Metamorphosis, in front of my eyes.

A month ago the postman knocked at the door. “You’d better open this one soon,” he winked, handing a brown box to our six-year old birthday girl. “Are they dead, mummy?” she asked wide-eyed, carefully lifting the clear pot out of the box and staring at the five motionless hairy caterpillars inside, sprawled across some pale brown gunk. “Erm, I think they are sleeping,” I hoped, quietly wondering whether it was legal to send living things in the post.

A week later those caterpillars had eaten all the gunk at the bottom of the jar, quadrupled in size and crawled up to the underside of the lid, to dangle like a showoff doing one-handed tricks on monkey bars. Over the next couple of days they seemed to grow a cocoon, as if it was their own body thickening up, rather than spinning a web around themselves as I had always imagined. When those chrysalides hardened, we carefully lifted the lid off the pot, creatures still attached, and transferred it to the pop-up net habitat that had arrived with our unusual package. Over the next few days the chrysalides darkened and texturized into charcoal grey beads flecked with gold.

I became obsessed with them, watching for the slightest changes in their outer layer, imagining I could see the imprint of folded wings pushing against the hard casing. One sunny morning we went to the beach for a couple of hours, and piled back into the house all noisy and sandy before someone cried, “Look!” Three butterflies had emerged, and were clinging to the wall of their net home. Their shed skins remained attached to the lid at one end, the other end burst through in that moment of emergence.

They began as caterpillars and emerged as butterflies. I knew it was likely to happen. Of course I did. I had learnt about it in primary school forty years ago. But still I’m not sure I believed it would actually work. It seemed unfathomable. How did the caterpillars know what to do? How was that brown gunk enough to create something so beautiful? Where were their wings hidden? Surely they didn’t just spin them like fairy fabric in a matter of days? And how on earth did three of them emerge within an hour or so of each other, after all that time? (The other two had been disturbed when we moved them to their habitat and had fidgeted for a while. That must have taken some of their energy reserves, and they were the last to emerge a couple of days later)

Perhaps what amazed me the most was the realization that the caterpillar doesn’t actually turn into the butterfly, changing its whole body and so on. Rather it simply grows wings. I don’t think I knew that before, but having studied them so closely before they became chrysalides, I recognized their caterpillar faces as butterflies. Close up they were the essentially the same. From a distance they were completely new. When we released them, they instinctively knew what to do.

Their period of retreat had been an intense period of growth, away from the world, still and silent yet intensely fertile as they spun potential from their own bodies. What emerged was not another creature, but the same one, changed. The same face, but with the courage and confidence that wings can bring – wings they didn’t have to think to grow, but rather wings that grew on them, when they surrendered to the process, and trusted. Metamorphosis, just like that.

I am sending this to you from a short writing retreat where I too am surrendering to the process. It isn’t easy, or comfortable, but my winged friends reminded me that I don’t have to work so hard at it. Instead I just need to get quiet and wait. Then I’ll know what to write, or I perhaps will be written.

Have a good week friends,
Beth Xx

PS Did you know I have a brand new course starting on Monday? It’s called Excavate Your Life: writing towards clarity and direction. This extraordinarily rich five week life-exploration/personal development/writing course is a unique opportunity to discover what you really want from life. And as a special treat to celebrate its launch you can get 30% off with the code DIGDEEP if you register here by Monday.

(Butterfly images: Holly Bobbins Photography. Lotus image: Unsplash/Zoltan Tasi)

Excavate Your Life (brand new personal development + writing course!)

For months now I have been working on a brand new course which combines personal development and writing, as a way to navigate life. Excavate Your Life is a rich online course which offers a unique opportunity to explore what you really want from life, while honing your writing skills. Join me, bestselling self-help author Beth Kempton as I guide you on a wild and beautiful journey towards clarity and direction. Each weekday for five weeks you will get a juicy lesson (audio, video, journaling worksheet and writing challenge) to help you go deep and stretch your writing. By the end of the course, the alchemical nature of it all will ensure you have a stronger sense of what really matters to you, and a clearer idea of where to focus your time, energy and attention. Not to mention having much more confidence in your writing after all that practice…

This is a very special hybrid writing and personal growth course which I have designed to help you find clarity and direction, both in your writing and in your life. I have spent more than a decade helping people to navigate change and reconfigure their lives to do what they love. I have also written a series of self-help books, all connected by a thread of making the most of this precious life.

