Wednesday, 22 June 2011


It's been a really up and down day. All the more reason to practice gratitude.

I am grateful for...

1. My willingness to get out of bed this morning despite having a terrible night's sleep.
2. Twenty minutes' quiet time at the start of the day.
3. Honesty in my relationship with Nige.
4. Mike, my Chiropractor. His clinic is amazing - the service there is exceptional. It was really uncomfortable being 'adjusted' today, but i know it is good for me. Oh, and that massage chair is wonderful.
5. Nige being such a brilliant personal trainer. The session at the gym today was tough, and I felt really vulnerable, and just so thankful for Nige's way with people - I felt supported and cheered on.
6. Thank you Nige for paying for me to get a bar and a coffee afterwards.
7. Watching Williams vs. Date-Krumm. I love watching the tennis when Wimbledon is on. And Date-Krumm is one seriously inspirational lady (even though she didn't win) - she is 40 and hasn't played tennis for years, so I heard today. Wow! Next thing you know, she's playing in the finals!
8. Gorgeous food today. Rice, fish, vegetables - twice. (Pretty much like most other days, then!)
9. Nige receiving two Batman films when he was expecting just one! Watching 'Batman Begins' with him this evening was great - it's a seriously cool film.
10. Finding out that I've won a free coaching session with Alia! Wowowowoweeeee!! Alia, I can't wait!
11. Logging on here to see incredible comments from my friends.
12. Nige holding the space for me beautifully while I had a mini meltdown and was horrible to him and to myself. Nige... thank you.

On a day when massive stuff got triggered for me, when the tears flowed thick and fast, when I sank into believing that 'I am a burden', 'I have nothing to give', and 'I am not safe. My life is falling apart', it is truly incredible that I can reflect on gratitude for just a few minutes and be restored to a state of mind that is peaceful and sane.

Thank you xx

Tuesday, 21 June 2011

Soul Project and Gratitude

I'm so excited!

Surrounding myself with amazing people who are saying Yes to their lives and hearts, saying thank you to - well, pretty much everything, teaching other women how to be frugal fashionistas, saying YES to my offer of being their birth partner next week (oh ****, I am scared! I'm going to be welcoming a precious babe into the world. Wow!) ... all of these things and more have my heart a flutter today. You who are around me are supporting me in ways that I can barely articulate, and things are happening behind the scenes that I can't speak of - yet.

Except to say this: I am embarking on a new chapter of my life. In fact, I've already lost sight of the shore and although I'm not using a map, I've got a compass which tells me whether I'm heading in the right direction. I am.

The phrase that has been coming up for me repeatedly is "Soul Projects", and thanks to my coaching session today, I am now beginning to put massive action into getting my first (two!) soul projects going. Waaaaaaa!

Funnily enough, the day the term Soul Projects came to mind was the day that "Soul Talks" was launched - a beautiful podcast which is set to become a smash hit series of real, honest, heartfelt, rock-your-world conversations. Jump on over here or here to have a listen, if you haven't already.

The phrase "The Soul craves release" has been with me for weeks, since Brooke (aka the goosebump inducer - her writing is truly wow, and I know that isn't even a grammatically correct sentence) wrote it to me. Well today, my soul wants to release a whole bunch of "thank you"s out into the world.

Today's gratitudes...

