CHOOSE CONSCIOUSLY

Kick 'comfortable' to the kerb, right now!

I haven't posted a blog post for over a month.

I feel it, I've been feeling it.  

Feeling I don't have anything to say, which feels really weird.

But I also know that this is a habit, that I usually choose to write and share and create whether I FEEL like it or not. 

That's been such a big one for me over the last few years - choosing how I WANT to feel rather than how I feel RIGHT NOW, so much that I thought I was in an automatic new habit of doing so.

But seems I have to keep creating that, keep choosing that, keep it in mind, journal, make that choice really a PART of who I am every.single.day - someone who does that.

And I 'never' get sick, but flu de-railed me a bit and then ...

I was better but not quite right.  Even before then I was feeling a bit quiet and not sure what I was doing here, what I wanted to say. 

That's kind of a different message but still part of the same. 

I felt quiet and suddenly unsure.

And then I got ill - only for a week or so - but it exacerbated all those feelings. 

Maybe that's exactly what I needed to feel and learn. I believe that's so. 

Because I started doing things that don't make me feel good overall - and also stopped doing - all the things that I love, that make me feel good, that keep me feeling YES.

And I realise now, that these aren't habits you just DO automatically - you have to continue to CHOOSE them.

I fell 'out' of habits very fast, and we all know that starting again is harder than continuing ... well, and we all know that it's actually though NOT harder really.

What it's all about is making a decision. After that, easy.

But I haven't been making that decision.

(Why does it feel hard to make that decision?)

I got flu and I got comfortable.

Well, why NOT spend more time with my adored, my family, my friends?

Why NOT take a 'break' (WHAT? from doing what your soul wants you to do?!) ... from writing, sharing, engaging?

Why NOT retreat? And go quiet. And sit on the sofa and read. 

Why NOT feel comfortable?

Hang out, watch Netflix, cook for friends, go for coffee, go for wine.

Eat a little more, put on some weight.

It's good, right? It feels good to have this time to just kick back, relax, feel comfortable, sleep more.

ACTUALLY, FOR ME? NO, IT DOESN'T.

It feels a slugging settling.

It feels not choosing me, my dreams, my life.

It feels like hiding, switching off - and not in a good 'retreat and rejuvenate' way.

It feels like a slowness.

It feels like I lost the power to choose.

I feel like I'm not actually CHOOSING this.

When I choose HOW I want to feel and be and what feels great ... and this isn't it.

So ... back to the ONLY hard part of ANYTHING you choose and desire.

Making a commitment and a decision. That YES you choose this.

It's been interesting in a way, watching somehow myself from the outside how easy it's been for me to slip into 'comfortable'.

And how I feel (SO MUCH) that this is not good for me, not right for me, not who I am or want to be.

Not who I choose to be.

I want to feel lit up, inspired, energised, creative, full of ideas.

I suspect I haven't posted because I've created this comfort that blankets me from the ideas.

No more lolling, watching something that doesn't add to my life. Not right now, anyway.

No more allowing the creep .... of slowness, dullness, weight gain, lack of ideas. 

I choose to go for it again ... open up to it, no more hiding and creeping around.

No more stillness.

The stillness that comes from hiding and not moving - physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually. 

That results in physical, mental, emotional, spiritual weight gain and comfort blankets and a layer of insulation from ... what?

NOT from the world after all. 

From MYSELF.

I choose to be again, move again, create again, be the ME I want to be.

No more 'comfortable'. 

Dulled, slow, unsure.

Step back out into the light ... that spotlight you sometimes don't know is even on but yet follows you to shine on you.

I choose to shine again. DECIDE.  Shed the comfort blanket. 

Stretch and rise and BE.

I've felt it, feel it, don't want it. And now I DECIDE.

You can ALWAYS make another choice, another decision. 



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Make sure YOU'RE in your dreams

I realised I do this.  Or rather, didn't do it.

Didn't add to my goals, dreams, 'perfect day' journaling ... well, I didn't add ME.

I was missing from it!

Me, physically (and ok emotionally too actually) ME.

I was missing.

How can I create my dreams, achieve my goals, dream into creation that perfect day ... if I'm not in them?

If I'm not also at one with me, with myself, happy in my own skin?

If I don't know how that feels, or how I want it to feel?

How can you live a dream life in a body you don't feel is your home?

And actually, domino effect, small actions, small things creating big ones?

Dream big ... and start with finding peace with your body.

It's easy, and it's necessary.

You cannot live a 'perfect' life without being at one with yourself - and that includes feeling good in your skin - WHATEVER that feels like for you.

I believe it's a powerful and easy way to start - you decide, you choose, you see results, you're inspired and you start to BELIEVE.


