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Sparkle…

Many moons ago, when my daughter was in Sixth Form, the lady heading up the careers section at school called me. ‘We’ve got a evening planned for the girls Jane, where we’re helping them with their CVs and offering careers advice. Could you come along and help?’ I popped it into my diary without a thought and carried on with my day.

Ignorance is bliss.

I arrived at the school that evening and found my way to Ann, who was busy directing everyone to their seats and she pointed to mine. The event was being held in the main hall, which was imposing at the best of times, and she had highlighted a chair at the end of a semi circle of fifteen seats, which had been placed in front of many rows fast filling up with expectant pupils.

‘What is that?’ I enquired.

‘It’s for the panel of speakers, Jane.’

I gulped. ‘Speakers, what speakers?’

‘Well’ she smiled (yes, really) ‘you all give a short ten minute speech and then we reconvene in the library and the girls choose who they want to have a longer session with.’

It was a bit late in the day to suddenly be asking questions, so I went and sat down, silently praying for help.

I found myself seated to a lovely professor from a local University and we introduced ourselves and smiled at others on the panel. The evening started and the first speaker stood up and did his bit. It didn’t take a degree in rocket science to work out that each speaker was an expert in the fields of careers, human relations, marketing and public relations. I wasn’t and I was the last one in the row.

During a brief pause, I mentioned this to the new friend seated beside me. He confidently predicted that every single aspect of career advice would have been covered by the time they got to us.

‘What are you going to talk about?’ I squeaked at him.

‘I am going to fall back on being a professor and my chosen subject at University’ he grinned back at me.

‘It’s surprising how fast you can go off some people’ I hissed back at him, with a smile.

‘I’ll buy a coffee in the break’ he whispered.

So, like a bush fire out of control, it fast came to be my turn to speak and I remember that moment as if it was yesterday.

I stood up and looked along the rows at all the girls and smiled at them. Then I started to walk along slowly at the front and as I talked my hands wove expressions of their own. I spoke about inner sparkle and how each of them was unique. How they all have inner energy and they just needed to find the places where it could fly free. Testing, discovering, honing and learning to trust their own instincts as they went along. There was no such thing as mistakes, it was all about discovery. Honouring themselves and the sparkles they flew with along the way.

I spent time afterwards talking to some of them individually; about their hopes and dreams, supporting those who had no idea what their inner sparkle was yet and about the expectations being placed on them and how to weave in and around those. There were many shared hugs that night.

I was reminded about feeling our inner sparkle today, as I was nattering to a blogging friend in America about taking chances. Yesterday evening, us girls gathered for an Aqua Zumba session at the pool and as the ladies were gracefully lowering themselves into the water, a special buddy looked at me and winked.

‘I’m dive bombing in’ she said and launched herself in at the deep end.

I hesitated for a second and then took off after her. As we surfaced spluttering and creased with laughter, our inner sparkles called out in delight.

Note to selves: stop talking and close mouths before entering the water!

Just to be…

I was on the service yesterday evening and the folk reaching out for help are facing heartbreak from all sorts of situations. It was peaceful here and still and with each one that made contact I gently suggested that they pause, just for a few moments, just to be.

When we’re in pain, or facing a situation that is uncomfortable, we naturally seek to lift it. ‘If only this, or that could happen, I’ll feel OK’ we say to ourselves and anyone else who is listening. Placing our peace in some future time and situation, battening down the hatches on how we feel now and stopping ourselves from moving through the discomfort.

It’s all love from my perspective. So, as we face heartbreak, love can soothe, if we can pause to just be. In the deafening din of our inner scripts, our constant activity and our quest for relief, we forget to love ourselves.

As I got ready to start the day this morning, my mind started up and was happily adding things to an imaginary ‘to do’ list. I paused and made a conscious choice to go and sit outside. I felt the breeze on my skin and then watched it move through the trees. The birds are used to me now and they come to feed and drink close by. When the food is finished one pigeon has taken to having a natter, with his head on one side. I am sure he’s asking for more. Just be, my friend, just be.

Romantic rescuing…

I made a new video for my YouTube channel yesterday and it’s a tricky topic, so I pushed myself into a vulnerable space to share from my own experience. There’s a fine line between sharing to support others and simply banging on about yourself, so I hope I haven’t crossed it!

