It goes on

Quote by Robert Frost

The entire quote is…”In three words I can sum up everything I’ve learnt about life, it goes on”

This week my view of the world has been sprinkled with death. I spoke to a friend who was preparing for her Dads funeral and after a lengthy conversation with many ups and downs we came to the conclusion that you can’t prepare for such an event. It’s one of those inevitable occasions you have to ‘get through’, balancing your needs and others from moment to moment.

I remember the periods in my life when death destroyed me and I felt like my heart had been pulled through my body, my stomach was too high, lungs collapsed and it took all my energy to grasp at the next breath. When I’d glimpse out of the window and wonder how the world was still ‘getting on with it’, people still laughing, going about their daily business when in that very moment my world had been turned upside down, obliterated, never to be the same…whilst I wouldn’t want anyone else to feel the despair I was in at that very moment it didn’t seem right that others continued? Perhaps that makes me selfish but it’s certainly how I felt.

In my darkest times, be that the loss of someone dear or illness / trauma, tea has honestly been my light. I realise that’s a cliche for British people but it’s true. When everything around me feels heavy, dark and too much, a warm cup to grasp, a sweet contradiction in taste to how I feel seems to give me a sparkle of happiness. It’s a minuscule moment but if you grab it with both hands (obviously putting your tea cup down somewhere safe first) it can open a crack to hope…

This glimmer of hope can lead to a small event, such as a shower and some clean clothes, in turn this can make you feel ‘better’ even if for a passing moment…collect these moments of hope, sparkles of happiness and pull them together and just as the quote suggests life goes on.

Life goes on, never the same, better for having known them, loved them and shared moments with them but it does go on. In fact when you once again find yourself in the light you realise that you are a more empathetic, connected and articulated person for having felt the weigh of their lose and also the blessings of ever having had them to love.

It goes on. Thank heavens

A pocket full of happiness

This week I wanted to share a wonderful experience where one moment of joy led to a string of fairy light happiness. After all, the world needs more joy.

On Tuesday the weather in the UK was surprisingly sunny for an Autumnal day. I was at work, driving around the south coast from appointment to appointment and listening to my podcasts. I had a gap in between appointments of about half an hour and was thinking about pulling up by the beach for a quick walk – a moment of joy in a long day of back to back appointments. However, in all honesty I was also thinking that I’d park up at my next school and grab half an hour of email and admin time.

In the car I was listening to Richard E Grant discuss he’s new book ‘a pocket full of happiness’ on Fern Cottons ‘happy place’ podcast, the title he explained came from his late wife, who in her last days on earth had asked him and their daughter to find a pocket full of happiness in each day amongst the grief…my dilemma was over. I was heading to the beach.

I grabbed my coat and headed to the sea, the tide was out and it was such a beautiful day (see for yourself)

I made time to briefly call a mindful friend and shared my positive choice. Inspired, she was going to the beach for a swim later that day.

I know that being present is crucial to fully immersing yourself in the moment, so I placed my phone in my coat pocket and found a dry sandy spot to soak up the experience. Choosing self care, joy or time for yourself is often difficult but the process instantly rewards, what I hadn’t realised was how my choices effect others, that was until a lady called over.

The area of the beach I was on wasn’t busy so when I saw the lady walking towards me I smiled. She was clearly emotional and I thought perhaps she was going to ask if I had a tissue. As she approached she repeated the word ‘thank you’, perplexed I replied ‘sorry?’ in a polite haze that I’d clearly missed something. She then explained that her mother had recently passed away and that she wasn’t having a good day, she had attempted to go for a walk to find her endorphins from the tide but in fact the beautiful day had somehow made her feel sadder. She said that she was just about to go home when (in her head) she had asked her mother for a sign, a sign to let her know she would be ok…it was then that she looked to the edge of the beach and saw me standing there. The coat that I mentioned I had placed my phone in is a military cargo print, on the back are a huge set of angel wings. I smiled and simply replied “You’re most welcome, enjoy the rest of your day”…the lady continued walking, beaming from ear to ear and all I could imagine was how awful it would have been if I had chosen the email option over the beach.

