dalai lama quotesNo one can argue with the Dalai Lama when it comes to words of wisdom. I’ve always admired him for the fact that he radiates so much happiness, compassion and tolerance. His quotes convey a mixture of incredible insight, sound life advice and also a little humour. I love his ability to convey his message so it makes sense to people all over he world no matter what culture or traditions they may hold. So I’ve hand picked 20 Dalai Lama quotes that have inspired me to think differently about life.

 

“Give the ones you love wings to fly, roots to come back, and reasons to stay.”

 

“Once a year go someplace you’ve never been before.”

 

“Happiness is not something ready-made. It comes from your own actions.”

 

“If you think you are too small to make a diference, try sleeping with a mosquito in the room.”

 

“Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible.”

 

“There are only two days in the year when nothing can be done. One is called yesterday and the other is called tomorrow, so today is the right day to love, believe, do and mostly live.”

 

“Remember that sometimes not getting what you want, is a wonderful stroke of luck.”

 

“Do not let the behaviour of others, destroy your inner peace.”

 

“If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion.”

 

“Every day think as you wake up, today I am fortunate to be alive, I have a precious human life, I am not going to waste it.”

 

“The planet does not need more successful people. The planet needs more peacemakers, healers, restorers, storytellers and lovers of all kinds.”

 

“No material object, however beautiful, can make us feel loved.”

 

“It is more useful to be aware of a single shortcoming in ourselves, than it is to be aware of a thousand in somebody else.”

 

“When you think everything is someone elses fault then you will suffer. When you realise that everything springs from yourself, you will learn both peace and joy.”

 

“Our prime purpose in this life is to help others. And if you can’t help them, a least don’t hurt them.”

 

“When you talk you are only repeating what you already know. But if you listen, you may learn something new.”

 

“If it can be solved, there’s no need to worry, and if it can’t be solved, worry is of no use.”

 

“When we feel love and kindness toward others, it not only makes others feel loved and cared for, but it helps us also to develop inner happiness and peace.”

 

“Follow the 3 R’s. Respect for self, respect for others and responsibility for all your actions.”

 

“People take different roads seeking fulfilment and happiness, just because they’re not on your road, doesn’t mean they’ve gotten lost.”

 

And as a bonus take a look at the quote to the right in the sidebar! It’s there because it’s my favourite quote of all time. It’s there as a reminder to me and everyone that visits my blog of our purpose in life.

What’s your favourite Dalai Lama quote? Feel free to leave me a comment with a quote of your own if I haven’t listed it here.

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life, lately march 2016I think it’s nice to find out about the person behind the words and I love to connect with you lovely people who read my blog! So I thought I’d do a little catch up with what I’ve been watching, feeling, planning, dreaming and grateful for lately. Please leave me a comment as I’d love to hear what you’ve been up to lately.

Listening

One of my favourite writers Shawn Fink of the Abundant Mama Project has a series of podcasts called AMPlify Your Life. She describes them as ‘a podcast offering inspiration for modern women seeking calm wisdom & simple clarity in this crazy, overwhelming world of distractions, raising children and being human’. I’m finding them really inspiring and full of great tips on being an abundant mama.

Watching

A new series of  one of my favourite shows has just started  – Masterchef. I had a lovely surprise the other night when I saw it coming on as I didn’t even know there was a new series. There are some fantastic contestants so far and I just love seeing what they’re going to cook… and I can’t help laughing at some of them whose hands shake terribly with nerves!

Making

I’ve been decorating Easter eggs with the kids. My son had an egg decorating competition at school and my daughter wanted to do one too so we had fun decorating them and sticking pompoms on them! You can see the results on my Instagram.

Loving

All the little moments of joy. Since my realisation that life is all about the little moments of joy, I’ve been noticing and appreciating each one more and more. I’m no longer striving for constant happiness  because I know the moments of joy as what make us truly happy.

Reading

May Cause Miracles by Gabrielle Bernstein is not your average self-help book . It’s a 6 week course with different exercises, affirmations and meditations to do every day. It’s all about turning fear into love which if I’m honest I’m finding pretty challenging (I find it hard to acknowledge my fears!) I’m only on day 8 but I’m feeling good about the process of becomng aware of and challenging my fears. In between doing this I’ve just finished The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho. It’s an easy read with a powerful and thought provoking message of following our dreams and treating life as a big adventure.

When you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.

Eating

Easter eggs of course! Yes I’m a complete chocaholic but even I admit I’ve eaten an obscene about of chocolate over the past few days. I only got one Easter egg but my daughter is a very good sharer and likes to literally shove chocolate in my mouth!

Planning

It’s the Easter holidays and I’m having the second week off work with my son and daughter. I’m also looking after my nieces for couple of days so I’m planning a few fun days out and adventures that we can have.

