F R I E N D

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“An inner calling

Between our hearts

A beat, a breath

Travels along

Connections come

A shared language

I for you, You for I”

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The Tough Cookie x x

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Who are those people in your life that show up for you? Those that you can call, reach out to for those times when life throws hurdles on your path?

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Do you reach out to those special people when you’re struggling or needing a listening ear/helping hand? Or do you wear that mask, say you’re ‘grand’ (typical Irish response!) cover it up and not want to be a ‘burden’ to another?

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Are you taking time out of your schedule to catch up with those friends that are dear to you? Are you adding some FUN into your weekly routine along with those that ignore joy and laughter in your life? As they say the friends are the family we choose, sometimes they even feel closer to us than family.

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I am so extremely grateful for those ‘soul pals’ (a term a dear friend shared with me this week which I love!) that are in my life, for showing up for me, for hearing me and showing their love by listening rather than fixing 💜🙏⭐️👭

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#friendships #soulpals #gratitude #laughter #fun #connections

SMILE 🙌🏻😃

Do we take enough time to focus on what makes us happy and brings a smile to our face? I often wonder if we put as much effort and energy at times into focusing on the things, people, experiences and memories that bring a smile to our face rather than complaining about the weather, the traffic, relationships, finances etc whether we would begin to feel better and as a result happier?

Over the weekend while reading I read the question ‘what are ten things that bring a smile to your face?’

Ashamedly I had to stop and think and I’ll be honest it didn’t come easy to me at first. Why? Do I not have many areas of my life that will give me that feel good factor? Why was it so difficult for me to think of 10? Then I nearly got into a panic and I certainly wasn’t feeling good!!!

I took the time out to reflect and wonder about what 10 things/people/places etc bring a smile to my face. Here’s what I came up with:

1. Adventures

I love hitting the road, going off on a little exploration and adventure to a place I’ve never been before. I really feel free when surrounded by and immersed in nature. It is one place that I feel relaxes me when I can hear the birds singing, feel the fresh air on my skin and also getting exercise while exploring.

2. Family

I don’t get to see my niece and nephews very often as they live in Glasgow but these kiddos certainly bring a smile to my face. There’s nothing better than releasing your inner child and enjoying fun and play. No better way than to join them! Yes I am a Play Therapist at work and you might wonder is that not what I do every day, however Therapy is a different story, you’re not playing as such as you’re facilitating a much deeper process of healing and helping support the child within their play. When was the last time you got down on the floor and played?!

3. Friends

Where would I be without my dear friends to help bring a smile to my face?! Especially on those days when all you feel like doing is cry!! I’d be lost without some really special friends that I have to listen, care, laugh and at times lean on.

4. Exercise

Although at the time of exercising I may look like I’m far from smiling, It always helps to cheer me up and feel happier. I’m very fortunate to be able to move and exercise. I know at times I complain about health issues and how I used to be able to run faster or longer etc however I try my best to feel gratitude for having the ability to exercise and to be healthy enough to do so. This brings a smile and even during the ‘pain and torture!’ at times there’s a laugh, a giggle and a smile with those around you!

5. Faith

My Faith makes me smile because there are plenty of moments that just seem to ‘fit’, to fall into place and as if the Universe has responded to my calls!! I also know that my prayers are answered and that the angels, God & Our Lady respond to my calls. They may not always deliver things in the way I have asked or pleaded for however I trust (most of the time!! It’s not an easy task!) that they are guiding me and know what’s best for me and my life.

6. Confidence

When I’m feeling confident, powerful and attractive! When my self image is positive and loving I smile. Surely we all smile when we feel good about ourselves, perhaps we’ve achieved something, fit into that dress we have been aiming for, got asked out on a date, gave a presentation. I know my confidence waxed and wanes, goes up and down and it depends on whether I feel capable, worthy and accepted a lot of the time. If I’ve achieved something like when I won Donegals Best Business Idea I felt like I could soar and reach all my goals, then other days you feel like that is all a dream and that you may never get there. That feeling of being powerful and big enough to surpass all your dreams gives me the biggest smile! I know I will 🙋🏻💪🏻

7. MusicMusic fills my heart with joy! I love listening to Spotify blaring in my car, singing my heart out and at times ‘escaping’ life to the rhythm and lyrics of a song! It certainly brings a smile to my face. Although I’ve also been known to shed an odd tear at some music too!!

8. Giving

It might sounds clichéd but it always brings a smile to me when I can give myself to others whether that be time, love, skills, brains etc! I also love to see other people giving to help others out, to brighten someone else’s day. There is something infectious when you see others sharing a tender moment, crying with joy, giving a loving embrace etc.

