The Ideal Life

In the spirit of the themes of my recent posts, after seeing an article about how fake our ‘online lives’ are, it made me think about all the many times I was too busy trying to record an event rather than experience it in the moment. I mean, it’s great to be able to watch the videos and see the pictures afterwards, but when we are only seeing things through a screen, we are not fully present in the moment.

The life we present to the world is also often very different to the life we are living. The smiles, the blue skies, the gourmet meals – we present the snippets of our lives that seem idyllic, that make people envious, that make us appear to have the perfect existence, when in reality, that gorgeous selfie took 20 takes to look good, and that meal didn’t actually taste that great, but it looked good, and the next day, that sky turned grey, the rain lashed down and the wind was howling.

I don’t think there’s anything wrong with presenting your best side to the world, as long as you don’t miss things because you’re too busy trying to record them for others. I’ve certainly been more aware recently, that instead of reaching for my phone to take a photo, I should just enjoy and experience the moment, and whatever it presents. After all, what matters most is that I was present with the people in that moment and enjoyed it fully, not that I have a cool photo and something to talk about afterwards on Facebook. It is difficult to strike a balance with this, especially seeing as I write a blog, and it’s well-known that in order to make something interesting, we need an image or a video to go in the blog post in order to catch people’s attention.

The other day, a baby deer wandered into the garden, calling out for his mum. At first I went out just to see, but then went and got my camera, because I was in the middle of writing my deer-themed newsletter and wanted a photo. But instead, I got the cutest video of him! But the whole time, I wasn’t looking at my phone, I was looking at the deer, and experiencing the moment (hence the dodgy framing and shaking) and it really was the sweetest moment.

How do you feel about your online life? Does it reflect your reality? Would love to hear from you!

Get Busy Living

In a follow-up to my post on Talking of Lack, I thought I’d write a little about realisations that have been formulating as a result of that post, and as a result of chatting to my friend and sorting through my stuff.

In my post before, I said how it seemed that we generally only speak of that which we lack, or the negative things that we have. And that we cannot create the life we want, by speaking of what we don’t have. Even affirmations can push away our desires, as continuously affirming – I am abundant – clearly comes from a place of lack. Because people who genuinely are abundant, do not feel the need to state it out loud.

It occurred to me today, that when things are going really well in my life, I literally don’t have the time nor the desire to really discuss it. I’m just too busy living it. It’s really only when things aren’t going so well that there is need to discuss things, to write things down, to think about things. I wrote in another post back in April, that I used to write diaries, but only ever really wrote when I was unhappy, which meant that I had recorded all the bad times, and was too busy having fun to record the good times. I said I wanted to change that, and to record more of the good times, but do you know what? I think it’s more important to be fully in the present moment, experiencing the good times, than to divert your attention onto recording them.

How do you know when life is good? When you’re too busy living it and enjoying it to talk about it or write about it. A couple of years ago, I created a ‘happy memory jar’, which I planned to fill with memories written down on pretty pieces of paper. For the first six months of that year, I was separated from my Flame, and though I was very busy doing things, seeing new things and meeting new people, I wasn’t completely happy, as so any happy moment was recorded and put in the jar. I did have some genuinely happy times, but the point is, there were plenty of moments surrounding those happy times where I was a little down, and to lift myself, I would write down the happy times.

By the middle of the year, I was back with my Flame and was putting fewer bits of paper in the jar. That Christmas, I emptied the jar and read all of the memories, and then I decided to re-use the jar for the following year. Because I was happy, and I was busy living, I didn’t put any slips of paper in that jar. I berated myself when I realised that I had been forgetting to write things down and add it to the jar, but I realise now how silly that is. That in fact, by not having time to write a diary, or to write down memories, it meant I was truly content and happy.

So truly, I believe that instead of thinking or talking about doing something, we should just do it. Instead of affirming that we are something, we should just be it.

So many times, I have stated what I am going to be, or what I’m going to do, and often, those things didn’t happen. Instead of stating or affirming these things, I should just get on with it. Because if I was getting on with it, I wouldn’t have the time to discuss it!