I don’t think it matters what you personally take from this story, perhaps a smile or the impulse to find more joy in the day for yourself, a reflection of spiritual intervention or a serendipitous moment. I wanted to share the joy in hope that it might continue the string of fairy light happiness. Enjoy 🙂

Dream until it’s your reality

Quote Anon

When I was younger I thought dreams were made of candy floss clouds, I thought happily ever after was the name of the game…but I also thought roundabouts worked because people were kind and I knew nothing of the high way code. Perspectives change, knowledge alters and yet we still dream.

I’ve had many dreams that have become realities; I dreamt of owning a home, of creating a family, I dreamt of taking my child to certain places, experiences etc. I’m also aware that many people wish they had a blog, the difference I guess is often action, luck and a dash of staying power? Some of my dreams have occurred through my direct actions, others because I was in the right place at the right time, some because I simply gave something ago.

I just walked the dog and spoke to a lady who has just moved into a house across the road, they are currently ripping it apart and starting from scratch – DIY is my idea of hell. Yet she was in her element, her current joy I discovered, had led her to several houses over the years that had led to this current property – her soon to be dream home, in her dream location. Again, from this I took that dreams are personal to the individual, she was truly enjoying the process, where I prefer a more ‘bibidibobidi boo’ approach to house transformations, so if you see a DIY fairy godmother in the area, let me know.

The other issue with dreams are that adults don’t give them enough thought. Busy in the mundane, I find journaling my desires, thoughts and ideas can often help me step towards what I want my reality to look like, it’s also sometimes helpful to know what you don’t want. With this knowledge you can fine tune your dreams and within your imagination (mine is financially free and travel takes seconds) you can take your dreams wherever you like.

Looking back on the dreams you have made a reality can help motivate you towards future dreams in the making that seem to far away. I truly believe that you can accomplish anything you desire, give or take a candy cotton cloud…what’s stopping you making it a reality is so often yourself. Time to journal I think?

Keep some room in your head for the unimaginable

Quote from Mary Oliver

It’s Sunday evening and my brain is full…make the packed lunches for tomorrow, pay the council tax, feed the dog, text that friend about that meal, try to relax…oh no, wait…put the washing away so tomorrow everyone can find the items they need to leave the house clothed, pop the dishwasher on. The more I collate a list in my head, the more I could add, that seems to be home family life goes? I’m not sure I would alter it, although I would add a few more pauses, deep breaths and if someone would like to volunteer to make the packed lunches I wouldn’t fight them.

In the mundane cycle of life, the daily chores need keeping in check, the to do list can at times be overwhelming and every now and then I try and make room for some magic.

This weekend after the routine sports activities, my son and I jumped in the car and headed to a local independent book store, as an author was appearing to read a couple of chapters of her latest book. I’d seen the event of Facebook earlier in the week and hadn’t really planned to attend. After perusing the shelves and adding to the Christmas list, my son found a cushion and for half an hour was entertained by (in his words) ‘a real life author’ in this case, someone who writes about monsters for a living…pretty cool. After the book event we wandered down the high street, browsed some stores, grabbed a snack and headed home. As I drove home, I realised thanks to the autumn breeze and the sun shining, it had been the kind of Saturday I thought Motherhood would be…except mostly it’s not.

Sometimes the best moments in life are the unexpected and the spontaneous . Every Saturday morning watching my son in his martial arts class is predictable, live Author readings are not. Perhaps we need to plan for a little of the unimaginable? Now, whilst the word ‘unimaginable’ might have you thinking about flying to space or deep sea diving…on Friday evening I hadn’t imagined the day ahead would go the way it had, so perhaps leaving a little space for potential joy is a positive step forward.

Being open to saying ‘yes’ helps the unimaginable to happen. You also need to step out of your routine and do something different, this I have to be honest isn’t my strong point. Years of teaching and working in a time tabled environment have meant I like a certain level of control and predictability…but the unimaginable can’t happen if you do what you always do, by definition of always doing it makes it imaginable.

In my mind I’m certainly making space for unimaginable events to happen, in the privacy of my brain I’m constantly twirling and travelling to new places, thinking what the foods would smell like and recognising the glitter behind the unknown…stretching my thoughts to the unimaginable is the only way I can get through the mundane moments in life. So this week make sometime to think big, to dare to dream and to wonder how…who knows where it might take you by next weekend?

Privacy is power

Quote adapted.

