The Downside to Self Improvement

downside to self improvement

Photo by Julie De Waro

The mind that constantly seeks self improvement creates disconnection with living in the present moment … which is the only place where we experience life fully.
If we go through life trying to make ourselves better, wanting to improve, then we can miss out on living fully.

It’s a bit like searching for your camera to capture the moment, but missing the moment itself because you were looking for the camera.

When we focus on what we want to achieve in the future, we so often miss out on the present. And even when we reach the goal, the ego-mind will judge what we have achieved now and compare it to what we had before… or what might be better next.
We become preoccupied with thoughts about the past and future and forget to live in the here and now.

I’m not saying it isn’t worth setting goals or working towards a vision of the future. The key is to remain aware of each moment as we move forward with our lives.

Taking time for pausing and self inquiry is a powerful practice. I call it finding your middle ground.

So set aside the books, videos, blogs and TED Talks for now, and slow down. Get to know your inner world, and learn to love your self.

Your relationship with yourself lasts a lifetime. Take the time to understand and appreciate your quirky, imperfect and wonderful self, and enjoy the journey together.


* Love After Love

These words fill me up with love and gratitude. It’s my pleasure to pass on the goodness from Derek Walcott 💛

coming home

Source: Pinterest

“The time will come

when, with elation,

you will greet yourself arriving

at your own door, in your own mirror,

and each will smile at the others welcome,

and say, sit here. Eat.

bread and wine

You will love again the stranger who was your self.

Give wine. Give bread, Give back your heart

to itself, to the stranger who has loved you

all your life, whom you ignored

for another, who knows you by heart.

Take down the love letters from the bookshelf,

the photographs, the desperate notes,

peel your own image from the mirror.

Sit. Feast on your life.”

~ Derek Walcott, “Love After Love” 1974


Feast on your life and what has brought you here.

Let this awareness open your heart in loving kindness and gratitude.

And find your Self waiting with open arms ❤️


* Haiku – make friends

befriend your self

Portrait Film Photography by Mellon Collie


Make friends with your Self

It is waiting for your love

Find Your Middle Ground



If you are new to this site … welcome!

To find our more about finding your middle ground click here.


* Don’t Turn Away

inner courage

“Don’t turn away. Keep your gaze on the bandaged place. That’s where the light enters you.” Rumi

When you are experiencing hurt, especially a wound of the heart

Look directly at this bandaged place

Find courage to face the storm rather than avoiding it or denying it

Be tender towards this raw vulnerability

When you bring compassion to your wounds, you allow them to heal

Be with it so it can transform you beyond fear and pain

Trust yourself to feel and live fully

Practice being present with whatever is alive in you, and you will find this light

* Let Yourself Be

In the highs and lows of life let yourself be.

breaking free

Let yourself be

Be what?

The being that you are

This being is found in this moment

It isn’t who you think you are. Your thinking is based on memories

Holding on to this picture of yourself is a prison

Let go of its hold over you

You are beyond anything you can think

So stop thinking

Let yourself be

Pause for a moment and take a full breath

Inhale this new moment to embrace

Exhale and let yourself be


* Inspiration – for Grandmothers

older woman looking in mirror

I just looked at myself in the mirror … and I thought “If I was a grandmother how good I would feel to my grandchild”.

My face has some characteristics of my Gran, and now as I head towards 60 my body has acquired some of the same softness in the body… and the eyes.

I recall how it felt to snuggle into her like a pillow … the warmth … the gentle rise and fall of her ample bosom….and the feeling of being absolutely safe and loved.

There was always a soothing smell that lingered here … perhaps from the lavender sachets in her underwear drawer or the Knights Castile soap or the Pan Drop mints she loved so much. You see, now she had dentures and didn’t have to worry about decay!

But she worried about her weight and was so hard on herself.

We all have the ability to give so much love to others … yet forget to give it to ourselves.

For the grandmothers out there who are post menopausal and are looking at the mirror,  struggling with your weight, getting frustrated and blaming yourself. Please, please let it all go. Its just a body image. It happens with age!

grandmother hug

You are so much more that the bunch of cells, minerals and bags of water you see in front of you, or the judgments and labels in your thinking!

Focus on being healthy and being there for those kids.

Give yourself a break and remember there are some little ones (and not so little ones) who love you just the way you are.

Your body, heart and soul will always be such a precious gift!


Val x

p.s. Yes, this message isn’t just for grandmothers 😉

* A Mindful Moment on Life Purpose

interconnected and opposite in nature

Eckhart Tolle tells us our purpose is to awaken.

Awaken to what?

Awaken to the realization that we are all connected. We are not separate.

We are part of a larger consciousness. We are connected to, and are a part of the Divine, Source, God, Presence, Universe, Consciousness, Love or whatever word works for you.

When we realize that, our world shifts away from “I” and the self.

All paths agree that we can only awaken when we pause and become a compassionate observer of ourselves.

