Day 55: Recuperate, recover and recharge

Being mindful of being gentle and kind with myself as I recuperate, recover and recharge:

The last few weeks have been pretty challenging for me, both physically and emotionally.

A few big social events, mixed with some emotional turbulence, and sprinkled with tensions at home, have triggered a flare up of my CFS symptoms.

It’s not surprisingly really.

I also lost my footing on my happy trail for a while. Thankfully I still looked for my happy, and have been writing in my gratitude journal and posting happy moments on Happier; but I just haven’t felt like writing my ‘100 days of happy’ blog.

I felt myself spiralling down and letting old negative thought patterns resurface.

And that’s ok because life is full of ups and downs, twists and turns, and squiggly bits. But it’s how we respond to them that’s important.

As Oprah Winfrey asks: “Do you react to an obstacle as a negative, or do you embrace it as an opportunity to respond with the open-hearted knowledge that all will be well?”

So I’m giving myself permission to take as much time as I need to gently navigate my way through this and get myself back on track.

I’m focusing on being kind and gentle with myself. I’m calling on my healing tools to help get me through. And I know that this too shall pass and that all will be well.

So with this in mind, my happy for today is being mindful of being gentle and kind with myself as I recuperate, recover and recharge.

Day 54: Leaf rubbing fun

Being mindful by getting crafty with my nephews:

Today I bravely stepped into the unknown… craft time with both my young nephews, at the same time! As their mummy’s birthday is coming up, I thought it would be nice to make her birthday cards with them.

Trying to think of ideas that would engage their attention, I was inspired by photos of a dear friend leaf rubbing with her little girl. Aha I thought, the perfect idea to make craft time interactive and fun with my highly energetic nephews, and a great way to combine nature and art.

Ok, so here we go.

Step 1: Collecting leaves. Enlisting my mum as Chief Craft Assistant, we started off by taking a short stroll to find some fallen leaves. It was lovely to be outside with the boys and watch them joyfully running around looking for the “biggest leaves ever”. Needless to say, we all wandered home happily, little hands full of autumn leaves.

joyful nephews collecting leaves

So far so good.

Step 2: Leaf rubbing fun. Not having done this since childhood, I had a sneaky test-run earlier in the day and thought I’d make a batch of ready-made art in case the boys didn’t want to do it. But thankfully, I didn’t need to use them as they loved it. Callum carefully placed the leaves onto the paper and got stuck in using the rainbow of crayons. Thomas was mesmerised by what happened when he coloured on the plain sheet of paper on top of the leaves. “It’s magic” he excitedly shouted out, as the delicate shapes, textures and vein structure of the leaves came through brightly and vividly.

Callum placing leaves ready on paper

Doing really well so far.

Step 3: Drawing around hands. One of Thomas’ favourite things to do is drawing round his hands, so this was a doddle. Getting him to stop was not so easy! Callum enjoyed it too. The boys watched in wonder as Auntie Helen cut out their colourful paper hands and stuck them onto the front of the cards.

Step 4: Adding words. For three-year-old Thomas’ card, I put a crayon in his hands and guided him to write “Happy Birthday Mummy, love Thomas”. As we drew the kisses, he sweetly blew a kiss to each ’X’. He then insisted we draw around his hand again inside the card, and also around his favourite car – which I had to draw wheels. headlights, and ALL the artwork on the car, including “lots of stars” and the number 88.

Thomas writing in mummy's card

For six-year-old Callum’s card, he wanted to write the words himself. He asked me to write them out on a separate piece of paper so he could copy. When I asked what he wanted to write, he earnestly replied: “You are the best mummy.”  Heart-melt moment. He also added: ”Happy Birthday Mummy, love Callum” and “Hope you have a nice day”. He then covered the inside of the card with lots of big kisses. It was extra heart-melty as Callum usually isn’t that interested in crafts, so it was special to see him putting so much care and attention into his writing.

Callum carefullly writing in mummy's card

And we have success!

birthday cards

We agreed to keep it a big secret and give their cards to mummy after dinner. During dinner, Callum whispered to me when were we going to give his card to mummy; he was so excited to give mummy his card, bless him.

Step 5: Presenting their creations.  Carrying their artwork into the room hidden behind their little backs, they proudly gave mummy their handmade birthday cards. It was such a sweet moment and my sister seemed touched and promised to treasure them.

This crafty session with the boys turned out to be the BEST fun, not only for them but for me too. (And worth having to spend tomorrow in bed to recover!). It is one of my most favourite and most treasured times with my little nephews.

I also loved hearing that on their walk home later, as they passed the place where we’d picked the leaves, Thomas asked his daddy if they could stop and pick some more leaves… awwwww!

So with this in mind, my happy for today is being mindful by getting crafty with my nephews.