1. Wonderful people who I think are just great are saying yes to coming to my birthday tea party!
2. The beautiful West Sussex countryside, and especially Spithandle Lane. I love you!
3. Wiston Tea Rooms, with its wonderful array of ducks, demented roosters, trickling stream, fruit cake with cherries, raisins and almonds, and filter coffee with cream. A little piece of heaven, right here on a Tuesday afternoon.
4. Two adorable little boys - brothers - feeding the ducks at Wiston Tea Rooms. The ducks came so close, quack quack quacking. Pure delight.
5. A moment of hope and friendliness in the garden this afternoon with the neighbours.
6. Little R, peering surreptitiously through the window. I waved 'hello!', and she darted back, but curiosity got the better of her and within seconds, there she was again. I waved hello again, delighted to see her.
7. My beautiful, stylish, oh-so-comfortable Dawes Super Galaxy bicycle. *makes a strange sound: too much happiness*
8. The Brooks cherry red leather saddle on the bike. It is so comfortable. I am so grateful.
9. After a week of hiding - sunshine!
10. Qi Gong and learning how to meditate standing up.
11. The part of my mind that stuck with it this morning despite the almost uncontrollable urge to quit, get the hell out of there, move!
12. Possibility.
13. Saying 'yes' to riding my bike.
14. Mark, my careers coach, and the coaching session I had with him this morning.
15. My mighty companion... ever grateful for Nige.
16. Oh, and posh beans on toast for lunch. Mmmmm.
Beans. Spring Onion. Feta. Tamari. Yum.

What are you thankful for today?

Monday, 20 June 2011

Go deep with me

You can go deep with me
Way down deep
beneath the "fine"s and 
"okay"s and
that same old tired, tight-lipped smile,
ever wearying,
fading as the sun sets;
cheeks wilting,
skin sagging
overcast irises not quite
knowing how
they will face another day.

You can go deep with me,
show me what you hide so carefully
the fucking frustration of it all,
the murderer,
the heartless
who prowls unrelentingly
gnawing at the root of your soul.

and go deep with me, and 
I will show you
that beneath the horror
of your hall of mirrors
lies a child
in a basement
touch starved
ever patient
as she looks out
into blazing brightness
dancing on a thousand stars,
fingers brushing the moon.
Tell me your secrets
and I promise you
that you will not be left

Tuesday, 14 June 2011

My Mission Statement

So much is happening right now that the only way I can comprehend it all is just to keep slowing down, being in the flow, bringing myself back to the moment. It's as if every day, I am being showered - actually, drenched - with positivity, support, encouragement, heart connection, and an unmistakable sense of guidance, pointing me firmly and resolutely in the direction of my dreams.

Thank you to all who have given me such wonderful feedback and input on my last post.

I wrote recently that I was in the middle of a sacred process, which on the surface appears to be centering on my career and which choice I will make next, which 'career path' I will follow. In reality, this process and this chapter in my life is about so, so much more.

It's about...

- my purpose - the deepest calling, the biggest yearnings, the secret dreams and forgotten passions
* saying YES (ever inspired by Julia and Alia) to my life, my heart, and the tiny whispers, the intuitive inklings, the seemingly insignificant nudges that are turning out to be strong roots connecting me to the earth, to being fully alive, to life!
- my spiritual practice and connection with Spirit, self and world
* the beautiful, creative little Elloa who dwells inside me
- community: this ever-expanding, inclusive, supportive community online; those I've known for years and haven't spoken to, suddenly rekindling fledgling connections; the community local to where I live; the community I'm part of in Clearmind
* play, and what that means and how that looks in my life
- all my relationships, present, past and future

My fire - my chi - is burning in my belly, blazing away the illusory ties that have bound me for so many years. I will not settle for mediocre anymore! No more excuses. More people became millionaires in the 30s' Great Depression in America than at any other time in the country's history. It's not the circumstances, but how you play within them, that makes all the difference. These new perspectives, beliefs and attitudes are taking root inside of me and I can feel my arms reaching for the sun, the stars, brushing the moon.

I am coming to this place: a place of living my life for me, knowing in every cell of my being that living in integrity is the biggest service I could offer to my dad, my mum, society, world. I am learning that it is possible for my work to be more like play, and that this in fact is a revolution that in five, ten, twenty years' time will have changed the world of work as we know it. Yes, it's risky. Yes, it's different. Yes, it's unconventional. I am thankful that it is so - I have had enough of playing it safe.

