Banishing the Christmas Gremlin

christmas-goblin

I have a gremlin… And he is both constant and transient.  The constant is that I have named him Martrucio and transiently, he takes different forms at different times.  He can be just like a mangy dog, tagging at my heels and tripping me over.  Sometimes he is a dark cloud floating above my head, obfuscating my positive view of the world with his heavy rainy presence.  He manifests in many ways, not least inhabiting my head when I’m vulnerably tired or laid low by life in some way.

Regardless of his form, he is most definitely dogging me, this gremlin of mine. He is having so much evil fun, chipping and smashing and dashing my planned Christmas happiness into multifarious sharp shards of sadness.

What can I tell you – at this time I feel exhausted, and in this state he finds me a particularly easy target. He trips me up; makes me drop and break things; muzzles my memory and somehow, shortens my tolerance and temper.

He gets me this gremlin – he knows that I like to plan and organise and make my Christmas as easy and as stress free as possible. But he is always determined to find a chink in my organised armour and seek to turn it into a long, vicious crack

As usual I’ve planned my Christmas through from start to finish and I know that this includes working around my gremlin.  I know of old, that Gremlins love Christmas – they feed gluttonously off the combined combustible stress of the crescendo to Christmas Day.  Yes, they like nothing better than to shorten tempers and lengthen impatience – it makes them laugh loudly and dance with undisguised glee.

So working up to Christmas I am tired and feeling under the yuletide weather.  My body has had enough of the dark winter and intermittent wassailing.  It’s rebelling – it rejects and reacts to nearly every meal I eat.  I cut back and add in natural nutrients, fruit, vege and supplements, but still this moon maiden swells and doubles up in gastric discomfort.  It’s hardly fair, but such is (my) life and I just have to keep taking care of myself until it passes. I am sure that this too shall most definitely pass.

So I may be tired and even testy, but I’m aware of it and I work with it and make sure I rest and plan – so true to form I have a gorgeous text book time mapped out this coming Christmas tide. I have places to go and friends to hug. Even my tiredness can bear all this activity, if it’s about socialising and fun.

But gremlins don’t relish this and so they gang together to coerce and spoil our best laid plans…

I had it all worked out, months ago. I arranged to meet my two best friends on the Saturday before Christmas. A restaurant table was booked and also tickets bought to go carol singing at a local stately home. The perfect Hallmark girlie Christmas outing…

Well when the day finally dawned, the gremlins I have to say, had gone all out to put the kibosh on our precious night out. I awoke to find my phone riddled with messages: One friend’s mother had had a near fatal stroke and the other’s daughter was very sick and needed to go to hospital too.

“Well we won’t be carol singing tonight then…” I thought.  I know these two gorgeous girlfriends of mine from old and they would of course be worried and needing to take care of their kin.

So I got out of my tired bed and I checked in on each of them – there was nothing I could do to support them at that moment. But then I was left alone with my gremlin.  And in hindsight, I realise that I actually sought his company out.  And sure enough, he soon started to sing to me – not carols, but dirges of woe:

“So you’re alone at Christmas then. No support. No attention. No children. No one’s priority. Parents gone.  No one to care for and no one to care for you…”

I felt sad. My expectations for the perfect Hallmark Christmas experience had disintegrated into ashes, in a matter of mere minutes. Instead of sisterly sharing, I was now solo.

So I wallowed in the murky mud that Martrucio threw at me. It was sticky and dark mud – hard to see through and even harder to wash off.

Yet the Christmas spirit was still inside of me and I changed my gremlin-ated mind and determined to push him aside… My brain ticked over… I wondered if I could share my planned Hallmark experience with someone else.  Yet all of the ‘someone else’s’ in my life were busy on a Saturday so close to Christmas.  Well fair enough – I hadn’t really pinned my hopes on that option any way.

So – what next? “How can this situation be turned on its’ head?” I wondered.

