More does not mean better

Quote Anon

This week I didn’t feel well. I didn’t have a cold, headache or anything I could name. At times I felt a little like I might be sick but knew I wouldn’t. I just felt tired and off balance. Nothing was wrong and everything somehow felt too much.

I didn’t feel that how I felt was enough to have some time off work and so I needed to be more creative with my energy. I took a few small actions; left work a little early, laid down on my bed when I got home, early nights and little housework, asked others to cook, generally I slowed down.

It wasn’t the most exciting week and I don’t think it’s one for the memoirs but I didn’t push on and in turn become ill, in fact by Friday I felt much better and was able to celebrate my birthday with my family. The sun shone and I felt loved and was able to create memorable worthy moments.

What’s the point of this post? More doesn’t mean better, knowing ourselves and listening to what we need can be just as fulfilling. When we eat we often find the first few bites joyful and after that the sparkle goes, for this reason more is not usually better…trying a range of smaller dishes can be more fulfilling.

A small vacation of a few nights can be as rewarding as a mammoth expedition, life is often best served slow and simply.

I recently culled my wardrobe and plan to not return to a wardrobe heaving with clothes. In this consumer driven culture we don’t need masses. My wardrobe is slowly evolving to a world of less, higher quality and where the wooden hangings have space to jangle. This in turn means I have less choices to make and leaves my mind free to think about other things.

This week press the pause button on life and take time to notice what makes you smile. Don’t be surprised if less wins and more overwhelms.

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Shoshin

Not a quote, just a magical word.

Welcome to another fix of inspiration from the fridge. It will be no surprises that I really like words. A cluster of letters squished together can produce the most emotive sentiment or allow others to empathise with how you may be feeling.

Today, if you haven’t come across the word previously I’m sharing a new favourite with you. ‘Shoshin’ (firstly how lovely is it to say) means…

The practise of seeing life in wonder

One of the greatest things about being a parent is seeing the world through little eyes. I remember walking with my son when he was about two years old to our local park. He picked up the every stone, touched every leaf and the two minute walk became an exploration of discovery and wonder. I followed behind and observed the wonder, whilst reminding myself that time was our friend and I didn’t need to hurry him on. Sadly as we grow older our priorities change and we forgot the joy that surrounds us. Often happiness is found in the most basic of flavours (for me boiled egg and soldiers), smells (the roses in my garden) and experiences (an empty beach in winter with my boys watching the sunset on a clear day).

This post doesn’t come with a long lecture but instead a reminder to pause and live a life full of Shoshin. One of the ways I do this is my keeping a gratitude journal, another is myself and a friend are currently using WhatsApp to send each other a daily gratitude and photo. Today’s was having breakfast outside in the sun

The messages will last for 100 days and it’s really nice to look back over when life seems a little less bleak and Shoshin has been hidden behind a load of washing and an endless to do list.

However, like I stated previously this post isn’t a deep metaphorical ramble, it’s just a reminder to leave a Shoshin awesome life and appreciate each moment of wonder as it passes.

Try to be like the turtle, at ease in it’s own shell

Abandoned the quotes this week and gone into the depths of an old proverb.

If you’ve dropped into this little corner of the internet previously you’ll know that ‘The Fridge’ is all about self love. How could we not discuss how awesome these wise words are.

The gorgeous Alicia Keys has been the Spotify choice of go-to music lately; her vibe is cool, calm and many of her tracks are already iconic. Before this becomes the unofficial AK fan page, I need to let you know one more awesome fact about her. She wears very little makeup and chooses to wear her hair in a natural state…did I mention she’s absolutely stunning and a successful singer songwriter? Inspired by her empowerment for everything human and real, I gave up makeup cold turkey about a month ago.

I didn’t tell anyone, I just didn’t slap it on. Nobody asked or questioned my decision, in fact at school a lovely work colleague gave me a thoughtful compliment about how beautiful my skin is (even more grateful to hear that because I also was a paranoid about a spot that appeared over night and looks like it’s squatting and here to stay for sometime) I do plan to wear make up again but not daily and certainly only when I feel like it. I save around twenty minutes in the morning and I use that to get chores done or sometimes I just sit down and day dream with a cup of tea. Bliss.

In a world that is becoming increasingly complex, filtered, altered and at times overly negative about people’s physical appearances i’d like to stay as authentically me as possible.

My shell is not perfect and neither is yours, I don’t always get things right and I often feel anxious about what people might think of me…then I remember this is my shell, my blessed shell – many would give anything to have a sparkly shell of joy like mine. Its fully functioning and any dents remind me of the previous battles I’ve survived or thrived from. My shell is me, it’s where I’m truly at home, it travels with me wherever I go. Just as you can’t criticise a Dolphin for its lack of shell, you are wasting your time analysing your own body with lacks and let down thoughts. You’ve grown in to your shell and at times altered it or made minor improvements *note to self: do yoga this evening

…but ultimately you will always have you. So shine that shell with a few positive comments a day, or at-least stop yourself from vomiting negative thoughts all over it. Allow your body to rest, work and play and provide it with the best care you can give it. Today that might be a small step in just realising that you need to be kinder to yourself.

