Personal Brand Strategist

All Posts by Dale Darley

Keep On Top Of Your Mental Health and Fear With A Journal

Every year World Mental Health Day is observed on the 10th of October. This year 2020, it was on a Saturday and the focus was kindness.

I chose that instead of working or being involved online I would show myself some kindness. I did an online art class, walked the dogs, chilled on the terrace and watched some NetFlix.

In my chilled moments I did reflect on some of my mental health issues and how I overcame them.

The thing with mental health is that there are often no obvious signs that someone is suffering until their body complains, they are overcome with emotions like fear and then it can feel like it is too late.

For some, it has become too late.

Anxiety and depression can affect anyone.

When I was in the corporate world mental health was rarely discussed, but as a senior manager, I was very aware when people around me were not coping. Many a private conversation, a cuppa and a walk in the fresh air have provided someone with the space to be heard and to be empowered to take some other action towards better choices.

This is not always the case when you work alone or you are living with others whose needs come first.

Over ten ago, I found myself in front of the doctor complaining that despite the many miles I trudged every day with my dog, I couldn’t breathe. He asked me some questions and suddenly there was a space to be heard.

We talked about who I was living with, what the relationship was like, work and general health. I explained that for the previous two years I’d struggled with sleep and had tried everything I could think of. I remember him laughing at the comprehensive list I handed over. He glanced over it and said quietly ‘you have anxiety and it is no wonder.’

“There is hope, even when your brain tells you there isn’t.” ― John Green

The miracle of Prozac and my journal

Walking away with a prescription for Prozac felt like the end of the world. I felt a failure. I felt ashamed. But before long I was sleeping and a calm descended.

Despite feeling ashamed of giving in and although I didn’t want anyone to know, I found myself sharing with two friends.

Then I had an exit strategy. Changing my diet and writing in my journal became an essential part of my healing.

I was a bit silly with my diet and cut out practically everything that could possibly be an allergen to anyone, ever. Losing vast quantities of weight did nothing for my skin and my skinny legs looked more matches like every day. I didn’t love me so I couldn’t and didn’t look in the mirror.

By the Christmas of that same year, I stopped taking them. Then the then husbands mother came to live. She had dementia and he was a bully, I felt trapped and alone so I went back on the pills. It was the only way I could cope.

Knowing it was time to go

I poured my heart into my journal and I recall one night when lying awake staring at the ceiling I knew it was time for me to die. While everyone slept I Googled ways of dying. They all looked painful. Instead, I screamed silently into the slumbering beams.

Held by the most fragile gossamer, I realised I wasn’t meant to die but I was dead inside.

Shortly after his mother’s death, I weaned myself off Prozac (again) and tried to get back to some normality.

Waking up and moving on

As luck would have it, I discovered that this person had been living a double life. That was the catalyst I needed to get the hell out of dodge.

The dogs and I hightailed it out of town and onto a new country.

That was enough to send anyone into a spin. I used to stuffing my emotions down decided to let them all out and through journaling and writing books found a way to love myself.

Fast forward to a new fear

The trouble was because I had stuffed my emotions down for many years my body was taking the toll.

In January 2018 several years after I left the bully, my spine fractured and so it seems did my life.

I was diagnosed with osteoporosis. It didn’t surprise me to learn that there is a link between this and depression.

I was scared. But also determined. Somewhere under my thick woolly jumper was a brave soul who was not going backwards into a slump.

The specialist doctor simply handed me a prescription and told me to go to the gym. I was in immense pain. The fear escalated like nothing before.

The prescription went in the bin, out came a brand new journal and before long I was researching and writing.

The fear took it’s time to abate. Feel the fear always reminds me of a book called Feel the fear and do it anyway. However, the last thing I wanted was to feel the fear, or do it, whatever ‘it’ was, I wanted answers. I wanted information and knowledge so that I could work through the fear in my way.

How could I take action, if I didn’t know what I was up against? Sure I knew that the medical system that I had just encountered would not support me, but I had to know what this thing was and how you reverse it. Knowledge is power, and without it you are helpless.

In my journal, I asked what was going to come at me next? In some way, I needed to know that I could press a cancel button and this would all go away. It didn’t. At least not straight away.

Some people tell us that the opposite of living in or with fear is to live fearlessly, but these words don’t resonate with me either. I don’t like it because the fear word is part of it. Although I like the idea of being fear-less so that there is less fear.

It’s more how you reframe it – I think. This is where lots of other things like faith, trust and courage come into play. These are the friends of fear.

Emotions and triggers

I kept wondering why if the bodies prime objective is to keep you safe, why did I hurt so much? This was both physical and emotional pain. I certainly did not feel safe.

Fear is another emotion, like anger, sadness, joy, and love. In this case, the fear was triggered by a perceived threat. I felt threatened by osteoporosis and the system. I knew enough about osteoporosis as my mum has lived with it for years and that scared me too.

Triggers can come at you from anywhere, and this was certainly happening. Think for a moment outside of fear, what might trigger you to become angry or to have a gorgeous belly laugh.

The trouble was that I am visual and I could see all kinds of devastation coming at me from different angles. Which was crazy. Right at the point of hearing my bad news, I knew that my mind would go into temporary insanity. And that’s ok, I figured that’s normal, and I can deal with it. I kept saying over and over again I can deal with this, I can do it, I can…

Fight or flight

I used to teach assertiveness skills, so I knew intellectually that in relation to fear, there were several ways that we typically respond. One is to fight and another is to run away. This is known as the fight or flight response.

When we sense danger, our bodies release hormones to an area of the brain called the amygdala. Depending on your response to the danger you may experience a number of things. For example, you may get a racing heart or a bad tummy.  What’s important is that you recognise your typical response.

This response is due to cortisol and adrenaline being released into the body. They, in turn, signal the adrenals (on top of your kidneys) to release hormones. Adrenaline increases your heart rate, blood pressure and the amount of glucose (sugar) in the bloodstream.

Cortisol also releases increased amounts of glucose into the bloodstream, which your brain needs to deal with the perceived threat. Glucose is food for the brain. The brain with an increased supply of food can do its work. When the fear response diminishes everything goes back to normal.

Problems arise when we constantly live in fear. You may have heard people who are newly diagnosed with something saying that they are constantly tired. That’s possibly because unconsciously they are fearful and the adrenals are taking a pounding. Not only was I in pain, but I was also immensely tired. My body was certainly responding to all of the triggers.

