Archives for the month of: February, 2016

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Who are you?

Who am I?

I have asked many people these questions and the reply is always the exact same!

“I am Mary, aged 50, married to John and we with two grown up children and we live in England. I work as a receptionist for my family business and I have my three grandchildren at the weekends”.

I am Kit, aged 43, a single mother to three sons and I live in Scotland. I am in a long distance relationship and working consistently on achieving my goals. Does this define who I am?

In my culture, our name is a vital part of our identity and my name means that I am “clean, tidy and have qualities of a lady” which my dad expects me to live up to (because he gave me my name) yet I strongly refuse to because my name has never defined who I am and never will. Whenever I say or do anything that is not expected from “a lady” in the presence of my dad, he shall remind me of what my name means and why he gave me it. My inner teenager has her eyes rolling and she says to herself “oh here we go again dad!” I am rebellious when it comes to others telling me what to do and who to be. I am my own person with my own way of thinking. My actions are based on the product of my own conclusions and no one shall influence me otherwise. I have never been a follower as I am comfortable being who I want to be. I feel comfortable standing out from the crowd. From being different as a child, I have never needed anything materialistic to fit in with the crowd and I am proud of who I am.

There was a lot of shame in my dysfunctional family set up that created so much toxic shame in my entire life. I have been working hard on letting go of the toxic shame that was passed onto me from my parents from investing time and effort in my personal development and now with the help of my therapist. The most effective way to let go of the toxic shame is to pass it back to the people who gave me it to set myself free.

I gave myself the name Loud and Proud some time ago in order to live my life the way I want to and not what my dad expects me to.  Loud and Proud allows me to be bold so that I could be my true authentic self which is most attractive and inspiring.

People are more attracted to those who know who they are, what they want and are self assured. It is inspiring to be surrounded by authentic people who disregard what others say or think about them. We live a higher quality of life when we set ourselves free to be our true authentic self and happiness comes through from within.

I am loving my true authentic self each day as I inspire others to do the same and let go of the toxic shame.

 

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Woo hoo!

Another goal achieved this week and I am feeling so proud of myself!

I had never stepped inside the Tennent’s Training Academy in our city until Thursday even though I drive past it so many times before. The site is humongous and we got a mini bus to take us to our training room! Wawwww! What a room it was! Full of display for lager!

Our trainer Michaela was ever so friendly and approachable, she helped us to feel at ease as soon as she introduced herself to us. We got a little briefing as to what our day would look like. Then we got a talk about coffee, watched a YouTube video on where coffe comes from, got a quiz to answer about coffee and then……..the exciting part………Making coffee!

I had never drank so much coffee until Thursday and what a day it was! I was feeling mega hyper by the end of tasting our attempts at making different types of coffee at the coffee machine.  We all got to make an Expresso, Americano, latte (with latte art), cappuccino and hot chocolate (with latte art). The Expresso was the strongest tasting coffee of them all and I found it far too bitter. I definitely shall not be drinking that any time soon. My favourite was the Americano as it was just the perfect taste for me. The latte and cappuccino was drinkable for me yet I am not a fan of milk so I would only drink them if Americano was not available. Making the latte art was tricky and takes much patience and practice. I could have finished the whole cup of hot chocolate if it was made with hot water yet it was made with 95% milk so it put me off.

We all got to learn to use the coffee machine and it was certainly a great lesson for all of us. I was scared of the steam wand as it makes such a tremendous amount of noise for the size of it. It took me a whole day to feel at ease with using it.

Now I know why it’s ever so noisy in a coffee shop and what each noise indicates. How interesting! I also learned how much time and effort it takes to make a cup of coffee so it is a great insight.

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There were five in our group so each of us made five drinks and by the end of it all, the counter at the bar was filled with cups of coffee and my taste buds was too!  I loved smelling all the different coffee drinks because that is what I do with any new drinks or food to get better knowledge of what I am getting myself in for. We even got to have a small handful of coffee beans to smell, look at and I broke a bean to see what is inside then I chewed on it. Yuck!

At the end of the Thursday, we were taught how to clean the coffee machine from top to bottom and then we were divided into two groups and did it ourselves. I had never seen so much effort going into making coffee as I had this week and now I understand why coffee costs the price that it does.

I had a cup of cappuccino from the Academy on Friday morning before our training started as I felt exhausted from the training on Thursday and from my disturbed sleep.  I didn’t enjoy it as much as I had with the Americano the day before due to the large amount of milk for me yet I still drank it to lift me up.

We all made more coffees on Friday morning to help us practice and master the art of using the coffee machine. I was getting nervous by now as our assessment was due to take place in the afternoon. I had made a few mistakes with the steam wand as I was using the coffee machine on the other side of the bar for the first time and I felt very uncomfortable and ill at ease.

I felt much more calmer after lunch and I handled the written assessment better than I had anticipated. Then it was the practical side of our assessment and we were asked to leave the training room to allow each of us to complete our practical assessment in private. I volunteered to go second as I wanted to get it over and done with as soon as possible and head home to rest as I was feeling the exhaustion from my disturbed sleep the previous night.

I was asked by our trainer when it was my turn to make one: Expresso, Americano, latte, cuppuccino, hot chocolate, tea and smoothie in sixteen minutes.

I had a list written out of what drinks to make in my preferred order prior to entering the training room to give me a strategy and it helped to calm my nerves. I put the list onto the counter before I started on making my beverages.

I made my Expresso at the same time as the Americano then I made my tea. Next, it was my cappuccino and latte which was the most challenging for me due to using the steam wand for both to heat up the milk and the milk needs to be at 120 degrees Fahrenheit in order for me to get a pass. By the time I had made these two drinks, I knew I was over the hill and about to cross the finish line with only the hot chocolate and smoothie to go. I was making great progress now and I attempted to make a latte art for my hot chocolate and I was more than impressed with my effort. Last, it was the smoothie and I had made so many smoothies at home that was no problem for me. Yet this time, the blender is totally different to the one I use at home so I had a challenge in my hands. Closing the lid was time consuming and the clock stopped as my trainer came round to help me with it. I managed to complete my task in less than thirteen minutes and my trainer told me that is a fast time!

My score for my practical assessment was forty one out of forty five so I was feeling so proud of my efforts! Well done me. Then later on Friday evening, I received an email from our trainer to notify me that I passed my written assessment too with a score of seventeen out of twenty!

By the end of our two day training course, we had probably made enough coffee to fuel the whole of Glasgow’s population and they would all be mega hyper just like I was on Thursday afternoon! Even the smoothies that we all made would have helped our city to poop more smoothly! Haha

So now I am a qualified barista and I shall receive my certificate within the next few weeks! Well done me!

There is now more for me to talk about with others when I am out and about so it is a great bonus! Woo hoo!

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What does “success” mean to you? What images comes through your mind when you hear or see the word “success”?

