Good habits...

posted on: Sunday, 17 August 2014

As an old, favourite colleague of mine once commented, when he admitted he had read my blog: 'it doesn't seem to be written with mass consumption in mind'. I suspect he was trying to match the 'me' he knew of the corporate world (high heels and the career-limiting but interesting questions I posed to company executives when they visited) to the deeply personal summaries I post here. And let me just say that what I post here is a watered down version of what is really going on in my head. I have no explanation. The blog remains a secret to most who know me; I don't advertise it. I do get occasional pangs when I meet, say, a new, cool mother at school, and I imagine her scrolling through my ramblings and wondering: 'who IS this strange woman?'. I imagine my daughter's friends idly stalking my posts - in much the same way as they swipe through Instagram feeds and think that I am not like other mothers.

I write here according to my mood. And I am coming to the conclusion that my life is governed by my moods; completely and utterly. Never were words more lost on me than; 'snap out of it.' Impossible. Incapable of that. But I do listen and when the darker moods pass I go back and analyse them and see that everyone around me was saying snap out of it, unfailingly. That is all anyone knows to say. Anecdotally there is a period of quiet allowed (even for the gross, sad, dreadful things in life like betrayal or grief) but then the human spirit is expecting that we move on.

I am dubious about those who seem to have no down moods. I spoke once with a counsellor who told me that life is like radio waves; there is static and it's wavy. No one has a straight line.

But I am lucky that any dark mood passes and I regard life with enthusiasm and interest again. I live everything in a short-term fashion; rarely do I plan for anything more than six month's ahead, but there is generally a keenness in me to do the next thing.

There is much written at the moment about how we should understand low mood better and when it is prolonged and awful it gets a label like 'depression' that we should see it as a disease; an affliction that the sufferer can (or can't) be cured of.  I don't know about that (thankfully); all I know is that my biggest life lesson right now is that time passes and I feel different. The mood changes. And most often for the good. Happiness prevails.

From writing this blog I have made a study of being grateful for the good in life. How many blogs do I read that revere the little things, the small things, the everyday ordinary-ness that is life?! And how, if we look closely enough at what we have, we can dampen down all doubting thoughts till there is only happiness and light. Being grateful is great. But...what I notice is that sometimes it becomes such an effort to be grateful that it gets old. Like anything else, monotony breeds discontent.

I like to look at it in this way. Gratefulness should be a habit. Getting on with things should be a habit. Seeing the good. Taking exercise often, keeping active. Seeing friends should be a habit. Laughing. Laughing at oneself. Making a delicious meal with fresh ingredients and knowing it is good for you. Keeping busy. Embracing the quiet when it comes. Not thinking too much. Not fretting about the future. Having faith. All these things should be habits. And if I cultivate them enough they may become second nature.

We are returning to old habits tomorrow and going back to Portugal, where we have been so many times before. So lucky to have a bolt hole. There I go with gratefulness again ;-) it's the way forward.

See you in a week or so... xxx

via dust jacket attic


  1. Have fun in Portugal Lou …… don't think, don't over-analyse ….. just have fun !!!!! XXXX

  2. I was nodding in agreement as I was reading this post - gratefulness seems to be just the thing. I'm always working on better appreciating the little things that make me smile and finding happiness in the mundane everyday.
    Have a great time in Portugal!

  3. An interesting post, as always Lou...enjoy your holiday...just be...
    Thanks for popping by to read my yoga's always difficult to make time to practice and when I began my yoga teacher told me it was beneficial to practice every day I couldn't understand it and made every excuse not to get on my mat...then slowly and by that I mean years I wanted to practice because there was a change occurring in me...a self acceptance, a calmer presence and on days when I couldn't find time I missed it; that was the beginning of my passion.
    Yoga brings a mindfulness to your daily life on and off the mat it is a way of behaving in everything. I occasionally go to a class but for me it works best just to get on my mat at home; I practice generally after breakfast and before anything else, I light incense, turn off my phone, make sure the computer isn't in the room and practice. I only ever feel better for my time spent on the mat whether my body aches or my mind wanders. I appreciate it's difficult for you to find time with a young family and I think you do need to have been practicing yoga for sometime before you can do it on your own. I spent 5 years learning from a wonderful teacher who I still see a few times a year...I'm obviously still learning! I think you are going to classes aren't you? In fear of rattling for me, is far more than the asanas it is a spiritual practice...I find it hard to express how I feel about it...maybe it's not quite the right time for you at the moment but please keep day will be just the right time, I promise. xx

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