Little Lights

This week has been an odd one. I’ve just felt a bit…blah. Yaknow what I mean? I can’t really find a word for it. I’ve spent most of this week in my head trying to figure out why I feel this way as opposed to sitting down and feeling it from the heart. As such, I’ve spent so much time in my own mind, being wound up with myself instead of looking out into the world, I’ve not been able to be grateful and mindfully in each moment.

I know what triggered it. I was worried about something (which has now been resolved) and, suddenly, my mind was plunged into this indecisive state. In the words of Oscar Wilde, I was ‘tossed in terrible tangles of some wild and wind-swept sea’ in my mind. You’d think with everything I write about I’d be able to get some leverage within myself to stop this from happening, right? LOL. Nope.

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As I write this, I’ve just seen a quote someone posted on Instagram which is so appropriate – Don’t forget to pretend you have your shit together for strangers on the internet today!
Fuck that.
This week I’ve been feeling really shitty and I’ve beaten myself up about it.
I know, I know; I shouldn’t. But even thinking “I shouldn’t” just adds to the guilt. So, I’ve nothing really to share with you this Sunday – no little nuggets of truth I’ve discovered throughout my week, no reflections, nothing which I really feel would help us live a little better…Unfortunately, you’ve got my internal ramblings.
Lucky you.

What I have learnt about myself, however, is that as soon as I open the door of my heart to worry, or to negativity, or to unkindness, or anger, it’s so easy to let the other shit sneak in. What started with worry just left a bad feeling in my gut that lingered like a bad smell and, soon enough, other crap started to sneak up; misanthropy, impatience, disregard for others, etc. Then I start to feel bad for feeling bad…and the cycle continues…

There was nothing I could do to resolve it within myself – although, Yoga helped. Mindful breathing and movement of the body was enough to drag me out of my head and back into the world for a time…

But, what really helped was…other people. This is weird for me to admit, actually. I feel a little resistance rise up in me when I say that because I am a fiercely independent person and like to rely on myself. It takes a lot for me to reach out to others and ask for some assistance. Even then, I’ll only ask for half of what I need. Considering I’ve written about this before, it’s still a tricky one to learn. However, when I was in a funk this week, it was focusing on the kindness of others that really brought me back into the moment and allowed a little spark of gratitude to fly within me which – I’m sure – will become the flames of mindful joy again.

It was the friendly barista on Monday morning, asking about my day;
It was the colleague who made me laugh out loud on Thursday afternoon;
It was the friend who text me in the week to share something funny with me she knew I’d appreciate;
It was the cups of tea and snacks my husband made me when I was tired after a long day;
It was seeing family and spending time with them on a lazy afternoon;
It was the jovial conversation made with random strangers in passing…

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It was these little moments of light, little flickers of human kindness, that allowed me to be grateful, drag me out of my own endless meanderings of my mind, and back into the present moment with a smile. Life isn’t about big moments of happiness continuously forever; it simply doesn’t work like that. Life is about piecing together the small moments of wonder, awe, joy, laughter, and gratitude – sewing each thread into the tapestry of your life, standing back, and realising that it was all connected. (Fearne Cotton’s book, Happy, really goes into to detail with this and I would definitely recommend it to anyone who needs a bit of encouragement.)

As I was listening to her podcast one morning, Rachel Brathen mentioned that life is about all of us leading each other home. I love that. These simple acts that we don’t even realise we do on a day-to-day basis all add up. These little acts allowed me to come back home and feel at peace with myself. Isn’t it wonderful to think that we can have such a positive impact on each other’s day?

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This reminds me of a moment I had years ago. It was such a beautiful life lesson for me and I’d love to share it with you now…

When we were 22, myself and my best friend went travelling around Italy for a few weeks. It was unforgettable, for all the right reasons, and we travelled around a few of the main cities in Italy we really wanted to see, ending our journey in Rome.
This one day, after we’d spent most of the day walking around the city, we stopped for a rest on the Spanish Steps. We were really tired at this point, aching from the walk, and anticipating the long journey back to the hostel we were staying at. We were not on top form. Anyway, we sat there for a while, people watching and talking, when a large family of tourists in front of us started taking photographs of each other. Knowing we were right behind them, and well in their shot, we ducked down…To which they started laughing and said “No! No!”, motioning with their hands for us to resume our seating position and inviting us to be in their photos. The two people who were originally sat in front of us moved next to us, put their arms around us, and smiled. We were all laughing so hard as they each took their turn to sit with us and make funny faces or smile. We didn’t speak the same language at all (they managed to communicate they were visiting from Korea and us from the UK, and that was about it) but it didn’t matter. It was entirely random and wonderfully hilarious. After about 10 minutes of taking photos, pulling stupid faces, and smiling non-stop, they waved goodbye, and off they went. However, they’d left us such a lovely gift; our mood had lifted and we were completely happy after that, still laughing about it to ourselves.

That small, innocent moment made me realise the scope of human kindness and allowed me to understand the influence that you can have on someone’s day and how important it is to use that influence to be kind. We can so easily forget to do this when we’re hurting or caught up in our own heads but, being on the receiving end of such simple acts, it shows how much it can change someone’s day.

If you like their shoes, tell them. If you think their outfit is amazing, let them know. If you appreciate what they do, thank them specifically. If you’re worried about someone, ask them what’s up. Make the friendly small talk whilst you wait for coffee. Make them a cup of tea just because. Buy them a chocolate bar if they need a pick me up; heck, buy the damn chocolate bar just because it’s good to give gifts.
Be kind. Be loving. Be vulnerable. Be the little light in someone’s day.

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So, that’s been my week. I feel better for sharing it with you, in all honesty. I’m glad you’re here.

Until next week…Love always,

Laura xo

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