If this blog post has made any sense to you at all, and anything has resonated with you, please do comment below! If not, I hope that my mad ramblings have at least convinced you that you are quite sane and sensible, unlike me :)

Why does it take so long to let go?

Why does it take so long to let go?

What My Characters Have Taught Me – Aria

Aria is without a doubt, my favourite character. When I first read through The Earth Angel Training Academy, having written it in just over two months, I couldn’t help but giggle at Aria’s fantastic lines. Her cheeky, slightly naughty, infallibly honest nature shines out and I love writing anything with her in it!

One of the primary things I have learnt from Aria is to have fun. To not take anything too seriously. She hated the fact that humans seem to be so boring and serious, and did everything possible to have as much fun as she could. She chose not to go to Earth in the first book, because she couldn’t bear the idea of losing her wings and becoming a heavy human, and I have to say – I’m with her on that one!

Another thing I learnt from Aria, is that honesty really is the best policy. She always says what she thinks, and is always open with her opinion. She hates to hurt anyone’s feelings, but cannot help but tell the truth, and because she is coming from a place of innocence, it’s difficult for anyone to be annoyed with her. One of my readers said that Aria irritated her in the beginning, but then she completely fell in love with her, which is generally how it goes with Faeries!

But the best thing I learnt from Aria is that as long as there’s chocolate, then everything will be just fine!

Aria

Talking of Lack

I am an avid reader of self-development books, of spiritual books, of positive thinking-hug a tree-be a unicorn type books. I love them. But a little revelation that has occurred to me numerous times over the years, which I tend to forget about and then rediscover, (and in fact, even mention in my book – The Elphite) is that for some reason, in general conversation, we mainly only talk about the things we lack, or complain about the bad things we have.

We learn that in order to manifest what we wish to have, experience or be, we need to affirm in a positive way that we have whatever it is we are lacking. And so we keep writing down, or affirming out loud – I am abundant! I am my perfect weight! I have a beautiful home! I am madly in love with my soulmate!

Yet often, these things don’t come to pass. Or they do, but long after we have stopped affirming them, and when we have forgotten our requests.

So why is this? When struggling with finances, I found that I talked about money a lot, in conversations with friends etc, and even though I was being positive about money quite often, it was a front, because I was still struggling. I did ‘abundance’ courses, read books, sought out new affirmations etc, but somewhere along the line something occurred to me – all of my focus on money was coming from a place of lack. And that genuinely wealthy and abundant people rarely speak of money – they are focused on their passions, on what they love in life. And if they do speak of money, they are not coming from a place of lack, but from a genuine place of abundance.

So how do you get to that space of genuine abundance when you’re lacking what you need or desire?

I’m finding that only talking about the areas of my life where I genuinely feel abundant is a good place to begin. Because then I am not speaking and feeling from a place of lack. And to relax, go with the flow.

10317545_660240414056794_7075465084839450578_oI try to avoid small talk too. I feel that small talk keeps us small, because it make us connect to others through our complaining, griping and moaning. We share our stories of illnesses, woes and grief, because we know that others will relate to what we say.

It seems we don’t want to appear to be too happy, only speaking of what we love, in fear of looking to be better than/superior to/looking down on anyone else. (I’m talking from a British perspective here, things may be quite different in other parts of the world, I hope they are!)

But I feel that it’s only when we move beyond small talk that we can all grow and evolve and expand our thinking. Often, I will quite quickly get into a conversation about other worlds, angels, the afterlife and parallel universes, with complete strangers I’ve met minutes before, because it’s almost like we sense we can talk of these things, and neither will get ‘weirded out’. When I sense it’s not possible to bring up such subjects, I find myself lapsing into silence, in the hopes of not finding things to complain about in order to connect. But I do find it difficult!

Do you have any tried and tested ways to operate from that place of abundance? I would love to hear them if you have!

Vivid Dreaming

I’m no stranger to vivid dreams. I have woken up deafened from the noise of the tornado that’s just gone past me, woken up breathing heavily in fear of being chased or attacked. I’ve often had prophetic dreams too. Sometimes I have foreseen things in a literal way, other times, in a metaphorical way.

But what happened last week really did spook me a little bit!

