Follow the Crumbs ……

Follow the crumbs....
Follow the crumbs….

Since 9.11 there has been a spate of reported incidents of people randomly seeing the number 11.11. You know the type of thing –  11.11 jumps at you from a page, a scoreboard, bus time-table,petrol bowser or a mystical grab of a digital clock at exactly 11.11. Chance maybe, coincidence definitely but for some it is happening beyond mere chance and coincidence.

A journey of self-discovery will nudge us with cryptic clues that are intended to guide us. Three words, Finding Your Voice, the title of my first book  had been flirting with my subconscious to no avail for several years. After all I had found my heart, writing was without doubt the imprimatur of my soul. I needed no goading no nudging into writing, my computer became my altar where running words in my head was given the breath of life from the keyboard. But during this past year or so the synchronistic crumbs of FYV have been unrelenting in getting me to see a bigger picture.

Sometimes things can be so blooming obvious that we are blind to them. But my muse was not – she was insistent that social injustices needed a commentary until words circled my head like vultures looking for a feed and only quietened when I found my voice through my Blog or a Face book posting.

Finding Your Voice, which I had chosen so decisively for my book of self-help guide to public speaking, was much more than a title; from the very start I could now see that it had been an intuitive directive for me to find my own voice. Yes I spoke in public but throughout my life I had always held back anything that might be regarded as contentious. But the paradox was any voice suppressed is under enormous pressure and when grievances reach danger levels we erupt. All of the stuff that I should have said in a reasonable balanced way blasted pugnaciously from me like a scene from The Exorcist. So for someone whose ego so desperately wanted to please and be liked it was a tough road to consciousness.

I understand now how each synchronistic piece of the puzzle fell into place knowing that finding my voice and speaking or writing it in a well-considered manner is inherent to writing with authority as well as being crucial to my well-being and sense of authenticity.

But of course the crumb trail of Finding Your Voice is still much more. Look out for my next Blog about how I can help you find your voice, your truth.

finding-your-voice1

Finding Your Voice was published by Lothian in 1985 and was promoted as the definitive self-help guide to public speaking. The first part of the book was the how to and the second half devoted to every type of presentation that may be undertaken by the reader – from eulogy to debating and workshop presentation to after dinner speaker. Now out of distribution it is available in public libraries and recently can be purchased as an E-Book on Kindle.

 

 

Come Spoon With Me

William_Archibald_Spooner_Vanity_Fair_1898-04-21
William Archibold Spooner

My Intuition, in a quiet moment, delivered the message that I should write a stunning blog or did I hear  blunning stog?

Spoonerisms? cue the chud, of course I rationalise, they have all the hallmarks of a fun blog or it should read ballmarks of a glun hog. After all how much  do I love to cheekily spoonerise when driving past a truck –  thats a trucking fig buck. Yes, I shout,  go help me sod this is going to be the pun fart of my blogging career to date.

The Rev. William Archibold Spooner, was born in 1844.  He was a not the most handsome of men. A very small albino man, with poor eyesight and a head too large for his body. Some wit might unkindly liken his looks as plain as a dobbers rog. But clever, oh so clever his mercurial brain raced ahead and his tongue could not keep up, especially when he was agitated and so began his art of switching words around.

When Spooner had to give the toast to the visiting Queen Victoria, he excitedly said ‘Three cheers for our queer old dean.’ His delightful gaffs spread over into his ecclesiastical duties, officiating at a wedding he was heard to say to the groom ‘son it is now kisstomary to cuss the bride.’

I bet his congregation flocked to his services in the hope they could add to the list of his slip ups – our shoving leopardsope in the hole and the list goes on.

Well tis time for me to shake a tower and chew the doors and so that’s it for my blunning stog – just swort and sheet. Hopefully

 

Give me a jar of coloured pens ………….

IMG_5093If you are looking for a technique to make planning your work easy and affectice; whether it be the first draft stage of a speech or any written work , become a child again and create  a colourful Mind Map.

Mind mapping originated in the 1960s with Tony Buzan and allows you to generate an organic explosion of ideas.

Just like a road map a Mind Map will give you an overview of your topic, enables you to tap into the wealth of your imagination,  collect together large chunks of data and be enjoyable to review and  consider how to progress.

