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)

Be careful who you trust. Salt and sugar look the same

Quote Anon

We can often listen to our thoughts and think they are truth, we read things and think they are fact or we see things and believe all we see. Sometimes we even feel emotions and blame others for making us feel that way. The truth is we are solely responsible for how we feel and who we let make us feel a certain way.

When we watch a magician we know he/she is fooling us for our entertainment. It doesn’t take away the joy, in fact I remember watching a live magician and trying to work out how he pulled the rabbit out of the hat, it was part of the fun! *Never worked out where the Rabbit came from? A Rabbit seems a little large for a sleeve…

When we watch soap operas we know the storylines aren’t real, the character isn’t really hurt and again it’s all for our entertainment. Imagine the insurance prices if you lived in Albert Square?

When we read the weather we don’t always take it as truth, often geographical errors are made, Mother Nature has her own ideas and we except that despite the weatherman said it would rain today we missed the opportunity to hang the washing out.

When we watch or read the news we allow our guard to go down. We think everything we see is fact. We forget the lessons from school about sensationalism and persuasive vocabulary. We forget that journalism isn’t always based on first hand knowledge, or that like a prism it’s often given angles to make us consume the information in a specific manner.

Please don’t believe everything you hear or see on the news. You know your own health needs and whether you need to shield, how careful you need to be, what works best for you and your loved ones.

Put salt on chips and sugar in cakes, mix them up and it tastes vulgar, believe and feel everything the news wants you to and you may experience an increase in anxiety, stress and fear. The news can be a great source of information, but remember they are often politically aligned, can be sponsored by mutually benefiting corporations. If you are looking for a sugar high its also not the most high vibrational way to spend your time, you may find it increases anxiety, you may only hear headlines, or interviews the broadcaster wants you to hear, these out of context can make you feel low.

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