Mind Games

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One of the fundamental tools of achieving a joyful life is actually taking the decision to choose joy. In other words, managing our mindset. 

To do that we need to believe that we always have a choice in how we to respond to circumstances.

This is where it gets interesting. Our choices are often dictated by our beliefs and values – but what if our beliefs and values have been chosen for us by someone else?

Step 1 – Beliefs and Values
In fact, many of our B & Vs are actually remnants of what were told was true when we were children.
So, the first thing to do is work out what are actually your beliefs and values and which of them belong to your parents or other authority figures that have been important in our lives.
Then, question them. Do you actually believe them to be true? Or did you just take them on trust?
When I was young it was considered to be a ‘bad thing’ to marry outside your religion. It made some people very angry, and even broke families up. Most people now know that was a sign of the times and not a fundamental truth in itself, and we’ve changed our views and adapted our values accordingly. Now it’s more important to have a loving and supportive partner than insist they share the same beliefs.
It comes down to this; in order to live a more contented life with a good dose of joy, we need to have that joy as one of our highest values, and we need to believe that to be a good thing, an essential thing, a right thing and something that is of our highest priority.

Step 2 – Habits
How we habitually react and respond will change if our values change.

We all know of someone who is negative in their outlook. Nothing is good enough for them. Would it surprise you to know that they probably don’t actually know they’re doing that? Often, for whatever reason they have developed the habit of looking for the negative in life and that’s what they find and report, and call it realism.
In contrast, optimists have developed the habit of looking for the positives in life, and that is what they find and report. This is also realism.
The funny thing is that realism is subjective. One person’s reality is another’s fantasy. It’s actually simple neuroscience; you tell the brain to show you evidence for what you believe and it will do so. Neither the positive nor the negative outlook is any truer than the other, but one is definitely much more resourceful than the other.
Many of us will have grown up in families where it was considered bad form to express too much joy, or affection or even enthusiasm, and so we tempered our feelings to fit in with society.
The problem is, even as we grow into independent adults we may still temper those feelings unnecessarily, and even express disapproval of those around us who are in the habit of expressing happiness. I know that as a child I was often told to ‘calm down’ and that I would be seen as ‘soft’ or ‘simple’ if I expressed joy or enthusiasm.
Think of a time when something happened that made you feel very happy. Did you censor your physical and emotional reaction? If the answer is yes, it’s time to get to work in changing those habits.
If you’re a habitual grump and it’s not working for you, you can change. Rehearse how you would feel and how you will express it the next time something good happens. It needn’t be a leap in the air and a loud ‘Yeeha!’. It could just as easily be a smile and a word of praise, thanks or encouragement.

Step 3 – Be Kind to Yourself
When you choose to live a joyful life It’s the beginning of a long and winding road . 
Like any new skill we’re not going to get it right all of the time and that is just fine.
However, starting on this purposeful road will set you up with the ability to achieve and maintain a greater level of contentment, fulfilment, happiness and joy. In turn that will help safeguard your emotional, physical, intellectual and spiritual health, and that is also something we could do with much more of.

Until next time, stay happy. It will intrigue some people, and totally infuriate others!
Maggie x

PS – if you would like a free daily dose of practical joy to kick off your day, follow me on Twitter @thejoyprotocol, or email me with ‘Daily Dose’ in the subject line . 

 

I Close My Eyes and Jump

angel-81392_1280Goodness gracious what a week!

I had always imagined that when days arrive that will change my life, they would be huge and dramatic. Maybe fireworks and heavenly choirs, marching bands and trumpets, a boom or two of thunder and lightning splitting the sky.

But what really happened was an unprecedented overwhelming wave of peace, and then deep, deep inside I heard a quiet, loving voice say very firmly “No, enough. It is time now”.

And the decision that had to be made wasn’t scary. I have no doubts about the way forward, and indeed it seems to be the most natural, normal thing in the world.

So, what actually happened is that this week I resigned from my well-paid job to devote my life to coaching and training, to helping people get happy (and therefore successful) quickly and easily, and to have fun doing it using a combination of comedy and cutting edge science (for those that don’t know me I’m also an actor and comedian).

Just to re-emphasise, on Tuesday I had a six-figure, relatively safe government job, and now, after I work my notice, in about 3.5 weeks time I’ll be working for my own business Elegant Concepts Group.

