Stepping over the fear

Back in September I spoke on stage for the first time.

Well, not the first first time exactly but first official time where I had been asked, I had written something and spent hours preparing myself to get up there on the STAGE and say what I had to say.

I had been asked back in Spring time, referred by a friend on facebook and reached out to via FB messenger! At that moment the event was due to be that Summer. It was to be a 60 second speech about what creativity and what it means to me and my life.  Sounded intriguing!

I felt the wavering immediately, and even though it was ONLY 60 seconds it took me a moment to recover from the initial fearful reaction and the yapping voice of my inner critic.

Yap, Yap, Yap...what have I got to say to these people? I don't do things like this! I'm a small group and 1-1 girl. I'll get so nervous, I will shake and mess up. I will embarrass myself. I don't know where to begin. Yikes!

Thankfully I knew somewhere deeper that did actually want to do it, that I wanted to be courageous and step out of my comfort zone. I knew that I could figure this out. I had plenty of time didn't I?

YES, I'll do it! What is the worst that could happen? What is the best that could happen?

Turns out I had even more time to prepare when the event was postponed until September.

Summer passed and this September night came around. All the while...Read, recite, read, recite, read, recite.

Many inspiring ladies spoke in front of me and I loved hearing their stories.

I was up second last. 

Despite my nerves, and the closer I got to my turn the less I could remember what I wanted to say, I stepped up and I spoke. Here is what I said:

In childhood I wandered fields pretending to be a lost explorer and spent hours drawing.

I followed that thread, my love of creativity and nature and these moments of joy would become essential.

My art teacher once told me when I was struggling,

’If you know where you want to get to, there is always a way to get there’.

I trusted him and I was able to trust myself. I became more aware of my own abilities and had the courage to grow and step closer to my dreams.

In art school I found a very different space but my values became clearer

I began to search for precious urban nature and looked at environmental issues. These and the landscapes of my journeys north became the inspiration for the pieces I created.

Now, this thread is still leading me where I want to get to and i’m helping others do the same.

I’m creating moments of learning as an educator and encouraging people to trust their intuition and values.

I’m walking with people to a place where they can look around and recognise their own moments of wonder and curiosity and how they might make their own difference in the world.

Thank you.

I felt everyone listening. I felt connected with the emotions behind my words, almost to the point of tears. I was elated afterwards.

Now, I'm open to the possibility of doing it again (keeping it short though!), I want to be in a place where I can do it with more courage and clarity. Time for me to practise some more.

Where have you taken a small risk that feels like it has made a big difference to you, that has driven you forward to want to do more of that thing? or made you feel like you could soar?

I'd love to hear about it.

With Warmth and Wonder


Facebook break, I am free!

It was bringing me down, it was making me feel bad about myself at times- all too often in fact- I was suffering from comparisonitis, I was falling down the facebook rabbit hole pretty much everyday, I was feeling less than and exhausted by feeling like I had to keep up, had to share what I was doing in order to prove that I was still a functioning adult and that I had a business, that I was ENOUGH. Despite the numerous positive moments it as giving me, feelings of GUILT, SHAME and NUMBNESS were coming up quite a bit and I realised that I could make a different choice. I had had enough of feeling resentful of the time I spent online.

I was getting a lot less done and not spending the time I wanted to be spending on things that gave me JOY, like being creative or spending time outside.

So, on Friday last week I made the decision to cut myself off from facebook for a week.

To try it out and see what would happen, see how I would cope without it, to see what was behind the crazy making and to give myself space to think again without the direct comparison with others.

I wouldn't say I was addicted to facebook but I will admit it was always the first website I typed in to my laptop and the first app I would open on my phone- even first thing in the morning. BLAH! What could have possibly happened during the night!!!

So the first thing I did was delete the facebook app from my phone, making it a bit more effort to access since I have to open the browser and type in the address and remember my password! I also considered setting up a facebook limiter on my laptop but instead I thought I would try out my willpower first.

So what happened? Did you stay off facebook all week?

Overall I think I visited facebook about 7 times during the course of the week and each time it was for less than 10 minutes- whereas before I would have been on there for an hour or more each time, randomly clicking on things, some informative, some not so much, or it would have been open in the background, like a dripping tap, wasting my time whenever I felt the procrastination urge.

Each time I found myself on facebook this week, I was there to find out some information that I couldn't find another way, like reading messages I'd received in the past about something important or invites to events I needed to find out about. I didn't engage in anything, I didn't like any posts and I didn't comment in any groups that I belong to. I didn't even click to read my notifications.

