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Posts Tagged 'health'

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.

Me Before You—Why Self-Care is The New Go-To For Health, Wellness, and Happy Families

Thursday, September 5th, 2019

 

We’re facing unprecedented levels of stress, yet a commitment to self-care is lagging behind. Culturally, we’re socialized, especially women, mother’s and wives, to put others first. “I always get the burnt toast,” a client once told me.

Many of us are healers—although we may not officially call ourselves that. mum’s, wives, daughters, friends, teachers, midwives and others who are caring, empathetic, and kind. We often soak up loved one’s stress without realizing the impact on our own stress levels. We listen to their fears, we soothe their anxieties, we teach and counsel in our attempt to help those we care about to survive in an often toxic and increasingly narcissistic world.

But what about us? Who helps us?

“It must have been awful for you,” a dear friend said recently, acknowledging the impact of the traumatic episode which happened to a family member recently. “Yes, it was,” I said, simply, grateful of the acknowledgment no one else had offered. I didn’t tell her that it was only the tip of what I have suffered.

If you are supporting loved ones through mental illness, acute stress, toxic drama, addiction, or something else, you can forget that you too are suffering from this thing that is happening to your son, your daughter, your husband, your wife, your significant other. Even your client.

A lot of time and energy and commitment, and rightly and willingly so, is spent on trying to help them stabilize and get back to their old selves again. To be healthy and well. But the care and support of family and loved ones cannot, must not, do not need to come at the expense of your own health—and sanity.

It may sound cliched, but it’s true—you have to strap on your oxygen mask first. The announcement of the flight attendants prior to aircraft takeoff is simple and straightforward: “In case of cabin depressurization, oxygen masks will drop automatically.”

But, automatic self-care doesn’t happen without your commitment to making it a priority. Your approach to helping others must change.

Listed below are five easy-peasy, bright and breezy strategies to manage stress, find joy, and increase your happiness—even when you are too exhausted to try.

 

1. Change the Way You React

“You must take personal responsibility. You cannot change the circumstances, the seasons, or the wind, but you can change yourself. That is something you have charge of.”

~ Jim Rohn

By change of reaction comes change of circumstance, say many great spiritual masters and teachers. If you are distressed and on the verge of burnout, taking back control can prove challenging. It is hard to feel optimistic when you are overwhelmed, depleted and despairing.

It’s hard—but not impossible. Viktor Frankl, an Austrian psychiatrist who survived the horrors of Nazi death camps, believed that it’s not the situation which defines and controls us, but our attitudes and reactions. The key to his survival, Frankl maintained, was searching for meaning in that which seems unfathomable.

Stressed or not, you can determine your reaction. Ensure success at becoming less stressed by:

• Focusing on three good things you have done each day

• Praising yourself when you achieve a result—no matter how small

• Practicing radical acceptance of yourself, or the situation, if you feel stressed

• Find meaning and purpose in your experience.

Throughout Stress Less. Love Life More: How to Stop Worrying, Reduce Anxiety, Eliminate Negative Thinking and Find Happiness, you’ll discover strategies to help you transcend the biological stress reaction before it overpowers you. Listed below are two simple strategies:

Reinterpret the situation: e.g., change the meaning; instead of,  “They should do what I want,” try, “I’m learning how to cope with other peoples’ choices, reactions or demands.”

Modify or remove the stressor/s: eg., take assertive action—make ‘no’, your new ‘yes’; prioritize your own self-care; work reasonable hours; quit a job you hate, follow your bliss and schedule ‘me time’ to do what you love (or try something you may end up loving).

If you’re a people-pleaser or struggle with saying no, you’ll find helpful tips in No! Why ‘No’ is the New ‘Yes’: How to Reclaim Your Life, Shine in the Sun, and Be Authentically You.

2. Dealing with Perception

“Change the way you look at things and the things you look at change.” 

~ Wayne Dyer

The way you view events, people, and situations can create stress. A simple way to change your level of stress begins by changing how you view circumstances.

Coping Strategies:

• Reframe: change the way you see the event; e.g., if insomnia keeps you awake, rather than lie there stressing, value this as extra time to read, plan, think or simply just to ‘be’; see problems as challenges.

• Look at now: remain in the present, embrace the power of now. Take comfort that what you are worrying about may never happen. If you still fear that things may turn out badly, adopt a ‘what if’ strategy and identify what steps you can do ‘now’ to minimize this likelihood.

• Self-talk: Only speak to yourself in positive words; not “I can’t cope,” but, “I can do this; I’ve handled change before,” or, “ I trust myself to be able to handle this.” Not, as I have said during times of stress, “I’m a terrible mother,” but “I’m a great mother and I’m doing the best that I can with the resources I have.”

• Don’t think in absolutes: you will disappoint yourself.  “I must be perfect at everything I do all the time,” is setting yourself up for failure.

• It’s OK to feel bad: the real fake news is that we are meant to always feel good. Give yourself permission to feel down—seek help if it spirals into depression.

• Don’t focus on the bad: not “My daughter has broken down – why her? why me?” but, “She’s now getting the help she needs to release the trauma of her past. It’s worrying, but in hindsight, I know she will emerge stronger. We all will.”

Other helpful coping strategies include advance preparation. Minimize the impact of stress and boost your resilience, by:

• Identifying stressful events in advance and try to minimize or avoid them if possible—e.g. if family get-togethers are a stressor, put a limit on how long you visit or consider missing the event altogether. Christmas comes to mind!

• Identifying your stress reactions so that you can pamper yourself, self-soothe or take extra self-care

• Planning your winning strategy: what options do you have? What is the most realistic solution?

• Planning small, realistic steps: don’t overwhelm yourself or try to do everything you need to at once

• Choosing a few important goals: prioritize and accept that some things may have to be pushed back

• Praising yourself when you cope well. This boosts confidence and self-esteem, strengthening your ability to handle future stress

In the next tip you’ll discover how, despite experiencing extreme stress, some of the world’s most influential people have found gifts from their suffering.

 

3. Look for The Gift

“Nothing beautiful in the end comes without a measure of some pain, some frustration, some suffering.”

~ His Holiness the Dalai Lama

 

In The Book of Joy, two great spiritual teachers, the Dalai Lama and Archbishop Desmond Tutu—men who have both known tremendous suffering, encourage us all to look for the gifts contained within adversity. One of these gifts is the opportunity to be reborn.

“When I spoke about mothers and childbirth, it seems to be a wonderful metaphor, actually, that nothing beautiful in the end comes without a measure of some pain, some frustration, some suffering,” writes the Dalai Lama. “This is the nature of things. This is how our universe has been made up.”

In The Book of Joy, the Dalai Lama shares how the gift of being exiled from his beloved Tibet provided the opportunity to give birth to a new way of being and to share his teachings and Buddhist philosophy throughout the world. “Life is suffering,” he says. “It’s how you react to life that changes your karma”, he teaches. “I’m just one human being, but I believe each one of us has a responsibility to contribute to a happier humanity.”

It is no coincidence that successful and revered people see the cup half full, look for ways to add more to peoples’ lives rather than play the victim, and demand life treat them more favorably.

Sometimes in life, as with photography, you need the negative to develop. What at the time seemed like a low point can, with hindsight, prove to be the most life-changing and meaningful experience.

Call to Action

How might you be able to experience joy even in the face of inevitable challenges?

4. Follow Your Bliss

Following your bliss is a great antidote to stress. Whether you refer to the things, people and situations that fill you with happiness as sparking passion, joy, love or desire these powerful heart-felt emotions are natural opiates for your mind, body, and soul.

Charles Kovess, the author of Passionate People Produce, describes passion as: “A source of unlimited energy from the soul that enables people to achieve extraordinary results.”

Often when you’re feeling stressed, the things that you love to do are the first things to be traded. When you tap into something you deeply believe in and enjoy you may be amazed at the results.