What I’ve done goes against all conventional wisdom. Women my age (52) find it increasingly difficult to get decent work in the corporate sector, and those who tread cautiously would say that it really isn’t the time to be striking out on one’s own.

However, here’s the crux of the matter; for the past 30-odd years – most of my working life – I’ve been suppressing who I really am in order to fit into the ‘corporate box’. I’ve been living a double life; appearing on stage either in theatre or comedy in the evening and by day I’ve been hiding my true passions to fit in with everyone else, and in the process I’ve been exhausting myself physically, emotionally and spiritually. I have also been disappointing myself for not standing up for whatever oddity I feel I must be.

I have often looked with envy at people who love their 9 to 5 jobs and wished for some of the peace of mind they seem to have. But maybe they too are hiding their passions in some way to fit in with what our society asks of us. I know that for me, as I’ve got older, it has been increasingly difficult.

And then I had the health scares of the past couple of months (see previous post) to bring me to very sharp awareness of the fragility and transient nature of our time here on earth.

The key has been a question of alignment. I’ve been out of alignment and not living my values, and yet that is what I ask my clients to do, to live according to their values. How can I ask that of them when I haven’t done it myself?  That non-alignment has probably been at the basis of my health and stress problems. I can hear my old Scottish mum’s voice in my head “Ye cannay be the servant of two masters.” And that’s why I’m now giving up on one and following, with such a happy heart, the other.

I have the advantage of a fabulously supportive husband, my lovely Steven, who in his own quiet way has been pointing out my fierce defence of this middling stance for some time. And now I’ve stepped out of no-man’s-land and made the commitment he is with me all the way.

So, here goes. The countdown is on. I have my methodology and content that I want, no – need – to deliver, my products for individuals and corporates are almost ready, and even in the past few days opportunities have opened up that I would never have even noticed before. The Universe responds.

I close my eyes,

I take a big breath, and

JUMP!

Enough To Be Pondering On

Where does your divinity lie?                       

Is it something or someone in the sky you implore in times of need?

Is it something you tap into daily in a conversational style?

Is it something you work with cooperatively, not minding whether it’s god or just the set of physical and metaphysical laws we can’t yet identify?

Is it something you absolutely identify with and use to label yourself and your life as opposed to people who don’t consider themselves ‘spiritual’?

Or is this a stupid question, because after all there is no deity or divinity beyond what we see?

This Coaching journey I’m on, this learning and this helping of people is teaching me so much – about myself and my life, my beliefs and my view of the world.

I’m seeing more and more the divinity in the everyday, the perfection in the flaws and the beauty of humanity and its potential. It seems that divinity, the sacred, is everywhere in general, commonplace in its nature and, paradoxically, nowhere specifically.

Don’t have much more to say than that of a Sunday morning, and it’s probably enough to be pondering on a sunny winter’s day.

Have a great week!

 

The Best is Yet to Come

It has been a while since I’ve blogged again. It has been another time of great change, learning and processing. I’ve begun studies in Coaching and even in just the pre-intake learning, I’m learning so much about myself, about why I do the things I do and how I can take control of them, that I am very excited to be able to take this and so much more forward for the people I currently work with and those I will help in the future.

It’s one of those phases in life where it feels I’ve come home, even though I’ve never actually been here before.

It’s just the same as when I began studies for my degree in Communications, way back in the dark ages of 1985 where there was no such thing as a text book for PR and we learned it from a guy who’d been doing it since the 1950s!

At that time I also felt that I’d come home – the material was exciting and I was discovering new things about myself that I didn’t know I could do. I understood it all so easily and I was fortunate that it translated into a series of great jobs over the past 24 years.

And now my job has changed and I’m more in the business of people, and here I am discovering these studies about maximising the potential of people! And it feels like I’m in my 20s all over again, discovering new worlds and enthusing about it all to anyone who will listen (you included, dear reader!). I feel like a kid in a candy store, with so many goodies to learn about and apply to both myself and anyone who wants my help.

