New Years Eve / Twixmas Musings

gratitude

“Christmas time, mistletoe and wine…” ~ Cliff Richard
Well Sir Cliff, I must admit… I DO like a bit of Christmas songery and sentamentality…

But how about:
‘Christmas time, misery and whine..’? ~ Sandra Peachey

I’ve been having some great times with friends and family, and as is (my) life, also some very low times this season; when left alone with my thoughts…

I’m a single, childless woman, so there are many times (in life and at Christmas) when I’m on my own, which, like all situations in life – has its’ pros and cons. It gives me many freedoms on one hand and limits my options on the other. I know too that having a partner and family brings its’ own burden and rewards in different measure and either way, that Christmas can be both wonderful and awful what ever your situation in life.

What ever my situation, I have the traits of both thinking and feeling deeply. Analysis can be wonderful or it can be exhausting and at times like this, when there is more space to think and less need to do, I have to be mindful of how I use this gift of space / change of pace in my life.

A favourite daily exercise I mete out to myself and my coaching clients is to list out all the good things in my life and the things – tiny and huge – that I have to be thankful for. With the New Year fast approaching and the ups and downs of the Christmas season, I crank this up to a longer, loving list for the past year.

So I’m starting my 2015 list and I would love to know some of the items that are at the top of yours???

So here is MY list in progress…. A manifesto of celebration…

THANK YOU 2015 FOR:

* Special simple moments shared with friends
* Lots of laughter
* Time with children and seeing the world through their eyes
* Being a little sister
* Giving and receiving support
* Delicious meals, created or bought, and all devoured
* Taking long, cobweb busting walks in this beautiful country I live in
* Cat companionship, with purrs and furry fun
* All those who have loved, inspired, nourished, supported and nurtured me
* Doing what I was born to do – coach… Supporting, enabling, witnessing miracles
* Doing what I was born to do – write…
* Surrendering to the things that could not be changed, instead of being tortured by them… after being tortured by them…
* Being fabulous! I decided long ago that I would improve with age and safe to say, I have wink emoticon, this has come with more confidence and acceptance. It is always balanced out with doubt and fear, yet the positivity and the fabulousness always win through in the end…
* A bounty of hugs
* Catching up with old friends
* Making new friends and connections, with the promise of who knows what to come???
* Conversations – short and long. Exchanges, updates, gossip, triviality and the serious – etc and so on…
* Selling stuff and services that make a difference
* Dancing – when I was really in the groove baby!
* Social media and ego addiction – thank you for all the positive comments, praise, pictures and vastly shared wisdom and connection xx
* Learning to let go with love those who don’t want to share the journey any more, giving me time and space to let in the new…
* Being OK with not being OK. I ‘support’ because it’s my true vocation and also because I want it in MY life. I find life hard, but I find it good too… That is my roller coaster and I don’t think it will ever change, so I always thank God for the good.
* Celebrating friends good news and good times
* Being an author / writer / creative
* Being: Sandra Peachey – Author, Coach and Consultant
* Gorgeous holidays
* Nitty gritty conversations
* Client break throughs
* New income streams
* Good health
* Having a full purse
* Love, love, love!

And I will keep adding to this…

Thank you and farewell to an amazing year xx

With warmest wishes to all my family, friends and connections for a joyous, loving, considered, bountiful year ahead.

Sandra Peachey

 

Letter to Recycling Christmas

Christmas Recycled
Dearest Christmas

Well it’s Boxing Day and although your named day is over, it’s certainly not the end of your sumptuous season by any means.

I’ve been spending a quiet Christmas with my brother, where I am chief cook and he the chief bottle washer.  We both supply the food and so I will serve up a traditional feast on Christmas Day, and something delicious with left overs on Boxing Day.

This year my brother requested a fish pie as our Boxing Day treat…  It was my own fault really, because several months ago I made a really scrumptious ‘Nostalgia Pie’ for him…

Well it was a fish pie actually, but rebranded as a Nostalgia Pie because it was something my mother always loved, and now she’s gone I like to celebrate in various ways – including culinary ones.

The pie was a lavish affair – I had found wonderful fish from various sources at different times and stored them in my freezer, waiting for the day they would be gloriously assembled together with a bought cheese sauce, shop bought mashed / chilled potato, and other tasty ingredients from my extensive store cupboard.  Bringing everything together, I filled a large lasagne dish to bursting with unctuous flavours and sizzling pleasure.

My brother thought it was absolutely delicious and decided to eat all but a corner of it, probably a decent 6 portions… His happy gluttony made me smile – it was a great compliment, he deserves it (he does so much for me) and I’m not a great fish fan any way…

Back to Boxing Day and he tells me he has bought a frozen fish mix.  I shudder slightly – it is full of boring, poor quality off-cuts… We have used up most of the available vegetables for the Christmas Day meal.  My brother suggested that I shop for any ingredients that were missing in order for me to fulfil the next culinary masterpiece, but that to me is the antithesis of Boxing Day…

Much as I love gathering and shopping for ingredients, I know I love the challenge of making wonderful meals out of left overs even more… It brings out my creativity, means I make the best of all that is around me and not least that I take really random elements, marrying them together in the most delicious ways.

