|Spring is springing forth in all it’s glory in the Southern Hemisphere and the blossom was beckoning in this glorious garden as we took a “pink” selfie.|
I am sharing the above picture as it was taken a few days ago in Barrydale, a very small village on the Route 62 where I lived for over a year back in my early 30’s!
It was this same part of the Klein Karoo that gave me two of my most important “mantras and prayers” that still stay with me and strengthen my heart.
My go-to self soothers
Reminders that all will be ok
There is a bigger plan for each of us
To this day, I will often wake up repeating these prayers / mantras/ powerful sayings. They have a way of connecting me directly into spirit and are a form of self-soothing when I feel anxious or a little out of kilter. They are my go-to when I need to talk myself down from the stress spiral, to boost my energy or more importantly to calm my heart and know that all in all …..everything really is truly going to be ok!
Karoo Mantra #1
That powerful baby dropped into my heart when I was moving cross country. I was literally parked under a sign that said ‘Barrydale 10 km’ just after the Lemoenshoek turn off on the R62 that slices across from Mossel Bay to Robertson. I screeched my gun-metal silver convertible VW beetle to a halt to take stock of the magnitude of the moment.
To honour the long journey.
Why? I was 32, and had just packed up ALL my belongings, and driven cross-country from Durban KZN, to Barrydale in the Klein Karoo. That’s about 1500 kilometers as a young woman travelling solo. I pulled over to the dusty side of the road, and as I looked at myself in the review mirror and popped some lipstick on, I knew this was an important moment to acknowledge. This is what “dropped” into my heart…
Oh infinite spirit I am willing to experience the truth
of my divine plan!YIkes that’s a goodie right?I was filled with a deep trust and curiosity, as this little village had literally pulled at my heart strings from the very first time I had heard its name uttered the year before. I had a measly 116 ZAR (about10 dollars) to my name, yet a heart filled with hope and trust in the process!
I had been invited to stay with my two dear friends, moving between their B’nB room and their bedroom floor when it was occupied with guests. As I looked at myself and took a deep, dusty Karoo breath, I knew I had to be right here, right now. Whether I landed up staying in this small village for a day, week, month or year, this was where I had needed to travel to.
Hey presto ….
Within a week I had three jobs!
I lived there for over a year, and still return to visit when I can! Like this month.
It’s one of my soul homes.
I helped those dear friends out a bit in the tea garden which means I got to meet local people FAST! I got offered a part time position in the local Cafe on the R62, I got the Saturday morning job at the local winery (major bonus points for giving me wine to take home at the end of my shift) and then my prayers were answered as I was offered a fabulous position to look after a retreat centre that was being built. Complete with a self contained cottage for the caretaker. Aka ME! I landed up finding a community of love and healing 22 years ago!
This month, as I greet the village again, I had the opportunity of bumping into two folk I met back then that I haven’t seen since ….and had an instant energy exchange of love, compassion and connection. It felt like a full coming of circle, of revisiting important people that crossed my path. I also got to visit the property I had taken care of and witness it’s exciting transformation into an ultra modern 5 star retreat centre.
So many of experiences for the past 30 years are framed and held together by that powerful mantra that dropped into my heart at the side of the road that day.
Oh infinite spirit I am willing to experience the truth of my divine plan!
Feel free to use it if you love it
Karoo Mantra #2After eventually leaving Barrydale I started a business as one of the very first professional life coaches in South Africa back in 2003, and set up life in Johannesburg. My soul sister (who now lives in Barrydale!) called me up one day and invited me on a walk. Of course I said yes, and only then discovered it was a ten day ‘pilgrimage’ across the Klein Karoo. Cutting across the back end of no-where along dusty farm roads, sleeping in rural farms stays and carrying all our luggage like snails traversing the land. Reading the land. Listening to the messages from the earth.
Day after day. Huffing and puffing up hills and dancing in the streets. Yoga en route to stretch aching limbs. A lot like the camino pilgrimage in Spain.
We had 2 guides – a physical guide to get us to our physical destination every day, and then our more “spiritual guide.” Every morning before we set off the latter guide gave us something written to ponder and ruminate on while we walked. It was a sacred heart pilgrimage taking shape for each of us.
On the fourth day this is the mantra that “landed” and leapt into my heart.
Praati PadikamUm….yes Sanskrit! So here is what it means in English…Step by step
At every Step
There lies Waiting
That which is appropriate
To that step!
I have used this mantra over and over again as a part of the Keynote talks I delivered globally in my career. There is something very lyrical and soothing about the Sanskrit version, even when not understanding its complete meaning. The cadence and energy of the rhythm invokes an immediate connection to the present moment.
“Padam” shares its root with the English words ‘pedestrian’ and ‘pedal’ and so the essence of this mantra is simply ‘one step at a time’. The heart of mindfulness – present moment – in many of today’s teachings center around being here now. One of THE hardest things to master is simply to be on the step we are on.
Not a moment wasted being stuck in the past, lugging what’s behind us into the now. And equally, not a moment dashing far ahead, prematurely anxious about the future and the possibility of what is or isn’t coming our way. Making peace with the past and feeling delight about the future is the point of power within us. Be
Step by Step!So Hatti I am wondering if YOU have a favourite prayer, quotes or mantras and how do you use them actively in your every day life? Please flood my inbox with what keeps YOU buoyed through tough times – perhaps I need yours to land in my heart today! How do you keep them alive in your heart?
I wake up gently whispering them, usually crossing my arms over my heart as I am lifting out of sleep and into the day. A few quiet repetitions of these ease my heart and get me started on the right footing before I bounce out of bed.
I love the ritual of this SACRED PAUSESending so much love to you today while staring out across the Klein Karoo in Barrydale)
I do find that if I skip a month of sharing my musings with you, it’s that much harder to get back in the swing of it again. So here I am mulling over what to share as we head into the last month of summer.
What keeps coming up for me today, is a profound 2-week experience I had in Italy. After our summer writing retreats were all done and dusted, I met with 2 girlfriends for some R&R in NW Italy to discover the Ligurian coast – an area I had been wanting to explore.
I probably should have gone for some solo rest and restoration after hosting the retreats– but life had other plans for the three of us.
We found ourselves sharing a gorgeous apartment in Genoa. Tall ceilings, marble floors, gorgeous balcony doors, and the piece de resistance…..a huge outdoor terrace up some precarious stairs! We had the unique experience of exploring a new city together, basking in the gilded era of Baroque, tasting the yummiest pesto in the world, ogling at all the delicious “karpusis” (our inner circle code word for gorgeous head-turning Italian men) and diving into the Ligurian water in hysterically minute cove-type beaches.
We also had some major heart-wrenching events unfolding in each of our lives back home.
FALL IN LOVE WITH STAYING AND FEELING!
A few days into our trip – we sat with the question of “should we all just leave and get on planes to be with other people who need us right now?” I was ready to pack up in a flash.
Yet we found ourselves staying together for the full length of time, each sitting it out patiently, watching it unfold in each of our lives. Holding each other tenderly. Not making any sudden moves. We were poised at the ready if need be – but it wasn’t meant to be. And to be brutally honest, I really didn’t fall in love that part of Italy so much, so leaving early was actually preferable for me. The trio knew my feelings, sorry Genoa – but you will forever be etched in my memories now!
SIMPLY BEING WITH EACH OTHER ON THE TERRACE was a massive metaphor for life. All of us were patiently waiting, being where we needed to be.
More of everything for us all
Late night calls
Messages around the world
Job offers not coming
Phone calls not coming
Some kept breathing life
And some didn’t …
And still there was a city to explore
Life to be lived
Singing storytellers clank clank clank on the guitar
THE TERRACE TALKS
We dubbed our daily morning ritual The Terrace Talks – over copious cups of strong coffee. And a hangover or two sneaked up there too. Love, friendship and vulnerable honesty was witnessed in our merry yet complicated trio.
Surrounded by the sweet swallows constantly swirling and dive-bombing our triangle while church bells rang loud and clear all around us as we poured our hearts and tears out.
We were each other’s sacred witness in a foreign land. Removed from life yet deeply steeped in the messiness of it.
So why does this tale feel important to share with you?
I guess it’s a reminder to embrace life amidst death, trust the hearts of whom you are with and when, and welcome honesty to the communal table with deep vulnerability.
It could have, and realistically probably should have, gone pear-shaped – three gals, two bedrooms, one bathroom, and a LOT going on emotionally between us! We had never traveled together before and here we were traveling in an expensive foreign currency and no language literacy. Yet there is so much you can do with a smooshing together of pigeon French, English, Greek and Italian along with hand gestures, google translate and the occasional fluttering of eyes thrown in. And always smiles even amidst the bleary tears. We could go from howling tears to screeching belly laughter in a rapid flash. Whether in public or in the safety of our terrace. We were each seeking to make sense of mammoth and bewildering transition points. We each arrived with different burdens and tales weighing on our hearts, with diverse interests and loves to explore, varying reasons for being in this city and a multitude of travel desires to fulfill. Three strong independent women were able to bear witness to each other.
It was a gift never even imagined, yet offered to each of us in the bittersweet moment that life threw at us.
I was the common “glue” between the three of us and had called us together on an Italian adventure. Northern Italy was on my radar to explore as a possible second home one day. But the trip kind of came together at the 11th hour, very close to the time. I kept thinking it wasn’t really going to happen. “C” and “D” only met each just other a few weeks before traveling, at the visa office in South Africa. Next thing we were on the train platform together making a “joint kitty” for our spending money.
Faced with everything from healing broken hearts, managing life and work chapters ending, emotional exhaustion, anticipating somewhat terrifying beginnings, love affairs unfolding and unforeseen tragic deaths and countless ICU discussions in our circles – we had to face it all on the terrace! Daily terrace talks. Many a candle was lit for protection and prayers in the gazillion of churches we explored with blistered feet together.
We covered it all…
Always coming back to holding on to the dreams in our hearts …
There was no judgement – just plenty of compassion along with honest, tough love delivered in a flash when needed. There was heartfelt sharing, honesty, exposing and probing. We were all on the receiving end of hugs, humour and perfectly timed eye rolls before shrieking with laughter with each other. Not at each other. No emotion was spared the terrace.
WHAT IS IF ALL GOES RIGHT?
