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Rising Through Challenge

Dear Friend
Just like moons and like suns,
With the certainty of tides,
Just like hopes springing high,
Still I'll rise.
- Maya Angelou, Still I Rise
Here in London as the leaves fall and temperatures drop, there is, despite the wide autumn skies, a sense of seasonal closing-in which is both cosy and chilling.  The technicolour swirl of flaming leaves and laughing pumpkin faces brings a glow to misty mornings and lengthening nights.  This big old city continues whirring away, relentlessly defiant of the turning of seasonal tides, which is both exhausting and exhilarating in turn.  Finding the energy to rise whilst all is falling can be challenging at any time of life.  These are some of the strategies I’m calling on right now.

Inspiration
This week I was honoured to attend Magdalene Adenaike’s wonderful event From Shame to Strength - which featured truly inspirational women speakers who had overcome traumas including teen pregnancy, domestic violence and sexual abuse and had gone on to become leaders in their communities, empowering and encouraging others.  It reminded me how uplifting it is to receive inspiration and be around people who both say it how it is and aim for better than how it is.  

Nature’s Banquet
The natural glow of autumnal trees and mellow sunshine brings on a grow in my spirits - so getting outdoors for a good stamp around is like pressing reset.  I’m lucky to be able to visit my family who live surrounded by fields - an afternoon picking up fallen apples and playing with my baby nephew gets me back into the moment and is essential city respite.  

Penguin Principle
Huddling is an ancient remedy for cold, dark times. Clustering with birds of a feather brings on better inner weather. Singing together is even better - yet another study has demonstrated that singing in choirs is one of the best ways to make friends and stay happy, as having a healthy social network has been shown to be a significant factor in longevity. I’m continually affirmed and warmed by the connections I find with those I sing with.

Focus
It’s so easy to become dizzy in the distracting whirl of communication from all directions. Staying focussed is a daily job, to centre the mind in one place and to set clear intent for the days and tasks ahead.  Somedays it all may seem to go awry and even our good intentions may seem to lead us into mazes.  Bringing it all back to what really matters and what we really want allows us to realign our internal Sat Nav and move on again.

Lightening Up…. enLightening...
Lastly of course it’s important to kick up the leaves and find the lightness that plays through even our teardrops.  On the other side of the sobs is a smile, one that has risen through falling and grown wise with the bittersweet love affair that life can be.

Wishing you a beautiful banquet of a November