The eight steps to letting go

Last week I watched a life end. It was, as you can imagine a sad, beautiful and powerful experience.  I was there to support people I love to say goodbye to someone they loved. So it was a surprise at how much it affected me. Somewhere inside a whole barrel of sadness I wasn’t aware of opened up and honestly it floored me. I mean to the point of spending the next day wrapped in a duvet crying and watching tv (a rare occurrence in our home).  It felt strange as it wasn’t really my grief at the event. I had not lost someone I loved. Slowly I began to realise. What I was feeling was past grief. Sadness that my body had held onto without realising it.

Two days later when taking a medicine walk I realised that this grief that had lay so dormant for so many was the underlying grief that stopped me fully appreciating my present, my wonderful life which I love so much. Without knowing it my pent up grief has been stopping me from truly enjoying my life.

Which of course means it is time to let go. Now letting go is one of those buzz phrases you hear around. The internet is packed full of inspirational quotes and wise words explaining that letting go is the thing we need to do to move on with our lives. And I completely agree. However just telling a person to let go, to accept and move on is all well and good, but way to fluffy for my liking. As my regulars know I like practical, tangible solutions. So my question is how do you do it? How do you let go of acute pain, of sad memories, guilt of fears that are holding you back? The answer is unfortunately not simple. It takes 3 things action, time and bravery. Have I left behind the things that opened up for me last week. No not at all. However I have taken action. I have taken the first steps to healing my wounds. So if like me you have some seriously heavy baggage you need to throw of the train here are the 8 steps I am taking here and now to lighten my load. Why not join me on the journey?

Identify the pain

Of course you have to know what is hurting in order to let it go. So you have to investigate this. Get to the bottom of the pain. Sometimes it may be obvious sometimes not. There are a few techniques you can use to find what is your pin. To find out both what is the cause and how it makes you feel.

The universal letter

I love the technique a letter to the universe when I need to know something about myself which is unclear. Basically you write a letter starting with the sentence “ Dear universe

Please tell me what it is I need to understand about…………………” Then you write. You write and write and write. Don’t worry about grammar, spelling. Keep writing until you can do no more. During this process there will come and a ha moment that helps you understand.  It is a good idea to do this in a private place. Expect tears they will come and be kind to yourself afterwards.

Medicine walk

A medicine walk is a walk in nature that allows you to slow down, tune in, shift consciousness and receive the ‘medicine’ or guidance that your soul needs. Basically take a walk in nature with a specific question that you want to answer. When you leave the home until you return do not speak to anyone. Concentrate on your internal dialogue.

Talk to someone

Some of us prefer to talk out our pain. Talking to or sometimes at another person can help bring clarity to our searching. Explain to the person you are talking to that you are trying to understand your pain and how it affects you. The other person needs to practise actively listening and to support you to find your own answers and most importantly someone you trust implicitly. If you like to talk to people but do not have a person that can help you in the way described search out anonymous advice. There are any charities in the world that have helpline that can offer a counselling service and can support you to identify your pain.

Feel your pain

I am a very emotional person by which I mean I have very strong emotional responses. When I feel I FEEL,intensely and sometimes overwhelming. There is nothing wrong with it. Sometimes we tend to ignore our feelings. Pulling ourselves together and pushing them down. It is INCREDIBLY unhealthy to do this. If you are sad allow yourself to cry. If you are angry shout it out in an empty room, on a hill. (Basically wherever you are alone). As a child when I was an avid balletomane so when I felt to much I would put on the music and dance. A friend I know puts all of her emotions into cleaning her house when she needs to release emotions.  Paint it out, draw it out, write it out, sing it out, run it out, train it out, walk it out. However you best connect with your emotions and allow yourself to feel it.  Sometimes you can do this in one sitting, sometimes it takes more than one time.

