Three Short-Cuts for Reinventing Yourself in Record Time

UV dreadlocks

My USP: Hair that glows.

I have just realised that on this day, 19th November 2002 I went on my first date with my husband. And now here I am, 12 years later about to launch my new e-course Reinvent Yourself After Divorce. When we first separated 18 months ago I went through the usual grieving process, drank plenty of wine and cried over romantic movies. Then I went on a sort of journey of self discovery trying to figure out what I wanted to be next. I tried yoga, meditation, mindfulness, Buddhism, alcoholism, counselling, cognitive behaivoural therapy and pills for anxiety. I also tried visualisation, journalling, poetry, drawing cartoons, reading books, joining online communities, and buying online courses.

1) Take This 10 Day e-Course

I then picked all of the best ideas that worked for me and stuck them into a six week programme so that you don’t have to spend eighteen months trying all that stuff. I also realise that not everyone has six weeks to spare either – which is why you can grab the 10 day version for free!

2) Write Down Your Goals

I find that simply just writing ideas down can really help you to focus on changing things in your life. Since I published my Break-Up Bucket List in June 2014 I’ve managed to tick off several more things on the list, including visiting several friends that live far away, made some videos, created an e-course, and been on a foreign holiday. Other things have proved more challenging – like eat more fruit and drink more water. Why is that?!

3) Realise You’re Already Reinvented!

While you’re reinventing yourself it’s also fun to sometimes review the person you used to be.
I’m part of a business network and learning space on Facebook called No Desk Required:  A free mastermind led by freedompreneurs (and soul mates!) Star Khechara and Les-Paul Dawson. On Wednesdays we share what is weird and wonderful about ourselves, to get in touch with our “Unique Selling Point”.
Star says, “When launching a business many people hold back from fully expressing their true selves – especially the weird and quirky parts! We say weird is cool! Your weirdness is what makes you stand out, it’s what makes you different. Your weirdness is your USP!”
It was quite hard to choose a weird thing from my past to share. Should it be my degree in animation, or my career as a hypnotherapist? I opted for announcing that I once had waist-length dreadlocks made of orange and blue wool and glow-in-the-dark beads. I went to techno parties dressed in a UV fairy skirt and silver doc martens. I mean, hey! Who wouldn’t want hair that glows in the dark? Then there was the time that myself and four friends formed a gang of Special Agents called Dangerchix International – but that’s probably a topic for a whole other blog post.
The point is, who did you used to be and who are you going to be next? If you had a Break-Up Bucket List what would be next up for you to try? What sort of a person did you used to be in the past? Leave me a comment and let me know. And don’t censor yourself with a ‘sensible’ answer. What would you do next week or next year if there were no boundaries or limits?
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The Break Up Bucket List

Love letterRecently I discovered this great blog called The Break Up List. When Ali Burns’ nine year relationship ended, she made a list of things she’d been meaning to do over the past few years but never quite found the time.

“A year and a half on, I feel like a completely different person. I no longer need My Break Up Bucket List to help me survive my break up, but I continue on with it because it helps me remember who I am, pushes me to try new things and enjoy life to the fullest.”

It has inspired hundreds of people to do similar and has been featured twice on The Huffington Post. There’s some really good advice in Ali’s 10 lessons learned from creating a break up list. I’m going through divorce at the moment and when I discovered her blog I immediately thought I should definitely make a Break-Up List! But then I realised I have one.

On New Year’s Eve I made a list of things to do in 2014 – some big like go on holiday, go in a hot air balloon, and some small like drink champagne, draw cartoons, and go swimming. I don’t think I’ll do all of these things in one year. I’m putting stars next to the ones I’ve done so far. It’s exciting to plan new adventures – and you don’t have to be divorced to do it. Are you gonna have a go?

