Posted by: ginalazenby | May 7, 2015

Who to vote for today?

Apparently I am one of the 25% of folks who are still undecided. I’m not sure and I’m not being influenced by the last-minute media coverage this week as I am away at a silent meditation retreat. On the one hand I live in Westminster so unless I support the long-standing Conservatives my vote won’t change anything, but on the other hand, every little vote counts for a national total so I’m leaving the retreat early to do my duty.

If there was a Peace party, Equality, Fairness … or Women’s Party, which I hear might actually come about if Sandy Toksvig gets her way, then I would have some clear idea where my loyalties lay. But the swing from Left to Right, Red to Blue and vice versa is so unappealing. Somehow that polarisation no longer reflects the structure of society today.

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Red or Blue .. or 50 shades in between?
I attended a live debate in Manchester a couple of weeks ago chaired by the Political Editor of the Independent newspaper. Afterwards, I went backstage to speak with him and overheard his conversation with another man bemoaning the fact that neither of the two big parties looked set to win a clear majority (again) but he was confident that things would return to ‘normal’ at the next election. I could not resist interjecting and humbly begged to differ. The origins of the Tory party came from those who owned the land, the estates, the factories, the businesses … while Labour largely emerged from the Union movement in the early 1900s and gave voice to those who worked for said owners.  Today, there is not that clear lack of division. Most people work and many people have some level of ‘ownership’ so that is no longer a valid way of dividing us. We will never gain be that polarised.

It was interesting to see in the first live TV Election debate that there were seven leaders and not three as there were four years ago. So many more voices, so many points of view, and each with something to offer. Why can’t we have some system where everybody gets heard?

Women’s voices brought a different tone
It was wonderful to see three women in that leadership line up and in the following debate that took  place without the current coalition leaders, the women were actually in the majority: three women, two men. Their language was different and each spoke passionately about correcting imbalances in society and providing better care. Not being the ones in power it was easy for them to talk about collaboration but they consistently spoke of the need and their desire to work together. And I believe having more women in the debate keeps the atmosphere much more polite, there is less abuse and fewer insults being thrown. On the Andrew Marr Show last weekend the host had to tell his two male sparring politicians, Ed Miliband and Boris Johnson to shut up as they were being so insulting to each other. That is somewhat different to the photograph captured when the TV debate ended of the three female leaders having a group hug.  Amazing!

Something needs to change and not getting a clear majority … again .. is going to force new conversations to be had about how the different factions representing all facets of society can be represented. I feel sure that the Lib Dems had a restraining effect on some of the Conservatives’ more harsh policies but nobody has been talking about that. Goodness knows why the LibDems did not give voice to what they have been doing for the last five years … that was a lost opportunity!

So who to vote for today?
I shall spend the next hour in meditation … then ask for some sign to guide me when I stand in the voting booth in Marylebone tonight.

Has it been an easier choice for any of you?

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Posted by: ginalazenby | April 21, 2015

Liz Gee’s life-enhancing lecture programme

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Yesterday I met the energetic and visionary Liz Gee at the The Westbury to talk about my presenting in her London lecture series. I am going to be talking about my new book The Rise of the Feminine later in the year. For the last two years she has been hosting a fascinating and eclectic range of lectures in her Holland Park home.

Liz is a real have-a-go/ try-it-out Ambassador recognising that any natural reticence she might have had in her 30s has really evaporated over the decades so she keeps herself young by seeking out new challenges and learning. “Age is simply a state of mind: she says.  She’s on emission to keep people feeling younger by opening and feeding their minds!

Even though we may start to care less about what others think about us as the years go by, many of us can still harbour a fear of the unknown which can get in the way of learning and taking on new interests, or even filling in gaps in our own education. Liz is particularly keen for people to get a better financial education as she’s noticed even smart, professional executives looking after big budget programs can still not necessarily be smart and well-informed when it comes to their own personal finances.

So Liz has really taken on and committed to providing an educational lecture series that gives people the confidence to take on something new by sharing experts from her vast contacts book in the fields of Finance, the Arts, Leadership and Health and well-being. She has managed to coax many of the top names in finance and other fields to provide fascinating presentations. Speakers come from Sothebys, St James Place, Christies and many art critics & high profile authors who cover subjects like political reform, learning from international disasters, insolvency, emotional intelligence …. and rags to riches biographical stories shared from prominent business leaders like Jeremy Hackett on today April 21.

