Might, could or if

Have newspapers changed their criteria?  Dramatic headlines shout at you from the stalls to entice you to buy a copy which you then take home to read.   What a disappointment that turns out to be.

You start at the beginning and go through each page searching for something that has a ring of truth stamped through it from start to finish.  By then you realise you have fallen into the ‘might,could or if’ trap that is so beloved of editors. 

‘Hold the front page’ I hear them cry in my mind.  ‘Heres’ something that is potentially sensational.  The truth is a mere detail so let’s cover ourselves with a few mights, or could be’s and we can virtually create what we like’.  Because it might happen like this or it could be the result of that or if this was applicable ….. you can enter anything that you damn well please!

Somewhere in between all those ‘mights, coulds or if’s’ there is a speck of a real story.  But not enough is known to ensure that it will capture Joe Public’s attention so it requires a verbal paintbrush to paint a picture in the imagination.

Poetic licence via the Brothers Grimm or Hans Christian Anderson.

Well I for one have had enough.  I don’t want the news hidden amongst a plethora of fairy stories.  I want to read facts and figures.  I don’t want celebrities thrust at me from any angle the camera catches them in.

I want real people, real stories and real news.  I like the puzzle page.  I don’t expect the whole paper to be like a treasure hunt where I forage for the scraps hidden in the mire.

Give me the facts and I will make my own decisions on what or what might not be the outcome.  When I get a nose ring fitted I’ll let you know.  Then I’ll be ready for you to lead by the nose.

What price does integrity come these days?  It’s appears to be a lot less than sensationalism but maybe it’s just me!

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Life’s reflections

Isn’t the universe amazing.  Everywhere you go, if you look for it, you will find reflections of how you are living your life.

Today’s tale ‘A walk in the mountains’ by an unknown author illustrates this fact perfectly.  Reflect and enjoy.

A son and his father were walking in the mountains.  Suddenly, his son falls, hurts himself and screams: “AAAhhhhhhhhhhh!!!”

To his surprise, he hears the voice repeating, somewhere in the mountain: “AAAhhhhhhhhhhh!!!”

Curious, he yells: “Who are you?”  He receives the answer: “Who are you?”

Angered at the response, he screams: “Coward!”  He receives the answer: “Coward!”

He looks to his father and asks: “What’s going on?”  The father smiles and says: “My son, pay attention.”

And then he screams to the mountain: “I admire you!”  The voice answers: “I admire you!”

Again the man screams: “You are a champion!”  The voice answers: “You are a champion!”

The boy is surprised, but does not understand.

Then the father explains: “People call this ECHO, but really this is LIFE.  It gives you back everything you say or do.

Our life is simply a reflection of our thoughts ad our actions.  If you want more love in the world, create more love in your heart.  If you want more proficiency in your life, be more proficient by improving your skills.

This relationship applies to everything, in all aspects of life;  Life will give you back everything you have given to it.”


Reflection is what you see.  Add your feelings into the mix and you have the most effective means of knowing what’s working for you and what isn’t.

You can instantly up your game by deciding that no matter what’s going on in your life you are going to do the best you can within the best that’s on offer.  And nobody can ask for more than that can they.

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Being honest with myself

I’ve been writing this website for about 6 months now and can honestly say I’m loving the freedom to share inside-out living (as defined by the three principles) with whoever finds this blog.

At the end of each post there is the facility for others to leave comments – good, bad or indifferent – I welcome them all.

But I am not being honest with myself.  And it’s time to come clean.  You may or may not know that I invested heavily in internet marketing training a couple of years ago.

The course was overpriced and over my head.  But it wasn’t wasted.  From it I learnt how to manage the content on my websites.  Even put up a simple website of my own.

Knowledge is freedom and I am grateful for it every day.  I also learned what an internet marketeer does to drive visitors to his site and encourage people to buy.  Bear with me it is relevant!

One way is to write comments on other blogs with a link to your own site.  Driving traffic is huge in internet marketing.  No visitors means no customers means no sales.

I know this and yet I still managed to persuade myself that some of the comments that I have been getting are genuine.  Not so – 99.9% of them are pure spam. 

I still have faith that one or two of them are genuine and from real readers of this blog and that have found the posts useful.

But I know that I have not been honest with myself.  The 99.9% spam comments that I have willingly let through have been sheer vanity.  I’ve liked what they said and let them in.

But no more.  I have come to my senses and realised that every single one of those spam comments are related to my wanting proof that others have actually read what I have written.

