Mutterings and utterings of a budding novelist

Personal Life

Fears of a New World

It’s been so long since I wrote in the blog, but I feel now is a good time for a new entry.
So, Covid-19 – it’s something that’s touched the entire planet. And I’ve no need to explain why. We all know the statistics, the symptoms, and the pain it’s caused.
I’ve also no need to talk about any strategies or routines to get through it. Whatever I say, has been said a million times already.

What I can say though – is that it’s ok to be scared during these times. Humans have always feared the unknown; it’s in our nature. We’ve cemented and anchored our lives to a paradigm that barely shifts. We go about our day, fully secure that no matter what events or circumstances befall us, we have a fixed background to base our lives against. If we lose a job, we can always find another. If we lose a loved one, we can find comfort in our friends and family. And if we see tradgedies around the world, we know the world will inevitably mourn, cope, and move on. Even those fleeing warzones rely on the stability of the rest of the world to help them find refuge. Life goes on, and despite the odd blip and bump, the way will smooth out, and carry on as it has before.

Covid-19 is different though. It struck the entire world so hard and fast that we barely had chance to prepare and comprehend what was happening. Some countries were hit harder than others, but all were affected in some way. The planet ground to a halt and waited with baited breath, hoping that the pandemic would quietly pass without causing too much damage.

Governments tried their best to organise their countries, strategically attempting to curb the virus as best they could. These were unknown waters, and those that stayed high and dry were praised, and those that got it wrong and floundered were beset by outrage. But to predict such outcomes were difficult, if not impossible. Geography, culture, and population variations, amongst other factors seperated each country, meaning a course of action that worked in one place wouldn’t work somewhere else.

And now the populous hides, told to stay indoors and wait out the uncertainty.

As I type this, the sun beams outside, belying what lingers in the air.
People are frightened.
People are scared everything they have worked hard for is slowly dissolving before their eyes.
People are unable to pay bills, having lost their jobs, or being unable to work.
People are losing loved ones, unable to be with them in their final moments.
People are on the verge of starvation.
People are missing those closest to them, only slightly delayed by phone calls and facetiming.

And you know what?
That’s ok.

It’s ok to be afraid and sad.

It’s ok to worry about what’s to come.

And it’s ok to lose hope.

Because that’s in our nature. Uncertainty terrifies us.

But that uncertainty can also be full of hope.
Great things can come from despair.
Because humanity is also resiliant.
We’ve proved time and time again we can endeavour and triumph.
The pandemic will pass. It won’t be our end. We’ve broken through deadlier ones before.
We will go outside, and breathe in a cleaner world, rich with life and hope.
We will learn to make money once more. But it won’t dominate our lives as it once did.
We will interact more with our neighbours and smile at strangers.
We won’t take for granted seeing and hugging our friends and family.
We will respect the fragility of the planet, and look after it more.
We will spend more time with the people we love, and not slaving our lives away for money.
Because we fought this battle together, and together we will win.
Nothing unites us more than a struggle.

Sometimes we need the foundations of our lives ripping down, in order to rebuild better and stronger.

So be scared if you need to. But also know things won’t always be this way.

Things will get better.
A brighter dawn is approaching.

Be safe, and be happy.

This is for all my friends and family who are worrying at this time.
I love and miss you all so much. And you’re all in my thoughts.
I’ll see you all soon. Look after yourselves.

Ken xx

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A Message To My Friends

Life can be tough – it’s a known fact.
It can pull us down, twist us, break us, and crush us.
And just one simple decision can send us on a path of pain and sadness.
But even down the darkest roads lay a glimmer of light.

We are friends, and I want you to know I am always here for you.
And I know you’re there for me too.
We must never forget to ask each other for help when we need it.
We must never be so proud that we can’t admit we are low.

We may make fun of each other, and banter until we cry with laughter.
But this must still be tempered with warmth and love.
Otherwise friendship can decay under the weight of solely harsh words.

Even though we may not see each other often, or only speak on occasion,
I am still your friend.
And time nor distance has no bearing on this friendship.
Little changes when we do reunite.

Even so, we must take great effort to keep making memories.
And always have events to look forward to.
Photos must be taken, and cherished for a lifetime.
Simple coffee breaks, to parties and holidays.
Each meeting must be special and unique.

We are friends, and I want you to know I am always here for you.
My door is always open. The kettle is always ready to pour.
And I am always ready to listen with a sympathetic ear.

Too often we are reminded that this world connects us in more and more ways,
yet only seems to push us apart further and further.
We must remind ourselves that our online lives are an illusion.
They are a condensed persona we display after scrubbing away the dirt.

As time pushes on, we must bridge the gaps that seperate us,
and reminisce about the journeys life has taken us.
Life is truly beautiful, and we share this part of history with many people.
Of all the years mankind has existed, we are lucky to share this time with those we love.

We must realise that each and every one of will face tough times at some point.
To be human is to feel the full gamut of emotions.
From the deepest lows, to the soaring highs, I want to share them all with you.

For we are friends, and I am always here for you.

 

xx

 

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Visited by Demons?

Everyone knew about the ghost in the nightblub I worked in. Tiles had gone under many names over the years, but the bar itself was largely untouched. As well as reputedly being the longest marble bar in the UK (or was it Europe?), it could be clearly seen where the divisions of first, second, and third class once were. The Victorian look of the venue gave it a unique, look – beautiful yet forgotten, almost decaying in some regards. During the years me and my friends worked there, there were the assortment of strange events. Phone ringing internally on their own, disembodied laughter, figures appearing both sides of the bar, unexplained footsteps coming from the dancefloor in plain sight, keyfobs being pulled, and doors closing on their own.
But all these events can probably be explained away by the more skeptical and easily dismissed. And I could probably agree with them.

But one event in my life, I still today have no explaination, and even today I struggle putting it down to imagination or lack of sleep etc.
Around the age of 23 I began writing a screenplay for a project called ‘Last Battle’.
It involved a young man called Richard Crowell – successful in both his personal and professional life. Yet when he is tragically killed in a car crash, he awakes in the realm of Heaven in a kind of hospital. Noticing everyone appears sombre, and all are looking at him with suspicion and sadness, he enquires to a nurse. He is then told that Hell has finally amassed enough souls to stage an full on invasion of Heaven, and it is he who (for better or worse) is prophecised to determine the outcome of the war.

Now Hell has appeared in a few works of mine, and I find it as a playground for my imagination to conjur up various monsters. As a Pagan, my non-belief of Hell helps in this. But ‘Last Battle’ was different, and required approaching with care and authenticity. I researched for months, delved into works ranging from the Old Testament to the Divine Comedy. I wanted to give character to angels and demons alike and flesh them out in ways that felt correct.
Since the script involved the War of Angels – where Lucifer and his minions fell from grace, I needed to research this. This was largely before the internet was a valuable source of information (Wikipedia wasn’t a thing at this point), and I could only scour what books I could find. Thankfully my father is a big occult fan and this meant he had tons of material to delve into.
Some sources say one third of Heaven fell in the War – approximately 130,000 angels. So whilst this number of characters is absurd to write about, I landed on 13 instead, and used the works of Jacques Collin de Plancy, the books of Solomon and various other dark texts to breathe life into these 13 fallen angels and demons.

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From the works of DePlancy

Sat at night in my father’s attic office I was scribbling down names, signals and symbols in order to develop the characters. Now looking back I think I was naive and silly to be dabbling in things I clearly didn’t understand, yet onwards I went!
Suddenly, I noticed I could see my breath. The room had become VERY cold, and had taken on a bluish, oppressive look. But this was late Spring, and had been a warm day. I became aware of what felt like a thousand eyes watching me; as if I was writing on a stage. Intrigued witnesses were peering over my shoulder at what I was penning. Icy chills ran down my spine. Whatever was in that attic with my didn’t feel human (or former human) at all! I’ve never felt fear like that before and I did wonder if what I was doing was a good idea at all.

I grabbed my Encylopedia of Angels and began frantically scribbling out the names of the Angels on a fresh page. Michael, Gabriel, Uriel, Auriel – you know, the more famous ones. Gradually, the room seemed to warm up again, and the dull blue tinge brightened into a warm glow again. My breath vanished, and the watchful eyes seemed to melt away.

Now like I say, this all could be just an overimaginative imagination – and as the years go on, I conclude this more and more.
But at the time it seemed so real and visceral, and felt so…unknown.

The time is coming when I will rewrite this story, but in novel format. And once again I’ll be dragging out those occult books again.
Maybe this time I’ll take precautions.

Anyone know a priest?

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Infernal pact.


A ‘Mental’ New Year Ahead

And so tonight these long nights take their strongest turn of the year and begin to recede once more in favour of warmer sunny days. This year for us Brits has been a unique one – having one of the hottest Summers on record coupled with an extrarodinary performance from our lads in the world cup (making for great pub visits!), another Prince got married, a Princess got married, wildfires spread, we celebrated 100 years since the first world scuffle ended, watched in awe as offended levels grew to extreme new heights when someone uttered the words ‘stupid woman’ in Parliament, and some bloke swam around the entire UK, all whilst that dreaded ‘B’ word hung in the distance.

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Now 2018 is drawing to a close, and many of us are quietly wondering what an uncertain 2019 will bring? Will our leaving of the EU come and go without barely a whisper? Will we be sent into wrack and ruin? Or will there be a second referendum happening, and bring the whole thing to a grinding halt? Who knows?

But whether or not our government proceeds with our first uneducated answer (seriously – the day we voted to leave, a friend of mine who’s British born, but whose heritage is Pakistani was screamed at in the street by and old man “We voted to leave, now get out of our country!” Get a grip and an education you dumb old shit!) we should still be optimistic.