I heard Jonathan Gaby speak last autumn on his Brand Psychology book and he was fascinating. And such a diverse range of people attend … different ages and walks of life. We all share a curiosity to find out more.
I recommend to attend one of Liz’s events … get on her invite list.

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Women’s Gathering in San Francisco March 2015

Just before the International Women’s Day weekend, a group of professional women gathered in a private apartment in San Francisco. Together we created a wonderful ‘pot luck’ buffet supper. After the delicious food, the real nourishment started when we sat in a circle to share where we are in life …. each answering the question of what was alive in us right now. Such a sacred space to be …and so much wisdom shared. I share just a tiny bit here…..

What was a very much in evidence were the personal stories of women, of all ages, managing their own version of the BIG TRANSITION that the world is going through right now. Particularly post year 2000.
From an old way of doing business to a new way
From an old order to new order
From an old economy to a new economy
It’s not pretty and it’s not painless out there in the world, and each woman is finding her own way of being part of this shift, and in many cases LEADING it.

Once we women gather together and share our personal narratives, it’s becoming clear that our own individual journeys align with a much bigger global narrative for our times. We are not alone, we are ALL going through a shift, both personally and professionally.

Here are some examples of what the transition is looking like and the themes are emerging:

1 A mis-alignment of values
Many women have been on significant personal growth journeys of spiritual awareness, some for about five years but many for much longer than that. There comes a point where personal awareness is heightened and the woman is much more present to her own values and the need for her to start prioritising these and to live by them. This is often where inner peace meets outer problem …. and the woman’s energy and beingness simply becomes too much for the role she is in in an organisation. Or, alternatively, she takes a stand for herself and decides that she can no longer compromise her values within a work culture where there are often few positive values for her to align to. She is simply no longer willing to “fit in”.

At this point, many women leave their jobs or are in the transition space of preparing to leave, disconnecting from the loyalty she once had, and actively looking for new possibilities. These women have evolved to become extremely accomplished, professionally and personally, with high emotional intelligence and skills, and are an absolutely essential asset to the organisation they work in. These organisations are desperate to change (of course they don’t always recognise this) and this woman is superbly placed to play a key role in assisting the organisation to move from the OLD to the NEW. She has developed everything needed to thrive and be effective in the BIG TRANSITION.
But the organisation cannot see it.

Often senior people feel threatened. I can quite understand that, it’s an entirely human response to the colossal change so many are facing. Her departure really is a huge loss to the organisation and this values mis-alignment is probably a key reason why there is such a vacuum of women at the top of organisations. By the time they could slip into more senior or executive roles, many women are burned out, disillusioned or determined to seek an expansion of identity in a different place, where they hope they can start to thrive.

2 A NEW way of working is being embraced
Even women who have long been running their own enterprises (and are therefore not subject to the soul crushing experienced in some corporate cultures) ….. these women are relatively adept at transition, having made the leap from corporate employment years ago. Now they are witnessing a very personal change in no longer being able to accomplish and achieve in the OLD way, which is variously described as “EFFORTING” … PUSHING” … and being accustomed to hard work. Now, after periods of time where confusion and energy loss rendered them almost immobile and inactive, they are finding that the NEW ways of working that they are being guided to embrace totally, are more enjoyable and more productive. As one woman put it, from being called “Chief Make-It -Happen Officer” this NEW way is a complete about-face.

These NEW ways involve what many women are describing as a “feminine way” …. the vocabulary of this way of approaching business includes:

  • Allowing
  • Able to pause, rest and step back from issues
  • Being more present
  • Bringing Grace to situations
  • Valuing ‘being’ over ‘doing’
  • Having more fun
  • Expecting to experience joy
  • Seeking out more opportunities to collaborate and not working alone
  • Creating strong communities of support
  • Being much more open about their spiritual life in business
  • Completely honest

It’s all about giving up on the pushing and the stress of forcing events to happen in order to achieve big goals, and in doing so, it in no way means the game has got any smaller. Visions are not sacrificed, only effort. Women in this space, often older over 40 and 50, are not winding down and heading for early retirement. None of them want to play small, they say they are just getting started. They are feeling a stronger sense of purpose that is informing their professional and personal choices.