Believing

I’m trying hard to believe in myself. My guiding word for 2016 is ‘believe’ but recently I’ve been struggling wth my self-belief and focussing too much on the ‘what ifs’ which I know is not where I want to be. I need to keep my word in mind and remember the reasons I chose it as my guiding word.

Dreaming

I’ve finally got round to booking our holiday and I’m counting down the weeks. We’re going to a lovely little town in North Wales and are staying right by the sea.  It’s really important for me to get away and a change of scenery always seems to recharge my energy levels. I love having something to look forward to and every time I think about it I feel excited!

Grateful

For my amazing boyfriend. He’s the most kind, caring, funniest big-hearted person and I’m so blessed to have him in my life.

How’s your life been lately? I’d love to hear what you’ve been up to.

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moments of joyA few days ago I had what you could call an ‘A-HA!’ moment. It was a moment of joy that made my heart swell but also brought a very important realisation.

Every morning when I take my five year old to school, she likes me to peep through her classroom window and wave at her when I’m leaving. She usually beams at me and waves back or blows a kiss. The other morning though, when I peeped through the window, she’d gone to talk to her best friend. She was showing her friend her Easter bonnet that she’d made and was looking very proud of herself. In that moment I felt like my heart was going to burst with love and joy.

Obviously ths wasn’t my first moment of joy all, but this was the first time I thought ‘This is what it’s all about… it’s not about being happy all the time, it’s about all the little moments of pure joy that make us truly happy.’

On my journey of self-development, I’ve been quite focussed on finding peace and happiness. In my mind I had a picture of me in the future, in my kitchen going about my everyday life, with a big smile of happiness on my face. I think I assumed that at some point in my future I’d have ‘developed myself’ enough that I would feel happy all the time!

The thing is though, life’s not like that. There are always ups and downs. There are the stressful times, the mundane moments, the tasks we have to do but really don’t want to (that’ll be ironing for me!) We need to feel and embrace all the emotions, not just the good ones. What I’m trying to say is don’t ignore those negative emotions, acknowledge them, but keep in mind that they will pass and a moment of joy will always be round the corner.

I now know that all the self-development books and articles I read, all the e-courses I’ve taken, all the gratitude lists I’ve written and all I’ve learned about mindfulness has guided me to to the realisation that it’s all about moments of joy.

moments of joy

Where are your moments of joy?

Take a minute to think of some recent moments of joy. If you’re not feeling great or if you feel life is passing you by in blur, it might take a bit of digging but I bet you can find a few joyful moments. Your morning coffee, a kiss on the cheek from a child, reading a few pages of your favourite book, receiving a funny text that made you laugh, seeing the blossom appearing on the trees. Sometimes it’s hard to see those moments of joy so here are a couple of things we can do to make us more aware and focussed on them.

Be present

Dwelling on the past or constantly worrying about the future stops us from being present in the here and now. The thing about not living in the moment is that we get stuck in the mindset that something better is round the corner and we’ll never feel happy until [insert major life event] happens. Instead be grateful for our life as it is right now. Be mindful of the present moment and we’ll never miss a moment of joy.

Write it down

For the next week, keep a notebook with you and write down any moment of joy you experience, no matter how small. Doing this simple exercise will increase our awareness of all those little joyful moments and help us to realise that there are actually lots of them in your life. The more we are aware of them, the more they happen.

I’m going to continue trying my hardest to recognise the joy in each day. Simple moments like tickling my son and daughter, helping them with their homework, having cuddles with my kttten and laughing uncontrolably with my boyfriend all add up to such joy and happiness. We deserve these moments of joy in our life every day. Don’t let them pass us by.  All we need to do is look for them and they’ll be there.

I’d love to hear what made your day a little brighter and your little moments of joy.

mments of joy
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slow living: what the heck is it all about?A couple of years ago I discovered two blogs that totally changed my way I live my life: Slow Your Home and  Hands Free Mama. Both blogs have a slightly different take on the slow movement but essentially the same message…

Slow your life and live more simply = a life filled with more peace and love.

We’ve been conditioned by society and the media to think that the busier we are, the better our lives are. We’re encouraged to fill our diaries to the brim, juggle priorities, have a massive to-do list, achieve more and consume more. I think it’s driven by our fear of failure and our constant urge to be ‘good enough’. I’ve seen it being referrred to as ‘The Glorification of Busyness’ which I think is a brilliant way to describe modern day life.

The problem is when we’re trying to have it all and do it all, we have little time to rest, recharge our batteries, look after ourselves, be present with our loved ones and appreciate life. Being busy and putting too much on our plates leads to stress, exhaustion, dissatisfaction and burn out.