I was talking with a friend the other night and realised something so important.

We often FORGET to think about our physical selves - or ourselves at all for that matter - when we're thinking about our lives and goals and ambitions and dreams.

We think about the jobs we want, the relationships we're calling in, the creativity we'll share, the places we'll live ...

All those artists, all those beach houses, all those fulfilled lives and all those dreams written down, made goals, made real.

But you know what's missing?

YOU.

The real, actual, physical YOU.

We so easily disconnect with our bodies ... and almost forget about them.

As IF you can create your dreams without also being totally at ONE in your dream body too.

THAT you, me, us .. in the dream life ....

Don't forget to put YOURSELF into the dream.

Not just into it. Into the HEART of it.

You're happy just as you are? That's brilliant. SAY SO.

Don't let your body, health, wellbeing, how you FEEL in YOU not be a part of the big, big dreams.

It's pivotal.

It's important.

When dreaming, setting goals, writing out those perfect day journaling exercises ... do NOT forget to put yourself in them.

Your perfect day begins with feeling comfortable in your own skin, surely, luxuriating in just being YOU, at one with yourself (WHATEVER that looks like for you).

I think it's too easy to forget this - and I believe that firstly it's powerful to consciously add YOURSELF into your dreams.

I also believe in the domino effect, small changes creating big shifts.

And - no matter what you might be telling yourself - feeling at one again in your skin, losing weight if that's what's going to feel good and right to you, is KEY to then also creating all of the rest of the things.

Yep, and actually easier.

It's a perfect starting point. Start consciously choosing, creating, feeling happy in your skin.

Results happen fast .. both physically and mentally.

Don't dream big ... without YOU being in the dream.



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If you don't choose your habits, they'll choose you

If you don't consciously decide what you want, consciously create your life?

Guess what?

Yep. Life happens anyway.

And like many things, maybe it's easier to start small, rather than big, like, well, LIFE.

Smaller things get you into the HABIT of creating what you want and achieving them and building that practice.

Small things add up to become big things (I know you know this, I'm not being patronising, just thinking out loud).

And talking of habits, habits are a great place to start.

If you don't consciously choose your habits ... guess what?

Your habits will choose - and define, BECOME you. Part of you.

What you do and what you choose is who you are - and you can change that at any time.

Without consciously choosing habits you might find habits find you ...

The habit of watching TV mindlessly.

The habit of endlessly scrolling Facebook, looking for something, anything interesting and thought-provoking.

Oh and similarly, the habit of feeding yourself food that doesn't have the nourishment, the nutrition, your body needs and craves, so again you're left hungry, endlessly wanting more.

But what more?

Housework habits, 'duty' habits, oh-I-have-to-do-the-ironing habits ... then flop on the sofa for some TV.

THESE habits are often masking that you haven't CHOSEN your true 'YOU' habits.

Well, not so for everyone I guess.

I suppose some people genuinely choose to do these things (and for most people YES sometimes) ... and that's great ... but when it's not a choice, it's a mindless HABIT?

You know you can choose another habit?

Starting with perhaps how do you WANT to feel?

NOT how do you currently feel.

Giving in to the voice of the how you NOW feel will NEVER move you into being how you WANT to feel, to be.

You have to consciously choose it.

How you want to feel and who you want to be.

The person who gets home after a long day (ok, many long days, this isn't a one-off) and eats a takeaway full of goodness-knows-what whilst slumped in terrible posture watching - well, do you even know what? - on TV.

YES, sometimes.

But also, YES you're exhausted and stressed and tired ... but you CAN also choose other habits.

It doesn't have to be hard.

Some things (including plenty of recipes on my site) are easier and quicker to cook fresh than to heat up or order in.

And it's all about TRUE self-care and looking after you.

That means choosing a shower, choosing a great book, choosing a quick stretch or yoga online practice to keep it easy (I do).

(I'm not saying you instantly turn into someone who wants to go to the gym at 9pm, but hey you MIGHT choose that, now you think about what you want to choose).

It might mean writing, journaling, a Skype with a friend, learning something new.

Habits become non-negotiables in your life (like cleaning your teeth).

Mine aren't (yet) always so, but I really, really now feel it and miss it when I don't for whatever reason DAILY:

- journal in the morning
- make good food choices that nourish me (and taste great of course)
- move my body in some way (usually Yoga With Adriene
- personally I also love to cook so a day without cooking something makes me feel 'off'

Ha! Just caught myself I thinking I need to think of more than these three / four ... but WHY?

I'm all about making it easy and you know it's actually not always that easy to do those three or four key things.

Isn't that funny, how our human brains almost want to make things HARDER?!

