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.

You inspire me to be nothing like you

Quote Anon

A sassy quote to start things off but perhaps a blog post that’s a little calmer…like, horizontal in contrast.

Lately I haven’t been writing as much, Sunday uploads have been inconsistent and I’m absolutely fine with that. I guess that’s the ‘to be nothing like you’ aspect of this post. Sometimes we keep going because we think we should, we feel obliged to join in with social gatherings even though we are shattered and about to burn out…and somewhere in between is the pure joy spot of balance. That’s the place I’ve been exploring lately, many are too busy being busy to see and feel it.

I need to be clear, I love consistency and think it has its place in reaching our goals but I also believe that if you keep going just so you can tell others you’re consistent then the goal probably isn’t worth the effort.

Work has been manic, my family’s social calendar also picked up a gear and I found myself unable to plan the next days meals as my brain drowned in admin and to do lists, I inhaled other peoples problems and exhaled more things to add to the to do list.

Lately, things have calmed down – mainly as I’ve scheduled time to do nothing. Life is too precious to burn out, part of that included not writing and uploading my blogs. Writing at times on a public forum such as this, could be perceived as draining, it certainly has its vulnerable moments. Like most writers, it often fills my cup up – I write messages I need to be reminded of, topics that interest me and events that penetrate my world, but like most things in the adult world it comes with responsibility and accountability and those aspects can be draining. I needed a break.

I’ve been writing in this corner of the internet since 2014. I wrote when blogging was a cool thing to do and I write now when perhaps social media reels and TikToks have taken its space. Again, I’m ok with that.

In the coming weeks I invite you to live in the sweet spot of joy. What do you do because you think you should and where can you create some space for what you need? Can you say no to drinks with friends because you’re exhausted? Or do you need to gather some friends around for such an event because you’ve become a hermit, which in itself can be draining.

Somewhere in the middle of the fast lane and the slow lane you’ll find the cruise lane. Cruising allows you to witness and experience life, without the burn out…what’s not to love? See ya next week…maybe

A beautiful day starts with a beautiful mindset

Quote Anon

Well-being websites have made ‘morning routines’ cliche and thinking about them can be another ‘to do’ on the list of ever growing ‘what we should do’ tasks. Do you have one? If you don’t have a conscious morning plan you probably have one through habit, as humans we tend to find patterns and stay in them.

Over the years I’ve had 5am starts with exercise, self care and nourishing food and much later wake ups with barely a comb through my hair before I’m out of the door.

If I’m honest I’ve only found a few things have stuck and enriched my life. I also think your morning rituals are only as beneficial as the quality of your sleep. Below are some things I found useful for an improved mindset

Gratitude journal: I’ve kept a gratitude journal since 2017 and have written 3 things I’m grateful for each day. I also write down 3 intentions for my day; sometimes they are practical objectives like completing tasks and sometimes they are more creative or magical. There are two big lessons to take away from my journal, firstly it instantly makes me feel good, the second is that after about six months of this daily habit it became second nature and gratitude has become a super power. Having control of my mindset from the moment I wake doesn’t mean my days are hassle free, but I certainly have a positive disposition and I believe my journal helps support and nurture this habit. So even if things do become negative, my growth mindset means I can alter my own perspective easier.

Change it up: This goes for everything you may do in the morning, if you’re short of time then having your clothes out ready is one less dilemma for the morning, but sometimes (when time allows) it can be hugely joyful to try on different things and restyle old looks. When it comes to food I’ve always been a fad eater – one minute a certain food is my favourite and I don’t want anything else, the next I’m over it and it’s the last thing I want to eat. Whilst this was annoying for my Mum when I was growing up (particularly when she’s bought 20 boxes of my favourite snack, only for me to abandon the idea and move on) it means my body is getting a larger variety of nutrients. Currently I try to never have the same breakfast twice in a row and have found the variety also makes eating less predictable and more enjoyable.

Take time to adjust: most recently I’ve taken deliberate time to wake slowly. Again, growing up I was a pocket rocket and would instantly wake, jump out of bed and get on with my day. I know many of you may not relate and may find waking hard, this could include several snooze alarms and an eternal battle to motivate yourself whilst counter arguing about all the reasons you should stay put wrapped up like a burrito in your bed…somewhere in the middle is the sweet spot. Now I tend to wake earlier than needed but not move. I give my body and my mindset time to process the day, I drink tea or hot lemon water in bed and write in my journal. Since doing this I’ve found the flow of my day is more consistent and I don’t resemble an octopus trying to accomplish eight things at once, my mind is focused and I often flow with easy into my day

What are your top tips for an effective morning routine? Have you recently altered things? Would you agree that much like the changing seasons, different times of year call for different routines?

