My Serenity Prayer – more on the theme of Letting Go

A week before my last public OPERATION SHINE! workshop I had only two people booked and paid for, so I was starting to think I might have to cancel the session. For a few weeks prior to this, I’d been working hard on promotion, through social media, networking events, paid-for advertising, announcements after yoga classes, leaflet drops around the town and to my neighbours. I even asked Dave to pass my flyers to his clients. But all this effort didn’t seem to make any difference. Still not enough bookings to go ahead and only 6 days to go… I wondered if this was the Universe’s way of telling me that I’d got to the end of the line with the public workshops, that I needed to concentrate instead on the inhouse workshops for groups…Or, when my self-doubt was at its worst, whether I was barking up the wrong tree completely and OPERATION SHINE! was not going to continue…Worse still, that I’d made a mistake and OPERATION SHINE! was not part of my life-purpose after all…a thought that left me feeling dumbfounded and sad.

You see for so long I have believed that it is only through hard work and effort that I can achieve what I most desire. This is what I was taught when I was young – and I think that’s what most of us learn. And for the most part I have achieved my life goals, focusing my efforts, working hard and getting to where I want to be, creating, launching and managing new ideas and projects successfully. All this effort over the years has come at some cost, however – imbalance in my life, too much work and not enough play, an over-busy mind, too much planning and not enough spontaneity, being over-controlling for fear of failure, creating stress-related illnesses and exhaustion. Too much effort. Not enough surrender.

But I have learned through my own self-development journey and spiritual path that I can let go more, I can DO less, and BE more, and by so BE-ing, I can actually achieve more. I allow space for the wonder and creativity, the ideas and inspiration when I take time to just BE. I can let the Universe put things into place, if indeed this is what is meant to happen…It’s an amazing idea isn’t it? DO less and ACHIEVE more. Counter-intuitive for most of us, I know! Of course, in the case of my business, I have to let people know about my workshops through the communication means I have available to me – they wouldn’t find out telepathically after all! But what I don’t need to do is get so anxious – about whether the workshop will take place or not, about persuading people to come along,  about how I tell people I need to cancel if I have to…I can promote ‘just enough’, let go and see what happens. I can trust. That’s the difficult bit, however. Trusting and letting go…I’m not used to that. But my recent life has shown me that when I have trusted and let go, things have always worked out…usually even better than I expected…

But of course, three weeks ago I forgot all this and with only two people booked I worked too many days and too many hours to make OPERATION SHINE! happen. I worried. I tried not to, because of the above learnings. I tried to be philosophical, but somehow my inner saboteurs kept creeping back to undermine me.

And then, two weeks before the workshop I felt so tired. I remember walking back from town and I could hardly put one foot in front of the other. I had to have a lie down when I got home. This is not usual for me and I suspected I was going to get a cold – or even worse the flu. When I have felt like this in the past I have sometimes managed to head off illness  with a good night’s sleep, but not this time. And it was a humdinger of a cold! Started in my chest, then up to my head and nose, then back down to my chest. Lovely! I was out of action over the weekend and for most of the following week, with my worst two days falling on two of the hottest days of the year.

Magical Me

Over the first weekend, however, not wanting to go out or able to move much, I spent a lot of time in our lovely Ikea rocker rereading The Magical Approach  – one of the Seth books channelled by Jane Roberts. And lo and behold! this book is all about letting go…making less effort and reminding us that ‘behind the scenes’ so much is going on to support us all in our lives…the magical laws of attraction, of intuition, creativity and divine economy…I’d forgotten what this book was about and it had almost jumped off the shelf at me when I was looking for something to cosy up with. I laughed out loud when I read it again! A perfect reminder. How magical was that? Ha!

Then three days before the workshop, when I was just considering how to cancel and following days of quiet as I looked after the tail end of my cold, I found I had six people booked in and paid for! The workshop went ahead and was a delight.