It has taken me many years to work something out and I did not truly ‘get it’ until I understood my ‘Why’. Also, as I work with my spirit guides, I see things in pictures, so I tend to talk that way. This story is full of pictures….

I have been a romantic lighthouse and rescuer for many years. My natural way of being would shine a loving light and this drew in souls who were struggling to sail in ‘holed’ boats. They would beach themselves on my rocks and I would don my rescue cape and dash down with my repair kit. I compounded this by not only trying to repair their boats, but then jumping in and sailing with them. Some of these adventures lasted many years and I would be called upon to repair new holes and keep the boat afloat.

This was ‘roses round the door, birds singing in a blue sky’ kind of thinking and not balanced. My own boat had holes and I was trying to repair it and bail it out by doing the same thing for others, whilst not repairing my own.

The latest painful relationship break-up brought me to my senses. The pain was so acute, that this time I cracked wide open and had no choice but to lovingly ask myself ‘Why’.

You see it is no-one else’s fault. Their boats, the water they sail in, the sails they set, the harbours they enter and the actions they take; are their lives and choices. I needed to make different choices and in order to do that, I had to understand why I was making the choices I had been.

So I paused. Life carries on and I still needed to flow care to those I love and to make a living to support myself, but I stripped everything else back.

I came to see my peaceful home as a boat house, as I left the lighthouse life behind (along with my cape and rescue kit) and went to work on my boat.

I started to do things I love, drawing threads of those into my everyday and I also experimented with new things. Nothing happens instantly, so I gift myself time too.

Recently, I have taken my repaired and re-vamped boat out sailing. She’s holding up well, and with gentle on-going adjustments, I am trying out a new business (alongside my existing one) and venturing further afield. I feel grateful for the myriad of blessings that flow from sailing with other souls, who are out there in all manner of craft, as the sea winds of life flow between us, yet we all sail together with loving curiosity.

Aug ’18 update: I have removed all my videos from YouTube.

There’s always something…

Early on Saturday morning I sat out on the sky garden and a Blackbird, perched on the roof opposite, was singing his heart out with a background chorus provided by the harmonious sparrows.

Then the Police helicopter flew over and started to circle.

After a good few months, and multiple visits from different telecoms engineers, the crackling landline was fixed yesterday. My relief was palpable and my Mum was the first one to ask if I had baked him a cake.

Happily flowing with telephone calls today, my landlord started to mow the back lawn underneath my window. Given the number of trees in pots out there, this is a lengthy and challenging task and noisy, very noisy.

The craft group I started in the local heritage centre has been loyally supported by my buddies, but has not caught the interest of anyone else. Time to gently fold it.

When I was there I met Carla from The Kollective and she has invited me to join her local artist’s group.

At Aqua Zumba we all share and support and even if we are weary from a long day, it lifts each and every one of us. One of the lifeguards keeps pace with all our moves poolside and he’s hilarious.

The other evening the music speaker started to break and then kept going silent for several minutes. We all started to sing our hearts out, filling the gaps and with great spirit, keep moving at the same time. A round of applause, huge grins and much laughter, as the class finished.

There was a wonderful program on the BBC recently, about villages, towns and cities entering the ‘In Bloom’ annual competition. I loved watching it for the community spirit and the wealth of ideas that sprang forth. Being blessed to know so many by their first name in our local area, it struck me that a community project would bring much love in. This has stayed as a thought, till yesterday.

I was dashing home with groceries, when I saw a group tending to the grassy area at the top of our little cobbled street, next to a parking places and the main road. I went over and talked to them. From love, they have come together and are tending to local public areas and planting flowers and I have been invited along to their next get together.

Taking a break for lunch today, I went to sit out in the sky garden. The Blackbird was back on his perch, singing his heart out, with the sparrows supporting him, as the tide went out and the waves caught the highest point of the beach, shushing along in time. ❤

Community love at Kollektiv….

Carla at Kollektiv

This week at the craft group, I met Carla and her buddy Rachel, as they dropped in to introduce themselves.

