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Staying sane using the S.E.T. Method

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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
Mountain adventures
Soul connections
Dreaded “C” x 2
Me impersonating Florence Nightingale
Experiencing my own version of Outlander
New festive plans required
Island adventures
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…”

  1. WHAT IS SUCKING YOUR PRECIOUS ENERGY?
  2. WHAT WILL BRING YOU SOME EQUILIBRIUM?
  3. 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.

***FACING THE SUCK
1. I was letting social media eat my time and energy. Constantly checking Insta, Facebook, messages, mail. You know this routine right? I took action and simply muted those certain Instagram Stories and Posts, so they were no longer in my face every time I ventured online. I made a promise to myself to stay off Social Media altogether for 24 hours – something I do regularly but hadn’t been sticking to. DUH!
Next, I put my phone on airplane mode so no one could bug me and I couldn’t go down the rabbit hole for several hours and could focus on re-building my energy internally with nothing SUCKING at it.

Off with you oh comparison social media monster! Sometimes knowing who is doing what, when, where and with whom can be destructive and energy sucking. It is like sugar and alcohol – hard to resist when it’s in the system. Control, Alt, Delete.

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.

With Lightness,
Kate

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 kate@kate-emmerson.com to start a conversation.

THE HIGHLAND FLING: TOOLS TO EMBRACE THE TRUE POWER OF RITUAL

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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

NO!

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

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.

REALLY KATE!

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.

YOUR QUESTION:

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
Kate

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

PLUG IN OR PUSH OFF – it’s all about RESPECT

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Plug in or Push off!

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.

Ouch.

Pathetic

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.

Brrr!

Double Brrrrrrr!

Triple rain!

Quadruple grey!

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:

Little

Invisible

Tired

Lacking

Aching

Impatient

Uncertain

Hopeless

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!
Copious wine!

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.

Splat.

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
Love Kate


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 kate@kate-emmerson.com

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

When the Cat’s away, those Teddies sure play!

By Uncategorized

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?”

Lonely – I’m so loooonely ……

“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.

Friday night storytime – thanks Charlie and Francesca.

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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Need my wacky sense of humour and perspective in your life to shift your energy?
Reach out to me on kate@kate-emmerson.com or check out my website www.kate-emmerson.com

Love Kate

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!!!

Oh dear!

The reality of living #LocationFree

By Uncategorized

– 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…

1. LOCATION
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 kate@kate-emmerson.com 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

Kate

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.

Ready to leap at your life?

Are you trusting your way through life?

By Uncategorized

How do you honestly live day to day – Do you live within a basic framework of trust …..or fear as you go about life?
Perhaps it’s a little mix of the two – like most of us, I’m sure? Perhaps it’s more about which way it’s weighted for us, edging towards trust or more towards the fear?

I have strived to live with the former in my life. I attempt to see the positive or funny side of things if I can – but I am not a comedienne by any stretch of the imagination. Make no mistake though – I have also had both short and long bouts of falling into the dark well, staring at the black dog and flailing around like a rabid soul. That sense of feeling like I am drowning in that deep well water of anxiety, sadness, bulimia as a teenager, asking questions around ‘wtf’ is it all about. I have known depression, very dark patches in life, been bedridden twice in my life, and even wanted to give up at times. Really give up. I think many people have been in that spot at some point – have you too?

In the last 18 months, we have all witnessed or experienced the pain of grief, exhaustion, loss, financial ruin, and lack of hope around the world. No-one has escaped unscathed.

Yet at the same time, we can also hold the opposite energy of love, trust, possibility and an enthusiastic positive life force. So even while the proverbial sh#t hits the global fan, we have also seen the very best of people come to the fore. In my experience.
Sacred kindness, compassion and caring beyond duty for family, community and country. It doesn’t have to be one or the other- but perhaps it’s about us living with the whole messy lot showing up all at once.

