The men in my life

I have a lot of powerful men in my life – and I don’t just mean powerful in a world sense, although that is part of it; I mean, in personal presence. You notice a shift in the magnetic fields when any one of them walks into the room.

At last count there were eight or ten of them, sometimes on the periphery, some of them constantly central, mostly moving in and out to some extent. Some of them are personal relationships: romantic, friendships, ex-romantic now “just friends”; some of them are primarily work, although with all of them there is crossover – business is personal and work never totally switches off for me. My life is my work – the way I live is how I influence the world, whether in the bedroom, the pub or the boardroom, or sitting at a friend’s kitchen table.

So why so many? I think in this new millennium we are looking for balance, rather than equality. Yin and yang, masculine and feminine, rather than a blending of the two. I’m a strong woman with no past agenda, no idea of blaming men in this moment for crimes or repression of women in the past. They weren’t the perpetrators, I wasn’t the victim, and I’ve done my share of horrible things in my time, too; and in any case, life is now, let’s get on with it, attend to what is in front of us now.

I call forth the best from them, they call forth the best from me. Sometimes we put each other through the wringer, challenging, pushing – they sometimes by hating or denigrating each other, or by behaving badly, or asking more of me than I feel I can give. Me, I’m blunt, forthright. If I don’t get at least one, “Fucking hell, Jennifer!” in a conversation, I don’t feel I’ve lived up to my promise. I ask the hard questions, and I demand acceptance of my actions and words as I continue my life in faith in my destiny.

It’s not easy being around me, most of the time; but there are times, when we’ve lived up to each other, when we’ve done the immediate work, that we coast for a while, laughing, freewheeling – there is a lot of laughter – riding the exhilarating waves of life together.

Then it’s worth it, we know who we are, we’re fulfilling our potential.

Then we are fully free.

(Image: Eve after the Sin, Eugene Delaplanche — at Musée d’Orsay)

Jennifer Manson is the author of Easy – Stories from an effortlessly created life and six novels, all about people discovering and living their dreams.

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Uncontainable delight

ImageLife gives us circumstances to delight in, if we’re open to them, if we take the time, if we’re willing to stretch our bodies in this unique way. For me, it’s people, or animals – my pets, the gorgeous dog sitting under a restaurant table in a French tourist town – or a beautiful view in nature, the view over the rural valley from my bedroom window, which silences me into hushed awe every time I gaze out across it.

This morning I decide to push into this feeling, which is different to other positive emotions: it is usually accompanied by a sense of wanting more, of not being able to get enough of whatever inspires it. We want to pick up the dog, not just look at him, and hugging him tighter doesn’t assuage that sense of insatiability, either. There’s a tension that goes along with the intensity, and perhaps that’s why I’ve not explored it more before now.

So I bring it up, I replay one of my “delight triggers” and I begin to follow the feeling. It starts near my heart, but as I encourage it to strengthen, I also feel it rising in my body, up through my chest to the left, expanding into my left shoulder causing that shoulder to stretch, as I were flexing a wing; I feel it flit through my collar bone and into my neck and head, lifting me taller as I try to stay with it. And then delight lifts out of me, taking flight, and I am left expanded, yet somewhat confused – am I supposed to follow? And if so, how?

This takes me back to an earlier experience. I was setting off to drive to England, five and a half hours to Le Tunnel, then more hours on the other side. I set myself a question for this time of contemplation: this day I wanted to explore the experience of living a full life. I wanted a deeper understanding of living out full expression, fulfilling our destiny, being our own personal growing edge of the universe – and how that feels.

I expected to be shown a variety of human scenarios: the full life of a novelist, an artist, a dancer, a child playing with toys – that was as far as my human experience could take me; but no, inspiration was more generous.

As I drove along the route du Soleil, near the north coast of France, and without warning, I had a sudden, heart-expanding experience of being a ray of light. Creation delighting in itself. Leaping out of a sun and speeding through the blackness of space, targeted, directed, choosing what magnificent, beautiful aspect of creation to light up, to highlight, to spotlight, so the rest of creation could delight in it as well.

All of these things around us, all the beauty, we can only know them through light – and endless variations of light: the direction of it dictates shadow and contour, and that aspect of beauty; the colour of it determines what colours we see; light filtered through cloud brings usually a lesser quantity and quality of experience, easier to manage, less distracting from the busyness of “normal” life. Because normal life suspends, forgotten, when the full beauty of creation breaks through into our awareness.

