Creating the mood for autumn

Any moment now, we will be unable to ignore the prompts encouraging us to make a mental seasonal transition from summer to autumn. Are you ready? Hmm, thought so. Me neither! But I intend to get ready. The fab-fab-fabulous presence of the sun this summer has undeniably lifted my weather spirit and I am set on making the most of the other seasons. As a sign of gratitude, let’s say, mixed with a secret hope that it will somehow cheer on a repeat next year. So, in order to softly disentangle from summer and ease the way in to autumn, let’s set the scene and create the mood.

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:: Candle light. Lots of candle light. Especially on the breakfast table.

:: Red cheeked forest picnics and cool fingers wrapped around mugs of hot chocolate.

:: Sleeping cocooned in newly washed winter duvets.

:: The sound of rain on the roof.

:: Wearing old favourite jumpers and mismatching woolly socks.

:: Baking bread and trying out new autumnal recipes (my pins/inspiration can be found here).

:: Wood fires – indoor ones and outdoors.

:: Walks on a beach on windy days breathing crisp seaweed tasting air.

:: Pyjama mornings spend reading (preferably with croissants and good coffee).

:: Chilled out evenings in the company of good friends, with legs wrapped up in blankets and curled up in cushy sofas, protected from persistent drafts.

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And abundant apples and soft music and leaves turning golden and extra hot showers and mint tea and…and…and…..

So, what do you say…..feeling a bit more ready?

It is going to be a great autumn. How can it not?

Passion…

There is just something about hanging out with people who are passionate that is so invigorating. Being near people with great passions is like tapping in to a field of energy, a field of excitement and aliveness and joy and it is impossible to walk away from it without having your state altered. It hardly matters what the passions are about – model train sets, yoga, chocolate mousse or African Sulcata tortoises, it is the passion itself, the aliveness it brings, that is so fascinating and energising.

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This weekend we went to a Jousting Festival full of people bursting with passion. And even though dressing up in medieval costumes, telling gory stories of punishments for nagging wives and how much use you can get out of your undergarments by turning them first inside out, then back to front, will never become a passion of mine, I just completely adored the participants. Their passion was so real, completely from their hearts and they were so happy to share and it was inspiring and contagious and it makes me think that everybody should seek to find something in their lives they could be equally passionate about.IMG_1908

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I am so grateful that those brilliant people at the Jousting Festival, with all their positive energy, reminded me that I got to pursue my passions as well as seek and be with  people with true passion. I tell you, it is seriously good for the soul. Seriously.

What are your passions? Who do you know that are truly passionate? What does being with them do to your state?

Doing + Being

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So many of us have been brought up to believe that we must do, do, do in order to achieve, be successful or to create or learn or be productive. Hardly any value is given to being. “Being”, we have been taught, equals laziness. So if you were the kind of kid who liked to daydream while tracing a pattern in a sand dune, make up stories about flying seahorses and ill-tempered trolls with coarse hair and testing what it is like to sing your favourite tune at top volume hanging upside down from a tree branch, you should by now – as a responsible adult in a civilised western world – have come to fully realise that that sort of behaviour is a waste of valuable time. Unless you get paid for it of course, in which case we may indulge you a bit!

Doing, doing, doing often ends up lacking meaning, leaving us with a sense of misalignment or incongruence. It goes along the lines of “I know I should feel happy or at least content, but I just don’t”. And then the conclusion: “There must be something wrong with me”.

But nothing is wrong with you. It is just that it is in the “being” we learn about who we are, what really matters, what we care about and what we truly love. It is in the being we can listen to our intuition and all the little voices that are trying desperately to tell us the really important stuff. The stuff that comes from your core. However, if we don’t stop and listen, if we just keep doing, doing, doing, well then……

It has taken me a long time and a lot of feeling misaligned to realise that “being” is as important as “doing”. And it is probably going to take me some years still to find the ideal split {doing is not THAT keen on sharing}, but that is ok. I am heading in the right direction and am loving the amazing impact it has to combine the two. Doing and being. Being and doing.

Are yours good at sharing?

Coconut alert

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Watching BBC’s stunning Africa program with the kids tonight sent me thousands of miles from home re-living some of the most thrilling and out-of-this-world experiences I had when I ventured on adventure holidays to Vietnam, Thailand, Zimbabwe, Namibia and Botswana. The detail of the memories, the sounds, the smells, the sights, the spine tingling mixed with other sensations of pure and utterly unbelievable enjoyment in my body. Being wrapped in a slightly itching blanket, watching flocks of wild animals gathering around a water hole in the dusk, climbing to the top of on an endless sand dune as the sun rises, sleeping on copper coloured, warm rocks under a dark, dark sky where stars are fighting for their right to shine the brightest, wobbling on a bamboo raft under a gushing shower made by a waterfall, giggling at a sign reading “watch out for falling coconuts”, tasting unknown exotic fruits and snake and crocodile and being dared to eat silkworms and saying why not!

