#16 A Yearning For Wilderness

Isle of Skye

Wilderness. It encompasses a lot of things and conjures up a lot of different images.

My version of wilderness is the Scottish Highlands, a true raw beauty which is hard to do justice on paper.

Being there, seeing it and standing amongst the mountains, you feel a truly awe-inspiring sense of purpose. It is inspiring yet humbling, rugged yet magnificent, loud yet quiet.

Experiencing the space of the Scottish Highlands, of the vast expanse of land it covers, of places some of us have never and will never get to visit is unique. To think that those mountains have stood for thousands of years before us and will be there long after we have gone. To think of the stories they must hold.

The wild makes us feel free.That’s why we are drawn to it. It takes us away from the stresses, burdens and speed of everyday life. It is a form of escapism.

We need it. We need this space to appreciate the beauty which is around us. It may not be one of the seven wonders of the world, but I would argue it is far better than any of those.

Recently, I have had a strong desire to go and be somewhere wild – perhaps a sign that I need a break, a chance to reset my internal rhythm. Yet, how often do most of us listen to this urge? Hardly. We plod on, burnout and end up over-worked and stressed out.

Take that time. Make the trip. Breathe in the air. Do nothing but walk, write, read, paint and rest. Allow it to recharge you, to bring you back to 100%.

The wilderness is nature’s best therapy. And it’s free.

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#15 Be Grateful for the Good and the Bad

We are often told to be grateful for all the wonderful things in our life, to remind ourselves how lucky we are. And I agree because I do this.

But how about the things that happen to us which aren’t great but they lead to something great? Surely they are worth our attention too.

I got thinking about this the other day when I returned late from work, feeling shattered, but then got invited out for a drink with a girlfriend of mine and had such a lovely time. Or when I was stuck in a long queue of traffic but got to see the most beautiful views from the road I was on. Every cloud has a silver lining and without the bad stuff, we wouldn’t be able to appreciate the good things!

So I created a kind of mantra for myself, which particularly helped me on a rainy Monday morning at the start of a busy week, when all I really felt like doing was turning over and going back to sleep. And it’s simple, I just say ‘Today is a blessing’. Those words, to me, instantly make me feel more grateful and it definitely helps to put things into perspective.

It’s like emotions too, we are told ‘Don’t be sad’ or ‘Cheer up’ when actually we need sad moments, we need a good cry every now and again. It’s ok to feel like that. We can’t be happy 100% of the time, our emotions are there to help us react, recover or communicate something. So next time someone tells you to stop moping around, ignore them. Do your thing and own it!

We need to practice being better at looking out for ourselves, being self-aware enough to know that you might be having an off day but you know by the time you get home, you will have perked up.

Something I use to keep track of my moods, which is quite insightful when looking back over previous months, is a free app called Daylio. I have no associations with them (this isn’t an advert) just thought some people may find it useful. It’s not intrusive and makes you much more aware about how you’re feeling and what triggers it.

Be grateful for your down days and your up days because sometimes we need to get stuck into a rut to realise we are in a rut and get out of it.

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#14 We Are All Like Rainbows

A rainbow is an arc of spectral colors that appears in the sky opposite the sun as a result of refractive dispersion of sunlight in drops of rain.

Rainbow

And like the refractive dispersion of rainbows, which causes different colours to refract at different angles, humans reflect different emotions depending on how we are feeling.

Like rainbows, we all reflect something, whether it’s hope, ambition, optimism, cynicism or sadness. We carry around our own colours, feelings and emotions, which can change depending on which angle you look at it. With an upbeat, good friend, your positivity and hope shines through but with a angry or frustrated colleague, your own frustrations and cynicism take root and grow.

Like rainbows, we are all beautiful, we all have our moments to shine. Moments which may have come about because of good times and bad times but nonetheless we made it, our colours are visible for all to see.

Like rainbows, our colours are part of who we are, they don’t start or end at a specific point, they simply blend into another part of us, and the world around us.

Like rainbows, we are complex and intriguing in many ways. We have multiple layers, many standards and rules to follow but you don’t see all of that from the outside. So often people only see a small part of who we are and fill in the rest themselves.

Like rainbows, we are all capable of bringing a smile to someone’s face, of giving hope to people, of making people wonder whether there really is a pot of gold where you’re going.

Like rainbows, we don’t last forever but we do bring joy when we around. Precious moments are there to enjoy and we can never take them for granted.

And finally, rainbows are like life; diverse and exciting and to be treasured like gold!

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#13 What Is Your Message To The World?

The other day I was walking back to the office and passed a graveyard. Usually I walk straight past it but on this occasion, a lovely sunny day, I decided to go in.

Walking around, looking at some of the graves, I felt strangely peaceful. Reading some of the inscriptions got me thinking about the lives of these people and what they had achieved.

