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A lesson in Spring Cleaning

How many times have you been told that you should clear your life of the people who drain you or bring you down? Unfortunately, this is easier said than done. Often, the relationships will be ones that you can’t get out of because you’ve married into them or you’re related. However, when there are people that you don’t want in your life and you CAN get rid of them please do it! That is to say – don’t follow my example!

I’ve recently had to walk away from a relationship that goes back many years. This person is totally different from me, which is fine of course. However, it wasn’t so much different wavelengths as different planetary frequencies!

Of course, we could ‘chitchat’ but on a deeper level this person had absolutely no idea what I was talking about. I found it very hard to understand what they were saying as well. This was for various reasons, one of which being that they lived in a completely different world from me with lots of specialist vocabulary and abbreviations that they never bothered to explain. (that probably didn’t help to be fair!). Our views of life and personality types were also completely different. This should actually be ok. We can’t live surrounded by clones of ourselves!

However, the real trouble was, I felt I couldn’t be myself. Instead, I morphed into a version of myself, in order for them to be able to ‘understand’ me. I tried not to state certain opinions or talk about certain topics, but it was very uncomfortable. The times I did try to be more true to myself I knew they couldn’t understand me. As an energy practitioner, I’m used to feeling these things and it was like a signal bouncing back off a wall. Basically, like talking to yourself!

Personally, I find it excruciatingly uncomfortable to have to pretend to be somebody I’m not. I knew from the very start that it was wrong and that we were polar opposites. I should have backed off then, but I kept it up out of duty, thinking that it was better not to hurt their feelings.

I’ve realised now that was actually the UNKIND thing to do. It’s so much worse now than if I’d cut ties years ago.

So — here is a very good example of how trying to be a ‘good person’ and do the ‘right thing’ actually causes more harm than good!

THIS is why it’s important to be true to yourself and stop paying so much attention to what you think you ‘should’ do, or what other people might think was right or wrong. I obviously can’t talk! — but my advice would be to try and listen to what your inner voice tells you is right for you, even if you have to hurt someone’s feelings in the short run. It’s so much better for both parties longer term.

So – lesson learned! I resolve to do better in future. For everyone else out there, please listen to what your inner voice tells you is right for you — and particularly — DON’T DO WHAT I DID!

New year – true you?

“This above all to thine own self be true.”

How many of us can say we are our true selves? What with society having an opinion, social media (sigh) having an opinion, and then our friends and family, colleagues and even acquaintances. How can we possibly meet the weight of all those expectations, and should we even try?

Do you ever feel kind of itchy when you have to agree (or pretend to) with people’s opinion of how the world works and how you should live your life? There are so many controversial topics, especially in these strange times, and having to pretend because you don’t want to start an argument, can create anxiety or even a physical feeling of discomfort.

There might be more honest ways to avoid confrontation, perhaps by saying, ‘I don’t want to discuss that subject, it makes me feel uncomfortable’, or even, ‘I haven’t got the energy for a controversial discussion.’ Something that allows you to remain true to yourself, while avoiding the energy drain of an argument.

Some people, however, might prefer to confront others with the inevitable arguments that follow; others, like myself, prefer to avoid them. It doesn’t actually matter. Whichever feels most comfortable for you is the best way to deal with it – BECAUSE WE’RE ALL DIFFERENT AND WHAT IS RIGHT FOR SOME IS NOT RIGHT FOR OTHERS. Sorry for shouting but this is a particular hobby horse of mine!

It is so important for us to acknowledge our differences. We’re never going to be exactly the same. There is no ‘one size fits all’.  It’s hard because we relate everything to our own experiences, and how we think and feel, then judge others accordingly.

It’s helpful to remember while we’re gaily judging others that we don’t know everything about them or their lifestyle and beliefs. Don’t get me wrong though, it’s absolutely fine to disagree. All we need to do is to allow enough room for people to be themselves. As long as they’re not hurting anyone then why not?

