We are our choices

Quote from J P Sartre

So we’ve arrived in 2022, most of us a little worst for wear, but we are here. Looking around you have arrived in the lifestyle choices you made last year. Our current body is made from the food and lifestyle choices we make…I am currently a very content ‘cheese and beans jacket potato’ – it was made even more delicious as I really fancied it, it meant stopping off on the way home for large potatoes and then waiting over an hour for it to cook but good decisions aren’t always instant.

Sometimes we can feel we don’t have choices (like we don’t have any potatoes), stepping back from the situation and reassessing what we can do (buy potatoes) often provides a solution or a pathway around the issue, leading us to our desired choice. The universe often has a way of providing either what we desire or something even better. Very few situations as adults lack choice, they’re either a manifestation of the choices we made to get there or the result of choices that we rushed into and didn’t think about the consequences of.

When children show antisocial behaviour (hitting, kicking or biting) its often because they lack the ability to communicate how they feel, instead they demonstrate it in actions. All of humanities behaviours are simple communications…basic maths will tell you that making choices that are positive, caring and thoughtful, often result in positive outcomes for yourself and those around you. Sometimes life throws us curve balls and it can feel like we don’t have choices, below is a list of ways you can make better choices moving forward:

* listen to your own instinct, it’s got your back and often will steer you in the right direction (unless you over think it)

*don’t overthink it, instead remember knowledge is power and always check your sources are valid and reliable

* balance is the key, so with a healthy dinner and plenty of exercise I can afford to indulge in a less nutritious dessert should I wish.

* make sure the people you surround yourself with are aspiring in the same direction as you, seek advice when needed from trusted souls

* good sleep often helps you to think with clarity

Have a wonderful 2022 and feel your world with choices that make you and those around you smile.

Be someone who makes some else look forward to tomorrow

Quote Anon

The world has gone topsy turvy, the universe is twirly wurly and I’m sitting here unsure of what way is up and not wanted to fall down. Amongst the chaos we can now add Christmas to the mix, so on the prescipus of my forties I thought it appropriate to write a quick note to Father Christmas.

Dear Father Christmas,

I know it’s been a while, but as you oversee the joy of the Christmas season I thought it important to touch base…last year was a quiet one with families not as together as usual, I guess that increased your work load? Anyway, this year isn’t looking that spectacular, rules are changing like a game of snakes and ladders and who knows what tomorrow will bring?

Inevitably, this is the part where I ask you for something…it’s a big one, but necessary. Oh I should probably tell you I’ve been ‘good’ – that’s a little vague, I’ve had my moments but seriously Father C things are bonkers down here, even you would of swapped HO HO HO for something a little more exotic at times.

Anyway, what I’d really like, in fact – to quote Dionne Warwick, ‘what the world needs now is love sweet love’ so whilst your blasting around the chimneys, sliding through radiators and picking up magic keys, if you have any kindness please pass it around. By all means eat the mince pies left out by hopeful little ones, save the carrot for Rudolf and nobodies judging you for the milk and Alcohol consumption that is also left your way (Side note: does milk and brandy mix well when flying?)… we really need a little love, kindness and breathing space for everyone. The human race is heavily opinionated and devicive at present, I guess it’s always had division? My gift that I’d really like to see as we step in to 2022 is kindness…perhaps you could talk to the tooth fairy, see if any of that magic tooth dust enhances kindness? *Please don’t ask the Easter bunny though he’s dealing with diabetes at present and has enough on his plate.

Meanwhile, I’ll do my part to keep my judgements to myself and will look to seize kindness where I can. I’m the princess of gratitude so it makes sense to expand my repetoir to kindness.

Kindest regards and season greetings

Lucy, aged 39 and two thirds.

Don’t watch the clock, do what it does…keep going

Quote by Sam Levenson

We are fast approaching the time of year where New Years resolutions will be made, we reflect on what we have achieved, look down at our ever growing ‘to do’ list and if you’re like me, feel so overwhelmed you’ll need to sit down and indulge in Christmas movies, snacks and hot chocolate. If however, you are Sam Levenson then you’ll probably keep going.

