Monthly Archives: October 2016

WHAT is stopping you? And are you prioritising?

I ask myself “WHAT is stopping you?” And I have to be honest. If I can’t be honest with myself, I am never going to get anywhere. I know what is stopping me. Fear……but when I analyse it, there IS nothing to fear. Except not giving myself the chance to prove what I can do. And my perceived lack of time. I often feel as if I have a terrier snapping at my heels, as if I should be here instead of there, doing this instead of that. And it is true that 24 hours in a day are often not enough, and so I need to prioritise. I am sure I can manage the time I do have in a more efficient way, if I prioritise, and if I am disciplined.

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I receive all kinds of good advice: learn more about effective social networking, read other people’s blogs and comment, in order to encourage them to do the same for you, learn more about this technology, figure out how to use that technology….and I would love to, I promise. But I also have to actually earn my living whilst continuing to find ways to expand my little empire, and do all the family stuff, and take care of a physically immobilized partner (albeit temporarily), and take care of myself. Some things are just going to have to wait, and the most important, pressing stuff brought to the top of the list, every single day. And it has to be real. We can all talk the talk, shuffle papers, do our research, make busy – ness the reason we can’t be productive, go to seminars, write out plans……but not actually make any real headway. I seriously want to avoid becoming stuck in that trap, growing old and dying and still saying “When I have more time I will do blah, blah, blah.”  

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And I know I CAN move mountains, with effort. Well, big hills, at least. I have designed my own service to be comprehensive, so that my customers have something that will be of use over time, rather than an instant hit of gratification. A set of observations, insights, and predictions that can help them to make considered decisions, over a period of time. Decisions that will make life easier in the long run, in the bigger picture. My dream is to bring intuitive guidance into the mainstream of life, for it to become a natural tool, used by everyone from presidents to everyday folk like me. There is still a lot of misunderstanding attached to the subject of intuitive intelligence, but there will come a time when it is more widely understood, accepted and utilised, in everyday life. AND if I am to play my role in that, I have to manage my time as well as I possibly can!

You know, when all is said and done, no – one really cares about our excuses. We’re all busy, but we aren’t all being as productive as we like to pretend we are. We have to be willing to be straight with ourselves. We can’t have our cake and eat it. P**s or get off the pot seems to sum it up pretty well. And that applies to me, as much as it does to every other person who says they want to achieve something BUT……

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So, I don’t have all of the knowledge that would help me to expand my personal empire NOW, but I do know more than I did. I don’t have unlimited funds to pay for the technology and marketing I am assured would cause me to be a rip – roaring success, but I am better off than I was. I have managed to still be in business 22 years down the line (a business which began with just one customer, who responded to an advert I placed in a local shop window), and I have accumulated a generous collection of encouraging testimonials, which I re – read every now and then. I realise, as I type this, I have done okay……. but it isn’t enough!

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I know what my next set of short – term goals are. I know how much I want to earn/attract, I know the kind of customer I love working with, and I know how I want to feel, when I have reached the stage at which I can comfortably say “Right…..what’s next?” Even though I have reached THIS point, I am still pushing away at that big hill…….towards that spot over there, a few metres to the left. It is pointless pushing and pushing and becoming frustrated and exhausted. I need to write “Push the big hill” on my daily list and give myself permission to include it as a priority, so I can approach it with an organised mind, and with energy! I know what my current challenge is, workwise, and I know what I need to change, where my own approach is concerned…..and though the clarity makes it feel so much more do – able, I still have to maintain that motivation! When we believe we CAN get to where we want to be, motivation is easier to find. It is when we doubt that we can get to where we want to be that motivation becomes a struggle. See how asking “WHAT is stopping me?” blows things wide open, allowing us to reassess our own mind – set and attitude, and how we are actually using our precious time? Amazing!#timemanagement

 

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The power of depression – 7 helpful tips for a happier mind!

I was NOT getting out of bed. There was nothing to get up for, except pressure and worry and lack. I pulled the quilt up and over my head, and when a friend called my mobile, to ask what I was doing that day, I told her. Absolutely nothing. I am staying here, with the curtains drawn, all day. 

She put on her firm and assertive voice, and said “Now come on, get up, get dressed, and get out somewhere. It will do you the world of good.” I said “Catherine, I love you to bits, but please f**k off!” And she did, bless her. I can’t remember how long I stayed holed up in my miserable pit, but I must have kick – started myself eventually.

