Keep your loved-one on a pedestal

Now that I’ve started running my Artist’s Way workshops again I’m going to be much more conscious about doing Artist’s Dates. These are basically about taking yourself off for about an hour a week just to have fun with you and you. They are meant to be playful, nurturing and fun – as if you were taking a child out on an outing.

My Artist’s Date today is probably no surprise for many of you – I took myself to the cinema – my favourite ‘me’ thing to do! The movie was “Hope Springs” and it struck me how well my new consciousness theme is embodied in it. The story basically follows a couple going through hard times and having therapy. (It’s a real testament to the screenwriter and the actors that they could make such a potentially agonising situation so poignant and funny). But the point is it highlights that the trouble with this older couple, who have been married for 31 years is that they have become UNCONSCIOUS of each other. Here’s a clip:

 

Long ago I realised something in my marriage: I must always do my damndest to keep Guy on a pedestal. What I mean by this is that I must do what it takes to take my gaze off the strange bathroom habits, the forgetfulness of conversations held only an hour ago, the constant losing of keys etc. etc. and focus resolutely on what makes him special – his handsome face, his humour, his love of his family, all the hard work he does on our behalf and so on. I know his faults (as he knows mine) so it’s not about ignoring them so much as saying: “that’s part of the package but I choose to make a conscious effort to keep my line of vision on the pedestal – because if I don’t, then smelly socks can take on way more significance than they should!

 

Happy Birthday, Happy New Year!

So the school holidays are over, we’re back from our wonderful holiday in Italy and I’m back in blogging-action. Horrah! I missed you all.

This blog is now officially 1 years old! Sing along now:

Happy birthday to you

Squashed tomatoes and stew

You look like a bunch-of-words

And you really are that too.

(You might have to be of Bristish descent to get that!)

I love this time of year because, for me, it’s my New Year – complete with resolutions and fresh new starts. Last year I created this blog out of a commitment to turning around my relationship with happiness and abundance. I feel I’ve come a long way on that journey and by way of completion with my year here’s a list of the top 5 things I’d say I’ve learnt:

1) Writing blogs is fun

2) There’s a whole world of wonderful bloggers out there.

3) Writing about happiness is a great way of staying alert for it

4) Lists in blogs are de-rigueur

5) Summarising a whole years-worth of posts is impossible!

I love to spice things up for myself at this time of year, so from today I’m going to change my tagline from “How happy do I dare to be?” to “How concious do I dare to be?” I’ll talk about this more in my next post – it deserves it’s own platform, megaphone and green room, I feel – but basically my commitment and challenge this year is to have my dream world and my “real” world meet. Being with reality has never been a strong point of mine – in fact I’ve deliberately shied away from it but as I get longer in the tooth I’m realising lasting change and transformation can only happen when I use my dreams to fuel a concious interaction with the “what’s so” of things.

Intrigued? I hope so! As I say, I’ll tell you more in my next blog. In the meantime may I just say how lovely it is to be back.

Now, time for virtual birthday cake – (much fewer calories).

Happy travels

So today feels like a momentus one as I’ve just waved Julia (aged 13) off at Heathrow airport. She is flying solo for the first time – off to see her Uncle John and Aunt Berenice in Toulouse, France.

I’m so proud of my (no longer so) little girl. In so many ways I feel like I’m jogging besides her express train, trying to keep up. She is maturing fast and it’s important for me to honour that whilst at the same time making sure she has everything she needs to be safe and informed.

I love this installation I just spotted in Heathrow’s terminal 5 – a timely reminder of what Julia is doing and the whole new vistas opening up for all our family.

“We are same”

Wonderful video using the Dalai Lama’s words. We’re all equal in our search for happiness and our humanity. Simple. Lovely. Touching.

 

 

If anyone’s in London on Tuesday 19 June at 2:00pm you can also go and see him at the Royal Albert Hall. Let me know if you do!

 

 

Three little happy things in the last three days

Today:

  • ┬áThe 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.

Celebrating our loved ones

Today I spent two wonderful hours doing homework for Julia’s class teacher. As the class are writing their autobiographies at the moment he wanted us to do a write-up of our children, complete with illustrations and anecdotes. Later he’s going to paste these mini-essays into the children’s books as a surprise for them.

“What memories do you have?” he asked us. “What do you most appreciate about your child?” “Complete this sentence…’I’ve never told you this before but…'”

A bird's eye view

This has been a ’roundtoit’ job for a few weeks now but today I put aside the time and dived in. What a gift it was! I highly recommend this exercise as a way of getting very present to your loved one. Suddenly all the other niggles you have about them fall away as you ‘pan out’ to a much wider angle and get the big picture. Wonderful.

Beyond the doors of the cathedral

My friend Pauline – a biographical counsellor – was telling me yesterday about a philosopher in her sphere who asserts that we don’t allow ourselves to go deep enough into our experiences. When we simply walk in nature and don’t fully take in it’s wonders, for instance, he says it’s like standing at the doors of the cathedral but not going in.

This conversation with Pauline reminded me of my total and utter love of skiing. When I’m on top of a snowy peak, feeling the pure air in my lungs, the sting of the cold on my cheeks, absorbing the breathtaking vistas, I feel as if I’ve come home. The mountains, for me, are definitely the epitome of entering the cathedral.

I know I’m going all multi-media on you – (of course you know I do love technology!) – but I couldn’t resist showing you this video I took whilst schussing through the woods above Zee-Am-See in Austria in 2010. I just love the sound of my skis gliding through the snow and the wind in my ears. As you watch this, ask yourself how you can have your own ‘cathedral experience’. Don’t just go out in nature – let it become you.

Gratitude: mini-meditation

Thank you to everyone who sent their best wishes to Guy’s father. He is still in hospital as they cannot work out what’s wrong with him – he’s having every test under the sun. He’s receiving excellent care though and because he’s so near to home (the hospital is only half a mile away from his house), then most of his neighbours and friends from church etc. have already been to see him. True to form, George is in good spirits and I’m sure telling some great yarns to all the nurses. I’ll keep you posted on his progress. Hopefully he’ll be at home in time for Christmas.

Guy has now worked things out to spend some time with his Dad AND be at home for Christmas eve which is wonderful.

A friend of mine was telling me about a ninety-year old aquaintance of hers who said (when asked if his daughter was happy), “What is happiness really? I’ll tell you what it is: it’s gratitude.”

I considered this – it sounded true but why? I think it’s because gratitude is only possible with conciousness. Conciousness is attention. Attention is Presence.

Think of contemplating a beautiful flower and feeling gratitude. We cannot do that and not be in the Now. So, one could even say that gratitude is like a mini meditation – a wonderful way of shutting out all the other chatter. In other words gratitude brings us closer to spirit and flow – the natural home of happiness.

 

How lovely then, to contemplate what I’m grateful for tonight:

  • For the excellent care George is receiving
  • For his high spirits
  • For this gorgeous and huge family that George has nurtured and loved so well over the years and who are all now rallying around so wonderfully
  • For family, close and extended, and special times together
  • For timely reminders