How conscious do I dare to be?

So, it’s now Year Two of this Happiness blog and, as I mentioned in my last post, I’ve taken on the fresh challenge (hence my new tagline) of daring to be more conscious. This is why….

Reality – the ‘what’s-so’ of things has always appeared to me as a bit of an inconvenience – something to be tolerated whilst I get on with the more serious business of dreaming my life into existence. I’ve shied away from anything that smacks of that ghastly word ‘discipline’ because I have a rebellious-child’s resistance to it. Why should I do anything that feels like a ‘should’  – surely I’m the one in charge of my own life?

As many of you know, I’m a big fan of Julia Cameron’s work ‘The Artist’s Way(and in fact I run workshops on it). Well now she has a new book out called ‘The Prosperous Heart‘ and in it she asks you to count evey penny you spend and receive in a little book. “What? No way! I don’t want to be wading around in the mud of my finances. And surely that’s all rather anal and sad?” I’ve also thought that in Law of Attraction terms this kind of attention to the minutae of things is misdirected – keeping your life small.

I’m realising now that I may have been missing a trick or two.

  • My weight and health have always been best when I’ve been counting what I eat and how I exercise.
  • I am very disciplined around organising my children’s school life, feeding the family, running my workshops, working with my clients etc. – it’s just I dont see it as discipline.

Abraham-Hicks talk about the importance of “loving what-is whilst reaching for more”. I’ve always read this as being OK with things not going the way I want whilst dreaming big. Not quite. I see now it’s about really meeting my reality honestly – i.e. not avoiding it – interacting with it, whilst maintaining a full expectation of growing into my desired future.

By avoiding the tricky subject of money and body weight in the name of attracting better things I was in fact only keeping resistance in place.

So now I am resolved to spend a year exploring this new concept of consciousness – being with what-is – even though I sometimes want to fight it in the name of positive thinking.

The name of the game is to ENJOY being with how things really are. I’m not embarking on this exercise of counting everything I eat and every penny I spend as a way of wallowing in lack and self-loathing – on the contrary I’m doing it to say: “This is worth paying attention to. This matters to me and I value my relationship with it.”

My very wise friend and coach Karen Hood-Caddy said to me this week: “It’s all about understanding how things work and then working inside of that.”

Yes! I think I’m starting to get it. Money, body weight etc. operate in a certain way. When I pay attention to that and work inside the parameters of that I, paradoxically, experience much greater control and therefore greater freedom.

I’m reminded of Stephen Fry’s great descripton of poetry. It is not, he argues, a restrictive form. When you write a novel you have so much choice about how you structure and shape it, it can be utterly overwhelming to begin; but with a poem the rules (mostly) are laid out and, now that you don’t have to worry about the structure of it, you can enjoy the freedom of playing with it as you will.

So constriction, discipline – whatever you want to call it – can be freeing. Yet more evidence of the Universe’s love of Paradox – (my favourite being: in order to have something you have to let it go). Paradox is everywhere and that makes being a human being so fascinating and wondrous.

I embark on this year’s challenge with excitement!

Happy Birthday, Happy New Year!

So the school holidays are over, we’re back from our wonderful holiday in Italy and I’m back in blogging-action. Horrah! I missed you all.

This blog is now officially 1 years old! Sing along now:

Happy birthday to you

Squashed tomatoes and stew

You look like a bunch-of-words

And you really are that too.

(You might have to be of Bristish descent to get that!)

I love this time of year because, for me, it’s my New Year – complete with resolutions and fresh new starts. Last year I created this blog out of a commitment to turning around my relationship with happiness and abundance. I feel I’ve come a long way on that journey and by way of completion with my year here’s a list of the top 5 things I’d say I’ve learnt:

1) Writing blogs is fun

2) There’s a whole world of wonderful bloggers out there.

3) Writing about happiness is a great way of staying alert for it

4) Lists in blogs are de-rigueur

5) Summarising a whole years-worth of posts is impossible!

I love to spice things up for myself at this time of year, so from today I’m going to change my tagline from “How happy do I dare to be?” to “How concious do I dare to be?” I’ll talk about this more in my next post – it deserves it’s own platform, megaphone and green room, I feel – but basically my commitment and challenge this year is to have my dream world and my “real” world meet. Being with reality has never been a strong point of mine – in fact I’ve deliberately shied away from it but as I get longer in the tooth I’m realising lasting change and transformation can only happen when I use my dreams to fuel a concious interaction with the “what’s so” of things.