So I sat myself down and asked myself ‘If nobody reads your blog ever, would you continue to write it?’  The answer was a resounding yes.

It was yes because I love writing it.  I love getting my tips on inside-out living out there on the world wide web.  Comments are a bonus but they are not the reason I write.

I don’t need others approval of what I am trying to do.  Which is to share what I have learned and am still learning about living a life from the inside-out.  Positive Living at it’s best.

Being true to myself is a vital component of inside-out living.  Without it I would be at the mercy of others opinions, others decisions on what they think is best for my well being plus loss of confidence in my ability to live my own life.

The wake up call for me came when the spam comments started to rise with 20 or 30 arriving in the box every day.  So many of them were the same words with only the sender and the link being different.

The people who are being paid to send them (for most internet marketeers usually outsource this activity) have gone into spam overdrive.

I for one am truly grateful for their activity.  When it was just the odd comment coming through I felt uncomfortable but could live with it.  Being snowed under has made me sit up and face the truth that I was not being honest with myself.

Here’s the thing.  When you need, rather than just invite the approval and comments of others to make you feel good you are giving away your freedom to do, be or have whatever you want.

It’s just too big a price to pay isn’t it.

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Letting go

I was watching an old film the other day where one of the characters had to make a decision with regards to someone she loved.  Her mother ask her gently ‘Do you love him enough to let him go?’  It’s a good question.

It got me thinking.  What if I turned that on it’s head and asked myself ‘Do I love myself enough to let go?’ Let go of what is the next question.

Where do I start?  What about memories.  I have so many memories and they remind me of all the times in my life when I have loved, laughed, cried, raged, sulked or any of the emotions that have flittered from one extreme to the other.

What am I getting from bringing out the negative emotions that remind me of who I was being at that time?  Not to get too big for my boots.  Not to expect too much.  To be afraid of losing what I have.  Not being good enough.

Like chains that wind around my heart they hold me back.  They are the little voices that try to remind me of all the times it hasn’t worked.  Don’t get me wrong.  The times it has worked then fight for attention, to remind me not to stop but to look at something in a new way.

But it can be exhausting.  Listening to my thoughts as they jockey for attention.  Enough is enough – it’s only thoughts of distant memories after all.

And this takes me back to the original questions ‘do I love myself enough to let go?’  If it’s another person outside of myself then I can make a decision based on my experience and knowledge.

Funny enough I love my friends and family enough to let them go.  It’s taken me a while to reach that place where it’s enough to know that they will always live in my heart even when we are not in each others vision.  Some are easier to to let go of than others.

But the inside me.  The one that hangs on to old fears, old emotions and old hurts – that’s another story.  On some level I believe I deserved to be afraid, to be emotional or to be hurt.

I should amend that to it used to be true.  I know better now.  I know it’s just my subconscious mind trying it’s best to protect me in the way it knows best.

I want new experiences.  I want new friends, new projects, new stimulus.  I want to experience and live my life.  I don’t want to live it through old memories good or bad.

So yes.  I have discovered that I love myself enough to let go of all the memories that have held me back.  I’ve looked at them, thanked them for being part of my past, part of me and set them free.

I saw them as balloons floating off into the sky.  First a riot of colour as they drifted upwards gradually shrinking to small pin pricks that disappeared.  When they had gone I felt great.  I felt as if a weight had been lifted.

Are you willing to look at your life in the same way?  Could you ask yourself ‘do I love myself enough to let go?’ How amazing to discover that chains can be broken just by being willing to ask yourself the question.

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Choosing your words

It’s very easy to say something that we later regret.  Sometimes it happens so quickly that we don’t always see it coming.

I like the story below as it resonated with some of the times when I have spoken without thinking and then wished the earth would open and just swallow me!

‘A farmer insulted his neighbor. Realizing his mistake, he went to the preacher to ask for forgiveness. The preacher told him to take a bag of feathers and drop them in the center of town.

The farmer did as he was told. Then the preacher asked him to go and collect the feathers and put them back in the bag. The farmer tried but couldn’t as the feathers had all blown away.

When he returned with the empty bag, the preacher said, “The same thing is true about your words. You dropped them rather easily but you cannot retrieve them, so be very careful in choosing your words.”‘

The more I understand inside out living the more I think about what I want to say.  I don’t want to give my view or opinion with a negative twist.

You know the sentence that somehow contrives to make the other person less than what you have to offer.  Even if it is fantastic.  Truth is – it may not be fantastic for everyone.