I woke up on Thursday morning, and found that I was crying, because I had just been sobbing in my dream. In the dream, I had rescued a wolf from a river, as it had choked on the water and started to drown. I had pulled it out and rescued it, then I picked it up and cradled it in my arms like a child. Then I took it home but found that it kept wanting to eat things it could choke on, and by the end of the dream, it had in fact choked to death, which is why I woke up crying.

Now, if you’re into dream interpretation, then please, by all means, let me know what you think any of that meant!

So later on Thursday, I headed to the Brighton Film Networking meeting, and got chatting to Lorenzo Fantini, and artist and founder of Screen Rebels in London. For some reason we were talking about dreams, and I described my dream to him. He then showed me some photos of his artwork, and one of the images was so eerily like my dream, that it quite honestly freaked me out a little. The only difference was the creature was a fox, not a wolf, but he has very kindly let me share the image with you. Here it is:

fox. lorenzo

 

Then on Saturday morning, I had a dream where a lion was watching me, and when I picked out a random tarot card later in the day, it had a lion on the card, sitting on the side, just observing the scene.

I’m just praying that the red and blue, whale-sized baboon fish don’t turn up when I go to the beach tomorrow…

What My Characters Have Taught Me – Evelyn

This idea popped into my head, so I decided to go with it. This is the first post in a series about what I have learnt from my own characters. I have always held to the fact that when I write, I don’t ‘make-up’ my characters, they arrive, as fully formed people, and simply go about their business while I write down what’s going on. Because of this, they often do or say things that catch me a little by surprise, and that actually teach me something. I sometimes pick up my books and flick through, reading the odd sentence here and there, and quite often I am surprised by the little gems of wisdom that I find.

I’m featuring Evelyn in this first post, the lovely lady who we meet in PAM’s Tearooms at the very beginning of The Doorway to PAM. There is an exchange that occurs between her and the main character, Natalie, that I refer to quite often when I chat to people who are frustrated because they so very much want to help people, but find themselves hitting their heads against brick walls because their advice or help is going unheeded. The scene is at the end of Chapter One, and Natalie and Evelyn are sat on a bench in the park. Here’s the part that I love:

Evelyn chuckled. “We are all capable of so much more than we realise, my dear. The only limitations in our lives are self-imposed. Anything is possible.”  She let Natalie take this in for a moment, then she turned to look at her, her gaze serious. “All you have to do is believe that you can do anything, anything at all, and it is so. Now, the question is, do you want the job of helping others to realise this too?”

Natalie was quiet for a while. “That seems like an impossible task though. How on earth do I help everyone find their purpose? Help them to realise their own possibility?”

Evelyn shrugged. “The same way I do, my dear. You wait for them to come to you. You see, it’s no good going out there and trying to help people who don’t ask for it. They won’t listen. Even if you can see they are struggling, even if you know what would help them, what would be best for them, they won’t listen until they’re ready. When they’re ready, they will come and find you.” She smiled. “Just like you came to find me.”

The part that I have highlighted above, is that part that really struck me. As someone who loves to help people, I find it frustrating when I can see where I could make a difference, but the person concerned won’t listen or heed my advice. And as Evelyn says, it’s no good going out and helping people who aren’t ready. You have to wait for them to come to you. Which does require patience, and which does require a great deal of strength too, because it’s not easy watching other suffer, but ultimately, if you wait until someone is ready and open to your help, you will ultimately make a much bigger difference in the long run, and you will also save yourself a lot of wasted energy and effort. 

The second most important lesson I learned from Evelyn is the following:

“Listen to your own heart. In all honesty, there is no question I can answer better than your own heart can. Everything you need to know, you already know. You just need to find that stillness within you to be able to hear it.”

As a seeker on a spiritual path, it’s often too easy to keep searching outside of myself, from other people and in books and movies, for answers to my questions, when in reality, all I need to do is go within and get quiet enough to hear the truth, the answer that lies within me already.

