Ask and it is Given

Do you want more money?Venice

It’s OK, I’m not going to start trying to sell you a ‘Guaranteed Money Making System’ and asking for JUST $99.95.

I’m saving up for a wedding. And next year I want to save up for a house. Don’t want much, do I? Trouble is, right now I don’t even know how I’m going to be able to afford to pay my tax bill, although with a few irons in a few fires I’m determined to rectify this situation pretty damn soon.

People keep sending me lovely blogs with ideas in. A good friend of mine recommended ‘Ask and it is Given’ – the old classic Law of Attraction tome, and The Secret is also in my box of books somewhere. Although to be fair when I look at my bank account at the moment, the self-help book that springs immediately to mind is probably more likely to be ‘F*ck it!’

Anyway, every little helps and I started thinking positive last week. Telling people I WILL have a nice wedding AND a honeymoon. I will also have the house I want. I only want a Victorian terrace or cottage. I’m not after a freaking Bel Air mansion or something in Kensington. But I need to throw everything I can at this project, so I’m enlisting the help of Pinterest in helping me. Sounds odd? I know.

The idea is to get rid of all the mental blocks we have around spending money. You know how it is, you see that gorgeous coat in a shop window and instead of thinking “I want that” you immediately shut it down with “I can’t afford that”, or “You can’t have that, you’re saving money.”

It’s all true, of course, but if you read up on all this stuff, whether it’s down to positive and negg-o vibrations or just the way our brains accept what we tell them, if you shut down any thought of what you want, monetary or otherwise, with an “I can’t” then the chances are you probably won’t. Focusing on a lack of whatever it is that we want, whether it’s a Swarovski pendant, a house, a hot man or a baby only tends to get us what we focus on…a lack of that thing.

So, in order to trick my resistant mind into thinking I have loads of money and therefore can afford to spend a lot of it, I’m trying one of three tricks from the book. I’ve set up a Pinterest board (or will do a new one every day) and I’m going to find things I want and add them to the board. Today’s board was ‘£1000 to spend’. You’ll see I’ve decided I’m spending most of the money on travel, I’ve booked three nights in Venice for me and Moley, plus tickets for Muse in May. And a few other bits. But the idea is that you get to use your imagination, think of lovely things you want, places you want to go – and just play. I even found that if you type a price into the description when you Pin it, it comes out on the corner so you can keep tabs. I used an Excel sheet too but I might probably get bored of that. In fact I almost definitely will as it’s nothing like as fun as Pinterest.

In the book, they suggest that you write fake cheques out for your purchases and write them in a ledger book, but I’m guessing as the book was written back in 2004, before we did everything online, my way will be just as good. Did I mention that you add another £1000 to your budget every day? You can do this for as long as you like but I think I might get bored eventually. Maybe I’ll do it just long enough to buy myself a house….

My Pinterest board is £1000 to spend and if you fancy having a go, let me know your Pinterest name and I’ll follow you. Good luck!

What are you afraid of?

May-Cause-Miracles1OK, so here goes.

I found myself in Waterstones again today, with my nose in book after book in the self help, mind body and spirit sections. What does that tell me? Probably that I’m not entirely in love with my life right now and that I’m still under the impression that all I need to do is read the right book and I’ll have it all sorted.

So I happened upon ‘May Cause Miracles’ by Gabrielle Bernstein and I made a deal with myself. “If I treat myself to this book, I’ll make a real effort to do all the things it says I should do. Even if every bone in my body is coming up with excuses not to.” Like it does. Every time.

I bought the book. I sat with a coffee in Caffe Nero and I read the first chapter. “Witness Your Fear” Eek! I don’t know if I want to! I reckon Gabrielle knows what she’s talking about – she’s been a binge eater and a drug addict and she now has a charmed life which she attributed to the techniques she learned with the help of, “A Course in Miracles” and some hard work. Needless to say, given that it only cost me about £2, I also downloaded that 365 day to-do list. It’s all very spiritual apparently but it’s been name checked by Louise Hay and Wayne Dyer so I think I’ll be in good company!

So as from Monday, I’ll be working through the book, day by day, and using changes in my thinking and actions to kick myself up the backside, nicely of course.

I’m also making a deal with myself to document the journey here. So – are you coming along for the ride? I really hope so!

The first chapter really hit me where I know I need to do some work. What am I afraid of? Me!

