You’re under no obligation to be the same person you were yesterday

Quote Anon

This week was national kindness week. My social media feed filled with acts of love, reminders to be kind and the feel good factor were clear to see.

I don’t think you need to be a genius to know that the world would be better if everyone was kinder BUT perhaps the first person you need to be kind to is yourself.

Everyday won’t always be a good day but there is good to find in everyday. Sometimes it’s a little harder to see but I promise it’s always there. Also, if you wasn’t at your best today – there is always hope for a better tomorrow. We can all alter, change and improve.

What we do find easy to do is dwell on all the things we didn’t do, the list of items I forgot when I went to the supermarket or the things I didn’t do at the end of a long day… but if it was a long day, surely that means I achieved many other things? Or it was complex and emotional and so perhaps I needed to go a little slower. Life is complex and as I’ve written many times, a real rollercoaster of unpredictable events; highs, lows and if you’re living big there is usually a loop the loop in there somewhere.

As the quote says, there is no need to be the person you was yesterday. Events may of changed you or you just might of woken up on the wrong side of the bed…sometimes I rather enjoy a good moan, or a duvet day, a gossip or a sulk. As long as it’s temporary a good wallow can be cathartic.

So in the week ahead, allow ‘you’ to be in the moment, speak kindly to yourself and know that in each moment, each high or low…it’s temporary and you’re human. Sometimes the best moments of a ride are the scary parts that you courageously stepped towards.

You’re doing the best that you can and nobody can ask for more than that, not even you.

Worry is a misuse of Imagination

 Quote by Dan Zandra.

I’m not very good at worrying? I get distracted, like a fly or a toddler…it’s not necessarily a bad thing, worry can cause a variety of medical conditions; heart complications, anxiety issues that can lead to depression, even a shorter life expectancy. I also never really understood what people got out of it? For example if you have a telephone bill that you can’t pay…worrying won’t pay the bill? I do have moments where I may worry, particularly when loved ones are ill but I never understood ‘worrying’ until last year when a yr 11 girl in my school asked me to help her with anxiety over her exams.

A little bit of digging made me realise that she used ‘worry’ as her form of fuel, she worried about everything in life and her neurotransmitters responded; it was even how she showed she cared. More importantly it’s how she released the power to push through life and achieve daily tasks. I thought that was pretty cool, so I made her embrace her worry and not become debilitated by it. It worked too, she aced her exams with the right mindset.

This links directly to the second part of this quote – imagination. Rather than worry think about doing something creative. Imagination is the gift we all have that sadly so many adults loose or forget. Mine is sometimes a little too extreme and if I were a balloon i’d float off into the sky. Luckily, I have Mr F to keep me grounded (he is the string in our relationship) for example when we were planning to upgrade our kitchen he suggests a practical solution that is cost effective and I suggest a kitchen made of Lego. (Seriously, next time you’re on Pinterest take a look at the Lego kitchens, you won’t be disappointed), we then compromise with a practical kitchen that has Lego for cupboard handles (please), okay well negotiations are on going…

I really do believe that imagination is the key to the soul, to success and to life. You have to believe it to receive it.  If you can’t imagine yourself doing something or think you aren’t worthy then you’re likely to miss opportunities and live with regrets.

If you are a natural worrier – harness that energy and use it to fuel your imagination, rather than the ‘what ifs’ life may or may not bring, enjoy the tomorrows and embraces the dreams of now, they can be your reality for tomorrow. You may be surprised at how much you can achieve.

Stay close to people that feel like sunshine

Quote Anon

Autumn days often bring rain to the UK. The darkness closes in and the excuse to light another candle is one I never shy away from.

Over the last few weeks our lives have been hit with an unexpected storm. It came from nowhere and left behind our weary souls, it’s still passing through at present but in time I’ll write more eloquently and with precision about our experience. It takes time to get over an event and learn from it, I’ve never been that good at analysing things when I’m in them, it always needs space and a little time.

However, one lesson has become enlarged in my vision. The bill board of all lessons: I am loved, supported and nurtured.

My tribe is kick ass! When I need to go to war my girl friends are right behind me. In fact, pushing me to the side and offering to fight on my behalf. My work colleagues are supportive and have given me space and sent compassionate loving messages of support.

My boys are my rocks. The Mr is exceptional in chaos, he destroys tornados with Marvel like precision and my little dude makes me laugh, distracts me from the realities of the world and seeps in warmth through cuddles and humour.

My family are loyal, kind and patient and my Mum has a way of always saying what I need I to hear…note not always what I want to hear. As a child she use to sing to me ‘ you are my sunshine’ and in these darker days this song keeps finding me – I even purchased this little trinket in NEXT at home.

So what’s my lesson? By counting my blessings and surrounding myself with a network of sunbeams it’s hard to sit in the dark. Look after your tribe and enjoy the sun and warmth they bring, walk away from chaotic individuals who darken your days. When your storm hits you’ll be grateful for the support of an well placed light house to guide you to shore.

