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Celebrate Good Times

(And the not so good ones)

· Mindful living,Celebration,Reflections,Transformation,Nature

“Isn’t it funny how day to day nothing changes, but when you look back everything is different.” – C.S. Lewis

It’s time to celebrate a special birthday. It’s one year since the birth of this blog! The year has gone so fast in hindsight, whereas days themselves can appear slow and as C. S. Lewis said, in the quote above, daily things feel like all is the same and yet when looking back you can see just how much your world is altering. It is so good to have the chance to stop and take stock and this anniversary is just that chance. The way I choose to celebrate this milestone is in line with my intentions and the values with which I started this blog in the first place: to connect more deeply with others; to spread a bit of kindness and love in the world; and to create a community where we realise that we are not alone. I have wanted to do this simply and truthfully.

Recently, I have written about how hard life has felt for me and the uphill struggles that happen for all of us and come with being human. I want to thank you for all your personal heartfelt messages of support, solidarity and kindness. This is what this blog is about and, as I said above, is why I created it. Though in all honesty, I mainly thought about giving this to others - so imagine my surprise and delight that you have sent it back to me tenfold! Thank you, genuinely, from the bottom of my heart to yours. One line that was written to me particularly resonated: ‘your willingness to be such a generous permission for others’. I think it touched me so much because it shows me that the fear of putting myself out there - and doing it anyway - is so worth it. This is something that I have really struggled with, believing that people want to hear my voice. It is also valuable that I have had it confirmed that this blog is for me as much as for you - and that is ok.

So back to this celebration and chance to review. Firstly, let’s break out the metaphorical champagne (FYI it’s a magical one that tastes good without the alcohol since avid readers will know I stopped drinking when I was very ill last year!). So with my sparkling glass in hand, I wish to celebrate small wins, because actually very often they aren’t small at all. These small pennies add up to pounds all of their own over time. Some of my greatest challenges are in self love; putting my own needs before others and learning that I am worth it, this for me is a long term process. It is the truth that I go round again and see what I can learn this time. But the great news is, from the view of hindsight, I can see that I am learning. As I look back I can see small wins, small moments where I put myself first for a change or altered my internal dialogue towards myself in a way I never did before all this. I am aspiring to being a good friend to myself. I am not perfect – none of us are which is a hard fact to swallow - we have imperfections, there I said it! I find it difficult to be my own best friend, that’s why I’m aspiring. Another thing I am learning is that if you haven’t got time for the important stuff, stop doing the unimportant stuff! I love this, it’s so simple but again sometimes so hard to implement. We can feel the weight of expectation, of things that ‘must’ be done but actually when you stop and consider things often they are not that important in the big picture of life. We can allow ourselves to set them down and ... gasp... leave them undone!

The weather and daylight is day by day imperceptively changing here in the northern hemisphere. Hard to notice each day but then it hits you how it is shifting. September is this transition between the warm and energy filled days of summer and the darker, cooler and slower days of autumn. I always feel this change quite keenly; I find this change hard. This period of time between one door opening and another closing is always the most challenging. I say goodbye to the swallows (yes I am that bananas woman who speaks to animals) and I start reluctantly layering up against the cold, mourning the light and warmth retreating. Like any loss, it doesn’t just go away by ignoring it. Far better, I have learn the hard way, to accept and allow, letting it pass on in its own good time. Another lesson being learnt, a more mindful approach to life feels kinder and is applicable on every level of our experience. The changing temperature and light levels make me feel more tired, to want to retreat but I am actually, counter intuitively, getting up earlier (in the dark!) to start my day with breathing (I know we all breathe but this is knowingly doing it!); just being; and writing. The writing is something called ‘morning pages’ (see Julia Cameron for more info on this, though I rarely manage more than a page) where you just write whatever comes into your head or even more quickly than that, what comes out of your pen. It is a satisfying, cleansing and clarifying process particularly on days where I am having ruminating thoughts (um, that's most days). It is like a good declutter but for your head. I aspire to do this every day, as it is so unbelievably helpful, but again I do not always find this easy to do...and sometimes my children hear me and get up and join me (not quite the same experience!).

So many lessons to learn, so much of life to experience and that we can celebrate – this being human. Thank you once more for all your messages and thank you too for allowing me this time to celebrate and reflect on the truths of what I am learning. This quote from Gloria Steinem is a gem: “The truth will set you free but first it will piss you off.” So true! For me at least, I invariably have a ‘oh why does life have to be so damn hard’ moment, before I realise just how much I am learning and growing from these not so good feeling moments – and cheers and here’s to that! Time to go party.

See you next time, wishing you well as always. Clare x

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