Landscape Your Life in 2019

Landscaping Your Life (LYL) can impact any area of your life whether that's landscaping your goals, motivation, confidence, influencing and/or mindset. This blog shares many means of achieving this. Alternatively join the LYL Facebook group or Facebook page to get daily inspiration for our lives from nature's landscapes.

New for the Summer is the launch of the LYL ezine, full of insight from nature you can apply to your life. Sign up here.

Thursday, 23 May 2019

The 7 keys to a Buzzing Life

Yesterday's theme for the Landscaping Your life (LYL) launch was Landscaping Your Motivation and Joy for Life.

As I have every day this week I did a Facebook live at 0730 BST to start the day, and then traveled over to Edinburgh's Royal Botanic Garden to see what I could find to support the day's theme and any other Landscaping Your Life snippets!

One of the features of the newly published LYL ezine is how to attract bees into your garden and then applying that insight to having a buzzing life.


I'll share the 7 keys here. To really explore them in more detail I'd highly recommend signing up for the ezine.
  1. Having multiple sources of buzz
  2. Knowing what makes you buzz
  3. Attracting the buzz
  4. Buzzing all year around
  5. Buzzing in the wildness and chaos
  6. Feeding and watering the buzz
  7. Maintenance of the buzz
Additional insight from my walk around the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh included:

Don't panic - just be you. let everyone know what you stand for and they'll find you



An unexpected self esteem lesson from a rhododendron


And finally an additional insight for when you can't see the wood for the trees. You'll find many more on my posts over the last year but check this post out first.


What did you notice as you read and watched - what action are you being nudged to take?

Landscaping Your Life is just one of the tools I use in behavoural skills coaching and training helping individuals and teams to tap into their inner wisdom to achieve their goals. Do get in touch if you'd like to understand more about how I can help you, or your team alison@landscapingyourlife.co.uk

Alison Smith
Landscaping Your Life to get back on track
Using nature as our coach, nature's landscapes as metaphors for our lives.

You can sign up for the Landscaping Your Life ezine here, or find out a little more about it here.


Wednesday, 22 May 2019

Thyme Management


Yesterday's theme for the Landscaping Your Life (LYL) launch was Landscaping Your Time Management.

And as one of the additional insights from 6 hours of driving to get to 'climb' a mountain yesterday was,

Don't make life so blinkin' difficult! 

I realised I didn't need to find time to travel today as I had some thyme on my doorstep - as you'll see on the Facebook Live I did at 0730 BST this morning.

Managing time is something I know many of us grapple with. Whether that grappling is about how to fit more into our day, or how to manage our emails. It’s why today I’m going to explore the similarities between managing Thyme and managing time ;-). 

When growing thyme we accept that there’s a sequence of events that happens from seed selection and purchase, via pot preparation, seed sowing, watering, warmth, germinating, more watering, growing, planting out, sunshine, watering, growing, sunshine, watering, pruning, weeding, sunshine, and finally harvesting. A sequence where there will be limited success if key activities are bypassed, or we’re certainly not going try to do all the watering at the same time either – little and often is key.

When sowing thyme seeds we understand not every seed will germinate, and even for those that do not every seed will flourish. Further more, some seedlings may need to be pricked out to allow others to flourish without fear of being strangled as there’s only space for so many plants. In other words, to have a beautiful crop of thyme we don’t put the same care and attention into every seed. We nurture and pay attention to those that are showing signs of growth and potential, leaving those that aren’t in the soil.

We also know to focus on one activity until we’re done. No jumping from weeding one plant, opening our thyme seed packet, composting some leaves, digging a hole for a tree, mowing half the lawn, getting the pots ready for us to scatter our seeds into, planting the tree and then scattering the seeds. If we did we might find the seeds have scattered themselves in the process, and I can just imagine the state of the garden, shed, greenhouse and ourselves with all the jobs half done and variety of tools left mid activity scattering themselves like seeds across the ground – as health hazards and, if left for too long, getting rusty in the process. (See In the potting shed in the LYL ezine for more on tool maintenance.)