When I started to think about blogging my progress, the #1 fear that came up was that I was scared of letting people know who I really am! I have a blog called Relentlessly Positive but I’ve just had a truly shitty week and it’s knocked me for six. I didn’t feel positive. I also have a blog called Gorgeously Full Fat where I talk the talk about being plus size. But I don’t want to be the size I am. Honestly – I don’t want to be skinny either. Just a bit less fat. There, I said it.

So I feel like a fraud and I don’t like to be TOO honest about myself in case I lose followers, lose respect, or even worse, lose the desire to BE relentlessly positive or body-positive. I’m always a little scared of giving in to who I really am. Like a lot of people I have a mask, and I wear it a LOT. When I was single I used it to tell myself and the world I was sassy and single…but inside I was lonely and sad some of the time. I pretend I’m on top of things so that people don’t realise I’m having problems coping. I pretend I’m fine when I’m not. Why do I do it? I don’t know, but all these fears seem to lead back to one thing…I’m scared of people seeing my vulnerability. I feel like I have to do things myself, get myself out of any pickles I’ve got myself into, sort my own crap out.

On the plus side, I do love to think positive, I believe we attract and make our own luck a lot of the time and that misery really does breed company. I don’t want to be negative. It annoys the crap out of me. but I’m human, and when shit happens, I react to it in a less than serene way. I cry, I beat myself up, I over eat. That’s me!

Monday’s mission is going to be identifying other things that scare me. What am I actually afraid of, and what’s getting in the way of me being and doing all the lovely things I want?

Want to join in?

Read an interview with Gabrielle Bernstein here… May Cause Miracles

Sophie Garner

Sophie Garner – Genes

Sophie Garner

If you admire passionate but down-to-earth musical artistry, Sophie Garner’s got a few things to sing to you. Sophie, originally from Suffolk but now living in London, is a singer with an absolute passion and dedication to her art. When illness and surgery threatened to get in the way of her musical ambitions, she fought her way through and then set up her very own organisation and support network for singers who have undergone vocal surgery.

Her eagerly anticipated album, Genes, reflects a lifetime of blood, sweat, tears and inspiration and Sophie can’t wait to unveil it on record and on stage. “I’m a live performer,” she says, delighted that the chance to share her new songs has arrived. “I like it up close.”

I spoke to the lovely Sophie about the album, which is due to be released on 27th February, VoxOp and exciting future plans…

The inspiration for the album sounds incredibly diverse and very personal – can you tell us a bit more about what influences you musically as well as lyrically?

“My musical tastes are very eclectic.

“Everything I have ever listened to has influenced this album on a conscious and subconscious level. I was a punk in my teens and didn’t follow what my school friends were listening to at all. While everyone was into Duran Duran I was listening to Siouxsie and the Banshees and Jethro Tull!

“My album is as diverse as my musical tastes. Each song has it’s own identity and sound but the album as a collection works really well together. As this is my solo album my own life experiences are clearly played out in the songs I have written. I have deliberately avoided writing purely about love and relationships as often these can be really done to death, although clearly my songs contain such references.”

You must have been scared when you started to have vocal problems – do you think this affected the tone of the album at all?

“My vocal problems didn’t affect the tone of the album. What it did do though is create a really stressful environment in the recording studio where we were practically living for a year. I can recall a very difficult day when I just couldn’t get the right vocal down on one of my songs ‘When the mourning comes’ due to my vocal problems and I was getting more and more stressed.

“I ended up asking my producer and my partner/ co-writer to both go for a walk for an hour and leave the record button on and let me do it on my own. I turned out all the lights and just sang over and over again until I felt focused. I ended getting the best vocal for the track this way.”

How did VoxOp come about? Can you tell us a bit more about the group and how it can help?

“VoxOp was a result of going through the experience of a vocal operation in April 2010. Ask any singer what their worst nightmare would be and they will tell you having a vocal operation is top of the list. It was a terrifying time both emotionally and financially. My partner Paul and I nearly lost everything because we had invested our life savings in recording the album. VoxOp is the UK’s first and only singer support group for pre and post op singers and it’s a free service. We run meetings every month in London.”  www.voxop.co.uk

I love the fact that the first song you sang live after the op was ‘Rehab’ – how do you think your positive attitude has helped you get through the difficult times?

“After my vocal op I had a very strict vocal regime to adhere to. I found this actually made me quite positive about the future. Because it was baby steps I wasn’t dismayed by the slow progress. My vocal teacher was incredibly supportive at this time even waiving his fee on occasions because he knew how difficult it was for me financially.

“What I did find shocking was the total lack of support in aftercare for singers who have undergone surgical intervention. Setting up VoxOp helped me to focus on creating something really positive out of a negative experience.”

