Sunday, 25 October 2015

Every Moment Counts.

Life is made up of each little moment, each experience and each interaction that we have. But these moments can pass us by and go unnoticed if we let them; passing them off as mundane instead of magic. In a culture of bustling busyness, we chase the next moment and end up losing the one that we're in. There's always something to be done, some box to tick and somewhere to be.

When you're not in the happiest head-space, your mind can be going ninety filling up with overthinking, anxiety and stress. Getting so caught up in thought means that we can't be totally present, we can't be completely immersed in life, and we miss our magic moments.

But it's these moments that make up our own individual lives. It's these little nuggets of life that can keep us smiling throughout the day. We've got to capture them before we lose them, take a mental photograph or even an actual one, and just really embrace the event as it happens. Life is an incredible journey and these simple little minutes of bliss, courage, embarrassment or excitement add colour to our whole experience.

Recently I've had some of my best moments and they're not big grande expensive experiences, some are just being in nature, looking at incredible views or even just meeting new people. Some are when I've realised I'm really being myself or I'm doing well at work. They're simple everyday things that just happen, but I wouldn't have bothered paying any attention to them before. 

Chasing perfection or chasing busyness, meant missing out on moments that have given me so much joy now. It's taken plenty of miserable moments for me to begin to appreciate the great ones and now I just want to create more and more for myself and recharge from them whenever I need to.

So how can we start embracing these and pay them the heed they deserve?

  • Stop: Slow down and take a minute to simply stop and just be. Slow down your thinking, bring yourself into the present and take in your surroundings. Some people find focused breathing helpful, some use their senses and some just take the time to have a good 'ol look around. Stop the racing thoughts and put down the neverending to-do list for just a few minutes and enjoy the moment you're lucky enough to be in.

  • Take Notice: Maybe it's just realising you've got five more minutes in bed or you caught the bus just before it pulled off, but it's these little things that can be taken as great moments if we want them to be. Notice the beautiful autumnal colours or a good song on the radio and take it in as a moment of appreciation, really make a point of enjoying it and giving it your attention. See the extraordinary in the ordinary simple things. Think about it, if you can find the enjoyment in these small things, imagine how good everyday could feel.

  • Take Note: Life is about creating memories and experiences for ourselves. These are cultivated from each moment that we take note of. Being fully present in the moment gives us the full feeling, the full picture and we can add it to the film reel of our lives. When you take proper note of these times, you can play them back anytime and relive that moment. Take photos, write notes and help yourself capture the things that make you smile, make you laugh and give you a sense of really living.

  • Embrace opportunities: Make special moments where you might not realise they could be. Be spontaneous and embrace the possibility that life throws out. Dance if you want to, read a book, go for a walk, answer a call, make a plan, book a class. Create the things that you want in your life and put yourself into the moments that you don't want to miss anymore. They can pass us by and we can let them happen or we can choose to create more and more and really enjoy ourselves in the process. The choice, as always, is ours.

Rise to the challenge of slowing down and taking note of what's going on in life. We can get so used to racing past them leaving them in our midst while we bulldoze through the next ones, but it's so worthwhile and will only make life more interesting, exciting and fun. 

Make the most of every magic moment, they're all yours for the taking. 

Wednesday, 21 October 2015

Being A Carer

This wonderful quote came up on my Facebook newsfeed and I thought, wow, how true.

Being a mam of three grown kids, two of whom have struggled with mental health issues, it is very easy to lose yourself.

You come to a fork in the road and you're faced with a decision to make - How am I going to cope with this?

There are two options:

1.       You can leave them be to sort it out for themselves.  Maybe pay the bills along the way but at the end of the day the problem is theirs.  


2.      You can be there for them lock stock and barrel.

I chose the second option: The lock, stock and barrel. And I discovered so many things along the journey.  I discovered that there is in fact, a third option…

You can be there for them, you can help them through their recovery, BUT you can also take time for you, without having to feel guilty -  Without letting yourself drown!

In fact, by not recharging your own batteries, you are actually doing a disservice to both yourself and your loved one who is unwell.

