A healthy mind

I chose a picture at 10 years after my youngest daughter was born, because 3 months is where everyone kept telling me I’d be “back” to where I was. I’d have the fitness SnapBack. That wasn’t my journey. I was not disappointed....nor was I sad that I didn’t live up to the expectation a lot of people had on me. In fact, I was the opposite; I was happy, proud and body positive. And my mind was healthy.

I’m now equally happy, healthy and emotionally strong for my children, life and career. I truly believe that giving yourself patience, grace and kindness each day leads to progress and strength.

So what matters most? The way we speak to ourselves. Everyone’s journey looks different, so let’s not compare.

If you’re feeling down or defeated, I want you to start with kindness. Everything you say to yourself is important because it’s listening.

Start with: “I am beautiful. I am capable. I am worthy of my goals and dreams. I can do this. I am loved. And I am so grateful for this body, my beating heart, and my beautiful mind.”

Once you get to a better tomorrow, bring along a reminder of where you once were, a reminder to always stay humble, yet feisty and grateful.

Every decision you make, make it with self-love and the fact that you deserve it. Love and kindness are all we need.

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Goodbye 2018, Welcome 2019

The pressure to have the perfect family is at its greatest. Social media is an exhibition of what the perfect family should look like. Siblings who call themselves best friends, parents or partners who never argue....

There are families that are suffering painfully from grief, families overshadowed by health issues. Single-parent families. No-parent families. Estranged families.

You can’t put a filter on your DNA. You can’t take your ancestry back to the shop and exchange it for a new one.

It takes management and boundaries; mediation and listening; curiosity and understanding; and most importantly a degree of acceptance.

Trust is the glue and the foundational principle of all successful personal and business relationships.

My journey this year hasn’t been plain sailing, there have been many tears, sacrifices, juggling motherhood and career, health concern, that awesomely scary skydive adventure for the charity close to my heart, for which I postponed a major operation, but gosh has it all been well worth it.

Keep smiling in the face of adversity. If you have a positive outlook, anything is possible. Always keep that glimmer of hope in your eyes and that burning passion inside your heart.

Being happy is contagious.

And some people just need to remember: Trust takes years to build, seconds to break, and forever to repair.

I’m thankful to my family, my friends and my colleagues for making this year successful. I’m ready to make 2019 my biggest year yet!

LOVE AND HAPPINESS. For all those less fortunate than ourselves, may this special time of the year bring peace and goodwill.

Happy, Healthy & Prosperous New Year to you, your family and loved ones!

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Flying Without Wings

Last weekend I got to fly, and it wasn’t by flying in an airplane. It was by jumping out of one from 15,000 feet. Yes! I did skydiving. I did it for the charity close to my heart, and in memory of my dad.

My family and I have been left devastated by my dad's sudden death from stroke at the age of only 62. I did the skydive on what would have been my dad’s 6th anniversary. By doing this skydive not only I, but also my family, you my lovely friends and colleagues who’ve donated to my JustGiving page have helped raise funds for this amazing charity. A big Thank You! We did this TOGETHER!!

I had also set myself a new challenge to conquer my fears of flying and heights that have been part of my life ever since I was a little girl, all while supporting this amazing cause!

We all have to deal with deep sorrow at some stage in our lives, and at some point people we love dearly will die, but I have never thought I would lose my healthy dad in my early 30s, and most importantly when I needed him the most, during most difficult time of my life - going through a divorce. Everyone mourns the death of someone they have loved and adored in different ways. There's no timetable for grief, and no "one size fits all" way to get through the whole soul-crushing experience. Even today, six years later, grief is still very much holding me tight....Those we loved are ripped from our arms and our hearts and it feels like the end of the world. Those feelings don't really ever go away - we just somehow learn to live with them. We just need to somehow try to make the grieving process more bearable. For me, passion for helping others in same / similar situations is a way of helping my own grief feels less painful.

So this amazing skydiving experience....

MY SKYDIVING DIARY
(long story)

As I arrived at GoSkydive reception on that morning of 15 September, I looked at the sky. It was clear, blue, warm and sunny with little breeze. It was a perfect day for skydiving. I thanked God and my Dad for the beautiful day and prayed that the weather should not change before my jump.

Before your turn comes for skydiving, you have endless time of the world to think about anything you want, your family, or even work-related or you want to give a thought on yourself or you can even think about the song that you want to put in your skydiving video to divert your mind from freaking out. I was relaxing in the sunshine with my Michael and going through endless photos as it would be the last day of my life.

At the induction training, you’re advised to eat and drink water and sugary drinks as skydiving is tough on the body and mind. I couldn’t eat. I did drink plenty though. We were also told that those who were jumping from the highest altitude of 15,000 feet would most likely be in a group with others who were jumping from 10,000 feet, so as we reached the lower altitude they’d kick them out first, then continue to our jumping height.

No matter whatever the time of your skydive slot is given, you have to wait for at least minimum 3-4 hours. You will see number of people climbing the airplane and landing with parachute. Videographers and photographers would be clicking their endless pictures and family and friends would be waiting on the ground. You’ll get fascinated in 2-3 take-offs and parachute landings but later you’ll give up and desperately waiting for your turn.

