Learning a lesson from my dog

No matter what life brings you, kick some grass over it and move on…


What makes you itch? 

Happy Sunday all,

Sundays in bed are the best. Coffee, Rupert and an empty day ahead. This morning I decided to do a bit of reading. On my recent trip to Oslo, I learnt that in Norway, students completing any degree must take a course or module in philosophy. Now this idea is brilliant in my eyes. By getting people to think laterally about life, you are subconsequently creating a more compassionate society. You enable them to see different points of view and develop their theory of mind. Norway is said to be one of the most peaceful palaces in Europe in regard to crime and I believe this will be a massive part of that statistic.

So, knowing this, I have decidated some time to learning about philosophy. Alan Watts is one of those great philosopher that really makes me contempt life and the chooses I make. He was the British philosopher, writer and speaker and my favourite message of his is from his career advisor to graduating students:

What makes you itch. What sort of situation would you like. Lets suppose, I do this often in vocational guidence of students, they come to me and say “we are getting out of college and I have the faintest idea of what to do”. So I always ask the question – What would you like to do if money were no object. How would you really enjoy spending your life.

Well it’s so amazing, as a result of our kind of educational system, crowds of students say — well, we like to be painters, we like to be poets, we like to be writers but as everyone knows you cannot earn any money that way. Another person says I’d like to live an outdoor life and ride horses. I said do you want to teach in a writing school? Lets go through with it, what do you want to do? When we finally got to something which the individual says he really wants to do, I would say to him you do that and forget the money. Because if you say getting the money is the most important thing, you will spend your life completely wasting your time. You’ll be doing things you don’t like doing in order to go on living that is to go one doing things you don’t like doing — which is stupid.

Better to have a short life that is full of what you like doing, than a long life spent in a miserable way and after all if you do really like what your are doing, it doesn’t matter what it is, you can eventually become a master of it. The only way to become a master of something is if you really like it. Then you’ll be able to get a good fee for whatever it is. So don’t worry to much, somebody is interested in everything and you can be interested in you’ll find others who are but it’s absolutely stupid to spend your time doing things you don’t like in order to go on spending things you don’t like and doing things you don’t like and to then teach your children to follow in the same track. See, what we are doing, is we are bringing up our children, educating them, to live the same soft of lives we are living in order that they may justify themselves and find satisfaction in life by bringing up their children to do the same things so it’s all retro and no vomit — it never gets there.

And so, therefore it’s so important to consider this question – What do I desire?”

When we actually think about our future, we should be excited about working and our career. We should naturally put my passion and our job in the same category. They should be interchangeable. Think about it…

  • What makes you you?
  • What inspires you?
  • What makes you laugh?
  • What makes you cry?
  • What gets you out of bed in the morning?
  • How would your friends describe you?
  • What’s life to you?
  • What do you do when you are feeling on cloud nine?

Answer these questions with your heart and you will know yourself better than anyone else. You will know how you engage with this world and make the most out of life.

So what do you desire?

Ivy xx

My favourite book

There is something about reading my favourite book over and over and over again that grounds me. I first read this in middle school as part of a project to get kids to read more. I fell in love with the girl and her story of love and loss. There’s one quote that reads “That’s what it’s all about–knowing what you have to lose, but risking the loss anyway” that hits the heart every time. The choices we make in life send ripples through our lives, sometimes undetected. These ripples turn into the waves and we chose to either 1) paddle out through the breakwater and the ride the waves risking it all or 2) stay on the inside which is the area of whitewater where the waves have broken. It’s comfortable there but you may not either experience life. Through paddling out and taking a few hits, leaving the comfort zone, you see your dreams. Dreams are only ever limited by your mind and the constraints you build. We are all living stories waiting to be read, so don’t limit your story because of the restraints you feel you should impose or others impose on you through guilt amongst other things. Risk it all when you feel that your wants and desires have changed and what once was a dream has since built the constraints of your life that you adhere to. Stop and think of those walls are too high or life too comfortable. Life is inevitable ever-changing so it is only natural for our dreams and desires to change with life. And when you decide change is possible, you weigh up your options, stay in the break water or paddle out knowing it could all go wrong. Never apologise for wearing a wholehearted smile or experiencing a good feeling. Those moments are make life worth living, the moments that made you risk it all because that feeling is worth chasing. Worth risking it all knowing it could be your biggest mistake or your greatest decision. #saygoodnightgracie

You are enough… 

Life should be about celebrating our strengths and the beauty in each other. But too often is it clouded by negativity and identifying flaws. It’s a shame. Kindness goes a long way and you do not realise the power of a compliment at any given time. I have never heard of anyone hating a compliment. Most people hate hearing the compliment or hate that the compliment challenges their own perception of themselves but it’s not the compliment itself that does that. That’s the lack of self-confidence or the belief that it could actually be true. You could actually have nice hair or a beautiful smile. It’s an outrage that we live to believe the worst in ourselves foremost and that we must challenge the affection of others. I am as guilty as the next in thinking this and focusing solely on the negative. The “what can I fix about myself” or the “I am unlovable if I don’t have a, b, or c”. And I sometime surround myself with people that reinstall this. Or worse, I live vicariously through others by paying them compliments instead of myself.

