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Posts Tagged 'Finding Joy'

How to rejuvenate your life and change careers in four easy steps

Tuesday, October 22nd, 2019

Yay – it’s spring here in New Zealand and fall for my friends on the other side of the world.

Spring and autumn are wonderful seasons for rejuvenation. They signal a time to begin life anew and release that which no longer brings you joy. They herald a time to reflect on what you wish to remain the same and the things in your life you wish to prune.

Rather than leap too far into your future, pause a while and consider, when you get to the end of the year and look back, what will tell you this has been a successful month?

Me? I’m co-creating more joy. And after a rocky 9 months full of much disruption it’s great to be collaborating with my daughter on our first book together,

How to Find Your Joy and Purpose: Four Easy Steps to Discover A Job You Want And Live the Life You Love. And it’s thrilling to be about to tell you that it’s available for pre-order NOW!

Success to us includes surrounding ourselves with people who spark joy and accept and love us as we are, believe in the beauty of our dreams, and who help them come true. And vice versa. Success to us is also helping our clients and friends achieve their dreams too. Which is why we wrote How to Find Your Joy and Purpose.

So it was heartening and soul-enriching today to receive this email from a client, who when she first came to see me was very depressed, and feeling hopeless about her work situation. She now has a shiny new job and has created what I call “a career combo” – making time for her creative passions, while still enjoying her bread and butter corporate job: “I am really excited about the role and kinda need to pinch myself that I have got it!! And I have just landed a paying client for my photography which is exciting!! I hope all is going well for you up north and you are living the dream! Once again thanks for setting me on this path!!”

I also leaped with joy when another client who has been training with me to become a certified life coach sent me the link to her website. I loved helping her make a few changes to make it really sing and to reflect her key brand and passion-driven message—we are all treasures and we all have gifts, sometimes we need help to bring our areas of brilliance to the surface.

I love, love, love that Lynnie is in her sixties. In  Lynnie’s case, she is transitioning by combining her skills as a midwife, offering supervision to other health professionals and offering coaching on the side.

It’s what I call a career combo—or others refer to as a side-hustle. Lynnie is living by example that you are never too mature to change careers and live again. I write more about this and offer more tips for mid-lifers wanting to move from a job that no longer fulfills them, or that they’ve even come to hate, in the Mid-Life Career Rescue series. Check out Lynnie’s gorgeous new website here>>www.thetreasurechest.co.nz.

You can also follow her story of career reinvention here>>http://www.cassandragaisford.com/rebirthing-a-new-career-lynnies-reinvention-story/

Rejuvenate your life

Perhaps you’re like my client and like me, you’re ready to make some changes in your life. As the buds begin to flourish on the trees I’m aware of all the potentialities that exist, and of all the things that can flower in my life. I’m also aware that I need to cultivate the things that matter most to me and extract myself from things, people and situations, which in the grand scheme of things, matter least.

As you prepare to let go of old ways of being and make way for your new life, here are just a few of many ways that you can rejuvenate your life:

Harness the power of your mind. There’s three things you need to know about the mind, says UK Hypnotherapist and author Marisa Peer, it only does what it thinks you want it to do; it responds to the pictures in your head and the words you say to yourself; and it likes what is familiar.

So if you really want to make a change, rather than procrastinate or make excuses or engage in activities that take you further away from your goal, it’s really important you do the things you say you want to do. No excuses! I put this into practice by making sure I do the things most important to me FIRST, before other demands or distractions crowd in.

It’s also important that you surround yourself with images and words that reinforce your goals and desires, and which enable you to see vividly how you will feel when you have made a change for the better.

This is where empowering, feeling-based affirmations come in too. If, as one of the clients does, you desire to be a photographer, instead of affirming, “I am a successful photographer,“ try affirming, “It feels amazing, joyful, and so much fun to be a successful photographer.”

Instead of saying, “I want to be a writer,” you could say, as Marisa Peer affirmed to herself when writing her book, “I love writing. This I what I’ve chosen to do.”

Prior to this she had been feeling isolated writing and feeling a little resentful that she was not out having a good time with friends – which of course told her mind that she wasn’t really wanting to write. So instead, she retrained her mind, saying repeatedly, “I love this. It’s like having a lover I can’t wait to come home to it and I’m staying up all night with it. When I wrote I would tell myself this book is great, this book is fantastic, this book is amazing. I constantly imagined people loving it. I’m really glad I told myself that when I was writing it, because if I hadn’t, I wouldn’t have had the courage to keep doing it.”

Repeated practise produces outstanding results. Make your new desired state your habit. Practise. Practise. Practise. One of the things I do to create new habits and cultivate familiarity is to write at a regular time, in a regular place. I’ve also had great fun and success create a Star Chart, rewarding myself with stickers on my calendar when I achieve my daily goals.

“As you get into your groove, you find your faith.” ~Marissa Peer.

 

Cull bad habits. Aligned with adopting new behaviors is the need to eliminate any inappropriate effort, or habits, that create results you no longer want in your life. Watching TV, for example, creates the unwanted results of having less time to spend on more fulfilling creative endeavors or to improve the quality of your relationships. People’s growing addiction to Smartphones and social media updates is even worse. For me, having more spring in my step has meant embracing the joy of sobriety. I share my journey, tips, and strategies in Mind Your Drink: The Surprising Joy of Sobriety Control Alcohol, Discover Freedom, Find Happiness and Change Your Life

Sometimes personality traits you once valued also have to be culled. I can’t give you the recipe for success, but I can failure, try to please everyone, all of the time – some sage person once said. And never a truer word has been said. For me right now I’m working at letting go of trying too hard to please and accommodating others’ agendas and apologizing when others don’t like who I am and what I do and trying to make others feel better at the expense of my own happiness—and productivity. I’m also working on my ‘flaw’ of devaluing my own gifts and areas of genuis! There I said it. Genuis!

Instead, I’m placing a value on authenticity, joy, and happiness – as well as cultivating more mindful, compassionate assertiveness.

 

In my Free To Be Me life coaching programme (http://www.worklifesolutions.co.nz/services-for-individuals/life-coaching) we call these your Living Values. Living values replace outmoded values and behaviors that once may have served you, with those which allow you to be free to be you. Life’s too short and you’re too important not to live your best life.

Be a seer. Take a page from the Maestro’s book, and do as Leonardo da Vinci would. Commit to making new discoveries based on painstakingly detailed, amazingly acute observation. Study people you admire and emulate or copy-cat their success. If you aspire to be a published author you may wish to analyze what makes a great story with emotional impact. If you want to be a chef, travel the world via the Internet and find people who are experts in their field. Sign up for a class, interview them, or just start making some of their dishes to get a feel for what they do and how they do it.