Decide to let it go

Some people would say this is the first step but for me it is the third. In order to let go you have to know why you are letting go. There are some bonus in holding onto hurt, to pain. There is otherwise you wouldn’t do it. So you need to separate yourself a little. A simple list pros and cons list here helps. On one side of a piece of paper write serves me and the other doesn’t serve me. List everything here you can think of as to why it would serve you to let go (make life better) to let go or how it wouldn’t serve you to let go (not make your life better). Rationally understanding why we have to let go means that we can easier make the decision to let go.

Accepting

Ugh I hate this part however it is essential. The past is in the past. No matter how much we want to we can’t change it. Putting our energy into wishing for it to change, to be different is not going to help. If you do not accept you will be resisting your emotions, and that is incredibly unhealthy. Your situation is what it is. No amount of wishing for something different or rejecting the situation (or yourself) will change anything. However, by facing your problem, you can at least begin to address it.

Responsibility

Sometimes it can help to look at responsibility in a situation to help with accepting. In most situations there is always something that was our responsibility. Whether it is in something we did or simply how we reacted to the situation. Accepting responsibility does not mean blaming ourselves it just means accepting our actions.It just means taking ownership for our behaviour and the consequences.  Accepting our responsibility in a situation whether great or small, helps us to find understanding. And understanding makes it easier. Similarly by accepting responsibility we empower ourselves. It reminds us that we are in control of our lives not victims.

Forgiving

Forgiving someone for causing us pain or ourselves is challenging. However it is a path to letting go. Forgiveness is not something you do for the other person. It it  something you do for you. Forgiveness doesn’t mean you need to tell the person that he or she is forgiven. Forgiveness doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have any more feelings about the situation or forget it. It also doesn’t mean there is nothing further to work out in the relationship or that everything is okay now. Forgiveness doesn’t mean you have to continue to include the person in your life. By forgiving, you are accepting the reality of what happened and finding a way to live in a state of resolution with it. Forgiving someone means usings empathy. Putting yourself in their place as well as acknowledging theirs. You may never understand why they did what they did, but it can sometimes help to see things from their eyes. Writing a letter helps. You don’t need to send it. I find forgiveness is best when it is a cathartic process, by that I mean one you can physically experience.

Looking for the teachings

Looking for what we have learnt in a painful situation helps in easing the pain. Everything in life teaches us something both the good experiences and the bad. More often than not it is the bad that teaches us the most. Look at how you have grown from the pain. Yes sometimes we are scarred but our scars make us beautiful, wiser and stronger.

Gratitude

The only place the past can exist anymore is in your mind. When you are ready to let go you need to shift your focus to the now. One of the best ways to do this to look at what you are grateful for in your life at this moment. A gratitude list whether a one off or a daily list helps. Counting our blessings is a great healing process

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Letting go is a process that you need to take in your own time. No one can tell you to move on, you have to be ready to do it. It is one of the best things you can do for yourself and when you have done it you will feel so much better. You have a long journey ahead of you in life and you will enjoy it more by having a lighter load.

One of the happiest moments in lifeis when you find the courageto let go what youcannot change.jpg

 

HAve a great week <3

Taking care of yourself by taking the hard conversations

In my experience no-one enjoys conflict. Yet sometimes life throws it at you and although your instinct may be to avoid a confrontation, eventually we have to deal with it. This year two of my personal goals are improving my communication in relationships and setting healthy boundaries for myself. And as always the universe has responded by presenting me with opportunities to do just that by manifesting some confrontations and subsequent hard conversations. Now the old me would have probably complained about these events and then not done so much about it. But in the spirit of conscious living and being true to myself this year avoidance is not an option. This year I have to take the hard conversations. And its scary.

These hard conversations come in all shapes and sizes and in every area of our lives. Maybe you can relate? Maybe you have a colleague that you simply cannot get along with or a family member you need to set boundaries for, but don’t dare to fix the boundaries you need because it might start a confrontation? The challenge is that when you avoid taking the hard conversation to fix these challenges it often builds up and results in a confrontation, leaving you with a mess. So the fix is the hard conversation. And the ideal of course is to have the hard conversation without it being, well hard. But how the heck do you do it? How do you take the hard conversation, fix the issue without a confrontation? Well it’s not easy. However it is doable with a little for thought and preparation it IS possible to make the hard conversation and easier experience for everyone involved.