If you have read The Doorway to PAM, what did you take away from it? What part or character stood out the most to you? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

The Doorway to PAM

Going Old-School

As a writer who relies heavily on technology to write and publish books, I am a massive fan of all the advances in technology that we’ve seen over the last twenty years. I write my books on my iPad, edit and format them on my laptop, publish them on Createspace and Kindle, and then market them on Facebook and Twitter. Every step of my process relies on technology. None of it can be done without gadgets and electricity.

But despite all of these things making my craft much quicker and easier to do, there is something quite magical about creating something using old-school methods. I used to love my old typewriter, and would happily do my school work on it, taking care not to make too many mistakes, otherwise it would be covered in tip-ex, or I’d have to begin again. And I used to love sitting on the beach, or with a torch under my covers, scribbling in notebooks with a pencil. I absolutely love stationery, pens and pencils and notebooks – I have so many, yet most of the notebooks lie empty, unused.

I do treasure the pieces of writing that I have written with pen, and one of my favourite writing moments was when I was living in New York, and was sat in a diner with a friend who kept saying the most hilarious things. Not having any paper to hand, I grabbed a napkin and penned one of my favourite poems, titled – Musings over Milkshake. I still have the napkin, seven years later! I found it the other day:

wpid-20150524_182804-1.jpg

To read the poem in its entirety, click here.

Who knows, I may even go completely old-school and write a whole novel on the typewriter, or even a pack of 200 napkins – now that would be an interesting challenge!

 

The War of Art

Image from Amazon

Image from Amazon

Having come across the title of this book a few times, I decided to pick up a copy on Kindle and have a read, and I have to admit, I am halfway through reading it again, after having stayed up most of the night the first time I read it.

To begin with, the super-short sections and simplicity and brevity of the passages put me off – after all how could such simple paragraphs really be very effective? But when relaying some of the messages to my mum, the deeper messages started to sink in and I had some pretty big insights into my own ways of working, and into my own life and mindset.

The first part of the book is all about Resistance. About what it looks like, what it feels like, and how it stops us from achieving our true potential. Much of the ideas I had seen before, but compiled in this way, made me realise that truly, resistance is the only things that holds us back – it just has many guises. I love the fact that the author is honest about that fact that there is no way to permanently get rid of resistance, but all we can do is to keep going, and not let it win.

The second part of the book is all about the differences between the professional and the amateur. Of course I have read all of the usual comments on professional writers or successful writers being those who write every day, who have a routine, who treat it like a job, etc, and of course, being the creative, sometimes lazy person that I am, I have always ignored such advice. But the way it is presented in the War of Art, made much more sense to me, and changed my perspective entirely. He says that the professional (by which he means someone who makes a living from what they do)  treats their art, their vocation as though it were their job, in that they show up every day, they put in the hours and they don’t over-identify with what they create. I realised then, that when I have a normal job, I of course turn up on time, do my hours and I don’t take it personally when things I do are criticised. So why can I not apply those same abilities in myself to my writing?

I had a lightbulb moment then. I realised that I was programmed to take my work more seriously when I was being paid by the hour, than when I was creating my books. So instead of fighting that, instead of trying to reprogram myself and get rid of my conditioning, I figured – why not just pay myself to write? And not only that, but why not create a contract with myself, outlining the projects I want to do, the amount of hours I need to write per week and how much I will pay myself? Seems a little bit like the kind of playing I used to do as a kid, when I had my own shop or library, and used to stamp the books my friends borrowed, but I think that doing this, even if it is a little bit like playing, will change the way I view my writing completely.

The last part of the book is about the mystical side of creation. About our genius, our muse. It reminded me very much of my favourite TED talk by Elizabeth Gilbert which I mentioned in my post of favourite TED talks. I do very much believe that when we create, we are plugged into a source of inspiration outside of ourselves, and I feel very honoured to be able to plug into that source on a regular basis.

Overall, I would recommend this book because I got some amazing insights into my own ways through reading it, and not to be put off by the simplicity of it – it really does have genius within those simple words.

Beginner’s Luck

As a follow-up to my previous post on self-development seminars reminding me of casinos, I wanted to look at the idea from a slightly different perspective.

My first post looked mainly at the angle that perhaps the organisers and hosts of some of the events, did not have the best of intentions when it came to the participants. That they were unscrupulously making money from people who were in a vulnerable stage in their lives, looking for their purpose.

