The Bad Stuff

What should we tell our kids?

Or even ourselves for that matter, about the Bad Stuff?

One after the other we face terrorist atrocities and tragic loss of life spat at us from a cynical centrifugal force of hatred and violence that liquidizes our normal everyday existence into tumultuous upheaval and emotional fallout. What is this world that we bring our kids into? How do we keep them safe, how do we explain to their enquiring minds that bad things can happen and still try to keep them innocent and out of harm’s way? The hard facts of inhumane acts jangle in their faces, on their screens and on the streets. How can we shield them but not lie to them? How do we give them a way forward?

[READ MORE] in my article in this month’s DAD magazine 

Shark infested waters

For Lou’s daily inspirations follow on twitter @createlab & instagram brave_newgirl or here for more on her CREATIVE WORK

No More Me Me Me

I am always banging on to my clients about learning to love themselves first. I show them how and their self-esteem sky rockets. What you don’t do when you learn to love yourself first is don the bitter cloak of Narcissistic self obsession. When clients first tip toe onto the ice of self-love they are terrified of appearing Narcissistic. Indeed as children we are told not to boast, not to push ourselves forward ahead of others, not to sing our own praises or stand centre stage. Loving yourself first is not about showing off or navel gazing or self-aggrandising. It’s about listening to your needs, protecting yourself with healthy boundaries, not attacking yourself with barbed words, giving yourself plenty of quiet pat on the backs for jobs well done, giving yourself space when you need it and not working yourself into an early grave. It’s about feeding yourself with food that is good for you and being in tune with your body through exercise, rest, breathing and meditation.

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To further allay fears of slipping down the slope into Narcissism you need to know what to avoid doing when you are setting out on Project Love You. Non-Narcissism is to cultivate empathy over solipsism (the quality of being self-centred or selfish). Self-compassion over self-absorption. Confidence over inflated Ego. Self-perception over blaming others. It’s about turning “It’s all about Me” into “It’s all about Loving Me first so that I can love you and you can love me in a symbiotic and healthy, balanced way”.

Self-reflection can only happen when the Narcisstic self has its ear to the ground. Only then will it hear and acknowledge the difference between LOVE ME ME ME and I Love Me and therefore I can love Others. The Narcissist cannot take criticism. Getting offended over the slightest imagined whiff of attack in work or relationships is pandering to an Ego that’s grown too big for its boots. Get over yourself by listening carefully, and taking on the fact that there is always room for growth. The Narcissist will quieten and eventually step aside to allow the true you to blossom and bloom.

Here comes Spring! And a Spring Offer of 10% discount on my 4 session coaching package as long as the whole programme is taken up by May 1st. Brighten up your Spring by learning to stress less & love yourself more.

My Solo Soho Show of abstract paintings is on at The Farm Post-Production HQ, William Building, 8 Marshall st, London W1, from 9th March to 30th April

If you don’t have wall space for original paintings but love art you can see my new clothing collection printed with designs from my paintings at SHOP VIDA

Or just fancy a daily inspirational boost? Follow me on Twitter @createlab  or Instagram brave_newgirl

Fear Less in Love

Motivational Monthly

When coaching clients come to me saying it is the Love area of their life that they want fixing, I tell them that I’m not a love coach. I’m not a dating agent. I’m not qualified to fire from Cupid’s Bow. And I don’t have a magic wand. What I can do is help them learn to love themselves and then all else will follow.

Believe in yourself

Illustration by Lou Hamilton

 

 

If you don’t love yourself first, how can you expect anyone else to? When you stop telling yourself you’re not good enough, you will become less fearful in Love. When you stop listening to your inner bully, when you create a healthy lifestyle both physically, mentally and mindfully, when you heal old wounds, when you treat yourself like you would your best friend, when you enforce strong boundaries to protect yourself from others overstepping the mark, you will Fear less in Love.

