Welcome to the World

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As your ear snuggles down to listen to my heart beat in my chest, I hope you hear how much you are loved.

When I stroke your fine hair growing on your perfectly shaped  head, I hope you know that these hands will always be there to help.

As you cwtch into me to help soothe your cry, I hope you know that problems are always solved best when you are ready for my help.

As you start to stir from dreamtine and let out happy groans and sighs, I hope you know that my ears are waiting to hear how I can help.

I do not need to see you clearly to know that you exist. Your perfect presence shows me all I need to know.

From the moment I held you, I knew that I could see who you really were through all my senses. I do not need to see to know your beauty is breath taking. 

As your flawless newborn eyes adjust to the blurry world around you, I know daily what that is like. You will soon see more clearly as you take in the wonders of the world as you grow and see what life has in store for you.

Welcome to the world my beautiful Grandson. I may not be able to see your perfect tiny face clearly but it doesn’t matter in my blurry bliss. My blindness is forgotten as my senses watch you turn into the perfect boy you are born to be. I will love you always ❤

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Six Year Partnershipversary

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Munch has been in my life for six years but it feels much longer (which I am sure he would agree with). Life pre Munch was very different for both of us on lots of different levels. One of the blessings we are gifted with when we are partnered up with our canine heros, is the diary that is kept from their birth to let us know what they have been up to. Minster (his official Guide Dog name) Munch had a lot of nurturing fun during his first 22 month of life with his amazing puppy walkers and team that were part of his life before he came to us and learning what he had been up too helped us to get to know him.

The changes that have been gifted to me in the last six years is amazing ,so here are six highlights of our time together.

1. Work life and beyond. 17 months prior to Munch’s arrival , I had to give up work due to the severity of the impact my sight loss had on my life. Due to the complexity of life with Marfan Syndrome which caused the sight loss, I was suffering multiple dislocations and injuries through falls which was not ideal. Rocking up to work on crutches with a full leg cast and travelling on buses, trains and taxis for up to 12 hours a day to do a 6 hour shift (the joys of living where public transport is sporadic), was getting a little much. As soon as Munch magically appeared in my life, I was able to plan returning to work and had no more injuries as he was able to keep me safe. Since returning to work I have been able to get a promotion and been able to do lots of training which I would never have been able to do without him.

2. Visiting places carefree. Life with sight loss without a Guide Dog or a cane, was always more work than pleasure. Bringing up four children when I had sight loss meant I was always going into the unknown when visiting new places with the children and required me to be on constant high alert. Listening out for the different sounding clothing materials the children were wearing and their unique footsteps running around helped me to locate them as I held constant conversations with them. When I used so much detective skills to work out my environment I rarely had the chance to relax in the moment and experience what the sighted around me were experiencing. With Munch by my side , I can now learn to surrender to be in the moment as he finds the way safely for us and always has his eyes on whoever we are with as he reunites us with our pack if we get separated.

3. Spreading his love. During these last six years , Munch has managed to melt the hearts of the masses 😁. Joining me daily in the counselling room, Munch acts as an undercover pet therapy dog as he sits by the side of my clients as we work together on helping anyway we can. He also takes this loving energy out into the world wherever we go and somehow seeks out the lonely in society and makes a beeline for them. Those that have recently lost pets or loved ones, live alone and have no company and anyone who is struggling tends to be on his love blast radar as he seeks them out to show them much needed love. Munch has that “once met, never forgotten” energy about him and brightens up the days of the locals who fall at his paws everytime they see him.

4. He turned us into authors. I have always liked the idea of dabbling with writing but never got around to doing anything about it. My grammar is appalling, English was my second language in school, I could never see well enough in education to know how language worked and the lack of the physical requirement to see what I was writing were all little hiccups in getting a book written. Hearing of authors who struggle for years to get recognised then published all seemed a bit daunting as I had never been through anything like that. So when I decided to write about Munch and sight loss and haphazardly put a book proposal together, I was stunned when I had a book deal on my first attempt. Four months later after doing a bit of writing here and there, What you see when you can’t see’ was completed. It seems that life with Munch was all that was needed to base a book upon . Admitting I had sight loss to everyone was far easier when I have my hairy soul mate by my side .