Leonardo’s success strategies have been such an inspiration to me I wrote a whole book to share his wisdom with you: The Art of Success: How Extraordinary Artists Can Help You Succeed in Business and Life (Book One: Leonardo da Vinci). To purchase your copy and learn more from Leonardo navigate to here: getBook.at/TheArtofSuccess

If you want more confidence and self-esteem, think of someone you respect who possesses these qualities and when you find yourself in a situation that requires you to be more confident, ask yourself, ‘what would (this person) do now?” Then do that thing, even if you have to fake feeling confident in that moment.

If you want to change careers, or gain experience in a different field, when an opportunity comes up don’t turn it down because you feel your not ready, not good enough or any other self-limiting belief.

Trust whatever happens you’ll handle it. Know that the best learning happens when you have a hands-on experience.

Like my client Lissie who dreamt of being a fashion writer.  I put her in touch with a Dutch fashion designer who wanted help with re-branding her business.

“I’m not trained. I’m not qualified, she said at first.

“Where’s your evidence that you’re not ready? You love fashion, you love writing, you’ll be a natural. Give it a go – you may surprise yourself,” I encouraged her. “Ok, she said, taking a gulp, “I’ll do it.”

“Just met with Lissie,” wrote back the fashion designer, “What a beautiful soul. She’s going to get started this week.”

 

 

Cultivate everyday poise and balance. Practise balance and grace in everything you do. Find your center, your core truth, and strengthen it. Rediscover your natural alignment. Listen to your body barometer. Feelings of tension are clear messages from your soul that you’re off center. Feelings of calm confirm you are in a state of natural flow. Like I am now as I sit outside immersed in the Bay of Islands, overlooking the serenity of the sea, surrounded by silence, but for the birds who sing contently in the trees.

Sounds blissful – and it is. But bliss is something I work at every day. Yesterday a storm raged – not literally, but recent traumatic events really rocked my equilibrium. As his holiness The Dalai Lama once said, “Negative thoughts are like weeds, they grow unattended. Positive thoughts are like flowers, you have to nurture them every day.”

So now I’m taking my peace back. Yesterday is history, and now is the gift of the present-centred awareness. It’s spring, and I have a wonderful rejuvenating vision for the future – one I intend on protecting from frosts that could destroy them, and nurturing so they may awaken and achieve their most beautiful potential.

I share the exact strategies I use to bounce back from stress, trauma, and anxiety in Bounce: Overcoming Adversity, Building Resilience, and Finding Joy

I hope a few ideas have resonated with you as you cultivate your own rejuvenation. Remember, obstacles don’t have to stop you, you just need to find a way to overcome them.

 

Wishing you every success

 

Best wishes

p.s.

 

Listen to How to Find Your Passion and Purpose

Oh, my gosh! I am so excited that my most popular book, How to Find Your Passion and Purpose is now available as an audiobook. Listen to an excerpt here>>

Quotes to inspire

 

“I invented my life by taking for granted that everything I did not like would have an opposite, which I would like.” ~ Coco Chanel

“There will come a time when you believe everything is finished. That will be the beginning.” ~ Louis L’Amour.

“Your power to choose the direction of your life allows you to reinvent yourself, to change your future, and to powerfully influence the rest of creation.” ~ Dr Stephen R Covey

“Perhaps one of the greatest distinctions between five-sensory and six-sensory people is that five-sensories worry about how they’re going to make it in the world, whereas six-sensories always know that the Universe will there to help them in every way.” ~ Sonia Choquette, Author

“The most important thing in a creator is inspiration. Inspiration transfigures human thoughts and passions. If the composer is but a virtuoso of writing, he will not attain true beauty, nor will his ideas be sublime. Pity the poor artist not driven by passion.”~ from the movie Mozart’s Sister.

 

HELPFUL RESOURCES AND TOOLS MENTIONED IN THIS BLOG

 

EMPLOY YOURSELF! TRAIN TO BE A COACH

Is your job stressing you out? Cassandra is passionate about helping people change careers and create businesses they love and still pay the bills! If you share her passion and are seeking work that is fulfilling, financially rewarding and flexible becoming a career and life coach may be just what you have been looking for!

Work with passion and purpose! Become an accredited:

• Career coach

• Life coach

• Happy at Work coach

• Creativity coach.

• Personal fulfilment coach

 

ONLINE CERTIFICATION COURSE NOW AVAILABLE

Discover how to make money as a life coach, earn extra income on the side, and easily create your own online business using the Worklife Solutions fail-proof system and attract your first paying client in weeks. All from the comfort of your own home or exotic destination.

Navigate to https://the-coaching-lab.teachable.com/p/worklife-solutions-coach-training-foundation-course

For more course options navigate to: http://www.worklifesolutions.nz/coach-training

 

FOLLOW YOUR PASSION AND PURPOSE TO PROSPERITY

Focus Your Energy and Time to Achieve Outstanding Personal and Professional Results With Absolute Certainty and Excitement.

What if you could increase your success, health, and happiness with a few simple steps? How would your life be different if you had more energy, motivation, confidence, and self-belief? What if you could hit your business, personal and financial targets easily? Imagine waking up every morning looking forward to your day, working and living with purpose, passion, and profit.

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

https://the-coaching-lab.teachable.com/p/follow-your-passion-and-purpose-to-prosperity

 

SELF-EMPOWERMENT BOOKS

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

Bounce: Overcoming Adversity, Building Resilience, and Finding Joy

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

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

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How to Future-Proof Your Career. Why Mid-Life is Fab

Tuesday, October 1st, 2019

Fifty, Sixty, Seventy…and more! Midlife can be fabulous!

 

Thank you for your birthday wishes, everyone. I had such a lovely day and was spoiled fabulously. Plus, I found time to do what I love – fine-tune the narration of one of my most popular books,Mid-Life Career Rescue Isn’t it wonderful when you love what you do? I feel so blessed.

I love being an author. It means I can do what I love forever! Thank you to you!

Have you ever wondered how to age-proof your career? You’ll find plenty of inspiration in the midlife career rescue series.

After nearly 54 years searching for my defining purpose in life I finally had an “aha” sparkly-light flash of insight.

