Last week I read this list of points that someone had written about what they had learnt about life now they were in their 40s and could reflect back with experience and wisdom. Having turned 40 almost a year ago, the title of the article caught my attention and then I kept reading.
Points 20 and 23 really resonated with me and especially point 26 about friendships. In the last 12 months, I have drifted apart from a good friend and yes it feels odd but I can also see now we are on very different journeys.
Have I mastered every one on this list? absolutely no. I am really struggling with point number 2 today. Do I always listen without jumping in my head to give an answer or solution? Do I really give my children the listening attention they would like?
I loved this list as it made me take time to reflect and also to focus more on living a life which has many of these elements in it. One day at a time.
1. It's OK to say no as long as you learn the art of doing so graciously.
2. Don't waste time worrying and moaning about stuff you have no control over. Let it go.
3. Everything you see depends on how you look at it.
4. Stop comparing your insides to everyone else's outsides.
5. Listening to someone -- really listening -- is one of the most important, respectful and rewarding things you can do.
6. It's awesome to collect people throughout life, but you're truly blessed if you have a handful of besties who will always, always have your back. Even if you don't speak to them all that often, you know they're there.
7. The morning after is rarely -- if ever -- worth the night before.
8. No one gives a crap if you go to the supermarket in sweats without makeup and your unwashed hair in a ponytail on top of your head.
9. Experiences are infinitely more memorable than stuff.
10. Confidence is beautiful and powerful.
11. Laugh lines are worth it.
12. It will always boggle your mind how some people will exceed the lowest imaginable depth of stupidity, incompetence and nastiness, while others will exceed the highest imaginable pinnacle of kindness, compassion and helpfulness.
13. Don't live your life by anyone else's expectations, taste, hopes or dreams.
14. If you rely on others for joy, you will never be joyful yourself.
15. Grudges aren't worth it.
16. You'll never regret going out of your way to brighten someone's day.
17. "Please" and "thank you" are always appreciated and appropriate.
18. Tell the little self-sabotaging voice in your head to bug off.
19. The food doesn't matter. The table settings don't matter. All that matters is the company.
20. Being super-busy is not a badge of honor, importance, popularity or success. It's perfectly OK -- and actually healthier and preferable -- to be not so busy.
21. Despite your delusions, you have absolutely no idea what's happening behind other people's doors.
22. Most bad behavior and bitterness is rooted in jealousy.
23. What makes you happy isn't the elixir that will make someone else happy.
24. It's not always someone else's fault. Sometimes you have to look in the mirror.
25. You can disagree with someone's opinions and beliefs, but it doesn't make them wrong. And it's probably best just not to go there when it has to do with religion, politics or love.
26. Friendships change over time. Sometimes they have an expiration date and they dissolve into fuzziness. And that's OK.
27. Eye cream is your friend.
28. Stop waxing poetic about how good it used to be. Stop fantasizing about how good it might be in the future. Savor how good it is right now. Make your moments matter.
29. It's nice to be thought of and remembered.
30. Sometimes you've gotta do stuff just because it's the right thing to do. Often it's uncomfortable. Usually it's inconvenient. But it's almost always worth it.
31. Elephants don't belong in the room. Having the tough conversation is ultimately better than living with the energy-sapping misery of resentment or misunderstanding.
32. Some stuff just isn't meant to be. The sooner you accept it and stop trying to force it to happen, the better off you'll be.
33. The solution to someone else's problem that seems so obvious to you is likely something they've already tried and it hasn't worked.
34. A good night's sleep is a gift from the heavens and can change everything.
35. People will make time for you if you're important to them. And they pretty much won't if you're not.
36. Sometimes you need to suck it up hard in the name of love, peace and harmony.
37. Don't let angry people get to you; instead, try to muster some compassion for them.
38. Stop worrying about what everyone else thinks. Stop wasting energy on stuff that isn't your business. You just do you.
39. Accept, embrace and celebrate change.
40. Being polite and smiling genuinely can make a big difference.
41. Stillness is restorative and healing.
42. Take one day at a time, one step at a time. Break down challenges into small, do-able chunks. It will all get done.
43. Life is what happens while you're waiting expectantly for the next big thing on the horizon to come to fruition. Savor the everyday.
44. If you push yourself and focus on what's good rather than wallowing selfishly in the negative, things will almost always improve.