In the present moment, and especially through mindfulness meditation, we become accepting of all aspects of ourselves and the perceived polarities within us. *

As human beings we all have inner critters, critics, gremlins or judges. It goes with the territory.

However, as long as we believe our inner critic

And judge ourselves harshly

We will remain asleep.

Our purpose begins not with awakening, but by being kind to all aspects of ourselves…. including our inner critic.



*The polarities within us  are for example: clever and stupid; loving and hateful;  strong and weak ; generous and mean; open and closed; humble and proud etc. Aspects of ourselves that we might see as light and shadow.

Love Yourself at Work and in Life

Is it time to give yourself a boost and connect with your authentic self every day?  Sometimes we need a reminder to connect with who we really are in the highs and lows of life.

I have had this list next to my desk for quite some time. It has become “wallpaper” …  like so many things we want to remind ourselves about! I thought it was time to dust it off and share with you. Val x

girl walking along road

On your journey to loving your authentic self:

1. Stop doing what you know is bad for you and start nourishing yourself. 

2. Stop chasing and start appreciating. 

3. Stop comparing yourself to others and start identifying your own gifts. 

4. Stop being good and start being true to yourself.

5. Stop setting yourself up and start making life easy for you.

6. Stop setting other people up and start under-promising.

7. Stop waiting and start trusting your intuition.

8. Stop trying to meet everyone else’s expectations and meet your own.

9. Stop trying to become somebody and just be yourself.

10. Stop having problems and start solving them.


Which one would you choose to have fun with this week?

Its number 7 for me!

p.p.s. Look around …. is there “wallpaper” around you that needs some attention right now?

* Judging and Kindness

There is a lot that comes up when I think of judging and what it means to me. I’m taking my KISS advice here and making it as simple as I can…. but this will be  a longer post than usual!Judging shadow

Judging is our default human condition. Our inner judge is there to keep us safe. For example, in an instant we observe and then evaluate the burning fire to see if it will hurt us or if the water is too deep, or if the animal coming towards us wants to eat us! We need to make judgments to keep ourselves safe.

However, over the years our judging thoughts grow and grow along with our ego. This is especially true if we are surrounded by other judgers such as critical parents or teachers.

Judging becomes the conditioned norm and we are not even aware of it. Our ego is reinforced because through judging, it makes us feel safe, in control and more powerful.  Its more important to protect in this way than to be free to take risks and change. Its more important to be seen in a certain way.

ego beauty

Our ego is being fed, but our heart and soul begin to ache.
We become prisoners to our own judge without realizing it. Conditioned thinking becomes more important that truly feeling and connecting to our true selves. It also prevents us from being vulnerable and truly connecting to others.

The inner judge takes on a life of its own and becomes a part of us and, as we know, turns in on ourselves as well. We learn to be self critical. We put ourselves down. Our inner critic tells us we aren’t good enough, strong enough, smart enough.  We shouldn’t have said that or done that. We don’t deserve this …

Then one day we wake up and get such a sense that something is not right. That something is missing. That life has more to offer, but we don’t know what the key is. 

judging and open heart quoteHere’s the key:

When we judge others we are projecting on to them a part of ourselves that we have not fully accepted in ourselves. Its something hidden within us. Its the shadow side that our ego cannot face. If you get triggered by a lazy person, then chances are that you have disowned that part of yourself. You don’t accept it in yourself or others. If you prickle when someone is showing off…  If you react to snobbery… If you get angry when you see someone smoking or eating junk food… If you get annoyed when you see other people judging. Then ….

There is something for you to look at here. This is your issue hiding behind criticisms. Hiding behind the persona you show the world. It isn’t really about the other person. Instead of it being about them, take this as an opportunity to look to yourself … without judgment. With kindness.

Embracing Shadow Self by Rita LLoydWe all have our shadows. The shadows are the other side of the light. Our ego wants to only see the light and how good we are. As long at it thinks the shadow is “bad” it will shun it and try to run away from it. The ego strives for a perfection that can never be.

Next time you catch yourself judging ask the hard question “How am I that?” Let yourself feel this discomfort, notice the judge and be kind to yourself. Let yourself be present with this feeling.

When we judge others, then know that we are surely judging ourselves even more.

When someone judges you, or you see them judging others, know that they are also judging themselves even more.

Judging goes hand in hand with inner struggle. It prevents people from feeling fully and being open. It protects them from feeling vulnerable, but the pay off is living life less fully.  Be kind towards the other judgers out there.

Judging keeps us from becoming fully present and facing what is real. A good example is when we sit to meditate in the early stages of the practice. Its the ideal situation for our ego to rebel. The mind and ego don’t like to be controlled, they have to be in charge to feel safe. So critical thoughts come up to keep us from being present and opening a connection to our heart and soul.

Moving from judgment to kindness is one of the most difficult and important paths for all of us. When we recognize our judge and start being more kind and accepting of others, also remember that the practice of self kindness and self compassion is the key. We cannot fully accept others until we have fully accepted all aspects of ourselves. Including our own judge.

be yourselfBe kind to all aspects of yourself.