Goodbye 2014! Hello 2015!

Happy New Year Everyone!

2014 was a weird year, both a long and a short one, a happy and a sad one. Just thought I would write a summary of the year, in order to acknowledge and release the old, to make way for the new that 2015 will bring. It’s a long post, so grab a cuppa!

I started the year with an amazing Harry Potter themed birthday party. I had mixed feelings about turning 30. Part of me was more than ready to say goodbye to my twenties, and another part of me was listing all of the things I had hoped to have done by this time but hadn’t. In truth, as I near my 31st birthday, I don’t really feel all that different, and when I tell people my age, it feels merely like a random number, than something that has any significance.

Also in January, I began my ‘Ask an Angel’ Oracle readings on my YouTube channel, inviting people to ask Aria, Amethyst or Velvet a question which I would then answer with their oracle cards. In 2014, I recorded twenty readings, and half of those were questions about Twin Flames, which is what inspired me to write more on the subject, as you can see from the many posts now on my blog.

My most popular blog post in January was my views on how to deal with criticism, after becoming the subject of derision in someone else’s blog.

In February, I embarked on the Man Brain Box Experiment, and though I only did it for a week, it did remind me that in fact, having a single focus make you far more productive than if you are to multi-task. I think it’s increasingly difficult, in this age of the internet and social media, to retain a single focus on anything, with so many demands for our attention (she says, surrounded by her phone, iPad and open tabs on her laptop) it can be difficult to shut out all the distractions and get on with something, and put everything you have into it. But I do think it’s worth it.

In March, I finally finished writing I’m Here, which I had started and stopped writing two Novembers previously and seemed to be stuck on. I was so happy to finally finish it, and when coming up with cover ideas, I had the inspiration to change the covers of three of my previous books, and bring them together into a collection. With the help of my awesome sister, I then set to work on getting the new covers of the Visionary Collection sorted out, and I released the whole collection, including the new book, in May. The paperbacks were delayed by technical issues, but finally came out by August.

In March I also had a few realisations on my plans, and on whose advice to listen to, and when to take it with a pinch of salt. I also discovered the wondrous joy of Scapple and had a go at using the Chronodex to organise my life.

In April I celebrated the 5 year anniversary of the birth of the first few words of the The Earth Angel Training Academy, and reviewed the journey with the book so far. I took part in the Wellness Symposium in Cirencester, I was nominated for the Versatile Blogger Award, and I revealed the new covers for the Visionary Collection for the first time.

In May I embarked on the I’m Here Book Tour, to celebrate the release of the new book, by giving away little cards all around the world, that contained a QR code allowing you to download a free PDF copy of the book. I had so much fun with this idea, and was really pleased with how it went. You can see the map of where the book was downloaded, and the link will remain active, so if you haven’t yet read I’m Here and would like to, please click here to download your free copy! If you have read it, and you enjoyed it, please do leave me a review on Amazon, I’d really appreciate it.

The tour continued with gusto throughout June, and in that month I teamed up with Sarah Vine, founder of the Earth Angel Sanctuary, to offer her members a free copy of The Earth Angel Training Academy, and I also wrote a letter to all Twin Flames, after seeing so many beautiful souls searching for answers on the subject.

In July, I attended the Healing Weekend, and had an amazing time, I recorded the first chapter of The Elphite as an audiobook, I recorded a video of some crazy deer in the garden, which went viral on YouTube (over 26k hits now!), I did a talk and sold books at the MBS Psychic Fayre in Newport, and I relaxed and went with the flow when things seemed to be going very wrong.

In August, the paperback editions of the Visionary Collection became available on Amazon, I was interviewed by Sarah Vine, and I embarked on a new adventure to the vibrant city of Brighton. I began to write more about Twin Flames, and at the very end of August, I started writing my latest book, The Twin Flame Reunion. I met one of my fans, Chip Jenkins, who is now one of my closest friends.

September was my quietest blogging month of 2014, due to my full time job, doing 50 hour weeks left me with little energy to write. I blogged about listening to your own intuition, and then at the end of the month, about knowing your own worth and not settling for less. The highlight of the month came in the form of a beautiful letter from a man who had decided that his life was worth living after reading The Earth Angel Training Academy.

