Getting the Boot in the Time of Corona

~ Or… Life in the Slow Lane…

I blog therefore I am…
I feel and I think and I write.
And for me this is a process of creativity, working things through and then letting them go…

My style is to write very honestly about how I feel and this is not always easy to write, or read for that matter. At times it feels as if I am literally riding the rollercoaster of life, with more devastating, screaming lows than highs, but when I get to the point to where I can write about what ever is going on for me, it’s because I’m at the point of working things through, assimilating them and moving on.

It’s a style I’ve unconsciously developed as a gateway to sanity – a junking and unloading of all my emotional crap, so I can learn, create and release.

By the medium of blogging, my inner life has become public property, being something I can both splurge and share. So it seems that many human experiences and emotions are common, and by sharing them, you can touch and teach others; or at the very least, let them know they are not alone, in their times of trial and triumph.

I put this out there not as some got together guru, but as a dreamy realist, who has worked on my own self development, and quickly discovered that I wanted to share the lessons I’d learnt. So on the road to learning and sharing, I became qualified and have worked as a Life, Career, Corporate, Performance and Development Coach. Whilst the labels have varied and the intended outcomes potentially differed, many of the processes employed with each client has fundamentally been the same: namely questioning and then working through issues, blockages and emotions to get to a new, desired state of being / doing.

Sometimes when I make painfully honest posts, the response I receive is a reaction to the pain, offers for help, or sympathy. And in truth, that annoys me. Such responses seem to undervalue the process I have clearly undergone and the positive place I have finally reached.

But then my coach-ly knowing has to assert itself and I realise that different people read things differently, and have their own filters through which they experience the world, or indeed my words. Fundamentally I have to accept that I may not have expressed myself in a way that touched those readers in the way that I intended. And that can be down to me or to them. Ultimately which, doesn’t matter. I’ve always felt that if something I have written touches or changes even one person’s psyche for the better, then it’s hit the mark, perfectly.

This particular post has been sowed and germinating in my brain for a few days, as the latest in my series of blogs on ‘Love in the Time of Corona’ – a chronicle of life in lockdown and beyond. Sometimes the posts are directly related to the effects of COVID-19 on my life and sometimes are purely circumstantial. Albeit, at this point in time, with lockdown slowly unwinding, the pandemic still is virtually all consuming on so many levels.

But the circumstance of this particular post is that I hurt my ankle 2 weeks ago, which changed my life changed subtly and dramatically, in a variety of ways.

The injury came about in what for me feels like a particularly familiar, clownish, fashion. I was leaving a friend’s house late one evening and crossed the road to my parked car. I stepped up to a narrow pavement, missed it and fell headlong, immediately knowing that I’d twisted my ankle. It hurt… a lot. I swore… a lot. And I cursed myself because I knew right there and then that I would not be able to run for a while.

If you’ve read any of my previous posts you will know that running has been my ‘thing’ during lockdown. I have hated and loved it; been challenged and stretched by it; and both retreated from and been attracted to it. But regardless of its multifarious roles in my life, it was my lockdown thing and suddenly it had been taken away from me.

In the moment it happened I was with another friend who I needed to take home, so I got in the car and drove. It was agony. I knew that that level of pain would not just evaporate quickly – inevitably the ankle would swell and bruise. The pain throbbed and ebbed. When I got home I read up treatments online. I iced, raised and rested. Still the next morning it hurt. But I decided that within days and continued care, it would be better soon. I would get on with my life and my hurt ankle would be a minor incident, soon forgotten.

So I quickly expended my efforts at care, strapped it up and limped on with my life. After a week when I decided to chance taking a long walk, it rewarded me with hurt. The bruises had finally come out and they were spectacular – a rainbow of dead blood shaded from delicate yellow, through grainy green, to dire purple. The swelling had not receded.

And then my back gave out. It decided to join with the ‘ouch party’ going on below – first trying to adjust and then giving up, and complaining loudly / painfully instead. Where I could at least stand before, now I would have to hobble and wobble until I got a grip of pain vs gravity, and was able to propel myself forward.

Clearly I was in pain, although that would ebb and flow. But it took me a while to realise that I was living with pain constantly, as a low level constant hum, just beyond my consciousness – yet ever present and poisonous.

The physical pain took a while to assert it self in that sense, because the mental pain was overshadowing it. I felt low, exhausted and stressed. I tried not to limp my way through life, but could not help myself.

Odd now, just days from this stage, I realise that I was cursing myself for doing something stupid and having to slow down. I felt I had self-sabotaged somehow, which will be an omni-present theme for someone like myself who has done any kind of ‘self-development’. So it was that I had a low grumbling blame game going on – criticising myself for doing nothing in those days, except survive. I worked, I rested and nothing else. But ‘nothing else’ in my world is actually a lot! I fed myself healthily, got myself to work, worked hard, kept the house to a basic level of cleanliness and tidiness, did the laundry, took care of my cats, engaged with my friends and kept my life going. All despite the pain I was barely acknowledging.

Been then I realised that the pain – either physical or mental was not going to just dissipate. It was still ever present and was bringing me down, on every level. I couldn’t go it alone any more and needed to get it properly checked. When I finally called my GP 8 days after the injury, he was disinclined to diagnose a fracture, since he said, I could put weight on my ankle. And remember that this was a COVID consultation, done by phone at a distance and without the benefit of seeing the level of bruising and swelling, which other experts in my life, said could mean that it was indeed fractured. But I explained this to him and the fact that it was still so painful. So, if you’ll pardon the pun, I stood my ground and asked him to make an appointment for an X-Ray.

By now the pain was ever present and now longer ‘humming’ quietly in the background. I had to wait 3 days to get an X-Ray. When the call finally came, I spent the best part of day at my local hospital, waiting for a definitive diagnosis, sat in socially spaced chairs, along with other injured and sick lone wolves, all of whom had to wait solo, because of Coronavirus risk and space and control.

Each stage took an age. X-ray. Wait. Referral. Wait. Triage. Wait. Examination. Wait. Consultant… Being talked about by the staff, though I was feet away from them. “Who’s dealing with Sandra Peachey? Has Ortho been called? Yes.” Right: So I’ll sit here then, moving through a well oiled system; apparently invisible, yet the object of discussion and action, though right now I’m actually inactive, yet listening.

Eventually I was acknowledged and actually talked to, by the Orthopaedic specialist. In fact he explained the X-ray to me, in very thorough detail. It turned out that I could bear weight because the X-ray showed my leg and foot bones were all whole and exactly where they should be. The pain and swelling was due to what even my untutored eyes could see, was a fractured ankle bone. Then we discussed treatment options and, being posed with questions, eventually I asserted an answer and so I got the boot. A Support Boot that is, to immobilise and protect my ankle whilst it completed the process of healing.

My Regal Ankle,
revered on its cushion,
& clad in a support boot

I had finally got an expert opinion. I had external validation of my situation. In reality, I knew from the minute I did it, that I hadn’t simply twisted my ankle. But instead, I followed old patterns, laboured on and ignored my intrinsic wisdom. I limped quietly about, until I had ‘real’ recognition of my situation. Finally, a medic had confirmed the source of my pain, and given me a range of solutions. But fundamentally, what happened next and how I handled this, was up to me.