Passion brings the energy or chi of love, giving you energy, vitality and a heightened sense of well-being. It’s one of the greatest stress-busters of all and promotes the generation of endorphins—feel-good chemicals that will give you an extra spring in your step. Even five minutes a day doing something you love can give you your mojo back.

Is the true source of stress your work? What may start off as a hobby could very well turn out to be your ticket to a more fulfilling career. Like for Brian Clifford, owner of Integrated Pest Management, who had always been fascinated with bugs. After becoming disenchanted with his first career, he opted to follow his passion and became a “pestie.” He loves the idea of being a white knight coming to peoples’ rescue.

Call to Action

What do you love doing? What inspires you? What makes you feel joyful? Identify these things and take some time to follow your bliss.

These are just a few of the strategies I have put in place recently, I hope, whatever you are going through, you find something helpful

 

and the last one is my gold-standard—it’s my 5-star go-to strategy every day…

 

5. Meditate

“Our brains never get a break and the results can be increased stress, anxiety, insomnia and if left unchecked, even depression. But there is something you can do—nothing.”

~ Mathew Johnstone, author & cartoonist

Stressed, fatigued, or overwhelmed minds will never be productive. The opposite is also true—peaceful, calm, and clear minds elevate success.

Many of the most influential authors, creative artists, and business people today credit their meditative practice for their increased productivity and prosperity.

“It’s the Swiss army knife of medical tools, for conditions both small and large,” writes Arianna Huffington, the founder of The Huffington Post and author of Thrive.

When Tim Ferriss, who practices transcendental meditation, sat down with more than 200 people at the height of their field for his new book, Tools of Titans, he found that 80% followed some form of guided mindfulness practice.

It took Ferriss a while to get into meditation, he says in a podcast episode about his own morning routine. But since he discovered that the majority of world-class performers meditated, he also decided to follow the habit.

His practice takes up 21 minutes a day: one minute to get settled and 20 minutes to meditate.

Ferriss recommends two apps for those wanting some help getting started—Headspace or Calm.

“Start small, rig the game so you can win it, get in five sessions before you get too ambitious with length,” says Ferriss.

“You have to win those early sessions so you establish it as a habit, so you don’t have the cognitive fatigue of that practice.”

So, what’s the buzz? Here are a few of the many ways a regular meditative practice will improve your productivity:

• Decreased stress and anxiety

• Improved focus, memory, and learning ability

• Fantastic recharging capacity

• Higher IQ and more efficient brain functioning

• Increased blood circulation and reduced hyperactivity in the brain, slower wavelengths and decreased beta waves (Beta State:13—30Hz) means more time between thoughts which leads to more skillful decision making

• Increased Theta State (4—8Hz) and Delta States (1—3 Hz) which deepens awareness and strengthens intuition and visualization skills

• Increased creativity and connection with your higher intelligence

Recent research published in New Scientist has revealed that meditation can help to calm people and reduce fear. The research found that regular meditation can tame the amygdala, an area of the brain which is the hub of fear memory.

People who meditate regularly are less likely to be shocked, flustered, surprised, or as angry as other people, and have a greater stress tolerance threshold as a result.

By meditating regularly, the brain is reoriented from a stressful fight-or-flight response to one of acceptance, a shift that increases contentment, enthusiasm, and feelings of happiness.

Call to Action

Many successful people regularly take time to focus on the present moment. Make meditating for at least 20 minutes a day part of your daily routine for optimum success and well-being.

Consistency is key. Shorter meditations on a regular basis are more productive than long sessions every few weeks. If you are a beginner, you may prefer to aim for 5 minutes a day and add 1 minute each week.

Many people find that meditating for 20 minutes in the morning and 20 minutes at the end of the day yields remarkable benefits. I know, I do!

 

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, available now from all good bookstores, click here to go to Amazon

 

 

Did you enjoy this post?

You might like:

Anxiety Rescue: How Coco Chanel and Leonardo da Vinci Can Help You Overcome Anxiety and Reclaim Youthful Joy

Why ‘No’ is the New ‘Yes’: The All-encompassing Secrets to a Longer, Happier, Healthier life

The Fastest Way to Go From Stress to Joy Without Being Overwhelmed

 

Here are three more things you might like:


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


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


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

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


For personalized help schedule a session with Cassandra here >>

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

Stress Less. Sense More

Wednesday, August 21st, 2019

“Rejoice in the pleasures of being a personality in a sensual physical body, occupying a world that provides enjoyment alongside the hardships we face.”

Sarah Varcas astrologer.

 

If stress, anxiety, or depression has stolen your joy looking for things that nurture you and sanctify and awaken your senses can be a great tonic.

Surrounded yourself with things that spark joy. For example, incense or essential oils for smell; Crystals around you for sight; Hearing wonderful flute music and Arabian and Oriental tunes for sound; Tasting fruits, if you find it hard to stomach much else. For touch, you may love to draw in a mindfulness coloring book.

Regularly ground yourself with meditations, journaling your thoughts and feelings and being in your own safe, sacred, snuggly sanctuary.

Limit the things that trigger stress, like over-work, email, social media and stressful communications on your phone.

What little steps can you take to spark joy?

For me, looking at beauty, like these orchids which have JUST burst into bloom, makes me feel elated.

 

 

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, by Cassandra Gaisford and Hannah Joy. Coming Soon!

 

 

 

Did you enjoy this post?

You might like:

 How to Overcome Anxiety, Panic, and Stress and Reclaim Joy

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

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

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.

 

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

For personalized help schedule a session with Cassandra here >>

Don’t Just Live Your Passion—How To ‘Do a Coco Chanel’ and Achieve Success

Monday, August 5th, 2019

 

In honor of the fashion icon’s birthday this month, I’m celebrating with her most famous words of wisdom.

Those on whom legends are built are their legends.

~ Coco Chanel, businesswoman

 

Gabrielle Bonheur “Coco” Chanel wasn’t born with a silver spoon in her family tree. She wasn’t endowed with a fortune with which to build a fortune. She didn’t even have a family to support her. It’s for these reasons and many like these that I regard her as one of my master life coaches.

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

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

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

Her boundless imagination, strength of purpose and courageous spirit are an inspiration to young and old.

I created the Art of Success and series to reveal how the success secrets and strategies of extraordinary artists like Coco Chanel can help people like you and I succeed—personally and professionally.

Successful artists have always struggled, but they persevered anyway. And it is this willingness to pursue their calling in the face of many challenges that holds lessons for us all.

Who Is The Art Of Success: Coco Chanel Book For?

If you want to challenge conventional definitions of success and live life on your own terms, this book is for you.

If you’re an aspiring creative, or an accomplished one, The Art Of Success will provide support and encouragement to continue the journey.

If you suffer from fear, doubt, procrastination, or overly seek validation from others, The Art Of Success will come to your rescue.

If you’re a Type A personality looking for the fastest route to success, The Art Of Success will challenge you to experiment with going quickly slowly, to avoid burning out. Or overrunning the turn-off that would lead you down the path less traveled—the route that may lead you to your most enduring success.

Or you might, like me, be passionate about Coco Chanel and all that she achieved, and want to discover her success secrets.

 

Your Concise Guide to Success

The Art of Success is a concise guide to succeeding in business and in life. My 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.

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?’ They were always amazed at how readily answers flowed.

In this era of information obesity, the need for simple, life-affirming messages is even more important. If you are looking for inspiration and practical tips, in short, sweet sound bites, this guide is for you.

Similarly, if you are a grazer, or someone more methodical, this guide will also work for you. Pick a section or page at random, or work through the principles sequentially. I encourage you to experiment, be open-minded and try new things. I promise you will achieve outstanding results.

Let experience be your guide, as it was Coco’s. Give your brain a well-needed break. Let go of ‘why’ and embrace how you feel or how you want to feel. Honor the messages from your intuition and follow your path with heart.

