You must find happiness right where you are.

Quote from Disneys Moana.

We’ve begun the Easter holidays in the UK. For the last few days I’ve grown in happiness because that is what I’m choosing to see, feel and look for. Let me tell you more.

The sun is shining and this is both rare and delightful. I usually always post on Sundays, I know that consistent content is key to the growth of my blog, but my blog won’t grow without me writing it…yesterday was the hottest day in England so far this year, so I grabbed my share of vitamin D and headed into the garden for the day. Pottering, sipping drinks in the garden and soaking up rays of joy were on my agenda. As a result, I feel better for it, so much better that I have more energy to give, more time to share and my blog didn’t suffer from a 24hr lack of content and doesn’t feel like a chore to write.

This morning my son and I walked down to our local cafe (they are doing take away / deliveries) we grabbed a piece of cake each and to increase the happiness for others, grabbed two extra slices for my sons grandparents. We left the box of delight on the doorstep, waved through the windows and saw them smile. Happiness isn’t always in the receiving.

Happiness is many small particles, much like dust that if you blink you miss BUT if you choose to see, multiply and can be seen even in the darkest of moments. Sometimes its not about what you desire in the future but what you have now that counts. We all have different blessings if we choose to see them. For example, my sons knee has a scab on it from where he fell over a few days a go. He asked what a scab was and I explained it was a sign the body was healing, a protective barrier so that underneath the body could knit itself back together whilst keeping out the germs from the outside and the good stuff inside…he renamed it his armour and now wears it with pride. In every moment in every day we have millions of moments to see joy or to see a scab.

Don’t worry about what ‘they’ have or where ‘they’ are going. Look around you and at this very moment, no matter how bleak life can seem there is always something to be thankful, kind, grateful or happy about. Moana is one of my favourite Disney characters and this uplifting quote serves as a reminder that if you want to live a positive life, you simply MUST make happiness a priority.

And like the moon, we must go through phases of emptiness to be full again.

Anon

Ive always like the solar system, science never really appealed to me at school but how can you ignore the beauty of the nights sky? The constellations, the history of how various stages of humanity used the stars and planets as guides, the heat of the sun, the planets lined up like Russian dolls hanging off of my sons ceiling…and the moon. By far my personal favourite, that smiling face of glow and delight that’s force pulls and pushes of tides and if i’m honest my heart strings.

Over the last few months I’ve been tracking the moons phases and can see patterns in my life where the moon is waxing and waning. Whilst I refuse to discuss the chaotic and perpetual negative cycle of fear we are currently being fed by mainstream media, social media and the miserable lady at the bus stop, this quote fed my soul in a way that those outlets haven’t and so I had to use it.

Amongst the depths of the dark we can appreciate the light of day. If we chose to discard the negative surface of fear, underneath we can see glimmers of hope, love and happiness. Stories of human compassion, pure kindness and this is what I’ve decided to put into my bubble. Where people see confinement and lack, I can decide to see the opportunity to be at home, surrounded by my loved ones. I can be thankful for the health of my loved ones and can offer help to those who I’m able to. Like the lady who had a four month old baby screaming and couldn’t find Calpol in any of our local stores…I offered ours, we don’t need it. She does.

Perspective is a difficult thing to see in the dark, but look to the moon for guidance. It allows us to appreciate what we do have, what experiences we have had rather than what we are yet to do. Contrast is a bitter sweet gift, but perhaps we are more like the moon that we realise? The darker times often inform the lighter moments of life and much like the cycle of the moon, it will pass and we will be grateful and full again.

Look after loved ones and do all you can for those at risk, above all be kind even in the loo roll aisle.

When life gives you Monday, dip it in glitter and sparkle all day

Quote by Ella Woodward

Recently I wrote about a Plot twist that life provided, however new roads are often unpredictable and direction can change in a heart beat, in our case is was due to a lack of a heart beat. * Trigger warning: this post contains my experience of a silent miscarriage.

