heart and soul life lessons

Mothering Teens with Patience and Resilience: 3 Key Challenges

Mothering teens -Wow!! To say that I’ve had to learn a lot about patience and resilience is an understatement.

So here, I’m sharing some real talk about the highs and lows of mothering teens.

Responding to Mockery

When our teens make fun of us, whether it’s about our actions or how we look, it can sting.

Consider my experience as a longtime dancer. After years of identifying myself through dance, hearing my kids joke that I “can’t dance” felt like a jab at my identity . 

One day, inspired by their comments, I watched myself dance in the mirror. What I saw was a middle-aged woman executing all the right moves, yet not looking quite as ‘cool’ as I felt. It was enlightening.

This scenario made me realize that teens often view us through a different lens, influenced by contemporary standards and peer perceptions. Their mockery isn’t necessarily malicious but reflects our differing views on style, ability, and even appearance. 

I believe it is absolutely okay to tell your kids how their comments about our appearance or actions make us feel, but it’s crucial to approach these conversations in a way that encourages understanding instead of causing defensiveness.

Instead of reacting defensively, we can use these moments to discuss our life experiences and the changes we’ve gone through, including our looks. It opens up a dialogue about aging gracefully, respecting differences, and celebrating our unique paths in life. 

Navigating the Grief of Digital Disconnection

The presence of technology in my children’s lives has often left me feeling a sense of grief.  I know many parents of teens feel the same. 

This emotional response stems from witnessing our children engaging online, participating in a digital world that seems separate from our own. This can create a barrier that keeps us from fully connecting with our children, even when they are physically present.

This digital divide can be particularly palpable during family times, like family holidays, where the clash between the online world and the real world becomes more evident.

It’s not just the frustration of competing with devices for attention; it’s a deeper longing for our children to experience life without the constant buzz of social media, to engage with the world directly and create memories that aren’t mediated through a screen.

Although I have always put boundaries around technology in place, this does not quench their desire to be ‘with’ their friends online rather than with me. 

On the other hand,  I  have  also felt pain when my children are not interacting at all as it is often a sign that they have been excluded, leaving them without a place to engage. 

It’s a paradox: we yearn for our kids to engage and connect, yet we also wish they wouldn’t spend all their time tethered to digital interactions.

This particular parenting challenge uniquely affects those raising teens who are not only exposed to this technology but are also intricately woven into its social fabric.

Our parents, who came before the age of smartphones and social media, cannot fully grasp this issue, and our children, who have never known a world without constant digital connection, can’t either. 

To effectively process this grief, we must fully acknowledge the disappointments and challenges that technology has introduced into our parenting experience.

Recognizing these feelings is the first step in managing them constructively.

Confronting Fear

Maybe responding to their mockery or navigating grief around technology seems like child’s play to you. You might be dealing with serious issues like drug use, depression, intense conflict or risky behaviors. 

Your teen may lash out, using harsh words that cut deep, blaming you for their struggles, and making you long for the days when they were content and carefree.

You might feel lost, wondering where your joyful child went and if you’ll ever have a strong relationship again.

In these moments, the guilt, pain, frustration, and fear can feel all-consuming.

Fear—now that’s a word we need to unpack when it comes to parenting. 

Fear can manifest as a constant undercurrent in our daily interactions, or surge forth in moments of crisis. Either way, it demands our attention and acknowledgment. 

By admitting we are afraid, we can begin to understand how fear impacts our decisions and interactions, allowing us to approach parenting our teen with more awareness and compassion.

A Word of Encouragement for Mothers of Teens.

You can do this!

If you’ve made mistakes, remember, you’re not alone—we all have. 

If you’re feeling the sting of the gaps technology has created within your family, it’s okay to acknowledge that frustration; it’s a common and very real challenge for many parents. 

If you feel mocked or unappreciated, remember, their words are not the truth but merely a perspective that will evolve as they mature. 

If your child is struggling, whether dealing with emotional pain, or confused about their identity and place in the world, continue to show your love.

Build them up with your words and actions, be their biggest cheerleader, and show them all the ways you find them incredible. 

Serve them with kindness, offer them a listening ear, and when they turn you away, gently let them know, “I’m here if you change your mind.” 

And above all, keep listening, and when challenges become too daunting to face alone, don’t hesitate to call for backup.

To read how Journalling has helped me to navigate mothering teens click here.