I have to say, however, I am lucky to have had only the odd days where I felt such a need to completely switch off and hide. I have been overwhelmed, sad, exhausted and temporarily without a single helpful idea…….but then, who hasn’t? It isn’t possible to live on planet Earth and NOT be in that place, occasionally. But I do have first hand experience with others who have ongoing periodic bouts of what can only be described as internal hell. You can see them but you can’t reach them. Their eyes darken, and carry a silent warning……”Leave me alone!” In his hugely despondent state, someone once told me “I can’t feel any joy at all.” And I knew he meant it. 

And I once tried what my friend tried on me, with a woman who experienced regular bouts of helpless, hopeless emotional darkness. I thought “I have three options: ignore it, sympathise with her, or reach in and try and pull her out.” I opted for the third, and she looked as if she wanted to kill me with her bare hands. There were days when her husband would arrive home from work to find her huddled on the kitchen floor, where she had been lying, for hours. 

I know that this is real depression…..not a bit of sadness, not a touch of melancholy……not born of boredom and lack of motivation and inspiration. It comes from deep within, easing off for a while, then sweeping back in like a tsunami. And it is incredibly hard for the loved ones of those who suffer this affliction, too. There will be days of helplessness, frustration, worn patience and exhaustion, especially when it seems that just when things get better……they unravel, AGAIN. 

Of course, those with severe, ongoing depression will need genuine help, from the appropriate authorities, but if willing, do seem to be able to make a good degree of progression. Telling them to cheer up and look on the bright side is about as productive as making a sponge cake with cement, rather than flour. But through conscious, ongoing effort, and with loving support, I have seen utterly depressed people make great strides, and even though they will still experience some lows, they enjoy a more consistent sense of well – being. It is what it is. It is a condition that has to be managed, as do many other conditions, be they mental or physical. 

My interest in the subject comes not only from family and friends, but also from the huge numbers of customers who have talked about their own feelings of depression……..maybe 50% of all those who have consulted with me. Many of these are not severely depressed, but down – hearted, unmotivated, lost, and without a sense of direction. I am wary of labelling, because we humans have a tendency to live up to our labels, be they allocated by others or self – imposed! And there is a belief that we should be happy all of the time…..and if we’re not, then something is wrong! It IS okay to be sad sometimes, to feel disconnected, to struggle to find our way. That is part of being human……and it is how we evolve and grow. I have noticed that there are generally certain factors present, where feelings of ‘every day’ depression is concerned (as opposed to severe, ongoing depression), but if they are recognised, big improvements can be made!

1) Focusing on the past, over and over again. Reminding ourselves how often we’ve been let down, believing that things ‘should’ have been different. Science reveals that the mind cannot differentiate between imagination and reality, and if we consistently think the same thing over and over, especially with emotion behind it, it becomes real to the brain, creating neural connections that spark everytime anything even remotely linked to our ‘issue’ comes up. The pain (some of which is not even completely fact – based) is re – visited and re – experienced, even up to years after the actual events took place. We can train ourselves away from this habit by consciously and consistently removing our thoughts from the thing(s) we can do nothing about, and placing them somewhere more positive and productive. It requires commitment to our own happiness, of course, but well worth the effort!

2) Allowing a largely negative flow of information into our mind. Absorbing ‘true life’ magazine stories about horrible things, inflicted upon others, by horrible people. Reading only popular celeb biographies, or glossy, air – brushed celeb magazines, filled with human ‘peacocks’ and their stories of struggle, and opulent lifestyles. Watching soaps with nasty, vindictive characters, and murderous plots. How is it possible to feel good about ourself, and the world around us, whilst filling our mind with such relentless poison and false impressions?

3) Listening to other people’s limited viewpoints. “There are no jobs, life is tough, the weather is awful, just work for security, don’t have fancy ideas about doing what you want to….you have to live in the ‘real’ world. All men are b******s, women can’t be trusted, everyone will let you down…….” etc etc. The ‘real’ world is what we perceive it to be. You have to imagine and create your own real world, rather than inhabit a dark version of someone else’s. And if in doubt, find a few role models……the internet is awash with stories of those who rose from the ashes, those who came from nothing to success, who fought back against all the odds. Listen to THEM, not the naysayers.

