#MondayMotivation #Emotional Agility by Susan David #MondayBlogs #Resilience #PersonalGrowth

Over the past months I’ve been reading a great number of motivational and inspiring books on the topic of personal growth. I’ve also been listening to podcasts and watching videos on YouTube. This interest has sprung from a combination of factors as I’ve recently reached a few significant milestones in my life; I retired and turned sixty and I have five grandchildren between the ages of three months and nine years. I am concerned with aging, health, and emotional wellbeing, as well as my children and grandchildren’s future challenges. I have more time to reflect and more things to reflect on, so I’ve found these books, podcasts and videos very helpful, especially in these uncertain and volatile times in which nothing can be taken for granted. I’ll be sharing my thoughts with you on Mondays.

 

This Monday I’m introducing you to Susan David, Harvard Medical School psychologist and author of #1 Wall Street Journal bestselling book, Emotional Agility. I had seen her Ted Talk some time ago, but more recently I noticed her presence on YouTube and watched some of her interviews, especially one with Ed Mylett.

Her definition of Emotional Agility is a critical skillset that helps us make real changes in our lives. It is the key to thriving.

Emotional agility is heavily influenced by Victor Frankl, survivor of a Nazi death camp and author of Man’s Search for Meaning, in which he states:
“Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and freedom.”

As I understand her concept of emotional agility, it refers to embracing the bad as well as the good in life and not pretending everything is always fine.

The search of happiness need not be our only goal, because that makes us unhappy; it’s rather to build strength in our core values and embrace and overcome hardship. We should search for strength within ourselves to look inward and live intentionally by working with, as opposed to against, our own emotions. I love this quote:

Here’s Ed Mylett’s interview in which she expands on her theories.

She does not give us an easy recipe for success and the book ends with a series of recommendations I’ve summarised here.

Her advice is to take ownership of our own development, career, creative spirit, work and connections, and to accept the good with the bad with compassion, courage and curiosity.

We should embrace our evolving identity and accept that that being alive means sometimes getting hurt, failing, being stressed and making mistakes, so we should abandon ideas of perfection and enjoy the process of loving and living.

We should abandon the idea of being fearless, and instead walk directly into our fears, because courage is facing our fears instead of ignoring, or avoiding them.

She reminds us that life’s beauty is inseparable from its fragility. Nothing is permanent because we will all age and eventually die and be separated from our loved ones.

Her two final pieces of advice are to, ‘Learn how to hear the heartbeat of your own Why and remember to ‘dance if you can’.

I found her suggestions valuable but theoretical. But I urge you to listen to her interviews and talks which are much more practical.

By the way, if you want to know your level of emotional agility, take her quiz here.

It’s fun and interesting. I found out among other things that I have a very good sense of what my values are and what is important to me, and that I am mostly able to bring these in a real way to my daily life.

I guess that means my introspection, reading and experience are serving me, so far, but it’s an ongoing process…

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Here’s the link if you’d like to read my other posts on #PersonalGrowth

#MarcosPlaylist ‘Just the Two of Us’ sung by Grover Washington, Bill Withers and Will Smith #Saturdaysingalong #Tanka #Spotify

Welcome back to #MarcosPlaylist and #SaturdaySingalong with another song from the playlist I made for my grandson in August 2020 on Spotify, when he was just a few days old. I chose my favourite songs with a mellow rhythm to sing to him, dance with him cradled in my arms and perhaps send him to sleep, or at least calm him down! This post, tanka and playlist is for Marcos, now sixteen-weeks old.

Today I’m featuring “Just the Two of Us“, a beautiful song with spellbinding lyrics and an unforgettable melody, written by the great Bill Withers, William Salter and Ralph MacDonald. It has been sung by many artists, but the most memorable are Grover Washington Jr. and Bill Withers.

It was first recorded by Grover Washington Jr. on the album, Winelight (1980). An edited version reached number 2 on the US Billboard Hot 100, The song won a Grammy Award for Best R&B Song. 

Bill Withers included the edited version on the 1981 compilation Bill Withers’ Greatest Hits and many subsequent greatest hits collections. The following youtube video has over 33 million views!

Seventeen years after its first recording, Will Smith released a single in 1997 which includes some of the lyrics and his own interpretation, which focuses on the relationship between a father and son. It is performed it in rap.

I’m pleased to know I’m not the only person who thought of their son or grandson when they heard and sang the song!