I want to shout from the rooftops, "I am free!" I need to live this journey more, so much more, infinitely more than I need another 'good' job with a steady income, security and predictability. As beautiful Brooke kept saying to me recently, the soul craves release. The release it has craved is coming in wave after wave at the moment - whilst running, whilst making love, whilst planting and weeding and pruning, whilst reading and reflecting, meditating and working out. Even while I fret and worry about money, security, how I'll pay the rent in August, my soul dances, delighted that I am here in this moment, right now.

Here, for you, for me, is my mission statement. It sums up the content of my purpose, but not the form. It reminds me every day that this one precious life is sacred, that it is here and now and that despite all the fear I might encounter within and without, that I really and truly do have a choice about how I live each day.

Elloa xx

Sunday, 12 June 2011

Stuck! (Or perhaps not)

My first career coaching session earlier this week consisted of me answering a whole bunch of questions, some of which are...

What were your favourite subjects at school up to age 11 (not just the ones you did best at)?
What did you enjoy doing outside the classroom?
If you could do someone else’s job for a week, what would you do?
If your friends are having a conversation, what’s the kind of topic that will make you want to jump in and join the conversation?

Answering these questions (and more) really got me excited, enthused and happy. I knew instantly that if I could do someone else's job for a week, I would be in musical theatre in London's West End. Other questions (relating to my studies and to jobs I've applied for or been drawn to apply for) I found harder to answer.

After the session, my coach sent me the questions to ponder upon further if I wished, and a second wave of answers began to emerge. 

Relationships are a key area that I'm interested in, I realize. 

What makes people who they are - the journey they've been on in their life, to bring them to this point: not just the hand they're dealt in life, but crucially, how they've played it. 

Being outdoors.



Singing, dancing, performing.

Being creative, alive, connected and free.

It was the stuff around my early childhood that brought the biggest wave of happiness to me - remembering how effortlessly we played as children, whether it was 'What's the time, Mr Wolf?', or 'Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles', or a simple game of marbles. I loved becoming absorbed in something as a child, and my imagination was powerful.

And yet now, I feel stuck.

I need help. Your help, if you're willing to give it.

My coach drew out certain themes that arose from the questions, and I jotted them down. There were loads in there, ranging from linguistics to movement to animals to cake. I had to select only the ones that I really wanted to be part of my working life for the next 12 months. The others I am prepared to shelve, for at least a year, in my professional life at least.

My homework is to play for a while, matching up two topics at a time and coming up with imaginative jobs or ways that I could make some money or build something involving these areas.

And I'm stuck.

Here is my list:
Tea (and cake)
Theatre and musicals (performing)
Facilitation (of therapeutic processes)
Personal development
Animals/the environment
Creative games outdoors

I don't know if it's because the subjects are so broad, or because these things excite me so much that I've almost gone into shut down mode, but I just can't come up with ideas that I think are in any way half decent. 

Here are some of the terrible ideas I've had (I know, I'm judging myself):

Tea (and cake) + Theatre and musicals (performing)
Organise tea and cake tours for theatre lovers e.g. a matinee show plus a great tea room. (Write double reviews)
Write a musical about tea and cake
Write and educational play about the history of tea and cake in England (oh God help me, I'm really scraping the barrel here)
Give talks on the history of theatre over afternoon tea
Debate pros and cons of musicals vs theatre, in a cafe environment

Writing + Facilitation
Write articles/a book about being a Clearmind assistant
Blog about trust as the foundation of surrendered facilitation
Write a book on the history of Clearmind
Supporting yourself and your students in the classroom - e.g. use the Tao of Leadership
Journey from being a participant to an assistant
Proofread/ edit articles or books on facilitation
Write something accessible to the masses and send off for publication

Dance + Theatre and musicals
Work for a dance school or at a theatre
Ditto for the BBC on Strictly Come Dancing
Write a show and take it to a performing arts festival
Audition for paid musical work ('yeah right', I think. Hey you - LET ME DREAM!)
Make a piece of 5 rhythms based theatre
Train to be a 5 rhythms teacher
Incorporate 5 rhythms into an audience based discipline e.g. use masks, partner work, the self watching the self
Get involved in flashmobbing

I feel so unexcited, so demotivated, so sceptical of all of these stupid ideas. I stopped after three combinations because I felt so stupid about all of these ideas. That voice is telling me that there's nothing that I could do that is going to make me happy and make me any money.

