wherethesunisalwayshining

sprinkling positivity

What are you Doing?

What are you Doing?

This is one question that triggers a whirlwind of thoughts, feelings and emotions for me.

For years I have been growing up with people taking general interest in my life and asking the innocent question – ‘So, What are you doing next?’, ‘What are you doing at the moment?’, ‘What are you doing next week?’

I have heard these four words far more than I’d like to.

The truth is the question creates bouts of anxiety within me. People ask out of interest, good nature, general polite chit chat. Not quite realizing perhaps what they’re asking.

When I hear these 4 words I hear expectation and pressure.. and what I feel when I hear these words are anxiety, guilt, uncertainty and failure. Because the answers usually is I don’t know.

I guess my perception has become warped with my own insecurities on the matter but I am sure that I am not alone as many of us are in the same boat.

When someone asks ‘What are you doing’ – I feel they expect me to know, and I don’t know so there’s uncertainty and I feel like a failure for not knowing. I also feel pressure that I should have a plan, and then I feel guilty again for not having one.

The thing is I don’t have a plan. I have learnt through life experience and travelling that plans don’t always go to plan. Life does it’s thing and we can choose to accept where we are or suffer with non-acceptance and wishing to be somewhere else.

I actually find this topic quite hard even to write about, it creates tension within me. When I was travelling I was able to answer this question much more freely and laid-back, because everyone seems to be on the same wavelength, not knowing where we’re going but trusting it’s ok and allowing things to unfold exactly as and when they’re meant to.

The thing is there’s a lot of freedom in ‘I don’t know’.

I say this from experience – I left my uni course to a year of ‘What are you doing; I don’t know’ scenarios and decided enough was enough and went travelling and working abroad – something I’d never done if I’d stuck to my safe certain uni degree that didn’t make me happy.

Possibilities arise if we are open to them. Changing perspective is fundamental, it’s the only thing we have control over, we have a choice.

Will your ‘I don’t know’ be one of despair, stress and anxiety – (which doesn’t make you know any more 😉

Or can you allow it to be exactly what it is.. at this very moment in time you don’t know. Which gives you the opportunity to explore, discover new things, places. Volunteer, try something different.

There is nothing wrong with not knowing where your life is heading.. in fact nobody knows. There is no certainty for how life will unfold. Isn’t that the magic of it all?

Not knowing what magic is around the corner, what opportunity can arise if you open yourself to the infinite possibilities that the world has to offer?

Go volunteer in Africa, Go raise money for charity, Go explore a new way of living. If you don’t have a next step plan in life – Take it as a sign from the Universe that you’re meant to explore now. You are free.

I know the next time someone asks me ‘What are you doing’ I am hoping I will of changed my perception a little and have the courage to answer from my heart..

‘I don’t know but I know it’s on the way, I am just going with the flow of life and letting it unfold as it is, when I’m supposed to know then I will know. For now exploring, discovering and learning is what I’m doing and I know every piece of the puzzle will finally fit together when the time’s right.’

Trust in yourself. Trust in Life. Recognize your freedom in unlimited possibilities, they are waiting out there for you.

 

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Scrolling down my newsfeed on Facebook I have been surprised by how many people now post about anxiety/depression/OCD.. Some form of mental illness. The first thing that pops into my mind is why? Yes mental health is less of a taboo subject now but why is there such a high percentage of people suffering? 

If you are suffering, have you questioned its purpose? Because everything has one.im recognising a huge shift in society that begins with suffering.. We are restless, bored.. We don’t have a purpose or we’re not fulfilling it. The purpose of suffering is to bring change, and if you are suffering from any of the above right now, have you brought awareness to how you have changed? Perhaps not drastically, but are you more compassionate and understanding of human beings? Perhaps you have learnt more about yourself, what you do and don’t like. 

I’m sharing this for you to know that actually your suffering has purpose, it’s there for you to change whatever’s making you unhappy. So welcome that suffering, it’s a grey teacher, it’s not forever. Happiness comes and goes as you well know, remember the same can ony be for suffering. 

Dot resist change, I know it’s difficult to go past ‘wanting things to go back to how they where’, but this suffering has come about because you weren’t happy before, perhaps something in your unconscious mind triggered it. Welcome suffering and welcome change.. Sometimes there’s far better things on the other side if we let go.

It’s not easy, we all have periods of suffering, some short some long, varying in intensities. We are all human, we are all the same. 