Have you ever declined an adventure ‘cos you thought it could go terribly wrong? Because you simply didn’t know each other well enough? Well, what if it all went strangely right – and your cohorts and perfect Terrace Trio awaits you?
For those 2 weeks of my life, C and D were the only two women in the world I was meant to be with. Even when life was cruelly pulling us all in other directions. I am stronger, more resilient, and filled with memories of a lifetime from saying yes to our trio. Even when I have never loved 3 folk gathering together – go figure I have 2 siblings lol!
Wishing you a lifetime of ever-expanding friendships that show up in unexpected terraces near you.
Yours in light,
PS: FANCY SOME ISLAND TERRACE TALKS?
Could your midlife transition benefit from some sacred witnessing with both tears and laughter at the same time?
Imagine a delightful island version of these Terrace Talks around a fire on IONA?
Join this intimate group of brave like-minded women where it’s all about shared experiences, compassion and vulnerable sharing as we release some debris from our hearts and souls once and for all. Next one April 2023!
This insider musing comes hot on the heels of completing my first every group retreat held on my beloved Iona this week. Oh, my heart is full! A challenging theme that requires deep personal work from everyone who made the long journey for “Cutting the Threads that Bind.” It played tribute to the concept of “Build it and they will come” and I am forever grateful to the seven of us who gathered. New dates will be opening soon, so keep an eye if that appeals.
So on to this month’s INSIDER MUSINGS …..and of course, I’ve been laughing out loud on the train writing this for you as I fly south to my mum.
It’s an 11 min read, so grab that coffee or wine and come laugh at /with me!
Have you ever been stuck in a crazy place, HISS-ing at yourself and the world, ready to burst into flames or tears with all the perceived stress…and then you somehow manage to flip the switch.
As always, I’m sharing life lessons only with you as a loyal subscriber (and not splayed over social media!) that involve me being super vulnerable about what’s unfolding, re-telling something daft that’s happened to me, or sharing life from my perspective. Sharing things in the simple hope it helps you see something differently one day.
I’ve decided that mid-life post 50’s is truly glorious, and so much happens that gives me insights, lessons or little love slaps from the universe to crack on with life.
Living on Iona as my official base camp now, I am of course part of the local Facebook IONA STUFF community group for residents only. It’s where I post about my local writing group, and stay abreast of all sorts of local updates, requests and information. Vital for navigating #islandgirl life on a remote island.
Since taking on my wee flat, I have been gathering some beautiful things to make it into a very special base for myself, and to share it as a reflective writing and retreat space for clients. I have been replacing some things that were not appropriate for the space and its new way forward.
A large black couch, a traditional slatted single wooden bed, several blinds, two chairs and some carpet needed a new home.
My plan was that upon coming back to Iona after a #citygal break, Mrs M and I had decided we would put them on the IONA STUFF group to offer them to someone who might make use of them. Great!
Recycle and re-use! I had just returned to the island, and that night someone posted about how they were coming to work in the Abbey for Historic Scotland and they have secured a house for three of the staff that’s totally unfurnished. Immediately I reply -offering up these things and approved my Mrs M. Yippee, the stuff has a much-needed home.
The only thing is they are not arriving for a few weeks until their official position starts. Mrs M agrees the huge couch can stay in her shed, and I manage to store the other stuff in my small space and jammed into the very tight squeeze of a boiler room.
But being a clutter fundi and wanting clear light space, I say to the girls ideally they need to come and collect it the day they arrive, on Iona as I too am leaving for the city again and want it all sorted before I leave. The due date looms a couple of weeks away, not too far in the distance.
I’m fine to keep walking around the two extra chairs in the passage when my new comfier ones arrive, but I can’t sort the boiler room to store all the cleaning stuff and extra linen yet, so am super excited they are coming to collect it all in just a couple weeks.
PICK UP PLANS
So a few days before the due arrival day I make contact and the girls say they are trying to borrow a tractor to trundle around the island gathering everything offered to them (yes a tractor, not a truck). I think they could start a guesthouse by this stage – such is the island’s generosity of things donated to them. In fact within two minutes of offering them our slatted bed base, it has a mattress to go with it! They magically furnished their house with excess within 24 hours or so.
Proposed collection day from me was April 1st (haha yes!).
I didn’t want to get all their stuff out the boiler room until I knew for sure they were coming. I know how tricky just getting to the island can be, let alone trying to move in and trek across the village gathering up their offerings. So I organized that they let me know before they were coming. That would give me about 20 minutes to get it all out the cupboard, half expecting it not to be Friday 1st as anticipated. I knew if I dragged all the stuff out the boiler room and it wasn’t collected, I’d be tripping over it all day, or worse it would be stuck there till I was back from my city break.
I was just finishing up with a client on the phone when I hear a voice, “Hello – Kate – Hello.” Miss B appears at the bottom of the stairs by my front door. Not able to get the tractor yet, I already knew her dad was only on the island for a few hours to move them in and grabbing the last ferry, meaning there was a very short window of time using his car to collect the stuff that will fit in the back boot and seats. We had already decided that the couch might have to be collected another day with tractor, trailer, quad, boat or transported by coos if necessary.
So I immediately say, somewhat surprised, “OH, you are here – I thought you were going to confirm a time so I could start getting the stuff out for you to save you time now!” Alas, island signal being what it is ……she was foiled at that attempt and was suddenly at my door – quite naturally – to collect the stuff. I start with the chairs in the passage by hurling (ok, gently passing!) them to her for her dad to pack, and rapidly attack the boiler room. I fling the door open hell-bent on not wasting their time on precious move day and getting the stuff as swiftly as possible.
That annoying old saying – more haste, less speed is just too darn true!
Miss “QuickShift” here kicked into gear with a vengeance. I yank the first length of the slatted bed out (it’s broken down into head and footer, and two sets of slats bound together.) Tick.
I put my hand in the tight squeeze to go grab the next piece, the larger headboard and hear a very loud THUNK as I try to lift it up over the boiler.
Ah, it must be the other slats moving I think, not even missing a beat. Yank yank it out the tiny gap in the tight cupboard. Still tut-tutting that I didn’t have a heads up time-wise!
So as I pull out the headboard from a weird angle, I see it’s ….oh no
Splotched with blue?!
It’s wet too?
Gloopy blue paint! What?
Moroccan Mint Blue!
Pic below of the beautiful colour I painted on my walls!
Thank goodness modern paint is thicker and more rubbery even though it was PVA. I remember paint as a kid being a thick liquid, rather than jelly-like?
Scrunched up my nose, confused forehead all wrinkled and HISS-ing profusely, I look at my hands now covered in mint blue gloopy-de-gloop paint. It takes me a few minutes to realise what has happened. In the meantime, I try getting the wooden piece to the kitchen while sparing the brand new carpet en route. I look in dismay to see the beautiful rich wood now splattered everywhere with blue paint.
I am cursing like a sailor, hissing and repeating and winging – I wish you had told me you were coming. I was sweating, swearing and this poor young lass with wide eyes must have regretted being the one to collect the stuff from this banshee woman.
I grab paper towel and furiously start wiping – only to smear it and make it worse. Do you perhaps have a wet towel, politely asks Miss B? I grab the nearest brand new tea towels – I don’t yet have any old rag-type fabric as I’ve only recently moved in so pretty much everything is new. Leaving her nursing the headboard I dash back to the boiler room to pull out the next item – a black blind.
Well, a partially black and wet sticky blue blind.
I’m cursing and HISS-ing. Embarrassed and cursing some more!
Then some bed slats – not soooo bad …
Then another blind – ugh blue blue blue
Another blind …..I shove those quickly in the shower to get them out of the way!
Then another set of slats – bugger-roo –blue too.
I’m still HISS-ing when the dad appears to see what’s taking so long to get the stuff downstairs. He hadn’t wanted to bring mud upstairs- but it’s already soaked in mud from the wet day and I say more curse words in five minutes than in the past few months, all in front of a young lass and her dad. Next, I start apologizing while still HISS-ing in front of him. There are NO snakes on Iona you might know, so I’m first in line to restart the population! I think I’m more embarrassed than anything to be honest – that I was hastily daft, that I’m swearing and annoyingly HISS-ing so much, that I’m wasting their time and they cannot put wet paint in the car.
We keep trying to wipe off the gloopy blue.
I try to look in the boiler cupboard properly, having not quite clocked yet what had happened? The entire 5-litre tin of paint that “miss decorator” here clearly had NOT 100% secured the lid after using 1/10th of the tin painting my final bits…had tipped a$$ over tit and was now oozing over everything.
All I can think of to be grateful for is that I hadn’t yet opened and used the dark blue ENAMEL paint I’d bought!
My new carpet was somehow miraculously spared as we moved stuff quickly to the kitchen. Of course, I was also wearing my FAVOURITE big cowl neck silver jersey, and my best work trousers, as I had client calls that morning (and I do NOT subscribe to wearing PJ’s on the bottom layer for video calls even though the world does). I happened to catch myself in the mirror, and realize I’m a silver and blue-haired disaster. In my exasperated, embarrassed and HISS-ing state, of course, I had swept my hair off my forehead a few times. So I’m looking back at a mad SMURF woman with blue hair, hands, face and clothes.
Two tea towels, and a roll of paper towels and half an hour later, Miss B and her wide-eyed dad leave with most of the stuff in their car.
Then I’m left to myself.
Time to rescue the oozing paint!
I’m now imagining how the paint will start oozing through the bottom of boiler room straight onto Miss D’s piano – she lives in the flat beneath me. Now I am dithering – I can’t think whether to try to clean the blinds, my clothes, the oozing paint in the cupboard or myself first.
I realise that if the paint dries on my clothes they will never be blue-free again, and I can handle them properly later. So I submerge them quickly in warm water.
TICK –my brain seems to be working!
So now you have a vivid picture – clothes soaking in bathroom basin, and Missy here standing in her unmentionables. The front door is still open, there’s blue paint smeared on the kitchen floor, blue oozing blinds in the shower, and I’m a hissing Smurf.
Let alone that I needed that tin of paint to do some touch-ups on the wall…so I’m also HISS-ing I’ll have to replace the whole tin at 20 quid AND get it to Iona!
Ok – so now what the hell do I do with this gloopy paint? I can’t get IN the boiler room, as it’s a minute gap next to the boiler with the larger space opening up behind the small gap. I can see blue gloop everywhere.