More and more it’s doom and gloom being shown by the media, and thus it’s no wonder mental health problems are on the rise. It’s hard to stay happy when Theresa May acts like a broken guffawing record – “The people voted to leave, so we will deliver on that vote.” In other words “You asked for this shitstorm, and whether or not it’s what you envisaged, you’re gonna deal with it!”

But there is a light! More than ever, mental health awareness is becoming bigger everyday, and the words ‘Man-up’ are becoming less prevalent than ever. And rightly so. With over 200 classified forms of mental illness, it can reveal itself in many ways. As someone who has had loved ones deal with mental issues, it’s important to know and understand the signs before it’s too late.

So going into the new year:

  • Be unwavering in your kindness to others.
  • Give love and respect to everyone, even if they mistreat you. You have absolutely no idea what they are going through. Your kindess could be just the thing they need.
  • Keep an eye on your friends and family. Notice usual changes in their behaviour, such as withdrawing from the world. Smiles can hide a soul screaming for help.
  • Always have time for others. You have no idea what five minutes, a cup of tea, and a sympathetic ear can do for a person’s well-being.
  • Recognise the beauty and colour in the world. Just because good things don’t get reported (an understatement if ever there was one!) doesn’t mean they aren’t happening all the time.
  • Remain in the now – don’t fall into always remembering the past, or worry about the future. Only the ‘now’ matters.
  • Breathe deeply and rejoice in the gift of life today. Tomorrow is not guaranteed to anyone.
  • Don’t put things off. Forgive easily. Love with an open heart. And never leave until tomorrow what can be said today. You might not get the chance.
  • Help others and give generously, even when they have no way of repaying you.
  • And no matter what, take everything within your stride. I’ve seen people with the worst luck in their lives, yet they remain happy. It’s not the circumstances which determine your happiness; it’s your reaction to them.

I’m proud of my nation. In the past we’ve stood battered and bruised in the face of a supposedly undefeatable enemy and screamed defiantly we would never ever surrender. Now that enemy has taken another form and it’s coming from within. By raising each other up, we enrich the whole country, and make us stronger and more resiliant to this threat.

So as the days begin to get brighter, and Friday the 29th March 2019 grows ever closer amid the chaotic death knells inside the Houses of Parliament, we need to realise it’s us as a people that have the strength to carry on and perservere. To keep pushing on regardless of the outcome next year. Keep the peace alive, keep the hope glowing, and let’s remember why we have the word ‘Great’ at the start of out nation’s name.

Much love to you all.

Have an amazing Christmas (or Yule, or whatever you celebrate), and a fantastic New Year!

xx

 

Footnote: This post pretty much came out of nowhere. I feel I needed to write about the worries of some of my friends and clients, as well as the impact it’s having on the mental health of people. This and the fact this unique year is growing to a close. I did initially start writing about my own experiences of this year, but felt that was a bit boring.


Being a Crappy Pagan

October is only a couple of hours away. And with this month brings the beloved Halloween. Or as some like myself call it – Samhain! And it’s a further reminder that I myself, am a crap Pagan!

As we move through life, it’s inevitable our beliefs and faith changes, depending on circumstances and events that unfold. Religion is always a taboo subject; something we’re taught never to bring up in conversation, in order to avoid arguments and confrontation. I however, have always been fascinated and respectful of the beliefs of others, and will often ask questions about it if the other person is open about such things. Recently, a new friend of mine told me she was Zoroastrian – a religion I’d never heard of before, and yet it’s one of the oldest, originating in Iran around 3600 years ago.

As for me, I was always told I was raised Christian. And although I’d been baptised, it wasn’t until I reached my late teens did I realise that wasn’t the case. My mother came from a highly Spiritualised family. Her side was full of talks of ghosts, spirits, sightings, reincarnation, clairvoyancy, and the love from beyond the grave. They even had a family medium. I think her name was Mrs Oxley. I can recall cassette tapes of family members sat with her and other mediums, talking about messages from the other side. It was wonderful to grow up this way, as I felt that people who had passed, weren’t really gone. They could simply be contacted through a tape recorder!

My father’s side were a bit more mysterious. I remember as a child, my father kept a metal tin made for playing cards, and inside were a pack of tarot. The Versailes pack which he had painted himself. As I grew up, I’d see more and more books and trinkets relating to witchcraft, the occult, astrology, and various other pagainstic things appear in the house. In fact, my dad even looks a bit like Aleister Crowley himself!

I never knew where he got this fascination from (in fact Dad, if you’re reading this, tell me!). His mother, my grandmother was a child of nature – a beautiful soul who would take me and my sister on long country walks through fields and forests whenever she and my grandfather babysat for us. She would know the names of every plant and flower, and of every tree. She would collect bushels of branches and flowers, and bags of blackberries on our mini expeditions, often banging into people walking by with her collections. She adored the outdoors and was akin to an elderly Snow White. Nature indeed loved her. She often remarked she felt she’d been dunked as a witch in a former life, and looking back, with her knowledge of old wives tales, and insistance of having the house decorated with all manner of flora, I can see it was probably true.

As I grew up and left school, I would read through all my dad’s books on paganism and Wicca, and I felt more in tune with those beliefs, specifically Celtic Paganism. In time my father would surround himself with a group of friends whom all followed this path, and many became a good source of information. Eventually I created my own visualisation which I ran through every night for many many years. I would wear a crow around my neck for the figure Morrigan. I was quite a timid child growing up, and this mythological being inspired courage and bravery. I think this is where my love for birds and phoenixes originated, and even now I’ll be fully aware when a crow lands nearby.

Nowadays I’m pretty crap at following the sabbats and rituals of the Wiccan ways. Of course I’ll think to myself “Oh! Today is Imbolc!” and then go on my way. I do however keep my own beliefs and principles. Most of which originate somewhat from this old religion. Some people may scoff at some of these, and I respect their opinion. I would never argue their views on them.

  • I believe the Earth is a living, sentient presence, which rhymically breathes, and is aware of what’s happening to it.
  • I believe plants and wildlife are the same, each having thoughts and emotions, and responding to their environments.
  • I belief in being respectful to all people and creatures, and having respect to their opinions and own beliefs.
  • I believe in doing what we please, as long it harms no other.
  • I believe there is a massive intelligient energy which governs absolutely everything. Something we as humans cannot fully comprehend. Some religions put a face, or many faces to this energy, and call it god, etc. I prefer to call it the Universe.
  • I believe this energy is neither good nor evil, yet can be swayed to bring about changes in our lives as desired.
  • I believe we are all responsible for our lives, and must work hard to be the best we can be.
  • I believe we are simply a mind swimming around in a mass of jumbled up energy. Our brains act as a translator, taking some of this energy and deciphering it to make it understandable to us. It adds form, colour, and other aspects we all collectively agree on. If you think about it, all we are seeing is a cinema screen at the back of our brains.
  • I believe we return here many times through many lives. And we choose what experiences we are to have before we arrive. I must admit though I sometimes struggle with this concept. As who would choose some of the suffering and pain we see in the world today.
  • I believe our soul can divide and come from a larger version of ourselves on another plane of existence (like a central hub). Thus we can be here as various animals and other people at the same time. This would account for the fact there are more people alive today, than has been in all of history. I got this concept from the Seth Speaks books and it’s always stuck with me.
  • I believe we harmonise with what we give out. Be what you want to see in the world.
  • I believe the universe speaks to us all through symbols, events, people we meet, and slight nudges we receive. The more we are open to such things, the more we are pushed towards our greatest experience.
  • I believe there is more to history than we are told. I believe there’s many civilisations that existed way beyond what we thought. I believe there’s rich knowledge lost throughout the ages and we’re only just beginning to discover these things again. I also believe this is being held back from us by certain powers.
  • I believe humanity is on the whole good, and we must not believe the world is becoming a crueler place.
  • I believe in being kind to everyone and everything we meet. We’re not here for a long time. I believe being kind and sending out love is the key to being happy.

There’s obviously more, but I think these are the main principles I go by. I will eventually write down the visualisation I followed for many years.

Looking back, I do believe the combination of Spiritualistic and Paganism growing up have made me who I am. Those close to me will say I’m an unusual person. Maybe weird? Maybe unique (a nicer way of being called weird)? But I think it’s made me stable, happy, fully confident in my own abilities, respectful, passionate, hard-working, unafraid to give myself fully to others, and able to practice kindness to everyone I meet. It may not be the most orthodox of upbringings, but it’s one I’m lucky to have, and one I’d never change.

Love to you all as always πŸ˜€ xx

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When life hits you in the face with a shovel

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It’s always the way isn’t it? The sun is shining, the world is in order, your job is secure, your relationships are solid, your wealth is growing, and you’re in great health. All the previous life worries you once endured and fought through seemed to have vanished. They just don’t enter your mind anymore. Things are bloody brilliant!

Then suddenly it feels as if life, god, the universe, or whatever sees this and thinks “Hmmm, they’re enjoying themselves way too much! Time to change this a bit!”
And before you know it, an almighty curve ball slams straight into your face!
Boom! You come into work to find out you’re being made redundant.
Boom! Your significant other decides to break up with you.
Boom! Your roof decides to fall in, uncovered by insurance and costing you way more than you can afford.
Boom! Illness hits, you and hits you hard!
Or any other of life altering situations! Where the hell did that come from?

