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!

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?

 

 

Spring!

Ahhhh – how wonderful to finally feel Spring in the air. It inspired a Haiku from me tonight: sitting here, windows wide open to the warm air, the birds excitedly ushering in nightfall…

Night song on ink sky

Celebrates joyous day

Spring is here at last!

(Don’t worry, I won’t give up the day job!)

We are such primal creatures aren’t we? We think of human-kind as having mastered natural forces but we haven’t at all. Look at how our mood is affected by the changing seasons. It only makes sense of course – we are tuned into Universal flow as much as the tides are or the sun and moon. Our bodies are sensing machines and adapt to our environment on many, many different levels. I don’t know the science behind it all I just know that on the cusp of each season I can feel the pull of a different energy and it’s always a relief to finally tip well-and-truly into the season that is presenting itself.

So here is Spring at last – it felt like a long time coming – and here to celebrate are a few photos I’ve taken over the last week of nature showing off her beautiful new clothes:

 

spring flower1 spring flower2 spring flower3 spring flower4

Starfish wisdom

For many years now I’ve adopted the starfish as my personal emblem. My friends know this, and over the years Ive been gifted with some spectacular starfish things like this silver necklace from my great friend, Kelly in Canada:

starfish necklace

and recently Rachel, a very good friend and wonderful potter in Bristol made me this:

starfish mug

It all started about 13 years ago when I heard this story:

A young girl was walking along a beach upon which thousands of starfish had been washed up during a terrible storm. When she came to each starfish, she would pick it up, and throw it back into the ocean. People watched her with amusement.

She had been doing this for some time when a man approached her and said, “Little girl, why are you doing this? Look at this beach! You can’t save all these starfish. You can’t begin to make a difference!”
The girl seemed crushed, suddenly deflated. But after a few moments, she bent down, picked up another starfish, and hurled it as far as she could into the ocean. Then she looked up at the man and replied,
“Well, I made a difference to that one!”
The old man looked at the girl inquisitively and thought about what she had done and said. Inspired, he joined the little girl in throwing starfish back into the sea. Soon others joined, and all the starfish were saved.
-Adapted from the Star Thrower by Loren C. Eiseley-

 

As a life coach, the significance of making a difference one ‘starfish’ at a time was not lost on me. But latterly the starfish has come to mean more. As you know I’m passionate about what it takes to live an ecstatic, fully expressed life. Look at this image:

011

Same pose as a starfish. OK, well, nearly! (That was my intention anyway).

There is also the analogy of roots and wings – i.e. that it’s the job of us parents – to give our children stability and freedom. For me this pose represents both roots and wings: strong legs akimbo (grounded) arms aloft, ecstatic and welcoming of spirit, joy, abundance.

Finally there is the sister image of a tree which reaches up to the skies but is, at the same time, grounded deeply in its roots.

 

Last November I gave a talk at Hawkwood College that I’m hoping to repeat at this year’s Quest Festival in Devon called ‘Loving What Is whilst Reaching For More‘. I realised today that, here again, is the image of my upright starfish – grounded in the now whilst reaching for the skies.

In some ways it sounds like a paradox but look at nature and it’s everywhere. We are meant to savour our Now whilst relishing the delicious anticipation of life’s rich experiences yet to come.

 

 

Happy travels

So today feels like a momentus one as I’ve just waved Julia (aged 13) off at Heathrow airport. She is flying solo for the first time – off to see her Uncle John and Aunt Berenice in Toulouse, France.

I’m so proud of my (no longer so) little girl. In so many ways I feel like I’m jogging besides her express train, trying to keep up. She is maturing fast and it’s important for me to honour that whilst at the same time making sure she has everything she needs to be safe and informed.

I love this installation I just spotted in Heathrow’s terminal 5 – a timely reminder of what Julia is doing and the whole new vistas opening up for all our family.

Spring!

I don’t know about you, but the first signs of sunny weather never fails to lift my spirits. We can sit outside! We can shed the jumpers and boots! We can turn off the central heating and eat salads!

Buds are budding, the sun warms the skin, the birds are in full song. Our clocks have gone forward and now we can think more summery thoughts.

Just one of the many highlights of this time of year for me is our next door neighbour’s magnolia tree. The blossom is show-offy and abundant. “Ooh yeah, baby!” it seems to say, “It’s showtime!”