Before I had kids I was pretty good at living a slow(ish) life. I had a 9-5 job which I could leave behind when I walked out of the door, plenty of free time for doing whatever I pleased and lots of lazy Sundays. When I had my son then my daughter and it all changed! I had a to-do list as long as my arm, a diary packed with the likes of  baby massage, toddler groups, playdates and playgyms. Plus the usual errands and chores to fit in between. I sometimes felt like my head was going to explode.

I said yes to everything I was invited to, feeling like I had to keep up with all the other mums while trying to make it look like I had my shit together (and feeling inferior because they had bigger houses therefore better lives than me… but that’s a whole other post!) I was mentally exhausted by it all and often ended up feeling stressed, rushing, shouting at the kids and feeling like I wasn’t good enough.

I kind of wish I knew then what I know now. I would have told myself to SLOW THE HECK DOWN! I would have slowed everything down, simplified our life, torn up my to-do list and spent more time being present with my babies.

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We all have the same 24 hours in a day so wouldn’t you rather spend those hours feeling calm, peaceful and grateful for what you already have in life, than feeling rushed, like you have to do it all and like there aren’t enough hours in the day?

When we slow things down and do less, we:

Make more time for meaningful experiences

Are truly present to each part of our day and can enjoy each moment more

Create time to stop, rest and breathe

Realise what’s important and how we want to live

Communicate and interact with others in a more meaningful and authentic way

Feel more calm and peace in all aspects of our day

Feel more connected with our loved ones and share more experiences together

Give ourselves the opportunity to relish and enjoy each day

If slow living sounds like something you’d like to bring into your life, here are a few things you can do to live a slower, more meaningful life.

1 / Just say no

It’s ok to say no to things. Realise that every time you say yes to something you are saying no to something else. The more we say no to things, the more time we have to do the things that are really important and meaningful to us. It can be hard as a parent when our kids want to do all the after school activities, swimming or dance lessons, whatever it may be, but it’s important to limit these for their sake as well as ours. The most joyful moments for me are when I’m at home with my son and daughter, reading, doing craft activities, baking, playing outside… and their ‘happiness journals’ say thats what makes them happy too.

2 / Don’t compare yourself to others

One of my favourite quotes is ‘Comparison is the thief of joy’. Social media is hugely to blame for this. We’re constantly seeing perfectly styled photos of people’s seemingly perfect lives. It’s a natural reaction to compare ourselves and assume we’re lacking somewhere. Which then leads us to fill our lives with more and more activities (and possessions) constantly striving for a life as wonderful as Miss Perfect. The thing is nobody’s life is perfect. All those photos on Instagram might look amazing but we know nothing of what goes on behind the scenes. When we stop comparing ourselves to others and striving for so-called perfection, we open ourselves up to being more grateful for what we do have. We give ourselves more time to look for happiness in the little everyday moments.

3 / Avoid multi-tasking

Instead of doing many things at half-effort, concentrate on your most important tasks… one at a time. It’s been proven that multi-tasking actually makes us less productive and more stressed. Multi-tasking causes more mistakes and takes us more time.  It might be a report you need to write for work, vaccuming the bedrooms or cooking a family meal, whatever it is be present and focus solely on that task without being distracted by emails, texts or looking on Pinterest! When we focus on one thing at a time, we give it our full attention and complete it faster… giving us more time for living that slower pace of life.

4 / Scrap the to-do list

To-do lists have long been considered a tool for helping us to keep track of important tasks and increasing productivity, but do they really serve this purpose? Some swear by them but they just leave me feeling overwhelmed and stressed. To-do lists make us focus on what we haven’t achieved, we tick things off then forget about them and continue stressing about the list of things still on there which gets longer by the hour. As a recovering control freak, scrapping my to-do list was a huge step but I can honestly say I don’t miss it at all. I really don’t need a list of every tiny little thing I need to do reminding me of what I haven’t achieved. Now I stay organised by putting the important thngs in my phone calendar and also my kitchen calendar. Do you know what? I sometimes forget things but so what!! It’s not the end of the world.!

5 / Disconnect

Hands up if you feel that you spend too much time on a screen of some sort. Yep me too! I’m not the greatest at disconnecting but I’m working on it and I’m slowly cutting down the time I spend on my phone. I used to spend far too much time of Facebook but realised it was affecting my relationships with my nearest and dearest. So I uninstalled the app and limited myself to checking in once a day. Now I hardly go on Facebook, usually only a couple of times a week. Disconnecting from screens is an essential part of slow living. Now I have more time to focus on the things that light me up, like spending quality time with my loved ones. I have time to rest and feel more calm and peace. Doesn’t that sound fantastic?!

Make the decision now to slow down, simplify life and make a little breathing space.

