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?

Just enjoy where you are now

Quote Anon

Whether you are living your best life right now or rising from the ashes, the chances are you are hoping tomorrow will be better, that ‘soon you’ll be there’… it’s human nature to want better, most parents want better for their children, most people would like better for themselves.

The problem is we often look back at photos and realise those little moments in the past were perfect just as they were, we just didn’t realise it.

I don’t know where you are on your journey, to be honest I’m often lost in my own world but I do know that the secret to a better tomorrow is to feel good right now. No matter what’s happening, no matter what curve balls life has thrown you…consciously decide to feel better. Below I’ll share some methods that I use to help me to raise my vibration, but wherever you are in the world you get to decide how you feel. When you feel good, you attract good….and guess what? You’re life perspective improves.

Earlier in the week I was late to meet a friend, stuck in some serious traffic…I couldn’t do much about that, I texted my friend to tell her I was delayed and then rather become frustrated I looked at the views…

I’ve been stuck in many traffic jams in the past, but how could I feel anything but gratitude when this was the view out of my car window. Reframing my thoughts is a learnt behaviour and you can give it a go to…it’s a PollyAnna recipe for a better now.

Methods:

* meditate *name 10 things you love * visualisation things you’d like to manifest with feeling – no lack! * sleep * clear away clutter (a small draw) * try the power stance – this one is awesome and it’s instant * dance party * breath work * look around and appreciate what’s around you, it could just be the colour of the grass * divert you attention to something that makes you smile, giggle or belly laugh

Warning: improving your life and knowing you’re responsible for all the joy that surrounds you is highly addictive, doesn’t require checking with your GP and leads to more happiness, a better perspective and you may well sweat gratitude.

Sometimes the tiniest things shine brightest in our lives.

Quote Anon.

I’m a fan of the small twinkles of joy that I find in my life. I’m hardwired to see them, breath them and appreciate them. It’s true I’m one of the happy, cheerful sorts that you don’t want to meet on a bad day, but you’d be wrong in thinking that this outward joy comes naturally to me. So what keeps me on the sunny side of life?

My thoughts:

I consciously make positive choices asking my internal self ‘Does this feel good?’ or ‘Do I need to let go of this?’

I also read positive literature and online only follow accounts that make me feel good as I scroll, the exception are topics I feel passionately about; like teen mental health, anxiety or sometimes adoption stories – however, again I select accounts that are giving solutions, tools or sharing positive intentions around those issues. We don’t have the TV on in our home, instead we sit down to stream specific films or series – the news is never on. If I need to know, social media has a way of letting me know the big stuff, without the TV on we also don’t have adverts blaring through our home or the constant chatter of day time TV and negative energy.

I do meditate but I admit this is something I’m currently struggling to keep in my routine. Mornings can be manic and evenings I just end up dozing off, however this week I’m going to trial lunch time meditations now the little dude has returned to school. There are many articles on why we should all meditate and so many different ways; guided or not, with or without music, with actions or still….it’s worth exploring what works for you.

Magnetised by positive people:

We can’t always avoid people that have low energy or perhaps drain us, in the work place you may not get to decide who you work with and its unlikely that you’re already thinking of a certain someone that drains you faster than the bathroom plug can be emptied. However, in your personal life you can, or you can minimise interactions with people who dont raise you up.

Another way around this, is balancing your time with personalities who both drain and radiate for you at the same time or near each other. I also sometimes will make sure I have time to myself to ‘fill up my cup’ before I enter a situation that I know may be highly stressful, although I realise that this isn’t always possible.

Actively search for the tiny moments of sparkle in your day:

Don’t just notice them, highlight them. Keep track of them in a gratitude diary, or a note in your phone, share them with others or just relish them a little longer than you might normally.