How did it feel to be the first person to play the O2 Arena?

“It was an incredible experience. I was supporting The Sugababes and McFly at the time. The plastic was still on some of the seats it was that new! My agent said to me ‘You do realise you are the first artist to perform on the main stage don’t you?’ Apparently I beat Bon Jovi and the official opening by a week!  It was a great feeling and one of the best live sounds I have ever had.”

Can you tell us a bit more about your other project, Sophie Garner Design ? Where can we find out more?

“I can remember watching TV on a wet Sunday afternoon when I was about 10. I saw a film featuring the 1940’s star Carmen Miranda. She appeared singing in all her bright coloured jewellery. That was it, I was hooked. A few years later, I began to wear 1940’s and 50’s vintage clothing, this continued up until around 6 years ago. As a result I have accumulated a great collection of fabulous original clothes and jewellery.

“I decided earlier this year to start making my own jewellery for wearing on stage and after getting many comments from friends and total strangers about my designs I decided to start my own business creating deco inspired modern perspex jewellery. I have also created a unique collection called Dazzling Dorris especially for Drag Queens who struggle to find bracelets to fit their wrists. I’ve already had four boutique shops asking to stock my pieces!

Find out more about Sophie at: http://www.sophiegarner.com/

 

 

Depressed? Read a book!

bookpileI’m a self confessed self-help book addict, so when I read this week that self help books have been proved to lift depression and prevent it from bothering you again, I felt justified for the amount of money I spend on them. You don’t need to tell me that books are great therapy…and for me they don’t even have to be self-help!

The University of Glasgow carried out a study of 200 people who’d been diagnosed with depression, and found that the people who were given Cognitive Behavioural Therapy type books to read reported “significantly lower” levels of depression after four months than people who were doled out antidepressants.

I used to think self help type books were for losers. I think the first one I ever bought was when I was in my mid-twenties and decided I needed to do some assertiveness training. I was working for a horrible old battleaxe and thought it might help me stand up to her. Politely and calmly of course. So I read up on how to be an assertive woman and – well – I think I might have got a bit more ballsy for a bit. But I could never quite get my head around affirmations. How could talking to myself in a mirror help me stand up to the Fire Breathing Dragon I had the misfortune to be working for? I did find some solace in the fact it wasn’t just me, she was an old bat to everyone, but she especially disliked me because I kept pointing out ways to improve the way the office ran and she didn’t like that at all. Note to self: learn when it’s best to put up and shut up…some things aren’t worth the fight.

The next book I read was the all-time classic “You can heal your life” by Louise Hay. Hands up if you’ve read that one?

Some of the book was complete woo-woo to me but I took the bits I needed and I really think it helped. I was in another job, working for a manager who actually bullied me. This time it was personal and I wasn’t doing too well. I can’t say that reading Louise’s wise words changed everything, but I did find it inspirational and it helped me a lot when I was looking for different ways to deal with what my work life was throwing at me. I don’t have much luck with bosses, do I? Probably just as well I’m self employed these days.

I still love a self-help book, especially when it’s free. Which is why I love being part of Leonie Dawson’s tribe of go-getting female entrepreneurs (OK, I’m working on the entrepreneur bit) because they all have a great back catalogue of freebie e-books that you get to download from their websites for nothing but an e-mail sign up. Leonie’s own free business guide is brilliant for starters, and it’s what got me into the Goddess Circle where I met women who know their shiz when it comes to everything from holistic health and nutrition to positive thinking, Reiki to business planning.

So, tell me, what’s your favourite self help book?

Read more about the study here: Self help books relieve depression

Croissants, snow and life planning

unicornThere really hasn’t been much else to do over the weekend other than daydream. At least that’s the excuse I’m giving for the fact that I couldn’t be bothered to do anything except a very convincing impression of a sloth. Hibernating. Looking at the snow falling outside and eating carbohydrates on the spurious excuse that it’s cold out and I need the fuel.

So I have been reading through my fabulous 2013 ‘Create your Incredible Year’ workbook, and I thought I’d share what I’d come up with so far. You can do this with me too, if you want to download the whole caboodle from the gorgeous Leonie’s website. I have definitely been procrastinating about doing the work, quite possibly because I know that if I set down goals and then don’t manage to achieve them, it’s my own fault. But does it really matter? Nah, not really. It’s a guide, an aide-memoire, not a set of rigid rules that I have to follow.

So, here’s to ‘Invoking 2013′. It’s going to be a fabulous year!