Without warning, it can feel like this nice soft rug of life has been violently ripped out from beneath you and you spiral face first into the course, rough ground. And as you pick yourself up, just as that little rain cloud above your head starts to release even more misery around you, you’re left wondering what to do next.

Long ago, after a particularly harsh dumping by the same person for the second time, I vowed I wouldn’t mope around for months like I did the first time. I wouldn’t be a slave to this person’s actions.
I don’t mean I vowed to block out the sad emotions that came with it, as this is unhealthy and can lead to further problems down the line.
But I vowed whatever was to come, I’d accept it, and aim to move on as quickly as possible. Feel the emotions, acknowledge them, and let them go. “Begone with you!” I knew I’d be happy again in a relationship one day, so why waste time complaining on what had just transpired.

This way of thinking did help when I found myself being made redundant. Rather than kick off at the loss of my job and my apparant bad luck, I found myself becoming excited at the new opportunities before me. I remember getting my stuff on the last day, being pretty sad to be leaving my friends, but I went home, got a takeaway, had a long hot bath, and cleared my mind of any negativeness. Instead of focusing on the bad, like having to tidy up my CV, slog through job listings and go through interviews, I focused on the good. I had a sizable redundancy package to clear some debts. I finally was able to learn to drive through a crash course, and then was able to buy a car. I could now look for other jobs where I’d learn more, and meet new people. Ultimately the universe forced me down another path – working for myself. Which had always been a major goal in my life, but I always felt was a long way off. And now I’m grateful that I was kicked through that door!

I guess my own views of the Law of Attraction also helped here. I took responsibilty for everything that happened in my life. Even the really bad stuff.Β  And honestly, it made things easier.
Disclaimeer: please don’t get me wrong here – I’ve had friends who have gone through some serious bad times, especially with illness, and I’d never suggest they attracted those things – some shit really does just happen sometimes.

Ultimately, we all just want to be happy. And life is way too short to dwell on past events, or worry about future ones. As Chris Gardner would say – ‘Start from where you are’ (great book by the way!). Look from the outside in at your life, and at any areas that might not be working. You hold the answers to change your life. Yet always remain positive that you are being pushed towards your own desires and goals, no matter how turbulent the journey may be.

Shit happens, but it doesn’t have to persist. How you deal and process events is what really matters. Go with the emotional flow and always strive to become better. If life was 100% easy we’d never grow and get stronger; it’s here to test us and help us develop. How you react to the actions of others is also paramount. It’s easy to live in anger and bitterness, but if you never forgive, then you’re only hurting yourself. And if you can’t forgive, then release and forget. Living happily is always the best revenge anyway. And never use the actions of someone else to justify your behaviour to others. Always be kind, it’s what people remember most about us.

The truth is, we’re all going to have setbacks. But it’s up to us how far back we allow them to set us. Wouldn’t you rather hit the ground running, instead of crashing and remaining down and dormant for longer than neccessary? Life is short, and people on their death beds will tell you a multitude of regrets they have. Get back on the horse and have as few of these regrets as possible.

Live in the now, be present, give love wherever you can, treat others how you want to be treated, look for the good and the opportunites in everything that comes your way, let go of the pain, and sooner than you think – that sun will shine again, and your world will once again be in order.

Much love to you if you’ve read this far.
Keep smiling and have a wonderful day. x

 


An Awakening

Ok so I’ve been in two minds about posting this, but seen as it’s a blog (sort of) documenting my experiences, I thought it best to record it.
On my wall is a list of projects and goals for my own work. Over the years of self-employment all I’ve done is take down the list, change the year and pin it back up! Nothing gets ticked off! It’s even become a running joke with some of my pals. Every so often I’d remind myself about doing writing or illustrating, but it’s usually a fleeting moment.

Recently I’ve felt a strange weight on me. Like my environment is full of cotton wool, or a heavy atmosphere around me. For months I’ve been unable to shake it. I’ve changed my morning routine, moved my desk around several times, change how I meditate, looked at my diet, and even the bloody coffee I drink! Nothing seemed to help. I didn’t feel present. I couldn’t focus. It was like those dreams where you try running but end up moving very slowly. I was becoming so distant.

As the focus waned more and more, my backlog of work recently began to build up. I was falling behind. Customers were complaining, money became slower at coming in, and people (and even clients) were asking if all was ok with me. I felt fine – I think. I wasn’t upset, or depressed or anything. I just wasn’t…aware. Even this morning seeing my father for lunch, I’m sure he felt I was distant and uncommunicative. I can’t explain it. Like part of me was asleep, or elsewhere.

Then only a few hours ago it happened. Sat at my desk looking at all my emails and trying to gear my mind into getting work done, I glanced up at my list of personal projects. Looking over the familiar titles of books and images there was suddenly a ‘snap’ in my mind β€” a crack of a whip back into lucidity. A wave of realisation hit me. And with it came a rush of happiness. Suddenly I remembered one of the main reasons I went self employed in the first place. To spend more time on my own projects. Over the years I’d faltered and let my own dreams slide whilst hammering client work more and more. Don’t get me wrong β€” I adore my clients and couldn’t survive without them. But I feel the part of me, the ambitious, dreaming part of my soul had gone to sleep and given up. Looking at that list awoke that part of me with a vengeance.

Immediately following this i found myself blasting through the current piece of work I was on. I wrote a new schedule to give my own projects time, renewed my affirmations, and before I knew it I felt more organised. My world suddenly feels colourful and vibrant again. I’m singing away to my music once more and my emotions feel more intense again! The weight is gone, the clouds lifted, and I can’t completely explain it. I feel unstoppable. Even my posture is more upright. I’m looking at my home with fresh love, my relationships with renewed gratitude and closeness, and my dreams with a gut-wrenching desire to be completed.

I don’t think I’ve ever felt such clarity in my life. All because I glanced at a tattered goal list on the wall. I feel it’s now time to focus hard on my life once again, bring all those dreams to fruition, and resolve myself never letting such things slide again.

Now I realise why I have such an attachment to phoenixes!

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Is there a tomorrow?

As the UK and other parts of the world continue to enjoy baking hot temperatures, lounging around on beaches and parks in the hazy glorious of the heat, it’s easy to overlook the dangers of such extreme weather.
Apart from forgetting to dab ourselves and our kids in Factor 50, the boiling sunshine can have more destructive connotations. Here in England only a few weeks ago we had grass fires dotted around the country β€” some of which a few firefighter friends of mine battled. But thankfully there was no loss of life (to my knowledge anyway).
In Greece though, things have taken a turn for the tragic. Several fires in the past day have caused a large loss of life as villages near Athens have burned away, with the inhabitants still present in them.
One very sad story involves a group of 26 adults and children unable to escape the blaze around them. In their last heartbreaking desperate measure, they embraced, and perished together.

It’s a stark reminder that tomorrow is never guaranteed. That today could easily be our last. Those people didn’t wake up on this final morning knowing it was the last time they’d see the sun rise. And neither will we when our time inevitably comes.

It’s true I’ve spoke about this before, but in the comings and goings of life it’s easy to forget our own fragility. We all need (including me!) reminding that each day is a blessing and that we need to make the most of every moment on this earth.

So never forget to tell people you love them. It’s the one thing you might regret one day. If you haven’t told someone you love them, or hugged your kids today, don’t put it off.

If you’ve a dream job you want to pursue, or a place you wish to visit, makes plans now accomplish it. You can’t do them from your death bed.

Give thanks everyday you wake up. As Morning Coach’s JB Glossinger would say – many people went to bed last night and didn’t wake up. Each day is truly a blessing.

Always strive for happiness. You may want riches and possessions, but ultimately it’s happiness we all desire.

Your own heart and mental well-being are paramount. Never put up with people or situations that hurt you or pull you down. Your gut feelings about things should never be ignored. React to everything in the best way you can and watch those things change.

Always have something to look forward to, and keep hope in your heart of better things to come. Ignore worries or fears.

Be kind. It is the biggest thing people remember about us.

Ultimately, we all will die one day and we want to know we’ve lived to our best potential, loved deeply, laughed loudly, enjoyed experiences, built connections, pursued goals, and pushed forward without hesitation or regret.

Life is beautiful. Truly beautiful. We just need to open our eyes to it.

Huge love to you if you’re reading this. You’re amazing. Never forget that. And I wish you an amazing today… and tomorrow. xx

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Loving my Job!

Behind me, displayed proudly on a shelf amongst other books I’ve contributed to over the years, is my own novel – Spirit’s Destiny. The first of the Tapestry of Fates saga which I’m currently in the process of rediting.
Looking at it now, the artwork is a little ropey (by my own current standards) and the tale itself could do with a full re-edit. But despite it’s flaws, nothing can describe the feeling of finally getting a copy of it in my hands. As if years of blood, sweat and tears had condensed itself into a couple of hundred pages wrapped in a neat little paperback before me. It’s a truly uplifting feeling of accomplishment.

So now whenver I speak to a new author, in the process of talking through and creating their cover, and I can hear the excitedness of becoming published in their voice, it throws me back to my own feelings of getting a book on the market. The amount of times I get an email or voicemail saying “It’s feeling so real now I’m seeing the cover,” is staggering, and never fails to make my day and know I’m in the right job. I feel proud and satisfied that I can help someone pursue their dreams.

And this doesn’t just go for the Creative Covers, but for Phoenix Designs too. Whether it be a logo, branding design, or even business cards, I love listening to people talking about their new business or venture, and again giving them something visual to own and proudly display is an incredible feeling – a feeling I always wish to capture in my own goals.

With my new venture ‘Twilight Dew’ on the horizon, along with the books I’m pushing through, I hope to soon recapture that contentment I felt all those years ago with Spirit’s Destiny.

