Tag Archives: hardship

First Dates

A couple of friends recommended watching First Dates, a television series that films real first dates in a London restaurant. I’ve since watched the entire first season and it’s totally addictive.

As I binge on this hilarious reality TV show, I laugh a lot. But I also shed a few tears.

I can see the beauty in every single singleton. The daters differ in appearance, creed, age, personality and life experiences. But they’re so similar too.

They’re all self-conscious. They all have fears and insecurities. They’ve all lived through hardship, be it heartbreak, illness, loss or rejection.

And they’re all holding on to hope. Hope that they’ll finally find connection, affection, partnership and love. They all want to share their lives with that special someone.

One man, who’s been single since his diagnosis with HIV five years ago, admits: “I just want to be loved.”

This heartwarming show highlights how quick we are to judge our potential partners. I don’t like his receding hairline. I prefer women with smaller bums.

Interestingly, we’re also quick to judge ourselves. I’ll lie about my job because I don’t want to put him off. She’ll never agree to a date because of my height. I’m punching above my weight with her. I’m not as skinny as the other girls.

I believe that when we stop judging ourselves, we cease judging everybody else. When we love and accept ourselves, we become free to love and accept others.

I also believe that we get what we give. So when we give love, we receive it.

I have a friend who loves her dogs more than anything. Recently, I spent an evening at her home. One of her dogs burrowed his way into my arms. Later, he lay on my friend’s lap, his body splayed open, as my friend hugged and kissed him.

It struck me that this dog is full of love. He’s open and trusting and loving. And it’s such a good feeling to have him in your arms.

And my dog-loving friend is perfectly at ease with herself. She’s open and happy and loving. And when I’m around her, I am too.

It’s so easy to give love to a person who’s open to receiving it. And when someone gives love with unconditional abundance, being a recipient of that love feels effortless and unselfconscious.

It’s when the fear takes hold and the thinking starts and the barriers come up, that we block the love. We’re afraid to give love in case it’s thrown back in our faces.

But my advice now is to give love. Give love to yourself. To your friends and family. To your pets and your plants. To everyone you encounter.

Be yourself. Be open. Be present.

Laugh. Flirt. Have fun.

Give love. Accept love. Be love. And I guarantee that you’ll experience love.

So I’ve rejoined Tinder. Again.

P.S. When searching for an image for this article, I browsed the internet. Suddenly, I realised that I’d forgotten to type “Love” in the search bar. “Have I put love in?” I asked aloud.

Have I put love in indeed.

reggg.com

reggg.com

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Good Cheer

The other day, I was listening to a show on Hay House Radio. The topic was the importance of having your own personal cheerleaders – friends who will rally around during the tough times and cheer you on to succeed.

One of the women referred to a time she was speaking at an event. She asked the audience: “Who here has someone they can call when something goes wrong?” Everyone immediately raised their hands.

Then she posed a different question: “And who has someone they ring up when something really great happens?” A few hands went up slowly.

Interestingly, people seemed reluctant to share good news with their nearest and dearest. I wondered about this.

I imagined asking the audience to explain their hesitation. They would probably confess to not wanting to brag. Some would worry that their happy news would make others feel miserable about their own lives. Others wouldn’t want to invite envy or begrudgery.

And a few people would be afraid of “jinxing” it – admitting that things were going well would put a curse on it and cause everything to come crashing down around them. And they’d all suffer terribly and die an excruciating death. Or something equally calamitous.

weheartit.com

weheartit.com

Why does it seem more acceptable to regale others with our misfortunes than with our achievements? As children, we were warned not to get too big for our boots. Who does (s)he think (s)he is? was an oft-heard phrase describing anyone who dared to exhibit a dirty word called confidence.

Thankfully, I now think for myself and I’ve decided to work on my confidence and look for the best that life has to offer. I hope that the people around me wish me the best. And I wish them the best too.

There is actually enough good stuff to go around, despite what the superstitious old wives told us. One person’s success doesn’t guarantee somebody else’s failure. It doesn’t work that way. Believe in abundance and you’ll be rewarded with it.

The older I get, the less patience I have for people who wallow in negativity. Of course, we’re all entitled to a shoulder to lean on during the challenging times. We all need someone to vent to.

But there comes a point when you’ve got to change the record. Stop complaining and start brainstorming.

What you focus upon multiplies. That’s why I like to spend time with positive people. That’s why I give daily gratitude for all the wonderful things in my life.

And that’s why, when I heard this discussion on Hay House Radio, I was instantly able to think of a friend who I can contact as soon as something amazing happens. I can gush and glow, boast and bow, and do a little self-congratulatory dance in front of this friend because she’s the type of person who genuinely loves when good things happen.

And she’s not just a fair-weather friend. When I told her about a funeral I was attending yesterday, she instantly offered to accompany me. Her mere presence beside me in the car as we drove towards the church was enough to make me feel secure.

And guess what? I’m going to brag just a little more. I’m lucky to have other friends and family members who I can go to with my happy-clappy tales and with my woe-is-me soliloquies. And I know that I’m that go-to person for lots of people too.