And it was staring me literally in the face. However, it took the divine guidance of another lightworker to spotlight the obvious. Last night I purchased Rebecca Campbell’s book, LIght is The New Black. Here is the passage that spoke to me (notes in brackets are mine):

“My entire life I’d had this weird fascination with a thing called ‘nominative determinism’ – when people’s names fit their calling or purpose in life, like little clues from the heavens. For example, William Wordsworth was a writer, Larry Speakes is a White House speaker, Tracey Cox is a sex therapist, and Lisa Messenger is the founder of Collective Magazine. (Similarly, Joanna Penn is a writer) But I’d always felt a bit cheated by my name. In Hebrew, Rebecca means ‘knotted cord,’ or ‘to bind.’ I didn’t want to be a basket and I certainly didn’t want to be a knotted cord. Then it hit me. Up until this point, I had spent my whole life searching for meaning, trying to unbind myself from the knotted bundle of thoughts that makes me, Me.”

One of the challenges I’ve had in accepting my gift for prophecy and my accurate visions stem from the meaning attributed to my name. Discover more and consider how your name may lead you to your best-fit career >> I Am The Oracle—How Your Name Can Fit Your Calling and Life Purpose

 

What I’m working on now…

My daughter and I are making great progress on our first book together. If you’ve lost your joy, you’ll love our new book, How to Find Your Joy and Purpose: Four Easy Steps to Discover A Job You Want And Live the Life You Love.

If you’d love to:

  • Relieve stress and quit worrying easily
  • Create more happiness, peace, and joy
  • Keep your brain and body strong and ready for joyfully, focused work
  • Rescue and enrich your relationships
  • Increase your success, health, and happiness with a few simple steps

You’ll find the answers in How to Find Your Joy and Purpose: Four Easy Steps to Discover A Job You Want And Live the Life You Love.  Available for pre-order NOW!

I’m also super excited to announce that The Little Princess is now available as an audiobook for your listening ejoyment—narrated by me. If toxic bullying is crippling your self-esteem you’ll find plenty of help in this little book.

Amazon:
getbook.at/TheLittlePrincess

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

 

In between narrating, I’ve been painting. I’m so happy to be donating two pieces to the Hospice who are having an art auction to raise funds. It was a thrill to see my flower painting, ‘blossom’ on the cover! I  hope they make loads of money. It’s such an important charity to support.

 

Your Midlife Can Be Fabulous

Here are a few strategies that can help you regardless of your situation:

1.) Take what already exists and copy it.

Much of what we have learned we copied from people close to us, like our parents, or teachers, before we put our own unique own stamp on it.

Who could you copy? Identify someone who is working in a field you feel you would enjoy and learn as much as possible about what they did to achieve success.

When I was stuck in a career trap I was inspired by the career counselor who was helping me and I began to wonder, ‘how could I do that?’

I looked at her skills and background and asked her what it would take to be like her, and what training she would or wouldn’t recommend.

I then set out to forge my path in a similar way—even learning the interactive drawing therapy techniques I’d found so liberating when she first got me to draw that bird trapped in the cage yearning to fly.

 

2.) Manifest a Miracle

After you have gone to bed tonight, a miracle happens and the fear you felt and problems that have prevented you moving forward are resolved. But you are asleep, so you will not know that the miracle has happened.

When you wake up tomorrow morning what will be different that will tell you? What will you see yourself doing differently?

What will you see others doing differently that will tell you that the miracle has happened?

‘Imagineer’ your miracle and ‘act as if’ it is already done!

When I wanted to be a writer I told people I was a writer. When they asked what had I written I told them I was currently working on a work of non-fiction to help people live and work with passion and purpose.

This ‘acting as if’ motivated me to get moving and live with integrity by following through. While writing, I mocked up a book cover and imagined all the wonderful reviews I would receive.

It was nice confirmation when my first book in the Mid-life Career Rescue series became a #1 bestseller and received 5-star reviews from people who had felt inspired, hopeful and committed to pursuing their dreams as a result of what I had written.

When I wanted to pursue my creativity I developed a website www.cassandragaisford.com dedicated to all things creative. I created a business card which read, ‘artist, author, photojournalist’. Every time I opened my wallet I received a giant reminder and affirmation of the life I wanted to live and the work I felt inspired to do.

When I wanted to leave the city and move to the country I created a manifestation fridge! I pasted quotes, photos, and affirmations of where and how I wanted us to live. Above all, I allowed no doubt. I included the words from a psychic I had consulted, “You’ll be happier than you know is possible.” And guess what? We are!

‘Acting as if’ is simply using the power of your mind, engaging your senses—especially the magnetic power of your heart, and harnessing the power of intention to bring into reality your heart’s desire.

 

3.) Plan For Success

After Cate quit her job she contacted me for business coaching. She told me she never finished her projects. After implementing a planning strategy following a Skype coaching session she wrote to me, “Thank you SOOO much for this morning. It has certainly fired me up—and being able to see the end of a project before really starting is very helpful.

“Similarly, with a timeline, you can actually see the end before you begin. I can see that this has changed my mindset about ’starting’ on whatever it is I’m working on—look at the end date or envisage the end result (like a book cover to achieve my goal of being a published author). This seems to have freed up some of my perceived fears/blockages.” Cate’s new business is now up and running and she’s never felt more liberated.

As I shared with Cate, I like to think of all my goals as projects. That way I avoid feeling like things will take forever, plus I have deadlines to work to—ones that feel manageable. And I always like to visualize what it will feel like when I’ve actually finished a project. I don’t want to wait until the project is finished. I want that feeling of achievement and excitement now!

Building the House of Your Dreams

I applied this strategy when I visualized building a house on the back of my old villa in Wellington many years ago. At the time, everyone thought achieving my desire was an impossible dream. Even I knew it was audacious—I was a single working mother with no savings.

But I didn’t let that stop me from throwing my energy into seeing the house built. To feed my desire and overcome resistance I imagined how beautiful my home could be. I felt the evening sun on my face.

I heard the birdsong in the trees. I saw every aspect of what I wanted—the colors, the expanses of glass. I felt the lovely stone benchtops. I tasted the meals I would cook for friends. I fed my motivation to actually build a house from scratch.

To feed desire, generate ideas, increase clarity and fuel a sense of possibility I created image boards and gathered clippings of what I wanted to manifest.

I also broke the project into manageable chunks to avoid feeling overwhelmed and also to counteract my fears around cost escalations. I sourced my team—builders, architects, and other pros. In short, I began with the end in mind and broke the project into manageable steps and drew up a project plan.

Don’t get me wrong—I am no passionate planner. I am naturally organic and spontaneous. But when the need and the desires arise we are all capable of mastering the skills we need. But first I worked to my preferences and strengths and began creatively.

I like creating projects because they make things seem more manageable. They usually have beginnings and endings, and often tangible concrete results.