Timing is key too – what ever season the seeds arrive there’s a time to sow the seeds that will yield a better crop. You’re certainly not going to try to sow seeds individually every moment of every day throughout the year allowing that activity to get in the way of other activities such a planning, weeding, feeding, composting and sowing other crops. Even if the head gardener sent the seeds you still wouldn’t sow them until the conditions were just right. Something the head gardener would understand and expect too.

As the seedlings develop they require care and attention – planting out, watering, weeding, feeding and even pruning as they grow. There’s a level of proaction and planning needed to get this right. You certainly don’t wait till you remember to water them, nor till you’ve got the time to water them.  Instead you plan time daily to check them. You may also check the weather forecast and plan to plant the seedlings out into the ground when the conditions are favourable rather than on a cold, wet and windy day.

Which results in the following 10 keys to thyme management


Which of these can you focus on today to support effective time management? 

Landscaping Your Life is just one of the tools I use in behavoural skills coaching and training helping individuals and teams to tap into their inner wisdom to achieve their goals. Do get in touch if you'd like to understand more about how I can help you, or your team alison@landscapingyourlife.co.uk

Alison Smith
Landscaping Your Life to get back on track
Using nature as our coach, nature's landscapes as metaphors for our lives.

You can sign up for the Landscaping Your Life ezine here, or find out a little more about it here.



Tuesday, 21 May 2019

Mountains of Potential



I’ve recently had a TV fest of watching some wonderful programmes on feats of daring with respect to climbing mountains whether that’s watching Tommy Caldwell and Kevin Jorgeson climb Yosemite’s El Capitan’s dawnwall (Netflix), or following Steve Backshall and team on a mission to climb a remote and unclimbed mountain deep in Greenland’s arctic wilderness (BBC).

I suspect like many people the mountains I climb will continue to be metaphorical (until a new knee has arrives anyway), and in this article I’m going to explore what we can learn from those who do climb mountains that can be applied to the every day mountains in our lives.

Setting goals
Very rarely do we hear of people climbing mountains they hadn’t intended to. A hill possibly, but a mountain requires that a goal be set so that appropriate planning and preparation takes place. Not least, that on the day in question we’re starting off from the bottom of the correct mountain.

No laissez faire going with the flow “let’s see what happens”. Which is certainly easy to do in our lives, despite that often precluding us scaling those larger mountains of our full potential.

Preparation
No mountaineer or climber set off without preparation.

Preparation that might include – researching what others have done, developing a plan, doing a reconnaissance, assessing current skills versus those needed to succeed, practicing and training, buying the gear needed, gathering a team together and developing trust of those you’re going to be doing it with, forecasting for when the conditions would be most favourable to succeed, and so on.

Preparation not only improves the likelihood of success but also reduces the risk of injury or even worse.

(The Garden Design - preparing the site article in the LYL ezine will help with preparation) 

Motivation
One common feature on the programmes I watched was how close they came to giving up.

Not giving up before they started, once they’d set out. More often than not because the climb was harder than even they could imagine. Unless they could tap into why they were doing it they’d have given up. Instead the motivation meant they gritted their teeth, dug deep and kept on going one step or hand hold at a time.

Lack of motivation is certain why many of us fail to achieve our goals – because the expected pleasure and success is not big enough to counter the pain felt to get there. It’s as if at the first hurdle we turn round forgetting why we wanted to get there in the first place.

(The Buzzing with Life article in the LYL ezine will help with motivation) 

Taking action
“Momentum is your friend” said Steve Backshall

That is, once preparation is complete; the team has been chosen and conditions are right, there’s no more holding back, no time for procrastination. Just one step at a time headed for a goal you know why you want to achieve.

Route
Part of planning will include deciding on the best route to get to the summit. On the day, however, diversions may be required. It’s where preparation and training kick in, providing us with the know how and confidence to take an alternate route to get around the roadblock ahead.

Celebrate


Once you’ve climbed the mountain and have a 360 panoramic view from the summit it’s time to celebrate. Whilst on the programmes I watched celebration involved tears and hugs that’s not a necessity – simply some time to celebrate and reflect on the achievement.