Will Smith also wrote a children’s book with the same title and lyrics (I’ve checked and it’s out of print).

Today’s #Tanka for Marcos

Just the Two of Us

Spending time with you
Is like a crystal rainbow
Lighting up the sky,
Made of magic raindrops falling,
When the sun comes shining through.
****

Marcos was just a week old in this picture!

#TuesdayBookBlog ‘The Tenant of Wildfell Hall’ by Anne Bronte #BookReview #Victorian @Audible #Audiobooks

I read The Tenant of Wildfell Hall too many years ago, in my teens, when I read all the Bronte sisters’ novels, but I just couldn’t for the life of me remember much about the story. So, as the version I read, narrated by  Alex Jennings and Jenny Agutter was on Audible Included, which means that as a member, I could listen for free, I decided to have a go at the audio version. I wasn’t surprised when I was hooked immediately, I’ll tell you why right away.  

The Tenant of Wildfell Hall Audiobook By Anne Brontë cover art

From the Blurb

Fleeing a disastrous marriage, Helen Huntingdon retreats to the desolate mansion, Wildfell Hall, with her son, Arthur. There, she makes her living as a painter. Finding it difficult to avoid her neighbors, she is soon an object of speculation and gossip. Brontë portrays Helen’s eloquent struggle for independence at a time when society defined a married woman as her husband’s property.

Before I start my review, I’d like to tell you why I love Audible. I know I’ve told you many times already, but it’s even better now! My monthly credit allows me to buy one audiobook of my choice every month, plus there are daily deals and frequent sales and two for the price of one offers, plus there are loads of free listens in the ‘Included’ catalogue, which has new additions every week, and there are podcasts.

And I love to listen to audiobooks while I work out, go for walks, do the cooking, the laundry, the cleaning, clearing out cubboards, and much more! Here’s more information, in case you’re interested. (By the way, I have no commercial affiliation to Audible, I just wanted to share how great I think it is!) 

My Review

The Tenant of Wildfell Hall was easy for me to enjoy. You all know how much I love Victorian Fiction, and as I had completely forgotten about the plot, it was like reading it for the first time. 

It’s a very long, three volume novel, as was the custom of the time. It is over 800 pages and over16 hours of narration time. The Tenant of Wildfell Hall is the second and final novel by Anne Brontë, the youngest of the Bronte sisters. Her first novel was Agnes Grey, which I only vaguely remember, so I’ll probably be reading it again, soon, too.

The Tenant of Wildfell Hall was first published in 1848 under the pseudonym of Acton Bell. Although it was very successsful, it was considered the most shocking of the Brontë’s novels, and I can’t imagine why, because the main female character, Helen, is so very pious that she is at times quite nausiating. In fact, I was often furious with her subservient behaviour, especially in the third part of the novel, but more about that in a moment.

The first volume is narrated by Gilbert Markham (by the way, one of my new favourite romance heroes!), who is telling his friend about how he came to meet the Tenant of Wildfell Hall. He was intrigued and fascinated by Helen Graham, a beautiful and aloof, young widow, who moved into the crumbling, old Hall, with her young son, Arthur. They do eventually (very eventually), become friends, but then she becomes the target of local gossip and it is discovered that she is not a widow, because her husband is alive.

The second volume is narrated by Helen, who gives Gilbert all the letters she wrote from when she met her husband to the moment she left him. Here she shows herself to be a devoted wife, who is in love with an unworthy husband, and although she put up with a lot of psychlogical and some physical abuse, she was finally strong-willed and determined enough to abandon him.

This part of the novel certainly gives us a clear insight to the life of the country gentry and servants of the era, as well as the submission of women, even wealthy women, to their husbands,  fathers and religious notions of women’s piety.  I both pitied and admired Helen at this point, because I thought I was going to read a 19th century, #MeToo novel, and I almost did, but as I read the third part I discovered I was wrong. 

This third part, narrated by Gilbert, describes how she returned to her husband and what happens afterwards, but I won’t spoil it for you by telling you how the ending comes about. I will tell you I was exasperated with both Gilbert and Helen, and her brother, but especially with Helen, for being so obstinate and submissive. So, although I did enjoy the ending, I found it was not the feminist novel I had been expecting to read.   

A modern editor would have reduced the novel by half, even I, lover of Victorian literature, was impatient for something to happen and maddened by the going round in circles of the same events, and long drawn out conversations, which did not move the plot forward a single inch! 

