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Saturday, 31 December 2011

A year of sunsets



35,000ft in the air, I soar high above the clouds which lie like eider pillows all around. As the plane banks gracefully to the right, the last remaining rays of golden sun splash onto my face and I close my eyes. In a few short minutes the shimmering light will be gone marking the end of another day. 
Gazing out of the icy window, I can't help but look back over the year and reflect on where I have journeyed. Memories flash behind my eyes like a slide show and set my mind racing faster than the speed of light.
There is a moment just before the sun has completely disappeared from sight that always fills me with a sense of hope.
Sometimes in life we make mistakes. We say things we wish we hadn't and do things we don't feel proud of. Every day is a new opportunity to grow and move forward. Just as the sun sets on another year, I realise that there is only now; nothing else matters. We can't change the past or live in the future. 

The greatest gift we have is of love and forgiveness and once we give it to ourselves, anything is possible.



On this, the eve of a sparkling new year, I hope 2012 brings you everything your heart truly desires and much, much more. Shine brightly!
Also, thank you from the bottom of my heart for following the blog and being part of my malleable reality. I love you.

Friday, 23 December 2011

Angelic kiss


It sat quietly in its bubble wrap for a year after making its way down from the dusty loft in my old family home, now gone. I carefully remove the Sellotape and roll off its protective blanket as light suddenly hits the back and brings it to life once again.
I remember it twisting slowly on the branch as a child and being fascinated with the way it would twinkle in between the colourful fairly lights. I loved the way the two angels were kissing in front of the miniature tree – they always made me smile.
Lifting it onto my own tree for the first time, I am amazed at how easily it fits in with the rest of the decorations, whilst at the same time, standing out. A warm sense of comfort washes over me and an undeniable connection to my past resonates out into the room.
Nestled in between gold tinsel, it witnessed countless family Christmases and listened to the laughter that spilled out of us effortlessly. Every single member of my family has touched this decoration and gazed upon the kissing angels. And now it lives with me to continue a tradition of being surrounded by love and laughter.
The legacy of love within my family is vast and I vow to always hold onto this gift.
I wish you and your family a very merry Christmas and may it be filled with all the love and laughter in the world!


Exciting news! - I have just written my first piece for a great new online magazine called PoV which comes out in January. I know it is destined for great things and will keep you posted on its release.
You can check it out at www.povmagazine.co.uk

Saturday, 17 December 2011

Silent white


With a mighty push, the snow beneath you crunches and you're off. Quickly gaining momentum, the icy winter air hits your face and almost takes your breath away. Trees start to blur all around as adrenaline rushes through every part of your body. You are completely liberated, just you and your sledge gliding gracefully downwards.
Feeling the sledge begin to lose speed, I would always lurch to the side and come rolling off with dramatic flair to highlight the end of the journey. With snow still clumped heavily in my hat, I would turn and make my way back to the top once again, a step at a time. This was always the longest part of the adventure. Faithfully dragging the sledge behind me, I couldn't wait to push off at the top once again to fly like a bird.
Years later, I feel that same shift in the air and know that the season is transforming once again. Snow is getting ready to fall bringing with it a change of scenery.
A part of me smiles at the chaos that is caused by the silent arrival of snow. Cars begin to slow down, trains stop running and the city gets just that little bit quieter.
As children, waking up to a blanket of snow was the most exciting thing in the world, ever! Every street corner became a playground and each untouched layer of crisp, white snow was an open invitation to run through it with wild abandon, far too tempting to walk past.
Snow brings with it a subtle reminder to look for every shining piece of fun in life and enjoy each moment.
Take the time to build the snowman you haven't seen for years, and make him smile.



Monday, 12 December 2011

Wheels and wings


Everything slowed down as his body catapulted through the air. Memories of childhood dreams, first loves and lazy holidays flashed in front of his eyes faster than the speed of light. A life lived condensed down to a movie of seconds.
Was this it?
Back broken, he fought with every single breath that could be mustered through punctured lungs, completely unaware of the most incredible feat he would bring to life in a few years.
The tiny engine spluttered into action as some pre-flight checks were made. A couple of minutes later his microlight lifted gracefully into the sky and the 12,000-mile airborne adventure began.
Through buffeting winds and torrential rain, he continued on his quest over shark-infested water and never-ending deserts.
Looking down from 5,000ft, with nothing but space all around, he soared high above the limitations of his wheelchair and was as free as a bird.
Cruising gently over 19 countries, he took every single binding belief, tore them into a hundred pieces and used them as fuel for his epic journey.
When we take our bodies for granted, we forget what truly spectacular things we can achieve if we only put our minds to it.
Dave Sykes is living proof that the only restrictions we have are those we choose to believe in.




Don't forget to comment, share and follow. Much love.

