How to wake up happy (aka How to do a ‘Ruthie’)

OK, so I’ve now discovered a fail-safe way of waking up happy. All we’ve got to do is to emulate my niece’s 3 year old daughter – Ruth (better known as Ruthie).

Anna – that’s my niece – went to wake up her son Harry (5 years old) the other day and in order to do so she had to pass through Ruthie’s bedroom. To let Ruthie wake up in her own time, Anna simply opened Ruthie’s curtains and moved into Harry’s room. Whilst she was dealing with Harry she heard a yawn from the next door room. Ruthie was clearly waking up. There was a slight pause and then Ruthie exclaimed:

“Hooray!” 

 

Now that’s the way to wake up in the morning!

Ever since then we Sansomes have talked about ‘doing a Ruthie’ – in other words, waking up in the morning and saying “Hooray!” I’ve been doing it every day and you know it works. My days seem a lot brighter right from the get go.

Try the Ruthie every morning – it’s guaranteed to have you get up on the right side of the bed!

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Holding Infinity in the palm of your hand and Eternity in an hour

“To see a World in a Grain of Sand 
And a Heaven in a Wild Flower, 
Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand 
And Eternity in an hour.” 
― William BlakeAuguries of Innocence

 

It is often a waking dream of mine to imagine what might be happening around the world in this current, precise moment: 7 billion people all up to something. 37% of those people live in India and China alone. 33% are Christians, 22% are Islamist. 70% of the earth’s surface is water.

On the site Worldometers you can see a rather freaky count of what’s going on in the earth today – how many deaths, how many births, the net population growth. (So far today (it’s 11am) there have been 172,000 births and 71,000 deaths apparently). You can also see how many mobiles are being sold by the second, how much CO2 we are emitting and on and on. And the clocks for all of these turn at a very rapid pace before your eyes.

2012-08-13 15.30.53In a split second around the world so much happens: smiles, tears, anger, depression, joy, transition, transformation, boredom, concentration, rebellion. The list is, of course, infinite. The water continues to fall down Victoria Falls in Africa, the minute hand clicks to another minute on Big Ben, a father reads to his son, a child dies of starvation, a student is late for class, another car rolls off the production line, a richly-dressed couple step onto their luxury yacht, bees swarm, trees grow, whales drift serenely by. It is enormous, beautiful, scary and mind-boggling.

All in a split second.

When I’m feeling stuck or low, I often contemplate the vastness and infinite variety of our life on earth. I imagine myself hovering miles above the planet and looking down at it all. I see myself in my house – a tiny speck amongst all this complexity.

Another minute goes by.

All is really very, very well in my minuscule corner of the world at this precise moment – and I am enormously grateful.

 

Related resources:

Check out this wonderful film:     Life in a Day

 

 

Letter to my past self

Dear me from 10 years ago,

This is your Future Self speaking. You are about 3 months away from making a very big decision. One that will significantly alter your life.

How should I describe you? Baffled? Searching? Hopeful yet exasperated? Your children are 2 and 4 years old. The participants in your workshops are enthusiastic. You are desperate to have your children’s book ‘The Teasers’ published. You have secured a great agent but no publishers are biting. You wish you had more time to write. You wish your husband was less stressed and around more – physically and emotionally. You’re proud that you’ve been a non-smoker now for 4 years. You are keenly aware (did your past self tell you, I wonder?) that you should enjoy every last minute with your children at this precious stage of their lives – and so you do (mostly). You cannot believe your luck that the Universe shut one door (having your own children) and opened this massive, bejewelled  door to a hitherto unseen magical kingdom (adopting Julia and Sasha). You sense there’s more – much more –  to come but you don’t know what it is.