I started my Elegant Souls page on Facebook a few months back. I knew I had managed to improve my life beyond imagination over the past 17 years, mostly through self-taught principles, self help and spiritual books of the New Age flavour. Here’s the passage from Elegant Souls that explains its raison d’etre:

“In August 1994 I was married, eight months pregnant, in a dead end job and a one bedroom flat in Glasgow.
Then one morning I answered a knock at the door to find a policeman with a warrant for my husband’s arrest. My life was in shreds, and the other lies I uncovered that day tore it down even more. I was at the lowest point of my life.
Now in 2012 I’m living in the country of my dreams, in the house of my dreams, in a fantastic marriage to a great guy. I have wonderful friends, I have enjoyed creative and financial success and at age 50 and three quarters I reckon its time I put something back by showing others how they can turn their lives around like I did mine.”

I knew I wanted to help others, and I knew I needed help above and beyond my supportive family and husband. I contacted the lovely Linda Chaousis and she agreed to be my mentor and help me explore the pathway forward.

I came to realise I wanted a methodology behind what I did to help people to short circuit some of the laborious paths I’d taken. I did some research and came up with probably the best coaching school in Australia, The Coaching Institute. I’m totally in tune with the school’s ethos and look forward to completing my studies with this fantastic team.

I’ve started coaching already – both at work and in my out-of-work life –  and I’m looking forward to a trip to Melbourne soon to spend some time with my instructors and fellow students.

I’m now 51 and a bit – the time in my parents’ lives when they were winding down to retirement and settling for whatever they could have. Not me! I’m stepping out into the most exciting time of my life yet – the best is yet to come.

Woo hoo – what a ride!

Gratitude – The Law of Attraction’s Rocket Fuel

I have a fabulous friend and mentor, and when we get together our discussions around everything from business to peoples’ potential and metaphysics can really take us to places of new discovery.

One such discussion took place a few weeks ago that really gave me food for thought. We came around to the subject of  gratitude, and how, when we’re looking to bring about or manifest a situation, if it is visualised in a general atmosphere of gratitude then it tends to lend the whole exercise a power that’s not there without that mindset – I’ve started calling it Rocket Fuel for visualising!

And it’s great to know this, that it works and it can really power a visualisation, but how does it work? These were the things we were discussing when I realised the answer – currency and vacuums!

No, not money and carpet cleaners – let me explain.

When I was a much younger student of Tai Chi and Chi Kung, our Grand Master would teach us that to properly breathe deeply we must not begin on the in-breath, but on the out-breath.

He explained that we need to expel as much of the old air from our lungs as possible, and just when you think it’s all gone, then use your stomach muscles and diaphragm and perhaps even bend over (as in some of the Chi Kung exercises) to expel even more.

This space becomes a bit of a vacuum which then assists in drawing a larger proportion of new air in when you take your big in-breath. Try that two or three times and you’ll actually feel quite giddy because your body isn’t used to all that fresh air – its used to a good proportion of the old stale air.

The other aspect of our discussion about gratitude led me to thinking about energy. Energy isn’t stagnant – it needs to keep on moving to be effective, much like an electrical current.

And that’s when it struck me – conscious gratitude is an outpouring of positive energy from your being-ness to either a specific (God, the Universe etc) or non specific target (the world etc). Where it goes doesn’t really matter. What does matter is the mood and movement of the energy, and that outpouring of positivity then creates a space, like the lungs empty of expelled air.

And because like only draws to like, it creates that space specifically for positivity to enter, and that’s how it rocket fuels your visualisations.

The great bonus of cultivating gratitude is that it has a side benefit – it puts us in a better, nicer and more positive space than we would otherwise be if we were worrying or panicking because if that is what we’re sending out, then that is what  we would get back.

So, next time you find yourself with an air of negativity of whatever type, put it to one side, draw out your gratitude and send it out, creating the space for more good stuff to come right back atcha.

The Meaning of Life

The Meaning of Life

It’s been a while since my last post, life seems to have sped up.

Work is busy as always, plus getting a new job that I start in a few weeks time. Add to that preparation for the Adelaide Fringe including production and publicity work as well as actually writing and rehearsing with my Three Stuffed Mums buddies Kate and Kehau, it seems my time has flown.

In between it all was a sojourn to Sydney to see no.1 son off on his travels once again with the Navy. It was great to spend time with him and very sad to wave him off. The up part being that it will be only six months and he will be home again.

And in between all of this action trying to observe, to stay true to myself and my path, to learn about what’s transpiring and to simply enjoy life.

Because when it all comes down to it, I think that’s the crux, the meaning of all of this life stuff; living it and creating joy, however you find the expression of that to be.

