Hi everyone, I’ll be honest this week’s blog is a bit of a mixed bag of thoughts and that’s all because last week was quite extraordinary.
It started with Monday, after I’d posted my last Blog around ‘fear’. Later that afternoon I go a call from my specialist nurse telling my final scan ‘report’ wasn’t totally clear and that it was being sent to their Radiologist who specialises in Lymphoma and then would be discussed at the MDT meeting on Friday (Multi-disciplinary team where they discuss cases and decide the best way forwards).
This, I was completely NOT expecting. All the way through treatment, my team had been saying if you’ve had a clear mid-way scan, which I had, you were pretty much home and dry. Having said that, the week before, a friend from an online support group, who was 3 weeks ahead of me on her treatment plan, also had the same experience, resulting in her now having to have another 5 months’ worth of a stronger chemo and a stem-cell transplant.
My call, combined with this new evidence – i.e. just because you’ve had a clear mid-way scan does not mean it’s all fine, meant that all of a sudden everything was thrown out of my control, once again! Why is nothing ever straight forward?!
As this Blog is live today, I’ll be going to me hospital apt finding out my results.
However, what could have been a disastrous week, in terms of me panicking and fearing the worse, actually turned out to be a pretty good week and so I wanted to share why.
Firstly, I took my own advice of the last Blog and focused on Gratitude and Taking Action, what could I control right then and there in this moment in time? First up, I notified people that I’d made recent commitments with to what was going on to relieve that pressure, and of course they were lovely.
I then carried on doing what I normally would in terms of my weekly creative projects; promoting the Blog, writing my book, Social Media posts, Art and Writing Club homework.
My intuition is to not work with pastels! But our task in art club this week was to work with a material you don’t normally work with! My intuition is right! Just the feel of pastels makes me cringe lol!
I also added in a healthy dose of self-care this week and took the pressure off to be deep in work mode most of the time, I allowed myself some ‘free’ time. This included a few walks with friends, one of which is simply hilarious – she got on the swing in the woods and then slipped as she got off, leaving her dangling over the mill pond, just holding on to the swing for dear life, I was crying with laughter, much needed comedy gold.
I’ve been listening to a new podcast too that I’ve found called ‘shagged, married and annoyed’ by Chris (Comedian and Strictly) and wife Rosie Ramsey. It’s an absolutely hilarious take on their marriage and also listeners questions and has me laughing out loud in the car. You cannot underestimate the power of laughter; it really is the best medicine.
And then something strange happened, a kind of build up from previous weeks, following me talking about visualisation in the last but one Blog, attending the masterclass with Andrea and writing about that and the slow drip feed of people telling me I could / need to be doing this, and I allowed myself to think bigger again.
The reason I’m saying this is strange is because I have no idea what will happen today. I could be told that I’ll be heading down another treatment journey, which would mean physically I’d have to take a back-step again BUT there was also some semblance of ‘F*** it’, I’m not going to let this hang over me, it’s taken up too much of my life already.
Nicola hosts the podcast ‘Dream and Do’ and Instagram @alifemoreinspired
Firstly, I took the decision to contact Nicola Rae Wickham, a creative mentor I really admire who was looking at starting a monthly Club and offering a deal for founding members, I’d missed the deadline for the debut offer but thought what have I got to lose, I can always just ask? The result was she said ‘Yes, of course!’.
I then sent of a text to 2 friends and asked them questions around what I was thinking and also asking them if they’d like to be guinea pig clients.
As I got a little braver, I then wrote half an email to a friend who is in the field of what I want to do, only to scrap it half way through because I thought no, I better not get too ahead of myself and wait until I’m passed Monday. And then guess what happened? The very same friend text me a few hours later, asking for advice on something to do with her business and suggesting a call!
My point to all this is, it’s very easy in tough times to go inwards, hide from the world and just want to battle through the week BUT if you instead listen to your intuition and let it guide you it can lead to some really great things.
The call with my friend lasted 1.5 hrs, was mutually beneficial and we’ve come up with an exciting collaboration plan to move us both forwards, I couldn’t be more thrilled.
This in turn has given me a huge boost to my self-belief, she’s someone I look up to and is incredibly clever, an expert in her field and even she thinks I could go in this direction which kind of blew me away.
Fab lollies, new plants, doodling and Barley cuddles, have all helped this week too!
So, what is the thing? It feels scary at this moment saying it out loud and I don’t want to tempt fate for today but then what if I listen to what I’ve learned, say it out loud and then that somehow goes out into the universe and manifests itself into reality? I’d be stupid not to try right?
Get ready universe here it is – I want to become a creative / personal branding coach/mentor.
