Funny old times we are living in at the minute, and sometimes it is the last thing we feel like doing....but please NEVER underestimate the power of a SMILE!!
The uplift and the amazing amount of energy you can gift another human being, simply by smiling, is immeasurable. And, it costs nothing!!
But also, even more motivating, it can give you, the Smiler , an energy boost, and it releases masses of endorphins and cortisol, that have numerous health benefits. Win win!
Today is depressingly known as Blue Monday...
Let's change this!! Even if we are wearing masks, you can still smile with your eyes people!!
The average child smiles 400 times a day!!
The average happy adult 40-50...
And the average typical adult, only 20 times
This picture brings me back to a very happy time mountain biking in Tibet & Nepal.
We were setting up our camp after a long, sweaty day on the bike when some local children invaded our tents!
All we had to give them were our Snicker bar rations (it was either that or our bicycle tubes, and we reckoned they'd be a little more valuable for the next week in the hills!)
Next day as I was crawling up yet another hill, salivating at the thoughts of a Snickers bar, I thought back to those children and their smiles.
The energy their smiles gave me, you could never eat enough bars to get even close!
Smile people, and spread it!
Train, work, eat, work, train, eat, chill, sleep, repeat.
And so it goes, in our daily conquest to be the best parent, child, employee, boss, athlete, friend, sibling, neighbour.
Round and round, and over and over, week in, week out, and then…
Months go by, years fly by, and suddenly family have moved on, retirement is on the horizon and finally, finally there is time.
Time to do all the things we never had time to do. But now we are tired, the energy has lapsed and even the desire has diminished.
2020 has been a year like no other. For all the negatives that Covid 19 has brought, it has created some surprising positives.
At the end of February 2020 I was confronted with the untimely death of my dear mother, my little yogi. Having suffered from poor health for as long as I can recall, for the last three years Dementia took what was left of the most humble, resilient, kind, beautiful lady I will ever have the honour of knowing.
One thing my mother always had was time. We never felt rushed. There was always a sense of calm in her presence. Always time for a cup of tea and a chat.
Up until then I had been juggling multiple jobs – I was an architect, schoolteacher, yoga instructor, physical therapist, illustrator. I was training almost ever day, often twice, ‘fitting in’ visits to my mother, doing this course and that, ensuring I still found time for family, catch ups with friends, keeping in touch with too many people, planning races, events, holidays…
How do I deal with loss, with trauma, with shock, with anger, with anything? I get on with it. I fill my time. I run. A lot.
A couple of weeks after my mother’s death I was getting back on my rollercoaster. But Covid 19 had other ideas. Schools closed. Leo Vradkar announced a countrywide lockdown, ordering us to stay within 2 kilometers of our homes. So work slowed down, events were cancelled, training restricted, socials postponed to post-lockdown. Suddenly I was confronted with something alien to me for years – time.
One of the most beautiful gifts Covid gave us, bearing in mind not all of us, was time. I could not remember when I last had time to walk the back fields with my father, or bake enough variety of scone to feed an army, or get to read more than a chapter of a book in one sitting. Yes, I was still training in my hamster wheel radius, as much if not more, but now I was not worrying about the number of laps or when I had to be home. I also had time to get to know someone special, albeit at a distance, but that is another days story J.
I sat on the deck in the sun and breathed in the spring air, watching the garden grow. I cried. I cried tears of sadness, of anger, of joy. I cried because I had the time and space to do it.
I began to teach yoga online. Initially to keep my yogis practicing until lockdown lifted. Adding classes each week, soon I was practicing and teaching more than ever, and it felt good. The energy I received from teaching was amazing. Being able to connect with people regardless of location, time zone - golden.
I specialize in teaching yoga for athletes. The most common phrase I hear from my athlete, and non-athlete, friends is “Oh I would love to do yoga, but I just don’t have enough time’’.
Now finally some of them had time. Numbers grew. Practice became more regular, more frequent, as they noticed the physical, emotional and mental benefits. Yoga became a mainstay, as opposed to something they should ‘fit in’ to their weekly timetable.
But not only were they finding time for yoga, but time to spend with family, time to talk to a neighbor, time to fix that squeaky door or paint that rusty gate, time to experiment, time to breathe. People working from home suddenly had an extra few hours in their day to live.
Over the months, I found more courses to sign up to, more projects to commit to, new races to aim for, more socials to fill my time. That excess time began to shrink, that chapter remained unread, that deck less frequented, that back field left un walked, that army left unfed… ;)
Maybe it is simply human nature. Even when we are gifted with that time we always wished for, we somehow still manage to consume it, and continue to make excuses that we just do not have time.
Time does not change. It is what we choose to do with that precious time that really matters. Yes, live your life to the full. Yes, fill your time, but fill it with time spent laughing, loving, breathing, moving, caring, creating, growing, and then whatever time you have left over, just simply be. x