Tag Archives: Everyday

I’m back (with no vengeance)

downloadI’ve been away from this blog for a while, partly due to medical reasons.

Back in November I had open surgery at my local hospital to remove a huge fibroid. (apologies if this is TMI but for the sake of women who haven’t heard: uterine fibroids are a bummer, and they affect 40% of the female population. Get yourselves checked, just sayin’).

I was scheduled to spend three days in hospital followed by a month off, which ended up turning into ten days and two months off. I spent those two months at home, largely unable to go out (we live on a 3rd floor with no lift) just sleeping, eating and resting.

Looking back, it was kind of nice.

I feel quite bad saying this, with regards to my family and friends who worried (specially while I was in hospital), my boyfriend who had to play housewife (he discovered some things don’t auto-clean) and my co-workers, who did all my work (to the intern who did it for free: you have my eternal gratitude).

But it’s true, once I was released from the hospital and out of harm’s way, the forced rest felt good. I had nothing to do but relax – doctor’s orders.

Before the operation I’d had the misguided idea that recovery would be some sort of holiday (like women who save big projects for maternity leave) – I would finally read, write, tidy our shit around the flat.

But in all this time, I did almost nothing. When I wasn’t high on painkillers, I was just plain exhausted. And let’s face it, no matter how much time I have on my hands, I just hate tidying.

I discovered something rather precious though. It’s something every nonagenarian probably knows: if you only have two hours in the day when you’re not too tired to contemplate doing anything, you save your energy for what matters.

When life slows down to snail pace, you soon figure out what your priorities are.

For me, I found resting mattered, rushing didn’t. Phoning relatives mattered, keeping up with Facebook didn’t. Watering plants mattered, reading the news didn’t.

I drank herbal tea and watched enough Netflix for a lifetime (or so I thought then, until they released the new Good Wife season). I didn’t write or read. I sometimes picked up crayons and sketched daily life, just for fun.

I don’t think I’d felt such calm and contentment since childhood. 

Needless to say, it was only good while it lasted because I knew it wouldn’t.

In due course normal life resumed. I felt a little more energetic every day, so after spending Christmas in France I went back to work. I hooked up with friends again, I finished a few books that had been gathering (metaphorical) dust in my kindle.

Eventually, I even felt like writing again.

So, here I am. It’s good to be back.

You’re lucky!

P1040475 low resA month ago, I had the pleasure of being a witness at my friend’s civil wedding ceremony at her local town hall; after which, the bride and groom and their two children invited us (me, the other witness and a third friend) to lunch at their local pub.

The place was cosy as they come – wooden floors, comfy sofas and fireplaces, mouth-watering smells floating from the kitchen and the livery chatter of people having a good time. The sort of place where children are welcome to run around and hide under the tables as they please, and adults may conceivably spend an entire Sunday drifting lazily from coffee to lunch to afternoon pints, while reading the papers all along.

Like you do with good friends you don’t see very often, we made the most of the event and the celebration, although simple, felt truly special. We had a wonderful time relaxing, laughing and enjoying a gorgeous meal. It was in all respects a perfect day.

At the end of the afternoon, as we put our coats back on and prepared to leave – a little tired, nicely full and red-cheeked from the celebratory food and wine – I felt as though I was walking on clouds and the entire world was just made of pure love.

On the way to the exit, I noticed my friend’s baby looking attentively at a small, friendly-looking collie dog. I reached down to pat the dog’s head and heard a loud voice above my head: “You’re lucky, you know”. I looked up to see who had spoken and saw the dog’s master, an elderly, probably homeless gentleman, grinning a toothless smile.

I was surprised at the incongruity of the comment (and if I’m honest, at finding a homeless man in a nice pub), but he didn’t seem to notice. He repeated a second time: “You’re really lucky, you know. She doesn’t like everybody.”

I looked back down at the dog which by now was wagging its tail frantically at both the baby and me. I replied something about the dog being cute, but the man kept repeating the same thing several times over “You’re lucky, you know”, in a way that made me wonder if he perhaps wasn’t entirely there himself.  “You’re lucky you know!” he said one last time as I was turning away to leave, “You have a very lucky life.”

