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Transformation Journeys

Moving from HISS to HYS: a very funny tale featuring #mintblue Smurf

By Coaching Tips 'n Tools, Transformation Journeys

Happy MAY

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!

BLUE DISASTER
So as I pull out the headboard from a weird angle, I see it’s ….oh no

Splotched with blue?! 

Huh? 

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.

Oh F$%^!

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!

SMURF WOMAN
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.

Ears!

CALENDAR CONTRIBUTION
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.

HYS-terics!

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.

Kate

IF YOU WANT TO WORK WITH ME….
PRIVATE CLIENTS:
 
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!

The Moroccan #Mintblue

Kate’s 3M Principle: Embracing life using bite-sized time frames

By Transformation Journeys, Uncategorized

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 three. 
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.
This moment
This day
Then tomorrow
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 swimming

More me

Fewer others

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?

STEP 1
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.

STEP 2
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.

STEP 3
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.

To

Not

Let

Yourself

Off the hook

KEEP YOUR PROMISES TO YOURSELF

STEP 5
Rinse and repeat the 3-month silos.

Ad infinatum.

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,

Kate

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 kate@kate-emmerson.com

BOOK REVIEW of 10 Lessons for Living #LocationFree by Niki Malherbe

By Insights to help you #quickshift, Transformation Journeys, Transformation Thoughts

I recently read an article on alternative lives, lives unlived or just doing things differently. The crossroads we reach at certain junctions which don’t appear to be anything like a fork in the road until we look back on it many years later and see that it was exactly that. There was a time in my life when I considered travelling solo but the timing never seemed right and it never happened. I went straight from school to tertiary to work to marriage to kids and have lived in the same location for 23 years. In fact, not only the same city but the same home! I’m lucky. Cape Town is beautiful and hard to beat.

Now approaching mid 50’s, with (same) husband, four children, three dogs, two bunnies and aging parents in the same province just five or so hours drive from my home, it’s hard to imagine living a ‘freer’ life working and travelling from different locations. (Actually, you may well be thinking, hell that’s enough to scare me to do exactly that! Run away!) And yes, in my daydreams it sometimes crosses my mind but how on earth would I get that right? For starters, what would I do with my STUFF, my clutter? My books? It’s enough to cause a tiny heart palpitation.

And so it was almost uncanny that I came across 10 Lessons for Living # LocationFree, a new book by Kate Emmerson and I’ve gobbled it up. I couldn’t wait to tuck in.

The simple uncluttered image of a glamorous woman sitting on a single suitcase on the cover and the almost ‘handbook’ type structure of clean white pages with bold headings, various fonts for ‘top tips’ at the end of each chapter kept me entirely focused for the first two hours of a beautiful day on my balcony as the sun began its daily passage.

It was almost impossible not to flick through it to scan the pages ahead. I needed to see immediately how Kate lives her life, wondering how it’s vaguely possible to reduce your life to THREE boxes and live clutter free.

The ten lessons are divided into chapters with titles such as ‘taking the plunge’, ‘doing business #LocationFree’, ‘wardrobe woes’ and ‘navigating relationships and building community’. I liked the sound of ‘The LAY Principle: Look After Yourself. In fact, I think that’s gonna be me over this holiday. Or actually the next few years. If anyone asks me what I’m doing, I’m going to tell them I’m practising the LAY principle!

But the book isn’t only about Kate’s experiences. She involves a number of like-minded people whose insights and experiences she incorporates into each chapter. It’s possible to imagine this type of living at the end of a relationship with no children or furry children but this need not be the only catalyst for a life lived differently.  

Of course, it’s all about embracing the mindset and that’s exactly where the book starts. And it ends with a helpful chapter on relevant resources and networks which are useful to start planning.

For me personally, it’s going to take a few years of school and decluttering, but Kate has written that book too entitled ‘Clear Your Clutter’ (and a few others) so that’s where I’m going to have to start.

Ten Lessons for Living #LocationFree is a book that I intend keeping close and dipping into. If not to embrace in its entirety but then who knows? It may just be the start of that life lived differently.

For now, I’m going to get away from this laptop, try to ignore the heartache and fear and pain of this bloody pandemic and embrace the life I’m living with my feet up, my family, my books and practice of the LAY principle. Once I’ve packed my clutter and hit the road!