In October, I took part in the Writer’s Blog Tour, I finished writing The Twin Flame Reunion and I started offering guidance sessions to fellow Earth Angels.

In November I released the cover for the Reunion, I blogged about the idea of changing our own fate, I started writing the next book in the Earth Angel series – The Twin Flame Retreat – and completed it in two weeks, and I released the Visionary Collection Kindle Boxset. 

Okay, one month left!

In December, I celebrated winning Nanowrimo, even though I didn’t join in until the 16th November, I released the Earth Angel Series Boxset on Kindle, I started my Adventure with Astrid, and I decided to spend my Christmas in London, taking part in the Basket Brigade and volunteering for Crisis for Christmas. I also packed up and left Brighton, and am currently figuring out my next move.

So to sum up – a pretty busy year, lots of changes, challenges, high and low points, and I feel like 2015 will be the year where everything comes together and begins to make more sense. Or at least, that’s the hope!

I can see now that I achieved quite a few things, and I feel that in 2014 I created some very important connections that will make 2015 far more spectacular.

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Happy New Year!

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How I Deal with Criticism

“In many ways the work of a critic is easy. We risk very little, yet enjoy a position over those who offer up their work and their selves to our judgement. We thrive on negative criticism, which is fun to write and to read. But the bitter truth we critics must face, is that in the grand scheme of things, the average piece of junk is probably more meaningful than our criticism designating it so. But there are times when a critic truly risks something, and that is in the discovery and defense of the new. The world is often unkind to new talent, new creations. The new needs friends.”

–  Anton Ego, Ratatouille 

This quote from Ratatouille really hit home today, as yesterday I found myself to be the subject of a blog post, where I was personally ridiculed for my ‘extreme’ positivity. The author of the blog said that I had nothing at my core, and that my Spirituality was based on pretty pictures with absurd quotes on them, and that I foolishly believed that the Universe would provide me with everything I needed. He had unfriended me on Facebook because my posts of positive affirmations were offending him. Had this been someone I barely knew, it would have hurt less, I presume. But this was someone I knew and had trusted, and had wished nothing but good for. I asked to be unsubscribed from his blog, lest I be subjected to more of his negative rants, and he took offence to that, after all, why shouldn’t he express his opinion?

By all means, express your opinion. But know that it says more about you, than the person you talk about. And should the subject of your rantings express their desire not to read rubbish written about them, then you should respect that.

So what should we do, those of us who put our work, and ourselves out there in the world, when someone takes it upon themselves to tear us apart? A few months ago, I came across the story of an author who had listed her book, pre-publication, on Goodreads. For no known reason, several members took it upon themselves to write terrible reviews of her books, and very nasty things about her, which I will not repeat here. In response to this, she decided not to publish the book, and withdrew from the Goodreads community altogether. Because of that senseless trolling, the world will never see her words, read her masterpieces. Was her choice the right one? Only she will know that. I hope that one day she may be brave enough to bare her soul again.

Some might say that artists and writers need to toughen up, that criticism is necessary, and that we should just learn to deal with it. But why should we? Isn’t it our sensitivity that makes our words and images great? We dare to be vulnerable so that the critic doesn’t have to. And is criticism actually necessary? We do it because it is the norm, but I don’t believe it is for the good of anyone. I love the quote that Brene Brown uses often, that inspired her book – Daring Greatly. It was in a speech that Theodore Roosevelt gave:

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat. “

We artists and writers are in the arena daily, and we are continually picking ourselves up and dusting ourselves off after being ridiculed or slighted for our work. But we mustn’t allow the critic or the pessimist stop us from being vulnerable and open. We are not weak when we are vulnerable, we are strong. Because we are not afraid to be who we truly are, no matter what anyone else might say or do to us.

Be yourself, everyone else is far too boring!

My advice to those who are finding themselves the subject of derision or negative criticism – is to smile, and know that as Neale Donald Walsch says – ‘No one does anything inappropriate, given their model of the world.’ The critic’s view of the world may be dark and depressing, but yours need not be. Don’t take their words to heart, because for every critic, there will be many people who love you, and love your work.

So finally, I would like to say thank you, to the one who said I was a ‘doolally flake’, because you have reminded me to surround myself with people who believe in me, as I believe in myself too. And in spite of all you have said, I still wish you the best.