Sure enough, I realise that there are enough cooked vegetables (from yesterday) to recycle into another gourmet guise…

This time I make cheesy parsley sauce and mash potato from scratch.  The sauce and mash are divinely suffused with left over cream and butter. I chop up roasted vegetables to thicken and flavour the sauce.  I take the left over stuffing and turn it in to a scrummy crunchy topping for the pie.  I trim all the horrid brown bits off the now defrosting fish. I chop and stir and combine and time.

Christmas Pie
My Festive Fish Pie after just 2 servings…

Eh voila! My Festive Fish Pie emerged from the oven after several hours of laconic and loving effort.  It was a delicious and a unique thing of foodie beauty which could only have been created by us, in this seasonal moment.  We had recycled the joy of Christmas Day into something new and elevated; using up our left overs, and all this with the satisfaction that only a store cupboard feast can engender…

When it comes to recycling Christmas joy, my next issue will be how to tackle my presents, a number of which I never actually use…  Often they are recycled as presents to other people, create cash in Car Boot Sales or go as prizes to the raffles of various good causes.

Now that may sound ungrateful, but the thing is, they are still very much appreciated, and they are used to create cash or other forms of good.  Recycling them seems an odd impulse, because in many ways I am very much a Material Girl and I love ‘stuff’, but I just have too much of it.  Ironically too, I feel as I get older, that the joy of stuff is so often short lived and so I recycle the components of it into other delicious or useful entities.

To add layers to the irony I do still buy gifts for other people, but less and less, now preferring to fund ‘experiences’ that they or we can enjoy, to create both time and memories.

I appreciate that such experiential gifts are my choice and so I am happy when people tell me what their choice of gift is, making the giving and receiving of it so much easier…

I’ve been minded this year to recycle gifts and unwanted stuff to turn in to wanted stuff for people who, for whatever (individual or societal) reason need it; thinking of people less fortunate in this country and beyond, so I can share my good fortune in both local and global communities.  There are any number of good causes that we can contribute to and my own measure are ones that connect to me emotionally in some way.

In recent years too I have encountered a gorgeous exercise called ‘Recycle Your Inspiration’, where each member of a group will wrap up a book or (meaningful) object and put it into a ‘pot’, which the other individuals draw out of, in the spirit of a vast, celestial Secret Santa exchange… I’ve experienced this in Book Clubs, Self Development Groups, also at work and in social situations.

So often I have seen a magical serendipitous wonder when a seemingly random ‘Recycled Inspiration’ package is opened up and the object inside is something responded to with recognition and joy.  A thing given by a stranger, in unconventional gift giving circumstances, that somehow taps into the receiver’s psyche.  What so often makes this particular unveiling so much more fascinating is when you get the story of the gift from the giver and therefore understand the significance which they have given it.

So from pies to presents – recycling rules, and I am ending this latest love letter by wondering, how you and I can recycle even more..? Be that food, necessities, gifts, luxuries or??? And wondering too, just what we will receive in return…

Yours – again and again,
Sandra
Recycled Goddess, Coach, Consultant and Writer

PS: I’ve created my first Christmas written work… It’s a FREE capsule – AKA gem of an EBook, gathering together my nostalgia and reflections on a Christmas theme. It’s designed to be evocative, entertaining and to make you think about this time of year – so you can embrace and enjoy your Christmas. To get your copy of a Peachey Christmas, just click the link here…

I Choose Christmas

Giving gratitude for every aspect of our lives is one of the most simple and powerful tools we can all engage to create and maintain a positive attitude.  Christmas can be joyful or stressful, but giving gratitude for it, makes the most of what ever it is for you.  Here is my Gratitude for Christmas morning 2015:

A Gratitude of Poetic Meditation, Prayer and Reflection for Christmas…

Merry Xmas

I awake on a new horizon,
feeling the dawn of shared energy.
My pagan bones celebrating the solstice cycle,
and the warmth of longer lighter days to come.
My Christian mien celebrates the centuries of collaboration,
the pure spirit of rejoicing the babe born saviour.
I hear the music of the mind,
carried on the chime of carols and Christmas choruses.
My stomach is filled with food,
the sumptuous feasting of fasts long broken.
I have shared and received my tokens of love,
bounded and bonded as I am, by a circle of family and friends.
And on a quiet Christmas morn I contemplate my love and gratitude, turning my face to another day to be long lived and loved.

I often forget who I am, dramatising my labelled and laboured traumas.
Yet in the Christmas calm I know this:
I have a warm bed.
I drive a car.
I have 4 limbs, sight and sound.
I have my family.
I have my friends.
My larder is full of food.
I work, I write, I coach, I speak.
And pay the bills.
I travel and I gabble.
I sing and I dance.
I have so many blessings I cannot count them.
And today I can celebrate Christmas with feasting and gifting,
and most of all with gratitude…

How could my gratitude know any bounds?
So now I choose to celebrate, even though my brain wants to commiserate.
I choose Christmas.
For me and for you.
And then, on cue I hear church bells – my heart’s answer.

This then is my gratitude for Christmas, for my life and for this day.

With mistletoe wishes and kisses.

Sandra xx

HAPPY CHRISTMAS 2015

Coach and Author of Peachey Letters

Have you downloaded my Free Christmas Ebook yet?
Just click here to get your copy…

 

The Price of Nice

nice 2

Dearest Characteristic

I am writing to you as an aspect of myself, you see I’ve been called ‘nice’ so many times… And it’s a short but complicated word, which for me has a range of connotations: it can of course be a positive trait, or it could just be on the tepid side of being good or kind. It can also be seen as a weakness – being a relentless, soft, mamby-pamby sort of quality to display to the world.

