#Lockdown ‘Every cloud has a Silver Lining’ #MondayMotivation #MondayBlogs

I live in Spain and we’ve been on Lockdown for ten days now due to the Covid-19 virus and I haven’t written a single post, until today.

I’m not going to talk about facts and figures, prevention, medicine or science, because I’m not an expert on any of those major aspects and there’s plenty of reliable information online.

I’m going to write about my personal reflections, feelings and how my life is being affected by the lockdown. This means owning both the positive as well as the negative experiences derived from imposed isolation, because every cloud has a silver lining.

First I’m going to tell you about the clouds, or what I miss:

 

1) Hugging my children and grandchildren. 

I have four wonderful grandchildren (ages 3,5,6, and 9, and a fifth on the way!) I love playing board games, ping pong, telling stories, going to parks and fun fairs, or just chatting with them. 

My husband and my daughter walking in the countryside, near where I live.

2) My daily walks.

My husband and I have retired recently and we enjoy long (2-3 hour) daily walks. We choose different parts of the town and countryside, have a coffee or a beer on the way there or back, depending on the time. We chat, take photos, pop in to museums or exhibitions, wherever takes our fancy. No walks allowed now.

I took this picture of some of my oldest friends last year at a local flower festival ‘Flora’

3) Going out with friends.

I enjoy going out with friends. We go to the movies, to a coffee shop, window shopping, real shopping, or out for drinks and tapas. No going out with friends.

 

Last year we popped over to Bari, on a bargain Ryanair flight, just for the fun of it!

4) Impromptu outings

We love getting in the car and popping over to Malaga (an hour and a half drive) to walk along the seafront, or to meet up with friends and family, or to any other city for a day trip, weekend at home or abroad.

60th Birthday Party at home with some of my best friends!

5) Receiving guests

I love cooking and having guests, especially when the weather’s nice and we can eat in the garden. On other occasions, friends come over for tea or coffee, some home-cooked cake and a chat. 

Secondly, this is my silver lining, or what I can appreciate about this situation.

1) More time to write. 

I’ve just finished and sent the umpteenth draft of my latest novel to my editor, Alison Williams. I managed, to block out the lockout and get on with it with no one to distract me. I plan to continue with other unfinished novels and literary projects, too.

2) More time to read

My TBR pile is slightly smaller! At the moment I’m reading and enjoying When We Believed in Mermaids by Barbara O’Neal, on my kindle and listening to L J Ross’s Alexander Gregory Thriller, Impostor, its Book 1 in the series (I read Book 1 first by mistake!). She’s a wonderful author as I learned when I read her DCI Ryan Mysteries.

The Alexander Gregory Thrillers

3) Watching series I never have time for.

I’m not much of a TV viewer, but I was able to binge watch over a couple of days, eight episodes of The Stranger, by Harlan Coben staring Richard Armitage.

4) Phoning + texting friends and family 

I’ve spent the last few days contacting friends and family all over the world, by phone, text and email, making sure they’re all OK. I haven’t finished yet, there are still a few more to contact.

With my three best friends from London University, celebrating our 60th birthday, last July, back on our College site, now luxury residential homes.

5) A time for introversion and reflection.

I’ve never been faced with so much time for myself or so much worry about family, friends and myself. Facing one’s own vulnerability in such an unpredictable world is daunting. Facing our finite and limited time on earth and the possibility of illness, or even death in complete isolation was not how I expected to spend 2020.

Momento Mori is not welcome, but it’s a necessary reminder that my life is brief and finite and every moment is precious.

Stay safe, virtual hugs and love to you all.

#MondayBlogs My 11 Positive Affirmations #MondayMotivation

I’ve recently experienced an important milestone in my life, my retirement, after 38 years a teacher. In the months leading up to my retirement, and beyond, I’ve had a lot of time, and desire, to think about my life so far, goals achieved, goals to be achieved, done lists, to do lists, etc.

I’ve also been listening to a lot of Ted Talks and reading motivational books, both of which I’ll be gradually reviewing and discussing in future blog posts.

