Better an oops than a what if

Quote Anon

I have a huge fear. It consumes my soul and often makes me take huge leaps, challenges and when other people step out of their comfort zone I like to run, jump and pliat.

The fear that eats me up, is I can’t live with a ‘what if’… when I was younger I dated a lad that worked for the BBC, at the weekend I’d often go to work with him and sit in a black box all day whilst he worked. Amongst all of the knobs, buttons, twiddly things and general sound equipment… was a giant red button in a protective casing, it called my name and said ‘push me’ at the time, the lad realised that this button was too juicy for my ‘what if’ fear and he let me push it…it stopped the broadcast for several seconds *sorry Radio Oxford. Once I’d pushed it I was never interested in it again…I’m that person that needs to push a button or two.

Last week a lovely lady on Instagram did a story that resonated with me, I private messaged her and asked her if she’d like to do a ‘live’ with me, simply because I wanted to talk to her, to engage, to inspire others. The plan was to chat for about 20mins at 7pm this Thursday. It sounds fun right? The great news is – it was, we hopefully will do it again soon BUT the truth was I didn’t have a clue what I was doing…I’m comfortable in the uncomfortable. I think it comes with age, with caring a little less about what others think and also by knowing that the ‘good stuff’ in life tends to not come when you are comfortable, it usually follows when you wonder ‘what’s if’ and act on it. It’s true that sometimes you get a ‘ops’ that follows. But it goes with the territory of thriving.

As I watched our live back there are a few things I’ll be altering next time, the biggest ops being that I didn’t speak for about 30 seconds whilst I pushed buttons, blagging to make the live work. That’s how we learn, I’m very much a kinaesthetic learning, I learn best my doing. Some people prefer to watch others and then replicate, to listen, to read…me, I like to jump in and try, even if it results in a few ‘oops’ along the way.

At primary school my parents were often told I talked too much and asked lots of questions, in that respect nothing much has changed. However, I wouldn’t change it, it forces me to analyse, to work things out and to improve. Isn’t that why we are all hear? I should probably add that personally my ‘leaps’ are usually calculated. I don’t take high risks with high ‘ops’ results…I don’t jump without a parachute.

This week I’m sure there will be a few more challenges as I avoid the inner voice that says ‘what if I had…’ and I’m sure an occasional ops will also follow. When was the last time you stepped, or leaped out of your comfort zone? If it hasn’t been for a while – this post is your sign to live a little braver, be a little boulder and smile a little more. *The smile is just for fun.

I’m too magical for your bullshit

Quote Anon

Where ever you are and whatever you are doing, I hope you are wearing a smile.

Smiles go with all outfits, occasions and climates…they improve your wellbeing and overall health, it’s true! Smiling boosts your immune system, are contagious to those around you and according to studies women smile more than men, babies are born with the ability to smile and there are 19 different ‘types’ of smile. Who knew?

Today I’m encouraging you to dust off your ‘seeing the silver lining smile’, why? Today I’m looking at a rainy Saturday ahead, the grey clouds can make us feel low and bring productivity to a huge low. I know I have some ‘messy jobs’ ahead of me…bathrooms and 2 toilet cleans, fridge needs a wipe over, my sons homework needs ‘managing’ and we’ve run out of food, so a supermarket trip is required.

However, today I’m magical.

I’ve stayed in bed (where I’m currently writing this post) for two cups of tea and a long scroll through Pinterest *mainly looking at pretty things I don’t need nor will ever purchase. Next, I plan to tackle the bathrooms and toilets, I will then reward myself by painting my nails and pulling on an outfit that makes me feel beautiful (I rarely dress practically, comfy or appropriate to the weather) feeling good and accomplished I’m going to seize the day and get my sons homework done and dusted, this will need heavy bribery of cake and treats later as he is currently absorbed in Saturday morning cartoons.

I’ll come back and wipe the fridge shelves down (whilst listening to some vinyl for upbeat vibes), this task is never as horrendous as I think it will be and I’m already picturing in my head how pretty it looks when it’s clean…then to the supermarket, where I can’t tell you I won’t put items in my trolley that I don’t need, today I will embrace the middle isle and may come away with a hot tub, a frying pan and a face mask…the middle isle is a magical place of endless possibilities.

Today, I will seek out the magic in every task, I’ll look for the joy, I’ll reframe moments of bull shit with sequins, polish and glitter. Perhaps you’re thinking she’s fooling herself, the plan will unravel and the rain clouds will become thunder, alas this is how I live most days…of course I see and feel the shit moments, I can’t avoid the storms…but I get to choose how I feel in every moment and today is a magical, blessed Saturday of house chores, cake and smiles. Sign me up.

