“Nothing good ever happens to me!” You DO NOT want to think, say, or believe this!

Originally published on http://www.leannehalyburton.com

I have many faults (yes, really!), and I am likely to be a work in progress until I take my last breath… but I don’t believe I have ever uttered the cry, “nothing good ever happens to me!” And if I have, it would have been a long time ago, and I would have deserved a damned good shake from someone less entrenched in self-pity!

It is a phrase I have heard many, many times – and it is always a lie! Think about it: NOTHING good EVER happens to me. NothingEver? The last time this miserable phrase assaulted my ears was around 2 months ago, courtesy of someone who was having the kind of uncomfortable problems we all experience in life… someone in possession of reasonable health, with people on the planet who love her and whom she loves, enough money to live on, access to health care, technology, education, and transport… the precious things that are far too often taken for granted, especially by the habitually dissatisfied. This lady’s problem was a frustrating relationship issue, a situation that was being allowed to balloon out of perspective, overshadowing every other aspect of her life. And you might say, “oh, well, it’s just a phrase, something we all say at times – it doesn’t mean anything!” – and I would respond with, “Sorry – you are dead wrong there!”

Words are far more powerful than you might imagine, and although we all experience periodic dips (crashes, even) throughout our lives, it requires a certain kind of thinking to allow the offending statement to slip so guilt-free and easily from our lips. If we say it just once, without immediately thinking, “ouch, I really didn’t mean that, I do have so much to be grateful for, despite my problems – I am just feeling bad about this particular situation, right now, at this moment in time”, we are likely to think and say it again… and believe it. And that has the capacity to lead us to unconsciously seek out anything that validates the belief that… nothing-good-ever-happens-to-me. And who the hell wants to live under that miserable banner-heading (or associate too closely with anyone who does)?

Every aspect of our life has its own, individual energetic field, and we are always in the process of attracting and repelling. Our brain is aware of everything we think and feel, especially the stuff we repeat over and again, creating new neural connections accordingly… programming us to automatically replay and act out the old, familiar patterns. And our unconscious mind is continuously sucking it all up, even when our conscious mind has temporarily been distracted away from whatever the ongoing issue is… ready to bring it sharply to the fore every time we think about or experience something similar. It likes to match things, to join the dots; if we have unwittingly programmed our unconscious mind to accept that nothing good ever happens to us, it is duty bound to assist us in being right (survival instinct). It will cause us to be aware of, and even attracted by, circumstances that ‘prove’ our beliefs to be correct. Of course, that is not all that the unconscious mind is about, but its contents are all our own work – nothing gets in there that wasn’t generated by us, wittingly or unwittingly.

What are other examples of the kind of thinking we really need to avoid like the plague?

Why do bad things always happen to me?

Why does everyone let me down?

Bad things happen to good people.

No good deed goes unpunished.

Why am I so unlucky?

Why do I always attract the wrong people?

There is a tendency toward generalisation where destructive beliefs are concerned (another danger to be avoided), the biggest culprits being the words always/everyone/continuously. “I am ALWAYS unlucky!”, “you CONTINUOUSLY do things to hurt me!”, “EVERYONE lets me down!” Imagine being the person who is always and continuously kicked in the gut by everyone… whew, there is actually some kind of dubious power to be gained from that, I imagine!

So, when it is said that words don’t matter, maybe one-off or off-the-cuff remarks don’t carry too much weight… but never underestimate the potential cumulative effect of habitual negative thinking – the most insidious form of self-harm! We are all going to suffer at times throughout our lives; we are all going to want to howl at the moon, or stand on a mountain top and scream from the centre of our very being, or grab God/the universe by the short-and-curlies, throwing out our best possible punch… but if we retain even one ounce of awareness and gratitude, we won’t reduce the precious aspects of our lives to mere rubble. Whenever we take for granted the things that are a part of our everyday life (including the basic things that other human beings can only dream of), willingly buying into bitterness and resentment, we are signing up for the dark side!

11 causes of anxiety – an unavoidable part of life on planet Earth!

How is it possible to be alive on planet Earth and not experience anxiety? This is a question I have pondered over and again because it seems that the most common human condition of the modern age is… anxiety.

I have considered all of the people I associate with, many of whom are technically doing fairly well in life, and without obvious emotional issues – and they all experience anxiety to one degree or another. I experience anxiety on a daily basis, though someone recently expressed great surprise when I said as much: “what… you? I didn’t have you pegged as a person who suffers from anxiety!”. Their choice of the word ‘suffers’ interested me, but also irritated me! Is there an assumption that people who appear to be generally strong and resilient are immune to anxiety… that it is the exclusive domain of those who are openly struggling, and for obvious reasons? That the strong and resilient somehow have it easier; that they don’t have the right to experience anxiety?

