Posts tagged ‘mindfulness’

February 1, 2014

The Weekend Pages #3

Hello and welcome to The Weekend Pages; a post about great things I’ve found on the web this week.

We learnt this week that a mere 1,004 people in the UK completed the Rapha Festive 500 cycle challenge. Across the globe, the completion rate was only 23% of all the people who signed up to compete.  One of those was my boyfriend Stephen; I’m SO proud of him for that. We’re awaiting his woven roundel badge through the post to commemorate the achievement.

The three overall winners have just been announced and in third place was my favourite: eight year old Mini-pips and his Dad. What a brilliant father-son combination. The photos of them through their challenge are truly heartwarming, and it’s inspiring to see how such a young lad can ride so far, and with a big smile on his face too!

For me the best statistic from the Festive500 is the 118% increase in women riders from 2012. Hurrah for women’s cycling. Massive congratulations to everyone who completed and commiserations to anyone who had to drop out; I only realised through supporting Stephen how tough it would be!

The overall winners: Riding the Festive 500 in one big fat ride from Paris (FR) to Haarlem (NL) – #inonego from Rotgans & Rotgans on Vimeo.

In a complete change of topic, the other great thing I’ve discovered this week is Flow magazine from The Netherlands; about paper, mindfulness, simplicity and connection. How brilliant does that sound? They produce the English language version ‘Flow International’ biannually, so I’m eagerly trying to get my hands on a copy. In  the meantime, I’m downloading their free colouring-in pages for my daughter (and me!) to colour in.

 

Have you found some great stuff online this week? Do share…

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July 17, 2013

Three Good Things: Week One

With sincere apologies to Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall for the blatant theft of his book title, I’m calling this post ‘Three Good Things’ and it will be the first in an ongoing weekly series that I shall post each Wednesday.

Three Good Things is inspired by ongoing conversations I have with friends and from re-reading sections of The Happiness Project. It’s about focussing on what I do have in my life, instead of what I don’t have. A friend of mine mentioned that he’d done a writing project with his children during a period of change in their lives to get them to remember good things every day and it’s really resonated with me. I spend a lot of time planning the future; I can often struggle to keep my mind in the present day.

In times of change or upheaval, or when things feel like they’re an ongoing battle,  it’s good to be able to slow down and practice a bit of gratitude. And that’s what I shall be doing in this series. Each week, I shall choose three things to share. Things that have made me happy, made me smile, brought me a bit of joy or peace and made me grateful for the life that I have. I will always be a planner, always have one eye on the future and always strive to better myself and my life in one way or another, but this will hopefully help me be thankful for what my life looks like right now.

Robert Brault wrote ‘enjoy the little things in life, for one day you may look back and realise that they were the big things’.

So, without further ado, I present to you Three Good Things.

One: Strawberries

The first thing to bring me joy this week has been my strawberries. I’ve had a difficult year on the allotment this year. I’m living further away from it, and life is so busy that it’s often a challenge to get there. It can feel like a chore, instead of the hobby it is supposed to be, when I’m trying to work it into my schedule. And the sun, though very welcome, means that watering is an ongoing necessity.

Thankfully, my reward for all this effort has arrived in the form of beautiful strawberries. Giant, sweet and warmed by the sun, these are the best fruit I’ve ever grown and I’m thrilled with them. The fact that they match my red toenails pleases me enormously too. I always paint my toenails red. Actually, that’s not true. On a whim, I painted them blue the other week. Then I had a really long bath, which made my feet go wrinkly. After getting out of the bath, I dried my feet, and realised that the combination of the wrinkles and the blue toenails made my feet look like corpse feet. Those of you who remember my kayaking experience of last year will realise that this isn’t the first time I’ve had that feeling about my feet… Given that ‘dead’ isn’t generally a look that I aim for, I swiftly removed the blue. I shall be sticking to red from now on!

The colour on my toes is Dragon, by Chanel, a truly bright red which makes me feel happy whenever I look at it.

