Tag Archives: imagination

A-Z of Life – Insecurities

insecuritiesThose little niggles that we all get that we are not good enough, or we’ve done something wrong but we don’t know what (or is that just me?).

Those little worries that just sit there quietly eating away at all the other thoughts in your head.

Until they grow so large they are all you can think of and not only that but they are completely true and you aren’t good enough, and it’s always your fault.

Annoying, aren’t they?

But how do you conquer those little niggling doubts inside your head?

Is it possible?

More importantly though, do you want to?

Personally, I think that if you want to get rid of them, it’s most definitely possible. After all, as Buddha said:

What you think, you become.

What you feel, you attract.

What you imagine, you create.

So, if all you can think and dwell on are insecurities, the wrongs people have done you, etc, etc, etc, then all you attract is more of the bad stuff and none of the good stuff.

But how do you change?

Well, it’s not easy, but it does all start with that very question.

If you know you want things to change, and you know you have to change in order to make that happen, then believe me, you are on the road there.

I have come full circle.

When I was little no one was ever going to beat me – at anything.

And then life happened and I let life beat me. I let everything else control me, but me. I clammed up and hid. I was totally afraid to show any feelings, I was never good enough for anyone, I was never good at anything and even if I showed any hint there was always someone only too willing to slap me back down into my place again.

I spent the best part of my life being afraid.

But then, a couple of years ago I had an epiphany.

It wasn’t one of those Damascene (?) epiphanies, more a case of a culmination of a whole heap of crap (for want of a better word) and me saying “STOP! I’ve had it!”

I knew I couldn’t change other people, but I sure as hell could change myself and how I reacted to certain situations.

Since reading is what I do best, I read and read anything I could get my hands on regarding personal development and changing perspectives. I’ve read about chimps, psychopaths, the universe, gratitude, psychic vibrations, etc. Some brilliant, some good and some not so good.

Little by little I managed to chip away at those in-built insecurities that had been a permanent fixture in my head for more years than I care to remember.

And you know what?

I’ve come to like myself again. I may not be to everyone’s cup of tea, but I’m mine.

I’ve realised that I have a right to be here, just as much as anyone else, and I don’t need to excuse my presence to anyone, especially not me.

What ever happened in the past is exactly where it needs to stay. Firmly in the past. I have learned from everything that has happened to try to make myself a better human being. By forgiving others and equally forgiving myself has lifted that feeling of eternal guilt that I am always in the wrong.

I am responsible for my own happiness, no one else is.

I have learned that I cannot control anything else apart from my actions – and if truth be told, that’s quite a scary one to learn, especially as I don’t like the feeling of uncertainty – but I take a deep breath and enjoy those opportunities and curve balls. After all the fun is in the journey.

I have learned that worrying doesn’t solve anything. It actually makes things worse. By worrying we create problems out of nothing. And going back to Buddha if we are feeling worried, insecure and not in a good place nothing good will come into our lives.

They’ll never completely go away, the fear and insecurities, but by flipping my thinking I have now learned that they are merely opportunities in disguise. A further chance for me grow by casting the ghosts of insecurities past aside and simply trusting.

Never mind Peter Pan saying “to die will be an awfully big adventure”, living is the biggest adventure of all.

Life is amazing.

Life can be wonderful, if we just stop worrying, start trusting, start believing and more importantly love.

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CHILDREN’S BOOK REVIEW: “The Imagination Box” by Martyn Ford

  • imagination boxStars: 5
  • Would I recommend it: Definitely
  • Age range: 9+

” “There is a box. Anything you imagine will appear inside. You have one go, one chance to create anything you want. What would you pick?”

That’s exactly the question ten-year-old Timothy Hart gets to answer after discovering The Imagination Box. The greatest toy on earth.

The top-secret contraption transforms his life but when the box’s inventor, Professor Eisenstone, goes missing, Tim knows he has to investigate.

