Wednesday, 14 September 2011

The end of a tree - and its true meaning

Monday was a sad day.
Thanks to the high winds at the end of the garden we lost one of our twisted willow trees.
Sad enough to lose a tree I think. To see something that has stood majestically at the end of your garden for goodness knows how many years. But doubly difficult for me to see.

You see. 8 and half years ago our beloved pussy cat got run over. If that was not bad enough I saw it happen as I was tucking our 3 year old and 3 month old into bed one February evening. We then tucked FFF (that was hes nickname) in his favourite blanket, and dug a hole under that big old tree and buried him with his favourite toy and his sweets. (Sad in more than one right - bet you thing I'm a mad woman if your not into pets right? - LOL).

If I knew then what I know I'm not sure I would have had the strength to keep going. Because with that night was the start of a year and half of hell on earth.
Seeing our fluffy fat fur ball get run over was the start of 18 months of Depression so severe the only option left after 2 suicide attempts, self harming and constant anguish was ECT (That's wiring your brain up to electricity!).

So watching that tree be cut up and removed yesterday felt really tough. And I couldn't think why as I stood there crying as my hubby, son and Dad enjoyed playing lumberjacks swinging off of ropes and ratchet straps to get it down safely.

And then I realised.
when we buried our fluffy fat freak under that tree a version of Mandie got buried too.

A new Mandie emerged the day after and she was not a good version.
And yet today having watched that tree be upended I realise something truly amazing.
Out of the worst experience of my life (truly I wouldn't wish this on my worst enemy) has come a new version of me, that strictly between you and me I'm quite in love with.

You see years ago I wouldn't dream of saying such a statement. Think about it. Are you in love with yourself?

I would have said "How self centred" "How arrogant"

But do you know what?

It's not.

As I sit here writing I am thrown back to that night when I felt my world fell apart and I realise seeing that tree get chopped up the hurt and anguish over the person I was and the stress and worry I put the ones I love through has all gone.

Imagine me stood on a mountain aka Julie Andrews in the sound of the Music and I'm shouting "Hey have you heard of Mandie Holgate, she's a fabulous fabulous woman, and I for one love her! Wooooo HOOOOO!" Sorry but the capitals and exclamation marks I hope help you appreciate that I am truly shouting this.

And it's no arrogance I realise, its confidence. I'm confident I'm a good, hard working, talented, wonderful business woman, mum, friend, wife and so many other roles.

Wow I can't tell you how good it feels to admit I'm great.

I bet like me usually you only concentrate on what you are not good on, right?
Well from today get yourself a mountain top and shout how amazing you are.

Because here's the thing if you don't - why should anyone else?

Just to remind myself how brilliant I am - I'm adding a picture of me so far out of my comfort zone I can't see it (that's how I like to deal with comfort zones!)That's naked and having my photo taking - You see Mandie it would appear like your clients you can achieve anything you put your mind to.

Thursday, 25 August 2011

How big is that spot?

So if you read the last few posts, you will know that I have been doing a detox. Its called the Salt Flush and you guessed boy does it flush.....but. apart from that not much else as far as I can tell.

Although I do appear to have a mahousive (that's very big to you and I) spot on my chin which coincided nicely with a networking event that I attended with over 170 people!

Years ago a spot that big on my chin, would have mortified me. It would forced my confidence to drop and left me feeling very insecure and self conscious. I suppose that shows how I have grown as a business coach that I just don't sweat the little stuff anymore.

The fact is if a person does not want to work with me/know me because of a spot that speaks volumes about them not me.

I am far more appreciative of my strengths and far quicker to look over my less than perfect attributes (unless of course they affect others or the success of my life - I'm talking wobbly bits and bad hair days here.)

So the detox could be doing stuff on the inside that I can't see but not convinced. but hey ho, you live and you learn as I say.

Tuesday, 23 August 2011

You know when you want to put something off.....

You know you have to do something, and you are the one that has to do one else can do it....but something your head.....and for some reason you find yourself doing anything but THAT.

