How to Simple Guides to Improve Your Life – Good Food

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Today is day three my series of How to Simple Guides to Improve Your Life. 

Life is a mix of complex and simple. Each can equally frustrate, confuse or be difficult to deal with, or manage.

These How To Simple Guides are intended to reduce stress, provide space to feel safer, and put you more in control of your life.

They are a mix of: Common-sense reminders. Ancient wisdom. Modern realisations. Together, they can make a difference. If you apply them.

Good Food

When it comes to meals, there is no one size fits all. Everyone is different. 

Each person, body and cultural preference is unique. There is no one ideal dietary choice for all individuals. 

Quite literally: one man’s meat is another man’s poison. My meal preferences are not yours. And, I suspect, vice versa. That suits me fine. But not everyone. 

There’s always someone ready to criticise our choices, whether they’re meat, vegan, mono, keto, 5-2, pescatarian, vegetarian, or whatever. 

Each person’s metabolism and digestion requires nourishment appropriate to it. Food choices often revolve around proteins (meat, dairy, beans) and carbohydrates (potatoes, grains, or similar). Fruit and vegetables provide the broadest spectrum of vital nutrition. 

Good food choices for you, are those that fit your body requirements the best. Ideal foods are fresh, nutrient dense, with the least chemicals, and prepared for easy digestion. 

Also important: moderation in portion size, and plenty of water. Many people eat when they’re thirsty. 



What is Midlife? And, why is it a crisis?

The definitions of Midlife and Midlife crisis vary according to the beliefs and opinions of the viewer.

One description of a midlife crisis is they happen at 40 (plus or minus 20 years). This gives an age range of 20 – 60. My personal take on the Midlife range is 35 – 65 because we live longer these days and societal norms continue to change.

Midlife can be viewed as a perfect storm where youth has finished, older age beckons, the humdrum kicks-in. The older generations die, children age and leave home, a feeling of ageing arrives on the horizon. Alongside these are concerns: financial worries, awareness of retirement, keeping up appearances, menopause (hormonal changes affect both men and women), the demands to perform. And, the questions: “is this all there is?” and “what is my life purpose or legacy for the world?” may begin to scratch at the edge of awareness.

Like a hurricane, Midlife can spin around, disorientate and stir up confusion to overload our capacity to manage, to cope, to deal with what has to be faced. Let’s be honest here, we’re rarely, if ever, prepared for the trials and tribulations that life throws our way.

Occasionally, with age comes wisdom. Also, it becomes increasingly obvious that most people just wing it; our friends, our bosses and our elders and trusted advisors. Everyone has a viewpoint, and everyone has their own wisdom; some have more experience, too. Which can prove useful.

In Midlife much has happened, and much is to happen. For many there’s a need to make some form of sense about who they are, to find a sense of identity. And to find a place amid the noise.


So how do we make a difference in our experiences?

The modern world – particularly in the self-styled sophisticated West or places where others’ views of us and our success (keeping up appearances are key), complexity has become a determinant of so much.

In my 56 years, I’ve seen massive change. What was relatively simple, has become increasingly complex and confusing. Yes, there has been greed in the past, but perhaps not on such a scale as today. Technology is wonderful in what it can achieve, yet many use it to oppress, control or affect others in unpleasant ways. Not everything we see online is real, true or honest. What’s sad is that deliberate, contrived manipulation affects so many, as they compare their circumstances and feel they fail and build increasingly difficult lives trying to keep up.

With the wonderful changes we see in the modern world, the fractures are clearer, too. Much of society has changed. Many fundamental community structures that formed a foundation, have dissolved. Yes, there were many restrictive habits and requirements in the old structures, but there were manners and consideration towards people. Many of these things are now rare or gone. Some individual community pockets, often built around either religious/spiritual beliefs or cultural similarities such as either ethnicity, country or other commonalities, still maintain a spirit of collaboration to empower themselves and their community.


If we’re lucky enough, midlife happens whether we want it or not. By the time we face our middle years, most of us have been through many, many tough times and transitions – moved homes, schools, countries, jobs, faced death, grief and loss; experienced broken hearts and lost relationships. In getting older, we’re possibly becoming the oldest generation in our families. How do we deal with all these pressures without despair, anxiety, depression or complex emotions and behaviours kicking in?

How do people manage? They seek to inhibit or manipulate their emotions and feelings that interfere with their ability to cope. Some people choose affairs, seeking to escape. Others drink or drug or adopt other addictive habits. Others choose prescribed medications to alter their moods; unfortunately, antidepressants don’t just dumb down anxiety, they also affect the upbeat feelings, too. When we choose to chemically alter our perspectives via drugs of any kind, it’s a no-win; there’s always a come down or complication from their use.


