In my book, I write about the fact we can all be a wasp or a butterfly. I feel so strongly about this, that I had two butterflies added to my 2018 shoulder tattoo. I seem to get a new tattoo every 10 years, when I have learnt some new life lessons. To quote a small extract from chapter 2 –
A wasp finds acceptance so hard. They allow the anger to control them for longer than it should. When we get criticism, we can get so defensive. If something goes wrong we look for someone to blame. We feel like the world is against us. Team butterfly want to know how they can make something positive out of an awful situation. Adele is a butterfly who accepted. She accepted that she had her heart smashed into thousands of tiny pieces, then she woke up from the pain and started living. She used her pain to create the most incredible music. Music that helped and is still helping to heal the broken hearts of the world. Music that unites us and reminds us to wish nothing but the best for those we loved. Those who didn’t want us. Because never mind, we shall find someone like them. Perhaps someone even better. Unlike a wasp, butterflies inject colour and make us go wow. They have the mojo glow but most of the time, they can’t see their wings. If you know a butterfly, tell them. Remind them. But remember, wasps need love too. We can all be a wasp when we are hurt and that is called being human, which is why I suspect so many love dogs. The problem is that too often, ego and stubbornness holds the wasps back from flying with the butterflies. There comes a time when you need to start living. PLEASE PLEASE READ THESE WORDS AND REMEMBER THEM – time is precious, don’t miss out on your share of the magic. A shell of stubbornness is not good for our mental health.
The number one reason when it comes to our mojo going for a walk or a marathon is the wasps or the times we are one. Connections with people are needed so badly. We all need connections, even if we think we don’t. We need time to connect to ourselves to remember who we are and ensure we are staying true to our values. We also need to connect with others.
As one of my beautiful Australian readers wrote to me:
as parents we hold our babies in our womb hoping of a wonderful life for them. We give them that life by leading by example.
Growth Mindset and Adaptive Narcissism
We can all be leaders and change makers in one way or another. In the UK we are often encouraged to take things down a peg for fear of shining too bright and getting too big for our boots. What I am into these days is adaptive narcissism. This is where we are aware of and thankful for our gifts, whilst realising that there is always room to grow and learn. Listening is key too and pushing that ego aside. The studies show that adaptive narcissists not only make better leaders, they also have an advantage when it comes to controlling their anxiety.
Follow your gut
I was asked a fantastic question recently by the incredible Lynette Gray over on Facebook live – how do you know when you are following your heart? Our bodies are incredible things. The gut feeling is not just emotional or logical. It’s physical. Sometimes the butterflies we get are due to excitement or perhaps just a really uncomfortable feeling that something isn’t right. A feeling that impacts both our sleep and our appetite. We all have a choice what we do with that. Sometimes I have listened to my gut and sometimes I have ignored it for fear it would get me into trouble. When it comes to trusting people, your intuition is your most powerful ally. Of course over time we get wise to the warning signs via our experiences. In terms of creativity – some of our best ideas come when we listen to our gut. It’s very hard to be authentic if you purely rely on data, history and the opinions of others.
We all have good in us and we all have bad and that’s called being human. We are not Jesus. But don’t ignore that little voice because it often gives you wonderful advice. Advice that allows you to have the weight of the world lifted from your shoulders. Freedom feels lighter.
Meditation and Prayer
I meditate and I pray. The bible is the greatest self-help book that has ever been written, even though there are parts I struggle to understand and parts that feel very outdated. It teaches us all about love and what life should be all about. When I close my eyes to pray, I am not sure if I still see God as a white man with wavy blond hair and blue eyes. I see a light. I feel a power that I can’t quite understand. There are lots of things we can’t understand, but when we take time to slow down, we notice more. Like the ‘One for Arthur’ moment I write about in my book. Or the time I write about chatting to my friend Claire whilst out for dinner and feeling goose pimples down my whole body when she told me a story about a very clear sign. Or the time that Borthwick Castle was full of butterflies the day of my book launch, even with the windows closed, they kept coming in. Or about the feeling I get when I hear my daughter singing a million dreams. The feeling where I know that there is very much more to life here that meets the eye. Or the feeling that I had at a friend’s funeral recently in the church. When it felt like and sounded like the girl singing was an actual angel. There are times I feel overcome with faith, hope and love, yet faith, hope and love can be hard in our world. It remains there for us all to feel, if we take the time to be still and open to it. Faith is a very personal thing, but whatever you believe or don’t, there is no denying that the act of prayer and/or meditation heal us. These acts remind us to love harder and they take us deep into our hearts. In a period where it feels like we have no free time, I see these acts as essential as drinking water or taking a shower. On really busy days, I do them in the shower or in a traffic jam.
I feel it is hypocritical of me to love Christmas so much and not acknowledge the very essence of what it is about. Yes, I shall be embracing Santa and I am so excited for the elf on the shelf bants, but I urge you to go to a carol service this December and not feel something when you hear:
A thrill of hope the weary world rejoices
For yonder breaks a new glorious morn
Fall on your knees
O hear the angels’ voices
O night divine
O night when Christ was born
O night divine o night
O night divine
Come back stronger
We grow when we make mistakes. We grow when life gets a bit too heavy. I recorded an incredible podcast with my friend from Feeding Little Ones, last month and she spoke openly about how being hurt has made her so much stronger. It was an amazing moment to watch her open up about this. It is indeed so true. When we hurt we learn and it is extremely powerful.
May you come back stronger when you are hurt. Stay assertive, even when at times growth can be messy and raw. Speaking your truth can be terrifying. But it’s also magical. That’s how we grow and live a mojo filled life.
Image by the wonderful Jamie McIlhatton, who really likes to go outside.