Writing back to Happiness

In 2015 I started this blog when I was dealing with treatment for a life threatening form of leukaemia. I kept the blog up for some while – it helped provide me with a focus – and when I was able to go out, I enjoyed taking photos and sharing them.

As life returned to some form of normality – I had survived! (needing checks every six months) – my blog writing slipped. I had a couple of attempts to rekindle it but somehow life got in the way. Yet when I wrote my first book “Life Happens, Live Happy” (available on Amazon – author Kay Underdown), I fully realised how both writing and blogging had helped me through some very challenging times.

When I eventually graduated from University in 2017 with my degree in Social Sciences, having had a whole year out due to my illness, the idea for Life Story Writing was born. Workshops and courses using my own unique approach combining coaching, creativity and sense of belonging.

Following graduation I had to negotiate some difficult, and unexpected, life paths. the outcome is living in the most wonderful area by the sea, one of my dreams that I had long wanted to achieve but never before had the guts to see it through.

There followed a period when I half-heartedly worked towards working for myself as a coach and running workshops but somehow the time wasn’t right. Life was good. I still felt as if I was on holiday whenever I had the time to wander but I lacked something and I just didn’t know what that something was. So I returned to University to start a Masters degree in Methods of Social Research and during this time I had a period of exploration and fine-tuned my direction. It was the Life Story Writing workshops I wanted to focus on. I had an inner conviction that they could really make a difference to people’s wellbeing, and could help increase happiness and sense of belonging.

After a few initial workshops on happiness and empowerment and life story writing, I started running a longer course for a local charity aimed at people aged 50+. That course has led to something very special to me – a small life story writing group. One of the outcomes from this will be my next book – “Writing back to Happiness” Life Story Writing the Waves and Pebbles Way. I started handwriting this book just after Christmas with a lovely new fountain pen, part of a set gifted to me by my group.

It is during these meetings that I have realised how much I really enjoyed blogging, and not really understood why I stopped doing something I loved so much. Anyway, here I am, back again!

I am excited for 2020. It somehow feels that it is a year of the unexpected but that it will be good, providing new adventures with opportunities to explore all that life has to offer and doing it in my own way.

I truly wish anyone reading this the very best for 2020 and the coming new decade. May you give yourself the gift of time to explore what it is you really want to do with your life – whether that’s carrying on doing the things that you love or allowing yourself to explore new avenues based on your own life values and future dreams.

Watch this space as I continue “Writing back to Happiness”. My focus for my Waves and Pebbles blog continues to be random stories about life, creativity and memories – with the addition of nature – which are all reflected in my Life Story Writing workshops and groups.

I live in Broadstairs, on the Isle of Thanet in Kent, England. We are blessed with beautiful bays, sandy beaches and amazing skies. In 2020 I will be running short courses at various venues, usually hotels and cafes where you can relax and enjoy a social occasion and do some life story writing back to happiness along the way. I am also exploring the possibility of offering online groups so if you might be interested in this, please let me know.

I hope you have all enjoyed the festive season and are looking forward to what the New Year 2020 and the next decade will bring. I’d love to hear your life stories and what your hopes and dreams are for the future.

Kay xx

Please feel free to comment here or visit my website http://www.kayunderdown.com. You will also find my page on Facebook @empoweringyoubeyondyourdreams (Kay Underdown, Happiness & Empowerment Coach). Like my blog, this has not been kept up to date and I am looking at developing my social media presence specifically aimed at Life Story Writing. I’d love to hear your own experiences of writing … or perhaps the reasons why you don’t write … I also encourage people to draw their stories if they don’t want to write or to do storyboards, a bit of both!

Clutter-busting … I woke as if in a dream and came up with a plan on how to empty my garage in 4 easy steps

Copyright 2008, Shane Gorski, Flickr, CC-BY-ND, via Wylio

Copyright 2008, Shane Gorski, Flickr, CC-BY-ND, via Wylio

Suddenly I was awake and felt startled.  I had been dreaming – I can’t recall what about now but it felt very real.  Now it was light and I thought I had overslept.  We would be late for school.  I jumped up and looked outside.  No activity.  Gradually it dawned on me that it was Saturday.  Relief swept over me and I relaxed.

