Writing coach and Executive Soul Coach

All Posts by Dale Darley

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

101 Positive Affirmations To See You Through The Day – Day #3

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

I adore this day three quote because it’s when I go into chaos I know the good stuff is coming.

Yesterday I was working on my vision, mission and brand values and for some reason I was going around and around in circles. It probably didn’t help that I woke up in the early hours and was unable to get back to sleep.

However, this morning clarity started to creep in gently like the early morning sun sneaking through the shutters.

What I find works for me is to get it all out, to explore and be curious. And once I have got it all out to let it go and wait for the connections and aha’s.

Chaos is the beginning of wisdom

101 Positive Affirmations To See You Through The Day

So, what about you? Are you curious and open or have you lost your curiosity? Maybe you haven’t, and maybe you have.

I notice that often when in the depths of despair, the mind clouds, and it seems that there is no way out of the grunge.

In these moments, breathe, go for a walk, journal and most importantly open your mind to the curiosities that come.

Today I am

Today I am open and curious.

Stop for a moment, and consider what is bugging you. Breathe into it. Write one word, any word that comes up and around it five more and then journal on what comes up for you.

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

101 Positive Affirmations To See You Through The Day – Day #1

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

We are moving into what is called phase 1 where I live which means we can move around our region, but not inter region. Some businesses will open as will some bars.

I’m remaining at home with the dogs. My choice. I feel like I need more time away from the madness and while I do not know the truth, I choose to consciously control how I feel and what I do.

I’m lucky two people have offered to do my shopping today, which will tide me over to Thursday when I have planned to don mask and gloves and set out for essentials.

Early this morning, I awoke from a disconcerting dream. My bladder wouldn’t let me ponder the dream. That’s something I do find hard to control.

I sat wondering what the day will bring and what I have to accept that I cannot change or control. What do I need to let go of? What can I just let flow?

I certainly can’t change the past and why would I? It’s what brought me here and made me who and what I am.

Every twist and turn in the road was meant to be and even the really awful stuff has given me a gift.

Yet, here in my present moment there I things I want to change. I want to go and meet my friends for cake and tea and to sit by the sea – but not yet. Currently, I cannot control worldwide events and actually I may never be able to control worldwide events.

What I can do is to let go, tune into my heart and let my wisdom lead the way.

Nothing as they say is forever. This too will pass.

What I get from this despite my discombobulation is a feeling of peace that comes from letting the feelings come, observing and letting them go.

101 Positive Affirmations To See You Through The Day – Day #1

My day one quote reminds me that the heart knows best.

101 Positive Affirmations To See You Through The Day

When I let go of what I cannot control and make conscious heart-led decisions my wisdom leads the way

There are many things that you simply can’t change. The past, for example, is long gone. We cannot undo things that happened and the choices that we have made, but we can change how we feel about them and the lessons learned. We can also make conscious decisions about the things presented to us now.

My positive affirmation for today reminds me to make conscious decisions.

Today I am

Today I can distinguish between what I can control and what I can’t, and I make conscious decisions.

Today let go and ask what can you say yes to instead?

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

How to Use Positive Affirmations to Change Your Life

I love affirmations, don’t you?

Positive affirmations are the language of self-talk designed to reprogram your subconscious and boost your vibrational frequency. It might seem strange to do. However, think about the fact that you probably currently use negative self-talk all the time without noticing.

Right now I have been playing with affirmations around my vision. I’ve been getting clarity on my vision, mission and values to that I can set the direction of my life and business.

When I started on my vision it was long and rambling. Over several iterations, I got it right down to…

To inspire my community to heal through writing and write to heal the world.

I’m still working on it and I’ve been adding in some positive affirmations to bring it alive.

However, things keep popping into my mind to derail me. How does the mind do that? How very dare it!

I’m not saying anything like calling myself stupid, but all the same there is my gremlin Gregor nibbling away at me.

It’s easy though to let the Gregors do this, because that is how we are wired. Perhaps Gregor is trying to keep me safe?

How many times have you done something and called yourself stupid or looked in the mirror and allowed negative thoughts coming to mind?

I know when my spine fractured I found it oh so hard to say anything nice to myself.

Negative self-talk affects your confidence, lowers your vibration, and places the focus of your life on the wrong things.

