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.

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!


Click to Tweet: “This is 2014 Madam! Anything is possible!” via @boat_wife

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.