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Archive for the 'Transforming habits' Category

New release! The Little Princess

Friday, May 17th, 2019

 

It’s Pink Shirt Day here in NZ. A day we all come together to stand unanimously against the tyranny of bullying.

Standing up for yourself and saying ‘no’ to bullies Are important in common themes and all myself empowerment books. It’s a key theme that weaves through my story “The Little Princess.”

It may surprise you to know that I’ve been bullied more times than I remember. I’ve had people threaten me in the schoolyard.  I’ve had bosses threaten to smash my head in, while I was at work. I’ve had older people throw verbal abuse at me when I just wanted to share my dreams and help people.

I’ve counseled children as young as four who were being bullied. I’ve helped myself and my clients win the war against bullies.

Discover more in The Little Princess and learn how you too can stand strong and overcome bullying to live a life of passion and purpose.

To purchase on Amazon>>getbook.at/TheLittlePrincess

To purchase on Apple, Barnes and Noble, Kobo and other online stores>> https://books2read.com/u/b5709p

Someone gave me the ultimate compliment the other day—they told me I was prolific. That might not mean anything to you, but as someone who was the ultimate procrastinator, it means a lot. I’ve mostly been prolific in writing my self-empowerment books (as Cassandra Gaisford). But now I’m also dedicating myself to achieving the same quality and productivity in my love stories and romance novels. And I’m having fun writing short stories.

I’m super excited about the new release of The Little Princess.

It’s a timeless charm which tells the story of a young woman who leaves the safety of fitting in with everyone else, to follow her heart. Be inspired by this journey to transformation and self-acceptance, and self-belief as she learns to overcome the vagaries of adult behavior. Her personal odyssey culminates in a voyage of self-belief, passion, and purpose.

 

I’m so thrilled with this early review by a reader in the UK.

“I love everything Cassandra writes, the queen of uplifting inspiration!

This is a little book, the story basically teaches you to have faith in your dreams, stand firm and don’t let others rain on your parade.

We are all searching for purpose and passion, everybody hurts and sometimes we find ourselves on the receiving end of somebody else’s insecurities when they project their anger, jealousy etc onto us.

The old woman who puts the little princess down is really just jealous and stuck in her own life.

The story itself is very short, but there is then a lovey poem to ponder.

Then excerpts from the best bits of Cassandra’s book “Finding your purpose and passion”.. .so you get two little books in one really. Very uplifting and inspiring. “

 

thankQ for the PDF copy of your little princes book this morning. In a word, ‘brilliant’, short concise & full of tremendous vision & wisdom, expressed lovingly. I have enjoy the read this evening on my couch relaxin

Kenn’s feedback was especially lovely to receive:) Now in his 60’s we first met many years ago, after (in his words), he “had been unceremoniously dumped by my employer of some 32 years @ 49 years & 10 months & still reeling from the grief & resentments to a degree.”

“Many of the comments read true for my own journey. I recognize my passion to be different than many others, my persistence to succeed, & the pure joy I have at the end of each day when I lay down my head & give thanks,” he wrote to me.

One of the things I love most about being an author is hearing from my readers and knowing how my words touched their hearts.

Kenn also shared the following observations:

 # 10 “the little princess suddenly felt grateful for what the nurse was teaching her” &

“the little princess knew she would never be able to find & honour her soul purpose if she kept trying to please others”

# 11 & then: Thank you the little princess said to the older women silently. Thank you for the gift you have given me”

Then, Fear of Disappointment ~  “you cannot possibly net the prize if you are thinking about all the ways you can miss”

& I just loved the comments:

‘Some people die with their music still inside. They opt to cling to the hope of their aspirations rather than the reality of a possible disappointment & the risk of a shattered dream.

What is worse ~ the disappointment of a few setbacks, or the disappointment of a life spent unfulfilled & filled with regret?

& especially:    ALL LIFE ARISES out of choice. What choices are you making now?

 

I remember when we meet some years back now Cassandra, & now, 15 years later I recognize my passion to be different than many others, my persistence to succeed, & the pure joy I have at the end of each day when I lay down my head & give thanks.

I agree being passionate is an ongoing commitment which takes time & effort some days, however, I guarantee it is certainly worth the effort.

I still receive your regular emails, inspired by many. Thank you for being part of my journey.”

 

Kenn’s comments and other feedback from my readers makes my heart skip with joy.

Oh, Yeah, bring it on!” writes a reader in the UK in her Amazon review

 

“I love everything Cassandra writes, the queen of uplifting inspiration! This is a little book, the story basically teaches you to have faith in your dreams, stand firm and don’t let others rain on your parade.

We are all searching for purpose and passion, everybody hurts and sometimes we find ourselves on the receiving end of somebody else’s insecurities, when they project their anger, jealousy etc onto us.. The old woman who puts the little princess down is really just jealous and stuck in her own life.

The story itself is very short, but there is then a lovey poem to ponder. Then excerpts from the best bits of Cassandra’s book “Finding your purpose and passion”… so you get two little books in one really.

Very uplifting and inspiring.

I would just like to add that Cassandra’s books on beating the booze are absolutely brilliant, exceptional… There’s just something about the way she writes that hits home for me. 18 months on and still leading a healthy and happy life. I will never go back to my mind/heart/body numbing way of life ever again. Thank you 🙂

~ Amazon Review U

 

Here’s a wee excerpt from The Little Princess with my author’s note

The Little Princess was inspired by a true story. You may have already guessed that—especially if you have purchased and read my Amazon #1 bestselling book, How to Find Your Passion and Purpose: Four Easy Steps to Discover A Job You Want And Live the Life You Love.

I learned so much from my experience in the wake of the other woman’s attack.

I learned to stay true to myself, and realized that there were always going to be people who didn’t like what I did or who I was.

It would have been easy to be stopped in my tracks.

It would have been easy to stay small. It would have been easy to have done nothing at all.

But then what sort of life would I have had?

Writing How to Find Your Passion and Purpose: Four Easy Steps to Discover A Job You Want And Live the Life You Love opened so many doors and windows and galaxies for me.

So many people have written to me and told me how that book changed their lives. It continues to change mine.

Importantly, my experience that night, made me realize that finding our passion and purpose is not simply about being inspired, but also knowing how to conquer obstacles—sometimes we don’t obliterate them, we just don’t let them get in our way.

I hope by sharing my story, you realize how wonderful it is to be a little princess. Isn’t that every girl’s dream!

 

Special bonus:

Read to the end for a short poem called The Loving Tree and wee excerpt from How to Find Your Passion and Purpose: Four Easy Steps to Discover A Job You Want And Live the Life You Love. I’ve included some of my favorite chapters. Please note these aren’t in the order that they appear in the book.

Follow your bliss dear readers—don’t let anyone stop you from sharing your passion and purpose with the world.

Grab Your Copy of The Little Princess. Available Now! 

To purchase on Amazon>> 

getbook.at/TheLittlePrincess

To purchase on Apple, Barnes, and Noble, Kobo and other online stores>>

https://books2read.com/u/b5709p

Grab your copy of second book in the Transformational Super Kids series:

I HAVE TO GROW

Sing Your Song! Heed the Call for Courage

Feeling discouraged, bullied, sabotaged or held back? If you need some support, look no further than this book.

 Part moral allegory and part spiritual biography, I Have to Grow is a timeless charm which tells the story of a young girl who leaves the security of playing small, to follow her heart and heal the world.

Little Hannah, is a beautiful and kind-hearted child, with a very special voice. When the cruel and jealous Angie tries to rob Little Hannah of her gifts she believes the answer is to stay small. But, things go from bad to worse.

Bullied and taunted Little Hannah doesn’t stand much of a chance. Until a magical creature appears and encourages her to stand tall and shine like a star.

Reader Reviews

Courageous, compassionate and inspiring…

Courage is more than just standing up for yourself or doing hard things—it’s doing so with compassion. Little Hannah is courageous, compassionate, talented and inspiring!”

~ Sheree Clarke, Midlife Courage Coach

 

Available Now! 

To purchase the eBook exclusively Amazon>> 

getbook.at/IHavetoGrow

 

Other Resources Mentioned in this Post

 

Mind Your Drink: The Surprising Joy of Sobriety (Control Alcohol, Discover Freedom, Find Happiness and Change Your Life),

Available in print and eBook from all good bookstores, including:

Amazon: getbook.at/MindYourDrink

Kobo, Barnes & Noble, Nook and iBooks: https://www.books2read.com/u/bQBLj0

Or direct from the author  http://www.cassandragaisford.com/product/mind-your-drink-the-surprising-joy-of-sobriety

 

 

How To Find Your Passion And Purpose: Four Easy Steps to Discover A Job You Want and Live the Life You Love

Amazon Best-Seller. Focus your energy and time to achieve outstanding personal and professional results.

Available in print and eBook from all good bookstores, including:

Amazon: getBook.at/Passion

 

 

 

 

Did you enjoy this post?

You might like:

New release I Have to Grow

How to say no to abusive workplaces, schools, homes, and circumstances

Life transformed by faith in the stars

 Destiny Decided: The Minute That Changed My Life—2018 in Review

From Chained to the Office, to Freedom in the Country—How to Manifest Your Dream Career or Business

Your Beautiful Mind: Control Alcohol, Discover Freedom, Find Happiness and Change Your Life: Justin Raj’s Journey to Joyful Sobriety

 

Here are three more things you might like:


Interesting interviews: Listen to my best interviews on topics like overcoming obstacles, finding joy in adversity, following your passion to prosperity.


Online Course: Find Your Passion and Purpose with my best-selling self-paced course made for busy people.


Keynote speaking: Hire me to speak to your organization or team about Resilience, wellbeing, innovation, and motivation.

You can get more of my thoughts on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.


For personalized help schedule a session with Cassandra here >>

Did you enjoy this article? Subscribe to this blog and sign up for Cassandra’s newsletters to get more stories like this.

For personalized help schedule a session with Cassandra here >>

Tame the Email Monster: How to Manage Stress, Anxiety, and Email Overload

Friday, February 1st, 2019

Are you suffering from information obesity? Subconsciously, are all your unanswered emails sending your stress levels soaring? Or have text messages become the source of your anxiety?

Email overload is frustrating—and sometimes terrifying. An over-crowded inbox is distracting and will divert your attention from what is important if you don’t take charge and do something about it. Your inbox can also house infectious contact from toxic people.

Email, or as my partner calls it, the Email Monster, is the source of many people’s anxiety.

 

Remember that anxiety feeds off fear, uncertainty, overwhelm, and overload. It also loves to distract you from doing the things you enjoy—burying you in a pyre of often meaningless distractions.

In the last few years, I’ve also noticed a level of toxicity creeping into emails. Some people are discourteous, and in some instances downright rude and inconsiderate. People rant and vent and type things they might not otherwise have had the courage or lack of manners to say in person.

I’m sure, rather than cowering behind their phone or computer and firing off emails if people stood face-to-face with someone before sending their tirade they wouldn’t feel so empowered and emboldened.

The rise in bullying has also led to a whole new malaise—cyberbullying.

Research by Swansea University in 2018, cites that children and young people under 25 who are victims of cyberbullying are more than twice as likely to self-harm and enact suicidal behavior.

The findings also suggest that the perpetrators themselves are at higher risk of experiencing these same suicidal thoughts and behaviors. It’s worth remembering that it’s the sick who vomit over others, so don’t ever take it personally. This is easier said than done.

I’ve experienced a few toxic battles provoked by others, and there’s nothing that spikes my anxiety than the thought of opening my email. It’s hard to escape and the scathing words do tend to linger.

Some people clients and customers also send incessant demands, often during the oddest of hours, that they might not request if sending an email were not so spontaneous and instantaneous. Some emails are also lengthy and often arduous to read.

I’ve also worked with clients, who rather than have honest and frank conversations with each other send emails and texts—corroding their communication with all the mixed messages words not spoken convey.

My partner Laurie feels anxious if he ends his day with one email remaining in his inbox. He receives over 1200 emails a week, and many of his tasks are deadline driven. He manages his anxiety by slaying the Email Monster. He doesn’t subscribe to erroneous marketing campaigns promising the golden elixir that will cure us all. Nor does he subscribe to marketing campaigns offering some redundant e-book he would never have time to read and does not care for.

Me? I’m an email hoarder or was. It’s stressful and anxiety-producing running my eye over old emails.

This year it’s time for the old ways to die.

Before writing this book I was storing over three thousand emails!

It was liberating to press delete. You may gasp in horror at this strategy. But I thought, ‘will it really matter, six months from now?’ If it does, I’m sure the sender will email me again.

My partner, who I consider to be the king of email efficiency, says you have four choices: answer, unsubscribe, file—out of your inbox and into a ‘to answer’ file—delete.

“If I don’t answer within the timeframe that I feel intuitively is acceptable,” he says about his parking strategy, “I go back and delete it. Clearly, it wasn’t as important as I first thought.”

Consider, simply picking up the phone, or, if you can meet in person, and deal with the issues in the old-fashioned way. It’s a myth to think that emails always lead to greater efficiencies.

Be on guard for the Email Monster’s equally insidious brother, “Text Dragon.” With the advent of voice activation software, I’ve noticed a lot of people sending lengthy texts.  In addition, many people are leaving voice messages on their phones saying, “I don’t pick up my messages, if you can’t reach me, text instead.”

Considerable bullying and abusive behavior, spiking not just anxiety, but also suicidal thoughts and behavior, is being triggered not just by email but text messages too.

Cyber-bullies and those they bully don’t just exist with the young, naïve, or immature. In 2019, New Zealand Police began investigating a ‘you deserve to die’ text sent by one Minister of Parliament to another Minister. Hardly, model leadership behavior.

The recipient received the text well before being sectioned to a mental institution months later, but said in an interview that he re-read the text that day and after texting the MP to say she was going to get her wish, he ended up contemplating suicide.

The text was sent at 1:19am on a Saturday morning—making it even more abusive.

“It was my children that actively stopped me from going through with hurting myself,” he told Newshub. “I was just lucky there were people looking for me and lucky that I thought about my little girl’s happy face – and not wanting to crush that.”

The text message is potentially a breach of the Harmful Digital Communications Act, passed under the then National Government in response to cyberbullying. The law regulated digital communications, including text messages, making it illegal to urge someone to self-harm.

Become skilled with how to block contact from malicious people, and become affirmed with new legislation which offers some protection. Be the change you want to see. Cut down on your digital communication and get real—if you wouldn’t say it in person, don’t text or email.

