Wednesday, 6 May 2015

Catch the first one first!

Hello there.
Thanks for taking the time to drop in.
Mindful Wednesday, right?

We certainly got off to a flying start with the Teapot Blog last Wednesday! So many wonderful pictures of colourful teapots have been landing in my email tray!
If you didn’t catch the first Mindful blog last week, and you are wondering what I am on about, then please refer back.
All will become clear. 

We talked about colouring in an intricate picture as a way of focussing on the present moment. 

Free download of this image on last Wednesday’s blog...

We talked about actually being aware of everyday things we do, like drinking a cup of tea.

I think this little picture says it all...


This week I want to talk about negative thoughts, 
and how I try to dispel them. 

I can only speak for myself and how I try to handle life.
Notice the word TRY here...

I’m no psychologist or Life guru, but at 56, 
I have figured a few things out for myself,
and I want to share them.

Negative thoughts mostly make me 
miserable, paranoid, sad or angry, 
so they serve no fruitful purpose whatsoever.
And THAT’s why I try to get rid of them.

I have got a whole fat catalogue of things which could trigger any number of negative thoughts, and I could lose hours, days, weeks grinding my teeth, 
mulling over stuff that people 
did or didn’t do to me, 
say or didn’t say to me, 
in the past. 

Waste of precious time.

What I have figured out is that I can only have one thought at a time. However fast my mind may jump to the next and the next and the next, it always begins with the first one. 

Here’s a typical Barbie thought process:

I miss Grace.
She lives so far away.
Mark lives even further away.
Whatever did I do wrong to make them want to live so far away from home?
What’s the point of having children if they are going to bugger off anyway?
What’s the point of working as hard as we do for the company?
When I die, it will all fold because the kids aren’t interested in it, 
so why bother?

Blimey!
It is actually laughable when you write it down like that, isn’t it. 

But that whole irrational, absurd train of thoughts, 
which can occur in a matter of seconds,
and which on this occasion ultimately hurtled over the cliff edge 
to my death,
all started with ONE THOUGHT.

I miss Grace.
(for those of you who don’t know me from Adam, 
Grace is my daughter. She lives in New York. Mark is my son. he lives in San Francisco)

So the trick for me is to catch the first negative thought 
and stop it in its tracks.
I mustn’t let it move to the next one, or I will be on that train again!
And it can set the tone for the whole day, week, month.....

This is what I try to do:
I miss Grace.
Dingalingaling! 
This is my internal negative thought alarm bell going off...
GET POSITIVE and GET GRATEFUL

If she’s happy, I’m happy.
She is so beautiful. Inside and out.
I am so lucky and proud she is my daughter.
Let’s go Facetime her and have a chat to her.

Like everything else, it gets easier with practice.
And I get plenty of practice! All day long sometimes!

If the negative trigger thought keeps tapping on my head, 
and looks set to get in the back door,
then it’s Plan B: Happy Music and a singsong.

This song, and I don’t know why, makes me happy. 
It just does.
I use it as a trigger to get me back on a positive keel.


So my way of staying upbeat is to be very mindful of the FIRST negative thought. By being aware of the fact that it’s the first one which does the damage, I just need to deal with that one.

I’m not trying to turn into a happy, clappy, chappy,


just trying avoid the other end of the spectrum:



I bet you know what I mean by a moany rant.
That’s when I wasn’t vigilant, forgot about my PMA, 
(Positive Mental Attitude)
and the thoughts actually come out of my mouth!
So instead of just thinking all that crap, I actually verbalise it!!
Oh what joyous company I must be!!

Yes, so that’s why I choke the first negative thought, 
before he invites all his mates to the party, 
and all my mates clear off!

THOUGHTS ARE NOT REALITY;
THEY ARE JUST THOUGHTS.


To me, negativity is like a cold. 
It creeps up on you and it lingers. 
If you sneeze, cough and splutter too, 
people tend to keep their distance ! 

There we are.
My thoughts on negative thoughts.
If any of it was any use, please use it,
and leave a positive comment below.

Our goal here on a Wednesday is to learn to be be mindful, 
to be present, to enjoy the moment;
 to use art and craft as a vehicle to a calmer headspace,
and work on an awareness of thought and consequence. 

Dwelling on stuff which makes us sad, resentful or angry 
is just not constructive.

I will end on a famous poem by S. Pogue

Watch your thoughts, for they become words.
Watch your words, for they become actions.
Watch your actions, for they become habits.
Watch your habits because they become your character.
And watch your character, for it becomes your destiny.


much love,

91 comments:

  1. Not sure what I think about "mindfulness " as a concept, but agree 100% how important it is to intercept negative thoughts & turn them into positives. Have a good day.

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  2. Not sure what I think about "mindfulness " as a concept, but agree 100% how important it is to intercept negative thoughts & turn them into positives. Have a good day.

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  3. Very wise words, Barb. It's so true how that first negative thought just snowballs into - I don't know - Alaska, or the North Pole, maybe. Nip it in the bud is definitely the way to go. One thing for me to realise - even a super-successful woman like yourself, who appears (to me) to have it all going on - can have those negative thoughts & beat herself up just as badly as I can!

