Thursday, 31 December 2015

January 2016: Delving Deep

Welcome to the Dare to Blossom Newsletter
This month we have a guest writer, Cate, who has been a regular reader of this newsletter/blog for a number of years. Many thanks to her for offering this contribution. If anyone else would like to see their words featured here, feel free to contact me.

In this Issue: 
Reflections: Delving Deep
Guest Article: Geraniums and Life by Cate
Workshops and Events: Magic Carpet Ride Workshops and On-line Group
Coaching one-to-one intensives: special offer on 'Rediscover your Spark'

Reflections: Delving Deep

This time of year feels to me like a time to go within, to withdraw. The sun has passed the shortest day - the longest night - here in Cornwall, but the nights (and often the days too) seem dark. A time of rest, of hibernation even. A fallow time when most plants are resting too - even in the exceptionally mild weather here when some are flowering early.

The feeling of going within is also associated with the ending of 2015 and beginning of a new year - wherever you are in the world, whatever season you are in, this may still ring true for you. In the rush and bustle of festivities, of gatherings and celebrations with family and friends - it can be easy to let this opportunity slip past. The opportunity to pause and review; to reflect and look forward.

This year it feels important for me to take the time to delve deep: by this I mean to take time to meditate and reflect. Also to unearth .. unearth what? I don't know yet. To 'un-earth' - clear away the accumulated detritus that may be covering the jewels within.

There is a feeling that it is time to let go of many things, maybe physical possessions, but not just these. Some things I have no choice over: my youth, my energy, my smooth unlined skin - all of these are changing. That is as it is, as it should be for a woman of my age. The gifts those years bring are the treasures to be unearthed.

I am finding this very hard to articulate, to explain in words. The phrase 'letting go' is not quite it: some things feel as if they are being stripped away against my will. Others as if I am willingly relinquishing them, gifting them to others to treasure for themselves. The journey within will illuminate what those things are - what I need to allow to be stripped away and to pass on. What is to be un-earthed and cleaned, re-evaluated afresh and revitalised.

Sitting here, feeling into how to describe this, I see a series of images that are not yet real, that I need to visit in visualisations and meditations to truly connect with and receive their gifts. Many of the images I have already seen, and experienced in some of the Midsummer Magic Carpet Ride visualisations I have shared with those of you who were part of that group.

The first image is a huge gateway: there are guardians on either side, I can see light through the gateway but no detail. I feel as if a big decision is required to allow me to enter. Another image is of journeying. No detail, not even an image really, more a feeling: a feeling of distance, of miles, of months, of time spent with the people I will meet, conversations shared, meals cooked and eaten. There is darkness, and fog; cold winds, rain and snow. There is sunlight and birdsong; spring flowers, butterflies; soft, warm breezes. A sensation of all that is unnecessary being stripped away. Things I thought were a core part, the essence of me, turn out to have been acquired trappings. Deeper and deeper; a drum beat now. Deeper and deeper until another gate appears, this time with a wooden door and a lock. I find a key in my hand and know it is my choice to unlock it or to walk away. What will I choose? I won't know until I make the journey over the next few weeks.

As I write this, I realise I have put a programme of support in place for myself over this time. A reading, a coaching session, a workshop - and the preparation of the materials for my new workshops: "A Magic Carpet Ride to Rediscover your Spark, and Focus". I realise that is what I am longing for, a new spark - which will be the same spark that has always been within me. The spark I was born into this life with, the spark that may have been obscured and dimmed by all the accumulations that I will be relinquishing in my journey.

And, as I have been writing, the words of John O'Donohue's poem, one of my central inspirations have been playing through my mind:

“To Come Home to Yourself.
May all that is unforgiving in you
Be released
May your fears yield their deepest tranquilities
May all that is unlived in you blossom into a future graced with love.”
John O’Donohue

Guest Article: Geraniums and Life by Cate

On 22nd December, the shortest day of the year passes by. The dark mornings and ever so long, dark, late afternoons and evenings gradually shift to give the northern hemisphere its longer hours of daylight.

At present England seems to be experiencing uncharacteristically mild weather with reports and sightings of daffodils flowering in Devon in November and December. However, it was only a few weeks ago that there were frosts. Noticing that several geranium plants in terracotta pots in the garden had been caught by a morning frost in November, I dutifully carried them inside. A friend undertakes this ritual each year. She carries in her pretty pink geraniums from her terrace and creates a mini indoor garden on her landing bookshelf close to the terrace. So this year, I carried in my geraniums indoors to see if I could revive them.

