We can’t start over but we can create a new beginning

Quote by Zig Ziglar

When asked if I’d like to relive my teenage years again, I’m not sure I would? Would you?

I believe that everything happens as it’s meant to, with lessons of light and dark along the way…some opportunities we pass up or miss, others we seize which take us to the next opportunity, be that light or dark. However, I do think much like a book we all have chapters, some merge into each other like subtle subtitles, others have huge landmarks chapters where we shift our sense of self, perhaps overcome a personal battle, experience a wave of emotions or a new aspect of ourselves leads us to take on a new identity; as a parent, leader, carer.

What does worry me is some people dislike the chapters that they are writing daily and they do nothing about it, except perhaps feel sad, lonely or lost. The idea of starting again can see so overwhelming that they can’t conceive it’s possible. Fear nibbles at their ankles, doubt knocks at their door daily and they let it in.

If this resonates with you, you aren’t alone. Change can be terrifying, debilitating and contagious. Recently I’ve learnt the ‘one tribe theory’ and it can helps you to make the changes needed.

The Change doesn’t really matter, whether it be to lose weight, learn a new skill or hobby, start a new career path or perhaps retrain…you need one person who thinks it’s a good idea / supports you. You needn’t bother telling the members of your tribe that are submerged in fear, once you’ve got momentum you can pass the word around and include them.

To begin with you share your vision with one person, you then take one action towards your goal (enrolling on a course), you then that another action (attend the course)….with this kind of momentum you are now unstoppable.

Report back to your one tribe member the positives as you go, you may even need them to help you work out ways of getting around obstacles, but the getting going, the turning up is always the hardest part.

You can’t start over, you can’t change the past BUT you can create a new chapter of your life story…find your tribe member and plant the seed…best of luck!

And like the moon, we must go through phases of emptiness to be full again.

Anon

Ive always like the solar system, science never really appealed to me at school but how can you ignore the beauty of the nights sky? The constellations, the history of how various stages of humanity used the stars and planets as guides, the heat of the sun, the planets lined up like Russian dolls hanging off of my sons ceiling…and the moon. By far my personal favourite, that smiling face of glow and delight that’s force pulls and pushes of tides and if i’m honest my heart strings.

Over the last few months I’ve been tracking the moons phases and can see patterns in my life where the moon is waxing and waning. Whilst I refuse to discuss the chaotic and perpetual negative cycle of fear we are currently being fed by mainstream media, social media and the miserable lady at the bus stop, this quote fed my soul in a way that those outlets haven’t and so I had to use it.

Amongst the depths of the dark we can appreciate the light of day. If we chose to discard the negative surface of fear, underneath we can see glimmers of hope, love and happiness. Stories of human compassion, pure kindness and this is what I’ve decided to put into my bubble. Where people see confinement and lack, I can decide to see the opportunity to be at home, surrounded by my loved ones. I can be thankful for the health of my loved ones and can offer help to those who I’m able to. Like the lady who had a four month old baby screaming and couldn’t find Calpol in any of our local stores…I offered ours, we don’t need it. She does.

Perspective is a difficult thing to see in the dark, but look to the moon for guidance. It allows us to appreciate what we do have, what experiences we have had rather than what we are yet to do. Contrast is a bitter sweet gift, but perhaps we are more like the moon that we realise? The darker times often inform the lighter moments of life and much like the cycle of the moon, it will pass and we will be grateful and full again.

Look after loved ones and do all you can for those at risk, above all be kind even in the loo roll aisle.

It takes grace to remain kind in cruel situations

Anon

We named our first daughter Gracie. It came from my partners love of Jiujitsu, the Gracie family (a surname) are inspirational in the sport and I wanted her to know she is fierce and strong. Grace in the dictionary means ‘effortless beauty, charm of movement’ and this part of her name evokes a softer and nurturing side, a flow of calm. The balance within this name seemed perfect for our first born.

Words have power, they signal clear intentions. However you may want to act or be, other people’s intentions and actions aren’t always in alignment with ours. This often can build hostile and cruel environments, where everybody thinks their way is the best. I’ve noticed it’s a common theme in the school playground and also most work places. Perhaps management or career focused individuals are pushing an agenda that isn’t concurrent with how you view the world. Perhaps your child comes homes with stories from the playground that makes ‘little Alfie’ who seemed lovely when he came for tea that time portrayed as a monster of meanness.

