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Findhorn Bay

Last year Bill and I decided to have a different year in 2015. Most folk choose ‘ a year in Provence’ or some such sunny place to spend a year out but for us we chose Findhorn, a place we know and visit in the north of Scotland.  Despite knowing the place, it was quite difficult to make and then commit to the decision. As 2015 drew nearer I thought of the many friends I have in the dale, the groups I belong to, the comfort of what I know and am used to against what might, or might not, come up over the next year. We were due to leave in mid December and we had to make the house fit for a dear friend to live in for the year. What a load of accumulated ‘stuff’ we had collected over the years. Lots of visits to charity shops and re-cycling and rubbish points were in order. We agreed that everyone should plan to leave a place, even if not in reality, every few years just to clear out one’s place and life and give room for the new.

So, a new beginning for 2015 with space to think what is important to us and worth keeping and what can go. We have already walked the long beach several times, thinking of what we might like to do, a sort of ‘bucket list’ with a bit of focus. It may be wonderful and it may be difficult but that is life anyway and we would never know without giving the change a chance. One thing is that just making the change has prompted me to re-start these newsletters.

We can’t all just go somewhere different for a year but we can, perhaps. let out minds play with what might be new or challenging or fun for 2015 and ‘go for it’ even if change is a bit scary.

Wishing you all a brilliant 2015. Every day is a precious gift. Live it to the full.

Margaret

 

Findhorn bay

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nightfall on Orkney

The very ordinary - Last month I struggled with the thought of a newsletter – what to say, so much else to do, low energy levels due to erratic sleep patterns and eventually I gave myself permission to ‘miss’. I let go of ‘should’ and ‘ought to’ – what a relief! So what if every other coach is full of energy, always on top of the game – I could miss one lap of the race, sit at the track side and watch the world a bit. Re-patterning of sleep? More next time.

Greatness - this last couple of weeks the world has been mourning the passing of Nelson Mandela. We have re-heard his words, listened to friends and colleagues talk about him and watched the celebrations and mourning of the South African people. In 1994 I was privileged to be a guest when the City of Leeds made him a Freeman of the City. He spoke eloquently that his country did not want charity but rather needed the world to trade fairly and buy it’s goods.  Then it was time for him to go to the outside stage and meet the crowds who were waiting for him; people crowded in front of the Civic Hall, patients and staff hanging out of the windows of the hospital opposite and many children who had rehearsed songs and dances of greeting. I remember him taking a long time to arrive on stage as he had been talking with people in the crowd, then, once on stage, how he danced with the children as if he were a child again. What a man, not soured by hardship or blame.

 Christmas comes and so do memories of those we love, some still with us and the difficult memories of those no longer with us physically but still very much alive in our hearts. Memories are jewels to treasure then take out to light up our days; our children when young, our own youth when we could dance and sing for hours, perhaps for fewer hours now, parents, partners, family members, good friends who know us for who and  what we are and still count us as friends, successes and disappointments, what a treasure chest.

 May your Christmas be merry and 2014 be a year of fun, happiness and fulfilment – a year to love life and live it richly.

Margaret

 

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Bill and I have just had a very full and enjoyable two months staying with good friends en route to visiting more good friends in America, staying with family in London and touching base here in the dale for two weeks before setting off for Scotland for three weeks, including a week on Orkney, somewhere we and our daughter have long planned to visit. The downside was an ever lengthening ‘to do’ list which I’ve struggled to finish before setting off again. You know, four things crossed off and five added! This morning I opened an e mail from Corrina Gordon Barnes, a coach I’ve known for years . She is an excellent  communicator who is making a real success of supporting women entrepreneurs.. Her mail was ‘stubborn-to-do-lists’ and I have share, briefly, her thoughts. Go to ‘youinspireme.co.uk/2013/stubborn-to-do-list/ for the full version.

from the glorious Longwood Gardens, Pennsylvania

 

Why a ‘to do list’ never ends

1. Is an item so big that it needs total focus? Do it first rather than try to switch mindset from coasting to focus.

2. Do I need more information? If so, switch the task from ‘to do’ list to ‘waiting’ list and gather the information.

3. Does it feel too big and scare me? Ask yourself if the world would end if it were not done. This puts it in perspective; it becomes smaller and manageable.