I’m wondering how to clean it up as I know it won’t dry properly like that and I can only reach it by stretching my hand inside the cupboard about half a meter.
Still mad at my own hurried clumsiness and the fact that she hadn’t let me know final arrival time (which means I would have had time to get the stuff mindfully out the cupboard) I’m in full irritated and blame mode – you can tell right?
Ok, Kate – focus!
I kid you not – my only thought was to use a spoon. I grab a dessert spoon and start ladling the paint back into the tin, spoon by blue spoon. I’m stretching my hand through the small gap between the wall and the boiler, when I realize I am not picking it up fast enough.
HISS. HISS! So next I try the paint tin lid that’s lying innocently next to it. Nope – far too awkward and clumsy in the small space. I’m going to dislocate something.
APRIL 1st MADE ME DO IT
I’m trying to do things with relative speed here, to prevent any leakage below. The best option now is to become one with the paint and immerse my whole hand in it of course and start scooping it up!
So there I am, bent over, most of me covered in blue (as it went through my clothes) and my hands smeared the rest – I swear it was like Smurf wrestling personified. At least it was pretty matching Italian underwe@r – in BLUE!
I then do THE UNTHINKBALE!
If I’m going to be daft enough to use my hand I had better look more closely at what I’m doing – in case there are some splintery pieces of wood under the blue gloop. But I can only JUST get my head through the gap.
I don’t stop to think it through – NOOOOOO I just push my head in, don’t I? Like a baby who sticks their head through bars and then turns its head, not able to back out, I now swiftly realize my daft predicament.
My head only just went through the gap, because I kind of forced it through, but panic hits me as I realize exactly what reversing out entails.
I instantly feel my adrenalin kick in as the reality of getting wedged here lands on my brain. Instant Panic. But I somehow flipped a switch as I realize that if I stay in panic mode I’m gonna be in real trouble. So I start getting HYS-terical with laughter. The ludicrousness of it all and the image of the local firemen volunteers having to dash up the stairs and rescue send me into guffaws of laughter. The entire of Iona and Mull would know what my #smurfblue skin and underwear contribution for the annual calendar might look like!
I started gasping for air I was laughing so much. Then crying.
Tears of laughter streaming down my face was making blue streaks mixed with sweat running through my cleavage. I somehow managed to pull myself towards myself and back out – yanking my poor ears in the process.
The cartilage had to bend forward as I reversed, but no serious damage was done! Only ego got hurt in the process.
I’m was now weak with the panic and the laughter but it was time to have a shower with the three blinds. At the very least I wanted to rescue them if possible and remove the fast-drying gloop and get them to the girls. I had promised them blinds, and I was going to deliver them! Next, I wash my clothes on a hot machine wash, and set about cleaning the kitchen. I still had blue paint on my skin two days later when I went for a swim!
The only downside – I never stopped to take ANY pictures for proof. But the boiler cupboard is forever blue. I just didn’t want to stick my head back in to get the pic for you! Every now and then I find little specks of blue – on a mug, a cupboard door and I did find a small speck on that new carpet. I think there is forever blue paint on their headboard on the other side of the island as a reminder!
The whole escapade that should have taken just ten minutes to hand over some stuff, took me well over two hours. Later on, I walked to the village and bumped into the dad again – and met the mum – so one again I apologise profusely for swearing and HISS-ing so much in front of their poor daughter and slink off sheepishly, remnants of blue everywhere, laughing to myself.
So, if you have read this far – I hope you got a good laugh at my blue expense.
WHAT’S THE POINT Kate?
Why did I even decide to share THIS laugh at myself with you this month?
It’s a tool that has served me well throughout life – to find the funny side of things, to seek out and witness the ridiculous even amidst the pain. To roar with laughter and guffaw at things I see. Because I spend a lot of time traveling on my own for work, I have even learned to be able to do this solo – I can sit on a train and burst out laughing at stuff. Like today writing this out for you – laughing away to myself. If I can’t find myself amusing, I’m not living right! I simply don’t care what others think. Rather than noticing it’s funny, and politely chuckling internally, I prefer to let folk wander what is amusing me so much by chucking out loud..
Can you laugh out loud next time?
It shifts your energy lightning fast. I Promise! Just like babies who shift in and out of different states of being – one minute giggling, one-minute eating, one-minute crying, and the next laughter.
It’s my favourite remedy. Life is tough, stress is real, and loss is imminent, but our point of view can re-frame anything. The next time YOU are deep in your own version blue-gloop, I wonder if you can flip your switch from HISS to HYS and find a faster way out?
It’s why I am so excited to be traveling to Greece this week with my Mum – we always land up crying with laughter together. A Lot! Then I get to hang out with my dear friend and business partner Sarah while running our writing retreats as we offer three back-to-back retreats in Greece and Italy this summer at last (there is ONE spot left if you pop me a mail)
It’s been two long years since we gathered together- and the thing I miss most is just how much we laugh together!
I wish you tears of joy, the ability to get deliciously HYS-terical when required and find a lighter way through life, no matter what.
I wish you sweet joy and lightness.
IF YOU WANT TO WORK WITH ME….
I’ll be opening up my next mentoring slots and virtual retreats at the end of July again. Why so far away?
I am not taking on any new private clients so I can immerse myself and nurture the folk flying across the world to write with us. I prefer to stay focussed and not spread myself too thin for better results for YOU.
IONA IN AUTUMN:
If you follow me on socials I will also be opening up the next IONA retreat soon, on the back end of the first one just competed this week! Bookings are not open yet!
Please be warned – this is a vulnerable post and even a tad risque in what I share if you get to the end (hangs her head with a laugh). Definitely proceed with a sense of humour.
As we greet the end of January with the delightful promise of new energy and vitality as the Water Tiger pounces on the scene as Chinese New Year unfolds tomorrow, it’s suddenly time for my next insider musings.
Recently I had a wake up reminder (aka love nudge) about how I really do attempt to approach every day. Sometimes it has to be a very conscious application to align with my motto of #LiveLightLiveLarge …and other times it seeps effortlessly into the air I breathe. Today’s musing is about needing to consciously activate the S.E.T Method to regain my own sanity!
As my Nan would say, “pull yourself towards yourself.”
Such an apt saying for this months sharing.
Grab something to drink for your 9-minute read – and please remember to drop me a mail to say how you might tap into the S.E.T Method
When we reached the last few months of ’21 and I took occupation of a gorgeous new flat in Edinburgh, I was deeply inspired from the inside out to write and share more with you. I decided these musings were only going to be for my insider subscribers, and I started putting a lot of energy and personal sharing into them. Your response has been simply phenomenal and your messages kept me inspired to keep at it and for that I am deeply grateful. I post somewhat vulnerable musings from my life, at age 53 and doing my best to live my best life possible with ALL the ups and downs, laughter and ugly cries that go with that. How do I approach life, what do I do for healing, closure, when things go completely awry, and perhaps even this year you will get some dating laughs.
You can read all of those past musings on my blog here with the password LOVE (Yes, in capitals)
Today, speeding northwards on a train to Glasgow and then the most beautiful trip to Oban, I am drawn to share a story from a few weeks ago, as January started unfolding. That Highland Fling ritual I shared last year, had flung a new interesting soul my way, and the précis version of it kind of reads like this…
Mutual client friend has inspired thought to introduce us
Meet interesting soul Mr X
Lure of a kiss and a river
Dreaded “C” x 2
Me impersonating Florence Nightingale
Experiencing my own version of Outlander
New festive plans required
Followed by… well, what can I say other than …followed by January.
The oddest of months, right?
For you too?
Here goes: Over New Year I set up my gorgeous new writing and retreat base in this great company of Mr X on the Sacred Isle of Iona and then two weeks later, headed back into Edinburgh city mid January. The dance between the two landscapes suits me very well for this next 3M chapter.
Island girl and city gal. I think I love this vibe…
Onto the point of todays sharing of my SET Method. I’m back in the city and lapping up the New Year. While it’s been a deeply introspective and quiet start for many of you, mine was a lot more active and focused. January turned out to be a profound month of personal productivity, purpose, energy, and clarity about where I’m headed with my passion business and working with women on the threshold of making courageous leaps! I was meeting up with all my wonderful Edinburgh friends, connecting with my local writing group, signing new private coaching clients, booking my Iona Retreats, filling our Greek and Italian Writing Retreats for summer and getting on with my awesome life.
After all I do live an awesome life and after almost 2.5 years of healing and being single I honestly believe sharing it with someone else is a delicious cherry on top – not something to hanker after and chase, yet something I am embracing and calling in. So when it came crashing into my life on all fronts in November, I paid attention, said yes and made space to show up big time.
But after the précis shared above, January has found me sitting with a profound sense of WTF happened, mixed with some sadness and heaps of confusion. I’m missing a beat somewhere. My heart and soul is clearly going through a deep healing process right now. I’m experiencing the gift of what happens when another soul helps us along our journey to become the best version of ourselves.
So my saddened heart story was unfolding alongside all the wonderful vibrant energy. It definitely was NOT derailing me. I have luckily been able to somehow see the experience of that encounter with Mr X as existing in a beautiful metallic singing bowl. At one point that singing bowl emanated the most beautiful music and then this month it has been sitting patiently (mmmm, not always!) and quietly waiting to burst with sound once again. Yet all the while being pretty contained and not spilling out tooooooo much into the rest of my life.
If you have been watching my Instagram lives, you might already know my THEME WORDS for this year are TRUST and EXPANSION.
Trust feels aligned to this lesson and insight for my heart and soul.
Expansion feels very aligned to my business ventures and passion projects.
TRUST means if something or someone is meant to be then nothing will keep it from you, and if something or someone is not meant to be, nothing can make it so.
But that would be far too easy if we could LIVE that in every, single. flipping moment right? Cue some dramatic “dum dum dum” music as I get struck down by the joy and irony of BEING HUMAN!
Thanks universe. No easy ride on this one then?
The singing bowl metaphor went awry and it started leaking!
Messy flowing emotions everywhere.
Feeling distracted, a tad distraught, wanting answers, insights, wanting outcomes…a ‘what the hell is happening here’ kind of vibe.
And here comes the ridiculous laugh at my expense …
I found myself starting to check social media about 20 times day, checking my phone to see ‘who’ was online, behaving like a totally numbskull!
