You don't HAVE to win.

Someone once said that life is a game. A game that can't be won but can only be played (I think it was Will Smith in the film The Legend of Bagger Vance). The choice is how do you play the game? Or perhaps you don't play the game, perhaps the game plays you. There is a saying in Golf; let your mood control you're game not you're game control your mood. This could equally be applied to life. When you come across difficulties, how do you approach them? You can treat them as part of the game and play them as well as you can. After all, by adopting the right attitude and putting in enough effort surely the outcome will be more beneficial!
Life is all about the journey, not the destination. Sometimes it's about playing a bad hand well, rather than being dealt the best cards. It is also a matter of perspective. You don't have to win, you just have to know that you have played your best.

Tame your mind

Many of us have little or no control over the ramblings of our mind. In today's busy world we are so used to flitting our attention from one thing to another, that our poor mind gets no rest at all. Even when we sleep out minds slip into frantic dreaming.
 I would like to suggest you might like to have a go at mindfulness meditation. Just take five minutes to sit in comfortable silence and count your breaths. Start with 1 on the in breath and 2 on the out breath. Up to 10 and then start again. I also use the image of my mind as a horse in a huge field that has been let off its leash to run free. At first it goes like the wind, but soon settles and stands still in a relaxed state. You might find that 5 minutes of this every day will have a wonderful rejuvenating effect on your mind and may even help you get a more restorative nights sleep.

Be realistic about happiness

Most of us want to be happy for pretty much most if not all of the time. But let's be realistic about this. No-one can be happy 100% of the time. Life is not always smooth sailing. Sometimes we have to ride the waves of adversity. During these moments it is unrealistic to expect us to be happy, so don't get even more upset because you are not.
I have learnt to be patient and wait for those moments of happiness, no matter how fleeting. I appreciate them even more because I know their true value and I also know they will pass. As will moments of sadness. I believe a good approach is to aim for contentment most of the time. Be content with what you have, where you are and most importantly who you are. Happiness (and sadness) will come and go but you will/can always return to the standpoint of contentment in the end. Be realistic about what happiness is to you and you will appreciate it more.

Count your blessings

So many of us have got into the habit of complaining about things in our lives that we often forget to stop and smell the roses. First thing in the morning, just before you rise, name five things in your life you are thankful for. It could be anything; from having a loving partner to simply having clean water to drink. Repeat this exercise just before you go to sleep in the evening. Try to think of different things each time. Hopefully you will soon generate the habit of being appreciative for the good in your life rather than focusing on the bad, as we so often do.


Here is a great website for learning the art of meditation and mindfulness - Headspace. There is also a great App for the iPhone.

Just let go.

Whatever you are worried about, I can almost guarantee that it won't matter in ten years. Maybe not even in 10 days or even 10 hours. Think back to a problem you had ten years ago. I bet it doesn't matter now. What's the use in worrying, it's really not worthwhile. All you end up doing is going from one worry to another. Most of which you will have forgotten about soon enough. If you find yourself moving from one worry to another, try re-framing them in you're mind as a challenge, or a chance to achieve success. This really is a more healthy approach.

Be a good listener.

When in  conversation with another person how often do you use the word I? It is always better to be interested that interesting. Strive to pay attention to what is being said and ask questions about the other person. This is so much better than not really listening and talking about oneself. Unfortunately we often fall into the trap of citing one of our experiences. Is this out of  empathy or is it one upmanship? You have two ears and one mouth, so you should listen twice as much as you talk.

You are unique.

So often we associate ourselves with our jobs so much that we often find it difficult to disassociate ourselves between who we are and what we do. If your job is becoming too important in your life then who are you when not at work. If you are what you do then when you don't you aren't! You are more than your job or Social Security number. You are unique and special person with so many facets. Explore them and enjoy being special.

What a great example.

It's heartening to read this story of the young Japanese golfer giving away this years earnings to help the earthquake/tsunami appeal. If only the whole of humanity acted so selflessly.

Thank you Kaseline.