The full quote is ‘privacy is power. People can’t ruin what they don’t know about’ however, sometimes people can ruin things because you haven’t told them, perhaps there is a fine line between confidentiality and telling all?

Recently, the media reported moment by moment as the Queen lay in state. At times members of the royal family have been filmed during vigils and if I’m honest I’ve found it unappealing and tradition that perhaps has run its course. Celebrities have been spotted in the queue (to see the Queens coffin and to send their condolences) and have had cameras pushed in their faces, again a little distasteful in my opinion.

Living in the UK it’s a British quality and expectation to reply to questions around your wellbeing with ‘I’m fine thanks’ – clearly we aren’t all fine all of the time, but again I think the level of knowledge you share with others should be based on the relationship you have with them, whilst my partner and close family will tell you I over share, I’d like to think Ricky in my local newsagents only knows I’m fine and have a taste for Madagascan dark chocolate.

I believe that privacy is powerful in age where oversharing on a global scale (social media) has become the norm. It’s a precious gift and it often transpires that those who do over share are doing it for tangible gains; attention, sympathy or intrigue. I’m so very grateful that I grew up in an age before uploads, screen shots and even mobile phones were a thing. As I grow more and more comfortable in who I am, my purpose and the people I care for, privacy is worth it’s wait in gold. It gave me security, freedom and peace of mind…priceless.

That said, often people can keep emotional turmoil deep inside them and this can result in mental illness that can also manifest in physical debilitation.

So what can we do? To share or not to share seems to be more complex than it appears? The answer in my opinion is balance. Keep your biggest dreams and desires to yourself – work on you for you. Allow a handful of close and trusted loved ones in, share the deeper and more complex moments with them; these people (I refer to them as my tribe) can be friends or family – you get to pick, often they span various moments in your life and are clear ‘keepers’ – laugh hard with them, cry when necessary and be there for each other, check in and also share gratitude in all you have. As for the rest of the world, tell them you are fine. Walk away from people who are asking how you are for their own gain, did I mention how I’m doing?

Im fine, thanks for asking.

#9yo collect moments

An annual blog post that is selfish in nature but I hope that I inspires you to also capture moments of growth and joy within your world. I now have a mighty nine year old and by capturing these yearly questions I’ve realised he came into the world knowing who he was and what he liked. In essence the answers he has given have been the same answers since he could speak…green has always been his favourite colour and despite eating a wealth of flavours from across the world…pizza is his go to. As a result this year I’ve altered some of the questions for a little more information.

1. What’s something I might not know about you? You don’t know what I do at school because you aren’t there

2. If you was a teacher and you had to teach your students something, what would it be? Probably mythology and drama – not together.

3. What’s your favourite fruit? Avocado

4. What do you like to watch on TV? Star Wars

5. What do you like to eat at lunch? Bagel with avocado and Turkey

6. Who’s in your family? My Mum, Dad, Pearl (our dog) Burple (leopard Ghecko) and Nathaniel (tortoise)

7. What item of clothing do you most like to wear? My coat with the fur collar (recorded in summer whilst temperatures are in the high twenties)

8. What game do you like to play? Rugby and football

9. What’s your favourite animal? Crocodile

10. What song do you most like? The theme song from Moon Knight (Marvel film)

11. What makes you feel thankful? I have things other people don’t

12. Favourite book? All of them, I could never pick? (The boy adores reading)

13. What makes a good friend? Someone that can help you, listen to you and is loyal. Kindness is essential but not just how they treat you but how they treat those around you…

14. What’s your favourite sport? Rugby

15. If you had a pet dragon what would you name it? Well what kind of dragon is it? (I let him pick as I’m not down with the dragon selection?) …moonblade

16. What do you sleep with? Teddies and pillows – so many pillows

17. What do you like best for breakfast? The triple carb that I invented at Laurens wedding (my cousin)… *bread, Nutella, a croissant, Nutella and bread. He named it, built it and devoured it.

18. What qualities are important in a person? Helpful, kind and someone polite and generous, that likes to stand up for people in need, some adults don’t even say thank you!