1. Take a sheet of blank unlined paper. Use it landscape rather than portrait style.

2. You will need a container of coloured pens and pencils.

3. In the centre of the page draw an image or write the topic  that you want to explore from there create logical and illogical branches of thoughts to spin off from the central title.

The one above is an old one of mine.  I create Mind Maps not only for work but for everyday issues where I need to see things more clearly. This Thoughts Shape Your Life Map  is very busy, the ideas just kept coming and I was running out of room but the finished Map gave me great clarity on how my everyday, every moment thoughts affected my life for the better or worse.

New Moon+New Year=Propitious Beginnings

Evidently the configuration of the planets coupled with a new moon on New Year’s Day makes it propitious for out with the old and birthing the new.  And if you couple this event with some sort of symbolic ceremony it can produce powerful results.

I have lost count of my swings of mood when it comes to New Year resolutions.  So many well-intentioned carefully worded I will be better, better, best slips of paper tucked into esoteric books only to be forgotten by the end of January.  And many end of the year’s cynicisms – no I never keep them so why make them – only to find the pendulum had fully swung the next year to sit with the new diary and my finest notepaper to write once again my hopes for improvement.

The trouble with most of my resolutions is the rigidity and censoring that I pen as my most desirable attributes for the following year. I’m sure this type of resolution is common to most I will diet and lose 5/10/ 15 kg (this a standard resolution for me repeated on all wishful thinking years) I will give up alcohol, carbs, chocolate and confectionary – I will be more patient, more forgiving – I will walk for 40 minutes a day and do stretches for another 30 minutes – I will be a better partner/friend/mother/sister – I will learn to reverse park better …. And the list goes on.

 Of course the dynamic new corporate agers would immediately say the reason they failed was because there was no identified goal, no time frame, no motivation.  No picture on the fridge of herself looking  a cool babe in a previously owned bikini or no image of her car reverse parked tidily within a cm  of the middle of the white lines.

But those on the road to enlightenment would say where are you placing the energy? The brain is not fooled it knows the ego’s pattern’s preferred tried and tested path for promised diets, exercise and reverse parking and will happily takes you for the ride through the well-worn structure.  Of course if you implement your will you might yo-yo for a while but in the end the old habits will prevail.

This New Year looks as though it might be a ball-breaker (according to the astrologers) so I’m working on a neat little ceremony to seal the my intentions for 2014.  But as I work towards the light I will give the universe every opportunity to do its magic by giving each intention its deserved vibration.  Instead of ‘must lose weight/give up the perceived evils and exercise’ it will be  –With gratitude I choose to honour my body and health.

 Not sure how to get my vibrations going in the right direction when reverse parking though – any thoughts gratefully received.

Technicolor Mind Chatter

IMG_4657I love a guided meditation where a mellifluous voice tells me to take a deep breath in… tense the muscles…. and relax….   acknowledge the grey chatter of the mind and let it float on by.

And in my mind chatter phase I remember I need to take the fish from the freezer for dinner and that the kitchen floor needs a good scrub.  These willow wisp thoughts float by before my mind tries once more to establish its dominion before succumbing to the joys of surfing the deep.  Why grey it asks surely beige would be better. Grey is associated with external aging but beige as in cardigan says more about the mindset, don’t you think?  I wiggle in my chair but Deepak Chopra’s voice is willing me back ‘focus on the breath, focus on the breath.’

Mind chatter is not simply isolated to a meditation practice.  My mind  is in a constant state of mental chatter and I have found my internal chat show like Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dream Coat comes in many colours. Let me share.

Hot Pink chatter is reserved for those  concepts that have a bit of verve, a peeve or a particular hobby-horse, anything where you feel a lick of righteous passion.  My hot pink state is so seductive it makes me feel I’m intelligent and I have something valuable to contribute. My mind immediately has  free rein to happily strap me in for a ride through the shiny worn pathways of  righteous concerns about anything and nothing. It is simply a diversion, a strategy for escaping doing what I love.

White – ah ‘white chatter‘ is barely a breeze of a blissful whisper when I see a newborn baby, see an expression of love or allow myself to be vulnerable and innocent. Instantly it grounds me in the moment.No wonder white light is used for healing and supposedly that dying walk through the tunnel to the light.

My creative thinking colour I decide is  green, flowing from the calming, nourishing green of my heart chakra.  Red chatter is for that moment when the anger will no longer be suppressed and needs oxygen. But ‘purple‘ that is a different story entirely.