Which is where the article in the LYL ezine finished. 

As part of the Landscaping Your Life launch this week I've scheduled to visit a number of landscapes to share the process in the moment.

With arthritic knees climbing mountains is harder to achieve but where there's a will, and so we headed for Fort William and the Nevis Range, and took a Gondola to 650m and then walked a another 20 minutes to the Sgurr  Finnisg-Aig 663m viewpoint. 


Whilst up there I did a FaceBook live - which was a little blowy where I started to share some of the insights which included:

Aim higher 
We'd thought we'd go to Glencoe but due to bad weather, and a realisation is wasn't that much further we drove past and ended up at Aonach Mor. This mountain had the potential to climb higher, see further and more easily ie to get up Glencoe would have been by open ski lift, and as the weather closed in not a wonderful experience. On Aonach Mor, over looking Ben Nevis, we traveled up in the comfort of a gondola.

Isn't that the case in life - we aim for what we think will be easier, and yet aiming higher could turn out to be easier in the long run!!

The outlook depends on which direction you're looking 


To me, focusing on one of these directions makes the situation look very grey and dismal, another direction looks like hard work and no play, and the other much more inviting and motivating.

If I want to climb a mountain in future I know what direction I need to focus on to keep me motivated.

That said, you can't look out at the beautiful view as you walk - it can only act as a motivation and goal to get to the summit.

Don't chase your shadow, or allow it to chase you

As I walked I caught sight of my shadow on the ground, and found it hard to see the boulders and rocks I was needing to navigate around.

Which felt like a reminder not to get caught up on the "this won't work"s or "I can't do this"s but to just keep moving one step at a time.

And additional insight from the shadow was:
   
Shadow is only available when there's sun!

What mountain do you want to climb, and which of the above criteria for success do you need to address to move getting to the summit from a dream to a reality?

Landscaping Your Life is just one of the tools I use in behavoural skills coaching and training helping individuals and teams to tap into their inner wisdom to achieve their goals. Do get in touch if you'd like to understand more about how I can help you, or your team alison@landscapingyourlife.co.uk

Alison Smith
Landscaping Your Life to get back on track
Using nature as our coach, nature's landscapes as metaphors for our lives.

You can sign up for the Landscaping Your Life ezine here, or find out a little more about it here.

Whilst up the mountain I also explored further solutions for when you can't see the wood for the trees - to support solutions we've obviously covered previously here

  

The book, Can't see the Wood for the Trees, is available from all online stockists.

Monday, 20 May 2019

Landscaping Your Life e-zine

Landscaping Your Life's (LYL) origins lie in using gardening as a metaphor for our lives. Whilst LYL's reach has expanded since then to include all of nature's landscapes not just gardens, this week we're joining those talking about Chelsea Flower Show and looking at what we can learn from our gardens and apply that learning to our lives.

As I travel about visiting different locations to explore the insights available from gardens this week  I'll be sharing posts here. You may also want to join me over on Facebook and Instagram where their format allows for shorter insights to be shared in the moment.

One other bit of very exciting news is the publication (even if electronic) of the first Landscaping Your Life ezine aimed at helping you to Landscape your life whether it's your goals, confidence, motivation or other behavioural skills that need a little support.


To give you a flavour of what's included, there's a special feature about taking the learning from attracting bees in your garden to having a similarly buzzing life.


There's a number of regular features such 'In the potting shed' where we learn about the tools needed to landscape our lives.

and, in this edition 'Plant of the season' is Thyme where we learn from nature about time management ;-). 


And the Landscaping Your Life walk invites to consider the insights from deadwood row, let the light in avenue, unfurl corner and clear ahead copse.


There's even an Ask Alison section providing answers to your questions from nature.


I hope you'll join me by signing up for the Landscaping Your Life ezine for what is truly a unique and innovative take on getting life back on track.


