It’s never too late to boogie!

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May 15  |  Dreams coming true, Self-Help, self-reinvention, self-transformation  |   Cynthia


Once upon a time you had dreams. Then the Big Bad Wolf, called LIFE, came along, grabbed you by the throat and shook these the hell out of you.

So – then you told yourself that it was “too late”, or that you’re “too old”, or “too busy”, or that “there’s no point” – and other such tripe. Or – even worse – you allowed somebody in authority, such as a parent, teacher or partner, to piss on your campfire and extinguish what you know your inner wisdom was begging you to do.

The bottom line is – it’s NEVER too late to embrace a dream, no matter how old you, or it, might be. Where’s it written that you can’t? You only can’t if you think you can’t! It’s possible to rewrite your life script at any time. Why do you think that you don’t deserve the good stuff, like other people? While there’s life there’s hope. Time will pass anyway, so why not make the most of the time you have left? We all know people who’ve checked out of life way too early. The saddest words in the English language have got to be, “too late”, and “if only”.

Now – today – is the time to unblock your creativity, whatever the latter means to you. You don’t need anybody’s permission. You can choose to live your life in black and white – OR – in glorious technicolour. The choice and the power to do so is yours.

Once upon a time, when I was 14, I was told by an occupational psychologist, that I wasn’t academic. My father colluded with her, and between them they stitched me up big time, telling me that I’d just get married anyway, so I might as well do a secretarial course. Given that it took me until I was 52, to grow the balls to stand up to my authoritarian parents, I found myself hurtling along that traditional path, and into my first unhappy marriage, aged 18.

It took the catastrophic death of my son in the car I was driving, in 1987, and my daughter’s severe injuries, to eject me from the quagmire of despair, propelling me into taking 2 A levels part-time, the year after Anthony died. Less than two years later, I was admitted to Cambridge University, to read law. Aged 30, with a major tragedy to contend with. boy, did I prove those academic naysayers wrong!

I’ve gone onto pass many exams since then and, last week, I was offered a place to do a Master’s degree in Mindfulness. So much for not being academic! And it was the same with all of my relationships and my two doomed marriages, before I found happiness with my third husband, Peter, in 2002. Never settle for less than you’re capable of in any arena of life. Find inspirational role models, read uplifting books, listen to rousing music. Whatever you do, never, ever give up your biggest asset – yourself!

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Be the boss of your own life!

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May 1  |  motivation, Self-Help, self-transformation  |   Cynthia

boss lady

 

Last week, I was able to tick off another big dream from an ever growing list, of dreams come true.  On 24 April, I signed a contract with my publisher, for my self-help book, “From Dinner Date to Soulmate – Cynthia Spillman’s Guide to Mature Dating.”

From Dinner Date to Soulmate – Cynthia Spillman’s Guide to Mature Dating

Good things seem to be happening to me in round numbers. I went to Cambridge University when I was 30, this year I’ll be 20 years off the booze, In July, it’s my 10th wedding anniversary. It took me 20 years to find the right publisher for this book. Even my car registration is A20 CYS!  And on a much more sober note, these wonderful things, go some way to eradicating the memories of the bad things that happened in my life – my son died on 20 November, and this year it’ll be 30 years since his death.

Now, I neither know, nor particularly care, what a numerologist would make of all the above.  However, what I’m certain of, is that you make your luck happen. Lady Luck doesn’t just pitch up, knock at your door and give you the key to success and happiness.

Making your dreams come true involves a four-letter word – WORK.  For some of us, it may take years to override our faulty inner tapes. We may have to get professional help to greatly modify, if not totally eradicate the self-harming, damaging story we feed ourselves about our perceived limitations. As one who has done an enormous amount of work on myself these 30 years, in order to not only survive, but ultimately to be happy and contented – I don’t believe that you can ever fully scrub those tapes. They’ve been there way too long and are almost a part of your DNA. BUT – you CAN choose to rewrite your script.

Taking my book as a personal example. I adored my late father, but I joke that he’d have preferred me to say that I wanted to be a hooker when I grew up, rather than a writer, because at least with the former I’d have made a living.  Creativity was deemed to be another four-letter word – SHIT!  Actually, I’ve only just recently realised at 58, how creative I am.  And that it’s perfectly acceptable to be that and it’s not a mortal sin!  My dad has been dead for 5 years now and, despite, the above, I like to believe he’d have been incredibly proud of my literary achievements.

It’s absolutely never too late to achieve your dreams!  Yes – change is excruciatingly uncomfortable, but the pain of actually putting in the effort – rather than just thinking about it and sitting on the self-pity pot – ultimately brings you untold inner riches.

So get off your BUTTS (buts) today, and start to make it happen – one tiny step at a time!