Sometimes, when I'd be feeling at a loose end or I was procrastinating, I'd find myself mindlessly typing in www.faceboo... and then I realise what I was doing and I quickly delete it and try to reset my mind on something more important, more engaging, more fun, more creative- because there is always something more rewarding or productive to do...even if the thing I was procrastinating on at the time got left on the sidelines until I was ready to come back to it. I was doing something to move myself in a positive direction.

Over the course of the week I only racked up 80 notifications. Which is less than it actually would have been if I was engaging with the posts. Also people obviously took heed of the fact that I was on a facebook break which I'm very grateful for. So there were no tags or messages for me to read when I sidled back on to the facebook saddle.

Now I don't know if it's just been a symptom of the fact that summer has finally arrived in Edinburgh and it's making me feel very happy and energised or if it's to do with the facebook break but I'm feeling a lot better for having done it.

I've been having a ponder about what I've made space for in my life instead- more attention, spending more time with Mr MC, reading books, listening to music, learning Spanish, gaining confidence in riding my bike, going out for walks in the sunshine, asking for creative opportunities from numerous angles, creating a new workshops to deliver over the summer, thinking, getting creative in my sketchbook again, organising my wardrobe, harvesting salad at the croft and giving the plants some tlc, going to interesting meetings/events, meeting new people, being inspired and sitting writing this blog post without being distracted.

Would I do it again? YES!!!!

So, I'm intending on creating a new facebook habit- an all social media habit to be honest.

My intentions

  1. Sign up to one of those social media limiting programmes

  2. Only allow myself a set amount of time each day to engage in each platform- business first and then personal- and have a clear idea of what I want to achieve before opening the platform. That way I'll know when I'm DONE!

  3. Create and keep handy a notice of all the things I gain from not being online too much- to look at often!

  4. Relax and know that I am free to chose the way I live my life.

I hope my story helps you and I'd love to hear your story.

What is distracting you or bringing you down in your business or your life? What can you do to take the first step to cut down or eliminate it from you day to day life? What new habits or intentions do you need to form? Do you need help from someone else to achieve it?

I can give you my undivided attention. Let me know if you want to talk.

With warmth and wonder

Jaimie x



wish...and as if by magic!

There have been a number of things I’ve been attending recently that have been telling me that I need to be more aware of the moments of synchronicity in my life, notice them and take advantage of those small opportunities to connect. 

I've been reminded that when I focus on what I want and get really clear about it, things begin slowly showing up when I need them. Things like opportunities, connections, people and objects.

The most simple example, is the example of the magic of the Swap Shop that I set up in my studio building. This is how it usually happens and how the story is told.

a) A wish is expressed for a specific thing, object, item or material

b) Soon after the wish is uttered, often not even verbalised, the thing that was wished for materialises in the Swap Shop- often the VERY next day.

c) The wish maker can't believe their luck and *skip* away happily

My favourite example of this is one that happened about a year or so ago.

I was round at my friend E's house, and we were chatting about her wood burning stove and her recent delivery of firewood and peat. She was keeping her firewood in a box next to the fire and she told me, she'd really love to get a nice woven basket instead, to complete the homely vibe.

We'd just been talking about the swap shop and it's wonders, and she asked,

'Do you ever get baskets in the swap shop?'

I paused, thinking back.
'Hmmm not that I can think of, rarely, but ask for it anyway and you never know!' I remember saying something like, ' Emily would like a log basket, please Swap Shop'.

Quite early the next morning I popped in to the Swap Shop to have a quick tidy up and a look for something that I'd been hoping to find. I'd mostly forgotten about the request for the basket... but what did I find? 

A BASKET! and not just any small bread basket either. A lovely rustic, high sided and sturdy basket that I reckoned was the perfect size to tuck in next to E's fireplace.

I couldn't believe my eyes. I'd never seen anything like it before in the Swap Shop. 

So I grabbed it, took a photo and quickly sent E a text message telling her about the gobsmackingly magical thing that had happened! Did she want it?

Silly question really!!

She was over the moon. I took it round to hers and it turned out it WAS perfect. With only a few areas needing a little TLC, it fitted wonderfully next to that cute little fire, filled with aromatic and warmth giving wood and peat.

I've lost count of how many times this has happened to me, and how many times I've heard similar stories told by others. I like to offer thanks each and every time it happens and recognise the magic of asking.

I look forward to hearing it again and again in my lives and in others.

Now it's your turn.

Pay attention to what you are asking for

Keep inviting those good things in. Clearly.

