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

Keep it simple

Quote by me.

I am privileged. This morning is Sunday and it’s nearly 10am…I’m still in bed. Tea was bought to me and the Mr opened the curtains so the sun shone through. Delicious

I looked out at the bright blue clouds, a rare sight in January. The plants in my room are currently doing a little hip hop dance as the sun kisses them each…it’s been a long pandemic winter so far. This moment to breath is an absolute blessing. I know it won’t stay and I know it has to leave, we have to leave…there are children to be fed, house work to be done… but in this moment I know i’m the luckiest girl in the world and I know another moment as precious as this will come my way.

Whilst waking slowly like a hedgehog coming out of hibernation and twitching it’s nose, I felt hungry… I snuck downstairs and grabbed a bowl of cereal for ease, tossed in some frozen berries and drizzled over some coconut milk. I then diverted back to bed, the satisfaction of the crunch whilst the sun continued to dazzle on my face made me smile.

Grab the small moments of life that bring you joy and don’t be scared to bathe in them. I often find it’s the moments of simplicity that unlock the most magic. The world won’t stop if I finish my tea here, but I will have much more energy to meet the day with and I’ll be a better me for everyone I communicate with.

Small moments of simplicity bring less clutter (something I still need to work on), they are often more cost efficient and I find involve mother nature’s hand; a walk, the call of the tide, a passing cloud or the smell of a rose…

As I was writing this post my Mum called, thrilled. My Great Aunt turned 90 today and was a florist by trade, she’s been in lockdown since March 2020. My Mum sent her some flowers and a card, they were delivered this morning at 9am. My Aunt called to say how happy they had made her, the smell literally leaping out of the box as she opened them, each flower well packed and ready to sing from her dinning-room table. Whilst sending flowers is perhaps a little more expensive, I can’t help but feel for the impact they had they were mere pennies. Passing on joy, gratitude and simplify is also the gift that keeps on giving – plus my Aunt has pleasure for them, my Mum as the giver and I get a bonus burst of gratitude hearing how happy they both are.

Wherever you are and whatever you are doing, take a moment to look around and find something that makes you smile. You’ll probably find it’s small and simple, yet lights your world like a huge firework display. You deserve that.

Mindset is everything

Quote Anon

If I’m honest I’m not really feeling like 2021 is delivering the joy I hoped for. Then I was reminded that mindset is everything and so I’ve decided it’s going to be the best year ever, whether it wants to be or not.

I’ve wrote many blogs on perspective and this post is no different, when you choose to sit in the good, the bad often dissipates, it never leaves as the negative moments make the positive all that bit more joyful thanks to a little thing called contrast.

This weekend I knew how good and thankful I was to lie in and the Mr even bought me tea in bed, I knew it was lovely because the first week in January was made up of brutal gets up where above the duvet it was cold and the world was full of demands.

The Mr then opened the curtains to show me the roofs that Jack Frost had created in the night, he suggested a walk and snug in bed at first I wasn’t keen…then I altered my mindset and reminded myself how Mother Nature always makes me feel better. A frosty walk half an hour later and she didn’t let me down.

Life is made of decisions, we don’t always get to decide the outcomes but we can decide how we feel about them. This year I’m choosing 2021 to be the year that my dreams come true. My other resolution is to never buy another item of clothing that doesn’t have pockets – life is too short and precious not to have a tissue and a lip balm at hand.

What are you going to do this year? Allow the pandemic to nibble at your soul or count your blessings, stop making excuses and do it anyway, I’m picking the second option but adding pockets.

Happy new year and I promise whatever is around the corner will be as good as you decide to see it.

Be kind. Even on your bad days

Quote Anon

Today’s post isn’t long and its message is simple. We all have battles that we face, both internal personal battles and external battles that we may find ourselves in through no fault of our own…so do other people.

It’s easy to be consumed by the now and even the toxicity of the past, it’s much harder to smile on days when you don’t feel like smiling and even harder to push that smile into the world towards strangers.

However, in my experience it’s the light in the darkest of moments, the kindness that comes from people that don’t need to care that is truly special.

As the Christmas season approaches and we all become consumed by…well, consumerism, perhaps in this crazy world of 2020 that we all find ourselves in, the best gift we can give ourselves and those around us is a little extra kindness. It often doesn’t cost a lot and it doesn’t always get noticed but I truly believe the future of the world depends on it (that totally sounded like a marvel film intro)

As the last few weeks of 2020 past and we step into 2021 with a little more hope and a dollop of joy, please add a gallon of kindness to those who need it. You can never be sure who needs it, so aim for everyone. Let the car out of the side road if it’s safe to do so, let the man in a rush pass you by and don’t judge him – you don’t know why he is rushing. Kindness is checking on friends with a quick phone call and knocking on vulnerable neighbours doors to check if they need anything. Open doors and smile.

Smile when people give you eye contact, increase your manners (it’s something adults generally suck at), tell people you love them and give compliments like you’re PollyAnna. Over the years I’ve written a lot about this topic, gratitude and kindness truly matter and usually I write to remind myself.

So if nobody has told you today, your hair looks fab, I love that jumper and I’d like to thank you for dropping by, it’s means the world.

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

Don’t be eye candy, be soul food

Quote by…

This quote makes me overflow, it makes me excited and I feel the need to put this in neon lights (* adds that to my to do list).

Physical appearances are subjective, they change with and like the seasons. Also, different people are attractive to different people. Now, before you stop reading this because you feel I’m stating the obvious, Im writing this because there are multi billion pound corporations preaching to us what is assethitically pleasing? That I find odd. 

