Not all who wander are lost

Wednesday, 23 April 2014

Gratitude

The theme for last weeks journal entry was gratitude. I decided to start of by looking at what 'Gratitude' meant. The dictionary supplied;
"'Gratitude' noun. The quality of being grateful or thankful."
Whereas 'Grateful' was described as 'Appreciative of benefits received' 'Expressing Gratitude' and 'Affording pleasure or comfort; agreeable'

I looked at my own life to see if I was 'appreciative of benefits received'. That would be a no. I easily and almost purposely looked over or let the disasters of the day shadow to joys. And I do it in life too. So what makes a person grateful? Is it a natural trait, or something that can be learned, nurtured with practice?


I turned to the internet,finding articles and discussions on TED Talks (which is an incredible site, by the way!) by David Steindl-Rast. He teaches that our whole lives are a gift, a gift we should be grateful for. That each breath we take, is not something we have earnt, or deserve, it is a gift that has been given, and at any moment be taken away. That it is not happiness that makes us grateful, but gratefulness that makes us happy.

'We should each moment as precious, and a great opportunity' - David Steindl-Rast

It reminded me that though I am frustrated at being stuck at home, I should be seeing it as a gift. I have a big pile of books I can finally get through - guilt free - I can draw and sketch and write. I can't change this chapter of my life, but I can make the best of it.

I found an incredible website, with endless articles on Gratitude, many written by Robert Emmons, the leading psychology expert on Gratitude. You can find the website Here. One of his articles was a list of ways to make you grateful. They are as follows:

10 Tips to Grateful Living
1. Keep a Gratitude Journal. Establish a daily practice in which you remind yourself of the gifts, grace, benefits, and good things you enjoy. Setting aside time on a daily basis to recall moments of gratitude associated with ordinary events, your personal attributes, or valued people in your life gives you the potential to interweave a sustainable life theme of gratefulness.
2. Remember the Bad. To be grateful in your current state, it is helpful to remember the hard times that you once experienced. When you remember how difficult life used to be and how far you have come, you set up an explicit contrast in your mind, and this contrast is fertile ground for gratefulness.
3. Ask Yourself Three Questions. Utilize the meditation technique known as Naikan, which involves reflecting on three questions: “What have I received from __?”, “What have I given to __?”, and “What troubles and difficulty have I caused?”
4. Learn Prayers of Gratitude. In many spiritual traditions, prayers of gratitude are considered to be the most powerful form of prayer, because through these prayers people recognize the ultimate source of all they are and all they will ever be.
5. Come to Your Senses.Through our senses. The ability to touch, see, smell, taste, and hear—we gain an appreciation of what it means to be human and of what an incredible miracle it is to be alive. Seen through the lens of gratitude, the human body is not only a miraculous construction, but also a gift.
6. Use Visual Reminders.Because the two primary obstacles to gratefulness are forgetfulness and a lack of mindful awareness, visual reminders can serve as cues to trigger thoughts of gratitude. Often times, the best visual reminders are other people.
7. Make a Vow to Practice Gratitude. Research shows that making an oath to perform a behavior increases the likelihood that the action will be executed. Therefore, write your own gratitude vow, which could be as simple as “I vow to count my blessings each day,” and post it somewhere where you will be reminded of it every day.
8. Watch your Language. Grateful people have a particular linguistic style that uses the language of gifts, givers, blessings, blessed, fortune, fortunate, and abundance. In gratitude, you should not focus on how inherently good you are, but rather on the inherently good things that others have done on your behalf.
9. Go Through the Motions. If you go through grateful motions, the emotion of gratitude should be triggered. Grateful motions include smiling, saying thank you, and writing letters of gratitude.
10. Think Outside the Box. If you want to make the most out of opportunities to flex your gratitude muscles, you must creatively look for new situations and circumstances in which to feel grateful.
I have been doing the majority of them, and have succeeded in keeping an account of the things that have made me grateful that day, no matter how small, spending time with my mother or a friend, enjoying a particular meal. I have also been trying to enjoy the moment while I am in it. To say out loud I am grateful, to thank the person who has cooked me a meal or taken time out of their day to see me.
I put up pictures of friends and memories that make me smile on my wall, so that everyday I see all the wonderful things I have to be grateful for, friends met, adventures had. So far, I can honestly say that it has been helping, as each evening I am writing each moment I had that day to be thankful for, and it doesn't take long for those moments to out weigh the moments I'd rather not have happened. Those moments only make the blessed ones shine brighter.

And I pledge to remember to savour each delicious moment as they are gifted to me. To live deeply and gratefully. To soak my soul in senses and remind myself how blessed I am to have been given the gift of Life.


 What is it that makes you grateful...?


Saturday, 12 April 2014

A month of new beginnings.