We are all different, although in true, quantum paradox style, we are also all one! If we allow another person a bit more room to express themselves, maybe they, in turn, will allow us a bit more breathing room to express our true self, without having to get embroiled in arguments that drain us and take away from what we really want to do with our lives. What’s that you say? You don’t agree? Well, that’s absolutely fine with me! 😉 😊

The Year in Review

Considering the global pandemic, and the emotional and financial devastation it has caused, Dan and I have been let off lightly. Fortunate enough to be working from home already, with a business that could be managed over zoom, we escaped many of the worst effects. Instead, our year was about starting an entirely new project that staked its claim on our every waking hour – which given world events proved a welcome distraction.

In February, I had the innocent idea of getting my books into print, as they’d only ever been in ring binders! I’d approached publishers before, but it was obvious that my ideas and stories were so outside of the box and publisher’s expectations that it wasn’t really worth the effort. It seemed the obvious answer to print and sell them ourselves, particularly as, at last count, we had 14 books between us.  

At that point, we had absolutely no idea what we were letting ourselves in for. As far as we were concerned, we’d done the writing, so all we had to do was find someone to print them. Cue hysterical laughter from all those who know better!

After we’d returned from Fantasyland, what actually happened was, we started editing the books. Then we edited them again, followed by learning how we should have edited them in the first place, followed by rewrites. Then we had to investigate the confusing and contradictory world of punctation – how you should punctuate fiction, depending which side of the Atlantic you’re on and which camp you’re in concerning the placement of commas and speech marks.

Next came formatting. Where should the page numbers sit? Where should they start? How should the text be laid out? Which font and size was right for which age group? What kind of line spacing should we use, and had we got the right dimensions for the page size? To say nothing of footnotes, which jumped about every time we made an alteration anywhere in the text.

This, I might add, was all done in Microsoft Word, which is not set up to produce books. You can do it but it’s a pain in the proverbial, which part – the proverbial, that is – was left to Dan as I am not technical. So, he spent many happy hours trying to find out why the page numbers started on the title page, or why there was a line at the bottom of every page that was impossible to delete and so on. It’s a good job he has the patience of a saint! Mastering InDesign should eliminate most of those problems, but that’s a learning curve for another year!

And did I mention books need covers? That was, of course, also Dan’s department. Being new to the world of cover design, we had to reluctantly scrap a beautiful cover he created, when we realised we needed something that would work as a thumbnail when viewing online, catch the eye, tell the story, and quite possibly make the tea too!

Luckily, he’s extremely talented, and after soaking up all that feedback produced the perfect thing (see cover for Are Rabbits Bears)!  He also had to produce covers for all my OTHER books, plus his own, AND illustrate the 40,000 word Are Rabbits Bears, along with its Companion Guide which needed him to create specialised fonts for every type of bear.

Illustrating in black and white was also a new thing for Dan, so again another learning curve, which ended with some fantastic illustrations I might add. I think there were over 40 for Are Rabbits Bears and another 20 or so for the Companion Guide – plus the fonts of course.

Still, it wasn’t like he had his own stuff to do. Well… that is to say, he’d actually already completed 3 graphic novels (18 months work) although the third still has changes waiting (I might say, ‘queuing up’) to be made.

His comic ‘The Wildy Exciting Adventures of Citizen 34825’ is only the first in a series – which will be coming as soon as he finds the time! Plus, there is his new venture. Or rather, Moo’s new venture! The wonderful ‘Moo and the Search for Tuna’, – a 50 page colour graphic, suitable for all ages, nationalities and reading abilities. How very ‘Moo’! 😊 Dan’s very excited about that one, or at least, he is when he actually gets time to work on it…

coming soon…

Then of course there are 2 more Beastly Bear books for him to illustrate (he’s done one already, although I’m not sure where he found the time) as well as REDRAWING all the Moo cards he’d developed for our Redbubble shop – see some examples below.

It turns out, that when Dan went to draw Moo again, after he’d passed, he couldn’t draw him the same, as the energy had changed. And the new Moo was good – he was very good! Just – whoops – redraw all the cards and put them up for sale again, along with overseeing our THREE websites plus his own Honeybadger Mountain website and the Etsy page which handles all the sales.