It’s so easy in the rush of the modern world to go through the motions of each day without stopping to think what it’s all about, whether we are actually awake to our experience, and how we want to make the most of whatever is left, without knowing how long that will be. Personally I find journaling and writing incredibly powerful tools to help me tune in to the world, to my life, to other people, and to myself. I have brought all of this together in this course, with the aim that by the end of it you will be inspired, motivated and ready for whatever might be next.

To celebrate the launch of this brand new course you are invited to join with a 30% discount – just use the coupon code DIGDEEP when you register here by Monday August 23 (when class begins). Sign up now and start excavating your life. You never know what goodness you might find.

Beth Xx

Excavate Your Life: Writing towards clarity and direction 1

Who’s it for?

This is for you if any of the following are true:

  • You want to make a major change in life
  • You are wondering ‘What should I do with my life?’
  • You need help figuring out what you really want
  • You want to shake things up and get out of a rut
  • You want to mine your life for its most valuable lessons
  • You are looking for a sense of meaning and purpose OR
  • You want to write a memoir or a book that explores the human experience

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What’s included?

The course has been designed as a five-week intensive class, and includes:

  • Daily Spark audios to get your creative juices flowing
  • Daily video lessons, each guiding you to excavate your life from a different perspective
  • Daily journaling worksheets to guide you gently through the excavation process, seeking out clues and patterns to help you envision what kind of life you want to create
  • Daily writing challenges to push you out of your writing comfort zone and explore what you are really capable of
  • PLUS Along the way I include a host of insights into my experience helping thousands of people to navigate change, and writing five self-help books

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About your tutor

Beth Kempton has spent the last decade helping tens of thousands of people find creative ways to live well doing what they love, through powerful online courses and workshops as founder of Do What You Love. Beth writes self-help books which have been translated into 24 languages.

Her bestselling book ‘Wabi Sabi: Japanese wisdom for a perfectly imperfect lifehas been recommended by TIME Magazine, British Vogue, The Telegraph, and Psychologies Magazine, described as ‘a truly transformational read’ by Sunday Times Style. She is also the author of Freedom Seeker: Live more. Worry less. Do what you love., Calm Christmas and a Happy New Year and most recently, We Are in This Together: Finding hope and opportunity in the depths of adversity’ (Piatkus) which she wrote in sixteen days in the middle of the COVID-19 crisis. Mother of two adorable girls, she lives a slow-ish life in Devon, UK.

Important note

Please be aware that this is not a replacement for clinical therapy. Please seek professional clinical advice if you need it. Please also note that this class does not include specific advice on writing technique or any feedback on individual writing samples. It is a self-paced course so there is no direct interaction with Beth. It is also designed as a very personal experience so there is no private community with this course.

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Do I have to be online at a certain time to join in?

The classroom will open on August 23, 2021, and content will be released from that date. You do not have to log on at a certain time – you can follow the course at whatever pace suits you. You will have classroom access until January 31 2023 and most of the content is downloadable anyway.

Can I join if I live outside of the UK?

Yes you can join from anywhere.

Any other questions?

Drop the team a line at [email protected] and we’ll be happy to help.

The link between exercise, mindfulness, wellness and healing

I am curious, what are you like when it comes to exercising? I have been going to the gym three times a week for the past three months, in the biggest concerted exercise effort to get fitter since my children were born. (I walk a ton, but I am not a big fan of gyms.) I had my first assessment a couple of weeks ago and discovered I have lost a staggering six years off my metabolic age.
I am 41 but my body was working at the rate of an average 50 year old two months ago. That shocked me more than any weigh-in. Now it’s down to 44 and I still have a way to go but I have so much more energy, feel fitter and stronger. The time I notice it most is when I’m running around with my girls, or getting up after playing on the floor with them. ?The older I get the more I want to be fit and strong so this is fresh motivation to keep on going. And the clearer skin is just a bonus. It also reminded me that the gym is about so much more than weight or what you look like.

I have also been super inspired by Mr K who is doing an amazing job training for three back-to-back marathons in October!? What staggers me most is that he runs for hours without music. He says it’s the best time for him to think.
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The lakes where I have been cycling alongside Mr K as he does his marathon training

I usually go for the 7.30am session. In fact, I just got back, and love that I am starting my day with some exercise already done and a fresh head. I’ve noticed that my favourite fitness trainers are the ones who don’t talk too much, because I love the headspace you can find when doing the same exercises over and over.

