Women on Fire

Last night I met more amazing women, as I do so now regularly as I spread the word about my work and my life transition. I am committed to bringing women together in their glorious sisterhood, helping them find their individual beauty and ensure their courage and ability to be their best in all they do, personally, professionally and as the goddesses we are born to be!

We were at a fabulous party held in Westminster to celebrate the 4th birthday of The Pink Shoe Club, founded by Helene Martin Gee, an outstanding leader and amazing loving woman. Many fabulous females were gathered (and a few men) to celebrate the night with laughter and warmth, blessing each other’s company.

Diana and Gayle, two new friends, greeted my stories with such glee and abundance (I hope you are reading this today) and my dearest friend, Maryon, all reminded me once more about the power of sisters that can help transform our world and our lives with men.

My thoughts went to the many fabulous women who have influenced my life over the years and especially today; my mother, my sister, my daughter and granddaughter; many others who I love and honour in my life; too many to name here. I am so fortunate to be blessed with wonderful girlfriends. They are important and are sisters to me and I open my heart to embrace them.

As often does when women chatter, our conversation last night turned at one point to women not getting on with other women and how sad that is to behold. A comment was made that women are so complex, they often would be badly behaved with other women and not bring out the sisterhood unilaterally. What happens when women don’t get on and why does this seem to wound us in our very essence?

Can we maintain ‘sisterhood’ consistency as women work together?

Often women who build businesses together have complimentary styles, one slightly more masculine, one slightly more feminine; this is our natural balance, the yin and yang of our gender, yet when we fall out, we bitch about it in a loud and nasty way that you don’t see men doing. We get emotionally fraught; it is our way to be cats! Many women report that it is much easier to work for a man as senior women cut them off from progress. When women strive to be engaged in politics, entrepreneurship and social re-order, they can often fall foul of shifting too far into alien behaviour (maybe because it’s a MALE enclave) and immediate women are labeled aggressively as ‘being like a man’! Whenever a woman behaves badly it goes against all of us: when men behave badly, other men ignore it.

I do believe that women can surmount this by drawing on all our natural talents and unique yet female styles, creating a new blueprint of inclusiveness with men but not having to go on working on the old map of work, the tough ‘dog eat dog’ world. We are a different species, beauty and diverse within our gender, but none the less all goddesses!

Thankfully I see a shift, a knowingness that we are sisters, I see evidence that more women want to bond together, to find a language in business and in life that manages all the wounds that have appear over the last centruies. It is time to bring our soul intentions together and bring kindness to rule the world not terror.

This Saturday Women on Fire is gathering women (and a few men) together at Central Hall Westminster to embrace, to chatter, to be grounded to our earth energy and to ignite the power of the fire within us; not to burn the world down with fear, but to light the light of love and shine a beacon to shine for all. Join us.


What is a magical conversation?

What is a magical conversation? I have been asked this many times and it’s hard to say exactly although you surely know when a conversation has been miserable!

That is one that makes your blood drain away or boil.

It’s a conversation that isn’t actually a conversation as it is one sided, even when more than one person is talking.

It can be full of tears and/or fears, angry words or can just be downright boring. Have you ever sat in those and wondered why you are there?

You play your part.

Miserable conversations take place the whole time, at work and at home, in shops, on the streets, on the tubes, in pubs, in bars, in restaurants, across families, across nations, across continents. You observe the silent conversations where not a word is said as you sip your beer.

You are responsible.

The worst is still to come – the conversation that starts wars – the controversial conversation, the blind conversations, the bigoted conversation. The vitriolic conversations that create divorce, achromous settlement conversations; the legal battles conversations; the conversations without resolve; the embittered conversation; and the unspoken bereavement conversations.

You are able to transform.

“Magical conversations” came into my life from an early age and really ran through my life. There were many of these conversations around the breakfast table when I was a kid. As I grew up and realized my awkward teens and then found adulthood, I had the miserable ones too of course! Yet I always was attracted to magical ones and to creating them too. I didn’t necessarily call them that then. I received a delightful comment from my daughter, Gemma, some two years when she said “you know Mum, you should call yourself the president of magical conversations, as you make them wherever you go” Thank you to her.

I listened and took the comment on board. I felt President was a tad grand although I do preside over such events now. I started to say to people that I was the “Ambassador of Magical Conversations” and it attract both interest and intrigue and indeed started people switched on to what they said, the intent they used and the effect they had on others.

