Lifestyle change ultimate reward

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As you will know if you follow this blog, I made some “drastic” lifestyle changes in my life since about June, so about six months now.

The lifestyle changes were targeted at two areas of my life: my food diet and my mind diet.

I mentioned in my previous post how it seems the food diet lifestyle change has already showed some amazing results (loss weight), recently, I have become aware this period of introspection/contemplation I have started is changing me into the person I always wanted to be: happy in my own skin, whatever is going on around me.

I mentioned previously my company is going through a big restructure currently, where jobs are either at risk or will change from they currently are, with lower benefits and salaries.

I also mentioned how the news had affected me: very little.

Still, I paid attention to what was happening, and decided to start looking for a job last Sunday, I had thought my career was the next thing on the list to tackle anyway, no time like the present. No pressure though.

So I spent a few hours Sunday morning finalising my CV and applying for jobs, I found eight to apply for which matched my current job and salary expectations, not a bad start I thought.

Within hours of sending out my CV I received a phone call from a guy from an agency (on a Sunday!) (incidentally the same agency who placed me where I am now some seven years ago), very excitedly telling me when he saw my CV ping in and took a look, the spec of the job I had applied for was exactly what I do now, but on top of it they had wanted someone who spoke French too but had given up on the idea.

He sends me the job spec, I see what he means!, ask him to forward my details.

What followed was a bit of a whirlwind week, where I took two telephone interviews and then the second interview (face to face) which took place yesterday (Friday), I met with or spoke to seven people all in all (eight with the receptionist, who was absolutely lovely).

Luckily, I wasn’t well from Wednesday so I wasn’t at work – nothing drastic just a skin irritation that makes movement a bit sore. That meant I had all the space to process what was happening without any pressure.

Everything about the interview process went like a dream. Every conversation I had was stimulating and fun, whether over the phone or in person. So much so the interview yesterday ended up being three hours, and clearly much longer than they had anticipated. I engaged fully with every person I met and time just flew.

This was definitely a company I wanted to work for and people I wanted to work with. Absolutely 100% without a shadow of a doubt. (This has never happened to me before). And they had made no attempts to hide the fact that they wanted me too, from the very start too. eg I found out within 20 mns of the phone interview they wanted to bring me in asap for a second interview – which shocked me at the time as I knew the manager I had spoken with was going straight into a video conference where he would be speaking to children of employees in Canada about something or other (found out at the interview the equipment hadn’t worked or they hadn’t turned up, he wasn’t sure what had happened, so I realised how that response had been so quick in the end).

I first met with the manager, whom I had had a great telephone interview with, and whom I had already “met” online – had looked up his Facebook page to see what kind of a person he was (luckily he had an unusual name so easy to find): happily married young family man, active, loves his young boys, beautiful wife – was kinda fun knowing exactly what he looked like before I met him, and we had quite a grueling session – he had a page with a list of probably about 20 questions – I had a few but pertinent just as grueling questions for him too, yet it felt like an “interesting chat”, both enjoying the challenge we were put under and also sharing our passion for Service Desks and customer service along the way. Then I had three further meetings/testing with various individuals which went just as smoothly.

The three hour interview actually felt like fun to me, meeting such interesting individuals, and it also gave me the opportunity to share my passion for my work with others who clearly had the same passion for it too.

Most of all, I was me. Throughout the whole process I never once hesitated in my responses, every flew, I also became animated when we moved on to subjects that were particular favourites of mine (there were many!), and so did they (become animated).

My potential new manager even provided me with the right word when he asked me what area I may need to work on, I explained the situations I had found myself in the past where I realised I needed to handle things differently, struggling to find the right word, and he came up with “A little pushy maybe?” – Perfect! Yes, I can be a “little” pushy when I deal with other people (particularly the ones who aren’t doing their job right). I think he may have liked that “bad trait” of mine ;-). I was very impressed how well he could read me.

I had a stimulating experience with every single person I met during my second interview.

So I came home on Friday feeling a bit on air and eagerly awaiting the phone call. I wasn’t stressing over it, at all, just eager to see where this was going to go. I had a faint thought I might be overqualified for the job but it came and went.

I feed back to the Agency when they call me, I feed back to my mum too and decide to relax on the sofa, reviewing the morning in my head, just for fun. I was sure never going to concentrate on anything with all these good thoughts/feelings I was experiencing and I treated myself to being mindful of the experience.

