#SoCS Stream of Consciousness Saturday ‘The Question is Who, and the answer is…’ #SaturdayThoughts #Tanka

This post was written in response to Linda Hill’s weekly Stream of Consciousness Saturday prompt. 

 This week’s prompt for Stream of Consciousness Saturday Linda has asked us to begin a post starting with the word ‘who’. Join in and have fun!

This morning, as I do most mornings, as part of my morning routine, I wrote my morning pages. There are many ways to write your morning pages, more in tomorrow’s post, but for me it’s just one page of free writing which takes about ten minutes to write in my journal. This morning I responded to Linda’s prompt and started with the word ‘who’. Here’s what I wrote.

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Click on the link to listen to the podcast The Question is ‘Who’, and the Answer is…. 

 

Who said life would be easy, or fun, or even interesting?

Who told you all your dreams would come true?

Who predicted true love and happiness were in your path?

Perhaps it was your parents, or a TV ad or programme, or a grandparent, friend, teacher, or even a therapist?

Or maybe You decided that You were worth it, that You were enough, that it was You who foretold and visualised your future and then made it come true by turning wishes into goals with careful planning, perseverance, hard work, motivation and determination? And why not? A little help along the way.

It was You who made the promises, and it is You who can make them come true.

Who said it was possible, valuable and deserved? You

Who said it was impossible, worthless or undeserved? You

Who is right either way? You

It is always You. So, believe in yourself, work on yourself, plan to make your dreams become goals and make them come true, because your life is a gift, and You have the power; it’s in your hands.

The question is WHO, and the answer is YOU.


Writing this post has reminded me of the poem Invictus by William Ernest Henley.

Here’s the last stanza:

It matters not how strait the gate,
      How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate,
      I am the captain of my soul.

I Hope you’re having a wonderful Saturday! Take care and stay safe.

February Full Moon #Blogging Goals Update 2021 #Blogger #amblogging #MondayBlogs #MondayMotivation

The second full moon of 2021 was two days ago, the 27th of February, it’s called snow moon, and it still looked full last night when I wrote this post.

On the last full moon, in January, I told you about my blogging goals for the next six months, so here’s my monthly update.

I did a great deal of planning in January, regarding all my goals, which I divided into five categories: mind, body, soul, career and hobbies, for the first half of the year.

I’ve never been so disciplined before, but I had the feeling that since I retired in September 2019, although I had a lot more time, I wasn’t using it as productively as I’d like.

Unfortunately, 2020 was a tough year until September, so all my plans went literally down the drain. Covid-19 was only partly to blame. There were family and health issues with my mother, my daughters and my husband that had to be addressed, and are now fortunately, if not completely resolved, at least much improved.

So, although I started plotting and planning my goals in September 2020 in a desperate bid to take control of my life, the process culminated in January 2021 when I chose my three words for the year which are: Believe, Routine and Gratitude. 

Because I agree with Hal Elrod’s equation in The Morning Miracle for Writers that Unwavering Faith, or belief in myself and my projects, and Extraordinary Effort, by means of a strict routine, will lead to Miracles, or in earthly terms, reaching my goals.

I had already started reading books on personal growth and time management, many of which I’ve shared on my blog. As a result of some much needed introspection about what I wanted the rest of my life to look like, I decided to take the following actions:

1- Design a unique morning and evening routine that works for me (I designed it in January and I’ve been doing it regularly during February).

2- Keep a record of everything I do in one notebook, including my ‘done list’ and my ‘to do list’ (I’ve been doing this for some time, but I’ve perfected the strategy in February).

3- Establish and keep to a blogging and writing routine (I started following it as strictly as possible, this month).

4- Write out my goals for 2021, including identifying my ‘whys’, ‘strategies’ and ‘timelines’. I wanted to make sure I was doing at least one little thing every day towards my goals (I did this in September, although there were some minor updates in January).

To keep track of my goals and hold myself accountable, I use:

A Vision Book, which is an A4 sized plastic folder including my routines, goals, affirmations, monthly calendars and other important or motivating pictures, quotes, poems, and pages.

A Daily Journal, which is a simple 9×6 inch, soft-bound, spiral, lined notebook, which is by my side all day. It has my done and to do list, and any notes I make during the day, poems, ideas, etc.

