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

 

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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