Saturday, 29 October 2016

Magnify Strengths

...Not weaknesses.

So often these posts begin with the words “We live in a world that...”, and this one is no exception to that rule.

We live in a world that tears people down. The goodness in people is diminished in favour of tearing them down for what others see to be negative aspects. In a world where distressing news stories and violence are broadcast 24/7, it's hardly surprising that many people react to everything, including the people around them, with negativity.

Slowly things are beginning to change. More and more people are realising that a world where negativity is used as a currency to climb imaginary ladders is unsustainable. There are communities springing up on social media to help promote positive messages and thought patterns. Websites are dedicated to reporting the happier and lighter side of the news.

I go through a lot of it. As well as this blog (which I try to keep as positive as possible), I also run another site. The other site attracts a lot of users and, as such, a lot of different personalities. Our rules include what is expected of users, including the need to be nice to one another (we use the famous House of Blues “Be Nice or Leave” quote). Most of the time everyone gets on just fine and it's generally a happy place that we've lovingly nicknamed “Like a spa. Except with writing”. When we took it over in 2014 our aim was to turn it in to an online ocean of calm where people could come to chat and create. Thankfully, 99% of the time, that's exactly what it is.

Sadly, there are times when ugliness rears its head. It can be in the form of someone reacting badly to another user's comments or to a request from the admins. Often they speak in a way that's designed to make the recipient feel bad. It's surprising how black words on a white background can make you feel and the awful feeling of the messages can be overwhelming. I've been called everything from a whore to being on a par with North Korea and it's in those moments when my weaknesses, instead of my strengths, are being magnified.

Being in the midst of that can be distressing and I admit that, at times, I've handled things in a way that's probably inappropriate such is the feeling of negativity that I'm receiving from the other end. Dealing with how I'm feeling can be hard and, more often than not, I take a few days out to heal myself. Thankfully I'm surrounded by a group of very loving people who remind me that there's always light, even on the darkest of days.

It's time to stamp out the constant petty criticisms. There's so many ways to make the world a better, happier place. If someone does something you like, say something. Send an email or write a note to a friend. Praise the people around you. Make them laugh and lift them up. Find inspirational communities, both on and off-line. Spend less time on social media and more doing the things you love. Make yourself, and everyone you're with, happy. Live life to the fullest and do it with a smile on your face!

Saturday, 15 October 2016

Finding Magic

It's been an interesting few weeks here. The first round of interviews for the fan book have wrapped up and I'm now slowly transcribing them.

Secondly, I got to spend some time away from home and, importantly, away from the computer. Once upon a time, I used to live in the Lake District but rejected it in favour of returning to my town in the heart of the country. Home is centrally located with easy access to major airports and cities.

However, I'd forgotten just how beautiful the rolling hills and flowing rivers of the Lakes can be, especially when you're out in the wilds. There's magic in the hills and mountains. You can feel it trickling through the streams and crashing from the waterfalls. It twinkles among the trees and you can almost see the fairies and souls from the past watching you. There's a feeling that something is calling to you, pleading with you to stay a moment longer among the rolling fells.

Inspiration lurks around every corner whether it's a 600 year old pub, a cascade of rocks, or the drop of a waterfall. It's hidden in crisp scent of fresh grass and moving water curls around you. It's beneath your feet and in the clear, night sky above you.

When I booked that break back in January I didn't realise that, come September, I'd need to get away from everything and be in a place where there was no phone signal. I had no idea what 2016 would hold for me and that by the year's ninth month, I'd need to rest. So far, it's been an amazing year, one filled with new friendships and paths I never thought that I'd take. However, it's taken its toll on me far more than I thought it would and even though my body has grown stronger since 2015, I still need to remember to take time out and look after myself. Because none of us are invincible. All of us need to rest and recuperate.

Getting away from it all, no matter how long it's for, can be an amazing form of therapy. A break from the norm to rest our weary brains and bodies can be just what we need. We all need time to rest and refresh and to see where life is going to take us. Whether it's trekking through the wilds or riding the at a concert, that brief respite from the crush of reality can be all we need to reconnect with ourselves. So buy those concert tickets and take that trip as it may be just the tonic that you needed to find your mojo again.

Have a great day and happy travels, wherever they may take you!