Let’s Start at the Very Beginning

In this post I’m going to talk a little bit about the significance of my musical theatre adventure, explain what it involves and give you an idea of where I’m at with it right now.

You might look at the four adventures I’ve chosen for 2019 and think that my musical theatre adventure is, somehow, the odd one out. Of course, when I follow an adventure impulse, I’m not really thinking logically; I’m not really looking for a connection. And, to be honest, if I try to look ‘consciously’, sometimes it isn’t easy to see the connection. But the connection is always there!

When I’m out on my long runs, I usually run myself into a place where insights come thick and fast. Only trouble is, I’m all out of long runs since starting my track adventures. My mind is taken up with counting lengths in the pool, so there’s no ‘idling’ time – no crack for the insights to squeeze through. And powerlifting, for me, is all focus: 100% of my mind-body is 100% on the job.

Where I am getting idling time is between sprints. It’s not much time, but it seems to be time enough for the message to be transmitted and received. Last week, during an early morning session, I was (literally) idling my way back to the start line for the next repetition, when I had the thought that my musical theatre adventure holds the essence of all my adventures – and it holds an echo of the original ‘call to adventure’ I had in my teenage years. Let me explain 🙂 .

In order to sing, you have to have full control over your instrument: your voice. Your voice is supported by your whole body, both physically and emotionally (and, yes, the more physically and emotionally fit you are, the more control you have over your instrument 🙂 ).  It takes a while to master your instrument: you have to learn how to move your voice around your body, how to pull emotions out of long-forgotten places, how to be ‘in the song’ and connect ‘through the song’ at the same time. It isn’t easy! But once you have control, you can really start to play your instrument. And that’s the insight right there: I’m remembering how to play and I’m playing full out! I’m playing the life out of myself. I’m playing as if my life depended on it – because I think it actually does. When I’m singing, I feel fully alive, connected and ‘all in’.

So playing full out is the connection between all the adventures – and that spirit of play drives the impulse for adventure. For all my physical adventures, I need to have full control over ‘my instrument’ – and that’s starting to happen as my body and mind respond to the new training loads. As my mind-body responds, I’m able to experience a kind of play. It’s not easy to explain exactly what’s going on, but the more I ‘show up’ for each of my adventures, the harder I play. And the harder I play, the more the world around me seems to play right back  and I find myself in a perpetual state of playfulness (more on this in another post!).

I think the musical theatre adventure was the first to announce itself because the part of me that’s driving these adventures is a part of me I heard, but ignored, a very long time ago. Music was my thing right from primary school days. When I was at secondary school, I was in all the school plays and loved being in the musicals, often taking the lead role. The thing is, I never took music to be a serious thing. I thought it was too easy. I thought that academic study had more value, and so when I went to 6th-form, my focus gradually shifted entirely to academic subjects, and I eventually stopped my music lessons just before going to university. (I should add that the singing part of me must have been pretty desperate for me to carry on because it made me teach myself the guitar just before leaving home, so I could keep on singing if I needed to!)

From a Hero’s Journey point of view, I’d had the call to adventure and that call was loud and clear. Up until just before I went to university, music was my life: when I was performing on my own or in an orchestra or a choir, I felt ALIVE and CONNECTED – and it felt so easy and natural to me. I knew what the call meant. I knew it would mean ‘ditching’ the academic path (which, by the way, was also a brilliant and adventurous route 🙂 ). I made what I thought was the sensible choice and ignored the call.

Now in my 50s, I realise the call never stopped. I just tuned it out and now I’m tuned back into it again. And I’m listening. And I’m hearing it properly. I’m letting it in, and I’m following it this time. And there is still time. There’s always time. And, somehow, I think if I follow this call, then everything else will follow 🙂 . (I’ll keep you posted about that theory 😉 ). What that everything else is, I don’t know – but I do know that something is there waiting for me and that it’s been waiting a very long time! And I also know (don’t ask me how!) that the other adventures are part of a readying, a ripening, a quickening – and that’s a thrilling feeling. I’m getting read to play my whole self full out: my life-concerto.

So where am I at with my musical theatre adventure at the moment? Well, I’ve entered the exam (grade 8) and I’ve chosen my pieces. The exam will be in mid-March and I’m at the stage where I’m having to let go of the manuscript and make each performance my own. For the exam, I have to perform 4 pieces (and talk about them) and a piece of libretto, and I have to sight-read a piece of libretto too. If you’re interested in the nitty-gritty, you can find out more about what the exam entails here.

