Keep it clean.

I’ve started cleaning the streets. And no, I’m not being forced to under some sort of community service for crimes committed. The truth is I’m just so tired of seeing the growing litter problem around my local estate, and I’m tired of the way it makes me feel. It’s a sorry sight to see and its leaves me with a feeling of sadness and annoyance. It upsets me when my desire is to be surrounded by a clean and attractive environment.

Our local council, like any other in the UK at the moment, is cutting back on what they consider to be non-essential services.  One of these is obviously employing litter pickers to clear the streets. It’s funny isn’t it? It’s not until a service like that disappears that you really notice it was there at all. In my area, the bin men who collect the weekly/fortnightly household waste are not obliged to also pick up the litter from the street (not even if this rubbish has come from bags that have broken open when they’ve picked them up). I guess their job is already quite difficult, and perhaps they have a limited time in which to get everything done. This didn’t used to matter, because the litter pickers and street sweepers would do the excellent job of clearing the worst of it up. Without them, the litter just stays there…getting added to week by week.

At first, I did the same as everyone else around here (at least the ones who’d even noticed). I whinged. I complained loudly about the fact that our council tax is going up yet our services are being reduced. I made myself miserable every time I left the house to walk around my neighbourhood. I sounded like my mum.

Then slowly it dawn on me. Whining wasn’t going to clear the litter away.  Strangely, no matter how much I whined, I would go to bed at night and when I got up the following morning the litter was still there….wierd that.

confused smiley

True, the council may or may not be mismanaging our money…..but that’s not something that I can immediately do anything about.What I could do… was pick up the litter.

Just pick it up. Just pick the bloody stuff up!

So I do. I bought myself one of those round plastic contraptions that keeps your black rubbish bag open and a good pair of gloves and a few days a week I spend an hour walking and litter picking. And it makes me happy 🙂

It also got me thinking.  Should we, each and every one of us, do our small bit?  How would it change my local neighborhood if those that could…..just did.  What if a reasonable percentage of those who live on my estate, those who had a spare hour or two, those who didn’t fall into the category of too young, elderly or disabled, also picked up a black bags worth of litter once or twice a week?

I remembered something from my old political days (Don’t hate me) Something called environmental stewardship. This is a theological belief that humans are responsible for the world, and should take care of it.

Most of us can’t individually influence governments, enable world peace, clean up the oceans, stop the decimation of the rain forest. But we can open our front doors and look a lot closer to home for opportunities to make a difference. We can pick some litter up….can’t we?

As small as this contribution  may seem…..if we are truly all one, joined together by our desire to live in a better world, then all of these small contributions should also join together to make a big difference.

I believe in social responsibility.  I’d like to see everyone have a desire to get involved and to contribute to their community, to society and to others in general.

Every one of us knows how we would like to see our world. The question is, can we all stop whinging and passing the blame long enough to act with enough courage and compassion to ‘be the change we want to see in the world’….in our neighborhood….in our street?

Namaste.word.wall.decorations

 

 

Happy? Or Unhappy? You choose.

happy or unhappy

Every single day, when you open your eyes for the first time, you have the opportunity to make a conscious choice about how your day will go. Or more accurately, how you will react to the events of your day, how actively you intend to shape those events, and whether or not you are going to be happy or unhappy.

Sure…whilst we might have some idea of what the day will hold (we all have our routines), lets be honest, life can sometimes throw us some mighty curve balls. We can’t control every aspect of life…and who would want to? Sometimes shitty things happen…really shitty things. Sometimes, marginally annoying things happen to send our day off course, and we can either shrug our shoulders, laugh, or completely over-react and decide that the day is ruined.

The really shitty, awful things? Yeah, maybe we’re allowed to fall apart and freak out when they happen. The death of a loved one, serious illness/accidents, house fires, floods….if you need to scream and shout, do it. Do whatever seems necessary to get through that shock. I get it. I’ve been there. Haven’t we all at some point. But don’t live there. Don’t stay there forever. That would be such a waste of the rest of what could be a truly awesome life.