Giving a lot of my energy and time to…well nothing really. Cos nothing was happening other than in my head. The intensity of connection was replaced by nada.
My S.E.T METHOD is how I approach life from both the macro and micro level. Looking at what you need to let go of so that you bring your energy into the present, and from that point you create a fabulous future. It’s the motto of my life and the reason for my business. Letting go, closure, forgiveness, healing, moving on with energy in tact and being able to SIT IN THE GAP that exists between No Longer and Not Yet.
At a daily level I use a slightly more practical approach that can be a faster way to clean up and tackle each day with intention.
S.E.T Method stands for the following:
S = SUCK
E = EQUILIBIRUIM
T = TANTALISING
After about three days of my ridiculous energy-dispersing behaviour, I burst out laughing at myself and decided I needed to put into practice what I know.
AGAIN dear human.
Me muttering to myself, “Kate come on. It’s time to ask yourself the series of question you live by. Let’s get going already…”
- WHAT IS SUCKING YOUR PRECIOUS ENERGY?
- WHAT WILL BRING YOU SOME EQUILIBRIUM?
- WHAT IS TANTALISING TO SAY YES TO RIGHT NOW?
Quite evocative things to ponder with no hint of wishy washy in sight. No Grey!
I needed to stop the obsessions at play under the first SUCK question! Fast.
2. I fasted for the rest of the day and next morning to get my sugar cravings under control
3. I wrote a quick action plan for the following week to make sure there was nothing pulling at my work energy or fallen off the radar
Ok – I was instantly more in control of the leaking bucket.
***EMBRACING THE EQUILIBIRUM
This is about doing the things that we know are good for our body, heart and soul. The things we ideally need to do often and consistently in order to embrace that sense of calm, balance, and poised equilibrium.
1. I did some yin yoga at home to calm my nervous system
2. I sat and wrote in my journal whole sipping hot lemon ‘n ginger water
3. I energetically tuned into what I really needed to do until I got an answer – ah so simple – walk the city in the morning light and go sit in a church to feel the presence of spirit again.
With that insight I got dressed and embarked on one of the most beautiful walks as the dawn light was playing over Edinburgh. The silhouettes of the buildings and trees were exquisite and healing. I felt gratitude returning to my insides. I walked for hours and then found myself in the main city cathedral. As I walked in the choir was practicing and it was like the angels of the world were singing just to me. I sat and meditated intuitively using the infinity symbol before the service started. Full to the brim with exquisite architecture, healing voices and a calmness seeping out of my pores, I stepped back out into the glorious sunshine.
***YES TO THE TANTALISING
The third part of this three-fold method is about saying YES to some tantalizing aspects– juicy, delicious and energizing things that makes you beam with joy and smile from ear to ear. It has more energy and vibrancy than the embracing of equilibrium. So now, what was I to do?
1. Tantalizing Trick
One of my tricks in new cities to visit the grand old hotels to get a real feeling of the city from yester-year. Just for a simple cup of glorious coffee. They come complete with excellent staff, silver service, in glorious surroundings and far outweigh popping into a regular high street chain for a quick brew. It’s a ritual of immense delight for me.
I found myself walking with a skip in my step to the beautiful Balmoral Hotel on Princes St.
A kilt-wearing doorman (which always makes me smile) greets you and ushers you inside and that morning I was taken to the Palm Room, specifically for morning coffee. Another tartan-clad waiter escorted me to a “throne –like” chair from which I could simply bask in the beauty of this exquisite room. Everything was simply tantalizing – the fine crockery with a delicate green palm pattern, the silver coffee pot and the accompanying Scottish heather shortbread biscuits.
The room had an exquisite tree be-jeweled with fairy lights – I felt like a queen. See pics below. Of course, I had my journal and pen with me so wrote a little bit while basking in the regal Scottish energy.
I have also been activating and stepping up my energy to embrace being more “Queen-like.” This means truly and honestly embodying who I am and what I know, being able to be of real service to people who need my unique kind of help and support. Also knowing that I am ready to call in a “King” to take up place on the throne beside me. I am working on that rather than reducing my standards of what I truly desire for myself. Tough one!
Calling in an aligned partner is a want, a delicious desire, not a need. I come from the premise of living a full life that can get even sweeter with a witness, partner and adventure playmate. I reveled in sitting on that chair in the Balmoral drinking my coffee and dreaming my next phase of life into being, while just savoring every single sip of coffee.
2. Tantalizing Treats
I can’t really believe I’m going to share this right now – but my PROMISE is to be vulnerable and share ALL the ups and downs, highs and lows and be REAL for you when penning these musings!
Walking home to the West End along Princes Street after my morning adventure, I walked the route I have walked a gazillion times living in this city. I walked past the Ann Summers shop – only today I walked IN and straight to the back of the store. If you know what this store is, you know exactly what I bought. Nudge nudge wink wink. If you don’t – use your imagination or Google what the store sells. It was time for some self tantalizing. Oh there is so much I can share from my life but suffice it to say that it was time to take matters into my own hands so to speak, and shift some of this energy I had been grappling with.
Ha ha – yes my mum reads this newsletter too! (Hangs heads and laughs at self on the train as I write this.) Thank goodness I can laugh at myself! Can you?
3. Tantalizing Tootsies
Next I did everything in my power to get my sizzling hot salsa shoes from South Africa. Those sexy heels have been waiting ever so patiently for me. Living out of a suitcase #LocationFree meant that every item of clothing I travelled with for the past 6 years, needed to be clever and multipurpose. Salsa shoes can only be used for dancing, so they never made it into my suitcase and remained in South Africa with my art. Being reunited with them now, thanks to a sweet young friend who popped them in his suitcase, I am armed with the right shoes and my toes at the ready when classes open up again this week in my neighborhood.
I see some tantalizing moves coming up soon – ooh la la. Cue sexy music this time.
So if you made it this far into the read – I am wondering how YOU are going to utilize the S.E.T METHOD to stay on top of your own world. It’s so simple …
Get rid of what is SUCKING at your energy
Embrace and restore inner EQUILIBRIUM
Say yes to something TANTALIZING
I hope you got a wee laugh today and another practical nugget to use practically in your life. Till next month, enjoy February with the new Tiger energy in the month of LOVE.
READY TO EMBRACE YOUR NEXT CHAPTER?
I am fascinated with helping you make courageous leaps at significant moments in life transitions. Perhaps it’s a big birthday beckoning soon, a new chapter approaching, a project ending, your home being sold, an empty nest looming, divorce or death to process and you need a fresh perspective to help you close out the old and welcome in the new? I am also currently mentoring new coaches getting started with their coaching business models – with over 19 years of coaching, mentoring, speaking, facilitating experience as well as 5 published book and a movie under my professional belt – I find it super easy to support new coaches in the right direction to gain traction, impact and clients FAST!
Please reach out to me directly on firstname.lastname@example.org to start a conversation.
Welcome to my November musings where once a month I offer up something highly personal from my life. I share lessons and ideas from my toolbox in the simple hope that they support you along your journey.
Let’s fling it …. Grab something to drink and enjoy this 7.3 minute read.
THE HIGHLAND FLING: TOOLS TO EMBRACE THE TRUE POWER OF RITUAL.
Putting trust once again in closure, letting go and creating space.
For decades I have surrendered to the fact that my main modus operandi is embracing the premise of “letting go in order to make space.” Trusting in the honest and raw power of closure, forgiveness, releasing, honouring the past and putting things to bed. Giving them a rightful place. Creating space in my heart. It’s a huge part of the body of work I have brought to the world by inspiring you to #LiveLightLiveLarge and stop mucking about.
So recently it was my turn again….. to release AGAIN!
Here’s how we think it works:
When I have clinched my ideal job, I’ll resign.
When I’ve seen my dream house, I’ll sell this one.
When I know where I want to live, I’ll pack up life here.
When I know what my next ideal clients look like I’ll say no to the ones showing up.
The moment I have clarity about my future, I’ll close the door on my past. When all my ducks are in a row I’ll take the plunge to XYZ
It simply doesn’t work like this. That’s fear driving your thinking.
Learn to say goodbye before you say hello.
Say no more before you say yes please.
Say no longer before not yet.
Stand up for what is in your heart and energy field even when you don’t have the answers about what’s coming next. It requires your deepest trust and faith and a willingness for deeper self-love.
About 6 weeks ago, having just moved into my Edinburgh apartment for the next 3 months of life #LocationFree, I finally had all my stuff with me. I had collected stuff from mum in Uk and Greece and it was all finally in one place. For the first time in almost 6 years! Even though it’s not a lot of “stuff” (think just a couple of suitcases for Ms. minimalist here) it was a delight to finally see all my precious things together. Apart from my few artworks still in South Africa, every item I owned was with me. I got to see, touch and love them all again.
Which meant I came across a tiny, peach-coloured silken pouch that had been quietly bundled up for over 2 years. I had done a triple whammy – I left South Africa permanently more than 2 years ago, sold part of my business off at the same time and subsequently went through a break up with that partner. I had taken off and left my “commitment” ring with him, with the earnest request to come and give it back to me when he was ready. I had stopped wearing the other two items of jewelry (that had been birthday presents) and placed them in the pouch as I left his house that day and got on the plane. I had not looked at that little pouch again.
So of course, the day I moved into my apartment, I came across the silken pouch, checked out the contents inside and put it back with my jewelry stash. I hardly gave it more than a glance. But something had clearly been awoken again. A couple of days later a dear guy friend and I were chattering on the phone. I was expressing that I was questioning myself again, my abilities to really make a new life, to make Edinburgh and Iona work, to find my feet with work and my next chapter again, to be truly open to love and a partner again. Bla la bla.
WHY ARE YOU GIVING AWAY YOUR SELF-WORTH?
He knows pretty much everything about me – the good the bad and the ugly- knows my deepest fears and biggest dreams, and he simply said to me …..”Kate do you realize that every single time you question your real self worth, that this man’s name somehow comes up. You are still giving him so much power.” GULP. Grrrrrrrr
I was so flipping irritated like a hissing cat. Not with him for showing me that truth, but with myself for it being true.
Still? After more than 2 years? Giving someone else power over MY self worth. For god’s sake surely you know better than that. What the F is wrong with you?! A couple of seconds of fast-self berating!
Slap, slap, slappety – slap.