As my name was called up for the final training and ‘kitting up’ (as they call it) in the jump suit, I overheard a girl who was sitting next to us, asking what was that she could see up in the sky. There was me thinking, you crazy girl of course it was parachute. But then the girl who did our induction announced on the loud speaker that one of their colleagues (up in the air) had to deploy a reserve parachute as he felt the main one did not deploy ok. To say I was absolutely mortified and at that stage most definitely considered pulling out, would be an understatement. This is someone - me - totally scared of flying, let alone jumping out of the plane.

As soon as I heard my name been called up, I was waiting for my instructor - Pete came over in few minutes and introduced himself. My jump suit was little loose but then he fixed the harness and it was looking fine. He also fixed diving goggles on the side of my head. My photographer Brad asked several questions whether I was nervous or was it my first jump etc. He instructed me to look up while skydiving and smile in front of camera, look for his sign when he’ll give me to hold his hand and I have to let him go as per his sign. I was becoming very nervous and anxious. I was feeling very excited too, as if I was going to war front to save my country.

My instructor Pete gave me 5 minutes ‘refresh’ training - cross arms, head back, knees bent, jump. One tap on the shoulder to open your arms. Second to bring arms to chest as the parachute opens. Knees bent for landing. Questions?

I asked him only one, ok two, question(s) - “What happens if parachute doesn’t open?” He smiled and replied, “I have done more than 4000 jumps. If main parachute doesn’t open, we deploy reserve one.” Born inquisitive, I then asked “What happens if the reserve parachute fails?” Pete calmly replied, “Then we’re f***ed.” Ok, I had full faith in my instructor as if nothing would happen to me. And I was in safe hands.

Within 15 minutes, and by now it was close to 5pm already and with few clouds building up but still warm, Pete took me to the airplane boarding area and I was about to climb. By that time, I knew that it was the time of no turning back and not freaking out as now universe also conspires me to jump! We’re in. The door closes. We’re off. Squashed into two benches that face one another. In my group, there were 5 of us jumpers with instructors, and three cameramen. Thankfully we were all jumping from 15,000 feet and didn’t have to go through the ‘pain’ of watching someone been kicked out before us at 10,000 feet. I was the last to get on that plane, so logically thinking I would be the first out of that plane. And yes I was. First to jump out, last one to land. Still don’t understand how and why, but it doesn’t really matter. Maybe I just enjoyed it so much, parachute decided to take it easy and slow, and not rush with the landing?

Time to take the leap. Sixty Seconds Freefall.

Then they open the plane door. This is very loud.

As we reach our jumping altitude of 15,000 feet you feel the plane slowing down, red light by the door turned green, and Pete nudged me towards the open door. Sitting on the edge of the door and looking out at the vast openness below. The anxiety, and tension in my head I felt, I was so very scared, I actually thought I would suffer the stroke myself. I then looked out upon that beautiful ‘tiny’ Earth and was surprised to feel complete peace within myself. In that moment, I owned the world! I could feel the cool air on my face with the speed of approx. 125mph as if it was welcoming me.

This is no exaggeration when I say that it feels like time freezes, you fly almost in slow motion out of the door, and the overload on your senses that you experience is indescribable.

When you get to the edge, you are filled with adrenaline like nothing you’ve experienced before. You feel euphoric.

Brad, my cameraman hangs in the doorway like a Spider-Man and I know that this is the moment we’ve been waiting for - the 60 second freefall. Within few seconds of Brad’s leap, we also jumped so he could capture us. I had to hold his hand but the air was very powerful and I wasn’t able to grab hold of him.

It feels very intense and the force of the wind pushing up at you is very strong. You can’t hear anything, as it’s literally so loud, and yet at the same time, utterly peaceful and serene.

Nothing could have prepared me for this. Not skiing, not diving, nothing. I don’t feel as though I’m falling, I’m spinning upwards and backwards in a jet of cold air that whips away my voice, deafens my ears and spins my brain into overdrive. Those fields on Earth twist around. The Earth and coast move way too fast and something slowly registers that I don’t seem to be breathing. Natural survival kicks in: you need to try harder. Breathe through your nose, breathe harder, harder again, really use your lungs.

I’ve adjusted to this strange new reality and I stretch out my arms, feeling the sky run through my fingers. I’m struggling to open them into heart-shape for my Dad and for everyone who’s been affected by stroke. I’m seeing the world in a whole new way when my throat chokes, my shoulders snap back and those thigh harnesses remind me that they’re there. The tumble dryer effect continues for another few seconds and then it stops. We’re still. Floating, dreamlike in the quiet, quiet air. Pete deployed the parachute, and we’ve dramatically slowed down. Sometimes the force at which you slow down can make you feel dizzy or even wind you a bit. I felt both. You freefall for approx. 10,000 feet. What amazed me was the speed we dropped to 5,000 feet when the parachute opened - it took only about a minute. The  scariest minute of my life.