Creativity heart and soul life lessons

Investing in the Unknown: When Is It Worth Risking Time, Money, and Energy?

In the pursuit of any creative dream—whether you’re a writer, musician, artist, or creator—there comes a pivotal moment. It’s that heart-thumping instance where you stand at the crossroads of inspiration and practicality. The question looms: “Is investing in my creative passion worth the risk?” I know, I’ve asked myself this many times and the answer is always found in unpacking my fears.

Understanding the Stakes

To me, investing in the unknown  often feels like wandering through a fog—exciting yet intimidating. This isn’t just about financial investment. It’s about the hours of practice, the emotional energy in creating something personal, and the vulnerability of sharing it with the world. 

Recognizing what’s at stake is the first step toward rational, yet passionate, decision-making. First, I acknowledge that there are risks and that is why I feel resistance and apprehension.

The Real Cost of ‘What If?’

Before you turn away from your dream due to fear of the unknown, consider the cost of the unexplored path. What is the price of not knowing what could have been? 

I have a habit of focusing on the risk of failure neglecting the equally significant risk of regret. When I pull myself up on this taking a more balanced approach, the thought of never trying then becomes a far greater burden than the potential loss of resources.

Risk vs. Reward: A Creative Calculation

Not every creative venture will succeed in conventional terms. But every effort has taught me something valuable. Whether it’s improving my skills, expanding my network, or simply discovering my limits, these are the intangible rewards that I feel outweigh initial costs.

When assessing risk, I ask myself: Can I handle the emotional and financial impact if this doesn’t go as planned? What might I gain, even if I don’t achieve my original goal?

These questions help to pivot my perspective from seeing an unknown outcome solely as a potential loss to viewing it as a field of possibilities.

Investment in Yourself Is Never Wasted

When we invest in creativity, we’re building more than just a portfolio; we’re developing ourselves. Each step forward enhances our resilience, hones our craft, and deepens our understanding of both our capabilities and our potential. These are the tools that build not just a project, but an expansive creative life.

When I invest in my creativity I am also investing in my joy, fulfillment, sense of purpose and satisfaction that financial success alone cannot match.

Navigating the Unknown with Strategic Steps

While embracing risks is part of the creative process, being strategic about it can reduce unnecessary losses. Remember these three things:

  • You can start small: Before I wrote my first lil poetry book, I posted poems anonymously on instagram. 
  • Seek Feedback: Seek out mentorship. For me this looked like entering competitions where my work would be critiqued.
  • Build Incrementally: Instead of pouring all resources into one big project, develop in stages.

The Leap of Faith

Ultimately, investing in the unknown requires a leap of faith, but most often it is a calculated one.  While not all my investments have paid off in ways I wanted, all have contributed to my growth and understanding of my work and myself.

So, is it worth it? Perhaps better questions to ask might be, ‘Am I taking it far enough? Am I allowing myself the space to fully explore and embrace the possibilities before me? Will I look back on this moment in my life knowing that with wisdom I courageously moved forward? 

heart and soul Journaling

Finding Freedom through Surrender Journaling

Surrender journaling is a path offering a unique blend of introspection, release, and transformation.

Unlike traditional journaling, which might focus on the day’s events or future aspirations, surrender journaling invites us to let go, to release what we cannot control, and to find freedom in acceptance.

Today I want to talk to you about my experience with the liberating practice of surrender journaling and outline practical steps to integrate this method into your daily life.

What is Surrender Journaling?

Surrender journaling is a reflective practice that focuses on the art of letting go. 

It is about acknowledging our fears, anxieties, and the facets of life we can’t control, then consciously deciding to release them through the written word.

This method contrasts with conventional journaling by its emphasis on emotional release rather than mere documentation or planning. 

Surrender journaling serves as a gentle reminder that not all burdens are ours to carry and that there’s profound strength in vulnerability and acceptance.

The Power of Letting Go

The act of letting go can be transformative. Surrender journaling taps into this power, aiding in the alleviation of mental burdens and promoting a sense of peace. 

This practice encourages us to confront our inner turmoil, not with the intention to solve it on the spot, but to acknowledge its presence and then set it free. 

This process can lead to decreased stress levels, enhanced mental clarity, and a deeper connection with our inner selves.