    Sending you smiles & loads of positivity :-)
    Liz M xxx

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  4. Barbara, a lot of what you say makes so much sense but my it's hard sometimes to dispel these negative thoughts... In the back door as you say, that's why I love crafting as it can carry you off into a lovely place in your head and the nasties get the heave . It's been a life saver to my sanity on many an occasion and it's where I always turn when I'm being invaded by the nasty ones! Trying to stay positive!! Xxx

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  5. Thank you Barbara. I can so relate to the negative thought spiral where one quickly leads to another and another... I like the idea of trying to stop it by catching the first one. And music, yes! I forget about how great music is at lifting me up sometimes so thank you for reminding me.
    Also thanks to your previous post I have managed to heat one of those lovely soups from those tubs without letting it boil for the first time this week, simply by staying with it and stirring it and not trying to do something else at the same time. :)

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  6. Hi Barbara, oh how true, I can totally relate 100% with today's mindfulness blog! I am trying my hardest to try myself and to listen to what anyone who is trying to help me is saying to stop the negative thoughts running riot, to banish them. The trouble right now is that pretty much all of my negative thoughts are actually the reality, and rather than being told no, it's not like that, or focus on that that you have instead, or get through this and you've got that etc. I get told that yes, I am right, it is the reality for me! And there's pretty much nothing else, all I can say is I'm alive, I have four walls, enough food and heat within reason, and Daisy! And this here too, you, your blog, and the lovely people that come here. The ironic thing is all my bad stuff /negativity took hold big time yesterday and I've sunk so low with it, and like I say what's there to fight it with! Anyway, maybe tomorrow I won't feel so sad and done. Thank you for your post and mindfulness movement. I'm off to check out yesterday's youtube Tuesday.
    Love Brenda xx
    p.s. I've emailed my story to you, at last, hope it helps with what you have planned

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    1. ... and so achieving the completion of your story for Barb is the positive for today! Well done Brenda that's a huge achievement. Enjoy the utube - I will watch it again now with you as I enjoyed it so much yesterday!!! Susan x

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    2. Thank you Susan :-). I hadn't thought of finally getting my story off to Barbara a positive, just an awful lot of effort/energy into something that's probably no use, and the fear I went through to hit the send button! I enjoyed the gelli plate youtube, something else I need to get out it's packet and actually use! It made me smile too. Hope you enjoyed it as much as yesterday xx

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    3. Hope you are beginning to feel brighter Brenda. Sometimes putting thoughts onto paper can help. Get your teapot out if you have not finished it, might help to lose yourself in some colouring and try that Gelli plate, great fun. xx

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    4. Hi Brenda, missed you yesterday. Glad to see you back today. XX

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    5. Thank you Lynne and Donna :-). Barbara's positivity, and the positive comments on here, and all you guys showing me caring has started rubbing off on me a wee bit :-). I'm feeling a lot more ill today, Nicola managed to change my garden visit to Friday when hopefully I'll be a wee bit better and it might be dryer weather. So I went back to bed for a bit and then I've been curled up in my bean bag catching up on wee boring bits as eyes too rubbish for proper craft today. But these wee jobs need doing at some point so if I get them done just now it leaves when I'm a bit better for starting some new proper crafting - is that a positive out of the negative? xx

      Donna, like I said my eyes are no good for colouring in today, but we could work out what we're doing next and eyes allowing I can do mine during the day tomorrow? I was thinking of suggesting the lid as that's not so intricate for my eyes and it's obvious what the lid is meant to be! xx

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    6. Don't worry about the teapot, we can start again when you feel ready. Our pictures are not going anywhere. If you feel up to it tomorrow then the lid is a good space with bigger sections so should be easier but only if your eyes are ready. I am not colouring anything till you tell me you are doing yours so don't panic about being left behind. XX

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    7. Thank you, I'll let you know when my stupid eyes aren't so blurry (some of it is that I need glasses, but don't qualify for home eye testing, but it's the cfs part, when that's bad it stops me being able to see well enough for detail. xx

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    8. Hi Brenda I missed you yesterday. Well done completing your story, that's a lovely positive step, I'm really proud of you. It's probably a good thing your garden visit has been moved to Friday , we have had awful weather here down south, I've got one rose nearly out and it's been battered about all day by the wind! The sun should be shining Friday , that will make you smile. Take care love Diane xxx

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    9. Hi Brenda glad to see you here today well done for hitting that send button on your story to Barbara it must have been hard for you but you did it good for you hope the sun shines for you on Friday ..Big Hugs..Dot.x

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  7. I've only had negative thoughts since I was in doing the last part of my job - over the last 10 years. Thoroughly enjoyed my job (all 38 years of it!) but always worried about people thought about me and how they thought I was doing the job especially when there were difficult things to deal with. Hopefully that will be gone now as I've just retired but I'm sure something else will creep in but I'm going to do my utmost to prevent it as I haven't got anything to think about at the moment - only what to do next now I've finished the teapot! Oh yes, that's the ironing then!

    I've made some thank you cards using Clarity stencils for background and some decoupage flowers. Also made one larger card using your thank you stamp - so thank you for that - and following the blog you did for that stamp. I will post a pick later.

    So thank you for being you and brining Clarity to us all ! xx

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  8. Well said Barbara and considering you have no psychology training you are quite correct about the whole process and I'm delighted to see you writing all this down in your blog for your readers. I really hope that this can kick start the thought processes for anyone who is struggling at the moment. As with all CBT type exercises this will get better with practice...practice makes permanent. The natural emotions for a human is to be negative as hundreds of thousands of years ago it was a protective process to keep us safe. However in this day and age there are not many wild animals out there trying to attack us! Keep blogging and keep crafting......a great combo. Hugs xx

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  9. Thank you so much for the mindfulness blog. It really will help me, as I am struggling with a dark place at present. You are a star. How can anyone in their right mind, say negative things about you.
    Best wishes
    Anne (Reading)

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  10. Thanks for sharing your thoughts with us. Since you clearly inspire so many people I'm sure it will be helpful to many.
    Someone I knew several years ago became a sad and embittered person who drove away people from her, even those who loved her. She was my 'inspiration 'not to let that happen to me when things were tough, and I'm sneakily grateful for the example but of course sorry for her loneliness. Crafting would no doubt have helped her! Enjoying my super Spectrum Noir pencils recently obtained through your generous deal did it for me. x

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  11. I think it's lovely that you 'show' so much of your true self to us Barbara. Worrying never made anything any better and I'll take heart in your wise words and try to follow suit. All best wishes x

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  12. I love you Barbara gray . Your friends and family are truly blessed to have you in their lives . I think you are onto another career as big mama spiritual advisor and wise woman ( not big in the sense of fat )
    We're famois here in Virfinia beach ,Virginia . --- Pharrell attended one of our local high schools. Princess Anne high school . Just down the street from me . Great song , great thoughts and a great message .,joy now and always to you Jan

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  13. Brilliant post Barbara, so true. Now where did I put that teapot...