This week I have a hard conversation I have to take.  It’s an awkward situation as it is partly work related and partly personal. A potential time bomb of emotional responses. Every instinct I have is telling me to avoid it however avoidance is not an option.  So in order to smooth over the ripples to make this conversation easier for both parties involved there is some careful preparation I need to make. Here is the process I have found works 9 times out of 10 on how to take a hard conversation and make it easy.

Prepare:

Going into a hard conversation without preparation is a recipe for a disaster. So before the conversation ask yourself the following questions:

What is your purpose for having the conversation?

Watch for hidden purposes. You may feel you have the moral high ground or purpose but is this a reality. Question the situation and your motive for the conversation.Work on yourself so that you enter the conversation with a supportive purpose.

What do you hope to accomplish?

This is an easier one what is it that you want out of the conversation? Do you need to have your feelings taken into consideration. Do you need to know more about the other person’s point of view?

What would be an ideal outcome?

Look at the solutions you need. Equally play a role reversal and think about what solutions the other party might need. In order to make a hard conversation easier a clear idea of the outcome that works for both parties is a must.

Where are your needs and what are you willing to compromise?

Cooperation is the key to making a hard conversation easier. And cooperation always involves an element of compromise. If you don’t look at where you are willing to compromise and work with the other person’s perspective the conversation will not go well. Similarly if you compromise all of your personal needs the conversation will not have been resolved in a positive way for you. Decide on where you can make compromises, where you have to place your boundaries and how to fulfill your needs  beforehand.

How does this situation affect you emotionally?

Take a look at your “backstory,” What personal history is being triggered? Which emotional buttons are being pressed? Every interaction in life triggers an emotional response. You may find that when you look at this that a lot of your reaction to the situation is to do with you, not the other person. If some of this situation is ‘your stuff’ this something you need resolve alone. By identifying your emotional response to the situation you will get clarity about what is your responsibility to resolve and what is the other person’s responsibility to resolve.  This may mean you have to reassess your ideal outcome

What are your fears and assumptions affecting the situation?

What are you afraid of? What fears do you have about the situation and the conversation? Are these rational personal and all they real? Similarly what assumptions are you making about this person that is affecting how you view the situation? Are these rational personal and all they real?  Be cautious about assuming the other person’s intentions and perspective. Remember impact does not necessarily equal intent. A saying we have in our home is that “assumptions are the mother of all fuck ups”. Don’t allow irrational fears and assumptions to guide your actions.

Who is your opponent?

What might they be thinking about this situation? Are they aware of the problems and challenges you are experiencing? If so, how do you think they perceive  it? What are their needs and fears? What solution do you think they might suggest? Begin to reframe the opponent as partner. A partner in solutions and mutual understanding.

How have you contributed to the problem?

In every situation whether we like it or not we have contributed to the good and the bad. Take a step back and accept responsibility for your contributions. Also have a look at what contributions and responsibilities the other person has made, in your opinion.

Have a Plan

How will you keep centered?

The majority of the work in any hard conversation is work you do on yourself. No matter how well the conversation begins, you’ll need to stay in charge of yourself, your purpose and especially your emotional energy. You will need to remain centered. So plan how to do that. Breathe, center. During the conversation continue to notice when you become off center–and choose to return again. This is where your power lies. By choosing the calm, centered state, you’ll help your conversation partner to be more centered, too. I often find that I use Mr Spock as my ideal in a hard conversation. He maintains a rational logical approach to any problem removing himself from his emotions. So find a way to connect with your inner spock.

How will you make the other person feel comfortable and included?

In a hard conversation the conversation will probably feel defensive. When you are initiating the hard conversation it is your responsibility to make sure the other person does not feel attacked. Often you will have planned for the conversation, the other person will not have had this luxury, It is important therefore to hear their perspective and to make sure their viewpoint is acknowledged. That you ask for their contributions to solutions and the ideal outcome.

