Scan your Body or Forget Your Body: Your Choice?

The Basic Body Scan

Your Body Mind Spirit – During the first few days of August I have set a little Self-Care challenge each day for those who wish to take it. Most of the tasks will take between five and ten minutes not much time in the scheme of life. I know that many will say they don’t have time; if that’s the case your Skills and Techniques Toolbox will be lighter.

Why a Basic Body Scan? In truth, regular scans of your body during the day will

  • aid tension release
  • it will increase your mindful practice
  • bring you back to a necessary balance in your body, breath, and mind.

There are lots of writers who have shared their version of The Bodyscan; my  favourite is one of the first I came across in the very early 1990’s from Eric Harrison ‘Teach Yourself to Meditate’ a ‘fab’ book to use as a tool for development.

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Self-Care vs Social Media – should it be a contest?

Self-Care vs Social Media

Should it be a contest?

Over the next 7 days, I will set a little Self-Care challenge each day for those who want to take it. I know that many will say they don’t have time; well if this is the case get over and see The Time Doctor…

Those of you who read my Blogs know that even though you get a few Musings of a Vintage Diva you also get my take on Mindfulness and Self-Care. After 40 years of ‘People-Work’ I have a bit of insight into what makes them tick or explode having been both sides of the coin myself. However there is only one constant and that YOU.

Mindfulness as a Tool

If you haven’t tried Mindfulness properly then let me remind you what Jon Kabat-Zinn said,  “Mindfulness is not a special state you achieve through a trick or a technique. It is a way of being.” so when you drink a cup of tea, just drink a cup of tea.

So why is Mindfulness so necessary in the 21st century? In truth I believe it helps bring balance and wellness back into lives. It aids combating tiredness and helps to increase energy levels; many students find it can also help with reducing challenges like;

  • Insomnia
  • Lack of self-esteem
  • Low self-confidence
  • High stress levels

Several of my tribe use most of the techniques we practice find that tension in their body reduces considerably. Headaches are reduced and that they believe it aids coping with day to day lives in this busy world. Significantly it helps them to focus on the present rather than rushing furiously into the future or getting caught up in the past.   They keep all these excercises and techniques in their Tookbox/Bag.

Customise your Tool Box

Customise your Tool Box – Bag

Undertaking practice on a regular basis can enable individuals to take further control over their lives and ultimately find time to have more FUN.  In fact just 5/10 minutes essential relaxation included into your daily life will help you greatly and 5/10 minutes a day is far better that 1 hour a week. The daily habit begins to embed into the brain and becomes part of your routine  –  Relaxation is the first key to emotional well-being and helps reduce stress and other ailments once you can learn to relax effectively then Focused Relaxation, Mindfulness & Meditation will be the next stages.

Brain Spam/Mad Monkeys

One of the biggest distractions of learning to relax is the millions of thoughts that come hurtling through the brain.  Buddhists describe the mind as: ‘the mad monkey’ and that relaxation and meditation is a way of training that monkey.

Tame the little buggers!

Tame the little buggers!

Because when we are at the beginning of undertaking our relaxation practice, we are leaping from one thought to another just like the monkey jumping from tree to tree with no purpose, planning, we are illogical, erratic and irrational.   However, if you use the monkey as an analogy for your attention then you can begin to train your attention gently to focus on breathing, subtle feelings, symbols or images and thus cut down the times you leap from tree to tree until you become proficient in just focusing on relaxation

Lets start with DAY 1 – Practial Relaxation

 PUT THE LAPTOP DOWN!

PUT THE LAPTOP DOWN! Let Go of Social Media for 10 Minutes

Have a Practice  this one I have used for years; similar can also be found at; Quick, on-the-spot relaxation:

  1. Sit up and back in your chair so that you feel firmly rooted, legs slightly apart, feet flat on the floor. back straight, this keeps you energy flowing
  2. While you take a deep breath, letting it out slowly and drop your shoulders. Close your eyes if it helps. Focus on your breathing. Breathe in slowly to a count of three or four – hold for a count of three – breathe for a count of three or four – pause for a count of three. Repeat at your own even, comfortable rhythm.  It can help to imagine yourself relaxing more each time you breathe in and the tensions flowing away with every out breath.
  3. Next, slowly tense, hold, and release the main muscle groups, working up through your body. Start with toes and feet; tense as much as possible, hold and release. Move on to legs and thighs, stomach and torso, in the same way.  Paying particular attention to your back and shoulders, this is where we hold a lot of tension.  Then work on your fingers hands and arms..  If you are brave enough, screw up the muscles of your face and neck and slowly release.
  4. Return to focusing on your natural breathing and check your body for any remaining tension just like a slow bar-code machine.
  5. Finally, check your seating position, drop your shoulders again, and place your hands comfortably on your upper legs and concentrate on the sensation of warmth as it flows out through your hands.

The Payoff

Everyone is aware that research shows that most people use Social Media for a minimum of 45 minutes a day, TV much longer, are you worth just 10 minutes. Should it be a contest or should you put yourself first? #JustSayin

Check out Tiny Buddha for more Self-Care ideas

Learning to use relaxation as a Self-Care tool in this way can be invaluable if you get anxious in public places and need to sit somewhere to compose yourself . Use it at work when you feel overwhelmed, it is well worth the 5 minutes to put your pen down or leave the computer and completely erase the scrambled thoughts from your brain! (some of my tribe go off to the loo to relax for a few minutes to get away from the distractions.). Can Social Media do this for you?

Give Mindful Relaxation a go, with practice you will embed it and use it as a tool from your toolbox/bag.

Day 2 tomorrow….Watch out for it…..

