Saturday, 16 September 2017

Cultivating Kindness: Commit to Credit 📝

Throughout the day, how much attention do we give our achievements or accomplishments? How often do we give ourselves​ credit for how we've gotten through, handled situations and overcome stresses?

Instead, I think we sometimes focus more on what went wrong or mistakes we've made. If we were to actively write a list of things we can give ourselves credit for, imagine the boost we could feel. Bit by bit the credit adds up to build us up, to acknowledge our positive abilities, to transform our outlook into one that focuses on how well we're doing instead of constantly putting ourselves down. We cultivate a supportive, rewarding mindset rather than one run by a harsh, negative critic.

So today let's create more kindness by beginning to give ourselves the credit we're due 😊

Tuesday, 12 September 2017

Project Kindness

September often instilled a somewhat unsettled feeling for me. The theme of change that Autumn brings just kind of made me yearn for a shake up, something different, a dabble of change. Maybe it's the habitual new start that the time of year signified through schooling, maybe it's the transformation throughout nature, I don't know. But I love it as a time of year for this; for its transient nature, its colourful expression, its demonstration of letting go.

Here in New Zealand, we're actually coming into Spring instead. Another time of change, but this one more synonymous with growth, beginnings​, new life.

This season feels like the precursor of change. This time is perfect, regardless what season we're calling it, to lay our very own foundations of change.

The specific change I want to cultivate is one of more conscious kindness.

Kindness is generally quite a valued quality, we like to think of ourselves as kind and we'd aim to be kind to others too. But I think we need to have another look at kindness, a deeper look.

Maybe we need to check in on how we're actually doing with this concept. Are we fully embodying it? Are we living by it as a value entirely? Are we more kind than critical - to ourselves? - to others? Do our actions show kindness - to ourselves? - to others?

I recently began reading 'Kindfulness' by a Buddhist monk whose work I'd highly recommend, Ajahn Brahm. His commitment to opening his heart to see the world, his experiences and himself through eyes of kindness is staggering. He uses it beautifully and in a way that I definitely don't think is very common. And it's that which inspired a renewed commitment to kindness for me, the fact that there is so much more to kindness than we think. The fact that we can completely change how we react, experience, interact and ultimately live our day to day.

Across this wonderful season, I want to explore the idea of kindness and how we can truly cultivate it in our lives. I want to actively practice kindness towards myself and others. I want to transform our self critical commentaries, to eradicate our harsh judgements, to silence our conditioned comparisons.

I want to lay the foundations for more kindness - authentic, entire, wholehearted kindness.

If you'd like to get on board, keep an eye here and on the Dare to Live social media to see how we're going to bring more kindness consciously into our lives.


Monday, 11 September 2017

Freedom of the Fjord

The twinkle drop rainfall tattooed my mind in smiles, 
Its dynamic dance decorates this canvas of grey
Come what may, here, we're reminded to embrace, instead of endeavouring to erase,
To partake, in our own powerful and personal dance, 
To step into our unique authentic stance,
We're called to overflow into who we are,
Reviving our being with vitality and vigour
An empowered roar of contentment - the welcome trigger - to boldly cascade rather than fade, to stand tall, feel strong & validate the self we have made.

Rainy days on the fjord freeze my toes and warm my soul - entirely majestical; 
Lovingly lost within my stormy surrounds, Senses alive with nature's dark yet dulcet sounds,
I'm awake, connected, engaged, 
Though the sky lays laden with the remnants of rage,
The mountains breathe water; a network of veins, valiantly pump throughout each range,
Their exhale, a water bird diving into the body of sea, carefree - 
A reminder of how we can be
When we let ourselves indulge in such a mesmerising scene

Friday, 25 August 2017

Update

I suppose a little update is more than somewhat overdue here!

Firstly apologies for the lack of content recently. I had thought that my travels would provide so much more focus on regular writing and blogging. What's actually happened however, is that it's thrown me into life more, which ultimately is what this blog is all about.

Back in late January, I came to New Zealand to travel and work. Over the last 7 months I've seen incredible places of dazzling diversity, met amazing people and 4 months ago landed a dream job in the magical Milford Sound. Along the way I've laughed, cried and contemplated. I've read, chatted and written. I've re-learnt lessons and overcome challenges. I've looked inward and outward and know from the accompanying pains that at the end of it all, I've grown.

The absence of posts over this time definitely made me uncomfortable at different stages, feeling obligated to share something or work through a certain topic. But the call to just live and enjoy each moment was louder and simply felt more right.

Anything I've explored on this blog is still relevant, it's still work that means a lot to me and that I believe in. It's also quite sufficient, by which I mean, there's a fairly sizeable catalogue of varied content available at any time - continually adding to it is not really crucial. What is more important for me, is to be practicing it.

Dare to Live has a heart of learning - about ourselves, about life, about the positive possibilities awaiting each of us. These learnings are tricky to cement without practical application. So lately I guess I've been writing less and practicing more.

That's not to say I want to stop writing altogether, (there's posts on Facebook and Instagram now and then and writing is a passion I don't wish to part with), but I want to be immersing myself in my learnings and my current experiences. I want to be living by my values, authentic and wholehearted and keep figuring things out, keep improving, keep growing. I want to be the change I wish to see in the world and create an example I would be proud of.

I want to encourage you to do the same too. Maybe make the move into more 'doing' than 'knowing'. Sometimes our quest for acquiring knowledge and figuring our shit out becomes more intellectualised than instinctive. We chase information instead of embracing experiences. We want the step by step guide rather than actually using our feet and taking those steps. We put life off, promising to get involved when we know x, y, z or have found all the answers.

