Let’s HYGGE.. [hoo-ga] [hue-gah]?!

I’ve just come back from Denmark. Or the Country of Candles. And it’s not even dark all the time, as you may think if watching ‘Borgen’, ‘The Killing’ and so on. Well, candles bring HYGGE. That feeling of hominess, caring, enjoying the moment with close ones (most often accompanied by cake and coffee…).

Did you know Danes burn more than 6 kg candles a year? That’s twice as much as the runner-up. And that 28% of Danes light candles EVERY day? Source: The Happiness Research Institute, Copenhagen (yep… it exists?!!).

A mentor of mine once told how he and his wife have candle light dinners EVERY night. Because well, it only takes lighting a candle on the table.

And as I stayed with a girlfriend I hadn’t seen for 30 years, she started the morning by lighting a candle in our rooms. How is that for feeling welcome and appreciated – me and each family member, enjoying this every morning?

So instead of reading the full book about HYGGE, what about you skip straight to lighting a candle tonight for dinner? If you feel on a roll, bring out a board game as well…?!!

Hygge is a about creating happy, calm and safe pockets for us all – alone and with others. Wonder whether that in any way would be linked to overall life satisfaction? Well, whether it is or it isn’t, let’s hygge – starting with lighting a candle tonight.

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Step away….. I say: step AWAY!!

How come we believe we know best? That things will be quicker/better/more efficient if WE do it all? Step away….. I say: step away.

Airport. Smart Gates. Mother (with the best of intentions for the kids, herself and the greater good?!) running a military drill of pushing one passport at a time through the slot, ushering one kid at a time through. I forgot to see if she also did it for her husband, which still bugs me..

That’s over-functioning. We all do it. Taking away the opportunity for someone else to do it THEIR way. It may have been the BEST part of the trip for those kids, sliding the passport into the machine themselves, stepping onto the marked feet on the floor. Not rocket science. No commands needed. Empowerment, really. They would have figured it out by watching the ones in front of them in the queue. Like they’ve learned everything else. Not from what others say, but what people around them DO.

So where are YOU over-functioning? With staff, kids, partner, parents, friends, pets, gardening, housework….. Which commands and controls are retirement worthy?

Step away…… I say: step away. Happy stepping.

 

Beauty and the Beast – which one to choose??

The story is simple. Love conquers all and looks behind the mask. So many other stories and movies tell stories like this, how come this one smashed opening records earlier this year?

I believe Belle’s unshakeable belief in the good and her honest love, from the heart, no games, is what we all hunger for. Along the way the two of them realise the interests they have in common. And Beast’s anger and selfishness: we wouldn’t stay around for long, but she sees something more – and he feels the change coming within him.

Most of all, it allows us to feel the BIG feelings. True love. Fear. Courage. Big emotions that we don’t allow ourselves that often. And that our mundane everyday life doesn’t require.

So are you choosing Beauty or the Beast this week? Are you going to chase your dreams, big or small, or is it time to face your fears and allow some of the inner demons a moment in the sun? The two go well together.

Being

On a bench in a park. Under a tree in your garden. Feet deep in the sand on the beach. Wherever you choose.  To lower your heart rate, to tune into the frequency of the bench, the tree, the ground.

Letting go of the past just for a minute.  Leaving the future ashore for a bit. Pressing pause on the play list of things to do. Letting the now seep in. Listening to the birds. A dog barking. The wind in the trees. Being.

Keep turning up!

When you feel like quitting. When it all gets too hard. When others think you shouldn’t keep going. DON’T quit. Instead keep turning up.

It’s not always the smartest, luckiest or richest who end up being the happy ones, the ones living the life they truly want. It can be. But the most important is: we ALL can be that person. And the biggest difference is whether you keep turning up.

A key question from John Assaraf (known by some of you from The Secret) that helps you is: Are you interested, or are you committed? To achieve your goals and dreams. So what is that “thing” you’re working on at the moment? Is it creating a loving, kind family being the best human being you can possibly be? Is it finishing the studying you’ve been doing for a while? Is it getting that room cleaned up? Is it starting to look after yourself and your health by exercising? Fill in YOUR version.

Now answer: are your interested or committed to achieving this?

