pleasing others or serving others?

serving others with border (learnthis.ca)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Okay, I’ll admit it, I tend to be a bit of a people pleaser. And although I have come a long way, I still do certain things in an effort to make others happy. To make others like me. To save face. Not that there is anything necessarily wrong with that, mind you. I mean, it’s nice to be nice to people. We all like nice people. And I do try to be a nice person. So, on a related note, I like to please.

That being said, it is important to look at the motivation behind our ‘wanting to please others’ actions.

Why are we wanting to please? To make others, or ourselves, happy? Are we doing things we don’t even really want to be doing sometimes merely to please? And are we ever going to be truly happy if we are always doing things thinking and hoping they will please?

Moreover, certainly we will never be able to please everybody. And if we are constantly striving for that, surely we are setting ourselves up for failure. And at what cost?

I think there is a big difference that needs to be distinguished between wanting to please versus wanting to serve.

  • Pleasing others elicits actions motivated by a desired outcome. Serving others elicits actions motivated by a desired behavior.
  • Pleasing others may elicit actions we don’t really want to do. Serving others more often elicits actions from a genuine want to do so.
  • Pleasing others may not stem from us being our most authentic selves. Serving others requires us to be our most authentic selves.
  • Pleasing others may not necessarily leave us, or others, feeling empowered. Serving others is all about empowerment.
  • Pleasing others may lead to exhaustion, burn-out, failure. Serving others is invigorating, energizing, inspiring.

If we are constantly operating from a place of wanting to please, how true are we being to who we are and what we are really trying to achieve? And our success is often dependent on others’ approval; others’ happiness and appreciation validating our actions.

On the other hand, when we are operating from a place of wanting to serve, we are dedicated to making a real difference. We are being true to ourselves, and sharing our authentic vision and voice because we have a genuine desire to do so.

When we are truly dedicated to serving others, we are operating from our highest goodness and left in our power, while leaving others in their highest goodness and in their power. Perhaps a more powerful place to operate from, no? Perhaps some food for thought.

(Or perhaps I’ve gone too deep here and the fresh seaside air is having an effect on me…)

Have a FAB week, everyone!

P.S. As I announced in my happy Friday newsletter last week, emspire has been launched! (well, the soft launch at least ~ only for the eyes of my nearest and dearest!) Emspire is the business initiative I am creating in an effort to come from a place of service… I would really welcome your honest feedback. Check it out at http://www.emspire.ca!)

have a little love, give a little love…

love (theundergroundmicaela.com)

(and not aimed solely for the sweethearts out there! read on…)

So in the spirit of Valentine’s week, I thought it pertinent to talk a little bit about love. No, we shouldn’t need an excuse to do so, and yes, perhaps it is largely a Hallmark holiday or a strategic attempt to boost the flower and chocolate economy, but you really never can overdo it when it comes to love. I mean, have you ever heard anyone say at the end of their days they simply had too much love? I didn’t think so.

Today is the perfect day to either have a little extra love for yourself, or perhaps give a little extra love to someone else.

One can never indulge in too much love, and just that little bit can really go a long way. We’ve all heard the saying, have a penny, leave a penny; need a penny, take a penny. Perhaps we could look at love a little the same way. Some days we have a little extra to give away, some days we need a little extra to take for ourselves. And I’m not talking about grand gestures here. There are lots of simple and meaningful ways to show ourselves, and others, a little extra lovin’.

ways you can have a little love for yourself:

  • go for a walk. Get some fresh air. Enjoy the scenery. It’ll do you good.
  • have a bubble bath. (Even the gentlemen can do this!)
  • take yourself out on a date. I did this last week… sat at the bar at a funky restaurant, had a nice glass of wine, even indulged in a delicious after eight crème brulee. It’s nice to enjoy your own company.
  • disconnect for a moment. Give yourself permission to not check e-mails, facebook, what’s app, linkedIn, google+ – whatever it is, if only for a little while.
  • buy yourself something nice. That book you’ve been wanting to read, that scarf you’ve been eyeing, Go on, you deserve it.
  • sneak a chocolate. Or you favorite candy, cookie, or bevvy. Whatever your guilty little pleasure is, indulgence in it.  

 ways you can give a little love to someone else:

  •  write someone a note. Be it an email, or even better, put pen to paper and send some good ol’ fashioned snail mail. Tell them hello, tell them you thought about them, tell them you appreciate them. It will make their day.
  •  smile at a stranger. We’ve all heard the saying ~ smile at the world and the world smiles back at you.
  • engage in a random act of kindness. Toss a coin in an expired parking meter. Buy the coffee for the person behind you in the drive-thru.
  • support a cause. We all know someone who is somehow raising money, participating in a charitable event, bravely championing a cause. Or we may have a cause that means something to us. Giving even a few dollars, or perhaps volunteering a few hours of our time, will make a difference.
  • call up an old friend. We’re all busy. It’s easy to get too caught up to catch-up. Make it happen. No doubt it’ll leave you both invigorated.
  • tell someone you love them.