I can smell Autumn dancing in the breeze

Quote Anon

This week I’ve been teaching my year seven pupils (aged 11) about developing and sustaining a positive mindset. It was also national mental health awareness day (10th October) and so I thought I’d bring the two together and create a gratitude list for Autumn.

I keep a daily journal in which I write down three things I’m grateful for and three intentions for the day. Personally, I find it helps focus my day and it starts my day in a good vibration.

My favourite season is spring, but that shouldn’t stop an Autumn list from occurring, in fact it’s often more beneficial to dig a little deeper when it comes to gratitude, that said I’m often surprised at how simple pleasures usually are? *Sorry if most of my list is food based.

Autumn gratitude

  • The crunch of the leaves as they fall under my feet
  • Cosy evenings in with pyjamas and hot chocolate
  • The colours of the trees that seem to change daily through Autumn
  • Searching for conkers (seriously it’s like discovering buried treasure)
  • An excuse to wear a cardigan
  • Smell of Crock pot dinners – it’s like coming home to my Mums cooking at the end of a working day, except I did it whilst I was at work!
  • Wearing wellies on walks
  • Homemade soup and fresh bread
  • Cups of tea on the sofa whilst it rains outside
  • Autumn seems slower and so I find more time to read
  • Bonfires (marshmallows on bonfires)
  • Fireworks in our village
  • Watching the stars
  • Empty beach walks wrapped up warm

…your turn, what are you grateful for as we step into Autumn? Comment below.

You don’t need to set yourself on fire to keep others warm

Quote unknown

When I saw this quote my heart sung a little with laughter.

From work to play I see humans setting themselves on fire on a daily basis, metaphorically speaking of course. So often we put others ahead of ourselves and at the end of a busy week when we have little for ourselves we still continue to serve others from empty cups.

On Friday evening I had nothing to give. Trimester one is exhausting and as I walked in the door I knew an early night was essential and that dinner would have to sort itself out. A laptop and a scroll meant that pizza would be delivered. Not my personal choice but I was past caring. We selected a film from Netflix and the phrase ‘Netflix and chill’ had never been more correct. Next stop bed…

The house looks like a bombs gone off and the my laundry basket might erupt at anytime. In the light of a new day these things can be challenged but last night sleep was my only need and my only

As a parent of the messy kind that leave trails of crumbs wherever they go, are allergic to picking up toys and make unreasonable demands at unreasonable hours…we feel the need to set ourselves on fire to keep them warm, or to lie there with them until they fall asleep, to provide all they desire and make every moment count. In my experience as a teacher of teens this isn’t the solution. Giving them clear boundaries on what you can and can’t do allows them to mimic this into their relationships. Perhaps instead of going to the extreme of setting ourselves on fire we could suggest they put on a jumper?

Many parents often feel that they ‘let the kids down’ because they shouted, lost their sh*t or wasn’t there for the event they were performing in. I think if you take the time to explain why you can’t be there, they learn life skills about resilience and boundaries. I think you can unburden the chains of parental guilt by talking to your child about the reasons why and also by taking time out for you, perhaps the emotional outpours would be less frequent. We need to be brave enough to say no, listen enough to when we need to say yes and put the box of matches back in a secure cupboard on a high shelf. You are enough, you always have been and you always will be.

Plot twist

I often find in life people drive down certain pathways, certain they know where they are heading, perhaps they found a soul mate, took an exit at marriage or diverted to having children. They tick off the various landmarks along the way, content in a bubble of control in a journey called ‘Life’

Then there are people like me…naive enough to think they are in control until one day life gives them lemons, truck loads of the yellow fruit. As the quote goes and being a positive princess, I know you need to make lemonade out of them. Since 2009 exactly ten years today we’ve been doing just that. At 16:47 I gave birth to our daughter Gracie, the plan was to take our healthy bundle home, raise her to be a queen and use motherhood as an excuse to visit farms, play in parks and enjoy the ride of motherhood. Except, we had lemons…and a rollercoaster that I wouldn’t want the worst of humans to have to go through. Regular readers will know, we didn’t bring her home and I felt at the time when our daughters death came to an abrupt end, so to had our pathway of happy ever after.

Except, life sometimes gives you a service station and an alternative route and a mountain…a huge mountain to navigate around. The route doesn’t look as appealing and it’s not so picturesque…but some how the mountain makes you a better human, you learn, you help others and there are even a few unexpected moments of joy along the way; like the view if you make it to the top.

After a decade of our diverted path, plus a little dude that jumped in the passenger seat in 2013 I foolishly sat back in the driving seat. Ticking off landmarks and planning our future. How smug was I.

Then came the plot twist…baby three due April 2020.

Mike drop.

Not planned.