The call came late afternoon, I had a feeling something had been amiss due to the amount of time it was taking but I had reasoned the HR boss person was off that day (she had explained at the phone interview I had with her) so may be no decisions could be made in her absence.

The agency guy launched straight into their feedback – extremely positive in all areas the interview had covered – then he said they are offering me the job BUT.

Now, they were advertising for quite a junior ish role in IT Support (hence why I had that fleeting thought I was overqualified), however the salary range was quite good, so I had said to the agency, if I went for it, it would only be at the top end of the range. He said at the time, he would absolutely push me to the top range not a problem. But I wasn’t sure if he had communicated this to them yet so the salary mark was always up in the air. I am not motivated by money, but I know my worth.

Well apparently I don’t know my worth…

So they were offering me the job BUT with “Senior” in front and with a salary £2k above what I had (been worried about) asked for! He also mentioned they wanted to make me Senior because they felt with my experience and work ethics I would be a great role model/influence on the more junior staff – junior staff that I had met as the final part of the interview, a more casual chat over coffee, and again, a great chat with them. Even got them interested in Mindfulness 😉

Funnily enough, as well as this fleeting thought that I might be overqualified, I also had a fleeting thought maybe they would offer me more and/or a different job…

So there you have it, five days after I started looking for work, I got myself a new job, that pays over £4k than what I earn now. A job I have the feeling is perfect for me, in so many aspects I won’t bore you with the details.

Funny what starts to happen when you become true to yourself. Because in my opinion and from my observations, this is what happened there. Because I have started to deal with my failings, I have become more confident about my true self and values, my mind is no longer tied up in convoluted thoughts, and I am able to properly listen to other people, engage with them, observe and learn.

Now I am no longer distracted by stuff that may be going on my head, I am able to be present in the moment, and it’s true what they say, the present is a wonderful place to live in 🙂

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The secret to happiness? Balance

Something that is becoming clearer and clearer to me is that what is wrong with this world is excess, of any kind.

I have become an observer in my disconnected state and can’t help but notice how people have become excessive in so many different areas. Mainly in their search of happiness, a better, healthier body and mind. Or in their escape from reality.

I am starting to understand what has gone wrong in the world is that little something called balance.

I don’t know if it’s the same in your world, but I seem to be surrounded by people who take anything to the extreme, particularly escapism.

People have forgotten to take the time to stop and smell the roses.

The more I think about it, the more this imbalance runs deep, from the vegan who thinks eating anything animal made is bad, to the working man who wants more and more money or power that he will become married to his work, to the fitness fanatic who will batter his body down at the gym days in days out.

And I have noticed it prevents people from having an open mind too. Each so convinced they have it right, know all the answers, when really, who knows the answer? Even I, who claim to be awakened, don’t know all the answers and doubt I ever will. And I am happy with that.

I am learning to live with the flow and it is wonderful. Learning to accept who I am, warts and all, while learning more about myself and the world, to make my experience of each moment special.

My favourite past time these days is watching birds in the sky. I can easily lose myself looking up at the sky and watch birds fly by. I have been really lucky to see some amazing sights of birds flying in groups right over my head. This gives me a great feeling of connection and awareness. And fleetingness.

I look at how my life is shaping up and I am feeling quite happy with what I see. Everything seems quite balanced. A bit of everything I need in the right dose. Even my thinking is calming down.

The only thing that seems to be going higher is my appreciation of life…:-)

My father the Hero

 

Have you ever been asked “what’s the best advice your father gave you?”

I have usually struggled with that question, unsure what its answer might be, As fathers do, he has given me a few advice throughout the years, none particular stuck to mind.

However, this morning, it dawn on me that the best piece of advice was given to me during my first psychosis two years ago.

I am going to call those psychosis awakening moments from now on because, to me, that’s what they are.

I had my first awakening when I was at a friend’s house in Reading, UK. I was visiting from Canada to see whether I could move back to this Country after splitting from my husband in Canada and was staying at hers before going to Norfolk, where I still had a house.

I will never forget that true awakening moment, I fell to my kness, in fload of tears, put my hands together as if praying, looked above me and kept saying “Thank you” over and over again, thank you that He chose me, thank you for revealing himself to me. That was in my friend’s spare bedroom.

The moments that follow were a bit crazy, I decided that I should walk the streets with as little possession as possible and help people wherever I was needed, and that my friend’s little girl should decide what I needed to take with me, as being a child, she was pure.

The only thing I was worried about was my passport, it would have needed to stay in a safe place.

I called my mum to let her know she should be proud of her daughter for she had been chosen to be the second coming, I also emailed a friend saying I had just discovered we were all going to heaven.

