Writing Back to Happiness … How to write the little stories in life by Kay Underdown

A very special collaboration with four lovely ladies on the Isle of Thanet by the beautiful Kent coast in England

It means so much to me to be able to share this picture of my long-awaited book, a collaboration with four wonderful ladies in my writing group on the Isle of Thanet in Kent, England. It was due to be completed in 2020 but it just wasn’t happening. I do believe that the right time comes and by waiting it has become even more than I hoped it would be and with the cover designed by my eldest daughter Jessica.

This little book represents what I am about, inspiring people to write and share the little stories in life with the benefits to wellbeing this can bring. Included is a selection of life coaching exercises for self-coaching appearing throughout the book. It’s one to dip into with a notebook and pen to hand to capture what thoughts come to mind.

I’ve self-published the book using my own Waves and Pebbles Publishing imprint and at the moment copies will be available directly through me. It is a little book but one that I hope will make a big difference, resulting in many special memories being captured and shared.

There are many writing prompts that you can take wherever you wish, don’t try and stick to the original prompt, let your mind wander. You don’t even need to be a writer to use this book, if you like you can draw instead (though I haven’t covered drawing in the book). It’s surprising what appears on the page in just five minutes if you allow the pen to just move across the paper without self-judgement.

I’ve just created a new page on Facebook – Writing Back to Happiness – which I hope will be available online later today. Please do follow my page. I intend to do some Facebook lives based on the book which will be starting soon and I will come back here to talk more about what is happening.

I hope you are enjoying your week-end. Kay 💐

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!

Home again – reflecting back on beauty in nature after chemo

Copyright 2015 Kay/wavesandpebbles

Copyright 2015 Kay/wavesandpebbles

Hi everyone

Just got back home after another spell in hospital.  I realise I have missed the blogging world which is out of reach where I stay as there is such a bad mobile connection and no Wi Fi.  I thought about writing blog posts while I was in hospital but for me it isn’t the same.  I like to be spontaneous.  To write and post the same day if I can.  There may be some snippets of writing that I can share but I tend to look back later at any writing I do in hospital rather than revisit it straightaway.

Anyway, the week before I was admitted to hospital following my third cycle of chemotherapy, I had taken a gentle walk in a couple of different places.  So some of those photos will be appearing here.  They are not brilliant photos, a bit blurry in places, but for me they represent days spent enjoying just being in nature on beautiful sunny – yet cloudy – days.

Copyright 2015 Kay/wavesandpebbles

Copyright 2015 Kay/wavesandpebbles

Copyright 2015 Kay/wavesandpebbles

Copyright 2015 Kay/wavesandpebbles

Copyright 2015 Kay/wavesandpebbles

Copyright 2015 Kay/wavesandpebbles

Copyright 2015 Kay/wavesandpebbles

Copyright 2015 Kay/wavesandpebbles

Copyright 2015 Kay/wavesandpebbles

Copyright 2015 Kay/wavesandpebbles

Copyright 2015 Kay/wavesandpebbles

Copyright 2015 Kay/wavesandpebbles

Copyright 2015 Kay/wavesandpebbles

Copyright 2015 Kay/wavesandpebbles

Copyright 2015 Kay/wavesandpebbles

Copyright 2015 Kay/wavesandpebbles

An African Jewel amidst Ruskin Park, London

Copyright 2015 Kay/wavesandpebbles

Copyright 2015 Kay/wavesandpebbles

Yesterday I posted about my visit to London which included my discovery of Ruskin Park. This painted picnic bench was an unexpected find. I wanted to find out more about it before posting these photos.

This art picnic bench was created as part of the Camberwell Arts Festival, the longest running visual arts festival in the UK at 21 years. 10 artists were commissioned to decorate picnic benches which would be used during the festival and then be placed within local parks. The bench located in Ruskin Park is an African design created by Nkiruka, a creative fashion, arts, crafts and textiles design partnership and is called The New Yam Table.

