mental health

It's a Wonderful Life

What's your favourite film?

Maybe your have lots of movies you enjoy but if you were to choose just one... just one... what would it be?

Mine is a brilliant film called 'It's a Wonderful Life' and although it's often associated with Christmastime, and that's when it's usually broadcast on TV, I can enjoy it any time of the year, anytime of the day!

Why am I talking about this today? Well the film is one of the famous movies produced and directed by Frank Capra who was born on this day - May 18th - in 1897. 

Although born in Italy, like so many people who emigrated with their families to the USA when they were children, he lived the 'American Dream'. His was a real rags to riches story

During the 1930's, Frank Capra became one of America's most influential film directors. He won three Academy Awards for Best Director - he was nominated six times. And he won three other Oscars in other categories.  

If you know you're movie history you might recognise some of his iconic films - It Happened One Night (1934), You Can't Take It with You (1938), and Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939). After serving in the Second World War his career went into decline and his later films didn't perform so well.

And that includes It's a Wonderful Life which was released in 1946. However, over the years this film and others made by Frank Capra have come to define not just American movie history but the American dream itself.  And now It's a Wonderful Life is considered one of the greatest films of all time. In 1990, the film was designated as "culturally, historically or aesthetically significant" and added to the USA's National Film Registry of the Library of Congress.

In fact, Frank Capra himself said it was his favourite movie of all he had directed. James Stewart also claimed it as his favourite! I feel vindicated that I love it so much!

If you've never watched the movie, then you might want to give it a go. But if you don't want to know more, you best stop reading now because there are spoilers ahead!

Its a wonderful life May 18It's a Wonderful Life is a fantasy and it features an angel, so you have to suspend reality, but the moral of the film hits my heart every time.

The film is based on the short story and booklet entitled 'The Greatest Gift' which a chap called Philip Van Doren Stern self-published in 1943. There are also echoes of the 1843 Charles Dickens novella 'A Christmas Carol' which of course is also a bit of a fantasy, featuring as it does ghosts. Spirits who teach Ebenezer Scrooge some important life lessons.

And that's also the central theme of Capra's movie. The star of the film, James Stewart. plays George Bailey, a man who has spent his life in service to his family and his community, giving up his own personal dreams in the process. He reaches a crisis point and on Christmas Eve contemplates taking his own life because he comes to the conclusion that life for everyone around him would be much better if he had never been born.

Step in George's Guardian Angel - a character called Clarence Odbody - who attempts to show him that his life has NOT been worthless, and that he has touched the lives of so many others. He does this by showing George what life for his family and his community of Bedford Falls would have been life IF George had not been born. Clever.

If you fancy it, click on the link below to watch the uplifting end of the movie, when George's vision of life without him comes to an end and he is surrounded by the love he never appreciated or even thought he deserved.

And at the end of it all, he receives a gift from Clarence which is inscribed with this note ...

'Remember ... no man is a failure who has friends!'

It's a great lesson.

Truth be told, there have been times in my life when I've wondered why I'm here and whether my life has had any purpose. There have been moments when I think my life has been pretty worthless and I've questioned whether I've made a difference to the world. There have been episodes when I've queried my life choices and whether I could have done more.

But when I watch It's a Wonderful Life, I'm reminded that every action, every friendship, every episode in my life may have impacted others, and I hope it's for the positive rather than for the negative.

So today, although it's not Christmas ... here's the ending of that movie.

Enjoy! And be inspired not just by the film, but by the knowledge that every life has purpose. We can all make a difference even in small ways. 

And if we have love of family and friends... we are rich!

 


Monday Mindset

Time for the start of a new week.

And I, for one, am wanting to start today with a positive mindset.

I know if  I start out negative, thinking the worst is likely to happen, then it probably will.

But if I begin with positive thoughts then I'm more likely to have positive experiences. And even if something unexpected and 'not so great' happens, if I am thinking and living with the attitude of 'glass half full' rather than 'glass half empty' then I believe I'll be better prepared to deal with whatever may come.

So... bring it on! 

I'm ready for you Week Ahead!

 

Monday mindset


It's so Easy

It's Sunday and today I just want to share an inspiring thought with you. Pray sunday

It's so easy to go through life with our eyes closed to the beauty around us, to the great people who surround us and who help us in so many unseen ways.