Geraniums can be incredibly resilient. Preferring heat and sunshine, they can get too waterlogged by rain and if left out in winter, frosts can lead these summer loving plants to rot. But geraniums will dare to blossom again if a little care is taken now. As I went about the ruthless pruning of these well established but dishevelled looking plants a number of parallels to my life’s journey this year struck me.

A frost-bitten geranium is a sad looking thing. It wilts, and turns a strange shade of green, a dull grey/green and foliage appears lifeless. The plant’s branches shrivel and die. I too can become lifeless if I leave myself in the wrong environment for too long. Like the geranium, I also prefer the warmth of summer, plenty of natural sunshine for light and heat. So I have learnt that it is important for me to get outside in the open air, to sit in the sunshine for a few minutes to boost my vitamin D and to relax for a while (as my doctor recommended this year).

The ruthless pruning I embarked on with my geraniums, just as I do with roses in the garden is an exercise in faith. I take a pair of garden scissors and imagine where new growth may take place next year. I cut back long leggy branches as well as those branches that have grown at odd angles. This results in a pile of dead sections of the plant but helps to save the plant’s energy over winter. Pruning reveals the smaller centre of the plant, the strongest branches. A shadow of its fully flowering former self earlier in the year, the plant then looks rather exposed. Ultimately, however, cutting the geraniums back will result in a stronger and more revitalised plant and the opportunity for new growth.

I moved house twice this year.  On each occasion I approached the need to move as an opportunity to shed things I no longer needed. Things that were cluttering my life, weighing me down, or keeping out the light in my, wardrobe, chest of drawers, my study, the loft and garage! I pruned away things that no longer served me well. Odd things I have collected on life’s journey that belonged to events in my life years ago that have no use for now. Whilst at times challenging and emotionally tricky to follow through with, the result was that I felt lighter, re-invigorated and sharper about who I am and what I have. There is more pruning to be done, but rather than see this as a once in a lifetime clean sweep, I realise it is to be an on-going annual affair, just as I prune the roses and geraniums.

Pruning of the geraniums, giving them the opportunity of new life, to dare to blossom again, also led me to consider the pruning I have begun to apply to my life. I am becoming bolder at pruning away people, places and things that no longer serve me well, sap my energy or take up space and block the light from my life. I do not wish to sound too ruthless, but I really do wish to take good care of myself and take actions that are in my own best interest. It concerns me now that perhaps I have not done this as much as I could have in the past. So, I am now applying physical pruning to decluttering and passing on clothes and things I have had around my home to charity shops where they may be needed by others. I am also gradually pruning away the activities I have engaged in that no longer serve me well, that sap my energy, or may not be in my best interest. I weigh up different choices or options before branching out into new ventures or continuing to spend my time the ways I always have – thus giving space for new activities and opportunities.

A few days after cutting away two thirds of each of the geranium plants – yes, it was a bold and ruthless pruning session, I was thrilled to see tiny, fresh, vivid green, new shoots appearing. As this occurred I began new behaviour too. With the help of a good friend as an action buddy, I have begun to do at least one thing a week that makes me feel really uncomfortable. A bit like experiencing growing pains, I am committing to this to see where it takes me. I do feel on the other side of the new behaviour, choice or action that there has been some growth, so I will continue. Otherwise, it’s like being a plant that has been located in an area with no space for growth, resulting in a stunted life, getting bitten by frost, sitting out there in the garden in winter, shrivelling and rotting in the dampness and darkness. The plants contain a life force just as I do. It takes courage to move, to prune radically, to create space, be more exposed, to reach out and grow. So far it has been worth taking the courage to it.

The tiny, fresh, vivid green, new shoots on the geraniums are now medium sized branches with new shiny leaves, overtaking the older central part of the plant. Seeing the new growth so vividly is an encouraging daily reminder to prune away, let go and embrace new things too. Mary’s Dare to Blossom cards also gives me daily encouragement. Sometimes the word I have selected prompts me to think of an area of my life to be mindful of that day. Or, during the day a situation occurs where I can put a word into practice. Alternatively, I become aware of how another person has demonstrated this word in my presence and that I may wish to do so in the future. My friend’s care for her geraniums and life is now a ritual in my life also.

Workshops and Events: Magic Carpet Ride to Rediscover your Spark and Focus

As some of you will remember, during December I sent you a special bulletin about the workshops planned so far in Cornwall, and the on-line programme that starts on 1 February.

