Sunday, August 28, 2011

I Am Preparing

Well, that's how it feels in any case. There are so many wonderful things going on in my life right now - new business clients coming in, working on Lovefraud, one book deal happening, another one and a big new project being seriously considered, plenty of relaxation time, continued weight loss, new friends.... all of these are things I couldn't even have imagined this time last year! Yet somehow, I am feeling afraid.

What? How on earth can you be feeling afraid with all this good stuff going on? Yup, you may well ask. Let me assure you that I've been asking myself exactly the same questions - and more! And I've been thinking. I've been doing my best (as you would expect) to make sense of what this fear is all about. And I have come up with some answers - well, at least a theory.

You see, with all this good stuff now being part of my daily life rather than just a determined vision for the future, some very old childhood feelings are beginning to show themselves. Don't get me wrong, these are very old very GOOD feelings - and they're bursting to be set free. They're begging to become a part of this great life that I'm finally creating for real. These, I might add, are emotions that I didn't know were there. I've done so much work on myself (particularly over the past couple of years) that I honestly thought I was just about as good as I could get. And I have been feeling very contented with my lot over the past few months or so. So contented, in fact, that any further thoughts of 'change' or 'growth' have been far from my mind. I guess my thoughts have been along the lines of "I've been there, done it and got the t-shirt - surely I can now rest in my contentment?"

Hmmm.... it would seem not. Change and personal growth has a funny way of moving us on - whether we want to or not. And this time it would appear that I am being invited (nudged? poked?) to explore another level of myself. And, rightly or wrongly, I'm scared.

Over the past few weeks, you see, I've become close to a new friend with whom I seem to share an extraordinarily strong connection. We've noted it between ourselves and have witnessed some quite inexplicable experiences together (I won't go in to them now because they're far too weird to even begin to explain!) - and through this friend, it is now clear that I'm being invited to open myself even more, although I confess I thought I was already open, healed and clear. So it's all coming as a bit of a surprise.

On a conscious level, I guess it makes sense. I'm finally living a life I'm proud and happy to be a part of. At last I am feeling safe, secure, happy and confident. Great stuff. Job done. All those years of seeking contentment has finally showed up right here for me - and I'm now confident that it isn't a 'blip' it's now a constant in my life. So, as I said, on a conscious level I guess it makes sense - my external experiences are all pleasing to me now. Since my belief has always been that whatever is going on in my life is always a direct reflection of what's happening inside, then I'm happy to say 'the girl done good' - all the self-development work has clearly paid off.

Yup, you might be thinking, all well and good - but what on earth are you going on about Mel? What's your point?

My point is this. For the past couple of years (and for most of my life if truth be told) I have been striving for something better. Faced with countless challenges, I've always believed that I could make it, I could find a way through against the odds, and that I could create a better life for myself. So I've been driven, if you like, by a strong internal desire to make things better. Now, however, I am in a place where I'm happy, content and excited about the future. No need to change anything. Nothing to improve. No more fights to be won. So now my external experiences are giving me no reason to 'change' or 'grow'. Why would I want to make anything different? So, that being the case, I've been thinking "I've done it!" and have been settling in to the idea that enough is enough. I'm happy. Thank you very much, a peaceful life for me from now on!

Hmmm... not so fast missus! Don't get too relaxed in that comfy seat of yours - there's still plenty of life to experience out there! Because - since my external experiences are no longer giving me reason to grow, it seems that my internal emotions are now the ones giving me an almighty prod.

Through all the good stuff that's been happening, and heightened by the new friendship I mentioned earlier, I am getting an old sense of some emotions I buried many years ago. Emotions I had forgotten all about to be honest. Yes, fine, I could easily let the memories resurface, but I'm an expert at keeping my distance from feelings that are too strong (a habit perfected over the many childhood traumas I lived through) - I'm a dab hand at being an observer rather than a participant if that makes any sense.