Dear past me from 10 years ago. I felt you today. As if you came into my skin and looked around our life now. You cried. I cried. We both cried. How wonderful this place we’ve come to is! You hardly dare believe it. I can hear you in my head saying:

“You mean you’re living in this beautiful place in the Cotswolds with all it’s hills, valleys and gorgeous villages? You mean the children are thriving at a school they adore with friends and teachers who equally adore them? You mean that you’re all bouncing with excitement at the prospect of spending a whole month together in Singapore, New Zealand and Australia in December? You mean you’ve taken a break from the writing and you’re utterly OK about that – in fact you’re thrilled with your current path? You mean you’ve developed your own program and it’s going from strength to strength? You mean Guy is calling the shots more at work and is master of his time again? Is it true that 6 years ago you dreamed of owning a Lexus hybrid SUV and next weekend you’re going to buy it! Do those kind of things happen? And I can’t believe how grounded, content and excited-by-life you feel! Is that possible?”

Dear past me from 10 years ago. Yes it’s possible.

You are about to make a momentus decision – to move from a great life in Canada back to England. And why? Only because “it feels right”. You have no other defense when your concerned Canadian friends ask you for an explanation.

Did you perhaps feel me calling you?

 

 

The difference between Gratitude and Appreciation

I’ve just got back from a fabulous time at the Quest Festival in Devon. I had the absolute pleasure of running 4 workshops on Happiness, The Artist’s Way and ‘Future Self Now‘. Everyone who came to my sessions was really up for all the games and exercises that I love to throw at people. We had a fun time together!

Thinking about these past few days and how perfectly everything worked out, I’ve been feeling very moved today. I’m remembering, however, to make sure that I’m in a state of appreciation and not gratitude.

What’s the difference?

Well it’s this:

Gratitude is often a state of being pleased that something has worked out despite possible negative outcomes. E.g. “I’m grateful that my workshops worked out” (because they could have been a disaster!) or “I’m grateful that I had a smooth journey down to Devon” (because I could have got stuck in the normal jam around the M5). Gratitude, in other words, looks backwards and more often than not promotes the overcoming of something. It is has a sense of relief about it: –  “Phew I’m glad that that didn’t happen!”

Appreciation, on the other hand, is more a state of savouring a current reality. It is more firmly rooted in celebration and delight for the thing itself. Its about highlighting the positive and dwelling on the deliciousness of it.

So, what we’re talking about here is a difference in the emotional quality of the two words – not the words themselves.

Remember: What you pay attention to grows. So even though this talk of the difference between two words may seem like splitting hairs, it really does matter because Gratitude can trigger a focus on overcoming a negative in the past, whilst Appreciation lives very firmly in the savouring of the NOW.

So, new friends from Quest and old blog-buddies, I very definitely do not feel gratitude towards you (“thanks for liking me!”) – I APPRECIATE you in all your glory for who you are now and into the future!

21 Pictures That Will Restore Your Faith In Humanity

My goodness – what a wonderful way to start the day. I have a tear in my eye right now. Do take a look at these wonderful pictures.

21 Pictures That Will Restore Your Faith In Humanity.

P.S. Isn’t this summer THE BEST?!!!

A joyful collapse

Yes, I know, I know, dear hearts. I’ve been away for 3 months. I never forgot you. I never intended to be away for so long. But one thing I am absolutely certain about is that I must never do anything that doesn’t feel instinctively right. And for some reason this blog just suddenly ceased whispering to me. I obeyed.

Today, however, I’m back – answering the call of this sacred space. I find it odd that the blogging went quiet like that but I certainly wasn’t going to impose on you words that weren’t coming from a place of natural outflow for me.

Something that I find fascinating is that this radio silence lasted for as long as I was running my 3 different workshops – on The Artist’s Way & my Future Self Now program. Perhaps teaching  creates a entirely different energy? Not ‘wrong’ by any stretch of the imagination, just different.

It feels delicious to be in this new place. Much as I am passionate about teaching – I truly am – I must live my own life too. I must explore my own new frontiers and break down my own walls. Nikos Kazantzakis said this:

“True teachers are those who use themselves as bridges over which they invite their students to cross; then, having facilitated their crossing, joyfully collapse, encouraging them to create their own.”

So this new energy – one totally aligned to this blog and to any fresh vistas that want to come my way now – is perhaps part-and-parcel of a state of joyful collapse. And I would only add that it’s not only about my students learning to create their own new pathways – it’s also about me being willing to become a beginner again. Before building a new bridge, I must wade out into my river and re-familiarise myself with its banks, it’s eddies and flows, it’s twists and turns.