These are my chosen habits - that make me feel great, give me a foundation for my day - when I do them I feel stronger, clearer, more able to get everything else done.

I'm going to choose to add in a short 10-minute meditation practice soon but for now making my journaling and yoga practice daily - allowing it to become daily - allowing that time for me, to say that time for me daily is precious, is a PRIORITY ...

I'm still learning to make that my reality.

What are - or will be - your chosen habits?

The ones that make you YOU, the you you choose to be?


How do you WANT to feel? (Not what DO you feel like?)

It takes just a split second.

One decision.

As my favourite poem says:

'In a minute there is time
For decisions and revisions which a minute will reverse'.

The question isn't 'what do you feel like doing right now'?'.

Well, not usually, the question is, 'what do you want to feel like? what is the outcome, the result you want?'


I fell out of my daily yoga habit that made me feel so great, strong and good.

There was a mini heatwave (but hey 35 degrees in a small Notting Hill flat is too hot for yoga).

So that was a few days ... and I wasn't feeling it.

Rachel Redlaw me on yoga mat

But I missed the outcome for sure .. but somehow, seemingly not enough to get back in the habit.

Why is that?

That the things that make us feel great, that we KNOW beyond a shadow of a doubt are GOOD ... we still resist.

And then I jumped and fell and was shaken up and covered in bruises and couldn't even THINK of a downward dog without wincing.

But that was ten days ago and it's been totally nagging at me that I haven't got back to my daily practice.

The last few days, honestly, I've been pretending that I'll just do a short practice - that 7-minute one - but guess what?

I didn't even do that.

Today ... I got sick of myself and my excuses for not doing what makes me feel great.

And I did it fast!

I decided I wanted the outcome.

I wanted to feel how good I feel after half an hour of yoga.

Mat out. Did it.

And yep, feel great.


It's always about the outcome, the result, the desired feeling.

Never about what you feel like in that moment.

Sometimes the two are the same.

Sometimes they're not.

But it's that easy (and that hard, I know).

Practice, remembering how good it feels to make that decision - makes it easier, makes that choosing-the-outcome-muscle easier to exercise.

What's the outcome you want?

Choose THAT action to take.



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Sometimes it's about saying 'no' to reach your goals

Some people are going to be reading my posts about Supreme Self Care and thinking ...

'Yeah ok for you, you don't have x y z you have to do',

'HOW does she find time?'

'Well, that's ok for you, you don't have kids to feed and get up for school'.

Well, no, I don't, no.

But I do know that I do have plenty of other responsibilities (as we all do) and I don't have unlimited time.

Or do I?

I believe in the concept of Einstein Time (read The Big Leap - a fave book that changed my life and concept of time).

And I really, really believe in the concept of CHOICE.

That means I prioritise my self care stuff, and my writing, and my doing ALL the things I really care about and am passionate about.

That means I also say NO a lot.

To fun things as well as the learning to say no to things you really don't want to do but (used to) feel obliged to.

It's easy to think that learning to be someone who can say 'no', means saying 'no' to things you don't want to do.

Ha! MUCH more it means saying 'no' to things you DO want to do.

I say no to TV.

I say no to parties.

I say no to meet ups with friends and family.

I say no to that book I want to read.

I say no to sleeping another half an hour.

To going to bed earlier and to getting up later.

Etc, etc, etc.

It means - when I SAY prioritise, I MEAN prioritise.

No, it's not easy.

I never said it was easy.  I said it was SUPREME self care to take the best care of me.

It means really thinking about what it takes to put you first - and not JUST your physical, emotional, spiritual .... also your CREATIVITY.

I believe we all NEED to be creative beings, whatever that looks like for you ... and for me, I need time and space to even work that out.

It means prioritising you and what you want to do ... and the results and goals you are going to achieve.



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CHOOSING my life ... 4 years on ...

“If you change nothing, nothing will change”

Tony Robbins


And that moment of realisation, that moment where you finally feel it and KNOW that it is YOUR decision to create your life and make it happen ...

It happened to me four years ago this month. 28th April.

I was in a very dark place, looking back, in a job I knew was terrible for me ... and harming me ... but it was really ME harming me allowing it to continue.

And I'd been letting life drift by really my whole life - choosing A over B, like a multiple choice life, NEVER and I mean NEVER really deciding what I wanted and what would make me happy and going after that.

It took until my 40's.

it doesn't matter how long it takes, it matters that one day you DO see, do feel, do know that it's ALL and ALWAYS down to you.

YES, there are pressures and challenges of life, but THE biggest step is deciding.

What I did that day, was finally say enough. I gave in my notice at the awful job - without a job to go to - and suddenly felt my long long long ago ebbed away ME power start returning.