Nice in conversational terms is either a pleasant exchange or else a mannered form of connecting and conversing which is smiling and sickly.

It’s a mid-range sort of a word – denoting something which is neither powerfully wonderful nor scathingly evil.

Hear the words “How nice of you” and take them either as a quaint compliment or a biting indictment. Say the words “that’s nice” though, and the meaning is sardonically the opposite…

So from four short letters (of the alphabet) I have experienced a wide range of niceness and of course, what sticks in my psyche is when that innocuous little word is turned into a weapon.

The thing with being nice is, that it’s hard to be it on your own, so a little while ago I decided to expand the horizons of my world and started reaching out, in a new area of my life, to make some new friends and make a difference. So, as is the way of the world, many people ignored my advances, some reacted quickly then disappeared, and some readily responded.

One person in particular seemed to be at the heart of things and keen to help. I got a lot out of our exchanges and started to tentatively venture into their world. But then, when I offered some assistance, but did not deliver it at the speed required, I apologised and got short and nasty shrift. There then followed a diatribe about my ‘niceness’ and my wanting to be friendly, bundled as observational insults rather than conversational compliments.

So here is another aspect of nice – it is something I will use to glaze over my rampant sensitivity and my fear of attracting aggression and hostility; so when my ‘nice’ gambit fails, I am inevitably devastated.

I use positivity and friendliness to negotiate my way around, because it’s what I want in my world. This is what motivates and sparks me after a life time of being the opposite of nice. You see, strangely, for so much of my life – my deflecting / protecting tactic was to be sharp and snippy, wise cracking my way through life and presenting a hard shell to the world. That protective shell did not serve me well though, so I changed my ways and decided to be more vulnerable and honest and nicer.

And that niceness often gets reflected back to me, but sometimes of course as ignominy – as with my newly found sharp tongued fiend of a friend. But nice does not have to be a substitute for weak, so I responded to the barbs, defending my boundaries swiftly and assertively.

Of course what my nemesis would not know, is that in the past I had a mother who used to insult and stamp on me constantly and then apologise for being that way, but somehow it was always a non-apology because she had a good reason to be horrible ‘since A had happened and B had happened’, but at least then she would go back to loving me. That was her pattern.

There was nothing I could ever do to change that pattern, but an apology would at least mean a temporary truce and an attempt at healing a hurting. And whilst I could not change my mother, I did change myself and the way I responded to the world, seeking to master such destructive emotional patterns.

Back in the present though, my nemesis had their own agenda and not unlike my mother, their reasons for being insulting; those reasons apparently being nothing to do with me, just being lobbed at me. I have to say that it was a very long list of reasons, both psychological and physical, which I interpreted as labels used to justify, decry and hide away from many of life’s issues.

So no apology was forthcoming and the insults were not withdrawn, because that was, as this person explained, just the way they were. And because they were based on the negative observation of one of my traits, they particularly seemed to sting and stay with me.

It is easy to be stung and shamed if you allow yourself to be, but whilst those words wounded me, interestingly I can’t even remember the name of their perpetrator now. They stung because they came from a warped truth and shamed because this was a person who doesn’t do nice socially, but who certainly does do a lot of good for society.

And what is the point of nice if it is merely for show, goes nowhere and makes no difference beyond a superficial pleasantry?

Well I got over the barbs and I made my peace with my emotions. That’s when it helps that I am a Coach. And that is also one of the reasons that I’m a coach too, to mend my ways and to support others in mending and growing their ways too.

Moving on, this person and myself have not ultimately fallen out, we just don’t interact any more, because we have different notions of nice and we’ve established our boundaries.

And I find it hilarious to think that some people would characterise me as anything but nice – according to their knowing of me, in their version of observation… But hey – we can’t be loved by everyone, nor is it possible to be constantly, incessantly nice to everyone…

For a few years now, I have traversed the menopause and when those hateful hormones have me in their grip, being nice is most definitely a vice. Far from it, for being a sensitive soul and subject to heated mood swings is a rancid combination – I rant and pout and rout and cry. At those times I ain’t naturally nice. Quite frankly I’m foul and I’ve even lost friends because I’ve been the HBFH aka the hormonal bitch from hell. But I grew battle scarred and it was time to change my tactics. So now, after a few battles with the hormones I have changed my game so that I find my way around them, and instead of fighting with them, have decided to dance with them instead.

The dance is a choreography of choice, whereby if someone or something somehow rattles my emotional cage in any way, rather than rant, I pause, then I choose. And I choose nice, even though so often I feel nasty.

So I’m not just about the nice. I continue to have my nasty moments too, believe you me… But when I choose nice, it feels nice. When I decide to be positive and pleasant, I naturally attract back more of the same to myself – which makes sweet sense. Dancing rather than shooting bullets gives me the gorgeous calmness and clarity of choice. It is a very simple case of putting in what you want to get out of life.

I choose to be nice in my dealings with the world, where ever possible. I choose to take the positive route, no matter that I feel that sometimes it just lays me open to misunderstanding, ridicule and a perception that somehow I am weak.

Yet to me niceness is a strength; it is a virtue in a world of vice, and when I exercise niceness to myself – that is the strongest position of all. Yes, for all the arrows and slings that those around us can fling, none wound so much as our own weapons of self destruction, our own nasty and negative self speak.