-     By recharging your own batteries, you actually stop yourself from drowning.  Not only do you keep yourself afloat, but you’re also showing your loved one that self-care is a good, healthy and necessary thing to do, which means you are then leading by example.

-   By recharging yourself, you then don’t get as bogged down by the illness, and are then less likely to get into confrontation with your loved one.  You are also less likely to get too frustrated with the illness. All in all, you cope better.

By recharging yourself, you are letting your loved one know, ‘I am there for you, but I too am human and I too have needs.’ And you are respecting your own needs.

By recharging yourself, you are telling your loved one that it’s ok to be a bit ‘selfish’ and look after you. You put yourself in the picture and become a role model for self-care.

Another thing I have discovered along this journey is both patience and impatience!

I discovered that I have infinite patience for my loved ones recovery.  I have infinite patience for the behaviours displayed, knowing that as recovery progresses, so too will the behaviours disappear.  I have infinite patience for her needs be it driving here there and everywhere, or just sitting talking at whatever time. I have infinite patience except when it comes to myself.

I’ve discovered I am actually totally impatient when it comes to me!  

I expect myself to just be able to cope, do and be whatever I need to be, or want to be, and don’t give myself the same respect and same level of patience that I give others.  

….But this is changing!

So let’s start a drive of equality:

·         Be as equally patient for yourself as you are for the person who is ill.
·         Be as equally respectful of your limits as you are of theirs.
·         Be equal in the amount of self-care you give yourself as you expect them too.

Treat yourself, the way you treat your loved one and respect your own limits.

It’s all too easy to get caught up in other people’s lives and problems, and then when they are sorted, where are you?  Are you drowning or are you recovered also?

The choice is yours!

Sunday, 18 October 2015

Poetry Corner

Dublin's second Lingo Festival took place this weekend and with it came an incredible exposition of talent and expression. When we go out and take part in life, these are the kinds of things we can experience. We can see art, hear the spoken word and be present at an event built on passion and determination.

Poetry can be a fantastic method of cathartic communication when we're feeling down, but equally when we're putting words on what we feel strongly about. I love seeing it used to express such a positive take on life. Using creativity is a brilliant way to get out of our heads and into our talents. We all have something to say and finding different ways to do this can be so helpful. Discovering a means of expression that takes a weight off your shoulders is never going to be a waste of time. So, checking out poetry, art and music can help us realise how much we value these and can actually use them ourselves.

Anyway, this poem in particular struck a chord with me because it's a powerful piece about finding ourselves, finding meaning and making the most of the life we've been given.

The question posed at the end is one worth giving some thought,
"The question is, now that you have life, what are you going to do?"

Clean White Breath by Niall Donnelly 

Albert Camus said that the only serious philosophical question is suicide,
And despite what a great opening line that is at parties
I can’t help but wonder what else he had on his mind.
Like fine, the world’s meaningless, fine, we’re all going to die,
But why the f*ck does that have to mean we gotta hit the ground and be buried where we lie?
Why can’t we dream that we can find something better in this life?
Why do we have to accept that that’s it, pack up, drop mic?
And right,

I don’t want to have to be the one to tell you this but we’re all going to die in the end,
There’s that universal horror in knowing that your life’s gonna exist in the past tense,
And I’m not looking for some sinful recompense
or some half-hearted hopped up romance
I’m looking for the simple pleasure in the beauty of acceptance
That makes the very act of living an act of defiance.

I’m looking for that clean white breath,
The one that pulls me into being and pushes away death,
I’m not looking for God, I’m looking for myself
And I’m not going to find him in books or booze or anything else.
I’m going to find him in that second between seconds, in that dust on the shelf,
In that moment lost in nothing staring up at Orion’s belt.

I’m going to find me in that realisation that we’re only here ‘cause of a roll of the dice,
That we’re thrown into being at random in humanity’s humongous timeline,
More like a lottery of existence than by some divine design,
And while you can have some fun staring down the barrel end of a pipe,
There’s nothing to be found in focusing on misery and strife,
There’s nothing to be found in those insomniac nights,
And there’s definitely nothing to be found in the reflection of a knife,
So I’m going to find myself in the surreal sublime of life.