I knew immediately what I had to do and responded to him saying something like “Oh my god… I’ve still got that ring he gave me! It’s going into the depths of the sea or off a mountain. Not sure which but I’ll know what to do when I do it.” Why had I not thought of that connection when I saw the items just a few days ago? It’s the power of being heard and seen by people who care about us – and my friend had given me that gift of kind yet necessary observation.
I woke up the next morning, 1st October. It was a freezing cold, sunny yet windy day. I wasn’t feeling the water vibe at all – this process definitely needed mountains. High ones! I popped upstairs to my local café, scoffed a solid breakfast and knew I was going up Arthur’s Seat. Armed with a Lorne sausage and egg roll and a triple caffeine shot coffee in my belly, I set off on a mighty mission.
The highland fling! A release mission to reclaim another part of myself I had lost along the way!
It was windy as heck, I huffed and puffed my way up the steep hill from the Meadowbank side. Although I’m pretty strong and fit, I do battle a bit with my lungs sometimes. Ever since first round of the dreaded C in March 2019, I can feel my lungs are just not as strong as they could be. The European cold after 6 years of summer, means I also use an asthma pump more often than I used to. I’ve been working hard on my fitness levels ….but phew, that was a tough walk up that historic hill! I had to stop several times en route up to catch my breath, appreciate the view and slowly keep ploughing onwards and upwards.
A mission burning inside my belly.
I had sunglasses on against the wintry glare and my brightest, reddest lipstick for a morale boost. By the time I got to the top after an amazing 2-hour walk from my home, it was so goddamn windy no one could stand up straight. Everyone, young and old was crawling along holding onto something or someone, trying not to get blown right off the summit. I literally could not stand up straight and felt drunk and daft shimmy-ing along with my butt against the rocks so as not to get knocked over. I realized I wasn’t going to be able to do what I needed to right at the top – so stumbled across to a more protected section just off to the side, a little below the summit or Arthurs seat.
I found a little heather enclosed mound. No one else was around – it was perfect! I lay on the ground on my jacket, with the ring and a pendant I’d worn for years in my hands and started sobbing. Thank goodness for sunglasses – even though no-one was around I felt protected from my own vulnerability ! Thank heavens it was secluded.
My self-annoyance and irritation peaked. I just let myself feel it deeply, again and again and again. I believe that NO ONE takes our power without us giving it away. I know this to be true.
I was having to breathe that deep knowing back into my body.I wasn’t angry with my ex. I was pissed at myself this time!
Taking control once again.
I had been holding myself hostage too long now. Enough Kate.
Stop the lip service and get real.
Come on – we can do this!
I even thought about making a live Instagram of me flinging them – as I was so emotional and was shouting at the howling wind just how much of myself and my self worth I had given away ……but I thought better of it. This felt too personal to share live with you all in that very moment. All at once I stood up, yelled and grunted and FLUNG them. The ring and the pendant! FLUNG them as as far and high as I could. The wind was so strong they didn’t fall straight to the ground – gusts of wind made them dance in the air momentarily ….until they finally dropped out of sight into the heather covered rocks below me.
Tears streaming, gulping while breathing, mascara running in black rivulets. Yet lipstick miraculously still intact I discovered later in the bathroom at the cafe. I started walking down the other side of the mountain where the steep steps are cut into the side of the hill. It started pouring with rain and I started laughing through the tears. I didn’t stop to put on my rain jacket – just carried on crying, laughing, getting wetter and wetter, wearing my sunglasses looking daft and walking carefully. Trying hard not to slip.
Feeling relief and energy started surging again.
I found my wet way to the café called Nicolson’s – where JK Rowling wrote many volumes of Harry Potter. I had been wanting to check it out for my community writing group here in the city, and had decided today was the day. I arrived at about noon – luckily it was not full. I was all Hollywood like and kept my big dark sunglasses on inside, tears streaming and proceeded to order the largest glass of red wine to both warm and cheer me up.
It was done. DONE. Not an ounce of regret. I did however sleep for most of the following 24 hours!
THE GIFT OF RELEASE: This last weekend, just 6 weeks after my heady highland fling, I realized with a grin on my face that I was hiking up a different mountain. A well-timed connection. Huffing and puffing up a new mountain with a fresh perspective and a different guy in front of me.
What’s the point of today’s sharing?
Ritual is the point. The mere fact that a spiritual connection happened after all this time, reminds me of the power of Ritual. Life can change in an instant! Possibility can show up in flash – WHEN YOU ARE READY! Are you ready? My heart feels truly open and ready for a courageous shared life. Why? Because I have rediscovered myself and my space, and am grateful for the deep work I have done the past couple of years.
Release is the gift that creates space.
If you’ve read this far I’m guessing there is resonance in my story for you, right?
WHAT’S YOUR VERSION OF THE HIGHLAND FLING?
What is showing up in a tangible way right now to finally be released? Scan your life, your body and your energy to see what is being put on notice and has reached its sell by date? If it sticks around any longer it might start to fester and poison you.
What one thing do you need to release and heal today?
How is this specific issue represented / showing up (e.g. my ring) and what can you offer up as a ritual of release now. Hit reply to share with me and call up your best friend to commit to releasing it over the next couple of days. You know what is begging to be shifted – so it’s time to simply do it! That’s why you read this far, right?
I wish you deep healing and releasing and flinging
P.S. Some Ideas to ponder – especially before the end of the year:
Burning photographs / journals or an item of clothing
Flinging jewelry or re-modelling it at last
Passing on books you have outgrown
Re thinking a concept you’ve held on for too long
Signing those papers at last
Saying yes to selling your business
Cutting your hair / wardrobe / makeover
Entering that competition
Destroying those letters
Putting your home on the market
Having that courageous conversation
Initiating Divorce or asking for therapy together
Asking them on that date?
Decluttering some space representing the stuck part of you
Firing that member of staff
Saying no to your business partner
Tidying out your grocery / medicine cupboard for renewed health
Join Kate for a sacred IONA Island retreat – read more HERE
My October newsletter comes from Edinburgh and it’s a quick lesson from my recent life. I hope you find something in it for yourself today.
Grab your tea coffee, wine or juice and enjoy a 9 minute read.
Plug IN or push OFF
It was the joy of truth when we need it …and boy did I ever need it. Is there anyone out there telling you just how things are? My recent session went like this.
“Why are you there, what’s your connection to Scotland Kate?” he asked me.
“Well, I have always loved it from my first visit over 30 years ago. I feel spiritually connected to it, love the drama of the awesome landscape, have heritage here and my third name is Walker. I just love this country”
“Well… it doesn’t look like it. You are kind of being disrespectful to the Scots right now and you need to plugin. You have to match the energy of the country and what it epitomizes and then work outwards from there!”
Eeeck. Slap. Reality check …and so began the session with my healer. We used this insight as our starting point.
I was told in no uncertain terms that I was not FULLY plugged into where I currently am. I’m not in Greece where the sun and warm water surround me – I’m in Scotland. Plant myself there or leave. Simple.
I typically pride myself on being wherever I am, and living #LocationFree means I embrace and adapt to changes quite fast – USUALLY.
I have chosen Scotland for this winter 21/22.
I LOVE Scotland.
In my September newsletter I shared how I approach life using the 3m Principle. Readers LOVED it. I was quite taken aback by the overwhelming response. Oh yeah, baby – living it up in Edinburgh for this particular 3m and getting others to think about the 3m approach too. I even got clients coming to work with me on the 3m process.
Yet suddenly I wasn’t plugged in, tuned in or aligned. My entire body was reacting to it!
I was trying – doing my best. So I thought. But it had started…the familiar pull of the “hole” about a week after I moved into my gorgeous apartment. I think most of us have our own version of “the hole.” Whether it’s full-blown Black Dog, (aka depression) or anything on that spectrum where things are just totally out of whack and off-kilter. At some point the world tilts a degree too far and we can all lurch there.
The short and sweet lesson and reason for today’s sharing is simply:
BE WHERE YOU ARE AND PLUG IN … OR PUSH OFF!
If my story or the way I look at life helps YOU to do something differently in your life – how wonderful. Clients, colleagues and friends tell me that my musings help them! So I keep showing up and sharing.
Warning: Part of who I am is to share honestly. I always have. From the awesome highs to the awful lows. The good and the bad. Middle ground is challenging for me. Sometimes life is easy and sometimes it’s shite. I grapple hugely with self-worth, intermittent depression and sometimes totally lose my way. I also have huge dreams and ideals supported by courage, honesty and freedom as my top values. So I get up again and keep looking ahead to the light.
Charlie Mackesy is one of my go- to-reads to his enormous reminder of self-compassion!
Sharing my life helps me – and I know it helps others out there.
I also know being vulnerable makes me kinder, more real and ultimately better at helping/ coaching/ mentoring others. If you want to read more about what was going on and love hearing about how I handle stuff because you can translate it to something useful for yourself- then grab some tea or wine and walk a little further into the story with me.
THE PULL OF THE HOLE
Before my session with my trusted energetic healer, I could feel myself edging closer to the hole. It was leering at me from up ahead and I had a clear visual image. It was almost laughing at me. Challenging me. For a while thought I was on top of it all. I told myself I was managing to circumnavigate it this time.
A few factors had simultaneously prodded some deep patterns awake that ensure I question my self worth, ignite my imposter syndrome and make me question everything about life and my choices. I was veering off course and denial was kicking in.
I was feeling:
I had just made awesome yet mammoth decisions, implemented changes and was at a huge crossroads (like many folk in these times). I was aware of it and how these cycles have sneaked up on me and attacked me in the past. I reached out. First I got some body support. Remember that neighbourhood FB group I mentioned as a way of connecting in to a new area – well someone recommended an osteopath just two minutes walk away from my home.
He gently eased my body back into shape with a twist here and a prod there while asking me some tough questions to ponder. Grrrr. Don’t you both love and hate it when the right buttons are lovingly pushed?
He was suggesting my body pain had been “torqued” (more like tortured) by all the emotional stuff going on. Go figure.
Nothing was cogging together. No flow.
Muchos pain and muchos buckets of tears!
I also booked a session with a homeopath for another layer of support, but had to wait three weeks to see her. “Oh I’ll be fine till then,” I thought delusionally and told those who asked.
I often wonder why humans tend to underestimate the gravity of change. Even when we have willingly put ourselves in the situation – all the other parts of our body, heart and soul still have to catch up and land in the same place. That can take some time to settle through all the different layers.