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  14. Have always subscribed to the view that the minute you say your biggest fear out loud in the cold light of day, the smaller it gets as you can see it for what it really is. There is something about those negative thoughts rattling around in your brain that seems to make them so big. The only solution I've found that works is to dust them off, say them out loud and deal with them one at a time, exactly as you say. I miss Grace, so I'll go have a chat with her and be close to her for a bit, book that flight over to see her and then you've something positive to focus on. BTW not sure if this helps but all the stuff you and the team does at Clarity inspires us mere followers of you on TV and the blog to try, whatever we try. So lots of us feel pretty untalented and amateur from time to time but your products and words of wisdom encourage us to have a go and whatever the results, it is the trying, the successes amongst the failures that gives us the confidence to go on. So even if some days you don't know what you do it for, I know it made and makes a difference to me. Judging by the comments on your blog, I am not the only one. Do you not also think that what you stand for is the model your children follow? The confidence to follow your dreams but understanding the hard work it takes to make them work? Don't even get me started on what your team has done and grown into because you started Clarity. Legacy is more than the physical stuff you leave people, it's the inspiration you give to others that stays. Anyway enough from me. Love your choice of song, I defy anyone not to be happy listening to it. Karen

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  15. Hi Barbara, I too struggle with negative thoughts so I made some bookmarks with your sentiment stamp;
    Dry your tears, calm your fears, dust off your sorrows, most of what we fret about will solve itself tomorrow.

    How much time have I lost worrying about something and then it doesn't happen, this sentiment says it all!

    Please make the teapot into a stamp for us all !!

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  16. Hi Barbara I feel like I would like to give you a big hug. I know what you mean about negative thoughts and how they can take over. I do miss my daughter too she isn't that far away really. I think being a parent is about loving so much that you are able to let them go. I love that she likes coming home to visit and that we have a great relationship. Thank you for today's post it has made me think and that is a good thing. Enjoy your evening. Hugs Jackie

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  17. My mother in law always said 'dont cross your bridges until you come to them' - one of the very few things I remember and value about her!! Like you, I can have a thought and before I know it. it has turned into something a dear friend used to describe as the aubergine that ate Chicago - before I had ever been to Chicago and - possibly - even knew what an aubergine was!! Now I try to dismiss the "what ifs" until I know "what is" and can have a plan to deal with it. My OH has poor health - generally - and we can get bogged down with a seemingly endless round of Drs and Clinics - so I made him a bookmark to take with him - using your "You are the funshine of my life" stamp. A very true sentiment to describe how much he means to me and one that makes us smile every time we see it. And when people ask what are the words on his bookmark they smile too!! Have just printed off the teapot and may try to find some time to start colouring in - I have the full set of Spectrum Noir pencils! Need to use them!!

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  18. Thank you Barbara for such a helpful post. I know exactly what you mean about negative thoughts and one leading to another and then another. I am going to try your technique as I'm sure I will find it really helpful. You are such a kind and generous person sharing your thoughts and experience with us and I am certainly very appreciative of all your wisdom.
    Thank you
    Jackie x

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  19. Hmmm...positive comments: Don't hang around with 'negs' they drag you down; Stroke a cat (how is Romeo these days?); make someone/anyone smile (that's good with babies at bus stops!); do someone an anonymous good turn - that should do for now! - Oh and read Barb's blog.

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  20. I so agree Barbara, but dispelling negative thoughts is very hard, and they soon
    Snowball into worry especially at 3am. Your blog is brilliant, i am sure it will
    inspire others. I have a great life and wonderful kids and husband but worrying about
    Them all is part of being a mother/woman!

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  21. Sitting here enjoying my cuppa and wiggling my toes, as I love to be shoeless! The sofa is comfy, I can hear the birds singing outside and I'm smiling after reading your post and all the comments from the blog family. Living in the moment!
    I know what you mean about negative thoughts, but I too try to keep them at bay, and just enjoy life as it comes...and as Scarlett says in the line from my favourite film "tomorrow is another day". Susan x

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  22. A brilliant blog Barbara thank you. I am in a bad place at the moment my brother is very ill and I worry about his care he has Parkinson's and dementure he is 72 I am 4years older my charity craft helps me you have helped me today thank you June horrocks xxxx