Putting aside those people who have a clinical condition, I believe that for the rest of us anxiety is relative. A teenager will worry about different issues than those faced by an elderly person. A young mother will have certain pressures to face that will differ from those experienced by a middle-aged business woman. We are all affected, influenced and programmed by our childhood. Like many others, my early to teen years were pretty dysfunctional, and although I don’t drag it around with me like a ball and chain, it can’t have failed to have left its mark. On top of this (and maybe at least partially because of my past) I put myself through some ridiculous crap over the years, leaving myself with memories I’d prefer to forget, and a residue of underlying unease. And I don’t believe that I am any different to the billions of other human beings in the world who are living, loving and functioning… whilst being completely resigned to the inevitable anxiety that is a part of everyday life on planet Earth!

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So, let’s take a look at some of the causes of anxiety in the western world:

(as opposed to war-torn zones and/or repressive regimes in which people are surviving under obviously stressful conditions)

1) Inherited anxiety:

We were born into a family that habitually struggles, or focuses more on lack and hardship than on hope for the future. Happiness isn’t an automatic process; some poor young souls are never allowed, or taught, to be happy… and a habitually unhappy mind is an anxious mind.

2) Natural Sensitivity:

We are exceptionally sensitive to the world around us. I remember, as a child, crying over so many things, including the other kids digging ants out of the cracks in the paving stones with lollipop sticks, and then stamping on them; Disney films (especially the animals in the forest crying when they thought that Snow White had died, and when Bambi’s mother was killed!); any film in which an animal suffered, was lost or died (including the 10 Commandments, in which horses were drowned when Moses held his staff aloft, and God parted the Red Sea!); public disasters in which people died (I was devastated at the age of 10 when Robert Kennedy was shot, even though I didn’t really know who he was. The images of him with his family and the public outpouring of grief hit me like a punch to the heart… I just knew that something really bad had happened. My 10-year-old friends didn’t care a jot and thought I was crazy!); racial prejudice and vivisection (this was when I was a teenager). I didn’t associate with anyone who appeared to be affected in the same way that I was, and so I learned to keep it to myself, grieving in private.

3) Low self-worth:

We have a strong sense of low self-worth that probably has its roots in our childhood. We don’t believe that we are good enough, smart enough, attractive enough or interesting enough. This leads us into experiences that only serve to confirm our unworthiness… which in turn attracts criticism from onlookers who can’t understand why we are doing what we are doing… which in turn leads us to shut down and defend ourselves, believing that the rest of the world has it all sorted out.

4) Inertia:

We don’t have the will to work hard for a dream, immobilised by inertia; the people around us are scraping by, always complaining about life’s injustices and restrictions, always willing to rain on someone else’s parade. We either don’t know how to get out from underneath the deadweight or we are afraid to… scared of being ‘different’. We tell ourselves that we are depressed – and we are, but not in the accepted sense; we are DEEP-pressed, pushed down into the swamp of hopelessness, and what we probably need is inspiration, hope, and something to aspire too – not necessarily anti-depressants.

5) Social awkwardness:

We feel awkward and inept, socially speaking, and so avoid too much contact with the outside world, living within the same old bubble, following the same old routine.

6) Hypersensitivity:

We are hypersensitive to criticism and confrontation, taking everything personally. I used to know a lovely lady who was consistently having ‘issues’ with other people, and I would listen to her tales, responding with indignation and sympathy… until I saw her in action! There was a local public event that we both attended, and at one point she was engaged in conversation with a woman she often complained about, but whom I had never met. Some time later the woman was chatting with me, with my friend hovering in the background doing her best to listen in – and when I moved on, she grabbed my arm, hissing, “do you see what I mean about her? She’s a real piece of work, isn’t she?”. I had to say that no, I hadn’t picked up that vibe at all, and I began to wonder about all of the other ‘unreasonable’ individuals my friend seemed to encounter… and whether or not she was maybe taking some things a little too much to heart.

7) Awareness:

If we keep even half an eye on world events we are aware that every second of every day, somewhere on the planet, someone is inflicting something horrendous upon another human being or animal… and that we ourselves are largely helpless to do anything about it. We are also aware that random bad luck appears to suddenly and unexpectedly descend upon completely innocent individuals, and we cannot help but identify with them. I defy anyone to be able to live an anxiety-free life whilst in possession of a conscience and empathy and not living in an airtight bubble!

8) Survival mentality:

We have become programmed to survive life, rather than embrace and develop it. There could be many reasons for this, some of which will be thriving within the depths of our unconscious mind. We view everything as a potential threat to ourselves or our loved ones, and we are on constant guard-duty, batoning down the same hatches, again and again.

9) Fear of loss:

If we allow ourselves to love someone, they could leave us or die. We might crave being part of a loving relationship, but the moment that we are the anxiety kicks in. They might cheat on us or leave us; we aren’t good enough to keep them; we need more reassurance than they are able or willing to supply, and this leaves us feeling raw, insecure and stuck in a loop.