Love really is what makes the world go around. So have a little love, give a little love, and you’ll get back a whole LOTTA love!

Have a FAB week, everyone!

What’s the rush?

rushing to the office

Happy Friday!

So you may be wondering, ‘is she posing this question to the outside world, or to herself?’ After all, I have been known, on one or more occasions, to be in just a tad bit of a rush as I go through my days. Allow me to indulge in a few old ‘happy friday’ excerpts to illustrate.

a typical morning while working 9-5:
 ‘…your alarm goes off, you can’t believe it’s been a whole night, you press snooze a few times before you absolutely have to get up – feeling totally under slept regardless what time you went to bed the night before – make coffee if there’s time, grab a banana if you can, reach for your badge and your keys before rushing out the door trying not to make too much noise for the neighbours as it slams shut behind you. You then make your way running down the street, your jacket catching so much wind it not only becomes annoying but slows you down because you didn’t have time to do up the zipper, take care not to get run over by any cars (which almost happened to me this week by the way, and endured instead a very audible screech and the wrath of a very angry driver…oops), and if you’re lucky reach the train just in time to get your hand or your bag in the door before it closes on you completely and leaves you in its dust. So you make it on, huffing and puffing, then desperately try to make yourself inconspicuous and melt into the background to deal with the runny nose that’s developed out of running in the cold. You find no available seat, lovely – thus forcing you to stand in the entranceway in all your glory, disheveled hair to boot, coat still wide open, to be scrutinized by all on the train. Why do Germans have to be so efficient and as consequent as they are? They must think me an absolute nutcase…’

squeezing in a morning treat:
‘The well-intentioned plan was to leave the house at 8:10, giving ample time to organize our little morning treat. 8:19, and I’m running out the door. I make an U-bahn (subway), cheat and take it only only stop, saving about a 7-minute walk. I have about 4.5 minutes at the bakery if I want to make this Zahnradbahn (hill-climbing tooth train). If there’s no line, I just may do it. I decide to take the risk. The thought of those mini laugencroissants is just too tempting to give up without a fight. I walk in. I’m not running, but I’m also definitely not sauntering. Only one woman there and she has already ordered. It’s my lucky day. The woman behind the counter gives me a smile, and says something to the effect of “It’s okay, we’re open until 8 o’clock tonight, but I suppose you are in a bit more of a rush”. I smile, give a little laugh, and then courteously but commandingly place my order. I guess my frantic demeanor was obvious from the get-go. She didn’t waste any time, got the coffee machine going, placed the two delicately-baked goods into one of the delicious looking bakery bags, and proceeds to get a little to-go pack ready. “Zucker?” “Nein, Danke schön.” She throws in a handful of these lovely little biscotti-type-cookie things in the shape of flowers for good measure, carefully places the cups in the bag, and hands it over. I give another “thank you very much, and have a great day!” as I’m halfway out the door. I guess she could tell by my German I was no native speaker, and she hollers kindly and gently after me, “Slowly, slowly, slowly!”  
Slowly, slowly, slowy. I repeated this to myself as I walked, not ran, onto the train with a minute to spare. Pretty good advice, I must say…’

It’s true, I have been known to be in a bit of a rush. And not just when it comes to catching trains or squeezing in coffee. I also want things to happen in my life — to get somewhere, to be someone — like, yesterday. And what’s ironic, is that my thinking is, if only I can squeeze in just one more thing, cross off just one more item, I’ll be maximizing my time, maximizing my life. When in fact, the opposite more often occurs. If I am always rushing, am I even giving myself time to experience? To enjoy? To smell the roses? Because that is what maximizing is all about. Not rushing through each moment, but instead savouring each moment.

What’s the rush? This is life. This moment. Right here, right now. Where am I rushing to get to, if living is right here?

So the impetus for this discussion comes from my desire to have launched my new company’s website before my birthday. Why? Because starting at 31 sounds soo much better than starting at 32, right?!? In any event, it was live at that time, so I somewhat met my goal. However, I was not, and am still not quite ready for the grand launch. What’s the rush, right?