5. Normalising sight loss. Life pre Munch, hiding sight loss from others was what I needed to do, or so I thought. Living without any help for 39 years in the sighted world was a nightmare, but being the stubborn, independent person I am , admitting I could not see seemed admitting defeat which I wasn’t prepared to do. After realising I was my own worst enemy and swallowing the pride pill, wanting a Guide Dog seemed the sensible option. Since he has arrived I have embraced sight loss openly and feel that it is so important ro help the sighted to understand what life is really like with sight loss. I find myself answering questions daily on what it is like being blind and it never gets old. I know that people ask because they genuinely want to know and love it when young children ask the questions that need to be asked.

6. I live with my best friend. Living with a pet is amazing , but when you get to take your hairy soul mate with you wherever you go, it deepens your bond even more. We are never apart. From waking up to a snoring Munch on the pillow next to me, to accompanying me to a meal out where he kindly doubles as a hoover, he is always by my side. He acts not only as a safety net to prevent accidents and such but being blessed to have a constant source of love helping me through whatever may be going on in life is just so special.

Knowing that Munch has between one and three years of working life before he retires is not a comforting thought for me but it probably is for him. Munch has worked so hard in these last six years but I am hoping that he has had as much fun as me as we have been places we never would have gone without each other ❤

The Other World

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Me- What an amazing idea. At least now you can independently build a castle without needing help.

T- I know. Not sure how they work exactly as I havn’t opened them, but I will be able to feel my way around to figure out what goes where.

Me- Sounds great. When the castle is finished, it will be good to work out what a real life castle looks like by feeling your way around your completed lego set.

T- Yes, true. It’s only you that gets it as you can’t see either.

Me- To be honest, I have never seen a real life castle although I have been to many in my life. I can see a blurry big thing and feel the cold, ragged stones but if you asked me to describe a castle, it would be very basic.

T- Me too. Nobody else understands that though. They can all see details but I have to be told about these details but I still don’t know what they mean.

Me- Living in the sighted world can be pretty weird sometimes can’t it?

T- Oh yes. Sometimes I wish they could live in my world just to live a day in my life to see what it is like.

This was an extract from a conversation I had with a young person who had sight loss and had been given some Braille Lego and what it was like for him trying to figure out the world in an alternative way.

Using frames of reference in everyday life may come as second nature to the sighted but to those with sight loss, they are completely different and often irrelevant to us. Being guests in the sighted world can be both a blessing and a curse when we try to intergrate into a world we have no map to find our way around in. Even if we did have a map, it would have been produced by the sighted who can never truly understand what the sight loss world holds and what directions are needed in our own language.

The sighted and sight loss world, holds mysteries and awe in both which makes the question “how do they do it” be an omnipresent enigma that can never truly be answered by the visitor from the other side. To many with sight loss, this can be truly isolating as they feel apart from others in the sighted world who just seem worlds apart. The castle knowers amongst the sighted can seem like mighty superheros as they just seem to know how the world works without a second thought.

Fellow castle questioners in the sight loss world, can hold the space for others to show their vulnerability and ask the questions that may seem bizarre to the castle knowers in life. Life is so much better when we are surrounded by people who get what it is like to be ourselves with no judgement attached.

I truly wish that the young person gets to discover more than just what the sighted version of what castles are like as he moves through his own unique life. Creating peace in one’s world of unique experiences where beliefs of others are just one opinion, is where true answer can be found. These first hand experiential discovers are the ones that bring us the truth that has been longing for us to arrive.

Back To School Thoughts

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My little darling on his first day back to school looked a little like this….

Munch’s stony exterior erupted the moment he stepped his paw out of bed at 6.30am after my cruel alarm besieged his blissful dreams. A mere eight paw steps into his pilgrimage across my bedroom floor to arrive at the door and it all got to much as he flumped with force onto the floor. As the blatant breathy sigh was forced out of his nostrils I knew that I needed damage control and quick if I was to leave the house on time. The salvage operation began immediately. Worshipping his Lordship with a massage from head to tail whilst chanting love speech directed to his floppy ears, helped to thaw out the icy blast that was radiating from him. A quick throw of a toy (which I had to retrieve), some buttery toast and a catch up with his doggy friends later and I was allowed back into his book of tolerance. Munch is just not a morning dog.

