I recently visited one of the most beautiful little villages in the UK. St Abbs is a tiny Scottish fishing village nestled close to the Scotland-England border and it is simply gorgeous.
I was snapping photos left, right and centre (and I guess driving my very patient children a little crazy as the danced on the borders of boredom!). I found this photo amongst my days’ snaps…
I don’t know about you, but when I first looked at it I wasn’t sure which way was up and which was down. Life sometimes can feel just like that, can’t it? One minute you’re heading where you want, and the next life throws you a curveball and you feel totally out of sorts.
How do we get back on track? Here’s a few tips:
1. Stop and think about what’s happening: how are you feeling about it? Mentally, physically, emotionally and spiritually?
2. Get the perspective of trusted friends and family
3. Take time to adjust – don’t rush
4. Realign your perspective – not all change turns out negative. In fact when we embrace change it usually ends up positively. Resistance to change can unnecessary create inner conflict (although some changes should be resisted – as we grow in wisdom learn to recognise when resistance is required).
When we realign our perspective we learn to see more clearly. I found a photo I’d intentionally taken…
Reorienting your perspective is the difference between looking at my first photo and my second – we see things more clearly.
Today I feel very alive. You know… that feeling somewhere between deep contentment and cheesy bliss.
I wonder what makes you feel alive. That feeling comes to us all on occasion, and it arrives in a variety of ways.
For some, it is found in the embrace of a loved one. For others it is found in beautiful places of introverted joy. Perhaps it’s found in the alignment of numerous factors that each bring a little joy, and come together in the culmination of extreme joy?
For me it was found on a beach in the freezing cold sea with the shrieks of joy and laughter touching my eardrums as starkly as the waves crashing against my skin. I’m up to my neck in the sea just feeling everything so perfectly and my world in that moment is an inner ocean of calm soaking my soul with bliss. The feeling of intense coldness just made me feel alive and happy. Seeing and hearing my family laughing giggling together added to that, with the warm shining sun covering us like icing on a cake!
So, what makes you happy? What washes away every fear or anxiety, even if only for that moment?
Find that moment, that connection, or that experience – it will feed your soul with many memories and residual joy many times in the years to come.
Say YES. Today what will you say YES to? There’s so much going on in life that sometimes we unintentionally say yes to the wrong things. We say yes to the things that hold us back, and the things that keep us bound up in pain, grief, and despair.
Say YES to living happy.
Say YES to healthy choices.
Say YES to prioritising your life partner.
Say YES to new adventures.
Say YES to finding joy.
Say YES to kindness.
Say YES to helping others.
Say YES to growing in wisdom.
Say YES to exercise.
Say YES to getting out into the fresh air.
Say YES to learning.
Say YES to working hard.
Say YES to making tough choices.
Say YES to determination and perseverance.
Say YES to hope.
Say YES to life.
Why say yes?
Because you have to power to choose what you say yes to. In saying yes to the things that build up your life you are saying NO to the things that destroy your happiness in life. In saying YES to things that encourage (that word means ‘fills you with courage’) you, you are actually throwing wide the doors that will bring joy to your life!
Saying YES is a simple, effective way to attract joy, love, kindness and friendship to your life.
May you know the joy of saying yes on your life journey, and nay you have the wisdom to know when the YES needs to be used.
I recently shared a post from The Samaritans on Facebook. It talked about the rise in suicides during the time of COVID-19 and I was really struck by the rise in suicides. My heart aches with sadness as I consider how difficult life can be for many of us.
I’ve never considered suicide, but I have lived on the edges of my coping levels and I know what it’s like to just get through each day: as a child and teenager I lived with the daily pain and trauma of abuse. As an adult I’ve experienced depth of loss and the emotional pain that can result from loss. Life can be hard to cope with sometimes. It was actually during such a time that I began exploring finding joy despite hardships. And it has been a lifesaver for me.