Also, I don't believe that I have what it takes to earn a living out of something that I love. Perhaps that's why the ideas I've come up with are not money making ideas; I'm blocking my own process. 

Maybe that's why my coach wants me to do this homework with someone else.

Can you help me? If you can imagine any cool combinations of the above topics, please would you leave a comment for me, or email me on

Thank you. I'm really hoping that I can push through this stuck place. I was on such a great roll with all this career process, and now I feel defeated again.

Feeling vulnerable, scared of what you think of my ideas, but knowing that I have to get open and vulnerable and ask for help around this stuff.

Elloa xx

P.S. Just read this fabulous post by beautiful Julia over at Painted path - perhaps patience rather than 'Shoulding' over myself is going to pave the way for answers to pop up like daisies between paving stones. Thank you Julia :)

Saturday, 11 June 2011

I sang my heart out

I want to celebrate how amazing I am with you
so that you can celebrate you with me
together we can stand tall, beaming, blossoming
Simply loving
shining bright
growing and learning
and reaping
and all the hundreds of other
beautiful ways
to extend love in this
tender, delicate world - 
in so much need of you
and me

Last night, I did it. I did it! Heart thumping so hard in my chest that I could see my clothes beating on my skin, my throat constricted, noticing the beautiful trees, unable to avoid seeing the big audience, I sang the song that was given me to sing - 'Tell Me On A Sunday', from the musical of that name.

It wasn't perfect. 

I missed the top notes, a second here, a second there.


I did not fail. I did not mess up. 

I did the very best that I could. And I am PROUD of myself.

Sure I made a couple of mistakes; I'm human, and I'm an inexperienced singer. BUT! I was present, I sang with my heart beating wildly, and I imagined that all the audience were my friends, there to support and encourage me, to cheer me on (and they were, and they did). I gave it all that I had, and when that voice started its oh-so-predictable, unsolicited feedback afterwards, I took a deep breath, held my head high and ignored it. 

I ignored it!! Perhaps bigger than the achievement of singing in front of 150 people was the fact that I managed to choose again, to change my mind, without fits of tears, a tornado of self-hatred passing through my horizons. Not last night - it was just on the periphery, just breezing through town. I heard the loving feedback that I received:

Perfect pitch
A nice voice

Thank you! Thank you. I am letting it sink in. So often, I notice that as a woman, I just brush compliments aside. Well today I am breathing in and letting your words sink in. Thank you. My young, tender heart was nourished so deeply with your kind words and love.  And I'm so grateful too that you acknowledged my mistakes without shaming me, or placing any real importance on them. My mistake was just a moment of fear, and a few singing lessons and a bit more experience singing in public will certainly sort that out! For once, I am comfortable with being imperfect. It's wonderful!

And guess what... I really, really loved it. I love performing!
As well as the solo, I sang in two four-part harmony songs, and did the 'Cell Block Tango' from Chicago with the girls. I just LOVED 'Cell Block Tango' (I played June: "He ran into my knife. He ran into my knife ten times!") Fishnet tights, moody, intense - right up my street.

Afterwards (e.g. after I'd taken the really scary step!), a professional actor who was also in the cast has suggested a show that she thinks would really suit me, so I'm going to go away and look into that. By stepping through my fear to the other side, I have found that another door opens - I didn't know I'd be given such experienced, specific guidance as that.

In addition, a friend has asked if I would be in a music video for her (and Nige too!). Suddenly, all these exciting creative projects are flowing to me - and I keep on saying YES (thank you again, Julia and Alia for being continued inspirations to me).

So I'm celebrating. Head held high. I took up space in the world last night, deliberately and consciously, and it was more than okay - it was fun, entertaining, it connected me to people, I was part of something and we raised a big bunch of money for charity (amount tbc here soon!).


