The freedom of not finishing

I walked out of an art exhibition the other day.

Gasp!  I know, seriously, how daring am I?

I realised I wasn’t in the mood and walked away.  It was busy and hot and hectic and I knew I would have a more enjoyable time wandering round the city instead, taking photos and thinking my thoughts.  I felt carefree and liberated and in charge  of myself and my time.

I’m all for laudable ideals, of course, like doing what you say you will, keeping your word, being reliable, trustworthy, on time, a good friend…

But there’s a difference between keeping your word and not letting anyone down, and doggedly finishing  or going through with something that has ceased to be enjoyable, just because at some earlier point in time you thought it was a good idea.

You don’t always need to ‘see things through’ in order to be a good person.

You are the boss of you!  You get to choose where your time and energy is invested.

I used to think it was some sort of crime to give up on a book.  If I’d invested several hours and emotional energy into it already, surely it would be a ‘waste’ of those hours if I didn’t determinedly pursue it to the bitter end?

Our time on the planet is brief! Let’s make the most of that time, not waste it away doing something that’s stopped being fun or worthwhile. It would be a double waste of time to finish a book out of some misguided attempt to stick things out, because  we’ve been told it’s better to ‘start what you finish’. Those hours reading the dull book are gone! We don’t need to lose any more!  Who exactly is keeping score anyway?

You’re answerable to yourself and only yourself.

You are responsible for yourself, your happiness, and what you do and do not do with your time.  If that means giving up on a book halfway through, walking out of a crap film, leaving a party early, or not going out at all because you just don’t feel like it, then so be it.  That’s the beauty of being autonomous and free!  We just need to act on it!

Don’t do things you don’t want to do. Wouldn’t life be simpler if we all kept to this whenever it was reasonably possible?  I’m not talking about shirking responsibility and living in a selfish bubble as if you were the only person on the planet.  If you have people in your life and you want them to stay there, then of course you have to consider them and make them part of the equation.

But don’t say yes when you really want to say no  to a favour, a night out, whatever.  Your time is precious.  You are precious!  Don’t commit to something unless your heart is really in it. And while we’re at it, remember that you are allowed to change your mind.  Yes really!  You’re in charge!  Circumstances alter, feelings change.  You don’t need to be an unreliable flake but realise that you don’t always have to stay the course.

I know you feel responsible for others people’s happiness, but you are not.

If you do something out of a misplaced sense of duty or obligation you’re not doing anyone any favours, least of all yourself.  You’ll be resentful, and you’ll likely feel depleted because you won’t be being true to yourself. Plus there will probably be weird energy around, because what you are really feeling inside won’t be in alignment with your actions, and that will be somehow palpable.

Maybe we’re worried that we won’t live up to other people’s expectations of who we are. Fine.  Good, even!  There is much liberation to be found in being able to disappoint other people.  Let them be disappointed!  You don’t have a contract with them!  You never signed a deal, saying you were infallible, or flawless, that you never mess up, or change your mind, make mistakes, or have crazy out-of-whack days.

Maybe the person you say no to will react badly, or take it personally. That might be true but it isn’t for you to try to control.  Your job is to be true to yourself, and communicate your truth with respect and kindness, and leave the rest to do whatever it is going to do.

What terrible thing do you think is going to happen anyway?   That people won’t like you?  So what?  What about you liking yourself?  How are you going to feel about yourself if you prioritize someone else’s happiness over your own, time and time again?   What do you think this will do in the long run to your self respect and confidence, not to mention your general happiness and wellbeing?

So much icky communication happens because of doing and saying stuff out of a sense of duty, second guessing, worry or fear. These are not helpful places to make choices from!  We must act from a place of our own truth and sincerity since we can never know or control how someone else is going to react or feel.  Other people are completely out of our area of control.

Identify the areas in your life that are in your control where you can really exercise your autonomy, and act accordingly.  Really.  Leave something unfinished, challenge someone’s expectations of you, change your mind, abandon a project halfway through.  It might not feel easy but I bet you will be happier for it!

Jenny xx

Want some happiness for your walls too?  Get your feel-good and happy-inducing art in my shop here.

Happy Friday beautiful people!

Words to use and avoid if you want to feel good!

 

The words we choose have an enormous influence on how we feel and the way we view ourselves and our lives.