The world is full of distractions, some important and some…like defluffing my hoover, less so. Personally, a little distraction can be a wonderful break from reality but we all know that to reach our goals we will need to commit and like a clock…keep going.

How you keep going is up to you. Personally I’ve never been a sprinter…so when January calls and I make a resolution if I go ‘hardcore’ to complete my goal for several weeks, I’m likely to burn out, fail and make myself ill in the process.

You can still use the clock and succeed without burn out. It’s called ‘intermittent training’ and it doesn’t just need to apply to training. In training it may mean to walk/run for several minutes at a time in order that you can run further, you then build up the time between running and walking as you progress …perhaps your goal is to declutter your home. To apply this theory rather than say you’ll do a draw or cupboard every day, instead over a 7 day week you commit to 4 draws or cupboards over the week. This gives room for life’s distractions, it also doesn’t matter how you complete the task…you may wish to do a ‘every other day’ approach or you may have a super busy week at work and you may dedicate an afternoon to doing all four in one go…this flexibility I find makes you ‘keep going’ far longer and ultimately you can achieve your goals with a higher success rate.

Time ticking is inevitable and whilst I agree we should all ‘keep going’ being more strategic about how we use our time will be more beneficial than burning out and doing nothing. Whilst the world keeps spinning and time keeps ticking, its what you do with it that really counts.

Do your thing

Quote Anon

As I wrote that quote I could hear my Year 9 English teacher Mrs H saying ‘Don’t use words like ‘stuff or thing’ it’s not specific’…well Mrs H, everyone’s ‘thing’ is different and this covers all bases.

Sometimes in life we forget who we are or what we enjoy simply because we get caught in the flow of life. We crawl through Monday morning as we reluctantly get out of bed, blink and often it’s Saturday afternoon…time flies not just when you’re having fun but when you are caught in the momentum of hum drum life…shower, work, drive, prepare meals, sleep and of course repeat.

Or events throw us off course and sometimes we forget who we were before the event, that can sometimes be a blessing as we are here to grow and thrive, but sometimes we can lose the magical moments of joy that we use to have. I remember about four months into having my son and contemplating returning to work I had to write a list of the things I enjoyed – not us as a family or me as a mother, but Lucy…what did I do before parenting knocked on my door and caught me in a baby led tsunami of nappy changes and baby snuggles?

I’d like to take this opportunity to remind you to reflect on what you enjoy, the ‘things’ that make you happy – not other people, but hobbies, past times and ‘things’. Make time in the next few days to do some of these; stay true to your morals, values and political beliefs, faith and attitudes and just do you. Don’t also be surprised if you also can’t think of any, adulting has a habit of snatching these from us. You may need to take a few minutes alone, grab a pen and paper and jot them down. All of the ‘things’ may not be available to you in this moment due to finance or your current situation but staying true to your sense of self can mean these can be achieved down the line.

Doing ‘you’ is your superpower and the world needs more of your unique vibe. Stepping into your sense of self, your happy place also makes you a better person when you return to your loved ones. Happiness leads to more moments of joy and don’t we all need a little more of that as we step in to 2022. Well, I’d love to write some more (because writing is another joy of mine) but I’m off to walk in forests, sip tea, light candles and eat cake.

Thankful, grateful and blessed

This morning I was writing in my gratitude journal, something I’ve done for nearly 10 years and I realised that in this moment I’m am blessed.

This doesn’t mean life is perfect, nor am I any where near fulfilling my dreams but I do feel content.

Contentment can be our enemy. It’s like a warm bed…we just don’t want to leave it and so we roll over and hide our nose under the covers to stay warm. It can mean we strive for less and settle for ‘now’ and exist rather than live.

However, I’ve recently discovered that whilst I can strive for more I can also acknowledge that being content is a privilege. Through being thankful for what I do have, the worries I don’t have and choosing to see gratitude in all of my blessings doesn’t mean I don’t want more, but it’s a wonderful place to be!