How do you want the conversation to go?

Plan out your conversation. One format I would recommend is: Inquiry, Acknowledgement, Personal perspective, Problem Solving

Inquiry: Cultivate an attitude of discovery and curiosity. Pretend you don’t know anything (it’s true you really don’t know how the other person feels), and try to learn as much as possible about your conversation partner and their point of view.

Acknowledgement: Acknowledgment means showing that you’ve heard and understood. Try to understand the other person so well you can make their argument for them. Then do it. Explain back their perspective. They  will not change unless they sees that you see where they stands.

Personal perspective: Explain your perspective. Without accusing or becoming emotional. Clarify your position without minimizing theirs. Explain how you are challenge in/by  the situation. Accept your responsibilities and state what you hope to accomplish in this conversation.

Problem Solving: Begin building solutions. Brainstorming and continued inquiry are useful here. Ask your conversation partner what he thinks might work. Find something you like in their suggestions go from there. If the conversation becomes challenging go back to inquiry, it will help the other person feel heard and engage in the solutions.

Moving forward: Clarify how you will move forward. Confirm agreements made for solutions. Thank the other person for being part of the resolution.

How will you begin?

Knowing how to begin a hard conversation helps your confidence. Here are some suggestions

  • I have something I’d like to discuss with you that I think will help us work together more effectively.
  • I’d like to talk about ____________ with you, but first I’d like to get your point of view.
  • I need your help with what just happened/something. Do you have a few minutes to talk?
  • I think we have different perceptions about _____________________. I’d like to hear your thinking on this.
  • I’d like to talk about ___________________. I think we may have different ideas about how to _____________________.
  • I’d like to see if we might reach a better understanding about ___________. I really want to hear your feelings about this and share my perspective as well.
  • I/we have a challenging situation with  _____________________ I would like to talk to you about it so we can find some solutions together.

Practice, Practice, Practice

The art of hard conversations is like anything else in life –with continued practice you get better at it and it becomes easier. If the conversation is really challenging you then run through it with a neutral party. Practise the conversation. Also you can mentally practice the conversation. See various possibilities and visualize yourself handling them with ease. Envision the outcome you are hoping for.

Here are some additional tips to remember when taking a hard conversation:

  • A successful outcome will depend on two things: how you are and what you say. How you are (centered, supportive, curious, problem-solving) will greatly influence what you say.
  • Acknowledge emotional energy–yours and your partner’s–and direct it toward a useful purpose.
  • Know and return to your purpose for the conversation when it gets difficult
  • Don’t take verbal attacks personally.  (This one is challenging) Help your opponent/partner come back to center. It can be helpful to work out how before
  • Don’t assume they can see things from your point of view.

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Hard conversations are never going to be 100% easy. However by preparing, planning and practising you will create the best results. These steps can be used in any hard conversation personally or professionally. By being brave, taking action and finding resolution to a confrontation you are consciously choosing a positive solution which will make you feel a hundred times better in the long run. The more you practise taking the hard conversations the easier it will become. And by setting the boundaries, analysing your part in the conversation, working on ‘your stuff’ and finding solutions with the other person you will also be taking care of yourself.

Have a great week <3

Peace is not the absence of conflict it is the ability to cope with it.jpg

Celebrate love, not romance, on Valentine’s day

Since the 1st January retailers have been preparing for Valentines day and cynics have been rolling their eyes at the hearts, cupids and other paraphernalia paraded at this time of year. Personally today I think Valentine’s day gets a bad wrap. There are hundreds of articles out there against valentine’s day, thousands of people actually ‘hate’ valentines day and personally this confuses me. I get the hatred of the crash commercialism of the day (it’s the same as Christmas, Halloween and Easter) but to ‘hate’ a day about celebrating love. To me that seems illogical. We know that “It’s love that makes the world go round”, Love is one of the many things that makes life’s journey interesting, it’s what makes the world a better place. How can a day that celebrates this wonderful thing be hated? Because of our associations with valentine’s day.