If you are ever the target of bullying or abusive behavior seek help and know your rights. Don’t horde abusive messages. Slay the Text Dragon and Email Monster and put them firmly in their place.

Think how great it will be with hardly any messages in your inbox. This is how to manage email overload or cyberbullies and reclaim your life!

 

This is an edited extract of Anxiety Rescue, due for release in February 2019

Did you enjoy this article? Sign up for Cassandra’s newsletters to get more stories like this and be the first to know when her new book, Anxiety Rescue: How to Overcome Anxiety, Panic, and Stress and Reclaim Joy, will be released.

 

Did you enjoy this post?

You might like:

 Why Being Inspired Matters: The Spontaneous Fulfillment and Healing Power of Joy

How to say no to abusive workplaces, schools, homes, and circumstances

How stepping away from your work can boost your mood, reduce anxiety and spark joy

The fastest way to go from stress to joy without being overwhelmed

The Life-Changing Benefits of Unplugging

 

Here are three more things you might like:

Interesting interviews: Listen to my best interviews on topics like overcoming obstacles, finding joy in adversity, following your passion to prosperity.

Online Course: Find Your Passion and Purpose with my best-selling self-paced course made for busy people.

Keynote speaking: Hire me to speak to your organization or team about Resilience, wellbeing, innovation, and motivation.

You can get more of my thoughts on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

For personalized help schedule a session with Cassandra here >>

Anxiety Rescue: First Aid in a Bottle—The Surprising Joy of Essential Oils

Wednesday, January 16th, 2019

The use of essential oils for emotional well-being is what we often first think of when we hear the term ‘aromatherapy.’

Although aromatherapy should not be considered a miracle cure for more serious emotional issues, the use of essential oils can assist, sometimes greatly, during times of stress and bring healing to certain emotional issues.

For example, lavender is a well-known mild analgesic, useful for healing headaches, wounds, calming the nerves, insomnia, and mild depression.

Rosemary, on the other hand, is a mild stimulant and is used to treat physical and mental fatigue, forgetfulness, and respiratory problems among other ailments.

Although many people may think of aromatherapy as part of a spa or beauty treatment, medical aromatherapy is popular in Europe. Some medicinal physicians prescribe and use the oils therapeutically as part of complementary medical care.

About 100 different essential oils are used for medical aromatherapy in Austria and other European countries, Dr. Wolfgang Steflitsch, a chest physician at Otto Wagner Hospital in Vienna, and vice president of the Austrian Association of Aromatherapy and Aroma Care, said in an article in Live Science.

Emotional and Mental Healing

Along with your skills and capabilities, it’s your state of mind and emotional health that determines how happy you will be.

There are many ways to empower both—working with essential oils is one of the most effortless. Essential oils, with their natural ability to stimulate neurotransmitters, offer a natural high—one that is validated by scientific research.

Smell plays a big role in how essential oils may affect the body: When breathed in, these oils derived from plants stimulate smell receptors in the nose that send chemical messages through nerves to the brain’s limbic system, which affects moods and emotions, and may have some physiological effects on the body, according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

The process of smelling is called olfaction and is incredibly complicated, taking place in several areas of the brain including the limbic system which itself has approximately 34 structures and 53 pathways.

The limbic system is linked to sensations of pleasure and pain, and emotions—both positive and negative, including fear and confidence, sadness and joy and other feelings that can either erode or boost feelings of calm, happiness, and joy.

Scientists now believe that all our emotions are the result of neurochemicals such as noradrenaline and serotonin being released into the bloodstream, and mood swings are thought to be a result of these influences, particularly when they are in the extreme.

Noradrenaline, also called norepinephrine or noradrenalin, is an organic chemical that functions in the brain and body as a hormone and neurotransmitter.

Similarly, serotonin is also a neurotransmitter—also known as the happy hormone. Serotonin plays a crucial role in means mental illnesses—and the drugs that are used to treat them.  It contributes to feelings of well-being and happiness. Its biological function is complex and multifaceted, modulating cognition, learning, memory, and numerous physiological processes. Low levels of serotonin in your brain can contribute to feelings of depression and anxiety.

Given these facts, it’s not hard to see how essential oils can help balance and influence our thoughts, feelings, and behaviors.

“Feeling educated about essential oils is such an empowering experience because there are so many different oils you can work with,” writes Clinical Aromatherapist Andrea Butje in her book, The Heart of Aromatherapy: An Easy-to-Use Guide for Essential Oils.

“They all offer the nourishment of the plant they are distilled from in a single drop, and education helps you understand which oils to reach for at which times. Nature works holistically…and so do we.”

As I share in my book, The Art of Success: How Extraordinary Artists Can Help You Succeed in Business and Life, Coco Chanel knew the alchemical potency of flowers and plants. She surrounded herself with nature’s elixir and amassed a fortune from the essential oils which helped make her perfume Chanel N°5 famous.

The transcendent alchemy of the potions that went into the Chanel N°5 formula was not left to chance. Grieving after her lover Boy Chapel’s death, Coco drew upon the essences of Neroli, Jasmine, Ylang Ylang, vetiver, and other restorative scents to imbue Coco’s Chanel N°5 with hope, healing, and the sensual confidence that love lost would be found again.

Aromatherapy, using the scents of plants and flowers, is one of many ancient remedies validated by modern science today. It’s the Swiss army knife of all things healing—physically, mentally, spiritually, and emotionally.

There are so many different essential oils that can help you. Here are a few essential oils and natural therapeutic remedies to help win the war against anxiety, ward off depression, boost happiness, and rejuvenate your mind, body, and spirit:

Neroli

This is my current favorite. Derived from a flower, this oil takes its name from an Italian Princess who used it as her favorite perfume. I use Neroli this way, dabbing a few drops behind my ears, and rubbing it through my hands when I need a lift.

Neroli is valued for its ability to arouse the senses and promote feelings of euphoria. It’s especially talented in reducing states of anxiety as it soothes worries and concerns.

The seductive sweetness of this oil disperses intense emotions, brings reassurance and security during stressful times.

Some of the many conditions it helps with include: depression, emotional frigidity, anxiety, hysteria, apprehension, nervous butterflies, insomnia, menopause, nervous tension from overwork, and exhaustion.

With its effusive yellow-orange origins Neroli aids issues related to our third chakra. The third chakra, located at the solar plexus, houses organs of the digestive and endocrine systems, as well as our self-esteem, perception and intuition, intellect, and personal power.

Dysfunctions of the Third chakra may affect the stomach, liver, pancreas, adrenal glands, and the upper intestines, as well as the mid-to upper-spine. The emotional and mental effects are that you may begin to question your own intuition, to give away personal power, and to lose self-respect. You may feel an absence of will, or discouragement—making it challenging to implement self-care strategies and following your dreams.

One its own, or combined with Lavender, Neroli is an excellent anxiety rescue remedy.

Lavender

To relieve stress, which disrupts the adrenal glands, Lavender has a long history of healing. Ideal for physical and emotional support, Lavender as a whole is an ‘adaptogenic’ essence with a relationship to all Body Systems. It is called the first aid in a bottle oil.

Emotionally, Lavender helps support a calm composure and self-expression. It reduces irritability, insomnia, nightmares, apprehension, panic attacks combined with uncontrollable shaking, stress, nervous tension, hysteria and is generally balancing to the psyche, as well as the body.

Incredibly, when I suggested Lavender oil to a doctor had sought my services to counsel her through a period of stress, she hissed at me, “Take your snake oil away from me.”

The truth is not everyone is willing to believe what healers throughout time have known, and which science no longer refutes.

As one article in the US National Library of Medicine, entitled Lavender and The Nervous System, cites:

“There is growing evidence suggesting that lavender oil may be an effective medicament in the treatment of several neurological disorders. Several animal and human investigations suggest anxiolytic, mood stabilizer, sedative, analgesic, and anticonvulsive and neuroprotective properties for lavender. These studies raised the possibility of a revival of lavender therapeutic efficacy in neurological disorders.”

This same article confirms that the alleviation of anxiety and mood improvement was reported in thirty-six patients admitted to an intensive care unit, who received lavender oil (diluted to 1% concentration) aromatherapy. Further clinical investigations pointed to the antidepressive effects of lavender.

But don’t take it from me, or anyone else. If in doubt, experiment with Lavender and any of the other essential oils I suggest.

Vetiver

When feeling anxious, or depressed, two to three drops of  Vetiver applied directly to the solar plexus in a counterclockwise motion will help dissolve energetic blockages, and strengthen your sense of peace and security with yourself.

Ylang Ylang

Ylang ylang oil has a euphoric and sedative effect on the nervous system. It helps with anxiety, tension, shock, fear, and panic. I love its sweet, sultry scent.

Rosemary

Instills confidence during periods of self-doubt and keeps motivation levels high when the going gets tough. It is also said to help maintain an open mind and to make you more accepting of new ideas.

Cardamom

Stimulates a dull mind, dispels tensions and worries, and nurtures and supports the brain and nervous system. Many people find it of great support during challenging times.

Peppermint

With its refreshing scent peppermint works like a power boost for your fatigued mind, making you feel sharper and more alert.

Investigate the power of aromatherapy. What scents imbue you with confidence? Courage? Productivity? Sharpen your most potent tools—your heart and your mind. Become a perfumer—experiment with essential oils until you find a winning blend.

Create your own wellbeing blend, or have an expert create one for you. Beginning with how you want to feel is a good place to start. There are many ways to harness their power, including inhaling a few drops on a tissue; placing some essential oils in your bath; dabbing some on your wrist, soles of your feet, or another pulse point;  using a diffuser, placing some drops in massage oil.

A Word of Caution

Unlike many other essential oils used in aromatherapy, lavender oil, for example, can be applied undiluted to the skin. Along with Neroli, this is how I like to use it.

Some oils may cause skin irritation or allergic reactions, which is why you should test your sensitivity to an oil on a small patch of skin. Some citrus oils wh, when applied to the skin,n increase sun sensitivity, and some essential oils may be risky for pregnant women.

When selecting and using oils, be sure to follow all safety precautions and remember that aromatherapy is part of a holistic cure and should not be used as a substitute for proper medical treatment if symptoms are severe.

 

The Natural High

Aromatherapy has become an essential part of my anxiety rescue cure. I make a daily habit of either placing my favorite blends in a diffuser, or dabbing a few drops onto my wrist.

In my counselling and coaching sessions,  I often invite clients who have never used essential oils to experiment. I place a few drops of Neroli or Lavender onto a tissue, or pass over the bottle so they can inhale a few drops.

I’ve yet to find a client yet who didn’t gain an immediate sense of wellbeing, including children and teenagers who often ask their parents to purchase some so they can use essential oils at home.

I’ve yet to find a client yet who didn’t gain an immediate sense of wellbeing, including children and teenagers who often ask their parents to purchase some so they can use essential oils at home.

After the shock of my experience with a client who was a stressed-out doctor who virtually accused me of witchcraft, I’m always mindful of respecting peoples beliefs. However, if you’re after instant relief and a great way to pep up your peptides throughout the day.

The sense of smell is the most basic and primitive of all our senses and is of vital importance to your well-being. The simple truth is that even if you are unaware of the power of aroma, smell affects your mood. As does color—something we’ll explore in the next chapter.

 

This is an edited extract of Anxiety Rescue, due for release in February 2019

 

Did you enjoy this article? Sign up for Cassandra’s newsletters to get more stories like this and be the first to know when her new book, Anxiety Rescue: How to Overcome Anxiety, Panic, and Stress and Reclaim Joy, will be released.

 

You might like:

Destiny Decided: The Minute That Changed My Life—2018 in Review

The anxiety cure: How I avoid depression, get energized, find joy, and stay inspired

Does talk therapy actually work?

6 Things Successful People Do To Become & Stay Motivated & Happy

 Why Being Inspired Matters: The Spontaneous Fulfillment and Healing Power of Joy

How to say no to abusive workplaces, schools, homes, and circumstances

For personalized help schedule a session with Cassandra here >>

How to unlock your destiny, heal the past, manifest a wonderful future

Thursday, August 16th, 2018

What really inspires me is feeling like there is something you IMPROVE ON. I’m a rare mix of 50 % rational, cognitive and 50% intuitive, empath. Devoted to finding my soul purpose from an early age, I’ve spent many hours and invested a significant amount of time and money finding ways to transcend difficult situations and emerge stronger and more empowered. I’ve found personally and professionally the best solutions are positive, holistic, inspirational and practical ones.

2017 was a deeply transformational year for me. I completed my Reiki Master Teacher– Master Level of the Usui-Tibetan System of Natural Healing on the 5th of September, 2017, Balian Beach, near Tabanan, Bali with renown Reiki teacher, Alison Eaton.
And I also was gifted with the incredible opportunity to receive my Akashic Records Soul History Level 2  training in healing, transformation and manifestation using the quantum energy of the Akashic Records, one-to-one with Chris Wilson, author The Magic of the Akashic Records: Understanding Our Soul History.
I first discovered the Akashic records while researching my historical novel Mona Lisa’s Secret. I know personally and professionally how powerful it is and I am excited to be sharing this truly transformational and life-changing experience with you.

What are the Akashic Records?

The Akashic Records are a spiritual tool that contains the soul history record of your life on earth. They are the gateway to your soul and provide an energetic blueprint of your unique and authentic highest self. Some people describe the Akashic Records as, ‘energetic connective tissue’. It is a powerful transformational energy which, when channeled effectively, yields rapid transformational results.

Your unique soul reading will help you to discover who you truly and who you are destined to be at this point in your life. Your mastersteachers, guides and loved ones in Spirit are waiting to answer all of your questions and help you shift anything that is out of alignment with your true self and highest potential.

If you have any worries, questions or concerns or there is a situation in your life that you are ready to unblock and shift, the answers are waiting for you in your Akashic records. Finding these answers is simple and effortless. An opening prayer will open the Akashic space, and then we can move directly into answering, shifting, and healing the elements most important to you.

The Akashic Records are a space of pure love, non-judgment, non-fear, and non-resistance. It is a completely beautiful, open and safe place to shift anything that is coming up for you. Your unique soul reading will help you to discover who you truly and who you are destined to be at this point in your life. Your mastersteachers, guides and loved ones in Spirit can heal wounds and traumas, take the darkness and turn it into pure light, Confusion willl be turned into clarity, uncertainty into confidence, anger, into acceptance, purpose, and peace, hatred into love.

