These are a few of my favourite things

figure_climb_large_book_stack_custom_15091If you know where that line came from then you’re probably as old as me!

A stunning young man called Zee asked me if I would share a few of my favourite reads with him. I thought I may as well share them with you too.

These books are easy to read. Once you have read through them, it’ great to jump to a relevant passage or chapter when needed. I believe that the knowledge shared in these books has the power to transform your life.

Get reading! Get changing! Get motivated!

Lastly if you know meditation is good for you

and you battle to focus (like me!), try the guided meditations on this website. There are plenty to choose from and my husband and I listen to them often:

And finally (another lastly) if you know of any great meditation apps or apps that have helped you transform your life, share them in a comment so we can all learn and grow.

The spiritual life is not a life
before, after, or beyond our everyday existence.
No, the spiritual life can only be real
when it is lived in the midst of the pains and joys
of the here and now.

Henri Nouwen


Posted in awareness, Life Mastery, Way of Being | Leave a comment

Remember what happened last December?

File_169AAA reminder popped up on my phone this morning. (Wonderful things reminders!)

It said I should go and read my blog post from January. I wonder why?

Curiosity got the better of me and so I did. Read it here.

Aha – I remember now: I had battled to get things done in December yet in January I cleared those same things off my list easily and effortlessly.

This year I have been practicing getting into a flow state

There have been some successful days and frustratingly , some ridiculously distracted days. Still – there has been some progress.

My self-diagnosis is that I have adult ADD and it’s my excuse for badly focused days. (Please don’t do as I do and make excuses – rather follow the  advice in my posts!!!!)

The days (like today) that I have sat down and worked easily and effortlessly (in the flow state) sparkle like diamonds. It is such a good feeling. It feels like a mixture of passion, contentment, achievement and peace all rolled into one.

Flow – 0; Distraction – 1

Here’s what I realised as I read through the post. When I get derailed it’s because of step 3 – the practicalities.

If my desk is messy or I choose to peek at my mails or my phone is not off or I allow myself to get up from my desk to do something else (like water the garden, feed the birds, pop some washing in the machine … oh the list is endless) then distraction wins and flow loses.

This is what has helped me

– I keep a notepad next to my laptop. As soon as I think of something else to go and do I write it down. In effect, I am acknowledging that this must (or could) be done , not right now, but later. Then when I have worked solidly for about 45 minutes I break and do one thing off my list. It’s easier to sit down for another 45 minute stint if I have crossed something off my list.

Now – I plan to focus even more on working on the flow state in November and December. Let’s see if, when I go on leave, I have easily and effortlessly cleaned up my to-do list. I’ll let you know how it goes.

My challenge to you

List the important things you need to do so that you can enjoy a peaceful break in December (even if its only on the weekends!)and get them done.


Work in Flow.

Let me know how you do….

“It is how we choose
what we do,

and how we approach it,
that will determine
whether the sum of our days
adds up to a formless blur,
or to something resembling a work of art.”

Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi

Posted in awareness, Fulfillment, Goal-setting, Life Mastery, Time management | 2 Comments

The importance of oiling the garden bench

Garden1My garden bench was almost white from sun and water damage.

“Lets oil the wood.” I decided and 10 minutes later ….

“Ah that looks better.”

5 minutes later I looked out and it was white again,  as if I had not oiled it at all. The oil had merely  soaked up and disappeared.

There was a problem

Now I’m religiously oiling the bench twice a day.

It’s a pleasant job and I am enjoying been out in the fresh morning air and the cool of the evening. Whilst I’m doing it, my thoughts wander. Last night they wandered to the emotional bank account. I realised something….

Oiling the bench is just like depositing into your partner’s emotional bank account. (Thanks to Stephen Covey for this concept)


Deposits into the bank account (doing things for the other that make their heart’s smile) means you are  taking care of your partner and your relationship. Oiling the bench is taking care of the bench.

When your emotional bank account is strongly in the positive your relationship will be beautiful and your partner will be happy and you will be happy.

When the bench is oiled regularly it looks beautiful.

I neglected to oil the bench for way too long. Now one application of oil is not enough. It’s going to take many days of  intensive care for the bench to reflect its gorgeous golden brown wood back at me in the mornings.