You, my beautiful – precious – unique – cherub, are important, so let your language reflect that.

All of us matter and all of us have our own specific work to do in the world.  You’re here for a reason, cheeky chops.  If we are to fulfill our potential and make the most of our limited time here on the planet then we need to recognise the significant role that the words we use play in shaping our reality.

Yeah baby!

Here are some simple but effective ways to start using language as a tool of self-respect, empowerment and love:

 

Eliminate or reduce certain unhelpful words from your vocabulary.

 

I was having a really interesting conversation the other day, (with myself, but never mind about that), in which I was mulling over a topic and telling myself I found something quite inspiring.

Nothing wrong with that, you might assume.

Then I thought, why am I using the word ‘quite’?  I find this topic inspiring, full stop.  Or even – very or super – inspiring, there’s no ‘quite’ about it, so why am I tempering my true opinion with a ‘quite’?

What’s going on here?

Am I in some sort of misplaced self protective/fearful mode, afraid to simply make the declaration that for me something *is* inspiring,  as in, if I make such a bold statement without diluting it first then I might be made a fool of, should I later be proven wrong (even though that would be impossible because a, I’m never wrong, and b, it’s an opinion we’re talking about here..)

Or Is it because I am typically English and don’t want to ‘make a fuss’, or draw vulgar attention to myself, and I subconsciously believe I’d be ‘coming on too strong’ for some people, making it difficult for them to disagree with me because I’ve been so brazen as to state something as if it were an indisputable fact.  Which I actually haven’t anyway, as I’ve said it  only as an opinion.  And in my own head, for the love of god!

I know, I know, you wish you could be as calm and peaceful as my zen-like mind.

But seriously, don’t underestimate the potency and influence your words can have on your well-being and life in general.  It might seem far-fetched, but if you are constantly watering down the verbal expression of your feelings, or afraid to fully express your views (and therefore yourself) in all your magnificent glory, then over time this will send a clear message to your subconscious of smallness and unworthiness.

I’ve resolved to stop saying the word ‘quite’ unless I am quite* deliberately intending to modify/strenghthen/lessen the impact of whatever adjective it is I am using.

*Ha ha!  See what I did there?!

Another  unnecessary word to consider banishing is ‘just’, a word which can add an unwelcome hurried, harried feel to a conversation, and which can make you seem timidly diminished.

Think of the difference between: ‘I’m just going to do this’ and ‘I’m going to do this’,

or:

‘Can I just ask a question?’ and ‘Can I ask a question?’

It sounds so much cleaner and clearer and expansive without the ‘just’! AmIrightorwhat??????

The ‘just’ is so meek and subservient!  It’s like apologising or seeking permission for going about your business, doing something, or having something to say, having an opinion, or just existing!

You are entitled to your place in the universe as much as everyone else! Claim it with pride! As long as you are respectful and kind –  then stand tall, be here and be your glorious self without any kind of implied apology!

 

Amp up the volume on certain words.

 

Conversely, a bit of auto-suggestion or acting ‘as if’ with the words you use can have a powerfully positive effect on how you feel.  I don’t mean by being or saying anything false, but rather to play up, accentuate, amplify and shift your focus onto what already exists that is positive.

So for example if someone asks how you are, and you’re feeling generally well and happy enough, then reply that you feel ‘great’ instead of merely ‘good’, and the chances are that you will then actually feel great rather than just good!

 

Say thank you instead of sorry.

 

Another idea I read about recently  (I think somewhere on Randi Buckley’s lovely and extremely helpful blog) is to substitute ‘thank you’ for ‘sorry’, as in ‘thank you for waiting for me’ rather than ‘sorry I’m late’, ‘thanks for understanding that I can’t do that favour,’ instead of ‘I’m sorry I can’t do you the favour’, ‘thank you for taking the time to explain something to me,’ instead of preempting a question with ‘Sorry to bother you, sorry to be a pain but…’ etc.

I find this truly empowering!  You still acknowledge the other person and their needs, but you’re coming from a positive place of gratitude and appreciation for that person, rather than making a negative apology for yourself.

Of course saying thank you rather than sorry is no substitute when you have actually done something wrong that you truly need or want to apologise for!

 

Notice the way you talk to yourself.