Steps to Effective Surrender Journaling

Surrender journaling involves more than just pen and paper. Here are some steps to guide you:

  • Creating a Safe Space: Begin by finding a quiet, comfortable spot where you feel secure and undisturbed. This space should invite openness and reflection, setting the stage for honest introspection.
  • Setting Intentions: Before you start writing, take a moment to set your intentions. Ask yourself what you wish to release or understand better. This focused mindset primes you for a more purposeful journaling experience.
  • Embracing Honesty and Vulnerability: Write freely and without self-judgment. Let your fears, disappointments, and uncertainties flow onto the page. Remember, this journal is a private sanctuary for your thoughts; there’s no need for filters here.
  • Practicing Gratitude and Acceptance: Amidst acknowledging your struggles, make room to note what you’re grateful for. This balance fosters a healthier perspective, recognizing that even in chaos, there are glimmers of hope and joy.
  • Reflecting and Releasing: After writing, spend a few moments in reflection. Some find it helpful to read their entries aloud or to meditate on the words written. Consider closing each session with a small ritual, like taking a deep breath and imagining the weight of your worries lifting off 

Surrender journaling is not a quick fix but a journey towards self-discovery and liberation. It requires commitment, patience, and an open heart.

As you continue to practice, you’ll likely find your relationship with surrender evolving, leading to deeper insights and greater emotional freedom.

Personally, surrender journaling offered me a path to unburden my soul and embrace life’s unpredictable tides with grace and resilience. By committing to this practice, I took significant steps towards emotional well-being. 

Remember, the act of letting go first feels impossible. But in time as you commit to being consistent with this practice you will see and feel the benefits that surrender journaling in all aspects of your life. 

For more posts about journalling click here.

The poem featured in the image of this blog post is from ‘A Strong and Fragile Thing’ musings in reflection of the wisdom and wonder found in the natural world.

heart and soul Journaling life lessons

Solo Steps: The Power of Personal Breakthrough

In life, every individual encounters moments that are pivotal to personal growth and transformation. These moments, or personal breakthroughs, are akin to reaching a new summit in one’s inner life.

Drawing inspiration from the poem “Because I Am Scaling an Inner Summit,” this blog post delves into the essence of personal breakthroughs and the role of journaling as a tool for personal growth.

Understanding Personal Breakthroughs

A personal breakthrough can be described as a moment of clarity, a sudden insight, or a profound realization that leads to significant personal development.

It’s like a lightbulb moment that illuminates a path previously shrouded in darkness, providing direction and purpose. These breakthroughs often occur during periods of adversity, reflecting the poem’s theme of overcoming internal struggles to reach new heights of self-awareness and understanding.

Journal Prompt:

Reflect on a time when you experienced a personal breakthrough. What were the circumstances leading up to it, and how did it change your perspective or approach to life?

The Role of Journaling in Personal Growth

Journaling is more than just a method of recording daily events; it’s a powerful tool for introspection, self-expression, and mental clarity.

Through the act of writing, we can untangle complex thoughts, explore emotions, and identify patterns in our behavior and thinking that may be hindering our growth.

Journal Prompt:

Write about a recurring thought or feeling you’ve noticed in your journal entries. How does it influence your actions, and what steps can you take to address it?

Embracing the Journey of Self-Discovery

Each breakthrough, whether big or small, is a step forward in understanding oneself and navigating the complexities of life.

Again, the poem “Because I Am Scaling an Inner Summit” encapsulates what the journey feels like for me.

I realized that my capacity had diminished. Simple tasks, such as washing my hair, now required a significant amount of energy. Despite my life appearing calm and manageable on the surface, internally, it felt like I was playing an intense game of “the floor is lava.” I had to spend a substantial portion of my energy navigating my emotions, in pursuit of a personal breakthrough.

Journal Prompt:

Imagine your life as a mountain you’re climbing. What does the summit represent for you, and what obstacles do you need to overcome to reach it?

Nurturing Resilience Through Reflection

Journaling not only facilitates personal growth but also fosters resilience. By documenting your experiences, thoughts, and feelings, you create a personal archive that can serve as a reminder of your strength and adaptability in the face of challenges.

Journal Prompt:

Look back on a difficult period in your life and write about how you navigated through it. What strengths did you discover about yourself, and how can they help you in future challenges?

The Summit Awaits

Personal breakthroughs mark our progress as we scale the inner summits of our minds and spirits. Journaling, as a companion on this journey, provides a space for reflection, learning, and preparation for the next climb. 