What next? I’m giving up metaphorical driving. I’m making little to no plans, I’m seeing where this huge new tunnel takes us. It looks dark and to be honest is a little scary. This time life gave us a pomegranate. We can’t squeeze it – because there are too many pips but it is so vibrant when you take time to cut it open and I’m excited for the potential of where this tunnel will take us. It’s early days but on the anniversary of Gracies birth I’m grateful for this unexpected gift.

There is always light at the end of the tunnel if you keep going, there is always contrast along the way. This is life and I’m now driving full throttle and with no road map open to where it might take us. Just like a candle on a cake, there is always light if you choose to see it.

Happy returns little angel

The words you speak become the house you live in

Quote by Hafiz.

It’s natural to furnish your home with delightful trinkets and buy a bed to sleep in. You then purchase bedding, cushions…the list is endless. As the years go by loved ones treat you to gifts and the house you bought in a state of empty becomes full, it becomes a home….a cluttered home but I’m working on it. We stamped our identity on each wall with the paint colours of our choosing, as expected quotes frequent the walls, photos of memories gather across the shelves and in time the space around you reflects who you are as a group. In our bedroom my clothes hang in there given spaces, each item has a home and all looks tranquil, it reflects my mood and attitude towards sleep, life and….hang on?…if you gaze to the left, clothes are thrown on the floor, dirty and clean collide in a mountain of mens fashion and ‘our’ bedroom reflects us. Two people who see the world through their perspective, the Mr’s perspective is chaotic and I’ve learnt to not look left when walking in the room.

When I get home from work I can tell how my other half’s day has gone by the state of our living room – if the cushions are puffed and the floor clear it was a busy, productive day. If my sons toys cover every inch of the carpet, the Mr’s day has been one of chaos, the toys my son played with before school have merged with the after school activities. Bowls, cups and plates collect in clutter free corners and I will find Daddy upstairs, clinging to a cup of tea, hidden behind a computer screen with the door ajar, on the edge and ready to hand the baton of childcare and adult responsibility to me for five minutes of peace.

Just like our homes, our brains are places full of ideas, whizzing and connecting – pulsating neurones connecting pathways we didn’t know we had. When we are calm, breathing deeply and taking care of ourselves – thoughts are linear, often clear and we speak with clarity and act with intention, we often think before we react and our brain is a state of serentity. If like my living room – toys erupt, the television blares and chaos can be seen, it’s all the likely result that our brains are overloaded. If our brain was a computer we have thousands of tabs open, all needing our attention. The volume is loud, turned on full. There is noise, interference and for our brains (and our living spaces) chaos…unfinished jobs, quick tempers and hot mouths.

Todays quote is simple. Create a space inside you that you would like to live in, because frankly that’s exactly where you do live. Your first address is under your skull. It’s natural that sometimes in moments of tragedy or stress your brain becomes cluttered but don’t let it become your default setting. No matter what the day has been like, we always clear the living room. The toys go away, candles are lit and the space resets itself (usually for another day of play), make sure your brain has this option too, for me a ten minute morning meditation means I unwind from sleep and step into my day with the brakes fully applied. I am in control rather than the whizzing motions of task and lists that need completing. I’m a self care guru and will either make time to do yoga each day or if the day is busy I will pop the kettle on and sit down with a cup of tea. Whether you have an hour to exercise or five minutes to sit down, or two minutes to breath deeply make the time and create the space your head needs. The bonus is you might also end up with tidier home too.

It’s all lies darling

Quote Anon

I often write about perspective and how vital it is for a contented life. So often we fall in to a trap of false accusations and the main stream media twisting lies and pushing dramatic headlines that are often false, fake or unfair on the person who’s life is under the spot light.

For many of these reasons and also the negativity of it all, as a household we don’t use our TV, avoid the radio and decided what we consume via streaming. However, often in school I deal with incidents and listen to each side, sometimes with lies woven through to protect things they have done, usually with glimmers of truth and a dash of artistic licence.

This morning in bed I was rolled away from my partner and facing our wardrobe doors, he turned his side lamp on and cast a huge shadow across the ceiling. The shadow looked haunting and dangerous, it had sharp edges and two sides were coming together much like teeth. I turned back to see he was writing and the shadow was he’s fingers and pencil on the pad.

Perspective is essential, don’t believe everything you see, hear and even think at times. Don’t hold your perspective as the only one, there are often victims on each side and every now and then an innocent pad of paper and pencil.

It’s important to be cautious of what we tell ourselves, so often we feed ourselves lies. We aren’t good enough, intelligent enough, healthy enough. I always think if we spoke to our friends how our inner voice talks to us we’d be a very lonely planet. When I look back at photographs of my younger self I’m not always as horrified as I thought at the time. *Although the teen fringe phase and sun-in over use was a mistake.

If what we see around us is often lies and how we speak to ourselves is often overly negative…I choose denial. Talk to yourself like you do your best friend, paint your own truth and see the world through sparkly lenses. Socialise with people that make you feel good, work on goals that make you happy and celebrate the journey along the way.

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.