Saturday, 3 December 2011

Inescapable addiction



-Admitting that one cannot control one's addiction or compulsion
-Recognising a higher power that can give strength
-Examining past errors with the help of a sponsor (experienced     member)
-Making amends for these errors
-Learning to live a new life with a new code of behaviour
-Helping others who suffer from the same addictions or compulsions


Taken from the 12-step program



My name is Jeff and I'm an addict.
I have been hooked for pretty much my whole life. It got into my system when I was inside the womb and has been coursing through my veins ever since. I had no choice. To me it seems natural and I really don't know any different.
It is most certainly not something I could ever live without and would never want to go through a cold turkey. The high is too incredible to give up. It uplifts, awakens and expands me from the inside out.
I felt the absence of it once and it was just too painful to bear. But I got through it, as do we all, and came out the other side stronger and wiser.
I have discovered that the more I share my fix with others, the more of it I get in return. There is an endless supply.
We all want it, need it and can't live without it. It is the foundation of everything and the most powerful thing on this planet. Let’s embrace it and give into its mighty pull.

My name is Jeff and I'm a love addict.
Love is my drug and I will never give it up.

Saturday, 26 November 2011

The fog



As I sleepily pulled open the blinds, something was different. It took me a few seconds to realise that everything had vanished. Mother Nature had pulled off one of her greatest illusions whilst I was asleep. All 800ft of glass, steel and concrete was gone in a theatrical flourish. Even the flashing beacon at the apex had disappeared. Canary Wharf had vanished along with everything else around it. David Copperfield couldn't have done it better.
Zipping up my jacket, I took my first step outside just as the damp scent hit my nostrils and rushed down into my lungs. Horizon was replaced by an eerie blanket of dense fog with nothing but silhouettes of bare trees to guide the way. The world seemed like a different place.
Journeying into the thick of it, I couldn't help but wonder what it means to feel lost. Sometimes we find ourselves in a personal fog with no sense of direction and our questions are greeted with silence. The sense of disorientation is so palpable; we forget that beyond the clouds is a bright shining sun of potential that has been there the whole time.
Some days are more dazzling than others and sometimes we just need to get caught in a fog in order to see things clearly.

Saturday, 19 November 2011

il bel viaggio



I once whizzed through the streets of Florence on the back of a bike...
Squeezing the helmet onto my head, I felt the foam cover my ears and turn the bustle of the city down to a muffle. Once I was settled in my seat, my friend turned around to look at me.
"Ready?” he asked with a cheeky grin. With a nod from me, we were off. I was amazed at how quickly we accelerated over the cobbled street and out into the open. I'm sure I felt my hair blowing in the wind under the helmet. The rush literally took my breath away. With every twist and turn, I had to remind myself to hold on for dear life and stay seated. Cars came and went in a Florentine blur. After a while, I felt my body relax as I started to breathe. It was amazing and exhilarating and freeing. The city looked stunning from this velocity.
And on we rode. I never once stopped smiling.
"How was that?" he asked pulling off his helmet.
"Incredible!" I declared with a massive grin.
Stepping off, he laughed and confided that because I held on so tightly to the bike, it was harder for him to ride and actually changed the way we handled the road. He could feel every bit of tension in my body through the bike.
I realised in that moment that life will always have its hairy moments and sometimes we just have to let go and move with the flow. The harder we hold on, the more difficult the ride.
The beautiful streets of Florence whispered in my ear that evening. She told me to be light with life and everything will always be ok.



Don't forget to follow, share and comment. Grazie mille!

Sunday, 6 November 2011

There's something about Helen



As she held out her hand, I noticed her perfectly polished nails which shone a deep red in the dimly lit cabaret bar. Her long brown hair glistened as she popped up onto a stool next to me and settled in at the bar. Drink in hand we wished our mutual friend luck as he turned and walked backstage to get ready for the show. There was a shy confidence about her and I liked the way that her eyes would glance momentarily at the floor before answering a question.
We talked about life, love and everything in between. I laughed a lot. She was charming and intelligent.
Stepping onto the last tube train of the evening I followed her to take a seat and watched as the doors closed.
As we set off I began to notice that other people were interested in Helen. Her lightness filled the carriage and the passengers couldn't help but look in her direction. There was a buzz around the carriage that I had never witnessed before.
We chatted until the train slowed to signal my stop. Slinging my bag over my body I said goodbye and how much I had enjoyed her company. I kissed her cheek, gave her a hug and stepped out onto the warm, empty platform.
Watching the bright lights of the train slowly accelerate and vanish into the dark, I suddenly felt sad.
Once out into the cool night air, I wondered at what point she had realised that she was living in the wrong body.
Her personal courage and conviction was stunning and despite now being a woman, her balls were bigger than any I had ever seen.
Fear often stops us from declaring to the world who we truly are and the more honest we are with ourselves and others, the more inspiring and beautiful we become.



Thank you to this courageous woman for living your truth and also to my brave friend Mark who is in the massive process of coming out. May you find your own amazing power.

