Category Archives: Five Minute Friday

FMF: Cheer

Joining in with FMF: this week’s word¬†Cheer.

Here goes….



Even when we’re healthy but life is bleak, there’s always still plenty to cheer about, I’ve found. Always plenty to be thankful for, always plenty of blessings to bathe in, to sooth our soul. When we stop, take store and count these blessings, it cheers our soul, breathes new life in to us, allows us to continue on. Not necessarily at full strength but onwards and, sometimes, onward – however slowly – is the only best we can muster.

Sometimes, in these moments, stopping to take stock of where we’ve been, what we’ve come through, can offer a blessing in itself. We can find strength from seeing how much strength we’ve had, how far we’ve come and what darkness we’ve surpassed.

Sometimes a silent cheer for oneself is a very good thing.


Helen xxx

P.S. Am feeling maybe slightly better, after my fall, and hope to be back blogging shortly…the Contentment guest posts will definitely start up from Wednesday, and sincerest apologies to all those who sent a post through and have had to wait for it to appear ūüė¶


FMF: Pass

Joining in with Five Minute Friday. This week’s word: pass.



“This too shall pass”

I clearly heard it – very clearly heard it – voiced out to me as I was giving birth to my son (six and a bit weeks premature he was….birthed with the help of Drs and nurses who didn’t speak English and me, at that time, with my Spanish limited to ‘Hello’ and ‘Goodbye’).

I, also, very clearly heard it voiced out to me a few days after the day I knelt down, in desperation, to ask for help from above, from within (from wherever that helps lies), because¬†I simply¬†couldn’t cope on my own any more.¬†

Where did these proclamations come from?

I don’t know. I still don’t know.

But I know, now, that He, the Universe, has my back.

“This too shall pass”

It’s kind of become a motto for me.

It has transmuted in to many different forms of/tactics for overcoming. Instead of wallowing in self pity, I try to act. Try to always think outwards and not inwards. Realising, now, that it all shall pass. 

By doing this, by adopting this attitude, I found that once I’d acquired this habit of looking outwards (which was initially a mechanism for self-protection), to find opportunities to serve, to be kind, to add light to the life around me, then my life began to change and, indeed, much of the mess that had surrounded me did pass.

Experience – more specifically my traumatic experiences – have taught me how to recognise pain, to recognise the help that people might need (even when they don’t necessarily want to acknowledge they need help).

It’s made me more sensitive to where the light needs to go.

When you’ve experienced not being able to eat for weeks, because you’ve not had enough money to feed three, you simply¬†cannot¬†walk past someone in the street who’s obviously hungry. You can’t let it pass.¬†

When you meet a young woman, shy, furtive about her situation, you recognise the signs, you encourage her to seek help. You can’t let it pass.¬†

And in the process, this not letting it pass converts in to this too shall pass: instead of being part of the problem, you become part of the solution.

And a solution is always better than a problem!


(And, yes, Universe, I am actually¬†thankful¬†that I lived through what I have lived through because this opening/widening of my eyes? This knowing where the light needs to go? It’s¬†the only way to live).


If you haven’t already, do check out my contentment series, with guest posts from Michelle, Gabriele and Joy.

Have a lovely weekend!

Helen xxx

FMF: Unite

Joining in with Five Minute Friday: this week’s word…..Unite



The world’s gone mad, bonkers, it’s falling apart, everywhere you look. I’m sure every generation has their reasons for saying this but, honestly, I daren’t even turn the news on most days.

Ancient temples destroyed, earthquakes in Ecuador sparking looting….shootings, peace processes failing left right and centre…Trump promising to deliver hate, hate and more hate…people voting for this hatred…bombings, drowned toddlers, magazine employees shot dead at work….where, when, how will it end?

How bad does it have to get until it can’t get any worse any more?

I walk around, bee in my bonnet, talking about kindness, definitely rosy glasses leading me to suggest that only when we re-find our shared humanity will we be able to unite, as the humans we all are, and move forward positively.

Don’t people ever get tired of fighting, of negative, of always acting from a place of¬†lack, from a place devoid of love?

When will we unite?

