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Trail Blazer Interview: Amy ZellmerAmy Zellmer is a Professional Photographer, Creative Business Coach, Writer, Traveler, and Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) Survivor.

I first met Amy through our work together in my Soul Detox Sessions and have been blessed to know of her amazing work – from her gay marriage advocacy – to her inspiring photography for many years.

I am delighted to be interviewing Amy about her work as an advocate for people living with traumatic brain injury.

We talk about:

– What Traumatic Brain Injury is and how we can support someone with it.

– Amy’s healing journey and her her experiences with the Huffington Post.

– Travelling to Washington as a TBI advocate

– How Amy handles challenges and what she’d love you to know!

Listen to the interview here (and check out the transcript, coming soon). Visit Amy’s website at AmyZellmer.net and follow her on Facebook here.


Having a Bad Day? Head Here...Bad days happen.

Sometimes you know why you are stuck and struggling, but don’t see how to change it. Other times you can’t see a reason for your mood, but still can’t get out of it.

I know what that’s like, and I’ve made a list of tiny actions to shift your energy, your thinking, your perspective and hopefully shift your mood too.

I hope these tiny actions make your day, (however dark) a little brighter. (Click to Tweet!)

* Wear a hat, because hats change perspective and make nearly everything better.

* Watch a duckling running.

* Read something that makes you smile.

* Wrap up in a soft quilt with a hot water bottle and a mug of spiced cordial. Especially if it feels like winter. Even if it doesn’t look like winter outside.

* Move: your body. If you are still, then try to dance, do yoga, or imagine swirling and twirling (watered silk ball gown optional).

* Move: your surroundings. Shift your view, write in the garden, answer emails from the kitchen, drive and let the road figure out where you are going.

* Move: your sensations. If you are chilly, get kitted out in warm getup and get moving outside, if you are hot try a lukewarm shower or a fresh cold drink. Put slices of apple, peach, and pear in the freezer for 30 minutes and eat the resulting treats.

* Take a bath or shower with a new lotion or potion as a treat.

* Do something you don’t usually do.

* Listen to an audio book. Try Charlie Bone, Just William, Deepak Chopra, Danielle La Porte. I know it’s an odd mix, I think by now we know I have eclectic tastes.

* Don’t try and force it to be a good day, cut yourself some slack and let it be.

* When in doubt, reach out – connect to someone who will make your day brighter. And if you don’t know someone like that yet, you know me here and can connect through the Trail Blazer’s Cafe.

* Do the opposite of whatever you are doing. Are you stuck inside and focused on something? Go out and open up. Yes this is tough to do, yes it takes trust and yes it works. Thanks to Dr David Hamilton for this tip.

* Cheer up 1950s housewife style – go to bed with your manicure set. Or make a huge jug of (virgin) martinis, turn up the music and get to work.

* Clean the house – make the bed – the bedroom is tidy. Clean the hearth – the sitting room is tidy (does anyone else have hearths nowadays? What do you point your furniture towards?). Clear the table and the kitchen is tidy. As Grandma told me when I rang her one day several years ago, in tears about the state of the house and my inability to sit upright long enough to sort it.

* Share poetry.

* Grab the sharpies and cover your wall with wishes, dreams, poems and gratitude lists (try a big canvas or strips of lining paper that can be decorated and easily removed).

* Always wear body glitter! I may not be able to dress every day or look as I would love to, but even in bed I wore body glitter daily. It cheered me up. Sparkly arms made a sparkly smile.

* Deep breathing – stop, take a deep breath, let it out with a sigh. Take another, then take one more. We can all do the three-second breathing space, we all have three seconds to spare. Notice, does that feel better? Try taking some more deep breaths, maybe listening to a meditation CD or some classical music. I recommend Phamie Gow, Ludovico Einaudi and Debussy.

* Take a pen or pencil and just scribble onto the page. Then go back and pick shapes out of the scribbles and colour them in to make a picture. What do you see there?

* Enjoy an audio book: Audio books are wonderful, they take energy but so much less than reading! You can get audio books from:

  • Calibre who provide books to people who are blind, partially sighted, or too ill to hold a physical book alone. They post tapes to your door.
  • Project Gutenberg provide free audio and ebooks as part of a project to make literature more accessible. They currently have over 40,000 books as ebooks in various formats.

* Wear a beautiful necklace all day (my pick is this, or dig out an old favourite. When was the last time you really looked in all your old jewellery boxes, by the way?).

* Send a real paper birthday card.

* Phone your grandparents. Or your parents. Or someone, but pick up the phone if you can, even for a moment.

* Plan an imaginary (or real) road trip with Gala’s guide. Mine is going to include a big pair of sunglasses, my recently acquired vintage faux fur coat and a pile of maps.

* Paint over your picture and begin again.

* Write down something beautiful every day for a week.

* Fill empty (cleaned) jam jars with tea lights and bank them on your chimney piece/desk/tabletop.

* Ask someone to feed and put water out for the birds (regularly).

* Buy End Sex Trafficking Now, read an essay every day.

* Live your books, annotate them with pencils, sticky notes and passion.

* Keep a book of poetry by the phone and read when you are on hold.

* Be a girl (human) who reads. And writes.

What cheers you up on down days? Let me know in the comments!

Image courtesy of Gratisography.com


Guest Post- Thank You for Wearing a Swimsuit in PublicI hope you enjoy this beautiful guest post from Ingvild, one of our amazing Trail Blazers in the Trail Blazers’ Cafe. I am taking a week off to rest after the amazing experience of speaking at TEDx. A video of my talk is on its way, so sign up for my newsletter below to be notified as soon as it arrives. A huge thank you to Ingvild for sharing her beautiful words with us here. See you next week, darling. Grace xx


Thank you for wearing a swimsuit in public.

Thank you for not shaving your legs and showing them anyway.

Thank you for wearing glasses.

Thank you for eating that cake and feeling good about it.

Thank you for not wearing makeup.
 Thank you for liking yourself.

Thank you for showing your scars.

Thank you for dancing, and singing in public.

Thank you for flaunting your beautiful pale(fair) legs.

Thank you for wearing a bikini.

Thank you for wearing that silly hat you like.

Thank you for being cute in that lovely summer dress showing your pigmentation spots.

Thank you for talking openly about your asymmetrical breasts.

Thank you for every inch of pride you have about what your body can do.

Thank you for being openly enthusiastic about the things you like.

Thank you for wearing shorts even though your thighs wiggle, because that’s how I learned: I could do it to.

That’s the point.

I learn this from you.

You brilliantly flawed human beings;

Thank you for teaching me how to be one too.

Ingvild Ingvild Punsvik is a 25 year old tailor and sign language interpreter, currently working freelance doing speech-to-text/written intepretation for deaf university students. She has a small farm in the Norwegian woods where she lives with her cat.

Image courtesy of State Library Queensland.