What a wonderful world we live in. I have been desperately searching for a cougarsamurai image to use for the site. I have been extremely fortunate to find this one and be allowed use of it by Kaseline. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

Our deepest fear

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”

by Marianne Williamson

Thanks to my good friend Virginia (once again) for this message.

Where do you live?

This isn't a question about geography. What I really want you to ask yourself is how much time you spend living in the real world and how much time you spend in your head. I know people who are constantly looking to the future. They never exist in the present but are always preparing to do the next thing. The problem with this is that they never actually get anywhere. I know other people who continuously reminisce about the past. However the past doesn't exist except in electrical impulses in the brain.

Learning to pay attention to what is happening to you and around you at this present moment is the key to getting the most out of life. It's not easy. We are so used to living in the past and future that we sometimes find it difficult to be present mind oriented. A great way to do this is to focus on what you are doing at that time. You could be driving your car or brushing your teeth. It doesn't matter so long as you give it your full attention.

Become a Peaceful Warrior

When I was 20 years old I worked in an international college in England during my University holidays. Foreign students would come and stay for several weeks to learn English and socialise with other like-minded people. These were great times for everyone, students and teachers alike. Throughout this time however, I always felt slightly out of place. Not that I didn't belong, but more a feeling of not understanding my purpose.
I was recommended to go and see a Shiatsu (Japanese massage) practitioner called Nicola Morgan. This was a wonderful experience and I revisited Nicola many times. At the end of my first session she recommended a book to me called Way of the Peaceful Warrior by Dan Millman.
I went out and bought this book and it changed my life. The book has now been made into a film. I strongly recommend you try this book, especially if like me you need some direction.



There is a special moment at the end of each out breath; this is a moment of stillness and calm. Just by paying attention to this moment you can actually change your consciousness. Take a deep in breath now and slowly exhale. Pause for a moment and notice the stillness and calm. Repeat this three more times. You should notice a complete change in your consciousness; you should be more relaxed and serene. Use this simple technique throughout your day to bring peace and harmony into your life..

The simple things in life.....

A great way to illicit and change in your mood for the positive is to get a hair cut. A simple thing like having a trim can make cause a dramatic shift in your feelings. Not only will you look better (hopefully), which will raise your self-esteem, but also you will feel better because you have devoted some time and effort to 'yourself'. There's nothing wrong with a bit of pampering once in a while.

Of course there is a hidden meaning in all this; make a conscious effort to sort out what needs to be sorted and the results can only be for the good. Start with the simple things in life and then move on to the less simple. Lots of small little changes for the better soon add up to greater peace and well being.

Help please!

I need some help. If there is anyone out there who can design a great 'cougarsamurai' logo that I can use, that would be awesome. I have tried but my computer/art skills are poor. Lol
I was thinking of a meditating samurai seated cross legged next to a cougar - maybe. Any help would really be appreciated. :)


A little something to ponder:
If I could live again my life,
In the next one – I’d try to make more mistakes,
I wouldn’t try to be so perfect, I’d be more relaxed,
I’d be sillier than I’ve been,
In fact, I’d take things much less seriously.
I’d be less hygenic.
I’d run more risks,
take more trips,
watch more sunsets.
I’d climb more mountains, swim more rivers,
I’d go to many more places where I’ve never been,
I’d eat more ice cream and fewer peas,
I’d have more real problems and fewer imaginary ones.

I was one of those people who lived
prudently and fully every minute of his life;
of course I had moments of joy.
But if I could go back I’d try
to have only good moments.

Because if you don’t know, thats what life is made of,
only moments; don’t lose the now.

I was the type who never went anywhere
without a thermometer,
a hot-water bottle,
an umbrella and a parachute,
If I could live again, I’d travel lighter.

If I could live again, I’d go barefoot
from the beginning of spring
and stay barefoot until the end of autumn.

I’d ride in more carts,
I’d watch more sunrises,
and play with more children,
If I had another life ahead of me.

But now I am 85…
and I know that I am dying.

(Jorge Luis Borges)


Why not make your own website?