In this post, I want to look at the intentions and point of view of the participants, and perhaps how they may be searching for the magic ‘key’ and how that may not be very realistic. After all, the seminars and workshops wouldn’t exist if there weren’t scores of people looking for the magic formula to make their lives amazing.

I feel that quite often, beginner’s luck comes into play, when someone goes to a seminar for the first time ever (or indeed buys a lotto ticket or visits a casino for the first time) and they go through a transformation that changes their life for the better. Suddenly, they’re telling everyone they know, and they start attending more and more seminars, hoping to improve their lives even further. But then things plateau out. The changes become less dramatic, and the person then starts spending more, upgrading to the more advanced packages and seeks out the next big win desperately, unaware that they are gambling away more than they can afford.

playing cards 2

Image from Shutterstock

The thing is, that first bit of luck may have happened in order to encourage the person to improve their lives, but as with anything, no one can expect to make big changes and improvements without actually doing some hard work.

Yes, that’s right – the magic key really is just hard work. As well as passion, perseverance and determination. Of course there will still be the jackpot winners who appear to magically manifest all they desire with very little effort, but I bet if you were to delve deeper you would find that they too, struggled before that win.

As they say, all over-night successes have been ten years in the making. So if you find yourself voraciously attending seminars and workshops, and yet your life is not working out the way you would like, please do ask yourself why you are doing it, what you are looking for. You may find you already have all the information you need, all the support you need, and really all there is left to do, is put in the hard work.

I would love to hear your thoughts on this, please do comment if anything I’ve said has struck a chord with you.

A Self-Development Gamble

I love self-development. I love the idea of people caring enough about themselves and their lives to read books, watch DVDs and attend seminars with the idea of finding their true purpose in this lifetime and becoming the best version of themselves that they can be.

What I’m not so keen on, is people who have realised that this upward trend could make them a lot of money. I haven’t attended lots of seminars, but I have been to a few, and it’s easy to tell which ones are hosted by people who genuinely wish to help you, and which ones are simply trying to make money out of you.

It occurred to me the other day, that there is a similarity between the latter types of workshops and seminars, and casinos. People go to casinos hoping to improve their lives by winning lots of money. They go in with a certain amount they want to spend, but then they get seduced by the promises of a bigger and bigger bounty, and so they start to spend more than they planned, thinking that the rewards will be bigger still. But despite the few jackpot winners – the success stories whose testimonials sold the course to the rest of the punters in the first place – most will leave either in the same place they were when they went in, or much, much worse off.

The worst part of it all, I feel, with a lot of seminars, is that they actually use NLP and hypnosis techniques and tricks to not only get you to part with more money than you planned to, but to also make you feel amazing for having ‘invested’ so much in yourself, whereas the ones who don’t ‘invest’ are made to feel like worthless losers who don’t care enough about themselves and loved ones.

Sound harsh? Maybe, but I have been to seminars where this is their exact wording. There are even apparently some workshops that take it a step further and put their participants into a trance in order to plant the suggestions that they need to upgrade to the next package. Much like the way that the bright lights, scantily clad women and clever advertising in casinos hypnotises the players to keep spending, and keep upping their stakes.

playing cards

Image from Shutterstock

Ultimately, the casino owners and the ones who hold the seminars and workshops – are the only ones who are guaranteed to make money. For those participating, it is literally a gamble, and it may well pay off, or you may find that you will have to return to the job that you hate and are desperate to leave, in order to pay off the debts created by promises of something better.

My advice? Go to the seminars, but be wary of being ‘upsold’ to. Leave your credit cards at home, and don’t make quick decisions about thousands of pounds, that will take months to repay. There may well be things you need to learn and hear from the hosts or organisers, but if they are pitching ‘special offers’ that run out at the end of the course, think before you commit – they are just trying to create a feeling of scarcity, to make you think that you will miss out if you don’t act quickly.

But ask yourself this – do you want to take a course from, or learn from, or work with, someone who operates from a place of scarcity? Of not enough? I know I don’t. I want to work with people who believe there is an abundance of everything for everyone. And who can help me to believe that too.

What are your thoughts?