I do my best to try and stay in the 80 /20 realm of trust versus fear. In my #LocationFree lifestyle for the past 5.5 years I have been forced to lean into trust more and more. It’s inevitable. Travelling and working around the world with no fixed home base requires you to dig deep and leap. Im my book I do share what I feel are all the lessons to embrace – and one of them is around trusting yourself and trusting other people. Connecting into communities and allowing the magic of life to show up en route. It’s about not needing to know ALL the bits before you decide to go. Leap and develop wings along the way.

So I somehow managed to “pull off” getting to my favorite Greek island this summer – while still not sure if my business partner could get here from South Africa (we co-host retreats around the world). We also had a smattering of interested and dedicated writers who were willing to take the risk to travel in these oddest of times- safely, tested and masked to within an inch of our lives. But here I am, on Lesvos with a small group of 4 writers and I have been constantly reminded of how sweet life is when you relax and trust!

The power of Trust Part 1

My respect for the Greeks and this very special island got a double dose of #LocationFree love this week. It’s important to “plug into“ your local community when living nomadically to help create a sense of “home and belonging.” So there’s nothing quite like walking out of a restaurant for 2 days in a row and not paying. Tomorrow, tomorrow, she says. I was keeping a handwritten bill of what’s owed by me 🇬🇷.

I was about to pay my ‘account’ two days after the fact. I had started racking up my bill while sitting in my “office by the sea” watching Tsitsipo in the final at Roland Garros. How exciting to watch the first Greek in history make it to one of the Grand Slam Finals. I had just forgotten to take my purse with me in the rush to get to the platea! The next day I went up to the top winter village to work, and only returned to my “seaside office” again on Tuesday – and added another 2 coffees to my bill. I had plenty of money in my purse this time when I suddenly remember to pop to the Pharmacia to collect a treat for our writers and pick up some much-needed electrolytes. I was thinking I had my debit card to pay the pharmacy but alas, suddenly had to use the cash in my purse and… the dear “office by the sea”  @_gialos_eresos only got half paid. Oh well – next day a couple more cafes were added to my piece of paper and I’m finally all square again. Until today when we all went to eat breakfast there to soak up the Sunday morning Platea buzz ……. and now my bill starts again. I love it. 

#trust is alive and well in the world of #greece #eresos_lesvos

The power of Trust Part 2

I believe that approaching life in general, and especially Living #LocationFree is an easier ride when you trust in both self and others … unless you want a miserable experience! Earlier this week (the same day I finally paid my account) I heard the loudspeaker bark its Greek voice into the warm air, announcing loudly to the entire village what it was selling. I ran outside to see the gorgeous fruit truck ladened with yummy edibles. As per part one of the “trust” story – I had just used all my cash at the pharmacia and to pay half my “account” at my office by the sea …. So as I dash out to see all this lovely produce, I remember I literally have 50 euro cents or some Scottish pounds in my purse.

Ochi ochi – No problem he says, I come back 17th. I skip back to my room with my stash – yes literally – as I have never met this particular vendor and he leaves me with two bags of goodies (see pic) and a promise to pay when he returns in two days! I leave some cash plus an extra 2 euros for MORE cherries on the day he is meant to come back – yet have not seen him now in 5 days. I know he will appear and come and find me. What a delightful reminder of the currency of trust and that it still exists.

***** UPDATE – He arrived back a week later, all Greek smiles and collected his money 🙂

Power of Trust Part 3

This morning was proof of trusting that inner voice again – the trusting of self. I often write about how you have to learn to trust the quiet voice that whispers “go right” when you usually go left. Here in Skala Eressos, every morning I turn left out of my “hotel by the sea” to go to my gorgeous “office by the sea.” When I was sitting on the verandah soon after waking up, I was struck by just how calm the sea was – even more than usual. The dawn was super pink and soft grey with silky water and I had thought …. this would be a good day to see the elusive dolphins. A couple of days ago, a friend who lives here had told me how she OFTEN sees dolphins!
What -here?
Yes, Kate all the time!
Ochi ochi (no NO!) I say in disbelief
All the time!!!