Say hello to panic

The other thing you may do is panic. What the ‘beep’ am I going to do? Panic is normal, and it’s usually our first response. Think for a moment when as you are driving away from home to go on holiday and you ask, did I turn the iron off? What happens? Yes, panic.

Then you calm down as you go through those final steps of closing up the house and you can see yourself doing what you always do, and the iron is off. Of course, you can ring a friend and ask them to pop in to check so that you feel reassured.

Fear will attach itself to the memory of the event, and you will code and remember this memory as a time of potential unpleasantness. Then what we often do is future pace our fear, and this becomes anxiety. You start to worry about things that may never happen.

Sometimes this endless worrying does bring about the event, something which is called a self-fulfilling prophecy. You have through constant mithering have given your body permission to bring you the thing that you fear the most.

Then there is the interference we mentioned earlier. Once you feel fear, it starts to interfere with your rational and conscious thought. The knock-on effect if you let fear take control it can have a longer-term negative impact on your health.

Fear, chaos and osteoporosis

So if you have something like osteoporosis you are sending more signals to your body which will impact your healing. All of these chemicals while having a place in keeping us safe are now contributing and feeding the condition we want to reverse.

So here we are on the playground of chaos. Before order will always be chaos. Some call osteoporosis a dis-order which to me is a system out of order. When you view your emotions and understand that you have a system that is not in order or is in chaos, it’s easier (sort of) to know that order will follow.

All will be revealed. True you cannot be certain of what is going to happen next, but the truth is old perceptions need to die. Chaos must be allowed to roam free to stir things up, so that you can start to make sense of it all

How your body responds

It can seem like time has ground to a halt as you process the news that will change your life.  When I was at the chiropractor the day after I had my x-rays done, a few minutes after he delivered his verdict, I was in the bathroom.

My body reacted through the digestive system. It usually does. Years of preparing to go on stage to deliver a talk and needing the bathroom right up to the point of speaking is now a distant memory. I learned to breathe through this and now I actually I love presenting. So over time, I unlearned my response. Because there was nothing to fear, in fact speaking on stage is exciting.

But is it exciting to learn that you have been labelled with a potentially life-changing dis-ease? No, it’s not, but what is exciting is understanding that you can use your knowledge of this response to turning things around for the better.

Before I reached the exciting part I had to deal with the fear, but something else was eating away at me more, and that was trust and betrayal. I started to not trust my mind and was constantly thinking about how my body was betraying me. I was asking crazy questions about whether I could trust it to heal. I knew that it could, but this acid from my past was eating at my intuition and my intellect.

Quelling the ghosts of the past

Some choose to see a therapist or counsellor, some open wine, I choose journaling and walking the dogs.

Before I could deal with the osteoporosis, I needed to quell the ghosts from the past. So that’s what I did. I went back and looked at every time I felt betrayed and where I had misplaced my trust, and I wrote letters to each person, burnt them and let them go. When I felt cleansed, I turned to my body and considered what is the opposite. In the case of fear, it might be courage. This helped me to put what was going on in context.

You do not need to push it away, feel into it or embrace it and you certainly do not need to feed it. Noticing fear is creating a deeper connection to the bones of who we are. We create a relationship with it as we might another human, and you learn things such as trust, and faith. You trust the trigger, and you have faith and courage to deal with it. This is not a time to apply intellectual thinking, this is a time for as I have said, faith, trust and courage.

Surrender

Surrender is a journey from acceptance, to letting go and onto inner peace.

It is also a time to surrender. This is not giving up this is not about waiting for miracles or asking some higher force to step in and take over. This is asking for what is needed for your highest good to be met. I was busy trying to set outcomes such as I want to reverse osteoporosis within six months and I want my fractures to heal by April 2018. We do this don’t we, set outcomes based on business rules or others expectations and based on our fear?

When you surrender remember that the key foundational thing that we need here is self-love, compassion and kindness. Once I allowed the bile to bite into my fear and faith, I asked myself did I love myself enough to deal with this? So once again I found faith and courage through self-love (kindness and compassion) and went to work on betrayal and trust.

I could see a cycle where I was prejudging myself and others because I didn’t trust that they were doing the best for me and I would not get the outcome that I desired. This leads to fear. And around we go.

When you get into this vicious cycle, a natural reaction is to isolate yourself. This is another aspect of staying safe, but isolation does not create safety. Instead, it sends a message to your cells, and they in their wisdom follow your orders and start to not communicate with the other cells in its community. Without this vital connection, healing cannot take place.

Journaling my way back to me

Sense prevailed as I journaled and the more I acknowledged my hurts and opened my eyes to another lesson the grip of terror reduced. I started to view my predicament with grace, compassion, kindness and love.

But this wasn’t before I had contemplated not being here. I wanted off this planet. Knowing that my dogs would be ok, I had a will and a funeral plan, made it somehow easier for others when this useless life and body were gone.

At night I wrote furiously and in the morning when I was licked (by one of said doggies) I was pleased that the only savagery I committed was with a pen.

How about I asked if I embrace what I have learned and choose what I want instead? What if this detour was actually the route to my salvation? I understood that I was being taught about faith and trust. I considered that rather than feel fear what if I felt excitement at the prospect of turning this around and doing some more letting go of my fractured past?

Fear and excitement

Fear and excitement trigger similar responses. One can have not so great effects, and one doesn’t. They are both drivers to change. It is up to us to make conscious choices.

One thing that always works for me is this journaling exercise. I use the word fear and find another meaning. As an example

  • F- Feeling fabulous when in FLOW
  • E- Excitement
  • A – Acceptance
  • R – Release

Or

  • F- Faith
  • E- Excitement
  • A -Acceptance
  • R- Resilience

Have a go while you focus on your situation. It’s quite fascinating what comes out when you look at fear this way. It makes it easier to surrender. Surrendering, faith and trust are like muscles, like writing and journaling, it gets better and easier the more that you practice.

Take a walk once you have written. Take time to reflect. Physical activity can have a positive effect on your mental health.

If hindsight were a currency, I would be rich. If writing in a journal were a paid profession I’d be a mega-billionaire.

I have found that writing in a journal has saved my life many times. It may yours. Have a go, you just may find a safe place to find who you are and heal.

Kindness journaling prompts

Staying with the kindness theme for 2020 here are some suggested journaling prompts.