Today Valentine’s day is a huge consumer festival marketed at couples. However I don’t remember “love” as being something only couples share. I am pretty sure we all have someone (if not everyone)we love, in our lives right now. We love our family, our children, our friends, our pets and yes even our favourite celebrities. We love alot and often. It is truly a gift we have been given the ability to love. For me this is what valentine’s day is about. Celebrating this gift and the people and things that we love in our lives. For me valentine’s day is about taking one day to celebrate all the good in my life. All the joy. All the wonder. A day where I can express all of my love. For others and also very importantly for myself.

So instead of rolling your eyes on wednesday when you see the hearts and the roses. How would it feel to remember those you love, to be grateful for the good in your life you have here and now. Wouldn’t that feel great! Wouldn’t your friends and family feel wonderful if you just out of the blue contacted them to say ‘hey I love you ‘. And wouldn’t it feel good to celebrate how wonderful you are by practising some self love. Get out of the consumer hate this valentines day and get into how amazingly lucky you are to love and be loved in your life.

And if you don’t know how, heres a few ideas to get you started:

Love my life

A great way to start valentine’s day is to list all the loves in your life. This can be people, things, memories, pets. Just make a list of all that you love. Start each sentence with I love…….If you are driving to work and don’t have time to write it you can say them out loud. See how much love there is in your life.

Make someone else feel special

Choose a person who you love that your don’t see very often and make them feel special. Maybe it is a little thing like giving your co workers their favourite chocolate, calling your favourite childhood aunt, taking your dog for an extra long walk, or sending a loving message over Facebook to someone you don’t contact often. Little things go a long, long way.

Spread the love

If you want to spread the love even further you could do something nice for someone you don’t know just to make them smile. Or donate to charity. Fill up 10 parking meters. If you want to go all out you could send valentines cards to everyone you know. Fill the office with valentines balloons. Give out 12 roses to people on the train.

Show yourself some self love

Valentine’s day is the best day for self love. And that is also when you are in a relationship. Pamper yourself. Dress fabulously for the day. Go for a spa or give yourself a hand massage. Treat yourself. Buy yourself flowers. Self love affirmations are an amazing way to start and end the day. Looking in the mirror you can say

“I love every part of myself including all of my imperfections, which make me who I am and uniquely lovable” or  “I’m bright, brilliant, and beautiful” or make up your own. Make a happy memory loving yourself this valentine’s day.

Write a love note

Yes I mean it. Write a love note….to yourself. Tell yourself everything you love about you. Write it as though you are your own lover. And I don’t mean explicit and x rated! Write it to celebrate your beauty, as a declaration of love and a declaration of how you will always be there for yourself and promise to care for yourself. Remember Oscar Wilde said ““To love oneself is the beginning of a lifelong romance.” The most important romance.

(You can of course write one for someone else as well, if you want to.)

Hold a love celebration party with your favourite things

Instead of boycotting Valentine’s day why not fill your home with the people you love and celebrate each other. An easy way to do this is to ask everyone to bring their favourite food, drink and game to share. Share the things you love with the people you love and make an amazing memory together!

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Love is a so much healthier and nicer emotion than hate. So take the opportunity this Valentines day gives you to celebrate the love in your life. Love comes in many forms so don’t limit yourself to chocolates, a card or a day hiding under the duvet. You can choose to create this day however you wish and I know that when you put your mind to it you will make a much more beautiful experience for yourself and those you love than all the consumer holiday marketing experts could ever imagine!

Have a lovely week <3

Celebrating love is

Practising abundance -the art of luxury

“Save a penny and walk, and be thankful” is a saying that has stayed with me since my childhood. I first heard it in the book Ballet Shoes where bus fares cost a penny and it was better to walk than waste the money.  This phrase for some reason has stuck with me. It reeks of common sense. The practical thing to do. It wasn’t until a few years ago that I realised that although it is full of common sense and hints at strong moral fibre, is also full of a poverty mindset.