This brought to mind a conversation I had with my friend and sports journalist Tina Chantrey, Editor of Women’s Running magazine, who I interviewed for the latest instalment of my podcast. She went through a difficult divorce, and told me how running had been her sanctuary, and ultimately helped her heal. She went on to write a fascinating book about it, called The Divorce Survival Guide – if you are interested in the mindfulness and stress-relieving benefits of running, as well as wanting some tips for getting started, make sure you check out this week’s episode.

The link between exercise, mindfulness, wellness and healing 18 TINA CHANTREY

Talking about headspace and mindfulness, we had a lovely guest post here on the blog last week, all about meditation for parents. Here it is, if you missed it.

This week I challenge you to up your exercise game, whether that means running a little further, fitting in a dance class or simply taking a walk in your lunch break, and allow your mind to wander as you move.

Beth Xx


{Podcast} On finding your inner gold with Paralympian Karen Darke

{Podcast} On finding your inner gold with Paralympian Karen Darke FS PODCAST FB S2 013 LR

The Freedom Seeker Chronicles Podcast is back for Series 2, with more inspiring stories, great conversations and actionable advice! My first guest is one of the most genuinely inspiring people I know. Her strength in the face of adversity, and ability to train her mind to tackle any obstacle, was a real lesson for me.

When Karen Darke was 10 years old, she decided she would climb all 3000ft of El Capitan in Yosemite National Park. She did so nearly 25 decades years later, even though she has been in a wheelchair since a rock climbing accident at the age of 21. She spent five days hoisting herself up the rockface and spent the nights on ledges in the cliff. This is just one example of extraordinary bravery and perseverance by Karen, who became Paralympic Champion in hand-cycling at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games. She says “Life has taught me the importance of holding tight to belief, and never, ever giving up.” I invited her onto the show to share more about her amazing attitude to life, and what we can all learn from her about resilience, perseverance and possibility.

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On giving yourself permission to explore [+ new podcast: Women’s Adventure Expo co-founder Rebecca Hughes]

On giving yourself permission to explore [+ new podcast: Women’s Adventure Expo co-founder Rebecca Hughes] Kempton Shaw Shoot 02 DSC 1626 Filter

This year I have had the chance to meet hundreds of you in real life, through talks and workshops and book-related events. It has been such a pleasure to get to know you and your stories, and to hear more about what obstacles you face. Time and again the topic of adventure came up in our conversations. You asked me how I find the time to have adventures, how I push myself to take risks, and how I avoid getting too comfortable in the way I live, work and play.

My answer usually begins with some version of something I wrote in Freedom Seeker, when talking about the Freedom Key of ‘Adventure + Aliveness’:

Adventure is a mindset. It’s about seeking out the unknown in all parts of your life. It’s a thirst for freshness. It’s an active pursuit of inspiration. It’s the thrill of pushing yourself in new territory.

Adventure often involves risk, and even sometimes danger. The gift of this is the acute focus required, which obliterates the demands of the normal world in the moment.

Aliveness is about being in the moment, drinking it all in. It’s about noticing and appreciating, and basking in your own sense of wonder. It’s about allowing yourself to be in awe.

This Freedom Key is about realizing you are part of something bigger than yourself, part of a fascinating and mysterious wider world. It’s about wanting to witness it first-hand and taking action to make that happen.

What is the opposite of adventure – boredom and monotony perhaps? And the opposite of aliveness doesn’t even bear thinking about. That’s why this Freedom Key is so important. It’s about the beating heart of life itself. It’s about engaging with the world around you, being an explorer and a collector of moments. It’s about so much of what can make living in this world so exciting.“

So this week I want to challenge you to seek out adventure and aliveness in your every day life. Where can you switch up your routine? Where can you try something new? Where can you inhale beauty and drink in freshness? Where can you push yourself beyond what is known and comfortable, into something scary but exciting, even in the smallest way? Go for it my friend!

To inspire you further, I’m happy to share this week’s Freedom Seeker Chronicles podcast episode with Rebecca Hughes, co-founder of the Women’s Adventure Expo. It is sure to get you fired up and curious about how to bring adventure into your daily routine.

Enjoy the show!



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In this episode, Women’s Adventure Expo co-founder Rebecca Hughes and I discuss the two different types of adventure seekers. There’s the sporty, thrill-seeking adventurer who challenges herself physically and mentally, and there’s the “urban explorer” adventurer who’s curiosity leads to twists and turns in business and life.

Which one are you?

Listen in to hear why Rebecca believes all women should give themselves permission to explore, live bravely and surround themselves with a community of likeminded souls.

Enjoy the show!