The Break Up Bucket List

1. Drink champagne. ⭐
2. Eat smoked salmon. ⭐
3. Have fun with Star. ⭐
4. Visit Simon and Geka. ⭐
5. Go on a retreat.
6. Take up yoga. ⭐
7. Do Cosmic Kids yoga with my daughters. ⭐
8. Take up meditation classes. ⭐
9. Start doing self-hypnosis again. ⭐
10. Join the Zen Habits Sea Change Program. ⭐
11. Blog. ⭐
12. Draw cartoons. ⭐
13. Make videos. ⭐
14. Complete the Ecourse Entrepreneur course.
15. Sell ecourses.
16. Teach a workshop.
17. Visit Russ and Vicki.
18. Visit Claire and Chris.
19. Visit Anna and Scott.
20. Visit Zoe and Mario. ⭐
21. Visit Marsworth. ⭐
22. Save a deposit for a house.
23. Increase my income a lot.
24. Have regular business mentor meetings with Star. ⭐
25. Go abroad. ⭐
26. Become a safer driver. ⭐
27. Pass my theory test.
28. Pass my driving test.
29. Buy a car.
30. Go to the beach. ⭐
31. Spend a weekend beside the sea. ⭐
32. Read a book about assertiveness.
33. Eat more fruit.
34. Drink more water.
35. Write a book.
36. Edit book.
37. Get book published.
38. Paint. ⭐
39. Swim. ⭐
40. Go on a hot air balloon ride.
41. Complete all the exercises in the book Secrets Of The Millionaire Mind: Think rich to get rich
42. Do a parenting course. ⭐
43. Start a gratitude journal. ⭐
44. Read The Dharma Bums (Penguin Modern Classics)
45. Divorce my husband.

 

 

Meditation for People who Can’t Stop Thinking!

Meditate by Frogarythm on FlickrHave you tried meditation but just feel that you don’t really ‘get it’? Do you sit there searching for a Zen-like calm but within seconds you’re planning your shopping list or analysing the plot of last night’s telly programme?
You are not alone!
I too am challenged in the Zen department!

The Zen Challenge

Although I have a lot of experience with hypnosis I have only got into meditation very recently. In January I began practicing mindfulness with Leo Babauta’s Sea Change program, including a brief mindful meditation each morning. His Zen Habits blog also has plenty of tips and info about meditation. The Sea Change program suggests starting small; meditate for 5 minutes – or 2! But make it a daily habit. I decided to make my habit something I do upon waking up.  I’ve tried breathing, staring at a candle and chanting.
My mind still wandered a little though so then I experimented with listening to guided meditations. Leonie Dawson has a free meditation to listen to here Meditation for Healing.
Then I began going to meditation sessions at my local Buddhist centre. The centre I go to is a big house, not a temple. There is a community of about 8 Buddhists living there. They have a public classroom for meditation and a separate public cafe. The weekly classes include a talk, each one with a different theme. I’ve found it to be very relaxed and informal and it gives me plenty to mull over on the bus home.

Have you got it yet?

Finally, this week I tried using the Headspace Meditation App (a guided meditation and mindfulness app.) Take10 is their free meditation programme that gives you a taste of meditation in just 10 minutes a day for 10 days. Andy from Headspace says, “That’s less than 1% of your day, so even the busiest person can squeeze it in.” The important thing that I learned from this app was that I was trying too hard to meditate. I was sooo concentrating on getting it right and achieving something and doing it correctly – my mind wasn’t relaxed at all! So the blue sky animation really helped me to understand that even on a cloudy day – the blue sky (clear mind) is still there… “Rather than trying to create blue sky, a state of happiness and calm, it’s more a question of sort of setting up a deck chair in the back garden, just sitting back and waiting for the clouds to pass.”

Why bother?

Yes it’s something you learn slowly and progress with over time. So is it worth the effort? I stumbled upon this article Should Meditation be included in the Education of Our Youth?

“Now these students are doing light-years better. In the first year of Quiet Time, the number of suspensions fell by 45 percent. Within four years, the suspension rate was among the lowest in the city. Daily attendance rates climbed to 98 percent, well above the citywide average. Grade point averages improved markedly.”

Meditation is not a quick-fix for my whole life, it is a new habit that I’m forming. But after years of not really ‘getting it’ I think it was Andy at Headspace who finally made me understand.

“Remember that idea of the blue sky, nothing to achieve, nothing to create, it’s all about stepping back and just allowing the mind to unwind, in it’s own time and in it’s own way.” Take 10 programme, from Headspace

Trying too hard

Are you trying too hard? Do you need to let go and just ‘be’? Who’da thought that chilling out could be this difficult?! What have you discovered when you tried meditation? Let me know in the comments below.

PS. I am not an affiliate of Headspace. I just like it!

Thanks to Frogarythm on Flickr for the meditation image.

Learn a quick and easy technique for appreciating the little things in life with this free 10 day e-course.

