Tag: Positivity

Trust Yourself

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You know recently I’ve been second guessing my decisions and worrying over choices I’ve made. From big things to small things that annoying voice of doubt is getting a bit too loud for my liking. And while the inner critic can keep you in check it is not the boss. We are capable people but every so often we lose our way and it is at this point we need to reaffirm trust in ourselves.

Sleep is nature’s restorer and if I’m honest I haven’t been getting enough. There is nothing more invigorating than waking from a good night’s rest. Your head is clearer, your body feels fresher, and if you’re a night-time worrier everything seems better in the daylight! Making a concerted effort to nurture ourselves through sleep is a practical way to empower and ease tension.

Sometimes we lose trust in ourselves because we take on too many other people’s opinions and desires. Their energy and voice can leave us struggling to find our own. So if this is the reason you’re floundering respect your own wants and needs. If choices and decisions are our own we are much more likely to believe in them.

Feeling out of sorts about choices we are making can come from being out of touch with our own core values. It is often this mismatch between the actions we take, which do not reflect who we are, that can leave us second guessing. If we are making choices that do not reflect what we believe or stand for it can leave us in a state of turmoil.

Or maybe our self-confidence has taken off for a while. Without self belief we are more prone to question and doubt and that leaves us unsettled. If your confidence has taken a bit of a hit recently and you have lost trust in your decision-making, regaining self-confidence can be a powerful remedy. As our belief in ourselves grows so does our capacity to trust the choices we make.

Go to bed earlier, be around people who validate who you are and what you stand for, and be firm with doubt.

“Trust your own instinct. Your mistakes might as well be your own, instead of someone else’s.” Billy Wilder.

Get out of that comfort zone.

www.jasonhash.comDaughter 

She’s running on the beach, ahead of me, free.

I can’t run, I’m too old.

I can’t run, I’m too old.

The tide tumbles in, less dry sand paths between the trails of seeping sea.

Less places for lazy, sensible feet to land.

Water leaks into my shoes, cold, unwanted, wet.

I trot faster, tiptoeing, to find a way through.

Ahead of me she waves, beckoning.

A surge of eager water swamps my stubborn stride.

I can’t bear it.

The damp toes, tentative, weak little steps.

This isn’t me.

I start to run. And the sea urges me on with childish splashes of spray.

Feet are no longer quick sanded and weighted down, they’re light.

I run. I’m not too old.

I run. I’m not too old.

She waits for me, and we charge on, together.

©Charlie Archbold

Beetroots

 

There’s no denying I’m often sucked into the latest health crazes and judging by the size of the industry I’m not alone. So what is it with the health world which lures us to rush head long into a mambo class, when you’ve got as much dance experience as a corn cob, or buy a juicer which you can never clean? Anything branded to get me blooming and in better shape has me chomping at the bit.

It was my recent encounter with beetroots that got me thinking I need to be a bit more discerning in my health choices. There’s no deny beetroots are a wonder veg, packed with nutrients and all the healing powers of a mighty root vegetable. But they are tough things to master.

To being with my bunch sat in the fridge for weeks and while my carrots went limp around them they remained fat and firm, no wonder they sustained the peoples of the Russian tundra for centuries. Eventually I had to deal with them. But cutting and peeling a raw beetroot is like penetrating a rock. And once you get at the flesh, bright red, inky juice, pours out of them. By the time I’d got them in the pan to boil my hands were stained like a butcher’s.

Unfortunately, after all the effort they didn’t taste too good, sort of like pink, vinegary mashed potatoes. Now while it was my cooking, and serious lack of seasoning, which rendered them mushy and tasteless I also realised I can get all the nutrients they provide from other foods I like far more.

I’ve done this before. I’ve got jars of superfood gazing out at me from the pantry in glorious shades of beige and all tasting a little like cardboard. Following what’s in health fashion for the sake of it is not always the best idea. What’s better is too think about what you want to achieve rather than the next quick fix. Health change, like all change, is about sticking with the goal and not changing it because of fashion. There are no short cuts.

The beetroot was a metaphor. We have so much choice in health and diet but don’t need it all to be healthy. Just because something is, good for you, doesn’t necessarily mean it’s, good for you. Many people love beetroots but personally I’m sticking with carrots and parsnips… but have you seen the purple ones…

Share the love

 

Celebrate the people you love because who knows when things might change?

We can’t help ourselves pushing forward with our own wants and desires but we have to make time for love. Love for partners, family, and friends. Whoever makes your heart crack when you think about missing them.