It wasn’t until we came out onto the street that it stroke me how right the man had been. The truth is, I am lucky – to be able to spend days like this with great friends and their healthy children, to eat delicious meals in fancy pubs, to live a comfortable life in a vibrant city, to be making friends with cute dogs… while it’s cold outside, and some people have no homes to go to. 

The whole scene had felt slightly surreal, like something out of a Hollywood film, where God would be speaking to me directly through a kindly homeless person, to remind me of the things that truly matter in life.

I returned home feeling half-shaken, half-amused. Later that day I recounted the story to my boyfriend, who joked that the only way to have known for sure if the man was indeed a divine messenger would have been to go back inside, and check whether he had vanished… 

Of course I never thought of that at the time, so I shall never know. But in a way it doesn’t matter, as magic or not, this was a powerful message. I am lucky, in fact much more so than I realise.

And I am not the only one, you may be lucky too. 

If you are ever reminded of it by a toothless man with a dog in strange circumstances, please get in touch… 

February: No Imaginary Conversations

P1060427 low res

I tend to live in my head a lot (you don’t say!) so in February I picked a challenge that I felt would make a big difference in terms of stress and general wellbeing/sanity: limiting imaginary conversations.

If that sounds crazy, let me clarify that I don’t hear voices or anything – I just daydream lots.

In fact, I go by entire hours paying only remote attention to what is going on around me, because I’m too busy fantasizing about things that have happened, may happen, or I wish would happen, and as I’m not a visual-type person, I get a lot of internal dialogue.

While some are pleasantly entertaining, others are downright toxic.

Remembering a good moment or planning future holidays probably doesn’t do much harm, but unproductive conversations typically include:

  • decision making: arguing my case endlessly about a real life decision
  • doubt: going over past or future situations wondering if I could have done it better
  • venting anger: usually things I would never dare say in real life to whoever annoys me
  • justification: if I feel guilty about something that happened; entirely pointless and usually unnecessary
  • worst case scenarios: need I explain? I bet you get them too

The Buddhist tradition calls our endless train of thought the “monkey mind” – it goes from one thing  to the next without concentrating on anything, being at best distracting, at worst unproductive and frustrating. I tend to think of it as a washing machine, because whatever the idea, it never comes just once – it just goes round and round, over and over again.

The plan:

The rules for February were simple: if I caught myself having an imaginary conversation of any sort, I was to snap out of it immediately and focus on the present moment.
This was never going to be an easy one…

What actually happened:

I mentioned this challenge to my colleague William, who is also bit of a dreamer, and I loved his candid response:

“Why would you ever want to do that? it’d be 90% of my life gone!”

Indeed.

While refocusing on the present wasn’t actually hard in itself (in fact, it was surprisingly easy) I found that the present wasn’t necessarily always as appealing as it sounds. There is nothing glamorous about being stuck in a public transport, or in line at the post, or in a dreary conversation.

What I’ve learnt:

I’ve learnt several things

  1. It is tremendously helpful to be able to stop toxic worrying, panic attacks and guilt trips when you spot them. Not only does it dissolve the nasty thought literally into thin air, but also it helps you realise HOW MUCH unnecessary anger/ guilt/ worry you have in a day – and how much time you could save by avoiding them altogether.
  2. On the other hand, I would agree with my colleague that daydreaming actually DOES improve your life. As any dreamer knows, thinking about something is pretty much tricking your brain into feeling you’re actually there – so between packed public transport and Benedict Cumberbatch…
  3. Lastly, this is something I keep finding over and over again:We all have, as we say in French, “the flaws of our virtues” – what makes us great most of the time is also what makes us not so great in other respects (the way self confident people might sometimes be too proud, or caring people too overbearing). And so I strongly suspect that the time I spend in my head, while allowing for needless worry/ doubt, is also where I get all my creative ideas; in fact, some of my happiest moments when I actually ENJOY life to the full are moment spent thinking and daydreaming. Eventually, like it or not, I might have to accept that I need to spend a lot time up there, even if it makes me a little neurotic. 

    Perhaps it’s just about training my monkey to behave.

Top tip for those who might give it a go:

Go for it – you may not be able to stop over thinking, but you’re guaranteed to learn a lot about yourself. Good luck & let me know how you get on!