Shake ya tail feather

Lyrics by Nelly

In the wild birds shake their tale feathers for all sorts of reasons, perhaps they feel threatened / under attack or at times they are looking for attention from the opposite sex…I like to think a Peacock struts sometimes just because they can, because its Tuesday and they are feeling divine.

Nelly the RnB artist who unleashed these lyrics on the world in the year 2000 makes many mistakes in my opinion, firstly he believes there is a particular way you should shake your tail feathers – he is very specific on technique. Mr Nelly, you are so very wrong. As an independent woman, I can shake how and when I like, for any particular reason – because I’m the goddess of kitchen dancing, or a karaoke Queen of my car…whilst the seat belt does restrict my movements, I believe that shaking my tail feathers isn’t always a physically action but sometimes it can be a mental act, as I dance through my brain – letting go of tension, the crippling effects of the reality we all living in or just escaping for a couple of minutes of RnB joy.

Next, Nelly seems to think ‘she’ is shaking her tail feathers for him? Now the songs seems to be set in a strip club, so we’d assume it’s her place of work. Whilst I love my job, I don’t go for fun, I go because they pay me, he even states that ‘My pocket’s full of dough, shake your feathers ’til the morning’ …whilst it’s nice that he’s offering her overtime, it’s rather arrogant that he thinks she’s doing it for him…she’s at work Nelly!

It’s obvious Nelly doesn’t know about how chickens regulate their body temperature, his research on poultry is minimal. Let me educate you; chickens fluffy up their feathers to trap warm air when they get cold. Think of it like hot water bottles floating around…I’m also guessing strippers don’t wear appropriate layers, so again perhaps she’s keeping warm?

Where am I going with this ridiculous blog post? Well, firstly it’s a bit of fun, this blog isn’t the foundation of discussion for the UN, much like the up tempo rhythm of the song, it’s just a light hearted feel good post. However, I would encourage you to relook at the lyrics of many songs you sing along too and maybe like Nelly you’ve interpreted it from a bias perspective. Whilst I’m sure there are many pole dancers that do the job with little to no other options for financial reasons, some do it for fitness and skill. In recent times the pole has become a place for physical strength, flexibility and can be interpreted as an art form. This post is about perspective, from Nellys point of view he’s a wealthy celebrity who has money to throw and should be admired. From another he is doubting her education based on how she shakes her tail feathers, even though he’s the one sad enough to pay for it? ‘Your body is banging mamma, but where your brains at?’

As we step into a new week, remember everything has more than one perspective and interpretation, see the world how you wish to and shake your feather if and when you’d like; for fun, warmth, money or because you like to dance. The choice is yours (not Nelly’s)

Every moment matters

Quote Anon

I’m not sure how long a moment is? Seconds, milliseconds, fleeting glances, twinkles, sprinkles and winks…they go without much thought and when they make us feel special, it’s like an inner firework display – lightening us up from our toes through our internal system and bursting out of our smile…have you ever experienced a moment that you wanted to freeze, either because it was so wonderful or because it came just before inevitable sadness that you’d like to prevent?

Our lives are made of moments, strung together like fairy lights…at times the batteries fail and we spend time in darkness. Or perhaps (people) light bulbs become a little loose and they need replacing. We get to create our own fairy lights of life…moments of joy, beautiful colours, adventures and laughter with the people we decide are worthy.

My son spoke about wanting to be an adult the other day, of how exciting it was going to be – getting to make all of the decisions, earning lots of money and spending it on ‘all of the toys’…inside my brain was turning, wondering how to introduce taxes, bills, mortgages, food and the ever dull cycles that go with responsibilities…I decided to not to bother. Instead we grabbed our coats and headed out for a spontaneous hot chocolate, that 50p extra was a great investment for marshmallows…moments pass and we do get to decide what we do with them. This post isn’t about you not paying your mortgage this month and instead buying marshmallows (wow, that would be a lot of puffs of sugar and air!), of course we need to invest in our homes, putting food on the table, making positive decisions and I believe these things also make for a beautiful set of ‘fairy lights’…how many people would love to be able to know their food bill was taken care of or that a roof over their families head was a given…moments matter.

