Positive Pause – 31st October, 2016 – Spontaneous Thursday!

spontaneous thursdayIn the midst of a busy life of dealing with our many responsibilities, it can be hard to connect to that part of you that knows what it’s like to be carefree and has a desire  to focus only on fun, playing and laughing.

When I think back to myself as a child, teenager, and young adult I was literally up for anything at the drop of a hat; if there was a party or an opportunity to go on a sleepover or if there was an impromptu gathering of any kind I always grabbed it with both hands. It’s possible that you were the same and would have been more likely to embrace spontaneity in your life when you were younger.   Unplanned occasions are often the best and most memorable. spontaneous thursday 

When we become adults it usually becomes harder to find that spontaneity especially if we are tired from long hours at work, family responsibilities or if we are dealing with stress or personal issues. Our lives can become a strict routine with little leeway for us to deviate from the things we need to do.

Last Thursday, I had the joy of being invited not to one but to two impromptu gatherings that literally did come out of the blue. The first was through one of Luca’s pals – his lovely Brazilian minder decided to make a Halloween cake and have a few of the kids from his class over. I had planned on the normal hockey pick-up followed by homework so was delighted to have an excuse to break the routine.  The second was from one of my very good friends who texted me at lunchtime to say “I know it’s a bit fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants but are you free for supper tonight?” This friend of mine is one of those people we all need in our lives; she is a positive beacon of light and embraces all that life has to offer. She had decided to start a supper club gathering of people she doesn’t know very well in order to get to know them better. All of a sudden, my Thursday was looking a hell of a lot more fun than I had thought it would be!  I felt that giddy child in me being reawakened and I welcomed both opportunities to connect to that part of me that definitely needs more air-time.

If you get a chance to create or bring spontaneity into your life, please do! Often it is the most important things in our lives that we leave till last on our long to-do lists; seeing friends, spending time with family and just having a good old belly laugh is therapy for the soul. That is not to say we should ignore our responsibilities, but instead to find a balance to make sure that they don’t become all we give our precious attention to. Regret is an extremely hard pill to swallow and one of the five top regrets of the dying is “I wish I had let myself be happier.” Let’s work together to make sure that doesn’t happen to us! Enjoy your bank holiday Monday – the perfect chance for spontaneity.

Positive Pause – 24th October, 2016 – Live, don’t just exist

Live, don't just exist
“To live is the rarest thing, most people exist, that is all”
Oscar Wilde 

This week for me has been a mix of low lights and high lights as life often is. However, I believe that seeing the positive in the low lights is what keeps us from just existing and brings us into the realms of thriving. Live, don’t just exist

On Monday, returning from the school pick up,  I experienced what I saw at that  moment as a major ‘low light’ of the week. Luca, my 8 year old son fell off his bike directly into oncoming traffic! It was quite an experience as I was cycling in front of him and saw it happen out of the corner of my eye. A mother’s instinct is strong and at times like this, the survival instinct kicks in – the only thing on my mind was to save my son. I moved so fast that it felt surreal; I threw my own bike on the ground (although I have no memory of doing so),  let go of the lead of our beloved dog Rosie and ran into the traffic and roared “STOP!” Thankfully the oncoming car did and amazingly nobody was hurt – even Rosie who had followed me out onto the road came out of it all with her tail wagging.

The ‘highlight’ of the week saw me return to Paris for an important family celebration; the launch of a beautiful book my dad has written of poems. Ironically, the title of the book is “Dancing with Luck.” Paris is a city that is filled with memories and connections for me; I lived there at age 19 for a few months as well as getting engaged and married there.

The apartment my family rented happened to be very close to where I had lived in as a jeune fille au pair 21 years ago. Then, I had my own petit studio and on this trip I went back to see it. Incredibly my subconscious mind seemed to  know the way there after all this time. Memories of my younger self came flooding back and the one that struck me was, how even at that age, I believed in how important health was. Pardon the cliche – if we have our health, we have our wealth. The dance with death earlier in the week is a reminder to us all to be grateful for every day that we wake healthy and strong.

If you have any issues, big or small, this week please remember to take a big step back and remember the words of Oscar Wilde (above).  The metro in Paris currently has many quotes from this literary hero. His connection to Paris was also very strong and he is buried in Père Lachaise Cemetery.

Life is fragile and precious. Your ability to appreciate it will elevate you into the realms of living and not merely existing.

Please also check out my online, self-help programme, The Positive Habit which is receiving five-star reviews from subscribers who have completed the course.

Thanks for reading and I look forward to sharing with you again next week, same time, same place!

Fiona Brennan

Positive Pause – 17th October 2016 – “Mental Health” is You, Me, Everyone!

mental health everyoneI was fortunate enough to attend the inaugural Mental Health Summit last Friday which featured many great and inspiring speakers. Incredibly, this was the very first summit of its kind in Ireland so hats off to every single person involved in making it happen. mental health everyone

It was a wet and wild morning as I made my way to the Aviva Stadium, the location of the Summit and I held the door open for a lady coming out of a taxi behind me and we both entered the building together. I immediately felt a lovely, positive energy emanating from her. As we were redirected to another entrance we started to chat along the way. “I know you” she said.  This happens to us all sometimes and I desperately started to think, “how do I know her?” “Wait,” she said and took her phone out of her bag, and showed me The Positive Habit course in her open browser.  She, of course, had recognised me and my voice from the recordings and videos on the website.  It was such a pleasure for me to meet a client in a chance encounter like this and to listen to how the course has helped her already positive nature shift into a higher gear. As we entered to register for the conference she asked me what was I doing there? When I replied that it was for the mental health conference she replied “mental health?! I’m here for a beauty conference!” Although she had followed me to the wrong place the time we had together was, I believe, meant to happen. mental health everyone

As previously mentioned, the speakers were all excellent but two of them really spoke to me in a way that resonated. The first was sports psychologist, Gerry Hussey who immediately brought a calm, focused attention to the room. He made the pertinent points that people are happy to talk about mental health in a general sense once it does not refer to them. You,me and every human being has some level of mental health just as we have some level of physical health. Sometimes our mental health can be very good, sometimes it can be very bad but no matter what state it is in it always needs our love and care. For more information on the great work Jerry does please see his website –  www.gerryhussey.ie

The second speaker was Niall Breslin a.k.a. “Bressie” who is an incredible ambassador for mental health in this country. He spoke with humor and honesty about his long battle with anxiety and while he has made incredible progress he was aware that he still needs to to care for his mind on a daily basis.  My own mind drifted back to the earlier chance encounter that morning and how the lady I had met was someone who recognised that she needed a little help to bring out the best that is in her.  This was true awareness and showed that she really cared for her mental health.

This week, please consider what you can do each day to care for your mental health; reading a Positive Pause each week definitely covers Monday mornings so thanks for reading –  it means more to me than you will ever know.