With the help of a talking finger monkey called Phil, he sets out to find the professor. In order to rescue his friend, he must face his darkest fears and discover the true potential of his own mind.”

 

I picked this book up in the library last summer for SC and I to read as part of the summer reading challenge.

Now, the official guideline says it’s for 9+, well SC was 8 when we read it last year and to be honest I think even a 7-year-old would enjoy it – it makes for a great bedtime read, if you are strong enough to stop despite cries of “Don’t stop reading mummy!”

I thought the back of the book blurb sounded like it could be a fun book, and I was not wrong.

This book is brilliant. It is very cleverly crafted and will appeal to children and adults alike.

There is laughter, lots of it, and without giving any spoilers away let’s just say there are jet-packs to add to the amusement.

There is sitting on the edge of your seat wondering what’s going to happen next.

But at its heart is a story about friendship.

When we finished it last year, we definitely gave it a 5 star rating – it would have got more.

Well, imagine our surprise when looking through the books at the library this summer for suitable reads for the reading challenge when lo and behold we spied “The Imagination Box: Beyond Infinity” on the shelves.

A sequel?

Oh yes indeed.

Is it as good as the first book?

Yes, yes and a thousand times yes.

All the characters are back for some more fun with the imagination box, including Phil the talking finger monkey (mine and SC’s particular favourite – he’s very posh don’t you know?)

This time Tim needs to rescue his imagination box after it has been stolen from him. But who can he trust? Can he trust anyone?

Let’s just say I guessed the baddie much to SC’s annoyance. But I didn’t see the ending coming!

Another fabulous read and there is another book coming out – the third in the series – Spring 2017, hopefully.

That will be another one on the list.

If you can lay your hands on a copy of these books, do so. You, and your children, will love them.

So …

There is a box. Anything you imagine will appear inside. You have one go, one chance to create anything you want.

What would you pick?

Let me know in the comments section – happy imagining.

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A-Z of Life – Motivation

This is a re-blog of one of my A-Z of Life posts – maybe I’ll reblog some more 😉

The encouragement to keep going.fear

The drive to win.

The imagination to dream.

The determination to succeed.

The desire to change.

The wish to fulfil your dreams.

The hunger for knowledge.

The kick up the backside.

The incentive to start.

Whatever, our wishes, dreams, desires or plans we all need a spark of motivation to set off that chain of reactions.

Be it to earn more money, move house, try a new hobby, write that best-selling novel, etc., we all need to find that get up and go to get off our backsides and just do it (to coin a phrase – thanks Nike).

Take me, for example.

I have a folder that I started when I was 17, full of ideas I had for businesses and things I wanted to do.

20-odd years later, it’s still there, untouched, and some small part of me wishes I shouldn’t have left it so long.

Some ideas have been done, successfully by other people, and I think, “that could have been me!” But I was scared of trying.

Self-motivation is very difficult, especially when you let all the monsters of your past still silently dictate and belittle you. You pause before starting and still hear their voices saying that you aren’t good enough, you aren’t clever, you won’t amount to much, you’re a failure, you’re a loser, etc.

I have done that, and it’s very difficult to try to fight these demons alone, because over the years all the taunts, jibes and digs taught me to hate myself, and believe that all the things they threw at me were true.

At the end of the day you are the only person who can change your life and follow your dreams. It’s like dieting – you know you need to lose weight and keep fit, but unless you actually do something about it nothing will change.

It’s taken me a long time to exorcise the demons of long ago and I keep a very positive frame of mind these days. I am happy with where I am and have the desire to improve myself and dreams to fulfill. But there are occasional days when I still panic and think I can’t, and that’s another day lost because of actions of ghosts that haunt me from time gone by.

When you are on your own though, you are the only person who can kick yourself into motion, and you have to keep yourself going to the bitter end, be it failure or success.

And however hard you try to stay positive and rev up that get up and go, sometimes you wish you could have someone else to give you a gentle nudge and whisper “It’s OK, I’m here. Don’t worry – you’ll knock ’em dead!”

