ACT and Success and Failure

ACCEPTANCE AND COMMITMENT THERAPY (ACT) – AN ONLINE RESOURCE of inspirational quotes, poems and other act goodies

Q:  How should I deal with success and failure?

A:  Treat those two imposters just the same.

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As human beings we love it when things go well and we love it less when things go badly.  Of course we do, we are human.  This is a perfectly natural human reaction.

Having said that, we do not always know if our judgements of what is good or bad are that sound.  The benefits of success may seem resoundingly clear, the benefits of failure less so.  Success is lovely but it brings with it its own problems, and we know that out of failure can come great lessons, great opportunities for growth.

One of my favourite poems is Rudyard Kipling’s “If”.  It is no accident that it is one of the nation’s favourite poems too.   It speaks to something in all of us. If you don’t know it I urge you to read it, if you do know it, read it again!

Kipling talks to us of success and failure and reminds us to:

“Treat those two imposters just the same”

Wise words.  I wrote “SUCCESS AND FAILURE” to remind me of that.

HOW ABOUT YOU?

  • How do you treat success and failure?
  • Are you able to treat them even-handedly?
  • What can you share that might be of help to others?

Please leave your comments. I would love to hear from you.

 THOUGHT FOR TODAY

POEM FOR TODAY

SANYO DIGITAL CAMERA

 SUCCESS AND FAILURE

 

I love that line in poetry, reminding us that we

Should regard success and failure as imposters mutually,

For though one may come to visit, we’d do well to not ignore

That the other’s in the shadows and may soon knock at our door.

It’s a truism alarming, life’s a challenge for us all,

And so sometimes we will be walking tall and sometimes we will fall,

And the mark of our maturity’s not just found in success,

For our steeliness is tempered in the depths of our distress.

And so let’s not pull up the drawbridge, cower behind the barricade,

Let’s remember men of fortitude aren’t born that way, they’re made,

And out of trial and tribulation there’s a prize that can be won

If we listen to the poet, “You will be a man my son.”

And so let’s not rush quick to judgement as to what is good or bad,

Nor else be too attached to happiness, too frightened to be sad,

For in the flow of our emotions, if we dare to look around,

We’ll see in both success and failure there is treasure to be found.

© Corinne Shields, 2016

If you enjoyed, “SUCCESS AND FAILURE” please pass it on, and do leave your comments.  I would love to hear from you.

And just before you go …..

A final word from ACT …..

On this occasion I am going to leave the final word to Rudyard Kipling!

I have drawn heavily on his inspirational poem, “If” in this post and so I will leave by quoting it in its entirety.  Enjoy!

Image result for rudyard kipling if

ACTivation Point!

SO ……………………….

How about YOU?

What can YOU do just for today to ACTivate your life?

 Just for today I will ………………………

If you have read this far, please do leave your comments. How is ACT helping you?

I am a student of ACT.  I am on a journey.  I would love you to join me.

With all good wishes

Corinne

ACT and Becoming a Hero

ACCEPTANCE AND COMMITMENT THERAPY (ACT) – AN ONLINE RESOURCE

Q:  How can I get over my fear?

A:  Become a hero!

Courage is fear that has said its prayers.:

When we are facing difficult or unfamiliar situations it is natural to feel anxious, nervous, even afraid.  We are pre-programmed that way and it is what has kept us safe over the ages, it is how our species has survived to tell the tale.

It follows, therefore, that when we have these uncomfortable feelings, rather than trying to avoid them or deny them we would do better to acknowledge them, thank them even for trying to keep us safe, and then carry them with us as we take positive action.

ACT talks a lot about “experiential avoidance” and cites it as being a number one culprit for much that we feel goes wrong in our lives.  When we have uncomfortable feelings it is easier, much easier to use them as an excuse to avoid doing what we don’t feel like doing anyway.  Although that may make us feel better in the short term, ACT reminds us that in the longer term we are missing out two-fold.  Firstly, we don’t develop skills that would help us to tolerate and learn from internal unpleasant events, and secondly we miss out on all the good stuff we could do and the confidence we could build by doing it.

No one denies that uncomfortable feelings are unpleasant, but when we understand where they come from and why they are there we can maybe use them in a more productive way.  Using them doesn’t mean we’re losing them, but it does mean that we are not letting them stop us doing things that in the long term could make our lives richer and more meaningful.

