Problem Solving

Cheryl Richardson in her book Life Makeovers: 52 Practical and Inspiring Ways To Improve Your Life One Week at a Time suggest that this week you might like to try an experiment. She asks you to pick a problem or challenge and instead of ruminating over and over in your mind about what should be done, ask your relaxed brain to solve the problem while you do something else. Set a specific time for the answer too surface and let it go. Create your own mantra to use when your analytical brain tries to take over and when you’re ready, arrive at the intended result time and see what shows up.

Practicing  this simple exercised on a regular basis will not only teach you to access your inner wisdom, but it will also train your brain to use this method of thinking more often. Once you learn to spend more time in the relaxed mode, you’ll find that your imagination runs wild and your ability to access wisdom happens in a snap.

For best results write in your journal

The problem/challenge or idea that I’ll practice with this week is ………………

When my analytical brain kicks in, I’ll simply say ………………….

I’ll check back in for answers on…………. at ……………

Fulfil Your Goals

Cheryl Richardson in her book Life Makeovers: 52 Practical and Inspiring Ways to Improve Your Life One Week at a Time challenges you to take action to discover how you might need to develop yourself in order to achieve your goal, by trying the following four step process:

  1. Identify someone who is very successfully doing what you’d like to do & write it in your Journal ” One person I admire is ………..”
  2. List three qualities that contribute to this persons success by writing in your Journal “The three qualities I admire most are ……..”
  3. Pick the one quality the one quality you know you need to develop most of all, its the one that causes you to feel excited & scared at the same time. Commit to this by writing in your Journal “The one quality I need to develop is….”
  4. Look for practical ways to develop this quality everyday and write in your Journal “To develop this quality, I will take the following three actions …..”

Creating A Sacred Space

Sarah Ban Breathnach in her book Simple Abundance: A Daybook of Comfort and Joy suggest that today you be open to allowing a creative, sacred space to come into your world. You might like to create a sacred spot to celebrate, concentrate and consecrate your inner work. You don’t have to have a lot of room.  It could be the top of a bureau, a corner of the kitchen or a nook in the hall. She has created a meditation table ( a small blue bench against her bedroom wall). She offers the list below of what sits on her sacred space as inspiration for yours.

  • A small white linen and crochet tablecloth
  • A large golden pillar candle sitting in the centre
  • A Victorian lithograph of an angel, representing the guidance of her guardian angel
  • A print of the Madonna & child in an oval gold frame, representing the male & female natures of divinity.
  • A small gold framed mirror for her authentic meditation.
  • Pictures of her family & pets
  • A small blue & white vase that she got as a wedding present for holding fresh flowers.
  • Rose quartz crystals representing the natural world.
  • A rose patterned incense holder.
  • A small bowl of rose & jasmine potpourri.
  • A simple gold frame hanging above the table representing the essence of Simple Abundance.

Julia Cameron in her book The Artists Way: A Course in Discovering and Recovering your Creative Self refers to a Sacred Space/Meditation Table as an Artists Altar. She says that this spiritual haven can be a corner of a room, a nook under the stairs or even a window ledge. Fill it with things that make you happy. Remember that your artist is fed by images. Your artists alter to the creator should be fun to look at, even silly, remember your artist is a little kid and little kids like gaudy stuff. She recommends some of the following things :

  • Pretty leaves
  • Rocks
  • Candles
  • Shells
  • Sea treasures
  • Incense
  • Written affirmations
  • A small drum


What Is Fuelling You

Cheryl Richardson in her book Life Makeovers: 52 Practical and Inspiring Ways to Improve Your Life One Week at a Time urges you to become aware of the habits and behaviours that keep you hooked on adrenaline. She asks you to consider the following questions:

  • Are you drinking a lot of coffee during the day?
  • Do you spend to much time on the computer?
  • Do you Rush from one appointment or task to another?

She then asks you to write down in your Daily Dialogue the three habits that keep your adrenaline pumping. For example mine would be:

  1. To much caffeine
  2. Checking my phone, emails, social media etc. far too often
  3. Double booking myself (saying that I can fit things in, when I’m busy, and then trying to make it work)

Now this week pick one new behaviour from the list below and practice it faithfully for the next week.

  • Go to the GP and get an adrenal stress index test (a simple saliva test taken throughout the day) if you physically feel as though you cannot slow down.
  • Schedule regular 15 minute relaxation breaks during the day to practice being still.
  • Change your work habits. Instead of checking your voicemail, email several times a day, challenge yourself to cut back to twice a day. Clear your desk and only work on one thing at a time. Turn the ringer off on the phone. Tell others you’ve extended your return message policy from within one day to one week. If work begins to pile up its time to get help. Either hire an assistant, request support from your boss or decide to let go of certain aspects of your work altogether.
  • Breath deeply. Start taking mini self care breaks throughout the day by breathing deeply throughout the day. Place your hand over your abdomen and as you breath feel this area move in and out. To help you remember, link this practice to daily events like settling your self at your desk, before you leave for lunch and again before you leave for home.
  • Take a good multivitamin to support your bodies immune system.
  • Give up caffeine and cut back on sugar and junk food too.
  • Get regular exercise, get up and take a brisk walk to work off excess energy when you feel anxious or overstimulated. Start walking to work, taking stairs or using your lunch break to get your body moving by going for a walk.