Accessing your Akashic records will reveal hidden strengths and treasures and make sense of past hurts so that you are able to come to your fullest potential.

How will an Akashic Records Soul Reading reading help you?

  • Your Soul Reading will help move stagnant energy and transform situations in your life that are stuck
  • Discover, and clear energy blocks preventing you from achieving your highest potential
  • Confirm areas of passion and prosperity
  • Provide added confidence and clarity to guide you in the right direction
  • Accelerate your ability to achieve your soul’s purpose
  • Enable you to claim and stand in your power
  • Access and discover your soul’s path
  • Easily step into your authentic self and move into your true life purpose.
  • Live a life of happiness and joy
  • Take your life from ordinary to extraordinary…..amongst many other wonderful things

Healing through the Akashic Records

The Akashic records are a profoundly powerful way to gain healing in your life and connect directly with your soul. They provide transformation at the deepest level

Family and Ancestral Patterns

We all have patterns, habits, belief systems that have been passed down for generations. They say we hold onto the karma of our ancestors seven generations back. Opening your Akashic Records can help you heal and release these old patterns.

Energetically removing these belief systems and ancestral wounds from your consciousness, understanding and making peace with them will free you to achieve your highest potential

Past Lives

Whether you believe it or not we have all had past lives. You may have heard it said, that we are spiritual beings having a human experience on this earth. Our souls reincarnate to help shift and release old patterns. Accessing and understanding what past lives you have experienced, and which ones are affecting you NOW in this lifetime will help you makes sense of so many aspects impacting you in the here and now and guide you toward a happier, more inspired future.

Relationships

Healing relationships with yourself and with others,  whether through self-acceptance or forgiveness of others, will help you find freedom in and joy in your life.  You will open up to new awareness and release fears and resistance you once held in your relationships. You will discover and find truth in your current situation and move into acceptance and love.

Careers

An Akashic Soul Reading will help you discover your true soul purpose – the reason you have incarnated in this life, and provide meaning and purpose to situations that may have previously held you back.  Any negative experiences will be transcended with renewed passion, so you can fulfill your soul’s potential. You will open up to new confidence, belief, and determination to do the work you were born to do.

How Clients Have Benefited 

“While I had a tiny bit of knowledge about Akashic readings I was unaware of how deep this experience would be and how accurate the information would be. The whole reading was profoundly comforting as I felt during it, and have continued to feel, a sense of ‘coming home’ to myself. It makes sense of so many aspects about myself in the here and now and explains so much about me and my past 60 years. I woke this morning with a feeling of wholeness not experienced before and I am looking at my life with a whole new awareness. A wonderful experience, thank you so much.”

~ Catherine S.

 

“I have been buzzing the whole time after my Soul Reading, mostly I feel so different, I wake up thinking differently, I find myself just ‘being’ with people and finding my reactions so different. I have so much more energy. I am excited to be in the world.”

~ Eileen S.

“It was the first day at work today and I loved it! So good to be back in the industry I read my husband out my Akashic Soul Reading reading, he didn’t say much—just what did I think of it. I told him I thought on the mark! It’s been a pretty crazy period in my life. It’s nice having time out from overthinking to be actually doing. As a result of the reading, I’ve experienced a movement of energy and am inspired again, finally!”

~ Terri D.

“Thanks so much for the reading.   I found it very interesting.   One of the things I thought after I sent you my questions was “aaargh”, I should have asked about my real passion: property and what I can look forward to there” but it seems I didn’t need to ask as you hit on to that straight away.”

~ Lisa V.

Experience the magic and alchemy of the Akashic records for yourself. Schedule your Akashic Soul Reading Today.

If you would love to understand your past and unlock your future, schedule your personalized reading here

Learn more about my approach from reading Testimonials to my work.

 

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Does talk therapy actually work?

Monday, August 6th, 2018

 

One of my clients Romana drew the image above. The title ‘naval gazer’ accurately sums up what can happen when too much time is spent dwelling on problems, suppressing pain, and not enough time healing, actively evaluating options and challenging any unhelpful assumptions. In a state of paralysis, many people get bogged down.

Sometimes, a simple but effective way to get unstuck is to explore a range of different thinking styles – ideally, ones that challenge crippled thinking, open up possibilities and move you into a state of inspired, solutions-focused action. This is where working with a therapist can help. However, many people resist going to see a counselor or therapist because they assume that all they will achieve from the session is ruminating on their problems and more navel-gazing.

This couldn’t be further from the truth. A skilled counselor can not only provide much-needed support but also act as an objective, independent sounding board who can help you get to the root of your issues, add a liberal dose of much-needed empathy and understanding and support you to make the changes necessary to empower your life. As one of my clients told me, “It wasn’t until someone listened to me, really listened, that I knew what I really thought.”

All too often, no one gives us the space to think or express our emotions. Well-meaning family members, work colleague, friends and even strangers may dispense advice—not all of it is helpful. Take the example of Simon whose wife of thirty-years had recently died. “You just need to suck it up and get on with it,” a friend told him. Working through his grief in therapy proved to be a much more helpful and healing approach.

“I thought I should be able to handle it. I told myself I wouldn’t get upset, ” he told me.

“Who told you that when you lose someone you love very, very much that you shouldn’t feel something?” I asked. He shrugged.

We both agreed it was natural to cry. I suggested that if he didn’t feel anything – if he didn’t feel loss, or grief, sadness or pain, he would be inhuman. Cognitively we can often fool our minds, but the heart is often our greatest, and most honest, teacher.

In our Western culture, so many people, particularly men, bottle up their feelings. So many negative emotions are stuffed down and repressed.Some experts say that these repressed feelings are contributing factors behind the escalating rates of depression, anxiety, alcohol addiction, drug abuse, and suicide.

Tom, whose sister took her own life when he was in his earlier 20’s recalls his parents praising him for showing a lack of emotion, “Good boy for not crying,” they told him. Bottling trauma is neither helpful nor good.

Now in his fifties, Tom suffers from mood swings, anxiety, and depression. Rather than seek help releasing these feelings, including anger toward his parents, he abuses alcohol in an attempt to anaesthetize dark feelings. And he’s not alone. As I share in my books, Your Beautiful Mind: Control Alcohol and Love Life More, and Mind Your Drink: The Surprising Joy of Sobriety (Control Alcohol, Discover Freedom, Find Happiness and Change Your Life) a great many people drink alcohol to mask or numb the symptoms of their wounds.

No one escapes walking in this world without some degree of hurt. But for many people, this hurt is profoundly deep. The first cuts, experts (and songwriters) say are the deepest—very often these wounds are inflicted during childhood. Tragically, what should be a happy time of innocence is one of incalculable pain. Incest, rape, physical abuse, emotional neglect—and many more horrid things happen to people growing up.

Many wounded souls never receive therapy. Reasons vary. For some, it appears too costly, for others they think that talking to a therapist make them weak. Tony Soprano, one of the toughest characters to storm across our TV screens in the award-winning show, The Sopranos, sought therapy to deal with repressed emotions which contributed to his anxiety attacks.

In 2017 movie superstar Brad Pitt revealed he had a shocking drinking problem that wrecked his marriage and tore his young family apart. “I feel retarded when it comes to expressing my emotions,” he said as he opened up about his battle with alcohol. To help him kick the alcohol habit he opted to face his demons and learn how to express and handle emotions by seeking the services of a qualified and skilled counselor.

Asking for help, whether this is addiction counseling, relationship therapy, coaching to deal with stress at work, anxiety, depression, suicidal thoughts, or something else, isn’t easy for many successful people. However, it’s often what you need to gain a fresh perspective, overcome obstacles, heal wounds and expand your life. You may like to check out this interesting series discussing why men struggle to express their feelings.

As a qualified counselor and holistic therapist, I know that very often integrative talk-therapy which draws on an eclectic range of techniques such as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Rational Emotive Behavioral Therapy (REBT) and other modalities, including creative and art-based techniques can be extremely effective.

Therapy needn’t be gloomy. A lot of healthy healing can be achieved using playfulness and fun. Personally and professionally I believe in magic and the power of beauty, joy, love, purpose, and creativity to transform peoples’ lives. These are also scientifically-validated tools that enhance spiritual health and aid recovery.

Creativity in its various guises is a natural antidote to stress, anxiety, and depression, which explains why art therapy is such a potent and popular tool. Art therapy is a form of experiential therapy, an approach to recovery and healing that addresses emotional and spiritual needs through creative or physical activity. People don’t need to have a background in the arts or any artistic talent to participate. They need only to be open to experiencing and engaging actively to benefit.

I have trained in a technique called Interactive Drawing Therapy and have found it to be an incredible tool in my own life and in my sessions with others. The simplest of drawings, a line, a color, a scrawled phrase or word can powerfully access parts of the psyche we often repress, bringing unhelp subconscious belief to light. In an alchemical process, wounds are spun into gold.

When I first trained in Interactive Drawing Therapy the teacher asked for a volunteer. No hands were raised so he picked me. What harm could it do, I thought, being as skilled as I was at keeping a lid firmly on my feelings.

“Draw an animal,” he said.

Sure, I thought. Great. Harmless. I drew a giraffe.

“Put some color on the page,” the teacher gently guided.

My giraffe became pink with green, purple and yellow spots. What fun I thought.

“Where is she?” the teacher asked. “Draw this on the page.”

I drew large grey and black rectangles, symbolizing office blocks, cars belching smoke, and a road, not unlike Lambton Quay, in Wellington, New Zealand where I went to work in a job I hated every weekday.

“Put some words on the page,” the teacher whispered.

“She doesn’t want to stand out.”

And then it dawned on me, just as the words slipped onto the page. That giraffe was me. And the fact was I did stand out—naturally. I had always been different. And I had struggled unsuccessfully to belong.

“She can’t help but stand out,” my tutor affirmed. “It’s who she is.”

For me, this awareness was so new, so potent, so transformative, that I knew instantly there was work to do. I began to understand the deep social anxiety I had felt as a child and carried with me through adolescence—and with it the drinking and reckless behavior I had adopted to belong, to bolster the confidence I never felt, to hide the discomfort of living in my own skin.

When I completed my counseling training many years ago I was also introduced to Albert Ellis’s Rational Emotive Behaviour Therapy (REBT). REBT originated in the mid-1950s as Ellis became increasingly aware and frustrated by the ineffectiveness of traditional psychoanalysis to produce a change in his patients.

The REBT worldview is that people often make themselves emotional victims by their own distorted, unrealistic, and irrational thinking patterns. Ellis takes an essentially optimistic view of people but criticizes some humanistic approaches as being too soft at times and failing to address the fact that people can virtually “self-destruct” through irrational and muddled thinking.

According to Ellis and the REBT worldview, all people are born with self-defeating tendencies. When something goes against your goals, your values or desires, feelings of failure, rejection, etc., can set in; but you have a choice.

You have a choice of feeling terrified, panicky, depressed, self-pitying, self-doubting, etc.—and succumbing to these emotions.

But these feelings can prevent you from making positive changes—and may drive you to drink, for example.

Which emotion you choose, according to REBT practitioners, is thought to mainly depend on your belief system—not your goals and values, but what you tell yourself when your goals and values are thwarted or blocked.

We all have a rational set of beliefs called “preferences.” In this context, “rational” means self-helping beliefs, such as, “I don’t like what is going on.” “I wish it weren’t so.” “How annoying?” “Let’s see what I can do about it.”

Many people very frequently pick irrational beliefs, referred to as “demands,” such as, “Because I don’t like what is going on, it absolutely should not be allowed.” “It can’t happen.” “I can’t stand it.” “Everyone should love me–if they don’t, I am worthless.” “It’s horrible, I think I’ll give up” (or, when taken to the extreme, “I’ll kill myself”).

Ellis’ therapeutic approach is not to challenge the clients’ goals and values, but instead attack their absolute demands about achieving these values. The emphasis of the therapy is on changing the way the client thinks about the behavior or the upsetting event, rather than on changing the behavior itself.

This is a critical point—it is not the actual event but our view of the event that is critical.

The task of the REBT therapist is to help clients’ challenge and self-correct thought patterns and minimize irrational ideas, while simultaneously helping them to change their dysfunctional feelings and behaviors. Challenging the irrational statement is key to changing an entire philosophy of life.

The ABCDEF Method

Perhaps Ellis’s most important concrete methodological contribution is his A-B-C–D-E-F theory, which can be summarized as follows:

A – the “objective” facts, events, behaviors that an individual encounters. (I call this, ‘the activating event’).

B – the person’s beliefs about ‘A’

C – the emotional consequences, or how a person feels and acts about ‘A’

D – disputing ‘B’ irrational beliefs

E – the effect that disputation has on the client

F – new feelings and behaviors

 

Example:

I helped a friend apply the ABCDE method following a Boxing Day alcohol-fuelled drama which impacted his son. The following is an edited extract (I have changed names to protect people’s privacy):

A – the activating event and “objective” facts, events, behaviors encountered.

Following Boxing Day, Tim, who is nineteen, rang and told his father, Simon about an alleged assault between him and his mother’s new boyfriend. Tim says both his mom and her boyfriend were drunk.

 

B – the beliefs about ‘A’

Simon is waiting to speak to the ‘old-one’ (his ex) to determine the facts but believes his son’s account of what happens.  The ‘old one’ is not returning his call.

He believes the reason she is not returning his call is because she is at fault, and that an assault did occur.

 

C – the emotional consequences, or how Simon feels and acts about ‘A’

Simon’s emotions are heightened. He’s feeling frustrated, powerless, angry, resentful and fearful for his son’s safety. Yet, aspects of his son’s version of what happened concern him. He feels confused as to what really occurred.

Simon drinks 3 bottles of beer and goes to the bottle store to buy more.

Simon believes alcohol relaxes him, minimizes stress, and helps him stay calmer and in control while he waits.

Over the course of the evening (3 hours), he drinks five 500ml bottles of beer (11 standard drinks.) Feeling stressed, I join him—minimizing my drinking by consuming small quantities in six crystal glasses (in total 500 ml, or 2.2 standard drinks.)

After speaking to ‘the old one’ and his son on a three-way call, and resolving all misunderstandings, I asked how he feels now that he knows his son is not at risk. He shuts me down and says, “I don’t want to talk about it.”

