Today I’m at Eurochocolate in Perugia and they’re creating some every special and interesting things out of very large and ordinary blocks of chocolate.
This struck me as a rather good metaphor for life. You can treat your life as a big block of ordinariness that can’t be changed. Or you can look at your block and ask yourself, “What am I going to create out of this?”
You’ve only got one life. What are you going to create with it? Is it going to be amazing or is it going to be a big block of ordinary where nothing ever really happens? It’s completely up to you to make your life into something wonderful.
My client Maddy recently gave me feedback on one of my programs. She said her life is now “exhilarating” because she’s connected into what she wants and she’s doing it!!
I feel so blessed to work with women like Maddy who say things like, “It’s my life and there’s more than this so what do I have to do?” If you’re that kind of woman then I want to hear from you too.
My new three-month intensive program is called LIVE ON PURPOSE and it’s designed to help women connect back into their passion, own their intuitive power and discover their purpose.If you’re ready to carve out your block of chocolate and create something magical then email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or PM me on Facebook.
When I look back on my life I can see that I’ve often chosen the path less travelled. I’ve certainly taken risks that many viewed as foolhardy, ill-conceived, naïve and yes, selfish. If my life was an apple cart then I’ve definitely tipped it over a lot.
But my risks haven’t been physical. I’ve never jumped out of a plane and you won’t see me doing that anytime soon. It’s just not my thing to put my body in harm’s way.
My risks have been emotional and intuitive in nature.
On my 44th birthday last year, a friend posted a meme to my Facebook page that read ‘She could never remember if it was better to be safe or sorry’ and that certainly is an accurate portrayal of who I am. Certainly my choices over the years have frequently not been ‘safe’ ones.
In my mid/late 20s I left a solid permanent job where I was miserable to try the uncertainty of contract work. In my early 30s I left what many viewed as a perfectly good long-term relationship (15 years) with a good man (who everyone loved) because I wanted to expand and, although we tried, he and I couldn’t do that together.
Fast forward a few more years and, on the eve of my 39th birthday, I took a redundancy from a highly-paid government job so I could teach part-time at university and write the draft for my first book. I didn’t have any real plan for after that. In the process I also went through a massive psychic awakening and since then, I’ve talked openly about that AND now base my business around my special skills in that area (yep, that’s right, I’m a psychic and, among other things, sometimes I see dead people, spirit guides and I can feel what’s going on for you).
I recognise my choices are not the ‘safe’ ones that many would choose. And I have no judgement around that. After all, we all must choose our own path to walk. And my path is certainly unique to me.
But if there’s one thing I’ve learned through all of it, it’s this: when you make the choices that feel right for you, when you take the path less-travelled because your soul is crying out for it, then massive transformation occurs that takes you to places you never dreamed were possible. In fact, my choices have taken me to places I didn’t even know existed.
I won’t lie and say it’s been easy. I also know it isn’t over yet either. My life seems to have a trajectory that’s about taking risks. It seems to be my path to explore and yes, be pushed by the Universe to transform over and over again. Transformation of self seems to be part of my soul’s calling. Just when I get comfortable something happens or I’ll have a moment of clarity that makes it untenable for me to stay where I am. The Universe forces me to jump into the abyss and hope that I will be caught before I hit bottom or at least be able to grab a tree root as I fly down the side of the cliff where I’ll hang on for dear life while working out my next move.
When I look back over the last two decades I can see my transformations have been the result of the risks I have chosen to take. They have often (particularly when it comes to men) involved following my heart (this hasn’t always gone too well for me…read my book The Men I’ve Almost Dated for more on that). But more and more, my risks have been about following my intuition. My intuition always knows the right way to go.
Like a lot of people, my ego sometimes gets in the way of my intuition too. This means it’s easier for me to help and see the way for others because my ego isn’t invested in the outcome. But that’s a subject for another blog (or ten).
My friend Kelly* said recently that, of all her friends, I am the one who has transformed the most. We first met when I was in my mid 20s and she said, way back then, she always felt like there was more beneath my rather uptight exterior.
She was right.
Kelly’s words were a great compliment. I am so very different from that young woman back then. And I am proud of myself for the transformations I have made since then.
When Kelly met me, I didn’t know how to tune into me. I didn’t know how to really trust myself. No one had ever shown me how to do it. I didn’t even understand the concept. Instead, I looked to other people for guidance about what was best for me ALL THE TIME. I was judgemental of people who weren’t doing things in the ‘mainstream’ way because all I wanted to do was be taken seriously and be accepted by other people. Conformity and sensible shoes were my go-to life choices.