My Culture

Talking to my Chinese friends in the past who have kids, they are mostly affected by the perception that their kids’ needs to get top marks in school in order to succeed as this brings honour to them. This is how we were brought up by our parents so it’s just being past on from one generation to the next. We are taught we need to be academically intelligent in order to succeed in life. Or is it we need to be academically intelligent in order to “look successful” to others?  In a culture where it’s ever so competitive back in my birth place of Hong Kong, children are pushed to the limit as to how much they learn, what is expected of them, what is the norm of striving to outdo our peers, we never felt loved as children from our parents and caregivers. Nor were we given the affection, unconditional love, healthy emotional attachment, praise and encouragement that helps a child to become a happy adult. There was so much shame attached to children who were less intelligent at home,  in the classroom and in society. Our parents shaming us, our teachers shaming us, our peers shaming us and then we would get more shaming in our adult life. We were never accepted for who and what we were because there was so much comparing from our parents first and foremost. Then we would be compared to our peers in class and it was more than enough to damage our self worth. Our parents valued our academic success much more than our happiness because if we failed at school, it brought shame to them and they could not handle that shame. So my conclusion was that we aimed to achieve whatever was expected of us in order to keep shame away from our family. It was never about us, the children. It was merely about the parents outdoing other parents when their children excelled in school as it was a competition for the parents. It became a competition to see who’s child could get to the top of the class, top of the exam, top of the year, top of university and then climb to the top of their career. So success was measured by what certificates one had their name on, what prizes one had, what awards one received and this brought success and fame to the family thus hiding the shame. As we enter the big wide and scary adult world, success was measured by the size of the house we lived in, the price of the car we drove, how much money we had to our name, what position we held in our job and how many people knew our name in society. Those who were less than intelligent at school were cast off and ignored because they brought shame to their family. For those who became business owners, then that itself was more than enough to propel them to a “celebrity status”

Boys versus Girls

Girls in my culture were treated with no respect due to what was passed on from one generation to the next. They were mostly denied of an education because girls get married, have children and take on the care taker role of care taking her husband, their children and his family so she did not need an education as much as boys do. I was one of those girls and it created so much hatred towards my mum who was controlling my life so that I was the “mother” to my younger brother. My mum wanted me to be a full time “mother” to Tony, my younger brother so that she could work full time. I wanted and longed to further my education yet with no support and encouragement from my parents, I abandoned that goal. Now that I am living my life for me and no one else, I have self educated myself in many ways, learning new skills and developing myself for personal growth. That is success to me because I am investing my time, money and continuous effort into my future and that is something I feel so proud of.

Success Leads to Power

I have come to learn that in my culture, from observing my own community over so many years, that people see success as owning the biggest house, driving the most expensive car, being their own boss running their own business, being famous for  having financial riches to their names, being popular in their community and thus having the power and status to lift them up. From what I have observed,  these people become ever so self centred, self absorbed, narcissistic and difficult to get along with because they have allowed their “success” to get to their heads. I have witnessed a number of these people pick fights with their family and staff which creates a huge distance between them because they have unresolved childhood issues that they are carrying around each day. I also witnessed and heard these same people shame others and bring them down in order to make themselves look better on the outside which is extremely toxic. Their success has created illnesses and diseases yet they are very unaware of what they are giving out to others. As they have the power due to their success, they are closed to what others have to say and they do not listen to others with the intent to understand. Their success hides their insecurities, fears, shame, vulnerabilities and they lose themselves to their success.

The Hidden Stuff

What I see lacking in so many of these successful people, due to them being born into dysfunctional families,  is a close relationship with their wife and children that offers happiness and contentment. From what I see and hear, there is clearly no connection or bond with their wife and children. They are so disconnected from their immediate family and they feel empty inside even though they are stable financially. There are a huge number of them who are addicted to gambling, smoking and alcohol to numb their emotional pain. They stay within their comfort zone because of their fear and shame. I have had a number of male friends and acquaintances tell me deep, intimate and personal problems that they have with their wife, family and themselves yet they have never spoken to anyone else about it due to fear and shame. There are many women from China who married a Chinese man from the United Kingdom who do not need to work because their husband runs a business and they are able to afford to keep the wife as a stay at home full time mum and carer. These Chinese women have no abilities to support themselves otherwise. They have no skills to get themselves a job in the UK nor do they speak English. To them, they are successful because they have a “rich” husband who runs his own business and they do not need to work a day in their lives.

Helicopter Parents

I see parents of my generation neglect to teach their children important life skills as they are becoming so much weaker and lack confidence to let go of being “helicopter parents” hovering over their children, not wanting them to get hurt at every cost. The focus is more on succeeding in class and life skills are so neglected that our younger generation are becoming incompetent at taking care of their own needs without their parents full time care. My nineteen year old son was taught how to get public transport into our city centre at the age of nine along with his then eleven year old brother, as they headed into their Saturday morning Chinese school lessons. It is here that I have witnessed so many “helicopter parents” from my culture who do everything for their teenage children who are about to enter college, university or search for a job. I am totally shocked to see and hear how much focus is placed on their children getting into the best university because Tom, Dick and Harry’s children are university graduates. Yet, these parents are not teaching their children simple life skills and the more important ones that sets them up for a more resilient adult life nor do they teach them how to take care of themselves.

Comparing

What one child achieves in his academics is his life, his choice and his business. It does not determine how successful he shall become from that academic success. He could become an alcoholic,  a drug addict, a sex addict, a sex offender or a compulsive gambler later on in his life from: being pushed so far in his early years, being born into a dysfunctional family and for having unresolved childhood issues that could possibly haunt him for life.  He could develop severe mental illnesses, anxiety, eating disorders, diabetes, skin conditions, heart disease and cancer from being denied the freedom to choose for himself his own career path and then the family suffers. I see people from my culture who love to compare what other people’s children are doing academically and they want their children to follow yet this is not respecting their children’s own choice of career.

Children’s Rights And Freedom To Choose

All children have the right and the freedom to choose for themselves what career path they want to pursue in. They find it rather daunting in their teen years as they search for a career path and they may not be ready to make a choice because their hormones are raging and their emotions are becoming irrational. They may lack the emotional support from their parents and thus they become stuck, lost and it can and does get overwhelming. Yet the pressure of having a vision and a better career choice than Tom, Dick and Harry’s children becomes too much for the teenagers. They do not want to disappoint their parents so they do what is expected of them without realising that they do have the freedom and the right to choose what it is that they want to do with their future career. They may even be trained to please their parents so they keep their preferred career choice to themselves as they are lacking the self confidence to speak their mind. So many children grow up into people pleasers due to their lack of self confidence in making choices for themselves because they are so scared of conflict, confrontations and upsetting their parents. They stand for nothing so they fall for everything.

Ignorance

Most parents from my Chinese friends have very little understanding about what their children want from their lives and with very little emotional support, therefore like myself, our dream career is never fulfilled. Our parents have no respect for what we want to do with our lives and they are controlling, selfish, ignorant and this creates more distance between parents and children. This has been passed on from generation to generation and in most Western countries, it is becoming a thing of the past, slowly yet surely. Children get no respect from their parents because their parents did the exact same thing to them. If a child expresses that he wants to pursue a certain career that his parents do not approve of, he shall be shamed and his dream of fulfilling that career shall be forever forgotten and abandoned. Many children have the potential to fulfill their dream careers yet with no support and encouragement from their parents, they feel they are merely existing for their parents and this creates ill health and diseases.

My Teenage Dream Career

When I was in second year of high school aged thirteen to fourteen, we were told to choose the subjects we wanted to study in third and four year and this was a crucial time for us as the chosen subjects would help us to get into the career we wanted. I wanted to become an air hostess (flight attendant) yet my English was below average due to me still catching up from coming to live in Scotland at aged eight with no English skills at all. I was falling behind with my Maths too and other subjects due to my below average English level so I lost my belief that I could succeed as an air hostess.  I knew I would be getting nowhere close to passing the exams to get me into my dream career so I had very little motivation to push myself to do better at school. I had no help, support and encouragement from my parents and I was too damaged to ask for help from my teachers in class to learn more. With no motivation, inspiration and stimulation, I just lost myself and I felt empty inside. I felt I was only living my life for my mum and younger brother, to care take their needs. Yet my needs, wants and desires were totally ignored and abandoned. My life seemed so unfair and I was feeling so sad and painful.