When will we realise that we humans have, here on Earth, all we could possibly need – indeed more than we could possibly ever need – all the technology’s there, all the knowledge is there – with the potential for this knowledge¬†to be literally at the fingertips of every bloody person in the world if only the world weren’t so unjust…how can it be that researchers in the developing world can’t access research articles or that a mother I know has no access to cancer medication for her 8 year old daughter? How’s that even possible???

How can we call ourselves human when those things happen? How?

I’m ashamed to call myself human, sometimes, deeply ashamed of my fellow humans in my community, the city where we live (one of the most violent in the world), the country where we live (top five highest murder rate in the world), of the continent we live in, of the world we live in…..

We live in a world where there’s no need for anyone to go hungry. No need for anyone to lack an education. For anyone to fail to receive healthcare they need.

Where there’s more than enough to go round.¬†For everyone.

Yet people die every day due to lack, due to poor distribution of resources, due to the birthplace lottery.

I don’t see a way round this until a critical mass of people decide to unite and say no….

No more. This is not OK. 

It’s happened before. Strong men and women standing up and saying no. Gandhi. MLK. Mandela. Rosa Parks. Defending their countries, their people. Their right to a decent way of life. Their right to be recognised as¬†human,¬†and to be treated with¬†humanity.¬†

Where’s the MLK, the Gandhi, the Rosa Parks for our globalised world? Who will it be, that person¬†who¬†stands up and convinces us all that¬†no,¬†just¬†no. This is no longer OK and we won’t accept it any more.¬†

How will that happen and when? 

This uniting of human with human to say¬†no. Enough. No more.¬†We can’t take this any more.

We deserve so much better than this. All of us. 

We all deserve so much better than this.


Helen xxx

P.S. Sparked by a Very moving TED talk by Hugh Evans about the world citizen movement he founded

P.P.S. My wonderful FMF and blogging friend – Gabriele’s – guest post for my Contentment series is here¬†and Michelle’s post is here.¬†Do pop over and read!

P.P.P.S. Thanks for those who have filled out my survey. If you haven’t yet, and have time, it’s still open! All responses welcome.¬†Thanks¬†xxx

Cuadruple P.S. (!) Don’t know how many FMFs I’ll be able to read/comment on this week as I slipped at home on Monday and am¬†still¬†in terrible pain. Banged my head/neck/shoulder and my cervical hernia didn’t like it¬†one little bit.¬†Computer time is around 15 minutes every few hours at the moment ūüė¶ Unfortunately….

FMF: easy

Joining in with Five Minute Friday. This week’s word:¬†easy.



“Mama, I don’t want to do it” she frowns, “I just don’t want to…” and, with that, she throws her pencil down on the desk and stumbles off, running towards her room, crying.

It’s not normal behaviour for her, at all, so I leave her for a while (I can hear her talking¬†to her dolls) and then I go and see how she is. “It’s the teacher, Mama…she¬†makes everything seem so difficult“.

My little girl isn’t someone who finds things difficult and I don’t like the idea of anyone putting ideas in her mind, that she’s somehow not¬†able to understand something or not able to¬†do something.

[I realise there will be things¬†in her life that she¬†can’t¬†do but I don’t need someone putting limits on my girl’s beliefs in herself at this stage of her life,¬†especially not a teacher that’s not taken the time¬†to understand and find the way to get through to my child].

So now, through the careless words of one silly teacher, my littlest little one, my beautiful, open-hearted, open-minded and carefree girl, has been introduced to the concept of ‘it’s not easy’ and ‘you might find this difficult’.

Yes, things are sometimes not easy. Yes, life is hard. But everything’s going to be a whole lot harder, a whole lot more difficult – a whole lot more likely to fail – if we approach it with the mindset of can’t or¬†might fail.¬†

Easy very rarely¬†teaches us anything of value and if we begin something difficult – anything difficult – with the ‘Can’t….it’s not easy….it might be difficult’ mindset, our mind will be so closed that we won’t learn the lessons that¬†the journey towards completing the difficult task could, potentially, teach us. The stress and lack of self-belief would cloud any learning that might occur during the journey.

Perspective is everything.



P.S. I’d be really grateful if you’d take a few minutes to fill out my survey here: about the future of¬†I Will Bloom.¬†The original post is here.¬†Thanks so much!

P.P.S. Check out Michelle’s post for my Contentment series….it’s here…definitely worth a click through!