 

Adventures in Outer Space

P1060521 low resAgainst my better judgement, I’ve become addicted to the sci-fi TV series Battlestar Galactica.

I say “against my better judgement”, because I don’t normally watch much TV – much less sci-fi (I still think StarTrek = idiots in pyjamas), so this took me rather by surprise.

The show’s premise is this: sometime in a distant future (no pyjamas), humans are at war with robots they created. The robots look convincingly human, so nobody knows who is who.  In episode 1, all human planets are destroyed in a nuclear holocaust; the only survivors are 50,000 poor sods who were travelling in outer space while it happened. These 50,000 become responsible for the survival of the entire human civilisation (no pressure) on a dozen spaceships. Unbeknownst to anybody, there are human-looking robots onboard the human fleet.

So far, so sci-fi.

What makes it compelling of course, are the stories of the people we follow – the fighter pilots who go out everyday to protect others, the admiral who keep things together when everyone else is freaking out, the civilians who have lost all they had with no hope of return, and the robots who, despite being robots, fall desperately in love with humans (and reciprocally).

Kudos to the cast and writing team, some of these stories are among the most deeply touching you can imagine – stories of courage and impossible love, of loss, hope, faith, and finding soul where there is only chaos. Beyond the sci-fi flick, it’s a story about being human – what makes us human, what makes our individual destinies, and what legacy we may have as a species.

It’s also a story about heroes, and how we are all, in our small everyday ways, appealed to be heroes.

I’ve learnt a great deal from observing life onboard Galactica for 80-odd episodes:

  • Nothing is for ever and nothing can be taken for granted. Just like the humans in the story have lost their old homes and families, life as we know it may come to an end at any time, through no fault of our own. The people and things we love one day may be no more, and life will go on regardless. And that’s okay.
  • Humans will do stupid things. You’d think with only a few survivors in the universe people would try to get on. Of course not – they still hurt each other out of fear or greed, of cowardice or pride. In the face of difficult choices, even those who love each other often don’t realise or act on it until it’s too late. As a viewer you want to shout at them “go on, life’s too short for this!”. A bit like real life then.
  • We all have a role to play. Destiny is one of the series’ strong themes. The main characters (humans and robots alike) all have a strong sense of a mission they need to accomplish, although they usually don’t know how or why. As the story develops, all their separate missions come together for Humanity to be saved – salvation is only possible because each single person played their role, as pointless or insignificant as it might have seemed at the time.
  • Our calling may take us by surprise.  Human-looking robots don’t usually know they’re robots. They go about living a normal human life, until one day a programme is activated in their brain that will reveal their true nature. Did this ever happen to you in real life, suddenly feel the urge to do something out of character, learn a new skill, meet new people, visit a new country? Following those hunches might just lead you to your true nature too.
  • We may need to go a little mad. In the process of following our callings, others might call us mad. As we starting seeing or doing things differently, we might even wonder about our own sanity. When the Battlestar’s best fighter pilot disappears in mission and reappears 2 months later with no recollection of what happened to her, the others assume she’s a robot, and she starts doubting herself – she’s no longer sure who or what she is. But out of this confusion emerges a new, clearer sense of purpose. A nice metaphor of how we sometimes need to let go of our old lives to find meaning.
  • We should allow ourselves to be driven by love. Even the most level-headed, rational characters will risk everything for their one true love – trecking alone through the entire universe to rescue a parent or a lover. That’s because even though it makes no rational sense, they know life wouldn’t be worth living if they lost those they love most. That’s pretty cool.
  • We can choose everyday to do good or bad. We all have a part to play and it’s up to us to honour or ignore it. The things that are worth doing are often pretty damn scary, and we can choose to go for our dreams or to do nothing and keep going. Every small choice adds up to what we do with our lives. It’s all up to us, really.
  • Heroes never give up. For the one day of glory when they will save Humanity, the heroes have had a thousand so-so days when things didn’t go to plan. They had to turn up to work everyday (even if “work” was flying a fighter jet); their bosses got on their nerves, they were bored out of their minds, or hungover from the night before. They were sometimes betrayed by the people who should have had their backs; often the mission seemed impossible. They had plenty of opportunity to doubt themselves and give up. But they didn’t. And that’s what made them heroes.

