“All of us invent ourselves. Some of us just have more imagination than others.”

Last week I got to see one of the most AMAZING people in the world perform on stage-Cher. She was amazing, sassy and everything you could ever expect… at 72 years old… 72! She was dancing, singing, skipping… I don’t care how much money you have or how many surgeries you have had, none of that would help a 72 year old Keep their energy level so high for the entire show!

I stumbled upon the quote for this post… and it reminded me that we really do forget how much of our lives we can control, how often we get down and beat ourselves up.

Hate and fear are two powerful forces of darkness, Hate for situations that you find yourself in, hate for your body, hate for others,fear of persecution, fear of letting others down… fear of standing out and being disliked. Fear for standing up for what you believe in. Hating someone else doesn’t make you a better person, hating someone for what they believe in doesn’t make you right or make them wrong, vocalizing your hate doesn’t make you any stronger or a bigger person.

Hate and fear are not only external factors that play with your emotions but also internal factors that we do to ourselves…i for one know that fear of letting people down makes me worry and stress so much, I hate things about my appearance… and I let these negative feelings control my day. But really… by doing this I am just creating a negative opinion of myself that I am turning into… negative breeding negative, I find myself thinking more negative thoughts on the days that I feel down… but am I just “inventing” myself.

Every day when you get up, remember you are lucky to be alive, you have air in your lungs and blood in your veins. For every cliche saying, they have some truth behind them. You never know what day could be your last, you never know when you could lose someone you love. Love is a wonderful feeling to share, Love makes the world turn… If we all loved a bit more, we would all probably be in a better place.

I love the fact I laugh a lot, I love my family and friends… I love that I noticed my first few wrinkles at thirty years old and they are from smiling and laughing so much. I love that so far 2019 is proving to be filled with adventures and I love that I started this blog.

If we spend more time thinking positive things that we love about ourselves maybe that’s who we will create, maybe we will push the hate in this messed up world to one side… and show that Love really can win. But it takes all of us doing that. Stopping the negative… stopping beating ourselves up and start loving yourself. No matter your age, have the imagination you had when you were a child and be the adult you wanted to grow into.

Cher is 72 years old… at 72 I hope that I can look back at my life and say “wow, that was one hell of a ride, let’s see where the next mountain leads”

The 3 F words

Now I know what some people will think when they hear the “F word”… but thats not what I want to talk about. I am talking about “Food, Faith and Forgiveness”

This last weekend I had the great honor of accompanying a friend to a Thai Buddhist Temple where on Sundays they host a Market. The Wat Mongkolratanaram Buddhist Temple is located in Tampa, about an hour away from me, this was my first trip to a Thai Buddhist temple.

The Sunday market is an amazing experience filled with tastes and smells that can only be described as mind blowing. From khao tom mat (a delicious sticky rice and wanna dessert wrapped in a banana leaf) to the aroma of the curries and pad Thai station. The flavors were enough to transport my taste buds the nine thousand odd miles to Thailand. Every. Single. Thing. I ate was incredible. I was happy dancing my way through all the food. Sadly some things I ate before I could take a photo…oops.

Between the multiple trips to buy food, we visited the temple, that brings me to the second “F word”… Faith.

The feeling of being in such a sacred location is truly humbling, I am very open minded with faith, I will never judge someone based on what they believe and who or what they worship. There are 4200 religions across the globe… THAT IS CRAZY. But true faith is so powerful, it helps people deal with their lives, gives them hope and leads them to bettering themselves. How is that a bad thing?… now of course there are extremists, but that is not what I am here to talk about. In my eyes everyone deserves respect and everyone, no matter your background can learn so much from one anothers faiths and beliefs.

Love and kindness is pretty universal. Sadly we missed hearing the monks chanting (thats on the list for the next trip), but I witnessed multiple people entering the temple to pray. There was a grandmother who was teaching her grandson (who was maybe 3 years old) how to pray. He was absorbing every word she was saying and copying her every move, it was clear he idolized her.

During our time in the temple there was a guest speaker who was giving a general overview of the Thai Buddhist religion, he was very focused on Forgiveness, and how practicing forgiveness is better for your mental health, it prevents you from holding onto negative energy and any ill will you could feel towards someone else.

Which if you really think about it, we all do this, when someone upsets us or wrongs us… we hold onto it, we don’t forgive and forget we focus on it and that can really bring us down. It was something I had never thought about. How many times did I find myself in a bad mood because of someone else actions and behavior? how often did I let this have a knock on effect this have for the rest of my day?

Forgivness shouldn’t only be something we do for others… but it should be something we practice on ourselves, we should forgive ourselves for our past…forgive ourselves for the negative things that have happened and move on. We are not the same person we were back then, every moment teaches us something… any mistakes we make should be forgiven.

Let go of the negative and treat yourself with the Love, kindness and respect… find joy in every day and spread that to everyone you interact with.

Control what you can control.

Somedays really suck…like the days when you freezer water line has been leaking under your hardwood floor.

