Happy Birthday Bro.

Today my little brother would have been 35.  He died on December 16th 2010 after getting a sickness bug.  He had an incurable disease, Friedrich’s Attaxia, and his body had failed him for so long.

David was a highly intelligent young man, but to me, he was my cheeky, “little” brother.  When he was a kid he had a thing for skateboards, before his illness robbed him of the ability to enjoy such pleasures.

His death was a huge shock for my entire family.  He was 29.  A couple of months after he died this song popped into my head and it felt like he was letting  me know he was OK now, doing everything he had been unable to when he was confined to his wheelchair.

Checking In With Yourself.

As a practitioner of alternative health, it is literally my job to tell people to take time out for themselves, to practice self-love and self-care, to check in with themselves to see how they feel internally and to work with that feeling to ensure that they are not doing too much.  With that in mind, you would think I would practice what I preach.


Just after Christmas I dislocated my right knee.  I have hyper-mobile joints and moving my leg ever so slightly was all that it took for my knee to pop out of joint – or as my GP said, “for it to come off its’ runners”.   At first, it was very easy to rest and take care of myself; not being able to walk meant that I had to rely on other people to do things for me and this also ensured that I was not running about like a headless chuck.

Once I was able to walk again I started to set unachievable limits for myself and pretty soon the hectic, demanding schedule was back again.  No longer was I saying no to people, I was not only saying yes, but I was saying yes, whilst starting a business venture and doing my usual work.

Seriously, you would think I would know better!  Naturally my body couldn’t cope and my knee partially dislocated again, meaning I had to stop the mad rushing around and take care of me once more.  This time, it was really frustrating because I wasn’t so immobile as I was the first time round, I was just in pain all of the time.

Resting, Aloe Vera Heat Lotion, Aloe Vera MSM Gel, Reiki and lots of swearing have got me to this point.  I also went to physio and got a telling off for not doing as I was told!   The lesson I have learnt from this is that there are times when you just have to go with the flow.  You have to check in with yourself and see what message your body is trying to tell you.  Ignore it at your peril, it may just immobilise you and force you to learn the lesson.

So, how do we check in with ourselves?

Well, we close our eyes and we relax our minds and bodies and we listen and feel what is happening within our bodies and minds.  We take notice of aches and pains and other ailments that have cropped up and we rest and take care of ourselves.  Doing a body scan is one way of checking in with ourselves, but it can be as simple as shutting the world out for a few minutes to tune into our bodies; it needn’t be anything elaborate unless that is how you wish to proceed.  You don’t need any special training to check in with yourself, just a few minutes quiet time to listen to what your body and mind need.

Why So Much Positivity?

It amuses me no end when people say that I am into “weird shit”, or that I am just “an old hippy”.  What they say about me could be worse, right?  I have told the tale before of how I stumbled across the pagan/witchcraft scene.  I’m not going to go back there again, I’m sure you all know by now.  What I do want to say, however, is how this kind of lifestyle really helps bring out the best version of yourself.

As you know, I stumbled across this lifestyle when I was 14 and didn’t do an awful lot about it until after I was attacked.  In fact, I would say it was the attack was the catalyst for me really embracing this lifestyle.  I would have never had a church wedding if handfasting was readily available in my neck of the woods, (you have no idea how many times me and Neil almost eloped back in 1990), but the only alternative was a shabby room in the Registrar Office.  Neil definitely knew about my beliefs before we got married and when we had our kids I would never have had them Christened but he wanted them to be Christened and as much as I am all about promoting this kind of lifestyle, they are as much his kids as they are mine and I have always respected his wishes when it came down to making decisions about them.  When they were growing up I kept my beliefs and practices hidden because I know how narrow-minded people can be, and one of my daughter’s had enough problems at school without my beliefs making things tougher for her.

However, once there was no more school to deal with I began to relax my privacy rules on my beliefs.  I know many people thought I had just stumbled across paganism back in 2008, or thereabouts, but the reality is, I discovered it in 1985.  It was never something I discussed with my family – other than Neil and our kids – and I don’t really talk that much about it now.  Sure, they know, or they, at least, know something, it’s kind of hard not to know; I read Tarot/Oracle cards, I do rituals and have an in-depth knowledge of many things that would be termed witchcraft, plus, I have a tree/nature Goddess tattooed on my right arm.

But I digress, why so much positivity?

Living your life following your own path, incorporating aspects of paganism, witchcraft, shamanism and so on, you cannot help but have some of that positivity rub off on you.  Positive thinking is a trend these days and I love that it is becoming mainstream.  You can literally follow any religion you like, or be non-religious if that’s your thing, and have a positive mindset.

Some people have a tendency to ask what I’ve been smoking, but I have found that they have issues of their own to work out and being positive may not be their mindset just yet.  That’s OK with me, we are all walking our own path and we all have different obstacles and challenges to deal with that are unique to us.  It’s hard for someone who is struggling with their challenges to accept other people’s positive outlooks.  I know, I have been that person.