Saturday, 29 October 2011

The fear


I place my fingers through the flowing water and wait until the temperature is just right. Stepping into the bath, the cold hits the soles of my feet as I pull the curtain closed. My body is soaked in seconds and I sigh with contentment as warm water runs down over my face….
Suddenly I am stopped dead in my tracks with shampoo still covering my hair. Where did that bang come from? Instinct tells me to open my eyes and see what made the noise but the soap now running over my face stops me from doing so. I stand there with eyes tightly closed listening to the sound of water splashing into the bath and escaping down the plughole.
At that moment a million images flash through my mind at breakneck speed. I see a man wearing a balaclava, rifling through my underwear drawer and I see a framed photograph being projected across the room by an angry spirit and I see the shower scene in Psycho being played out in glorious Technicolor, previewing what awaits me just beyond the dripping curtain.
Quickly rinsing the soap from my eyes, I turn off the water and jump out onto the bath mat. I fling a towel around my waist (one has to retain some semblance of dignity, even when facing ghoulish monsters) and step off the mat. Courage built up, I stride into the bedroom to find...nothing!  Everything is just as I left it except for the wet footprints which now mark the room.
That’s the funny thing about fear. We can build situations up so much in our minds that they sometimes appear bigger than they actually are. In reality nothing is more terrifying than the fear itself and once we turn to face it head on, we wonder what we were so scared of in the first place.

Just don’t look under the bed….Happy Halloween!

Saturday, 22 October 2011

Day out



Watching as he slowly climbs, one foot in front of the other, he reaches the top. Triumphantly, he stands at the peak for a minute to take in the view - the wind blowing through silky brown hair. Lifting his hands to his face, he pushes it aside before beginning the 3 second journey to the bottom of the slide, accompanied by a chorus of laughter from the pair of us. 
Lifting him high into the air I spin him around.
"That was fun! What shall we do now?" he asks excitedly as I take his tiny hand in mine.
"I know a really cool place, you’ll love it" I say with a smile.
Feeling the sand in between our toes, we walk along listening to the waves gently crash against the shore and the greedy seagulls, circle overhead. The sun warming our faces as every few steps, he bends down to pick up another smooth pebble or a shell. One by one he places them delicately into my hand as if they were priceless treasures, to join the rest of them in my now bulging pocket.
There is something so vulnerable about him; I vow to protect him with everything I have. I will never leave him and never let him forget how special he is.
And on we walk until the sun turns a golden red and the sparkling sea moves out to follow it, leaving behind glistening sand.
"Little man", I say as I scoop him up into my arms and give him a big squeeze, "You can be whatever you want to be! Never forget that. You are amazing".
He giggles. I laugh.
With that, we turn off the beach, and slowly make our way home.
"I love you" he says, still looking up at the evening sky, now filling with stars.
"I love you too little man. I always will".

If I could have a single day, that's how I would spend it with my tiny self. It would be beautiful.

Sunday, 16 October 2011

Tea for two



"What would you like to drink?"
"Hmmmm, do you have any herbal tea?"
My host's knowing laughter echoed loudly in my ears as the cupboard door swung open with a flourish. I half expected to discover a bikini-clad assistant inside, waiting to vanish in a puff of theatrical smoke. Instead, the most colourful array of teas and coffees never before seen outside a supermarket lay before me.
"I don't even like half of these, but I love to be able to offer my guests anything they like. I want them to be happy", he said pulling a face. I laughed.
Slowly sipping on my newly opened Lemon and Ginger tea, I couldn't help but think about what this meant. Instantly I felt special.
It was such a small thing really but the warmth and thoughtfulness of it made me smile.
I wondered about how many other people had sat at this kitchen table and sipped on a cup of carefully chosen Chamomile, or Darjeeling, or Rosehip & Elderflower...
We all love it when someone does something to make us feel special and unique. That warm glow inside as we are filled with a sense of happiness.
Every day there are opportunities all around in which we can make someone feel just that little bit better - whether it be with a genuine smile, a touch or just holding a door open.
Taking the time to acknowledge a friend or colleague's nice new haircut can make their day and send a ripple out into the world.
Some people say that it is the small things that matter the most, and as I finish the last drop of my tea, I know this to be true.

Sunday, 9 October 2011

Seasons of change


It happens once a year, and every time, it creeps up so silently that it takes a while to realise that things have actually changed.
Usually, it comes with a slight drop in temperature, then a subtle adjustment in the quality of light. Mornings grow slightly darker and evening sunsets show up just that little bit earlier.
Walking towards the cocoon of the tube, I look down and there they were... Adorning the pavement with gold, amber and russet, leaves which were once a bright green, now lay crisping at my feet. Where did they come from? I don't remember seeing them yesterday.
Something magical happened overnight.
The season changed and brought with it new opportunities to let go and move forward. For a while it looked as if everything was dying. Trees growing bare and the chill hits the air.
It is a perfect time to reflect on the year and glance at the things which have happened over the passing months. Autumn is a season for stripping everything away and gently releasing old habits to start afresh, safe in the knowledge that every season is just a new beginning. It’s refreshing to take a moment to feel the shift happening all around us and become a part of it.
I take that moment now as I playfully kick the leaves to watch as they displace and settle. A sense of freedom washes over me as I fasten my coat up against the cool evening air and continue my journey home.

