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Posts Tagged 'creative unblocking'

Instantly 4x Your Productivity Scientifically Engineered Hacks Proven to Increase Focus And Reduce Distractions

Tuesday, October 13th, 2020

 

“The mind that engages in subjects of too great variety becomes confused and weakened.”

~ Leonardo da Vinci

Distractions are like flies. They buzz around you discordantly driving your focus from your project of heart to shit. Shit tasks, shit goals, shit things to complete. You must swat them away.

Be vigilant. Know when your flies are most likely to land. First thing in the morning? Mid-afternoon? Close of the working day? “Away” you must say. “Be gone you pesky shit-sucking flies.”

I have challenged myself to dedicate the next three weeks to finish my book. It was a bumpy start. People around me are unhappy and downloading their stress on me.

I walked to the garden and then to my she-shed and did manage to get a good two hours of productivity done. But then some friends want to bring the date forward to come up and have a glass of wine with us.

On the one hand, it will be great to see our friends. On the other hand, having these friends up here earlier than planned is not going to help me finish.

I’m annoyed. Halfway into town to purchase wine and nibbles, I think of Paulo Coelho. He once said that his writing space became a bunker and no one could have access to him. I need to set firmer boundaries. Either that or, as my friend Heather Morris did, take myself away. I talk more about this in, No! Why ‘No’ is the New ‘Yes’: How to Reclaim Your Life, Shine in the Sun, and Be Authentically You

For now, I decide to talk to myself kindly. I can come back and I can claw back time later. I can let our friends stay late if they wish and I will go to bed early and wake up fresh.

Before the good-times begin and they arrive even if word by word I write for another 30 minutes it will be more than I feel inclined to finish.

While in my shed I glance up at my inspirational blackboard and see the words scrawled in soft white chalk, “I am willing to write badly. I am also willing to allow genius.” My soul feels soothed.

As Elizabeth Gilbert shares in Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear, “The Greeks and the Romans both believed in the idea of an external daemon of creativity—a sort of house elf, if you will, who lived within the walls of your home and who sometimes aided you in your labours. The Romans had a specific term for that helpful house elf. They called it your genius—your guardian deity, the conduit of your inspiration.”

The ancients didn’t believe that an exceptionally gifted person was a genius; they believed that an exceptionally gifted person had a genius.

To seduce my guardian deity and protect her from shit-sucking flies I am running a distraction log for at least a week and then looking at the data I’ve gathered to look for patterns. Already, on day one, I have seen a theme. My distraction triggers mostly come from my monkey mind.

During a half-hour writing task, I’ve noticed my mind leaping from branch to branch like an ape and buzzing like flies in a high-density swarms. Spreading a diversity of pathogens that infect my focus, they alight first on thinking about posting a picture of one of my paintings on social media. Next, thinking about emailing a client. Then wondering about whether I should create a short story from the scene I have just finished.

Next, as my gaze swarms around the sitting room, it alights upon the couch. I wonder if I should wash the covers today. Then I recall the photos I looked at yesterday of our trip to Japan. ‘Perhaps I’ll share a few on Instagram or even load them to my Flickr account’, I think.

All the while I delude myself that I am focusing on my writing task. Only my mind is not at full capacity. It is like a radio station slightly off frequency. Static and shrilly discordant sound-bites arrest my creativity. My genius sulks. I am asking too much. I am asking my muse to share her with everyone else.

I continue at a crawl. ‘Oh,’ I think, ‘maybe I could learn Indesign and lay out my children’s book.’ Perhaps, I could start my How to Illustrate a Book course. Shall I email my other client with some tips about narrating her book?’

Then my darling partner comes in and reads the headlines from the news. Now my distractions are no longer internal. The external world has landed in my writing bubble is a big toxic heap. “Domestic violence is the second pandemic sweeping New Zealand in the wake of the COVID-19 lockdown”, he tells me.

I feel sick. Then angry at the brutality of humanity. My mind shifts to my idea for a crime novel where the heroine avenges all the nasties who get away with violent crimes against women.

I’m exhausted. I close my laptop. I’m done. I’m spent. Leonardo da Vinci is right. My mind has engaged in subjects of too great variety and has become tired and weak.

“In ancient Greek, the word for the highest degree of human happiness is eudaimonia, which basically means “well-daemoned”, whispers Gilbert from her book. My daemon has forsaken me. She is keeping company with someone devoted to her. I am unhappy. No, correct that, I am in despair. I want her back. ‘Give me another chance. I’ll be better. I promise,’ I plead.

I meditate, go for a walk have a coffee break and decide to lock myself in my room for a productivity burst. Wish me luck! Before I go I remind myself of something I read in The Book of Joy by Dalai Lama and Desmond Tutu:

“Focus is so important that neuroscientist Richard Davidson found that one of the four neural circuits of well-being was dedicated to our ability to focus the mind.”

Despite this sage sound-bite my mind wanders again. Why is it so hard?

There are divergent thoughts on what it means to be focused. Some people believe you should focus on only one thing, one task, one priority, one book at a time.  Only when you have finished that task, they say sagely, do you move to the next. Great! If that works for you, you have your success strategy.

But some people thrive on variety. Seeing one thing through to the end often bores them—stifling their creativity and productivity. That’s me.

If a lack of focus is something getting in your way, really drill down into the causal factors. Play the role of a scientist. Discover the cause, identify the effect, hypothesise solutions, and experiment until you find a strategy that works. Perhaps the issue is less about focus and more about self-discipline.