So then it came to me – I would pay my Christmas experience forward…

Quickly I went onto Facebook and with about 3 hours to go, made the following post:

“I have 3 tickets for carol singing at Warwick Castle to give away for the first taker. My free Christmas gift to whoever would enjoy them! Message me if you would like them and are able to collect…”

Very quickly there was a handful of people posting their interest. I just wanted the tickets to be on their way, so as far as I was concerned – fate and the principle of ‘first come, first served’ would decide who they went to.

A little while later there was a knock at my front door.  I grabbed the tickets and opened the door to a bright young woman with a radiant smile. “A very Happy Christmas to you” I said and handed the tickets over. “And to you too,” she said, handing me back a bottle of mulled wine in a festive Christmas bag, “and thank you so much!” As it turned out, she was newly married and she and her husband were now going to have a festive night out – it would be their first Christmas together.

When she left, I looked at her Facebook timeline, which was filled with wedding pictures of a young, smiling and radiant couple.

My sadness had suddenly been replaced by a smile.  I’d done it – I now felt that some good had come out of this strangest of doubly disastrous days.

Instead of warbling carols, my evening was then spent industriously getting the steal on my Christmas preparations, as I sat and wrapped a myriad of presents, accompanied by soppy Christmas films, blaring away in the background.

I checked on my friends again. All was as well as it could be for them. There I was in my own, but giving thanks for my health and happiness – all wrapped up in my wrapping and having a truly festive time.

And as for my gremlin – Martrucio… well – he was nowhere to be seen…

Merry Christmas to me then!

And, dear reader, may your gremlins be banished and your Christmas fill you with love, laughter and light this year…

With warmest wishes,
Sandie
Sandra Peachey: Blogger and Banisher of Gremlins

If you want to get in touch, you can contact me by clicking here…

I’m also variously known as:
* The Director of LifeWork Consultancy & Coaching;
* The Author of Peachey Letters – Love Letters to Life and Co-Author of The F-FactorThe perfect Christmas gift – you can buy them both on Amazon (in paperback or Kindle) by clicking on the hyperlinks above or else on most bookseller websites around the globe. Your local bookshop may even sell them, or you can ask them nicely to order them in and stock them high;
* A 2015 International Book Awards Finalist, in the Women’s Issues Category;
* The Winner of a Women Inspiring Women Award in 2013;
* As being shortlisted for Women’s Coach in the APCTC Awards 2014, also nominated in 2012 & 2013; and
* Being nominated for a Networking Mummies National Recognition Award in 2015.

Coaching, Comedy and Cushions

Life is a serious business.  The world keeps turning with global, national and personal events adding to an internalised sense of doom. But enough! It’s time to start healing and move forward.

So I’m choosing to look at the lighter side of life, – to give me the energy to make the changes needed in me, then my world and the world beyond that.  To do this I have to start with what is on the inside first, and it could be that maybe, just maybe, I’ve been taking myself a little too seriously lately… This newest blog then is written with a deliberately light touch – in order to learn, laugh and most definitely have some FUN!

fun

Well in case you didn’t know, as well as being a coach, I’m a writer.  I’m a story teller and a creator. I pull words out of the ether, whirl them magically around in my mind, and then set my fingers to typing them, so to string them into sensitive, soulful sentences – straight onto the page and in straight lines too…

And before my luscious prose wafts you deliciously away, floating off on my wonderfully wanton words; I would like to share, that just occasionally, I’ve been known to disappear up my own author-ly arse…  Yes, pardon the poetic playfulness, but I’m literally in a funny mood (I’m thinking the ‘ha ha’ kind, but it could be ‘peculiar’ – you decide)…

My funny bone has been tickled by the fictions that I create – both consciously and unconsciously – so I’m pondering on the stories that I tell – about my chosen specialist subject – me.