If we can do this then bit by bit we will become more like the hero that we would like to be.

I wrote “BECOMING A HERO” to remind me of that.

HOW ABOUT YOU?

  • How do you cope with uncomfortable feelings?
  • What strategies do you use to help you to act even when you don’t want to?
  • What can you share that might be of help to others?

Please leave your comments. I would love to hear from you.

THOUGHT FOR TODAY

POEM FOR TODAY

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BECOMING A HERO

 

Have we got the guts to do it, to step into the unknown?

Find the courage, if it’s needed, to move forward there alone

And be tolerant of strangeness as the customary declines,

Become a stranger in a country where we cannot read the signs.

There’s a multitude of reasons why we wash up in this place,

Some may be of our own choosing, but sometimes we’ll have to face

Situations most unwelcome we would rather far not meet,

But can we still return to where we were or is there no retreat?

And if retreating’s not an option what are we supposed to do,

Find a hidey hole to cower in and hope that help comes through,

Or can we be a little bolder, accept fear is here to stay

And if we’re going forward hand in hand it won’t get in our way.

And then despite our own misgivings we will get to make a choice,

Be like pioneers of yesteryear with reason to rejoice,

Because although the path was arduous and we were oft afraid

We learned that heroes aren’t born fearless, it is out of fear they’re made.

And so let’s treat our fear more gently, let’s not look on it with scorn,

But remember that a hero’s shaped, a hero’s not just born,

And then when fear is coursing through us we can choose how we react,

And if we want to be a hero, then despite our fear we’ll act.

© Corinne Shields, 2016

If you enjoyed, “BECOMING A HERO” please pass it on, and do leave your comments.  I would love to hear from you.

And just before you go …..

A final word from ACT …..

“Experiential avoidance” is such a key concept in ACT, that it is well worth trying to get our heads around it, even though it can be quite difficult to understand, at least I found it that way!

There are plenty of great resources on-line to help and one that I enjoyed was aptly named:

“Understanding Experiential Avoidance”

The article is to be found at thecareerpsychologist.com and shows how experiential avoidance spreads its tentacles in all sorts of places.

“Experiential avoidance is so common to everyone experiencing career paralysis and yet so unheard of that it needs some closer attention.  Here’s the formal definition:

“Attempts to avoid thoughts, feelings, memories, physical sensations, and other internal experiences even when doing so creates harm in the long-run.”  Hayes, Strosahl, Wilson, 1999

If you want to read more then head over to thecareerpsychologist.com.

It makes for good reading whatever stage of our lives we are at!

ACTivation Point!

SO ……………………….

 

How about YOU?

What can YOU do just for today to ACTivate your life?

 Just for today I will ………………………

If you have read this far, please do leave your comments. How is ACT helping you?

I am a student of ACT.  I am on a journey.  I would love you to join me.

With all good wishes

Corinne

ACT and New Responses

ACCEPTANCE AND COMMITMENT THERAPY (ACT) – AN ONLINE RESOURCE

Q:  How can I deal better with difficult situations?

A:  Create a breathing space.  Respond rather than react.

There is a difference between a reaction and a response.  A reaction is automatic, a response is not.  When something happens, body and mind are pre-programmed to react in certain ways.  If that something is pleasant then we can expect pleasant reactions, if that something is not then look out!

If we constantly act on our initial reactions then that can lead to all sorts of problems.  We don’t like something and we lash out, that’s a problem, we like something and we can’t resist it, that can be a problem too.

ACT and Mindfulness encourage us to create a breathing space where we can decide on a more helpful response.  The more we can do that the more manageable and meaningful our lives will become.  Sometimes it is a good idea to revisit some of our responses too.  Just because they have worked well in the past doesn’t mean they are always the best responses now.  As we grow so can our responses.  This is a cause for celebration.

I wrote “NEW RESPONSES” to remind me of that.

HOW ABOUT YOU?

  • Are you able to differentiate between reactions and responses?
  • Are you ready to revisit some of your habitual responses?
  • What can you share that might be of help to others?

Please leave your comments. I would love to hear from you.