My Morning and Evening and Gratitude Journal. I have a larger, 12-inch notebook for this as I only use it twice a day and I don’t carry it around.

My Monthly Calendar pages for overall planning. These go in my vision book.

Here’s a video by Marisa Peer about vision boards and journaling which can give you some ideas on how to use them.

So, for my monthly update on my goals:

Career: So far I’ve kept to my planned Blogging Schedule.

I’m a week behind my writing schedule because I started using word365, which caused havoc with my previous word documents, but I think I’ve managed to get the hang of it!

Mind: I’ve read  8-10 books this month, including personal growth and fiction, and I’ve also watched experts on life and health on YouTube channels. I’ve been improving my German with audio courses, short stories and a great YouTube channel Easy German.

Body: I’ve kept to a healthy diet, walked an average of 5kms a day, plus my morning exercise routine and some indoor biking, and ping pong, too.

Soul: I’ve kept my gratitude diary, recited my affirmations, I’ve been meditating regularly, still for short periods, but I’m getting there.

Hobbies: I’ve taken plenty of photos, gone for walks in the countryside, cooked some new dishes, and I’ve kept in touch with friends online.

Overall, February has been a busy and productive month and I feel that following my planned routines, has increased my self-esteem and belief in myself, and daily gratitude journaling is helping me stay motivated and on track to reach my goals.

How are your goals coming along?

Do you plan them out months or weeks ahead? 

Let me know in the comments!

#SundayWalks Last Day of #January #Haiku ‘7 things that happened in January’

Blue sky, bare branches,

Last day of January,

Why am I not sad? 

Seven things that happened in January 

Lots of things happened in January, but here are seven I’d like to share with you!  

  1. My six-month-old grandson laughed for the first time when he saw me on a phone screen!
  2. My brilliant daughter completed her Master’s Thesis.
  3. I’ve planned my blog posts for the next few months.
  4. I’ve prepared a goal journal with my goals and strategies for 2021.  
  5. My supportive and insightful editor returned my manuscript of Blood Moon at Eyre Hall. 
  6. I sent query letters, synopsis and first pages of The Ghost Wife, a contemporary romantic suspense, to four literary agents.
  7. I’ve watched the four seasons of The Last Kingdom on Netflix and started reading the books by Bernard Cornwell.

How was your January?

 

#Haiku ‘Resilience’ #ThursdayPhotoThoughts #January2021

Photo from Pixabay

I received this image as a recommendation from Pixabay, which is a wonderful site where many generous amateur and professional photographers offer their photos at no cost (there are also photos you have to pay for).

The image immediately brought words and thoughts to my mind, which I’ve captured and made into a haiku.

January has always been a tough month for me for many reasons, mainly the anticlimax after the Christmas and New Year Holidays, the return to work, the cold temperatures, and this year there is the added challenge because of covid restrictions and worries.

Fortunately, there are only ten more days to get to February, a nice, short month which leads on to March and the promise of spring. So hang on in there!

This January I’m giving myself time to plan. I’m still organising the year ahead, trying to establish and follow a blog and writing schedule, as well as a daily routine that works for me. But it’s an ongoing process because there’s a lot on my plate; a new novel in my Eyre Hall series and a box set, new blog features, looking into traditionally publishing a contemporary romantic thriller I finished last year, and so on.

I’m sowing seeds, despite the snow. Who knows which ones will grow and when? But life’s like that, nothing is guaranteed and yet everything is possible. That’s January for you!

How is your January going?

Full Moon Rituals and #Tanka #WednesdayThoughts #WWWBlogs

The moon shone last night

Like a beacon in the sky,

I watched, mesmerised,

As she glided serenely,

Granting my dreams and  wishes.

I took these photos last night, from the window of my study, as I was editing one of my almost finished novels. It’s not full yet, the Harvest Moon will be tomorrow, 1st of October, but it was so mesmerising that I started on my monthly full moon ritual, which I’d like to share with you today.

Firstly, I’d like to say that although I haven’t copied it from anyone, I can’t say I’ve invented a ritual to the full moon, which is something that has been happening, in one way or another, probably since the first human looked up and saw this beautiful planet (I know some experts say it isn’t a planet, but others do, and I’m not going to get into a semantic or scientific argument here, I’ll just go ahead and call it a planet, because I want to endow it with all the majesty it deserves).