Here are the pieces I’ve chosen. My aim was to build a balanced programme and to sing pieces which meant something to me. First up is ‘Lili Marlene’, which I’ll be singing in German. This piece reminds me of my grandparents who used to tell me stories about their experiences in World War 2. I think of them when I’m singing it.

My second piece is ‘Send in the Clowns’ from ‘A Little Night Music.’ I chose this because I’m old enough to have regrets and to know that I’ve been a fool (on many occasions)! The first time I heard this I was a child and Bruce Forsyth was singing it. I really loved the song and I understood the clown-sadness behind his performance (there were even pierrot dancers). But the song is really not about that kind of clown at all.

My third song is full of yearning passion – and it’s from an opera (‘Marie Galante’) that completely failed! I’m all for standing up for brilliant failures: in fact, I consider myself an expert in the field of brilliant failure 😉 . The song is called ‘Youkali’ and it’s sung by a character who is a prostitute. I’ll be singing this in French.

My last song is a Gilbert and Sullivan classic from the Mikado: ‘The Sun Whose Rays are all Ablaze’. It’s really playful. It’s a bit panto-mimey and it’s a bit show-offy. So, really, it’s very me! (My required piece of libretto  is from this too.)

I’ll keep you posted about this adventure as things develop. My next posts will be about what my physical adventures entail.

I’m just going outside and may be some time.

JT 🙂

Living the Dream

January was a busy month for me: it takes a while to get an adventure support crew together, and it takes a while to devise a workable plan. I need to be able to train for the three physical challenges and rehearse for the musical theatre challenge – and do regular work on top of all that! I’ve also done lots of research for each adventure (more on what each adventure entails in another post 🙂 ) and taken some baseline measurements, so I can keep track of the kind of progress I’m making.

And it seems my preparations have not just been of a conscious nature. If you followed my 365 Days of Adventure project, you’ll know I’m a lucid dreamer and had some insightful dream adventures back in 2014. Well, let’s just say that my dreams seem to be aligning with my new adventure reality at world record speed! And let’s just say that the nature of a dream I had in early January is really significant. (In this case, I’m yet to discover if my conscious mind is catching up with my unconscious mind – and the dream is just letting me know the catch-up is complete. Or might it be that my unconscious mind is just giving the big thumbs up to my adventure plans? I’ll keep you posted as and when I discover more …).

So, to the dream in question! For the last 35 years, I’ve had a recurring dream. In the dream, I’m crouched in starting blocks on an athletics track (yes, I know!). I can see the track. I can see my feet and my hands. I’m unaware of other runners. The gun goes off and I push hard with my legs. I can feel an incredible force going through my body, but I  have real difficulty in getting out of the blocks and moving forward. Even when I get out of the blocks (which I sometimes manage), the sense of inertia is overwhelming. I push and I push, my lungs are bursting, but I never get to the upright position. The feeling that goes with the dream is a kind of fear: it feels like my life depends on getting out of the blocks. I also feel a heavy weight pushing down on me and pulling me back. There’s a sense that I could be crushed if I don’t move, and I feel winded.

Before I had this dream (from being a small child into my late teens), I had another recurring dream with the same feeling tone (fear) and a similar theme (feeling like my life depended on running but having the experience of overwhelming inertia and not being able to ‘escape’). In my childhood dream I’m in Ancient Egypt. Everything is dark but the buildings are orange and there’s sand flying everywhere. There are chariots racing through the place I’m in. I’m tiny and I risk getting caught up in the wheels of the chariots. I know I need to run, but I have the same ‘starter block’ experience. I’m trying really hard, but I can’t get any traction – and I can’t get into the upright position. I feel winded.

In the first week of January the starting block dream arrived. It’s arrival was no surprise: it’s a regular visitor! However, something strange happened. This time, the gun went off and there was no inertia. For the first time in 35 years of this dream (and a lifetime of this dream theme), there was nothing holding me back. There was no fear. I pushed hard against the blocks and flew straight out of them. I felt strong. My body was alive to the moment. There was an enormous sense of forward propulsion.