3 Life just gets better with age
When we gather in a women’s circle, the ages are commonly over 40 and often with a higher proportion of us in our 50s or 60s, so it’s really exciting to welcome so many more younger women in their 30s and even 20s. The age when women are waking up to the possibility of doing things differently, and hearing the call to step out of “the norm” and become an active part of the BIG TRANSITION is lowering. It feels like three generations of us are heading in the same direction!

Years ago, if I had been active in a women’s circle I think I would have been hearing how women over aged 60 were enjoying their retirements and I would simply expect them to share what they had learned in their lifetime of work.  Decades later, I’m totally thrilled and inspired by these older women making fresh starts and relaunching themselves out into the world through new enterprises in their 70s. It seems there is a generation of early rock and rollers who continue to feel the beat of life and are dancing their way, with energy, verve and grace, into an eighth decade of a purpose-filled life. It’s amazing and I am in awe of these fabulous women. They are such beautiful role models for all of us to follow.

It would be inappropriate to say that ALL women are leaving corporate life or shifting jobs. It’s either not possible or not what they want to do. Many women on the path of transition are doing the best they can .. where they are .. and consciously bringing a different energy to situations, even where nobody else notices. It’s a way of healing difficult situations that show up using the skills they have learned, in their own extra curricula of life study, and which are not necessarily noticed by others. They have a sense that they are making a difference even if it is not obvious to all around them .. and often that is enough.

 

Posted by: ginalazenby | February 26, 2015

Who won the Oscar for Best Acceptance Speech ?

…. there’s hardly any talk about best actor/ best film …. all the post-Oscars buzz is about the acceptance speech of Patricia Arquette who picked up the award for Best Supporting Actress. Hers was the most inspired and talked-about acceptance speech.

Her speech about equal pay had a huge impact and you could see that from the way the whole audience rose to its feet as one, led by female champions J-Lo and Meryl Streep who clearly shouted “Yes! Yes! Yes!” on the front rows. I was just as excited as I watched the Academy Awards ceremony live in California at the weekend.

I thought it was beautifully phrased …. After her long list of thanks read from her aide-memoire, she said:  “To every woman who gave birth to every taxpayer and citizen in this nation: We have fought for everybody else’s equal rights. It’s our time to have wage equality in the U.S.”

That’s a beautiful reminder of the significant role women play in society .. we birth the nation, we champion other people’s rights and causes .. now it is time for us to be recognised as full economic citizens and be paid equally. And parity across the races needs to be addressed too.

  • While white women earn, on average:
    78 cents for every $ dollar earned by white men,
    64 cents is earned by black women and
    54 cents is earned by Hispanic or Latina women.

As usual, women who stand up and speak their minds attract a lot of flack but generally, the response to Patricia’s speech has been the main news story here in California from the Oscars.

 

Posted by: ginalazenby | November 7, 2014

NEW BOOK: A map to a new management emerges

Feminine Leadership Today

P1010766with Prof Vlatka Hlupic when she spoke at the House of Commons on Guy Fawkes night … auspiciously Nov 5th … releasing her intellectual fireworks blowing up people’s minds with her ideas for Emergent Leadership

Prof Vlatka Hlupic chose the infamous Guy Fawkes night of November 5th to appear at the UK’s House of Commons discussing her latest book on new management and leadership. Intellectual fireworks were the result as she shared the fruits of her 15 years of inter-disciplinary research and her passion for creating a new world of work.  Her goal with this latest book The Management Shift is to prove that making workplaces into happier and more purposeful environments not only nourishes the people who work there but also the profits.

Screen Shot 2014-11-06 at 11.23.38 pmWhat is clear is that Business As Usual is no longer an option … the global workforce is unhappy with consistent research highlighting that 70% of…

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Posted by: ginalazenby | November 7, 2014

Rebecca Solnit: Feminism — The Men Arrive!

A really interesting read about how the Feminist movement is evolving and the high profile male figures speaking out about injustices to women …. excellent

Vox Populi

(Hooray! Uh-Oh!)

