Learning

Life

It is AGES since I wrote in this blog.  Why?  Good question.

The short answer is that life was too busy.  I was too busy.  I have felt lost in rushing.

I started writing for and creating a magazine and that took over.  Instead of doing 7 hours a week for a few articles, it became all consuming.  I enjoyed it and it was a huge learning curve, but I had no time for me, despite clearing other work out of the way to do it.

Magazine

I actually thought I would leave blogging behind for good, but the need to write down my thoughts and discoveries about life has become all consuming once again, so here I am.

So what have I learned?  Oh my word!  How long do you want to read for?

It never ceases to amaze me that nothing stays the same for long.  Life just happens around you and you deal with it.  You have no choice.  I thought many times that things couldn´t get worse and was wrong, but on the other hand, things couldn´t get better and they did.  I am both blessed and struggling, found and lost, grateful and demanding, all at the same time.

Sad Times

We are experiencing a sad time at the moment.  We are waiting for the call that my husbands stepfather has died.  He is in the final hours of his life, in hospital.  He has been ill for sometime and is very old.  There is a knot in my stomach and a dread for this occurrence.  Death is never easy to deal with and it brings tears.  We are so worried about Mum and how she will cope without him.  Their´s is a love story of many years and they have been devoted to one another.  I am an em-path, so I feel other people´s pain keenly and it´s hard not to take that on myself.

However, I cannot help but be so grateful to this man for the life of my husband.  He will pass over but he will be remembered and appreciated, even if we didn´t always respect his views.

He has been the biggest influence in my husbands life, because he found him as a baby.  Imagine a tiny baby, 5lb in weight at 5 weeks old, left in the 1950´s equivalent of a workhouse and there you have it.  In walks a Doctor, who has been asked to find a baby for the best friend of his wife.  That was Ian´s mum.  She was unable to have a baby and this doctor had offered to help.

He had a strict criteria.  He believed in genetics and wanted to look at the parentage of all the babies in the unit.  He found this tiny little boy was the son of an accordion player and singer, in the pubs and clubs of London, and his father was an engineer.  The baby was filthy and undernourished.  He took him home where he and his wife bathed, fed and clothed him, and personally hand him over to Mum.

My husband is a professional piano player and singer, and he can make a computer make a cup of tea.  I believe in genetics!  I´m a convert.

Peter

Not the best photo. 

So thank you Dad, so much, for the life of my husband.  Because of you, he lives, breathes, has a great life, has beautiful children and walks beside me every day.  I celebrate your life, because you gave him his.

 

Learning curve

I think that most people now have heard of the book and film called The Secret.  It´s all about how to manifest what you want in your life and I read this book about 10 years ago.  I tried to implement it as much as I could, but found it impossible. I wasn´t in the right mind, place, emotion, whatever, it just didn´t seem to work for me.  We still lost our business, house, life as we knew it.

Looking back over the last 10 year, however, I realise it has been working.  Because I read that book, the universe, spirit, God, energy has changed and I have been learning so much.  If only I wasn´t so stubborn, maybe I could have learned it all sooner, but that old adage of ¨better late than never¨kicks in around now.

My journey is ongoing and I promise to share as I go along.  Suffice it to say that gratitude and serving other people is key now.  Love is all.  I thought I knew that, but what I knew wasn´t enough.  There is an energy that comes from loving and I´m not just talking about being in love.  It comes from loving yourself, loving people, loving animals, loving the planet and loving the beauty that surrounds you.  It´s finding gratitude in every day.  Be grateful for just being able to breathe when everything around you seems to be falling apart.

And then there´s plastic!

Yeah, I have done a weird subject flip.

Did you watch the BBC documentary, The Blue Planet II, with the young whale playing with/ingesting the plastic bucket?

Whale with bucket

This disturbed me so much.  I have experienced plastic pollution in the Red Sea whilst in Egypt and was disgusted by that too.  Many other documentaries and News stories of animals dying and, perfect condition lolly sticks from the 1970´s being washed up on beaches, has led me to take a stand.

Plastic has got to do one out of my life!!