Several weeks a go myself and the Mr went for our thirteen week scan. As I looked at the screen to our perfectly formed little foetus the Sonographer explained that a lack of growth (baby was only measuring ten weeks) and without a heart beat meant I was experiencing a silent miscarriage. Within seconds my world as I knew it, my hopes for our future family and my past experiences came to haunt me. It was like a unexpected tsunami consumed us. We didn’t have time to grab loved ones, reach for safety or batten down the hatches, we were exposed and out at sea with no warning.

Unlike a conventional miscarriage (if such a thing exists) a silent miscarriage meant I didn’t have any signs or symptoms. My bump was growing, my body thought I was pregnant, but our little munchkin was still.

The Mr carried me home in fragmented pieces, I was broken.

Days became weeks and nothing physically changed. Life felt like somebody else had set it on pause. I’m a tiny package so there was no way I could of hide my bump from people around us, the nurse gave us three horrendous options and while I waited for my surgery date I had another scan to double check for any changes.

This scan gave me so much serenity and peace. The first scan felt like a tsunami; it was fast, destructive and unpredictable…the second scan erased any future fears of being scanned. It was the calm after the storm. Sadly, nothing had changed, baby was still measuring ten weeks and was snug in my first class accommodation but I had time to ask the millions of questions my brain had created in the previous weeks, erase any worries and come to terms with my bodies situation.

Then, Mother Nature woke up (perhaps she takes a break over the Halloween period?) and one night I began to feel cramps, these became painful contractions and a tornado whirled inside me. I was mentally exhausted and it’s hard to let go of your baby when you know the ending isn’t happy ever after. But I did it. We did it. We had prepared for a holistic/natural approach should it occur and we battled the storm.

So what did I learn? That my body is smart and powerful. That it’s a place where miracles are born and that I underestimated its talents. Modern medicine has its place, but during my two previous pregnancies I was told by doctors my baby was a healthy seven and a half pounds…both babies arrived at five pounds nine ounces. However, at ten weeks my body knew that there was a chromosomal issue with this baby. So it stopped it. It turned out the light for us. For it…I realise that the process of a miscarriage is different for everyone but I felt empowered that my body took control, that it slowed everything down and gave me time to let go naturally. That I got to keep that bump for a little bit longer, that I once again was supported by my awesome loved ones…that I am loved.

I learnt that this was only part of our journey, that we will grow from it, reflect on the experience and that it doesn’t have to consume or destroy us.

When you look in the mirror and criticise your size, your shape or the spot that temporarily sits on your face, take a second to look again. You may just see a glimpse of an amazing human who is full of life, who is imperfectly perfect, who is stronger than she/he thinks, who can battle storms and who’s body is full of unappreciative talents. We are all blessed much more than we realise.

*if you’ve been through / are going through a similar issue and need support please see your GP, or contact a charity such as Sands UK (0808 164 3332).

Cling to what is good

Quote Anon

According to the power of google an adult makes 35,000 decisions a day, a child around 3,000. That’s everything from what to have for dinner tonight to what to wear and where to go. Most choices fall in to three categories: positive, negative and those we feel obliged to do, feeling like we don’t really have a choice.

As an adult I do feel that at times I need to make negative decisions for overall good, an example being telling my son off and setting consequences – in hope that he learns and grows into an adult with clear morals and boundaries. At the time of sanctioning him he would tell you it was a negative decision I’d made.

Not all choices are transparent and many come with a wealth of other choices, at times resulting in others taking control or contributing to the end result.

Many of us suffer from decision fatigue and with the stats so high, I’m not surprised. If you find yourself overwhelmed then the experts encourage you to pull back; have a duvet day, a social media detox and even better a week away from WiFi. Don’t answer the phone, relax and live in the moment where possible.

Except that is a short term issue. At the moment my son who is six years old is sneaky when I ask him to make one of his 3,000 choices for the day. He will say things like “I don’t mind” or “‘ask Daddy what he wants” in order to avoid conflict or people disliking his ideas. As a result, as parents we are now throwing him even more options…and not letting him wiggle out of them. It’s a tough love choice in hope that it will help him grow in resilience and assertiveness. More importantly we are asking him to ‘feel’ the decision, to reflect on what feels good, to reconnect with his instincts and to not be put off by other people’s reactions. Making choices in the moment that feel good are meant to be the best way to promote positive wellbeing and overall happiness in the long term. Without guides, I wonder how many adults are out of sync with their own sense of good? Making time to rest and play has never been so crucial for a blossoming and positive planet.