 My life has been turned on its head a little, thanks to the knee injury, and so I am having to re-think all the plans I had made for this year, which I am finding challenging.
I like to think I can go with the flow, and take problems in my stride, but, I've had to realize maybe I'm not so good at it as I thought. It's not that I have a problem with change, its more that I had a plan, and had made lots of decisions in my life based on that choice. Choices I now have had to re-think, and deal with when I thought I had done with them.
It's been a difficult month, but one I have had no choice but to go through, reminding my self that this just means I am faced with a huge array of possibilities, beginnings and adventures that I hadn't had before.
And for that I am grateful.

I spent the beginning of the month in Southampton, walking along the beach, reading in the new forest, and checking out vintage cars after having a  cider in the sun. I then spent a few days at a friends, eating good food, and hand feeding Robins in the garden.
Most days I have spent at home though, writing, and reading book after book, which I have enjoyed, as when else will I get the opportunity to do so!?

I only managed to spend a few days in Southampton, but I enjoyed them to the full. The day we went to the beach was dramatically foggy, which made for beautiful views, and photo opportunities! I am still struggling with my knee a little (But am finally on the waiting list for an op!) so I couldn't really walk for too long.
I was able to take some photos of the fog, though..... 












We also had a cider in Beaulieu, where I spent a few days after my dads wedding. It was nice to pay another visit, it's such a lovely little place!
 I also enjoyed the New Forest for a few hours, where I enjoyed the chatter of birds as I finished reading The Picture Of Dorian Gray By Oscar Wilde. (Which I thoroughly enjoyed!)  
 Saw this little Pagoda at the back of someones garden. I would happily live there! 
 And, to end my stay, we checked out some super cute vintage cars. I think if I do ever end up driving, I will need something absurdly quirky and beautiful, like these....! ;) 



So the next few days I spent at my friends, and while she was putting together a bouquet for a friend, I reveled in the chance to soak up the scents and sights..! The whole florist smelled amazing, I never really have been a 'flowers' kinda girl, but I was won over. I'd love to have fresh flowers in my room.



 And, the best part of April so far. Feeding the Robins in my friends garden. Such an amazing experience! Here is Mummy Robin. Daddy Robin hasn't worked up the courage to come all the way to your hand yet...! Many other birds sat in the trees overhead, nosily watching the events below them, but clearly not ready to try and get in on the action. A male blackbird came very close though, almost at arms distance before he changed his mind and flew back to a safer distance! 
I felt like a real Faery Princess, surrounded by feathered friends...! 



My adventures have been relatively small, but they have all satisfied my soul greatly. After all, isn't that what adventures are for?

Hope you are enjoying adventures of you own, great or small. 

The British Faery

Monday, 7 April 2014

Keeping a Journal




I have kept a journal for as long as I can remember, from the age of 10 or so? And over the years it has evolved from something I did for fun, to something I did purely out of habit, to something that helped me get through some really tough times. 

Putting down my thoughts and feelings onto paper made them leave my head. I could see them clearer, and it made them real. Why that didn't always necessarily feel like a good thing, (and I have often questioned whether writing down in painful detail the horrors and the thoughts that torment me, that I am actually making the the problem worse) But, making my problem real meant I had usually made it something I could deal with. Something I could fix. It also meant that, when things seemed bad, I could read back over times in my life that had been worse. And remind myself, if I lived through that, I can certainly live through this.

My Journals from 2007 till 2014


The longer I have kept journals, the more they have become an extension of myself. And while each journal has been a true representation of myself at the time, I feel that they now hold a deeper understanding of who I am. From the journal I kept kept when I was 13, in pink, glittery scrawl, written in sporadically, detailing teenage confusion, confusion and torment. (My teenage years were not ones I will ever remember fondly). Or at 18, realizing I could write more than what was only happening to me, but of things I *wanted* to happen to me, to doodle and let myself pour my character onto the pages.
And now, leather bound books full of drawings, plans, ideas, musings, and still of course, a day to day account of my life. I write for about an hour a day, even if that hours writing only culminates in a page, sometimes. When I can't write, I draw instead, or copy down quotes to inspire me and life my spirits. 

2010 - A poem that caught my eye, and a letter from a friend.

 My journal entries all differ wildly, and I am constantly 'stealing' or acquiring things to stick between the pages. leaflets, receipts, photos,menus,place mats! If its paper and I can remove it, its going in my Journal. 
Some days, as I said, I cannot write (too tired, too sad, to excited) So I draw, or write down my day's info in a creative way.

20011 - A scrapbook style day
2013
2007 - Magazine articles that are/were relevant to my life
(Yep, I was a BIG Kate fan....!)


2009 - Things I picked up at a festival!

2014 - Putting down thoughts in a different way

I love being able to include photos!


