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Not yet new year but new me anyway??

Well, it’s the last day of 2012 and the big thing I was hinting at has finally happened – Chris and I have moved to Glasgow!Image (Here is the view from our keyhole).

We are living in Glasgow’s Southside and I will be working in Carole Jacob’s Therapeutic Pilates & Yoga Studio, soon to be renamed Stretch Scotland!

I am planning to deliver yoga and Pilates classes just as I did in Northern Ireland but will be building on my online presence and offering classes and courses through the Internet.

I will keep you informed of any progress but, in the meantime, check out my new Facebook page: Stretch Scotland

Victoria

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I’m back with the Key to Dying Happy!

After a 2 month hiatus I am back to blogland! I have to admit I am still struggling with my bipolar medication but I have accepted that this might be a lifelong issue for me and I have something important to share.

Today is the 2nd anniversary of my beloved Granny’s death and as I stood over her and Granda’s grave I was thinking about how I don’t want to be buried. I don’t want to have some relatives calling up sporadically after I’m gone to leave flowers and tidy up weeds around a gravesite.

I was hoping that visiting the grave would give me some peace but instead I arrived to two workmen cementing my grandparent’s neighbour’s grave. They were working away with the music blaring from their van and when I came up they jauntily said hello and carried on with their work. After about 5 minutes of me weeping silently and trying to fix my flowers and them working away beside me I had to ask them to turn the music off and give me 5 minutes to mourn my Granny in peace! Thankfully they did this and after my five minutes I thanked them and moved on to visit my other (less beloved) grandparents to do some more weeding.

It made me more determined than ever to not be buried. I dislike the neglect. Instead I want to be remembered in other ways and to do this I am determined to leave a legacy. I read this article from Leo Babauta on zenhabits.net and it really resonated with me…

The Key to Dying Happy

There are a million jokes that could be made with the above headline, half of them dirty. But this post isn’t one of them — it’s about what’s important in life, how you want to live, and how you want to die. It’s about living a life of purpose, and being remembered well after you move on from this life.

To die happy, you must live life with that end in mind. Live a life of purpose.

That’s easier said than done, of course. In this post, I’ll look at a great way to find that purpose in your life, and to live every day with that purpose in mind, and to align your daily actions with that purpose.

First ask why

But first, let’s ask the obvious question: “Why does this matter?”

Let’s consider for a moment the life that most of us lead: we get up in the morning, we do what we have to do for the day, if we’re lucky we get some time to relax or do something fun, if we’re even luckier we get some time to spend with loved ones. And this repeats itself in endless variations until we get old.

What happens then? We look back on our lives, and perhaps we wish we’d done stuff differently, or wish we’d accomplished something. But after a certain point, it’s a bit too late.

This post is about doing something about it now, about choosing to live differently before it’s too late.

Perspective

Now let’s think about what’s important. At any given moment, whatever is in front of us is important. That assignment has to be done right away! That’s because we’re looking closely, at the details.

But if we pulled back, took a step away from our lives, those details become less important. Soon we can start to see the forest. Unless we pull back some more — and now we can see a continent. Pull back further, and we see the Earth, the solar system, the galaxy — and now nothing in our lives are important.

Obviously, you need to get the right amount of perspective.

The best tool for that, I’ve found, is a famous principle of Stephen Covey’s: begin with the end in mind. And here’s how he tells us to do that: by imagining what we’d like people to say about us at our funeral. Do we want them to say that we were kind-hearted, or charitable, or loving, or successful, or that we accomplished great things, or found a cure for cancer? However we want to be remembered, that’s how we should live our lives, every moment of every day, starting right now.

Live With Purpose — A How-to Guide

If you want to live a life of purpose, here’s a method for doing so (you were wondering when the list would come!):

  • Your purpose. Start by taking 10 minutes out of your life to find some quiet space, and to close your eyes, and to think. Ask yourself: How do I want to be remembered? What do I want people to say about me at my funeral? Think about that for 10 minutes, then write down your answers. There may be a few different things, or 10, or just one.
  • Write it down. Put your purpose — how you want to be remembered — on a sheet of paper. Type it out, or write it lovingly with a Magic Marker — it doesn’t matter. Put it in nice, big letters. This is your life mission. Post it up somewhere visible, or make it your desktop background. Be reminded of it every day.
  • Morning ritual. Every morning, rise with the sun (or at the crack of noon, it doesn’t matter), and look at your purpose. Read it out loud, and give it some thought. Ask yourself: what can I do today to help fulfill my purpose? Now write that down on your to-do list — even if it’s something simple, like “Smile at my co-workers” or “Give my kids a hug”.
  • Align your actions. As much as possible, make your actions move your toward your purpose. Keep that purpose in mind throughout the day. If it helps, send yourself email reminders. After awhile, it’ll become a part of your nature.
  • Evening ritual. Take a few minutes before you go to bed to look back on your day, on your actions, on what you accomplished. Perhaps write about it in a journal (this is best, but it’s up to you). Look at your purpose again, and think about how you could have lived today differently. Then figure out how you can live your purpose better tomorrow.