Sunday, 2 October 2011

The lightness of love



"Love is like a butterfly
As soft and gentle as a sigh
The multicoloured moods of love, are like its satin wings"
-Dolly Parton


The thing that first attracted me to it was the way in which the wings would slowly open and close to reveal bright blue eye-like markings which shimmered in the sunlight. With each gust of breeze, its legs would stiffen to resist being removed involuntarily from the summer-scented lilac upon which it rested. I had never seen anything so incredible in all my 9 years of life.
Steadily holding the jar with my tiny hands, I placed it over my butterfly and snapped the lid closed, trapping the clump of lilac inside.
Once indoors, I decided to let it fly free. There was something extremely surreal about watching it flutter around my bedroom and then come to rest on the blue curtains. I loved the feel of the silky wings in my hands and how the iridescent powder would rub off onto my fingers, making them shimmer a little.
Something was wrong…
I quickly realised that bit by bit, the colour was fading from its delicate wings the more I held it and instead of the usual circling and soaring above my head, it would now flutter clumsily to the floor.
I knew I had to let it go. Placing it gently back into the palm of my hand, I carried it downstairs and out onto the branch from whence it came. I watched it for a while until it was time to go in for dinner and said my goodbye.
Sometimes we try so hard to hold onto everything we love, for fear of losing it, it is exhausting. Love lands where it is meant to and just like a beautiful butterfly, will come to rest gently in your hand when the time is right.



(No butterflies were harmed in the making of this blog!)

Saturday, 24 September 2011

Sleeping satellite


Something is coming.
Hurtling across the universe at speeds of 5 miles per second to make its way home after 20 years, it is unstoppable. In a few hours the satellite will slam into the dense atmosphere and spectacularly break into a hundred fiery pieces.
I look up into the night sky and bathe gently in the silver rays. A trillion stars play silently above.
As I tilt my head upwards, an image flutters into my mind (stranger things have happened to me on a new moon but we won’t go there). I wonder about what the Earth would look like from all that way and how tiny we would appear. I picture the footprints left in the moon’s dusty terrain up there on that day in 1969 which remain to this day, untouched. A constant reminder of how a small step for man can be a giant leap for mankind.
Throughout history, people have been making their own indelible marks on the world a little closer to home every single day. Some footprints are celebrated with a fanfare of trombones, bass drums and confetti cannons exploding over a mass of onlookers, whilst others are less conspicuous, but none the less, change the course of history forever.
We are the stars on Earth and have the opportunity to shine just as brightly!

Sunday, 18 September 2011

Perfect flaws




I never really paid much attention to geology at school. The hypnotic sound of my teacher talking provided the perfect soundtrack to which my attention slowly drifted up, up and out through the small open window above and into the blue sky.
If I had listened to her, I wouldn't have had to wait for this one fact which now pops up and out through my radio many years later. The presenter is cheerfully discussing gem stones and how they actually get their colour from the impurities within them. The bold blue of a sapphire comes from titanium and iron present. The fiery red ruby is born from the trace amounts of chromium within.
Having a fetish for factual titbits such as this got me thinking… If impurities and flaws all culminate to create something spectacularly beautiful in these stones, does the same apply to us? Could it be that our impurities and mistakes are the things which actually make us even more beautiful.
No-one is perfect and that’s what makes us perfect.
Sometimes it is those experiences which fashion us into more interesting people and without them, we would all be the same with no story to tell.
Embrace everything, every single part of you - the good, the bad and the beautiful. 

Sunday, 11 September 2011

10



You have seen me before, I’m certain.
Turn on any news channel or spot me on YouTube. If you look closely enough, I am gently floating down towards the earth. One by one, each of my four white corners lift up and flip me over. Every now and then the reflection of bright red flame illuminates my side, causing me to momentarily glow like a star.
All around me is a deafening sound of glass smashing, steel breaking and sirens screeching.
The last thing I remember was lying on a desk in a non-descript plastic in-tray waiting to be filed later this morning….Then everything was turned upside down.
As I am slowly carried along by the breeze, I can’t help but wonder why.
I am surrounded by heroes and angels.
Fluttering down I realise that just as I can be recycled and change form, so too can love. Love is energy, and energy never dies. It will always remain and fill the Earth, forever alive.



On this, the 10 year anniversary of 9/11, I pray for peace. And to all the heroes and angels, I give you my heart.

Monday, 5 September 2011

I do, part 2



Stepping out of the cool, atmospheric church the sun kissed my face through the trees, momentarily blinding me. Then as my vision cleared, I saw her...
Leaning in the doorway I watched as the last minute adjustments were made by all those around her and was transfixed at the way the gentle gust of wind played and danced around the fluttering train. Hairs on my arms stood up as my eyes ever so slightly misted. There was magic around that morning and for the briefest of moments everything stopped still.
I thought about her prince who waited patiently inside for her arrival and had no idea what was happening just outside the stone walls.
Smiling, I put my hands to my lips, blew her a kiss and turned to take my seat inside. Then a thought hit me. The love and light which was pulled into existence 29 years ago on a crisp, sunny day in February, as her beautiful mum stepped through that same doorway to meet her awaiting prince remained. Love had come around full circle. It stood stoically through snow, rain and blistering heat.
And it waited, and waited for this very day, undiluted by the years which have washed over it.
Every single piece of love we pull from our hearts will always remain, shining brightly for all to see.