Carla has started a community hub and shop on Seabank Road in Wallasey, just up the road from where I live. It’s a community interest company (CIC), not for profit, and she is selling bespoke quirky furniture and arty home furnishings. All made by local artists and from locally sourced materials.

Her plan is to ‘yarn bomb’ trees and lampposts from Vale Park up to Seabank Road. There is a collection of unique shops up there and visitors are unaware, as they visit the promenade and park, of the treasure trove just a few streets away.

I popped in to see her yesterday lunchtime and I struggled to tear myself away.

Kollektiv is filled with a host of creativity and hope. It’s a loving energy that comes from Carla and wraps around everything. From the way all the creations are displayed, to the light spilling in across the floorboards that have been sanded and decorated with different rose patterns.

Chairs have been placed outside and different planters of painted buckets and wellies are filled with bright summery flowers, alongside water bowls for visiting dogs. Andy, next door’s antique and second hand furniture dealer, was sitting there drinking a cup of tea and sharing some of their cake. One of his re-vamped chest of drawers was displayed in Kollektiv’s window display. People were stopping to talk to Carla and share what they create and to ask how things were going. She is so natural with them all, that this is way more than just a shop.

I commented to Andy that he will flourish with the nurture from next door and his answering grin said it all.

Go Carla, as all are going to benefit from your loving spirit. ❤

Sending love….

I travelled on the Mersey ferry recently, to see the tall ships in port, and breathing deeply I said out loud ‘I had forgotten how much I love being on the water’.

The picture above is a tug boat starting the Tall Ships regatta at the end of May. I was up on our sky garden watching all the vessels go past. There were very few tall ships this year, so smaller yachts, dinghies and ferries came out to keep them company.

“When Heaven wants to protect someone does it send an army? No, it protects him with love.” Lao Tzu

I have invested hours recently setting up a new software platform to broaden the reach of my work. Right at the last knockings, I noticed a clause in their terms and I stopped. Interestingly enough, despite all my research, it does not become apparent till you are about to launch. It smacked of pyramid, multi level marketing and that is so not me. So I un-picked it all. The gifts to come out of this are new ideas.

As I gathered myself together, stilling the critical inner voice, and finding ease with the memories of other times that all my ‘tall ships’ have not shown up, other things have floated in.

The birds have discovered my bath dish on the sky garden and they come to rest, bathe and drink now. They watch me from the trees replenishing it with fresh water.

My Mum has gifted some herbs for the sky garden and they are flourishing in the trough she found to go with them, with some French lavender and lilies nestling beside in their pots.

The ‘Aqua Babes’, from our Zumba pool sessions, are in touch often sharing funny moments, flowing support and we get together to eat and laugh.

A buddy and I are flowing together with ideas on how we work and the best support for that. Two creates the power of ten.

This week saw the start of a local craft group and the energy from that has already created new connections and my knitting friends are flowing in with loving support.

“When Heaven wants to protect someone does it send an army? No, it protects him with love.” Lao Tzu

A day’s freshness…

Tip toeing through the stillness of the house, I observed the sunrise from our ‘garden in the sky’.

Unplanned this weekend, my lovely young neighbour (who lives on the same floor as me) and I sat on a shared blanket outside on the flat roof and knitted together. She is gracefully flowing through on some life changes, as am I, and our conversation weaved in and out with the yarns we were using. At one stage she looked at me and said:

‘Gosh, look how my scarf is growing as we talk. While my hands are busy, my thoughts are coming out whole.’

We shared ideas and plans and after we’d both finished work yesterday, we carried on as she tested out my new sofa arrangement. I am sure our gentle murmurings and shared laughter drifted downstairs.

I did something on Saturday night that put a foot back in the past temporarily and that called for loving dollops of self forgiveness. Then yesterday I wrapped my addled brain around the GDPR implementations (European data privacy) needed for my blog and web site and researched a new software platform for my work. All flowing changes and also, sparks for memories of things and connections that have been tried and left in the past.

Us girls talked about how we are coping with our changes, how things are unfolding and we both become aware of something that underpinned all we were sharing. We change our clothes every day, yet the cloak of emotions we carry can stay the same.

We both let a little fresh air into our cloaks this weekend and I feel lighter this morning. ❤


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