Ego’s trip but the humble doesn’t stumble

Quote Anon

On Monday I took the opportunity between appointments to throw on my wellies and go for a walk in the forest opposite to where I live. I drank in the sun and for extra dose of wellbeing I listened to an Oprah podcast which was about the ego.

As I got into the centre of the forest, I felt truly privileged and proud that I’d carved out this time for myself. Little did I know a huge lesson was about to be delivered from the universe.

On the other side of the forest from where I was walking was a bench next to a low stream, on the bench I saw something but couldn’t make out what it was? I walked over to investigate. As I grew closer it was some abandoned litter. Instantly I became furious that people could be so selfish.

I then read the bench plaque and became outraged for the man who’s memory the bench was installed, upset that the inscription referred to his love of the woodlands…and then I turned to walk away, after all my ego whispered ‘it wasn’t my litter’

It was like the forest slapped me across the face, I probably only turned 10 degrees, the lesson was served to me in milliseconds – before the grief of my own ego hit me. If I didn’t pick the litter up, who would and if I wasn’t prepared to right a wrong why should anyone else?

I’m embarrassed to write that I didn’t instantly grab the wrapping but this is the lesson. This is how I learnt it and I’m hoping by sharing it with you, you won’t have to learn the lesson with hesitation like I did.

As I picked up the litter with both hands the podcast still playing in my ears shared the Eckhart Tolle quote:

“You do not become good by trying to be good but by finding goodness that is already in you and allowing it to emerge”

Nobody in my opinion is better or worse than anyone else, I also think much of the litter we see on the south coast where I live isn’t always dumped by litter bugs; Mother nature’s use of the wind is sometimes unhelpful and the seagulls that surround my area certainly don’t help the situation. Had I of not rethought my actions the lesson would of been missed, I hugely stand by the principle that the kindness of people happens in the cracks of the shadows. When the world isn’t looking are you still as kind as when it shines a light on you? If your behaviour doesn’t alter, that to me is authentic. Sometimes however, we are human and the ego whispers unhelpful words in our ears and much like a sweet wrapper in the wind, we get swept away.

This post isn’t about who’s better or worse…that would give ego more energy, I’m certainly embarrassed by my hesitation. However, I learnt my own truth, the universe tested me and it’s not a lesson I want to relearn any time soon. I also believe that my spontaneous trip and timely podcast choice were destined to deliver me to a new lesson that I was open to hearing. I was prepared to drown out my ego and listen to my soul…when was the last time you truly listens to your intuition, to the lessons the world is waiting to share? I’d love you to share them in the comment section of this blog. After all, we can all learn from each other.

The way we see the problem is the problem

Quote by Stephen Covey (I think?)

I often write about perspective and it would seem this post is going to be no different, I just couldn’t resist this quote.

Frequently things or issues that we see as a problem are somebody else’s joy. Take a humble weed that we dig out from our boarders and see as unnecessary, an issue and not welcome. In somebody else’s garden, or in the wild that same plant can bring joy or even nutrition or a home to a bug or creature.

Sometimes problems can’t be fixed. That’s okay though as they aren’t all meant to be. Within nature when a tree dies it rots back down and fertilises the soil, the seeds/nuts that it’s dropped in the previous season are nurtured and nature begins a new cycle. As humans we often see death as final, when perhaps it’s just another step in evolution. The teaser is that none of us will know for sure until it’s too late.

Meanwhile hours turn to day’s, days to weeks, months and years and perhaps we spend too much time worrying about problems that don’t need resolving or resolve themselves…instead I’m offering you a new option.

It involves not worrying (easier said than done). Taking a step back and reassessing the situation. It involves not feeding your mind negative limitations and trusting that things always work out. This theory isn’t my making, it’s from my biggest idol…Mother Nature.

She never gives up, she’s huge in the reuse and recycle generation and she doesn’t panic in the eye of a storm. She knows that sometimes you need to clear away the past to create the future. Mother Nature hides medical healing powers in plants and never needs technology to fix something, she doesn’t even have home insurance or a debit card.

I believe that we could all improve our lives and our stress levels, simply by thinking about what Mother Nature would do. It’s often purer and easier than man would have us think and the she usually has the answer to most of our biggest problems. Also, Mother N never does things in a hurry, her cycles often take years, seasons and time to put into action.