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  23. Hi Barbara,
    sorry for the others I write in german today cause I can´t explain it as well in english I think...
    Barabra, Du wirkst eigentlich nicht so, als ob Du solche Gedanken hast.
    Und dass die Kinder heute so weit weg von Dir wohnen, ist doch nicht wegen Dir. Ich denke, sie sind in den Staaten aufgewachsen und deshalb eher Amerikaner als Europäer.
    Heute gibt es doch viel mehr Möglichkeiten, Skype zum Beispiel, da könnt ihr euch doch auch noch sehen beim chatten.
    Du schreibst doch auch, Du bist so stolz auf Grace und Mark. Dann nimm den Gedanken und verdränge den anderen, dass sie so weit weg sind...
    Aber ich kann eigentlich nicht so mitreden, weil ich habe sehr selten negative Gedanken. Wenn mir etwas nicht gelingt, hake ich das sofort ab und denke auch nicht mehr lange über eine Sache nach.
    Ich bin ja ein großer Tina Turner-Fan und in ihrer Biografie stand: Wenn man sich zu sehr über etwas ärgert, Ehepartner, Beruf, Auto, Wohnung - egal was, dann MUSS man das ändern. Die Einstellung finde ich gut.
    Du bist Geschäftsfrau, hast eine tolle Arbeit, die Dir Spaß macht, Du kannst nicht alle Zelte abbrechen, Und was wenn? Würdest Du zu Grace ziehen wollen oder Mark??? San Francisco oder New York??? Das ist doch eh nicht realistisch... Also mußt Du zufrieden sein, wie es ist... Und es ist doch auch nicht so schlecht. Also ich hatte ein besseres Verhältnis zu meinen Eltern/Großeltern als ich zu Hause ausgezogen war. Ging es Dir nicht evtl. so mit Deinen Eltern?
    Ich hoffe, ich bin Dir nicht zu nahe getreten, aber ich mußte das mal loswerden, weil Du schon mal über negative Gedanken geschrieben hast. Wenn sie wieder kommen, schieß sie sofort in den Wind und denke an´s Schöne.
    Liebe Grüße
    Rolf xxx

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  24. A brilliant blog post today, thank you! I do dwell on and expand my negative thoughts and must try not too. The poem at the end is wonderful too! xxx

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  25. Hi Barb,

    Thank you for reminding me of mindful Wednesday, its all too easy to be thinking negative thoughts so when I am feeling that way I shall think of you who always brings a smile to my face with all your wonderful inspiration. Love the poem at the end too. How true!

    Love & hugs

    Jacquie J xxx
    http://jewelscardcraft.blogspot.co.uk/

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  26. Hello Barb, well that has certainly got me thinking, about everything you have said, not negative thoughts! Thank you for sharing this, and for the lovely poem at the end. How true is that. Take care. Bx

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  27. A lovely blog Barbara , I have had a lovely day crafting with friends , laughing and crafting the best tonic ,,,. But I cannot print the picture of the teapot do you think it's because I don't like tea ,,.
    Xx

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  28. Hallo liebe Barbara,

    ich glaube jeder kennt das Gefühl von schlechten Gedanken. Es ist normal denn wir sind Menschen mit Herz und Verstand. Manchmal spielen die Gedanken ein wenig verrückt. Dagegen muss man sich wehren. Versuchen negatives in positives umzuwandeln. Da klingt doch eigentlich ganz einfach. Doch leider ist es oft sehr schwer umzusetzen. Deine Kinder sind weit weg von dir. Das kenne ich auch denn auch meine sind für mich weit weg. Aber was für mich wichtig ist, meine Kinder lieben mich und ich liebe meine Kinder und das baut uns Brücken um mit den Gedanken fertig zu werden.
    Das Leben ist nie nur eitel Sonnenschein. Ich habe viele Jahre meines Lebens mit negativen Gedanken im Kopf verschwendet. Ich bin darüber krank geworden. Aber was ich von mir sagen kann, ich habe niemals aufgehört positiv zu nach vorn zu schauen. Heute kann ich sagen ich lebe wesentlich bewusster und genieße jeden Tag als wäre es mein letzter. Ich habe gelernt mir das zu suchen was mir Freude macht. Dazu zählt mein Stempelhobby und auch der Besuch deines Blogs. Auch wenn ich nicht schaffe täglich zu kommentieren, ich bewundere deine Arbeiten und deine große Kreativität sehr.
    Deine Videos sind für mich so herzerfrischend und natürlich und genau das liebe ich an deinen Videos. Die menschliche Art alles mit uns zu teilen. Das ist großartig und davor habe ich aller größten Respekt.
    Ich hoffe das deine trüben Gedanken sich wandeln in positive Energie. Genieße das Leben und die Gewissheit, dass du eine wundervolle Familie und auch sehr viele Freunde hast.
    Ganz liebe Knuddelgrüße herzlichst Silvi

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  29. Hi Barbara
    Let's all try and develope PMA. I think this Wednesday blog is wonderful. Everyone has off days but most times the good outweighs the bad. Out with those negative thoughts. Yesterday is gone and you can't change it, today is the day to look for something lovely and tomorrow is an adventure.
    Hugs from Chris x

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  30. I am currently struggling with negative demons and spent a night of sleeplessness due to an out of control spiral of negative thoughts. My crafting and colouring is a great way of distracting myself during the day which I suppose is mindfullness as my mind is full of what I'm doing rather than my rollercoasting thoughts. But how does one find mindfullness in the wee small hours when our anxieties rise to the surface? I think I'll need to start singing Pharrell's Happy song and reciting the poem by S Pogue being very mindful of each word as I say it xx

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  31. Dear Barbara I love reading your blog as it really does bring a smile to my face and sometimes a giggle just pops out!
    You know all to well that I have stressful times to deal with but I have learnt to think the phrase ...what will be will be ...and something else is that I try to smile as much as I can even though inside I might not feel like smiling. I also remind myself that there are people who are far worse off than me and that I need to celebrate the life I have and be grateful that I have a good husband and a loving daughter who has made her own life now away from home. She doesn't see us as much as I would like but she is happy and that's all that matters.
    Negative thoughts are like a weed! They sneak in there and before you know it they have overrun everything. Being happy and content with your lot is the weed killer and allows much more positivity back in the garden of life.
    Lets all think positively and make a positive from a negative.

    Love and hugs as ever xxxx
    BIG SMILE!