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Accepting when negativity arises within us

Complete acceptance for that of which we are.

Wouldn’t that be incredible?

I used to think after all the self-study, observation and reflecting I do, surely I accept myself for who I am now? And yes in a sense I do, I honour my thoughts and feelings and make time to really listen to myself and try putting myself first.

Boy, it takes up a lot of time and energy to do so much self work but ITS WORTH IT. I have never felt so at peace with myself and content with life, even when I have the not so good days. I have discovered who I am (Yes I know it sounds cheesy, but im sorry, its true. People feel lost and its all about going on a journey to find yourself.)

So.. I’ve discovered and continue to learn about who I am but do I have complete acceptance? The answer I discovered this week.. not quite

Through mindfulness practise I discovered feelings of stress and anxiety, aka negative feelings. My mind got annoyed that I was experiencing this negativity so I ended up fighting it, resisting that it was happening and trying to shove it back to wherever it came from. Complete non-acceptance of what I was experiencing in the present moment, not accepting that negative emotions do arise within me once in a while! So basically beating myself up in a way, saying ‘this negativity is not acceptable so get out, i don’t accept you, why are you feeling like this.’

Acceptance is about embracing yourself as a whole, all aspects of yourself, without rejecting the uncomfortable and shameful parts.

I could pretend that I am positive all the time and a negative thought never crosses my mind, but would that be me? Nope, it’d just be pretense, a false self.

We are perfectly imperfect. We have positive and negative thoughts, resistance only makes them grow, acceptance is showing yourself love and kindness. Don’t beat yourself up over a negative emotion, be aware of it and be curious as to why it has arisen and then smile and accept. Accept yourself exactly as you are.

Affirmation of the upcoming week –

* I accept myself and all which arises within me, completely in this present moment *

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Are you creating happiness or suffering for yourself?

Most of us hate the thought that we suffer because of our own thoughts or that we create unhappiness for ourselves. We want to blame someone else or other people’s actions or life situations for causing these negative emotions within us. But does that change or transform them? No, it’s just not accepting responsibility.

Im writing this post because I want us all to understand we are responsible for our happiness and for our suffering, when you understand that then you understand you have control over your thoughts and emotions and they don’t control you. Therefore you have the power and control over your happiness and suffering. You choose how to look at things and that’s what decides whether you are sad or happy.

And you may ask how? Whenever you’re sad or suffering in any form whether it’s anger, frustration, depression – question yourself -‘what thoughts am I thinking about myself and others?’ Because everything comes from thought. Thoughts manifest our reality and create our lives because a thought comes through in our words, actions and feelings.

Feelings of anger or resistance may arise within you from what I have just said, that’s not you that’s just the ego that’s inside each and every one of us. Put your ego aside and try it. Go through that feeling of resistance..

For example let’s say you are suffering because you’re feeling like the odd one out in your group of friends, perhaps you feel like you’re not as attractive, you don’t enjoy the same hobbies as them and you feel like they all know what they want in life because they’re smart and you have no idea and feel dumb. Think how those thoughts may be affecting your life. They are full of negativity, putting yourself down, comparing yourself to others and putting pressure on you.

So now you have awareness you would be able to identify these negative thoughts about the situation that makes you unhappy – great! Now you can change that because you have control over your thoughts. To turn it into a positive perspective, recognize that comparison is the thief of joy, there is no point comparing your beauty to another as we are all unique, there’s no one else on the planet like you and that is beautiful in itself. Focusing on what we do like about ourselves creates happy thoughts , whilst for example – perhaps wishing you had darker skin or bigger hips When in reality you are pale and slim, will only cause suffering because that’s not your body, it’s resisting what you are. show love for what you are and embrace it instead of trying to be something you’re not. Embracing our natural beauty is much easier than resisting and trying to change it!

we all have unique paths and different journeys, there is no smart and dumb because we all excel at different things and we’re all lacking in other things, sometimes it takes longer to find out what we excel in but isn’t that exciting, knowing there’s something out there to discover and be great at, you just have to experiment and try new things which is wonderful anyway.

You see everything changes when you change your perspective on things.

you decide whether you bring yourself suffering or joy.

i understand sometimes it’s difficult to see the other way of thinking if you’re too caught up in it, so perhaps ask a friend or write it down. Ask me and il happily try to find a positive outlook on a situation for you.

remember to take time out to think to yourself -what thoughts am I thinking that is creating this suffering or this happiness? Either is good to observe!

the sun is always shining 🙂

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My Daily Affirmation

I thought it would be nice for me to share my daily affirmation with you guys, it’s simple, meaningful and takes 2 minutes if you’re short on time.