‘Nice’ then, is a four letter word that I will continue to choose and so it is that I will end my letter to it – with another gorgeous, wondrous four lettered word: love – lots of it.

How nice is that???

Yours, for ever.

Sandra xx

PS: How would you like to read more of these Love Letters to Life ‘off blog’?  I’ve created my first Christmas written work… It’s a FREE capsule book – AKA a gem of an EBook, gathering together my nostalgia and coach-ly reflections on a Christmas theme. It’s designed to be evocative, entertaining and to make you think about this time of year – so you can embrace and enjoy your Christmas. To get your copy of a Peachey Christmas, just click the link here…

 

Get Your Free Christmas EBook Here

Books ribbon

I’ve created my first Christmas written work… It’s a FREE capsule book – AKA gem of an EBook gathering together my nostalgia and reflections on a Christmas theme. It’s designed to be evocative, entertaining and to make you think about this time of year – so you can embrace and enjoy your Christmas. To get your copy of a Peachey Christmas, just click the link here… Sandra Peachey xXx

My Free Christmas Book for You

peachey xmas

As a coach and the writer of Peachey Letters, I come across many versions of Christmas… There are people who love it and people who loath it.  It can be a time of joy and it can be a time of stress.  It can induce a feeling of nostalgia or indeed one of loss, depending on your point of view.  And like life, how we feel about Christmas is often a combination of many different issues and ingredients…

If you’ve read my book Peachey Letters or this blog before, then you’ll know that I love to celebrate and learn from all aspects of life.  The same is true of Christmas, so I have written a capsule Christmas book to share my celebrations, reflections and conclusions on this festive time of year.  This year, it is my free Christmas gift to you

For most of us December is a busy month, and as a coach my time, alongside all the usual preparations, is so often spent with cherished clients who have booked me in for their Christmas Check-up, where together we plan for the best inside out Christmas, to make the most – internally (emotionally) and externally (practically) out of the end of one year and the start of a new one.  This year too, for everyone I am in touch with, I am sharing the gifts of my writing and learning to entertain you, make you think and to deepen the Christmas experience in my newly finished capsule book.

This latest ebook – A Peachey Christmas is a collection of (previously published) blogs along with new material, gathered into one, gorgeous Christmas capsule…  All you need to do to claim your own free electronic copy is to fill out a few details here and it will wing its’ way back to you (as a .pdf).

This capsule book comes as a electronic book, which you can print off or read on your favourite device to your heart’s content.  Whereas my published book Peachey Letters – comes in paperback and kindle too, so you know it’s an ideal Christmas gift, with all its reflections on life – in all its’ gore and glory.  Just in case you weren’t aware – Peachey Letters has been featured in Psychologies magazine and The Lady, along with numerous other publications and websites; and it has also received reams of positive feedback from across the globe.  And if you don’t have your own copy yet or would like some more copies as gifts, you can get them here on my website, where I can even personalise and sign them for you.

And, as with all good books, you can also order them in bookshops and buy them on Amazon (or any global book site) in both Kindle and in paperback.

So here is my gift and there was my plug, and so it just remains for me to wish you true Christmas Spirit, in all that you do and be.

With warmest mistletoe wishes and kisses,
Sandra
Sandra Peachey
Coach & Author

LifeWork Consultancy & Coaching
Email:  sandra@sandrapeachey.co.uk
Web:  www.sandrapeachey.co.uk

~ Author of Peachey Letters – Love Letters to Life and Co-Author of The F-Factor
~ International Book Awards Finalist 2015, Women’s Issues Category
~ Nominated for a Networking Mummies National Recognition Award 2015
~ Shortlisted for Women’s Coach in the APCTC Awards 2014, nominated in 2012 & 2013
~ Winner of a Women Inspiring Women Award 2013

Love Letter to being Selfish! Selfish? Self-ish…

Book Cover Tiny

It’s been nearly 3 years since my first book Peachey Letters was published and so I can forget that whilst writing it I was engaged, energised and managed to exorcise many personal demons. At the end of that, a huge weight had lifted off my shoulders. And then, the feedback started to come in…

“A M A Z I N G… this is such a wonderful, moving, heartfelt read, it is absolutely compelling. What I love about it most is your raw honesty and how I was able to relate to so much of what you describe… Your ability to communicate what you feel and who you really are is wonderful… You convey so much about the artist you are – beautifully creative, sensitive, a deep thinker and a beautiful soul that cares so much about life and the people in it. AWESOME, truly AWESOME.” ~ Sarah Christie

Have you bought the book yet? You can get hold if it so easily – whether you are into Kindle or paperback, from me direct, from shopping online or in a good old-fashioned book shop.

Whether you’ve read the book or have yet to, let me tell you that for me, becoming a published writer is, in unashamed cliché speak, a dream come true. Yet, as with most experiences, being an author is a mixed one… Not least because my inner egoist has been at constant war with its’ evil twin, my inner critic.

What my cerebral twins war about, is this book of mine, i.e. ‘Peachey Letters – Love Letters to Life’; a glorious collection of missives sent to the blend of people, past and phenomena that have shaped my psyche. Peachey Letters looks at the darkness and levity of life and how, woven through out it, when I look for it, I will always find the positive force of love, lighting my way.