Diva x

 

 

Laughter’s the word – You can feel its energy

Laughter the word of choice for today

When did you last have a great laugh…you know that belly-wrenching – tear producing body shaking – breathless few minutes that made you ache with happiness? Can’t remember well maybe it’s time to revisit your laughter genes…..here is a little challenge for you.

It’s laughter time.

Many know my philosophy about smiling & laughter.…..they go together like Fish & Chips; Morecambe & Wise; The Sun & The Moon; Compassion & Gratitude; Gin & Tonic. Well, don’t you all agree that a bit of laughter is great for the soul and everything else? So let’s have a go.

  1. It starts off with a smile, come on….
  2. Just feel it creeping up your face as you breathe in
  3. Feel how it softens as you breathe out.
Laughter and Smiles

Laughter and Smiles

Keep the smile going in and out it will fool the brain and as the right chemicals begin to be released in your body ( the endorphins).  You will begin to start to laugh; you will remember those long belly laughs that had you in tears of mirth; memories will surface and bring back those visions/moments of what started you laughing

Finding it a bit hard, this will help

I have several of these moments especially with my son and my daughter-in-law, just a look, and one word will start us off.  The one word for me is ‘Dickhead’.  Laughter will offer significant benefits to all six layers of your being to.

Laughter can trigger the release of endorphins these are the natural feel-good chemicals in the body. They promote an overall sense of well-being along with:

  1. Improving your breathing
  2. Helps you to remain positive
  3. Perfect for stress release
  4. Helps you to build relationships with like-minded people
  5. Let’s go of all that tension
  6. Lightens the heart
  7. Helps you to keep things in perspective

Laugh More

Come on get laughing a bit more – just start now, slowly, by being mindful.  You may just need to be more observant and begin to notice far more acutely the world around you –  this is where your laughter can come from.

Now you can  just start off with a slight giggle – I know it gets a bit embarrassing to start laughing –  just try to let the ego go and let the real you out for a few moments.  Who cares if you think you look bizarre no one! Will it matter if they do?  Not in the whole scheme of things.

Naturally, I use laughter in my classes at times, although it erupts from certain people when I try to get the group to hum. It’s an interesting exercise as the outcomes can be different in each group.  My students are all British there is this reserve they have at showing emotions.  However, in a long-standing group where they feel safe, students just go for it.  I’ve had comments from them about being so lively that they can’t sleep for a few hours after; they have lots of energy; how their energy had lifted and lightened.  It is a great exercise for your toolbox peeps.

Need a bit of a prompt? Well what about joining a Laughter Club

Yes peeps if the Yoga Gurus use it to promote well-being…so come on ‘Laughter is the best medicine’ you have heard it often…now give it a go just try it can work.

Laughing is Universal

Laughing is Universal....

Laughing is Universal….

Of course  it wouldn’t a Diva Blog without me digressing…..

7 Facts you can’t dispute…..

  1. You cannot put soap in your eyes
  2. You cannot count your hair
  3. You cannot breathe through your nose with your tongue out
  4. You did number 3
  5. When you did number 3 you realised it’s possible, but only if you look like a dog
  6. You’re smiling right now because I fooled you (sorry!) Will it lead to a laugh?
  7. Share this so you can have your revenge on others

Until next time

Diva x

 

Banish “BRAIN FOG” : Gain WELLNESS

“Brain Fog” vs.” Wellness”

“Brain-Fog” appeared on my radar 12 months ago.  I was aware something had triggered my condition and had put it down to the Post-Concussion Syndrome I had acquired after my accident last June where I had 17 staples in my head…..but it was going on too long. So what next…..?  The Full Version

I ploughed through my lengthy repertoire of what could be causing it…..was it my SAD which attacks me every year but I have strategies for that….was it my diet…..ok that can always do with a check over…….was it I was under-challenged and needed a new undertaking….?

Nothing was making sense….so time-out? I took a break. I returned as tired and washed-out. All I wanted/needed was to sleep, would drop off any time but not at bedtime! Stare at the distance and do nada! My short term memory was none existent.  I would be in the middle of a conversation and totally forget what we/I was talking about…..I would lose my train of thought and go off into Diva world.

  Diva 'Brain Fog' World

Diva ‘Brain Fog’ World

This needed sorting – the medical model of care could not find the cause…it’s Easy to point the finger at getting older – NO! I knew it wasn’t that, Brain Fog was real.

My Symptoms included:

  1. Muscular pain
  2. Joint pain
  3. Poor short-term memory and concentration, and difficulty organising thoughts and finding the right words (“brain fog”) WOW my words….!
  4. Bloating/constipation/diarrhoea (yes….you really wanted to know that!)
  5. Sleeping problems, such as insomnia and feeling that sleep isn’t    refreshing
  6. Sensitivity or intolerance to light, loud noise, alcohol and certain foods
  7. Psychological difficulties, such as bouts of depression/irritability

So, what do you do when you need to reflect on ‘self’……run! No, you recognise you need a bit of support/help and ask for it.  But what sort of help or support? It is different for everyone…..but you know deep down.

I decided to do what I usually do and take a few mindful minutes to meditate on the challenge. I had been meditating on it but was getting nothing. So one time I just asked “who/what do I need”…..simple. I just left it to the universe to chuck the answer/s at me.

Coming back from one meditation after a lovely visualisation but no eureka moment I was p****d off.  Went for a stomp (Diva Style).  Yes, the alter ego gets in the way lol!  During the stomp, a name came to me. An old colleague who gave up teaching many years ago to become a Homeopath……stomping stopped. Got an answer; thank you Universe.

Later that day I was pulling a book off my shelves and spotted one I had forgotten……’Brain-Fog Fix’ by Mike Dow.  Universe strikes 2.  Ok! Getting it now…..I have to ‘Do the Doing’ don’t we all?   Dipping into Mike Dows’ book, what I was reading made sense, however, I needed to get to the core.  So contacted my Homeopath…..and arranged a visit – it paid off! The first visit yes very low energy and several intolerances……worked on those; had to be focused.  The second visit still very low energy, intolerances shifted but energy levels a concern. Third, visit energy up by 20% better than it was.

