Tag Archives | getting rid of things


As you restart ‘normal service’, how about making it a new normal? We’ve all slipped into habits that are not useful to us, so let’s not fall back into those same habits as we begin our normal life routines again.

Have you been working too hard and exhausting yourself? Work smarter: take breaks, do something different when you’re fed up, get more sleep.

Have you been feeling stressed? Take more care of yourself: allow yourself to stop sometimes, give yourself some treats, do something that relaxes you.

Have you been finding it hard to fit in time with family and friends? Timetable them in your planner: make one night a week your social time, your family time, and stick to it.

Have you had so many items on your list of things to do that it’s overwhelming? Pick three out each day that you’ll do and leave the rest on a different list in a different place. Choose one that has been hanging over you, one that really matters, and one you fancy doing. And if you have time to spare, do a bonus one from the other list!

Have you had days where you didn’t have a moment of happiness or laughter? Make it a priority to find something that makes you smile, gives you a warm glow every day.

Above all, remember that this day is your life – keep some perspective. Each day can give you a sense of satisfaction, of achievement, and of loving and being loved. If you put off the things that really matter to you until you have time for them, they may never happen.

Make each day count in making your life happy and fulfilling – we never know if it may be our last chance.

Happy New Year – and new normal!

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We often talk on our programmes about how you can change the story-line in your life, because you are in charge of it. There has been a lot of discussion in our household about the new era we have entered into – the age of Aquarius – and how it is the time to really create the story you want in your life. And it has reminded me that there are a couple of things that are vital to making that transition easier, and more comfortable.

Firstly, we need to be clear about what our criteria are for accepting or rejecting things that have been a part of our lives up until now. This applies whether it is changing jobs, friends, or possessions – it applies to everything. What I mean by criteria is clarity in why you will choose to reject or accept something. For example, I have decided to have another grand sort-out and established that I would only keep in my life those things that make my heart sing. It is a simple but very effective criterion!

Secondly, and equally importantly, we need to be in touch with our own ecology signal – the message from our ‘guts’ that tells us if something is right or wrong for us at this time. This signal will help us to stay comfortable with the change by helping us to pace it to suit ourselves in a true sense.

An example for me was my books: I knew that only some of them genuinely make my heart sing still, yet it is a long-standing habit to buy and save books in case I want to read them again. After much consideration, I decided that I could divide my books into three categories: ones I didn’t want any more and could give away; ones that I love to dip into and have my notes in; and ones that I may want to read again, but can happily store on kindle rather than as physical books. Now I can go through them and clear many of them whilst still feeling good about it – my ecology signal says yes!

When it comes to adding to our story, we equally need to pace ourselves to stay comfortable – this is not an all or nothing game! So go gently, perhaps adding a little bit of new activity, or a gentle beginning to changing a non-useful habit.

It doesn’t matter what pace you go at in changing your story, so long as you do keep gradually evolving that wonderful life of yours. And if you do decide to go for the ‘grand slam’ like I tend to, you are still entitled to keep it comfortable for yourself!

So stop for a moment, next time you are sitting having a cup of coffee or a glass of wine, and ask yourself: ‘Is there anything I want to take out of my life, to evolve my story today, or is there anything I still need to keep even though it doesn’t really fit?’ then ask yourself, ‘what do I want to begin to add into my life to evolve it and myself further?’ And enjoy the answers you get..


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Giving and Taking

We tend to think that people divide into two camps – the givers and the takers – and each camp sees the other as wrong in some way. The givers think that the takers are selfish, the takers think that the givers are stupid! So I like the prompt I received from a friend to consider being both a giver and a taker!

It makes so much more sense to be both. There is a balance in it that is healthy and caters for our differing emotional needs – to be kind and to look after ourselves.

And what was the prompt? Well, we were talking about global warming – as you do! – and what we did and could do about playing our part in making a positive difference. We got on to recycling, and I said that it offended me to throw things away that were perfectly useable, but that no charities wanted, such as electrical goods. Gwynne then told me about the freecycle organisation, and gave me the website address. What a brilliant idea! There are branches in every area, so you can ‘go local’, and you advertise there anything you want to get rid of, and look for things you want. The rules are simple – basically, everything is free!