Some people write, some perform, others love to cook, or make things, or ice cakes or climb mountains or talk to people or any other of a million things. And if they express and engender joy through that activity, if it results in you and others feeling uplifted by it and benefitting from it, there isn’t that much more to aim for, is there?

We Three Stuffed Mums have been talking a lot this week about what our comedy means for us, about what we’re trying to do with it, and we all agree that it’s about the following:

-Do no harm

-Uplift ourselves and others

-Have people leave the show feeling better than when they came in

Sounds good to me!

Have a great week!

M 🙂

Trusting the Tao

Trusting the Tao

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The Tao is always at ease.
It overcomes without competing,
answers without speaking a word,
arrives without being summoned,
accomplishes without a plan.

Its net covers the whole universe.
And though its meshes are wide,
it doesn’t let a thing slip through.

From Steven Mitchell’s translation of the Tao Te Ching

The words above have been a very real, very practical lesson for me recently.

We’re getting ready for another great Adelaide Fringe, and I’m writing a new show with my Three Stuffed Mums colleagues called Still Stuffed. Its a brand new show, with all new stand up comedy and songs, following on from the great success we had last year.

The songs are fine, they’re all written and being arranged right now. All new stand up – that’s another story. I don’t know how other writers operate but I cannot just sit at a computer and write funny – especially when the funny is for spoken delivery.

For me, that means it has to come from spoken origins. And its not a linear process either. Ideas, or phrases or sentences pop up, that generate further ideas that progress out from that original trigger like the ripples on a pond. The most important thing then is the idea, and the next important things are the words that convey that idea. The words can be swapped around like the idea trying on different outfits, but as long as the idea is intact and still inhabits my mind in its original form, there’s that leeway to play with. And then after a few days of musing (or weeks) it gets commited to screen via the keyboard. The words, if you’re not careful, have a way of pegging the idea down like the guy ropes of a flyaway tent. Done properly they neatly package and deliver the idea concisely, precisely and with punch. Done badly they bog it down and kill it. So you can see where I’m starting from.

So, all of this is to say that you cannot force the process. At the same time you have a deadline called ‘opening night’ looming ahead that tends to focus the mind and has the capacity to instill panic. So, what to do?

Me, I have learned to pick up my copy of the Tao Te Ching to remind myself to chill out and that all will be fine. That calms me enough to trust again that what I need will be delivered as long as I do my part in the process. And when I do, its a kind of self fulfilling prophecy, the ideas flow more freely, the mind is more open to receiving new ideas, not tense with panic, and things start to shake up in good time. And I have to say, things are coming together very nicely re the stand up, much better than I anticipated, actually. Adelaide Fringe 2012, I cannot wait for opening night!

If you’re in the vicinity you should pop down and see our show at The Maid, which also has some great comedy shows not featuring us. Our senior Stuffed Mum, Kehau, runs the venue with an aim to helping new comics put on their first Fringe shows without going into bankruptcy to do it. She and her husband Glynn work their butts off to make sure this happens so they deserve support for that alone, I reckon.

Whatever you do, and wherever you are please support your local artists, take part in your local culture and entertainment, and most of all, have fun!

Have a great week!

Maggie 🙂

NB: When looking for the correct stanzas to illustrate my point about trusting the flow in the writing process, I went to the internet version of the translation and blindly clicked on a chapter number. It turned out to be precisely the best chapter to describe what I was trying to say. Bravo Tao!

A Pleasant and Scenic Ride

I know that when I’m at one with my Tao, or engaged in the flow, or however you’d like to put it, that things feel easier. I know that right there in the pit of my stomach that it feels good and right. Its a deep and sure and steady feeling of just knowing.

Wu Wei - Image sourced from http://www.koanic.com/tao6.htm

At times, when there is action about and I feel like this, like the wind is at my back and all good fortunes are with me, then it is very easy to be carried by the motion, to surf along on the wave. It’s exciting. The metaphorical – or even metaphysical – wind is in my hair, I know I’m on the right track and whoosh, the old adrenalin’s up and I know I’m headed for something good.

But as there are times of action, so there are also times of non action, times when it is not the right thing to make a move, or a decision. And I know these signs just the same as those that indicate action.