Thank you so much to those who have already booked for these events, numbers are small as yet - understandably so of course, with everyone being busy with the festivities. And I know already that the people gathering for the groups will be each bringing something special with them. A warm welcome dear friends, whether we have met yet or not, your presence is valued and appreciated.

A reminder of the dates is below. You can find full details on the
'Workshops and Events' page. And don't forget, if you would like to host a workshop in your own home, or book me to give a talk to a group, you can contact me to discuss.

Workshops in Cornwall:
Saturday 23 January, 10.00 am to 1.00 pm near Lostwithiel
Saturday 6 February, 10.00 am to 1.00 pm in Hayle

On-line programme - worldwide:
1 February to 29 February

Each event is priced at £25. If you would like to book a workshop and the on-line class, please contact me for a combined invoice at a cost of £40 for both.

Coaching Special offer - in case you have not yet read your special bulletin:

January Boost - Rediscover your Spark Coaching, or a 'One Card Reading'

One to one coaching session by Skype or telephone, at one third less than my regular rates,
Open only until Thursday 21 January - the next three weeks. A chance to refresh and revitalise for the start of 2016, and to rediscover your spark within, your drive and focus. Leap into 2016 with energy and enthusiasm!

One hour: £60

0 minutes: £30

Please email me by replying to this message to book your slot and arrange payment by bank transfer or Paypal.

More details about the coaching process can be found on the
Rediscovery Coaching page.

'One Card Reading' Yuletide Special
People have found it is useful to receive some guidance on how the Rediscovery Cards can work for them. If you are not ready yet for a full coaching session, here is a chance to try a quick laser shot of insight and inspiration. For £2.50 I will draw a card for you and send you by email an intuitive response as to how that quality - the word and the colour -  may show up for you.

The offer expires on 3 January 2016 at midnight (GMT).

Visit the Rediscovery Cards page on the
website here and scroll down for details. (Yes it is just £2.50, to answer a question I have already been asked - but only until 3 January)

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 month and sharing my musings.

With love


Monday, 30 November 2015

December 2015 - Beginnings

In this Issue: 
Reflections: Beginnings
Unusual gift ideas

Reflections: Beginnings

The theme of 'Beginnings' may seem more suited to a newsletter for January. However, this card has been coming out regularly for me in my daily meditation practice, so I decided to follow that lead and see where it takes me. Before I settled on that I looked through all the past 'December' pieces I have written over the years since I began writing this in 2007. Sometimes I find an article in the 'back issues' that feels very current and relevant and I choose to share it again.

This time my experience has been totally different. How interesting! I felt that I didn't recognise the writer of those words in earlier years, that I had changed so much. I plan to review the past year for myself in detail before I write to you in January. So this is just the beginning of that review process in a way. There have been many endings this year as well as beginnings. Not always a direct correlation, though often there is - the ending of my contract of employment on 31 May meant that from 1 June I was self-employed full time for example.

The ending of the series of 'Magic Carpet Ride' workshops for this year with the event on Saturday 21 November, means I am already reviewing and planning a fresh programme for next year. My revitalised website is now live - which meant saying farewell to the old self-built, organically grown (and rather creaky!) one that I have nurtured over many years. Thank you to everyone who has already given me constructive feedback. Just this week I have added a recorded audio introduction so you might like to pop in and visit to hear that if you are not familiar with the way I work as a life coach. (It is on the
Welcome Page, just scroll down to find it.)

The death of my cat Sparky in September is still very poignant for me - and, we are now ready to welcome for his successor, who will be the seventh in our line of resident feline companions. In fact there will be two, as we have decided to offer a home to two rescue kittens, females as they may be less likely to stray, and we hope they will keep each other company as well. Not to mention the fact we both love sitting with a purring cat on our laps. My apologies in advance to anyone reading here who is not a lover of cats, as you will be doubtless be treated to a photo or two over future months - especially if we are linked on Facebook.

As I write, I can think of many other examples of 'beginnings' in my life over the past year. For some reason this painting came to mind to illustrate this piece: the title is "Into Flight". I chose that as I can see a pattern of feathers. Feathers beating as if just about to generate the energy needed to lift the bird off the ground into the air. The energy I feel when new beginnings are blossoming into results that I could not possibly have foreseen before I took the leap, made that step, dared to break out of the tight bud.