  1. What 5 acts of kindness will you do today?
  2. What was the kindest thing you have done for someone? Write about this made you feel!
  3. If I could do one kind thing for any one person in the world, I would…

Please look around you, one of your friends could be where I was. You might be there now.

Buy them a journal with love and be prepared to hug and listen.

Go well today and every day. With love.

Kickstart your journaling with one of these journaling books.

Get Out Of Your Comfort Zone And Explore Your Purpose

Over the last few weeks, I have been feeling restricted and limited. I know why. My oldest dog – Ferdy – was getting weaker and thinner, and I knew that I would have to say goodbye soon. I had been determined he would go in his sleep because I knew that I didn’t want to take him to the vet. And I can tell you, stepping out of my little ‘perfect world’ bubble was not comfortable.

Ferdy Dog – King of our house

Now I am not likening losing a beloved animal with being in or out of a comfort zone, more that sometimes we have to do things that are right for all concerned – no matter how uncomfortable it can seem for us personally.

There have been many times when I have pushed myself beyond what I thought I could do. When I reflect back I can see that I am not a feel the fear and do it anyway kind of person, I am more of a let’s just get this thing done person.

Until I was, like many, in lockdown and what followed, I hadn’t really thought about how predictable life had become. Yes, I live in a remote place. No, there is not really anywhere I want to go to. Yes, I am content. No, I don’t yearn for many material things. There was one thing I wanted which was to go and visit my friends across the water for my birthday, and that is not to be. How foolish it seemed to get on a plane and have to spend the time I had available to see people in isolation – I can do that at home.

But what did come up for me was my business. Some of the things I was doing left me feeling unfulfilled, but I had been afraid to change. I knew what I was doing, and so I argued why change?

I was asked recently by my coach, what are you worst at? Starting, changing or stopping? It didn’t take me long to know the answer – stopping. I have found it hard to stop and for a multitude of reasons. I guess it’s a bit like hoarding – you just don’t want to let things go.

What about you? Do you feel like your life has become predictable? Is it unfulfilling and boring? Are you ready to pursue your purpose? Or follow a long-held passion? Is your vision calling you?

Deciding you need to make a change means you need to revise your current way of life. Perhaps do a bit of a declutter. Start in the kitchen and throw all of your out of date food away and donate what you will never eat to the food bank. This could make way for a healthier lifestyle. Er, yes I have shocked myself with what I had stuffed in my cupboards.

I looked at what I was doing in my business and drawing in a deep breath, did a massive declutter of my online courses. I updated some and some I chucked in the bin! I looked at a book I was writing and asked is this the direction I want to take this?

Mostly I thought about the things I desired from my heart and asked if I was fulfiling my purpose?

Somehow I had followed a path that said this should be what I did, rather than connect to my heart and ask for the truth.

What was wonderful in that deep discarding and searching for clues was that I did find answers that were so obvious that they were obvious.

We build layers around our comfort zone, and it becomes like a little next for us to hibernate in. I may have my moon in cancer, but that is no excuse.

What you will also now know about me now is that when I make a decision, I just get on with it. Ok, I’ll admit that there were parts of my business that I have wanted to dump for about four years. But it felt like I had decided overnight…

Getting out of your rut or cosy nest

Whatever type of change you are making (or proposing), there are some simple things you can do to get out of your rut and begin living your purpose.

●       Figure out what makes you happy. Ok – this can be easier said than done. But ask yourself, what lifts your spirits or makes your heart sing? Is it being in nature or playing sports or music? Is it reading or creating art? Maybe you love helping people. Make a list and take action on it to bring more joy into your life and start taking steps to live your life purpose. I recently discovered the joy of online art classes. Falling into my creativity on a Saturday morning is bliss. Creativity forms part of my purpose.

●       Begin saying yes to the things you want to do but are afraid of. Get out of your comfort zone and try something new or challenging. Be open to new experiences that make you feel good. Saying YES is a powerful way to connect to a more abundant life. I encourage my clients to say yes more often.

 ●       Get rid of the clutter. Too much stuff holds you back. Clutter isn’t just the junk in the kitchen cupboard. Limiting beliefs, spending mindless hours scrolling social media or watching television, and bad lifestyle habits are all forms of clutter. Only last night, I challenged my group to declutter their kitchens – this makes way for a healthy lifestyle.

 ●       Make a list of things you want or need to stop doing. Practice saying no to what doesn’t bring you joy that you can control. Eliminate the energy-draining tasks that aren’t necessary. It’s also saying no as a complete sentence. Practice that today, just say no.

 ●       Say No to fear. Fear stops you from taking risks. When you don’t take risks, you don’t step into living your life with purpose. Notice when you are letting fear guide you and set your foot down on it. A great thing to do with fear is to spell out the words in the moment you feel it rising. Take each letter, make a new word and then create a new story. F-fabulous, E- endearing, A-agreeable, R-reality.

Commit to taking control of your life and leaping into one that fulfils your purpose with joy.

One way to do this is to imagine that you are in a field with a perceived boundary. It appears that there is no way out. But, take a breath and look again. Picture a portal in front of you – I call this the Venus Gateway. A portal which sits in your heart and which through you can adventure.

Walk up to and step up to the portal (fans of Stargate – imagine that), there are just three steps. Take another breath, take the three steps down the other side. You are now in the field of possibilities.

Look around and let your imagination flow. There are no boundaries, no fluffy toys or cuddle blankets – just opportunities and possibilities.

What do you learn, and what can you bring back to implement?

Staying in your comfort zone keeps you from changing and growing

You know that, right? It holds you back from going after what you want while enjoying the experiences of life. You miss out on the opportunities that will stretch you and give you strength. We are here in this human guise to experience life – so let’s do that.

When you want a life with purpose and meaning your comfort zone keeps you from advancing your business, career, going for your goals, and reaching for you’re the possibilities that make life worthwhile. It keeps you from pursuing what brings you joy.

Stepping out of your comfort zone can be scary. Yikes, is that what it looks like on the other side, you may be pondering? But it is where you will find the excitement and joy of the life you desire. If it’s too scary to jump completely into your purpose, take small steps – chunk it down, baby!

Staying in your comfort zone robs you of growth – even painful growth. It keeps you from changing, being and becoming who you are meant to be. It keeps you from stepping up to the stage (Thank you Wembley) and letting the world hear what you have to offer.