A feeling of contentment is like a warm hot water bottle, it feels soothing to the soul. It acknowledges that in this moment I am enough. That my basic needs are met, that some dreams may have already come to fruition and that there is still room for growth.

The more I thought about feeling contentment, the more I realised that the world looks down on it, doesn’t give it the credit it deserves…everyone is striving for happiness, to feel euphoric and whilst these feelings are fabulous, they are often short lived. Take a trip to a theme park. The best ride may be over in minutes (the euphoria super excited part) but I may feel content for the entire day…from the moment I’m getting dressed, preparing what to pack, the journey to the park…all the way home to my bed when I’m exhausted from the thrills, spills and excess sugar the day had in store. Contentment can last days, perhaps even weeks, happiness is a perspective that may come and go.

At the beginning of this blog I wrote about the ‘comfy enemy’ that contentment can bring…but if we can get off of the sofa, if we can strive for more but also go to sleep at night blissful for what we already have…surely that’s a wonderful life?

We cannot become what we want to be by remaining what we are

Quote by Max Depree

I can’t marry Tom Hardy if I stay on my sofa every evening, unless Tom starts a part time job for our local pizza company, the chances of us meeting remain remote, although the love affair is guaranteed once he seems me in my fluffy pjs and messy bun.

I remember being pregnant for the first time and looking down at my watermelon belly thinking the laws of physics may mean that what went in may never come out? But I couldn’t begin the awesome journey of parenthood without something giving…like all my internal organs, sanity and abdominal muscles.

Sometimes if we want to marry Tom, have a baby, cut the lawn or change career – we need to take action. I know you’re already thinking, wow Lucy is going deep today but I’m watching humanity go insane but doing the exact opposite – shouting at drivers and then not given way to other drivers, being derogatory about ex partners and then giving that person brain space, moaning about excessive weight gain whilst walking over to the biscuit tin…people need to wake up.

What do we need to do? Firstly, we need to take 2 actions…well maybe three?

Action one: Decide what you really want. For example whilst marrying Tom Hardy may appear delightful, it could get a little awkward with Mr F who I really do adore, plus I might actually have to leave my sofa. If I’m honest I’m not sure I really want this, I mean if he’s reading this – then call me Tom and we can’t work something out, but ultimately without that call…I’m not sure I’m fully dedicated to the outcome. Once you do find what you truly desire things become much easier and the battle to get off of the sofa can even become enjoyable.

Action two: Hold yourself accountable. That means don’t buy the biscuits, reduce the alcohol consumption…take the steps that bring you nearer to your goal. *secret: anyone can do this, it doesn’t take commitment or celebrity status, it often saves money and can be time efficient as you improves your wellbeing…it simply means setting a goal and take one small step to towards your goal. Why then do so many people fail? Either because the goal doesn’t really mean much to them (sorry Tom) or they listen to the negative settings in their brain and let themselves sabotage their own progress. When dead, surgeons completing autopsies don’t write down ‘Matthew had a heart failure and his resilience was low’ nor do they operate in life to increase dedication or self esteem. You can’t get fillers to top up your perspective, or pills to enhance your motivation and there aren’t injections for will power… whilst frustrating this comes with a huge positive – all these things from resilience to willpower are free and available to all! All you have to do is decide in the morning when you wake that you won’t do the thing you shouldn’t (or will do the thing you should)…and you make that decision daily. Repeat process each morning, small steps to a better you.

Action three: I guess this isn’t an actual action but rather a reminder…you are worthy of Tom Hardy, a freshly cut lawn, a healthier body, laughter, joy and all the very best life has to offer. You can achieve anything you set your mind to, you can leave your sofa and so can I…well, the *lawns not going to cut itself.

*note: whilst hopefully inspiring when I say cut the lawn, I interpreted this as ask the Mr to do it for me, I’ve never actually cut the lawn in my life and this is not an ‘action one’ I’m looking to achieve. I guess sometimes we need the support of others to support us and that can work out wonderfully too.

