Follow the calling not the crowd

Quote Anon

I remember when I was in year 9 parents evening and a PE teacher gave me some sage advice that I’ve passed on as a teacher many times. Her name was Ms Deacon and she said ‘pick the options (GCSE) that you like and think about enjoyment, don’t worry about the future – enjoy the moment’ and it was great advice because we all do better in areas that interest us. Unsurprisingly to any of you that know me it meant my timetable for year 10 was heavy on the arts and ultimately I left proud of the grades I achieved. She also warned me against following my friends choices and I’ve seen many year 9s fall into the trap of ‘following the crowd’ or choosing options or even school, college or university choices based on where there friends are going.

In a world where we are all trying to leave our mark, where diversity is beginning to be valued…we often just want to fit in and camouflage with our fellow humans around us for comfort. To leave the crowd can be daunting and particularly when making education choices at a younger and vulnerable age we can forget our calling…the bespoke path that leads us to our purpose, or sometimes we struggle at the end of our life to know whether we found our purpose, our fulfilment our sense of contentment.

Lately two of my friends have taken a detour on life. One has sold the house, dumped the boyfriend and despite a world pandemic has bought a motor home and is fulfilling her solo travel dreams albeit a little slower than she would have liked. Another has given up her well paid PR career in London to start a family. This is in my opinion braver than it may seem as she currently has a husband but no baby on board…her plan is to detox from work life and focus on her health with the goal of them conceiving in the next eighteen months… I admire both of these people because they have abandoned the norm, thrown wind to what others think and followed their own calling. Materialism and finance have fallen lower in there priorities and a sense of both stepping out of there comfort zones for a potentially more fulfilling tomorrow are prioritised.

That to me is brave, however for them once they made the decision it all flowed effortlessly because it aligned with their pathway. The other great bonus of following your own desires is you meet more people that see the world the way you do. This week take a moment to think about what you’d like to achieve; this week, a year from now or five years from now….are you taking action for a life you want to live, or have you been trapped by the crowd? Shine in your uniqueness and thrive.

Waves are the ripples of the hard work that came before

This quote came from a thought in my head, an original fridgesays quote!

It may be because my horoscope is a water sign, that I’m a summer baby or that I live not to far from the sea but I am at home in water. I like to drink it, have bubble baths, swim, scuba dive, paddle, play, or just watch the tide…for authenticity, I don’t enjoy washing up.

Tidal waves are magnificent; the push and pull from the moon, the swish and swirls of the lapping sea as it consumes the beach in one big mouthful and then spits it’s out in a repellent manner, white foam bubbles around my toes as I timidly paddle (I’m based in the UK so even in summer the sea is like an ice box). I remember the first time I body boarded in Barbados (much warmer) and got to grips with the rhythm of the sea and where I needed to place and angle the board…hard work but so thrilling as the sea lifted me and catapulted my body to the shore effortlessly. I was addicted.

When you are working hard with a positive intention, when you know the purpose of the task at hand and aren’t doing for how it makes you look. When working hard helps others, then much like the ripple of a stone landing in a pond of still water – you can quickly see the ripple effect around the centre of where you put the action in.

I believe that when you apply hard work for the correct reasons, the ripple goes well beyond your knowing. Perhaps in time the ripples get larger or even less defined – they are still present and working for the greater good.

I once taught a sixteen year old girl in school who decided to increase her grade. She threw herself into the process fully even though her predicted grade was far lower, she wanted to take law at ‘A’ level, later through her career she wanted to help women like her mother who had struggled following domestic violence. She had a clear goal and so she threw herself into her studies and we revised daily – she would come to me for practise questions, take them home, bring them back and I’d mark them. She wasn’t happy until each question was better than the last. When it came to sitting the exam she was as calm as a tranquil lake, she knew what she had to do and I knew she could do it, how could she not?

This isn’t a suspense novel, so much like you thought – she smashed it. Her ripples went on to move her closer to her goal and now she has just completed her first year with a firm that advocates for the very cause she first threw her rock into the pond for. No doubt the action and clear vision she had at sixteen is still having a ripple effect today and everyday she helps victims of domestic violence be heard and seek justice.

The ripples don’t end in that pond, she inspired me beyond belief, her peers had nothing but praise for her and of course her mother wept on results day when she moved her grade up by four and got full marks. I retold her story and other pupils became intoxicated by the ripple effect. You see we don’t always see the full effects of our actions – she may not appreciate the gratitude of families surrounding the women she will continue to help, the pupils in younger classes who I shared her story with – perhaps even you will somehow be caught in the motion of her action. For you, this post won’t feel like hard work but flow – it may inspire you to take on a similar goal or to apply it to something aligned with your purpose, you may share this post with others and the ripples will continue.