My dad was straight on the phone to try and bring me down back to Earth. As I was listening to him I was looking out the window in that bedroom and my eyes fixed on a Tree.

The words he said that possibly changed my life were: “Le Paradis est sur Terre, pas dans le ciel” – Paradise (heaven) is on Earth, not in the Sky.

Most powerful words he ever spoke to me, and only now do I understand truly their significance.

Today, I am so happy to be alive 🙂 Merci Papa.

The Law of Attraction

Recently, I have realised a lot about the Law of Attraction, as my previous postings will show you.

The principle is if you want something you put it out there and “the universe” gives it to you.

I started to understand how positivity worked a few weeks before I came across that law, although I had heard about it before and didn’t really believe its power. Thinking about it this morning, its power had started to work for me when I became free of the chains that tied me and became truly positive, without even realising it was that force which was at work.

However, since, I have learned that you need to be clear what it is you want to be able to get it. For instance, if you want a specific car, you need to write down the exact make and model, colour, even add a picture of an example car, and think about it every so often, and eventually, somehow it will come to you.

I am a bit stuck with that Law. Because, really, I have all I want. Yes of course, I would like a better car, better paid job, better something or other, but “things” just don’t matter to me.

This morning I wrote an entry about all I ever wished for was happiness. Pure and simple. Or is it?

When I had my Psychosis, on the evening of the main event, I realised I had got my wish, I was starting to feel truly happy. And I said to “God” or whatever you want to call this higher power, that I trusted him to know what it was that would make me happy. Because he would know me better than I knew myself.

My wants are bigger than any material things could give me. As I said above, and in my earlier post “Happiness is a mental illness“, I am very happy I have what I need to be settled. It’s the rest of the world that worries me. It’s what’s happening to this planet, its nature and its living things (including people of course) that worries me. Not which car I am going to be driving or whether I will meet the right man for me.

For me to be happy I’d need to know, feel, see that things are changing for the better, that the homeless are being looked after, that abuse stops, that everyone has access to food and water, that this planet isn’t doomed.

And I said to this higher power that evening that I knew there was nothing I could do to make a big difference, enough to make me happy. However, I said to him now I have faith, faith that things will get better. And that job, I was happy to leave with him. Afterall, it’s his job.

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Wishing Upon A Star

What do you wish when you see a shooting star? For as long as I can remember, I’ve wished the same thing.

When I lived in Canada, my best friend (yes the one now with my husband) and I went to try and see a Meteor shower one night.

We saw a combined total of 20 odd shooting stars that night, it was a very special moment her and I shared.

During a camping trip too, my husband and I saw the mother of all shooting stars, quite by chance and we saw it together. It wasn’t your usual shooting star, it was like someone was drawing a thick line with a big marker pen. We both looked at each other after and said “what was that??”.

Before moving to Canada, I had never seen a shooting star, and God knows I had tried, but nope it wasn’t to be,

I went to see another Meteor shower recently and saw about 10 shooting stars in a couple of hours.

There really is something magical about them…

So what is my wish? Well I guess I can tell you now as it is happening. And if I understand the law of attraction correctly, if you want something, you have to put it out there: my one and single wish, every time, has been to be happy. Simples.

So many people wish for the wrong things these days, it worries me.

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Dealing with Regrets

I saw a little poster this morning on my Facebook newsfeed that made me realise this is the reason why I can honestly say I feel truly happy these days:

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I realised I really genuinely have no regrets. I have made many many mistakes, yet I have learned from them, and the ones I may do now, I am learning from them even quicker and I seem to be making less and less as I am choosing the path of honesty and openness.

There are of course events in my life that make me feel sad but I realise this is part of life. You loose beings that are dear to you, however, you also gain some.

Here is an example:

Part of my recent Psychosis was due to my inability to deal with the loss of my dog, where I felt responsible for his death.

He had gotten into the bin and ate a big piece of cheese that got him so ill, the vets said after 2 days of caring for him it was best for me to put him to sleep. Hardest thing I have ever had to do and it affected me more than I realised – I was on anti-depressant at the time and so my true feelings only surfaced when I came off them.

What if I had double checked the kitchen door was closed properly before leaving for work, what if I had left him in Canada instead of wanting him by my side, what if….

Today, I realise his death enabled me to give a home to his best mate Sam:

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Sam and his owner found themselves “homeless” recently after his owner split up from his partner and they had been crashing at various people’s places for two weeks.

