Spiritual thoughts: Solitude is a joy to experience

In a world that is digitally connected, most are disconnected from themselves. Being busy securing finances on the daily grind is now a part of everyday trends. I see it everywhere, from ideas on creating side hustles and passive incomes to how to manifest and live your best life. One of the positives, though, is that people are beginning to wake up and explore their purpose in this life. Some have handed in their job notice to create income working for themselves, using their talents. Some have jumped off the rat race, sold their belongings, and gone backpacking around the world. This post is not to say that you should do the same. Today, we are exploring the experience of solitude.

When we hear the word solitude, we may think that it is a way of shutting ourselves from the world, binging on Netflix and cake. Perhaps you may also think it’s sitting in a forest in the lotus position while chanting om. With balance, both scenarios are equally powerful because each of us is an individual, with our minds and spirits requiring various ways to process and heal our subconscious trauma. Just because someone is in the forest and the other is on the sofa, it doesn’t mean that one is better than the other. One just needs to be conscious of how one desires to be in solitude for optimum empowerment.

On the other hand, some people avoid solitude because they are afraid of what may come up when they’re alone. You can’t hide from yourself when you’re alone, so to many people, the idea of facing the darkest aspect of themself is scary. One example is that someone who has been hurt in their past may choose to surround themself with people who aren’t necessarily good for them because they are scared of facing the hurt that will surface when they are alone. Likewise, an unhealed person or someone who refuses to take steps to heal will avoid feeling emotions or engaging in conversations and activities that may bring up their past hurt. They choose distractions. And just like a sponge, the subconscious self absorbs all that you experience whether you want to or not. Eventually, it gets heavy and weighs you and your close relationships down. This is why it’s essential to speak, process and heal from emotional trauma.

Being in solitude is not just choosing to be alone to connect with oneself. Yes, it’s beneficial, especially when one is doing healing shadow work or aligning with one’s spiritual gifts. However, you can be around people and still revel in solitude. Some introverts have perfected the ‘my body is here, but my mind is at home’ that they seem to be super chill during a crisis because they have placed themselves in mental solitude that enables them to detach from their physical surroundings. We must be cautious, though. Being in solitude is helpful. However, choosing to hide away and detach out of fear is not always conducive. Yes, life is harsh, and sometimes we encounter people who viciously drain our energy, but we must stay empowered and strong to face our reality.

Until next time.

~J

Thoughts on Entrepreneurship: Productivity sometimes sucks

Day in, day out, you feel like you’re just going through the motions to gain visibility, producing products and content for your chosen business venture. Sometimes you wake up on Monday morning wondering how you can muster the motivation and discipline to push forward. You love what you do, but you just find yourself stagnant. We’ve all been there. Even the most influential and successful people have been there. It’s easy to lose productivity even with the saturated motivational content you find online. We are often caught in the need to be successful, productive and attainable because everyone in our field seems to be reaching their targets fast. So we feel compelled to compete. The truth is, our body and mind require time to process our progress. We also require quality rest. Sometimes sleeping for eight hours a day is not enough, especially when juggling a job, family life, social life, and personal growth. You are growing whether you like it or not, and just as seasons come and go, so will your motivation and productivity levels.

It’s especially not easy to balance it all when you are surrounded by people who are not aligned with your path. This is why you need to be cautious of who you let into your world because they have the potential to make or break you. This is not a post on how to gain your productivity and motivation back. Instead, this post is an opportunity to check in with yourself. Are you burnt out? Have you gone outside to breathe some fresh air today? Did you eat well and drink enough water? We’re often so busy with the daily routine, ticking tasks off the to-do list, that we neglect our needs. So if you’re here because you fear you’re stuck in a rut. Don’t fret. Take some time out and recalibrate your mind, body and spirit. Life is difficult at times, but you don’t have to choose to suffer.

Make the most of your day and acknowledge your wins, no matter how big or small you think they are.

Until next time.

~J

Thoughts on Success: Truth on Book Publishing Part 1

You have probably come across adverts and testimonials encouraging you to sign up for webinars and courses that teach you how to make money online. Some of them are often focused on utilising Amazon KDP and Audible. It is true that authors, whether self-published or traditionally published make a substantial profit from their books. However, these quickly make money gurus will hardly tell you that publishing, just like a high street business, requires hard work and endurance. It’s probably easier to open a business on the high street because people will see your building and be intrigued whether they visit it only once or often. Being a published author requires the ability to wear many hats, including marketing, unless you have a large budget to pay someone to do this for you. Now, don’t be disheartened by this post. I firmly believe that if you have a passion for writing, expressing your creativity or have a natural gift in a specific field, you will find a way to build it into a business. This post aims to open your eyes to what being a successful author entails. The ceiling of traditional book publishing is very high and made out of sturdy glass. The road of independent publishing is steep, with many unexpected learning curves.

