Sunday, 24 October 2010

The Gift of Compassion

As I travelled home last night, having been to a close friends birthday, my journey was unexpectedly disrupted. As I got on to the Richmond train at Earls Court, there seemed to be a slight confusion among the passengers of the static train. I was in no major hurry to be anywhere fast as I was engrossed in a very good book. Then, suddenly, the train driver announced that the reason we weren’t moving was because the power had been turned off as there was a passenger on the tracks of platform two. My immediate reaction was to jump up and see if he was ok! Funny that I should assume it was a man after the train driver had only specified a ‘passenger’. It did in fact turn out to be a man, but there was a 50/50 chance of me guessing correctly. My sudden jump to ‘the rescue’ seemed to go misinterpreted by my fellow passengers who all then jumped up with a less concerned approach and more of a ‘are his guts hanging out?’ approach!

As there was no train on platform two, my natural reaction was to assume that the man had fallen on the tracks as opposed to having jumped to his demise. I was standing at the window to see if I could see what was going on when the man opposite me said in a very unsympathetic tone “Has he jumped on the tracks?” As I couldn’t see what was going on, I replied “He might have fallen.” To which the man said “Either that, or he’s being a total dick!”

This comment shocked me, to say the least! I sat back down and couldn’t help but wonder if everyone on the train would agree with his venomous comment? Some of the passengers seemed eager to get home and were consequently annoyed, and some just wanted to see what was going on. As there was not much that I could do, I sent the man on the tracks my compassion, wished him well and hoped that he would be safe before sticking my head in my book again – which was all I felt I could do in that moment - apart from that I found it hard to concentrate on what I was reading whilst being utterly appalled at this man’s point of view! Especially as now the man was on the phone talking to his girlfriend (how he managed to get a girlfriend is beyond me) telling her that some ‘twat’ had chucked himself on the tracks and if people ‘wanted to top themselves’ they should do it in a ‘convenient’ place! I was totally gobsmacked at how inconsiderate this man was being and how conceited he was for:

1; Thinking these thoughts in the first place!
2; Announcing it very publicly to the whole carriage!

Now, I’m no expert in the field of people killing themselves by throwing themselves in front of trains, but I do know that they do tend to do it when there’s an actual train to throw themselves in front of! And even if this man was trying to end his life, surely that’s the biggest sign that another human being is in a great deal of pain, with no available resources, and in his mind, no other option but to end it all! Where was this man’s compassion!? No matter what your views are on taking your own life, surely compassion, empathy or maybe even sympathy in some people’s cases should creep into the picture somewhere along the lines.

A million thoughts were flying around my head; how many others on the train (and on the other platforms) were feeling animosity by this man on the tracks? Annoyed/ inconvenienced / wanting to go home after a long day. How many people were thinking hostile thoughts about this man on the tracks? When collectively we all needed to be sending good vibrations of compassion and help to a man who was in desperate need of it! And really, who is anyone helping by resenting this man on the tracks? Certainly not themselves and certainly not the man! And one final poignant thought that seemed to sear itself on my brain: Would people feel differently if it was a woman on the tracks instead?

A public announcement broke my thought process and we all had to evacuate the station. Obviously, we all tried to see what was going on as we walked out, but couldn’t. The hustle and bustle of everyone leaving, the hustle and bustle of my thoughts – electricity in the air. Although I felt calm and not inconvenienced by getting home a little bit later than anticipated, I was still dumfounded by the man opposite me for hurling abuse at the man on the tracks, whom, whichever way I spun it in my mind, was in trouble, whether he had intended to be or not!

“He’s the dick if anyone is!” I thought! My feathers were so ruffled by this man, seeing the situation from his point of view was just NOT an option at that point (which now with hindsight makes me smile) As we walked into the bitter cold air, I thought “Who is he to judge that man!? He knows nothing about that man! For all he knows he could have suffered a massive loss or trauma, he could be so deeply unhappy that he couldn’t cope anymore, he might have lost his daughter, or his brother or his entire family! OR he could have simply had an accident and fallen off the platform and on to the tracks! GOD! What’s wrong with some people? Where’s the natural human compassion? Is this how everyone is nowadays? So quick to judge! Who the hell is he to judge someone he doesn’t know?” …My thoughts slowed down as I was halted by my realisation; the very thing I was upset by – I was doing myself. I was judging him! I was judging him for judging the man on the tracks.

Oh the irony!