I have been coming here for six years and not once seen a dolphin on this side of the island. One year, I saw one lonely dolphin at 5 am from the deck of the ferry, but that was on the Mytilene side of the island. So of course now dolphins are in my “space after she has mentioned this little morsel of info. When the voice whispered go right, I turned my handlebars and trundled off towards the little port. I saw a fishing boat coming home, and stopped to video it, delaying my cycle a few minutes. Then, you know what’s coming right ………. lo and behold……….. three minutes later I was rewarded with the well-known shape of the curved body and dorsal fin, and a leap. A little squeal from me, and then suddenly and even bigger leap – clear out of the water. I tried to keep focused on the area and had my video on, but that was it, two leaps for me
I took that as a perfect sign from the world of nature as it was the start day of my writing retreat…. #stayhopeful #trust #signsfromnature

I wish you some element of living with trust as you go about your day

Love Kate


Are you trusting yourself and your decisions as you go about your life?
Click the links below to grab my book if you too want to live #LocationFree and find a new way of showing up.

It’s possible to live Location Free

By Uncategorized

I hear so many excuses of how and why it is NOT possible to emulate my lifestyle – that of being a global gallivanting nomad. But your reality has probably radically changed a whole whack this past year right? Now you are re-thinking and re-jigging life, work, and ideas and what just might be possible for you and your family! There is something exciting being offered by Airbnb – keep reading if you want an exiting adventure!

I have been working online for the better part of 15 years in some form. It was skype long before Zoom, offering online courses since 2004 long before it was ‘de rigeur’ and travelling to deliver keynote talks and retreats across the globe).

I have officially been living #LocationFree for over 5 years now – meaning no permanent home base.

The world has forced new thinking
So as the world starts to release, expand and open up at last – are YOU starting to activate your long-held or recently realized idea about living a more location-free lifestyle? My latest book details the lessons learned from both myself AND 16 other courageous digital nomads that I interviewed for the book. We are all over 40 (most of us over 50) from different countries and in various lines of work – from coaches to accountants, web designers, psychotherapists, LD on cruises and more. We show the highs and the lows, how to connect to communities and basically how to make this lifestyle ‘work’ for you.

Yes, of course, most of us were in some version of lock-up together as the health crisis ravaged our worlds ……but the way so many millions of people suddenly HAD to work from home and experience freedom from the office culture, finally removed that particular excuse from the list of many….

I CAN’T TRAVEL AND WORK LIKE YOU KATE – I HAVE A JOB!
I HAVE TO BE IN XYZ CITY AS MY OFFICE IS THERE
I DON’T HAVE THE MONEY TO TRAVEL
I DON’T KNOW HOW TO GET STARTED
WHAT WILL MY FRIENDS AND FAMILY THINK IF I DON”T HAVE A “HOME”

But for me, the biggest reality/obstacle (Um excuse) is usually about earning a living and needing to be in an “office” in one specific place. Not any more right? Thanks for that big global blessing Covid! Not to detract from the harsh reality of the crisis, the loss, the devastation, the global grief, and economic realities… I do believe in looking for that silver living too.

Costs are not higher – just different
Actually when you do the maths and look at living location-free versus a “stable home base” we simply have DIFFERENT costs. I swap owning a car for my travel budget. Swap my mortgage for Air B’nB costs. Just different costs, but definitely not more. I simply choose to channel and spend my money differently. If you are craving connection, new experiences, and a way to satisfy your wanderlust spirit – then there is something you can do today, to take action on that dream. Take a look at what a friend I met when living in Malaga for the winter in 2019 just sent me ……

APPLY TO LIVE ANYWHERE FOR A YEAR!
SPONSORED BY AIR BnB – eeeck!!!!
https://news.airbnb.com/airbnb-seeks-12-people-to-live-anywhere-for-one-year/

Airbnb is offering 12 people the chance to live #LocationFree for a year. Now, how is that for squashing ANY excuse you might have? I am not applying as I am already living this way – so will gladly leave a space for the next person.
IS THAT YOU?
Please know that I am not in any way affiliated to, or reimbursed by AirBnB – I just happen to use them on my global travels as awesome places to stay.
Imagine more experiences, global connections, lifelong friends, hearing and learning new languages and most of all FREEDOM! They are offering to sponsor your year-long lifestyle. After that, you might be hooked, like me 5 years later, or choose to find a new way to live going forward.