These events are frequent, we are all travelling on our own paths, overlapped by many people on there very different paths. You have two options – roll up your sleeves and show up on the mat of life (much like the Gracie family do), defend your beliefs and take any action necessary. Or you can step back, breath and proceed with Grace.

Much like a Swan, elegant on top of the water, floating with ease but paddling like crazy under the water I think this might be the solution. The Swan knows it’s a Swan, it seems to know it large and often holds its head up high, but the bow in the head shows it’s also humble. When needed it expands its huge wingspan and shows it’s physical power, but mostly it glides with grace knowing it’s self worth. Most importantly, a Swan never tries to be anything other that itself.

If you find yourself in a cruel situation, perhaps led by other people’s agendas. Take a step back and be you. Know your truth, glide and speak with grace…but be prepared to flap your wings only when it truly matters.

Happy swimming

Bad vibes don’t go with my outfit

Quote Anon

This week in the UK we had a general election, the Tory’s won and like any politics the Country was divided on opinions and manifestos, the mood amongst my colleagues in education was low and so I wore leopard print.

It’s true my patterned cardigan couldn’t change the outcome but I always feel better when wearing 1) converse boots 2) leopard print anything 2) anything with sparkle on.

I voted in the election and much like when I call my child, my voice wasn’t heard this time BUT I used my democratic voice. I can’t change the outcome, I can’t change climate change for the world, I can’t stop homelessness, abuse or anything negative on a global scale… but I can make decisions that are positive in my tiny corner of the world, even if it’s as tiny as a sparkly necklace.

I can decide (in fact I have for a few years) not to have crackers on the table this Christmas as they are unappreciated and unnecessary plastic and packaging. I can buy from small businesses, I can recycle and I can choose amongst the negative vibes of the world to stay positive.

To a huge extent we all create our own realities and I will always choose to see the best in people. I will always find the silver lining and I will try to avoid the negative…I don’t wear crocs, I keep away from velvet (the texture makes my skin crawl), I only own sparkly unpractical clutch handbags – life is too short for practical black bags with sensible straps . Although my wardrobe won’t necessarily make the world a better place, it will enhance my wellbeing and that will shine out of my face and in a tiny way make the person looking at me smile back.

In a world full of so much destruction, do what you can to make it a kinder place and if that fails accessorise with leopard print.

Plot twist

I often find in life people drive down certain pathways, certain they know where they are heading, perhaps they found a soul mate, took an exit at marriage or diverted to having children. They tick off the various landmarks along the way, content in a bubble of control in a journey called ‘Life’

Then there are people like me…naive enough to think they are in control until one day life gives them lemons, truck loads of the yellow fruit. As the quote goes and being a positive princess, I know you need to make lemonade out of them. Since 2009 exactly ten years today we’ve been doing just that. At 16:47 I gave birth to our daughter Gracie, the plan was to take our healthy bundle home, raise her to be a queen and use motherhood as an excuse to visit farms, play in parks and enjoy the ride of motherhood. Except, we had lemons…and a rollercoaster that I wouldn’t want the worst of humans to have to go through. Regular readers will know, we didn’t bring her home and I felt at the time when our daughters death came to an abrupt end, so to had our pathway of happy ever after.

Except, life sometimes gives you a service station and an alternative route and a mountain…a huge mountain to navigate around. The route doesn’t look as appealing and it’s not so picturesque…but some how the mountain makes you a better human, you learn, you help others and there are even a few unexpected moments of joy along the way; like the view if you make it to the top.

After a decade of our diverted path, plus a little dude that jumped in the passenger seat in 2013 I foolishly sat back in the driving seat. Ticking off landmarks and planning our future. How smug was I.

Then came the plot twist…baby three due April 2020.

Mike drop.

Not planned.

What next? I’m giving up metaphorical driving. I’m making little to no plans, I’m seeing where this huge new tunnel takes us. It looks dark and to be honest is a little scary. This time life gave us a pomegranate. We can’t squeeze it – because there are too many pips but it is so vibrant when you take time to cut it open and I’m excited for the potential of where this tunnel will take us. It’s early days but on the anniversary of Gracies birth I’m grateful for this unexpected gift.