The first day back in school was full of huffs, eye rolls and stroppy silence aimed towards me, but to everyone else he was a delight. His happy helicopter tail propelled him into the arms of familiar staff and pupils to continue his need for worship. As new clients entered the room, he lept up and pranced over for a pat or two. I knew that I had moved up from the book of tolerance and into the sequal in the book of service as he allowed me to share my lunch with him open heartedly. By the end of the day, we were back as best friends. To show his appreciation, he even retrieved the ball himself on a couple of occasions without any drama during a free run in the evening. This I know meant that after only a day I was forgiven for waking him up early and he was soon in his usual upside-down mode surrendering to belly rubs.

As the week went on he worked on his forgiveness skills which made life far easier for the both of us. After a full fortnight back in school, he has returned to his happy self and is eager to trot into school each morning. Many lessons have been learnt so far this term that show that school really is the place for him. Here is a brief update of his new achievements in school in just 14 days.

Maths – Munch has worked out the unique ratio that is needed to keep him constantly worshipped at all times. His affection input equates to the pure adoration he gets back. A brief offer of his paw to a client could keep him worshipped for the entire length of our hour long session.

English – A mere fortnight of new members to his fan club has exposed him to new vocabulary. He has learnt that he is as “magical as an unicorn” and “as hairy as a yeti” which he never knew about himself when he went through his Guide Dog training. Listening to descriptions, metaphors and similes relating to himself has helped massage his ego and grow his confidence to a level that is infinite

Welsh – We speak Welsh 4 out of the 5 days days we are in work as we work in mainly Welsh schools. Over the last 5 years he has learnt instructions in Welsh including forward, back, left , right, find the way, door, stairs and many other basics. This last fortnight however he has learnt a new Welsh swear word when I dropped a bottle of water over myself and that he was a ‘diawl bach’ (little devil) when he stole some of my sandwich whilst I was busy working.

Geography- After an incident in the school where the fire brigade had to be called and we had to evacuate the building, Munch learnt that it was better to follow the sighted and not rely on my blind directions to guide us to the meeting point we needed to assemble at. As we are in a new room this term, I am still a little disoriented to where we are but Munch is great at leading the way. Wondering if Munch was broken or just using selective hearing when he went the opposite way to my directions, I realised he knew to follow the crowds. Since we had to leave the premises completely and go to a neighbouring field whilst the incident was dealt with , Munch new constantly want to go onto that field when we arrive in work however as that was far more fun than being in work. Field trips have a lot to answer for.

Science – Following the s=d/t formula for speed, Munch has learnt to use this in the extremes to get what he wants. On one end of the speed scale, Munch has mastered being able to take the longest time possible to get out of the car in the morning as we arrive in work which is magnified when we happen to be running a little late. He figures that if he eats his treat (for getting out of the car) as slow as possible, then I have to wait for him until he is ready to put his harness on. It all changes up however when our little Munch spots dropped food in school where the time it takes to travel to the said dropped food occurs in a nanosecond. This is an area that he continues to excel in despite the fact that on occasions I am left with the after affects of G force as he accelerates forward

I am eager to see his end of year report highlighting his many improvements in all areas of school life. You never know, he may even become a morning dog by the time he retires in a few years. It’s always good to keep dreams alive.

Synced Up Souls

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Spot the emotional difference between these two pictures,

Let me help you out. The first one is of Munch in Guide Dog work mode having a sit down protest as he seeks some freedom, and the second one is his off harness happiness when he gets his own way. The thing about Munch is that he wears his heart on his hairy face and although I can’t see that, I can certainly feel it in his energy and behaviour. Not one to shy away from drama, Munch uses his BAFTA winning skills to tell me what he wants and when he wants it. Nearly six years into our Owner Munch/maid relationship has taught me that a happy dog equals a happy me.

Whilst out for a walk recently, I was reminded of what life was like the first few months that we were partnered up. Stubborn, stroppy Munch popped out a lot in the early days as he found his paws in a brand new life after leaving his puppy raisers and trainers that he had securely attached too. Entering my life must have been a huge change for him as he learnt to settle in yet again to a new environment with new rules and ways of life. Graduating from Guide Dog training school to a full time position can’t have been easy for this lifelong Labradoodle friend, so learning to have the give and take in our relationship was essential from the start.

