The Three Grand Essentials To Happiness

essentials to happiness

Happiness is a state of mind; a state which can shift from pure contentment to complete dissatisfaction in any given moment. This change in perspective can be triggered by a number of outside circumstances seemingly out of our control; unexpected news, the loss of something dear, an ill-mannered interaction with a stranger…

At times our discomfort is prolonged and happiness can feel like a distant memory. I remember the overwhelming feeling of complete sorrow in the long months that followed my Dad’s death. I was a sinking ship. Afraid of marring others with my grief, I’d hide my devastation beneath a brave face, but on the inside I was an empty vessel lost at sea. If I knew then what I know now, I would advise my nineteen-year-old self to honour her feelings; to be unafraid of reaching out and asking for help.

If you are feeling bereft, try not to stuff down your emotions. Be kind to yourself and trust that this feeling will pass. It may not go away entirely, but as sure as the tides ebb and flow, so will your state of happiness. Nothing in life is constant. As rocky as the oceans may seem, the tides will settle in time. So don’t lose heart. It’s not your job to control the weather – life is unpredictable. But we can learn to navigate the storms, we can learn to stay afloat instead of drowning.

We can begin with the three essentials to happiness.

Something to do:

This could be as simple as petting your dog; making a start on a long neglected project or planting some vegetables to harvest in winter. Participating in life brings us back to the only moment we have – NOW. It is now that we are free from the binds of the past and worries about the future. For me, writing, walking in nature, and belly laughing with loved ones always brings me back to a state of gratitude for the moment I’m in.

Something to love:

At our core, we are pure, unbounded love. Therefore, not to love is a slow death to the soul. Yet many of us forget that we cannot give away what we don’t have. Love begins first with oneself. Not in a conceited self-righteous way, but in a way that is non-judgemental and self-accepting. When we truly love ourselves, we are able love others unconditionally. Make a promise each day to look in the mirror and say with deep compassion: “I love you.” Watch how that love flows outward to others.

Something to hope for:

Studies have shown that those who practice optimism and gratitude live longer, healthier lives. Hopeful individuals repeatedly show reduced levels of stress, anxiety and depression. Hope instills a sense of faith that everything will work out for our highest good. You don’t have to be religious to have faith in a higher power. You can have faith in yourself; faith in a loving Universe, faith in others, faith in a non-denominational Divine guidance. In short, faith and hope free us from the shackles of limiting beliefs, bringing a sense of peace to even the darkest of days.

Today, take the time to do something you love. Reflect and give thanks for this moment. Trust that everything is precisely as it is meant to be, and keep the faith.

In love & light,

Hayley xx

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Free Yourself.

 

stand-up-and-walk-out-of-your-history

There comes a time when we must be free. Free from the binds of the past and the limitations it has imposed upon us.

Have you been feeling trapped or misaligned from your truth? Maybe you relinquished control to another? Did you compromise on your values in order to keep the peace? We may lose our way momentarily and forget who we are, forget all that we stand for – but it is time to let go of all that. It is time to forgive ourselves. For it can happen to the best of us.

As we become attuned to our deepest selves we begin to recognise the ways in which we feel limited or constrained.  In what ways have we handed over our power? In what ways have we sacrificed our own sense of joy and happiness to avoid rocking the boat?

Today make peace with yourself. Make a firm promise to never settle for anything less than your own self-respect and integrity. Now is the time to take back control of your life – to rewrite your story, to step into your truth and reclaim your forgotten sense of freedom. You are entitled to be free. So free yourself. ‘Stand up and walk out of your history.’

In love & light,
Hayley xx

 

1 + 1 = 2

Writing 101, Day 7: Let social media inspire you

Today’s prompt was to choose one of five possible tweets as inspiration for today’s post. Since I work in a primary school and am studying for a degree in English Literature, this one stood out to me the most. (I don’t use Twitter so hopefully I have been able to imbed this tweet into my post correctly.)