9. Being Creative

I LOVE to draw and paint, I find it so relaxing and therapeutic! I haven’t taken the time to sit and draw in ages. Also being creative within my writing, I love to write poems and writing these blog posts help me to smile. Even if I’m writing a blog that is full of sadness and pain after releasing it through my writing I usually tend to feel a whole lot brighter. If I feel that my sharing a piece of me may help just one other person I smile!

10. Books

New Books make me smile! I get so excited when I read something new that helps me to feel inspired, creates wonder and reflection. Yes I’m a deep thinker and it’s one of my qualities that I love. In my opinion we just exist if we don’t question some of our beliefs, attitudes and behaviours!

I hope you’ve enjoyed reading 10 things that make me smile and I urge you to take some time out of your busy schedule to notice 10 things that bring that all important smile to your face ☺️♥️

Happiness takes some Hardship! 🌪🌈

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How do you know when you’re Happy? What does Happiness look like for YOU? Is it a feeling? Is it being around certain people? Is it when you bought your house, that new car? Or is it when you will meet your soulmate, fall in love and eventually marry and have kids?

We all have different perspectives and ideals of what Happiness looks like for each of us. The world would be quite mundane if we didn’t all have a different viewpoint. The beauty lies within our differences. For me I think I believed I was happy at various points of my life and right back then at those particular moments or times I probably was. However, right now I am wondering whether I truly was happy afterall or was it my concept and degree of what Happiness looked like? Was it measured in relation to what else was going on in my life at that time?

In my opinion it was a bit of both. For example while living and teaching in Co. Meath there were definitely moments when I was happy, living independently from my family, feeling like a ‘grown up’, earning a living with my first teaching position and feeling I was self-sufficient. At other times Happiness came by being able to book various trips away, on holidays with my boyfriend at the time. Seeing new sights and new lands, going on adventures. Happiness came also from achieving various goals, I remember running the Women’s Mini-Marathon, raising money for charity and hitting personal targets. I felt proud and happy with myself. This is all well and good but did these moments, experiences and relationships bring me a deep, long lasting happiness? Looking back I don’t believe they did.

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Why? What was missing? What was ‘wrong’? Was I not grateful enough? 

What was missing was that I didn’t appreciate life enough, I didn’t relish in those Happy Moments or feel enough Gratitude for those smaller moments of bliss. You would think that I would have particularly when our family were going through my Mam’s illness, that I would have taken such happiness in those delights. It isn’t that I didn’t but I believe that I couldn’t or didn’t know how to. When in life we are going through ‘the storms’ that can come along our way, I think we can forget what life was life before the waves, the thunder, the damage of the storm.

I know I forgot completely what life was like before my Mam’s illness, before the stress, worries and fear kicked in. From my studies and my work I have now learned that what happens is that we are in Survival Mode, and at times this survival instinct forgets to ‘calm’ down to ‘switch off’ when the threat is no longer around. For 9years the threat of loosing my Mam was constantly around so I don’t believe my mind or my body was able to switch off completely, surely that is normal and that is what we do out of love. But I now realise how damaging that must have been to my psych, spirit and body. Life couldn’t be happy as my thoughts were constantly preoccupied on worries for my Mam and the fear I felt in loosing her.

Happiness does come by Hardships. It isn’t for one second that I am saying I am now happy my Mam is dead. It’s that I am happy I can realise WHY I couldn’t find that inner happiness, inner calm and place of peace. I had no sense of How to find that even amidst the storm, the waves and the wind. I didn’t know what ways comforted me as I didn’t fully know me! I know it took my Mam dying for me to realise how to be happy, that there is happiness within reach even in the mundane, repetitive ways of life. Even when we feel like giving up and quitting, when hardship is ALL we seem to feel and have, Happiness IS within reach, it IS there waiting, it just needs the awareness and mindsight to find it and see it.

So HOW do I Find Happiness?

  • Finding 3 Things about myself and my day that I am happy and grateful for
  • Taking a minimum of 30mins a day for ME, whether that’s exercise, reading, watching Netflix
  • Surrounding myself with people that uplift me, make me smile and who I feel connected with, that also means not being around those that drag me down, whom I don’t feel connected with
  • Take time to look back as well as look forward – remember special days in my life, maybe that I’m proud of, a day I treasure with my mam and look forward & take steps to have the future I wish
  • Giving – in giving we receive! I always love to help another as much as I can and that brings me happiness when I know I’ve helped positively in some way
  • Writing and Journaling – I love to get my thoughts and feelings out on paper in some creative way, so writing my Tough Cookie Blog brings me happiness and I hope a piece for others at different times too!