I know a lot about me you see – I’ve spent a lot of lavish time contemplating me and getting to know me better.  And much as I know myself; so I often I don’t like myself – or my life.  As a result I started the conscious journey to change things up.  More like stir things up – it’s not so much that the difficulties go away, more that I just deal with them differently!  But I realise now that so much of what I am feeling is a fiction.  So as a story teller I’ve now decided to make it a funny fiction…

This is partly the fault of my Life Coach, Liz Ivory – whose cushioned couch I was sitting on recently.  Now as a coach myself, I have to walk the talk and go and get coached.  Yes – in order to dispense my divine wisdom and to help others learn about / get what they want from life – I’ve got to go through the same process too.  And believe me I do. Again and again…

As well as being a writer, I’m also a bit of an entertainer.  I’m creative all-rounder in fact, and one of the best forms of entertainment, as far as I can see – is being me.  And you may think, that as a coach I’m one of those smug, got together, thinks she ‘knows it all’s; when in fact I do all this navel gazing ‘nonsense’ first and foremost – for me. Myself. And I.  Because when it comes to life, it seems that I need to keep on learning about and laughing at its’ lessons.

Since I am constantly learning and re-learning, the temptation is to berate myself for not getting things right on either the first, third or 45th attempt; but, as Liz points out – you can’t expect to have just one bath and then be clean for life…

So when I’m not gazing at my navel in the bath of life, I’m watching my life.  And it’s both fascinating and absorbing, being my own spectator.   I mean, whose life could possibly be more interesting than mineMy thoughts, my progress, my problems all knitted together into the stringy, scratchy scarf of a selfish soap opera.  And then the latest episode ends by crashing into that old familiar theme tune…

Now, after stumbling through the latest life episodes, I get to sit it out and recount the omnibus highlights by bending the ear of the lovely Liz. And it all makes my coaching sessions so interesting… Well, interesting, for me any how – as I get to talk about me; recounting the latest serialised stories of me.

As the star (and editor in chief) of these particular dramas, I realise that what pulls us in to such good old fashioned soap operas is the story line.  We get hooked by the creative manipulations of a team of writers creating plot lines purposefully designed to inexorably hold our attention. But none of these professional plotters could possibly compete with the story lines that teem and throng through my own heated head.  I’m the biggest and the best story teller of all.

In the TV of my mind I’ve been watching the story of my life, and weaving the plots of my path into the addictive dirge of a soap opera.  And in doing so I’ve been interpreting conversations and machinations into a relentless weepie.  But it’s time to press pause and reinterpret all this – I don’t even enjoy soap operas – so why the hell am I being one?!  Yup – cliché alertit’s time to re-write the story

So back on the coach’s cushioned couch I get some commentary from Liz on the latest life episodes I’ve regaled her with and then we work together on what to do next.  Two coaches, one couch, and the end result that she comes up with is that I should have more fun.  Fun she says. Fun? Fun!

Why fun? For a start it’s an antidote to the serious, serialised soap operas that I have running on repeated loop in my spectator brain, (just like that Plus One Freeview Channel tucked away at number 538 on the Guide).  And fun is such a puny, insignificant little word if you count up its letters, but it’s packed with big significance – as it frees you from feeling sorry for yourself and gives you a break from the darkly plotted serialisations that can run on repeat in your brain.

But fun – really??? “Nope – not sure I can do that”, my serially repeating brain says. “I have neither the time, energy nor inclination for it”.

But Liz will not leave it there.  Not only should I have more fun, but being a writer I should write about it.  In fact Liz has a whole huge heap of ideas she has decided need writing / righting by me…

She has so many ideas in fact, that my first thought was to go home – pack my laptop and a toothbrush, then return to that same spot in the corner of Liz’s lounge for maybe the next 5 years, churning out the various projects she has dreamt up for me.  So now it’s not a soap opera that I’m writing, but a Sit Com, then a funny fairy story for little kids, next a book for teenagers, and not least a novel to take care of the adult audience. That will take me to next Tuesday then… And she tells me that I’m the creative one..!

So we laughed, me and Liz.  We laughed a lot in that room with the cushions.  And the laughter freed my thoughts.  Suddenly the story changed and I remembered that I had forgotten – that actually, ‘I’m already having fun thank you very much Liz – I’ll have my fee back now – clever clogs coach’. And I had proof of the fact – ‘nerr and yaboo sucks to you’!