And that, my friends, is what I learnt from my stay in outer space. As well as having a jolly good time.

Highly recommended.

 

Books that will change your life: “This Will Never Happen Again”, by David Cain

TWNHA_low res
To say this e-book is by a “fellow blogger” would be a massive overstatement – the author, Canadian-engineer-turned-full time writer David Cain, has tens of thousands of followers on his blog Raptitude, and on the Thought Catalog website. He’s a bit of a legend in the blogosphere and definitely a hero of mine…

The book

“This will never happen again” is a collection of previously published posts (so you could read them online, although I think the book versions have been slightly edited).

The Raptitude blog takes “a street-level look at the human experience” – it’s about how to become a better human. The book focuses on something more precise in the human experience: the mindfulness of everyday life; how we can learn to not take things for granted, and make sure we appreciate the magic in every single moment.

The big idea

Life is as it says in the title: this will never happen again. Today, this very moment, the special set of circumstances that are happening right now, have happened and will never be repeated. Even if you are in the same spot doing the same thing with the same people tomorrow, it will not be the exact same. External elements may be different; you may be in a different mood; you will have learnt something from the previous day. You will never be as young as you are today.

In our everyday lives we take far too much for granted. We may know we are lucky to have a good job, friends, family, but do we feel it? How often do we complain about petty things instead of appreciating all that we have? How often do we pause to feel the wonder of life itself – of waking up everyday, of having a roof over our heads or other basic things we couldn’t live without,

We owe it to yourselves to be fully conscious of this to enjoy a truly special “human experience”.

Why it will change your life

The great thing about this book is that it doesn’t lecture you – it’s written in a simple, down-to-earth style, and the author comes up with small techniques you can use to find blissful experiences in small, mundane things.

For example, how you can use boring downtimes such as walking from your car to the supermarket to awaken a sense of wonder. Or how to practice gratitude by imagining that tomorrow you will wake up without anything – you will open your eyes in the morning to find that you are in a forest, naked and alone. Or how you can “die on purpose” by imagining your surroundings – the room you sit in, the people in it – as they would be if you weren’t there.

And so it the book manages to capture the uncapturable – the tiny moments of bliss that add up to a deeply happy existence.

Reading it left me with a true sense of magic and a distinct feeling that I was walking on clouds… so it comes highly recommended.

If you would like a taste of it first, here are a couple of really amazing chapters:

How to walk across a parking lot

A day in the future

Enjoy!

The Office Yogi

P1020537 low resI read somewhere that there is no point practicing yoga until you can do headstand while chanting Sanskrit and tossing salad with your toes, if you’re still going to get angry in traffic jams.*

Quite.

I’ve been doing yoga (on and off) for years, and it’s always struck me how easy it is, after a blissful session, to get annoyed by petty grievances as soon as you step into the “real” world.

Yet in my view the whole point of yoga – or meditation, or any transformative practice – is to be approached holistically.  If you don’t try to extend the calm and balance you learn from your practice in other areas of your life, you’re missing out big time on opportunities for change (unless you’re just after a hobby, and that’s cool too).

People refer to yoga as their “path” to enlightenment, or awakening, of self-improvement. Others also refer to their marriages, or their businesses, in the same way. They chose to bring mindfulness to these particular areas of their lives, and gain an opportunity to grow, to become kinder, more open – to be their “higher” selves.

It ocurred to me that our 9-to-5 jobs, whether we like them or not, can be a pretty good path to transformation too.

Our day jobs are the place where we spend most of our time, yet also where we are most likely to experience frustration and disempowerment. Even if we like what we do, we still have to face stressful deadlines, people or situations.

Yet can’t we use all the hours the spend there – the fact that we turn up every day, now matter what, even if we don’t want to – to a higher end than paying our bills, or building our CVs?

Rather than thinking of our jobs as separate from our intimate, personal or spiritual lives, we could see them as way to learn a little every day about…

  • Patience and Perseverence – When things are so slow they seem to go backwards, when the task is so huge we never seem make a dent, when we’re up against everything and everyone, we learn how to keep at it.