Take your solo steps with courage and conviction, knowing that some things can only be won by one. That’s you. You are the one that must climb to the summit.

Your breakthrough may be just around the corner.

The poem featured in this post id from the collection ‘The Remains of Burning’. Available from bookstores worldwide.

For more journal prompts click here

heart and soul life lessons

Valentine’s Day: The Myths and Truths of Love.

As Valentine’s Day rolls around, it brings with it a mix of emotions, expectations, and stereotypes about love. From cinema screens to store shelves, the narrative of romantic love is adorned with grand gestures, expensive gifts, and picture-perfect moments.

But beneath the red roses and heart-shaped chocolates lies the real essence of love, often obscured by these prevalent myths. Before the big day, let’s debunk some common Valentine’s Day myths and shed light on the truths of genuine love.

Myth 1: Love Is All About Grand Gestures

Valentine’s Day is synonymous with grand romantic gestures. Advertisements and social media often portray love as an elaborate affair, involving luxury gifts, exotic vacations, and surprise proposals.

While there’s nothing inherently wrong with celebrating love grandly, this portrayal can create unrealistic expectations. 

At nineteen, my boyfriend pulled out all the stops for Valentine’s Day. He showered me with roses, chocolates, and teddy bears, going above and beyond in his gestures. It was an extraordinary outpouring of gifts, more than I’ve ever in my life received for Valentine’s Day.

Yet, despite this lavish display, our relationship came to an end just two weeks later. The truth was, we weren’t in love, even if the grand Valentine’s Day gestures might have suggested otherwise to those looking in from the outside.

Truth: Love is in the Daily Acts of Kindness

True love is found in the often-overlooked acts of kindness and understanding. It’s found in the comfort of a shared silence, the warmth of a reassuring hug, and the security of a handheld during tough times.

Genuine love is built on a foundation of consistent, small acts of care and loyalty that strengthen the bond over time.

Myth 2: Valentine’s Day Must be Perfect

Valentine’s Day often comes with the pressure for everything to be perfect — the perfect date, the perfect gift, the perfect expression of love. This quest for perfection can lead to disappointment and overshadow the genuine expressions of love that may not fit the ‘perfect’ mold.

Truth: Love Embraces Imperfections

True love embraces imperfections, both in our partners and in the way we celebrate our love. It acknowledges that mistakes will be made, and plans may go awry, but what matters is being together and appreciating each other, flaws and all. Love is patient and forgiving, not just on Valentine’s Day but every day.

Myth 3: Valentine’s Day Is Only for Romantic Love

The commercialization of Valentine’s Day often focuses solely on romantic love, sidelining other forms of love that are equally worth celebrating. This can lead to feelings of exclusion or loneliness for those who aren’t in romantic relationships.

Truth: Love Is Universal and Inclusive

Love, in its truest form, is universal and inclusive, encompassing the love between friends, family members, and even the love we must nurture for ourselves within. Valentine’s Day can be a celebration of all forms of love, reminding us to appreciate and express gratitude for the diverse bonds in our lives.

Myth: Valentine’s Day is a Really Important Time of Year

Valentine’s Day is often portrayed as a crucial event, a day when love must be celebrated suggesting that the quality of one’s relationship can be measured by the scale of Valentine’s Day celebrations.

This myth propagates the idea that love, unless displayed loudly on this particular day, might not be as genuine or deep.

Truth: Valentine’s Day is Just a Day

In reality, Valentine’s Day is merely a date on the calendar. It doesn’t possess any inherent magic or significance that elevates it above any other day in terms of expressing love or affection.

While Valentine’s Day can be an opportunity for a special gesture, it’s the cumulative effect of daily acts of love that truly fortifies a relationship, making every day as significant as February 14th.

Myth: Being Single on Valentines Day Means You Are Undesirable

The emphasis on romantic celebrations can make Valentine’s Day challenging for those who are single, often casting singlehood in a negative light. 

This can make single people feel like they have been left out of the loop. When examining the reasons behind single status some may feel it is because they are undesirable or unworthy or love.

Truth: Being single on Valentine’s Day Does Not Mean You Are Undesirable

Let me say it straight, being single is a blessing. Why?

Because it means you’re not with your jerk ex-boyfriend anymore.

Because it means you are free to fly high and live without compromise.