So you have written your manuscript, and you want to put it out to the world. Great. Now you need to make a decision. To self-publish or not? If you choose to explore the traditional publishing route, this will take time. First, you need to ensure that your manuscript is as clean as possible. Then, you need to submit your work to a literary agent who is the gatekeeper of the publishing doors. Most publishing houses will not accept unsolicited manuscript submissions for consideration without an agent. So, you need to do your research and compile a list of literary agents to submit your manuscript for representation. This process is relatively slow as literary agents read loads of manuscripts each month, and with a growing saturated market, don’t be surprised if you don’t hear back from them for months or not at all. However, once you break through the first hurdle, the literary agent will work with you to ensure that your manuscript is as perfect as possible, and they will find a publisher to turn your work into a book. Then you get paid. An advance. That’s the basic process of traditional publishing.

The self-publishing journey is simple. However, it requires a robust view of self-discipline, faith, and learning aptitude. You can write mediocre stories and upload them to a self-publishing platform; however, if you want to compete with traditionally published authors and have your books picked up by bookstores, you need to learn to finesse your work. As a self-published author, you need to learn the basic formatting and etiquette for paperback, ebook and audiobook. Once you have a manuscript, you can hire an editor and proofreader, a cover creator and a marketer to maximise your chances of hitting higher rankings once you publish your book. You need to research the genre and topic for your book, especially if you’re writing non-fiction. However, if you take a quick look on Amazon, you will also find the most popular fiction. If you cannot afford to hire the help you need, start learning to edit and format your manuscript. There are plenty of videos on youtube and websites from successful authors and other professionals. You can also learn to create your book covers on canva by watching Youtube tutorials. Research metadata to include in your book and during the publishing process, use the correct keywords to improve your book’s visibility on the platforms you have chosen to publish. Don’t forget to purchase ISBNs, although self-publishing platforms provide one for each book, highlighting your books as ‘independently published’. It’s not uncommon to have your book not generate interest from the audience when you start if you don’t already have an online community. This is why you need to learn how to use the power of social media and networking to market your book. Don’t expect Amazon or other platforms to market your book for you.

Once you publish your first book, I advise you not to wait for sales to write and continue doing the work. Start writing your next manuscript, draw in an audience and connect with them, set up your author website and profiles, learn as much as you can about the self-publishing business and find a strategy that works for YOU. Then rinse and repeat. Being a self-published author is not easy, but it’s rewarding, especially when you start seeing tangible results. Just make sure that you write books that you enjoy and would make people want to read. I will write more on self-publishing going forward, and I hope you found this post useful.

Until next time.

~J

Thoughts on Money: Financial security is important

Some say that money is the root of all evil or that you do not need money to be happy. This post is not to reinforce or go against this message but merely to shed some light on the importance of financial security. Money is a tool, and with the declining state of the world’s economy, people require this tool now more than ever. Money doesn’t only pay essential bills and support families in the present. When you have financial literacy, you learn how to leverage it in savings and investments to provide security for years to come. Hence you end up working less while enjoying more of it in the future. However, money can also be a pitfall for those who use it compulsively, buying and spending more than what they can afford, for example, buying expensive luxury items, paying for nights out on credit cards and taking out unnecessary loans. These could quickly become a liability in debt.

There are various ways to leverage an income which you can research. The idea of working hard and playing harder in the context of finance is quickly becoming redundant. This is apparent with people promoting awareness of minimalism and ways to spend money consciously. It is essential to know your financial health whether you are in a relationship, living with family or alone. When you take the time to assess your earnings and spending, you can make a financial plan that works for you and will benefit your future. If your financial status is chaotic, you will continue to fall into traps. And some companies take advantage of people who are already in financial traps.

Having financial security allows you peace of mind, which could positively impact your mental health. Losing sleep over money woes and being anxious about whether you can pay your bills on time is unhealthy and could lead you into haste decision making that will further cause a detriment to your mental health. If your financial health is poor, organisations and services are available to provide support and advice. You have to muster the courage to find them and ask for help. Having financial security is imperative, especially when you have goals such as buying a property, saving for your family or even if you want to treat yourself to a vacation.