It's like when you were at school and that dissertation had to be in on Monday morning and on Sunday night it still wasn't done, so what are you doing?

That's right, your watching songs of Praise. For everyone who has suffered from this, did you know it actually has a name in psychology?

Its Student syndrome.

Well, I think I have been hit by Student Syndrome this morning. Maybe its because of instead of waking up to blue skies bouncing of the yellow of my house I can see a grey grey day, but I just can't face THAT salt concoction!

But me being me (That's Mrs I set a goal, I'll achieve it - which by the way in business is great but in your personal life can get you in all sorts of trouble.)
I walked downstairs with intent purpose, strided into the kitchen and boiled the kettle.

As I stood there 5 minutes ago, and looked at that concoction I realised to do this every day for a week, I'm going to have to find a way to get it in my mind that it does not taste awful.(It tastes awful) I am going to have to get in mind that I am not going to throw and gag because of the taste down the back of my throat.

And then it hit me, Coaching hat went on and I thought what are the things I love and one of the things that I truly love is the sea, and guess what that is?

Yep it's salty.

So this morning as I downed that vile concoction (I am doing this to feel healthier I have to remind myself!) I imagined I was swimming in the beautiful calm, blue ocean with the sun beating down on my head and by accident I just happen to have swallowed a mug of water. Well the first bit seems to work. But that's okay because when you walk out of the sea, you lay on a bed, under a palm tree (minus coconuts - did you know how many people get injured by them each year?) and feel the warmth of the sun on your body. And that always feels healing.

So despite the tipping down of wet stuff from the sky this morning, I'm feeling dam near tropical. I can smell the cocktails being mixed at the bar and the wood fire to cook lunch has just been lit.

Apparently a vivid imagination is very useful in life.

Just writing this and drifting off to Carri bean beaches has made me(almost) completely forget about the foul taste.

Oh no. I just remembered what happens within the hour. mmmmm and I have to go out in 25 minutes. Another challenge for me then.
It will make me healthier, it will make me healthier - yeh Mandie keep telling yourself that one!

Monday, 22 August 2011

Is this progress?

Well at the end of day one. I have had a corker of a stomach ache all day and a headache that is doing its best to out perform the gut pain. But I've had pain in both parts of my body for 8 months so this is just a different form or pain.

Not sure if that is what you would class as progress. but hey at least its something different.

Can't wait to get up in the morning and have my mug of salt water. mmmm. tasty.

Sarcasm? much?

My mum always said it was the lowest form of wit. Not sure what that says about me because I grew up in the generation of the Mary Whitehouse experience. and that was packed with the stuff.

So progress? Who knows but as Dad always says "Don't knock it until youv'e tried it!"

Not sure that is one of the best bits of advice my Dad's ever given me!

Am I really going to drink THAT!

So most of the time when I fancy writing a blog its been sparked by a coaching session with a business woman and it will be packed with ideas and solutions for other business women to benefit from.

But this one is different...
This blog is my personal blog, probably why it has laid dormant for over a year. But today is a special day.
Today I am giving myself full permission to be lazy, to veg out, to relax and chill.
I'm not going to work today at all, which is so rare for me. Now adays I can always find time to "just" answer that email, get that report dashed off, send that doc over, right a blog. But today is going to be all about me.

This year has been really tough, no use denying it - I have something wrong with me that has left me exhausted, in pain and feeling really poorly and the doctors are drawing a blank. Actually they have 2 and 2 and are coming up with 5 but you get the idea. (Someone asked how do I feel and for a change I honestly answered "I feel like a have a hangover and flu, and Ive been feeling like that for 8 months" Honesty is not always the best policy - I don't think she had a clue what to say to that.)

So a month a go I read that a detox can clear out your system of toxins, impurities and well crap to help the body restore order and feel well. And having tried, antibiotics, Reiki, Massage, Reflexology, Vitamins, supplements, Counselling, Osteopaths, and countless other suggestions to feel well - I thought why not?
Until I read it consisted of only drinking Maple Syrup, Chilli, Lemon and water for 7 days!

