As we edge towards yet another year’s closing, it is time to take up the challenge of Soft Cell’s 1981 song, ‘Say hello, Wave goodbye’ although not in the same old way. Out with the old – New Year’s Resolutions, Plans and monthly success journals and in with – well, read on and nurture your soul….
However you celebrate the New Year, this festive period invites us to reflect back over the journey we’ve navigated for the past twelve months and look forward to the year ahead. It can be such a powerful process as long as we do it with renewed spirit. So caste a brief glance behind and:
* Count our blessings
* Grieve over the sadness and sorrow that has visited our hearts
* Recount the lessons and growth we’ve experienced
* Acknowledge the ups and downs
* Honour those who have left and those who have joined us
* Celebrate the events that have brought us to this point.
All too often our first few days of a new year are geared towards recovering from the revelry, fretting about the results of our over-indulgence and what resolutions we must set to feel better, look better or be better. This year, I invite you to throw off the old traditional shackles and pull back the curtains to a new way of welcoming in 2018.
Sparkle a little fairy dust this year and embrace the hope, anticipation, potential and, let’s face it, a little of the unknown that lays just around the corner. Here are some ideas for making this your best year yet:
* Find a jar and write little gratitude notes of things that bring a smile to your face, that you open in one year’s time. This will help you appreciate all the small things that so often go unnoticed.
* Instead of setting New Year’s Resolutions, which we know rarely reach beyond the 31 January, do something more creative with your hopes and intentions. Picture yourself writing Christmas cards next December that tell your friends about the year you’ve had and all the amazing things that you’ve experienced. As you begin to imagine this future, you can then focus on the commitments that will help you travel towards that vision, making it a reality.
* From these commitments you can then set a small handful of intentions (not goals, which are too restrictive and set us up for failure not success).
* Why not decorate an old shoe box, turning it into a secret store for a Bucket List of things you would like to achieve this year.
* To help you along with this, why not answer questions around what would you like to DO, BE or HAVE over the coming year. This honours the physical, practical and spiritual parts of us, ensuring a balance for all things.
* Wake up each day and feel grateful for all that is and all that will be. This will ensure that each day becomes a new opportunity for happiness, not just a new year.
* Start the year focusing on what happiness means to you instead of what success looks like. Happiness is the new success and when we acknowledge that happiness is the source of all good things that come to us, our lives will become more joyful.
* Rather than focusing on putting rigid plans together for the year ahead, learn to let go and trust what emerges, knowing intuitively that what arrives is what you are meant to experience. Notice how much freer your life is when you relinquish the tight hold that traditional New Year practices encourage.
* Talk with your family and friends about how you can bring nature and simplicity into your life more every day, how you can play more, laugh more – these things are all free and priceless.
So forget the old ways – welcome in the new year with a heart-centred and fun approach and start your year as you would any other day – because each day presents us with a miracle of newness, opportunity and hope. May your year be blessed with happiness and each day with peace, health and joy.
Here’s to a happy, healthy and harmonious 2018.
Welcome to the penultimate month of the year – where has 2017 gone? Tempus really does fugit.
This month is symbolised by the Chrysanthemum, friendship and compassion. In Europe, where we’re living at the moment, the Chrysanth is very symbolic of honouring loved ones who have passed away on All Saints and All Souls Day 1/2 November and you’ll see flower sellers offering almost nothing else.
So this month’s calendar is dedicated to compassion for ourselves and others as we look to honour all friendships. With daily thoughts, inspiration and affirmations to keep you on track, why not download this free calendar now? Click this link Calendar November.
Welcome to October. Now in the heart of autumn or spring, depending on which side of the equator you live. Although whichever season greets you; preparation is October’s theme. Preparation for the looming winter reign or the full-on energy of summer.
This month’s free to download calendar helps you to prepare and find happiness in the small things. Click on this link to download calendar October 2017.
Whether you live in the Northern or Southern Hemisphere, September signals change, like its spring sibling March. When we embrace the season’s natural cycles, then we find that we flow more effortlessly and happiness is ours. So this month, use the energetic change happening around us and use this daily inspiration calendar to master your happiness.
Download, for free, by clicking the link. With love Karen x
Happiness Calendar – September
A creative blog I wrote over on our Motoroaming website has caused a real challenge for me this weekend. The Confessions of a Travelling Introvert was a heart-felt reflection of our travels and its impact on my introvert personality. Little did I know that it was a huge trigger for one of my readers, who we had met six months previously.
