Shine a light

 You might be thinking what do I mean by this exactly… but light can refer to anything in life that brings out a spark in you, makes someone smile or feel good about themselves even.

Sharing my music with others is one of the ways I shine my light. Music is a wonderful way of navigating your way through life, uplifting you, celebrating you, validating your feelings, and making you feel good. Because I love it so much, it fills me with light too and great satisfaction knowing I have shared the light around. It motivates and inspires me to move forward in life and make the most of what I have whilst I am alive. So it’s a win-win situation really.
So many people are living unfulfilled lives because they think there is no other choice and taking the safe route.  We all have choices in the way we live our life – there is light in every one of us if we choose to see or look for it. Sometimes, simple, straightforward gestures of kindness can go a long way to helping someone else in need of some light and love, and by doing this, it can make you feel good inside too knowing you have helped someone else. It’s not rocket science and doesn’t cost a penny!
Even though we may not think of it like this, life has been given to us as a gift, a miracle, and is therefore very precious, so we must do our best to light up our life, to live our best life, as much as we can every single day. Unfortunately, we don’t have a choice in what life brings us in terms of our health, but there are ways we can improve our quality of life and happiness which does in fact have a positive impact on our health. Stress is the cause of so many health problems that it is important to keep our stress levels down as much as possible.
More importantly, we have to start taking responsibility for spreading the light within each and every one of us, and understanding that it is not someone else’s responsibility to provide light to us and anything we do receive, should be appreciated, seen as a bonus or a gift even, and never be taken for granted. And that includes our lives too. Stop focusing on what you don’t have, every minute is a chance to change your life for the better. Love and compassion for ourselves is incredibly important and crucial if you are to be able to project this out to the world around you.
Gratitude is the hardest thing to teach kids, but we have to persist with it, and as adults, it is an even harder job as generally speaking, people can become quite set in their ways when they grow older and not be willing to change their ways, their behaviour or the way they are as a person. However, us adults must, as well as the kids, be incorporating a sense of gratitude into our everyday life as we go through our day because essentially, children can learn from us. As parents, there is so much to learn about ourselves still – parenting is something we have never been taught, and we can only do the best job we can as we go along in educating our kids, and more so, in teaching them kindness and compassion to others.
Go be the person who makes someone else smile – shine your light!

Bring in more of what you love in your life

Are you always lacking time? Or possibly managing to squeeze some things in but other stuff gets pushed off the list and forgotten about, that stuff that means a lot to you but you push your needs down to the bottom as there just isn’t ever time to get to it. And you just get out of practice.

I experienced this with my music ie. practicing my flute. I stopped playing the flute for 20 years and then only recently in the last 3 years started playing it again, so I was out of practice at first, but decided to teach myself from books for a while to get up to scratch, where I left off at Grade 6 when I was at school, then had lessons too for a couple of years once my kids went to school, and I love it. I just can’t get enough of it. Since about 3 weeks ago, I started a new habit and told myself I would practice 10 minutes a day as I had gotten particularly slack at practicing over the past 6 months and really didn’t want to let it slide… I surprised myself and stuck to it – and it really does feel amazing being able to do what I love every day even if for a short time. What I have noticed is that some of the time I end up playing for longer than 10 minutes – it is quite addictive – which really has proved my passion for music, as well as my love for singing.

Music really has become a part of me, part of how I manage my everyday life, how I validate myself when no-one else is around to listen. I now use music as a tool to help me get through the day in the best way possible, even if it is to slow down and meditate sometimes too. There are some songs that are really heart warming to listen to, and also uplifting, depending on how I am feeling.

As I do spend a lot of time alone, I have to find ways of meeting my needs, and finding a way to express myself and be understood without needing to talk to anyone else about it is an important need of mine, we are human beings after all and need to find a healthy outlet to express ourselves.

What I have learnt over a long period of time, is that it is possible to make change, to change those habits you want to get rid of, or introduce new healthier habits to help improve your lives to focus more around you being happy, as this is really important and shouldn’t be put on the sidelines until it’s convenient.

As a mum, it’s really hard to keep trudging through life doing the same thing day in day out, the same routine, taking the kids to school, doing all the washing, cooking and cleaning. I have learnt that unless you stop doing these things for a certain period of time (even if for 10 minutes!), these chores just never seem to end, and can be very draining physically and mentally too.