Because it means your next great adventure in love is still excitingly ahead of you.

Because it means you are giving yourself room to grow and fulfil your potential.

Because it proves that although relationships are easy to find, it’s love you are waiting for. 

Because you are a-okay with it.

Rethinking Valentine’s Day

This Valentine’s Day, let’s challenge the myths and embrace the truths about love. Let’s remember that love is not measured by the grandeur of our gestures but by the depth of our bonds.

It’s a day to celebrate love in all its forms, free from the pressure of perfection, inclusive of all types of relationships, and acknowledging the beauty of love’s everyday expressions.

Let’s unwrap the true heart of Valentine’s Day and celebrate the genuine connections that enrich our lives.

The poem featured in this blog post is from my first collection, ‘The Remains of Burning’. Available from bookstores worldwide. 

heart and soul Poetry

Mercy and Starting Afresh.

If you follow me on Instagram, you’ll know I rise early. In the quiet moments of dawn, when the world seems to hold its breath, I find the gentle, yet profound, presence of mercy. There is no searching, no pleading. It comes knocking, seeking me out, wanting me to leave yesterday and start over. 

As I navigate disappointments, errors, and unmet expectations, the concept of mercy  becomes not only a balm but a transformative force.

 I wrote a poem about mercy. Although it is quite simple, it is exactly how I experience it. The poem is untitled in my second collection ‘A Strong and Fragile Thing’, but for the sake of this blog post, let’s call it ‘The Dawn of Mercy.’

The Dawn of Mercy

'Morning knocks on my window.
I lift the latch 
And let her in.
Mercy spills into the room
And gets all over me.'

In these lines, I attempt to show how mercy is a daily renewal. The act of opening the window is symbolic of my need and willingness to receive, to be enveloped and changed by this gentle force. I have found that mercy, in its quiet power, does not merely visit; it transforms, covering me, offering a fresh start, a new perspective.

The Echoes of Forgiveness

In another piece, poet Maya Angelou offers a reflection on the nature of mercy through the prism of forgiveness:

"The sun has come.
The mists have gone.
We see in the distance...
our long way home.
I was always yours to have.
You were always mine.
We have loved each other in and out of time."

Angelou’s words speak to the enduring quality of mercy that exists within the fabric of love and forgiveness. The imagery of the clearing mists and the dawning sun parallels the process of moving through pain and misunderstanding towards a place of clarity and reconciliation. It is a reminder that mercy is not just about the forgiveness we extend to others but also about the grace we allow ourselves, acknowledging our shared humanity, our capacity for error, and our potential for redemption.

The River of Compassion

The poet Rumi offers another facet of mercy in his work:

"The wound is the place where the Light enters you.
Don't turn away. Keep your gaze on the bandaged place.
That's where the light enters you."

I love this poem. Rumi’s perspective invites us to view our wounds, our failures, and our disappointments not as mere sources of pain but as openings for growth, understanding, and ultimately, mercy. It is in our most vulnerable moments that the possibility for true compassion—towards ourselves and others—emerges. This poem encourages me to embrace my imperfections, to see them as the very sites where healing and mercy can begin their work.

Starting Afresh: The Mercy of New Beginnings

The common thread that weaves through all these poems is the transformative power of mercy. It is a force that does not ignore our flaws but lovingly acknowledges them, offering a pathway to healing and renewal. Mercy invites us to turn the page, to see every sunrise as an opportunity to start afresh, unburdened by the past.

In my life, this means forgiving those who have wronged me, or perhaps, more challengingly, forgiving myself. It involves a commitment to seeing the world through a lens of compassion, recognizing that everyone has their struggles, their ‘bandaged places’, and that we are all, in one way or another, in need of mercy.

heart and soul life lessons Poetry

Begin with wonder: The Art of Starting the Year in Awe.

Embracing the Beauty of Early Mornings

There’s something amazing about early mornings. Imagine this: It’s only 7 AM, and already your eyes are wide with bright luminous colour as you take in multiple rainbows that span the sky. When I wrote these lines, I wasn’t just referring to the beauty of the combination of sunrise and rain but also about the possibilities that each new day holds.

Early mornings have long been my favourite time of the day. I love the cool, crisp air, and the gentle hues that paint the sky. I love the quiet before the day’s hustle. – a moment of peace and potential. For me, it is a time for reflection, for setting intentions, and for appreciating the simple beauty that brims in my front garden.