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Mindful dating v internal elephants

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February 23  |  Dating, Dating Coach, finding a relationshp, finding love, Love & Relationships, Mindful communication, Mindfulness, relationships, Self-Help, Women and love  |   Cynthia

Nail biting

Anxiety is a perfectly normal emotion to experience, when you’re in the early stages of dating a new, prospective partner.  But it needn’t be a nail biting experience, if you take a few moments to pause, reflect and go about dating in a mindful way. Below are some quick tips on how to prevent the butterflies in your tummy, from morphing into a sabotaging date-wrecking herd of elephants, rampaging around in your innards.

Be prepared

Like the scouts, being prepared for all eventualities is key. This may not sound very sexy and spontaneous, but if you were applying for a new job, if you’ve got any sense, you’d be doing research on the company you hoped to be employed by. Why should it be any different with a prospective lover?  I don’t mean for you to start stalking his bestie, drive past his pad at midnight, staring longingly at his closed bedroom curtains, or make an absolute tit of yourself, in any other way.  But undertaking a little bit of pre-assignation investigation will help quell your nerves on The Date, and won’t necessarily turn you into a latter day female Inspector Clouseau of “Pink Panther” fame.

Brainstorm potential topics of conversation.  Find out what he’s interested in and read up on it. Be aware of current affairs but stay well clear of contentious topics such as sex, politics or religion –  the first few dates aren’t the time to regale him with your salacious intimacy “previous”.  These topics are potential date-busters!

Self-care

Pamper yourself so you feel at your very best.  Don’t wear anything that will make you feel self-conscious – ie a décolleté which is so extreme, that if you’re not careful, you’ll end up tripping over your own boobs. Nor should you wear a dress which is so frigging short, your prospect can see your tonsils.  There’s a time and place for everything and this isn’t it! If you’re unsure, ask a trusted friend for input.  Safe is one hell of a lot better than sorry.

BREATHE!

Give yourself plenty of time to get there. Plan the best route beforehand, leaving room for error, such as getting lost, tube strikes, people under a bus etc.  Sit quietly before you leave, and practise some very simple, mindfulness breathing.  I realise you may be so worked-up that your head resembles a washing machine in the spin cycle – but that’s only  reason to meditate more.

Practising mindfulness during the date

Listen to your prospect more than YOU speak!  Remember to practise deep, slow breathing during the date – not so fast that you hyperventilate and you need to engage in emergency breathing into a brown paper bag. This could be somewhat embarrassing! Simple and calmly is best. By so doing, you’ll avoid speaking at the speed of a machine gun engaged in active combat.  And speaking of guns – for God’s sake keep your powder dry. I repeat – don’t tell him your deepest, darkest and dirtiest secret. That’s first date suicide. And don’t drink too much either unless you’re not bothered about potentially presenting yourself as a neurotic, desperate lush!

Trust your instincts

If you do as I suggest, you’ll be far more in tune with the other person’s vibes. Trust yourself and your inborn instincts. If something doesn’t feel right, then it isn’t! If you’re super anxious, keep the first few dates short. Meet for coffee, a drink, lunch – then if all seems to be going swimmingly – you can take it to the next stage and meet for dinner. Remember – you’re not dating Prince Charming, just a regular guy who’s probably as nervous as you are.  Believe it or not – men suffer from dating nerves too.

Enjoy yourself!  That’s the whole point of the date – and remember, there are no true faux pas dating gaffes – just learning experiences. If it doesn’t go to plan, then keep breathing, don’t be hard on yourself, put it behind – and try again.

Have fun!

breathe-in-the-good-shit-t-shirts-men-s-t-shirt

 

 

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The road to hell is paved with good intentions – and New Year’s resolutions!

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January 26  |  motivation, New Years Resolutions, Self-Help, self-transformation  |   Cynthia

hell

 

We’re now almost at the end of January –  which I and many find to be a cruel, cold month, in more ways than one. The silly season is over, you’ve invariably eaten too much, spent excessively and have had to endure the company of people you’d rather not see for another 50 years – never mind going through the whole obligatory repeat pantomime, again in 11 months!

Which leads me to our New Year’s resolutions – those odious decisions we usually make under our own self-imposed pressure,  during the Christmas excess – only for them to evaporate into the ether by the end of January. It’s as if we kid ourselves that if we make these then, we’re somehow atoning for “crimes” about to be committed.

So – how are you doing with yours?  Mine are twofold. Finish the first draft of my book, before our next trip to Nice on 22 March. The second – to lose the blubb which has been dragging me down in body, spirit and soul, for 15 years. The last time I saw my toes, was in the spring of 2002, after I met Peter.  Go figure – if you’ll pardon an awful pun.