I’d much rather find a way to re-frame it so that it gives the other person a chance to accept or reject.  I’d much rather be part of an interesting discussion that respects and listens to everyone’s points of view.

It’s so easy to get protective over our own beliefs, interests and what’s worked to the exclusion that something else might work too.

Football, politics and religion are the biggest examples of what ingrained thoughts can lead to.  Just thinking about them can bring insults to mind!

It’s just not worth it.  Any words that can cause me to get all hot and bothered usually turn out to be a load of hot air anyway. 

Just opinions.  Just beliefs.  Just what’s true for each individual.  Just as I own my own opinions, beliefs and what’s true for me so does every other person alive.

Truth is it’s all just thoughts.  It only becomes real when we make it real.  I’d rather be sharing my thoughts than dropping bricks any day of the week.  How about you?

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Servicing and sorting

It’s been a busy week.  My neck of the woods has missed most of the snow so business as usual for me.  Monday meant lunch with a friend in Maldon and a quick recce of the shops to see what’s new.  Nice and easy with yummy food.  Oh and great conversation to help it all flow.

Tuesday I attended a workshop in Chelmsford so I decided to get the bus.  Big mistake.  Simple enough to get to Chelmsford but no buses to the Widford Business Estate where the workshop was being held.  A nice brisk walk was in order and thankfully I wasn’t late.

Great workshop where we all shared tips, listened to a short presentation followed by small groups where we presented a challenge.  The others in our group then made suggestions which we were free to accept or reject.  Lots of energy and everyone left feeling like they had done something positive towards their business.  It’s a great formula.

Food and friends at the  Lion Inn, Boreham in the evening.  That place is always busy, always buzzing.  Food was good as always.  Friends were fantastic – only see them about 3 times a year so had to make the most of the evening.

Wednesday, Thursday and Friday were a blur of business, fun and whatever turned up.  Hectic in other words.  Saturday the boiler man arrived to service said machine so up and dressed really early.  Wasn’t even sure he’d make it with all the weather that’s occuring at the moment.

I’m one of those who listen to the weatherman and believe him.  Stopped me in my tracks because he told me to stay indoors and keep warm.  It’s just me though because the rest of the world carries on and works around it.  I’ll have to practice not being so literal if such a thing is possible.

Anyway the cupboard where the boiler is had to be emptied out so Neil could get to it.  This was a blessing in disguise.  After Neil had finished instead of piling them all back in I took the time to sort through them.  Sorting is great.  There’s something about clearing out old tat that frees you up.

It’s as if getting shot of the clutter lightens you up.  Don’t get me wrong.  I still have piles and piles of clutter.  It’s so hard to throw away treasured memories.  But why do I need a hundred reminders when one or two will do the same job?

It’s the sorting through that I can’t face.  But nevertheless I did a sterling job over the weekend with all the crap in the cupboard upstairs where the boiler lives these days.  Now all I have to do is get stuck into the rubbish in my office.  Do I really need reminders of the early days of my business?

No so this week I shall breathe deeply, take the bull by the horns and dive in.  Maybe I should shred the pile that’s in front of me first.  No I’ll carry on sorting.  No better shred – oh somebody shot me please!

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Heart felt willingness

Winston Churchill said ‘We make a living by what we get,  but we make a life by what we give’.  There’s a subtle difference in that statement that resonates throughout all the areas in your life.  But can you see what it is?

Most days you are working towards getting all the things you have identified as being important to you.  Depending on your income it can be as simple as the food on your plate to the latest must have TV.  Not that food is always simple as the variety and cost can start at pennies and spiral upwards.  It all depends on what you want and what you can get.

Other things you are looking to get could be new friends or fun with old ones.  Family outings or visits.  A new relationship with someone special.  Medicine for ongoing conditions.  The list of what you are looking to get is endless.  It’s what gives the word living meaning to you.

There’s one common denominator that links all your ‘gets’ and that is the fact that every single one of the things you are getting comes from outside of you.  They all add something special to the mix but they all rely on being found or acquired.  They exist on the outside of you and you have to find them to bring them into your life.

Now look at ‘what we give’.  Giving comes from inside of you.  It all depends on how willing you are to give it as to what sort of life you make for yourself.  Giving means lots of different things to each and every one of us.  A common giving area is charity. 

Some people give money to charity, some give time plus money to charity.  Both are equally good.  Money keeps them going.  Time helps them provide a better service.  The choice is down to the individual as to what they are happy to give.