Muscle up buttercup

Quote from Disney’s Moana – by Maui

Welcome to another Disney inspired rambling. Every now and then I seek a top up of Disney vibes, it allows me to be distracted from the adult world and into the enchanting world of make believe.

However, this quote is my new favourite for the very opposite of that reason – it grounds me, affirms me and is in my opinion much like the quote ‘Man up’ but without the need to be gender specific. When I read this quote I don’t feel the need to lift weights or hit the gym (although I have used it with an impressed tone to praise the other half when he has returned from the gym #bonuspoints) in fact me and weights are about as distant as the UK is from Disney World…

To me this quote says ‘Stop. Dig deep, breathe and you are limitless’ and all in three little words. Often when life feels like a struggle we get absorbed by the mundane, the negative and create walls that stop us from being successful. Yesterday I encountered two events that I’d like to share where I used the ‘Muscle up buttercup’ vibes to defeat the negativity of the universe. The first step to being able to do this is staying aware of your current emotion and being aware of others around you.

With this in mind it will be no shock that my first negative encounter was in the supermarket check out queue. Im standing alone in the line when a woman who was unloading her trolley of items on to the conveyer belt on the opposite till to mine made small talk with me.

*Danger zone warning: small talk is usually pointless but nobody wants to be rude (except Mr F, who for this very reason was sat in the car whilst I went into the supermarket)

The lady makes a remark about the warm weather and I rebound her negative comment about it being ‘too warm’ with my love for a hot climate. However round two was seconds away with her comment about how ‘food shopping seems like hard work’, it was at this point that I deployed the ‘Muscle up buttercup ‘ vibes. I asked her if she needed help, she thanked me and declined. I then said I really enjoy buying fresh fruit and vegetables for my family and thought we were lucky to have such an awesome selection available. She smiled and said she hadn’t thought of that…

Without being consumed by her negative attitude, I turned and focused on the nice things I was about to purchase. It would of been easier for me to agree with her, to not offer help and to moan about the weather but that would have impacted my emotions and in turn my day. 

The next encounter with negativity came from my four year old riding his bike – he screamed, yelled, hollered and wailed from the moment his bottom hit the saddle. It made a twenty minute cycle to the village food festival a painful and slow process of mental torture. I chose not to listen and used my teacher skills to block him out, but for him it made a joyful activity hard. Riding his bike felt like work as he reinforced to himself that he ‘couldn’t do it’ and that much like the lady in the supermarket ‘it was too hard’ and the physical application to a fun cycle became a stop start action of distress.

It was at the point where his tears merged with a river of snot that his Daddy reminded him that he ‘could do it’ and reinforced why he was a ‘champion’ on his bike

*Bradley wiggins need not feel threatened

For the last two minutes of the journey he smiled, beamed and rode beautifully. Somewhere between the pep talk and his actions he had 100% applied ‘Muscled up buttercup’. At home he couldn’t stop talking about how he loved riding his bike and whilst my external body language praised him with a smile, I didn’t share the parental frustration of the misery he had caused for the previous hours during his non stop crying. Perhaps that was my ‘muscle up’ moment?

In parent land and also working with teenagers there are many moments of digging deeper and smiling harder. However, there is one secret to being able to activate the ‘muscle up buttercup’ joy – make the choice. Similar to deciding what you’re having for lunch, it often boils down to a decision to choose to smile, the conscious resolution to not talk to yourself negatively and making the choice again and again to be happy. Some moments are harder than others and it can feel at times like there are no buttercups for you to grasp, but that’s when you need a little more ‘muscle up’. Sounds easy enough? Like most things it takes practise but I promise there is nothing as essential to your wellbeing as a sprinkle of happiness.