Happy shell shining.

Never forget who you are

Quote from The Lion King

I felt like I hadn’t popped a Disney quote/ post together for a while so went with a Lion King pinch of wisdom, although it’s one I’ve contradicted many times.

At university I lost who I was. Several dodgy boyfriends meant I forgot who I was but the worst by far was motherhood. It took MY body away from me and left me with something that didn’t fit. It took me a while to pick up the broken pieces and to discover a dash of self love, to stop numbing negative thoughts with junk food, and wine. Lack of sleep in the early days also meant that exercise wasn’t a priority. I was in a war zone and I was surviving.

I escaped and did find me. I found an older version of my body that I’m ok with, I made time to exercise and I stopped filling my head with negative thoughts. It’s a process I think we are all in and one I need to continually reaffirm and rebalance daily.

Once I hit my thirties I cared less what others thought and knew who my tribe were, this support unit enables me to evolve but without loosing ‘me’

I don’t usually pop in suggestions but if you need a Netflix recommendation for finding yourself then ‘Unicorn Store’ is a must. A bonus if you like glitter and swag suits.

As a teacher holidays mean I actually transfer into my other full time job – Mum. It’s a job I adore but this Easter I’ve also made time to step away from my boys and have some me time. I’ve been for afternoon tea with a lovely friend and a hen do proved the ultimate overnight escape, the Mr and I even squeezed in a date afternoon to the cinema. You see to be you, you need time to do what you enjoy, as well as support those around you.

Over the next week as I grab my teacher cape out of the launderette I’ll enjoy being in my classroom – it’s part of who I am. It isnt the whole me, so I will also plan time with family, loved ones and me time because forgetting who I am is now and forever more a nonnegotiable.

Getting up and moving forward is a choice

Quote from Zig Ziglar

I recently listened to a podcast with Tim Storey as a guest and he made a point that I wanted to share.

Life inevitably brings joy and also hardship, but so many people when they hit a set back – take a step back. Worse still Tim went on to describe that they lose their direction and in worst cases concrete themselves in the moment. That means they can’t get out of that moment. Wise words Tim.

A moment is just that, a small amount of time. If you concrete yourself and become the issue you can’t move forward…you can’t move at all, you can’t fulfil your purpose and you become the concrete.

This terrifies me. I see so many young people that by eleven years old have already concreted their life. They can’t do this or that because of a medical condition, parents limit them in what they perceive is an act of love, but it’s so often rooted in fear. “I don’t think she would want to do that because her anxiety is so bad”….well let’s take a moment to break the task down, to inspire her, to change our vocabulary to tell her that she CAN – don’t concrete her in anxiety.

Don’t get me wrong I’m not suggesting we don’t have boundaries and say no to things. Used well ‘No’ can be an amazing tool. I’m also not suggesting that I don’t concrete myself from time to time, that I don’t project my fears on those I love in a moment of thoughtlessness…but we don’t need to stay forever in the concrete. We can hammer out, we can make a CHOICE and we can move forward. I’m going to focus over the next few weeks at watching my thoughts and words to prevent the concrete from being mixed. So what’s your next move or is your concrete too thick to make a choice?

Forever is composed of nows

Quote from Emily Dickinson

This quote holds a strong message, one that many ignore. Now is a moment that lasts for such a short period of time before you blink now has become the past. These moments build up, the clock continues to tick and within the next layer many miss that life has passed them by.

The fragility of time is also due to us mortals not knowing when the end of life is for us… it would be easy to now write about seizing each day but we all have jobs we need to do, dull chores and even events we have to go to, so what can we do?

In the tapestry of life we can plan events that feed our soul, we can select the humans we choose to take on our journey, we can set intentions for each day that help us to feel accomplished. If you don’t like your job, find a new one, if you want to travel more make financing that a priority, there is always something in the now we can do. In fact now is exactly the time we need to feed our future by taking small actions that will fall like dominoes and hopefully be just as satisfying.

Right now I am driving back from a weekend with loved ones. I am going to enjoy the music, chat to my family, complete writing this post and just be. I plan to meditate later in the journey to help my mind to thrive, we plan to stop for food at some point to, so there is the bodies nourishment…once home (in the future) I will go for a run, having sat for several hours and within the balanced of doing and not doing, planning and just being I will improve my now and the many nows that are hopefully to come. What are you doing now?

Alone we can do so little, together we can achieve so much

Quote from Helen Keller

Perhaps it best to begin where I am now. Sat on the side at the swimming pool whilst the Mr guides the little dude to improve his swimming technique. This allows me to type away and have some therapy time. Where we are now, getting more done.

Last week was a catastrophe of disasters; from work, complexities in childcare, getting back to a routine, the Mr having to be away for longer than I’d like – thanks Pakistan air space, little dude having a school trip…put it this way as a tribe we dropped plates this week and the juggle reached a climax and strain that was unrelenting. However, now out of the dark and into the light, we made it. We achieved so much thanks to the support of our extended tribe. A combination of friends reaching out, wise words, a Tunnocks tea cake left on my desk, the Mr’s Mum extending childcare beyond anyone’s expectations…that’s a wealth you can’t put a price on.