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Two: The Cluny, Newcastle

The second thing to bring me lots of happiness this week was The Cluny, a brilliant pub in the Ouseburn area of Newcastle. We had such a great night out. The warm summer evening brought heaps of people to sit outside the pub on the curved stone steps and ‘village green’ area, so, armed with pints of beer, we sat and people-watched. It was a moment in my life when I wasn’t thinking about the past, or planning the future but was simply happy to be in the moment I was living and with the person I was with. These moments in life should be treasured and I’m very happy to remember that feeling.

The Cluny is a wonderful pub, filled with a great variety of beers including my favourite Timmermans (a fruit beer, I’m such a girl!) together with a live music venue. I really recommend it.

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Three: My lovely bike

The third thing that has made me smile this week is my Pashley Princess Sovereign. I’m pretty sure that I gave her a name but I’ve forgotten it, and when I took her out of the garage on Sunday she was covered in dust which made me feel a bit shameful. Nonetheless, the minute I got in the saddle, I remember why I love her so much. We had a little ride in the sun, punctuated halfway with a Primo’s gourmet hotdog (therefore reducing the health benefits of cycling to nil) and I’ve promised to myself that I won’t leave it as long before we go out together again.

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So, those are my Three Good Things for this week. See you here again next Wednesday!

I’d love for this series of posts to develop a bit of community – so do tell me, what are your good things this week? 

March 30, 2012

Today: the only day of your life.

Living in the moment is a continual struggle for me, as I have so many ideas, projects and plans. I’m trying to be more mindful and to pay attention to the time that I am actually living. To appreciate each day as it comes instead of letting so many of them slip past unnoticed that it will soon be my birthday again and then another whole year will have vanished. Slowing down and appreciating the joy in each day, however simple and ordinary, is a really good way of slowing down the pace of life, which can be painfully hectic sometimes. I know, I’ve spoken about this before on here, but it is something that I’m really trying hard to work on this year.

My new motto is something I read somewhere recently. It’s probably horrifically well known, but I have no idea who to attribute it to, so I’m afraid I’m not going to.

‘Today is the only day of your life. Act accordingly.’

For me, this means many things. It means letting go of things that have happened to me instead of re-living them in my head time after time, as though I might change my actions or the consequences of them. It means trying really hard not to spend all my time impatiently waiting for things in my future to arrive, whether that is the day I go on holiday, the day my lovely son is finally out of nappies or that blessed day when I finally pay off my giant bank loan. It means really taking on this day and making the most of it.

That means spending time doing the things I love instead of wasting time on things I really don’t care about. If a book is not keeping my interest, I will leave it to one side now instead of doggedly trying to finish it. Life is too precious and there are too many other books to be read. The same goes for films or television shows. I will happily spend time on the things that are considered a ‘waste’ of time, if I am enjoying them, but I am trying to turn off my mobile, switch off the laptop and spend time on those things that I have always wanted to do. This results in more time actually being spent on making projects happen instead of messing about on clothing websites (for example!)  so it’s a winning and productive way to try and spend at least some of my time.

Alongside trying to really live in the only day I truly own, is trying to act accordingly. Telling the people I love, that I love them. Keeping things that go wrong in perspective. Counting my blessings. I’ve started to have pauses in my day, to think about what I am doing, how I am feeling, and ask myself if I am really ‘acting accordingly’ – and if I’m not, then I will consciously try to do so. I know it all sounds a bit odd, but it is really and truly making me feel better about each and every day of my life. It makes me take a deep breath instead of getting cross, it makes me slow down and really look about me to appreciate the small, joyful things that every day life brings and it makes me a better, kinder and more open person to those around me.

Before I read my book each evening, I have a little think about the day. I am trying to practice gratitude a bit more, so I will think of a few things that I am particularly grateful for. Above all, I want to get into my bed at the end of each day, and be happy to know that if this was to be my last day on Earth, I have used it well, shared it positively and made the most of it.

I’m aware that this post is in danger of sounding like a poorly written self help book, so, as one final act of self-sabotage, I am going to quote the irrepressible Ferris Bueller:

‘Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.’

PS: If you’re looking for a fun way to waste five minutes then have a look at Ferris Bueller Quotes, which is a random Ferris quote generator. Ace.