So, for anyone who may need a bit of a gentle nudge in the motivation department today, here you go:-

YOU ARE AMAZING! YOU CAN DO ANYTHING YOU SET YOUR MIND TO!

NOW GO GET ‘EM 😉

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Friday Poem – Art

A poem by the American poet Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882).

A poem that celebrates man’s imagination and creativity, and that through art, in whatever form, man gives his life importance.

Art

Give to barrows, trays, and pans
Grace and glimmer of romance;
Bring the moonlight into noon
Hid in gleaming piles of stone;
On the city’s paved street
Plant gardens lined with lilacs sweet;
Let spouting fountains cool the air,
Singing in the sun-baked square;
Let statue, picture, park, and hall,
Ballad, flag, and festival,
The past restore, the day adorn,
And make to-morrow a new morn.
So shall the drudge in dusty frock
Spy behind the city clock
Retinues of airy kings,
Skirts of angels, starry wings,
His fathers shining in bright fables,
His children fed at heavenly tables.
‘T is the privilege of Art
Thus to play its cheerful part,
Man on earth to acclimate,
And bend the exile to his fate,
And, moulded of one element
With the days and firmament,
Teach him on these as stairs to climb,
And live on even terms with Time;
Whilst upper life the slender rill
Of human sense doth overfill.

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Friday Poem – A Mathematical Problem

An amazing poem by Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1772-1834) about maths, of all things!Equilateral

Interestingly enough (or not), this was how I was taught to draw an equilateral triangle. I am a maths geek to the core.

Coleridge believed that with the help of muses and a splash of imagination, mathematics could be rescued from isolation and people’s lack of interest in it. (It appears that even after 222 years attitudes to maths remains the same!)

The introduction to the poem is a letter to his brother, the Reverend George Coleridge:

Dear Brother,

I have often been surprized, that Mathematics, the quintessence of Truth, should have found admirers so few and so languid.–Frequent consideration and minute scrutiny have at length unravelled the cause–viz.–that though Reason is feasted, Imagination is starved; whilst Reason is luxuriating in it’s proper Paradise, Imagination is wearily travelling on a dreary desart. To assist Reason by the stimulus of Imagination is the design of the following production. In the execution of it much may be objectionable. The verse (particularly in the introduction of the Ode) may be accused of unwarrantable liberties; but they are liberties equally homogeneal with the exactness of Mathematical disquisition, and the boldness of Pindaric daring. I have three strong champions to defend me against the attacks of Criticism: the Novelty, the Difficulty, and the Utility of the Work. I may justly plume myself, that I first have drawn the Nymph Mathesis from the visionary caves of Abstracted Idea, and caused her to unite with Harmony. The first-born of this Union I now present to you: with interested motives indeed–as I expect to receive in return the more valuable offspring of your Muse–

Thine ever,

S. T. C.

A Mathematical Problem

This is now–this was erst,
Proposition the first–and Problem the first.

I.
On a given finite Line
Which must no way incline;
To describe an equi–
–lateral Tri–
–A, N, G, L, E.
Now let A. B.
Be the given line
Which must no way incline;
The great Mathematician
Makes this Requisition,
That we describe an Equi–
–lateral Tri–
–angle on it:
Aid us, Reason–aid us, Wit!

II.
From the centre A. at the distance A. B.
Describe the circle B. C. D.
At the distance B. A. from B. the centre
The round A. C. E. to describe boldly venture.
(Third Postulate see.)
And from the point C.
In which the circles make a pother
Cutting and slashing one another,
Bid the straight lines a journeying go,
C. A., C. B. those lines will show.
To the points, which by A. B. are reckon’d,
And postulate the second
For Authority ye know.
A. B. C.
Triumphant shall be
An Equilateral Triangle,
Not Peter Pindar carp, not Zoilus can wrangle.