To get you started here are a few of mine from where I’m seated in this moment:

  • The sun is shining through the windows and its hitting my prisms that hang and casting rainbows everywhere.
  • My cup is over half full…no seriously, I just filled glass with water (hydrations lifts moods too)
  • My dog is laying across my feet – bonus that she’s keeping them warm
  • I hoovered this morning so my carpet looks clear (no toys in site!)

Once you begin this Polly-Anna approach to looking for the light in life, much like any habit you’ll magnetise to more of the joy life offers. Whilst its not always easy to see, I promise you there is always something good to appreciate. Basic maths tells us that we can’t get a negative number from two or more positive numbers. I suggest that you can lead a more hopeful, sparkly and joyful existence if you choose to focus on the tiny moments life offers us.

Whatever makes you find the sun from the inside out chase that

Quote from Gemma Troy

Multitasking Mummy is currently in my sons piano lesson. Whilst I wait for him to find the middle C and test the patience of his teacher I had a thought. As someone with no musical talent – I feel super inspired to see a teacher pour out passion. He is a classical pianist and as a teacher I’m enjoying watching the sun in him shine.

When my son was first born, we as parents were his entire sun, moon and everything in between. As he learnt to talk, walk and move away he looked for his own light. As parents I see one of my priorities (beyond keeping him healthy and safe) to give him as many opportunities as possible. What he decides to do with these is entirely up to him.

I think allowing him to be himself and not projecting my sun light on him is hard. Motherhood gave me permission to be his spokes person, to voice what was best when he couldn’t speak. As he grows I need to learn when to speak and when to step back, allowing him to grow in his own truth.

However, despite its difficulties seeing him light up and finding his own sunlight is the largest reward. For myself I know where my inner light shines; good food, cuddles, yoga, beach walks and house plants are just a few. Writing also activates my internal light.

Make some time this week to shut out the world – the bright lights from everybody else’s joys and the chaos of sirens can often lead us down false pathways, to step inside yourself (although not literally as that would be really messy) and ponder the sunbeams that you hold inside, sometimes they are long forgotten activities – like sitting on a swing or colouring, you may be surprised in what you relearn about yourself, but I promise if you make time to chase the sun inside yourself, the outside world will glow with joy.

Life is a series of a thousand little miracles, notice them

Quote Anon

I’m writing this pool side as little dude attempts his 100 metre badge, will today be the victorious occasion?

Who knows what today will bring.

This morning I woke to the sun shining through the curtains, a cup of tea and then a walk around the countryside. The stunning spectacle that Mother Nature delivered was my motivation, with Alicia Keys blaring in my ears as a soundtrack for determination. Just within the first hour of my morning, so many miracle were had.

Once again, I’m going to share with you the biggest secret in life, if you choose to see the small moments of joy in life, you magnetise even more moments of joy to your life.

Before you throw a thousand reasons as to why you can’t be joyful today, check out Claire Wineland on YouTube – she lived her entire life knowing each day was a gift due to being born with cystic fibrosis, she was also the most positive human I’ve ever witnessed and she also attracted opportunities and love towards her like bumble bee’s to nectar,

‘Each day is a gift, which is why we call it the present’ but perhaps by thinking this way you are missing the one hundred tiny moments and gifts within each day, unwrap today and make it count. Stay present in the now and make a gratitude list before you go to sleep – you’ll realise two things. Firstly, you’re blessed more than you realise and secondly it’s the little moments that matter the most. We can’t always prevent the darkness from knocking at our door but we can shine a torch in its face and make the world a little lighter.

Have a blessed day… just count the blessings as you see them.

What you allow is what will continue

Quote from the wise but absent named ‘Anon’

This quote is accountable.