He doesn’t speak to me again that evening.

 

D – disputing ‘B’ irrational beliefs

Rather than work myself into a state, I challenged my belief that by drinking with Simon we would both be relaxed. Alcohol is a depressant, it depletes your energy, and increases symptoms of stress already triggered by external events, I reminded myself.

It increases anxiety, melancholy, gloom, and aggression, which is why Tim’s mom and her partner argued, and why Tim ‘lunged’ at this stepfather when he told him to mind his business.

I counsel myself, “Alcohol is ethanol, a flammable, colorless chemical compound—it’s poison, also used to fuel cars, masquerading as a happy drink.”

 

E – effect that disputation has

The episode strengthened my resolve never to drink during times of stress, and my conviction that I don’t want to ingest poisons.

Simon’s knowledge that his ex is an alcoholic causes him to question his own dependency on alcohol during times of stress.

This change in thinking affects Simon by making him more committed to controlling his drinking and being a role model to his son.

 

F – new feelings and behaviors

Simon and I felt calmer and more optimistic about the benefits of not drinking.

Simon felt more empowered and in control now that he has discovered the truth about his ex’s drinking and how her relationship with a man who drinks excessively affects his son.

He decides to take control by helping Tim find a way to gain his independence and leave home, knowing that despite urging his ex to seek help for her drinking that, as with other times, this may have fallen on deaf ears.

Tim successfully finds work that he loves which means he is seldom at home and tells his father that alcohol has no place in his own life. Tim is happier sober!

 

As a holistic practitioner and life coach I also know there is a wide range of alternative healing approaches that yield remarkable, extremely quick results. It concerns me, and a lot of other health professionals, that too often people turn to antidepressant medication, Despite research that cites the lower effectiveness, for many people this still appears to be the solution of choice prescribed by many medical professions.

“Pills are cheap,” my doctor told me when I asked her why counseling wasn’t recommended to more people. It may be cheap, but worrying it is not always effective and the side-effects can also do more harm than healing. Rather than offer short-term help very often people come to rely on medical prescriptions for decades. In an extract from his book, Lost Connections: Uncovering The Real Causes of Depression – and the Unexpected SolutionsJohann Hari, who took antidepressants for 13 years, says masking the pain does not offer long-term relief and calls for a new approach.

“I was a teenager when I swallowed my first antidepressant. I was standing in the weak English sunshine, outside a pharmacy in a shopping centre in London. The tablet was white and small, and as I swallowed, it felt like a chemical kiss. That morning I had gone to see my doctor and I had told him – crouched, embarrassed – that pain was leaking out of me uncontrollably, like a bad smell, and I had felt this way for several years. In reply, he told me a story. There is a chemical called serotonin that makes people feel good, he said, and some people are naturally lacking it in their brains. You are clearly one of those people. There are now, thankfully, new drugs that will restore your serotonin level to that of a normal person. Take them, and you will be well. At last, I understood what had been happening to me, and why.

However, a few months into my drugging, something odd happened. The pain started to seep through again. Before long, I felt as bad as I had at the start. I went back to my doctor, and he told me that I was clearly on too low a dose. And so, 20 milligrams became 30 milligrams; the white pill became blue. I felt better for several months. And then the pain came back through once more. My dose kept being jacked up, until I was on 80mg, where it stayed for many years, with only a few short breaks. And still the pain broke back through.”

You can read a summary of his views, including his claims of an over-riding profit motive by pharmaceutical companies, in his interview with The Guardian. ‘Is everything you think you know about depression wrong?”

A good therapist will often share strategies that can help you rebalance the hormones in your brain, or refer you to other health professionals like nutritionists and dietitians. There are a great many ways to increase serotonin in the human brain without drugs, including meditation, exercise, sunlight, vitamins, and other low-cost approaches. Many will save you money, boost your health, help you reduce weight and improve your relationships—here I’m talking about eliminating or cutting back alcohol consumption.

Alcohol has been found to significantly reduce serotonin 45 minutes after drinking. As this article in SpiritScience claims, there is also a clear link between alcohol consumption and violence or other types of aggressive behavior. Aggression is also heavily linked to low serotonin levels and may be due to alcohol’s disrupting effects on serotonin metabolism.

In an article which appears in  Psychology Today, F. Diane Barth, a psychotherapist, and psychoanalyst in private practice in New York City cites research confirming the ineffectiveness of antidepressant medication compared with other therapies, including talk therapy. In the November 2010 issue of Scientific American Mind: “Getting to Know Me: Psychodynamic therapy has been caricatured as navel-gazing, but studies show powerful benefits,” claims Jonathan Shedler. Shedler, is an associate professor of psychiatry at the University of Colorado School of Medicine and director of psychology at the University of Colorado Hospital Outpatient Psychiatry Service. As Barth notes, Shelder ‘combines anecdotes from clients and therapists with fascinating research to explain something that those of us who have practiced “insight” therapy (sometimes also called “talk” therapy) have known for a long time: psychodynamic psychotherapy works. It helps clients find solutions not only to specific symptoms but also to difficulties at work, in their social lives, and with self-esteem.

For example, Shedler writes, “One major study found an ‘effect size’-a measure of treatment benefit – of 0.97” for psychodynamic psychotherapy. “For CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy), 0.68 is a typical effect size. For antidepressant medication, the average effect size is 0.31.”

Barth describes seven features that researchers have found contribute to the power and effectiveness of psychodynamic psychotherapy: “exploring emotions, examining avoidances, identifying recurring patterns, discussing past experience, focusing on relationships, and examining the patient/therapist relationship.”

As a result of counseling, many people choose to connect or reconnect with lapsed spiritual or religious rituals. I love integrating spiritual approaches into my ‘talk therapy.’ Many people have lost their union with God because of the hypocritical dogma which has polluted many faith systems. However, prayer, for example, comes in many shapes, colors, and textures.

Many recovering alcoholics, prosperous creatives and successful business people, including Deepak Chopra, Julia Cameron, Wayne Dyer and Louise Hay, refer to prayer in several forms, including describing it as the voice of God, intuition, higher self, inner goddess, or their Sacred Divine. In her book Illuminata: A Return to Prayer, Marianne Williamson, who also shares her early dysfunctional relationship with her mother, speaks of prayer as a way of “focusing our eyes,” dramatically transforming our orientation, releasing us “from the snares of lower energies,” and aligning “our internal energies with truth”.

Prayer, or invoking a higher power, is revered by many for its power to help them reclaim their strength, find their inner power and overcome tragedy. You may enjoy reading my earlier post on spiritual approaches to the treatment of alcohol addiction—http://www.cassandragaisford.com/spiritual-approaches-to-the-treatment-of-alcohol-addiction/

 

Whether you elect to seek the services of a therapist, put your faith in God, divine wisdom, spirituality or something else, the truth is very often that safety, guidance, and strength comes from a place within. The right therapist can act as a much needed and much-valued guide who supports you to find solutions to your problems and develop strategies you can apply yourself to regularly to stay well.

 

 

Cassandra is a holistic psychologist, integrative counselor, life coach, and author. To book an appointment or learn more about her wellness-therapies, including how QTC can help you achieve rapid, lasting, transformational change click here >>

Learn more about Cassandra from reading Testimonials to her work.

 

You might like:

Quantum Transformational Coaching—all your questions answered

Savvy Sobriety: The new happiness trend you need to know

Spiritual approaches to the treatment of alcohol addiction

 Why Being Inspired Matters: The Spontaneous Fulfillment and Healing Power of Joy

Your Beautiful Mind: Control Alcohol, Discover Freedom, Find Happiness and Change Your Life: Justin Raj’s Journey to Joyful Sobriety

Life transformed by faith in the stars

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True Stories: Your Beautiful Mind: Control Alcohol, Discover Freedom, Find Happiness and Change Your Life: Justin Raj’s Journey to Joyful Sobriety

Tuesday, May 29th, 2018

 

“Two of my close friends have quit alcohol inspired by my sobriety. I’m really happy and proud about that. At least I could make changes to the life of others.”

 

Giving up alcohol is a heroic journey—it’s not easy and it’s not a quick-fix, but inevitably there is a happy ending and you are rewarded with a life more beautiful. The journey to sobriety very often takes extreme courage, tenacity, and resilience in the face of obstacles, setbacks and, occasionally, defeat.

Alcohol addiction remains a hidden and stigmatic problem marked by denial and fear.  There are millions suffering alone, afraid to ask the question, ‘am I drinking too much?’ Reading and hearing about others who felt similarly and share their stories of triumphing over addiction is inspirational and transformational. I know this personally and professionally.

I honor and give thanks to Justin Raj for being willing to share his hero’s journey (I use this term in a gender-neutral way). The word “hero” comes from a Greek root that means to protect and serve. The hero is connected with self-sacrifice. He or she is the person who transcends the ego and incorporates all the separate parts of themselves to become a true Self.

I asked Justin that as he responded to the questions he may like to recall the details of his journey from alcohol to sobriety as though his journey was a movie, recalling all the aspects that had the greatest impact and both his decision and his success in controlling alcohol. I have structured the questions I asked Justin by drawing on Christopher Vogler’s Story Structure.

“The reader is usually invited to identify with the hero”, says Vogler. “You admire the hero’s qualities and want to be like him or her, but the hero also has flaws. Weaknesses, quirks, and vices make a hero more appealing” – again, I honor Justin for not sanctioning his responses. He has been brutally honest, shared from this heart, and spoken the truth in the heartfelt desire that those who read his story may be emboldened and inspired to join him in joyful sobriety.

 

Q. You recently gave up alcohol. What was your life like when you were drinking? What, if any problems, or issues did you face?

 

I started drinking at the age of 18, I still remember clearly the day I experimented with alcohol.

It was during a Christmas party at my home. I took some brandy from the bottle from which my dad was drinking. I felt dizzy after two drinks and I puked. Next day I woke up with a headache and I was not well for two days.

During my days of higher studies, I started drinking with friends and it became a norm to celebrate with drinks.

It was when I started my own business in 2011 that I realized that my drinking was affecting my business and life. In 2014 my business failed terribly.

I joined an Alcohol Anonymous group in my hometown. I thought AA could help me quit drinking. But, AA here is filled with spirituality, prayers, boring lectures and public confessions. I quit the group after two months and continued with drinking.

When I was drinking, I was failing at any endeavor I undertook. The only thing I thought about was getting drunk and having fun. I even thought of making money just to have drinks. I was penalized for drunken driving several times, ended up in a number of illicit sexual relationships and also involved in a fist fight with strangers and friends in a bar.

 

Q: What was the catalyst for change?

The catalyst happened on the night of 24th February 2018. I had a road accident in which I hit an elderly pedestrian with my motorbike. My left forearm was broken and dislocated. I had to undergo a surgery. My family and friends came to know that I was drunk when I had the accident.

Even after the accident and surgery, I continued drinking regularly. I visited a nearby bar with my broken hand resting in an arm-sling. After observing this addictive behavior of mine, my family took my drinking seriously.

One of my cousins who is a psychiatrist-counselor recommended me to attend a counseling session with a friend of hers. It was after the counseling session that I decided to quit.

 

Q: Was there ever a point when you knew you needed to stop drinking but refused ‘the call’ or had second thoughts about giving up? What obstacles did you face in order to stay firm in your decision?

 

Yes, whenever I decide to quit alcohol, I had second thoughts: ‘why should I?’ Alcohol is the only answer I have to escape from my boredom, to have fun and pass my free time. I didn’t know anything other than drinking alcohol to engage myself with. To me, peer pressure was less. I don’t have any friends who compelled me to drink. I can’t blame anyone other than myself.

 

Q: What sources of aid did you receive to continue on the path to sobriety? i.e. Did anyone appear to help you? A mentor, friend, adviser, support group etc.

 

Counseling sessions were great. It was those three days of counseling, that changed my attitude towards drinking. Then the books the counselor recommended. One of the books was yours, Your Beautiful Mind: Control Alcohol, Discover Freedom, Find Happiness and Change Your Life.

Your Beautiful Mind happened to be the first book in my life I read on alcoholism. It was a well written, informative and inspiring book.

I spent three weeks after the counseling sessions to read books on alcoholism. Reading helped me a lot. Knowledge is real power. My family and friends also gave great support. Two of my close friends have quit alcohol inspired by my sobriety. I’m really happy and proud about that. At least I could help make changes in the lives of others.

 

Q: At what point did you truly commit to giving up drinking and follow with action? Describe the point when you crossed the threshold.

 

It was the road accident, counseling sessions, reading books on alcoholism and knowing more about the menace of alcohol, that motivated me to strongly decided to quit alcohol for life.

 

Q: Once you gave up drinking did you face, or were you confronted with, any difficult challenges (ranging from minor struggles to setbacks) that threatened your resolve and may have defeated a lesser person. What tests did you face, what allies did you meet?

The only enemy I have to face was myself. As I said earlier, none of my friends compelled me to drink ever in my life. It was my decision to start drinking and it is the addictive nature of alcohol which kept me hooked. Today, I’m getting great support from my family and friends. The happiness my mom, aunts, uncles, cousins, and friends experience after I embraced sobriety is priceless.

It has been two months. I have been sober and I will remain so for the rest of my life.

 

Q: Did you emerge wiser from these trials? In what way did these tests help you prepare for the ultimate test—unwavering sobriety. Looking back now, what advice or warning would you give to others about what could go wrong, and possibly derail their decision to give up drinking?

Our life is a great teacher. Out of my drunkenness and reckless riding, I hit an innocent, elderly pedestrian with my motorbike. He was 73 years old. Still today, I can’t recollect how I hit him or what happened that night. If that elderly person was dead, I would have ended up in jail. To me, thinking about that incident is still scary.

Alcohol is a legally available addictive substance. People cant stop drinking because they are hooked by its addictive nature and nothing else. People think drinking is fun. Even I thought so till a few months ago. But the truth is, I still can’t remember the fun I had while I was drinking.

It is saddening that our society and media is all praise for drinking and smoking just trapping youngsters into the mindset that drinking and smoking are essential for a fun-filled life.

Life is more beautiful if you take away alcohol from it. We can have everlasting, memorable fun and experiences without the influence of alcohol. My advice is don’t try alcohol if you haven’t already and quit it if you are using it.

 

Q: What were your deepest fears during this time? Some people describe this as a battle with “the dark villain” – an inner battle whereby they faced and overcame their own demon and inner fears. Was this your experience? In what way?