So being armed with knowledge, my actions altered. I stopped and considered. I rested. I sat still for a change. I literally elevated my right foot to regal status – resting it royally on a plump cushion, cossetted and pompous, far above any other part of my body – day and night. There it drains and heals from within; and from without is externally receding from a rainbow bruise palette, to pale skinned normality.

After 5 straight days of rest and elevation, this morning I woke up full of energy and almost free of pain. This time of stillness has been boring and frustrating, but ultimately nurturing and restorative. My ankle is still stiff and sore, but the swelling is finally shrinking. It will still be a while before I can run again, but I can walk a little, swim and do yoga, and so work my way back to picking up the pace (in every way), again.

So apparently I needed a break and quite literally, got one! I had to be stopped in my tracks, to take stock and gauge what was truly important at that point in time. And of all the things in my life, it turned out that the road to recovery for me, was creativity.

My life had centred on many things, all of which led away from, not towards my inescapable need for creativity. So it was time to return to my writing. After months away from the pen, it always seemed easiest, with the few physical and mental resources I had left after work, to just binge watch TV, then go to bed. Then then start again and so the same, the next day. Even though, intrinsically I knew that creativity is fundamentally at the heart of me, and that my desire and destiny is to write. And not just that, but to use my writing to right… my issues, to share my soul and move me ever forward.

And the voice that told me to stop doing this was keeping me small, in order to keep me safe within defined parameters of routine and misery. But then I got that oh so clichéd wake up call, and picked up my ‘pen’: I went back to my fiction writing and spent a day lost in my own authorly world of voices, places and stories. These were not the whispered conspiracies of my stone-age brain, but conscious stories of creation and imagination, entertaining, occupying and completing me. And this creative process for me could never be complete without a blog to record those slow steps; to anchor the lessons, and ultimately share the experience.

Some may say that on some level I created this break, but that’s not how I interpret what has happened. Ultimately I know that my actions, combined with fate and circumstance, led to my ankle being fractured. But what I have created as a result, is a series of lessons: I must listen to myself deeply, knowing that at the core of me, I inevitably have the right answers. I know my body and having become a runner in recent history, I know what it is capable of.

I could and should give myself credit where it’s due, since I achieve a lot in my life; despite the fact that my self doubt often emotionally paralyse me; along with the fact that I’m chronically sensitive to how I perceive those around me, respond to me. As a result I spend far too much time and energy focussing on perceived criticisms, including those that I unintentionally inflict upon myself…

These lessons are not the end of this particular story. There are yet more, both in this, and for the future… some new, and many to be repeated and re-learnt.

But for now, I shall continue to revere my healing ankle, and elevate it to the status it deserves – high on its cushion; whilst my head and fingers work happily at making stories, blogs, tears, dramas, laughter and what ever springs from my creative core, into ‘more’.

And that more as it happens, is me.

Sandra Peachey
She of the Fractured Ankle and Creative, Optimistic, Spirit

PS: You can buy the paperback or Kindle edition of the book of ‘Peachey Letters – Love Letters to Life on Amazon or you can get an author signed copy on my website for just £7.99 including P&P.  You will also find the book on all good book selling websites around the world.

Featured on the BBC, as well as local and national media (including Psychologies Magazine and The Lady), the book was also honoured as a Finalist in the 2015 International Book Awards. 

Peachey Letters – Love Letters to Life’ takes the best posts from this blog, adds new content and wraps it all together in a sweet bookish structure. 

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

Acceptance in the Time of Corona

I’ve chosen to acquiesce to much of what is going on in my world right now. I can’t control COVID, but there are so many other things that I can control and one of those is active acceptance.

The concept of Acceptance, if you think about it, could easily be a contradiction wrapped up in a word. As an action, it could be wimpy, waspish or even lazy, but then again, it could be the sweetest and smartest thing you could ever do for yourself.

So often when I work with my clients I find that they are fighting and resisting a situation. This be painful, as it clogs the head and heart with fighting thoughts and warring emotions. It also uses up precious time and negative energy.

I’ve been through it all too, of course… I remember one particularly protracted period where an issue – unmanaged and ignored because of its difficulty, had subsequently spiralled out of silly control.

It had been gnawing away at my consciousness and going round and round my beleaguered brain in ever decreasing circles, filling my thoughts, playing with my emotions and sapping my strength…

I had taken all the right pragmatic steps. But sometimes people and fate don’t coerce with your good intentions. Even the fact that I established some controls and attempted to move it all to a resolution, did not prevent me from being angry and dispirited. The same evil thoughts kept circling and spiralling in my head, again and again. My inner victim surfaced and it asked how it could be that I could be misunderstood and treated this way… by other individuals, by my own doing, by fate and by the Universe? It felt… so painful and so unfair…

I consciously chose not to wallow in my mental mire, nor let it lead and define me, but it was stuck subconsciously, not letting me go… So I had to seek solutions and alternatives. And at times like these, I love to replace the busy complex twistings of gut and thought, with sweet simplicity instead… I love to walk, to blow the cobwebs away – to literally move myself through whatever it is that I am working on or through.

So, at that time, I took me a walk, taking a deliberate route of change, of calm and balm. And whilst I walked, an alternative to all this mental mayhem floated into my mind… And that was – ‘acceptance’… And my walk turned into a prayer, an incantation of softly whispered words to fill my mind with a gorgeous and easy alternative – that of acceptance. So as I walked and thought, I sought and prayed for acceptance instead…

Instead of the circles and cycles of whiplash thought, instead of the bitterness and bile of argument and incrimination, I chose the silence of sweet acceptance instead…

At any time, such acceptance is a hymn, an invocation, a whispered alternative to anger. It fills my head with positive movement and upward momentum instead of the roundels of recrimination. It’s the opposite of negativity, it is synchronous and quiet; such acceptance moves me forward – instead of stalling and circling and sticking in my brain. It breaks the negative repetitiveness and consternation, and best of all, it is a simplistic swop.

And as I walked along that day, my prayer went something like this: “I accept this day; I accept the trees and the bluebells; I accept my life and what has led me to this point; I accept that I am here and now; I accept my situation; I accept my parents; I accept my decisions; I accept other’s reactions; I accept that things will change; I accept that soon this will all be unimportant; I accept the best; I accept the sunshine; I accept the opportunities to grow and to learn; I accept that I am skilled and amazing at many things; I accept that I am also a work in progress in others; I accept my work; I accept my companions; I accept the journey; I accept the blue sky; I accept myself; I accept the others. I accept

These words were blessings to me, they lifted the weight of this strange issue off my shoulders and let the thoughts fly out of my head, instead of running raggèd around it.

And as a technique it is so simple to replicate. If you are finding something difficult or unfair or just not going your way – really commit to the concept of the sweet simple acceptance of everything. Then walk, appreciate, think; accept. It is something you can do alone, or with a trusted companion. The walking somehow gives it a fantastic forward momentum.

But if taking a walk isn’t possible, then get a pen and paper and get all out on there. Decide that you are simply going to accept and find every aspect that could have led to or have influenced the situation you want to turn, until all the words have run out…

The walk of acceptance is a simple and elegant solution to being stuck in a negative spiral. So it’s time to share it. What do you say? Walk from A to B and try it out… And… Accept it!