My husband is very worried. He has seen my “fads” before, but this is different.  I am a vegan, have been for years and I guess he finally realises this isn´t a fad.  We do not need to use plastic, so I have been looking for alternatives.

We´ve stopped buying water in plastic bottles.  We store water in glass ones now.  I use tin foil instead of cling film, shop with reusable bags, but although we´ve cut down, we haven´t cut it out.  Food is packaged in plastic, plastic bags are given to put your fruit and veg in at supermarkets, detergents are packaged in plastic.  Even water filters are coated in plastic.  It´s crazy.

You´ve heard of stone age and iron age, we are the plastic age and we need to re-educate ourselves.

So, my next purchases are bamboo charcoal and coriander to filter my water, mesh bags to buy my loose veggies in the supermarket and hessian bags for shopping, because even the reusable ones break down and become unusable in the sun.

That´s it for now, but I´ll be back.

Advertisements

Eureka

Yes, it is literally years since I wrote in my blog.  I can give you loads of excuses as to why, but I’m not going to bother.  I’m just going to draw a line under it, pick myself up, dust myself off and start again.

As human beings, we are on a journey, and it doesn’t seem to matter what age you get to, you  keep learning.  We fill ourselves with knowledge about our jobs and interests, but it’s when we learn about ourselves that the biggest changes occur.

I sell makeup because I love the makeup I sell.  It’s ethical, cruelty free, plant based products and is exactly what I was looking for, for years.  The difficulty for me has been how I sell it.  It’s all about network marketing and, in that, has been terrifying.  You see, I can stand in front of 50,000 strangers and sing to them, but please don’t put me in the middle of that crowd, or any smaller one.  I struggle to function at parties or speak to new people.  I am happiest surrounded by people who know and like me, but put me in a room of new people and I am completely out of my comfort zone.  So much so, that I am prone to panic attacks, heart palpitations and breathing becomes difficult.  Not what you’d expect of an entertainer eh?

Network marketing is about meeting, talking to and befriending anyone and everyone.  It’s about sharing your enthusiasm and love of the product you believe in.  It letting people see who you are and letting them in.  Now that’s scary.

Thankfully, with my company, comes a lot of help and self development and that’s what I have been doing over the last 10 months.  I have been trying to “sort myself out” and get over the crippling fear of reaching out to people, but to little avail.  I didn’t feel I was making progress and I began to question myself.

What is it that’s holding me back?  Why do I have these fears?  What is my mental block that makes me too scared to try?

My eureka moment came yesterday as I was driving in my car.  What came, like a bolt from the blue, was that subconsciously I am not good enough.  Who I am isn’t good enough.  What I do isn’t good enough.  People don’t like me because I’m not good enough.  In short, I am not enough!

Strangely I found this liberating.  Finally I realised that the reason I feel not good enough is because as a child, that is what I was taught.  My family were all shy, undemonstrative, quiet people.  I was the opposite.  I sang, I danced, I laughed, I cried, I talked loudly, with gusto.  They all say I wanted to be the centre of attention and I was outgoing and maybe that was true.  With my siblings and parents telling me to calm down or people wouldn’t like me…  Be quiet people are looking….  People don’t like pushy individuals…..  You’ll never be any good….  Dreams are just dreams, they’re not real…do you always have to be so loud?…  You don’t sing, you shout!…. Stop getting overexcited…. and much worse, every ounce of confidence was stripped away and although I am a singer and I am incredibly happy in my life in general, I have realised, only yesterday, that as a Mum and Grandmother, singer, writer and everything else I am,  my subconscious mantra has always been, “You can’t do this, you are not good enough and you are not enough”

The liberation comes from finally knowing and the freedom will come from retraining my subconscious.  So now, everyday,  every time I remember, I say out loud, for only me and my dogs to hear, “I am enough.  I am good enough.  It’s ok to be me.”

It’s going to be a huge learning curve and I am going to have to mindfully analyse  every thought process until it becomes ingrained, but the fear has taken a huge step back and I am grateful for that.  Not out of the woods, but better.