While part of me thought I was living the life in Edinburgh, embracing my latest 3m – a larger part of me was pretty much running away, staying home most of the time. Hiding out a bit. Being mean to myself and berating my choices when things weren’t shifting as fast as I had hoped.
My timing vs. diving timing.
Ego and impatience vs. source.
I had rented this gorgeous flat in the city centre and already started building a writing community. That should have been enough! Then I had booked a writing retreat to be run within a month of moving into my flat. And cold water swims, salsa, and attending other writing events. Meeting many new folk. Crazy right? But I wanted to connect and meet lots of people and live my very best 3m dammit.
I thought I had made peace with where I was.
But that hole was now becoming way more magnetic and it was swirling a devilish dance – beckoning me in just one more time. Maybe that hole is my version of crack or heroin? My own addiction. A way to pull me off course and keep me small?
But most people don’t share this stuff right? They only put out the brave and bold stuff to the world. OR the front of social media. Truth is, I didn’t want my people to worry. But people who care about you know when stuff isn’t right. Instinctively. I can’t get anything past my mum and close friends.
Even so, sometimes it just feels easier to retreat. I was getting dangerously close to succumbing to that hole.
And then I stumbled and fell in.
I was feeling shocking at all levels. My moods were erratic, I was drinking tooooo much wine (and could no longer blame lockdown right) and spending too much time at home on my own in my lovely nest. Every night. I even slept and read for one whole day during the week – simply not able to face the world and canceled all appointments. My mental health was not coping. My emotional body was aching. Muscles and joints were sore. All too much. I kept seeing the osteopath as I knew it was helping.
A day or two after succumbing to the hole, the homeopath session finally arrived. I know that modality helps me at a cellular level to balance hormones and mood. Contrary to popular belief, homeopathy can work with both acute and chronic issues, and I needed some fast-dose remedies. I have not had a general GP for more than 30 years other than to get blood tests signed off or asthma pumps when needed. My go-to form of support is to treat “like with like”. I trust the field of homeopathy instinctively. You know what works for you too right?
It was Friday. After a morning session crying and wincing on the osteopath’s table, I then blabbed for 90 minutes to the homeopath. I didn’t care how crazy I sounded – I just purged it ALL out. I swear I went through a tube of mascara in one day.
What a relief to be heard and seen with zero judgment.
Like a giant hug from a teddy bear!
I was sent home with some acute remedy doses of GOLD – even just the thought of imbibing gold (known as Aurum) made me feel like anything was perhaps possible again. I had a ladder out the hole again. “Gold” was designed to pull all of me back together. That was the problem- I felt like I was totally split and none of me was in the same place. I could feel my energetic, physical, emotional and mental bodies were all swirling around and none of them were aligned IN my body.
Literally, the next morning I woke up feeling a slight shift in my energy. I had also gone to bed repeating gratitude and prayers. I got up and cleaned my flat from one end to the next. A deep clean. I tackled it with energy and the intention to literally shift the space. I even turned my mattress over. Swept, dusted, hoovered and mopped every nook and cranny. Washed, ironed and replaced bedding. I loved every single corner of my home knowing I was loving myself stronger too. Scrubbing clean and starting afresh. Then fell into a deep, therapeutic sleep for a few hours.
It was a small turning point and one step on the ladder.
Three days later was that healing session where I was told I am not plugged-in to where I am! It was all about timing as I was now in a place to hear it clearly. My body and emotional state was a lot better from three days of homeopathic treatments.
I GOT IT.
As he spoke those words to me, I could see how I had been saying one thing but feeling another. Longing for the warmth, longing for sunshine, longing for the Aegean and long days of light. Even thinking of how much I loved short, colourful linen dresses and flip flops, oversized sunglasses and a wide brim hat. Berry lipstick and lingering kisses. Longing for anywhere energetically that wasn’t Scotland.
So I simply wasn’t aligned in what I was saying, doing and believing. No wonder I was being tossed around in the washing machine of life.
Sometimes we just need to hear it like it is.
It was PLUG IN OR PUSH OFF time!
Align or release.
What’s it going to be?
Truth with compassion and understanding is a powerful trait.
Either be here fully or don’t. We can’t be here wishing we were somewhere else. Or with someone else. And that’s the truth of life. You have to fully embrace where you are – the job, relationship, country or any situation you find yourself in. RIGHT NOW.
The choice is to embrace it, make peace with it and love it to ensure you re-plug in or do something to change it or leave.
BE WHERE YOU ARE.
Simple but not always easy.
We need to know how to move between expansion and contraction. I had to remember to match the energy of Scotland and embrace it before I could ever hope to have an impact on it or be impacted by it.
Embrace then shift.
I have painstakingly climbed up all the rungs on the ladder out the hole, and I do feel a bit tender and vulnerable. I also feel it’s important to share. Sharing might help someone else. Maybe you? There is NO weakness in asking for help, and we might need it from a couple of sources.
Do you want a chuckle now?
As soon as I plugged in and embraced the shift internally, I was able to play it out externally. The ”girlie” reality is that I realized I needed some sassy clothing to embrace winter in Scotland in the city.
Not just gym gear, jeggings, trainers and bulky three layers to cold-proof myself.
I needed to have some clothing to help me feel sassy to entice me back out. To dare to venture out at night for a glass of wine or the local salsa classes.
I realised I had been dreading going out or felt kind of frumpy when I did. Yikes – no wonder I wasn’t plugged into and respecting Scotland.
So here is the trick – I had to get the internal ENERGETIC shift first, and then I could spiral it through to my outside world.
As a minimalist with a capsule wardrobe, I was taught by my stylist friends to be clever about mix ‘n matching. Everything works cohesively to ensure the minimum number of clothes that can be worn in several different ways.
I chose winter neutrals with a pop of colour. Black cream and silver with cerise.
Sexy Boots with a thin flash of Zebra pattern for attitude
Amazing leather biker jacket with a floaty dress
Sensual cream blouse that fits perfectly
A sexy skirt above the knee worn with stockings
Soft cuddly jumper (to emulate that kind hug)
Fluffy cashmere pompom hat and gloves.
Ooh la la I think I’m ready.
I have always heard the expression… “There is no such thing as bad weather in Scotland, just bad clothing.”
HELLO UNICORN ENERGY!
This morning I put on my short skirt and asymmetrically-cut fluffy jumper and literally pranced out the house. I even bought an umbrella so I don’t have to think about a clumpy raincoat all the time.
I strutted down the road and literally felt people respond to me. The Scottish national animal is the unicorn and I’m calling in that feeling of possibility, playfulness and magic. People respond to energy right – it’s not about what you look like but what you feel like. And boy do I feel some sense of swagger back in my step.
I might never fully know why this particular transition hit me so hard. So many complex factors came together all at once. But I do know that alignment is key. I have made new promise and commitment to my support team to have quarterly tune-ups or more where needed! Sessions booked in advance! The aim is to tweak ahead of time to help me walk around the hole and not fall IN it too often. And back on track with being mentored.
And now I’m going to pop on a lovely black wool coat, embrace the cold air and go out dancing.
Wishing you light at the end of your tunnel today
DO YOU NEED TO PLUG IN NOW?
Are you blessed with someone in your life that reflects yourself back to yourself, steering around your blind spots? A trusted advisor or wise mentor who has been where you are and who has skills and ability to get you to where you want to go?
Perhaps you know I’m the person who will get you! It would be an honour to help you through this chapter of transition in your life to find your sassy self again. If you happen to come work with me in either Edinburgh or Iona over the next few months, you might get to appreciate my capsule wardrobe with your own eyes! No there’s a thought.
Pop me a mail about exploring working with me on a personal retreat or a 3-month silo to embrace and implement changes in life and business.
Please mail me directly to set up a chat on email@example.com
This newsletter comes from Edinburgh – truly a spectacular city and my new neighbourhood below. If ever you come to Edinburgh, simply follow the smell of coffee in the West End and you’ll be sure to find me. This city is small enough to walk, cycle and use public transport, yet large and eclectic enough to offer everything a much bigger city does! With international festivals covering art, theatre, cinema, books, storytelling and more. It’s bliss. Even with the grey there is a dramatic energy to the sky in Scotland you don’t quite get anywhere else.
For the first time ever in almost 20 years, I am going to start sharing certain articles for YOU only – my insiders. They will NOT appear in this longer format on my public blog. I will share more personally about where I am at and it will be under a 10-minute read.
I will also give you access to work with me should you choose, 48 hours before I open up spaces to the wider public. I’m excited and ready to gear up again – working with an exclusive number of clients at a time. This is so I never reach the burnout levels I did a while ago.
The past 24 months have been fascinating for me – and I found a way to embrace life in a new, focussed way. But by focus I don’t mean busy!
Grab your tea coffee, wine or juice and enjoy a 7.3 minute read.
Is it possible to embrace life using bite-sized timeframes
“The 3m Principle”
This article aims to inspire you to consider short, snappy time frames by following the “3m Principle” as a way of potentially embracing life. Whether your goal is to dial life UP a notch or DOWN a notch – that’s up to you! It requires courage to go after what you know you truly want and need at any given time. Only you know!
It’s quite simply about embracing life in 3-month silos!
Hence the 3m!
Short, achievable chunks of time.
No matter what is happening around you.
How does 3m work?
Do you usually consider the rhythm of the year ahead and what you wish to challenge yourself to achieve? I approach this by taking into account bursts of work and travel interspersed with rest and play. Living and working #LocationFree for the past 5.5 years as a global nomad from a suitcase means this rhythm also involves which particular country I’ll be in at any given time. I tend to use the rhythm of each year as a way of tracking into the bigger picture.
Once the rhythm is sorted, then it comes down to the 3m chunk of focus. Three-month silos.
I have found that by following the 3m Principle, I have tapped into a lifestyle that gives me more clarity, control, and energy. Vooma to tackle the next 3 months. It feels nourishing to think in shorter bursts of time and allows me to stay passionate and energized.
Ironically it has also afforded me more patience and has longer-term sustainability. It’s short enough to keep everything on the radar but just long enough to have a real impact. I find that I lose energy if I feel I have ten years to achieve something.
Or even one year.
I need to feel life passing, the sense of urgency to keep me on track.
We can all do pretty much anything for 3 months, right?