Set Yourself Free

In Shirley Smith’s book Set Yourself Free, each child takes on a role within the dysfunctional family,  “as they adapt to fill in the gaps and balance the system. They start to act out, unconsciously, what is repressed or unexpressed by their parents and they take on various roles and labels”. Each child from a dysfunctional family adapts to a role in their formative years and each role has its negative and positive aspects.

  1. Caretakers love to give because they are taking care of others.
  2. Heroes are the high achievers and they like responsibility.
  3. Lost children avoid conflict so they stay out of the way, they have a very vivid imagination and are great with fantasy.
  4. Mascots are best at relieving tension thus making others feel good and they have a talent at decreasing emotional explosions.
  5. Surrogate spouse is a great listener and have difficulty with intimacy so they feel engulfed when close to another.
  6. Scapegoats takes the blame for the family by acting out the unexpressed conflicts.

In order to become the real me, Shirley Smith advises us that we shed our childhood role so that we “set ourselves free” of our childhood issues. Then and only then do we feel relieved and free to be who and what we were born to become. When we set ourselves free, we shall feel a huge depth of positivity, a surge of amazing energy just like when we were little kids and we gain much clarity as to what we want to do with our lives. We are then free to live our lives as true and as authentic to ourselves as we want and attract all positive things to us in abundance. This is vital to living a higher quality of life which is what one needs to feel happiness for better health.

My New found Freedom

After reading Set Yourself Free at the beginning of last year and continuing to make great progress, I felt I was finally free to choose my desired career path and pursue it with much motivation and trust. I believed in my skills, abilities and experiences to get me into my chosen career. Yet, there was more hurdles to overcome and it was difficult yet never impossible. I searched and I asked then I finally found what I needed to do to become a public speaker. I attended a Toastmasters meeting in our city for a few weeks to decide if it was suitable for me. To my amazement, I witnessed so many people in the same position as me at the meeting as they took to the stage and gave their speeches. I knew that I would grow and evolve with this group of amazing people who would be able to support me to become a public speaker. Having had a few conversations with the members at Toastmasters over the past few weeks, I felt comfortable and I decided to join as a member.

Make Everyday a School Day

As adults, we have a tendency to stop learning once we finish our formal education and this is the major mistakes that the majority of us make. We put the focus on our job, money, holidays, family and get distracted from the daily challenges of life. I was stuck in a deep rut over four years ago, with no vision of what was ahead for my career and life in general because I too, had stopped learning. My curiosity for answers halted along with my vision for what I wanted from my life and career. I thought life was so difficult and it seemed so unfair for me as I was getting nowhere. Then I was fortunate to be introduced to personal development from a business opportunity in June 2011. That was the year which became a huge turning point for me and I was surprised at what I could do to attract what I wanted. I learned from the late motivational speaker, author and entrepreneur Jim Rohn to “Take Charge of My Life”. I learned to turn my lack of motivation to becoming better instead of bitter and I was on my way to a magical journey to self discovery. I set goals and had a vision for the very first time of what I really wanted from my life.

The best money you can spend is money invested in your self education. Don’t short change yourself when it comes to investing in your own better future. Jim Rohn

 

Taking full responsibility for what I receive from life

I learned from my self education in the past few years that I was blaming others for the way my life had turned out, for the way others had treated me, for what my parents did not teach me, for what my parents did to neglect me, abandon me and for everything that I did not get yet I had long to have. All this blaming was creating so much illness for me, my health and overall well being was affected immensely. This toxic way of thinking was draining, tiresome and created a huge distance between me and my true authentic self. I was losing myself and I became very sick mentally and physically. As I learned to let go of the blaming and began to take full responsibility for how my life turned out, I felt my health getting better and stronger. I felt so much happier and more at peace from within. I began to attract what I wanted from my life and what I no longer wanted was slowly disappearing.

Achieving smart goals

I loved the journey to achieving my goals because I was enjoying having a vision.  It was the journey to reaching my goals that was more enjoyable than the final destination of accomplishing those goals. It is what I needed to become to achieve my goals that I valued more than reaching the goal itself. That’s what I learned from my journey with personal development. Many people neglect to enjoy their journey to success which is an adventure in itself and it creates so many priceless memories. Having written goals in all areas of my life for the first time,  gave me clarity as to where I was heading and I had never felt that certain of myself and my abilities until then. I have many stories to tell about setting smart goals and achieving them. I failed many times and I learned from every set back. Some set backs set me up for bigger and better things to come. Other set backs were placed in my way for me to learn and make improvements. I learned from some set backs that the goal was not for me so I moved onto better and bigger things.

The major reason for setting a goal is for what it makes of you to accomplish it. What it makes of you will always be the far greater value than what you get. Jim Rohn

What Lies Ahead

I have learned from my continuous journey with personal development that action taken daily equals to success. Success is in the work we do on a daily basis that accumulates to it. It takes more than one day to build an empire, it takes more than one day to build good habits in order to gain success. There are many skills required to obtain success that I was never taught at home or at school. Yet, I taught myself over the past four and a half years from investing in the time and effort each day in my self education. It has been a journey of pain, sweat, blood and tears and some loses as well as some memorable gains along the way. That is what I loved about self developing. We have many stories to tell and share with others on our adventures to achieving success. I am enjoying every day as I keep my eyes on the prize and focus on accomplishing my goals.

Blinkers On

I learned a very valuable lesson a few years ago from a weekend training event in Birmingham, England. I was sitting at the front of the room, listening and taking notes to our speaker from America who had failed terribly yet he picked himself back up and focused on his goals. He told us of how he had put the blinkers on and forged his way ahead to get to where he was at on that day when he was on stage. He spoke in length about values and attitude which he said was vital to success and I have come to agree with him very much. He also said that we need to make tough decisions in order to grow and expand out of our comfort zone. If we never make any progress with our lives, we shall never be happy from our own accomplishments. Making progress is more valuable than buying materialistic things to fulfill our need to shop and spend.

Eliminate Major Distractions

I value my friends a lot yet I am very aware of what they are giving out and where they have me heading and talking about. We become the first five people we spend most of our time with so we must evaluate them from time to time. I have eliminated one of my close friends who had become very toxic over a period of two years and that was one of the toughest decisions I ever made for my personal growth. I was getting too much drama and negative vibes from this close friend which distracted me from achieving my goals. Our friendship lasted over eight years and during that time, her two kids had bonded very well with Calvin, my youngest son and it broke my heart to tell Calvin that he could no longer be friends with his two closest friends that he had known since he was a baby. With no more drama and distractions from friends and little from family, I was free to concentrate on working towards my goals.

Loneliness

As I continued to work on accomplishing my goals, my life had become rather lonely and it was my choice. I no longer wanted to listen to any gossip or drama from friends and this was just what is required for my achievements. I found being in my own company every day to be rather peaceful and enjoyable. I have been surrounded by children and family all my life, taking care of their needs which meant I was neglecting to take care of my own needs so this is the first time in my entire life that I am now able to focus entirely on meeting my needs, wants and desires. There has been times where I long to belong to a group, a community and to fulfill my potential. I searched and asked then the universe came to my aid and it placed me in touch with a charity shop so I could work there one day a week as a volunteer. It has been so enjoyable and I am grateful to be able to give my time to a well deserved cause and meet new people.