1. What do you most want to experience 2013 as?

I didn’t quite know how to answer that one. A Goddess? A unicorn? Or does she mean how do I want 2013 to be experienced? Maybe I’ll revisit that one once I’ve got to grips with the rest of the task. This will all make sense.

2. What do you want to FEEL in 2013?

Content. Secure. Excited. Energised. Happy. Vibrant. Relaxed.

2012 was a difficult year in some ways and great in others. I’d like a bit more calm in 2013 and a little less stress!

3. What do you want to give youself in 2013?

The first thing I thought of was “time”. I rarely make time just for me. I’m always working, or doing things for people, tidying, washing…I don’t often decide I’m going to have proper ‘me’ time. Over the spring and summer of 2012, the gym was my me-time, but since the weather’s been so pants I rarely go because I just don’t want to have to walk for 40 minutes on top of a workout. Especially when it’s cold and wet. It feels like a chore.

I made the effort to sit down and actually watch a DVD *I* wanted to watch the other day, and also last week I took time to give myself a 30 minute Reiki blast. I will be doing more of this!

4. This year I give myself permission to…

Chill out! Just be myself…Rest. Not fit in. Not do everything I think people want me to do. Say no. Stand up for myself.

5. This year, I promise to myself that I will…

Oh God, this one is a hard one. I think ‘take time out’ is a good one (are you sensing a theme?)

And…Be a little bit less hard on myself?

And…Trust that it’s all going to work out in the end?

And…look after myself. This body is over 40 years old, it needs some TLC. I’ve already banned chocolate, alcohol, biscuits and crisps from my diet. I’m still craving chocolate but I’m sure it will wear off…

Oh, and have more FUN!!!

 

 

 

 

A little bit of woo woo

inspiration

I’ve been mulling something over for a while now, and I think I’ve made a decision; I’m going to start offering Reiki as another service. I’ve recruited some volunteers and I plan to do some work with them and get some testimonials…and once I have them, I’ll add a separate Reiki area to my website and start charging for it. Because it’s lovely!

It’s part of my mission to be more authentic, be who I really am and not stress about what other people think of me.

I have two different sides to my personality, business-wise. I’m the Relentlessly Positive, woo-woo, Law of Attraction, positive thinking kinda girl who loves to post about anything upbeat and a bit hippy. I love this side of me, she’s fun and quite entertaining and wants to make the world a better place, one blog post at a time.

The other side of me is practical, business-headed and cares about what people think, maybe a little bit too much. Some people don’t approve of Reiki, thinking its a cult, or some weird therapy that couldn’t possibly work. For some it might be contrary to their religious beliefs (even though it’s not a religion and is perfectly compatible with believing in God, Allah, Buddha or Jedi Masters.)

Since I’ve been part of the Goddess Circle and started finding out about how other women manage to keep their heart-led businesses in harmony with their bank accounts, I’ve realised that I might be doing myself down by pretending I’m not a little bit out-there, and denying my woo-woo leanings. I’m starting to think that accepting this might actually move me forward in my life and business.

Another thing I’ve been wary of pushing too much has been my plus-size positive nature. I’ve found it hard because I haven’t always been 100% happy with my size, but also because there are certain nagging voices from my past trying to tell me that the plus size, body positive gang isn’t one I want to publicly admit to being a part of, and that I should pretend I’m on a diet. because I should be on a diet, because being fat is morally repugnant and not very nice to look at.

I know where all this has come from and the people who sowed those seeds of self doubt aren’t even in my life any more. So it’s time to embrace my woo-woo and while I’m at it, get back on board with my body positivity. It’s who I am, it’s what I do and it’s actually OK.

So I’m going to be adding Reiki, Goddess Circle and Plus Size pages to my business site, and bringing out the new look authentic and a little bit woo-woo Sarah. I hope you like her…

Getting my snow freak on!

Snowed on SarahI love snow.

There, I said it. Im 41 and a bit (OK, quite a lot) and when I see snow I get an irresistible urge to go outside and play. Sensible Sarah thinks she should stay indoors, look out of the window and write disgruntled snow-related posts on Facebook. But that’s crap, because all I really want to do is  get outdoors and damn well kick snow around.

I even get a li’l bit excited when my phone wallpaper starts snowing. If you have a Samsung Galaxy, you’ll know what that means. It’s not always accurate but those snow flakes are so darn pretty…

So, I don’t care if that makes me sound like I’m about five. I love it. I love stomping through fresh snow, and leaving big old footprints. I love kicking piles of snow. I even like getting snowflakes on my nose. When I worked in an office, I loved snow because it meant I there was no freaking way I could get into work and I got a day off. Now I work from home, I still love it…when nobody else wants to go out in it and everyone’s at home posting snowed-in statuses on Facebook, I get all the new snow to play in. Result!