The first sign of an inflexible sit down whilst on duty only means one thing, Munch is ready for a break and if I want him to continue to work to his best ability, a break he will have. Guide Dogs concentrate so hard whilst on harness as they avoid obstacles, find routes and keep us safe, then it is only fair that they have downtime to recharge themselves. Admittedly, Munch would constantly live in downtime dreamtime if he had a chance so does try it on sometimes but that’s all part and parcel of his whole lovable persona.

Slipping the harness over his majestic head , he will seek out fun at the first opportunity. If there are others around to witness his attention seeking adventures then all the better. In the second picture above, he decided that the cows and calves were his new best friends as they slowly began to gather by the fence to try and figure out what he was. A gentle sniff of them told him that these would be good play mates to try and corrupt. Over 5 years ago when he stumbled across this field full of cattle, he sat down and stared at them but remained on harness as I had not then learnt to be lead by his wishes to be let off harness just to have some freedom.

All to often we try to train animals for our wishes, wants and needs and to feel that our control is the more important in our partnerships. Boundaries are essential but that also counts both ways. Listening to Munch tell me that he needs a break and space to be a dog not just a working dog is his right to have his boundary respected and that is something that I will always honour. A ten minute exploration off harness allows his inquisitive needs to be met and equality to restore in our working relationship. I believe that we need to be of service to service animals as much as they are of service to us to be able to have a partnership full of love and respect.

As Munch approaches the last few years of his working life, I hope to to give more than I take from him to help him know how much he is loved and valued. Synced up souls always have happier experiences as they travel through life together witnessing each others joy.

Holiday Freedom

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Munch & A sniff of beach air = Choas. This time however was different.

As soon as the scent of briny air hits his olfactory gland, Munch sees this as his prompt to enter utopic bliss where only freedom exists. If we dare pass a beach without leaving him free run, his heart breaking whimpers will tell us of our sins. With his shaggy ears flopping with intent as he gallops his six stone self across the endless grains of sand, his eternal mission is to embrace the fact that he was born to be free. Beach life for Munch is the soul food he needs in his work life balance.

I had worried that when we went on a family seaside holiday with Munch as a working guide dog, that it would be 5 days of temptation for him that he would not be able to resist being distracted by. Slipping on his guide dog harness on arrival at the hotel, I felt a little guilty that he had been duped into thinking that we had come to the place just for his fun and entertainment and that work was not what he wanted to do. After some initial pleading whimpers telling me he wanted to go into play instead of work mode, he soon settled down to his professional persona of Minster Guide Dog extraordinaire. Maybe it wouldn’t be too painful for him after all.

Going on holidays when you are severely sight impaired is not an easy task as everything is so new. Programming your mind to all the new steps, routes, trip hazards, senses and orientation skills needed to safely get around usually takes me a lot longer to get into holiday mode than the sighted people I am with. Add onto that the couple of access refusals that I got when being told ‘no dogs allowed’ where I politely explain it is illegal to refuse access to guide dogs and they could face a £1,000 fine unless they do, it takes longer to settle into where I am. When I do however, I join Munch in his bliss in holiday mode.

Munch being the star guide dog he is, worked patiently throughout the days on holiday zig zagging us through the crowd of people finding us safe routes with ease. The experience was a total contrast to the days pre Munch where I would constantly bump into people giving my apologies where nobody knew I could not see and I was too stubborn to say. With Munch at his permanent place on my left hand side, he ignored the urges to take me to the beach and worked as if the beach was the furthest thing from his mind. The selfless way of life of a guide dog will always leave me in awe. To us , they are our lifeline to independence. This was the first holiday in 45 years that I felt at ease knowing that getting around was taken care of and I would have injury free fun.

Each evening, Munch got to have the run of the beach in the designated doggy area where he shock off his harness duty filled day and became the beach bum he was born to be. His well deserved holiday Co-existed alongside mine where we both got to be with each other whilst we experienced freedom in different ways. Equality in any relationship is key to happy souls supporting one another and respecting the give and take that makes life flow so easily. My needs are equal to his and his happiness is equal to mine. Life with a guide dog takes you to places both physically and spiritually where you never thought you could be.

Now we are back home, we may need to share our need to exercise a little more after far too much holiday food. Well, I had to join him in all his adventures which included food 🙂

Summer Staff

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Getting fanned down by a complete stranger and being fed treats by my maid (a.k.a. commonly known as my owner,  as if I could ever be owned ) is just a typical Saturday night for me. In my Guide Dog harness I may be known as Minster Munch but that is just a disguise to keep my Guru status under wraps. Being outted as a Master in disguise does not need to happen for me to Summons staff members from thin air as one look at me and people are putty in my paws.