Happiness is Success

Are you happy with where you are at, with whatever you have yet have a desire to work on yourself to attract more into your life? Do you long to be someone else? Do you long to escape the life that you are currently in? Do you long to have a better life?  Do you want every struggle in your life to disappear?  We are all creating something for ourselves each day and it is our attitude to what we do with life’s hurdles that determines our happiness. We can blame x, y and z for the way our life has turned out yet where does that get us? Taking full responsibility and ownership for the choices we make in our daily lives is what gets us towards success and happiness then follows. I have had many friends and acquaintances tell me that others are to blame for what life has been giving them yet they did not take any responsibilities for what they chose for themselves. We all have a choice about how our life turns out. I choose happiness each day because it benefits my health immensely. We can all learn to become better instead of being bitter. Bitterness is toxic and creates many illnesses and diseases. Letting go of all bitterness for our own happiness and contentment leads to success. Success is not entirely determined by financial riches. We could be rich in money yet poor in attitude and values. We could be rich in money yet poor in health. We could be rich in money yet poor in happiness. I have met many people who are happy because they know that they do not need money in order to be successful.

Focus on the Positives

Have you ever noticed that happy people are much more successful?  They attract more of what they want from their lives because they give out positive vibes. They get back what they give out, multiplied. They are much more healthier, more energetic and are the motivators and people are more attracted to them wherever they go. The are inspirational, their energy and positivity is contagious and these are the people you really want to surround yourself with. They have a positive mental attitude and nothing brings them down for long. They always learn from every negative situation that challenges them and they move forward faster than sad people.  They never say “why me” or have a “victim” mentality because they are taking full responsibility for whatever happens to them.

Lasting Effect

Have you ever had such a huge impact on someone where you are their inspiration? That is success to me. I have had one such friend whom I got to know on a social network site. Yet sadly, our friendship was a very short and brief one. I got to know that this friend brought out the best in others no matter where he was or what he was doing. He was full of support, encouragement and praise and still had fun with life. He came into my life during the darkest time back in November 2013 when I lost my big brother to a very sudden death to unknown causes. I was at my weakest and he lifted me up by sending me massages each day to cheer me up. It was like opening to a Christmas present each morning as I woke up. He was there to chat with me and listen with the intent to understand. We had so much fun and we built a bond as we could relate to each other’s struggles. He left a legacy behind as so many people that knew him was heartbroken by his early and tragic death. I have a very special place in my heart for him and I shall remember the words he told me about happiness. He said to me through a quote “never put the keys to your happiness in anyone else’s pocket“!  How true!  Our happiness depends on what we do, how we respond to life and what progress we make.

Tony Robbins and Jim Rohn

My sweetheart attended a Tony Robbins seminar in April 2015 and he told me that Tony had said “make progress for happiness”!  I totally agree with Tony. I see so many adults stop learning and stop making progress after their formal education and they wonder why life is so difficult. Life is difficult because we lack the skills to get us through life’s struggles and hurdles. Jim Rohn, my mentor said “Don’t ask for an easy life, ask for more skills”.

Success is everything. Success is to survive. Success is to flourish in every part of your life. Jim Rohn

 

 The importance of a vision for what we want from life

What do you want from life Kit?  I was asked this when I attended a private personal development course back in June 2012 in Edinburgh, Scotland. This was the first time I heard anyone ask me what I wanted from my life and it helped me to gain clarity as to where I want to be and what I wanted to become. The group in this course was taught the importance of having clarity as to what we wanted from life. We become stagnant in life when we no longer have a vision as to where we are heading and what we are becoming. We remain in our comfort zone and never growing or expanding as we feel so comfortable doing the same thing day in, day out which creates a very low quality of life. We all made a vision board of what we wanted from our life, from our holidays to where we wanted to live to what career we wanted to have and to what sort of relationship we wanted to attract to us. I attracted my first Hong Kong holiday last year from this vision board. I made several vision boards after this personal development course for what I wanted as I learned how powerful vision boards are and all of those visions came through. My most magical vision was flying to Sydney to see “it’s famous landmarks” as I had wrote it onto my bucket list after reading “The Key To Living The Law of Attraction” by Jack Canfield in 2012. My “dream” came true last June as I flew to Sydney with Calvin, my ten year old son for over three weeks and it was the best holiday I had ever experienced yet! I picked up the travel bug from this fun filled holiday as we flew to Hong Kong for ten days straight after our Sydney adventure. Calvin also picked up the travel bug and learned so much from his first ever adventure up in the sky!

My conclusion

Success to me, is to feel happy and content from within yet to have a vision for what I want for my life. To work hard and consistently to achieve my vision. To have goals, ambitions and an appetite for acquiring new skills and knowledge to expand and grow. To travel to new heights and adventures as I step out of my comfort zone for personal growth. To inspire and motivate myself and others to fulfill their goals. To bring out the best in myself and others as I want to leave a legacy behind before I pass on. To help others whenever I am able in any way I can and to share with others what I gained and learned from my journey to achieving success. To have compassion and empathy for myself and others and to accept that we all make mistakes and to learn from them. To continually make progress in my life for happiness and self development. To stretch myself to get where I want to be and who I want to become in one year, three years, five years and ten years time. To keep my eyes on the prize and have the blinkers on whilst working on accomplishing my goals. Most importantly, to make continuous progress for a higher quality of life.

If you’re trying to achieve, there will be roadblocks. I’ve had them, everybody has had them. But obstacles don’t have to stop you. If you run into a wall, don’t turn around and give up. figure out how to climb it, go through it, or work around it. Michael Jordan

If you know what you want and you want it bad enough you will find a way!

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I had many challenges to get through from my ongoing whiplash symptoms yet I got through them with determination, hard work and consistency. My goal was to plank for five minutes way back in 2014 yet life threw another set back my way.

I was involved in a minor car accident as a back seat passenger, in early May 2014, where my son’s car was hit from behind when we were stationary awaiting for the traffic lights to turn to green. The whiplash came on that evening and it has been a huge struggle to fully recover since that sunny afternoon as we were heading out for a family lunch. I had severe headaches during the first six months of recovery. I was tired very easily and just wanted to sleep the pain away during the first three months. My shoulders and neck was hurting me so much that a car journey on the Saturday afternoon in July 2014, from Loch Ness, Scotland back home to Glasgow on the A82 had put me in bed for the entire Sunday to recover.  When I woke up on the Sunday morning,  I felt my whole body was so weak and my headache was coming and going I was unable to get out of bed.

Almost two years on and my left arm has been extremely weak from going swimming with Calvin, my youngest son, so I needed more physiotherapy. It has been a long and painful journey to recovery. It’s a hit and miss, trial and error adventure for me. I have felt so frustrated and annoyed with the weakness in my neck, shoulders and left arm.

I have learned what my body is capable of when I push it that bit further yet I listen to it when it feels pain and stop pushing it until the pain subsides. Then I push it again and see where the pain is. Doing the physiotherapy exercises has been a very slow journey to recovery. I received private physiotherapy sessions during the first twelve months yet they were less effective than the ones I received from our NHS.

In 2014 after the minor car accident, I would plank then feel pain in my shoulders so I would stop and let them heal then I would plank again. In 2015, I was beginning to feel stronger so I went swimming every week with Calvin. In September 2015 I felt a strong weakness in my left arm and my shoulders was beginning to hurt again. So I went to see my physiotherapist on the NHS. The exercises she gave me to do was very helpful yet it was such a struggle to gain my strength back on my left arm. My shoulders was feeling stronger so much faster than my left arm which was such a nuisance to me as I needed to take it slow. I stopped swimming altogether and I missed it and much as Calvin did.

I set myself a new goal to plank for five minutes before 2016 began and I worked my way through the challenges that I faced. I slowly built up my time by ten seconds on the plank every second day. My back would hurt the most during my plank then it was my tummy and arms. I felt my left arm was becoming stronger from my daily physiotherapy exercises I did yet the numbness and weakness could still be felt most of the time.

