I've always wanted to write a book but I do get side tracked - I have the attention span of a gnat, 3 children, lots of pets, a crumbling old cottage to keep upright, my work as a volunteer and then this overwhelming urge to write in the moment and then just let it go, which is another way of saying I'm not really that disciplined, which actually matters quite a lot if you want to write a book.
But the good news is that means that I write 1,000s of authentic, genuine words, based on however I feel in the moment - whatever has p*ssed me off, or whatever has brought me joy, but it does not necessarily mean that they join together in a coherent manner - there's no start, middle or end, no well thought through characters, or plot, or profound discoveries.
Just the wonderfully eccentric and eclectic thoughts of a middle aged woman, who actually rather enjoys the diverse, randomness of her writing.
Not sounding like a great pitch to a publisher, it has to be said but I write for the joy of writing, of sharing, of making a difference to someone, somewhere, for self therapy, for the satisfaction of speaking up when it appears that no one else dare for fear of judgement - as I do not have 1,000s of followers I don't really have anyone to p*ss off anyway!
So, what is this page all
about you may wonder (and don't worry my website help page has already told me I have way too many pages and that I am at risk of confusing my audience, so it's ok to be confused). Well, it's my attempt to try and create some order to the chaos of my writing and perhaps even draft a structure for this life long ambition of mine to publish a book.
Maybe, one day, we will see x
Life - it's really that simple, it's about managing the hell out of this thing called life.
Our mental health, somewhat f*cked up values, parenting, grief, death, the menopause, sustainable living, loss of ourselves, finding ourselves, prejudice, inequality, inhumanity, humanity, friendships, love, joy, sadness and of course, judgement.
It's actually quite difficult to define life, we do not know what it is until we are in it so it's a somewhat changeable list.
The honest truth is that I have so much to say, it's difficult to know where to start.
I will be sharing my journey through life, the good and bad bits.
I will try to use my experiences to help others tread where I have been, but they have yet to go.
I will be authentic and honest - there will be no airbrushing or optical illusions, which ultimately lead to hurt, low self esteem and a feeling of inadequacy for others and ourselves.
The subjects will be discussed, with candour and humour, they will be diverse but meaningful - our mental health, being a parent, our relationships, grief, addiction, acceptance, forgiveness, connection, judgement and anything else that lurks in the shadows, hidden by shame or guilt.
I am here to help re-define reality and share my life, to help others to be able to do so too.
Our beauty is always in our imperfection.
I will post updates on the chapters as the book progresses, so do watch this space or sign up to my newsletter and I will keep you posted.
With much love, always Nik x
“Speak with honesty, think with sincerity, and act with integrity.” Anonymous
It's a lifelong journey but getting to know yourself is perhaps the greatest friendship of all.
I've discovered that despite my seemingly outward complexity, my foundations are really quite simple: truth, kindness and courage.
And despite years of distractions and materialistic props, my needs are actually pretty simply: joy, balance and human connection.
If I move from these foundations and nurture my needs, my mental, physical, emotional and intellectual health thrives, if I leave, forget or ignore any of them, I suffer enormously and I do believe the loss of one or more of these has directly led to all of my mental health challenges.
Love Nik x
"To me self-esteem is not self love, it is self-accepting and acknowledgment, as in recognising and accepting who you are" Amity Gaige
Perhaps the biggest illusion of all is that we should only have strengths, joy, happiness, acceptance and positive experiences. We should always be 'nice', feel ok, be achieving something that others can recognise as success as defined in a materialistic, status driven world.
But of course, this is total bullsh*t.
We are humans therefore by definition, we are flawed. If we were not flawed how would we be able to recognise its opposite - perfection. If we did not feel sorrow, how could we appreciate joy, if we did not experience failure, how would we recognise success, if we did not die, how could we live life fully, doing all that we can, whilst we still have the time?
Self acceptance is learning to have a honest conversation with ourself about ourself and being ok with all of who we are - warts and all. No one can judge us, if we do not judge ourselves.
Love Nik x
"When you dance, your purpose is not to get to a certain place on the floor. It's to enjoy each step along the way." Wayne Dyer
It seems to me that meaning and purpose has been made far too grand - like some oversized mansion with ridiculous gold taps that make absolutely no difference to the water that comes out of them - it flows irrespective of its surroundings.
We chase this concept of meaning and purpose as if it exists in our external world somewhere and if we go on that ridiculously expensive course, or retreat, or join that members club, we will find it.
But of course, we will not, as purpose does not reside outside of us. It resides inside of each of us, paradoxically waiting for us to stop being distracted by the external world, so that we can create the space and time we need to be able to actually feel it, to see it and to find the courage to live it.
But sadly so many of us choose to spend our time listening to others, chasing the illusion, allowing ourselves to be consumed by the distractions, rather than simply finding the time to listen to and find our own meaning, our own purpose and therefore our own success.
The irony, of course, is that all it really takes to find your purpose, is to simply be yourself, that's it.
Love Nik x
"We judge people in areas where we're vulnerable to shame, especially picking folks who are doing worse than we're doing." Brene Brown
"People are so fearful about opening themselves up. All you want to do is to be able to connect with other people.