It takes a tuned in person to know when they have switched someone else on … or off! When we step into that magical conversation of inspired trust, respectful observation, openness and honesty, welcoming contributions from diverse minds, encompassing all views and listening with two ears and speaking in turn, we create a sacred space that holds no barriers to magical outcomes. My dear friend and colleague Richard had evolved a passion to hold ‘third space meetings’ in 2009 and create that sacred space for all to share. This fulfilled my nature of magical conversations because the space provided the final ingredient, the fertile ground for voices to be heard. Those attending always went out with a smile and an air of joy.

The events we hold now are helping in many senior corporate circles and in our own lives and can work anywhere.

Magical Conversations are magical because we know not what we might create at the start; we merely hold the intention for a third space between us, we state the topic in principle, state the guidelines and allow the seeds of the conversation to germinate and grow into collaborative results. This style of conversation can be used anywhere any time for amazing results, in the boardroom they can turn businesses around, in families they can change children’s future lives.

Magical conversations have three core requests from all participating …

• To enter with full intention to listen, to contribute, to share, to care, to observe, to speak and to invite a wide diversity of contributions to whatever the central subject or topic is being regarded.
• To park any egos outside the door, to bar judgments and opinions, yet share from experience, giving evidence and stories to help where required, allowing conjecture if given permission by the collective, and always keeping the space safe for all to be there.
• To leave the conversation knowing you have given truly, and received richly, have helped everyone feel inspired and lifted, enlightened and expanded the conversation.

Any conversation can be magical, a quick conversation at the bus stop; a long business conversation in the boardroom; an intimate conversation of friends; a romantic duo out on a first date.

A magical conversation flows, it winds, it laughs, it cries, it surprises and it confirms the unconditional love and acceptance of difference between all parties. This is a true loving communication between human beings, as we all have been given the gift to communicate, whether by voice or sign language, in English or any national dialect, inter-generationally or in peer group parties.

Where talking happens, conversations thrive. Magical Conversations never die.

Monday morning – a space in time

What is it about Monday morning that can blossom or blight your week? As people commute into town, what thoughts and feelings do they hold? They say that it is the day for highest suicides. Now that’s not a pleasant statistic to wake up to. So why do we have to endure any Monday blues?

Of course we can change anything around in our mind, in our perception. Entrepreneurs and self made business people often have a different view of Mondays because they may have worked all weekend. In a 24/7 global business, days of the week become hours and minutes, working calls you in the middle of the night to catch a time differentiated market.

Mondays can become the glorious start of the traditional nature of weekdays. A space in time for us to say ‘wow, another new working week!

In the UK, we now are at the start of a 4 day working week, followed by a three day working week and then immediately another four day. Due to Bank Holidays and our royal wedding of Prince William and his beautiful bride Kate, we are blessed with three short weeks.

However surely the weeks and days are actually the same length and space as they ever, where time is merely altered by its usage. So time changes as we apply it. If we work all the days this week and the next, we feel thwarted to not be holidaying with everyone else. But not ever one is holidaying. Time doesn’t exist, it’s always what we make it.

What if every day, whether work or play or chores was always so motivating that we merely breezed a glance at time, woke with a light spirit and a happy heart? What bliss! “Pie in the sky”, I hear you cry! Well let’s get closer to the best use of time. Here are three principles that I have and hold:

• Know what gets you out of bed (any day) – be motivated by life itself , smile to yourself and check in on your own energy, physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually
• Do work that you love, with heartfelt commitment and passion in every moment (as whether in a temporary role, running your own shop or a long sought after career, every moment is precious)
• Be grateful for everything, even the tough parts of your day (after all this is the first day of the rest of your life), honour everyone in your day (even the naysayers and passing strangers) and write down your gratitude daily in a book kept safe by your bed.

In my own experience, especially when the skies are grey as they are this morning, I remind myself that if I were in a plane and above the clouds, all would be sparkling and blue. Me too!

“Monday, Monday, so good to me”

“Wisdom starts with wonder” Socrates

Ever thought about where your wisdom comes from? What has been imprinted into your very being before you are born from generations before you? This is not in the sense of past lives (that’s for another blog…) but simply the wisdom of inheritance from 2-3 generations past, merged through male and female lines, and the communities around them, into your essential being as you occur in your day.

