Saturday, 30 November 2013

December 2013

Welcome to the Dare to Blossom newsletter
Reflections: Celebrations

This week I have friends in the USA (or with connections there) who have been celebrating Thanksgiving. Many of them say that they prefer that event to Christmas as it is less commercalised and focuses on giving thanks. Thanks for family and friends, for the love and laughter in life.

So I started thinking of all the things I have reason to give thanks for: health, family, friends, good books, a satisfying job as well as my business, living in a glorious location.... the list goes on. It is of course a gratitude list under another name, and somehow, for me "Giving thanks" adds an extra dimension. It signifies voicing my gratitude as well as just feeling it. Actually saying to the people around me: "Thank you for being in my life, thank you for your support, your friendship, your love." Maybe "Thank you for the challenges you bring." too, though perhaps I wouldn't say it quite that way.

There is also something about giving thanks before the event. Thanks for the gift of a new day as I step out of bed; thanks for the good breakfast I am about to eat; for the productive activities to come. There is an element of self-fulfilling prophecy here. If I get up expecting a good day, I'll be right; if I expect a bad one - I'll be right too. (Along the lines of the Henry Ford quote: “Whether you think you can, or you think you can't, you're right.”)

With other celebrations coming up - Christmas, New Year, with all the associated pressures, maybe the simple mantra of 'give thanks' is one to keep in mind?

For you: some suggestions for your journal or meditation reflections:
  • What can you give thanks for right now?
  • Who can you express gratitude to for being in your life?
Win Dare to Blossom Rediscovery cards 

A little seasonal competition for you (well, a draw really) - just reply to this email, and add some thoughts on the year and what you would like to give thanks for in the year ahead if you wish. Include your mailing address in case you win.

Your name will be entered in a random draw for a pack of Dare to Blossom Rediscovery Cards. The closing date is 20th December so that you will receive them well before New Year and be able to use them to rediscover your inner wisdom during 2014.

Inspiring Links: Kivq

I have supported the micro-finance scheme
Kiva for a number of years and recently received this 'thank you' message. To give a gift that really makes a difference in the world you can by a gift card of a Kiva loan for the recipient to choose how they lend it. I find the whole process fascinating (as well as moving) - seeing how the micro-businesses develop, repay their loans, and maybe borrow again. The determination of people to improve their lives is humbling and inspirational. And, of course as the money you give is a loan, it can be re-lent over and over again. So far my $50 has made 25 loans to people in 14 different countries.

Thank you for reading, and for being my companions throughout 2013. Whether I have heard from you, or not, I am grateful for your continued support and companionship.

Please do leave any comments or feedback below 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


Wednesday, 27 November 2013


28 November 2013

This is an interesting word to write about. In a way I feel like saying.... nothing at all. In my experience meditation is a way of disconnecting from words, and thoughts, and actions. At various points in the past I have been able to devote blocks of time to meditation practice, not always - in my view at the time - 'successfully' - what ever that means. Recently I've been approaching meditation in a different way, allowing myself to count even a minute - sixty seconds - of mindfulness as successful meditation.

Last week, while eating lunch in my car as I often do between appointments, I was able to observe myself mindfully eating my satsuma. As i broke the skin to peel it, the sunlight illuminated the spurts of juice that erupted, and my nose appreciated the aroma of intense orange. As I ate each segment I enjoyed the colour as I held it up to the light to check for pips, again the sunlight highlighted the golden hue. As I savoured the flavour I relaxed into the moment - and realised what a gift it was. Being able to be in the moment was a truly meditative experience.

Other meditative moments can be through using yoga breathing - simply paying attention to the breath, perhaps deepening and lengthening each one a little. I find this a centering and calming process.

Over the years I have used and come to love guided meditations or visualisations, and this card has reminded me that I can revisit the CDs I have with various examples, always a wonderful support. This week I completed the last of four coaching sessions with
Kathy Kane, and I can truly say they have been joyous conversations. Kathy is an inspirational and skilled coach, and she helped me with some steps on my journey of 'coming home to myself' that I embarked on when I developed the cards and started this process of sharing over this year. At the end of our session Kathy suggested a guided meditation and the outcome for me was a reconnection with a part of me that offers self-care and nurturing.