Step back, assess and think about your options before you allow your internal panic button to be pressed, it’s sometimes good to share problems with friends for alternative solutions and a good nights sleep is wonderful for putting some distance between the issue you are trying to resolve and yourself.

Don’t make it more complicated that it needs to be

Quote Anon

Regularly readers may have noticed that I haven’t posted for a while…the juggle of life got too much and so a few things had to go, publishing a post was one of them. That said I also use writing as time out and a dose of therapy so here I am again.

The shuffle and balance of homeschooling, working full time from home, running a household and our families personalities all blending in a bowl of chaos meant I broke. Last Friday I got to the end of my working day, I felt I couldn’t breath…I knew I had to start dinner. As I clutched a yellow pepper from the fridge, the Mr heard me whisper ‘ I can’t do this’…my eyes began to fill with tears and he said the magic words ‘Shall I get take out’ however his next question nearly made the tears fall ‘what would you like?’ I held my head down and gently shook it, “you can’t make any more decisions can you” …he was right, my head was pounding from looking at the screen all day, I felt like I was going to be sick, homeschooling that day wasn’t plain sailing and my body said enough. By 6:50pm I was in bed, I closed the world off and when I woke I realised a few things, the main one being, apart from the take away I hadn’t eaten that day. There simply wasn’t time.

With a wonderful nights sleep and my batteries renewed I made a few decisions and they’ve totally changed the week I’ve just had. I’m sharing them as hopefully they may help or inspire someone else.

Small win one: The weekend after the mini breakdown I prep’d like a fitness freak. I made homemade soup – so the decision of lunch was already made and as a bonus it was healthy. I also made a batch of smoothies so that I had a morning snack and if I didn’t have time I could drink it during my meetings.

Small win two: I got out my clothes in the evening the night before. Not a huge time saver but meant it was one less decision to procrastinate over

Small win three: at the end of each day I made myself (rain or shine) go for a walk. Sometimes I’d call family or a friend BUT I left the boys at home. A quick walk around the block and some fresh air has been fabulous for my soul after a day of meetings via a laptop.

Small win four: I realise we can’t make any actual plans at the moment, in the UK Boris letting us know when children can return to school has been as clear as mud, but I can dream. I’ve been keeping a little note pad of all the things I’d like to do when we can, travel is a huge one but once I started the list I realised some could begin even in a pandemic. So, this weekend I did some decluttering and I alway find this is good for my soul.

Small win five: Flowers. On Friday a friend left me a small bouquet on my doorstep. I can’t tell you how grateful I was. I divided the flowers into two and have one on the dinning room table where I work and one upstairs. It’s a wonderful reminder of kindness and beauty. Gratitude always wins in my book. I plan to buy some daffodils in the coming week and pass the love on! We may not be able to meet for tea and a chat like we once did but every time I look at my flowers I feel truly blessed.

Whether you’re winning at life or drowning please know that a few little steps can make a huge change to your wellbeing. Don’t stop dreaming, being kind to others and make time for self care, in my opinion these things are crucial to our current generation thriving.

Much love

Mindset is everything

Quote Anon

If I’m honest I’m not really feeling like 2021 is delivering the joy I hoped for. Then I was reminded that mindset is everything and so I’ve decided it’s going to be the best year ever, whether it wants to be or not.

I’ve wrote many blogs on perspective and this post is no different, when you choose to sit in the good, the bad often dissipates, it never leaves as the negative moments make the positive all that bit more joyful thanks to a little thing called contrast.

This weekend I knew how good and thankful I was to lie in and the Mr even bought me tea in bed, I knew it was lovely because the first week in January was made up of brutal gets up where above the duvet it was cold and the world was full of demands.

The Mr then opened the curtains to show me the roofs that Jack Frost had created in the night, he suggested a walk and snug in bed at first I wasn’t keen…then I altered my mindset and reminded myself how Mother Nature always makes me feel better. A frosty walk half an hour later and she didn’t let me down.

Life is made of decisions, we don’t always get to decide the outcomes but we can decide how we feel about them. This year I’m choosing 2021 to be the year that my dreams come true. My other resolution is to never buy another item of clothing that doesn’t have pockets – life is too short and precious not to have a tissue and a lip balm at hand.

What are you going to do this year? Allow the pandemic to nibble at your soul or count your blessings, stop making excuses and do it anyway, I’m picking the second option but adding pockets.

Happy new year and I promise whatever is around the corner will be as good as you decide to see it.