This quote reminds me that I am responsible for my own life, decisions, health and overall well being. For this reason, this quote gets stuck in my throat slightly. I honestly believed growing up that adults knew everything, had all the answers and had their lives all mapped out. Ummm… how wrong was I? Every day I am winging it, some days more than others, there are goals but how we arrive at our destination alters weekly, I lose track of intentions, frankly I often forget what I’m saying half way through a conversation. The adult world is tough and if I’m honest I feel like Barbie made it look so easy. Her and Ken used to get married weekly in my bedroom, often went on holidays, she wore big dresses to big parties, drove a sports car…Barbie never worried about the washing basket over flowing, never argued with Ken about council tax payments, she never doubted an outfit change, or worried how she would fit the school run in between her career as a ski instructor.

Perhaps we should be more Barbie. Enjoy the moment, live for the now. I think if Barbie could see this quote she would fully embrace it.

This weekend we watched Deadpool 2, in it are various super hero’s with crazy mutant powers and my favourite is Domino. Not just because her name reminds me of a popular pizza chain, but because her super power is luck. She has more self belief than a religious denomination, she is seriously cool. As I was watching her fly through the air and land on a giant inflatable panda…yup thats a real scene from the film, I was captured by her vocabulary. She was so kick ass confident and assertive I couldn’t help but notice that she had high standards and didn’t falter.

Aspects of our lives are often out of our control, but there are elements that we can do something about. Setting standards for how we will be treated and how we will let others treat us is a huge issue for many. Its probably worth grabbing a pen and paper at this point and writing down things you’re not happy with. Do you need to book something fabulous to do with a friend or partner because you never get to see them, do you need to set an hour aside with a giant box and clear that cluttered cupboard that frustrates you every time you attempt to open the draw and the contents cascade out. Do you need to speak to a work colleague or perhaps you need to reprioritise yourself on your ever growing ‘to do’ list.

Often in films the main characters are faced with huge challenges (with Marvel its always saving the world with some kind of time issue) but perhaps what we might miss is that they also take on those challenges and make sacrifices or changes to live happy ever after. Just because you allowed it last week, doesn’t mean you have to this week, just because its always been that way, doesn’t mean that has to continue. Life is often short, precious and wasted, seize this quote and make your life accountable you may just end up with a better quality of life, or at worst finally get that cupboard organised.

Happy is the new rich

Great work from Anon.

Every now and then society enjoys a fad; minimalist living, various diets, exercise comes in an out of fashion – Zumba, HIIT workouts, hula hooping, unicorns and Pom-Pom’s, the list is endless. I’ve noticed that happiness is currently on the pedestal.

This is a fad that regular readers will know I completely adore. Every morning, whether I wake by the sunlight flowing through the window or my son pounces on my head like a meteorite – I choose happiness. It’s a decision that I continue to make throughout the day, most days. Sometimes I forget but then I look at my happiness bank account, I’m wealthy. A quick gratitude list of my assets helps to keep me flowing; abundant in good health for myself and family, a job that I adore (except on Monday mornings when I’m snuggled in bed and the alarm goes off) I am surrounded by a tribe of awesome people…and my dog, candles, books…

Being a millionaire of happiness is pretty awesome. My actual bank manager can’t touch it, I can spend it like confetti and the more I give out, the more I get back…win.

It takes effort and mindfulness, it takes self discipline to redirect my attention when the darkness creeps in – but I will always consciously decide to be happy.

If you live under darkness, then you too can be rich. It starts by doing one thing you enjoy for a few moments and allowing the light in. You’ll quickly find that a few pounds of happiness have been credited to your bank account. However, I fully appreciate that at times professional help is required and self care is needed. The great news is recognising your own needs also credits your happiness account.

I asked my five year old son why happiness was important?

“because it means you can do things that make you smile”

If I feel sad what should I do?

“Lots of things – get a drink, drinking water makes me and my tongue happy”

*warning being happy is highly addictive and is super annoying for anyone who isn’t happy.

** Five year olds are the epicentre of happiness and the true experts. However, ten seconds later they can explode in a ‘Hulk smash’ mentality and truly depict the fragility of being happy.

Little by little…

A Tanzanian proverb that filled by cup.