The soft green background of this card reminds me that being out in the natural world is for me one of the fastest ways to meditation - and one that virtually everyone enjoys in some way, often not thinking of it as meditation. Sitting in my garden, walking on the cliffs, strolling through the woods, driving to work through trees with glorious autumn colours - all opportunities for me to be mindful in my daily life.

As always, please feel free to comment below.

If you would like to own a set of cards to explore their power for yourself please visit the dedicated page.

Thank you dear friends for visiting with me again this week and sharing my musings.

Until next time,

with love,

Please come and visit 'Dare to Blossom Life Coaching' on Facebook.

Thursday, 21 November 2013


21 November 2013

This card is one of those where my first thought was.... I think I'd rather put this back, I'd rather not have to write about this. In my experience that is usually a sign that something important is waiting to emerge. So I've sat with the card for a few days as usual. Today I've decided to make a start, even though I have no idea still what to write.

Forgiveness feels too BIG. So many people have written about forgiveness already, I feel inadequate to the task. Aha, maybe that is my first challenge, to forgive myself for feeling that, for not having the confidence that this process is right. Right for me, and for you if you choose to read this. You do not need to accept anything I write, or believe it, or use it in any way, the same as I choose to take or leave many of the things I read.

Last weekend, during one of the workshops at the ECL conference, I was reminded of the Hawaiian (and other South Pacific cultures) practice of ho 'oponopono', of forgiveness and reconciliation. As is mentioned on that link, the traditional uses include tribal and family meetings to settle disagreements, with the discussions going on until a way forward has been agreed by all. There are many websites, videos and recordings, I found a wide selection when I searched online. The simple principle is: 

"I'm sorry. Please forgive me. I love you. Thank you."

My experience is that often the hardest person to forgive is myself. Learning to move on from mistakes, accept them and let go has been a continual practice for me. I find this quote a gentle reminder:

“Forgiveness is not an occasional act, it is a constant attitude.” 
Martin Luther King Jr.

As always, please feel free to comment with your thoughts and comments. 

If you would like to own a set of cards to explore their power for yourself please visit the dedicated page.

Thank you dear friends for visiting with me again this week and sharing my musings.

Until next time,

with love,

Wednesday, 13 November 2013


14 November 2013

My first response to this card was..... a deep breath in and out, a little sigh of relaxation. Kindness, to me, is one of those qualities that does not arrive with fanfares or grand gestures. It just is. It just is what it is, kind. Being kind can make such a difference to everyday life. When I remember and pause to think what would be a kind reaction to other people, when I take that breath in before speaking and consider what a kind response would be - then life flows more smoothly. Whether at home or at work (and between the two, as I drive around sometimes busy roads), that pause for consideration can save me from a reaction I may regret later.

Being kind to myself is another challenge. As comes up frequently in my reflections, whether here to share with you or privately in my journal, I am continually struck - when I pause to listen to myself - at the way I speak to myself. I read a moving description recently from a woman's account of her experience of depression, describing an extreme version of this. She wrote of her negative thoughts following her around the house like a bully.* How often do I bully myself instead of treating myself kindly? Using words such as 'stupid', 'idiot', plus the 'must, should' etc, etc.

*(her name is Allie Brosh and she writes a perceptive and amusing cartoon blog)

"Random acts of kindness" is a concept that appeals to me: smiling at a stranger and not knowing if that makes a difference; leaving a book I have finished on a train for someone else to read and enjoy; paying for the person in front of me in a coffee shop (though I haven't tried this one yet). I just popped away to research some quotes on 'kindness' and discovered that there is an organisation called The Random Acts of Kindness Foundation, lots of interesting things to look into there

One quote that stood out for me was:

Unexpected kindness is the most powerful, least costly, and most underrated agent of human change. Bob Kerrey (1943) American Politician