Look within for Happiness before trying to find it in everything else around you. Nobody can bring you that sense of Happiness and contentment until YOU yourself has it within.

Find A Friend for Life 👭👫

Sometimes when your having a bad day, when you feel like nothing is going right and you just need someone to ‘get it’ and ‘understand’ that one friend you reach out to, have a chat with, a cry with, a smile with can make the ‘worst’ day all ok again.

Does this happen to you? Who is that person you turn to when you need cheering up, a hug, a rant, or even that person you need to set you straight and tell you as it is?!! An honesty they possess that is admirable, no bullshitting!

I’m very grateful and lucky to have many good friends and within those I can say I have a handful that I could go to no matter what, I could go to them with the ‘good, the bad, the ugly!’

Do you ever stop and think about what people have come into your life at a particular time? Was there a reason? (There’s always a reason if you ask me!!!) Did you need to meet them at that particular time? Did they help you learn a lesson? Maybe that lesson was full of positivity or perhaps it was a tougher challenge in order to become stronger within, to respect yourself more and know how you deserve to be treated?

Perhaps it’s time to reflect on the kind of friend YOU have been to others? Have you been a good listener? Have you given your time to check in and connect with friends? Have you helped a friend out recently?

Life can get hectic. We all become really busy, however what good is life if we don’t make TIME for the people we have in our lives, to make memories, share ourselves with others? Human beings need connection, face to face interaction in order to survive. No matter how terrible you feel or how shit your life may feel right now, reach out to that friend you can rely on, that friend you wish to make amends with, that friend who needs some support.

You might just be making a really BIG difference. In giving we receive 👌🙌🏻

Tough Cookie Travels 🌎✈️

Tomorrow morning the Tough Cookie is taking her Dad off on an adventure to one of her most favourite, treasured and special places she has ever visited – Medjugorje.

This place I and so many call ‘Home‘, is hard to sum up in words, to explain and to understand. It’s an Experience and I guarantee you one you’ll have never witnessed before. This magical land is full of miracles, blessings, healing and light.

I’ve shared memories previously of the signs I’ve received while there of butterflies, the sun, the peace and feeling my beautiful mother close by me. For the last three years I’ve been trying to get my Dad to visit Medjugorje but one vital element was missing. I always said he’d have to go on his own with a group for his first visit. To my disgust I used to believe that we would ‘kill’ each other if we went together. How dreadful to even say those words never mind think them. That WAS the space I was in, full of grief for my mam’s death, in pain, angry and confused. Sadly I took this out on my Dad, the one person closest to me and whom I love above and beyond. It is so so true that those closest to us we can at times hurt the most.

Thank God I ‘saw the light’, I can now see clearly, I unravelled those blockages and continue to do so each moment of each day, we can be so blinded, so unwilling to go inwards, self-reflect and instead blame others around us, blame life for not working out, for feeling stuck etc

I, the Tough Cookie had to be weak, be vulnerable, to breakdown in order to rise again, to find clarity, to want change, transformation and to feel love, peace and light in my life once again.

My prayer, faith, trust and determination has helped me with this and I must add along with very special family, friends and strangers I’ve met along the way. Courses such as the Landmark Forum has helped me to take action, to create magical and magnificent possibilities for my life, my future and those BIG dreams I am manifesting into reality.

I feel fully blessed and grateful for my life, for myself ‘Deirdre Nicole Ward‘ for the first time in a long time (if not ever!!)

I am taking a well deserved break from my Tough Cookie Blog, from work, from my busy schedule to make Magical Memories with my Dad, to feel at ease and peace and to live every second fully this next week.

I look forward to sharing my trip with you all on my return. And remember you’re ‘One Tough Cookie’ 💪🏻🍪💜

Happy Ever After… 👰🏻🤵❤️

I loved this photo of the recent Royal wedding. It captures the bond, the union and love that exists on a wedding day and how for the rest of their lives (hopefully!!) they are committed, honest, loyal and true to most importantly themselves and also their partner.

I had the absolute pleasure of joining a very dear friend of mine to a wedding dress fitting last weekend. This being only the second time to experience this, the first time with my sister. I was super excited for my friend and absolutely honoured that she would think of me and wanted me to come give my honest opinion on the dress before she made her final decision.

