dare to dream. I’m going to write down what I want, no matter how insane, daring or unlikely it might seem right now. There are plenty of things that happen to plenty of people which, if they’d thought about the possibility, would have thought it could never happen. If crazy, wonderful shit can happen to other people, then surely it can happen to me.

Oh, and I’m going on a personal development workshop next weekend. Crazy but true. Should be fun!

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“If I’m doing it, it must be sacred.”

When Sue Kearney agreed to guest blog for me I was elated! I love her blog so much and I was so excited when her article hit my inbox.

And what a timely subject! I’ve found it really hard to write lately because I’ve been working on the wiring myself, working on that breakthrough… but I don’t want to spoil Sue’s post. Enjoy, and I hope you’re as inspired as I have been.

Love and light,
Vanessa

“If I’m doing it, it must be sacred.”

Gulp. Yes it’s a big statement. And it took (and continues to take) a lot of gumption and extraordinary self-love for me to wrap my head and heart around it.

On my long and bumpy journey to becoming the woman I would like to be, was meant to be, I have been stopped in my progress many times by self-judgment (just one of the snarling committee that lives in my head). Here are some of those unlovely thoughts I hear (and like they told me in Brooklyn, “When you’re alone with your own mind, you’re in a bad f****in’ neighborhood”):

  • Taking time out of work to take care of my health means I’m weak, I’ll never succeed, it’s too late.
  • It shouldn’t take this long, or be this difficult, to write my website sales pages.
  • What makes me think I can succeed, be heard and well received by my perfect tribe of women I know I am here to serve? I’m too old and my voice is too small.

To sum it up, an endless stream of variations on the theme of “I’m a Loser.”

Luckily, I have beautiful people in my life, willing and able to see—and reflect to me—the bigger, more loving, picture even when I can’t see it, when I don’t have a glimmer of the possibility. Here’s the powerful message I was offered by one of those loving mentors that gets put in our paths:

“If I’m doing it, it must be sacred.”

Progress has been made. I’ve gotten really good at bringin’ the sacred to a specific action or activity. I can focus my most loving and powerful intentions to be mindful and present for the next coaching session with a client, or the next yoga practice, my daily meditation practice. And I do these things pretty well.

But then, the coaching call ends, or the meditation ends, or I get up off the mat at the end of yoga class, and I somehow melt back into my default way of being. You see, it seems to be easier to bring my open loving heart to a defined practice, a defined block of time, than it is to bring it to my business development, or my health challenges.

An invitation to a breakthrough.

What if I applied the same sacred intention, regal commitment and loving surrender that I bring to my client calls, my yoga class, or to my meditation practice to every part of my life? What if I created an entirely different ease-ful structure for my life, one that included the challenges and hard stuff? Like writing sales pages for my website. Like beginning the decluttering process that I so desperately want to do. Like being consistent in my spiritual practice. What could possibly get in the way of that?

Well, not much, just everything. All those hardwired thoughts and reactions that, in my experience, never really go away. The only solution that works, for me, is to circumvent the old way of thinking, to replace it with different thoughts, words and actions that help me create new wiring in my head.

Singing is one way I can create a new way of thinking. Like singing a song that connects me to my heart, to spirit, to Goddess.

We all come from the Goddess,
and to Her we shall return,
like a drop of rain,
flowing to the ocean

or

Earth my body
Water my blood
Air my breath and
Fire my spirit

A few minutes singing these flips a switch inside me that allows me to bring the sacred into this moment, whether I’m sorting laundry, answering emails, writing a blog, taking a shower, or taking a walk.

“If I’m doing it, it must be sacred.”

So gorgeous, what do you do to bring the sacred to this moment? And the next? In your business, in your life, in the whole of your beautiful being. I’d love to hear from you in the comments.

Photo credits: The crafting hands and the water hands.
________________
Sue Kearney is Chief Inspiration Officer at Magnolias West, a coaching, branding and web design practice. She is a dancer, DJ, artist, gardener, cook, and a maker of kombucha, sauerkraut and herbal medicines. Sue is a student of astrology, tarot, and a practitioner and facilitator of women’s spirituality.

Sue coaches women in business who want to express their own heart’s mission and soul’s purpose in every area of their business. She offers a Self-Love Coaching program designed to help bring back the magic in all areas of life, as well as a Brand Refresher Review, where women in business can fully and beautifully unmask the brand that reflects the heart and soul of their business. Contact Sue at Magnolias West. You can also read her blog, and follow her on Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest.

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Redefining Abundance

This month’s Goddess Oracle card is Abundantia, prosperity. Now, I’ll be honest and confess when I drew this card at the beginning of the year, and looked at it in the context of all that went before and where I wanted to be, I thought YIPPEEE!!!! MONEY!!!!

Meh, not so much.

