Thursday, 31 December 2009

Happy New Year




I don't know about you, but I hate New Year's Eve.

It's one of those times when you're meant to be happy and I don't do compulsory happiness. I like spending New Year's Eve as a time of reflection, thinking back over everything I've done in the last year (or even things I haven't done) and working out what I'd like the next year to be like. Then I like going to bed early so I can wake up feeling fully refreshed for the New Year.

I'm in for a treat this year. I'm in Sri Lanka and due to the full moon it's a Buddhist ceremony and no alcohol is allowed to be served on the island. Of course, everyone has found a way around this, but I like the idea of a full moon starting the New Year and I like the idea of not getting drunk but taking time for reflection.

I spent 2009 writing two books and I've just been sent these photos of one of them (The Life Book) in Waterstone's Piccadilly sitting side by side some of my favourite books, so I'm feeling that maybe some of my year has been worthwhile. My reflections have started.

Do let me know what your 2010 holds in store.

This year I'm going to focus more on Life Clubs and less on writing. I can't wait.

Happy New Year to you all.
Nina,
Author of The Life Book (just released and ready for consumption)! Allow it to help you with 2010.

Friday, 18 December 2009

Mary Portas at my club...


Well... not quite, but almost. That was wishful thinking. I think Mary Portas is great.

We had a creativity workshop last week and, at the end of it, one of my clubbers sat there grinning from ear to ear. She's having a two month sabbatical in South Africa (her hometown) and wants to earn some money at the same time. Her lightbulb moment (and it was a big one) was that she could buy clothes in the UK and sell them in South Africa for a profit. Her goal for this week is to ask her daughters if they want to get involved.

Creativity is amazing and yet sometimes, without help, we don't feel creative. If we don't feel creative then we don't allow ourselves to get all silly and laugh and have creative thoughts and then we feel we're not creative and so don't even try to be creative and on and on the cycle goes.

At Life Clubs we brainstormed and got silly and, hey, businesses were conceived.

See you in the New Year.
I wish you all the very best for 2010.
Thanks for all your support.
Nina
If you're interested on coming on a weekend with me, check this out.
If you'd like to buy my new book, click here

Sunday, 13 December 2009

Way to go!



Change was last week's Life Clubs topic and it's a huge one. We change every second of every day - whether we want to or not - and we can make changes too.

An obvious change is when you travel. These photos are of the first lovely Canadian Life Clubs Hosts in Toronto. You can see them all working hard learning what it takes to run a club. In a way being around that table in Toronto could have been being around my table in London and yet I'd changed time zone, changed temperature, changed language (up to a point) and changed families (swapping mine for Eva Marie's for the week).

At Life Clubs this week, we were talking about what can help one with change. One of my clubbers had as her Lightbulb Moment that her reaction to change was what was key. How right she was.

We can take change very badly and we can enjoy it. Often all it depends on is the frame of mind we're in when the change happens. If we're feeling good about ourselves and our lives, it can help us react positively. Conversely if everything is going wrong around us and we're feeling overwhelmed we can react negatively to yet another change. The question is how to keep your frame of mind positive so you can be open to change.

In order to enjoy Canada I spent some time on my own, showered twice a day and kept in touch with home. I also determined to stay open to my new experiences and the people I met.

What can I tell you - I loved every minute of it.

Eva-Marie, Monica, Sue, Debbie and Sonia... all I can say is 'Way to go!'

See you all for my last week of Life Clubs in 2009.
Nina
Founder Life Clubs
PS If you feel you'd like hints around change (or any of our other 50 topics), sign up to my bulletin via our website www.lifeclubs.com.

Friday, 4 December 2009

'til death us do part


I've had a bit of a values week. This week's Life Club was all about values and I was interviewed by a wedding planner about values in a relationship and ended up (as usual) talking about my relationships.

I don't have much 'in common' with my husband in the 'hobbies' sense of the word. He loves boats and I get sea-sick really easily (even on a river). He loves history and I (as you know) live in the future. He loves 'being a tourist' and I am very lowbrow on holiday and want to lie low with a book. And on and on it goes. And yet we're happy together and that's because our values are so similar.

We both rate independence which means we can do our own thing if we want to. We both value security, which means we feel secure together and trust each other. And honesty comes at the top of our values which means we'll be open and honest with each other.

I won't say there aren't times when our honesty causes us to be cross with each other, but that's OK too because the security means we're able to do that.

So, 'til death us do part seems appropriate.

Look for the values. Are you living yours?

See you next week,
Nina
Founder Life Clubs

Friday, 27 November 2009

How do you work things out?


I don't know about you, but I spend a lot of my time living in the future. I enjoy the present (and would suggest living there), but to me it hasn't got the excitement of the future.

Of course, the present has loads to recommend it - one can feel connected in the present... absorbed in the present... still in the present and much, much more. But the future - that's my spiritual home.

Living in the future makes it easy to visualise. This week's workshop was about Holding Your Dreams and I can dream far into the future. In my mind leaping forwards 20 years feels like nothing and, doing so, helps me work backwards and work out the minute detail of how I'm going to get there.

I'm in Canada right now and dreaming of Life Clubs all over Canada. We're starting small, training 4 new Hosts this week to run clubs in and around Toronto, but the fantasies are starting. I'm imagining clubs in every available venue, retreats in the woods and by the lakes. In my mind I can see Life Clubs posters on the backs of the local trams and Life Clubs pencils in everyone's pockets. I'm imagining smiling faces and happy people.

Allow me my dreams... they're what keep me going.

What do you dream about?

Hope you have a great weekend and that next week I'll see you at Life Clubs
Nina
Founder Life Clubs

Friday, 20 November 2009

Could I get to sleep...?


Normally I'm like this sleeping baby. I can drop off to sleep anywhere and at any time.

My children are used to finding me on the floor asleep, on sofas asleep and, of course, in my bed asleep.

