Tag Archives: life

Hope is the fuel of progress and fear is the prison in which you put yourself. Tony Benn

My work as a mentor and personal development trainer brings me into contact with people who have lost all hope: their script is so powerfully bleak that it would be easy to feel as though I am drowning, just by listening to them talk. But it is my job to throw them a lifeline, not to drown with them: if I can’t see beyond their hopelessness, then how can I expect them to? I tell the people I work with that they are absolutely brilliant at convincing themselves that life will never be anything but hellish, but that no matter how powerfully they project this I will never, ever believe them. This often makes people angry and afraid in the short term but sometimes by the time we say goodbye, together we have sketched a mental note which says ‘I can and I will’ and this is the beginning of a new chapter.

I consider it a privilege to hold on to hope for someone that isn’t ready to reach out and grab it yet, but to be truly effective in my work I have to walk the walk, not just talk the talk: people know whether you are authentic. It leaks from your every pore. Part of what I do is simple salesmanship: I can’t sell the idea that life can be brilliant unless I am walking advert for the notion. If I am miserable, you won’t believe there is any point in reaching out for something different. I don’t give the impression that my life is perfect: I have subtle ways of letting people know that I have problems too, but that it is possible to accept this and still move forward, even if just inch by inch. Integral to this process is the ability to hold on to hope, no matter how bleak your circumstances feel. Our experiences shape our beliefs and our beliefs shape our experiences: it’s a subtle interplay between the two that creates our world. Many of the people I work with have had some awful things happen to them, and for this I have enormous compassion; however, I also believe it is possible to draw a line under the past and start with a blank slate, tomorrow. All that is required is hope, which is essentially the belief that things can be different than they are. A lot of what holds people back from making this leap of faith is fear: a negative script can also be comforting. It is what you know and feel comfortable with. To live in hope requires something more of you, opens possibilities: light, when you have been in the darkness for so long can hurt the eyes. But in light we can see where we are going, direct our steps and choose a path.

I am so grateful for the opportunity to do the work I do and I don’t believe it is any coincidence I was drawn to it. It has given me meaning and my desire to be good at it has meant that I have made changes to my own script, and begun to further evolve and grow as a person. Changes are afoot in my career, but I will never forget the people I have worked with over the past year: they have taught me so much. I hold the hope of progress still for every single one.



Filed under Personal Growth

I’ve been to me and frankly paradise is more appealing

I appear to have been ambushed by life. It waited for me in a side street and then just jumped me, coshed me on the head with a sock full of sand and stole my va va voom. I have spent the last few months lying, dazed and confused in a metaphorical back alley trying to find the strength to get up again. I’m now half sitting, half lying, which is progress of sorts.

On Wednesday I had the day off work so I got on a train and went to visit friends who live 60 miles or so away. It rained constantly, so after a delicious lunch we trudged around a shopping centre, our sodden trousers flapping around our ankles and looked at things we couldn’t afford. It sounds dull but it was something to do and it enabled me to raise my mugged top half from the cobbles. I love travelling by train. I love the fact that you can get on a moving vehicle and sit down and do nothing and it will just whizz you into a new environment with no effort on your part. I thought it a good bit of marketing, the advert which said ‘let the train take the strain’. I had a rucksak instead of a hangbag, which always makes me feel like I might be running away: a good feeling. At the station I had to fight the tendency to just get on a train to London and have an adventure. I stood in front of a massive billboard advertising a performance of Madame Butterfly and I felt tears welling at the back of my eyes: I’ve never seen Madame Butterfly, I’ve never been to the Albert Hall and I want to. In fact, to subvert the lyrics of an awful song, I’ve never been to Georgia or California or anywhere I could run, taken the hand of a preacher man and made love in the sun, or been to paradise but I have been to me and frankly it was jolly hard work and a bit fraught. If I could, I’d write a strongly worded letter to the travel agent who sold me this damn awful holiday demanding my money back.

I’ve been a mother for almost 20 years, and for at least three quarters of that I’ve been going it alone and it’s made my world somewhat small and confined. As I bed down in to my 40s and learn more about destination ‘me’ I realise that I am a person who would like to put on a rucksak and get a train to London and see Madame Butterfly and that’s just for starters: Georgia, California and paradise here I come. But here I don’t, because I have a mortgage and children and a job in addition to ageing parents: the wild woman I feel chuntering away just below the surface, who at last has the confidence to start exploring, to have an adventure, to live out of a rucksack, to take a train or a plane to somewhere new and to talk to strangers along the way, has to find a less dramatic way to break free or she will hurt those that depend upon her.