4) Not being pro – active. Making excuses. Wasting time. Using lack of confidence as a reason to stay put. We can only gain confidence through familiarity. We become confident when we have learned how to do something, and not before. If we don’t learn and practice, we can’t become confident. No – one has NO confidence at all…..because no- one has learned NOTHING at all……we all know how to do something well, be it making a cup of tea or washing the dishes…..at which we are now confident! But we had to learn how to do those things in the first place. Okay, some achievements may take longer than others, but it is the same principle…..and pro – activity is the answer!

5) Not having a carrot at the end of our stick…….the pot of gold at the end of our rainbow. We have to have something to aspire to. If we are going to train our mind away from unhelpful thought patterns, we have to replace them with something more encouraging. The thing we are DEFINITELY going to make happen (not just liking the idea of it!), step by step. The future we intend to create, be it a satisfying, mutually supportive relationship and loving family life, or a best – selling book, or a business…..the thing that most inspires us and fires us up! And we will need to seek out mentors, people who know what we need to know, and are willing to share. You don’t have to know these people personally, but you can work with them through books and Youtube. Seek, and you will find!

6) Not spending enough time doing creative or fun things. Following the same old routine, doing the same old stuff, day in and day out. Make time to listen to music, write a poem, go for a walk or a run, make cocktails (and become great at doing it!), bake cakes, dance, swim, paint, strip some furniture, go and see a comedian or a concert, learn something new. PUSH yourself through the apathy and inertia, as often as it takes, and for as long as it takes, until new habits are formed!

7) Having a sense of entitlement, of deserving. All human beings deserve to have love and respect, food, water, clothes and shelter. Nothing else is deserved…….it is earned. And yes, some have to work harder than others, at certain points along the way……it is just the way it is! You deserve the reward of knowing you have consciously made the effort to prove to yourself what you can do……..and you will love yourself for having earned it! #7waystohealdepression 

 

The stories of YOUR life chart your course…and each one is completely valuable!

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It was two days before christmas, and the leaping, orange flames of the coal fire were casting flickers of light across mauve painted walls, competing with the sparkle of the lights on the lovingly decorated tree. All was quiet as I curled up in the almost new, posh blue armchair my friend had kindly ‘donated’, and I felt strangely comfortable and content……and I say strangely, because my family were just days away from eviction, with no money, and nowhere to go. For a while, it was possible to forget what the new year was bringing…..and I think I temporarily managed to convince myself that it was all going to go away, and that we’d be able to stay after all. I still wonder at the human capacity to comfort ourselves, and to find joy in the small things, even when huge things are thundering towards us like a herd of rampaging elephants!

Several days later, my mood was considerably different, as I watched my now ex husband gather our three children together, point at the cardboard boxes containing our meagre worldly goods, and instruct them to remember “that all of this is your mother’s fault…..she is the reason we are getting kicked out.” It was as if a fist had punched its way through my ribcage, and was now pounding at my heart, showing not an ounce of mercy. I was sobbing inside for my poor, wonderful children, and burning with shame………and fired by a raging resentment towards the man who had become a long – term blamer. Logically I knew that I wasn’t solely responsible for the mess we had gotten ourselves into, but we can become programmed to believe and accept anything, if exposed to it often enough. As it happens, we did not become homeless. We were rescued by the kindness of a man who had two old caravans he was about to scrap, and he allowed us to use them for a while. And I have been blessed throughout my life by helping hands just when I have needed them the most…….which is what has always kept that light of hope alive inside my mind and heart! They were dark days, but it was times such as those, coupled with the kindness of others, that led me to want to use my experiences to help others find the light at the end of their own tunnel. I learned that, no matter what, I had to keep my eyes fixed firmly on that distant, sometimes almost non – existent glow……because that was where I needed to be heading.

happyFast forward, and my friend Caryl and I are on a train, excitedly heading towards London. I had been invited to speak on LBC radio, by a female celebrity, and it felt like the adventure of a lifetime! I didn’t have much money (still following that distant glow!), but Caryl paid for the train tickets, and the hotel was a freebie, which was great! We had a double room, and it was clear that the staff were trying to work out whether we were gay and so required a double bed,  or whether they should separate it into two singles! There was fresh fruit, including redcurrants…..YES, redcurrants, how posh……and we were just around the corner from Harrods…..wow! Oh, AND we were ceremoniously collected from the train station in a chauffeur driven Mercedes……I loved it, but talk about the proverbial fish out of water! On the show I mentioned my children, but genuinely forgot to mention their father. I was unaware until they told me, that he had been disappointed not to hear his name. It wasn’t a malicious omission……he just did not enter my head. But I loved the whole experience of London…….and maybe it was because I was smiling, inside and out, that people smiled at me. I have heard so many say that London is an unfriendly city, but the little bit of it that was home to Caryl and I, for 48 hours, was a nice place to be.

