Monthly Archives: February 2019

The River of Life.

There’s a famous line in the film “Forrest Gump” that goes “Life is Like a Box of Chocolates…” and it may be like that for some people but to me that brings to mind an image of an ever depleting entity rather than something that lasts.

I have said before that life is not balance – it is not stationary. Instead it is flow – like a river. And whilst many people may go on to explain this analogy further as life springing from the earth, beginning as a small stream and growing as it moves inexorably closer to its end destination where it joins with all other rivers and becomes one body of water (the sea), I am talking more about the flow that moves the river constantly onwards.

Rivers never run in straight lines! How dull and predictable would that be – lots of straight lines carving up the landscape, all going in one direction, at the same speed & probably all arriving at the sea at the same time (rather like Milton Keynes now I come to think of it lol!!!)

That image (apart from reminding me of MK) also conjures up memories of reading the book “The machine Stops” by E.M.Forster – enforced order, rigid structure, unnatural life and movement, control, loss of identity… But here I go again…off on another tangent as my brain wakes up from the uninspired sludge it has been snoozing in recently.

Back to my subject for today – the River of Life and the fact that rivers never run in straight lines (not for long anyway).

Sure, there are long, slow, straight stretches where we can see where we are heading and any obstacles there might be in our way, but sooner or later something will cause the river to bend and we lose sight of what is coming up next.

As with so many occasions in life, this is where we have a choice – carry on around the bend and see what opens up in front of us (the potentially exciting but scary option) or we play it safe, steer our boat over to the river bank and get out. We like the security, the safety of being able to see where we are going so if the river is going to be so damned inconsiderate as to have a bend in it then we will stay right here thank-you very much!!

Hmmmmmm.

Where is your sense of adventure or even curiosity??

And have you stopped to think that if you stay here you will never get to achieve your end goal of seeing the ocean in all its power, glory and beauty?

Do you really want to miss out on that experience?

Is the bend in the river so scary it’s worth giving up your dreams for?

I know that if you have the courage, the tenacity & the curiosity to continue around the bend in your own personal river,things may be very different.

That gentle, slow-moving, calm, broad expanse of river may narrow, grow in speed, crash and bounce in a mad foam of white, blinding spray over hidden rocks and boulders but oh, the excitement, the adrenaline rush, the whoop of excitement, the overwhelming sense of achievement and pride when you get through it all. Isn’t that worth the risk?

Yes, our boat may tip over and dump us in the water but we are designed with all the right protective gear that will help us survive the rapids of life – intuition, experience, knowledge, friendship, love, tenacity, courage, determination, the ability to build another boat and keep going around the next bend, and the next and the ones after that.

You just have to believe that you have that protective gear and trust it.

Just as a river is never one long, straight line, neither is it one continuous, crashing, exciting but exhausting white-water ride.


Sometimes we are crashed and bounced through white-water rapids that scare, exhilarate and exhaust us with the speed at which we are travelling and the effort needed to keep our boat upright, in one piece and not full of water.
The adrenaline courses through us as we focus on one thing and one thing alone – survival.

Other times we travel along deep, slow-moving, languorous waters that allow us to rest and recover, take in the beauty of our surroundings and plan ahead .

Then there are those times when the river just flows at the right speed, in the right direction, sometimes shallow enough to see the bottom and without large, hidden obstacles that threaten to tear our boat apart. We move forwards fast enough to know we are getting to where we want to be. We still have to focus and concentrate, keep our mind on the job in hand and staying on course, but it’s more a matter of gentle tweaks and corrections, working with the flow of the river and not fighting it.

And yet we still have time to admire the view, enjoy the journey and relax in the knowledge that everything, for now is as it should be – not too fast, not too slow but just at the right speed, in flow and as one with the river.

These are the moment when we achieve, succeed, grow and expand and find that our inspiration is rekindled and we can once more write a blog post with ease, fluidity and joy!

Oh, and one last thing before I leave…

Please take this very, very important piece of advice…

NEVER NEVER NEVER decide that to try and take your boat UP-stream is a good idea. You are going against the flow of the river and its power is far greater than yours. All you will succeed in doing is waste a whole load of your time and energy going the wrong way and you will only end up further away from your goal than when you started. Don’t listen to anyone who tells you that there is a better life up-stream, in the past – there IS NOT.

Up-stream is where you have come from. There is absolutely no point in trying to go back to it as all you will be doing is covering the same old ground and making the same old mistakes and believe me, as someone who has learned this lesson the hard way – it really is NOT worth it.

Until next week, enjoy sailing along your own River of Life and remember to enjoy every moment. Once the water has passed beneath your boat it has gone forever.

Kate xx

Anything is possible in a story.

Sometimes as an author, I suddenly find myself stuck, pen hovering over a blank page (or, in today’s world of technology, fingers hovering over a keyboard, eyes staring at a blank Microsoft Word document page) whilst I wait for inspiration to flow.

