An interesting week

The past week of my life can perhaps best be described by that wondrously multi-faceted word: “interesting”.

Things have happened – good things, even – but not in any way, shape or form I predicted as I boldly set out into Monday (aka ‘dragged myself out of bed and off to work’).

Between kids with viruses, and the subsequent working-from-home, astrological discoveries, costume show’n’tell night at my dance class, getting to know my new tarot deck (the Wild Unknown – it’s gorgeous), and playing Scrabble with my beloved (it was us against the letters!), the week has been full of twists, turns, and the life equivalent of interesting shops that may not be in the same place the next day (thank you for the imagery, Sir Terry).

I am hugely grateful for Monique of the beautiful Etsy shops Nekeuomanteion and HipnotiqueTribal for the insights and wisdom of her tarot readings and astrological reports. Monique’s Underworld Astrology report was my first time delving into the world of astrology (with a lifetime of scepticism behind me) and it has been incredibly revealing, while also creating plenty of inner work to do! I regard that as a win πŸ™‚

Flowing on from that – because everything is flowing and nothing stands on its own at the moment – I have been doing plenty of reflection and inner work, as well as more de-cluttering/releasing/clearance (yes, more!)

I have been particularly inspired by a single sentence in the latest post on the Lucky Bitch blog:

“Declutter everything that’s not what you want to manifest.”

That’s pretty clear guidance!

As a result, I’ve cleared through the surface layers of my half of the bedroom and my studio (my two personal spaces). They now feel much clearer and more focused to me (and I’m not actually too bothered anymore about what anyone else thinks!) This week will see me dig beneath the surface more… so there may be more ‘interesting’ times ahead?!

I’ve found it useful to think about what belongs to past selves, and what belongs to me now and to the future me I want to become. I really don’t need to fill my life up with the detritus of past selves (though there are some mementos that still bear meaning). I need room to live now and into the future. It has been interesting seeing what resonates and what doesn’t – there have been some surprises…

I am already beginning to see the fruits of all this inner and outer work – and I’ve really only just started! (Well, this phase, anyway…)

So, I am very curious as we head into a new week (with healthy-again kids, and a wealth of personal information to work through) to see just what happens next…

W. W. D. D.

I’m feeling inspired and challenged this weekend by the ever-fabulous Dita von Teese.

The initials that entitle this post stand for my new mantra: “What would Dita do?”

It’s not that I want to be Dita, but I have long admired her fabulous style and poise, and the depth, integrity and graciousness with which she lives her truth.

I’m currently reading her book: Your Beauty Mark: The Ultimate Guide to Eccentric Glamour. I spotted it in our local library and thought it might help me with my difficulties with stage make-up. I don’t usually wear make-up, so preparing for dance performances can feel a bit of a trial (and don’t ask about my attempts at false eyelashes – no, really!)

What I’ve gained so far has little to do with make up, and everything to do with how I live.

I have been firmly reminded, in a way I can no longer ignore, that my life is entirely what I make it: my daily decisions and choices today shape my future.

I find this awareness both terrifying and strangely exhilarating – a heady mixture of responsibility and permission.

If we create our own lives by our choices (large or small, deliberate or unconscious) then the implications are enormous.

We have the power to create our future right now.

Let me write that again:

We have the power to create our future right now!

How cool is that?!

It’s like the ultimate in creativity! We each create our own life…

Okay, we may not have the power to employ ourselves in our dream job, or to throw off disease and disability – I will wholeheartedly acknowledge that each of us starts from a Β  different place.

But!

We do have the power to choose whether we apply for that dream job – or set up our own business and employ ourselves.

We do have the power to choose how we react to our situation: do we bury ourselves in a traumatic past or seek to rise up and look to the future? Do we go along with what everyone else does or find our way? Do we keep doing what we’ve always done or try a different way?

The choices are ours – large and small – every day…

I don’t know about you, but I find that idea incredibly exciting.

… even if it means I have to accept that I’m also shaping my future when I choose biscuits over dance practice… Exciting is not the same as comfortable πŸ˜‰

So, I am feeling inspired and challenged.