 

 

 

You can’t do anything about anyone else. You can’t make them love you, you can’t change them into a more lovable person, you can’t fix their demons, you can’t stop them hurting you, or disappointing you or walking away from you. You can’t prevent some disaster or Act of God befalling the love of your life. You can just focus on yourself, change yourself, learn to meet your own needs and expectations. You can start to live in the moment, appreciate the good things you do have, enjoy your own company, live by your own values, and make a positive difference in the lives of those around you.

spread-the-love

 

 

It’s like the saying ‘smile and the world smiles with you’; when you are living the life that makes you happy, you open the door to all those who share your values, who respect your boundaries, who complement your contribution, who are equal to you and love you for who you are because you have found a way to be all that you can be.

 

 

 

 

You will have no time for losers and layabouts, manipulators and cheaters, bullies and paranoids. Those people will drift from your life because you give them no space to create havoc around you. You will not attract the Bad ‘Uns because they will recognize that you are wholesome, with no chinks for them to jam open and fill with their toxic waste.

 

You won’t be perfect when you have done the work on yourself, but you will be self-accepting and confident. Your self-esteem will be high and your ego will be quiet. You will fear less and be more. You will give yourself every chance for happiness and you will be capable of taking the rough times with equanimity and the ability to learn from whatever comes your way. When you honestly love yourself, you will be lovable and you will be loving. This is the truest and strongest Love Triangle that you can build at the very core of your being. When love is lost through death or desertion your Love Triangle will be bruised but it will not buckle. When you truly, deeply, madly own your internal love, you will survive and thrive and you will rise again.

love-yourself-happy-valentines-day

 

 

Learn to love yourself with a Life Coach. Email to arrange a free consultation to find out more Lou@createlab.co.uk

 

 

 

 

 

Please come to the Private View of my Solo Show “Freeze-Frame”. Large abstract landscape paintings, they capture a moment in time, a moment to pause and reflect, a moment for calm and contemplation. Thursday 9th March 6.30-8.30pm at The Farm Post-Production HQ. RSVP for details & to go on the Guest List. Lou@createlab.co.uk

10% of the painting sales profit to go to Amnesty International who my partner Paul Lang is running for in the London Marathon 2017. If you would like to sponsor him in aid of global Human Rights please go to his Just Giving site.

Illustrations by Lou Hamilton who has drawn the inspirational book Brave New Girl- How to Be Fearless published by Orion Spring. Available in major bookstores and online.

 

FEARLESS FESTIVITIES

7 Ways to bravely reclaim Christmas

1.No more People Pleasing. Be brave and reclaim Christmas as your own. It’s lovely to make other people happy but not at the expense of your emotional wellbeing. If pleasing others cripples you financially you’re on a hiding to nothing but anxiety and stress-related illness somewhere down the line. Showering your toddlers with an entire cuddly toy department or your teens with every new techno gadget out this year is not going to make you a better parent. Taking the brunt of the cooking is not going to make your family love you more. Driving the length and breadth of the country in order to visit every relative in hierarchical order of importance will not get you gold stars. There will be someone, somewhere at some point who will take offence. No matter how hard you’ve tried or how much you’ve spent. Take it easy. Visualize what would make you happy at Christmas and start with that. Which doesn’t include Catastrophizing.

2.Catastrophizing. When you find yourself imagining in August Cataclysmic Christmas Crises in a family remake of Apocalypse Now, you know you need to get a grip. Present buying for instance. How much ‘stuff’ do we actually need? How about going for experiences? My partner and his family bought his 90 yr old Grandma a hot air balloon ride one Christmas. She loved it. There’s only so many lavender bags and talcum powder an old lady can use. Another year we shot an exercise video ‘Wrinkly Workout’ starring Grandma as Rocky, as a present for the whole family. She’s no longer with us but her video is on Youtube, forever more.