Happy Buzzing!
Alison 

Sunday, 19 May 2019

Landscaping Your Life Launch

The origins of Landscaping Your Life (LYL) date back to the late 90s when I used gardens as metaphors for our lives. Whilst I later expanded it to include all of nature’s landscapes not just gardens we’re going back to LYL’s origins this week.
As Chelsea Flower Show shares the best in garden design we're going to be our own garden designers designing aspects of our lives so that we may flourish and share our beauty for all to see 🌸.
Join me daily for vlogs, blogs, posts and insights as I visit different landscapes and explore many aspects of landscaping your life and specifically:
  • Mon 20th: Landscaping your potential
  • Tues 21st: Landscaping your time
  • Wed 22nd: Buzzing with life
  • Thurs 23rd: Landscaping your relationships
  • Fri 24th: Taking a landscaping your life journey
  • Sat 25th: Landscaping your success
I do hope you can join me as I finally allow the Landscaping Your Life seed to germinate, and plant it out into the garden for all to benefit from its insight. 

Alison Smith
Head Gardener
Landscaping Your Life - making life more beautiful


Saturday, 18 May 2019

The Poppy

The final story for Mental Health Awareness week, and a hint at the theme for next week’s posts, is called The Poppy – because we all have mental health.

The Poppy

12 months ago, his father had released his seeds into the field. The wind had picked up many of them and scattered them across the expansive green field. Some had been eaten by the birds and others by the sheep and cows the farmer had allowed to graze on the long grass. Other seeds had managed to travel further afield, some landing on the tarmac of the local roads and others caught up in the river as it made its way to the sea.


This seed hadn’t traveled far. Only a few metres from where his father had stood very proud with his face to the sun, allowing its rays to warm him. Initially, the minute seed lay on top of the ground caught between some blades of grass and a small stone. Then one day the farmer ploughed the field and the seed was in darkness. The seed was surrounded and hemmed in by dark earth. For many months the seed remained inert as the ground became cold and frozen. It felt like a lifetime of just doing nothing. A few other seeds got bored and tried to put their heads above ground. But it was too cold, and they never flourished.

Finally, the ground started to warm, and the seed knew the time of waiting had ended. It was time for his germination to begin. First, he sent out a single root to access the nutrition from the soil. Then other roots were sent out from this first one until, finally, he had numerous fine roots gathering the resources he needed to grow. As these nutrients worked on his body, he sent up a stem through the earth until it found sunlight. The seed then had access to everything he needed: soil, water and sunlight. He just allowed these three to support his body to thrive. More roots, a stronger stem, leaves, and finally a bud that held the promise of surprise for later in the year. The seed was no more, and a plant had been born.


The plant continued to take the nutrients from the sun and the soil and continued to grow.  Looking around him he could see other plants growing just like him.  Each unique in some way from the others.  Finally, on one very hot day the plant knew it was time for his opening.  He allowed each of his 6 petals to open revealing the stamens to the sky.  It was in that moment that he knew that all the time in the soil, all the time bringing in the nutrients, all the time patiently waiting meant that today was possible at all.  He thought of the many seeds and younger plants who had not been as patient and who had failed along the way.  He was very pleased he’d waited because this was his finest hour.  In a few week’s time he looked forward to following in his father’s footsteps and sending his seeds out in to the world and continuing the good work he, his father and his father before him had done.

Alison Smith
Landscaping Your Life

Previous stories shared this week have included; The Right Path, The Wave, The Stone, The Caterpillar, and The Celebration of Adulthood.  

My first Landscaping Your Life book, Can't see the wood for the trees, has been described by one reader on Amazon as "first aid kit for the brain". To find out more about the book see this post- you can buy it from all online stockists all listed here.

Friday, 17 May 2019

The Celebration of Adulthood

Today’s story for mental health awareness week is entitled The Celebration of Adulthood - because we all have mental health.

The Celebration of Adulthood

Four times a year the elders come together to reflect on the strengths and abilities of all those who are to celebrate their coming of age. At the meeting the elders consider the behaviours and attitudes they have seen demonstrated by the youngsters who are soon to move into adulthood. It is out of this reflection that an adult name for each of those celebrating their adulthood appears.

