present

When The Present Is A Present

I’m sat on the ledge of my swimming pool, my feet submerged in turquoise glistening water up to my ankles as pink and yellow frangipani flutter down from the sweet smelling tree above, encasing me in pretty patterns of colour. I watch the petals float in circles in the gentle current of the water as two dragonflies fight for my attention, zooming past my head – one a pearlescent ocean blue and the other a fiery, blood red. My little Kintamani puppy is laid out next to me on the grass, languishing in the sweltering heat enjoying intermittent kisses and belly rubs that I can’t help but smother her with.

The sing song of birds perched on the traditionally carved tall Balinese temple post in my garden fills the air, carried by a mild breeze that makes the alocasia leaf plants nearby – almost four feet in height – gently sway. I can’t help but grin to myself at the laughter and squeals of my Balinese neighbour’s children playing in the street outside of my wrought iron gate. They often stop to peek through the bottom of the elaborate iron flower design to say hello and talk to me in Bahasa – most of which I don’t understand but we communicate with smiles, waves and puppy cuddles.

The huge thirty foot breadfruit tree in the garden next door is ripe with fruit that hangs like bunches of mangos and is currently attracting various coloured butterflies rather large in size, fluttering their rainbow coloured wings against a backdrop of yet more frangipani, this time white flowered. The tree looms over the high bordering wall of my house and I watch in amusement as a swarming trail of large red ants march along the ledge narrowly avoiding a very furry caterpillar the length of my hand.

And it hits me quite profoundly how fortunate I am at this time. Really fortunate. Not to live in the paradise that is Bali, Indonesia or any of the other pretty countries I have lived. Ultimately those have been choices and risks I have taken and with a lot of dedication, willpower and courage have always managed to carve myself a temporary life. Everybody has that choice if they so wish.

I’m fortunate because today I’m able to appreciate how blessed I am, how wonderful this moment is, how beautiful nature can be and how content and at peace I am with life right now. I’m grateful to able to fully experience this moment on every level, not just to be sat here (as I have on many occasion over the last eight months) with my mind distracted by superfluous BS, worries and pressures from overthinking and trying to control my future. It’s in moments such as those that I’m mostly in a state of panic, fear and anxiety and I’m never really ‘seeing’ the magical surroundings that I’m in and taking note of the beauty around me. Simply because I haven’t fully immersed myself in the here and now. The present moment.

I’ve experienced so many wonderful countries, places, people, things and moments in my lifetime and despite my awareness; it’s not every day that I remember to drink it in and give thanks in the correct way. By which I mean offering up a ‘thank you’ to the universe. A thank you for being fully connected to the divine and knowing that wherever life takes me I’m always guided and there will always be the beauty of nature to lift my spirit and help me to appreciate how transient, changing and yet fully supportive, life can be.

It’s at times like this that I feel most alive, most able to appreciate everything that makes my life truly wonderful and help me to remember that no matter what happens – if we try to live in the present moment, we are fully connected to a source of peace, contentment and faith. The present moment brings clarity – it helps us to feel every part of our being, to experience what really is (not what our fleeting emotions, judgement and fear tells us is) and to subconsciously understand that we are part of something greater that will not let us down. It reminds us that life must be lived moment to moment and our focus should not be on what is to come and instead on what is offered right now.

With gratitude and awareness of the present moment we can find a sense of well being that is otherwise lost to us amongst our egos desire to control life.

This is your reminder to appreciate the present moment. And whilst it will not always be a moment spent in a pretty location or a happy situation, there will be always something to be very grateful for. So, go ahead – be conscious of the now and say thank you for it’s gift.

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success

How do we measure success?

Last week I came across an old diary entry, a list of aims I’d written in my early-twenties with all intent and purpose to fulfil by the time I turned thirty. And here I am – now 32! It was interesting to realize that whilst I may have partly achieved some of those aims, there was a significant short fall in some respects and it got me thinking of the topic – how does one measure success?

