Sunday, 30 June 2013

July 2013

Welcome to the Dare to Blossom newsletter

In this issue:

Reflections: Listening
Rediscovery Process offer for you
Books: Summer reading with a difference
Inspiring links and events

Reflections: Listening

I started writing a piece about listening in my notebook a while ago. I was thinking about defining the core, the crux, of what I 'do' as a life coach. More relevant to you is what I am - someone who listens, really listens. And more important still is what that means for you - what being listened to, actively but with sensitive detachment - gives you.

The intention is to allow you to be heard. To provide a safe place for you to voice your thoughts and feelings to yourself; a non-judgmental place of unconditional positive regard. Those are terms used in counselling, and coaching is not counselling, it is not a therapy (though it can have a therapeutic effect). The reason for using those counselling phrases is that a starting point is for you to witness to yourself, (with outside help if you wish), where you have come from and where you are now. Not to agonise over, or try to explain or fix, the past. Simply to witness and move on, move forward into what lies next for you.

So, having someone holding that space for you, being there to witness, to mirror and to ask questions; taking part in that process means that you are able to truly hear your own voice. To hear your true self speaking for what may feel like the first time in your life. Sometimes the witnessing is simply being there while you are thinking: you may not be saying anything, simply having a place to think deeply before you move on can be an aide to letting go of matters you don't want or need to talk about or dwell on. Then, when you do want to 'think aloud' the way is clear for you to do that.

The reason I feel this is so important is rooted in my own experience. For many years I felt invisible, unheard, not allowed to speak up: "children should be seen and not heard", "good girls don't make a fuss", "men don't like clever girls"....... And after a while I wonder if I would even have recognised my own voice if I had heard it. (I am not 'blaming' anyone for this, it is simply the way it was then).

I think I first really became aware of the importance of being heard when I was diagnosed with cancer.
And here I took a break from writing this for you. I realised that one of the key lessons about listening and being heard that I have (finally, I hope) absorbed is to listen to myself, to my body and those little voices within that I so often ignore. So , while writing this one evening I realised that my body was telling me to stop, to put the laptop away, to go and rest, to come back refreshed another time.


So here I am back with you. I began really listening to my body and to the whispers of my heart and inner knowing on that day of my diagnosis - almost the first thing I did was to buy a notebook to write my way through the experience. As some of you know, that journal grew into the books published to support other women. By sharing our stories we are not only heard ourselves, we help others going through similar experiences.

Nearly twenty years later I am still on the voyage of rediscovering my inner wisdom, and reconnecting with 'that which encompasses all' - whether we call that the Universe, Source, the Higher Self, God, or any other term. Listening whilst stilling the busy mind is a practice that provides a door to this. And called a 'practice' for good reason - it takes continual practice. Someone wise has said that prayer is asking, meditation is being open to hear the answers. 

Another saying that makes me smile (and I used to have on a card with a picture of a beautiful black cat): "Everyone needs a good listening to."

For you: some suggestions for your journal or meditation reflections:
  • What do you need to listen to now?
  • Is your heart trying to be heard?
  • What can you do for yourself to allow that voice to be heard, firstly by yourself, and then - if you wish - by others?
Rediscovery Process Offer for You

As many of you know, I only work with a few private clients at the moment, in order to have time for my writing and other activities, plus my current contract with an organisation providing business coaching and training. However, I currently have an available slot for someone and I would like to offer you the opportunity to try out the Rediscovery Process for yourself.

I appreciate greatly the support you give me by opening and reading these emails, and sharing my weekly thoughts on the Rediscovery Cards. I would like to thank you by making a discount available for you. Full details of my regular service are on the
Rediscovery Process website so I won't repeat them here.

The special offer for newsletter readers is a 20% discount when you book a series of six Rediscovery Process coaching sessions. A long term commitment - when people are ready to make it - always shows big leaps forward, and I would love to provide the listening space for you to achieve those leaps. If we haven't spoken before (and even if we have) - there is a free consultation call to establish if you feel this is the right step for you. And if you then still feel unsure, the offer also applies to a one-off Rediscovery Session.

email me if you would like to explore this offer and discover the way home to yourself. You will know if the time is right and if this approach is for you. I feel it is unlikely that many people will respond at one time, but if this is the case, a way can be found to move forward and support you in the best way for you. 

Books: Unusual summer reading

I've been reading two books recently, both about near death experiences, known as NDEs. This is why I titled this 'unusual summer reading' as they are certainly not the customary (for some) 'airport novel'. They are however, totally absorbing and hard to put down.

Although both are about the same sort of experience the totally different backgrounds and cultures of the authors made it even more fascinating. Each entered a coma through different causes and neither was expected to survive. 

Proof of Heaven by Dr Eban Alexander, a respected neurosurgeon who had previously dismissed accounts of near death experiences, even those told to him by his own patients, as illusions caused by the mind.

