donderdag 25 februari 2010

For my friend Ellen Heidbuechel

One of my favorite poems ever!

When I am an old woman, I shall wear purple
with a red hat that doesn't go, and doesn't suit me.
And I shall spend my pension on brandy and summer gloves
and satin candles, and say we've no money for butter.
I shall sit down on the pavement when I am tired
and gobble up samples in shops and press alarm bells
and run my stick along the public railings
and make up for the sobriety of my youth.
I shall go out in my slippers in the rain
and pick the flowers in other people's gardens
and learn to spit.

You can wear terrible shirts and grow more fat
and eat three pounds of sausages at a go
or only bread and pickles for a week
and hoard pens and pencils and beer nuts and things in boxes.

But now we must have clothes that keep us dry
and pay our rent and not swear in the street
and set a good example for the children.
We must have friends to dinner and read the papers.
But maybe I ought to practice a little now?
So people who know me are not too shocked and surprised
When suddenly I am old, and start to wear purple.

Appreciate the Freedom
Today a friend of mine posted this on his Facebook account:

"After any pain, you can choose to appreciate the freedom"
- dynamicmike

Is that really so?

Do you believe it is?

For years I have been absolutely in love with someone.  Although we are friends, he does not feel the way about me as the feelings I have for him.  And although it hurts, it is something I have to live with.

But I cannot settle for a lesser Love.

This morning I spent 4 hours in the company of a man who is absolutely crazy about me, but although I like him a lot and love him as a friend I cannot return the feelings he has for me.

Sounds familiar hey ... ?

So I had to tell him and yes, it really broke my heart to see the pain my words inflicted on him.

So can I now choose to appreciate the freedom?

dinsdag 23 februari 2010

Eye Care

An Optician has devised an exercise for the eyes termed as 20-20-20.

It is apt for all of us, who spend long hours at our desks, looking at the computer screen.

I Thought I'd share it with you.


Step I :

After every 20 minutes of looking into the computer screen, turn your
head and try to look at any object placed at least 20 feet away. This
changes the focal length of your eyes, a must-do for tired eyes.

Step II :

Try and blink your eyes for 20 times in succession, to moisten them.

Step III :

Time permitting of course, one should walk 20 paces after every 20 minutes
of sitting in one particular posture. Helps blood circulation for the entire body.

Tell your Friends & Loved Ones if you care for them and their eyes.
They say that your eyes are the mirror of your soul, so do take care of them, they are priceless.

vrijdag 19 februari 2010

How to Slay the Stress Monster

Our daily lives are becoming increasingly stressful. From the moment we open our eyes until the lights go out at night, the pressure keeps piling on.

Deadlines, traffic, money, and the insane demands of running a business can weigh us down and stress us out.

The daily grind is becoming too much, and more people than ever before are reporting that stress is a constant theme in their lives.

Chronic stress leads to physical, mental, and emotional problems, and ultimately it can even kill you.

A staggering 75% of adult Americans experience moderate to high levels of stress, according to The American Psychological Association’s (APA) 2009 Stress in America Study. Nearly half (43%) of adults surveyed say they eat too much or eat unhealthy foods as a result, and many have felt the physical effects of stress. In addition, the survey revealed that more women than men are suffering from stress-related symptoms.

Stress is also a major contributing factor to cardiovascular disease, the number one killer of women in America. According to the APA survey, two-thirds of Americans have been told by a healthcare provider they have one or more chronic conditions, with high blood pressure being one of the most common.

However, stress in itself is not bad for you. The changes in the body that take place during stress keep you on your toes and give you the confidence to meet deadlines and strive for new challenges. But when this happens for long periods of time the results can be devastating. Learning to slay the stress monster will help you to enjoy a better quality of life and lead to a brighter future.
Worried sick 

When you are stressing out and anxious about something, your body perceives it as a threat and activates its emergency response unit. This is a natural reaction that floods your system with excess amounts of stress hormones to increase heart rate and blood pressure, and diverts blood to the major muscle groups. It is known as the “fight or flight” mechanism, which helps us to deal with emergency situations. But this response can come with a long-term price.

If the stressors are always there in your life, the red alert system stays on and the body is unable to return to its normal setting.

Continuous production of high levels of the stress hormones, cortisol and adrenalin, damage the heart and suppress the ability of the immune system to recognize pathogens. It can also lead to obesity, diabetes, and depression. You literally can be worried sick.

“It’s clear that people need tools and support to better manage extreme stress in order to prevent serious health consequences,” says psychologist Katherine C. Nordal, Ph.D., APA’s executive director for professional practice. “Unfortunately, our current healthcare system does not do a very good job in this regard. And insurance companies often don’t cover preventive services or the kinds of services people need in order to better manage chronic illness.”

