Life is what you make it

Anon

Imagine if I told you that you’ve been selected to write and direct your own film. You may react by saying that you have no experience? I then go on to tell you that you’ll only get one shot at the film, we won’t have time to edit or reframe any scenes and I’d really like you to act in it, to be the star of the show.

By now you may be overwhelmed, with no experience in the industry that’s a lot to take on. I’ll then tell you it’s called ‘your life’ and hopefully you’ll smile and see the metaphor.

Each day, a scenario unfolds. Some days the drama is larger than others, be cautious – it’s the mundane moments that will pass you by the quickest.

There doesn’t always need to be a climax, action or plot twist…if there is always horror you may be doing things wrong? What you do have a duty to do in each moment is act truthfully, you don’t want to look back on a season where you lied to yourself or said things that weren’t true. It’s also worth speaking to the costume department too, sometimes we can get stuck in an era and it ages poorly on us.

You get to decide who features alongside you, you get to influence them and in turn they will advise you. Make sure your cast is faithful, funny and trustworthy…it’ll get you through the dark times easier and sometimes end with a smile.

….lastly, my film has already been ‘live’ for 14211 days. You can be cut at anytime and often you don’t realise it’s the end, so make the next day count, then the day after that. Each day is what you make it and you really do get to control so much of it, there is no dress rehearsal. Action.

I’m too magical for your bullshit

Quote Anon

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

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

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

However, today I’m magical.

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

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

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

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

The way we see the problem is the problem

Quote by Stephen Covey (I think?)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Quote Anon

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Much love

Of course I talk to myself, sometimes I need expert advice

Quote Anon

Before I’m certified crazy and confess all my sins, this quote inspired two thoughts that I’d like to share.

Be cautious of how you talk to yourself: That could be out loud or could be your internal voice. The universe, God, Allah – whatever you refer to it as, doesn’t know the difference between you setting intentions and meaning it, putting yourself down or being sarcastic. It often means we align with negative emotions that we don’t want to keep repeating. I’ve often said in posts that the best advice is to talk to yourself like you wouldn’t your best friend. You wouldn’t watch her/him in the mirror and call out all of their flaws, if you did you could at the very least expect the friendship to end. Instead highlight the good, thank people when they give you compliments rather than feel the need to justify how much you paid for the outfit, look in the mirror and although instinct may lead you to a negative – take a breath and then name two things you like about yourself. The great think about our brain is it’s constantly regenerating new neurone pathways, so make sure those pathways are positive and lead you towards a life you love.

Don’t doubt your own expertise: Again, I often feel this comes down to confidence but so often we don’t own the room. We don’t say ‘we’ve got this’ or we hesitate and minimalise our contribution. We all have unique skills and some we are insanely awesome at – own it. The truth is you’ve probably worked extremely hard to develop that skill set over a number of years, it’s usually a passion that brings us joy. As a teacher I know the best thing I can do with my knowledge is to share it. There are also things we are ‘okay’ at, however often you may be the expert in the room with your ‘okay’ level hat on. Own it. The world would be a much more joyful place if we were keen to shine our love, share our passion and enjoy watching other people’s shadows light up under our light.

Before you head in to the world write down three things you are an expert in. It might be be geology, quantum physics or coding…it might also be cooking eggs (this is one of mine), peeling a satsuma in one go or brick laying – the skills are all neutrally awesome. If you need a wall built, someone who’s skill is ballet isn’t going to cut it. Armed with your own expertise, go out of your way to share it this week and if your skill is making the perfect cup of tea, swing by my house at some point because sharing is caring

Set the tone, love you first

Quote by me. Yes seriously I couldn’t find a quote that I liked and then BOOM I thought, why don’t I just write my own…ta-da!

Okay, today I’m rambling about self care because it’s so important. I schedule ‘me’ in to everyday. I work full time, I do pretty much all the house work, I’m a mum and I’m exhausted BUT everyday I plan time for me.

Why? Am I selfish, arrogant or living in lala land – probably. However, I’m of the opinion that if I don’t take care of my body, soul and mind then who’s going to do all the things I do everyday? Also, I do them better when I’m not stressed and ready to kill. ‘Me time’ gives me time to reflect, love, listen and realign.

How do I do it? Well I have a mini diary that lives in my clutch bag it has any little dude appointments (seriously seven year olds have the best social lives), family events, late night commitments from work anything that we as a family are doing. On a Sunday evening I look at the week ahead and schedule something in that’s time appropriate around the day we have planned. For example tonight I got home early so I committed to a 45min yoga session, writing this post and lighting an incense stick. Yesterday was crazy busy so I planned to paint my nails. The day before I had a cup of tea alone with a new book for company.

I plan ‘me time’ because otherwise I get caught up in the world of everybody else’s needs, plus if I’m having a horrendous day I know I can look forward to something that I enjoy.

On a Sunday evening before I launch in to the week ahead I usually take a long bath with some sort of luxury products, a face mask or hair treatment. I light candles, lock the door…take a glass of something with me for company and breath.

I first did this planned approach after I became a Mum. I’d lost my body, my soul was too tired to care and felt like me was disappearing. Only I like me, I’ve been with me for well…all my life, I wanted to be a Mum, evolve and seize new adventures but not at the cost of becoming someone I didn’t recognise or like very much. I also wanted my son to have the best I could offer. How can anyone fill other peoples cups of needs if their pouring jug is empty? So I fill my cup and keep it topped up daily. I plan events to look forward to that I enjoy, usually theatre trips or travelling and most of them happen either with friends or once little dude is in bed. Working full time I don’t like missing further time from him. But every now and then, he needs a break from me and it makes me a better Mummy for him when I return.