Although I was still shocked at this man’s lack of compassion and bold opinion; so different from mine, and so unforgiving in my eyes…who was I to judge him? I didn’t know him. I didn’t know his background. Where he’d grown up or who he’d grown up with. How much compassion he’d experienced in his life, and by the sounds of his overbearing opinions, it seemed clear to me that he probably hadn’t experienced much compassion at all. After reflecting on my thoughts, I realised that I hadn’t given him any compassion! And really, that was probably what he needed the most. I mean, for someone’s natural instinct to be hurling abuse at another human being that’s in desperate need of help – WOW! I suddenly started to feel very sorry for this man. Perhaps he needed to have strong, malicious thoughts of others to feel significant and superior? And as much as his views clashed with mine, I could only feel sorry for this man. A man that clearly didn’t have much love for himself, or nurture, or compassion. Who doesn’t understand that by dismissing the man on the tracks traumatic experience, he was in fact dismissing himself. All that was left to do was to accept this man as he was and to give him as much compassion as I could offer…and also, if I’m honest – breathe a big sigh of relief when we were let back into the station and to find myself NOT on the same carriage as the man!

I’m not quite sure what happened to the man on the tracks. My guess is that they got him off, and apart from some minor injuries, he was ok. At least that is what I’d like to think happened and given the amount of time in which the whole event took place, I’d say it was unlikely that he was severely hurt!

So I guess I’d like to leave you with some questions that this experience highlighted for me.

Who have you judged recently?
In what way were they (or their actions) similar to you (or your actions)?
How can you bring more compassion into your life and give more to others around you?
Can you find a way to learn from people you ‘dislike’?
And how can they help you to have a realisation about yourself.
And how can you put your realisations into action so that you can create a more positive world for yourself?

Compassion is one of the nicest gifts we can give to ourselves and to others around us, how much compassion do you have in your life right now and how can you create more? Starting from now.

Lots of Love
Fran x

Friday, 30 July 2010


So, we did it! Our 5k Race For Life, to raise money for cancer research. And what a lovely day it was. A crowd of pink all walking together in unison. Some of the fitter, more energetic ladies among us jogged and even sprinted the race, but for us here at The Identity Project, we strolled leisurely, taking in the glorious views of Hyde Park. At some moments it was easy to forget we were in a park at all, what with looking at everyone’s messages on their backs; Who they were running for, who they’d lost to cancer, messages of encouragement and pictures of loved ones etc. It was truly touching. There were some amazing costumes too! We saw the Pink Ladies from Grease, Wilma Flintstone, A group of Bumblebees, The Pink Panther, Sexy Nurses and many more…not to forget our favourite: The Giant Banana!

Surrounded by wonderful women everywhere, it was hard not to wear a smile! Jasmine and myself were not in costume but we were wearing something slightly out of the norm on our feet! We were wearing Vibram 5 fingers. What the heck are those!?! We hear you cry. Well, they are the new revolutionary footwear, designed to create a barefoot feeling while you walk and exercise. They have separated toes (like gloves) and they are all the rage for sports enthusiasts. We were kindly sponsored by Toby’s Shoes, which is a profit business that sell vibram 5 fingers and give 100% of their profits away, working in association with SOS Village Charity, which helps mothers in India create home businesses for themselves! An amazingly innovative business that doesn’t offer hand outs but instead, life teachings so that mothers in India can build their lives up and look after themselves and their families by creating their own income and maintaining it! This kind of help encourages the removal of poverty instead of enabling it. Truly inspiring to say the least. So, not only do we recommend you get yourself a pair of vibram 5 fingers from Toby’s Shoes because the money goes to a great cause, but if you like running, jogging or just about any kind of sport, these are the shoes for you. You can even swim in them! The genius comes from what they can do for your feet and not what they look like (for all of you fashion enthusiasts!) They encourage you to put more pressure on the balls of your feet instead of your heels, like most trainers and shoes do. This is how our feet naturally walk without shoes but years of wearing normal shoes has encouraged our feet to apply pressure to the wrong areas. By putting the pressure on the balls of your feet you can prevent all sorts of health problems from shin splints to misalignments of your hips!

But I digress!

All in all the day was a wonderful success! We managed to raise £530, so thank you to everyone who sponsored us…and in fact thank you to anyone who sponsored anyone they knew taking part in the walk. Cancer Research is a charity very close to the hearts of both Jasmine and myself. Together we can help people in all sorts of ways, from treatments to rehabilitation therapies. The money you contributed is helping people right now, so we are truly grateful for all of your generous donations.