10) Fear of change:

No matter how uncomfortable the known and familiar is, it can feel a million times better than the ‘unknown’. However, this leaves us stuck between two stools, metaphorically speaking. The known is hurting us and holding us prisoner, whilst the unknown looms like a deep, dark ocean we really don’t want to have to navigate… and so we remain trapped, with a misery-inducing cell-mate called anxiety breathing down our neck.

11) Death (our own and other people’s):

We are all anxious about death, even those who claim to have no fear of it. It is the one thing we cannot possibly avoid, an unknown quantity we know for sure we will have to face up to one day, and probably several times throughout a lifetime. If it isn’t a fear of the act of dying itself, it is a fear of loss and abandonment, of wasted time, of too little time… of having lived an unfulfilled life. Can you imagine how different the world would be if we had no fear of death? Terrorism and intimidation would lose its power, as would illness and disease. We’d be braver, more adventurous… and so much happier. Of course, we are never actually going to lose our fear of death, but I am just saying – imagine how life would change if we did! I actively encourage others, wherever appropriate, to explore what they believe to be true about death, how it ties in with life, and what, if anything, they believe they are likely to experience beyond this physical world. Floating around in the sky, looking down on my still-living relatives, doesn’t cut any ice with me… I’d rather have oblivion!

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Anxiety home-truths!

There is something else I’d like to add, on the subject of anxiety… something that may very well make me unpopular! Anxiety is sometimes hijacked by the lazy, inept and self-entitled, as a ‘reason’ for their unwillingness to accept personal responsibility and get off their backside. It is also sometimes presented, in a conspiratorial tone, as a condition that is unique to the ‘sufferer’… and upon their confession, we are all supposed to throw up our hands in shock and pour pity upon them… as if no-one we know has ever been crushed by the weight of anxiety! I understand that some celebs feel that, by revealing the fact that they are as human as the rest of us, they are helping their followers to recognise that anxiety is not restricted to mere mortals. And in many cases they are helping.

However, anxiety now appears to have gained celebrity status all in its own right, which cannot possibly be a good thing – and the hijackers are only serving to turn people off to the subject, tired of hearing about it at every turn. There isn’t a one-size-fits-all brand of anxiety, and at different times we will be affected by different things… which need to be explored and understood.

I myself am anxious about some things that are always the same, and other things that come and go. I experience anxiety through my work and dealings with certain customers; I experience anxiety about my family, relationship and pets; I experience anxiety about my hopes and dreams, my finances, health and fitness, and how other people respond to me. I definitely regularly experience a great deal of anxiety where the world is concerned, and not even just anxiety; grief, fear, and rage are familiar companions! I don’t really want to switch off from the world, living in a bubble, pretending that everything is hunky-dory, but I do have to make a conscious effort to prevent it from taking over, every now and then.

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Oh… and I really worry about Formula 1: after every Grand Prix I am drained and exhausted, as if I have driven the race myself! I am anxious not just about the results and the points, but the drivers and the teams, the highs and the lows, the failures and the victories. I worry for Claire Williams and hope to God that the team’s drivers aren’t throwing their careers away. I worry that Carlos Sainz may be in a precarious position if McLaren don’t have a consistently better car this year; I worry that Esteban Ocon won’t be offered a seat with a team worthy of his skills next year, if Valtteri Bottas proves to be someone Mercedes really want to keep for 2020 (and I also worry that he won’t be, because what would happen to him then… where could he possibly go, that wouldn’t be a major step backward? Sigh).

The fact is, life on Earth is an amazing, wonderful and breathtaking experience, not to mention miraculous; it is also consistently anxiety-inducing for every last one of us, at different times, for different reasons, and to one degree or another.

Some people have stronger pain-barriers than others and can appear to be functioning in a ‘normal’ way, even when they have their own internal and external struggles going on. I believe that it is absolutely non-productive, destructive even, to fail to recognise that anxiety is a natural human condition, with many different components… and that it is actually okay to be anxious: life isn’t wrong or bad if we don’t feel continuously emotionally safe and reassured. Modern society has forcefully been selling us all (especially the younger generation) a myth: that everyone around us is doing great in life, coping beautifully, and with nothing much at all to be anxious about – apart from us and our tribe. Which both you and I know is absolutely not true!

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“When will my life get better?” Are you a victim of being a victim? Here’s how you can change it!

No-one wants to admit to thinking and living like a victim. And as victim mentality is one of those super sensitive subjects that have the capacity to elicit an immediate and highly defensive response, I am aware that I may be treading on very thin ice with this blog.

