Patience, perseverance, and play

patience, perseverance and play

Happy Friday!

And Noswaith dda (that means good evening in Welsh!) from a grey, but rain free Wales. That’s right folks, the rain does cease to fall every once in a while. Hallelujah. In fact, two days this week Mr. Sun decided to shine his face!

It was a welcome sight, let me tell you.

And even though it didn’t take long for the beautiful blue sky to soon turn to cloud, and there was rain again by the end of the day (I have actually yet to witness a day sans rain completely, but that’s besides the point!), it was enough to make me realize that life may not always be sunny, but nor will it always be grey.

We all may have a few grey days in our lives here and there, but it won’t last. It doesn’t have to last. We don’t have to let it last. And as I mentioned in last week’s post, sometimes we just need a little bit of faith.

And beyond that, a few other qualities I discovered that were pertinent to my week (and just because alliterations are fun!) patience, perseverance, and play.

Patience.

Did anyone else’s mother ever mention — or rather hammer home — the notion ‘patience is a virtue‘? Well, as ironic as that was coming from my mother (don’t get me wrong I loved her to bits for all that she was, but patient was not one! Although I will admit this area is one of the many areas I also take after her…), it is so true.

Patience is a virtue. It’s hard to always put into practice, as I can certainly attest to wanting things to happen, like, yesterday, but sometimes we need to give it time. And sometimes we need to remember to take baby steps. I can’t expect to get a job without a little work. First comes the CV updating, then comes the distribution and the application and the knocking down doors, then comes the interview, and then perhaps, if the fit is right, comes the offer. I can’t be upset with myself if I don’t have a job yet when I haven’t even taken each of the baby steps required to get there. (But, I do have two interviews lined up for next week, so fingers crossed…) One step at a time; it’s not a race, and it’ll happen eventually. 

patience (steer-blog.com)

Perseverance.

I am sure we are all familiar with the old adage If at first you don’t succeed, try, try, again. It’s never about if, how, or why you failed, but about how you pick yourself up and get back in the game. And sometimes this includes knowing when to steer onto another path, at others when to change your current tactics all together.

So I have been struggling to open up a bank account since the beginning of last week. I needed something stating my address, so I had my landlord adjust the tenancy agreement to also include my name. Done. Well apparently that wasn’t good enough. I needed an actual piece of mail, so I called British Gas to set up a new account in my name and had a letter sent to me. Done and done. Well apparently that wasn’t good enough. I needed not just a letter from a utility company with my account number, I needed an official utility bill. Well, considering we’ve only been in there a week, a bill hadn’t been processed yet; they only come every three months… it goes on. The bank were quick to suggest one thing or another, and yet wouldn’t just open up an account for me!

Well at this point, I was fed up. And so yesterday morning, I marched into another large bank, with my UK passport, tenancy agreement, and addressed utility bill in hand, prepared for another fight. Instead, I was greeted by a lovely gentleman, who not only saw me right away, but only needed a copy of my passport, trusted my address when I gave it to him, and opened up an account for me right there on the spot. HSBC: your local bank. I think not! It’s a pity – as I always love reading their clever ads coming off the plane… Stick with it, don’t give up, and you’ll eventually get ‘er done!

don't give up (bryceraley.com)

Play.

I came back from a run one morning, and while I was stretching, looked up to the sky and the sun was so bright I had to slightly close my eyes. What? Sun? Too bright? And in Wrexham, where I have admittedly been complaining of nothing but rain?

Well, that sun sure made me smile. And then it made me chuckle. And then it made me think of a line from one of my fave Indigo Girls’ songs: “It’s only life after all…’ Indeed. Sometimes we can take ourselves so seriously! Correction: Sometimes I can take myself so seriously – too seriously. This week I was pretty productive, but I was also almost all business. What’s the point of getting anywhere, crossing any amount of things off of the to-do list, if we aren’t having fun while doing it? Be serious when you need to be serious, have fun when it’s time to have fun, and remember that it’s only life after all.

And on that note, I would like to share with you a song and accompanying video I was introduced to last weekend (It may have been out for a little while – and so I may be a little late on the uptake! But interesting to note, it is the first time in history a Korean musician has made #1 on the UK charts!) as a reminder that life can indeed be fun. Perhaps a little random, a little confusing, and a little crazy at times (using the video as a metaphor here – go with it!), but fun. So I challenge you all to find your own way to rock out and have fun this week, to find your own ‘Gangnam Style’, if you will.