What I have learned from this situation, is that there is a subtle ‘tension’ for me (and for us all I guess) between action and surrender, effort and letting go. So how will I know next time when to let go and trust the Universe to ‘do it’s thing’? How can I avoid moving from the good-feeling of ‘just enough effort’ into the uncomfortable-feeling of over-efforting based on anxiety and fear, which led to my exhaustion and illness? And there, in my own words, is my answer! I can notice, HOW DOES IT FEEL? Like all situations in my life (and yours I guess) when it feels light, natural, effortless, uplifting, GOOD…carry on, I’m on the right track. As soon as it starts to to feel heavy, tiring, anxiety-led, uncomfortable, BAD, that’s when my body and mind is telling me it’s time to do things differently, time to let go. And I realise that this feeling started in my mind, with the fearful thinking, and was followed by the feelings in my body. Hm. A prime example of how our thoughts affect our bodies, eh? I hope this situation has raised my awareness enough to help me let go sooner next time…Perhaps, remembering what happened this time, I could stop myself and review what I am doing as soon as I start to feel the anxiety creeping in…

I am reminded of the well-known serenity prayer…

Grant me the serentity to accept the things I cannot change

The courage to change the things I can

And the wisdom to know the difference

And I have created my own version for Letting Go, to remind me of the magic that lies behind it all, for me and for you:

Grant me the serenity to know how much to act

The courage to trust and let go

And the wisdom to know when to effort, and when to surrender

Namaste Lovely Ones! X



In June 2017 I felt inspired to create paintings for two strong, honest, wonderful women. Two women I barely knew. Something I had never done before and which took me completely by surprise!

The Angels of Healing

As you may already know, I only started to paint a couple of years ago and since I started, over thirty paintings have tumbled out of my imagination onto canvas. The images in my paintings have come to me in various ways. Some are based on what I have seen during meditation, such as The Angels of Healing, when I was feeling under-the-weather in 2015, and the images of Fig’s other dimension alter-egos, Sheba and Eric, described in my last blog post.

Glastonbury Impressions

Others have come to me following meaningful experiences – such as Impressions of Glastonbury , after a trip with Spiritual Companions in 2016, and Split Screen, which popped into my mind after visiting an exhibition at the Towner.

Split Screen

Since I started painting, I had never created or wanted to create anything for anyone else ‘on commission’, however, and I do not generally paint things that I see ‘outside of me’, like objects, landscapes or people.

That is until June this year…

The brass giraffe

The first painting I ever made for another person was for Glynnis Wisbey, who I’d met at Bizzybirds Networking for Women. Glynnis’ moving story about how she and her family are raising funds to take her severely disabled daughter, Elke, to Giraffe Manor in Kenya, touched me at a very deep level. Another group member had suggested that I paint a giraffe for Glynnis – something that could be auctioned or raffled as a fundraiser. I remember mumbling something like ‘Oh I don’t know…I don’t really do commissions…’ in response. Little did I know that the seed was planted, however, and an image soon came to me of Elke, as a fit, well and vibrant young lady, reaching up to a beautiful gilded giraffe…An image that stayed with me for a while, ‘hovering above my right shoulder’, waiting to be ‘downloaded’ onto canvas.  I then began to wonder how I would paint the giraffe and I pondered on this in meditation. The answer soon came to me when I remembered the brass giraffe ornament that’d been sitting on my shelf for years…! So this is how Elke’s Wish was born, and the painting was presented to Glynnis at a Bizzybirds event in July.

With Glynnis

The second painting inspired by another was Transcendence, made for Kerry Knight. Another member of Bizzybirds, I had met Kerry only a couple of times and read some of her Facebook posts. Kerry’s husband, Shawn, was seriously ill and I found myself very moved by what she wrote about his illness and his subsequent passing. In one of Kerry’s posts she had spoken of Shawn as a beautiful butterfly, and how she wanted to celebrate and honour the time he had been with her, rather than lament his ‘flying away’.  Kerry also often spoke of Shawn ‘getting his angel wings’ after he passed. So this is how the combined image of butterfly and angel wings came to me…

Now I absolutely knew without doubt that when I was painting Elke’s Wish and Transcendence these paintings were not meant for me. They were meant for the women that had inspired them. Both paintings were created almost simultaneously over the same weekend at the end of June. They just flew out of me! Glynnis’ and Kerry’s stories had so touched my heart. Looking back now, I guess that the urge to I create these paintings came from my heartfelt desire to offer both women them my love, understanding and support. And I did this in the best way I knew how, through my recently-discovered ability to ‘download’ images from my mind onto canvas.

My sense is that these two paintings are ‘healing’ somehow. For Glynnis and Kerry, their families and friends… Healing for me too somehow? I certainly went through an emotional and uplifting process whilst creating them. I see them as a gift from my soul to theirs. They came from me, and through me at the same time…A recognition of our connection, as wives and mothers, as women and human beings, as souls journeying together and apart. An absolute joy and honour. So much love…Perhaps this is healing for us all.