However, it is something that I feel very passionate about because I have worked with hundreds and hundreds of people who have reduced their own lives (and those of their nearest and dearest) to miserable rubble, as a result of focusing on what they have ‘been through’. I am not, for one second, suggesting that there is no such thing as victimhood; absolutely not, that would be ridiculous. However, it is actually possible to be a victim, without being a victim… if you understand what I mean.

So, what does thinking, feeling and behaving like a victim entail?

It requires us to consistently focus on the past, and the ways in which we, or those close to us, were hurt or let down.

It requires us to feel cheated out of the life we should have had, had it not been stolen away from us, either by certain individuals, or life in general.

It requires us to continue to tell ourselves, and others, the story of a difficult life, listing all of the reasons we cannot let go of the past and move forward. We might say with our mouth that we do not see ourselves as a victim, whilst our most consistent story suggests otherwise.

It requires us to generalise and exaggerate: everyone has let me down; all men/women are liars; you can’t trust anyone; I support everyone, but no-one is ever there for me; I have tried everything, but nothing changes… and so on.

It requires us to continue to blame certain individuals for our ongoing unhappiness, and our unwillingness to trust again.

It requires us to join forces with others who also have tales of disappointment and betrayal to tell, adding extra weight to our beliefs.

It requires us to respond in a passive-aggressive way to those who ‘don’t understand’ our situation.

It requires us to respond with a ‘yes-but’ to well-meant suggestions or encouragement.

It requires us to pay attention to those things that align with our beliefs, and be oblivious or dismissive of those things that don’t.

It requires us to focus more on survival than growth and to settle for less than we actually and ideally would rather aspire to.

It requires us to give up too often, and too soon.

It requires us to have a limited repertoire, consistently responding in the same old way to different situations.

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What are some of the situations that can lead to a victim mentality?  

Childhood. The most common causes of bitterness I have come across are parental abandonment, present but unsupportive parents, abuse of one parent by the other, a sibling being more loved and favoured by either or both parents.

Ongoing exposure to excessive negativity in our formative years.

Unresolved or unacknowledged bullying at school.

Dysfunctional romantic relationships.

Poor life choices, and repeated patterns.

Unwillingness to accept personal, emotional responsibility.

WHY should we change it?

Because our happier, more fulfilled future depends upon us doing so… and if we don’t change it, no-one else will (or can).

For the sake of our loved ones, especially our children. The offspring of habitual emotional victims are more likely to unconsciously follow suit than not, unless they are exceptionally strong-willed, independent thinkers.

For the sake of our physical health, not just our mental health. There is plenty of solid evidence to suggest that our brain and body are in constant communication with one another, and that, to one degree or another, our body is influenced by, and responds to, what it is most consistently exposed to.

For the sake of the human race! Think of it like this: if two people spend a whole day together, and one of them is an absolute misery guts, the other is going to finish up feeling drained and negative, no matter how upbeat they usually are. We are all living in each other’s energetic backwash, whether we are aware or not… and we are all contributing to the ‘collective energy field’!

Because, unless we have a serious, clinical condition that is largely beyond our control, we CAN change it! And because there is no logical reason for not changing it. I have asked literally hundreds of people exactly what it is they want from life, and 99% responded with, “happiness”. If that is true (and many books and articles I have read on the subject suggest that, no matter where people are on the planet, the answer would be exactly the same), then why continue to remain in the limbo state of victimhood?

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HOW do we change it?

Firstly, by being absolutely honest with ourselves about the painful beliefs and the feelings of bitterness we are harbouring… and making a commitment to healing them.

By acknowledging exactly who or what it is we feel has wounded us, so that our ‘enemy’ becomes a known quantity, rather than a vague, undefined wound in our heart and mind.

By challenging our own story, and picking it to pieces; it may not all be completely true, and we might have edited it somewhat, over the years.

By asking ourselves if we genuinely were helpless and powerless, and at the mercy of what others, or life, threw at us? Could we have made different choices, responded in a different way… made different decisions? Can we do that right now, from this second onward? And if we see that, yes, we were a victim at some point in the past (for example, as a child I had no control over the way in which my parents behaved, and the actions they took, and I had no control over the dark way in which my ex-husband perceived life, and how he responded to those perceptions) – do we have to remain stuck in that place and time… reliving the experience and keeping it alive?

By accepting personal responsibility for our own choices, and asking ourselves what we believe we are entitled to; we might have intended to spend the rest of our lives with the one we believed loved us, but who then unceremoniously dumped us – but it doesn’t have to define the rest of our life. It hurts like hell, and we have to grieve… but do we really need to become bitter? Bitterness suggests that we are entitled to have things go the way we want them to, and that there is a right way and a wrong way… and that we have been unfairly cheated out of the right way. Life is not always just and fair, and sometimes people can’t or won’t be the way they ideally should be. But today is always built upon yesterday, and tomorrow will always be built upon today. If we make today cleaner and stronger than yesterday, then tomorrow can be something worth waking up to!