Home schooling, lockdown vol.2 – the winter edition

Four days in to January 2021 in the UK, any hope was slashed by the Prime Minister’s announcement to return to life in March 2020, you have every right to feel the emotions you do; whether you are fearful, angry, bored, or nonplus *or perhaps like me fly between them all like a Meerkat on look out. It’s perfectly normal to not feel normal, that’s the new normal.

However, hope is on the horizon and that’s why I have popped this midweek post together. This time we have several super powers within us and we should unleash them…well it could make all the difference to us and our families thriving in 2021. Although I write as both a parent and teacher, I would also like to highlight that everyone is in their own personal battle at present and hopefully non parents can take some joy from this post too.

Super power one: knowledge: Volume two means there was a volume one. I know you know that, I know things aren’t exactly the same BUT we lived through volume one! Knowledge is power, something I never had last time. This time I can see an end, volume 1 was six months of ‘maybe next week’ a blur, a really long Sunday…this time I know it will end because it did before. Maybe we didn’t all thrive, but it’s well worth taking time to reflect on the things that did work, adapting them where necessary and making them work for the winter edition, hindsight is a beautiful thing – use it. For example, a paddling pool in January probably isn’t going to go down well, but we as a family in vol.1 took the time each day to come together and watch a film, it was a calming time (it was always Disney) and it added a drop of structure to an otherwise chaotic day.

I took the time to ask my son what he wanted to do, sure home schooling was usually part of the day but actually with no commutes we did have time to bake or build some Lego. We went for walks, okay if I’m honest I’m a little walked out but I also know that nature always makes me feel better…do the things that served you last time.

Superpower two: Know your child isn’t behind: You are giving them an experience. Like most adventures in life it comes with highs (we uploaded work to the school site) and lows (no work was achieved and my son claimed corona stole all of the pencils in the house) but it’s how we look at them that counts. My child is where he is academically; I can’t rewind 2020, I can’t push knowledge into his brain, but I can make sure that no matter what he is safe and healthy. Today the juggle was real. My full time job, our home, my sons education, our families sanity, our mental health all rolled into one and it was messy…but it was also good too….

Super power three: Hold on to the gratitude: Being thankful, for whatever small glimmer of hope, joy, love, appreciation you see or feel…it matters. I’m eternally indebted to frontline workers, I’m pleased my family is healthy, that today we are ok, that the internet connection works, that I have the skill set to break down tasks set for my child and can make them applicable to him, that the dog didn’t bark when the postman came and I was on a Teams call for work, that we did our best.

Super power four: Small steps are mighty: This may be part of your existing super power one, but I know that small steps, low expectations and being kind to myself is the only way I can manage at present. I didn’t do all the work tasks I had the intention of completing, by 10am I prioritised them and spread them out over the next few days. I can only do what I can. I did take a few minutes to do a facial this evening so that tomorrow I wake feeling topped up with self love, I also treated myself to a hot chocolate because this life is precious. Small steps with treats along the way make unstructured time’s a little easier. Also, a technique that works well for most children and age groups is Now, Next and then. It works like this: Now we are doing maths, next we will read and then you can play. Forget the rest of the day for a few small steps, when they are heading off to play, remind them that now they are having play time, next they can read and then we will have lunch. Those three small words can give enough knowledge to make your child feel safer. If you have multiple children it might be that time is divided and your ‘Now i’m helping Bethan, next we will go and play and then we will revisit your history work together’ feeling heard is so important and often grounds us far more than Mummy spending 5 hours the night before creating a complex rota that due to a tantrum and a high temp from the baby has all gone out of the window before 7:30am

I hope by reading this you maybe remembered how awesome you already are, that you’ve got this and that with a few super powers under your belt you can achieve anything.

Letting go is an active process

Quote from Alicia Menendez

Firstly, congratulations you’ve made it to 2021! Let’s be honest, it was touch and go…

Now we’ve hit 2021 and the world is crying out for a kinder year and I’m hoping that travel will resume. However, I can’t help but see the usual spiral of diet plans, fitness regimes, goals, coaches, juices, subscriptions being pushed down our throat’s….and that’s great, if that works for you.

However, I just wanted to tap you on the shoulder and remind you that you’re enough just the way you are. Perfectly imperfect.

I personally like to analyse the year and set a few goals, perhaps try something new BUT not by January first. After the year we’ve all expected and the uncertain future that may be ahead, it’s time to slow things down. Take time to reflect, enjoy the process. You may wish to create a mind map or journal on the topic, so unpick the pieces of life’s puzzle that no longer serve you.