The Divine Light in Me Honours the Divine Light in You. Because we are all One in Consciousness.





When I first laid eyes on Fig she was in a perspex-sided pen at Raystede animal rescue centre . She sat at the front window, quietly looking up at me and as I stared down into her beautiful dark brown eyes my eyes filled with tears. I turned to Dave and I said – ‘Here she is – this is my dog.’ All the other dogs were going bonkers around us, running to and fro in their pens and barking…Fig stayed very still and just looked up at me. Zen dog. Dave smiled and said the choice was up to me, as this would be my very first dog…

It was December 27th 2013, a grey and wet day.  The doldrums between Christmas and New Year. Dave’s sweet rescue dog Rizzy, a Doberman-Manchester terrier cross, had passed away two years before and we felt it was now time to bring another canine friend into our family. We’d originally been going to try the retired greyhound place over at Hove because I had fallen in love with ‘long-dogs’ after walking with my friend, Jenny Binnie and her lurcher Roxy. But, unbeknownst to Dave, I’d also been looking at the Raystede website and I had spotted this beautiful ginger lurcher needing a home…So I suggested we check out Raystede before heading over to Hove…I held my breath, not wanting to get my hopes up in case she’d already been chosen by another family before we arrived…And there she was…waiting for me!

She’d been at Raystede for a month and nobody had chosen her, even for a week’s trial. We were told there’d been a few lurchers brought in and she was the last one left. As it was around Christmas, a number of the strays had been given festive names like Tinsel, Holly and Fairy, but for some reason they’d decided to call this beautiful being Shabby. Hmph! To be fair she did look a bit bedraggled. Very thin and scarred. She looked like she’d been in a few scrapes…Raystede didn’t know much about her. The volunteers told us she’d been found as a stray with no identification chip or collar and she wasn’t spayed, so they’d taken care of that. And as no one had claimed her or chosen to take her home with them, they couldn’t tell us anything about her temperament, if she was house-trained or could understand any commands. We took her for a walk around the grounds and it was like ‘walking a cloud’, she just floated next to us, no pulling on the lead at all, which we’d got used to with Rizzy. We hurried to get the paperwork completed and to our surprise Raystede said we could take her home with us that day. They gave us a bed, bedding and food for her and off we went!

Our Figgy, soon after we found her

As soon as Shabby jumped into the back of our car she visibly relaxed. I sat in the back with her, stroking her and holding her paw and she dozed peacefully for the whole 40 minute drive home. Very soon we agreed that we wouldn’t be returning her to Raystede, and during that week’s trial we found she was indeed house-trained and could understand commands. We bought her a soft new bed, a tartan raincoat, and a new collar. We also came up with a new name for her.  The choices were Biscuit, Peanut, Ginger and Fig. In the end we chose Fig, short for Figgy Pudding, our Christmas dog.

Fig is such a gentle and sweet being. She sleeps much of the day, preferably on one of the sofas, especially in winter, when her bony-ness and lack of fur make it uncomfortable and cold for her to be on the floor. In the afternoon she starts to perk up for her walk and in the evenings she goes bonkers in the garden chasing shadows, cats and foxes, imaginary or real, we are not sure. We didn’t hear her voice for a couple of weeks after she arrived and we wondered if we’d adopted a dog that didn’t bark, but gradually, as she settled in she claimed ‘her garden’.  She’s now happy to shout to protect her space, especially at night!

She is fast like a bullet when she feels like it – chasing mostly after birds, cats, squirrels, rabbits and foxes if she gets the chance… and of course, the occasional thrown ball. She is still scared of dogs bigger than her, however, especially if they come and sniff her for too long. At first she used to try to hide from her pursuers. She cowered and shook between my legs. But after a year with us she started to say no and now snaps at dogs that bother her for too long. Nothing too aggressive just a ‘back off that’s enough’ snap. And I am glad to see her defend herself. True to her nature, she loves all long-dogs like herself – greyhounds, lurchers and whippets alike…they recognise their gentle kin.

And because she is the first dog I have ever chosen I wanted to ‘get it right’. So, on Jenny’s recommendation, I read Jackie Drakeford’s The House Lurcher from cover to cover to learn about lurchers, my Fig and how best to look after her. A great book that described her to a tea!