A poverty mindset is the opposite of abundance thinking. No matter how much you have in life you will never feel as though you have enough. Ebenezer Scrooge is the best known poverty mindset literary character. The richest man in town with a tiny fire and hardly any candles scrimping, saving and living a mean life. Yet not all people with a poverty mindset are as extreme as Scrooge. Poverty mindset is sneaky and tricksy and often unbeknown to its owner is hidden deep within their psyche. I see it alot in my line of work and this week I have been travelling in Austria with a whole family with a poverty mindset. (And yes it has been challenging.) Rather than spend a little on a warm drink they at cold sandwiches freezing on a bench in the snow. Ate up all their food on a plate in the restaurant even if they were already stuffed full, just because it is the right thing to do. Sat in agony with back pain and refusing relief, help or even a cushion. They cut corners wherever they could resulting in unnecessary uncomfort, and sometimes downright stupidity, under the cover of the it’s the right thing to do. Whilst I in my usual way celebrated the moment, looked for opportunities and found so many of them  (such as a magical ice village up a mountain and swimming outside in a snowstorm).  And was very much looked down upon by said family. However I had a great time and I am returning home with pocket full of beautiful memories which I wouldn’t trade for all of the euros in theirs.

It got me thinking. Why do we believe that having a poverty mindset in life is morally correct and look down on those who choose to celebrate abundance? In my book the answer is twofold low self worth and jealousy. People with a poverty mindset either:

  1. Don’t believe they are worth much and therefore have too low self worth to ask for what they want or need.
  2. Are jealous of others in their lifestyle and the things they have and would rather blame and play victim than take a deep look at themselves.

In both cases they do not believe themselves to be rich in life and therefore never will be. I feel sorry for them. I know how it is. I used to be just the same. Today I know that I am rich. I love my life. Is it because I have a lot of money? No. Is it because I have lots of expensive stuff? Definitely not. (Well I do have a lot of stuff just a lot of it comes from 2nd hand shops- I love a bargain!) It is because I have a bank full of memories, eyes that look for opportunities and a very grateful heart. And not in the least I practise the art of luxury.

The art of luxury is my own creation. It could also be called the art of because I am worth it. Or the art of because I deserve it. Everybody deserves to have luxery in their life, to enjoy abundance. However sometimes abundance can be a challenging challenging concept to manifest in reality.  Practising the art of luxury makes it very straightforward.

Recognition:

First you have to realise that everyone deserves to be treated or rewarded in life. When I work with clients on manifesting goals, I always ask how will you reward yourself? Often this seems like a strange concept to people. However the logic is simple. You have out in effort, you have created something, challenged yourself you deserve a reward. As adults we don’t often have the supportive cheerleading team we had as children. The compliments and praise that got us through potty training, joined up handwriting and university is scarce. Rewarding ourselves is a way of giving our selves that cheer squad boost. Now some people disagree with this carrot and a stick method but to them my arguement is this. Humans are designed to need praise, if we didn’t need it then how would parents teachers and bosses giving praise or promotions  get such good results? We love to strive for a reward. You deserve to be rewarded. To have nice experiences in life. There was no human born on this planet the was born with the intent that they should be miserable. So recognise this and give yourself permission to enjoy the beauty and wonder available in life. Even if that is someone offering you a pillow and a pain killer when your back is hurting.

Gratitude

So once you have recognise that you deserve to be rewarded, to feel lifes abundance you need to start looking for it. Nothing gets you noticing the good in life like having an attitude of gratitude. BEing grateful for both the small and big wonders in life is the BIGGEST step to practising abundance and the art of luxery. When you become grateful for lifes many blessings you realsie how wonderful life is. Wether its the morning cup of coffee, the great compliment you got at work or the family all sitting enjoying dinner together all the things you are grateful for become the guidelines of how you enjoy life.

What does luxery mean to me?

