I don't know about you but it feels easy sometimes to get into a negative frame of mind.
The sun isn't shining or it's even chucking down with rain, you've put on (more) weight and feeling a bit unlovely. You don't feel like your life is going anywhere?
If I wake up with those negative thoughts in my head, already worrying about what life will throw at me, then I know I am likely to be fairly pessimistic all day.
So - for me the lesson is - try and have a positive thought in the morning, and everything else will look more optimistic.
That rain? Well the sun could come out! Fingers crossed anyway!
That weight? Well today is the first day of the rest of my life so I could start today with a healthy breakfast?
Feeling unlovely? I ask myself ... 'what is beautiful?' I determine not to judge myself by other people's standards and think more about inner beauty (kindness, love, peace, gratitude, friendship and so on and so on....) rather that outward appearance. I try to remember that I am unique and ask myself 'do I really want to be like anyone/everyone else?'
And smile ... that I believe will always create an intangible 'beauty'.
Life not going the way I thought it would? Well maybe I need to change my direction? Maybe the course I'm on is not the one for me?
Perhaps TODAY is the day I'll start a new life! Or at least start to think about it?
Or, if I don't want to do all that thinking maybe I'll just start with ....
'Today I will enjoy each moment ... it's the only July 13 2021 I will ever get!'
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Yes I know some of you will be working, and others will have to spend the day or even the whole weekend running around doing family chores. All the things you maybe don't have time to do during a very busy week.
I know that some of you reading this will spend the day chasing around after the children, dropping them to parties and events now that, in some places, the COVID19 restrictions are lifting.
However, if you can ... then it might be that you just need to stop today, to breathe and to rest. If possible, do nothing. Nothing at all!
And if it's not possible, at least to kick back a little.
I love this thought. Because life IS all about the balance.
I'm learning that sometimes I just have to walk away from my 'to do' list.
It's really tempting to keep looking at the tech devices and to even get into 'work' emails on the weekend or late at night. But what I'm trying to do is actually to make a distinction in my life between 'work' and 'not work'. Even though I'm now self employed, I'm trying to just step away from 'work' commitments at the weekend. Because I am one of those who does have family 'stuff' that I usually need to attend to and if I'm not careful my life will just get out of control.
Getting a bit of balance is the thing for me this weekend!
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Right now I'm spending a bit more time than usual watching sport on the TV.
No - I'm not talking about the football (or if you're reading this in the States, the 'soccer').
The Euro football tournament is currently happening and of course, it's all over the British media, especially now because the English team will face up to Italy in the final at Wembley stadium on Sunday this weekend!
I put my hand up and admit that I'd actually rather watch paint dry than endure a football match on TV. I've been to 'live' matches and they are different. Great fun, much excitement.
But watching on TV, it's not just about the actual game. Hours upon hours are dedicated to all the pre-match conversations, then there's the so called 'expert' chat during half time and of course at the end of the match all those experts unpicking every minor detail of the 90 minutes of play - why what the 'experts' thought would happen didn't happen, and so on and so forth. I find it all rather tedious. So I'm not talking about watching football.
No - I'm talking tennis.
Yes, I know many of you reading may think that watching a tennis match is also pretty boring. But not me.
You see, it all comes down to personal interest and personal choice.
I can't bear watching all the hype around football and all the machismo around the players and the game. But I love watching those tennis players with all the thought and tactics that are employed. I love experiencing the ups and downs of play, which can swing so quickly in favour of one player or the other. There's so much 'thinking' involved ... as well as the athleticism and dedication which we can all marvel at.
One of the tennis 'Grand Slam' tournaments, and the only grass court 'Major' competition - is held in a town in southwest London which is world famous.
In fact, the Wimbledon Championships is recognised as being the oldest tennis tournament in the world and is widely regarded as the most prestigious.
Right now we're on the brink of the final weekend of Wimbledon 2021 ... it's the Ladies Singles Final tomorrow (Saturday) and the Gentleman's Singles Final on Sunday. And there will be the doubles finals as well. These days there are junior tournaments and the Wimbledon Wheelchair championship matches.
The AEC & LTC had been founded in July 1868, as the All England Croquet Club. But as the interest in croquet was waning, in February 1875 lawn tennis was added to the interests at the club.
In June 1877 the club decided to organise a tennis tournament to pay for the repair of its pony roller, which they used to maintain the lawns, or the outdoor grass courts.
Although the game of 'tennis' can be traced back to 12th century France, in England it became what we now know as Real Tennis which was (and still is) played on an indoor court and became known as the 'Game of Kings'. There appear to have been various incarnations of the game in different countries.
It was the introduction of technology, namely the invention of the first lawn mower in Britain in 1830, which is thought to have led to the ability to prepare grass courts - or lawns laid to grass - which could be used as a fairly safe playing surface. This in turn enabled sports and leisure enthusiasts to create pitches, greens, playing fields and ... tennis courts!