One time the conversation surrounding one youngster had been lengthy. She had not been without her advocates who sang her praises. However, many elders where concerned with her continual resistance and suggested names such as Stickler and Barri (short for Barrister as some felt they were on trial when with her). Her advocates argued that her resistance was just a means of her exploring the world and questioning the reason for all things. After all, hadn’t they all been taught in the tales as youngsters that truth and knowing only came from truly understanding for oneself, rather than just accepting what they had been told. Didn’t this youngster just feel the need to understand everything for herself, her continual questioning was simply as a result of that. The discussion went on for many hours with many suggestions for a name being made and rejected. Finally, it was decided that some of the elders would spend some time with the youngster in the week prior to the celebration and trusted that clarity over an appropriate name would arise from this.

The first elder to spend time with the youngster was Earnest. He observed the youngster playing with her friends. He noticed that she was very accepting of even the slower youngsters. She spent time helping, supporting and encouraging them. However, she became easily frustrated with her own endeavours if they failed to meet her own very high expectations of herself. It was as if anything she did wasn’t good enough for her. Although, of course, she was the only one who thought this.


The second elder was Journey. She observed the youngster at a community meeting. Journey knew the youngster to have many views on the subject being discussed. Journey was therefore very surprised to see the youngster withdraw and not express these views. She spoke with the youngster about what she had observed, and asked why she had not expressed her views. The youngster explained that she felt the opinions being expressed by others were very different to her own and that her words would not be understood. She even felt that she would be ridiculed for her opinions because they were that different. Journey helped her understand that if she had expressed her opinions, it might have helped move the meeting into a different space. Specifically, that her questions may have brought more light into the situation.



The third elder was Mountaine. She spent time with the youngster observing her in class. The class had been asked to work together to publish the next edition of the community newsletter. The youngster never sat still. She was continually on the move. One minute asking if her help was needed over here, the next over there, and the next somewhere else instead. If she was asked to do something she couldn’t sit still for very long. Mountaine knew the behaviour well as it had been her lesson many years before. Mountaine had herself always been on the move and could identify with the desire to never stop. She had felt that if she stayed where she was and just did what she’d been asked, that she’d miss something. She always felt that there was something better to be done, something that could use her talents better, and therefore continually searched for that illusive something. Mountaine had found over time that if she stayed with the task in hand that her skills were fully utilised. If she was needed somewhere else, she discovered that would be made clear to her without the continual need for her to search.


The final elder to spend time with the youngster was Thuse (derived from enthusiasm). Thuse spoke to the youngster about a project she was completing for her end of year exams at school. The youngster had written a plan for the project’s completion. Whilst discussing the plan, it became clear that the youngster was frustrated. She had been unable to keep to the plan. After she had made the first step it was if what the second and third steps should be became clearer. Unfortunately, these steps did not reflect those on the plan. The youngster was very frustrated and wondered why she should plan at all. Thuse explained that planning was a useful process to assist in identifying where you wanted to go and what resources you needed to get there. It was also particularly useful in identifying what the first step should be. However, Thuse explained once the first step had been made plans may need to be flexible to meet the changing circumstances that taking the first step brought up.

When the elders met the night before the celebration the four elders who had spent time with the youngster told of their encounters. They could see that she did much for others and fully loved and accepted them as they were. What they had noticed was she failed to give herself this same level of consideration. Finally, they concluded that they wished to give her a name that would be a reminder to her, a reminder to accept her own uniqueness, a reminder to love and accept herself exactly as she was. As a consequence, the name they gave her on that wonderful day as she moved into adulthood was Florence.

As the youngster moved into adulthood she grew into a beautiful and wise woman and whenever Florence heard others call for her she was reminded of the elders’ words to her.  “We name you Flo (rence) to remind you to accept your own uniqueness and to follow the flow of your own path. Do not follow or compare yourself with others because they have different paths to follow. Remember the bird can fly but not burrow, and the rabbit can burrow and not swim, and the fish can swim but not fly like the birds. Each of these are beautiful and loved for who they are. You do not wish the bird to be anything other than a bird and so do not wish yourself to be anything different than what you are.”

Alison Smith
Landscaping Your Life

Previous stories shared so far this week have included; The Right Path, The Wave, The Stone, and The Caterpillar.