Isn’t it strange how, when you get up first thing in the morning, suddenly a problem that’s been hanging over you just suddenly pops into your mind and a potential solution materialises in your thoughts that had never occurred to you before?  This was what happened to me this morning so I quickly penned a bullet point plan in case it flew away as quickly as it had landed.

I have a garage-full of ‘stuff’ that needs to be sorted and have either not had the motivation, space, resources or energy to deal with it.  It has been there in the background on a ‘to do’ list.  Vague discussions with family about taking action one week-end and clearing it, and one attempt about two years ago when we were not quite ready to dispose of the jumbled child equipment and activities, has meant that it still looms behind the doorway.

It is a block to sorting out my life.  The remnants of the past.  Reminders of good times.  At the moment I am on a role.  Despite my inability to go very far, being at home has meant that things are gradually happening, I have had the time to focus, make those calls, and get things done.

My eyes have become clearer since being on the verge of becoming a compulsive hoarder a few years ago while suffering from depression.  I think I stopped in time.  I took stock of the pile of old books that was building before me from addictive visits to charity shops, second hand bookshops and boot fairs.  I became fired up to take them to a charity shop that supported a local church where there are memories of my mother.  I filled bag after bag and there was a feeling of satisfaction when I delivered them in bulk to the charity shop, knowing that they were going to a good cause that in addition had a link with my mum.

One of the problems is I don’t just want to chuck things away that someone else would benefit from but there is so much (though of no particular value now).  We did spend time a couple of years back re-organising the garage.  We got rid of the most useless and discovered the odd hidden treasure.  Nowadays I sort things into rubbish and charity piles and it goes nowhere near the garage (well, to be honest it’s piled too high now) but the boot of my car is full of items ready to go to charity or recycling that has still not got there.

So … the plan that popped into my head, which may seem very obvious but has never occurred to me before, is to hire a large van big enough to take everything and be able to sort it out inside.  We could then take it to a boot fair so that if it could be of use to anyone, then that is an opportunity.  Whatever is left can then either go to charity or be disposed of as recycling or rubbish.  I have tried selling a few bits online but for me it is a long process, with little reward, and not one that I particularly enjoy after the first feeling of novelty.

So, the plan to clear a garage full of stuff is:

1. Hire a large van for the week-end.
2. Transfer the stuff from the garage to the van, filtering out the obvious rubbish.
3. Go to a boot fair.
4. Remainder goes to (a) charity (b) recycling (c) rubbish

I had thought of a having a skip, but I couldn’t deal with creating a heap of rubbish from many past gifts and memories in such a way.  I have seen the delight at a boot fair when a child excitedly finds something that they really want at that moment and my plan encompasses this.  However, I will check out the cost of a skip compared with my plan above and make a decision.

So when my garage is empty? Well there are some things in the spare bedroom that we want to keep … and underneath the stairs … on top of my wardrobe … under the bed … in the garden … NO!!!! it’s not going to happen.  The garage started off as a place to create, floored and walled, with table and chairs.  We even decorated it out and had Christmas Dinner in it one year.  Maybe a new use will pop into my head that will inspire me.   Anything is possible if you focus and believe it can be done.

River of Gold – poem on graduation

Copyright 2013 Kinshuk Kashyap, Flickr, CC-BY, via Wylio

Copyright 2013 Kinshuk Kashyap, Flickr, CC-BY, via Wylio

I wrote this poem on the train en route to my son’s graduation back in 2011.

.

RIVER OF GOLD

.

A droplet in the ocean

no different than the rest

The world is filled with motion

yet there seems no special quest

.

There’s such a special journey

for one that is so small

A ripple, one of many

some are heading for a fall

.