There is a risk in naming these paintings that others will be held back in their own idea of what they see in them, so feel free to think of it as something totally different - in fact I would be very interested in hearing from you if you would like to share that. Equally, the orientation I have chosen is just one possibility: it could be the other way up, or landscape aspect, again with two possibilities. Or at any number of different angles - there is no 'right' or 'wrong'.

For you: suggestions for your meditations or journal reflections:
- Looking back over the past year, do any beginnings stand out as significant?
- Any endings?
- If you make any sort of artwork (including doodles -
listen to this if you dismiss those as a waste of time!) - choose a piece to look at, turn it in all different directions and see what you see.
- Alternatively, do the same with anything in your environment around you - it could be a photo or a painting, or just as easily a practical every-day item like a pen. Look at it, really look at it, touch it, feel the texture, smell it, shake it and listen for any sound it makes -  and write about what you experience. (Obviously the shaking depends on the type of article, but I won't give you a health and safety warning here.)

If you are wondering what the last two questions have to do with reviewing your year - one answer is nothing really, just a piece of fun. Another answer is everything - choosing to really look, to truly see and feel what is in the immediate range of your senses can bring forth a new awareness of everything else in your life and unexpected insights can result.

Unusual gift ideas

This month I decided to put together some ideas from the very many creative and entrepreneurial friends I have. Many of these can be ordered on-line, though you may need to check on delivery times if you are in a different part of the world, and some are 'virtual' gifts.There are so many I can't possibly list them all - and if I haven't included you, please don't be offended.

* Mini Mojo Bags from
TheWillowsRaven - Sheila has other items on her Etsy shop, and also virtual offerings on her main website.
* Plant Ally and Tree Wisdom Cards (and Christmas cards too) from
Lisa McLoughiln
* Made in Cornwall Directory - for a treasure house of beautiful products all made in Cornwall have a browse here. (I am a member but have not yet submitted an entry for the directory).
* Extraordinary paintings, prints and cards from Fleur Barnfather.
* Writing in the House of Dreams - creative adventures for dreamers and writers by Jenny Alexander. Jenny has written many books, and I bought this a while ago when I attended a workshop with her. It will be my companion on a forth-coming railway journey to London. I could have mentioned a whole library of books. I thought this was a good one for all my creatively dreaming friends here.

Well, I have spent an enjoyable half an hour (or - looking at the clock - more like an hour!) finding these links for you and need to stop now to finish this to send to you for the end of the month/beginning of December.

A reminder that the Dare to Blossom Rediscovery Cards are a gift that can be used every day of the year and always provide inspiration - as I share almost every day with my friends over on the
Dare to Blossom business page on Facebook. This year there are the paintings such as 'Into Flight' mentioned above, plus greetings cards of many of the paintings plus a range of photographic cards. Here is the most seasonal of those, a shot taken in our garden a few years ago on a frosty morning. Wishing you all the joys of the coming season and may any potential stress pass effortlessly away over your head.

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 month and sharing my musings.

Until next time, when we will be entering into a new year of magic and potential for 2016,

with love,

PS The working title for my new programme for 2016 is "Rediscover your Fire and Focus" - with provisional dates for workshops in West Cornwall already penciled in - watch this space or on Facebook if you would like to know more.

PPS The Dare to Blossom at Home workshops will still be available to book for you and your guests, check that option out

Tuesday, 27 October 2015

November 2015: Lost for Words

In this Issue: 
Reflections: Lost for Words 

Reflections: Lost for Words

Sitting down to write to you this month, I truly do feel lost for words. I do a lot of writing: daily (except Sundays) I write a reflection on my 'card of the day' on the Dare to Blossom Facebook page (link in the box on the left if you would like to take a look); I write emails - often long and detailed for various reasons - to friends, family, people I am coaching; currently I am writing content for my new website. A lot of writing. So, sitting here, I feel lost for words, empty.

Maybe that is a good thing? Maybe - as in a coaching session - silence is to be welcomed, rather than something to be afraid of? Leaving a space to breathe, a blank canvas, room for the new. Now I am doing more painting again I am coming back to that feeling of not knowing, not needing to articulate or frame. Especially with the abstract, intuitive work - learning to just let the colours do what they do, look at the patterns later and see if any adjustments or additions would add to the final result - or if best left alone.

As with this painting - after I had drawn the heart shape with ink, and decided not to worry that it was lop-sided, not 'perfect', I was able to let the wax paint medium flow and make the patterns, with a little help from me. The result I have titled "My lop-sided heart".