We should all strive towards our goals no matter what. Sometimes just a spark is needed, an initial push to get going. Success is always just around the corner πŸ™‚ x

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Decisions – Ours and Theirs

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A couple of years ago, I was driving and weaving my way through the nearby city of Preston with my dad, and causually asked him why he didn’t move us here as a family.
Many years previous, just after I’d turned eleven, my father got a job at British Aerospace in Warton, with Preston being the closest city. Somehow it made sense to move us to another city and let me and my sister grow up there.
He told me that after looking around the surrounding towns and villages, he’d taken to Lytham St. Annes –Β  a small coastal town past Warton, much quieter than the hustle and bustle of my home city of Leeds.

It was a decision of my father’s that had a huge effect on my life. and was one I remember looking on with great excitement, despite leaving all my friends and extended family behind. Had he decided on Preston, or any other town then indeed my life would have been much different. I would have never met my friends I’d grown so close to, never worked at my second home the pub that dominated my life for so long, or maybe never have took the direction of art and design as a career. I can honestly say I’m grateful my dad took us to the small coastal resort. So big of an effect it has had on my life, that even some family members back in Leeds are contemplating making the move here from across the country.

And this is what happens with each and every of us. Not only are we living our lives through the decisions we make (hopefully making sensible correct ones), but we’re also buffeted around by the constant actions of others, floating around an ocean of consequences. Some decisions enrich us, enabling bright, smooth sailing, some cause minor ripples, giving us small stresses and worries, whilst others can cause giant tsunamis, threatening to overturn and sink our entire existance.

Each day a myriad of decisions blow around us and at times it can feel like we’re at their chaotic mercy. If we’re not careful we can lose control and be buffeted around helplessly. But a ship can only be sunk if the water is allowed inside. And it’s in these difficult times that we must remember that ultimately it’s us as a person that decides how we react to such events.

If someone decides to fire you from your job one day, how do you react?
If someone breaks your heart, how do you react?
If someone does you wrong, how do you react?
If someone attacks you, how do you react?
If someone lies to you, how do you react?
If someone steals from you, how do you react?
And so on…

Without controlling our emotions, and flying off the handle, it’s easy to be swept up in toxic negativity. And more times than not, this itself will lead to even more disaster.
This is evident in the movie American History X, we see this when the imprisoned, and humiliated anger, hate-filled neo nazi Derek is confronted with a line from his former teacher – β€œHas anything youve done made your life better?” It’s the truth Derek needed to hear to finally let go of all the rage that has dominated his life.
If we calm ourselves, think deeply about how we are to react, and come from a place of control, then not only do we calm the waters around us more rapidly, but we display a strength of character that steers our lives to a brighter outcome.
Obviously this can be hard, as we are all only human, but if we are consciously aware that we do have control, then we find the calmness comes much quicker. Fighting a storm with a storm does not improve anybody’s life. Better to silence the maelstrom, and deal with issues effectively.

The Chimp Paradox by Steve Peters is an incredible book that delves way further into this.

So how to we retain control?
We’re all different, and clearly some things that work for some people won’t work for others. For me meditation helped a lot during my turbulant years after my redundancy. It helped calmed the angry voices chattering in my mind and allowed me to look at things clearly, and with a positive attitude. Also without the chatter, fresh ideas would surface and come to me, giving me clarity and affirming that things were always meant to be this way.

So if tomorrow you wake up and are hit with a big bombshell as a result of someone else’s life decisions, just take a deep breath, count to ten, punch a pillow if you have to, remain focused, and deal calmly with the issue.

As James Allen once said –
β€œThe more tranquil a man becomes, the greater is his success, his influence, his power for good. Calmness of mind is one of the beautiful jewels of wisdom.”


One Day

I will never say ‘One Day’ again.
With each morning it becomes closer to my grasp,
Yet tomorrow pushes it one step further away.
An endless cycle, until it becomes the final day.
When my grasp falters and the journey stops.
Today is the day I realised that ‘One Day’ will never come.
Today is the day I think and begin anew.
Today is the day I forget past aches and stop them intervening my current thoughts and feelings.
Today is the day I stop worrying about the future and have faith it will all be taken care of.
Today is the day I focus on the present and live in the moment.
Today is the day I count each moment alive a blessing.
Today is the day I say no to negativity in its many forms, making sure they have no effect on my being.
Today is the day I find beauty and harmony in the world around me.
Today is the day I give thanks to every lesson life has taught me.
Today is the day I move towards making my own dreams and desires a reality.
Today is the day I make that trip I always promised myself.
Today is the day I visit that friend I said I would.
Today is the day I tell that special person how much I love them.
Today is the day I tell my children how precious they are to me.
Today is the day I build bridges with that family member that broke long ago.
Today is the day I take better care of my health and start eating well.
Today is the day I give gratitude to my own health.
Today is the day I stop fussing over my appearance and start loving myself.
Today is the day I look after my own mental well-being.
Today is the day I wish happiness and love to everyone I meet.
Today is the day I break free from whatever shackles hold me back.
Today is the day I realise I have the power and strength to make my life the best it can be.
Today is the day I believe in myself.
Today is the day I know I will never give up.

Today is the day I stop saying ‘One Day.’

One Day will never come.

Today is the day I am happy.
Today is the beginning.
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The things you think of when you’re driving across the country at 3am. πŸ˜€

 


Urban Legends and The White & Black Scarecrows

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Going to my sister’s and spending time with my amazing nephew and nieces who are aged five and four – it’s incredible what imaginations a child possesses. Enthusiastically telling me all manner of tales try to fathom where they got these stories from.

But it’s something we all remember growing up. Playing make-believe and acting out a veritable range of characters, from warriors to pirates, wizards to nurses and doctors. It’s easy to see how imagination can lead to some stories taking on lives of their own, and as young kids get older these tales can develop into legends and myths; some becoming quite sinister in nature.

Pretty much every town and city has its urban legends. Usually involving some shadowy figure that lurks on the outskirts, that nobody has seen, but everybody knows a friend of a friend who has.

This is where an urban legend of my old school comes in.
Growing up on the outer edges of Leeds, my middle school was a pretty small one, yet it backed on to an area of land known locally as The Valley. The land itself, approximately a few miles squared had playing fields, hills, a train track running through it, and a small lake. The land was surrounded by housing estates as well as an old hospital. As young pupils, we were only allowed to venture on either during PE, cross country running, or a close part of it during breaks and lunchtime.
No offence to anyone from the area, but the Valley did seem to attract some undesirables. I remember joyriders trying to run us all down on our Sports Day – the teachers pushing us all back before the kids in the car crashed into a tree. Back then, this didn’t seem that out of the ordinary. It already had an eerie feel to it growing up, and indeed a girl in the year above me (I was 9 or 10 at this point) was found raped and murdered at the far end of the Valley not long before we moved to St. Annes.

That tragic event was after this urban legend took place. Like I said, my school was a small one, and in each year of only two classes I had either my sister or a close cousin in it. My sister would tell me of The Black Scarecrow and White Scarecrow who had lurked around the Valley, chasing children and adults they came across. Apparently one dressed all in white with a black cross on him, and the other wore all black with a white cross on him (although my sister doesn’t recall the crosses part). Now whilst sounding like some distant members of a certain white supremacist group, this tale actually scared little 9 year old me when I went on those fields.
Not only content with terrorising people passing through the Valley, but one apparently hung himself from a tree in front of some children, whilst the other doused himself in petrol and set himself alight on the same area of land. A white cross was carved and painted into the tree where one of the Scarecrows swung dead.
To this day I can recall that tree, and I’m 90% sure it exists. My sister agrees too.

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My old school. The Valley is on the right.

Today I asked my cousins and sister about the myth and what they recalled of it.
Now speaking to them years later, it appears the source might have been revealed.
My eldest cousin Wayne says back when he was a pupil at the school he and three friends were allowed to do what they wanted one afternoon and they asked to do cross country. They were told they could go, but only if they went in a group. Whilst coming down part of the Valley known as the Black Hill, a scruffy man came from the bushes brandishing what they thought was a shotgun. All four ran away but one girl fell and twisted her ankle, forcing the others to carry her as the man pursued. Reaching the school, they went straight to the headmaster who quickly gathered a few other teachers and went searching the Valley. Wayne recalls the headmaster’s face dropping when they told him and how he reacted so fast that it felt like they were in real danger.

Soon word of the incident spread, and rumours of a man from one of the estates who hated children circulated. Another rumour was that he lived under the old hospital. Eventually other kids claimed they had saw the man, some even being attacked, and he was now being described as a scarecrow – possibly due to a recent showing of Children of the Corn.
More rumours of attacks ensured but nothing was ever proved.

Looking back, I can’t pinpoint when I was originally told the stories, but I do remember looking out on to the Valley from the school during one stormy day and feeling very creeped out.
It’s bizarre how some memories stick with you.
I guess I’ll never find out just how much of the tale is real, or if the only incident was my cousin running away from the scruffy man.

Regardless of this, I’ll continue to listen to the enthusiastic story telling of my nephew and nieces. I only hope their tales are a little less gory and sinister.
On saying this, my niece Darcie revels in the fact her name means ‘Dark’ so maybe I’ll have some dark tellings to pen from them one day.

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The only picture I have of the Valley itself. My happy sister Kelly, cousins Lee and Wayne, and me stood up! πŸ˜€


The Muse of True Love

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And now for something quite off track that I’m used to writing. πŸ˜€

Unbeknownst to most people I know, the concept and notion of love is something that dominates quite a lot of my life, and even drives me to work, write, and paint. Even though I rarely talk about it.
Fuelled by an unhealthy obsession of 80’s movies, old Disney films and power ballads, I think I have beliefs about love that many would consider unrealistic.