The dark villain is me. I was engaged in an inner battle with my own demon. If we need to change our life, we have to take that decision by ourselves, don’t we?

Even before going to counseling I had determined with a half-heart that I had to quit drinking. My family has a background of alcohol and drug abuse. My father died from alcohol-related disease, my maternal grandfather died due to heavy drinking. My paternal grandfather was also a heavy drinker. A few of my uncles, cousins, and family friends are also suffering from alcoholism.

I started experiencing alcoholic depression for the past few years which I didn’t recognize. It was only after counseling that I realized that I was suffering from depression—not from a hangover. I have a great many reasons to quit alcohol not a single reason to continue with it.

 

Q: Describe/recount the time you truly knew you had succeeded in defeating the enemy of alcohol when you transformed into a new state of being – where fears were vanquished and the new you was born.

When you find no reason to drink alcohol, you will quit. What I thought was fun wasn’t fun anymore. When I get bored I have better things to do today other than drinking.

Why should I drink and invite trouble as well as create a deep hole in my purse, if I can do productive, enjoyable things like reading, writing, working out and talking with friends which add value to my life and myself?

We are basically our thoughts. When we change our thoughts, ultimately we change ourselves.

 

Q: What rewards did you reap—external (knowledge, a promotion, career success, improved relationships, better health etc.) and/or as an inner reward (personal growth, fulfillment, freedom, self-respect etc.)

As I said earlier, I don’t have any reason to drink. Moreover, I have more reasons not to drink. Even after two months of alcohol-free life, I can really feel the changes in myself and things I do.

First and foremost, my financial situation has improved. I spent too much money on this destructive habit of mine. I started doing things I love with more vigor and passion. I’m getting an everlasting, joyful and positive high from it. Alcohol disconnected me from my life, my business and myself. Today, I feel that connection is back. It is priceless.

 

Q: Having gained the rewards, and with nothing left to prove, how was your early experience of sobriety?

For the past four years, I was struggling with my drinking. I tried to quit in all ways I can but in vain. I couldn’t stop drinking even for a week. I never read any books like yours in those days.

Today, I feel if I had read the books I read today or attended a good counseling session, I should have got the power to quit alcohol for life earlier. And also I should have avoided all the troubles I had to overcome in those alcohol-filled days.

 

Q: Was there ever a point where you felt lulled into a false sense of security, but in reality, there was one last challenge you had to face? Perhaps the desire for alcohol was not completely vanquished or perhaps something plunged you into a temptation to drink—just when you thought it was safe to breathe easy again?

It was my lack of knowledge and the addictive nature of alcohol. You know, I quit sugar two years ago when I learned the bad effects of it on my physical and mental health. I was too much addicted to sugar from my childhood and when I learned that it was doing me harm I quit.

Why couldn’t I do it with alcohol, even though, I knew it is bad for health, mind, and my purse?

The only reason is alcohol is addictive. It is normal that we defend our addictions by stating ‘today is Saturday’ ‘my friends are here so we are going to party hard’, ‘I can stop it anytime and many more excuses. These defensive mentalities last only until the day we realize the habit we are nurturing is gradually destructing our mind, body, finances, and relationship with our loved ones. I have met with that stage of self-realization and freed myself from a self-imposed prison of my addictive behavior.

Do you think, I want to go back to the prison again? I don’t think so.

 

Describe the moment when you felt truly reborn into a new, joyous form, with your beautiful mind – able to control the desire, temptation or compulsion to drink alcohol. In what way have you been rewarded for your courageous and determined journey?

I can give full credit to the psychiatrist who counseled me. He has a decade-long experience in dealing with alcohol and drug addicts. His level of knowledge fascinated me. He made me realize that drinking alcohol, which I thought was joyful fun, is, in fact, an illusion.

The counseling sessions usually last for three days. By the second day, I learned that what I was doing is wrong and decided to quit alcohol for life. The last day of the session was just a friendly talk and he recommended a few books to read including your book.

Today, I’m not thinking the way I used to be. I have changed and I can feel that transformation. I have got myself back. My business has grown, my passions have started blooming and my financial condition has improved. Today, I started welcoming mornings without hangovers and regrets. It feels great!

The book I prefer from all those I have read since committing to sobriety is your book: Your Beautiful Mind: Control Alcohol, Discover Freedom, Find Happiness and Change Your Life.

 

I’m so thrilled to have been able to help! As I write this post, Justin is working on his business plan and also preparing for an entrance exam for his doctoral degree in journalism—something he doubts he’d be achieving if he was still drinking.

Below is a copy of the review Justin Raj left on Amazon.

5.0 out of 5 starsDiscovering my beautiful mind!
21 May 2018

Cassandra Gaisford’s book- Your beautiful mind – is the first book I read after completing my three-day counseling session at a major alcoholic rehabilitation center in the Indian state of Kerala. Her straightforward way of writing hooked me and motivated me to hold on to my decision to quit alcohol, strongly. She handled the menace of alcoholism from the level of basics to the level of an expert in a language even a layman can understand.

‘Your beautiful mind’ inspired me to think beyond my alcoholic lifestyle, which wasn’t possible before and helped to transform my mind completely. She motivated me to take up my passions- reading, writing, stock market analysis- as fruitful addictions rather than following self-destructive addictions like alcohol, nicotine, and drugs. Today, I can enjoy my life more and feels like I have been freed from a prison – a self-created prison of addictive behaviour. Keep inspiring and keep up your great work, Cassandra!”

 

It was lovely feedback to receive! All power to Justin… I’m so proud of him!

 

Are you struggling with alcohol abuse or alcohol addiction? Are you worried you’re drinking too much? Or are you curious about the life-changing magic of sobriety?

I hope Justin’s story of self-empowered, purpose and passion-filled sobriety provides hope, courage, and determination for you to achieve the same.

“Reading helped me a lot. Knowledge is real power.”

 

Life really is more beautiful sober. You can learn more about Justin Raj and follow his blog here—www.justyjots.com

 

 

This is an edited testimonial for Cassandra Gaisford’s new book Your Beautiful Mind: Control Alcohol, Discover Freedom, Find Happiness and Change Your Life, available in print and Ebook here—getBook.at/Controlalcohol

You’ll also find plenty of ongoing support and cheerleading in the Facebook community https://www.facebook.com/Sobrietyexperiment/. Pop along and join us now.

 

6 Things Successful People Do To Become & Stay Motivated & Happy

Thursday, April 19th, 2018

Staying happy and motivated is like caring for delicate roses, you need to nurture your fragrant dreams every day and be vigilant in keeping predators away. As a coaching client, who suffers from reoccurring bouts of depression, said recently, “Changing my view from one where I am trying to motivate myself, to one where I am inspired by the things that motivate me will help me achieve my goals.”

Successful people don’t force themselves into submission, instead, they harness their love and enthusiasm for their projects to lift them higher. Successful people also know how to bounce back from inevitable setbacks. Guided by the  wisdom of Leonardo da Vinci, here are 6 things successful people do to become and stay motivated:

 

1.) HARNESS THE POWER OF PASSION

 

If there’s no love, what then?

~ Leonardo da Vinci

 

Without love you don’t have energy. Without energy you have nothing.

Passion is a source of unlimited energy from your soul that enables you to achieve extraordinary results. Following your passion and claiming your authentic self is a great way to boost your vitality. Whether you call it joy, love or obsession or desire, these powerful heart-felt emotions are natural opiates for your mind, body, and soul.  It’s the fire that ignites your potential and inspires you to be who you really are.

When people are pursuing something they are passionate about their drive and determination is infinite. They become like pieces of elastic able to stretch to anything and accommodate any setback. People immobilized by fear and passivity snap like a twig. They lack resilience.

Passion gives people a reason for living and the confidence and drive to pursue their dreams. Leonardo was a man of many loves and deep obsessions. These passions imbued him with infinite energy—powering his creativity, courage, resolve, and tenacity.

Sadly, when you’re feeling anxious, depressed or stressed, the things that you love are the first things to be traded. Nothing seems to spark joy. But, when you do something that feeds your soul you may be amazed at how quickly fire ignites.

As Leonardo once said, “No labor is sufficient to tire me”. Even when he was exhausted by life, his passion sustained him.

 

2.) BEGIN WITH THE END IN SIGHT

 

There are three classes of people: those who see. Those who see when they are shown. Those who do not see

~ Leonardo da Vinci

 

Beginning with the end in sight is a powerful way of strengthening motivation, persistence, and perseverance. The future does belong to those believe in the beauty of their dreams and schemes

Every extraordinary achievement starts as someone’s daydream. Dream big, become audaciously obsessed, and fuel your verve—pursue the vision that sparkles!

Let desire propel you forward by acting as if, seeing as if, feeling as if, tasting as if, touching as if your success has already been achieved.

Jessie Burton’s empowering words, “Always picture succeeding, never let it fade. Always picture success, no matter how badly things seem to be going in the moment,” may inspire you as much as they do me.

Her advice reminds me to watch my tendency to visualize and picture failure. Sometimes when I embark on an inspired quest I tell myself messages of failure, and as a result, I feel failure. This is hardly a formula for success!

Jesse Burton, the bestselling author of the highly acclaimed books The Muse and The Miniaturist, is very inspiring to me because she is so honest about her own battles with mental health—including anxiety.

Marcus Aurelius, Benjamin Franklin, and Julia Cameron, playwright and author of phenomenal bestseller The Artist’s Way, all understand the transformational power of keeping words, thoughts, and feelings in journals. As did Leonardo da Vinci.

He was a prolific recorder of all things that interested and excited him. He maintained over 13,000 pages of scientific notes and drawings on natural philosophy, life, travel, and mysteries.

“Preserve these sketches as your assistants and masters,” he once wrote in his journal.

His notebooks not only log his interests and the things he witnessed with his own eyes, but it was also a medium by which he channeled his intuition. They also helped him shape his vision for future creations he wished to transform from his mind into tangible reality.

Whether you keep a passion journal, dream board or store your vision in your mind, visualizing your preferred future is an essential tool for your success.

 

3.) BE AMBITIOUS

I wish to work miracles

~ Leonardo da Vinci

 

Many people struggle to achieve because they’re not ambitious. Being ambitious may stir your fears—fear of success, failure, regret, disappointment, loss. Or it may trigger a fear of standing out. You may associate ambition with negative traits, like aggression.

Reframe ambition and look to your heroes and heroines. As Leonardo once said, “I want to create miracles.” If that’s not ambitious I don’t know what is. He wasn’t hard and aggressive—he was focused and he kept his vision fixed on success.

“Dream big,” encourages James Patterson, currently the bestselling author in the world. “Don’t set out to write a good thriller. Set out to write a #1 thriller.” 

Given that science has barely even begun to explore the real potential of the human mind, it’s a funny thing how easily we persuade ourselves of its limitations and settle for less.

You’ve probably caught yourself thinking about a big dream, some inspired course of action, and at some point talked yourself down by saying, “I could never do that!”

Or perhaps you’ve come up with a bright idea about something and then shelved it because somebody said dismissively, “You can’t do that!” or “That’s crap.”

Or perhaps, as I have so often said to myself before reconnecting with my millionaire mindset, “I can’t do this. I can’t write this book. It’s too big. Who do I think I am trying to write such a complex book?”

But how do you really know what you are capable of unless you try?

Paulo Coehlo, the author of The Alchemist, once said: “Know what you want and try to go beyond your own expectations. Improve your dancing, practice a lot, and set a very high goal, one that will be difficult to achieve. Because that is an artist’s million: to go beyond one’s limits. An artist who desires very little and achieves it has failed in life.”

Thinking big demands a long step outside the comfort zone of what you know.

It can feel scary to contemplate stepping out of the space where you feel you know what you’re doing and you feel fully in control.

It can feel frightening to explore what it would be like if you were to leave the comfort-rut and attempt to climb toward a new summit. You don’t know for sure where it will lead. But everyone who’s ever made a success of anything started with a big dream.

And you can, too.

Tim Ferris dreams big by adopting and cherishing his beginner’s mind. Rather than succumb to the fear of failure, he changes his mindset, and affirms his love of variety and challenge and being a perpetual debutante.

“Think small, to go big” encourages Gary Keller in his book The One Thing. “Going small” is ignoring all the things you could do and doing what you should do.

“It’s recognizing that not all things matter equally and finding the things that matter most. It’s a tighter way to connect what you do with what you want. It’s realizing that extraordinary results are directly determined by how narrow you can make a focus.”

When you think too big, achieving success can feel overwhelming, time-consuming, and complicated. Calendars can become overloaded and success starts to feel out of reach. So, people opt out and either quit or settle for less.

“Unaware that big success comes when we do a few things well, they get lost trying to do too much, and in the end, accomplish too little,” says Keller.

“Over time they lower their expectations, abandon their dreams, and allow their life to get small. This is the wrong thing to make small.”

 

4.) PLAN FOR SUCCESS

 

God sells us all things at the price of labor

~ Leonardo da Vinci

 

Planning and effort prevent poor performance. This is such a powerful message when it comes to our goals, especially if you’re someone who equates planning with feeling controlled. You may be looking to the future thinking, “Someday! Someday I will achieve that.”

How can you be assured that things will happen if you don’t plan your action steps effectively, efficiently and productively?

So many people end their lives disappointed that things didn’t come to fruition. “Why didn’t it happen for me? Why, when it happens for other people.” Successful people don’t sit at home waiting for things to happen. They go out and conquer things.

If you’re sitting back waiting for ‘someday’ you have a problem—you think you have time!

Successful people set goals and start breaking them down into bite-size chunks. If you want to generate $100,000 out of your business in a year what do you need to do to get there? If you want to start a new relationship, or improve the one you’ve got, develop your success strategy. Your efforts will be repaid in exchange for your labor and your courage to try.

Planning for success also means planning for possible failure. As Oprah once said, “Do the one thing you think you cannot do. Fail at it. Try again. Do better the second time. The only people who never tumble are those who never mount the high wire. This is your moment. Own it.”

Planning to for success also means showing up! Successful people don’t spend their time thinking and strategizing about success.

To be inspired is to be in spirit, and inspiration has to find you working or it won’t come out to play. Eighty percent of success is empowering your mind, body, and spirit by showing up.

Showing up requires the ability to balance creativity with flexibility and discipline.

To be disciplined is to be committed, devoted, able to control your SELF in accordance with, and sometimes against, your desires.