To change yourself, you can use positive affirmations about any issue you want to change. Using the fracture as an example I started to say I am healed, healthy and happy and my bones are healthy and healed. What a difference that made. Naturally, I did more than just chant affirmations, but these played a powerful part in my healing.

With my vision, I am going one step further and making up little ditties. Please don’t laugh…

I joyfully enjoy the fruits of my biz. It’s healthy, wealthy and full of whizz.

What about this one? Every day in every way. My business shines like a sunshine ray.

Ok, so I won’t win a prize for literature, the point is to make them memorable.

To use positive affirmations to help you bring about change I have these tips.

Identify Negative Self-Talk Habits

When you start to write what it is that you want, or in my case my vision, notice what comes up. Before you start using positive affirmations, be more mindful about when and how you’re using negative self-talk. Note these in your journal, very soon you will start to see a pattern which you can then choose to consciously change.

Create Positive Affirmations from Negative Self-Talk

After you write down those negative things, you might see that there are some that fall into like categories. Note what these categories are and perhaps you can choose a priority and notice what happens when you focus on changing these.

For example, if when you are getting ready in the morning, you see yourself in the mirror and say something not so great to yourself – you’ll know that it is in the category of self-esteem. Likewise, when you have those doh moments, these too could fall into the same category, especially if you catch yourself using not so useful language.

You can then create positive affirmations that will raise your self-esteem. “I’m grateful to my body, for everything she does and helping me to be happy, healthy and healed.” Even if you have problems, when you do this, you’ll likely make better choices during the day, and will remember to treat yourself with loving-kindness.

It works, I am proof.

Write Your Affirmations Down

Write down your positive affirmations. You could write your affirmations on small slips of paper and put them in a jar and grab one when you need it. Write them on pretty note cards or post-it notes and stick them where you can see them. For example, you can put one of your affirmations on the bathroom mirror, or on your door so you see it as you’re leaving.

When I was going through my big healing I would write love me notes on post-its and pop them on the fridge before bed. They worked a treat. I always forgot that I had written them and then smiled in delight in the morning.

Say Your Affirmations Aloud

When you are saying your affirmations in private, say them aloud. When you say them aloud, not only do you hear the vibration in your voice, you are sending this out to the Universe who is waiting to support you.

It’s a good job no one can see me when I am walking the dogs. Not only am I saying them aloud, but I also practise tapping on certain points.

Choose To Change

Saying positive affirmations is great, but you need to choose to make changes. Writing in your journal will open your mind to what is going on in your life and from there you can make conscious choices.

Reflect

As you practice using positive affirmations you will change. Saying your affirmations combined with good action changes your perceptions and this is what we want to make a note of.

When you reflect at the end of the week or month you can join the dots backwards and see how far you have grown and how your life has changed.

Questions for your journal

  • What is one thing that you want to change today?
  • What would your positive affirmation be?
  • What will you see when this has become a part of your life?

Join me for 101 days of being me

101 days includes a daily positive affirmation, a quote and something to reflect on. These are delivered daily to your inbox.

All you need is a journal and some time to write and reflect.

What can you say yes to?

All through lockdown, there’s been a sense of restriction of not being allowed to… No one wants to be told that they can’t do anything. I know I don’t. Over the years, I have seen me rebel quite strongly to the phrase ‘you can’t do this’. Yet when lockdown arrived, I complied.

Sure I went through a period of feeling pissed off that I couldn’t go and visit my mum or meet friends at the beach for tea and cake or shop in my favourite shops – they are not really favourite, it’s just that some shops have the things I prefer.

Having my freedom taken away has been quite a thing for me. As a young girl, when my dad said no, you have to be in at ten, I hated him. So much so that I’d wait for my parents to go to bed and climb out of the bedroom window. Once he was so mad, he smacked me around the head with an alarm clock. My memory is not so great, but it could have been one of the nights where I just sat outside of the house, just so I was not doing as I was told.

However, during this period, apart from the odd meltdown, I have stayed at home and stayed safe. I thought about what I could instead say yes to. How would it feel if instead of bucking the system, I focused on being grateful for all I had and what I could say yes to?

What about you what would it be like to see the world through new eyes, ask yourself, what can I say yes to today?