At the time of writing I’ve just turned to Principle Three: Invent Your Life. It’s a timely reminder that I can transcend the things I dislike and create a life that fills me with joy—no matter what seemingly insurmountable obstacles block my path. The following remark from Coco may also speak to you: “I invented my life by taking for granted that everything I did not like would have an opposite, which I would like.”

 

How This Book Will Help You

Whenever I’m in a slump or needing an inspirational boost I turn to people who are smarter or more skilled than me for good advice.

I’ve done the same with qualities I’ve wanted to develop, like patience. “What would Mother Theresa do now?” I asked many years ago. Mother Theresa wouldn’t shout! She wouldn’t lose her cool. She’d send loving kindness and smile. And that’s what I did whenever I got frustrated.

Coco Chanel was super smart! As I wrote The Art of Success, I applied the strategies I’m sharing with you in my own life—personally and professionally.

If you’ve been procrastinating, experiencing self-doubt, feeling fearful, or just getting in your own way, you’re in good company, Coco’s been there. I’ve been there too—as have many successful people. Guess what, getting in your own way is normal!

I promise there are solutions to the problems you’re currently facing—and you’ll find them in the pages that follow.

Dig into this book and let Coco Chanel be your mentor, inspiration, and guide as she calls forth your passions, purpose, and potential.

Through the teachings of Coco, extensive research into the mysteries of motivation, success, and fulfillment, and my own personal experience and professional success with clients as a former holistic counselor and therapist, The Art of Success will help you accelerate success. Together, Coco and I will guide you to where you need to go next and give you practical steps to achieve success.

I was once told that I had the soul of an artist. Actively discouraged in childhood, for a long time I’d closed off that side of me. I began my career as a bank-teller, then as an accountant, then as a recruitment consultant, followed by more ‘business-minded’ careers. I even spent time in prison…on a work assignment.

Each time I went further and further away from who I truly was and the things that gave me joy. Like Coco Chanel, I wasn’t encouraged to pursue my natural inclination. My hope is that after reading The Art of Success you will be!

Whether your calling is the world of fashion, commerce, or seeking answers in the stars, it’s never too late to be yourself.

Step into this ride joyfully and start creating your best life today.

 

How I Use This Book  and Coco Chanel’s Wisdom to Fuel My Own Success

I love to choose a page at random. Before I do, I ask my higher self, “What do I need to know today?” And then I open a page. If it’s on my Kindle, I see where it opens naturally, or I close my eyes and skim to a page.

Today, I was guided to the following chapter:

Make  A Passion Action Plan

Beauty begins the moment you decide to be yourself.

~ Coco Chanel

Some people think that fate will take care of their future. The winners in life know that failing to make plans is committing to a plan of failure to make your dreams come true.

Instead, success in life is a mixture of good luck and skillful planning. Written goals, with action points and time frames are essential if you really want to achieve a more passionate life.

Of course, not everyone agrees. As you read earlier, some transformational change experts advocate letting things unfold.

It’s a balancing act. Only you will know what helps you and what holds you back. And very often the task at hand will determine just how detached you can be.

It’s hard to imagine Coco preparing for a collection without a finely executed plan of delivery. So if you are a ‘go with the flow’ type and aren’t getting the results you desire, quit beating on the ’no planning wall’ and find the door to your success.

Your Challenge

Fuel your burning desire—make a passion action plan. Create a definite outline for carrying out your desire, and begin at once whether you are ready or not, to put it into motion.

Write out a clear, concise statement of your desired state. Read your written statement allow, twice-daily, once just before retiring at night, and once after rising in the morning. As you read it, see and feel and believe yourself already in possession of your desire.

Do something every day to help move you closer to your goal of leading a more passionate life.

Don’t forget to tick off and celebrate your achievements along the way to reinforce feelings of success.

You may say that it is impossible for you to ‘see yourself in possession of money’ before you actually have it. Here is where a burning desire will come to your aid. If you truly desire money so keenly that your desire is an obsession, you will have no difficulty in convincing yourself that you will acquire it. The objective is to want money and to become so determined to have it that you convince yourself you will have it.

~ Napoleon Hill, author

It was amazingly accurate. As a result, I’m creating some timelines for my most significant passion projects. In this way, their completion won’t be left to chance.

One of my mentoring clients, Kate a woman in her 60s, was inspired to do a similar thing. She had been struggling to find time to write and wanted to publish her first book to help women struggling with depression. I encouraged her to experiment with daily fifteen-minute writing sprints. I talk more about these in my book, The Prosperous Author: How to Make a Living with Your Writing: Productivity Hacks: Do Less & Make More.

“The words just flowed,” she told me. “I don’t even remember writing them.” Not only had she overcome writer’s block but she was so so happy with what she had written.

The next step in her passion action plan was outlining her book. She followed my lead, by using post-its to draft her chapter ideas and thoughts and sticking these on the back of the door.

 

As Coco Chanel said, beauty begins the moment you decide to show up as yourself.

 

“This book is a work of art. Art with words. The headings alone got me all jazzed up. ‘Failure is not Fatal,’ Sharpen your most Potent tool,’ ‘Flee False Love,’ Barking up the wrong tree,’ ‘Perfume your life,’ ‘Stay sparkly,’ ‘Dress Joyfully,’ ‘Make Mistakes,’ ‘Your Body Barometer,’ and plenty more where this came from. Each heading got me curious and keen to turn the pages and none of the chapters disappointed, quite the contrary. The author is a word artist in the best possible way. This is a delightful guide with simple, life-affirming messages that will help anyone succeed in business and in life. How’s this for a simple yet extremely powerful affirmation (from Coco herself) “I invented my life by taking for granted that everything I did not like would have an opposite, which I would like. I was down in the dumps about something in my life and reading just a few pages of this book lifted me completely out of it. LOVE it!”

~ Amazon Review

“I loved this book. I have always admired Coco Chanel and this book helped me relate to her in a way that will be very helpful to me as I work towards my own goals. I especially appreciated the fact that this book showed both her successes AND her flaws, which makes her more accessible and relatable. This book is inspiring and I will be using it as a reference going forward!”

~ Cindy Alvey Stagg

 

“In the Art of Success Cassandra Gaisford presents the idea that being successful does not just involve the financial issue. It also concerns health, happiness, intimate relationships, and living life significantly. A REAL LUXURY READING!”

~Manu Berger, CEO

Did you enjoy this edited excerpt?

To grab your copy of the Art of Success from Amazon, click here>>getBook.at/CocoChanel

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

Did You Have a Traumatic Childhood? New Release: The Boy Who Cried

Thursday, July 18th, 2019

 

Tears tell truths. Heal your heart.

There are so many reasons why you should look for the gift buried within your pain. If you need some help, look no further than this book.

Part moral allegory and part spiritual biography, The Boy Who Cried is a timeless charm which tells the story of a young boy who turns his traumatic life into golden treasure.

Be inspired by this journey to vulnerability, courage, transformation, radical acceptance, and self-love as he learns to overcome the vagaries of adult behavior. His personal odyssey culminates in a voyage of self-belief, passion, and purpose.

Following on from the success of The Little Princess and I Have to Grow, The Boy Who Cried is a powerful, inspiring, and practical book about boosting resilience, overcoming obstacles and moving forward after life’s inevitable setbacks.

Slay feeling angry, depressed, and traumatized.  Discover what strategies are sabotaging your happiness and success. Heal your heart—find and follow your passion and purpose faster.

Bonus: Free Excerpts from the first book in the series, The Little Princess and my bestselling book How to Find Your Passion and Purpose. Overcome common obstacles to happiness and success easily (including the power of passion, caring deeply, fear of regret—and others)

Advance Praise

“Sadly beautiful and a real reflection of our current society, which if we are really honest has lost direction, particularly with regards family values. Training in family values is an absolute pre-requisite before change will occur. I took pleasure in finding out the Boy who Cried not only survived but was blessed following the day the tears stopped and he found contentment, grace, and peace. My prayer is we can only attempt to save many more such boys.”