Yours consciously… Sandra

Sandra Peachey – Coach, Author and Walking Work in Progress

PS: “Just to let you know that your book {Peachey Letters – Love Letters to Life} has arrived… As a take on Tom Cruise in Jerry Mcquire – ‘you had me at page 1’. Well done. You are an amazing writer, this book should be a film and I have only read 2 letters” ~ Beverley Jones.

For the magical month of May only, the Kindle edition of Peachey Letters is reduced to just £1.99/$2.99. So grab it on Amazon now by clicking here

Wasted Weekends in the Time of Corona

We’ve just had a bank holiday weekend in the UK. For me, this constituted days of lazing, reading, blog writing, gardening, housework and baking, so I’m ready for the week and seasons ahead.

At home alone for days on end, I’m in a delicious little hermit cave of selfish introspection, forgetting my tribe – all the people who exist outside my very own Corona fortress…

However my tribe don’t always forget me and a video call with some friends is arranged. At long last on the call I ‘met’ my goddaughter’s baby girl, which predictably, made me tear up. She’s the grand daughter of one of my oldest friends and it was a three way call with the new Nanna and my other longest serving friend. I’ve known both these wonderful women since I was 5 years old, and in the season of Corona life goes on. People pass and new babies arrive. The cycle of life is no respecter of Lockdown.

Two adoring Aunties and an oblivious baby

As a keen hermit, I’ve been staying away from shops as much as possible. Yet I’d also been pondering how to get my garden in shape this year, now I’ve done the honorary first mowing and pruning. Most Garden Centres are closed anyway. I’d been reliably informed that several local plant nurseries were taking orders for collection or delivery. However they were either crazy expensive or ignored my emails and phone calls. Many of them are simply beleaguered and stating they are not taking any new orders…

On the way to figuring out how I resolve this gardening conundrum, I’m driving to work two days a week, to man a head office and keep the commercial wheels turning. Whilst there of course, I keep a safe distance and take all precautions. At most there will be 3-4 people in the building.

Last week my normal cross country route was hampered by road closure, so I’ve had to drive through a local town. Normally this is onerous and requires patience, queuing endlessly at traffic lights, though at the moment, whilst there is some traffic out there, the level makes it tractable and pleasurable.

Driving through town I saw a local grocer’s shop was selling a plethora of plants on the pavement. I pulled in to park as quickly as I could.

Like a careful child in an outdoor sweetie shop, I browsed the wares, stepping warily around the other shoppers and carefully filling a shopping basket with my treasures of Spring bedding. It felt like a wonderful, secret discovery…

So, during the weekend I planted them out with seeds tucked away in the soil at their roots. It all looks sparse now, but in a couple of months all those fledgling plants will put on a beautiful show. And I’m trusting this will by the time I can have visitors to my garden again 🙏

Also in the weekend agenda was to bake up some healthy snacks to nourish me carefully, as along with my regular exercise of running and walking, I’m currently eating clean(ish) – my diet being fruit / vegetable smoothies, nurturing vegan soups and detoxing by giving up caffeine and alcohol for a while, too.

On the baking front I did a vegan variation of the gluten free banana muffin recipe I regularly whip up. I also roasted up a bunch of nuts and seeds, adding some Himalayan salt and dried fruit at the end to make them even more delicious.

My own home made ‘trail mix‘ of roasted nuts and dried fruit

This cooking, Along with the gardening constituted simple nurturing acts, all of which completed gave me a simple, glowing contentment.

Flourless, gluten free & vegan banana muffins. And yes, they’re DELICIOUS…

My weekend, in amongst all this, was dedicated to writing too. However, as happens so often, my plans to dedicate myself to writing slipped languorously away. By the end of it I’d edited a newsletter for my writers group which is going out to another group of writers in Uganda. I’d also written a blog (see here) on the 75th anniversary of VE (Victory in Europe Day).

By the time all this and my domestic goddess chores were done it was 10 pm of the the last day of my ‘endless’ weekend. But my stubbornness set in and so I sat and edited my novel till midnight, not wanting to go to bed in a tired hurrumph. I tried to be kind with myself and not annoyed for making no progress on the short story or planning out the Corona novel I currently have cycling through my head.

Having no where to go, means I have more time to read and I can cheat at that by listening to audio books whilst running, gardening and cooking. At the moment I’ve got ‘I can run’, The Chimp Paradox, and ‘The Signature of All Things’ on the go.

And then it is that the working week and it’s circadian rhythms returned…

Yours supinely,


PS: Speaking of books, a huge thank you to everyone who has bought my book so far this month and left me a review on Amazon. My gorgeous feel good book ‘Peachey Letters – Love Letters to Life’ is on special offer for MAY ONLY – get the Kindle edition for just £1.99 / $2.99. And it’s just one of 45 books currently on special promo at my publishing house. It would be amazing if you would buy and review. Thank you 🙏 Click here:

Running in the Time of Corona

In my series of ‘Love in the Time of Corona’ posts, today I have to record a momentous occasion for posterity…

For the first time in decades I went out for a run, (with the possible exception of being late for a train…)!!!

This shocking revelation has come about because I am left with little alternative.  You see, exercise for me usually involves:
1) Walking groups = now cancelled;
2) Swimming = yup – cancelled;
3) Yoga = cancelled, yet again. Gah!!!

Now I’ve done a bit of running over the years… But it’s really my thing… Far too much like hard work…  Too, um, heavy on the knees… Nope – I’m not one of those kick ass, slender sporty types I often drive by (sitting in my hermetically sealed car), I observe smugly pounding pavements in the latest designer trainers.

That being said, in these Corona crazy times I feel I have not only to do SOMETHING to keep myself healthy, but I’ve got to up my game to stay active and healthy.

Blimey… If you know me… times are – most definitely and shockingly – a-changing..!

So I’ve figured out the Couch to 5K App.  I’d downloaded it to my mobile eons ago, then ignored it.  Why I’d downloaded it, I can’t imagine. I have to say that I associate running with being seriously sporty, whereas I do what I do, in a personal, lazy, ‘I’ll only do what I wanna’ sort of way…  Running it has to be said, is not what I ever wanna do…

Yet I opened the App and read the instructions.  I didn’t understand them all, so I googled some questions and figured it out.  Yep – I know! Check ME out with my fancy smancy technical know how…

And so the moment (to run) came and then it went.  It went because instead of running, I procrastinated – a lot (including spending precious minutes online browsing – thinking, that if I MUST do this crazy thing, that I must buy trendy trainers and all the kick ass sporty gear).

But then I shutdown the shopping Apps and started up the music App.  I clicked  headphones into my phone and plugged the phone into my ears.  And I just, well… started! I tapped the App and started moving – just one foot in front of the other, one at a time…

The Couch to 5K App comes highly recommended and I can now see why – it (in the guise of a celebrity voice) coaches you and supports you through each, short stage. I chose the voice of Sarah Millican, who talked me through a warm up walk; then to run for a minute; then walk briskly for a further 1.5 minutes, and so on.

Oh my god… The first minute was AWFUL… I cannot lie – I felt heavy, wheezy and old!

But I kept going. I smiled to myself (a deliberate physiological ‘trick’ to signal to the body that I was happy); I looked at the scenery; and I just I kept going…

Then I realised I wasn’t even thinking about the fact that I was RUNNING! Yes… I was actually running!!!