I’ve used the idea of a perfect romance as a kind of muse in all my workings. And even though it’s not quite obvious when reading my writings (especially with some of the gorier work!), a simple scratch of the surface will show it’s subtle undertones of love.
In my screenplay of Last Battle, the protagonist’s only drive was to return to his wife and child, willing to go head first against the armies of Hell in the name of love. And likewise in the same tale, I penned about a couple – one controlled by Heaven, one unwillingly controlled by Hell desperately fighting it out amid the fires of the underworld, trying to understand what has become of them. Another character fights in the belief that his long lost love can still see him, and uses this notion to give him courage.
With Tapestry of Fates I wanted to build up the story and characters own paths within the wars in the first book, before helping them to understand there’s more to life than just fighting in the second book, which of course leads to some romantic interventions, in turn causing the subsequent battles against E-Clipse to become more desperate and heartfelt.
This is route I’m planning with Fallen Tears also, as the twins near the source of the vampiric reign, I want to introduce a kind of romantic spanner in the works without altering the book as a whole.

So why is it that a bloke writing so much about love has remained single for quite a few years now (insert wise crack here about not being able to get a girlfriend)? I’ve been on dates after all, and that’s something I do enjoy greatly, but that could be because I love getting to know new people.
It’s no secret that I’m quite an emotional fella. Not in the crying sense, but as in deeply feeling everything around me. I hate nothing more than seeing people upset and would move mountains to make people happy. Sometimes being overly emphatic can be seen as a weakness, as it’s a trait easily exploited.
I guess I can only say that I don’t yearn for just a simple coupling, sleeping around, or jumping in and settling down with the first person that shows interest. Like my stories, I want meaning to develop before anything else.
Rather I feel I have an eye open for that perfect romance I like to write about; a chivalrous, all-consuming, soul-burning love that many believe doesn’t exist.
And does that kind of love exist? I feel I’ve seen enough evidence in this world to believe so.
Do I believe it’ll come to me? Maybe. Maybe not.
Does it make a fussy bastard? Some might even say I’ve not right to be fussy! πŸ˜€ But it’s something I won’t try to force, not sell my soul to achieve.
Whilst I’ve seen how true love can create Heaven for some, I’ve also seen it create misery in others. There’s nothing worse than regret, and living beside someone for mere convenience without any affection is one of the biggest in life.

Perhaps I even put off the idea of becoming fully involved with someone as the muse of love is such a powerful working drive for me. At times in the past I’d even use the thought of a some particular girl in order to push forward my work. But now I think it’s more of the notion itself that helps spurn my creativity.
It’s a surprise to read that Napoleon Hill wrote a similar idea in his book Think and Grow Rich – a chapter called “The Mystery of Sex Transmutation” that was removed in the early editions, with it being seen as too risque for the audiences of the 1930’s. Basically it describes that many of the successful businessmen at the time turned their desires of sex into a powerful drive that spurned them to work hard.

So whilst I’ve rambled on over one of the most boring blog utterings I’ve ever posted, whilst simultaneously giving my mother a heart attack about the possible lack of grandchildren, I wonder how I’ll end this in a suitable way.

One of the greatest things I’ve ever seen in fiction is J.K.Rowling’s Severus Snape. Whilst we all spent many books and movies believing Snape was a cold-hearted, wicked man with a terrible agenda, the saddest part came when we learned the truth about his love for Harry’s mother, gently hinted at in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.

β€œDumbledore watched her fly away, and as her silvery glow faded he turned back to Snape, and his eyes were full of tears.
“After all this time?”
“Always,” said Snape.”

As tragic as this story arc is, it’s the semblance I adore. And the willingness to sacrifice himself even for his love’s offspring is pretty much as deep as you can get.

 


The Blessings of Friendship

“Oh, me and my friends used to all go on holiday together,” the old woman replied cheerfully to my pal as she told her a few of us were going to Tenerife for a break.
“We went every year! All over Europe, America……they’re all dead now.”
Despite the old woman’s deadpan, matter of fact remark, what she spoke of was an infallible reality that we will all have to face up to one day.

And on that holiday in Tenerife we held a little toast to our friend Mark who was no longer with us, but was present in that very bar many years ago. It was his birthday today, and the anniversary of his death looms ever closer.

The truth is, nobody knows when the Sword of Damocles will fall, and another of our loved ones will be taken. I’m guessing whoever is reading this will also be thinking of a certain person, or persons they have lost – for I too have said goodbye to a number of close friends and family over the years.

So occasionally we need reminding that our time here on this earth isn’t going to be forever. That eventually our own mortality catches up with us.

This isn’t meant to be a morbid post at all, but rather a gentle hint to safeguard our beloved memories. Because the thing that will keep us happy in the future is the chance to reflect on our happiest times with those we love.

So keep your friends close, and never let time time or distance be a factor when it comes to keeping in contact. If you feel you should contact someone you’ve not spoken to in years, do it. There’s nothing more tragic than regret.

Enjoy nights out, even if the locations shift over the years (although if you feel the need to go night clubbing in your eighties, do it!)

Take long country walks, followed by rewarding pints in an old rustic pub.

Have movie and take away nights together, whether at a cinema,Β  or at home.

Have BBQ’s in the Summer, cozy meals in the Winter.

Give gifts generously, even if they never get you one back.

Forgive easily, don’t let mistakes break you apart.

Take plenty of photos, some day they may be all that’s left.

Hug warmly, you never know when the day will come when you yearn for one last embrace.

Don’t be afraid to wear your heart on your sleeve; love is a gift that was meant to be shared, not to be buried deep inside.

Kiss with your eyes closed, and with sincere passion; these are precious moments to be cherished.

Be kind; you never know the battles others are facing.

Always smile warmly at everyone you meet, you never know when the fates will conspire to bring you together again.

Be humble, yet proud of your accomplishments.

Possessions come and go, yet true friendship lasts a lifetime. People will like you for who you are, not what you own.

Talk deeply, and put the world to rights.

Live without fear, and share your problems. Good friends will stand by you no matter what.

 

And should the sad inevitable happen, a lifetime of fond memories, however tragically short, will always provide the comfort and strength to carry onwards.
Life has it’s dark times, but that darkness can always be blown aside if we allow it.

I truly hope that old lady has a record of all of her times away with her friends. I hope she reflects daily, and feels blessed to have such close people in her life.

Have no regrets.

And never stop smiling. x

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Death as a Lesson

It’s been quite a while since my last post, mainly because of my hectic work life. A poor excuse I know, but it’s the truth.
I had planned on writing a very different post in the near future but the events of this week have pushed me to type out some more thoughts.

For as you will you know if you’ve glimpsed even a shred of the news that it’s been a week filled with death; some events arguably more tragic than others. The scenes and images from the earthquake in Nepal which has claimed over five and a half thousand lives (and counting) as well as the many thousands more that have lost everything have made for difficult viewing, and my thoughts and prayers go out to them.

But strangely, it was the much publicised executions of the death row prisoners in Indonesia that included two members of the Australian drug smuggling nonet – the Bali Nine has probably affected me more than it should have done. Regardless of your stance surrounding these two and your probable disapproval of me for mentioning this in regard to the tragedy at Nepal (5500+ innocent deaths against the demise of 2 drug smugglers), the execution has left me reflecting on my own life a great deal.
I guess the reason for this is because the Bali Nine were arrested at a time when I was holiday in Turkey in 2005. Having followed the case for years, read the books, watched the interviews with them etc, I tend to think about my time in Turkey and how it would feel to still be there now if I’d done something stupid like be a heroin carrying mule, imprisoned, having never returned from my holiday. And now as two of them were shot to death I found myself a bit shaken having put myself in their positions.

It’s reminded me to enjoy the life and freedom bestowed on me, not to work so hard and be more aware of the passing of time.
To be in the moment is a tough thing to do, but it’s something we must do in order to remember our experiences later in life.
To really be aware of every sight, smell and sound.
To put away the mobile phone and not view the world through a five inch screen.
To say yes to as many opportunities offered to us.
To explore new places and meet new people.
To truly embrace this world and our short time upon it.
And to do all this with a heart full of wonder and gratitude, and with a smile adorning our faces.

It’s a sad fact that terrible tragedies and disasters like Nepal will continue to happen throughout our history. But if we can extract any kind of lesson from them, it is a solemn one to the living left behind, reminding people not to take life itself for granted, for it could quite easily end in a single heartbeat.

Keep smiling, and never let life pass you by.

x

Life after Death


Surviving – Year One as a Freelancer.

Every morning, without fail, my phone bleeps all manner of notifications – most annoyingly of course are the numerous alarms in place to get me out of my pit. But one particular chime is for that app ‘Timehop’ with the funny looking dinosaur. And before I get up, I usually have a quick scan through it – and it usually drags up memories of this time last year when I had just been made redundant and was frantically job searching.

And yes, that was a scary time. Applying for job after job and watching my bank balance slowly dwindle away. All my years of reinforcing my strong beliefs of Law of Attraction and Positivity was being put to the ultimate test, and my god was it a lifeline!

As I’ve said before I decided finally in February this year to give up looking for employment and employ myself. And why not! I had basically the same pc I had at my old work (modded slightly better) and people were already asking me for work.