Remember the Universe is listening to you all the time and is ready to respond to your energy. What is it about not only your desires, but the small things that inspires you enough that you want to say yes, and you want the Universe to say yes too as well?

I believe saying yes and gratitude are intrinsically linked. When I am grateful for something and fully appreciate it, I feel differently, and I feel like saying yes to things. My perspective on the world alters, and my heart expands to receive more.

Before you move onto your yes list, remind yourself of at least three things that you appreciate at this moment. This morning as I write this, I can hear the birds, I love their morning song, it reminds me that the day will soon break and I can take the dogs for a walk. The early mornings are not so cold now, there will be a few dew drops hanging on the long grasses that line the path, and there is apart from Mother Nature, our feet crunching on the stony ground and the dog’s breath, silence.

On the bed Angel is curled up, I can hear the occasional sigh, Marley is on the floor, snoring and Ferdy is inside my bed. The three furry ones have kept me sane and smiling. Every day they remind of the joy of a simple life. A treat, a walk, a tickle and stealing a lick from my dinner plate. Their play and antics create miles of smiles in my heart.

Although I can’t see my mum, I chat with her every day. She is not as laid back like me, frets about the virus and all manner of things. She lives, unlike me, in a built-up area and is very restricted. She keeps herself occupied with her writing, watching TV and chatting on Whatsapp with friends. It’s good to hear her voice.

When I think of these things, it becomes easier to say yes and to allow the river of appreciation and yes to flow together through my life and heart.

What is on your YES list?

Make a list of everything that you would like to say YES to. I’m saying yes to:

  • Morning cake and tea. The tea I love is hard to get right now, so I wait in anticipation for 11 am when I can have cake and my delicious white tea – bliss.
  • Sitting in the field, watching the world go by while the dogs run around. I don’t have a garden, but very close to the house is a field and we go there for a break.
  • To creating a video marketing course. I was invited to collaborate with a video creation company. While it at first seemed an odd thing to do, I have loved designing it so far. And it has made me focus on my marketing plan.
  • Helping my friends with tech problems. I have been around tech all my life, and I forget how much I know and how easy it is for me to sort things out. It’s good to help.
  • Wearing my best jewellery although there is nowhere to go.

I remembered that I had a gorgeous necklace and bracelet that was a gift some twenty years ago. I’d been taught to keep things for best, and so I rarely wore this. It had travelled with me through the iterations of my life. I even once tried to sell it when I was desperate for cash but chose instead to keep it. When lockdown arrived, I decided that life was too short to keep things for best, because today is always the best day.

Then there are the bigger things that I’d like to say yes to.

  • Writing and publishing my first novel.
  • Going on holiday to a far-flung destination. I haven’t been on holiday forever.
  • A date. Yes, I am ready to date again – who knew?

When you have made your list, go and do them. And if they are things that seem a little out of reach, be open to receiving them so that the Universe knows what to create a pathway to for you. All the other things – go and do them. Also, say yes when you get asked to do something even if you feel like you don’t want to. You may not get asked again.

What can you say yes to today?

Today is a beautiful day to appreciate all that you have and to be open by saying yes to more.

Join The Journaling Club – where you will get a monthly journaling book (PDF) and exercises to keep you motivated. This month is all about saying yes and starting a gratitude practice.

Journaling Prompts For Marvellous May

When May springs to mind what is the first thing that you think about? For me, it is that saying ne’er cast a clout until May is out. In other words, don’t get fooled into thinking its summer and put on your summer clothes until May is over.

What about last month when I ended the April journaling prompts blog with April showers brings May flowers. One this is for sure where I live it has been raining almost non stop for about six weeks, which is very unusual. What this has brought is a gorgeous array of wildflowers everywhere. It is simply divine.

What other words does May conjure up?

May, of course, as there is a possibility. Will you start this month consider what possibilities are ahead of you?

Mayhem which conjures up disorder and chaos. I like to think that chaos is a place we go to explore possibilities,

Mayweed, as the name suggests, is a weed, and I wonder what mind weeds need to be decluttered so that you can find your answers?

Mayhap, the old word for perhaps. Perhaps is you consider your possibilities, let the chaos come, weed the mind of the cannots and perhaps when you in the silence, your answers will come.