Be ready for the opportunities that it gives.

with warmth and wonder

Jaimie x


Award beginnings

About a month ago I finally went along to a John Muir leadership training course, something that has been on my list of MUST-DOS for a long time!

I loved it and had a LOT of fun! 

The whole weekend, from start to finish was so inspiring, learning new techniques and to be surrounded by people who are living in the world of outdoor working. I learnt so much, had other things reaffirmed within myself and admired others confidence and existing knowledge. 

I saw that we were all on our own path but this was a point where our paths crossed and we were able to share our learning and what was meaningful to us about this work.

While I was there, I resolved to start my own John Muir award, so the morning after getting back from the course I sat down to write my long awaited JMA proposal and submitted it by the end of the day.

Now, because I already have specific wild places that I go to regularly, both in the city and in the Highlands I decided to focus on getting to know these places a little deeper.

The Discovery award, the first level of award is 4 days minimum, so I chose to delve into exploring these spaces over the course of the next 5 months.- through the days, weeks and seasons- looking at the closer details, spending even more time in these spaces, noticing, recording and creating.

These places are both places from my #patchofpeace project. 

The first of these spaces is the grass and wooded area along the cycle path near my home in Edinburgh and the other is the croft and woodland of my childhood home which I still have the incredible privilege of visiting regularly.  

I'm feeling so excited to finally focus my attention on these 2 green spaces in this way and eager to see what new ideas and opportunities come from this, both personally and professionally.

A perfect way to kick start my award...

I officially begun my award by inviting local people to volunteer for a Community Clean-up session on the 3rd May. Myself and my friend Sheila had the idea a month or so before and seemed a perfect way to kick start my award. We decided to focus on a short section of the Hawthornvale cycle path. 

It was a grey morning, with wind and rain aplenty, perfect weather for breaking out our head to toe waterproofs. Happily, despite this we had some very kind and lovely people come along to help us with our mission.  5 friends and neighbours turned up as planned at 11am. We put on our 'I'm supporting Clean Up Scotland' tabbards and gloves and got to work straight away while we waited for the council to deliver the litter pickers.

In the end we covered a short section at the beginning of the path and up near Lindsay road, where the rubbish was most concentrated. especially around the basketball court that is used frequently.

We busily picked and gathered and rummaged in the undergrowth, while unfortunately spending a lot of time dodging dog dirt and not being able to get to all of the rubbish. After 2 hours we had 11 bags of landfill rubbish and 9 bags of recycling ready and waiting for the council to come and collect and dispose of properly. Not a bad result!

Explorations begin

A week after our community clear up I went on an adventure up north briefly to my parents home and went exploring in the woods, as I'm always drawn to do . This time I was on a mission to begin specifically noticing what was around me, what I already knew about the place and noting it all down in my sketchbook.

I only had a short time, so I spent a while removing old bulging and burst tree guards from the trees that were planted before I was born, and set about pulling them into a pile at the edge of the woods. Along the way I noted down some of the plant species I recognised and could name without referring to a guidebook.

Species in the woods

Lesser celandine/sycamore/beech/birch/oak/hazel/primrose/Scottish bluebell/wild strawberry/ common dog violet/marsh spurge (I think!) /wood sorrel/ wood anemone bracken and loads of different mosses and lichens. 

The cycle path and woodland sit side by side 

When I got back to Edinburgh, I went out for my usual walk along the cycle path, cutting in through the woodland edges.  Similarly to the time in the Highlands, I spent time wandering and noting the species I saw there, again just referring to what I could recognise without pouring over a guide (that comes next!)

There was so much variety just in this quick trip!

some species on hawthornvale path 26.5.15.jpg

Sycamore/Cherry/Ivy- various/Holly/Cleavers (aka sticky willy)/ Ferns/ Grasses/ Dandelion/ Daisy/ Blackbird/Carder bee/ Dog rose/ Wild rose/ Ash/ Rowan/ Lime- with red spikes on some leaves- something to investigate/ Dead Nettle/ Bramble/ Beech/ Hawthorne/ Dock/ Buttercup/ Bluebell(Spanish)/ 3 cornered leek/ birch/ Japanese Knotweed!! YIKES! / Pigeon/ Willow/Daffodils/ Yellow poppy/Forget-me-not/ Magpie/Thistle/ Broom/ Robin/ Jack-by-the-hedge/ Elm – I had a little munch on some seeds 

It was fascinating to begin noticing the difference between the two places. I'm interested to know more about how each space developed over the years and how they are cared for/or not.

until the next wander

with warmth and wonder

Jaimie x