Helen McKayIn these pages, I will  share information about my books and some articles I’ve had published, plus stories, and related activities (workshops, speaking engagements), especially those dealing with the happiness theme and storytelling.

I recently added: Living with Lymphoedema, to help those who have difficulty finding information about this affliction, which I’ve lived with for about 30 years.

There is a difference, between the theoretical information – given by those who have not actually experienced this condition – and the “really challenging” experience, of people who are challenged by it, every day.
Living with lymphoedema has never stopped me finding interesting things to do, such as my writing and ceramic artwork.

It was exciting to be invited to submit the story of my secret, childhood friend, Bicky, to Readers Digest and to see it published. Working on that memory brought to mind so many memories, from those early childhood days – both happy and sad. I have added the original story to the sidebar listing, so you can share it. Yesterday, I held in my hands a beautiful, tiny porcelain doll that was over 100 years old. This brought very clearly to mind my secret friend Bicky. It’s amazing, those memories never leave you.

Over the past few years, I hadn’t done much storytelling – due to ill-health, and repeated surgery, caused by rejection, and complications, of implanted mesh. Each operation, presented a challenge for me to overcome, and I found the Happiness strategy gave me the strength I needed, to focus positively.

In recent months, I again faced the challenge of  critical surgery and it has taken much energy and positive thinking to overcome and recover from this challenge. Reading my Happy Book gave me many happy moments to reflect on, while I was recuperating. I recommend this to you.

Some time ago, I was invited to give talks to community organisations about Happiness and the Art of Living. I was invited to present a workshop in Canberra, where I told two stories, as part of a Happiness presentation. The brief was send the participants away “Happy” and I managed to fulfill it. Many participants, also, told a personal story to an appreciative audience.

The evaluations of my presentation, in Canberra, arrived in the mail and it was really great to read them. Some said inspiring, many said excellent, very good and other really positive comments. It was heartening to receive that information and know, the participants enjoyed the workshop. It’s good to get that feedback and know you ‘got it right’. The Conference Coordinator, also, was delighted with the comments she had received.

I’ve also presented a workshop of Storytelling, for Tour Guides. It was a great day and we enjoyed the drive out to Paterson, in the Hunter Valley. Stories bring history alive for listeners, and contribute to a great visit, to a historical site, for everyone. Every one of the tour guides worked hard that day, and we look forward to going back to Tocal Homestead, one Open Day, to listen to the stories being told. Magic!

In a further workshop, I had the participants tell the story of being lost. Some remembered their childhood experience of becoming lost and others told of more recent “lost” experiences. It was interesting to hear, how the participants dealt with this adventure and it certainly stirred up the memory banks. One innovative person, told how her children reported that her parents were lost at an Agricultural Show and had them summoned, giving their full description over the PA system. Hearing those “lost” stories proved very entertaining.

Some  time ago, I visited a family member, coping with depression, resulting from a serious health crisis – cancer. Seeing how it affected him, I realised how important that positive, happy focus is, to help people overcome the difficult challenges, life poses for each one of us. No-one is exempt from these challenges, but it helps, if you have a positive strategy, to get you through the tough times. Without those challenges, we do not make the necessary life changes.

Many years ago, I produced some very creative pottery, which ceased, due to injuries received in a multiple vehicle accident. Although I tried to continue with my creative work, it was not possible. Thirty years have elapsed and, last winter, I felt the urge to produce a little more of my hand-built work and look forward to sharing some of it with you, as I produce further pieces.

I discovered that, even though you are unable to fulfil them, the creative ideas bubble away in the back of your mind, to be recalled when you need to use them. Nowadays, I still cannot sit for long at a time, working at my pottery, but am enjoying using my creative energy again, in this way. So, I can, again, add “Studio Potter“, to my list of interesting occupations and look forward to exhibiting some pieces, in local Galleries. Some of my recent acquisitions, include: a small kiln, to enable me to fire my ceramic work at home. Pieces from these firings will be shared on this blog, as they come to hand.

A while has elapsed, since I last contributed to this page. I was very ill, following surgery, in October, last year, and again in March/April of this year (2014),  and it has taken much grit and determination, to overcome that challenge. Since my recovery, I have been busy with my writing and pottery – and all the things that make up everyday life.

My tribe has increased and, with the birth of a recent baby boy, I now have four children, six granddaughters and five great grandchildren! It is wonderful to look back, many years, to the birth of my first child – the start of my personal family. How young and inexperienced I was, back then! It’s fascinating, to see them develop and grow to become beautiful, talented people, with strong personalities. We talk often on SKYPE and enjoy sharing our secrets. My Happy Book recently has a host of new entries!

I have offered the little Happy Memories Book to family and friends, who have recently, lost family members. I suggested they should write down the happy memories that they recall, as they go about their daily life. Some have taken up the suggestion and found that, indeed, the little book of their precious memories, has helped. I recommend it to you. You may need a box of tissues when you read back through it, but it really helps to heal the pain of grief.

My latest excitement was to send off my book, “Links to Your Happiness”  to Amazon, and it is now published as an ebook, which an be accessed via Kindle. (My first publisher, passed away, soon after the first edition was released). Last year, I spent many months, reorganising the chapters and revising the text. I now feel happy with the messages it offers as an ebook.

I also revised and updated About Storytelling, during the past year and it is now published as an ebook, More About Storytelling, which can be accessed through Kindle and Amazon and available to all storytellers around the world

Be Happy!