Warning: This idea could make you happy

Patient AcceptanceThey say that life begins at 40 and recently I realised that perhaps it’s because by the time you’re 40 you’ve known at least one or two people who have died too young. You get to a certain age and realise that not everyone enjoys the privilege of growing old. So maybe that’s why in their 40’s some people have a good go at making their dreams come true.

Yesterday I had a perfect day. I didn’t know it was going to be perfect but I did hope that it would be good. I started the day by sticking a post-it note on the bathroom mirror that said, ‘I love you.’ The second one says, ‘How can I make you happy today?’ (These are ideas from You Can Heal Your Life by Louise Hay.) It made me cringe to do it and it makes me cringe to write it, because I’m embarrassed by the thought of such airy-fairy new age love-yourself stuff. After all, most people think that kind of thing doesn’t work, right?

But the reason I’m sharing it here is because I think that little thing made a difference that day.

Admittedly I already had quite a nice day planned. Let me tell you what I did yesterday.

  • I began the day with a mindful meditation. (Never tried this before.)
  • I had a pub lunch with an old friend. We took her kids and my kids – most of them were dressed as pirates! We all laughed and had fun.
  • I treated myself to a massage and manicure as a late birthday present to myself.
  • I decided to start painting again and bought some watercolours and a sketchpad.
  • I spontaneously bought myself a colourful bunch of flowers.
  • When I got home I listened to Perfect Day by Lou Reed, whilst cooking myself one of my favourite meals. I had some glasses of my favourite wine.
  • I watched On the Road [DVD] something I’ve been meaning to do for ages. (I love the book.)

Why am I sharing this with you? Because strangely it was a new idea to me to organise a perfect day for myself. It happened almost by accident, but just asking myself that question in the morning, ‘What can I do to make you happy today?’ made me think about the answer. I was lucky enough to be in a position to give myself things that made me happy. I’ve spent a lot of my life wishing that others would make me happy. This day I experimented with being my own best friend. I wouldn’t say that I loved myself yet, but this was quite a successful first date. I might even agree to see me again…

Stick that question on your mirror tomorrow and see what you surprise yourself with!

Flowers, for me? From me? Thank you!

Flowers, for me? From me? Thank you!

The easiest way to forgive yourself

This month I’ve been practicing ‘letting go’ and one of those most important things I’ve noticed was that I need to let go of the idea of being my ‘best self’ all of the time. Holding on to that idea doesn’t allow me to make mistakes, or to learn from my mistakes.

I drew a cartoon to visualise this idea for myself and then ironically I wanted to re-draw it and improve it before publishing it on this blog. I thought that the cartoon wasn’t good enough. I could see that I’d made some mistakes! I’ve written outside of the lines and drawn the body the wrong shape. But if I wait for the time to make my pictures perfect there may never be any pictures on this blog. (I learned this from Leonie Dawson’s Wild Donkey Secret to Getting Stuff Done.)

So today I am letting go of the idea that I’m going to be my ‘Best Self’ all of the time.  Can you accept that you’re a person who makes mistakes? What idea could you let go of, just for today?

Letting go of my Best Self

Accepting that I am a person who makes mistakes.

When you’re sad, do this

Music equals happinessSadness, anxiety, loneliness and grief are the kind of stuff that movies are made of. Many years ago I used to have a friend, that as I lurched from tragedy to tragedy would console me with words in a soft Irish accent; “Honey don’t cry; it’s only a movie.”

She was mad of course and the last time I saw her she was hell-bent on a self-destructive cycle of violent alcoholism. But ever since then I liked the idea that my life could be a movie.

Action

Pretend your life is a movie. Direct it. Star in it. If the film is sad then wallow in it. But wallow in an enigmatic, charismatic way: For one scene. (Then cut to the next scene and make sure that one is different.)

Find one small prop that your main character would need. The red lipstick of a vampire, the long raincoat of a spy, a treasured hand-written note, or the cigarette of an action hero.  A charity shop may help to keep your movie budget down if you require a costume change.

Next, get a cool soundtrack. Try typing a movie title into an app or music website like Last.fm and then do the dishes to the soft mournful sounds of your own incidental music. Or wash the car to angry guitar music. A crescendo of classical music will suit many of life’s tragedies. You are a bunch of universe-atoms experiencing what it feels like to feel that chosen emotion right here, right now.

It’s all about you baby. What genre is your movie? What is it called? Are you ready to reassess where you’re at right now?