Remember, hard work is just the first step but the legacy lives on beyond the furthest ripple.

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.

You can never be overdressed or over educated

Quote Anon

This quote made me giggle and then it echoed deeply within me, therefore I’m going to deconstruct this quote into two sections

You can never be overdressed

As someone who has substantial experience in this area, I’d say it isn’t about the clothes but how we feel. Within my job I go into schools and complete observations of children aged 4-16 years. It’s essential they don’t know I’m there for them, as this would alter their behaviour, for this reason I often use my wardrobe as a dressing up box…observing a four year old in a sandbox is very different to a sixteen year old in a formal learning setting. A couple of weeks a go I was suppose to see a fourteen year old boy in an English lesson, he didn’t turn up and so I was about to abort the observation when his Head of Year said that he’d turned up to his next lesson…I grabbed the chance and made my way to PE. I introduced myself to the class teacher, explaining he should completely ignore me and not draw attention. He remarked ‘I think you’ll do that yourself, we’re doing Boxercise on the field”…whilst it was true my formal fuchsia dress with black 6 inch stiletto heels could be considered a give away on a large expansive field…heels and twirly dresses are my comfort zone. Grass and heels are irrelevant. I smiled at the teacher and said ‘this isn’t my first rodeo’ and strutted to the field. I found a bench and sat making notes. Did the child notice me? No.

There are so many components within life that make things challenging, why do we let our clothes restrict us? Four year old go to the supermarket contently dressed as superhero’s with wellington boots, why don’t adults? Right now are you wearing a wardrobe that you feel good in? Whilst I wouldn’t recommend heels for running marathons, like most quotes there is a context to be taken into consideration. For the majority of the time, wear what makes you feel fabulous!

You can never be over educated

I don’t think this requires formal training, exams and certification, nor does being educated require institutions and walls. People who seek knowledge, who’s intelligence shines like a soldiers boots, have a thirst for knowledge. They seek sources of information from various places, compare and reach their own conclusions. To be over educated is impossible – whilst the world spins and new theories are born, there is always something different to learn. Humans who have been recognised as leaders in their field, such as Einstein often dedicated their lives to destroying old theories, asking bigger questions and not settling for mainstream concepts. My hope for everyone is that you never stop learning.

…and where possibly wear whatever you feel sensational in.

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.

Don’t watch the clock, do what it does…keep going

Quote by Sam Levenson

We are fast approaching the time of year where New Years resolutions will be made, we reflect on what we have achieved, look down at our ever growing ‘to do’ list and if you’re like me, feel so overwhelmed you’ll need to sit down and indulge in Christmas movies, snacks and hot chocolate. If however, you are Sam Levenson then you’ll probably keep going.

The world is full of distractions, some important and some…like defluffing my hoover, less so. Personally, a little distraction can be a wonderful break from reality but we all know that to reach our goals we will need to commit and like a clock…keep going.

How you keep going is up to you. Personally I’ve never been a sprinter…so when January calls and I make a resolution if I go ‘hardcore’ to complete my goal for several weeks, I’m likely to burn out, fail and make myself ill in the process.

You can still use the clock and succeed without burn out. It’s called ‘intermittent training’ and it doesn’t just need to apply to training. In training it may mean to walk/run for several minutes at a time in order that you can run further, you then build up the time between running and walking as you progress …perhaps your goal is to declutter your home. To apply this theory rather than say you’ll do a draw or cupboard every day, instead over a 7 day week you commit to 4 draws or cupboards over the week. This gives room for life’s distractions, it also doesn’t matter how you complete the task…you may wish to do a ‘every other day’ approach or you may have a super busy week at work and you may dedicate an afternoon to doing all four in one go…this flexibility I find makes you ‘keep going’ far longer and ultimately you can achieve your goals with a higher success rate.

Time ticking is inevitable and whilst I agree we should all ‘keep going’ being more strategic about how we use our time will be more beneficial than burning out and doing nothing. Whilst the world keeps spinning and time keeps ticking, its what you do with it that really counts.

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.

We cannot become what we want to be by remaining what we are

Quote by Max Depree

I can’t marry Tom Hardy if I stay on my sofa every evening, unless Tom starts a part time job for our local pizza company, the chances of us meeting remain remote, although the love affair is guaranteed once he seems me in my fluffy pjs and messy bun.