What do the prime minister of India, retired National Football League punter Chris Kluwe, and superstar comedian Aziz Ansari have in common? It’s not that they’ve all walked into a bar, though Ansari could probably figure out the punch line to that joke. They’ve all spoken up for feminism this year, part of an unprecedented wave of men actively engaging with what’s usually called “women’s issues,” though violence and discrimination against women are only women’s issues because they’re things done to women — mostly by men, so maybe they should always have been “men’s issues.”

The arrival of the guys signifies a sea change, part of an extraordinary year for feminism, in which the conversation has been transformed, as have some crucial laws, while new voices and constituencies joined in. There have always been men who agreed on the importance of those women’s issues, and some who spoke…

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Posted by: ginalazenby | October 13, 2014

The Day of the Girl & Malala speaking on the Power of One

It was brilliant timing that the world’s most famous girl should be on the front covers of most newspapers this weekend as Saturday October 11th is now known as the International Day of the Girl Child. What better poster girl could you have to draw attention to the plight of girls than Malala Yousafzai?  This is the second year that the UN have highlighted the need to care for the safety of girls, something that has long been campaigned for by the international charity Plan.

PLan sponsored child Oumou

My sponsored little girl Oumou

Plan is one of the oldest charities focusing on child development and one of my favourites to work with. I sponsor a girl child with them (my fourth, two graduated at age 18 from the program and one sadly died of malaria). Little Oumou is 6 years old, lives in Mali and it is hoped that my funding and Plan’s great work will keep her safe, well and educated to give her choices when she gets older. Malala saw that without an education, her own life would be, as she put it, limited to being imprisoned in a room, cooking and caring for children.

There is nobody more vulnerable than a girl
Malala is using the global platform that she has earned to highlight the fact that 62 million girls around the world miss out on an education. A excellent short movie called “The Girl Effect” clearly demonstrates the dangers faced by 12 year old girls who live in poverty and are not in school. They could find themselves married off by age 14, pregnant by 15 and at 16 in danger of having to sell their bodies to feed their families, risking HIV infection. If that 12 year old girl is in school she is more likely to be healthy, less likely to be married off and has a chance of making her own choices in life, getting married when she wants to and having children when she chooses, and enabling her next generation to follow in her footsteps.

Do watch the Girl Effect movie… it’s really powerful.

The Power of One
As Malala herself said at the United Nations… “One child, one teacher, one book, one pen can change the world”.

Screen Shot 2014-10-12 at 6.43.41 amThe plight of girls and the power of one girl is very much at the heart of a  documentary movie called Girl Rising. It’s is a MUST WATCH if you have not seen it. I first saw it in Sydney last year …. it shares the stories of nine girls in different continents across the world. I wept when I saw 8 year old Wadley recreate her story in Haiti.

 

The tears stayed with me through the whole film as I watched how these beautiful little girls had stepped forward with courage or grasped the opportunity presented by a champion who showed up in their lives.

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Wadley is so disappointed not to be allowed back into school (image from the Girl Rising movie)

Everything changed in little Wadley’s happy life when she came home from school on the afternoon of January 12th, 2010 … a devastating earthquake ended the life she knew. She and her mother survived but in the aftermath Wadley’s days were spent fetching water … no more school for her. When she discovered her classroom had been reformed in a tent she excitedly grabbed her school books and joined her friends sitting on the end of a bench.

 

When the teacher spotted her and asked her for payment … even with her little understanding of money she knew her mother no longer had any … she was forced to get up and leave. I can’t write those words without feeling her disappointment. It’s painful to witness something like this. And bless little Wadley for recreating her own story for the film.
Screen Shot 2014-10-12 at 6.48.56 amWadley so loved school and wanted her education that the next day she went back and simply refused to leave that bench. She defiantly stood her ground. The teacher let her stay. The film goes on to share the story of Suma who was sold by her family at age six into child slavery in Nepal. Bonded to a master from age 6 she became a Kamlari … domestic slave until her rescue six years later.

Do watch the movie (online) and witness these stories  … although they are heartbreaking, your spirits will soar with hope when you see what these girls are doing. One girl at a time, one teacher at a time, one social social worker, one champion, one donor….. what one action can we each do that could create change?

