At the moment, in my part of the UK, we are being blessed with wonderful weather. Anyone who knows the British weather will know this situation is unlikely to last and we will all probably be shivering into our thermals within days. But, right now, it is lovely.
As is usually the case, I woke up today with twenty-one hundred things to do but when a nice day comes along it is important to seize it and make the most of it. So beyond writing this blog, my stuff to do list is on hold for a day.
My puppy, Willow, and I have been on a long walk across the fields near our home – blissful peace and quiet, rolling countryside bright with sunshine and the only sounds were the very distant whisper of traffic, the occasional dog bark and loudest of all beautiful birdsong.
Now back, a long afternoon and evening stretches ahead of us in which we will both spend time pottering in the garden which is a mass of spring colours. Later we will relax, either outdoors or on the comfy sofa in the sun lounge, me reading a good book, Willow, nearby having a snooze. ! daresay a glass of something chilled may also be consumed. By me not her!
Sometimes as life sweeps us along it’s all too easy to get lost in the day to day grind. We have so many things to tick off our stuff to do lists, so many obligations and commitments to honour and people to please we forget about making time for ourselves and for the people in our lives who really matter.
So next time you are working out your schedule for another busy week, remember to schedule some fun stuff too.
Take five minutes out with a cup of tea or coffee first thing in the morning when the house is quiet to count your blessings.
Factor in some fun time with the kids and the pets.
Book a date night with your partner.
Give your Mum and Dad a call or better yet a visit.
Don’t feel guilty about watching your favourite TV show while the ironing pile gets higher.
Meet your friends for a coffee and a chat.
Run a bubble bath, light some candles and switch off from the world for a while.
Buy some fresh flowers for your home or if money is tight take a walk in the park at lunch time – just being near beautiful things will lift your soul.
It’s a life changing sum of money but there have been plenty of instances of lottery winners who thought their dreams had come true only to see that dream turn into a nightmare because money isn’t everything and a large sum of money can bring with it a complex set of problems alongside the flying champagne corks and I’m not talking about whether you should buy a yacht or a sports car or both.
Squabbles amongst families and rising tensions between husbands and wives are the stories that hit the headlines months and years after the champagne has gone flat. It isn’t the money itself that tears people apart rather it has a way of exacerbating the fault lines that already existed in a relationship before the potent mix of lots of money got added to the pot.
It’s good to aim high. It’s lovely to have dreams. Just make sure your foundations are solid before you start reaching for the stars or have them handed to you on a plate.
Be true to yourself.
Tell the people you care about that you love them.
Show that love in what you do not just in what you say.
Take pleasure from the simple things in life – a leaf caught on the breeze, a beautiful sunset, a roaring fire.
Cherish happy times.
Look for the good in people.
Give second chances to yourself and to others.
Smile even if your heart is breaking
Practice random acts of kindness.
Remember that somewhere inside all of us there is a clock ticking so don’t waste precious moments on those who don’t deserve your time.
Never be afraid to live, laugh or love.
Don’t strive to be happy because happiness is ephemeral. Strive for contentment instead.
Some of you may be familiar with a flower called Lily of the Valley. It is a woodland plant which thrives in dappled shade. With its delicate, bell shaped flowers and sweet scent, Lily of the Valley is a welcome sight in the northern hemisphere, heralding the time when spring begins to slowly transform into summer. The scientific name for Lily of the Valley is Convallaria majalis. Majalis meaning ‘of or belonging to May’.
There are many stories that surround this beautiful plant. Some say it derived its common name of Our Lady’s Tears from the story that as the Virgin Mary shed tears at the crucifixion of Jesus her tears fell onto the ground and the Lily of the Valley sprang from the ground where her tears had fallen.
The plant is also said to signify the return of happiness. Legend has it that the plant fell in love with a nightingale and became utterly enchanted by the bird’s pretty song. When the nightingale left the forest the plant was sad. It was only when the nightingale returned the following May, filling the forest with its beautiful music, that the Lily of the Valley bloomed in delight at the nightingale’s return.
Whilst the return of happiness is always something to be celebrated, how much better it would be if happiness never went away in the first place. An impossible thing to achieve? Probably. One way to achieve if not happiness then at least a level of contentment, would be to take pleasure from the small things we see, hear, touch and feel as we go about our everyday lives. The pleasure in listening to a child laugh or watching a puppy play. Running our fingers over a lavender plant and then smelling the scent on our fingers. Watching the breeze play across a field of grass, pushing it one way before pulling it another as if orchestrating a dance for our delight. The feel of sinking into the crisp, clean cotton sheets of a freshly made bed at the end of a tiring day.
All too often we are weighed down by our cares and woes, wishing the week away to hang on to every weekend but to do so is to live only half a life. To live a whole one we need to be fully engaged. Mindfully aware and ready to acknowledge beauty whenever we see it.