Thursday, 26 May 2011


So often, I start things and don't see them through to completion. I become so enthused, motivated and inspired; inevitably, that enthusiasm dwindles and wanes like the moon after it's glowed full and bright in the night sky.

Well today, I am refusing to accept that I am just a flake. I am practising gratitude in my life, and my commitment to that is reflected in me showing up here to share my gratitude with you, dear reader.

Today, I am grateful for/that:
1. My beautiful flat which I share with Nige. It's so quiet, and spacious, and I can truly rest and revive here.
2. The stunning lilies, tiger lilies and other flowers that I was given by my father, my friend and an acting companion after performing in 'Annie' last week.
3. A fridge full of lusciously healthy food. (I had a great picture but the server has 'rejected' it multiple times! So sorry, no photos today).
4. Delicious breakfast with Nige - oat groats, goat's milk, apricots, berries, pumpkin seeds, honey, raisins. So delicious and nourishing.
5. The 'Home Fix' guy who came round today to fix our leaking water tank. Hooray!
6. Helping Nige get clear on what he needs to do in order to prepare for his Level 2 Exam to become an accredited Personal Trainer.
7. The unexpected piece of work (and money!) that came simply from helping a lady in the theatre company with navigating her iPad.
8. The women in my life: Julia, Brooke, Holly, Laura, my sisters, Claire B., Claire M., Liz - you all teach me magnificent lessons about womanhood and femininity.
9. "Women, Food and God" by Geneen Roth. This book is deep and challenging and I'm diving into it with discomfort, gratitude and a huge sigh of relief.
10. The wonderful 27 mile bike ride yesterday with Nige - (my) grumpiness and all.
11. The wonderful church at Warminghurst that is no longer used for worship but that is visited by people from near and far and which stands quietly on the top of a hill overlooking West Sussex.
12. Our oh-so-comfortable bed and the first good night's sleep in ages, which I had last night.
13. The Groupon deal - £34 for four chiropractic sessions. Oh boy, how I need this right now.
14. The Quiet Voice in meditation this morning guiding me to simply write this list, focus on gratitude and trust It. I'm listening...
15. Twenty minutes meditation in the morning and the mighty companion I have in Nige, gently yet firmly reminding me to take time each day to be with God.
16. Marianne Williamson's book "Everyday Grace".
17. Our lovely neighbours! I actually know the people I live in close proximity to, and each of them is a marvellous human being in their own right.
18. Words - phalanges, metatarsals, donkey, supercilious... I love words.
19. The irrepressible birdsong that continues all day, every day, come wind, rain or shine. Being able to look at the birds in the trees, on the ground and flying through the air is such a heart-softening gift.
20. My breath. I can breathe in, and out. I can choose to pause and breathe deeply, and remember each time that I do this that I am safe in this moment, that I am held and present and enough.
21. My already too wonderful for words Career Coach, Mark. I am so grateful to have stumbled upon his website and to have been met already with insight, respect and wisdom. Our first session together is tomorrow. I will meditate before, pray during and after, and breathe deeply. I trust that this process is indeed sacred and I have been guided to work with just the right person for me.

Amen! x

Monday, 9 May 2011

To thine own self...

I penned this a couple of weeks ago. It's far from perfect but I want to publish it anyway.

On more than one occasion, I have danced the night away on December 31st at a venue called Conway Hall in London. The hall is a wonderful space, and the atmopshere electric as hundreds of people in recovery move, groove and shake their thang to pumping beats and lyrical melodies. Above the stage, a Shakesperian quote reminded me of a truth that eluded me for so many years of my youth:

"To thine own self be true".

What a lesson, and how often I have deviated from this path!

Life is, as far as I can tell, teaching me this lesson once again at the moment. After months of wearing my 'business hat', I crashed and bottomed out a few weeks back, and emotional car crash of a human being unable to get through a day without tears, waves of desperation and an almost uncontrollable urge to hurt myself.

I've made some changes. I had to make some changes. I don't think I could have carried on without reverting back to type, and that is a pretty frightening place to be.

I'm leaving my job; just one more week to go. 
I'm tuning in to Ell, slowly, moment by moment.
I'm frightened, I'm limiting myself, and I'm trying to allow myself to stretch, grow, expand, reach for the light as a flower leans towards the sun.
I'm inviting the real Elloa to emerge, to come forth, to dare to bare her dreams, her ambitions, her truest insights into the kind of life she's always wanted to live. 