This week has been different. On Wednesday our Life Club was on stress and the two people I was working with were both insomniacs. They either couldn't get to sleep in the first place or they woke in the early morning and couldn't drop off again. Of course, with all this talk of insomnia it's been on my mind and I've had two of the worst nights I've had for a long time... wild and crazy dreams, waking up every two hours, restless at light-turning-out time.

Of course, you get what you focus on. Silly me.

So, I've gone back to that workshop and have taken my learning from it. This is a temporary worry and won't last, so I can cross it off my 'things that are causing me stress' list. I've done just that.

Let's hope tonight I sleep again as soundly as that baby.

Sweet dreams.
What do you do when you can't get to sleep? Do let me know.

All best,
Nina
Founder Life Clubs

Tuesday, 17 November 2009

We're excited...


Our lovely pencils just arrived and we can't wait to give them to you...

See you at Life Clubs,
Nina

Saturday, 14 November 2009

Oh gosh... travel


Last week at Life Clubs we took one of the thoughts that stops us in our lives and shook it on its head.

My current limiting belief (because I'm going to Canada on Sunday) is that I'm hopeless at travel. I'm dreading the journey, the jet lag, the disruption to my life... everything.

Now, I know I'm actually a total traveller at heart. I travelled like mad all my life, especially in my twenties and am still desperate to visit Easter Island which, my husband keeps reminding me, is as far away as it gets.

Nonetheless I panic. But, remembering the lesson learnt at the Life Club, I decided to kick through my fear, teach my limiting belief a lesson, and go to Exeter to see the play a very good friend had directed. I thought it would be a good thing to do - to have a three hour travel before my big travel on Sunday.

Believe it or not, I was petrified about Exeter too. Just being out of my own home. I called my friend numerous times to ask him if I'd be cold in the bedroom at night, if I needed to bring a towel, would we eat after the play or should I bring sandwiches... and on and on.

Everything went wrong that could go wrong. I booked the train tickets to leave from the wrong station, then I left them at home. I asked for seats going forwards and was given ones going backwards and, worst of all, I was in a silent carriage on the way back when I'd specifically asked for a noisy one.

But... I managed. I'm back home (good to be back home) and I travelled. And I loved my travel. So, yes, Life Clubs was good. Just do something you're worried about and you'll be OK.

As my friend, Lowri says, 'Jump and the net will appear'. Is that what you do too?

See you next week,
Nina
Founder Life Clubs

Friday, 6 November 2009

Never put off...


I sometimes can't believe how boring I am.

As this week's workshop was called Streamlining, and was about being efficient and doing everything you want to do plus some, I started thinking about how I streamline and realised that there's a very simple motto that governs my life and almost everything I do and (in case you hadn't guessed from the even more boring image) it's 'never put off 'til tomorrow what you can do today'.

I have no idea what started off the use of this motto, all I know is that I live in complete contrast to the rest of my family who do everything at the last possible moment.

I, on the other hand, drag them out to change a tyre in the middle of the night - just in case it rains the next day, write all my articles the moment I'm given them - just in case anything else comes up and make sure I know how to get hold of everyone I meet - just in case I don't naturally meet them again.

My kind of streamlining may not suit you. It leads to late nights and somewhat obsessive behaviour, but it works for me.

What do you do to make sure everything gets done and you have time to play?

Let me know.

See you at next week's Life Club - who wouldn't want a clearer way of thinking?
Hope you have a great weekend,
Nina
Author of The Big Book of Me and The Big Book of Us and the soon to be published, The Life Book (already being stocked by Waterstones and WH Smith - they're doing it today as well, just in case it's sold out tomorrow!)
Founder of Life Clubs

Saturday, 31 October 2009

Pass the dynamite...


Dynamite would come in handy when you feel like you're talking to a brick wall. You just want to blow that wall up and say 'listen to me... I'm saying something that's important to me.'

This week's workshop was great fun. Listening is the key to life... the key to relationships... and we don't do it often enough. Really stopping everything and listening to someone makes you feel as special and privileged as it does them. And the person who is talking can work through their issue just by being listened to.

Someone came to the club saying he never felt listened to. By the end of the workshop he'd worked out that maybe the people who never listened to him were people who never listened to anyone... unless there was some dynamite right next to them.

Enjoy listening this week... or do I need to get out my dynamite?

Nina
Founder Life Clubs, starting in Canada this week!!!

Friday, 23 October 2009

Knots...


This week's workshop was about problem solving, which is a bit like undoing knots - easy once you have worked out how. I don't sail, though I have been known to go rowing, but my main undoing of knots has been on necklaces and I find messing about with flimsy chains not my thing at all.

I have a knot at the moment though, which is how to excite you all about my favourite thing in the world, The Enneagram, a personality typing system plus. I've written about The Enneagram in all my books, my family all talk in Enneagram-speak ("Mum, my '8' (The Boss) boyfriend is in hiding - he must be totally stressed, wonder how I can help"), and I'm hosting an Enneagram workshop for my mentor, Gordon Melvin, next weekend and want you not to miss this opportunity of starting on (or continuing) your Enneagram travels.

I first came across the Enneagram about six years ago and, because of my desire to be free and not put in a box, it took me a long time to find out which of the 9 'types' I was. I am, for those of you who might have guessed, an Epicure/Adventurer (Type 7). The Enneagram has helped me understand myself, my husband and our relationship (22 years married so not doing badly) and it helped me understand why I was sabotaging my endless careers. It's helped me work with people and understand the differences between us. It's made me whole(r) and continually helps me to grow and change.

There are lots of places you can find out about the Enneagram, but, because the system is so complex, I think it's essential to start with a course rather than a book or an online quiz.

So, that's my knot and my solution was to simply tell you how I feel about it in the hope that you become inspired too.

You can now unravel your knot - how can I make time to come along next Saturday?

Gordon's Enneagram workshop is taking place in Westminster, Central London. It's £75 (£60 concessions) from 10-5.00 on Saturday October 31st. Contact genevieve@lifeclubs.co.uk for your ticket.

