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…

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The Phone Call on the Train

February 2016 Blog Challenge: Blog 18 of 29

Do you ever find yourself irritated by the person having a loud telephone conversation in your vicinity?  Well, now I’ve decided to do something about it… Yup, I will write about it.  That’ll show em…

AnnoyingCellPhoneGuy

I board the train and hastily sit down. Settling into my window seat I quietly notice the woman sitting opposite me, who looks to be somewhere around her early 30s. She has a classic celtic oval face, which, along with her narrow and dark rimmed glasses gives her a distinctly preppy mien. Her hair is dark and of an indeterminate longish sort of length is clipped away from her face. She wears a navy blue modern take on a long waxed jacket. Her sensible satchel bag is strung safely and diagonally across her body.

As a people watcher, I spy secretly on, wondering what I else I could get to know about her. Her hands are sheathed in fingerless gloves, so I can’t divine what her marital status is.

She is (as most people are in that carriage) intently focussed on her mobile phone.   Completely absorbed by it – she fiddles with and strokes the device like it’s a delicate baby bird. She sees all its’ secrets, without a smile or acknowledgement; just with intense concentration. Then, with a few deft taps of the screen, suddenly she is making a call and now everyone in the carriage is sharing her loud life and being simultaneously assailed by it…

I pout inwardly – is it just me or is the fact someone having a loud one sided conversation, less than 2 feet away from my ears, (albeit on public transport), is a genuine intrusion on my own sought after introspection?”

Suddenly everyone is plunged into her world. She may have a pretty celtic face, but she also has a fog horn voice, which slices sharply into my own silent space.

The signal suddenly cuts out and my erstwhile travelling companion is suddenly without any word, except “Hello… Hello?” My face betrays nothing, but I am secretly relieved that the call is peremptorily shut down.

Sadly for me, though this woman is determined to impose her words on the world, she redials, reconnects and continues on with her bland diatribe. I learn about all about her diet (Vegan) and her delicate stomach. I find out where she is going today and who she is going to meet. I learn all about escapades that her dog, Tilly, gets into. Apparently this canine character is a daring escape artist, who slips wantonly off the leash and into the wicked dangers of the urban street.

The train stops at a station, so that now all the carriage and the recipient of the call (whose name we never learn), is regaled by a dialogue as to where we are and the fact that a woman out on the platform is pulling up her tights. They’re wrinkling round her ankles apparently. So now I get to unwillingly share her life and be assaulted by her petty reflections. I felt that the object of her observations deserved a little more circumspect respect, so I chose not to stare at her as well. How damn rude! I mean, here I am making a mental note of all her mores, but at least I’m keeping it to myself and the 1000s of readers this blog has around the globe…

I stretch my feet and accidentally kick a shopping bag she has at her feet. She grabs the bag up, cradles it protectively and then moves it onto her seat for extra safety. It seems a preciously aggressive move. Maybe that is just the way she is…

Still the call goes on and on. The carriage and I now get to learn all sorts of new and unwanted details about her life. She lives with a man – his name is Leonard. We find out all about their friends. We get the endless dross and trivia that probably many of us share, but instead we do it more secretly, in private twos and threes. Not in a railway carriage where everyone really has no choice but to share in the minute every day detail she expresses with volume and vigour, and whether we want to know it all or not – it is imposed on our ears. Processed by our brains. Taking up our precious time.  Finally, after over 20 minutes, the call actually ends.

But my brain is buzzing with irritation and I decide that as I cannot concentrate on reading the book I had stealthily stored in my own smart phone, then I might as well commit all this to juicy memory. I start silently typing away on my own tiny keyboard.

I observe, through the corner of one alert eye, that now she’s tapping and typing away too. As I write about her, I wonder if she’s writing about ME and if I’ll appear in one of her blogs or books one day…

I doubt it though. I doubt whether I have even registered in her consciousness. And when I surreptitiously look again (pretending to peer out of the window). I see she is executing a mixture of typing and peering – pinching at and scrolling the screen of her phone. She has one very busy finger, which does all the hard work, whilst the rest of her follows.