To my beautiful friends, I wish you every piece of love and happiness in my heart… Always
x

Sunday, 28 August 2011

Sounds of the city



Keys-check, water bottle-check, gym bag-check.
Placing the shiny white headphones into each ear one at a time, I press play and am off.
With Jason Mraz, Kylie and Owl City all giving me a private concert on the move, I am transported into my own world once again. Sometimes, without being able to physically contain myself, my mouth opens and the songs spill out to become a part of the bustling city.
I smile.
There was something familiar about the first few drops of rain that evening which nonchalantly splashed onto my face. My first reaction is always to stand and be still. I love the sound as the water meets the ground with a dull thud. Mid song, I remove the headphones and listen, suddenly becoming acutely aware of everything around me – The all-encompassing hum of cars and vans echo from miles around, a pair of high heeled shoes canter past, a plane flies overhead followed by the whir of helicopter blades slicing through the dark grey sky. The deep roar of a bike rushes past, leaves rustle in the swirling wind and the manhole cover I walk over clunks loudly. One sound at a time I am carried through the city which is playing the most beautifully chaotic piece.
If I could just listen hard enough, maybe I would also hear every single heartbeat around me. I wish I could hear that. 
We are constantly surrounded by the music of life whether it be our favourite band or a crying baby and it is all perfectly orchestrated, played to perfection.

Sunday, 21 August 2011

The second guess


Pick a number, any number and I will tell you what you are thinking…

It can come from a missing text or a silent stare, a status update or a shift in body language.  A million questions are sent flying through our synapses faster than the speed of light all to fill in the missing gaps. What does this mean? What are they thinking? Is it anything or everything to do with me? At the slightest whiff of doubt or missing information, we jump into action and set our minds to work. Racing through a million and one possibilities, we finally come to rest at the one which seems the most logical, unaware that we could be facing in totally the wrong direction.
I’m sure I’m not the only one who has ever put 2 and 2 together and come up with E=MC2 to the power of wrong. Who knew that being a mind-reader would be so exhausting?!
We are all so complex and perfectly unique that it is near impossible to see the world through anyone else’s eyes but our own.

… You were thinking of a purple penguin. See, told you I was a mind reader! 

Saturday, 13 August 2011

Bricks and brooms



Missiles were launched, glass was shattered and blood fell to the earth. Energy was thrown out with such ferocity, everyone watching felt the fallout. The fires burnt a hole in my heart.
I must have watched hours of footage until that 30 second clip flashed up and gravity sent a tear rolling down my face towards my jaw which was now uncomfortably resting on the floor. Being helped up off the cold pavement, I felt a sense of relief and hope for the bloodied boy. Compassion shone through….then as his bag was unzipped and became a free-for-all, the questions began to escape.
Was there really any hope left? Did everything I believe about human beings really exist at all? Where was the love and brotherhood that I so vehemently champion on a daily basis? I was as dazed and confused as the pixelated face on my TV screen. This really can’t be our fate, can it? I went to bed that night with a deep sense of disillusionment and hurt…completely lost.
Enter stage left, hope.
People began piling onto the streets carrying nothing but brooms and compassionate love. Members of the community started pulling together to help others in any way they could to rebuild what was broken. It was time to support and heal, to connect and grow.
Things have calmed down a lot and the dust is slowly settling. Out of all the craziness of the past week, I am left with one thing. Light will always shine through. Love is the strongest weapon on this planet and we are all fully armed. That’s where hope lies.


To every individual who lost something this week, my love reaches out to you. That is what family is for after all.


Sunday, 7 August 2011

You are what you eat



An apple a day keeps the doctor away. Eat your crusts; they will put hairs on your chest. Want to see in the dark?  Carrots are the way forward every time…

Flamingos are amazing birds. Their entire appearance is a result of everything they eat. Their beautiful pink plumage is a gift from the algae and small crustaceans they feast upon daily. Watching them now together gracefully lowering their long necks to the cool water I can’t help wondering about how, if food can change one’s physical appearance so dramatically, what happens to the emotions we allow in?
We are acutely aware of only putting the ‘good food’ in our bodies and expect our beings to be automatically vibrant. What we think, we become and sometimes people will feed us a dish made from ingredients of their own insecurity and pain. That’s OK. We can pass on that course and skip straight to dessert if we chose. We don’t have to stay at the table until our plates are clean, having consumed every last morsel.

So I say let’s fill up on the most positive thoughts and feelings about ourselves possible and leave absolutely no room for anything else.   

Tuesday, 2 August 2011

Swings and roundabouts



1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 – Coming ready or not...