You may be a genius, gifted or have an IQ of 160, but if you lack self-discipline and follow-through your success will be limited.

Leonardo affirmed the importance of this by writing reminders to himself of the superiority of doing to knowing.“I have been impressed with the urgency of doing. Knowing is not enough: we must apply. Being willing is not enough; we must do.”

 

5.) CHASE THE LIGHT

 

Darkness steeps everything with its hue, and the more an object is divided from darkness the more it shows its true and natural color

~ Leonardo da Vinci

 

What’s your default position when things go awry, obstacles challenge your resolve, technology goes belly-up or unforeseen demands on your time derail your plans?

Does your mood darken? Setbacks are normal foes you’ll meet on the path to success, but how you greet them will determine the outcome.

Keep your thoughts light. You may need to bring out the big guns to wage war against doubt, despair and other dark, heavy thoughts. While they’re often part of the journey to success, you will need to slay them to stay motivated and optimistic.

Leonardo would turn again and again toward the things that created light. He didn’t ignore the shadows, but he didn’t allow his palette to be overloaded by darkness.

Acceptance, optimism, willpower, grit, stubborn determination and a resolve to persevere are critical skills to cultivate, as is flexibility and the willingness to adapt. Sometimes it’s all too hard and you need to hibernate. You can take a lesson from nature in this regard.

Successful people resist complaining and victim talk—they know it increases toxicity in your mind and body, hampering your progress. Instead, they throw their energy into positivity and strive to engineer and implement solutions, no matter how small.

They also ask for help if too much darkness creeps in, and, rather than suppress, numb or try to ignore problems they peer into the darkness and look for the gift.

The astoundingly innovative and talented British architect Dame Zaha Mohammad Hadid, faced unimaginable obstacles on her road to success, including battling the predominately male industry who viewed her curvaceous designs with destain. “Having to fight hard has made me a better architect,” she once said.

6.) SAVVY SOBRIETY

 

Here again, many vain pleasures are enjoyed, both by the mind in imagining impossible things, and by the body in taking those pleasures that are often the cause of the failing of life. Extremes are to be avoided

~ Leonardo da Vinci

 

Alcohol and success don’t make good marriage partners, but they’re often fatally attracted.

While there’s no evidence that Leonardo was a teetotaller, he was a clever man. Experience would have told him what we all know—too much booze muddles the mind, ignites aggression, reduces responsiveness and ultimately depresses.

It’s also hard to quit.

Many successful people limit their drinking or consciously decide not to touch a drop. Keeping their resolve, however, often takes extraordinary willpower.

Spiritual guru to the stars, Deepak Chopra, gave up drinking, saying “I liked it too much.”

Julia Cameron, the author of The Artists Way, fought her way back from alcoholism. Others like Amy Winehouse devastatingly never made it.

Drink to success? Destroying your career, ruining your relationships, sacrificing your sanity, and taking your life is a massive price to pay to celebrate success.

Benefits of not drinking are many, including:

  • Authentic happiness
  • Increased memory and mental performance
  • Better control of your emotions
  • Increased productivity
  • Sweeter relationships
  • Improved confidence, self-esteem
  • Stronger ability to focus on your goals and dreams
  • Greater intuition and spiritual intelligence

The choice is ultimately yours. Only you know the benefits alcohol delivers or the toll it exacts. Consider trialing sobriety—take the 30-day challenge. Experiment with living an alcohol-free life.

Do you need help to moderate or quit drinking? Consider purchasing any of my books in the Mindful Drinking series, including Mind Your Drink: The Surprising Joy of Sobriety and Mind Over Mojitos: Easy Recipes for Happier Hours & a Joy-Filled Life 

 

For more tips to lift your spirits during times of adversity grab your free tip sheet

The truth about Alcohol Addiction and Recovery—Wrestling With the God Thing

Thursday, January 11th, 2018

“Spiritual and environmental factors are starting to make a bit of an impact but are not fully accepted as a mainstream approach yet (particularly spiritual approaches). But every approach has its day …. and as they do become more accepted maybe it is a matter of watch this space …”
~ Dr. Gillian Craven, Massey University (personal email, 2014)

As I wrote in the foreword to this book, while finishing my psychology degree at the young-old-age of 49 I decided to take a spiritual approach to the treatment of alcohol addiction. The topic proved challenging.

It was the final assignment needed to complete my third-year paper, Abnormal and Therapeutic Psychology. A lot was resting on it. I’d failed my first assignment where I had researched the causes and treatment of obesity. I was told this was because I hadn’t consulted enough empirical data and scholarly articles—relying instead on people’s personal accounts. I was keen to avoid the same mistake.

But I quickly discovered a lack of psychologically-validated research to cite.

Perplexed I asked my lecturer why, when so many alcoholics swear that taking a spiritual approach was instrumental in their recovery, there was a dearth of research?

“The theoretical etiologies of disorders do focus on cognitive, genetic, neurobiological, personality-based theories —this reflects the bias of both the authors themselves and the current Western approaches,” my lecturer, Dr. Gillian Craven, wrote back to me.

“This is for better or worse the zeitgeist of our time. Spiritual and environmental factors are starting to make a bit of an impact but are not fully accepted as a mainstream approach yet (particularly spiritual approaches). But every approach has its day …. and as they do become more accepted maybe it is a matter of watch this space …”

This was back in 2014. In my view, spiritual approaches were, and continue to be, adopted by mainstream practitioners, including Deepak Chopra who offers addiction recovery programs at his Chopra Addiction and Wellness Center.

Alcoholics Anonymous also addresses spiritual issues, and many followers attribute placing their faith in God to their recovery.

The challenge for many psychologists, particularly those focused on academic research, is their inability to measure, quantify, and place spirituality in a test-tube.

“Science has sometimes been at odds with the notion that laypeople can cure themselves,” writes Jarret Liotta in a National Geographic article, ‘Does Science Show What 12 Steps Know?’

The purpose of Your Beautiful Mind is not to prove or disprove anyone beliefs or to discredit any profession, but to present you with options, backed by my own experience, and the experience of others who have struggled to control alcohol—and succeeded.

An increasing number of people also adhere to the belief that God lies within us all—we are God—and it is time to connect to our inner guidance and the ultimate source of empowerment. Many great minds, including Leonardo da Vinci, subscribed to this view.

As we explore an eclectic and holistic range of strategies—spiritual, cognitive, feeling-based, and scientifically validated, to help you control alcohol, I encourage you to adopt an open mind and ‘do a Leonardo da Vinci’ and experiment with different approaches until you find what works for you.

 

This is an edited extract of Cassandra Gaisford’s new book. Be the first to know when, Your Beautiful Mind: Control Alcohol, Discover Freedom, Find Happiness and Change Your Life, is released. Sign up for her newsletter here http://eepurl.com/cQXY4f

Would you like to drink less? Cut back or quit drinking entirely without becoming a hermit, being ostracized, or cutting back on an enjoyable social life.

Cassandra Gaisford’s new book, Sexy Sobriety: Alcohol and Guilt-Free Drinks You’ll Love: Easy Recipes for Happier Hours & a Joy-Filled Life. Available in ebook and paperback here—getBook.at/SexySobriety

Love is the Drug: Mindful Drinking—How to Follow Your Passion to Sobriety

Saturday, January 6th, 2018

Lose the booze and replace the desire for alcohol with a healthy, positive addiction.

Passion is a source of unlimited energy from your soul that enables you to achieve extraordinary results. It’s the fire that ignites your potential and inspires you to be who you really are. When you do what you love it’s like hanging out with your best friend—with less pinot and fewer craft beers.

Following your passion and claiming your authentic self is a great way to boost your vitality. Whether you call it joy, love or obsession or desire, these powerful heart-felt emotions are natural opiates for your mind, body, and soul.

When you’re feeling anxious, depressed, stressed, hungover or drunk, doing things which feed your soul are often the first things to be traded. Nothing seems to spark joy. But, when you do something that enlivens your spirit you may be amazed at how quickly fire ignites.

Passion brings the energy or chi of love, giving you energy, vitality and a heightened sense of well-being. It’s one of the greatest stress-busters and most powerful drugs of all— promoting the generation of endorphins, the feel-good chemicals that will give you a natural high.

The Power of Passion

“Nothing great in the world has been accomplished without passion,” the philosopher G.W.F. Hegel once said. Denzel Washington and many other successfully sober people agree. “You only live once, so do what you feel passionate about, take chances professionally, don’t be afraid to fail,” Washington says. 

Washington also said, “I made a commitment to completely cut drinking and anything that might hamper me from getting my mind and body together. And the floodgates of goodness have opened on upon me—spiritually and financially

.

• Passion is energy. Without energy, you have nothing.

• To be passionate is to be fully alive.

• Passion is about emotion, feeling, zest, and enthusiasm.

• Passion is about intensity, fervor, ardor, and zeal.

• Passion is about fire.

• Passion is about eagerness and preoccupation.

• Passion is about excitement and animation.

• Passion is about determination and self-belief

• Passion, like love and joy, is contagious

• Passion can’t be faked. It’s the mark of authenticity.

 

Passion fuels inner purpose and fires the flames of your imagination. It gives you a reason for living and the confidence and drive to pursue your dreams. Passion enables you to unleash latent forces and God-given talents.

When you find and follow your passion, you’ll find your sweet spot.

You’ll be emboldened by love— thus powering your creativity, courage, resolve, and tenacity. You’ll also bounce back from setbacks, and refuse to allow failure to stop you—increasing your likelihood of achieving extraordinary success.

 

What’s your drug of choice?

Before Grant Cardone built five successful companies (and counting), became a multimillionaire, and wrote bestselling books… he was broke, jobless, and addicted to drugs and alcohol.

Cardone had grown up with big dreams, but friends and family told him to be more reasonable and less demanding. If he played by the rules, they said, he could enjoy everyone else’s version of middle-class success. But when he tried it their way, he says that was when he hit rock bottom.

Then he tried the opposite approach. He said NO to the haters and naysayers and said YES to his burning, obsession. He reclaimed his passion to be a business rock star, a super salesman, a huge philanthropist. He wanted to live in a mansion and even own an airplane.  Obsession, he says, made all of his wildest dreams come true. And it can help you achieve massive success too.

Instead of drinking focus on what excites you.

“I find things I like and I do them,” says James Patterson, arguably one of the most financially successful authors today. Patterson is also the son of an alcoholic.

Feel the power that comes from focusing on your passion obsession. What do you love doing? What inspires you? What makes you feel joyful?

Channel your passions into your career or pour it into a hobby. Even five minutes a day doing something you love can give you back your mojo and take your mind off the need to drink.

Laurie, a hobbyist lepidopterist escapes the need to drink by studying and enjoying his collection of exotic butterflies.

“Knitting saved my life,” the waitress at my local cafe told me recently. She told me how her hobby has provided the ultimate cure for her anxiety, and of the joy she finds in knitting for friends.

I love to write—it’s one of several favorite obsessions, and the perfect activity to do instead of drink, especially when I write books like this to help and empower others. It’s a similar ploy that’s worked well for Russell Brand (Recovery: Freedom From Our Addictions), and Julia Cameron (The Artist’s Way), and other creatives who’ve channeled their creative energy into help others.

Your passion may start as a hobby or as a way to cure your blues, but could very well turn out to be your ticket to a more fulfilling career.

That’s how things rolled for Claire Robbie. At a low point in her life, and drinking way too much, what started as a way of healing became an essential part of her sobriety process, and as her love for her new practices grew, so did the sense that she had discovered a new vocation.

Robbie founded No Beers? Who Cares! to encourage and support people to jump on the alcohol-free bandwagon.

Another go-to-booze-replacement strategy I love is to head off for a swim in the sea or go for a brisk walk.

In the next chapter, we’ll take a look at the life-changing magic of exercise, including how Duff McKagan, bass guitarist of Guns N’ Roses, and one of the world’s greatest rock musicians, cycled his way back from vodka-induced near death.

This is an edited extract of Cassandra Gaisford’s new book, The Sobriety Journal: The Easy Way to Stop Drinking: The Effortless Path to Being Happy, Healthy and Motivated Without AlcoholAvailable in ebook and paperback here—getbook.at/SobrietyJournal

Bonus: Alcohol-Free Drink Recipes You’ll Love!

Pop along to Cassandra’s Facebook page and join the 2018 Alcohol Detox challenge. The best New Years present to give yourself and others may be the gift of your beautiful sobriety https://www.facebook.com/YourBeautifulMindControlAlcoholBook/

 

#Sexysobriety #AddictionFree #TheSobrietyJournal #happy #AuthenticHappiness #teetotal

Booze and Guilt-Free Drinks You’ll Love for Happier Hours & a Joy-Filled Life

Monday, January 1st, 2018

 

 

 

 

How did you enjoy the holiday season? Did you drink too much, wake up in hangover hell or did you resolve to quit or reduce your drinking in 2018? Perhaps you’re like me and are looking for some sexy sobriety alternatives to support your health and wellbeing goals during the year ahead. My latest book offers some carefully curated, sexy and sophisticated booze-free alternatives. Here’s an advance read of the blurb and a few healthy alcohol-free drink alternatives:

Mind Over Mojitos: How Moderating Your Drinking Can Change Your Life

Cassandra Gaisford, a health counselor, holistic psychologist and the #1 bestselling author of Stress Less, Mid-Life Career Rescue and Find Your Passion and Purpose, (BCA, Dip Psych) provides the ultimate sobriety solution— easy to prepare alcohol and guilt-free drink recipes you’ll love.

Mind Over Mojitos: Easy Alcohol-Free Recipes for Happier HouJoy-Filled Filled Life brims with a range of a range of sexy, wonderfully refreshing and healthy alternatives to drinking alcohol.

Cut back or quit drinking entirely without becoming a hermit, being ostracized, or cutting back on an enjoyable social life. These easy to prepare drinks and pre-purchased alcohol-free alternatives can be enjoyed in the privacy of your own home, office party or hip location.

“For readers who sincerely want to stop or rescue their drinking, but lack awareness of healthy alcohol-free alternatives, the recipes in this book will pave the way.”

Not everyone wants or needs to join a support group to adopt a more mindful approach to controlling their alcohol consumption or to deal with their drinking problems

Gaisford provides readers with a series of carefully curated, delicious, and healthy alcohol-free alternatives.