Now we all know there are different strokes for different folks and it’s the same with your personal definition of luxery. I mean none of us would complain with a billion dollar life style I am sure but if that is your only definition of luxery then you are going to have a very dissapointing life. You may of course reach that shiny land. However if your eyes are only on the prize then you won’t get to enjoy the journey. So define what makes you feel like you are expeiriencing luxery, experiencing abundance. For me it can be an evening alone. A single glass of champagne. Watching a film I really wanted to see. Travelling. Adventures. The list is endless and made up of both small and big luxeries. Make a list of what is luxouirous for you.

Oppertunities

Oppertunities comes in 2 parts. The first is that you have the oppertunity to create moments when you enjoy luxery such as today I went to the spa. I have been planning it and looking forward to it for such a long time. It was to reward myself for all my hard work last year and to indulge in a day of self love practise (one of this and last year’s major themes for me). So create your moments of luxery. Plan them. Plan one right now and go write it in your diary…go on… I’ll wait….Good.

The second is simply that you ask yourself in any given situation *what would make this moment better for me? ‘  Basically you look for the oppertunities before you. This week I was up a mountain (you know as people are) It was a glorious sunny day, the view was stunning. And I noticed someone in the restaurant near the viewing platform was drinking champagne and that is one of my luxeries. So I ordered myself a glass and enjoyed the view. Then I saw that there was another set of cable cars going down the mountain to somewhere I didn’t know and hadn’t been. So of course as I had oodles of time I went down and evetually found a lovely watefall (and the way back home). Now I know not everyone has the  time or the  money to do this. However there is always a way to make an experience feel more luxourius you just have to look at the oppertunities you have around you.

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The point is that yes you can save a penny and walk, that’s your choice. But do it because it makes you feel good, or find a way to make it good for you. But choose. Don’t deny yourself luxery in life because of a hidden dominant  poverty mindset. You are in control of your life. You overcome , you achieve and you deserve to be rewarded. The art of luxery is just a tool to help you connect with a feeling of abundance. Did I appreciate the mountain view without the champagne? Of course. But with it the memory became more special and I felt so much gratitude to be where I was, doing what I was doing and I know I will never forget it. These are the moments that make me feel rich and abundant in life. I hope that by practising the art of luxery you will feel rich and abundant in yours. After all you are worth it.

HAve an amazing week <3

Celebrate the abundance in your life.jpg

#lifelessons101 – The joys of waiting, turning waiting time into me time

Waiting time. In the days of yore waiting was well normal, life was slower paced, But today in the fast world of the 21st century waiting time has become a stress factor for many. The ten minute tube trip, the half hour bus ride during rush hour, waiting in a queue most of us find it annoying and frankly a waste of time. Personally I enjoy waiting. As a non driver I am a regular user of public transport and a battle tested survivor of the long haul train and bus journey. It is one of my most valuable resources. Even today when I am travelling from Denmark to Austria on a bus. (Yes people still do that.)

The dominant cost of waiting is an emotional one: stress, boredom, that nagging sensation that one’s life is slipping away. However when used effectively waiting can be a productive and relaxing time if you can turn the negative thinking around and come prepared. Even in the worst times of waiting, the transport delay when you need to get somewhere on time waiting can be turned into a positive experience when you know how. The funny thing is that waiting time can actually be a solution to the common problem of not having enough me time. It’s true. When you make waiting time your friend it can become a precious me time ressource in a busy day it just takes 2 steps.

Step 1 : Acceptance

You have to wait to do somethings in life. Supermarket queues, train journeys,  doctors surgeries (where getting in to the doctor on time is as rare and mythical as rocking horse poop) and missing there is always going to be some time where you have to wait. So accept it. Being annoyed about waiting is just going to get you stressed out. It will make you feel negative and then everything else will be negative. I got an amazing piece of advice many years ago that returns time and time again when I get delayed on trips. A delay is an opportunity. I know it sounds weird but by turning your thinking around from what a pain to what an opportunity possibilities arise. It’s alot more fun than stressing out about when you are going to get or do whatever it is you have to do next. And it means you get to be in the moment not the next moment.

