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.

It doesn’t get easier, you get stronger

Anon

Happy April all. When I saw this quote I thought it was applicable for so many aspects of life, if not every angle.

From my own experiences of loss and grief, time doesn’t heal, in fact I usually find it bites me hard on the arse every time I drop my guard. Grief opens a void of possibilities within the mind; what would the loved one be doing now? thinking about how they would love or hate experiences you’re having…the list is never ending, anniversaries swing around and you feel a combination of confusion and sadness. Much like this quote, it doesn’t get easier but you do get stronger. You have to.

My son has just finished his first season of Rugby festivals, he has been thrown into a new set of rules around contact and him and his team mates have had to learn so many skills beyond the rugby ball…resilience, how to fall, how to get back up when you fall, gratitude, being humble (we’re working on this), techniques, finding your place to shine in a team…on the way home from his last game of the season he remarked how much easier it was becoming. I gently reminded him that if anything the matches he played today were harder as all the teams are improving but that he was stronger. Strength isn’t always physical (although it helps in a contact game of Rugby), but that his team had also become stronger in mind and emotional resilience. Experience helps to soothe the strain of making things feel ‘easy’ and I’ll never forget the children’s petrified faces as opponents tackled, pursued, blocked and dropped them on their first contact game.

When I’m facing something new, scary or preparing to take a next detour on the road of life, I often remind myself of other things I’ve done that felt similar and that I over came; new jobs, moving home, body changes or committing to a goal. Even with age, change doesn’t get easier but I do believe we get stronger.

This week as new challenges arise, new days dawn and opportunities knock on your door or you run down the street after them, remember that very little, that’s easy in life is worth doing, but effort, repetition and commitment can make it feel easier, why? Because we are always stronger than we give ourselves credit for.

A beautiful day starts with a beautiful mindset

Quote Anon

Well-being websites have made ‘morning routines’ cliche and thinking about them can be another ‘to do’ on the list of ever growing ‘what we should do’ tasks. Do you have one? If you don’t have a conscious morning plan you probably have one through habit, as humans we tend to find patterns and stay in them.

Over the years I’ve had 5am starts with exercise, self care and nourishing food and much later wake ups with barely a comb through my hair before I’m out of the door.

If I’m honest I’ve only found a few things have stuck and enriched my life. I also think your morning rituals are only as beneficial as the quality of your sleep. Below are some things I found useful for an improved mindset

Gratitude journal: I’ve kept a gratitude journal since 2017 and have written 3 things I’m grateful for each day. I also write down 3 intentions for my day; sometimes they are practical objectives like completing tasks and sometimes they are more creative or magical. There are two big lessons to take away from my journal, firstly it instantly makes me feel good, the second is that after about six months of this daily habit it became second nature and gratitude has become a super power. Having control of my mindset from the moment I wake doesn’t mean my days are hassle free, but I certainly have a positive disposition and I believe my journal helps support and nurture this habit. So even if things do become negative, my growth mindset means I can alter my own perspective easier.

Change it up: This goes for everything you may do in the morning, if you’re short of time then having your clothes out ready is one less dilemma for the morning, but sometimes (when time allows) it can be hugely joyful to try on different things and restyle old looks. When it comes to food I’ve always been a fad eater – one minute a certain food is my favourite and I don’t want anything else, the next I’m over it and it’s the last thing I want to eat. Whilst this was annoying for my Mum when I was growing up (particularly when she’s bought 20 boxes of my favourite snack, only for me to abandon the idea and move on) it means my body is getting a larger variety of nutrients. Currently I try to never have the same breakfast twice in a row and have found the variety also makes eating less predictable and more enjoyable.

Take time to adjust: most recently I’ve taken deliberate time to wake slowly. Again, growing up I was a pocket rocket and would instantly wake, jump out of bed and get on with my day. I know many of you may not relate and may find waking hard, this could include several snooze alarms and an eternal battle to motivate yourself whilst counter arguing about all the reasons you should stay put wrapped up like a burrito in your bed…somewhere in the middle is the sweet spot. Now I tend to wake earlier than needed but not move. I give my body and my mindset time to process the day, I drink tea or hot lemon water in bed and write in my journal. Since doing this I’ve found the flow of my day is more consistent and I don’t resemble an octopus trying to accomplish eight things at once, my mind is focused and I often flow with easy into my day

What are your top tips for an effective morning routine? Have you recently altered things? Would you agree that much like the changing seasons, different times of year call for different routines?

Shake ya tail feather

Lyrics by Nelly

In the wild birds shake their tale feathers for all sorts of reasons, perhaps they feel threatened / under attack or at times they are looking for attention from the opposite sex…I like to think a Peacock struts sometimes just because they can, because its Tuesday and they are feeling divine.

Nelly the RnB artist who unleashed these lyrics on the world in the year 2000 makes many mistakes in my opinion, firstly he believes there is a particular way you should shake your tail feathers – he is very specific on technique. Mr Nelly, you are so very wrong. As an independent woman, I can shake how and when I like, for any particular reason – because I’m the goddess of kitchen dancing, or a karaoke Queen of my car…whilst the seat belt does restrict my movements, I believe that shaking my tail feathers isn’t always a physically action but sometimes it can be a mental act, as I dance through my brain – letting go of tension, the crippling effects of the reality we all living in or just escaping for a couple of minutes of RnB joy.

Next, Nelly seems to think ‘she’ is shaking her tail feathers for him? Now the songs seems to be set in a strip club, so we’d assume it’s her place of work. Whilst I love my job, I don’t go for fun, I go because they pay me, he even states that ‘My pocket’s full of dough, shake your feathers ’til the morning’ …whilst it’s nice that he’s offering her overtime, it’s rather arrogant that he thinks she’s doing it for him…she’s at work Nelly!