There is always light at the end of the tunnel if you keep going, there is always contrast along the way. This is life and I’m now driving full throttle and with no road map open to where it might take us. Just like a candle on a cake, there is always light if you choose to see it.

Happy returns little angel

Cling to what is good

Quote Anon

According to the power of google an adult makes 35,000 decisions a day, a child around 3,000. That’s everything from what to have for dinner tonight to what to wear and where to go. Most choices fall in to three categories: positive, negative and those we feel obliged to do, feeling like we don’t really have a choice.

As an adult I do feel that at times I need to make negative decisions for overall good, an example being telling my son off and setting consequences – in hope that he learns and grows into an adult with clear morals and boundaries. At the time of sanctioning him he would tell you it was a negative decision I’d made.

Not all choices are transparent and many come with a wealth of other choices, at times resulting in others taking control or contributing to the end result.

Many of us suffer from decision fatigue and with the stats so high, I’m not surprised. If you find yourself overwhelmed then the experts encourage you to pull back; have a duvet day, a social media detox and even better a week away from WiFi. Don’t answer the phone, relax and live in the moment where possible.

Except that is a short term issue. At the moment my son who is six years old is sneaky when I ask him to make one of his 3,000 choices for the day. He will say things like “I don’t mind” or “‘ask Daddy what he wants” in order to avoid conflict or people disliking his ideas. As a result, as parents we are now throwing him even more options…and not letting him wiggle out of them. It’s a tough love choice in hope that it will help him grow in resilience and assertiveness. More importantly we are asking him to ‘feel’ the decision, to reflect on what feels good, to reconnect with his instincts and to not be put off by other people’s reactions. Making choices in the moment that feel good are meant to be the best way to promote positive wellbeing and overall happiness in the long term. Without guides, I wonder how many adults are out of sync with their own sense of good? Making time to rest and play has never been so crucial for a blossoming and positive planet.

It’s not necessary to react to everything you notice

Quote Anon

In 2019 and the world is full of morons. This is a fact that we can’t change.

None of us are perfect – perfection is an aspiration, not a destination. Thus we can all slide in to the moron mask momentarily. At any moment we can make poor decisions, act in a selfish manner or drive like we are Jenson Button. It happens, we make mistakes.

We also have choices, I like to think I try and take off my moron mask as soon as I notice the shadow cast over my face, I also know if I’m feeling hormonal I can glue it on for the week and anyone who dares to step in my way will feel the wrath of the masked menstruated moron.

(sometimes I just get the mask out for fun)

However, we all have choices. Just because I don’t say anything or react when a moron crosses my path doesn’t mean I don’t notice, nor have an opinion on the matter. It’s crucial to remember we are a reflection of the people that we surround ourselves by. Allowing a friend to gossip and vent can be therapeutic for both of us, but if that friend is in a continuous cloud of doom it may be best to leave and allow them to wallow.

Making continuous negative dialogue about how other people drive (who can’t hear you) only increases your heart rate. It doesn’t make them better drivers.

Learning to not react, to filter our thoughts can be challenging but there are two questions you can ask yourself before you speak (my friend shared these with me a few days ago from a podcast she listened to)

  • Am I growing?
  • Am I giving?

If not, the advice from fridge HQ would be to walk away and let those thoughts go. Sharing ideas, perspectives and support is crucial to evolving, pointing out that someone is inadequate if that haven’t asked for advice isn’t useful to you or them.

Next time you see a masked moron, cross the road and don’t react, the world will be a better place and if you let it go, so will your heart rate and overall well-being.

Alone we can do so little, together we can achieve so much

Quote from Helen Keller

Perhaps it best to begin where I am now. Sat on the side at the swimming pool whilst the Mr guides the little dude to improve his swimming technique. This allows me to type away and have some therapy time. Where we are now, getting more done.

Last week was a catastrophe of disasters; from work, complexities in childcare, getting back to a routine, the Mr having to be away for longer than I’d like – thanks Pakistan air space, little dude having a school trip…put it this way as a tribe we dropped plates this week and the juggle reached a climax and strain that was unrelenting. However, now out of the dark and into the light, we made it. We achieved so much thanks to the support of our extended tribe. A combination of friends reaching out, wise words, a Tunnocks tea cake left on my desk, the Mr’s Mum extending childcare beyond anyone’s expectations…that’s a wealth you can’t put a price on.