Now, since there are no more difficulties to overcome, it seems those emotions are now asking to resurface and become integrated in to this wondrous life that's unfolding. Those emotions are all linked to my earliest childhood memories. Feelings of security. Feelings of love. Feelings of innocent joy.... all feelings of which, at the time, I would have had no conscious knowledge. And certainly no names or labels for them! But these are the strong feelings that are now bubbling in my belly, pushing from inside my heart, and demanding to be acknowledged.

And I'm scared. Because the last time I had those feelings they were destroyed with the sudden death of my father. The last time they were flourishing, looking forward to growing with me, they meant that I felt pain and hurt on such a deep level that I decided they were not safe. I decided to bury them away and become the strong grown-up Mel that I've been ever since - I started building my own fortress of protection, perfecting my fortress as more and more experiences threatened to topple me. Oh yes, I became a fantastic architect and builder - and I did a pretty darned good job!

Over the past couple of years my fortress has crumbled to reveal the little girl who had hidden away. The little girl who finally believed she could make it in the world without any protection. My weight loss over the past few months is, for me, just another sign that I am now living for me and as me - so the very idea that there are still more levels to explore has come as a bit of a shock!

The deeply spiritual connection with this new friend of mine is, I believe, the straw that is about to break the camel's back. I have done my best to hide, to ignore what is happening - but to no avail. I cannot (WILL not) keep my silence anymore. In order to maintain privacy, I'm going to call my new friend Sam. Sam is French, and our deep discussions are certainly encouraging me to improve my language skills! At the end of last week I decided to tell Sam what was happening - that our friendship was proving to be a catalyst for something I know is important for my own personal growth, and at the same time something that is frightening. Sam was not afraid. Sam offered to come round on Friday night and discuss what was happening, hoping to help me in my quest for understanding.

The conversation flowed, as usual, and there were times where I felt myself opening up. But I also found myself closing down and backing off whenever the themes got too close. Sam left in the early hours of Saturday morning telling me, with a wink, that I am good at hiding. Hmmmm....

Yesterday I felt really tired, and - unusually -  I took myself to bed in the afternoon. My best friend Vera came around in the evening and we shared a lovely dinner together and lots of chats catching up on what had been happening for us over the couple of weeks since we'd last spent time with each other. I told her about my latest revelations and, as usual, she gave me the best reassurance. "It seems to me, Mel, that you're in exactly the right place, and doing exactly the right things" she smiled "Keep doing what you're doing, and be gentle on yourself in the process!"

I was still tired, and she left unusually early - both of us stone cold sober for a healthy change. I went to bed soon after she'd left, and woke this morning feeling wiped out. I had been due to spend the day with my friend Anna, but I phoned to cancel. I don't like letting people down, but I knew I needed time to look after myself.

So today I have been doing just that. I had a relaxing bath, painted my nails, put on my favourite music and then decided to take out my art materials. I used to be pretty good in the art department, and it has been years since I picked up a pencil and paper. Feeling a little clunky at first (well, it has been about 20 years since I last took the hobby seriously!) I soon got in to the swing. With music cranked up and cups of Redbush tea by the gallon, I started to let myself go. Three pictures later, I am finally feeling re-connected and re-energised - and I now understand that everything that has been happening has been a preparation.

And I have decided. I am indeed ready to open myself up to another level. I am ready to re-open the innocent heart of mine that was locked away so many years ago. I don't expect it to be easy - but then again, so long as I keep taking deep breaths, I fully expect it will be much easier than my fears are trying to convince me. After all, I've already come through so much just to survive - surely being brave enough to open up further in order to thrivecan only be for my own good...?

On Friday night, Sam gave me some very wise words "It's ok Mel, because you're no longer a four year old child - now you are a grown up and you know how to look after yourself. And you have lots of people who love you"

Sam is right, of course. So now, preparation done, all that's left is for me to know - really know - that the time has come. The time is now, and it's my chance to face my fears and open myself to more joy and love than I had believed was possible.

