Those musical emotional triggers

We all know the value of musical therapy and how it can help to lift spirits in particular in the case of people meeting the challenge of having dementia. As with all senses a song or piece of music can trigger memories and remind us of  particular events in our life.

This is indeed true for me whenever I hear Doris Day’s songs and as  people around the world celebrate her great talent songs like ‘move over darling’ and ‘secret love’ will hold fond memories for many.

Of course she came from an era where not only were actresses expected to act they had to dance and sing and of course she could do all three. Our family favourite film is of course ‘Calamity Jane’   ..just blown in from the windy city!!

The films of that era were of course to inspire the feel good factor after the second world war, the rom coms of the day where the ending was always happy. I’m off to find my box set and have a sing along in memory of that fabulous blond girl next door!


The gardening bug

Any plant that comes into the house stands a good chance of being murdered but last year I started working on a wild small piece of land ‘the island’  as I call it. Slowly but surely it’s improved, with a few donated plants from a green fingered friend, a few bags of stones and pebbles it’s starting to take shape. With friends who know the difference between a weed and a plant I’ve tidied up the results of all the recent rain. But as I was told yesterday  ‘a weed is indeed a flower but in the wrong place!’

Yesterday a kind neighbour and I got to improving my sad attempt of a hedge hog retreat. Inspired by Brian May’s ‘Amazing Grace’ home for hedgehogs I hope other people will also try to help our cute spiky pals by providing a safe haven.

I won’t post a photo of said island just yet but here’s my photo of Ashridge woods looking amazing as usual a carpet of bluebells,

bluebell a

Exam stress -avoid it

So we are now back into exam time and to all those students young and/or mature please make sure you balance out your cramming for exams with some relaxation or healthy pursuits whatever your sporting preference may be.

Remember to keep well-hydrated leading up to exams and take that unlabelled bottled water into your exams with you. Try and keep focused and keep that anxiety level down. If you have worked hard all year, done your revision maybe with the aid of a mind map (great way to focus the mind) you will be fine … be confident ‘you’ve got this’.

One tip I like to pass on is to keep your feet under that exam desk flat on the floor it grounds you and if you tie your legs in knots it is bad for your circulation – I can hear a few of you laughing…but trust me it’s true on both accounts try it and see.

For those of you who practice Yoga (which is a brilliant way to unwind) remember the yoga breathing technique – another great relaxer.

Good luck to you all.


Losing a parent

Yet again only yesterday I was discussing how life changing it can be when we lose a parent. It is the only time I can honestly say I have felt I have lost my sense of purpose.

We know that one day we will have to say goodbye to our parents and whenever that time comes whether they have lived a long and happy life or not we will feel it is too soon. In our bereavement journey we must remember that the intensity of the relationship will also determine how our grief affects us. Though we must go on living as our loved ones would wish us to do…some days this will feel easy to achieve whilst others  it may feel an effort just to do the simplest of things.

Does it get easier? Yes in many ways though this is often down in part to accepting they are no longer around and this will take time. We keep our loved ones alive in our minds and in our hearts and by remembering the happy times, their achievements and their words of wisdom that they passed on to us. We owe it to their memory to go on, live our life to the full and carrying on achieving in their memory.

At a family gathering last weekend I believe my brother and I surprised some of the younger family members when we revealed how strong and determined ‘their kind and loving nanny’ could be  – a formidable woman not to be under-estimated.

This reminded me how our mum used to say she regretted that none of us really knew my father (who died very young) as a man only a provider…something we surely missed out on.

If you are lucky enough to still have your parents alive..then make the most of them and find out their stories to pass down to the next generations.

Motivation -find your mantra

Whatever our own personal challenge may be it is always a good idea to find and adopt a mantra that makes sense to us and fits well. Your own mantra may be one you invent to include your goal or just a quote belonging to somebody else. With this in mind today I am offering one of Winston Churchill’s quotes:-

‘Success is being able to go from one failure to the next with endless enthusiasm’

I still remember my driving mantra given to me by my instructor and from time to time when I come across a lunatic driver it floats into my head…I am a confident driver, I am a careful driver, I am a safe driver….

When trying to overcome our individual hurdles if we can find somebody to work with and encourage us in our journey we will be more likely to arrive at that destination.

When working with clients learning new skills I often say ‘don’t worry if you make a mistake’ – it is how we learn and let’s face it everybody makes them!

However, only a fool gives up trying. As I often quote ‘it can be oh so lonely out there on the learning shelf!’ So getting a study buddy is an excellent idea too.

Remember: We are never to old to learn new things and/or finally decide to overcome our worst fears or phobias.

Striving for Perfection

As I so often tell my friends and some clients ‘don’t be so hard on yourself’. Often we are our own worse enemy by expecting too much of ourselves and, indeed, of those we love too.

At the moment my reflective reading includes; Haemin Sunim’s ‘Love for imperfect things’ . I am a great fan of his work and recommend him as your modern day guru.

When recently hospitalised my daughter brought in my ‘writers news‘ and Haemin’s book which was on my desk.  I enjoyed sharing some of the contents with fellow patients. Haemin reminds us about the problems we bring upon our self ‘by being too good’ too.

Meeting with my great friend and fellow life coach earlier this week we both agreed how draining it can be in our quest to help others and be continually kind – this can often be at the cost of our own sanity. But I still maintain my usual stance kindness is a strength.

So today when you are aiming to be kind to one and all…remember to be kind to yourself too. And…as Haemin says ‘be good to yourself first, then to others’ 

Mother’s Day

Happy Mother’s day to all those wonderful woman who do an amazing job not just today but everyday. Recognising the needs of those we love on a daily basis is no easy job but with that comes such great rewards and unconditional love from our children.

We don’t just remember our Mothers on the marketing day, as a close friend agreed only yesterday, and, this is especially so for those of us who no longer have our Mothers around. They are kept forever magical in our hearts as I say so often on my blog.

My own beautiful daughter is away this Mother’s day but her love, kindness and thoughtfulness have been deeply appreciated especially this week. A room full of flowers blooming in her absence and a box of chocolates soon to be enjoyed. I will be lighting my scented candle later and will say a little prayer for those in need today.

I am sending spiritual healing to all those who may be recently bereaved in the loss of their mother knowing only too well some of these days can be really hard…but remember it’s just another day and they would want you to go on living and do the things that you enjoy.

We have a new mum in our family unit this year blessing us with a beautiful new baby boy just eleven days ago …wow how lucky are we?

Happy Mother’s day ladies.