Since Fig arrived in our family, she has always been my dog. She sits next to me when I do my morning meditation and my yoga practices, she grabs my slippers and sits with them as soon as I leave the house and I feel totally at ease with her. I understand her little ways and the way she communicates. And I never ever get cross with her. Not even when she stood on the painting that I’d left on the lawn to dry at the weekend…We have such a strong bond, Fig and I…. I love her absolutely – her funny ways, her soft fur, her sweet smell and especially her head-to-toe wiggle and ‘hello song’ when she greets me at the door. She is my ‘strawberry’…

But more than this. I gradually started to get the feeling that I’d known Fig before. A sense of connection and familiarity that I have never experienced with an animal. So one day I went into meditation and asked the question – how is it that I know Fig so well? And straight away I saw two images.


The first was that Fig was my horse and her name was Sheba. She was a beautiful palomino – ginger coloured coat with a creamy white mane and tail. I saw myself standing in the woods with her in a sunlit clearing, stroking her neck. I only saw the back of myself, but my hair was long and braided, shining down my back. I wore  long blue velvety robes and seemed to be a young noble-woman, of late teenage years. Then a darker image came to me that Sheba was injured – her front leg was hurt and she couldn’t walk anymore and she had to be put to sleep. I was so distressed and heart-broken that I vowed never again to ride a horse.

The second image came to me soon after. Fig was a giant ginger-coloured hare being carried in a rucksack on my back. I was a teenager again, this time I think around 13 or 14 years old. Again, I could only see the back of myself, lolloping down a corridor towards big glass doors and flanked by lockers. The hare was called Eric. His head and fore-paws stuck out and his ears were up. His long legs dangled through holes at the bottom of my bag – like a child in a baby carrier.


Now I have always loved palominos, although I only recently learnt that this is the name of these horses, when I started to tell people this story…And I have never, ever in this lifetime wanted to ride a horse! No way.

And when I look at Fig, I’ve always seen a miniature horse, and a hare too! Ha! Sometimes she is mistaken by other dog-walkers for a deer, running in the trees…

How funny…and interesting eh?

So I decided to paint my two Fig alter-egos as I saw them in my meditation…this helps me explain to my friends how I see her and how we’ve been together before…

So that’s the story of Fig…so far. Dave has recently given her a much more salubrious official name – FigWilliam Tinsel Littlepockets… Crazy I know! Just a bit of fun because we like how these words sound when we say them…

And we continue to give love to our Figgy Pudding. We are so grateful to have her with us and for the love she brings into our home.

Namaste X



I find that I have been talking with various friends lately about how we are responsible for our own lives and how we can learn and grow through the choices we make. So it feels like the right time for me to release the first ‘story’ from my book, Visits to the Gladea beautiful experience that confirmed for me that I can choose the experience that I am having of this world and that these choices are indeed necessary for my personal evolution.

Namaste Lovely Ones. 🙂 X

The Old Man and the Butterfly

I follow the narrow path, heading deliberately to the clearing in the woods. I wonder if someone or something might be waiting for me. I have a question to ask, but I try not to have any expectation, just in case there is no message for me today.

As I draw nearer to the Glade, the light becomes brighter, but this is not the sunlight that sometimes dapples through the canopy – this is another kind of light. As I come to the edge of the trees I see a bright white oval-shaped glow, hovering just above the ground next to the sitting-log on the right. The brilliance must be over seven feet in height and four feet in width. It vibrates for a few seconds. Then, as I stand, staring at the glow, the light fades and there, on the log, sits a very old man, with white hair trailing down his back, a long white beard to his knees, dressed in light grey flowing robes.

“Are you God?” I ask.

“Yes I am” he replies, nodding slowly. “And so are you”, he smiles, his eyes twinkling.

He indicates the log next to him, inviting me to sit.

I have a question that has been bothering me recently. I feel it is best to get straight to the point. I know that the Old Man won’t mind my directness.

“How will I know when I’m on the right path?” I ask the Old Man.

He answers, just as directly, as if he is just waiting for my question. Which of course, he is.

“Throughout your life you will find yourself in many different places and there will be many choices to make. Your path will depend on your choices. This is how your life will unfold. You will choose your own path.”

Frustrated a little by the Old Man’s answer, I try again.

“But why can’t I know now if the choices I make are the right ones?”