 

Nourishing words only!  Be kind.  Everything is better if you can be your own best friend and hold your own hand.  Speak to yourself like you matter.  Because, hello, you do.

 

Be aware of how you describe yourself and your life to other people.

 

You’ll start believing what you say, so you might as well make it half full. And again, I’m not talking about making stuff up or embellishing, or glossing over the crap that happens or that you feel. Just don’t give it unnecessary attention or energy which could be more helpfully put to use elsewhere.

 

The language we use is without a doubt prescriptive as well as descriptive, and is a hugely powerful form of expression.

Let’s treat our verbal language – and with it, ourselves – with the importance it deserves. Whether that means using it as a tool of respect for yourself and other people, learning to talk to and about yourself with kindness and love, thinking nourishing thoughts instead of beating yourself up, or simply having some awareness of the kind of effect words have on our lives and in the world.

Thanks for reading, Pretty ones!  Let me know in the comments if I’ve missed any salient points.  I might do another post on this, as for the sake of length and not wanting to rant I deliberately didn’t talk about labelling and the word vagina.  Gasp!

 

More love-inducing words and art to make you feel good over in my Etsy shop

Favourite things: Poppy!

thank you heart

Hello beautiful people of the tinterwebs

I’m typing this with my nearly 4 week old Poppy by my side.  Sigh….new mama hormones are here, I’m so in love with our little baby girl.  And to think I wanted another boy!

I’ve no idea what week it is this week, and who cares?  It’s just a number, like one’s age, it doesn’t really mean anything, unless you’re like me and use it as an excuse to beat yourself up about all the things you thought you might or should have achieved by now and haven’t.

I’m reading The art of being unmistakable by Srinivas Rao, and there are some gems of wisdom in there, let me tell you!  This, for example :

What if AJ Leon’s wise words “this is not your practice life” became the filter for all your decisions?

I like the idea of having a filter for my decisions.  I’ve been wanting to dye my hair blue for a while now but have been too concerned about what people might think (too old, pretentious, why?)  Well if this is not my practice life I better get on with it and who cares what anyone may or may not think???? I imagine they have more pressing concerns anyway n’est-ce pas??!!

Here are some of my happy list things at the moment:

♥ Poppy! (Obviously!  She arrived safe and sound and we love her so much) ♥ New sofa in my studio (I’ll post photos soon) it makes it look soooo cosy!  Perfect for the coming winter months.♥ Steal like an artist book ♥ The art of being unmistakable book.♥ Large Amazon book order full of creative books that I thought I would treat myself to.♥ Somerset Studio magazines – soooo much artistic inspiration! ♥ One of my midwives recognising me in the hospital corridor a couple of weeks later and making a big fuss over me and Poppy, saying how gorgeous she was.♥ Elly’s homemade lasagnes cooked for me whilst I’m at home alone with Poppy.♥ What a thoughtful friend! ♥ Clare coming round and cooking me lunch. Another amazing friend! ♥ Feeling fit and healthy.♥ A million handmedowns for Poppy.♥ Central bookshop.  I went there the other day after a hiatus of a few months.  Yet more inspiration!  So many artsy design and craft books that I don’t actually feel guilty spending money on, because, well, it’s research innit?!! ♥ The Apprentice TV series.  I hesitated to include that but it’s my new thing to be unapologetically myself so I’m owning my guilty secrets!

I’ll leave you with a wee picture of Poppy:

IMG_5513

Wishing you lots of love and unabashed self acceptance!

Jenny xx

PS  Not joined my mailing list yet?  Click here to jump on the rosy train!

I will not let anyone walk through my mind with their dirty feet

gandhi quote

Why hello there!

Thanks for popping over.  What do you think of the slightly new-look blog?  I’m sprucing things up, slowly but surely.  So nice to make little changes here and there, breaths of fresh air!

I heard this quote by Gandhi the other day and was really struck by it.

So I made a collage!

It seems really empowering to me in the sense that you get to choose what you allow to enter your head. Your precious psyche.  You are actually able to choose if someone else’s rudeness, harsh words, negativity, patronising smile or ill wishes are going to ruin your day or not.  You decide if another person’s crap is going to take root in your mind, make itself comfortable, put its feet on your sofa and leave muddy tracks on your polished wooden floorboards.  The quotation reminds me to take nothing personally, to let pointless criticism go in one ear and out the other, and remember that however someone is acting it’s usually all about them, and has nothing to do with me.