Living in your comfort zone robs you of new experiences that make your life worth living. It steals your right to live a fulfilling and enriching life.

Are you stuck in your comfort zone?

“Train yourself to let go of everything you fear to lose.” – Yoda

Ok, these times are odd, and we know that your comfort zone is a space you create around yourself where you feel safe. But, you can become trapped in this space and not even realize it because you have become accustomed to the way you do things and how you are living.

Staying in your comfort zone keeps you from realizing you are denying yourself of the possibility of living a fulfilling, purposeful life and playing in the field of possibilities.

Five signs you are stuck in your comfort zone

1.     You aren’t motivated to start any new projects or make plans for something new. Aka losing your mojo.

2.     You have a fear of taking risks, missing out on good opportunities. You don’t have to take silly, big risks – try a little baby one right now… Perhaps go for the orange lipstick instead of beige – guys too 🙂

3.     You’ve done things the same way for years. You have the same routine you do for everything. Today, keep taking the left instead of right or straight on – who knows where you will end up…

4.     You fight against new ideas. Especially ones that don’t fit into your current routine or ideals.

5.     You aren’t learning new things that will actually make a difference in your life.

What would you add to your list – given that you know yourself so well? My invitation is to take each one and to turn it into a question. E.g. You fight against new ideas, can become, who would I be if I embraced new ideas? You can then go onto do an ideas storm for where you want to go next. Perhaps this will lead to your brilliant vision?

Exploring your purpose

It’s impossible to know your purpose without some level of self-reflection. To reveal your purpose, asking the right questions will help you get the results you seek. Reflect on the answers when you ask yourself these questions. Keep an open mind, and you will emerge with an open heart.

 Your first step in the new chapter in the book of your life is instead of thinking about what defined you before, consider who you are now and who you want to become.

 Here are some questions for your journal

  • How would you spend your time if you only had one year to live? When we have a deadline, we are more likely to focus on the important stuff and let everything else go. Be aware of what comes to mind. These are the things worthy of consideration. Could you spend your life engaged in these interests?
  •  How do you want to be remembered by others? Your children, friends, family and your community (tribe) remember you? Consciously think about how you’d like others to remember you and put a plan together to live your life that way. This is what having a living vision board gives you.
  • What did you love doing as a child? What did you spend hours doing as a child that you no longer do? As young children, we aren’t concerned about what others think, and we’re clear on what we like and don’t like. I was often lost in my imagination, creating stories and following my intuition. It’s no surprise that what came out of my me audit was writing novels.

We do things because we like them until we become teenagers and social pressure with the need to impress others steers us away from what we love to do. Adulthood finds us concerned with the practicality of our choices. We just lose sight of what we want doing what others say we should…

  • What level of discomfort can you handle? Everything has an uncomfortable, boring, rough, or awful side at some point. Your life purpose will be no different. Rejection is just a part of the journey. How will you deal with it?
  • Who inspires you now? Think about the people that you respect and admire. What about them inspires you? Could you incorporate them into your own life in some way?

This last question is the one that I love the most. My role is to inspire my clients to become the inspiration that they seek.

“If you want more hope for your future, go help someone else and have more hope for their future.”  Germany Kent

I believe that we are at a point in humanity where we all have to step up and be good role models – to inspire others to be and become.

It’s like a set of dominos. If I can inspire you to create that thing that is dear to your heart and very existence – then you will, if you take action, inspire someone else.

Where next?

All of this contemplating will hopefully move you out of your comfort zone into the field of possibilities and got you thinking, mmm, where next?

When there is purpose in your life, you have a driving need to follow certain goals, to live a specific way and to not be wandering each day aimlessly without a particular direction. Purpose keeps you motivated to continue working on your goals, even when the task is difficult, or you face obstacles. It gives your life meaning, brings more joy into everything you do and gives a brighter outlook for your future.

 People who have a purpose in life tend to enjoy life (and are healthier) more than those who do not have a clear life purpose. They know what they want and go after it. They have a clear idea of what they want from life and a definite plan for how to achieve a fulfilling and joyful life.

  • Ask yourself questions that require you to look deep into what you want. Hopefully, you have already done that with the questions above.
  • Connect to your heart and ask it to guide you.
  • Meditate and listen to your heart’s desires.
  • Dig deep in your journal and then reflect. It’s in the reflection that the aha’s come.

Self-reflection and knowing your inner self are required in order to find your life purpose. Ask yourself the necessary, tough questions and listen to the answers. Listen to the whispers of your soul.

Take time to find your life purpose. It takes work and can be eye-opening. However, when you do find your purpose, you become focused on living your life to meet that purpose.

Once you have a good idea of life purpose, the next step is to determine how to incorporate the knowledge into your life. Wishes and ideas are the easy part; it’s the implementation that is challenging.

Just so you know, my purpose is to inspire others to create something of meaning so that they can become an inspiration to others.

My vision is of a world where each of us inspires someone else in some way to be who we are meant to be.

My mission is to create a community with inspiring people from all walks of life, who do one thing each day to make them feel proud.

Call me idealistic, but I believe that each of us has the capacity for great love and we have enough of this love energy to share a bit of it each day so that our fellow humans can connect in commUNITY with us to inspire others to be their best selves.

It just takes a little step outside of our rigid comforting areas into this vast expanse field of possibilities and do the things that are fulfilling, purposeful and full of meaning.

Do I always feel warm and fuzzy about life? Of course not? I have my moments when I could smack someone in the face for being a [insert swear word of your choice]. But as my dear mum says – I am only human – it’s allowed.

And as the beautiful Heather Small sings – what have you done today to make you feel proud?

Perhaps you feel inspired and ready to rock? Come and join me…

EN:VISION is a live boot camp (and online course – self-paced) which enables you to design a vision based on insight and clarity so that your living vision board delivers results not only when you create it, but for years to come.

EN:VISION has three parts which are design, create and action and seven steps:

  • Insight
  • Clarity
  • Create
  • EN:VISION in the field of possibilities
  • Focus
  • Action
  • Feedback

This ensures that before you start, you are CLEAR and ready to DESIGN the life and business you desire. When you CREATE, you will have all of your keywords, images, affirmations and power statements ready. EN:VISION is all about enabling your vision. Finally, you will know how to FOCUS your energy, what aligned ACTION to take and how to use FEEDBACK.

In case you are wondering EN:VISION stands for enabling visions.

