There was a point, some ten or so years ago, when I had this funny feeling that I was at an age where I would not make many more new friends. I had a few friends from school, a few more from Uni, then I inherited the friends of my boyfriend, their girlfriends and a group I had become close with whilst running my market stall. There were the work friends who I saw on the job, but rarely outside it and a whole host of people with whom I spent time on a rather irregular basis. Loyal friends who I hung out with often were few and far between. Where this feeling came from, I have no idea. I don’t know what led me to believe that you get to an age or a period in life where the new friendships just stop happening, but I remember thinking it. Maybe I was just stuck… stuck in that life, in that working rut, in the not quite being true to myself place where new horizons seemed unlikely. But in the past few years, I have made many wonderful connections with incredible people, including some of the most courageous and inspiring friends I have ever had in my life. This, I had not anticipated. The conversations that have recently arisen dig deeper than I have ever dug and open doors to connection and meaning, both in the moment of sharing and then rippling out into other relationships. Each time, it astounds and delights me. Yesterday, for example, I spent the afternoon with a relatively new friend… someone who I have known for just one year, but with whom I feel totally at ease. Life makes sense when we are together. Within 9 minutes of meeting she had me in tears. Good tears. You know, the sort that fall silently when someone truly gets it… when you feel heard and seen and understood. She moved me with her words of how my Gratitude Daily course had changed her life… for the better. That’s when the deeper sharing began. With her, I feel safe sharing my vulnerabilities, knowing they will be treated with kindness and respect and I invite her opinion and request her advice, trusting that she will speak the truth and not just what I want to hear. We are looking out for each other. For such loyal friends and for moments like these, I am truly grateful. The internet too, has allowed for some incredible connections with like-minded people, some of whom have become dear friends, even though we have never, or rarely, met face to face. Yet, the loyalty, support and understanding know no bounds. I feel privileged that my courses have brought together two separate groups within which such deep and heartfelt friendships and connections have been forged. May there be many, many more.
After 28 days of my first official Gratitude Daily course, which ended on the last day of Feb, I was thrilled with how things had gone, but exhausted by the unexpected energy used up in sharing this particular offering with the world for the very first time. Not to mention the holding of space for a group of women to share their daily gratitudes and challenges. Add to that the late nights for scheduling emails and keeping up with the Facebook group postings. Wow! It takes a lot to put yourself out there, but the pay off is big… earning money doing what you love and touching people’s lives… what a pleasure that is. Out of both necessity and celebration, it was time for some self-care. So, this week is dedicated Self-Care Week. On Saturday, I bought myself some beautiful flowers – daffodils, purple tulips and alstromeria in pink. Today, they opened fully. Yesterday, I allowed myself time away from my desk for guilt-free lunch out with a friend. I was in bed by 9 and up before sunrise. Today, I treated myself to a book for bedtime, but couldn’t resist dipping in after dinner and can’t wait to dive in again. After pancakes with lemon sugar for desert, I am considering giving up chocolate for lent… another leaning/learning this week has been towards healthy food as a treat for my body, rather than chocolate. Tomorrow, I haven’t decided how I will celebrate, but on Thursday, I have booked myself in for a cut and colour… a rare event over here! On Friday, I may venture to the sea… Brighton is calling and I can justify it with some work there as well, but I will still have time for the sea air self-care, oh yes! A coast-bound train journey looms… bring it on! Hard work (even if it is something you love) is all very well, but what’s the point if you can’t take time out to indulge a little and enjoy yourself? What will you do to treat yourself well this week? Give yourself a reason for Gratitude Daily… do one small thing just for you each day. You will thank yourself for it. x