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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?

Wednesday, 20 February 2013

Head vs Heart

“If you want to become something, achieve something in life, then always listen to your heart.” Shahrukh Khan

I was recently interviewed by Aimee du Fresne as part of her Fearless Friday Interview series. She was quizzing me regarding a monumental move I had recently made. "Did you think it would be so hard" she asked?

"I didn't think at all", I perhaps, too honestly, blurted out.

There are generally two types of people. Those who make heart led decisions and those who rationalise, weigh up possible outcomes and think everything through meticulously.

Throughout my life I have always followed my heart without hesitation, I am extremely impulsive and rarely think of the potential consequences.

I have to be truthful and say this strategy hasn't always served me well.

However I know I am one of life's natural worries. If I stopped to really think things out properly I know I would never be brave enough to veer of whatever comfortable path I was on at the time. Sometimes you just have to take a deep breath, have faith everything will be ok and jump.

I know that even if things don't work out too well I can never regret any heart decision I have made. If I believe something will truly bring me joy (and to me that's what life is all about) I can't lament if it doesn't work. If I made head decisions and they went wrong I think I would kick myself for not foreseeing whatever the actual outcome was.

Of course life is all about balance and if you can find the middle ground between your head and heart and trust yourself implicitly you will never go far wrong.

Wednesday, 13 February 2013

Be your own Valentine

"I have an everyday religion that works for me. Love yourself first, and everything else falls into line."  Lucille Ball 

It’s that time of year again when for every girl sat at her office desk swooning over a bouquet so large the delivery driver scarcely managed to pick it up, you bet there will be 10 other girls glowering with envy.

What is it about Valentine’s Day that can have women shivering with expectation and men shaking with fear (or vice versa)?

I have friends who totally embrace the romance and celebrate whole heartedly but also know of couples who have such wildly different ideas the day inevitably ends with one, or both parties sulking in a corner. When people can’t communicate honestly regarding their ideals and expectations is it any wonder their needs aren’t met?

I used to be the worst at this. “It’s too commercialised for me; another way of extracting money by mass producing cards and novelty gifts” is what I historically said out loud in the days leading up to the 14th. 

In reality though, when it got to the actual day I would virtually be wrestling envelopes out of the mailman’s hands searching for cards. Every time the office door opened I would pray it was a florist with flowers for me.

“You expect me to cook?” I would cry in the evening. “You could have made an effort.”

Yes, I know I was unreasonable but I wanted to feel special. Growing up in a family that never mentioned the L word, I wanted validation that I was lovable through overpriced red roses and heart shaped chocolates. What I didn’t realise was that the love I was actually lacking was self-love and no amount of cuddly bears holding balloons was going to fix that.

The first year I spent Valentine’s Day as a single adult was a revelation to me. I spent half an hour on the phone listening to my friend tell me about the love letter she had received from her boyfriend listing all the things he loved about her. When I came off the phone, fighting back tears I decided to write my own love note; to myself.

I found it painfully hard but ultimately so liberating and it is now something I do every year regardless of my relationship status. I no longer place pressure on anybody (including myself) as I know I am loved (especially by me) and worth loving. These are all signed and dated and really lovely to look back on from time to time.

This is a small excerpt from last year’s letter. 

“I love myself even though I am perfectly imperfect. I love myself even though I feel down from time to time, it’s ok to not be ok. I have total trust that I can support my own emotional and financial needs and will always take care of myself. I love the way I always try to be kind to others without sacrificing my own needs.”

Why not give it a go? If you feel really uncomfortable at the thought of doing this then it really is the perfect exercise for you.

Tuesday, 12 February 2013

I'm not ok (and that's ok)

Happiness can only exist in acceptance". George Orwell 

I woke up this morning, went to get out of bed and the pain was so great I virtually couldn't move.

"Are you ok" my partner asked? 

"Ummm, actually, no".

There was a time such a flare up would really have impacted upon my emotional well-being. I would be flung into a complete blind panic picturing myself never moving again resulting in my neglected children half starving in dirty clothes. 

Analysing over and over again what could have caused the set back, resisting the situation and worrying about how I would cope was absolutely the worst thing I could have done to my poor body. Heaping extra stress on already tense muscles merely exacerbated and prolonged the period of increased pain.

I would berate myself for being a burden, blame my body for not being 'normal'; not offering myself the extra love I needed to recover as quickly as possible.

Today I am perfectly calm. The timing is terrible with it being the school holidays but flexibility is paramount for a harmonious life. Realising that things happen beyond my control and it's ok not be be ok was one of the biggest lessons for me to learn, and one which took a huge amount of time.

Instead of listing all the negatives that will surround my flare up I have focused only on the positives. 