It’s something that has been nagging away at me for over 3 years, much like setting up the Blog did before. The block I’ve had around this is that I can’t afford formal training, yet. But as I’ve delivered my own writing workshops, worked with the members of the Wow team over the last year, and with this Blog too, plus of course the 21 years of marketing and PR career I had before all this (which I often forget!), I’ve grown in confidence that I really can help people, and it is definitely the direction I want to take long-term because I get such a buzz out of it!
That night, as is usual in my case, I woke up with all the ideas of how I could help my friend and drafted these out into my notebook the next day, leading to further excitement and planning work which I love doing.
As you probably know, I’m interested in positive psychology and well-being anyway and listen to related podcasts and read up on the subject, but this week felt even more apt as I listened to Dr Chatterjee’s interview with Dr Tara Swart on his ‘Feel better, live more’ podcast, all about how to plan your post-lockdown life, focusing on visualisation, spirituality and Action Boards (her version of Vision Boards). It was a fascinating listen and I’m now reading her book; The Source – Open Your Mind, Change Your Life, which so far, is brilliant.
In addition to the events above, a few other key things have happened this week:
‘It’s never too late to step out of the shadows’
A fitting end and a quote that myself, and my friends listening, could all relate to. I believe, after lock-down, it’s time we all step out of those shadows and really go for creating a life that we truly want, that fills us with passion, enthusiasm and a deep sense of fulfilment.
My point to all this is what I always say; the more opportunities you open yourself up to, the more end up coming your way and this all very much fits in with the law of attraction too. If you then Take Action on top of that openness, the effect is doubled, yourself and the universe, working together to head in the same direction.
It may all sound a bit ‘woo’ but I firmly believe it makes a difference, if you hide in a corner, not connecting or engaging with people, how is that energy every going to encourage opportunities or people to work with you?
I’m someone who has always looked actively for signs and trusted my gut instinct on things and that involves taking a good look at yourself and spending time on self-development. An example of this is finally doing what I tell others to do – journaling.
I often think I don’t have time or have to have the right notebook (I know, it’s an addiction!) and so to encourage me to do it, when I KNOW how good it can be for you, I’ve ordered the same focus journal I got for a friends birthday ‘Five minutes in the morning’ and am working through the self-reflective tasks on a daily basis.
Having said that, it doesn’t allow you to write about how you are feeling that particular day and so upon listening to Julia Cameron’s interview who recommends doing the ‘Morning Pages’ – essentially 3 pages of writing a stream of consciousness first thing in the morning, I remembered a clear, clean notebook I had left that I could use for just that!
I’ve added a little structure though to make it work more intentionally for me. The first 2 pages can be about anything, the last page will be to set out my intentions for that day and will also hold my gratitude list for the previous day – (i.e. Gratitude and Take Action remember) to clear away any anxiety for that day and set myself in a good frame of mind.
I started this yesterday and wrote about a daft habit that I’d gotten into lately that I was going to intentionally try and stop. This may make you laugh but when I get down to ‘work’ I take with me my daily planner, my large notebook, my laptop, and books and magazines as a kind of ‘comfort’ blanket dragging them around the house, I think to make me feel that I can get all this stuff done if I just have it with me!
The reality of course is that I don’t because it is too much for one sitting of work! The comfort then reverses into ‘disappointment’ in myself and an ongoing inner dialogue of, ‘Look what you didn’t get round to today, you’ll have to try harder tomorrow!’ which of course I know when I really think about it, is ridiculous!
So, I’m now going to intentionally set just 3 things a day to complete, anything else is a bonus and I’ll only take with me what I am actually going to do, usually planner and laptop.
Larger notebooks will be used just for drafting-out sessions and bigger picture thinking such as mind-maps etc which doesn’t happen on a daily basis. Magazines and books will be used for pure research time, which requires a quiet place for it to sink in properly – i.e. not when I’m in the middle of other work.
So just one day or morning pages has helped me sort out this issue, imagine how doing this every day will help to process my thoughts and behaviours? It’s encouraged me to make this a regular practice because even on day one, I can see the value in it.
This week I want to set you a challenge, ask yourself these 4 questions, I want you to get curious and look inwards. Write your answers down and look again at the end of the week, has it made a difference to how you navigated your week? Have you noticed any specific behaviours? It will be interesting to see:
Do let me know how you get on!
Have a great week and I don’t know if the all the above stretches as far as creating good health, but universe, if you are listening, please let my results be clear, because I have a lot of exciting work to do!
Until next time…
Juliet, The Curious Creative x
Ps We’ve held off promoting Wow Wednesdays for a while because we’ve been doing it all virtually but sometimes we have space to add people in to the zoom calls, so if you are interested, please have a look here for further details of what they are about and DM me via Instagram if you are interested. The next meeting is this coming Wednesday 17th June, and we do calls at 11am and 8pm