Hell YES!

IMG_20151028_233310

Say Yes More. The tagline to a weekend spent in a field somewhere in Surrey with over a hundred strangers. Sounds a bit weird if you say it like that. But it wasn’t. It was pretty damn special. A weekend festival full of camping, adventure, positivity, hugs, inspirational speakers and unicorns. Led by Dave Cornthwaite, founder of Say Yes More and the Yes Tribe, a movement designed to encourage living the life you want, outside the usual confines of 9-5 life.

It’s the kind of event that if I just wrote down what went on, it wouldn’t do it justice. Or convey the energy and the effect it had on people. It was potentially life changing for a lot of people, me included. It was an event that everyone came away from buzzing, wired and high on life. Ready to face the world and anything that was out there. Imagine the highest high and triple it, stick a unicorn on top with a cherry on its horn. I didn’t take any photos (or even turn my phone on all weekend) because I wanted to fully throw myself into the experience. So there won’t be any pictures from me. But you can find plenty on social media if you just google.

There were speakers. Inspirational people. From professional adventurers to people who had decided to live life a bit differently, or been on an adventure. All normal people, just deciding to live a bit differently. So many amazing people. Not just the speakers, but everyone who went. I’ve never been surrounded with such a brilliant bunch of people. Everyone so super positive, friendly and encouraging. This is what really made it. Two days of intensely charged positive attitude. It’s intoxicating. Like the way there’s a cheer if anyone mentions quitting their job (YES! ESCAPE!). It’s the hugs you give to and receive from strangers like you’ve been friends for years. It’s the way I only met some people for 48 hours, but already my life feels richer with them now in it. Almost a bit too intoxicating though. SO MUCH AMAZING STUFF IN ONE GO. I got totally pissed on it. And like any high, there’s been a comedown. I got a Yestival hangover. Yesterday was a bit flat. Normal life seems a bit shit after that, even though I feel my life is pretty bloody sweet as. I felt like I needed to go sit in a dark quiet room by myself. Concentrating at work on Monday was HARD. How the fuck am I supposed to follow a weekend like that?

By creating a YES LIST. Not a bucket list. Or a fuck it list. A Yes List. Stuff I’m going to say Yes to. Mine is still a work in progress. I’ve spent the last 4 years without a list, but just doing anything and everything, and it’s worked pretty well so far. But, I know sometimes [read: lots of times] I get a bit lazy and procrastinate to SHIT. So, I’m going to take Dave’s advice and have a Yes List to give myself a kick up the arse when I need it. I’ve got loads of ideas, I just need to figure out what to start first. Going part time in 2 weeks time with my new job will help. Only working 4 days and having a 3 day weekend. YES. Fridays will become Fucking Do It Fridays. F-DIF. Helps to have a handy abbreviation I find; let’s brand this shit. Joke, I’ve got no idea about stuff like that. What I mean is I will write things down in a book under a heading of F-DIF. Step in the right direction, right?

What was pretty ace for me though is that I felt like I was a proper part of it. There were people just like me. On the same wavelength. This amazing group of people and I felt like I am one of them. Not stood on the sidelines, unable to join in because I’m not quite doing what everyone else is, or that I’m not part of the clique, or that I haven’t done a massive adventure. No, I could join in. And the nice thing is that I haven’t done a massive adventure, and aren’t doing half the things that other people are or haven’t got a crazy thing planned, but it’s not about that. It’s about mindset and ideas. The mindset of saying yes, regardless of what may happen. Of taking the leap, taking the risk. Saying yes or saying no to make more room to say yes. Being open to other ways of doing things, of looking at life differently and willing to explore, just for the sheer fucking hell of it.

It helped me realise you don’t have to be a full time adventurer. Or do a crazy adventure. Or get sponsors. There are no comparisons. Just have the attitude and mindset and the rest will follow. Be aware there is a different way. Ignore the people that say it can’t be done. The people who say that you have to return to ‘real life’ eventually. Who says what real life is anyway?

I can’t mention all the speakers but I do feel I have to mention the Meek family. Parents and two kids who have been on a journey around the UK in a caravan for the last 18 months, and who are about to upgrade to a campervan and start touring around Europe. They sold their house, quit their jobs, took the girls out of school and went off on a family adventure, and aren’t about to stop any time soon. And I think that is bloody amazing. Anyone who thinks anything but what an amazing thing should meet this family. Meet the two girls who are a credit to their parents. Confident, adjusted, educated and well rounded. Speakers at the festival at ages 12 and 10. Fully grown adults would shit themselves at that, but not these girls. Are they missing out by not being at school? Meet them and decide for yourself. I’m a firm believer that education is so much more than sitting in a classroom for hours a day; the Meek family are a prime example of this. They call it ed-venture. Inspirational. I don’t have kids but if I did, well, I’d be a prime example to want to follow the Meek’s lead.