~ Kenn Butler, CEO

 

 

 

FOR YOUR IMMEDIATE BENEFIT and ENJOYMENT NOW!

 

To grab your copy from Amazon, click here>> getbook.at/TheBoyWhoCried

To grab your copy from iBooks, Barnes & Noble and other great bookstores, click here>>https://books2read.com/u/bPR1Dj

Audio, print, and hardcopy coming soon…

Anxiety Rescue: How Coco Chanel and Leonardo da Vinci Can Help You Overcome Anxiety and Reclaim Youthful Joy

Monday, April 8th, 2019

 

Nature gives you the face you have at twenty; it is up to you to merit the face you have at fifty. ~ Coco Chanel

 

 

Like me, Coco Chanel loved to be surrounded by flowers and to spend time walking amongst, or gazing upon, nature to replenish.

“I often found her alone sitting at her dressing table, gazing down into the garden, looking at the chestnut trees,“ recounts Claude Delay, now an imminent psychoanalyst who once knew Coco in her youth.

We all know the physical benefits of nature—being amongst plants and flowers boosts mental well-being. A series of published studies have shown clear links between gardening and positivity.

One study found levels of the stress hormone cortisol in those who gardened were considerably lower those who people who relaxed by reading.

Even the simple act of looking out a window to green space has been linked to reduced stress levels and faster recovery from illness.

“The garden brings stillness,” says Lisa, a marketing executive who says she couldn’t have survived her working life without a garden.

“Touching the soil is one of the most reenergizing things I can do. Everything slows down. My mind works differently. I don’t set out to solve problems but the answers seem to come.  These days if ever I am stressed it will be because I haven’t been in the garden.”

Similarly, Cathy who suffers from anxiety and depression finds solace in a small vegetable garden she started behind her flat.

“When I become immobilized by my anxiety, the garden gives me something achievable to get started on. Gardening is methodical I can go out there and think, ‘What does my garden need?’ It could be as simple as pulling caterpillars off some broccoli. Tuning in to this helps me get more in touch with things outside of myself.”

As I share in my latest book, Anxiety Rescue: How to Overcome Anxiety, Panic, and Stress and Reclaim Joy, I have suffered from social anxiety a great deal of my life. Since my move to a lifestyle property immersing myself in nature has been one of my favorite rescue remedies. Just look at these wee beauties my partner and I grew and harvested this autumn.

 

 

Eating organics, time in nature, meditating daily and doing my best to stress less, are some of the many strategies I share in

 

As Coco said, Nature gives you the face you have at twenty; it is up to you to merit the face you have at fifty. This year I’m turning 54. Last year, when the photo was taken of me flying a with a friend I was 53. I think, all things considered, I do merit the face I have in my 50s. I don’t smoke, rarely drink, don’t take drugs and invest in wellbeing lifestyle strategies daily. I’ve worked hard and continue to work hard to be of service to myself and others—and to be of service to my vege garden.

 

Your Challenge

Experience the healing power of nature. Whether you’re blessed with green fingers or not, it doesn’t matter what you doing—just that you get outside in some green space every day.

Monitor how much time you spend indoors. Schedule regular fresh air time.

Beauty surrounds us, but usually,

we need to be walking in a garden to know it.

~ Rumi, Persian poet

 

My story—living well with anxiety

I’ve experienced some horror work experiences during my life and career—everything from toxic shaming, acute bullying, and being physically threatened. As recently as last year, I experienced the ruthless, underhand, malicious tactics of a narcissistic woman who tried to destroy my career.

Unsurprisingly, all of these experience increased my anxiety levels. Had I not trained to be a therapist and invested so much time and energy in self-care and resilience strategies I’m not sure I could have coped. Many of these strategies, and those that have helped my clients, I share in Anxiety Rescue: How to Overcome Anxiety, Panic, and Stress and Reclaim Joy

For most of my childhood, and well into my adulthood, I suffered from what I now know was social anxiety. For many, many years it remained undiagnosed and untreated.  Were it not for the wise counsel of a psychic when I was in my teens who encouraged me to turn my wounds into healing by training to become a counselor, I may still be suffering silently. Yes, folks, there is such a thing as the ‘helpers high.’ Helping others feels good.

The source of my anxiety can be attributed in part to narcissistic abuse and toxic shaming. Some healers have attributed it to a past-life trauma that I carried forward into this life. They told me that I walk the path of jealousy and that relationships are my greatest challenges, but also my most powerful avenue of healing.

You may not believe in past lives or reincarnation and you do not need to in order to benefit from the help contained within this book and others in the Anxiety Rescue series.

But, in the spirit of authenticity, it feels important to share how I have experienced much healing by journeying into the mystery of mysteries—both the body’s and the soul’s journey. It is for this reason, amongst others that I have devoted a whole section to spiritual health.

I learned later in life, and continue to learn, that healing my family trauma and helping others is my soul purpose in this lifetime.

My purpose can be summed up in one word—love.

To help others love and be loved in return, including self-love and valuing ourselves more than the poisons we may have ingested from people, experiences, circumstances, as we go through this lifetime, is a great joy.

However, it took me many years to find the gift of my anxiety. My hope is that by writing Anxiety Rescue, I may speed up this journey for you.

My anxiety was so bad for most of my teens I tried to drink my way to confidence and numb my anxious feelings with alcohol. In fact, for many years I was so acutely self-conscious I wore green foundation under my makeup to try to hide my blushing face.

People used to call me ‘beetroot’ and laugh at me. I was also mercilessly body shamed during my childhood and teenage years. Honestly, for so much of my life all I wanted to do was hide. Often I didn’t care if I lived or died.

Anxiety will do that to you—until you befriend it and learn what it wants you to know.

When I was planning my wedding in my late twenties,  I wanted a table down the back where no one could see me. Have you ever been to a wedding where the bride wanted to hide?

That’s why, untreated, anxiety is so cruel. It can make us want to stay in the shadows. It can prevent us from standing in the light. Anxiety left unchallenged can deny us from acknowledging our gifts. It can also leave us splintered, in denial or fear or shame, of those aspects of our personality we need to wield from time to time—but have been taught to devalue and deny.

Saying no to denying who we really are and who we truly want to be and showing up, warts and all reduces anxiety. Self-acceptance and integration of the polarities within us—the light and the dark, the fear and the courage, the sadness, and the anger, the anger and the joy, and the other dualities that, unless befriended wage war within, is the road to inner peace.

We’ll dive deeper into the value of integrating shadow work in Anxiety Rescue.

For many years I didn’t live authentically. I tried, somewhat unsuccessfully, to be someone else. I tried to be who others wanted me to be. Sometimes this was an act of self-preservation driven by fear. Often it was a mistaken belief about my value and the value of my gifts.

As I’ve shared in many of my other self-empowerment books, I was once told that I had the soul of an artist. Actively discouraged in childhood, for a long time I’d closed off that side of me. I began my career as a bank teller, then as an accountant, then as a recruitment consultant, followed by more ‘business-minded’ careers.

Each time I went further and further away from who I truly was and the things that gave me joy.

As you’ll discover in Anxiety Rescue, reclaiming joy and living on purpose is a powerful antidote for anxiety. It offers holistic, integrated healing on so many levels—mind, body, and soul.

Recently, in my early fifties, I was been diagnosed with generalized trauma. All I can say is “Wow! What a relief!”

No wonder life has felt such a struggle,

Generalized trauma is similar to Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, except that rather than being caused by one traumatic event, it covers a multitude of traumatic events.