Without giving our love we are just bystanders in life, not really committing, and if you’re not present then you do miss out. So if you’ve been forgetting to tell the people you care about how much and why you love them, do it today. Every day is an opportunity to acknowledge and be grateful for all the love in our lives.

Perspective

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I was at a party on the weekend and was desperate for a glass of water. A lady was standing by the sink sipping on a cocktail and as I turned on the tap she asked me, “What are you doing?”

“Having a glass of water. Would you like one?”

“Hell no! Have you seen what that stuff does to ships!”

We laughed and in a way she was right, what may be good for my inner organs certainly rusts out a lot of other stuff. It got me thinking about perspective. For me the water made sense but for her not so much. And it wasn’t the water itself but the different attitudes we brought to it.

So, here’s the thing, we cannot help but bring our own perspective to anything. And that’s okay because it’s these things which make us who we are. But the problems set in when we hang onto them so tight that they become big giant monsters of self-righteousness, huffing around in an I’m right, you’re wrong corner.

The stand-off differing perspectives causes can be exhausting. And whether it’s with family members, partners or out in the wider community unresolved issues are unhealthy. If we keep spending all that energy on feeling misunderstood we’re not doing ourselves any favours because we may be missing solutions only a tiny side step away from what we think.

So we have choices we can accept the other person’s perspective, reconcile it and move on. Happy days. But sometimes no matter how hard we try we cannot accept it and then we have to let go of the indignation and call a friend! No seriously after the call we do need to try and move on. We can listen to their point of view and if we don’t agree it can be a buffer, clarify a situation, or maybe even be a call to action. Sometimes we don’t like their perspective because it challenges our sense of self but no matter how much we want people to see things our way the truth is they may not. The only thing we can do then is manage our response.

Sometimes I really struggle looking past my own interpretation of situations but when I can it’s a bit like climbing a hill. We don’t just look one way when we reach the top we look in every direction, take in every view. We do look a little longer at the view we like best but at least we do see the whole panorama. As Wayne Dyer says, “Change the way you look at things and the things you look at change.” Hard but worth a try?

Old Cat

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I have a friend who has a cat, Morris. She has had that cat for twenty two years. You’d think he’d be some sort of world record holder but in fact that belongs to Crème Puff who died in Austin, Texas, aged thirty eight! When I went to see her last week I was stuck by Morris and his longevity. With the average cat life expectancy around fifteen years he’s doing pretty well.

I asked her why she thought Morris was still with us and there were a few reasons. He keeps an even temperature. Most of his day is spent lying near a heater if it’s cold, or near an air conditioner if it’s hot. He eats well. Yes, no expense is spared, he dines on cat food garnished in parsley and unidentifiable greens. And lastly he keeps his stress levels down. No frenzied mice hunting for Morris, he’s locked inside at night and his cat flap secured so no strays or uninvited felines can bother him.

This seems like a longevity recipe for all of us.

Don’t stress.

Eat well.

And keep your home environment perfect for you.

Thank you Morris and I hope one day you can snatch that world record from Crème Puff.

 

Feeling Overwhelmed

IMG_0968 (2)It was funny, I hadn’t realised I wasn’t coping until I went to my weekly yoga class and just burst into tears. Nothing awful had happened, nothing tragic or life threatening had occurred only that my mind and body were allowed to stop. All the pent up frustration and stress I’d been hanging onto just flooded out. I was embarrassed and almost ran out but I was glad I stayed. My yoga teacher had seen my distress and as we were lying in relaxation she came over and wordlessly placed her hands on me, relaxing and easing the tension in my head, neck and spirit. It was such a simple yet powerful gesture that acknowledged it’s actually okay not to have it all together and that we are part of something bigger.

I was so grateful for her touch which allowed me to put the brakes on but it did get me wondering how I’d got myself into such a state in the first place. If I can put it in one word I was overwhelmed, like a king tide all the individual stressors had surged together and swamped me.

The family or community we live in is part of our identity but can also be a source of stress. If bad feelings and unresolved emotions go unchecked they can balloon into something too big for us to handle. So if you feel yourself coiled like a spring its time to stop and take a step back because a massive meltdown is not good for home or relationship harmony. Try and deal with one thing at a time. I’m not even looking at the big picture.

No matter what work you do if you don’t apply boundaries bit by bit it will take more of you. If you’re fine with that no matter but if you find yourself thinking about work, playing the what if scenarios, worrying, then like me you may need to clarify your role and expectations. After all work is only a part of us and we don’t want it consuming our down time.

But sometimes it isn’t family or work which overwhelms us it is our own selves. Our own dreams and desires are not being met, our expectations of ourselves are not being realised. I like this quote from Antonio Banderas, “Expectation is the mother of all frustration.” By pulling back on unrealistic expectations of ourselves and others we can actually say no; at work, at home and to our inner voice and so ease our tension.