Anyone who needs to be kept on track or inspired by living sober will find genuine help in this refreshingly insightful and solution-focused book.

Mind Over Mojitos grew out of Cassandra Gaisford’s decades-long work in self-esteem, well-being and success coaching.

Organized into two volumes, Spring/Summer and Fall/Winter this book guides you through a variety of different mocktail recipes and booze-free alternatives that will make your tastebuds sing and send your dopamine levels soaring.

Over time Mind Over Mojitos enables you to more easily make positive choices again and again.

Mind Over Mojitos is a companion guide to Your Beautiful Mind: Control Alcohol, Discover Freedom, Find Happiness and Change Your Life—integrating neuroscience, cognitive therapy, proven tools, and teachings to help people suffering from alcohol dependence and addiction.

Mind Over Mojitos’ easy recipes for happier hours & a joy-filled life will help you achieve your goals—whether that’s getting sober or just cutting back—and create positive, permanent transformational change in your life.

Mind Over Mojitos will help you:

  • Take control of your drinking
  • Relieve stress and still have fun
  • Enjoy the taste of sexy and healthy alcohol-free alternatives
  • Eliminate alcohol to do a life and career reset
  • Love drinking minus the booze, hangover, and guilt
  • Join the trend toward tantalizing tee-totaling
  • Enjoy happier hours
  • Improve your relationships
  • Live a joy-filled healthier life.

 

Stop drinking now, here’s a sneak-peek at some of the booze-free recipes to help you love life sober.

Virgin Island Fox

A mocktail version of a classic created for me by the hip-cool folk at Charlotte’s Kitchen in Pahia, The Bay of Islands, New Zealand—my spiritual home. An elegant and restrained cocktail with subtle richness balanced with lovely zest.

Ingredients

• 1 tsp orange marmalade

• 90mls grapefruit juice

• 30mls lime juice

• 15 mls sugar syrup

• Ice

Instructions

• Add all ingredients except the ice into a mixer

• Single strain over ice into a wine glass

• Garnish – grapefruit

 

Asian Pear Sparkler

 

This Asian pear sparkler is smooth and refreshing with an enticing undercurrent of warm autumn flavors and mellow warmth. Rosemary and ginger with discrete tastes of honey finish this splendid drop.

Ingredients

• 1 cup freshly pressed Asian pear juice*

• 1 teaspoon lemon juice

• 3/4 cups honey

• 1/4 cup sugar

• 1 (4-inch) sprig fresh rosemary

• 1 (1-inch) piece fresh ginger, peeled and cut into coins

• Small grating of fresh nutmeg

• Ice

• Soda water

Instructions

Combine pear juice, lemon juice, honey, sugar, rosemary, ginger, and nutmeg in a saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil, then simmer on low heat for 5 minutes, stirring to dissolve the sugars.

Remove from heat and let stand 30 minutes. Strain the syrup through a fine-mesh strainer and discard the solids. Let syrup cool completely.

To serve, fill an 8-ounce glass halfway with ice cubes, add 3 tablespoons of syrup, fill with soda water, and stir. Add more syrup for a sweeter or stronger flavor.

*Note: Use the most flavorful Asian pear you can find; Hosui is a consistently sweet variety. Making 1 cup of juice requires about 1 (12-ounce) pear, peeled and cored. If using a juicer, follow manufacturer’s instructions to extract the juice and discard the pulp. If using blender or food processor, puree the pear until smooth, strain through a fine-mesh strainer, and discard the solids. If you wind up with a little less than 1 cup, top it off with water.

Source: https://www.thekitchn.com/drink-recipe-as-161626

I was thrilled to receive this review for my latest book, especially because Niki is the daughter of an alcoholic.

“More motivating inspiration from Cassandra. Be honest with yourself … do you drink too much? Do you want to take back the control that alcohol has over you? Cassandra shows you how you can do this without missing out on the fun. Complete abstinence does not have to be the answer, neither does drinking water in boring tumblers at social functions have to be subject to questioning peers.

As the daughter of an alcoholic father, I am well aware of my own predisposition. When he fought for control, he would drink orange juice on ice, in a highball glass with a splash of soda and a wedge of orange. It looked just like a Screwdriver and no-one ever questioned it. 

With Cassandra’s advice and delicious mocktail recipes, you too can release the grip of alcohol and regain your life.” 

~ Niki Firth, 5-Star Amazon Review

As she writes, she is mindful of her own genetic predisposition. She’s generously shared a few of her own personal booze-free, healthy alternatives—including the Virgin Screwdriver her Dad would drink when trying to stay sober. “When he fought for control, he would drink orange juice on ice, in a highball glass with a splash of soda and a wedge of orange. It looked just like a Screwdriver and no-one ever questioned it.

Here’s Niki’s recipe for a Virgin Moscow Mule:

Virgin Moscow Mule

 

A refreshing taste of lime with the added zest of ginger but no hangover. World class!

Ingredients

• 1 Lime (quartered)

• Ginger beer (not dry or ale)

• Ice, lightly smashed

• Ginger toffee (optional—recipe follows)

 

Instructions

• Add ice and 2 lime quarters to a mug style glass

• Muddle lime and ice to release juice and flavor

• Top the glass with ginger beer and serve with 2 straws

• Decorate with clapped mint leaves and a slice of lime or alternatively …

• Decorate with some smashed ginger toffee (optional)

Serves 2 / Prep Time less than 10 minutes

 

Grab a copy of Mind Over Mojitos: How Moderating Your Drinking Can Change Your Life: Easy Recipes for Happier Hours & a Joy-Filled Life, and see the scrummy Ginger Toffee optional add-on.

 

This is an edited extract of Cassandra Gaisford’s new book, Mind Over Mojitos: Available in ebook and paperback here—viewBook.at/MindOverMojitosRecipes

Pop along to Cassandra’s Facebook page and join the 2018 Alcohol Detox challenge. The best New Years present to give yourself and others may be the gift of your beautiful sobriety

Share your stories and experiences, we’d love to hear from you! To join, please visit our dedicated Facebook group— https://www.facebook.com/Sobrietyexperiment

How to develop more grit and perseverance – consult the oracle

Monday, November 13th, 2017

I don’t care what you think about me. I don’t think about you at all

~ Coco Chanel

Gabrielle Bonheur “Coco” Chanel had to overcome obstacles to success just like you and I. She suffered many hardships, including the death of her mother when she was young, being abandoned by a father who didn’t love her, growing up in an orphanage, and the stigma of her early years which plagued her throughout her life.

She suffered extreme poverty, self-doubt, low self-esteem and craved love. People jealous of her talent also spread malicious rumors and tried to undermine her success.

But she didn’t let obstacles stop her from doing the work she loved. The pursuit of excellence born from her experience, fueled by her determination to be an independent woman, and the desire to liberate others, ultimately led to her success.

Her boundless imagination, strength of purpose and courageous spirit is an inspiration to young and old. Have you ever wondered what sustained her throughout her life and career?

Tarot and other subjects such as astrology, alternative healing, psychic phenomena, spirituality, and a fascination with the Goddess legends, captured Coco Chanel’s interest.

She, like many people, found great wisdom, peace, comfort and healing from an eclectic array of spiritual rituals.

As the astrologer, Jessica Adams, shares on her website, “Coco Chanel used the Lenormand oracle card deck to help her in business—as well as in her personal life. As my friend, Justine Picardie explains in her acclaimed biography of Chanel, ‘the cards still rest where she left them, lying in a moment frozen in time, in her apartment in Paris.’”

Coco was taught the precepts of Theosophy by the first and foremost love of her life, the English playboy, Captain Arthur Edward “Boy” Capel (CBE).

Theosophy is defined by some sources as, “A collection of mystical and occultist philosophies concerning, or seeking direct knowledge of, the presumed mysteries of life and nature, particularly of the nature of divinity and the origin and purpose of the universe.”

My first experience with psychic phenomena and the tarot was when I was a teenager in New Zealand in the late 70s. A friend had given her baby up for adoption and asked me to come with her to visit a psychic for a reading.

I remember feeling both apprehensive and excited. I was amazed that the reading revealed such true things about my life, and I knew then that there was something special about tarot cards.

Like Coco, it’s a fascination that stayed with me throughout my life and which continues to provide inspiration courage and fortitude—both personally and professionally. No one knows exactly how tarot cards originated. The earliest Tarot deck dates back to the 1400s Renaissance Italy.

‘I’ve come to believe that a lot of wisdom was incorporated in the tarot. I feel, as others do, that the ancient keepers of the old ways or earth-based spirituality, wanted to pass on information,” writes Karen Vogel in the introduction to her Motherpeace Tarot Guidebook.

‘As warfare increasingly became a way of life in the Dark Ages of Europe, old ways were lost as whole cities and civilizations were wiped out.

‘It was more and more difficult to pass on oral and written traditions since whole cultures were destroyed and ancient libraries burned. One of the traditional stories about the origins of the tarot is that the wisdom keepers in these cultures were the storytellers, artists, and healers.

They chose between writing a spiritual or philosophical text or putting the knowledge into a game. They decided that a game in the form of cards would last longer, be more accessible to everyone, and easier to hide.’

By the time of the Renaissance Christianity had dominated Europe as both a political and religious powerhouse. Millions of women, who were often the healers and spiritual leaders, were murdered during the Inquisition. Those who threatened Church authority or knew about ritual and healing, either died or went into hiding, taking certain information with them. It was in this atmosphere that tarot began and subsequently spread all over Europe.

Of all the psychological theories in the West, that of revered Swiss psychologist Carl Jung stands out as most applicable to Tarot.

Jung wrote about Tarot on several occasions, seeing it as depicting archetypes of transformation like those he found in myths, dreams, and alchemy.

He described its divinatory abilities as similar to the IChing and astrology, and late in life established a group who attempted to integrate insights about a person based on multiple divination systems including Tarot.

Jessica Adams also notes, “This connection with astrology is not something that the house of Chanel shies away from today. In fact, I vividly remember Karl Lagerfeld’s illustration of the zodiac sign Sagittarius, decorating my horoscope column in Vogue Australia.”

Astrology also played a major role in Lagerfeld’s campaign for the perfume Chance, where a lion plays a key role. The ‘Chanel-Leo’ is very important when understanding the house of Chanel, the woman who created it—and the fragrance.

Jessica Adams also suggests that one of the cards in Coco’s Lenormand deck inspired one of the secret ingredients contained in Chanel N°5, “…this card shows a beautiful green tree, seven love hearts, and the message… ‘A tree far away means good health—when near—illness there will be, many trees close together means things will turn out all right, you’ll see.’

As we now know, a naturally occurring tree moss is one of the secret ingredients in Chanel N°5 fragrance. A coincidence? Or did Chanel bring together astrology and the Lenormand, when choosing her blend?”

Your Challenge

Experiment with tarot—either have a reading with an experienced tarot card reader or study the cards and their meanings for yourself

Feed your curiosity—take note of the places and circumstances where tarot, astrological symbols and other mystical and occultist philosophies are used—in business and life

How could you blend astrology and tarot into your career and life?

He who has a mind to understand, let him understand

~ Mary Magdalene, in The Gospel of Mary

 

This is an edited extract from The Art of Success: How Extraordinary Artists Can Help You Succeed in Business and Life (Book Two: Coco Chanel) by Cassandra Gaisford. To order a copy for less than the price of coffee and cake click here to go to your online bookshop.

The Life-Changing Benefits of Unplugging

Saturday, September 16th, 2017

“Setting aside protected time each day for direct interaction with people—or for solitude and meditation without the interruption of a Facebook feed or a stream of texts—instinctively feels like a good thing.”
~ John Swartzberg, M.D.

“We’re suffering a sleep crisis,” warns Arianna Huffington, co-founder and editor-in-chief of The Huffington Post and author of The Sleep Revolution: Transforming Your Life One Night at a Time. The chronic need to be “plugged in” is hurting our health, productivity, relationships, and happiness.
Are you suffering from information overwhelm? Are you permanently attached to your device? Does the thought of unplugging send your anxiety spiraling? What if you miss something? What if….what if…

What if you shut it all down and stepped away for a day, a week, a month or more? Consider taking time out to unplug, take a step back, forget about what is expected, forget about what you may be missing, and think about you may be gaining.

Like any addiction, unplugging can be a struggle at first, but the benefits are worth it. Besides the main benefit of being able to enjoy much more hassle-free, uninterrupted time, here are seven other wonderful and lesser-known upsides you’ll notice from making the decision to unplug regularly:

Increased awareness. When was the last time you were fully aware of the beauty that surrounds you? When you unplug you blitz major distractions. You begin to notice small details in people, things, and places that you never really noticed before.

Clarity. Unplugging reduced brain overload. Technological over stimulation overwhelms your mind, reducing your cognitive reasoning skills.

Improved memory retention and mood. Even just detoxing from technology for a day once a week is enough to give your brain a reboot, which can improve your memory and lift your mood.

More brain power. Spending less time being a slave to technological stimulation, provides more time to focus on doing activities that can grow your brain cells—such as indulging in an enjoyable hobby, learning a new skill, visiting a new place, having new experiences, going for a relaxing walk.

Enhanced relationships. Disconnecting from your perpetual tether to iPhones and laptops can do all kinds of great things for your real-world connections with families and friends.This is a no-brainer, but one so many people seem to miss. Putting your device away and giving the people you are with, rather than your device, your undivided attention tells people they’re important to you.

Enhanced productivity. Do you really need constant access to your social notifications, Facebook updates, your email inbox, a bunch of tabs open in your web browser and all sorts of other things to feel in touch and in control? Accumulating interruptions steals peace of mind and minimises your ability to get things done. Any time you’re interrupted from a work-related task by something from your phone or computer, it can take as long as 45 minutes for your brain to refocus.

Mindfulness. When something interesting starts happening, what’s your first reaction? Do you whip out your phone, start snapping photos and begin sharing on social media? Or do you savor the moment and delight in being in the moment? When you unplug, you force yourself to be more present.

“A natural side effect of unplugging is that you stop missing out on what you should be enjoying for yourself, rather than trying to tell everyone on social media about it,” says author Elise Moreau.

Are screens the problem or a symptom?

“It’s become part of our culture to think that being too plugged in’ and too dependent on our devices is the root of our problems, rather than a manifestation of other problems,” says John Swartzberg, M.D.