What about other words that May conjures up for you?

May brings in…

May is the fifth month, and a month for me that signals that summer is coming. It feels joyful, light and fun. It also feels abundant and exciting. There are also the festivals of Beltane and Samhain, so think of singing, dancing and making merry – which in the current climes you may have to do alone. Or perhaps you can get your friends on Houseparty (it’s an app) and have some fun.

May is a month of reawakening

As winter folds back into Mother Earth for a rest, everything else starts to really wake up. Seeds of ideas have already started to form, and the new shoots of these can begin to take shape.

Ideas are all inside and outside of you; they are everywhere. The question is really how do ideas come to you? Do they just pop into our minds or do ideas come as a result of lots of small things happening which when a good connection is made creates a new idea pathway, so that a bit more of that idea is known?

In every moment, we consume information through our five (or six) senses. These are laid down in your mind map using your language and coding structure waiting to be fertilised with another germ of an idea. All waiting to be joined by that one all-important connector, which creates the spark and drives it to the forefront of your mind until you get that eureka moment.

If you provide yourself with the opportunity to become creative by giving yourself space, people to collaborate with and time to reflect, you will be able to exchange and borrow ideas in order to cultivate new ones. Ideas can be incubated for years, but appear in what seems a moment with the right stimulus.

Journaling prompts for May

  • What possibilities are ahead of you?
  • What mind weeds need to be decluttered so that you can find your answers?
  • What would you dare to do differently once you have decluttered your mayweed?
  • Think of five things that you can say yes to that you wouldn’t usually say yes to?
  • What ideas are germinating that you would like to bring to fruition?
  • What stands in the way of my ideas and what can I do to weed them out?
  • How will I feel at the end of May when I have achieved all I desire for this month?
Journaling Prompts for May

May’s mission

Your May mission is to create a list of ideas. They can be anything, the point is for you to just scribble. When you have your list of ideas, go and do something else, perhaps a walk. Better still sleep on them – I mean literally – pop then under your pillow.

Start sorting through your ideas and feel into your heart by asking how they resonate with where you are and what you want to create in the world.

Take out the shoulds and cannots. Discard anything that is not right for right now. Do not, however, disregard your ideas list, because later one of them will be the right idea for right now.

Write a little about how each idea would come to fruition and what that would mean to you. Why is this a great idea for you?

Feel into your desire. Is this desire heart or head led? Go with your heart. Without the passion of the heart, things might not get done.

Set your intention for the one idea you will work with during May.

Place your attention on your intention and take small daily actions to achieve what you most desire.

Set your goals and celebrate each milestone with cake (or your chosen reward device).

Don’t forget that some Mayweeds may pop up, when they do, make sure that you tell them, no thanks, not now and not ever. Talk these through with a friend or coach. Journal on them. The point is there will always be something that comes up to say, not good enough, not enough time, what’s the point, I can’t and other similar things. It happens to me and my route out, it to explore the root of these in my journal, reflect and ask – what if I can? What are they and what will you do to root them out?

I then envision with all of my senses this into being, and most of all, I feel how it feels to have created my best work yet. The imagination is a powerful thing, and it doesn’t know if something is real or not, so tell it that this thing is real and is done.

Affirm that you are a powerful creator, the Universe loves my idea and is sending me people who are looking for this thing.

Your idea might go something like this.

Idea: To create one piece of content that can be repurposed into a book, blogs and a course – I already have the idea… Of course, I do.

Intention: Is to create a system for this and that every month I create content that I love which I know my ideal client will love

Desire: I adore creating content which enables both myself and my clients to grow and discover more about themselves – this feeds my heart and soul

Goals: I make these SMART so that I know how and when I need to get this done. I need my first piece of content done by the first week of May. I am on it.

Attention: I then take small daily actions towards my goal. Mine would be to plan the content, look for what I can repurpose, write the content in its various forms and then publish each one at the appropriate time. I like to chunk and reward myself for getting things done.

Mind weeds: The ones coming up for me are I have just created six courses and three books, and I am tired. That’s why I took a week out before I started again. I was telling myself I was too tired.

Envision: I can both see and feel this content coming alive and my students giving me five stars.