This reminds me of a story my mother told me late in her life, after she'd had a stroke and had to move into a nursing home. She told me that one of the things she was proud of was the effect a seemingly chance encounter had on a family. She said that one day a woman she didn't recognise came up to her and said "You won't remember me, but the advice you gave years ago changed my son's life." Apparently on that occasion my mother had seen this person somewhere, visibly upset, and asked what was wrong. The story emerged that the woman's son was being bullied at school and was about to move up to secondary school along with the same boys who were doing the bullying. She was so worried and at her wit's end. My mother gently suggested that she could ask that he be enrolled at a different school in the area - something that wasn't generally an option in those days. This what she had done and now the son was just about to graduate from university with a bright future ahead.

Coming across the quote above reminded me of this example of kindness being an agent of human change. Most often we will never be aware of the effect our kindness. It may not be as profound as the example above, but the ripples will have spread out from one person to another from the moment we decide to respond with kindness

The warm orange of the card adds to my feeling that 'Kindness' is a foundation that I can rely on when I feel the need for comfort myself or when I want to help others.

As always, please feel free to comment below with your thoughts and comments. 

If you would like to own a set of cards to explore their power for yourself please visit the dedicated page.

Thank you dear friends for visiting with me again this week and sharing my musings.

Until next time,

with love,

*if you have any difficulty accessing the 'blogspot' service, you can also read here on the Daring to Blossom website, or find 'Dare to Blossom Life Coaching' on Facebook.

Thursday, 7 November 2013


7 November 2013

Today I have had a luxury - plenty of time to write, and 
even more significantly, time to prepare to write. I began by playing with my pastel crayons, fun but messy and an easy way to doodle in colour. I was thinking about this card 'Beginnings' which has been my companion for two weeks. During this time I celebrated my birthday, so my thoughts of the bud of beginnings linked in with my own beginning. As a tiny baby, I contained the 'bud' of potential. And today that potential is still there, as still there are new aspects of my self to emerge as the years pass.

At any time, any moment, I can pause and ask myself - what is beginning, where am I going, who am I being? Am I being ME or am I following someone else's expectations? As I experimented with the pastels I found the bud I was drawing at the centre of the paper was shaped like a heart, with a pink centre and a green border. There are a number of shoots emerging from the heart/bud, and it is surrounded by large question marks. At the end of each shoot is a different sort of flower. In one corner I found myself drawing in black, maybe a black cloud, then I encircled it with another green shoot and put in a glimmer of light in the centre of the blackness - which then exploded outwards into an impression of bright light.

Sometimes the most significant beginnings come from the darkest night. Those black experiences, such as my own of cancer, can be the most transformational of catalysts for change. Realising I am writing about change, I think "Does a 'beginning' need to be about 'change?" Maybe sometimes, or maybe a gentle evolution, a growing, blossoming and blooming of what is already there. The potential already within my heart which is the true essence of ME, that potential is there and can emerge without drama or hardship.

Looking back, my journey through life so far has been a series of beginnings, and, yes, a considerable amount of change. Looking back I see the patterns and cycles: times when I have lost my way; times when I have been offered guidance and have found my way home to myself. My beginnings this year, I now see, will be continuing the process I sketched out subconsciously in my picture. The gift of the black clouds that provide rain for the plants to grow and flower; the gift of the uncertainty, the questions. The gift of this little card bearing the word 'Beginnings' on the green background, that prompted me to reflect and appreciate the joy of all the beginnings still to come.

The photo I took of my picture did not show it well enough to include here, so I have described it as well as I am able. Thank you to Kathy Kane for sparking some of the thoughts on 'Looking back', and especially for mentioning me and the cards in her blog post on Gratitude this week.

As always, please feel free to comment below with your thoughts and comments. 

If you would like to own a set of cards to explore their power for yourself please visit the dedicated page.

Thank you dear friends for visiting with me again this week and sharing my musings.

Until next time,

with love,

*if you have any difficulty accessing the 'blogspot' service, you can also read here on the Daring to Blossom website, or find 'Dare to Blossom Life Coaching' on Facebook.