So check me out, world… Running down a country lane, in trackies and trainers (found lanquishing at the back of a wardrobe)… Kick ass sporty type that I (now, suddenly) am…

Whilst keeping a safe social distance from those I encountered along the way, I acknowledged everyone – to be met with smiles, or ignored, or avoided, or regarded with a worrying air of bewilderment (may be as a 50 something newbie jogger, I just looked weird, instead of ‘kick ass’…).

Suddenly it was time to stop.  And that was my first run, in the bag, done, at 30 minutes.  That achieved, I stopped briefly to take a selfie for posterity / public record, then kept on walking for another 30 minutes.  And if you are not impressed by that, I need to you to know that it means that I am basically awesome.

So are here are the comparison pics:
1) Before – Judging myself for looking old, ugly and sickly.
2) After – Not caring how I look, but feeling blimmin proud of myself.

Running in the Time of Corona

So if I can do it – may be you can too…???
Or maybe there is something else you can try.  For example there are several online celebrities / exercise gurus currently offering their programmes for free, including:

Warning: I’m gonna climb onto my soap box now:
To have the best chance of staying healthy, we need to be active. We should do regular exercise in a way that works for us.  If we have the physical capability – now is the time to not only stretch our boundaries, but run towards them and leap over the damn things!!

We don’t need to be kick ass lycra clad atheletes, but let’s kick the ass out of this crazy Coronavirus and give it as little chance as possible of kicking us to the curb.

OK, OK… I’m clambering off the soap box and making my way back over to the sofa.
For now…
Might just smugly jog by you on another day, though…

Yours, semi-smugly,

Love Letter to My Warring Egos

February 2016 Blog Challenge: Blog 7 of 29


Dear Ego

Did I just write Dear ego?! What a strange convention that in the world of letter writing we say ‘Dear Sir’, ‘Dear Miss Peachey’ ‘Dear Friend’. Yet over in the world of emails we seem to have gone to the opposite extreme: ‘Hi Sandra’, total strangers will write… ‘please… buy from me, pay me attention…’, etc., etc.

It’s one of life’s contradictions. And life is full of them. So I wander off into these tangential musings as I try to make sense of life’s twinning duplicities.

Even though I know these internal thought trajectories are my ego’s distraction from facing the external world – still they tramp through my brain; because if my mind is busy, then it’s distracted from allowing me to step into the spotlight… Oh I know all about spotlights, since I’ve spent a lot of time lurking back stage in theatre productions, conferences and class rooms. I’ve spent time on stage too, in many different capacities…

Yes – the spotlight! It’s a weird thing, that circle of super illumination. It has a warmth and brightness that beckons you to bask in it. It will follow you around the stage showing you the way, highlighting everything that you concurrently wish to reveal and maybe more; but sometimes it can blind you and often you cannot see your audience – since you are stranded in a peculiar, circular prison of concentrated, artificial light. Most people stand outside the spotlight – some ignore, some happy to watch, and some more standing in the dark contemplating how they can step in and be seen.

So with all these inherent contradictions, my ego both loves and loathes standing in the spotlight. What it loves is applause, agreement and praise. What it hates is indifference, disapprobation and looking like any shade of a fool. Meaning that, in the ebb and flow of my theatrical mind – the spotlight both is both seductive and destructive.

My ego wants many things… It wants to be loved; to have an easy life and an easy climb up onto the stage; it wants to be recognised and when it is – halleluiah – how wonderful, how edifying – the applause, attention and compliments make it glow and grow.

But then this ego starts to turn in to my alter ego and one compliment is never enough. This ego needs to be fed. It’s voracious – it can never have enough druggy adoration. And so it will always want its’ next fix…

And if it doesn’t get that fix, it soon forgets the warmth of the spotlight. When the audience leaves, what is the point of remaining on the stage? My ego then slinks off into the wings, shirks out of the theatre via the back door and leaves stealthily by cover of darkness.

It has such a short memory for praise, my ego. As far as it’s concerned, each piece of praise is a thing of the past almost as soon as it is uttered. Criticism though, lingers longer. It stabs like a dagger and its wounds often get infected as they fester away, ignored or untreated, in the dark.

So then my ego shuns the spotlight. It lives like a hermit in a dark deep cave and deliberately does not expose itself to further pain or ignominy. Or at least it tells me not to do that… And it’s a form of rampant protectionism. Essentially – it is telling me that I need to stay in the safety of the cave. It may be dark in there, but it is familiar and I know where everything is. ‘Leave the cave’ my alter ego says and I will be attacked by a savage pack of strange wolves, as well as being rejected by my tribe; and that will be death.

Maybe it’s fortunate that I have a low boredom threshold. Much as I love my cave, I do need to stretch my legs, and my ego beyond it.

One thing that gets me out there is my writing – just one of the many things that challenges my ego. I write and it feels as if my words somehow peel away all my surfaces, exposing all my vulnerabilities. It is something that I am impelled to anyway, not least because it completely confuses my duplicitous ego; which means that my writing begs both to be shared and to be hidden.

It’s a duality that fortunately I recognise. I post and publish (and be damned) anyway, because I don’t thrive in the dark and I don’t grow on my own. If I stay in my cave, I get demotivated and disconnected. My ego becomes the cave and wants to shut me in, so I don’t get hurt.

But if my ego will not commit compliments to memory, then I have to remind it of them in other ways. A year or so ago I started writing fiction and by doing so I’ve found a passion for it, so fierce, that I simultaneously want to shout about it and hide it. So I started, shared samples of it and then was scared of it. My ego told me it would be too much hard work to write a long loved novel, only to then face the ultimate rejection… But I know this pattern and so I store up the feedback too and here are the comments about my first public piece of fiction writing:

  • “Fiction is your thing. That is beautifully written. Thank you for sharing”.
  • “Your writing is beautiful, it drew me in and made me want to read more … and I feel the story you have to share is a soul message … your heart is ready to write this fictional masterpiece”.
  • “There needs to be a LOVE button. That was so beautiful, flowing, poetic … Had me wanting to know her life before and after this …”
  • “It’s beautiful … you do indeed have the wonderful gift of being able to write fictional prose. So pleased you are sharing this with the world… and you can’t keep this gift to yourself.” *

So after sitting in the dark with my book and doing nothing about it for so long, it is a shock to see those words of encouragement again…

But then sitting in the dark is painfully easy. I’m now choosing to put myself out there into the spotlight any way. I may be ignored, I could be criticised; but you see, the spotlight is not my final destination. It’s just a place where I have decided I will dance for a while. To me, recognition can be the applause of millions or even more satisfyingly, it is that one voice that tells you that you made a difference. And I have to tell you that both my ego and my alter ego can find no better contentment in this world than that.

So, my dear twin egos – I see you for what are: friend and foe; light and dark; stupid and smart.

And that could just describe me, on any given day, couldn’t it?

Well, I’ve always said that I’m a creature of contradictions – so I’ll still feel fear and step out there, regardless. I’ll start with the act of creation and work towards the contentment of completion. Then my twins, we can deal with the feedback later.

That’s my decision made then. It’s time to bow out of this letter.