The flowers are for her. I can’t work full time without support. The kids at school can’t thrive without my support…we as a family need our extended tribe, we need to raise others up and in turn are held up by others.

If you too have had a year, month, week or day of darkness and you can see a glimmer of light then however small the light is bask in it. Thank those around you, appreciation is lost if we don’t seize it in the moment. We achieve very little alone and isolated, life is fuller with others by your side.

The grass is greener when you water it.

Quote by Neil Barringham

At the end of February we often get a few warm days, enough to shed a layer or two when you go out, enough so you need to find your sunglasses that you abandoned in September in a draw somewhere between the front door and the backdoor (or they could be in the car?) and enough for the Mr to say to me yesterday “I’m going to need to cut the grass again soon”

Grass doesn’t need much to thrive. However in the cold, dark and wet winters of the UK it barely grows at all, we rarely go out there and the grass is stagnant.

In life we often need to make choices every now and then, where do we put our time, love and sunlight? We look at other peoples lawns and often admire them not fully understanding the complexities of what they might be ‘growing’ through, we don’t see the moss patches, or the bald patches covered up by plant pots. A quick glimpse and it’s easy to wrongly see a lawn or someone else’s life in the wrong light.

Sometimes we can love our own lawn but feel the need to buy a new one just because… much like lawn maintenance, humans aren’t as simple as we believe.

Instead we need to mow our own lawns, perhaps put some extra attention of the bits that have been scorched by the sun, add new seeds, water and tend. We have a 160ft garden and it would take an awful lot of time to edge it. However, what we give our time and love to is what will thrive. Our health, relationships and careers all need time, love and attention too. The grass may be greener elsewhere but that’s not your concern. Water your own grass and watch it grow, add sunlight and see it thrive. Most importantly ignore the lawn and spend time with people you love. Mother Nature will sort it out, it’s a lawn – get a life and make that thrive.

Good shoes take you to good places.

Quote by Seo Min Hyun

When my son started school I took a photo of his new shoes, not him by the front door like every other home, but of his new shoes. I then realised something about myself, I mark chapters of my life with my passion for footwear, mainly heels.

Shoes speak to my soul. I have fond memories of going to Russell and Bromley as a child to be fitted for my ‘Start Rite Mary Jane’s’ in the latest colour. The child section was up a winding staircase (totally impractical for parents and little ones), it had a light fluffy carpet and around the edge of the room was a huge, long tropical fish tank. The shoes were expensive, lasted and made me feel like a princess. The new shoe box was often held by me on the journey home (except for, on the winding staircase previously mentioned) with pride and my collection over the years has grown and only increased in quality.

I have high heels that make me smile; some symbolise the break up of previous relationships, I always buy new school shoes for the new term and have shoes purchased following births, deaths and marriages.

I’m not that fond of bags….an impractical sparkly clutch bag and I’m happy. Life is too short for practical black/neutral bags and frankly I take my hat off to those that change their bag daily…hmmm hats I don’t do those either?

I don’t have shoes for every occasion, just shoes that make me smile, feel happy or in some way complete. I only own two black pairs of shoes, may be three (?) and I don’t tend to buy shoes that are cheap and as a result have never suffered with rubbing or blisters. I don’t wear shoes for comfort because how they make me feel is more important.

I asked my son about this quote and in he’s five year old wisdom he said “What’s a good place?” he raises a good point. A good place to me will be different to your perception of a ‘good place’ perhaps thats why there are so many places and so many types of shoes? In my life I plan to go onwards and upwards, it makes sense that a pair of eight or ten inch heel’s are my best companion.

Perhaps, living life in comfort is a priority for you, may be you are simple in expectations and live life exposed – the flip flop may be your choice of footwear?

My son, predictably likes wellies, adventurous and practical in the UK. Quick to put on and in some jarring design.

I make judgements about people on their shoes, do they care about themselves, do they look after themselves / are we compatible? What would your shoes tell me about you and where is it taking you?