  • Calm and Balance – If our jobs are really stressful, we are forced to look after our own wellbeing so that we can remain efficient and not burnout (I learnt that the hard way last year, when I did burn out). We can learn what relaxes us and what keeps us going, without going crazy.
  • Kindness and Compassion – A smile doesn’t cost us anything, and when we come to the office with a positive attitude we can not only brighten our day, but create a nice atmosphere for others too. It makes for a nicer all-round life to treat people like people, not commodities.

  • Humility and Service – Because we can’t always have things our way and we sometimes have to admit that others might know better. And because ultimately we’re in our jobs to serve, not just look after our own interests.
  • Boldness and the Courage to take risks – our jobs can teach us to push ourselves further, accept more responsibilities, get out of our comfort zones. They make us face our errors, but also teach us to stand for ourselves and speak up when we have to.
  • Love and Respect – It’s easy to get lost in daily complaints, but you first picked that job for a reason. Did you love the industry, follow your calling, feel part of something bigger? Do you look up to your bosses, your team, or the people you serve? Was it a first step to your big dream? When the going gets tough it’s easy to forget about the love – remind yourself often.
  • Humour and laughing at ourselves – taking ourselves too seriously doesn’t get us anywhere; and sometimes when things go wrong, the only thing to do is laugh about it.

Most of all, our 9 to 5 challenges us to be ourselves – Our job tells us what we’re good at, and not so good at. It gives us opportunities to shine. It challenges us to not only be open and fair to others, but also to become our own best supporter.

Our job helps us find out what we want from life – even if what we want is to get the hell out of there.

There will always be people (I used to be one of them) who job-hop from one “hellish” job to the next, only to find more of the same, or worse – the way others always end up with the wrong boyfriends. 

Yet if we open ourselves to be taught, even when it feels like hell, we can discover so much about our expectations, our limitations, our fears, the way we interact with others, and the ways we can shine.

If we have the courage to face what we don’t like, and act on it, we have a powerful tool for growth. And we can learn where to go from there.

And if the time comes for us to move on from that job, we know that we’ve not wasted the time we spent there.

We learnt all that we could.

We have grown.

 

* In Tosha Silver Outrageous Openness, the chapter about ‘The Zen of traffic’ (don’t let the dodgy cover put you off, the content’s quite nice)

Lazy is good

P1030517 low resWhen I was little, perhaps seven or eight, I used to get told off for eating too much.

I couldn’t figure out why, seeing that well, delicious food is all around and it would be a shame not to taste it all. (And it might have helped that the French word for “greedy” is “gourmand”, which evoked a more gourmet glutton.)

As an adult, I sort of see my parents’ point – it is more ladylike to show hum, some restraint. But nevertheless, I still prefer the company of people who love their food.

The same goes with being lazy. Laziness wasn’t particularly encouraged at home, and if you ask me that’s a bit of a shame. My hyperactive Dad used to always ask whether we fancied “doing something”, while we were in the middle of say, having a cup of tea, playing with the dog, or reading a novel. As if we weren’t already doing something.

As you might have guessed from reading previous posts, I’m a big advocate of slow, restorative activities. Especially those that appear as though you’re not really doing anything useful.

First because I don’t believe life is always about being useful.

Second, because I am sure day-dreaming, navel-gazing time is essential to imagination and creativity… not to mention your mental health.

When your mind is empty, you create space for more. When you let go of the ongoing chatter in your head and allow yourself to just be, you open up endless possibility for new ideas.

Some of the greatest advances to science were made by people while they were in the bath (Archimedes), or snoozing under a tree (Newton). Coincidence?

Downtime is never wasted time. I’ve heard people say that the busier you are, the more time you should spend in meditation, because you will be able to achieve more in your everyday life. (The Dalai-Lama, who we can only assume i a little busy being a world leader, is said to do four hours a day).

Your head will be clearer. Your problems will seem smaller. Solutions to dilemnas might come to you out of the blue.

We all lead busy lives, so next time you find yourself overloaded with commitments at work or at home, why not try taking just a few minutes to be lazy and daydream?

Perhaps you can just pause to notice the delicious smells rising as you cook dinner. Or sing along to your favourite song. Give your dog a good belly rub, or pause to admire the flowers on your windowsill. Sip tea. Cloud gaze. Whatever makes your heart sing.