Imagine one year …

Not ready to take that leap yet? Start small
If you are not quite ready yet to take the year-long leap and apply for this awesome experience, then get started with my 5th book recently published, titled “10 Lessons for Living #LocationFree”. Available in paperback or digital here – click the link below or search for the ISBN in your country 978-0-620-90868-9.
Get the juices flowing, ideas brewing, and start crafting a new lifestyle for yourself. 1,2,3 GO!

With love from Greece – where I am currently and starting a writing retreat today!

Kate

5 Essential Self-Care Tips While Traveling

By Uncategorized

When you’re out of the house, you might be looking forward to seeing some sights or simply unwinding. However, whether you’re traveling for work or going on a retreat in Europe, you shouldn’t forget to practice self-care while you’re away from home. Travel may also be a form of self-care to get away from your typical routines, but there are some additional things you can do to make your travel more relaxing:


Squeeze in some exercise
Exercising might be the last thing you want to do when you’re on a getaway, but you don’t have to go to the gym for it. You can simply do some quick squats and stretching when you wake up. If you’re used to having equipment at home, lightweight and easily packable pieces like the Fit Simplify Resistance Bands can help you. Another option is to take a tour or do some exploring on foot. This way, you get some walking done with fresh air, while at the same time get to see some sights.

Don’t forget your skincare routine
It’s easy to get lazy with skin care — especially when you’re coming from a long day of touring or exploring a new location. However, the new environment can actually take a toll on your skin, particularly if the climate is new to you. As such, it’s important to give your skin some extra care. Pretty Me’s article on Snail White Whipp Soap notes how natural plant extracts are great at giving you younger-looking skin, reducing fine lines and hydrating cells. These work even on sensitive skin. Sunscreen is another thing you shouldn’t forget. Traveling entails a lot of sun, so you’ll want to protect your skin from UV rays. Allure’s review of Aveeno Sensitive Skin Sunscreen Stick mentions how zinc oxide and soothing oats make for good sweat- and water-resistant sunscreen, while also being lightweight and non-greasy. Just do your research on your destination to see what you’ll need to add to your routine.

Unplug when you can
Now you might be thinking: what about all your travel posts you want to share with friends on Instagram? Of course, there’s nothing wrong with sharing your journey on social media — but make sure you aren’t glued to your phone 24/7. Remember that the purpose of traveling is to experience a place in real life, not through a screen. So whenever possible, relish every moment, put those gadgets away, and just take in the environment.

Get enough sleep
It’s definitely tempting to turn in late and wake up early to make the most of your stay. However, if you have a pretty packed itinerary, then that’s all the more reason to have at least eight hours of sleep. This way, you’ll have enough energy to enjoy your day more fully. After all, you don’t want to feel sluggish and sleepy as you go through your activities. And you definitely don’t want to end up completely exhausted by the end of your trip.

Enjoy the moment
Last, but not least, just be in the moment. You may be undergoing a digital detox, but if you’re thinking of how many emails you’ll need to respond to later, then you’re still not really relaxing. Whatever destination you’re visiting, don’t rush it. In this regard, Calm Moment lists some tips on how to truly enjoy your trip — and one of them is essentially taking it slow. From your outdoor breakfast to your walks through historical sites, spare some time to be grateful for the opportunity to see the world.

Let me know how you get on with your travels, Kate

How an author moves from “initial concept to final cover” (incl. scamps)

By Insights to help you #quickshift, Uncategorized

The most fun an author can have is with your book cover! It’s one of my favorite parts to bring all the hard work of the inner content to life, at last. I was going to go a new route for this book! The art of commissioning a bespoke illustration required hiring someone that could appropriately capture my personal author brand alongside global anonymity so that others could simply see an illustration depicting a specific lifestyle. It was such fun to produce my latest cover and I found it fascinating how illustrators work from start to finish. I thought you might enjoy that too, along with the images to show the process I went through.

