Letter to my past self

Dear me from 10 years ago,

This is your Future Self speaking. You are about 3 months away from making a very big decision. One that will significantly alter your life.

How should I describe you? Baffled? Searching? Hopeful yet exasperated? Your children are 2 and 4 years old. The participants in your workshops are enthusiastic. You are desperate to have your children’s book ‘The Teasers’ published. You have secured a great agent but no publishers are biting. You wish you had more time to write. You wish your husband was less stressed and around more – physically and emotionally. You’re proud that you’ve been a non-smoker now for 4 years. You are keenly aware (did your past self tell you, I wonder?) that you should enjoy every last minute with your children at this precious stage of their lives – and so you do (mostly). You cannot believe your luck that the Universe shut one door (having your own children) and opened this massive, bejewelled  door to a hitherto unseen magical kingdom (adopting Julia and Sasha). You sense there’s more – much more –  to come but you don’t know what it is.

Dear past me from 10 years ago. I felt you today. As if you came into my skin and looked around our life now. You cried. I cried. We both cried. How wonderful this place we’ve come to is! You hardly dare believe it. I can hear you in my head saying:

“You mean you’re living in this beautiful place in the Cotswolds with all it’s hills, valleys and gorgeous villages? You mean the children are thriving at a school they adore with friends and teachers who equally adore them? You mean that you’re all bouncing with excitement at the prospect of spending a whole month together in Singapore, New Zealand and Australia in December? You mean you’ve taken a break from the writing and you’re utterly OK about that – in fact you’re thrilled with your current path? You mean you’ve developed your own program and it’s going from strength to strength? You mean Guy is calling the shots more at work and is master of his time again? Is it true that 6 years ago you dreamed of owning a Lexus hybrid SUV and next weekend you’re going to buy it! Do those kind of things happen? And I can’t believe how grounded, content and excited-by-life you feel! Is that possible?”

Dear past me from 10 years ago. Yes it’s possible.

You are about to make a momentus decision – to move from a great life in Canada back to England. And why? Only because “it feels right”. You have no other defense when your concerned Canadian friends ask you for an explanation.

Did you perhaps feel me calling you?



When passion seeps out of every pore

We went to a tiny but wonderful festival of folk music over the weekend. Gossington Festival to be precise. Great bands, and so small we could chat to all the great artists and behave like groupies. The hit of the weekend for us though, despite all the big names there, was the drummer of a band called Roto-Trad (he turned up later playing for Seth Lakeman too). His name is Cormac Byrne: a young Irish man who clearly lives, breathes and joyously celebrates drumming.

I’m not a connoisseur of drumming by any stretch of the imagination but Cormac seemed really, really good. But perhaps that was because he was clearly enjoying himself so much. All the time he played he had a huge grin on his face that had you looking past the charismatic lead singer and fixating on that smile. It was the smile of someone utterly connected to his flow – to his purpose in life – and loving absolutely every millisecond of it. That kind of passion is infectious, inspiring and hard to ignore.

We took a little video of him here. Unfortunately it’s a bit dark but I include it here hoping you’ll get a sense of what I’m talking about.

It is my wish for us all that we find, treasure and keep this kind of ecstatic communing with our purpose and passion. Surely this is the very definition of happiness?

Sasha and I being Cormac groupies

I can see clearly now

Look, can you see it?

… a view from my bed! I can’t tell you happy this makes me. Our neighbour has just had an enormous pine tree chopped down and now I can sit in my bed and see a vast expanse of sky, fields (even the horses in those fields are galloping around as if they’ve heard the great news!) and lovely Nailsworth roof tops.

If ever there was a metaphor for how I’ve been feeling recently, this is it. Expansive, a clearing, new vistas. Luvving it!


Life as a mountain river

I love the analogy of a mountain river for our lives. We talk about the importance of  ‘going with the flow’ but of course life will bring up blockages. It’s the nature of things and part of the fun of living. None of us want our rivers to be straight and featureless and we certainly don’t want them to stagnate. We didn’t come here to get things done, we came for the thrill of the journey.

Where there are rocks and eddies in our rivers the energy of the river picks up and becomes more powerful. The same is true in our lives. There’s that old saying, “what doesn’t kill me will make me strong”. It’s a dramatic way of putting it but true nonetheless.  If we can still fog a mirror then we will have rocks in our river. Some of these will feel jaggedy and huge, some will have become smoothed and rounded over time. If we keep our rivers full of water, (i.e. we attend to ourselves and attempt to live as close to our truth as possible), then a lot of these rocks will simply be submerged and become harmless. If our water levels are down, (because we are overwhelmed by circumstances and negative emotions), then all these rocks will stick up and get in the way of the flow.

It is normal and healthy for us to have rocks in our river – without these our flow would not have an opportunity to pick up energy – just don’t let your water levels go down so far that these rocks hinder the flow to the point that life feels like a trickle!

The Passion List

So I did it again. I went to the cinema all by myself this afternoon! I realise this pretty much tops my list of secret pleasures now. At about 12.20pm today I had just got back from having a coffee with my lovely friend, Ahrabella Heabe, when I sat down at my desk to start work. I’ve got lots to do to prepare for my upcoming workshops and public talk. There is also a ton to do for the school’s Advent Fair of which I am one of the organisers. Enough said. ‘So now I must crack on,’ I told myself. BUT ….

A feeling came over me. The kind that tells you to go to the cinema instead. I resisted at first, of course, but as I casually checked showing times the feeling got a hold until it was pushing me so hard I said out loud, “OK, OK. I’ll go!”

I had to go. How could my blog’s byline be “How happy do I dare to be?”, only for me to demure? Because – OK I’m prepared to admit it now – movies make me very happy indeed. And, oh what bliss awaited me as I hurried out of the door to catch the 12.40 showing! Small popcorn (non- negotiable), large tea and a whole cinema to myself. My popcorn got a seat to itself, as did my handbag. I got to rest my ankles on the seat in front of me. I got to slouch. I got to laugh out loud and to sniff back the tears as it all resolved so touchingly.

I love movies. Yes, I really do have to admit it – so much so that I think a trip a week would not go amiss. Why would I hold back if it makes me happy? I’ve made a commitment, so I’ll do it!

The film by the way was Crazy, Stupid, Love. I loved it – funny and sweet. If you liked ‘Little Miss Sunshine, I’m sure you’ll love this.

So as of today, I’m out of the daytime-movie closet. (Guy’s in London all week so it must be daytime and given the high likelihood of an empty cinema that’s fine by me!) Film is now firmly on my list – my Passion List. I realise it’s SO important to get familiar with what makes us zing!

As I came out of the theatre all-a-tingle as usual I thought about this list – it comprises everything that touches my soul’s erogenous zone (am I allowed to say that?) Here is an excerpt of mine – what comes to mind right now – for the record:

  • Movies
    Going to matinees
    Being alone in a movie theatre
    Talking ‘Future Self’
    One on one Future Self coaching sessions
    Working with groups in my Future Self workshops
    Writing this blog
    Writing in my notebooks
    Giving talks (a new one for me but I know it’ll grow)
    Driving with music cranked up loud – singing
    Sitting cross-legged on Selsley common like a mad woman blogging on my iPhone

So, what’s on your Passion List?