Hope is being able to see the light despite all of the darkness

Quote from Desmond Tutu

The journey of life often brings uncertainty and darkness. One minute life is lit up like a joyful Christmas tree, the next an unexpected power cut plummets you into darkness.

Darkness can often be uncertain and you bump into things. I’d suggest anyone who finds themselves in the dark reaches for the light switch as soon as possible, call me the health and safety police but I’m not into bumping my head. If you are currently living in the shadows or grasp of darkness then you might think ‘easy for her to type’ and so I’d like you to know that darkness has knocked on my door, circumstances out of my control mean I’ve lived more of my nightmares than I’d care to mention and Ive also supported many young people in the most tragic of circumstances. However, this doesn’t make me a darkness expert; Ive learnt that each individuals darkness is unique to them.

My most recent darkness was my silent miscarriage, after a quick survey of the darkness I decided not to stay there. I reached for the light switch of hope. It’s not particularly stable and somedays it’s just out of my clutches, although I may not have much choice about the darkness I do have a choice about how I look at the dark.

It reminded me of a children’s book I enjoyed as a child and have shared with my son. ‘The owl who was afraid of the dark’ through the story the baby owl who fears the dark learns the joy of fireworks who’s beauty can’t be appreciated in full light. In my favourite chapter the owl learns to see and appreciate the stars. Then I remembered that if I looked outside of my initial darkness…the stars would light my way. Small beams of appreciation, hope allows me to see the light. Perhaps your dark past increases your empathy to others, a better listener or generally a kinder soul. 

At other times when I hear of other peoples darkness it makes mine seem more like i’ve got life on a dimmer switch. Of course, one persons tragedy doesn’t diminish somebody else’s feelings but I do think it sometimes gives situations a clearer perspective. 

Noted below are a few things that can make the light switch a little easier to find, most of them are free and I’m sure you’ve heard of them all before.

  • Keep a gratitude diary
  • Volunteer and help somebody else
  • pop on some music
  • go for a walk 
  • declutter a draw – my personal favourite it the cutlery draw, takes 2 minutes to wipe around yet every time I open the draw I feel like I’m winning
  • write down how you are feeling and then shred it or burn it. 
  • drink more water – we are after all complex plants with emotions
  • fake a smile – apparently the brain can tell the difference and the happy hormones will be released. 
  • Make a plan for tomorrow. This doesn’t need to be huge like a holiday (although they can be fun) 
  • try and get a good night sleep (I know this ones tricky)
  • practise self care: this doesn’t need to be a full facial and luxury bubble bath, just having a wash and brushing teeth is a good starting point 
  • Make your bed – this will require you to leave it 
  • remember that before you can step out of the tunnel, the light gradually increases with small bursts of light…so be kind to yourself. You’re doing the best you can.

If the darkness persists and you feel like you’re in the longest night of your life, make an appointment to see your GP or check out this link with helpful numbers and website for you to look at. Best wishes in finding a little more light. 

What you allow is what will continue

Quote from the wise but absent named ‘Anon’

This quote is accountable.

This quote reminds me that I am responsible for my own life, decisions, health and overall well being. For this reason, this quote gets stuck in my throat slightly. I honestly believed growing up that adults knew everything, had all the answers and had their lives all mapped out. Ummm… how wrong was I? Every day I am winging it, some days more than others, there are goals but how we arrive at our destination alters weekly, I lose track of intentions, frankly I often forget what I’m saying half way through a conversation. The adult world is tough and if I’m honest I feel like Barbie made it look so easy. Her and Ken used to get married weekly in my bedroom, often went on holidays, she wore big dresses to big parties, drove a sports car…Barbie never worried about the washing basket over flowing, never argued with Ken about council tax payments, she never doubted an outfit change, or worried how she would fit the school run in between her career as a ski instructor.

Perhaps we should be more Barbie. Enjoy the moment, live for the now. I think if Barbie could see this quote she would fully embrace it.

This weekend we watched Deadpool 2, in it are various super hero’s with crazy mutant powers and my favourite is Domino. Not just because her name reminds me of a popular pizza chain, but because her super power is luck. She has more self belief than a religious denomination, she is seriously cool. As I was watching her fly through the air and land on a giant inflatable panda…yup thats a real scene from the film, I was captured by her vocabulary. She was so kick ass confident and assertive I couldn’t help but notice that she had high standards and didn’t falter.

Aspects of our lives are often out of our control, but there are elements that we can do something about. Setting standards for how we will be treated and how we will let others treat us is a huge issue for many. Its probably worth grabbing a pen and paper at this point and writing down things you’re not happy with. Do you need to book something fabulous to do with a friend or partner because you never get to see them, do you need to set an hour aside with a giant box and clear that cluttered cupboard that frustrates you every time you attempt to open the draw and the contents cascade out. Do you need to speak to a work colleague or perhaps you need to reprioritise yourself on your ever growing ‘to do’ list.