Silence is an answer

Original quote from fridgesays

Over the last few weeks I haven’t posted, not because I didn’t want to write, simply because it seems like the world was too noisy and everyone has an opinion…I’m partial to an opinion or two but not on everything. Just when I thought we were making tiny steps of progress to move out of the most bizarre pandemic ever, we have a media induced panic on purchasing petrol in the UK. Beyond ridiculous…

As Autumn also waved hello, I’ve decided to consciously live a little smaller, quieter and much like our pet Tortoise, hibernation seems to be the key to success for surviving the winter months ahead of us. I’m not interested in socialising and I’m tired. Joy at this present moment comes from simplicity; cups of tea, close family, walks in nature and candles.

Listening to what you need is a real skill that can enhance your mental and physical well-being. Often when we crave foods our body is searching for a particular nutrient. When we do things we aren’t committed to, they end in chaos or fall away. BUT when we serve our body, give it a duvet day of rest (without a guilt trip) we can avoid poor health or in my case, live an introvert existence – we come out better connected with ourselves and in turn this serves those around us moving forward.

Silence is an answer, the world doesn’t always need a response and remember sometimes there is just as much power in not responding.

The unfed mind devours itself

Quote by Gore Vidal

A new week and time to remind ourselves that our brains need stimulation.

Feed your brain the nutrition of a Watsit, stay in your comfort zone and stop learning new things = brain mush.

Our brain is not only crucial for daily functioning but it’s what we use to make decisions and steer the course of our lives with, with each new turn of the steering wheel we create new neurone pathways and that gives us more options and allows us to flourish. When it comes to the brain, variety is not only the spice of life but the whole plate.

It’s very easy to sit in our comfort zones and as we get older, I suggest much like an old and loved couch, it’s becomes harder to get out of. This post is a moment to reflect on whether you need to do something new, go somewhere different, to take up that course you’ve always wanted to do. Perhaps you are well read and enjoy regular trips to the library, you may have not realised that you always read the same genre, or same couple of authors. This means you are likely to stay roughly in the same word count and in turn you haven’t learnt any new words or expressions for a while. Much like a child learning to speak, the more eloquent we are the further we can use language to express our emotions and to an extent, feel deeper. The same can be said if you tend to watch the same TV programmes, genre of films or visit the same websites regularly.

Part of my job as a behaviour adviser, is going into schools and observing children in classrooms. Boredom isn’t as rare as parents may hope. Whilst the bored mind can also stimulate imagination and innovation – in the majority of classrooms I’ve observed in, this isn’t always the case, it’s more likely that biros will be tapped, twirled, dropped and span. After a while, the bored mind becomes frustrated and antisocial behaviour kicks in, the mind devours itself in chaos.

The other thing a bored mind does is it has too much time, when this happens it fills itself up with fear and ‘what ifs’ – again, great for the imagination but not so much for in being / becoming a mentally well balanced individual.

A diet of fear, leads to a vulnerable existence and anxiety, so every now and then we need to take stock and reassess what our brains are digesting, food wise there are many awesome ‘brain foods’ from blueberries to nuts they can help increase performance. Exercise wise, the brain craves new environments, challenges and goals. However, one element that often gets forgotten is sleep. A good nights sleep allows the brain to process, reassess and much like a computer it turns on more effectively after it’s been reset. We may not grizzle like toddlers when we are tired (I think I do actually?) but it lowers our mood and our performance, which can effect how enjoyable we are finding the task at hand. Don’t devour your own brain, use it and manifest the life you always dreams of.

It’s ok for me to have everything I want

Anon

The internet seems to have made the world a smaller place. Access to trains, planes and automobiles means it’s likely you’ve traveled more than the generation before you. I was blessed with a better level of education than my parents (thank you) and my son has a larger variety of food accessible to him…more doesn’t always mean better. However, with expanding technologies and science it’s likely this choice to seize more opportunities will continue (…unless we blow ourselves up, which I always think is likely given some of our leaders brain cell capacities), what im not so sure of is that our mindsets have kept up with our progress.

