In search of la dolce vita

dolce vita
‘If you do nothing unexpected, nothing unexpected happens.’ — Fay Weldon

As often happens at this time of year, I find myself existing in a transitional space. Last year I was preparing for the big move and now here I am, almost a year back in London and feeling pretty settled, all things considered. The August Break proved to be just what I needed as I explore what it means to build a life that doesn’t revolve solely around work. For the last four years work has been everything. The book, the tour, the courses, the retreats, the travel. Giving all my energy to the business was absolutely necessary and I don’t regret a minute of it, but now I crave that elusive balance of work AND a personal life. I have moments when I wonder if that is even possible — and the answer is no, it’s not, if I continue to work and structure my days in the same way I’ve always done. So things are slowly changing around here as i try to create more space for a life away from my laptop. It’s a work in progress…


‘Your task is not to seek love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself you have built against it.’ — Rumi

I guess it’s no surprise this desire to be out in the world coincided with me dipping a toe back in the dating pool. I’m discovering that it’s easy to be vulnerable with my work hat on — the core of everything I do comes from my personal experience and sharing what I know (and don’t know!). Likewise it’s easy to be vulnerable with friends and family — they’ve seen me at my best and worst and, amazingly, they still want to know me. But opening up and being vulnerable with somebody new? As my sister pointed out to me the other day, I’m very good at being Confident Sus, “but you need to let them see the softer side of you, too.” I think it’s fair to say I’m still learning the steps to this dance…


‘Sometimes in tragedy we find our life’s purpose. The eye sheds a tear to find its focus.’ — Robert Brault

September has brought that back-to-school feeling with her. Next week I’ll be opening registration for the very last live session of Unravelling. It’s time for a change and if I’ve learnt anything useful over the last few years it’s to trust my intuition when it comes to this wee biz of mine. Unravelling was the beginning and now I’m ready to go much deeper with those original concepts, so once I get back from our retreat in October I’ll be developing two new courses for 2014. Even as I type that I realise I could so easily slip back into my workaholic ways, so I know my challenge for the rest of the year is to work smarter not harder. To make space for play as well as focus. And to trust in serendipity — in work, in love, in life.


If you’ve ever wanted to Unravel with me now is the time to do it! I’m already planning the weekly videos and want this last live session to be a really magical one. I’m happy to offer a special alumni rate to all former Unravellers who want to work back through the course with a whole new group of lovelies — email me for more details x

Messages from my other life

I had an amazing dream while I was in Devon last week. Actually, there was nothing particulary amazing about the actual dream, but what it represented was amazing (to me). For the last few years I’ve been having a recurring dream that I have another home somewhere, out there, but I can’t remember where it is. It’s an apartment I used to live in, and it holds a lot of my stuff, but I haven’t been there in such a long time I can’t remember the address. In the reoccuring dream I know I have to find this other home at some point so i can sort through the things and let it go, but I can never find my way there. I always wake up confused and it takes a moment to remember that in the real world i have just one home and it’s here, in London. The relief is always enormous.

For the first time ever, I dreamt I found the other home. I can’t remember how I found my way there, but suddenly there I was, opening the door and walking in. In the dream I was so surprised to finally be there my heart was racing as I looked around this converted loft filled with tables strewn with my belongings. There were clothes displayed on the walls like a museum, and piles and piles of books and records. Slowly I began to go through the objects, pulling out things i remembered from my teenage — things I haven’t thought about in forever in my waking world. It was like discovering a corner of my brain I hadn’t opened in 25 years.

When I woke up I immediately reached for my journal and wrote down everything i could remember about the other home — there were a LOT of underlinings and exclamation marks. It really was a remarkable dream, an actual conclusion to a long-running series in my head. There are so many layers of significance, and as usual i’ve been journalling my way into it all, marvelling at my own unconscious. Most mornings I wake up wishing I didn’t have such vivid dreams, but then something like this happens and I’m grateful to have this other noctural life that has its own plotlines and climate; it’s like squeezing two lives into one.

Our brains are extraordinary, aren’t they.

Keeping a dream journal has definitely enhanced my ability to recall — and, more importantly, interpret — my dreams. We spend a week on dreams in Journal Your Life, exploring ways to read our dreams, find the gifts in our nightmares and practice a bit of lucid daydreaming, too. I’m certainly no dream expert, but I’m expert at my OWN dreams, and that’s where the benefit lies. By paying attention to our unconscious mind we uncover all these juicy clues to what’s really going on inside us. My dreams are often ridiculous and impossible, but they never seem to lie to me.

Do any of you have crazy big dreams? Have they ever been useful? I’d love to know :)


Registration for the summer session on Journal Your Life is now open — I’ve updated the page with a video sneak peek!