Today I want to talk about celebrating. I learnt this from a online entrepreneur who I follow on social media called Lana; she does youtube clips, blogs, master classes and all sorts of delightful enriching and motivating things. I may even be like her when I grow up (although I think she might be the same age as me, plus I do have plans to be a Mermaid). She celebrates anything and everything and lately I have discovered the joy of  celebrating in other people accomplishments. As a British citizen it is by nature that I am meant to be ‘pleased’ for others but not really show it, kick others down where possible and as a women there is also this catty nature of not raise each other up.

Not on my watch.

This week my heart broke for the talented blogger Wendy who is responsible for the fabulous site Naptime natter, as her son was rushed into hospital extremely ill and with doctors not really able to tell her what it was (although thank heavens it wasn’t Meningitis). Through Instagram she shared her worries, thoughts and it gave me and others an opportunity to send her some much needed love. (The blogging community rocks at times), however today (22.02.18) the photograph we had all been waiting for was released – they are home safely. Hurray for medical expertise, the power of positive thinking and her child being a little warrior.  I do not know her, but I felt relieved. I commented that I’d be celebrating this weekend and I blooming well will did. I opted for a cocktail and toasted her families triumph. I then toasted and was/am grateful for my own families health. Celebrating makes you feel good. Celebrating for others is also super fun. My last Champagne toast was for a friends birthday (even though she wasn’t really celebrating herself or with me), in the week little dude bought a beautiful piece of work home – we celebrated, this time with a more appropriate child friendly hot chocolate (with whipped cream), later that week we celebrated again with a pizza party thanks to a sticker regarding his improvements in reading. *note to self: not all my celebrations are food motivated.

Life is too short and like the quote states – too little, to wait for my next birthday, invite to a party or even Christmas. The journey is more joyful with little moments of celebration and recognition as you go…a little celebration makes for a life of parties. That’s the kind of life I’m interesting in living.

Interested in the party lifestyle? Time for some homework: this week I urge you to celebrate as many times as possible. When your child read’s well, blow up some balloons that you’ve got stashed in the draw. When a friend tells you they have a promotion – toast that! When you get some social media comments that make you smile, dance. Seriously, spontaneous dance parties in my kitchen are very common and a bonus is you can burn calories that you can then use later in celebration of something else. (Oops the good things back again)

Its often the little moments, the little wins and the little memories that stay with you. Create some fun this week and comment below with your antics (I can then use these as an excuse to further rejoice in).

Bread and water can easily be toast and tea

Quote Anon, but I wouldn’t mind betting the writer was English.

A stereotype that I completely fall in to is my love for a cup of tea and I’m also partial to a slice of toast. Toppings vary but somehow melted organic butter (no manufactured margarine in this house) usually hits the spot. Women in UK hospitals are often given tea and toast after labour and so many of my friends mention it as one of the best meals of their lives.

However, like many of the quotes I resonate with, this is all about perspective. I was listening to the classic Christmas track ‘Do they know it’s Christmas’ and couldn’t help thinking, do they care? It would seem to me and many of my friends who have travelled to parts of Africa that they are happier than us without snow and tinsel. Being a glitter fan, I think a row of sparkly lights would enhance Africa but ultimately they are content without much of the nonsense we in the consumerism world feel are necessities. This I feel is something we should all take note of.

Happiness is a choice. Perhaps water and bread is something many of us take for granted and may be even some of us forget the joy of a cuppa and a slice of toast. This winter, I shall be looking for the joy in the simple treasures, they’re always the best. I like a glass of water when it is cold out of the tap, we always have wholemeal bread – therefore a fresh white cottage loaf from our local bakers its heavenly, cut thick with butter (obvs). There can be joy in bread and water too, should you choose to notice.