Affirmation: I am a powerful creator. The Universe loves this idea and is supporting me all the way through the creation process and sending me people who will love this.

Your mission for May is to be your best creative self and bring your best idea to fruition.

Join The Journaling Club – where you will get a monthly journaling book (PDF) and exercises to keep you motivated..

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How To Turn Your Lockdown Journal Into A Book

You have started a lockdown journal, right?

I did and had no intention of turning it into anything. All I wanted was a space to record what was going on for me, to get it out and to heal.

What has happened instead is that the nakedness of my feelings shows me that a book or in my case a journal is needed.

A few events have had me in tears and in the doldrums. I could feel my jaw tightening as I did a regular body scan and chakra balance.

Anxious thoughts flowed. Not masses but I was aware of my old friend anger and while I am normally easily able to pick myself up, what I found was that I was feeling world pain.

I tripped on a twig, although I like to think it was an assassin, come to tell me to slow it down. It really was quite silly. It caught in my shoe laces and I went down.

Moments later I was crying, but soon my head was filled with people who were in terrible pain and suffering. Then I sobbed. I sobbed for humanity and how impotent I felt. How could I reach all of these people and save them? I had no idea – all I could do was cry while they swam in my mind.

But there is something I can do. I can use this experience to share my tools for getting back to a balanced stated.

And that is what my journal has shown me.

Journals are a great place to dump our stuff, but there are many more uses to a journal than to pour our deepest emotions, thoughts and feelings.

They give us so many more clues.

Right now you are being shown ways that you can support others. As you write what is going on, you will be able to see, just how you can help others.

One of my pieces of advice to anyone who is about to embark on writing a book is to get a journal for the journey. I also advise anyone who is about to embark on a journey of any kind to get a journal and write everything down.

Right now is a monumental journey. Not only for the world, but for you. Your journal will guide you as mine has.

I’ll be honest and tell you that I resisted creating another journal, but it is helping me to heal too.

In fact I am creating a set of small journaling books which are easy to use and consume. Because… Yes you have guessed it I am using my content in a different way to normal.

What you create will do the same for you.

Before we get to the emotion and cathartic stuff let’s look at the lockdown journal.

The Lockdown Journal

This is, I think, going to contain your biggest lessons so far and as such will show you the way to not only support yourself, but how you can help others.

I don’t know you or what you do, but look deeply the message is there.

Ask the question of spirit one night, sleep on it. The answer will be there in the morning.

You may like me shake your head and wonder why this subject. Trust.

Food and recipe journal

What are you eating right now? What magical inventive recipes are you creating. I bet others would love these. Budgets might be tight and you may remember some of your grannies recipes. And what about family stories that go with these?

There is loads of scope for this one.

Diet journal (that’s diet not dieting)

Right now I am seeing lots of people struggling with emotional eating and worrying about what they will look and feel like when this is over.

What advice do you have? How are you coping?

My lovely friend Mel Wakeman – famous for the Anti Diet Solution – has answers and can support you.

But what about you, how can you support others?

Travel journal

Now this is a bit tricky as you can’t travel right now. However, travel restrictions will be lifted. What about a guide to local travel and help to regenerate your local community?

Ideas and creativity journal

I have a journal full of ideas and plans and these often become blog posts, courses, books and other products. It’s a great idea to keep a separate journal for moments of inspiration because who knows what rewards they will bring.

Just because we are locked down it doesn’t mean that we have to let our imaginations fall to the wayside.

Your journal

When you look through your journal, there will be themes that jump out at you that you may want to explore. What is leaping out at you?

Before you go any further I have a few questions:-

  • Of the themes that jump out at you, ask yourself why?
  • If you are resisting – why? This could be a golden opportunity
  • Which of these themes are marketable? What I mean by this is the resulting book is being looked for by your ideal client or reader
  • Who will read your book? Aka your ideal reader
  • Why will they read it?
  • What outcome will they get?
  • What kind of book could this be? A memoir, self-help or a combination?
  • What else do you want to create from this journal content and theme? What I mean by this is, will this become a business idea that you can grow?
  • If this won’t become your main business idea, could it become a side hustle?

These questions are designed to help you to uncover the purpose of you turning your journal content into a book.