And that’s when it can get kinda difficult. Sure, I get still in mind and body, and I’m ok with that, kinda. I’m sure its the right thing to do, to be still and do nothing, but action is a little addictive. It also gives me an illusion of control over external events, like I’m directing the wave rather than just riding on it. So, when it comes for time to be still and that feeling of control is debunked, a mild panic sets in.

What to do? I still the mind (again).

Then I become aware of the activity around me. People scurrying about seeking the same results that I want to achieve. From the outside, they seem to be in control, they seem to be taking strides towards their goals, they seem to be achieving what they’re setting out to achieve, and here am I sitting still, doing nothing.

Two things can happen at this moment; the first is that I can act out of panic. Inevitably whatever I do in this situation gives immediate satisfaction, like a sugar rush that spikes but then plunges me back down into a trough of self recrimination for not staying true to my path. The results of the action rarely bear fruit that’s  more than a momentary distraction.

The second thing I can do, if I’m calm and together enough, is to observe the people scurrying about in a detatched, yet compassionate manner. I am not them and they are not me. I have no way of knowing how connected or otherwise their activity is to their inner compass. In most ways its none of my business. My business is to be about my own business which is my path and my deportment in the world, in a manner as true to my own compass as possible.

This is what I try to do. I don’t always succeed, but when I do, and I keep my mind clear and ready to see the signs for action, expecting them, expecting only the best and trusting the Tao to provide them, things tend to go swingingly better. Patience (not my best trait) wins the day.

To finish, I was told this story by a man who was a soldier just after WWII, and I’ve often used it as a metaphor for myself and how to engage in Wu Wei:

“We were on manoeuvres on the Island of Arran. Arran has mainly two roads – one that goes around the perimeter of the island, and another, the string road, that cuts through a Glen  in the middle of the island and connects the eastern and western coasts.

I was dropped with the other soldiers in my squad on Brodick Beach, on the Eastern side. Our mission was to get to the other side of the island and meet there later that day. I really didn’t feel like it, I’d been out drinking the night before and I watched my mates all run up the beach in front of me with their ‘AAARRRGGHHs’  and war cries as they fought the sand, jumped up onto the esplanade, crossed the road and disappeared into the Glen that carried the String Road.

I managed to get  up the beach, climb the seawall and get up onto the footpath. I watched my colleagues disappear into the greenery – I was the last person there and I really doubted that I had the energy, never mind the will, to tackle the trek.

All of a sudden my vision of the Glen was obscured by a vehicle that pulled up in front of me. Turned out I had been standing at a bus stop and the door opened and the driver asked me where I wanted to go. I told him Dougrie and he said ‘jump on.’

In full uniform I didn’t have to pay a fare and I was at our muster point two hours before my mates after a very pleasant and scenic ride!”

 

Re-awakening

It’s been a couple of weeks since my last post and much has happened.

Not that you would know it. Work has been very busy with little energy left when I’ve come home except to have tea, stare at the telly for an hour or so before wondering if 8.30pm is too early to go to bed.

But there’s been stuff happening, internally. Not my digestive system, I’m glad to say – but in my heart and my head. I’ve been going through one of those times where you question where you’re headed, where you reassess what’s important to you, and you refine your trajectory for where you want your life to head in the future.

I’m lucky in that I have a fab husband who lets me bounce all this stuff off him, and he’s always there as the person who supports me, who encourages me and who, often as not, rips the piss out of me when it’s required. Yes, I’m very lucky to have him.

Its always interesting when these phases strike, like a caterpillar going through yet another phase on the road to butterflyhood, each one builds on the one before.

I can trace these phases in my life going back to 1995. That was the year my mum died and my spiritual education took off with a blast. Suddenly I was propelled on a fast track of information soaking into me like I was a sponge. I was led to the right people, the right books, the right places and all at the right time. It was like I was inhabiting a parallel world for a few years. One where I would go to my work and look after my family on the one hand, and on the other I was slowly learning to  create the future I wanted.

After a kind of incubation and learning period of about four years that included me being introduced to numerous spiritual practices – both ‘New Age’ and very ‘Old Age’, I launched.

In the past 14 years I’ve managed to achieve all I had visualised; I gained the right job at the right time to get the points required to get our family to Australia; I gained my freedom from a bad marriage on my terms; I learned the difference between thinking I was in love with someone because I wanted what they had in life (and I was living it vicariously), and actually being in real love. The first situation is where you’re pulling that person’s energy out of them to fill your void – not good as it depletes them. The second situation is where you can’t help but spontaneously send out your energy to the other for their well-being and happiness – and when two people are in a relationship that’s a mutual outpouring of energy to each other, its just the best thing ever.