It all sounds so purple when I write it like that and I always giggle when I think about being the actual author of a personal development / self-help book. But don’t let those definitions put you off! To me it is a memoir mixed out of memory and laughter that will entertain the reader as much as anything – even if, that reader is only me…

But I’m NOT the book’s only reader, so I know that the book has both its’ lovers and also its’ detractors – not least my (only) brother, who really cannot understand its’ appeal.

As there are some very personal stories shared about our family, I wanted him to read it before it was published. So he did and he found it ‘selfish’. This comment made me smile. I love how a family member can just cut to the chase and anchor your floating ego solidly to the earth. And I agree, it really IS a selfish book; yet by sharing my stories, I found I was touching a chord with other people’s experiences and as a result am able to entertain, educate and enervate so many others, as well as myself.

I still get feedback, from all sorts of sources – near and far, from around the globe, from complete strangers, from people I knew at school and lost touch with long ago, including this from one of my old teachers…

“Sandra’s subjects … are addressed in writing that is warm, heartfelt, full of emotion and deep feeling. One gets the impression of a deep thinking woman who wrestles with the whole business of life, the past, the present, the future and feels things intensely… The author bares her thoughts and feelings in a writing style that is lucid, touching and inspiring.” ~ The Rev David Boulton

And, after all this time of writing, I forget that my words sit still out in the ether, while I move on to pastures new, and yet people are still reading and responding to them…

“What a book – I can’t put it down! Thank you for writing it!” ~ Shellie Curtis-Wood

The tone of the book is intensely honest and personal, so it was a huge vulnerability putting my ‘stuff’ out there. My stuff being the education in emotion of a woman grappling with a life of loss and love, in all its’ trivial, dark, comical and constant complications and incarnations…

I’ll admit it – my inner egoist loves the praise and the limelight and so I have to remind my inner critic that great feedback is, in fact a good thing, to be received gracefully, and not batted away like an annoying fly (which is my natural tendency).

“Sandra has the unique gift of being able to turn emotional personal experiences into positive missives, which bring hope and happiness to all who read them. I loved this book; it is as funny, intelligent, warm and engaging as its author!” ~ Tanya Bullock

Before I put all this out there, I cringed and was scared that I would be judged for being egotistical, narcissistic and seen to be suffering from mid-life crisis triviality. Yet as a coach I know that such thoughts stem from an archaic self-protection mechanism of negative thought patterns, that ironically are in place to keep me small and therefore ‘safe’.

“I can’t begin to tell you how amazed I am with your book. Just a few pages in and I love it… I thought nobody else felt that way!!” ~ Hayley Singlehurst

And my inner critic, that small, shy bastion of loneliness and self-loathing is still shocked every single time my longing prose receives praise…

“A very thought-provoking read. I love the way that Sandra has woven stories into this book that will encourage you, motivate you, and touch you at the deepest level. It will tug on your heartstrings, bring you to tears, but most of all, it will inspire you to live your best life. Highly recommended.” ~ Karen Williams.

I am a life coach so will imbue all I do with a navel gazing, life improving spin.  And all of this is presented in my own lyrical and poetical prose, combined with my daft sense of humour, too. You can read it straight through or you can dip in to it daily, as there will be a Love Letter to suit just about every mood.

So if you don’t have your own copy yet – you can buy one from just about anywhere in the world…

My Peachey Letters book has featured in national journals, including Psychologies magazine and The Lady. I’ve chatted about it on the BBC and it has been featured in the local press, with me, as a local lass (in several locations) ‘done good’ many times over.

Needless to say, my happy egoist will tell you that it is an ideal Christmas present – either as a gift or for yourself.  The nuts of bolts of buying it, are that you can order it from your local bookshop or buy it online from any global website that sells books.

“Like a box of deluxe chocolates, this is a book you can dip into and find something different to delight you every time. Sandra’s letters are open, original, inspiring and beautifully written. Peachey Letters is a pleasure to treasure.” ~ Helen Blenkinsop

If you buy it directly from me, I can sign it for you, if that is your bag – here are all the details. You can buy it too from independent sites / stores such as Hive and from Amazon (Prime) – both in electronic (Kindle) form and paperback. And if you buy from The Book Depository site, you can get it delivered, anywhere in the world, free of postage.

Once you’ve ingested all that, there’s more to come. Having been well and truly bitten by the writing bug, I’m currently working on 5 new book projects – (both fiction and non-fiction), one of which will become my latest published work, next year. And what is THAT one about, I can’t tell you just yet – as my publisher has sworn me to secrecy… just watch this space…

So, plug over, and I would just like to finish off by wishing you a ‘Peachey’ Christmas, in ALL senses… 😉

From me and The Twins.

S xx

Love Letter to a Lifelong Soap Opera

soaps

You sit down and tune in to the on-going soap opera… It’s the next episode of a set of serialised stories that you have been watching… How will all these posed situations resolve – who will: kiss who, win the argument, suddenly move abroad, solve the dilemma, break a heart, find themselves in deathbed hospital scene, go crazy, have an affair or a baby, steal, cheat, find out they are adopted, loathed or lusted after???  But still these have all happened to me or my loved ones in just the last few months… So why watch invented stories, when it’s all happening out there any way..?

Dearest Soapie

As a child I would spend hours in front of the television. I turned it on when I got home from school and then it was turned off, many hours later at the bed time of whoever was the last person to go to bed, usually my mother or my brother.