This development meant that the sports became more popular and people began to want standardised rules. It was in the mid 19th century that modern rules for many sports were first conceived, including ... lawn bowls, football, and lawn tennis.
The world's first 'tennis' club was actually founded in Leamington Spa in Warwickshire in England in 1872. In nearby Birmingham in the English Midlands, a few years earlier (between 1859 and 1865 actually) a chap called Harry Gem, a solicitor, and his friend Augurio Perera had developed a game that combined elements of another past time called 'racquets' (similar to squash) and the ball game pelota which hailed from the Basque region of Europe, on the French and Spanish border.
The duo first played the game on Perera's croquet lawn in Birmingham and a few years later the friends got together with two local doctors to set up that first club on Avenue Road in Leamington Spa. It's here that the term "lawn tennis" was used as a name of an activity by a club for the first time.
Just two years later, the organisers of the first Wimbledon tournament had no precedent so, using those MCC regulations, they had to come up with a set of rules for a tournament.
That first event only included a 'Gentlemen's Singles' competition, and 22 men played on the now famous grass courts, having each had to pay for the honour of taking part ... the entry fee was one guinea.
The tournament began on 9 July 1877, and the final – delayed for three days by rain – was played on 19 July in front of a crowd of about 200 people who each paid an entry fee of one shilling. Hopefully the club made the money they needed for that pony grass roller!
Until fairly recently, rain was an issue for Wimbledon and I've spent many an hour over the years watching re-runs of old matches on TV while 'rain stopped play'. However, in 2009 the All England Club put a retractable roof over the famous Centre Court, and in 2019 the other main show court, No. 1 Court, also got a roof.
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster And treat those two impostors just the same:
These are words, of course, to inspire those players who are about to perform, hopefully at their best, on one of the world's most prestigious courts at the oldest tennis tournament in the world, with all the history that involves.
As today's competitors step under that inscription, I'm sure they are aware of the many many incredible sports men and women who have preceded them and all those who have also played on that hallowed turf. I hope so, anyway. Because although I'm sure they are thinking about their own game, the legacy of those who have gone before, including the early pioneers of the game, must be acknowledged.
But the words can also inspire us.
We might not be able to play world class tennis, or kick a ball at the highest level of football, or change the world, or do something spectacular.
But we all face 'triumphs' and successes, and 'disasters' and failures in our lives.
Life is like that. Ups and Downs.
And if we can face them both with equal measure - then our lives can surely achieve some sort of 'balance'.
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The summer in Jersey so far has been a bit disappointing, to say the least.
We had some days of warmth and sunshine, but the past few weeks have, to be honest, been very 'un-summerlike'.
For someone who loves long weeks of beach, and swimming, and warm nights and enjoying the feel of the sun on her skin, this summer hasn't really come good.
Not yet, anyway.
Glass half full - it's still only early July and we could still enjoy weeks and months of lovely weather well into the autumn, if we're fortunate.
We can hope, anyway.
When I saw this quote on a big wooden canvas in a local charity shop recently (yes, I did take a picture of it - it was too large to bring home) it reminded me, however, that if I wait for the 'perfect conditions' in life, I risk missing out on so much!
If I wait for the sunshine to come out, so to speak, I might not experience wonderful things while the rain is falling.
And, of course, I'm not just talking about the weather.
So - metaphorically and literally speaking - maybe I need to start dancing in the rain!
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Although it was written by John Lennon, it was credited to the Lennon–McCartney song-writing partnership. Lennon apparently deliberately wrote lyrics that were simple because the song was actually written not just for the British market, but for s specific global event and it needed to have international appeal.
All you Need is Love was Britain's contribution to Our World, the world's first live global TV special. The Beatles were filmed performing the song at EMI Studios in London on 25 June 1967 and the programme was broadcast via satellite, and seen by over 400 million people in 25 countries.
It's one of those songs that's in our psyche and in our history. It's certainly in mine.
Many of us can just sing along. It's a song which with the constant repetition of the chorus 'All you need is love' .. has a powerful message. And it's not about love we can't attain. It's about doing everything with love.
I mentioned that on Sunday, but it's definitely worth the repetition.
So - combining one of my favourite songs, with a favoured movie... here it is - as featured in Love Actually.
It's a strong reminder of something that's really important, and which - if we all just tried to love a little bit more - could change the world.
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Are you one of those who perhaps feels you don't fit in?
Maybe you feel like you work so hard and are never recognised for what you do? Or overlooked? Or taken for granted?
And you don't feel you can speak up for fear of rejection?
Are you one of those who feels 'different' to those around you?
Maybe you don't look like other people, or what people think people should look like? Perhaps you, like me and many others, are a little overweight and in a world where 'skinny' or at least 'thin' is considered standard beauty, you feel out of place?