And look, I don’t wanna preach and you can do what you please,
But someday we’re all going to feed the bugs and the trees,
so get off your knees and look in the mirror if you want something to believe in,
And yeah, I get why you get scared staring up at that star-speckled blacked out ceiling,
But just because life’s meaningless doesn’t mean we can’t find meaning,
‘Cause to me breath seems like a perfectly good reason to breathe,
And the all powerful almighty meaning of life can be whatever you want it to be.

So no, Suicide is not the great question in life, Monsieur Camus:
The question is now that you have life, what are you going to do?

For a video of this poem by the poet himself, check out our Facebook Page or his Own

Sunday, 11 October 2015

Do we have any Impact?

The world we live in is a pretty expansive place. It’s jam-packed with millions of people; all different, all unique, all contributing to the total sum that creates our diverse, wonderful world.

From my own personal experience, this world used to feel both intimidating and uncomfortably huge. It was full of people who were better than me, successful people, beautiful people, people who were making something of themselves while I was getting nowhere. It used to be a place I was afraid to be a part of. A place that I tried to hide away from and avoid. I was certain that my presence went unnoticed, that I had nothing to give and that the world didn’t benefit from me at all.

I’m incredibly glad now to realise that I was so wrong (and I don’t normally like being wrong!)

Throughout my journey the topic of impact and influence has come up and it’s really solidifying now how important those are to me. What I’ve come to strongly believe is that my impact is everywhere, and I can radiate it out and really contribute to the bigger picture as much as I want. It’s become crucial for me to put myself into that picture and I value being able to do just that.

Of course, it’s not just me - I’ve come to fully understand how much each and every single one of us has to contribute. Our decisions, actions and interactions all have impact on the people and environment around us. Big or small, what we do creates a ripple of effect. Even just our presence contributes energy.

After all, it's true as the quote goes that ‘Every drop makes an ocean and the ocean would be less without that single drop.’

Here’s what has gotten me excited about impact:
  • It can be in small ways – it doesn’t have to be an ongoing, exuberant gesture. People in passing have had impact on me, the way the sun shines out of the trees while I’m driving by impacts me, a quick smile, eye contact or a simple ‘thank you’ all influence me in positive ways. Whether it's the workplace, the street or at home, these fleeting little things can all leave a lasting impression.
  •  It can be profound – Talks, quotes or people can have a profound impact on our lives. Even music, lyrics, and films can leave us thinking long after they’re over. Experiences and opportunities can make a difference that triggers transformative change for us. Sometimes we may not even realise how profound they can really be at the time but the impact they’ve made reverberates around our minds and filters out into our lives. 
  • It can be in nature – nature lately has had a significant impact on me. It’s given so much beauty, tranquillity and contentment. One of my favourite days recently was sitting on top of a mountain looking out just taking it all in with such an air of happiness and calm. The views, the scenery and the absolute contentment has carried its impact within far from where that mountain is. Nature can be powerful, so it's worth paying attention and taking notice of its influence.
  • It can be unintentional – Sometimes we don’t know how much we influence others. We don’t see the effects of how we might contribute to their lives but it can be pretty powerful to them. If you go out in life with your best intentions, your influence will be glowing whether you realise it or not. It might be a quirk or idiosyncrasy that only you possess that makes the impact of your individuality shine through. Regardless, it contributes something that wasn't there before and that's pretty significant.

This topic sprang to my mind after a week off I had recently where I discovered how much I enjoy being a part of the world now. I met some fantastic people, had amazing experiences and even simple things like inside jokes or impromptu fun have kept me smiling a week later. Life is full of these people, these opportunities and these influential moments that give substance and lightness to it. If you look for them, they’ll begin to crop up everywhere.

Like it or not, we all make a difference just by being who we are. So what kind of difference do you want to make?

There’s opportunity to leave our mark in every moment, in small or large ways. But it’s important to remember that it all counts, we count. We can create the impact we want to impart. We just need to get out there, get involved and radiate the person that we are.