We come to our own positive mindset in our own time and we will face many challenges along the way.  We will also revert back to the negativity that holds us back on occasion, that’s OK, just so long as we don’t set up home in the negative outlook again.  Living a positive life doesn’t mean you don’t get pissed off with people anymore, on the contrary.  Living a positive life, for me, has meant that people will annoy me, they will test my patience, but now I am able to have my moment of anger, sadness, hurt, whatever and deal with that.  I deal with the negative and learn from it and then move on.  For me, it has meant I have more happy moments in my life.  I don’t have an angry aura surrounding me.  I am responsible for myself and my emotions, I deal with my emotions and do the best I can not to affect those people around me, thus the people around me are more welcoming and less likely to be negative.

For me, dealing in positives is the best way to live my life.  It isn’t about burying my head in the sand and I don’t live in cloud-cuckoo land.  Like everyone else, I have challenges that I have to deal with and I have annoyances that show up in my life, but dealing with them from a positive place is right for me and it helps me stay in a positive mindset.

Positive News.

I don’t know about you, but I feel that every time I switch my TV on to a news channel all that they are covering is negative news.  I do believe we should be aware of what is going on around us, both at home and globally, it is our duty as caring beings to help those less fortunate than us in any way we can.  You don’t need me to tell you how biased the majority of news channels and newspapers are, especially when it comes to covering stories about people protesting about harsh cuts the Government here in the UK have enforced on the sick and disabled and those who have lost their jobs and need a helping hand. The only positive news they drip feed us mere mortals, or so it seems, is the scandalous shenanigans in the lives of celebrities.

To be perfectly honest, I really do not care who is dating who, who is marrying who, who is having a baby and who got drunk last night.  My life isn’t going to end if I don’t know these things and to put it bluntly, I DO NOT CARE  AT ALL!!!  That this is the only lighthearted news most media outlets share with us, we humans can be forgiven for feeling rather jaded by life.

All is not lost, if you truly want to see beauty, inspiration, and positivity then you don’t have to tune into the twenty-four news channels or pick up one of the many tabloids that are in circulation; typing the words “positive news” or “positive news stories” into your favourite search engine yields many links to heart-warming stories.  You will be pleasantly surprised by the amount of positive news that there actually is out there.

I think it is important we are aware of the suffering in this world, but I also think it’s counterproductive to have it thrust down our throats 24/7.  I have found that I switch off from too much pain and suffering and too much negative news and occasionally I have missed certain stories.  Of course we never fully escape what is happening in the world, social media always manages to keep us informed, even if it is indirectly informing us.  As viewers and readers, we feel that our TV screens and news feeds online are saturated with war, poverty, corruption, murder and other heartbreaking incidents.  I know how I feel and I know how other people have said they feel, it’s overwhelming, it hurts to see this negative news and there is no let-up.  The balance is tipped too far towards the negative and the positive that is offered is not really positive at all.  The balance is needed to keep us tuning in, or buying the newspaper.

Next time you feel overwhelmed by the images streaming into your home and life, images that shock you to the very core, remember, positive news is out there, you just have to look for it.

Review Of Shelby’s Way.

Shelby’s Way reads very much like a melodrama and keeps the reader guessing all the way throughout the book.

Set in Los Angeles, Shelby’s Way follows the trials and tribulations of Shelby Carpenter, a beautiful young woman who is married to a Hollywood stuntman, Boyd.

Right at the beginning of the book Boyd disappears after a party, he was last seen with a divorcee named Nancy and he leaves Shelby for her.  His deceitful actions leave Shelby feeling shocked and betrayed.  Shelby and Boyd have an 8 year old daughter, Pamela, and to make ends meet Shelby must get a job.

As Shelby learns to stand on her own two feet three men come into her life and their lives are intertwined because of her.  The first man, Sidney, is a married author who is famous and a lot older than Shelby.  She leans heavily on Sidney for emotional support in the days, weeks and months after Boyd leaves her.

The second man, Jeremy, is another married man, a lawyer, who is smitten with her from the moment he meets her.  The third man, Marc, is a family friend, recently divorced and a successful screenwriter.

Shelby reminded me a lot of Scarlett O’ Hara, whether that was intended or not, that’s who I envisaged as I read this book.  Like Scarlett, Shelby has a good heart and uses her femininity to get on in life.  Shelby isn’t malicious, nor is she a loose woman, she is very attractive and men seem to fall over themselves to help her.

The story seems a little confusing at times, there are a lot of different threads being weaved and it isn’t until they all come together at the end that everything makes sense.  

Shelby’s Way is a lighthearted read that centres around the lifestyle of lesser known people in Hollywood and the surrounding area.  It has scandal and heartache and despite her ditziness, you can’t help rooting for Shelby.

Anyone looking for a lighthearted read will love this book.

4 stars.  **** 
*A link to buy this book is included at the bottom of this post.*