And then, after all that activity and learning and manifesting, I seemed to forget all about these amazing tools and connections I’d learned. It all totally dropped from my radar and I became so grounded, I lost sight of all I had learned. I’ve spent the past four years being ‘totally human’ and not really regarding my spiritual side at all. Of course what’s learned has never gone away, but it feels like it has been sleeping, like part of me who sees the bigger picture has been asleep.

And now, it has awoken again and there’s a sort of surprise that the sleep happened. Not that it hasn’t been great and restorative, but now I’m back again, feeling more whole than I have in such a long time, that it feels like another launch period isn’t far off. I’m immersed in a revision process, my old sources and helps are coming to the fore. Certain books, like old friends, are reappearing and waiting patiently in line to be re-read, other books are being offered for reading by old friends. Conversations with those friends that never before touched on the spiritual are now springing up of their own volition, and the synchronicities are happening more and more – the right people, articles, pointers are all amassing.

I wonder if there’s a wave of energy happening; perhaps I’m not the only one experiencing this reawakening, perhaps now is the time for all of us to start getting to work.

Is there anyone else out there feeling this?

Have a great week!

M 🙂

Happy Halloween!

It’s Halloween in a few days time, on 31 October, and already I’ve heard enough people complain about us celebrating an ‘American tradition’ here in Australia that I’m moved to set the record straight.

Halloween isn’t American.

Yes they have a distinctive way of celebrating Halloween in the US with Trick or Treating and rewards for this juvenile blackmail consisting of various types of boiled and hardened sugar, but that’s not where its from.

Halloween, if you go waaay back is related to the old Celtic festival of Samhain, which was the celebration of the ending of the ‘light’ part of the year and the coming of the ‘dark’ part of the year.

Then when the Christians came, like the other big festivals, they put a layer of their own meaning  on it. With Easter it was the celebration of new life in Spring, of the goddes Oestra, or the celtic Beltane, and they slapped the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus onto it.

With Halloween taking place on the day before All Saints Day, it was in the Scot’s tongue, Hallow – meaning Holy, and een or e’en meaning eve or evening – the evening before the Holy Day – All Saints Day.

When I was a kid in Glasgow in the 60s both the pagan and the christian meanings sat very comfortably side by side. We dressed up as other people, we were told, because on Halloween the devil had his last big blow out round the world before we all cast him out by celebrating the saints the following day. If we were disguised then he wouldn’t know who we were and would pass us by. Thus the tradition for ‘guising’.

It wasn’t commercialised back then. You’d go to your neighbour’s door and ask ‘anything for Halloween?’ and you’d be invited in to do a ‘turn’. so, you had to have your repetoire ready – a poem, a song or a dance to amuse and entertain and you’d be rewarded with peanuts in their shell (monkey nuts as they were called), sometimes fruit, sometimes sweeties and sometimes (rarely) a penny or two.

As for costumes, it was whatever your mum had in the  house. My first guising was when I was four and was dressed as Robin from Batman and Robin with a pair of red tights and a tea towel for a cape. There were lots of ‘Mrs Mops’ because everyone’s mum had aprons and overalls and slippers and mops in the cupboard, and ther would be little boys dressed in their dad’s oversize gear with flat caps.

You’d go to neighbours who knew you, often accompanied by parents and it was all a bit of a laugh.

The city Bakeries produced Halloween cakes – a sponge covered in icing made into a big funny face with imitation cream under the cheeks to puff them out – leading to the saying “He/she’s got a face like a Halloween Cake”.

For games we’d be ‘dookin for apples’ – hands behind the back, trying to grab apples floating in water with our mouths, or if you were like my mum she made us kneel on the chair and drop a fork from our gobs into the bucket to spear the apples.

The other game, which I don’t know what it was called, had slices of bread covered on two sides with jam hanging by thread from the clothes pulley in the kitchen. The object was to eat the bread with just the gob again, resulting in a gloriously sticky messy face.

Oh, and we didn’t have pumpkins but we did have turnips that grew to the size of footballs, so these would be carved out and a candle put in them.

Anyone else have memories of Halloween pre commercialisation? Would love to hear them.

Happy Halloween!