If you don’t want to turn your journal into a book for others to read, you could type up your entries into a series of books which you keep for you and never sell. In which case you would go as far as step 15 in the list below.

A journal I turned into journaling books

In January 2018, my spine fractured and as I stared at the ceiling in those first few days, my journal became my saviour. Not only did my spine fracture there were other complications. I found myself going from wandering in the hills with my dogs to flat on my back with breathing difficulties.

Two weeks in and I decided I would write a book. My journal not only became my dump space, but it also held my research and thoughts around natural healing. After about a month I started to write the book. At this point, I didn’t know that I could heal myself, but if this makes sense I knew that my body knew how to heal and it would.

As I was writing the book, my journal was invaluable for me to get my facts straight and know the order of events. Without this record, I would have shared faulty memories.

During the process of writing and healing, I decided what the book would focus on and that would be mindset, finding your root cause and creating a natural healing plan.

I however, decided not to publish this book. Instead I created a series of journaling books because the power of journaling was what helped to save my life (along with all of the other things of course).

Plus, which is a biggie for me, I did not want an osteoporosis business.

Another journal I turned into a book…

After writing a another cathartic book called Journey To Self Love, also not published, I knew I had to do something. Instead, I created a passion project – a journaling and colouring book called Colour My Life, A Journey To Self Love.

Other things to consider

Understanding your handwriting. You may find it hard to decipher your handwriting in which case you will have to best guess it. What you will find is that the story that you are rewriting will make more sense the second time around.

What to put in or leave out: If you are writing a memoir, treat this as a professional project and not an opportunity to name and shame. There is an art to writing a well-balanced book. I suggest that you write it all out and then edit the superfluous content out. Getting it out is greeaaaatttt!

You may still be in your story. Which is what you will be as we are still in lockdown. If you find that feelings arise around the content. You could work with a counselor, talk it through with a friend or partner, journal about what comes up or leave it for now.

What I would do, is plan and write the book, as I am going through it, as I did with the osteoporosis book. I knew I could reframe the outline later.

Let’s look at the process and hopefully it will inspire you to do the same.

Step 1: Brainstorm ideas

This means reading through your journals and making a list of ideas that come to you. You are looking for recurring themes that resonate with you. Leave them to reflect and start to whittle your ideas down.

Action: Make a list of the ideas and themes that come to you. Do not censor them. When you are ready, pick up to 3 and get clear about why these and then pick the one.

Step 2 – What questions are coming up?

When you look at the content, what questions are you asking yourself?

Action: Write these on post it notes.

Step 3: What is your story?

As you look at your questions, themes and ideas, what is the story that brings this book idea together? My two themes were healing naturally and a journey to self-love.

Action: Write a short version of your story, just a couple of pages or may be a blog. This will give you an idea of how this could support your book.

Step 4: What kind of book will you write?

There are many different kinds of books you could write. Will this be memoir, self-help or a combination? What about a book of journal entries with journaling prompts for the reader? Will you want to use this book for something else, such as building a business around this idea?

Think about the kinds of books you enjoy reading and consider how your book could be written in this style. There is little point writing a book you wouldn’t want to read.

Action: Start to think about what kind of book and why. Also, check out your favourite books for ideas. Right now what kind of book would be supportive as people come out of this period. Or if you can write quickly (record your words) what is needed right now?

Step 5: Who is your ideal reader?

Don’t spend long agonising over this. Get an idea of who this is for. Do the demographics, that’s always pretty easy. Then ask:-

  • What are their goals?
  • What are their values?
  • What challenges do they have?
  • What are the immediate pain points?
  • Where do they normally hang out to get information (books, blogs, magazines, films, gurus, etc.)?

Action: Draw a matchstick person and answer the questions.

Step 5: What questions are they asking?

You have the questions you are asking yourself, now we want the ones that others are asking.

This is fairly straightforward, grab some post-it notes and brainstorm 20-30 questions they may be asking you. Put them in some kind order and leave them while you grab a cuppa. Map the questions you think they are asking with the questions you were asking in your journal.

Action: Brainstorm questions and lay them out in an order that makes sense. Then go and ask others what they might be asking.

Step 7: Map the customer journey

Do a quick map of your journey and consider how you would map this so that it could become a customer journey. You have the questions, and your story so start there. Your journey may well have been all over the place, a book is a more linear medium and you will need to map things out so that it makes sense.