3.Procrastination. I used to work in a woman’s boutique and on Christmas Eve it was amusing to see boyfriends and husbands running in wild eyed, darting from rail to rail desperately seeking something. Anything. Fear was palpable. It’s got to be right, whatever IT is. Of course they’ve procrastinated out of fear of getting it wrong. But 4pm on Christmas Eve, you’re cutting it fine. Of course we’d step in to help. They’d develop Tourette’s as they stuttered through their panic “Anything white, she likes white, I think. Or did she say, anything as long as it’s not white?” “Candle! Can’t go wrong with a candle. Or did I give that to her last year? Did I come in here last Christmas, can you remember what I got her?” That sort of thing. Give yourself time to think about the person you’re buying for. So you can avoid blunders. Last minute decisions can be disastrous. Practical is rarely good. One friend’s husband gave her a de-humidifier. Another friend received anti-cellulite cream from her mother-in-law…

4.Compare and Despair. When everyone’s gone to bed and you’re frozen in sheer exhaustion on the sofa with a faintly mad look in your eye, as you sit amongst the debris of disguarded wrapping paper, empty chocolate boxes, a mountain of washing up, and you switch on the TV only to see the movie classic White Christmas playing with all its crooning, smiles and nostalgia, turn it off. Remember Movies aren’t Real. Probably the only person able to provide the perfect Tinseltown Christmas is the Queen because she lives in a palace and has diamonds and servants. She doesn’t have to do it all herself. And neither do you. Declare your household a communist enclave where all is equal including the present buying, wrapping, cooking and clearing up.

5.Breaking bad beliefs. How many times have you blown your budget because you’ve gone overboard in Asda on Turkey and literally ‘all the trimmings’. Or find yourself ‘doing Christmas’ for the tenth year in a row because you believe that you personally are responsible for keeping the entire family happy even though you have a two up two down and you’re working full-time until the day before and you’re still paying off the debts from last year’s bloat-fest. One friend actually broke a shopping trolley not just her bank account in her desperate attempt to purchase enough provisions for the feeding of the five thousand. Break the belief that the world will end if you strip-down the festivities to what your emotional and financial constraints can withstand.

6.Get Creative. With so many fractured and re-integrated families you could do what we do and make your Ex-mas a fancy dress theme. So far we’ve had Mex-mas (Mexican), Tex-Mas (Cowboys) and SFX-mas (science fiction). This year is to be Brex-mas. (We love Europe & I may come as a Eurovision Song Contestant).  Because our extended family now resembles the legs of an octopus, we can’t possibly fit everyone in on The Day. So we have Ex-mas Day a week before. Changing the date for the big day lowers skyscraper expectations. We relax, we have fun, we take it in turns to host it year on year. Christmas is what you want it to be, not just a date in the calendar. Some people go help Charities by giving Christmas dinner to the Homeless. Some escape the entire thing by heading to the hills/Barbados/Isle of White/Timbuktu. Some invite in waifs and strays. One year we invited a guy who ran our local chocolate shop, to join us as he was going to be on his own. As my partner, my ex and myself struggled with the turkey (it was the first time we’d hosted Christmas) Chocolate Man stepped in, announced we had it upside down, told us that he’d been trained as a chef at the Ritz and asked if we’d like him to take over. Invite in random people, you never know what they might bring to the table.

7.Healthy Habits. In Denmark they love a tradition. And they are reputedly one of the happiest nations in the world. Tradition plays a big part in that happiness. As a child my best friend had a Danish mother so I witnessed tradition at the coalface. In the weeks leading up to the 24th I joined in with the making of paper decorations. White and red woven strips that we turned into hearts and hung on the tree. We helped make little (Danish) pastries and treats. My friend and her siblings received little gifts each day throughout December, and on Christmas Eve they danced around the Christmas tree emblazoned with real candles, had their main pressies and gave thanks. As much as we Brits are attempting to embrace all things Hygge, we don’t have to take on the full Danish Christmas, elf like dances and all, but we can start our own traditions. Why not dream up your own healthy huggy Hygge habits? Be Brave and create a fantastic fearless festive season this year and for every year to come.

BRAVE NEW GIRL front cover

Lou is an artist, author, filmmaker & creative life coach. Her gift book of inspirational illustrations ‘Brave New Girl- How to be Fearless’ is published by Orion Spring and is in all major bookshops and available on Amazon

BNG will be at W4 Love Books Chiswick for her Book Signing Event on Tuesday 13th. Doors open at 7pm

10% off Lou’s Life Coaching Package if you sign up before December 31st for a Brave New You in 2017 Code: BNGXMAS

 

 

merry-christmas

 

 