You know, life is one huge story book, with an infinite number of blank pages still waiting to be written upon. My own stories led me to become fascinated by other people’s stories……and to encourage them NOT to become lost and stuck within them. I know how it feels to be so low that life feels hopeless, but I somehow always managed to take another step…..away from the idea of being a victim (of others, of life, but mostly of myself!). And this is what I wanted to share, using the skills I have developed over 58 years! The human spirit is strengthened and developed through our stories, and our intuitive intelligence can guide us, if we are willing to open up and allow it to. But often we need help from an outside source…….a sincerely well – intentioned but objective source. I cannot express how gratifying it is to witness another’s forward movement, another’s change of heart and hope, because we shared our stories, and because I used my God – given, but self – developed, skills to help them re – focus on that now not – so – distant glow, at the end of a slightly shorter tunnel!  

 

Giving Madonna a run for her money.

Daily Prompt: Rearrangevia Daily Prompt: Rearrange

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 I am rearranging my life yet again. For the millionth time. I feel I have re – invented myself more times than Madonna, and yet here I am again.

I awoke this morning with discomfort, but also with the almost exciting thought “Right……enough! Time to change your attitude and some of your habits!” I have plenty of good stuff in my life for which I am truly grateful, but I feel as if I have reached rock bottom……and in many ways that is a relief. The biggest changes have always come about when I have reached a point at which I say “I cannot live THIS life for one second longer”, and mean it. So, change HAS to be imminent.

The last time I rearranged my life in a major way led to massive change. And it all started with an Eagles’ dvd. I had been feeling sad, overwhelmed, overweight, and out of the race. And asexual. And then I watched the Eagles’ come – back performance, filmed in 1994, and realised I hadn’t completely died. I had always loved their music, but had never seen them in action. I wanted to phone MTV and say “I’ll take the lot. Pack ’em up and have them delivered, asap.” I remembered that I was, below the blubber and the dirty wellies, still a woman, not a grumpy, exhausted pit pony (as my now ex husband obviously believed). And that fluttering was enough to get me moving. I lost 4 stone, walked for miles and miles, listening to music or talking to God, and slowly but surely got myself out of that dark, miserable pit. It wasn’t easy (life is simple, but rarely easy) but it had to be done.

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Now, I am not in such a bad place at this moment, but I am not in the place I want to be. I don’t feel how I want to feel, or look how I want to look. And I want action. Not ‘that’ kind of action…….I want the kind that gets me leaping out of bed in the morning shouting “Places to go, people to see!” And only I can make it happen.

I bought a fitness dvd from the pound shop, and the first 10 minutes is a warm – up session that is more like a massive work – out in itself. But I am in. And I want to get rid of the late night wine, a wind – down that is more like a cop – out. And I am going to use the winter to energise and strengthen myself, and my business (which is ticking over), rather than wishing it away, miserably yearning for spring. And my relationship requires some thought. That too is ticking over, with the occasional outbursts. We are chalk and cheese, and maybe I am using him as an excuse not to grow again. He doesn’t want to grow, but that doesn’t mean I can’t and shouldn’t. I can and I should. And then what will be will be. Oh, and I also intend to re – structure my daily life. I have allowed myself to become the fetcher and carrier, the taxi service and comfort provider, for a number of people I love……which is fine, but it is stealing too much of the time and energy  I need for the progression of my own life.

So….here I am again, facing a new day with the words “I cannot live THIS life for a second longer.” Let the rearranging begin. 

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Shout “I AM” to the world…….and mean it!