So, I'm doing it. Because now I am ready to open my heart and let the sun shine - and I'm looking forward to the results!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

I Am Beginning To Believe

... that I'm ready. So much has changed over the past couple of years, and I was just about getting myself comfortable in my new life. Then, over recent weeks, things have started shifting again, and I've been sensing the sure signs of a crumbling reality - and I have been scared. Because the last time my reality changed, it took the form of an earth shattering explosion. "The mirror crack'd from side to side" as my entire self-image fell to the floor in pieces - along with my confidence, my beliefs, and everything that I had accepted as real. My life was in bits and all that was left was a howling gaping hole, tugging at my soul, whipping round my legs, and beckoning me to enter through the looking-glass.

Well, I've made it through that one - it's taken time and has at times seen me on the floor during the process. I'm not only through, I'm also now wiser, stronger, happier and more confident than I have ever been before. I like who I am and I'm proud of what I've achieved. So now, as the familiar whispers of change are once again brushing against my windows, I have been bracing myself for what I fear will mean more pain and uncertainty.

Once again I've been shouting at the heavens and shaking my fists at the skies "I don't need any more of this character building stuff! Surely by now I've proved myself? I'm strong enough already - let me live a simple life!" But of course it makes no difference. If anything, in fact, the whispers are getting louder.

So this time, perhaps, just perhaps, they herald the start of a different sort of transformation? As many of you will know, previous changes have hit me with little or no warning. Huge, life-altering revolutions that have knocked me sideways, leaving me breathless and frightened. Each time, it's true, I have come through fitter and stronger - although the journey has usually been painful and the pathway wrought with difficulties along the way. So I'm sure you can understand my reticence at the prospect of yet more changes!

And yet there is something in my soul that's telling me this time my reality is about to give way to something better. Something positive and healthy. Something new, yes, but something that's also going to benefit me during the process - not just once I've overcome the situation.

So that is why I've decided that I'm ready. I'm ready to expand my horizons once again. Ready to welcome more positive influences in my life. After all, having come through so much already, surely now's the time to actively seek some of the things I could do with more of in my life? Things like peace, love, security and happiness. All of which, it's true, now exist more than they ever have before - but hey, I can always make room for more!

If I stubbornly hold on to the 'safety' I now know, then perhaps I'm blocking my own good? Perhaps my resistance to change is actually holding me back rather than allowing me to enjoy the life of my dreams? My dreams, you see, have me living in a home I've perfected in my mind's eye over many years. It is by the sea, on a cliff by a harbour. I am a successful writer, and my home is filled with joyous laughter and friends who share my passion for living. It is large and light, decorated with beautifully understated furnishings. Oh, and I share my life with a loving partner who adores me as I adore him. I am smiling all of the time, and I live with a feeling of constant gratitude for the way my life has turned out.

Now then, most of those things I can honestly say I have often experienced in my existing home here in France. I love where I live - then again, I am also getting ready to move on. I've started my writing career in earnest, and I find myself gently turning down people and training projects that no longer light my fire. I am seeking the courage to devote myself entirely to my writing - and to working with others who can benefit from my experiences.

So perhaps this is what the whispers are all about? Perhaps I'm already making the necessary soul-shifts to facilitate me fulfilling my potential. Change, as I've said before, is something that most people are afraid of - myself included. But deliberate change, now that I'm armed and ready, is something that could turn out to be a wonderful experience. I've already learned that chance can turn on a sixpence - so perhaps something is already happening behind the scenes. Something that I cannot yet grasp, but that is surely already playing out and that will certainly bring me untold opportunities for my enjoyment.

Yes, I am ready. I am nervous at the same time - then again, as I've said before, the physical response for fear and excitement is exactly the same. How we experience these feelings depends largely upon the labels we choose to give them.

Is it a co-incidence that tonight I have my first date in over thirteen years? I think not. The winds of change are gathering pace - this time, though, they are lovingly embracing me, moving me at a slower pace so that I can keep my balance and go forward with grace. All that's to do now is to change my feelings about this evening's date from nerves to excitement - and then leave the rest to work itself out.