Here are links to buy this book:

 10 Lessons for Living #LocationFree | Buy Online in South Africa | takealot.com

Amazon.com: 10 Lessons for Living #LocationFree: An insider’s guide to living and working anywhere and everywhere eBook: Emmerson, Kate, Taylor, Shannan: Kindle Store

Til 2021!

YOGA in the dark keeps me light: my daily mini #Retreat

By Food for thought, Insights to help you #quickshift, Transformation Journeys

Picture this: it’s 6 am UK winter and naturally pretty cold and pitch dark outside and …..time for my regular yoga.

I am very accustomed to getting up with the wee birdies bright and early. Historically, whenever I was in South Africa I would love to go and attend the first yoga class of the day …but ….I am no longer have access to my once-upon-a-time favourite studio doing bendy Bikram Yoga at 5.30 am.


SO I need a new way to practice NOW as we tackle Jan 202#$%^&*(*&^%.
What year is it again?

I LOVE getting up and doing something that is both exercise-full, mind-full and aligning. Depending on where I am in the world on my #LocationFree travels, it might be a walk, a cold water swim, or yoga. But I need to start my day off this way. Right now, in Jan 2021 I am figuring out how to handle this bizarre start to ’21 as I am in #lockdown with my mum in the UK again. We spent 3 months together during summer 2020 and still managed to come out laughing in the end, so we are piggy-backing on that history to stay amused as far as possible in these un-amusing times.

I have a much better sense of humour when I feel connected and strong and like I am taking care of myself from the inside out. Exercise keeps me sane! Yoga keeps me centered! What is your go-to?

So I have my little UK routine that gets me up at 6.00 am. It’s still pitch bloody dark and the thought of putting on lights just isn’t working for me. Mum is usually fast asleep, purring gently with her cat ZsaZsa, so I creep to the kitchen (super impossible for this Taurean bull) to grab some hot water, and start my yoga practice in the lounge – IN THE DARK.

Why on earth Kate? Why not flip that switch and put some darn lights on!

Well…it feels safer right now in this uncertain time:

I feel ironically held by the darkness of the world
I like the curtains drawn around me
It’s like a gentle cocoon of #calmbalm
It feels warmer and cozier
It’s emulating a little hug ( we all need those!)
It seems much quieter – ridiculous right?!
It offers me a slower, gentler wake-up each morning
I feel as if I am strengthening my body while kinda still in my sleep
It’s more soothing to my nerve endings
It feels like one of those anxiety blankets
I find it heightens my ability to tune in
It simultaneously helps me go deeper within
I feel like I have stolen the best part of the day from the sun
It’s more relaxing at every level
I seem to stretch a wee bit further
I absolutely have to focus more to stay in the challenging poses
I am sensing parts of my body rather than looking down to check alignment
I feel more in touch with my body by not “seeing” it
I also feel a bit naughty like I’m doing something in the dark, and that makes me smile.

And finding ways to smile is vital right now!

Often mum wakes up and walks through while I’m sprawled unceremoniously on the lounge floor. She’s usually chattering away to her trailing shadow that’s miaou – miaowing for breakfast and can’t see me until I squawk hello or she flips the light on. But she knows I’m usually there now if she potters through before 7am, as my little routine is locked in.

My preferred practice is always early in the morning in glorious sunrise-drenched light, each moment filled with opportunity and the creative promise of the day ahead. But right now I’m in winter, in the dark, making the most out of #lockdown. It won’t always be like this, will it? The days will shift to longer sunlight, we will at some point be let out of jail in our respective #lockdown countries and spring will surely, SURELY rear its welcome head soon. Then perhaps I will naturally whisk open the curtains and greet the dawn-kissed day again as I prepare to Om…

So what are YOU making the most of right now simply because it’s the perfect thing for this time for you, even if it’s not your norm?

Drop me a line if you try yoga in the dark, or something else equally as obscure – I always love to hear from you
Kate

PS: I have become positively obsessed with taking more and more time out and time off. Maybe you feel drawn to join me on a BESPOKE VIRTUAL RETREAT done from anywhere in the world right now, and I’ll hold the space from my dark lounge 🙂 Read more here