There’s plenty of information on the Internet regarding affirmations. This post is about my daily affirmations and what they mean to me and do for me. I hope they’ll be useful for you, too.

Why do we need positive affirmations?

It’s simple, we need to counteract negativity, which is harmful and far too easy to get stuck in. If you want to know more about how negativity works and how to avoid it, listen to Alison Ledgerwood’s Ted Talk, which has been watched by almost nine million people on the Ted website and Youtube.

We need to promote optimistic thoughts and counteract the power of negativity with positive affirmations.

What are positive affirmations?

Well, in spite of being very simple, the process is complex, because you have to be convinced it’s worth investing in them, which is a personal and non-transferable procedure each one of us has to go through themselves. However I hope my affirmations will help you think about your own.

This Ted Talk by Marisa Peer was an eye opener for me about the power of positive affirmations. Here’s another one of her talks about affirmations.

My 11 Daily Affirmations

  1. I am enough
  2. I am complete
  3. I am safe
  4. I am ageless
  5. I am limitless
  6. I am loved
  7. I am loving
  8. I am loveable
  9. I am wise
  10. I am grateful
  11. I am a writer

These affirmations are like the tip of an iceberg. Each three words have a much deeper meaning and conjure up a complex and life-changing thought processes.

As an example, I’ll explain what each affirmation means to me, so when I say it, I’m encompassing a much wider meaning in just three words.

  1. I am enough. This is the first one, and in fact, I believe it’s the only one you need, literally it’s enough, because you are enough. Try saying this sentence changing the emphasis in each word: I am enough, you and just you, not anyone else. I AM enough, because you consciously accept your responsibility in the action. I am ENOUGH, you have the power to decide what you want to be and when it’s enough, so You. Are. Enough.
  2. I am complete. This one is complementary to the previous one, I am enough and I am complete as I am. I am the sum of my physical, emotional and intellectual being, my likes, loves, achievements, hopes, knowledge, every day of my life, all of it is part of me, I’m complete in myself, because I’m the sum of everyone I’ve loved and will love, of everything I’ve done and will do, etc. I am a whole person, as I am.
  3. I am safe. I cover my basic needs every day, I have a job, a roof over my head, food on my plate, clothes, etc. I need not fear I’ll lose that safety, because I will lose everything at the end of my life. We all know life is transitory, but we can’t live in constant fear of losing what we have. I choose to feel safe at this moment.
  4. I am ageless. Age is just a number, it only means what we want it to mean. I’m 60 and I can do the same things I did when I was 50. I’m aware that not everyone can say the same, there may be some things we can’t do now and could do ten years ago, but are those things solely due to age? I bet most of them aren’t directly age related. People die, become ill, lose a limb, have accidents, fall in love, make friends, go to the gym, etc. at every age, so what’s all the fuss about age? Let’s think about the positive aspects of the passing of years, embrace the stage of life you’re at. I’m now helping to bring up grandchildren instead of my own children, it’s not the same and neither am I, but my ability as a grandmother is linked to my age in a positive way, that means I’m wiser. I refuse to be defined by a number.
  5. I am limitless. I can do whatever I really want to do, that means that what I want, really want, has to be backed up by motivation, effort, hard work. I decide on my limits because I decide how much effort I’m going to put into any project, be it preparing a marathon, learning a language or writing a novel. I decide how much time, finance, and effort I am willing to devote to each project. I am limitless, because I choose my limit.
  6. I am loved. This is not only about romantic love, it’s about love in a wider sense, including fondness and friendship. Think about or make a list of people who love you, who value you in a wider sense, this includes family members, friends, colleagues, neighbours, and it can even include people you haven’t seen for a long time, or people you don’t know, such as your fans etc. We can be and are loved by people who are not standing beside us at this precise moment. Recognise and value all the people who have ever loved you.
  7. I am loving. I love, again in the wider sense of value, appreciate and care about, other people, because love is a two way street, in fact if you made a list, the vast majority of names will be the same in both lists.
  8. I am loveable. This refers to the future. I can be loved, because I am enough, I am loving, I am not an island. I am worthy and available to be loved, because I give love and I am open to love, so I will receive it, too.
  9. I am wise. We all have abilities and knowledge depending on our training, jobs, books read, travels, hobbies, life events, family, etc. I can’t make a pavlova, but I make a mean paella, I don’t know anything about surgical processes, but I could translate a novel from various languages into English. I don’t know everything, no one does, but I can do many things, and I know plenty of things, so I am wise. I will honour and acknowledge what I know and can do.
  10. I am grateful. Finally, we all have things we feel fortunate for, some we’ve worked for like a profession and others we were born with, such as green eyes. I am grateful, that means I don’t take anything or anyone for granted, I thank my children for phoning me, because they’re busy and make the time to do so. I thank the sun for shining because it makes me smile, by saying this affirmation you are thanking everyone and everything you are grateful for.
  11. I am a writer. I write every day, I write blog posts, poems, flash fiction, I’ve written five novels, articles on education, in Spanish and English, so I can safely say I’m a writer. I think about writing, I read about writing, I speak about writing, I read and review novels, I care about writing, I interact with other writers, I feel like a writer. I want to be known as a writer.