I'll keep you posted...

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Thursday, June 30, 2011

I Am Realising

English: Young performers at Circus Juventas d...
...that there are always opportunities for new insights and personal growth - always and all ways. Over recent weeks, you see, I've been experiencing a curious feeling of inner doubt. This has been most peculiar because, to all intents and purposes, I've successfully overcome some of the most enormous personal and physical challenges over the past couple of years. Of that there is no doubt whatsoever. So how come, then, with all these 'proven successes' behind me, how come I am experiencing moments of uncertainty? Sometimes relatively minor, sometimes more concerning. So what's that all about then...?

I've been pondering that question and (as you might expect) exploring and observing the emotions as they come up. And it's been weird. Sometimes it has felt as if I'm in danger of slipping out of my mind - so, therefore, 'out of my mind' I chose to go in order to find the answers. And here's what I've noticed - as I've realised what's happening with real-eyes.

By just thinking about what is going on, I have been only working on the one level - the level that uses past experiences to make sense of a situation. Experiences that confirm this specific feeling of uncertainty has typically been linked with periods of challenge or discomfort - particularly over the past couple of years. Which is why I couldn't make sense of it all - because the war is over. So what is there now to be worried about for goodness sake? Round and round I went, bumping in to the same walls time and time again, and increasing my own frustration.

So instead I decided to simply go with the feelings - without thinking about what they might mean. The next time I noticed the stirrings of self-doubt, I simply went with the feeling. I became curious about where in my body I was sensing the feeling - what was the shape? What was the colour? How fast was it moving? And as I directed my mind to simply observe the sensations - without judgement or labels - I could calmly and gently start to move the feelings... and change my experience in the process.

It's an old NLP trick that I learned many many years ago and it can work for a variety of situations. It's all about making sense of something that doesn't make sense. It's about moving out of your mind and moving in to your feelings instead. Simple. And yet sometimes so easy to forget! (There's an example exercise at the end of this post that you can experiment with if you're interested)

So - here's what I learned. I decided to re-label the sensations I had been calling 'self-doubt' as simply 'off-balance' instead. And off-balance means progress. Think about it. In order to walk, just putting one foot in front of the other, we are 'off-balance' at least 50% of the time. Moving in a forward motion, yes, and also throwing ourselves from being grounded (and static) to being unbalanced (and moving) then grounded again (a step forward from where we were when we started).

Now, I have realised, these sensations are simply an indication that I'm on the move. That I'm growing. I've realised that there are new experiences and insights calling for my attention - new opportunities that are positive, rather than new hurdles to be overcome. I am no longer bashing in to the same old walls of past experiences - nope, not any more. Now I'm opening doors and windows and letting myself explore whatever is yet to come. Yes, I can still experience the quickening heartbeat, the sweating palms, and the little voices in my head. But now, now that I'm welcoming these feelings of uncertainty as confirmation that I'm learning (well, let's face it, anything 'new' can feel odd and scary can't it?) then the fear that was associated with those experiences has been magically transformed in to excitement.

Incidentally - it's a well-documented fact that the physical sensation of fear is the same as the physical sensation of excitement. It just depends what label we choose to give it - I don't know about you, but I'm choosing the latter!

Here's an example exercise for those of you who are interested in experimenting with this 'trick'...

Take your attention to a place inside your body where, for example, you feel calmness. You can choose other feelings if you like - good, bright or peaceful could be some other options. Just make sure it's something positive that you decide to focus on! Search it out and you will find it. And if you can't find it, then just imagine that you can. You will quickly be able to identify where it is (even if it's a guess), and you may well discover an associated shape, colour or sound that goes with it. It may be quite small, or it may be quite large, feint or clear, loud or quiet - and that's ok. There's no right or wrong here, it's just about becoming aware - that's all.