I usually feel energised and optimistic around a full moon, especially as I’m able to watch it shrink and grow every night, as I live in the south of Spain, where the sky is often clear. So, I seize this welcome enthusiasm to boost my creativity and I also reflect on the past month and plan my goals for the month ahead.

I’m going to share my own 3-step ritual, which I’ve developed over some years. It works for me, and maybe it will work for you, as it is, or with some adaptations to your lifestyle and preferences.

I use the words goals and wishes interchangeably, depending on my mood, but I think we’re all aware that a wish is a goal without a plan and a wish really needs to have a plan to happen.

I open a notebook I keep for this sole purpose and follow this simple but empowering process.

Step one: Major Goals / Wishes

I think carefully about what I want to accomplish in the coming months and write down three goals or wishes with three main words only (articles, prepositions etc. don’t count).

It’s really important to be specific and clear. This step usually takes the longest because often we’re not really sure of what it is we want exactly, and that may be why we never achieve it!

Here are three examples:

  • Balance Mind and Body
  • Finsh my Ongoing novels
  • Improve my relationship with my sister

This first step is the most general, but it’s important think carefully about what you want to achieve and be specific.

Step Two

Take each goal and set three sub goals. That means three things you must do to achieve the major goal.

So for example for goal number 1: Balance Mind and Body, your three sub-goals might be:

  • Take a 30 minute walk
  • Eat a healthy diet, and
  • Challenge your mind to grow

Step Three

The next step is to take each sub goal and write three more sub goals for each one.

So the whole thing would look like this:

1.     Balance Mind and Body

1.1 Take a 30 minute walk 1.2 Eat a healthy Diet 1.3 Challenge your Mind to Grow
1.1.1 Buy suitable shoes and clothes

1.1.2 Set a time for walking

1.1.2 Prepare a playlist or audiobook

1.2.1 Find out about sensible diets

1.2.2 Buy specific book/s

1.2.3 Plan a weekly diet

 

1.3.1 Listen to a Ted Talk and comment

1.3.2 Read a self-help book

1.3.3 Learn a new language/hobby

2.     Finish my ongoing novel

2.1 Set a time to write 2.2 Activate my creativity 2.3 Read a variety of genres
2.1.1 Collect notes and outlines

2.1.2 Reread everything I’ve written

2.1.3 Plan my next steps

2.2.1 Start writing morning pages

2.2.2 Interview my characters about novel

2.2.3 Journal with questions before sleeping

2.3.1 Read similar books to my own

2.3.2 Read latest bestseller

2.3.3 Read a completely different genre

3.     Improve my relationship with my sister

3.1.Make Contact regularly 3.2 Set up a monthly meeting 

 

3.3 Understand my negative emotions

 

3.1.1 Send weekly text-message

3.1.2 Phone every 8-10 days

3.1.3. Remember significant dates

3.2.1 Invite her to a family lunch

3.2.2 Ask her to go shopping with you

3.2.3 Visit a common relative together

 

3.3.1 Investigate about sibling relationships

3.3.2 Write an imaginary dialogue with sister

3.3.3 Learn about meditation and relaxation

All in all you have 39 general and specific goals, which will help you achieve your dreams/wishes/goals.

I don’t usually prepare a chart like this one, I did that for your benefit, so it would look clearer, but I’m actually thinking of using it myself!

What I do is write each goal and sub goal on a new page and include notes as I revise, which I do regularly, including new ideas and acievements.

At least once a month when there is a new full moon, I revise my goals, reset or modify and do the same process all over again.

It does take time, I usually take a couple of evenings at least. You’ll find that most of the time is devoted to thinking and writing goals with clarity, there is a great power to writing it all down and holding yourself accountable for what you do to fulfill your dreams, because it’s not enough to just look at the moon and wish, you really have to do something about achieving it, too!

Finally, I’ve learnt never to be hard on myself, sometimes things don’t work out as planned, life happens, there are hold-ups and changes of plan, that’s why I revise and go ahead. Life is a journey, not a destination.