I once heard a story of an Italian town that quite literally moved en masse to form a new town in the USA. Their food choices were a typical American high fatty, not very healthy diet, yet, their rate of heart disease much lower than their American neighbours. One suggested reason for this was their sense of community, and inclusion, helped keep them healthy.

This brings the question: as Midlifers, we’ve been here for a while and can see the benefit of communities. We have life experiences. We have hard won wisdom and understanding and surely, we can see the benefits of being a part of communities and societies where values and wisdom are considered essential. Why don’t we build them and sustain ourselves and others, as a result?

Perhaps the Midlife crisis midlifers face is the loss of sense of self amid the turmoils? Perhaps it’s the lack of community and structure? Perhaps it’s loneliness, confusion and fear? Perhaps the middle years provide a striking contrast and sharp-relief that questions our place in the world? There’s nothing like confusion to confuse and encourage complexity.

That may be the root of the Midlife crisis is transition and struggle: feeling unable to cope and a need for clarity. A community of support around oneself, would be powerful to deal with this. But, are we smart enough to find our own support and connections? People who can support and guide and encourage and empower us as we face our own issues in life? Are we kind enough to ourselves to locate a community where we can thrive and feel we add value by our presence? If your answer is yes, then you know where to start:

How to Simple Guides to Improve Your Life – One

Today is day one of my new series of How to Simple Guides to Improve Your Life. 

Life is a mix of complex and simple. Each can equally frustrate, confuse, be difficult to deal with, or manage.

These How To Simple Guides are intended to reduce stress, provide space to feel safer, and put you more in control of your life.

They are a mix of: Common-sense reminders. Ancient wisdom. Modern realisations. Together, they can make a difference. If you apply them.

The first How To is The K.I.S.S. Principle

When it came to planning my Mum’s funeral, we went for the Keep It Simple Stupid formula. And it worked very well indeed. That day was only the second time I ever spoke at a funeral; I have since held funerals for other people and their families, in exactly the same crematorium chapel.

K.I.S.S. can also mean Keep It Simple and Sweet. Same letters. Different attitude and approach. Too many things become complex, when they need not be. Different made-up rules. Family politics. Ego-driven awkwardness. Unnecessary irrelevancies.

Another part of being sweet, whilst simplifying, is to manage and maintain the needs of each person involved. By being kind. Being robust, whilst mild. And, being assertive, and protective of your own needs, too. When choosing to be sweet, with the choice to be simple, life and what we have to deal with, can be and become remarkably easy. And smooth.

Sweetness is about being integral to what requires being done. From that all can win, if they realise the value of what has to be achieved. Like I said, it’s all about attitude and approach.

Here’s a video of the article, with some extra thoughts thrown in:

Here are two more, if you’re interested:

In conversation with Olga Geidane

Me speaking on stage:

We don’t treat diseases

We don’t treat diseases, we treat the people who suffer from diseases.

~ Avicenna, The Physician movie

There are many ways to consider health and well-being. Interestingly, Avicenna’s ethos fits in with my approach to my practitioner work, and treatment. Anyone can treat symptoms, but, building a considered and caring care package for the individual, is quite another proposition.

People become unwell, or develop illnesses, from a variety of causes. The common factor between all of them, is that they are a person. A personality. An individual. The way their health is affected, is not them; it is a part of their life.

Any body that is suffering symptoms, will seek to re-balance and heal itself. Nature is powerful. Bodies always seek a sense of homeostasis (Greek for balance); any treatment protocol, method, or approach designed specifically for an individual provides the opportunity for healing.

It’s my view that people need to be heard, to feel cared for and understood; given a safe space to release their stress and fears, to recuperate their sensibilities. And then receive remedies to aid their recovery.

There are caveats to this paradigm – acute, life-threatening, contagious or severely damaged bodies require rapid and robust measures to start with. After that, a more natural approach can make a massive difference to the road to recovery.

Bottom-line, there are many paths to well-being. If you aren’t well, it’s worth considering working with a skilled, caring individual, practitioner, doctor or therapist, to empower your well-being.

How to Simple Guides to Improve Your Life – Two

Today is day two of my new series of How to Simple Guides to Improve Your Life. 

Life is a mix of complex and simple. Each can equally frustrate, confuse or be difficult to deal with, or manage.

These How To Simple Guides are intended to reduce stress, provide space to feel safer, and put you more in control of your life.

They are a mix of: Common-sense reminders. Ancient wisdom. Modern realisations. Together, they can make a difference. If you apply them.

There are Only so Many Hours in any One Day

There’s only so much space in anyone person’s head to fit stuff into. Yes, we have smart technology; yes, we have time management systems; yes, we have all sorts of gimmicks and tricks to get more done. But, do we achieve more as a result?