Doing this is so scary for me. I've been down this road before, and have allowed myself to be swayed, carried down a path I had never envisioned, until six months later I wake up to find myself at a dead end - again. Two and a half years ago, when I quit my job at Waterstone's, I thought that that was the last time I'd have to draw that particular line in the sand. Somehow over the last half a year, I allowed myself to get involved in a situation that didn't feel right from day one, because it was a job (and I needed one), it was a funky company (and there are so few of those out there), I was given responsibility (and that made me 'someone' in the world), it was only three days a week (then four, then five). Only in retrospect have I allowed myself to take a step back from the situation and get some perspective on it. Why couldn't I have just done that at the time?, I wonder accusingly. I could have saved myself, and Nige, and my boss a lot of trouble. Why do I have to be so.... Elloa?! Typical bloody Elloa!

And still the birds sing. The sun continues to rise, and shine and set. Life goes on, despite my mistakes. Is the guilt helping? No. No, it certainly is not. 

Well then Ell, it's time to drop it. 

The unanimous feature of being a human being, no matter where you live or who you are is that you can't tell what's going to happen in the future. Being fully alive means being present to the ever-unfolding now and trusting in the safety of that. Dark, haunting shadows of a doomed future are but misguided creations of my overactive imagination, and yet they seem real enough to me to trust. I believe these thoughts! And they terrify me. This is the very problem; that I trust my thoughts, when experience shows me that they're the least reliable form of guidance I've got!

So, with a week to go until I'm unemployed, I have no idea what the future will bring. But the birds are singing, my bike is amazing, and last night, Nige and I welcomed a stranger into our home and found in him a new friend, an inspiration and someone we could offer a hot shower, a washing machine and a warm night's sleep to.

I wonder what will happen next?

Perhaps the better question is, I wonder what is happening now?

I keep remembering to say yes to the whispers, and the whispers are telling me that one chapter is ending, another is shortly to begin, and there are a great many bike rides ahead of me.

Sunday, 8 May 2011


This is quite possibly the most wonderful purchase I have ever made in my entire life...

It rides like a dream come true.

I am one happy lady today!

Saturday, 7 May 2011

Time travelling in my bed

Earlier this week, my soul was crying for some connection. I got into bed, put on my headphones and lay there for an hour listening to music by Hillsong United.

Time travelling and simultaneously present, I raised my arms to Him who knows me better than anyone, He who probably isn't even a He. The first bar of the first song, and my soul overflowed, tears spilling freely onto my pillow, the purest, simplest prayer connecting me straight to the heart of Hearts.

I was transported back to Sydney, Australia, where I lived in 2006 for almost a year.

I remembered church, where I spent so many hours crying and worshipping and absorbing, the schools where I taught English, the breaking of my heart, the beach, the bridge. The contraction, the expansion. The despair, the release.

Good ol' Bondi Beach (ssh, don't tell anyone, but I wasn't that impressed!
It was way smaller than I expected. Looks good in this pic though, eh?)

Time travelling, I jumped further back in time to November 2005, to New Zealand, with the otters and glaciers, the kayaking and hot tub, the bike ride with Natalie, the sheep, the wonderful, all-encompassing freedom that took my heart way above the earth to dance among the galaxies above.

New Zealand skies... they took my breath away.

Then, to California for a visit to one of my favourite places on earth. I see it all so vividly - the sky, the land, the gardens, the people.

Ah, Esalen...

To London next, my native city for so many years, today the place I am so happy to be free of.

I remember it all so clearly.

I remember it all so clearly.

And here, Sussex - home of love, slowness, adventure, birdsong, the place where my soul has settled in a body. Where I've found and begun to build a home. Where I can run alongside the ocean if I choose, or ride up a hill so steep it makes my legs and lungs burn. Where I can hang out with my best pal. Where I am learning how to sing again, exploring how to write, discovering how to act.

As the bed beneath me cushioned my tired body, allowing me to sink and let go and just rest, I somehow knew that I've been carried through this brief, precious life by a force far greater than I can conceive of, a force which loves me beyond my little conception of what love is. In that moment, I was truly comforted, my tears becoming healing waters that stroked my face, tributaries of surrender.

In that moment, I touched the place deep inside my being that knows that everything is going to be okay. It's not for me to know all the answers and figure it all out. All I need to do is connect.

So I write. I sing. I pray. I walk and look at the green of the newly leafed trees. I indulge in the mystery of the irrepressible birdsong. And I remind myself that my only true need is to connect to this wellspring of peace that merely waits on welcome before it overflows, and flows, and flows.

So grateful that I said 'yes' to the whispers.

Monday, 2 May 2011

Say YES to Self-Love

We have a little experiment for you today.

Take a minute to complete each of the following two sentences. Don’t think about your answers; just blurt them out, without any modesty – false or otherwise.

I like myself because...
I don’t like myself because…

Nige and Ell did this over pancakes this morning. This is some of what we said.


I like that I am kind and considerate and fun and creative.

I don’t like myself because I think that I’m not educated enough (the fact that I pissed around in all my exams doesn’t count because my parents are to blame anyway). I don’t like myself because I’m quite controlling (notice the word quite!) and sometimes struggle to share how I’m feeling and withdraw especially in my relationship with Elloa.