I already take a good multivitamin and walk during my lunch break so the new habit that I’ll practice this week is  breathing deeply. I will try to practice this when I sit down at my desk , before I leave for lunch, when I get back and before I leave at the end of the day.

Build on success, remember each little change made over time will make a big difference in your ability to slow down and improve the quality of your life.



Authentic Preferences.

Sarah Ban Breathnach in her book Simple Abundance: A Daybook of Comfort and Joy urges you today to continue to expand your sense of the possible  and find out more about your own inimitable style. She wants you to consider the following scenarios strictly for fun.

You move into a completely empty house and start from scratch, money is not a consideration. In you Daily Dialogue write down twenty specifics for your ideal home from architectural features to furnishings that are “must haves” for you. Let your imagination and creative flair have free reign. Now answer the following questions:

  • Are any of these items from your past?
  • Where did you first encounter them?
  • Do you remember?
  • How long have you been dreaming about having them?
  • Are any of the items here from your childhood home?

Next imagine that your wardrobe and drawers are empty. You need to fill them. You may either keep favourites from your past wardrobe or buy entirely new items.

  • What are the first 10 things you would either hang up or put away?
  • What comes first for you, comfort or career?

Your kitchen cabinets are bare. You need to buy new china, flatware, glasses and linens for everyday use and for entertaining.

  • Where do you begin?
  • What pattern do you want to see everyday?
  • What shape glass to you enjoy drinking from?
  • Have you ever thought about this?
  • Do you prefer a pottery mug or a paper thin china teacup for your morning brew?

These details are your authentic preferences. Each day you create yourself anew through choice. By paying attention to details, your authentic gestures, you give expression to the most personal of all the arts, making your own imprint on life.

The Authentic Personal Archaeological Dig

Sarah Ban Breathnach in her book Simple Abundance: A Daybook of Comfort and Joy urges you today to prepare for your personal dig in a thoughtful way. Let your authentic archaeologist gather artefacts that can cox memory:

  • Old photographs
  • Yearbooks
  • Letters
  • Mementos

Carve out some time when you can be alone and take a leisurely trip back in time. Enjoy a glass of wine or a cup of tae. Listen to your favourite music from yesterday:

  • Elvis
  • The Beatles
  • The Bee Gees

Peruse the photographs, flip through your high school yearbook and read the old love letters. Trace your life back to when you were ten, sixteen, twenty-one, twenty-five, thirty-five and forty. See what memories are triggered as you reacquaint yourself the girl and the woman you once were. Linger only on the happy times. What you are searching for is a pattern of personal, authentic pleasures and preferences.

Pick up your pen to play and in your Daily Dialogue pages return to the home of your childhood.

  • How was it decorated?
  • Did you clean your room?
  • Was the door usually kept closed?
  • What was your favourite spot in the house?
  • Was your mother a good cook?
  • Do you ever prepare any of her special recipes for yourself?
  • How did your mother comfort you when you were sick?
  • When was the last time you had chicken soup and toast for lunch on a tray in bed.
  • Where did you go on holidays?
  • To your Grandmothers house?
  • Can you remember them?
  • Is there a sense memory you associate with childhood holidays?

Now fast forward to your teenage years:

  • Were there any girls in your class that you admired or envied?
  • Who were they & why?
  • Did you go to a formal?
  • Describe your gown
  • How did you have your hair?
  • Who initiated you into the feminine rituals of grooming?
  • Was there an older woman in your life whose sense of style impressed you?

Lets move ahead to when you set up your first home, either as a young working woman or when you first got married:

  • Where was it?
  • How was it furnished?
  • Are you still living with some of your early decorating choices?
  • Do they reflect who you are now or have you outgrown them?
  • Are you living with things that you’ve inherited from your family?
  • Do they really suit you?

Now dig with your pen. Have a dialogue with your authentic self, ask her about the choices you have made or didn’t make listen for the wisdom she has to offer. Be willing to consider the choices you have made in the past as you trace your life:

  • Have they been the right ones for you?
  • Do you make choices with your heart, mind or gut?
  • Are you comfortable with your style of making choices, or do you wish to try a different approach?
  • Is there something you did not choose in the past that, with hindsight, you wish you had?

Stop telling yourself that it’s too late.


Armchair Travelling

Sarah Ban Breathnach in her book Simple Abundance: A Daybook of Comfort and Joy recommends that you start indulging in some armchair travelling to keep the spark of adventure alive within your authentic explorer. Start by answering the following questions in your Daily Dialogue:

  • If you could go anywhere in the world, all expenses paid, baby sitter at your disposal, where would you go?
  • Why?
  • Who would you be with?
  • How long would you stay?
  • What would you do?

To inspire your far flung creative visualisation, stop in at the library and peruse the travel shelves. Let your fingers do the wandering. Read about famous women explorers. Collect their exploits and tuck them into your subconscious mind.

Next take a Creative Excursion to a travel agent to collect colourful brochures for your Illustrated Discovery Journal. When asked be non committal about the date of departure. No one needs to know that you’re travelling in your armchair, indulging your imagination on a warm summers night as you consider exploration as a personal metaphor.