This is why we need to take action:

  • in one year 115 million girls are victims of sexual violence
  • 80% of human trafficking is of girls
  • every year 15 million girls face child marriage
  • 1 in 3 girls in the developing world are married by their 18th birthday
  • a child whose mother can read is 50% more likely to survive beyond the age of five
  • 700 million women today were child brides

An editor at the Pakistan Observer is quoted in the Sunday Times as telling the BBC that Malala had not really been shot and described her “as a normal useless kind of girl”. Girls are a vital part of the future of the world … we cannot see them as useless.

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Posted by: ginalazenby | October 13, 2014

Recognising Malala & the Power Men have to Create Change

P1010522 - Version 2What a joy to see Malala Yousafzai’s smiling face on the front covers of the newspapers this weekend. She has been an activist on behalf of girls’ rights to education since she was eleven years old.  Now, having survived an assassin’s bullet two years ago and still only a teenager studying at school, she has become the voice for at least 62 million voiceless girls all over the world and won the Nobel Peace Prize.

Interestingly she shared the prize with Kailash Satyarthi,  who has worked tirelessly against child slavery. Together they are powerful crusaders against the injustice suffered by children, both working to return childhood to children so they can study for a better life.
The Power Men have to Create Change
In fact, she could almost have shared the prize with her father. He is not just a proud parent watching his daughter on this global mission … he is very much part of the story for it was he who wanted her to be treated the same as a boy. Ziauddin Yousafzai seems to be an extraordinary man who has been a champion of education and in being determined for his daughter to benefit too  … obviously incredibly difficult in their Taliban-run region of Pakistan.

A lovely anecdote emerged in the Sunday Times yesterday. In a speech after winning the award, Malala thanked her father for “not clipping my wings”. He, more than anyone has been the fuel behind the fire of her passion to change the destiny of girls. Without him being willing to take risks to change the game in Pakistan, it would perhaps not have been possible at all.

Change on the home front as well as the world stage

Malala recounted to Christina Lamb, the co-author of her book “I am Malala”, about how she has been teasing her father. Apparently he travels the world speaking out for women’s rights and then expects Malala and her mother to do everything at home. She succeeded in getting him to make breakfast which he has now learnt to do and “is making a big deal of it” she laughed!  What a delightful insight into the family life of a global activist and so telling. There are so many patterns to break and many we can’t see. If you are a champion for a big cause then yes….. making small changes at the micro level of home life is all part of the shift … not just the speeches.

Another peak behind the scenes of a public life was given by Eleanor Mills writing in the Times yesterday. She noted that Miriam Gonzalez,  high-flying international lawyer and wife of the UK’s Deputy Prime Minster Nick Clegg apparently insists that he is home to read the bedtime story and take the children to school in the morning. Real hands-on co-parenting support from fathers is the only way for professional women to be mothers and still leverage their education as they aim for the top. Yes change has to happen in both the public sphere with men championing women .. appointing them to positions of influence, changing legislation … but it’s in the domestic sphere where the rubber hits the road and women need the support of their men in sharing responsibilities.

These are just three men who are champions for women and girls. Thank you for all you do guys.

Posted by: ginalazenby | October 10, 2014

The universe is always supporting me …

When I am going through life transitions and uncertainty, I find it useful to reach out for guidance. That guidance and reassuring answer to my question can come in many different forms. A sign on a bus, a phone call, a chance meeting …. I find there are so many ways that the universe (God …. or whatever the phrasing for your belief system) speaks to me through synchronicity.

 

IMG_5440Today, as I wrote the previous blog post I thought I’d choose an oracle card to give me some wisdom for the day … particularly around sharing this news about shedding my homes and moving forward into the unknown riddled with uncertainty. …. Is there any guidance I need here I asked my deck of “Mythic Oracle” cards.

 

 

IMG_5439You will laugh … the card I got was Poseidon … The Unknown.

As well as being the ruler of water and the seas, he is also the shaker of the earth and can create earthquakes. “Many times the heroes of myths have to pass through the realm of Poseidon in order to get where they are going, whether that be home or because they are on some sacred mission as in the Odyssey, where Poseidon creates many obstacles for Odysseus as he tries to journey home.

Perfect or what ?!

Posted by: ginalazenby | October 10, 2014

change the container … change the life

There is a big shift happening and woman-at-large is literally going to be ….. at large ! (That’s the name of my blog by the way!)