By growing a tasty carrot to dangle at the end of our stick – giving ourselves something to look forward to! The past is a still frame of a garden now permanently in the shade, and in which nothing new can possibly grow; the future is fertile ground upon which the sun and rain will pour down, and in which we can plant absolutely anything we want. If we have nothing to move towards, we will probably continue to look over our shoulder.

By becoming consciously aware of our inner and outer dialogue, and quitting the non-productive talk! By monitoring where our thoughts habitually take us, interrupting the old patterns again and again (100 times a day if necessary!), until we have evidence that we have actually reprogrammed our mindset.

By becoming positively proactive, even if we are only taking baby steps: no waiting until we ‘feel better’ to begin; no making excuses; no living on autopilot; no wasting time on negative stuff on the internet; no crumbling the moment the process becomes uncomfortable or doesn’t deliver immediate results!

By remembering that we only have this lifetime once, and asking ourselves if we are really willing to allow it to become a watered down version of a potentially great overall experience?

By recognising that, if we are going to negatively compare our life to other people’s, we have to do it both ways: there are millions who are better off than us, and millions who are far, far worse off than us!

By genuinely lightening up, having fun, learning something new, and having a new experience or two…  which doesn’t have to cost much! And by associating ourselves with positive people who have something productive to say, even if they are on YouTube or suchlike! There is a whole new world to explore out there, emotionally speaking… and to answer the question that is the title of this blog: when you decide to get better! 

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Have you become a psychic junkie? How to break the heartbreaking cycle.

(Originally published on:https://leannehalyburton.com/2019/03/09/have-you-become-a-psychic-junkie-how-to-break-the-heartbreaking-cycle/)

You have probably become a psychic junkie if you regularly go from one psychic reader, intuitive consultant, fortune teller or astrologer, to another… often asking the same questions about the same person or situation.

I recently received this (edited) email from a customer in her early twenties, and I am sure you will easily recognise which bit alarmed me:

“Just want to say, from my past 2 consultations with you, things have come to pass, and you were the most accurate out of probably over 50+ readers I’ve been to, including ****, who got things so wrong for me. So thanks for your past help, guidance and honesty”.

Increasingly, I have been attempting to encourage those I suspect are in danger of becoming psychic junkies to recognise what they are doing, and to nip it in the bud, as quickly as possible… often without much luck. I am aware that I have been earning a living as an intuitive consultant for more than 25 years, but I have always strongly advocated that the service is not an emotional pain killer, or a substitute for tea and sympathy, or a guaranteed validation of destructive or unhealthy behaviour – and it certainly isn’t about hearing the story we ideally want to hear, no matter how unrealistic that may be.

So, what should the purpose of an intuitive consultation (or psychic reading) be? Well, as far as I am concerned, it is this: to gain insight and information – end of. It is akin to receiving a jigsaw piece that we slot into the bigger puzzle of our life, enabling us to see more of the picture than we could before. When we become addicted to ‘psychic’ guidance, we are no longer seeking actual, genuine insight, and we have become painfully disempowered.

Psychic about to read Tarot cards. Psychic Junkie.

So, why do people become psychic junkies?

At the end of a recent consultation, I tentatively asked the customer if she had regularly been consulting with other readers on the same subject she had wanted me to cover… and she sheepishly admitted that she had (which didn’t surprise me at all, as certain revealing ‘signs’ were present). I asked what it was that was motivating her, and she explained that she was hoping to hear something that she ‘believed’. I suggested that some readers told her what she wanted to hear, and asked her if that made her feel happy… and she agreed that yes, it did. However, it was clear that this ‘happiness’ didn’t last very long, causing her to seek out the next high; the problem was, every now and then someone would tell her what she didn’t want to hear, and in order to block out the disappointment and pain, she would purchase yet another reading… and so on and so on.

How does it feel to be a psychic junkie?

The truth is, psychic junkies are often experiencing huge emotional pain, and are stuck in a powerless kind of limbo, feeling absolutely unable to move forward. Or they are lost and wandering in life, uncertain as to what it is they actually want, apart from vague murmurings of a desire for happiness and contentment… and what the next step should even be. They want to feel better, sooner rather than later, and right now if possible; they want answers that often cannot be given; they are afraid of the future (the unknown), and believe that it is the past that holds the true secret to their happiness; they are experiencing the raw pain of rejection, with unanswered questions and unresolved issues holding them prisoner; they are repeatedly telling themselves stories that are edited and distorted, leaving them confused and frustrated… and unable to see or feel anything other than what is running on a loop, through their heart and mind. Some, or all of this, sometimes leads the psychic junkie to spend excessive amounts of time on internet forums, where they either join forces with other junkies or expose themselves to the outpourings of other junkies… becoming more deeply entrenched, and more unsettled.