But it was when I started to make different choices and break away from the restrictions I’d placed on my own life that I began to transform. It was then that my world began to expand. I learned I had depths I didn’t know existed. I learned I had a capacity for growth and rebirth that was epic. I learned that I didn’t need to be so hard on myself (although sometimes I still am).
I also learned that, even if other people didn’t approve of or like my decisions, I would still be okay.
When people come to me now and say they don’t know if they can make the changes they need to in their lives or they don’t think they are strong enough, I often pause for a moment and reflect on the young person I used to be. Then I say, ‘If I can do it, you can too.’
Because while I certainly don’t consider myself to be ‘ordinary’, I am a human being just like anyone else. And my personal experiences have shown me that massive transformation of self is possible when you choose it and you allow it. In fact, sometimes it occurs even when you resist it every single step of the way.
Transformation is a gift. Sometimes it will make you struggle. Sometimes it will challenge you and push you to your limits. However, ultimately, it will expand your world and you in ways you cannot imagine.
Transformation will allow your soul to sing. It will help ensure you reach the end of your days knowing you have created the life you craved.
It can and will spark your fears. It will make some people pull away and judge you. It will also bring others close and invite new experiences and wonderful growth.
Transformation is what we are here for. Without it we are just mice on the wheels, endlessly running in the same direction.
My transformations will continue and my risks will too. Yours don’t have to be as radical (unless you desire it) or perhaps yours will be more extreme. The choices are yours to make. But if you are teetering on the edge of stepping into your risk; if you are hesitating to follow the desires held in your soul, always remember this…
Do you remember that scene from the Wizard of Oz with the flying monkeys? I can’t remember all the details but I do remember the absolute terror they created within me. I still can’t watch that movie as an adult for the same reason. If I was to put an image with my feelings of fear about something, I’d have to say those flying monkeys epitomise what it looks like. Fear is an ever-present resident in my psyche and can serve as a both a catalyst for positive change and an epic destructor of what could be possible in my life. I am as familiar as anyone with its capacity to help create and decimate.
The adrenalin of facing fear and ‘doing it anyway’ has helped me take massive steps forward in my life. Standing in front of my first-ever class of university students four years ago, I was overflowing with fear.
‘What if I say the wrong thing? What if I’m a terrible tutor? I just want to get this right!!!’ My internal voice of fear screamed hysterically.
But I was determined to face the fear and ‘do it anyway’. Nowadays, when asked about my teaching, I say it is one of the most enjoyable and relaxing parts of my life where I get to help people on their path. Imagine if I’d let my fear vanquish my desire to teach? I would never have met all the amazing students I’ve had the honour to work with.
I haven’t always been quite so successful at facing down the flying monkeys. Recently, I found myself in a situation that pushed all my boundaries and insecurities, and fear had a field day. It was like the closet door swung open so violently it almost ripped off the hinges and a horde of flying monkeys poured forth and kept coming until the sky was darkened and the light was almost gone. All those fears I thought I’d dealt with or buried came out to play their vicious games in my present.
It was awful and, as I felt myself in the grip of those monkeys’ claws, my behaviour deteriorated. I was not my best self in the situation and afterwards I felt so very ashamed because I hurt not only me but also someone I cared about.
Mortified and yes, shocked at myself, I slunk away to lick my wounds and regroup.
As I reflected on the situation and sought the counsel of some wise friends over the following days, I came to some realisations about what had happened and the role of fear in my life in general.
Firstly, and quite obviously, fear had taken over my mind that day and I needed to take a good look at all the emotions and memories it had flung into the present. Then I needed to make peace with them and let them go. I needed to acknowledge that while they had taught me a lot, they had no place in present day or in the current situation.
Secondly, I needed to recognise that while the other person’s behaviour had upset me, it wasn’t their fault they had triggered my fears. My response to the situation was my responsibility and, if I’d responded in another way, things might have been resolved a lot more easily and calmly. That’s the ‘downside’ of self-development because invariably and inevitably you have to take ownership of your own role in life rather than place the blame at the feet of someone else.
Thirdly, I owed the person involved a huge and unequivocal apology (which I communicated as soon as possible).
And finally, I understood something fundamental about fear itself. You see, we all have fears and sometimes situations and the behaviours of others are going to trigger those fears in a big way because at those moments you’re being pushed to take a great leap forward in understanding yourself. And you’re also being asked to recognise and release the fears that have been holding you back from where you could be. That place you ‘could be’ is your present where amazing things are right in front of you if only you choose to claim them. But in doing so you must leave the fears of the past behind; you cannot take them with you. It’s by recognising your fears then choosing to let them go that you can create something magical. If you let them take over, you are simply allowing them to decimate what is possible.