See you there,
Nina
Founder Life Clubs and author of the soon-to-be-published The Life Book (how exciting is that?! - especially for an Epicure!)

Friday, 16 October 2009

Planning Ahead... men in suits


First a huge thank you for all the lovely e-mails (and comments) about my mum. They were really appreciated.

This week's workshop was about planning your life by just drawing circles. My mum went to hospital this week having fallen over - she's home now and better, thank you, but it showed me, yet again, how plans have to be big enough and flexible enough to encompass all eventualities. It's also made me totally rethink last week's decision - and that's how it goes.

Life Circles is, however, a fantastic workshop (you can read more about it in The Big Book of Us, see website or amazon), because it allows you to tap into what's really important for you in your life - whether it's friends, family, work, romance, health, fitness, pets, spirituality, creativity etc and see how you'd really like them all to appear in your life. It also tells you a lot about how you conduct your life - what you place as important, how close you allow things to come to you as well as what you want for your life. And all through just drawing circles.

It helps choosing different perspectives. If you look back on what was working for you a few years ago you can see how to bring that into the present and future. It may be that you had more work or less work or were living somewhere else. You'll find all that out.

What I love about it is the pictures people draw. Their random circles turn into flowers or Stonehenge or other kaleidoscope like patterns. It's the calm we all seek and to see it expressed visually is great.

This week I spoke at Scanners. Apparently there were more men in suits there than normal. I'm going to put them all in my circle for the future - come to Life Clubs now...!

See you there,
Nina
Founder of Life Clubs
Author of The Big Book of Me, The Big Book of Us and... soon to be published, The Life Book

PS Can't tell you how brilliant Gordon Melvin's workshop An Introduction to the Enneagram is going to be. I use the Enneagram all the time to help me, my family and friends and to inform my work with others. It's in Westminster, Central London on 31st October, Saturday from 10.00-5.00. £75 or £60 for anyone who has anything to do with Life Clubs. Write to genevieve@lifeclubs.co.uk for tickets.

Friday, 9 October 2009

Kids - who'd have 'em


I'm actually thinking about myself as the 'kid' this time as my main preoccupation at the moment is whether or not to put my mother in an old people's home.

I know my mother didn't have me because she wanted me to nurse her in her old age, but the decision of going to a home seems to go against so many of my values and ones I'm assuming would have been hers.

I'm trashing my 'respect' value. I respect her and want her to keep her dignity in her own home. I'm undermining my 'kindness' value, because shouldn't I stop working and be kind to her instead. My 'freedom' value is coming in for a bit of a knock too, because there's nothing free about being in a home. And on and on it goes.

In this week's workshop we were thinking about what we can learn from our family. None of my family have ever been in a home before - they've all died too young. And yet I was thinking about my mother's childhood. She was home-schooled and longing to go to a school of any kind to be with others.

Maybe that's what I've got to hang onto. Her love of others, her interest in others, her enjoyment of conversation, her need for stimulation...

Gosh, it's a difficult decision... and I'm both the kid and the adult in this one.

Let me know what you've done.

See you next week,
Nina
Founder Life Clubs
Creator of the almost-put-to-bed Life Book

Friday, 2 October 2009

Money - all it's cracked up to be?


I remember being at a wedding in Mexico many years ago. Everyone pinned money to the bride's dress in a very natural way. In London, where I'm based, almost no-one talks about money. Yes, we talk about the economy and the recession, but we don't have those open, honest chats about how we feel about money, how difficult we find it to save, what we want it for and what having money really means to us.

So, that's where Life Clubs comes in. Last week no-one was held at ransom or blackmailed into talking about their finances, but there were lots of lightbulb moments about what the point was of wanting always to earn more and more money. One of our clubbers - a shining example to us all - had everything financially worked out for her future and was pleased to discover that there really wasn't any need for her to strive harder and harder for a promotion - she could live the balanced life she wanted.

If you'd like to have some money hints - or hints about anything else, sign up to our bulletin. Or come along to Life Clubs - we're always pleased to see you - even if you're not wearing one of these money-laundered shirts.

Any money questions? We'll answer them here.

Best wishes,
Nina
Founder Life Clubs and author Big Book of Me and Big Book of Us

Monday, 28 September 2009

Live A More Creative Life



That was me, yesterday, with a lovely crowd from Alternatives talking about living a more creative life. They (as do most of us) wanted freedom, confidence, joy and more of life and I hope they felt they got it. Certainly everyone left having set a goal (some for the first time) and having realised that they want to bring back more of what they loved as children.

It was a great way for me to spend a day - meeting lots of nice people and having quite a few lightbulb moments myself.

In one of the photos everyone is helping Steve brainstorm how to get more people interested in his product. When we first brainstormed no-one thought of anything Steve hadn't considered before. But when we got 'silly' and started brainstorming using a shoe and a candle everyone thought of wonderful slogans and fun things for him to do - from marking footprints from one place to another to 'Let us light up your life'. A creative tool if ever there was one.

Our next workshop is run by Gordon Melvin and is all about the Enneagram. Find out what type you are, how it holds you back and how to release your true self. The workshop is on 31st October in Westminster, Central London from 10.00-5.30. £75, £60 concessions. If you'd like to come along, contact genevieve@lifeclubs.co.uk.

What would make your life even more creative?

See you soon - amongst the shoes and candles,
Nina
Founder Life Clubs
PS My new book (The Life Book) is already on Amazon!!!

Friday, 25 September 2009

Total chaos...


I am messy. There's no other word for it. From the mess in my car - uneaten sandwiches, half-empty plastic bottles of water and plastic bags littering the floor - to the books, papers and lego lying all over my home, my life is full of clutter.