If you give away everything, you leave your life in the hands of others. You live by their every word. But if you refocus your attention on yourself, then you become more independent and increase your own self-esteem. Your value doesn’t decrease or increase based on someone else’s perception of your worth. Stop comparing yourself to anyone (and everyone) else. That like comparing animals to jam flavours. We are all different, with different journeys and goals, and I cannot compare my success to others because they don’t have those same ambitions. They don’t battle the same demons in my head and they don’t know what makes my heart sing.

Nothing will ever hold you back more than your own insecurities. Joel Osteen – you cannot hang out with negative people and expect to live a positive life. You want to change your life, live more positively, reach your dreams then get rid of those that say “you can’t do that!”, “you always say that and watch in two weeks…” Or “keep dreaming sweetie.” For their people are weighing you down. Next time they say something critical but not constructive, just turn around and say ‘give me a compliment, some time, a smile, a constructive point, an idea, a second thought. Just never give me your negativity or judgement as its not welcome here.” And walk away. Then look at that relationship and ask yourself – what do you get from this? What do I give to this? Is this equal? – if it isn’t, most definitely and unequivocally walk away. For those people will take and take until you are empty. For those people are the ones that make excuses when you are making progress. For those are the ones that stand behind you, not next to you. So let that be their last page in your book and turn the page over.

Surround yourself with positive people and life is a beautiful thing. Be proud and strong enough to walk away for those that no longer serve a purpose in life, that not longer build you up, that do not want you to better yourself. You deserve more than their criticism. For you are beautiful, amazing and you are enough. You are so enough it’s unbelievable how enough you are. Welcome to a new day.

So create a day worth living and tell me all about it,

Ivy xx

How to gain perspective

Anything you want is life is achievable. Now I am not crazy but I promise you it is. It’s just about gaining some perspective and the secret to gaining perspective is walking amongst the giants and realises just how small you are. Take a walk in the forest against the trees or along a beach where the ocean spreads as far as the eye can see. You will see that all great things have to start somewhere. There is no right time to start, there is only excuses for why it isn’t that moment. You want a new job, make time to apply for some and spend time on your application. You want to lose weight, it’s just consciously putting one foot in front of the other for a while before it becomes a habit. Get out there in the world and live amongst reality not the vital form. My secret is simple. My Therapist: six inches tall, four legs, fluff ball and in need of a haircut and daily walks. Even when I feel like hell on earth, he has needs and out the day we go. Just get out of your head (and phone) for a while. Lose yourself in the beauty around you where there is no wifi or ringtones. The connection there is second to none and there is something to be found against the woods and rip tides: you. Start taking the scenic route in life and don’t let life tame you. Henry Thoreau “took a walk in the woods and came out taller than trees”. Anne frank wrote “go outside…amidst the simple beauty of nature…and know that as long as places like this exist, there will be comfort for every sorrow, whatever the circumstances may be.” So just get go and go. Don’t know where, remember it’s just one foot in front of the other. The rest will map itself. Left or right? Go with the pull of your heart. Let your adventure begin…find your own ikigai. #findingikigai


Treat yourself better 

Anyone’s best accessory is always, without a doubt, a smile but a nice watch is a close second. It is important to treat yourself when you reach a personal milestone. For me, this was completing my PhD proposal. I am typical one not to finish an application because I have talked myself out of it by page 2 of the form. So it is safe to say that selling myself does not come naturally. Doubt kills more dreams then failure ever has. But this I finished and I am so proud of myself. Whether I get the post or not is irrelevant. Yes I wouldld love it but I know that I overcome my own mountain to do it and that is everything it me. I realised my strength again because I was able to overcome my walls. I am my own fan club and no one like discourage my ambitions again. And now everytime I look at my wrist, I can remember that this girl can and she did. So kudos to all of you out there who conquered your mountain. I am proud of you. Just don’t forget to treat yourself. Treat yourself better than anyone else would and you will never need anyone again.

Have a great day all,

Ivy xx

A thought 

This is my favourite saying. I truly believe life is here to test us! To show our strength. To conquer every battle (even to get out of bed in the morning). To get knocked back in order to get up and push ahead. I am a strong individual and not in a big headed kind of way. I am able to have people let me down, hear the lies people tell me, hear the harsh words that are said about me behind closed doors and still carry on. I am strong enough to know that if I constantly try to compete with others and their view of me then I will become bitter. But if I constantly compete with myself, then I become better. There is nothing no one can say to me that will ruin me. If someone cannot physically hurt you with touching you, then someone cannot emotional hurt me without me letting it in. I am my own biggest let down and my own biggest critic. I push myself harder than anyone will ever push me. I hold myself to a higher standard and I beat myself up most, for my mistakes, more than anyone else. So watch this arrow, watch me fly past those who think they can get the better of me. It’s not about winning with me or getting it right the first time. Everyone knows you miss the target most of the time. But it’s about making this life great, extraordinary even. It’s not about hitting your targets perfectly every time. Instead it’s about pulling it back and then pushing yourself forward everyday. Find what it is you want the most, write it down, make a list of things, make a plan and work on it everyday. Launch yourself into greatest and watch your success story unravel right before your eyes. Watch as you rush past those who were trying holding you back and saying those harsh words about you, for you are the only one that can allow them in. 

This life is yours, make it extraordinary.