Yours egotistically
Sandra Peachey
Coach, Author and Apologist

PS: As Valentine’s Day comes around and you are thinking of a gorgeous gift, a collection of the ‘Peachey Letters’ from this blog have been gathered together, along with new material, into a beautiful non fiction book.  It makes the perfect present, for you and for your loved ones … You can buy Peachey Letters – Love Letters to Life on my website here or from Amazon (in Paperback and Kindle), order it at any bookshop, or indeed buy it from all good book websites around the world…

PPS: * If you would like to know what my readers were commenting about, check it out here…

Love Letter to (Emotional) Resilience

Boxing Resilience

Dearest Friend

I’m writing to you today because I want to get in touch with you again and to have more of you in my life – because right now, I miss you…

I see you out in the world and you are quite ‘the thing’ now aren’t you? You are bandied about in corporate circles and trotted out for magazine articles and so you’ve become very fashionable of late and I wonder if you have time for me anymore, so I’ll put my own petty predispositions to one side and unashamedly reach out to you instead.

If I think about what you are, I can chew up a dictionary and spew out a definition of you: Emotional resilience is having the ability and resources to adapt to difficult emotional situations or surprises. When you are emotionally resilient, you are more able to accept such situations and better able to adapt – rolling with the punches of life, rather than being knocked out by them.

Interesting that I should start sprinkling boxing analogies in there… But not surprising, because I have of late, starting feeling that life has been punching me in the stomach a little too often…

I like to think of myself as a strong person, but woman cannot live by thoughts and preferences alone. As an observer of mankind and myself – womankind – the kind of woman who watches and tries to lovingly learn; I have noticed how I am subject to the rhythms of my life. So I am deliberately putting some time aside to analyse the waves of those rhythms and to decide whether to swim, surf or take a boat across them. Frequently you, see, I seem to be drowning in them; so it is time to traverse, rather to tread water. What I wonder is going on with me that seems to weaken my resilience, and what steps can I take to consciously build it up again?

So if I look at myself and where my life has taken me recently – there are both external and internal considerations. I made a big change to my work / life path around 9 months ago and I realise that I am still adjusting and balancing all the options around that. I am, I now realise, missing certain elements of that old life that filled me up emotionally and psychologically, and I want to redress the balance.

The first part of that process is to be really sure of who I am and what I want to bring to the party of life. So here is my Soul Manifesto: I want to earn a good income, doing work that supports others and enervates and pushes me. I want to go beyond existing and paying bills – to a state of feeling fulfilled. That involves putting positive energy into my corporate work, my coaching and my writing.

When I am clear about what I bring to each of these activities, then that clarity gives me a surety and strength in myself; and means then that I am not so desperately vested in the misaligned words, actions and opinions of the players and partners around me – all with their own agenda; but rather that I understand what these are, and so I dance with rather than deal with other’s demons – doing a do-si-do and a step to the side, rather than an intense one on one tango.

To be honest with you, dealing with my own demons is hard enough work and I cannot serve my soul’s purpose if I am drawing daggers with other people’s devils… But frequently I forget this and find myself out there with them in the boxing ring. So I’m standing there, thinking I’ve got the friendly audience and the outfit just right and that I’ll execute a few nifty and graceful shadow moves, when… Blam!!! Suddenly and without warning I am punched hard in the stomach by my opponent – who I thought was actually my partner. But no. Biff! Duff! Thwack! Now the punches keep raining down on me, even though I am now knocked out and lying on the sawdust strewn floor finding it hard to breathe. And then I realise that I am actually beating myself up. For the love of… Ouch!!! I can’t decide which kind of punch (internal or external) is more painful…

I’m also out in the audience, watching myself from the side lines – shouting encouragement one minute, then counting to ten the next, and I think ominously that this woman on the floor has a physical disadvantage as well as an emotional demon to fight…

And that demon / disadvantage or whatever you may call it is the menopause. I feel that I haven’t weathered it well. My hormones have raged and rampaged over my life for some years now and I feel like the layers of strength and learning that I have built up around my heart have been eroded away. It is as if my emotional resilience has been burnt out – has given up, along with my body, which has been fighting the transition with all the indecorous furore of a bull in a china shop. And I’m left, naked to my emotions and therefore open to the various blows that circumstance and psyche will inevitably rain on my heart.

Out in the audience, as I watch myself sitting up slowly, with the moths of pain and pity flying round my head (instead of cartoon birds and stars), I walk over to myself and whisper in my ear, the same things that I tell my coaching clients…

“You are sitting up, you are breathing – you are safe. Acknowledge the pain – accept it and that you are in it, for now. This too shall pass. See it for what it is and choose what you want from this. Choose to learn and if you feel that you are beyond choice, then ask yourself what you would choose if you could and ruminate on those thoughts – even disassociated choice will heal and change the psyche. Analyse and accept what has happened. Don’t fight it with recriminations, angry self-talk, and victimised surmises. The surmises that equate to you making up tales and stories – ‘but they did X / I always Y, oh why, oh why’ etc.)… This is just your mind creating tall tales, it is not your reality, so change the ending. Fighting (in whatever form it takes) is always painful, so take off the boxing gloves.

It is always tempting at times like these to drug the pain – with tablets, wine, television or whatever our real or psyched pharmacy of choice is. But instead of drugging – how about distracting instead? Take a walk, take a break; breath deep and a get a change of scene and perspective – even if that is just walking into the next room.

Find a supportive friend, colleague or coach who will be a positive sounding board. Get it off your chest. Then listen – to them, and most importantly to your self – that self that goes deeper than those perceived punches in the heart. What is really going on here for you – what is the lesson to be learnt?”

And sometimes at this point I’ve seen myself and clients snap right out of it and of course, at others, it takes a little more energy to be able to get back on your feet.

Out of that imaginary boxing arena now, these are the two vital underpinning elements to bolster emotional resilience:

Firstly – consciously keeping the right company. Not just running to someone to moan and unload, but being part of a group/community where you give and take. Somewhere where you learn and teach. For some this family and friends, others combine this with being part of communities like Broadband Consciousness or Damsels in Success – any number of options are out there and available for you to explore.

Secondly – keep up a routine of self-development practices. Read the right books (and given your situation, the choice of these will change); learn to meditate, and journal. Get a notebook and as a minimum – write out 10 things / reasons / situations / people every day to be grateful for. What can you be grateful for in those emotional punches..? This is training your brain to find positive thoughts and is ultimately building your resilience.

These two practices become even better if you combine them with getting a deeper level of support from a coach or counsellor – work through your stuff – not just in times of crises, but as a matter of course / routine. Please don’t tell me that you cannot afford the time or financial investment that this will involve. There are many forms of support out there – from free to expensive. A lot of what you choose (including doing nothing) will depend upon your concept of value, but where ever there is a will, there is a way, so find the right resources to invest in yourself.

A constant positive self-analysis along with supportive guidance, is a powerful combination. The external support means that you have a wealth of resources to draw on. The inner practices – that you can be more simultaneously wise and resilient, because you keep up a constant and conscious practice – meaning that you become humble enough to keep learning, and quiet enough to let the answers come to you, all in in their own good time.

How you do all this is part of this process, you will inevitably experiment with what works best for you and don’t think that you will find one easy source for all this support. By varying what you do, you will strengthen what you do – as with most things in life – don’t put all your eggs in to one basket.