In those antiquated distant days, if the TV set wasn’t turned off before the programmes ended (in a much shorter schedule than the 24 hours we have today), somewhere around midnight, then the picture would shrink away to a bright dot in the middle of the screen and instead of pictures and voices; dancing darkness and a static crackle would emanate, eventually building to a shrill warning whistle, evincing from the google box – a demanding patrician authoritarian, commanding you to turn it off and silence it; so that you would quietly retire to bed, and it could sleep blackly and silently. That is until it was awoken the next day, by pushing in a big bland button to snap it slowly back to fizz and crackle, thence progressing to recognizably tangled patterns of wide dots which shaped themselves to a wide molecular clarity of character, voice and scene.

My mother and I, in our little world, centred on our urban terrace, shared our lives with various characters, cast in soap operas.  The radio would be on in the kitchen all day, (tuned to Radio 4) and the TV on all evening. I loved the world of radio, and still do… There were 2 serial soap operas back then, with the spoken word taking my mind’s eye into other people’s kitchens and churches; listening to their conversations and mild BBC adventures.

Whilst we lived and breathed through our own lives and happenings, my mother would then sit on the sofa in the early evening, after dinner, and watch her regular fix of ITV idiocy, a televised soap opera.  Even as a small child I felt the sets to be flimsy and the pretexts of the character’s lives and loves to be even more so. That daily dose of 30 minutes of commercial drama bored me.

But later I grew up and into them and as a teenager, sat and watched them alone, as after dinner, instead of putting her feet up, my mother went out to work, as a cleaner.

They became a kind of addiction, a daily habit of ingesting tacky sharings and stories. With time came more TV channels, which led to more soap operas. As the world changed and television became increasingly, ridiculously lurid, I could stand the sexual intrigues and peddled misery no more and simply stopped watching them.

Instead of living through other’s lives on the TV box, I escaped to live my own dramas and intricate emotional serialisations.  All around me, my friends had their own minor and major dramas, but otherwise went on to have seemingly normal, stable existences. But not me, never me – instead I stepped towards and stumbled from job to job, from relationship to relationship. There were constant changes and crises, a rise and fall of fortune, from rags to tears.

For years and years I acted out on amateur stages, screaming and singing my way through fairies and villainesses, slapping my thigh and crying crocodile tears, performing mini dramas in draughty church halls and tiny theatres.

I always craved change and adventure.  I always bored easily and instead of watching soap operas, I created my own plots and dramas; sometimes I felt, entirely for the entertainment of my friends…

Later in life, on the road to becoming a coach, with support and self-analysis, I started to see the patterns of my life and tried to re-draw them and so invent a new character for myself.  I dressed differently, I talked more positively and changed the script.  But to my chagrin the story did not end the way I planned, instead, just like all the soap operas I had imbibed as a child, there would be a cliff hanger of an ending, begging to be the beginning of the next, crazy episode in my serialised life.

One of the things about soap operas though, is that there are only so many plots that can play out before they come around again, as recycled repeats – a balled up Sunday omnibus of intrigue and what will either become self loathing or learning.

So I have decided to learn and to turn that learning towards helping others sift through their lives, and their stories and strategies. So I listen and I coach and I support, and so it all moves on through time.  It is something that I excel at, helping others, and in a gorgeous giving cycle, being the audience for other people’s dreams and dramas, means that I get to resolve and grow along with all of my clients.

To my amazement though, the Sandra Soap Operas are still playing out, with unexpected plot twists that I never could have foreseen, even now.  In the world of coaching many will tell you that you are the cause of all the drama in your world, that you manifest all the sighs and the symptoms.  I worked with that premise for a long time, taking control of my destiny and changing it.  Well that was the intended plot, so I have always been surprised when my will and work still did not alter time and tide.

And next to me stand my faithful friends, with one in particular who has recently gone through whole box sets of happenings in her life, looping on escalating, ridiculous repeat, to a crescendo of change to which we still cannot see an end.  She crashed and burned for a while, but is now walking through the ashes, and living day to day rather than in the past or future, and it is something that I have taken on board – that sometimes you just need to let the plots of life wash over you, and mark your time instead in milliseconds of happiness or meaningfulness, rather than concern yourself with a neat, filmic ending.

Unlike the rolling soap opera genre, the film instead has a definitive ending, if not by plot, then by virtue of the end credits, calling the story to a stop.  And maybe I like films better because they have that finality, that conclusion, rather than the drudge of repetitive story lines replaying forever on.  The film will work to the finale – to the kiss, to the Bollywood song and dance routine, to the victory; or to the death.

But once, in another before time when I was going through my soap opera stuff and bemoaning my repetitive plot, my own coach, a very warm, wise woman, said to me that the pain I was going through was because I simply did not know what the ending would be.  For we can reach a conclusion in life, only to find that it is actually a continuation and we never really know the ending.  And insights like that just make you sit back in the cinema seat of life and reflect on, rather than suffer through life…

So whilst I have so often cursed fate or DNA or the odd synergies of life which still surprise me half a century in; I’m now just letting the story continue to unfurl, without knowing the ending.  I’ve made my peace with the Writer, I keep moving forward and plotting new story lines, whilst also returning to old favourites and cosy routines.  In life, at times, it is right to take action, yet right now, it is time to bide my time and to simply watch the screen.