I have found embracing abundance to be a very difficult challenge. I’m a bit late writing this post because I’ve just recently come out of a very deep low (I suffer from depression), I mean it was really bad. All the usual crap about my life is pointless, the kids would be better off without me, I just wish I could stop, everything I do fails, I’m never going to succeed, the list goes on and on and on. It’s sad, really, because when I’m in a more normal frame of mind I know that although things are difficult, they will get better. Change is the only constant in the universe after all.

The main trigger for me getting into such a low is money. I constantly worry about it. Lately money has been very tight because I’ve had to pay for school uniform. I still haven’t bought all the uniform because I have to spread out the money and it’s a choice between uniform and eating. I hate that. My definition of wealth is having enough money to do what I want when I want to do it and that really isn’t where my life is at right now.

So you can see where the challenge of Abundantia comes in. I have to redefine what wealth and abundance means. I have to start measuring my wealth in other ways.

I was slapped out of my depression pretty hard by my music director. He organised a special rehearsal, just for me, because I was having some trouble cracking a few bits in the song we’re doing at convention. He lives about an hour from me, so an extra rehearsal is no small effort. He organised a bass, a lead (who had just been in hospital having tests, she was in discomfort but came along anyway) and a baritone who he just happened to see on the street (she is part of our chorus, she lives nearby and it was just pure luck she was around). We bashed notes and sorted out what I was doing with my vowels. He made a recording at the end to post onto the chorus website and I just cringed the whole way through it. I thought it sounded awful. I thought if we had another tenor I should leave the chorus because I’m so crap. I thought he’d wasted his time organising the rehearsal and I should just give up. I didn’t say any of this but when he sent us an email with the recording attached I emailed back *running away screaming*. He messaged back the following:

My lovely Guildford Harmony, with my genius slapping MD in the middle. The two ladies either side of him came to rehearsal, and the gorgeous redhead in the middle far right is the one who was in hospital. Love them all!

“Throw away your shit-tinted spectacles and get some rose variety ones – even just plain glass ones will let you see how good that recording is.”

Now that was a proper slap.

And it worked.

I suddenly realised how selfish and stupid I had been. I had been so rude in disregarding his opinion by being so critical. Our music director puts in a lot of hours into Guildford Harmony, a lot of time he doesn’t get paid for. By putting myself down I was telling him his opinion doesn’t matter and he’s wasting his time. I also basically said that my friend, in coming to the rehearsal straight from hospital, was silly too. What an insult! I would never mean to say such things to them but my treatment of myself said it instead.

I have started to realise where my true wealth lies. I am a member of two really wonderful clubs where I make a real difference. I make people feel great! I am learning to think differently about things, and I am working on forgiving myself when I go back to the old habits. I’ve got brilliant friends who know how I feel about them, and if they don’t I’m working on it (I wrote a guest blog here, so proud to have been asked and doubly proud that she actually likes it!). I’ve got a loving partner who would do anything for me. My business isn’t earning me anything yet, but I know it will because I’m passionate about it. I tutor some wonderful children and working with them doesn’t feel like work at all. There’s a whole lot more, but right now I’m most grateful for having such a great friend in my music director who knows how to properly bitch-slap me🙂

Posted in abundance, barbershop, self-confidence, thoughts | 8 Comments

Think before you write…

I received a letter the other day, from my dad who lives in Australia. We’ve had a rather troubled relationship for a long time and I’m sad to say it’s reached a new low. After receiving his letter I just wanted to write back telling him just how I felt, I wanted to post it on Facebook and Twitter and my blog, I wanted the whole world to know how I felt. The trouble was, it wasn’t pretty and it wasn’t kind. I had to stop and think about what I was planning to release into the world and I made a concious decision to only create good things, to the best of my ability. Writing about how I felt at that moment would do nothing but create harm and hurt. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve written down what I want to say, somewhere private and where it will never be seen, because I needed to get the hurt off my chest. Now I’m going to write the post that should be written, not the one I wanted to write when I was full of hurt and pain.

I love my dad. I have really happy memories. I remember sharing an apple with him on the beach, enjoying the tartness of the apple and the trace of his breath on it. I remember making his lunch when he was working nights, putting in a little note to say I loved him, like he did for me when I started my new school. I still have that note. He used to take me skiing and to the zoo. He cooked the most amazing food for my 17th birthday party, anything and everything I wanted was on the table that day. I remember him washing my hair in the shower and getting all wet. It’s impossible to wash your kid’s hair in the shower without getting saturated! He worked so hard on renovating the house, every weekend for I don’t know how long, years I guess. He sent me to Korowa so I could keep up my Japanese studies. He taught me how to make spaghetti bolognese, roast dinners and he loved my rock cakes. I thought he was the cleverest person ever.

And now I’m here, knowing with certainty that he matters but his opinion of me does not. I will no longer allow myself to be held back by anything. I have permission to be who I am, warts and all.

Posted in thoughts, Uncategorized | 5 Comments