Be present. Contemplate. Let your thoughts wander. Watch your problems disappear.

Cherish this quiet time, as soon enough you will be called back to your life’s busy-ness.

You may want to bring a notebook for when you start getting genius ideas…

 

READ ON Other similar posts you might enjoy:
Living life at your own pace
Everyday meditations: A cup of green tea
The things that only you see

You’re an inspiration to the world

P1050508 low rseThe thing that has surprised me most since I started blogging a few months ago, is the number of friends who said they were inspired by my blog.

Not specifically by the writing itself, but different things:

– One friend loved the clear and elegant design of the site.

– Another was impressed with my “technical skills” in setting up a website and social media pages from scratch.

– Someone said how brave I was to share my writing publicly (she is herself a wonderful closet writer).

– Someone else still said she was inspired to see me posting on a regular basis while having a full time job.

Of course I would be lying if I said I didn’t get huge encouragement from such positive feedback. My friends’ kind comments went a long way to keeping me writing.

But the thing is none of those specific things seemed at all special to me. In fact, they seemed very banal, and as I explained to everyone:

The design of my site is a template.

I set it up using a “for dummies” PDF guide and countless video tutorials.

It did take courage to start sharing my writing – but since I am not very courageous, I couldn’t have done it without the support of my 30 Days Challenge friends.

I sometimes barely manage to do a post a week. Sometimes it takes such willpower that I don’t do anything else. I haven’t been to the gym in ages – I put on five kilos.

So this tells me something important:

If we consistently fail to acknowledge, or underestimate the things that we’re good at (“if we can do it, surely anyone can?”), who knows how many people are totally inspired by our seemingly banal skills, and what we see as our routine daily lives?

Therefore:

It is virtually certain that you are an inspiration to the people around you, in some way or other, for reasons you may not realise.

It could be that people admire your effortless style, or your sense of humour.

Maybe you have a special talent for bringing people together wherever you are, and you always bring the party with you.

Or maybe you are quiet, and have a wonderful aura of calm and balance.

Your colleagues might think you’re a genius organiser, or a born leader. Unbeknownst to you, they might admire how sorted your career plans are.

Even at times when you feel your life is a mess, it is not impossible that others will have noticed your grace, your courage, your honesty going through tough times.

Or someone might just wish their house was kept as well as yours.

Whoever you are, someone somewhere will be in awe of you. For being you.

Just as you are.

I love the poetic notion that each of us was put on this Earth for a very good reason. 

It takes all sorts to make the world go round.

We need you to be yourself and shine.

Go on. INSPIRE US.

 

READ ON Other similar posts you might like:
You’re okay, really: what it feels like to love yourself
We are one
The importance of Being You

Should I stay or should I go? (Knowing what you want is sometimes harder than you think)

P1040433 low resEarlier this week, I resigned from my job of five years.

Or at least, this is what would have happened if things had gone according to plan. Instead, what happened is this:

Over the last few months, have been getting an ever bigger urge to shake things up. For no particular reason – the job itself is ok. But in work like in relationships, sometimes the love goes, and you know it’s time to move on.

So I told my boss how I felt – that this relationship had run its course, and that I thought we both deserved better.

I carefully rehearsed the argument in my head.

I gathered the courage to speak to her.

She was super nice.

She said that she really would like me to stay, and she is open to restructuring my job according to my suggestions so that I am happy there.

Hell – I wasn’t entirely prepared for that. I thought I was ready to stick to my decision. I’d been thinking about it for a while already. But when it came to actually making it real, I got cold feet and didn’t know what to say, apart from “Yeah, I’ll think about it”.

As I have mentioned before, I’m not terribly good at decision making. There are so many factors to consider, not all of them very rational. And of course it is infinitely easier to complain about what’s wrong, than it is to try and make it right.

What I truly, desperately want now, is a couple of months off, to sleep away the stress of a rather intense 9 to 5, and not to hear the word “job” for a while. But that’s not all.