“Because your growth depends on the choices you make. If all was known from the start, there would be no growth. Choose from the heart, choose what feels right to you. Choose what ignites your passion. That is the way to choose the right path: the right path for you.”

We sit quietly for a while, looking into the crackling fire, watching the dancing flames and the flight of the glowing embers lifting up up into the sky above us, riding the twisted ropes of curling smoke.

The Old Man speaks again, slowly and quietly. He speaks as if he were talking to himself, speaking to the flames.

“Maybe now, all you see ahead of you are the choices and possibilities that relate to your situation now. But remember, only a few days, weeks, months, even years ago, you didn’t even know about your messengers in the Glade. You had different choices to make, other crossroads that brought you to this moment. And so it will always be. We do not know what lies ahead. We only know that we can choose the path we want to take when we get there. That is why nobody else can give you the answers. Or if they do they may not be your answers. Others may be able to point out possible choices at a point in time, but not the answers for you. Only you can choose the person you want to be in relation to any event.”

He looks meaningfully into my eyes and nods again. His eyes are as soft and grey as his robes. As wise and as laughing as the stones.

The Butterfly, by Sheila Glendening

Having answered my questions and delivered his message, the Old Man unfolds to his full height – much taller than any man I have ever seen, he towers over me. And then he starts to glow white. The glow grows brighter until I cannot see him anymore, just the dazzling white oval remains, hovering in front of the log where he’d been sitting. Then from the light emerges a beautiful giant purple and silver butterfly, with enormous wings. The Butterfly hovers for an instant by the log next to me and then slowly slowly flaps its huge powerful wings. I feel the rush of air with each wing-beat, but he doesn’t disturb the flames or smoke. Up up he flies, above the fire and into the sky, up with the glowing embers, climbing the twisted ropes of curling smoke.

Extract from Visits to the Glade by Brenda Bruzon, Balboa Press, Copyright 2015.


CORRIDOR OF CORN – our July walking date

So much for our monthly walking date resolution! The weather and conflicting priorities conspired against us for May and June, so Dave & I have only just last weekend had our next ‘monthly’ walking date. Still, better late than never, eh?

Dave, our student and Fig, alongside the wall of corn

This time we decided to explore the countryside near Abbotts Wood and around Michelham Priory. Our 18 year-old Swiss-German student came with us. It had been raining recently, but I didn’t think it would be so wet and, because it was so warm, I decided against my walking boots and chose my walking sandals instead. Ha! That was a mistake! At one point early on in the walk we had to cross a field planted with corn. That was just after Primrose Farm and towards Mill Wood. The corn was so tall! I’ve never seen it up close like that. The farmer had helpfully created a ‘corridor’ through the corn to help walkers keep to the footpath. The red-brown clay earth was slippery and soft, and by the end of that field I was carrying extra weight in the form of muddy platforms attached to the underside of my sandals…!

Climbing over styles and crossing fields is one of the joys of country walking. The grass was very long in places and we all got wet shoes – and me wet toes! Once I’d given up on the idea of keeping my feet dry, I found that it felt so sweet to have my feet and ankles tickled by the wet blades of grass…

My love of big old trees…

Everything was so lush and green around us! That’s why I am always so happy when it rains…how else would we have such a beautiful leafy green landscape?

How he loves a rope swing!

On the edge of Bramble Grove Dave found a rope swing, which of course he had to try out! And I found a massive old tree…

Then a beautiful dark green field of soft clover, followed by a swift march on the roadside back to the pub. It had started to rain and we needed to get back quick and avoid the even muddier woodland paths!

Just a short walk this time, and thankfully we were already indoors enjoying our lunch when the heavens really opened and it poured with rain for the rest of the afternoon.

Clover field


Today I offer you The Urchin and the Waterfall, part of my journey into adulthood. This experience came to me a few years ago, after I tried out one of Gill Edwards’ visualisation techniques from her book, Stepping Into the Magic, during a meditation. And there she was! Little Brenda waiting for me in the Glade…

Inside of each of us I believe we all have a ‘struggler’. A part of us that doesn’t feel worthy, good enough, clever enough, attractive enough…Born out of childhood wounds, the choices we make as we grow up and the lives we lead. And it is my belief that the absolute purpose of us being here, being human on this wonderful planet Earth, in this Universe at this time, is expressly to rediscover our true self, our perfectly imperfect, beautiful, shiny authentic self…and to shine our unique light in the world as only we know how.