I hear Pete’s voice in my ear as he loosens my goggles, unfastens the harness (just very slightly on my instructions DO NOT LET GO!) and asks if I’m alright. Now your parachute is open and you float to the ground. At this stage I truly enjoyed the view - world famous Stonehenge literally underneath us, Salisbury cathedral in the distance and beautiful view of Portsmouth harbour. There is such an amazing view from that high up!

Skydiving feels incredible! It was exhilarating. Pete asked me if I wanted some spins on parachute, I said hell yeah! Then he spun our parachute 3-4 times to left and right and it was such fun. The parachute ride down took around 7 minutes and the landing was incredibly soft. On my bum. You must bring your feet up and knees to your chest and slide into the landing. You’ll come into the landing, and the chute will level out and you’ll slide forwards into some grass.

Now what follows this is a state of disbelief and shock. You won’t know what’s just happened until you sit down and it really sinks in. Even being sick as we landed didn’t spoil this amazing experience.

Wow, this experience was nothing like I had imagined. It was the best moment of my life which I can’t really express in words!

All I can say that I felt freedom, skydiving is intoxicating, it’s enough to mess with your mind! I’ve harnessed my fears, and achieved what I thought would be impossible.

Mission Impossible accomplished!

As my instructor Pete said to me: FEAR WILL BE TEMPORARY, BUT THE ACCOMPLISHMENT WILL LAST FOREVER. So very true!

Enjoy looking at my many photos and videos. My face says a lot!

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I’ve learned….I can’t change this, but I can conquer it!

“Dream. Inspire. Courage. Harmony.”

Forty is all about balancing family and career which provides a sense of purpose to one’s life. While this perpetual juggling act can be stressful, a 40-year-old woman has learned to combat this by surrounding herself with a supportive network of friends, and family and making time for self-care. After a decade of investing in her career, marriage and motherhood; in her forties, a woman passionately pursues the best of life. So for those who may be greeting 2018 with some apprehension, fear not, and join me in embracing the next decade with confidence, appreciation, acceptance, and passion. Because that’s what 40 year olds do best!

Click on the link below to read the full article:

https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/ive-learnedi-cant-change-i-can-conquer-liz-parmar

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My life may not be perfect, but I am blessed!

Dear Self,

This is going to be your year. So dust yourself off and get started. Every time you doubt yourself know that everyone successful was once where you are - they just did not quit.

Your hardest times often lead to the greatest moments of your life. Keep the faith. It will all be worth it in the end!

Whatever your role, age or experience always keep your dreams alive, be true to yourself and always strive to be the best you can be. Keep working for what you believe in, and do not give up. You can't have a rainbow without the rain.

Turn dreams into reality. Respect yourself as no one has more power over you other than you. Belief, commitment and dedication will make sure you stay on that road to success. There's no elevator and you have to take the stairs, and meet every obstacle with positive energy and despite the odds you will win. 99% hard work - and your family & friends may think you're mad.

Keep looking up. That's the secret of life. In time, things will fall in the right place....

In 2016 I took the difficult decision to leave a secure job for much needed work-life balance. As a single mum (solely my decision, but a thoroughly thought-through one with my children at a forefront of my mind) for quite few years juggling parenthood as mum and dad rolled into one, has admittedly got the better of me. I have endured. I have been broken. I have known hardship. I have lost myself. Life has knocked me down a few times. It has shown me things I never wanted to see. But here I stand, still moving forward, growing stronger each day. I will never forget the harsh lessons in my life. They made me stronger.

For all of my connections, some I know very well through business as well as personally, some I don't know so well, and some I do not know at all, but it is wonderful to feel like one big “family”, and who have or are going through difficulties, you will be okay - we must take the good with the bad, learn from those painful experiences and always look on the bright side, smile and enjoy life and have fun along the way.

I'm a big believer if you find the happiness, success will follow. Happiness encourages good life decisions, wonderful relationships, and opens up doors to great opportunities. It's a beautiful thing when a career and a passion come together! I also try to focus on what’s important and capture the good times, develop from the negatives, and if things don’t work out like they (unfortunately) haven’t over the past many months, take another ‘shot’.

I know there will be a few times in your life when all your instincts will tell you to do something, something that defies logic, upsets your plans, and may seem crazy to others. Sometimes the only way to stay sane is to go a little crazy. Life is too short, life is a one-time offer - Maintain the smile, Forget the tears – Life is Beautiful! Listen to your instincts, ignore the odds, ignore the complications and just go for it.

2017.... my first ever magazine advertising ~ amazing is the feeling!

More success.

More happiness.

More laughter.

More positive.

Less negative.

Life's like a mirror – it'll smile at you if you smile at it. When you are interested in something that means so much to you, go at it full speed, embrace it, hug it, love it and above all be passionate about it. Remember – never give up on something you really want. While on this ride called “career”, you have to take the good with the bad, smile when you are sad, love what you have got and remember what you had. It’s the possibility of having a dream come true that makes life interesting. My dream is coming true!

Read my full article in Luxury News Online

Onwards & Upwards 2017 and beyond! xx

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