Needless to say, given that it took me 15 years to accrue the flab, I’m certainly not going to shift it overnight – much as I’d like to wake up one morning and find my former sylph-like persona grinning self-satisfiedly back at me in the bedroom floor length mirror.  Despair not. One day at a time, I still remain committed to developing a healthy lifestyle. I’ve gone back to yoga and am swimming regularly. My injured dog Lola’s poorly leg is now very much on the mend, so more walkies are in order.  And to the delight of my longsuffering husband – I’m about to dust the cobwebs off the very expensive bike he bought me God-knows how many years ago – and which is sitting in still virginal condition, in the front garden.

For me – I’ve had a light bulb moment of late, and have realised that frustrated creativity leads to a very unhealthy, sedentary lifestyle – one in which I’ll crave sugar and carbs until the cows come home – and will bien sur act on that craving in a self-destructive way.

As for finishing my book by 22 March – actually I think this is really going to happen!  My literary agent is working like a demon and putting it out there to publishers.  I’m feeling super motivated and more convinced than ever that this is gonna rock!

Despondency beware!  Here are my tips for not busting your own, precious New Year’s resolutions:

  • Set realistic goals – if you don’t, you’ll give up the ghost and feel even worse than if you’d not resolved to change aspects of your life this year.
  • Enlist the support of others.  Make yourself accountable – but don’t be harsh on yourself. Remember – you’re human!
  • Put self-care at the top of the New Year’s list – remember you’re worth it!
  • Write down a maximum of 3 resolutions and review them regularly, with an open mind – but don’t use this as a cop out.
  • Chart your previous successes in your journal. These will inspire you to keep going when you feel like quitting.
  • Don’t compare yourself to others – comparisons are odious!

Remember – there’s no such thing as failure – just different ways of looking at things.  There’s always another opportunity to try again. Progress – not perfection – is the watch word here.

Happy New Year!

victory

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Living with loss during the silly season

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December 21  |  Christmas, Grief & Bereavement, Love & Relationships, Mindfulness, overcoming adversity  |   Cynthia

grief-and-loss-remembering-family-at-christmas-christmas-with-family1

Whilst the madness of Christmas ensnares us with enforced joviality, let’s  pause and remember  that for many of us – due to loss – Christmas may never be the same again.

There are many variations on loss,   apart from the obvious physical death of a partner.  While it’s true that all of us, if we live long enough, are going to suffer some kind of personal loss, much as we rail against it, eventually we have to come to a place of acceptance, and then ultimately to move on emotionally. This doesn’t mean we ever forget the person we’ve lost, but that we learn to live with it. That knife-twisting pain in your gut eventually does fade.  Depending on the circumstances of this loss, the time it’ll take to travel and complete the grief journey, will vary from individual to individual and there’s no right or wrong way to plough through it. It’s tough and it wounds us to the core. It may also cause old scars to weep, because even with some emotional recovery time under your belt, there’ll always be a reminder, Christmas, a birthday or anniversary, or facing the New Year alone – which will apply fresh pressure to that inner scar – a bit like picking at a scab. The more severe the loss, the more those painful feelings may resurface.

The only person you must learn to please at this time of year – is yourself!

When will it stop hurting?  Nobody can answer that.  Whilst of course there are stages in healing, you simply won’t feel better for a very long time – whether other people like it or not. If you choose to stay in bed all Christmas day and duvet dive – that’s your business. You may also find yourself suffering from “Spare Woman Syndrome” – a perceived threat to your friends who are in a relationship. You don’t need to conform to anybody’s stereotypes or expectations.

Self-pity is ugly

 Self-pity is incredibly unappealing, and it’s futile. Unless you find the guts to discard it, it’ll swallow you up faster than any quick sand.  Many people undergo major traumas. What separates the wheat from the chaff – is attitude.  But there’s a stark difference here between self-pity, self-preservation and self-care.  The bottom line is that most people are way too worried about their own “stuff”, to want to absorb any of yours.  If you allow yourself to become totally identified by your loss, you’re going to be lonely for a very long time. Your loss IS significant, but it’s only a part of you – not the whole story of who you are as a person.

 Mindfulness and loss

Mindfulness is a way of anchoring ourselves, right now, this very second, into this day, this hour, this  minute. This practice teaches us to mind the gap, to provide that split second of choice – that near sacred pause, during which we can choose to react to stimuli or to respond in a more self-nurturing way. It’s cumulative and it leads to the ability to detach from troublesome situations, thereby maintaining our own precious reserves of energy, to be used in a more fruitful manner.

Easy does it

 Churchill said, “if you’re going through hell, keep going.” Take small steps. Remind yourself that you deserve happiness and that you have it within yourself to recover from and overcome any past loss. The saddest words in the English language are, “if only” – the saddest death of all – loss of hope. Don’t let that be your epitaph. And above all – remember – love never dies.

 

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