It’s taken me 51 years to find my authentic self. It was only at the end of last year that I let go of my struggling ‘teenage’ victimised Brenda-self, and then at the beginning of 2017 when I have finally became adult Brenda! I find now that I am no longer in my ‘victim’ mentality. And how do I know this? Because of how I feel and how this is mirrored by the people and my life around me. This realisation comes of course after my many years of being Brenda, and more specifically since 2009, when I embarked on my path of conscious self-development. It was in 2009 you see that, following a weekend of crying whilst on a yoga retreat in Glastonbury, that I started seeing a psychotherapist. I was then in counselling for two and a half years and during this time, as I started to unravel which part of me was really me and which my upbringing and circumstances, I started opening up to Spirit.  Then came all the self development and spiritual book reading and the workshops I have attended, discussion groups I have participated in, Visits to the Glade and of course my training as a Spiritual Companion…Most recently, it was the book Radical Forgiveness, by Colin C Tipping, that ‘tipped’ the balance for me when it reminded me that my life, from my family dynamics to my current situation, is of my own making and choosing, and that we can only truly let go and be at peace when we let go of our victim mentality, thank all those around us for the part they have played in our development, and forgive. And, most importantly for me, I was reminded that I can choose who I spend my time with based on how it feels.

So here I am at last. Adult Brenda. No longer struggling (at the moment anyway!).

I feel light. I feel free. I feel whole.

And I wonder if there’s more of me to come? More layers of the Brenda-onion…I guess of course there must be! 😉

Namaste Lovely Ones!

The Urchin and the Waterfall

I walk into the woods, along the narrow path between the trees and down the slope into the clearing. The Glade is dark and sombre today, with very little light coming from up above. The fire is out.

The Urchin and the Waterfall by Truide Harman

Sitting on the right-hand log-seat is a small child, perhaps five or six years old, with black messy hair and dressed in bulky, black clothes, all ripped like rags. The child’s legs and arms are bare, thin and white, and covered in dirty smudges. I realise as I draw nearer that this raggedy urchin is in fact ‘little me’, Little Brenda. She looks down at her dirty bare feet, her eyes full of tears, smears down her face. I feel such sadness coming from my little self. My young face, so full of self-doubt, my eyes so full of fear! I am shocked and hurt to see them. I see such a lack of trust, such low self-confidence, loneliness and doubt. All my self-sabotaging thoughts of not being enough, not knowing enough and not being good enough, personified by this incredibly dejected Little Brenda on the log.

I sit down next to my little self and feel all the self-doubt and fear surge up from Little Brenda’s heart into my own. Tears come into my eyes now, as I look down at my small self. Again I feel it, the loneliness, the sadness and the fear. I reach out and draw Little Brenda to me, enveloping her gently in my arms, holding her.

“It’s OK,” I say, trying to reassure my little self.

“We can trust. It is all going to be alright.” I continue. “We are a beautiful stardust being. We can have whatever our heart desires. Do not be afraid anymore. Speak your truth, be true to yourself. Come out into the open. Be joyful. Be recognised in places of welcome, wholeness and acceptance. Communicate your heartfelt desires and fulfil your life’s purpose.”

I pull away a bit and look down at Little Me. She is smiling up at me now, her eyes still wet but laughing. We look into each other’s eyes, the same eyes, a sense of utterly blissful knowing passes between us.

Then I see that Little Brenda is starting to glow white at her core, a shining light coming from deep within her in the centre of her chest and spreading all over her body and around her. And I am glowing too, from my heart’s centre and then out, beyond my body. I hug Little Brenda to me again and our light merges into one, spreading all around us. I get up and walk out of the Glade, down a short track to a waterfall that lies beyond. Little Brenda is now a part of me, moving with me towards the water.

My own interpretation painted in April 2017

Still radiant, I step into the clear pool and wade across towards the waterfall on the far side. I am now waist-high in the sparkling water. I stand under the gentle cascades, facing out to look at the pool and woodland beyond. As the water falls softly and refreshingly on my head, my shoulders and down my back, the glow from my body starts to spread out and away from me, rolling away into the water in dancing white-light ripples. I move my hands in my own sparkling reflection, wriggling my fingers to make little splashes and waves of dancing light. The waterfall is washing away my doubts and fears, all my low self-worth is gone. Only joyous shining light remains.