Over on my seat, I’m multi-tasking – in smug fashion, I am nimbly 2 finger typing, whilst in the act of people watching too.

My awareness is heightened, my observation skills are sharped and my fingers fly as I capture the essence of those moments in digital form, to later be regurgitated and polished and considered.

All of life is here on public transport… Not so long ago on yet another train, myself and the carriage were assailed by a very juicy argument. It was worthy of a soap opera, since it turned out that the caller this time was an angry man calling a jealous woman. It seems she had reason to be jealous, since she wasn’t, as it turned out his only romantic relationship… But that wasn’t important, as this man’s anger at this woman’s anger needed to be vented. It’s just that it happened to be vented in a train carriage with around 16 people in it, all of whom were silenced into sharing their argument.

I hated the aggression of it all and even the soap opera story elements didn’t make up for the fact that this man’s voice was cutting into my personal (mental) space.

And it’s not just noise pollution that bothers me… On yet another train journey, in order to try and guarantee a little extra peace, I actually upgraded to First Class.  Had a reserved seat and everything… Arrived, sat down and settled in smugly to my own little bastion of quietude… All good until the next station.  2 business men got on and sat opposite me.  At least their loud conversation, full of adrenaline and bravura was socially acceptable (according to my rules) and I did my best to ignore it.  They had just pulled off ‘a deal’ and were feeling very pleased with themselves. But it wasn’t their words that bothered me, it was the smell… One of them was wearing the aftershave from hell… It was heavy and cloying and after around 10 minutes I started to develop a headache as I unwillingly inhaled the testosterone and stink laden air surrounding them.

Just how do you tackle something like that?  I couldn’t change seat – all the buggers were by now occupied in the carriage I had paid EXTRA money for.  How could I say “excuse me, but your choice of aftershave is making me ill…”  And it was, after an hour of breathing in those fumes, I was, frankly feeling nauseous.  But, cowardly wuss that I am, in the face of 2 loud men in suits, I said nothing, did nothing and suffered in silence…

The simple fact is, once I have stowed my luggage, sat down and claimed my territory, no matter what the world throws at me – I don’t want to move – lazy, moaning prima donna that I am!

But still I travel – I even enjoy the process.. On the whole… But even in the sealed box of my car, I’m not immune to other people’s road rage and myriad interruptions and irritations. At least in a plane I’m spared the spectacle of shared phone calls, but that doesn’t stop loud people doing what loud people do any where, even though they are confined to a small space, where – ahem, normal rules of volume do not apply…

It’s not as if pointing out such jarring loudness has any sort of dumbing down effect. I’m reminded of this a few days later when I am voluntarily out in public again, this time as part of a pub quiz team. The team is made up of people I’ve never met before and I’ve noticed that invariably, in every such group, there is someone who always shouts out the answers. You quietly ask them to turn down the volume, or write down the answer, so as not to share your secrets and scores with the world, but they just don’t get it. It seems that such people either don’t have that kind of awareness, can’t control their loud impulses or simply don’t care…

But of course, it takes all sorts to make a world and when you go out in to it, you will invariably encounter nearly all of them, loud or quiet. This is when I have to remind myself to live and let live. I’m certainly not perfect. I can definitely be loud. I can even be thoughtlessly inappropriate – though I like to think that’s rare. I’m actually an introvert with a soft voice, which is why I try to avoid the loud people of this world. Sometimes I can externalise into an extrovert when the occasion calls for it and you will even see me in the limelight. But often, instead I exact my impact internally, or occasionally it will spill out onto paper, just as it is right now.

I’m not sure if that makes me better or worse than the loud people or it’s just who I am – someone who likes to think that she shouts only when she has something worth shouting about.

You see, out there in public, if you share your world with me, then you have now become my property. I take this seriously though and as I’m scribing it all out, names and circumstances have been changed. This hides the identities of those I write about into biased history, with only enough volume as is necessary to read these words in your head.