45. Everything happens for a reason. Sometimes it isn't immediately apparent, but in time, and with reflection, the reason usually becomes clear. And often it's so extraordinary and breathtaking, it'll blow you away.
46. No matter how much you wish, you can't will things to happen. But often, there's a better and "righter" path that reveals itself if you keep your eyes and mind open.
47. Take a risk and have the guts to seize the opportunity, because it may not present itself again
I had my first experience of a gong bath at the retreat I went to in February and it is one of the most soothing holistic treatments. It’s a sound massage for the body and mind.
I was quite blown away by feeling so relaxed and became curious that vibrational sound could have such an effect on me.
Tonight I went to my second gong bath and this time it was in Copenhagen at a yoga centre in the city. I went with one of my closest friends and as they said at the beginning, no gong bath is the same. The sound experience is indescribable and of course, everyone has their own unique experience. All I can say, is try this if you have the opportunity.
So how does it work: everything you see around you is vibrating at a frequency, whether we hear it or not. Sound frequencies can effect us on a cellular level, influence how we feel and function. Sound healing practices like a gong bath use vibrational sound and frequency to help reduce stress, alter consciousness and create a deep sense of peace and well being.
I am very impacted by sounds. I hate noise pollution. I played music from a very young age and music deeply connects with my emotions. Gong Baths for me provide a way to enter a state of deep relaxation with sound. Quite magical.
The here and now. The many moments that make up each day. Sometimes we don't know when these moments come that take our breath away or make us feel extra special or we just want to always remember.
This was one of the moments of my day today, waking up with my navy guy and our dog and just enjoying being together.
He has just come home from 7 weeks at sea and will leave again in two weeks time. It is not an easy life being apart so much but what it does do is focus the mind on appreciating each moment we have together.
Take time today to stop, enjoy the now, to look around and to enjoy the moment. That is how I believe we can live the best life possible.
Gratitude: a feeling of appreciation.
I have noticed that the Universe loves Gratitude. The more Grateful you are, the more goodies you get”
- Louise Hay
About a year ago, I joined a group on Facebook called the 40 day Gratitude circle which was set up by the wonderful Julie Santiago. The goal is to share something with the others in the group that you are grateful for each day. For the first "40 day practices", I admit that I struggled. I started, I stopped, I didn't make myself do this every day. As some days, it can be painful and tough. Other days it can be very easy. But the tough days are the best ones. Really digging deep, looking around and thinking that am I grateful for today.
But then I did a whole 40 days of sharing with the group on what I was grateful for each day. This is a very powerful emotion to nurture and to develop. Now I see the world so differently. The thought "I am grateful..." goes through my head so many times a day now. I can think this when walking my dog and seeing some new flowers, or reading a story to my son and laughing together or having a tough moment where I feel uncomfortable but feeling grateful that knowing this emotion is both teaching me something and will pass.
To back up my own experience, I will share this article from the NY Times on Gratitude - "cultivating an attitude of gratitude has been linked to better health, sounder sleep, less anxiety and depression, higher long-term satisfaction with life and kinder behavior toward others...the ones who kept a gratitude journal reported feeling happier and more optimistic than those in a control group...they also fell asleep more quickly at night, slept longer and woke up feeling more refreshed."
This group has not only helped my develop my practice of gratitude, I have also found a whole community of wonderful people who are honest, vulnerable and so brave. The support and new friendships has been just amazing and has certainly added something so special into my life.
Not every day will be easy or filled with happy moments. There are days when we all experience sadness and challenges.
Like the weather, nothing is permanent and bad days pass as well.
So what do I do on a day where I experience black clouds in my mind?
I try to connect with light by being outside and then as darkness comes, I light a lot of candles and lanterns. This helps me connect to a positive source.
One of the reasons I wanted to write this blog was to share with the world people and ideas that inspire me and make me think differently, put a smile on my face, help me grow and contribute to me living the best life possible. This is my first post on sharing someone what really inspires me and to kick this off with a man called Jonathan Fields and a project he drives called The Good Life Project
What is the this all about: The Good Life Project is about opening a vein to the purpose, people, possibility and potential.
It’s about building an extraordinary life, deeper relationships and a meaningful vocation, venture or body of work. It’s about becoming a creator, a leader, a mentor, a maker, an artists, a giver, a doer, a world-shaker.