4. Will this task work, is it do-able? If you are not convinced it is important, delete it from the list.

5. Have I thought it through? If not, take a break, go for a walk, put ideas on paper, use someone you trust to talk through the idea.

6. Is it boring? Some tasks are just plain boring so bunch them together, allocate a time to complete them, put on some music and whiz through- or get someone else to do them.

7. Is it an elephant? ‘How do you eat an elephant?’ ‘One bite at a time.’ Break huge tasks into bite-sized pieces and take one piece at a time.

8. Am I ashamed about something on the list, something I do badly e.g. sorting accounts out? Forgive yourself, get on with it or get help to do it.              Thanks for these Corrina.

Try asking the above questions for items on your list which are not done and see if you are more in charge rather then running after all the time. AND I finished my list, deciding, for one item, that I would get help to do it. After all, life is too short to waste time on the undo-able! There are lots more flowers to look at.

You have one precious life. Love it. Live it richly

Margaret

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It has been quite a while since my last newsletter and I had been worrying about not doing it, what to put in, and generally anxious. Am I doing enough with my coaching? How can I reach more people about the schools we support in Zambia? How am I with people I have to live with, irritated, fussy, laid back?

Looking back over the past couple of months it strikes me that letting go of the urgency of things and just deciding that I’ll take what comes and enjoy that has actually been very productive. So, how from anxiety to calm?

I remembered an explanation about being a butterfly or a flower type in how one operates. A butterfly flits around and seeks out what it needs whereas a flower stays where it is and what it needs comes to it. I operate in both ways but recently had been doing a lot of seeking out and little being still and letting things come to me.

Also, I’ve recently been on a brilliant day course ‘War to Peace’ which showed that we can be ‘at war’ or ‘at peace’ with ourselves and others and we can choose how we are. I cannot choose what someone else does but I can choose how I react to an action and a person and this, in turn, influences the reaction back to me. (A too brief summary-try the course if you see it).

And finally, the picture above is of my grandson, aged six, who came to stay for two weeks and helped, every morning, on a farm’s visitor centre in our village, feeding and mucking out animals. Here he is sitting with the hens, not worrying how they would react to him, just being quiet and letting them come to him. We can learn such a lot from children if we really stand aside and watch them.

As I’ve been taking on board the learning from the examples above, my coaching has grown a few new shoots, I’ve had really good opportunities to speak about the schools in Zambia and I’ve found that I get on better with people who irritated me.

So, as holidays are coming to an end, work pressures building up and people making demands, let us try to ‘sit with the hens’ a little and trust that, if the groundwork is in place, what we need will come.

Give yourself the space to live richly.

Margaret

 

 

 

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message to PM

This time last week I was in Hyde Park, London, with several thousand other people, sending a message to world leaders who would be meeting at the G8 summit, that world hunger CAN be addressed IF taxes are paid where they are due, IF we use land for food, not fuel, IF we stop poor farmers losing their land and give them the power to feed themselves and IF there is transparency in global dealings.  Thousands processed to Hyde Park from services at Westminster Central Hall and an overflow church, all joined in a determination to say ‘enough is enough’ and we can and must do something for our fellow, poor and powerless, human beings. In the park we met thousands more demonstators, there was lots to do and see and, for me, it was especially great to see so many committed young people involved. Strangers talked and the weather blessed us with rare sunshine.

You may be thinking, ‘well, isn’t that what demonstrations are like; I remember the demos I went on in the past, don’t we all?’ Great if you do, I take my hat off to you, but for me, this was my first mass demonstration in London and I really felt alive.  I’d come to a point where I wanted to do more than ‘tut, tut,’ about the state of the world. I wanted to get out of my comfy seat and stand tall  How liberating and fun that was.

Now I am not urging you to take part in demonstrations, marching or sit down ones, or to chain yourself to railings, but I am asking you to think what is important for you in life. What is it you want to do that you haven’t yet got around to?  Is there a dream which has been ignored for ages, a ‘mountain’ to climb, a book to write, a song to sing, relationships to re-form, fun to be had? At the end of life, it will be the things which you didn’t do which you will regret more than those you did do (to paraphrase Mark Twain).

So, stand tall, have fun; it’s your one precious life, love it and live it richly!