So take some time to look at your finances, create a plan that works for you and stick to it. Life comes with many sacrifices, but you won’t regret them when you reap the benefits in the future.

Until next time.

~J

Thoughts on entrepreneurship: Use the negative for motivation

I suppose if you’re here, you’re looking for motivation to push you forward on your entrepreneurship journey. Sometimes, you may encounter difficult situations where you find yourself experiencing negativity as you hit hurdles in your business. One of the negative is experiencing jealousy. You see others meeting their goals rather effortlessly and you may wonder, why is it so easy for them and tedious for you. You may experience frustrations in your personal life that pull focus from your business. Perhaps you’re caught up in mental blocks that hinder your mental health because you feel stagnant. Regardless of the situation, know that you are not alone.

There are plenty of people like you and I going through the motions of creating, achieving and attaining success without the help of sponsors and investors. Your community will find you, and your tribe will grow. First, though, you need to take a step back and breathe. Go back to the drawing board and look at your strategies. Do you have enough content? Are you putting yourself out there? Sometimes we assume that we’re not achieving our goals faster because we’re stuck in our perception of our work. You perceive that others succeed effortlessly because they don’t publically broadcast their trials and tribulations. Everyone has their struggles. Whether they are large or small, businesses and their productivity rise and fall, and that’s part of the journey. Besides, imagine you peaked and met all your goals overnight without a strong foundation. Would the success be sustainable? You need to trust in your process and know that this is your journey.

Once you have taken a step back, look at all you have achieved in the past six to eight months. Even if you feel like it’s not enough, you’re sure to see that there are some results to analyse and motivate you. Next, you need to find a way to transmute the negative into a positive. This is why I say use it as motivation. Are you jealous of others? Look within and address the lack of self-esteem. Then look at their strategy and see if there are tips and tricks you can apply to your work. Maybe that person makes winning look easy because they wake up early to work out and prioritise their mental health. Whatever the case may be, study the people you deem successful and look at how you can apply changes to your routine to pull you away from the negativity.

Lastly, be grateful. We’re often so busy trying to secure the bag and shine that we forget to take time out to recognise our blessings. The fact that you have awakened to see your full potential, take steps to apply yourself and commit to making money doing what you love and what you’re good at is a blessing. There are people in the world who dream of having the nerve and audacity to follow their dreams, and instead, they’re stuck in jobs they hate. Some people don’t or can’t have jobs for personal reasons. You get to wake up and use your creativity, contributing to the evolution of society. So don’t succumb to the negativity and insecurities. Trust your journey.

Until next time.

~J

Thoughts on self-care: My most loved survival items

Life happens. Even if you have a job you love, a great family unit, and a well-rounded human experience. That is just it. Life brings many experiences that sometimes have us reaching for our self-care items for survival. This can be a comfort blanket, a body scrub that energises our body, a favourite beverage or a cute journal to safely pen our thoughts. With spring and Taurus season slowly developing, providing us with the perfect backdrop for a lifestyle elevation in the name of self-care. If you’re looking for something new or a different perspective, my current ride or die faves are below.

Ah, books for the love of books.

My current reads are The Liar’s Wife by Kirsten Modglin, The Wicked Aftermath by Melissa Foster and The Vow by Debbie Howells.

Speaking of body scrubs…

If you’re currently in England, you’ll know that the weather’s doing this weird thing. Hot and promising summer one minute, then teasing cold and depressing another. This has caused my skin to be dehydrated and dull. So queue Sanctuary Spa’s Body scrubs. 

And the comfort blanket…

A heated blanket gets me through all the seasons since England is cold 90% of the year. I also work from home; therefore, it’s essential for me to be comfortably warm (sometimes toasty!) to reach my optimum productivity level.

The beauty product fave…

Everyone will have their preferences here, but for me, an excellent moisturising lipstick in nude and red is highly effective in making me feel good when my shoulders are heavy. My favourite nude is Charlotte Tilbury’s Pillowtalk in medium tone and Illamasqua’s Antimatter lipstick in the colour rocket. 

Plants are the new pets…

Well, not exactly, but we look after them like they are. My current house plant investments are medium-sized parlour palms, a Jade (succulents) plant from Wilkos and a remarkable lava rock plant. 