So... having identified that particular positive sensation, gently grow it until it fills your entire body. Breathe a bit more deeply as you do this, and notice what happens for you. It may help if you close your eyes while you do this... it may not... again, it's up to you. Once you've done that, grow it even more - and if you can't... yup... you've got it... just imaginethat you can. Grow it to fill your surroundings - as far as your eyes can see. Keep breathing and noticing, and then grow it even more. Imagine it is filling the entire town that you're in. And then imagine it filling the whole country. Then take it even wider, stronger, louder (whatever works for you) and make it grow until it envelops the entire world... and then the universe... and beyond.

Breathe deeply and enjoy the experience - it's all yours to keep. Feels good eh?

This continues to be a really useful technique for me - I can use it to regain composure if I'm worried about something, and I can use exactly the same technique to give myself a boost if I'm feeling tired or low. Whatever feeling you'd like to have more of - don't think about it, just do it! You know the acronym JFDI? Well, that's what I'm saying - just like me, stop thinking and Just F***ing Do It :-)
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Sunday, May 22, 2011

I Am Feeling Magical

...because it's turning out that everything seems to be falling nicely in to place. Smoothly, easily and effortlessly. Now THAT'S the way life is meant to be!

For far too long I had been trapped in the struggle-bubble, where everything was a fight and progress was an effort. Where things 'had' to be done - calls 'must' be made, business 'needed' to be chased and maintenance 'ought' to be carried out. Now, don't get me wrong - I certainly believe in a sense of duty. But the thing is, my own particular sense of duty had somehow become doing things because I felt I 'should'. I know, I know... for many years I have excluded that particular word from my language... yet in many ways I realise that I had been living in a 'should' sort of a way, even though my words would hardly have portrayed that truth.

So what's it all about then? How come things have 'suddenly' become fluid and easy at last? Well, perhaps it's as simple as this. Perhaps my duty had previously been misplaced. I am now thinking that I felt a duty to 'be someone' - to prove myself, to me and to others, with the underlying belief that I wasn't good enough in some way. So therefore, subconsciously, I had been living to please others. No wonder I often felt so tired - and let my weight creep up to be (aside from when I was pregnant) the heaviest I think I've ever been.

Over recent weeks, with the end of my own personal war and so many other things being laid to rest, I have instead been learning to do things that please me. Not much of my outwardly actions have changed - it's been the focus of my actions that have made the difference. One of my favourite quotes is Proust's "the true voyage of discovery is not in seeking new lands, but in seeing with new eyes" and boy has that one sunk home! A few weeks ago I saw a very unflattering photograph of myself taken by my friend's daughter. That was a sufficient shock to push me in to taking action. I joined a slimming club and started to notice the things I was putting in my mouth. As I write this I am already 18lbs lighter and the fat is continuing to just melt away. My mantra to myself is "I am lean, fit, tall and flexible" and as I see myself this way, I am not only becoming conscious of the food I eat and the extra movements I am making, I am also taking more care in the way I clothe my body. People are telling me that I look healthy and happy - and that makes me smile.

In addition to taking care of myself, I began consciously to focus on accepting more joy in to my life. Rather than think about things that might make me happy, I have decided that I already am happy - and the rest just seems to follow. Naturally, easily and smoothly. I have long been a believer in the power of affirmations (the notion that our thoughts create our reality) and now realise that there is no need for a long list of positive statements to make a constructive difference to my reality. Any affirmations come from a root desire - and for me (and, I suspect, many others) that driver is to be happy. Rather than thinking, for example, that "I will be happy when I am earning enough money to live well" I am instead getting in to the full emotional feeling that I am already happy. Just a few focused minutes a day, building the feeling and making it real for me seems to have been enough to kick the universe in to action. For now I seem to always have a smile on my face - and it's true. I am happy! And I also know that this is just the beginning.

For those who doubt what I'm saying - and for others who just like to play for fun - I'd like to share another of the 'tricks' I have learned over the years. I invite you, as always, to just have a go and see what you think. Are you ready to play? Okay, then here we go :-)

I'd like you to take a good look around you and notice your surroundings. You don't need to do it for long, just have a scan of the scenery that is around and about you. Once you've done that, I'd like you to close your eyes and recall what you've seen. Easy eh? So, go on - do it now. You'll have a good sense of the view you've just taken in.