I’ve noticed many people brilliant at getting lots achieved, most of them women who run homes, families and also work. They are mistresses of the clock, juggling so much. Yet, I find myself curious about a couple of things about time. The perception of time. The use of time. The illusion of time. Why is it that time can be long, or time can be short?

Different cultures work at different paces. Western work time, like so many others, can be fraught with pressure and hard, busy, activities, of the mind or body. Even both. Some people chase the clock, get huge amounts achieved, often get ill or sick as a result. They are not necessarily masters or mistresses of time. More they are slaves. However, some cultures run at a slower, more relaxed pace. The world still spins. Things get done; children fed. Life happens.

Many people work with time as their servant. Their smarter perception shatters the illusion of time poverty. Whilst they recognise we have 24 hours a day, they see these hours as a blessing to achieve what’s needed. They do not struggle and sacrifice peace of mind to get things done.

Do not envy these folk. Why not emulate their grace?

Below is the video of this article, plus some extra thoughts:

It comes to us All!

Madeleine Black has inspired me to share about my stage time at the Professional Speaking Association in London in September 2018.

Professional speakers are a tough crowd. They’re also the most supportive crowd, too. My topic is funerals – I am a Funeral Celebrant – and funerals and death are something we all face at some point in our lives; something we all will have, too.

Funerals aren’t always the age-old sombre affairs many of us are familiar with. Modern services are often celebratory. With humour included as a part of the process… By the way, I’ve delivered many more services since this speech.

#funerals #death #grief #humour #celebrant #afterdinnerspeaking #speaking #PSAUK #psalondon #professionalspeaker

About: Transitions

After death, taxes and breathing, change is one of life’s constants. The big changes can be called transitions, moments when life so significantly, in either direction; uplifting or saddening experiences.

However they arrive, transitions will always disrupt life. And they always bring opportunity for something new by their presence. Examples include: a new relationship, marriage, a new baby, a new job, a promotion, a relationship breakdown, illness, accidents, death and grief, work crises, mental health issues, loss of hope, dreams or sudden traumatic experiences. The list is long.

What is interesting, is how in mid-life, transitions ramp up their effects and presence, and a conversation and clarity can prove powerful at resolving their effects. How about a conversation?

#wellness #health #selfcare #mentalhealth #transitions #grief #depression #death #anxiety #stress #care #makingadifference

Healing a Broken Heart

There has always been a raft of ideas and beliefs surrounding how we (do, ought or should) fit into the world or the culture we live in. Ideas that together bring both security, as they provide guidelines that confirm the place we occupy, and clarity about who we are and that we fit.

That is until we ask the questions about: who am I? Do these views fit me and mine? What do I believe? How do I see the world? Does the culture I live in fit with my own feelings, thoughts and beliefs?

These challenging thoughts, and any experience of a relationship breakdown, or loss, can literally make our hearts feel as if broken. And sadness enters our world. Feeling sad has been my experience throughout life. So sad, I’ve felt broken into pieces that little has ever penetrated my world.

However, I’ve witnessed letting go, finding clarity; discovering possibility and hope. There was no magical cure. There have been many a-has! along the road to this point. Below are some of things that helped, and made a difference:

The changes began with the very strong and determined intention to experience and live with greater awareness.

This tied with finding someone(s) to hear and challenge me.

And, me making a definite effort to listen to my own needs. To acknowledge my own weaknesses, and to challenge them.

I’ll explain. I thought I had nothing to say, was always quite secretive about myself and my life. And I wouldn’t admit I had issues. Yet, here I am, writing about them. And taking the irrational shames I feel by the horns and moving through my concerns.

On a very personal level, I believe it is essential to break the silences that hold us back. To be with people who know, understand and have a wisdom of empathy available to care, in the ways we need the warmth and calm to recover the pieces of our hearts that have shattered over time.

Love is powerful. It is care. It is kind. It is compassion. It is listening and accepting, regardless. Find some. You will feel better, as a result.

About Being a Funeral Celebrant

Telling people I’m a Funeral Celebrant is interesting. Some are fascinated. Some are horrified. And think it morbid. They just see it as dealing with the dead.

In fact, it is the exact opposite.

My work is to acknowledge, represent and celebrate the life of a person who has died, for those gathered to remember them. And to say goodbye.

I get to cherish the one who has died. I get to share their life story, quirks and idiosyncracies. And to say the farewell for their loved ones. It’s an honour. Often a time full of beauty. Often unique. Often loving. Often special.

Sadness still occurs. Grief still happens. Family find the courage to speak; tributes and poems read. Love is shared by family and friends.

The above proves a funeral need not be sombre. Or dark. They can also be light, irreverent, even humorous. And a time full of Love.

The Dickensian funeral experience is no longer de rigueur. Funerals. Have. Changed.

#love #grief #funeral #funerals #death #celebrant #speaking #publicspeaking