Dying to Be Me by Anita Moorjani, a young woman with a mixed cultural background, brought up in Hong Kong by traditional Indian Hindu parents. A quote from Anita really struck me: "..we already are what we spend out lives trying to attain, but we just don't realise it." Another affirmation of the rediscovery process of finding our way home to ourselves.

Note: I buy most of my books from Cygnus Books. Recently I had been investigating Amazon and the possibility of signing up to receive affiliate fees when people buy books via a link from my website. However, I paused to remember why I buy from Cygnus - because they are a small company with a clear ethos who share their own spiritual development (and the blips along the way too). In the words from their website:

"Our aim is to help you find the inspiration and guidance you are looking for, as you search for new ways to heal your body, nourish your soul and live in a way that reflects your own deepest values."

And their prices are very good too! So, I would rather recommend their service and expect nothing in return, than take the Amazon route. Even if you don't buy very often, Cygnus have a wonderful Review that you can receive free of charge (electronically or printed),

Inspiring links and events

Thank you to Soleira Green for this one - a short film of a wonderful nine-year-old philosopher.

Soleira has a
number of events coming up around the world, I will be at the one in the UK on 13 July - would be lovely to meet you there if this appeals to you. 

Thank you for reading, please do visit leave any comments or feedback if you feel inspired. Or email me direct if you prefer your remarks to be private, either way it is so good to know that people to read my monthly musings.

all best wishes


Thursday, 27 June 2013


26 June 2013

When I drew  this card, my first reaction was 'Oh dear, I don't feel like adventure!'. In my mind I didn't feel like excitement and derring-do. I felt more drawn to snuggling up with a good book to read.  So I decided to let the card sit for a while.

The vibrant pink has energy and also a comforting softness. It is very close to the colour of the passion flower which for me represents Dare to Blossom. 
I took the photos in our conservatory where the passionflower grows. My husband spent a long time nurturing the plant before it finally became established and flowered for the first time. Now it covers the ceiling, along with a grapevine and a beautiful abutilon that has pretty canary yellow bell-shaped flowers. This year the passionflower has had a very long period of dormancy, in fact it had very few flowers last summer. Now there are many buds appearing and we are watching with anticipation to see the first one open - it has been growing slowly day by day and now has a pink colour appearing.

A number of years ago a wise person (who has become a dear friend, thank you Fiona) - asked me 'Does your passionflower blossom all the time, or does it have periods of rest?' The message I took from that is not to feel I have to be out there being active and adventurous  all the time, I also need and deserve periods of rest and dormancy to recover my strength and my inspiration. 

I feel I am coming through one of those times now, maybe that was my resistance to 'Adventure'? I have just looked up the dictionary definitions of the word - most refer to risk and hazards, but one aspect of 'Adventure' that appeals to me is: "an exciting or very unusual experience." 

That is something I enjoy, and on reflection I've had a number of those this week. Some have been visiting different places and meeting new people during a weekend away, others have been unusual dreams and meditation experiences. Recognising this and also acknowledging my own need for balancing rest and 'dormant' times has been the gift of focusing on this card over the last few days.

Thank you for being my companions on this adventure. Feel free to 
post any comments you would like to share below, it would be good to hear from you.

Until next time,


Thursday, 20 June 2013



20 June 2013

"A journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step." This saying has always been an inspiration for me: whenever I am starting a big project, or anything that seems daunting, I think of this. If I can just get started, get moving, then I will have begun the journey. Sometimes I feel I am not ready, that I need to prepare more. Then I recall what I would say to people who come to me for coaching: writing about  ideas is good, exploring them in conversation is great - but... nothing will actually happen unless some action is taken. When I take that first step towards something, events are set in motion, friends can support me. Maybe, the Universe really does move in behind me too, who knows?

Sometimes an action involves a leap of faith, jumping before the bridge appears to support my landing. I've been wondering why I can't find much to write for you this week. Maybe it is because more 'action' is required!  Even though writing (and sending this out to you) is an action in itself, maybe this week's card is prompting me to be more active out in the world, physically.

One of the actions I have taken this week is to book a workshop with Soleira Green on 13 July at her home in West Sussex (see below for a link if you are interested). I have known Soleira for a number of years and it will be great to spend a day with her and a group of people. I find it interesting that I barely read the description of the workshop, I just had a strong feeling of needing to take action, to jump in and book a place.

The number thirteen has always been a 'lucky number' for me, I am not sure if this influenced me or not. I do know that on that date I'll be on a day trip to Sussex via 'plane, train and automobile'. Maybe you will be there too? Here is the link, scroll down the page for the workshop in Sussex. You will also see that there is an on-line offering, as well as events around the world.

Finally before I go, a heart-felt thank you to readers who have gently queried whether writing a weekly newsletter/blog is a burden, I appreciate your concern and  thoughtfulness. So far it hasn't been, and I will be having the occasional week's break when I am away. Thank you for the reminder to consider my own self-care: I will take note and have a break any time it begins to feel like a chore rather than a joy to share these thoughts with you.