It reminds me of how careful we have to be when we speak with children.  How damaging we can be to little minds, without realising what we are doing or saying.  Careless or deliberate words can cause years of misery and self doubt.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Brownie Quest

There comes a point in any diet, when I need a chocolate brownie fix. Usually I have to resist because of either calories or the sugar interferes with the protein thing.

Well, now I am doing the 5:2 fasting diet and it’s such a relief to know that I can have an occasional brownie.

The next thing that causes an issue is that I am vegan and I have had some good vegan brownies, but I decided to hunt for the perfect vegan brownie and boy, did I find it. Luxurious, gooey and tastes of heaven.

The question I am always asked is “what do you eat?” And just lately I overheard the comment, “I couldn’t be a vegan, I’m too lazy.” Which got me puzzling as to what people think Vegans really eat. My response is, I eat what you eat. You have spaghetti bolognese and so do I, you have chilli, so do I, you have fajitas, me too. The only difference is that I substitute the meat with other proteins such as lentils and chickpeas. I love flavour and good food. Vegan is not only healthier and low fat, it’s cheaper and equally as versatile as meat. I don’t just eat vegetables, I need protein, as does everyone and I need as much variety as everyone else. There are some strange ingredients from time to time and vegan cheese really is quite disgusting. I also refuse to eat soya, but on the whole, there is nothing wierd or frightening about my food.

So back to the vegan brownie we go. The ingredients are basically the same. Eggs are substituted with baking powder, milk chocolate with plain chocolate and butter with sunflower oil. The result is not knowing the difference between a vegan brownie and a “normal” one. image
Then there’s the added luxuriant touch. Ice cream. Creamy, delicious and vanilla. Homemade in my machine, using coconut milk instead of cream. It’s all glorious and I am in heaven. The quest for the perfect brownie is satisfied.

image

A busy weekend

My day off begins with sunshine, warmth and a smile. Today, I am going to find birthday presents for two people. One, a very close friend and two, my husband. I am not really a lover of shopping. I like to know what I am going for, find it after having a massive trying on session in one shop, buy it and come home, unless it’s clothes for me. Then I like to go to one shop, find it, try it on, pay for it and come home. There is nothing more tedious than traipsing around a myriad of shops in search of something that fits or looks right. I sound like a dream shopper for the man in tow, but believe me I’m not, because invariably I end up going everywhere to find one thing. I am so fussy about my clothes and if I buy something I don’t feel comfortable in, it stays in the wardrobe. Hence the tedious traipsing.

Today though, I have people to buy for and I know which shops I am hitting. The ideas for gifts aren’t definite. I am trying to remain open minded so it could all change by the end of the day.

The weekend was busy with gigs. I had a Valentine’s dinner dance on Friday and as usual, it was a night for romantic slushy songs. It’s the only night of the year I can sing so many slow songs and get away with it. Asking for requests usually brings “lady in red”, irrelevant that I am a woman singing about another woman. No one cares as long as it’s heard and danced to. Saturday though, made a Valentine’s change. Another friend has her birthday the day after her husbands, so they had a joint birthday party and asked me to sing. Very few slow songs that night. Instead they partied, ate, drank and danced the night away, culminating in my friends favourite song, “Raining men.” image

imageB

They loved my mic stand and pretended to be either lead or backing singers. It made me smile. A great night had by all and Happy birthday guys. Hope the heads weren’t too sore the next day.

Unfortunately, my hubby and I couldn’t celebrate Valentine’s this year. Usually we go out the day before or after, but the day before I was working and the day after was a collapse day. That’s what happens when you work all day and most of the night for 48 hours. Oh well, next year it is.

Fasting again

For a day off, yesterday proved to be a really busy day. The vampires were out in the morning drawing blood for a cholesterol test. I spent too much money on new clothes and then I played taxi service for my hubby before joining him in the evening for dinner and raising money for charity. It was a good night with good friends and lots of laughter. The whole theme of the evening was Ye Olde English Night, with lots of old songs with changed lyrics to suit the occasion. There was a fining system where people had to pay fines for various misdemeanours or sometimes for being too good. Anyone who snitched on someone else also got fined and it became quite loud and hilarious.