Beating the burnout
The first step toward slaying the stress monster is to recognize the stressors and, if they are beyond your control, then it’s a matter of learning how to cope with them and accepting the things you cannot change. If you can do something, then the solution is about finding the help or support you need.
Learning to recognize the signs and symptoms of stress will enable you to act before it damages you physically and mentally. Some of the common symptoms include loss of concentration, irritability, indigestion, difficulty sleeping, headaches and hot flashes, a recurring tic such as scratching or blinking, chest pain, sleep problems, loss of sex drive, and an excessive intake of tobacco, caffeine, and alcohol.
When you notice how you respond to stress, you can manage it better and avoid the high cost of chronic health problems. There are many simple ways of beating the burnout and stopping yourself from being worked into the ground.
Regular physical activity helps to maintain a healthy cardiovascular system and keeps blood pumping through the brain to enable clear thinking. Scientific studies have shown that exercise decreases the production of stress hormones and increases the body’s resistance to stress and disease. Research carried out by Iowa State University demonstrated that an aerobic exercise rĂ©gime was associated with higher levels of antibodies and an improvement in depression levels. Whether it’s walking, swimming, riding a bike, or taking a yoga class, exercise is strongly believed to reduce the incidence and severity of stress-related disorders.

News blackout
Most news is bad news, and a continuous diet of depressing stories will only add to your burden. Take a news blackout on a regular basis and stop reading newspapers and watching news programs for a day or longer.

In our chaotic world silence is a luxury that few of us enjoy. Take a break every day from the noise and information overload and find a place where you can empty your mind. Pick a spot in your home or out in nature and just sit there in silence. It’s a simple escape from stress.
Or you can come on our workshop Return to Silence in Glastonbury UK.

Have fun and laugh
Don’t wait for the stress triggers to appear; build fun into your daily schedule. Take some time out and be a kid again and reconnect with the games you used to enjoy. Visit a funny friend or rent some comedy DVDs.

Procrastination and rushing to finish last minute tasks increase your stress levels. Get into the habit of planning ahead and leave some time in your schedule for unexpected things that might pop up.
Confiding in a close friend, family member, or therapist can help you see things from a different perspective. It is important that they know how you feel so they can offer help to lighten your load. Unwinding with friends is terrific therapy.

Learn to say “no” occasionally
Too many of us get into the habit of responding to everyone who asks for our help. But you simply cannot be all things to all people. You have to attend to your own priorities first. Useful phrases to help you say “no” include “I’m unable to help you with that,” “I can’t look at this right now,” or “I’ll think about it, and get back to you.” Be firm, polite, and sympathetic, but not overly apologetic.

Pursue your passion
Activities can absorb you and prevent the harmful effects of stress. The trick is to pick a hobby that you are passionate about and that will engage you mentally. Finding something that you find endlessly fascinating will help to crowd out the worry thoughts.

Relax your muscles
Stress causes tension in your muscles. Stretching exercises and a hot shower or bath can ease the strain and help you relax.

Have a good cry
Crying does not mean that you are weak or have been overcome. Allowing the tears to fall is an effective way of releasing the pressure that’s been building up.

Set reasonable goals
You are not superwoman.  She doesn’t exist, so don’t set unreasonable goals for yourself. Allow a sufficient amount of time to achieve your objectives, and understand that setbacks occasionally occur.

Find help if you need it
There are many other ways of slaying the stress monster: massage, meditation, deep breathing exercises, a healthy sex life, visualizing happy scenarios, aromatherapy, plenty of rest, and a balanced diet. Stress can affect anyone at any time.  It is a normal part of everyday life. You may not be able to change the cause of some stressful events, but you can learn to manage their impact on you. However, if you continue to feel stressed and the symptoms are not going away or are getting worse, your physician may recommend counseling or even medication if appropriate.
Your stress reaction system is meant to help you, but it can also be your downfall. Taking the steps to control stress can help to ensure peace of mind and a happy, healthier, and hopefully longer life.

For more info on therapies to support you visit the Tremellin website
For more info on our holiday Return to Stillness, visit my personal website.

Text inspired by Ali Brown

donderdag 18 februari 2010

Happiness Is A Byproduct Of Activity
I just received a message from my friend Stuart which made me stop for a moment ans smile.

Happiness lies in the joy of achievement, in the thrill of creative effort.  The human spirit needs to accomplish, to achieve, to triumph to be happy.

Happiness does not come from doing easy work, but from the afterglow of satisfaction that comes after the achievement of a difficult task that demands your best.

Your personal growth itself contains the seed of happiness.  You cannot pursue happiness by itself.  There is no happiness except in the realisation that you have accomplished something.