Some of my projects have included things like publishing books, building websites, beginning a blog, creating a company and personal brands, generating products and services, and customers.

As you start to surround yourself with tangible evidence of possibilities and to chart your progress, inspiration, desire, and love builds. Suddenly your dreams are no longer dreams but living realities.

Hot Tip! Be sure to include completion deadlines—these can flex if need be, but have a date to work to. Reward yourself each time you complete a milestone; much like builders do when they have the roof shout.

You’ll find loads more strategies in Mid-Life Career Rescue and other books in the series.

Good luck!!

 

Did you enjoy this post?

You might like:

Life transformed by faith in the stars

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

Rebirthing a New Career: Lynnie’s reinvention story

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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For personalized help schedule a session with Cassandra here >>

I Am The Oracle—How Your Name Can Fit Your Calling and Life Purpose

Sunday, September 29th, 2019

 

 

It’s my birthday tomorrow and after nearly 54 years searching for my defining purpose in life I finally had an “aha” sparkly-light flash of insight.

And it was staring me literally in the face. However, it took the divine guidance of another lightworker to spotlight the obvious. Last night I purchased Rebecca Campbell’s book, LIght is The New Black. Here is the passage that spoke to me (notes in brackets are mine):

“My entire life I’d had this weird fascination with a thing called ‘nominative determinism’ – when people’s names fit their calling or purpose in life, like little clues from the heavens. For example, William Wordsworth was a writer, Larry Speakes is a White House speaker, Tracey Cox is a sex therapist, and Lisa Messenger is the founder of Collective Magazine. (Similarly, Joanna Penn is a writer) But I’d always felt a bit cheated by my name. In Hebrew, Rebecca means ‘knotted cord,’ or ‘to bind.’ I didn’t want to be a basket and I certainly didn’t want to be a knotted cord. Then it hit me. Up until this point, I had spent my whole life searching for meaning, trying to unbind myself from the knotted bundle of thoughts that makes me, Me.”

One of the challenges I’ve had in accepting my gift for prophecy and my accurate visions stem from the meaning attributed to my name. This from Wikipedia:

 

Cassandra†or Kassandra†(Ancient Greek: Κασσάνδρα, pronounced [kas̚sándra], also Κασάνδρα), also known as Alexandra, was a daughter of King Priam and of Queen Hecuba of Troy in Greek mythology. In modern usage, her name is employed as a rhetorical device to indicate someone whose accurate prophecies are not believed by those around them.

A common version of her story relates how in an effort to seduce her, Apollo gave her the power of prophecy: when she refused him, he spat into her mouth to inflict a curse that nobody would ever believe her prophecies. In an alternative version, she fell asleep in a temple, and snakes licked (or whispered in) her ears so that she could hear the future.[a]

Cassandra became a figure of epic tradition and of tragedy.

 

whose accurate prophecies are believed by those around them.

 

Instead of accepting the curse of a sexual predator’s ad would-be rapist, as I go forward into the year ahead I am focusing on the verifiable facts regarding the accuracy of my prophecies. I will no longer be undermined, nor deterred by those who choose not to believe. I will speak my truth and continue in my mission and purpose to bring more joy, peace, hope, and healing to this world. And I will also continue to shed light of the lies which masquerade as truths. Something I write about in my book, Mind Your Drink: The Surprising Joy of Sobriety Control Alcohol, Discover Freedom, Find Happiness and Change Your Life

 

More from Wikipedia:

 

Cassandra was the daughter of King Priam (Priamos) and Queen Hecuba (Hekabe) and the fraternal twin sister of Helenus and a princess of Troy.

On a conscious level, I didn’t know this when I wrote my story, The Little Princess, where I share my own story of being bullied and how I found the courage to follow my passion and purpose. Below is a short excerpt:

CHAPTER ONE

Once upon a time there was a young woman who wanted to make a difference in the world.

She wanted to help others. She wanted to help people overcome depression, anxiety, and feeling sad.

She wanted to to help them feel inspired, joyful and happy.

She just wasn’t sure how.

 

CHAPTER TWO

One day she had an inspired idea. “I can help people find their passion and purpose,” she thought.

Her heart fluttered then soared higher and higher and higher—far, far, far away.

Almost beyond the reach of her doubts and fears.

 

The Little Princess details the inspiring story behind the creation of The Passion Pack—a little pack of inspirational oracle-like cards. The Passion Pack later inspired one of my most popular books, How to Find Your Passion and Purpose, all started. A simple idea with a powerful message – follow your passion!

How to Find Your Passion and Purpose, a concise guide to making the most of your life, began its journey as a set of 40 cards created to help people live and work with passion.

The vision was simple: a few short, easy to digest tips for time-challenged people who were looking for inspiration and practical strategies to encourage positive change.

From my own experience, I knew that people didn’t need a large wad of words to feel inspired, gain clarity and be stimulated to take action.

In coaching and counseling sessions I’d encourage my clients to ask a question they would like answered. The questions could be specific, such as, ‘How can I make a living from my passion?’ Or vague, for example,  ‘What do I most need to know?’

Then I’d ask them to pick a card at random. Without fail, they were astounded by the card’s potent relevance. Disbelieving eyes widened in astonishment as they read either the quote or the main message they received. Many would say, “These cards are magic.”

 

More about the guiding light my name inspires: According to legend, Cassandra was both beautiful and clever, but considered insane.

Cassandra’s perceived insanity was the result of being cursed by the god Apollo. Many versions of the myth relate that she incurred the god’s wrath by refusing him sex, sometimes after first promising herself in exchange for the power of prophecy.

 

I love Meryl Streep and her take on the need for more ‘Bullshit detectors’ — “these modern-day Cassandra’s to report to us what they see, what they hear, and which way leads over the cliff, so we can swerve to avoid it…”

Thank you, Meryl (and Rebecca), for validating me, and other truth-tellers like me who wish to lead the world away from harm and guide them to the light of love and peace, strength and empowerment!

 

My daughter is named Hannah Joy (Joy after her grandmother, my mother). It seems fitting that the first book we collaborate in writing is called, How to Find Your Joy and Purpose: Four Easy Steps to Discover A Job You Want And Live the Life You LoveHere is a wee excerpt from a chapter Hannah wrote, called Push Through. If you only knew what she has had to endure over the last 28 years. But that is her story to tell.

 

Push Through

“Once you choose hope, anything is possible.”

Christopher Reeve

Can you imagine how depressing it must have felt to have once played superman and then to become confined to a wheelchair for the rest of your life? Such a fate befell actor Christopher Reeve following a horse-riding accident.