(click on photo below to see video)
gangnam style (style.mtv.com)

Have a FAB week, everyone!

despite the rain, choose to see the sun

today I will choose joy (lifewithlyn.com)

 

 

 

Okay, I’m going to let you all in on a little secret. Some days, I don’t always feel completely and wholly and utterly as happy as my Happy Friday greeting seems to suggest. Some days, I don’t always feel as happy as I would like to be, as happy as I feel I should be, or as happy as I know I can be.

And so, in a moment of complete authenticity and vulnerability, I am going to admit to you now that I am not 100% happy 100% of the time (cue soundtrack: loud GASP). I know, I know, it’s shocking. But true! And yet, when sharing ‘Happy Friday’ messages with really whomever is listening, I want to be able to come from a place of pure happy. Although right now I am indeed very happy, (more on what’s contributing to that in a moment!) today I am going to acknowledge that this week I have certainly not been 100% happy, 100% of the time.

Have any of you ever heard the tale of the two travelers and the farmer? Allow me to indulge and share the story with you now…  

The Two Travellers and the Farmer (edited by Ashliman D.L.)

A traveller came upon an old farmer hoeing in his field beside the road. Eager to rest his feet, the wanderer hailed the countryman, who seemed happy enough to straighten his back and talk for a moment.

“What sort of people live in the next town?” asked the stranger.

“What were the people like where you’ve come from?” replied the farmer, answering the question with another question.

“They were a bad lot. Troublemakers all, and lazy too. The most selfish people in the world, and not a one of them to be trusted. I’m happy to be leaving the scoundrels.”

“Is that so?” replied the old farmer. “Well, I’m afraid that you’ll find the same sort in the next town. Disappointed, the traveller trudged on his way, and the farmer returned to his work. Some time later another stranger, coming from the same direction, hailed the farmer, and they stopped to talk.

“What sort of people live in the next town?” he asked.

“What were the people like where you’ve come from?” replied the farmer once again.

“They were the best people in the world. Hard working, honest, and friendly. I’m sorry to be leaving them.”

“Fear not,” said the farmer. “You’ll find the same sort in the next town.”

It’s all about our outlook, no? Well apparently, although I do believe whole-heartedly in the power of optimism, I was lacking some of that this week. Instead of choosing happy, I chose to act more like the first traveller in the story. 

Wrexham has not make the greatest first impression on me. Or rather, I chose to let Wrexham not make the greatest first impression on me. But allow me to expand a tad upon my week before all of you naysayers judge me and call me Debbie downer!

It’s done nothing but RAIN since we arrived. And I mean rain. Like, hard. As in, on Sunday, we had the same amount of rain in one day as is normal for one month. Now that first day, it didn’t even really bother me. I didn’t let it get me down. I pulled on my rain boots, zipped up my rain coat, opened up my new sturdy umbrella (a thoughtful gift from my man in preparation for our move), and sloshed all the way into town. And I had a good day – despite the fact I couldn’t open a bank account, get a phone, or organize internet.

By the third and the fourth day, however – when the rain still hadn’t let up, and none of these important things to set up when moving to a new place were getting done – I began to let it get me down. I can’t order internet or get a phone number until I have a bank account. And even with a UK passport, I can’t open up a bank account until I have a piece of mail, such as a bill, to prove where I live. And I can’t have a bill sent proving my address until I can provide a bank account. It seemed to be a bit of a rough and never-ending cycle.

Yes, I will admit there were times this week when I was not 100% happy. And it’ll likely also not be the last time I’m not 100% happy. But that’s okay — because it doesn’t have to last. We can choose not to be happy for a short while, but only long enough to realize that we can also choose instead to be happy. And sometimes we may need a little extra bit of faith to trust that the sun will indeed shine again, and that we will indeed have reason to smile once more.

Every day is a new day. A new beginning. A new opportunity to choose. 