THOUGHT FOR TODAY

we-cant-help-our

POEM FOR TODAY

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NEW RESPONSES

We can’t help our reaction, that’s an automatic thing,

But when it comes to our responding, we’re not puppets on a string,

For we have choices to consider, and decisions we can make,

We needn’t act on our reactions we can choose the route we’ll take.

It’s a gift we have been given, this reflecting breathing space

Where we can look at what is happening in our inner private place

Before deciding what is helpful and what’s better left behind,

We can do this when we’re observers of our body and our mind.

And it may be old responses are now due an overhaul,

We can keep the ones still working but we needn’t keep them all,

For it maybe we’ve outgrown them, they no longer seem to fit,

Well that’s a cause for celebration, so let’s just get on with it

And work out some new responses, ones more elegant perhaps,

Those just waiting in the wings until the other ones collapse

Before they move in all their glory to the centre of the stage,

Because if we’re due new responses, it’s because we’ve turned a page.

© Corinne Shields, 2016

If you enjoyed, “NEW RESPONSES” please pass it on, and do leave your comments.  I would love to hear from you.

And just before you go …..

A final word from ACT …..

The benefits of meditation have been well known throughout the ages but it is only relatively recently that it has been made more popularly accessible through practices such as Mindfulness.

Nowadays meditation is no-longer the sole province of Tibetan Monks or practitioners who have spent years in mental and spiritual practice.  Meditation is available to anyone who has the willingness to spend a few moments learning a few basic but very powerful skills.

A good start point can be found at a great website entitled Mindfulness:  Finding Peace in a Frantic World.  Danny Penman, one of the co-authors with Mark Williams, of the book of the same name, describes:

The 3 Minute Breathing Space Meditation

It is free to download and well worth a listen.

If that whets your appetite then try the book.  It was my first introduction to Mindfulness and I return to it often.  It has been a good friend to me.

Product Details

 

ACTivation Point!

SO ……………………….

just-for-today-im-going-to-choose

How about YOU?

What can YOU do just for today to ACTivate your life?

 Just for today I will ………………………

If you have read this far, please do leave your comments. How is ACT helping you?

I am a student of ACT.  I am on a journey.  I would love you to join me.

With all good wishes

Corinne

ACT and Passion

ACCEPTANCE AND COMMITMENT THERAPY (ACT) – AN ONLINE RESOURCE

Q:  How can I discover my values?

A:  Explore your passions!

Image result for inspirational quotes

ACT places a lot of store in valuesValues are at the very heart of Acceptance Commitment Therapy and identifying our values and learning to live by them, even in the midst of our problems, is the key, in ACT terms, to living a meaningful life.

Identifying our values can be difficult.  Coming to know what is really important to us should be easy surely, but it often isn’t.  With so many competing claims on our time, on our energy, we can end up living a life that doesn’t feel meaningful, doesn’t feel satisfactory.  If our life feels dull, if we feel dull, then that is a sure-fire way of knowing that we are not living by our own values.  Living by someone else’s values won’t work.  If we want our life to improve then getting in touch with our values is a good next step.  If we are passionate about something it is likely that will give us a clue as to where our values lie.

I wrote “Exploring our Passion” to remind me of that.

 HOW ABOUT YOU?

  • How in touch with your values are you?
  • Are you true to your values, or do you betray them sometimes?
  • What can you share that might be of help to others?

Please leave your comments. I would love to hear from you.

THOUGHT FOR TODAY

be-happy

POEM FOR TODAY

beach-tai-chi

EXPLORING OUR PASSION

If we have a passion, then best be aware

That it’s not necessarily one others share,

For a passion is personal, give for free,

So what’s moving for you isn’t moving for me.

It’s a fact unattractive, not nice to behold

That a fire in my belly is leaving you cold,

But a passion’s not dependent on what others say,

If we feel it inside that’s sufficient today.

For a passion is something quite hard to define,

But whatever it is it’s not yours, it is mine,

It’s my baby to cherish, my precious to rear,

If the world turns away, it’s for me to hold dear.

So whatever we’re feeling that moves and inspires

Let’s respect for itself, not for who else admires

The outputs of our passion, no need to applaud,

If we love what we do, then we have our reward.

And although ‘twould be good to enjoy the acclaim

Of a world filled with rapture and shouting our name,

If we’ve come to a place where that need is no more,

Then what pleasure’s ahead as our passion we explore.

