Tag Archives: Fulfilment

A Lark, a Mug and a Dead Poet

6 Dec

I have a “carpe diem” mug and, truthfully, at six in the morning the words do not make me want to seize the day.  They make me want to slap a dead poet.  ~Joanne Sherman

I have come to the end of the 6AM Writing Challenge, in which I decided to wake up at 6AM to write every day for a month.

Firstly, let’s get one thing straight – I only managed to get up at 6AM on eighteen out of the thirty days in the month. Not only did fatigue catch up with me towards the last week, but the dark skies and the very cold, morning house took away the comfort, the fun and the pleasure from writing. Towards the last week, I was no longer looking forward to waking up so early in the morning to write.

Yet this discomfort taught me a great lesson – I realised that writing isn’t always fun or enjoyable. Writing is made up of hard work, persistence and dedication.

Despite the discomforts, waking up at 6AM to write created some very positive effects in my life. Firstly, seeing as I wrote first-thing in the morning, I didn’t have to try to make time for it later. This meant that I wasn’t worrying about trying to find half an hour here or fifteen minutes there to write during the day. I had a clear conscience and got on with my day without thinking about writing. In addition, writing in the mornings allowed me to spend time on ‘home and family’ in the evenings.

Secondly, I gained several extra hours in my day. On most days, I did more things in the morning than I usually do in a day. This extra time also gave me the opportunity to start my day slowly, without any rush to get ready.

However, my greatest discovery during the Challenge was the positivity and energy with which I lived out my days. Whether it was biological or psychological, waking up earlier gave me a great sense of satisfaction and fulfilment. On days when I decided to have a lie-in and woke up at 9 or 10, I felt great disappointment at seeing that the morning was already over.

All in all, the 6AM Writing Challenge made me realise that having a daily writing practice requires some sacrifice (in my case – sleep) and some discomforts (the dark and the cold). It also showed me the beauty of greeting the sunrise and of dedicating the first hours of my day to an activity I enjoy. In the end, I think I quite enjoy being a lark…

girl running field arms stretching sky sunrise

6AM Writing Challenge – Week Two

17 Nov

“She’s just waking up, so I’ll get her to call you back.”
“Just waking up?! But it’s already 10AM!”

I am half way through the 6AM Writing Challenge and the past week has really been just that – a challenge. There were many things going on in my personal and professional lives, which made the early mornings extremely difficult. On one particularly busy day, I was awake for twenty hours, and allowed myself to miss the next morning’s early rise for health’s sake.

I must admit that overall I have missed five days of my challenge, three of which were due to fatigue and the other two due to laziness. Although waking up at 6AM has really made a positive change to my life, I often wake up thinking “Why am I awake at 6AM?!”. In those first moments, when I get out of my warm bed and into the cold dark kitchen, I often laugh at the “crazy” challenge I set myself.

However, after breakfast, a sweet coffee and an hour of writing, I feel very satisfied to have started the day so early and in such a way. It’s amazing just how much time I gain by waking up at 6AM.  I have the time to enjoy my mornings rather than rushing through them. I have the time to savour my coffee, to look at the morning sky and to listen to the birds waking. I have the time to reflect upon the day to come and the days passed, and to finish a few things around the house before leaving for work. I have the time to prepare my bag, to choose my clothes and to put on my make-up carefully. I have the time to take my time.

In addition, during the day, I do not worry about setting aside a time for writing or about having enough time to write in the evening. This gives me a peace of mind and allows me to dedicate my evenings to other, usually home and family, activities.

So, despite my daily doubts about the usefulness of the 6AM Writing Challenge, I have been feeling more satisfied in the past two weeks, because I write every day and my writing time does not interfere with any other activities. However, I will need to plan one or two days off a week, to catch up on sleep!

120 Days of Doing What I Love

8 Sep

This is the 120th day of the 120-Day “Do What You Love” Challenge, in which I have written (almost) every day for the past four months.

I feel as if I should be celebrating or congratulating myself, but completing the Challenge has not aroused any extreme emotions in me. I guess this is for the simple reason that writing every day has come very naturally to me.

I had many fears when I started the Challenge:

I was scared that, were I to ‘force’ myself to do my loved activity every day, I would actually cease to love it.

I was also scared that I wouldn’t have the will-power to make time for writing.

Like all creative people, I was scared of discovering that I am rubbish at what I do.

And, I was scared of being so scared of all of these things, that my fear would block me from writing.