Margaret

 

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spilling over the joy

Do you ever spend time on anything but that which you really, deep down, want to, and know that you ought to be doing? Now ‘ought to’ is not a word I use often; we have too much ‘ought to’ and  ’should’ in our lives but all today I have been wanting to write this newsletter and didn’t. Why? Some weeks ago I ran two re-connect’ sessions with a group of wonderful women who continually support and enliven each other and they certainly enlivened me. The coaching has been rewarding, we have,  post flood, new floors down in two rooms which we then decorated, we have spent time with good friends, seen family, are about to visit others and I’ve committed to be in a community play, a minor role but something I’ve always wanted to do.  Some good ‘ups’

Then the lack of energy, the ‘shelve it until after I’ve read the paper or tomorrow or even until it goes away’ approach and the longer the shelving, the more difficult to re-engage. Is it the long winter weather, cold, grey, wind and rain, or firms who don’t respond or that our phone and radio signals are interrupted on an annoying basis?    A few ‘downs’.

Just reading this makes me smile. Poor me! What procrastination! Writing despite myself has changed the mood. I’m remembering a few really lovely days, clear skies, sunshine, lambs in the fields, daffodils gracing the hillsides, even one long walk and picnic day. Sometimes we can’t wait until something is going to be perfect, the weather good or inspiration to burst upon us? Sometimes we just get started and let the inner me and the inner you take charge, which it will do as we trust ourselves to be sufficient for what is needed. You really do have it in there. Trust yourself. Let it spill out.

In spring our garden is alight with daffodils. Whatever the winter, they surface and shout ‘spring’ is coming. The picture shows the ones which have, over the years, spilled from garden to grass verge. If you feel a bit down or procrastination has the upper hand, just get started. The very act helps opens a virtual treasure box of good memories, strengths you know you have, times you know you  make a difference, friendships you share. Get started at whatever you want and need to do and it will come. Like the daffodils, that which is within you could just spill over and light up the day.

You have one precious life. Love it. Live it richly.

Margaret

 

Too busy to……?

Mar
2013
30

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No newsletter in February and I’m just getting March’s in by the skin of my teeth! I’ve been busy, really busy, mopping up flooded floors, staying in another cottage while ours gets fixed and living in Findhorn for three weeks where we helped our daughter put up a shed and build a wood store, all of us freezing in the process, We stood about looking useful while she put new fronts on kitchen units and we snatched some walks along the shore. Then back to Swaledale to dig ourselves through the snow up to our house!  So, much too busy, mea culpa, get over and on with it!

On reflection, do I ever find myself missing important things in life because I’m too busy, because urgent takes precedence? Do I spend enough time with those I love? Do I get outside and appreciate this lovely world, even if snowy and freezing? Do I just sit a while and do nothing much? Is there anyone or anything you might you be missing because you are too busy?

A few weeks ago I became so incensed over  corporate tax avoidance that I started a petition to curtail this with one Anglo/Zambian company. Zambia is a county dear to my heart since Bill and I visited. It is proving to be a bigger stretch than I anticipated but I am certainly learning. I’m learning a bit more about using IT and re-discovering the me who can handle disinterest and still pursue the goal. I get to feel it might never make a difference and I’m having to exercise patience as I want results today. I’m  learning to take time out and re-fuel for the next push. Those who know me will tell anyone that patience is not my strong point! Why share this? Because it is OK to not be perfect, it is OK to feel down and loose sight of the goal. Amazingly, within me and within you is the ability to re-connect with what is important, to look up, re-focus and set off again. Would I have started this if I’d known what it takes? I hope and expect I would.

Here’s an apt quote from Abraham Lincoln   “The best thing about the future is that it only comes one day at a time”. We can live each day as it comes and  handle what that day brings, cope with its pressures, be sad, have fun, share a little love.

What else? I’m really looking forward to a couple of refresher sessions with a great group of women who all brought some sort of challenge when they met two years ago. They have grown enormously, they are feisty, support each other, meet regularly, have fun and live richly.

You have one precious life. Love it. Live it richly.

Margaret

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This ‘happy new year’ post is so late I asked myself, ‘why send it at all?’ Then I thought to share our new year. We had a great Christmas period with various members of our family in Switzerland and the UK and planned to have a festive new year with friends here in our small village. However the plans went out of the window – or down the drain! We spent the last two days of 2012 baling water out of our kitchen at a rate just faster than it was coming in.