Eckhart Tole, author of The Power of Now, advocates surrender. Whatever is holding your attention now—surrender to it. Focus on what you ‘should’ be doing at a later date.

Juggling too many balls? Prioritise them, set a timer, and allocate segmented time for all the competing activities you feel must get done. Practice creative procrastination. Ask yourself, “What is the best use of my time right now?” Put off everything else.

Gary Keller, in his bestselling book The One Thing, advocates going small—narrow your concentration at any one time to one thing. Ask yourself, “What’s the ONE thing you can do this week (or whatever time period works for you) such that by doing it everything else would be easier or unnecessary?” Sometimes I go small by setting the timer and dedicating myself to my one task by working in 15-minute sprints. I talk more about this in The Prosperous Author: Productivity Hacks: Do Less & Make More.

You may find that too much environmental mayhem is hindering your winning writing mindset. Studies have shown that a cluttered environment restricts your ability to focus. Consider streamlining your environment to create the ultimate mindset.

Remind yourself of a time when you struggled to focus. What worked then that you could apply now? Focus your energy on the things that are important to you. What is the ONE thing you can do this week which will make doing everything else easier or unnecessary?

As I share in the Art of Success, take a holistic swipe at things holding you back from living your best life. Declutter your emotional, physical and spiritual environment. And keep swatting those dis-ease riddled flies.

 

 

This is an edited extract of Word By Word by Cassandra Gaisford

Available in 2021

 

Helpful resources mentioned in this post

 

The Prosperous Author: Productivity Hacks: Do Less & Make More

To enjoy your copy from Amazon, click here>>getBook.at/AuthorProductivityHacks

To enjoy your copy from iBooks, Barnes & Noble and other great bookstores, click here>>https://books2read.com/u/banDDq

To enjoy your copy from Kobo, click here>>https://www.kobo.com/nz/en/ebook/the-prosperous-author-how-to-make-a-living-with-your-writing-productivity-hacks-do-less-make-more

 

No! Why ‘No’ is the New ‘Yes’: How to Reclaim Your Life, Shine in the Sun, and Be Authentically You

To enjoy your copy from Amazon, click here>>getbook.at/NoTheNewYesBook

To enjoy your copy from iBooks, Barnes & Noble and other great bookstores, click here>>https://books2read.com/u/3JDK5P

To enjoy your copy from Kobo, click here>>https://www.kobo.com/nz/en/ebook/no-why-no-is-the-new-yes

 

The Art of Success: How Extraordinary Artists Can Help You Succeed in Business and Life (Book One: Leonardo da Vinci

To grab your copy of the Art of Success from Amazon, click here: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01IR11NAO

To grab your copy from iBooks, Barnes & Noble and other great bookstores, click here: https://books2read.com/u/bPJqYJ

To grab your copy from Kobo, click here: https://www.kobo.com/ebook/the-art-of-success-5

 

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If you like my work you can support me on Ko-fi>>ko-fi.com/youinspireme 

You might like:

How To Find Your Passion and Purpose and Heed the Call For Courage

Why Little By Little Is The Fastest Way to Finish a Book

The Surprising Benefits of Working With Purpose

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 >>

 

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How guavas and working from home is the ultimate refuel strategy

Sunday, September 27th, 2020

 

“That should put more lead in your pencil.”

~ Lorenzo

When you visualise something, you imagine it in your mind. When I visualise breakfast, I conjure the dynamics and disruptions making and eating it entails. I am tempted to find everything that takes me from my writing as a distraction. This morning I resented being pulled away by my partner who was happy, and in a good mood, and wanted to make breakfast for me. He wanted us to go together into the garden and pick fresh guavas from the tree.

“So what’s the problem?” I hear you ask. The problem—if I chose to see it that way, which I did at the time— was that I was in full creative flow. Stopping for breakfast was the last thing I felt like doing.  My writing was being fed. My writing was being nourished.  My writing was chomping down, after days of famine, on a plate full of word-porridge.

The worst thing anyone could possible do was to drag me kicking and screaming to my highchair. I didn’t need to be fed. I was happy. I was productive. I was writing.

I had to do a quick mindset shift. Or rather, I chose to, because I don’t want to be a lonely, solitary, unloved writer. “But we love you. We love your books,” I hear you say. “You are the queen of uplifting inspiration.”

To inspire others I need to inspire my self. And love sustains that. I know not everyone agrees. Many creatives are adamant that they need to live on their own to create great art. But I don’t. I want to share my life with an actual person. One that makes breakfast for me!

I know with Lorenzo by my side life it is a whole lot easier. It’s a lot, lot easier to do my work. Well sometimes.

The encounter and my attitude to Lorenzo’s cheerful request challenged me to reprioritise what is truly important.  As I wrote in The Art of Success, Coco Chanel once said, “A simple life, with a husband and children—a life with people you love—that is the real life.”

Chanel shared that one of her biggest regrets is that she didn’t spend more time devoting herself to love—instead she chased the wrong dream.  Wealthy, lonely, and childless, she died by herself in The Ritz.

So I affirmed to myself, “This is good. This is fine. This is time to be together and nourish my mind.”

Later as we ate together my king said, “That should put more lead in your pencil.” And it’s true. Having a loving partner and eating good food should not be seen through the lens of distraction. Instead, it should be celebrated as fuel for our creative soul. I write more about powering your creativity with nourishing choices in The Happy, Healthy Artist.

The truth is that there are greater, more dangerous demons, masquerading as distractions.

