They call it puppy love…


For Valentine’s Day 2021 I put the a pic of my hubby and my puppy up on Instagram (click the link to see the pic), basically a wee tribute to my cockapoo Buddy and the joy he has brought us…:

Not sure which one I love more?!❤️ I mean only one of them in the past few days: broke my favourite cup; ate my concealer; stole the toothpaste; knocked over a plant spilling soil everywhere; chewed the table; ate a whole soda I’d taken outta the bread in for breakfast and slabbered all over my new slippers I’d bought to replace the the two pairs he chewed to death…. But you know that’s love for ya… As the good book says ‘love is kind, love is patient, love does not keep a record of wrongs’ (though I just did for purposes of illustration 😅) 💖.

Puppy love is def strong in my life right now even though he is a torture! I have to recommend a dog to anyone who would like more love in their life 🥰🐶. If you’re lonely, if you need more exercise, if you want a child/baby substitute, if your preparing for a baby arrival one day, if you’ve just gone through a break up, if you want a friend for your child or yourself, if you want something to bring the whole family together, if you like affection, if you like to play… then really – get a dog! 🐩 🥰

I never had a dog in my life ‘till I got Buddy and now he’s now my 100% bestie. I’m sure lockdown has accelerated our relationship and I’ve no idea how we’d cope with having to leave him in normal life but really what he has brought to us is nothing but love (and mayhem 🥰).

This was meant to be a happy Valentines post about my two loves but really it’s the best advice I can give. Get a dog, get and give more love 💗 🐕 🥰 Of course these two aren’t my only loves, chocolate is way up there 😅 🍫 I made this ‘Valentines cake’ for our romantic dinner last night but we were to full to eat it! 😋. Don’t worry I won’t fed it to Buddy knowing that chocolate is toxic to dogs! #itsawholenewworld 

Lastly, don’t forget to love yourself too… our love is incomplete if we don’t include ourselves. All love stems from self love. So take care of yourself today. If you’d like a whole day of caring deeply for yourself I have a retreat day on offer next Saturday 💕💕

I offer mindful self-compassion workshops every month x x x

 #puppylove #happyvalentines #getadog #myloves #dontforgettoloveyourselftoo

(This post was first issued via my instagram on 14 February 2020)

Have you been lazy enough today?

So it’s been a year. I don’t need to tell you. But to shift to something positive lets reflect on some of the good things that came out of 2020. For me one of those things has been the increased ‘free’ time.

I’m sure if you ask anyone who is still lucky enough to have job and can work from home – they might miss a lot of things about the office but they don’t miss that hour stuck in the gridlock Belfast traffic every day. They don’t miss not having time to hang out with the family, to spend quality time with the kids. They don’t miss the stress of rush hour and sandwiches at the desk. For many 2020 has given us back some quality time.

We know that non-stop busyness isn’t sustainable healthy or joyful but in the old days ‘I’m so busy’ was practically a mantra for many. I’m so busy translated as I’m so important I can’t go your event or just call for a cuppa tea. I don’t have time to watch that latest series or read a book. There’s no time for walks and there’s definitely not enough time for sleep. Some people even boasted about how little sleep they got… Of course, this year has been filled with stress, worry and heartache for many but it’s also given us back space time that we maybe didn’t know we needed.

For those who are sick, recuperating or pregnant – this ‘down time’ the less frenetic pace of life has actually been an aid to healing and proper rest. Statistics show that instances of premature babies have decreased dramatically – because woman aren’t running around busy, the way they used to.

When we have extra time and there is nothing we can do and nowhere to go then the practice of laziness is perfect. When we are lazy we have a chance to really rest, reset and recuperate. The word lazy is often used as an insult but actually it’s a wisdom practice to be lazy  It’s an antidote to the modern world.

At Plum Village the French mindfulness retreat centre I’ve been visiting every year since 2005 (except 2020 of course!) every week they have a very important day called ‘lazy day’. The Village’s founder, Zen Master Thich Nhat (Thay) always asks retreatants on lazy day: ‘have you been lazy enough today?’

It used to blow my mind as I would use lazy day to walk an hour to the nearest town, shop, catch up on emails in the internet café and run about with my new friends all day like a wee busy bee… It took me a few years to really understand that being lazy means doing nothing and going nowhere just allowing the day to unfold naturally… now I’m an expert at it and 2020 has definitely boosted my laziness practice. 

Thây said: “When we lose ourselves in activities we diminish our quality of being. We do ourselves a disservice. It’s important to preserve ourselves, to maintain our freshness and good humour, our joy, and compassion.”

It seems our former busyness has been covering up for our fear of stopping, our fear of really get in touch with our inner world. We really do need to stop the glorification of busyness… No one on their death bed ever said ‘I wish I’d spent more time in the office’. No they say thing along the lines of: ‘I wish I’d spent more time having fun, more time with my friends and family, more time just enjoying this one precious life I have been given.’

I’ve always been inspired by the movie ‘Ferris Bueller’s day off and it’s famous quote: Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.” A lazy day a day off. Use Ferris as your inspiration if you’ve seen the movie 

In Japan they actually have a word that means ‘overwork death’ – Karoshi. Us humans we’re not built to be ‘on’ 24/7.  I actually feel sorry for those born after 2000 (the first iPhone came out in 2007) because they’ve probably never spent any time being bored.

Neuroscience now shows us that being bored is good for us.  We need to unplug our brains from time to time too.  I don’t know if kids these days say the famous line ‘are we there yet’ anymore…? They’re probably all too busy on their devices to ‘keep them quiet’. But being bored actually leads to creativity, noticing the world around and increased imagination.

At this time of year, we can be inspired by nature, the dark nights, the cold days are calling us to rest and hibernate like the animals do.  We need to learn that ‘good enough is good enough’. To let go of perfectionism, be kinder to our wee selves and work smarter not harder.  I really hope 2020 has taught us all this lesson and that the digital economy will enable us to have more time that we can spend being just doing nothing.

I’m not advocating being lazy ALL the time! But one day a week, (all religions advocate for a rest day funnily enough) the occasional afternoon off or regular hour of ‘down time’ will really reap all sorts of rewards!

Do yourself a favour rest and sing along with Bruno Mars… ‘today I’m not doing anything’ .

*****

‘Today I’m not doing anything’ is the song I chose when I was speaking about laziness to Lynette Fay on her Radio Ulster afternoon show on the 31 December 2020. It’s available to listen again for 30 days on BBC Radio Sounds https://www.bbc.co.uk/sounds/play/m000qn83?at_custom2=twitter&at_custom4=A66AF7AA-4B8C-11EB-9657-D5F0923C408C&at_custom1=link&at_campaign=64&at_custom3=BBC%20Radio%20Ulster&at_medium=custom7

Guest on Cate Conway’s podcast

I was honoured to be interviewed by the gorgeous @radio.cate for her NEW podcast. 🔊📡Cate is doing the podcast in response to the death of her best friend fellow radio presenter Stephen Clements. 🖤

All episodes so far explore grief and how to get through something as sad and irrevocable as suicide😰

I think Kate is So brave, authentic and heartfelt 💔

Im sure these podcasts will help many people 🙏🏽💗🦋

If you do listen to us I’d love to know what you thought 💭😊

Please search your usual podcast place ‘Cate Conway’ and you will find it or copy this link:

http://ow.ly/Qhms50BA06a

 #podcast #CateConway #StephenClements #grief #resilience #helpingmanypeople #mentalhealthmatters