As my vision comes to an end, the message that comes to me is:

“That is me, in this world. I am already doing it!”


Extract from Visits to the Glade by Brenda Bruzon, Balboa Press, Copyright 2015.



I can’t quite believe that it’s a year now since I first piloted my wellbeing workshop, OPERATION SHINE! The idea to create this workshop came to me in April 2016, when I decided to stick my head above the parapet at work by writing a Jerry Maguire visonary style letter to my CEO at 3VA. My heartfelt and honest message called for us as an organisation and as a sector to look after our staff and volunteers better. I remember speaking of beacons of light and best practice…taking care and investing in our staff wellbeing as a priority and at least as much as we focused on the wellbeing of our project service users…resourcing ourselves in advance and continuously for the work we have chosen…I didn’t get sacked the next day, as Jerry Maguire did. In fact, my approach to the CEO led, a couple of months later, to the first pilot OPERATION SHINE! workshops, initially with my colleagues at 3VA, then as a break-out workshop chosen by participants at The Big Event in July. Such was the positive response that I realised there must be something worthwhile in what I was trying to communicate.

You see what I could see all around me, in our own organisation and in many of the groups I worked with in East Sussex, were wonderful kind and giving people, exhausting themselves serving others and not giving the same amount of care to themselves. High incidences of stress, frequent incidences of sick leave, depression, long term sickness – the latter often being perceived as and taken as ‘an entitlement’, even substance misuse to manage day to day stress. Fear of change and loss of funding for projects was always at the forefront of people’s minds, leading to prolonged feelings of insecurity and anxiety, damaging health and wellbeing throughout the workforce. And, sadly, the people around me were losing sight of the very reason they had chosen to work in the sector in the first place.

And I wasn’t immune to this myself. Back in 2012 I developed shingles shortly after the Volunteer Centre had achieved its quality accreditation award, because I had overworked myself, doing too much overtime for weeks on end and feeling overwhelmed by our task. I was relatively new in the job at the time, with no experience of the award submission process and I was unable to communicate my difficulties clearly and to say no when I needed to. And the stress and fear that I was feeling compromised my immunity, which led to the shingles…Since then, however, I’ve been on my own personal development journey, going to yoga classes and workshops, wellbeing and spiritual workshops, reading lots of self-development and spiritual books and studying in London to become a Spiritual Companion. And as part of this process, I’ve learned techniques and strategies to resource and look after myself better.

And it’s funny how the Universe prepares us for our work isn’t it? So far in advance that I hadn’t a clue what was ahead! Back in 2014 I trained as a life coach and launched my 1:1 coaching business, Shine Holistic Life Coaching (that’s the shine part of OPERATION SHINE! explained…) I had no idea or intention at this time of coaching through group work and wellbeing workshops. I didn’t even think I liked group facilitation! But during my time with the Volunteer Centre I’d learned how to run groups, facilitating quarterly Volunteer Coordinators’ Forums in Wealden over a period of three years. At the beginning I was so nervous. I hated being ‘the expert in the room’ when I was so new in the job, so green. By the end of my first year, however, after four Forums, I was getting better at them and more at ease at managing the topic and group dynamics. By the end of the three years, I positively enjoyed the Fourms! And what I loved most was getting to know the Volunteer Coordinators as individuals…And, of course, I’d been running an informal home spiritual discussion group with friends since 2012…and a public group at The YogaLife Studio since 2015…All part of the ‘preparation’ for my 2016 OPERATION SHINE! launch…

Ironically enough, by Spring 2015 I thought I was ready to leave 3VA and the Volunteer Centre. By this time I’d been working for 35 years and I was tired. I needed a break. So I had my resignation letter ready and I put it on my boss’ desk…There was a niggling feeling in me, however, that I didn’t really want to leave yet…what I needed was some time off. Some space. So I retrieved the letter from my boss’ desk (which if you’d been watching me at the time, involved lots of urgent running up and down three flights of stairs to get the keys and then take the keys back before my boss got back from her meeting) and instead I decided to ask for a sabbatical. This was granted. I then took ten weeks off work – a wonderfully relaxing and enriching space to work on Visits to the Glade and discover my ability to create art. Looking back I also realise that I needed to go back to 3VA and the Volunteer Centre because I needed to develop OPERATION SHINE!…Ha!