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  32. Hi Barbara, I think I must be an ostrich and put my head in the sand, I just try and think of the positives even when things are a bit more bleak, someone is always worse off than me. I was pleased to read that you try and stop at the first negative and turn it into a positive. You have so many positives in your life, wonderful children, a sucessful company (look at all the awards), wonderful friends, a job so many of us would like if we were talented enough and Dave. You even found time to watch Poldark!!! now I need to do a positive, May is a busy birthday month and I need to go and finish some birthday cards. my problem is I need to be more productive.
    Always love your blog and everyones comments - Kay x

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  33. Hi Barb,
    You have been a complete success as a mother and as a person.
    A good mother raises children who are confident enough to fly away, and to come back now and again.
    A good mother knows her children love her for who she is, not for what she will give them.
    A good mother cares.
    We, who have children, have all gone through times like this - maybe our children did not roam so far, but even so it's like a million miles away to us.
    And we fear.
    We fear that we are intruding into their lives. We fear that we are fussing. We fear that they are not "all right". We fear that they may come to harm.
    But most of all we fear that they may not "need" us any more.
    Trust me, (I'm a lot older than you) they will always need us.
    So, pick yourself up, dust yourself down, and live for the moment.
    Remember, life is not a rehearsal - this is it - so make the most of it and if you feel you need to see your children, well bugger the expense and go to see them. We won't mind if you go awol for a while.
    And I know you are a good person, because I have met you and witnessed it.
    Much love Maureen xx

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  34. Hi Barbara
    I read your blog every day but rarely leave a comment (sorry). However your post today struck a cord with me. I too have been battling with negativity, getting upset about other peoples' thoughtlessness and finding my confidence in my own abilities taking a real battering. It has even affected my crafting mojo. Your blog today made me stop and think "I am not alone". So I just wanted to say "thank you" and give you a great big virtual hug. Now I am off to my craft room to make ............. well anything really and no matter what anybody else thinks I will carry on.
    Lesley
    PS Another song is "I am what I am" from Follies which I will be singing at the top of my voice while I craft!!

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  35. Thank you for the thoughts on thoughts today. I like the poem too. The song I have in my head when things in the past try and creep up and ruin a perfectly good day is from Frozen - Let it go! All is well - is what a good friend of mine says all the time even when we know it's not really but if you say it often enough it seems to work. xx

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  36. Hi Barbara - I agree with your thought process....it's amazing how our minds work and I always try to be more positive than negative. My old boss used to welcome me back from holiday with open arms - he used to refer to me as the calming influence in our department as I'd stay pretty level headed and not make mountains out of mole-hills! :-)
    I suppose it wouldn't do for us all to be the same, but positive is much better for your well-being that's for sure!
    I always try to be a "glass half full" person - no point in worrying over what has already happened, and try to put a positive spin on things as you look to the future.
    Talking of "glass half full"....I need a refill,,,,,
    Have a lovely evening and talk to Grace and Mark as often as you can :-) Take care, Carole xxx

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  37. My dearest dearest Barbara - you hit the nail on the head and both in todays blog and looking at your own negative thoughts - you are turning your hand at sharing with us to help us turn similar negative thoughts around - and yes you are quite right - it does start with the first thought. So if I look at you - your first thought - You miss Grace and Mark - of course you do - much of your life has been spent bringing them up striving to provide, nurturing them every step of the way - whilst bringing your business forward to what we see today. Like all parents we want the best for our children - yet like all children we must let them go their own way - after all Barbara didn't you? Are they not a chip off the old block so to speak. In the time I have been part of the Clarity family and followed your blog you have shared so much of yourself and your journey through the good times and the bad - so I for one can understand why you miss your children etc. I think part of what makes you tick and your company so successful is your utter talent to be such a lovely person, put your heart on your sleeve and share so much - you care about many around you in your Clarity family - you keep abreast of many of the FB pages and show your caring side without judgement - just encouragement - this is what very very much draws me to this wonderful group - for me you are not just the boss of a wonderful company you are more than that - and I think many others feel the same.
    My life was only work for so long - burying myself in work to the point of burn out - until I saw you on the TV - since then my life has changed - I have made wonderful friends some of whom have become very close - my days are filled with loving emails, texts and PM's and work now is different - and hopefully very soon - I will be packed up and moving out of London away from a job I have been in for 24 years and on to pastures new - Clarity has widened my horizons and allows me to escape in to a world that is loving and caring - colouring the teapot was yet another experience and one I enjoyed so much. I still have negative thoughts - goodness me who doesn't - and if I run the exercise of what you have blogged today - well mine is currently fear! Starting a new job, moving almost a 100 miles away from where I have lived all my life - and initially because of hold ups in the moving process - staying with someone who has become such a dear and caring friend - and you know who that is.
    So you keep bringing me your pearls of wisdom and sharing your experiences because it sure helps me and I know helps many many others.
    Much love Barbara