While I waited for her to change into the dress I moved around the shop, feeling slightly ‘out of place‘! I began to rummage through some of the white floor length, bridal gowns and began to imagine the style I’d pick, the colour, the detail etc I began to feel somewhat overwhelmed by the array of styles, from glitzy to simple, strapless to 3/4 length! God how does one pick?!! It seems SO difficult to choose. I did feel a sense of sadness rise within, a sadness that I haven’t found that love yet, that one special someone to share the rest of my life with, my fears, my failings, my hopes, my dreams, most importantly my LOVE!

That sadness quickly lifted when I was called by my friend to come and see her in her gown.WOW!!! She looked so beautiful, the dress was made to fit her and the love, excitement and happiness I felt for her in that instant banished ANY sadness or fear I had previously felt daydreaming of my story!!

This is exactly what can happen to us – we get so caught up in our own personal woes, stories, fears and doubts/worries about keeping up with everyone else, about trying to find the answers, the love, the house, the career, the car, the holiday………….. and all the while we miss moments just like this one, moments for others, for friends, for family, for strangers, those moments that bring such happiness, joy, love, pride. Surely it’s in moments we feel for others that give us the MOST sense of fulfilment and love!

On Sunday other moments happened for me while attending the Body, Mind, Soul Expo in Belfast where I gave my personal story – the Tough Cookie talk. I love to share personal insights on how I have unlocked my powerful, confident and authentic self!

A lady at the end of my talk touched my heart when she told me she had asked the universe for a sign earlier that day, a sign for guidance, an answer to help her gain awareness and insight in relation to her life, and areas she was struggling with. I was deeply touched when she told me that she received her message, that I was her sign and that now she knew what she needed to do in order to move forward.

WOW!! 💜

Love is so so SO much more than the big white dress or the bow tie on one of the most important days of your life, yes that’s one memorable day, but LOVE is also found in every single day, those connections, those encounters, those little signs that leave the biggest imprint!

“If You’re Looking for Love

And Expect it to Fly in

Just like a White Dove!

You may just Miss

The Everyday Bliss

Those little Signs

Not just on Valentines!

There’s LOVE All Around

It can be Found!

Open your Eyes

Open your Heart

You might just Start

To Feel less ‘Apart’ ❤️

(Deirdre Ward)

The Present of Presence 🎁

Last weekend I completed a personal development course and then on Tuesday I went exploring Glendalough in Co. Wicklow for the day. The course was an intense 3 days of self-reflection, on challenging past stories that inform our present and future and on how to be more fully ‘present to our lives right here, right now.

Sounds like mindfulness doesn’t it? But NO this was much much more. I’ve read the self-help books, the books for becoming present and aware of those thoughts and on how to take action and become powerful. For me it struck a chord within but it never reached the core of me, that deep inner piece of me that was able to fully feel and resonate completely with all my being! This course did that.

On Monday & Tuesday I felt fully awake and alive like I had never before. I went to a spa on Monday and it was like I could feel my body fully for the first time ever. How had I not felt this way for 30years? Had I previously and just forgotten how to? Did I allow life and life’s circumstances/events numb me? I must have been quite disconnected and never fully realised. I remember stepping into the swimming pool Monday and my body felt so light, so free and each part of me ‘felt‘ the cold water like never before.

Tuesday was a day for exploring Glendalough and just like Monday it was like I could hear, see, feel and smell everything around me in its entirety. The stillness and calmness of the lake, the uphill climb of the mountains, the interactions while passing people and also the ‘lack of’ interactions from people. I noticed nature, I escaped everyday life and I was being fully present to myself and the world around me.

Do we take enough time to slow down, fully feel, fully free ourselves up to the beauty that is around us? The beauty that is YOU and the endless possibilities that your life holds? No, we become stuck in our limitations, our doubts, fears and worries.

Take time today to sit and be‘, not to sit and think, take time to look around you, within you instead of at that screen we are so used to. Smile at a stranger, spark a conversation and open yourself up that little bit more. You never know what will happen, what opportunities exist and what life can unfold!

“Open Fully Your Eyes

Just Try!

You Might Find

There’s More to See

A Different Way to Be

It’s Called Being ‘ME’!”

(Deirdre Ward)

Do You Need to Refocus? 🧐⚖️

What do I focus on? Is it positive? Is it negative? Is it healthy/unhealthy? Does it ‘serveme well? How often does my focus change and what’s the Tough Cookie’s biggest focus right now?

Surely there is some truth in this whole law of attraction ie. that we get what we focus on?? But part of me is skeptical about it too. Sure ‘Harvey Spector’ (from the series ‘Suits!’) hasn’t exactly walked into my life just yet?!! 😛😂 still living in hope!

