Go With The Geese…

 

I’m thinking about the flow of life this week. For a month or so now I have been woken by a flock of geese flying and making their own unique squawking sound as they fly in formation across my piece of sky. I don’t think they actually go too far as they like the local wetland area, although I guess they will migrate eventually.

As the changing of the seasons tells us, nothing stays the same forever. In order to reconcile myself to change I have been meditating on bird migration. Year in and year out, birds experience the seasonal upheaval of migration; however, these global movements are not seen as disruptive, they are simply seen as the ebb and flow of nature’s cycles. Perhaps if we understand that changes in life could also be seen as part of life’s bigger picture and not something of an obstruction we can adjust more easily to new occurrences in life.

We know nothing stays the same forever – true relaxation comes not from controlling life’s flow but instead allowing oneself to be carried along with the flow instead of looking back with nostalgia for the past or fear for the future.

If you find that you are struggling this week to achieve a desired result in any given situation, perhaps you are trying too hard to make something work. Maybe try sitting back a little ( I know it’s hard!) and let things happen as they will. Use acceptance. Remember nothing happens until it is meant too.

A little light relief and a poem for today……

My father used to look at the birds as they flew overhead and convinced me they were on their way home from school. I believed him too (actually, I still do!)

Bird School

It’s absolutely true
That, just like you,
As a general rule
Birds go to school.
Flying together
Whatever the weather
They attend their classes
On treetop branches.
At half-past three
When it’s time for tea
Look to the sky
Where the clouds float by.
See the birds on the wing
As they soar and sing.
For all in a flock
They looked at the clock
And twittered about
When school was out!
Now they’re off to their nest
For a feathery rest,
And a goodnight cheep
Before they sleep.

(C) Lyn Halvorsen

 

BC11FC0C-1465-486C-B7E7-569DC936BFD3

 

What Makes Us Shine?

We don’t always realise how valuable our contribution is to the world. We don’t realise we are awesome. All of us….

 

I watched a little child praised for something he had done well this week and saw how his face lit up and saw how he walked with a spring in his step for a while, knowing he was valued: he was able to shine. It got me thinking about how we all need a little time to shine as we go about our day – our year and even our life. Because being given time to shine helps build our confidence and the way we view the world. Like a plant that shrivels without sunlight we can shrivel if we aren’t shown appreciation.

It could be said that our ego steps to the fore when we are made to feel good – made to feel special, and there is that very English thing a lot of us have had instilled in us from an early age – the thought that if we are praised or shown appreciation we may end up getting ‘ideas above our station’. We may ask ourselves , ‘Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?’ Actually, who are you not to be? We have to remind ourselves now and again that being small or insignificant does not serve the world. There is nothing good about remaining in the shadows so other people won’t feel insecure around you.

We are all meant to have our time to shine at times, just as children do –  not just some of us but all of us; we grow with the recognition that we are doing well or are on the right track.

Constructive praise is a wonderful thing. We can expect it when we have done well but there is always room for praise even when there has been cause to point out someone’s bad behaviour or mistake – reminding someone we love them and focusing on their positive points can be a good turning point at a difficult time.

We may lack confidence at times – we may literally forget HOW to shine, perhaps we need a little bit of inspiration….

As inspiration to shine unabashedly, there is a wonderful quote by author Marianne Williamson:

    ‘Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that frightens us most.’

If we release that fear of being in the spotlight we can reach immense heights – we can realise there is nothing really to fear for we are all striving in this world to do the best we can. Also, when we remember that most people are worrying about how the world views them and not you, (it’s just human nature not selfishness) you can feel less self-conscious.

We can help others shine. Compliments are free! When you give someone a compliment, you are more likely to get one in return so it helps all round. When you make someone feel special, it can be enough to carry them through the rest of a difficult day and keep them happy and productive.