I love the idea of someone finding my throwaway useful, and me finding replacements for free. And over time it balances itself out – you can get what you want from someone and give someone else what you don’t want, and the circle goes around.

As a principle for life, this one appeals to me generally. It is always worth giving to someone, because someone else will give to you at some point, and the person you gave to will give to another – it all goes around. I like to think that I do live by this in a general sense – and now I have found another way of doing the same thing and contributing to reducing global warming at the same time – brilliant!

At a time when we spend so much money on ‘stuff’, much of which is just not really necessary or even desired, it feels like a useful reminder that we can take a different approach…


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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: www.foe.co.uk/campaigns/waste/issues/reduce_reuse_recycle/


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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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When I was at University, doing my Contemporary Arts BA Degree, we were exposed to many different ways of expressing yourself. We were shown many different ways to access our creativity. One such tool we were given was freeform writing. Freeform writing has many names; Creative Writing, Free Writing, Spontaneous Writing, Speed Writing. Its name has many variations, but it is essentially the same – writing without thinking about it.

The idea is that you just put pen to paper and begin to write, not editing any of what you put down, just allowing to flow and ebb as your thoughts flow and ebb. It is a great way to get stuff out of your head and a great way to brainstorm ideas, by allowing them free expression. To further the brainstorming idea, why not select a topic and Freeform write on that topic?

When you have a creative block, sometimes this can be a useful tool to help vent some of the frustration and work past the block, by accessing not only your conscious but unconscious creativity too. Freeform writing every morning as soon as you wake up can be a good way to access the creative visions of your dreams..

Not only is freeform writing useful for creativity, but I find it incredibly useful for emptying the mind of unwanted thoughts. In fact this is where I use this process most! When you are having difficulty sleeping or you have many negative thoughts in your head that are getting you down, just let rip on a piece of paper, just get all the nasty stuff out! Once you feel that you have emptied your brain of all the ‘stuff’ then throw the paper away, and hopefully you’ll feel a little better and sleep more peacefully!


Try your hand at freeform writing

  1. Always have a little notepad with you – to capture starting points for freeform writing
  2. Using these starting topics spend two full minutes writing everything you can about the topic – don’t edit anything, if your hand stops writing, stop and try another topic
  3. Keep a notepad by your bed – to capture the weird and wild creativity of your dreams, just 3 minutes as you wake up each day
  4. Spend 10 minutes a week just writing anything down that comes into your head – don’t edit it! Just allow it to flow, it may well look like nonsense but in it could be some gems of creative wisdom!
  5. When you are experiencing a creative block – use freeform writing to write out all the angst and maybe tap into some unconscious creativity!
  6. When you are emotionally low, or your head is just full of ‘stuff’, maybe you have difficulty sleeping – use freeform writing to clear your head, write it all down, then throw it away, don’t re-read it or it will start you off thinking again!


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A Gentle Spring Clean

The clocks have just gone forward and it is officially British Summer Time – I know it doesn’t feel like it yet!

But it is a good prompt to do some metaphorical spring cleaning – always more fun than the real thing! How do you do this?

Think of some recurring thought you have which makes you feel bad. For example you may think you are not good enough at something, or that someone else has a ‘down’ on you… your brain will already have suggested something to you.

Now take that thought and write it down or make a pictorial representation of it on a piece of paper. And take the paper, destroy it and bin it!!

Once we have literally got rid of the thought, we need to replace it with something more useful to us, something that helps to build our good mood. So find something equivalent, such as: ‘I am good at ….’ Or ‘X really likes me’. Now write that different thought down in bright colours, or again, make a picture to represent it. Stick it to your computer or your desk for a couple of days, and let it soak into your unconscious – and smile whenever you look at it.

You can repeat the process as often as you like – have a good clear-out and start the spring with a joyful heart!

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