101 Days Of The Journey of the heart – Positive affirmations – #2

Today I am exploring the bucket list for my soul.

What’s on your bucket list?

Start with the mundane and then bring in the magical.

The 101 days process is…

  • Watch and get an affirmation
  • Reflect on the affirmation
  • Use it during the day
  • Turn it into a question
  • Answer the question
  • Look for insights
  • Start the gratitude journaling process
  • Say what you are grateful for
  • Look for the challenge and lessons
  • Look for the gift
  • Say what you appreciate about this learning
  • Look for insights

Who is with me?

You can follow my daily random affirmations or sign up to 101 days and get a daily email.

Let’s make the next 101 days count and then celebrate.

101 Days Of The Journey of the heart – Positive affirmations – #1

When I recorded this it was 101 days to my birthday. 101 is an important number to me.

When I came to Spain I spent 101 days talking into my phone about how I felt. This was my personal growth program.

Eventually, I deleted them all – just as I burn journals – I needed to let the energy go.

Then I created 101 days of being me which is an email course and the quotes and affirmations went into a little book of positive affirmations to get you through the day. 2020 has been an odd year, in case you hadn’t noticed.

So, I’m making a promise to me that the next 101 days count.

The 101 days process is…

  • Watch and get an affirmation
  • Reflect on the affirmation
  • Use it during the day
  • Turn it into a question
  • Answer the question
  • Look for insights
  • Start the gratitude journaling process
  • Say what you are grateful for
  • Look for the challenge and lessons
  • Look for the gift
  • Say what you appreciate about this learning
  • Look for insights

Who is with me?

You can follow my daily random affirmations or sign up to 101 days and get a daily email.

Let’s make the next 101 days count and then have a big online party…

Days of Gratitude – Failure, feedback and being fabulous

What happens to you when you see or hear something about you which screams FAILURE? Or makes you recall feelings of failure?

What is your first reaction?

Mine is a tightness in my chest, in my heart and I feel my body, especially my shoulders and neck aching – as if I have the weight of the world on my shoulders. And then the thoughts come.

  • “How *bleep* dare they!”
  • “Who the *bleep* do they think they are!”
  • “Right I am going to tell them what I think.”
  • “No one will speak to me again when they see how useless I am.”
  • “I am a failure, I might as well give up.”
  • And on and on and on and on…

It’s like a never-ending mantra which is actually doing you a favour.

Hear me out…

When the words come, explore them.

I do this by sitting quietly and first connecting my heart to the heart of Mother Earth, and breathing gently in and out. Then connecting my heart to the heart of consciousness, and breathing gently in and out.

Then I bring to mind the event and experience and muse, allowing my mind to wander.

Finally I write in my journal.

I might ask a question ‘what if I didn’t give up, who would I be?’

The sins of the teacher visited on the children

In the playground, the teacher touched my father’s arm and said: “I am sorry but she will never go to university.” I wasn’t sure at the time what that was, but I knew that wherever we were being channelled I wasn’t good enough or clever enough to go there.

The playground swirled around me and my head throbbed, I can still recall the blur whipping around me. In that instance, that teacher had condemned and labelled me a FAILURE.

Not long after, my year ran a competition, I don’t remember what the point of it was, but there were 50 questions that we had to answer, some we knew and some required that you use your initiative, undertake research or ask your mum and dad.

Something in me said I will win this and I did.

But getting on stage to receive my prize of a packet of felt pens was not a success, I felt that everyone was looking at the girl who wasn’t going to university and thinking, she must have cheated.

At 16 I was expelled, I was bored, classes were too slow, and why would anyone want to spend time helping a disruptive child? Just before getting expelled one teacher took me under her wing and I adored her, she really made a difference, but it was too late and not long after I was out on my ear.

I lurched from crap job to crap job and ended up in the civil service, mind-numbing work, and people whose job title dictated who they would talk to and how.

I hated it.

And there, in the midst of it all was Mrs Glover, she saw a spark and set me free. I was allowed to go to college to study, and I loved to learn again.

Later in my 30’s, I went to university, and I got an MBA.

But you see that wasn’t good enough and I just kept on taking courses and always hard ones, I had to prove that I could and I was not a FAILURE.

In 2009 I took my last two courses, at the same time – ILM level 7 executive coaching and mentoring certificate and an NLP practitioners certificate – I passed – of course, I did, I worked hard…

And then I saw two more masters courses that I fancied one in therapeutic writing and one in business psychology and these I thought would make me more successful.

I don’t know what stopped me, perhaps it was the FEEDBACK I was getting from my peers, customers and friends, perhaps I had stopped for a moment and smelt the coffee, perhaps I was starting to believe in me?

I’ll tell you now, recognizing my gifts has taken years… But it has to start somewhere.

What do you do when you get feedback?

I am always grateful for the lesson and the feedback. These are gifts.

Gratitude will shift you to a higher frequency, and you will attract much better things. – Rhonda Byrne

Day 8 Gratitude will shift you to a higher frequency, and you will attract much better things. – Rhonda Byrne

What do you hear when you get verbal feedback from a client? Or read a testimonial?

I can tell you what happens with me. I smile and sometimes cry. I stare at the words and think – that’s me.

What I always do is to say thank you. I put my hands on my heart and feel into the appreciation.

If you have 15 minutes to spare, here is a video about gratitude.

Take a moment to think again about how you feel about feedback and testimonials.

I loved the course. It’s the perfect blend of inspiration and challenge. The units are well thought out to stimulate healing and growth. The meditations are both beautiful and powerful. Dale’s energy and compassion shine through throughout so that you know you are held and heard in a truly safe space. I have emerged, changed and empowered.

Did you hear (or read), wow what you did there was amazing.

Or

Did you hear, blaaaaar  – fail, failure, doomed?

How we give and receive feedback is so important, and I am going to stick my neck out and tell you that how you receive feedback, is vital to your personal growth.

It is, of course, your responsibility to choose your response, to ask what does this really mean to me, and how can I learn from this?

If the feedback was not so great, same questions and…

What needs to change (or not) or to simply acknowledge that someone else didn’t like what you did, in their opinion.

I know it takes a brave person to suck it in, let it settle and to then see the learning to be gained and that this is an opportunity.