By writing down, repeating out loud and owning my personal affirmations, I’m recalling them, acknowledging them and summoning them and everything they mean to me every day.

This process takes some time, certainly more than the few minutes it takes to write them down, and yet those first minutes are vital, because every journey starts with the first step.

So, I urge you to read up about affirmations, make your list and think deeply about what every affirmation means to you, own them and be happy!

Happy Monday!

#PhotoOfMyLife Day4 Autumn Leaves #Poem #MondayBlogs #MondayMotivation

On my way to town this morning. What a lovely autumn day!

Enough

The path is narrow,

With many a winding turn,

Which leads us to who knows where,

Who knows when, or why?

So, Crunch the leaves,

Stare at the sky,

Feel the wind swipe your cheeks,

While the sun tickles your eyes,

And smile,

Because that’s enough.

Enjoy your walk!

On my way back home. I’m nearly there!

I live outside my city, but not far enough that I can’t walk into town. I could take the car or catch the bus, but as I’m in no hurry at the moment, I enjoying a long, brisk walk. (I spent many years rushing to work, shopping and taking the kids to school and after school activities!).

Sometimes life is so demanding that we forget what a simple, quiet walk can do for us. We can stop for a few minutes to listen to, see and feel the trees, wind, and sky, which is so mentally and physically refreshing.

I love walking. It’s great exercise and I have time to think about so many things that time flies by!

The rules for this Twitter Challenge: no people, no explanations and challenge one new person every day. I was challenged by @GeorgiaRoseBook check out her blog.

Today I challenge @bakeandwrite check out her book blog.

As I already told you, I’m terrible at following rules, so not only have I written a poem, I’ve also told you all about the picture!

Enjoy your Monday! I hope you can spare a few minutes for a walk:)

#WednesdayWisdom ‘Dark and Stormy’ #1linewed #WWWBlogs #JaneEyre

If you feel as if you’re in a tiny fishing boat, alone in a vast, dark and stormy sea, and there’s nothing you can do to help yourself, look around, do something for someone else to make you feel better.

And the best thing is it works.

Your own troubles will seem less dark, you’ll feel good about helping someone else, and who knows? Perhaps you’ll be someone else’s distraction from their own dark and stormy feelings. Trust karma.

Jane helping Rochester after falling from his horse.

Jane Eyre knew all about the positive effects of helping others:

My help had been needed and claimed; I had given it: I was pleased to have done something; trivial, transitory though the deed was, it was yet an active thing, and I was weary of an existence all passive.

These are Jane’s reflections in Chapter XII, after meeting and helping an unknown gentleman who had fallen off his horse on a cold, dark afternoon in January, when the days are very short and dark in Yorkshire. Jane had offered to take a letter Mrs. Fairfax needed posting to Hay, which was a two mile walk away.

Jane had been feeling sad and lonely after spending the first winter months at Thornfield, and yet, a kind gesture led to a second kind gesture and her first meeting with Mr. Rochester.