Intrigued? I hope so! As I say, I’ll tell you more in my next blog. In the meantime may I just say how lovely it is to be back.

Now, time for virtual birthday cake – (much fewer calories).

The deadly compare-and-contrast bug

It’s 5 O’clock in the morning. I’ve been awake since 3am. Seems little point in going back to sleep now so here I am confessing what’s on my mind.

The deadly compare-and-contrast bug – that’s what.

The reason I woke at 3am was because my mind suddenly went into a panic about the Artist’s Way course I’m running in September. Am I charging too much? Someone yesterday hinted they thought it was expensive. Maybe I’ve got it wrong. But I think it’s worth it. But maybe I’m wrong.

You know how it goes in your mind at this time in the morning?

So then I had the bright idea of scouring the internet for other Artist Way courses. Funny – in 2005 when I last did this search there was no evidence of Artist’s Way courses that I could find – now Google tells me there are loads. And my course is definitely one of the most expensive. Hmmm.

So is it good in this case to go with the gut that says I should value this work for what I believe it’s worth or do I follow what everyone else is doing?


Now a ball has started rolling. A ball with a bug in it. The compare and contrast bug.



And then it happened. In my searching I came across another UK site called . And what’s more she talks about the Artist’s Way in there too. What?!

The lady running the site started in May this year – after me. Now, I’m sure this is just a coincidence  – a meeting of like minds – but we all like to think we’re unique don’t we? And the thing that really p’s me off? Her site is GOOD.

Oh, god, the bug has just grown to elephant proportions! I feel like I’ve become a character in a Kafka novel.

I’m not original. I’m not any fun. My blog’s not juicy enough. Everyone out there is doing it better….. blah, boo, aggh, ugh.

OK clearly I need to pull myself together here. This is my happiness experiment after all. So what do I do?

This quote I found is a good start:

“Why compare yourself with others? No one in the entire world can do a better job of being you than you.”  ~Unknown


I’ve lost sight of what makes me, me. The fact that I have become the bug is really an invitation: it’s time to get re-aquainted with myself.

Hello, what’s your name?

Hi, my name is T.

Tell me about you, T.

Well – hmm, let’s see, well, I guess the best way to explain is by showing  you …

And it really helps to know that all this is just an infinitessimally small slice.

So my lesson for today?

If I get the compare and contrast bug take it as a sign that I’ve lost sight of myself. I’m not going to find myself  ‘Out There’. Even if I got all my friends now to say lovely things about me, it’s not where it’s at. The real antidote comes from me tuning again to me and all my complex, quirky, mad, sad, bad, hum-drum, curious, joyous, questing, creative, busy, apologetic, angry, blah, experimental, hopeful, grateful, (I could go on), sides of myself.

Cliche, I know, but – like a snowflake. Unique. Beautiful. One of many who are unique and beautiful. Like you.

Happy travels

So today feels like a momentus one as I’ve just waved Julia (aged 13) off at Heathrow airport. She is flying solo for the first time – off to see her Uncle John and Aunt Berenice in Toulouse, France.

I’m so proud of my (no longer so) little girl. In so many ways I feel like I’m jogging besides her express train, trying to keep up. She is maturing fast and it’s important for me to honour that whilst at the same time making sure she has everything she needs to be safe and informed.

I love this installation I just spotted in Heathrow’s terminal 5 – a timely reminder of what Julia is doing and the whole new vistas opening up for all our family.

The magic of teamwork and community

So I’m back from a wonderful few days on Sasha’s school camp. Along with other Class 5-ers from Steiner schools around the country they recreated the ancient Greek Olympics. It was a fabulous event and one I had the privilege to help out with. I spend a lot of time volunteering at the school – going on school trips, organising the Advent Fair, being a class rep, chairing the Parents Focus Group and generally sticking my oar in! I love it.


I recently watched a wonderful program charting the lives of a combined catholic and protestant boys’  football team, joined together in the time of the sectarian ‘Troubles’ by sport and by a rock-solid sense of community and place.