FMF: Decide

Joining in with Five Minute friday. This week’s word: Decide




When it comes down to it, that’s all it takes, really: to decide you’re going to do something¬†and then¬†follow through.¬†

Your mind is your most powerful ally.

Train your mind Рharness and direct your thoughts Рand your decisions become your reality.

Decide then commit. 

It’s as simple¬†and as complicated¬†as that.

Don’t let your mind become your worst enemy.

Decide to free yourself to believe and decide, every day, to muster the discipline it takes to follow through.

You’ll thank yourself in the end.

No-one wants to get to the end regretting not having made the extra little bit of effort/not doing things because they feared being shown up/not having pushed past shyness/[insert whatever excuse you’re using to stop yourself]

Decide to use all of you, to flourish, to spend every bit of all your glorious talents.

Decide then commit.

Repeat. Repeat. Repeat.

Excellence lies in the strength of your belief and the steadfastness, and ongoing repetition, of your commitment.


Thanks to everyone who emailed me (or contacted me) about the¬†Contentment¬†series. Am flattered and honoured. My little boy’s been ill – and off school¬†– this week, sending everything a bit pear-shaped, but I’ll be emailing details out over the weekend….thank you!!! [It’s going to be a good one, I know it]

Helen xx

P.S. The little boy riding the tortoise, encouraging it with what looks like a sausage, makes me laugh every time I see it!

FMF: alive

After a very busy week (during which I didn’t even have time to reply to the comments on my last post – sorry sorry sorry to you all……I have now done so….thank you all¬†for your kindness), I’m joining in with Five Minute Friday.

This week’s word: Alive

(My first thoughts went, immediately, to Andrew, such a valuable and valued member of the FMF community…)



An evocative word this week Рeven more so than usual Рcoming, as it does, in the aftermath of yet more senseless deaths (I know all of our hearts go out to those affected by the events in Turkey and Brussels) and as we pass through Easter, a time of deep reflection on what being alive signifies, on what our responsibilities are in this life.

It’s become so watered down, it’s almost a bumper sticker, a sort of plaster for the self-help generation, but¬†it’s a fact…

…life is precious.

We only get so many days to be alive. We never know when it’s our time. When our time will come to exit life.

Yet we often live our lives on mute, on standstill……moving through our days as if they’re endless, as if we get to press repeat on our journey here on Earth. Continuing with habits¬†that don’t bring us joy, that don’t lead to us realising our best selves. Not doing all we can to make our time on Earth mean all it could.

But our days? They’re not endless and we don’t. There’s no repeat button.

Hopefully we’ll be gifted a long life.

But maybe we won’t.

I reflect on this often and remember¬†Mary Oliver, who taunted, so powerfully, “What will you do with your one wild and precious life?”

I smile when I think of this because I remember my old life, which used to be wild Рfull of adventure, full of travel and laughter and real, tangible, gems every single day. A life that brought me so much joy, made me feel so alive. Like I was grabbing life itself and shaking it and squeezing the juice out of all of it.

Those memories make me smile whilst shedding tears of nostalgia.

I feel – have felt for a long time now – an ache, a deep soul-level longing – for¬†more.¬†To not only know I’m¬†alive but to feel like I’m truly living. To use my capabilities more often, for more.

But the baggage that weighs me down seems to get heavier each day (trauma is a many-headed beast, a veritable hydra of shocks and nasty surprises). Daily rainstorms turn the baggage to lead on my back. Concrete powder wetting and setting at my feet, slowing me down, rooting my feet to the spot whilst my body is ready, poised for action.

I look at my now….not wild, not exciting, not full of adventure…but, still, a life that makes me smile.¬†My littles, a source of constant joy. My role of ‘Mama’ enveloping my time. Finding¬†lifelines where I can, how I can. Slowly pulling myself up from my concrete bath and loosening weight from my baggage.

My smiles are now internal smiles, of the ‘resigned contentment’ type, that this is where¬†I am. Knowing that this¬†utterly boring has to be¬†enough¬†for now. Has to be. Or all is lost.

I lean on gratitude: it’s my miracle maker. I’m thankful¬†every single day¬†that I’ve woken up, that I’m¬†alive.¬†That I came through – am coming through – insidious¬†abuse¬†and that I manage to keep the hydra under control. And that she seems to be retreating, slowly but surely.

