A few pictures I have coloured from the wonderful adult colouring in book: ‘Johanna’s Christmas’ by Johanna Basford. I hope it brightens up your day a little. x
I’m enjoying a beautiful view of the city as I type. What started out as a grey and rainy day has given way to sunshine and blue skies, and as I write I can see cars stream along the motorway bridge, and in the far distance I can see hills, tall flats, church spires and dark green leafy trees.
Above the pale blue there are a few cotton candy like white clouds, and above them some heavy grey clouds moving slowly across the sky, giving glimmers of hope through gaps from which blue skies and sunshine can be seen.
After some days of rain, it is a comfort to see the sun and shadows shine through my windows, making patterns with light and shade on my wooden living room floor.
The steady stream of traffic makes me wonder where people are coming from and going to, although it is not overly busy. This scene in itself, in my peaceful, newly tidied living room with a glimpse of the outside world is beguiling in its simplicity.
We are still living in uncertain and unsettling times. Every time I watch or read the news I see more information about the pandemic that we are living through. I hear of tensions in the world with regards to upcoming elections, misuse of power, racism and injustice and suffering and anxiety about the future as children go back to schools, as we approach autumn and winter time and people fear for a ‘second wave’ of the pandemic getting above the capacity to manage it.
We’ve probably all become familiar in these times with the concept of focusing on what is within our locus of control. Initially writing about life post-lockdown, I am now writing during a time of some restrictions being reinstated in my city due to new outbreaks, and elsewhere in the UK there are local lockdowns.
This past week I have been using my time at home while I await updates from work, to do a big home declutter and reorganisation. I’m glad for the time to do it because otherwise things always seem to wait for another day. For motivation I’ve been watching some programmes on You Tube about hoarding, decluttering, and deep cleaning and organisation.
Just as with clearing out our homes, we need to take time to clear our minds of clutter, and unhelpful thoughts and thinking patterns, and unsurprisingly the state of our immediate environment can affect our inner state in terms of our emotions, thoughts and outlook on life.
While in this pandemic there is a lot that we can’t control, things that we need to look at through the lens of Faith, there are things in our immediate surroundings that we can do to help us to gain more clarity of mind, peace in our surroundings in our homes as we spend more time there and giving ourselves the chance to reflect and consider how to move forwards in our individual lives and to seek out creative solutions. When we are burdened by the clutter around us, we won’t feel as free to think, reflect, solve problems, create, or grow.
And just as in the process of decluttering, tidying and making things beautiful, we face phases of having to look at the mess, sort through and make decisions on what is important enough to keep or discard, and finding a place for each thing in order to simplify our lives and promote wellbeing by reducing stress as our lives become more ordered in our environments, we also go through similar processes as we sort through and process our thoughts and experiences.
So whatever uncertainties you may be facing in this pandemic, and in life in general just now, perhaps you can take a fresh look at what is within the realm of your control, and what steps you can take to change things for the better. A practical first step is to look at your living space and ease the load off yourself by getting things in order, and creating spaces that free you up to do things you enjoy and pursue creativity and seek peace and relaxation during this unsettling time in the world.
If you need help with this, I have several posts in my section on Home and Lifestyle that can help to get you started and avoid feeling overwhelmed. While we spend more time in our homes this year, where possible, let’s try to make some changes for the better that will help us to move forwards with greater clarity of mind, and less anxiety in our hearts. x
Around this time last month, I wrote a post reflecting upon autumn, and also that I was making a start on creating an autumnal vibe in my home décor. I left you with a messy picture of the beginnings of ‘tidying away the spring’ in my home, and I almost immediately got to work on ushering in autumn into my home. The only thing is, I didn’t get around to posting it, so my apologies for that. You can look back at my previous post here:
I’m well into my ‘Winter Survival Guide’ series, so I thought I’d better share my autumn home décor updates with you before it’s time to post my Christmas and winter home updates! 🙂
So here goes with a little glimpse into my home.
Gathering in what I already have:
I think with most of us wanting to be environmentally aware, and responsible, a good place to start when changing your décor from one season to the next, is by looking in your home to find what you already have rather than immediately going out to buy new things.
I did just that, and I didn’t actually buy anything new to update my home for the autumn season. I just gathered together what I had that might have been hiding away in the back of cupboards, or stored under the bed or wherever I had put my autumn and winter things, or just things that I hadn’t really noticed for a while.
Here is what I came up with. I hope you enjoy a little glimpse into my home.
