How to ‘demonstrate’ effectively …

I understand there is to be a “Day of Rage” on Wednesday – a demonstration against austerity; Government wrong-doings leading to the tragedy of Grenfell Tower; terrorism on our streets and I guess any other issues people are generally unhappy about.

Forgive me for thinking this, but … is ‘rage’ really the answer? Is this really how we want to demonstrate?

I get this is our right – we’re allowed to peacefully show our feelings in a mass congregation. But, didn’t the communities in all these tragedies exercise this with their love, compassion and understanding for their fellow humans? Grenfell Tower: bags and bags of clothes, food, bedding and fundraising, within hours, given – wasn’t this ‘demonstration’ of kindness more profound and carry more impact and significance than a mass congregation of protest?

Terrorism on our streets: off-duty police, doctors, nurses – anyone who had a heart – they didn’t run – they helped. They put aside personal risk and ‘demonstrated’ compassion for their fellow men and women.

I know our politicians don’t always get things right – whatever your political viewpoint, none of them are perfect. As a nation, we are in a pretty crabby state of flux. And no, we might not be happy about it.

But my point is – irrespective of the politics … “rage” is not the answer.

People. Use your voices for something more positive and constructive and let’s see if that can make the difference this country needs. Demonstrate with love, peace and compassion and make that our new way of living.

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Happiness

As I’ve mentioned previously, in this year of ‘self-improvement’ I hope to also find happiness.

‘Happiness’ is a concept I’ve struggled with for quite some time now. Years probably. In all honesty, it doesn’t come easily to me. I have moments where I’m ‘happy’ but I feel happiness is something more than moments – I’m looking for contentment and sustained joy in the life I am living.

busy-wordcloudLife seems to be so busy for everyone that it focussing on your own emotional needs can often be put on the back-burner. And when you have many roles to fulfil in life – wife, mother, daughter, employee, housekeeper, friend, relative, counsellor¬† …. it’s not surprising that your own happiness becomes less of a priority.

And this is very much the case for me. I have tried to find (what have ended up being short term) solutions to creating a happy life, but to be honest, all that has left me is a) in debt b) having too much ‘stuff’ c) drinking too much wine and d) becoming overweight.

Don’t get me wrong, I have a fantastic husband and two gorgeously brilliant and talented children, who all bring joy to my life, however, a piece of the happiness puzzle is still missing.

Today I watched a brilliant TED talk by Kristi Ling and her opening statements resonated deeply with my own experiences. Not only did she start in the same place as I am now, but the way she moved forward made me realise the decisions I’m taking are the right ones.

As Kristi says, Happiness is an active pursuit – you don’t just ‘find happiness‘. You have to be the change and make conscious decisions about how you are going to make yourself happy.

We see these statements bandied around Pinterest and Facebook all the time don’t we. Things like “be the change you want to be” and “stop being afraid of what could go wrong and start being positive about what could go right”. And the statements in themselves are right – be active about the situation and it will bring about change – which could lead to happiness.

So my ‘active’ pursuits to happiness include:

  • taking an art class to unleash my creativity without guilt
  • exercising more to improve my shape and clear my head
  • joined Weight Watchers to shift the extra weight gained over the last few years and see myself in a more positive way

The long term goal of peace and continued contentment, I hope, will follow.

Finally (for this post!) we learn from our children don’t we? Between starting and finishing this post, my Daughter had her own levels of happiness tested at a coaching session. Having been deeply unsatisfied with her training over the last few weeks, tonight it finally got to her and she simply couldn’t do it. My normal response to such a situation would be to usher her back out on court and tell her to get on with it. But seeing as I’m investing so much time in the pursuit of my own happiness, how could I impose this level of unhappiness on my own child?

I’m sure I will have more to say on this subject, but I think maybe this will do for now!

“I’m choosing happiness, over suffering. I know I am. I’m making space for the unknown future to fill up my life with yet-to-come surprises.”

Elizabeth Gilbert, ‘Eat, Pray, Love’

 

When you realise you’re at peace …

…with a situation or past event.

It comes upon you when you least expect it. I’ve spent the last few years trying to find peace resulting from family strife. Every day those thoughts are never far from my mind – will these people who used to call themselves ‘family’ pop into my head for any reason?

Well today a funny thing happened. I saw the name ‘Chloe’ – my (ex) sister’s name (yes, unlike me to be open and honest about details – fear of repercussions). She’s my ‘ex’ sister because she decided she no longer wanted to be part of my life, all lovingly explained in a 4-page letter (please note touch of sarcasm here!) And, well, if I’m being honest, this suited me fine (it’s a l-o-n-g and very complicated situation).

Anyway, I saw the name.

It was work related, nothing to do with family but it made me think of her. And for the first time in 3 years, I silently wished her well – genuinely.

I know I’ll never fully understand her side of the story, but I’ve always felt confused by her actions. And being the analytical Virgo that I am (and the fact I’ve carried the feeling of hurt around for some time), I questioned the new feeling I was experiencing. But no, there was nothing other than “I hope she’s well”.

Do I want to try to establish contact? Do I want to have that sister relationship? Do I miss her enough to try again? Well, that’s a firm ‘no’. I know my life is better this way and I’m certain hers is too.

So, this must be what peace feels like.

And it’s good.