I usually like to practise yoga or sun salutations to begin with to focus my energy inwards and quieten the mind (this is optional and not necessary when short on time)

I then bring my hands in prayer position to my forehead with the mantra

– ‘I bring kind thoughts to myself, and others.’

Secondly I move my hands to my lips, still in prayer position

– ‘I bring kind words to myself, and others.’

I then move my arms to the middle of my chest, near the heart

– ‘I bring kind actions to myself and to others.’

Finally finishing with a bow and namaste.

This mini affirmation is great to start the day, it sets intention to be kind to yourself and everyone else through how you think, speak and act. Making sure we are not harshly commenting or judging ourselves, dont call ourselves names and don’t abuse ourselves. The same towards others. I find It stays in my mind all day then too 🙂

I also usually add on a little thought for what I am grateful for, what I would like to achieve from my day or life in general. This is great for focusing your thoughts on positive outcomes and being clear about what you want. Its also great for making you feel great, focusing on what you do have and what you’re grateful for instead of focusing on what you don’t have.

Let me know if you decide to practise it also, and if you feel a difference! Remember, it only takes 2 minutes but it could transform your day, your relationship with yourself and everyone else you encounter.

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De-attachment to illness, focus your energy on healing

When suffering from an illness that requires a lot of attention, many of us tend to do the wrong thing and focus all our energy on it. We let it become a big part of our lives and eventually it begins to take over our lives. We let our illness define us as people and form an attachment if you like. Perhaps this is why it takes so long for people to fully recover and heal?

The mind and body are connected, and what we focus on grows. People who are suffering from an illness or are recovering will be sure of telling you at some point about it because it’s a big part of their life. They make it a part of who they are now. If you become attached to the illness and make it ‘yours,’ then how are you going to let it go and get better?

The ego will not enjoy reading this truth, I know because I have experienced it myself. It is not to say you’re not suffering from an illness, but by making ‘your’ illness a part of who you are then, you are letting it define you as a person, you’re letting your ego latch on to the illness and the story of what it has made you become. I use myself for an example because I have become aware of my own egos doing so.

Having an illness gives us a voice, something we can talk about ‘me and my story’. How much we have suffered, how much we have conquered, how much we have been through… This is all work of the ego. We don’t need to prove ourselves to anyone, we don’t need to attach ourselves to something we have or are going through. We know we have suffered, we know we have the power to conquer – only the ego wants to prove this to people and share ‘my story’.

Some people refuse to believe they can get better because subconsciously staying sick is easier. The ego had a stronger sense of self, it doesn’t want to let go.

It may sound harsh to some, I read it myself and my ego feels hurt and deflated. Yet I sense the truth in what I write.

How will I recover if I constantly define myself, who I am and who I have become from my illness? It is still allowing that illness to live through me; it is still an attachment and proof. Yet, I have no one to prove myself to, and neither do you.

If you are suffering from an illness, try focusing your energy on healing instead of feeling like a victim. Look within yourself for answers, become aware of your thoughts: do you look for sympathy, do you feel self-pity or victimized?

I found myself to think my illness was a safe place, whilst recovering I didn’t have to think about my future, I had an excuse, I was ill. If I’d remained in that mindset, I would probably still be exactly where I was a year ago. Stuck. Scared. You see, once we become attached to our illness, it becomes a safety blanket for us.It means we don’t have to focus on the real problems because we can’t cope with them because we’re sick.

If we focus our energy more towards what we can do instead of what we can’t, that’s the first step. Accepting change and letting go, going into the unknown. Next time you feel yourself about to share your illness or story with someone, refrain and see how it feels. Try dropping your illness, it is not who you are. You’re a strong, special person without it and you have nothing to prove to anyone.

Mindfully let it go and see what happens.

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How not to take things personally

When someone calls us names, criticises us, makes fun of us or disagrees with us – we usually take it personally.

We take it to heart and it causes us suffering. We usually re-play that comment or situation in our minds, constantly reminding ourselves of that suffering which leads to more suffering and depression.

When we take things personally we take it as a personal attack and our ego’s instinct is to personally attack back.