I did it (I can be very determined when I want to be - or is that stubborn!) and I don't know about cured, but I definitely had more energy for a little while and my normal spotty teenage skin looked lovely.

But as the schools hols come to an end, I'm all too aware that life is about to get very frantic again and since my health is as good as 10 week old lettuce leaf in the Sahara - I thought I have to do something and then I remembered the detox....

The thing is I can't face just sipping that concoction for 7 days, I need food!

So I looked around and found an alternative.
mmmm it sounded good. But two hours in I'm not so sure it was a good idea.

You see before breakfast at around 7am I'm to drink a cup of very salty water (thats 2 teaspoons of the stuff!) Not only does it taste foul, leave you feeling sick, it also is definitely working.

When I say working I mean is that my 5th or 6th trip to the bathroom?

Well it does say that you can eat lightly throughout so it sounded so harmless.

It is supposed to clear you out - Yep it is definitely doing THAT.

I will let you know how I get on.

The thing is what I failed to appreciatee is the voracity of the clear out and here's the thing. In 3 hours time I'm supposed to get on my bike and take the children crabbing and out for lunch with friends.

Oh this could be so funny. Mmmm not sure if funny is the right word. but getting stressed won't help much will it!

Thursday, 1 July 2010

Mums - What Can You Achieve?

Talking to other Mum's it never ceases to amaze me how many great women underestimate their worth. "I'm just a mum, I don't work" is my favourite or what about "I am working Mum/Full time Mum" Is it possible to be a part time Mum?

You see although I describe myself as a working woman, I also describe myself as a full time mum because is there a day that goes by when I don't think of my children at some point in the day, however much I am loving my job?

If the phone was to ring and one of my children were ill, would I say "sorry can't come and collect them right now, I'm a working mum" er? No!
I appreciate that there are times when a bit of magic wands and splitting yourself in 2 places at once has to happen, but you never turn the switch off on being a Mum.

But how many of you Mums fully appreciate how blinking amazing you are?

When it comes to setting goals with Mums (Regardless of the kind they describe themselves as!) I often point out the extensive nature of the role "Mum"

You can find when it comes to achieving things that you hit a brick wall. I can't do it. Its too hard. It won't work. So many negatives can attack you daily, especially when are you introducing a new way you want to think or a change in your behaviour.

Well here is a top tip for you Mum's;

Any woman (or Man for that matter) that can get up every morning and every day, and have the same conversations about "Turn the telly off and come and get your shoes on, no not in a minute now please" or "Get into bed, I've read you a story, into bed" or "Eat your breakfast, we have to get to school" or "that's not where your shoes live" can achieve anything. Why?

Well have you noticed how whether your children are blissfully having an afternoon nap or at school for 6 hours, you manage by some miracle to everyday provide your family with clean clothes, cooked meals and all the other things they need to survive. Do you ever give up? Do you ever think "Do you know what I have fought this child to brush its hair for 6 years, blow it, let them go to school looking like Russell Brand, what do I care?!?"
No and why because you have a passion for being a mum.There is a feeling inside that says whatever you need I will always be here for you.

When they were babies, we worried over every second of their lives, are you too hot, too cold, hungry, tired. That does not change as they get older, you just get more things to concern yourself with.

You see motherhood is a vocation. It is so much more than a job. Yes it can be a thankless job, with ridiculous hours and revolting pay but the bonus scheme is incredible.

However grotty and miserable your little ones are during the day, when you look at them snuggled in their beds at night, tell me you don't get a big smile on your face and a love beyond anything.

So take that passion, that absolute belief that no matter what happens I am a Mum and I am here for my children and direct that passion and determination into any goal you have aspired to achieve.

Think it's likely you would fail then?

The next time your kids walk in from school and after the front door has swung back once there is already carnage of lunch boxes, school bags, shoes, and bits of paper and god knows what else between you and the front door mat ask yourself this. Is this the day where I quit it? Is this the day where I decide to give in and let the house disintegrate. Okay so we all need quiet time (especially Mums!) and we all need chill out time and an attitude of "sod it today" once in a while, but I bet by the following morning lunch boxes will be repacked with sandwiches, shoes will be on children's feet and you will be able to get out of the front door without climbing across a minefield of destruction.