Deadly distractions are also created by manic multi-tasking, all-consuming emails, frequent family dramas and other demands on your energy and time. Even seemingly reasonable requests can deter you from your course. Like my king suggesting today that I should create a blog about working from home.

It’s not an unreasonable idea. Especially, as I write this chapter, the whole world is in lockdown during the COVID-19 crisis. His suggestion may even be profitable. But I don’t want to write about working from home.  I want to write about creative unblocking. And then I want to create some art and put into practice what I’m sharing with you.

So here’s the thing that worked for me today. I have to say it’s a beautifully simple and effective strategy, but it’s also one I actually haven’t been doing.  I just simply said to myself, “I am in lockdown from 2 to 4 and I am not to be distracted.”

I took myself to a non-distractive place, which was sitting outside in the garden. And I wrote.  In this case, it was dictating into my manuscript something I had handwritten during a restless night of insomnia.  Dictating is the perfect strategy when you feel blocked because you have something you can actually do. You can just engage the other side of your brain and put some flesh on the bones of your ideas.

That’s not to say I wasn’t tested. The thing about working from home is there are always distractions.  Especially when your home is a 10-acre property and you live with a perfectionist.  The wonderful thing about living with Lorenzo with his distaste for chaos is that there is not a blade of grass out of place and everything is manicured—perfectly.

It’s a beautiful serene non-chaotic place to create.  The truth is that when I feel everything is getting messy and chaotic, it does my head in to be surrounded in mayhem. I find it hard to focus.

When my king approached my little locked-down bubble of writing mirth in the garden later that day and told me he was going to spray some weeds between business calls. I felt guilty. I should be doing some housekeeping and cleaning. I should be helping!

My intention to be in lock-down from two to four protected me.  I just took a little mind-spa break and I did a micro clean. In 10 minutes I dusted and wiped and swiped, which cleansed eyestrain and mental overload and mopped away any guilt. The old, non-quarantined me might have mopped the floors, cleaned windows or flogged the linen with my procrastination whip until I had cleaned the whole damned house.

But no, I had an important appointment.  I had a non-negotiable time blocked out in my calendar. And it felt great. Empowering. Freeing. Validating. But  I doubt it would’ve felt so great if I was hungry, famished, my blood sugar levels plummeting because I hadn’t eaten breakfast.

Okay, maybe this could be a blog about working from home.

This has been an edited excerpt of Word by Word: Lessons on Writing, Love, and Life. COMING SOON

 

free guided hypnosis meditation

Is writer’s block, procrastination or self-doubt holding you back? The cure may be as simple as shifting unhelpful beliefs. So often, we aren’t even aware of what our self-limiting beliefs are.

If your unhelpful thoughts are ingrained, or you keep sabotaging your own success, reprogramming stubborn, disempowering beliefs may be a game-changer.

Harness the power of your superconscious with this guided hypnosis meditation. Create the optimum state of mind for your writing or creative projects.

You’ll be subscribed to my newsletter and receive helpful tips and inspiration to live your best life. You can unsubscribe at any time.

Click here to receive your free guided hypnosis meditation—Creating An Optimum State of Mind>>https://dl.bookfunnel.com/v3ul0lajve

 

 

DID YOU ENJOY THIS POST?

You may also like:

How Princesses and Toads Can Teach You What You Need to Know

What 14 Self-Employed Business Owners Wish They Knew at the Start of Their Career

Why Little By Little Is The Fastest Way to Finish a Book

 

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 receive a free gift when you sign up for Cassandra’s newsletters and get more help to live your best life.

Why Ugly Is Where the Magic is

Sunday, June 21st, 2020

 

“I’ve always found beauty in flaws,”

Anna Friel

 

I’ve been having fun embracing my shadow side and working with things I regard as ‘ugly’. As I wrote in an earlier post, (How to take something ugly and make it speak up for you….)  I was listening to an audiobook by Nancy Hill M.D., The Artist’s Journey: Bold Strokes To Spark Creativity. Nancy offered an exercise where, rather than turn away from ugly, we embrace it and love it. When I lived near Peter Jackson in Wellington I used to hate graffiti. I also hated black – Wellingtomnians wear TOO much of it (in my humble opinion). I also loathe rubbish people chuck out their cars and a host of other things.

Here is a list, of things I have, and may still do, consider ugly, in no particular order:

  • The colours Grey, White, Black, and Red (nothing personal! – and often changeable)
  • Grafitti
  • Rubbish
  • Chaos
  • Sludge
  • Crime
  • Bullying
  • Drunks
  • Nastiness

 

I rose to the challenge and created some new works, embracing the ugly. Many of my works are inspired by abstract expressionists. For example, the beauty of bold crawls and graffiti-inspired works of CY Twombly. Also the colour field intuitive paintings of Helen Frankenthaler. And where would I be had I not experienced the pure joy of training with Max Gimblett in Maui who introduced me to the spiritual flow of Sumi ink, quatrefoil and the shine of Expoxy resin?

I’m happy to say, my experiment with embracing ugly has heralded unexpected joy – and beauty. Just as Nancy promised.