Many of us stay in our lanes, only ask for things that we know are achievable within our level of status, financial remit, age, only going where those around us have been before…to an extent there is a common sense to this, it would be foolish to financially live above our means and find bailiffs knocking at our door, or perhaps to travel to places that we haven’t researched and find we have returned home with a tropical disease that we were ignorant to.

It’s ok for you to have everything you want (as long as it doesn’t harm others), balance allows us to prioritise and then reprioritise. With ebbs and flows we can have it all, just not all at once or all right now.

If we had it all, life would be dull…and often people who chase ‘the next best thing’ often find the gap of darkness still lurk within them long after they’ve bought the item home.

Perhaps we should be careful what we wish for, however this blog post is a reminder to actually dream, that you can manifest your desires, that you are worthy and that you don’t need to limit yourself to the ideals of others…one life, one century of fun…make it count, see the things you wish to see, spend time with those you hold dear, do that thing, go to that place, laugh, cry and stay up for the sunrise – it’s worth it and so are you.

Listen to your body, it’s smarter than you

Today I offer you a pause. An opportunity to reflect on your physical health.

Often we look in the mirror and we reflect on what we immediately don’t like; multiple chins, sagging cheeks (either or both), hair condition, spots, blemishes, too fat or too thin… and we tell ourselves we aren’t worthy.

Except today’s health pause it’s a little bit deeper. I’d like you to think upon your body as your home. The list of common body issues above (blemishes and hair condition) it the decoration. It’s the wallpaper and the alcove, it’s the initial impact that we see. Beyond that we add clothing, accessories and hair cuts – these are the home decor, where we may show a little of our personality, back to our home analogy and this is the cushions, the fixture and fittings and the paintings on the wall.

If you’ve ever purchased a house you’ll know that surveyors are more interested in foundations, in wall structure and wood rot…they ignore the appearance of the home and look deeper to see if the building is structurally sound. This is the level I’d like you to pause on. I’ve loved yoga since forever but in 2021 my practise has been redundant – at one point the mat that’s often in action daily got dusty. I tried several gimmicks and surprise surprise they didn’t work. My mat reduced to a corner of our home while I made every excuse not to roll it out. We (yoga and I) fell out of love.

That was until a few days a go. I’m not sure why or how, so we’ll go with the obvious ‘magic’ answer. I rolled my mat out, went back to an old favourite routine and I loved it again. It was like reuniting with a friend, the magic sparkled over the mat and it wasn’t a chore. I was back.

Once my magical yoga experience had ended, I tried again the next day and sure enough more magic shone over my mat and I. That said, I learnt a few lessons…I didn’t flow as well, I was rusty and it showed. My muscles ached after, easy poses were harder than usual and I realised I’d lost some ‘foundation’ strength…neglecting my yoga practise meant my house was a little crumbly in places. My surveyor wouldn’t be too worried but there would definitely be a warning clause on my home.

There is a direct comparison between leg strength and death. Ageing is inevitable (except if you’re Madonna) and the weaker your legs, the more likely you are to tumble…the more likely you tumble, the more likely you are to experience other issues…the human body really is like a Jenga tower and the better your tower, the better your future is. Looking after your bones, joints and organs is integral to how ‘well’ we can move and good movements means a better quality of life.

Nobody is perfect and we can all do a little more here and a little less there…as I said at the beginning, this post is a pause. What does your house need? Your intuition usually knows. Mine requires a little more water (a little less tea), yoga to be integral to my routine and a few more early nights. The great thing about bricks and mortar is they’re usually things we know we should / could do…if we could be bothered. If your actual home falls apart, you can rebuild…your body doesn’t always allow you a second chance and you can’t move house, otherwise we’d all live in Madonna’s body. Enjoy the pause and know you are worth the home improvements, everyone should live in their dream home.