On their website The Samaritans list the following signs of struggling to cope:
Lacking energy or feeling tired
Feeling exhausted all the time
Experiencing ‘brain fog’, find it hard to think clearly
Finding it hard to concentrate
Feeling restless and agitated
Feeling tearful, wanting to cry all the time
Not wanting to talk to or be with people
Not wanting to do things you usually enjoy
Using alcohol or drugs to cope with feelings
Finding it hard to cope with everyday things and tasks
If you are experiencing a number of these you might consider seeking out support: through friends, family, of therapeutic intervention (as a bloke I found counselling a hard step to take, but the value of it has been priceless).
You could also try ‘finding joy’ everyday – where are the small moments that might lift your spirit and feed your soul?
Wherever you are – I trust you will make the right decisions to build your resilience, heal wounds, and enjoy the journey 👣
Maksud continued walking. The sun beat down mercilessly upon her back while solitary clouds evaporated as quickly as they appeared. She had walked for days without sight nor sound of any living being. Water was just a dream. Wearily she lifted her head, looking to the horizon and the setting sun. Darkness was falling, a silent shroud upon the weary shoulders of this solitary figure. And Maksud smiled as she thought ‘this is my life and this moment is beautiful’. And with that thought the sun fell and night arose.
I wonder how you view life today? Our view of life will determine how we live it, and how we interpret the circumstances we face.
If we view life as a series of trials to be overcome we may begin to resent much of it.
If we view life as out of our control we will not take responsibility for it.
If we (like Maksud) view life as an adventure to be lived then we will embrace it – even the low points. Life can be beautiful even in the darkest hours. I don’t mean that it is easy, but rather that even in hard times there are blessings in the journey when we look for them.
Look for the joy, blessings and beauty in your life today.
I caught my wife studying hard last week. She was caught up in the world of concentration seeking information and studying to apply it to heart and mind.
So I captured the moment. Why? Because I wanted to remind myself that chasing dreams, or joy, or goals always involves hard work. Wishful thinking does not lead to a happier or more fulfilling life. Hard work does.
If you have an illuminating ‘lightbulb’ idea you will need to (like Thomas Edison) try over and over and over again to get there or to make it work. Achievement can look more like failure than success (and that’s okay) because success needs some failures to make it work.
In hard work we learn lessons, make headway, and learn that the joy is in the journey. In completing my MA in leadership I felt blessed more by what I learned I that two years than by the achievement itself. I grew as a person. I loved the learning. I developed perseverance and deeper resilience.
If life is hard work right now… do not despair. The learning and the joy is in the work you are doing. Keep on keeping on.
Gratitude is a wonderful gift. It is the gift that we can freely give away. It genuinely costs us nothing and yet we can reap a positivity harvest when we give it away. Think about how you feel when you say a genuine thank you to somebody – it’s a good feeling isn’t it?
Today I simply want to say THANK YOU for reading what I write. I am amazed that about 150 lovely people are following what I write. It’s such an encouragement to see familiar names leaving a ‘like’ on various posts – thanks for continuing to return to StuartWriting.com – you bless me so much by returning post after post. So…
Thank you 🙏🏽 and I hope you keep on this journey with me.
Live life to the full. I love this phrase – it is jam-packed full of wisdom and joy and possibilities.
Life is meant to be lived, not loathed. The choices we make everyday determine whether we will enjoy life, or endure it. How are you choosing to live your life today?
There are so many things that can try to steal your joy – bills, debts, loss, jealousy, heartache (to name a select few). Bad stuff happens to everybody, and everybody can choose how to respond to it – I have learned this from the wisdom of my experiences. I have lost time, money, friendships, happiness, and more, by choosing a negative attitude to life. But wisdom compels me to believe we can choose to live a happier life despite these setbacks, disappointments and hardships.
It goes without saying that when we enjoy life we experience joy. A life lived to the full is a life full of joy – this helps us to be more resilient when life knocks us off our feet. Living life to the full is not about being successful, richer, or having more stuff – I believe it is about being happier, enjoying life and sharing with those around us.
When we live life to the full we begin to see life as full of opportunities to be taken, rather than obstacles to be overcome. A positive outlook creates opportunities for life to become a happier way of being. A negative outlook helps no one enjoy the life set before them.