III.
Because the point A. is the centre
Of the circular B. C. D.
And because the point B. is the centre
Of the circular A. C. E.
A. C. to A. B. and B. C. to B. A.
Harmoniously equal for ever must stay;
Then C. A. and B. C.
Both extend the kind hand
To the basis, A. B.
Unambitiously join’d in Equality’s Band.
But to the same powers, when two powers are equal,
My mind forbodes the sequel;
My mind does some celestial impulse teach,
And equalises each to each.
Thus C. A. with B. C. strikes the same sure alliance,
That C. A. and B. C. had with A. B. before;
And in mutual affiance,
None attempting to soar
Above another,
The unanimous three
C. A. and B. C. and A. B.
All are equal, each to his brother,
Preserving the balance of power so true:
Ah! the like would the proud Autocratorix do!
At taxes impending not Britain would tremble,
Nor Prussia struggle her fear to dissemble;
Nor the Mah’met-sprung Wight,
The great Mussulman
Would stain his Divan
With Urine the soft-flowing daughter of Fright.

IV.
But rein your stallion in, too daring Nine!
Should Empires bloat the scientific line?
Or with dishevell’d hair all madly do ye run
For transport that your task is done?
For done it is–the cause is tried!
And Proposition, gentle Maid,
Who soothly ask’d stern Demonstration’s aid,
Has prov’d her right, and A. B. C.
Of Angles three
Is shown to be of equal side;
And now our weary steed to rest in fine,
‘Tis rais’d upon A. B. the straight, the given line.

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There are fairies at the bottom of my garden…

…all ringing little bells!fairy dust

Not really, but SC now has a fairy friend.

The other day he wrote a secret note to the fairies to ask for a cat, and requested it be delivered the following day at 4pm.

Now obviously, I didn’t want him to be too disappointed when it didn’t arrive – not least because my dad needs seriously buttering up to get a new cat – I decided to write a letter back to SC from the fairies.

I used a handwriting font and some cream coloured paper to print it out on and then tore it down to size, so it looked more ‘fairy-like’.

I explained that fairyland didn’t have any kittens at present and that they (the fairies) wanted to make sure he had the perfect cat for him, so he had to be patient.

The following morning he woke up (super early, even by his standards – 4:30am is not a time I wish to be re-acquainted with), and when he found the note he was beside himself with joy – announcing he’d got a new best fairy friend – I called her Petal!

So, he wrote a letter back, and now I have to write another reply!!

What have I gotten myself into?

On the minus side, I have to write reply letters.

On the plus side, he seems to be content he has a confidante – so to speak – and maybe through the letters I can get Petal to help explain why some behaviour is not appropriate, without it being me the only one saying that he shouldn’t do this and that attitude is not appropriate!

Well, I guess I best get my fairy wings on (no joke I have some) wave my magic wand and write another letter before sprinkling it with fairy dust and leaving it on top of his note!

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How to Cope with Life the “Quirky Way”

Re-published Blog post from 2013

“This was an article I read in the paper last week.

We all have days when we think “why did I bother getting up”, or “my life is sooo boring”, or we are just plain exhausted, or our job is getting us down and we feel anxious, stressed and depressed.

Research by Direct Line, the insurance company revealed that we all try to cram so much into a day, that approximately 25% of us end up feeling too tired to enjoy the fun things in life.

So, a Dr Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic, a professor in human behaviour at the University of Central London came up with the following suggestions to bring a little boost to our energy levels:

  • Listen to a minute and a half of loud rock music pre day at around 11:30 am.
    • Apparently it’s an ideal way to keep you going until lunch – and I thought that was, according to the adverts, a bowl of Kellogg’s Frosties (or indeed any other breakfast cereal). At the moment we alternate between School Disco in my car CD player (SC is particularly fond of The Clash’s “Rock the Casbah”, or Meatloaf’s “Dead Ringer for Love”) and Now that’s what I call 30 years of Music (favourite tracks The Proclaimers “500 miles” or Billy Idol’s “Rebel Yell!”) – will try blasting them out tomorrow morning at 11:30!
  • Allow time for a power nap during the day.
    • Personally, I’ve never been a power napper. Closing my eyes during the day makes me feel worse, sick and then I can’t sleep at night – so I’ll be giving this one a miss I think.
  • Jog to meetings and lunch to boost endorphins.
    • Endorphins, as everyone knows are what make you happy – it would certainly make me smile to watch everyone in an office jogging along the corridor to their next meeting, or indeed jogging along the busy streets of London (and yes, I know not everyone works there) in their power suits off to the local supermarket!
  • Write in different colours and styles.
    • Ooo, I can see a surge in sales of those pens with 4 different inks in them. You know the ones, with one click you can go from blue to black to red to green. Many a happy hour was idled away at school changing colours. Even at university I used to write in different coloured ink. Assignments were sent in red, turquoise and I think even lavender at one point! And as for style, mine changes like the weather and depending on my mood ranging from very neat and tidy to doctor scrawl which needs several different interpreters to decipher what I actually wrote!
  • Indulge in social media for 5 minutes at a time!
    • Seriously? 5 minutes social media, 1 minute work, 5 minutes social media, 1 minute work ….
  • Start a hobby that improves self-esteem – to make the things that ‘have to be done, like going to work, feel easier.’
    • Surely anything that you enjoy will improve your self-esteem whether that is pounding away on the running machine and the weights at the gym to something more creative like writing, art or music. After all, if we indulge in what we love and enjoy then we release more happy hormones, don’t we? And surely, self-esteem starts with feeling happy?
  • Doodle (not write) to-do lists first thing in the morning.
    • I used to be so organised before I had SC, and I was working. Now I just used post-it notes, which get stuck everywhere, or write lists in various notebooks!
  • Sleep on the wrong side of the bed.
    • Seriously, do people have a wrong and right side? As long as the mattress is firm and I have enough room to stretch my long legs out, without them ending up dangling off the end of the bed I do not care one iota which ‘side’ I sleep on. I know I’m anal about most things, but which side of the bed I sleep on is not one of them!
  • Eat a piece of fruit at 3pm to combat the afternoon ‘slump’.
    • A natural burst of sugar to keep you going until the end of the working day. I used to do that at work when I was pregnant, because around 2/3 o’clock was when my blood sugar plummeted and I started feeling nauseous. Orange juice kicked up the blood pressure, didn’t quite get rid of the mid-afternoon sickness though!
  • Set New Year’s resolutions in July.
    • I get the whole it’s the start of a new year, new beginnings, etc. Time to make a fresh start. But I don’t see why we have to wait an entire year before starting, or finishing, something we want to do – like going on that diet, finding a new job, etc.
  • Tube surf – change your usual route to work.
    • When I first read this I had images of commuters standing on the tube platform in the morning with surf boards under their arms and strains of The Beach Boys “Wipe Out”, playing over the intercom system. I always used to tube surf. It’s sometimes a necessity when the tube line you need is severely disrupted, and you end up with varying ways to get to the office. Even when I drove to work I would sometimes just drive a different way in. Plan B is always essential on the commute, you never know what hold ups with occur.
  • Get a personal mantra.
    • I’m all for mantras. The more positive and focussed the better.
  • Let imagination and creativity run wild by reading a favourite childhood book.
    • Einstein said “logic will get you from A to B, but imagination will get you everywhere,” and also “I am enough of an artist to draw freely upon my imagination. Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world!” As adults we lose our childhood imagination to see the world as a vast adventure, and it does become a hum-drum existence of working to live instead of living to work. Where does our imagination go? Why does it get stifled?

I’m all for quirky 😉

I never do things by the book.

If you’re feeling a tad stifled in your existence, try some of the above. What’s the worst that can happen?

As for favourite childhood books, I’m such a bookie it’s a hard decision. My top 5 would probably be “A Dream of Sadlers Wells”, “Anne of Green Gables”, “Little Women”, Family from One End Street” and “Mallory Towers” (I so wanted to go there when I was little!”)”

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