Monday's Me Day was wonderful. A very organised friend of mine was staying and I asked him to help me tidy up our two office rooms (not my car - I couldn't ask anyone to do that). Of course, it didn't take nearly as long as I thought it would. A man who likes a paper-free environment, he was a bit upset by my insistence that I needed to keep certain sheets, but we compromised and filed them all away beautifully - rather than shoving them in my usual cardboard box, and put a new shelf in the bookshelves to store materials in. My rooms look wonderful and it was a treat to do them in the Life Clubs decluttering week.

There's something slightly uncanny about being too tidy. If I'm honest, I've felt a little unsettled ever since my rooms looked so organised. I'm left with a 'What next?' feeling. There's no longer a 'I must declutter' at the top of my 'To Do' list. There's now a 'Phone clients', 'Plan new website', 'Write proposal for next book' ...etc and none of those tasks are quite as easy or satisfying as tidying up my room. There's almost a fear of getting too decluttered as I'll have to take serious action when it's done.

That was my Me Day and his Me Day was helping me. The tidying up and chucking out certainly was happy. Sadly I've got a whole year to wait 'til the next Me Day when I can start tackling my car - or is that just an excuse?

See you this week,
Looking forward,
Nina
Founder Life Clubs

This is your last chance to come to my workshop this Sunday, Live A More Creative Life, in Central London. It's going to be great. Book now or just turn up.

To read tips garnered from Life Clubs workshops, sign up to our bulletin.

Friday, 18 September 2009

Selling yourself


This week's workshop was all about discovering the skills you have and how they can be used in many ways. It's got me thinking.

Genevieve, my 'muse... person without whom I am lost' is going away today for three weeks and I'm wonderng about how I am going to fit into her space and do all the things she does. If you like, can I fit into her outfit?

If I was looking for a replacement I'd want someone organised, good at accounts, good at spreadsheets, can remember everything, good at negotiating, computer literate, patient, creative, fun... and that, for three weeks, has to be me.

Remembering the workshop I can think about my skills and whether I'm up to the job:
I'm organised when I pack my suitcase
I used to be good at accounts when I did them 15 years ago
Gosh, I've never done spreadsheets, but can have a go for these three weeks
I can't remember everything but know where to look things up
I'm good at negotiating for others so will remember Life Clubs is an 'other' and be good
I'm computer literate
Not at all patient, but can be when I remember to breathe,
Tick the creative and fun boxes


I'm now feeling confident that I'll be OK for three weeks... or maybe even four.

We often dismiss skills that we had years ago without realising they're still valid. I can do what Genevieve does, although the thought of it at first filled me with fear.

Do you fill your job description?

Have a good weekend.
Don't forget to come along to my Happy Me Day workshop on Monday 21st September, 34 Great Smith Street, London SW1P 3BU from 6.15-9.00pm. £15 (all profits to charity).
See you next week for more...
Nina
Founder Life Clubs
Author The Big Book of Me and The Big Book of Us

Friday, 11 September 2009

Media darlings...


Oh the glamour of it all!

This week I was invited to talk to some Zest Magazine readers AND the winner of the Psychologies Magazine competition phoned up as she’d won a Life Club with friends in her home as a prize. I can’t tell you how media I feel (a far cry from my holiday in the country!)

At Zest Magazine I was talking to a group of women who wanted to lose weight. They all looked gorgeous, but I suppose that’s not how they feel. They’d already had a nutritionist and a fitness trainer talk to them, so I thought helping them stick to their diet would be the best way to approach things.

When thinking about what had kept them motivated all their lives to do the things they do (whether it was brushing their teeth, eating, staying friends or working), they came up with love, fear, fun, discipline, and routine.

For most of them, fun and love were two of the main motivators, so we brainstormed around how they could make weight loss fun and bring love into it. They left with a smile, a determined look and an ‘I look great’ Life Clubs sticker.

Talking of media, I’d love it if any of you who read and liked either The Big Book of Me and/or The Big Book of Us could go into amazon and write something nice about them. I’d be so grateful.

Bottom line: come and join me in the world of glamour.

Nina
Founder Life Clubs and the soon-to-be author of The Life Book and How To Be What You Want To Be
PS On Monday 21st September, from 6.30-8.30pm, Life Clubs is celebrating Me Day and Nina will be running a special workshop plus tea party, profits to charity, in The Abbey Community Association, 34 Great Smith Street, London SW1P 3BU. Hope you can come (£15 only). Let genevieve@lifeclubs.co.uk know so we can put you on the guest list.

Friday, 4 September 2009

You choose...


I've just returned from the most perfect 'holiday'. I had a month in the country, finishing my two books that are going to be published next year. I did a few hours work, answered some e-mails, made some phone calls and then relaxed for the rest of the day. How much more blissful could that be?

But it may not suit you. I have friends who don't want to work at all on their holiday. They just want to sunbathe or swim or sightsee or read. For them a month of working - a change, rather than a rest, just wouldn't work.

This picture showing all these stunning colours makes me think of the choices we each of us have when we want to balance our lives.

For you, is the green a walk in the woods or earning money? Is the yellow a sunny day or going to pray? Is the red going out dancing or visiting your mum? You can pick and choose and balance the colours to suit you.

Every day we have to make choices about what we want to do - how we want to live our lives. In order to know the life balance you want, you have to know what you want.

This week's (7th-11th September) Life Club will show you how to create the rainbow that works for you.

See you there - it's definitely a stripey week.
Nina
Founder Life Clubs and the soon-to-be author of The Life Book and How To Be What You Want To Be
PS On Monday 21st September, from 6.30-8.30pm, Life Clubs is celebrating Me Day and Nina will be running a special workshop plus tea party, profits to charity, in The Abbey Community Association, 34 Great Smith Street, London SW1P 3BU. Hope you can come (£15 only).

Tuesday, 25 August 2009

Choosing Your Perspective





We went to the fairground twice this holiday. I love the fairground. When I was a child it was a real treat to go. I'm basically a coward and don't like feeling sick, so this particular fairground isn't for me. The two adult rides are much too scary and the dodgems did my knee in last time. My current perspective on the fairground is an 'adult' one of indulging the children and taking photos. It's a 'low-key' perspective. Just right for how I feel right now.