Neglecting your partner is like neglecting the bench

Just the same as in relationships….

If you neglect your relationship for too long and if you are making withdrawals from the emotional bank account on a regular basis then your relationship will be in a bad state.

You will find that one deposit will make no difference. You cannot do one “nice” thing for your partner and hope that the days and months of neglect are wiped away. It does not work like that.

Like me, you are going to have to do a lot of work to restore your relationship to a strong and healthy state.

For now I am oiling the bench twice a  day. It’s  still going to take a few more weeks  of work for my bench to look healthy and strong again. I just hope I haven’t left it too late.

Oil the bench regularly

Take a look at your relationship. How healthy is it? How happy is your partner? How happy are you?

If it’s not looking healthy and before it’s too late, start making deposits on a regular basis. You have the power to restore your relationship and then to reap the benefits of a healthy and loving relationship.

Your decision…

“What love we’ve given,
we’ll have forever.
What love we fail to give,
will be lost for all eternity.”
  Leo Buscaglia


Posted in Choices, Happiness, Lessons, Life Mastery, Relationships | 2 Comments

How to shift from destructive fear to constructive vulnerability

16214400156_97e78cf4a6_zThank goodness for our reptilian brain! It keeps us alive.

When we are in danger the reptilian part of our brain is activated and we respond (without logic) by fleeing, freezing of fighting.

I certainly appreciated this aspect of my neurology when I was held up at gun point in my home years ago. I believe I survived purely because the reptile in me took over and I couldn’t think of what to do.

There are times though when it really does not serve us to stay in the reptilian brain. Why?

Because we cannot think when we are afraid.

Mostly it is better to be operating from the neocortex area of the brain – the place when logic, reason and language reside.

In our relationship with others, we often find our selves being afraid.

Take me for example. I have a strong fear-memory (residing in my reptilian brain) of insecurity. As soon as I imagine (NOTE imagine – not reality!!!) that I may be abandoned I feel insecure and terribly afraid.

When I am in this space I go quiet and withdraw.

As you can imagine, this is not very useful!

You know and I know that when there is an issue in a relationship it’s much better to TALK about it.

I have worked on this for many years (I’ve been on this planet for a long time :) )

I am much better, but certainly have a way to go.

When I am feeling afraid in a relationship, I now know that I need  to shake off the reptile as quickly as possible.

There are three ways to get into a more constructive space:

1) Ask questions

This gets you into your neocortex which is where you want to be and stay.

Two questions that works really well are:

“What do I want?”

“What constructive step can I take right now?”

Answering these questions help you to focus on the bigger picture and to keep a useful perspective on the issue.

2) Calm down

The quickest way to a constructive space is to get into gratitude. Breathe deeply and slowly.  Think of your situation with deep gratitude. You will notice a shift in emotional energy.

3) Express your emotions.

Tell the other person how you  are feeling: “I am feeling terrified right now.”

This takes you into vulnerability and authenticity.

Often that’s all you need to say. When you are vulnerable you are showing the other person the real you. This invites the other person to also be vulnerable.

Using these three steps, you recognise and acknowledge your fear but you don’t act from the fear.

You have opened the space for an authentic and constructive conversation.

This is what building strong relationships is all about.

Love is what we were born with.
Fear is what we learned here.

Marianne Williamson

Photo from Flickr

Posted in Life Mastery | 1 Comment

The darker side of “Just in Case”

3093851614_5a429506f5_zWhen I was young our family was devastated by the death of my sister. Watching the pain my parents went through was almost unbearable.

One of the strange decisions I came to eventually was this: I would have lots of children (6 to be exact) just in case one of them died.

Fortunately, common sense prevailed and after 3 kids we closed up shop.

Not that I wasn’t capable of loving more kids! It was more of a practical matter to do with the size of the house, the size of the car and the size of the wallet.

A protection mechanism

The decision to have lots of children was put in place to protect me from suffering. Now that I have children I know that it would not work anyway. No matter how many children I had, losing any one of them would be devastatingly painful.

Can you imagine having 6 kids anyway?

What I did instead was pour my heart and soul into the family I was blessed with. Naturally, I still pray every day for the safety of my family.