© Corinne Shields, 2016

If you enjoyed, “EXPLORING OUR PASSION” please pass it on, and do leave your comments.  I would love to hear from you.

And just before you go …..

A final word from ACT …..

I have been away for a month and for most of that time I have been internet free.  And I say that in the nicest possible way!

Without access to the instant communication that the internet gives us life can feel very different.  It can almost feel like going cold turkey at first, so accustomed, even dependent, have we become on its temptations.  And yet, it was rather nice, refreshing even, to be cut off from the demands of the electronic age, if only for a while.

Apparently Digital Detox Retreats and Unplugged Wellness Retreats are becoming increasingly popular.  If you want to read more about this rather novel, some would say alarming, trend there is an interesting article at Huffington Post entitled “Digital Detox Retreats”.

Although not strictly speaking ACT, I have included it nevertheless.  When we switch off from the outside world and go inside for a while we are practicing mindfulness.  When we practice mindfulness we are practicing ACT.  When we don’t have access to all the instant distractions that our gadgets give us we are increasingly thrown back on our own devices.  I quite liked that, at least for a while!

ACTivation Point!

SO ……………………….

be-happy-2

How about YOU?

What can YOU do just for today to ACTivate your life?

 Just for today I will ………………………

If you have read this far, please do leave your comments. How is ACT helping you?

I am a student of ACT.  I am on a journey.  I would love you to join me.

With all good wishes

Corinne

ACT and Flexing our Wings

ACCEPTANCE AND COMMITMENT THERAPY (ACT) – AN ONLINE RESOURCE

Q:  I’d like to try something new but what if it all goes wrong?  What if I fall?

A:  Oh, but my darling what if you fly?

A shaky self confidence or fear of failure stops many of us from pursuing our passions.  We want guarantees before we try something new, but there are no guarantees.  If we are not prepared to live with our natural anxieties then we are denying ourselves the possibilities that could be ours if we dared to take a chance.

In ACT we are reminded that whilst we may feel safer by choosing not to take a step into the unknown there is a cost attached.  This cost is what ACT calls experiential avoidance.  Experiential avoidance is the natural human tendency we all have to avoid unpleasantness and discomfort.  In the external world that makes sense but in the internal world of thoughts and feelings it can lead to problems.  The more we try to avoid the natural feelings of anxiety and fear that accompany trying something new the smaller our world becomes.  The antidote to experiential avoidance is psychological flexibility and that is what ACT helps us to develop.

There is a great video entitled “Headstuck! What is Experiential Avoidance?” which explains it really clearly.   Do take a look.  I think you will enjoy it.  It certainly made me think again about the pitfalls of experiential avoidance.  Yes, it may seem to work in the short-term but in the long-term it leads to problems.

I wrote “FLEXING OUR WINGS” to remind me of that.

HOW ABOUT YOU?

  • Have you experienced the pitfalls of experiential avoidance?
  • How do you cope with the negative feelings that go with trying something new?
  • What can you share that might be of help to others?

Please leave your comments. I would love to hear from you.

THOUGHT FOR TODAY

And-though-the-brink-may

POEM FOR TODAY

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FLEXING OUR WINGS

When we feel most uncomfortable is when we’d like to stay

Safe within the old parameters we’ve set up for today,

They’re the ones we’ve tried and tested, they’re the ones we know so well,

And it’s scary stepping out of them, and hence the warning bell

That reminds us of the dangers that lurk in the great unknown,

That encourages our reticence as seeds of doubt are sown,

And demand of us a certainty we can’t attain and so

It is easier to disengage and let the challenge go.

And how often have we done it, stepped up almost to the brink,

Been prepared almost to test our wings, only away to slink

As the warning bell rings louder, sings the siren song of shame

As we imagine ourselves failing, and so withdraw from the game.

But it only is a game you know, a game with much to teach,

All those lovely possibilities that could be in our reach

If we dared to take a chance, if we became prepared to try

And say, “I know there is a chance I’ll fall, but there’s a chance I’ll fly.”

And so next time discomfort visits us let’s try to braver be

And let’s not scurry back to safety, let’s abide uncertainty,

And though the brink may rise up scary let’s accept those scary things,

So we can find out what it feels like when we dare to flex our wings.

© Corinne Shields, 2016

If you enjoyed, “FLEXING OUR WINGS” please pass it on, and do leave your comments.  I would love to hear from you.

