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At The Happy Starfish we are dedicated to providing a wealth of information, products, workshops and articles all aimed at celebrating health, happiness and peaceful living. We believe that life should be an awesome adventure filled with love; love life and life will love you back. Are you willing to surrender what you think you are for what you could become? Are you ready?

Monday, 20 August 2012

Stop cleaning your house and clean your mind.

I am lucky enough to be staying with relatives this week, in a beautiful house in the middle of the Welsh countryside. 

I am completely relaxed, have no demands on me and aside the odd bit of reading and writing I am happy to just be.

Yesterday I sank into the comfiest armchair, looked out at the stunning view and before I knew it 2 hours had passed in a haze of conscious contentment.

I am feeding my body and soul with complete rest as that is what I need and deserve at the moment and I make no apologies for it.

However I do question if I would be able to do this at home. Aside from the obvious commitments many of us have to work, home and family how often do we say "I will just sit down when I have finished . . . . ", "five more minutes and I will relax".  I don't know about you but for me, five minutes never comes, I always spot something else that 'needs' doing straight away.

Previous generations had genuine reasons for keeping busy, a lack of home appliances meant keeping house was hard work.  With carpets to beat, clothes to wash by hand and wring dry and dishes to manually do, coupled with larger families to feed, meant spare time was a rare treat to be treasured.
Why is it then that with most of us having homes filled with electric wizardry to make tasks so much easier we are in fact busier than ever?

We need to accept that housework never ends, it will never be finished.  The problem is not within our homes but within our minds.  There is a huge difference between being restful and being lazy.  We need quiet time to cultivate some inner peace and ensure our bodies and minds are in alignment.
If we cleaned our minds through meditation as much as we cleaned our homes how much more rewarding would our lives be?  Rather than looking around at sparkling surfaces and floors we would have that sense of fulfilment within ourselves permanently.  How great would that be?

Of course we can say we want things to be perfect for our families, I want my home to be clean and tidy and a nice environment,  I know though that given the choice my partner would rather have a bit of mess and dust and me happy and peaceful rather than a show home and a totally worn out and stressed girlfriend.

Now put the duster down, make a drink and go sit.  Nobody will think any less off you.  Rather than obsessively looking after your home start looking after yourself, you are worth far more.
Spreading the love

Louise xx 

Sunday, 12 August 2012

What is confidence?

I am writing this lying on a blanket in the glorious sunshine at my local (ish) lido.  A cloudless sky, clear blue water and lush green grass make this a lovely place to be.  Add a pen and paper to the mix and I really am in heaven.

Although I am happy and relaxed, looking around it is clear that not everybody, particularly the women, feel the same.

A few ladies are wandering around unselfconsciously in bikinis, seemingly at ease with who they are.  Others are hiding under towels or sarongs, constantly checking how much flesh is exposed and adjusting themselves accordingly.  A small proportion remain clothed, even whilst in the pool.
This has led me to question what is confidence, when do we get it, how do we lose it and, most importantly, how do we get it back?

We are born with confidence, the inner knowing that we can, that we are enough.  A baby believes it can learn to crawl, a toddler believes it can learn to walk.  We all believe we can until we are told we can’t, we shouldn’t, it’s not a good idea.  It’s only then we start to question ourselves and the self-judgement starts.  Nobody analyses the way they look until they encounter spiteful taunts at school or unrealistic media images.

Our belief system, the way we perceive ourselves and the world around us is formed during our formative years.  Being told we are wrong, bad, can’t, will never be etc. is something many of us, subconsciously, carry into adulthood.  Even if we come from a loving, supportive family it can be a seemingly throwaway comment that stays with us. 

It is only recently I have linked my self-conscious nature and inability to speak publicly with a statement made to me by a teacher when I was 7.  Wanting to appear in a school play she told me “Louise, you are so softly-spoken no-one will want to listen to you when you speak”.  My brain registered “no-one wants to listen to you speak”, and consequently I have, until recently, spent the vast majority of my life hiding in corners, trying to make myself invisible.
So what can we do to raise our self-image?  Thankfully lots.

Firstly, if you have any negative memories like I had above can you now look at them with fresh eyes?  Looking at the situation now as an adult I think that the teacher was trying to be helpful, wanting me to project to enable both me, and the play, to be of a high standard.  This knowing came as a huge relief to feel I was not being personally criticised, that there was, in fact, a loving intent behind her comment.

Secondly, think of yourself in a more positive, loving way.  When was the last time you paid a friend a compliment?  When was the last time you paid yourself a compliment?  Exactly.  While it can feel a totally alien concept to be kind towards ourselves initially, the more we practice this, the more we believe it to be true.  Personal empowerment cards which pick words for you daily (available atwww.thehappystarfish.com/shop.html) are a great tool if you struggle with this concept. 

Thirdly, stop waiting.  Confidence won’t magically appear when you lose weight, change jobs or alter relationships.  Write a list right now of 10 things you are happy with and carry it with you.  Refer to it often and add to it when you can.  Gratitude leads to love, and when we are experiencing self-love it is impossible to be self-critical.

Now excuse me, it’s kind of hot and I’m going to make my way over to the ice-cream kiosk without my sarong.  I believe no-one will really focus on my wobbly bits.  After all, the most noticeable curve on a woman is her smile and mine is pretty big right now.

Spreading the love

Louise xx