Life gives them such a blessing

with gifts for all to seek

Within is where they’re hiding

and the secret is to peek

.

Search for true hidden talents

the playful ones count too

Don’t let them say it’s nonsense

deep inside you have the cue

.

To learn the many reasons

for this and that and how

Till knowledge is the river

leads to taking such a bow

.

The prize is yours forever

to take you far and wide

The river it is golden

rippling ever more with pride

Creative Blogger Award nomination – and my nominations

image

Once again I am thanking Danica Aquino, http://www.thedirtydiaries.wordpress.com for nominating me for the Creative Blogger Award.  I am very pleased to accept this nomination.  When I accepted the nomination for the Liebster Award yesterday I received my highest number of views in a day and I love that people in so many different countries view my blog.

.

The rules for this award are:

1. Thank person who nominated you with link to their blog.

2. Display award on blog.

3. Share 5 facts about self.

4. Nominate 10-15 blogs (some rules say 5 some say up to 20)

5. Pass on the rules.

The 5 facts about me are:

1. I love travelling by train, even just fairly short journeys from home.  My longest trip was from Kent in England to Frankfurt in Germany.  I travelled with my son to see the Grand Prix at Hochenheim.  It was only five days but it was absolutely wonderful.

2. I think Street Pianos are great.  It is such a great idea for anyone to be able to sit and play a piano.  I always enjoy visiting St Pancras Station in London where they have a few pianos and some of the people who play them are absolutely amazing and so inspiring.  I learnt the piano at school and achieved Grade IV.  I can still play a little but only with music (and only for me!) but would like to get back to using my keyboard and perhaps have some lessons.

3. I am a mature student studying Social Sciences and am into my second year.   It was a dream come true to be at university studying full-time after so many years of working.  Sadly this is on hold at the moment as I was diagnosed with acute leukaemia in January this year and have spent quite a few weeks in hospital and having treatment.   I am getting used to my ‘new normal’, taking advantage of the time to go through my old journal writing, do this blog, read light fiction and I am trying to start writing a story.

4. I believe in the value of creativity.  Many people can benefit from art, no matter their ability.  I organised a family day at university where parents and their children were able to enjoy different creative workshops during the day and it turned out to be such a special day.  People discovered they were able to achieve much more than they thought they were capable of and they enjoyed spending quality time together as a family.

5. I am an accredited life coach and it is a goal of mine to have my own online business.  I have used my life coaching skills within my career and have witnessed the benefits it can have.  I used self-coaching myself for a few years before I trained and there are some great books out there.  I aim to include some life coaching related posts on this blog in the future.

I am nominating the following blogs for the Creative Blogger award (apologies for not nominating the full number but am new to this and only just nominated blogs yesterday for the Liebster Award.

A Simple Note – bailday.wordpress.com

myfairvagabond.wordpress.com

O at the Edges – robertokaji.com

Ramblings of a College Introvert – conqueringanthropophobia.wordpress.com

Sincerely, James – sincerelyjames1.wordpress.com

jemverse.wordpress.com

motivatinggiraffe.com

Random Ramblings: Vision and Happiness Quotes

Going through some of my old notes, I came across a quote which resonated with me at the time, which I now discover is by American Joel A. Barker, Futurist, Author, Lecturer and Film Maker (www.joelbarker.com):

.

Vision without action is merely a dream

Action without vision just passes the time

Vision with action can change the world

.

This applies to our own personal worlds.  We can have dreams that lead to goals and by taking action we can change our own worlds.

Another quote I have stumbled upon in my files by John Butler Yeats written in a letter in 1909 (answers.google.com/answers/threadview?id=89409)

.

And happiness … What is it?  I say it is neither virtue nor pleasure nor this thing or that, but simply growth.  We are happy when we are growing.

.

Growing involves learning, increasing our knowledge and having new experiences.  Does blogging make you happy?  We are developing our writing skills and learning new things from other bloggers, does this lead to personal growth and happiness?  Does it help us achieve our goals or does it distract us from them?