Kindness doesn’t actually kill! You can never harm anyone with kindness. Kindness will kill a bad mood or a bad memory. A kind thought or deed will create a good memory for someone. Even if you are having a bad day, being kind to another human being will make both you and them feel better.

Ways to help your self shine

Remember positive moments, and build your self-confidence for future endeavours.

Let yourself shine based on your character and personality – don’t be afraid to be yourself.

Nuture the relationships that are encouraging and supporting.

Look after yourself.

Practise mindfulness – the state of being conscious and aware – sounds obvious but do we really notice everything that is going on around us.

Remember that it is often the small things that are more important than the big ones.

Love makes us shine

Do you remember when you first fell in love? That feeling like you were walking on air, when your senses were heightened and the whole world seemed to be aglow? We may not be able to capture that feeling all the time but we would do well to remember the power of love. Whatever sort of love we feel, whether it is the love of a partner or our child, a friend or even self love, when we feel love we thrive and we truly shine.

YOUR LIFE WAS MEANT TO SHINE.

6A32B133-89B9-49D4-BD9E-0AC19B024E00

 

 

 

 

Eating Well (and Not a Very Big Cabbage!)

Perhaps we all need a gentle reminder to look after ourselves….

 

We are well into October. The Autmn weather has treated us kindly with lingering warm balmy days easing into winter with magical mist and wonderful colour; it will soon be time time to look forward to cosy evenings, warm coats, chunky scarves and the odd hearty casserole or two. On the flip side, this is the time we are urged to think about things like flu jabs too and bolstering our immune systems for the winter…..

We are bombarded with information about keeping healthy these days. There are countless articles and programs available to seemingly guide us through the pros and cons about what we should be eating, how much exercise we should take and the sort of lifestyle we should be leading.

You may notice the word ‘should’ cropped up three times in the previous paragraph. Hmm..I need to address that. I was listening recently to a recording by the late and much missed Louise Hay, the motivational author and founder of Hay House. The subject was ‘Self Healing’ and with her gentle words of wisdom she suggested we ban the word ‘should’ from our vocabulary. Immediately we tell ourselves we ‘should’ do something, we change our thought pattern and feel restricted; we lose the natural flow of our thoughts. Maybe we can change the way we look at things, even just for a while. Change the word ‘should’ to ‘could’. We could be gentle with ourselves and nourish ourselves; both our bodies and our minds. We could make our own choices. We have unlimited choices if we look around.

Do we feel healthy?

Here is a guide I like to go by. A barometer for good health. You will notice that with good health it is easier to become a more grounded person too:

Absence of fatigue. Good appetite. Sleeping well and awaking refreshed. Good memory. Good clear thinking. Being the person you would like to be – honest, with good humour, kind, grateful and loving.

I wonder how many of us have the good health the above paragraph describes? I would like to think most of us but I certainly cannot tick all the boxes all of the time. Can you?

There are so many factors that are important for our health and well being. We all have a centre of wisdom deep inside us and if we make positive changes we can attract good spiritual and physical health. Our bodies are actually a mirror of our thoughts and beliefs. We hear the expression ‘we are what we eat’ very often, and I believe it to be true, but I think ‘we are what we think’ as well. Our subconscious mind accepts what we tell it as true, so with the unlimited choices about what we think, it is important to train ourselves to be positive and release any negative thought patterns. It is incredible to think that right now, what we think today, this minute, can create our future.

Letting go.

Most of us carry burdens or negative thoughts around with us of some sort or another. Maybe we feel we aren’t good enough, clever enough or even carry some guilt. We try to please. We want to be liked. We want to excel at what we do. Maybe we feel fear. I know life is hard to figure out. It always has been and always will be. But letting go of things we can’t change will help us face the future and improve our health. I am a born worrier and yet I know that worry never changes anything, and most things resolve in the long run. If we harbour regrets and guilt, we are dwelling on things from the past we cannot change.

The power of meditation.