“Is constantly checking your phone during dinner with your family causing you to be less close to them? Or are you constantly checking your phone because it’s a convenient way to avoid conversations? Are you anxious and having trouble sleeping because you’re spending too much time online? Or are you spending lots of time online to try to tune out your anxiety?” Swartzberg asks.

None of this is to say that Swartzberg thinks it’s a good thing that so many of us are so constantly connected to our devices. “If we spend too much time staring at a screen, the life that is happening right in front of us—our kids’ childhoods, conversations with our partners, work that we can do to help make the world better—may just pass us by.”

Call to Action

Get to the heart of why you’re spending so much time connected to technology. Isolate the benefits and issues, and then make a call whether you need to schedule the time to unplug.
Learn polymath Tim Ferris’s 4 steps to lifestyle design: definition, elimination, automation, and liberation. Watch it here: http://bit.ly/1nTs7jq

 

 

This is an edited extract from Stress Less. Love Life More: How to Stop Worrying, Reduce Anxiety, Eliminate Negative Thinking and Find Happiness

by Cassandra Gaisford. To purchase your copy and learn how to stress less and love life more, click here to go to your online bookshop.

How ambition and Leonardo da Vinci can fuel your success

Friday, April 21st, 2017

I wish to work miracles

~ Leonardo da Vinci
 
Many people struggle to achieve because they’re not ambitious. Being ambitious may stir your fears—fear of success, failure, regret, disappointment, or loss.
 
Or it may trigger a fear of standing out. You may associate ambition with negative traits, like aggression.
 
As Leonardo once said, “I want to create miracles.” If that’s not ambitious I don’t know what is. He wasn’t hard and aggressive—he was focused and he kept his vision fixed on success.
 
Your Challenge
 
Reframe ambition and look to your heroes and heroines.
 
When you think of someone ambitious that you admire who comes to mind?
What qualities do they possess? How could you copy-cat or borrow these qualities and apply them to help you succeed?
 
Keep your ambition a secret—avoid the critics and those who may knock your confidence. When you start to flap your ambition wings other people may feel threatened or jealous
 
It’s cool to be ambitious. People want to hang out with ambitious, successful people. Pursue your big audacious goals! Do the things you think you can’t. Achieve the impossible
 
“The world is in perpetual motion, and we must invent the things of tomorrow. One must go before others, be determined and exacting, and let your intelligence direct your life. Act with audacity.” ~ Madame Veuve Cliquot, businesswoman.
 
Sometimes we need a mentor to encourage us to follow a more creative path. Leonardo da Vinci shares how creativity can improve your happiness, health and success in The Art of Success: How Extraordinary Artists Can Help You Succeed in Business and Life by Cassandra Gaisford.
 
To read a free excerpt or purchase your copy and learn more from Leonardo Navigate to here: getBook.at/TheArtofSuccess

Do it scared – how to charge forward with new confidence and follow your passion to prosperity!

Monday, February 6th, 2017
Do it scared—most of the successful people I know started and continued to create despite their doubts, fears and anxieties. If this is a challenge for you Scott Allan’s new book (aptly titled, “Do It Scared“) comes to your rescue. One of the many memorable things you’ll learn is the importance of mastering your mind. You may have heard this before and know it to be true, but it’s easy to forget and often hard to put into practice.
Stay vigilant, the author warns, stay strong—don’t let self-doubt rob you of your mind mastery. “What do we fear most?” Allen asks, “Confronting problems.”
But herein lies one of the many cures contained with this brilliant book. “Do It Scared” shares proven strategies and powerful formulas to help you transform problems into solutions. The advice is challenging and compassionate – Allen knows how you feel…he’s been there. He’s hit rock bottom and he’s hauled himself out. Now through the honest of his truths and the generosity of his spirit he’s sharing the lessons he’s learned to help you forge a confident identity, master your life, do the things that scare you most and achieve greater personal power.
I really liked the tone and presentation throughout this book. The summaries, or “key takeaways” reinforce key messages and learning at end of each chapter helps consolidate these truths. I particularly enjoyed the strong and evocative words the author uses. Words like “manipulate forge, confront and charge forward.” Softly, softly, fluffy fluffy doesn’t work. You need to don your armour, sharpen your sabre and attack your doubt demons.
One of the sections that really resonated with me was the one on habits and the five steps for breaking bad ones. Allan’s advice to recognize disempowering routines and replace them with winning ones is pure gold! For me one of the triggers that creates a failure habit is being assaulted by energy attacks (negative people, outbursts from others, their drama etc.). As a result of reading “Do It Scared rather then run, withdraw or retreat I’m going to be a rock (not literally!) – people can storm all around me and I’m not going to take it personally. I’m not going to try and fix them either. They can vibrate how they want. What counts is my new habit of maintaining my positive, winning vibration.
Thank you Scott! Thank you also for your section on the lifesavers practices – Silence, Affirmations, Visualization, Exercise, and Reading to improve my thoughts for the day etc. As a result of reading this book I am tooled up with weaponry to defeat the doubt demons and charge forward with new confidence to follow your passion to prosperity!
5.0 out of 5 stars! An excellent book that inspires you to succeed beyond your fears.
A DEFINITE READ FOR CREATING THE ULTIMATE MINDSET! Available from Amazon here http://amzn.to/2kbwNkp
Five things I’ve “done scared,” to follow my passion to prosperity.
1.) I completed this painting of my grandmother, Molly and entered in a portraiture competition.  It was the first portrait I’d ever painted and the first time I’d experimented with painting with oils. My painting was selected as a finalist in The Adam Portrait Award and Exhibition, Wellington Feb 2008. I was so excited!
2.) I entered another competition with a mixed media triptych  (again a first) and won! “Love Stain” was the Supreme Winner Wai Art Awards May 2008.  When I got the call telling me that I had won  I didn’t believe it.  never expected to one. My only goal was to do it scared and put my art out there DESPITE the fear of judgement. “That can’t be right. You must have made a mistake, ” I recall saying. “That other on—the realistic one of Leda and the Swan was far better than mine.” They assured me the painting had won. “Why?” I asked – still disbelieving. “Because it was different,” they replied.
3.)  I commissioned and had built an architecturally designed home, and subdivided my existing property—despite being a single parent with no savings!
4.)  I moved away from my home town of 50 years,  and brought a 10 acre lifestyle property with my partner going unconditional without selling our properties first.That was scary – but exhilarating now that the terror has passed!
5.) I completed my psychology degree, after a then-year study break, at the age of 47—completing four 300 level papers in less then 10 weeks.
6.)  I opened myself up to love again after having my heart broken.  That was scarier than anything ever done. And also the most fulfilling.
7.)  I rescued my daughter from a violent attacker – and did so in a loving, empowered way—even though ever bone in my body was terrified. But I refused to fight terror with terror.
 Looking back on my life there are so many things I’ve done scared—and I wouldn’t have done it any other way!

How to create a new life – harness the power of one and achieve your goals

Friday, January 1st, 2016

one thought,
one feeling,
one intention,
one desire,
one challenge

A very warm greeting to you on this most auspicious day  the first day of the first month – the beginning of a wonderful new year.

One has become my favourite number. I love its simplicity. In an era where overwhelm threatens the peace and equilibrium of so many, ‘one’ makes things easy.

My one goal last year was to overcome my own self-doubt and follow my passion for writing. I love writing. It’s what I was born to do. If I don’t have a pen in my hand, a notebook at the ready, I feel lost, anxious, irritable, Writing soothes my soul. Writing allows me to connect with others and to express the things I care deeply about.

And so with this in mind, I made one promise to myself in 2015 – to publish one book. And then another in my Mid-Life Career Rescue series. Books which would share my own mid-life journey to career nirvana, and the journey of other seekers too.

And in turn, my hope was that sharing these stories would inspire you.

So it’s been exciting to read the reviews and hear from people who have read my first books in the Mid-Life Career Rescue series. People like Hillary who said, “This is the perfect gentle nudge needed to move me forward and make those scary life changes.

I was scared last year too. I wondered how my books would be received. I wondered if anyone would like them. I feared public rejection, bad reviews, losing the time and money I had invested – all those things. But my desire was stronger. I didn’t want to wonder, ‘what if.” What if I had taken a risk and published my book. I took the risk, and it’s been worth it. I chose to change my focus  – to create in my minds eye everything I that dreamed of and saw in my mind’s eye, that I wanted to become ‘true.’

Going to bed last night on New Year’s Eve after celebrating the last day of 2015, to find Mid-Life Career Rescue: (What Make You Happy) twas #1 on the best-seller list on Amazon was amazing. And waking up today on the first day of 2016 and finding it was still #1 was fun!

So if there’s one thing I would encourage you to do this year it would be this – feel the fear and follow your passion anyway. Be curious, be playful, be adventurous and see where these feelings take you.

If you know anyone who needs a gentle nudge this year to make a change for the better the link is here http://amzn.to/1JmGq5C

What’s one intention you could make this year that, when followed through, would make a tremendous difference to your life? Please let me know on in the comments section of this blog

In the meantime I leave with you with this inspirational sculpture created by renown New Zealand Sculptor Chris Booth. My partner commissioned it for my 50th birthday last year. Together the three of us named it Viewfinder, which I love given my passion for photography. Of course, a viewfinder is the tool that enables you to find your point of focus. The viewfinder is the single most important user interface on any camera. And your viewfinder – your point of focus, the thing that captures your interest, your attention, your passion, is the most important tool in creating your best life in 2016. Set your focus, capture your desires and allow them to motivate and guide you throughout the hours, weeks, and months which follow.

Viewfinder Chris Booth web

I wish you a very happy new year. May 2016 bring you continued happiness and joy.

Three days to train a horse. Three days to change a habit.

Wednesday, July 22nd, 2015

IMG_2846Golden Dream, one of the pregnant mares we’ve been babysitting, started eating the fences while we were away for three days. My partner said, ‘Something has got to change, either the horses changed their behaviour or they have to go.’

You may be wondering, what does this have to do with writing or any act of creativity? I didn’t want the horses to go, just like I don’t want to give up my dream of being published in fiction.

Over the years I’ve heard a lot of talk that it takes 21 days to change a habit, but where’s the evidence? Why 21 days? What if the truth was it only takes three days to change a habit? That would be cool.  Three days is manageable, easier to chew and simpler digest. Then add three more days, and three more, until voilà you have achieved seven sets of three and a new habit is ingrained. Of course it can’t stop there. A new habit has to continue to be effective.

I proved my horse theory of behavioural change today. Day three and the horses are retrained, I’m still working on training myself to change unhelpful behaviours, including procrastination, but here’s a few things I’ve learned recently from other pro’s:

Don’t be discouraged by the size of the task

Don’t be discouraged by the size of the task. Robert McKee, story guru to the stars, including Peter Jackson and many other high achieving creatives, says it takes 10 years before you can master the craft of writing. Joanna Penn, New York Times and USA Today best-selling novelist and author of one of the top 10 blogs for self-publishers, wrote recently of author Blake Crouch’s 10 year journey through different forms of publishing – his Wayward Pines series is now a TV show. 10 seems to be a magic number, just like 3.

 

Think like a pro and be prepared to learn

Think and act and feel like a pro. No one achieves pro status without some sort of apprenticeship. Like any apprentice you have tasks to learn from other experts on the journey to craft mastery.  Joanna Penn, for example attends workshops and learns from other successful people in her field. Other pro’s do the same.

“Excellence of any kind is based upon knowledge,” says Robert McKee. “You have to do research, you have to know what it is you are trying to do. The more you understand what you are trying to do the better you will be at it. The notion you can rely in instinct is foolishness.”

 

Do the work

“Show up, show up and soon the muse shows up too”, says author Isabel Allende. Show up, put your bum on the seat, and put your pen in hand and do the work.  “You can’t actually make a living from writing if you’re not actually writing, ” says Joanna Penn – very wisely! Some authors suggest writing at a set time every day, others advocate for a more flexible approach. Know what works for you and stick to it. Determine the goals you want to achieve. Whether it’s a quota, a set amount of time to write, or a defined task to conquer, determine what you are going to do and stay at work until your done.

 

Write faster

Prolific Amazon best-selling author Steve Windsor, warns against over thinking. Write faster, he says. This is a great way to minimise the internal critic and the perfectionist. They can come out to play later, the main thing is to get down the bones, at least then you’ll have something to work with. If you have no words you have nothing to go back and edit later. Steve Windsor speaks from experience – with nine books out in eight months he knows how to be a writing machine.

 

Practice habit creep

Changing human behaviour is often considered to be one of the hardest things to do in business and in life, writes James Clear.  James studies successful people across a wide range of disciplines — entrepreneurs, artists, athletes, and more — to uncover the habits and routines that make these people the best at what they do.

What if,  he asks in a recent newsletter, we trusted that becoming more successful  came as a natural side effect of improving our normal routines? It makes absolute sense that as our normal habits improve so will our successes – whether this is because our daily word count goes up, or we churn out more books over a year, or what ever else we want to achieve.

James Clear has coined the phrase ‘habit creep’  to describe the idea of ‘slightly adjusting your habits until behaviours and results that were once out of reach become your new normal‘.

He advocates two primary ways to change long-term behaviours and improve performance for good:

  1. Increase your performance by a little bit each day. Most people take this to the extreme, he’s says.
  2. Change your environment to remove small distractions and barriers. Most people never think about this.

 

I’ve been implementing many of these strategies to increasing success. I’m breaking the task of finishing a book of fiction into manageable tasks. I’m practising habit creep and writing fast by working in 40 minute intervals of timed writing bursts, followed by 10 minutes of cardio!It’s so important as a writer not to be sedentary.

I’ve also changing location, moving out of the house and into the garden to minimise the distraction created by unlimited WIFI and interruptions at home. Look, even Golden Dream is cheer-leading me on as I write!

Watching podcasts by writing professionals, and joining writing forums and communities of writers with similar aspirations has been fabulous too, tuning up my mindset and providing me with ‘my tribe’ and a sense of belonging.

It’s day one of making these changes in my writing life, but having trained the horses to stop eating the fence in three days by making slow, incremental adjustments to their routine, I’m optimistic that I can create new habits that lasts a lifetime too.

 

Everyone gets obsessed with achieving their very best day—pulling the best score on their test, running their fastest race ever, making the most sales in the department. I say forget that stuff. Just improve your normal day and the results will take care of themselves. We naturally make long-term changes in our lives by slowly and slightly adjusting our normal everyday habits and behaviours.” ~ James Clear

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