The dream had such an impact on me that I woke straight up! I don’t know what happens next in this dream because it’s not revisited me … yet. Part of me doesn’t think it’ll make a return. That’s because part of me thinks I’ve ‘got the message’ and I’m living out something that’s really important to me. What that ‘something’ is, I’m yet to fully understand. I will keep you posted, of course – and I’ll let you know if and when the dream returns.

In the meantime, I’m just going outside and may be some time.

JT 🙂

Introducing my 2019 Adventure Support Crew!

I know, I know. It’s been a while 🙂 . In fact, it’s been long enough for a new year of adventure to brew itself up! During 2019 I’ll be doing a series of adventures under the banner #OldDogNewTricks. You can find out more about what the year involves and why I’m doing it here.

I’ve spent most of January doing lots of research to support each of my upcoming adventures (more on that in another post 🙂 ). For these adventures, I knew that I’d enjoy the experiences far more with a bit of expert help and moral support.  I’ve got a strong sense that ‘the support crew’ may grow over the course of the year, but here’s how things look right now 🙂 :

My Musical Theatre Adventure
My son is a huge fan of musical theatre and loves to perform. Right up until the middle of his lower 6th year at school, I used to take him to the Causeway School of Music in Coleraine for musical theatre lessons. When the AS level exam pressure got too much, he said he didn’t have time for his music lessons any more, so I took them instead!

I’d had a rigorous classical music education as a child and thought the obvious choice would be to learn to sing in the classical style. I took my first singing exam (grade 4) and managed a distinction. (I put this achievement mostly down to my ability to do the whole Stars in Their Eyes  ‘Tonight, Matthew, I’m going to be …..’ thing 😉 and letting another persona take the strain. If you’re interested, the persona taking the strain was always the Wagnerian be-helmetted and be-plaited ‘belter’ 😉  .)

My singing teacher, Sophie Shiels, is my adventure crew member for my musical theatre adventure. I’m going straight in at grade 8, and I’m taking a bit of that there Wagnerian ‘belter’ with me. I’ve chosen my 4 pieces, I’ve entered the exam and my first adventure will take place in March 2019.

Sophie started singing publicly at the age of seven, mainly singing in various churches and school concerts. She studied music at Magee university. She’s sung  in many wonderful venues across Northern Ireland and even has even sung for former U.S president, Bill Clinton.

Sophie is brilliant at coaching adults and certainly seems to have no difficulty working with my larger-than-life alter ego. I think this adventure could go places 😉 .

My Track Athletics Adventure
As an endurance athlete, I’ve always found it easy to locate resources to support my sporting endeavours. My bookshelves are creaking with books about running marathons, and Runners World magazine is my go-to place for state-of-the-art training schedules. It’s even easy to find plenty of books about ultra-marathons these days.

Obviously, then, when I hopped over to Amazon, expecting to find heaps of books about track running, I was in for a rude awakening! There aren’t really any – and those that do exist are aimed at the younger (school / college) athlete. (Note to self: there’s probably a very good reason that there aren’t any books for older track athletes …. )

If you Google ‘training schedules for 200/400/800m runners’, the results are interesting. The articles usually say something along the lines of ‘track athletes have differing needs and so require tailored training programmes’.

Fortunately, I stumbled across Track Star USA and was able to access detailed training templates for 100/200m and 400/800m (400m and 800m looking the most likely at the moment ). Even more fortunately than that, it turns out that Richard Lappin, one of the coaches at Causeway CrossFit (where I train regularly), is a former 800m runner (and medalled to boot 🙂 ). (Maybe my unconscious mind knew exactly what it was doing when it sent me along to the local CrossFit box 😉 .)

I’ll be adapting the Track Star USA programmes (which include drills, sprint sessions, weights work and mobility exercises) in line with Richard’s advice. He’ll give me feedback on my running form and help with some of the  technical aspects of track running (like using starting blocks, for example). I think he’s even going to compete at the Northern Ireland Master Athletics Championships himself this summer.

CrossFit, powerlifting, strength and movement work all make up Richard’s human-centred approach to coaching and personal training . He’s a CrossFit Level 1 Trainer, GBPF Level 1 Coach, CrossFit Endurance Coach, and a Mindset RX’d Coach and affiliate. He’s one of the few to complete the Strength Education Head Coaches Course under Chet Morjaria, and he’s been to many seminars by great coaches and athletes: Eddie Hall, Dan Green, Bill Kazmaier and Chad Wesley Smith to name a few.