If our sponsored walk and the people involved proved anything, it’s that it is very possible to create something positive out of something not so positive! A message that we are keen to spread, to practise within our own lives and encourage others to do the same.

The joy and laughter that was in the air was truly remarkable. And the celebratory Pimms went down a treat too ;) We highly recommend you join us next year!

To get your pair of Vibram 5 fingers and support women in India, go to

Wednesday, 14 April 2010

Our flag is flying!!

We did it! We had out first ever workshop! Heart & Mind arrived and it did not disappoint. We were joined by a wonderful group of women who made the day what it was. Heart & Mind did everything it said on the tin…and more!!!

For us, it was a landmark. We officially placed The Identity Project flag in the ground! It was a day of rich learning, not just for our guests but for us, as coaches, mentors and individuals. What a transformation it has been, from a dream to a reality in a matter of months. Jasmine and myself felt so proud and fulfilled by the day. Our guests committed to the day whole-heartedly…and we really couldn’t have asked for a lovelier group of women for our first ever workshop. We feel absolutely blessed to be living our dream and being able to help women from all walks of life. And we are so grateful to be on the path we are on.

The day was a huge success, however it wasn’t without a few stresses at the start. What with the cleaning not being finished, having the wrong lead for the computer and getting Tash to RUN to The Apple Store and get us the right one! To the lighting not being strong enough…to the sound going a little bit wobbly! BUT despite the set up glitches, the day ended up being nothing but wonderful! Everybody left with smiles on their faces and thanking us for the knowledge we’d passed on. The day received glorious feedback and we couldn’t have been happier. Which leads us onto our moral of today’s blog. A revelation that I ‘knew’ to be true but hadn’t had the chance of experiencing or feeling, up until that point…

…Perfection is a highly over-rated expectation! One that seems to be desired by so many…and yet, it is not necessary in any shape or form. For our greatest learnings come from the parts of our lives that aren’t perfect!

Now, Jasmine and I could have stressed out about the hiccups that presented themselves to us throughout the day. We could have focused on them, and decided that the day would not be a success due to it not being ‘perfect’. But in truth, it’s the imperfections in life that give us the perfections. The day was just perfect to us because of the results our guests achieved throughout the day…and that was our intention in the first place ☺

We’d like to say a huge thank you to everyone that attended our first ever workshop. But we’d also like to leave you with this thought. If you strive for perfection, you might end up missing the very things that could give you the kind of perfection that will truly fulfil you. And if you’re striving for perfection, who are you striving for perfection for? You are perfect just as you are. Changes and improvements are healthy goals to work towards…but true perfection comes from within your uniqueness, remember that and you will be perfect in your own way.

Lots of Love

Fran and Jasmine xx

Wednesday, 24 March 2010

The joys of being flexible...

Sometimes our greatest lessons in life come from unexpected places! As we get closer to our first free workshop we are constantly experiencing and learning new things, pushing our comfort zones and broadening out horizons. In fact just the other day we learnt about the joys of being truly flexible.

We were going through the material for our workshop and we suddenly decided to start again! Yes, you heard us correctly! Although we had a perfectly good day planned for everyone, that had taken us hours (more like days) to devise…it just wasn’t thrilling us anymore!

We believe that if you’re going to do something, you should do it properly. There’s no point in doing something if your heart’s not in it! And quite frankly when we looked at the material that we had planned, as great as it was…we weren’t jumping for joy. There was just something about it that wasn’t thrilling us.

SO…we’ve changed our first free workshop!

Now, we could have thought “Well there’s not long to go now and we’ve worked hard on this one, why don’t we just stick to it?” But in our hearts and in our minds there is always a great learning from any situation.

We now have an AMAZING free workshop that our hearts are in 100% ! We are so excited. We’d very much like to invite you to our first FREE workshop ‘Heart & Mind’ April 10th in Piccadilly Circus.

Details about out FREE WORKSHOP Heart & Mind, can be found at

We’re also on MeetUp and Facebook.

So, you are cordially invited to experience and gain some amazing tools and techniques (for free!) And we’d also like to invite you to be flexible…even it’s a bit scary! If we hadn’t have thrown caution to the wind and started from scratch, we wouldn’t have devised an amazing free day for you. And sure, Heartbreak City was planned to be a great day…But Heart and Mind is going to be absolutely fantastic! Life is too short to settle for the ‘safe’ option! So get flexible and get yourselves down to our workshop April 10th! We’re looking forward to seeing you there.

