Forced to Feel Grateful

I haven’t been feeling that well in myself of late and now that I can feel my body on the mend, I’m feeling incredibly grateful to have my body back at full capacity. It feels heavenly to go about my day and not be in pain of any description. 

Quite often, we forget to be grateful for things because we take them for granted until they’re taken away. In my case, I’m usually a very healthy person and as I lay in bed feeling terrible, I longed for the days when I’d felt 100%.

When was the last time you were given a forcible reminder to feel grateful because something you usually take for granted was temporarily taken away?

I know that there’s an extra spring in my step as I acknowledge how good I feel when I wake up in the mornings, and it got me thinking about what else in my life I could be taking for granted. I also wondered if the same might be true for you, so, what is there in your life that you need to remember to be grateful for?

Judging Someone

There’s a billboard that I drive past on my way to work each morning and the latest advert to appear there is for Amazon Prime. While I like the premise of the campaign with the strapline ‘great shows stay with you’, I have to admit that I’m not keen on this particular iteration. It shows three women doing their make-up in a public bathroom and two of the women are looking both shocked and disgusted as another woman puts on heavy eye make-up to make herself look like one of the characters in the TV show, Vikings.

When was the last time you judged someone for their appearance?

In my eyes, the advert seemed to reinforce the fact that, as women, we’re often our own worst enemy and are more critical of one another than the opposite sex are. It also highlighted that, as a society, we prevent people from expressing themselves fully because it doesn’t tie in with expected societal norms.  

I know we’re all guilty of judging one another and that’s why it works well as an advert, but in what ways do you think you could try to be less judgemental as you go about your routine today?

Sunset Yoga

My hen do was last weekend and while every moment was completely perfect, one of the stand out highlights was definitely sunset yoga on the beach. I’ve never taken a yoga class in that kind of setting before and it was absolutely amazing. Our teacher, Johanna Hellinger, was delightful and she effortlessly designed a class which catered for my friends who had never sat on a yoga mat before, as well as those of us who were a little more experienced.

Johanna mentioned gratitude throughout the class and I have to say that sharing that wonderful experience with my closest friends is something that’s still making me smile now. I have never felt so grounded and at peace as I did hearing the sounds of the waves lapping against the shore, breathing in the fresh sea air and feeling the sand under my hands and feet.

It got me thinking because yoga is something I do a lot, but I’m often just following along to a YouTube video on my living room floor. A change in scenery really helped me to connect more deeply to my practice and it was a completely different experience to what I’m used to. Is there an activity that is part of your usual routine that would also benefit from a change in setting? How could you mix things up a little to help you reconnect to it more fully?

An Entrepreneurial Trait

On Monday I attended Newcastle Startup Week and the theme for the day was inspiration. A variety of speakers, all of whom are successful entrepreneurs, talked about their journey to success, their failures along the way, and how to stay positive and focused on your goals during the inevitable ups and downs.

No matter the business owner, the business sector, or the speaking topic, a common theme emerged in each speech and that was the inherent need to believe in yourself even when others don’t.

Who here is guilty of caring a little bit too much about what people think? I know I am.

As I listened to each speaker share their story, it became very clear that each and every one of them had ignored the opinions of others at some point in their career. Whether it was a parent, a friend or a spouse, the speakers explained that they had chosen to disregard any concerns those close to them had raised and they carried on regardless.

Entrepreneurs by their very nature take bold risks and are willing to move outside of societal norms and take a chance on themselves. Is there anything in your life that you’re not pursuing because someone close to you thinks it’s a bad idea? How would you approach it if you had the mindset of an entrepreneur. What would you do if you were the type of person that takes risks?

What’s Next?

Our wedding invites are being delivered, Alex’s desk at work is inundated with wedding deliveries and our evenings are spent creating wedding favours. As the deadline for the biggest project I’ve ever planned is closing in, I know that in just a couple of months I’ll have a lot of my free time back and, more importantly, some space in my mind for creativity! This, along with some other things happening at the moment, have really got me thinking about what I want to achieve in the next couple of years. If I can plan a wedding in under a year, the world’s my oyster, right?

Are you getting close to finishing a project in either your personal or work life? Do you know what you’re going to direct your time and energy towards next? Do you need a goal setting session so you can capitalise on what you’ve been doing lately?

I know I do! 

I have lots of ideas, but I know I need to get clearer on exactly what I want to do. I think I’ll be taking a notebook with me on our honeymoon so I can use our travel time wisely and get really specific with my goals for the next year or two.  

What is it that you would like to achieve in the next 12-24 months?

Speak Up!

There’s a video I’ve seen on Instagram where Mel Robbins was speaking directly to women on International Women’s Day. In it she was telling us to stop transcribing the meetings we attend word-for-word. We believe we’re being diligent but she explained that when we’re poised to take notes, our body language implies that we’re not really there to participate.

Anyone else guilty of doing this? This struck a nerve with me because I know I am!