So I think we should all play a little bit more. Do pointless things like kicking piles of leaves around or throwing snowballs. Go out when everyone else thinks you’re nuts and enjoy all the funny looks you get. I spent far too long worrying about what people thought of me and trying to be sensible. Today I thought to myself as I walked down the road towards the park and it started throwing the snow down again, “People are going to think I’m mad.”

….and then I did it anyway.

 

Love Bombing the Daily Mail

sunshineIf you’ve been a reader of Relentlessly Positive a while, you’ll know my love/hate relationship with the Daily Mail website. I seem to be hopelessly addicted to reading it, mainly because of the sheer ridiculousness of the comments that people write underneath the news articles. They are unfailingly miserable and negative, and as a rule, anything positive gets ‘red arrowed’ by the rest of the cynical commentators. I usually like to say something nice, but half the time my positive comments don’t get printed or if they do, they get lots of red arrows.

I’d really love to organise a ‘love-bomb’ of their comments pages. I don’t know how it would work yet, whether it would be best done on one article or a whole list of them at once, but what I have in mind is a complete barrage of positivity that’s going to take the misery guts people who usually complain and bitch and judge everyone by surprise. It would be SO funny.

So if there’s a bitchy article about a celeb, we could all go on and comment about something nice about her. I would say’ him or her’, but 99 times out of 100 it’s a woman they are pulling to pieces. If they are complaining about something or reporting on a piece of negative research, we could all comment on the bright side of it. It’s just a daft idea but what do you think? Do you reckon we could be the flag bearers of a new ‘positive trolling’ trend?

Good news story of the week!

Have-FunI love this story. Tucked away amongst all the grot in the Daily Mail, I spotted a gem of a feelgood story about a mum of two called Lisa Russell, who was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer at 34. Told by the doctors that she probably wouldn’t live longer than 18 months, because the type of cancer she had only had a 6% survival rate, she decided to live every day she had left as if it were her last, and do all the things she wanted to do with her family.

She wasn’t daft – she took the chemo, but she also married her long-term partner and took the family on trips to Bulgaria, Lanzarote and Turkey, determined that she was going to leave her kids with great memories of their mum. The family blew pretty much all of their life savings on having a damn good time and made every bit of Lisa’s remaining life count. Chloe and Georgina. Lisa’s daughters, must have had an amazing time, although it would have been tinged with a sadness at the idea of their mum not being around much longer.

Lisa even wrote letters for her daughters to read after she’d died, and was prepared for dying, even though she says she didn’t feel ill, except when she was having the chemo. She passed the 18 month deadline, but the family carried on with days out, meals with friends and enjoying themselves until April 2012. After regular three month check-ups which had all said the same “You have cancer – you’re going to die” a routine biopsy showed that the tumour had shrunk so much that they could no longer see it. Result!

Lisa said, “I can’t believe how lucky I am. I was just laughing and said to my husband, ‘Thank goodness we still have a few quid left, because I’m not dying.”

I think that’s the best story I’ve read in a long time. Just imagine, not only is she now cancer free, but she’s had the most amazing three years. It made me think – why do people wait until they get a death sentence to live every day as if it were their last? Imagine the fun you could have if you set out to make the most of EVERY day. Even Mondays. Even rainy Mondays. And even rainy Mondays, just after Christmas when you have no money to buy chocolate…

Here’s the link if you want to read the full story. (WARNING: It’s a DM story so you might have to pretend you can’t see all the other miserable stuff)

 

Interview with the lovely Keris Stainton for Inspired Magazine

Inspired Essex Magazine

We love a bit of teen fiction at Inspired (guess who read all the Twilight books when she was 37?) and one of the rising stars of the genre is the wonderful Keris Stainton. We caught up with Keris as she prepared for the launch of her latest boo on June 7.

Keris spends almost all of her time tweeting, snacking, and drinking tea, but every now and then she knuckles down and writes a book for young adults. Della Says: OMG! and Jessie Hearts NYC are out now with Emma Hearts LA coming 7 June.

1. Keris, what was it that attracted you to writing young adult fiction?

“I had an idea, completely out of the blue, about a teenager. I loved writing that book so much that I’ve never really looked back.”

2. What books or authors inspired you when you were growing up?

“I loved Enid…

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