I was consistent with planking every second day and increasing my time by ten seconds was working for me. The pain in my back straight after my plank was somewhat excruciating yet in a good way! I was becoming very aware of when I would slouch and my body would automatically straighten up my poor posture. My whole body is benefiting from this amazing exercise and it takes me to a new journey. I have many interesting stories to share with others from the start of my planking to the end of reaching my five minute goal.

As I was doing my five minutes last night on my plank, I felt my back was becoming so weak and my arms was about to give in at the last ninety seconds. It felt like the longest ninety seconds of my life and keeping it up was working up a huge sweat for me. I could feel my face getting hot, red and I was feeling like as if I was in the labour ward about to give birth from my heavy breathing!  Oh what fun!

My physiotherapist said I am strong enough now to get back into swimming and just slowly build up my time like I did with my plank.

I want to continue with my plank and I am seriously considering setting myself a new goal of reaching for seven minutes. I shall continue to reach for five minutes for the rest of this month then begin on working to achieve seven minutes next month.

I am feeling ever so proud of myself for my biggest physical goal of 2016 so far! Well done me. Patting myself on the back!

The major reason for setting a goal is for what it makes of you to accomplish it. What it makes of you will always be far greater value than what you get. By Jim Rohn

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Oh boy! What a week already!………and it’s only Wednesday!

I have been making great progress everyday since setting new goals at the beginning of the new year. I am loving every day as I focus on achieving my goals and enjoying the journey.

I deleted all the games app from my phone and iPad (except one) in November/December last year to focus on becoming more productive with my time. That was one of the most valuable things I did for my time management.

I am tracking my progress with my physical exercises from the help of pen and paper.  That has helped me to see what I am doing and what needs more of my efforts.  One of my physical goals is to plank for five minutes and I am only ten seconds away from that goal. I struggled tonight to complete four minutes and fifty seconds yet I pushed my body to its limits. Accomplishing that four minutes and fifty seconds was a huge hurdle to jump over yet I kept going until the end and what a relief it was for my aching body to hear the alarm go off!  Woo hoo! Well done me! Patting myself on my back!

I started working as a volunteer in a charity shop every Friday to meet new people and to get out and about. I also started to attend Toastmasters meetings on a Tuesday evening for public speaking as I want to become a public speaker which is one of my bigger goals.

As my nineteen year old son sold his car last month, I no longer have access to a cat so I am relying on public transport which is consuming more of my valuable time yet I am gaining more waking from it all so I feel happier. I get more fresh air from walking and it helps to tire me out for a sound sleep at night which is vital for me to recharge.

The most indulging thing I love to do nowadays that costs very little money, is to lock myself in out bathroom, with my Yankee candle lit, a book to read or my phone to watch Ellen Degeneres on YouTube that cheers me up. I feel so relaxed from soaking in our bath with lavender oil and taking care of my needs. It is so therapeutic and energising for my body.

I am writing more in my journals and my blogs nowadays. Yet my blogs take up more of my time because I need to think, gather information and tweet things as I want to have an attractive blog for others to read. I can be such a perfectionist!  Thats just my expectation of what I want from myself. I want to push myself to do better than I did yesterday.

I love to write as I find it ever so relaxing and I learn more about myself when I write, especially when I write my blogs. It is my way of reflecting, venting, sharing, analysing and I feel so much lighter after I have written about my experiences.

Another thing I love to do is read non fiction books and I mean flicking through the pages by licking my finger and feel the pages as I do so. I am a visual learner with a tad of kinaesthetic thrown in. So I need to see texts and feel the pages from a book in order for me to soak up the author’s words and learn from the book. I always bring a book with me to read on my travels now as the bus journey to and fro gives me enough time to indulge in my reading.

I love being productive yet it can be tiresome and on wet days with wild winds, I just feel like staying snuggled up in bed and forget about working on my goals. Then I remember that I am the only one who suffers the consequences of being lazy.

I was rather busy yesterday with many errands that needed tending to and I felt so sleepy and tired out from two nights of disturbed sleep so I took a nap for an hour before cooking my dinner, taking a shower and headed out to my third Toastamsters meeting. I felt like staying at home and putting my feet up, as my body was feeling the tiredness then I reminded myself of my goal to becoming a public speaker so I pushed myself to get into the meeting. Once at the meeting, I thoroughly enjoyed the evening and I decided to join as a member.

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Today was another productive day at home as I caught up with the housework that was crying for my attention. I changed my bedsheets with the help of my great helper Calvin, my ten year old son, before soaking in the bath and it felt great to slip into my bed with clean bedsheets. Ah! Bliss! The kitchen floor needed a good mop over and I cleaned our bathroom. Calvin vacuumed our living room and hall so he gets his weekly pocket money.

Now, to write my gratitude journal before I catch my beauty sleep!

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I only realised why I was getting so emotional on the journey home in the bus on Tuesday evening of last week as I was reflecting on my second Toastmasters meeting when the date had sunk into my mind.

The day before was my wedding anniversary. I would have been married for twenty three years yet I ended it at fourteen for my inner peace and personal growth. So I was on an emotional roller coaster on Monday due to the what if’s and but’s of the inevitable marriage and divorce that brought me many sad, painful and valuable lessons along with my three intelligent and gorgeous sons.

Then it dawned on me that it would have been my big brother’s 45th birthday on Saturday as the bus journey home was quiet and smooth. I felt a huge gush of negative emotions come through as I was listening to some music on my phone. I wanted to cry there and then yet I always get a headache when I do so I tried to think of the happy memories of big brother.

I took some time to relax, calm my emotions and accept what was coming through on Tuesday evening in bed and I wrote in my journal as I usually do for therapy and to track my progress. It had become a daily habit of mine’s to write in my journal about my day and this evening was no different. Yet due to my tiredness from my negative emotions, I left out the importance of my emotional roller coaster journey home because I was feeling drained so writing about it would no doubt tire me more and I needed my beauty sleep.

I have been crying everyday since that roller coaster journey home on Tuesday evening from my Toastmasters meeting. Anger, resentment, pain, sadness, rage, abandonment, abuse, torture, fear, shame, hatred and disgust all came flooding through me in the last few days.

I pushed myself to be productive last week under the circumstances and the weather has been so kind to me. I made the conscious effort to walk to pick up Calvin, my youngest son from school which is a mile from home because it was dry, calm and so much warmer compared to previous days and weeks. I loved being outdoors and walking that mile helped me to stay on the positive side and that lifts me up. My body felt tired from the mile walk yet my mind thanked me for making that wise choice.

I told Calvin that it is my big brother’s birthday on Saturday so we are going to visit him then I will take him to go shopping for new shoes for Chinese New Year which is on today.

I woke up after 9am on Saturday morning from being tired out on my volunteering at the charity shop once a week the previous day. I slept like a baby and I had a late start to my day so I needed to “get cracking” as we say here in Glasgow, Scotland.

We took the number 240 bus to the crematorium and I presumed the walk to Glade three where big brother’s ashes are scattered would be at least fifteen minutes. So I timed our walk and it only took a short ten minute walk, much to my surprise.

The weather was again very kind to us on this dry and calm day. I felt a little cold yet I was grateful that it stayed dry for our first visit of this year. Calvin seemed to enjoy the walk with me and he was chatty. I felt heavy and weighed down with my two small flasks of hot water, food for big brother and a bigger flask of his favourite Chinese tea.

We walked onto the damp grass and arrived at Glade three after a delightful stroll on a quiet Saturday afternoon in the crematorium. I laid down a black bin bag onto the damp grass with Calvin’s help and placed the yellow table cloth down to put big brother’s food down for him to devour. This is one of our Chinese rituals that we follow.