These simple actions aren’t that hard to do. They might take some energy and focus in the beginning to make it a habit, but with focus, you can make it happen. And your life will be filled with purpose, and you will live your life with happiness, and eventually, with a little luck, die happy. May your life be blessed.

For those who are curious, I just came up with my life mission now (subject to change):
Leo’s Mission

He was an amazing dad.
He made his wife happy.
He was a good, compassionate person.
He made the lives others better (especially those in need).
He was a great writer.
He was happy.

And here is mine:

Victoria’s Mission

  • She was a loving daughter.
  • She was a wonderful wife.
  • She was a fun friend.
  • She was a fantastic teacher (of yoga, Pilates and much, much more).
  • She was a great writer who left a legacy of work which will inspire others forever.

Not much to ask for??

Victoria

Spring Cleaning

It’s turned to March and my thoughts have turned to spring cleaning… In yoga I have been working to create space in the body’s “junk drawer” A.K.A. the hips and pelvis! So we have been doing lots of chair poses, eagles, lunges, downdog splits. And in Pilates we have been doing lots of plies and lunges too. On top of the physical clear-out (which will continue in class through March and April) I have started to spring clean my house. So far I have cleared my wardrobes and filled 2 binbags full of unworn and unwanted clothes. I am now planning to do the same to the husband’s wardrobes but this will be a challenge as he is a worse hoarder than I am!

For example, in the bathroom I threw out over FIVE years’ worth of Total Film and Empire magazines (his) and lots of half-used/almost empty bottles of shampoo, conditioner, cleanser, etc. (mine). I also cleared a lot of old training materials and files/folders belonging to my career as a youth worker. And considering I haven’t been a youth worker since 2005 and never intend to be a youth worker again, it was definitely time to let go. I had been feeling a little like the picture below so it is great to begin the huge clean-up of my crap! If you want to do the same but are finding it as difficult as I had read the article below by Christine Kane for some great excuse busters!

What’s Your Excuse? The 8 Lies We Tell Ourselves about Our Junk; Written by Christine Kane

“Perfection is not when there is no more to add, but no more to take away.”

– Antoine de Saint-Exupery

Our lives are meant to be simple.  Our intuition thrives when given freedom and space.  So does our ability to make good decisions.

Clutter – in the form of physical junk, time-wasters, or even draining people – steals our energy, stops our success, and blocks our clarity.

Each moment we ignore our excuses for holding on to things we don’t want, those things rob us of energy, health, and clarity. Yes, clutter is destructive!

If you’re a clutter-clinger, start by admitting why you hold on.  Read this list to see if you can find YOUR excuse – and then take action!

Clutter Excuse #1: “I’d be a mean horrible person if I let this go…”

Guilt is heavy gooey energy that convinces us we’re bad people if we make a strong choice – or if we let go of heirlooms, unwanted clothing or gifts.

So we allow this stuff to clutter up our lives and keep us in a comfortable – but draining – place.  Guilt is sometimes an easier path than clarity.  Ask yourself if you’re ready to release the stuff and the guilt – and finally get clear.

Clutter Excuse #2 – “I spent so much on it!”

Do you punish yourself for having made a bad choice by keeping the item around?  Or convince yourself that you’re going to get your money’s worth – even if it drains the heck out of you?

You won’t.  And it will.

We’ve all done stupid things. And we’ve all had to let them go. Now it’s your turn.

Clutter Excuse #3 – “I might need this someday.”

I often wonder how many idle telephone cords exist in the world.  Crammed in old desk drawers. Stuffed on closet shelves. They can’t be gotten rid of.

Why?

Because we might need them some day.

Evidently, some day – in spite of technological progress – you’re going to need that particular grey phone cord that came in the box with a phone you bought in 1993.

Throw it out. Now.

Same thing goes for:  The broken fax machine, switch plates from your first house, and every glass flower vase that came with deliveries.

Clutter Excuse #4 – “I might do this someday.”

I know. I know.

Someday you’ll take those broken pieces of china you’ve collected and create a beautiful mosaic birdbath. And you’ll go through those stacks of magazines and make that collage for your sister’s 30th birthday party. (She’s 51 now.)

Now – I don’t mean to deny you your plans and dreams.  However, I urge you to consider experiencing the infinite relief that appears when you let old project ideas go.

Call your sister and tell her the collage ain’t gonna happen. Buy a mosaic birdbath from an artist who makes her living from creating such treasures.

