Updated: May 26, 2020
For many years my life was my battleground, until, I decided to stop allowing it to be one. This was not some overnight transformation, but something I learned over time, through clear intent to do something different, to see life differently, to respond to life’s challenges in a more positive and mindful way. I believe that this is possible for everyone and that was one of the main motivations for writing about it in my first book.
I was born to Irish Catholic parents in Birmingham, England. The youngest of 4 surviving children, with a neurotic mother, an alcoholic father and a sister with Autism; we lived in a chaotic and highly charged family home. It wasn’t until my early twenties that I started to see that there might be alternatives to the way I was living. I could make choices not only in how I lived, but also where I lived. I made the decision to leave Birmingham and my childhood influences and took a live-in position at a country hotel in the Cotswolds, an areas of outstanding beauty between Cheltenham and Stratford-upon-Avon.
It was there I was to meet the love of my life, a woman called Joy. Despite considerable resistance to our relationship and having to deal with the disapproval of my parents, the loss of my job, complete with accommodation and being shunned by friends, I never once doubted the choice I had made. It taught me some incredibly important life lessons about facing difficult decisions with courage, being open and authentic about who you are and learning to accept yourself with love and compassion. It also proved to be exactly the right choice for me, as we are still together nearly 33 years later.
Later, after having a very successful career as a consultant, I was suddenly struck down with a serious illness whilst in Africa. It was another moment in my life to take stock, observe and choose my response. After innumerable doctor’s appointments, hospital visits and tests after tests to define what was wrong with me I became exasperated that I would never feel well again. Until one day I realised that nothing was wrong with me. Not in the most essential level of my being.
With the help of a doctor who was also an energy healer, I started to realise that healing and harmony are as much about state of mind as they are about our lifestyle choices. When I could accept that at my most fundamental level, at the centre of my being, all was well, the healing of my body could take care of itself. Through my own healing journey and the road back to health, I learned to connect with my inner life and connect with the energy which is the life force inside of me. I saw the illness as a lesson in how to slow down and appreciate life more.
Three powerful practices to connect to your inner life force Three very powerful practices have helped me in dealing with my life’s challenges. If you do nothing else but these, you could find that your life goes through an extraordinary transformation in a matter of weeks.
1. Meditation. This is incredibly powerful as it helps us to observe our thoughts, slow them down and even turn them into more positive inner dialogue. When we are feeling that life is against us, we often create a victim voice in our mind. We will say things like ‘this is always happening to me’ ‘why do I always feel so tired’ ‘life is so unfair’. This kind of dialogue is life sapping and sends signals out to the universe to deliver more of the same. Through the regular practice of sitting quietly and noticing your thoughts, you can become aware of the messages that you might be giving to yourself and sending out to the world. Doing this on a daily basis, even 5 minutes per day can make a big difference. Over time you will learn to quieten the constant chatter of this incessant and negative voice. The art and the practice of putting distance between you the observer and you the internal saboteur is the first step towards raising your awareness and choosing your thoughts more wisely. It was the late Louise Hay who said ‘Change your thoughts, change your life’, and science is finally catching up with her and proving this to be true.
2. Journalling. Journalling involves writing down your inner thoughts and observations. It has some similarities to meditation and can be practiced alongside or as an alternative approach. It too allows you to express your thoughts, emotions and ideas in a very concrete way. Sometimes the very act of writing something with no set idea of what it might turn out to be, allows our sub conscious to communicate with us in a way that our talking voice never can. We don’t know why this is the case, but it is another powerful way we can learn to notice our thoughts, connect with our dreams and passions and learn to release negative and blocked emotions.
3. Gratitude. When we are grateful for the many good things in our life and are thankful when we see the little blessings that come our way, we open the door for more of the same to come our way. If you are struggling financially, but learn to say thank you when a bill is less than you expected, or you get a great discount on something, you are sending out positive vibes about money. This can help you change a difficult relationship (with money) into a positive one. You can do this with just about any area of your life: your health, your body, your relationships, your career. All you need to do is start the day by declaring your gratitude for all the things that you have in your life and close your day by being thankful for all the things you experienced. You shouldn’t have to look too hard for little blessings or gifts that made your day go well and the more you do it, the easier it is to live from a place of gratitude. There is nothing more powerful than gratitude to turn your fortunes around.
No one is likely to go through life without the odd challenge. Life’s knocks help us to become stronger, build our resilience and teach us valuable lessons along the way. I learnt to appreciate every moment, live in the present and express love and compassion all around me. When you connect with your inner self and that wonderful reservoir of happiness within, then I know you will too.
You can find many tips and exercises to hep you in my book Coming Home to You, Available at Amazon and other booksellers.