Our wisdom is so influenced by the nature of your family history and adjusted by the times they lived in and merged with the times you now inhabit. Our wisdom comes from both maternal and paternal pathways of course and whether these are actively known to us during our childhood or not, whether we are orphaned, adopted, fostered or brought up by our natural parents, in wise or unwise whys, the unconscious guidelines are there. How can we bring these alive into conversations today where we share the wisdom over generations, like a wisdom waterfall, seeking our elders, to talk with our mid-life ages, and our youth to really listen to the evolution of current day wisdom.

I was fortunate to be born into a wise tradition of love and family values, and my childhood was one of love and togetherness. I look around today as people talk about the breakdown in ‘family’ living and community cohesion, and I wonder how and why we, collectively, have lost what people most cherish, a rich and fulfilling life; a sense of belonging, a pride in contribution for its own sake. The wisdom of the word ‘rich’ has been misplaced by the obsession for money and not as a word to describe a desirable natural life of joy and happiness, rich in all aspects of life, relationships, love, identity, achievement and wholesome success. It feels somehow we have got the whole word trapped in a sticky web of materalism. Where does our sticky state come from? Is it inevitable because of our history or can we unstick the web of the past to emerge like a butterfly. I know we can all do so, and use the wisdom from ancient times to present day.

My own wisdom was influenced by my history and the times I was born into. It has also evolved through the route I have taken, the attitude I have developed and the good daily practices of living that guide my journey. I have evolved with my own children’s development; influenced by my choice to be of single status after 30 years in a partnership with their father; now as a grandmother and an entrepreneur, my wisdom evolves further as I seek to engage in a new way of collaborative living suitable to this era of transformation. Collecting strands of wisdom from all ages, all diverse individuals and multi-potential groups across society is a passion of mine. We each have so much to bring the conversation and time is pressing us to observe, converse, and merge our wisdom for the common good.

Socrates says ‘Wisdom starts with wonder’…

…as in wonderment of all that is wonderful in our world. It seems we only get bombarded with disaster, war, famine, mistreatment, injustice and pain. The world is writhing in agony in so many parts of the globe, near and far, yet I see also the clinks of light where human beings step into their wisdom.

Samuel Smiles said “We learn wisdom from failure much more than success. We often discover what will do by finding out what will not do: and probably those who never made a mistake never made a discovery.”

Some simple wisdom strategies:

• Put aside the constraints of your past for the possibility of a wise future (and if you don’t know what constrains you, then take a personal review journey with me)
• Do not fear your mistakes , know these provide ground to seed new discoveries (I have learned so much form my mistakes, I love ’em!)
• Allowing all (wise) views to come into your conversations, listen with your whole being not your pre conceptions and moral high ground (open your mind and heart to views outside your reasoning)
• Leave judgments and opinions outside the circle of conversation, hear wisdom from all corners of the world, draw the full square of life into a flow of inspiration (when the flow is stuck in an eddy, notice and then get paddling)
• Encourage good intentions and heartfelt expectations to raise everyone’s game, lead as you would leaded with unconditional love (life is about expansion or contraction, observe what is occurring for YOU not outside of you)
• Focus on sharing always in a consistent wise manner, join and leave every conversation inspired to inspire others (be present to the moment, this is NOW and the only space we have, take time to ‘wonder’ about all that is)

In my experience, wisdom is often mistaken for expertise or being clever – NO – wisdom does not happen because we think we know the answer, only when we don’t know what we don’t know, and we’re OK about not knowing, then we open up a space for wisdom to transform our lives… and magic conversations occur!

Join me for Magical Conversations in Richmond, starting from mid-May; dates and venue to be announced, register your interest by emailing me at pauline@magicalconversations.co.uk

Visioning your future NOW!

Why wait for tomorrow to start your vision today?

Place in view, not just in your head. Don’t be shy of what you dream about passionately. Put it right, left and centre, know that what you don’t know now will turn up, set intentions through your visioning and watch it flow towards you.

“What rubbish” I hear you whisper in your head – surely my vision, my dream, and my passion is best kept inside incase others put me off and say it’s too daring, too outside of my ability… “It’s a secret because I dare not say what others might ridicule.” You pronounce the death knoll on your pioneering vision ‘in case the arrows in your back hurt you!!!