Perhaps life has paralyzed you. Even though you might not feel like standing after a fall, it’s important to push through.  Feel the fear and play the game of life anyway.  Your power play may be pulling yourself out of your little rut and soaking up some sunshine. We truly do run off solar-batteries.

Here’s what Hannah wrote before finishing this chapter:

I don’t really feel like writing anything right now but I will because I am making a conscious choice to contribute towards this book.  To push through my lack of inspiration and find inspiration where I am.

Mustang Sally is playing in the background of the cafe where I am and that’s funny as it’s actually my little theme song and I have chosen to find some joy in that.

It’s not possible to feel joyful and inspired all the time but it’s really about choice. Choosing how you want to feel and not falling prisoner to negative feelings.

I could’ve gone back to bed but I have decided to stick to my routine and come down to Prefab cafe and work on this book. Committing to some sense of routine and wonderment.

Joy at play is where the light shines through the cracks.  This is where hope reaches us. Diving into dreams can be playful too.  Hannah dreamed that she went live inside her Facebook group and did a proper live video.  It was really inspiring and soul serving. It was a sweet dream of showing up after a long period of hiding in the shadow.

This is where the light comes in and the joy becomes more self-fulfilling. “I can overcome anything from this space. I can be filled with wonder and enlightenment,” Hannah says.

Anything can be achieved when are filled with hope and wonder and joy. Who is the first person to achieve this? The internal, ideal you. The actual self, the lower version of ourselves that might usually struggle, wakes up and realizes they she can, in fact, achieve anything and everything. The ideal, actualized self is that part of you that is no longer clingy. That rises above the supposed suffering and becomes a better version—an ideal self. You can find her from deep within, she is there. Forever and always. Invite her out to play.

Believe in your playful, inspired dreams.  Dream them and bring them into being.  Dream your new-found confidence into being. Don’t compare yourself to others and measure where they are at within their own growth process. You’re not going in that direction. You’re forging your own path.

Feel the fear and play the game of life anyway. 

Be playful with your self-talk, “You’ve got this. You can do this. I believe in you. I love you. Let’s play.”  Things like that.

 

I share Hannah’s story of being bullied and the magic that helped her still shine brightly in I Have to Grow.

As I share in the foreword:

I know now that my spirit guides, helpers and intuition spoke lead me to the ancient handwritten manuscript because the timing was divinely guided

“I originally wrote I Have to Grow twenty-four years ago when Hannah was four-years-old and was experiencing some very horrible bullying. When I look back, this really was my first book and heralded all those that followed with the focus on self-empowerment and overcoming shitty things that happen to good people.

Around May 20, 2019, following the galactic success of my own story of being bullied in The Little Princess, I prayed and prayed that I could find my original handwritten manuscript.

I rated my chances as slim. After all, twenty-four years is a long time to keep pieces of paper. Thankfully, when it comes to keeping words that inspire me I’m a hoarder.

After tearing through my old filing cabinets in the garage I found it!.”

I hope by sharing Hannah’s story (both in I Have to Grow and How to Find Your Joy and Purpose you realize how important it is to unearth and share your gifts. Whether you have a talent for singing, helping others or solving puzzles—whatever it is that sparks joy within you is your gift.

You may or may not want to share it with the world but what matters most is to do what makes you happy and never ever listen to anyone who tries to steal your music.

 

It’s exciting finally waking up to the truth of who I am. And it all began with my name. And it also began with reminding myself of the standout moments in my life. Some crappy, others shiny. Some of them mentioned here, and on other blog posts, and many in my books. But just as a compass doesn’t always point north, those days south of my true magnetic potential have carried me along the path to one else has traveled and which has made me uniquely me.

I wasn’t always happy being who I am. I hated my sensitivity. I tried to block it out. I tried to be who other people wanted me to be. I tried to live in a false identity. But just as at times it hurt so much to feel, it hurt more to pretend I didn’t care. I love Drew Barrymore for helping us keep things real. Only by being real ca we heal. As you’ll see below, I suffer when people take their lives. I truly suffer. But it also drives me to be the change I want to see in the world. As Michelle Obama said:

“We need to fix our souls. Our souls are broken in this nation. We have lost our way. And it begins with inspiration. It begins with leadership.”

This video was taken an hour after I learned I young landscape gardener, an exceedingly beautiful young man, had taken in his life. I knew him less than several hours (over the course of a week) – yet his death, like those of others I have never met, hurt profoundly.  It has taken me over fifty years to befriend my sensitivity and to use this to bring more hope and healing and truth into the world.

 

I was once told by a violinist in Florence, that I have the soul of an artist. I see that now. I own that now. I celebrate that now. I celebrate the woman who is super-sensitive for it is this sensitivity that I gift the world in the light-inspired creations that I have created and now devote myself to creating whole-heartedly in the future.

Wayne Dyer once said, “You can’t give what you do have.” I am so grateful to give thanks for being blessed with the soul of an artist and being able to give the world the gift of my creative, prophetic expression.

Thank you for supporting and believing in me.

Below are images of the two paintings I gifted to the local hospice – the inspiration for the words is in the video above.

 

 

 

What does your name mean? What career or life path does it suggest your follow? Whatever your name, remember we are all oracles. We all possess divine wisdom inside our heart. And if we don’t like our names we are free to choose another!

 

RESOURCES BY CASSANDRA MENTIONED IN THIS ARTICLE

The Little Princess

To read or listen to the first book in Cassandra’s Transformational Super Kids series, The Little Princess:

Amazon>> getbook.at/TheLittlePrincess

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

Now available in audio

How to Find Your Joy and Purpose

To Pre-order How to Find Your Joy and Purpose: Four Easy Steps to Discover A Job You Want And Live the Life You Love.

Amazon>> getbook.at/FindYourJoy

 

I Have to Grow

To read the second book in Cassandra’s Transformational Super Kids series, I Have to Grow>>
getbook.at/IHavetoGrow

 

Mind Your Drink

Mind Your Drink: The Surprising Joy of Sobriety Control Alcohol, Discover Freedom, Find Happiness and Change Your Life, Amazon>> getbook.at/MindYourDrink

How to Find Your Passion and Purpose

To grab your copy from Amazon, click here>> getBook.at/Passion

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

 

 

Did you enjoy this post?

You might like:

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

Life transformed by faith in the stars

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

 

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.

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.

Did you know you can die of a broken-heart? Make sure you know the cure.

Friday, September 13th, 2019

“It was such a depressing time. I didn’t look very depressed maybe but it was really dire. I made a conscious decision not to stop, but it could have gone the other way.”