Crystal ball used in fortune telling. Psychic junkie.

How does a psychic junkie begin to break the cycle?

Honesty

It has to start with honesty… there can be no healing without it. A customer told me that her boyfriend had ended their relationship completely out of the blue, and with absolutely no warning; they had been completely in love and were planning on getting married. As the consultation unfolded, I intuitively felt this was not entirely true, and asked her about previous events that I believed were pertinent… and she admitted that yes, there had been certain happenings which had impacted negatively upon their relationship, but…. Whenever there is a but, there is also often a nice big broom, sweeping the stuff we don’t want to think about out of the way, and under the carpet! I don’t believe that we humans deliberately lie to ourselves (and therefore others): I believe that a) we tend to ‘forget’ the bad stuff in order to preserve the good stuff; b) we do it to protect ourselves from the devastation of disappointment and rejection; c) we struggle to face our own misjudgment, and our willingness to hang on to something that, deep down inside, we know isn’t that great.

Courage

Courage is most definitely required – firstly to face the fact that we have become a psychic junkie; secondly to look our emotional pain and fear squarely in the eyes. Until we do both of those things, we cannot possibly begin to heal and grow. It hurts like hell to have been abandoned and rejected; it is crushing to feel that we have failed at something that is so important to us; it is devastating to recognise that the plans we made and put all of our hopes and dreams into have been reduced to dust; it drives us crazy to see that the person we believed we knew is not that person, after all. Hanging onto it, changing the facts so that they match the story we are telling ourselves, won’t make any of it any different, or any better. A thousand consultations won’t change the reality that feels just too painful to face.

Baby steps.

If you are being honest with yourself, and courageous enough to face the reality of your situation… but still can’t quite relinquish your yearnings for psychic comfort food – take small steps… whilst using your common sense! Recognise when you are being buttered up, flattered and misled. It isn’t hard to spot this kind of ‘service’, especially when you have had a number of readings! Pick out a select few who have a proven track record, or who have definitely been accurate for you in the past, and avoid the others like the plague. And be honest with those readers or consultants; double check that you are not knowingly, or even unknowingly, presenting an inaccurate or edited scenario for their intuitive assessment and appraisal. This work is not about testing, or manipulation (at least it shouldn’t be!); as I said earlier, it is about honest, genuine insight, and food for thought… about information that can help us to productively shape and form the next phase of our life.

Patience.

An effective reading or consultation will not make complete sense immediately; time will need to be allowed to pass, with periodic consideration given to the contents. Going from one to another, within a short space of time, shows that we are looking for instant gratification, for validation, for the answer that we want to hear – and not sincere, considered intuitive insight. And remember that even the most experienced, effective readers cannot possibly cross every t or dot every i; it will always be a bit of inexact science, but one that can be incredibly helpful to us, if we know how to approach and use it!

Tarot cards. Psychic Junkie.

Knowledge.

Not all things are equal in the world of intuition; not all services are the same, and not every reader or consultant operates in the same way. What I call psychic fast food is now readily available, 24 hours a day, on every internet ‘street corner’. There are readers who promise same day delivery for every customer: have you ever asked yourself how they can do that effectively unless they have very little business? So, are you looking for fortune telling or a more in-depth service? Do you want to play games with a reader, more interested in what they can pick up about you, than the overall value, or do you prefer to work with them? Do you go for the softly-softly, soothing approach, or the ‘here’s the bottom line, and these are your options’ style?

Do your research, and find the reader or consultant that is compatible with your needs – and vice versa. I cannot speak for other intuitive consultants, but, after 25 years in this line of work, I no longer feel that I have to work with those customers who are not seeking what my business has to offer, or who abuse the service. It is an exchange: an honest, sincere consultation demands a decent amount of mental and emotional energy from the person who is producing it, in return for a payment of money. If you do your groundwork, you will save time and money, not to mention emotional energy… because there will be no need to become a psychic junkie; you will be going for quality, rather than quantity!

Smiling woman with a crystal ball.

 

Our favourite songs recall the stories of our life – as they lift and heal our spirit!

My most effective way of getting myself back on track (well, my own personal version of being on track) is to become absorbed – consumed, even – by my favourite songs; today I had a glorious sounds fest, which began with me adding some beloved but forgotten old tracks to my phone music, blasting them through my headphones as I walked with the dog around the woods and along the beach… and I just couldn’t resist singing along, (I did at least attempt to keep it more to a whisper than a shriek). This afternoon I really needed to do a food shop, as we were down to a few fish fingers and half a pack of bacon… so I plugged my headphones in, selected ‘faves’, turned up the volume, and grabbed a trolley. I was aware of other people bustling around, whilst at the same time feeling as if I was in a delicious musical cocoon… there in body, but not in spirit. I admit to ‘shuffling’ a little, in time with the various beats, and even nodding along… but you see, it is now perfectly okay for me to be a bit of a crazy old bat in other people’s eyes… and to be honest, I don’t really care anyway! The drive home was blissful, as I vocally murdered one gorgeous song after another, at the top of my voice – happily completely alone. Because you can only do this stuff when you are on your own, which is maybe at least a part of the attraction: no-one asking you to turn it down, or complaining about your choice of song, or getting in a huff because you aren’t talking to them. I don’t get to indulge in this every day, but when I do, I overdose, leading me to feel gloriously high. I suppose it is pure escapism…