In today’s society we are regularly exposed to media influence that reiterates the idea of celebrity and fame equaling fortune and happiness.  The newspapers and TV are filled with countless individuals who are young, attractive and living life to the maximum in various exclusive ways. It is easy to become obsessed with wanting ‘into’ that lifestyle and to begin to associate success with material status.

Within our social groups we may find ourselves frequently compared by job status, acquirement of material possessions and luxuries like travel and exclusive parties. We all have experience of knowing friends in high powered jobs with big bank accounts and luxurious lifestyles that may make our own successes feel insignificant.  There will always be the beautiful girl that bagged herself an international modelling contract and a wealthy, handsome husband and ten homes. There will always be the man from humble beginnings who sold his dotcom company for millions and now enjoys champagne boat parties and countless women.

Yet we must remember that success should not be measured on ones material ability and lifestyle. To afford to travel around the world on a regular basis may appear to some as a symbol of ‘success’ as may having the latest collection of designer goods and jewels or a high flying international job. However, real success comes from honoring who we truly are and living our life in a happy way in accordance with that.

I personally know of some very materially successful people who appear from the outside to be living the life of glamour. Yet behind closed doors these particular individuals are plagued by various self-destructive tendencies such as alcoholism and drugs or are living in controlled and compromised situations that go against the grain of their morals. They may look to others like they’ve reached the ‘dream destination’ that we all strive toward. However if we were measuring their personal happiness, it was would a totally different story.

And that is one of the keys to understanding success.

Success is measured on the evolution of your soul experiences and how you both deal with and work through those experiences.

It is not about gaining material possessions in a way that compromises us and makes us lose sight of who we really are.

It’s about how happy and content you are within yourself and your life at this moment and loving what you do.

Realising these things and comparing my life now to my original ‘aims list by 30’, I can honestly say that yes, I’ve had real success so far. I’m in a happy place in myself and my life and I love what I do on a working level.

So the next time you begin to size up yourself and your life – don’t do so by comparing it to others and what they have materially achieved. Do it by being honest with yourself on how happy you are in your various life situations.  Only then will you have your true measure of success.

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Getting ahead by slowing down

I’m typing this from Bermuda, where the endless turquoise crystal clear waters lap against sand so fine, powdery and pink speckled that you feel like you’re in a dreamy oasis. Or a very exclusive holiday brochure.

This beautiful island oasis in the Atlantic ocean has been my home for the past 11 weeks. And what an unexpectedly, exciting, fun-filled eleven weeks it’s been.

However, it wasn’t supposed to be this relaxing or therapeutic. In fact, it wasn’t supposed to be this lengthy. I’d intended to be here for a few weeks maximum. Yet, here I am still, swinging from a hammock on a porch as the sun beats down onto the surrounding palm trees and pretty hibiscus plants next to me.

For the first time – ever – I’ve learned to fully surrender and relinquish all control of my usual overly ambitious, determined nature. There has been no juggling of work demands or pressure to meet writing deadlines. Nor the constant mind noise of the handful of other side projects and ideas I normally have on the go. I consciously took the decision to press the ‘pause’ button on my life. And what a refreshing experience it’s been.

I read somewhere a while ago that slowing down is the key to shooting forward and I barely gave it a second thought. After all, when you’re self-employed and have to look after yourself – there isn’t time to slow down. No-one else is going to put a roof over your head or food in your stomach – so it’s not like you have a choice in the matter. Or do you?

By stepping out of ‘control’ mode I’ve found that I’ve inadvertently opened myself up to other opportunities that I wouldn’t have otherwise had. One of those things has been having fun – and lots of it. It’s been a whirlwind of non-stop entertainment and happy times for the entire trip.

