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Life is for the living.

At least that’s what they say. I’m not quite sure who ‘they’ are, but one thing is for sure, there are not many of us who can honestly say that they are free to live the life they want to?

We like to blame circumstance, or others for our life not being how we’d like it to be, but ultimately I feel that the block lies with us. Continue Reading →

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Living The Dream

There are so many reasons why we can’t live our dreams, aren’t there! I am too old, too young, have too many responsibilities, haven’t got enough money, – we can always think of lots of good reasons… Somehow we create these lists so much more easily than the list of reasons why we should go for our dream now, rather than waiting, or even not doing it at all.

How sad! We have been well trained by our culture to believe that dreams are something that most people cannot fulfil, and we end up accepting with resignation that we are one of the ‘most people’.

Over the last month or so, I have been prompted to bring one of my dreams closer to reality, and to begin the process of making it happen. I had fallen into the trap of ‘knowing’ that I had to wait for an unspecified while longer, before I could have my dream, and therefore doing nothing about it, rather than looking to see what was really possible now, and at least starting the movement towards it.

Going for my dream may like life a little more complicated for a while, and at the same time, it has given me a new impetus and enthusiasm which will help me to both take some steps towards the dream and do what I already do as well as I can.

So I thought it might be useful to just remind ourselves of some of the elements that make it possible to go for living the dream.

  1. Clarify the dream, and if it really doesn’t seem possible immediately, clarify some steps towards it that you could bring into your life.
  2. Put that dream into language that says it will happen, rather than I might, e.g. ‘I am going to…’ rather than ‘I would like to…’.
  3. Find one small step you can take that would tell you that you are taking your dream seriously. It may be researching something to do with your dream, so that it is no longer just a fantasy, or beginning something that will take a while to come to fruition.
  4. Put aside a short period of time each week to devote to your dream – whatever seems manageable, so long as it is at least an hour.
  5. Find some allies, people, books, films, anything that will encourage you when you get a bit stuck.
  6. Take small steps to make it real, and praise yourself every time you do – and use your allies to support you in that praise.

Your dream doesn’t have to be ‘grand’ – it may be just to improve some element of your present life to the point where it really makes you happy. It is amazing what is possible once we begin the journey, and how much more energised we feel when we are doing something about really living our lives as we want to, rather than putting up with our lives as they are.

Whatever your dream is, do start living it now!


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What Matters

It is so easy to get worked up about the little things in life – the weather, lost keys etc. I know that I can drive myself to distraction at times over the petty irritations of life! Yet in the overall scheme of things, a lost key is replaceable, the weather will be different tomorrow…

So much more important in our lives are things like the love we give to and receive from family and friends, how healthy we feel, how much happiness and enjoyment we can find in our everyday lives.

And these things are much more within our control. We can choose to give love, we can take good care of ourselves to optimise our health, and we can create happiness and enjoyment out of the simple pleasures of being alive.

So ask yourself today: ‘How am I enhancing the things that really matter in my life?’, and use your response to the question to prompt you to pay attention to the things that really matter!

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We hear a lot about global warming these days, and the dire consequences of doing nothing about it, since it is a man-made problem. However, it can leave us feeling powerless to make a difference, since it seems to be up to governments to change their policies.

We forget that global warming is a direct consequence of the pollution caused by our emissions, which come from the never-ending increase in producing ‘stuff’ and using our energy sources.

Every single one of us can make a difference by our own practices, and it is not hard to do. Many people already recycle, because there are now kerbside collections in many areas. If you don’t, do! We have no kerbside collections here, but we do have recycling facilities next to the supermarket, and it is not hard to put stuff on one side and take it down when you go shopping.

And remember that:

  • Paper includes envelopes, documents, letters, magazines etc., not just newspapers.
  • Card includes all those boxes that our food comes in, cereal boxes, pizza boxes etc.
  • Glass includes the jars we get, not just wine and beer bottles.

The other form of recycling is ensuring that everything you throw out is really worn out. Charity shops will take clothes and books and bric-a-brac that are in good condition, which you just don’t want any more. And in most areas there is a homeless charity that will take electrical goods if they are in reasonable nick.