I’m saying I’m skeptical because some areas of my life I’ve really tried to do just that – imagine the dream, the possibilities, positives I would like to enter my world whether health, love, money, support, friends etc Yes it has worked but not so easily or completely so what else is involved?

WORK!! I say work because I believe it does take a LOT of effort, consistency and determination to focus on the good, the vision and seeing little moments of gratitude each day. This can be extremely difficult especially if faced with an illness, financial struggle, loss, anger and pain. Even the brightest day might not help shift your focus to the good that’s there. The other piece I’m mulling over is the question that do actually need focus on the ‘bad, the ugly, the negatives’ call it what you may, in order to face them, to identify them and reverse/erase them?

For me I have worked at it and it has worked previously but lately especially in one or two areas I have felt stuck. I can’t seem to transform things the way I envision. Again WHY? Numerous reasons – being ‘too busy’ to slow down and incorporate that time out to Visualise the transformations I want, in particular for me feelingthose transformations. I struggle with really feeling them partly due to the fact that a struggle of mine is within my body. So isn’t it best we just avoid it? Isn’t that what we ALL do occasionally??!! 🧐 NO!

So what do I, the Tough Cookie focus on at present? Well. I do focus on my career, being a Play Therapist and Trainee Psychotherapist, in helping children and parents to transform their lives for the better. I help focus and make changes for others however I must not forget to keep focusing on me, my life and dreams. Not just my career but the life I want that is full of FUN, FRIENDSHIPS, ADVENTURES & LOVE.

I believe in order to do this I must focus on both the ‘good that’s already there, pinpoint and tend to the struggles/challenges that I need to change’

Fear

nOt

Chase

Ur

Success”

(Deirdre Ward)

2 is Better than 1!! 🧠❤️

Thanks to another Tough Cookie for a great piece about the importance of using both your Head & your Heart! 🧠❤️

Making big decisions can be hard. I have made a few recently – moving to a new continent alone, leaving my job and starting a new life. I have learned a lot and want to share some of my thoughts.

When I made these decisions I thought long and hard about whether they made sense for me. They did. I was furthering my career, I was going to be living in a fantastic city with a great work/life balance and I would meet amazing people. So I moved.

I loved my new job, it was exciting, challenging and fun. I was meeting great people. I was paid well and living in a beautiful apartment. But I wasn’t happy. I was confused by this. On paper I was in a great situation.

I made myself really busy so I’d be too distracted to think about what was making me unhappy. This actually worked for a little time until I found myself dreading the weekend when I had time to myself and any evening I was alone.

I realized I was homesick. I missed my friends and family. So much. I had lived abroad before but never felt anything like this. I also realized that I was more interested in life back home than the new one around me.

I then re-evaluated my situation and found I made a big oversight. During my common sense approach of moving and finding this great job I forgot to listen to my heart. I was just listening to my head.

“Listening to your head isn’t a bad thing but it should always be accompanied by your heart”

My decisions didn’t take my emotions into consideration. If anything I ignored them entirely and it caught up on me.

Likewise, following your heart alone can lead to problems too. For example, you realise you want to travel the world and see many beautiful places. Immediately packing your bags and heading to the airport may not be smart. Perhaps it would be wiser to consult your head too. Make a rough plan, budget your trip, find out what visas/shots you may need. I know this advice isn’t glamorous but it’s hard to enjoy a trip if you are sick or can’t get into the country.

So having listened to both my head and heart I have worked out a plan to return home and be around my family and friends once again.

Next time I make a big decision I’m going to make sure I listen to my head and heart.

How I’ll Be When I’m FULLY FREE! (I AM getting There!!) 🦋🙋🏻

This is me when ‘I’m FREE’!! Following on from my last blog post where anger was the prevailing emotion (which is totally fine by the way!) Anger IS needed. Just not for long periods! I needed to feel it to know that I had enough of it, that I now want Happiness, Love, Peace, Joy, Positivity and to grab that Vision!

So…… How does one do that? How do I fully ‘Let Go?’ Something I’ve been trying to figure out for quite a while, I won’t lie. Is there even any one answer? One key to unlock? I don’t think so. What I’ve decided to do is keep visualising my life without anger, without grief, without frustration and pain.

I have written this letter to Deirdre Nicole Ward, The Tough Cookie and I’m promising to read it to her every single morning. One of my MANY MISSIONS!!

Here goes…..

Dear Deirdre,

Grab this Day! This day, choose life in all its entirety, it’s glory, it’s beauty, choose to see & focus on the light.