Two days ago I woke up to a squelching kitchen floor… and immediately my mind went into over drive… and it’s been that way since. I am exhausted, I am drained I am beaten down. Sometimes in life it seems that there is one giant turd after another being piled on top of us and you know what… it’s exhausting.

That is how I have felt recently… no matter how many little good things seem to happen then some poop comes flying. Today I woke up at 8am… and laid in bed covering my head in my pillows pretending the outside world doesn’t exist… all that mattered was in that bed with me. Everything outside of it was irrelevant.

I know this is no way to live, because it’s not living it’s just surviving and surviving isn’t what I want to do, I want to explore and be excited for what the day brings. But today… was not that day. I wasted too many hours just laying there wallowing away in self pity when I really do have great things going on in my life.

Why do we let one bad thing bring us down? Why does one giant (stinky) turd have to mess up how we feel? For some of us it is a struggle to get moving some days…. most days you just want to sit in a blanket fort and never leave. But there are great things out side of the fort… that’s what I am trying to focus on.

A wise soul reminds me daily to control what you can control. I can’t change the past, I can’t change what happened but I can control how I handle what happens next. I can try and choose how I handle my emotions and I can try and force myself out from my fort. You have to take each day one day at a time. But the good things in life should always see you trough. The clique find the light in the dark and walk towards it.

Today that light is minimal… but come hell or high water I am crawling my way towards it.

Home.

That four letter word has so many meanings tied to it. Is it a physical house? A town? A country? Or just that feeling of knowing you are where you are supposed to be… knowing that you are loved and supported for being you.

People often wish to go back home… but what does that really mean? Can you ever really go back? Or are you trying to go back to that feeling of “home”, the memories of “home”.

For me personally home is where I feel loved, safe and valued. My family is spread across the world but home is the word I use to describe where I live but also where my parents live…. I have never actually spent a night in the house with them but because that is where they live that is my home.

I know for some, Home is just a memory… something they can’t touch anymore but those memories still count, that smell of fresh baked bread, your mums perfume or that smell of engine dirt that your dad’s jacket smelt like, no matter how often it was washed. I have had many houses that we lived in that I considered home, but really home shouldn’t be attached to a physical building, it should be something you can carry with you, because what ever your age is, what ever you have been through… you still need that feeling of coming home.

If you can close your eyes and imagine a family dinner, cooking in the kitchen with loved ones or just movie nights with friends on the sofa… that feeling is home.

Home is where you matter, where your voice matters and where you are welcome with a hug. Home doesn’t have to be something tied to blood relatives, home is what you make it. Never forget that.

What makes you the most happy?

Hows that for a title… now I can’t claim I thought of that one on my own, the inspiration for this post comes from my favorite book of 2018 “Not afraid of the fall” by Kyle James. 

If you are looking for a book to feed the wanderlust, I highly recommend it. Ash and Kyle take a life changing trip together through 38 cities in 15 countries. READ IT.

Anyway, Kyle mentions that wouldn’t asking “What makes you the most happy?” it be a better ice breaker instead of “What do you do?”. It really made me think… what in life makes me the most happy? its most definitely a thought provoking question and if you really want to catch someone off guard I highly recommend asking it.

When I think about what makes me the most happy of course the list includes my partner, family, friends and my adorable pup. Diving deeper into it I realized that food takes a major part in what makes me happy… not just any food but exciting, tasty, adventurous food. Food from different cultures all over the world…the kind of flavors that hit our tongue and you can’t help but let out a small “mmmm”. There is so much passion in that moment, that first bite of something new, its truly electric.

Another thing that makes me happy would be taking photos, of everything…everywhere. I have over 30 thousand photos on my phone at the current moment. most of which are not of anything special but when I look at them to thin them out… I remember the exact moment I took the image and can’t bring myself to delete it. Photos really capture a moment that will never happen again, that exact millisecond of time where every element is perfect (or not even perfect). Every photo tells a story, I know its cliche to say every photo is worth a thousand words but sometimes there is that photo that leaves you speechless with out a word to describe it…both are mind blowing in their own ways. If the photo makes you smile or brings you to tears, there is so much emotion you can convey with a single photo.

In an ideal world I would travel the world with my parter and pup taking photos and eating EVERY kind of food that is out there. Visiting every corner of the globe and seeing the world through my own eyes…Thats the dream right there.

Wouldn’t the world be a wonderful place if we all could do what made us happy… So thats my question for the day “What makes you the most happy?”

“You’re too focused on where you’ve been to pay attention on where you’re going”

Personally I struggle during the holidays, missing my family and the way things were when i was a kid, spending time together gorging on all the christmas food… spending time with my parents watching the Christmas TV specials and films. My life has changed a lot since we moved to the US 13 years ago. Back in England pretty much everything closes early Christmas Eve and is closed Christmas day. But now i work in the tourist capital of the USA…well the east coast (Orlando, FL). My work location is open 365 days out of the year… its hard to feel the Christmas spirit when everyone else in the world seems to have travelled your city with their family… and they want to complain how busy it is. Something else that makes me sadder this time of year is being so far away from my parents (who left back to England 2 years ago). I am lucky to have wonderful friends who I do consider an extension of my family who i was able to spend time with. That really helped take my mind off the 4000 miles between my parents and I.