Well I am here to tell you – get out of your own way and watch it occur.

Pauline's Vision Board Autumn 2010

Here is my vision board from last autumn – and already, I am ready for a revised and extended vision i.e. to host my own chat TV show interviewing extraordinary women and men who bring diverse and extraordinarily transforming ideas to life, business, and entrepreneurship, and influence social change and create philanthropic operations that delve deep into unknown territory to save the world from pain.

I am meeting with all the amazing people because I seek amazing people, I have already a line-up of top women to interview about what is really needed to transform our recession hit boardroom and really give Lord Davies a radical shake up!! I am asking senior guys too to come onto the interview couch; and I plan more hosting of ‘Magical Conversations’ across corporate land.

I always set my intentions in my vision board and then in my conversations (I talk and connect a lot) and now have celebrities and entrepreneurial opportunities to interview; both men and women of all ages – I even have a fabulous group of 16/17year olds who’d like to be in conversation with the boardrooms of UK. Now that will be a magical conversation to watch!

So what is happening here?

I explain this work using vision boards and intentions today to a new and dear friend, Maryam, who is on a mission to spread transformation education through Persian TV – now this is her homeland, her passion is raw, is new, is seeded by Landmark Education and a Forum we both experienced last weekend. Yet she had planned to keep her vision a secret – NO I say to her, bring it to life! She is now.

So here are the steps;

1. Know your vision needs to come from your inner passion – don’t just think it, write it down, mind-map it, draw it….. Do chat to close friends, don’t get put down, but be reasonable as well as unreasonable.
2. Be clear about what your vision intends to be, do, achieve- both for you in your life and for others in the world
3. Know your part , your role, your desires and abilities within your dream of the vision
4. Create your vision board – pictures, words, textures – that give a picture of the essence of your vision in very practical terms…
5. Put a picture of you in the middle – it’s your vision, your dream, and will influence the way you lead your life
6. Talk about it from your passion and for the benefits and results it brings … “my passion is to bring inspiration and motivation to people; to transform the country (then the world)… and get my message to its destination through interviews and presence in TV/media”
7. With your vision board finished and mounted on the wall – photograph it and put on your screensaver as well …and then when you see, you will be inspired
8. Answer questions and speak with passion – so when anyone else sees your vision board and they offer help, say YES and THANKS as often as you can and follow through with a review even if the lead comes to nothing!

People love to help us and yet so often we don’t set a clear intention about our vision and with purpose- say with responsible passion, own it, share it, allow people to bring you possibilities (however remote) and always be grateful for every link in the chain of your purpose fulfilled.

My vision boards have always helped me spring into action, take a confident lead, transform my experience in life and in business and move me closer to my current dream; to be the host of a Magical Conversations Chat Show, inspiring viewers through extraordinary people to take action to achieve a joyful, happy and abundant society for us all.

And if you have any dreams unrealized, let me know and come to one of my vision board creation sessions. Contact me on pauline@magicalconversations.co.uk And if you know anyone in Persian TV, contact me for Maryam!!

The serious business of happiness

How does society become seriously happy? There are so many diverse components yet at core happiness must be simple, desirable and accessible surely?

Yesterday I was in the audience for the launch of Action for Happiness, and it was a wonderful space, great energy and buzzing with passion and fervour to embrace the possibility that individually and together, this movement can supercharge thousands to discover, uncover and recover happiness – and, with courage, dis-courage those naysayers from damaging the effort.

Some 4000 hits per minute on the web site, interest comes from most countries in the world (with a notable absence in North Africa and Russia, the map was covered) and with majority signed up coming from the UK, it’s happy-making to know we are leading the way!

The panel of experts was mostly men, which I found greatly encouraging and you can read more. I say that because if the men in power are to listen, it occurs to me that a majority lead from well-know male players will build a case for serious transformation. It is key that is both men and women asking for a happier society.

The question for me is “can such a gathering force of local activity influence in a major national (and ultimately international) way” specifically in areas such as education and health. The answer was not obvious other than make a louder point by ‘voting with our feet’ – less than satisfactory to me as the leaders of this afternoon were closer to official ears than I!

Could we transform the baseline criteria, the policies and systems that came from Government and which strangle the potential to seriously embed and integrate a organic spread of happiness into our lives and the lives of future generations?