Coming back to writing, feeling into this, letting each moment expand and evolve as it will; letting the words fall onto the page (or the screen) straight through my fingers - barely thinking at all. Is this lazy? An excuse for not revising and polishing? Or does getting out of the way, sometimes at least, enable the thoughts to flow more lucidly, with more clarity, than when I try to analyse and justify?

I don't know the answers to these questions. Indeed I don't know if there are any answers. At the moment I am reading two books that are taking me along with them on this. One is
Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert, a book I know some of you will have read too. There is so much good stuff here, I feel I will want to to go right back and start at the beginning when I finish it. I don't feel I am ready to summarise anything for you but will give an example. In a chapter on 'Trust' she talks about creative people being addicted to suffering, and, even if they say they love their work, they are horrified when asked if their writing, or their art - what ever it is - loves them.

The other book is
Conscious Writing by Julia McCutchen. I attended a retreat with Julia in May 2014, at which time she was developing this work and the book that has now evolved from that. In a piece on intuition she writes: "Intuition is a distinct sense of direct Knowing that transcends the use of intellectual reasoning."

In my current 'lost for words' state, I don't feel able to use any 'intellectual reasoning' to develop any deep conclusions to offer you from these two examples - so I simply offer them as ideas to explore further if you wish. Maybe a shaft of light will illuminate the way for us?

For you: to explore in your journal or meditations:
- Is there any aspect of your life where you feel 'lost'
- Are you able to hold that lost feeling gently and let it be the way it is?
- Can you somehow be comfortable with 'not knowing', for a while at least?
- If words are not the way to explore these questions, maybe you would like to collage, paint, doodle, draw?


As mentioned earlier, two special offers are coming to an end this week, on 31 October.

1. Early Bird price for the Autumn Magic Carpet Ride Workshop in Hayle

This is a half day workshop at the Isis Wellbeing Centre, full details are currently here on the Rediscovery Process website, soon to be finding a new home on the totally revamped Dare to Blossom site. The early booking place is £25, going up to £28 next week for any remaining places.

2. Special offer 'Rediscover your focus' coaching package

Also currently on the Rediscovery Process pages here this offer is the perfect opportunity to experience the power of a series of coaching sessions over time. Giving you courage to break out of the tight bud and blossom.

As I have already hinted - the new Dare to Blossom website will be launched very soon - I am not putting a date on it as that feels like tempting fate for something to go awry at the last minute. However, I am confident that it will be soon, and maybe by next month's newsletter I will be moving the links for the blog etc over to that base, and possibly this newsletter too. I am not sure yet how that will all work, but be sure I will keep you informed. I am so grateful to each of you who receives this every month - whether you have time to open and read it or not. Deep gratitude to you for your support, feedback, comments, and silent presence.

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 month and sharing my musings.

Until next time,

with love,

Tuesday, 29 September 2015

October 2015 - Gone to Seed

Welcome to the Dare to Blossom Newsletter

In this Issue: 
Reflections: Gone to Seed
Special offer coaching package
Inspirational book: Gifted by Grief

Dare to Blossom Art update

Reflections: Gone to Seed

My reflections this month are inspired by reading Goddesses in Older Women  by Jean Shinoda Bolen (thank you to Amy Palko for introducing me to her writing). She discusses how the phrase 'gone to seed' can be used in a derogatory way, and also how it can be a positive concept for the third phase of life (and for me, this applies to men and women).

In the discussion (pages 202/203) Jean comments on how the 'planting the seed' botanical metaphor only goes so far. The wonderful aspect of passing on the seeds of wisdom that have been harvested throughout a life is that:

"In the physical and economic world, if I give you something, then I no longer have it. Wisdom and love behave altogether differently: if I give you my love or wisdom, both of us can have it. And even more remarkable, you may pass it on and not only still retain it, but it will grow with each transaction. The more we give away, the more there is and the more we have. Another remarkable quality is that if I give you my wisdom and it rings true in you, what I gave you was really already in you, and you recognised it as your own. The more we bring our wisdom into the world, the more wisdom there will be, and the easier it will be fore other women to find it in themselves." (p. 203)

Reflecting on this, it helps me find a path through what I might previously have seen as a contradiction, a dilemma. If my role as a coach and through the Rediscovery Cards, workshops and writing is to help you 'rediscover your inner wisdom', who am I to feel that my experience, my learning, my accumulated wisdom - is relevant or valuable?

However, using Jean's words, I can see that if I trust my own inner wisdom and dare to share that, to pass on those seeds to others - then you may "recognise it as your own" This helps me acknowledge my strength, to recognise it as a peaceful, serene, calm inner power and allow that to shine and radiate when I meet people.