Today I am grateful for:-

1). My partner who loves me very much unconditionally.
2). My children who won't complain at a change of plans and will be happy with a day at home today.
3). To be able to do something I love (writing) without it affecting my pain levels.
4). To have money in my purse to be able to order a pizza later if needed.
5). To be sat in a warm comfortable chair looking at the snow outside. 

There is always, alway, always something to be thankful for.

Monday, 11 February 2013

6 year old sacrifices presents to benefit stray dogs

“My religion is very simple. My religion is kindness.” Dalai Lama

There has been some awesome pay it forward stories this year that I have loved sharing but this one about six year old Finlay Brooks really formed a lump in my throat.

Turning six last week he decided his birthday was too close to Christmas to possibly need anymore toys. After seeing an advert on TV for Cheshire Dog’s home he was adamant that he wanted his family and friends to all give to the dogs rather than buy him birthday presents.

His parents set up a Justgiving page for him and requested that his classmates either donate money or give dog food or blankets to the shelter.

To date this awesome youngster has raised more than £260 for the shelter and has been thrilled to be given a guided tour.

Not only was this donation phenomenal for the dogs Finlay has also shown his school friends a true selfless act of kindness. Now that’s something you can’t teach in a classroom. 

Thursday, 7 February 2013

Prisoners save lives

"If you judge people you have no time to love them".  Mother Teresa.

Three brothers fell into a raging creek last week with a current so powerful they couldn't get out. 

Three inmates from a prison work crew assigned to the area jumped in without hesitation to rescue them. 

The rescuers and the boys were taken to hospital where they were treated for hypothermia, with the children thanking the men over and over again as they shivered, frightened and scared.
One of the inmates has said., “You see three helpless kids in a river, you help. That’s what you do. Just cause we’re incarcerated, doesn’t mean we’re bad people. We made some bad choices in our lives, but we’re still, we’re just like everybody else. We’re just paying our debt for what we did wrong.”
We all make mistakes in our live's; we wouldn't be human if we didn't and I'm a great believer that you shouldn't judge people by their past as they don't live there anymore. Without the actions of these three men those children may not be alive today to tell their tale.

Tuesday, 5 February 2013

Estella's brilliant bus

“Our prime purpose in this life is to help others". Dalai Lama

I loved the recent news story of Estella Pyfrom, the retired teacher who has poured her pension and retirement money into a $900,000 mobile classroom.

Estella, from Palm Beach has driven the “Brilliant Bus” to underprivileged areas to enable children to connect to technology and help them with their homework.  Many of these children do not have access to computers at home.

“Have knowledge will travel” is Estella’s awesome strapline.

It is phenomenal that these children, who might otherwise have slipped under the radar, are being given every chance to work towards qualifications and whatever goals they may once have thought were out of reach.

This selfless act is sure to change the paths of many young people. What a beautiful lady.

Sunday, 3 February 2013

Get your creative on

“A rock pile ceases to be a rock pile the moment a single man contemplates it, bearing within him the image of a cathedral.” 
Antoine de Saint-Exupery 

I love it when I stumble across something that makes me go “wow” and want to take a second look. The 3d faces that Andrew Myers creates using screws certainly did that today.

California based artist Andrew takes a plywood panel then paces pages of a phone book on top. He then draws out a face and pre-drills between 8,000 to 10,000 holes by hand. Sculptor Andrew drills in the screws all at different depths using instinct rather than any computer software.

Finally he individually paints over each of the screw head so the sculpture looks like an actual portrait.

Creativity is such an awesome outlet from the stresses and strains of everyday life. Whether you can paint, write, sculpt, bake, collage etc. it is vital not to push these urges away but to honour that part of you. Ultimately this will quash any pent up frustration and lead to an energised sense of purpose. Writing a short story always gives me a sense of achievement and well-being. What’s your creative outlet?

Friday, 1 February 2013

A modern day hero

"The greatest gift that you can give to others is the gift of unconditional love and acceptance".
Brian Tracy

You may have heard the news story this week regarding Michael Garcia, a Houston waiter who defended a 5-year-old boy with Down's syndrome.

Michael became upset when he heard a diner complaining about five year old Milo Castillo, the five year old son of a family of regulars, who has Down's syndrome. The fellow customer had already moved his table away from the Castillo's before rudely stating
"Special needs children need to be special somewhere else".

Garcia recalled the incident and his reaction in an interview with KPRC-TV.

"My personal feelings took over and I told him, 'I'm not going to be able to serve you, sir.'" Garcia continued, "He said, 'If you're not going to be able to serve us, then we'll leave.' Then I told him, 'How could you say that? How could you say that about a beautiful 5-year-old angel?'"

The disrespectful customer then left with his family.

There have been many stories this week hailing Michael a hero but sadly many others condemning the use of this word for such a 'small' action.

My understanding of a hero is; "A person, who is admired for courage or noble qualities".
In my book this describes Michael perfectly.