Oh, and Project Awesome. How can I not mention Project Awesome? A free fitness movement led by Danny Bent and Anna McNuff. Mainly in London but now expanding to Bristol and elsewhere. SO much fun, happiness and craziness is squeezed into these sessions and mega energy radiated out of every single person doing it. I only did a little taster session at the Festival but I know if I lived in London I’d be right there at 6:30am to start my day shouting, cheering, hugging, pledging affinity to unicorns and doing killer burpees. Absolutely fucking awesome.

I still don’t quite know what I’m here to do in life, I don’t know my purpose yet. But that’s OK, because I know I’m doing the right things to maybe eventually figure it out. Maybe I won’t ever figure it out, and maybe that’s the point. Who knows? I’ll just keep on plodding on, doing what feels right and trying new things. There were several open mic sessions to give everyone a chance to share anything they wanted. A story, a commitment, or just a comment or thanks. I didn’t, I didn’t really feel I had anything to share. I told some parts of my story to individual people, but not into a microphone. But, now I’ve thought about it, this is what I would have said “4 years ago I had an epiphany and left my job [CHEER], my home, my [now ex] husband and my cat to live life alone and head off round the world on an adventure to see what was out there. Since then I’ve said yes much more than no, and discovered things about the world and myself that I never would have dreamed of. I’ve brought adventure into my life and am not about to let that go. I’m now back in ‘real life’ but about to work part time instead of full time to give me more Yes time and carry on the adventures, big or small, and carry on trying to figure out what my purpose is.” [LOTS OF CHEERING AND SHOUTING AND WARM FUZZY FEELINGS]

That’s my story so far. Still so many pages to fill and hopefully many more adventures to come. South Africa at Christmas, that’s the next travel adventure. And next year has got a few things in the pipeline but I don’t like to plan too far ahead. Let’s see what the next few months bring first eh?

HUGE MASSIVE thank you therefore has to go out to Dave and his team who did an amazing job organising Yestival in just 8 weeks. It just shows what can be done with a bit of effort and the right attitude. I think it’s pretty certain that there will be a re-run in 2016. And in between there are Yes Tribe events popping up. Mainly in London but not exclusively. So if you like the sound of it (and come on, you have to admit, it sounds pretty fucking incredible right?), check it out, join the tribe and change your life, someone else’s life and the world.

And of course a massive thank you to every single person at Yestival. You’re all bloody ace.

Let’s go change the world.

 

IMG_20151028_233416

Advertisements

Old memories.

I’m sitting here tonight wanting to write a post about the end of an era – the sale of my childhood home. I kind of know what I want to write, and how I want to start it, yet the rest of words aren’t there quite yet in my head. So I’ll have to save that one for another time.

Instead, I’m listening to the album 21 by Adele. I know most of the songs off by heart, because I listened to this CD (yep, back in the shiny disc days) over and over again in my car driving to and from work when I was going through my separation (that and Katy Perry, but I’m after chilled out music right now). I’m thinking whether the songs are tainted now with those memories. Because well let’s face it, it was a pretty shitty time for me back then. Came to the conclusion that no they’re not now, but it’s taken a while. 4 years to be exact. I look back on it now like it was someone else’s life. Feels like a whole different lifetime ago, and I was a different person, just ask anyone that knew me back then. I don’t tend to try to look back too much, I’m a bit of a live in the moment kinda gal. I hate planning too far in advance and just tend to go with the flow, maxing out life where I can. But my ‘previous life’ seems to pop up loads, I can’t bloody escape it. I remember going to Peru in 2012, meeting lots of new people and my recent divorce would pop up in conversation, and I remember wanting to escape it. Thinking that it was just because it was so new, and such a big thing in my life back then and one day I could almost pretend it never happened. But I can’t. Now I’ve realised it’s likely to always crop up, for one reason or another. Whether meeting new people or chatting to old friends. And that pisses me off a bit. However. It’s made me who I am now. I can’t complain. I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t be the person I am now without going through all that.

IMG_20150820_193309

Because you see, now I absolutely love the person who I am. I’m back to being me, true to myself and happy inside and out. In control of my life and my destiny. And having no idea what the future holds.

IMG_20150824_214203

This weekend just gone was a bit of a whirlwind tour of London, Lincolnshire and Yorkshire. Loads of travelling and catching up with loads of mates and family. Squeezing in as many people as possible for a hello, cup of tea and good old chin wag. Reminiscing about old memories and catching up on life right now.

I have SO much to smile about right now it’s unreal. So many good things happening, so many awesome people in my life. So many exciting opportunities and possibilities there for the taking. Life is awesome.

Sorry, I have no idea on the point of this post, or the direction it’s taken.

I’m not sure what I’m trying to say, or whether anything is making any sense really. I’m very tired, I’ve not stopped for days and have driven so many hundreds of miles I don’t really know whether I’m coming or going. I guess mainly it’s that I’ve had a few days of revisiting old memories. It’s been great to see lots of lovely familiar faces. A visit to Lincoln always stirs up old memories, it always will. So much happened there.

But it’s also a reminder that everything changes – Note: Take That reference 😉 – and nothing stays still. As much as you might not want things to change, they will. It’s inevitable. No point in fighting it. Change is good. Change is exciting. But, it can also be scary. Frightening. Sad. A massive mixture of emotions. Just gotta roll with it. It’s how you deal with it that matters. All about how to think about stuff.