‘This has been so much more than just a course, it’s become a Process. What I have learned, what has taken me most by surprise, is Gratitude. I find that every time I journal now I end up thanking God for my life and all that it holds. On the outside, my life seems very ordinary, perhaps even a little boring. What I have discovered is that I have an internal life that is extraordinary, rich and fulfilling. I wake up each morning excited by the sheer possibility that each day holds. This gift you’ve given me is priceless, and I thank you from the bottom of my heart!’ ~ Beth

Notes on being a hermit

The older I get the more I like being on my own. This is not a bad thing as I spend the vast majority of my time actually alone. I work from home and I live alone. I am single. I’m an introvert and find large groups of people exhausting (one-on-one I love). I’m not particularly shy, and can be downright gregarious in the right situation, but on the whole, I prefer my own company.

For many years, this was a problem. The three big relationships of my life were with extroverted men who had lots of friends and like to hit the town at every opportunity. New Year’s Eve was always a battle as they (and yes, all three of them felt the same) wanted to go out and have THE BIGGEST NIGHT EVAH!!! and I wanted to stay at home, light candles and ease into the new year thoughtfully and calmly. I’m sure you can guess who won those battles. One of the greatest joys of these last eight years on my own has been getting to welcome each new year in exactly the way I want.

It’s only in the last few years I’ve truly accepted that this really is how I am. For the longest time I thought my lack of sociability meant there must be something fundamentally wrong with me. My twenties were a blur of college, first jobs, relationships and trying my best to be the extrovert I thought I was supposed to be. I tried, I really did, but it was exhausting. And then another party invite would arrive and we’d go but I’d spend the whole time wishing I was at home. Now I understand how introverts and extroverts work my twenties and early 30s make so much more sense to me. Honestly, this stuff ought to be taught in school — how much easier would life be if we understood how we processed the world right out the gate? Rather than being made to feel we’re boring or strange for liking — sometimes preferring — our alone time.

I’m pondering all of this because this introvert is preparing to put herself back out into the land of dating. I’m remembering my previous attempts at on-line dating and wondering if there are any guys out there who don’t need to have the Biggest Night Evah on New Year’s Eve. Eighty percent of me would rather stay at home than go on what is basically a blind date. I like it here! It’s calm and soothing and all my favourite things are around me. After the rocky start to the new year I’m in a good place, emotionally, so why would I want to risk that? But then there’s this pesky twenty percent….. the part of me that misses the kind of companionship where you can be alone together, quite happily, on a lazy Sunday afternoon. The kisses, the love, the building-a-future-together. The delicious stuff that requires another person be in the same room as you…

It’s time to leave the hermitage.

Hello 40

40 Lessons from 40 Years |


It’s my 40th birthday today. Entering a new decade of my life feels like a big deal, and while I feel exactly the same as I did yesterday, there’s something bubbling in me — the no more rules I mentioned last week. Forty sounds really thoroughly grown-up and I like it.

Rather than compiling a list of things to do before I turn 41, I spent a leisurely few hours this afternoon putting together 40 lessons I’ve sussed out in the last 40 years. Sidenote: I only wanted to do things I love today, and blogging was definitely on the list. Still so grateful to have this space to play in. Happy Nutella Day!



1. Your relationship with your self is the most important relationship you’ll ever have. It forms the basis for every other relationship in your life, making you the mother, sister, partner and friend that you are.

2. On that note, there is nothing wrong with being ‘self-centred’. I’m a firm believer in putting your oxygen mask on first. If you can’t breathe you’re no use to anyone else. That doesn’t mean ignore everybody else — just don’t ignore you.

3. Only shop in shops with flattering lights in their fitting rooms. Life is too short to look like shit when shopping for a new bra.

4. Find the type of words you like to read. Doesn’t matter if it’s fiction, non-fiction, self-help, instruction manuals or comics — just find the pages you can’t wait to turn.

5. Anything anyone says about you or does to you is about them not you 99% of the time.

6. Invest some cash in a really fabulous handbag (men: find a really cool wallet) so no matter what you wear, you always looked pulled together. Ditto a good pair of boots.

7. Speaking of wallets, I bought a Fendi wallet 10 years ago. I’ve used it every day since and it still looks new = best £150 I’ve ever spent.

8. Take photographs every single day. Snap the things that catch your eye, the faces you love and the moments you want to remember. Records the bits of your day that you might forget — in years to come you’ll love this glimpse into your routine.

9. Play with digital and film. iPhones and Hasselblads. Canon and Nikon. Try everything to decide which translates your eye best. Learn a few rules so you know how to break them.

10. Always ALWAYS buy free-range eggs. Preferably organic if you can.

11. Figure yourself out. Investigate the Enneagram. Do the Myers-Briggs test. Get your tarot cards done. Get curious about yourself. Dig deeper!