When someone slated an early book of mine, out in the open, on the internet for all to see.  At that moment I wanted to die, runaway, join a circus, change my name, anything but to be reading their sarcastic rude comments, and in the next moment I smiled, yes I smiled. I said it doesn’t matter why and what they said what matters now is what I do with it.

The book was course material that I put together to give my students – and print on demand was an easy way to get copies and so I put it out there, changed it a few times and forgot about it. Life got in the way. I know foolish, but hey, we all do stuff that comes back to bite us on the bum.

I have learnt from this, of course, I have and I want to thank everyone who has ever given me feedback, positive and negative because you have helped me to:

  • Become who I am
  • Feel comfortable with mistakes
  • Accept that being imperfect is ok
  • Learn my craft better
  • Help my clients in ways I could never have dreamt of because I can put my hand on my heart and say ‘yes me too, been there done that and got the T-shirt’

Hold this in your heart, turn hearing FAILURE into FEEDBACK and you will feel FABULOUS.

It can be a hard path putting your hurt aside, but when you do and look for the lessons, you will see the gifts and you will know just how fabulous you are.

With love, enjoy being fabulous.

Today think of the gratitude you feel when you consider what you have learned through apparent failure (which is only feedback).

Grab your journal take just 3 minutes to write 3 things that you are grateful for which the tough lessons have taught you. If you watched the video, you will see that there is a bit more to gratitude journaling than just saying I am grateful for…

Journal Gratitude and Being Fabulous Prompts

When you get your journal out bring these to mind and write about what you feel grateful for:

  1. What has been the biggest thing you have learned about an apparent failure?
  2. If you could go back what would you tell yourself?
  3. How will you use this learning going forward?
  4. What are you most grateful for in this learning?

Grab yourself a copy of The Little Book Of Gratitude Journaling Prompts and keep it by your bed for inspiration.

The Little Book of Gratitude Journaling Prompts
Books

Gratitude And The Perfect Day Exercise

What I love about a perfect day exercise is that you can do it any time. As a long term journaler, I believe in the power of the pen and the power of envisioning what you want through expressing my desires on paper. One of the keys to a perfect day is to write it as if it were already true and to then imagine often.

Gratitude prompt for a perfect day

Dog alert at minute 3…

In this video, I take a gratitude prompt from the little book of Gratitude Journaling Prompts.

The way to work with this book is there’s a prompt on every page, and basically what we do is we just let our intuition guide us to the prompt that we want.

“Tomorrow, I will be most grateful for.”

“Being open to gratitude and envisioning your perfect day will help you to step into a brighter tomorrow.”

Your perfect day

Give yourself permission to let your imagination go wild with this one. Make it as far out and as wonderful as your wildest dreams.

Your unconscious mind doesn’t know the difference between reality and imagination if they are both fuelled by an emotional response, so it’s important to fully engage with the sights, smells, tastes, sounds and feel of the situation you are imagining, because reality involves all the senses.

Getting fully involved in the imagining with this exercise will open up your creativity, and you’ll be surprised at the things you will learn about yourself.

And, once you set out a clear description of your perfect day, and focus on it repeatedly, your unconscious mind will do everything it can to balance out the reality it sees with the reality it has been shown.

When I write about my perfect day I like to have meditated and journaled so that whatever needs to come out can and I am a clean slate and an open channel for what I need to express.

I place my trust in what needs to be written rather than forcing it. This quote comes to mind as I consider my perfect day.

With the best will in the world, these things don’t always come off, because not everything we want is what we need. And, of course, stuff happens that takes us off course. However, by writing about your day and allowing your imagination to play and be creative you are opening up to opportunities that you may otherwise miss in your busy life.

Steps

  1. Affirm, meditate and ground
  2. Answer the questions
  3. Write a story, bring it alive
  4. Keep envisioning it and read it often

Affirm your perfect day

Today I am enjoying envisioning my perfect day

Perfect day questions

It’s important to answer them in the present tense, as if you are currently experiencing them and to be as accurate and detailed as you can. Really let your imagination run away with you but try to keep an element of realism.

  • How does your perfect day start?
  • Who are you with?
  • What can you see, hear and feel?
  • What happens next?
  • Where are you going?
  • What will happen when you get there?
  • What do you want to create?
  • Who will enjoy what you create?
  • What are you working on?
  • How does that fill your heart?
  • How does it fit with your goals, desires and intentions?
  • What is the best thing about your perfect day?
  • How does it end?
  • How do you feel as the day draws to an end?

Write your story

Write about your perfect day. Write it as if it were already here. When you have written it, leave it for a day to reflect. It is important that you bring this activity alive and make your experience of your perfect day as rich as possible.

You could start something like this:

“I live in a beautiful traditional house in Scotland, with green fields and hills around me, in the distance I can see the sea. I am woken every day at 5:30 am by the sounds of birds in the garden and the light streaming through my bedroom window…”

And carry on from there.

I promise you, if you get really involved in your story it will write itself.

Write this in a notebook or journal that carries meaning for you, or write it on paper, put the story in an envelope and ask a friend to send it to you on a random day in the future. 

Ideally,  you should write this by hand but if you wrote in on a computer at least make sure to print it out and sign it!

Set your perfect day in stone

By now, the story of your perfect day should be “carved in stone” in your subconscious. You should be able to pretty much recall the story at will. But we’re going to take it one step further.

  1. Create a scene in your mind of an imaginary movie theatre. Imagine yourself walking in and sitting down in the centre of the front row. 
  2. Put the very beginning of your new story on the screen in the form of a freeze-frame. 
  3. Run the story as a movie all the way to the end, as you remain in the front row, watching yourself on the screen. 
  4. At the end of the movie, freeze the frame again. 
  5. Turn up the colours, the brightness and the sounds and then imagine yourself walking into the movie on the screen. 
  6. Fully absorb yourself into the “you” on the screen.

Enjoy your perfect and I wonder when it will become your reality…

5 Fabulous Reasons To Cultivate Self-love

Self-love some of the backstory…

Once upon a time, I felt such shame, guilt and self-hatred for the things that happened in my life and the hand I perceived I was dealt with. I have found myself caught up in my stories. Isolation was my default stance. When I couldn’t bear things any longer I would hide. I used to hide from my ‘truth’ and in doing I ended up not loving me.

What I have come to realise that my crappy life is a fabulous gift. Writing has been and continues to be my saviour. Through writing, I have learned that I have a right to love.