I’ve realised I’m not alone in feeling overwhelmed. It is something we all experience at different times and in different places. So if you know somebody teetering on the edge perhaps we could all be like my yoga teacher; acknowledge their discomfort, be kind and give them the chance to stop.

“Good morning my beautiful friend.”

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I woke up to this message today and it totally changed my head space. I’d been feeling the post New Year blues but somehow these five words stopped that down feeling straight in its tracks. I felt special, cared about and valued. But mostly I thought, I’m very lucky to have such a friend. And nothing chases off a bad mood like gratitude.

It got me thinking about friendships. They really are one of life’s true treasures. What an amazing list of words there are to describe friends and that’s for good reason. They add to our lives in so many ways. And friends don’t have to be around like family and we’re not obliged to spend time with them like our work. No, we have friends to enhance our lives and to give us the chance to enhance theirs.

Friends reflect a bit of what we are or want to be, which is why we’ve connected. Like me you probably have lots of different friends, some you’ve known for years and others who have more recently arrived in your life. You may share values, experiences, humour, the list of what makes us connect is endless. What is constant though is the fact you both care enough to commit and to make the effort for each other.

So let your friends be your inspiration. If they’re changing it up; going on a trip, losing weight, learning something new, there’s no reason why you can’t shake up your life as well. You don’t have to do the same things but invigorating any situation is infectious. You can share your progress, doubts or crazy disasters in a safe space.

And let your friends support you. We often read about how important it is to be kind to ourselves which is a lot easier said than done. But a good friend is kind to you when you can’t give to yourself. And we are kind to them in return. This reciprocal relationship is the basis of true friendship.

Friendship is an invisible bond, there are no time, obligation or distance constraints to define it. When I was ten my best friend gave me a small plate for a birthday present. On it was written, “A true friend is the best possession.” There’s nothing more to say…

Take time to do things properly

 

There’s no denying I get easily side-tracked. I start doing one thing then something brighter will catch my eye and like a magpie I chase it. Now while I may have discovered something new and shiny it also means I haven’t finished what I started.

I was inspired to write this by the amazingly persistent Corpse Flower. It’s an extremely rare plant from way out in the Sumatran jungle. It gets its name from its terrible smell but what’s most admirable about this plant is the effort it puts into growing, its commitment to purpose. It takes seven to ten years before it even flowers and then years before blooming again.

We live in such a fast paced world, constantly rushing for results, that we can forget it actually takes time to do a good job. If I’m honest there’s no quick fix to my projects and I have to commit the time it will take to complete them properly. This is hard because we’re programmed for reward, to get rich quick, but life isn’t like that. To do things well takes time.

The Corpse Flower completes its purpose against a lot of environmental adversity. It works hard to survive. Our work and hobbies need that same commitment. This ability to persist when bombarded by other things seems key to finishing anything.

And after the magnificent flower wilts away it dies back, leaving nothing but a single leaf. What a beautiful image, it has done what needed to be done but the seed is sown for new growth to begin. So if you’re a great starter but poor finisher take some inspiration from the Corpse Flower. As Confucius said, “It does not matter how slowly you go as long as you do not stop.”

A good time to declutter

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When I was little I often visited ornamental gardens with my family. On one such day trip I discovered a summer house. It was decorated in the richest, most glorious wallpapers and fabrics, which just sung out at you. They were the creations of William Morris, the celebrated C19th British textile designer. But what was wonderful about that summer house was the composition of the rooms. No clutter, everything was in its place.

Physical disharmony and clutter can be very unconducive to creativity and action. Mess bombards us with distractions. We forget where things are and waste time looking for them. We get sidelined into dealing with the consequences of our disorganization, and that’s time consuming. By decluttering you significantly lessen the attention grabbers.

The clutter that evolves around us can be a visual sign of our own procrastination. It can be overwhelming to decide what to keep or where to move things to. So start small, if you cook declutter cupboards in the kitchen, if you garden try the shed, if you work from home, your desk. By tidying, donating, recycling, we create an energetic living space and can celebrate our active decision making.

Clear away to refill. If a jug is full you can’t keep pouring more water in it, there’s nowhere for it to go. It’s the same for our home environments. Hopefully, we’re alive for a long time; fashion, tastes and technology changes, we need to make room for the new phases of life. Which also means we have to deal with the old.

Now, I’m not advocating a frenzied attack on all possessions. The history, sentimental value, and relevance of belongings to our identity should always be preserved; but anything other than that really does have a shelf life. As William Morris said, “Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.”