So stop right there Mr toxic nastiness and Ms naysayer!  You’re going nooooo further!  I’m not going to perpetuate the bad feeling or let it gather momentum by reacting with equal impoliteness or whatever it is I’m on the receiving end of; I won’t compromise my integrity just because you’re having a bad day or hate your job or your life or more probably your self.

We have that power, and we are too important to give it away or put our sense of equilibrium or self-worth or self-anything into anyone else’s hands!

Yeah!

A happy what’s-left-of-Tuesday to you!

Love Jenny xx

PS.  Anyone else obsessed with The Bridge?

PPS.  I do love a good non-sequitur.

Hello, might I tell you that you’re beautiful?

Beautiful you by This Rosy Life

Feeling the love today my buttons!  I’m a firm believer in that which you pay attention to and focus on expands, so here’s to spreading the love and telling yourself you’re beautiful and loved!  You can say it or think it and not believe it (which always happens to me, why is it so bloody hard???  Like meditating!) but that doesn’t matter because you’re planting the seeds anyway, and the more you do something the more of a habit it becomes.  And even if you think its silly or you feel silly or self-conscious (even to yourself!) well so what, it’s a better way to spend your time than thinking negative thoughts about yourself and putting yourself down innit like?

It’s also true that every single thing you do today ( be it thoughts, actions, plans, reminiscing, deeds, whatever) you’re setting up your future with.  You are shaping and creating your future with whatever you do today, now, every second.

We have the power to be what we want to be!!!

Make sure the stuff you do today is in alignment with what you would like to be like tomorrow.  Easier said then done but we can try…

Today Im grateful:

♥ for Creativa, a lot of beautiful art, supplies and inspiration all under one roof.  ♥ for card games and red wine with Joe (especially as I won, ha ha!) for 4 day working weeks ♥ for Blogcast FM.  I’ve definitely said that before but really it’s soooo good!  Creative people’s stories about who they are and tips to become the person you want to be.  The stories are from creative entrepreneurs but it’s very spiritual and philosophical too, and Srinivas Rao‘s style of interviewing is intuitive and lovely!  ♥ for fun girls’ nights out with good friends ♥ for business advice from Lisa ♥ for knowing my limits (FINALLY! with alcohol!) and sticking to them ♥ for this lovely parenting website handinhandparenting ♥ for poinsettias and Christmas being round the corner. ♥  for catch ups with Connie. ♥ for surprises. ♥ for people making an effort. ♥ for Jamie and his smile and hugs for everyone, I LOVE THAT BOY and feel so privileged that he’s my son!

Wishing you a big bunch of flowers or a gorgeous smelling hyacinth in a pot, a friendly puppy giving you a hello bark, and a big radiant sun coming out of your heart!

Love Jenny xx

Wonderful Wednesday!

pink whimsical woman

Hello

It’s the first day back after the holidays for Joe, so I’m on my own again with Jamie, after a pretty rubbish night’s sleep.

Gah!

The night weaning is slow work, we just have to keep plodding on I guess.  Plod plod plod.  Anyway in a supreme effort not to let what would normally colour the day or the ‘start’ of the week in a bad way, I bring you wonderful Wednesday!!

It’s easy to wallow and indulge negativity when you let it, it kind of feels like relaxing into something and stopping the struggle to feel differently.  And if something’s a struggle then it can’t be right, right??!!

Oh the twisted logic! I’m not saying don’t feel your feelings;  acknowlege them, feel them and sit with them, but don’t wallow and make more of them than they actually are, which is easy to do if you insist on dwelling on them.  I’m not saying to repress anything and plaster on a big fake smile and irritate people by never admitting anything’s wrong or that you may need help.  I am saying don’t stop the effort to look on the bright side, make the best of things, count your blessings, take pleasure in little everyday things, be nice to yourself, be nice to others, lift yourself out of any self indulgent black clouds that might be hovering over you.  Life’s too short.  See each day as a microcosm of your life, of how you want to live your life.  Do you want to be begrudging, resentful, a whinger, a self-pitying moaner?  Everyone has stuff to deal with.  Things aren’t that bad, really.  Honest gov!