Information about the festival which was held at the end of June is at http://www.camberwellarts.org.uk.  Information on Nkiruka is at http://www.makerhood.com/nkiruka.

(If you believe the information I have provided is incorrect, please let me know.  Information on the bench was limited and I could find no images online.)

Copyright 2015 Kay/wavesandpebbles

Copyright 2015 Kay/wavesandpebbles

Copyright 2015 Kay/wavesandpebbles

Copyright 2015 Kay/wavesandpebbles

My day of unknown delight – trees, squirrels and chocolate

Yesterday morning I wrote two lines on a fresh page in a notebook:

‘Unknown Delight

What awaits the day ahead’

Copyright 2015 Kay/wavesandpebbles

Copyright 2015 Kay/wavesandpebbles

I was perhaps hoping that a poem would follow. Instead, I was distracted by the beautiful sky view from my bedroom window. It was 5.30 am. I had to get up early to catch a train to London to see a specialist consultant. I was so worried about oversleeping that I set numerous alarms and then woke up before them all. I reflected on the day ahead – what would I be told? What effect would it have on me? I had tried not to think too hard about it. So instead I was energised by the early morning sun, looking forward to my outing.

When I arrived at the station it was 7.00 am, the unusually deep heat of the sun was beating down on me. Apparently today was the hottest day for 9 years according to my daughter. The station was peaceful as the silent commuters marched to their favoured positions, aligning themselves with the anticipated spot where the train doors would be. I wondered if I would get a seat but there were plenty.

After one change of train, I arrived at my destination. On the way to the hospital I discovered a park which I decided to explore later. I found the staff and visitors restaurant and had a quick breakfast. It was not a place I wished to linger. It was hot, stuffy and surprisingly small for the size of hospital. My local hospital has a pleasant cafe with an outdoor terrace where I can enjoy reading a book with a milky foam-topped glass of hot chocolate.

Copyright 2015 Kay/wavesandpebbles

Copyright 2015 Kay/wavesandpebbles

I had time to return to the park before my appointment. The grass was dappled with light and shade and I was surrounded by the most beautiful large trees. It was an oasis in the midst of the city, with the traffic steaming past. I wandered awhile and came across some squirrels darting through the branches and scooting down the trunks and across the leafy emerald grass. I took a few photos before making my way back through the park. I discovered a charity there that encourages trees in the city. There was a gigantic weeping willow tree dominating an area designated for growing new trees, and next to that there was a community vegetable garden that anyone could get involved in. I knew nothing of region, on the outskirts of London, and It felt that I had just discovered an area where community development was embedded in the environment.

Copyright 2015 Kay/wavesandpebbles

Copyright 2015 Kay/wavesandpebbles

Somewhat reluctantly I left the park and attended my appointment. With relief, I came away feeling positive and, whilst there is still some way to go, I now had something of a plan and an end in sight towards normality.

With the intensity of heat, I decided to catch the train towards home straightaway and stop-off at a favourite shopping centre rather than head towards the centre of London to explore the sights. I ventured into the divine up-market chocolate shop and savoured a free meltingly delicious concoction that purported to be a cocktail. Hints of lime, mint and a kick of alcohol lingered on my tongue. I wanted to return for another but guilt moved me on.

After a while ambling around the cool indoor shopping precinct, I was hit by a wall of hot air as I entered the High Street and haphazardly made my way back to the station, buying a pale pink straw hat that provided my head with yet another different look and checking out furniture and wallpaper as I’m trying to give my home a bit of a makeover.

Back on the train, I pulled out my book and tried to get into the new story I am reading. It was just not happening. It is one of the early books of a popular author that I have enjoyed so am hoping I will soon be engrossed. I felt relaxed and calm, enjoying life day by day. That’s how I see it, a day at a time, and it makes life so fulfilling. Each day is different and so much happens.

I ended the day sitting out in the garden till late, feeling refreshed by the softness of the warm night breeze and watching the moon and the stars above. Always such a magical moment.