Planning the way forward

After further discussion and testing, it appeared that I was being challenged by a moderate level of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS)/ME which causes persistent fatigue (exhaustion).  It affects everyday life and doesn’t go away with sleep or rest. I had a list of symptoms to consider as well as the fatigue.  Several were a match with mine:

My Plan:

  • Small, simple things like sitting out in the sunshine (wrapped up at the moment) coz vitamin D is crucial to wellbeing…..when suns out.
  • Watch carbohydrate intake – need some but not overload
  • Eliminate any junk/processed foods (not a big deal for me!)
  • Meditation – (Research show that there is a connection between mood disorders like anxiety/trauma/depression and other emotional problems and that regular Meditation can help alleviate symptoms
  • Massage – I have booked a monthly Indian Head Massage with Colleen Budge – this can help stimulate the Vagus Nerve (Every organ in your body is connected to the vagus nerve, so there’s little wonder that stimulating your vagus nerve helps relieve fatigue, anxiety, brain fog and more. The vagus nerve is important to your sense of intuition, or your ‘gut sense’ which can help you to pay attention to tiny but important details that help you make good decisions.)
  • Gentle exercise – for me it’s walking
  • Water – to drink more
  • Mindful Breathing techniques – Helps to slow things down and help reduce anxiety/panic/anger/irritability/impatience
  • Pacing – involves balancing periods of activity with periods of rest, not overdoing it or pushing yourself beyond your limits. If you do more than you are ready to, this could slow down your progress in the long term.
  • Laughter & Happiness – can release the right chemicals in your body that help produce a sense of well-being.

The Future and YOU!

Although I recognise this will need to be ongoing and that the CFS will not disappear I do have much better days than I did.   I continue to see my Homeopath every eight weeks at present and would say that PACING is the most important for me as doing too much sets me right back.

Therefore, how about you? Is it time to reflect on your wellness? Do you need to make a few changes?  In my experience, just like me, many of my clients/students deny the truth to themselves about Self-Care. Why?

Seven ‘R’s’ of Wellness

     Wellness Brain

Wellness Brain

Therefore a quick and simple checklist to consider; embed into your life?

  • Relaxation – Do something good for you/Schedule worry time/Schedule time out/undertake real relaxation
  • Responsibility – Remember you are in control/Establish your priorities first/Say No more frequently
  • Reflection – Know your stress triggers/Be aware of your stress symptoms/Check your balance in life
  • Relationships – Maintain supportive relationships/manage your relationships/improve your relationship with yourself/remove those relationships that are toxic
  • Roles – Be aware of taking on roles you no longer need to/Become a positive role model for other by walking your talk
  • Refueling – Monitor your diet/ditch processed foods/eat mindfully/drink lots of water
  • Recreation – Laugh more/Smile more/Have fun/Enjoy Life

I am sure most of you reading this are doing many of the points here but if, not have a go, you have nothing to lose.

Until next time

Diva x

 

 

Love; Spirituality; Networking; Business and You!

Love and Spirituality rock my boat…being an ageing hippie and a bit of a Diva (a bit!!? I hear my friends say).  I know that those two words embrace everything I do both personally with family; friends; my Tribe and professionally with colleagues, associates, students, and clients.

Let’s take the words;

Love…what does it mean to you? It means different things to different people – you just need to check out others definition to ensure you are at a similar starting point!

LOVE your WORK

LOVE your WORK

What about Spirituality?

Should it appear in Business and Organisations? Many now have the word Spirituality in their Mission Statement! Does it translate to customers/staff/stakeholders?

They seem to be 2 strange words to use maybe? Why? What’s wrong with having an ethos that shows care for others it’s not only is it sensible but ethically sound.

These are also two words I am sure definitely appear in your personal world. You wouldn’t be without them.

Spirituality I believe represents individuals’ central beliefs and ideals that can be applied everywhere. It encompasses personal values and beliefs, how we relate to others; how we reflect on what we do and the outcomes;  and our connection to the world, and the universe.

The Spiritual You and your Values

The Spiritual You and your Values

William Bloom in his book “The Power of Modern Spirituality” discusses how Spirituality is made up of 3 essential practices. Connection; Reflection; Service all of which are fundamental components of an authentic business.

Some people see love and spirituality as separate things; others see love and spirituality as the same thing. Either view is fine.

The Quakers used them when setting up Businesses and Villages in the 18th and 19th centuries.  Think Cadbury and Rowntree.  Both words were core values in their companies. Want to know more about Cadbury and their vision as well as their chocolate? Click for chocolate

At a professional level Networking was one of the first places I was able to see how little congruence and authenticity there appeared to be in many businesses. When I first started networking, you know the places…you have been to many meetings. I watched all the ‘games’ being played.

Diane Windingland wrote a brilliant article in one of her blogs on Authentic Networking. She mentioned all that is wrong, like the vision of people ‘vomiting out their elevator speech’ this made me chuckle, how often do we see that? And those ‘passing out cards like a blackjack dealer’ it all goes on.

I only ever give cards if they are requested and that was after chatting and ensuring that we could be a good fit if we worked together. However I never really fitted into the jigsaw of the networking universe but that’s not to say it was all bad, there were some genuine people mixed in.

Watching the interactions of ‘the players’ is mesmerising;  it’s better than going to the theatre.   Why do I call them ‘players’ you may ask, well, many seem to be acting a part when communicating with others and not  ‘being who they really are; ‘ they appear to wear ‘masks.’

Which mask do you wear?

Do you wear a Mask?