It took me a long time to learn the benefit of meditation. I found it difficult to switch off, to let my mind go blank. I tried many guided meditations with audio books and the like. I knew it must work otherwise why would all the great gurus live their lives by it? The dictionary describes meditation thus: contemplation, thought, musing, pondering, consideration, study, brooding, cogitation, reverie, etc. I realised I do this a lot of the time anyway! I just needed to do it in a calm and quiet atmosphere, and moderate my breathing. Once I realised there was no mystery behind it, it became a lot easier and part of a regular routine. I now know that if my mind gets bombarded with random thoughts I can quietly let them go. A ten minute pause in a busy day to clear the mind is as valuable as a long rest curled up on the sofa. I usually put on some peaceful music and maybe light a candle or a joss stick (well, I was around in the sixties).

Eating well and ‘not a very big cabbage!’

Where do we start with diet? Here we do have an enormous amount of choice. How lucky we are in the Western world to be able to choose our diet. So many foods are at our disposal. We can have all manner of foods deposited on our doorsteps at the click of a button. We have bulging cookery books on our shelves full of ideas and suggestions of what to cook for almost every kind of diet we will ever need. Yet still we find ourselves getting confused.

I like to cook and eat healthy, mainly vegetarian food with natural ingredients; whole grains, good fats, fruit and vegetables. I try and avoid sugar wherever possible but I find it hard to resist homemade cake. I guess the odd treat is acceptable! Eating nutritious food provides energy and good eating is about feeling good. I know that it is more of a challenge to eat well with food intolerance or allergies, but thankfully there is a range of gluten free and diary free food available in the shops now. Here at home we have been consuming much more of a plant based diet and are easing off diary produce. The range of nut milks available is growing all the time. I look forward to my cereal with almond milk every morning!

I know that we don’t all have a large budget and buying the best ingredients can be costly. A friend of ours recently commented about the exorbitant price of a cabbage, and to use his words, ‘not even a very big cabbage!’ It is hard for young families and I admire all the young parents who do their best to feed their families well. We need our youngsters to enjoy good nutrition – they are our future.

Exercise and fresh air

I’m not great at exercise. I need to exercise more. I do love to walk however, and there is nothing better than getting out in the fresh air with the headphones on whatever the weather. Life soon gains perspective again. Half an hour a day has been proven to make a big difference to overall health. Of course, the more exercise you can fit in, the better!

Essential Oils

At home it is lovely to use essential oils. Like all holistic therapies, aromatherapy seeks to strengthen the body’s own innate self-healing ability , aiming to restore balance, both physically and psychologically. It strives to correct any imbalances in the body which may have occurred through poor diet or negative thoughts.The use of essential oils can help to speed healing and well being.

Aromatherapy is a big subject and more than I can go into here, but if you haven’t used oils at home before, a good way to start is with a burner or diffuser. A simple burner operates with a tea-light and is quite inexpensive. Good oils to start with are lavender, geranium and ylang ylang. Essential oils need to be used with care so follow the instructions on the bottle. Fill the bowl of the burner with water and add a few drops of two or three oils and light the candle. Your room will soon smell amazing and you will feel uplifted. I have a diffuser which is a step up from a burner but not essential. I love mine as it changes colour and produces a gentle puff of steam. You can find a good range on Amazon.

My aim today is to give myself and anyone who would be glad of it and little nudge; to help us reflect on our lives, to ask ourselves whether we give ourselves enough time for the really important things in life, like nurturing and care. Don’t feel self indulgent if you feel the need to rest. It’s important to take time out, no matter how busy your life is.

We are energy beings first and foremost. But stress causes energy blockages in the physical body, causing stress and disease. Do not underestimate the power of positive thinking. This will counteract negative energies, make waves of love, compassion and understanding, and it heals.

If you are trying to cope with ill health at the moment I wish you well.

‘Whatever is good for your soul. Do that.’