If you know anything about Buddhism, then a massive part of it is around impermanence. Worth reading up on if that’s your bag. I learnt about Buddhism, suffering, attachment, impermanence etc. when I did a 10 day silent retreat at a Buddhist meditation centre in India. Absolutely fascinating stuff, and helps with all kinds of shit in every day life for me. The point being that everything, and I mean everything, is not permanent. Is changing, every single second. Even that solid oak table. And if everything is changing, then nothing is permanent, and so how can you be attached to something that is changing all the time?

It’s all about how you look at things, and how you choose to react to them. What you let go, how to forgive and the difference between attachment and love.

impermanence quote TNH

No standing still. Don’t stand still. Embrace change.

Brave or bold?

Have you ever done something brave? Or been called brave?

I did something yesterday and two separate people have told me it was a brave thing to do. It got me thinking what does brave actually mean? Dodging bullets? Jumping off a bridge? Fighting illness? Speaking out for something you believe in?

I didn’t do any of the above. Not yesterday anyway.

I don’t particularly think what I did was brave, but if I think about it, it did take a bit of courage. Getting out of the comfort zone. Putting yourself out there. Opening yourself up for judgement. Knowing that things would change forever, regardless of the outcome. Risking something that’s important, knowing there’s a chance you could lose it.

So why do it?

Because the opposite is staying still. Not seeing what’s out there. Because there could be something amazing that could happen. Because if you never try, you never know.

I’m not one for What If’s. I like to give things a go, see what happens. Even if things go wrong, it’s how you deal with it that’s important, not the outcome.

Maybe being brave is about taking a risk or a chance. Knowing there’s a risk or a chance, and doing it anyway. Standing up and saying “Fuck it, do it”. Following your heart, not knowing where it would lead, or knowing it will lead somewhere that’s not necessarily the norm.Taking that massive giant leap into the unknown.

What’s the worst that could happen? You grow as a person, in one way or another. And that’s no bad thing. Oh yeah, sometimes things don’t work out the way I’d like. And yes, there’s a couple of things in life I wish I’d never done, but I don’t dwell on them. All of it makes me who I am now, and I can’t rewrite the past. Just try to learn from it and make sure I don’t make that mistake again. I’m working on that.

I don’t think I’m brave, but a hell of a lot of people I know are. Everyone’s got their own challenges, struggles in life. I salute you all.

And to the people I know who are on the edge of that bridge at the moment wondering whether to jump off or not:

DO IT. There’s a bungee cord attached to your feet; it’s called YOU. You can make sure you’ll be ok, no matter what happens. There are always choices.

 

If you’ve got something to say.

Then say it. Been a while since I’ve blogged. Been busy and not had much that I’ve wanted to write about, and BOOM, all of a sudden it’s July. I’ve got loads of half finished blog posts, but somehow I can’t finish them. I write whatever comes out of my head you see, so I have to be in the right mood for writing. Then it just flows. So what I want to say tonight is about saying what you feel and being honest.

Last week I finally had a conversation with someone that we probably should have had quite a while ago. It was good, as I/we finally got Closure. But it made me realise that we should have talked about certain stuff earlier. But, I didn’t want to. I didn’t want to ask questions because I didn’t want to know the answers. I assumed some stuff, even though everyone else was telling me different. But I should have stopped assuming and asked the person in question.

Thing is, you never really know what’s going on in people’s heads. What they think or how they feel. OK, so I guess you can kind of tell by how they act, but I know that this isn’t always the case, for a variety of reasons. So asking a person, or talking to them about stuff is a better way to find out, the only way to know for sure. Unless they lie, or tell you something different but there’s not a lot you can do about that. And sometimes, if you don’t know, you project what you think they might be thinking or feeling onto them, and end up making things up in your own head.

Not sure of the exact point of this post. Maybe it’s that if I had had the earlier conversations then something might have been different now. Can’t think like that though. I don’t do What If’s. Generally think things are meant to be, and I know in this particular situation the way it’s turned out is right. But what I’ve learnt from this is that I’ll [try] to not assume things. And I WILL say things if I feel them or ask those questions. Because the other sad lesson I keep learning is that life is short. It can be very short. So, why hold off until tomorrow what you can do today? Because one day it might be too late. Why miss opportunities because you think there is all the time in the world? Especially if happiness is involved.

So even more so time now for me to think “fuck it, throw caution to the wind” and make opportunities, live life how I want and say how I feel. If I don’t like the answers, well that’s just tough. I’ll have to deal with them and move on.  After all life is:

IMG_20150324_175349

In life’s garden.

My nan copied this poem out of a birthday card in 1946, and I found it a couple of years ago when we were sorting out her things after she died. I love it. I found it tonight when I was sorting out some of my things. I’m more like her than I realise I think. Although I’m not the hoarder she was. Just stubborn, independent and positive. Just like her.

20130123-230202.jpg