There’s been the odd moment of feeling guilty that I’m here lavishing myself in sunshine whilst I could be doing one hundred other things… but that little voice inside me keeps saying ‘relax’. It reminds me to value all that I am and that which I deserve – for there is no price on our inner happiness. It reminds me that I’m not the sole master of my life, there is something far greater that rises up to meet me when I relinquish control – as I’ve had proven to me time and again throughout my travels. And as I take stock on an amazing three months spent in Bermuda, I realise it’s reminded me of one very invaluable lesson; to be balanced.

Too often we are so focused on earning money, or pushing forward with the next stage of our career or even relationship, that we forget to have fun. We forget the present moment and mostly importantly we forget that everything will happen as it’s supposed to. There is only so much we can control and as with any form of control – it can only be used moderately. Otherwise resistance occurs and plans go askew.

When we intentionally slow down and allow the universe to take the reins, we allow ourselves a nurturing incubation period. Our body and mind can re-energise and re-calibrate. It allows us the chance to not only be mindful but have the conscious clarity of where we are truly hoping to head on our path…. When we are constantly busy and in control mode, our ego begins to influence our true heart-felt desires with the things it feels we should do. Slowing down gives these desires the chance to filter through again. To set us on the correct path and remind us of who we truly are.

This is my message to you – yes you, the one reading this that is trying to push forward but constantly meeting barriers – this is your message to slow down. Allow yourself to yield to the invisible force that guides us all. And trust implicitly that all will be well – for you’ll soon shoot forward when you least expect.

As I finally prepare to leave Bermuda, I’m so thankful for this utterly enjoyable experience. I’ve made wonderful new friendships, connections, been inspired with new ideas and rested my very weary self. It’s been a much needed reflection time and allowed me to heal in so many ways.

And now, I’m ready for the next stage with a balanced mind and heart. And so many irreplaceable, happy memories. What a lucky woman I am!

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listening

Knowing the answers by listening to our inner voice

I was chatting with a friend recently about using our intuition and she was nodding in agreement. ‘Yeah, yeah, I know we sometimes get a gut feeling on things…’ She considered this for a moment before looking at me curiously. ‘But do we always know what’s correct for ourselves?’

Good question huh?

I’m sure we’ve all experienced that moment many times when something happens to throw everything off balance. A situation that seems devastating or challenging. We might cry, feel victimized, get frustrated or even confused… we can sit there wondering ‘What should I do?’

But if we really take time to think about it, we can most likely conclude that on some level – although sometimes perhaps too deep for our conscious selves to fully understand – we do know what to do. We do have the answers. Yet the hard part is acknowledging and facing them.

There was a time in my life where I had thought I had fallen in love with a particular person. Although things didn’t start that way in the relationship – he was just a friend – it seemed that after some time, I began to feel differently. Once I had made him aware of these feelings, and due to a great mix of factors, it would have made probable sense for this particular person to declare his undying love in return.  In fact, the total opposite happened.

I spent a while wondering why on earth things hadn’t gone in the way that I assumed they would. I had begun to see this man as my destiny – decided that he was the only man for me and was ‘The One’.

What’s all this got to do with listening to our inner voice you might be asking? And here’s the funny part….

All along and most especially from the very first moment I had met that person, I knew he wasn’t ‘The One’

Confused?  Let me explain.

With hindsight, I now realize it wasn’t love at all. It was falling in love with the idea of love.  Somewhere along the way, I had ignored my inner voice that told me ‘this is just friendship’ and instead allowed myself to create an illusion of love.  I had gotten swept up in the care, affection and attention he was lavishing and began to weave it into a pretty little bubble of ‘Mr Right.’  I was constantly seeking validation from friends if they thought it would work out for me and him because deep down, I knew the answer already. I always had known.

Of course it wouldn’t. We weren’t right for one another at all.

If you constantly question and seek validation, then chances are; that situation isn’t the correct situation for you. When something is correct, you will know it.

For every decision we are faced with – we know the answer right off. We always know. But sometimes, we (or perhaps more specifically our ego) choose to ignore and create an illusion instead. We fuel this illusion and deny our inner voice the chance to speak. We don’t want to hear it because it might not be the answer we like. If we listen, it might force us to make decisions or changes that we don’t want to make.