Dame Zaha Mohammad Hadid

Did you know you can die of a broken heart? Science has recently validated what we know to be true. Only yesterday, I received the email below from a client whose daughter had been caught in New Zealand’s broken mental health system:

Dear cassandra,

my news is a sad one my daughter past away sunday the 8/9/2019 at Bay of Island hospital.
There’s no more suffering and dealing with the system any more. It was more the stress that mental health did within a year, and my daughters heart couldn’t take any more.
Thank you for been there when i needed someone who understood me the journey was tough but I have placed my self in the hands of heavenly father who keeps me safe and heals my wellbeing.

 

I’ll address the brutality of the mental health system in a separate post and share with you my intimate knowledge of what’s wrong and how it can be fixed. But first, I want to spotlight the very real threat to our health that emotional and physical stress can inflict. Takotsubo cardiomyopathy, also known as broken-heart syndrome, occurs almost exclusively in women, medical researchers say.

Harvard Medical School reports that the condition is caused by a weakening of the left ventricle, often as a result of emotional or physical stress—such as the loss of a loved one or a sudden illness.

When things we love or value end we can feel as though life itself has died. We can feel depressed, despondent, stuck in a wasteland of ‘nothing matters anymore’.

Life is a never-ending series of beginnings and endings. Life has its births and deaths. We have full moons and no moons—or new moons. An ending is not a failure, but an opportunity for a new, and often better, beginning.

It’s okay and healthy to ‘keep it real’ and allow yourself to feel bad. If your boyfriend cheats on you or tells you he no longer feels ‘the love,’ or friends abandon you, how could you possibly feel happy about that? It’s normal to feel sorrow. It’s okay not to succumb to toxic positivity and think that life is only about having ‘good vibes’ and feeling continually inspired.

When painful things happen in our lives, this adversity may temporarily dull our joy, but remember that joy is energy. Like the sun, it will rise again and charge and enliven our lives.

Sometimes, hanging onto the light during periods of darkness means cutting yourself some slack and cultivating serenity. “God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference,” the Serenity Prayer encourages.

Ultimately, surviving life’s ups and downs involves being in touch with our Higher Power (God, The Divine, The Universe—whatever we believe in).

If we can practice radical acceptance, cede control, and hang onto the spirit of hope, every ending does bring a new and happier beginning. As sure as day follows night and spring follows winter, we can, and will, experience the joy of new and healthier jobs, careers, and relationships.

 

How can you heal any sorrow in your life? What worked in the past? What do you need to let go of? What do you need to hang onto?

What would it feel like, and what would it take to strengthen your connection to a Higher Power, cultivate courage and wisdom, and nurture the possibility of a fresh start?

 

This is an excerpt from How to Find Your Joy and Purpose: Four Easy Steps to Discover A Job You Want And Live the Life You Love.

If you’d love to: 

  • Relieve stress and quit worrying easily
  • Create more happiness, peace, and joy
  • Keep your brain and body strong and ready for joyfully, focused work
  • Rescue and enrich your relationships
  • Increase your success, health, and happiness with a few simple steps

You’ll find the answers in How to Find Your Joy and Purpose: Four Easy Steps to Discover A Job You Want And Live the Life You Love.  Available for pre-order NOW!

Create The Ultimate Happiness Mindset: The Holistic Blueprint to True Success

Thursday, September 12th, 2019

“The very essence of diamonds is to bring joy into the lives of people.”

William Goldberg

Who or what inspires you? Think about the sorts of books and magazines you love to read, or people and things you love to listen to, learn about, follow or be around.  What about them is interesting to you? How do they bring joy into your life?

Look for your heroes and heroines and allow others’ enthusiasm and passion to excite you! Play detective. Do some research, go and talk to people who are joyful and purposeful about some aspect of their life, read books about inspiring people or themes that really capture your imagination. Listen to podcasts, watch Youtube, and other uplifting sources of inspiration.

As I write this chapter, I’m inspired by the 2020 US Presidential candidate Marianne Williamson. I love the values she espouses. I love her tenacity and eloquence. I love her inclusiveness and willingness to use her voice to create positive change. I love her powerful spiritual manifesto.

She has inspired me to become more active in my community to reduce alcohol harm. This is just one example of how she has inspired me.

I began planning my three billboards to increase awareness of safe alcohol consumption leading up to and during the Christmas season.  At such times drinking spikes and so does domestic violence, sexual assault, drink driving deaths, suicides and other forms of harm.

Today I met with the police, my local MP and set up a meeting with my Mayor and spoke to a major booze retailer to gain support, and began to build awareness of my initiative. I was encouraged when the policeman in charge of reducing alcohol harm said: “I’m really looking forward to seeing your billboards.”

I was inspired by the movie Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri about a mother who was frustrated nothing was being done to find her daughter and so she created billboards to build awareness of her plight. And also my friend Christine who said, “Gosh that billboard woman reminded me of you.“

That was three years or so ago. Now I have finally become passionately angry enough and joyfully sober to do something about it. I’m not talking about teetotal I’m talking about safe drinking.

Because nothing is being done by the government who only seem to talk, talk, talk I have decided to do something myself.  As I write in  “Mind Your Drink: The Joy of Sobriety” and “Your Beautiful Mind” the booze barons and litigious lobbyists currently yield more political and economic power than those whose lives they destroy.

I give thanks and gratitude to presidential candidate Marianne Williamson for her activism and encouraging us all to be the change we want to see and reminding us that we as a people can and do wield power.

What could you do to get more inspired? How can you, too, become a source of inspiration for others?

 

 

If you’d love to: 

  • Relieve stress and quit worrying easily
  • Create more happiness, peace, and joy
  • Keep your brain and body strong and ready for joyfully, focused work
  • Rescue and enrich your relationships
  • Increase your success, health, and happiness with a few simple steps

You’ll find the answers in How to Find Your Joy and Purpose: Four Easy Steps to Discover A Job You Want And Live the Life You Love.  Available for pre-order NOW!

 

Finding Joy—Why High Vibe Energy is Health and Happinesses New Superstar

Tuesday, September 10th, 2019

“We store memories in our bodies. We store passion and heartache. We store joy, moments of transcendent peace. If we are to access these, if we are to move into them and through them, we must enter our bodies.”

Julia Cameron

Our bodies are storytellers. Like any great story, there are chapters with villains and heroes, plot twists, hidden dangers and deeper truths within the pages. Our storytelling body never lies, however, many people soldier on ignoring the obvious warning signs their body is narrating.