Lots of Love

Fran and Jasmine

Thursday, 11 March 2010


Our dear friend, trainer and mentor often quotes a famous sailor called Pete Goss. And the quote goes like this…

“Life hangs on a very thin thread. The cancer of time is complacency. If you’re going to do something, do it now because tomorrow is too late.” - Pete Goss

Wow! How many things do we constantly put off? A lot, right? And what are the reasons? Not enough time, not enough money, not enough patience, not enough of anything…

Excuses! Excuses!

Have you ever looked over the year just past and thought “Wow, I actually got quite a lot done…imagine how much more I could have done if I’d really put my mind to it!”

Sometimes we get so wrapped up in our excuses…we forget what’s real. We almost forget what it is we were supposed to be doing in the first place! Or more importantly what we WANT to be doing!

So what is an excuse anyway?

verb |ikˈskyoōz| [ trans. ]
1 attempt to lessen the blame attaching to (a fault or offense); seek to defend or justify : he did nothing to hide or excuse Jacob's cruelty.

To lessen the blame? Why would we need to lessen the blame? To opt out of taking responsibility? That doesn’t sound like someone who’s in control of their life! That sounds more like the role of a victim.

Are you a victim to your excuses?

When you think about the things that you put off: what excuses come up for you? Why don’t you shock yourself right now and write down all the excuses you can possibly think of. Go on, jot them down. How many do you have?

Once you’ve completed your list, now write down the REAL reason why you put it off. The ‘adult taking responsibility for their actions’ reason. Maybe it’s just a case of you not making time for it yet. Not that there ISN’T enough time, just that you haven’t MADE the time or made it a priority yet? Maybe you were scared or failure? Or scared of success? Or maybe you just couldn’t be bothered? Whatever your reason is, it’s valid as long as it’s the truth.

Now install an action that you need to take in order to get that job done. And maybe a new positive belief that you need to do that job. Maybe it’s a belief about yourself and your capabilities? Or about what other people might think? Whatever it is, make it a positive encouraging belief that will help you move forward.

Excuses can hold you back from living the life of your dreams. Excuses can be your crutch, never allowing you to achieve your true desires. Excuses aren’t real reasons for not doing the things you want or are supposed to be doing.

If you’re going to do something, do it now…because tomorrow is too late.

How many of us have said things like “ Well when I get my promotion, I’ll be happy.” Or “Well when I get into shape I’ll feel more confident.” Or “When I get some spare time, I’ll get that job done.”

What is it that you are waiting for in order to get that thing done? And is that, (if you’re really honest with yourself) just an excuse to put it off?

If a Doctor told you that you only had 6 months to live…what would you do differently to what you’re doing now? How would you change your lifestyle to make your last 6 months the best 6 months of your life?

Maybe it wouldn’t be drastically different from now? Maybe just a few tweaks here and there? Maybe it would be COMPLETELY different? Take a moment to work out what is important to you. What is it that you want your life to stand for and represent? What are the things you’d like to achieve? The places you’d like to see? The type of people you’d like to spend your time with? The most important thing that you want to get out of your precious time, here on earth.

Life hangs on a very thin thread…

So what is it that you are waiting for? What excuses are you hiding behind?

Because Tomorrow…it’s too late…

Wishing you all the best in removing the things that hold you back.

Lots of Love

Fran and Jasmine xx

Monday, 1 March 2010

Take a 'soul' holiday

I'm 29 years old and I've taken many holidays in my lifetime...when I was growing up they consisted of running around endlessly, swimming, staying up later than usual and drinking loads of fizzy drinks! In my teens they consisted of more running around endlessly (this time after boys), staying up later then usual and drinking loads of fizzy drinks...In my early twenties they followed much the same routine, only this time the fizzy drinks were replaced with alcohol and most of my days were spent sleeping off the night before! The most recent of holidays have technically not been holiday's at all as I was always exhausted after returning from each one! It makes you wonder what the point of taking time out from a tiring job is if you only return just as tired, sometimes even more so! So, up until now I'm going to call all of those times "having fun" rather than "having a holiday".