The Girls singing 'Cell Block Tango' from Chicago
(can you see me in the middle?!)

Sunday, 5 June 2011

From empty to full

Sometimes I get confused in my being. I think that what I need to fill the emptiness I feel deep within the core of my being - conveniently located very near my stomach! - is a big, big piece of chocolate cake.

Having just eaten a big, big piece of chocolate cake (!!), I wrote an email to my beautiful friend, way over in the US, and suddenly, in a split second, realised or remembered that this nagging sense of 'not quite good enough' that has been plaguing me very quietly since I left my job three weeks ago is, in fact, a pile of what the Amercians would call "baloney". The English would say it's "codswallop" or "rubbish". In plain language, it is bullshit.

The reason I've been choosing to focus on gratitude on and off recently is because of this looming sense of lack that has been hanging around me, worming its way into my thoughts and trying to weave itself into my day. When I focus on gratitude, an expansive, incredible sense of abundance springs up within me in a matter of seconds. It is, I think, what A Course In Miracles calls a holy instant. It is a change of mind about myself, about others, about the truth of life on this planet spinning in space, as Nige called it recently.

Here are just some of the incredible things that have been happening in my life recently... I am listening closely, just to make sure that I remember how wonderful this life is!

- I performed as Lily St Regis opposite Nige, who played Rooster Hannigan, in Annie! just a couple of weeks ago. Three years ago, it was a mere pipe dream to perform in a musical, and suddenly, bang! It's happened!
- Next Friday I am singing in a fundraising concert which forms part of the local 'Gardens & Arts Weekend'. Amongst other songs - including 'Tell Me On A Sunday', my solo - I am so lucky to be singing 'Cell Block Tango' from Chicago with a fiery, fabulous group of female foxettes. I love this song! I get to say the infamous line, "He ran into my knife. He ran into my knife ten times."
- I am receiving completely bespoke, *free* personal training from Nige, who is soon to be taking his Level 3 Personal Trainer fitness exam (and who, I have a strong hunch, is going to pass with flying colours).
- I am in the process of having careers coaching with an amazing guy who has already really helped me, and I've not even had my first official session yet! I've learned that I am a Scanner, which has been a massive relief and has given me a taster of the kind of life I could be living.
- I spent yesterday afternoon modelling for my friend (see my 'everything I've ever wanted to do' page!), and lying on the beach listening to the soothing tide kiss the shore. I paddled in the sea and practised my song for next week's concert. 
- I am in a beautiful, ever evolving relationship. I am not expected to be perfect in it. I am treated with kindness, respect, gentleness, understanding, humour. I'm held, caressed, affirmed, and loved on a daily basis. This is like nothing I've ever known, and there are so many more adventures for us to have.
- I am slowly but steadily increasing the number of miles I ride on my bike, and I'm riding regularly, and always in the most beautiful surroundings. I rode 28 miles yesterday, 35 a few days before that, 31 a few days later, 16 in between, 10 one evening after Nige arrived home from work... The dream of touring this country on two wheels is becoming more and more real.
- I've been trusted with the job of editing the Ripple newsletter, which is a huge privilege to me. Clearmind is one of my soul havens, a place where I adore giving back, a place where I've received so much. I'm on the team, and I have somewhere to channel all of my ideas into.
- My 'Reflections' were published in our local theatre company's newsletter this week. What's more, it was so easy for me to write the piece, encouraging our members to respect and support one another, hopefully inspiring those who read it to reflect on their own purpose within the theatre company.
- I'm reading 'Screw Work Let's Play' by John Williams and am getting so much value out of it.
- I start my gardening round this week! New adventures await.
- I've been invited to attend the 'Cowboy Cabaret' that a friend and his wife are hosting. An evening of barn dancing, songs and a lot of Yee-Ha-ing awaits.