My first Landscaping Your Life book, Can't see the wood for the trees, has been described by one reader on Amazon as "first aid kit for the brain". To find out more about the book see this post- you can buy it from all online stockists all listed here.


Thursday, 16 May 2019

The Caterpillar

Today’s story for mental health awareness week is entitled The Caterpillar - because we all have mental health.
The Caterpillar


Eric the caterpillar was munching his way through a leaf. It was a very tasty leaf too. He didn’t think much whilst he munched away. He did however appreciate the flavour and textures of the leaf as he bit into it and munched it into a pulp to be easily digested in his little stomach. He gave thanks to the tree for its gift as he moved onto the next leaf. On the journey to the next leaf he just noticed how weary his legs felt and wished that the leaves were nearer together. He perked up when he got to the next leaf as he again enjoyed the flavours and textures in his mouth. His weariness returned when it was time to move towards the next leaf. He felt the effort of lifting each of his 16 legs in unison and collaboration with each other. He wished there was a better way of living. One that had more opportunity for eating the leaves he loved and less of the boring tedious and useless trek in between.

Eric had heard stories of having to move from one tree to another and spent much time dreading that happening to him. The stories had many endings – some happy and others sad. However, for Eric the common thread of all the stories was the great effort required to achieve the goal. To him it felt like too much effort just to eat another leaf or two. He couldn’t understand why any caterpillar would ever want to do such a thing. He was thinking about this happening to him when he realised that he could neither move forward nor back. He tried to move each of his legs in turn. Each seemed to be stuck. He pulled, he pushed, he fought, he shouted out with frustration. None of this seemed to work. He tried again and again, and he was still stuck. He sat quietly thinking that if he conserved his energy that in a few hours he might be able to make a break for it. For that reason, he closed his eyes and went to sleep. A few hours later when he woke, he was reminded of his predicament when he realised he could not move. He took a deep breath in and with every ounce of his being on his out breath he pulled, he pushed, he struggled. But he was still stuck. He wondered if he needed a longer sleep, and, therefore, once again he closed his eyes and went to sleep. This time he slept for many hours. Eric’s dreams were strange and, if his legs allowed him, he’d have been tossing and turning in his sleep.


On waking Eric tried do move and again was reminded of his situation when not one of his legs budged from the spot. He did consider another sleep but thought he might try another strategy before closing his eyes again. He could see other caterpillars nearby and shouted to them to help him. They didn’t seem to hear him and just continued munching their leaves. He shouted louder and still he got no response. He shouted until he was hoarse and still he had no response. He felt sure they could hear him. Especially when he remembered the times when other caterpillars had had similar difficulties and he’d ignored them. He had been too busy munching the leaves, and anyway he always thought some other caterpillar would go to their aid. Not one caterpillar came to help him.  He really didn’t know what to do. He slept some more, he pulled, he pushed, he struggled, and he screamed. Nothing seemed to work, and he remained stuck to the spot.

Finally, as struggling and shouting hadn’t worked, Eric looked around him. He started to explore more fully the situation he was in. He even relaxed realising his struggling was futile. Taking each leg in turn he looked at what was holding them. He had never seen anything like it before. Each leg was entwined with a very fine silver silk. As he looked around him, he realised he was within a web of this fine silk. A web which stretched far into the distance. He even noticed other creatures stuck in the web. He also realised that the more they struggled and the more they strained the tighter the silk pulled around them and the less likely they were to be able to get away.

Looking further afield gave Eric something to do. He started to notice other creatures and the world around him. He noticed the colours, the movements and heard the sounds from all around. He also started to realise that he might never get free and started to reflect on his life. He did remember the good times, including the really scrumptious leaves he’d eaten. He also remembered the times he regretted his actions. The times he’d ignored others' calls for help. He also realised he could be a bit of a grump some of the time. Even when eating the scrumptious leaves, he’d find something to complain about. If the complaining wasn’t directed at the outside world, then he managed to find things about himself to complain about. He was too lazy, too fat, too slow. Wasn’t he now realising he was too selfish. After many days he realised that he wasn’t all that bad. He had remembered all the good things about himself. He remembered his positivity, enthusiasm and sense of fun. He remembered his dedication to finding the perfect leaf and the gratitude he had for the trees for their gifts.