Filed under Musings on Life, Personal Growth

Ghost Life

I look over your shoulder

As we say our goodbyes

Your avatar is standing in the hall

yelling about dinner

As I drive away from you

we debate the options

chop and fry in sychronicity

I am halfway home


before we eat

our shadow meal

cosy in the half lit kitchen

Picking over the

bones of the day

in the dying light

as you spit

the punchline

to my silly songs

through mouthfuls

of us

throw blessed handfuls

of the life we never made

into the air like confetti


Later, in bed alone

I replay your reflection

in the wing mirror

A cassette loop trail of

false memories

spooling through your fingers

and longing would lay

my very bones

into your hands


Filed under Creative, General

I don’t care if all cliches have some truth in them: I hate them.

If I feel down, please don’t try to comfort me with cliches: I may have to inflict violence upon you and I am a pacifist. I particularly hate the saying ‘If life gives you lemons, make lemonade.’ If the idiot who came up with this nonsense can think of no worse calamity to illustrate his or her point than being given lemons, as far as I’m concerned, their limited life experience does not qualify them to offer words of wisdom. I have never been given lemons by anyone and if I was given lemons, I don’t imagine that I would be overly concerned, or spend hours wondering what to do with them. Image

If life gives you lemons then you can make lemonade, lemon cake, lemon curd, lemon marmalade, lemon roulade, lemon tea….it’s not fucking rocket science. But what if life gives you an enormous bucket of steaming horse piss? Environmentally friendly bio-diesel? Beer? Image

Homemade lemonade drinkers note: life’s tough moments require wisdom. Cliches suck because they offer obvious answers to banal questions. Only people who think that being given lemons constitutes a life crisis have time to make homemade lemonade: the rest of us have to go to work and that’s just for starters.


Filed under Funny stuff, Musings on Life

Things I wish I’d known at 18…

Reading Birthdays, goodbyes, and hope made me think about my oldest child’s 18th birthday celebrations a few weeks ago: it’s hard to believe I now have a child who is legally an adult. Quite apart from the fact that I know damn well she isn’t, and that I wasn’t either at 18, it made me feel shockingly old and a little bit wise (which makes the old bit bearable)…

On her birthday, we had a big meal out with about 20 odd friends and family (both meanings of the word ‘odd’!) and I passed around lots of photos of her though the years and a journal I had bought, which invited guests to leave her a comment: I suggested that if they were over 25, they left something along the lines of ‘something I wish I’d known at 18 but didn’t’. Shockingly, or perhaps very British-ly (good grief, we might have to talk about something deeper than the weather!) only one person wrote something warm and wise, so, I’m going to run with this here, and hope that you’ll join in. I’m going to leave my top 3 ‘things I wish I’d known’: please, don’t be shy (or British) let me know yours too…if they’re really good, I’ll have them laminated and send you a copy by carrier pigeon 😉 I’m expecting something spectacular from Rule of Stupid involving badgers, spiderman and a length of twine.


Putting a safety pin through your nose, crimping your hair and wearing an old man’s herringbone overcoat does not make you cool. You look like you fell into your grand-dad’s wardrobe after sticking your finger in a plug socket. You will not want to look like this forever, no matter what you think now- your mum was right when she laughed at you and told you that one day you’d wear pencil skirts to the office. I know this was not the reaction you wanted but don’t take it to heart. Oh, and take the safety pin out asap. One day it will really annoy you that you have a hole in the side of your nose which will never go away. In all seriousness, stop worrying about being cool i.e. how you appear to other people, and start thinking about who you want to be for yourself. Grow your insides and the rest will follow.


Just because you can sing, doesn’t mean one day someone will give you a recording contract. This goes for any talent you may have. The only difference between a dream and a reality is hard work. You have to actively seek the things you want and take risks to get them. Lighting a joint and pretending you are Prince’s backing singer will not get you a gig in a working man’s club let alone the Albert Hall.


Love is a way of behaving not a word. If someone says they love you and then sleeps with your best friend, they don’t. If someones says they love you, you don’t have to say it back, sleep with them, forgive them for sleeping with your best friend or lend them a tenner. You will know when you truly love someone because you will stop worrying about yourself and your feelings and start putting them first: it won’t matter who loves who more and you won’t want to sleep with their best friend to get them back for sleeping with yours. Love is not the same as hurt: in fact, it’s the opposite. Ah, fuck it: just accept the fact that love probably won’t come in to it for the next decade and bad sex will have to do.

Well, that’s me done. Feel free to add to the list and if I ever have a time machine, that laminated list will come in really handy…


November 21, 2012 · 12:16 am

Hello world

I guess I should start by saying that I’m a slightly technophobic blogging virgin! So why bother? – Well,  I have watched a very dear friend of mine build a beautiful, wordy and soulful bridge to the world by establishing a blog: he seems to have met some wise and wondrous souls this way and it occurred to me that I might do the same. My job ensures that I meet many people: people fascinate me but I also write poetry, and love to talk philosophy, culture, books and chew over the meaning of life. This I cannot do at work! I am busy in the ‘real’ world and don’t know if I can commit to cyber-space fully but I’m going to try….watch this space. Love, light and peace to all….


Filed under General