As a runner, Richard’s had the most success at 800m, coming away with a few medals at the NI schools championships and with ‘one of each colour’ at club level in the Northern Ireland Championship competitions. He’s won races from 200m to cross country and has flirted with the long jump, too. Later in life, he decided that ‘running long’ was the way forward, completing both the Dublin Marathon and the Highland Fling amongst others.

I’ll be having two track adventures in June (one in Nuneaton, England, and one in Belfast), and I’m convinced that I’ve definitely got the best coach for the  job. At this stage, the real question is this: how fast can Forrest actually go?

My Powerlifting Adventure
You’ll never believe this, but one of the coaches at CrossFit Causeway is a weightlifting champion! When there was talk about a rookie powerlifting competition for NI lifters being held in our box (gym) in July 2019, I immediately thought ‘I’m in!’ . The stars were definitely in the right place for this adventure,  and even though the cut of me isn’t necessarily ideal for this sport, I’m going for it.

Paul Cullen spent his early forties representing Ireland in all-round weightlifting. He holds two current IAWA (International All-Round Weightlifting) world records: behind- the- head military press and push press from the rack. He’s a CrossFit L1 Trainer, GBPF L1 Coach, and Precision Nutrition Coach. Coaching from local to international level, he coaches CrossFit, powerlifting and nutrition.

Paul is a lot of fun to work with and a professional through and through: it’s clear that he loves to support people in achieving their goals (no matter where they’re starting from). I’ve already benefited a huge amount from his coaching (my deadlift is more alive than dead these days 😉 )

My Butterfly Adventure
I have to admit that even I was surprised that this adventure impulse emerged. When I was at school I had a rather humiliating experience involving this swimming stroke (it’s a long story and I’ll save it for another post 🙂 ). I wonder if it’s because I’m back in the pool twice a week, using swimming as a recovery and mobility session? I wonder if there’s a part of me trapped in that old butterflying trauma that’s calling for release – and the only way of releasing me is through … yeah .. very unfortunately … actually mastering the butterfly 😉 😉 😉 ?

For now, I’m not questioning it too much. I’m going with the impulse and that’s that. There’s definitely a weird pattern emerging, though: nearly everyone I talk to about this adventure has a talent for the fly or knows someone who has. My neighbour is a former Ulster Youth champion. My son’s friend’s father is a former Ulster Youth champion. Samantha at CrossFit is a former butterfly specialist. Hmmm…. This is getting interesting. (I’m starting to feel like I’m the only one in the world who can’t swim the fly!)

There are, of course, plenty of books about swimming – and there’s plenty on YouTube, too. However, this feels like an adventure where in-the-pool coaching is going to work best for me. I asked my neighbour if she knew anyone who could help. She said she’s heard of a guy in Belfast  with an ‘endless pool’ who coached triathletes (and so was probably a front-crawl specialist). I contacted him, and, to my delight, I found out he is a former BUTTERFLY CHAMPION (yep 😉 you read that right 😉 #TheUniverseIsOnMySide ).

David Graham runs Trinetic and is a former Irish champion in swimming, triathlon and duathlon. He still competes occasionally for fun, but most of his time and energy now goes into coaching others. He coaches triathlon for clubs and individuals who range from beginners to experienced Ironmen athletes. He also works with people learning how to swim or those looking to perfect their technique in his endless pool facility in Belfast.

I have my first session with David just after the powerlifting competition in July. He’ll do an initial swim analysis and then give me a programme to follow. I’m giving this adventure a full three months of my time – maybe more.  Who knows what’ll happen?…

Moral Supporters and Inspiration
I’ve known Fiona ‘Mad Dog’ MacDonald since 2010. I was looking for some female running company for an unofficial 24-mile mountain race I’d devised. The race was called ‘Man Versus Mare ‘ and covered the last section of the West Highland Way in Scotland. The running club in Fort William put me in touch with Skye-based Fiona, but she couldn’t make the date. However, we’ve remained in touch via Facebook over the years and become firm friends.

I’d say that Fiona and I are cut from very similar cloth: we’ve a tendency to hurl ourselves at projects and keep on going when most folk would stop. When I ‘met’ Fiona, she was a seasoned ultra-runner. Over the past year or so, I’ve watched her turn into a very talented powerlifter; she’s been a major inspiration and encourager as far as my powerlifting adventure goes.