Things were getting a little hot in the night of mediumship, not from the spirits trying to  come  through  but from the non existent air flow through the fiery furnace which the two legged people called a spiritualist Church. Being blessed with so much wisdom strewn hair does not feel like such a blessing when there is literally no breeze to cool down and function in. With no other dogs around to turn to for support, I had to use my charismatic gifts to call on the humans around me to help me out. It was then, as if by magic I began being fanned down by a dog loving lady who could see my need for a breeze. It got me thinking to what kind of staff I need around me this summer to see to my every need so here is my list.

A Chauffeur. I plan for my paws to only bless the ground where escapism can exist. Over the 6 weeks holidays from school, I am hoping to limit my harness wearing moments to a zero hour contract basis , where I have to work as an exception rather than the rule. My chauffeur will need to understand that they will take me to where I want to go such as a beaches, fields, homes of treat givers and country  parks.

A Porter. I have in the past been known to be a slight over packer, a dog of my status needs a lot of things. I have one and a half bags of essential overspilled goods when I travel to work.  From beds, bowls, snacks,  toys, cushions, snacks, bottled water, massage gloves, snacks, brushes, fans, extra blankets …..oh and did I mention snacks???? I need a minion to trail after me with my goods.

A Tour Guide. I need to discover new adventures this summer whilst I still have lots of energy in me. This time next year I will be six months away from entering into the period where the hushed tones of retirement are discussed among the humans so this summer is going to be a summer of fun. Obviously a blind maid will not be much good as my tour guide , but any sighted Labradoodle lovers are welcome to apply.

Life Coach. Being off work for the school holidays unfortunately means that my adoring fans are limited so my Ego does not get the attention it has become accustomed to. Hiring a life coach will allow my self love to be motivated into action  and exceed it’s current status of extreme. Through an adequate life coach,  I expect to enter into the Guinness Book of Records for the most photographed dog as people flock to see my beautiful hairy self.

A Chef. The maids talents do not lay in the kitchen but my heart and soul do. I live to eat and expect a high standard of gourmet  meals delivered to me but the maid I was partnered up with is not on the same wavelength. She is more of an in and out kitchen visitor where she cooks the quickest and simplest of meals much to my disappointment. It is not because she is blind as there are many a gifted blind chef,  it’s just that she is more of an eat to live person. Add onto that is the issues that she has boring food for me as she is a vegan , and I much rather be amongst the meat eaters of the world. I would welcome the chef to induce a food coma on demand where I will enter into a state of belly bursting bliss after eating far too much for my own good.

Experiencing hot summers is something i am not too used to here in Wales, so adjustments have to be made. Our first big adjustment is that my owner/maid will have to go to work without me tomorrow for her last day of term. It is simply too hot for me to walk around outside to get to work and come from work on very hot ground. Add to that the fact that we are in a very hot room in work with tiny windows that only let in hot air and has no plug sockets in so there is no option for a fan, it is not safe for me to go in to work. She will use her white cane just for tomorrow as it is her old school so she knows it well enough to get around for 1 day.

I will be starting my summer holidays tomorrow by lounging around between  a fan blowing on my face and finding some cool water in the garden to enjoy. My favourite dog sitter has me tomorrow as I send my maid out to work to pay for all my luxuries in life. She insists that I do not need summer staff and that she has all basis covered to keep me living to the standard that I am used to but we will see. I may need to update the maids training this summer to remind her who is really boss. Anyone know of a good trainer?

The Guide Of My Life

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Just as we arrived at the Vets , Munch decided that it was then that he would perk up. Popping the boot open we were ready to carry his six stone self into the waiting room but he had other ideas. After spending the last two days vomiting, not eating and having zero energy , we kept in contact with the Welfare Officer at Guide Dogs who advised us to have a check up with the Vet. As if he had entered a magical healing portal in the boot of my car, Munch decided that he would make the vet disbelieve everything that I had said was wrong with him by wagging his tail and sashaying his trademark bum wiggle into the room as if nothing was wrong. Just like a child whimpering in pain walking into A &E and running out a short while later after discovering nothing is wrong with them, Munch decided that he was instantly better just like that.

