Monthly Archives: April 2012

Does being calm mean I don’t care?

It seems lately most of my posts are an explanation of the time it has taken in between posts.
Although I can scarcely believe that I haven’t posted since Easter! I am currently getting geared up for my new kitchen, which is very exciting, and the subject of a other post. I had already written s post about the kitchen but it got lost in a sync error.

Nevertheless the subject for today is calmness. I have been looking back on my recent accident in the car. I love this car as much as I did my first brand new car so how have I remained so calm with what has happened?
Firstly I am so very thankful that the accident was a low speed shunt in which no one was hurt. After all physical injury requires healing, bent metal only takes money. I can now identify with the whole “slow motion” effect that people talk about.

When I had my first totally new car (my third car all told) I was very protective of her, and still am to this day. Her name is Oriana and although my mother now officially owns her I still lay my claim in conversation. I even recall a conversations I had regarding other motorists that were driving erratically (I encourage you to read between the lines on that comment) and how I would “kill” them if they caused damaged to my car. Suffice to say Oriana was at the time my most prized possession.
This was the case during my redundancy and I did everything I needed to do to keep my flat and my car secure. This was an excellent way to stay motivated but the feelings of wishing to hurt others if they caused damage to my property was certainly not healthy.

Moving forward to my current car who I have named Zephyr and which I also have a strong affinity for. I definitely have feelings equal to those for Oriana. Yet i have no I have never thought of harming anyone for damaging Zephyr, not theoretically or actually. I grant that the reason for the bent panels currently under repair was my own decision but still calmness has prevailed throughout. I am confident in a good repair job and of welcoming my little car back home soon.

In the meantime I am exercising even more care and calm on the roads than before and having the opportunity to try the model of car that I most certainly would have bought had I not found Zephyr. A comparison which helps me love my choice of car even more.

What can I take from this other than to encourage everyone to drive with love, drive like you aren’t in a rush, drive like you care about everyone else on the road and most importantly drive like you want to keep yourself (and anyone with you) safe. I will finish with the words I say in my mind when I see someone driving fast or aggressively. Go safely with love…

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What do we sacrifice now?

Today is Easter Sunday and rather than just wishing everyone a Happy Easter, which I will. I also wanted the time to reflect on what I hope is a lesson.
We probably all know the religious significance of the Easter holiday and Lent before it, and for those that don’t Wikipedia will do a better job explaining than I can in a few lines on a blog.

So the subject is sacrifice and resurrection and the lessons I feel I can draw from this. Lent calls for a forty days of fasting, prayer and penance. Mostly now people choose to give up a favourite food or drink rather than a more traditional fast. This would seem to make sense as we are more aware of the nutritional requirements of our bodies and the harm we can cause by not meeting these regularly. However are we just paying lip service to a lesson that can apply to use throughout the year? If we have already adapted what else can we draw from this?

Forty days is a barely eleven percent of the year. For the rest of the year would we gladly give something up for the benefit of another? I don’t speak only of the most extreme idea of would you swap your life for someone but the simplest examples, would you step back and let someone get on the bus before you? Would you still do that even if they arrived at the bus stop after you?
A great many of us spend our lives prioritising only our needs and there is nothing wrong with making sure we are looked after but does it not make sense as the saying goes to “pick our battles”.

After all if you expend your energy making sure you are on that bus first then what benefit do you get? A better choice of seat, perhaps? The ability to part with your money earlier, certainly. Now let’s think of what benefits you get by letting someone else go first. A smile or nod, hopefully. A feeling that you have helped make someone else’s day just a tiny but better, probably. The ability to watch as your one act of kindness is reflected in those around you throughout the day, most likely.

As children we have always learned by the example set to us, be that by teachers, parents, other children or authority figures. In truth we are still largely influenced by the examples around us. Therefore the simple choice exists for us to simply switch off and follow the examples shown to us or to be active in our choices in these areas. Choosing to show kindness and watch for it on others, enjoying the moments of pleasure that you can have by influencing others choices for the better.

My thought this Easter is therefore to take this learning into every day. Give something small every day and watch the world give back to you. After all the more you sacrifice (by showing kindness) the more there will be to resurrect (when others show kindness to you).

Have a wonderful Easter everyone!