I make sure that during each week I listen to one of the podcasts he records. I am always moved, always given a new way to look at life, and always inspired. The guests are honest, vulnerable and authentic and show that there are many ways to live a good life. We each have our own journey. They have taken risks, made mistakes and also had extraordinary success.
I have never met Jonathan but he has a big part in my life. He has such a talent for talking, sharing ideas and interviewing people. His style is calming and stimulating. I never travel without his podcasts on my iPod. My dream is to go to the GLP camp they organise each summer in the US. Maybe next year....
I read a very interesting article today on motivation and purpose which resonated so much with what I have learnt about all areas of my life but especially my career. Actions disconnected from purpose are meaningless.
So how can you find your purpose? This is really about listening to that inner voice and your reaction.
Energy shows the way. The closer you get to your purpose the more energy you feel.
The article is here and I can highly recommend reading it
We are not supposed to live lives with constant stress. Go on the journey (as I am doing) to find that role or company or job that you have passion for.
I live in a country which is famous for design. You can find the most wonderful things for your home in Denmark. Stylish chairs, even more stylish TVs, candles in every shape and size, beautiful glass and china. For many years, I rejected my english heritage and built a home which was very much inspired by the clean cut danish design. I even moved into a modern apartment with white walls and wooden floors.
But I realised I wasn't creating a home for ME. I was creating a place that looked amazing in the pictures and could tick many boxes but it wasn't my home. I have always liked furniture from Bali/Indonesia and last summer I found a warehouse outside of Copenhagen where the couple who own it travel to Bali for a couple of months each year and come back with gorgeous unique pieces of furniture. Last summer I bought 5 pieces and this really changed my home and yesterday I got the missing piece. A rug for the floor.
I have realised how important it is to feel connected to the place where you live. To feel it represents you. That is a calm space. That you can stop, rest, recharge as well as entertain and have fun. I have a lot of buddhas and lanterns and I also love my altars (one in the living room and one in my bedroom). I have photos from holidays and also ones that my Dad has taken. My children call this our hippy dippy home.
This has been a key step in my journey. Making MY home feel like the right place for me. What would your ideal home look like?
I adore my children. I will share I had this image of today, mother's day being a "perfect" day with harmony all day, lots of happy moments etc etc. I was woken up early by the dog needed to go outside and my daughter first woke up after I had cooked myself breakfast.
What I realised is that is was probably the mother's day I needed. Things went wrong, homework was forgotten about until late Sunday evening, my daughter had an emotional meltdown with tears, small accident with the car....
This is what being a mother is all about. Not over reacting to things that were an accident. Giving comfort when there are feelings of sadness. Talking things through. Sitting at the kitchen table and helping with homework. Being present. This was what I learnt and experienced today. It isn't about gifts and having breakfast in bed.
I felt so loved by my two children and that made my mother's day very magical.
We have a picture in our home which says: In this house, we do real; we do I'm sorry; we do fun; we do hugs;we do really loud; we do second chances; we do happy; we do forgiveness and we do love.
Yesterday I received an email with this buddhist quote in it and it really resonated with me. There are so many things we cannot control in life and if we try to do this, we are not living life the way it should be lived. We will also never get to a point where we feel adult enough, or happy enough or smart enough. Life is moment by moment and we have to make the best out of each moment we have - not live by our to do list.
"There will always be an infinity of things to do. We can never get our life or our business or our kitchen running exactly the way we want it to run. No matter how we envision it, it can’t be that way. Life is not predetermined to the point that we can get to some stage and then see how it all works. What happens is that we have a better and better understanding of things, we have more and more clarity and ability to deal with things as they arise. But they keep arising, endlessly. The empty sky is always creating new clouds. The pot is always boiling."
Today I am tired. I have a headache and my body doesn't feel optimal. I look around my home and can see many things to do. I could spend all day being "busy" and still have not have an immaculate home (I have a dog and two children!). Instead I chose to focus on the key things that I will look back on and say that made today a good day. A walk, good talks, cooking good food, a nap and lots of cuddles.
On a journey to live the best sparkling life possible. Brit living in Denmark, mum to two amazing little people, Navy girlfriend, jazz lover, exploring yoga, buddhism and living healthy.