All my friends had disappeared into the fast approaching sunset, never to be seen again (unless I looked in the bush and up the tree but why spoil their fun so soon). I remember how long those summer evenings were, stretching into forever.
As adults, we sometimes forget what it was like to be a child and instead, wear our bodies with a heaviness that does nothing to free our spirit. Feeling bogged down by our day jobs and expectations, the brightness and lightness of the real us slowly gets hidden under a layer of dusty conformity.
There is something in the way that children can look at this beautiful world we live in and know, without a single doubt, that every moment holds infinite possibilities. I do think that the little ones might just be onto something. Imagine waking up tomorrow and seeing everything currently in our lives as an amazing opportunity to fly. How freeing would that be!
So when the next challenge pops merrily along, stop for a second and try to see it through different eyes and listen to the inner child. They may be young but they are very wise.

Last one to the tree has to buy the sweets…

Tuesday, 26 July 2011

Bloom









I placed each stem carefully in the water filled vase and rearranged them until all the buds were evenly spread out and set them on the table before heading to bed. Once I slipped in between the cool sheets, I stared up at the ceiling with echoes of the week’s heart-breaking news ringing in my ears and slowly drifted off thinking how, once again, the world was a different place.
It was a deep sleep.
Stumbling into the lounge the following morning I glanced over to the table and there, as if by magic, two beautiful bright purple lilies shone out where buds once stood. At some point during the night whilst I was still dreaming, Mother Nature had decided that it was time to reveal her face...and it was breathtaking! Three days later saw the last flower explode open with a flourish to complete the family.
I stared at each and every flower and thought about how, deep within us, must also lie something striking, amazing - buds of potential waiting patiently for the opportunity to unwrap, with love and compassion being the only food needed.


To all the beautiful buds in Norway, China, Africa and elsewhere who left the planet this week and never got the chance to bloom, I send you all the love and light in my heart.

Monday, 18 July 2011

Prime location



Friend: “So, do you like your new home?”
Me: “I really do. I guess it just takes a while to settle somewhere new”
Friend: “But all your boxes are empty now - It’s done.”
Me: “My things are all out but I haven’t even started with the emotional unpacking yet!”
Friend: “Hmmmmm...... Fancy a cup of tea?”

We spend so much time hoovering, cleaning, painting and washing that we forget to do the same for our inner homes. The internal cobwebs have built up slowly and the piles of out of date baggage touch the ceiling. A cold draft whistles through broken, dirty windows and everything is encased in a thick layer of accumulated dust.
So for every minute spent doing our household chores, let’s take an equal amount of time to care for our inner mansion. Put our caring cloth, health hoover and patience polish to good use and work on making it the most beautiful place to live in as possible. Paint our walls a brave, new colour which makes a bold statement about whom we are and choose to be.
The space inside us is real estate gold – the ultimate prime location and we need to take very good care of it. 



I am really missing posting on a weekend...Once I get the internet back in about 3 weeks things will get back to 'normal' (whatever that is). Till then, thanks for staying with it. 
Love and light.

Monday, 11 July 2011

Seeing in the dark



They say that if you are blind, all your other senses are heightened...
A good friend of mine had taken me to a restaurant for the evening on a recent trip to Berlin. This was no ordinary eatery however as I was soon to discover...
We sat expectantly in the dimly lit bar and ordered a drink. After perusing the menu (I am quite indecisive so it took a while), I settled on the 4 course Vegetarian surprise.
Within a minute I learnt that our waitress had long blonde hair, a smile to light up a room and was almost completely blind. Placing my hands on Sandy’s shoulders, we began our journey into the next room. Holding on for dear life, she speedily led us around the restaurant, filled with the sound of chattering diners and clinking cutlery (which occasionally fell with a crash to the floor). Once we were seated, off she trundled to bring us our first course...
And there we were, speechless, in the dark. This was all too uncomfortable for words. The one thing I trusted to show me my place in the world was gone and I could no longer rely on my sight. Finally, after an internal battle, I began to swim in the darkness. My awareness expanded to fill the space around me and I felt more alive and alert than I had done in a long, long time.
Over the course of our meal, we contemplated the meaning of life and everything in between...all in pitch blackness. It was beautiful.
Just as desert was finally demolished, Sandy sat down next to us and we chatted a while about what Berlin is like for her. I told her I would never look at my city with the same eyes again and I imagined her smiling broadly as I led us out (don’t even ask me how I did it).
Sometimes in life we find ourselves standing in darkness, unable to see what is truly around us. At times like this, all we need to do is close our eyes and wait. Seeing is not always about using our eyes. 