When I reconnected with his owner after disconnecting from the one person who had prevented me from staying in touch, now an ex friend,  I was able to give them a proper roof over their heads and a chance for them to try and relax whilst deciding where to go next.

If Frodo had been here, I may not have been able to do this. If I hadn’t met my husband, I would have never had Frodo. I can go a long way back in the connection process to realise that this particular happiness I feel right now wouldn’t have happened if things had been slightly different. I call it Sliding Doors, each decision you make in your life takes you to the present moment and right now, I feel so good that I am able to give the love and affection I have for dogs to Frodo’s mate, I cannot begin to tell you.

This is how you can be truly happy, have no regrets.

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Happiness is a mental illness

I had a doctor’s appointment booked tonight for something and I thought I would mention that I was feeling slightly manic recently and that I haven’t really managed to get more than 5/6 hours sleep a night since I became a tea-total.

I also explained to her what happened to me after my husband and I split up, when I stopped alcohol and drugs straight and went into a big manic phase which got out of control and for which I had treatment to give her some background as to why I felt I needed to mention my current mood.

Well, she is referring to a psychiatrist for assessment and talked about possible mood stabilisers (apparently much better than they used to be). She said when someone says they are happy all the time, it rings alarm bells to her. A friend of mine said something similar recently “No-one can be happy all the time”.

Well, guess what? As I am sitting here typing, tears are filling my eyes. It seems being happy is a mental illness.

I know I have been manic recently, but for the first time in my life, I am living free from addictions (dope, alcohol and toxic relationships) and re-discovering the world in a different light.

I have everything I need to be happy. I have a job I truly love, I have good friends, I have two lovely kitties, I have a nice house which doesn’t cost me a fortune, I have a car, I earn enough money that I don’t have to need for anything. I am closer than ever to my family, I am having healthy fun in my life. I have started successful worthy projects, I have reconnected with people I had neglected during my depression, I have made up with my husband and forgiven my best friend for being with him. I am now starting to turn my attention to what I can bring to the world and people who may need help and it brings me great pleasure.

Yet I should be on medication.

Funny thing happened when I was starting to type I was feeling tearful. A man, a Rastafarian, knocked on my door. He was looking for a house on the estate, No 8 something Close.

He said as I opened the door, “I know this isn’t the right place because the number is different but I don’t know where to look”.

I offered to look up the direction and asked him to come in. I showed him where he needed to go and as he left, he said he was going to visit his grandchildren that he hadn’t seen for a long time, you could see the happiness on his face, mixed with some sadness in his eyes. I smiled, feeling happy for him, and happy that I was there to help him find his way.

How many people would have opened the door to this man and told him he was at the wrong house and sent him on his way?

That little moment of connection we shared when he told me about his excitement of seeing his little ones was all I needed to make me realise I am not going crazy: Life really is wonderful and full of special moments.

Three times during our little encounter he said “God bless you”. I am not religious, but I felt what he was telling me. I realise he probably wasn’t expecting the welcome he got. This warmed my heart and left me with a big smile.

I am learning to appreciate life now I have nothing to worry about and sometimes I get a little over excited. After 23 years of repressing my feelings, I’m not surprised sometimes, all this processing gets a bit much.

And now to convince the “experts”. Perfect timing actually since I have been wondering what my contribution to the mental health issue could be.

And anyway, that doctor gave me something serious to worry about: apparently, I am one kilo in the obese zone. Bummer.

Cannabis

Something has been bugging me big time recently and I just don’t know what to do about it.

At the moment, I am learning to “choose my battles” carefully. As I mentioned in my Post about the challenges of staying positive, I cannot change the world, I know that and so I try to do what I can in little ways to better my little world, hoping that if everyone starts doing the same, eventually, it WILL have a ripple effect and the world may start changing for everybody (my world is already changing for the better). L’espoir fait vivre.

However there is a subject that I feel extremely strongly about and I just don’t know how to approach it to make a difference, and it is starting to sadden me: Cannabis.

I used to smoke pot, a reasonable amount. I used it only in my private life and went about my professional life without it. I became a master at it, I knew how long the buzz would last so I was “back to normal” before work started for instance, or was able to drive home after a meet up with friends.

I could take it or leave it, and had many years without and then I would start smoking it again and for a few months, then stop again,

When I lived in Canada, it became part of my everyday life. I was happy to smoke it alone (my husband had knocked it on the head after we had a bad experience whilst having a dinner party), and I would have a few drags of a joint before taking my dog for a walk before work.