In the UK January is cold, grey and not the best time to be motivated. That doesn’t need to be an excuse, so be kind to yourself and make any goals small and achievable based on your circumstances.

New habits take time and so introducing small manageable changes is the best way to optimum success.

Action is needed; so if you aren’t ready to end old patterns that don’t serve you…don’t. Also don’t expect change. I’ve always found best results when I take my time to let go over things that don’t serve me any longer. If you rush the process, you often sabotage the results. An example of this was when I was pregnant and ‘nothing in my wardrobe fitted me’ so I took irrational action and threw away over half of my perfectly good not-pregnant wardrobe. I spent the next three years looking for tops or ‘ that belt’ constantly reminding myself that I’d given it away and it seem cases (basic tops) having to replace them. The same goes for taking on drastic diet plans that leave you malnourished or excessive exercise programmes that give you injuries. Small steps, one at a time…letting go as the quote suggests is a daily practice of moments and blessings, these often lead to more productive changes and take you a little nearer to your happy ever after.

Be kind. Even on your bad days

Quote Anon

Today’s post isn’t long and its message is simple. We all have battles that we face, both internal personal battles and external battles that we may find ourselves in through no fault of our own…so do other people.

It’s easy to be consumed by the now and even the toxicity of the past, it’s much harder to smile on days when you don’t feel like smiling and even harder to push that smile into the world towards strangers.

However, in my experience it’s the light in the darkest of moments, the kindness that comes from people that don’t need to care that is truly special.

As the Christmas season approaches and we all become consumed by…well, consumerism, perhaps in this crazy world of 2020 that we all find ourselves in, the best gift we can give ourselves and those around us is a little extra kindness. It often doesn’t cost a lot and it doesn’t always get noticed but I truly believe the future of the world depends on it (that totally sounded like a marvel film intro)

As the last few weeks of 2020 past and we step into 2021 with a little more hope and a dollop of joy, please add a gallon of kindness to those who need it. You can never be sure who needs it, so aim for everyone. Let the car out of the side road if it’s safe to do so, let the man in a rush pass you by and don’t judge him – you don’t know why he is rushing. Kindness is checking on friends with a quick phone call and knocking on vulnerable neighbours doors to check if they need anything. Open doors and smile.

Smile when people give you eye contact, increase your manners (it’s something adults generally suck at), tell people you love them and give compliments like you’re PollyAnna. Over the years I’ve written a lot about this topic, gratitude and kindness truly matter and usually I write to remind myself.

So if nobody has told you today, your hair looks fab, I love that jumper and I’d like to thank you for dropping by, it’s means the world.

Humble with a hint of Kanye

Quote Anon

This week we said hello (and then goodbye) to Friday 13th in 2020. The meme game was high and it made reflect on the year a little, was 2020 really that horrendous? For me personally we have said goodbye to loved ones (not pandemic related), we’ve been affected by the lockdown restrictions and I updated my passport unnecessarily but we’ve also had so many awesome moments. The UK had a summer that seemed to last forever and it was joyful sunny! We used our garden and lockdown gave us family time that I couldn’t have imagined possible. I stepped over fear and went for an interview on zoom (so 2020) got the job, that led to a huge lifestyle change and well…there were a lot of good moments weaved in between.

In the last few weeks of 2020 make sure you’re your own hype man, don’t get caught in only reflecting on this year in a negative manner. All years, months and days have contrast of both good and bad moments, in fact I’ve learnt from experience that sometimes laughter in the darker moments is all the more precious. Some years are a little sweeter and now as it turns out, some have memories of banging on pans with wooden spoons and not seeing extended family as much as we would have liked.

But we’re still here, unless you’re reading this from beyond the grave, which would be pretty cool. We are still here and we still have time to create more awesome memories and remember this year with some Kanye flair – he ran for president, which lets me honest is both bold and so Kanye. Imagine if the world had as much self esteem as Mr West, although as the quote suggests a little humbleness often goes a long way too and it’s a delicate balance. Here are a few quotes from the man himself.

“For me to say I wasn’t a genius would just be me lying to myself and you”

“Everything I am made me everything i am” nope I don’t understand this either?

“I feel I’m too busy writing history to read it”

Then every now and then he says something that makes me cherish 2020 a little more…

“The only luxury we have is time. The time you get to spend with your family” count your blessings as much as you count your hardships and when the New Year’s Eve bells ring you can step into 2021 with gratitude (and a dash of relief)