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Returning eventually and slightly dazed to the sofa, I look at my kids spellbound by a frog and then a butterfly fish making a narrow escape, I consider how to bring more wonder and adventure in to our daily life and decide that perhaps we ought to start by breaking more rules. The self imposed ones, the ones we for strange reasons think we have to follow and the ones made by us as a society. Elephant rides don’t come with seat belts, beaches don’t always have flags to say it is safe to swim, it is FUN to stand on the back of a truck with wind whipping your hair in to your eyes, cows sometimes like to mingle and don’t always live behind fences and neither do amber eyed monkeys, more than 5 people can ride on one bike, bananas don’t grow in to plastic bags, food may contain more than a few bugs and be cooked by people who live in a jungle and own pigs and always have bare feet and couldn’t care less about washing their hands.

And here I am, still alive, with a big smile on my face remembering some of the best times I have ever had. So perhaps we should just relax a bit with all these rules.Or “chillax” as we like to call it. Cos’ we live on the edge and like to break the rules. Ha!

By the way {in case you were wondering} silkworms do not have much flavour.

Choices

“Your life is a result of the choices you make. If you don’t like your life it is time to start making better choices”.

I spotted these words on a poster the other day and they capture quite well what is on my mind at the moment. Partly because the arrival of a new year inspires me to think about what I want to choose more of or less of in my life and partly because I am busy preparing the next Wheelbarrow seminar, which is very much focused around the theme choice.

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Growing up I was often amongst people who pretty much believed that life is“done” to you and that you have a limited say in the matter. I keep reminding myself that it isn’t so and now I find that encouraging myself, clients and others to make conscious choices has become such a highly treasured topic of mine and it is something I am especially keen to teach my children. How about you? Are you good at being aware of the choices you have and the choices you make?

Be more “self-indulgent”, please.

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It is so very easy to be busy all the time. So busy that it becomes so very easy to forget to do the things that energize us, make us smile, make us ready for the next day or our next challenge. Why do a lot of us delete first the things that give us most pleasure? Why not delete some of the mundane first? The sun would still rise, wouldn’t it? So is it because we learned that looking after ourselves is selfish and self-indulgent, do we perhaps imagine catastrophic consequences if we eased up a bit or do we simply forget to stop and take stock over the choices we make?

The belief that “life is a struggle” can be formed at an early age and then often becomes self-fulfilling. Or how about “you must work hard to get somewhere in life”. Does that have a familiar ring to you? Do you believe it to be true?

Cracking the whip over mums’ already tense shoulders {especially mums of very young kids} is often feelings of guilt. How can I as a mum even consider taking a shower, when I should be making five-veg-puree, teach sign-language and practise correct pencil grip? Says who? Do you ever question if you are imposing some harsh rules on yourself?

Every day I practise getting better at filling my “wheelbarrow” {aka my life} with more and more things I enjoy, things that nourishes me and motivates me. And hence make me smile {and more efficient} . Which in turn make people that matter to me, smile.

Perhaps go back and read that last sentence again.

On the 21st of January, I am hosting a free seminar and speaking to women about how to become more resourceful by looking after you and how to live a more fulfilling daily life. If you are near Guildford, you may want to come along. More information can be found here.

Until then, all I would like to say is “be a bit self-indulgent over Christmas, will you? Please!!”

The softest kind of day

School is closed today. What a treat. Lazy breakfast with plenty of candles lit and burning logs humming in the background. Sarah Dawn Finer’s Winterland album playing and no other plans than wrapping presents and writing cards to family members far away, a stop at a favourite garden centre and a visit to town in the dusk to admire the Christmas lights, joining the crowds in the post office for a while and on to searching for the kind of present that will make special someone’s go ohh and ahh.

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Hot chocolate and star shaped biscuits  may come in to the picture as well and there is a project involving twigs that I may turn my attention to. And while the youngest one is playing with her much cared for friend and the older one is fully absorbed in either another chapter of Harry Potter or a gigantic heap of Lego, I may just sneak in a few minutes of turning colourful wool into something soft to warm someone special.

No doubt today is going to be the kind of day I want to tuck gently into my wheelbarrow.

What are you hoping to tuck in to yours?