Rising as the whole damn fire!

This evening, I am still riding on the crest of the wave of yesterday… only adding to the momentum and excitement with good music, a good workout, a really interesting conversation, some good business planning and some storm cooking up in the kitchen.

I can literally feel the grief from loss of the last 2 years slipping away.  The cloak of sadness being lifted from my shoulders.

It has been a long time coming.  The start of the new year, was a huge turning point for me.  I could no longer stand being sad, worried, fearful, distrustful, negative and seeing and feeling the worst.  I could no longer bear being around myself.  I was sick and tired of me.

Being sick and tired can sometimes be a good thing.  For it drives change.

I set out my intentions clearly this January and have spent more time dreaming about and focussing on the future and how wonderful it is going to be, rather than dwelling on the past and what has been lost.  As I realised that, I stumbled across a quote from Brene Brown which spoke to the same idea.

“People think focus means saying yes to the thing you’ve got to focus on.  But that’s not what it means at all.  It means saying no to the hundred other good ideas that there are.”

 

I would be naïve to think that there won’t be dark moments, dark days, but the moments are more about trivial mishaps.  The dark days so few and far between now that I can usually dig myself out with the strength that I have found that I am capable of.

My best friend sent me a quote today.

It’s okay to fall down and lose your spark.   Just make sure that when you get back up , you rise as the whole damn fire.” Colette Werden

The overwhelming emotions that used to quash my enthusiasm for anything in life due to their pain, that dampened my spark, are becoming less too.  And I find any overwhelming emotions are now related to excitement borne from new ideas and frustration that I don’t have the time or bandwidth to do them all immediately.

My BFF is right, I am rising as the whole damn fire… but as I found out today, trying to do too much all at once only ends up with burnt granola.

And that just leaves a bitter taste!

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The bath… at the end of the best day

That bath I have been dreaming of for weeks, perhaps months now?  Me, the girl, who isn’t really into baths… or thought she wasn’t.  I just had one.  For 5 long, glorious minutes, before I overheated and started to shrivel…

And that was just after the best massage I have ever had.  In my entire life.  All my worries and lists melted in to the warm air around me and floated away.   To be greeted on awakening, with a delightfully, delicious Seedlip, lime and elderflower and smoked salmon mouthful on soda bread.

And that was just after I had been playing chase around the marble kitchen island, with my goddaughter; she on a little red ladybug and me on a little pink rabbit with my knees around my ears and her hair floating behind her dancing on her peals of laughter and shouts of my name…

And that was just after the most time forgotten day, being creative with design, feathers, furs and ribbons… irons, pins and glue guns… drinking honeyed fennel tea and eating biscuits and cake.  The chaotic hour of cooking a meal to be left and ensuring all spare items of school clothing and gym kit were left in the obvious and rightful places, all a distant memory as we stitched and created our masterpieces.

Today, was a day I will remember for a very long time, going down in my own personal history bank of good days, the best of days (outside of Super Sundays and precious family moments), spending real quality time, connecting with my closest northern girlfriends… and also myself.

Running towards wonder…

So my trainers came off their hanging peg today.  It was too pretty not too.  I had been hung up on going on my usual circuit, which was either an ice skating rink or an ankle breaking threatening frozen lumpy stretch.

Inspired by the Big Man, as he came in through the front door as I sloped down the stairs in my duvet, I changed tack.

And like the beautiful stream I stumbled across, meandering through a frosty woodland, it reminded me to go with the flow… twist and turn, change direction, bubble and bounce over obstacles in your path with a gurgle.  Eventually I found my way home, having turned this way and that, finding a brilliant new route;  interesting and a little longer than usual.

A run to stretch myself and remind me to get out of my own comfort zone, get out of my own way, go for the adventure and realise that it was worth getting over any fear, any dread, and just enjoy.  Go and find those moments of wonder that Arianna Huffington has as a pillar for wellbeing.  And live in those moments.   String those moments together to have a beautiful life worth living.

January

In January, I hibernate.  I do the self-care thing and the rest thing.

 

The gym is spilling over with over-enthusiastic Christmas over-indulgers, so I steer clear.  They will have all given up by February.  And the snow has had my trainers hanging up by their laces for most of the month.  Historically, I would have been totally stressed out. But I am weirdly not so much.

 

I haven’t really felt the need for a drink since getting poorly on holiday.  In a month when I have typically gone tee-total, I find myself enjoying a simple glass of red, if I fancy it.  But that is enough. And I don’t feel bad.  At all.  No regret.  No guilt.

 

The same goes for chocolate.

 

I have changed.

 

I have learnt to let go.

 

Perhaps, I have even learnt the art of not giving a f*ck.  (at least I still have that book!)

