If you’re interested in Leadership as I am, this is a great blog from ‘Leadership Freak’ about developing and honouring commitment in yourself and others. I love the line: “Don’t expect them to be committed to you
if you aren’t committed to them.”

I can see clearly now

Look, can you see it?


… a view from my bed! I can’t tell you happy this makes me. Our neighbour has just had an enormous pine tree chopped down and now I can sit in my bed and see a vast expanse of sky, fields (even the horses in those fields are galloping around as if they’ve heard the great news!) and lovely Nailsworth roof tops.

If ever there was a metaphor for how I’ve been feeling recently, this is it. Expansive, a clearing, new vistas. Luvving it!

 

Three little happy things in the last three days

Today:

  •  The sunshine is back – hoorah!
  • Found a new cafe in a fabulous location
  • Loved the shadows made by my water here, sitting outside enjoying a cappucino

 

 

 

 

 

 

The fields of rapeseed that are in full bloom at the moment – swathing the land with the most brilliant yellow.

Buttercups, bluebells and wild garlic abound at the moment too.

 

 

 

 

 

A weekend away with Guy – south of Bristol. Soooo relaxing – a real tonic. This was where we had supper on Saturday night – The Lamb at Axbridge (right).

When the Universe answers

Of course the Universe always answers. The only impediment to us knowing this, is our listening (or lack of).

There are days though when it feels like: “I ask and it is given”. Today for instance… This morning I was bemoaning the fact that there are no woods within walking distance of our home. Resigned to my normal semi-urban route I set off just now to enjoy a beautiful moment of sunshine. Something told me to turn left and then right – off the beaten track, and, you’ve guessed it, voila! Woods. Hoorah!

Trees ground me. I love their company.

Change


On holiday in the misty hills one mile from Llandiarth near Welshpool, North Wales. It is so quiet here that the only sounds we can hear outside are the sheep bleating and the rain rolling down the cottage windows.


My friend Pauline made Easter Sunday very special with this gorgeous centrepiece for the table, then she read to us an Easter folk story at breakfast and then of course we had the very important Easter egg hunt.


I love coming away like this. It makes me very happy to have a change of scene, a change of rhythm, a change of perspective. Unlike our home life there is nothing about a day away that can be predicted. All is new, all is fresh. Given the subject of my last blog (about the danger of assumptions), time away surely is a marvellous antidote. When nothing is predictable then by definition are we not more likely to be present?

Dealing with festive fever

After my last post Kelly left this comment:

…would love a happiness post on dealing with Christmas, I feel very mixed about the whole business, and the pressure of “presents’ and expectations, real or imagined.

Ah yes, Christmas! ‘Tis the season to be jolly. Jolly busy.

I sympathise with Kelly who lives in Canada because, it has to be said, many North Americans do go a bit bonkers with it all.

It can all get a bit frenzied. As Kelly says, expectations can be so high. So here’s my top tip for dealing with things at this time of year:

Do the festivities on your own terms

If you want to skip sending out Christmas cards this year – by all means!

If you want to go to the Bahamas and forget it all – spread your wings and fly.

If you want to visit family in the spring rather than dashing around like a mad thing now – that’s OK too.

It’s far better that you do what really appeals to you than to spend your time scowling over the fatted turkey. Your relatives will have a much better time without you, to be frank!

What I love about my family is that we all do our own thing with the present buying. Some go lavish, some buy in second hand shops, some buy online, some make things by hand, some don’t buy anything at all. (We’re a big family!) I remember one year we all received presents  from the ancient contents of my brother-in-law’s mother’s attic. She’d recently had a clear out and saw an opportunity. Wonderful!

So what do you REALLY want to do this festive season? Claim it as your own. It’s much kinder to everyone involved to have a happy version of you participating (or not!) – than to expect them to deal with you feeling all bitter and twisted about it.

Choose your version of things and have a jolly good time doing it!

A different way of surveying happiness

So David Cameron’ first results are back from his survey into  the nation’s happiness:

See the results here

In a nutshell – the majority of people (76%) rate their happiness in the UK as around 7 out of 10.

Additionally:

  • People who were unemployed reported lower levels on average compared with those who were employed
  • Married people are happier than single or divorced people
  • Teens and pensioners are more content with their lives than those in their late-30s

Nothing too startling here but one does have to wonder about that statistic of 76% rating their happiness as around 7 out of 10. Is this not a reflection of that typical northern hemisphere conversation:

“Good morning Mr Smith and how are you?”

“Fine, thank you. Can’t complain.”

I think most people really wouldn’t admit to feelings of happiness to someone that they don’t know that well. Also this ‘mustn’t grumble’ approach is one knocked into us from a young age:

  • ‘Stiff upper lip’
  • ‘Count your blessings – there are thousands more unfortunate than you’.
  • ‘Don’t be selfish’ etc. etc.

It makes for very dodgy happiness measuring, if you ask me.

What I’d like Mr Cameron to do is to hit the streets and ask:

  • Do you feel you are following your passions?
  • Would you say you are on track to fulfilling your full potential?

I’ve mentioned it before but I love Dan Pink’s measure of fulfillment:-

AUTONOMY  – feeling that we are in charge of our own destiny

MASTERY – experiencing ourselves getting better and better at something

PURPOSE – sensing that we are part of something bigger than ourselves

(See his TED speech here).

They should ask this question too – “how much do you feel you have Autonomy, Mastery and Purpose in your life?” Give each a percentage rating.

It would at least get people thinking.