My #GAPP_Week 4th July 2016

My #Gapp_Week 4th July

Gratitude: I’m Grateful for the summer holidays, for the lovely weather, for being able to rest and do my own thing (which is reading, writing, blogging and playing with my grandchildren) for six weeks!

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Achievement: I’m really pleased that I was able to wrap up everything at work. My work desk had been a mess all month due to end of term exams, evaluations, and final paperwork, but I managed to get it all sorted out.

Final staff meeting. The final report was typed up shortly after!

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I’m Proud of helping my colleague prepare his exam for a permanent teaching post. He has a temporary post at my school. I only met him five months ago, and he’s a hard-working and enthusiastic teacher who deserves to pass, but he needed a little help with some of the theory and encouragement for the exam.

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I also helped another colleague correct exams, because she was very busy with personal matters. She’s also one of my best friends, and you may think that doesn’t count, but it does. Friendship has to be nurtured, and friends shouldn’t be taken for granted.

Here are my two colleagues in another staff meeting. We were actually working, but we have so much fun!

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I’ve also posted some reviews on amazon for authors I don’t personally know or interact with. We all know how important reviews are for both readers and authors.

I looked after my grandson last Monday, while his parents were working. I don’t help them as often as I’d like to because I’m working full-time, so I’m pleased to help out when I’m on holiday. I’m not sure I’ve put this in the right slot, because really it’s a pleasure to look after Alex. I’m grateful for the games we play and the laughter we share.

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        Painting in the patio!

PLANS: My plans for next week are to finish proof-reading the print copy of my third novel…

Lucy Editing

Write some overdue reviews…

write-a-review

Tidy up my study at home, which is a terrible mess!

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What about you?

Join in, pingback and read other GAPP_Weeks.

Or just read and comment, if you prefer 🙂

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RULES (short version, longer version here):

Few rules. Life has enough of them!

1- Tell us about your GAPP_Week.

  • What are you GRATEFUL for? Beautiful yet simple things which make life wonderful.
  • What have you ACHIEVED? Things that you’ve done for yourself .
  • What are you PROUD of? Things you’ve done for others.
  • What are your PLANS for next week? Doable and simple, realistic steps towards your goals.

2- Pingback to Lucy’s GAPP_Week weekly post on my blog.

3- Add #GAPP_Week to your post title.

If you like, you can:

  • Write four sentences, 400 words, or 4,000 words!
  • Add pictures.
  • Join in every week, or whenever you like.
  • Write your post on Monday, or any other day of the week.
  • Check out other posts.
  • Add the logo to your post or to your page (when it’s available. I’m working on that!)
  • Retweet as much as you like!

Happy #GAPP_Week!

I do like Mondays! #Gapp_Week @Gapp_Week

Modern blogging started in the last decade of the 20th century. It evolved from an online diary, where people shared their thoughts, reflection and lives publicly on the Internet through the use of Blogs, derived as we all know from the terms web (World Wide Web) + log (as in diary).  Some blogs were focused on news, others on fashion, literature, the arts, education, or just bloggers’ own random thoughts.

blogging image

I haven’t actually done much of that type of blogging. I do have some personal posts, but I wouldn’t call them a diary because they’re not consistent in theme or regular in their publication. They simply crop up now and again, and they’re closely related to my writer’s life, not my personal or private life.

Well, I’ve decided that’s going to change. I’m going to give real blogging, as in diary blogging, a go, at least until December, and probably longer, I hope…

The idea behind this (very) personal blogging initiative is that I believe I (and we) can improve our lives through consciously and publicly striving for a better quality of life for ourselves and those we interact with.

I’ll be channelling my random thoughts into four basic pillars and I hope you’ll join me:

1. The first pillar is Gratitude. The benefits of gratitude have been widely discussed by people who are much more qualified than me on this topic. If you’re not convinced, you can type ‘the benefits of gratitude’ and you’ll find plenty of pages. One of my favourite is the great Deepak Chopra: A two and a half-minute explanation. ‘We are all made of stardust’. I love it. If you want to read more about his theories here are his books. Here’s his amazon author page    

Gratitude Chopra

The first question I’m going to answer is: What am I GRATEFUL for?

Things that made me smile, laugh, feel good. It could be a phone call from a friend, a hug from my son/grandson, a beautiful sunset….