Now, four months later, I laugh at these fears and thank God that I decided to overcome them.

I never “forced” myself to write every day – I encouraged myself to do it and really enjoyed every moment that I put aside for writing. I never “forced” myself to write anything in particular, either. Every time I sat down to write, I would let my fantasy, my ideas and my emotions express themselves as they wished. Seeing as I always wrote what I enjoyed, I always enjoyed writing it!

I realised that I didn’t necessarily need to put aside an hour for writing every day – even fifteen minutes is enough. In fifteen minutes, I can write a poem, my impressions of the day and even a very short story!

Seeing as I was writing for myself and using each day as an experiment, I never judged my writing to be good or bad. Every new creation was a surprise and a progress.

Very soon into the Challenge, I realised that I enjoy writing so much that my fears fall away as my joy increases.

writing

Pollyanna Darling, founder of the 120-day “Do What You Love Challenge”, said that we often feel guilty about doing what we love, because doing what we love has no goal apart from enjoying ourselves and feeling happy. This was my case, but paradoxically, after four months of doing what I love every day, it is precisely because of this enjoyment and happiness that I continue to write!

I would like to thank Pollyanna Darling for the wonderful idea of the 120 Day “Do What You Love” Challenge. I thank her for encouraging her readers to take part. I thank her for the happiness that writing every day has brought into my life. I thank her for the amazing writing habit that I have now acquired. I thank her for the release of my fears. And, most importantly, I thank her for having taken the step to do what she loves and for having showed us the way.

I am sure that what started as a challenge will continue as a way of life. I wish for others to give the 120-Day “Do What You Love” Challenge a go to discover for themselves.

What you love is what you’re gifted at. To be completely happy, to live a completely fulfilled life, you have to do what you love.
  ~Barbara Sher 

Tattoo drawing on palms hands

Related posts:

120-Day “Do What You Love” Challenge

Do What You Love – One Month In

60 Days of Doing What I Love

Three Months of Doing What I Love

The 117th Day

My Manicure Taught me a Lesson

1 Nov

When we’ve spent a lot of energy, time and money to make something happen, we are often reluctant to let it go, even when we realise that we are not happy in this new situation.

This evening, I decided to set aside some time to give myself a manicure. I lit a scented candle in the bedroom, put on my favourite relaxation music and set up everything I needed to pamper my nails. I was happy to be giving myself an Filing Nailsopportunity to look after myself, and was looking forward to having beautiful nails at the end of the evening. I filed, buffered and polished my nails, and was feeling very relaxed and serene. However, when it came to applying the French-manicure polish given to me by a friend, even my aromatherapy candle couldn’t stop frustration boiling in my chest. I spent fourty minutes applying the nail polish, to realise at the end that there was a fault with the brushes – they were out of shape and were creating lumpy and striped paint. I was disappointed and angry; I expected pretty nails, but ended up having to remove all of the nail polish!

After the failure of the French-manicure set, I decided to paint my nails peach, with a polish I’d bought in the summer. While waiting for the polish to dry, I lay on the bed looking at my nails. “How ugly”, I thought, suddenly. To my surprise, I found the nail polish to be plain, bland and boring. It made my hands look short and stumpy, instead of being a subtle charming accessory.

“I’ve spent the whole evening trying to make my nails look pretty”, I thought. “It would defeat the point to take the polish off”. I turned my hands to look at them from different angles; I brought them closer to my eyes, then took them further away. I was trying to convince myself that they were fine, that they would do, that after all the time and effort that I spent, I couldn’t allow myself to be unhappy with them.

I stared at my nails, but felt embarrassed rather than pleased.

“Why keep it if it doesn’t serve me?”, I thought and jumped up to remove the nail polish. I felt a sort of relief at not having to put up with something that didn’t fulfil me. “It’s better to have nothing than to be unhappy with what I have”, I thought.

I didn’t end up with what I had originally wanted or expected at the beginning of the evening, but the lesson that I learnt was worth more than two perfectly manicured hands. I realised that there are things in other parts of my life that I am reluctant to let go of or to change. I spent energy, time and money to bring these things into my life and feel as if I should be happy and satisfied now that I have them. But isn’t life like nature? We all have our seasons; without autumn and winter there would be no spring and summer. Without abandonment and emptiness, there would be no rebirth and abundance.

This week, I will make a conscious effort to recognise the things to which I am holding on, yet which no longer serve me, fulfil me or bring me joy.