A pocket full of happiness

This week I wanted to share a wonderful experience where one moment of joy led to a string of fairy light happiness. After all, the world needs more joy.

On Tuesday the weather in the UK was surprisingly sunny for an Autumnal day. I was at work, driving around the south coast from appointment to appointment and listening to my podcasts. I had a gap in between appointments of about half an hour and was thinking about pulling up by the beach for a quick walk – a moment of joy in a long day of back to back appointments. However, in all honesty I was also thinking that I’d park up at my next school and grab half an hour of email and admin time.

In the car I was listening to Richard E Grant discuss he’s new book ‘a pocket full of happiness’ on Fern Cottons ‘happy place’ podcast, the title he explained came from his late wife, who in her last days on earth had asked him and their daughter to find a pocket full of happiness in each day amongst the grief…my dilemma was over. I was heading to the beach.

I grabbed my coat and headed to the sea, the tide was out and it was such a beautiful day (see for yourself)

I made time to briefly call a mindful friend and shared my positive choice. Inspired, she was going to the beach for a swim later that day.

I know that being present is crucial to fully immersing yourself in the moment, so I placed my phone in my coat pocket and found a dry sandy spot to soak up the experience. Choosing self care, joy or time for yourself is often difficult but the process instantly rewards, what I hadn’t realised was how my choices effect others, that was until a lady called over.

The area of the beach I was on wasn’t busy so when I saw the lady walking towards me I smiled. She was clearly emotional and I thought perhaps she was going to ask if I had a tissue. As she approached she repeated the word ‘thank you’, perplexed I replied ‘sorry?’ in a polite haze that I’d clearly missed something. She then explained that her mother had recently passed away and that she wasn’t having a good day, she had attempted to go for a walk to find her endorphins from the tide but in fact the beautiful day had somehow made her feel sadder. She said that she was just about to go home when (in her head) she had asked her mother for a sign, a sign to let her know she would be ok…it was then that she looked to the edge of the beach and saw me standing there. The coat that I mentioned I had placed my phone in is a military cargo print, on the back are a huge set of angel wings. I smiled and simply replied “You’re most welcome, enjoy the rest of your day”…the lady continued walking, beaming from ear to ear and all I could imagine was how awful it would have been if I had chosen the email option over the beach.

I don’t think it matters what you personally take from this story, perhaps a smile or the impulse to find more joy in the day for yourself, a reflection of spiritual intervention or a serendipitous moment. I wanted to share the joy in hope that it might continue the string of fairy light happiness. Enjoy 🙂

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.

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?

It’s ok for me to have everything I want

Anon

The internet seems to have made the world a smaller place. Access to trains, planes and automobiles means it’s likely you’ve traveled more than the generation before you. I was blessed with a better level of education than my parents (thank you) and my son has a larger variety of food accessible to him…more doesn’t always mean better. However, with expanding technologies and science it’s likely this choice to seize more opportunities will continue (…unless we blow ourselves up, which I always think is likely given some of our leaders brain cell capacities), what im not so sure of is that our mindsets have kept up with our progress.

Many of us stay in our lanes, only ask for things that we know are achievable within our level of status, financial remit, age, only going where those around us have been before…to an extent there is a common sense to this, it would be foolish to financially live above our means and find bailiffs knocking at our door, or perhaps to travel to places that we haven’t researched and find we have returned home with a tropical disease that we were ignorant to.

It’s ok for you to have everything you want (as long as it doesn’t harm others), balance allows us to prioritise and then reprioritise. With ebbs and flows we can have it all, just not all at once or all right now.

If we had it all, life would be dull…and often people who chase ‘the next best thing’ often find the gap of darkness still lurk within them long after they’ve bought the item home.

Perhaps we should be careful what we wish for, however this blog post is a reminder to actually dream, that you can manifest your desires, that you are worthy and that you don’t need to limit yourself to the ideals of others…one life, one century of fun…make it count, see the things you wish to see, spend time with those you hold dear, do that thing, go to that place, laugh, cry and stay up for the sunrise – it’s worth it and so are you.

Most of the stuff people worry about never happens

‘Thank heavens’ is how I feel I should start this post. Have you ever paid attention to your thoughts, if so you’ll know they come quick and fast, multilayered and often disjointed. My brain is like two elderly ladies arguing at a bus stop – and if I’m really honest, at times one of those old ladies is seriously dark humoured.

Sciences backs my dark humoured old lady up:

‘In 2005, the National Science Foundation published an article regarding research about human thoughts per day. The average person has about 12,000 to 60,000 thoughts per day. Of those, 95% are exactly the same repetitive thoughts as the day before and about 80% are negative.’ Source Dent neurological institute.