The first time we went the fairground was empty, so we chatted to Dave, the fairground owner (seen in his cabin in the middle of the Waltzer) about his life. He is selling one of the rides for smaller children (the kind I would like to go on if I was small enough). Dave's perspective is that it's not much of a life for fairs right now because entertainment is the first thing on the shopping list to go. Judging by that night, he may well be right, but it felt like a 'no matter what I do it won't work' perspective.

The second night was busier and the children's perspective was the 'I'm going to try everything' perspective. They thought that the whole experience was enormous fun and were grateful that their heads didn't fly off as they were spinning round the Waltzer. Maybe it's a 'we've all got taller' perspective.

The week of Tuesday 1st September (we're not open on Bank Holidays) is our Choosing Your Perspective workshop. It's incredibly good fun and I frequently run it in corporates when pitching for business. You'll love it - or at least that's my perspective.

See you there,
Nina
Founder Life Clubs and author 'The Big Book of Me' and 'The Big Book of Us'
PS Do book now for my Alternatives workshop 'Live A More Creative Life' on 27th September.

Friday, 21 August 2009

body lessons



Next week's workshop is all about re-connecting to the primal source of you - the place you live. Your body.

Speaking as a 8 month- pregnant person, I have had a bit of a journey with my relationship with my body on this ride.
  • from having the 1000% cliché thought that all expectant parents have that they have created MIRACLE. (you and everyone else who was ever, um, born)
  • to the exhaustion and weirdly flu-like,-trippy 1st trimester,
  • to the blooming, strong hair and nails I Feel GREAT 2nd trimester,
  • to the Wow, I Am Really Growing A Person and my belly is HUGE 3rd trimester
  • to the final frontier of OMG, How Am I Going to Get Him Out???
Lessons galore. And I know many many more to come.

Here are a few I've been given. Trust. Rest. Balance. Slow. Extreme Care. Kindness. Belly love.

In fact we should all probably treat our body as if we are all pregnant. Eat when you are hungry. Eat frequently and really well. Sleep as much as you need. Rest. Relax. Move in ways that make you feel good. Take vitamins. Love what is happening in your body.

Brilliant for all humans!

Mostly I have discovered lot of trust in my body in a way that I never have before. IT knows what to do, even if I haven't a scoobie. For once, my clever and prone to control brain can't *do* this. It is kind of a relief.

I have a new found respect for what my wise body can do. And what a relief to finally get licence to really listen to what it needs.

And a perfect spring board for me ... I'll be going on my maternity leave after this workshop -- hopefully even more connected to the resilient place where both me and my unborn boy are living.

Won't you come and connect to your home? Find out what your body has to say. I bet it misses you.

Be well everyone!

Your Blooming Glasgow Host
Carol

Thursday, 20 August 2009

Energise your body


It's summer and my daughter and I have decided to get fit.

She's exercising a little more regularly than I am, as you can see. Even at the end of the day, her and her boyfriend are bicycling on the bed. If I manage a swim in the sea and a game of tennis I'm thrilled - and so is my body. I couldn't face a late night cycle.

So often we ignore our bodies and just huddle up on the sofa or squashed in a chair and write or sit on our computers (as I've been doing for the last six months). It feels great to pull them out and use them.

I've also been learning to think into my body. I mentioned the Enneagram a few weeks ago. I'm what is called a 'head' type. I live in my head. I go on walks thinking 'A loose stone... I might slip' or 'A muddy puddle... I might get stuck.' It means I don't ever trust my body and what it's doing. Since writing my book and that workshop, I've been trying to put my mind on hold and walk along, really feeling the ground under my feet. I know that sounds totally weird and as if it ought to be natural, but it's not.

I now go on walks noticing textures underfoot and just trusting that I'm not going to slip or slide or get stuck and it makes going for walks an adventure. I can skip and jump and not feel nervous.

This week's workshop is all about energising your body.

You can jog to your nearest workshop...

How do you energise your body?
All best,
Nina
Founder Life Clubs and author of The Big Book of Me

Thursday, 13 August 2009

Best Life Ever



This week's workshop (week of 17th August) is all about discovering your ideal life.

One of the ways to do it is to start off by thinking what a perfect day for you would be. It's a boggling exercise the first few times you do it, but I'm getting better and better at it - though of course then I change my mind and everything has to be reassessed.

Just start by noticing what you're enjoying doing and what you aren't.

For example, does the time your alarm goes off feel like a good time for you to wake up or not? What's your stomach saying it would like for breakfast? A smoothie or fry-up? Muesli and yoghurt or toast and marmalade? And would you eat it in bed or not?

And so it goes on, until you become aware of what you want from your day and what you don't. And, once you become aware, you can build some of those things in to your life so you can feel happier and happier. And then, when you've done them, it's easier to compromise and do what you know you have to do.

Two things to inspire you:
The first is my little film on creating your ideal life. You can watch the whole performance too if it fits in with your ideal day.
The second is these photos of my son feeding the mullet at our local aquarium. Such squeals of delight and happiness came from him that I knew he'd definitely want to feed those fish again.

Come and squeal with delight this week at Life Clubs and let me know your ideal day,
Nina
Founder Life Clubs
Author The Big Book of Me and, shortly to be published, The Life Book

Saturday, 8 August 2009

Finding your talents


These exquisite colours are a display of frilly knickers in a shop in Florida. They were laid on a table in the middle of the shop, just put there for us to buy them in a pick 'n mix type of way and I stood there for ages enjoying the colours and the way they were put together. I didn't want to own just one pair, I wanted to own them all and exactly in that combination. In the end I just took a photo and marvelled at the talent of it all. The talents of the designers who chose that colour palette, the talents of the store designers who decided they'd be arranged in that order and the talents of the shop assistants who kept them looking so neat.