Essentially, as Dr. Diane Langberg, Clinical Psychologist and Co-Leader of the Global Trauma Recovery Institute,  says if you suffer generalized trauma you’ve effectively been marinated in trauma from an early age.

Talk about toxicity in the body.

I count myself lucky. Which may surprise you. But as you’ll discover in Anxiety Rescue, when we befriend our anxiety we can find great fulfillment, purpose, and joy.

As the Persian poet and philosopher Rumi once said, “Our wounds are where the light comes in.”

Light, love, kindness, hope—these positive energies provide the healing balm we all need.

My trauma,  my anxiety, and my depression have led me to my Dharma or my purpose in life. My hope is that all that I share in Anxiety Rescue will help you too.

Much love to you

 

 

I hope you enjoyed this wee edited excerpt from Anxiety Rescue: How to Overcome Anxiety, Panic, and Stress and Reclaim Joy.

Midlife can be magic—it’s largely determined by you. We can make midlife a mess or we can invest in creating something truly remarkable. If anxiety, depression, despair or any other cloud of negativity is robbing you of the life you truly want, take heart. There is a cure.

Join me in learning the success strategies of successful men and women throughout time—including two of my favorite muses, Leonardo da Vinci and Coco Chanel.

 

 

Praise for Anxiety Rescue

“Cassandra’s book is for anyone interested in ending anxiety issues, but also, for those who seek deeper meaning in their lives. Anxiety Rescue covers a range of healing methods and a variety of topics, from self-acceptance to prosperity. It’s a book about total well-being. Cassandra restates the wisdom of Leonardo Da Vinci, Coco Chanel and other important historical and modern-day figures who have much to teach about authenticity and success. An uplifting, informative and inspirational work! I highly recommend Anxiety Rescue.”

~ Valeria Teles

Author of Fit For Joy

 

“Cassandra explores the nature of anxiety and the effect it has on our physical, emotional, and spiritual self. She draws on much of her research and writings from others of her self-help books. In true Cassandra Gaisford style of practical application—this book is for committed self-helpers.”

~ Catherine Sloan

Counselor

 

“Lighthearted and uplifting! Anxiety Rescue is a book with a catalog of ideas, intertwined with the historical endeavors of Leonardo da Vinci and Coco Chanel. Learning about these two people while navigating how to rid my life of anxiety was fun and playful. I’m grateful to the author for taking this approach as I feel like I have a path that can easily be followed now. I highly recommend this book!”

~ Chelsea Behrens

Creator of Leading with Authenticity

#1 in Four Categories

 

 

 

This is an edited extract of Anxiety Rescue: How to Overcome Anxiety, Panic, and Stress and Reclaim Joy by Cassandra Gaisford. To order a copy for less than the price of coffee and cake go to Amazon:

US—https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07NKV6K9K

UK—https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B07NKV6K9K

or your local Amazon store.

FREE for Subscribers of Kindle Unlimited

Did you enjoy this post?

You might like:

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

 My story: how my dark nights of the soul awakened my passion and purpose

How to Develop More Grit and Perseverance – Consult the Oracle

Does talk therapy actually work?

Savvy Sobriety: The new happiness trend you need to know

Spiritual approaches to the treatment of alcohol addiction

 

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

 

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 >>

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

Wednesday, January 16th, 2019

One of my clients described 2018 as annus horribilis, roughly translated this means it was an absolutely horrendous year. Perhaps you can relate to that. 

And I’d have to agree. What a beastly year! I had copyright craziness, scary moments with certain industry giants, and drama galore—including narcissistic bosses and bullying builders during our home renovation process. But, as I once read, “you need chaos to give birth to a dancing star.”

Through all the mayhem I’ve emerged stronger. Where others may have given up in despair or drowned their angst in a bottle or a sea of pills, I’ve gone through it all unmedicated and sober. I’ve struggled with anxiety and depression and even collapsed. But I bounced back and I’ve thrived and grown. And I have been blessed to have been both supported and able to support others.

I’ve benefitted from integrating and applying many of the strategies I share in my self-empowerment books—most importantly:

 Bounce: Overcoming Adversity, Building Resilience, and Finding Joy

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

Stress Less. Love Life More: How to Stop Worrying, Reduce Anxiety, Eliminate Negative Thinking and Find Happiness

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

and my Art of Success Series, inspired by Coco Chanel and my mentor Leonardo da Vinci.

A lot can happen in 60 seconds. The minute that altered my life forever.

“Nobody speaks to God these days.“Maybe its time to let the old ways die,” sings Bradley’s Cooper character in the lyrics of A Star is Born. 

I couldn’t agree more—emotional, mentally, spiritually, it’s time for a rebirth in 2019. In 2018 nearly dying physically was my wake up call. In his book, How to Know God: The Soul’s Journey into the Mystery of Mysteries, Deepak Chopra sums at beautifully how fate can come calling when god the protector intervenes.

“A miracle Ìs a display of power from beyond the fìve senses…Any miracle involves direct contact with spirit.” Level one of the seven levels of miracles that Chopra summarises is the Flight-or-Flight Response. “Miracles involve surviving great danger, impossible rescues, a sense of divine protection.”

This was my experience in late 2018.

I don’t know why but as I was driving back from Auckland after a particularly traumatic experience I fell asleep at the wheel. Miraculously, I woke up as my car careered across the road. I was 60 seconds away from driving down a steep ravine.

I didn’t panic as instinct would normally dictate I didn’t grab the wheel and swerve. I didn’t do anything. I recall an intense feeling of peace and a deep knowing that I should surrender.

I felt a presence, as though someone took the wheel and gently guided me back onto the main road to safety. I just allowed God to take the wheel and lead me back to the safety of the right side of the road.

I look back now and see the deeper meaning of staying in my own lane, of following my authentic path and my soul’s purpose.

I’ve had that experience once before when I nearly drowned after being encouraged by a friend to go free-floating down a river. Not long after I got into trouble. Serious trouble. Somehow I became entangled in a whirlpool.

I was being sucked under the water, trapped in the maelstrom of opposing currents. I was struggling to get free when I heard a voice say “relax it’s not your time.“

And even though every part of me instinctively wanted to fight because I was drowning, even though every cell in my body biologically kicked into the stress-response, I forced myself to relax.

I allowed my body to go limp, I talked to the memory cells in my body and recalled past knowledge of letting go, I surrendered. And when I let go and let God, when I put my faith in the Divine Intelligence, when I trusted that the Universe had my back, I floated to the top of the water.

Further downstream my friend, sensing something was wrong, lay await in a tree. As I sped past in the racing current, he reached in and pulled me out of the water. I put my faith in God and I put my faith in my friend.

It’s a moment I had forgotten until some 15 years later when I nearly drove to my death. So, 2018 was a game changer for me. This experience, and all the hurtful behaviors I have personally experienced, and those I witnessed as my counseling clients shared their wounds and their pain, transformed my life.

Perhaps, like me, you’ve become less enamored with the fear and the aggression directed at so many. Perhaps, like me, you’ve found it incredibly exhausting fighting a daily battle to ward off lower energies that incessantly attack all that is good.

In 2018 I made a decision to let go of the wheel. I made a commitment to stop trying to control everything and allow. This is not allowing in a victimized, passive sense. This is allowing in a spiritual sense. In some ways you may consider, as I have, loving what shows up. Because what shows up guides us back to our soul purpose—to heal our wounds and help others in return.

As I share in my soon to be released book Anxiety Rescue: How to Overcome Anxiety, Panic, and Stress and Reclaim Joy, trying to control everything is a learned behavior I have somewhat unsuccessfully employed to keep myself sane. But I have discovered that the greater power is to let go and let God.

Two months ago, in November of 2018, I reinforced this commitment to allowing the old ways to die in a session with renowned Psych-k therapist, Jane Bromley. I stated my intention, “I’m just going to allow, I’m just going to stop needing to be in control, and I’d like your help getting rid of old programs that are preventing that.”