I do believe we can transform our world and it lies within our grasp, within the commitment of individuals and the bubbling collective bond of communities. We need committed players in all arenas local, national and eventually internationally. Action for Happiness is a brilliant starting point to draw together initiatives, grassroots energy and proven studies from eminent parties such as Anthony Seldon, Geoff Mulgan and Lord Layard. Excellent start with the appointment of Mark Williamson, Director of Action for Happiness, this charity aims to lead the way.

My own personal reflection of the event was that although the focus was ‘happiness’, there was not a great deal of mention of love. Love in a pure unconditional form fuels happiness surely; the love between people, the centre of family growth, and the base of emotional ground needed to seed a happiness culture.

I believe ‘love’ is really our central theme and the fundamental quest when we seek to build a better happier UK and world. If either ‘love’ or ‘fear’ drive all other emotions (and we know that is so) then surely healthy happy emotional intelligence is a positive ingredient for a high happiness quotient? We must create a collaborative natural conversations that embrace love in our world. That is the context out of which happy language, relationships, communities and individuals can grow!

Let’s take a view from the Dalai Lama who says: “Happiness is not something ready made. It comes from your own actions”.

I think we should take a big leaf out of his sense of happiness from love.

Can we create a new blueprint for life that delivers sustainability, security, and safety alongside family values, social equality, high employment, shareholder profit, and happiness without mentioning love?

I believe we can. But we may need to step outside of our own way; instead of doing happiness – how about YOU taking responsibility to BE HAPPY with every aspect of your life! YES every part!!

Set off random ripples of kindness today

What one small action could you do today that would ripple out to many people? A random act of kindness is the start of a ripple – a smile – a helping hand – and who knows who might enjoy receiving your love. Start by liking yourself and knowing your best. Then you’re ready to ripple!!

Try it … feel the random ripples already coming your way!

Many years ago, in the 90’s I worked with a fabulous woman and together we ran a very successful programme called ‘High Impact Communication’ and the essence of it is still at core what I deliver today as an underpinning to all personal and professional development – making people feel great about themselves… that’s the best way to start a ripple. We worked with men and women, young and old, senior and junior, across all sectors and it was fun and spread happiness as well as buckets of improved performance. It was hugely successful.

At the core was a simple cycle of effects created by each person – the ‘me’ factor. And it sounds egotistic and all that, but it isn’t. It simply knowing yourself, warts and all, loving yourself, body and mind, heart and soul; and taking simple actions to start your ripple. I now call this our ‘value cycle’ i.e me, you and me, us (we). Everybody gains when we ripple our best in a loving way.

In our workshops, we would comment on that fact that the ripples either gently or at speed, spreads your ‘best’ into the pond of (your) life… it sounds trite but it’s not. It’s pure and honest… and we used to say “and when it reaches the banks (of the pond) it ripples back. Now that’s the honest truth of ‘random acts of kindness’. You don’t know where the ripple goes and who it reaches and when it’s going to turn back on you!
So make sure that your ripples are all that you wish back!

So today what random acts of kindness will you ripple… or maybe see these as random ripples of kindness making a river of happiness?

Yesterday I smiled at every person as I walked to the tube, the sun helps and I had a bright spring in my step as I love living where I am now overlooking the river at Richmond. I have landed on my feet having changed what most people would think was a painful stuck process into a glorious process of re birth! This is my garden view, how wonderful is that!

I find myself laughing as things occur. A funny text, a colourful billboard, a fascinating shop window, all things to lift my spirits. The blossom, the trees, the river, my walk to the station, the different routes I take to get to places that are familiar. Using the train to go places I used to drive, all makes me energized and excited. I am like a kid reborn! I find myself being more chatty with strangers, offering more help when needed, being generally more engaged in what’s around me.

Last night, returning home, I witnessed a random ripple of aggression – a verbal attack at the bus stop between two men…one angry because the other pushed past. The ripple was abrasive to my whole persona, my physical body shrunk back. The ripples hit the bus queue out and back. It was a sad punctuation in an otherwise lovely day.

I’ve learned that I am the start of the ripple and if I want everyone to ripple loving actions and thoughts … I have to walk my talk and be loving in every action and thought. This is the choice I make everyday I wake!

What’s your choice today?