3 months, rinse and repeat, rinse and repeat.
My heart and soul know the bigger picture, so now my energy, brain, and activity engages in 3-month silos.
I feel released from the burden of long-term planning.
A true godsend for me.
I have my bigger, bolder vision that’s calling me, imagining I have about 30 years left on this planet. With grandparents that lived well into their 90’s, I feel I’m going to be around for a while! But none of that vision transpires without the focus of now.
Then next week
Short restricted time frames to stay laser-focussed. Could you try it and see how you fare?
What’s the life question you live into?
I have always endeavoured to live into a question that’s personal and intense for me…
“Am I willing and ready to die, today?”
It has served me well to chase my dreams, live boldly, and forced me to stay honest and courageous over the years.
I wonder what YOUR question is? Do you have a profound and purposeful one that you strive to answer through the way you embrace life?
I have recently experienced the most challenging thus subsequently the most rewarding 24 months. That’s 8 batches of 3-month silos to make up the past 2 years. And I don’t mean just related to the global crisis we all experienced – this was all in play well before that!
I was permanently addicted to being busy, busy, busy all the time; loving the sassiness of fast-paced life. Travelling left and right across multiple time zones a few times a year. Making sure I fitted in four visits a year to my partner based in South Africa. Travelling to and from clients running retreats and speaking engagements from Italy to Dubai, Greece USA to SA and back again.
Living a large life but with some equally large consequences.
Break up and Burn out?
I needed time out and time off. From Sep 2019 I needed to drop into heal, rest, and rejuvenate mode. And to grieve. Grieve two very dear friends (who were like moms to me) who passed away, grieve the break-down and break-up of my five-year relationship, grieve leaving a country I had called home for 48 years, and grieve selling off a chunk of my business.
Yes, you are also allowed to grieve the conscious choices you made as
there is still a huge loss to acknowledge.
Burnout and grieving take energy, time, and space. It always feels like a luxury to give it what it needs, don’t you find? There is always something louder that wants our attention – and often we may even welcome that distraction as a way not to have to face the real pain. But if we don’t make time for it, or are too scared to allow it to surface, there is a price.
A demanding price.
I needed to learn the lesson of saying yes.
It’s so exciting to say yes, right? I had to learn to use some firm no’s, and become way more mindful of what I said YES to.
So now more than ever, life using the 3m Principle works wonders.
Small chunks of time to focus on.
The right things to focus on.
Aligned and value-driven.
And that does NOT mean just adding more to life. I needed to emphasise the “less is more” principle. While I advocate living light in terms of possessions and stuff and have coached 1000’s clients on my CLEAR YOUR CLUTTER principle, it has finally, finally seeped into another layer for me.
The layer of BEING more than DOING
Taking action only from an aligned place
I fear I have been a very slow learner!
But learned it I have
My entire emphasis has been on LESS.
Less yes, less work, less to DO, less time online, fewer clients. That translates to saying yes to way more rest, more play, more time off, more reading, more sleeping, and yoga.
More on the to-be list
Is your busy molecule too active?
Are you perhaps stuck there too – needing to finally go against the grain of productivity, where your busy molecule is running riot? Do you need to say no and go with your heart’s desires? Of course, it’s easy to find excuses and justify why you simply cannot– but surely recent times have taught you life is short?
I am a total convert to the value that the 3m Principle brings.
WANT TO THINK ABOUT IT FOR YOURSELF?
How does The 3m Principle show up practically?
Ideally, you already have a big vision for your life aligned with your true desires, values, and principles? Something big, bold, beautiful, and enthralling for you? If not, that might be your starting point for the first 3m silo – getting crystal clear on your life vision/dream.
Next, it’s super useful to have a vision or dream board for this year ahead. A kind of mini focal point for 12 months. Big, bold, and clear.
All that matters now is the next 3 months. 12 short weeks to activate. Being super bold in what you challenge yourself to focus on. Most of my 3m batches for the 24 months have been about rest, sleep, meditating, writing, making books – more emotional and spiritual rather than the crazy-busy mode.
STEP 4 – for me the absolute crucial component
Be sure to have an accountability partner. Either in the form of a coach, counsellor, mastermind group, accountability group, or a single buddy to work with. Someone or a group that will NOT let you off the hook. That you meet with at least every week. For me, that’s the real test of it all to put it in time-space reality.
Off the hook
KEEP YOUR PROMISES TO YOURSELF
Rinse and repeat the 3-month silos.
This 3m Principle also dovetails beautifully with the work from the book “The 12 Week Year by Brian P. Moran and Michael Lennington. I was introduced to the audiobook version by a dear friend, and we have been actively following that principle for the past 2 years. You will be in good company –corporates have been doing this for eons! Breaking down sales targets into quarterly goals and accountability. That same accountability friend of mine happens to work in the financial sector in Dubai and their main focus is in 3-month silos too. We always work to their quarterly dates to have congruency. They know all too well that if they do not meet the financial targets in THIS quarter, they have to course correct in a massive in the next quarter.
Surely we can do the same in life?
Yet … we tend to go about setting big goals and trot out the regular New Year’s Resolutions in January, and then believe we have the WHOLE YEAR to accomplish them. There is no sense of urgency, deadline, drive to do anything. Suddenly mid-December looms along with the dreaded sense of failure and “I’m not good enough” nattering at us between our ears. We prove ourselves right yet again.
WHERE IS KATE RIGHT NOW IN THE WORLD?
I’m living into the question of where might I want to spend more time now that South Africa is no longer one of the places I visit regularly or call it my home. I’m looking at life beyond the dreaded P word, and what that looks like for me. How do I wish to navigate the #LocationFree life that’s so important to me and simultaneously set up a base? Now, for most folk that would traditionally mean finding ONE base to settle down in, right? That’s what most people do when they stop being a nomad. They find one place to unpack life’s belongings.
I find myself saying yes to TWO new bases.
I have just started my next 3 month silo in Edinburgh. A chunk of time to figure out if the concept of this next step will work. To re-choose if it doesn’t, or recommit if it does. I think people are so obsessed with needing to know ALL the answers before leaping, to have it all figured out for the next ten years, to be overly cautious about decisions.
I have rented a truly gorgeous city pad for three months to see where it takes me. I even brought my stuff across from Greece and my winter clothes from mums ….and so for the first time in 5.5 years I have most of my life possessions in one place. Just my precious art that is still stuck in a box in South Africa along with my lonely salsa shoes.
But this gypsy is not planning on being in ONE place. Alongside my city pad is another longer-term vision coming into being. Exciting! I have recently found a more permanent way onto that sacred island called Iona. You may remember the place it holds in my heart for healing and renewal when I spent a few months there in 2020 and shared about the GAP between no longer and not yet? Well I am finally out of that GAP and into the new chapter.
Iona is a longer-term YES. A place that has been called to my heart for decades. A bolthole for myself to retreat to and share with other writers seeking refuge from life in a truly sacred and inspirational place.
Neither of them is necessary for me to live full-time. It’s simply not who I am.
“Are YOU able to find a way to live into WHO YOU TRULY ARE?
Regardless of how against the social grain that might be?”
My lifestyle is anything but traditional or mainstream.
Then next year, as it stands right now, I intend (ha- let’s see how that pans out, right?) to spend a 3-month silo in the Mediterranean again. Running three writing retreats in Greece and Italy and then staying on to see about a base there too. Imagining the warmer, lemon scent-filled world of the Mediterranean makes me so deliriously happy, that I simply HAVE to explore more. I pour over photos of Italy, the food, country, culture and language. It’s like I have an old connection with it.
My nudge to you today is to think bigger yet act in shorter time frames.
Imagine you have just three months. That is all that matters. You might not be able to accomplish everything in three months, yet you sure as heck can accomplish loads with focus and attention.
Happy 3m to you,
NEED HELP EMBRACING 3m?
I’ve got space for 6 fabulous clients (that’s you!) on a three-month silo to feel proud.
NO group work- just you and me!
Please mail me directly to set up a chat on firstname.lastname@example.org
A little bit of fun today ….
I have always adored the cheeky saying ”when the cat’s away, the mice will play,” as it conjures up stealing naughty pockets of time when the person in charge left.
Playful amusement rooted in freedom and rebelliousness.
Do you ever look at life and somehow find the silliness, the fun, the amusement and just laugh? I do hope you find that outlet in life, no matter how tough things get.
The perspective of fun.
The lightness of being.
Laughing at life for the sheer hell of it.
Creating stories to amuse yourself and others.
I recently spent a night howling with laughter as I watched this story unfold between England and Scotland…
My Nan called me Kitty as a young child, and I still love that nickname, used by some close friends to this day. In this scenario, it was a case of “kitty-kate” in charge going away and leaving the teddies at home to play.
Mmm – it was more like a teddy-bear party version in full throttle.
It was my own toy story, with my dear “bear-child” at the crux of the party, in an otherwise calm neighbourhood.
My teddy – the delightful Francesca – has been in my life since I was 14 years old. She’s lost her striped cap and scarf along the way, is a bit grubby around the edges, but oh so well travelled. Sadly, she has also spent some years of her fluffy life tucked up in boxes when I travelled to places she couldn’t go to and she has to be left behind.
Let me hear a collective moan of “how could you Kate.”
I guess I had the following act of rebelliousness coming!
Just a few weeks ago Francesca had recently swapped Kleftiko for Haggis. She had made the anticipated trip from Greece to Scotland and was finally unpacked with a bed of her own in Edinburgh. Taking pride of place on my pillow again and both of us enjoying a wee cuddle every night. Kitty Kate and Francesca happily reunited again at last.
I think she was understandably a tad sad (and cross) I’d spent lockdown cuddling Frances, my mum’s teddy bear. I couldn’t get back to Greece in 2020 due to travel restrictions and had left her stuck in a box, learning Greek on her own in Lesvos. Simply awful of me!
She was learning to trust me again as we created a base together in Scotland.
A couple of weeks after landing in Scotland, I wanted to visit my mum in England. Francesca said she was happy to stay in her Scottish home – fearful of getting in a suitcase again. To be expected really.
So off I trotted to England, waving adios and shouting, “see you in a week, Francesca. Be good.”
Nothing to it, right?
Except for that night, my housemate had to pop something in my room and was distressed to find a lonesome bear looking more than a tad forlorn. I suspect there was even a wee bear whimper for added effect.