Admittedly, the miraculous healing is exactly what I wanted to happen. Honestly, the night before I was pretty upset and thought that it was more serious that a stomach bug. Munch not eating is unthinkable. A packet leaving the fridge makes Munch appear out of thin air and any dropped food is guaranteed to end up in his mouth before it can ever reach the floor so when Munch does not eat, it is serious. In fact In 5 and a half years it has never happened. Not even the whiff of toast which always gets him up onto his paws had no effect. So when he showed improvements I was ecstatic. A quick anti sickness injection and some prescribed probiotic helped his healing even more and within the day he was back to his Munch like mischievous way . By his third “Munch, No!” Moment of the day, I knew he was going to be totally fine. As the soil from the garden flower bed flew through the air splattering me like rhythmic rain as he dug away just for fun, I secretly loved every splatter as I knew my Munch was back.

Everyone who has ever been blessed to be owned by a pet (let’s be honest, they own us more that we can ever own them ) will know how hard it is to see them ill even for a short while. When you are paired with a Guide Dog, it is at a deeper level as they are with us 24/7 and therefore our lives do not function without them. Whilst worrying deeply about if Munch was going to be okay, I had to try and think practically how I was going to be able to go to work without him. Luckily he was well enough to come to work with me after his appointment with the Vet but what if he hadn’t been? Relying on Munch’s healthy self to help me work a full time job I realised, was an assumption of mine that I had never given much thought to. Obviously, his health and well being is and always will be priority but what would happen if everything changed?

Most of the time, I forget I can’t see as I live life to the fullest. At home and in familiar places I move around with ease as I know my surroundings and can explain in detail where everything is due to the familiarity etched into my brain. I work in four different schools and I know the layout of my rooms so well but getting to and from these rooms without Munch is a scary thought. Working in Secondary schoold with up 1,500 pupils, using my cane would have it’s limits as there are so many obstacles that Munch alerts me to every day that my white cane would not be able to alert me to until I hit something or someone. Living with sight loss in a working environment is not the easiest even with a hairy handsome mobility aid like Munch, so working without one can be a challenge.

Life with a Disability can make you dip into the world of independence and dependence in the blink of an eye. When everything/everyone works well, you work well. When hiccups happen , growth can get a little stunted. Not being able to work due to a sick Guide Dog may not have it’s own box to tick in my Employee Sick Form but it is a genuine reason that needs to be understood. I am blessed that everyone I work with seems to love Munch and I think that they understand that the teamwork we have helps the dream work. A healthy Munch is key to the life I am able to live today and helps me forget disability and focus more on nothing but ability. Fingers crossed the guide of my life has many happy and healthy years ahead of him and I am lucky enough to witness them ❤

Carefree Living

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Waking up each morning to my six stone hairy soul mate sprawled across my bed as I  hang on with dear life to my allocated few inches of mattress is pure bliss. Even with an outstretched paw attempting to clog up my nostrils as Munch attempts his graceless doggy hug, his carefree attitude is contagious. The eternal expectation of belly rubs and utter adoration from every being around him, allows him to rest in that place of surrender that most of us battle with throughout life. Appreciating the here and now can be that well needed pause button to help remind us that we always have more to be thankful in life than we know. Carefree living emerges from actively embracing the act of surrender.

As we approach the summer solstice and celebrate the light within us that flows inwards and outwards, it is an ideal time to reflect on what really matters in life. Growth and evolution around this time of year comes from exploring what lies in this natural pause button zone in life. Whether or not you celebrate the Summer Solstice , it is a natural half way point in the year to stop and take stock of your life as you live it today. Now that life is returning to normal for most after the pandemic many are realising that life is a constant state of change and in reality there is very little we can do about it. Learning to go with the flow on life is kinder to your soul that battling against the change that will always win in the end.

On a personal level, the idea of choosing stress as a focal point in life seems just to draining. Admitting to ourselves that we choose stress instead of surrendering to and overcoming things peacefully can trigger our ego into denying that we are the ones feeding our stress to keep it alive. Reminding ourselves that we are in control of how we react to situations instead of situations controlling how we react can mean the different between carefree and stressful living.