Is it true that my life is empty? Of course not! It's bollocks (excuse the bad language, but sometimes it is really, really necessary. One of those times is now). I have so much to be grateful for, and simply naming some of the stuff out loud immediately puts me in a place of celebrating. I'm in abundance rather than lack and comparison, and the world is a friendly place once again. I'm enough, once again (I never stopped being enough, I just thought I did).

My life is beautiful. It's full of surprises, full of opportunities to connect, full of full-bodied, toe-tapping, inspiring, breathtakingly beautiful... living!

Right, I've got to go... rehearsal starts in 40 minutes :)

Thanks so much for reading and taking the time to connect here. xx

Wednesday, 1 June 2011

Four Words That Have Changed My Life

I am in such a sacred process right now. I'm having careers coaching by a fantastic guy called Mark, who is worth his weight in gold simply because of four words he said to me this week:

"You are a scanner."

A what? I wondered. I have spent a good while this afternoon and evening reading - no, devouring - every word and website I can on the subject.

I have felt such an immense sense of relief in recognizing things about myself that I have spent years trying to suppress, change or ignore. I don't care right now that it's a label, a descriptor, that it could never compare to the truth of what I really am - learning about this has been like finally surfacing to take a deep, long gasp of air after swimming deep underwater, trying to get from one side of the swimming pool to the other. I've been awakened to the most incredible realizations about myself:

No wonder I have never been able to choose a 'career';
It's not a flaw in my being that I have avoided training as a teacher, have grown bored and felt like a caged animal six months into an office job - it's just reflecting that I'm not designed to work in those kind of environments and for those kinds of durations;
Wanting to learn about so many things, having so many ideas for my life, doesn't have to leave me helpless anymore. I can build a portfolio career if I want, or establish some passive income so that I can work fewer hours in a regular job;
Being flaky, indecisive, afraid to commit long-term, flighty, a dilettante-wannabe doesn't make me the faulty human being I thought it did. 
I really don't have to find something stable and middle of the road like I think my Dad wants me to. It might just be possible to live the life I've dreamed of... to be a dancer, writer, actor, teacher, explorer, cyclist, wife, friend, daughter. To be all of it, and none of it. To watch the labels melt away as I just relax, allow myself to be me and watch my life unfold as a lily bursts forth from its bud.

Heck, we're in the twenty first century! Half the jobs the younger generation are going to be doing in ten years' time don't even exist yet.

There is room for me in this world! There is room for me!

We must be willing to get rid of the life we’ve planned, so as to have the life that
is waiting for us.
Joseph Campbell, mythologist, writer and lecturer

A scanner, or polymath or renaissance soul personality (love that final term!), is a person who wants to see, touch, taste, experience and live as fully as possible.
They find it hard to commit to a conventional 'career path', find choosing what to commit to an anxiety-inducing dilemma (don't I know it!)
They start lots of projects and don't finish them (hello, 100 Things)
They have loads of seemingly unrelated interests (linguistics, shamanism, 5 rhythms, poetry, cycling, food, tea, healing, meditation, musical theatre, gardening - perhaps not that unrelated, but my interests are many and growing all the time).
They have creative ideas all the time - open a tearoom, ride around the country, start a revolution, take life drawing classes, help people liberate themselves through a blend of painting and movement, to just skim the surface.

Discovering this about myself in the last 24 hours has roused a surge of joy from deep within my young, tender soul. Fuck it! I do not need a stable job - there is work out there for me, work that is more like play, work that is an expression of the deep meaning that life holds for me. I am finding it already, and it is going to keep on flowing towards me, filling the reservoir in my heart with inspiration, opportunities to express and share, collaborate and listen and learn and love.

I plan on capturing more of my journey with coaching on my blog, starting with everything I've ever wanted to do. I take a deep breath and invite you to join me in exploring all that your glorious, ever-expanding heart holds and imagines and sees. Who knows, maybe one day you and I will collaborate on something wonderful.

As Mary Oliver wrote in her wonderful poem, "The Summer Day":

Tell me, what will you do with your one wild and precious life?