You ARE full of light. The world needs you to shine, to share and to spread this light. Yes you have felt darkness; doesn’t everybody? You’re not afraid of the dark, you’ve faced it and you’re defeating it step by step. You’ve been consistent, you’ve kept your faith and belief.

You’re well and truly sick of the dark, the struggle and the pain. Without it however you wouldn’t have learned – learned to suffer, learned to sacrifice, learned gratitude, learned honesty & love. In a strange way, you Deirdre, you’ve learned to LIVE!!

How I see ME having been fully set Free? I see a raw honesty, Deirdre you wear your heart on your sleeve, you’re open and loving. You feel light, at peace with yourself and others. You accept Deirdre Nicole in her entirety, all the pieces of your story. You’re proud of the lady you’ve become and the experiences you’ve had. You work hard for what you believe in and for those dreams you hold within your heart. You’ll keep going as the Tough Cookie until you reach them.

Then you’ll make some more!! You have that determination and drive! Those fears, inadequacies and self doubts you’ve left behind. The inner harsh voice is now musical, is lyrical and loves to sing! Sing notes of hope, of joy, of praise and positivity.

You trust, value and respect yourself. You’re connected within, to all parts of you and you ACCEPT Deirdre Nicole Ward, the Tough Cookie.

She is UNLOCKED! 🔓🔑

Don’t Give Up! 💪🏻

DO YOU FEEL LIKE GIVING UP?

Lately I have really struggled with a lot of areas in my life – Health, Financial, Relationships, Motivation. Isn’t that normal though? To have patches like this where it feels like nothing is going right and that you have no luck. I felt stuck!

I do believe in everything happening for a reason, as hard as that can be and as much as we avoid seeing a reason there is always one. Think back to times you couldn’t understand why something happened or turned out in a certain way, can you think now or see why it did unfold that way? Was there some important reason?

I know we can get stuck in a rut and start to repeat unhealthy and negative patterns. Again we are only human and that is OK. But what’s NOT OK to remain stuck, to give up, to wallow in your circumstances and not TRY to CHANGE.

I love exercise, it helps me escape and it helps me feel good in myself and my body. Due to my health complaints I stopped training for the last two months really. Probably the longest time ever for me to not train. I realised I wasn’t listening to my body, it was screaming at me to slow down, to rest and to be GENTLE. My biggest challenge! I did, I slowed down, I rested but when does that become the ‘easy’ option, when is the balance and rest period outdated and then it’s you becoming lazy, becoming stuck and wallowing in your own pities and complaints. That was beginning to happen to me, I could hear the negative voice seep back in, “your body is broken, you’re unfit, you’re fat, you’re unmotivated….” list goes on.

I had tried to talk myself out of this chatter for the last week or two and it just seemed to have more control. I’ve been wanting to get into a better routine, waken earlier in the mornings and move my body, connect with it, hear it. This morning my alarm went off and the usual sigh of ‘I’m tired’, I’m sluggish due to health etc. Was I willing to let another day go by where my mind CONTROLLED me, my thoughts and my actions. NO!

I got up despite the tiredness, despite the urge to lie on longer. I decided on Sunday to TAKE CONTROL once again of my life. Every morning I’m telling myself this over and over, I’m repeating those positive mantras, I’m determined to make my dreams and goals reality, I’m not allowing my ‘blocks’ to stop me. We all have them. I’m remembering the things that bring happiness to my life, fun, laughter and I’m adding them back in once again.

Don’t Allow your life to harden you and to control you! I’m having FAITH, I’m viewing my life with WONDER, I’m LIVING and LAUGHING, I’m MOVING.

As a very good friend once said to me “Deirdre, You’re Not A Tree – You are NOT STUCK!”

“Don’t Give Up

Your Luck

Will Change

Your Life

You WILL Rearrange!”

(Deirdre Ward)

‘Me Time’ 🙋🏻💭

Do you enjoy your own company or is it too lonely for you? Lately I’m loving my own company more and more. In a world where life can get hectic, when there are ongoing demands/pressure on you, people affecting your mood it can all just get too much. Sometimes I love to just get away, to the buzz of a city or the calm of the country, be alone, people watch and have nobody ‘watch’ me or know me.

During the weekend I did just that and I headed off to Belfast on Saturday for the night. Yes this was how I wanted to celebrate my turning 30, nope not by the typical party, not with friends/family, just by myself and to feel alive and get ‘lost’ in the hub of a city. Perhaps some of you may see this as sad or lonely but I’m sure there’s also many of you that totally get why at times being in your own company away from familiar faces/places is just the tonic!