Like so many things in life, it’s that all important first step or word that is often the hardest.

What do I want to say?

How do I want to say it?

On what context do I want to position this?

Where is this going to? (a question I ask myself on a daily basis!!!)

I find fiction a little easier than life if I am honest but only because the very first thing I did before I started on my first book was to write out my story’s plan. At least when I get stuck with the finer details I still know in which general direction I’m supposed to be going.

If that doesn’t work then I re-read what I have written so far. At over 100,000 words this can often take quite a long time (good job I can speed read!) but it re-immerses my mind into my story and re-kindles my relationship with my characters, allowing me to get out of this life with all of it’s worries and distractions and back into a world of magic, adventures and heroism.

As I read what I have written previously, my subconscious mind picks up the plot and drags it to the surface of my consciousness, allowing the words to start to flow again.

Often that start is slow and a bit clunky (lots of sentences written, deleted and re-written) but as the distractions of the outside world begin to fade, I find the flow starts to happen again and then the problem is how to keep my fingers going as fast as my imagination!

My story is complex, with twists and turns along the way but I don’t want my reader to be able to see which way the story has twisted until something happens further along the journey of the plot. There comes a point when something will happen that will make my reader say or think “Aha! So that’s why XYZ happened back in Chapter Whatever” or even find themselves driven to go back to that earlier chapter, to find what happened previously and put the two together in order to find understanding as well as a need to keep on turning the pages in order to find out what happens next.

This book is 1 of 6. I have the plot of my final book already outlined in my head and there is a MASSIVE twist to it half way through, one that will make my readers go “OMG! REALLY??? Now what?!”

The tough part is keeping track of all the threads that are woven through my plot so that I can pull them together for my last book without missing any . We all know that a loose thread can be a dangerous thing!

And in writing my book, I see many similarities between my writing process and life itself.

Sometimes it flows, sometimes it gets stuck.

Sometimes I need to check out my plan and sometimes I have to go back over the past in order to get clarity about the future.

There are always hundreds of threads that I have woven into my past – some I have already tied off, others are still tangled and need sorting and many are still loose, waiting for me to weave them into the story of my future life.

I may re-write my plan for my future but the plot that brought me to this point in my life is unchangeable (unlike in my book).

Re-reading my life-story so far may be painful, happy, sad, embarrassing, full of regret or full of gratitude, with moments of confusion and clarity as well as things to be proud of but the loose threads of my future are waiting for me to weave them into the story and the ending I want.

The plot that I write and the threads of my future story that I weave is my choice – I just need to use my imagination wisely and not re-write the mistakes of my past.

And above all I must remember this……..

Anything is possible in a story:-

Until next time…

Kate

Why do night-time thoughts always disappear?!

I am an intermittent insomniac. It’s usually pain related but once I’m even vaguely awake my brain uses it as an excuse to kick in big time and sleep throws its hands into the air and surrenders (what a wimp!!!)

I’ve long since learned not to stress about those nights as it only makes the insomnia worse so I just lie in the dark and let my thought frolic merrily around in my head knowing that my body, at least, is still resting.

Funnily enough, once it has done its job of waking me up and poking my little grey cells into a chaos of thinking, the pain in my back and hips slinks away to skulk in a corner until I either sit too long in my office chair or do too much of something physical. Typical!

Sometimes my thoughts coalesce into something quite startlingly intuitive or creative or just downright brilliant and I repeat them over and over again to myself so as not to forget them in the morning. In the quiet, still darkness of the wee small hours it seems eminently feasible that I will remember everything in just a few hours time but unfortunately this attempt at memory imprinting fails 99% of the time.

Like chasing a butterfly, the harder I try to remember what it was that was so startlingly clear in it’s brilliance at 3.23am, the more it eludes me and fades into the grey fuzz where those really great dreams you have also reside.

I don’t think it’s an age thing as dreams and night-time thoughts have always eluded me once my eyes open and my conscious mind takes over (you know, the sensible, logical part of your brain that thinks dreams and night thoughts are for children and la-la land inhabitants). Occasionally something during the day will trigger a memory and the dream or thought comes rushing out from the grey fuzz to present itself to my conscious mind with a “tadaahh!” or a “boo” not dissimilar to a naughty child jumping out from a hiding place and scaring the sh*t out of you!!!!

I’m really hoping this happens with my thoughts from last night’s bout of insomnia as, even though I say so myself, they were mind blowingly awesome but annoyingly now hidden in the depths of my subconscious mind, jealously guarded like Golum hanging onto his “Precioussssss.”

If they do appear I will, of course share their intuitive, awesome brilliance with you (unless of course they turn out to be, like a bad Tinder date, not as great as they first appeared to be in the wee small hours!) If that happens to be the case I will then apply that well known technique of selective memory and consign those thoughts to the “delete” folder of my mind.

