I was delighted to get an invite to today’s book launch of ‘Be Fabulous: Have it ALL’ by Brenda Shankey at St. Mary’s college in Derry. Shankey is well known for her infamous hairdressing but more recently making a name for herself as a ‘Mindfulness’ advocate. This new audio book is
promoted with the words ‘The ultimate survival guide for today’s modern woman’. With such words I just had to go along and see if I might learn something. As a small business woman and trying to inspire young people myself I had hoped I might just pick up a few tips. I had never envisaged myself leaving the launch feeling positive, great about myself and having learned rather a lot in a very short space of time. But that’s exactly how I felt on departing St. Mary’s this afternoon.
Brenda Shankey began her talk today with a very honest account of her own experiences. A former head girl of St. Mary’s she emphasised how important our mental health really is. And then she dropped the bombshell I wasn’t expecting: “I’ve suffered depression, anxiety, panic attacks. I’ve had a burnout”. She admits to dealing with her anxiety by over working. She used her work to escape the real problems.
Brenda spoke about having the “million pound house and the Porsche and the parties in London with all the celebs” and yet she wasn’t happy. She realised she wasn’t content within herself. And so she turned to meditation and mindfulness. She went on a quest and she didn’t give up. Reaching 40 she says: “I didn’t know myself. Looking at me one would think I have it all.”
Brenda then embarked upon a journey of mindfulness. “What I learned from this is that you are 100% in control of your life. Just you. No one else is responsible. But you’ve got a choice. The choices which you make are exactly where you’re going in life. You just have to sit still for a few moments each day and you learn to make the right choices. Good things will happen. But this is all up to you.”
Brenda went on to say that no-one teaches us mindfulness. It isn’t taught in schools. But she says, “Mindfulness is simply living in the present moment; accepting life as it is right here right now and being the best that you can be.” Brenda explained that we all experience bad times and for her those bad times were the best thing. “When I hit the wall and I couldn’t take the mental torture any more, I had to look at me. I was the only person who could fix me. So I had to learn who I was.”
Brenda spoke clearly and eloquently about her own life and the benefits of mindfulness. I came away believing that being positive about oneself and ones life can go a very long way. Taking time every day for ‘me’ will help in many ways. And clearing my mind of all the negativity will also clear other ‘stuff’ alongside.
Having heard Brenda Shankey speaking earlier today I think I can certainly recommend a listen of her new audio book, ‘Be Fabulous: Have it all’. Life really is down to us ourselves and we all have one thing in common…..we only get one shot at this life. As Shankey said this afternoon, “You only have one life – make it amazing”. So the new amazing me starts right here, right now!
Brenda’s book can be bought here at Brenda Shankey or via iTunes, Facebook, Google Play, Spotify, Rdio and many more online outlets.