Above all, as one wise friend put it, the most important thing to remember when fear rises is, ‘They’re just flying monkeys’.
Have you ever read a book and thought, ‘This is so true. I have to recommend it to everyone I know!’
Well I’ve been doing exactly that about a recent purchase called The Life-Changing Magic of Not Giving a F**k by Sarah Knight. My book purchase couldn’t have come at a better time. I’d had an incredibly frustrating day full of disrespectful people and challenging situations when, there on the news agency shelf, I saw the book title and just knew I had to buy it. And it has definitely delivered! Now, if you’re offended by the F-word then this clearly isn’t the book for you. However, if you are okay with it then this may be the text that changes your life or at least gets you to reassess the obligations, duties and things you currently believe you have to care about.
Because it’s true many of us can spend a lot of time trying to do the ‘right thing’/give a f**k about things we don’t really care about and this sucks away our energy, time and money. Often the ‘right thing’ doesn’t align with what we want to do, who we want to be, how we want to spend our time or what we’re interested in. Yet we say yes and are drawn into the ‘vortex of should’ when really we just don’t want to do those things at all.
Knight takes a very irreverent (seriously, I laugh aloud when I read this book) approach to looking at the things we think we should do/give a f**k about and challenges every single one of them. From friends to work to family, she casts a glaring spotlight on all those parts of our lives where we feel obligations, guilt and shame and asks us to look at them a differently. Even more importantly, she challenges the reader to begin living more in alignment with what will make them happy rather than trying to make everyone else happy all the time (which we all know is a fool’s errand anyway!). Even more fabulously, Knight provides polite strategies and techniques to help you manage all those important relationships in your life while still saying ‘no’ in a way that helps you ‘stop giving a f**k’ about the things that really add no value to your life.
For example, in her section on boundaries and maintaining friendships Knight offers the following (p.77):
p. Anecdotes and analogies like this are sprinkled throughout the book like hundreds and thousands on party bread and if you don’t laugh several times then I’ll be very, very surprised.
I’m only about two-thirds in but, as I mentioned it to yet another friend this afternoon, I felt I just had to write about it now. Forthright, practical and hilarious, The Life-Changing Magic of Not Giving a F**k by Sarah Knight is a great book and I wholeheartedly recommend it.
I’ve been talking to a lot of clients and friends lately about relationships and getting our needs met. Sometimes those relationships are with our love partners, other times they are with our friends, work colleagues or family members. Wherever we go in life we are ‘in relationship’ with someone and the smooth running (or not) of these is dependent on meeting or, at the very least, acknowledging the needs of the other person.
It seems to me those needs are things that a very specific for every individual. Whether they are the result of nature or nurture (or a combination of both), I can’t be sure. But we all have them and, when they’re being ignored by the person we’re in relationship with, things go downhill very quickly.
One of the most obvious examples of this is in a love relationship. If Person A needs some kind of structure and security to feel safe and happy in a relationship, and their partner (Person B) doesn’t have those same core needs and doesn’t acknowledge/isn’t aware of those needs, or refuses to make space for them to be met within the relationship, then neither of them are going to be happy for long.
I’m not saying you need to compromise who you are to make the other person happy – if you do that, it’s not going to work. Instead I think it’s about understanding the other person in the relationship is coming from a different and equally important perspective and, for that relationship to thrive you both need to acknowledge and make space for the other person’s core needs to be met.
Let me offer another example and this time I’ll use me. I’m a very creative and highly intuitive person. For me this translates into a need for space in my life to allow my creativity to flourish and acceptance of my intuitive gifts (i.e. who I am). If I was in a love relationship with someone who couldn’t acknowledge and make space for those needs to be met, we would come up against some very serious challenges.
Of course, sometimes we need help to understand what the other person’s needs are. They may not be able to tell us or even understand them fully themselves. This is where you need to work together and talk it through. Being courageous enough to openly acknowledge and own your needs can be a big step and involves trusting the other person will be open to hearing where you’re coming from. There will be times when the other person doesn’t ‘get it’ and isn’t interested in understanding or making space for what you need in that relationship. That’s when you need to decide what’s best for you and you may need to move on. However, for some, a third party can help you get clear on these things so you can move forward together.
If you are experiencing challenges in relationship with someone else, whoever it is, perhaps all that’s needed is recognition firstly of your own needs, then theirs, and the development of a way you can both have those core needs met. Ignoring your needs, or theirs, is never going to be a successful long term strategy for happiness or contentment in a relationship.