I brought my home made Scotch broth soup and shredded potatoes for a change because I always made him chow mein. I forgot to bring chocolates and crisps which is what big brother loved to eat yet he was on a weight lose program before he passed on so he was told to cut them out of his diet. I poured out the Chinese tea for him to enjoy and it smelled very strong, just the way he loved it.

Calvin was observing the glades next to Glade three and he was distracting me from talking to big brother. So I gave him my attention and then came back to talking to big brother. I felt close to my one and only lifetime companion as I stood there, looking around the glade. Calvin had nothing to say to his uncle yet when I asked him about this he said “I miss you”!  So it was sweet of him and I know he feels uncomfortable talking to his uncle now he has passed on so I teach him that talking to his uncle is quite alright by doing it myself.

Then we heard something that caught our attention. A man was wheeling a trolley with a mental box and he walked up the the glade to our right and I saw ashes being scattered onto the grass.  The man spread the ashes onto a wide area of the glade, much to my wonder and surprise. This was my first time witnessing ashes being scattered and it brought some sadness to me. I was thinking of who the ashes belonged to and of the pain their family must be feeling at this emotional time. Calvin watched with me and it took less than a few minutes then the scattering was over and the man had two small metal boxes in his hands and he was then on his way. His wheeling the trolley brought more sadness to me and I was thinking that this is what the man does everyday. So he’s used to this yet I was feeling the emotions of the family who had only just lost their loved one to death.

Death that comes to us all yet we are all affected in different ways to the pain that we all feel. My pain is more intense because I was so close to my big brother as we were lifetime companions. We did everything together as babies, young kids, teenagers and then we were there for each other during our adult life. He was a better father figure to my three sons than their biological father ever was because he was giving them his time and attention where their biological father had neglected to do so.

I felt happy walking away from the crematorium with Calvin to catch our bus into the city centre to shop for new shoes for Calvin. I was feeling so much lighter than I had been this whole week and the walk itself helped to lift me up. Plus taking Calvin with me and teaching him to pay our respects to his uncle on his birthday felt important to me.

I felt sadness and pain as I walked to catch our bus because I have never seen our dad Going to the crematorium. It is a Chinese tradition not to attend your child’s funeral which it is said to “Bring bad luck”!  What a load of rubbish!  Where is the respect for the dead child?  I felt very angry when my parents did not attend their first born’s funeral yet they were there that morning at the funeral parlour waiting for the funeral to take place. I felt I was the head of the family on that very emotional morning. I brought our family and friends into the room where the body of big brother laid in his coffin. He looked so much at peace yet I could see that the make up on his face was fading as it was done on the Monday or Tuesday and the funeral took place on the Thursday.

That tragic morning of Tuesday 19th November 2013 when we received news from the hospital that my big brother had died very suddenly was a huge shock to me and the pain has become easier to handle. Yet losing my one and only lifetime campanion at aged 42 is a tough challenge on it’s own. I think I have did everything I possibly could to heal. I had one to one sessions with my counsellor. I had regression therapy. I have talked about it so many times and written about it here and there. I have cried so many sad and painful tears and the emotions have been like a roller coaster ride. My heart felt like it was being stabbed each day for the first few months and I was mentally strong from my personal development, practicing meditation, doing my physical exercises and acknowledging my emotions. Otherwise, I would probably have had a nervous breakdown. I understand that the pain shall never disappear because it had such an enormous impact on my life. I feel like I have lost a limb and now I am living without a part of me.

My life goes on, I am doing what I want to do with my life and I am focused on meeting my needs, wants and desires. Yet, there are days when I am reflecting on my progress and I automatically want to share those experiences with big brother because he was the first one I would talk to about my day. It had become a habit as he lived with us for the last fifteen years of his life.

 

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He would listen to me, support me and cheer me on. He would do whatever I asked him to do to help me out. He never said no to any of my requests or demands. That’s what makes him simply the best big brother anyone could ever ask for. He wanted to feel needed and he was pleasing everyone with his time and efforts he made for us. My one and only regret I have was not thanking him enough for all that he ever did for me and my three sons. I was like most people, thinking that we all die at old age when we are weak, frail, gaunt, fragile and vulnerable. That has been the most valuable lesson in this tragic life experience of mine.

I have been very fortunate enough to have dreamt of big brother on a number of nights where he always had a big smile on his face and I know that this was his way of telling me “I am very happy where I am now, I want you to move on and focus on your life, it is time for you to shine”!  He had food in one hand and an umbrella in the other the last time I dreamt of him with his huge smile grinning from ear to ear. I could only see his teeth and his eyes seemed closed from his big smile! Hehe.  He loved his food and he strongly disliked being in the rain so the food and umbrella makes perfect sense. I find huge comfort to see him so happy and free from pain in all of my dreams. The very first dream of him was an extremely emotional one as I was not expecting it at all. He sat in his seat he would usually sit for his dinner and he just smiled his happy smile at me with no verbal communication. He was well dressed and looked so happy and pain free because his eyes lit up the room!  So I knew he was at his most happiest and he was telling me that he was free from pain. That means the world to me, to know that he is at his happiest doing what he wants, when he wants and he is finally free of all the pain he was carrying about each day.

I can be free too, of all the pain I have been carrying for quite some time yet there are just days when a memory or a thought triggers the pain of losing big brother all over again. That’s when my heart feels it’s been broken and stabbed!

Can one be truly free from the emotional pain of losing their one and only lifetime companion to an early and very sudden death?  I think not in my case and from my own personal experience. It is a valuable lesson and the experience totally changes one’s perspective on life and I have certainly learned so much from it as well as gaining so much insight and wisdom. So there are gains from such a tragic loss. I value life so much more nowadays and I take great care of my body because it is the only place I have to live. I think one never recovers from such a huge loss because the pain is always there, deep inside, and it gets triggered from a thought, a memory or an important date. The emotional pain does become easier to manage and handle with the passing of time from my own personal experience.

Life is too short to be wallowing in self pity and becoming a “victim” to life’s circumstances. We are all capable of getting through life’s challenges, hardships, adversities and hurdles with a positive mental attitude. It is about how we handle the hard times with whatever we have that determines the outcome of such hurdles. Life is difficult without a doubt. As my mentor Jim Rohn said “Don’t ask for an easy life, ask for more skills”!  With more skills at hand we are more than capable to see ourselves through those tough times that seems so bleak, dark, miserable and challenging.

I am grateful to have had such an amazingly helpful big brother who was a lot more than any sister could ever ask for and he was a gentle giant. He lives on in my heart and I miss him dearly. His laughter and smile stays ingrained in my memories and that is priceless!

 

 

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Be free to meet your needs!

Who is responsible for taking care of your needs? Who gets your needs met?

I came from a very dysfunctional family where I took on the “caretaker” role from a tender age. I became the big sister to my cousin Becky who is two years younger than me when she lived in Hong Kong with my mum and big brother. She was very needy and clinged to me quite a lot because we played together and I treated her just like any big sister would. My mum trained me to give anything to Becky to keep her quiet. She was spoiled rotten as she was the youngest. This created much resentment inside of me and later on in my adult life, I became very resentful towards my mum for training me to please others and forget to take care of my own needs.

So from then on, I would take care of my parents’ needs, my two brothers and then when I married, I was taking care of my husband, his parents and the needs of his brother’s wife and kids.

I was neglected and abused as a child and my needs were dismissed, abandoned, ignored and forgotten which created so much illness for me. I felt trapped with life and it’s harsh reality that no one was taking care of me yet I gave others my time, effort and attention had left me thinking that nobody loved me.  I I felt so much pain and sadness to know that nobody looked after me even though I looked after them. I felt life was very unfair on me.

I became a “victim” to my life and it’s circumstances, hardships, adversities and challenges. I was very sick and I needed help. Yet it took many years to get the help that I was desperately needing. The damage was so huge that it took many days, weeks, months and years of working hard on myself to get to where I am today.

