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 🙂

Get the: 2014 Create Your Amazing Year Workbook, Planner and Calendar now!

Tweet:

Click to Tweet: “This is 2014 Madam! Anything is possible!” via @boat_wife http://ctt.ec/aMN3d+

REALLY excited about this…

life3DOn New Years Eve I began what has turned out to be an ongoing project for January. I’ve been completing the exercises in Leonie Dawson’s yearly best seller, The Create Your Amazing Year workbook: The Life Edition.

I cried

‘Releasing’ the year that has just ended, I cried. I wondered if that is because they are such powerful exercises, or because I had some BIG STUFF I had to let go of this year? It might have been the Prosecco I was drinking… My New Years Eve was a quiet but bubbly celebration, with just me and this colourful workbook. Despite the crying, it couldn’t have left me feeling more positive about the year ahead!

Just the parts that sing to you

Some of it may be a bit hippy for some but I found it to be a simple colourful bit of healthy ‘releasing’ the old and welcoming the new. I couldn’t think of 100 things to do in 2014, but that’s OK. Leonie says “Fill it all out or just the parts that sing to you, (either is perfect.)” There’s goal setting, dreaming, list-making and collage-creating. The thought-provoking exercises are fun.

It’s become something I’m working through bit by bit and I’ve found I really begun to look forward to each little evening session where I grab some time to quietly muse over my plans, dreams and schemes. You can’t help but feel cheerful about all the goal setting and the other creative exercises when it’s all painted in such crazy beautiful bright colours with cartoon stars all over it.

Little Miss Sunshine plans her amazing life!

Little Miss Sunshine plans her amazing life!

Leonie says,

“The 2014 Create Your Amazing Year workbook & calendar is an incredibly popular & useful tool to help you plan out & make happen your most incredible year in life or business (or both!). Over the last five years, thousands of women have used this workbook with the most amazing results. It’s the best planning tool available to help you make your year your most exceptional yet!

Used by entrepreneurs, artists, mamas, creatives, coaches, teachers and women of all ages, the Create Your Amazing Year in Life and Biz workbooks are filled with dozens of pages of powerful worksheets & a printable calendar to help you create your amazing new year.”

Peggy says,

“There’s also a business edition, in which I will create my amazing business for 2014 – so watch this space. I’ll be reviewing that one too!”

If you’re ready to make 2014 amazing check it out now! Create Your Amazing Year – Calendar and Workbook 2014

Create your amazing life

Leonie Dawson

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 attitude of gratitude

Buddha Doodles gratitude journalHave you discovered Buddha Doodles yet? Mollycules is a “spunky cartoonist with an appreciation for spirituality.” Her doodles appear regularly on the Huffington Post and Tiny Buddha.com. At Molly’s website you can signup to get free Buddha Doodles delivered to your inbox.

As well as publishing books of Buddha Doodles she’s also created two gratitude journals. This is something I may treat myself to I think. Sometimes I write a daily list of things that I’ve enjoyed or things that I’m grateful for, but it’s a habit that I don’t always remember to keep up. I think that if I placed a gratitude journal beside my bed then perhaps that would serve as a reminder to write three things in it every night.

Keeping a gratitude journal may reduce stress and negative emotions, increase happiness and improve the quality of your sleep. Each page of Molly’s gratitude journal displays a different cartoon and a page to write what you are grateful for. On the Amazon website you can peep inside the book and see some of the beautiful drawings.
Buddha Doodles Gratitude Journal: Shining Your Light

I am quite thankful that I discovered Buddha Doodles! What are you grateful for today?

Disclosure: The link is an Amazon affiliate link.

How to appreciate the present moment

She finds hearts where ever she goes

My six year old daughter has a habit of discovering heart shapes wherever she goes: A stone picked up from the ground, a label on a supermarket shelf, or a heart shape found in the shape of a tree stump.

“Quick Mummy – take a picture!” she says. She’s been saying it since last summer. I saved all of the pictures and made them into a collage for her for Christmas. Children always have time to see beauty in the little things.

Try this:

Snap photos of the beautiful little things that you notice today. You can quickly and easily make a digital collage using Picasa.