And I’m¬†hopeful¬†that things will change, that somehow I’ll be able to find the wild again, that I’ll hear it’s call and one day be able to run free after it. It’s a waiting game that’s teaching me patience and the wonder of grace.

It’s horrible, this stasis: is there anything worse than being alive (and healthy) and not¬†really living?

But how how how?

[This is the question I need answering, You. Please].


P.S. I am hoping to get I Will Bloom¬†up and running properly again and am¬†going to be running a series on contentment – like the How to Fall in Love With Your World¬†series –¬†and would¬†love to have some volunteers for guest posts…..hopefully¬†my request won’t fall flat on it’s face and that you’ll come forward… me for details at iwillbloomblog – at – gmail dot com.

I promise I don’t bite.

Helen xxxx

FMF: surprise

Joining in with Five Minute Friday and this week’s word: Surprise…..



A knock at the door. The police. Two of them. Huge, both of them. Telling me I’d been accused of having kidnapped my children (a false accusation). My children’s eyes wide, wondering what on Earth their Mum had done wrong, that the police were visiting at that hour of the night. The sound of fear-filled, but calm, steps across the entrance of that beautiful floor of the High Court, the Christmas tree lights twinkling ‘Merry Christmas’ (I now know how those people sentenced to death in the States must feel as they walk their last walk and, now, even Christmas tree lights, if I’m caught off guard, cause my trauma responses to flare). All these things…things I thought I’d never have to experience. Bad surprises. Very bad.

The failure of my marriage. The turning of my husband in to a beast before my very eyes. His illness set forth, Hulk-like, pouncing on me every chance it couldn’t be controlled any longer. The violence. The bruising. The taunts and thefts. The despair. Disbelief. Self-doubt. The loneliness. The¬†vast¬†loneliness. A whole other round of most definitely not welcome and certainly unwanted bad surprises.

But, with the bad, always comes good. Yin yang. Karma. Entropy. Call it what you will but I’ve found that if life takes something out of one hand, it’ll pop something back in your other hand. Maybe not right away but it’ll come. There’s a certain art to be appreciated, I’ve found, in this patience game.

I found my yellow brick road. My calm. In the very eye of the storm. I found I have a talent for seeing the beauty in an ordinary, difficult, life. For finding hope where none seems to exist, where the earth seems so bare nothing would be likely to grow. I have an eye for pleasant surprises.

And finding a whole host of small pleasant surprises – in the least likely times – leads one to think that maybe there’s something to this God lark. Maybe God is the raindrop shining diamond-like on the fresh born leaf, maybe he¬†is¬†the hope that filled my soul and guided me through it all.¬†Guides¬†me through it all.

And the biggest surprise of all? I’ve let go and I’ve never felt calmer in all my life. I couldn’t fight any more, couldn’t do it. Not physically (my body told me I should give up a while ago, all it’s systems so out of whack; cortisol turns in to a poison when it’s seeing so many ‘fight or flight’ episodes so frequently). Not emotionally. Not in any way (I’m not a fighter at the best of times, my way is the Ghandi¬†way). And to fight against such evil on one’s own: that was too big a fight. So I let go. And when I’d let go of that, I realised how little control I have over¬†anything. And, my, what freedom there is in that letting go. What joyous, joy-filled, freedom.

I see God. Every day. I feel him. I hear him, even, when I meditate. I see the vastness of everything and my surprise at it’s beauty, that surprise I feel¬†every single time,¬†at the perfection and simplicity of it,¬†it stuns me to tears. Silences me before it so that I now understand those people who kneel and¬†believe and submit and¬†let go.¬†I understand the Dalai Lama’s smile that was always so puzzling – so enticing – to me as a child.

You see something so beautiful, it’s all you can do to keep standing, all you can do to not want to smile all the time. But the beauty of it is that it’ll give you wings, give you strength, hold you up when you literally can’t stand up because the weight of it all is just too much. You see such beauty, you don’t have room for the evil that tries to visit you, you don’t have room for ‘petty’ or threats or violence. You’re above it. “You’re better than this, Mama” (as my son says to me).

Thank you, you, whatever, however, you are. Thank you. I see you, I feel you, and I want to thank you. For giving me back my life. For showing me how to stand up not just straight but tall again, head held high. Ready for what’s at the end of this yellow brick road.