However, it’s been my privilege to part of several excellent networking groups over the years (all evening ones), and I continue to go to a few.

I was also privileged to be the Network Leader for WIRE UK a not for profit organisation where we offered encouragement and training for new start-ups and those in business added support and guidance.

Networking with Family/Friends/your Tribe follows a similar framework in terms of needs; wants; request; accountability; love; spirituality; fairness; authenticity and lots more – just reflect on it….

Listen to your 6th Sense….

You know the people who are not authentic. Your ‘gut feeling’/6th Sense tells you quite quickly but some of you still ‘play the game.’  Alan Sugar has often talked about how he ‘always listens to his gut feeling’ why I ask doesn’t everyone? (that’s another BLOG).

Years ago I remembered speaking about being authentic and considering love and Spirituality in business and got laughed at and told not too big it up!  “But don’t you think that love and spirituality is a regular concept in domains where compassion is second-nature; for example in nursing/care/teaching?” I would ask, if so, why not other organisations?   “Oh they are different” would be the response. Perhaps more people require support in understanding the benefits of introducing Love and Spirituality into their organisations/businesses.

Perhaps more people require support in understanding the benefits of introducing Love and Spirituality into their organisations/businesses.

Would they say similar about Personal Lives?

This did not deter me I continued being me and was thought to be a bit ‘eccentric,’ ‘strange’, and unconventional in my approach.  Well, why not? The world would be boring without a few of us……You know who you are!

Love & spirituality in the business world and how managers and leaders could apply it in everyday life…yes I got laughed at.

Surprisingly nowadays I hear those same leaders, managers, entrepreneurs  spouting similar rhetoric and smile as they are using it, although I question if all have internalised it? (Yes I know I might be cynical!).

Is it the same in your world?

    Life/Work Balance

Life/Work Balance – Congruence throughout.

I decided a long time ago the breakfast meeting was not for me. 6.30am did not belong in my world. It got me asking colleagues what their views were. We are all different so hey ho I meet some and I miss some . I was convinced many went for the free breakfast that was given at one such meeting.

What I did do was set-up a Mindful Breakfast Club, which starts at 10 am giving many women and occasionally a guy time to get kids to school and sort general stuff.

Then we join to discuss both Personal and Professional issues and how the two integrate and bringing in both love and spirituality.  We show how both concepts can be embedded into each part of our lives as well as saving a little for ourselves.

Therefore, as a human being running a business do you show your compassion and consideration for others like you do your family? Do you demonstrate how your decision making and behaviour shows the way you care for clients/customers/your Tribe. Reflect on How You do it

Most of all, spiritually, I know I only ever meet/referred to and work with those people I am supposed to connect with; others just pass in and out of my energy.  I trust my 6th sense/gut feeling on whom I work with, what about you?

However, there does appear to be a new movement emerging, free individuals who are fed up of wasting energy being someone they are not, espousing values and beliefs that are not theirs and are now just being ‘who they are’. It’s not just about the bottom line (yes, OK I know that important too.) they are entirely congruent.  I am sure you are one of them.

Therefore, do Love and Spirituality have a role in 21st Century Business as well as Family or not? What’s your view? Let me know.

Until next time

Diva x

Mindful Monday – Gently emerge into the New Week

Mindful Gentleness works wonders…..

Oh, how the weekend appears to flash by and then we return to Monday. Mindfulness goes out of your brain, for many of you the school holidays have started and the pressure is on to entertain the children regardless of age.

This is the time you are continually spinning plates with all you need to do. Therefore NOW schedule some techniques or exercises you can do just for you – ones you can slip into quickly that will give you an energy boost.

How Many do You Spin at a Time?

How Many do You Spin at a Time?

My gift to you today is three you can take and use – just enjoy.  Once you practice them, they embed and become part of your repertoire of routines you regularly use.

A quick tension release especially when you are sitting for a long time at a desk/on a plane/in conferences/with the in-laws/ boring lunches or at any time you notice you are tense.

To relieve tension in the body have a quick go at this, it’s wonderful just to stay in the moment with it:

 Mindful Foot flexing.

One of the most disregarded parts of the body – how often do you acknowledge them?  They get abused something rotten – give them a pamper once in a while – and talk nicely to your toes, without whom you would topple over!

Say HELLO to your Feet and Toes!

Say HELLO to your Feet and Toes!

Sit down with your legs outstretched.

  • As you breathe in slowly, tense the muscles of your feet as tightly as you can;
  • Hold the tension as you pause your breath;
  • As you breathe out, slowly let the tension go
  • Feel the relaxation spread up your legs
  • Mindfully notice how this feeling moves throughout your whole body.

Do this 5/10 times….it’s great for circulation if you have been sitting for a while.

Quiet Space

      Tranquillity

Tranquillity

  1. Choose a quiet place where you won’t be interrupted.
  2. Before you start, do a few gentle stretching exercises to relieve muscular tension.
  3. Make yourself comfortable, either sitting or lying down, remember you need a straight spine
  4. Start to breathe slowly and deeply, in a calm and effortless way. Notice the breath in and out and the pauses between each
  5. Gently slowly tense, each part of your body on the in breath and then relax on the out breath, starting with your feet and working your way up to your face and head.
  1. As you focus on each area, think of warmth, heaviness, and relaxation.
  2. Push any distracting thoughts to the back of your mind; imagine them floating away.
  3. Don’t try to relax; simply let go of the tension in your muscles and allow them to become relaxed.
  4. Let your racing thoughts go. Some people find it helpful to visualise a calm, beautiful place such as a beach; garden; meadow; hilltop.
  5. Stay like this for about 5/10 minutes, then take some deep breaths and open your eyes, but stay sitting or lying for a few moments before you get up.