Perhaps you don't dress in all the latest clothes, live in a posh house, go to the parties that apparently all the 'cool' people attend? You don't carry the right handbags, wear the right very high shoes, drive the right car? Or at least what others think are 'right' in this respect?
Do you live in a culture where ageing is just not on? People spend thousands on plastic surgery and making themselves look younger, or more handsome or prettier?
You know what I mean! There are many many reasons why we might feel we don't fit in with the world. We feel rejected and out of place.
More importantly we KNOW we have talents, so much to offer, but we're just not given the chance to prove it, because we're 'too old', 'too fat', not the right colour, not the right religion, not someone who looks 'successful', not someone who others think deserve a break? Or maybe you're just someone who people don't look at at all!
In a world where, it appears, 'celebrity' is everything, many of us model ourselves on unrealistic images and we discount so many people who don't fit the model.
But I'm guessing even those so-called 'celebrities' don't look great in the morning. Without that botox or the veneers on their teeth, or spending masses on money on makeup and clothes and cars ... they are just humans. Ok, yes, often rich humans. But why are we comparing ourselves to them? They actually have nothing to do with us. They are they and we are we. I am who I am.
I don't know about you but the older I get, the less I tend to worry about others and what they are up to. That's their life.
Yes, it's true that if we are ambitious, or passionate about what we have to offer to the world, it can be frustrating to be passed over, to stand out, to defy the world. But maybe it's just time to take control, recognise that we are 'different' and we have 'different' talents to the clones.
In 2017 a film came out which captured the imagination of the world. It's called The Greatest Showman a musical movie which told the story of P.T. Barnum, best known as an American showman who created a business by pulling off stunts and profiling 'different' people. Some say he took advantage of individuals who others considered 'freaks' but this movie dug deeper than that and highlighted the strength of those people who were marginalised. He was much more, including a politician, businessman, author and philanthropist, but it's the 'circus' badge that has stuck.
Some so-called movie 'experts' were critical of the film saying it was shallow and didn't expose Barnum for the man he was and glamorized what he did and how he made a living through exploitation. But The Greatest Showman was massively popular. It was beautifully filmed, was packed full of stars and the music and songs were FANTASTIC!
P.T.Barnum was born on this day in 1810, so it's a great opportunity for me to talk about the movie and one song in particular which I have listened to many times. We used to sing it in our Community Choir (when choirs were gathering) and it always lifted my heart and gave me courage.
There are many quotes attributed to P.T.Barnum ... including this saying
'The Noblest Art is that of making others happy!'
... but he also apparently had lots to say about being 'different'. And I love that!
I may often appear confident but I don't feel like that sometimes, and I've certainly had to learn to live with my own insecurities, and to try to prevent others from 'bringing me down'. I may not feel that 'brave' and I've certainly been 'bruised', but as the years progress I just want to shout to the world....THIS IS ME! Learn to live with it! If you don't like it, then I don't need to be around you.
And so on and so on...
It makes me feel rather defiant actually. Ok so I may never be a celebrity or even 'acceptable' to many. But I'm not going to let that affect my life! And I won't let it steal my joy! I won't let it stop me trying to share happiness, or be kind, even if others are unkind to me.
Yes, I am different! I don't particularly want to be like everyone else! Why would I want to try to squeeze my personality into someone else's mould?
SO ... here it is ... the song ...
Hope it inspires you too!!
This is Me (by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul)
I'm not a stranger to the dark Hide away, they say 'Cause we don't want your broken parts I've learned to be ashamed of all my scars Run away, they say No one will love you as you are
But I won't let them break me down to dust I know that there's a place for us For we are glorious
When the sharpest words wanna cut me down I'm gonna send a flood, gonna drown them out I am brave, I am bruised I am who I'm meant to be, this is me Look out 'cause here I come And I'm marching on to the beat I drum I'm not scared to be seen I make no apologies, this is me
Another round of bullets hits my skin Well, fire away 'cause today, I won't let the shame sink in We are bursting through the barricades And reaching for the sun (we are warriors) Yeah, that's what we've become
Won't let them break me down to dust I know that there's a place for us For we are glorious
When the sharpest words wanna cut me down Gonna send a flood, gonna drown them out I am brave, I am bruised I am who I'm meant to be, this is me Look out 'cause here I come And I'm marching on to the beat I drum I'm not scared to be seen I make no apologies, this is me
...This is me
And I know that I deserve your love There's nothing I'm not worthy of When the sharpest words wanna cut me down I'm gonna send a flood, gonna drown them out This is brave, this is bruised This is who I'm meant to be, this is me
Look out 'cause here I come (look out 'cause here I come) And I'm marching on to the beat I drum (marching on, marching, marching on) I'm not scared to be seen I make no apologies, this is me
(Whenever the words wanna cut me down I'll send the flood to drown them out) I'm gonna send the flood, gonna drown them out
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