As an example, how many times have you been in a job or relationship that’s boring or unfulfilling, or simply ‘stale’…. Yet it’s familiar, safe, conditioned…. You couldn’t possibly contemplate leaving because of the (perceived) catastrophic effect on the other areas of your life such as finance, living situation, children involved etc….

Yet one day, fate steps in and makes the decision for you. You lose your job or arrive home to discover your partner has been cheating on you. You’re suddenly thrown into turmoil and the ‘Why did this happen?’  victimized approach is adopted.

However, had you listened to your inner voice and the niggling concerns that would have most definitely reared their head on many occasions throughout that situation – you perhaps wouldn’t need to ask that question. The answer was already in front of you for a long time. You just didn’t want to see it, or acknowledge it.

Sometimes a situation we want to be good for us isn’t good for us on a soul level. Therefore, that little voice will always try to dissuade us, no matter how much our ego might want to encourage us….

Always, always trust your inner voice. It may not give you the answer that you want to hear every single time… because life isn’t supposed to be perfect! But if you always try to listen and trust, you can be sure that you’ll be guided in the correct way forward. You’ll also feel a lot more peaceful in yourself. That’s how you’ll know you’re listening good and proper.

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listening


financial flow

Saying hello to a positive financial flow

Times are hard – or so we are constantly told.

Yet how does our attitude determine our financial situation? More than you think, is what I’d say……

If you take a person that has been exposed to a childhood and upbringing of luxury, the chances are – as this person ages – they naturally draw toward them further abundance and fruition of finances. Likewise, for a person born into limited funding – it is common for them to believe that they are predisposed to always remain at a lower level of financial security and struggle.

On that basis we can assume that a lot of the time our financial situation isn’t luck of the draw but instead an indication of our level of resistance and allowance. What if one was to play around with the idea that a positive financial flow is available for everybody to tap into and the only person that stops that flow is ourselves.

I’m a strong believer in destiny and things happening for a reason/lesson but I do believe we have complete control over how we approach every situation.

When we struggle with financial issues it is common behavior to step into a negative mindset and association.   It’s natural to feel under extreme stress if we lose a job.  One can find themselves heavily in debt and be surrounded by worthlessness with no idea of how to escape the situation.  The worry of how ends will meet or food will be put on the table can bring with it an overwhelming anxiety.

In all of these scenarios it is not easy to gear ourselves toward a more positive mindset. Yet if we can begin to introduce and maintain an attitude that just like ‘air’, money is also something as free flowing and readily available to us, we begin to switch into an energy of trust and allowance. When we do this, we are readily affirming and having complete faith that no matter how extreme or difficult our circumstances, our financial needs are going to be met.

Remember that thoughts are energy particles that feed out into the universe and deliver back to us much of what we send….

It is simply about putting out to the universe that you are deserving and allowing of an abundant financial flow. By not resisting on any level (and this means that you completely trust that you will receive that which you desire) you will automatically draw toward you a positive financial energy exchange.

So next time you’re about to complain that you’re broke with no way to pay this month’s credit card bill, instead reaffirm that you’re open and receiving to a positive and abundant financial flow. If you can truly feel and believe it, you will see a considerable change in the financial energy around you.

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financial flow


overwhelmed

Being Overwhelmed

1, 2, 3, 4, 5 …. and BREATHE ….

Do not go into meltdown, do not throw a hissyfit and do not allow yourself to feel that you’re out of your depth. Just BREATHE …. Yes, it’s OK to continue staring at the wall in a paralytic state of non-action. In fact, it’s very much advisable considering the alternative is likely to be throwing yourself out of the closest window or hibernating under the kitchen sink.

I’m talking about one of those moments when suddenly everything is all systems GO and you haven’t got the faintest idea where to start. It’s a bit of a sink or swim moment (and I’ve had enough of those in my lifetime to know the feeling well!)