So I threw the application forms and CVs from my sight and started putting together my own company. And Phoenix Designs was born! Named after a storyline I’d had outlined for years (19 books in total!!). I sat down and wrote out a plan for self-employment.

Year One was simple – ‘Survive.’
Somehow I knew I would be ok if I worked my ass to the bone and kept a positive outlook, and looking back now I can be proud of myself for getting this far. From working out Daily routines which constantly changed and evolved, to trying out new programs that would aid productivity, to enlisting the help of friends – old and new to get me through. There are far too many to list here who have helped me, but my family know how supportive they’ve been, and how grateful I am. My friends too – driving me around when I needed it (Kev), showing me the ropes (Dan), as well as countless others supporting me have been invaluable. Even my little flat mate Wendy has been amazing, not only for helping me out with rent on the odd occasion I wasn’t paid on time (and never complaining once!), to simply giving me the human interaction that is lacking from a job you do from home. I don’t think her or her boyfriend Steve know how much it means just to say hello to them and break the cabin fever.

Also my fantastic pal Annette – giving me personal coaching and calming my fears etc has been incredible. Reiki healing, EFT, meditation, hypnotism. as well as simply being an amazing friend has proven invaluable and I’m not sure I would have made it through the year without her help.

Those closest to me know how hard I’ve work this year, often easily putting in 20hr days across a week. But I never seem to have any problems sleeping from the second my head hits the pillow. I never seem to need much sleep which is always a bonus.

So I guess now, it’s time to figure out the journey from here for the next year. Obviously my own projects have taken a hit this year, I’ve barely written or illustrated anything. Even my reading has been completely pushed to almost nil (Sharon Van Orman! I promise I’m still on with your book!!! :D). So next year I’ll be dedicating a portion of each day to these tasks as they are still part of my dream and should be nurtured accordingly.

Could I go back to working in an office or studio? Probably not now. It used to take me two hours to get to work and another two home. Now my workplace is roughly three feet from my bed. I also love making up my own rules and systems, figuring out what works and what doesn’t, and knowing full well that I have full responsibility when it comes to customer satisfaction.

And so, what can I tell you I’ve learned? What tips can I give to help anyone else starting out this way? I guess I should be careful what I say, as some veteran designers may disagree with me. But you know what? Screw them. This is my blog and I’ll tap out these tips as I see fit.

1. Think in terms of ‘Time’ not ‘Money’.
This is something that took me quite a while to figure out. Time is now your currency. So instead of thinking you’ll charge Β£x for a project, think how long it will take of (uninterrupted (I’ll get to this) work to complete and charge accordingly to a set (immovable) rate of something like Β£15 or Β£20 per hour. If you work for a company who pay a set amount for a piece of work, then make sure that this also fits into the time/pay system.
One other thing to be aware of too – now you work at home, many people will assume to do jack shit all day except watch Jeremy Kyle and thus are ok to pick them up, wait for a package, relieve their boredom on their day off etc. Now I’m not saying not to do these things; after all, you’re a freelancer and can work when you please! Just be aware that doing these things cost you time, and in essence money. Give your time with care.

2. Forget your website at the start, get work first.
This may sound like a catch-22, because you need people to know who are in order to get work. But this was advice I was given when I was starting out and it was true! You can spend forever perfecting and crafting the ultimate website to draw customers, only to wait…..and wait……for nothing. Even in today’s world of online dominated culture, nothing does more for advertising than word-of-mouth. Your freelance might cough and splutter for a while whilst you get started, but once you’re rolling then you can spend time on your online presence. If you must, a quick Twitter and Facebook account at the start will be just as effective. In fact! These are probably a must as you connect them to your personal profile letting all your friends and family know what you do. There’s an awesome book for mastering social media called Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook which I insist you get! πŸ˜€

3. Find your own Routine and Systems,
To date now I have had three revised daily routines stuck to the side of my pc, which I continue to change as time goes by. An 8 hour day is a short amount of time to cram in emailing, ordering, calling, messaging, invoicing, eating, financing, and of course – actually working! So getting a routine sorted is paramount in succeeding.

4. Using to-do lists and programs to aid productivity.
It took a while to find a program or combination of programs to feel right in helping to get things done. I’d say Evernote is great but I found myself barely using it. And the same story is with a lot of other programs. In the end I settled on using a combination of Asana for all my main to-do lists and Wunderlist for everything else (money owed, money earned, amends received etc). Asana is great and I have it running constantly on my laptop at the side. If a project comes in you can log it into the site and work out what day you can do it. Then when that day arrives it automatically populates the day’s tasks with the project. Simple yet awesome.

5. Exercise to maintain energy.
Again this comes as almost a paradox as how can you burn energy to get more of it? Bizarrely it’s true though. Now I’m no gym freak or anything like that, but I do have my kinect set up in the living room and do my best to do an hour’s exercise a day. I notice on days I don’t do any exercise I get lethargic a lot earlier. So get out of the chair and do a little exercise.

6. Get out.
Since my desk in my home it’s easy to be stuck in all day and not get some fresh air. I’m fortunate to live beside the sea and a lake which makes my lunchtime breaks a lot more peaceful. Of course if it’s hammering down with rain I won’t go out at all! Ha!

7. Clearing your mind.
This seems to be the biggest cause of procrastination ever, and it’s made even worse when such vast amounts of information is at our fingertips. All day your mind could be buzzing with a million thoughts – I wonder what I’ll have for tea? Who was the lead role in Flash Gordon? I wonder how Aunt Bertha’s 90th party went on. How were the pyramids built? Does Kim Kardashian’s arse have it’s own Twitter account? Before you know it, google is opened, searches are made, Facebook is delved into, 15 things you never knew about Made in Chelsea is read, leading into an endless line of humourous Youtube videos, and shit!! Four hours have passed! What the hell happened?! Even worse, you can barely remember a thing you’ve just looked at?!
Then of course you begin kicking yourself over it, promising tomorrow you’ll do better. Then the cycle repeats.
So the key is to remove this chatter from your mind so you can focus on more important things – like earning a living. But how do you do it?
Well personally I use the first hour of my day to quickly scan what I need to – get out my social network cravings before my brower locks out Facebook for the day (using a Firefox add-on called Leechblock). Then before I exercise I’ll do fifteen minutes of meditation. If you’ve never done it you’ll be surprised how just fifteen minutes of sitting in silence can calm the mind. Try to remove all distractions too. Having an xbox or tv in the room is just asking for trouble.
This is now where I’ll sound like a hypocrite! Sometimes if I’m doing a mundane piece of work, I’ll put on a film (one that I’ve either already seen, or one I don’t have to pay much attention to (so something action packed is out!) as I find the ‘moving wallpaper’ easier to work to.
Also something minimalistic to listen to works wonders too. Spotify has plenty of focus related playlists.

8. Communication.
I think this is one area I excelled at from the start. I guess in today’s society, online scamming and corporate cold-heartedness have made many customers wary. If you can talk to them as a real person and get your emails and phone calls clear and upbeat, then client’s will realise you’re an actual human being, rather than a faceless set of templated responses. I’ve realised that a informal email to a client works better than a stiff multi-syllable worded one. You’ll come across as far more trustworthy and have their interests rather than their payment as the main priority.
Obviously don’t go overboard with this as some clients will see you as a walkover. Keep a level of professionalism and dignity. It helps if you get across you’ve been doing this for years – subconsciously people believe if you’ve been around a while, you obviously know exactly what you’re doing and will be thus less likely to be played like a buffoon.

9. Get your finances in order.
It’s hard to get this right after a long time of having a set wage paid directly into your account. But you’re in the thick of it now. Invoices, chasing payments, dealing with clients who refuse to pay, working out taxes and self-assessments – it’s a complete pain in the arse, and also very rewarding. I’m no expert in this area so I can’t give out any real advice – except this. Log and note down absolutely everything. Receipts, invoices and expenditure. You’ll be glad you did in the long run.

10……….you know……screw it! Ignore everything I said.
Take what you will from what I said above, but everyone’s situation is different. I think the best advice I can give is to dive in head first and make your own systems and way of working. If it doesn’t seem to work, then change it until it does. There will be a lot of trial and error but that’s how we grow and evolve. If you’re struggling for work, hammer everywhere you can online and offline. I was doing facebook cover photos on FiveSquids and contests on Freelancer. It all helps. And if you only put out work you’d be happy using yourself – you can’t fail to have clients drawn to you.

11. Never Give Up!
This goes without saying. Some days you may be riding the highest clouds, the next you may be wondering if you’ll even make it through the day. Nobody said it’d be easy, but once you’ve made it you’ll be so happy you did. Just remember, bad times come and go. And if in that particular moment of strife you’re still alive, then you’re able to change the future. Just focus on the present, and do what you need to. Be the inspiration to others and show the haters you won’t ever back down.

And so, on that note, I’ll get back to my day’s task at hand. πŸ˜€
Here’s to 2015!
And if you’re still reading this, thank you so much. It’s very much appreciated. Have a fantastic New Year!

Much love!

 

Ken xx

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A Year Later & Life Coaching

It’s almost one year since I got that phone call on holiday telling me that I was one of several people up for redundancy for a job I’d held for ten years. Back then it came as a massive shock – especially after I’d just been made ‘Employee of the Year’ several months previously.

Initially terrified at not knowing what the hell I was gonna do (as evident from my previous posts) I can now say it was the best things that has ever happened to me. One thing I am proud about myself is that I have a sickening work ethic and unshakable self-discipline. I can quite happily work my ass for 20+ hours straight and be happy for it. So I guess if I’m gonna work as hard as possible, I might as well do it chasing my own dreams.Β 

One year later, and I like to think I’ve finally made a success of things. My little companies are finding their feet. When you see work piling up, whilst debts start coming down, then I like to think all the ridiculously long work days and moments of sheer “huge bill coming out tomorrow – no money in bank” panic and terror have been worth it.

