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.

 

 

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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.

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

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 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.

Top 5 personal achievements of 2013

Take time to dreamTowards the end of last year I allowed myself some time to reflect upon the year that had passed and plan for the year ahead with this free workbook created by Susannah Conway: Unravelling the Year Ahead.  My top three goals were to pass my driving test, publish my book and to create and sell an e-course. It’s tempting to feel disheartened that I’ve not completed any of these but it’s more life affirming to celebrate that I did do my best!

So this year….

1. I didn’t give up on driving!

I learned, I practiced, I took some tests and then I gave it a rest for a while because there was a lot going on in my life. But I didn’t give up! After we moved I found a new instructor and I’m now learning again, gaining in confidence and in 2014 I will get my driving licence.

2. Publishing professionals like my book!

I’ve not given up on writing my memoir either. This year I spoke to agents, publishers and authors about the book I am writing: The Real Life of a Narrowboat Wife. I was told the idea is good, the writing is good, it just needs more time dedicated to it.

3. I launched a free e-course

I’ve written two e-courses, started this new blog, made my first vlog and launched a free e-course. I’m well on my way to building the new business that I dreamed of.

4. Taking care of myself

This was last on my list for too many years. This year I’ve started meditation classes and yoga. I also drink far far less wine than I did this time last year.

5. Moved house

This one was huge. I left behind 13 years of narrowboat life and the identity that it gave me being part of that community. I’ve embraced running water, central heating and all mod-cons in a Devonshire cottage closer to my family. Making a big change is scary but sometimes you’ve just got to feel the fear and do it anyway.

What were your personal achievements this year? It’s healthy to congratulate yourself.

Join in with Kate Takes 5 Listography this week.