For example – If I was to say your car was green, and you where to say no it’s blue. We would take the disagreement personally and argue because both our ego’s want to be right and the other person to be wrong. The argument in itself is pointless because does the car care what colour we say it is? no. Therefore who are we trying to prove ourselves to = ourselves.

It’s not easy, it actually is quite hard to not take something personally because we believe that it is personal, until we are able to take a step back and look at the bigger picture.

For example, When you may cook someone food and ask for their honest feedback, they may say it was bland. That will probably hurt your feelings and you may think right, they dont like me, i dont care what they think anyway, i dont like them now.

When in reality, you could put yourself in their shoes and see that they gave you what you asked for, honest feedback with good intention – so that you could learn and improve from this mistake. We have no failures in life – only when we don’t learn anything. For example you could beat yourself up and think, my dinner was crap it was a failure, i am a failure – when it actually was a great success because you learned from that experience to add some more flavour. The real failure would’ve been for everyone to pretend it was good, and you would carry on serving the same bland food.

In first instance we will usually take things personally, you might ask ‘how can I not take it personally when I have someone shouting in my face saying I did a bad job, I am useless’ etc. That is a personal attack on you, yes. But you choose whether to take it personally.

Thought a – You can choose to think ‘Maybe I am useless, i hate that person, who do they think they are talking to me like that! I’m going to give them a taste of their own medicine, see how they like it when I tell them they’re ugly and nobody likes them’

Or you can choose thought b – think ‘Wow, they are having a bad day, something is really troubling them. If it wasn’t me, it would’ve been someone else having all that negative emotion thrown at. Maybe I should show them some love and be here if they need someone to talk to’

You see, whenever someone personally attacks you it isn’t because its personal for you, its personal for them. They have some issues they need to work on, they have emotions they aren’t coping with so they need to put them out there and get a reaction. They need to argue, shout, scream, it’s unfortunate that it comes out for you, but if you weren’t there it would’ve been someone else anyway. That’s how it shows its not for you to take personally as it could’ve been anyone.

If you look at the two scenarios you can see how both would have different endings. If you where to think a – you can see how it would lead to more arguing, personally attacking each other, damaging each other and causing no good, only misery and pain.

Where as thought b – you would perhaps begin to feel sorry for this person, you cant imagine what they must be going through to have so much anger and hatred inside them. You would start to feel compassion for them and not take on board their hurtful words so it would not cause you suffering. Maybe you would in fact even give this person a shoulder to cry on and say, what really is the problem here, do you want to talk about it.

The same goes for when we are feeling angry, upset or frustrated and we take it out on someone else. Perhaps then we need to question, what is really bothering me.

These situations crop up in life daily, only when we can recognize them in ourselves and others can we begin to understand that we dont need to take personal attacks, personally. And when we are at the receiving end, maybe we should give our attackers love, care and ask them what’s truly wrong. Instead of automatically attacking them back, which only creates grief.

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Live in the present

Today I was able to connect with a lovely lady from Amsterdam. She was very open and honest with me, although we were merely strangers she cried with me and I comforted her and then listened to what was behind her pain.

That’s what we can create when we are simply real with ourselves and each other. We let people in and they can help us. We let go of the horrible thoughts and negative emotions and get rid of them, we let them flow out of our bodies through words, tears and emotions. 

This lovely lady is on her journey after suffering from depression for years after pushing and plodding on through life doing what was expected of her instead of what she wanted, that would make her happy. After years of doing things to please others, she forgot who she was.. she was living her life as a person other people wanted her to be.

She has overcome many things yet she was sat crying with me. I asked her why.

She felt hurt, hurt that she had wasted years of her life being depressed and feeling so negative about herself and life.

I then questioned her – In 5 years time won’t you look back at this time now and think exactly the same, you’re finding yourself yet you’re still living in the past, beating yourself up about wasting years being depressed. I said, isnt that exactly what you’re doing now, wasting this present moment, beating yourself up, hurting yourself, over the past years that cant be changed?

She looked at me like a light had just gone off – it all made sense.

The present moment is all we have, with it we create our future. So this lady was wasting more time of her life beating herself up over the past that cannot be changed. Its something we all do. beat ourselves up, regretting something that happened in the past, thinking what ifs – but the truth is we’re wasting our lives living in the past. we can only change the future as we create it in the present moment. 

I hope this helps anyone who finds themselves always thinking in the past, wishing it could have been different. 

Sometimes we have to accept things that happened, leave them in the past and let go.

Then we can concentrate on living and doing things in the present moment to create the future we want.

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