If nothing else……. at least they gave me something to journal about today 🙂

Until next time, stay safe, have fun and live every moment you have on this beautiful planet of ours.

Your friend,

Kate xx

Taking inspiration from no inspiration!!

It’s easy to look at what other people are doing and writing about either in blogs or on social media, and feel that your life is dull by comparison.

“I’m not inspired enough to write inspirational posts.”

“Nothing is amazing enough to write about and no one will want to read about MY life right now.” etc etc etc

The answer? Be HONEST – with yourself and with your audience.

It can be quite enlightening to read that other people sometimes come to a grinding halt in their journey of Life and wonder what to do next or which way to turn. There really is no such thing as a Positivity Superhero who doesn’t know what problems, upsets or a down day are (no matter what they post on Facebook or Instagram!!)

Inspirational posts are great but sometimes I find that I start to compare myself to those people who are ALWAYS writing inspirational stuff and who NEVER seem to be negative or have any problems in life. “What am I doing wrong?” is a question I find myself asking (the answer to that question is “nothing”!)

If I am honest I sometimes find it exhausting, like watching an irritating toy powered by a Duracell battery and waiting for it to run out of power (I know that seems unfair and it probably is but this post is about being honest and that’s how I feel sometimes!)

The reality is that life, nature, the Moon, energy, everything, moves in waves – up and down , left and right. It is those changes in movement that keep our momentum going forwards and without them we would most definitely end up getting utterly stuck.

People say life is a balance – it’s not really.

Balance is something static, stationary, not going anywhere. Life is Flow – sometimes up, sometimes down, sometimes left and sometimes right but always, always moving forwards.

It’s fine to feel a bit down when you just want to be happy and positive.

Don’t resist it! Explore those feelings and try to get to know them , to understand them.

Why? That’s always a great question to ask! Why do I feel like this? What happened? Why did it happen? Why me? Be inquisitive about your feelings; get to know what they are really like; what led you to feel this way; what can you do to feel differently? It can actually be quite and interesting and cathartic process.

And remember this – in order to fully appreciate the great/ happy/ successful/ fun-filled times in life we have to have something to measure or compare them with. If we have no experience of sad how can we know or appreciate the fact that we are happy?

What is “Up” if we have no “Down” to measure it by?

What does “Left” mean if there is no “Right”?

I took inspiration from being uninspired today and created this blog post!!

There is a surprise in everything in life.

Have an awesome day 🙂

Kate x

Snails and Big Fish.

The weekend is over and for many people that means back to the drudgery of the early morning alarm, the commute to work and the 9-5, exchanging your time for enough money to pay the bills and making someone else rich (NOT very motivational I know!!!)

For some of us who are lucky enough not to have jobs we really dislike, Monday is a day to look forward to but we still have the same worries and concerns about money, time, self doubt and whether what we are doing is right.

“Comparisonitis” can creep into everyone’s life at some point or another and it can lead to envy, jealousy, frustration and even quitting if we are not careful.

What you need to understand is that a snail’s journey in life is just as important and as successful as anyone else’s!

Watching a snail move you probably think that it goes sooooo slowly it can’t possibly achieve much in it’s life.
But it’s all about perception.

Shrink yourself down to the size of a snail and suddenly that pavement you need to get across to reach the grass on the other side becomes far more than one simple stride – it becomes a morning’s worth of work and effort.

Conversely, turn around and take a look at the “big fish” in your particular work or business “pond”. Perhaps how fast they move, how successful they have become, how much money they have already made and continue to make, how many people look up to them makes you suddenly feel like that snail by comparison.

Looking at either in this way is not good for you unless you take a positive viewpoint.

Don’t mock the snail because it seems to be moving slowly (& please don’t stomp on it!). Try helping it, pick it up and move it out of harm’s way and to where it is trying to get to (Gardeners – I am speaking metaphorically here so your veggies and flowers are safe!!)

Be grateful that you are in a position to help out someone who is moving slower than you (& there are ALWAYS people like that when you look around you no matter what you think your current position in life is) and help them whenever you can.

On the other side of the picture, don’t give in to envying those big fish who seem to fly through the stormy seas of business and work without any difficulties. They may have achieved everything you want but there is no reason for envy.

They were small fry once upon a time. It took courage, persistence, determination,, self-belief and passion to get to where they are today and there is still always the risk of a bigger fish swallowing them up or of getting tangled up in some thoughtless rubbish other people dump.

Sure, some of them will look upon you as a snail and mock your slower progress – ignore them; don’t try to be them and remember that Karma always comes around in the end!

Instead, look up to the ones who embody the characteristics that you admire, the ones who inspire you and who help, encourage and support you.

Learn from them. Be motivated by them and stick with your dreams and REMEMBER……

….you are already that person to a snail somewhere else.

Have an awesome day everyone whether you are a big fish, a little fish or a snail 🙂