When you connect with other people, you connect with something in yourself. It makes you feel happy. And yet it's so scary - it makes people feel vulnerable and unsafe." Toni Collette
"Problems are not the problem; coping is the problem." Virginia Satir
"Most people are prisoners, thinking only about the future or living in the past. They are not in the present, and the present is where everything begins." Carlos Santana
"A day without laughter is a day wasted." Charlie Chaplin
It might appear bizarre, morbid or arrogant to write your own Eulogy. Even so, I've had a go at mine, to give me something to work back from while I'm still in a position to actually do something about it.
Life is a tricky programme to plan, you don't have a 'go-dead' date or pre-agreed milestones.
It's a lesson in 'organic planning', setting a direction, mapping a course, being brave enough to allow the programme to evolve and agile enough to respond to the unknowns.
You need to test your outcomes quickly, identify and ditch the failed ones and implement the successful ones like your life depended on it - as it may well.
In the final analysis, when the programme ends and it's review time, there are 6 key things I would love someone to be able to say:
1. She loved and was loved unconditionally
2. She responded to adversity with courage, resilience and care
3. She identified and admitted her weaknesses and failings without doubt or fear of judgement
4. She took responsibility for her actions and the impact they had on others
5. Whenever she got knocked down by life, she got back up and tried again
6. She extended the hand of kindness and genuinely cared
And there is my strategic plan for the rest of my life.
Inspired by my dad.
I read a lot of stories and advice on social media about how to run a successful business, how to make the most of your time, how to inspire people and generally how to be something better or different to what we are today.
It can feel a bit over whelming, like we should all be aiming to be someone or somewhere else. Maybe we don't need to do any of this. Maybe being successful is just about being content with your life and yourself today.
Contentment does not always have to mean being happy either - it is about being content with the way you live your life and who you are as a person - including your strengths and weaknesses. It is that contentment that enables you to make the most of your peaks and survive your troughs.
Now that might be working towards World Peace, inventing renewable energy, running a multi million pound business, getting the ironing done, emptying bins, caring for people or simply walking the dog - because we are all different and that's ok.
All of my hero's and role models have led simple, unassuming lives.
Their value and gifts have been created through achieving contentment with their life and themselves. You do not always have to do more or to be more.
You can be enough just as you are.
Please just be brave and honest with yourself and do not let the constant onslaught of meaningless comparison and limited and artificial success factors deter you from what really matters - being completely and unapologetically yourself.
Purpose gets me out of bed in the morning.
Purpose is stronger than shame and self loathing - with real purpose those things no longer get to be the ring leaders.
Purpose is bigger than ego and doesn't give a toss about judgement.
Purpose does not have negative side effects, unless it becomes rhetoric versus reality, then it becomes regret.
Purpose is a fundamental building block, which all of us need, in whatever form, if we are to live rather than merely survive.
Purpose can change over time and that's ok because so do each of us.
Purpose is pretty damn important whichever way you look at it.
I talk a lot about taking all of ourselves to work - to show up and own up.
I think it is so important to be ourselves, to be honest, to share our vulnerabilities and connect with people, particularly in our professional lives, on a truthful and transparent basis.
But what does this mean in reality?
For me it means I can offer:
But I do come with some limitations.
I am experiencing a fairly severe menopause so I can have days when I am physically exhausted and very emotional - I am constantly forgetful and can struggle to remember words and names.
I suffer from depression. It's always there, just below the surface and as a consequence I have to be incredibly mindful of how much I take on and the level of stress I am able to cope with.
I have 3 young children and I am their main carer and home-maker as my husband frequently works away. They are my priority. Therefore my availability is limited and I can only travel infrequently.
This is me showing up and owning up.
Show up and own up. In whatever way you can.
Share a secret to take away its power and shame.
Help a colleague or friend see something beautiful about themselves they are not able to see themselves.
Look at an experience from a new perspective.
Allow yourself to imagine the possibility of a different outcome from a mundane, repeating action or interaction.
Plant a new idea in someone’s mind.
Feel your fear, name it and tell someone.
Commit to opening one door of vulnerability, even if only to yourself and take a peek at what lies behind it.
I bet one of these small actions can be a game changer for your day.
In order to be the change we want to see we have to change what we do, how we see things and our inner narrative one step at a time.
When I was diagnosed with post-natal depression, one of the things I decided very early on was to be honest and open about it.
I did that because I hid in the shadows for too long, ashamed of how I felt and that I couldn’t hold it all together because I believed other people could.
The reality was, for a significant number of people in my peer group, they weren’t holding it together at all. They just weren’t saying that’s all.
Had I known that, my path would have been easier to navigate, my expectations more realistic and I could have reached out for help earlier.
And that’s why I share, because sharing helps others understand that we all have peaks and troughs and everyone has their battles - that’s just life and actually that’s ok.
In order to live I believe that you have to think about death - quite a lot actually.
That's not because I think that we should all be morbid but because if we can truly grasp mortality, we will stop faffing around, focus on what's important and make the best of the time we have.
If not, we might end up talking about regrets rather than a life well lived.