    Kim xxx

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  38. Hello Barbara...loved your post today...I have had a trying afternoon with my youngest daughter (27) who wallows in negative thoughts. She is very kind and caring. Very pretty and talented. Very clever and thoughtful. She has had to deal with a lot of negativity towards herself and unfortunately she doesn't handle it very well. She lets the bad thoughts run away and I have to real her back in...how do I do this....distraction...Laughter, Music, change of topic or I ask questions and try and steer her to more pleasant thoughts or solutions. For myself its my Craft Room. Just being in it, pottering about rearranging or playing about with my stash. And loud music is a must...glad I have great WiFi headphones!! I have had to stop singing out loud though as there were too many complaints lol. I suppose that I am quite fortunate in that I also have my sense of humour to keep me going when things get tough. I think of the last time that I made someone laugh...usually at me...in fact I think of the way my other daughter nearly wet herself laughing at me last week after I told her of a dream that I had.........
    There I am, up the top of Ben Nevis...needing to wee...No Trees or Bushes to hide behind...so my son and daughter keep a look out for me and I get down to business shall we say...so I manage it without loosing too much dignity and not exposing too much flesh, pleased and more comfortable with myself...stand up, fasten trousers and I hear someone cough...there was a man standing behind me all the time watching me relieve myself !!!!! Well my daughter just erupted into fits of laughter...she couldn't look at me for hours, you see she could actually see something like that happening to me...I can get into funny or embarrassing situations.
    The next morning my daughter went to The Go Outdoors Shop and bought me a collapsable screen....just in case! A Problem solved!
    I love the pictures that you put on your blog to express what you are talking about, they are brilliant, my favourite is the Gorrilla...even with a frown he is just gorgeous.
    So positive thoughts from me to everyone and I am away to finish playing with my Teapot!
    Thank you Barbara for sharing your thoughts xxx

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    1. Oh that made me laugh Emma got a vision of you going up Ben Nevis noo with your wee pee screen strapped to your back ...Hugs Dot..xx

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  39. Hi Barbara, wonderful Wednesday blog! I am always worrying about things that haven't happened and before I know it, what was a little doubt soon escalates into a huge disaster and usually all started by negative images so i really appreciate reading about your techniques. Love the video clip and song and found myself smiling and wanting to dance around the room :-) The poem is very thought provoking, a lot to put into practice in the future! X

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  40. What a joy to read your blog today. It rings truewith me as i allow negative thoughts to creep in regularly. However, today i have taken steps to improve my thoughts about the lack of money in my bank account. I have asked for a pay rise at work and have also signed up to be a candle consultant in my spare time to boost my income and increase the likelyhood of getting on holiday to Denmark to visit my cousin. I feel more confident that i can achieve it now rather than think i will let not get there! Hopefully i might earn enough to buy some more clarity stuff too!
    I thoroughly enjoyed my colouring time with my teapot and it allowed me to focus my thoughts and process what had to happen. You not only create lots of creative opportunism, through your blog you are also creating positive thoughts throughout the country.

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  41. Think I must count myself as a very fortunate person, life is pretty kind to me, my kids all live local and visit loads. I can understand you missing Grace and Mark suddenly you are not the main focus in their life and that bit is hard. We like to know they are safe and hopefully being sensible. I love reading your blog each day and joining in the Clarity journey, it has given me a lot of new ideas to try, some out of my comfort zone but that is good. Love your pictures today, not finished my teapot yet will have to get on with it and I will E-mail when finished. Thankyou for sharing your thoughts today. xx

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  42. Hi Barbara, trying to be my normal positive self but finding that tricky lately! I am not normally a pessimistic person so it has hit me hard, no real experience with how to deal with it. I notice myself fretting about things that seem insurmountable. I think I do a good job at putting on the smile for everyone, while inside I am feeling like crap! I escape into my craft when I need a little me time, creating something, anything, is a release of the stresses. Sometimes I just put on the music nice and loud and sing while tidying! I will try your internal alarm, just need to identify the first one of my growing list of worries. XX

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    1. Donna my lovely lady, sending you a big hug, you are always so kind to others on this blog so time for someone to be kind to you. Take it a day at a time and stop to see a beautiful flower or smile at someone, they may smile back or say hello. I hope that helps even a little bit. Xxx

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    2. Arrrr thanks Diane, I will find something positive today. XX

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  43. I am loving colouring my teapot, and the large rose (from the Spectrum Noir CD). I liked the song, it made me think. I miss cuddles with my granddaughter, shopping with my daughters (not both of them together there would be a riot) and sneaking the odd lunch out with them but most of all I miss the noise they make in the house when they are home for a visit. Yes, your words made me stop to think. I'm not unhappy, we Skype, phone(daily with the phone) and I know that they are well and doing well in their careers. All that sorted now I can go back to my real love, safety net whatever, stamping, colouring and playing with my 'Clarity' stuff, having crafty friends round and playing some more. XX Oh yes Barb, I know that you are proud of what Grace and Mark are achieving but have you ever thought how proud they must be of you, what you have achieved and are continuing to achieve. Children never sing your praises to your face but shout them from the rooftops behind your back.XX

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  44. Perfect. Lovely. Enjoyed the song immensely. Thank you.

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  45. oh i sound like that so often. i wondered if you lived inside my head for a minute there.
    the other thing is then you sound like me when i'm at work. this is getting spookier by the minute. what you said is fab and we should all keep it to the forefront of our minds.
    and your kids have gone way not because of something you have done but because you did something very right and thought them how to follow their dreams and be independent,,,,,,,,,, remember i did the same albeit not as far away. and i think i'm better for it and aooreciate my parents more from far, hugs xx

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    1. that should read appreciate.....xx

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  46. Thank you so much for your blog today, it serves as a reminder to what my dear Mum taught me as a child and I practiced writing it in italic that I was learning at school at the time'

    MOODS WILL LEAD YOU SUCH A DANCE
    IF YOU JUST GIVE THEM HALF A CHANCE
    THEY'LL LIFT YOU UP
    THEY'LL FLING YOU DOWN
    THEY'LL TURN A SMILE INTO A FROWN
    THEY'LL CREEP UPON YOU UNAWARE
    NO WONDER FOR THERE'S NOT MUCH FUN
    IN PEOPLE WHO ARE SAD AND GREY
    AND DULL AND BORED WITH LIFE EACH DAY
    SO DON'T BE SWAYED BY EACH NEW MOOD
    JUST THROW THEM OFF OR THEY'LL INTUDE
    AND SPOIL SOME BRIGHT AND HAPPY HOUR
    FOR YOU YOURSELF
    DO GIVE THEM POWER