Jane overcame her passivity and ventured out of her comfort zone, to help others, and in so doing she opened new avenues by meeting the man who would change her life.

If she had satyed at home wallowing in her loneliness and misery, they would probably never have met. Mr. Rochester probably would have had no interest in meeting his ward’s governess under normal circumstances.

Don’t don’t overindulge in your own problems, if you can’t do anything for yourself, do something for someone else!

Image from Pixabay

#MondayBlogs ‘To Do Lists and To Be Lists’ #MondayMotivation

I’m a compulsive writer of ‘To do lists’.

Before I leave my office, at school, every day, I check my notepad and cross out the things I’ve done which were on yesterday’s list and I add my new tasks for the following day.

It makes me feel as if I’m in control of my work life and it actually works, because it means I usually get (almost) everything done (almost always) on time.

I also write shopping lists and weekly menus. Having three children and four grandchildren, who still often come home for lunch or dinner, this also makes me feel I’m in control of domestic matters.

There is a wonderful lady who’s been looking after the rest of the housework once a week for the last twenty years, which means I rarely have to worry about it.

Fortunately, work and housekeeping, (usually) run smoothly, which frees my mind, so I can devote the rest of my time to my writing.

I also write (sort of) to do lists related to my writer’s life. When I wrap up, I write down my word count, what I’ve done (writing, editing, rereading, researching, etc.), how I feel about it, and what I’d like to start with the following session. These reflections are a great help in focussing because I can’t always write every day, and losing track would be far too easy.

I don’t think I’ll ever be able to do away with my lists, but as a result of recently reading a short yet enlightening post by GunRoswell, I realised I wasn’t writing the most important list of all: My to be list.

So I’ve put it up on the window of the room I usually write in, to remind myself to make sure I take care of being as well as doing.

I’m going to be thankful every day for everything I am and have. The importance of gratitude can’t be overstated.

I’m going to be kind(er) to those I interact with, because we don’t know what other people are dealing with and because we all know what goes round comes round (ain’t karma a bitch!).

I’m a teacher a wife, mother and a grandmother, so being patient should be a priority, and it is, but sometimes I it isn’t easy, and on other occasions, I forget.

I need t find time to nurture my mind and be creative by devoting time every day to either reading, writing, playing the piano, photography, etc.

I need to remember to be in love, because love is the strongest feeling which binds people together. I must never forget to make sure those people around me who are special, such as family and friends, know I love them.

I also have the right to be happy. In spite of tragedy, pain and suffering which exists around me, I can allow myself to enjoy moments of joy.

I also need to be at peace with myself. I have made mistakes, and probably will continue to do so, but I need to forgive myself for making mistakes, as long as amends are made as soon as possible, stating the reason, expressing regret and offering repair.

I can’t do much without taking care of my physical health. If I’m sick or unfit, it would affect every aspect of life negatively, so I need to be healthy take care of my body by doing exercise, eating well, and making sure I keep up with my regular check ups…

I should never forget to be prepared for the worst and yet be optimistic and expect the best to happen.

Finally I need to be alive, ‘feel the rain on my skin’, because ‘no-one else can feel it for me’.

Do you write lists?

What’s on your To Be List?

#SilentSunday #Sixwordstory #sixwordstories If Life Deals You Oranges, Enjoy!

 

Sometimes life deals us sour lemons, and others we’re lucky enough to get sweet oranges, so let’s enjoy those wonderful moments and allow ourselves to recharge our batteries and embrace happiness. Perhaps next weeks’ lemons will be sweet, too!

I hope you’re having a wonderful Sunday.

Thank you for being there 🙂

My camera picked up these beautiful early spring flowers yesterday, just for you… 

My #GAPP_Week 4th July 2016

My #Gapp_Week 4th July

Gratitude: I’m Grateful for the summer holidays, for the lovely weather, for being able to rest and do my own thing (which is reading, writing, blogging and playing with my grandchildren) for six weeks!