19. What do you think the world needs more of? More pets, love and choices

20. What’s your favourite dinner? Pizza and macaroni cheese. (Yup, he puts the macaroni on top of the pizza)

Follow the calling not the crowd

Quote Anon

I remember when I was in year 9 parents evening and a PE teacher gave me some sage advice that I’ve passed on as a teacher many times. Her name was Ms Deacon and she said ‘pick the options (GCSE) that you like and think about enjoyment, don’t worry about the future – enjoy the moment’ and it was great advice because we all do better in areas that interest us. Unsurprisingly to any of you that know me it meant my timetable for year 10 was heavy on the arts and ultimately I left proud of the grades I achieved. She also warned me against following my friends choices and I’ve seen many year 9s fall into the trap of ‘following the crowd’ or choosing options or even school, college or university choices based on where there friends are going.

In a world where we are all trying to leave our mark, where diversity is beginning to be valued…we often just want to fit in and camouflage with our fellow humans around us for comfort. To leave the crowd can be daunting and particularly when making education choices at a younger and vulnerable age we can forget our calling…the bespoke path that leads us to our purpose, or sometimes we struggle at the end of our life to know whether we found our purpose, our fulfilment our sense of contentment.

Lately two of my friends have taken a detour on life. One has sold the house, dumped the boyfriend and despite a world pandemic has bought a motor home and is fulfilling her solo travel dreams albeit a little slower than she would have liked. Another has given up her well paid PR career in London to start a family. This is in my opinion braver than it may seem as she currently has a husband but no baby on board…her plan is to detox from work life and focus on her health with the goal of them conceiving in the next eighteen months… I admire both of these people because they have abandoned the norm, thrown wind to what others think and followed their own calling. Materialism and finance have fallen lower in there priorities and a sense of both stepping out of there comfort zones for a potentially more fulfilling tomorrow are prioritised.

That to me is brave, however for them once they made the decision it all flowed effortlessly because it aligned with their pathway. The other great bonus of following your own desires is you meet more people that see the world the way you do. This week take a moment to think about what you’d like to achieve; this week, a year from now or five years from now….are you taking action for a life you want to live, or have you been trapped by the crowd? Shine in your uniqueness and thrive.

Waves are the ripples of the hard work that came before

This quote came from a thought in my head, an original fridgesays quote!

It may be because my horoscope is a water sign, that I’m a summer baby or that I live not to far from the sea but I am at home in water. I like to drink it, have bubble baths, swim, scuba dive, paddle, play, or just watch the tide…for authenticity, I don’t enjoy washing up.

Tidal waves are magnificent; the push and pull from the moon, the swish and swirls of the lapping sea as it consumes the beach in one big mouthful and then spits it’s out in a repellent manner, white foam bubbles around my toes as I timidly paddle (I’m based in the UK so even in summer the sea is like an ice box). I remember the first time I body boarded in Barbados (much warmer) and got to grips with the rhythm of the sea and where I needed to place and angle the board…hard work but so thrilling as the sea lifted me and catapulted my body to the shore effortlessly. I was addicted.

When you are working hard with a positive intention, when you know the purpose of the task at hand and aren’t doing for how it makes you look. When working hard helps others, then much like the ripple of a stone landing in a pond of still water – you can quickly see the ripple effect around the centre of where you put the action in.

I believe that when you apply hard work for the correct reasons, the ripple goes well beyond your knowing. Perhaps in time the ripples get larger or even less defined – they are still present and working for the greater good.

I once taught a sixteen year old girl in school who decided to increase her grade. She threw herself into the process fully even though her predicted grade was far lower, she wanted to take law at ‘A’ level, later through her career she wanted to help women like her mother who had struggled following domestic violence. She had a clear goal and so she threw herself into her studies and we revised daily – she would come to me for practise questions, take them home, bring them back and I’d mark them. She wasn’t happy until each question was better than the last. When it came to sitting the exam she was as calm as a tranquil lake, she knew what she had to do and I knew she could do it, how could she not?

This isn’t a suspense novel, so much like you thought – she smashed it. Her ripples went on to move her closer to her goal and now she has just completed her first year with a firm that advocates for the very cause she first threw her rock into the pond for. No doubt the action and clear vision she had at sixteen is still having a ripple effect today and everyday she helps victims of domestic violence be heard and seek justice.