I’m editing this post on Christmas Eve. Its my favourite day of the festive season. Its like standing on the cusp of excitement. The presents neatly stacked, awaiting Father Christmas’s arrival, friends for Breakfast (seriously how good are homemade Pancakes, crispy bacon and maple syrup), a bucks fizz with friends, a trip to the local with our neighbours…a slow walk home in the dark (our village doesn’t have street lights) and admiring the houses with their Christmas lights shining bright….then a family tradition of a large cheesy pizza and watching Home Alone. Nice.

Before you get caught in the whirl of Christmas, take a pause and absorb the joy. There is always a sparkle to be found, should you choose to see it.

Merry Christmas to all and to all, a Cheese pizza night.

If I ever let my head down, it will just be to admire my shoes

Quote by the sensational Marilyn Monroe.

Firstly, friends sometimes in conversations ask questions about who you’d invite to a meal of celebrities both alive and departed; Marilyn would defiantly be at my gathering. Despite her iconic following, we share a love for shoes and so this quote absorbed my soul. I think she would probably have some feisty opinions and yet to me she seems fragile and vulnerable all at the same time. Who would you invite?

This quote also helps me reflect on two completely opposite perspectives, the first is probably rather shallow. BUT OH MY, I LOVE SHOES. Never understood a handbag girl, never liked accessories, not too fussed about hats but give me a high heel and I can take on the world. Measuring in at 159cm’s (yup, I never left the kids department) and with size two pied’s my collection is extensive and sparkly and the higher the heel the happier I am. I’m not a great fan of flip flops, flats or anything remotely practical, with perhaps the exception of a trainer ( actually many of my trainers have heels?) or converse. Ive been totting in heels for more than two decades and I wear them most days – all day. My one rule when it comes to shoes is; you never take them off. Why? because you will never get them back on and over the years Ive probably become immune to the pain and they make me so happy, this leads to my second ultimate weapon. I look down at my shoes for courage, joy and happiness. If I have a horrendous meeting to attend, a super long day of back to back meetings – I reach for the shoe that excites me the most. During the dull day or perhaps if Im in a pressured situation I look down and smile. It instantly lifts my spirits and in turn the frequency I’m operating at. I will be over a hundred, draped over a sparkly pink zimmer frame and still be in a classic stiletto for this very reason. Heels are my equivalent to superman’s cape or Thor’s hammer. I also practice yoga weekly to prevent joint issues and counter balance the harm a heel does to posture.

On a deeper level, Marilyn was probably talking about being confident and holding her head high. Mannerisms play a key part in being successful. In moments of self doubt and when the darker days are dawning, letting your head fall can be the beginning of the end. I imagine Marilyn faced many people who tried and perhaps succeeded at attacking her soul. As a human grown in the soil of earth I have definitely had my share of people making me feel inferior, inadequate or taking chunks of my self doubt. Sadly, I probably have also done the same to others without even knowing it… but there is something I am teaching my son to prevent him from ever having to look down (plus Thors hammer is priced at £26 in the Disney store and its not practical for him to take to school, so we needed an alternative). Its simply the thought process that you allow other people to make you feel a certain way. If someone tells me a joke, I choose to laugh (or run), If someone says an unkind comment, I either allow it in or like a mirror reflect it back at them, not necessarily in retaliation but in the essence that the comment is a reflection of them, they said it. I don’t have to listen, feel or absorb it. Its me that looks down at the ground or chooses to look up to the heavens.

Sounds easy? Like a perfectly poached egg it requires the right conditions to thrive (water, heat, and time) and on rare occasions it can be useful to over cook a poached egg to know how you like it. Contrast is essential to happiness; you can’t know what you want, until you know what you don’t want. You can’t always be as strong as Thor’s hammer because for one, we don’t all have access to Uru – the Asgardian precious metal and secondly humans are designed to bleed. Sometimes people will hurt you, usually the closer they are to you the harder they hurt. In daily life I feel we can choose to look up a little more, deflect more frequently and only look down because frankly its a day where my shoes bring me happiness.