I have a few more pictures I’d like to share, but that I can’t upload at the moment, which means you can look forward to a part 2 with the finishing touches 🙂 x
1. Looking through my home and gathering together what I already have, rather than buying anything new.
2. Organising and ‘redecorating’ with minimal fuss, to usher out the spring, and bring in some Autumnal vibes, that can easily be added to or changed up when Christmas and winter comes around.
I’ve been writing a lot about the autumn and winter seasons in my ‘Winter Survival Guide’ series (in which there is more to come, you’ll hopefully be pleased to hear, as a lot of you seem to be enjoying this). I’ve touched upon how the changing of the seasons can reflect aspects of our lives that in their time either fall away from us or we let go of.
One theme and aspect of life I’d like to write a little more about in this post, as it applies to my life right now, is that of Friendship.
Friendships teach us about ourselves:
Friendships come in different forms and at different times of our lives, for different seasons and reasons. Although I’ve entitled this post ‘Fair-weather Friends & Friends For Life…’, I know that life isn’t as straightforward as this proverbial dichotomy.
Friendships and our friends as well as ourselves can be complicated, intricate and not easy to define.
However, if we are present, we will always learn a lot from our friendships, including learning more about ourselves and how we relate to other people, although at times we may have ‘blind spots’ as regards the patterns of our own thinking and behaviours, and our friends will have their own ‘blind spots’ too.
An unknown journey:
I don’t entirely know what shape this post will end up taking, what ‘conclusions’ I will reach and have to share with you, and in a sense as we embark upon new friendships or relationships we also are exploring the unknown, unfamiliar, and inconclusive.
We share life with a range of people, and although people are far too unique and special to categorise, we do often clearly have ‘types’ of interactions. These may change over time, and we may become closer or more distant from people, and this is all part of the learning curve, as well as the ebb and flow of life.
In my life right now I can say that in terms of people in my life, I have my immediate family, close friends, friends who are not as close, acquaintances, people I interact with on a regular basis but might not know as well such as work colleagues, people who serve lunch in the canteen, the concierge in my building, and people who I see at work but don’t know by name. Some of these relationships overlap or change over time. For example, I have a couple of colleagues at work who are also close friends. I have worked with people who I once didn’t know but who I became friends with, who I now consider close and lifelong friends but who I no longer work with because they have changed jobs, retired (I have good friends of all different ages), or moved on to another stage of life, but who I keep in touch with, and they with me, and we love spending time together when we can. I have friends I hardly see, but who remain some of my closest friends, and we maintain a bond, and we contact as and when we can even if that’s not face to face. One of these friends has moved thousands of miles away to Cambodia, but we still consider each other to be close friends and love each other as ‘sisters’ and for the maybe ten years now she’s been living abroad we’ve managed to maintain a friendship even with her getting married and being in a different stage of life as me.
I have friends who I met when we shared a similar stage of life. I have friends who I met and we didn’t have all that much in common. I have friends who once shared a similar stage of life but now are in a completely different life stage. We have maintained our friendships, our bonds and although many of these friends have different circumstances to me, such as being married, becoming parents, having moved abroad, and so forth, or being of a different generation as I have friends that are the same age, older and younger, we still remain close and interested in each others lives as different as they are now.
This is both a blessing and a skill to nurture, invest in, grow and maintain good relationships and friendships. I have learned that not only am I blessed with good friends but I also am a great friend to have – someone who is loyal, kind, caring, compassionate, who will listen, who will give time and genuine care to others and who can organise some pretty awesome presents too 😉
The reason I speak of the above is because the distance we experience in friendships (growing apart, drifting apart, losing interest or losing touch) isn’t necessarily caused by a physical distance such as moving away, a distance in life stage, such as embarking upon a new season of life, or an emotional distance such as going through different things (true friends are there for each other through the tears and the joys of life).
As I mentioned previously, I have maintained close friendships with people who now live thousands of miles away. Because we care about each other.
I have close friends who like me are single and have our own places and work in the city and share our Faith.
Yet, I also have close friends who are in completely different life stages – they may be married, have kids, be retired, be atheist and have completely different beliefs, and who have completely different lifestyles.
We care about each other, we connect, and we make it work.