Home for Easter and How I rely on my car

I am currently sat on a train making my way back to my parents house for the Easter weekend. I had intended to start my journey last night. Having gotten in my car and decided to head to a petrol station before setting out of the longer journey I was promptly cut short.
My car has been suffering from some periods of power loss during long journeys but this has been manageable thus far. Last night she gave her final word of protest and within half a mile of home had reverted to “limp mode”. If anyone reading has had to drive a car in limp mode it is an interesting challenge if you have to stop the vehicle and restart. The engine is completely limited to 2000 revs and as such you have to move up through the gearbox faster than normal during acceleration, otherwise you peak where you don’t expect to.
Somewhat disappointed I got the car back home and accreted that I may just have to give the journey home a miss this time around.
Having slept on it I was still happy to continue the weekend and simply relax in my own company. I have plenty of things I can be I doing to keep myself entertained.

I then had an interesting experience of receiving a phone call from my dad. The reason for this being interesting is that it is a very rare event. I helped to get my dad a mobile phone at the end of last year (his first) and to my knowledge he is still using the initial ten pound credit l put in the phone!
He has been looking forward to seeing me and had baked some cakes (a tasty pass time he has indulged since his retirement) and was looking forward to sharing. He suggested the train trip I am currently enjoying and that my parents would drive me back with my bike (a key component of all my upcoming cycling activities) on Monday.
Suffice to say it didn’t take me long to lighten the load that I had packed last night and get to the train station.

Whilst it may not be easy to see what I am learning there is definitely a benefit. I am considering the train as an alternative to get my to Bournemouth and Bath for the SkyRide events. It also allows me to appreciate how lucky I am to have my own transportation, and to enjoy some people watching as I sit on trains and stations along the journey. The day is crisp but with a beautiful blue sky. Only good things will come if you don’t let minor inconvenience stand in your way!

The Importance of Sleep

I have just woken up from a very refreshing sleep.  Somewhat unusual to be doing so on a working day.  Particularly with the busy schedule we have been working towards.  Although this does highlight that although I may have learnt this lesson once I may need a refresher.

Last year I found myself out of balance and not sleeping well.  I constantly felt tired and did not know what to do.  It felt like each night for weeks I had slept up to two hours.  Although in truth I had been sleeping for five or six hours.  I had been aware of sleep monitoring for some time as this integrates with the RunKeeper site.  I opted for a sleep monitor that would be worn at night and measure brain wave activity to determine my waking, REM, light and deep sleep states.  The Zeo Bedside also came with a free account on the Zeo website that allows uploading of your data and also coaching.  These coaching tips would come once a week and ask you to provide six nights of data as you put the tips in practice.  They are very simple steps of not using electronic devices for forty minutes before bed, limiting noise and light sources in or near the bedroom.  The result was that I not only found that my sleep had been good but also helped me maintain a very healthy (better than average) sleeping pattern.

So this has slipped somewhat at the moment.  The consistency has been disturbed by a change in work pattern to move between different shift patterns (albeit only altering my work start time over a two hour range) this is not something i have particulate control over and therefore something to simply adjust to.  I have been feeling additional pressure and am as always driven to succeed.  I am therefore neglecting my personal creative outlets that provide me great joy and allow me to enjoy my off time.  I have enabled work to integrate more into my personal time and have been spending extra time in order to maintain an idea that I am “keeping my head above water”.  These areas are certainly well within my power of choice.  Consequently my choices have been to “make the most” of the time I don’t allocate to work by watching TV up until going to bed, ignoring the “power down hour” concept.

Of course all of these choices made then lead to a lower average level of sleep which further enables me to make further poor quality choices.  The cycle then continues and as a result i feel the need to push myself further and further to accomplish what I need to at work whilst further disregarding the importance of my personal life and commitments.  To the extent that after a particularly busy day my Manager felt the need (for my benefit) to advise me to go home and sleep.  I choose to see the great value of a boss that holds staff welfare in this regard and to take this latest warning point to put the quality back in.

I am now choosing to put the quality back into my sleep management and restore the lost disciplines to ensure my nights are as valuable as they can be.  I also choose to put the quality of my personal time back into play as it does not serve my wellbeing to obsess about the quality of my efforts at work and then fail to make even the basic efforts for my own enjoyment.  As Louise Hay teaches the point of power is in this moment, I now choose differently…

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