“And when the “ugly” painting emerges, will you value it? Will you see that “ugly” paintings come into your life bearing gifts if only you’ll receive them? Make room for both the paintings you love and the paintings that scare you—the ones you see as threatening. Make room for “ugly” paintings so you can create the deepest work of your life. Trust yourself to explore the things that scare you. These are the unexpressed, unexplored parts of yourself where your unlived dreams reside. This is the realm of play, improvisation, and pure creativity. This is where the magic is.” *

 

“Autumn Rhythm (Number 20) – After Jackson Pollock, 2020.”
Gesso, acrylic and vinyl polymers, epoxy, aqua size, Japanese ink, coloured pigment, epoxy resin on board

 

“Scribe”

hanging on my wall at home waiting For a lucky new owner who loves this mixed media creation as much as I do

 

 

“Let Go”

“Every line is the actual experience with its own unique story” ~ Cy Twombly

Mixed media, oil crayon, acrylic, passion

 

Scribble⠀

“I never really separated painting and literature” ~ Cy Twombly

Mixed media, oil crayon, gold leaf, acrylic, passion

Canvas 760mm x 1200mm

Handcrafted in New Zealand

GOLOV-20

Do what you love! One of the things I love most about encaustic painting, molten beeswax, is the way the honeybees comes to the studio while I am working. This is a close-up of a new work created during global ‘rest time’. Called ‘GOLOV-20 In honor of the new movement sparked by Dr. Joe Dispenza. So much loving energy! So much healing:) so much joy

 

“Rhapsody – After Helen Frankenthaler 2020″

Another from my Word Painting series, I’ve included it in my ‘uglies’ because of the imperfection. But do you know what, I love, love, love this ‘blemish.” This was my first attempt at using epoxy resin, which turned from disaster to delicious. Well, I think so anyway. (it set too fast because I warmed it out and used a plastic vessel for the pour)

Gesso, acrylic and vinyl polymers, epoxy, aqua size, Japanese pink coloured pigment, epoxy resin on board

 

 

Oh, I received some lovely feedback about my ‘ugly” paintings:)

 

“Your beauty shines through even in your ‘ugly work’!!”

 

Would one of these paintings look fab in your home or office? All paintings are for sale. Find out more and check out more of my work here>>https://www.cassandragaisford.com/gallery/

 

 

Are you a black sheep?

And another thing about falling in love with black. I wrote and illustrated a children-adults-book called, Lulu is a Black Sheep.

This book was inspired by the realisation that I too am a black sheep. I’ve never felt I belonged in my family. I was always, and still am, criticised, shunned, and blamed when I don’t walk to their beat. And I’m nearly 55 years young! Sometimes they’re good. And sometimes they’re not. But love them anyway, and I’ve learned to act in a different way.

I woke in the night in the early hours of day three of the COVID-19 lockdown in New Zealand, and I heard a kiwi outside.  Hearing the kiwi call out last night, reminded me that they must feel like black sheep too. Our national birds are not like other birds. They have funny bodies, are nocturnal and they cannot fly. I love that kiwis embrace who they are and don’t try to change.

They’ve learned to adapt to stay alive, and at night they forage, and shuffle, and sing with great happiness and joy.

I created this book for my younger self. I made this book for you and your children. I wrote this book with love, and happiness, and glee.

Read this book at bedtime, at times of stress or pain or joy! I hope you find this book a great treasure trove of comfort. This book is always here for you—no matter what!

Stay in your bubble, dear readers. Follow your truth. But most of all keep being your beautiful self.

Much love

 

 

 

 I am proud to find beauty in ‘ugly’ and to help others do the same in my wellness-based approach to my work as a holistic therapist, energy healer, Reiki Master, artist and self-empowerment author who is not afraid to challenge the status quo. I believe, as Picasso does, that “art washes from the soul the dust of everyday life” and is healing for the soul.

 

 

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How to take something ugly and make it speak up for you….

 How to be the rock that resists adversity—mind, body and soul food during COVID-19

Emotional alchemy—the spontaneous healing power of joy

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

 

  • Nancy Hills, The Artist’s Journey: Bold Strokes To Spark Creativity (p. 61). The Artist’s Journey. Kindle Edition.

 

 

Lulu is a Black Sheep

To purchase on Amazon, click here>>getbook.at/LuluBlackSheep

To purchase on Kobo, click here>>https://www.kobo.com/ebook/lulu-is-a-black-sheep-1

To purchase on iBooks, Barnes & Noble and other great bookstores, click here>>https://books2read.com/u/mqvO66

 

AUDIOBOOK

Kobo

https://www.kobo.com/nz/en/audiobook/lulu-is-a-black-sheep-2

Audible . . .coming soon

Have you heard of Whoop Therapy?

Thursday, May 21st, 2020

Transform your life in minutes!

Laughter really is the best medicine! I just got off a coaching call. We laughed and giggled and whooped. “I felt stuck before my coaching with you,” my client shared. “I didn’t know what I wanted to do. But now I have direction.”

Her feedback made me smile. Helping others is such a joy. I love and appreciate my clients so much – their courage, their vulnerability, their willingness to reach out and ask for help.

“What helped?” I asked.

“Talking out loud with someone who is practical and inspirational.”

To schedule a session or discover how I can help you, email cassandra@cassandragaisford.com, text or call +64 21873833

I offer a range of transformational life and career rescue remedies, including:

Quantum Transformational Coaching (QTC) to rapidly breakthrough limiting beliefs, sabotaging thoughts, subconscious blocks, and outdated scripts that are holding you back. Laugh therapy optional!