Our minds need stimulation to give us energy and happiness, so it’s really important for each one of us to find that thing we love to do and do it every single day, stick it in your diary, make time for it, and then suddenly, you will find time. And maybe you will be inspired to pick another new habit you would like to practice in your life, and add that into your schedule. We all need structure in our lives and not to feel stuffy within all these seemingly closed walls around us. We must knock these walls down bit by bit, slowly one step at a time, one new habit at a time, to breathe in some fresh air, to see more clearly, to think more clearly about what it is you want to get out of life. We have been blessed with one life, so we should try to make the most of it whilst we can…

What’s your biggest fear?

Thought I would share this conversation I had with myself a few days ago….

“Fear is running riot in my head at the moment!”

“Sunday is not so far away now, the day that I have committed myself to perform in an open mike session playing 2-3 songs on my flute… ”

“Am I mad for doing this? Possibly a bit.”

“Shall I just not do it then, it’s so much easier than all of these pre-show nerves….!?”

“Well, the thing is, if I don’t do it, I won’t be able to work through that fear after all, and I might even enjoy it once I get into it! How do I know I won’t like it or be good at it if I don’t give it a try?”

“I won’t!!!!”

Stepping into the unknown is REALLY scary, but I did my best leading up to a local open mike performance I committed myself to last week (with just a few day’s notice) to keep telling myself how excited I was about it since it generates a similar kind of emotion in our body as fear (as Mel Robbins talks a lot about)…. I really needed to give my mind something to feel positive about, to reduce the negative feelings of fear. Also, another tactic Bob Baker suggests is thinking of fear as some funny character to make it not seem so scary anymore, or just associate fear with something that makes you laugh, and not to let it make itself at home in your mind….

One of my biggest fears is performing in front of an audience, worrying about whether I will say or do the right thing, perform well, and what will everyone else think of me….. The only time I have performed like this is when I was in a band at school or else performed during exam conditions. So although I was extremely nervous but at the same time, I was really excited to start making my dreams come alive and was motivated to see what is on the other side of fear if I can manage to push through it. I didn’t want to let my fear of what could happen stop me, so I took the plunge and dived right in…..

It was a really fun evening connecting with other like-minded people, musicians and singers – so much talent amongst all the women that performed on the night. Having a place where we could all express ourselves through our love for music was brilliant – I am so incredibly grateful for the opportunity!

Don’t let fear dictate your life, believe in yourself and what you have been blessed with, who knows what’s on the other side? You might be pleasantly surprised.

Enjoy your own company

Alone time, especially on holiday, or any quiet time away from all the distractions around the house, the chores, the chauffeuring, the rushing about, is a perfect chance for us to really create that space in our minds to think about ourselves and our needs, whether it is to just take things at a slower pace and chill at home, pamper ourselves, go for a swim, go to the beach (if you are lucky to have one nearby), read your book, go for a walk and breathe in the fresh air outside, enjoy the sunshine, eat healthy food, listen to music, enjoy family time, paint or even just do any kind of activity you love, which can also include work especially if this is your passion… Whatever it is, just focus, and be intentional with what you are doing to make sure you are using your time wisely as best as you can. There is only a finite amount of time… we have to make the most of it whilst it lasts.

Multitasking is something as a mum I have always had to get used to doing, but it can get so overwhelming having so much to do at once. I don’t always know where to start, and as more things get added to the list, other things accidentally fall off the radar, especially if I don’t always manage to write it down on my task list. Multitasking is very draining and stressful too at times, so wherever possible, I do make a conscious effort to just focus on one thing at a time, even if the kids are around (though it is more challenging with all the interruptions and general chaos). It’s that much easier and more relaxing not having to worry about anything else but that one task, whatever it is you are trying to achieve in all areas of your life, which is why I am constantly building new little habits into my life that I can call mine and that slowly over time just become a part of me….

Time alone can be well-spent. It is a great opportunity to get to know yourself again, what your needs are in the moment and just finding that regular slot of time to fit you into the picture, to get to know you again, to validate yourself and meet your needs, even in a very small way. Even if you don’t have the luxury of alone time all the time, if you can spare a few minutes at a time during the day to focus on an activity, or just a little quiet time, anything at all. To distance yourselves from the voices around you really helps clear your mind, to hear your own voice – it does help to make you feel more calm, and bring you back to the essence of who you are, not being defined by anyone else but yourself, to help you figure out your next steps, recharge your batteries, to be able to face the music as it “plays” throughout the day.