I felt, with enormous power, how it would be to illuminate beauty, and bounce from object to object, landscape to landscape; I felt the infinite variety of choice: green hills, desert sands, the endless sparkling facets of the sea; human beings living their rich and varied lives; trees and butterflies; anything, everything. The vast, textured awareness of the whole of creation, lit, consciously, thinkingly, feelingly.

I take delight in so many things, and I can choose to light them up, follow that delight, fly on the wings of light in my imagination – like Einstein following his photon through space – ride it, exhilarated, and bring the illuminated mysteries back to Earth. As uncontainable delight rises through me, I let go of the ground, and I, too, take flight.

Jennifer Manson is the author of Easy – Stories from an effortlessly created life and six novels, all about people discovering and living their dreams.

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“You are life’s prayer of becoming and its answer”

Quote from Mike Dooley, The Universe,


There are things we avoid, things we seek. I wouldn’t necessarily ask for anger, or grief, but then again, in their pure experience, there’s nothing to resist, really. In their wake it’s likely that something softer, kinder will come.

Right now, for example, with my computer slow, and weird background processes stealing the focus of input, so that words that I type do not appear, are lost forever, meaning I have to try to recall what flowed without thought through my fingers, I feel a ridge of tension across my shoulders and down my arms to my biceps. I flex my back, feel my jaw tight, tilt my head, notice my eyes are dry; the part of my skull around the front of my brain is pressing against my scalp.

Today, that’s the physical form frustration takes, and I revel in it, I feel it fully, I push into it, to see how much I can increase it. In a matter of seconds it peaks and begins to subside, and then I notice how the light is spilling across the duvet (it’s Sunday, and I’m writing in bed) and how beautiful the rippling forms of whiteness and shadow are, how the waffle-textured stripes catch the eye and lead it dancing around the contours of morning disarray. Frustration is gone, replaced by a slow deep breath, a smile, the joy of life.

The thing about life is, we have to embrace all of it, or nothing. In order to experience joy, love, beauty we have to feel anger, grief, confusion. Numbing one numbs them all; pushing into any one of them, amplifying the experience, amplifies them all.

This doesn’t mean taking much notice of the circumstances surrounding them. Frustration can come from a huge variety of sources, but in its essence it’s pretty much the same. Looking at the circumstances only removes us from the feeling, diminishes it. I might give the feeling its name, but then I look for where I feel it in my body – that’s the true experience.

I think of my day yesterday, and another smile plays. It was a beautiful interlude, my husband home for 37 hours between business trips to other countries. We talked, we laughed, we went to dinner and to lunch; I poured out my visions of the future as we lounged in bed in the afternoon. This I feel across my shoulders, too, in a different way. I close my eyes, breathe again, and feel into this experience, amplifying it, enlarging it, exploring it and enjoying it to the max.

I wouldn’t necessarily ask for the so-called negative feelings: anger, or grief, but I embrace them when they come to me; and in glorying in them, temporarily, as they pass through, I know, with absolute certainty, that I’m alive.

Jennifer Manson is the author of Easy – Stories from an effortlessly created life and six novels, all about people discovering and living their dreams.

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I am on track, really…

ImageI am on track. I know I am. I followed everything my gut told me to do. Just, I’m a little bit stretched at the moment. My afternoon meeting was wonderful, inspiring, taking me and my conversation partner to spiritual places we rarely ever reach. It ran two hours over time.

I’ve been asked to write up the breakfast event I went to yesterday. It’s a great opportunity to speak to a large, influential group with my writing. I promised it for tomorrow. A journalist who interviewed me in December has sent her article for review. I promised that for tomorrow, too.

By the time I run out the door of my hotel for my evening meeting there’s no time to call my husband – unless I call him as I drive..? He’s a man of integrity, he tells me that’s not okay and hangs up on me. So now I’m driving through dark, unfamiliar countryside, rain pouring, late, disconnected from my loved ones not just by distance and time, but by disapproval and anger, too. It seems I have time for everyone and everything but them.

In times like these, my life often tests me even more. I’ve lost my wallet. I hoped it might be in the car, but it’s not, and I know I’m either going to have to beg for my dinner, or sit through the evening so hungry I won’t function well. I wonder how I’ll get back to France tomorrow. The journey takes more than a tank of fuel.