For years I thought how cool it would be to have my own website. I was always confused and unsure as to where to start. You may be feeling this way too. I found a great tool to make the job of putting yourself 'out-there' in:    SITE BUILD IT

The great thing with this product is that your online experience can also generate an income. Why not follow the link and have a look around? I have found developing my own website extremely enjoyable and satisfying, you might too.

Self trust.

I remember when I first started teaching how anxious I was until I realised that I was not alone. If I had a situation that I found challenging, I could always consult older and wiser heads. It gave me great peace of mind to know that I had 'back-up'. As my own experience grew I found I was able to offer similar comfort to teachers new to the profession and especially to those I was training to become teachers.
I apply a similar thought pattern when I approach difficulties in everyday life. Firstly I ask myself is there anyone I can trust to help me with the problem. Secondly I ask myself if I already trust myself enough to handle things on my own. More often than not the answer is a resounding 'yes'.
Try this approach yourself, you may find it useful.

Peaceful Warrior new book!

Dan Millman (my mentor for over 20 years)author of the Peaceful Warrior Series, has just released a new book. I thought you might like to take a look:

 The Four Purposes of Life: Finding Meaning and Direction in a Changing World

I have it on order and will let you know what I think soon.

Just take 10 minutes

So many of us go through our lives with problems and issues. We often become so familiar with these that we treat them as a part of us and do nothing about them. Here's an idea. Take just 10 minutes today to sit and write down all the problems you have in your life (count yourself luck if you only have 10 minutes worth :)). Give each one a number - no particular order- and resolve to attempt to sort out one of these issues in the next 7 days. For example; you might have had mild toothache for years and just learned to put up with it. Resolve not to put up with it and at least book a dentist appointment.
After this issue is resolved to the best of your ability, return to the list and have a go at the next one. It could be related to finances or relationships. Whatever the issue/problem is, it won't solve itself, but often we put up with things in our busy lives that either we don't want to address or feel we don't know how to. Take small steps and even ask for help; you don't have to handle things on your own - unless you are a very clever dentist. :)

Animal Magic

When I was a child there was a great programme on the television called Animal Magic. In this wonderful show the presenter acted a zoo keeper and spoke to the animals who would talk back to him (of course the presenter was doing the voice). The beauty of this show was the natural way in which both the animals and presenter interacted. As a child I was mesmerized.
Now as an adult I still observe animals with the same awe and wonderment, only they don’t talk to me in any language I can understand. The neighbours have a beautiful white cat that is always around our house purring and looking cute. Of course me being a soft touch I often share food with it and let it sit on my lap for a stroke and a sleep. It never fails to amaze me how little Ronnie lives in the moment and fully immerses himself into whatever is happening.
The next chance you get try and observe an animal, be it on television or for real. See the way that interact with their surroundings and live in the moment. Perhaps we all have something to learn from the creatures that we share the planet with.

What will be will be

I’m not sure who said this originally (probably good old Shakespeare again (if in doubt blame the Bard)), but it holds true that sometimes things happen that are out of our control. Learning to accept what happens rather than become agitated and upset is a great way to prevent stress. I could site examples from my own experience, but I am sure that you could cite plenty of events that have happened in your own life that you would rather had not. Think of one particular event that you did not want to happen. Try and reflect on how you handle this and the approach you took to it. Would it have been easier to handle if you had been more accepting of events and circumstances.
If things are out of your control do not waste time and energy worrying about them. To quote a line form one of Ian Flemings James Bond books: worry is a dividend paid to disaster before it is due.

Do unto others:

I have always maintained that if you treat others as you would like to be treated; your interactions with people you meet will go much smoother. I was told this by my Judo Sensei (My father) over 30 years ago and it has held me in good stead ever since.
Why not experiment today by approaching different people in different ways, making sure never to upset or offend anyone. Perhaps be overly friendly with one person and especially kind with another. People often mirror each other.
Often when met with an agitated and emotional staff member in school, I would approach them in exactly the same manner. Very quickly into the interaction I would completely change my attitude to one of serenity and calm. It is amazing how this hardly ever failed to illicit the exact same mood change in the person I was talking with.