And today is not only a new day, but it’s a new Friday. And a special Friday at that. I am writing to you from inside a Starbucks in London (Wrexham also does have a Starbucks, I’ll give it props at least for that!) just down the road from Nottinghill Gate station. It’s buzzing, I’m hearing German which makes me smile, and knowing I am just up the road from my sister’s flat makes me happy. And in a few minutes I will be leaving to hop on the infamous London underground tube to the airport, where I will be welcoming my other sister, her wonderful husband, and my most precious neice ever. And I am so looking forward to the special time we will be sharing together. Yes, it’s a special Friday.

Sometimes we can choose to instead see all of the sun in our lives, despite the buckets of rain that may be falling down all around us. And today, I choose happy. And look at that, the sun just came out. Happy Friday indeed.

sun coming out

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Have a FAB week, everyone!

 

Be a YES!

Be A Yes!Greetings, my fine friends, and Happy Friday!

I remember one of my first Baptiste yoga classes (Dad don’t hit delete yet!), when the Instructor told us, as we grew taller and stretched deeper into our pose, to “Be a Yes.” At first, I wasn’t quite sure what she meant by it. I think we may have been in tree pose at the time, or one in which hands could reach towards the sky, chest shining out, with spine and shoulders dropped into the back. I actually thought we were supposed to feel the sensation of making a “Y” with our bodies. A “Y” for yes. Makes sense, no? Ever-eager to please and play good student, I tried desperately to radiate the sensation of a ‘Y’, hoping I was doing the right thing and didn’t look silly. However, this meant only getting too caught up in my head – analyzing and over-thinking – that even if I was doing the ‘right’ thing, I wouldn’t have reaped the benefits anyhow.

After a few more classes, I eventually realized that being a yes did not mean physically with our bodies, it meant being a yes in life. Trying things. Going after things. Playing big. Saying yes to new things, before that voice within our comfort zone perks up and tells us to say no.

Over the weekend I was asked/strongly encouraged/lovingly harassed to sign up for what is called the Tough Mudder event. I had never heard of it before, and although I had no idea what it was all about, I’ll admit I was intrigued. Not wanting to disappoint, and wanting to exercise being a “yes’ (see the movie Yes Man… you’ll understand this concept a lot more! Plus, it’s pretty entertaining…), I took a brief look at the website as we chatted and signed up. Why not, right? Um, so yeah – I have since learned it may turn out to be a tad more intense than I initially realized (10-12 miles of military style obstacles, created by the British Special Forces, including running through live electric wires and swimming through dumsters of ice — take a peek for yourself at toughmudder.com — there is still room on our girls team for those who are interested?!?). However, it’ll be certainly be an experience. Worst case scenario, I can’t complete one or more of the obstacles, but I have a fab time trying, right? And I’m pretty sure everyone still gets their beer in the end!

So, this week I have a challenge for each of you. Say ‘yes’ to something you may not normally say yes to. Instead of over-analyzing or over-thinking what you could or should do, or giving in to the little voice inside your head that says you can’t, choose instead to listen to your own voice that says YES YOU CAN! Say yes. And it doesn’t necessarily have to mean saying yes to something big and scary or completely crazy. But dare to live on the edge a little. Say yes to staying up late to watch another episode of your favourite show. Say yes to eating ice cream before you’ve had dinner. Say yes to someone’s invitation to have coffee even if there are dishes to be cleaned. Say yes to the dress even if it’s a few dollars above the budget. Live a little! Who knows what may happen? You may just surprise yourself, learn something new – and have a little fun while you’re at it.

Have a FAB week everyone!

inhale. exhale. repeat.

inhale. exhale. repeat

Happy Friday!

One of my professors in Springfield had a t-shirt that read these words:

Inhale. Exhale. Repeat.

I have to say I found it quite amusing. And it was so apropos for her, as she was such a ball of energy and it was go go go all the time. I suppose I could relate. Have you ever had those days or weeks where you are so busy sometimes you simply just forget to breathe? Well, I seem to be experiencing one of those right now. We have a family wedding tomorrow (actually, it has now turned into today!) – which is very exciting – but in true carol fashion I have left far too much to the last minute. You’d think I’d have had more time on my hands what with M in Wales and all, and yet apparently I made sure – whether consciously or not – that I would have absolutely no time on my own! Dare I have a moment when I could potentially register that I may be lonely.