I’ve always been a big believer in not sending out any work that I myself wouldn’t use, and that being friendly and informal with every client helps build rapport. Anyone that’s had an email off me with usually find it littered with smileys. I believe this has been a key in getting to where I want to be. Being friendly and kind has helped build up so many opportunities and I’m grateful for everything that has come my way.

The other key I think, is belief. Belief in my own work, my own self-worth, and belief that the client will love what I send. And I’ll admit in the past year I’ve struggled with all three. During the months following my redundancy and sending my CV and portfolio to various agencies I received a bit of feedback that actually halted my applications for a few days. One recruitment agency told me they’d sent my portfolio to one Manchester design studio, Their reply – ‘”Is this some sort of joke?” Yep, that sort of comment will batter anyone’s confidence!

Thankfully though, things have gotten better, much better since then.

I owe a massive amount of thanks to a wonderful life coach who got my beliefs back on track, whilst providing me with all sorts of helpful affirmations, exercises, visualisations and even hypnotherapy. I can say I’ve never felt so happy in myself in all my life. I’ve been doing visualisations for years, but the first time I did one with Annette my mind was actually blown. Within one week, all manner of synchronicities began occuring and I had the most profitable week of this year! And now things just keep getting better and better!

An amazing life coach and an even better person you can find her here. http://youniquetransformation.co.uk/

She’s also has book coming out very soon so keep an eye out for that. πŸ™‚

Final Digital Logo

So if I could speak to myself a year ago I think I’d utter my favourite phrase repeatedly. πŸ™‚

“Never Give Up” πŸ˜€

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Β 


The Wings are Built, it’s now Time to Fly – 2014 So Far.

I always knew I’d be a published writer.

I always knew I’d be a published illustrator.

I always knew one day I’d be my own boss.

Looking back now I’m proud to say I’ve accomplished all three. Even if I reach the end of my days without achieving anything else I’ll still be proud I chased these dreams tenaciously. My close friends and family have watched me work my ass off to reach my goals.

And now I’ve done reached my sixth month running Phoenix Designs and Creative Covers in self-employment. Has it been hard? Shit yea. Has it been scary? Too bloody right it has. There have been some terrifying moments of wondering whether I could actually afford my bills, and then times when I’ve earned two or three times what I did in my previous job.

It’s something I’m still getting used to, taking the rough with the smooth and the hard times with the easy times. I’ve noticed that as I go on, systems and procedures seem to have set themselves up. From organising my work load to corresponding with clients. It’s a learning curve, and I’ve had to fend for myself (apart from the helpful words of friends who have walked this road before me) to get things ticking along.

I now can feel the tide shifting once more. Things are feeling easier, more settled. I worry less about where fate is taking me, and completely trust what the universe has in store for me. I’ve never been busier in my life, and sometimes work 20 hour days – every day of the week. But I know I can cope with these things, and feel empowered with each completed project. Receiving great feedback from elated customers makes me so happy.

Over the past six months I’ve made some truly amazing friends and contacts, and the long time pals of mine have supported me no end.

I know things will continue to grow and strengthen. I’ll set bigger and more ambitious goals and hunt them down relentlessly.

To anyone who feels they can’t make their own dreams come true – quit the worry, quit the negativeness, and have faith in yourself. You’re amazing, and amazing people accomplish great things.

πŸ˜€ x

Let the good times continue.

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Tapestry of Fates – Kickstarter Project

So the time has finally come. I have to admit I need help driving this project forward.
This set of books that has consumed most of my life (probably even more so than Phoenix!) is progressing at a complete snail pace. Maybe it was a mistake illustrating them (as some have told me in the past) and because I’m not the fastest artist, so much time has now passed since the first book was released, that the artwork from that one is now looking dated and shabby.

I did make a pledge to spend an hour a day on illustrating the second and third book, but other commitments have increasingly encroached on this precious time.

So I’ve decided that maybe a Kickstarter project may be the way to go. Offering pledgers artwork and characters dedicated to them if they aid me seems like an attractive path to take. The story is so vast, with it being spread over many millenia and worlds that adding important people into the mix without spoiling the narrative would be so easy. Secret chapters (many of which have already been written for other characters) is another way I’d hope to gain favour. There’s even the offer of one character that was instrumental in defeating Eclipse thousands of years previously. I’ve always planned on mentioning this legendary heroic character many times in the third book but thankfully never actually named him or her (or both – there were actually two).

Now I know many other authors will be thinking – “Cheeky shit! We all write books without funding, just get it done!” But the fact is, is that the books are almost pretty much completely written. It’s the fifty plus illustrations that require the massive amount of time to complete. And with the first book having already been out for a few years, it’s becoming frustrating that I cannot find time to devote to my labour of love. Funding would help free up time from my freelance work in order to get these pics painted, as well as pay for editing, typesetting, and publishing.

Even finding time at the moment to get the actual kickstarter page sorted is proving hard work! Haha!

But of course, it’s a risk. I may not get the funding at all, and may look a bit foolish for trying. But should that happen, what the hell eh? I gave it my best shot! More publicity for the work will be achieved and I’ll just find another way to get it done.

So watch this space.

Hope you all have a great Easter! πŸ˜€ x

 

Ken Dawson Kickstarter

 

Promo One Tap of Fates

 


Never Giving Up

So it’s now been ten weeks since I declared myself self-employed and went full freelance….and somehow…I’ve survived.

I’ll admit, it’s been hard so far, very hard in fact. Some weeks I’ve been terrified I’m not going to be able to keep up with paying my bills and avoid slipping into tremendous debt. I’ve worked every single day, almost every hour I’m awake, pouring my soul into every project that comes my way, cherishing each one with the upmost gratitude as I receive and work through it. I can honestly say I’ve loved every single moment so far. Knowing that I myself am responsible for my own work, as well as my professional ethics and reputation, and being in full control of what I earn is unbelievably satisfying. Likewise, being aware that I’m not being paid a weekly set amount is both frightening and encouraging.

I had to convince myself that getting full time employment was not secure anymore (as I found out whilst on holiday last year), and working for myself is just as risky as working for someone else. For years I took a two hour bus journey every morning to work, and used the time wisely – reading and listening to personal development. I got through so many books and audio files it was untrue. People like Tony Robbins, Bob Proctor, Zig Ziglar, Bob Doyle, Wayne Dyer, Deepak Chopra, J.B. Glossinger and countless others became my heroes. And now I can see all that time devoted to hearing them was actually preparing me to confront this change of direction.

All my life I’ve wanted to be a full time Author and Illustrator and now I feel I’m getting closer than ever to it. Of course Graphics will probably always play a part in my life as it’s my trade and couldn’t survive without it. I’ll always study it just so I’ve something to fall back on if times get hard.

Also since becoming freelance, some amazing people have entered my life and lifted me up when I needed help. Those people know who they are, and I’ll forever be grateful. Similarly, those closest to me have proven to me why I keep them so close, for without them I would have folded at the first hurdle.

I feel the end of these ten weeks is a milestone –Β  a test that proved I can do this. Yes I’ve spent it completely skint, and unable to buy anything of luxury, but I also know that these times won’t last, and that more prosperous times are heading my way.

The company that made me redundant – I will always appreciate. Because without that push I believe I would have never jumped. It’s through their actions that I learned to build my wings whilst plummeting to the ground. I think I missed the floor by mere inches.

I do not know what the next ten weeks will bring, but I know that I’ll follow the motto that stares at me every day.

I’ll never give up.

And I’ll be happy. πŸ™‚

Dreams

 


A Simple Tale About Creating Unlimited Wealth.

Once upon a time in a far away land, a young man went to the forest and said to his spiritual master, “I want to have unlimited weath, and with that unlimited wealth, I want to help and heal the world. Will you please tell me the secret to creating affluence?”

And the spiritual master replied, “There are two Goddesses that reside in the heart of every human being. Everybody is deeply in love with these two supreme beings. But there is a certain secret that you need to know, and I will tell you what it is.

Although you love both Goddesses, you must pay more attention to one of them. She is the Goddess of Knowledge , and her name is Sarasvati. Pursue her, love her, and give her your attention. The other Goddess, whose name is Lakshmi, is the Goddess of Wealth. when you pay more attention to Sarasvati, Lakshmi will become extremely jealous and pay more attention to you. The more you seek the Goddess of Knowledge, the more the Goddess of Wealth will seek you. She will follow you wherever you go and never leave you. and the wealth you desire will be yours forever.”

There is power in knowledge, desire and spirit. And this power within you is the key to creating affluence.

Taken from ‘Creating Affluence’ by Deepak Chopra.

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Ditch the New Year’s Resolutions!

Well, it’s that time of year! Parents of hyperactive kids are beginning to breathe a sigh of relief, santa is already flying off around the world and gorging himself on mince pies and sherry, and taxi drivers are ramping up their rates to ‘Tarif ‘WTF” for all the yuletime revellers.

But once the last piece of turkey has been chomped, and every male in every household is snoozing away to the Queen’s speech, another tradition begins to rear it’s ugly head; the dreaded New Year’s Resolution. Now if you’ve been with my blog for a while you’ll remember I grumbled about these last year, for the exact same reason I’m going to moan about them now.

They simply don’t work.