And just before you go …..

A final word from ACT …..

If you haven’t already clicked on the video:

“Headstuck! What is Experiential Avoidance?”

then do yourself a favour and do it now!  It can be difficult getting your head around some of the concepts in ACT but “experiential avoidance” and its antidote “psychological flexibility” are so central that it is well worth getting a clear understanding of them.  This video certainly helped me.

ACTivation Point!

SO ……………………….

Just-for-today-whateer

How about YOU?

What can YOU do just for today to ACTivate your life?

 Just for today I will ………………………

If you have read this far, please do leave your comments. How is ACT helping you?

I am a student of ACT.  I am on a journey.  I would love you to join me.

With all good wishes

Corinne

ACT and Little Whispers

ACCEPTANCE AND COMMITMENT THERAPY (ACT) – AN ONLINE RESOURCE

Q:  There’s a little voice inside that’s driving me mad.  What should I do?

A:  Listen!

The pulling of the heartstrings, the stirring of the soul, call it what you will.   We could call it a reminder of our deepest values, but for today I am calling it “The Little Whispers.”  We know what it is.  It is the little voice within.  It has often been with us for a long time.  Sometimes we wish it would just go away and let us be.  Why?  Because it makes us feel uncomfortable.  It demands something of us, something difficult, something challenging.  It challenges us to step out of our comfort zone and take action.  Sometimes we don’t feel like doing that.

But ACT reminds us that our life is not just about our feelings.  Our life is about much more than that, we are about much more than that.  We can acknowledge our feelings but we do not have to let them run the show.  There is always something we can do to make our life more meaningful, irrespective of how we feel.  The voice within is a link to our deepest values.  When we take action based on our deepest values our life becomes richer.

I wrote “LITTLE WHISPERS” to remind me of that.

HOW ABOUT YOU?

  • Do you listen to your little whispers?
  • Do you act on what they tell you?
  • What can you share that might be of help to others?

Please leave your comments. I would love to hear from you.

THOUGHT FOR TODAY

If-we-are-really-honest

POEM FOR TODAY

DSC04652

LITTLE WHISPERS

New directions beckon us but we may look away,

Little whispers try to talk to us but we are deaf today,

And we’re heading down a one-way street not leading anywhere

Until we look around and wonder, “How on earth did we get there?”

It’s a common enough dilemma for the where we are can be

Not at all where we expected we would end up finally,

And if we are really honest looking back it is quite clear

We’ve allowed ourselves to drift along until we washed up here.

And it maybe we’ve been fortunate and where we are’s not bad

It’s just sometimes little whispers leave us feeing kind of sad,

Just a hint of something missing with whatever that might mean,

Or we catch a glimpse of somewhere else, someone we might have been.

And it can get quite uncomfortable the more we try to stave

Off the whispers with distractions, for the more they misbehave

For they are vying for attention and the more we go off track

The louder get the whispers as they try to pull us back.

And so if we are in discomfort, something not quite right inside,

And we’re trying to quiet those whispers, put them swiftly on one side,

We might do better to simply listen, let their messages come through

Before deciding what it really is we really want to do.

© Corinne Shields, 2016

If you enjoyed, “LITTLE WHISPERS” please pass it on, and do leave your comments.  I would love to hear from you.

And just before you go …..

A final word from ACT …..

At actmindfully.com we are reminded that:

“The aim of ACT is to maximise human potential for a rich, full and meaningful life.  ACT does this by:

a)  teaching psychological skills to deal with painful thoughts and feelings effectively …

b)  helping to clarify what is truly important and meaningful – ie values- then using that knowledge to guide, inspire and motivate to change life for the better …””

It can be difficult to discover our deepest values.  Listening to the little voice within, “The Little Whispers”, can give us an important clue.  The more we develop our Mindfulness skills the more accessible our values become.

ACTivation Point!

SO ……………………….

Just-for-today-I-will attend

How about YOU?

What can YOU do just for today to ACTivate your life?

 Just for today I will ………………………

If you have read this far, please do leave your comments. How is ACT helping you?

I am a student of ACT.  I am on a journey.  I would love you to join me.

With all good wishes

Corinne

ACT and Making Progress

ACCEPTANCE AND COMMITMENT THERAPY (ACT) – An Online Resource

Q: I’ve got so far to go.  How can I possibly reach my  destination?