Yes, that many websites. We started the year with one. Then realised we needed another for Mooniverse Books. Then another for the bear books, or ‘allthingsBearDimension’. We have used WordPress, which I am starting to get the hang of and which Dan already knew, although they decided to change their editing process partway through the year, which meant, yes, more learning!

Along with the other things there were to absorb, it was time to take on marketing. This led to the need to make videos for our websites and to promote individual books. At first, I used Windows video editor, but it quickly became too limiting so I had to switch to Adobe Premiere Rush. Another learning curve! We also started following some rather talented writers and self-publishers (thankyou David Gaughran) where we found out about mailing lists, how to write newsletters, create ‘reader magnets’ and on and on.

After our first delivery of printed books, we tumbled to the fact we were also going to need suitably sized, reasonably priced and ideally, environmentally friendly packaging, (so no plastic envelopes!).

We are currently knee deep in the world of e-book publishing. We are still working out, how to publish, where to publish, and why. Then there is how much to charge, what the profit margins are and how we are going to record it and divide it up into illustrator versus writer royalties (yes Dan does get paid – woo!) plus reimbursement of postal charges.

It was only last week I realised that, although I have lots of hobbies, I don’t indulge in any of them. Except one – learning languages. I have, thanks to that pestilent owl from Duolingo who nags me from my phone every day, somehow managed to keep up with Swahili, while going over some French and Norwegian during those times when my brain was not in a suitable state to even LOOK at Swahili!

So hey – that’s something isn’t it? On top of that, quite apart from the little matter of living in a new ‘Covid world’, we’ve been working very hard on ourselves, removing old ‘rubbish’, and energy blocks that were getting in our way. We’ve also managed to fit in a few clients at our healing clinic, or more recently (from about March!) zoom sessions.

Having got 7 out of a possible 14 books, into print this year, we feel, (apart from absolutely knackered and mostly brain dead) triumphant, virtuous and willing to allow ourselves to take a break over the holiday season. We hope to return refreshed and ready to get more books printed and expand our little ‘empire’ further into the world.

Exciting times ahead – and hopefully a better year for everyone!

The art of self-forgiveness

Image: Pexels.com

Self-forgiveness is an important subject that sometimes gets overlooked, especially in a world where we often have much to forgive others for!

It was Thich Nhat Hanh’s 94th birthday (or more properly – Continuation Day) on 12th October this year. He was asking people to carry on his teachings of mindfulness and forgiveness. I thought I would try to give him a present that he would like by forgiving someone.

As part of Vishen Lakhiani’s 6-phase meditation (see You Tube, Mind Valley) you have to forgive someone each time, so naturally I started with a long list! I gradually worked through them til I was really struggling and started to leave out that part. However, when it came to Thay’s ‘birthday’ I considered forgiveness again and realised I should include myself on that list!

It came to my attention again when my partner, Dan (who has the patience of a saint, and is generally the soul of compassion!) was out driving and getting very angry when someone was driving right up his boot. Dan being angry is a rare event, so I thought we should look into it to see what he was really mad about.

He said he was angry that people (who were driving up his boot) didn’t give others any space or consideration, and that they had no patience for others.

What you are angry at externally is usually something to do with yourself, so we considered his answer in that light and came up with: perhaps he was really angry that he didn’t give himself enough consideration and that he was very impatient with himself. This turned out to be spot on.

The reason I have told this story is to illustrate that very often when we think we are mad at others, we are actually mad at ourselves, and it is something that can get overlooked. In the main, people do tend to be too hard on themselves and need to cut themselves some slack.

We inhabit physical bodies and part of being human is that we are not perfect. We are not here to attain perfection either! We are here to try and improve ourselves, and to learn and grow within the limitations of a physical form.

So, starting from that premise, you’re human – you will make mistakes! However highly advanced you are spiritually, however many lives you’ve had and whatever ‘heights’ you have previously achieved, that is still the case. So let up on yourself! As long as you are not deliberately causing harm to others you can breathe easy, look at whatever the mistake was, decide not to repeat it and forgive yourself for your human ‘frailty’.