Sometimes ““Just in Case”” stops us from living fully or engaging fully.

Think about the man who keeps his little black book just in case things don’t work out in the relationship. Can he be 100% committed to the relationship if he keeps the escape hatch close at hand?

I’ve coached more than one person afraid of intimate relationships. As soon as things started getting serious, they would somehow sabotage the relationship just in case they ended up getting hurt again.

These kinds of “Just in Case” thought-patterns have the positive intention of protecting us and at the same time they often keep us from living fully.

Awareness is the first step

You’ve probably heard me say this before: awareness is the first step in changing.

Self-reflection is the only way you’ll unearth your “Just in Case” thought-patterns.

Start noticing when you say “Just in Case” just in case it’s serious. (OK OK sorry!!!)

Start noticing when you say “Just in case”, whether it’s inside your head or to someone else.

Second step Self-Reflection

When you discover a “Just in Case” thought-pattern, ask yourself these questions:

  • What is this thought-pattern protecting me from?
  • How is this “Just in Case” thinking holding me back?
  • How would my life be if I let it go?

Some “Just in Cases” may not have such a serious impact. Others could prevent you from living fully.

Now let it go

Once you start noticing your “Just in Case” thought-patterns you can decide to keep them or to change them.

Doing this allows you to living more intentionally and more fully.

Now: “Just in Case” you have read this whole article, I would like to say, “Thanks for being a loyal reader! I appreciate you very much.”

Please share your “Just in Case” stories so we can all grow in awareness and learning.

“Always keep your words soft and sweet,
just in case you have to eat them”

Photo by Flickr

Posted in awareness, Fulfillment, Habits, Lessons, Life Mastery, Thought Patterns | 6 Comments

3 Steps to Build Resiliance

exercising_weights_heart_800_clr_13182There are people in your life who survive hardship after hardship and come up smiling every time. You probably also know some people who seem unable to move on from difficult times.

A family who are dear to my heart have endured more than any other family I know: violent crimes, accidents, untimely deaths of children and adults. As they face yet another loss of a loved one, I wonder how they cope. But cope they do. It doesn’t mean that they don’t feel the pain. They do. Yet they also have emotional space for other feelings like gratefulness, hope and appreciation.

Another family I knew, years back, lost their son on the border. They were unable to recover and eventually the remaining family disintegrated.

Some have it; some don’t

How does one person have resilience (the ability to recover or adjust to misfortune or change) and another does not?

You’re probably going to hate this answer. You may even think it’s superficial. You may think its over-simplified.

The answer is: it’s the way they look at life.

If something is hurting them they still have the ability to be grateful for something else. They do not cover up their pain – they acknowledge it. They allow positive feelings to exist beside negative ones. They avoid generalizing. They may be in pain, yet they have the ability to feel empathy for others. They look for opportunities and believe a solution exists to problems. This outlook enables them to see the dreadful aspects of life and also to see the wonderful aspects.

Resilience is built up by creating effective (rather than destructive) thought-patterns.

If you want to boost your resilience (and who doesn’t?) here are steps:

3 steps to building resilience

1) Boost your self-image

Resilient people value themselves. Focus on your self-talk – the conversations you continually have with yourself.

Is it constructive or destructive?

Does it serve you well or does it break you down?

Take charge. Change your self-talk so that it encourages and supports you.

When you have a strong self-esteem you will find it easier to cope with the downs of life.

2) Stop with blanket statements and emotions

Generalizing is destructive. A general thought leads to  general emotion. If a man hurts you and you now believe all men are bad then whenever you’re in the company a man you will feel negative emotions like distrust and hatred. These may be totally inappropriate.

If you have a negative experience, and you decide that the universe cannot be trusted, you will experience negative emotions even in the face of joyous or happy experiences.

Have a look at your emotions. If you feel negative emotions almost continuously (blanket emotions) it may be because you are holding onto a general or blanket belief. You can recognise these beliefs by words like all, never, everyone, always. As in “All men are cheaters”; “The world is unsafe”; “You never say nice things about me”; “My boss always yells”.

Start looking at the words you’re using. Change blanket statement into more truthful statements like “Some men are cheaters” instead of “All men are cheaters”. You will experience lighter, more positive emotions.