The key words are ‘happy to give’.  If you are not happy to give then don’t give.  Giving from a place of true willingness that makes you feel glad is a whole different ball game from giving because you feel obliged to.

Obliged to leaves a nasty taste behind that can be hard to wash away. You would be making a life that wasn’t good for your well being.  I’m not suggesting you stop donating just be picky about who you donate to.

Find something that makes your heart sing to be part of it.  Use your Inner Guidance System to identify what make your heart sing. Know that you are making a difference to something that you really care about.  Then feel the difference and know that you are living by what you give rather than existing to benefit others.

Now look at all the areas of your life.  Are you the one in that ends up doing all the rotten stuff because no one else will?  Nothing wrong with that if your heart is singing while you do it because it’s become a labour of love for you.

But if you are going round complaining to yourself (whilst you are giving – whatever that may be) ‘why is it always me’, ‘lazy lot of buggers’ etc then your life will be full of resentment.  Because that resentment spills over to other areas of your life.  Is that really a life to look forward to ad finitum?

No I thought not.  You are worth so much more than that.  But you and only you are the person who calls the shots.  If you really can’t change the circumstances than find a way to love doing it for as long as it is necessary.

The magic of heart felt willingness or drudgery – your choice.

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Going places

I swear transport links in England are conspiring to try and keep us all at home.  Great if that’s where you want to be but a nightmare if you actually want to go further afield.

The past few weekends I have been going up to London for seminars and exhibitions.  Trains being my first port of call I find that the two lines nearest to me both have repair work going on.  Add the underground for good measure and you get the picture.

Why not go by car?  Well with all the repair work going on the roads are jammed tight with others trying to reach their own destinations.

So when I get to London what do I find?  Demonstrations going on – isn’t our freedom of speech wonderful – plus never ending road works – which means some bus routes are diverted.

It’s all a test isn’t it!  To see if I really want to go.  If I am determined to do this thing.  Well yes and no.  I book these events in advance.  I do my research and go for dates with no problems.  Then I discover it was no problems at the time of booking.

Everything changes and my well laid plans are shot to pieces.  Come what may I am going.  Problems or not I am going to those seminars or exhibitions.  I will not be defeated by irritating travel delays.

Saturday was such a day.  I went to the Royal Academy to see the new Treasures from Budapest and the Glasgow Boys exhibitions plus a display of The Illustrators at Chris Beetles gallery in Ryder Street. 

The Budapest exhibition was interesting but too many religious paintings on such gloomy subjects for my liking – are there no happy stories to paint from the Bible I wondered as another bloody body came into view. 

But the bronzes were superb and the Raphael Madonna stunning in it’s simplicity.  I loved the Glasgow Boys because I love that naturalist style of painting. 

The Illustrators exhibition at Chris Beetles was great too.  I would have loved to have bought a couple but they were a bit out of my price range.  Maybe I’ll go back in the new year and see what’s left if I have any money left after Christmas shopping! 

Did I let travel problems spoil my day?  No way.  I had a great time doing what I love – it just took me a bit longer to get there.

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Peace of mind

Peace of mind always gets a high response to the questions ‘what are you looking for?’ or ‘what would make you happy?  With this in mind, I thought you would like to share this story.

“Once Buddha was walking from one town to another town with a few of his followers. This was in his early days. While they were travelling, they happened to pass a lake. They stopped there and Buddha said to one of his disciples, “I am thirsty. Would you get me some water from that lake there.”

The disciple walked up to the lake. When he reached it, he noticed that some people were washing clothes in the water and, right at that moment, a bullock cart started crossing through the lake. As a result, the water became very muddy, very turbid. The disciple thought, “How can I give this muddy water to Buddha to drink!” So he came back and told Buddha, “The water in there is very muddy. I don’t think it is fit to drink.”

After about half an hour, again Buddha asked the same disciple to go back to the lake and get him some water to drink. The disciple obediently went back to the lake. This time he found that the lake had absolutely clear water in it. The mud had settled down and the water above it looked drinkable. So he collected some water in a pot and brought it to Buddha.

Buddha looked at the water, and then he looked up at the disciple and said, “See what you did to make the water clean. You let it be … and the mud settled down on its own – and you got clear water… Your mind is also like that. When it is disturbed, just let it be. Give it a little time. It will settle down on its own. You don’t have to put in any effort to calm it down. It will happen. It is effortless.”