Fiona now competes in the 55.5 kg category (you compete in age-weight categories in powerlifting). When she began lifting, her  back squat was 65kg (that’s Fiona demonstrating a back squat in the picture), her bench press was 30kg, and her deadlift was70kg. She now squats 85kg in competition but has done 90kg in gym.  She now benches 55kg in competition but hits 60kg in the gym. She deadlifts 130kg in competition but hits 135kg in the gym.

Fiona has taken a few records in the British and European 50.3kg class and has several titles in the 53kg category for her age group. She qualified to go to the world championships in Boston and won her category, returning to Scotland to compete in the Scottish championships, securing 3 records in squat, bench and deadlift. (If you’re wondering, Fiona is in her 50s, too. #TrailBlazer 🙂 And if you’re wondering, it’s highly likely that we’ll cook up some kind of Thelma-and-Louise adventure to undertake together in the next ear or so 🙂 .)

I’ve known US-based Fritz Homans since 2008. Again, we only know each other ‘virtually’, but over the years we’ve got to talk about all sorts of things: our children growing up and flying the nest, Brexit, kale chips, and Donald Trump. I’ve always known that Fritz was a swimmer – and a very good one at that. What I didn’t know (that’s right. You’re probably way ahead of me on this one) was that he is a butterfly man!

At the US Olympic trials (1976) he finished 13th in the 100 fly (56.11) which was good enough for a 19th world ranking for the event.  He also qualified for the 1980 Olympic trials but didn’t compete due to injury.  He has competed in many international meets, open water and masters swimming over the years, setting several masters records.

Whatever I’ve undertaken, Fritz has always been a brilliant supporter. I’m sure our conversations will now take a very interesting (tumble) turn 😉 !

I’ve been going to CrossFit since September 2018. The very first session I attended was a real ‘wow moment’ for me. It was so inspiring to see so many strong women – of all different ages. Over the months I’ve  learned so much from training side-by-side with them.

Sarah Dickinson is a long-distance runner and CrossFitter. She’s a brilliant encourager and made sure I knew how everything worked when I first joined ‘the box’ (like writing down what you need to do for each workout so you can keep track of where you are ). Sarah is always the one to say ‘Well done’ – and, my goodness me, you should see her handstand press-ups. (So, that’s a handstand against a wall and then doing press-ups in the vertical position!) One day, I hope to do press-ups just like Sarah 🙂 . Sarah just quietly gets the job done. I’ve never heard her whinge once. Definitely something to learn from Sarah, I think.

Tracey Morrow (on the rower) is my lifting buddy. She’s great craic, a demon rower and has bags of grit.  She’s most likely to say, ‘Only lift it once, pet. You don’t want to be wearing yourself out’ and ‘I’ve just added another 20kg to the bar.’  Samantha Russell-Morelli (behind Tracey) is (yep 😉 ) a butterfly specialist (I’ve already received some top tips for leg drills and hip flexibility), blue belt (Brazilian jiu jitsu) and all-round powerful woman. Samantha is most likely to say when deadlifting 100kg+ ‘That’s still an 80kg bar.’ Samantha also appears to have absolutely no fear of failure. The bar doesn’t seem to phase her, no matter what the weight of the plates loaded onto it.

Gail Mahon‘s focus is absolutely incredible. I definitely could do with some of what she’s got. When Gail’s at the gym, it’s like training with a Shaolin monk. There’s a stillness about her that whips itself up into some sort of phenomenal (and graceful) force – seemingly at will! Gail is competing in the powerlifting competition too. (I think she’s going to do really well). Most likely to say  ‘Put the chains on me while I do my pull-ups’ and ‘I think I could have gone heavier’ 😉 .

Cheryl Kasparian is another brilliant just-get-the-job-done-r and all-round cheerleader. She’s the one most likely to say ‘You’re doing well’ during a workout – and sometimes, when you’re having a Near Death Experience, those words can get you through. If there’s a run involved in a warm-up, Cheryl’s always the one out at the front and I try to keep up with her. She’ll breeze back into the gym saying ‘I really needed that’. I don’t say anything because I’m gasping for breath trying to keep up! (That’s Aidan, Cheryl’s son, in the picture. He’s a very accomplished athlete himself and has a lovely confidence about him.)