Now I'd like you to have another look - but this time focus on something specific. I invite you to seek out everything in your surroundings that is the colour red. (If there is nothing red, then choose another colour). Scan your surroundings once again, and then close your eyes and recall what you've seen. As you do that, you'll notice that the picture has changed - and you will have a different internal sensation as your mind's eye remembers what you've just seen.

So here's the question - what changed? Did your surroundings change in any way? Did you change where you were sitting or standing? No, I suspect that you didn't. So what didchange to give you a different picture and sensation of your immediate world? The answer is your focus - that's all. And in life, whatever we focus on becomes more real to us.

The reds (or other colour if you chose something else) were always there. It's just because I invited you to focus on them that they suddenly became more obvious. So, logically then, if we focus on being happy then those things are going to come more clearly in to our experience. We do have the power to choose our experiences - we always have. It's just that we either forget, or have never been shown.

It is now 8.45pm on what has been another beautiful summer day. I have spent the afternoon pulling up weeds from the garden, and have just returned from an evening swim in the river with my son. We're both now outside with a bottle of beer, both tapping away on our laptops and sharing jokes. Now that is what I'd call happiness! Magic? Well, yes - I happen to believe it is!
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Wednesday, May 18, 2011

I Am Wondering...

A woman thinking

How might my life have turned out had I not been given the many experiences that have been placed in front of me? There have been many times when I've begged for mercy. Pleaded for the bad things to go away, and prayed that I would not have to face yet another battle. And yet for many years the battles just kept on coming. I am lucky to have lived the first sixteen years of my life with a mother who, in my opinion, was one in a million. Widowed when she was just 32 years old and about to give birth to my little sister, she was a lady who refused to give up - although I'm sure there were many moments when she would dearly have loved to lie down and surrender. She didn't. She brought me and my sister up with the strong belief that we can get through anything. That 'life is our oyster' and that it's up to us to create the life of our choosing. She was not religious, but her wisdom encompassed the teachings in so many of todays faiths. One of her favourite sayings was 'this too will pass' - an affirmation I have used many times during my formative years, and during times of confusion and pain.

Another of her stoic catch-phrases was 'what doesn't kill you makes you stronger' - she would remind me, whenever I had problems at school, that all of the bad stuff is merely character building. Believe me, there have been many times when I've yelled at the skies, fists clenched and tears running down my face that my character is strong enough thank you very much indeed. Enough already! And yet now, as I've found greater peace in my heart and in my soul, I can honestly say that every experience has contributed in a positive way to make me the person I am today. So, without those experiences, what might I have become?

Of course I can never know the answer to that question. The what-ifs of life are, for me, questions that rarely serve to help - unless they are related to future plans or ideas.

Over the years I've learned the value and power of the words we use. My full name is Melanie - a name that, until recently, I thought of as somewhat clumsy and clunky. I never liked the sound of it when it was read out in school. Linked with my surname, I would cringe with embarrassment, wishing that I had been named Anne or Sue, with a one-syllable surname like Smith or Jones. I was one of those children who was always bigger than the rest of my school mates. Regularly described as 'plump' I was slightly short-sighted with bucked teeth and a naturally clumsy way about me. My name, it seemed to me, merely served to highlight my awkwardness - particularly when I was in the company of a number of Annabels, Sophies and a Tanya (my best friend). Neither exotic nor simple, I felt that my name was as lumbering and ungainly as my body - and I did my best to hide away. I would blush at the simplest of things, my red face even swamping the mass of hated gingery freckles that covered my nose and cheeks.