This week's (week of 10th August) workshop, Finding Your Box of Gifts, is what I did before I started Life Clubs. I helped others discover their talents - what made them unique - so they could use those talents in the world. This workshop is the very first step to doing just that. You'll leave either knowing something new about yourself, having found one or more new talents, or being amazingly reassured that you're already on the right path.

And maybe I could revisit photography as being one of my talents and clean my camera lens.
See you this week,
Nina
Founder of Life Clubs, author of The Big Book of Me and (just handed into editor) The Life Book

Saturday, 1 August 2009

Where does your energy come from?


Anyone who knows me knows how crazy I am about a system of viewing the world called The Enneagram and next week's (3rd August) Life Clubs workshop is just a brief introduction to it. It'll get you thinking about whether you're a body, a mind or a heart person and, once you've discovered that, help you find out how to relax.

I remember the first time I was introduced to this part of The Enneagram, my friend, the wonderful Gordon Melvin, had us all walking round discovering where our attention was. Was it in our feet - noticing how our feet were solid on the ground (Body type) or was it in noticing what we were feeling and how connected we are to others (Heart Type) or were we just thinking all the time about what was going on around us and if there was any point in doing this whatsoever or not (Mind type).

Without a shadow of a doubt, I'm a skeptical mind type who likes relaxing and does it by occupying my mind. Last year it was a succession of Thomas Hardy novels, this year I'm going to wait to see what my daughter has to read for school and go for that. I like reading in company.

This week, come along and find out what relaxes you - and, if you'd like to know more about The Enneagram, on Saturday October 31st, in Central London, Gordon is going to be doing an all-day workshop on The Enneagram arranged by us. Discover what your personality type is and how it affects not only you but all the people you know and love. Contact nina@lifeclubs.co.uk to find out more.

See you now and then,
Nina
Founder Life Clubs
Author of The Big Book of Me and, in three days when it will be totally finished, The Life Book

Friday, 24 July 2009

I assume you will want to read this

Don't Make Assumptions: Find the courage to ask questions and to express what you really want. Communicate with others as clearly as you can to avoid misunderstandings, sadness and drama. With just this one agreement, you can completely transform your life.


Next week's Life Club is all about expanding your mind and getting clear on what assumptions you hold.

Last year I was on an 11-month Leadership course in California and one of the books we read as part of the course was
The Four Agreements, by Don Miguel Ruiz. It is 1% Out There, about using Toltec Wisdom. When I started reading it, I assumed it was a little bit Airy Fairy. Boy, was I wrong. It was truly eye opening.

It is a bitty little book -- easy reading, and in it has 4 principles to live by -- and the third is Don't Make Assumptions. Sounds simple, doesn't it?

Here's what I learned.


We humans are excellent at making assumptions. Especially about other people. We assume that we know how someone is going to react to us, what they are thinking, what their motives are, what kind of person they are based on a number of random factors. How do we really know? Well, we don't.


And we are great at assuming about ourselves. We assume that we are destined to fail, or succeed, or be liked, or not. It short-circuits lots of things we could do.


The issue with this assumption business is that our tendency is that we truly believe our assumption. We turn them into hard-core judgements and then make our life decisions about people, about ourselves, based upon them. Not only do we believe our assumptions about what other people are thinking, but then we end up taking those assumptions personally and even end up resenting the person. All of this over an assumption - a guess we MAKE UP.


That is a lot of work ... based upon things we are, um, guessing at!


Making assumptions isn’t just about interpreting other people, either. We often assume that they know what we’re thinking, as well.


This is classically seen in any romantic relationship.

  • "He hasn't called, so he doesn't like me"

  • "This birthday gift is so generic, she has no idea who I am"

  • "If he really loved me, he would know not to do that!"

One of the biggest assumptions we make is that everyone else sees the world the same way we do, and that creates a lot of un-necessary drama and chaos.


The best way to go about not making untrue assumptions is also really obvious: Ask. Once you have an answer to your question, it’s a good idea to go ahead and ask again to make sure that you really understand what has been said to you.


No one is saying this is easy stuff. Frankly, not making assumptions is just plain hard. The author points out that just learning about our tendency to make assumptions is a great first step in putting an end to it. Of course, it is only a first step.


Here's a test: What are you assuming about me since I wrote this? What are you assuming about yourself?

Am I right to assume you are now all chomping at the bit to get to next week's Life Club?
:-)

Assumptively yours-
Carol
Your American Glasgow Host






Thursday, 23 July 2009

Expand Your Mind


I love the way this forest reminds me of Sleeping Beauty, somehow you have to battle through the closed-offness to find the beauty within.

That's the way our minds work. We're closed off like a giant forest. We make assumptions about ourselves, our life, life, other people... and it's only when we get out our swords and chop through the forest that's imprisoning our mind that we find the beauty within - and without.

This week's workshop (week of 27th July) is all about assumptions and I'm waxing lyrical because I've almost finished the main part of my book (The Life Book) and the joy is sublime. I do hope you'll read it when it comes out. That would make it all worthwhile.

See you this week,
Love Nina
Founder Life Clubs
Author of The Big Book of Me

Friday, 17 July 2009

favourites

My clubbers like to tease me when I am announcing the next week's topic that I (apparently) always say "Oh this one is my FAVOURITE!" ("They are all your favourites, Carol!")

But this time I mean it. I love the Mirror, Mirror workshop. I remember doing it for the first time and feeling really connected and started to look at myself from a new place.

You get to recognise all the cool parts of yourself that are already there, and maybe just not so crystal clear to you. And turn it around to how you see other people and recognise yourself.

It is like adding a new dimension to your regular mirror that you see your same face in every day, and discovering a secret door with all sorts of goodies in it.

What you see in other people you have in yourself. It is the "You spot it/you got it" theory. There's a lotta lightbulb moments on this topic!

I remember owning up for the fist time to being brave, to being smart and to being a hard worker -- all things I didn't know I was! And I also learned how to channel the people who had the qualities I wanted!