So, my friend Resilience – of course in clichéd fashion, I find that you have been with me all along – I had just forgotten you, but knew secretly too that you were always there within me. And if I have been stripped back, and emotionally laid bare, then all to the good – it is time to build myself up again – to be better, and to be more. Always of course, with a little help from my (internal and external) friends.

So now, my emotional vulnerability becomes my learning and of course my ultimate strength and turns back in to my emotional resilience.

Thank you my friend, for all that you give me: the love, the learning and the strength to serve – myself and so too then, the world.

Yours, with dancing feet and dry eyes…

S xXx

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 loss, love and life in all their gore and glory? 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)

What Cats Teach Us About Life: Cats, Coffee and the Compliance of Civits

Number 27 out of 28: This piece is part a Blog Challenge to write and publish a post, every day of the 28 days of February 2015, from Coach and Writer Sandra Peachey – the author of ‘Peachey Letters – Love Letters to Life’.

Indonesians Farm Civet Cats To Produce World's Most Valuable Coffee

The ‘Coffee Pooh’ Civit

Over the course of this month’s blog challenge on my twin themes of Coaching and Cats, I have been digging deeper into one of the coaching tools I often employ, which is a psychometric inventory based on the DISC personality assessment system.  The letters stand for the four main personality traits it describes: namely Dominance, Influence, Steadiness, and Compliance.  I have been gently evolving this in to DISCC – ‘DISC for Cats’, since, as well as personality assessment, I also have extensive experience in the field of cat guardianship (not ownership – you never own a cat) and so I shall now be consciously combining the personality and the puss.

The cat trait I shall be investigating today is the ‘C’ of the DISC model, which stands for Compliance.   And my four legged muse to assist me in this exploration, is a very intelligent and self-possessed puss I used to be the guardian of – a handsome ginger tom by the name of Muttley.

Muttley was an urban tiger, twice the size of the average domestic cat and probably three times as clever.  He was a rescue cat I took guardianship of (from a cat charity) when he was, we guessed, around eighteen months old.

On first acquaintance he was neutrally grateful for his warm new home, then gradually, slowly, more of his personality started to emerge.  I only ever had to tell Muttley anything once and he got it.  I soon realised too that this cat understood all the rules of the house instantly, and in fact knew them better than I did.

Not long after he arrived in my life, I went away for a night and left him alone with a cat feeding device – a machine with a timer that was programmed to pop open at a pre-determined time, in order to dispense his dinner.  It was a new fangled, fan dango’ed sort of machine that took me around 2 hours to figure out, assemble and then set up.  Despite this complexity, I discovered, when I returned home 24 hours later, this same device, broken in to little pieces, easily dis-assembled by my cat and now scattered across the kitchen floor…

I never left Muttley on his own again – for he had taught me the intricacies of Compliance – not a sissy, ‘do as you are told’ sort of compliance, but a ‘I know it all, so let me show you how’ kind instead…

The C in this trait stands for Conscientious as well as Compliance.  It is all about detail, preciseness and perfectionism, which was why, when I was casting about for a wild cat to cast as a representative for it, that I thought of the Civit – or to be compliantly precise – the Asian Palm Civet…

Some where, way back, down along their long genetic lineages, it is thought that the cat and the civet had a common ancestor.  Over the morass of millennia, convergent and parallel evolution has produced different animal lines, which because of their common ancestry and habitat may even develop some similar traits, including the ‘C’ one.

The Asian Palm Civet is actually a small, (domestic) cat-sized grey / black, long tailed creature. It has a more pointed muzzle than a moggy – and looks like a hybrid between a cat and a raccoon.  In fact, rather than being a cat, it is more closely related to the modern mongoose.

It is a carnivorous creature, living most notably in Indonesia and feeding in the wild on rodents, insects, fruits and curiously (for us humans), coffee berries.  Because of its’ coffee habit, this Civit has a paw in the production of ‘Kopi Luwak’, a coffee that is prepared using the coffee berries which they eat and partially digest.  The beans are then harvested from their fecal matter.   The reason that this coffee is so prized, is that Civits only eat the finest and ripest beans – since by sense and smell they know exactly which are the very best.

The civet’s efforts allegedly add to the coffee’s prize aroma and flavour.  As such, this ‘Civit Pooh Coffee’ is therefore the gold dust of the caffeine world, commanding big dollars in comparison to its’ non-digested coffee cousins.

So just as my mog Muttley could see exactly how everything worked, consequently the ‘coffee pooh’ Civit can also only select the correct coffee berries.  It is, of vital importance to the ‘C’ trait, that things are done exactly the right way and according to the rules.

This all works when the ‘C’ characteristic knows what the rules actually are… I remember taking Muttley with me to stay with family for Christmas, and on the first night he wandered around the strange house, dis-planted from his territory and meowing constantly, whilst the rest of us attempted to sleep… At this juncture, if he were a human ‘C’ – out of his comfort zone, his meows would be signifying a whole range of questions – where, why, how and what..? All asked in order to re-establish the direction of his internal compass.

The ‘C’ then, is most comfortable when things are ‘right’.  So they tend to be motivated by getting things right and hence, by being right; and they are very good at it, for they are great listeners and attentive to corrective detail.  Then, with all these details established and to hand, they can then make sure and certain decisions; yet without all the data, statistics and cogent facts at their disposal, they are reluctant to commit to a conclusion. C’s do not tend to thrive on tension and will avoid it or will pick at the holes and flaws of its’ concern, (which they can see a hundred paces ahead), in order to steer clear of combustible conflict.

So where Muttley knew his territory, tricks and escape routes, he would stand his ground, yet where there was any element of uncertainty he would flee, back to his safe home and to me. So whether human, cat or small, (lithe-bodied, nocturnal), mongoose like mammal, the ‘C’ has its’ detailed role to play – notated and checked to the nth degree – to check and perfect and to get life right.

In amongst all the mnemonics in DISC I can see the need for ‘C’ and all the different elements in my world.  And, like a lot of people, cats and civits, have many of the traits blended to a certain degree, to make a constant and evolving recipe of me.

PS: Sadly the Asian Palm Civit’s coffee talents have been abused by some in their native Indonesia, who have force-fed them a debilitating diet of coffee berries in diabolical living conditions, in order to harness their excreted harvest.  Fortunately there is now a campaign under way to encourage ‘ethical’ civet coffee…

PPS: Today’s Civit centric information has been digested and regurgitated from the websites o: f A-Z Animals, Wikipedia,, and Cat Poop Coffee Inc.

PPPS: Did you know that a collection of my ‘Peachey Letters’ have been gathered together in to a beautiful book, cats and all?  I’m completely biased of course, but it makes a purrfect present, whether you be a cat lover or no.  All of human life is in this gorgeous book – all the fear, light, dark, and of course love, for any one who wants to be entertained and to know that they are not alone in life, what ever it holds for you, even if it isn’t all about cats… You can buy ‘Peachey Letters – Love Letters to Life’ from book websites any where in the world, including Amazon (in both Paperback and Kindle)

What Cats Teach Us About Life: The Steadiness of the Leopard

Number 26 out of 28: This piece is part a Blog Challenge to write and publish a post, every day of the 28 days of February 2015, from Coach and Writer Sandra Peachey – the author of ‘Peachey Letters – Love Letters to Life’.