Finally, if you have a garden, do put your waste veg and fruit on a compost heap. It improves your soil no end, and is easy to manage.

Then there is the reduction of waste through using less. This is not about depriving yourself – it is more about being conscious of what you are doing.

For example:

  • A shower uses so much less water than a bath, so keep the baths to a minimum.
  • And turn the tap off while you brush your teeth, and only turn it on again to rinse your mouth.
  • Take your own carrier bags to the supermarket, or buy one of the ‘bags for life’ most of them are now selling.
  • And turn down that extra carrier bag or plastic bag when you are shopping and put your purchases in the other bags you have.

Why should we bother?

When I was in India, I noticed that people were really good at recycling. Their motivation was probably more immediate – when everything is precious to you, and you don’t have the money to replace easily, you use things more carefully, and more imaginatively! Most of us are not in that situation.

Our immediate world may not be in crisis, but the world in general is. We are running out of energy and water, and our everyday lives are beginning to be affected by the overall global warming. We may be able to live with it now, but what about our children, and their children?

And when it is easy to make a difference, it gives us a way of feeling that we are contributing to the solution instead of the problem – always a good feeling!

If you would like to find out more about the causes and effects of global warming, or how to make a difference as an individual, go to:


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I have had a lovely week this week: I have spent time with friends that I love and haven’t seen for a while, I have been working with people I really enjoy working with, and I have seen a wonderful art exhibition as a special treat. There are also all the everyday miracles: my cat is now well, the vegetables from my garden are delicious, the sun has warmed me, the rain has watered my garden for me, and lots of things have made me laugh. And this is an ordinary week, which also had some not so good moments.

Like all of us, I can look at this week in a lot of different ways, depending on my mood, and the things that have affected me most. Yet culturally, we are trained to notice more of the everyday lacks and irritations, rather than the delights and abundances. So it takes a conscious effort to choose to view our world and our lives as abundant and pleasurable.

When I switch on my tv, I am shown all the things I don’t have, and what is wrong with others and myself, how we are all not good enough, how we all don’t have enough. When I ask people how they are, they tend to tell me the things that are not right, with them or the world. It is the ‘not enough’ syndrome gone mad! Not done enough work, not got enough money, not been kind enough to others ( or ourselves!), not good enough at what I do – the list goes on and on.

And yes, there are many areas where we are not as good as we might be, where the world is not as good as it might be, where we feel lacks, in ourselves, in others, in the world. Yet there are also many moments of abundance, when we are just lovely, when others are kind and delightful, when the world shows its wonder rather than its horror.

When we pay attention to what’s wrong or lacking, we make ourselves feel bad, and risk missing the opportunities for miracles to occur. It doesn’t help us to live our lives well, because it sends us back into the sort of mood that perpetuates the feeling of lack and wrongness.

This is not about wearing rose-tinted spectacles – we don’t have to pretend that everything is rosy, and nothing is wrong. We can recognise the bad bits, without getting caught by them. If we are going to get caught on something, let’s get caught on the good bits! They will help us keep a good frame of mind, so we can deal with the bad bits more constructively, and they will remind us to keep the bad bits in perspective.

Why not join me for a few days in choosing to notice the gifts of your life, the everyday miracles that occur. We may not need to change the world, just view it differently!


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Although we still hear some contradictory messages, the overwhelming evidence suggests that we are creating global warming at a disastrous rate, and scientists now seem to think that they have previously underestimated the rate of warming. On top of that, there is the work being done on global dimming! If you haven’t heard of this, it is the effect of all our pollution that stops the sun from reaching us. Although this protects us from some of the effects of global warming, it is a method of slow suicide – if we continue to release so many particles into the air, we increase the level of respiratory problems etc.

All this can seem overwhelming – what can we do to help? I don’t know about you, but I feel strongly that we need to adopt the Native American principle of thinking about the effects of what we do to the earth on the next seven generations, and I have a fit of the horrors at the thought of what state our world is likely to be in by then, if we continue as we are.