For more details or to schedule a call, please visit

https://www.cassandragaisford.com/wellness-therapies/

 

 

Quantum Transformational Coaching—all your questions answered

A therapeutic approach as unique and multifaceted as you are

Quantum Transformational Coaching (QTC) is a life-transforming therapy created by Cassandra Gaisford (DipPsych; Dip Counselling) with a proven ability to create self-empowered change rapidly. QTC integrates a number of modalities including—not limited to CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy), Hypnosis, Reiki, Interactive Drawing Therapy, Solutions Focused, Appreciative Enquiry, Rogerian (feeling based therapy), Choice Therapy, Positive Psychology, and hypnosis. By combining these modalities, rather than being limited by one dominant approach, incredible transformation, tailored to your unique needs occurs at all levels essential to your well-being— mind, heart, body, soul, and in your relationship with others.

 

QTC offers a holistic smorgasbord of therapies to create transformational change rapidly

The two-hour life-transformational therapy with Cassandra; anywhere in the world via Skype, with an optional 1-hour upgrade available.

QTC Therapy can successfully recalibrate and treat:

  • Feelings of not being good enough
  • Worrying what others think of you
  • Addictions and substance abuse, incl. alcohol, sugar, over-eating
  • Anxiety and depression
  • Money blocks and financial worries
  • Fear of public speaking
  • Stress, burnout, and overwhelm
  • Feeling stuck, blocked, or self-sabotaging behaviour
  • Anger, rage, and resentment
  • Sleep issues
  • Relationship issues

Anything that holds you back from being the best version of yourself can be reset in one personalized two-hour session. Feel free of old emotional issues, patterns, and scripts affecting your behaviour. Feel empowered, motivated, self-empowered and more certain of your passion, purpose, and direction. Feel better equipped to deal with situations constructively with less stress and better results. Immediate results guaranteed.

My Personal QTC Therapy Story

 

As I share in my Mid-Life Career Rescue books,  I once was in a job that was so stressful it gave me shingles. I worked with a career counsellor who employed IDT as part of her tool-kit. I drew the picture of the bird (I now use on the covers of my books) trapped in a cage with the door open but she didn’t think she could fly. My coach cried.

But then she and I developed possible solutions, including applying for a minimum of six jobs even if I didn’t think I had a hope of getting them.

And I didn’t think I had a hope.

I really felt nobody would employ me. But my coach kept me focused on my dreams. She helped me realize what I really needed it in a job to feel happy—at work and in life.

And she helped me believe that even though I thought it was impossible…that maybe – and that was a tiny, tiny maybe for me at the time with how I felt – that maybe I could make my dream career come true.

So I applied for these jobs – even ‘far out’ ones I didn’t think I could get. But I still only had five job applications in my career basket.  So on a wing and a prayer, and because I needed one more to keep my coach off my back, I made a “cold call” (they didn’t know me and I didn’t know them) and approached an organisation that I thought had the integrity and true commitment to caring for people in the workplace that I really needed and which was lacking in my current role.

And blow me down – if I didn’t get offered the job I never thought I would get. Plus the company I really wanted to work for didn’t have a job but they created one for me—actually, we co-created it, because I was so clear about what I needed and what I could offer. And they were clear about how I matched what they needed to. Proof that when passions collide expect to get hired. In fact, they said to me, “Thank you so much for walking in the door.” (so if you’re nervous and feel you’re imposing on people—don’t be! They’ll be glad you showed initiative – and if they’re not? Move on.)

I became the National Manager of Careerlines for an Employer Assistance Programme provider, a new division which complemented their personal and crisis counselling services. They let me develop a new business, with all the tools and approaches I wanted and felt was important to help people make good career decisions, over stress and trauma in the workplace and find their happy place. My first client was suicidal—so I promptly asked for training to become a professional counsellor – just to be sure I was keeping people safe.

While studying for my counselling qualification a prerequisite was that I had to receive counselling myself from an experienced practitioner. Makes sense! I wanted to get the most from this requirement so set out to experience as many therapeutic approaches as possible…even ones I thought (at the time) sounded weird—like energy healing, body-talk, and more.

My father (pictured above) in his later years was a noted researcher and healer. He was an early pioneer in the field of apitherapy. As Wikipedia so excellently sums up, “Apitherapy is a branch of alternative medicine that uses honey bee products, including honeypollenpropolisroyal jelly and bee venom. Proponents of apitherapy make claims for its health benefits which remain unsupported by evidence-based medicine. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apitherapy.)”

The last line (“health benefits which remain unsupported by evidence-based medicine”) is especially pertinent to my father. He was a tireless campaigner who fought to have alternative approaches to healing accepted by the medical establishment. Many of the treatments that were then regarded as unconventional, ‘woo-woo’ cures —including acupuncture, are now widely accepted, and in many cases have been validated using evidence-based techniques. In large part, it is not that the cures did not work, it is the humankind lacked the technology to evidence or measure the results.

You can read more about him and how his interest in Chinese medicine and holistic approaches influenced me here—http://www.cassandragaisford.com/celebrating-the-life-and-legacy-of-an-extraordinary-man-graeham-william-gaisford/

Anyway…

While I am an advocate for alternative approaches to healing, I also value evidence-based techniques. My evidence is gained both from the extensive work I have done with clients, and also the transformational change I have created in my own life including:

  • Leaving a job I hated and creating one I love
  • Finding a loving relationship after years of loneliness
  • Raising a daughter as a single parent
  • Overcoming social anxiety and my fear of public speaking and presenting my passion-driven work model to a global audience
  • Bouncing back from suicidal ideation following a failed engagement
  • Supporting loved ones through periods of extreme despair, including substance abuse, relationship abuse and attempted suicides
  • Releasing my fear of judgment, standing out from the crowd and failure
  • Breaking free of self-sabotaging behaviour—including not being able to finish my books (now, in less than two years, I have written and published 28 best-sellers. My self-published book, ‘Mid-Life Career Rescue’ was an Amazon.com 2015 #1 bestseller. You’ll find many of my other self-empowerment books here—Author.to/CassandraGaisford

 

QTC Works! It Has Worked For Me and It Has Worked For My Clients

‘Thank YOU!  Our coaching was immensely helpful, and I have renewed hope for finding my way.  You are simply lovely, and brilliant, and wise.  So glad our energies aligned and I found you!’