Author Brand:
For my 5th book titled  “10 Lessons for Living Location Free,” I knew I needed something totally different to mt previous 4 books. My own mug shot, as Kate, the ‘author brand’, had appeared in some form on all my book covers to date. But for this book, I had also interviewed 16 other amazing global nomads to include their perspective and lessons of life on the “road.” It was important for me to depict other voices, opinions, experiences of both men and women around the world, in different work and from a variety of countries, with all of us commonly being over 40. I didn’t just want another brand picture of me on the cover this time. I wanted a way to depict me in a more unique and universal way to allude to all digital nomads, wander-lust travellers and #LocationFree mavericks.

Last year I had worked with one of our authors to publish her inspirational memoir. My business partner Sarah Bullen and I work with writers all over the world and handpick one or two authors to publish. This author wanted to create a bespoke illustration for her book cover, and I had so much fun walking her through it, from researching and finding the designer, talking through conception to execution and finally seeing her book on sale in the Amazon store and holding it in my hands.

It felt right to try it for myself now.

Commissioning the right one:
The first trick when commissioning a bespoke illustration is to find the right designer, of course. They also have to be able to work within your budget, as it is usually more expensive than getting a regular designer to create a cover. Bear in mind the final illustration will still have to be incorporated into the actual book cover design, so there are in reality two fees to factor in now! You want to get the most bang for your buck and get the most experience for your available budget, right?  My tip is to do some research on other books that you love out there, (be it covers or content illustrations), look at illustrators/designers you follow on social media and ask other authors in your network for their recommendations. Then, go and do your own deeper-dive research. Ultimately you want to narrow it down to three illustrators that you resonate with, and then go about getting quotes. 

You have to love their work, their whole vibe and the quality of their work ethic, as well as availability time-wise and budget. It all matters.

I was lucky to have interacted with three amazing illustrators last year, and so I went back to re-look at all of their work and finally chose the one I had worked with before. Her work still seemed to have the best fit for me, I had first hand experience though the other author AND she was able to slot into my very tight timelines. An incredible talent called Shannan Taylor who owns Muse and Doodle. I was publishing this book from edit to final finish in 28 days and she agreed to match my crazy deadlines.

I am NOT a designer by any stretch of the imagination, but I do have bold opinions about things, especially when it comes to my own brand, business and books. Every other book out there to date about #LocationFree living or the digital nomadic lifestyle usually has some bad version of a laptop and the world globe on the cover, or a beach and palm tree and that just wasn’t going to cut it for me!

My suitcase kept whispering to me for this cover!

The concept:
When you have commissioned your illustrator, it’s time to talk through some ideas with them. If you are not a designer you don’t want to be too in control of this process, as you might sway them to your limited thinking. You have hired them for their creative brain after all, right? Let them ask questions and find out what matters to you. They have their own process they follow, so trust them!  I had considered some ideas for a possible concept, but until she asked me some things, I hadn’t even thought about them. So when I said I spend a lot of time writing in cafes around the world – she asked – what country, beach or town, inside or outside, what do you drink, etc. I even had to go and find the “look and feel” of different street cafes for her. Go and look at some design elements she showed me to see what I did and didn’t like. I had always loved any artwork with a city skyline – we came up with the idea to use different iconic buildings to depict the whole world rather than ONE city per say. Think Paris next to London next to New York. Oh my – yes yes yes!

I have travelled with a suitcase for five years. Literally! That was important to my #LiveLightLiveLarge motto. She asked me my favorite colours, what I wear, some of my favourite outfits, etc. I sent her some of my brand photographs I love, and we spoke about cats, coffee, wine and the world. But it was very short back and forth on Whatsapp mostly, with dropbox for viewing scamps and ideas as they arrived.  