The most terrifying thing is to accept oneself completely.”  C.G. Jung

Not just writing if I am honest – pure bloody-mindedness as well.

When I was expelled from school, I called my dad at work, expecting the usual telling off. The sting of his words, ‘are you mental or what?’ wrenched my heart. I held back the tears and swallowed hard; he simply put the phone down on me. No one talked or looked at me that week, while I, slightly unconcerned, relished my newfound freedom. A few days later I found myself on a farm with the Moonies. More on this in another blog.

Then I entered the world of work.

Every day I dragged myself out of bed to go work, I wanted more from my life, but I was caught in a limbo land where I couldn’t move. I was trapped, caught in the spider’s web and watching horrified as life passed me by. Don’t get me wrong I have had some wonderful jobs, but I was never fulfilled. I wore the suits and did the stuff and on the inside, I was dying.

I thought that relationships would save me…

What I failed to realise was that it gets easier to deal with things, not that life would get easier. Blinkered and unaware of the tougher times to come I lived in a weird smog. My desire to learn, heal and grow and my knowledge of how to look at things didn’t desert me, but somehow I stranded myself on a loveless Island with strange bedfellows. (not all at the same time…)

One day in what I thought was the sanctity of a boring marriage, the one where I thought was safe, I was delivered a hellish wake-up call.

I relocated my life but not my self-hatred.

Then, slowly I learned about self-love

I don’t know what the turning point was, I think I just decided that something had to give and hating myself was a waste of time.

During this period I came face to face with my demons. I wrote and wrote thousands of words for a book called Journey To Self-Love, that is still not published – but oh boy was it cathartic.

And it saved me. Once again writing saved me.

In writing that book I learned a few things:

  • One, don’t look for the key, the key will find you.
  • Two, the same for love, don’t look for it. Just be it.
  • Three, I have to open my heart to receive love.
  • Four, constant giving of love is all very well, but it doesn’t mean that you will get love and respect back.
  • Five, listen, watch, hear the signs and symbols for they are messages for you. We are always being guided.
  • Six, faith and trust can be hard taskmasters.
  • Seven, loving yourself is awesome and makes such a difference to your life.
  • Eight. Get dogs, they teach you about unconditional love and give great licks when you cry…

The Heart is a gateway

The heart is the gateway to you and your connection with the world. If I hadn’t learned to love me first and create a strong, vibrant connection at my heart first, then I know that the rest of my healing could not take place. Nor would it continue.

The heart chakra which is what we are working on when we think about self-love. This chakra stands for love and the right to love and be loved.

This chakra is about love, self-love, compassion, forgiveness, understanding, generosity, empathy, kindness and connections to other’s hearts. When the heart chakra is healthy, you feel the love flowing through your life, you will think about how you give and receive love.

5 fabulous reasons to cultivate self-love

You learn that self-love is not selfish

It sounds rather narcissistic to say that you love yourself. If you are a preening prancing horse then maybe it’s not so cool. However, the conscious evolved kind of love where you honour and respect who you are is a wonderful place to be. Through this, you start to see that you have value.

It lets you be who you are

I’ve always been a bit quirky or as I was once described a wild child. I’m quite fond of the funny memories that my mum shares. I love to relish the silliness of being just who we want to be. For me, that includes singing to my doggies – they do like it, I’m sure. Dancing with them and generally feeling good about just being rather than trying to please others. When you love you, you can just BE.

Your essence shines through

This is my essence as well as my values. I’m essentially a free spirit (my essence) who dislikes rules and adores freedom (a value). Intuitive and demanding fair play and justice. When you love yourself, it is easier to stand by your values and live your life as essentially you. That is, like above, not being afraid of being seen as you and walking your path, your way.

Acceptance and no judgement

This has to be one of the hardest things to do. Accept and do not judge yourself or others. However, it is one of the most satisfying and for me the funniest ones to do. When I catch myself about to judge me, I eat my words, sing it away, make myself laugh and then quickly reframe. Of course, there is always room for expansion and transformation.

You can stand tall around bullies

Where once you may have had weak boundaries now you hold your head high and let the behaviour of manipulators and bullies pass you by. It becomes easier to say no, without making excuses. And when people try to emotionally blackmail you, you’ll find that it’s stuffed in the trash can as their stuff.

We’ll look at more reasons another day. For now, understand that cultivating self-love is one of the keys to inner peace and contentment.

What about you? What has loving you given you? If you don’t have it, what is the one thing you can do today to start this process and practice?

Let me share one last thing – I ask myself this question, do I love myself enough to…?

From here I know I can make good, conscious decisions.

How Do You Receive Grace?

In book club, on Friday we asked the question – what does Grace mean to you? With a cross-section of people you can expect that we all have a different way of viewing this word. For me it means this:

It’s a gift we get when our prayers are answered. I feel like I am in a safe space, being hugged and supported. I also think of elegance, kindness and compassion. It also makes me think about surrendering in a gentle and humble way.

It seems that we can all find some words, but that there isn’t a definitive answer, which I love. Perhaps because Grace is a feeling? A feeling of being loved?

A phrase comes to mind when I think of something happening to another – there, but for the Grace of God go I. This conjures up feelings of being thankful and blessed.

I’m sure for many the song Amazing Grace will come to mind. For me it’s Neil Diamond – Pretty Amazing Grace

How do you receive grace?

When I asked this question of me, the only things that came were that I needed stillness, acceptance, no judgement and an open heart. I wonder how you do? I think it must be different for all of us.

I think that until you know what it means for you, it will remain difficult to know how you receive it.

How others define Grace

These are the definitions from friends – what would you add?

Mm, as an ex ballet dancer, Grace means how beautifully a body can express feelings without words in the dance, and alternatively great thankfulness.

Good question. To me, the words Grace and love are interchangeable. I think of it as a feeling of complete tranquility and calm, and knowing that you are not alone, and you are part of something wonderful. This morning, I was cuddling Luna, and all of a sudden, I felt a fusion of our energies. I was able to communicate with her, soul to soul, and assure her of my love and support always. To me, that was a true state of Grace. I still feel the vibes from it a couple of hours later.

For me, it’s the word that describes a sacred connection.

Grace would mean prayers, but I’m not very religious, so to me it means style classy elegant genteel and kind

To me, as a Christian, it is the free and unmerited will of God, e.g. in blessings and the promise of salvation.

Contentment.

To me, it means serenity and elegance.