~ Lisa Webb, artist, New York

 

‘Cassandra has been great to work with. She’s flexible in her approach, but also keeps the coaching sessions focused and productive. I was unsure about having the coaching via Skype, but it hasn’t been a problem at all. I still feel a strong sense of immediacy and connection and come away from our sessions feeling energized and empowered.’

~ Jan, communications professional, New Zealand

 

“A coaching session with Cassandra is like a light switch to a light bulb. My ideas were there but without that light switch I wasn’t able to see them and manifest my dream of running a holistic business from home. Straight away, Cassandra was able to get to the heart of my core values and how to put them into a dream business. I now have the sense of purpose and drive to achieve my business goals. Cassandra’s warm personality and positive approach make her a joy to work with. I recommend her to anyone who wants to unlock their personal and professional potential.”

~ Shelley Sweeney, writer & Reiki practitioner, New Zealand

 

QTC therapy is available via phone or Skype, anywhere in the world.

Become the best version of yourself now. Book your session by emailing me Cassandra@cassandragaisford.com

You might like:

Does talk therapy actually work?

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

 

Did you enjoy this article? Subscribe to this blog and receive a free gift when you sign up for Cassandra’s newsletters and get more help to live your best life.

What do bees, art, happiness and healing have in common? New works: Custom art made with molten beeswax

Monday, April 20th, 2020

Peace, love, joy


Custom beeswax art made with molten beeswax applied on canvas board, fused with sultry flame, finished with love. Art that smells divine and soothes the soul

 

 

 

Wisdom of the golden snake

Another new work. Feeling inspired during COVID-19
beeswax and fire. Custom-made on hardboard

Colour field painting in my studio and outside

Available now. Shipping worldwide

 

I absolutely loved the honey bees flying all over the studio today when I was doing my beeswax painting and here is a lovely wee soul on the edge just looking and studying and absorbing. My father was a beekeeper, so this is even more special to me. It is to my father that I owe my love of research and a deep commitment to, and interest in, alternative forms of healing—now commonly known as (and increasingly accepted by those against ‘non-conventional’ medicine and forms of treatment) as holistic health.

My father dedicated his later years to helping others and was an early pioneer in the field of apitherapy. As Wikipedia so excellently sums up, “Apitherapy is a branch of alternative medicine that uses honey bee products, including honeypollenpropolisroyal jelly, and bee venom. Proponents of apitherapy make claims for its health benefits which remain unsupported by evidence-based medicine. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apitherapy.)”

The last line (“health benefits which remain unsupported by evidence-based medicine”) is especially pertinent to my father. He was a tireless campaigner who fought to have alternative approaches to healing accepted by the medical establishment. Many of the treatments that were then regarded as unconventional, ‘woo-woo’ cures —including acupuncture, are now widely accepted, and in many cases have been validated using evidence-based techniques. In large part, it is not that the cures did not work, it is the humankind lacked the technology to evidence or measure the results.

 I am proud to continue his tireless campaign today in my holistic, health and wellness-based approach to my work as a holistic therapist, energy healer, Reiki Master, artist and self-empowerment author who is not afraid to challenge the status quo. I believe, as Picasso does, that “art washes from the soul the dust of everyday life” and is healing for the soul.

 

 

 

Check out more of my work here>>https://www.cassandragaisford.com/gallery/

Commissions Welcome.

 

Did you enjoy this post? You may also like:

 

Feel the heat>>https://www.cassandragaisford.com/feel-the-heat-new-works/

What inspires me>> https://www.cassandragaisford.com/what-inspires-me/

Celebrating the life and legacy of an extraordinary man—Graeham William Gaisford>>http://www.cassandragaisford.com/celebrating-the-life-and-legacy-of-an-extraordinary-man-graeham-william-gaisford-2/

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 receive a free gift when you sign up for Cassandra’s newsletters and get more help to live your best life.

Word by word…you can write a whole book that way!

Saturday, April 18th, 2020

 

 

Dear readers,

I’m currently working on a passion project of mine that I’ve been a mid-wife for during the last nine years. As I write this work of fiction set in Renaissance Italy I’m also reflecting on my creative process and penning the lessons I’ve learned in a new creative memoir, non-fiction book, Word by Word: Lessons on Writing, Love, and Life I hope you enjoy this excerpt and it fuels your own creative unblocking.

 

Looking in the Review Mirror

 

Writing, you may think is moving forward, word by word. But the truth is, sometimes we have to look in the rear-view mirror. By glancing backwards, we check how far we’ve come, measure the miles, and go over the piles. The piles of drafts, the piles of false-starts, the piles of creative U-turns.

Which is why I keep a draft folder, including scenes I’ve deleted and also those I’m still working on. I’m a big fan of using Scrivener, rather than relying on Word documents to store scenes and drafts.

Scrivener is both my car, the road I’m travelling and the roads less travelled. I can see in a glance the journey ahead and glimpse in the rear-view mirror the completed drafts and those in the final stages.