Lou’s One Woman Show of Paintings “Freeze Frame” opens in January at The Farm Post-Production Facilities in Soho London. If you would like to be on the Guest List for the Launch Party please email: Lou@createlab.co.uk

This painting “Arctic Plain” 3ft x 3ft is to be exhibited at The Discerner Magazine Christmas Exhibition at their HQ in Mayfair from 7th December. Please CONTACT Celine for details

Creative Wellbeing

Motivational Monthly

prepare-for-the-fallOctober days are heavy with the last rays of summer before the leaves turn and call in Autumn and the longer, darker evenings. There is something old-fashioned about this time of year, with its harvest festivals, bonfire nights and sweet-smelling roasted chestnuts; something that reminds us of homemade jams and thick needles clicking and clacking on new winter woollies.

The blustery weather seems to blow in echoes of the adage “the devil makes light work of idle hands”, but in these times of round the clock treadmill technology when do we swap our smart phones and stress inducing schedules for a spot of tapestry or carpentry? We’re more likely to be checking emails while watching telly than putting the flourishing touches to our latest clothes peg doll.

In the olden days knitting and cross-stitch, crochet, sewing, flower arranging, playing the fiddle or singing at the piano were past on one generation to the next. In Scandinavia, children would whittle rough wooden toys like the Dala horse with no expectation of brilliance. It was just creativity as an activity that kept hands and minds busy in the evenings after work and school, done over candlelight in the embrace of family and friends and warmed by the fire.

Brave New Girl

Gift yourself or loved ones with Lou’s new book

The tradition of handmade and homegrown, is exemplified in the Danish concept of Hygge – to live well in creative contentment and simplicity. And those vintage wooden toys are now collectors’ items, not because they are masterful but because they are hewn in a heartfelt way by the small hands of curious children.

With the comeback of craft and baking and colouring in, we can all indulge our spare time in creating and de-stressing. Past generations understood that life was hard and that respite came through the routine of winding down with thread, wool, paint and wood. Now you can buy a meditation colouring book and a pack of felt tips and as an adult, sit down and do what you did as a six year old, and know that it’s good for your spirit. And you don’t have to be Van Gogh or Damian Hirst to enjoy a bit of me-time in the rainbow world of crayons or a Pinterest image mood board.

Disarm yourself of the thought that creativity is for the artistic. Artists do their own thing but history has always encouraged everyone to turn their hand and their eye to crafts that simply take a bit of enthusiasm, practice and pause in the day. Just as surely as you take the time to check your phone, you can doodle on your commute, or in a cafe in your lunch break, or in the playground while your kids run around with their friends.

And instead of feeling tied to your daily concerns you’ll feel the worries of the world float away as your hands get to work and your mind drifts off into imaginative daydream and mindful meditation. For the full article read the September/October issue of The Best You magazine

Want to make your life more happy & creative? Then work with me, your creative Life Coach. Contact me for a FREE 30 minute consultation to find out more

Lou Hamilton is a an Artist, Author & Life Coach who founded CREATELAB in her mission to use creativity to inspire others to lead happier & more fulfilling lives. Follow her on Twitter: @createlab Instagram: brave_newgirl Facebook: Lou Hamilton Artist

BRAVE – Motivational Monthly Blog

Fear is what you feel, BRAVE is what you do about it. Fear is when a soldier loses her limbs and faces a life of disability. Brave is when she decides to learn how to use prosthetic limbs and compete as a runner. Fear is when bombs rain down on your city threatening your family’s lives. Brave is when you decide to take your family on the treacherous journey across seas to find sanctuary in another land and rebuild life from scratch elsewhere. Fear is when you worry about your child’s safety and well being. Brave is when you stand up for her and help her to make the changes that will make her life better.

explore-greatly

Flipping fear into bravery is a life skill we can all learn, and we don’t have to wait until disaster strikes in order to learn it. It requires unearthing your limiting beliefs, breaking bad habits and building new ones, and it demands the strengthening of your creative muscle by harnessing your imagination for useful not fearful projected thoughts. Brave is a shift in mindset. You can practice it on a daily basis, and the more you do the better you get at it. Then when bad stuff happens, which it inevitably does at some point, you are well-rehearsed in grabbing your bravery first aid kit and preparing to do what it takes to make the situation better for yourself.