Key Moments:

[2m 30s] Rebecca tells us what the word adventure means to her and decribes the two different types of adventurers in the world

[5m 35s] What Rebecca has learned through being an urban explorer

[7m 0s] Moments when Rebecca felt trapped and her work life lacked adventure, and what she did to bring freedom back to her every day

[9m 40s] Rebecca’s thoughts on risk and why it’s essential for living and learning

[12m 0s] We chat about wild camping and how it’s a great break to experience a healthy pace of life

[14m 30s] How Rebecca has brought her children up with adventure at their core

[17m 0s] Rebecca’s advice for encouraging your children to climb

[20m 05s] How Rebecca’s business the Women’s Adventure Expo came to exist

[24m 25s] Rebecca’s business mission, core values and how they structured the business as a CIC Social Enterprise model

[25m 50s] The mix of adventure seekers who attend Rebecca’s events – some enormously sporty and physically brave, some less physical adventure seekers, explorers, and mummy adventurers

[29m 55s] How Rebecca feels when she is around women in her community who have such ‘can do’ attitudes

[32m 10s] Why women should unite to create communities and the importance of having other women in your life who empower you

[32m 50s] What Rebecca says to people who make finances the blocker for doing the adventures they love doing

[37m 0s] Beth asks Rebecca “What does Freedom mean to you?”


On holding your dreams like a baby bird {+new podcast episode with Josie Adams of The Coffee Gondola}

On holding your dreams like a baby bird {+new podcast episode with Josie Adams of The Coffee Gondola} library

Last week I spent two wonderful days in the library. Not just any library, but the Bodleian library at Oxford University, established in 1602 and home to over 12 million books. It felt like something out of Harry Potter because it actually WAS the Hogwarts library in the films. I was there working on a top secret new project which has had me up until the early hours bursting with ideas, and scribbling notes as fast as my pen will move across the paper. This is the early stages of a new dream. You know, where people ask you what you’re working on, but you know that it’s delicate, and you aren’t yet ready to share the details. And today I want to encourage you to take care with your dreams at this stage, because they are fragile.

As I shared in Freedom Seeker,

“Whether your dreams are small but beautiful, like a sliver of gold leaf, or large and lofty, like parachute silk, if you share them too early they will collapse. When a project is up and running it can be poked and prodded and generally keep its shape. It can go through various iterations, but hold together. A dream, however, is more delicate than that. Exposed too soon, to the wrong people, your big idea can shatter into fragments.

Materials scientists describe objects that break into pieces upon impact as ‘frangible’. The first time I read that word, my brain split it into ‘fragile’ and ‘tangible’, and that’s exactly what dreams are. They live in the hinterland between imagination and reality, and need coaxing to life. Too much pressure too soon and they turn to dust.

So give your dreams gentle attention. Let them know that you know they are there, and you are rooting for them. Tell them you’re curious to discover more about them. Keep them tucked in a pocket for safekeeping, only to be brought out when you have a safe place to share, inside a friendship, with a mentor, or perhaps with your trusted online community.”

In this week’s podcast I talked to someone who knows only too well the importance of protecting a big but delicate dream. After meeting her partner Tom while working a ski season in Japan in 2013, Josie Adams set up The Coffee Gondola, as a completely mobile gondola serving fine coffee in the mountains. This wasn’t just any dream. They had to find, import and convert an actual coffee gondola, learn how to become champion baristas, and navigate the path of working together in a space smaller than the average bathroom. The business began as an actual dream Josie had when she was sleeping, and has ever since gone from strength to strength.

This episode is a fascinating story for anyone who fears their dreams could be too far from reality. Listen in here, you will go away making plans and taking action!

Keep dreaming

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Josie Adams is co-founder of The Coffee Gondola, a coffee shop in a converted ski gondola, which serves amazing lattes half way up mountains. This is a story about realising crazy dreams.

On holding your dreams like a baby bird {+new podcast episode with Josie Adams of The Coffee Gondola} gondola

Key moments:

[2m 50s] How a random dream turned out to be the path for Josie & her partner Tom’s entrepreneurial success

[5m 0s] The realisation of seeking independence, and how a fun project turned into a money maker

[6m 0s] Josie and Tom’s personality traits and how they both compliment their business ideas

[7m 20s] How Josie took her dream and made it into an actual working reality

[9m 0s] How Josie happened upon their famous Coffee Gondola which they later turned into their new mobile cafe business

[9m 45s] Ways in which Josie kept herself motivated during the year up to when they started trading

[11m 0s] The shift that occurred when the Coffee Gondola became a serious project and Tom and Josie quit their jobs

[12m 0s] How Josie and Tom planned their launch of the Coffee Gondola at festivals

[13m 15s] What life is like waking up in the mountains every day

[14m 20s] The satisfaction Josie feels in seeing her dream come to life

[18m 10s] What it’s like for Josie working with her partner Tom so close, every single day

[20m 50s] The things Josie does outside of work to ensure a balance between work and play

[22m 20s] Why Josie runs ultra marathons as a form of meditation

[25m 30s] Josie’s definition of freedom – what feeling free means to her.