    Sorry I may have forgotten one line, but you get the idea I hope
    Thank you again Barb x

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  47. Hi Barbara
    Wow....just what I needed. I have had a really tough year at work with regular character assassinations from my revered boss.....leaving me very weak with no confidence. How right you are that if you can only identify the root, you can lop the top off that pesky Negativitus Majorus. I shall sing my way to work tomorrow and look forward to what is chucked my way. I AM good at something and will prove it. I love the mindfulness theme and take great strength from both your blog and fellow contributors. Keep it up Barbara, we Love You

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  48. Hello Barbara how wonderful you give us mindfulness ,I'm having a very dark day a day when I cannot deal with all my bungalow problems but I know I could read your blog and look at the lovely comments left on my blog challenge card using your beautiful thought out stamps ,
    Keep your special memories throw away the ones that don't matter and think of the people who make your life special life isn't easy or fair but in our crafting world we can be as one as we love our crafting I haven't done my tea pot yet or sent you my story of how my crafting started I sent my card and that mattered a lot to me it's time to say goodnight xxxx

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  49. I loved this post Barb - My late husband Shaun taught me so much about the harm of negativity and the promise of the positive - its all so true and although he is no longer here I hear him everyday and especially when/if I should slip on the bumpy road and feel negative at all - there is no point - its the slippery slope! Thanks for this! Hugs rachel x

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  50. Thank you Barbara for this thought provoking post and negativity is our worst enemy I am sure. I know how you feel about your kids being so far away and that it is hard not to be negative about it sometimes. I know my son went abroad to experience life and working in another country for a bit but has done so well there that it seems right for the present for him to stay, and when I get fed up that I don't see him much because he is so far away I say to myself that if he comes back here it must be because he wants to and not because he feels he should. If negative thoughts creep in I will try to dispel them before they take hold so thank you for your ideas on keeping positive. x

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  51. Gosh loads of comments today, taken an hour to read them all. It seems we have more in common than we thought, not just craft. Barbara you do so much for us all by sharing your experiences and letting us into your thoughts. I believe you've helped us a lot already, it's great to know that we're not alone and that others feel as we do. Long may you share your life and feelings with us. Your a star.xx

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  52. Goodness, what a chord you have struck among the Clarity family! I never realised that there were so many people feeling like this!! I, too, had a very tough time with work a couple of years ago, that left me so lacking in confidence and depressed. It's taken time; giving up work and taking up craft has helped me to overcome the depression but I still battle with lack of confidence.
    I miss my daughter and her family so much, but because I know how bad life can be, every day I remind myself how content I am just now. And I am, and it works!!!
    Another positive from your blog is the chance to practise my A level German, reading the comments from your German followers! It just shows that a skill once learned, is never wasted!!! I will use it again one day, when I go travelling!!
    Thank you Barbara, for sharing your many skills and enriching our lives in ways you don't expect!!!
    Love Jan x

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  53. Thankyou so much for these Wednesday blogs Barbara I really need to catch my thoughts
    as yes they do spiral into something worse that could happen but very rarely do I read this recently...Worrying is stupid it's like walking round with an umbrella waiting for it to rain .xx

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  54. Hi Barbara love today's blog. You really are such an inspiration to us all. You are so open and honest with us, which in itself is very brave but makes so many of us realise it's not just us who have negative thoughts with slippery slopes. You have done an excellent job as a parent, you have allowed Grace and Mark to grow up to be confident adults who can fly the nest but always know where home us and their mum when they need you. They must be so proud of you too and what you have achieved and all your hard work and sacrifices over the year to keep them happy and food on the table. Thank heavens for face time and Skype , when hubby is away it's not so hard to bear when I can see him to talk to and I know if Emma goes to university it will be the same with her. We don't mind if you go and visit Grace and Mark, you need mum time, just as your mum enjoys her mum time with you. I hope you managed to talk to them today after your post. And yes, I love to dance around the kitchen to the Happy song, there's just something about it!
    Sleep tight Barbara, sweet dreams, looking forward to seeing you tomorrow.
    Love Diane xxx

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  55. Loved your post. As I've got older, my brain is certainly in gear before the mouth goes off. Now, if I've got nothing nice to say, I say nothing. And I feel much better for it, as probably does the person who may have been in line for my opinion. Losing yourself in craft does wonders. Also, it's amazing how clearing up the craft room, and putting stuff away can invigorate you to start all over again.More mess tomorrow, but tidy today. I enjoyed that waffle.
    I must have a go at coloring the teapot. Could be a long job.
    Joy xx

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  56. I've just had two weeks of angry thoughts preying on my mind the whole time - someone staying with us who just doesn't 'get' me at all and really makes me depressed. On the journey home yesterday, after dropping her back at her place, we played that song over and over - it works for me and my DH too. :) I shall have to try your 'alarm bell' trick :)

    I have a son living near San Francisco too and I miss him terribly but Skype is a wonderful invention and he's coming home in a couple of weeks for a visit, more 'Happy'.