12. On the other side of that, don’t bother drinking anyone else’s kool aid. Make your own concoction instead — it’ll always taste better.



13. Make the effort to protect your leather bags and boots with leather gel. Trust me on this.

14. Start a collection. It doesn’t matter what it is — buttons, cameras, art, first editions, model cars, retro lamp shades. When you collect something you’re more likely to keep your eyes open when you’re out & about in the world. You never know when you’ll find a treasure — life becomes a treasure hunt.

15. Learn how to enjoy your own company. Go on dates with yourself often. Watch this again for ideas.

16. Investigate poetry. Poems are like awesome word snacks that nourish your brain. Find the poets who transcribe your experience of the world. Then look for the ones who show you another side of life entirely.

17. Find the music that makes you get up and dance. Play it often, especially when you’re on your own.

18. If you’re self-employed, put aside more money for tax than you think you’ll need. I always save 40% of everything I earn. If your tax bill comes to less at the end of the year you’ll have a nice little nest egg to play with or enough to cover any earnings you “forgot” to save tax for. Either way you can’t lose and you’ll sleep better at night.

19. Everybody should get at least six months of therapy. It’s one of the best investments you’ll ever make in yourself.

20. “I believe that by being the best and most healed version of ourselves we can truly make a difference in the world. I’m not an activist or politician, and I’m not able to have any direct impact on the areas of the world where help is needed. But what I can do is make a difference in the small pocket of the world I call home. I can live with integrity and be honest about my feelings, even when they hurt. I can put my whole heart into my work and pay forward the generosity that was shown to me when my world fell apart. I can look after myself, knowing that by healing my own hurts I won’t be passing them on to anyone else. In a society like ours, filled with so many emotionally wounded people acting out their pain, this is possibly the most important work we could ever do—heal our hurts so we don’t pass them on.” From This I Know, page 271.

21. Slow down. Take a breath. Look again.

22. Your senses are the way back into the present moment. What can you smell right now? What do you see? What’s touching your skin? What tastes do you want to experience today? What can you hear? Pay attention. Give yourself over to this moment, right now.

23. Writing a book is exactly as hard as you think it will be. But it’s not impossible. Not at all.

24. Sharing your heart with people will make you feel vulnerable at times — most of the time, in fact — but it will help you feel less alone when you see that others feel the same. By hiding the truth about how we feel we isolate ourselves.

25. The camera is only a tool — it’s your eye that really matters.



26. You can’t THINK your way out of depression. If you’re an over-thinker like me you will try very hard to do this but it won’t work. Explore all paths to find your way through the storm. Be gentle with yourself.

25. Listen to your body. It will tell you what it needs, and it will tell you what it doesn’t need, too.

26. Try to remember that everybody is doing their best with the tools they have and life experiences they’ve had. You never know what happened that morning, that day, that month or that year. You never know when somebody is putting a brave face on something that’s making them crumble inside. Give them the benefit of the doubt.

27. “One of the secrets of a happy life is continuous small treats.” – Iris Murdoch

28. Kill your expectations and assumptions. They are such a phenomenal waste of time. Most of the disappointments in my life were the result of expectations and assumptions. Keeping these in check is a life-long practice.

29. You can’t change anyone, no matter how much you want to. But you can lead by example. You can inspire them to want to change.

30. Celebrate your sensuality. Take hot scented baths and sunbathe nude in your garden. Buy lingerie that delights you and wear more silk. Take pleasure in your body.

31. If, like me, you can’t wear wool (itchy nightmare!) invest in a cashmere sweater every couple of years. If you look after them properly these babies will just get softer and softer and keep you warm for years to come. I like Brora.

32. Breathe in the sea air every chance you get.



33. It’s okay to protect yourself from the people who trigger you. Unsubscribe. Unfollow. Avoid. Make your excuses. Sometimes we just have to protect our hearts, and if there’s someone who makes you feel crap you don’t have to let them into your world.

34. Having said that, be sure to look at WHY they trigger you once you’ve filtered them out of your day-to-day. We can learn a lot from feeling uncomfortable — what’s the bigger message here?

35. When you look in the mirror, try smiling at yourself. Especially first thing in the morning.

36. Show yourself a little kindness every day. Find ten minutes to read a chapter. Listen to your favourite song in the car. Savour a cup of coffee in the garden. Lock yourself in the bathroom and do yoga on the floor. Whatever it takes.

37. Keep a journal. Write down your thoughts. Make lists. Draw mind maps. Stick in pictures that make you dream. Write when you feel inspired. Write when you feel sad. Write when you want to remember. Write when you don’t know. Just write it out.

38. Believe in something. Whether it’s science, nature, god, spirit, kindness, gratitude, politics, the universe, atoms or love, believe in something.

39. Believe in yourself. There’s nobody else in the entire world like you.

40. Go gently.