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Bed-bound to Business BombshellI was 21, two weeks a bride and desperately, dangerously sick. Bed bound and hurting, letters became my link to the outside world. Until you are sick and imprisoned in your own home, in your own body, it is hard to understand exactly how important post/mail is.

I lived for letters; that contact with the outside I could only just remember, something to focus on and hope for. We made up Healing Boxes – gifts of information, support and healing goodies for friends and family. We tried to buy healing gift boxes for friends and found none in the UK. So we just continued to make our own and more and more people requested them. After a cancer scare at 22, I decided to stop being scared and start living my dreams and so my entrepreneurial journey began.

I believe that there is balm for healing hearts and we all need access to it. (Click to Tweet!)

Idea Goes International

When you are ill or a loved one is hurting and in life crisis you can purchase a Healing Box for yourself or send one as a gift. Each box is filled with supportive items, carefully tailored to each situation, to bring ease, comfort and to brighten yours or someone’s day.

Healing Boxes exists to support the community of people with illness and pain worldwide. We are a community interest company; a non-profit social enterprise and charitable aims are built into our legal structure.

Healing Boxes exclusively employes – as volunteers and as board members – people with chronic illness, pain or caring responsibilities, who often struggle to find other work. A portion of the proceeds of every box sold goes towards donating Healing Boxes to our local cancer hospice.

We have worked very hard to make the boxes and contents (which are completely ethical, recycled, fair trade, eco friendly, organic, vegan and hypoallergenic) affordable. You can order a small box with 3 items for $23, a medium box with 5 items for $31 and a large box with 8 items for $35. We are working on keeping the boxes affordable while making sure the standards are kept high and ethical. We continually review and improve upon our service.

Business Bombshell Inside Information

The best advice I never had is that anything is possible. All those things you think are impossible are possible. Practically, a woman with multiple serious illnesses, needing full time care and who has never had a real job before should not be able to run two successful businesses from the back of beyond in the Welsh valleys. But it is so. I am living the full colour reality. Those things you think are impossible, the dream you have of changing the world, I am just waiting to see you in action. You have too little time and too much talent to waste.

The one thing I did right was to reach out and ask for help. Ask questions again and again. Be polite and say thank you but ask and then act on the information you receive. When you find someone amazing ask them for a 10 minute chat, prep your questions and ask away. Then take everything they have given you, ask for a reading list and who else you should speak to. Follow up on it all then go back and report your process. Consistency and openness are key.

If I was to give a message to other would-be business bombshells who are deciding to make a difference it would be to step up and begin. Launch now. It will never be perfect and the world needs the revolution you have inside you. Refine as you grow, but just grab your reasons and your let’s-make-a-miracle-team and go!

Would you like my reading list? Here you go:

Think Like a Stripper by Erika Lyremark

The Fire Starter Sessions by Danielle LaPorte

Pitch Perfect by Dyana Valentine

Life is a Verb by Patti Digh

101 Poems to Keep You Sane edited by Daisy Goodwin

Everything Alexandra Franzen has written

The Adventuress Manifesto by Grace Quantock

I look forward to sending you a box of goodies to brighten your day and to see your social entrepreneurial dreams soar!

If you want to help Healing Boxes we would love to have you join our international affiliate program. We love social media and you can find us on Twitter & FB.

*Image courtesy of Camdiluv.

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Alter Your Morning Routines for Life - An Interview With Claudia OlivieHow do you begin your day? And how does that change your day and your life?

Claudia Olivie is a Speaker. Certified Holistic Health Practitioner + Stress Management Mentor.

She believes that we’re most fulfilled when we’re showing up as the best version of ourselves every day.

​And Claudia has a radical message that will alter your morning routines – for life!

We talk healing, auto immune illness and embracing wellness from the moment you open your eyes​.

Check out our interview below:


​And visit Claudia at: ​http://claudiaolivie.com/

Image courtesy of Jeffrey Deng.

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Hot air ballon with text: Q & A: How Do I Explain That My Chronic Illness & Life Aren’t a Tragedy?“What is a simple way of explaining the concept of living well with chronic illness to other people? People without chronic illness seem to find it difficult to understand that I don’t view my life as an awful tragedy…and it takes a long time explaining why I don’t feel that way.”

Let’s begin by considering your audience. It helps to meet people where they are because its easier for them and our results will likely be more successful too. 

Consider the potential mindset of the person you are wanting to understand this. It’s harder to make ourselves clear to someone if we are focused only on what we want to put across not how to best create understanding in our listener.

The first question then, is why are they struggling so much with this concept? And how can we make it accessible for them?

Although we can’t know what our listener is thinking and feeling, there are some feelings which are very likely:

Fear: speaking about chronic illness can be very scary. For people who don’t have chronic illness or haven’t come across it much before, the conversation can be terrifying. It can bring up previously-dismissed and suppressed thoughts around mortality, the fragility of the human body, its fallibility and very human-ness. If a person is wrapped in in their fears, in the grip of them, it may be nearly impossible to understand how anyone can live well with something they can barely acknowledge.