For you, to reflect on your meditations or journal. This time these are suggestions for flow writing, visualisation, collage-making or art:
- explore the word, the idea "Wisdom" - what is it? What does it mean to you? What images does it prompt you to picture in your mind's eye?
- where is your Wisdom held? Head, heart, gut? Your ability to listen, or to speak?
- follow your thoughts and intuition where it may take you.


Just after you receive this, on 2 October, I will be attending the Refresh Conference in Cullompton, Devon, organised by Women's Development Unlimited. There are inspiring speakers and workshops and a selection of trade stands - including me So if you are in the area and can come along that day, you can still book a ticket, it would be wonderful to see you there.

Another event where I have a trade stand is the St Mellion Business Show, near Saltash. There is free entry to this, so again please to come and say hello if you are visiting the show on Thursday 15 October.

Later in October, I am giving a talk at the Leading Women Bodmin group meeting on Tuesday 27 October, from 6.30 - 6.30 pm. The subject will be coaching using the Rediscovery Cards. You can book a place using the link above, and you do not need to be a member to do so. It will be good to see you if you are able to come along.

The next Dare to Blossom Magic Carpet Ride workshop is at Hayle, on 21 November, full details here. More on that in the November newsletter.

 Special Offer

Thank you to those of you who sent feedback on the extra bulletin I sent you about the special coaching package. I have incorporated your suggestions and the "better than half price" offer is open up to the end of October. More  information and booking details here. If you are not sure - there is always the opportunity to book a 20 minute consultation - a conversation between us for you to find out how it would work for you. There is no expectation from me that you will take up coaching after the free 20 minutes, so please do not hesitate to contact me - it is a joy to connect with you on Skype or the phone.. We can also discuss how to make payment convenient for you.

Inspirational Book: Gifted by Grief

I have just finished reading an extraordinary book by a coaching friend of mine, Jane Duncan Rogers, Gifted by Grief: A true story of cancer, loss and rebirth. I found moving and eye-opening the way she is able to describe the process she and her husband went through during his illness and death. Most of all it is a story of hope and spiritual reawakening. As Robert Holden says in the introduction: "In sharing her journey with grief, Jane helps us with our journey too..... In witnessing her healing, I am experiencing my own."

Jane has compiled some resources on her website Gifted by Grief.  I find it hard to describe the spiritual depths and inspiration I found in her book, so if you would like to know more, I suggest you explore there for yourself.

I bought the book when it first came out a few weeks ago, and put it aside to read when the time was right. As some of you will know, two weeks ago my much loved feline companion Sparky died. He had gone missing for several days, then returned late one night with a badly broken leg. We took him straight to the vet and spent that night and the following day so happy that he was safe. Then came a call from the vet, first to discuss the surgery he needed, and then, very shortly afterwards, to tell us he had passed away under the anaesthetic even before the operation had begun. I have been deeply affected by this, it felt like a real, physical body blow to receive this news.

Two days later, I woke with a clear vision of Sparky as a shooting star - off across the skies, with - as my husband wrote later that day on his stone in the garden - 'Things to do, places to go, on a mission." He was like a bright flash - the lightning flash that signifies high voltage electricity and is used as a symbol for an electrician, a 'sparky' by trade. He shone brightly in the fourteen months he was with us, bringing love, joy and laughter. So to read Jane's book helped me with a different sort of grief, not lesser, just different. And also to discover the gifts in the impact of Sparky's death on me as in any experience in life.

Here he is causing chaos in my study, looking as if he is about to attempt to climb even higher:.....

Dare to Blossom Art update

Last month I mentioned that the printed art cards had arrived, they are now available to buy, singly or in a selection of your choice at a discount, from the Dare to Blossom Art FB page. If you prefer eBay, I currently have them listed, I hope this link will take you to the right place! If it does you will see 'The Tree', then to see the other cards you should be able to click on 'See other items' to the right of the page to view the other eight designs.

I have ordered a selection of my photographic work too - scenes and flowers, which I hope will arrive very soon. Finally for now, a little later into the autumn I will be having an on-line sale of some of the original artworks mounted ready to frame. More news on that another time.

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 month and sharing my musings.

Until next time,

with love,

* find 'Dare to Blossom Life Coaching' on Facebook.