That’s the team for now. Just writing this, I’m realising how important human connection is to me and to this adventure project.

I’m just going outside and may be some time.
JT 🙂

Another Adventure Begins!

So, remember I went to Belfast last Friday to meet the editors at a publishing house? Well, yesterday I got the call, and it was a “Yes”! The aim will be for a collection of my stories to be published in October, so the next few months are going to be very exciting 🙂 .

Today I applied to joined The Society Of Authors . The brilliant thing about this organisation is that it supports authors in a variety of ways (including offering help with reviewing contracts).

I feel at the start of something very auspicious. A whole new road lies ahead, and I’m itching to get my adventure boots on and to start walking.

I’ll keep you posted.

I am just going outside and may be some time.


The Further Adventures Of The Everyday Adventurer

Jane celebrationsWell, here we are already 17 days into January! Whilst my 365 Days Of Adventure project is now complete, that doesn’t mean that the adventures have stopped : far from it 🙂 . My year-long project has started an avalanche of new projects, and some of the adventures I started back in 2014 are growing into veritable “expeditions”!

New Projects And New-Old Projects
Thanks to my webinar and TV show adventures, I’ve now developed the technological confidence (yes – actual confidence!) to launch my very first on-line programme. It’s a natural next step for me and for any of you who want to get the hang of doing new stuff (and doing the stuff that you really want to do) without holding yourself back. You can get the full low-down on the Learning To Leap programme here.

Thanks to my SurveyMonkey adventure (Oh, how I wish I’d undertaken this adventure a long time ago!), I’m also launching a live retreat version of my Learning To Leap programme . The retreat is called The Leap and you can jump into all the detail here.

My survey results showed that the programme that most people were interested in was my Telling Stories For A Change training. So, I listened and ,after a few years of rest and recuperation, that course is back on the menu!

The Big Expedition
If you’ve been following my adventures for a while, you may know that I wrote a short faerie story last summer. I sent that story off to a handful of literary agents and one publisher. The publisher was interested and asked for another story, which I submitted in December. They like that too, and yesterday I embarked on the next stage of my writing adventure : a visit to the publishing house!

I really enjoyed meeting the two editors and it was FABULOUS to be able to tell them how I came to write the stories (yes- I even owned up to my fairy-hunting adventure). The meeting was more about getting to know me and about ascertaining whether I had it in me to go the full book-signing, speaking, reading, interviewing hog… and whether I could enthuse about my own work . We also talked about the genre of my book .. which is a little sticky …. because its natural genre (cross-over) is notoriously hard to sell to bookshops because they don’t know where to put the books.

I get to hear whether the publisher wants to go ahead with publishing a collection of short stories early next week 🙂 . Here’s the “live” report >>

If you’re new to my blog, and you want to catch up with my 365 Days Of Adventure project, just click on the Blog Categories button in the right hand column (or under this post if you are reading this on your phone). When you click on the button it will give you a topic menu, so you can pick and choose as the fancy takes you 🙂 .

I am just going outside and may be some time.


Adventure 365 ~ Offer A Hogmanay Gift To The Faeries

winter faerie thornWell, it’s here : it’s the final day of my 365 Days Of Adventure project, and I can hardly believe it!

There were so many adventure choices today, but I didn’t hesitate in making a decision to go to visit the faeries at the faerie thorn tree on the farm.

My faerie-hunting adventure in the summer opened up a series of adventures that I would never have imagined myself doing on January 1st this year. Thanks to that adventure, I’ve written two faerie stories … and those stories have brought me closer to the possibility of a publishing deal! (I should hear in mid-January whether the publisher intends to acquire the rights 🙂 )

Since writing my second story, I’ve not slept very well at all. My dreams are full of new storylines – and I’m certain that the faeries have more than a little something to do with that 😛 .

For today’s adventure, I went to the tree and left the faeries the gift of a small bottle of Bushmills whisky.

I’m going to let my experiences settle for a while before drawing out the key learnings and insights, but one thing is for sure : it’s been a life-changing experience.

Thanks so much for your company this last 365 days. I’ve really appreciated all of you who have been following my blog or watching my videos on YouTube : I’m sure our paths will cross again.