Smoking it was actually a very uplifting feeling for me in the morning. I would set off with my dog for long walkies by the river and marvel at the beauty of the world. I loved hearing the birds tweeting and watch the Sun rise, with my heart full of hope and joy to be alive and living in this wonderful part of the world (Alberta, CN). I took some amazing pictures too during that time.

I could walk for hours in that wonderful state of mind, I’d meet people along the way and have chats here and there, I really felt so good.

In the evenings, I would use it to level my moods. If my husband came back from work and things didn’t go well, I’d go and have a few drags and come back all relaxed and happy. And so the evening could start again on a better footing.

With friends, I smoked it to replace alcohol, I much preferred being stoned than drunk. When Drunk, the truth would spurt out of me, often without care or tact, and I could often upset people. When stoned though, I was a very different person. Everything and anything interested me, being around me then was a whole different experience.

All this stopped for me when I went to share a joint with a friend after my husband and I split up. I had two drags on it, and hoped it would “take me away” from the turmoil my life had become (as two weeks earlier my husband told me he didn’t want to be with me anymore and then told me he wanted to be with my best friend). Things were complicated at the time and that girl was not the best choice to have that joint with (she was also one of my best friend’s closest friends).

There were issues between her and I and within minutes of having had those drags, I felt threatened and wanted to leave. She wouldn’t let me (trying to make me stay by force) and I suffered a panic attack, my first.

The experience freaked me out and I decided I had to stop smoking pot to deal with what was going on. So I did. That was two years ago. And I haven’t missed it at all since.

So it’s fair to say, apart from the last one, I had a very positive experience smoking pot, and it doesn’t appear to be addictive.

Yet, I have a problem with it now. I have a problem with anything that alters your mood that isn’t natural, and Cannabis, to me, comes under that category.

I have no doubts that it has its benefits, any natural product does, and yes, maybe it can help with pain relief, some say even help with Cancer. Fine. But let’s be honest, it isn’t what the majority of the people campaining to legalise it use it for.

The worst of all, it is being used by people with Mental Illnesses, proclaiming it levels their mood when nothing else has worked. And now, I see some top doctors are coming out saying it’s ok to use it.

It worries me.

On the Mental Health side, to me, it’s a chicken and egg situation. I have a feeling deep down that Cannabis actually creates a lot of the mental health issues there are around. Most sufferers I know are smokers, or previous drug takers and so it’s hard to see what came first.

Now, I also understand the financial side, as most campaigners seem to have latched on to that aspect of it = if it’s legalise it can be better controlled. I am actually rather amazed that Governments haven’t jumped at the chance of making more money out of people’s misery (I guess maybe they are happy with the income they get from cigarettes and booze already).

I also understand the argument about how people can get sent to jail for possession and sometimes the sentence is inappropriate compared to other crimes, when really Cannabis is not a big deal (its effect on behaviour being far less damaging than the effect of alcohol), and people should be free to do what they want.

I just don’t understand why people don’t see that smoking pot is yet another way to mask reality: they feel they are unable to cope with life without it.

I will admit I was a bit worried when I stopped that I would loose this wonderful feeling of well being I experienced walking my dog. Soon after I stopped, I also suffered from depression (for the first time in my life) and so it made me think maybe I should have carried on smoking pot as I never felt depressed then. But instead, I faced my life. And eventually came out the other side.

These last few weeks, I have started to feel the exact same feeling of well being I had when I was smoking pot.

I have started to love doing the exact same things I used to love doing while stoned. Walking a friend’s dog, marvelling at nature, snapping away anything that catches my eyes, chatting to random strangers, and best of all, I have a great big smile on my face when I do these activities.

How did I get there? I believe it’s because I sorted out the issues I was previously hiding thanks for the pot and alcohol.

Yes, I guess this is what is bugging me about smoking pot. It’s another form of escapism. Is your life really that bad that you need pot? If so, deal with your issues, because they won’t go away until you do, Pot is only helping you cope better. It’s just another crutch.

Wanna be happy? Learn to live without crutches.

[I will talk more about Mental Health and drugs in the future]

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The problem with People

 

The problem with people is that they have lost their sense of purpose, and with it, their self worth.

We live in a society where being successful often means having money. If you don’t have it, you will borrow, if you have it, you want more.

That’s not being successful to me. Being successful is having a life you are happy with. And I have recently discovered there is only one way to achieve this, finding your gift. Finding what makes you passionate, and then sharing it with the world.

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What’s your gift?