Remember, your thoughts will come in and out, let them go but make a note of what distracts your practice when you have finished as often you will need to address them – keep your records

Mindful Visualisation and Music

Why Visualisation you may ask…well you may remember as a kid you would daydream.  You would imagine, at a physical level when playing games like film hero’s/heroines; have superpowers; or just lie in the sun and let your thoughts dwindles and your imagination come to the fore.

Remember that space where you could escape from the day to day stuff that crowded in on you. I used to drape a tarpaulin over the washing line and make a sort of tent with is and sit under it in the rain….I was in a rain forest and could just listen to the sounds the water main as it hit the tent…I knew I was safe and warm.

For you,  just take 5 minutes and absorb the scene and music……..HERE!

See, you can do it….lovely was it? I have more to come.

Now that’s all for today – just a bit of good old Diva Spirituality for all my hardworking entrepreneurs out there….just Chill for a bit.

Until next time

Diva x

 

 

Do you do it? – “Doing the ‘Doing’” Well Do You?

“Doing the ‘Doing’”

‘What you can do, or dream you can do, begin it; boldness has genius, power and magic in it’ (Goethe 1749-1832)

I have been sharing the wisdom of ‘Doing the Doing’ for nearly 30 years now after realising how often people thought they just had to ‘Cosmically Order’; Visualise; Pray; Meditate; Ask the Universe and it would all happen. All manner of things, you can add your own.

Yes, it can happen; it’s great that these ideas, doctrines, processes are used to propel your thoughts in the right direction. However, it then needs you to follow-up for the magic to happen. ‘Doing the Doing’ is where you really get moving forward.

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The Past Experiences

For years I have watched people go to workshops; conventions; readings; Retreats; Join groups; see therapists; buy books they never read and more all because they want to ‘Find themselves and their reason for being here!

Have you been to those conferences with the well-known GURU’s only to find the usual groupies there hanging on every word (yes myself included!)?  You begin to realise nothing is different, it’s the same content except it is dressed up in new clothes…

A quick Diva digression…did you know that Deepak Chopra once said that the word Guru meant ‘Gee you are you’ and that, ‘you are truly your own GURU?’

Well, all I can tell you is that from me and many of my tribe; ‘you have to get off those bums (fanny’s in the USA) and start the ‘DOING’ it won’t happen otherwise!’

Just because you are told to ‘Put it out there and it will materialise’   believe me without a good dollop of your energy; planning; thoughts; time; commitment; it will just be empty rhetoric!

My Challenge to you

Therefore I throw down this challenge to you. Come on peeps and join my tribe, start ‘doing the doing’ you all have dreams you want to get on with.  Earl Nightingale said:  “Never give up on a dream just because of the time it will take to accomplish it; the time will pass anyway.”

What is your ‘Doing’ what goals have you set yourself? Are you ‘doing the doing’ or do you just talk about it but never follow it through?

I have met many human beings who have so much potential, some fail to achieve their goals and visions because of not following through.

  • Which are you
  • Why might you fail?
  • What enables you to achieve?

Oliver Burkeman recently wrote a great article echoing my thoughts on the topic – check it out

Your Excuse is?

Having travelled in all walks of life, observed, listened, mentored, shared, facilitated I regularly hear people say;

  • I can’t…because of…
  • I’ll do it tomorrow
  • I’ll think about it
  • ‘I don’t have time/money/space/support.’

Why not stop, began to think mindfully about what it is you want (this is where a few visualisations would help).

If you say you don’t have time you could use that space between the ‘mad monkeys’ that keep you awake and sleep, slip into your imagination/daydream beginning to build your vision. NOW is the time you can start to ‘do the doing’ – Wow how exciting will that be for you?

My Journey to ‘Doing the Doing’

My journey into ‘doing’ began over 45 years ago when I was told I couldn’t study to be a Nursery Nurse – through ‘doing’ I was privileged to be teaching on NNEB courses 20 years later.

As ‘factory fodder’ (career teacher speak for not very bright) I knew I wanted to achieve a degree but had to wait until I was 25.

I did several academic awards including two degrees and achieved top grades – proving them wrong.

I made a decision even as a single Mum,  wanting to pay off my mortgage by the time I was 50, I succeeded at 49.

Yes, it took thinking outside the box and facing change, but you know what they say, ‘as one door closes another opens’ and it did for me and can for you.

In my 50’s I was in a wheelchair and was told I may not walk again – I can walk now; it took some lifestyle changes and a mindful process to enable this happen!

Recently I decided I would gather together much of what I had developed and shared with my tribe in the form of a workbook/manual.

Now I’m not the world’s best ‘Completer-Finisher’ yes,  I’m a genius at procrastination on occasions, (but a brilliant delegator!). However,  it took one of my students who has paper copies of all I do (she is not computer minded) to  turn up to class with a blue folder of a year’s worth of my notes beautifully ordered.

She looked at me and said – “here’s your book” and in front of me was everything I had shared with her.  Yes, it was at this point I knew it was my next ‘Doing the Doing’

Students Book of my notes/exercises/techniques

Students Book of
my notes/exercises/techniques

A few days later another friend contacted my with a link to http://junowrimo.com/ I checked out and committed to 50,000 words in a month….and I got 37,678 done and the book is in the proofing stage at present. (not bad for 30 days)

I also ‘do’ lots of other tasks/goals rather than put them off as I dislike having ‘mad monkeys’/’Brain Spam’ whizzing round my head reminding of all the ‘rough stuff’ I have around and keeping me awake at night.

You have realised as I am sure, to achieve your dreams you have to get off your bums and get on with it, not just talk about it.

Therefore to give you a kick start; A further Challenge is:

Jot down one thing you want to do; now the planning begins, try the 5WH method;

  • What do you want to do?
  • Who else is there to support you?
  • When will you start?
  • Where do you expect this to take you?
  • Why do you want to do it?
  • How long have you allocated?