Do you have a personal cheerleader for when something fabulous happens in your life? Do you have someone to call upon when you’re feeling overwhelmed? And are you that special someone for anybody? In both circumstances?

Do you concentrate more on the feel-good or are you a victim to negativity? Remember, wherever you put your energy is where the energy will go. Think about it…

fitnessandhealthspot.com

fitnessandhealthspot.com

The Calm During The Storm

The last few days have been strange. I went on a date that ended horribly. A man from my hometown was assaulted and later died. I visited a woman I know in hospital who was badly injured in an accident. And a client of mine passed away. She was a really lovely 36-year-old woman who is leaving behind a loving family, including three small girls.

What I’ve realised over these past few days is how much I’ve changed, how different my reactions are, and how grateful I am.

On Saturday night, I thought enough of myself to leave the date. I didn’t take it personally. And on the dark, wet drive home, I comforted myself with my favourite songs. It was good to find out what this man was like after only two dates and I was glad to get home safe.

Last night, after meditating, I stretched pleasurably and felt grateful to be able to move, unlike my friend in hospital.

And this evening, after attending my client’s funeral, I participate in a Mega Mix fitness class. The music is loud and fast and the instructor is fit in every sense of the word. We jump and squat and plank and it’s all a bit manic.

I have a sudden urge to burst out laughing. I feel so happy to be alive and healthy and able-bodied.

I feel lucky to have great friends and family, a business that I love, and a car that can whisk me towards dates and adventures and crazy fitness classes.

And most of all, I’m grateful for how far I’ve come. For how deeply I can appreciate this moment. For how present I am. For how much I love myself. For how centred I feel.

And for how I trust that everything is unfolding perfectly and for my highest good. I am exactly where I’m supposed to be.

So I hop and skip and sweat and eye up the fit fitness instructor. And I breathe.

benefits of gratitude and meditation

Freewheelin’

I went for a cycle this morning. The sun was shining but the wind was strong. As I struggled against the wind, I thought: It’s amazing how something invisible can exert so much force, how something I can’t see can hinder me from going where I want to go.

Then it struck me. Our thoughts are a lot like the wind. They’re intangible and we can’t physically look at them. But they can stop us in our tracks as we attempt to battle against them.

Last night, as I flicked through a friend’s Coaching manual from Executive Coaching SolutionsI came across a section on Common Cognitive Distortions (CCDs), otherwise known as ‘thinking traps’. This is the type of distorted thinking that causes us to feel negative emotions.

Examples of CCDs include All or Nothing thinking, Disqualifying the Positive, Jumping to Conclusions (suddenly we become really talented mind readers and fortune tellers), Approval Seeking, Comparison, and Woe is Me thoughts.

I know I’ve engaged all of the above on many the occasion. The trick here is to be aware of the style of thinking you’re employing and to question it. Question the validity of your statements, check the facts, and see if you can turn it around into something more useful, more positive. I’m a big fan of Byron Katie’s work. Read more about how to question your thoughts and turn them around here.

Now, back to the bike. As the wind blew, I had to stand up and pedal harder. The sun blinded me as it reflected up off the wet ground. Then, I spotted a man walking his horse. When they heard me approach, the horse bucked. I waited for it to settle before moving on.

Today’s cycle threw up a few obstacles. At least with the things I could physically see, I was able to manoeuvre them. I squinted and averted my eyes from the glare of the sun. I stopped until the man had his horse under control before passing with caution. But there was nothing I could do about the wind. Well, I could get off the bike and walk but I was determined to keep riding.

Moments later, I turned a corner. I got in front of the wind and freewheeled down a hill. I felt exhilarated. By the time I got to a flat surface, the wind had died down and I cycled the rest of the way home with ease.

Your thoughts are much like the wind as you balance precariously atop the saddle on your exciting journey through life. Sometimes your thoughts will come thick and fast and you’ll have to decide whether to ride on or get off the bike. Other times, your thoughts will die down and you’ll flow through your days with ease. But you’re human and so thoughts will always come. It’s up to you whether you make them work for or against you. It’s your choice. Labour against the wind or ride with it!

favim.com

favim.com

Knock Hard, Life

Have you ever had One Of Those Days when you’re just fed up? That’s sort of a rhetorical question because you’re human and this is life so of course you have. I came home this evening with a whopper of a headache after a number of things had gone “wrong”. A number of things were going right too but, when you’re having One Of Those Days, you choose to ignore them. I wanted to crawl under the duvet and pretend that life didn’t have to go on.

Then, I remembered the Winston Churchill quote: “If you’re going through hell, keep going.” Even though I didn’t feel like it, I switched on Hay House Radio just as Denise Linn was speaking these words: “I choose to believe that things will get better.” 

Sometimes, we feel so beaten down that it’s tempting to just not get up any more. Rumi wrote: “When the world pushes you to your knees, you’re in the perfect position to pray.” It is during these dark moments that we need to ask for help, from a friend or family member or simply by offering a prayer up to the heavens. This is when we need to surrender to some higher wisdom. This is when we need to understand that the bigger picture is so big that we can’t yet see how it’s all meant to fit together. Marilyn Monroe said: “Sometimes good things fall apart so better things can fall together.”