Saturday set out with shivers as it was a freezing cold, crisp day. Finding my whereabouts to begin with and browsing through the shops. Yes an odd purchase here and there! The ‘buzz’ not quite evident but it was only noon plus it was baltic! A buzz I most certainly had when I went to the chic little café ‘Harlem‘ for my lunch. The sound of chatter & laughter, the smell of delicious food and the most beautiful setting with candles, flowers and antique furniture setting the scene. I had landed in the buzz I was looking for! Everyone seemed to be happy, couples sharing food deep in conversation, friends and families enjoying each other’s company, ladies lunching! I sat and soaked up the atmosphere for the guts of two hours, had lunch, read, wrote, sipped coffee and people watched! (My favourite past time ha ha!!)

In the evening I headed off to the MAC theatre to watch a Primecut double bill production. Each based on two distinct and differing mental health plots based on true stories. The first depicted a man’s struggle with depression and his five attempts at suicide, ‘Everyday I Wake Up Hopeful’ His struggle to actually go ahead with the act of taking his own life, stuck in an extremely dark place, drinking himself silly with alcohol and angry about his life and his situation. Every day he would waken feeling hopeful that today would be the day he would go through with his suicide.

The second ‘East Belfast Boy’ based on a young fella sucked into the world of drugs, being an addict and a dealer. I was completely blown away by this individual’s portrayal of a life on drugs, the psychotic mind, the come downs and extreme lows after the high, the ‘voices’ in his head and the sleepless nights of paranoia. For me who is quite naive when it comes to the world of drugs (thankfully may I add!!) it touched my heart at how difficult a life is when hooked. How it isn’t living at all. These two stories, the stark reality for some of life today.

Yesterday morning saw sunny rays shining! Off I went to a beautiful mass at St Malachy’s Church. For me it gives me peace, it settles my mind and I feel protected for the day ahead. Yesterday’s ‘buzz’ lay in the heart of St. George’s Market where there is stall upon stall of hand crafted goods, homemade treats, savoury snacks, collectibles and souvenirs. The market was alive with people and I felt alive! Once again, just the tonic I needed. I enjoyed a delicious crêpe & coffee while watching the world go by!

For me the weekend was just what my soul needed, my heart felt full of love, I felt energised and alive. It also confirmed for me that the city life wouldn’t suit me on a day to day basis, I’d miss the serenity, peace and calm of the ocean! But it is certainly a place to recharge those batteries, to jumpstart the adrenaline and to ‘get lost’ in life 🏙🙋🏻👌Sometimes get lost in ‘another life‘!

“Can you be Present

In your Own Presence?

A Must for Me

It’s When I ‘See’

Clearly

Those who act Sincerely!”

(Deirdre Ward)

Here’s to the Next Chapter, My 30’s 📘

Well my 20’s have come to a close today and I welcome my 30’s with much wonder and to be honest hopeful excitement. It’s not that my 20’s have been bad but nostalgically looking back down those last 10 years the struggles and hard times undoubtedly for me outweigh the happier times.

It wasn’t until recently enough that my eyes were opened somewhat to those experiences that predominantly shaped my 20’s. It was when my therapist shed light on the fact that I didn’t have a ‘typical teenager’s’ life growing up, heading out on the town at weekends and getting up to innocent fun. (I question whether this is even ‘typical’ anymore!!) Yes I had plenty of nights out at home and during my college years but what was always lurking in the background for me were those constant fears and worries around my Mam’s illness and her inevitable death. I don’t think I ever sat back and acknowledged at the time or afterwards how difficult it was, how I was under constant stress and anxiety about those massive fears for almost 9years. How I had to grow up quickly and become wise beyond my years.

Only yesterday did I say to her how I feel the last 10 years could be summed up by “Mam’s Illness and Death” In saying this I don’t for a second mean I didn’t have the most wonderful experiences during the last ten years, I travelled, I met some amazing people, new friends, I lived in Abu Dhabi, I became a ‘Rose’, I raised over €15,000 for charity, I volunteered in Chernobyl, I completed a skydive, I launched my own business UNLOCK… I would never look back despite the challenges. Each and every one has shaped me to be who I am today and for that reason I’m grateful. I have learned a lot!!

Lessons I’m Carrying on into my 30’s:

*Be Gentle: For too long I’ve ‘beaten’ myself up for not being ‘good enough’, for not succeeding fully at something, for not being perfect. I have been my own worst enemy for too long and I’m tired of it. I’ll fleetingly acknowledge my efforts, my abilities, my love, my beauty but no sooner as I catch a glimpse of them I once again seem to slip back into the blurred view, the doubting ‘Deirdre’. For my 30’s I’m promising to be gentle with myself.