She very quickly came back with two initial ideas, similar in essence but totally different in energy for me. They are called “Rough Sketches” also known as “Scamps” and I instantly loved the second one on the right, below. My brand motto is all about lightness, laughter, energy, movement, swift action and so the one with “me” sitting down felt too stuck and solid energetically. Do you see that too? The one sitting ON the case felt filled with oodles of possibility; like waiting for something exciting to come along. It energized me. I also preferred the quick capturing of my face pondering life – the other one felt too cartoonish and casual.

Even though it wasn’t directly to depict me and rather to have an air of universality, it certainly needed to be ‘me’ at the same time. I couldn’t believe how fast she sent through these two first ones! The joy of working with a pro!

After I chose the concept of the upright suitcase, it was then about the next layer of detail. I also didn’t love the skyline concept behind the character. She wanted to get my expression and body position next. Angle of the gaze. Smiling or not. Direction of legs, etc.

What I really wanted to achieve was that if someone doesn’t know me they would have no idea who is on the cover – they would just see a woman on a suitcase, but if you do know me, you absolutely know that I am sitting on that suitcase pondering life, love and travel. I love both the recognition and the anonymity she managed to portray.

Perspective and size
For the next scamp, I still adored how the cat walked behind the suitcase, with his little tail peeking out, but we felt something was ‘off’ with the size of the suitcase on the left image. She decided to try increasing the suitcase height so I could sit on top with my legs swinging on it. See the second image with a different face angle too- It instantly felt another notch “lighter.” We ultimately decided to leave the kitty for somewhere else on the image. Oh, I was sad to see him disappear in the next stage but the perspective of the image required it. I knew a kitty HAD to appear somewhere, and she came up with another brilliant idea. I also love coffee and wine – how on earth do we have both? What about my beautiful white sun hat, and teal computer bag? Less is more – but what is important to portray? Pile of books or not? So many things to consider!

HEELS! I always wear heels that add height, colour and funky kind of class. I absolutely knew from the very first image that I am not a closed-toe kind of gal and the “converse” shoes felt too casual for the cover. So suddenly there appeared a pair heels that I own – sexy, black strappy heels with multi-coloured crystal studs. See Yoga Pic Below to check those babies out! Everything is “alluded” to in the image, rather than being too obvious. Next was hair – how short at the sides, what pop of colour for the stripe in the front? Ever since I went silver at age 38, I have had some stripe of funky colour. NO grey rinse brigade for me! Earings and necklace?

She managed to emulate the two items of jewelry I wear 90% of the time – heart-shaped silver drop earrings and a long silver necklace with stars studded along the length. But again – no one else would really “get” that unless I told you! I really love that about this cover. You can see those in the close-up face shot below.

The entire cover illustration
When the image of me was signed off, it was time to create the background setting for the rest of the look ‘n feel.
I squealed with sheer delight when I opened our joint Dropbox folder the next morning! OMG. Squeal squeal. I was in awe and sat there grinning from ear to ear. Complete with “me” in the foreground, against an explosion of a global, waterside café in a sepia wash with line drawings. I mean, look at all those buildings showcasing global travels…! Plus there was suddenly a gorgeous dress – and it took me a while to realise what had inspired that fabric – my own kaftan bought when I worked with the YPO in Saudi Arabia that she had seen in our dropbox folder! See below.

Brand alignment
I LOVED IT – and at the same time I had to tap into the fact that my brand is all about simplicity, minimalistic, decluttering, lightness and space. The gorgeous background scene was just waaaaaaay too busy for my book cover. Covers have to speak volumes in terms of the actual genre and the essential message of the book and also work as a thumbnail image on Amazon / online. I double-checked my thinking with my awesome, long-standing designer, Megan from Megan Barber Designs who would be pulling it all together and designing the full final cover. She 100% confirmed my initial thinking -too busy for me and what the book portrays as its core message. Darn.

Shannan was SO easy to work with and never took anything I said about the design personally. We discussed how could we pare it down but still keep the look and feel elements. Then, off she would go to re-draw. We went back and forth about what made it cluttered.