Your continued support is such a gift, thank you. Please contribute your thoughts below if you would like to  share them and start a discussion.

Until next time,


Wednesday, 12 June 2013



13 June 2013

My first attempt at a name for my coaching business was Flying in the Face of Fear. This was the title of my book drawing together the stories of women like me who had been through the experience of cervical cancer.. Although a great description of that time, I felt that for the forward-looking process of life coaching I wanted something different.

When I eventually decided on Dare to Blossom Life Coaching as the name, I found people continually challenging me: "Well, have you?" they would ask when I handed them my business card - "Have you dared to blossom?"  Quite a challenge. Over time I began to think of this more as a process than a one-off, as daring to blossom. (And I used that title for a series of workshops that may well be repeated in the future). Daring feels softer, kinder, allowing me to take baby steps.

The original inspiration for the name was a card that is still on my cork board beside my desk. It bears a quote from Anais Nin that reads: 
"...and then the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom." Somehow, that transmuted in my mind to "dare to blossom", and has been an inspiration ever since.

Daring now, today, feels to me a description, a challenge, maybe an affirmation - of my path over the last few years. I often do not feel daring: just the opposite. I feel like hiding away, not writing any more, not exposing my thoughts to the world. Last week I had a moment in my working day when I suddenly had a crisis of confidence. Standing in front of a group of people, I felt tired of the sound of my own voice; worried that I wasn't making sense; afraid of.... I don't know what. And I wanted to run away and hide. I didn't, just noticed the wobble. And I'll be back, today, tomorrow, and the day after - in front of other groups, and the same people when Friday comes around again. Daring to pick myself up and carry on.

And here I am with you too. I am peeking out, almost peering between my fingers like a small child playing peek-a-boo. Wondering if you are still there, or if you have gone away and left me alone. It may be a topic for another time, but writing this has reminded of the feeling I used to have, and that still returns sometimes, a feeling of being invisible, of not existing, of worrying that people forgot all about me when I was out of sight. So dealing with that feeling during my life has been a case of daring to show up anyway; daring to explore who 'Mary' is; gradually finding out that I do exist as a separate person, as a unique individual. And having discovered and begun to value my own special qualities, then, at last to rediscover that I am part of a greater whole. Not as an invisible and insignificant particle; rather as a unique and shining individual star in a universe of interconnected bright, bright stars consisting of each of us, all of us dancing to the music of the heavens, supporting and celebrating as the worlds turn.
That was a true piece of flow-writing, words that just jumped out onto the page, apparently of their own volition. Words that may, or may not, have any meaning for you as you read them. For you to take or leave as you wish. All prompted by this small card with six letters upon it in an order that spells Daring.

The soft green background, as with all the colours in the pack, just 'chose itself' - I did not consciously choose which colours went with each word. Today, looking at the card on the desk beside me, I love the contrast: a word that can seem quite challenging, coupled with a soft, natural, spring-fresh green. A calm colour, to me it is saying "take your time, take those small steps, dare a little each day,"

Until next time, thank you all for being the shining stars in my world,


Thursday, 6 June 2013


6 June 2013

Clarity - just what I need this week. However, I have found it very hard to write this piece to share with you. Maybe because I had gone into 'writing' mode, rather than feeling and exploring and flow-writing?

I have been doing some thinking during the week about becoming more clear on what it is I offer people through my coaching services - and that will be emerging in due course and shared in a future monthly newsletter. So that was a start.

The last few days here in Cornwall have been wonderful - perfect June days, with bright sunshine, a cool breeze and nature blossoming all around. As I have been going through my working days I have been noticing the wonderful clear air. The sort of air that sparkles almost as if you can see it; the air that makes everything look bright and new. The trees in fresh greens of early summer, such a variety of different shades. The flowers in the Cornish hedgerows: bluebells, red campion, buttercups. Everything zinging with life and energy.

Nature doesn't feel a struggle for clarity: nature knows why the plants are flowering and the trees are in leaf. If I can discover why I am here, will I gain that clarity? I have read somewhere that I am here simply to experience joy. To be joyful in each moment and to help others experience joy also. That sounds clear and simple (though not necessarily easy). All the "stuff" that gets in my way is clutter and fogginess. Clutter stops me thinking clearly and fogginess obscures my vision.

A song runs through my head: "I can see clearly now the rain has gone, I can see all obstacles in my way. Gone are the dark clouds that had me down, it's gonna be a bright, bright, sunshiny day." (
Jimmy Cliff) That reminds me of a saying along the lines of "The obstacles in your path, are your path." There is an article on the subject here from the Zen Habits blog - interesting that the first example is about writing!

So - those were my thoughts, once they eventually started flowing. I think I will keep "Clarity", with it's warm orange background, close to me to guide me along my way forward.

Thank you once again for sharing my voyage of rediscovery. I'll look forward to seeing your comments below if you would like to offer them, and to hearing about your own journeys using the Rediscovery Cards.

Until next week,