NOW START!

It may take you a few minutes/hours/ days/weeks/years (it took me several with the mortgage), but you will have started ‘doing the doing’ rather than talking about it.

Have a go at visualising how it will feel when you have done it,  begin to feel that inner knowingness that it’s achievable.

 It's in your hands.

It’s in your hands.

It’s OK not to know where you want to get to completely as it’s the journey you take which will enable you to decide on which path to finally take – you will have a choice.

Small steps are key to all ‘doing the doing’ – as Buddha said, ‘A journey of a 1000 miles beings with the first step.’

Therefore, what are going to be your first steps into achieving ‘Doing YOUR Doing’?  When will you start to begin your journey? It will be an exciting time.

Until next time

Diva x

 

Slow Down – You Move to FAST…..

Slow down…well, you either hear the call, or you don’t.  But at a gut level you know it’s there.

Do you remember the story of the Tortoise and the Hare?  The Hare belts forward rushing and racing around trying to get all things done and burns out – the Tortoise just calmly moves along and eventually completes all the tasks, no mistakes and still feels chilled.  Which are you?

Which are YOU?

Which are YOU?

Daily Slow Down Tasks

You know what they all are, however, we all need reminders.  Don’t try to do them all at once, (as if you would lol!) that would be silly.

Mindful slowing down is quite simple, but not easy. It’s important to get started and begin making progress.

It’s a little like a baby starting to walk. There seems to be no real progress until one day you stand up, and suddenly you’re up and walking.

Just practice developing the tasks you remember most until they become a habit and then move on to new things….simples.  It takes everyone different lengths of time so remember it’s not a competition.

When I first work with new students I ask them to slow down the simple daily tasks they undertake, through habit and by applying Mindfulness thus being in the moment; they get results.

 Slowing Down and Mindfulness

These exercises will help you to notice the speed at which you are moving.  When you are tense, this is often faster and more spasmodic than necessary.  This exercise helps you turn down your metabolic rate.  For a few minutes, consciously and mindfully do everything the slightest fraction slower.

Choose a simple activity you do every day.  It could be;

  • getting dressed
  • having a shower
  • leaving the house and getting into the car
  • having breakfast or a tea break
  • watering your plants
  • taking the dog for a walk
WASHING UP!

WASHING UP!

Allow an extra minute or two, so you don’t have to hurry.  Do every movement just the slightest bit slower.

Carl Honoré in his TED Talk discusses the need to slow down and the resistance to it through conditioning and habit Click to watch an inspiring discussion.

Therefore, using Mindfulness as a tool to develop slowing down, consider these actions as you undertake them:

  • Notice the pace at which you walk, turn, sit, and lift things.  In other words, be natural without rushing in all everyday activities.
  • Walking. Most of us walk quite a bit each day, but we rarely think about walking. We also don’t pay much attention to what’s going on around us. Our thoughts are primarily on wherever it is we’re walking to.
  • While walking, notice what’s going on around you. Feel the pressure on your feet. Feel the temperature of the air on your skin. Smell the air; yes smell the air – describe it.
  • Eating. We’re rarely aware that we’re even eating, and taste well forget that, for many it doesn’t even hit the sides….
Notice your Food!

Notice your Food!

Try a little experiment.

Take an orange and eat it one piece at a time. Bite into it slowly and take the time to savour each bite. Take a full 30 seconds for each segment. There’s a 50-50 chance you won’t even be able to finish the entire orange. It’s richer than you think.

Lots of Vitamin C......

Lots of  fab Vitamins C……

Avoid eating in front of the television or while listening to music so that you can focus on your food and the people with you.  When you’re talking, talk. When you’re eating, eat.

Take it Slowly when….

Waiting in line. Maybe you find waiting in line to be especially frustrating. Notice the feelings and thoughts that arise while you’re waiting. But avoid getting emotionally involved. Simply be a casual observer. Breathe in and let go, you have just been given a few minutes to chill – take it!

Observing your Body – Take note when your movements are hurried and jerky why? and again when they are smooth and easy.  Do you breathe easily or hold your breath? You may need to review your breathing techniques. We rarely notice our bodies unless we’re in pain or ill. BIG mistake. Our bodies are one of the primary ways we experience the world.

Avoiding multitasking. Just do one task at a time. You’ll get more done, and it’s much easier to be mindful.  Remember the Tortoise and the Hare?  Once you have become more competent with the simple tasks and let go of the guilt about not multi-tasking you are ready to move onto the next stages.

‘Doing the Doing’

Become aware. This means,  be aware of everything in your environment, as well as everything you’re doing and thinking. Keep your focus on the present moment, not looking back at the past or concerning yourself with the future.

Become deliberate. Focus on what you’re doing and perform the next logical step. Keep going until the task is complete. Be focused on the task rather than getting the job over and done with.

Notice your feelings. If you think about it, emotions are nothing more than feelings that we’ve learned to label. When your body feels a certain way, you call it “jealousy,” “happiness,” “fear,” “shame,” and so on. Our brains don’t have the ability actually to feel anything. That’s why patients are frequently awake for many neurosurgery procedures. It ’s our emotions and physical self that ‘feels.’

Regularly take a moment to notice what each part of your body is feeling. Think relaxed or tense? Then make a choice about what you will do – Rush or Relax!

Learn how to regain control. (Top Tip)

If you find yourself unable to be mindful, there’s a great trick to bring your thoughts back to the present.

  1. List ten things that you see. It’s preferable for you to list the items aloud. Describe each one in some detail.
  2. List all the things you hear. Close your eyes and listen.
  3. Describe the smell in the air.
  4. Describe what you’re feeling physically. It might be, “My neck is hurting. I can feel the pressure of my feet on the ground. My belt feels tight. The air is a little cold on my skin. My body feels tired.”
  5. Take a minute to notice your breathing. Count your breaths as you feel the air moving in and out of your body.