Yet what do you do when you find yourself in a time when everything happens at once? You’ve suddenly been placed with the world of pressure upon your shoulders, or perhaps even a fantastic opportunity that requires a lot of hard work, or maybe it’s a life changing decision whilst a ticking clock looms in the background…

What do you do when all you can think of is the many possible complications that lie ahead .. The never ending thoughts of fear and failure; of succumbing  to the overwhelming pressure and deciding that it’s better to bury your head in the sand than to tackle the tasks that hang ominously over you.

STOP right there. Just stop. Break it down. Break down the drama and the complexity. Push away the fear based ego and it’s constant prattling of doom.  TAKE STOCK.

Repeat after me:

I am an amazing person with limitless ability and wisdom

I am accomplishing my every dream and desire

Every action I take comes from a place of centered and balanced emotion

I am achieving that which makes my spirit soar and allows me to follow my true path

I am making the decisions that honor my inner self and are in line with love and pure intention

I am exactly where I am supposed to be; open to the options that are most beneficial to me

And that’s the key to remember:  You’re at this place in life because you’re supposed to be there. There is no right or wrong action. There isn’t anything to be feared. There’s no basis for being overwhelmed. Everything is happening/changing for a reason. Do not look at the bigger picture – break it down into parts. Start small. One part at a time.

One small step forward, one small decision taken, one small action made… Repeat the process…

Little by little you’ll find yourself working through the overwhelming tasks or decisions; you’ll find your confidence growing and your self-assurance returning.  Before you know it, you’ll be back to a place of feeling less pressured and more assertive. The issue that prompted the initial feelings will have been dealt with and moved on from.

Life isn’t for hiding – It’s for facing up to and looking directly in the eye – even when it feels like it’s a mammoth task with overwhelming consequences.

Remember, you can face anything if you’re brave enough – and everything will always turn out OK … Maybe not immediately – but always eventually.

The best motto?  One step at a time

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overwhelmed

 


holiday

How does a girl prioritise holidays and handbags?

So I’m sitting here on a sunny tuesday morning, waiting for my lovely friend in Bermuda to confirm my trip to visit her next month.

One might argue that I not long ago returned from a long haul holiday …  One might also argue that I’m at a very delicate career point and should be putting entire focus into the wonderful opportunities at hand. Or one could possibly point out that I already splurged on a watch not two weeks ago and therefore should be less frivolous…

But let’s face it, what’s life if it’s not lived to its fullest when we have the means?!

How do we prioritise what’s necessary over what’s indulgent? Who is to say that a new buttercream leather handbag or two week trip to the Caribbean isn’t the answer to our inspiration and wellbeing?!

The last few years on a personal level have been filled with long days of hard work and dedication to career change. During this time I found myself beginning to associate frivolous spending and material expenditure with egotistical and narcissistic behavior. My days of wasting money on unnecessary things flew out of the window as I juggled work requests left, right and center for minimum pay.  I no longer treated myself at all. Money immediately became a ‘second’ priority with my primary focus on helping people. I was constantly told by those closest to me that I couldn’t continue on with the way I was working. I was headed into burn out territory and I wasn’t treating my ‘work’ as a business. Effectively, I had turn into a 24 hour life line for nearly every client I had. For free!

It finally came to a head after ongoing general unwellness and exhaustion. I literally woke up and realised I’d totally thrown myself out of balance. I was giving, giving, giving and the incoming rewards weren’t even remotely on par with the outgoing efforts.

It’s taken the last year to redefine the boundaries and find ‘Carrie’ again. The Carrie that enjoys nice things and little splurges.   The self-sacrificing woman I had began to morph into – didn’t truly value her worth or needs. I’d began put myself to the back of queue, telling myself it wasn’t healthy to waste on material things and feeling guilty for ‘wanting more’ from life. But why take that attitude?!  Those little treats are the things that can give us temporary relief from otherwise heavy situations.  Besides, I’d worked myself hard for it, so didn’t I deserve it?!