The coach Michael Neil once asked clients how much of what had happened over the previous year was according to plan and how much to serendipity. The response was twice as much happened which had not been planned for as that which had.

So how can we achieve things if serendipity, not planming, is the main way most things happen in life?  How can we be ready for the unexpected?

We have to give ourselves space to let our minds wander and just see what pops up. What lets you put down your heavily loaded plate of things which must be done? Do you sit and pipe dream, garden, walk, run, cycle or meditate? Our best ideas come when we are not actively thinking but we need to be able to trust that this will happen even though we are not worrying about solutions.  How liberating that we don’t have to be ‘in charge’ all the time.

Back to baling out water from the kitchen. We are now in a holiday cottage in the village for two or three weeks while our house is made right. I’ll admit that at first I found the whole period very stressful and I expended lots of energy trying to make everything work quickly and in order. Then I began just to go with the situation, to see this as a winter holiday where there is time to sit and dream and walk a bit, to let go of my plate of things to do and I find that ideas and possibilities for the year ahead are starting to ‘pop up’.

So, this is a new, unexepected start to a year for us which could be very happy.

I wish you all a very happy new year and trust that you may give your self space for what might be there for you in 2013.

Margaret

You have one precious life. Love it. Live it richly.

 

 

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The kitchen in our cottage has a low, beamed ceiling so it would be difficult to have fitted wall cupboards. As I have a weakness for collecting crockery, most of the surfaces were cluttered. Last week my daughter came to design and fit narrow shelves which seem to float against the wall. I had painted the wall prior to to the shelves being fitted and when I saw how beautiful my much loved and used pots, plates and mugs looked, once displayed properly, I set to clearing the rest of the kitchen, painting the walls and washing and displaying only those things I really like. The finished kitchen made such a difference. I felt calmer, less stressed and was energised to start de-cluttering the bedroom. I even slept better, which could have been due to the madly energatic day!

It is easy to let out lives as well as our kitchens become cluttered so that we cannot safeguard the space we need for the things which really matter to us. On radio receently I heard a non-religious man talk about a retreat he had taken. He said that the most important thing he had learned was the value of quietness; to go into another room on a regular basis and be quiet for a few minutes. He told how the stresses and clutter of life lost their power after a time of quietness, when his inner wisdom was allowed space to work. Our bodies heal naturally, for example by growing new skin over a graze. In a similar way our minds can sort out problems if we allow space for this to happen.

At church on Sunday we sang a new hymn which could have been chosen especially for me this week. It can speak to people of any faith or non, in this hectic world. The first verse is below and I also give a later line;

Come and find the quiet ceentre in the crowded life we lead                                                  Find the room for hope to enter, find the frame where we are freed:                                  clear the chaos and the clutter, clear our eyes, that we can see                                                all the things that really matter, be at peace, and simply be.                                  and — There’s a place for deepest dreaming………

So, in the rush to prepare for Christmas, the shopping, travelling, anticipation of seeing loved ones, take time to look after yourself, ‘come and find the quiet centre in the crowded life we lead’. Take yourself into a quiet room, the ‘place for deepest dreaming’ and see where the dreams lead.

Margaret

 

 

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So here am I, this excellent coach who can help someone face and overcome a challenge, realise a dream, learn to trust and access his or her own inner strength, dance with life …. and this week I got it all wrong!

We have been changing banks (Oh, they say it is easy, but there is easy and easy) and I lost a whole file of important business documents which I used with the previous bank. I searched the shelves, the filing cabinet, all remotely relevant files, then the next day I re-checked everything just in case I hadn’t done it properly. I could feel myself getting more and more wound up and wondering how on earth I would sort out the end of the year books when I suddenly thought ’I'm getting nowhere and I’m going to STOP right now. In the scale of importance in this universe, this is nothing’ and we went to the pictures, bought a meal, relaxed.  When we got back I walked straight to the place I had put the file, which was not its usual place, and there it was.

I am sharing this because I know what I could have done but did not. I did not trust myself and allow the space or time for my unconscious to handle the problem.  When I did let go of the frantic worrying, the answer came.

For the small and large things in life, what we want, what is important, what gives us joy, we will have answers if we trust ourselves and give our inner knowledge space to surface.  Do stop a while, go for a walk, listen to music or work in the garden; take time to listen to your wonderful inner self and use your energies for rich living.

Margaret