When you complete this exercise, your mind should be back in the present.

We are all aware of how rushing around leads to mistakes; Psychologically it does us no good what so ever;  Our Physiology suffers too; our Stress levels increase….therefore maybe today is the day you start to believe Slow is the Way to Go!

Just Chill and Slow Down

Just Chill and Slow Down

Consider one of the daily tasks you do and decide to slow it down….just one, get into the habit of taking a little longer and begin to see the changes.

You may need to adjust you time management tools/schedule of daily tasks, but you can pop over and see the ‘The Time Doctor’  for that challenge….

Let me know what task you decide on and how you get on….

Until next time

Diva x

Self, Confidence and the Tight Rope Walk

Self-confidence is about balance.  Its like walking a tightrope at one extreme, we have people with low self-confidence.  At the other end, we have people who may be over-confident; we want to be standing stable and strong in the middle with few wobbles.

If you are under-confident, you’ll avoid taking risks and stretching yourself; and you might not try at all.  And if you’re over-confident, you may take on too much risk, stretch yourself beyond your capabilities, wobble badly and crash.  You may also find that you’re so optimistic that you don’t try hard enough to succeed actually.

Getting this accurate is a matter of having the right amount of confidence, founded in reality and on your true ability.  With the right amount of self-confidence, you will take informed risks, stretch yourself (but not beyond your abilities) and try hard can manage and eliminate threats that would otherwise catch you unawares.

Check your SWOT – HERE

A SWOT Analysis is a powerful technique for identifying Strengths and Weaknesses (think of weaknesses as development needs!), and for examining the Opportunities and Threats you face.

Used in a personal context, it can enable you to reflect on your confidence;   it helps you develop your career in a way that takes the best advantage of your talents, abilities, and opportunities, and bring your life back into a more manageable balance.

What makes SWOT particularly powerful is that with a little thought, it can help you uncover opportunities that you are well placed to take advantage of.  By understanding your weaknesses, you can gain a Balanced Self-Confidence – HAVE A READ AND FOLLOW SOME OF THE SUGGESTIONS

Building Self-Confidence

Building Bricks from 'abfablife'

Building Bricks from
‘abfablife’

Self-Confidence comes from 3 Building Blocks that underpin solid foundations

Self- Esteem: Comes from valuing yourself, your skills, qualities, who you are and ‘planning your life journey.’

Assertiveness: Having Thinking Time, Practice, courage, standing in your Power

Confidence:  Comes from Developing your Knowledge about YOU, your Values, Skills, Competences, Qualities, and Beliefs.

So how do you build this sense of balanced self-confidence? It’s founded on a firm appreciation of your reality. The challenging news is that there’s no quick fix or 5-minute solution. The positive news is that building self-confidence is readily achievable, just as long as you have the focus and determination to carry things through.  And what’s even better is that the things you’ll do will build success – after all, your confidence will come from real, solid achievement.  No-one can take this away from you!

Setting out on your Tightrope walk to Self-Confidence:

Get ready for your expedition. You need to take stock of where you are, think about where you want to go, get yourself in the right mind set for your journey, and commit yourself to starting it and staying with it. No procrastinating!  In preparing for your journey, do the following things:

  • Look at what you’ve already achieved: that comes from your SWOT (keep adding to it)
  • Think about your life so far, perhaps you, did something for you that you wanted to do, or got some great feedback, played a key role in a project, did something that made a key difference in someone else’s life. Make a list so you will remember them.
  • Think about your strengths by using your SWOT ANALYSIS. Take a look at who and where you are, reflect on your recent life, think about what your friends would consider being your strengths and weaknesses. From these, think about the opportunities and threats you face.
  • Make sure that you enjoy a few minutes reflecting on your strengths!
  • Think about what’s important to you, and where you want to go:  Next, think about the things that are really important to you, and what you want to achieve with your life.

Setting and achieving goals is a key part of this, and your real self-confidence comes from this.  Goal setting is the process you use to set yourself targets and measure your success.

Set a NEW major goal in your life (or re-vamp an old one not yet achieved), identify the first step in setting out.  A top tip: Make sure it’s a very small step, perhaps taking no more than an hour to complete!

Start managing your mind:

Manage your Mind

Manage your Mind

At this stage, you need to start managing your mind. Learn to pick up and beat the negative self-talk which can destroy your confidence.  And learn how to use visualization to create strong mental images of what you’ll feel and experience as you achieve your major goals – there’s something about doing this that makes even major goals seem achievable!

Commit yourself to success!

The final part of preparing for the journey is to make a clear and unequivocal promise to yourself that you are committed to your journey, and that you will do all in your power to achieve it. If as you’re doing it, you find doubts starting to surface write them down and challenge them calmly and rationally.  If they dissolve under scrutiny, that’s great.  However if they are based on genuine risks make sure you set additional goals to manage these appropriately. Either way, make that promise to yourself!

Set out on your journey moving forward, small steps, reflect on outcomes, and accelerate towards achievement; stretch yourself a little at a time – you will find self-confidence building.

REMEMBER – There is NO such thing as PERFECTION! (You can have a little Wobble!)

Introducing Ms. Wobble

Introducing Ms. Wobble

  • Stop trying to be perfect, just be happy to be a human.
  • Don’t take everything so seriously. Smile and take a lighter approach.
  • Decide on your preferred outcome and act in your best interests.
  • Accept that you will not always be able to reach a specific goal.
  • Learn from your mistakes but ensure you don’t make them again.
  • Relax and remember that you don’t always have to be right!
  • Everyone makes mistakes, so let other people off the hook; you will find that life gets so much more forgiving when you do this.
  • What is your gut/intuitions reaction to the choice that you are making? Take a moment to notice and follow your instincts.
  • That piece of work will never be perfect – just give it your best shot and that will be enough.
  • Be happy to learn from the process of life; our mistakes help us to grow.