If the last few years has taught me anything, it’s that valuing and putting your own needs first, will get you everywhere. It’s OK and perfectly acceptable to indulge in yourself on occasion – so long as you can afford to and don’t do it for the wrong reasons and not on things that you don’t really need…

But if you feel that you require a little perk or lift – then yes, sometimes that new pair of shoes or short weekend break to Paris can be thing to make it happen! You don’t have to be a martyr and you don’t have to settle for crumbs. We all deserve the very best that we can afford to give ourselves…

So, all you gorgeous, hard working women that have forgotten themselves in the process of working life or motherhood…  you have my full permission to head to the nearest shopping centre or travel agents… and splurge! Go on, you deserve it. And don’t let anyone make you feel guilty for doing so, or tell you otherwise!

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feminine masculine

How does your feminine weigh up to your masculine?

If you’re a guy reading this I bet you’re already dismissing the idea of being in tune with your ‘feminine’ side, right?

And women reading this…. You’re wondering if you’re perhaps too much in your masculine energy sometimes, right? Because let’s face it, as women we are used to having to display both strength in the workplace and in the home – making us sometimes feel that we’re left with no option but to be in control…. Sound familiar?

Yet here’s the thing – In order to have happy and healthy relationships with others and ourselves, we all need to have a good balance of both feminine and masculine energy. Be that if you’re straight, gay, male or female.

I often come across very successful women that have wonderful careers, finances and strong minds but find it difficult to meet men of similar qualities and sustain any type of relationship. The key to remember here is that in order to bring the correct balance of energy to the relationship you must allow yourself to show and be in tune more with your own feminine energy.  Do not restrict its flow.

This does not mean to exude total vulnerability and become a walkover – it means to simply display the qualities that a strong/dominant male lacks within himself on a basic level (because men are naturally more in tune with their masculine side) Therefore that type of man will automatically be drawn toward the soft, sensitive, nurturing energy of a woman.

When we find often ourselves out of balance in a relationship is when the measure of feminine versus masculine shifts out of harmony.

Let’s take the example again of the woman who is driven, successful and in a lot of ways powerful (be that through beauty/intelligence or social standing etc). Although she’ll always revert to her femininity on a basic level, the masculine energy that she is exuding in constantly being dominant/controlling and ‘the hunter’ begins to overtake the level of the core feminine energy.  It is a common trait for this kind of a woman to refuse to show vulnerability and open  emotion because she is so in control in many areas of her life and views this as weakness.

Therefore when this type of woman meets her ideal man of similar power/success/strength and qualities, it is likely that he will at some point begin to question the relationship. This will be because after the initial attraction and meeting of similar personalities – his core masculine energy  will being to feel the lack of feminine energy provided to him. His core masculine self will automatically as a result, seek to attract and find the correct balance of feminine energy (its other half) to be able to get the qualities and fulfillment needed from a relationship.

If we reverse the situation and take the example of a man much more in tune with his feminine energy – a soft, sensitive, nurturing guy – with a woman of similar feminine dominant energy, we once again see the relationship falling out of balance. Problems will arise as there is a distinct lack of much needed masculine dominant energy from both sides.  There is no one partner displaying the strength and control aspect.

Yet if we have a man with predominantly feminine energy that is happy to let his female partner of masculine driven energy take the lead – this will work.  The strong female is bringing the correct balance of masculine energy into the mix.

Remember both guys and girls that it’s all about balance! If you’re lucky enough to have your own energy already balanced with masculine/feminine and have found a partner with the same quality then you’ve got yourself a recipe for success and longevity. This works perfectly!

So, whoever you meet whether that person is more masculine or feminine dominant , to have a healthy relationship you need to tap into the side of yourself which is the opposite to the main energy they are displaying. This will ensure that both partners ‘meet in the middle’ and all of the things needed to maintain a healthy relationship are brought to the table from both sides.

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