Learning to expect the unexpected

We spend our lives trying to be prepared for whatever may come our way.

We like being in control.

We want to know what’s going to happen and when & we think we know what’s going to happen and when too.

We’re holding on so tightly that we’re scared to let go.

There is no room for the unexpected.

And then for some reason if the unexpected does happen we’re thrown off course; physically, mentally and emotionally.

My question is what if we let go? what if we expect the unexpected?

I’ve being learning to ‘expect the unexpected’ everyday for the past five weeks since I attended Dr. Joe Dispenza’s Progressive Workshop. It has taken effort, awareness, slowing down and a lot of catching my thoughts (I have had some thoughts make a run for it and escape lol).

I realised at the workshop that I was living my life on repeat, doing the same things, living within the rules I’d created to keep me safe (also know as ‘I know what I like’) and it was time to change, to fire new neural pathways, meet new people, try new things and just NOT KNOW.

So far, in the unexpected for me there has been fun, play, surprise, opportunity, love, vulnerability, a different perspective, spontaneity, support, possibility, awareness and lots of laughter.

I think I may be finally ready for Game of Thrones!

Who would you like to join me in my quest to expect the unexpected?


Coach, Communicator & Collaborator
eight circles



Diwali – what does it mean to you?

– a Hindu festival with lights, held in the period October to November. It is particularly associated with Lakshmi, the goddess of prosperity, and marks the beginning of the financial year in India.

Diwali is tomorrow (19 October 2017) and today we discussed what it means for us. Here’s what we came up with.

What does it mean to you?


Two things, two minutes – make your day!

For the longest time my first thought on waking would be one of the following:

  • I’m tired
  • I’m stressed
  • My back hurts
  • I’ve got to…
  • I need to…
  • I’ve got a manic day
  • I didn’t get enough sleep
  • I don’t want to get out of bed

And then I read somewhere that our thoughts become our reality – this stayed with me.

During one of my painful back episodes I decided that instead of constantly talking about it and living ‘in’ the pain, I would tell myself and anyone else that asked that ‘I am better than I was’. Everyday, for two months I did this – it became my personal mantra – it got me off the floor, it got me standing, walking and finally sitting again.

When you physically have to stop because of illness, you have a lot of time to think amongst the pain and discomfort. Here are two things that made my day, got me back to being me and I still use:

  1. On waking – I tell myself ‘today will be a good day’
  2. Before bed – I tell myself one thing I am grateful for that happened that day

It’s simple, effective and takes less than two minutes – give it a go and notice what begins to happen to you, your body, your life and your relationships.

Coach, Communicator & Collaborator
eight circles

Slowing down

My biggest personal learning in the last year has been to slow down. I’ve noticed that when I’m stressed I speed up, start rushing around, usually without focus, planning goes out the window and I start reacting to circumstances and people in a way that I often regret. Conversely when I slow down, paradoxically I get more done – certainly more of the things that matter to me and as a result I’m more efficient and feel more in control. When I allow myself to stop, get in touch with my body, notice how I feel I find I can usually access some inner wisdom which otherwise gets trampled in the rush for action.

Here are my top 5 tools for slowing down

1. ABC – a way to calm yourself in a stressful situation: –

Awareness – notice you have been triggered by something, maybe you’re feeling nervous before an important meeting, presentation or conversation.

Breathe – take a deep long breath: breath in fully – filling the bottom third of your lungs, as you breath out allow your shoulders to relax down your back and feel your feet on the floor. Repeat twice more.

Choose – Notice how you feel now. Take a moment to consider a response that feels appropriate in your situation – choose this over the reaction.

2. Calm app

My current favourite meditation support. I’ve been using this since the beginning of the year, when I made a resolution to spend 10 minutes a day meditating in a bid to help me to slow down and get more present. As a result, I am definitely feeling more balanced, calmer and happier.

The paid version of the app offers a fresh daily 10-minute guided meditation, which helps me to get grounded and present. Sometimes my crazy brain hardly stops thinking but usually I get in at least a few mindful breaths. The style and focus of the meditation changes each day and keeps me interested and it ends with an uplifting quote. The app tracks my progress – I just hit 150 days straight which makes me feel good and keen to keep it up, I’m amazed at how easy it’s been to stick to it.

The free version is still great and is full of a wide range of resources – try the 7 days of calm, a sleep story or one of a selection of short-guided meditations for different challenging situations. If you want some help slowing down or becoming more present, give this a go!

3. Free on-line yoga

I enjoy exercise and sometimes because of work or the weather I find that I don’t have time to fit it in. Here’s my favourite mini yoga practice which is perfect for those days when you want to do something but can’t for whatever reason.

15-minute flow yoga plus 2-minute relaxation

Just last week I used this video instead of going to a class when my schedule changed – it’s enough to make me feel stretched and includes a nice flow plus some abs work. Plus ‘hot’ Tim Senesi is a great teacher, it’s only 17 minutes long and even includes a short relaxation at the end.

Since discovering this I’ve had to change my story that ‘I can’t, there’s no time, poor me’… which always ends in me beating myself up and feeling bad. Instead I feel like a did something, took a few minutes to slow down and I always feel better than before.

4. Loving kindness meditation

Here is a short-guided loving kindness meditation. I share this with my clients to use when they’re beating themselves up for something and being nasty to themselves, in a way they’d never dream of behaving with a best friend. I know it’s not just me! If you can relate – try this and enjoy a few minutes to rebalance yourself whenever you’re in need of a refresh.