When you don’t do the things you love your health can suffer. Common signs of neglecting your joy and purpose can include, headaches, insomnia, tiredness, depression, anger, frustration, and irritability. It’s easy to ignore or rationalize the feelings of discomfort, but the reality is your body—and your soul—is screaming out to be saved.

When we enter our bodies, we enter our hearts. Have the courage to say ‘enough’ and pursue more satisfying alternatives.

 

When you feel unfulfilled, or frustrated where and what do you notice in your body? How does this differ from times when you are joyful?

 

 

Listening to The Signs—How I Avoid Burnout

Looking back now I count myself lucky that I developed shingles when I was a stressed-out employee. The company offered me a lot of support—albeit reactively, including career counseling, time off to see the doctor and wellness leave.

None of this is available when you are your boss, at least not without directly affecting your pocket. Having had shingles and being warned that I might go blind, and also witnessing people have heart attacks at work, I knew this was a place I didn’t want to revisit.

So I am super vigilant to heed the early warning signs and put preventive strategies in place, and draw on these (topping them up when I need an extra boost) during times of heavier-than-normal workload.

I’m as guilty as anyone of having a propensity to over-work. I love what I do with such a passion it doesn’t feel like work at all. I’d happily work weekends and nights if need be. But I know I’m not a machine. I know I need to rest. I know that working long hours is not smart.

Some of the things I do to look after my health include:

• Regular massages

• Meditating twice daily

• Taking regular breaks

• Working only with clients I click with

• Taking time out for my passions and hobbies

• Making time for my relationships

• Writing morning pages

• Writing my daily gratitudes in a journal

• Looking at and updating my passion journal

• Switching off from technology

• Surrounding myself with inspirational people whenever possible

• Reducing, and at times, eliminating alcohol

• Eating healthily

• Tuning in to the spiritual realm

• Spending time in nature

• Regular silent retreats

• Eliminating negativity

• Exercising regularly

• Following my mantra, “If it’s not fun, I’m NOT doing it!” Sometimes this requires an attitude shift.

• And making room for joy

It may look like a long list, but in reality, most of these things only take a few minutes—many can be batched. Others, like meditating and going for massages take more time out of my day; but they replenish my energy and allow my mind and heart and spirit to work more effectively.

 

What can you do to stress less, and laugh more?

“If you want joy, give joy to others.”

Deepak Chopra

Recently, I felt ‘compelled’ to donate a second painting to the local hospice who were holding an art auction to raise much-needed funds.

I felt a surge of joy as I drove along the country roads of The Bay of Islands and drove toward the township of Kerikeri with my painting, ‘Blossom’ in the backseat. I felt delighted when the Fundraising and Awareness Manager, for Hospice Mid-Northland greeted Blossom and me – “Wow. That’s brilliant,” she said. “Thank you so much. I love it.”

“Everyone needs cheering up at moments like these,” I said, referencing the fact that the people they care for are dying. “ I hope it brings a few moments of happiness and joy,” I said. “I know how healing creativity can be.”

I shared with her the memory of my step-father Ted, a military man, who in the final stages of brain cancer, began to paint watercolors. Brilliant watercolors they were too—surprising everyone who had known him. Painting brought Ted a few precious moments of joy and peace, and escape. And when he left this world, we had them framed and they were the gift that kept on giving.

“Love. Joy, Prosperity. Hope,” I said, reading out the words I had painted in French to the Fundraising and Awareness Manager, for Hospice Mid-Northland.

And we agreed.

It is the intention behind your giving and receiving that is the most important thing. The act of giving should always be joyful. It should always be to create happiness for both the giver and the receiver—then the energy behind the giving multiples, spreading seeds of joy among the world.

What can you gift or do to give joy to others? It doesn’t have to be a physical thing, it may be by volunteering, dressing joyfully, sending a kind thought or a prayer, or the willingness to forgive.

The photo above is me feeling joyful at work—successfully narrating my story of how I overcame bullying, The Little Princess.

Sharing my story to help others, is the same joy I experienced when I donated my paintings.

Grab a free sample or purchase from your favorite audiobook retailer. To listen on Amazon, click here>>getbook.at/TheLittlePrincess

 

 

If you’d love to: 

  • Relieve stress and quit worrying easily
  • Create more happiness, peace, and joy
  • Keep your brain and body strong and ready for joyfully, focused work
  • Rescue and enrich your relationships
  • Increase your success, health, and happiness with a few simple steps

You’ll find the answers in How to Find Your Joy and Purpose: Four Easy Steps to Discover A Job You Want And Live the Life You Love. 

Available for pre-order NOW!

 

How to Find Your Joy and Purpose

Friday, September 6th, 2019

Focus Your Energy and Time to Achieve Outstanding Personal and Professional Results With Absolute Health, Certainty and Excitement.

What if you could increase your success, health, and happiness with a few simple steps? How would your life be different if you had more energy, motivation, confidence, and self-belief? What if you could hit your career, personal and financial targets easily? Imagine waking up every morning looking forward to your day, working and living with joy, purpose, and profit.

Amazon bestselling author of Mid-Life Career Rescue, and How to Find Your Passion and Purpose, Cassandra Gaisford (BCA, Dip. Psych.) and Spiritual Conduit and Intuitive Healing Coach, Hannah Joy provides simple but powerful and easy to implement ways to find your joy and purpose. Based on survey research, personal experiences and their professional expertise and success as career and life coaches helping people achieve outstanding results – including lawyers, teachers, back-to-work mums, accountants, school leavers, and creative entrepreneurs – Gaisford and Joy answer the question: how to overcome adversity, find your destiny and follow your bliss.

In How To Find Your Joy and Purpose: Four Easy Steps to Discover A Job You Want and Live The Life You Love, you’ll learn:

  • Why successful people follow their joy, not their comfort-rut
  • How to identify your REAL priorities
  • How working with joy can cure many modern-day ills – depression, anxiety, overwhelm and stress
  • Why cutting yourself away from certain friends and family is for your highest good
  • How to be happy, healthy and successful
  • How to boost your self-esteem and super-charge the confidence needed to make an inspired change
  • How to change jobs and find a career you’ll love, including self-employment
  • How to discover your signature gifts and talents and confirm your work-related strengths
  • How identifying your PPT will increase profit, peace, and prosperity
  • BONUS: Find Your Passion Workbook
  • BONUS: Living with Purpose Workbook
  • BONUS: Making Decisions and Choosing Your Best-Fit Career Workbook

If you’re like many people who don’t know what sparks joy or what gives your life meaning and purpose, this book will help provide the answers.