A bad experience is one experience – don’t make the experience about every aspect of life.

3) Take care of your physical self

Your physical body is the engine of your life. This is also where you experience your feelings. Just like a car won’t go if you don’t give it petrol and  maintain the engine, your life will be more difficult than necessary if you do not take care of your physical body.

If you are totally exhausted, you do not respond to difficult situations in the best way. If you are highly stressed, your emotions will be less stable and you will find it difficult to bounce back from challenges life’s sends you.

Resilience requires a healthy body and mind. It is your responsibility  to keep that body and mind healthy. Look after your physical needs. Boost your self-esteem with positive ad constructive self-talk. Remove blanket statements and emotions from your life.

Resilience building is up to you. Give yourself your best chance at dealing with life – good and bad. Take the steps!

“The goal of resilience
is to thrive.”
 Jamais Cascio



Posted in awareness, Feelings, Happiness, Life Mastery, Thought Patterns | 4 Comments

Just in case

Last week I got stuck into my pantry. The messiness had been driving me crazy.

I decided – today was the day.

I emptied all the shelves, then surveyed the kitchen counter. It was covered in hundreds of jars, bottles and tins. Also some odd things like half-burnt birthday candles, syringes (don’t even ask) , and a packet of brown treacle sugar so hard it could knock someone out.

First I decided to check on the expiry dates.

I am embarrassed.

Some items were older than my kids!

Some items I’d be terrified to open – like tinned mussels from 2003 (in case we got unexpected visitors and I had to whip up some snacks)

I tossed out the seriously old stuff and the scary-looking stuff, cleaned the cupboard and then started packing what was left back into the pantry.

As I picked up a large tin of pie apples (expired but still healthy-looking) it suddenly hit me. Some of these items, like the tinned apples, condensed milk and granadilla pulp, were in my cupboard just in case I needed them.

Just in case I needed them.

But I never use them! Mainly because I plan meals, dinner parties and outings before, and then go and buy the stuff I need.

The “just in case” stuff sits there gathering dust. I do not use them. Ever.

I set myself a challenge.

I am going to use up the “just in case” items in my pantry during the next few weeks. I’m looking for an excuse to make an apple pie!

I have decided not to buy anything just in case anymore. It’s a little scary – but I am sure we won’t starve!

I remember Joanne Fedler wrote a book about her battle with weight called “When Hungry, Eat”. Her Mom taught her to always take a banana in her handbag – just in case she got hungry. She always ended up eating the banana – after all  you can’t let things go to waste!

She realized the “just in case” items were part of her weight problem.

I’m taking up this challenge – I have just invited some people for dinner.

I have no idea what I am going to cook

I do know that apple pie with a granadilla custard is how we will end off the meal!

How about a challenge for you:

Haul out some “just in case items” in your house.

Use them in the next week or so…. or ditch them.

Let me know what you decided to do…


BTW when I looked in the pantry last night I felt really good. It looks neat and tidy, it’s not overflowing and I could easily find what I wanted. Somehow losing those “just in case” items have made for a more streamlined and easier to manage cupboard. I feel lighter and more organised too.

Long may it last!

“In a sense, clutter is the end result of procrastination”
 Jeff Campbell

Photo by Flickr

Posted in Choices, Habits, Life Mastery | 5 Comments

Emotional Nudity – do you need it?



When you refuse to hide the real you behind a falsely created persona, you are practicing emotional nudity.

Emotional nudity is

  • being honest about who you are and what you are feeling – to yourself and to your partner
  • about allowing and embracing all emotions that exist in your body
  • allowing others to see you the real you
  • not suppressing and resisting negative or uncomfortable feelings

Living with emotional nudity in our relationships puts us into a vulnerable space. This can feel rather uncomfortable.

We need courage to be vulnerable:

Courage to show the true you; courage to tell your partner what you are actually feeling; courage to talk about the good and the bad.

We have become really good at hiding or suppressing our “Bad” feelings.

“Good” feelings, like happiness, joy, excitement, are perfectly acceptable

“Bad” feelings, like anxiety, sadness, insecurity, are totally unacceptable. We resist them; we suppress them; we numb them out.

