How to enjoy Valentines Day even if you hate it

Love letterIf you’re single, or if your partner is away this Valentines Day you may be planning to ignore the whole entire thing because it’s “too commercial.” Bah humbug! This is the perfect opportunity to have a Valentines Day that has been planned and designed by the one person who knows you best. That’s you!

Step 1:

Buy yourself a treat. Champagne, chocolate, flowers, or something a little more unusual. If you’re on a budget pick a posy of wild flowers. If you’re on a diet create something delicious but healthy. Check out the Mouthgasmic recipes on Star Khechara.com

Step 2:

Do something you really enjoy. Take yourself on a date, rent a movie you love. Or organise an entirely perfect day for yourself.

Step 3:

Write a love letter to yourself.

What?! That sounds ridiculous. And difficult. But it could be that it’s just been too long since you said something nice to yourself. I had a little help from Story of Mum. Every second Wednesday of the month Story of Mum host a make date.

What is a #somum Make Date?

It’s a chance for mums to get together on Twitter and tweet while we attempt to do something creative. I had absolutely no idea what to write to myself when I arrived on Twitter on Wednesday night this week. But after answering a whole load of questions I was able to write something quite lovely. Read How to write a love letter to yourself.

Watch this.

This is just beautiful. It’s not from Story of Mum, it’s from Soul Pancake. A video of some random people who bravely wrote love letters to themselves. Very cool.

And finally;

My gift to you. This free e-course will help you to appreciate yourself a little more.

Happy Friday!

love,

Peggy signature

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What Jack Kerouac Can Teach Us About Life


I love Twilight Saga actress Kristen Stewart and I have loved the novel On the Road (Penguin Modern Classics) since I was a teenager, so I was biased in favour of this film before I even saw it. But when I watched it recently I noticed with new eyes that what Jack had taught me as a teenager and what he can teach me now are two completely different lessons.

The book is an exhilarating freedom-grabbing, lust-for-life, crazy journey about a passionate friendship, rattled out in lyrical prose that washes over you like jazz and whisky. As a teenager I was infatuated with Jack’s hedonistic enthusiasm, and so I planned to live life to the full and never to say no to anything exciting.

Lesson 1: Live a Life of Passion

Now that I’m a grown-up I notice that I’m already close to Jack’s age when he died. (A dead brother in childhood and an alcoholic father contributed to a tormented life of alcoholism for Jack.)

The story is a loosely disguised tale of the adventures Jack had on the road with Neal Cassady. He renames himself Sal Paradise and calls Neal, Dean Moriarty. Dean was “tremendously excited with life,” and constantly looking for “kicks”.

Jack (or ‘Sal’) writes;

“The only people that interest me are the mad ones. The ones who are mad to live. Mad to talk. Desirous of everything at the same time. The ones who never yawn or say a common place thing. But burn, burn, burn like roman candles across the night.”

As a teenager and all through my twenties I was also in love with people like this; the mad ones.

“Dean does not feel responsibility towards others. He does not know the concept. Then again he feels others have some mysterious obligation to support him. I find it unspeakably distasteful.”

Sal: “But Dean gives everyone a damn good time just being himself.”

“He gives the losers tricks!”

Sal: “Maybe that’s cause you’re not seeing what’s really holy about Dean.”

“Oh! So he’s a holy man now? A religious figure in your eyes? Oh Paradise. What I see in him is compulsive psychosis, dashed with a jigger of compulsive psychopathy and violence.”

It’s funny, but in my hazy memory of the charming and exciting Dean I didn’t remember him being so selfish, or abusive:

“Where’s Mary Lou?” (Dean’s 16 year old wife.)

“We got in a ruckus and she called the cops on me!”

Lesson 2: You Don’t Have to be Wasted to be Passionate

I know that sounds obvious but it took me many years to learn that one!

I love Jack Kerouac’s passionate, lyrical, poetic, rhythmic writing, his lust for life and his thoughtful spiritual musings.

“Who are we now? Are you gonna tell us Carl?”

“I know that I rely on my friends and my family for money. I know there’s no gold at the end of the rainbow. There’s just shit and piss. But to know that; that makes me free.”

Do you have to be a Kerouac fan to love the film? Probably. It’s about jazz, poetry and drugs on the road with the Beat Generation. It’s about a quest for meaning and belonging in life which very much appealed to the teenage me.

Now as an adult, having survived a decade of excessive partying in my twenties I made a note to myself: Don’t die like a Kerouac. (Mediate instead of drinking!) I spent a decade travelling the English canals in my thirties and began to write a ‘beatific’ account of my life ‘On the Cut.’ Jack wrote On the Road in three weeks, typing continuously on a teletype paper roll. I know now that writing is a healthier passion than alcohol, and I know that the way to write my own book is as one passionate, intensive, undistracted project.

Lesson 3: Growing Old is a Privilege

The book ends with Jack’s whimsical, lyrical musings…

“…and nobody, nobody knows what’s going to happen to anybody besides the forlorn rags of growing old, I think of Dean Moriarty, I even think of Old Dean Moriarty the father we never found, I think of Dean Moriarty.”

And here in Devon when the sun goes down and I watch the long, long skies over Dartmoor and sense the roads I haven’t yet travelled, and remember fondly the time my friend once said to me that my poems are a bit like Kerouac’s; and I think of all the people dreaming in the immensity of it; and the people that never grew old, the people I loved who died young, I think of Jack Kerouac. I wonder why his father drank and if his father drank before him, and I think of lives cut short by alcohol and dreams that never happened, and I know that I owe it to this world to write and write some more, just because my teenage self was once inspired by Jack Kerouac. Yes I think of Jack Kerouac…

What’s your passion?

What are you going to do with your brief time here on the planet? Pick something right now and tell me in the comments below!

How to Take Charge of All Your To Do Lists

Productivity, To Do lists and goal setting can all sound very dull and business-like sometimes. If like me, your desk is littered with sticky post-it notes and paper To Do lists then this brilliant tip from Leonie Dawson could just change your life, and open up a world of possibilities.

The one thing I’ve been dreading on my own To Do list was to begin recording training videos for the new e-course I’ve written. This is a real challenge if you’re camera-shy like I am. This weekend I asked Star Khechara to help me overcome this problem. I hope you’ll agree that in this new video I am more confident than I was in my last video! (How to Vlog.)

It’s still a skill that I need to practice though so please do watch this three minute video and support me and let me know what you think by leaving a comment below. Thanks 🙂

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