I gradually began to take care of my own needs after attending a weekend personal development course in Edinburgh in June 2012. That course helped me to realise what I wanted from life and it was the first time anyone had asked me “what do you want from life Kit”?  We learned to attract what we wanted from life by using the law of attraction and we made our vision board on the Sunday afternoon of what we wanted to attract.

I had never heard of a vision board before that weekend in Edinburgh nor was I ever asked “what do you want from life Kit”? That weekend was such a huge breakthrough for me and I gained so much insight as to why I was not getting what I wanted from my life.

So from then on, I made sure to take the time to ask myself, “so what is it that you want from life Kit”?  I made a vision board for the holiday I wanted, then for the career, the dream home and my dream car and for the ideal relationship that I wanted.

The ideal relationship came to me in a very unexpected way in February 2014. Then my holiday from my first vision board that I made in Edinburgh came to me in July 2015. From then now, I was a master at attracting what I wanted from my life and I was soaring!

I read a book called “Set Yourself Free” by Shirley Smith which was sent to me in February 2015 by my mushy and sweet boyfriend. He knew I would benefit from it because he had gained so many positive things from the book.

From reading the book, I learned that my dysfunctional family set up had created so much disease and illness in my life and I needed to set myself free from all the shame and pain that was holding me back from living a life of freedom to choose who and what I was born to be.

I was responsible for meeting my own needs now that I am an adult yet my inner child’s needs were not met and this was what I needed to work on in order to heal and recover from co-dependency.

It was such a discovery for me and what a revelation it was to learn why I was attracted to addictive types of men who were emotionally unavailable. They had a huge fear of intimacy and I was the one feeling my life was getting way out of control.

In order to have my needs met, I knew I needed to focus on myself and do what was the appropriate thing for me and that meant shifting from a destructive relationship with myself and onto a calmer one with inner peace and harmony. It has been a journey to new self discovery and new beginnings since I eliminated my toxic relationships with men.

 

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I became very lonely after my big brother passed on very suddenly in November 2013 and he was my most reliable babysitter for Calvin, my youngest son. So I was stuck for a babysitter who was at home to take care of Calvin which meant I would either take Calvin over to my parents when I needed a babysitter or I would take him with me to my meetings, appointments or catching up with my friends. I needed to take time off to grieve for losing my big brother and I did not keep up with contacting my friends so I lost the connection with them. Some of them was unable to relate to my grieving so I felt there was a huge distance between us and we are no longer in touch.

After getting through the initial stages of grieving, I made the conscious choice to eliminate toxic friends who were no longer supportive of me and my goals so it was time to let them go and move forward to make progress. I was being “selfing” as Shirley Smith said in her book. Selfing means we learn to take care of our needs and still care for others. We learn in selfing, how to graciously receive a compliment and that it is healthy to want acknowledgement.

Today, I am taking care of my needs first and foremost because I come first. I am important, I deserve to be taken care of and I have the right to enjoy my life. I am free to choose to be who and what I am and to fulfill my potential. I am realising my goals and dreams. I am taking the opportunities to learn and to expand for personal growth.

I decided to volunteer one day a week at a charity shop to meet new people and to get out and about. It was a need of mine to get out and meet new people and to give something to charity whilst doing it was the best way forward. I feel so grateful to have this opportunity one day a week to “mingle” with people and feel I belong to somewhere other than home. Having an identity other than a mum, a daughter, a girlfriend and a care taker is another need that I am fulfilling. Today has been my fourth week and I thoroughly enjoyed the adult company and interactions. I am on my feet from 10am in the morning when the shop opens until 3pm when I leave to pick up Calvin from my parents. It is fun to be around different kinds of people from all age groups and all walks of life.  I learn so much from my time at the charity shop. I come home feeling happy and content even though I feel tired out!

I love the travelling to and from the charity shop because I get to see all sorts of weird and wonderful things whilst out and about. I get to talk to strangers whilst waiting for my bus and there is never a dull moment when I travel by public transport around Glasgow, Scotland.

I came home feeling tired this evening and wanted a bath so I locked myself in our bathroom. I was armed with my peanut butter sandwich, phone, flask of hot water to keep me hydrated as I could be in for a long time, lavender oil, Yankee candle sent to me from America by my “twin sister” and I was sorted for thirty minutes or so. I only pulled myself out of the bath when I felt much discomfort to my neck and shoulders from lying in the bath which became ever so uncomfortable after twenty minutes.

It was an extravagant luxury for me to have a relaxing, long soak in the bath to relax and warm up from being out in the rain and freezing Scottish weather on my way home. I felt so cozy and warm when I got into my “runaround home clothes” and into bed all warmed up!  I cut my toe nails as they are much softer after a soak in the bath and then I started to write this blog. What a great way to relax!

Writing my blogs has become so therapeutic for me since I began at the end of December 2015 and I am loving it as it has become a journey to discover what beautiful opportunities lies ahead. I feel writing my blogs is another need of mine to reflect and to learn. It also gives me the opportunity to connect with other bloggers from all over the globe and it is another magical thing that I am grateful for.

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Oh it’s finally here, after a much challenging winter with so much wind and rain. Spring is definitely in the air!

Storms have been named alphabetically since the beginning of the year and we have had eight already and that is truly amazing and shocking at the same time. I have never experienced eight storms within a matter of weeks in Scotland so this is a first for me and what an experience it has been for all of us!

Abigail, Barney, Clodagh, Desmond, Eva, Frank, Gertrude and Henry have all kept us on our toes and the howling winds at night as we sleep is just so scary and noisy.

We all want to feel safe as we turn off our bedroom lights and close our eyes to sleep, yet our stormy Scottish weather in recent years has created so much fear. Fear of destruction and danger to our beautiful country and to our own property.

We in Glasgow, have been very fortunate to have escaped damage and destruction to our homes, gardens, cars, schools, colleges, universities and businesses.  We had electricity to wake up to unlike some who were less fortunate than us in other parts of Scotland.

I made a choice to walk to my youngest son Calvin’s school as the sun was out, it felt calm and quiet from no winds which was a huge bonus. So I took great advantage of this.

I was prepared for my walk with a flask of hot water to keep me hydrated. I wore my thermal socks to keep my toes from getting more chilblains that I suffer from in extreme cold weather since I was a child. I had my scarf and Koala bear that covers my ears in my rucksack in case I need them as our Scottish weather has become ever so unpredictable.

As I walked along the main road, I felt this amazing calmness of the weather and the warmth which is what I enjoyed the most about my walk on this beautiful Wednesday afternoon. There were early signs of Spring slowly approaching us as I felt the cosiness of my afternoon walk. I love February’s presence because I know we have a month to get through then our clocks go forward an hour which indicates our British summer time begins!

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I felt sweaty and hot ten minutes into my brisk walk so I unzipped my three in one Berghaus jacket with hood. I felt very bulky and weighed down with this jacket on yet it is the only one that has the capabilities to withstand our unpredictable, four seasons in one hour Scottish weather.

I was in the moment as I walked briskly, soaking up the stillness with just a light breeze blowing now and again. My mindfulness practice and meditation helped me to thoroughly appreciate my walk. Having my own space to be there in this gorgeous afternoon to get fresh air and exercise at the same time was just bliss and I was feeling so happy and grateful for this day’s dry, warm and calm weather.

I love walking as I have always been active and it helps to maintain my mental power and I sleep deeper at night after a walk outdoors. My left ankle certainly had many benefits from my walk as it was feeling weaker from our cold and wet weather. I felt it’s weakness as I walked briskly along the busy Hamilton Road to pick up Calvin from school.