That exact day, less than three hours after our session a contract that I thought would be mine for several years was terminated. My manager’s behavior was vindictive, malicious, and clearly designed to destroy me. I won’t go into this in too much detail here. In fact, it may well become a book on its own because I know how many of my followers and readers of my Mid-Life Career Rescue series of books suffer at the hands of narcissistic bullying bosses.

Enough is enough. 

I see it now, with the benefit of time and therapy, as divine providence. After all, hadn’t I asked for the old ways to die? I wasn’t meant to be there. I had allowed myself to be dishonored the moment she reneged on our agreed terms of employment. The people pleaser and the victim was still in residence.

I was forced to accept that which felt unacceptable.

The Archbishop Desmond Tutu speaks beautifully about of the power of acceptance in The Book of Joy, co-written with The Dalai Lama. Below is an excerpt from this book:

Prayer practice involves reading quotations from the scriptures as well as quotes from the saints and spiritual masters throughout history. One of his favorites is the Christian mystic Julian of Norwich, whose Revelations of Divine Love, penned shortly after she recovered from a life-threatening illness in 1373, is believed to be the first book written by a woman in the English language. In it, she writes, . . .

“Deeds are done which appear so evil to us and people suffer such terrible evils that it does not seem as though any good will ever come of them; and we consider this, sorrowing and grieving over it so that we cannot find peace in the blessed contemplation of God as we should do; and this is why: our reasoning powers are so blind now, so humble and so simple, that we cannot know the high, marvelous wisdom, the might and the goodness of the Holy Trinity. And this is what he means where he says, “You shall see for yourself that all manner of things shall be well.”

As if he said, Pay attention to this now, faithfully and confidently, and at the end of time, you will truly see it in the fullness of joy. Acceptance—whether we believe in God or not—allows us to move into the fullness of joy. It allows us to engage with life on its own terms rather than rail against the fact that life is not as we would wish. It allows us not to struggle against the day-to-day current. The Dalai Lama had told us that stress and anxiety come from our expectations of how life should be. When we are able to accept that life is how it is, not as we think it should be, we are able to ease the ride, to go from that bumpy axle (dukkha), with all its suffering, stress, anxiety, and dissatisfaction, to the smooth axle (sukha), with its greater ease, comfort, and happiness.

The experience, or rather my treatment by others was hurtful and traumatic. Healing my wounds lead me back to therapy.

I discovered the teachings of Dr. Jordan Peterson and through him rediscovered the teachings of Carl Jung. I earned about the shadow side and the importance of healing trauma, especially releasing it from the body.

I also learned about the power of community and reaching out to others and talking, just talking, and of honesty. Sharing my vulnerabilities, my wounds, and my sorrows. (You may also like my post, Does talk therapy actually work?)

I also placed value on the importance of taking responsibility. I had asked God to lead me. I had affirmed, “thy will be done.”

And I was clearly shown the door. Coincidentally I came across the below which I had written in the tiny book of wisdom I keep by my bed

I was reminded that I hadn’t trusted my intuition. From the beginning, God had told me something was wrong. I write more about  spotting narcissists and overcoming narcissistic abuse in my book, Anxiety Rescue: How to Overcome Anxiety, Panic, and Stress and Reclaim Joy

People told me to stand up. Important people came to my aid and told me they wanted to support me. Where once I had just thought I don’t need the drama or allowed myself to be victimized I decided, in spite of the intense feelings of stress that I was still working through, that I had to take a stand.

In this respect, I took strength from the teachings of Jordan Peterson who urges us all to “Grow some teeth and bite. Bite hard.” Peterson is not urging us to attack with violence, he is urging us to integrate the shadow side so many of us kinder souls may have been taught to disown. Check out his lecture here—https://youtu.be/iDQ8DiP_Y_A.

When you allow bullying you become a victim and you set yourself up to be bullied again. In a perverse twist, you effectively bully yourself into believing you are worthless and powerless, and you’re colluding in this mistruth and this abuse with the perpetrator.

I also took wisdom from the Dalai Lama, “You must not hate those who do harmful things,” he has explained. “The compassionate thing is to do what you can to stop them—for they are harming themselves as well as those who suffer from their actions.”

I put the matter to the attention of my professional ethics committee, to my local member of Parliament, and the perpetrator’s professional supervisor. It’s what my intuition guided me to do.

Again, as the Dalai Lama sagely teaches in The Book of Joy, “We stand firm against the wrong not only to protect those who are being harmed but also to protect the person who is harming others, because eventually they, too, will suffer. So it’s out of a sense of concern for their own long-term well-being that we stop their wrongdoing. This is exactly what we are doing. We do not let anger and negative feelings develop toward the Chinese hard-liners, but in the meantime, we strongly oppose their actions.”

And so rather than allow a wrong to continue I have begun the journey of seeking justice… for myself and for those who may follow.

My energy and intention is not born from vindictiveness or a desire to punish my narcissistic manager. My desire is to stand up for myself, to honor the truth and bring light to darkness.

Bullying affects self-esteem, your identity, your perception of, “am I safe in the world?” It affects how you view yourself, your skills and abilities, it cripples your growth and diminishes your ability to shine brightly in a world that needs your light.

 

Bullying and narcissistic abuse and other hateful, hurtful behaviors needn’t be a life sentence, But it does require you to show up, stand up, speak out. Something we all witnessed in 2018 as the pandemic of sexual assaults was finally called “time” in the wake of the #MeToo movement.

Enough is enough. More than enough!

A similar thing happened when I received an email out of the blue accusing me of trying to leverage off another woman’s brand when I released my title Sexy Sobriety containing sobriety recipes.  The email was aggressive, intimidating… designed to strike fear.

I sought advice from my writing community. Many authors told me there were no grounds and told me this was just bullying.

“Aggressive grandstanding,“ one best-selling author wrote. “They should have trademarked the name if they wanted to lay claim to it..(I imagine they are in the process of doing that). Otherwise, you could probably fight and win this—if it was important to you.”

But the aggressive emails threatening financial penalties, keep coming. I asked them if the term, “Sexy Sobriety” was trademarked. They told me it wasn’t. Several weeks later they filed for copyright.

I decided this wasn’t important enough for me to fight. Unlike, the issues arising from the narcissistic boss.

 

Income wise, for sure, the road was rocky. With the benefit of being able to look back in review, this was understandable for several key reasons.

Firstly, our home renovation was a nightmare. The tradespeople were great, the finish fantastic, the end result, a dream come true. But the cost, both personally and professionally, fuelled by the budget blowout was beyond belief. Our troubles lay largely at the feet of the main contractor—of course, he didn’t see it that way. Another bully. Another narcissist—as others who had the misfortune of working with him also revealed. But he seemed so nice. So agreeable. Narcissists always do—until you’re screwed.

As I share in Anxiety Rescue: “Narcissistics are fear-based people. They tell a lot of lies and they put a lot of these lies onto you”, says psychotherapist Dr. Les Carter. “As you engage with a narcissist, you quickly realize that person has an agenda for you.”

Things unexpectantly took a turn for worse toward the very end of the rebuild. Thankfully we were back in the house and were in this respect back under control. We only just narrowly avoided a nasty and potentially costly litigious battle (I’ve learned, as you may have, that the only people who really win are the lawyers). We arrived at an uneasy compromise. Better uneasy peace than the stress of warfare waging on.

If only some of our world leaders would act similarly.

Needless to say, all this chaos made it nearly impossible to write and I was nowhere nearly as industrious and prolific as I was in the previous years.

Secondly, USA Today bestselling author Kristine Kathryn Rusch summed up some of the changes which affected many authors like me.