Loving Kindness Meditation

5. A book I recommend is The Four Agreements

You can buy it on Amazon

This approach is something I have been using for a little while and I am now starting to share it with my clients because I have found it so helpful. It’s four simple and yet powerful rules to live by:

  1. Be impeccable with your word
  2. Don’t take anything personally
  3. Don’t make assumptions
  4. Always do your best

It’s prompted me to consider – What if everyone, including me, is just doing their best in the moment? The person that cuts me up when I’m driving; my partner when he snaps at me; the waiter who ignores me.

Coupled with the rule of not taking anything personally this consideration makes me less judgmental, more open to others humanity and less reactive to whatever happens during the day.

The impact it has is that I feel calmer and more resourceful. I notice that my day goes better, my relationships are smoother and I feel more connected. I waste less time getting carried away in negative stories and again I feel just well, a bit happier.

Is slowing down something you want to do?

If you try out any of these tools, I’d love to hear what you think of them.

And please share your own ways to slow down.

Carol Conway CPCC
Coach, eight circles


What happens when I unpack things!

fullsizerender-2Today I had a realisation and here’s how it came about.

At midday my new bathroom cabinet arrived yay – it’s exactly what I wanted!

Over the years I’ve noticed that I’m a visual person and if I have things stored away I can easily forget that they are there – out of sight out of mind! This led me to the decision to buy this specific glass cabinet, as I wanted to see all the stuff I had – stay with me my point is coming soon.

So, I got the duster and polish and began cleaning the new cabinet before I stocked it full of my beauty and skincare products (yes I know, I do love products – SpaceNK and Boots are both my friends lol). I gathered my three boxes of products and emptied some drawers and put it all on the floor.

Next, I spent an hour unpacking and oohing and ahhing over the products I hadn’t seen for a while. I arranged them in order of product type – yes I am the arranging geek – everything has to be just so otherwise it messes with my chi!

Pleased with the results I then went off to do some work for a few hours and every time I saw the cabinet sitting proud fully stocked I felt a huge sense of relief that I could see everything.

And then ping, my realisation – I really can’t see things if they are packed away in boxes and what if I’ve packed away the stuff in my mind too – all those things I’ve done, achieved, learnt and know. What if I’ve boxed them away as I’ve moved on to the next thing.

It sparked a thought…

What if I unpacked all the things in my mind, the things I’m capable of and laid them out on shelves in a glass cabinet? (so to speak)

What would be possible? would I see the resources I have? do I have too much of one thing and not enough of the other? if something were missing could I go out, get it and stock up?


 If you like it, feel free to share it!

Donate your emotion

Neena GraduationOn 19 January 2017
Graduating with First Class Honours from University of Leicester
My eldest son Arran, me and my husband Stuart

So Saturday 4 February 2017 was World Cancer Day but actually for many, Cancer Day is every day.

Six years ago, Cancer Day was everyday for a period of 18 months for my family and me. Whilst I am unable to recall the status of fundraising, new breakthroughs or latest trials at the time, I am able to tell you (even with my ‘chemo brain’) of the support and empathy I received on a daily basis. It was immeasurable and presented itself in very many forms: a short message, a knowing smile, a card through the post, a phone call, a visit, a lunch date, taking my children out for a day, treating my husband to respite, conversations reassuring my parents and sharing positivity and joy amidst a landscape of fear and uncertainty.

Once touched by cancer it can become omnipresent. Regulating yourself to accept and integrate cancer into your view of the future releases new opportunities, difficult though it is. My oncologist at the time, Justin Stebbing, discussed with me the importance of sharing my cancer journey openly with my children. I recall being horrified as my maternal instincts kicked in; my whole worldview was about shielding them rather than sharing with them.  Throughout my treatment I obviously benefitted from Justin’s knowledge and experience but also enormously through his Emotional Intelligence; empathy, motivation and how he engaged with me.

My family and friends made a difference through the smallest of gestures and investment of emotion. So rather than think of the enormity of cancer and struggle with how you alone can make a difference, take some time out to make a call, arrange a coffee/lunch/dinner, baby-sit, dog walk, drop off a magazine or just find time to listen – and not just with those that are suffering directly. One of the side effects of dealing with cancer is you become so focused on your personal journey that you become blind to the journey others are taking with you.

Whereas context and perspective may change you never forget cancer. My emotional resilience continues to develop and teaches me how to accept and integrate my experience going forward.

Just as cancer has no boundaries or limits apply these same parameters to your emotional contribution. Your emotional donation is invaluable and will always be remembered.

For this I am fortunate and very grateful.

Neena Speding






Celebrate the small stuff…


Today I was driving through the torrential rain on the motorway. Hardly able to see where I was going, I clutched the steering wheel as the spray from the lorries and large vehicles drown my little car. I finally came off at the junction nearest me where I breathed a very large sigh of relief and loosened my grip on the steering wheel a little.

From there I have a short 15 minute journey home through the countryside and here’s what I realised…we always celebrate the big stuff but what about the small stuff? Are we so busy focusing on the big things that the everyday things just pass us by?

Here’s the small stuff I decided to celebrate today:

  • That I woke up…
  • I could hear the rain falling on the roof of my home
  • I had hot water and heating
  • My postman is friendly and delivered my 2017 diary cover
  • I could walk to my car
  • I got tickets to the next Star Wars movie
  • I spoke to two friends
  • The autumn leaves were falling from the trees
  • I made it home through all the rain!

What small stuff did you celebrate today?