If you have been told it’s not realistic to work and live with joy and purpose, this book will help change your mindset.

If you’re too busy, too tired, too ill or too stressed out to read a lengthy book, this concise guide comes to your rescue.

Quit just existing and start really living!

Pre-order this book now to start achieving outstanding personal and professional results with absolute certainty and excitement.

Pre-order your copy today! To grab your copy from Amazon, click here>>getbook.at/FindYourJoy

I hope you enjoy this excerpt.

Art is the highest form of hope

“If you want joy, give joy to others.”
Deepak Chopra



Prior to writing this chapter from my book, How to Find Your Joy and Purpose, I felt ‘compelled’ to donate a second painting to the local hospice who were holding an art auction to raise much-needed funds.

I felt a surge of joy as I drove along the country roads of The Bay of Islands and drove toward the township of Kerikeri with my painting, ‘Blossom’ in the backseat. I felt delighted when the Fundraising and Awareness Manager, for Hospice Mid-Northland greeted Blossom and me – “Wow. That’s brilliant,” she said. “Thank you so much. I love it.”

“Everyone needs cheering up at moments like these,” I said, referencing the fact that the people they care for are dying. “ I hope it brings a few moments of happiness and joy,” I said. “I know how healing creativity can be.”

I shared with her the memory of my step-father Ted, a military man, who in the final stages of brain cancer, began to paint watercolors. Brilliant watercolors they were too—surprising everyone who had known him. Painting brought Ted a few precious moments of joy and peace, and escape. And when he left this world, we had them framed and they were the gift that kept on giving.

“Love. Joy, Prosperity. Hope,” I said, reading out the words I had painted in French to the Fundraising and Awareness Manager, for Hospice Mid-Northland.

And we agreed.

It is the intention behind your giving and receiving that is the most important thing. The act of giving should always be joyful. It should always be to create happiness for both the giver and the receiver—then the energy behind the giving multiples, spreading seeds of joy among the world.

And today I felt joy seeing my paintings in The Little Black Gallery in Kerikeri. And I felt joy feeling gratitude for how much help and encouragement Anna, the owner has given me.

What can you gift or do to give joy to others? It doesn’t have to be a physical thing, it may be by volunteering, dressing joyfully, sending a kind thought or a prayer, or the willingness to forgive.

How to Find Your Joy and Purpose: Four Easy Steps to Discover A Job You Want And Live the Life You Love.. AVAILABLE FOR PRE-ORDER NOW. Grab your copy from Amazon.

 How to Fulfill Your Dreams—Why Giving Joy to Others Leads to Success

Wednesday, September 4th, 2019

 

 

“What we seek with deep longing, here and there, outside and beyond; we find at last within ourselves and we give with joy to others.”

Cassandra Gaisford

What do you care deeply about? What are your deepest beliefs?

Your values are your deep, personal needs, and the things that are truly important to you. They represent who you are, who you want to be and what you want to contribute to the world.

You may have a deep need to be creative, to help others, to entertain people or to change the world. Anything.

When your values are met there can be an incredible sense of joy, but value conflicts can also be a powerful clue to your joy and purpose.

Discovering all the things that you feel strongly about is not always easy. Look for some clues to your beliefs by catching the times you use words such as  ‘should’ or ‘must.’  Or, even the times you find yourself saying or feeling that you really ‘want to’ do something.

I did this today when I felt ‘compelled’ to donate a second painting to the local hospice who are holding an art auction next month to raise much-needed funds.

I felt a surge of joy as I drove along the country roads of The Bay of Islands and drove toward the township of Kerikeri with my painting, ‘Blossom’ in the backseat. I felt delighted when the Fundraising and Awareness Manager, for Hospice Mid-Northland greeted Blossom and me, “Wow. That’s brilliant,” she said. “Thank you so much. I love it.”

“Everyone needs cheering up at moments like these,” I said, referencing the fact that the people they care for are dying. “ I hope it brings a few moments of happiness and joy,” I said. “I know how healing creativity can be.”

I shared with her the memory of my step-father Ted, a military man, who in the final stages of brain cancer, began to paint watercolors. Brilliant watercolors they were too—surprising everyone who had known him. Painting brought Ted a few precious moments of joy and peace, and escape. And when he left this world, we had them framed and they were the gift that kept on giving.

“Love. Joy, Prosperity. Hope,” I said, reading out the words I had painted in French to the Fundraising and Awareness Manager, for Hospice Mid-Northland.

And we agreed.

My values are my beliefs and they are woven through who I am and what I do.

“Cassandra believes in magic and the power of beauty, joy, love, purpose, and creativity to transform peoples’ lives,” I say on my website. “On this site you’ll find resources she’s created to uplift, encourage and inspire.”

Real joy is more than a fad or fleeting enthusiasm. It can’t be turned on and off like a light switch. It’s a full-bodied belief or commitment to something.

What do you really believe in? It might be honesty, openness, freedom, equality, justice, compassion, generosity, kindness—or something else.

 

“If you want joy, give joy to others.”

“If you want joy, give joy to others,” encourages Deepak Chopra. It is the intention behind your giving and receiving that is the most important thing. The act of giving should always be joyful. It should always be to create happiness for both the giver and the receiver—then the energy behind the giving multiples, spreading seeds of joy among the world.

 

Identify and acknowledge your values.  What do you really need to feel satisfied and fulfilled?

What can you gift or do to give joy to others? It doesn’t have to be a physical thing, it may be by volunteering, dressing joyfully, sending a kind thought or a prayer, or the willingness to forgive.

Record your insights in your joy journal.

 

This has been an excerpt from How to Find Your Joy and Purpose: Four Easy Steps to Discover A Job You Want And Live the Life You Love—COMING SOON.

Caste Fear Of Fumbling Out—How FOFO Can Change Your Life

Sunday, September 1st, 2019

 

“I try to focus not on the fumbles, but on the next plan.”

Barak Obama

In our Western culture, we often spend more time thinking of ways we could fail, fall, and fumble rather than ways we could succeed, soar and shine.

Focus is everything. By being kind to ourselves we give ourselves and others permission to make mistakes, grow and learn.

The hardest lessons and biggest fumbles often yield the biggest fruits. When was the last time you tested your fears?

If you felt the fear and fumbled anyway what’s the worst that could happen? Embrace FOFO—cast fear of fumbling out and make room for intentional joy.

How could you shift your focus from fumbles to fortuitous fortune? What’s your next plan?

Look for and collect examples of people who have turned ‘failure’ into joyful success.

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.

 

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.

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