There are two major difficulties in reading this type of Victorian fiction, for the modern reader; in the first place the excessive length, verbosity and repetition of certain parts, and on the other hand, the cultural and emotional distance, with contemporary readers. The later makes it hard to understand or sympathize with their passive acceptance of patriarchy, gender differences and medieval attitude to religion, and the former can become frustrating.  

However, there was one aspects that reminded me of contemporary society; harmful and spiteful gossip and blatant lies, which still occurs today, except nowadays it would spread on social media, instead parlours and at sunday service.   

I would recommend the audio version, because it brings the characters and events to life and makes the tedious parts more enjoyable (and you can speed them up!).

I hope I haven’t put you off, because it really is worth reading. The prose flows smoothly and the vocabulary and expressions are gorgeous, and you will be rewarded with an authentic, first-hand glimpse of what life was really like for women, men and children, in Victorian England. 

Have you read The Tenant of Wildfell Hall? What was your impression?

 

 

 

#MondayMotivation #Maxout your Life by Ed Mylatt #MondayBlogs #Health #PersonalGrowth

Over the past months I’ve been reading a great number of motivational and inspiring books on the topic of personal growth. I’ve also been listening to podcasts and watching videos on YouTube. This interest has sprung from a combination of factors as I’ve recently reached a few significant milestones in my life; I retired and turned sixty and I have five grandchildren between the ages of three months and nine years. I am concerned with aging, health, and emotional wellbeing, as well as my children and grandchildren’s future challenges. I have more time to reflect and more things to reflect on, so I’ve found these books, podcasts and videos very helpful, especially in these uncertain and volatile times in which nothing can be taken for granted. I’ll be sharing my thoughts with you on Mondays.

This Monday I’m introducing you to Ed Mylett, Life strategist, entrepreneur, fitness enthusiast, motivational speaker and author of #Maxout Your Life.

I came across his YouTube channel, because he regularly interviews other motivational speakers ranging from neuroscientists to influencers and authors, on topics such as ageing, fitness and mental health, as well as giving his own short, motivational tips on how to reach your goals by focusing, creating positive thoughts and believing in yourself.

Here’s his recent interview with Susan David, psychologist at Harvard Medical School and author  of Emotional Agility: Get Unstuck, Embrace Change and Thrive in Work and Life.

He insists that ‘Others don’t control you. Don’t let them be your dream killers,” and encourages us to empower ourselves and hold ourselves responsible for our achievenents, which are temporary gains, and losses, which are opportunities for improvement. ‘You are not an extra in your life, you’re the main character, you write the script.’ is another of his quotes. Building self-confidence is one of his main themes.

He’s also keen to convince us that physical fitness is as important as mental focus, so there’s a lot of advice on creating positive habits related to exercise and diet, and morning and evening routines.

#Maxout Your Life Audiobook By Ed Mylett cover art

I listened to his book, #Maxout Your Life on Audible, which has the added bonus of being narrated by the author himself. It is a tiny gem of a book which presents all his advice and philosophy in a concise nutshell. It did leave me wanting more, but on the other hand, I was grateful that every word was motivational worth listening to.

Here’s one of his recent Twitter posts.

He is rather forceful at times, compared to speakers like Marisa Peer or Deepak Chopra, who have previously been featured on my blog, but now and again it’s a good idea to listen to someone who ‘shakes some sense (or good ideas) into you’!

Here’s the link if you’d like to read my other posts on #PersonalGrowth

#MarcosPlaylist ‘Hushabye Mountain’ sung by Pink Martini “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang” Dick van Dyke #Saturdaysingalong #Tanka #Spotify

Welcome back to #MarcosPlaylist and #SaturdaySingalong with another song from the playlist I made for my grandson in August 2020 on Spotify, when he was just a few days old. I chose my favourite songs with a mellow rhythm to sing to him, dance with him cradled in my arms and perhaps send him to sleep, or at least calm him down! This post, tanka and playlist is for Marcos, now fifteen-weeks old.

Today I’m featuring a real lullaby, a song from my favourite children’s film, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, which I hope to watch with Marcos, in a few years time.

The song is called Hushabye Mountain. It was written by Robert and Richard Sherman for the motion picture Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. Caractacus Potts played by the great Dick Van Dyke sings the song to his children.