If you’re interested, you’ll do what’s convenient. And let the excuses hold you back. If you’re committed, you will do whatever it takes to overcome any setbacks, issues and events around you. Because they WILL pop up. It won’t just be smooth sailing. Others may not agree with how you choose to spend your time and focus.

So, when you have something that’s important to you, keep going. Keep turning up. Keep doing little steps all the time to become the person you want to become, the person you need to be to achieve it.

Success: sometimes it’s NOT getting what you want. It’s how you deal with it. Deal with all emotions that life sends your way with grace. And keep turning up. Feeling that you’ve made the effort, had a go. Taken one step towards that goal.

So what does it look like when you keep turning up? Make it into a song you love. Have a crazy dance around the kitchen while you do the dishes. Put on some funky music. You have to turn up anyway, so way not be crazy and make it worthwhile? Have fun turning up this week!

Jeg holder af hverdagen

Google translate it – Danish origin. About loving everyday life. It’s what we’ve got most of. These weeks stacks of FB pictures are popping up from holiday destinations around Europe: family at dinner in another country, family activities together, time to relax and so on.

The emotions are happy, content, relaxed, loving, joyful. Very real, and very heartfelt. Here’s my message: how can you re-create these emotions around the Monday night dinner table? Making sure to do things together on a Wednesday? Taking time out to relax on a Thursday?

Most people spend more time planning for their next holiday than creating the everyday life they want. What is your ideal, average day? The day that you would live again and again, experiencing the emotions you want: content, joy, relaxation, love…

What most people are not aware of, is that you CAN create your ideal, average day. By making a conscious decision today (yes! today – take 30 min out to write down your ideal day). Because as you check what really would be your ideal (not your family’s or your friends’ – but YOUR ideal), and you write it down, you can start making little 5% adjustments in your everyday life, to have MORE of those moments, experiencing exactly the feeling you want.

Where would you live? What would your house look like? And be honest with yourself: you may prefer a small, cosy, easy-to-keep place – why then aim for a big place with hours of maintenance?? What would you have for breakfast? What’s the view? What’s the conversation? What does the mundane stuff look like (because it will always be there)? Who are your friends?

There are more questions in the Ideal Average Day exercise we do as part of the Good Hearts United program – but you get the gist.

So cherish the holidays and weekends away. Notice the kind of experiences that make you happy and content. And then consciously look for how you can create little moments of exactly THAT feeling in your everyday life.

Enjoy hverdagen. It’s worth it. You’re worth it…..

Are you a giver or a getter??

All people pleasers will feel really good while thinking GIVER. Maybe stop reading now or embrace yourself for what’s coming!!?!

Giving is a beautiful thing, but the key is the WAY we give. Is it with slight bitterness, martyrdom or defeat (no-one else is gonna do it…). What if it wasn’t about giving things or “services” (doing all the mundane stuff for others), what if the best thing we can give is significance?

And here comes the crucial question: are you a giver or a getter of significance?? Significance as in making us feel seen, that we matter, that it makes a difference we’re here.

So do you GIVE others significance: your presence in that moment, true interest in whatever they are interested in, listening without prejudice or your map of right and wrong superimposed on top, asking questions to understand more? Or are you more about GETTING significance?

“See how nothing would get done here without me”, topping others’ stories with one you have that’s even worse/bigger/better… The full-blown significance-getters are the drama kings and queens of this world – but most of us do it really well too in many situations, without even being aware of it.

So start your radar scanning your own ratio of getting and giving significance this coming week. And notice how great it feels when you’re really into someone else and what they’re telling, doing or even better BEING. The silent acceptance of who we’re being can be one of the strongest. That’s why pottering about in the garden with a grandparent can be so lovely – no questions, just being. It can be as simple as a smile to someone you’re passing – acknowledging their presence.

My parents are absolutely amazing. I’ve often said to teams: everyone should spend a week with my parents. I only today have the words to describe it, but they are true givers of significance. When you are with them, they are truly interested in you, they listen with open minds (most of the time, not when you tell you’re moving to the other side of the world, including kidnapping the grandkids… well, we’re all human!). They ask questions to understand where you’re coming from or why it’s important to you, and you sense their good hearts for everyone, no matter the normal external gauges of status or social acceptance. They feel good in their own skin – and therefore have the space for others.

So with three cheers to them, let’s all do our best this week to explore GIVING significance.