Thank you.


[Thought you might like to read this beautiful piece from the BBC: What writing about death taught one woman about life]

FMF: Share

Joining in with Five Minute Friday – after too long a break – with this week’s word¬†Share…..



To share with others is one of the most life-giving things you¬†can do: a shared meal, a shared laugh, a shared hug, a shared ‘Me too’….moments like these bond, provide glue not only for the friendship but for ourselves, for our ‘me’.

Nothing – nothing¬†–¬†beats¬†an ‘I understand’ or ‘I hear you’ to make you feel whole again.

Empathy is, after all, the most life-affirming glue we humans have. [What a shame it is that so many of us have lost our capacity for empathy].

Let’s not forget the other side of ‘share’, however….the one that leaves you feeling vulnerable – because you suddenly feel you’ve shared too much (something you’ve created, a thought you’ve had…)……you know those moments, the ones where you’ve definitely ‘put yourself out there’ and you’re hanging, waiting for a reaction, waiting to see what people will make of it….[not that you define yourself by other’s opinions; does creativity even require an audience?]…

Those moments, those ‘ooooh my goodness, what have¬†I done?’ moments,¬†they’re definitely¬†not glue-like; they’re the moments that make you come undone at your seams. They loosen your stuffing a bit and you feel all ruffled, not quite ‘you’.

And afterwards, you’re never quite ‘you’ again because you’ll have had to re-accommodate but –¬†somehow – through sharing this glimpse of pure¬†you, you’ll get stronger and more confident, that little bit more ready to share more, to offer more of you.

Eventually, after much toe-dipping in to this theatre of ‘testing your limits of comfort’, you’ll learn to shine your own light and, through this, others might be encouraged by your bravery [Encouragement: showing people how to find their own courage to shine?]….you’ll light the path for others….and your act(s) of bravery, who knows, it might start a chain reaction….

As Marie Forleo, one of my entrepreneurial heroes, says, “The world needs that special gift that only you have”…..and when you think of it like this….

….it’s actually kind of selfish not to share your talents just because you’re slightly afraid….

Perhaps the ‘afraid’ feelings – the goosebumps and the¬†other signs we’re bumping against¬†our¬†vulnerability boundaries – are actually beacons to light our way to where we¬†should¬†be going?

[As Seuss says, there’s no-one that’s you-er than you; how strange, then, that we¬†so often get to a position where we try to hide our light, to dampen our capacities for encouragement…]

Imagine a world where everyone felt free to share their talents, to share their passions, their joys, their sadnesses…..where solutions, help, encouragement were offered as the norm….imagine the sheer¬†joy¬†it would cause, to yourself and others, being¬†you,¬†totally¬†you…..

[I like the idea of that kind of freedom]


[For some reason, I¬†still can’t leave comments on blogger blogs….sorry! I¬†am going to dedicate some time this weekend to try and find out what’s¬†happening…]

FMF: Weary

Joining in with Five Minute Friday again. This week’s word: weary.

Here goes…




“…having one’s patience, tolerance or pleasure exhausted”

“…feeling or showing tiredness”

“…physically or mentally exhausted by hard work, exhaustion, strain”

From the definitions, there doesn’t seem to be much that’s very¬†positive¬†about weary, and having lived through weary-making times myself, I can vouch for that fact. There is indeed very little that’s positive about¬†weary.¬†

But the little positive there is is enough. Enough to teach someone who’s been to Hell and back, several times, that¬†weary¬†is a worthy ride, perhaps an even more worthy destination.

When you’ve ridden the Weary Train¬†and arrived at Chronic Weary, you’ll see life at it’s worst. You’ll experience people at their worst. The entire human race will seem ugly, brutal. You’ll feel beyond hope, the shocking nature of it all will leave you reeling, looking for a North (any point, really, to cling on to).

You’ll drag your weary body around, your weary mind not even hoping to make much of anything and then you’ll catch a drift of something. A sign, a ray, a chirp, spark. (What is¬†that? God? Life force? The energy that Buddhists tap in to?)…

Whatever it is, it’ll grab you and shake your weary ass until you awaken just enough to be able to¬†see¬†again. It’ll help you pop on your rosy glasses¬†and you’ll slowly find small things that’ll pull you out of your weary state.