As a Coach and an admirer of Cats, I realised some time ago that these two things need not necessarily be mutually exclusive; in fact they could cogently combine, and so I find, that I am constantly developing my philosophies of and musings on, ‘Coaching with Cats’.

As a qualified Occupational Tester, one of the tools I use most often is a psychometric inventory based on the DISC personality assessment system.  The letters stand for what are regarded as the four main personality traits – Dominance, Influence, Steadiness, and Compliance.  I am now gently developing this in to DISCC – ‘DISC for Cats’, since, as well as personality assessment, I also have extensive experience in the field of cat guardianship (not ownership – you never own a cat) and so I shall be combining the personality and the puss.

The trait that my cats and myself shall be scrutinizing today is the ‘S’ of the DISC model, which stands for Steadiness.   And my assistant in this task today is the living, loving teddy bear that is my cat Taz.

Taz is not always the most obvious of creatures, (apart from at meal times), and rarely is he bothering and badgering me for attention. A sweet but solitary creature, he often likes to hide out at the top of the stairs, squeeze into dark corners or park himself behind curtains – under desks or any where that offers him a good view and a secret blanket of safety.

He reminds me of a small Leopard, one of those graceful and powerful big cats closely related to lions, tigers, and jaguars.  His wild cousins have territories spread across the vast reaches of Africa and Asia, and have been known to humans throughout long millennia, being featured in the art, mythology, and folklore of many places, from Arabia to Britain and far beyond.

Leopards are in nature elusive, solitary and largely nocturnal, of which aspects Taz quietly draws upon.  The key thing about personalities that belong to this type is their rhythmic pace and steadiness, and as such they can offer a calm predictability.  They are very grounded in the present, but are also great at meeting dedicated deadlines ahead of time.  Hence Taz will linger around for food, insinuating him self into my presence often two or three hours ahead of the pre-prescribed time.

Taz is definitely a lover rather than a fighter, preferring to do things the peaceful way – yet if the occasion calls for it, he will see off intruder cats from the garden, simply by staring them out.  It is a magnificent thing to observe – seeing him in his silent, steady power.
For all his independence and secrecy, Taz is too, very loving and steadily affectionate.  He is naturally friendly with everyone, but like all ‘S’ types, will take some time to get to know you before he loves you.  And since he is a true creature of habit, he likes to demonstrate his love, for me, with regularity, at round about 10.00 pm each night, when I will be sought out, then head butted, paw pounded and purred at.

It is always a two way scenario with this little Leopard and so I must, of course love him back…

Taz is one of the quietest cats I know, but when he has something to communicate, he draws on rich variety of methods.  Leopards too produce a number of vocalizations, including grunts, roars, growls, meows, and purrs.  My favourite Taz talk is his ‘thrup’ or what is known in the wild cat world as ‘prusten’ – a blown breathy nostril snort also made by tigers and snow leopards, as a sound of happy recognition.

Since they are such good communicators and excellent listeners – S’s tend to be great problem solvers too and will often reach their conclusions through group consensus.  Hence more and more Taz is to be found hanging out with all members of The Pride – especially during his patterned and favourite time of evening.

Taz rarely pushes or forces and loves to be quietly adorable and agreeable, even under pressure.  And unless it is a matter of food or safety, he would rather I called the shots and made all the decisions. This means that he can then just quietly takes his purring place in The Pride…

Taz is truly my own little Leopard.  He is a sweet hearted and gentle panther of a fluffy black cat, and a beautiful constant, quietly making his presence felt in my life and in the circle of The Peachey Pride.

PS: Today thanks go to the Wikipedia and National Geographic websites for their excellent information on Leopards.

PPS: A collection of my ‘Peachey Letters’ have been gathered together in to a book.  I’m completely biased of course, but it makes a ‘purrfect’ present, whether you be a cat lover or no.  All of human life is in this gorgeous book – all the fear, light, dark, and of course love, for any one who wants to be entertained and to know that they are not alone in life, what ever it holds for you, even if it isn’t all about cats… You can buy ‘Peachey Letters – Love Letters to Life’ from book websites any where in the world, including Amazon (in both Paperback and Kindle)

The Gorgeous Serendipity of Cats, Writing and World Book Night…

Number 25 out of 28: This piece is part a Blog Challenge to write and publish a post, every day of the 28 days of February 2015, from Coach and Writer Sandra Peachey – the author of ‘Peachey Letters – Love Letters to Life’.

World Book Night 15

Yesterday I received an email, which began:

“CONGRATULATIONS! We’re thrilled to tell you that you’ve been chosen as a World Book Night 2015 volunteer! You will be joining thousands of other volunteers across the country to share your love of reading and inspire others to begin their reading journey.”

I have taken part as a volunteer for World Book Night before, for a number of reasons – not least because I have a love of books and words, which I got from my father (now departed), who read to me every night as a child.  As a result I was transported to exciting new worlds and introduced to a host of characters; I learnt and grew my vocabulary: and to this day love where writing can take you, in every sense – allowing you to escape (from the every day), to learn, and to grow, and all this whilst being entertained.

Of course, not every one has had the start that I did, nor have formed a reading practice for what ever reason…

Run by The Reading Agency, World Book Night is celebrated in Britain on 23 April and the Their Website explains what it is all about:

“Reading for pleasure is a globally recognised indicator in a huge range of social issues from poverty to mental health, yet in the UK 35% of people don’t regularly read.

World Book Night brings together a powerful collaboration of national partners – publishers, printers, distributors, libraries, booksellers, private donors, trusts and foundations – to inspire more people to read. Thousands of volunteers share their love of reading by giving out books to people in their communities who, for whatever reason, don’t read for pleasure or own books. National, regional and local events up and down the country celebrate the difference that reading makes to people’s lives.”

As an avid reader and a published author, my wish is that as many people as possible get the opportunity to receive and read.  Every year there are a number of titles that are donated by publishers to give away and when you apply to be a volunteer, you also apply for which particular titles you would like to give out.

The organisers weren’t always able to give everyone their first choice, but did manage to allocate volunteers one of their top three choices.  I am delighted to say that I got my first choice and I chose my title for a very specific set of reasons.

So, on the evening of the 23rd of April I will be giving out 18 copies of: ‘Street Cat Bob: How One Man and a Cat Saved Each Other’s Lives. A True Story.’ This is a brand new, ‘Quick Read’ edition of a book I read several years ago called: ‘A Street Cat Named Bob: How One Man and His Cat Found Hope on the Streets’.

Street Cat Bob

The book tells the true and uplifting story of James Bowen, a drug addict, busker and Big Issue seller, living off the streets of London, and his cat – a ginger tom called Bob.

When the author found this injured street cat in the hallway of his sheltered housing, he had no idea just how much his life was about to change. Soon the two were best friends, and their funny and sometimes dangerous adventures would change both their lives, slowly healing the scars of each other’s troubled pasts.

It is an easy and inspiring read, taking you into the world of James and Bob and detailing the slow, not always easy redemption of each of them.