“Amazon shook up the industry first by a shift to favoring paid advertising over organic search results, then with policy changes that led to decreased revenue

Other interesting turns included dubious trademark claims, leading to the addition of terms like Cockygate being added to every indie author’s lexicon. Some authors attempted to trademark generic cover layouts and common words to (allegedly) protect their intellectual property. In general, it was a year filled with questionable practices on the IP front.”  

Many lessons were learned, and I have attempted to adapt with the times.

However, December was my best ever month, ending the year on a high as my best year yet author-wise.

It wasn’t always like this, and like any new endeavour, there was a lot to learn. Baby steps, passion and perserverennce and a big wallop of tenacity and self-belief  (often feigned) were key.

2016, my first year as an indie author. I remember being thrilled with my first royalty payment—$136. I was so cuffed, I pasted the notifcation in my Passion Journal. I’m still proud of that result. 

2018, also heralded a greater focus on my counseling work, and it was an absolute honor and joy to have worked with so many varied and beautiful people—some as young as eight. I developed a new passion for working with trauma and child therapy, as long as the other areas of passion I have—all unified by my purpose to help create more love in this crazy world.

As you’ll discover from reading Anxiety Rescue, I believe the best solutions integrate mind, body, and soul. Whichever way you define spirituality you’ll benefit from tailored approaches that feed and nourish and empower your spirit.

As Kiri*, one of my New Zealand-based clients shared with me recently,

“In Maoridom for me, I will relate to you as a  Kaitiaki, meaning ‘guardian’. How I became to have you in my path was purely by spiritual contact—a nudge an inner tiny voice directing me to you. Cass, you don’t realize the great healing you have in the pit of your soul and you were born to spread compassion. You have those who watch over you, and mine in return, and yet they all speak the same language to us who are willing to hear and feel.  In such a long time have I never met a beautiful soul who finally understood me who went within and helped me grow from our sessions.”

 

This feedback made my heart glad—especially when I was going through such a toxic work situation.

Therapy needn’t be gloomy. A lot of healthy healing can be achieved using playfulness and fun. Personally and professionally I believe in magic and the power of beauty, joy, love, purpose, and creativity to transform peoples’ lives.

Kiri, who came to see me following a period of grief and trauma, had become so unwell she could no longer work, and struggled to find meaning in her life. In just one session, where we ‘played’ with crayons in a session of Interactive Drawing Therapy, she experienced a complete transformation. In her picture, she drew vibrant threads of colorful energy and empowering words that encouraged her to seek joy.

As the sessions continued I introduced her to the healing power of meditation. And of course, we talked. Or she talked, and I listened. Very often, all we need is someone to listen to our story and help us reintegrate who we truly are.

Or, you may find, as many of my clients have, that working with a life coach, rather than a counselor is the most effective strategy.

A problem shared can lead to a problem solved. Talking with someone objective is often what you need to gain a fresh perspective, overcome obstacles, heal wounds and expand your life.

To learn more about my approach or to schedule a session I invite you to visit—http://www.cassandragaisford.com/wellness-therapies/

 

If there is only one insight you take away from my year in review, I hope it is a newfound belief in the importance of being yourself. This often requires embracing the shadowy aspects of our personality and shedding alll the layers of debri that prevent you from being authentically you. It also involves clearing away the crap that may have been thrown at you, and baring some teeth at those who try to attack you. But even more importantly it means remembering who you truly are.

The doorway to this is co-creating with spirit in the energies of passion, purpose, and love.

I can personally testify for the life-transforming effects of this philosophy.

With hard work and inspired products and services created with passion and purpose, miraculous things are possible.

Good luck in 2019.

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

You might like:

Why Pursuing Your Passion Not Your Pension is The Ultimate Mid-Life Career Change Strategy

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

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

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

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

Why passion is a powerful healing tool

 

* named changed to protect privacy.

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

Thursday, January 11th, 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

Saturday, January 6th, 2018

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

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

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

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

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

The Power of Passion

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

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

.

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

• To be passionate is to be fully alive.

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

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

• Passion is about fire.

• Passion is about eagerness and preoccupation.

• Passion is about excitement and animation.

• Passion is about determination and self-belief

• Passion, like love and joy, is contagious

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

 

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

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

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

 

What’s your drug of choice?

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

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

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

Instead of drinking focus on what excites you.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

Monday, January 1st, 2018

 

 

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Mind Over Mojitos will help you:

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

 

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

Virgin Island Fox

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

Ingredients

• 1 tsp orange marmalade

• 90mls grapefruit juice

• 30mls lime juice

• 15 mls sugar syrup

• Ice

Instructions

• Add all ingredients except the ice into a mixer

• Single strain over ice into a wine glass

• Garnish – grapefruit

 

Asian Pear Sparkler

 

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

Ingredients

• 1 cup freshly pressed Asian pear juice*

• 1 teaspoon lemon juice

• 3/4 cups honey

• 1/4 cup sugar

• 1 (4-inch) sprig fresh rosemary

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

• Small grating of fresh nutmeg

• Ice

• Soda water

Instructions

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

~ Niki Firth, 5-Star Amazon Review

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

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

Virgin Moscow Mule

 

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

Ingredients

• 1 Lime (quartered)

• Ginger beer (not dry or ale)

• Ice, lightly smashed

• Ginger toffee (optional—recipe follows)

 

Instructions

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

• Muddle lime and ice to release juice and flavor

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

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

• Decorate with some smashed ginger toffee (optional)

Serves 2 / Prep Time less than 10 minutes

 

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

 

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

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

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

What’s the ultimate Christmas present? The gift of your sobriety

Tuesday, December 19th, 2017

When I cut out alcohol, my life got better. When I cut out alcohol, my spirit came back. An evolved life requires balance. Sometimes you have to cut one thing to find balance everywhere else.”

~ Sarah Hepola, author

How Alcohol Affects Your Brain and Behavior

You may think that alcohol relaxes you, but in reality, you’re disrupting your brain’s natural functioning. Every time you drink alcohol you’re slowing down, impeding and even destroying your beautiful brain’s ability to do its job.

Scary and true.

Your brain is your body’s control center. It’s the maestro of the orchestra, directing a wide range of abilities and vital life processes, including breathing and maintaining a regular heartbeat, and influencing your emotions.

When you introduce booze into the mix the melody changes from one of harmony to potential discord.

While all the systems in your body feel the effects of alcohol, the Central Nervous System (CNS), is acutely sensitive. The CNS is made up of billions of neurons, or nerve cells, in the brain and the spinal cord.

Alcohol seeps through the blood-brain barrier, reaching and affecting neurons directly. Once alcohol touches these cells it alters them, resulting in changes in your normal functioning and behavior. And none of these are for the better.

Alcohol seeps through the blood-brain barrier, reaching and affecting neurons directly. Once alcohol touches these cells it alters them, resulting in changes in your normal functioning and behavior.

 

The Great Depression

Alcohol depresses your CNS—slowing motor function, thinking, comprehension, and reasoning.

Booze makes nerve cells in your brain dull and less excited. This may surprise you. You may think that alcohol is a great ‘pick-me-up.’

In the short-term drinking alcohol can make you become more animated and socially confident. But this is only because the first wave of alcohol affects parts of your brain that involve inhibiting your behaviors.

The first drops of alcohol are like a green light signaling to your neural network, ’Let’s go! It’s happy hour. Time to party.’

But look more closely and you’ll see many warning indicators that your brain is either slowing to a crawl or getting ready to brawl.

Take a look at the list below. How many have been true for you after knocking back a few too many?

• Slurring and altered speech

• Hazy thinking

• Slowed reaction time

• Blurred vision

• Uncoordinated muscles

• Foggy memory

Let’s take a closer look at how alcohol affects your brain and behavior.The role of different parts of your brain and how alcohol compromises optimal functioning follows:

Central striatum and prefrontal cortex: Contains connections that make up the brain’s reward system and regulates impulsive behavior. This is also the part of the brain that is affected first, causing your behavior to become looser, less guarded and increasing the likelihood you’ll do something impulsive you may later regret.