Struggling with a goal? Think you can't do it, its too hard, its not achievable?

I know that anyone that can be a mum can achieve anything. Super woman? ABSOLUTELY!

Monday, 5 April 2010

Stop Mum!

Easter hols - the first time the family has been altogether since that sparkly present stuffed family food marathon we call Christmas and I don't know about you, but all my family wanted to do was be outside.

Hubby had cleaned the barbie (in the garage because the rain was going sideways!) and looked lovingly to the sky for the last week, ignoring the BBC Weather website that clearly showed a forecast that looked like a lot of black sheep were wandering across it.

My children had worked out a itinerary that included picnics, chocolate, crabbing, chocolate, bike rides and egg hunts with yes more chocolate and hubby had polished he's Mersea Island beer mug ready for the 40 odd beers that would need testing at the Mersea Island Beer Festival.

We got off to a pretty good start - cycling to the beer festival at the local vineyard. Sitting in the sunshine watching the kids run around the vineyard, laughing and playing. We smiled confidently thinking what a lovely Easter we were going to have with all this sunshine. The fish from the Company Shed that would be grilled to perfection. The welly paddling on the beach......

But then as in all "feel good" films, just when you think everything is going to be perfect before the sad bit in the film , the clouds gathered, the temperature dived and we were 3 miles from home. Hubby was more than happy to stay at the beer festival until the weather cleared, but THAT sky wasn't going anywhere.

So lets cycle home in a rain deluge and laugh about it, shall we? My son found it hilariously funny, watching the rain slurp up my back but poor old daughter cried her little heart all the way home.

Life has a habit of throwing things your way whether you like it or not. So it was funny to think that we were all experiencing the same thing, but one of us could only concentrate on the "I'm wet get me out of here!" while the rest of us laughed at the silliness of it all.

Duvets, hot choccy, log fire (okay so it was only a pretend one) and family film - cheered us all up, but it took a good few hours to defrost us.

Little did I realise that my back had other plans for the Easter that did not match the rest of me.

Saturday I woke to a - OOooOOOoo feeling. Having a curve in my spine and a arthritic condition I am very used to "ignoring" pain. But this was not the norm. Sniffing and achey, glands around my ankles maybe the slightly damp bike ride was having more effects than I had appreciated.

So here I sit on Monday, weather has not been er... ideal... but regardless my body has demanded a sit and do nothing Easter.

And do you know what my first thought has been?
What about the kids?
("Why won't you think of the children!!?!!" As the lady always wails in the old black and white films.)

I am not dying here but moving around is not great and lots of pain just makes me feel tired. So all I want to do is ..... nothing. But what about the wee lil ones?
I find myself thinking "I could fight it like normal and jump into Mum mode. We could hit the zoo, wrap up warm and take to the beach. We could..."

It must be imprinted into Mothers to always think about the impact of everything on your children before you think of yourself.

The fact is they are more than happy. I just left my comfortable spot to track down the kids who are happily watching Muppets in Oz, painting eggs while eating their 4th course of breakfast.
Do they seem remotely bothered that Mum is not commenting on their every brush stroke? Are they perplexed that we are not cycling the length of Mersea Island?
No. See that is the thing about children they actually are very good at coming up with their own ways to have fun and entertain themselves. (and it does not need to include anything electronic!)
Life does not need to be a permanent torrent of structured family fun. Research from around the world shows that children need to experience boredom to ignite their imagination.

Another sneeky peek at the kids tells me, they are hunched over a piece of paper discussing the design for the tree house club's logo. Apparentely it is going to be painted on the floor. Lets hope they don't paint themselves into a corner, but then at least they could use their imagination to get out again!

So when I finish this blog I will slowly wander the garden with stupadog, watching the children invent fun, safe in the knowledge that it is okay to stop. It's Okay to put my spine before my children for a couple of days and super mum can come back on duty tomorrow.