How will I choose to live? What do I want my future to look like? What do I want the future me to look like? (It seems that part of the answer to that last question involves more lipstick than ‘past me’ expected!)

I can take small, but deliberate, steps towards answering these questions every day.

And so can you!

What will you choose?

What future will you shape?

W. W. D. D.

❀

Please ignore my previous post!

Turns out my new adventure required more releasing first…

Yeah, nah, I’m not really surprised… When was life ever a straight path?!

More soon πŸ™‚

Thanks for being patient ❀

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Social media – release or embrace?!

Much has been written on the ills and/or necessity of social media in this internet age.

Depending on who you read, social media can be a contributor to social dislocation or an essential part of your personal brand. Personally, I think the truth lies somewhere in the middle (as it usually does).

Social media is, in my view, neither the devil incarnate nor the answer to your everything. It is a tool which can support, and even enhance, our lives, but it also contains hazards. Not just the obvious noisy trolls, but quieter dangers like discontent, jealousy and time-wasting.

I don’t worry so much about avoiding trolls: they will trample wherever they will, and there ain’t much anyone can do about that except wait for them to move on.

I have found a way to managing the quieter dangers. It is simple, but effective:

consciously choose what goes into your feeds

I’m a Tweep, a Facebooker and a Pinner. All these media have feeds.

Over recent weeks, I’ve been making conscious decisions about what I do and don’t want in my feeds, and who I want to hear from: I’ve cleaned out my Twitter follows and started work on my Facebook newsfeed. Pinterest is yet to come.

More important to me than clearing out is choosing what to embrace in my feeds. I want to be encouraged and inspired, so I can spread that joy wider.

Interestingly, I’ve found that I enjoy Twitter more than I do Facebook. I think it’s partly because there is no requirement to be friends with people to share their wisdom and humour. And the character limit makes for quicker scrolling and less ranting. Facebook does help me stay connected to people I care about, but Twitter leaves me smiling!

Anyway, here’s a couple of tips for releasing and embracing your social media feeds:

  1. Think about what you actually want to see:Β  what do you want to be feeding your soul? If you do this right at the beginning, it will make choosing who to release and who to keep around much easier.
    • My Twitter feed had ended up full of cynical political commentary which was dragging me down. Cynical is one thing I really don’t need encouragement for – I can do it quite well by myself! So, I’ve deliberately chosen to follow people whose tweets encourage me and make me smile (especially if they feature cat pics).
  2. It is okay to release people from your feeds. Chances are they’ll never know…
    • I find Twitter is less emotionally charged than Facebook for this – but I have discovered you can unfollow individual Facebook friends without having to take that fraught step of unfriending. This takes them out of your newsfeed, but leaves the friendship in place. Pinterest is dead easy – just unfollow boards you don’t enjoy any more.
  3. Build a feed that feeds you
    • It really doesn’t take much effort to fill your feed with images and words that feed your soul. Just search for what you actually like and want to see (see #1) – and do remember it is okay to release and unfollow what no longer works for you.

We are allowed to grow and change, and we are allowed to take our social media with us as we do!

How do you manage your social media? Do you have any tips for de-cluttering this part of life? Please share πŸ™‚

Do you choose fear or joy?

Today I have a deceptively simple question for you:

Are you holding onto your stuff from fear, guilt and/or grief

or from love and joy?

I’ve asked this of myself, and found the answers to be incredibly powerful and healing. I hope it works the same for you.

I know what I want my answer to be!

Now to clear the fear and guilt-ridden stuff out of the house…

❀

Honouring our energy levels

Like the tides, our energy levels can ebb and flow; and often for no obvious reason.

This week, my levels have been unusually low. I’m not sure why: am I still recovering from last weekend’s cold? Have I been sleeping less well than I think? Is my head too full of different ideas? Have I got a virus? Is my battery power being used up by background processes?! Maybe I just need rebooting…

Whatever the reason, there’s no point fighting it (I tried that earlier and lost :/ )

Instead, I’m trying to honour my low ebb by resting when I can and not taking on too much, and saving my limited reserves for the things that really need doing, and the odd thing I really want to do. And, yes, I’m also planning what I want to do when my levels pick up again πŸ™‚

This is a time for pondering and napping.