Perhaps, I am more comfortable in my own skin than I have been in a long time.

 

comfortable in my own skin

Friends and sunrise..

As I sit here feeling pretty smug that I have filled in my tax return, it did nothing to help my melancholy at losing my friends.

Both kinds.  My books.  And the human flesh kind.

Misplaced or displaced in the move.

As I reviewed and retraced my steps of the tax year end FY17, I saw how many books I bought and authors, who became my closest advisors, my confidants and somewhere I could lose myself.

And I also saw how many local friends I had to pop in or pop round to for a quick coffee; coffee dates littering my diary.

But books are books.  And while I may have lost my scribbles and turned corners of my favourite pages, maybe it is a sign I need to re-read them, this time with my refreshed eyes.

And good friends are still good friends, no matter how far.  And a move has brought forth many new people, who are becoming good friends.

As we set off before the crack of dawn this morning, we were witness to the most incredible red sun, rising into the pale blue dawn sky, over the white wintry fields.  Nature has the most wondrous way of showing that as a pale sun goes down on one day, one chapter, one story, it can be reborn with glory and fire on the next.

boilers, snow and lists…

So I nearly brought the house down.  As I was quite happily embracing a very rare hot shower, I did kind of hear some banging… but just thought it was the boys ragging around.

But now… as I was basking in the steam with gratitude, I had a visitor.  Visibly shaken ..

Apparently, when I had tweaked the gas heating to off and put a boost on the hot water, I hadn’t taken into that the old grumbling battle axe of boiler was also on.  I don’t fully understand the plumbing (still and perhaps never will) but we were moments away from a hot water fountain in the basement.  A hairs breadth away from where the boys were sitting.

So for the second time, I am grateful… only this time for the lack of steam and hot water!

In other news, we woke up to a Winter Wonderland and our beautiful home made magical by 3 inches of snow.  But no school bus and a warning that the tiny little, hilly, un-salted roads around school were treacherous.  And that the motorway junction was blocked by jack-knifed lorries.  So it was a snow day for us all.

The boys built snowmen and fought outside, while the Big Man worked in one room and I wrote and juiced and cooked my way through my day in the beautiful light of the kitchen.

I have been embracing the return to routine and I had had lots planned today, with a clear calendar and a 10 point list to fulfil myself with.    Initially, I was rather distracted by how that would get done… but it was blow the list, reduce it to top 3 must do’s and have a snowball fight.

But clearly the boys had other ideas….nothing sacred anymore, not even my lists.  I could only laugh.

Setbacks, wake up calls and happiness

I have lost all my books.  My favourite books.  The ones that have been my guides over the last 3 years; are worn and soft from being referred to and held to give me strength.  They are like old friends to me, holding my hand, ensuring I never felt alone.

 

And I hope like old friends, they will reappear when I am least expecting it.

 

I could have done with one of them today.  Ariana Huffington.  One of the friends who took me by the hand to help me to ‘thrive’ after deciding consulting was no longer for me.  Also a time I became more interested in wellbeing and self-care, for myself but also others.  In her book, she shared her ‘wake up call’ experience when she had been driven by money and power, working all hours to achieve success.

 

She explains that she now recognises hard times or difficult periods differently and that she prefers to  ‘live life as if life was rigged in her favour.”  From experience, she can look back, connect the dots, see the wake up calls, and appreciate the triggers were all guiding  and steering her to become who she is today.

 

In my own life, I can look back and can connect many dots and also see the hardships, the painful life situations as ‘redirectors’, moving me to change, to grow, to challenge me to become more.  But I can also see the times when I didn’t see or perhaps chose not to see some of those wake up calls to instil or force a difference, whether it be path or habit, in to my life.

 

I am not sure where I am going on this train of thought.  Perhaps back to unhappiness?  If you don’t pick up on the signs… where does that lead you? It certainly led me to the bottom of the sea in stunned unhappiness and grief.

 

I wrote down in big bold letters, the one thing I am going to continue take forward and also one thing that she so eloquently explained and something that I have been writing about for so long now…

 

HAPPINESS DOESN’T MEAN LESS SETBACKS.  IT IS FACING THOSE SETBACKS WITH GRACE AND MORE UNDERSANDING AND MORE ACCEPTANCE.

 

I would still be my naïve self, if I believed that the ‘setbacks’ I have lived through in the last 4 years were all the setbacks that life was and is going to throw me.  I am sure there will be more.  In fact I am confident.  But from experience, I know that as each future setback arrives at my door, I will be gracious to welcome it forward, to learn from it, to grow from it and use gratitude as a way of understanding and accepting as life giving me a wake up call and a chance to change direction.

 

happiness arianna.jpg