Learning from ‘Phosphorescence’ by Julia Baird

I’ve just finished reading “Phosphorescence,” by Julia Baird. In this book she talks about finding awe and wonder in the natural world. She delves into how awe can help us lead happier, more fulfilling lives. This message aligns perfectly with the sentiment of my short poem. Baird encourages us to find our “phosphorescence,” those moments or things that light us up from within.

Starting the year in awe is about intentionally seeking moments of wonder in the everyday – a stunning sunrise, the tranquility of a quiet morning, or the simple act of watching the world wake up. These experiences ground us, reminding us of the beauty and wonder that exist in the world, even amidst chaos and routine.

The Power of Awe in Daily Life

Awe isn’t just a pleasant feeling; it’s a powerful tool. Studies have shown that experiencing awe can lead to increased happiness, decreased stress, and even a more profound sense of connection to others and the world around us. When we start our year (and each day) seeking out awe, we set ourselves up for a more positive and connected life.

This approach to life is about slowing down, being present  and appreciating the world in its full splendour. When we pause to observe the beauty around us, we’re not just seeing it; we’re feeling it, and it becomes a part of us. This practice can transform our outlook on life, making us more grateful, more compassionate, and more attuned to the beauty in others.

Making Awe a Daily Habit

So, how do we make this a part of our daily lives? It starts with intention. Wake up a little earlier and take a moment to watch the sunrise. Spend a few minutes in silence, sipping your morning coffee, and just being. As you go about your day, look closer – the way the light filters through the trees, the sound of laughter, a bird on a wire. 

Mary Oliver wrote, “Instructions for Living a Life. Pay attention. Be astonished. Tell about it.” When I read this short yet stirring quote, I decided to put Mary’s advice to work.  The process – paying attention, observing life’s nuances and subtleties. In this attentiveness, astonishment naturally blooms, awakening me to the wisdom and wonder found in the natural world. The result – my second collection ‘A Strong and Fragile thing’. 

A Year of Wonder Awaits

Starting the new year in awe isn’t just about enjoying the beauty around us. It’s about finding joy and meaning in the small things and connecting more deeply with the world and people around us. As you step into this new year, remember my poem, Mary Oliver’s words and Baird’s insights. Be inspired to look for wonder, awe, and phosphorescence. Here’s to a year of consuming rainbows, not just at 7 AM, but at any time we are still enough to notice. 

The poem featured in this post is part of a collection called ‘A Strong and Fragile Thing’, musings in reflection of the wisdom and wonder found in the natural world. It is available from bookstores worldwide.

heart and soul

Hopeful New Beginnings: Embracing a Fresh Start.

I remember writing this poem. I was walking a beach not too far from where I live. The ocean loomed that day. In my mind, I was searching for something to hang onto, which means, I was looking for words. Something I could say aloud and repeat over and over to prevent myself from going to a dark place.

Some words sound better when read aloud. When voiced, they come to life. They have a kind of rhythm, a kind of feeling that you can’t experience when you read silently. Speaking words aloud allows us to experience them. When spoken this poem becomes a declaration.

This is the hope we hold, the new will forever dawn.

The first line came to me as a kind of lifeline. It suggests that, despite challenges and setbacks, things will not always be the way they are. The night will end and the day will come, and then another day, and another, and another. 

Essentially what this means to me is, here, where I am right now, is not forever. Something new is coming, and for a lot of us, including me, that feels like hope. 

And although better does not rise with every new day,

Of course, we know that every new day doesn’t automatically mean things will get better. Even though days keep coming, improvement isn’t guaranteed with each sunrise. 

This line acknowledges the silent ‘middle’ we often experience on the way to better days. It speaks to the less noticeable, transitional moments when we’re in the process of moving forward.

During this “middle” period, it might seem like not much is happening on the surface, but beneath the surface, there’s often growth, learning, and preparation.

the backflow of life proves with time, that generosity, kindness and forgiveness are as forceful if not more, than ever the deepest realms of fear,

On the beach that day, I was aware of fear. I was afraid that newness would not come. I feared I would be stuck in pain and confusion forever. To counteract my fear, I asserted to myself that I would try to be generous, kind and forgiving even as I experienced lack, heartache and anger. 

These words suggest that good and goodness are powerful. Even if we are scared that things won’t get better, that the night will never end, we can make the hard times fruitful as we practice generosity, kindness, forgiveness and the like. 

and will with fixed intent, deliver unto us manifold facets of love.