Distance is a choice, it is not a length of space or time:
Although our friendships with people may change over time, we may not be able to keep in as frequent contact as we once did, we may not know all the ins and outs of each others lives, we are still there for each other in the background. I’m thankful that even though friends may be thousands of miles away or we may be miles apart in terms of our life circumstances, I’m blessed that we’ve managed to stay close. I know it’s not as easy for everyone, and people make different efforts to stay in touch. Sometimes people let things drift, sometimes we do too, it can be part of the natural ebb and flow of life just as the changing of the seasons.
However, distance, I believe is a choice. When someone decides to cut us out of their lives that is a choice. There are people in our lives that are ‘toxic’ and it may be necessary to create distance or cut them out. But in this article, I’m not talking about such people who drag us down, I’m talking about genuine people, real friends, people like me and hopefully like you who build other people up.
What about when people cut us out? People to whom we were genuine friends?
One of the things friendship has taught me recently is that some seemingly genuine friends are actually ‘fair-weather’ friends. A certain person a few years ago sought out friendship with me, we were a blessing and encouragement in each others lives and I poured kindness and encouragement into this person’s life. I believed we had a genuine friendship, and although it was a real mutual blessing, I now realise that the person looked upon it in a ‘utilitarian’ way. Whereas some people need time and space as they go into new life stages, others choose to cut you out. That’s ok, but it brings about a real life lesson. As nice as they may be, the person was being utilitarian – it was a friendship that they valued so long as it suited them. When it no longer suits them, they drop you. We all move on, but some people can’t see their selfishness in how they treat people, as kind as they may be or seem, they are ultimately looking out for their needs to be met, and they consider their needs the most important thing.
Friends may seem genuine even for a number of years, but in due season, they prove to you what you perhaps had no idea about, that they are ‘fair-weather’ friends. They only want the friendship so long as it suits them. I know I’m a kind, loving, genuine person and have been told I have a high emotional intelligence, am good at giving people space as well as being a source of comfort and listening. If people ‘drop’ you and you’re such a friend, and in no ways are a ‘toxic’ person, then know that there is a life lesson for you – it is far better to have the realisation than to continue on, and be used for someone else’s convenience.
Learn the life lessons, let things go, and soar off into a beautiful future, nurturing, cherishing, and being a mutual blessing to your true, life-long, friends to whom distance in space or life stage doesn’t even factor in to whether or not you will care about and be there for each other.
Be blessed, and be a true and genuine friend. x
I realise that I started blogging about my autumn home décor ‘makeover’ as it were (just simple changes for these beautiful autumnal seasons), but I haven’t got around to posting the updated pictures, so if you read those posts, you will just have been left with the ‘mess’ and the aim to transition from one season to the next in my home.
Sorry about that, friends! 🙂 Coming soon….I’ll hopefully post some updated pics and ideas before Christmas comes around and it’s time for another change! I’ll try to do my autumnal home update this week…!
If you’ve read my previous post
you’ll know that I’d like to create a ‘vision board’ to help inspire me, and hopefully also inspire you, to tidy up, declutter and create a cosy home environment as we head into the autumnal and wintery months.
So, I’m starting with my kitchen, and here are some pictures that inspire me just now:
Do the thing that your ‘tomorrow self’ will thank you for doing today! 🙂
Sunday afternoons are a good chance to ‘reset’ and reorganise to be fresh and ready for the week ahead, especially if you’ve had a busy week, and weekend. It’s a nice time to chill out, tidy up, and try to get into a positive and productive frame of mind for the week ahead. Yet, it can be hard sometimes to feel motivated. I know the feeling, but I’m going to try to not put unnecessary pressure on myself so that even if things aren’t fresh and ready for Monday and a brand new week, they will be ‘fresher and more ready’. One thing I like to do if I have a lot of tidying or organising to do is to break things down into smaller more manageable tasks, or set a five minute timer so that I can do a bit of work, and then do something relaxing or creative that I enjoy, and then get back into another task. This is especially helpful on those ‘lazy days’ when you need a little bit more ‘oomph’ and motivation. I also like to think of how I’d ideally like things to be, in my home and living space, and work towards that and it’s nice to know there is a whole world of inspiration out there on YouTube and elsewhere on the internet to help get back on track and make our surroundings a little more beautiful and our life that bit more organised and productive. I’ll give it a go, and see how much I can get done this Sunday evening while still staying in a reasonably chilled out frame of mind, and feeling grateful for the blessings and with the intent of doing the best with what I’ve got. A little at a time, right? So what helps you stay motivated? Do you have a Sunday afternoon / evening ‘reset routine’?