A: Taking one step at a time.

ACT is quite clear.  The route to a meaningful life lies in discovering our purpose and then carrying it out.  In other words, a meaningful life, one that feels rich and vibrant, requires that we discover our values and then do things that reflect them.

This is more difficult than it sounds.  Sometimes discovering our purpose can feel like one big head-ache.  Life was much easier pre-purpose.  Of course it was. Life was easier when we lived on automatic pilot, life was much easier when we stayed within our comfort zone and life was much, much easier when we just did the same old, same old.

Easier yes, but also stagnant and stifling.  Easier yes, but also generating a feeling of discontent, a feeling of something being missing.

If we are still asking ourselves the question, “What’s it all about?” it’s likely we have yet to discover our purpose!!

Assuming we have discovered our purpose the question then is are we willing to pursue it?  Are we willing to put in the effort required?  Are we willing to take one step forward and two steps back?  Are we willing to accept that there will be times, perhaps many times, when we will feel uncomfortable, frustrated and unsure?  Are we willing to accept the discomfort and carry on anyway?

If the answer is yes, then happily we don’t have to do it all at once.  Happily we can take just one step at a time in a meaningful direction. I think I can manage that.

HOW ABOUT YOU?

  • Are you willing to accept the discomfort that comes with pursuing your purpose?
  • Are you willing to accept that the way will be strewn with obstacles and difficulties and carry on regardless?
  • What can you share that might be of help to others?

Please leave your comments. I would love to hear from you.

TIP FOR TODAY

POEM FOR TODAY

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ONE STEP AT A TIME

It all seems so confusing, ‘twould be easier to stop,

There’s a mountain that needs climbing and the prize sits at the top,

And we’re stumbling in the foothills, have we even come that far?

Monkey mind’s already saying, “It’s too far this Shangri-La!”

And it’s tempting to believe it for the effort that’s required

Leaves us feeling more exhausted than it makes us feel inspired,

But in all of this confusion, let’s not be in any doubt,

The retreat we are considering is not our best way out.

For already we’ve moved forward and a new place we have reached,

It may not have been a pretty sight but boundaries we’ve breached

And we know a bit too much now, and what’s known can’t be unknown,

It is part of who we are now and ourselves we can’t disown.

And so it’s better we continue in a forward sort of way,

Making just a little progress, and then bit by bit each day

We’ll emerge from those old foothills and the mountain start to climb,

And one day we’ll reach the summit taking one step at a time.

© Corinne Shields, 2015

If you enjoyed, “ONE STEP AT A TIME” please pass it on, and do please leave your comments. I would love to hear from you.

And just before you go …..

A final word from ACT ……….

I first heard about this wonderful book in my ACT group and it is a story that has stayed with me ever since.

Product Details

Touching the Void tells the amazing story of Joe Simpson’s terrifying adventure in the Peruvian Andes.  Joe and his climbing partner, Simon, reached the summit of the remote Siula Grande in June 1995.  A few days later, Simon staggered into Base Camp, exhausted and frost-bitten, with news that Joe was dead.

What happened to Joe, and how the pair dealt with the psychological traumas that resulted when Simon was forced into the appalling decision to cut the rope, makes for compelling reading.

However, from an ACT perspective, what this story also illustrates is how taking one step, in this case one excruciatingly painful crawl and a hop, at a time can lead to tremendous progress.  In Joe’s case his actual survival depended upon his taking that next terrible step.  With broken limbs and a dehydrated body, Joe Simpson is forced to make his way down a treacherous mountain, to his base camp.  In the story Simpson talks of a tiny voice in his mind, pushing him onward when everyone else had seemingly left him for dead.

God forbid we are ever faced with the challenges that Joe had to meet, but in our every day lives we all of us have that “Joe moment” when we have to decide whether or not to take that next step!   What Joe describes is the very definition of digging deep and is inspirational for all of us.

Which brings us to the ACTivation Point!

SO ……………………….

How about YOU?

What can YOU do just for today to ACTivate your life?

 Just for today I will ………………………

If you have read this far, please do leave your comments. How is ACT helping you?

I am a student of ACT.  I am on a journey.  I would love you to join me.

With all good wishes

Corinne