Generosity, kindness and forgiveness are different expressions of love. As I use my power to practice these things even in hard times, I believe I will see them show up in my own life. This is not a transaction where doing one thing guarantees a specific result. This is simply an expression of faith that in being loving I will become less controlled by fear.  

Say the words you need to hear.

So, my friends, what do you need to say aloud that will foster hope in this season? What words do you dare to proclaim at the start of a new year? I say, write the words you need to read. Say the words you need to hear. Throw yourself a lifeline. Embrace a fresh start, even if you’re still waiting for daylight, by penning a poem, a paragraph, heck, even just a sentence to hitch a little hope to your heart. 

The poem featured in this post is part of a collection called ‘Beyond the Safety of Trees‘ available from bookstores worldwide. Immerse yourself in a symphony of 74 wilderness-themed poems and 40 evocative writing prompts. 

heart and soul life lessons

A Year in Review: The Best of My Blog in 2023.

Before the year ends, I thought it would be fitting to reflect on the best of my blog in 2023. This year has been full of unexpected turns and there has been a need for patience and deep trust. It has also been a year, unlike the last 5, where I can see a definite progression in my life.  

And so, friends, here are the top five blog posts that captured both your attention and the essence of 2023.

1. Allow and Align: The Power of Letting Go and Being in Flow

In a world that often urges us to control every aspect of our lives, “Allow and Align” emerged as a mantra for navigating the unpredictability of 2023.

 In June we were told that we had six weeks to find a new place. It was the 4th move in 5 years and at the time our state was in the middle of a rental crisis. Lots of renters, limited amount of rentals. (Not to mention the souring rental prices.)

For a number of weeks we had no idea where we were going to live. There was nothing available in our area and when a house did come up for rent it was unsuitable for raising three teens. This predicament caused  me great discomfort, disappointment and stress. I needed to find my peace. I needed to find a way to let go of outcomes and embrace the flow of life. 

And so, through reading, journaling and contemplation I discovered 5 things that helped me to manage my inner world and accept my circumstances, giving way to whatever came next. They include: Practising being present and fully engaged in the moment. Trusting the process. Following peace. Letting go of attachments. And retreating.

You can read about how these things transformed my perspective and helped me to not only cope with the situation, but enjoy it, here

2.Four Reasons You Are More Creative Than You Think

In this blog post, we explored the idea that creativity is not exclusive to artists or innovators. “Four Reasons You Are More Creative Than You Think” celebrates the inherent creativity within each of us and offers insights into nurturing and expressing it.

After posting this one, many of you told me that you no longer perceive yourself as uncreative. This feedback was a delight for me. If there is anything I would tell my 10-year-old self-it’s that your creativity is to be fully embraced. 

From reframing failures as opportunities to embracing curiosity, this post is all about unlocking your creative potential. It highlights the fact that we are always problem solving, connecting seemingly unrelated things, learning and perceiving the world from our own unique perspective. 

If you feel It’s time to recognize the ways in which you are already creative, start to tap into that potential and develop your skills even further, click here to read more. 

3. Healing Words: How Writing Poetry Can Help You Find Meaning

Words have the power to heal, and this post emphasises the therapeutic benefits of writing. It delves into the cathartic nature of putting emotions into words and unravels the healing potential embedded in the lines of a poem.

Personally, poetry has also been a valuable tool for healing. It has helped me to process my feelings, find meaning in my experiences, and move forward in a positive way. Unlike other forms of writing, such as journaling or free writing, poetry requires I pay close attention to language and form. This helps me to articulate my feelings or experiences in a clear and concise way. 

I wrote this one because I wanted to encourage readers to pick up a pen and explore the profound connection between writing and finding meaning in life. You don’t need to be good with words. Even a short piece, just a couple of sentences, can help bring clarity and relief for pain and distress.

To delve a little deeper and discover tips on how you can use writing poetry as a tool for finding meaning click here

4. Exploring the Struggle to Articulate Inner Turmoil

At times, I have struggled to articulate inner turmoil. For me, this became a barrier to understanding and growth. When words don’t work, we often find other ways to express our pain. If it’s creative, this can lead to positive outcomes, however, sometimes the inability to say how we feel can lead to destructive expressions that cause others and ourselves increased pain.

