#ThursdayPhotoThoughts ‘White Swan’ #February2021 @Pixabay

White Swan

This is no black swan

Who was once a duck,

This is no mirror

Hanging on the wall,

This is no painting,

Seen in museums.

She’s a brave, white swan

Travelling alone

Towards the unknown,

Sure to overcome

Any sudden storm.

The queen of the seas

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Events that are difficult to predict but when they happen have an enormous impact are referred to by author, Nasim Taleb as black swans, in his influential book.

These low probability and high-impact events are unavoidable and are guaranteed to occur in our personal and collective lives.

I’m using the term, black swan, loosely to refer to any unexpected, sudden and negative personal events such as unemployment, illness, death, or collective experiences such as an earthquake or covid19.

These unforeseen events have happened and will inevitably strike again. If we are unprepared, there is very little we can do to stop the emotional and physical tsunami that threatens to bring us to our knees.

Resultado de imagen de quotes about adapt or die

But we can be prepared. By building three powerful mindsets we should work hard to develop: Faith, optimism, and adaptability, from an early age.

We must be prepared for unavoidable disasters by increasing our self-confidence and mental fortitude, cultivating a positive mindset, and creating a mental attitude of adaptability to change.

Sometimes I feel all our lives are a preparation to cope with black swans when they appear, because we know we will surely face more than one throughout our lives. As schools are more concerned with teaching facts, emotional growth is left to our personal initiative and our families.

I’m a great believer in the power of reading, reflecting, and meditation. I’m certainly feeling stronger and more prepared to face challenges since I have more time to think and meditate and read specific books on personal growth.

If you’d like to have a look at some of the books I’ve been reading follow the link below.

All pictures from pixabay and all thoughts my own, although I’m sure someone has already expressed some of them.

How do you cope with black swans?

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Image by ejausburg on Pixabay

Pixabay is a wonderful site where many generous amateur and professional photographers offer their photos at no cost (there are also photos you have to pay for). And Thursday, which is in the exact middle of the week is an ideal day to stop and reflect, so I’m grabbing one or more pictures and reflecting on whatever comes to mind. I’m not planning on stream-of-consciousness, because although it’s an unplanned post based on a random picture, I’ll edit my thoughts and words, because you’re worth it! I want you to read a pretty and polished post:)

#Haiku ‘Resilience’ #ThursdayPhotoThoughts #January2021

Photo from Pixabay

I received this image as a recommendation from Pixabay, which is a wonderful site where many generous amateur and professional photographers offer their photos at no cost (there are also photos you have to pay for).

The image immediately brought words and thoughts to my mind, which I’ve captured and made into a haiku.

January has always been a tough month for me for many reasons, mainly the anticlimax after the Christmas and New Year Holidays, the return to work, the cold temperatures, and this year there is the added challenge because of covid restrictions and worries.

Fortunately, there are only ten more days to get to February, a nice, short month which leads on to March and the promise of spring. So hang on in there!

This January I’m giving myself time to plan. I’m still organising the year ahead, trying to establish and follow a blog and writing schedule, as well as a daily routine that works for me. But it’s an ongoing process because there’s a lot on my plate; a new novel in my Eyre Hall series and a box set, new blog features, looking into traditionally publishing a contemporary romantic thriller I finished last year, and so on.

I’m sowing seeds, despite the snow. Who knows which ones will grow and when? But life’s like that, nothing is guaranteed and yet everything is possible. That’s January for you!

How is your January going?

#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

Hugh’s Photo Challenge: Week 4 – Isolated

This photo was taken on 12th October. There used to be splendid rose-bush in that spot, but it dried up, or so I thought, and it was cut down last summer. Twenty days ago, I noticed one solitary, brave rose had grown, and was defiantly facing the autumn wind and showers. I remember approaching this lonely and isolated flower, and noticing the smell was as intense as its crimson petals.

wpid-20151012_171635-1.jpg

It’s not a beautiful photo, but it’s a beautiful flower.

This isolated and solitary rose is a symbol of resilience, intelligence, courage, and humility. These are the lessons the rose is teaching me.

Resilience. Hang on in there! Only those who abandon the game lose. Everyone who takes part gains from the experience. Losers are those who gave up. Life is a journey, not a destination. Make sure you stay on the train.

Intelligence. Don’t fight a battle you can’t win. Learn, like the rose to bend with the wind, there’s no use in resisting, it would only break the stem. Go with the flow, and accept that there will be good moments and more difficult ones. Adapt. Learn the lesson and move on. The wind will stop eventually.

Courage. Move out of your comfort zone. Follow your dreams and be brave enough to make the effort to grasp them. It’s easier to do what’s expected, to do what you’ve always done, but if you want to grow, you need to pursue your dreams.

Humility. Be humble enough to keep learning. However much you think you know, you can always learn more. However good you think you are, you can always be better.

This tiny rose is beautiful as well as strong, clever, brave, and humble.

Finally, the rose is also telling me that solitude and isolation need not be a disadvantage. I can do it on my own. Although, like the rose I’m never really alone. The rose has the earth, air, and rain, to nurture it. Although I sometimes feel isolated, I’m not alone, because we are all connected to the universe.   

This rose reminds me of a dramatic short poem by Emily Dickinson (She was a Master at Flash Fiction! Her verses are short and powerful).

When Roses cease to bloom, Sir,
And Violets are done —
When Bumblebees in solemn flight
Have passed beyond the Sun —
The hand that paused to gather
Upon this Summer’s day
Will idle lie — in Auburn —
Then take my flowers — pray!

As I interpret this poem, Emily is telling us about the poems she wrote (The hand that paused to gather), which are her flowers (Roses and Violets), and asks Sir (the unknown person she loved), to take them (Take my flowers) once she has died (will idle lie).

My rose has, in fact, died now, but that’s the rose’s destiny, to be admired only for a short yet intense lifespan.

I know there will be more roses shortly, my rose-bush has definitely not dried up!

Check out Hugh’s blog and some of the other pictures and reflections here