Right now in my head, pulling me in the opposite direction, there is also:

what I feel I should want (a steady income)
what I think would be acceptable (wait until I get another job)
what I can’t possibly know or control (how long will I be out of work? what job will I find next?)
And crucially, what I am afraid of (the list long – will I ever find another job? will I look stupid? etc)

My situation is not particularly bad. Some of it is good, some of it is bad. And I don’t know about you, but the listing of both in two opposite columns never really did it for me. Somehow, all this is clouding my feelings, and standing in the way of me knowing what I want. I am at a standstill.

I am stuck on the fence because I know that, just as when you don’t know what you want, you never get anything, the minute you decide what you want, it tends to materialise. Be careful what you wish for.

I have come across useful advice from several coaches like Martha Beck here or Marie Forleo there, and a number of wise friends, who say you should just try and feel your answer.

Forget the constant dialogue in your head. Close your eyes, relax, and think of option A. How does it make you feel? Do you feel a wonderful feeling of peace, warmth or expansion in your every cell? Do you feel cold, nervous, choked, like you are shrinking?

This is almost failproof, as it quickly becomes obvious which scenarios tickle our happy cells, and which make us want to cry and puke at the same time (sorry).

The next step of course, is finding the courage – the faith – to act on a feeling.

I don’t feel quite there yet. Don’t mind me, I will probably remain on that fence for a while. Then, if I’m still not sure, I will pick either option and stick to it, because I know at this point I have no other choice but shake the status quo.

After all, once you’ve had a taste of the future, you cannot go back.

 

READ ON Other similar posts you might like:
How well do you know yourself?
The importance of Being You
Analysis Paralysis 

F**k it therapy

P1050362 low resIn almost everything in life, I tend to think simple is best. Think of the amazing food combinations involving two ingredients only: bread+butter, pasta+olive oil, tomato+basil, wine+cheese, prawn+mayonnaise, and I am sure you could add plenty to the list. (In fact if you can, please do share with me in the comments so I can have a try. I am not greedy, I’m food-curious).

Anyway, I’ve recently come across the excellent “F**k It” book by John C Parkin, which reminded me of this awsome “simple is best” theory. The idea behind the book is both deceptively simple and supremely powerful. So powerful in fact, that it’s already begun to change my life before I’ve even read it. I only heard the author present it in a talk at the Hay House Summit the day before yesterday, and I’m already a convert.

The F**k it philosophy is not about being rude (although that’s fun too!), it’s about realising that sometimes we worry too much about trivial stuff, and that we do have the power to stop it. From minor annoyances to bigger decisions, stress and overthinking can affect our lives in major ways, and especially for those of us prone to analysis paralysis (you know who you are), it’s all too easy wasting precious time fretting what if this or that and losing our wellbeing over it. We get scared, we get grumpy, we get stuck, we lose sleep. Even for people who don’t consider themselves particularly neurotic, the pace of our modern lives means there is usually room for some degree of relaxation.

All you need to do to apply the f**k it philosophy is this: whenever you catch yourself worrying out of proportion about anything, just say “Fuck it” and move on. Just this. You can start small, and you can start now. I started yesterday by paying attention to some of the basic overthinking that goes on in my average working day (because such an exciting life I lead):

I should really hurry, I will be 5 min late for this meeting, people will think I’m unreliable >> Fuck it, I’ll take my time, no one will even notice 5 minutes delay

Shouldn’t I try to wear something smarter to the office, I look like I’m dressed to go to the beach and I look stupid >> Fuck it, it’s the sunniest day of the year and I’ll bloody well wear gold sandals if I like it

I really fancy going home on time but all my colleagues are putting in several hours overtime everyday >> Fuck it, it’s their choice and I’ll work better tomorrow if I’ve had a rest

And so just like that, I was able to reclaim little bits of happiness which would otherwise have escaped me had I not said “fuck it”. Such is the power of it.

This simple technique cuts short the overthinking and invites us to action. It allows us to let go and move on. It boosts our self confidence. It reminds us that it’s okay to do what we like, once in a while.

It is not about being selfish, or becoming mean to people, or ignoring the important things in our lives. It’s about freeing more time and energy to focus on what truly matters, by not wasting it on things that don’t.

It’s about silencing the voices in our head that like to criticise everything you do. It’s about knowing that you do enough, you are enough. 

Like I said, it’s powerful stuff. So is anything bugging you right now? Say “fuck it” and begin to taste freedom.