Good health and blessings to you.

diffuser

It’s No Use Going Back to Yesterday…

How do we change the way we view the past….?

It’s no use going back to yesterday, because I was a different person then.

Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland.

I love the above quotation. It is so true and yet we often forget this and cause ourselves to churn over past mistakes or unforgotten slights from others. I wrote this post a year ago but I thought it worth repeating as I often forget to follow my own advice!

2FB21903-91D2-4D0C-89A6-C324CC6D8F30

Problems from our past are responsible for a lot of the anxieties we suffer from now. Reminders of unhappy memories from the past can come from all manner of things. Perhaps a familiar perfume floating on the air, or a few bars of half remembered music from long ago is enough to have you catapulted back to a situation you would prefer to forget. At times like this it’s a good idea to stop and remind yourself that those days are in the past and although you may wish you could erase them, you can’t. You cannot change them either. You may not realise it but you can learn from those painful memories, even just by becoming a more understanding and empathetic person to others. Ask yourself if the memories are genuinely as bad as you feel they are. Can you try to look back and view them as an outsider and make an objective judgement? If you know it was something completely traumatic, have you ever talked it through with anyone? Until you release the pain and trauma you felt you may have difficulty moving on. Consider talking to a counsellor if this is the case. If you were badly hurt or abused in some way, remember that none of that was your fault. None. You didn’t deserve to be treated badly; you deserve to be loved. I don’t think many of us can totally stop ourselves from delving into the past in darker moments. We may say to ourselves: ‘If this hadn’t happened I wouldn’t be feeling like this now’ or ‘if I had acted differently/ taken the job/ moved here instead of there’ none of this would have happened and my life would be better.’ But how do you know that for sure? We can always find situations and people to blame for how we feel now. Perhaps there IS someone to blame or someone who treated you unfairly but that doesn’t bring a solution. The solution lies in forgiveness and moving on. You are a different person now and what happened or whatever choices you made in the past are just that. In the past. But you are here now and have a chance to move forward and be who you wish to be. No one can hurt you if you don’t let them but you hurt yourself if you cannot let go of past grievances. Buddha says: ‘Holding on to anger is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die’. There is hardly a person on earth who doesn’t have some sort of mental scars from the past and maybe that is where a lot of the problems in our world stem from. If we can’t show forgiveness and love our brothers and sisters at home and all around the world then troubles occur and escalate. No one is perfect and our upbringing came from those who were doing the best they could from what they themselves had learned along the way.

Past Mistakes

Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could; some blunders and absurdities have crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day; you shall begin it serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense.’    

 Ralph Waldo Emerson 

Wouldn’t we all like to have the above attitude!

I think most of us have made mistakes in our past. But however unpleasant these mistakes may seem, it’s a part of life that we need to learn from, accept and eventually get over. As we know deep down, the past is the past and no amount of thinking and worry will change that. If we acknowledge the past is outside of our control, we can more easily let go of these mistakes and stop beating ourselves up over them. Of course, it is completely natural to feel bad now and then. Guilt, anxiety and depression over past events can serve a positive function in our lives as long as we don’t get too attached to these feelings. Think of these feelings as part of a learning process – a prompt for us to make make amends or to try to avoid old pitfalls so we don’t make the same mistakes again. However, we don’t want to wallow in negative emotions. The main thing is not to let them dictate our lives as that is when these emotions become unhelpful.

Here are some tips to help you move forward:

Remember that everyone makes mistakes at times and you are no different.

Most of the time you have tried your best.

Honesty helps – admit it if you’ve made a mistake and learn from it.

Focus on now.

Life is always unfolding and changing – no single event can dictate what you do for the rest of your life.

Your past has shaped you to become who you are now but your future actions will shape who you can be in the future.

 

I try and remember this: If there is something lurking in the darkness, shine a light on it, deal with it and then move on. Then you are safe to turn the light off again.

23F60E76-D4E8-4FF6-9AAB-32D25D44129A