 “Exploring the Struggle to Articulate Inner Turmoil” confronts this challenge head-on, offering a raw and authentic look at the difficulties we can have in expressing complex emotions. In this post, I unpack the weight of what can not be said, the limitations of language, our need to explore expression and embrace the mystery and complexity of our experiences.

If you need a little insight on how to navigate unspeakable experiences, you’re not alone. Click here to read more about my struggle to articulate inner turmoil.

5. Creating Something New: Expectations vs. Reality

Creation often comes with a set of expectations. In “Creating Something New: Expectations vs. Reality” I address the balance that is needed between creative aspirations and the reality of the creative process. 

This blog post highlights the common pitfalls of creative expectations and provides tips for embracing the authentic, sometimes messy, journey of bringing ideas to life.

I have learnt that although my expectations are never met, and what I create hardly ever resembles exactly the idea I had of it in my head, creativity pays off.  I have also learnt that every new thing I put out into the world requires long-term vision, perseverance, and a willingness to let others make it their own. 

The purpose of this post is to illustrate that although bringing something new into the world is often a complex, emotionally taxing, non-linier collaboration, it is totally, completely, utterly worth it, and you should definitely, absolutely, one hundred percent do it! Read more here.

And so friends, that’s a wrap. Thank you for turning up. Thank you for giving my little corner of the internet a few of your highly prized moments this year. Thank you for engaging, commenting, messaging, and adding richness to my life. 

In 2024, I am focusing on the themes within my books, unpacking my poetry and hopefully leaving you with words that build you up and make you feel like the absolute miracle that you are.

heart and soul life lessons

The Healing Power of Humility: Why Being Broken Can Be a Blessing

In a society that often glorifies strength and success, the concept of embracing brokenness and humility may seem counterintuitive. However, there is a profound healing power in humbling experiences that can transform our lives for the better. Rather than seeing brokenness as a bad thing, we can view it as a blessing—a pathway to self-discovery, growth, and healing. 

Embracing Vulnerability 

When we are broken, either by the pain we cause or the pain projected on us by others,  we become vulnerable, and vulnerability opens the door to profound personal growth. Admitting our flaws and acknowledging our limitations allows us to connect with others on a deeper level. By embracing vulnerability, we create authentic and meaningful connections that are built on empathy, compassion, and understanding. This genuine connection with others fosters a sense of belonging and provides a fertile ground for healing.

Letting Go of Ego 

Being broken strips away our pride and ego, revealing our true selves beneath the facade. Humility compels us to let go of our attachment to success, recognition, and external validation. In the absence of ego, we can focus on inner transformation and self-improvement. By releasing the need to control or manipulate outcomes, we open ourselves up to new possibilities and allow the healing process to unfold naturally.

Cultivating Empathy

When we experience brokenness, we develop a deeper sense of empathy and compassion towards others who are suffering. Our own pain becomes a bridge that connects us to the pain of others, enabling us to provide genuine support and understanding. Through this newfound empathy, we learn the importance of kindness, forgiveness, and acceptance. In turn, the act of extending compassion to others contributes to our own healing, creating a positive feedback loop of growth and resilience.

Seeking Help and Support 

Being broken teaches us the value of seeking help and support from others. We come to realize that we cannot navigate life’s challenges alone, and reaching out for assistance is not a sign of weakness but a display of strength and self-awareness. Humility enables us to recognize that we can learn from the wisdom and experiences of others, and their support becomes a vital component of our healing journey.

Rediscovering Inner Strength

In the process of being broken, we often unearth a wellspring of inner strength that we never knew existed. Adversity has a way of revealing our resilience, determination, and capacity for growth. By embracing humility, we tap into our inner resources and discover the courage to rebuild our lives. We emerge from brokenness with a renewed sense of purpose, empowered by the knowledge that we have overcome challenges and can face future obstacles with resilience and grace.

Being broken is not a permanent state of despair; rather, it can be a transformative experience. Yes, the process can take us to an intensely painful place, but we must recognise that that same process does not destroy us, in fact, it builds us. So, let us view brokenness as a blessing— a bleeding, beaten up, soul battered blessing that beautifies us the way nothing else can.

For poetry that walks through the process of being broken, from the moment your flame is snatched right through to when grief fold into gratfulness, take a look at ‘The Remains of Burning‘ available from bookstores worldwide.

poetry book