Of COURSE I could find another job perfect for me and my career in three months (it took four weeks).

And this time I made sure it was right for me and also would allow me time, mental capacity ... to start writing, cooking more, launching my own things I'm passionate about, my own side passion projects.

It can be so easy not to even recognise that you're in a dark place and going through the motions, getting through each day, surviving basically.

I was someone who on paper looked like I had a good life - and I did ... but I was trapped and miserable and not growing, not CREATING.

You can always decide and choose.

(You don't have to give your notice in though) :)

But it is your one life and if you've been stuck for a while and this sounds like you ... maybe start thinking what YOU want.

For me ... I wanted not to be scared, ill, bullied, tired, weak.

I wanted to write and create (and be me and be strong).

It didn't LOOK big to anyone else!

To the outside it looked like I left one great job in a great industry and went to another. Oh and started a little blog about Thai cooking.

That little blog about Thai food made me alive again and got my creativity going again. That first day, on my first blog site, pressing 'publish' - no post is scarier than that one.

I was still living in a fear mode really, worrying what people would think or say, not having the incredible community and support I do now.

You CAN start creating your life at ANY time in your life.

The big thing, the only big thing ... is DECIDING.

And that 'little' project?

Could become your real BIG thing, your biggest thing.

What do YOU want to do, create ... be?



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What do you want your life to be?

So, a few years ago, four years ago, was when I finally 'woke up'.

In some ways, when I was born, or became an adult ... took responsibility.

It feels now looking back to my whole adult life before, that I'd been living in the dark.

I was in quite a dark place emotionally too - in a really awful bullying job, but then something happened in that job that made me suddenly realise I didn't have to do it. I DID have a choice.

And that was the beginning.

I realised that in the WHOLE time before then, I had never once realised that it was my choice. And now I mean my life.

I never once decided consciously what I wanted my life to be, who I wanted to be, what I wanted to make it.

I chose from the choices I could see - this holiday or that, this job opportunity or that one, even relationships.

My eyes opened and since then I've been consciously experimenting and exploring and discovering what I CHOOSE and what I WANT and make my life to be.

It started with baby steps. Well, I say that but it's was actually a pretty big step deciding that I didn't want a stressful job, and I wanted something that gave me time to pursue finding out what I DID like to do and want to do.

And as these things tend to, once I knew that's what I was going to choose, I found a job which at that time was a ten minute walk from my house (unheard of in London! We've since moved office but that's ok - at the time it was exactly what I needed).

I started blogging about Thai cooking and sharing some recipes.

Doing something CREATIVE at last. For ME.

And my whole life started to change, to become somehow CLEAR and I started to feel my way into how it felt to realise that I could make things happen if I just CHOSE.

So, it took into my 40's to realise it - that I'd been stuck, not thinking, just letting things happen, drifting really and letting other people - particularly work - dictate my life. And happiness.

It's NEVER too late to start to choose and create the life you want. Consciously choose.

You can be anything you want.



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My body is not a dustbin

MY BODY IS NOT A DUSTBIN!

I've realised this over the last few months ... that I used to treat my body as a dustbin.

I hate food waste and don't create much as I'm very conscious of it and I use leftovers or plan to make several meals with something.

BUT.

What I WAS doing was looking at food that needed eating or it would be wasted and thinking - I can't just throw it away and waste it.

And so I'd eat it instead.

Yeah I should have could have maybe planned better to avoid the situation - but given that's the situation I was in WHY would it be better to give myself food I don't need or want than to throw it in the bin/compost/whatever?

My body is not a bin.

I almost caught myself doing it today.

I had a friend over in the week and we had dinner from things I needed to use up before I go away tomorrow ....

So we had one of these grilled mushrooms each.

And then eggs in coconut masala.

Rachel Redlaw Asian style grilled mushrooms
Rachel Redlaw eggs in coconut masala

Yes, she did ask me how this could possibly be 'needing to use it up' food ... but I had eggs that won't last until I'm back, I had half an onion, the last bits of coriander ...

Today I just caught myself! I have one small avocado that either I eat today or will need to be thrown out.

Good though avocados are I just realised that I was ONLY thinking of eating it because otherwise I would have to throw it away.

Basically throw it away in the bin or throw it away in yourself.

Eat food you don't want or need. Keep eating - it can't be thrown away!

It can.

My choice is to nourish myself and make best choices for me. I'm sorry if one avocado gets thrown away today (although I am about to mash it with a little chilli and lemon and freeze it and see if that works).

But don't eat mindlessly. Don't eat because you don't want to throw something away.

It's more important what goes into you than into the dustbin.

My body is not a bin.



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