More often than not though, lets be honest, the things that send us off-course, that upset us, are mere trivialities. Stupid stuff. Stuff we shouldn’t really give two hoots about if we were thinking sanely and if we had all our priorities in perspective. And yet boom!… before you know it, the day is a disaster, it just goes downhill and you’re glad to get into bed at the end of it and call it quits.

Learning not to let that happen is a skill that takes time. I’m still working on it, and I’ve no-where near perfected it. What we need to do when these events happen in our day is…pause. Just for a few seconds. Enough time to ask yourself a couple of questions; “Is this really (in the grand scheme of things) that bad an event?”. And, “Is it really, truly, worth ruining the gift of a beautiful day?”.

You don’t have to see the positives in everything. Sometimes shitty things are shitty things and no amount of imagination and positive thinking is going to make them anything but that. But how you react to that event and how you behave in the aftermath is entirely up to you. And it’s probably the most important way that you can take back control over not just your day, but your life, and the direction that it flows.

Do you live a life full of days where your thoughts and actions are negative and bring you and those around you misery? Or do you treat all events with a positive, or maybe even just a reflective and calm attitude and demeanour?

The advantages of training yourself to deal with events in this way are bigger than you could imagine. Not only do you becoming a calmer, happier person but so do those around you, whose lives are touched by you. Family and friends benefit from a more relaxed you….happiness is contagious 🙂

Once you learn to deal with the smaller, less significantly crappy events, it also becomes that much easier to deal with the bigger shit-storms in the same calm and methodical manner. Every single area of life will see the benefit and suddenly, there will be very little that can effect you in such a negative way that you retreat into misery and despair.

Try it. Give it a go. Start small. The next time you stub your toe, lose your keys, get stuck in traffic, burn the toast…..smile, laugh, think about how blessed you are in some many other ways.

And do not let it ruin your day…..a day gifted to you with love xx

Beanbag Zen (or, the importance of doing nothing)

I knew it as soon as I opened my eyes. This wasn’t going to be a productive day. This wasn’t going to be one of those days where I leapt out of bed like Zebedde on speed and bounced around getting trillions of things done. In fact, this wasn’t going to be one of those days where I even managed to get the basics done.

I might (heavens forbid, and cross me off Santa’s good kids list!) not even make my minimum 10,000 steps on my Fitbit today.

woman-screaming-261010-medium_new

And do ya know what? It’s ok (kinda). These days don’t happen often, to be fair. Most days (when I haven’t just come off a night shift) I get up at 5 AM contentedly, meditate and write in my journal before cooking a good breakfast for the family. I see them all off to school, college and the gym with food in their bellies and then I fit in yoga, a long walk or weight training before the school run rolls around again.

I usually manage, somehow, to fit in most of whats required to keep a healthy home, family, body and mind. Until something upsets the apple cart, of course.

Yet, there are days like today when I just can’t be bothered. It’s as if my body and mind are colluding to force me into taking a break from it all. And who am I to fight it? After all, rest days like these are important for so many reasons.

Physically:   Regardless of how hard you think you train, everyone needs the occasional day for rest and recovery from exercise.Your body doesn’t fully recover and those ‘guns’ you’ve been working on don’t start growing, until you are fully rested and taking care of yourself. Exercise can be a stressor, and can send all manner of hormones racing around your body doing crazy things. Not least of which is cortisol. Too much of that and there’s every chance you could be depleting muscle while struggling to lose body fat.

True, a good nights sleep will help you recover for the most part, but now and again a good catch up recovery day is just what you need.

Emotionally:  Everyone needs ‘me’ time. Time to spend reading, thinking about important and ridiculously un-important things. And, especially for wives and mothers, time to care about yourself for a change, instead of always putting others first. A few hours just to run away to the sea-side with a good book that you’ve been dying to read but just hadn’t found the time. To sit curled up on the sofa with some knitting; to wander aimlessly, with no real destination in mind. It does a person good, and I think it makes for a happier home life too.