Learning something cool that helps me be a better me is ALWAYS one of my favourite things!
Come find out yours!

Your Glasgow Host and Development Junkie
Carol

Thursday, 16 July 2009

Why do mirrors annoy?


Apart from the fact that it can be almost impossible to look in a mirror when you're (or should I say I'm) having one of those bad hair days, this mirroring workshop (week of 20th July) is about other people and the way they mirror you or you mirror them.

It's a majorly complex subject, always does my head in just thinking about it, but I was talking to one of my mentors, a wonderful about to be 80-year old lady called Jane Whistler, and she gave me a interesting thought about mirroring which I wanted to pass on to you.

Imagine someone is driving you crazy because they're always late. You look at them and you don't see a mirror there because you're never late. How can they possibly remind you of you - you have nothing in common.

But what the mirror is showing you is how horrible a person you're becoming by being so intolerant about their lateness. By looking at them critically, reflecting back at you is what a sour, petty person you're becoming.

So, having now understood that, I am never ever going to have a nasty thought about anyone ever again - because it will just reflect badly on me.

You are all wonderful as you are.
See you at Life Clubs admiring my reflection,
Nina
Founder Life Clubs
Author Big Book of Me and Big Book of Us and two/thirds through writing The Life Book.

Friday, 10 July 2009

saying yes


I'm the host of our Glasgow Life Clubs and am thrilled to be adding my 2 cents to our blog.

I have been thinking a lot about what I am saying to no ... I am just over 6 months pregnant with my first baby!

It seems there are a lot of things I have had to say no to ...
  • all my favourite runny and unpasteurised cheeses (Oh goat and Blue, how I miss you!)
  • my many cuppa comforts every morning
  • wearing my wedding ring (too tight!)
  • a slim summer
  • my margaritas and glasses of wine
  • staying out past 10! (I go mute and fall into a drooling slumber!)
And while this felt a little like a hardship the first few months, I am slowly realising that all those "nos" are adding up to LOTS of "yes-es".

I am saying yes to:
  • growing a healthy baby and really taking care of myself (which feels lovely!)
  • really surrendering to my expanding belly
  • napping at whim
  • excitement of becoming a momma
  • something bigger *and more important* than just me!
And I know this is just the beginning. I am CERTAIN that once baby boy comes, I'll also be saying no to sleep, normalcy, freedom, control and spontaneity!

And in return I'll be saying yes to embracing chaos, going with the flow and sweet, simple time with my new family.

It is so easy to get caught up in what we are not getting/doing/being. Flipping the switch to the yes is such an excellent way to turn it all on its head. After all, it is our choice.

Can't wait for next week's workshop when you will all get the chance to say no to things you really really don't want and find your magic Yeses.

It is a giant relief.

Oh yeah ...

Carol
Your American Glasgow Life Clubs Host

Thursday, 9 July 2009

Yes or No?


Although this stop sign represents our saying 'No' workshop (running week of 13th July) and I'd love to tell you how brilliant our workshop is so you all come, actually I said 'Yes' this week.

I said 'Yes' to going on a two-day course when I am meant to be writing my new book (The Life Book) and should not have left my sofa. So, I feel bad about that and, if truth be told, slightly oppressed and heavy in my head about not having got on with my book for two days.

But, I have come back feeling happy and refreshed from a course all about change and inspiration and clarity. The course was arranged by Talent Innovations and was very good, but what was especially good was meeting fellow participants who were all open and friendly and learning. I feel I've returned with renewed energy and a bulging address book.

So I said 'No' to my publisher and all those thoughts that went 'You won't finish the book if you take two days off' and enjoyed myself. Who or what do you have to say 'No' to to come to Life Clubs?

Let me know (pardon the pun).

See you soon,
Nina
Founder Life Clubs

Friday, 3 July 2009

Telling it like it is


Now this may just look like a blank piece of paper, but on it is anything and everything you want to say to anyone - you choose and imagine.

Is it for that person who was so kind to you who you'd like to say 'thank you' to? Or that person who almost ran you over the other day who you'd want to say 'please pay more attention to zebra crossings' to? Or to your mum who you'd like to say 'I'm sorry' to? And on and on.

We so rarely say what we want to say to other people because we're afraid to. We might get over-emotional and start crying. We might get angry or we might get embarrassed. For whatever reason, we hide away from saying lovely things to people and we hide away from giving constructive feedback.

Last time we ran this club, the following week everyone returned with a smile on their face. During the week they'd opened up and actually said some really nice things they'd been wanting to say for ages. A few had had some difficult situations resolved too.

Go on, say it... I know you want to... You LOVE Life Clubs!
I love you too.
See you next week and thanks for reading this,
Nina
Founder Life Clubs

Thursday, 25 June 2009

A little help from my friends


I love taking pictures of feet. I'm not sure if it's the shoes - though I did used to be obsessed with shoes - I think it's the gorgeous bits of green or brown or grey that they're standing on.

This week’s workshop is about friends (hence the multiple feet) and what you appreciate about them. I’ve not been able to spend very much time with my friends recently because of the two books I'm writing. But my friends have still been supportive and egging me on wonderfully when I'm not sure if I can create what I want to and I'm not sure if I've got the energy to do it.

What it makes me wonder - and that's one of the things the workshop is about - is what kind of friend I am to them. If I had a friend who was like me - working too hard, obsessed with talking about work, unable to think about plays or films or books or anything else of interest, would I want to be friends with them? I don't think so.

I'd probably find a bit of grass to stand on on my own.
See you at Life Clubs next week - in order to celebrate thinking about friends, you can bring a friend who hasn't been to Life Clubs before for free.
Nina
Founder Life Clubs

Friday, 19 June 2009

Happy Second Birthday to Watford Life Club





Watford Life Clubs second birthday celebration was great fun. Juliette cut the stunning cake my daughter had made and we all ate, drank and were merry.
Hope you can make the next party. Cake's all gone, but maybe I can persuade her to make another.
Nina
Founder Life Clubs

Wednesday, 17 June 2009

Is It What You Really Want???