Ok, that’s a bit harsh. I’m betting quite a few escape through the net and are eventually cemented into truth by the invidual who made them. But on the whole, they fail, and they do so because they put too much pressure on the person who happily declared them. Lifestyle changes do not happen in one single night. They take persistance and determination over time, and gradually become habits. If you have a resolution to lose weight, completely changing your diet and exercise regime overnight and attempting to stick with it puts massive stress and pressure on you and eventually you return to your original way of living.

I believe by making well thought out goals, whatever time of year, you can ease into whatever you wish to accomplish. So if you want to lose weight, you should write this goal down now, think how you’re going to achieve this, and then take small steps towards it. As J.B. Glossinger always says, if you work towards a goal by just 1% a day, you can transform yourself steadily, and you’ll find the transition much, much easier. As the saying goes ‘Rome wasn’t built in a day.

A lot of people are beaten down by life. They are on one knee, looking on as the rest of the world jog or sprint past them, wondering (sometimes in jealousy) how they’ve got the strength and luck to muster on. Some are even flat on their face, refusing to go on. The hard truth is, nobody can help you up and onwards, nobody can carry you in their arms and rush you forward like some knight in shining armour.

You have to do this for yourself. Only you hold the key.

Look up, look ahead. What’s in front of you? What does the finish line look like? These are your goals, and they can only be set by you. The problem is most people don’t even know what they are running towards, what their goals are in life. Most see the finish line as death, hoping they get there intact peacefully. And it’s over before they even have chance to wonder what the hell they did with their time on this Earth.

So carry on looking forward, ignore everyone else, for their goals will not match your own. Create the goals, and see them along the path. Get up – somehow, any way you can, grit your teeth, and start stepping forward. Even if it’s just a small shuffle at first. Before you know it, you’ll get momentum going, and suddenly you’ll see your legs begin to run, faster and faster, sweeping you towards a life you’ve always dreamed of.

And not the ticking of the clock, nor the changing of the year can ever halt it.

MERRY CHRISTMAS & HAPPY NEW YEAR TO EVERYONE!

FOLLOW YOUR DREAMS, AND NEVER GIVE UP!

EVER!

XX

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The End of 2013, and the Future on the Flip of a Coin

Well I can honestly say it’s been a turbulant yet welcome end to the year in which big changes in my life have occured. I think now more than ever I’ve gained greater faith in my future and allowed myself to ‘let go’ of things which no longer serve me. Time to step into 2014 with my head held high and a wonderful sense of fresh hope.

But enough of that, and more about the work! I’m underway with the character designs for Bloodline Saga, with Sammy’s characters sketched and ready to be done. Also I’ve got lots more planned for Fallen Tears, with new twisted enemies and situations to throw at our determined and vengeful Dancescu twins.Β  I am even in the process of illustrating a large painting with most of the main characters on it. Once this book is finished I’ll be releasing it for free digitally aswell as print a few copies for whomever wants one.

Kens Characters 4

I’m still planning the massive amount of images for Spirit’s Pain. The book itself is just about to be edited. Because this is my most cherished piece of work I don’t want to rush it and screw it up. The last book Spirit’s Fury will be fully penned soon too, leading the way for the next three installments – The Shadoed Brethren.

Along with this, the planned nineteen books for Phoenix await my attention patiently. This could take many many years to write. I’m just glad I won’t be illustrating them ha!

So nobody can say I’ve got no work to be getting on with.

Which brings me to a great little story I was told a couple of weeks ago.

Whilst searching for design jobs, a pal of mine got me a job at her work, as a hotel porter. Obviously this means doing the usual stuff entailed with this role, carrying bags around, moving furniture around and helping guests etc. It’s a far cry from sitting at a desk calmly ploughing through design work, but the change of pace has been great. I’ve enjoyed the experience so far, and all the staff are awesome.

One of the staff, the head porter called David, who is an awesome jovial man and has been showing me the ropes, told me a story of how he came to work at the hotel, and stay in the position for over thirty-seven years. I liked it so much I thought I’d share it on my blog.

For those who know or have been to Blackpool – most will be aware that on the Southern edge of the resort, situated amongst the sand-dunes was a Pontins holiday camp (now sadly bulldozed to the ground). Many years ago David and a pal of his would venture to Blackpool from Liverpool in search of Summer work. One particular Summer landed the pair working at Pontins. Whilst checking in, David enquired where his room key was. He was politely informed that there was no need for a key, as the door was hanging off. Not a great start as you can imagine. So now David and his friend found themselves residing in the staff quarters – affectionately referred to as ‘the jungle’. Apparantly fights between the staff (mainly women David tells me!) happened constantly in the jungle, and the relentless rowdiness caused the pair to leave Pontins in search of alternative work.

As they stepped out onto the road outside Pontins they looked around, debating what to do next. The obvious choice would be to head into the bright lights of Blackpool, as the other direction seemed to be an empty road, with a quiet looking town in the distance (St. Annes! My town if you didn’t know!) But the two decided to flip a coin instead. Heads they turn right and head into Blackpool, where work is pretty much guaranteed. Or Tails, turn left and head down the long sandy road towards St. Annes (they didn’t even know its name at this point).

It was Tails.

To cut a long story short, after trekking into St. Annes David ended up working at the hotel I am now, and his friend started working at the town’s Conservative club.

As I’ve said in previous posts, I’m a great believer in quantum physics and this implies that another David landed Heads and went into Blackpool, thus taking his life in a completely different direction and changing his world as well as the lives of everyone at the hotel. I wonder if he found a job as a porter in Blackpool and stayed there for as long as he has in St. Annes.

It just shows that sometimes you need to place your destiny in the hands of fate.


Living a Synchronised Life

We’ve all heard the saying ‘Everything happens for a reason’, whenever inevitable changes or obstacles occur in our lives. It’s a saying that helps many of us push on, safe in the knowledge that the Universe (or God, or whatever term you prefer to use) is pushing us down a better path.

But what most people fail to understand is that this term has a dual meaning. ‘Everything happens for a reason’ could also signify something you did in the past that led a ’cause and effect’ situation in your life. Yes, it did happen for a reason, and that reason is because of something you did.

Anyone who has a bit of knowledge about LOA (Law Of Attraction) will understand that self-talk is a truly powerful thing. Whatever thoughts you feed your mind gear up your conscious and subconscious mind into preparing and expecting these things to happen. Tell yourself that ‘you’ll never be happy’ and your mind will find ways into making that happen. Tell yourself ‘you’ll never find a significant other’ and your mind and ego will go out of it’s way to avoid people. It’s a vicious circle, and only you can break it. As Will Smith once said ‘He who says he can, and he who says he can’t, are both usually right.’

Many will argue the effectiveness of affirmations – the repeated thinking or speaking of positive phrases in order to drag your mind away from the negative self-talk. But I can only go off my own experiences and what I’ve seen in others who use them. They really do work and they actually help you to open your eyes, and remove the dark mist that clouds your vision.

By using affirmations, you build up faith for the future, believing good things can and will happen to you, and that the Universe is actually conspiring to bring you towards the life you desire. By having faith in the future, we can let it go from our thoughts and concentrate on the present.

Speakers like Bob Proctor often tell us to live in the present, and be truly living in the here and now. They tell us to be fully aware of how we’re feeling at any given time, and experience this very moment in its entirety. By living in the now, and armed with affirmations spoken until they’ve been drilled into us, our minds – conscious and subconscious will begin to look out for for messages, clues and opportunities in order to bring us to what we want. Once you start to see these, you’ll notice synchronicities happening – remarkable coincidences that seem to amaze you.

For instance, many years ago I always dreamed of becoming an author, whilst working at a pub. A girl came to work there and we ended up chatting and later she told me her mother was a published children’s author. She introduced me to her mother who ended up helping me publish my own book. This may seem quite simple and you may say ‘well if you wanted to be a author you would have found a way eventually’ and that’s the absolute truth! Because I spoke about it often to people, and had passion in it, people hear and pick up on these things. If I didn’t have passion, didn’t believe it could happen, I would never have spoken about it, and this girl would never have mentioned her mother.

Another example – I sometimes buy a magazine about writing and in one issue was an article about the Harper Collins website called Authonomy, a site where aspiring authors put their work to be critiqued by their peers. If a book gets enough positive reviews it ends up on the desks of Harper Collins themselves for possible publishing. Thinking it would be a good idea I placed my novel ‘Fallen Tears’ (which can be read for free on this site!) on there. Immediately (as the magazine warned) many authors messaged me requesting me to review their book. Only one person reviewed mine straight away. Obviously I was inclined to review theirs in return. That person is now my good friend Sammy who I know owe a great deal for getting my Creative Covers site (www.ccovers.co.uk) set up, as it was her own publishing company that gave me the opportunity to create many book covers. She is also my future co-author for our online blog novel ‘Bloodline Saga’.

I truly believe that the more you grasp this concept, you’ll notice more parts of your life slotting together, clicking and connecting into place; cementing a web of fortune that will pull you into a life of happiness and fulfillment.

If you do start to use affirmations remember to use them in the present tense, because if you use future tenses, then your desire will always be in the future, and thus never come! So a great example is ‘I am so happy and grateful now that I…. (your desire)’. Gratitude reinforces the energies around your desire, so you should always be grateful for what you want.’

So keep smiling, keep believing, and keep telling yourself great things can and will happen to you – right now, and sooner or later you’ll notice things in your life begin to shift. Don’t resist the changes, go along with them, take whatever opportunities are placed before you and accept that great things are always possible.

Remember life is a journey, not a destination.

Good things happen to happy people, not the other way around.

So enjoy every moment as if it’s your last. πŸ™‚

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