I don’t know how all the parts of my life are going to come together. Sometimes, I try to jam pieces together when they’re clearly not the right shape and then I cry with frustration when I break them. And occasionally, I feel broken too. Caroline Myss wrote: “We will all have experiences meant to ‘break our hearts’ – not in half but wide open.”

We all have days when we feel like giving up. When we no longer have all the answers. I’ve quoted five people in this article. Sometimes, it’s a quote you read or hear on the radio that rekindles that tiny flicker of hope. Sometimes, all you’ve got is a quote. Here’s five of them. I hope they help.

Happiness Now!

There is no better spiritual practice than doing the things that make you happy. Happiness is your meditation, your mantra, your prayer.  Laughter is your therapy, your medicine, your exercise.  Self-love is the only diet you need, the best relationship you can have, and the greatest education you can undertake.  

You don’t need rules, regulations and hardship to achieve happiness.  Do what you love.  Live your joy, your enthusiasm, your inspiration.  Anita Moorjani tells us to be ourselves, recognise our magnificence, and live our lives fearlessly. There is no better message.  It is so simple.  If we understood this on a deep level and really believed it, we would never need another self-help book.

Robert Holden said: “You will never become happy.  You can only be happy.” Stop striving for happiness.  Be it.  Don’t wait until you’re on holiday or in a relationship or earning enough money before you’ll allow yourself to feel happy. As the old adage goes, “There’s no time like the present.”  I say, There’s no time but the present.  So give yourself the gift of happiness right now.

Life doesn’t have to be as difficult as we make it out to be.  If your raw food diet is making you miserable, the thought of meditating for an hour is bringing you out in a sweat, your stack of still-to-read self-help books is putting you under pressure, and the gym is about as alluring as a garlic-smothered crucifix would be to a vampire, give yourself a break.

Wander around the library and treat yourself to that novel everyone’s been raving about.  Bake carrot cake muffins.  Dance.  Sing.  Paint.  Swim in the river and feast your eyes on the ocean.  Travel to foreign cities and sample their culture, their language, their cafés.  Give someone a hug.  A real hug.  Spend time with friends and be present with them.  Laugh.  Cry.  Play with your children. Light a fire and watch a wonderful movie with a sweet mug of tea.  Go hiking in the mountains.  This is your life.  Be yourself and do it your way.  Love it.  Live it.  Do it now.

sillygrrl.com/2010/02/03/my-year-long-happiness-goal/

Happy New You!

It’s the first week of the new year. Right about now, people are battling with their well-intended but unrealistic new year’s resolutions. They’re either still in the enthusiastic mode of energy and determination to shift that winter plumage / study harder / get fit / learn how to speak fluent Italian… Or they’re already feeling guilty at having skipped a day at the gym / found their hand in a bag of Doritos / had a sneaky cigarette or a pint of the black stuff… And then there are others who are too worried that 2012 heralds the end of time to bother with all that guff.

2011 was a tough year. People lost jobs and struggled to pay bills. Relationships ended and hearts were broken. Friends and family moved away. Loved ones got sick. Others died. And life went on. Couples got engaged and married and pregnant. Babies were born. Students graduated. People became more open-minded and enlightened.

2012 is sure to bring about more change. We will face more challenges and difficulties but we will also be given the opportunity to learn more, live better and love unconditionally. Forget about the end of the world and focus on the end of your old way of living. Ignore your negative thoughts. Stop worrying. Don’t spend time in the past or the future. Appreciate the now.

I received a new year’s text from a friend who told me to “just really be yourself”. What better advice for 2012? Why try to be like anybody else? Why waste your time and energy? Let 2012 be the year you really come into yourself and enjoy every minute of it.

Ditch the resolutions that are doomed to fail before you even start. Think about what’s really important and think positive. Ask for what you want for the year to come. Set your intentions and put them out there.

For me, I’m going to continue on my journey of self-discovery, learning and spirituality. I will keep up the yoga and meditation but only when I feel like it. I’m done with being hard on myself. It doesn’t work for me. And I know that now.

And if I do get into a relationship in 2012, it will be for the right reasons. It won’t be because I’m lonely or because “everyone else” is all loved-up. It’s not going to be because I’m drunk and it’s the end of the night and I wonder if the chancer in the check shirt deserves a chance. It’s also not going to be because he’s handsome or funny or makes me feel good about myself. I’m going to feel good about myself anyway. And if someone comes along and we fit together and it feels right, nice one!

I’m also going to live in the present moment (as often as I remember) and I’m going to enjoy all the little things. I’m not going to give out to myself any more. I’m going to have fun, read books, climb mountains, inhale the goodness of the ocean, relish the sunshine, spend time with good people, laugh, and stand in my own truth.

Happy new year! Let’s make it memorable. For all the right reasons.

Images: http://piccsy.com/?page=16; http://full-of-love.blog.cz/