I got sent a photograph of Francesca all alone with an underlying “How could you, Kate?”
“Oh dear,” I replied (only feeling half-heartedly guilty from afar while quaffing bubbles with my mum) …. “why don’t you see if she wants to play with your bears on the stairs then?”
Being a bit sarcastic and silly …“They can keep each other company.”
Meanwhile, a few steps away on the landing was a group of eager furry friends dying to chat to Francesa about her wild adventures across the globe. Little did I know there had been a twittering on the stairs when Francesca came into the house in a suitcase that smelled of lamb, tzatziki, and ouzo.
“Such a well-travelled bear!”
“How did she ever survive being stuck in a box for two years?”
“Did she ever met a lion in Africa when she was younger?”
“Did she learn to Greek dance while throwing back ouzo?”
“Will she ever wear a kilt here?”
“Did she meet any Greek Gods”
“Do you think she’ll ever talk to us?” they wondered.
They were just dying to meet her and hear about her adventures in the world outside…
It seems like the suggestion was taken to heart, and a short while later I was so proud to see Francesca taking up her leadership role-playing big, worldly sister to all her new furry friends. Paving the way with a good ol’ Friday night story. It warmed my heart to she was reading the most delightful Scottish author to the younger friends – teaching them about kindness, resilience, hope, and love. And Friendship. She was reading Charlie Mackesy’s best-selling book, aloud to her new friends.
“Aaaaw, that’s my girl, “I thought from afar. Mum and I laughing out loud at the updated pics.
WELL…. it went quickly south from there.
It seems like Francesca has learned a thing or two from our worldly travels over the years. I’m not sure this Portobello crescent in Edinburgh will EVER be the same again to be sure.
She decided to introduce alcohol to the Friday night party to toast the new friendship! No harm having a wee dram, right? The wine flowed.
From there it was a collective sozzle of drunk bears, a dog, and an Italian doll falling all over for good measure. Doll’s heads flew, bears fell to the floor and the whole party collapsed in a drunken brawl.
Well and truly drunk!
To say I was shocked is an understatement. What the heck was going on in Scotland? Francesca has naturally been blamed as the newcomer – but it seems like they were all just waiting for an excuse to let their fur down.
The pharmacy was called in to deliver drugs all around.
Hair of the bear is a real thing – and in this instance, it was Paracetamol, Fanta, and some hard work!
I shared my utter dismay at the drunken revelry, and sent a stern message to them all, saying “you better tidy up and get everything back in order FAST.”
I think my big stick shocked them into action. Guess who was in charge again? Yes, dear Francesa and her well-honed, well-travelled leadership skills.
The house was cleaned, swept, wine stains removed and order restored.
I have heard the furry friends are missing Francesca and the Friday night parties since we moved into our own apartment in the West End of the city. Francesca is making new friends now! These are her own ‘familia’ I collected along the way from a little girl where my mum lives, who befriended me and started sharing her toys. How sweet is that! Katy-doll came about because the little one thought she looked my me….then more followed. The gang is a real mixed bunch – a wacky collaboration of a Katy-doll, a cheeky monkey, Francesca bear, and a celebrity from USA who’s trying to be in control! Francesca is not allowing anyone to usurp her privileged position as my “first born- first love.”
Things seem calm for now….and they have fallen in love with this delightful historical novel set in Edinburgh – “The Fair Botanists” by Sara Sheridan.
I guess until my next adventure when I leave them all alone on a Friday night. I’ll keep you posted on the bear-scapades and the furry tales.
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P.S. ….the day after the above party, Francesa was in trouble for leaving a lonely coffee cup that needed washing. Or maybe it was um, her mother aka Kitty, before she went gallivanting……we will never know! Time to learn from the book it seems!!!
– How to build community FAST when starting out in a new location–
Connecting into a community fast is vital for life on the move. I’m not a tourist – I honestly need to feel connected in and to be part of a community, even if only for a few months. When I move into a new phase/ base or land in a new city for the next segment of life – I am always finding ways to build community FAST. I often move to places where I don’t know a single soul. The flip side of that is also building community with the right people – so that folk become part of my bigger, ongoing global community of clients AND friendship circle. Just this week I chatted to a great friend I’d met in California over 7 years ago! From my years of connecting in this way, I have friends and connections in Spain, Greece, Romania, Dubai, South Africa, Australia, New York, San Fransisco, Amsterdam, and more. A truly global village.
So it’s not just about immediacy, but also about sustainability and longer-term community.
Here is how I do it…
One of the things I do is join the local FB group of the location in which I’m going to be based. The smallest geographical one possible. So when basing myself in Edinburgh, it was about finding the local WEST END group. A smaller community to connect into. I do this about a month before I move in, or as soon as I know where I’m going to be based. You have to find ways to connect, get known, and be recognised as a “Local.” I start commenting, asking genuine questions, and also try to be helpful and supportive where I authentically can. Just yesterday I saw someone missing a kitty – so I keep my eyes open and check back in to see if they have come home. It’s not rocket science, right – it just takes heart and a bit of time /energy to give a damn.
I’m always looking for ways to connect and contribute.
Just a week ago, the very week I moved into my city pad, there was a community meetup. Of course, I made it a priority to go along to finally meet some of the faces I’d connected with online. Simple – yet most people don’t bother and exist in their own little silos.
I’ve booked more coffee meet-ups, recommended newly-released books about Edinburgh to a fellow reader (and heard back how much they are enjoying the said book), offered to dog walk for someone who needed a hand and posted in the group about meeting the local cat adored by everyone. Dear Hugo, the vocal Arabic Mau (see pics below).
I wanted to log onto the local NHS system and within ten minutes of posting a question, I had five answers to help me find my way. Bingo.
I was even offered a bicycle, been invited to see a new yoga studio and the local coffee shop already has my loyalty card on the till (and I shared some fresh Origanum I brought back from Greece this year when running my writing retreat when I learned they LOVE Greece too).
Can you connect in just a little better where you live?
That’s ONE WEEK – connecting in gets a big TICK!
2. EXERCISE BONUS
I regularly walk, practice yoga, and started salsa dancing again (after a couple of years hiatus – a whole different story) as my way of staying healthy, fit, fun and it’s social. When I go walking I’m always on the lookout for friendly faces I’ve seen before, and am quick to strike up conversations. Yep, I’m that weird neighbour that smiles, waves and chats! Since the community meet-up, I’ve spotted a couple of familiar faces while walking. Oh, and my hair is often a talking point – go figure!
People matter – I just keep on being my usual friendly/connector self – and while walking will stop for a cuddle with a dog or cat wherever possible. I walk with my eyes open, and will always be on the lookout for someone who needs potential help. Be kind where possible, is my motto.
Mmmm – more about the salsa next time!
3. PASSION and EXPERTISE
My quickest advice to build a work-related community is to simply START something in your area of expertise. Offer your time, heart, and energy. One winter I stayed in Malaga, Spain for 4 months, without knowing a single soul, or the language. I joined a few of the groups and started a WRITING group as I was busy penning my 5th Book – the one about living #LocationFree. Every week I would be writing anyway, as my winter goal was to complete the book, and I invited others to come and write with me. In just 11 such sessions I finished the outline and first draft of that book! It is now changing lives for folk over 45 who also want to think about living life in a larger, simpler, more passionate way.
“10 Lessons for Living #LocationFree – an Insider’s Guide to Living and Working Anywhere and Everywhere” is available here
I have done exactly the same here in Edinburgh – the week I arrived from Greece I started up a free writing community,. It’s not in competition with anyone as it’s all community-based, and we have already had 5 meetups in the last month. You do NOT have to wait for someone else to start it up – just leap and BE the leader. Think of it as being the flame, not the moth.
Stand up, show up. You can course-correct as you go along. Nothing is set in stone! The way I do that is to connect into the bigger catchment area of Edinburgh on FB, Linked In etc., by searching for names like Edinburgh Ladies, Edinburgh Ladies over 40, Writers in Edinburgh, South African in Edinburgh. I joined the groups that seemed a good fit for me and just posted that I was starting a free community writing group.
Voila – People connect, find me and I add them to a Whatsapp group. YES – it does take effort and energy – but it’s my version of volunteering and giving back to a community.
4. BIG AND BOLD!
Within a week of getting to Edinburgh returning from Greece, I had found a lovely venue to host an upcoming Writing Retreat. I got ‘oot and aboot’ (out and about) checking out all sorts of interesting venues, historic buildings and coffee shops to gather my clan of writers. Even folk who have been living here were introduced to new areas in the city! I’ve put together 3 days of focussed workshops in THE most glorious castle-like setting, under the watchful eye of Arthur’s Seat. If you are interested you can check it out here. Yes, it feels like a huge leap to try and pull it off – but it’s forcing me to think differently, act strategically and get creative about meeting people who may just need this writing support from me.
It also forced me to do some LIVE postings on social media, and get out my comfort zone making some videos again to bring the city to life. By mentioning it to a contact, I am now also connected to a wonderful collective of creatives that run workshops in the city…..an exciting way forward to be revealed in a future post.
What might be calling you right now – can you get it set up and just give it a bash? There’s never TOO much to lose by going at it!
If you are a writer or know someone in Edinburgh, then just drop me a line on firstname.lastname@example.org to connect into this community.
NEED SOME INSPIRATION?
You can read more lessons and insights about the practical in’s and out’s of this #LocationFree lifestyle in my book. It’s got GREAT reviews – I know this from the feedback I get when people dare to take the leap! Along with sharing my 6 years of living and working around the world, I also interviewed 16 other awesome global nomads – all over 45 years old – to help you see how many ways there are to live this awesome life! Grab that #LocationFree book here
See you in the West End or a local coffee shop writing …
Till next time – stay safe out there
P.S: I recently wrote a newsletter sharing how I approach life using The 3m Principle. Edinburgh coincides with one such 3m and is my latest base. I am personally putting all of these #LocationFree tips I share above, into practice RIGHT NOW.
I was taken aback by all the responses to sharing the 3m, to be honest. It’s so natural for me to think in this way for my lifestyle – but I realised that what comes naturally to one doesn’t not for another. Duh!
If you missed that (was for subscribers only) you can still get it and see how it resonates for YOU.
Kate’s 3m Principle – grab it here confirm your mail and hey presto, you get to read about 3m.