Wednesday, 6 July 2011

Breathe


I knew it was going to be one of those days as I stood there this morning in my swimming trunks, having forgotten my padlock for the locker. After getting re-dressed, I trundled back up to borrow one.
And this really is how the rest of the day went. Just the right amount of challenges appeared to put me in a bit of a funk. Work day over, surely that was it? Two minutes later after tripping out the door and nearly landing flat on my face, I was buffeted by the freak gust of wind which had travelled all the way across London to greet me with an eyeful of dust. Rubbing furiously at them must have been a cue for the heavens to open. Dripping wet, I found myself standing on a packed Central line platform, watching helplessly as train after cramped train came and went with people’s faces squashed against every last piece of glass. At least I was quickly drying off in this 35 degree heat.
I waited patiently for people to alight.
Enter stage left, the mean, hefty businessman.
Now we all know how this next scene plays out...After many heated words in our semi-embraced entanglement, I decided to end our connection with the words ‘You are a very rude man!’ And that was it - the end.
Walking out into the glistening street a few minutes later, the sun once again shined onto my face and the birds sang for me. Then I realised something... At any moment of today I could have just stopped to take a big, deep breath with eyes closed and I would have pushed the reset button. I would have realised that all was OK in my world.
I smiled for the first time as a sense of invincibility washed over me. Tomorrow is another day.  

Thursday, 30 June 2011

Home


There is one thing in life that scares me more than ghosts, sharks and closed minds ever could (well maybe not more than the last one). I have always found it incredibly difficult to say goodbye to people and places who have taken up a place in my heart, may it be for decades or even minutes.

Surrounded by boxes piled high atop each other, I am forced to look at some things in my life which only a move of home can trigger. As each and every single material object I own passes through my hands for the briefest of moments, I feel everything that is inseparably linked to them.
The empty room is full to the brim with the echoes of laughter and tears. The walls have held on tightly to every last drop of emotion that radiated from me over the years and has no intention of letting go. There it will remain forever.
Life constantly changes and has to move forward whether we like it or not. The trick is remembering that letting go is not the same as losing.
My friend Dorothy once said ‘There’s no place like home’ and I think she was right. Home is the one place where you can feel safe and warm-a space to re-energise and create. Home is where the heart is and our hearts are inside us all the time, no matter where our journeys take us.






(You may have noticed that this week's blog is a little late...my new home and I still love you though-remember that).



Saturday, 18 June 2011

Life in a Day



The lights slowly dimmed and I settled back into my seat. Feeling all warm and cosy I took a sip of my triple shot soy mocha and watched as the opening credits illuminated my face. In less than 30 seconds, the lump in my throat had already appeared and my eyes had started to glisten.
‘Life in a Day’ is a story of, well, a day in the life of us here on planet Earth, created solely by using people’s YouTube videos filmed over the course of a single day in July.
Pretty much throughout the whole hour and a half I was moved, sometimes to tears.
I have always tipped my proverbial hat to us human beings but for the first time I truly understand how amazing life is. It reminded me that even in the face of heart-breaking loss, we can be fearless. Without shoes on our feet, we can still wear a smile. And sometimes, without even realising it, we start a ripple that radiates out across the entire planet.
I was lucky enough to spend some time with one of my inspirations last week who is also in the film. That sunny afternoon, he reached into his pocket and gave me a card upon which were written the words ‘You are beautiful. (Pass it on.) I realised at that moment, he had created a ripple of his own that would extend through and beyond me.
So I am now passing this on to you - You are beautiful! You are amazing! You can be fearless.
Every single day is a golden opportunity to change the world in our own small way and make our home a better place!



(A massive thank you to Davey Wavey for the card and for your inspirational light - Shine on)

Don’t forget to share, follow, comment. I love you.

Saturday, 11 June 2011

Second hand




FOR SALE: A complete set of very well worn, second hand beliefs.
These have proven to be very useful to their previous owners and come in one size only.
You may find them a little restricting at times and they will almost certainly feel uncomfortable, causing imbalance and minor irritation. As the new owner you are obliged to carry them around 24/7 regardless of how heavy they are.
So what are you waiting for? Hurry as stocks won’t last!

Everybody has an opinion about how the world works - “Nothing ever goes right”, “People can’t be trusted”, Life is difficult”.... Sometimes we adopt these mantras as our own because we have heard them so many times in the past, surely they must be correct. And other times we don’t even realise that they are subconsciously shaping the world around us in ways that may not necessarily be to our advantage.
These beliefs come from other people’s experience of life and have nothing whatsoever to do with our own journey. The trick is to discover which ones limit our potential, keeping us Earthbound and which ones inspire and lift, bringing us a step closer to flying.  
Once we are open to the idea of an internal spring clean we can walk weightlessly down the high street until we eventually find the Prada Couture of beliefs about the world, sparkling in the window, just waiting to be worn beautifully for the first time.
Go on, treat yourself...You are worth it!




Monday, 6 June 2011

The extravagance of love




There I was, 8 years old with my amazing A-Team duvet cover pulled up over my head, a question burning into my brain. It was keeping me awake and I needed an answer - How many people in the world can you love at one time and does the heart eventually fill up like my shoebox crammed with transformers? I drifted off to sleep that night having used up all of the fingers on both my tiny hands to count with, still no closer to a solution.
27 years and many loves later I am realising something. With all the things that should be used sparingly in life, love isn’t one of them.
So I say let’s be extravagant! Never be afraid to shout it, sing it, whisper it, scream it, chant it, show it, feel it or write it. Exercise no caution. Let it all fly out! It’s surprising how, the more we give, the more we have to give.
Opportunities to express love in all its forms are everywhere. We need to take our love ration books, tear them into a million pieces and throw them up into the air and watch as the pieces of our heart flutter outwards to land wherever they are needed.
I love you!

