Monday, 21 December 2015

Choosing to Respond...

I have always been a pretty sensitive, and thus reactive, person. This is not as simple as reacting to problems by losing my temper but it has, inevitably, happened at times. It is also a keen awareness of expectations or other peoples needs. This has lead me to 'smooth' situations over by agreeing to do or say whatever needed to be done or said. To make that person feel better. Quickly and with little or no thought. The problem with that approach is, unfortunately, that 'smoothing' things over has often been to my detriment.

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Over the last month I have increased my yoga practice a lot. I am really proud of my efforts and grateful for all of the support and guidance I am receiving from my yoga teachers.

I started doing a level 1 200 hour yoga teacher training course in November. You might remember that I set myself a goal to increase my practice from 1 to 2 times a week earlier in the year. In the last month I have been practicing 5 times a week. This has been somewhat at the expense of sleep since the only way I can fit it in is by waking at 5am (or as soon as I snap awake after the alarm has been turned off!). It has been so worthwhile that I am happy to sacrifice a few zzz's.

At my morning practice today my teacher talked about using yoga to find the connection with ourselves so that we can choose how to respond to the daily tasks and challenges that arise. Rather than just reacting to them. After she said it I realised that I am starting to do that. I just hadn't put what I was doing into words or processed it yet.

I mentioned how good I am feeling about Christmas in my last post. I have realised I am feeling good because I have figured out (and continuing to figure out!) what I want to happen at Christmas. After working it out I (and this is probably the most important part!) let other people know and asked for their help to make it happen.

In hindsight I have always struggled to do both parts of this process. Finding time to figure out what you want can be difficult in itself. When I have been lucky enough to figure out what I wanted I then struggled to find a good way to ask people to help and support it.

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I think my yoga practice might be a big part of the reason that I felt collected and comfortable enough to find respectful and reasonable ways to discuss what I would like. It is really important to me that I am not a domineering bully. I think that is why I haven't asked much in the past. I haven't known how to without coming from a negative place. Quite possibly because I thought I was being selfish.

This new found sense of confidence has really helped me to successfully return to part-time work. I have felt comfortable with making slower decisions and waiting to find answers that felt right. In the past I tended to put pressure on myself to find quick solutions and would take it personally if they were not well received.

I'm finding that 'slow' solutions are much less stressful and that I am learning more from the process. It is much more meaningful and enjoyable. I am learning to listen to my colleagues suggestions and advice. Even when I don't like them at first.

Given that the Christmas season often brings its own surprises and challenges, big and small, I wanted to share the concept of choosing how to respond with you. When shit is hitting the fan because there is no space in the fridge or the roast hasn't turned out I invite you to take a moment and think to yourself - how do I choose to respond to this situation? Does it really matter?

I'm willing to bet that it's probably the least important thing that will happen to you all day. Despite it being the most stressful. Try to take stock of what you really want this Christmas. If it is simply sharing the day with your friends and family then take the time to truly enjoy their company. Don't sweat it if you can't find the perfect gift. Don't waste hours looking. Write them a little note promising to do something meaningful with them as a gift instead. Then relax!

Wishing you a very merry Christmas and looking forward to blogging it up with you again in the New Year!

Lizzing Lightly x

Tuesday, 8 December 2015

A crafty start to Christmas is the way to go

It's official! The tree is up and the buzz of calls asking what to get for Turtle has started. I am feeling surprisingly calm and, unbelievably, festive!

Our quirky Christmas tree
A colleague sent me a link to this blog a few weeks ago and it prompted some action that has made me feel much more at ease with the start of the silly season. I decided to scavenge a branch from somewhere and create our own version of a gift tree.

It also motivated me to email my family and suggest some gifts that would be meaningful and appreciated. Since Turtle is becoming quite aware that the family is so far away photographs are an important way to stay close, no matter how busy we all are and how big the time difference is. I have suggested that the family send some recent pictures accompanied by a little story about what was happening when it was taken. I have been meaning to print some off myself for months and never get around to it.

Otherwise, we have requested that they send a promise or pledge to do something nice with her throughout the year. I am about to start making some of my own to add to our gorgeous tree (pictured above). I have seen so many lovely Christmas tree ideas this year that are quite artistic and original. Here is a link to a few that are quirky and gorgeous.

I also suggested that if anyone preferred to buy a gift then to make it small and preferably secondhand or fair trade so that it would be giving back to the community and generally be less wasteful.

The mixture of lovely crafty ideas that have been happening, along with a proactive approach to asking what we would like, seems to have made Christmas feel less daunting this year. 

I am also feeling much more prepared to meet the relatives halfway and let them buy something new, as long as it is something that Turtle needs. They deserve to be able to give something just as much as I deserve to be able to reduce the wastefulness of what we receive.

I hope this calm, happy and balanced feeling will stay with me as the month continues... We will see! I will be sure to report back and let you know.

How has your Christmas season started? Are you feeling annoyed and jealous after reading this blog because it been a stressful? Or are you also feeling surprised that you've also managed to start things off on a good note? I sincerely hope it is the latter.

Thanks for reading, I'm linking up with EssentiallyJess for #IBOT today.

Lizzing Lightly