For some reason, I have very recently revisited a love of ELO, and their tracks have rather nicely been scratching a few little itches. I am sharing, at the bottom of this blog, a link to a video of Jeff Lynne performing Evil Woman, live at Wembley… and I absolutely defy you not to feel great, as you expose yourself to the amazing energy of the music, and and to the joy of the mostly middle-aged audience, as they enthusiastically dance and sing along, smiling from ear to ear! You cannot possibly beat it, this amazing relationship that we human beings have with music… it is positively life affirming and healing.

Music is rather like a photo album of our life, bringing back memories, and book-marking certain times and events from our personal history. I listened to ‘Can You Feel The Force’ (the Real Thing), and ‘Play That Funky Music’ (Wild Cherry), and was immediately transported back to dancing until the early hours, in a 1970’s Manchester night club; I played the Jackson’s ‘The Love You Save’, and ‘Blame It On The Boogie’, and experienced a wave of sadness at the way in which Michael’s life ended… but decided instead to joyfully celebrate the beauty and creative energy of his existence, smiling at the  memory of the enthusiastic video for Blame It On The Boogie. No medicine could be better. I floated through ‘Holding Back The Years’ (Simply Red), and the atmosphere of the 1980’s, a decade I loved, flooded my senses… where the hell has time gone?

I remember driving home late one evening, and Jimi Hendrix’s ‘All Along The Watchtower’ came on the radio… and I was suddenly at a motorbike rally, with the stars shining down over a field full of mostly middle-aged party animals, drinking and laughing until the sun comes up, to a soundtrack of rock music and generators, accompanied by the smell of oil, leather and hot metal… ah, nectar of the gods!

And of course, music shares the most important moments of our lives; we walk down the aisle to a song that is personally meaningful to us, and our coffin is often accompanied by a musical statement piece! I remember being very much in labour with my son, my first child, and the hospital radio was playing Burning Beds (very apt, as I was lying in a tangled mess of sheets, on a very hot ward!). I could go on and on, as I am sure you could too, if you set about the task of listing every piece of music that has been a meaningful part of your personal history. My children have developed eclectic musical tastes, I am so happy to say, and my daughters look fondly upon the Eagles, understanding that they helped me through some very tough times in my life; and of course, they have their own go-to artists/tracks, for times of tears and of comfort.

Like every generation, mine tends to believe that our music was better… but you know, it bloody well was! There was a rawness, an imperfection – an un-tweaked, honest sound. The skinny, long haired, uneven-toothed Paul Rodgers was a delicious sight to behold, and even more satisfying to listen to; nowadays, he continues to be an amazing artist, but he is more physically polished, having developed quite a few muscles! I still love to see those old videos, though, with Mr Snakehips doing his stuff (sigh).

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Too many people are too caught up in everyday life, in the pursuit of security, to remember to seriously revisit their favourite tunes every now and then. It is even deemed to be immature to do so, something that is okay for the young, but not for grown ups who have more important things to attend to. Well, I am sorry, but if I ever become too old to lose myself in the colour and energy and emotion of the vibration that is music, dig a hole and push me into it. If I ever reach a point at which I no longer feel compelled to jiggle joyfully around the room, no matter how slowly I have to do it, I will have already died inside. Music has a life force all of its own, which drawers us in and heals us, tenderly reminding us that the life we have lived has been real and true… and kept alive by songs that will never be forgotten.

Anyway, I promised to share the Jeff Lynne/ELO – Evil Woman link, but I am also going to give you another treat! When I first heard Paul Carrack and Eric Clapton performing ‘How Long’, I fell in immediate love, especially with Eric’s second guitar solo… and the only way I can describe it is akin to having warm honey poured all over me! And even if they absolutely aren’t your thing (as much as I say I love music, I was never too keen on extreme punk, and I don’t enjoy screamo, so not every style is for us), they might remind you of some long forgotten tune you used to love, and would get a buzz from revisiting. Don’t allow ‘real’ life to keep you away from the magical, childlike world of your musical imagination, too often!

 

You have the power to start feeling better NOW – that HAS to be worth smiling about!