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I AM. Put enough emotion and energy behind those two words, and your brain pays attention! What you consistently tag on the end has the capacity to make, shape or break you, so you need to be completely aware of your habitual inner dialogue. I AM…….a success. I AM……building my financial freedom. I AM……moving into a new and more fulfilling job. I AM…..a great parent. I AM……worthy of a good, loving relationship. I AM……attracting new business. I AM…..happy, right now. AND you have to shout it out, with feeling, even if it is within the confines of your own mind…..I AM, I tell you, world!

You do not want to constantly be mumbling I AM bored, fed up, broke, at the end of my tether, stuck, lost, trapped, tired, let down, disappointed, hurt, stupid, angry, miserable, afraid, unappreciated, ugly, fat, unworthy, or depressed. And you cannot wait UNTIL the tide turns to be able to say I AM in a more positive and passionate way…..because the negatives will programme your brain to cause you to fail to MAKE the tide turn, in the first place!

So here are a few that are more inspiring and empowering, and more uplifting than the above!

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I AM:

A force to be reckoned with

Successful in my work

Completely able to hit my targets

Fabulously creative

Attracting opportunity and reward

A great role model for my children

Moving on and up

Healing

Absolutely worthy

Positively attractive

Bright and quick

Greatly in demand

Valued and respected

And you know, the brain also picks up on our body language, tone of voice and facial expression…….and it is impossible to state I AM meaningfully and sincerely, if you are slumped in a chair, wearing a droopy expression and speaking in a monotone……..it will all sound like negative blah – blah to your brain!

So…..shoulders back, head up, smile……and tell the world, in no uncertain terms, “I AM open for business and I AM a winner!” And do it again, and again and again, until it becomes as natural as breathing!

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It’s meant to be amazing….and then it all goes wrong!

Sometimes things just go wrong. You think you are doing great, or you have something planned that is supposed to be wonderful, and then it all falls to pieces. And it is even harder to stomach when you become the fall – guy, the one at whom the finger of blame is pointed, even though your intentions were genuinely positive. And you feel baffled……how did things go from this to THAT, in such a short space of time? What was the catalyst, what was said by whom, and who was it whose reaction brought it all tumbling down? Things can go from good to bad in the blink of an eye……so speedy, you don’t have time to nip them in the bud before they develop into full – blown triffids.

We’ve all experienced this, haven’t we, and we’ve all sifted through gritty, confusing aftermaths. It might be a day out, a family get – together, a milestone celebration, a romantic evening in, a holiday, or a group project. We feel confident that a good time will be had, and we look forward to looking back with a satisfied smile, and the sense of a job well done. And then someone pulls their face, or makes a critical comment. Or someone makes it clear that they aren’t happy with something that everyone else is okay with. Or someone wants to take centre stage, and make it all about them. Or someone has neglected to do what they’d agreed to do. And you can bet, when the whole thing implodes, the perpetrator(s) will be swift to defend, and even swifter to pass the blame.

Sometimes it is we ourselves who have turned what promised to be enjoyable, and memorable for the right reasons, into something uncomfortable, and memorable for the wrong reasons. We drank too much and became argumentative. We felt out of our depth. Our expectations were unrealistic. Someone else stole our limelight. Others weren’t aware of the vision we’d had, and so did not play the role we had mentally allocated to them.

Sometimes it is others’ behaviour that ruins what should have been a wonderful time, and if an admission of guilt and an apology are not forthcoming, resentment and frustration will be added to the mix!

But you know, the best thing to do is to chalk it up to experience, and move on. There WILL be wonderful, memorable times, and there WILL be periodic, mammoth fails. It is impossible to second – guess every detail, and sometimes everything will be in sync, and sometimes it just won’t be. Sadly, a drunken argument, a huffy attitude, a lack of appreciation, or an unwillingness to join in, can lead to long – term rifts. I was once awoken, around 2am, by the sound of shouting and breaking glass. I leaned out of my bedroom window to see a woman in an upper flat, 6 doors down, hanging out of her own window, yelling abuse and furiously hurling mugs at a cowed bunch of people rapidly exiting her property. When it all calmed down I was out on the street in my dressing gown, sweeping up broken crockery, before the morning traffic found itself immobilized by pottery – infested tyres. I imagined that woman waking up hours later, with a throbbing head and a horrible realisation taking shape……but maybe not. Maybe it had been a long time coming, and her only regret was that she hadn’t done it years earlier!

Anyway…special occasion damage limitation –  here are a few helpful tips!