True. But, soon enough! I am going to announce the launch for next Friday, February 15th. So countdown begins today! One more week! Start to get excited… this is BIG news!!!

Happy Friday, enjoy your weekend (sans rushing!) and have a FAB week!

 

I mean really, what is perfect anyway?

Happy Friday!

imperfect-action (www.empowernetwork.com)
(image found at empowernetwork.com)

And happy Feb. 1st ~ the first of a new month! A ‘perfect’ day to bring up the theme I would like to discuss. Imperfection. And more specifically, imperfect action.

There have been times in my life where I will admit I have been a bit of a perfectionist. And if I’m honest, I still sometimes get those perfectionist tendencies. But see, here’s the thing. Perfection is an ideal that just doesn’t exist. I mean really, what is perfect, anyway?

Well, I looked it up in the dictionary (the on-line version, anyway — out of curiosity, does anyone still have the real book version?!?)

Here is what comes up:

Perfect [adj., n. pur-fikt; v. per-fekt]

adjective

  1. entirely without any flaws, defects, or shortcomings
  2. conforming absolutely to the description or definition of an ideal type
  3. accurate, exact, or correct in every detail
  4. exactly fitting the need in a certain situation or for a certain purpose
  5. excellent or complete beyond practical or theoretical improvement

I don’t know about you, but it seems a pretty tall order to achieve any of these definitions. (entirely without any flaws, defects, or shortcomings?!?) Especially when it comes to something we want to create, the job we are hoping to land, the regular workout routine we want to stick to, the loving relationship we are striving for. How can anything when it comes to real people’s actions and behaviors be without any flaws… I mean we’re all human after all, right? Of course we are going to make mistakes every now and again. It’s how we learn. And quite frankly, life would be pretty boring if everyone had everything figured out at all times.

And so, instead of aiming for perfection – which will inevitably evoke disappointment anyhow – let’s instead be okay with a little bit of imperfection.

When I was doing my yoga teacher training, one of the big posters hanging on the wall, staring at us as we held our focused gaze in all those warrior and tree poses, read ‘you are a concern for looking good.’ I didn’t want to believe it at first, but I had an epiphany one day when I realized that, in fact, I was exactly that. And moreover, one of the big reasons I was striving for perfection, was because I wanted to look good, and I was scared of looking bad. Well, that fear caused what some have termed perfectionist paralysis. Instead of trying something on – be it an idea, a job, a business venture – if I wasn’t sure it would be perfect, I wouldn’t do it. Which meant I played it safe, and I played it small.

Well, folks, I am ready to step out of the safe zone and play it big.

Today I am taking an imperfect step.

I’ve been creating a happy friday blog for a little while now ~ something I have wanted to do for a LONG time, but scared to go through with it in case it wasn’t perfect. Well it is CERTAINLY NOT perfect, nor will it ever be! But, well, I’m going to share it with the world anyway.

Imperfection action is always better than perfect inaction.

So, please, take a peak around! And I welcome your feedback… it’s in the early stages, but we all have to start somewhere, right?!?

Have a FAB week, everyone!

Happy Birthday to me!

And in the end, it’s not the years in your life that count. It’s the life in your years.

~ Abraham Lincoln

Carol birthday

Happy Friday!

Most years on my birthday, I allow myself to spend precious time and energy thinking about all that I have not yet accomplished. ‘I can’t believe I’m already x years old and I haven’t done this, or that, or _________ (fill in the blank)!’  Sound familiar? Why is it that we so often use our age — which is just a number in the end, anyhow, right? — as a measure against how we’re getting on in life, how much we’ve accomplished, how succesful we are, how many things we have already checked off the ol’ list, how ‘well’ we’re doing. I’ll admit, I’m pretty good at this. I’ve even ended up on more than one occasion in tears, upset with myself for not being ‘further ahead’ in my life.

Well, my friends, no more I say! Instead of looking back at my life and choosing to look at all that I have not yet accomplished, I am going to look back today at my 32 short years and choose to look (and celebrate) all that I have accomplished. And so, if you’ll all indulge me (it is my birthday after all!), I am going to share a few amazing moments (it was going to be 32, until I realized that is a pretty long list, and I’d probably lose most of you by the midway point anyhow!) of wonder, joy, excitement, fear, pride, and achievement that I have been lucky enough to experience thus far in my life.