Happiness thrives in activity.  It's a running river, not a stagnant pond.

Do you agree with him?

dinsdag 16 februari 2010

Today a received a message from Cheryl Cook that really made me smile as it was soooo recognizeable.

She wrote:

Dear Annick,
While on a training ride one weekend, I had not one, not two, but three flat tires.  Luckily, I was only two miles from home after the 3rd flat tire when my husband came to pick up my bike and me. 

Once we were safely home, my husband asked if anyone stopped to "rescue" me.  My answer was "No."  He wasn't surprised.  He said, "You have a face that says, 'I don't want help'."

What does your face say about your business?  Does it say you can do it all?  You don't need any help?  I know how you feel.  Walking home with a flat tire on my bike, I wanted to look like I had everything under control.  I didn't want to appear vulnerable.  I don't need any help. 

It really made me smile and think of an article by Janet Chahrour the other day, on accepting help, that I'd like to share with you: 

Accepting Help: The New Way To Be Strong
by Janet Chahrour

Find out what this brief quiz reveals about you.

1. What do you say when a cashier asks if you’d like help carrying heavy stuff to the car? 

a. Oh yes, thank you!
b. No thanks; I’m fine.


2. How likely are you to call a friend when you are feeling down? a. Very likely
b. Not very likely
c. I’ll do it just after hell freezes over


3. How do you react when a colleague offers to do a part of your job when you are exhausted? a. Please, yes. That would be wonderful.
b. No thanks; I’m fine.

4. A neighbor offers you help in a time of crisis for you. He or she says, “tell me what I can do for you.”
What’s your answer? 

a. Thank goodness! I’ll make a list.
b. I’d appreciate that. Here’s a one-minute task you could do for me
c. You are kind. But everything’s taken care of.

If you answered “A” to three or more of the questions, you are a poster child for accepting help. If you didn’t answer “A” as often, you just might be
help-averse. Either way, keep reading because help-aversion, yours or others’, affects the quality of your life.

There are many good reasons people resist being helped. Beginners at any task want and need to practice. The toddler says “me do it!” when someone tries to assist her with putting on her jacket. The adolescent is developing his unique identity and wants to paint his room his own way. The young adult in a new job enjoys proving herself capable at each task. These are examples of healthy, developmentally appropriate independence. In comparison, getting help from others seems weak or immature.

Is this the healthiest outlook? Do we ever get to advance beyond proving ourselves? By the time we are grown up we’ve had so much practice at independence that we may overlook the fact that there is another way. And a much better way at that! We could ask for and accept help! We could use our own talents
and those of others to get unstuck, locate resources, protect our health, find the way when we are lost, create new society …all kinds of amazing stuff!

We can choose to receive help instead of acting out of the habit of independence. If I’ve been juggling three kids and a job, maybe I don’t need to prove my competence every minute of the day. I could choose to have the strong teenage bagger put my purchases into my car. If I’ve got a cold or feel fatigued, I could choose to let a friend or colleague take some of my responsibilities. If I’m less energetic as I rack up the decades, I could choose to have my children host the holiday meal.

Help aversion hits the baby boomers and those older particularly hard. The collaborative learning model in education just got going in the 90’s. If you went to school before that, the model was independent work all the way. No talking! Working together is cheating! The TV heroes of my childhood were The
Lone Ranger and Zorro. They were mysterious, cool, good, and independent. They were our role models.

Some of us hate asking for things so much that it ranks as significant pain; it feels shameful. The shame of asking is worse than the pain of needing something and not knowing how to get it. But let’s look at this. Suffering from asking is purely perspective; it’s all in the head. Take on a new perspective and it disappears. If accepting help is seen as the smart, practical, and efficient approach that it is, it becomes a no-brainer to accept it. More gets accomplished and everyone is happier. From this perspective, it’s a little crazy to turn down sincere gifts of assistance.

Actually, it’s
selfish to reject help. Consider what accepting help provides others. How does it feel when you help a colleague solve a problem they are struggling with? Or to drive an appreciative friend to pick up her car? Or to share the name of the best plumber in town? It’s satisfying, isn’t it? When we do these things, we feel useful and kind. And we feel connection to the other. There’s vulnerability in accepting help; the very stuff that creates intimacy. It’s so human! It also bestows upon the giver a sense of his or her own value. What a precious gift! And can you really get too much caring and attention in your life?

What happens if we reach old age without the ability to accept help gracefully? We may be in for some very unhappy days. Either our real needs will go unmet or we will suffer from receiving assistance we have never learned to accept. Accept help. Flow with its grace.