Day 53: Edo and Jo

Being grateful for the music and love of Edo and Jo:

I’m feeling deeply sad to have woken up to the news that Jo Mall Khan, half of the mantra music duo Edo and Jo, has left this earth following a recent cancer diagnosis.

Jo was such a bright shining light and gift to the world. I am so grateful to have been touched by her light, beauty and presence.

Her partner in both life and music Edo, has taken the time to share Jo’s illness and last precious moments so beautifully on their Facebook page. In her last few hours, Jo was surrounded by her loved ones chanting the sacred Sanskrit mantra Om Namo Narayani – meaning ‘I surrender to the divine’.

Their story and music has been such an inspiration to me.

They met on the beautiful island of Bali at a yoga retreat six years ago, and have been together sharing musical, yogic and humanitarian adventures ever since, dividing their time between Sydney, Bali and India.

The love they felt for each other was palpable (and still gives me hope!). And their music, their performances, and their dedication to conscious living and seva (selfless service) reflected this.

I first joined them for kirtan in a yoga studio in Manly, Sydney in 2011. As their beautiful melodic music filled the room, my heart filled with peace, joy and love.

Seeing them perform was always such a special love-filled experience. Jo’s angelic voice and divine flute playing, combined with their obvious devotion to each other, left me basking in bliss for days afterwards.

Shortly after hearing the news this morning, I took myself on a soul stroll as I wanted to reflect on Jo’s passing, and all the wonderful things she brought to my life and to others around the world.

I felt her presence all around: I felt her in the grass, the trees, the fallen leaves, the birdsong, the flowing brook, and the gentle breeze. And perhaps most of all, I felt her presence in the white feather that slowly fluttered down in front of me.

I’m feeling SOOOOOOOO grateful for the gift Edo and Jo have shared with the world. Their music and their love will continue to inspire me.

Om Namo Narayani ✨🙏✨

So with this in mind, my happy for today is being grateful for the music and love of Edo and Jo.

 

NB if you’d like to listen to some of their music, I suggest starting with Siddhi Buddhi (Bliss) and Gayatri

Day 52: Rose garden

Being kind by thanking a neighbour for their delightful rose garden:

On my walking meditations, I always look forward to passing a rose garden in my neighbourhood.

One particular day when I was feeling a little low in spirits, I took myself out for a soul stroll in the hope that it would make me feel better.

And it worked a treat.

I took my usual route through the trees and along the brook, but decided to take a different way back home using a cut-through.

As I came out onto the street, I walked straight into the heavenly sweet scent of roses coming from a delightful garden full of rose bushes.

With roses of yellows, oranges, reds and pinks abound, the garden was a joyful treat. It was absolutely glorious.

It literally stopped me in my tracks and reminded me of the expression: “Stop and smell the roses”. The perfect reminder to slow down and take the time to appreciate the beauty of life.

And I think of this every time I pass this blissful garden, and it always lifts my spirits.

So today I decided to thank the owners for their well cared for garden. I posted a Kindness Card through their letterbox with these words written on the back:

“Thank you for your delightful rose garden. I walk by most days and your colourful roses and their heavenly scent always lift my spirits.”

Kindness Card for Rose Garden

So with this in mind, my happy for today is being kind by thanking a neighbour for their rose garden.

Day 51: Kindness messages

Being kind by leaving kindness messages around my city:

I took myself off for an Artist’s Date brunch today and to sprinkle some more kindness magic around my city.

I wrote messages on the back of my Kindness Cards, and here’s where I left them:

Message 1: “You are perfect, just as you are 😊. Have a lovely day Xxx”
Hidden in-between the condiments at my brunch café.

Kindness message at brunch

Message 2: “You have a beautiful smile 😊. Have a lovely day Xxx”
Stuck on the bathroom mirror of the café.

kindness message on bathroom mirror

Message 3: “You are truly loved, just as you are 😊. Have a lovely day Xxx”
Stuck on a lamp-post in the busy city centre.

kindness message on lampost

Message 4: “Make the leap, it could be amazing 😊. Have a lovely day Xxx”
Hidden inside a pair of tights in my fave shop.

kindness message in tights

Message 5: “You don’t ever have to worry, it’ll all be ok 😊. Have a lovely day Xxx”
Left on a bench in the main shopping centre.

kindness message on shopping centre bench

Message 6: “Everything will always be ok 😊. Have a lovely day Xxx”
Left on a bench at the bus stop.

kindness message on bus stop bench

Again, I wrote this blog address on the card, just in case the finder wants to have a peek. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if they did, and even wrote a comment below, oh my!

I was caught red-handed by a lady as I was leaving the last message at the bus stop. She gave me such a big, warm smile; it felt amazing to know that I’ve made one person smile today.

And I smiled all the way home.

So with this in mind, my happy for today is being kind by leaving kindness messages around my city.