So maybe, it just may be, that I am still a soap opera kind of girl after all, and in amongst all the cliff hangers – for me and my loved ones, there is still laughter and pleasure and immeasurably, there is always love – both defining and illuminating all my stories.

And that my friend, is the end of this particular episode.

With love and lazy attention.

Sandra xx

PS: Did you know that a collection of my ‘Peachey Letters’ have been gathered together in to a beautiful book, exploring all the facets of my soap opera life in all its’ badness, banality and beauty? This is love seen in every aspect of the life that I live.  In it you will find the dark and the light of love, in a way that will make you think, entertain you and let you know that you are not alone in life, what ever it holds for you… You can buy ‘Peachey Letters – Love Letters to Life’ by Sandra Peachey, from book websites any where in the world, including on Amazon (in both Paperback and Kindle)

The Making of Me: A Poem to my Family Tree.

Peachey Letters cover Cropped

I’ve tartan running through my veins, along with Cambridge mud.
There’s peat bog in my DNA, and lots of English wood.
My gypsy blood, will, a wanderer always make me.
The ghosts of farmers, leaders and orators have spake me.
With so many Vikings in the family tree and Normans running wild.
A crazy mixture makes up me – the making of the child.

In my life line lies politicians, plasterers and trainers.
Tram drivers, cleaners, salesmen and entertainers.
My lineage has worked the land and riden on the horse.
We’ve driven trams in Glasgow and warmed the world with gas.
Weaving away in dark factories, we’ve skated, spoke and ran.
We all kept on daring and dreaming , through this allotted span.

We laughed, we cried, we broke, we healed and still we carried on.
We worked, we schemed, we loved and walked until we were all gone.
All gone but one, but then I remember – two; and then, that all my cousins count.
As me, we are all part of the mysterious family tree, in doing what we want.
So my words are my descendants and I birthed them all with joy.
Sometimes with tears and fears too, but who cares – whether girl or boy?

A life lived loud in solitude, full of feeling much, and friends.
My giving is my gratitude and may that never end.
I take, I make, I give, and I receive.
I play and rest and work, so long and lazy – all for my reprieve.

A legacy of love is mine, my influences and effects.
And I cannot know who I have reached, from this line or life, to the next…

Peachey Letters cover cop 2

Post Script: A collection of my ‘Love Letters to Life’ in poetry and prose, have been gathered together in to a book – ‘Peachey Letters’ – exploring all the facets of life and love, in its’ gore and glory. The book has been featured in Psychologies Magazine and The Lady, as well other local and national press.  In it you will find the dark and the light of love, in a way that will make you think, entertain you and let you know that you are not alone in life, what ever it holds for you… You can buy ‘Peachey Letters – Love Letters to Life’ by Sandra Peachey, from book websites any where in the world, including Hive (paperback and Ebook) and Amazon (in both Paperback and Kindle)… Or else ask your local bookshop to stock it and order it in…

Love Letter to a Bug Eyed Monster

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The calendar states a significant date, a date that asks me to respond to it, for so many reasons… It has been designated The Time to Change World Mental Health Day 2015… And that prompts me to finish my latest ‘Love Letter to Life’, a post I started several weeks ago, but found it hard to finish for many reasons.  Now it is time to reconcile and to conclude…

Dearest Me

Do you know what – there have times when I have literally been crazy..? Crazy with anger, with grief, with self-pity, with sorrow and the injustice of life… And since life is a balance, I have also been sweetly sane too, yes, I have been happy, relaxed, connected.  So it is that I have also walked the survival line – just getting on with the business of living, and getting myself from A to B – paying the bills and filling my time.  Indeed there are many versions of my life, and so it follows that there are many versions of me…

This time I am writing to an ugly, gargoyle version of myself. Today, physically anyway, I am a bug eyed monster with grotesquely swollen eyes.  It’s probably a simple allergic reaction, but I don’t like what I am seeing in the mirror and how I am feeling right now…  So if it is true that we manifest symptoms from deep rooted emotional causes; then in every way I can conceive, I don’t like what I am seeing right now – in the mirror, in life and in practice.  And here is a sick selfie of me – taken on that swollen day…

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I managed to manifest these symptoms on Saturday, so it took too long to connect with medical support.  The serious fact to me, that my eyes were nearly swollen shut, was of no concern to the ‘professionals’ (they said, without seeing me, from a far distant desk, on a phone somewhere, in a place unknown), just take an anti-allergic tablet and wait…  Waiting is an anathema to me, being of little patience and wanting to be seen and to be ‘fixed’, right now, thank you very much.

But wait I do, and eventually, after days, my face shrinks back to normality in physicality.  But the concerns and symptoms of fate and psyche still remain, so it is time to now to reckon up…

If I have been crazy, then I have acted crazy – I have ranted and cried and shouted and screamed and smashed at various times…  Sometimes to rage and sometimes to vent.  Sometimes for minutes and sometimes for months…

I can easily give what I go through diagnoses, and wear them as labels, (figuratively) on my lapel… ‘I’m depressed’ and ‘I’m menopausal’ have been 2 favourite badges.  And I’ve taken tablets for both lord knows.  I’ve medicated in other ways too, by swallowing wine, chomping chocolate and filling my belly to hurting with calorific comfort food to take away the pain, or even to help me forget about it momentarily.

But if I don’t like what I see, it’s not just about me – I see this particular pain all around me, with family and friends; people that I love going through this too – in tiny and extreme ways; medicated, going through therapy, going through life with other remedies, either keeping it screamingly within, or reaching beyond their silent situation, becoming loud in behaviour and crying out to be seen and for support.