Yet how can I change it?

There are two things I can do.

  1. Make my voice heard, as one of those who want us to adopt fully the Kyoto agreement on climate change. I can write to my mp, I can support the actions being taken by organisations like Friends of the Earth. Although it is only one voice, each voice heard adds to the pressure on governments to do something about holding to account those industries that pollute the most.
  2. I can take simple actions in my own life to ensure that I am reducing my personal impact on the earth. These include recycling wherever possible, insulating my home properly, swapping to a power company that uses renewable energy, and reducing the amount I use my car.

Many years ago I saw Jonathan Porritt give a talk – he was then the head of Friends of the Earth. He showed how every action we take personally makes a positive difference to the state of the earth, and his audience left feeling empowered to make small changes to contribute to a big one.

We can do something, and it doesn’t yet need to be drastic. Lets’ all act now before we ruin this beautiful world!

(For more ideas, go to )


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I was in my garden this weekend, enjoying the sunshine.  The blues, reds, oranges and yellows of the flowers contrasted beautifully with different shades of green in the leaves, stems, trees and grass.  And it was all enlivened by the light of the sun.  This stunning spectacle is free, and available in some form to all of us, because our world is coloured – aren’t we lucky!

And colours give us more than just a spectacle – they evoke words and feelings.  It is interesting to me that a long time ago, colours were linked to our chakras – the energy centres in our bodies.  Yet it is only relatively recently that we in the west started considering the effect that different colours have on our moods and energy.

I recently redecorated my living room.  It had been red and stone colours, and now it is in all shades of green.  Everyone who comes into it remarks on how tranquil it feels, even if they know nothing about the effect of colours – the power of a colour change!

We are lucky to have such a remarkable range of colours available to us and can use them, not just to delight the eye, but also to help us enhance or change our mood.  What colours delight you?  What colours make you feel good?  Do you allow yourself to enjoy them enough?

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I have read many books on improving your life. They range from the ‘quick-fix’ Western-style self-help books to the great philosophical and spiritual masters, and there is no doubt that I have learnt from their words of wisdom, and been reminded again and again of techniques and mind-sets that help us to find well-being.

Yet examples of people living in their well-being seem few and far between in our culture. And then I spend ten days in India, and I experience hundreds of examples: the ‘room-boy’ at our hotel, the shop-keeper selling sacks, the priest in the temple, the woman sitting at her stall of fruit, the man who made the naan bread in the street restaurant – everywhere I looked, I could see people with a ready smile, a sense of purpose, and an ability to appreciate the small daily pleasures of being alive.

What have we lost? And how can we regain it? It is clearly not linked to wealth or status, but to a mindset that filters for the reasons to celebrate being alive.

It seems to me that we have learnt too well how to forget what really matters in life. As human beings, we need to feed our bodies, our minds and our spirits on a daily basis, in order to feel whole, and have a sense of well-being. Yet often we are too busy to do this.

We may stuff our bodies with food, but do we eat well, do we care for our bodies? We may stuff our minds with thoughts, but do they nurture and expand our minds, or just cause them to contract with fears and anxieties? And how often do we even consider feeding our spirit?

This weekend you could take the opportunity to stop and consider how you can enhance your well-being.

  1. 1.  Feeding our bodies

We have become used to eating too much. How about having one day where you only eat fresh food, freshly prepared, that you really fancy. And on that day, treat your body well – a massage, a gentle walk, a long bath – something to care for your body.

  1. 2.  Feeding the mind

Most of us have a good book that we haven’t got round to reading. It may be an inspirational one, or just a really good story – and if you don’t have any, look at some of our reviews for ideas! Give yourself a couple of afternoons to sit cosy and warm, with a good book – or if you aren’t a reader, choose a ‘feel-good’ movie instead!

  1. 3.  Feeding the spirit

Our world is full of simple ways of feeding our spirits. We know our spirit is being fed when we can’t help but smile, when we feel that warm glow of pleasure. Nature is a rich source of spirit food: the delight of a crisp winter’s day, the sound of a river or stream. Or really take the time to watch your children’s excitement at something new, or just smile at strangers in the street, and see how many smile back!