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“You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem and smarter than you think.”Winnie the Pooh

 

Learning to be brave is not easy, it takes hard work and commitment. It takes the willingness to create a vision for yourself, set the goals to make that vision happen, to take the steps, to build your will power, a positive belief system and a set of healthy habits. Bravery is persistence in the face of adversity, it is patience when there seems to be no end in sight, it is failing over and over again and being able to pick yourself up and keep going.

Most of us need support in learning to be Brave. Here’s how I can support you:

Other resources for learning fearlessness, that have happened with me this month

School’s out for Summer

Summer slows everything down, people are away, there’s a sense of school holidays even if you’re not a kid and don’t have kids, the evenings are long and light and when you can you’re lapping up your year’s supply of Vitamin D.

Life is ebb and flow, there’s time for speed and a time to slow down. Think of a garden; you don’t plant a seed and expect to see a tree the next day. The art of patience allows for a natural pace, the need for speed forces artificial pressure on a creative process. Think of Genetically Modified Foods. They grow quick and taste of nothing. In the film industry we use the three pronged model: quick, cheap, good. You can only have two of the three. Quick and cheap, but not good. Quick and good, but not cheap. Cheap and good but not quick.

Have dreams

Illustration by Lou Hamilton

Even instant gratification takes too long” Carrie Fisher is quoted as saying. But she has Bipolar Disorder. “I would get really impatient. I was going faster than everything else around me, and it drove me crazy. You feel out of step with the world” She has achieved a lot, being talented and manic. Her 1987 book Postcards from the Edge hit the New York Times bestseller list and won her the Los Angeles Pen Award for Best First Novel; and she’s published three bestsellers since. More recently she’s turned her memoir Wishful Drinking into a one-woman play, as well as an HBO special.

But you don’t need to be Manic to achieve a lot. I’m from the School of Plod, you do a little and often and you can incrementally produce a large body of work. The art is in consistent application. It’s like saving money. You put in 3% of your wages and over time you have built up a substantial nest-egg. It’s called Compound Interest. Day one you put in £1, Day 2 you put in another £1 and you’ve already doubled your money. Day 4 you’ve quadrupled your initial deposit. The same with writing a book; two hours a day or 1000 words and in 80 days you’ve got your first draft.

where's your hideaway

Illustration by Lou Hamilton

Carl Honore wrote In praise of Slowness, a book on the need to slow down. He speaks of how we have added speed to everything; speed-reading, speed-walking, speed-dating. He even passed a gym in New York offering speed-yoga. We believe ourselves to be time poor, so pack more in, we run faster and we feel like we have even less time than ever. We do nothing properly, we leap frog from one task to another. Marinade, savour, mull, languish, ponder, wander, contemplate, peruse, explore, lie fallow, are words we have ejected from our vocabulary and left to curl and wither under the heat of our soles pounding tarmac.

When you slow down you simply do things better. Eating, sleeping, making love, creating, inventing, designing all become better when slowness is your modus operandi. Understanding this has created the international Slow Movement, which started in Italy but has slowly spread around the world. Slow Food, growing, consuming in an organic sustainable way that celebrates pleasure and health. Slow Cities where people slow down, smell the roses and connect with one another; slowing traffic, putting in places for people to sit, read, take a breather and decompress, green spaces, art works for contemplation, poetry on the underground.

The Scandanavian countries are showing that you don’t need to work at the speed of light in order to have a kick-ass economy. They work reasonable hours and they are now among the top six most competitive nations on earth. They understand that in order to be more productive people need to be able to work fewer hours, to unplug, to sit in a quiet room. In order to be creative we need to switch off and re-charge on a regular basis.

So take timeout over Summer, use it as an opportunity to kick back and let your creative mind take over. Day dream, chill out and enjoy the view. Then in September you can come back to life and hit the ground running.

If the thought of September scares you, if you are wanting to get out of the rat race but don’t know how, I can work with you to find another way. Lou@createlab.co.uk

If you are coach and want to take your practice to the next level join us on our Quantum Coaching Bootcamp workshop. Warning: It’s not for the faint-hearted