I get my mobile phone out and show Liz a picture.  It’s of me and a beautiful two year old boy.  His name is Isaac and he is the son of one of my closest friends.  For all sorts of reasons (therein could be many more blogs) I’m happily besotted with him.  His mum – Vickie, had bought him over to spend the day and it had somehow ended up in my garden, with a football that I had just bought, along with various other aunt-erly treats…

Now normally football would be far from my unsporting, sedentary thoughts; but Isaac has this gorgeous way of completely changing the game for me – yuh huh – pun completely intended…  So the football got kicked about and somehow I became the goal and every time Isaac scored, we celebrated.  In fact the only way, as I saw it, to do such triumphal / continual victory justice, was to roll over onto my back, pedal my legs frantically in the air and yell ‘goal!!!’

I’m delighted to say that Isaac agreed with me, and he imitated me, and we laughed – a lot.  Then we did it again.  And again.  Then he clambered into my lap and we did it together.  “Again” he said.  So we two rolled over and kicked up.  I could feel the physical effort pulling at my stomach muscles, but I didn’t care.  Who needs to do crunches to get abs of steel, when you have your own mini motivator, effortlessly turning your sloth into smiles?

And there on my phone, as I showed Liz, was a picture to prove it.  She could see easily, that my footballing nemesis and me were laughing, shining and flushed with the fun of it all…

And now I think on it, it’s not the only time recently that I’ve had fun / laughed / giggled and guffawed. This includes the brilliantly random conversation I had with my friends Nicola and Richard, who were recounting that one asked the other to scratch her back, and it came out as ‘will you brush my beef please?’…   Well… before we knew it we were coming up with more and more similar sayings, each one sounding more and more like the missing dialogue from a Carry On film – until the point someone came out with ‘dust my duck’ and then the dam broke – we just lost it to the point that all I could do was cry with laughter and stamp my feet with happy hysteria!

Ah – but I’d missed out those episodes of light relief in the sinister serialisation of the story. I’d simply forgotten that life is made up of both soap operas and sit coms.  And look – here is pictorial evidence of me joking around and having fun – yet again!

Fun 1 crop
There I go, just a few days ago: Having good old fashioned, un-self- conscious fun – again!

Ah – so that plot line was there all the time, ‘playing out’ in every way, so now – it’s time for the story I’m telling myself – to change

Now I’m sorry Liz, but see you – I’m stubborn – you know how much I like to do things on my own terms; so much as I’ve decided to buy into this new comical box set and re-write the serial, I have to do it – like Frank said – my way, and write a Blog Com instead of a Sit Com – so there.  And off the ‘soap’ box I will climb…

And there you have it – I’m re-writing my life and it’s a divine comedy… Yup – I’m disappearing up that author-ly arse again…

Laugh? I did it by wrote.

Boom!

With love, laughter and a cushion.
  from Sandie xx
Sandra Peachey
Transient Goddess, Coach and Story Teller

You can Contact Me by clicking here…

I’m also variously known as:

* The award winning Author of Peachey Letters – Love Letters to Life and Co-Author of The F-FactorYou can buy them both at Amazon by clicking on the highlighted titles / hyperlinks above, and at all good book sites around the globe.
* The Director of LifeWork Consultancy & Coachingfind out more here…
* As an International Book Awards Finalist – 2015, Women’s Issues Category
* The Winner of a Women Inspiring Women Award – 2013
* As being shortlisted for Women’s Coach in the APCTC Awards – 2014, as well as being nominated in 2012 & 2013
* Also as being Nominated for a Networking Mummies National Recognition Award – 2015…

The Gorgeousness of Grace

graceSo I’m the Transient Goddess – a divine feminine being, beset by having mortal attributes – not least a feeling lately that I’ve been a bad girl – one who is spitting and snarling at life, rather than sailing gracefully through it…

The weather coerces to my mortal mood… There’s a sense of oppression. The grey skies are threatening rain, but not giving it up.  A ‘close’ heavy feeling weighs the air down, as if brewing for a fight, but deciding to sulk instead…

Whilst I welcome sunshine, this has merely been heat and cloud fuming constantly above my head – promising retribution and relief in the form of storm, but never then delivering…

And on and on…  The heat fracturing my nights and slicing into my purring dreams; inducing sweaty sleeplessness with wild, whirring thoughts.