We are here to learn and grow. If there is no growth there is no life, or no point to life. Growth doesn’t have to be huge. Experiencing a sunrise can be growth! We are all growing and changing through our experiences and our interactions with each other. We learn what does, and doesn’t, piss each other off! And we learn how it feels when we behave in a certain way, and whether or not that is fulfilling or helpful for us.

Fully embracing the physical form and all the experiences that are available to us on this beautiful planet is something we will each do in our own unique way. Some will stumble more than others on the path. There is no one perfect strategy for being human or living our lives.

You can only try to do your best, monitor your actions and feelings and try not to repeat your mistakes. Physical incarnation brings its challenges, and it’s supposed to.

Thich Nhat Hanh would have us show compassion and love and forgive one another. This is a very worthy aim, but it is easy to forget that in order to forgive others, it is helpful to first forgive ourselves.

So lighten up. You’re going to make mistakes, but don’t brood over them. Pick yourself up and move forward. Show yourself the same love and compassion as you would show a child who is still only learning how things work. There is so much to know about life. We are still only learning, whatever age we are. Mistakes are part of that, and we should try and embrace them, and ourselves, with compassion and understanding. After all – charity starts at home, right?

Vibration – and what is that high pitched noise that only you can hear?

The other day, I was watching telly when I got a really loud high-pitched noise in my ear, only it wasn’t coming from the television, or anywhere external to me. I could hear it only in my head and it seemed to be coming from my right ear. Naturally I was curious about this and decided to ask our spirit friend, Moo, what it was all about.

We have had a situation before, where we heard these high-pitched noises inside our heads, and Moo told us that they were downloads – i.e. some information being sent on a vibrational level to our subconscious for processing.

I wondered if it might be a download, although it did seem particularly larger than life. Moo explained that it was a message from my mum. He didn’t say what it was, as it was apparently meant specifically for me. Dan, being Dan, decided that as we are very similar in vibration, that he would try and find out what the message was. Hey presto, he managed it! – and found it was a message about protection and it was in answer to something that I had asked without really being conscious of it.

Since we and everything around us are made up of molecules vibrating at a particular rate, it makes sense that spirit would transmit messages and downloads of information in this way.

It is something to think about however, when you hear those high frequency noises coming from inside your head. It may be that someone is trying to give you some information. So, with that awareness you can always ask your intuition what it is about.

If you can’t get an answer, don’t worry. Be comforted by the fact that there is someone there looking out for and helping you. If you are at all worried that the vibration or information might be from a dark or unhelpful energy then remember you can always ask 3 times whether the originator or energy is from the light.

There is a universal law that states that beings must answer truthfully if you ask 3 times. You can also ask for, or invoke, divine protection and it is a useful thing to do in any case as there are many unhelpful energies floating about. For example, all the negative images and messages on social media, or the news, or just in the heads of people around you.

If you make it a habit to ask for divine protection then you can’t go far wrong. I am so used to using my intuition inside a protected field of energy that can only do good, that I don’t have to think about it anymore. It has become second nature.

Although we can’t understand these messages or downloads at first, we may find that we have a creative thought or a helpful idea a short while later. This is your subconscious translating it for you and bringing it up to your conscious attention.

Other times though, you don’t need to translate the message! There was a time, not long after my mum had died, when my dad and I were having a massive argument and shouting at one another. Quite suddenly, in the middle of all this, came a very high pitched noise, that I knew for a fact did not come from the smoke alarm, the refrigerator or any of the other electrical items in the house.

We both stopped dead and I said, ‘What was that?’  He said, ‘Probably your mum.’ I agreed it was probably her, telling us to shut up! This made us both laugh and we were able to leave the argument and move on.

So bear in mind, spirit, being nonphysical, can use vibration in various different ways, and is particularly good at making high-pitched noises, whether inside or outside of your head. So pay attention next time and see if there is anything you need to know. And if you’re in the middle of a row. Well… you know what to do! 😉