Action: Create a customer journey map.

Step 8: Assess the gaps

What else do you need to add in? This might be some evidence to back up your points.

Action: Access the gaps, and work out where they need to go in the customer journey.

Step 9: Create an outline

The outline is where you make sense of everything so far. You are looking to create flow and a solid structure for your book. At this stage what is helpful is to write under each chapter heading – this book is about.

Action: Brainstorm an outline, put in subheadings and add in this chapter is about (that is you what stage).

Step 10: Create a chapter framework

A chapter framework gives as you can imagine your chapter a structure. I ask my clients to extend their what is this chapter about to include:-

  • What questions does this chapter answer?
  • Key messages
  • what does my reader get from this?
  • Why do they need to learn this?
  • How will I transfer learning – think questions, case studies, stories and how to’s
  • The benefits of reading this chapter
  • Questions for exploration

You may not need a framework, but it is still good to ask the questions.

Action: Design your chapter framework.

Step 11: Write

Now you are at the writing stage. Write each chapter, leaving the introduction to the end. Keep each chapter separate until you are ready to upload. Do a test write to test your chapter framework and tweak as needed. Make a writing schedule and stick to it. If you are struggling consider blogging your book. You can also record this and get it transcribed.

Action: Write to the first draft.

Step 12: Edit

Grab your editing plan and start the editing process. Make sure it flows, and there are no mistakes (or as few as possible). I use Grammarly and WORD’s built-in tools, as well as printing it out and proofing it. I will read it silently and aloud to check. I have a process for editing, find yours make it work.

Action: Find your editing process, create an editing plan, put the time aside and edit.

Step 13: Check the formatting

This means that it’s laid out in a pleasant and easy to read way. You have chapter headings and subheadings. Your text is consistent and spaced properly. What you will find is that when you upload it to Kindle Direct Publishing you will see if this has been achieved and can change it during the upload stage.

Action: Check your formatting. Print a page of your formatting out to check spacing, look and feel, flow and margins.

Step 14: Get a cover designed and write your blurb

Create a cover design specification and get this off to your designer. I use this person on Fiverr who has created these covers for me.

The blurb is the bit on the back of the book and the description on Amazon. If you when you get a proof book you do not have to wait for your designer, use the over design tools on Kindle. It won’t be as gorgeous but it will be fast.

Action: Work with your cover designer to get a beautiful cover. Write your blurb and remember it’s not an essay and has to fit on the back of your book.

Step 15: Upload to Kindle Direct Publishing

Go to your bookshelf create a new print book, follow the prompts on the screen; they are self-explanatory and upload your manuscript. You can assign an Amazon ISBN number for ease.

If you don’t have an account, create one and make sure you enter your tax and bank details first.

You will need to launch the previewer, and this is where you can see if your layout works. I find I have to keep going back and forth until everything is in the right place and believe me; it’s weird how WORD does things.

Action: Upload your book and have patience while you get it right for KDP.

Step 16: Order a proof book

You will see an option to order a proof book. Choose that and wait for the email that tells you how to order and pay. Sit back and wait for your book to arrive. When it comes back, edit it again and go through the process of getting another proof for your beta readers and then your proofreader.

Action: Order your proof book and go through the editing process again.

Step 17: Send your book to your proofreader/beta readers

This is your final eyes. You have what you call your final manuscript and this is the last step. It should take about 2 weeks and make sure you give them a style sheet of names and terms that are unique to this book. Send them both a printed book and your WORD document.

Action: Book your proofreader/beta readers well in advance and make sure you feel comfortable with their work before going ahead. Stay in touch with them and answer all questions.

Step 18: Publish

Go through the final stages of what’s needed on KDP and publish.

Step 19: Produce a Kindle Book

Right now I am noticing that print books are getting to me at a much slower rate. I always get a print book first and read that as a book to help with the editing process and then turn it into a Kindle book.

Action: Always make a Kindle book so that it can be downloaded easily and you can run promotions on it.

Writing journeys

101 days of being me is 101 daily reflective prompts which will get you thinking, writing and reflecting.

What can you do next? Get Turn Your Journal Into a Book course from The Soul Writers Academy.

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