Step 2: Be prepared

I actually get more frustrated these days if I don’t get my waiting/travel time in because it is so productive. Being ready for waiting time makes it nicer. The trick is be prepared. Have a stash of activities you can do in the small delays, queues long haul trips, even when ou are waiting for a partner to get ready to go out.

So from a seasoned traveller somewhere on the road between Denmark and Jutland who is currently watching the police do transport checks on her bus whilst they eat danish pastries – (I kid you not – just another exciting interlude on the highway) here are the tips and tricks I have accumulated to make more me time out of waiting time.

3 minute meditation

This is a great one and can be done anywhere at anytime. I found this on Mind, Body Green and I love it

Here’s the technique:

  1. Bring all your awareness to your breath. Shift your focus down to the belly and allow the belly to soften as you deepen your breath.
  2. Now mentally repeat to yourself, “Breathing In, I calm myself. Breathing out, I smile.” Say this until you feel the shift.
  3. Notice the corners of your mouth begin to curl, even if you have to pretend. Notice how your breath becomes a bit more even and deep. The smile brings relaxation and carries the message “all will be OK” to your mind and body.

Personal Development Time

I am, as regulars know a disciple of Hal Elrod’s Miracle Morning. I have friend who is the same yet he has many small children and a 30 min commute everyday both which used to interrupt his Miracle Morning. I suggested using his commuting time so now he uses the commute to do part of his personal development routine. Reading, journaling, ted talk videos, meditations, listening and repeating affirmations (no-one cares what you are muttering to yourself on the busy platform when you are on the way to work) and visualisation. All of these activities can be done in a 30 minute train journey. Even if you are not a MM person you can plan your commute time as personal enhancement time.

(If you don’t know the Miracle Morning I highly recommend it!)

Connect with real people

People are strange animals. We are. And fascinating to watch. People watching is one of my favourite journey habits. It sets of the imagination and reminds me why it’s so great to be human. Another great favourite pastime of mine during waiting is starting conversations with strangers. I know it’s breaking a huge social taboo but I love it. I have the belief that within every conversation in life there are messages we need to hear and pass on. And if you don’t find a message you will collect a story or maybe share a story.

Do something you love

In Denmark I often see people knitting or reading on the train. I love to draw and colour so sketch pads and colouring books are always in my bag. Find something you like to do that you can transport easily and take it with you wherever you go.  On long haul trips (like to day) I like to work and write. As long as I have wifi then I am good to go and I get some of my best work done on the road. It’s a great time for long projects, overdue emails and especially research. However on the long haul trip I always set myself a stop time when I won’t work and I do something nice. Draw with netflixs is a favourite.

Stretch out

In a busy day it can be challenging to find the time your body needs to strech out so why not use your waiting time. Now I don’t mean lay out your yoga mat in the supermarket and do your sun salutation (well you can if you want ).There are many subtle streches you can do whilst waiting in line, for a bus that are great fo the body.Here are some ideas to get started

http://allwomenstalk.com/7-exercises-you-can-do-while-waiting-in-line

Hand massage

A hand massage is the perfect wind down and easy to do with a little practise. It is a brilliant way to treat yourself and give yourself some tender loving tlc. University youtube has some great videos for this

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6wUWDlfSQN8

Do something nice

Treat yourself. Especially if you are suddenly having to wait for a long time. Waiting is much nicer with a chai soya latte (well it is in my world) or a small piece of your favourite chocolate. Or you can treat someone else to an out of the blue phone call. Doing something nice for ourselves or other people always makes a moment happier.

Gratitude I spy

I used to love eyespy when I was about 6. However as we advance with age it gets a bit dull. Gratitude I spy never gets old. As you journey you simply look around for beauty or things that make you feel grateful for seeing. When you appreciate the world around you time passes pleasantly. And time flies when you are having fun!

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This weekend open your eyes to the opportunities of waiting and see if you can turn these previously frustrating moments into a part of the day that you can really enjoy. Life is precious and made better for the small beautiful moments so this weekend make some me time out of your waiting time and enjoy your life’s journey even more than before.

Happy weekend <3

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