Conscious thoughts and mediation allow us to slow the brain activity down and focus on positive thoughts that increase our positive vibration…as we know, how we vibe is what we attract. So the more we focus on the negative and ugly thoughts – the more we will see those experiences turn up in our daily lives. I think what makes this worse is that we’ve only got ourselves to blame.

As a positive fairy of good vibes, I’m not saying I don’t think melancholy thoughts but I have learnt (through conscious thought and daily habits) to alter some of those darker moments with a few rainbow sprinkles.

Letting go of old thoughts is hard and it’s how our capitalist society makes its money, often adverts fear monger us into buying things we don’t need, the news reports only the most horrendous events it can find globally and the algorithms work like tiny ninjas to show us the same content until it becomes familiar.

What can we do? Nothing you don’t already know about…

Let go of thoughts that don’t serve you: if you catch yourself saying or thinking something negative. Stop. Breath and let it go…this is easier said than done but can be achieved

Keep a gratitude journal: they work. Start your day with writing down 3 things you have in your current existence that you are blessed to have. you’ll be amazed how quickly this two minute habit sets you up for a better day

Meditate: honestly I suck at this practise, but taking a few minutes to empty our minds is like taking the rubbish out on bin day. You’ll feel lighter and have more room for the good stuff

Inhale good media content: delete accounts on social media that moan and that drop your energy vibe…if you need an even bigger top up of joy, pop the device down and get out in nature.

Exhale good vibes: be kind, do good things. Pick up the litter everyone else is stepping over, ring that friend and donate old unwanted items to charity. Be the change you want to see in the world.

In conclusion, remind yourself of this quote. Most of the things we worry about…never happen. If you’re feeling really bold, dream big and think positive and watch your life improve. It all begins with a positive thought

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.

Don’t ever take a fence down until you know why it was put up.

Quote by Robert Frost

In a literal sense, I’m probably the person who is likely to think on one hand this is great advice, on the other ‘it’ll be fine if we take that wall down, what’s the worst that can happen?’ and then live to see the consequence.

On a metaphorical level, this quote reminds me about boundaries. Of who I share my time, energy and make memories with and who I say ‘thanks for the journey’ and swiftly ask them to exit at the next train station of life.

Personally, I believe that some people (friends or family) are only meant to be with us for a short amount of time, they deliver a lesson, being joy or we learn from contrast and then we should release them, very few are wonderful enough to walk the whole journey with us.

Human fault means that we often hold on for too long, trying to recreate a relationship from decades ago. The crazy thing about this is that I am aware that events in my life mean that I am, like you, forever changing…so why we expect others to give us what we had in the past is insane?

Upon reflection, it’s worth evaluating your fences regularly…do they still serve the purpose of why you put them up? Do they bring support or perhaps they just block out the light…it which case, it’s time to let go off that particular fence panel.

Fences can enhance a space, walls can be healthy, in gardens and in relationships, but build them with solid foundations, maintain them and know when to take them down and when to strengthen them.

This advice works well for fences and people alike.

Humble with a hint of Kanye

Quote Anon

This week we said hello (and then goodbye) to Friday 13th in 2020. The meme game was high and it made reflect on the year a little, was 2020 really that horrendous? For me personally we have said goodbye to loved ones (not pandemic related), we’ve been affected by the lockdown restrictions and I updated my passport unnecessarily but we’ve also had so many awesome moments. The UK had a summer that seemed to last forever and it was joyful sunny! We used our garden and lockdown gave us family time that I couldn’t have imagined possible. I stepped over fear and went for an interview on zoom (so 2020) got the job, that led to a huge lifestyle change and well…there were a lot of good moments weaved in between.

In the last few weeks of 2020 make sure you’re your own hype man, don’t get caught in only reflecting on this year in a negative manner. All years, months and days have contrast of both good and bad moments, in fact I’ve learnt from experience that sometimes laughter in the darker moments is all the more precious. Some years are a little sweeter and now as it turns out, some have memories of banging on pans with wooden spoons and not seeing extended family as much as we would have liked.

But we’re still here, unless you’re reading this from beyond the grave, which would be pretty cool. We are still here and we still have time to create more awesome memories and remember this year with some Kanye flair – he ran for president, which lets me honest is both bold and so Kanye. Imagine if the world had as much self esteem as Mr West, although as the quote suggests a little humbleness often goes a long way too and it’s a delicate balance. Here are a few quotes from the man himself.

“For me to say I wasn’t a genius would just be me lying to myself and you”

“Everything I am made me everything i am” nope I don’t understand this either?

“I feel I’m too busy writing history to read it”

Then every now and then he says something that makes me cherish 2020 a little more…

“The only luxury we have is time. The time you get to spend with your family” count your blessings as much as you count your hardships and when the New Year’s Eve bells ring you can step into 2021 with gratitude (and a dash of relief)