Asking for help can actually increase the level of responsibility you take in life. It’s a way of living large. You ask your kids to clean portions of the house, creating more competent children and a happier family. You ask the neighbors to collaborate on an effort to get a stop sign put in at an intersection, improving neighborhood safety as a result. You ask friends to sponsor your efforts with a charity and help underserved people get the resources they need. When we go solo, we often spin our wheels, get frustrated and give up on dreams. What a waste! If you want to have real impact in the world, connect with others, and have more fun, accept help!

And ya know, even The Lone Ranger had Tonto.


maandag 15 februari 2010

Are Your "To Do's" Too Much?
How are you doing on whittling down your "to do" list these days? Do you find your days seem really full of activity and busyness, but at the end of the day that "to do" list has barely been touched? Lists are great for organizing tasks, for delegation and for planning, but without taking time for self-acknowledgement, the "to do's" can feel like they are starting to become too much.

Don't make the mistake that how many things you cross off that "to do" list determines how productive and effective a person you are. It's a trap to look for your self-worth from the size of your "to do" list. What's truly important is to take the time to pause and acknowledge what you have done and the difference you are making in the world every day. Without taking the time to celebrate and acknowledge, many people compensate by adding way too many things on their plate. There's a need inside each of us for love and acknowledgement, and the best person to fill that need is ourselves.

Self-acknowledgement isn't about getting narcissistic or self-absorbed at all. It's about taking time to honor yourself on a daily basis for not just the "things" you do, but the woman you are. These don't have to be monumental accomplishments, like winning the Nobel Peace Prize or selling your company for a zillion dollars. I'm talking about the moments where you allow your true brilliance to come forward. It could be in a difficult conversation with a joint venture partner, or making the decision to leave the computer and go to the yoga studio for a mind-body break.

I'm always looking to find that beautiful, divine balance between WHAT I am DOING instead of tuning into WHO I am BEING. When you are living in your full brilliance, you understand that the key to sustained presence, power and peace of mind comes from your ability to acknowledge yourself on a consistent and heartfelt basis.

Make it an amazing day!

Article with thanks to Carolyn Ellis - Founder of Brilliance Mastery

donderdag 4 februari 2010


I have been pretty busy the past few days.  The new franchise group has started and we are planning and organizing like the bunch of busy bees we are.

So this time I've got a relaxing story for you :-)

The Smiths were unable to conceive children and decided to use a surrogate father to start their family. On the day the proxy father was to arrive, Mr. Smith kissed his wife goodbye and said, "Well, I'm off now. The man should be here soon."

Half an hour later, just by chance, a door-to-door baby photographer happened to ring the doorbell, hoping to make a sale. "Good morning, Ma'am", he said, "I've come to..."

"Oh, no need to explain," Mrs. Smith cut in, embarrassed, "I've been expecting you."

"Have you really?" said the photographer. "Well, that's good. Did you know babies are my specialty?"

"Well that's what my husband and I had hoped. Please come in and have a seat".

After a moment she asked, blushing, "Well, where do we start?"

"Leave everything to me. I usually try two in the bathtub, one on the couch, and perhaps a couple on the bed. And sometimes the living room floor is fun. You can really spread out there."

"Bathtub, living room floor? No wonder it didn't work out for Harry and me!"

"Well, Ma'am, none of us can guarantee a good one every time. But if we try several different positions and I shoot from six or seven angles, I'm sure you'll be pleased with the results."

"My, that's a lot!", gasped Mrs. Smith.

"Ma'am, in my line of work a man has to take his time. I'd love to be In and out in five minutes, but I'm sure you'd be disappointed with that."

"Don't I know it," said Mrs. Smith quietly.

The photographer opened his briefcase and pulled out a portfolio of his baby pictures. "This was done on the top of a bus," he said.

"Oh, my God!" Mrs. Smith exclaimed, grasping at her throat.

"And these twins turned out exceptionally well - when you consider their mother was so difficult to work with."

"She was difficult?" asked Mrs. Smith..

"Yes, I'm afraid so. I finally had to take her to the park to get the job done right. People were crowding around four and five deep to get a good look"

"Four and five deep?" said Mrs. Smith, her eyes wide with amazement.

"Yes", the photographer replied. "And for more than three hours, too. The mother was constantly squealing and yelling - I could hardly concentrate, and when darkness approached I had to rush my shots. Finally, when the squirrels began nibbling on my equipment, I just had to pack it all in."

Mrs. Smith leaned forward. "Do you mean they actually chewed on your,"

"It's true, Ma'am, yes.. Well, if you're ready, I'll set-up my tripod and we can get to work right away."


"Oh yes, Ma'am. I need to use a tripod to rest my Canon on. It's much too big to be held in the hand very long."

Mrs. Smith fainted.