It's so easy to focus on the negative rather than enjoy the positive.

It's so easy to fail to nurture our souls. For me, as a Christian, that's through prayer and meditation and Bible and other reading, but for you it might be something else.

It's so easy to forget to make the most of every day, forgetting that life is a gift.

It's so easy to fill our lives with superficiality and to forget to look deeper, beyond what we want and what we think we need to look good, live comfortable lives, be popular, find success.

However, while it's easy to do all this, it's also not that difficult to turn our lives around. It might take a little effort to get out of one mindset and embrace a new way of thinking and believing, but it is possible.

For many of us it could be a matter of trust and belief, perhaps in a Higher Being - I call that person God - or maybe even in ourselves. It could mean turning our faces away from some of the things, and even people, who distract us from being the person we long to be. That calmer, less stressed out, less materialistic, kinder person?

We might have to change our perspectives on many things, and it might be a life's work, but I'm sure it will be worth it.

Have a great Sunday everyone!

Let's set our hearts on the positive ahead of a fantastic week!

 


Let Yourself Rest

We're halfway through the month of May and it's the weekend!

If you've had a busy week, or a busy and stressful month or year so far, I just want to say ... 'maybe it's time to down tools and have a bit of a rest, if you are able!'

Now I know it's not possible to just turn life off but sometimes having a bit of 'downtime' does help with the stress and energy levels.

Those of you who have been following this blog will know that a month or so back I found myself, rather unexpectedly, without gainful full time employment as I left my job at the BBC when my contract came to an end.  And I headed into what I'm calling my 'New Adventure'.

Although at first I struggled just a little with not having work to do every day, and not having a 'routine' which was defined by productivity and work, I have to day I did quickly settle into my new lifestyle where I had less pressure to perform and deliver. I've enjoyed having a bit of 'respite' and being able to  concentrate on family life, and rest and meet up with friends and ... well just have a bit of fun.

I'm now gathering momentum again and picking up a few contacts and jobs ... I'm sure I'll be telling you about this a bit down the line ... but I'm so grateful for the weeks of 'R and R'. And as I'm now working as a freelance writer and broadcaster again, I'm determined to work on projects which inspire me and not cause myself too much stress in the future.

I found this quote some while back, and it's been perfect for me in the past month or so.

I HAVE turned off the news from time to time (previously, working in the media. it sort of dominated my existence at times) and I've had one or two days when I've done nothing. I was exhausted so I've rested and I'm learning to accept that I'm not defined by the job I have, the possessions I might not have, the way I look or even the way people look at me.

I am enough, simply by being 'Me'.

If you're in a bit stressed out and need to make some space for yourself ... hope this encourages you too!

 

Let yourself rest


The Hidden People

I've been thinking recently about how many people there are in the world who seem to be 'hidden from view'.

In a culture that appears to be a bit obsessed by people who are able to make a big 'noise' about what they do - including 'celebrities' who seem to dominate our media and social media and whom many people believe are the role models we should be following  - it is easy to forget that actually it is not THESE people who often make the difference to our lives.

During the coronavirus pandemic in 2020 and especially during the first  'lockdown' it seemed, for a while, we got away from all this. There was a real emphasis on and people really began to recognise the contribution to our lives of people who we may be inclined to take for granted. People in the 'background' who not only keep the wheels of our communities turning, but at the time were even putting their own lives at risk so that we could be safe.

You know who I'm talking about? The nurses and doctors and medics who looked after us when we were ill and dying. That band of brave hearts, and masses of volunteers who are now making sure we all get vaccinated against this dreadful virus! Then there were those who kept the shops open so we could still get essential supplies and those who kept transport going. Teachers who kept the schools open especially for the children of those 'essential workers', those who ran foodbanks and delivered provisions to people who couldn't get out. Neighbours who checked on the people around them, people who drew rainbows and painted on pebbles, just to make us smile and feel happy.

Every Thursday evening we clapped for those who cared for us. People really showed their appreciation for those who had gone the extra mile and had shown so much kindness.

It was so refreshing!

One of the things I hope will be a legacy of the pandemic is that some of that kindness continues, along with our appreciation of people who in the past may have been 'invisible' to us.

Time will tell if that actually happens or whether we'll go back to our old ways of just taking people for granted.

In the meantime, as a reminder to me, I share this thought which I have found helpful.