I remember being pregnant for the first time and looking down at my watermelon belly thinking the laws of physics may mean that what went in may never come out? But I couldn’t begin the awesome journey of parenthood without something giving…like all my internal organs, sanity and abdominal muscles.

Sometimes if we want to marry Tom, have a baby, cut the lawn or change career – we need to take action. I know you’re already thinking, wow Lucy is going deep today but I’m watching humanity go insane but doing the exact opposite – shouting at drivers and then not given way to other drivers, being derogatory about ex partners and then giving that person brain space, moaning about excessive weight gain whilst walking over to the biscuit tin…people need to wake up.

What do we need to do? Firstly, we need to take 2 actions…well maybe three?

Action one: Decide what you really want. For example whilst marrying Tom Hardy may appear delightful, it could get a little awkward with Mr F who I really do adore, plus I might actually have to leave my sofa. If I’m honest I’m not sure I really want this, I mean if he’s reading this – then call me Tom and we can’t work something out, but ultimately without that call…I’m not sure I’m fully dedicated to the outcome. Once you do find what you truly desire things become much easier and the battle to get off of the sofa can even become enjoyable.

Action two: Hold yourself accountable. That means don’t buy the biscuits, reduce the alcohol consumption…take the steps that bring you nearer to your goal. *secret: anyone can do this, it doesn’t take commitment or celebrity status, it often saves money and can be time efficient as you improves your wellbeing…it simply means setting a goal and take one small step to towards your goal. Why then do so many people fail? Either because the goal doesn’t really mean much to them (sorry Tom) or they listen to the negative settings in their brain and let themselves sabotage their own progress. When dead, surgeons completing autopsies don’t write down ‘Matthew had a heart failure and his resilience was low’ nor do they operate in life to increase dedication or self esteem. You can’t get fillers to top up your perspective, or pills to enhance your motivation and there aren’t injections for will power… whilst frustrating this comes with a huge positive – all these things from resilience to willpower are free and available to all! All you have to do is decide in the morning when you wake that you won’t do the thing you shouldn’t (or will do the thing you should)…and you make that decision daily. Repeat process each morning, small steps to a better you.

Action three: I guess this isn’t an actual action but rather a reminder…you are worthy of Tom Hardy, a freshly cut lawn, a healthier body, laughter, joy and all the very best life has to offer. You can achieve anything you set your mind to, you can leave your sofa and so can I…well, the *lawns not going to cut itself.

*note: whilst hopefully inspiring when I say cut the lawn, I interpreted this as ask the Mr to do it for me, I’ve never actually cut the lawn in my life and this is not an ‘action one’ I’m looking to achieve. I guess sometimes we need the support of others to support us and that can work out wonderfully too.

Don’t look where you fell but where you slipped

Quote Anon

The wise words of ‘Anon’ strike again. I actually did fall today. I was putting something on a high shelf, with my Mrs independent head on…slipped, fell and then altered to my damsels in distress vibe across the kitchen floor. A giant and far too big plaster later and I was good to go. *Why do you never have the right size plaster for the job at hand, even though plasters come in a box of various sizes?

Alas, I don’t want to look at the literal interpretation inspired by this quote but as we step into spring (in the UK the clocks sprung forward last night) I realised we are a quarter of the way through the year. Last night whilst journaling (and watching Greys anatomy) I reflected on my personal goals.

January was successful in motivating my New Years resolutions and now those goals have become habitual or achieved. For me, in this moment where I’m ‘slipping’ is an evaluation of where I’m going, what I want to achieve and how I’m going to get there..I guess this post is a NY resolution part 2.

For me, yoga had become repetitive and I needed to move my journey along. Currently the pandemic means I can’t go to live, in person, classes for inspiration – instead I’ve set myself 2 advanced poses to concur. Already it’s meant my mat has been out more frequently as my interest is peeking.

Next, the Mr treated me to a waffle maker. This meant that the variants of the waffle experience are now up for mastering. For example, today’s recipe was really enjoyable but I completely misjudged how much batter to put in the waffle machine…moments later my kitchen counter looked like an active volcano, although it smelt amazing! I’m also going to explore healthy toppings and the perfect batter amount. *I may need to buy a ladle?

Career wise I have a plan, house wise the list is endless…but taking the time to prioritise the next steps and what’s important will hopefully help me avoid ‘slipping’ into a stagnant pond of helplessness. The full moon tonight provides an added incentive to pause, reflect and avoid the slippages of life.

Where are you falling down? What have you become complacent in? Are you getting the best out of 2020? More importantly if you have any waffle recipes or topping ideas – send them my way in the comment section.

With thanks x