There's a delightful series of children's books about a raccoon called Frances. In one of the books, Bread and Jam for Frances, Frances and her friend are at school eating their packed lunches.

Now, these lunches are not like the kind of lunches you and I might have. They are truly elaborate, fantasy meals with loads of different foods - all mouth-watering. Frances's friend is obsessed with trying to see how many different combinations of flavours working together in his mouth he can experience. But his main goal is to finish all the different tastes at the same time, so they 'come out even'.

I know just what he means. My favourite food is a picnic on a table, where you can dip in and out of various tastes, cooking on your plate and, of course, making sure that it all 'comes out even'.

You've probably had the same experience eating a delicious Indian meal, dipping and diving into all the different flavours and wanting to end up with the 'right' taste in your mouth.

But is it really what you want?

The other day I decided to regularly ask my stomach during the meal if it was full and, if the answer was 'Yes' to stop eating. Did I stop? Of course I didn't. I wasn't hungry any more, but I so desperately wanted it to 'come out even'.

The 'Is It Really What You Want?' workshop (22-27th June) we're running at Life Clubs is about stopping. About discipline. About will-power.

I'm inspired. Next time I'm going to stop the moment my stomach says so. Any hints???

See you at Life Clubs,
Nina
Founder Life Clubs
Author Big Book of Me and Big Book of Us

Wednesday, 10 June 2009

Remember Me?


It's impossible to remember ourselves like this, but we are still that same person as we were when we were a baby. Yet do we look after ourselves as well as that gorgeous baby deserves to be looked after?

You may want to use the memory of that baby inside you to help you look after your adult self. I'll explain how that works, by quoting from a letter one of our clubbers sent to me. It'll help you see how he uses his 'inner child' to make sure he treats himself well:

"Throughout my life I haven’t made time for myself and I’ve consistently shelved my own needs for the needs of work, friends, family, lovers and even strangers. This regular routine has eclipsed my own basic needs for so long that I became depressed, deficient, and emotionally underfed.

To address this, I think of myself as a vulnerable separate entity (i.e. inner child) who has basic needs that I (as the adult and solitary care-taker) am required to fill (i.e Jake needs to go to swim practice, Jake needs to go to the gym, Jake needs his lunches made for the week.) In a way I’ve become a soccer mom for myself. Over time I have been able to integrate these facets more and am now able to see myself as a thing of value that needs to be cared for and schedule life around my needs schedule. I’ve learned to say no to others and yes to me and am coming to enjoy the benefits of reciprocity. And it’s made life *so* much easier. I still love to give to others, but it isn’t an obligation anymore and I feel much more ownership of my time."


Come along to our Remember Me workshop and find out what your 'soccer mum' would say to you.

My soccer mum is saying 'Eat less', 'Get some sleep' and 'chill'!!!!

See you there (week of 15th June).
Nina
Founder Life Clubs

Wednesday, 3 June 2009

Not sure about licking your nose...


I feel I've gone slightly animal on you all, but next week's workshop is about body language and this photo I took of a cow in Dorset seemed to me to be just the kind of body language that might put you off wanting to get to know someone.

Even when we don't think about it, there are so many things we know not to do. From licking your nose on, we're already pretty aware of what works and what doesn't. And yet there are so many more things to think about that we do unconsciously.

Do you know what impression you give someone when you first meet? Do you know your body strengths and how you could play on them?

Most of what we communicate we do through our body and facial expressions, so it's good to know as much as possible about how you come across and what you could do to enhance that first impression.

Come along to Life Clubs next week and discover your body - you can tell that cow hasn't yet been.
See you there,
Nina
Founder Life Clubs

Wednesday, 27 May 2009

Never again....


I want to make it clear right away that this week's Never Again workshop is not about being eaten by bears - though it could be. It's about all the things you never want to do again. It's deciding what you want backwards.

This is a scenario that quite often happens to me...

It's late at night and I'm driving along the motorway feeling peckish. So I stop at a motorway service station to buy something and I don't really know what it is I want. I look along the crisps, then the chocolates and then the nuts and slowly eliminate what it is I don't want. That leaves fewer and fewer things to decide between until I've worked out just what it is that I want.

Of course, sometimes I walk in, head straight for the Cadbury's flake and just know... but more often than not, I don't.

That happens in life too. I don't really know what I want to do this weekend, but by eliminating some of the possibles (a long walk, a trip to the beach, hanging out with friends), I'm left with what I really fancy - a lazy sun bath in the garden and time alone to write.

Never Again is a great way of backwards thinking. Come along next week and find out more.

Have you ever been approached by a bear??? I hope not. We're a lot friendlier at Life Clubs.

Nina
Founder Life Clubs

Wednesday, 20 May 2009

Keep The Faith


Last week was LAW (Learning At Work) week and Life Clubs went out to hundreds of people and had an incredibly successful time. We visited British Airways and Tate & Lyle and this is some of my group at The Big Lottery Fund. They were learning how to make every minute count and about 80% of those who attended wanted Life Clubs to be brought into their organisation and 100% (give or take a few) wanted more.

So, why am I writing about that wonderful news with a heading of 'Keep The Faith'?

Because of a lack of confidence that I can do what I want to do and succeed at it. Next week's workshop is on confidence and it's something that we could all do with more of. I certainly feel nervous when I go into one organisation after another. I feel nervous when I wonder if I can pull off what I want to pull off. I feel nervous when I read the papers and see how negative the news is.

When I got an e-mail from a lovely young friend on Monday saying 'Keep The Faith, you're doing a great job', my confidence leapt. Yes, deep down I know I can do it, but sometimes we waver and that's what next week's workshop is all about - keeping the faith.

See you at Life Clubs - I know I'll be there,
Nina
Founder Life Clubs