Like today, I sat down in a bit of a blank. I’d set aside an hour to write. I know, it should be two hours—2 pm to 4 pm as a wrote in my previous chapters, right? But sometimes life gets in the way. Sometimes an hour-long drive is more productive than leaving the car in the garage.

Often when you sit down to write your mind can go blank, or it can overheat up with so many options and choices. Then your anxieties and fears and creative blocks can jump in the car and put their muddy footprints all over your writing. Or they can wrench you out of your flow like a carjacker pulling you out of the driver’s seat and flinging you into the ditches of despair. Or, more likely, driving you to the fridge, the laundry, or whatever procrastination habit you block your writing days with.

What I do at this point after I’ve thrown myself to the ground, crying, “I’ll never finish this book,” is set my timer and methodically review my scenes. I open my trusty Scrivener file and began at the bottom, sifting through drafts and notes and reuniting with scenes I’d forgotten I had written.

Then voilà, I’m travelling down unexplored lanes, journeying into new landscapes – driving away from my despair into familiar and exciting new territory. It reminds me that all I have to do is ride with my manuscript by my side.

I don’t always have to be adding words. All I have to do is work with as much as I can see through my 15-inch laptop frame. That’s my window screen. I can forward, and I can look back. This is all I have to bite off at the time being. It’s all I am going to do right now. Right now, I’m going to review my drafts and then when I’m done reviewing, I’m going to write with word by word. I may add one more paragraph, or add some notes about things I need to add, or scenes I need to write.

E.L. Doctorow once wrote, “Writing a novel is like driving a car at night. You can only see as far as you headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way.”

I’m reminded of the scene in the movie Driving Miss Daisy. It’s a film about a relationship that improves the more time the characters spend together. Its central theme is the passage of time. The film presents us with small vignettes connected to the seasons of the year. It charts the growing relationship between the characters Hoke and Daisy. As they age, we see every wrinkle on their skin and sense, without it being pointed out too strongly, how fragile and fleeting this thing called life really is.

Hoke Colburn: [Hoke is driving Daisy to Mobile] Did I ever tell you about the first time I ever been outside the state of Georgia?

Daisy Werthan: No, when was that?

Hoke Colburn: Oh, a few minutes ago.

When you feel creatively blocked, say to yourself in the kindest possible way, “Darling, all we are going to do now is take a drive through the story. We can stop if you like, take a break, write a few words, then set off again on the road less travelled. But right now, this is as far as we’re going to travel today. We’re just going to take it word by word. But we are going to get outside the state of inertia. We are going to show up and get in the car.”

 

This has been an excerpt of Word by Word: Lessons on Writing, Love, and Life

 

 

Available soon

 

free guided hypnosis meditation

Is writer’s block, procrastination or self-doubt holding you back? The cure may be as simple as shifting unhelpful beliefs. So often, we aren’t even aware of what our self-limiting beliefs are.

If your unhelpful thoughts are ingrained, or you keep sabotaging your own success, reprogramming stubborn, disempowering beliefs may be a game-changer.

Harness the power of your superconscious with this guided hypnosis meditation. Create the optimum state of mind for your writing or creative projects.

You’ll be subscribed to my newsletter and receive helpful tips and inspiration to live your best life. You can unsubscribe at any time.

Click here to receive your free guided hypnosis meditation—Creating An Optimum State of Mind>>https://dl.bookfunnel.com/v3ul0lajve

 

 

DID YOU ENJOY THIS POST?

You may also like:

How Princesses and Toads Can Teach You What You Need to Know

What 14 Self-Employed Business Owners Wish They Knew at the Start of Their Career

Why Little By Little Is The Fastest Way to Finish a Book

 

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 receive a free gift when you sign up for Cassandra’s newsletters and get more help to live your best life.

Breakfasts, lockdown, and breaking the procrastination virus

Tuesday, April 7th, 2020

 

 

 

A simple life, with a husband and children—a life with people you love—that is the real life.”

~ Coco Chanel

A simple life, with a husband and children—a life with people you love—that is the real life.”

~ Coco Chanel

I know I set out to tell you every single thing I know about writing, but I’m also going to tell you every single thing I know about breakfast, partly because the dynamics and disruptions are so similar.

I am tempted to find everything that takes me from my writing as a distraction. This morning I resented being pulled away by my partner who was happy, and in a good mood and wanted to make breakfast for me. He wanted us to go together into the garden and pick fresh guavas from the tree.

‘So what’s the problem?’ I hear you ask. The problem was—if I chose to see it that way, which I did at the time—that I was in full creative flow. Stopping for breakfast was the last thing I felt like doing.  My writing was being fed. My writing was being nourished.  My writing was chomping down, after days of famine, on a plate full of porridge.

The last thing I wanted to do was to be dragged kicking and screaming to my highchair and fed. I was happy. I was productive. I was writing.

I had to do a quick mindset shift, or rather I chose to, because I don’t want to be a lonely isolated, unloved writer. “But we love your books,” I hear you say. “You are the queen of uplifting inspiration.” 

I am not unloved, but I want to share my life with an actual person. One that makes breakfast for me!

I know with Lorenzo in by my side life it is a lot, lot easier. It’s a lot, lot easier to do my work. Well sometimes.

The encounter and my mood that day challenged me to reprioritize what is truly important.  As I wrote in The Art of Success: Coco Chanel, she once said,

A simple life, with a husband and children—a life with people you love—that is the real life.

