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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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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

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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.

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.

Life’s rich tapestry

Once again, it’s been ages since I wrote anything.  It seems I have to be in the right place to write.  When life becomes too busy or difficult, it seems that I cannot put pen to paper or fingers to keyboard.  I am now trying to remember why I started to write a blog and to reinstate the feelings that writing gave me.  I felt that this year was going to be the year for upward movement, but here I am at the beginning of February and nothing has progressed.  In order not to loose momentum, I am forcing myself to type up my book and edit where I think it needs it.  I thought, in my infinite wisdom, that if I wrote my book on my iPad, I could take it everywhere with me and add to it as I pleased.  The fun part about that decision is that I was writing it in a format that cannot be transferred to word on my laptop, hence, re typing the last 15 chapters. Luckily, I am a fast typer so it shouldn’t take too long.  Whilst doing this though, the story is not progressing and that makes me a little frustrated.

I have come to the conclusion that the reason I cannot find time to write, is there is not enough time in the day.  Even over the Christmas period when I had time off, the days still flew past with nothing achieved apart from cooking, cleaning and the laundry, so I am going to have a word with him upstairs and ask him to add a few hours. Do you think it will work?

So here I am again, making a deal with myself to write every day.  I may not be on a blog, but this or my book is going to be an added priority.  Surprising how cathartic just writing these few words has already been.

I must not loose my connection to myself.  I must follow my dream of finishing this book and getting it published.  The sequel is all in my head waiting to be let out.  I need to push forward and not let anything get in my way.  Is that easier said than done, I wonder?

 

Walk a mile in my shoes

Sometimes I am confused by human nature, but unfortunately I am never surprised.

I think that everyone has a tendency to be selfish, to think only of their needs and wants, but there are people who take it to the extreme.  Then there are those who do something unexpectedly wonderful for you and restore your faith in mankind.

We used to run our own company and employed a lot of people.  Sadly, because we were company owners, people saw us as rich and lucky.  Some were wonderful, but many stole from us, lied, used company property  for personal use that wasn’t allowed or made decisions they weren’t qualified to make.  The company was a good one and the job we did was rewarding in itself, but employing the type of people we had to, made us very cynical.  We became embittered and always stressed.  We eventually lived, expecting trouble and tarred everyone with the same brush.  We had no faith in humanity because of our experiences.

On the day we flew out to our new life in Spain, My husband lost his wallet in the airport.  It fell out of an unsecured pocket.  In it was credit and debit cards, €1000 in cash, his driving licence and basically everything we needed for our new lives.  I remember the colour of his face draining from normal to green at the second he realised his wallet was missing.  He ran back to search everywhere he had been, but to no avail.  We had been chatting to an airport cleaner when he made his discovery and as soon as he came back to us, he said, “Well, I’m never going to see that again.  I don’t know what we are going to do.”  The cleaner immediately grabbed his hand and took him to lost property.

He reached the counter but was told nothing had been handed in, just as he expected.  They gave him a form to fill out and whilst doing it, he was thinking about how we could rent a car without his licence and that certain things had been booked using his cards and he would have to present them.  We could get money but we needed that cash for payment of bills.  He was really worried.  Just at that moment, another member of staff approached and asked him if he had lost a wallet.  He said that he had and described it.  The man said he had it, it had just been handed in.  Ian was amazed, happy to at least get his cards and licence back.  He utterly stunned when he found that all the money was there too.  Nothing had been taken at all.  We were so thankful and asked if we could give the wonderful honest person, who had handed it in, some money to say thank you, but we were told it was against policy and they hadn’t left a name.

It was a lesson in humility for us.  We were so down on human nature, so suspicious of people and their actions, ready to believe the worst in people, yet here we were, the recipients of a strangers selfless actions.  It continues much the same today.  We are not so embittered as we once were, maybe still a little suspicious, but we have found some wonderful people around us.  Help has often come from unexpected places, and people, who were just acquaintances, have proved to be wonderful friends.  Equally, there are people that thought close friends, who have shown themselves to be incapable of true friendship.

As a member of this species, I travel on, observing and learning.  We all judge each other according to our own standards and find each other lacking in many areas, but are we qualified to judge other people?  One of my favourite phrases is “Walk a mile in my shoes.”  We all live such vastly different lives, experienced pain and happiness in individual ways, how can we truly comment on someone else’s lives?

 

 

 

Autumn memory

My little dog runs ahead of me as always.  She stops and looks back to see where I am, waits a while until I catch up with her and then off she trots again.  Her nose is to the ground as she scents for anything interesting and there is so many wonderful smells in a wood, in the autumn.

Again she stops and looks at me with her little Black and Tan face, Her white body finished off with a cropped brown tail.  Her tail was cropped as a puppy, before she ever came to me and as was the original fashion for a Jack Russell.  It was the perfect indicator for how she was feeling.

As with all dogs, she would drop it down if she was unhappy but it would not reach between her legs as it was too short.  When I first met my husband, he had a boat on the Norfolk broads and we always took her with us.  At first, she was unsure and her tail was as down as she could get it.  Then she discovered she could walk right around the boat using the gunnels and her tail raised a little until it was stuck out in line with her back.  Finally she realised that when we were cruising along, she could run round and round, bark at the ducks and swans, and become the mascot of the boat, as people looked, pointed, giggled at her and gave her lots of fuss when we moored up.  She loved the boat and her tail raised straight up in the air as soon as we got on it.

For all that she loves the boat, she hates water and will do anything to avoid it.  Our favourite time is our walks on land.  So here we are, on a cold, sunny autumn day.  I kick my way through coloured fallen leaves and she sniffs out the squirrels and rabbits that are prolific here.  Most of the trees are bare now  and looking at the ground, I see many forms of fungus.  There are toadstools as well as huge field mushrooms growing in and on the tree humus. It’s a perfect place for them.  I am also genuinely delighted to see a fairy ring.

Ok, I know I am a little old to believe in such things, but it really looks like one.  There, just over there, is a group of toadstools with the red caps and white spots, just like in all the fairy tale illustrations I have seen.  I don’t need a great imagination to conjor up fairies and pixies sitting atop each stool and talking about whatever it is that they talk about.

I stop for a while and have a closer look until Penny runs back and gives me a nudge.  I can almost hear her thoughts.  “Will you hurry up.  There is too much to sniff out and we can’t hang around here.”  So I follow and she runs off again, always stopping and looking back to see where I am.  Never going out of sight, no matter what wonder lay ahead.  She never leaves me.  We can walk for miles and she never tires, unlike me.  She doesn’t care if it’s hot or cold, along as it’s not raining.  She doesn’t run away to chase rabbits, to sniff them is enough.  Her need is to stay close to me.  She is my loyal little friend, my protector and companion.  Her love is honest, unconditional and delightful.

When it’s time to leave, I call her.  She stops and looks at me.  She turns back wanting to pursue her trail but I turn and walk the other way.  There is no need to worry as within seconds she bounds past me, ready to lead the way again.  The pattern continues.  Run ahead a while, stop, look back, wait for me, then run on, until we reach the car.

It’s nothing spectacular, just friendship, Autumn and a walk, but it’s a lovely memory of a lovely time.