There is something absolutely magical that happens when a group of like-minded people get together to work towards a common end. Something way beyond the sum of the parts. It’s the power of this magic that can unite towns, cities and nations around sport for instance. It is the difference between a ballad and a symphony. It is the difference between the complaint of an individual and the righting of political and social wrongs through mass protest.

It’s this magical ‘something’  – the power of the group – that I love so much. I’ve talked about it before and no doubt I’ll keep on exploring it because I feel so compelled to be a part of my community – to experience this magic.



“We are same”

Wonderful video using the Dalai Lama’s words. We’re all equal in our search for happiness and our humanity. Simple. Lovely. Touching.



If anyone’s in London on Tuesday 19 June at 2:00pm you can also go and see him at the Royal Albert Hall. Let me know if you do!



Thank goodness life is not linear

I’m back! Phew – bit of a wipe-out there for a week.

The curious thing about illness, I feel, is that it seems so often to coincide with an inner need for change. I noticed when I went from life coach to public workshop leader in 2002, I got ill. When Guy left the company he’d been working for for 18 years and became independant, he fell sick. Rudolf Steiner talks of illness and fever as the means by which we can ‘melt away’ an old way of being and bring in the new.

So, on the other side of this threshold I am seeing things differently. I realise I got a bit too caught up in my work with Future Self Now to be able to see anything else. I had got it into my head, I think, that there was only one way to my goals and if I could just find out where that elusive road lay, I’d be sorted.

But of course LIFE IS NOT LINEAR. I see now that there are a thousand different ways to my Future Self and many of them may look  counter-clockwise. That’s good. The unexpected, the tangental, is what keeps me on an edge – the creativity flowing  – and not getting stuck in stale expectations

So, life will not look the same from now on. I want to be alert to creating new habits, shedding old prejudices. Hoorah, I say! I am going to dip my finger in more pies and see what comes out. The plum, (the reward), I’m certain, will be new energy, new ideas and new beginnings.


It’s absolutely pee-ing with rain outside. It got dark at 4.30pm today. We are hurtling towards the shortest day of the year. Everyone’s got a cold.

On the bright side I’ve just booked 4 tickets to Bordeaux, France, to see my brother John, his lovely partner, Berenice and their two gorgeous girls – one of whom has just been born. Yay! We’re going in February – a notoriously blah month. It’ll be fantastic to have something to look forward to.

I remember when I ran workshops based on the book ‘The Artist’s Way’ and we talked about how sometimes the best way to get motivated is to effectively bribe yourself: “OK inner critic, you allow me to write this poem/paint this scene etc. etc. and I’ll make sure we get to the movies tonight” …. or some such.

I’ve effectively done the same thing here: “OK, T. you can book yourself these tickets as long as you get serious about promoting your course in January and get more focused on your business.” All right then.

Have a think about what bargain you can make with yourself right now. It’s effective and curiously fun! A real win-win.


By the way – on a practical note: I have loved having all your comments but I know that some of you haven’t been seeing my replies. If you would like to see these you need to click on the box that asks if you wish replies to be sent to your email address, at the time of posting your comment. Thanks! xx

Knowing and Flowing

Today this statement is fully coming home to me:

I must learn to really love where I am, no matter what, whilst reaching for more

It is of course, a paradox. Reaching for more can so easily descend into dissatisfaction with the present and the desire to push, to make things happen, and yet, the ‘more’ can only happen when we are fully available to the perfection of the current moment.In other words, when we are ‘loving what is’ we are at our most non-resistant and open to abundance in all its forms.

In the Future Self work I call this ‘Knowing and Flowing’. The idea that we rejoice in knowing who are Future Self is (i.e. who we really are) but then let go and let flow in order to be at our most available to that future.

Easier said than done! I suppose this is why this blog is so important to me. By allowing myself to concentrate on my daily flow – my daily ability to let go of ambition and just adore my Now – I am strangely doing more for my dreams than if I were to actively persue them. It feels scary to let go of the reins and just have fun doing what naturally arises as the next right thing to do. I like to plan, I like to know what’s next! Is this why they say that “Happiness is a form of courage”? It takes a lot of trust, surely, to do all this. But this is the experiment and I mean to do my best.