It’s obvious Nelly doesn’t know about how chickens regulate their body temperature, his research on poultry is minimal. Let me educate you; chickens fluffy up their feathers to trap warm air when they get cold. Think of it like hot water bottles floating around…I’m also guessing strippers don’t wear appropriate layers, so again perhaps she’s keeping warm?

Where am I going with this ridiculous blog post? Well, firstly it’s a bit of fun, this blog isn’t the foundation of discussion for the UN, much like the up tempo rhythm of the song, it’s just a light hearted feel good post. However, I would encourage you to relook at the lyrics of many songs you sing along too and maybe like Nelly you’ve interpreted it from a bias perspective. Whilst I’m sure there are many pole dancers that do the job with little to no other options for financial reasons, some do it for fitness and skill. In recent times the pole has become a place for physical strength, flexibility and can be interpreted as an art form. This post is about perspective, from Nellys point of view he’s a wealthy celebrity who has money to throw and should be admired. From another he is doubting her education based on how she shakes her tail feathers, even though he’s the one sad enough to pay for it? ‘Your body is banging mamma, but where your brains at?’

As we step into a new week, remember everything has more than one perspective and interpretation, see the world how you wish to and shake your feather if and when you’d like; for fun, warmth, money or because you like to dance. The choice is yours (not Nelly’s)

Every moment matters

Quote Anon

I’m not sure how long a moment is? Seconds, milliseconds, fleeting glances, twinkles, sprinkles and winks…they go without much thought and when they make us feel special, it’s like an inner firework display – lightening us up from our toes through our internal system and bursting out of our smile…have you ever experienced a moment that you wanted to freeze, either because it was so wonderful or because it came just before inevitable sadness that you’d like to prevent?

Our lives are made of moments, strung together like fairy lights…at times the batteries fail and we spend time in darkness. Or perhaps (people) light bulbs become a little loose and they need replacing. We get to create our own fairy lights of life…moments of joy, beautiful colours, adventures and laughter with the people we decide are worthy.

My son spoke about wanting to be an adult the other day, of how exciting it was going to be – getting to make all of the decisions, earning lots of money and spending it on ‘all of the toys’…inside my brain was turning, wondering how to introduce taxes, bills, mortgages, food and the ever dull cycles that go with responsibilities…I decided to not to bother. Instead we grabbed our coats and headed out for a spontaneous hot chocolate, that 50p extra was a great investment for marshmallows…moments pass and we do get to decide what we do with them. This post isn’t about you not paying your mortgage this month and instead buying marshmallows (wow, that would be a lot of puffs of sugar and air!), of course we need to invest in our homes, putting food on the table, making positive decisions and I believe these things also make for a beautiful set of ‘fairy lights’…how many people would love to be able to know their food bill was taken care of or that a roof over their families head was a given…moments matter.

In the moment we forget what we have, of how bright our fairy light life already is, we sometimes hide our string of lights in a box, we don’t want people to think they are too bright, or not bright enough…in the moment we sometimes care what others think, we sometimes care more about what others think…and in the moment sometimes we don’t think at all. The delightful news is…none of these options are wrong, everyone’s fairy lights are unique and if they’re beautiful to you then that’s all that matters.

Thank you in this moment for choosing to read my blog. It makes me happy to write, to share my whimsical thoughts, my passing ideas and my bizarre obsession with metaphors. I hope that you realise how precious life already is, I hope you can use this moment to reflect on all you already have and I wish whatever state your fairy lights are in you can use the next moments to undo any knots and enjoy them strung up across your soul.

P.s. even fairy lights need new batteries every now and then, so don’t forget to recharge.

Sometimes it ends differently and it’s better that way

Quote Anon

Unless you all know something I don’t, I don’t have a map for life…I don’t even have a guideline and sometimes the rules can blur and you can feel like you’re internal sat nav could do with an MOT.

I also find that if I do make a plan it very often doesn’t work out how I’d imagined? I’m not referring to popping to the local shops, although that often also goes drastically different and my 3 item shop for basic essentials quickly can become ‘please can I have several more bags’ at the checkout. What I’m really referring to are life paths and dreams of the future.

In my big plans for the future my family agree with my vision, wealth is abundant and everything clicks into place. If I reflect on when the pandemic first hit in 2020 I didn’t expect it to allow me relook at my careers, I didn’t think that within several months I’d be walking away from a school building as my job (a career I’d been in for over 16yrs) and working from home. I didn’t think someone would pay my fuel bill for my car (thanks Mrs Employer), I hadn’t considered in my dreams and vision of the small details; time to catch a cuppa with friends, or to hoover at speed between teams calls – leaving me house work free at weekends.

I thought I’d always work from a school building, now I get to visit many but never stay more than a few hours.

Last week I met a friend for dinner and she asked me what my next life goals were. I didn’t know, in fact I don’t think about it? Don’t panic I haven’t stopped dreaming (still currently stalking dream home on rightmove for example) but I’ve let go of the details. I don’t know what my next move will be, I’m not sure how I’ll get there and most importantly I’m ok with that.

Why? Because things often work out better than you’d expected and if they haven’t worked out then they’re still changing and altering as you read this. I believe the universe has my back, that it will all work out in the long run. It always does…not always better than I’ve dreamt, not always as I’d imagined it but often better.

Don’t think this post is about not dreaming and setting goals, I journal daily around my hopes for the future…but by letting go of the hows and when’s I get to enjoy the now a little more. I’ve realign in January 2022 and know there is more work to be done, my intentions are clear but the details of the journey I won’t sweat on, I’ll show up every day, I’ll dare to dream big and that house on rightmove might just become a click away from us moving in from circumstances I hadn’t even thought of. Enjoy the journey and give attention to things that are worthy of your time, energy and love.

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.

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?