Exhausted, I’ve been waiting for the dark clouds above my head and the wispy ones inside it, to dissipate. And although I can incline to the divine, I cannot control the weather and so have had to wait for the storm to start.  Internally the clouds were slight and so I could blow them away with reason, but then they would return – to obfuscate and implicate, so to slyly play hide and seek with the sun.

All this in my favourite summer season and my favoured months of the year – June, the anniversary of my birth – blessed by the gorgeous zenith of summer, with the sweetest days and longest nights; then flowing sinuously into July.

It’s a good time for me – I have lots of work, with income that gives me some sense of security and freedom.  I’ve passed through a difficult time in my life, weighed down with health issues and hormones and I’ve come out of the other side smiling and ready to move into new moon phases in my long loved life.

I’m setting out on new adventures, and this requires zest, organisation and energy; but somehow these are all lacking and all the work and all the relentless heat is sapping my strength. Everything seems to be taking too long to work through.  It doesn’t sit well with natural impatience…

I want to conserve my energy, quell / heal my emotions and keep myself to myself, (except with those I love and trust) and yet, there are skirmishes across the border of my ordered existence.  There are people who have the temerity to cross swords with me…  [Irony alert]Don’t you know who I am?!

So the smile has been wiped off my figurative face as I’ve reacted to – as I see it – being stalked, the victim of road rage, the object of disagreements, and being verbally attacked… Which means that I’ve been tripping on, rather than skipping over, the road of life.

Apparently, so the Law of Attraction states, we manifest these things into our existence: That as we emit an energy, so we attract equal energy back…

But this is a counter-intuitive enmity for me – I thought I’d been smiling, carefully guarding my walls and playing nice, so why has all this been coming at me..?

Firstly I recognise that I am tired and not feeling in the best of health – it means that I don’t have such a deep well of cool sanity to cushion me.  Defensiveness and self-pity can flare up easily, so I have to be aware of that and so I have chosen to slow down and give my brain and body a rest.

Without the fundamental well spring of conscious self-care – all the daily acts of meditation and heart felt consciousness have not spared me from periods of falling into fear, anger and attack mode; as my boundaries have been breached and my wishes – stated and silent – seemingly violated.  Then tears have spilled, words been vomited and thoughts run ragged, racing after relentless emotions…

And I could bore you with the intimate details of each incident, but I shan’t.  Fundamentally I’ve decided to let go of any issue of rights and wrongs and decide that there aren’t any. I want too, to make sense of what is going on and show myself and whoever is reading this, that there is absolutely no need to be either an aggressor or a victim; and instead every reason to learn from, rather just react to whatever is going on – in and around us.

First of all I want to say – choose not to be an aggressor.  And you may well say, ‘Who, me? Doesn’t apply’… And without judgement – if these words prick at you in any sense, then you’ll know… that time you went against someone’s wishes, blared that horn, crossed a line… None of us are perfect, but let’s start with being more aware of the words and actions that we put out there, along with their cause and effect.

If you find that someone is coming at you, then I say – do not respond in kind.  Breath deep – wait a moment, then a minute and then more minutes, hours, or however long it takes to let the adrenaline subside and your reason kick in.  And I mean ‘real’ reason here – the sense that provides sane, well-formed and chosen thoughts – not the bullets of angry reason that can create all sorts of factoids that backs up your sense of victimhood / right / etc., etc.

This single act of waiting and choosing is certainly one of the most powerfully successful ones I deploy if I feel an emotional reaction to a situation.  When I don’t do it, and go into react mode, the consequences are nearly always disastrous.  I have to remind myself instead that this strategy is not a weak act of retreat, but rather a strong tactical advantage – choosing slow, permanent resolution rather than quick, unsatisfactory retribution.