1) If you were the party pooper, swallow your pride and apologise. Dependent upon the nature and degree of your ‘crime’, it might take some time for the dust to settle. But settle it will….eventually!

2) If you feel that another person ruined an occasion you were really looking forward to, you can tackle them head – on, demanding an explanation and apology, or let it go, choosing a disappointed but philosophical approach, knowing that there will be other good times ahead.

3) Try to avoid having to include those you know for sure are likely to behave unreasonably, wherever possible, or at least be prepared in advance (without becoming too tense, as this will lead YOU to flare up!). If you know that a particular person is likely to make critical comments, have your protective force – field up….and smile!

4) If you know that certain people just don’t gel with one another, don’t be surprised when they don’t!

5) If you have negative feelings about a person, or a group, and you know that you are likely to feel tense or reactive in their company, do your best to make other plans!

6) If you have a lot invested in a specific outcome, where a keenly anticipated occasion is concerned, rein it in a bit, relax your mind and your body, and loosen up your expectations!

7) Remember that people all over the planet are fighting at weddings, throwing glasses of wine into the faces of their beloveds, using social situations to drag up the past and vent their spleens against family members, forgetting that someone has put their heart and soul into the meal they are pushing around their plate, or are unaware and unappreciative of the vision someone else had, for the occasion, and are therefore tramping it into the ground with all the grace of a drunken hippo. In fact, if you fondly envision a special occasion, and then actually manage to pull it off without drama, disappointment or fall – out, you will have achieved something pretty awesome!

 

 

 

 

 

You, and your life, are perfectly imperfect! This is your beautiful day!

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I asked a customer recently why her energy field revealed so much anxiety, so much inner tension……and she told me that it is probably because she wants everything to be perfect. I understood that when she said ‘everything’, she meant ‘myself’. She expected herself to be perfect, and was sinking under the weight of her own expectations.

The thing about her version of perfection is that it doesn’t exist. There is no – one and nothing that will be universally agreed upon as perfect. Not even new-born babies……some people just don’t like them. Not even the most exotic flower, the most beautiful sunset, the most intricate work of art……there will always be acclaim and there will always be critics. The perception of perfection is purely personal!

And as I was walking through the woods, our dog jogging ahead, brown and gold leaves crunching underfoot, the scent of autumn on the mild air, I remembered that THIS day is my perfect, and I drank it in. It will never come again. Our dog is 12 years old now, and she won’t be here forever (sob). If I allow my problems, and all the things I have yet to do, and all the ambitions I have yet to fulfil, to take precedence in my mind, this day will slip away under – valued and unappreciated. And it will join all the others that have gone the same way…..and then I will be old, and there will be no more perfectly imperfect days.

The lady in question is perfect as she is. Pretty, intelligent, analytical, articulate, polite and kind, amongst many other positive qualities. She is also intense, stubborn and a little self – protective, but those things are part of the package that is her, at this moment in her life. There were, of course, stories behind her expectation of personal perfection, as there always are. In my line of work the stories are important, and they need to be understood, to a certain degree. But my main interest lies in the customers’ positive progression, their satisfaction with life, and a sense of connection with the beauty of the here and now…….because tomorrow is always built upon today, and if we are keen to create a tomorrow worth experiencing, today needs to be precious……warts and all.

Sometimes it seems easier to escape into dreams of a better time, to play the waiting game of ‘when everything is as it should be’……but in doing so we risk losing too many beautiful days. I am not suggesting that we should only live for the day, with no hopes, dreams or ambitions. Far from it. But that we should become clear on our ambitions, store them in our mind and heart, and then get on with today. If our life is not the way we want it to be, then only appropriate action will allow it to change. Wishing our problems away will not do the job, neither will focusing on what is wrong, oblivious to the many small wonders of the moments we are currently living.

And I am not suggesting that we never think about the future, that we attempt to prevent our thoughts from wandering further than the next 5 minutes…..but that we make the best use of the here and now, understanding and appreciating its worth, and allowing it to lead us on. I have found that my stress levels drop, and that I feel more positive and hopeful, when I remember to recognise my beautiful days. I don’t know for sure how I am going to fulfil the ambitions and the dreams I have filed away in my mind, but I know that how I approach today just has to be an important part of the process. To quote Aerosmith: “I don’t want to miss a thing”. Perfect.