Vibing with nature

If you haven’t seen the entirety of my website, then feel free to browse and see some fantastic photos I’ve taken of nature with my NIKON COOLPIX P1000. I adore this camera, and I’m so grateful to have received it as a gift. 

Manifesting

Finally, if you want a road out of stagnancy, try using a goal-setting journal to manifest your best life.

Until next time.

~ J

Thoughts on strength: Remember your personal power!

We are often thrust into situations and relationships that are draining. We don’t realise that most times, such relationships, professional or otherwise, have the potential to take our personal power and drain our energy. You probably think that people can only take your power if we let them; however, such energetic transactions usually happen over time. It could be that you’re around a person or in a situation for a while where things transpire that chip away at your energy. What I mean by personal power is the personal gifts and abilities that make us unique in this world. Our confidence, the way we communicate and present ourselves to the world, our level of discipline, hunger and motivation for success, etc. Our personal power is what we embody and how we tell the world that we are here to make a difference.

So when we stay in circumstances that are delinquent, they tend to break down our energy until we wake up one day and realise that we’re walking through life lacklustre, wondering how we got to this point. This could be in relationships where you voluntarily change yourself, hoping that things will get better, only to see that efforts are one-sided. It can also be in intimate relationships, the relationship you have with your job or even with friends and family members. Sometimes, we give our energy externally without realising that the receiver is bleeding us dry. Then we find ourselves in a void of stagnancy. You either gained weight and can’t track how, fallen behind on your workload or projects, and have given up on maintaining a positive body image, which pulls your self-confidence, and you’ve forgotten your worth.

Firstly, when you realise that you’re losing your personal power, it’s time to take a step back and look at your life from all angles. Identify who or what is feeding off your energy. Sometimes this can also be a mental blockage created by a past trauma that you need to revisit and heal from. Then, once you’ve realised what it is that’s draining you, find a way to constructively address it or cut it out of your life. Suppose it’s a loved one or your job which you can’t just cut out of your life. Explore ways to manage them efficiently until you can make a final sustainable decision. Then, work on identifying what’s been taken from you. Have you neglected your physical or mental health? Your spiritual alignment? Your creativity? Etc. Once you do this, find ways to pour back in what you’re missing. Make regular time for yourself and do the work to replenish your vitality. This is not work that is completed overnight. It will require consistent effort to keep you stable and rebuild your confidence. Make a point to be more aware, track your progress, and focus on your growth.

We all waver sometimes. It’s natural to lose track of ourselves as we manoeuvre bumps in the road to personal success. However, when we start to feel the need to hide inside, isolate or overcompensate in the situation, that is when we need to wake up, assess and rebuild.

Until next time.

~J

Thoughts on attachment: It is what it is, learn to let it go

Life is a journey and not always a pleasant one. We meet people along the way, and most often, relationships are built in our childhood that shape our personalities, outlook and subconscious philosophies for the future. As we grow, so does our way of thinking, and it’s not uncommon that we find ourselves longing and reminiscing for connections from our past. Some of these relationships were placed in our path for a reason, whether we deem them good or bad. With some inner work and understanding, only you will know the reason. Sometimes, we long to reconnect with people from our past because they remind us of who we were at a certain point in time. Perhaps, you relish memories of someone from childhood because they remind you of a time when you were free to express yourself and manoeuvre life without the limitations that possibly plague us in adulthood. A job, managing finance, caring for others etc. Sometimes you may go back to connect with someone from the past even if the relationship didn’t end on good terms because you’re facing similar situations now. So your subconscious tries to re-run scenarios to gain wisdom from past lessons to deal with present circumstances.

Nonetheless, situations often occur because they need to for the development of our character and personal consciousness. And most of us are no stranger to experiencing the uncomfortable feelings and thoughts that lingers in the memory bank of past mistakes. But what can we do when such thoughts arise? We can sink deep with eternal dread under the duvet or face them, allowing our subconscious to process the emotions that come with such memories then let them go.

Some thoughts and memories take time to process. However, it’s not uncommon to feel a lingering sense of embarrassment and doom as we heal. Find ways to ease the process and comfort yourself. Maybe even use techniques to divert your attention towards the positives of life, such as journaling, meditating and speaking to a counsellor without judgement. Life’s merciless, and it doesn’t get easier. We just find ways to better navigate the self and circumstances. So take your time and trust in your process. The light at the end of the tunnel isn’t too far out.

Until next time.

~J