I’ve not been writing for a while so I felt it’s time to update you…. where to begin?

You’ve heard the saying that we make changes through inspiration or perspiration (I think it is derived from the original quote from Edison about creativity). Anyway…. many of the huge life-shifting changes that I have made in my life previously have been through perspiration. I’ve simply had to move in a new direction because of upset, illness or some other disruption forcing me to do so. The change has turned out to be great (often a wonderful blessing) but at the time there was a lot of perspiration and discomfort (read pain!) that came from my natural resistance to change. Well I’ve learned my lessons so now instead of waiting around for another disruption to descend on me I am choosing to make the move first. You could say I am operating from inspiration at last.

My inspiration is for me to create a new life … become a NEW ME.
That’s about it at this stage ….. I don’t really know much more than that. The old me would need a lot more detail and way more certainty but over the years I have really been seeking to master dancing with the unknown….. living in the flow. Now I have made a decision to leap and to trust that the net will appear.

bentinck exterior goodThe leap I am talking about is moving out of my home. Both of them. Many who know me in London will probably have visited my cottage in quiet Marylebone village. It’s a treasure of a place and it’s filled with amazing memories that have shaped my identity over the last two decades.

Over the years I have played host to many wonderful events and awesome people. The support community for Tony Robbins alumni called YES Group founded by Karl Pearsall was birthed in my front room, as was the Feng Shui Society, the feng shui movement as a whole and most of my business ventures in healthy living, wealth dynamics, entrepreneur profiling and feminine wisdom.

I started the London Personal Development Centre from here in 1994, the first of its kind in the UK, and it featured many teachers who went on to become the movers and shakers in the human potential movement. I have hosted suppers and talks for a diverse range of interesting people over the years including Brandon Bays, Boy George, Dadi Janki, various speakers from the Be The Change events including Elisabet Sahtouris and Sadguru Jaggi …..  many interesting authors, artists & people from most countries in the world have sat on my sofa and taken part in some kind of community event or conscious conversation.

It’s time to leave all that behind. The house is currently in the last few weeks of the sale process and I trust I am not jinxing it by sharing the news. I shall be hosting one final Women’s Gathering on Tuesday November 4th so if you’d like to be part of that or anything else before I leave then drop me a line or click the event link here.

At the heart of all this letting go is a desire to change the container that shapes my life. I know feng shui inside and out and deeply understand from first hand experience that what lives around us in our home and working environments has a profound influence on the shape and form of our existence. My intuition now is to stop rearranging the furniture inside the dwelling and to look at the actual outer container that holds my whole life and to change the container itself. Right now I don’t know what new container I need and so I don’t have anything to move on to except ….. I know that once I have let go of this outer layer I will morph into another version of me  … and without the constraints already set in place by a new container, the outcome will be more expansive.

good healthy home exterior women gathering north tewit gardenAs well as letting go of my ‘lucky’ London space after 23 years, I am also moving out of the Healthy Home in Yorkshire where I have also lived and had my office for the last 18 years. It’s simply time to move on.  So there is packing and shedding happening in many corners of my life and it’s taking all my spiritual strength and physical energy to manage, as well as every ounce of faith and trust that I can muster.

Looking back on the huge transition I went through when my significant relationship ended in 2006 and I cast myself out into the world, I had a real hard time embracing the idea that the phrase “I don’t know” would become such a constant in my life. At the time I could barely say the words. Now they are the foundation of my life because the moment I admit that I don’t know the answer … something magical is triggered and all kinds of new possibilities shape-shift into view. I have learned that not-knowing is the most creative space to be in. Right now I don’t know who I will be when I have let go of two of the things that have most shaped and defined who I have become over the last twenty years.

I do have a sense that I am just getting started  … that what I am really here to do is on its way to me and I need to be a little freer of old shackles to fully take on that next new role.

I trust all will be well in my world.
The universe is always working in my favour.
Those are my two favourite mantras I say to myself every day.

What are yours that see you through your major life shifts?
I can’t think I am alone in this transition and shedding process …. what’s happening in your life?

 Read the next blog post where I talk about the affirmation I received when I consulted an Oracle card about this while change process  …. ! It proves that the universe is truly always supporting me and I need have no fear.

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