I like myself because I’m passionate and sensitive and I care about nature and people, and I feel things deeply. (Nige is now saying, “What about me? I’m caring, aren’t I?")

I don’t like myself because I am so moody (Nige agrees – that’s something I don’t like about him!), and controlling, and I have big hips and wonky teeth (kind of like a hippopotamus that needs to see an orthodontist.) 

What Nige noticed and articulated - in a very educated way - was just how easy it was for each of us in turn to become animated, passionate, convinced and alive when talking about what we don’t like about ourselves. Naming what we do like about ourselves seemed to lack a bit of colour and depth.  

What did you notice?

A Course In Miracles teaches that Spirit and ego are in same place - the mind; every thought you think either aligns with one or the other, witnessing to what you believe about yourself and eventually creating form on some level – without exception.

With practice it is possible to become as animated, passionate and alive about the things I like about myself as those that I don’t. The choice always comes down to fear or love, but choose wisely because you can’t live in both places at the same time.

However, you can’t expect to just think thoughts like, ‘I am love’ or ‘I am peace’ and really believe  them, when you have been giving so much conviction to the unloving thoughts your whole life.
It’s very important to take things slowly, a step at a time, otherwise you may end up attacking yourself for not quite getting it right or not feeling it. You may just end up wearing a spiritual mask, walking around reciting affirmations when really underneath it all you feel like crap.

So, let us all celebrate our victories along the way, and take things one step at a time. Positive statements of truth are useful when used with acceptance. Acceptance really is the key, as is having the courage to examine these beliefs and let them go. Without acceptance, these are just another thing that can be used to attack ourselves.

This much we know: self-love takes practice. 

This is why we are both choosing to focus on 100 things we like about ourselves. It is a demonstration of self-love which will better equip us to extend love to each other and the world.

We are what we think. With our thoughts, we make our world.

This post was written by the handsome and incredibly talented Nige and the fabulous Elloa. We hope you enjoyed it - and tough luck if you didn't, because we plan on writing a lot more together.

Follow Nige's wicked blog at

Sunday, 1 May 2011


Oh, what an adventure today has been!

Nige and I have driven over 400 miles, passing rapeseed fields that filled the car with the sweet, heady scent of spring, stopping at service stations to eat sandwiches, crisps and ice cream (I'm such a bad influence on him!), listening to great music (this ain't no party, this ain't no disco) and visiting his best friend and her three incredible daughters on the way home.

The purpose of this last-minute road trip? Collecting my new touring bike, which we won on eBay last night, (although for five solemn minutes we thought someone else had one it and were both cursing guttedly, before realising that the winner, 'r***p', was Nige himself! Oh, how we whooped and giggled, giddy with excitement!)

And let me tell you - the bike is a beauty. (Photos to come!)

Nige said it really well this afternoon; it is really important in this lifetime not to settle for second best. Settling means accepting less than your heart desires, which in terms of furniture, or clothes, or in this case, a bike, means that you just won't like the thing you've chosen, and that energy will be associated with whatever the thing is for as long as you own it.

When it came to finding a road bike for me, Nige and I refused to settle. We had looked at a lot of different bikes, and none of them had felt right (a bit like Goldilocks when she came across the first of the two bowls of porridge in the Three Bears' cottage).

Until last week, all the bikes we'd looked at were somehow not quite right. Either aesthetically, I'd just not enjoyed looking at them, or they had crappy componentry like wilting rear geraniums (now I really sound like I know what I'm talking about), or they've been way too expensive, or something just hasn't felt right. I'm a huge believer in trusting your gut feeling on things, and the more I turn to it and trust it and listen and just go with what it's telling me (it's always clear as a bell if I choose to pay attention), the better the guidance I receive.

And then this turned up, this beauty of a vintagey sort of bike: 10 years old, made in England, with a cherry red Brooks leather saddle, and leather bar tape (which Nige is jealous of and just offered to swap his black bar tape for - no thanks!), and for anyone who knows anything about bikes, a bit of Campagnolo, too.

Inspired by Julia and Alia, I attempted today to embrace the spirit of yes in my life, and have had a wonderful day. It's genuinely felt like the beginning of a new chapter, a key milestone on the journey I'm on, which is slowly, steadily heading towards the dream of touring. It is no understatement to say that today's events will result in my life changing.

Quite apart from actually acquiring the bike, I have had some wonderful interactions with people today - the guy who we bought the bike from and his wife, and her sister; Kate and her kids, who are so alive and creative and inspirational and worthy of a post all of their own; and some honest, and also quiet, moments with Nige (it's been a bit tough recently).

Saying 'yes' has been really helpful, positive and enriching, and best of all, I get another chance tomorrow to say it all over again!