Such pain has surrounded me for ever, lord knows – my mother was prone to what was known as ‘nervous break downs’, so I witnessed this from childhood – she was labelled with depression, paranoia, psychosis and so many other badges too.  Then one day, my father had his own ‘nervous breakdown’ and it killed him.  He didn’t survive his own deep dive into craziness, and became both physically, mentally and as it turned out – terminally ill.

I’ve seen the maladies in other family members and in dear friends.  So many people so close to me.  I’ve spent so many hours worrying, talking, hugging, and visiting hospital wards.  I do what I can, when I can, since supporting others, somehow makes me stronger and means that in the cycle of life, I am better in supporting myself.

Still, my mind can wander and accuse me of not doing enough, and bringing guilt into the equation.  Is listening to and loving people for a while, sitting with them and fighting for them – with soft velvet gloves on, really enough?  I can only let them judge that.  But here for me, is what works – now my conscious coach-ly brain kicks in – I support where I can, with the resources and gifts that I have – including coaching and writing.  I choose to define myself by supporting others and symbiotically, this way this works for me too.

And if I have a failing, it’s that I don’t support myself enough.  I know that I must take the best care of myself, so that I can do the same for others.  It makes sense, but it is actually a tough thing to do.  Ironically there is a feeling that this is selfish, when if you really think about it, taking good care of yourself is exactly the opposite to selfish.

So here is what I do…  I take care of my health – I eat well and, yet still I treat myself with chocolate, drink and occasional excess.  I exercise – mildly, doing only what I love to stretch myself, and still I could do more.  I create a circle of love, with family, friends and trusted supporters, who I interact with and reach out to.  I share constantly and I support constantly, conscious of creating a balance.  It is an imperfect balance, but then I am not perfect.  I am, as it happens the most glorious work in progress…

And I found the things that work for me.  There is no one size fits all solution here.  We have to reach out and explore and test what is out there, beyond us, to help us – uniquely.  One of the major methods for me is to write…  I have decided to share my stuff with my words, to keep learning and reflecting on my life’s lessons.  And this feels like the most selfish, self-indulgent method of all.  But no excuses, this is what I do and by doing it, I do good, for me and then the person, or people or world that I touch as a result – that I have some impact on.  If that is one (me) or many (who knows who), then that’s my big ‘why’ for doing it.

So I’ve looked craziness in the face – in my face and the face of people I love.  I’ve shared some of my crazy shit, and so often with the fear that I will be judged – silently, selfishly and stupidly.

For so many, such sharing, and such admittance of what is wrong with their world is a sad stigma.  It is a shame in just about every way you can imagine.  But it is no coincidence that so often therapy involves sharing – taking that brave step of speaking out, not keeping your pain and symptoms locked within.  For believe me, I have seen these symptoms explode, so many times, within me and around me – when the brain and / or the body simply cannot cope with the pressure any more.

Many are medicated on their route to health and I have conflicting feelings about this.  It is a path I tried for a short while and it didn’t work for me.  But then it is my path.  People I know and love tell me that drugs have really helped them.  They are a recognised relief in our current health system.  I’ve seen both sides of that equation, including many unpleasant side effects.  Someone close to me has been on them for around 30 years and their belief is that it is simply a case of getting the prescription right, because their body chemistry is somehow out of alignment.  It’s not aligned yet though… My own belief is that such intervention should only ever be short term and to help people to build back their strength, then come slowly off them again.  But I refuse to be judge and jury on this for everyone – I cannot comment on every case and all of the pros and cons therein.

The motto of Time to Change’s Mental Health Day 2015 is “I want to live in a world where no one feels ashamed to talk about mental health”.

So let’s shed that stigma.  Let’s share and discuss and seek the myriad ways forward – the ones that work for you, in your world.  Speak out and reach out and get the support that will serve you best.  And please, please, please – help me to keep doing the same.  By sharing you never know who you will help – and if that is you – then good, and if this reaches beyond you – then good…

The bug eyed monster came, then went, and I’m back to a more symmetrical view of me in the mirror now.  I’ve plotted my peace, then rested and laughed and talked and shared. I’ve discussed and prayed and watched over my loved ones, and myself.

And here is my most recent selfish selfie, taken on a sunny / windy day on a sandy beach; since life is both a bitch and a beach… It’s a picture that is more smiling and symmetrical, so I’ll share this one today too…IMG_2094

And the craziness may well return, for me and for many, but then so too I know, will the sanity and the beauty, if we keep speaking and sharing.

So good bye bug eyed monster and hello me, in all my imperfect glory.

I love you (and me) – crazy, swollen, beautiful and all.

S xxx

PS: A collection of my ‘Love Letters to Life’ have been gathered together in to a book – ‘Peachey Letters’ – exploring all the facets of life and love, in its’ gore and glory. The book has been featured in Psychologies Magazine and The Lady, as well other local and national press.  In it you will find the dark and the light of love, in a way that will make you think, entertain you and let you know that you are not alone in life, what ever it holds for you… You can buy ‘Peachey Letters – Love Letters to Life’ by Sandra Peachey, from book websites any where in the world, including Hive (paperback and Ebook) and Amazon (in both Paperback and Kindle)… Or else ask your local bookshop to stock it and order it in…