At the end of a very tiring day, where Eric had managed a whole day accepting his perfection, he slipped into a very deep sleep. He slept very soundly and very long. On waking he was very surprised and a little frightened about what he found. Had he died he wondered? Because he felt different – he felt different inside and felt different on the outside too. He certainly looked very different. That was why he thought he’d died because he no longer looked like the 16-legged Eric that he had been before he went to sleep. Something miraculous had happened. Because he had two huge beautiful wings of rainbow colours and no longer seemed to be tied to the web of silk.  

Slowly he felt within himself to every part of his being. He felt very different and yet it certainly felt like him. Slowly he imagined moving one of the beautiful wings and he was shocked to see the wing on his right move ever so gently. He wondered what would happen next and then suddenly he felt a slight breeze and was terrified as it lifted him away from the web and into the air. Having realised from before that if he struggled it usually made the situation worse, he relaxed into his new body. He allowed the wind to carry him and even experimented with moving his wings. He found by moving them he could alter the direction he was going. He also found that his eyes no longer just saw the green leaves; now he could see the colourful flowers all around. 


As he landed on his first red flower he realised how much fun he was going to have with his new body. He realised that as a caterpillar he had really thought his life was over and that he was going to end his days caught in the fine web of silk – but that had only been the means to his wonderful new body and life. He realised he could release his old ways and really make a difference in the world by visiting as many flowers as he could and really seeing and enjoying the world around him. He didn’t know what would come next but made a promise to himself to just enjoy where he was at that moment in time and worry about the future one day a time.

Alison Smith
Landscaping Your Life

Previous stories shared so far this week have included; The Right Path, The Wave, and The Stone.

My first Landscaping Your Life book, Can't see the wood for the trees, has been described by one reader on Amazon as "first aid kit for the brain". To find out more about the book see this post- you can buy it from all online stockists all listed here.

Wednesday, 15 May 2019

The Stone

Today’s story for mental health awareness week is entitled The Stone - because we all have mental health.
The Stone


Even from the beginning, when the men had taken the carefully crafted stones with unique dimensions and energy and placed them in the circle, the energy in the stone circle had been magnificent. Each stone supporting the other. Their alignment making best use of each of the stones’ unique qualities. Some provided shelter from the wind and rain, others connected with the sun, moon or planets, and others showed their true spirit only at certain times of year.

Even though each stone had a unique gift, the energy of the circle was greater because of this. This combined energy being available all year round no matter what time of day, night, year or weather.

One day, one of the stones was knocked off balance by a fierce wind. The harder the stone tried to right itself, the more out of balance it became – the ground underneath now being free to move.

The others noticed immediately the effect it had on them.They could feel the drain of the energy from the weakened stone and also the break in the circuit that held them together. They were unable to help the stone and suggested it take a rest.They could see the impatience of the stone; they could feel their own circle jittery with unbalanced energy. Yet they trusted that all was very well and knew that sometimes the circle required time to reflect and renew itself.They knew too that energy wasn’t static – that with the approaching shortest night the stone would be able to connect with an energy outside itself.They knew that as the special energy line crossed through the stone that the stone would be able to move and balance itself – once more allowing the energy in the circle to be connected and even stronger for the time out.


And so it was, as the energy line on the longest day hit the stone it was able to right itself. It was able to find even firmer footing in order that it would never again be knocked by the strong winds.

The stone and circle once more a beacon to all those who felt its presence.

Alison Smith
Landscaping Your Life

Previous stories shared so far this week have included; The Right Path, and The Wave.

My first Landscaping Your Life book, Can't see the wood for the trees, has been described by one reader on Amazon as "first aid kit for the brain". To find out more about the book, see this post- or you can buy it from all online stockists all listed here.

Tuesday, 14 May 2019

The Wave

Yesterday, for mental health awareness week, I shared a story about condor.

Today’s subject is The Wave - because we all have mental health.

