On this fine day…

So after running my first Park Run this morning, my beautiful day of ikigai continued. I decided to fill this precious first day of the year with things that would make me happy and feel good.

I’d heard about a film called Walk With Me, a journey into mindfulness about Zen Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh, which immediately made me think of one of my friends who has been studying mindfulness, so I met her and we went to see the movie. It was really interesting, and by the end we agreed we felt like we’d been in meditation for a couple of hours (and I don’t even meditate). 

My friend suggested we follow the movie with a yoga session, so off we went to see my favourite yoga teacher who happened to be running a class this evening. It was a lovely session, longer than my usual class which is crammed into a lunch break, and it was just what my body (and mind) needed. I find the Hatha yoga that I practice is very flexible and easy to adapt to how you are feeling on any particular day, and although I’ve only been practicing for about a year, I can’t imagine life without yoga now. 

My teacher often instructs us in a move and says “see how your body feels on this fine day” and that’s a phrase I tend to leave the room with. Each day is different, but on this fine day I have to say I’m feeling pretty good! 

Goals (not resolutions)

We all know that most people break their New Year’s resolutions within days of making them, so what’s the point? I used to make New Year’s resolutions every year, and then I would just feel miserable when I made the same ones all over again a year later. I felt like I hadn’t achieved anything at all, but really the resolutions were just to big. It’s like making a to-do list of all the things you ever need to do (ever!), rather than just a list of the things you need to do today, which is much more manageable.

I’m not really one for jargon, but I do like the idea of SMART goals. SMART goals should be Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Timely. So, here are my SMART goals for 2018, in no particular order:

  • Complete at least one Park Run (✓ DONE!)
  • Reach my goal weight of 10 and a half stone
  • Complete my Veraflow Dance Fitness Instructor Training Course
  • Do a headstand in yoga

I have lots of other small themes and tasks for the year, but these four things listed above are my main goals. And, like all good lists, at the time of writing this post I have already been able to tick one thing off!

Here’s to a year of achieving wonderful things!

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Hello 2018, you’re looking mighty fine!

Welcome to the cliche – new year, new blog, new me. But I don’t care. This blog is something I’ve been thinking about doing for months, and now seemed like a pretty good time to get on and start it.

So what’s going on here then? Those of you who know me will know I’ve been blogging a long time – over 10 years in fact, in one way or another. But over the last couple of years I’ve been going through something of a transformation, and that’s changed the amount of time I have to write. I no longer spend my weekends sat around at home in front of the computer – instead I’m usually out and about, and quite often dancing. Actually, over the last year I’ve hardly blogged at all. I often feel guilty about not blogging, but then I remind myself that I don’t have to, and that (most importantly) there’s no point in writing if you don’t have anything worth writing about.

But you see, writing is one of the things that I’m most passionate about. You could say it’s one of my reasons for living. When I ran into the concept of ‘ikigai’ recently (a Japanese word which basically means ‘reason to live’), it got me thinking about all of my reasons for living, and I wanted a space in which I could explore all of the things I’m currently passionate about.

There’s work of course, and I am lucky enough to do a job which I genuinely love and feel happy and proud to do, but I do think a reason for living can be a lot more than one’s career. For me, my ikigai is everything else. It’s all the things that get me out of bed on a day when I don’t have to get up and go to work. For example, this morning, 1st January 2018, I rolled out of bed at 7am so I could go and join my first ever Park Run, a timed 5k run. Why? Because I’m committed to challenging and bettering myself, and because I’m a little bit crazy.

Often, when I’m tired and I’ve had a busy day or week, I feel like I could just curl in a ball and hibernate for a while, but usually on those occasions I find a bit of oomph and I take myself out dancing, because dancing cures everything. (I’ll talk more about dancing in coming posts, I’m sure!) Dancing is definitely my ikigai.

So, ikigai is the name of the game, and this year, this beautiful new year of 2018, is when I’m going to let the words tumble out of my fingers and see what happens. Thank you for joining me – I promise it won’t be boring.

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