I stopped to speak to a lady who picks up her granddaughter Ellie as she stood still to wait for her bus. I told her I was walking to the school to get my fresh air and exercise. We had a great laugh about how our bodies seems to be getting much older compared to our mental age which is about ten years old! Haha

I stopped fifteen minutes into my walk to drink some water from my small flask as my mouth was feeling dry. Ah! I really needed that. Thank you!

As my walk was coming to an end, I felt a slight drizzle of rain hitting on my head and I immediate felt cold and wet yet it was dry. I bet it was my body cooling down from my walk as I had slowed down two minutes before I stopped at the school gates.

As I stood there waiting for the school bell to ring, I was observing the bare trees’ branches as they looked naked, exposed and old. They seemed so fragile from the extreme weather we have had, yet they stood so strong and resilient to what is to come.

My moods was light and I felt happy and proud of myself for walking to the school for the first time this year and it felt like a huge achievement for me! Well done me!

I am loving the feeling of shorter nights now as the days are noticeably getting longer. I saw daffodils being sold in shops and this always makes me feel happy and I get more energy from seeing these Spring flowers about.

My seasonal affective disorder is less of an impact on my moods compared to what it was doing to them in Novemeber and December as my mind is adjusting to our longer days and shorter nights. Woo hoo!

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As I head home on the bus after my second Toastmasters meeting last night, I was engulfed with a roller coaster of emotions.

I so wanted to share with you my two minute speech that I had volunteered to talk about from the Table Topic of the evening which was “a romantic experience”.

I always shared with you my ups and downs, good and the bad and it had become a habit over many years of having you with us each day for the last fifteen years of your life.

You would do the exact same because we were like twins. Always there for one another and that created such a close bond between us. We would never let each other down if we could do anything to help. The bond and connection we had was always strong and that was priceless, precious and always positive.

On this particular evening’s journey home, I had thoughts of you in my mind because I was feeling so proud of myself for volunteering to speak in front of an audience. I was more than eager to come home and tell you everything about my meeting. Yet, knowing that you would be absent from home created so much pain and I felt heartbroken from losing you all over again.

I wanted to cry my tears of sadness and pain there and then, however I am so much stronger and more resilient now from my healing and recovery. Yet that pain of losing you so suddenly to unknown causes shall always be there in my heart.

I felt I was robbed of sharing with you my happiness and excitement as I am making great progress in my life on a daily basis. You were always there for me and my sons during our hard times and adversities yet now that we are all making great progress and life is becoming easier, better and brighter, you were so suddenly taken away from us.

That emotional pain feels like I am being stabbed in the heart so deep that I can feel it ripping my insides. I long to have you here to see us making great progress and to have you here to listen to our every journey to success and accomplishments. That’s what pains me so much whenever I feel proud of my progress.

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Most of us have a preconception that we all die at old age when we become frail, weak, infirm, brittle and vulnerable. So I was no different until your suddenly departure.

You were only aged 42 when you passed on and that was the biggest shock to me ever. It has been a very valuable lesson for me and I am grateful for that.

I know that you are in a much happier place now from the dreams that I have had of you, smiling at me and seeing your happiness and freedom from pain makes me feel so happy for you.

I have learned from your passing that life is full of ups and downs when we least expect them yet life gives us so much happiness, joy and contentment when we shift our attitude to a more positive one. I am more grateful for everything that I have now since your passing because we are never guaranteed to wake up the next day. Life is unpredictable at the best of times so I am making the most of my life with what I have.

As your 45th birthday is only days away, I feel I have a huge void in my life whenever I have happy, good and exciting news to share with you. I get so emotional during these times and last night’s journey home was one of those emotional moments where I wanted to be in the arms of my mushy sweetheart to comfort me and to be there for me emotionally. I know he would acknowledge my feelings and comfort me by allowing me to cry and express my pain and anger.

My sweetheart is the one and only person I share my pain of losing you with because he acknowledges my pain and he comforts me. I feel safe in his presence to cry, to be weak and vulnerable. I have never expressed my pain of losing you to our dad because I feel I would never be acknowledged as he never acknowledged our feelings before. This creates more pain for me yet I accept that it is what it is and there are things in life that I am never going to get from our dad. As for mum, I do speak to her about you especially when I have had a dream about you. I rarely tell her about my feelings of losing you because I am usually in a happy state when I see our mum because she’s always happy and I want to be happy in the presence of our mum.

I will always love you big brother!

 

imageHave you ever been a front passenger of a sports car strapped in ready for a ride that puts you totally out of your comfort zone? Have you ever felt you are really getting old as you are driven about by a much younger driver at speed?

Riding a roller coaster is exactly what it feels like for me every time I am the front passenger of my eldest son’s car.

As soon as he drives off my heart is already pounding, about to jump out of my body with fear and anxiety. His car is perfect in every way. It is what every young male driver wants, speed wise I think! The noise it makes when the accelerator is pushed to the floor says it all. I was told by one male friend that he loves that noise yet to me, it is nothing other than a disturbance to my sensitive ears.

Whilst I am grateful to have my personal chauffeur, I just feel so scared and anxious whenever I am my eldest son’s front passenger.

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As a driver myself, I usually have my ten year old son sitting in the back diagonally opposite me so he observes every move I make and he is the back seat driver since a very tender age. So I learned to be the driver every driver instructor would be proud of. I stop at amber lights and give way to other drivers whenever it is safe to do so. I adhere to the speed limit on built up areas and thus I rarely get my back seat driver’s commands of what I ought to be doing and what I must not do.

The accelerator is pushed to the floor as soon as we get onto the main road from our home and I am feeling the fear of an accident already. My hands are feeling sweaty and my heart is beating so fast, it’s just like we are climbing the steep incline of a roller coaster. The fear feels like I have no protection whatsoever and I am at the mercy of my young driver.

The distance between us and the vehicle directly in front of us looks merely like centimetres to me. My inner voice is telling me some really scary stuff as we are speeding along the main road. I long to get off this roller coaster ride which is no where near it’s destination.

I am looking at the speedometer now and it’s way too fast for my safety and comfort. We almost hit the vehicle in front of us as we break. My head is pushed against the headrest and I am thinking of controlling my thoughts. So I repeatedly say into myself “I am safe” and “I am protected” as we are accelerate rapidly along the forty mile road near my son Calvin’s school. I am more conscious of the consequences of an accident whilst being a passenger in this roller coaster ride as I am still recovering from ongoing whiplash symptoms.

My driver just seems to have no patience and his emotions controls his driving which is all the more frightening for me as his front seat passenger. I can relate to driving fast on the motorway, yet on built up areas and or residential areas, it is common sense to take our foot off the accelerator and drive with cautious.

So we are off again after picking up our young passenger and we hit the main road again. We are behind a bus now and my driver is more cautious and takes his time which was a huge surprise for me. Phewwwww!   Sweat dripping off me already yet it is freezing outside so no one could ever see me sweating!  I thought he would have overtaken the double decker bus, yet it was obviously unsafe to do so and he stayed behind the bus.

We arrive at the supermarket with my heart slowing it’s beating fast from being thrown into the roller coaster ride. What a relief to be safe at the supermarket and we can get our food shop bought and get home to rest.

The journey home was surprisingly pleasant and slower which helped me to feel calmer and safer.

I longed for the day when my driver would drive slower, safer and calmer for all of our sake. Maybe that would be the day he settles for buying a slower car and I would feel safer and calmer. Yet until then I shall just embrace my roller coaster rides with my heart being thrown into the fast lane which is definitely unsuitable for this 43 year old mother of three sons. Vrooom! Vroom! Vroom!