And then, make space for what you want to do. Don’t fill your space with what you should do.

Clutter Excuse #5 – “I Don’t Know Where It Goes.”

When items don’t have a home, it’s hard to determine whether or not they are clutter. Some things may seem like clutter – like the cute card that your daughter made that floats around from drawer to drawer – but they’re not clutter.

They’re homeless.

Once you start defining spaces for items, then it’s easier to see when something doesn’t fit anywhere and should just get tossed.

Clutter Excuse #6 – “My thoughts don’t have any power. Do they?”

Everything has energy.  The thoughts you have about the things in your home CREATE energy. For instance, if you hang on to stuff given to you by your ex, and you still feel bitter – then there’s bitterness in your home.

Get it?

It’s either fueling you or draining you.  If anything triggers you, then that is your barometer. Let it go.

Clutter Excuse #7 – “But I never wore it!”

See Clutter Excuse #2.

Clutter Excuse #8 – “There’s too much stuff!”

Overwhelm can stop us in our tracks. If this article makes you aware that there are lots of items in your life you don’t like, then go slow.   Schedule small chunks of time each day.  It takes time to be clutter-free! But the newfound clarity and lightness are worth it!

Okay… You’ve read it. Now stop the excuses and get to work! I really feel that I’m at excuse #8 so I’m taking it a bit at a time and feeling better with each trip to the bin.

Victoria

Late summer sunshine

I know it’s been nearly a month since I blogged but I have been up to my eyeballs with preparations for the NEW Stretch NI Studio which is due to open at 8a High Street, Lurgan, County Armagh on Monday 12th September!

In between trying to organise leases, utilities, props, retail products and a shiny new website to go with the studio I have been trying to make sure that there were other high quality local teachers available to take classes in the studio. So I put a call out and am very pleased with the response from local yoga and Pilates teachers. This means that instead of me running myself ragged trying to do everything (sound familiar??) there will be a full timetable staffed by some great teachers!

Bruce White from Banbridge will be delivering Monday morning’s yoga class; Roslyn Dobson from Portadown will be bringing her morning Pilates sessions to us on Tuesday and Wednesday mornings; Una Moriarty from Lurgan will be doing a Saturday morning session. In the afternoons we have Nina Armstrong and Karen Ingram from Portadown delivering some very interesting classes. In the evenings Karen Wasson from Armagh will be bringing us a Beginners Yoga course on a Monday and a Flow Yoga class on a Thursday; Nina will be delivering another yoga class on a Tuesday and Jane Tucker from Banbridge will be doing a mid-week yoga class on Wednesdays, followed by Lisa Donnelly (one of my Pilates Instructor graduates!).

In the middle of it all I’ll be getting to do some great work with yoga, Pilates and my newly-devised Yoga-Lattes class. This class is a calorie burning, core strengthening combo of yoga, Pilates and cardio moves. It’s like yoga with extra caffeine! I am also doing a 6-week Meditation course which will incorporate some Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction techniques.

I felt like I could do with some of that myself so I took Chris away for our 7-year wedding anniversary to the lovely Channel Islands in order to get some late summer sunshine. I think that I’ll get back to it now, instead of sitting in stressing out about the new studio. Just promise me you’ll come and see it and then I can relax!!
Victoria

Never. Drinking. Again…

So Mum and I were invited to a christening this weekend. A lovely sensible affair with some beautiful twin girls. And we were going to pop our heads in for ten minutes before going for some groceries. Best laid plans?? I woke up yesterday morning at 7.45am wondering why I was no longer on the bouncy castle and have now managed to cobble together some of my missing 10 hours! Apparently, it was the third bottle of wine that did it! I was fine, fine, fine and then, all of a sudden, I wasn’t. I was literally legless. They didn’t work anymore. I’m sure I was very entertaining though… Some of these people I hadn’t seen in seven years when they’d been at my wedding party where I had once again gotten horribly drunk. They must think I’m some mad lush when in actual fact I drink very rarely (and, from now on, NEVER AGAIN). To get home two very kind guys carried me to the car (which I don’t remember) and then Mum drove us home before she and Chris dragged me out of the car again and into the hall. Where I went like a pinball up and down the hall bouncing against wall and falling up and down stairs (again I don’t remember this). I have cuts and bruises everywhere and it’s only now that the nausea has subsided that I am feeling the pain from falling over so much. My left hand is swollen, my right bum cheek has a huge bruise on it, my left shoulder is very stiff and sore. Oops… And as for the belles of the ball – I never even saw them! All I saw was a big bottle of wine with my name on it and the babies were relegated. Hopefully, their parents will forgive me and it will be a great story to tell them at their birthday parties where (of course) I will be drinking Perrier!!!

Victoria