[27m 30s] The approach Josie takes in making key decisions for her life and business

[30m 30s] Josie’s tips for anyone who has a dream that feels so far from your current life


On bucket lists, goal setting + listening to your heart

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What is the smallest thing you can do now to follow your heart? Think about it. Write it down if you like.

This is just one of the many questions of wisdom my very first podcast guest Steph Jagger plants on us in today’s episode. Steph is the author of Unbound, a story of snow and self-discovery and she’s helped women the world over define who it is they want to BE and what they need to DO to get there. Listen in for the next 40 mins of exploration where we talk about everything from battling fear, the pros and cons of setting goals, and how to find stillness and solitude to allow golden thoughts and plans emerge.

You can listen and subscribe to The Freedom Seeker Chronicles here.

Join our Founder for a transformational one day workshop

Join our Founder for a transformational one day workshop 21557526 10159375813820252 318096623747894203 n
As we edge closer to the last quarter of 2017, how are you feeling about how the year has turned out? A lot has happened in the world, both difficult and good. I wonder if 2017 has turned out how you hoped, or not?
I get the sense from many of you in our community that 2017 has been a challenging year, and so I have decided to offer some in-person workshops to help make 2018 different.
This workshop is for you if…
• You feel like you are at a crossroads and unsure of what to do next
• You are feeling trapped, overwhelmed with too much to do, all the while watching your dreams drift further away
• You have forgotten what your dreams actually look like, and want some inspiration and guidance
• You want to reconnect with what really matters, and do it in a safe space with like-minded people
This workshop has been specifically designed to help you:
• Realign to what really matters
• Understand what’s holding you back, and how to escape that and fly free
• Navigate what lies ahead (because the path to your dreams is rarely the easy road)
I rarely offer small group workshops, but felt called to do this and I would love for you to be part of this transformational experience.
We are offering two dates for 2017:
SUNDAY OCTOBER 1 IN TOTNES, DEVON, UK (hosted by Living Now Events)
CLICK HERE to book (and use the code LivingNow at checkout for a 20% discount)
SATURDAY OCTOBER 7 IN LONDON, UK (hosted by Alternatives)
CLICK HERE to book
I really hope you will join me, or pass this on to someone who needs it.
Much love

It’s never too late to follow your dreams

It's never too late to follow your dreams DWYL BLOG WEDNESDAYWELLBEING 650X250PX LR

“When we start to live our own story, that’s when we really come alive, that’s when we really start living.” ~ Kathy Sparrow

Maybe in the course of bringing up your children or earning a living, you’ve put your own hopes and dreams on the back burner. It’s easy to get sucked into “life-as-usual” as you spend your days busily running from one thing to the next.

If you’ve been distracted from doing what you love, diverted from taking the path that leads you towards your dreams or have no idea what you really want to do, now could be the ideal time to think about how you’d like the next chapter of your life to look.


Follow your dreams and create more magic in your own life, and in the world!

Need help, support and inspiration? Start by making more time for yourself today…

Today we invite you to be present for everyone, including yourself. Making time to do the things you love is one of the kindest gifts you can give yourself.

So join us for 31 days of making time: 31 days to learn how to look up and rediscover the small wonders out there that make you happy, 1 day at a time, 1 minute at a time.

Our Making time daily prompt series is completely FREE and it couldn’t be easier to get started. Click here for  information.

It's never too late to follow your dreams Header MakingTime

What’s going on? Our guide to the best upcoming thought-provoking + life-changing events

What’s going on? Our guide to the best upcoming thought-provoking + life-changing events DWYL BLOG GREATESCAPE 650X250PX LR 1

With in summer in full swing, now is the perfect time to think about what you want from the rest of 2017. Whether it’s learning a new skill, developing yourself personally or professionally, tapping into your creativity, hiring a coach, or taking a break to rest and recharge, making time to nurture yourself and your dreams every once in a while is vital for your health and wellbeing.

Here’s our pick of the best upcoming festivals, events and talks to help you on the path to doing what you love…

Path of love