The bruising purple will light up my neural pathways. Its chatter masquerades behind a sense of  dignity and honour. It is about being right and it is the most insidious of mind games that an ego employs. So subtle, the repetitive thoughts seemingly well-intentioned and thoroughly considered, so relentless till you take action.  Resolving  ‘purple chatter’ tension always  brings regrets.

What about yellow? Surely sunshine all the way……..

Relax, deep breath in let the grey chatter of your mind float on by.

Left brain Right brain

Neuroscientists found that when they dumbed down the analytical side of the left-brain hemisphere – the right brain, which provides us with insight or intuitive responses, was clearer sharper and demonstrated enhanced creativity and innovation.

It seems that simple steps like brushing your teeth with your weak hand, travelling a new and different route home or eating foods that you have never tried before will stimulate and improve our overall brain development.

But can we improve our insightful  thinking (what I would call creative intuition) without an attendant neuroscientist zapping half of our brain with electrical impulses to temporarily still our left-brain’s predictive course of thinking?

Can we grow our well-spring of creativity?

When I write, I’m single-minded, totally focused, in the zone. If I was in an MRI scanner I’m sure it could be seen that both sides of my brain would be contributing.

But the most valuable moments of creativity for me frequently occur after  I have had time out.  After I meditate, take a walk along the beach focusing on the ocean, reflect on a good movie, or take an adventure break by going somewhere new.  Seeing things as though I was seeing them for the first time. The light bulb moments come when my brain is not busy with the grey chatter of the day or  my  treadmill thinking. They come when  my neurons are having a break from firing along their well trod pathways.

For a few years now I have deliberately practiced developing my intuitive ability. At first I found it hard not to indulge the analytical side as it could and still can be extremely persuasive in the case it presents.   But over time and many personal development courses I have found ways to disengage the finger wagging left brain and increase the  ‘yeh baby’  creative moments.

Inner ChildThis is where this picture on the left plays its part.  Meet little Me, aged four’ish.  My inner child.  I see her shy but triumphant smile as she tries to ride her older sister’s bike.  I identify with her trusting quality of innocence; she simply does not recognise that she is not big enough to fully reach the peddles  to make the wheels turn. She is in the moment of loving being able to ride the bike unconcerned that the bike will remain stationary.

My inner child image is my express route to my intuition. I visualise  her proudly sitting on her two sizes too large tricycle and this  curbs  my busy left-brain. In this quiet well of connection I set my intention to receive whatever guidance  I need, may be its a plot snag or a character’s flaws. As I continue to focus on this specific image of my inner child I find I experience once again  her  moment of elation and feel her joyful innocence. It creates the same mind flora as  the aftermath of time out but with more purpose. I find my intuition gives up guidance and answers like slices of golden toast in a pop-up toaster.

A mental image does not have to be a picture of you as a young child that is just my way of leaving the wallpaper behind and soaring to different places. For you it could be something from nature, a loved pet or any  image that allows you to identify with a joyful experience and importantly captures that feeling of innocence – seeing things as though you are seeing them for the first time. 

It is a simple technique but so effective. Similar to developing any part of our muscular system it requires regular practice to access it at will and determination to trust what you receive.

Try it I think you will be amazed.

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Friday Tips – Travel Writing

Grand Palace Bangkok
Grand Palace Bangkok

What is common to both good fiction and travel writing?  Read Benji Lanyado, Guardian writer and blogger’s valuable advice on  what should be every new writer’s mantra Show Don’t Tell.

‘My golden rule when writing a piece is to include as much visual description as possible. It’s easy to presume a lot, but your readers don’t know what you’ve seen. So explain it as vividly as possible. Don’t ever describe something as “characterful” or “beautiful” – this doesn’t mean anything to anybody but you. Describe things as if you were explaining them to a blind person. To say a building is “old” isn’t good enough; explain the colours, the peeling stucco, the elaborate, angular finishes on windowsills, the cleaning lady in a faded blue smock who was leaning out of a second-storey window with a cigarette dangling from her mouth. There is a thin line between elaborate, colourful, evocative writing and pretentious tosh, but it’s better to lean towards the pretentious tosh side of the spectrum than to be dull and presumptuous.
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