Chanel shared that one of her biggest regrets is that she didn’t spend more time devoting herself to love—instead she chased the wrong dream. She died a rich and lonely woman, by herself in The Ritz.

So I affirmed to myself, “This is good. This is fine. This is time to be together and nourish my mind.”

Later as we ate together my king said, “That should put more lead in your pencil.” And it’s true. Having a loving partner and eating good food should not be seen through the lens of distractions. Instead, it should be rejoiced as fuel for our creative soul. I write more about this in The Happy, Healthy Artist.

There are greater, more dangerous demons, masquerading as distractions.

Distractions are also created by multi-tasking, emails and other demands. Even seemingly reasonable requests like my king suggesting today I should create a blog about working from home.

It’s not an unreasonable idea. Especially as I write this chapter and the whole world is in lockdown during the COVID-19 crisis.  His suggestion may even be a salable idea. But I don’t want to write about working from home.  I want to write about creative unblocking. And then I want to create some art and put into practice what I’m sharing with you.

So here’s the thing that worked for me today. I have to say it’s a beautifully simple and effective strategy, but it’s also one I actually haven’t been doing.  I just simply said to myself, “I am in lockdown from 2 to 4 and I am not to be distracted.”

I took myself to a non-distractive place, which was sitting outside in the garden. And I wrote.  In this case, it was dictating into my manuscript something I had handwritten during a restless night of insomnia.  Dictating is the perfect strategy when you feel blocked because actually you have something you can do. You can just engage the other side of your brain and put some flesh on the bones.

That’s not to say I wasn’t tested. The thing about working from home is there are always distractions.  Especially when your home is a 10-acre property and you live with a perfectionist.  The wonderful thing about my perfectionist is that there is not a blade of grass out of place and everything is manicured—perfectly.

It’s a beautiful serene non-chaotic place to create.  The truth is that when I feel everything is getting messy and chaotic, it does my head in to be surrounded in mayhem. I find it hard to focus.

When my king approached my little locked-down bubble of writing mirth in the garden later that day and told me he was going to spray some weeds between business calls I felt guilty. I should be doing some housekeeping and cleaning. I should be helping!

My intention to be in lock-down from 2 to 4 protected me.  I just took a little mind spa break and I did a micro clean in 10 minutes which cleansed eyestrain and mental overload and mopped away any guilt. The old, non-quarantined me might have mopped the floors, cleaned windows or dusted with procrastination whip until I had cleaned the whole damned house.

But no, I had an important appointment.  I had a non-negotiable time blocked out in my calendar. And it felt great. Empowering. Freeing. But  I doubt it would’ve felt so great if I was hungry, famished, my blood sugar levels plummeting because I hadn’t eaten breakfast.

 

This is an edited extract of Word By Word by Cassandra Gaisford

Available for pre-order soon!

How to Overcome Creative Blocks—Creative Unblocking Women’s One Day Retreat

Monday, February 10th, 2020

 

I’m super thrilled to let you know that the next Creative Unblocking retreat is 14 March. Be quick…small group size only (yay!)
 
Artists, musicians, photographers, writers, frazzled mums—and aspiring creatives
* Burst through the barriers that stop you from creating
* Revitalize your creative soul
* Be inspired by like-minded people
* Overcome doubt, fear, procrastination and other blocks
* Relax, unwind, and destress in a magical coastal setting with views that will elevate your spirit.

Join me on Saturday, 14 March 2020 for a one day workshop of fun, fab, and creativity frivolity. Soak up the inspiring sea, sky, and sensual delights abundant on our 10-acre soul sanctuary 10km from Kerikeri.  10-4 pm.

 

SAVE 50 % EARLY BIRD SPECIAL Only $60.
book and pay before 14 February

$120 for enrollments outside this date

To book call: 021 873 833

or email: Cassandra @cassandragaisford.com

To book call: 021 873 833
or email: Cassandra @cassandragaisford.com

 

WHAT PEOPLE ARE SAYING:

 

“Yesterday I attended the exceptionally talented Cassandra Gaisford’s Creative unblocking retreat which took place within the tranquil grounds of her stunning property overlooking the ocean.

We started the day with an initial relaxed chat over a refreshing glass of chilled spring water and then headed to the shade of a beautiful old oak tree where we settled down in hammocks and beanbags for a guided Lotus Heart meditation.Feeling blissfully relaxed we headed to Cassandra’s studio next to the pretty herb garden, where we were encouraged to choose colours, draw pictures and write words and phrases which related to the situations in our lives that were causing us anxiety, distress or blockages.

Despite initial hesitation from a few of us Cassandra was very patient and soon the images and words were flowing thick and fast onto large sheets of paper.I personally hadn’t ever done anything like this and it was incredibly insightful..how we bury so much and suddenly it’s all ‘out’ and in front of you.Cassandra then helped us interpret what we had produced from her counsellor’s perspective…we all found this exercise incredibly helpful.

Next, we headed to the kitchen garden where we picked our lunch from an abundance of rocket, tomatoes, peppers and salad leaves. After a cup of Kawakawa tea we headed back to the studio where we shared some healing sessions and discussions.

I left the retreat feeling wonderfully relaxed and energised and ready to move forward with my projects with a new vigour and insight.

I truly recommend attending one of Cassandra’s workshops when you have the opportunity.”

Trudie Smith

Psych-K facilitator

Creative Unblocking TECHNIQUE…How I manifested my soul mate and a multi-millionaire lifestyle property

 

 

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