Here they are (and in no particular order):

  • Crossing the finish line of the Indianapolis marathon.
  • Singing my first solo as Bunny Sue in my 1st grade production of Get Hoppin’.
  • Hearing my mother’s bracelet jingle in the audience at every Opening Night performance of any show I ever did.
  • Bungee jumping (in my birthday suit no less!) in Greece.
  • Sitting in the audience experiencing my first musical ever – Cats.
  • Having my head shaved in front and friends and family – and Oakville Mayor! – and raising $10,000 for breast cancer research.
  • Coffee dates with girlfriends – one in particular post bridesmaid shopping – feeling such connection, love, and sisterhood!
  • Getting the envelope that June day saying I made it into the Ryerson theatre program.
  • Seeing my brother-in-law walk down the hospital hallway announcing the birth of my beautiful niece Emery.
  • The nerves, curiosity, newness, and wanderlust of my first kiss (ah, the innocence and naïveté!)
  • Riding my moped along the chaotic streets of Chiang Mai,  dreadlocks waving behind me, enroute to explore Buddhas in underground caves.
  • Experiencing my first standing ovation.
  • Receiving the call from my agent saying I had landed the part (wow – lot of theatre and acting references in here!)
  • Waking up in an Ashram, bald-headed, in India, ready to take on the world as a spiritual yogi.
  • Getting up for the first time and riding a (small) wave on a surfboard.
  • Being woken up by my excited sister on Christmas morning, stocking trailing behind her, exclaiming “Santa has been!’
  • Standing in front on my first class to teach.
  • Running through live barbed wires before completing the Tough Mudder.
  • Watching the breath-taking view of the sunrise over the Himalayas.

I’ve had some fun times over the years… and I look forward to lots more fun times over the next 32 years and then some.

And so, let us all raise a glass to birthdays ~ for reminding us of not only how much we have already lived, but for getting us pumped for all that is still left to explore.

Screen shot 2013-01-25 at 12.37.09 AM

Have a FAB week everyone!

if you’re not now here, you’re no where

if you're not now here you're no where

Happy Friday!

Warm coffee in my hands,
Sky above nice and blue –
Happy Friday to me, 
and Happy Friday to you!

A little poem for your reading pleasure. I thought it apropos as right now we are en route to our family holiday home in Pevensey Bay, where my younger sis has organized a little cozy getaway to spend our first ever Guy Fawkes weekend. With her meticulous planning skills, mixed with my virgin enthusiasm (just what is all of the fuss and excitement around this Guy Fawkes guy anyway? Well, actually, in an effort to understand more about the holiday, I did do a little research. I found out he and his 13 fellow ‘Gunpowder Plotters’ actually had quite the guts ploying an intricate explosion of the House of Lords and assassination of King James I – and to commemorate their failed attempt and ensuing execution, we get to celebrate with bonfires and fireworks! Well, it’s a bit more complex than that, but you get the idea…), sprinkled with the boys mad fire making skills — here’s hoping — it will no doubt be a fab weekend.

It’s the first time I’ll be experiencing such a weekend, the first time I am now experiencing Friday afternoon traffic along the M25, and the first time the boys will be exposed to s’mores.

Life is full of firsts. That is what keeps it exciting, keeps us on our toes. Someone wise once told me – actually on more than one occasion – that life is comparisons. Although I may understand where this view comes from, I have to say I humbly and graciously may disagree. Comparison is what keeps us looking to our past, looking to our future, and looking to people and situations around us to see if we, or our perceived life, measures up. I know at least for myself, looking to my past may inform me somewhat of my patterns, may offer some lovely memories, but doesn’t serve me well if comparing to where I was, what I was doing, or how happy I was. Looking to my future, while exciting, often triggers thoughts such as ‘my life will begin when…’, or ‘once i have checked off x, I’ll be happy then…’ And comparing ourselves and our lives to those around us can be detrimental to say the least. Plus, we never know another’s real story… and so potentially berating ourselves in thinking we’re somehow not keeping up with the Jones’ seems futile, no? I mean, it’s all based on perceptions anyhow! I can say this so openly because I personally fall prey to comparisons… and more often than I perhaps should. And it certainly doesn’t contribute to me being and putting out my best self.

In my humble opinion, life isn’t about comparisons. Life is about right now. Every moment, every breath is a new experience. And if we’re too busy comparing, we could miss out on the beauty in the present! And just a tiny tidbit of yoga speak if you will: if you’re not now here, you’re nowhere.

A new month. A new day. A new moment. Live it, enjoy it, and make it count!

Have a FAB week, everyone!

Carol

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