Monday, 31 August 2015

September 2015 - Distilling

Welcome to the Dare to Blossom Newsletter

In this Issue: 
Reflections: Distilling
Autumn Magic Carpet Ride
Dare to Blossom Art
Special coaching package offer for readers - advance notice
Inspirational links

Reflections: Distilling

To distil: "to get or show only the most important part of something:"

This feels like the process I have been following recently, getting to the most important parts. Reflecting on a wet August day, taking a pause to breathe. Thinking about all  the books I have read (and those on my shelves to read in the future); the workshops I have attended; the courses that led to qualifications; the on-line groups that I sign up for and sometimes participate in, and sometimes not; the discussion groups where we share valuable insights.

Thinking about all these resources, all providing valuable information. When do I stop? Or at least pause a little longer than the time it takes to breathe a few deep breaths. What is it that turns information into knowledge? Is it being able to apply it, use it?

And then, how do we define wisdom? For me, it is becoming apparent that true wisdom may be when a person has taken time: time to evaluate, to distil the goodness, the strength, the power, out of all they have learned. Whether through formal education, or in the school of life and 'hard knocks', this can take time. Paradoxically perhaps, very young people often have the ability to see wisely. To truly see as they have not yet acquired all those filters of experience, conditioning, prejudice (meaning to pre-judge, make assumptions).

Part of the urge, the quest to keep on learning is positive, inquisitive and enterprising. For me a big part of my learning over recent years has been remembering to come back to my own inner wisdom, to rediscover my own power within - a unique mix that only I have. Each of us has that unique inner knowledge that we too often dismiss and ignore, preferring to look outside ourselves and not to share the talents we can offer to others. Allowing that knowledge to deepen and mature into wisdom, and then daring to share it with others may bring unforeseen gifts back to you.

Do you have a longing to step back and distil, to focus and reflect? To somehow arrive at those most important parts that may be concealed within?

I chose this photograph of one of my paintings as the pure blue seems to draw the eye into the picture. At the same time there is an outward energy too, an exuberant sharing of a deep joy. The reason I love this medium, the jewel colours of the wax, is that it is a little like seeing pictures in the fire or castles in the clouds - everyone sees something different. And the same picture will reveal different aspects each time you return to it anew. (more on my recent return to creative art later).

Blue deep

For you, to reflect in your journal or meditations:

Pause and centre yourself with some deep, deep breaths, in and out
Pick up your pen and write, or close your eyes and see:
- focus in on the one thing, the one thing that is important now
- if this does not come to you (it often doesn't for me), just start writing: a list; complaints of 'I don't know what to write'; about how your body is feeling right now; the sounds, sights, smells around you. Let your words flow freely onto the paper with no reasoning.
- after ten minutes stop, read what you have written and see if anything stands out.

Whatever has occurred for you, some 'distillation' will have gone on: if you now have an idea, follow that, if not, put it aside, go on with your day, and see what surfaces later.

Autumn Magic Carpet Ride
Some of you took part in the "Midsummer Magic Carpet Ride", and the feedback I have received has been positive. I have just opened up a new group on-line on FaceBook for anyone who is interested in participating again there.

As before, if you prefer to take part in an email group, please send me an email via this link (or just 'reply' to this newsletter email) and I will add your name. We start on 21 September, again the plan is for four weeks together, and maybe that will extend as it did last time. Thank you to everyone who responded to the survey I sent out. This time I will be suggesting a financial contribution, how much will be up to you. There is so much so freely ad generously offered out there on-line that this feels a hard thing to do for me. However, I know through my own experience that we tend not to value what is freely given - rightly or wrongly this is a fact of human nature. There will be plenty of time to think about this before the Magic Carpet Ride begins.

There is also a workshop in Cornwall on Saturday 19th September, in the countryside between Lostwithiel and Bodmin. I have already sent out a bulletin to you about this. There are still some places left so please contact me as soon as possible to book. There are more details here on the Rediscovery Process Page  Another date has been booked, in West Cornwall, on 21 November, again 10 - 1 on a Saturday morning. More details to follow next month.

The feel to these events for autumn is, to me, very different. I don't think this is simply due to the season, maybe it is the experience of having now run one event like this. I am not sure - I will be doing my own journalling on this to explore before we begin.

Dare to Blossom Art
I have recently set up a new Facebook page for "Dare to Blossom Art" (I think you will be able to view it even if you are not a Facebook 'native'). I will work out how to share more on my new website that is coming soon (as with all these things my developer seems to be taking longer than I had hoped).