These representations, now become my creations and that is the refuge or could it even be, the quiet revenge, of the writer…

~ Sandra Peachey

PS: “Just to let you know that your book 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

A collection of the ‘Peachey Letters’ from this blog have been gathered together – along with new material, into a beautiful 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…

Love Letter to My Warring Egos

February 2016 Blog Challenge: Blog 7 of 29

ego

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
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…

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 be a LION…

Number 21 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’.

lion 1

I commenced this blogging challenge with the intention of playing around with some concepts for a potential book and then, how like me… I start getting ahead of myself…  My blog posts are splurges of various themes, concepts and embryonic ideas.  And having already published a book, I now know that for me to write the next tome, demands that I grab all these disparate elements and turn them into some sort of sensible structure.  The (not yet) book is cat and coaching themed and has gone by various working titles… For the longest time it had the vanity title of ‘Peachey Cats: Lessons in Love Life and Litter’; then the simpler ‘Coaching with Cats’ and most recently, the ‘does what it says on the tin’ title of ‘What Cats Teach Us About Life’.

The (not yet) book is a constantly evolving concept, with various possibilities and opportunities to explore.  Today, three quarters of the way through my 28 day blog writing challenge, an idea for a structure, struck me, like these often do, like a soft thunderbolt…

It has arisen out of one of the recurring themes that has come up during this spate of writing, which is that whereas the various aspects of my life (work, dreams, hobbies, interests, etc and so on) used to be compartmentalised; now increasingly they have merged… So it happens that I am currently writing a book about cats, being a coach and about me, weaving in anecdotal strands about my cats, my clients and myself.

The structure will reveal itself all in good time and for today, I will start to add in some of the more major structural elements, even though as yet, they will still lay scattered about, rather like a jigsaw waiting patiently to be pieced together, to create the whole picture…

So the elements of my life that I shall draw together today are personality theories and cats.  I doubt very much whether I shall be either the first or last writer ever to do this, but I know I shall be the only one ever (I trust), to include four particular cats called George, Sophia, Taz and Whiskers as my muses and (four pawed) metaphors.

I shall now start on the Personality Piece:  I am a qualified Occupational Tester, which means that I have been trained in and practised, for an incessantly long time, a number of inventories that assess a number of things, including personality traits, aptitudes and emotional intelligence.  Much as I love to think that I intrinsically know people and can quickly get their measure, I have found the use of such tools invaluable, not least because they provide a model for measurement, comparison and discussion that can be used in many and various ways, not least as a coach.

One of the tools I use most often is 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 be promulgating ‘DISCC’ – or 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 I now shall be combining the personality and the puss.

The first trait in the DISC model is Dominance and the first cat in The Pride is George, so it is natural that one should signify the other.  In the cat world this trait is firmly and fairly represented by The Lion.

So how does George demonstrate the facets of being the Dominant Lion?  Firstly, despite his fluffy, charming exterior, he clearly regards himself as both the Head and Alpha Male of the Pride.  Lions easily can turn on their strong directed charm, if it gets them what they want. Of all the cats in the Cave, George has the most dog like, ‘standing in his own power’ characteristics.  The phrase that most fits him is, ‘I want it my way’ – not yours, not theirs’, but my way and mine alone. George is very exacting in his wants – he wants the best sleeping spot (next to me), he expects to lead, never to follow and even it if is dinner time – that or the mere fact that the other cats are starving, is of no consequence – he will demand to be fed, when he wants to be fed, not led by minor dinner dictates set by the rest of us in The Pride.

George is a ‘what?’ cat.  He always wants to know what is going on – and always insinuating himself into my coaching sessions, or my reading, or writing and what ever else is going on in the Cave and basically taking charge, just like any lion.

His focus is always about ‘now’.  He wants what ever he wants right here and now.  I may have a fourteen inch screen laptop perched squarely on my lap, but such an obstacle will never stop him if he has decided he wants to lay across my legs.  Rebuffals will be met with a persistent nonchalance and an utter determination to get to his goal.

It is not about the anticipation with the leonine George, he is instead, motivated by getting things done / completed / sorted – all as they should be, which is always as he decrees.