Now I often hear and read that, as a spiritual person I ‘shouldn’t’ try to convince others of my way of thinking. No proselytising (a word I didn’t even know until recently, meaning ‘to preach’, to ‘try to convert others to a way of thinking’). Rather I should be the change and let others come to me if they want to find out why I appear to see things so dfferently. But with the latest funding cuts in 2016 and redundancies at 3VA again, when I saw my colleagues so anxious and getting so upset and ill all around me, I felt that I couldn’t just sit back and demonstrate just how not bothered and philosophically positive I was, exuding calm. I was instead driven to share what I had learned. I had the urge to help others move from stress to ease, as I had learned for myself. If this is proselytising then hey ho! It felt right at the time as it does now, and I am good at it. So so be it. In the end, the way I see it is that I am sharing information and tools. and why not eh?! It’s up to the workshop participants how they then use them, if at all. This is my offer and I have no attachment to what happens next for people. We are all adults after all, sovereign beings with choice and responsibility for our own lives. I do hope of course, that what I offer can help improve in some way the lives of all that attend…

And of course I still get affected by the challenges of my own life and I have my ups and downs. But where I used to be on a runaway roller coaster of emotion, unconsciously buffeted by everything and everyone around me, I am now so much more self aware, balanced and calm. Most importantly, I take responsibilty for myself, my situations and how I act in response to my life challenges. This is because, after my years of study and self exploration and based on my life experience, I now consider my life as my choice, that I create my own world and that I attract what I need to grow. I think there’s a bigger picture. I see it as nothing is happening to me, rather it is happening for me. And I resource myself with my regular practice of connection to the wonder and energy of the Universe and I have a reflective practice that supports me in my life and work. These are resources that I have developed these through my conscious self-development journey over the last decade, with my practice honed more recently as a Spiritual Companion. And if I can share any of this with you I will! It’s my job. My life-purpose. My passion and my joy.

Now it was in early 2016 that William Bloom launched, a lottery funded online resource offering short videos of many of the wellbeing techniques explained in his book and weekend workshop The Endorphin Effect. I’d read the book and been to the workshop as part of my Spiritual Companions training and the idea started to percolate in my mind that I could convert these techniques and tools into a half day workshop and bring this and other useful strategies that I had learned on my own life journey to my colleagues in the voluntary sector…

And so, with William’s blessing and the coming together of so many of my life threads, this is how OPERATION SHINE! was born – my tactical response to the dis-ease I could see and feel all around me. Hence the operation part of the name…like a military defence mecahnism. Shields up!

In October 2016, I facilitated my first public workshop at the YogaLife Studio in Eastbourne and the full-house attendance and positive feedback confirmed for me that there is demand out there for OPERATION SHINE! The feedback I received also showed me that this workshop really is for everyone – for mothers, fathers, daughters, sons, wives, husbands, sisters, brothers, friends, carers, workers, therapists, healers, teachers and anyone else caring for the wellbeing of others and our world. (I feel like a hoorah! is needed here…) Hoorah!

In December 2016 I left 3VA and the Volunteer Centre to pursue this new-found passion of mine – to bring OPERATION SHINE! to the public and to groups countywide. A year on, more than 85 people have attended and OPERATION SHINE! workshop. I’ve facilitated two more public workshops at The YogaLife Studio, with two more planned this year. I’ve been working with mental health support groups and Care for the Carers to bring OPERATION SHINE! to its carers’ support groups and staff. My membership of BizzyBirds women’s networking group is opening up new avenues, locations and target groups. I am working wth Eastbourne Volunteers to bring the workshop to organisations in the town and exploring options to do the same with Uckfield Volunteer Centre. To be honest, I’m just following my nose and seeing what opportunities for SHINE! the Universe will bring!

I keep the per-head costs for these workshops as low as I can – my motive has never been to make this a money-spinner, but to make OPERATION  SHINE! as accessible to all as possible. I see this as part of my work as a Spiritual Companion, my service to the world. And so, I juggle these workshops with my other passion – my art creation and sales. We also host foreign students coming to the UK to learn English…My intention here being to fill our spare room, bring in a bit of extra cash to take the pressure off me having to ‘make money’ from OPERATION SHINE! and my art, and to do our bit for international relations. Seems to be working so far! 😉

Thank you to all of you who have supported me on my journey… It’s not over yet – in fact, it’s only the beginning of this new chapter!…Let’s see what happens next eh?

Keep SHINE!-ing Lovely Ones!

Namaste X