Over the past 3 weeks I discovered the true meaning of taking a holiday, and the spiritual benefits of it! On the 5th February, accompanied by my husband Warren, we flew back to my roots - South Africa. I spent 25 years of my life here and I've been back for a holiday once already, so I wasn't expecting anything out of the ordinary..catching up with old friends, visiting the in-laws and eating a lot was pretty much the itinerary for the trip and even though we did all these things, what also happened was a rejuvenation of my soul! I can only explain it as pure bliss! An inner peace that so many people spend hours meditating to experience...

The ocean has always captivated me and being near it really makes me feel whole. I never grew up near the ocean, I grew up inland and only visited the ocean on holidays, so this attraction I have towards it is slightly unexplained, maybe something for me to explore further? We spent 7 days of our trip here and as February is out of season, instead of the crowd of holiday makers and screaming kids, we were met with quiet empty beaches and glorious bird filled mornings! The sound of nature is enough to send anyone into a trance-like state!

One of Warren's favourite places is the "Kruger Park" - a place I would highly recommend to anyone visiting South Africa. We call it a game farm, here in Europe it's called a 'safari' but whatever name you give it, basically it's a piece of untouched earth where wild animals are free to roam and respected by humans! (in my opinion this is how it should be throughout the entire world). We were very lucky to see the big 5 (lion, elephant, rhino, leopard and buffalo for those who are unfamiliar). The best part was seeing how many of these amazing animals had gorgeous, healthy babies! There was a stillness created around these amazing animals that can only be explained as majestical. These creatures thats sole purpose is to live the life they were designed to live on this earth. No destruction, no materialism, no competition to be the best, just pure living. It was an amazing experience and one I will hold with me for years to come. What could we all learn from these creatures? I guess my answer would be to find ways to live a life that is free from destruction and to have more respect for 'the order of things' the universe and nature, because we're all living on this earth together!

My advice to you is when you plan your next holiday, don't plan to go out and get drunk every night, don't go somewhere noisy where you won't have time with your thoughts, but go somewhere special, somewhere that has meaning and spend it with someone you love...It does wonders for the soul!


International Women's day

International what? We hear some of you ask! It’s quite amazing how something of such magnitude can pass us by at certain points in our lives. Yes, there is one whole day, a celebrated and recognised day for Women. Did you know this? Hats off to you of you did! We’re embarrassed to say that we were not aware of this! Not in the way that we should have known anyway. We’re sure all over the world, there are various days to celebrate most things…but we were not aware of the actual date, or that anyone actually celebrated the day that is International Woman’s Day March 8th…every year!

What’s even more astonishing is when you think of all of the things in the world that might be true and real and wonderful…that pass you by just because you aren’t aware of them! Think of all of the opportunities that you might have missed just by not knowing they were there…

No, really…just take a moment to think about how your life could be different, better even if you had taken that opportunity that you thought you couldn’t see, but in fact, it was right there all long! You could be working in your dream job…or maybe not working at all? The world could continue to be your oyster, if you were only aware of it being that in the first place.

So! As wonderful an event as International Woman’s Day is and we’d encourage you to do something fun and significant for it. We further encourage you to make EVERY DAY ‘Woman’s Day’. Now don’t get too excited just yet! By this, we don’t just mean, ‘indulging’ yourself everyday by slobing out in front of the telly! We mean by making everyday an amazing discovery of what’s really out there. All of the amazing opportunities that may have passed you by in the past (that you’re not even aware of) invite them into your daily routines. Open your eyes and see the potential all around you, so that every day, is YOUR DAY!

As women, we tend to be guilty of taking too much on. Carrying excess baggage. Over analising everything! Just stop for a moment and ask yourself ‘What am I gaining from this?’ So often, we rush around with the weight of the world on our shoulders and we don’t even stop to ask ourselves why or for what purpose? And it’s when we get into these routines that bring us stress and worry, that we are blind to all of the fantastic opportunities that are staring us in the face!

So, we’d like to invite you to use a mantra, a thought, a question, a statement (if you will) that helps us on a daily basis.

“If it doesn’t give you peace…let it go.”

Repeat this to yourself. Get used to saying it. Really understand how wonderfully poignant and healing this statement is. How many things do you have in your life, that don’t give you peace? And for what purpose do you hang onto them?

If it doesn’t give you peace…just let it go. The changes we have made by adopting this thought have been truly remarkable and we encourage you to embrace it in the same way.

International Woman’s Day. March 8th.
Get on Google and see what events have been organised in your area…or better still, organise your own special event! And remember, every day can be your day, it just depends on how you want to see it.

Lots of Love

Fran and Jasmine xx