The Wave

Love was a wave and she was a very lonely wave. She had traveled the globe in search of something more than the life she had. Surely there must be more to life than rising and falling and being dictated to by the bright glowing circle in the sky. She’d tried to ask other waves if they felt the same as her, but they never stayed around long enough to give her an answer. From watching them she thought they looked satisfied enough.The sounds they made when the wind whipped them against the cliffs in far flung places certainly sounded like enjoyment to her. Although she did wonder about that having never had the courage to actually have a go herself. Instead she chose to hang back and watch as other waves moved forward and took the momentum. She had tried to change her shape like some waves in order that she may take the surfers into her very centre and yet she hung back scared of hurting them. She’d also tried to do that thing with the air to make her very edges all white and foamy. But she withdrew fearing she’d not be able to go back to how she was. She envied those waves who had the confidence to carry large ships towards their destination in their wake.

It was on one such day when she’d really had enough with herself. She really was useless she felt and couldn’t do anything all the other waves could. Either she didn’t have the courage, the experience, or the expertise. She also didn’t have any wave to ask questions and share it all with. 

It was in this heavy and depressing mood that she felt herself dragged down. Dragged deeper than she’d ever been before. Deeper, darker, colder. If she had felt fear in the past it was nothing to how she felt now. Down and down she went, deeper, darker, colder. Her thoughts slowed right down, as if time itself was starting to move into slow motion. Deeper, darker, colder.

Until she finally came to a stop. She couldn’t see anything; she couldn’t feel anything, and she was struggling to think anything. She realised she was very tense and tried very hard to relax and allow some space between every fiber of her being. As she did this, she realised that she felt a little better. As a result she continued trying this type of relaxing for the next few … well she didn’t really know what they were really …they could have been seconds, minutes, hours, days or even weeks, all we can say is that as time passed, she felt lighter. She practised very hard allowing space in between every fibre of her being. She couldn’t do it all at once. She had to pick some part of her and concentrate very hard on that part and just breath and allow space inside. It was as if, part by part, she was getting lighter and brighter and...was it her imagination or was she feeling a little warmer too?


What she found, however, was as soon as she started to wonder about what was happening, how it was happening, and try to make it go quicker, she started to feel the cold, she started to emanate less light. Each time she then had to take a breath and start all over again. Slowly working her away around each part of herself. Over time she was able to hold on to this lighter and brighter state for longer. She found she didn’t have to concentrate quite so hard and could still manage to maintain this lighter and brighter state.

Finally, she managed to be the lighter and brighter state. It was as if she had changed. It was if she was no longer the wave trying to be brighter, trying to be lighter she was simply a bright and light wave. She puzzled over this for some time. She still felt like she was still herself, but she somehow knew she was different. The added brightness and added lightness had in some way changed her.

Of course, what she had failed to notice was that once she was this different state she had also started to rise. Until finally when she neared the surface and noticed her own lightness reflected in the water around her. She came to the surface and took a deep breath and allowed the rays of the sun to warm her. She looked around her and could see many waves all with the same lightness and same brightness as her. She felt an acceptance from them that she had never felt before. An acceptance for who she was and not what she could or couldn’t do.

She stayed with the other waves for many moons. She did many things she’d never tried before.  She especially enjoyed the rushing into caves and being dragged back out with the momentum of those around her. She even had time to perfect the tender holding of surfers as they danced within her very self.

One day after such an exciting day she started to feel different. She started to feel even brighter and even lighter. As if even the very binds that were holding every part of her together were being pulled gently apart. Having been in the deep, dark and cold place before she didn’t consider this scary and even felt some excitement about what was happening. Consequently, she simply allowed the transformation to take place. Until it was as if she was everything and everywhere all at the same time. There was certainly more ease, even more light and bright just wasn’t the word for it. She just was and realised of course that she had always been all that there is: LOVE.

Alison Smith
Landscaping Your Life

My first Landscaping Your Life book, Can't see the wood for the trees, has been described by one reader on Amazon as "first aid kit for the brain".  To find out more about the book see this post, you can buy it from all online stockists all listed here.