We have learned to make negative feelings wrong.

Many of us believe there is something wrong with us if we experience “bad” feelings. Many clients often tell me: “I shouldn’t feel like this.”

We are so good at numbing out our bad feelings. We comfort eat and drink. We escape – into social media, TV and computer games. We will do anything to distract ourselves so that we don’t have to feel these bad feelings. We strive to be perfect.

We chase happiness, perfection and success with such passion and vigour whilst avoiding emotional nudity. Eventually our good feelings are numbed out too. It’s as if we only live half a life. Many people are feeling empty inside, yearning for something but they don’t know what…

In order to live fully we need to embrace all our emotions.

Feelings are not wrong – they are merely messages from our souls – they give us important information. Welcome them; listen to them; don’t invalidate them.

I invite you to consider living differently today, to living more fully and authentically especially in relationship with your partner.

Allowing emotional nudity in your relationship will bring richness into your relationship.

There is nothing more comforting than having your central issues held and supported. There is nothing better that truly feeling understood by your partner – doing the same for your partner will build a strong bond between the two of you.

The key to emotional nudity is owning your feelings.

Avoid saying: “You make me feel….”

This is blaming your partner for the way you feel.

Rather say, “I feel ….”

Hiding strong negative feeling blocks an opportunity for healing. When you are able to talk about your inner world, you open up the opportunity for understanding and healing.

How can you bring emotional nudity into your relationship?

Step 1: Build up your relationship

Get your relationship into shape- you need trust and commitment to embrace emotional nudity.

Stephen Covey gave us the gift of the Emotional Bank Account.

Briefly: You have an Emotional Bank Account with your partner. You make deposits into their account (like appreciation, gifts, acts of service, kindness, etc.)

You make withdrawals from your partners account (like contempt, criticism and character assassination, etc.).

If the balance in the Emotional Bank Account is positive, then your relationship is in a good space. If it’s in the negative – you have some work to do. Make regular, daily deposits into your partner’s Emotional Bank Account and your relationship will thrive.

Remember that relationships spiral quickly- in a positive way as well as a negative way.

Keeping the concept of the Emotional Bank Account constantly in mind makes it easy to build a healthy relationship.

Whenever you are about to do or say or even think something, ask yourself whether you are depositing or withdrawing.

Keep depositing. Your partner will feel good and loved and will be inclined to make deposits into your account. You now feel inclined to deposit into their account. See the spiral?

This works with withdrawals too – get into the habit of negative withdrawals and soon your relationship spirals into hurt and hate.

Step 2: Work on yourself.

Self-awareness is crucial to bringing emotional nudity into a relationship. If you are not aware of your feelings, or if you are numbing them out, how can you offer your partner the opportunity to help and support you? Go on personal development courses, journal, work with a coach or therapist if necessary.

Know and understand all aspects of yourself so you can practice emotional nudity with your partner.

Step 3: Give immediate feedback

Immediate feedback is an important skill to learn. When your partner does / says something, give feedback by describing your feelings.

“Ouch, that hurt”
“My heart is smiling”
“That pushed my insecurity button”.
“I feel unsafe when you criticize me in public”

The idea is to keep it short and sweet – just get it out. Then shutup!

The gift you give your partner is that they become aware of how you respond to them. This does also open up the space for an in-depth discussion if necessary.

Take these three steps and walk hand in hand into emotional nudity. Your understanding, love and awareness of each other will develop and grow.

Emotional nudity in relationships is essential for the emotional wellbeing of both partners.

Emotional nudity is a gift to both of you.

The risk of emotional nudity is vulnerability.

The payoff of emotional nudity is a trusting relationship where both partners can grow and develop.

What will you choose?

I love you,
and because I love you,
I would sooner have you hate me
for telling you the truth
than adore me for telling you lies.

Pietro Aretino



Posted in awareness, Communication, Feelings, Life Mastery, Relationships | 2 Comments

Evidence is all you need

What is the one determinant that affects how successful you are in life? Or not?3192144676_550181fda6_z

You might think its circumstances, like poverty or an unhappy home. However, there are enough examples of people who have risen successfully above their circumstances. There are also enough examples of people who have been born into privileged or happy homes that have not been so successful.