Mondays, however, have been designated as fasting days and after a disastrous weekend, where I put on almost a Kilo in 2 days, I was quite desperate to get back to it. With a dinner booked for the evening, there was little point though, so today is the day. Being a vegan means that my two meals can be low calorie as long as I miss out the carbs, so I intend to make a huge batch of chilli today and can’t wait to scoff it.

Chilli made with different beans is one of my favourite dishes. It took me a long time to develope the taste for this Mexican dish. While a meat eater I always found it on the hot side and because there is no sweetness to it, I was not a great lover. Enter my husband, who loves chilli and it was necessary to like it. Thus over time I was converted and when I decided to become a vegan, I had to find a good substitute to the carnivore variety.

I really like this 5:2 fasting diet, because I don’t feel deprived. I do get tired and with gigs this week and working day and night, I am a little worried about how I will cope. Also because Of missing my fast day yesterday, I have to do my 2 fast days close together. Only one eating day between them, which could spell trouble. My poor hubby might be in for a rough time. I will try desperately not to snap his head off, whilst in the throws of tiredness, but can’t promise I will be completely sane. Bless him. Duck love, duck!!

It’s my favourite day. Sunday for me is the start of the weekend. It’s a lazy day in which I rest before the onslaught of a busy week. As I was lying in The jacuzzi I realised that I was thinking about what I was going to do next and it dawned on me that I do that a lot. I am always living in the next task, instead of being in the current moment. There is always a lot to do, but why waste time on the future when I could be enjoying such a wonderful treat now. So I stopped. I looked around me. The sun was shining, there was a gentle breeze, the Palm trees looked amazing against the sky, the water was warm and I was sharing precious time with my husband. Today I spent longer in the jacuzzi than I have since the summer, because I decided I didn’t need to rush to do something else. Result… More contentment.

Since getting out and drying off, I have still done everything I set my mind to do today. So nothing lost and everything gained.

My husband’s new publicity poster is photoshopped and completed. I have ironed sheets and put them on our bed. Nothing nicer than clean sheets, I have typed up another chapter of my book and now I am blogging while my husband cooks dinner. We have rung both Mums and caught up with their news so all is well with the world.

Today I was struck by a new idea for a book, so now I have 4 in my head. I can’t write fast enough, but I am very happy to be back writing. There is a wonderful release in putting words together. It allows me to be creative and I can express any emotion I am feeling without making it about me. The scary thing is, the more I write, the more ideas I have. I just hope that I am a good enough writer so people want to read more. That’s going to be the crux of the matter.

Watch this space…..

Music and Memories

Oh my goodness. What a mare. I managed to log myself out of my blog and having never done that before, I couldn’t remember my login details. It’s taken me three days to sort it out, because getting back in is not obvious at all. Anyway, here I am once again.

Today is Saturday and the day for my radio show. It’s a chat show, where I invite local people to come and talk about themselves, their businesses and interests. I have featured authors, charities, complimentary health practitioners, singers, artists and many more interesting people. They each choose 3 songs that they love and it’s a fantastic way to learn about people.

One of the best things, is the varied choices of music. We had a large glut of the song “Happy” by Pharrell Williams, but mostly it shows just how wide our tastes are. Even in the pop field, there are so many genres and no two people have chosen the same 3 songs. Young people can choose old songs and older people choose new ones. Each tune carries a memory and the ones that stick are associated with happy times.

Although we have our favourite sad songs, it seems the ones that define our lives are the ones that call to mind our happiest memories. Teenage years feature really high, as does the “our song”, when we have met our life partner.

I truly love my show on a Saturday and meeting such an eclectic group of people and I love their differing tastes in music, because people’s choices fascinate me. Today I will be playing Stairway to Heaven by Led Zeppelin, which apart from being an all time great, is a personal favourite. It reminds me of my teenage years living in a huge farmhouse with my family. My brother would belt this out as loud as he could from his bedroom at the back and the house was so big, that no one in the front could hear it. Good memories of my brother in his Led Zeppelin phase. He even got a perm to look like Robert Plant and I liked it. I was young and always impressed by my big brother.

Good music equals happy memories.