My Journals are usually hard to close ;) I love filling them! I figure that writing is one thing, but there is nothing like visual prompts to make you remember. I also press flowers in them...... And, beyond a shadow of a doubt, my favourite thing to have in my journals, are notes and letters and drawing by other people. To see their handwriting, the little things they said, that I would of no doubt forgotten. To see a glimpse of someone else's life alongside my own. 
But, do not get me wrong, while I love to doodle and draw and create in my leather bound books, 90% of the time they look like this.....

 Just alot of very small, cramped handwriting.....!! But I lo be writing these pages even more than the beatiful ones. It reminds me I am writing, and doing what I love!


I have begun to question, what if I took it a step further? What if I wrote about things that are not directly connected to my life, things that not only inspire me, that force me to write about the greatness both inside me, and outside my front door. Things that encourage me to realize that life doesn't have to be sad. That *I* don't have to be sad, or turn every event in my life into one that defines me. 

2011


A journaling 'project' that inspires personal growth, and healing. That teaches me ways of writing about my thoughts and events in a positive way.

And so, alongside a friend of mine, I have started a weekly 'Journal Prompt' Project. Each week we take it in turns to choose an idea, theme, question or word on which to write about. In any way we choose to understand it.


I'll write a blogpost each week talking about it is we did, (Though we started a few weeks ago now..) And let you know what the next theme is, if you would like to play along!

Do you, or have you ever, kept a Journal? What did it mean to you? I'd love to hear your thoughts on Journal Keeping! Please don't be shy, leave a comment! :)


Keep Writing!






Tuesday, 1 April 2014

A skiing Adventure, and.... a skiing disaster.

My last adventure took me to Les Deux Alpes, in France. I had taken a nanny job in a ski resort, and though it took me a while to get into the lifestyle there, and only receiving my ski pass the day I came home, I had really begun to enjoy myself.
Skiing is the best fun I have had in a long, long time! I loved the speed and the adrenaline rush, it's like nothing I have ever done.
Skiing though, of course, is the reason I had to come early. I perhaps got a little ahead of myself in my skiing ability, and after only doing a few nursery slopes, thought I'd be totally fine on a Blue Run. In the Dark.
In my defense, I did do the run the first time without a hitch. The second time, however, wasn't quite the same. I was going far too fast (of course) and halfway down realized I was too close to my friend. Panicking, I just tried to stop. Yeah... so that wasn't my best idea. I somersaulted, and ended up having to limp home in agony.
I tried to go to work the next morning, but it was clear I was in pain and unable to walk. After visiting the local hospital, and being doped up on painkillers, it was decided it best I come home.
Since I have been back in the UK, I think I have seen every consultant and visited every hospital in my area.
I have ripped my Cruxia ligament and damaged the shock absorbers. So, I'm currently having physiotherapy, and pushing to have reconstructive surgery.

Here are a few pics from my short time in France!!








So things here are a little different than I had hoped for myself this year. But that is life, isn't it.
I am just going to have faith that the Universe has something better in store for me, though it hasn't eluded anything to me so far.

Though, I am begging lots of exciting, private projects that no doubt I will be sharing with you here, and getting back into blogging. I will reveal all soon!!!

If you have any skiing stories, I would love to hear them, so please share in the comments section!!

Love,
The British Faery


Sunday, 20 October 2013

A Wedding and The New Forest

A few weeks ago I attended my father's wedding, and relished in the opportunity to laugh, dance and be silly with my brothers, whom I rarely get to spend time with now, especially time spent playing the fool!

 My 'Lil-Big' Brother ( He's younger than me, but clearly not shorter...!!)
 My youngest Brother:)
 The sillyness begins!
We had a great time dancing, and filled the evening with happiness and laughter. It was great to see family I don't see often, Aunts and Uncles, and meeting and getting to know my Dad's wife's family too.

My boyfriend and I stayed in the New Forest for a few a days after the wedding, and I took far too many pictures of Mushrooms and Horses....




 I have never seen so many mushrooms, or such variety. They grew on every surface, on the floor (where you expect them.. ) the blanketed fallen logs and climbed trees. It was incredible! We tried to identify some, but it turned out to be allot harder than we thought it would be... So many of them look similar...!
 Found this incredible bug, his body was a fascinating mixture of electric blue, purple, and black. Almost like the pattern oil makes with water...
I think it's a Dung Beetle...





We were staying in the Master Builders Hotel, In Bucklers Hard. It was built in 1729 by Alexander Morris, and the Tenant of the Shipyard would live there.
It is such a beautiful Hotel, filled with Ship and Sailing paraphernalia, hard wood floors, bright, colourful walls, and a giant open fire in the pub!
 Anyone know what this is..!?


 A view of the boatyard from up a tree :)




















I had the most wonderful time, The New Forest was calming, beautiful, enchanting. The hotel's pub was perfect - Old wood, cosy, with a big open fire. Really didn't want to come home!
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