My minimal christmas spirit was not from a lack of trying, i attended two Mickeys Very Merry Christmas Parties at The Magic Kingdom… loading up on about 50 cookies and countless hot chocolates, I was gifted 2 tickets to go and see White Christmas at the Dr Phillips Center for the Performing Arts the weekend before Christmas, which by the way was a wonderful show. I baked christmas cookies, decorated a christmas tree, blasted Christmas music and watched every single cheesy Netflix christmas movie i could. But still my spirit level was fluctuating up and down… then before i knew it, it was December 26th and Christmas was gone. Now we focus on New Years Eve… which is where i come to the title of this post, after watching “Mary Popping returns” this quote really stood out:

“You’re too focused on where you’ve been to pay attention on where you’re going”

-Mary Poppins

A statement that is too true for most of us. It is the end of the year… 2018 is coming to a close, and there have been some wonderful moments… and some tough times. The end of a year is supposed to be a celebration, Christmas leading through to New years eve, the count down for a brand new chapter. But how often do we spend this time of year looking back at the things we wish we could have changed from the last year. When really we should be looking forward to what the new year can bring! New adventures, new friends, new experiences and new places to explore.

I am so lucky for the family i have spread out across the world. Their constant support and love is more than i could ever wish for. For 2019 i choose not to focus on where i have come from and focus on moving forward, counting the blessings i do have and make sure to continue to grow.

My goal for 2019 is to do something epic every month, give myself something positive to focus on and keep pushing through. Sad emotions control too much of our lives, we let them bring us down and sometimes bring down the others around us. Remember in 2019, no matter who you are, where you are or what you are going through someone loves you.

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!

I love you…No Matter what

Recently I stumbled upon a song “No Matter what” By Calum Scott, I recognized his name from somewhere and after a google search I found that he was a contestant on “Britain’s got Talent” a few years ago, his audition went vial with his rendition of “Dancing on my own”.

To break down the song, its about a young boy who struggles with his sexuality growing up and being accepted by his family and friends. I highly recommend listening to it! On so many levels the song is relatable to me, except that I was lucky enough to have both of my parents accept me and tell me that they love me no matter what.

Now I have started, deleted and edited this post so many times, I kept hitting a mental block. The main verse is really what I focus on in the song and where I found the title of this post.

“I love you no matter what
I just want you to be happy and always be who you are”
She wrapped her arms around me
Said, “Don’t try to be what you’re not
‘Cause I love you no matter what”
She loves me no matter what

There are some people that no matter what happens we love them and most of the time it is beautiful and supportive… but how many of us look in the mirror every day and say “I love you, no matter what”? I know that I never do this… But how much of our time do we spend doubting ourselves and invalidating our feelings/thoughts and emotions? when we really should be kinder to ourselves and supportive of ourselves.

Too many times in life we are the ones holding ourselves back, thinking that we are not good enough, when we spend so much energy telling others that they are worth it, that they need to follow their dream, that they can do anything… but when it comes to applying that same message to yourself… you shut it down. Why do we do that?

I am sure most of it comes down to self esteem and comparing our lives to others therefore highlighting our own insecurities. I recently started a course that talked about how self esteem and self confidence are related to holding yourself back and the need for constant approval is part of having low self esteem. If you look at the people who are just oozing confidence everywhere, they don’t ask for validation, they don’t ask for reassurance and they don’t doubt themselves.

There have been so many projects I have started in my life that I have stopped because “someone else does it better” or because someone told me I wasn’t doing it well enough…or just because I didn’t believe in myself enough to follow through, I was forgetting that practice makes perfect, that perfect is really a continuation of growth and how you never stop learning and growing.

This blog is one of the projects that for awhile… I gave up on. Not because someone else was doing it better, but just that I lost focus in why I started it. I didn’t start this blog to make money or change the world, I started it for me, to tell my stories, to log my life and hopefully get to a point where others can read it and find comfort within the words. To a certain degree I started it with the hopes of holding myself accountable and forcing myself to take a few minutes out of my week where I can just sit and reflect and write down whats going through my mind.

Maybe that is why recently I have felt a bit overwhelmed with everything, its the holidays and finding time for anything seems near impossible. But even now, just sitting in silence listening to my dog snoring on the sofa next to me, this moment is perfect. I feel a weight lifted off my chest, just rambling away here.

I think we all need to remember that the love we give to others needs to be the same love we give ourselves, hold yourself up and if you fail at something, it was just a practice shot, every step in the right direction is an improvement from where you came from. When you feel yourself, or anyone else for that matter, telling you that you can’t do something… ignore them! Think about the great things, remind yourself “What would i tell a friend who was doubting themselves”. Love yourself and support yourself, grow and develop your skills and spread that love to everyone.

I am always reminded of the incredibly cheesy quote “In a world where you can be anything, be kind”… this is true to how you treat yourself, because if you can’t be kind to yourself how will you know how to treat others.