Hippocampus: Your brain’s memory storehouse. Even a small shot of alcohol can cause forgetfulness and memory loss.

Cerebellum: This part of your brain works with the primary motor cortex to control your movement, maintain balance, and enable complex motor functions. When you’re drunk, your motor function is impeded and reaction times slow. If you can’t stand or walk in a straight line after a night on the booze you’ll know why.

Frontal lobe: Your judgment, behavior, and emotions are controlled by this part of your brain. Alcohol affects the natural rhythm of your emotions and may cause anxiety, depression, crying, fighting, and aggression. Alcohol can make good people turn bad, and happy people become sad.

Reticular activating system: This part is in the midbrain, and controls sleeping and waking. Alcohol can depress these systems, causing you to pass out. Alternatively, it can disrupt your normal sleeping patterns, causing insomnia and waking you up at annoying hours. Lack of sleep increases irritability and low mood.

Medulla: This part is in the hindbrain, and it controls your heartbeat, breathing, and other important life functions. Heavy drinking sessions can disrupt everything, putting your life in danger.

Neurons: Your brain has billions of these nerve cells. As you’ve already read, alcohol can reach and enter these cells and damage, or even, at high enough levels, kill them off completely.

Blood vessels: When you’re intoxicated, alcohol causes your blood vessels to relax and open wide—slowing blood pressure to crawl. At very high levels of intoxication, booze can shrink your blood vessels and send your blood pressure soaring, exacerbating such conditions as migraine headaches, or worse, compromising your heart.

Hypothalamus: Finally, alcohol depresses nerve centers in the hypothalamus, which control sexual performance and arousal. Sexual urges may increase, but sexual performance and sensory pleasure decrease.”

Shut off, shut down…and worse

Okay, now you know what happens in your brain when you drink, and how this compromises your behavior and health. The chances are high that you know that alcohol can be dangerous. But very often, it’s not a story that’s often heard.

Many people don’t abuse alcohol and enjoy a good time. But a lot of people don’t.

Alcohol affects just about every part of your brain and your nervous system. It ‘shuts down’ different parts of the brain and compromises your health, causes you to engage in unhealthy behaviors and engage in activities you wouldn’t normally do if you weren’t ‘under the influence.’

In essence, you’ve lost control. At worst, letting alcohol get in the driver’s seat could take your freedom and your life.

Drinking alcohol increases the likelihood of making bad decisions, engaging in risky behavior, increasing the alcohol dependence, and can lead to addiction and alcoholism.

In the following chapter, we’ll look at why some people develop alcohol dependence and how relying on booze to deal with life can escalate to alcoholism. You’ll then be better armed to avoid getting immeshed in the alcohol trap.

Sexy Sobriety: Your Challenge

Educate yourself. Next time you decide to hit the bottle monitor what happens to your brain, your mood, and your ability to function. If you’re around other people who are on the booze, study how excessive drinking affects them.

 

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

Would you like to drink less? We value your advice—help customize this book to peoples’ needs, navigate to here: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/5K8KSN7

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

How I put more fuel in an empty tank

Friday, November 17th, 2017

 

Recently, someone asked me, “Have you always been a hamster on a wheel?”

Her question certainly got me thinking how seldom it is that I stop and take a break. Many people who love what they do find it hard to stop. In fact, very often working is how I relax. I Iove writing—it’s like a meditation to me. I love creative expression, and I love encouraging others. I love what I do for work so much I find it hard to stop and take time out just to be.

Most of my life I’ve struggled with taking time out. I love being busy 🙂 But several things changed my thinking and altered my perspective. I began to feel fatigued and feelings of despondency crept in—including increasingly negative evaluations of the effectiveness of the work that I do.

If these feelings are something you can relate to, know that they are red flag warning you that’s it’s time to cut yourself some slack and take a break. I did just that when, in September,  I went to Bali with my mom. For three blissful weeks I went off the grid—no writing, no social media, no digital gadgets whatsoever—other than my camera. It has been so long that I did something just for fun, as a hobby, that I had forgotten how much I loved it.

So, in this end of the week Kickstarter, I’m sharing a few timely reminders from The Happy, Healthy Artist: Worry Less, Improve Your Health & Create a Sustainable Creative Career

 

Excerpts to soothe & inspire…

PROTECT YOUR MENTAL HEALTH

Jessie Burton, the author of The Muse and The Miniaturist, powerfully sums up how anxiety can sneak up on you and the importance of protecting your health—mentally, emotionally, physically, and spiritually.

Below is an extract from the vivid account she shared on her blog earlier in 2017:

“I looked my mental health in the eye and did not do enough to protect it. I burned out again, I suffered dehydration and a viral infection, but far worse, my anxiety came in huge and truly awful doses and, in the end, I had to cancel a few events. I am well aware of the places I had to cancel events, and one day, I hope to make up for that in those places. It wasn’t many, but I did feel terrible.

I truly love having readers, and I did the best I could, a four-month publicity tour, two continents, five events in three days kind of thing, but by the end of September, the scrutiny and analysis, repetition and a sinking of myself led to physical damage and a deep sense of alienation, panic and an indefinable loss.The thing I want most to do in the world is write, and I agonized that if writing led to this kind of struggle, then what was the solution?” she asked.

Balance. That is the solution.

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STRESS LESS

Productivity isn’t about being a workhorse, keeping busy or burning the midnight oil…It’s more about priorities, planning, and fiercely protecting your time. ~ Margarita Tartakovsky, blogger

AS JESSIE BURTON’S experience illustrated when you are under too much pressure, take too much on and don’t take time out, you tend to live your life on overdrive and on the verge of burnout. When you’re stressed you are less effective, make more mistakes, suffer more and are prone to illness. Very often people turn to “medicine”—chemical highs, alcohol, and prescription drugs—to manage the symptoms.

But the reality is that these only offer temporary relief. They mask symptoms which, left unresolved, can set fire to everything you’ve worked so hard to achieve. Fortify your resilience. Stop, take a break, rest, eat well, stay away from negative people, cultivate optimism, exercise, do things you love, play, spend time in nature, experience the quietness of solitude, and experiment with other effective stress management techniques.

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AROMATHERAPY FOR MENTAL ALERTNESS

 If you believe in aromatherapy…it works! If you don’t believe in aromatherapy…it works! ~ Cristina Proano-Carrion, aromatherapist

ALONG WITH YOUR skills and capabilities, it is your state of mind that determines how productive, successful and happy you will be. There are many ways to empower your mind—working with essential oils is one of the most effortless. The sense of smell is the most basic and primitive of all our senses and is of vital importance to authors.

The process of smelling is called olfaction and is incredibly complicated, taking place in several areas of the brain including the limbic system which itself has approximately 34 structures and 53 pathways. The limbic system is linked to sensations of pleasure and pain, and emotions— both positive and negative, including fear and confidence, sadness and joy and other feelings that can either erode or boost productivity and prosperity.

THE FOLLOWING BLENDS are also great ‘pick-me-ups’ for your weary mind:

Alertness:

Ginger, 6 drops

Grapefruit, 5 drops

Juniper Berry, 4 drops

15 ml of a carrier oil

Energizing:

Lavender, 8 drops

Lemon, 2 drops

Orange, 6 drops

Rosemary, 4 drops

 

All excerpts from  The Happy, Healthy Artist: Worry Less, Improve Your Health & Create a Sustainable Creative Career available from Amazon as an ebook or paperback here—viewBook.at/HappyHealthyArtist

P.S.

I’ll be sharing my strategies for a stress-free Christmas and holiday season with a journalist from the New Zealand Herald, who interviewed me recently. It’s a super important topic – so many people find it hard to switch off.

See this blog about the importance of a digital detox-https://buff.ly/2z5x2cF

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