A flower. Raindrops. A smile. A small kindness.

You’ll use them, feed on them, your weary body growing strong, again, from them as your weary mind tries to process it all.

And slowly – very very slowly – you’ll see the value in weary, feel ashamed you even doubted, find nourishment in the strength of the human spirit that lives inside you…and you’ll start to believe there¬†is¬†a way out, that there¬†is¬†light at the end of the tunnel…

That life is worth it, that someone has your back, that there is beauty to be found everywhere, even in the darkest most desolate times.

Your journey hand in hand with weary Рto weary and back Рwill tell you all you need to know about life and purpose and what it means to be good.

In the end, you’ll be thankful for the path you had to follow, and for the timing of it, because it taught you things you needed to know (reminded you that you¬†have¬†to be humble to be able to¬†learn¬†and that life is a learning game, if nothing else).

I’m tired most of the time.¬†Strained¬†(I guess the word would be). Unsure. Confused. Lost. Isolated. Alone.

But, you know, weary has taught me that those aren’t¬†bad¬†states to be in, or bad emotions to have: they’re simply temporary states that I have to move through. If I’m wise, I’ll learn from them and move on, stronger, more fully equipped.

Weary: a sage old companion ready to teach us more than a lesson or two about humility, patience and the value of reflection…

I’d rather¬†not¬†have come to know you, weary, would rather not have travelled with you, but I’m glad I did.

You taught me more than my joy-filled times ever did and for that, I’m thankful.


[Thanks so much for all your good wishes…everything’s been signed and I’m able to sleep that much easier at nights now. Phew!…..I’ll be back to ‘normal service’ here¬†on I Will Bloom¬†shortly and will also be back commenting on everyone’s blogs shortly too! (I’m not able to comment on Blogger blogs at the moment, for some reason…will try to sort the problem at the weekend…..)]

[Thought it quite an uncanny coincidence¬†that I stumbled upon Lee Jeffries feed on IG earlier tonight….and wanted to share the link to his work…he dignifies¬†weary in a quite miraculous way]

FMF: Dance

Joining in with Five Minute Friday. This week’s word¬†Dance.

Here goes…



Dance. It conjures up joy. Happiness. Celebration. All things good. Cary Grant smiling his head off as he does his thing. The inimitable James Brown. Mick Jagger. Joaquin Cortes. Martha Graham. Rudolf Nureyev. Michael Jackson.

Passion. Authenticity. Commitment.

Dance¬†also conjures up tenderness. To dance, you have¬†to be tender to yourself, after all: forgiving (or over-riding) your insecurities and dark thoughts of the ‘What will people think?’ variety…

(I say stuff it and just do it!).

Release. Freedom. Joy.

Dance¬†also conjures up¬†Strictly Ballroom¬†and the line, heard as a teenager, and since imprinted on my brain: “A life lived in fear is no life at all”.

Passion. Belief. Tenacity.

We move through life – one big dance (as someone once said) – and if we’re clever, we learn, eventually, to dance – cha cha, tap tap, salsa, rumba – our way through it.

To enjoy the dance each step of the way, whatever rhythm we choose.

We learn to hear our own rhythm, above all else, and we dare to dance to it. We forgive ourselves: in the dance, we forget, we move on, we move forward, creating our own melody.

And, in this way, we shimmy along, creating – hopefully – a dance we’re proud of. One that actively makes us proud, makes us smile those inward smiles when we¬†just somehow know that¬†all is well.

If we’re lucky, we’ll have the courage to aim for this and we’ll achieve it – perhaps not consistently at first, but the glimpses of it will sustain our efforts.

The music, the dance within, will take on its own life…

If we’re wise, we won’t let the demons drown our music.

We’ll dance, wild and free.


Enjoying the ride.


[Haven’t been around much recently, ladies (either here or commenting, unfortunately), as I’ve a) been writing (yay!) and b) appear to have had all my prayers answered at once and have landed several big work contracts which means my business is up and running¬†buoyantly¬†again (thank the Heavens!)…it’s taken me the majority of the last month to organise contracts etc. and tomorrow night – Friday –¬†I’ll be the proudest small business owner in the land (as tomorrow is signature day! Eek!! Wish me luck!!)]