Let yourself off the hook

Life is a risky business and even if we try to stay in our comfort zones, we cannot feel entirely safe.  Mistakes are inevitable and as soon as we can accept this, our days take on a more positive aspect.       Once we can let ourselves off the hook of perfectionism, we can stride out there and take our slice of life.   Remember – try to keep BALANCE in your life

Lynda Field in her book, ‘Be Yourself’  makes the following points:

  • Positive action is one of the most powerful antidotes to apathy, discontent, and negativity.
  • Confidence is a quality that is often bestowed on us AFTER we have taken what feels like a risky step.
  • When you can overcome your fears you can achieve your dreams; have no fear.
  • Check that you are not expecting perfection (it does not exist!) and be able to recognise when you have done a ‘good enough’ job
  • Sometimes we have to make way for our ‘dreams’ by clearing away the debris that is blocking our path.

Keep an open mind and just be YOU.  Walk your tightrope with head held high knowing you will make it to the end….that is where the next Tightrope Journey will begin.

You will be amazed at what you will achieve and how your confidence will increase, and you will become more empowered.

Until next time

Diva x

Yes, or No…that is the Question!

Shakespeare said, “To be or not to be, that is the question.”  I often think about that quote when I have to make a choice/decision – Yes (to be?) or No (not to be?).

The Bard - Don't you just Love him!

The Bard – Don’t you just Love him!

That is the basic key to decision-making – it all boils down to choice –  “will you – won’t you?”

What are the deciding factors?

Now, do you use Mindful Thinking Time (MTT) or just say the first thing that comes into your head? I hear you, ‘The first thing that comes into my head Diva’ – ‘WHY’ I yell at you? You are a grown up!

  • Conditioning is one reason
  • Fear is another
  • Your needs don’t matter
  • Anything for a quiet life
  • You could add to the list

FEAR!

Fear tend to be the big one…’if I say no what will be the repercussions’? It’s often to do with;

  • wanting to be liked
  • pleasing people
  • be seen as a good person
  • meeting all family needs
  • anything to stop arguments.

Saying YES – moving forward to saying No!

I don’t know about you, but I used to find saying  ‘NO’ to people so difficult when they asked me to do something for them.  The upshot would be that I overcommitted myself and got so stressed trying to spin lots of plates, juggling many balls, eventually I had a break-down.

Interestingly it is always your needs that get left behind. Then you feel animosity towards whoever you had said YES to and angry at yourself for not being strong and declining the request.

Firstly, it’s not their fault if you can’t be assertive and most people aren’t mind readers.  Secondly, you give them permission to continue to keep asking because you have never said NO!

Remember;

‘WHEN I SAY NO

I AM REFUSING

THE  REQUEST

NOT  REJECTING

THE  PERSON’

 

There is no particular time of the year that you find yourself being pulled in all directions (maybe festivities) it can be any day.

So, what to do about it?  Consider why you say YES…do you feel under pressure to do so? Is it often against your better judgment too.  If this is so, then there can be a few reasons why.

  1. You aren’t clear about your own priorities.
  2. You may feel the other person will dislike you if you say no and will become upset.
  3. The other person is a friend, and you always please your friends.
  4. Because you have always done it
  5. It is expected of you – (remember you have been giving permission for years)

check out more;

Reality Check!

Why do you say yes and then regret it; there will be a reason – sort it out! Move forward it’s your life – it’s SELF-CARE!

Remember your priorities should come first, when you say yes then you are often saying no to something else.

Only say yes to those things you want to do. You don’t have to give a reason why you say ‘NO ,’ however, you need to practice saying it as some people (often family) make it hard for us.

One strategy I get all my tribe to use is to say, ‘give me a few minutes and I will check my diary and get back to you.’   You can even say that you will ‘sleep on it.’  That way you give yourself a bit of mindful thinking time (MTT).

You then decide if it is a yes or a no.

YES - NO Decision Time

YES – NO
Decision Time

If it’s an NO, acknowledge the other persons request and what they are asking is important (to them), however, that you have ‘other commitments /priorities’ or ‘you don’t have enough time’ or ‘don’t have the skills.’

You can help the other person solve their problem by making a suggestion of someone else they can ask.  Keep in your head that ‘this is not my problem.’

Remember Some Top Tips:

  • When you say ‘NO’ you are refusing a request not rejecting the person.  State your position clearly and in a positive way.
  • Don’t hang around after coz the other person may think you could be changing your mind.
  • Consider your tone of voice – keep it neutral
  • Watch you body language, is it saying the same as your words?
  • Develop Self-respect for your own needs as it is core to your Self-Care
  • You always have choices about everything you do no matter how hard it may seem.

Your Challenge – Your Life

To get to a stage, I could say ‘NO’  without fear I had to practice; so my challenge to you is to find a friend and have a practice.

Take a situation like an invitation to an event you don’t want to attend and just have a go, listen to the feedback from your friend and Practice, Practice, Practice.  It will take time, but you will feel the benefits.

Yes, there may be a few casualties along the way. However, they may be the ‘Toxic Energies’ you needed to ditch anyway!

Its Your Do you want it?

Its Your
Do you want it?

 

The Payoff

Begin to feel how much more relaxed and empowered you are once you have started to say ‘NO’ – less stressed and have more time for the important things in your life. Just think;

  • MORE TIME;
  • LESS STRESS;
  • LIFE BALANCE

and that’s just 3 payoffs.

Let me know how your challenge goes.

Until next time

Diva X