Dare to just do it. Get out there, get into it. Be in the life you have. Be a part of the bigger picture.

Dare to live your life now. Dare to trust that you'll find your way. Dare to believe that you know more than you realise.

We won't always get it right, we'll never know it all but we must make the most of it anyway. Because this is our life and we're going to dare to live it.


Monday, 26 June 2017

Word of the Day: LEARN

- gain or acquire knowledge of or skill in (something) by study, experience, or being taught

"If you are not willing to learn, no one can help you. If you are determined to learn, no one can stop you".

Learning is a gift, a skill and a choice. Seeing it as all three has allowed learning to transform both my perspective and experience in life. We all have the capacity for it, we can all learn to use it - but like anything, we need to choose it.

Life doesn't come with a manual so if we fancy trying to figure it out, learning simply has to happen. We have to open ourselves to the things we don't know, all the knowledge we can't possibly have already, how to move forward - all of this can't be ours if we refuse to learn.

Choosing to embrace learning is definitely a game changer.

Choosing learning means we change our mistakes into teachings - not failings. Our challenges become stepping stones. Our experiences become rich resources. Our world becomes a classroom.

Learning gives us the capacity to grow, to progress and to see our story differently. It gives us the opportunity to take something from every experience and use it to our advantage. It equips us with the power to progress and find our way.

We might be averse to the idea of learning at first. Maybe we think we're beyond it, or we know enough already or we honestly just don't want to. It's not easy to admit we don't know it all or are still seeking more answers, but realistically we'll never know it all. Learning is a lifelong process. If we want to grow at all, we've got to learn.

Today, enjoy the opportunities for learning that present themselves. Use difficult situations as a lesson, get curious about how to do things and don't be afraid to ask questions. Become a student of your own experience. Take notes, revise old lessons, rise to tests. And don't always expect an A 😉

Word of the Day: LEARN

- gain or acquire knowledge of or skill in (something) by study, experience, or being taught

"If you are not willing to learn, no one can help you. If you are determined to learn, no one can stop you".

Learning is a gift, a skill and a choice. Seeing it as all three has allowed learning to transform both my perspective and experience in life. We all have the capacity for it, we can all learn to use it - but like anything, we need to choose it.

Life doesn't come with a manual so if we fancy trying to figure it out, learning simply has to happen. We have to open ourselves to the things we don't know, all the knowledge we can't possibly have already, how to move forward - all of this can't be ours if we refuse to learn.

Choosing to embrace learning is definitely a game changer.

Choosing learning means we change our mistakes into teachings - not failings. Our challenges become stepping stones. Our experiences become rich resources. Our world becomes a classroom.

Learning gives us the capacity to grow, to progress and to see our story differently. It gives us the opportunity to take something from every experience and use it to our advantage. It equips us with the power to progress and find our way.

We might be averse to the idea of learning at first. Maybe we think we're beyond it, or we know enough already or we honestly just don't want to. It's not easy to admit we don't know it all or are still seeking more answers, but realistically we'll never know it all. Learning is a lifelong process. If we want to grow at all, we've got to learn.

Today, enjoy the opportunities for learning that present themselves. Use difficult situations as a lesson, get curious about how to do things and don't be afraid to ask questions. Become a student of your own experience. Take notes, revise old lessons, rise to tests. And don't always expect an A 😉

Sunday, 25 June 2017

Word of the Day: ENCOURAGE

- give support, confidence, or hope to (someone); persuade (someone) to do or continue to do something by giving support and advice; stimulate the development of (an activity, state, or belief)

The word encourage comes from an Old French word 'encoragier', meaning "make strong/hearten." These definitions are beautifully effective in giving a real sense of the active support and strength it exudes at its core.

One of my favourite quotes about encouragement is "Be an encourager the world has enough critics already."

I love how this directly promotes embodying encouragement. The decided contrast shows that in becoming one who encourages, we reject the role of the critic. Encouragement holds more impact, more necessity and more kindness. We need it more.

Choosing to encourage means we are looking to make something better. It means we're inciting confidence, stimulating progress or strengthening hope. This word is exactly what we need to build each and every one of us up. In any connotation it maintains its heart; its origins of positive potential continually advocate uplifting, inspiring support.

But do we use it? Do we encourage or do we criticise? Do we feel encouraged? Particularly within our self talk, which voice is louder - the encourager or the critic? Do we tell ourselves we can or can't? Do we support or sabotage?

'Encouraging', to me, is the crucial choice because it holds powerful possibility, especially when we embody it. When we become an encourager, not only are we encouraging others but we ultimately learn to encourage ourselves too. This means we are gentle and patient with ourselves, that we work through our mistakes rather than judge them, that we pick ourselves up rather than put ourselves down.

Learning to encourage ourselves transforms how we feel about ourselves and our abilities. Opting to encourage softens our tone, it fosters a kinder inner relationship and actually gets significantly more output.

When we make a conscious effort to encourage we'll boost our self esteem and as it becomes second nature, we'll increase our confidence, our solution seeking abilities and finally see ourselves moving in the direction we really want. We become good enough - we realise that our skills and ideas are worthwhile, that our possibilities are endless. We hearten who we are.

Today, be your own cheerleader. Encourage yourself consistently, refuse to allow the critic pipe up. Use this word to lay a foundation of solid self support. Encourage others too, spread it round and let those good feelings flow 😊