Sometimes we are in genuine or perceived danger and it may be that we have to take steps to safeguard ourselves and retreat to safety.  Do thatDon’t attack.  Move on and away.

Have some compassion for the other party.  Yes – you heard me correctly – have some compassion for whatever it is that they are going through.  An incident or a lifetime of behaviours and happenings has led them to this contradictory point where they are clashing with you.

Now decide that someone else’s bad day / life does not have to be yours and choose to let it go.  Talk it through with someone, write yourself a note, have a chunk of chocolate or whatever it takes – do this gently and consciously, so you can start to move on.

Know that you have responsibility for whatever is going on. Maybe you caused / manifested and maybe you didn’t – but you can now decide how to handle it and that includes asking for and giving unconditional forgiveness, so you can start to wash your psyche clean.

In terms of how to handle such situations, my go to attribute at times like this is grace.  I choose to let it percolate my conscious dealings – especially in tricky situations, disagreements or separations…

It’s a beautiful quality and has various permutations, so let me look to the wonders of Google and the Oxford English Dictionary to elucidate:

Meaning 1 – Smoothness and elegance of movement:
The smoothness of slowing down and being sweetly elegant in my dealings. It’s definitely what I aspire to… 

Meaning 2 – Courteous good will:
This takes good will and the willingness to be considerate of yourself and those around you, to a whole new, delicious level.  ‘Courteous’ good will is a sweet blend of the considerate and deliberate.

This is further elucidated by the dictionary as ‘An attractively polite manner of behaving’.  Yes, we’ve all met ugly politeness – but how about a heartfelt decision to behave ‘attractively’? I’ll embrace that.

Meaning 3 – (In Christian belief) the free and unmerited favour of God, as manifested in the salvation of sinners and the bestowal of blessings:
Regardless of religious belief, there have been times when I felt more sinned against than sinner, but I have been a sinner; so yes, I will allow for the beauty of blessings and choose to count them, in order to see the light and to free both my ego and me.

Meaning 4: A divinely given talent or blessing:
Grace is definitely becoming my favoured super power – something I have the capacity for and can nurture to fabulous infinity. 

Meaning 5 – The condition or fact of being favoured by someone:
How about forgetting rights and wrongs and seeing both sides of a possibly angry equation, instead?  Favour the fact that you choose to rise above ego, and decide that the best outcome is the one that produces the greatest universal good: not that either side wins or loses. This is a real act of grace.

Meaning 6 – A period officially allowed for payment / compliance, especially granted as a special favour:
So instead of acting in the angry moment, take stock, and give yourself a period of grace – in order to move on – allowing resolution, not destruction.

And all of these layers of meaning grow into the utter gorgeousness of grace – sweet, strong and beautiful in its simplicity.  When grace becomes implicit and complicit in our feelings and dealings, it can become a bountiful byword for our behaviour.

So finally – by manifestation, magic and weather vane – the storm broke today…  Lightening flashed and illuminated, then thunder growled its’ refreshing release of rain.  The heat dissipated and the rain lavished down in sweet, fat droplets – feeding the soil / soul and washing the streets clean. This rain is both a blessing and a benediction.  It’s a sign that it’s time to let go of any lingering darkness – my world is ready for a graceful new start.  The air and sky have cleared and now the air is filled with rampant birdsong – chorusing in a new sweet phase of delicious days and boundless possibilities ahead…

In best cliché speak, it’s time to let the clouds fly by and for the sun to shine through again.  Yes – it really is most definitely time to favour grace…

Suddenly I see the enmity I’ve been experiencing as a message.  It is clearly time for my walls to be knocked down, and to ignore all borders and invisible boundaries.  In doing so I can travel freely, with out swords and skirmishes. 