♥  So here’s my list of wee happy things.  Phew!!  Wonderful Wednesday is baaaaack!!! ♥

♥ orange lilies on my desk. My favourite flower ever, I think, after roses, of course.  And forgetmenots, tulips and bluebells ♥ beautiful blossoming trees ♥ beach walks and feeling the sand beneath our toes-the oldies are always the goodies! ♥ the collage above, one of my very first ones in this style.  I’ve now got over 20.  Go me for being productive and finding something I love! ♥ tofu and avocado sandwiches ♥ Lush honey and jasmine shower gel, sooooo indulgent! ♥ Joe singing off key Twinkle Twinkle Little Star to crying  tired Jamie. Officially the best daddy in the world ♥ caramel icecreams ♥ Finding 100 euros we’d forgotten about after Joe saying he wanted to find 70. Thanks Universe! ♥ Spring cleaning and clothes purges ♥ finding our perfect flat, fingers crossed we get it, should find out in the next couple of days.  Please please please let it be ours!!!!!!!!!

And I leave you with this quote, which I love:

‘Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.’  Melody Beattie

Have a wonderful Wednesday my darlings!!

Is it a rabbit or hare? Right answer wins the card!

Finished my fifth and final Christmas card yesterday, hooray!

Thanks to getting a babysitter for Jamie for a couple of hours, which I think I’m going to make a regular thing on Fridays.  A treat for me which also sends the message to myself that my work is worth dedicating time to, and can be taken seriously.  I still call it ‘work’ tongue-in-cheek, which shouldn’t be the case, just because it’s fun and I love doing it, doesn’t mean I can’t make a living from creating pretty stuff and selling it now does it!  No sirree!  (ahem)  I wonder why it’s ‘yes’ m’am and ‘no’ sir….by the way?!  Who decided which answer for which gender?  This artic hare card to the first person who gives me the right answer.

Anyway hope you like the artic hare/rabbit card.  You’ll be able to buy packs of 5 Christmas cards now at a bargainous discount, available shortly in the old Etsy shop.  Have a great Saturday!

Today’s going to be good!

 

I made this collage the other day when I woke up in a bit of a negative mood.

 

I decided to take charge of myself and show my mind who’s boss by doing  a little auto-suggestion in the form of a collage.  It felt a bit false at first, as I certainly didn’t feel like the day was going to be good, but as I got caught up in deciding which tiny scrap of paper to glue down next to which tiny scrap of paper (it was during Jamie’s nap) I forgot about being in a bad mood and I could feel the atmosphere changing around me as I did something active to make myself feel better.

 

It’s really easy to start the day off badly and have everything go downhill from there – you stub your toe, run out of milk, leave the house late, miss the bus, hate everybody you meet etc etc.  I’ve been reading The Secret lately, and while I don’t agree with everything in the book, a lot of what it says makes a lot of sense.

 

Essentially:  Our thoughts control how we experience our reality, and like attracts like.  If you send out positive thoughts into the world, positive events will come back to you.

 

We have the power to change our thoughts, therefore WE are in control (at least to a certain extent) of our reality.  We’re certainly in control of our reaction to events that happen to us.  

 

We can choose to let events spiral out of control on a bad day or we can choose to stop the spiral, breathe, and change the chip.

 

Some days it’s going to be easier than others, of course, but if I can remember this knowledge just sometimes, well that’s got to be a good thing.

 

My day turned out wonderfully.  People smiled at me on the street, Jamie got given a little bread roll in the bakery, I had a letter from the tax office that wasn’t a demand for payment (come on, you take what you can get!!), and Joe came home with some lilies for me!!

 

So I’ve put the collage on my bedroom wall where I can see it every day and remind myself of my own power (wa ha ha!).  I was also then inspired to make this one a few days later.  Both originals and cards available soon in my Etsy shop.  Spreading the love!

 

Self love Monday!

I pledge to be who I am no matter WHAT, and by any means necessary’

Super powerful words don’t you think?  I heard them listening to an album on Spotify, The Grace within you.  The track is called I am by Aykanna.  I thought they warranted repeating and putting on to a collage that I can see every day to remind myself.  I love it when messages jump out at you (from song lyrics, overheard conversations, snippets from a book, radio, film, TV, whatever…)