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Achievement: I’m really pleased that I was able to wrap up everything at work. My work desk had been a mess all month due to end of term exams, evaluations, and final paperwork, but I managed to get it all sorted out.

Final staff meeting. The final report was typed up shortly after!

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I’m Proud of helping my colleague prepare his exam for a permanent teaching post. He has a temporary post at my school. I only met him five months ago, and he’s a hard-working and enthusiastic teacher who deserves to pass, but he needed a little help with some of the theory and encouragement for the exam.

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I also helped another colleague correct exams, because she was very busy with personal matters. She’s also one of my best friends, and you may think that doesn’t count, but it does. Friendship has to be nurtured, and friends shouldn’t be taken for granted.

Here are my two colleagues in another staff meeting. We were actually working, but we have so much fun!

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I’ve also posted some reviews on amazon for authors I don’t personally know or interact with. We all know how important reviews are for both readers and authors.

I looked after my grandson last Monday, while his parents were working. I don’t help them as often as I’d like to because I’m working full-time, so I’m pleased to help out when I’m on holiday. I’m not sure I’ve put this in the right slot, because really it’s a pleasure to look after Alex. I’m grateful for the games we play and the laughter we share.

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        Painting in the patio!

PLANS: My plans for next week are to finish proof-reading the print copy of my third novel…

Lucy Editing

Write some overdue reviews…

write-a-review

Tidy up my study at home, which is a terrible mess!

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What about you?

Join in, pingback and read other GAPP_Weeks.

Or just read and comment, if you prefer 🙂

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RULES (short version, longer version here):

Few rules. Life has enough of them!

1- Tell us about your GAPP_Week.

  • What are you GRATEFUL for? Beautiful yet simple things which make life wonderful.
  • What have you ACHIEVED? Things that you’ve done for yourself .
  • What are you PROUD of? Things you’ve done for others.
  • What are your PLANS for next week? Doable and simple, realistic steps towards your goals.

2- Pingback to Lucy’s GAPP_Week weekly post on my blog.

3- Add #GAPP_Week to your post title.

If you like, you can:

  • Write four sentences, 400 words, or 4,000 words!
  • Add pictures.
  • Join in every week, or whenever you like.
  • Write your post on Monday, or any other day of the week.
  • Check out other posts.
  • Add the logo to your post or to your page (when it’s available. I’m working on that!)
  • Retweet as much as you like!

Happy #GAPP_Week!

I do like Mondays! #Gapp_Week @Gapp_Week

Modern blogging started in the last decade of the 20th century. It evolved from an online diary, where people shared their thoughts, reflection and lives publicly on the Internet through the use of Blogs, derived as we all know from the terms web (World Wide Web) + log (as in diary).  Some blogs were focused on news, others on fashion, literature, the arts, education, or just bloggers’ own random thoughts.

blogging image

I haven’t actually done much of that type of blogging. I do have some personal posts, but I wouldn’t call them a diary because they’re not consistent in theme or regular in their publication. They simply crop up now and again, and they’re closely related to my writer’s life, not my personal or private life.

Well, I’ve decided that’s going to change. I’m going to give real blogging, as in diary blogging, a go, at least until December, and probably longer, I hope…

The idea behind this (very) personal blogging initiative is that I believe I (and we) can improve our lives through consciously and publicly striving for a better quality of life for ourselves and those we interact with.

I’ll be channelling my random thoughts into four basic pillars and I hope you’ll join me:

1. The first pillar is Gratitude. The benefits of gratitude have been widely discussed by people who are much more qualified than me on this topic. If you’re not convinced, you can type ‘the benefits of gratitude’ and you’ll find plenty of pages. One of my favourite is the great Deepak Chopra: A two and a half-minute explanation. ‘We are all made of stardust’. I love it. If you want to read more about his theories here are his books. Here’s his amazon author page    

Gratitude Chopra

The first question I’m going to answer is: What am I GRATEFUL for?

Things that made me smile, laugh, feel good. It could be a phone call from a friend, a hug from my son/grandson, a beautiful sunset….