Often in films the main characters are faced with huge challenges (with Marvel its always saving the world with some kind of time issue) but perhaps what we might miss is that they also take on those challenges and make sacrifices or changes to live happy ever after. Just because you allowed it last week, doesn’t mean you have to this week, just because its always been that way, doesn’t mean that has to continue. Life is often short, precious and wasted, seize this quote and make your life accountable you may just end up with a better quality of life, or at worst finally get that cupboard organised.

And like a book cover I am what I hide

As soon as I saw this quote my heart did a double flip, after all I love books and I adore quotes.

Probably because I love learning, I like the fact that once we open our eyes as new born’s we don’t stop until our last breath – even if we wanted to. Books are a great place for wisdom, bringing far away lands closer or learning how to rustle up something for dinner.

Book covers however, just like the human body are highly controversial. Within this corner of the internet there are many posts on judgement – so here comes my confession. I totally judge a book by its cover. (*hides head in shame) In brutal honesty I love a cover that is bright and vibrant, if it has glitter – all the better, a little embossing never did anyone any harm…did I mention glitter?

That said a couple of years ago I began to read the top 100 novels of all time, so far I’ve read some epic classic’s and once again I’ll be honest and say that often the covers of the most thrilling book aren’t that vibrant.

However, like my cover or not, I am more complex in the story I tell. If you were to meet me I have an advantage – I can decide what I tell you, how I portray me, the leading lady. I can let you have a quick flick and leave feeling satisfied or I can pour out a chapter if I think you can relate to it, but most of my chapters live inside my head and the best ones are inside my heart. They aren’t shared with the world, loved ones or enemies – some stories live in people so deeply buried that even they forget they are there.

Some people walk around with their book wide open, they have fast track pages to the juicy bits and just like a book, if you expose it to the elements, the paper will perish in time. Others keep their book sealed that it isn’t worthy of existing. It hides in the shadows and without light and adventure the pages are empty. A note book isn’t a life worth living.

This brings me on nicely to genre’s; some people are pure romantics intwined in a relationship that lasts a life time…some are thrillers, crime based tales or I’m afraid – tragedies. Then there are the purely non fiction people who only exist for a work related goal, they usually have a specialism, a niche and there book slowly absorbs the pages of a slice of life. The saddest part about books is how many words they hold. Some are epic tales with thousands of adventures amongst millions of words, commas and full stops…some are only a handful of pages before the book comes to an abrupt end.

So, whilst you work on your happy ever after, I wouldn’t worry too much about putting effort in to your cover, how you appear will probably only attract a shallow reader to the shelf. Instead, as always I’d recommend balance, perhaps invest in a strong spine to hold you together, pay attention to who you decide to share your chapters with, however should it all go wrong, don’t panic – everyone loves a plot twist. Don’t worry if the book isn’t long, we can’t always control the precious time we are given, but do pay attention to the experiences you have, the climaxes and the contrast…and when all is said and done, if you have any budget left, sprinkle a little glitter on your front cover, after all a tale isn’t great if nobody ever reads it.

Owning less is better than organising more

Quote by Joshua Becker

This quote resonated with me as I have a dream. To live in a minamilist house with a few precious objects. White clean lines and quality rather than quantity…

The current reality is a three bedroom house full of plastic (seriously my child is a plastic magnet), dog hair and crap that I might need ‘one day’. I’m not a hoarder or collector and I’m not a fan of ornaments, I like objects to have purpose SO WHY DO I OWN SO MUCH STUFF? I don’t go shopping that often and over the last few years I have refused to shop in many high street shops swapping quantity for classic pieces that are better quality, I even have a charity bag on the go all the time….still we have stuff everywhere? 

My house is like some sort of Bermuda Triangle of stuff, it seeps in through the cracks and clutters the side boards and surfaces. I’m purposely using the word stuff as I’m not sure what we have… most of it is practical, used and loved and I’m even thinking of moving house as an excuse to chuck it all (the actual reality would be a million boxes I’d never get around to unpacking and probably the purchase of even more stuff)

So, for once I don’t have the answers, not even close. Instead I’m asking you for advice on how to minamilise before I suffocate in stuff and drown in a pile of a toys. My living room looks like Toys R Us and only the bathroom is clutter free; even then I have to keep an eye on the ratio of bath water to plastic toys in my sons baths. Work surfaces that I clean are filled in an instant, Paper flows through our letter box like the scene from Harry Potter – the irony is that only one local take away will actually deliver to our village, so why do I need 65 flyers of exotic food that I can’t order? Then, why do those flyers get stuck on sideboards around the home, poked in corners and laid on the bottom of our staircase for days, weeks and in some cases months. 

Sorry to rant, although I do feel better – they say writing is therapy after all? In this case any practical tips would be welcome in the comment section, because honestly owning less would be so much less organising… 

Love a Minimalist wannabe x