And so it is, sweetly – that I’m a bad girl gone good…

Yours, gracefully / graciously (of course)
   from Sandra
Sandra Peachey
Transient Goddess, Coach and Author

You can Contact Me by clicking here…

I’m also variously known as:

* The award winning Author of Peachey Letters – Love Letters to Life and Co-Author of The F-Factor.  You can buy them both at Amazon by clicking on the highlighted titles / hyperlinks above, and at all good book sites around the globe.
* The Director of LifeWork Consultancy & Coaching – find out more here…
* As an International Book Awards Finalist – 2015, Women’s Issues Category
* The Winner of a Women Inspiring Women Award – 2013
* As being shortlisted for Women’s Coach in the APCTC Awards – 2014, as well as being nominated in 2012 & 2013
* Also as being Nominated for a Networking Mummies National Recognition Award – 2015…

The Magnificence of Mistakes

I’m evolving… Having been the proponent of the Peachey Letters Blog for four years now, I find that my writerly maunderings often form a pattern of starting with a confessional release about an issue that I am finding difficult or painful.  It’s as if I’m a client on my very own coaching ‘couch’ unburdening the psycho-emotional load.  Then having laid it bare, I proceed to coach myself through the lessons to be learnt and also to resolution.  The process takes me through from earth bound protagonist in my own stories of life, through to the ‘all seeing eye’ that I then become – being the narrator and navigator – steering me on a path of enlightenment.  It is a process which is both vulnerable and victorious, and so to go with the flow I’ve come up with a new nom de plume that reflects the journey.  These new blogs will be under the aegis of ‘The Transient Goddess’ – a creature both earthbound and divine – switching between psyches and working my way through the lessons of life…

mistake

The Magnificence of Mistakes

Ah the games that the ego plays…  Mine was recently playing a stealthy game of hide and seek.  First it was craving attention and so wanting positive validation; then suddenly it wanted to hide, and in doing so to turn me into a her hermit – a mad witchy creature sitting alone in my dark she cave, abstractedly knitting up quiet comfort in order to warm me from the draughty distractions of the outside world.

And sometimes the very best thing for us is to roll a big boulder across the mouth of the cave so we can help and heal ourselves and our souls, but then again, we all have to live and move through the big bad outside world much of the time too.

Recently though I realised that I had felt like hiding, because I seemed to be making so many mistakes, errors and wrong decisions.  It felt as if, that in nearly every hour of every day I got something wrong.  I broke something.  I forgot something.  I misunderstood something.

I would be innocently tripping along through life, breathing and doing and getting on with things, when suddenly I was pulled up sharp – winded by the internal or external realisation that I had fucked up – yet again.

I hate fucking up! Internally I am an innate perfectionist who loves nothing better than to get things right.  But this trait somehow makes me a fraud, because externally I so often get the feedback that I am laconic, laissez-faire and laid back… Oh – if only!  It really could be a classic case of the elegant swan apparently gliding gently across the water – who is actually being propelled by frantic pedalling below the surface and against the current.

Well, I’ve decided to stop silently pedalling and to out myself, rather than waddle wetly back to my cave to smooth down my ruffled feathers.

You see the muck ups, messes and muddles got so bad that I resorted to joking that the only illogically logical explanation was that there was an invisible gremlin riding my back – causing mayhem in my world and having fun at my emotional expense.

As a latent perfectionist I really hate admitting this, but there it is – I’ve had a big loss of confidence lately because it just feels like I can’t do anything right anymore…

This is all an ego-centric exaggeration of course – the simple fact is that if I were to document and analyse all my transactions, thoughts and tryings, then in reality the well-executed and ordinary ones would vastly out-number the inane, inept and incorrect ones…

But somehow, at this stage in my life, it’s as if my consciousness is constantly drawn to all the mishaps and misunderstandings, and they have all gathered together into a nasty, sticky mass, containing a dark mixture of anxious and frustrated self-loathing.

Like many people I have a tendency towards self-castigation, so it is bad enough if someone else points out an error or a flaw, but then times that to the power of ten when it comes to the flagellating misery that my own inner critic will inflict upon me if I let it.