2. The second pillar is Achievement. Each week I need to feel I’ve progressed at least a little, because I’m nearer to accomplishing my goals. I need to identify the steps I’ve taken and the things I’m proud of having achieved. I need to feel I’m moving on, progressing, getting better. I need to believe in myself and encourage myself by pointing out my achievements.

IMG_20160704_100456

Let’s think about what we’ve ACHIEVED? Things that you’ve done for yourself that you’re happy about. Perhaps you wrote 1,000 words of your novel, learnt something new, finished reading a book, ran a mile!

3. The third pillar is Pride in doing things for others. Paying it Forward or Random Acts of Kindness.

Our interaction with world shouldn’t be selfish. We need to help others creating a pay it forward chain. The third pillar is Pride in helping others. What are you PROUD of? Things you’ve done for others. Perhaps you’ve listened to a friend who needed to chat?, written a review for an indie author’s book you enjoyed, helped a student with their homework, held someone’s hand when they were ill, helped someone who was lost or couldn’t speak your language very well?

Make sure you do random things for people who are not necessarily your family and friends, but of course kindness to them is also included!

We can all make the world a better place if we each try. The ripple effect starts with one person.

Pay it forward

Planning ahead in small steps. Instead of ‘Find a Job’, which is a long-term goal, think of smaller, but vital things you can do to get there such as, update my CV, or search online for places to send my CV, or look for a training course to do while I find a new job…

Goals

What are your PLANS for next week? What would you like to achieve for yourself and do for others. Thinking about this can help you write next weeks’ Achieved and Proud. Every large goal is achieved by a series of smaller steps. Think  of doable, realistic steps towards your goals.

Single step

How is this going to become a reality? We need something tangible. Something we can look back on and think about at a later date, so we need to write it down.

My Gapp_Week Jar

I saw this idea in January. Everyone writes New Year’s Resolutions, but what about being grateful every day for a year and reading all your gratitude notes on 31st of December.

Happy-New-Year-2016-Wishes-Greetings-7

I thought about this a lot, and while it’s a good idea, I wanted to make it into something that would help me keep my life in a more general perspective. I’ve come up with a similar idea. Below is my jar with my first Gapp_Week post-it, neatly folded inside. I plan to add one each week and open it to read them whenever I need reminding that life has lots of wonderful things we sometimes forget about.

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If this doesn’t work for you, that’s fine. Yo can use a diary or notebook to jot down your GAPP_Week pillars, or simply use twitter, or your blog. Whatever works for you. You might like to show us a picture of what you’ll be using to keep track, a jar or a notebook.

Why Mondays?

Well, let’s face it, Monday isn’t the most popular day of the week! It’s a good day to get some good vibrations going. Reminding ourselves of the positive things we’ve done the previous week and planning ahead for the following week could help increase our motivation. It might even be a wise idea to plan or write it on Sunday evening and post on Monday…

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I think it will help me be happy and focus on what I want and do what I need to do in order to be a better and happier person. It’s a big aim, but I’ll be taking it in small steps.

To sum up. I want us (you and me) to concentrate on four simple, but vital aspects of our lives every week to help us on our way to a better and happier life.

Do you want to join in?

RULES (short version, longer explanation above):

Few rules. Life has enough of them!

1- Tell us about your GAPP_Week.

  • What are you GRATEFUL for? Beautiful yet simple things which make life wonderful.
  • What have you ACHIEVED? Things that you’ve done for yourself .
  • What are you PROUD of? Things you’ve done for others.
  • What are your PLANS for next week? Doable and simple, realistic steps towards your goals.

2- Pingback to Lucy’s GAPP_Week weekly post on my blog.

3- Add #GAPP_Week to your post title.

If you like, you can:

  • Write four sentences, 400 words, or 4,000 words!
  • Add pictures.
  • Join in every week, or whenever you like.
  • Write your post on Monday, or any other day of the week.
  • Check out other posts.
  • Add the logo to your post or to your page (when it’s available. I’m working on that!)
  • Retweet as much as you like!

I’ll be including my #GAPP_Week for 4th July in the following post.

What do you think of this idea? Any suggestions?

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