The ripples don’t end in that pond, she inspired me beyond belief, her peers had nothing but praise for her and of course her mother wept on results day when she moved her grade up by four and got full marks. I retold her story and other pupils became intoxicated by the ripple effect. You see we don’t always see the full effects of our actions – she may not appreciate the gratitude of families surrounding the women she will continue to help, the pupils in younger classes who I shared her story with – perhaps even you will somehow be caught in the motion of her action. For you, this post won’t feel like hard work but flow – it may inspire you to take on a similar goal or to apply it to something aligned with your purpose, you may share this post with others and the ripples will continue.

Remember, hard work is just the first step but the legacy lives on beyond the furthest ripple.

You inspire me to be nothing like you

Quote Anon

A sassy quote to start things off but perhaps a blog post that’s a little calmer…like, horizontal in contrast.

Lately I haven’t been writing as much, Sunday uploads have been inconsistent and I’m absolutely fine with that. I guess that’s the ‘to be nothing like you’ aspect of this post. Sometimes we keep going because we think we should, we feel obliged to join in with social gatherings even though we are shattered and about to burn out…and somewhere in between is the pure joy spot of balance. That’s the place I’ve been exploring lately, many are too busy being busy to see and feel it.

I need to be clear, I love consistency and think it has its place in reaching our goals but I also believe that if you keep going just so you can tell others you’re consistent then the goal probably isn’t worth the effort.

Work has been manic, my family’s social calendar also picked up a gear and I found myself unable to plan the next days meals as my brain drowned in admin and to do lists, I inhaled other peoples problems and exhaled more things to add to the to do list.

Lately, things have calmed down – mainly as I’ve scheduled time to do nothing. Life is too precious to burn out, part of that included not writing and uploading my blogs. Writing at times on a public forum such as this, could be perceived as draining, it certainly has its vulnerable moments. Like most writers, it often fills my cup up – I write messages I need to be reminded of, topics that interest me and events that penetrate my world, but like most things in the adult world it comes with responsibility and accountability and those aspects can be draining. I needed a break.

I’ve been writing in this corner of the internet since 2014. I wrote when blogging was a cool thing to do and I write now when perhaps social media reels and TikToks have taken its space. Again, I’m ok with that.

In the coming weeks I invite you to live in the sweet spot of joy. What do you do because you think you should and where can you create some space for what you need? Can you say no to drinks with friends because you’re exhausted? Or do you need to gather some friends around for such an event because you’ve become a hermit, which in itself can be draining.

Somewhere in the middle of the fast lane and the slow lane you’ll find the cruise lane. Cruising allows you to witness and experience life, without the burn out…what’s not to love? See ya next week…maybe

The beginning is always today

Quote by Mary Shelley

Whatever we do, where ever we go the clock ticks and time moves forward. Often we seek out new beginnings and fresh starts. The western calendar is designed to seek out ‘new’ opportunities…New Years Eve, birthdays, baby showers, you can purchase cards for new jobs, say congratulations on learning to drive, or a new home.

Often as dates loom we can become anxious about the change, only to step into the adventure and realise ‘it wasn’t so bad’ – things often aren’t. The human mind, our own mind can often be our worst enemy – reality is often a cuddly kitten compared to the ‘what ifs’ and the ‘I hopes’ , that said kitten scratches can hurt.

Being present is hard in a world that whirls and never stops. But WHAT IF today is your new beginning. For every new day you have until your last breath you have a new chance. You don’t need to celebrate it (although a dance party a day is never something I regret) you just need to seize it…to not waste it, to make the most of it and to cherish it. If you think action is needed, some of the most nourishing days I’ve been blessed to experience have been snuggled, static and calm.

Perhaps you have a new job that starts in a few weeks, the new beginning began the day you applied for the job, the adrenaline of the interview, the wait to hear how it went.

You may be going on holiday over the summer vacation – the day you researched where you were going, looked at reviews on line or flicked through brochures – the holiday began. Instead of saying your holiday is in three weeks time, enjoy the journey – treat yourself to a new outfit to wear, in the supermarket add in some suntan lotion…the holiday process is so much more than two weeks abroad.

Squeeze the newness out of each day, the beginning is there for you to hold and for you to enjoy. Whilst I can’t say each day will be joyful, I can say that when you wake the next day you are given an opportunity to do things differently, to be a better version of yourself and to start again. This is the gift of life.