What Is Happiness All About?

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I’ve been reminded all morning that its National Happiness Day. The advice given by this morning’s TV presenters were ‘go and connect with people, give someone you have thought of a phone call and surprise them’. Social media, texting and whatsapp make it so easy to avoid actually having a conversation. Taking the time is a lovely reminder of how to communicate with people and to connect with them on a deeper level.

Another great reminder was to look for what’s good. You are probably sick of hearing it but there is so much healing in gratitude. Saying thank you to someone or even to yourself can make a huge difference. Lets focus on creating an upward spiral in life. When I was a child my Uncle Billy used to say to me ‘Don’t walk and look down at the ground Karen, there is nothing for you there, look up because that’s where your dreams lie’. Keep spiralling upwards, it’s brighter at the top.

Take care of your body. Many coaches and speakers I know drive the most prestigious vehicles which are serviced regularly, wear fantastic suits which are dry cleaned every week and every material thing is kept in tip top condition. Remember our physical health is important. Many professionals I know have a BMI which is drastically over the limit, drink far too much coffee and keep working 24 hours a day. You, your mind and your physical health are important. If they go you really have nothing left. This is my kind reminder for you to take care of yourself.

Acceptance. For me acceptance is the biggest key to long-term happiness. Accept what is. You don’t have to like it but accepting in the moment whatever situation is creates less resistance, fear and anxiety in your life. Equally it creates more moments of happiness. Remember its not all work and the stuff we buy with the money we earn that keeps us happy. It’s the interactions, our health and the great company we keep that makes us smile more and more.


The Pursuit of Silence…

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Copyright remains the property of the artist Toby Latham

Copyright remains the property of the artist Toby Latham

Looking down onto the snowy White Mountains while riding the ski lift in Andorra took my breath away. The feeling of peace as I climbed the mountain was something I had never felt before. There wasn’t a single sound. It was breath taking! If there is a heaven surely this is what it is like. From that moment my search began to keep that peaceful feeling within me.

For the last two years I have been really big on meditation. I dabbled a bit with it in my late twenties, and found beneficial results but never stuck with it, thinking it took up too much time when I had other things to do, like watching TV etc.

I’d heard about silent meditation retreats and wondered what it would be like. A friend showed me a video of what to expect and you could feel the tranquility ooze from the screen. This is what I had been looking for.

A year later a teacher at a yoga class I attended mentioned she visited a silent retreat every year. Now, if you see this woman you will want a little of what ever she has, she oozes peace, confidence, and constantly glows. She mentioned a type of meditation called Vipassana, which also offers a 10-day silent meditation retreat.

Vipassana, which means, “to see things as they really are”, is an ancient Buddhist technique popularized by a SN Goenka. Vipassana is about focusing your attention on sensations of the body and not reacting to them.

Meditation is not all about clearing the mind which is what a lot of people think meditation is all about, which can sound too difficult and put people off.
So off I went for a 10 day silent retreat in Herefordshire. No contact with the outside world is allowed, so no phones, emails, reading or writing just 12 hours of meditation a day. I arrived late but just in time to speak with my roommate a woman called Carolyn Faulkner the Astrologer, www.carolynefaulkner.co.uk

From the moment we started talking we got on like a house on fire, we had 30 minutes of talk time before the silence began and we would start our typical day.
I lay out my bedding, which I brought from home, and realized that Carolyne and I had brought the same bedding, which read the words…”LOVE”.

Not only were we the same age and both worked in TV we had the same bedding how bizarre, as roommates are picked at random we later found out.

This was a typical day:

4.00 am Morning wake up gong
4.30 am Meditation
6.30 am Breakfast
8.00 am Meditation
11.00 am lunch
1.00 pm Meditation
5.00 pm Tea, which you are allowed two pieces of fruit, or if you have attended before you drink only lemon water.

More meditation till 9pm and in between you are encouraged by Goenka via the big screen to “Work hard and accept the sensations as they arise, without attachment or craving”.

I actually thought I would find not talking difficult maybe even frustrating and I actually found it a breeze. With silence I found I could really see what I spent time thinking about and how much junk actually passed through my mind. What I should have said to so and so when they said whatever ten years ago, and if I see them again I’ll say this… (You get the picture) If you believe in thoughts that create your experiences I was in for a load of doom the way that day carried on

I also found myself looking for ways to be more helpful to others. It was simple things like making sure the teapot had hot water in it ready for the next person or leaving the serving spoon handle in a position so the person behind you could take it with ease. You actually had time to think, really take a look at yourself how your actions helped or affected others.

I have to be honest, I did find myself dancing in the toilet cubicle to the Diana Ross classic “I’m coming out” it sounded fantastic sung in my head. I felt blessed to give myself 10 days of pure personal development with no contact with the outside world.

Usually being self-employed especially in the acting world having your phone switched off is a NO NO. What if Spielberg calls your agent and wants you for a last minute casting and you’re not around?

That is when I knew I had changed; my happiness was no longer centered on getting more acting or speaking gigs. My happiness came deep within. The fear had gone. I knew my worth and it definitely didn’t come from whatever six figure sum I can turn over or whatever TV credits my name is/or will be on.

The fact that HAPPINESS IS A STATE OF MIND and can be created without any of that has been the greatest gift I have received.