I don’t need a chef to tell me if I like the food I’m eating, but it would seem humanity likes to be told what’s fashionable, what’s acceptable – the eyebrows are in and they are huge. Working in an all girl school for over a decade I can tell you that they can look gorgeous or absolutely terrifying. 

I once had to collect a girl from a lesson as she took the ‘natural’ make up policy to a new level. She began to cry, her reaction to me offering wipes and the time to ‘tone it down’ devastated her. So we spoke it through and she explained that she’d woke up early to apply the ‘many’ layers as she was meeting a boy after school and clearly she really liked him. As I helped her wipe away the ‘concealer’ we spoke about what she liked about him. I asked her what his eyebrows were like, she wasn’t sure. I altered the conversation and highlighted why I thought she was soul food, her assets. On the Monday morning she came to tell me something I already knew – he prefered her without the make up. For a 14 yr old girl this was a revelation, for anyone that’s actually spoken to member of the male population its common news that they aren’t a fan of excessive make up. Whilst they lived happily ever after for a handful of weeks until she moved on to someone ‘even fitter’ it made me reflect on what she had learnt about herself, that said full on make up can be fun to in the right setting and I think its essential that we try to keep judgements on peoples appearances to ourselves, comments that are often meant with love can shatter hearts and leave our confidence in a puddle at our feet. 

Perhaps your soul food is wearing bright colours or expressing yourself through tattoo’s or maybe you feel your best in comfy pjs and rocking a messy bun….the look is irrelevant, its how you use that look to fuel your soul that matters. When we know we look good, a giddy smile beams out of us like a search light and it highlights other peoples joy too. When we receive a compliment we are much more likely to see that energy reflected back to us.

You’re not in a storm, you’re in transition.

Quote Anon

When you feel weighed down by life, it can often feel like you’re stuck in a bad weather. You ‘baton down the hatches’ (I shut the door?), you hibernate until it’s over and at times you moan about the heat of summer and how you miss it. If you live in the UK then a very British culture trend is to discuss the weather in great detail with everyone you meet. “Did you have that storm last night’ you say to the Lady at the bus stop…the bus stop that’s around the corner from where you live. She replies “it was horrendous” she then extends with tales of garden pots crashing to the ground, how she can’t hang her washings and that the trampoline from next door nearly took off…it didnt, but that’s what she tells you.

You can actually make the ‘stories of the storm’ last for a while, my friendship group still discuss the Storm of 1987 whenever the ‘S’ word appears, its the mecca of all storms in my lifetime and every storm / hurricane in the UK has been compared to it ever since. It was a good storm, if such a thing can exist….

Of course it can exist. Storms rock natures, remove weak trees, turn the earth over, add decomposing elements and allow for new growth to thrive. It humans a metaphorical storm is an occasion where we sit in our negative pattern like concert. We wallow in our story…in concrete. We can’t grow in concrete, we can’t thrive, we just sit and think about how bad we have it.

All Storms have to end, in fact all weather systems are temporary….the sun goes down, the clouds fill with water, the rain falls… it moves, it flows and even storms, thunder, lightning and hurricanes ‘blow over’. As do peoples ‘storm like’ situations. The problem is if we are so invested in being negative, we can’t see the moments of sunlight that inevitable pass. Instead we wallow in our negative patterns and perpetuate the situation.

While life isn’t all rainbows and at time certainly many of us will need to seek external support to lift ourselves up from our dark skies…it’s possible….it happens in small transitions and I am proud to say that I’ve seen so many people find glimmers of light, sometimes the heavy clouds return but just like our weather – its often temporary, its often made up of many elements, and its just another transition in the weather map of our lives.

If you or someone to love needs to seek professional support, this UK site gives you the A-Z of charities and organisations that are trained specifically in taking down storms and throwing out lights. Much love to you on your journey.

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.

Don’t make change too complex, just begin.

Quote Anon

When I was a child and had to revise for exams or complete homework of little interest, I would procrastinate like my life depended on it. I’d sit down, stand up, get a drink, go back for a snack, doodle…anything to delay the revision, until I was so tired or it was too late to bother.

Luckily along the way I grew a little more patience, a cup full of endurance and a scattering or resilience to help me power up as an adult me…but I still have my moments.

Currently across the nation / world the majority of children are still home schooling, well meant to be. In the last few weeks I’ve met with children and their parents and similar messages were echoed out “She started off well but…” or “Unfortunately we never found a routine” others have thrived, particularly without social pressures lifted from them or the demand of being up early and ready to learn in the classroom before 9am.

The great news, I promise from a teacher to you, is nobody is behind. We’re all in this together and come a time when our classes are back to bursting the magical skills of a teacher will prevail. Every child is unique, learns in different ways about a range of different things to a future carved out specifically for them.

However, as the quote above suggests some momentum is needed. For pupils that have lost their way and are overwhelmed with deadlines – I’ve emailed support by asking them to complete one piece of work and then to show me…a sense of completing something, recognition in making progress and a step (no matter how small) towards the never ending mountain is sometimes enough to take another step…a few more and change occurs. It’s a magical moment between and idea and a result. It can’t be pinpointed but it’s a sweet spot of success that occurs before the challenge or change is complete.

Better still, it can be applied to anything at any age; learning a new skill, stopping a bad habit, altering your life to align with your dreams, it all begins with a tiny thought and a small gesture – the rest is called living.

*Best of luck if you are a home schooler or are the adult with no idea what you should, shouldn’t be doing and perhaps even google can’t tell you how to do it…you care enough to worry and that’s all you need to do. Keep them safe, loved and healthy. Nothing else matters.