Circumstances do NOT determine your success.

The answer, as you may expect, lies within.

Your self-image is THE major determinant of your success.

What exactly is self-image?

Self-image is the collection of beliefs you have about yourself.

It’s the kind of person you believe you are.

Fill out a page of sentences starting with “I’m the kind of person that …” and you will have a pretty good idea of your self-image.

A negative self-image reflects in a low self-esteem; a positive self-image reflects in a high self-esteem.

Malz self-esteemThis diagram (from Maxwell Mailz – Psycho-Cybernetics) illustrates the power of the self-image and self-esteem.

Only a small amount of your potential is achieved when you have low-self-esteem – shown in the left-hand diagram.

A much greater amount of your potential is reached when you have a high self-esteem and strong self-image.

It’s simple then, isn’t it.

To be more successful in life, have a stronger self-image!

But HOW?

There are many different ways of breaking those limiting beliefs that make up your self-image.

Today I’m going to talk about a very powerful exercise:

Collecting Evidence

1) Awareness (I know I always harp on this – but if you don’t know you can’t change it!)

2) Collect the evidence

3) Trust and be present

1) Awareness

Think about something you’re battling to achieve. Write down all the reasons why (aim for thirty reasons.

I cannot lose weight. WHY?

Because I am the kind of person who
– comes from a fat family
– eats for comfort
– has no self-discipline
– I’m bored with dieting
– hates being hungry
– etc

Work with one belief that you feel is holding you back the most.

2) Collect the evidence.

This is where the hard work comes in. You may have to do this for a few months, or even a year.

Basically what you are doing is using your conscious mind to convince your subconscious mind that you are disciplined.

Let’s say you are working with self-discipline.

All the proof that you have no self-discipline is stored in your subconscious mind – supporting that aspect of your self-image that you are not disciplined.

When you have collected enough evidence that you are self-disciplined, that belief in your self-image will make a switch.

Start writing in a journal or a document on your computer – something you can access and update easily every day.

Make a list of all the times you are disciplined:

– I brush my teeth every day
– I got out of bed this morning to go to work – even though I did not feel like it
– I ate a healthy breakfast
– I was angry in the meeting but I spoke calmly to my colleague
– I renewed my license
– etc

Record every aspect of your day – every day – where you display an amount of discipline. Keep doing this.

3) Trust and be Present

Make sure you add to your Evidence List every day. Then get on with your life and TRUST that the process will work.

While you’re working on daily activities focus on what you are doing. Be present.

Allow your subconscious mind to do its thing with all the evidence you are collecting – you don’t have to worry about the process. It will work.

The more evidence you collect, the more the limiting belief will be dissolved. This will happen naturally.

It works!

I have seen this work with clients. One of them had such a strong belief that she couldn’t do Maths and it affected her behaviour in strange ways. One day she went up to the University Notice Board to check her mark from a recent Maths exam. She got 63%. As she stepped back from the throng of students pushing to get to the front, she thought to herself:

“Oh, I must have read my mark wrong.”

She asked a friend to check it for her. Of course, she had read it right.

So strong was her self-image that she didn’t even believe a fact right before her eyes!

After about 14 months of collecting evidence, the reality started sinking and  her confidence grew. She’ll be graduating soon…

If you want to be more in life, to achieve your potential and to live successfully, destroy those limiting beliefs about yourself.

Create a strong self-image.

All you need is evidence.

“Low self-esteem
is like driving through life
with your hand-brake on.”

Maxwell Maltz

Photo from Flickr

Posted in awareness, Life Mastery, Self esteem | 2 Comments

Self-Help Ecstacy

Self-help books! I love them! I buy them! I devour them!5408817478_90706014a0_z

As I read them this I get this ecstatic feeling, which I suspect has something to do with glimpsing a life that I could be living if I followed the book’s suggestions.

It can sometimes take me months to finish a book. I have a problem you see. When I get to the word in the book that says “Exercise”, which appear regularly spaced through most self-help books,  I can’t continue with the book until I have done the exercise.