Meditation is not about clearing your mind, seeing white lights or traveling to another plane. It’s about peace, a time to connect with yourself, your true self. Read, The 10 second philosophy

There are many different types of meditation so I suggest you give them a try and see what sits right with you. If you are interested in the retreat I attended have a look at www.dipa.dhamma.org

I have to say Meditation has been life changing for me in many ways and if you have not tried it give it a go.

In the spirit of Vipassana…HAPPINESS TO ALL BEINGS XX


The “F” word…

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Free Yourself by Rita Lloyd

Maybe it’s with spring in the air and the daffodils in bloom, that I can see a huge change in my clients. Maybe I could let ego kick in, pat myself on the back and say it’s all down to me: but I know that it’s nothing to do with it, it’s the internal coach we all have inside us.For the past six months I have been coaching a client who I shall name James for the purpose of this blog.

James faced a horrific physical attack a year ago and has since lost a lot of self-confidence. He came to me, as he loved to write and had a dream of writing children’s books. Ever since the attack James’ self-belief had not been the same. He was finding it hard to focus and concentrate on his dream. Sometimes when James would attend his sessions he would not have completed tasks from the last session.It came to light that he was holding a grudge against himself and the attacker.

In that session I  guided James through a visualization on FORGIVNESS, for himself and the attacker.James visualized standing in front of himself looking into his own eyes. He told himself how he did not want to hurt anymore. That he wanted to live a life filled with joy and happiness, that the attack was not his fault.Then he visualized his attacker standing in front of him, he told the attacker in a calm way he did not want to hurt any more by holding negative feelings in his heart against him. He understood anger and pain and wanted to release it, he forgave the attacker and himself for holding on to the pain.

It was emotional for James. I asked him to continue with the visualization and see all the negativity that he felt dissolves with each session.James made an appointment for three weeks after so we could see how he had progressed and review where we should go from there.James came to the session with a HUGE SMILE on his face and a folder in his hand.

James told me that he had kept up with the visualization and one day it clicked for him, he took to his laptop and started to type the story he had buried inside. He felt fresh and inspired, a weight had been lifted off his shoulders.James placed an unfinished manuscript in front of me; this was only the start for him.“I never would have believed that forgiveness held me back from this”, he said.

I do believe James will be successful with his book, even though in my eyes his greatest success was setting himself free. My dear reader you are now in a place of choice…Go on set yourself FREE.


If courage had a look, what would it be like?

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Speaking from the Heart with love and courage., by Rita loyd

Speaking from the Heart with love and courage., by Rita loyd

To me it’s the gentleman who is on medication for nerves, who stands up after a half-day workshop in front of an audience and tells his story.

The child, who takes her first steps, falls on her behind and drags herself up and tries again.

The women who come to the Look Good Feel Better work shop, who are suffering or recovering from cancer, and remove everything that has made them feel like a woman during this journey.

The young man who tells his father, he will not allow him to use him as a punch bag any more.

The husband and father who leaves his job which in his words “Zapped His Soul” in a time of uncertainty to pursue his dream as a script writer…

Courage part of your 5 a day



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In 1997 I received a letter from a gentleman who had worked with my father during his time at the Black Star shipping company. It was then I felt it was time to learn about my African heritage, something I new nothing about. I had met my father only once when I was 4 months old. The meeting was a few hours and he gave my mum £40 and bought me a new dress. He told mum he would visit again the next week but unfortunately that time never came. My father returned to his beloved Africa.

My mother, grandmother and my mum’s only brother, my uncle Billy, made sure I had everything I ever needed. Something I was never without was Love, I was drenched in it.

The time would come when I would be curious to what my African heritage was, if I had any siblings etc.

When I held the letter in my hand in 1997 an Opportunity arose to answer all my questions. Reading the words that my fathers work mate had penned, held the key to all my questions.

I looked into the eyes of the man who had taken on the role of my Father, the man who was always there for me through thick and thin, my uncle Billy, and I folded the letter and placed it back in the envelope. Would I hurt the Man who I still see as my Guardian angel? I don’t even know to this day, I never asked him.

In 2011 the niggling thought of my African history struck me again. How could I ever explain to my children if I never knew it myself? The search for my father started once again. Within 12 months I found my African family.

I contacted a friend of mine who had a house in Africa, and asked if she knew anyone in the Tema area, Community Ten, she told me that she had met a young man, called Eli, who she thought was from Tema and to check her Facebook page and make contact with him. Just by chance he lived in Community Ten and gave me his word that he would find my father. Within two weeks of making contact with Eli my African family was found.

I was no longer an only child I had five siblings on my father’s side, unfortunately I would never get the opportunity to utter the words ”I LOVE YOU, I FORGIVE YOU”, face to face with my father as he had passed away 3 year prior. The opportunity had gone.

I sat with the feeling of disappointment, of stories that would never be told. How many other opportunities had I missed over the years?

My uncle shared my sadness and asked why I never looked for my father in 1997. I explained to him that I never wanted to hurt my uncle’s feelings, after everything he had done for me. My Uncle Billy looked into my eyes and told me that my happiness was all he ever wanted, and knew that a love like ours would never die.

My unspoken words fourteen years ago meant I missed my chance with the father I never knew.

My Greatest lesson to date,

“Opportunities come and go, but your greatest opportunity may only knock once…”