Having worked in mental health for 27 years in various roles and having the blessing of sight loss (a blessing I will always treasure), I have learnt a thing or two about the benefits of carefree living. Here are just a few tips of how to implement carefree living into your own life

1 Leave go of perfection. The only permanence in life in impermanence so battling against what is inevitably will only lead you to create unhappiness in your life.

2. See outcome as just a bonus. Allowing yourself to enjoy being in the moment and creating a feel good energy in the here and now allows you to ignore the ‘what if’s’

3. Count your blessing. Literally count your blessing by writing down what you have in life and what you are thankful for. Each day try to increase the list by at least 5 things and you can include loved ones physical possessions, memories and anything else that has got you to where you are today.

4. Learn to laugh at yourself. Chances are you are more of a comedian than you think. Think of all the times you have messed up in epic ways and still lived to tell the tale. See mistakes as just trial runs that went a little wonky.

5. Surround yourself by happy people. Emotional vampires won’t help your quest for carefree living at all so seek elsewhere. Changing your outlook and general energy to a more positive one will make you more likeable to others which in turn will natural make them want to spend more time with you.

6. Step outside of your “me” bubble. Remind yourself that the world is not about you but about us all. When we stop and connect to others , we learn to press pause on our overthinking and dramatising of life events that cannot be changed. Entering into the energy of you sharing your world with others equally helps you also realise that your pain in life in not unique but is a shared human experience that people learn to become at peace with and you are no difference.

7. Always choose kindness. Kindness to yourself and others will boost you in every area of life. From increased self esteem, higher immune system and health in general through to positive life chances, kindness can be the change in life you have been searching for. Kindness is a simple cure to nearly every problem in life.

8. Own yourself not others. You are always in full charge of who you are so learn to be at peace with yourself and don’t allow others to define you. The reverse is also true as we should never want to control another as people are not possessions so how others behave or think has nothing to do with you.

Carefree living is not the same as careless living. Caring about the important things in life and leaving go of our need to control things can help us take life back to a simpler way of being. Whether you are seeking belly rubs in life or wanting to use less hair dye on the grey stress strands appearing in your hair take time this Summer Solstice to declutter your emotional baggage and rest in the energy of just being.

Perfection In Chaos

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Expecting two children and a dog to look at a camera to give that picture perfect scene was never really going to happen but it was worth a try. We all have these photos of loved ones that look more haphazard than beautifully choreographed, but to me that is the true beauty in life.

The aim of this photograph that my daughter took  was to capture the three youngest members of the family in a happy relaxed pose on a family day out, but what we got was a little different. My beautiful six year old granddaughter Arna-Rae embraced the “relax” challenge while I have been told (as I can’t see the photo) that Munch went for the “happy” look as his well trained nose told him that his ownership of unattended food was imminent. My  adorable Grandson Corey however was having none of it and just wanted to be his usual busy bee self. Arna-Rae just sat back watching it all happen whilst possibly wondering if her brother and Munch would ever listen as good as her. Family life at it’s best.

Personally, I sometimes love a little chaos where perfection should exist as it always offers a Plan B. Our human brains are meant to crave patterns and predictability but I think mine is a little faulty as patterns and predictability can sometimes bore me. When things never go to plan and the universe throws you a few hiccups, it may just be that the original plan was not meant to be. Going with the flow in life can free us from the need to be a slave to perfection. If we learnt to live more in the moment like children and animals then we may have more energy  and motivation for our goals.

A moment  after this picture was taken, Eagle eyed Munch shot off to hoover up some dropped pizza that he had noticed free falling to the ground next to him and step into his litter picking role. Corey had escaped off the chair and was on the search for some new adventures and Arna-Rae headed off to have a glitter tattoo. That perfect photo was never taken but they all seemed perfectly happy with their end results. Taking Munch on family days out is like having another child with us  as although he is fab guiding me safely to where we need to go, I always love the way he does his own thing his own way regardless of our original plan.

I am very excited that grandchild  number 3 is on the way in November to join our ever increasing, busy family and to fill our lives with even more love and possibly a touch of mayhem just the way I like it. Being a blind grandmother means that I never wish for picture perfect moments as I do not know what picture perfect looks like as even chaos looks perfect to me. I do know however that whatever makes them happy, makes me happy. I cannot wait for more action shots of all my grandchildren to capture their true selves as they live in their own moments . With Munch by their sides as their hairy uncle , life will never be dull as they will always have a friend to accompany them in their mischievous escapades.