As a reader, writer and cat lover, it was therefore the perfect choice for me, not least because I am currently exploring ‘What Cats Teach Us About Life’ in a series of blogs that I have been posting online this month, as part of a blog challenge I have set myself.  My brief is to write a piece every day of the month of February and it has been a fabulous experience, exploring how cats can give us so much pleasure, support and if we choose to see it – learning too.

The serendipity of World Book Night offering the opportunity to be a volunteer (acceptance is not guaranteed); then offering this title (they offer a wide variety of options which are different every year) and then accepting me as a volunteer to give out this particular book, all in this month when I am writing about cats and what they can teach us, is completely perfect and also an opportunity for which I am gorgeously grateful.

Alongside this, I will also be giving away some free copies of my own book ‘Peachey Letters – Love Letters to Life’, showing how the simple act of writing a letter, can be a healing release that any one who can write, can do…

During March, World Book Night will be releasing details of events across the United Kingdom so you will see more from them, me and the army of volunteers gearing up for the evening of 23rd April.

I now have to decide where and who the books will go to… I live near Coventry in the West Midlands, so will be staying as local as possible.  I already have some ideas, but would also welcome ideas for organisations, groups and individuals that would really love the opportunity to start, re-discover or develop a new reading routine.  Please feel free to contact me through my blog with any suggestions that you have.

I have three cats of my own of course – so George, Taz and Sophia – whether they know it or not, they are all lending me their support.  And this year, as far as I am concerned, four paws is most definitely the way to go…

Watch this space for more World Book Night news… 

PS: World Book Night can be found and followed on Facebook and Twitter.

PPS: A collection of my ‘Peachey Letters’ have been gathered together in to a book.  I’m completely biased of course, but it makes a ‘purrfect’ present, whether you be a cat lover or no.  All of human life is in this gorgeous book – all the fear, light, dark, and of course love, for any one who wants to be entertained and to know that they are not alone in life, what ever it holds for you, even if it isn’t all about cats… You can buy ‘Peachey Letters – Love Letters to Life’ from book websites any where in the world, including Amazon (in both Paperback and Kindle)

What Cats Teach Us About Life: How to find the ‘I’ in Serval…

Number 23 out of 28: This piece is part a Blog Challenge to write and publish a post, every day of the 28 days of February 2015, from Coach and Writer Sandra Peachey – the author of ‘Peachey Letters – Love Letters to Life’.


I am blending and blurring the lines of my life… Linking the disparate and disciplined, making a whole picture out of all the multi coloured jigsaw pieces of my creation – born and made. And by doing so, I am bringing more of me into who I am and what I do, in everything, so that life is more natural and more easy… Blissful sigh… Smug pause…

Whilst I am practising the art of being more of myself, being more ‘natural and easy’, cats of course, are just getting on with it.  And the elements of my life that I shall be drawing together today, are the observation and interaction of (human) personality theories, as applied to cats…

As a qualified Occupational Tester, one of the tools I use most often is a psychometric inventory based on the DISC personality assessment system.  The letters stand for what are regarded as the four main personality traits – Dominance, Influence, Steadiness, and Compliance.  I shall now gently develop this in DISCC – ‘DISC for Cats’, since, as well as personality assessment, I also have extensive experience in the field of cat guardianship (not ownership – you never own a cat) and so I shall be combining the personality and the puss.

The trait I shall be investigating with my cats today is the ‘I’ of the DISC model, which stands for Influence.   And my four legged muse to assist me in this exploration, is the youngest member of The Pride – my kitten-cat Sophia.

I know a lot about this particular trait since I, most definitely am a ‘High I’, so far be it from me to chastise Sophia for displaying all its’ inherent aspects – really loudly and really intensely.  Now, aside from the delivery, the ‘I’ is about influencing, so Sophia always wants me to be on her side and therefore keeps up a constant barrage of conversational mews, meows, trills, chirrups, and squeaks. These linguistic gambits play on a constant, incessant communication – of what she wants, how she feels, and where she is.

In the wild cat world, this would make her a Serval, a creature which lives in the savannahs and grasslands of Africa. Servals are show off cats, being the only wild feline that has both spots and stripes, allowing them to camouflage perfectly in to their grassy habitat. This helps them to be both an efficient hunter and a hider – ensuring that they are not seen by larger predators.  And just in case they then happen to be happened upon, the Serval also has markings on the back of its ears that look like big, scary, ‘leave me alone’ eyes.

Servals fit into the ‘I’ trait in that they are very well adapted to their environment. Most I’s have a quick paced flexibility to react to and fit into their surroundings; and also with their peers.  They will also have a tendency to hide from trouble rather than meet it head on. Servals have very large ears, enabling them to hear prey from up to 20 feet away, just as Sophia can hear the opening of a cat food pouch through walls, doors and fields away.

After the Cheetah, the Serval is the fastest of the wild cats, reaching running speeds of up to 30 miles an hour.   Any one who has met Sophia will know that she displays the typical High I characteristics of being incredibly fast paced, virtually all of the time.  These adaptations serve the Serval well and so this cat catches nearly half the prey that it goes after, in comparison to the lion, which only catches about 30 percent.  Sophia too is speedily adept at being the first to the food bowl, to the lap and out of the cat flat, all three achieved, usually within the space of speedy seconds.

If you were to ask an ‘I’ how to go about doing – just about anything, you would invariably find them carrying it out in the most fun, sociable or brightest way.   Servals and Sophia alike, want to get to the bottom of things and so as a type, are typified by the question ‘why’, and as arch socialisers, will want to know ‘who’ too. Sophia is always whizzing around, focussing on the next best thing, paws flying definitively towards the future.  She loves to be acknowledged and praised and will squeak back her undisguised pleasure at your ministrations, be they physical or verbal.

She is, most definitely an ‘I’ in that she is like quick silver – sensitive, reactive and intuitive, blowing with the wind or racing like a Serval across the Savannah (of the garden).  Her mission is to entertain and amuse you; but put her under stress or cross her, and the claws will (literally) be out and she will hiss out her (rare) displeasure.

The Serval type is a natural motivator, coercing you firmly and positively towards the end goal – usually of food or love.   This can all become all too much when a salvo of deliberate posing, posturing and purrs can just amount to manipulative attention seeking tactics, with  desperate striving to get to something or some one, regardless of whether the object of all that forced attention, wishes for the same thing.

Usually though you are on the same page, and visitors are enchanted by her obvious charms.  I had a recent guest who had not met my I-type cat before and wondered where she was. I explained with a twinkle that one thing is for certain – you will never miss Miss Sophia’s entrance into any room; and sure enough, in she soon flashed, meowing her little head off, demanding every one’s attention and then enthusiastically checking them all out.

I like to think that some how I am more soothing and subtle to be around, yet appreciate that this I-trait, is after all, all about the ‘I’… And in that respect Sophia and I are most definitely twin attention seeking souls…

PS: The source of the Serval information was:

PPS: Did you know that a collection of my ‘Peachey Letters’ have been gathered together in to a beautiful book, cats and all?  I’m completely biased of course, but it makes a purrfect present, whether you be a cat lover or no.  All of human life is in this gorgeous book – all the fear, light, dark, and of course love, for any one who wants to be entertained and to know that they are not alone in life, what ever it holds for you, even if it isn’t all about cats… You can buy ‘Peachey Letters – Love Letters to Life’ from book websites any where in the world, including Amazon (in both Paperback and Kindle)