I was looking at some pictures of myself and my partner, taken around 5 years ago, and I was disappointed to see how much my face had aged. I gazed at my straight-faced reflection in the mirror, and it suddenly struck me… what was missing was my smile! I grinned warmly into my own eyes, and then glanced back at the pictures… and was heartened to see that, actually, there wasn’t a huge amount of difference between the younger me, and the current, older me. Some ageing, yes; a plumper face, agreed – but the smile somehow negated enough of that to be reassuring!

Now, I understand, it doesn’t take a genius to work out that a smiling face looks more alive and vibrant than one adorned with a serious or vacant expression: however, I suddenly became acutely aware of how my face felt, when I wasn’t smiling… and the word that immediately came to mind was droopy… and who the hell wants to feel droopy? It is hardly high energy!

So, I decided to check up on myself, every now and then, and ask, “what is my resting face saying about me right now?”. I already suspected that smiling wasn’t just about appearance – and my little experiment proved me right. When I recognised that I was sporting a switched-off or frowning expression, and swapped it for a comfortable smile that also reached my eyes (yes, you can feel your eyes smiling!), I actually felt more cheerful. And not only that, my head and shoulders automatically lifted a little – an instant boost that cost nothing more than a bit of self-awareness!

Okay, it is true that there are certain circumstances under which a smile is completely inappropriate (not too many, but some); and there are certain circumstances under which even the most upbeat individual would struggle to muster even the slightest twitch of the lips; I am not talking about those times – I am talking about general, every day life. And I acknowledge that a consistent, manic grin would be more likely to cause ourselves to feel a bit crazy and uncomfortable, and other people to avoid us like the plague. But, a small, relaxed smile, hovering at the corners of our mouth, just waiting to blossom into something wider and warmer, can genuinely do wonders for our state of mind! And when we feel that a smile is maybe not entirely appropriate at a given moment in time, we can still be consciously aware of how our face is sitting, and what message it is imparting. We can appear attentive, or curious, or interested, or fascinated, dependent upon the circumstances; all of these, and more, will actually help us to feel what we are expressing, whilst allowing our face to appear animated and lively. I am not a scientist, but online research appears to confirm that there is a growing belief in the theory that our facial expression and body language are recognised by our brain, which then responds accordingly, communicating that information back to the body.

Which brings me to the subject of how we consistently hold our body… and this cute cartoon that really makes me laugh, every time I see it!

depressedstance

Posture, like facial expression, speaks volumes to our brain, as does our consistent inner and outer dialogue. I have come across people who habitually slouch, and consistently communicate in a dismissive or cynical way… and none of them have been even remotely happy or satisfied. Circumstance is often blamed, and yes, it is true that it definitely does affect how we feel and behave; however, we have all witnessed individuals who have faced the most dreadful adversity, yet who hold their heads high, whilst approaching the world with dignity and warmth (we are so fortunate, to have amongst us those souls who are living proof of just what we human beings are capable of aspiring to!).

Where my own body is concerned, over a period of two years I put on around 28 lb in weight, most of which settled on my stomach and hips (one of the side effects of reaching a ‘certain age’!). I became discouraged, and for the first time really struggled to motivate myself to do anything about it. That wobble drove me mad, and I began to avoid any mirror that reflected anything below my chest… I felt fat. I managed to lose 7 lbs, but still, not enough to reduce the dreaded spare tyre. As it happens, my eldest daughter is a fitness and kick boxing instructor, who runs her own school; my youngest daughter also trains there, and teaches some of the classes. Several times a week I would drop her off and collect her, calling in to help put the equipment away after the sessions… but I always resisted taking part, because I was ‘too fat’ (yes, really!), which both of my daughters thought was ridiculous!

One evening, I stayed to watch the kick boxing gradings, from the toddlers all the way up to the adults, and I was blown away. The atmosphere was amazing, and I was totally impressed to see how much progress the students had made… and I suddenly really wanted to be a part of it! That evening, I committed to training, and there I was, at the very next session. At first, I felt like a galumphing (I think I just made that word up) elephant, and the idea of roundhouse kicks terrified me. I had a stiff, incredibly painful shoulder, and a dodgy knee, and I feared that they would hold me back… but the physiotherapist told me that actually, I was doing the very best thing for myself – and he was right! Almost three belts on, my shoulder is 90% better, and my knee just aches sometimes, and my roundhouse kick is coming along nicely! I even attend some of the circuit training classes now, in addition (last night I did three 30 minute sessions, one after the other!). I am still ‘fat’, but the weight is coming off, bit by bit. And I am not saying that it is easy, because it isn’t, and I am not saying that things don’t hurt after training, because they do. However, my body feels so much stronger, and I cannot emphasise enough how empowering that is! It has improved the way I hold myself, and more importantly, it has transformed the way I feel about myself… and that makes me smile!

So, if you recognise any of this within yourself, make an immediate commitment to yourself, to lift your spirits, your shoulders, your chin, and the corners of your mouth… until it becomes as natural as breathing!