So, if you haven’t used nail polish since 2012, if you use to have a hobby that got lost along the route to that new job…seize it back, be a positive and balanced role model for your little people and those watching. Set the tone and always love you first, you’re worth it and so are those around you.

I’m not ageing, I just need repotting.

Quote Anon.

Many of us over the last few months have spent more time at home than ever before. Its given me more time to reflect, be present and show my house plants more love.

Each plant has its own needs, much like humans. Some explode in colour, take up all the room and fight for the light. Others, slowly grow, creep and stay snug in their pots. To nourish the plants I often give them a little feed, again some prefer regular watering, but most like their roots to dry out. I’ve also now got a window sill full of babies ready to be rehomed, as I pot each offspring in their own pot, much like my son I do love watching them flourish.

It made me think about my own ‘pot’ and I’ve taken to a daily yoga practise to make room. Ive also meditated more (something I find hard to make part of my daily practise, even though I know its super good for me on many levels). On reassessment of my pot, I guess I am ready to move pots – I need new challenges and the view has become a little stale.

Bravely, I’ve taken action and am planning new pot adventures, giving nourishment to my roots, making space and prioritising what its important to my core, it’s time to top up the soil and move on to bigger things.

Today I was blessed to receive an email from an ex-pupil who updated me on her adventures, at eighteen she’s realised that adult life isn’t mapped out (no shizzle) and that a sense of purpose isn’t as accessible as an amazon prime delivery. I was extremely proud that she has been using this time to reflect, to make plans to leave her ‘pot’ in hope for more enriched and a deeper sense of joy. We don’t have to all live BIG. We don’t all need to be loud. In fact, as I age – I realise that my house plants who are brave enough to grow a new leaf, to reach out into the light…they are some of my favourites.

Make time to restore your pot, nourish the soil, eat well, stay hydrated – we are all just plants with complex emotions.

Do whatever you need to do to flourish – but don’t allow yourself to become pot bound, to wonder the ‘what ifs’ and rot over watered and stagnant just because your pot is comfortable.

You approached it like it was heavy, so it was

Have you ever worked your socks off on a project and it’s gone nowhere, done something by accident and it’s been a huge success?

Perhaps you’ve put huge effort into a meal for your family and nobody said a thing, threw some random things in a pan (that not even you know what’s in there) and the family couldn’t compliment it enough.

Or the worst of all…you saw a challenge, thought it looked too big and walked away without even trying, as a result you’ll never know if it would of worked out or not?

Yesterday morning my son called me downstairs to ‘see his new trick’ I put my best ‘Mummy cares’ face on and humoured him. He then blew my mind and lifted the sofa. Apparently he has been secretly practising for sometime and yesterday was the day of success. I called his Daddy down (who adores lifting anything of any weight) and once again my son lifted the sofa… I then tried, knowing it was blooming heavy as I usually ask the Mr to lift it for me when I’m hoovering. I failed. My son beamed and my mind was blown that my seven year old is now stronger than me…I mean it’s not a huge surprise but still it took a moment to adjust. Later that day when sat snug on the sofa I asked him how long he had been practising ‘just a few days really, I’d seen Daddy do it and thought I’d give it a go’….then I realised that he’d approached it with a can do attitude. I had not. I realise for the benefit of this story I should now write that I then adjusted my attitude and voila we are like Disney’s incredible, but seriously how many people need to lift a sofa in one house (plus I’m aware of the dust that this new craze is creating)

However, I learnt a new phrase this week that is ‘reframe’ and it’s an alternative to perspective. My son reframed his view of the sofa and what I do think is valuable is reframing goals that are important to you. When you are feeling low, gradually reframe your view with drops of joy. When a task seems to large like lifting an elephant (or in our house a sofa) perhaps break down the task to bite size actions.

Give it a go this week, when you feel a negative itch or feel a sense of being overwhelmed… reframe and perhaps those giant goals will seem as light as a feather.

Don’t ignore your own potential

Anon

Despite what you may think of your parents, the chances of them meeting was around 1 in 20,000…for them to stay together long enough to procreate you need to add a few more zeros and then for the sperm to meet the egg, for the egg not to mutate and for a successful fertilisation is not where it stops, it has to be the right sperm with half your genetic make-up and the exact 1 egg (out of 100,000 viable eggs). Anyway, that takes the probability of the chosen sperm and chosen egg resulting in you to 1 in 400 quadrillion. If that’s not a miracle I’m not sure what is?

So if you often say things like ‘I’m not that lucky’ you’re an out right liar. I could add more statistics, like the chances of you being healthy, wealthy or even having access to basic human rights, but I’m not a logical lady and I feel like you get my point…you’re amazing just the way you are.

How you honour that miracle is by feeding your brain with nourishing thoughts – tell yourself what you can do, rather than what you can’t. Change the language of ‘I can’t’ to ‘I can’t yet’ and the miracle continues.

Apparently we have one life (I’m not convinced) but if that’s true as a thirty something female living in the UK my life expectancy is around 88 years old, I also have a 1 in 10 chance of living to be 100 years old. If we take the egg and sperm statistics then that’s pretty high. My privileged birth means that I’m being given the largest opportunity of time and life that history has ever seen…I’m not going to waste it looking back.

We each have unique skills, everyone is good at something (or even a collection of skills and talents). You aren’t a one dimensional droid and there is an entire world beyond the nine to five Monday to Friday, be honest with yourself about how you want to live, what you want to experience and make it happen. I’ve got the next fifty to seventy years to make good on those dreams and my starting point, like yours was that I’m a miracle. Don’t ignore your potential, I plan to be doing yoga on my one hundredth birthday and telling stories to my great grandchildren that are worthy of a life well lived.