My house is littered with partially read self-help books. You’ll find them piled up in the dining room, the TV room, next to my bed, in the coaching room and in my study. If you cared to open some of those books at the bookmark you would be surprised, had you not read the above paragraph ,  that the bookmarks all mark a page with the word “Exercise” on it.

Still, there are many times that I do manage to do the exercises, to make some changes in my life and learn a new way of being in the world.

Those precious achievements build the ecstasy of self-help books for me.

There have, however, been a few times in my life where following the advice of self-help books has not resulted in ecstasy and has somewhat backfired on me.

1. One night meditating…

One of the lessons I have gleaned from self-help books, magazines and courses I have been on is this: meditating daily has enormous benefits in your life.

I try! Really hard! It’s not easy for me. My mind is a very busy one, and emptying it is nigh impossible. I find that guided meditations work better for me.

A few weeks ago I came back from a Toastmasters meeting. I don’t sleep well after these meetings – my mind is just too active and I lie there restlessly preparing my next speech.

This particular evening, my husband was out  and I knew he would only be back around 11pm. I decided this was a great opportunity to listen to a guided meditation in bed. I have one especially for having good night’s sleep.  I needed that.

I hopped into bed, earphones on and settled down. This was bliss. This was ecstasy! This was …

Suddenly I was aware of a heavy weight on top of me. What was it? I opened my eyes.

There was a face. I screamed.

The face screamed back at me.

“What are you doing?” I asked my astonished, wide-eyed husband.

“Kissing you hello. What are you doing?”

“Meditating”,  I giggled as we collapsed in a hysterical heap.

That meditation didn’t work so well for me and the ecstasy disappeared just like that!

2. A simple enough exercise…

Years ago I read a book by John Demartini‘s “How to make a Hell of a Profit and still get to Heaven.”  The book was brimming with ideas around the energy of money and how to attract money into your life. It was also full of those dreaded exercises.

Some of the things were easy to do, so I went for it, picturing the ecstasy of having more in my bank account.

“Like attracts like”, says Demartini.

So I kept plenty of cash in my wallet. The idea was that cash attracts cash. I also opened that special savings account he suggested.

Another suggestion was to keep a check in my wallet depicting the amount I would like to have.  That seemed pretty harmless, don’t you think?

I sat down and wrote a check in my name for a million rands. Cool! – and in my wallet it stayed. Mostly I forgot it was there and hopefully it was working its ecstatic magic.

A few months later I experienced an armed robbery at my home. What a dreadful day that was. Somehow we made it through the day and finally fell into bed. Neither of us slept well, tossing, turning and worrying.

Suddenly I sat up.

“Oh no!”, I said.  (The actual words I used were a bit stronger than that.)

“What?”  asked my bleary eyed husband.

“The check for a million rand was in my purse!”, I said.

“WHAT?”  he roared also sitting up.

I had omitted to tell him what I had done at the time; after all it may have made me look a bit silly!  I told him the story. He’d read the book  so he understood.

Then he said,  “You’ll have to cancel the check”. I didn’t like the sound of those words.

The next morning I dialled the bank.

“I’d like to cancel a check.”

“Certainly ma’am. What is the number of the check?”


“The date?”

I told her.

“And what was the amount?” she asked.

Swallowing hard, I said, “One million rand”.

There was dead silence on the other end of the line. For an extended period.

Eventually she squeaked back, “Mrs Long do you have an overdraft facility?”

I replied, “No and I had better tell you the whole story.”

I told her about the book and what I had done.  We shared a laugh or two – all at my expense.

I could just picture her turning to her colleagues and saying, “You’ll never guess what I just heard!”

To add insult to injury I was charged R50 to cancel that check.

That was one self-help moment that weighed heavy on me. I have still not been brave enough to write another check. That idea has been banked with the other few that have not quite worked that well.

Yet, I do still love self-help books (I’ve even written some).

I still buy them! I still devour them! I still read them until I see the word “Exercise”.

I do, however,  reflect a little more carefully and considerately before I embark on implementing a new set of ideas!

I went to a bookstore
and asked the saleswoman,
“Where’s the self-help section?”

She said if she told me,
it would defeat the purpose.

George Carlin

Photo from Flickr

Posted in Choices, Lessons, Life Mastery, Way of Being | 2 Comments