    ....and, today is our Ruby Wedding Anniversary and if that can't make me think positive thoughts I don't know what will :)

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    1. congratulations on your ruby, hope you have a lovely day x

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  57. And then Grace got on the blower and said 'Mum! Book that flight! ;)'

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    1. Well done Grace! I am sure you will both have a ball.
      xxxx

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  58. Fabulous Barbara all of it so true.. Thanks for the happy song😃😃😃

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  59. Good morning,
    I think the Wednesday blog is fantastic with so many reflective cognitive thoughts on the topic as if we were all seated at your kitchen table thinking about being positive and using crafting as the glue. You are so clever and kind. Thank you! Xxx

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  60. Just listened to the song, that's cheered me up :-) You would make a great counsellor Barbara. People think I'm quiet, I'm not really though because I'm always having conversations in my head, I even sing in my head! Hope you don't think I'm potty! xxx

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  61. Thank you for such a beautiful start to the day. I love your sense of humour it just makes me smile xxx

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  62. Great post, full of positivity. The monkey at the back in the trio pic reminds me of Dean from C&C (if he had glasses on !) That image will make me smile & chuckle for hours. Thank you Barbara & thank you Dean.

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  63. Just seen your blog from yesterday Barbara. Don't feel sad that Grace and Mark are in the USA. You should be so proud of them and of the fantastic job you have done in raising them, so that they have the confidence to make their life in another country at this stage in their young lives. Not easy to do as I know from my experience of living all over the world. They know they can always come home.

    You are an inspiration to us all Barbara. Your show on Sunday was amazing, you and Dean make a great team, so much laughter and happiness. xx

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  64. Hi Barbara Psychology is the science of the mind. The human mind is the most complex machine on Earth. It is the source of all thought and behaviour. Sooooo, mindfulness is being aware of you thoughts and behaviour so you are a psychologist!! Your blogs are mindful and you share your vulnerabilities as you reveal your thoughts and actions and that helps other people! Watched Happy and love it !! Blessings Barbara

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  65. Barbara
    I see myself on your blog, how come you know so much about me, my children don't live as far away as yours (York and Brighton) I live in Durham. I thought I was the only one who felt left out when they moved on. I shall try to deal with it in your positive way and stay Happy, I already do the happy music - best songs are the ones that I know all the words to then I can sing out loud, although the dog does run for cover sometimes.
    Thank you with all my heart.
    Barbara x

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  66. Hi just read your piece about negative thoughts when I start to go down that road I put my boots on call the dogs and of we go walking. I listen to the birds singing, smell the perfume of the Bluebells, and hug a tree yeah I know hairy fairy. I have forgotten all about negative thoughts by the time I get home mainly because to tired to think buff it! works every time. Just joined you blog love it.

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  67. Oh wow thank you so much,I thought it was just me that had all the negative thougths,I am going to try your way to dispell them and only think positive thoughts.xxx

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  68. How wonderful that I read your blog when I did, I have just spent a lovely day with my family but letting one negitive thing spoil it for me and I really was down in the dumps because of it...I am going to take your advice and shake it off and be thankful that I have a family to spend the day with. Thank you I'm glad you are doing this xx

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  69. How wonderful that I read your blog when I did, I have just spent a lovely day with my family but letting one negitive thing spoil it for me and I really was down in the dumps because of it...I am going to take your advice and shake it off and be thankful that I have a family to spend the day with. Thank you I'm glad you are doing this xx

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  70. wasn't able to download teapot, so instead of sulking, then going into internal rant, took opportunity to use PMA and drew and zentangled my own teapot. Thanks Barb.

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    1. Hi Alison. You must share that with us....sounds fantastic xxxx

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  71. Hi Barbara. Oh, I know just where you are coming from and I am on this journey with you all the way to stop that first negative thought. I make myself think of my gorgeous grandchildren smiling at me when I get that first bad thought and it is starting to get much easier and quicker already. My happy music is some Queen very loud. Thank you for doing this for both you and all of us : ) I still haven't printed off the teapot but will do it later on today to make a start on it. Take care x

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  72. You are so right Barbara, I have lost far too many weeks this year with negative thinking, and yet other parts of my life have been more positive than it has been in years "Sods Law". I think sometimes we crave that feeling of being a bit down so that we can "Step off the Bus" and take a little walk on our own. But if we aren't careful we can end up in the wilderness!. Well that sounds profound doesn't it??? but in my mind true. I have often used your thought stopper process without even realising it, but now you have pointed it out I will use it in a much more positive way. Sometimes when my Kids are moody in the mornings I put on some happy music, loud and they hate it because it makes them change their mood!!! xxx

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  73. Wow Barbara what a lot of feelings you have brought out in everyone. I sat here scrolling through the replies and suddenly there was one from your darling daughter - "...and Grace said, Mum book that flight!" - so I hope you have.
    My last few months have been a bit fraught - hubby lost his job and I had to move locations with mine. I was dreading the move - felt like it had been thrust upon me with no options and that I was being dragged away from my friends and colleagues. But do you know, it wasn't as bad as I thought it was going to be. The people were really friendly and only once did I feel "lost and alone" - but I addressed it and it got sorted so all good. Hubby was very down about losing his job and I thought he was heading for depression but as the old saying goes, "every cloud has a silver lining" - he got another job, people told him they had missed him and that the reason he had lost his previous job was utter rubbish - some employers just don't know how to appreciate their employees. He is now happy in his work once again - still falls asleep on the sofa but at least it is "good tired" - apparently! Lol. On Tuesday I have to go to London on a course - not looking forward to the journey as I hate travelling alone - but I guess it has to be done and once it is over I shall feel hugely proud of myself for going. My daughter brings my darling grandsons to see me regularly and for that I am truly grateful - I know it isn't easy and I never put pressure on them to visit but it brightens my life and makes my heart glow every time I see them. I learnt a while ago to let go of negativity - sometimes I can and other times I struggle but at least I try. Reading your blog and doing my monthly workshops with Maria are special things to me and they always make me realise that there are hundreds of people with more problems than I will ever have and that I am eternally thankful for my lot. Keep up the inspiration lovely lady and enjoy your break with Grace. xxxxx

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Thank you for your kind messages and I hope you get inspiration from my ramblings.

Barb x