Life appears to be full of worries which plague the mind.  Many turn out to be false worries over what might or might not happen.  What if you decided to just wait and see rather than worry in advance.

The great thing is that when you stop worrying and allow the mind to settle more often than not a solution springs to mind.  A solution to the problem that has been plaguing you.

Not a magic wand that makes circumstances disappear but a practical means of coping that you can put into practice.  Now that’s real magic and helps you to find peace of mind too.

With thanks to Roger Darlington’s World.

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Life’s riches

girl with red ballonWhat is it that you want to bring more of into your life?  What would make your life overflow with richness?  Do you even really know what it is your heart is seeking?

Simple questions that are difficult to answer for a lot of people.  I’m one of them.  It’s difficult to answer because what I want to bring more of into my life changes on a day to day basis.

What if that didn’t matter and I was happy to just bring in more of what I wanted as and when I felt I needed it.  There’s a thought worth exploring.

After all I have different needs and wants depending on what’s going on in my life at any given moment. 

Yesterday I spent the day in London with a friend so I wanted to have fun, enjoy the day, nice food, sunshine – you get my drift.  OK so what could I be sure of.  Well how I felt would indicate whether it would be fun.

It was also up to me to enjoy myself.  Nice food was a possibility but not 100% certain if we had different ideas of what we wanted to eat!  Sunshine in November has long odds and no one can guarantee it – not even the weather experts.

So here’s how the day went.  Trains ran on time so no stress of being late.  Check in and find I’m feeling good.  Quick diversion to say hello to my niece who works in the information kiosk.

Hugs and kisses leave me feeling even better.  Off to meeting point.  Queue up for coffee, sit down to discover I am sitting behind friends I haven’t seen for a few years.  What are the odds on that!

Quick catch up and exchange of phone numbers.  Very nice and feeling very good by now.  My friend arrives.  We sit there catching up on news of shared friends and family.

I share the Socrates triple filter test of truth, usefulness and goodness following a story of one friend who only seems to call when she wants to dish the dirt.  We all know people like that don’t we!  My friend decided that she would try out the triple test for herself which also made me feel like I had been helpful.

I discovered that some of her stories resonated with similar experiences and that she gave me new ways of looking at possible outcomes.  Sharing rocks doesn’t it.

We chose the Grapeshots – a Davy’s bar for lunch only to discover they had a Beaujolais day which included a special lunch offer – very nice it was too.

So in conclusion yesterday my wants were met.  I had fun, I enjoyed the day, I had a great lunch including food for thought.  The sun even came out for a while before the lashings of rain.  All in all I felt good and looked back over the day with pleasure.

Today I am working so my wants are different.  I want peace and quiet to focus on what I am creating.  I want inspiration to help me create seeds of thought for you.  I want time to work though my list of ‘things to do’.

What if I just let myself be guided by how I was feeling?  What would happen if I was happy to focus on whatever I was working on at any given moment?

I’m willing to give it a go.  So far I have peace and quiet with only minor interruptions.  Funny enough they have given me the chance to walk away and reflect on what I’m doing.  Helped me to look at what I actually wanted to share today.

I feel inspired but only you can be the judge of whether it is inspirational for you.  I’m constantly working on letting go of any expectations of what it provides for you.  I guess I can only be the best I can possible be – no more, no less.

What I have found is that trusting my Inner Guidance System and checking in to how I am feeling points me in the right direction.  Always.

I’ve learnt that if I don’t feel right then something is most definately wrong.  I don’t always know what that wrong is.  Rather than stay with feeling wrong I ask myself ‘what if feeling wrong was just a way to show me something I need to know’.

I follow this with whatever pops into my head.  This works for me.  Always.  It may work for you too.

I’ve discovered that life’s riches are bound up with how I am feeling.  Not money in the bank, not sleek cars or nice clothes although sometimes they can help me feel good for a while – my experience is that it’s a transitional feeling connected with circumstances outside of me.  But the feeling does not last.

But when I am connecting with others, sharing, laughing, sitting with them as they share too then something magical happens.  I overflow with the richness of being alive.  Sometimes it’s when I’m on my own just chilling or working on my own stuff.  It just feels good – I still feel connected. 

My heart sings with joy when what I want is created by me.  Part and parcel of how I am feeling at any given moment.  Life’s riches live inside of me.

Your heart can sing too.  You can create more of life’s riches.  You just have to be willing to listen to how you are feeling and do whatever it takes to feel good inside – go on what have you got to lose.

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