And I just want to say ... to all those who make MY life better, more comfortable and easier to live, even if I don't know who you are and what you do ...  THANKS! THANKS! THANKS!

Bless the hidden people


Savour Being Alive

It's Monday and time to start a new week.

Now sometimes, we know, we wake up on a Monday thinking 'Oh no, not another week!'

Well I do anyway!

All the things I have to do, all the tasks I have to complete, the deadlines I need to keep to. All the people I might need to please ... you know what I'm talking about.

But I saw this thought from S.C. Lourie on social media recently and it really inspired me to think differently about Mondays.

So here it is!

Hope it inspires you too!

Happy Monday everyone!

 

Start of the week


Let Go

In the last few weeks I've been stepping out into a new world.

I'm calling it my 'New Adventure'. The door on one job closed a bit unexpectedly and so I've been having to reassess where I'm at, and what the future might look like, especially workwise.

I've had lots of conversations, with myself and others, as I try to figure out what the future might look like, and a few have kindly reminded me that it's not the first time I've stepped out into the unknown and sort of 'reinvented' myself. Many have also been kind enough to remind me of the talents they believe I possess ... sometimes when your head is in a mess it's easy to forget that you DO have experiences and even gifts which you may have not used for a while but which are just lurking in the background ready to be nurtured again. 

It's easy to panic at times like this, to jump into another job because you think you have to be in 'proper employment' to be a worthwhile member of society. You know what I mean - clocking into work, going to the office, being part of a team.

Well maybe the past year of pandemic lockdown and restrictions has taught us that there may be a different way for some of us. And although, of course, I do need to work to keep life floating on and bills paid, over the past month since my 'proper employment' ended I've been slowly beginning to come out of a bit of a fog and now I'm starting to think laterally about what doors might open for me.

If you haven't realised it yet, I work in the 'media' and I'm a writer, and I've already picked up some fun writing projects. I'm having lots of conversations with people to see what might be on the horizon and I'm getting loads of great advice from family and friends, including one pearl of wisdom received this week.

A friend discouraged me from rushing into anything that ultimately won't make me happy, or which might even may make me 'unhappy'. And it made me realise that it's been a little while since I made that logical choice to only embrace projects and experiences which I feel enhance my life and bring me real satisfaction.

So, that's where I am right now. Still questioning, still musing.

And, because I'm a person of Christian faith, I'm still praying about it all.

Which brings me to my thought for today and a picture I saw shared on social media.

This image reminds me that sometimes, when one is stepping out into the unknown, it's easy to keep being dragged back by the coat tails by a 'previous life'. To be so tied up in your head with what you've lost that you forget what you might gain from a new 'adventure'.

So, today, I'm determined to look with optimism into the future, not looking back too much to 'what was' and trusting God for 'what is to come'. 

Completely in God's Hands!

 

Spiritual door


Brighter Colours

It's the start of a new month.

Can you believe it?

For us here in the northern hemisphere, we're moving into the summer season and here in Jersey in the Channel Islands the weather is warming up.

I'm one of those people who loves the warm weather. It might come from my spending a lot of my childhood and teenage years living in Africa, but I just think it's because ... well I love the warm weather!

I love the feel of the sun on my skin, I love swimming in the sea and summer IS the best time for that. I love that I feel lighter in my head and my heart when there's less darkness and the days are longer.

The colours seem brighter - the new leaves on the trees are greener, the colours of the flowers in parks, gardens and in the hedgerows appear more vibrant, the sky bluer! It's at this time that I feel especially blessed to live in a lovely island like Jersey.

So today, as we enter the month of May, I'm just going to share a photograph I took a week ago, in the Parade Gardens in St Helier, just a short walk from where I live.

Have a lovely Saturday everyone!

Spring flowers 1

 

 


Before ...

I love an inspirational quote - but I guess you've noticed that by now. 

I can't believe it's four months nearly since we began this journey through 2021 'One Day at a Time'. And I have to admit sometimes it's hard to find something to say ... every day.

And then I find a quote like this online!

So today, here are some words of wisdom from a great American author - Ernest Hemingway.

Have a great Thursday!

 

Thursday inspiration


Walk Away

 Not much to say today really ... just something inspirational to think about.

I don't know what you're going through at the moment ... but if this helps, then I'm glad!

Have a great day everyone!

Maturity inspirational quote