2. The second pillar is Achievement. Each week I need to feel I’ve progressed at least a little, because I’m nearer to accomplishing my goals. I need to identify the steps I’ve taken and the things I’m proud of having achieved. I need to feel I’m moving on, progressing, getting better. I need to believe in myself and encourage myself by pointing out my achievements.

IMG_20160704_100456

Let’s think about what we’ve ACHIEVED? Things that you’ve done for yourself that you’re happy about. Perhaps you wrote 1,000 words of your novel, learnt something new, finished reading a book, ran a mile!

3. The third pillar is Pride in doing things for others. Paying it Forward or Random Acts of Kindness.

Our interaction with world shouldn’t be selfish. We need to help others creating a pay it forward chain. The third pillar is Pride in helping others. What are you PROUD of? Things you’ve done for others. Perhaps you’ve listened to a friend who needed to chat?, written a review for an indie author’s book you enjoyed, helped a student with their homework, held someone’s hand when they were ill, helped someone who was lost or couldn’t speak your language very well?

Make sure you do random things for people who are not necessarily your family and friends, but of course kindness to them is also included!

We can all make the world a better place if we each try. The ripple effect starts with one person.

Pay it forward

Planning ahead in small steps. Instead of ‘Find a Job’, which is a long-term goal, think of smaller, but vital things you can do to get there such as, update my CV, or search online for places to send my CV, or look for a training course to do while I find a new job…

Goals

What are your PLANS for next week? What would you like to achieve for yourself and do for others. Thinking about this can help you write next weeks’ Achieved and Proud. Every large goal is achieved by a series of smaller steps. Think  of doable, realistic steps towards your goals.

Single step

How is this going to become a reality? We need something tangible. Something we can look back on and think about at a later date, so we need to write it down.

My Gapp_Week Jar

I saw this idea in January. Everyone writes New Year’s Resolutions, but what about being grateful every day for a year and reading all your gratitude notes on 31st of December.

Happy-New-Year-2016-Wishes-Greetings-7

I thought about this a lot, and while it’s a good idea, I wanted to make it into something that would help me keep my life in a more general perspective. I’ve come up with a similar idea. Below is my jar with my first Gapp_Week post-it, neatly folded inside. I plan to add one each week and open it to read them whenever I need reminding that life has lots of wonderful things we sometimes forget about.

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If this doesn’t work for you, that’s fine. Yo can use a diary or notebook to jot down your GAPP_Week pillars, or simply use twitter, or your blog. Whatever works for you. You might like to show us a picture of what you’ll be using to keep track, a jar or a notebook.

Why Mondays?

Well, let’s face it, Monday isn’t the most popular day of the week! It’s a good day to get some good vibrations going. Reminding ourselves of the positive things we’ve done the previous week and planning ahead for the following week could help increase our motivation. It might even be a wise idea to plan or write it on Sunday evening and post on Monday…

101059-i-love-mondays

I think it will help me be happy and focus on what I want and do what I need to do in order to be a better and happier person. It’s a big aim, but I’ll be taking it in small steps.

To sum up. I want us (you and me) to concentrate on four simple, but vital aspects of our lives every week to help us on our way to a better and happier life.

Do you want to join in?

RULES (short version, longer explanation above):

Few rules. Life has enough of them!

1- Tell us about your GAPP_Week.

  • What are you GRATEFUL for? Beautiful yet simple things which make life wonderful.
  • What have you ACHIEVED? Things that you’ve done for yourself .
  • What are you PROUD of? Things you’ve done for others.
  • What are your PLANS for next week? Doable and simple, realistic steps towards your goals.

2- Pingback to Lucy’s GAPP_Week weekly post on my blog.

3- Add #GAPP_Week to your post title.

If you like, you can:

  • Write four sentences, 400 words, or 4,000 words!
  • Add pictures.
  • Join in every week, or whenever you like.
  • Write your post on Monday, or any other day of the week.
  • Check out other posts.
  • Add the logo to your post or to your page (when it’s available. I’m working on that!)
  • Retweet as much as you like!

I’ll be including my #GAPP_Week for 4th July in the following post.

What do you think of this idea? Any suggestions?

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