The flowers are for her. I can’t work full time without support. The kids at school can’t thrive without my support…we as a family need our extended tribe, we need to raise others up and in turn are held up by others.

If you too have had a year, month, week or day of darkness and you can see a glimmer of light then however small the light is bask in it. Thank those around you, appreciation is lost if we don’t seize it in the moment. We achieve very little alone and isolated, life is fuller with others by your side.

Morals are a luxury. Stand by them

Quote by me.

This Valentine’s Day I asked the Mr to book it off (sometime around Christmas) so that I could book tickets to see Stacey Dooley at the Brighton dome, my friend from work and I went and frankly I needed child care, who said romance was dead.

We had a wonderful evening and Stacey shared clips from her ten year career and some of the horrific people she had met, wild places around the globe she had explored amongst a gentle sprinkle of hope and inspiration.

As we walked back to the car I thought about what I had taken from the experience, once again I was reminded how vile humans can be.

However, what I took from the show was a single comment Stacey had made.

She referred to how living in a western society we live in a place where we can have morals. What a luxury, that I’d never considered? We do have freedom and we can share our opinions. That’s serious privilege that I had taken for granted. It made me realise that in my fortunate position I need to love even harder, that my dreams are achievable and that with compassion there is hope.

I’m not saying life is perfect but I don’t have the worries that come with raising my child in a war zone, equality is achievable and I really do believe tomorrow will be better. If you too have morals, stand by them and wear them like gold cloaks of love. Share those morals on social media, it’s a platform that can be used to uplift and inspire.

Most importantly live each day as a role model of those morals, show them off like a fun, humoured and uplifting t-shirt. Tonight I will go to bed, a little more humble, appreciative of all I have and tomorrow I will wake ready to pursue another step in the direction of my dreams.

A key to success is to start before you’re ready

Quote by Marie Forleo

I’m not sure I really need to write any more than the quote already states, but then what would be the point in owning this domain?

For several years I ran a project for GCSE pupils at my school, they were at risk of not getting the grades the government desires. It was based on the seven principles of success, each fortnight I’d do a mini assembly based on one of the principles for them, set them a task and they would collect signatures in their booklets for completing the task – extra certificates etc along the way.

Guess what. It worked. Guess why? They didn’t over think the mountain in front of them…in small challenges, in small achievable time frames, they blossomed. I took the project over from one of my managers who left during the projects first year. Each pupil also had a mentor to cheer them on, plus me as head cheerleader.

I think if you look at a mountain it seems unachievable, I’m thinking of the mountain of washing permanently in my home but load by load, sock by sock it gets done.

However, this post isn’t about taking small steps – it about not thinking and taking ONE step. Anxiety is prevalent in our society, we are creating children that are even more anxious, lack resilience and have spent most of their life, if not all of it bubble wrapped – I totally get why but to succeed there has to be some action, motion and movement towards the end goal.

When I look back on the years gone by, I don’t want to not have tried to achieve my dreams. However, dreams (well mine anyway) are often huge task, big lifestyle changes and they feel so distant I often don’t know where to start, if I’m honest I’ll never be ready to take huge leaps but I can do something.

I probably keep my own motion going by breaking down larger goal into smaller tasks, so below I’ve listed a few small things that have worked for me.

  • Eat healthier – swap white to brown rice
  • Exercise more – find a five minute YouTube exercise class and just do it
  • Read more – swap the apps on my phone for a 15minute reading session
  • Bake more – add the ingredients to my next shop

What actions have you found have helped you climb your mountain?

We see what we want

Quote by Lauren Miller

Today I woke up and I did my morning routine. Its been a routine for a couple of months now and it took a while to get going as I thought only single twenty something youtubers could have them, but also I needed to stop making excuses like my son will interrupt me or I’ve got to much to do, I guess like the quote suggests I needed to see what I wanted.

I go downstairs and make a cup of alkali tea. I return to bed to meditate and then I write in my gratitude journal and set my intention out underneath, whilst sipping my tea.

It works for me. It means I’m in control of my day and since doing this I’ve noticed that I accomplish my intentions for the previous day and that makes me feel good. In total it takes about 25mins from kettle boil to journal and at 5yrs old I’ve taught my son not to disturb me if my earphones are in (I use a guided meditation in the Morning) sometimes he quietly snuggles next to me and sometimes he forgets the rules about earphones and wants to listen too or is excited about telling me about his latest crocodile dream. That’s okay too…

Do you have a morning routine? Mine took a while to come together, it needed to be simple and one that could be interrupted by family life. For example when I went down to make my tea this morning, little dude asked for his breakfast a little earlier. So I made his food at the same time as my cuppa. Ease and flow help me to accomplish my routine, whilst also not over complicating my morning.

I set intentions because life is too precious not to accomplish something every day. Sometimes they are about work, family, my blog, self love or well…anything. The other day me and the little dude had a rare day together, so my intention was simply to stay present and focus on him. I may have focused too hard as the little monster snuck off in the afternoon for a nap because I’d wore him out.

Do you set intentions and have a morning routine? It really helps me to see what we want…or are you too busy to see?