Don’t count the days, make the days count

Quote from Muhammad Ali

My son has completed his school year and has jumped into summer, sadly I have two more days of standing on the precipice before we can both wallow in the delights of the summer holidays.

We have completed our clouds (See our previous post for more details) as I think it’s important to take in to consideration what he would like to do and yet again I was blown away with how simple his requests are.

During the summer I like to have a balance of planned events and lazy days, prioritising experience over objects. Our holidays have been planned to take our sons interests into account but also I’ve booked an adult only escape in order to keep everyone balanced.

Making the days count is important to me and so I’ve set myself a ‘me goal’ and a ‘Mum goal’. I’m sharing these to make myself accountable and to hopefully inspire you to also set yourself small challenges. I’ve also thought of a word to sum up my intentions for summer – flow.

Me goal:

  • Yoga everyday or a run.

I have been doing mini sessions of yoga when I wake but know that with a little more time I can increase my flow and practise.

Mum goals:

  • Teach little dude to tell the time

This unexpected target is nearly reached by the end of day two. He has really taken to the new watch his Nanny and Grandad bought him and is keen to tell everyone we meet what the time is. Having him with me means the learning can be quick, frequent and once again success can flow

  • Write every day

At the grand age of six, writing is not a joy for my little man, so again I’ve cunningly hidden daily tasks in and around the adventures we’ll be having to help the pen to flow. Last night we sent Daddy messages on post-it’s whilst he was upstairs and I’ve asked a friend of mine who doesn’t live locally if her son would like to be my sons pen pal, an old school idea but he really enjoyed the idea of his friend receiving it. He is also writing a book which was his idea and enjoyed reading the first instalment to his godmother over FaceTime yesterday.

I realise a lot of parents might read this and think that the summer is a time to escape the pen and pencil of the classroom but I personally know my little dude and know that little steps will help him to thrive in the new academic year…as long as he doesn’t realise we’re doing ‘writing’.

Being accountable for each day can feel empowering, I know that we will all enjoy camping under the stars, making memories and visiting some wonderful places. I know that my camera will overflow and my instagram squares will increase with unexpected moments of joy too. However, like Muhammad suggested, time is limited and summers with my boys by my side won’t be forever, so I plan to enjoy each and every day…two more days to go.

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Take notice of what the light does – to everything

Quote by Tess Guinery

My Christian name is Lucy and it translates from Latin to mean ‘light’ , when I was a child I had a key ring that said something corny like “you light up the room with your spirit and bring joy to all those you meet” whilst I’m not sure everyone I’ve met would agree it’s certainly something I think about when I’m in the company of new people. I try to sparkle, but it’s human nature to sometimes stick the dimmer switch on.

For me light goes hand in hand with life. In my mind I see biology lessons on photosynthesis and and the joy of brighter evenings in spring. I think of hope. Light also reminds me of truth; shining a light on the darker mysteries life can bring.

However, we all need contrast. Even this ray of sunshine Lucy needs her moments of dark. Too much of anything isn’t great. Paintings fade and plants dry out. Skin burns, life withers… that’s why I love this quote, taking notice of what the light does can mean truth, hope and love but it can also fade and kill.

Perhaps this quote isn’t about light at all. Perhaps it’s about recognising balance; when too much of a good thing becomes toxic or when too less is just as traumatic.

Life is about walking the fine line of contrast and experiencing the emotions that the good and bad bring, the light and the dark , it’s about playing in the shadows and please don’t forget all the many pigments in between. Diversity is rich when it is accepted and not divided.

This week take notice of what makes you light up, what friends make you feel lighter and also when you need the sanctuary of the moonlight, perhaps by watching the various spectrum that life offers you may need to whack on some factor fifty around individuals that burn like the midday sun. Whatever you do notice, Tess is right – act on what it tells you and you may just see a rainbow.

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.

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.

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.

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.

I have neither the time not the crayons to explain this to you

Quote Anon and it doesn’t disappoint

Welcome to the home of positivity, this quote may seem negative but today I’m going to ask you to pour your crayons out in front of you and colour your life.

For those who have never had the pleasure of owning a box of new crayons they are joyful, pointed tips ready to create whatever your imagination can explore, the further you explore the need to peel the paper around the edge will be necessary. *almost as satisfying as peeling dry PVA glue

Sharing crayons can be fun, as long as those around you respect the rules of colour, mine go something like this; don’t hoard all the colours, no snapping, colouring over the lines isn’t the end of the world – this is fun, put them back in the box tips upwards after you’ve completed your masterpiece, don’t squish the box.

Where am I going with this? Diversity is amazing, but surround yourself with kindred spirits, people (or crayons) who help you to grow and complete your work of art, people who make you feel good and except your boundaries, who share their crayons too, or add new perspectives.

Jim Rohn postulated that ‘we are the 5 people we spend the most time with’, newer research suggests it’s far larger than that. We become what we are surrounded by, and can even be shaped by friends of friends. How do you get the best out of your crayon box of life? By reviewing your network regularly, from family to work colleagues – many of these we can’t change but we can often limit interactions, create space and be aware that we are eternally growing. Just as I wouldn’t expect my son to fit in the clothes he wore when he was a toddler, why would all of the people I worked with ten years ago still be as relevant in my life now? Every now and then life throws you a precious metallic crayon and I urge you to hold that crayon dearly, but often the crayon box of life is full of ‘raw sienna’ and that’s useful and pleasant for short periods of time (when drawing tree trunks) but unless like my son you enjoy drawing turds the crayon has its limits.

Crayons have a life expectancy too, much like us, don’t spend your time with people who snap your crayons and leave you with a bunch of stubby ends. Instead once the crayons of life have been used, be able to look up and admire your work of art in all its finery for many years to come.

Happy colouring all.

It’s not necessary to react to everything you notice

Quote Anon

In 2019 and the world is full of morons. This is a fact that we can’t change.

None of us are perfect – perfection is an aspiration, not a destination. Thus we can all slide in to the moron mask momentarily. At any moment we can make poor decisions, act in a selfish manner or drive like we are Jenson Button. It happens, we make mistakes.

We also have choices, I like to think I try and take off my moron mask as soon as I notice the shadow cast over my face, I also know if I’m feeling hormonal I can glue it on for the week and anyone who dares to step in my way will feel the wrath of the masked menstruated moron.

(sometimes I just get the mask out for fun)

However, we all have choices. Just because I don’t say anything or react when a moron crosses my path doesn’t mean I don’t notice, nor have an opinion on the matter. It’s crucial to remember we are a reflection of the people that we surround ourselves by. Allowing a friend to gossip and vent can be therapeutic for both of us, but if that friend is in a continuous cloud of doom it may be best to leave and allow them to wallow.

Making continuous negative dialogue about how other people drive (who can’t hear you) only increases your heart rate. It doesn’t make them better drivers.

Learning to not react, to filter our thoughts can be challenging but there are two questions you can ask yourself before you speak (my friend shared these with me a few days ago from a podcast she listened to)

  • Am I growing?
  • Am I giving?

If not, the advice from fridge HQ would be to walk away and let those thoughts go. Sharing ideas, perspectives and support is crucial to evolving, pointing out that someone is inadequate if that haven’t asked for advice isn’t useful to you or them.

Next time you see a masked moron, cross the road and don’t react, the world will be a better place and if you let it go, so will your heart rate and overall well-being.

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?