*Put Yourself 1st: All too often I would have went along with the ‘right’ thing to do, putting other people’s needs first, disregarding my own. I have learned the MASSIVE lesson that not everyone will ‘give’ how you ‘give’ to others, not everyone has the same standards and not everyone has the same empathy/kindness. This has most definitely been one of the hardest lessons to learn in the latter years of my 20’s. As I step into my 30’s I’m not putting expectations on people’s actions/responses and so then I’m not setting myself up for the fall and to feel hurt.

*Have Fun: I have been lacking fun in my life and a sense of carefreeness & innocence. My work that I’m so passionate about is to help children to Be and Feel Free, to Unlock their hurt, their fears and doubts so that they can have that sense of wonder, that fun and lightheartedness. For my 30’s I’m adding playfulness and spontaneity into my life! Watch Out!

*Listen: I have always been a good listener but all too often I’ve not listened to myself, my body, my gut. Probably listened to that head of mine too much! I heard a beautiful saying for the first time yesterday: LIVE by the SUN, LOVE by the MOONEssentially it means that during the day it’s necessary to be logic, to be proactive with work, to get things done, to take the practical route, that makes sense. Contrary to this is Loving by the Moon which means to follow your heart, to be emotional, take risks, say how you feel, live for the moment and ‘get out of your head’.

For my 30’s I’m choosing to “LOVE by the MOON” 🌛

“Age is but a Number,

Wake Up out of your Slumber!

Love by the Moon

Free as a Balloon

Floating & Light

A Beautiful Sight!”

(Deirdre Ward)

What’s Your Destination? 🚗

As Christmas 2017 ends and 2018 is quickly approaching I’m trying my best to see what’s important for me for this new year ahead, to put in place habits & routines that are good for me and to try to improve my life.

That big 30 isn’t far off and to be brutally honest I’m not where I thought I’d be at nearly 30. Why do we set ‘marks’ to reach by certain ages? There is no rule book. Who knows what’s best for me at a given stage?

I for one will be quite happy to turn the chapter on 2017. A tough year with many lessons. Not all bad but certainly more of an uphill climb. My perspective, my values and my priorities in life keep changing and adjusting. All for the better. I ashamedly put my hand up and admit that before (not too long ago) material items like clothes, handbags were important to me, to look stylish, to have that bronzed tan and to drive a nice car. Nice things are nice and yes it’s nice to have them. But when life knocks you, when health flares, when loved ones are ill/frail, when special people have passed on these materialistic things definitely don’t help, don’t ease heartache, don’t fix your body and really don’t truly make you happy.

For me I want to fill my 2018 with memorable moments shared with family, friends, new acquaintances and those strangers I meet. What about those ‘nice things?’ Of course I’ll enjoy them and life is for living but I will work hard, give a lot, love with no limits and try my best to see the good in each day.

“Life is Precious

Find Your Essence”

(Deirdre Ward)

You Decide :(:

Children have the BEST opinions, advice and insight into life. I just LOVE chatting with them and finding out how they think, feel, reason about life, themselves and others. 

While in a school yesterday and working with a girl around 10 years of age on her English story, she made my day and made me smile when she came out with such a profound and insightful statement. She was writing a story entitled “Best Day Ever” and she mentioned how 

“Happiness can only be        Felt/Experienced after Sadness”

I asked her to explain further what she meant. She continued to say that before somebody witnesses sadness they weren’t truly happy, she said it’s the sad days that make you realise what happiness really is and you appreciate the happy times more so due to sadness. I was really taken aback (but then again I wasn’t because children ALWAYS teach me soo much!) that a girl of 10 has such a deep and meaningful perspective on the world. I believe too much time is spent on ‘teaching/directing’ rather than listening and learning from children. 

It was genuinely the highlight of my day because it restored the faith in me that children do appreciate the little things in life, know that it’s not always plain sailing but that it will always get better/happier. That girl knew from the young age of 10 that it is about perspective and whether you choose to see the sad/smiley face in situations. It motivated me and gave me more determination to keep continuing my efforts with the “Be Free” Programme no matter what setbacks come my way.  (www.be-free.ie) 

I’m choosing 🙂 !! 
“Listen with Love

To those Little Minds, 

You may be Surprised with what you’ll Find!

Age doesn’t Count 

It’s More about 

The Child as a Whole 

Giving them Control

To See & Feel 

What’s for them to be Real” 

(Deirdre Ward)