For playing silly computer games and flicking through magazines.

For pottering my way gently through my work days and keeping things moving, but not for charging headlong.

For accepting help around the house, and grabbing opportunities to not ‘do’.

I’ll admit, I am really looking forward to having more vim and vigour, and I’m really hoping some returns soon.

And when it does, I will honour that, too… by charging into the plenty of things waiting for me!

πŸ™‚

How about you? How have your energy levels been this week?

Do yours stay much the same, or do you have spring tides like me?

How do your honour yourself and your energy flows?

How to handle the odd weeks

Sometimes in this living creatively thing, everything goes pretty smoothly. We set goals and plan and then actually achieve our goals round about the time we said we would. The kids play nicely (or at least bicker quietly) so we are able to our own thing for a bit without constant interruptions. The cat leaps up on your desk beside your laptop, not on it, thus not erasing your day’s work. The weather is okay. The washing gets folded. Work is busy but relaxed. We actually manage a consistent practice of dance or sketching or meditation or whatever. All is basically well.

Then there’s the other times…

This week so far has been one of those weeks for me. I call them ‘odd weeks’ not because they are actually that unusual (alas), but because of how they leave me feeling: off kilter, grouchy, unfocused, just a teensy bit (!!) resentful, and definitely NOT ‘even’.

So, apart from turning into a snarky grouch, how can we handle the ‘odd weeks’?

Well, I may be pretty experienced at suffering them, but I’m much less so at managing them graciously!

However, I am learning a thing or three as I go…

1. Identify the source/s of the oddness

Are you getting enough sleep? Did you eat or drink too much of something that disagrees with you? Has something changed at your day job? At your partner’s day job? Is it a full moon? Are there road works outside your house? Are your kids home sick? Or all of these plus some more (you poor soul)?

For me this week, it’s a combination (isn’t it always) of a child home sick for two days, and changes at work, and disrupted sleep. This all lowered my energy levels and my productivity, leaving me feeling generally grouchy AND under-achieving…

2. Once you know the source, it will hopefully be easier to figure out what to do about it.

Trying to fix it without knowing the problem is a lot less likely to succeed!

Solutions are generally something you’ll need to tailor for yourself, because we all do work and react differently. While obvious things like watching what you eat, or trying to get regular sleep, or phoning the council to find out when the road works are due to end can help with some things, others are more complex to handle.

This week, I’ve identified that it is the disruption to my routine that really kicks off the whole downward spiral. Without that I can mange the other factors.

This is actually something I’ve known for a while, and I have tried different fixes over the years with limited success. I’m thinking I may need to get a bit more formal in my fixing, so I’m considering preparing a plan for coping with the disruption: My plan is to jot a rough outline on an index card which I can grab and refer to on days when I’m home with sick kids, or working half days round sick kids, or it’s school holidays. That way I won’t have to think so hard (I hope!) I haven’t actually done this yet, but I figure it’s worth a try. Have you ever tried anything like this? If so, how did it work out for you?

3. Review how your fix actually worked

Hopefully it worked, and keeps on working.

But if it didn’t, there is no sense trying the same thing over and over (note to self!) Give yourself a break! Try taking a few moments to brainstorm some other possibilities; talk to a friend or colleague about how they cope; ask the social media hive mind for ideas; Google it!

We don’t actually have to do this alone. It is okay to ask for help, or for ideas, or for support.

So that said, given my previous ‘fixes’ haven’t fixed anything, anyone got any ideas? Or want to share a story of your own attempts at fixing disruptions? (Or shall we just join hands and skip around the oddness and hope that embarrasses it into leaving?!)

4. In the end, odd weeks (while frustrating) are okay

It can be hard to remember in this constantly ON, high pressure society, but we are actually allowed to have off moments and odd weeks. The world is unlikely to come to an end because the washing didn’t get folded or someone had to wait an extra day for an email.

Take a deep breath, then another one, and let it all go.

After all, if it wasn’t for a little oddness, we’d only have two things in this list!