In the moment we forget what we have, of how bright our fairy light life already is, we sometimes hide our string of lights in a box, we don’t want people to think they are too bright, or not bright enough…in the moment we sometimes care what others think, we sometimes care more about what others think…and in the moment sometimes we don’t think at all. The delightful news is…none of these options are wrong, everyone’s fairy lights are unique and if they’re beautiful to you then that’s all that matters.

Thank you in this moment for choosing to read my blog. It makes me happy to write, to share my whimsical thoughts, my passing ideas and my bizarre obsession with metaphors. I hope that you realise how precious life already is, I hope you can use this moment to reflect on all you already have and I wish whatever state your fairy lights are in you can use the next moments to undo any knots and enjoy them strung up across your soul.

P.s. even fairy lights need new batteries every now and then, so don’t forget to recharge.

Sometimes it ends differently and it’s better that way

Quote Anon

Unless you all know something I don’t, I don’t have a map for life…I don’t even have a guideline and sometimes the rules can blur and you can feel like you’re internal sat nav could do with an MOT.

I also find that if I do make a plan it very often doesn’t work out how I’d imagined? I’m not referring to popping to the local shops, although that often also goes drastically different and my 3 item shop for basic essentials quickly can become ‘please can I have several more bags’ at the checkout. What I’m really referring to are life paths and dreams of the future.

In my big plans for the future my family agree with my vision, wealth is abundant and everything clicks into place. If I reflect on when the pandemic first hit in 2020 I didn’t expect it to allow me relook at my careers, I didn’t think that within several months I’d be walking away from a school building as my job (a career I’d been in for over 16yrs) and working from home. I didn’t think someone would pay my fuel bill for my car (thanks Mrs Employer), I hadn’t considered in my dreams and vision of the small details; time to catch a cuppa with friends, or to hoover at speed between teams calls – leaving me house work free at weekends.

I thought I’d always work from a school building, now I get to visit many but never stay more than a few hours.

Last week I met a friend for dinner and she asked me what my next life goals were. I didn’t know, in fact I don’t think about it? Don’t panic I haven’t stopped dreaming (still currently stalking dream home on rightmove for example) but I’ve let go of the details. I don’t know what my next move will be, I’m not sure how I’ll get there and most importantly I’m ok with that.

Why? Because things often work out better than you’d expected and if they haven’t worked out then they’re still changing and altering as you read this. I believe the universe has my back, that it will all work out in the long run. It always does…not always better than I’ve dreamt, not always as I’d imagined it but often better.

Don’t think this post is about not dreaming and setting goals, I journal daily around my hopes for the future…but by letting go of the hows and when’s I get to enjoy the now a little more. I’ve realign in January 2022 and know there is more work to be done, my intentions are clear but the details of the journey I won’t sweat on, I’ll show up every day, I’ll dare to dream big and that house on rightmove might just become a click away from us moving in from circumstances I hadn’t even thought of. Enjoy the journey and give attention to things that are worthy of your time, energy and love.

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.

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.

Thankful, grateful and blessed

This morning I was writing in my gratitude journal, something I’ve done for nearly 10 years and I realised that in this moment I’m am blessed.

This doesn’t mean life is perfect, nor am I any where near fulfilling my dreams but I do feel content.

Contentment can be our enemy. It’s like a warm bed…we just don’t want to leave it and so we roll over and hide our nose under the covers to stay warm. It can mean we strive for less and settle for ‘now’ and exist rather than live.

However, I’ve recently discovered that whilst I can strive for more I can also acknowledge that being content is a privilege. Through being thankful for what I do have, the worries I don’t have and choosing to see gratitude in all of my blessings doesn’t mean I don’t want more, but it’s a wonderful place to be!

A feeling of contentment is like a warm hot water bottle, it feels soothing to the soul. It acknowledges that in this moment I am enough. That my basic needs are met, that some dreams may have already come to fruition and that there is still room for growth.

The more I thought about feeling contentment, the more I realised that the world looks down on it, doesn’t give it the credit it deserves…everyone is striving for happiness, to feel euphoric and whilst these feelings are fabulous, they are often short lived. Take a trip to a theme park. The best ride may be over in minutes (the euphoria super excited part) but I may feel content for the entire day…from the moment I’m getting dressed, preparing what to pack, the journey to the park…all the way home to my bed when I’m exhausted from the thrills, spills and excess sugar the day had in store. Contentment can last days, perhaps even weeks, happiness is a perspective that may come and go.

At the beginning of this blog I wrote about the ‘comfy enemy’ that contentment can bring…but if we can get off of the sofa, if we can strive for more but also go to sleep at night blissful for what we already have…surely that’s a wonderful life?