The number plate of the car in front of me ends in the letters “BEG”, a reminder to re-engage my sense of humour. But just at this point, I can’t. It’s all got a bit too hard. I’m almost in tears, I can’t find a car park, and this meeting is very important, personally, to me.

I walk into the pub, I greet the people I am meeting with as much of a smile as I can muster. They are kind, buy me a drink and a bowl of fries; now I can get my brain back in gear, smile a bit wider, get involved, excited by our subject matter, get back to myself again.

It’s still dark and raining as I drive the 45 minutes back to the hotel; but I’m back on track now, and I know – as I did before – that I always was.

I find my wallet in the bottom of my suitcase, under all the clothes. How the hell did it get there? “What’s going on?” I ask “My life’s supposed to be easy, remember?”

“It’s okay,” says my instinct, “All this is just training. You should see what’s coming up next…”

Jennifer Manson is the author of Easy – Stories from an effortlessly created life and six novels, all about people discovering and living their dreams.


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Two intense weeks

ImageI’ve just come out of two weeks of intense new work and around sixty hours of driving, from France to Bath to Oxfordshire and back again, twice; a three-day weekend encompassing two family birthdays; and the call of deep, clear wisdom about what I needed to be doing with my time.

Working on an important political book with a brilliant client, meeting with some of Oxfordshire’s leading business and leadership lights, catching up with friends, not for social chit-chat, but rather for tough discussion of the next layers of personal and spiritual development, and what I need to be doing for the world.

I live by my gut. It’s hard, and it’s the only way I can live – anything else, any denial of that strong, strident voice within me, becomes unbearable, fast.

This commitment to living this way is a two-edged thing. It started as a vague sense that something deep within me had answers to the questions I was asking, could tell me what I needed to do. I got used to tuning in, to following the prompts, even when they didn’t make logical sense.

Now, the prompts are getting tougher, bigger: drive ten hours to attend a meeting; talk to someone about something they don’t want to face; forget the fact that you’re tired and down, get on with that editing, get that book out, there is more important work to do.

And now, the rewards have started coming, not personal so much as in fulfillment of my life purpose. The opportunities are getting bigger, clearer. I walk into a room and it is the most prominent people who approach, who want to speak to me. I hear their call to greatness, and instantly see how I can help them, what I can offer, with my skills, that can move them on faster to their destiny.

Moving to France, for that idyllic lifestyle, my desire to live and write in these beautiful surroundings, that was for me. This next phase, the things I see before me now, go wider, into the vast, brave future of the world. It makes sense. I’m ready. Bring it on!

Jennifer Manson is the author of Easy – Stories from an effortlessly created life and six novels, all about people discovering and living their dreams.

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The call of Destiny

ImageSomething happened about a year and a half ago – co-incidentally, or not – at the time when my younger child stepped out of childhood into being an adult. Nothing changed and everything did. I couldn’t even pinpoint the change in her, just, I knew something was different. There were things she no longer needed from me.

For some time before that I had been living intuitively, guided by intuition 100% of the time. Many of us follow intuition, our inner voice, some of the time; I mastered following it all the time, a slowly tipping balance that at some point I registered as complete. Until the moment of my children’s independence, intuition had still kept me largely at home. When that moment came there was a rapid shift in direction and I was called to live a much larger, much wider life.

To the people around me – specifically my husband – this wasn’t particularly convenient. It didn’t look like me. It seemed I had changed overnight. But I hadn’t changed at all. Just Destiny was taking its moment, telling me it was time.

I may speak about that struggle more at a later date. For now, I’ll just say that over the last year or so I have called on every resource of courage and strength I own.

I rarely experience fear on a personal level; I’ve always been happy to do the brave stuff I could do on my own. Now, I’m called to work in conjunction with others, lift them to greatness, and have them lift me. This calls for new skills, new courage.

In this blog, I’ll take you with me through this journey, show you what one life lived courageously at the call of Destiny looks like. We can inspire others with our stories. I’d like to inspire you with mine.

If there’s anything I’ve missed out, or you want to ask more about, leave a comment, or contact me through one of my websites: and

Jennifer Manson is the author of Easy – Stories from an effortlessly created life and six novels, all about people discovering and living their dreams.

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