Day 50: Family dinner

Being grateful for family meal times and mum’s fish pie:

I love my mum’s fish pie.

Since giving up most meat (ok, ok, I’m still a sucker for a bacon sandwich!) fish pie has replaced lasagna as my favourite meal made by my mum.

Featuring cod, smoked haddock, salmon and prawns smothered in a white sauce, the mix is topped with mashed potatoes and a generous sprinkling of cheese. It’s the ultimate comfort food, and is served with some steamed veggies.

Thursday night is our big family dinner tonight, with my sister, brother-in-law and two little nephews joining mum, dad, and me. Since I’m not a meat eater, it’s the only meal we can all enjoy together. Most weeks, when mum makes a roast dinner – which she does even in the middle of summer! –  I replace the meat part with a homemade vegetable burger. Or I have something entirely different.

But when it’s fish pie, we all eat the same. And that feels nice.

I really appreciate our family time together, even if it does get a little bit hectic at times. But it’s a happy hectic and I don’t mind that I feel so wiped out afterwards.

It’s moments like these I will always treasure, and will miss once I’m well enough to move on.

It’s sad how family sitting around the dinner table eating together is a dying tradition. It’s not surprising with how busy life can be, but I think it’s a lovely way to catch up on everyone’s day and enjoy some quality time together.

So with this in mind, my happy for today is being grateful for family meal times and my mum’s fish pie.

Day 49: Autumn days

Being mindful on an early morning autumn soul stroll:

autumn soul stroll
Autumn Days

Morning shadows speckled on the ground,
Rays of sunshine warming all around.
Autumn leaves falling from the trees,
White-feathered angels blowing in the breeze.

Blades of grass glistening with the dew,
Cows all grazing, what a lovely view.
Juicy plump blackberries waiting to be eaten,
All of Mother Nature embracing this new season.

 

Day 48: My folks

Being grateful for my parents:

I’ve taken to doing the lotto at the weekends. I can’t help but see it as a big waste of money, but then you’ve gotta be in it to win it as they say!

And I’m an eternal optimist!!

Anyway, last week I got 3 numbers and was chuffed to bits with my £25 win.

Giddy with my winnings, I thought I’d use some of it to show my parents how grateful I am.

I’ve been living back in the family home ever since I became ill with ME/CFS.

And two and a half years on, I’m still here.

What a lucky girl I am to be able to have a safe home to live in while I recover, and to have my parents’ love and support – it really means the world to me.

I know it’s not easy on my folks. And for anyone who’s lived at home as an adult will know it’s not an ideal situation for any of us. But we are doing the best we can.

And I am really, really grateful.

So today I made a special ‘Thank you’ card and bought them a beautiful bunch of flowers.

thank you flowers and card

It’s not much but I know they’ll appreciate the gesture which comes from my ever grateful heart.

So with this in mind, my happy for today is being grateful to my parents for letting me live back at home while I recover from ME/CFS.

Day 47: Free parking

Being kind by paying for a strangers car parking by leaving money in the ticket machine:

This morning I took a soul stroll in the rain into my local town centre. As I was cutting through the town’s biggest car park, I decided to put some money in the ticket machines to pay for someone’s parking.

The idea is that the next person coming to the machine to pay would find they had two free hours of parking to enjoy on me! And to help explain this Act of Kindness, they would see my Kindness Cards with the message:

“Enjoy some free parking time on me! Have a lovely day Xxx”

Free parking kindness card

I did this for all three of the ticket machines in the car park, in the hope of making three locals smile on this dreary wet Monday morning.

I also wrote this blog address on the card, just in case they are curious. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if they visited this blog and left a comment…

But if not, that’s absolutely fine too – my intention is to spread kindness in my community without expecting anything in return.

So with this in mind, my happy for today is being kind by paying for a strangers car parking by leaving money in the ticket machine.

Day 46: Life’s magnificence

Being mindful on my soul stroll in between rain showers:

One of my new favourite things is going for a walking meditation in nature just after a rain shower.

There’s something really magical about the vividness of the colours and the intensity of the smells, which even has its own name: petrichor.

The air is fresher, the grass greener, the sky bluer and the vividness and fragrance of the flowers more intoxicating.

It’s pure bliss.

I loved today’s soul stroll in between the showers, my senses came alive and my spirits lifted. I immediately felt lighter and brighter.

I’m so grateful to have taken myself for this wander through such beauty: the fast-flowing brook, the red rose reaching for the sky, and my mum’s double begonia sparkling with rain drops.

fast-flowing brook

red rose reaching for the sky

double begonia

And as I gazed at the magnificent trees set against the blue sky, I took a moment to take a breath and appreciate the magnificence of life.

magnificent trees

So with this in mind, my happy for today is being mindful on my soul stroll in between rain showers.