Was it simply the placement of the water and what if it was on the opposite side of the image? No.
Was it too much busy-ness in the café scene? Yes.
Was there just too much of the background in general? Yes.
But did I love the skyline? Oh yes!
Sleeping kitty? Definitely yes!

So for about 48 hours we went back and forth and then realised we could take the elements of the skyline buildings and use them on the BACK cover eventually. The cat could still appear lazing on the chair, the background could be all B/W line drawings on white to reduce the visual noise, and we totally pared down the café elements. Below are the final elements we went with – clean and simple! Spot the kitty, vino and coffee! Also, the way Shannan “doodled” it, it could be any cafe anywhere in the world, rather than location-specific, right?!

Maybe you will meet for coffee in Greece, Italy, Spain, Canada, Franschoek?

I was, and am, totally smitten with my cover!!!

Power of feedback:
I was about to sign the image off when I paused for a moment and showed it to Sarah, my honest business partner I mentioned earlier. While I was knee-deep in publishing this book, she was on a massive deadline ghostwriting a celebrity memoir. I had not shown her anything up to that point. She said, “Kate, this is absolutely amazing BUT you just look too young. You and all the other nomads you interviewed are all over 40 – but ‘you’ look 20.”

Oops – I hadn’t even realized this, as I was just so starry-eyed. Some appropriate lines were added to show my realistic laugh lines and creases, but still keeping the whole look light and bright. It just made it more authentic! Below is a close-up screenshot:) Great way to see the heart and stars I told you about too. The power of objective feedback from others is vital in any book process! To that end, we even have what we call “Feedback Friday’s” for writers in our community to get objective eyes.

Shannan gave me all the final versions required for the designer, payment was made and the next design step kicked in.

Final book cover
Next, I moved onto the elements I understand really well, that of the final cover design. There are always two parts to consider for a book cover
1. The eBook version that only requires the front cover image
2. The printed paperback version requires a full back, front and spine for the cover.

I knew the eBook cover could NOT contain the skyline buildings element and was cool with that. Megan sent through several initial options of fonts and design for the title, subtitle, and author name. I loved 90% of them, which made it a bit harder to choose. Go back to what matters – the fonts and design have to elevate the illustration and speak to your brand elements, but also be super legible and speak to the buyer/reader!

It all has to work as ONE beautiful cover that tells a story.

I loved seeing the skyline elements come to life on the final cover design, but nothing beats getting the first book IN your paws and being able to see it in front of your eyes. For me as an author that is one of the best moments in life. Unwrapping your book for the first time!

I have had such wonderful responses to the cover – everyone just loves the energy it gives off. I am so pleased I spent the time and money gifting myself this- it was fun and I feel it showcases the content of the book alongside my brand motto. If you know anyone who wants some inspiration to pack up, live light, and figure out how to work around the world, you can grab the book here on Amazon and 10% of all sales are donated to the wonderful company called The Future Forest Company, and all sales help plant trees on the island of Mull, West Coast Scotland

What are YOU going to do with your book cover to help it fly off the shelves when the time comes?

Fancy joining us on a Writing Retreat?
If you want to join us on a writing retreat somewhere in the world, take a look here. We host them in Greece, Italy, Spain, Scotland, South Africa and Italy – yes, we are gearing up for some safe travels this year!

Hope to meet you soon,
Love Kate

P.S What is a scamp?
Well to put it simply, a scamp is a drawing, or sketch of an idea. These, are created to bring to life and visualise your idea and share them with others. Now a scamp can be a quick idea you had in a coffee shop, a simple doodle on a handkerchief, or a full blow colour work of art. Scamps are used in the industry to communicate an idea, and depending on how much you want to communicate you can draw your scamp accordingly. My experience with scamps is to draw out a design, or composition where it is passed on to other design professionals like a photographer who will use the scamp as a reference to get the right angle or a picture close to what I want that will work in the main design. I may have to sketch a magazine layout, or paper fold idea to get sign-off from a creative director or client. Thanks to https://garethdavidstudio.com/