When it comes to decisions, he is all about the impulse – what ever is the quickest thing that will get him to where he wants to be.  And the timing for that destination, will always be now. Lock him out of the bedroom where I and the sweetest sleeping spot is, and he will loudly yowl his right to have that door opened for and to him.  Like the lion he is, he will keep on yowling, until he gets his result. Put him under stress or duress, and suddenly the Cave becomes an Autocracy – and George will take charge and deal with the situation.  He will ensure that he gets the result he wants – even if that means that he has to be aggressive in pursuing his point – as any unwarranted human or feline who breaches the confines of the cave will attest.  He will doggedly pursue any intruders and see off the cat sized ones in an instant.  The human sized ones will be swiftly sussed out and then quickly either accepted or rejected – placed in their Pride order and so acknowledged or dismissed.

So that is the DISC personality theory according to George.  And George being the lion that he is, knows exactly what he needs to know about all that…  The Lion has roared…

PS: 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)

Autumn is Time to Activate Your F-Factor!

Well, October is here and already the leaves are turning golden and starting to float down from the trees…

Summer turning into autumn has just been the most incredible time of transition and celebration for me.  One of the highlights was that I had the joy of sharing the message of ‘The F-Factor’ – the book I co-created with my Damsels in Success sister directors, at our Master Class and Book Launch in London last month.

                                                           That’s me, speaking on stage at the F-Factor Master Class in London

And I am delighted that interest in my first book ‘Peachey Letters ~ Love Letters to Life‘ is still keen and that I have been invited to host the first ever author event at a new book shop in Kenilworth, this coming Friday – 11 October.  It is all happening at the Tree House – Second Hand book shop and Community Hub and tickets are just £3.00, you can find out more here…

I know that many people wanted to, but were unable to come to the London F-Factor Master Class, so I am delighted to tell you that local F-Factor events are currently being held across the UK; and my own is being held in Leicestershire on 23 October, with ‘Activate Your F-Factor’ being the theme for this months Damsels in Success Burton event.

Activating your F-Factor is all about using the special ingredients that you, as a woman, bring to the party of life, to make it the life that you want it to be…  Have you ever found yourself thinking:

* I really don’t feel I am in the best environment to thrive…

* How could I really connect more and have a better relationship with myself, my purpose and those around me?

* I just want to be more me and have people love me for it but I’m scared…

* I need the confidence, time, money etc to do what I need to do…

* I’m stuck…

* I want to do things for me without feeling selfish…

* I want to create the perfect conditions for me to thrive and truly live the dream…

* I want to come / find home…

* How is it possible that I can have success without the sacrifice?

If you have thought any of these things, then please come along and join us at Damsels in Success Burton on Trent on the evening of Wednesday 23 October – just click on this link to find out more and book your spot.

If you can’t get to an event this time, but would still love to activate your own F-Factor, then you can buy your own copy of our fabulous book, postage free – here..

I would love to help you to activate your F-Factor and to truly start living the life you deserve, with ease, clarity and grace.

I wish you an awesome autumn and look forward to seeing you at one of my gorgeous events.

With warm regards
      Sandie
Sandra Peachey
Coach, Author and Director at Damsels in Success
Check out my book – Peachey Letters – Love Letters to Life as featured in Psychologies, The Lady & Best Magazine
Winner at the 2013 ‘Women Inspiring Women’ Awards
Nominee in two categories in the ‘Association of Professional Coaches, Trainers & Consultants’ Awards, 2012 & 2013


Tel. 07921 494363
www.peacheydays.co.uk
www.peacheyletters.co.uk

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Peachey Speaking

Sandie on Stage

STOP PRESS: 3 April 2013

You are cordially invited to come along to two free talks that I am giving next week on my Book ‘Peachey Letters – Love Letters to Life’…

The first is at McKechnies Tea and Coffee Bar in Stratford.  They hold monthly book club meetings and I will be chatting about MY book on Sunday 7 April at 2.30 pm.  Find out all the venue details, etc here…

And on Wednesday 10 April at 2.00 pm, I will be talking at Coventry Central Library – again it’s free to come along.  Here is the write up on the library website.  The library is located in Coventry City Centre, at Smithford Way, Coventry, CV1 1FY.

I look forward to seeing you there!

Sandra Peachey