I then thought about what I have achieved and what I hope to do in the future. This walk was giving me such a sense of perspective and all the miniscule everyday dramas became irrelevant. I started thinking do I want to travel? Do I want to marry? Do I want children? They faded into creating a purpose, a mission statement if you like. And I decided that the well-known phrase ‘be the change you wish to see in the world’ is a purpose I feel drawn to.

Be The Change

Don’t follow the herd, carve your own path and do what suits you. Lead by change and inspire others to do the same. Live by your purpose and use that as the answer to your questions about whether you want to do something. Does it fit my purpose? Or do I have a real passion for it? If the answer is no, then don’t do it.

I have always felt called to do something different. At first, I felt it was a personal insult, like I could never be the ‘popular’ one with the Brad Pitt boyfriend and lifestyle, but then I realised part of who I am and where I feel happiest is when I am learning from someone, helping them grow and having open discussions about everything – honesty and integrity.

My boyfriend may not be Brad Pitt but he fascinates me in many ways. How different we are to each other and yet how well we match up. Sure we have our ups and downs but I am learning so much more about how what people say on the outside can boil down to something completely different on the inside.

That’s what makes my purpose real. It’s almost like thinking, what does society dictate here, then doing the opposite.

And situations like walking around a deserted graveyard in the midday sunshine, with just butterflies and crickets for company, makes you realise that when it all comes down to it, your final broadcast ends up being what is written on your gravestone.

What would you want your message to the world to be?

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#12 How 30 Days of Wildness Soothes the Soul

I took up the Wildlife Trust’s #30DaysWild challenge throughout the month of June, looking at nature more closely, connecting with it and sharing a photo every day for 30 days.

Butterfly on plant

Whilst out on a lunchtime stroll, had to stop to admire this beautiful Small Tortoiseshell butterfly on a Common Knapweed plant #30DaysWild

It’s true what they say about after 30 days something becomes a habit. I now find myself stopping to watch bees flitting from flower to flower, leaning in closer to see the patterns of butterfly wings or pulling over from the road to take a picture of a good view.

Being an introvert, small things make me far happier than bigger things. Seeing a funny pattern in the cloud gives me far more satisfaction than a 3 course meal, for example.

I find a lot of solace through this connection to nature, which helps me deal with troubling things in my life, such as anxieties, worries and negative thinking. It gives me space to think and breathe and gain perspective that I haven’t  found with anything else.

So don’t listen to cries of retail therapy, massages and holidays as ways to soothe your soul because you can’t escape your problems forever. Instead, feel the pull of woodlands, rivers and flowers and walk amongst them. It’s free!

Look right under your feet and behold the ground and the grass that surrounds us! It’s too easy to walk past a beautiful flower or forget to look up at an entanglement of tree branches and easy isn’t what helps us grow.

Stop and stare, who cares what others think! Look up, look around you, switch off your phone and tune in to nature. I can speak first hand of the benefits it brings and know others who have felt this too.

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#11 You Are Exactly Where You Need To Be [A Poem]

You are exactly where you need to be,
Don’t worry or plan too far.
Ignore commands of ‘should’ or ‘could’,
Focus your mind on where you are.

Too many people are rushing around,
Not working out where they fit.
Take that time, listen to your heart,
This is your life, don’t forget it.

With talk of jobs and marriage and children,
It’s hard to know what’s for you.
Step away from those traditions,
And put together your own view.

Nothing is as simple as right or wrong,
All your choices are your own.
Don’t compare to other people,
What they think should remain unknown.

You are exactly where you need to be,
Your path unfolds everyday.
In time you’ll look back full of pride,
Because you did it your own way!

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#10 Why Nature Is So Good For Us

Our greatest connection is that with nature. Yet we ignore it, trample on it, bypass it.

Stop.

Stand there, feel it, smell it, touch it.

Acknowledge the magnificence of nature. The shape of the trees, the beauty of the flowers, the way raindrops hang on spiders’ webs or the smell of wild mint.

We are part of nature too. If you respect it and cherish it, you will find that you also grow.

Nature is full of perfect imperfections and in it we should see a reflection of ourselves. A rose which looks pink and beautiful from afar, has blemishes or oddly shaped petals once up close. Just as people are not photo-shopped images you see in magazines. But embrace it! Show it all off just like the roses do.

We can learn a lot from nature. When we brush away a spider’s web in our home, it moves on and goes to build another one. Just as when we face a set back, we pick ourselves up and try again.

To make our gardens grow and flourish, we invest hard work. Hours of weeding, mowing, pruning and watering and then we reap the benefits. Why, then, do we not always apply this principle to our lives outside of the garden. You have to work hard to get results, we expect too much all at once.

And finally, every tree starts out as a small shoot in the ground. Remember that we all have our foundations somewhere and we can always grow and learn. Don’t rush your growth, admire it, look down from the treetops and see how far you’ve come and then look up and know the sky’s the limit!

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