Fear may also come up around inadequacy. If the person you are speaking to isn’t happy with their own life, isn’t living well without chronic illness, then they may struggle with the concept that you are living well, and with a huge challenge. Maybe they’ve drifted off into comparison. Perhaps they don’t believe you, because they can’t comprehend how it’s possible. It could be that they are subconsciously invested in you being ‘unwell’ because that’s the status quo and like many people, they resist change. Or if you make positive changes in your life then it challenges them to consider and reflect on their own life – and if thats uncomfortable there’s going to be resistance there.

An acute pain mindset: if there’s been a time in your life when you didn’t have chronic pain perhaps you can remember how it felt to have a sudden acute pain/illness? Like a toothache – it felt like the only pain in the world and you couldn’t imagine surviving it. Or when you had a cold or a virus and it felt like you’d never live through it. For many people without a chronic condition, the experience of acute pain is their only reference point. They’ve never had to live with pain long enough to learn how to manage it, work with it, breathe through it, move around it. So they may be imagining that every day of your life you are feeling like them when they first have a cold and feel like the world is ending. From this point of view it’s easier to see why they may think living well with pain is impossible. It’s been impossible for them, and that’s as far as their experience goes. They may then be projecting that experience with pain on to you.

So, bearing in mind the audience, how do we actually explain? I’ve got some tips:

Attitude: focus on your attitude not your audiences’ response. You are sharing about your life and do not need their permission for your experience.

In my experience, people tend to meet us where we are, so if we are very positive and pragmatic about a situation most people will take their cues from us. If you approach from a defensive or apologetic perspective there’s likely to be confusion. However, bearing in mind the fear and acute pain perspective your listener may have, if you state clearly your experience and anticipate being understood, it’s much more likely to happen that way. 

It’s the difference between:

A.  A defensive explanation

Friend [in quiet, death-bed tones]: “So, Graaaaaaace (sympathetic pause), how ARE you?”

Grace [through gritted teeth]: “I’m fine, ok? Well, I’m not fine as you know but I have to live with this. So my life isn’t going to revolve around it the whole time. I do have a life outside of illness you know.”

Friend [puzzled]: “But I thought you were too ill to work/walk/go out?”

Grace: “Yes, but that doesn’t mean I can’t do things at home”

Friend: “Oh, it’s good that you are keeping yourself busy, don’t mope!”

Not a good interaction for either, as I’m sure you can tell. If I move from the perspective described above, however, look how it can shift:

B. An Attitude Led Explanation 

Friend [in quiet, death-bed tones]: “So, Graaaaaaace (sympathetic pause), how ARE you?”

Grace [cheerfully]: “I’m having a super day today thank you. It’s lovely to talk to you, I wrote some letters this morning, I’m looking forward to going swimming tomorrow and the sun is shining! How are things with you? How is your work/cat/partner/budgerigar?

Friend: “Oh, work is so boring, I hate it. And I’m ok. I didn’t know you could swim, are you getting better then?”

Grace: “I don’t really think about chronic illness in terms of getting better or not, more about where I am and what’s happening for me today. And yes, I learned to swim as a child, it’s great fun and the water supports and aids movement. Tell me more about work, what’s getting you down?”

Which conversation would you prefer to have?

Clear: make your explanation succinct, clear and repeatable. For a full script, check out Pitch Perfect What’s Wrong with You. It guides you through writing a ‘pitch’ and a positive introduction about you and the illnesses you are living with, crafting explanations and dealing with common questions and misconceptions about diagnosis and living with illness.

Cues: its helpful to give your audience cues. Give them verbal direction. So for example, you could say something like: “I have a new diagnosis but I’m feeling very vulnerable about it so I need to keep the conversation positive right now.” Let them know how you’d like them to respond to this. 

If they don’t and get caught up in fears and spiralling thoughts you could say something like, “This conversation is feeling a little low to me, let’s change the subject to something brighter, what are you doing this weekend?”

Show don’t tell: address the question through the way you live. If you are saying that you are living well, but moaning, complaining, always talking about what you can’t do, saying no to everything and never making any accessible suggestions then people probably will ignore all explanations and see your life as sad. If you are ill, but you are living, doing what you want, and sharing about your exploring, challenges and life, people will see your life as the adventure it is.

Let them think it: can you try allowing people their misconceptions? We can’t control what people think of us, and if they have misconceptions,  unfair, untrue and frustrating as they are, they aren’t something we have control over. In fact, they aren’t really our business and they say more about the person holding them than they ever do about us. Maybe you can choose to seek out people who do appreciate the life you are living, or perhaps the people in your life who don’t understand now will grow to understand as they witness you living well with illness.

What’s your experience in explaining living well? Any tips to share in the comments? For anyone who doesn’t have chronic illness/chronic pain, please share your point of view, pointers, and/or questions etc., you have coming from a different perspective. 

And if you have any questions you’d like me to answer here, share them in the comments!

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