We may all lead busy lives, but we need to remember to live each day, not just get through it. There is always time to give a little food to our bodies, our minds and our spirits.

Maybe then we will be closer to well-being.


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Have you stopped and really felt the sun on your face or back?  It is one of the most life giving sensations we experience, particularly after a long, dull, wet winter.

Have you touched a feathery –looking plant, and delighted in its softness, a caress from nature just for you.

Have you reached out to another human being, and felt the warmth of a mutual hug, where both of you are reminded that we are essentially loving and feeling creatures?

So many of us are too busy and wrapped up in our own worlds to stop and take a moment to touch and feel the texture and warmth of the world around us.  Yet our sense of touch enriches the experience we have of the world around us.

Some friends visited recently, with their young son.  He looked at all the things in my house, then went round and picked things up and felt them.  He even put some of them in his mouth to taste them!  Children know that to really experience what something has to offer, you need to try it out with as many senses as possible.  This knowing doesn’t go away as we grow up – it just gets buried under the instructions to not touch, not to put things in your mouth, not to stare.

Many of us find it unattractive to shop on the internet, and I suspect that the inability to ‘get a feel’ for something plays a part in that.  Next time you are in a shop. Just watch how many people pick things up and look at them, often unconscious of how important the feel of the object is.

Don’t deprive yourself of touching!  Reach out to everything and everyone that gives you pleasure, and allow yourself to be enriched for that moment.


  1. Hug someone everyday
  2. Don’t just look at a lovely plant, get a feel for it as well
  3. Notice the sunshine on your skin


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This month’s workshop was inspired by the balmy weather this April. Nature has gone wild this month – trees are in blossom, fresh green leaves are emerging from the hedgerows, flowers cover banks and woodland floors, bluebells, anemones, and fritillaries. Spring lambs bounce around in fields, and the air is thick with the songs of courting birds. This truly has been a wonderful month – it feels as if the whole world has come alive!

It is drummed into us that spring is a time for regeneration, to welcome the new year and the new life it will give us. We spring clean our houses, and watch the world around us spring into life. But why don’t we revitalise our creativity too?

There is so much around us to inspire us. Literally the whole natural world is screaming out, “Look at me! Look at me!” there is the miracle of creation happening all around us – right now! All we have to do is to stop our madcap lives and notice.

I went to Dudmaston, a National Trust House near Bridgnorth, and was amazed at the colour and sounds of its stunning grounds. A great crested grebe on the lake crying out for a partner, birds in the woods trying to impress with their vocal dexterity, an ornithological chorus of Wagnerian proportions! Grass on banks appeared to grow beneath your feet, trees sprouting with green tips and evergreen leaves, borders awash with colour, flowers of every hue vying for your attention. The sun played hide and seek behind the clouds, and all this for me, all out there just a short distance away.

The truth is that inspiration is waiting for us everywhere we look at this time of year, so get out there and be inspired!

Allow yourself to ‘Spring into Creativity’ and follow these hot tips to ensure your creativity gets some regeneration and feeding this month:

1. Get out into the natural world –  Go visit the countryside, have at least one trip out this month, have a picnic, visit your local woods (the bluebells will be out!), spend some time in your garden. Wherever you go take a notepad with you and record the impact Spring has upon you and your surroundings.

2. Visit a place of beauty- Dudmaston inspired me, and there are many National Trust places with beautiful grounds, go visit one!

3. Try something new – With the new life we see in Spring, why not try something you’ve never tried before in your artistic endeavours?

4. Get rid of something old – Spring clean your art! If it doesn’t work for you no more, chuck it out and move on!

5. Choose one thing to take forward this year – Decide on one aspect of creativity that you would like to concentrate on/develop in this coming year. Find out what you can about it, and allow yourself the joy of exploring it!

6. Stop and notice for one hour a week – Stop the ride of your everyday life and notice what is around you, at least for one hour a week. Find somewhere quiet and peaceful, and allow yourself to be inspired!


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