Sunday, 29 May 2011

Keeping up with the Joneses




“Keeping up with the Joneses was a full-time job with my mother and father. It was not until many years later when I lived alone that I realised how much cheaper it was to drag the Joneses down to my level” - Quentin Crisp
  

Some people just have it all don’t they! - The immaculate home, the size 28 waist, the perfect job that you would do anything for. The smile on their face tells you that all is rosy in the manicured garden. You peep sneakily through the curtain to watch as the removal men take out each piece of furniture and make a mental note to start saving for the sofa in mocha and do 1000 more sit ups whilst waiting for it to arrive.
Surely then life will be flawless? After all, they seem to be extremely happy.
But are the Joneses trying frantically to keep up with the Patels who are trying to keep up with the Smiths?
We expend so much energy in life comparing ourselves to other people that we can forget momentarily who we really are. Instead of celebrating our beautiful uniqueness, we try to squeeze into a differently shaped hole which inevitably leads to us feeling not good enough.
The plain truth is that there is absolutely no-one else on this planet who can be you better than...well, you!
We are the real deal, authentically perfect in all our imperfections.

Tuesday, 24 May 2011

Breakfast with a friend



As my eyes slowly opened to see the early morning sun peeking through a gap in the curtains, I was aware of a strange tip-tapping at the window. Stumbling sleepily across the room I pulled back the curtain to find, staring up at me, a beautiful mallard duck. With eyes locked, our curiosity over each other held us fixated. I couldn’t help smiling broadly as I stared at my new friend who had wandered over to look for me whilst I was sleeping just minutes earlier.
Looking into his beautifully cheeky eyes, I started to think about all the things that make up his being and what I admire most about him. His feathers are perfectly waterproofed allowing any unwanted and hurtful stuff to flow away like water off a duck’s back. His ability to take off almost vertically to clear any obstacle is an inspiration to anyone who believes that it is too challenging to soar in the face of adversity. Once in flight, my friend can reach speeds of up to 70 ft per second because he believes it is possible. He also does an awesome job of looking super cool and composed as he works hard to move forward in the current filled water.
I decided it was breakfast time and we bonded over a loaf of bread which was well received by both of us. After our feast he tilted his head and stared at me for a moment. We were both still, my heart wide open. Everything stopped. Then with one last tip of his head, I watched as he turned, quacked and waddled away back into the forest.
I laughed and wished him a long and happy life.





My new friend would love you to share his story on your Facebook and Twitter. Maybe even sign up and follow this blog... (he is a cheeky duck afterall).  

Saturday, 14 May 2011

Reverse



I find it is always best to step over people to get to where you want and take whatever you wish. You can be as rude as you like too.
It is actually quite funny to find someone’s Achilles heel and cut into it deeply.
Sometimes we all need to vent our anger and frustrations, it is only natural and it can be hugely entertaining to drag people down and belittle them until the sweet reward of salty tears flow bitterly down their cheeks-always brings a smile to one’s face.
We are not here to help or care for anyone and you have to look after numero uno.
Insults are always a reliable method to ensure that we stay one step ahead. Every man is an island and we should never forget that it’s a dog-eat-dog world out there!
So feel free to push into queues, bash people out of the way and never, ever smile.
Ignore the Big Issue sellers, sales assistants and everyone on the tube. Never open up your heart as it will only ever lead to heartbreak and finally, do not, under any circumstances, love or respect yourself.

Have a nice day!(for real) 

Sunday, 8 May 2011

Chatter


 

 
Ooh it is nice and warm in here...I wonder if the heating is on or if the chef has the oven door open...this is a good table - I like window seats...I wonder how my hair looks after being caught in the wind...”Thank you. Urm, just a beer please. My friend will be turning up in a minute”...It is quiet in here tonight...nice candle - would be lovely with a bubble bath...everyone else here is in a couple...I wonder if they think I am eating alone? Maybe they are whispering that I don’t have any friends...that would be embarrassing...The wax on my finger is starting to burn a little - just leave the candle alone...If I get my phone out, they will think that I am busy and have lots to do...no new messages...I hope she turns up soon, I feel like people are looking over...Another swig of beer I think...damn, it’s nearly finished already...I remember this song from years ago...Mmm what do I fancy to eat?
We try every trick in the book to distract ourselves. We read, text, hum, think, ponder, remember and wish. Sitting here in this restaurant, waiting, it occurs to me that the one thing we very rarely do is just be. To still the mind and free ourselves from all the chatter which acts as a constant narrator to life. I can’t help but wonder what lies in the silence - the secret to life, eternal youth, this week’s lottery numbers?
 I make a quick mental note to investigate this further before the door swings open and I hear the muffled words from behind “I am meeting a friend, he’s over there by the window”. I smile, welcoming the interruption.