What are you going to do to live a slower life?

slow lving

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how to set daily intentionsIntentions are goals that help guide us through the day or something we want to accomplish. We set and reaffirm our intentions to keep us moving in the direction we truly mean to go. If you read my post about my simple 5 step morning ritual, you’ll have seen that I like to set 3 daily intentions. I thought I’d share a bit more about how I choose my intentions each day and my super easy way of setting them.

The process I use for setting my intentions has evolved over the past year. When I first started journalling last year, I used the Daily Greatness Journal. It’s a fantastic journal if you’re looking for something pretty structured as it’s split into two parts with certain sections to complete each day. First you complete one part in the morning like list things you’re grateful for, set your inspired actions, write some affirmations. Then complete the second part at the end of the day where you answer questions like what has challenged you? what was interesting about today? The ‘inspired actions’ are just another name for daily intentions so I got used to choosing 3 things to focus each day. After about 6 months I wanted something more flexible so I switched to a notebook journal. I wanted to continue setting my daily intentions plus I also write out my daily mantra and 3 things I’m grateful for.

How I set my daily intentions

Ok let’s look at how I choose my daily intentions. After my 5 minute morning meditation and writing my gratitude list, I start by thinking of how I’d like to feel throughout the coming day. For me it’s usually ‘calm’ or ‘peaceful’ but just choose any feeling you wish for the day. With the feeling in mind, now choose your intentions. You can randomly pick 1 – 3 things to focus on or accomplish that day but I like to choose 3 intentions for 3 different areas of my life so I’m not focussing on just one area that day. You’ll get the idea when you read on!

1 Soul intention

This intention is about nourishing your mind and soul, it’s anything that will help you shine brighter and be a better version of you. So think of things like reading positive affirmations, reading a particular self help book or being more mindful. You could also choose to focus on a habit you’re trying to break or improve, like be a better listener, limit your screen time or be a calmer driver. For this intention I might also choose something like ‘choose love in everything I do’ or ‘live in the present moment’.

2 Self-care intention

We know how super important it is to look after ourselves and a little bit of self-care each day is a great way of keeping our energy and happiness levels topped up. Choose something that will make you feel calm and centred, a little treat just for you. You could choose something like reading a book you love, have a bubble bath, go for a run/walk/do yoga. If you’re stuck for self care ideas have a look at my post ‘25 Ways to Practice Self-Care‘.

3 Practical intention

This is something like a household task that you want to complete that day, eg hoovering, paying a bill, washing the car or grocery shopping. As we go through our day, we notice jobs that need doing and it’s easy to get overwhelmed by a huge to-do list. I personally don’t do to-do lists (they stress me out!) but I know lots of people love them. I’m not a fan of household chores either but I’m afraid some things just have to be done! So I just pick one task then I don’t feel overwhelmed by a great big list and I enjoy feeling the achievement of getting something done. If there’s anything else it can wait for another day!

Of course you can be as flexible as you want – if you just feel like doing one intention that day, just do one. Consistency is the key, after time it will become habitual and a natural part of your morning ritual. Don’t forget to write them in your journal to affirm your intentions. If you like, you could put a reminder of your daily intentions in your phone and set an alarm to go off a couple of times during the day to re-focus you.

At the end of the day, don’t beat yourself up if you don’t ‘complete’ all of your intentions. I have lots of days when I don’t do them all or none at all! It’s no big deal, I just move on to the next day, after all it’s a new start and a chance to have another go at them or choose a whole new set of intentions. And if you do well with your intentions, feel free to celebrate them and give yourself a big high five!

Do you set daily intentions? How do you choose them each day?

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My monthly goals marchI’m all about taking baby steps when it comes to making changes and working on my self improvement. I really believe that even the tiniest changes add up to something big when you look at the overall picture. Plus they say that practicing something new for 30 days creates a lasting habit right?! For about a year I’ve been setting myself small monthly goals, nothing major, just little changes that I want to work towards. I’m the queen of procrastination so to make me accountable I thought I’d share my monthly goals with you…

1. Work on my Life Coaching and Cognitive Behaviour Therapy courses. I signed up for these two home-study courses last September but haven’t got very far with my studying yet. I want to complete them both this year so really need to get a move on and get some assessments finished.

2. Spend less time on my mobile and more time focussing on my loved ones. I’m the first to admit I spend too much time on my mobile. I read a lot of articles and blogs about self improvement and play games too. I’m going to set myself a target of only going on my phone between 5.30-6.30pm every day and also no phone/tablet/laptop after 9.30pm.

3. Meditate more. I’ve kind of got out of the habit the past few months and haven’t been very consistant. I really find meditation so beneficial for lowering my stress levels and raising my calmness levels so I need to get back to being consistant and meditate for 20 minutes every. single. day!

I’ll do a little update next month on how I’ve done with my goals.

Do you set yourself monthly goals? I’d love to hear your goals for the month?

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