A cryptic comment on my post had me spiralling into uncertainty, doubt and anxiety, as it became clear that, reading between the lines, the commenter had been affected by my introversion in a meeting back in March. Her comment drove me into action; I emailed her directly so I could explore exactly what her comment meant and discover the nature of her discontent.
Her response floored me; my self-esteem took a tumble and my head took charge from my heart as I tried to piece together the nature of our meeting. As tears flowed and anxiety grew, Myles tried to comfort me as I recoiled into my old people-pleasing behaviour patterns, where guilt, shame and self-deprecating thoughts rule. Up until now those devils had been well and truly locked up in their cage.
Isn’t it interesting how quickly those old demons can resurface if we don’t keep them in check?
Night called me to rest and see things in a different light come morning. And indeed after a good sleep and a meditative morning walk where I rehearsed my response I felt resilient and calm. So I drafted a note and talked it through with Myles to ensure I wasn’t over dramatising the situation and after a couple of emails between us the situation has been put to bed. Within the space of 12 hours I have navigated the situation assertively, quickly and appropriately, unlike my former-self, who would have dwelt on it for days and allowed it to seriously penetrate my self-worth.
The reason for writing this blog is so I could share the approach I took to recover from this situation and the accusations that certainly stung. Here is what I did and didn’t do to move from crisis to calm in twelve hours – baring in mind that I’m still a recovering people-pleaser. Whether you have a difficult relationship to mend, a challenging interaction to manoeuvre around or some feedback that you need to deal with, these strategies could help you find happiness in between the suffering patterns that we allow to exist.
- When a tricky situation arises, take time to absorb what has happened and, where appropriate try to explore the complete nature of the situation and how the other person feels/felt. Cryptic words do nothing for a harmonious relationship, so trying to get to the bottom of what someone is trying to say is really important, even if the response hurts.
- If you can leave your response until the next day, so that you have time to process what has happened and sleep on it. This way you will have a much more dispassionate response. Often when something upsets us, we move immediately into defence mode and this threatens the harmony of our relationship or the interaction. So allowing yourself to ‘cool off’ is vital. We always see things very differently in the cold light of day.
- Be present with how you feel – however raw it feels. Listen to your heart and what it is feeling. Notice what your stomach is doing. What is coursing through your veins? What thoughts do you have? Just observe and allow thoughts and feelings to come up. Suppressed emotion will come back to bite you, if you don’t take heed. This is why we need time before we respond.
- In any relationship or interaction there are always two stories playing out; yours and the other person’s. This means that you each bring a different shade and texture to the interaction. Nothing is ever just your fault or responsibility. The other person’s personality, needs and insecurities will interplay with you and this acceptance will help you shoulder your 50% responsibility for the problem or issue.
- Decide what outcome you are looking or need from your response. Is it closure or recovery so that the relationship can be maintained?
- When responding, either in writing or in person, rehearse. Now I don’t mean doing anything formal, although certainly drafting out what you want to say and reviewing it, will be essential.
- Answer from your heart and not your head. Be humble whilst assertive. Be heart-centred whilst resilient. Be clear without being too direct. These factors will give you confidence and ensure that the message comes across appropriately to heal or recover the relationship. You can then either draw a line and bring closure to the matter or move on together.
- Avoid letting the ego and the drama queen get in the way. This will only inflame your tone, your words and alter how your message is received. So write mindfully.
- Wish the other person well in what ever way is appropriate to your relationship and if it’s right to do so, then apologise for your part in the breakdown.
- When the response has been delivered, reaffirm your strengths and identify what you have learnt from the situation. This is such an important element as people come into your life for a reason, season or a lifetime. You must be clear what the reason is so you can grow and adapt if necessary.
- Now let it all go. Go about your day, your business as you would normally and feel proud about the way you handled the situation and how much more effectively and calmly you navigated it.
Relationships are tricky little beasts. We so often become so attached and dependent on them to make us feel whole, healed or loved that it creates too much intensity. It is that strain which causes them to fray at the edges. Taking a more mindful approach to the situation gives you a chance to step back and deal with what has happened by seeing it for what it is rather than the soap opera that you’re about to create on your movie screen.
Happiness is waiting for you just around the corner. Don’t leave it waiting too long.
Be well and happy. Karen x