We had the soundtrack album at home and I used to play it all the time. I danced around the house singing all the songs well into my teens!

I’ve sung it to all my grandchildren as I cradled them to sleep, and they’ve all loved it and fallen asleep to it, so it’s still a very special song for me, from a very special film, probably because my father was mostly absent in my childhood, and I fell in love with the wonderful, single-parent father in this film.

Here’s the scene from the film.

The version I have on Spotify is by a musical group I had never heard of, before I found the song there, called Pink Martini, a band formed in 1994 by pianist Thomas Lauderdale in Portland, Oregon. Pink Martini is like a little orchestra with two lead vocalists, playing different styles, including classical, traditional and pop. Here’s their version of the song on spotify:

#Tanka Hushabye Mountain

A gentle breeze blows

Across Lullaby Bay, to

Hushabye Mountain,

Sailing your worries away,

Close your eyes, it’s time to sleep.

****

Marcos was just a week old in this picture!

 

#TuesdayBookBlog ‘Call Me Maybe’ by Cara Bastone #BookReview #Romance @Audible #Audiobooks

Today I’m reviewing an Audiobook, which is not available in print, at least not at this time, and quite honestly, it’s such a perfect audiobook that I can’t imagine ever wanting to read in print or kindle.

Call Me Maybe Audiobook By Cara Bastone cover art 

From the Blurb

Can a customer service call really lead to love at first talk?

True love is on the line in this charming, laugh-out-loud rom-com—created specifically for the audio format!

Paint your toes. Pick up the wrong coffee and bagel order. Drive from Brooklyn to Jersey in traffic so slow you want to tear your hair out. It’s amazing all the useless things I can accomplish while on hold for three hours with customer service.

My shiny new website is glitching, and my inner rage-monster is ready to scorch some earth… when he finally picks up. Not the robot voice I expected but a real live human named Cal. He’s surprisingly helpful and really knows his stuff, even if he’s a little awkward…. in an adorable way.

And suddenly I’m flirting with him? And I think he’s flirting back.
And suddenly it’s been hours, and we’re still on the phone talking and ordering each other takeout while he trouble shoots my website.

And suddenly we’re exchanging numbers and sending texts and DMs every day, leaving voice mails (who even does that anymore?!).

And suddenly I’m wondering if it’s possible for two people fall in love at first talk.

****

Before I start my review, I’d like to tell you why I love Audible. I know I’ve told you many times already, but it’s even better now! My monthly credit allows me to buy one audiobook of my choice every month, plus there are daily deals and frequent sales and two for the price of one offers, plus there are loads of free listens in the ‘Included’ catalogue, which has new additions every week, and there are podcasts.

And I love to listen to audiobooks while I work out, go for walks, do the cooking, the laundry, the cleaning, clearing out cubboards, and much more! Here’s more information, in case you’re interested. (By the way, I have no commercial affiliation to Audible, I just wanted to share how great I think it is!) 

Call me Maybe is on the free Included catalogue for members. 

My Review

What can I say? I was hooked from the first line.

I was about to start my weekend chores and I thought I’d listen to some light romance, believe me, it makes ironing and peeling potatoes, so much more motivating!

I didn’t know what to expect, but it didn’t matter, because it was free and I could leave it and start another book if I didn’t like it, but of course, I didn’t stop listening until the end.

I’m a fast audioreader, because I put the speed on 150 usually, so I got through the 6 hours in a few hours less. My kitchen and whole house were spotless by the time I finished reading! 

It was a hilarious, fun, sweet, uplifting romance between a shy, tech nerd and a fun-loving extrovert, who do not meet until the very end of the audiobook. There is no sex, phone or otherwise, but there is a lot of chemistry and magic between Cal and Vera. 

The characters are engaging, believable and both so unique and so likeable that I loved getting to know them. This is because the dialogue was well written, but that’s only 50% of an audiobook, the other 50% is due to the narrators who were absolutely perfect.

There was a small plot twist towards the end, which wasn’t hard to see coming, but it made the end even sweeter.

I love discovering new authors and I’m glad I got to know Cara Bastone. I’ll probably be reading or listening to some of her other books, such as Just a Hearbeat Away in the future (my TBR pile is endless and growing every day!).

Just a Heartbeat Away (Forever Yours Book 1) by [Cara Bastone]

(I couldn’t resist the temptation, so I started Just a Heartbeat Away last night, on my kindle. It’s such a sweet romance, with such endearing main characters, but more about that another day!)