After receiving some very good advice about selling my original pieces too cheaply I am now experimenting with having greetings cards printed. The first image I have chosen to be reproduced is a landscape, which many of you will have already seen. They arrived last week and I am very pleased with the quality, here is one I was about to write and send to a friend. I have ordered cellophane bags for them and will then be selling them individually and in packs - along with some other designs I have ordered.

Special coaching package offer for readers - advance notice
Many of you have been loyal subscribers to this newsletter for years, and I truly appreciate that. I would like to repay you with the opportunity to try out for yourself how a series of on-going coaching sessions can work for you. Of course, many of you are coaches yourselves, or work in similar fields and need no convincing of the value of consistent work of whatever kind.

However, how often do you allow yourself to experience this? Money is often an issue, but what message that does send out to your clients or customers? What message - most importantly - are you giving to yourself? Is it one of valuing yourself, of giving yourself time and space, and yes - investment? Or just the opposite? When I am working with the various coaches I connect with for my own growth and support, I so often find myself saying, usually while laughing rather ruefully: "Yes, I know that, and I say it to people all the time, but how hard it is to put into practise for myself!" This applies here: I am often very 'stingy', mean,  with things that could help me move forward, in my business or personal life (often both). 

Over the last few weeks, during my 'distilling' process, I have come back to my core self; been able to step back and see where all the life experiences of the sixty two years I have been on this particular path have brought me. The wisdom and insight; the ability to deeply listen, to provide a quiet safe place for you to hear yourself, really hear your own voice. To be heard and be witnessed.

A question for you, how are you feeling, right now?

Let your first answer go. It may well have been 'fine' or 'OK'.

How are you feeling? Do you feel in a tight place? Restricted somehow? Is something in your life not sitting quite right for you?

Are you feeling 'tight in a bud' and ready to blossom into your full glory? The quote that inspired 'Dare to Blossom' (as many of you will know) is this from Anais Nin:

".. and then the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom."

Yesterday I spent all day outdoors in the gorgeous countryside of Cornwall. Walking on the ancient hill fort of Castle an Dinas, connecting with the land. There was no one there except me, just the wind and the sheep. Coming home and sitting in my garden, reading, writing, distilling. Beside me was the Glory Bush (Tibouchina) which is covered in buds, about to burst into flower - big purple, stunning blooms. For now the buds are sitting, waiting, beautiful in themselves.

If things truly are fine or OK, how would it be if they were 'tremendous' or 'amazing'? This is where coaching can work magic: it is not a process to fix anything or provide therapy (that is for counselling and other treatments).

Coaching works to expand and explore; to enable you to grow into the bigger you; to reconnect with the amazing person you really are. Every coach has a particular style, grown - distilled - out of their experience, their training and their core self. Would you like to experience 'Dare to Blossom Rediscovery Coaching', developed over many years?

I am working on a new package, an evolution of the original 'Rediscovery Process'. Still using the tried and tested tools of the Rediscovery Cards, with an added sense of focus to ensure progress and development. I had intended to launch a special offer for you in this newsletter, but it seems that there is more distilling and refining required before it is totally polished and ready to do the very best for you. So look out for a special bulletin in your mail box early in September. The offer will not be available generally until after you have had a chance to ask any questions if you wish.

Inspirational Links

Favourite music: Lucinda Drayton
Writing this I have been listening to one of Lucinda's CDs. Like many of you, I find her music touches me so deeply. One particular track is Pale Green Angel, and begins with the words:

In your heart you know the right thing to do
In your heart you know the right way to go
And if you don’t have the courage ask for it
If you don’t have the power, pray for it."

NB The lyrics of this song are of course copyright, here is the direct link to Lucinda's FB page and here is the main website too.

I remember the first time I heard this, sitting in the front row of one of Lucinda's musical workshop/concerts at the Olive Grove Bistro at Perranarworthal. Those words, and her extraordinary voice struck right to the core of what was going on for me right then. And continues to do that every time I listen to the CD 'You' that is comes from.

New Book: Conscious Writing by Julia McCutchen
Back in May last year I attended Julia's first 'Conscious Writing' retreat, and have followed her progress ever since in writing the book based on the material she shared with the group of us there. The retreat had a big impact on me and I learnt some ways of working, and being, that have stayed with me ever since. So I was delighted to see the other day that the book is being published on 8 September. I have already ordered my copy. There are some bonus videos if you order before the publication date so you may like to look at this link soon. 

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 month and sharing my musings.

Until next time,

with love,

* find 'Dare to Blossom Life Coaching' on Facebook.