Autumn equinox 2018

Yesterday marked the 2018 Autumn equinox. This is the time of the year, exactly halfway between the summer and winter solstices, when there are an equal amount of hours of dark and light in the day. It is a time of year I find particularly energising.

road-1072823_1920I am fortunate to live in an area where we have more than our fair share of trees, of woodland and common land where I can walk, enjoy the fresh air and observe the changing of the seasons, truly one of the nicest things about living in northern Europe. The leaves seem to have been falling around me for some time, but I think the extremely dry weather over the summer caused this. Now, the leaves are visibly beginning to turn from green to various shades of red, yellow and brown and the scenery around me is taking on new vivid hues. In a couple of weeks it will be stunning.

As I write this, it is unbelievably warm outside, but it’s a different kind of warmth from summer. In the summer, when it was 18 degrees, I might be wearing a summer dress and I’d have to put on a cardigan. Today, I’m wearing my jeans and a long-sleeved top and it feels like a treat to be able to go out without a jacket – it’s all about context and expectation!

At this point in the year I feel motivated and eager. I am really focused on finishing the second draft of my book by half term at the end of October, I have some exciting new plans for a new website on children’s books, I’m fitter than I’ve been for years and after nearly three years of domestic disruption, we are on the final stage of our house renovation. There is lots of stuff happening that is good.

So, make the most of these mild days and longer evenings. Enjoy the movements of our wonderful earth and embrace the seasons!

Do you find there are times of the year when you feel more positive and energised than others? If so, what do you do to tap into that? 

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Tame your gremlin and banish negative thoughts

lake-1585556_1280Autumn is becoming the new ‘new year’ for many people, lighter, brighter and generally a nicer time of year than January, which I’ve always felt was a really bad time to make resolutions and embark on new activities! On that theme, a lot of people I know are using October to make fresh starts or implement changes. For so many of us, transformation starts on the inside; if we have problems or issues we want to tackle or changes we want to make in our lives, it often means overcoming personal barriers – fears, phobias, addictions and the like – or building confidence in moving forward and realising dreams.

If this resonates with you and you are on your own transformation programme at the moment, I’d like to recommend Rick Carson’s Taming Your Gremlin. 

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Managing negative self-talk

I first came across this book a few years ago when I was doing some personal development training. First published in 1983 it remains in print and is widely considered a self-help classic. Its starting point is simple: that when it comes to getting what we want out of life, we are each our own worst enemy. In other words, there is a voice inside of us (which Carson embodies as a hostile gremlin) which talks us down, which questions our worthiness and which fills us with fear. All of this negative self-talk holds us back and stands in the way of us enjoying the life we have been given.

Your gremlin’s goal “is to squelch the natural, vibrant you within”

 

Carson’s method for dealing with our gremlin is a 3-step process. We begin by “simply noticing” the gremlin. This is linked to the Zen Theory of Change and to what we would now recognise as mindfulness. It’s very much a practical book, so to help you do this there are both physical and written exercises, for example, learning to breathe in a way that keeps you centred.

“I free myself not by trying to be free, but by simply noticing how I am imprisoning myself in the very moment I am imprisoning myself”

Step 2 invites us “Choose and play with options” or in other words, to observe our habitual behaviour patterns and write our own script, to change the negative thoughts to positive self-talk. The exercises are quite useful in doing this and the little stories (case histories) throughout the book will be familiar to many of us.

“As long as you operate out of habit you will limit your ability to fully experience, appreciate and enjoy your gift of life.”

 The final step is to “Be in process” to remain alert to the threat the gremlin poses. The future is unknown, your destiny is not mapped out by the events of your past and your gremlin cannot determine the path your life will take.

The book is a very easy and enjoyable read and its very practical. There is also a website accompanying the book.