And therein lies a large part of the answer – ‘if I let it’.  And I let it when the horror of error just washes over me and I go through the cringing motions of internal complaint without even noticing what I am doing.  It just happens, especially when I’m tired or poorly and I forget that supposedly I actually have a choice over how I respond to what is going on / not going my way.

I am also mildly obsessed with the notion that with advancing years comes advancing anxiety.  I recall now how people older than me had been known to say that with age they had lost a level of confidence, and hence liked to stay within the confines of the safe and familiar.  Damn it! When as a callow youth I thought of middle age, I assumed that the up side would be that when it happened I would have it (life) all sorted – emotionally and materially, not be creeping backwards into my dank cave.

So, I’ve admitted my erstwhile lack of self-assurance – now what to do about it?

The first thing is to notice that if this happens to me again then it is just a pattern of thought and reaction.  This simple act of self-awareness is very powerful – it allows me to step back and take stock.

The next tactic is to celebrate the fuck ups, messes, errors and mistakes.  Celebrate?  What?! Now if your boss (or how ever has that role in your life) has just pointed out a fault, I’m not suggesting that you do a jig in front of his or her nose, but what I am saying is this – acknowledge to yourself what has happened.  But instead of criticising it, celebrate it – bring positive attention to it, punch the air and say ‘yes’ – I messed up – ‘hurrah’!

Why do this? Well because in doing so I am removing the negative power from it.  I know that when I do it often enough, I get out of the habit of criticism, and not least then if I take the sting out of it, then I can step back from it and see the situation for what it really is.  And, when I step outside of it, then it is far less likely to be an actual, bona fide, fully blown fuck up.

Having stepped back, now you can decide that whatever happened, you can learn from it and decide what, if anything, you want to do differently or better next time.  Then you have another cause for celebration – new lesson learnt!

So I give myself a choice here – how would I prefer to feel, given the choice – criticised or celebrated?  I choose celebrated, of course.

One of my mentors – a certain Mr Richard Wilkins, often asks this question: ‘What do you remember for the longest time – a compliment or a criticism?’  Everyone I know, myself included, always truthfully answers ‘a criticism’.  We are programmed instinctively to spot errors and remind ourselves about what has happened as a protective mechanism to prevent ourselves from doing it again.  But this stone-age tendency also has the effect of knocking us off balance whilst we take time to castigate ourselves and others.  It saps our positive energy and focusses us on the negative.

These negative thought patterns are natural, so you have start brain training to counteract them.  My favourite method for doing this is also a gorgeously simple one: I give thanks.

The constant attitude of gratitude and willingness to celebrate every small victory in life and every lesson learned is one of the most effective ways to gain a more positive pattern of thinking.

I advise every single one of my coaching clients to get a journal and chronicle their gratitudes and gone wells every day.  Personally I love to do this first thing in the morning and last thing at bed time and at the very least, before I go to sleep each night, I run through my day in my head and celebrate all the things I have learnt (and that includes the perceived mishaps), all the things that have gone well (no matter how trivial) along with the myriad of things that I have to be grateful for.  And when I focus on my gratitudes and count my blessings, actually there are a lot.

And when I focus on all my happenings (otherwise known as fuck ups, muck ups and messes) along with all the victories, and then decide that they are all blessings of one sort or another, then there really can’t be any mistakes, any more…

So finally let me raise a champagne glass for me and for you: Here is to a life of realisation and of celebration – cheers!

Sandra
Transient Goddess, Coach and Author

Contact me by clicking here…

I’m also variously known as:

* Director of LifeWork Consultancy & Coaching
* Author of Peachey Letters – Love Letters to Life and Co-Author of The F-Factor and you can buy them both at Amazon and all good book sites by clicking on the hyperlinks
* Winner of a Women Inspiring Women Award 2013
* Shortlisted for Women’s Coach in the APCTC Awards 2014, nominated in 2012 & 2013
* Nominated for a Networking Mummies National Recognition Award 2015
* International Book Awards Finalist 2015, Women’s Issues Category