I mean, it’s not as though that would likely have even happened, as I quite enjoy being on my own, but I somehow made sure there couldn’t possibility have even been the opportunity. Besides my teaching two nights a week, I also began another German course, which takes up another two evenings a week. There has been overtime at work, some yoga, late night bike tours and runs thrown into the mix, a birthday party, a Hamburger Fish Markt, a doctor’s appointment, a choir rehearsal – and that was just this week. And somehow I needed to then squeeze in dress and shoe shopping, a much overdue hair appointment, wedding gift shopping, plus all of the organizing of the 50’s style costume pieces and garb, and accompanying scrapbooking supplies, for the photo booth we are setting up. And oh yes, I also I wanted to get the place spic and span for M’s arrival. phew. 

Now as many of you I like being busy – but there is a fine line being busy, and being absolutely crazy. And sometimes in the event of the latter, you can forget to breathe. And then it’s no fun anymore!

Inhale. Exhale. Repeat. I feel as though there are many ways in which this simple unsolicited t-shirt advice could be read. Just breathe – yes, that is important. Take a moment for yourself every now and again to notice your breathing. To really be in the moment, if only for a moment, and to enjoy that moment. It also reminds us that life doesn’t really have to be all that complicated. We breathe in, we breathe out, and we do it again.

Sometimes we (and myself included here!) want to make things so much more complicated than they are, or need to be. Sometimes we move a mile a minute and have no time to even notice the flowers, let alone take the time to smell them.

And sometimes life seems so overwhelming we don’t even know where to start… So, let’s just start with the inhale, and then the exhale. Take it s-l-o-w.

It’s fun to be busy, but we also need to be okay with not having a jam-packed schedule, and to perhaps take a moment or two to do absolutely nothing. Perhaps I should listen to myself… well, perhaps one day soon. But not this morning! We leave for the ceremony in a few hours and still lots of wrapping and writing and prettying up to be done!

Have a FAB week, everyone!

Carol

do you wanna look good, or feel good?

look good or feel good

Happy Friday!

No day but today, right? So, today is the day. Today is the day I make a goal – or maybe even a commitment (ooh, big scary word for me!) – to send out a mini update, or perhaps some ramblings, just because, every week. And seeing as how Friday just so happens to be my favorite day of the week, it seems like the perfect day to do it. And I’ve been saying Happy Friday for as long as I can remember, so why not share the happy?

So this week I was struggling over what to do with various job opportunities, and a new colleague simply told me You need to do what is right for you. Now I am sure I’ve heard that many times before, but in that moment, right then, it just sort of clicked. I may not want to let anyone down, however, I also need to think about myself. My goals, my desires, my needs. And that doesn’t mean having to be selfish. It just means looking after myself. Of course I am pulled by wanting to do the right thing. Doing what I think I should do. And yes, doing what I feel will look good. But should’t the more important issue be to do what feels good? Feels right?

I had this morning off. I was going to attack the list of things that have been creeping up – and as the holidays are upon us (again, crazy how quickly time goes by) – that list seems to be growing faster and longer than Santa’s beard. I wanted to get all my Christmas cards written, a few more presents off to the post office, laundry finished, bedroom tidied, dishes put away, and my e-mail inbox cleaned up. Guess how many cards I wrote? Zero. How many presents got off? Ziltch. E-mails sent? Nada. Actually, that’s not quite true, I did get through a few… but you get the idea. Instead, I did a yoga class (podcasts can be pretty handy that way). And although it took a while for my mind to shut-up, but it was good. I enjoyed it. And you know what? It was probably exactly what I needed to do. And then all of a sudden I hear the Instructor Mark White say this: “We need to learn to taste life, not just inhale it.” Oh how true. Sometimes I feel I’m inhaling my way through things just to get them done. Now where is the fun in that?!? I have my lists - I’m sure we all do – and all of the things I feel I should do. And I love accomplishing these things, crossing them off, and feeling good about myself. But sometimes I wonder who I am doing these things for. For myself? Or do I merely want to do the right thing, do what I think I should do, or do what’ll make me look good?

As the holiday season approaches, I am going to try to remember I want to taste life, not just inhale it. That I can put myself first sometimes without having to feel I am being selfish. And that sometimes living in the world of ‘shoulds’ can be dangerous. Who am I trying to look good for anyway? The Jones’? I don’t think I want to keep up with them. I think I simply want to enjoy the ride.

Have a great week everyone!