The sudden death of my mother changed all of that. I knew that I had to be strong - for myself as well as for my little sister who was only 11 at the time. Within a matter of months I became somebody who could look after herself. A girl who, having just hit puberty, would learn how to stand up and be counted. Someone who would need to keep her wits about her and learn the complexities and dualities of the adult world. I began to see myself as a survivor - and more than that, a fighter who would stand tall for anyone who was being mistreated. Fighting for others made me strong in myself - and caring for the good of others is what started me on my life-long quest for self-development. Remembering mum's words, I was convinced that there must be a better way - for me, for my sister, and for others who had experienced any kind of suffering.

I became an advocate for positive thinking, devouring every book and tape (there were no such things as MP3 or even CDs in those days!) about the power of thought, I would test out the theories on myself and also on anyone else who was willing to listen. Later on in life I studied in earnest, firstly running Louise Hay workshops for people to "Heal Your Life" and eventually setting up a successful company that specialised in motivation and team-building.

Those lessons stood me in good stead. For when I discovered that my husband (soulmate and business partner) had been deceiving me, I put them all in to practice - and how! The discovery of his betrayal left me emotionally, physically and financially drained. Bankrupt in every sense of the word. Yet I refused to give up - just as my mother before me refused to give up. And it has been over this time that I've truly come to appreciate the power of words. For our words express the thoughts and beliefs we have about the world. And for me, my name now stands for someone who has indeed overcome the odds. Melanie Carnegie. I can say it loud and proud. Because it means something - it is no longer clumsy and embarrassing. No. Now it means "determined to overcome, and determined to speak out"

You may be familiar with Henry Ford's famous quote "whether you believe you can or you can't, you're absolutely right" - because for me, the words we use to describe our situation give a perfect demonstration of any blocks or limitations that we may be holding on to. My words, therefore, have been deliberately chosen over the past couple of years to make sure I pulled through and overcame whatever was put in front of me. Whenever it looked as though I couldn't go on, or the blockages in front of me were too mighty to overcome, I would repeat the mantra "there is always a way" - and sure enough, there was. 

Some of you may already be well-versed in the idea that our thoughts create our reality. To others of you reading this, it may seem that I'm being flippant - or downright stupid in my belief that we can choose our outcomes. That simply by thinking about things in a different way, we can actually create a different result. To those people I'd like to invite you to run with a little experiment I often share with groups.

I'd like you to stand up, place one arm pointing out straight ahead of you and then twist around until your arm is pointing as far back as you can reach. Look behind you and notice how far your arm has reached, by noting a place where your finger is now pointing. It may sound daft, but go on, humour me and give it a shot.

Okay, done it? Good. Now bring your arm back down by your side, and in your minds eye I invite you to imagine - just imagine - that your back is now a flexible bendy spring. Your spine is coiling around and is now more supple and bendy than you had imagined before. Take a couple of breaths, and just imagine how that might feel.

Once you've done that, I invite you to once again place your arm out in front of you and twist it around as before - noticing as you go past the original point that you noted the first time. Now, I don't know how far you went, but in groups this normally creates an outburst of spontaneous laughter as people notice how much further they can now twist around!

So here's my question. What changed? Did you do any particular kind of limbering up exercises? Did you get in to any yoga positions to flex your spine? The answer is no. It was purely by changing your internal thoughts that you achieved a different physical result.

So I'm wondering... if our thoughts can work in this small way, how many more ways could choosing our thoughts create better results?

And I'm wondering now about wandering.... about wandering further in to this area of self-development and mastery that I hold so dear. I'm wondering about sharing more of the skills I've learned over the years. Skills which, for me at least, are now second nature. Because I'm guessing that to many people this is a new adventure.

So... as I continue with my adventuring, I plan to share more of the things that have allowed me to overcome so many challenges. Because if I can make a difference to just one person, then I feel I am giving back to a world that has taught me so much - and has made me so grateful to be alive.

I was right when I thought that there must be another way - because there is. And there isalways a solution. Right now, though, I'm coming from a place of peace and contentment. There is no more need for me to prove myself - to me or to anyone else. I AM good enough - I always was. And so are you.

I hope you choose to be a part of my on-going adventures, and that together we can learn to live the life of our dreams. Please let me know your thoughts...

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