Spiritually:  Quiet time alone is so special. It’s a time to re-set your focus, on life; on your dreams; on your purpose. It’s a time to re-connect with nature and find your part in it. We all of us need moments where we can meditate on our own importance and place in this wonderful universe. And this is turn gives us a chance to feel gratitude and joy. Joy can be found in so many places, but sometimes you need time away from the crazy, busy, daily grind, to bring it back into focus.

Of peacefulness and solitude, the Tao Te Ching says:

Be still.

Stillness reveals the secrets of eternity.

Eternity embraces the all-possible.

The all-possible leads to a vision of oneness.

A vision of oneness brings about universal love.

Universal love supports the great truth of Nature.

The great truth of Nature is Tao.

So, today I am going to be still.

Whilst doing so, I may also catch up with soaps, listen to podcasts, meditate, eat cream cheese from a spoon, oh……….. and become one with my beanbag.

Peace 🙂

 

 

Start at the beginning…….a very good place to start.

sound-of-music

The problem is…I’m not sure which ‘beginning’ to start with. I’ve been on this amazing planet for 41 years and 2 months (give or take a few days), and to start at my birth would just be the most tedious and pointless thing to do.

There’s nothing tremendously exciting about my life up until adulthood. I had the same first 18 years as most of you, I bet. A working class childhood with one sibling and both parents; I was an average student through-out school; I suffered my fair share of bullying by young ladies who have since totally forgotten the nastiness they subjected me to at the time. I despised my parents for a short time and rebelled against their (really quite reasonable) rules, whilst being a thoroughly obnoxious specimen of teenage-hood. I dabbled in drugs whilst immersed in the sub-culture/music genre of my choice. I was (and I guess always will be) a bit of a crazy little raver.

savetherave

I went to university, where I generally wasted a lot of time getting drunk and acting like a twat. How I managed to leave after 3 years with a Nursing qualification is anyone’s business. Whether I actually should have is largely debate-able.

As I entered the wonderfully frightening world of adulthood, I found the drunk of my dreams, got married, had kids. Followed the acceptable way of things and saddled myself with a mortgage, lost the house, got divorced, went mad………..Yeah, went mad. Like I said, things were fairly normal right up until I reached adulthood. From that point on things weren’t quite so ‘run of the mill’.

And that, dear reader (how pretentious am I), is where my journey really started. And very possibly, what I consider to be the ‘beginning’. Sure, everything that happened to me from birth onwards will have had a part in shaping my character and how I deal with life, but nowhere near as much as the chaotic, insanity induced, shit that happened later.

And do you know what? It was all awesome.

This blog is me….it’s me putting it all out there. My journey from fat, crazy lunatic to healthy, blissed out, mentally stable bundle of joy. Ok, so the end result is speculation and anticipated desire at the moment. I guess, right now, you find me somewhere in between.

I’m going to share my past with all its mistakes and problems and I’ll blog regularly about my journey towards finding health and peace of mind in a world that keeps trying to drive us insane. I may jump between the past and present a lot. That was rather trendy in films at one time. Consider it the movie equivalent of a flashback.

I hope there will be laughs, inspiration and some advice that I’ve uncovered along the way.

If nothing else, I promise to show up at this blog with integrity; to speak my truth; and to be thoroughly honest with you all.

Namaste.word.wall.decorations

Do You Need to Work Your Way up to the Gym?

Do You Need to Work Your Way up to the Gym?

My journey from fat, crazy lunatic to healthy, blissed out, mentally stable bundle of joy….maybe. Here I write about this beautiful journey, and the subject matter may include health & fitness, nutrition, spirituality, family, and how to live in a primal way, close to our true nature, in a modern world.