The state of “realizing” we are connected to and in flow with the divine-sacred-whole-authentic-spiritual-beyond physical. For me all this is encompassed in my understanding of the word God, to sacred.

To some/many Grace is tied to Christianity. I don’t know about that. I know I can see something in nature and feel gratitude and remember in a flash that I am always living in a state of Grace. I think we all are but that often we forget. We get caught in the busyness of the physical world, stuck in mental or emotional stress and in physical pain.

When in a state of Grace, we move with serenity and elegance. We are able to say the words others need to heal, we are able to be present.

Grace, to me, means utter acceptance, calm and a clear feeling of being utterly loved and yes, great thankfulness.

A space to be love.

I love the question, Dale! Also the word. For me, surrender to what is (in a positive way), elegance; shades of authenticity and being one’s best self from a soul perspective; beauty, harmony, being in alignment; the opposite of ‘crass’ (could not think of a word); calm. At peace with oneself.

For me, it is a reflection of love, compassion, and kindness.

The vehicle for receiving.

Grace. I have always loved the word, the name and the experience. In a state of Grace, circumstances disappear, and I experience a limitless, totally loving support- often in the most surprising ways.

Grâce (and I love the fact that my autocorrect just put a hat on it) is a moment of the divine. Nothing to do with religion for me. It means ‘thanks to’ in French, and that’s the deep feeling. Gratitude. Being one with all that is. Release.

Peace.

When you peel away all the extra layers of stuff and what’s left is acceptance, truth and beauty. That, for me, is Grace.

For me, Grace means serenity, respect, peace, harmony, compassion, gratitude, acceptance and authenticity.

How do you receive Grace? Good question… I sometimes do ask to receive the strength and Grace to get through something, so I guess I have received it in the form of an energetic power from a source higher than myself.

Questions for your journal

  • What does Grace mean to you?
  • Where does Grace show up in your life?
  • Think of three gifts that you feel have been given from Grace and consider the impact these have made on your life
  • How can you be more open to Grace?

And that’s it a day to ponder what Grace is and how you receive it.

What Does The Heart Chakra Want You To Know?

I wonder how often we ask the heart what it has to say to us?

It’s something I do most days as I work through my chakras and balance my system before starting my day. And it is usually something I do before I start to journal in the evening.

Connecting to the heart chakra

The exercise in this video invites you to get grounded and centred and to then put pen to paper to ask your heart what it wants to say to you.

In just 10 minutes you will be amazed at what comes up.

In this video, I share what I have written to my heart, from my heart. The very act of reading aloud enables you to connect your heart to your throat chakra – the chakra that is about voice, communication and speaking your truth, among other things.

This is where the magic lies.

By speaking aloud and from the heart you will hear the energy of your words.

Think of the throat as the gateway to your imagination and intuition and if that is blocked, then how can you communicate with them?

What if the thoughts that are being processed at the crown chakra cannot be expressed at the throat?

Imagine what unexpressed thoughts (as well as emotions)  can do to your mind and body and how that might manifest in disease.

In the opposite direction lies your heart chakra, the gateway to self-love and love for others and the gateway to your spiritual and physical self.

Any words you are stuffing words down pushes them back towards the heart and onwards through the solar plexus and to the sacral.

What if your inner child has never been able to express themselves, think of how you might be either silent or speak in only harmful ways.

The power of expression is not just about words, consider how you may love to sing, but have been told you have a terrible voice or that your art is dreadful, how does that make you feel? Angry, unheard, unseen, small, unworthy, dull or uninteresting?

When we are unable to express ourselves we often feel unsafe and ungrounded.

This exercise will help you to balance and align all of your chakras and you will come to not only know yourself better, but you will also find your voice,

I’d love to know how this went for you.

Do you love to journal? The little book of journaling prompts for the heart, is perfect for keeping by your bedside.

The Little Book of Journaling Prompts For The Heart

PS: This exercise is from my book Writing To Heal – Navigating Life Through The Chakras. Sign up for the checklist below and I’ll let you know when it is being published.

101 Positive Affirmations To See You Through The Day – Day #4

It’s day four of positive affirmations to see you through the day.

For as long as I can remember I have been reading. These days I am no longer lost in Enid Blytons world of adventures with the Secret Seven or The Famous Five. Today I read or listen to more spiritual and personal development books.

I love to learn and so I seek out books that I need in the moment. Today I started to listen to Ask Your Guides by Sonia Choquette. Her style is easy and her stories engaging.

While I was walking I found myself nodding and agreeing and I already know that I will be doing all of the exercises and I’ll learn how to connect with my guides in a more natural and intuitive way.

I’m excited. Books should light you up. Books should inspire you and delight you. At least that’s what I want from them.

So often I have tried to read a book which has been full of promise only to find that I am not engaged.

What is delightful about Sonia’s books is that you can hear her wonderful personality in them and she is so funny. At least I am amused by her tales of derring-do. I feel that I am in her lounge and we are having a girly chat,

My day four quote resonates powerfully with me. I believe that if I didn’t read I would have missed out on some powerful learning.

I am so grateful for everyone who puts faith in their words and publishes so that we can enjoy their wisdom and be inspired to become our best selves.

Books and stories have the power to change the world. Every book I read, whether I dip in or devour to the end has a message for me. What I also learn from books is not only how to be a better human but how to be a better writer.

101 Positive Affirmations To See You Through The Day

Knowledge is power, keep reading and learning

Do you read every day? You might read blogs or books; it doesn’t really matter as long as reading is a part of your life.

You can learn a lot about you and life. I read a lot of non-fiction and keep a journal by my side to reflect on the text or questions posed.

I also glean a life lesson from non-fiction. At the end of a piece of fiction and pause – what did I learn from the protagonist’s adventure?

Today I am

Today I am knowledge.

Contemplate on what knowledge the last thing you read gave to you. What will you do with that knowledge? Knowledge, especially self knowledge is freedom, how free to you feel when you let go or use your knowledge wisely?

When I think about Ask Your Guides, I know that this will help me to live a more spirit led life. Already with just chapter one under my belt, I feel open and excited about making more spiritual connections. The first chapter fills me full of confidence that miracles are about to happen, which will soon become every day things.

Get more affirmations to see you through the day

101 Positive Affirmations To See You Through The Day are available to you as a complimentary daily email (sign up here) and in The little book of 101 affirmations to get you through the dayavailable on Amazon

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