Do you listen to audiobooks? Which was the last one you listened to? And if you don’t, I think you really should!

 

 

 

#MondayMotivation ‘I am enough: Mark your mirror and change your life’ by Marisa Peer #MondayBlogs #Health #PersonalGrowth

Over the past months I’ve been reading a great number of motivational and inspiring books on the topic of personal growth. I’ve also been listening to podcasts and watching videos on YouTube. This interest has sprung from a combination of factors as I’ve recently reached a few significant milestones in my life; I retired and turned sixty and I have five grandchildren between the ages of three months and nine years. I am concerned with aging, health, and emotional wellbeing, as well as my children and grandchildren’s future challenges. I have more time to reflect and more things to reflect on, so I’ve found these books, podcasts and videos very helpful, especially in these uncertain and volatile times in which nothing can be taken for granted. I’ll be sharing my thoughts with you on Mondays.

This Monday I’m really excited about introducing you to inspirational Marisa Peer, nutritionist, therapist and creator of RTT (Rapid Transformation Therapy) which has helped change and improve lives. She has written books on dieting and pregnancy, but the book I’m going to tell you about today is I am enough: Mark your mirror and change your life, a complete manual of all her thoughts and proposals for a better, healthier and happier lifestyle.

I’ve been reading and listening to Marisa for a few years now, because she has a lot of useful advice and experience which she conveys in a calm and pleasant voice. The strategies she proposes are logical, clear and achievable. I already do many of the things she suggests, but hearing and reading about it also reinforces the power we all have to take control of our thoughts and actions.

I Am Enough: Mark Your Mirror And Change Your Life by [Marisa Peer]

She has a great metaphor for the struggle between the conscious and the subconscious mind, in which the subconscious mind is a wild horse and the conscious mind is its trainer, so when the horse loses control the trainer has to find ways to rein him in and work for us instead of against us. Marisa helps us find ways to do just that.

One of her most famous and useful suggestions is also the title of the book, the affirmation ‘I am enough’, because she considers that the root of all our troubles lies in the negative blocks which lead to our sense of failure, and she proposes specific ways to overcome these negative, preconcieved and damaging ideas and turn them into positive affirmations which have the power to change our lives.

how to control your thoughts

This is a tiny gem of a book which presents all her personal development theories in a clear and concise nutshell.

I first found out about Marisa was through her Tedx Talk at Kings College London, Reach beyond your limits by training your mind.

She also has a second TedxTalk How to avoid rejection and get connection. 

As always, I searched for her on YouTube to see and hear her recent talks and I found a wealth of videos on her youtube channel including topics such as self-hipnosis, meditation and tips and strategies to improve our physical and mental wellbeing, and motivation.

This is one of her latest interviews, where she explains her philosophy to achieve a happier, healthier lifestyle and offers clear and straightforward proposals to make our lives better.

Watch Marisa’s videos on Youtube

Follow Marisa’s Blog

Amazon US author page

Amazon UK author page

#SundayFunday ‘Orange Cake’ #SundayWalks

This morning I went out for a walk. It was a lovely sunny mrning, un spite of being the 8th of November, because I’m fortunate enough to live in the south of Spain.

The trees are full of oranges, low enough to pick! However, most of them are the bitter ones for making the famous ‘Seville Orange Marmalade’.

Yesterday, one of my best friends, Gabriela, gave some sweet oranges from her garden.

And this afternoon I made an orange cake for tea! It’s a really simple and delicious recipe which I’d like to share with you.

These are the ingredients: 3 eggs, one whole, Spanish orange, 70ml of olive oil, 100gms of sugar, 250 gms self raising flour and a pinch of salt. That’s it!

First put the eggs, oil, sugar and orange (washed, seeded and roughly cut) in a blender.

And this is what happens!

Then put the mixture into a bowl and gradually add the flour.

Until it’s all combined and you put the mixture into a greased tin.

40 minutes later at 180° this is what you get!

A delicious orange cake. I wish you could smell it. It’s like having an orange tree in the house!

Now the best part. Make a cup of tea or coffee and share it with someone you love or just eat it yourself!

Go ahead, spoil yourself it’s quick, easy, healthy and delicious. And you don’t have to eat it all on one day. It’s even more delicious tomorrow and the day after.