Taking notes makes me feel involved, but I know deep-down that it’s just the shy girl inside me trying to look busy so I don’t get picked on. It’s a behaviour I learned because it helped me to feel less vulnerable in situations where there was the potential that I would have to contribute, but it’s not something that I’ve adapted as I’ve grown in confidence.

I need to make sure I become more present in my meetings by taking less notes and being ready to share with any interesting points that come to mind. If Mel’s point also rings true for you, make a pact with yourself to only take down key bullet pointed notes in your next meeting and speak up!

Relationships can be hard.

Relationships can be hard, and this week Alex and I have had a lot to deal with, but it has only served to make me even more grateful for the fact he’s in my life. It’s just a couple of months until our wedding now and I honestly can’t wait until the day we say ‘I do’.

It’s important to remember that sometimes the harder times are there to remind you that, as a couple, you really can tackle anything – as long as you’re talking and you’re truly open and honest about how you’re feeling. Knowing that we really are partners in life and we’re both respectful of each other’s thoughts and opinions makes me excited about our future.

This is really just a little note to self to make sure I always remember to appreciate Alex and our relationship, ensuring it’s continues to be nurtured and we never get to a point where we’ve forgotten why we decided to spend our lives together in the first place.

Who do you have in your life that you need to remember to appreciate and why?

My Fair Lady

My Mum and I went to see My Fair Lady at the theatre on Saturday and it was great fun. It seemed to be a budget performance so some of the props were interesting to say the least, but the cast and orchestra were superb, and it made for a thoroughly enjoyable evening.

As a classic and a firm favourite of my Mum’s, I was already familiar with most of the storyline, but it was interesting to really engross myself in it for the first time. I was giggling away with the rest of them, but the feminist in me obviously noticed the copious amounts of sexism in the script. Granted, the original play dates back to 1913, but I couldn’t help but wonder if the story would someday change as we move towards gender equality.

I knew I wouldn’t be the first to think this so I went to Google and asked the question. I was greeted with articles explaining how My Fair Lady isn’t as sexist as we think. If nothing else, the story follows a strong female lead who goes after what she wants and makes it happen. I also stumbled across Amy Schumer’s summary of the plot which made me laugh: Girl meets mansplainer, chaos ensues. I particularly liked how she highlighted a line of Eliza’s where she says: ‘The difference between a lady and a flower girl is not how she behaves, but how she is treated.’ The premise of this statement is still the same nowadays, and it’s quite telling to see that the societal disparities that were written about decades ago are still so very prevalent today.

When was the last time you looked down on someone – intentionally or not? Whether you meant to or not, have you made someone feel a little worthless in your presence? 

I know I’m guilty of making a passing remark without thinking about how this will sit with another person. With this in mind, how could you change the way you treat someone today to make sure you’re making them feel valued?

Find What Feels Good!

On Sunday night I did some yoga before bed and it made me realise that even when I think I’m relaxed, I’m really not.

The Yoga with Adriene video I watched asked you to ensure you were in the comfiest outfit possible, so I put on my pyjamas and started following along on YouTube. I thought I had given myself permission to relax fully and completely by making the decision to do some restful yoga before bed, but it was interesting to see just how much resistance was still there.

At the start, Adriene explains that the purpose of the video is to help you forget about any troubles and stresses from the day, and throughout she recites her mantra: ‘find what feels good’. Whenever she repeated this phrase, she also reminded viewers that they should not be straining to hold any of the poses, but instead, they should be finding what feels good to them and relaxing into each one in their own way. Every time she said this, I realised that I could relax into each pose that little bit more. Whether I was forcing a twist too much or holding a bridge pose too tightly, I needed the reminder that I wasn’t on my yoga mat to push myself, I was there to relax.

This got me thinking about how it could also correlate to other areas of my life and how I might be able relax into those that little bit more too.

What about you? Is there anywhere in your life where you know you’re holding onto things too much? What changes do you think you could make to help you ease your approach and unwind a little?

Your assignment is…

I was introduced to a quote by Alan Cohen this week which said that ‘Your assignment is the piece of the world you touch.’ I loved the simplicity of this and I think that’s why it resonated with me.

When you first read this, what did you think of?

For me, it was its beautiful link with creating a sense of purpose in our lives. I know that when I’m contemplating what I should do with my life, I always feel I could and should be doing more, but Alan Cohen’s words will now remind me to bring things back a notch.

I try every day to focus on the here and now, but it’s not always easy – especially when my mind starts to spiral. I’m certainly guilty of spiralling when I think about my purpose in this world, and when this inevitably happens, I now know I need to remember this quote and focus in on the part of the world that I do touch – and that I can influence.

Greatness awaits all of us, but greatness is measured in our own terms and we must remember that. Instead of thinking that we’ll never be successful until we reach unattainable Kardashian heights of wealth and influence, we should focus on the things that really matter to us.  For me, happiness and contentment are my ultimate goals and they’re what I need to keep in mind when I’m mulling over my place in this world, and how I can make a difference to the piece of it that I touch.

How does your sense of purpose tie in with what you’re doing to make a difference to the piece of the world that you could influence?