Do unto others as you would like done unto you (sounds like Shakespeare or someone).

Stop procrastinating

Have you got jobs that really need doing, but that you have put off? Stop distracting yourself and get them done. I often find that the relief that comes from completing a job that I did not want to do, always leaves me questioning why I did not just do the job earlier rather than have it bugging me for ages. So my advice is; stop procrastinating and get it done. This gives you time to do the things you really enjoy.

Get back in touch with nature.

I play Golf. Sometimes I play a whole round and realise that not once did I take the time to look up and smell the roses. Not that there are any roses on my golf course, but what I mean is that I often forget to take in my beautiful surroundings because I am so focused on my game. This is often true in life. We are often so busy in our lives that we forget to notice the beauty that exist all around us. Even if you live in a city you can find some part of nature to come into contact with; a tree, a patch of grass or even a potted plant. Actually touching and smelling nature can help ground us and allow us to re-connect with the earth, to which we are all linked.
If you can try and re-connect with nature, if only for five minutes a day. It will help centre you and allow you to get more out of your day.
Thanks to my good mate Aaron for the image (Sleepy Bay - Tasmania).

Keep your calm

When all about you are loosing their heads (so to speak), when chaos surrounds you, when noise levels are high and no one knows what to do; you have a golden opportunity.
Take a deep breath, actively relax all your muscles and picture yourself sitting in the middle of a storm, where all is calm and serene.
Be the observer of what is going on around you, like you are lying at the bottom of the ocean watching all the activity as it passes by above. With practice you can become really good at this and actually enjoy being amongst chaos.
When I used to work in a busy school environment; with bells and children moving around constantly; I used to enjoy being the calm in the eye of the storm, when others around me where struggling. I would often help colleagues and children alike to try and take some of their pressure off them, whilst still managing my own stresses. Surprisingly some people really appreciated this, whilst some showed resentment or even jealousy. Not so much at my ability to manage things, but more because of the way it caused others to warm to me. Why not try it yourself?

Take your time

So often people use meal times solely as an opportunity to refuel. Eating is a rushed affair, with the food not being chewed sufficiently or the flavours and smells not really being enjoyed.
Imagine you are eating a banana. Firstly you should enjoy the colour. Then the smell. Enjoy the texture and taste in your mouth and finally masticate until the fruit is almost liquid in order to take the strain on your digestive system. Sorry, I’m just going for a banana, back in a mo…………………………………………………………...
Now that was a nice banana.
The same principle should be applied to everything you do. Take your time; enjoy life and all its experiences. Take in the sights and sounds, the tastes and textures. Try it today, you might find a whole new world opens up to you.


I heard a great expression once: ‘the best way to get rid of your enemy is to make them your friend’. There is another expression: ‘keep your friends close but your enemies closer’. All in all, a great way to deal with your enemy or someone you don’t get on with is to change your relationship with them. You might be surprised at how they react to your altered behaviour.
I remember 20 or so years ago when I was working in an International School in Swanage: I just couldn’t get on with one of the other teachers. Mainly I think because my first interaction with her was a negative one. One day we were walking into town together with some students; we struck up a conversation which very quickly moved onto the subject of why we didn’t get on. Within 5 minutes we agreed that it was because we were so similar! From that moment on we got on like a house on fire (I’ve never understood that saying).
Often just taking the time to get to know someone can make all the difference.

Facing Fears

So many of us let fear control our lives. We don’t ask that special someone for a date through fear of rejection; we don’t go for that dream job in case we don’t get it; and so on. I know from my own personal experience that you don’t always get what you want in life, but you usually get what you need! Without doubt the most common belief by all self-help authors in relation to fear is that the best way forward is exactly that. Facing fears and pushing through them is always better than avoidance. Strength comes from experience that you can do whatever you need to. What I have learnt over the years is that things don’t have to be perfect. Thinking they do only adds to the stress and anxiety. When you realize that you can get through something without it being perfect then fear looses some of its hold on us.