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I am somewhat torn when it comes to education, I am a student of English Literacy; but mostly, I am a student of life. I love to learn new things, but admittedly, I tend to stick to the subjects I am most passionate about and those which are relevant to my life. As a result, I am often at a tug of war when teaching from the National Curriculum; a curriculum which, with its increasing demands and emphasis on Maths and Literacy, threatens to pigeon hole children and crush creativity.

Whilst I love my job and fulfil my role to the best of my ability, I often feel torn between doing what’s right for the children, and doing what’s expected of me in terms of the National Curriculum. So much pressure is placed on schools to meet the paintinglevel of expectations in Maths and Literacy, that nurturing children’s inner passions and creativity are often pushed to one side. Children are quickly categorized into ‘lower ability,’ ‘middle ability’ and ‘higher ability’ groups based on their Math’s and Literacy results. I often find myself thinking; ‘Maybe those particular children do struggle with long division, and maybe they don’t know the difference between a verb and a noun – but has anyone noticed how well Alfie plays the drums? Has anybody else seen how intricate Libby’s drawings are and her care for detail?’

It does sadden me when children have to sacrifice their chance at creativity in favor of extra Math’s and Literacy. In an attempt to bring them up to scratch with the expected level of ‘standards’, they are taken out of lessons that aren’t viewed as ‘core subjects’, such as Art and Music. This isn’t just happening in the school I work in, it happens across the country. For all we know, Alfie could be the next Ringo Starr and Libby the next Beatrix Potter, but we won’t discover that yet because Alfie and Libby are too busy taking extra Maths and Literacy for us to nurture their God given gifts and talents.

It’s not that I don’t see the importance of Maths and Literacy, because I do; but is it really necessary for a child of eight and nine to be doing algebra and long division and calculations that are so difficult even the teachers are struggling to teach them? Surely teaching children how to save, to budget and how to handle their finances has more relevance in the real world? Take Literacy for example, is it necessary for children of primary age to know the difference between an embedded clause and a complex sentence? Or is it more important that they know how to express themselves without fear of forgetting to use the aforementioned? Or that they know how to write a letter or apply for a position in a workplace or college?

In my ideal world, all children would learn how to read and write and be taught basic Maths and Literacy at the start of each day, along with Physical Education. In the afternoons, those who wish to pursue further Maths or further Literacy are given that opportunity; those who wish to pursue Art, can, and those who wish to develop in Science or sport or languages or any other subject for that matter, can. So, in essence – an opportunity to enroll in subjects, with specialized teachers of that field, not just at college level, but at Primary level too – so that children have the freedom to explore the subjects they feel most passionate about and are encouraged to do so from a very young age. If we have the opportunity and skills to nurture our children’s inner passions and creativity whilst preparing them with valuable life skills for their future – why wouldn’t we do this? Why is the focus placed so strongly on Math’s and Literacy? Offering a varied curriculum would also open up job opportunities for parents and adults who can play music, coach sports, sew, paint, have published works etc Every one can get involved in shaping our children’s education and future – regardless of how good we are at Maths and Literacy.

When I read EJ Koh’s Tweet, I realise that I know nothing of the things I learnt in school, other than the subjects I was passionate about. I don’t remember how to do algebra, I don’t remember how to speak in French, but I do remember how to read and write; and that, for me at least, is enough.

What are your thoughts on how children should be educated?

A Pause for Thoughts…

So far, my meanderings down memory lane have opened up some old wounds. I have relived painful emotions that I thought were buried long ago – as it goes, they were merely tucked away, hidden beneath the many depths and layers of my existence. One thing I have learnt during this process, is that reliving the pain of the past causes the original emotion, the one that was felt at the time, to resurface, making it all seem very real and raw again. I would be lying if I said I hadn’t cried fresh tears since embarking on this journey through my blog. So why, one might ask, would you put yourself through the trauma all over again? The answer is simple; revisiting the past after a period of healing is, for me at least, a chance to release some of the old hurts surrounding that time in my life – to unearth the tender emotions buried deep within so that I may replace them with meaningful substance. However deep and turbulent these waters seem at times, I know that they eventually lead to a beautiful, tranquil place; a place of freedom and a place of peace.

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