(Oh – it was REALLY windy today, so that sound quality isn’t that great. I’m sure you’ll get the gist though!)

In the meantime, I am going outside and may be some time.


Adventure 364 ~ Get Stuff Done

For today’s adventure, I got stuff done : not just any stuff, but the stuff I’d normally avoid like the plague!

Today I paid bills. Today I started work on my tax return (shocker, right?). Today I did some housework 🙂 .

My daily adventures seem to have conditioned action and momentum – and reduced resistance. I am so used to doing stuff on a daily basis, that ALL stuff – ANY stuff – gets done now. And I’m not resisting the stuff I usually don’t like doing. I’m just doing it.

Now, this is good. This is brilliant. This is going to take me places in 2015!

I am just going outside and may be some time.


Adventure 363 ~ Read The First Edition Of The Folk And Fairy Tales Of The Brothers Grimm

For Christmas this year, I gifted myself a copy of the first edition Grimms’ kinder- und Hausmärchen [1812-1815], and, for today’s adventure, I’ve spent some time reading it.

If you’re a fan of the Brothers Grimm, it’s likely that the version of the stories you know and love come from the seventh edition of this collection of folk and fairy tales – and not the first.

An American scholar by the name of Jack Zipes set about translating and editing the first edition – and it’s a fascinating read! In the first edition, the Brothers Grimm tried to remain as faithful as they could to the original stories. This means that there are often notable difference between the tales we know today and the originals.

Many of the tales in the first edition don’t shy away from reality. Some are gruesome and almost Kafkaesque. The baddy is not the stepmother – rather the mother. What our childhood memory insists are very long tales are often only  paragraph or two long. Oh – and Rapunzel … well she had a “merry time” with the prince and got herself pregnant!

In the introduction, Jack Zipes does not shy away from giving credit to the Brothers Grimm for prettying up the stories. They are undoubtedly great craftsmen. However, it is also clear that the later tellings bow to the cultural and social pressures of the day.

I like the rawness of the first edition and I like the fact that there isn’t always a happy ending. For me – that is life – and that is how I like to write my stories too. Today’s adventure has helped me to add to the simmering pot of storylines I have on the cooker – and added to a sense of kinship with the people who told those original tales … not the sanitised ones.

You can find The Complete First Edition ~ The Original Folk And Fairy Tales Of The Brothers Grimm on Amazon here.

I am just going outside and may be some time.


Adventure 362 ~ Create A Survey Using SurveyMonkey

After yesterday’s business planning adventure, I was feeling rather smug and organised until I realised that it was all very well having a delivery plan from a whole new range of products and services, but what if no-one wanted these new products and services?

This realisation (ie. that just because I think that my products and services are brilliant doesn’t mean that my customers do!) nudged me into today’s adventure : to create an on-line survey for my business.

I think this probably counts as the most sensible adventure of the year. It took a while to get the hang of SurveyMonkey, but it’s free and very professional looking. I’ve devised 10 questions (mostly multiple choice) to get some honest feedback about what I’m offering in 2015. I’m going to send this survey out in a newsletter to my mailing list on Friday.

I think this information is going to be vital!

I am just going outside and may be some time.


Adventure 361 ~ Work Through A Year Planner For 2015

For today’s adventure, I had a go at working through a planning process for 2015. I used a workbook I had gifted myself for Christmas : it covered my life in general and my business.

It took me several hours to work through the process, and I have to admit that much of it did not resonate with me at all (and it felt very constricting too). However, the business planning process was enlightening (although, again, I felt  “squeezed” whilst I was doing it!)

2014 has felt like a very expansive and opening year ; my only plan was to have an adventure every single day. And that loose plan has brought untold gifts and rewards. I think that it has really put me back in touch with my deepest desires and talents. I am keen to respect the outcomes of this year – and I intend to follow the threads of adventure that have brought me the most (writing is one of those threads and – it surprises me to be writing this, let me tell you! – technology 😛 . Webinars have been fun to do, and in 2015, I’m going to have a go at podcasting and making some digital products!)

For 2015, my business is going to be changing and I think the planning process in the workbook has helped me to concretise what those changes might look like, how much work will be involved, and what the financial rewards might look like. Going through the process also made me think that it might be quite useful to survey my client-base – especially since I am going to be making some big changes!

I talk more about today’s adventure in this video-blog :

I am just going outside and may be some time.