5 Share Friday – 20 April 2018

1. Quote I’ve been pondering this week ”A ship is safe in harbour, but that’s not what ships are for.”John A. Shedd 

2. Best purchase this weekNative union key cable. I’ve tended to forget my iPhone charge cable when I travel so I’ve invested in this and it’s amazing! They do a version for most phone connectors. It’s simply brilliant and I’ll never have to worry about a phone charger again.

3. My son Mack has started oil pulling each day and I’ve started too. We use coconut oil as it seems to be the healthiest option with no down sides if done correctly. Why do oil pulling? The benefits are amazing! We’re doing it to reduce bacteria and plaque build up, it also gives fresh breath. If you’re going to do it then please research and practice, as doing it incorrectly can negate the benefits.

4. I keep my phone away from where I sleep, both at home and when travelling. It’s becoming more difficult to do when travelling however, as many hotels have ceased to supply alarm clocks (as everyone has phones..). So I purchased this little beauty. It’s tiny, silent (no ticking) and has a loud alarm in case you wear ear plugs to drown out air con and other noise. I won’t be travelling without it again.

5. A friend shared the Ecosia search engine with me this week. The profit they make from searches is used to plant trees. I’ve been using it for a few days and so far haven’t needed Google at all. There’s even an app for iOS and Android, check it out and plant trees while searching..

I hope you have a great weekend and if you’re in Europe enjoy the April sun!

Sleeping like a baby…

People who say they sleep like a baby usually don’t have one.” ~ Leo J. Burke

I’ve always been a light sleeper and so it came as a shock to the system when we chose to have a family bed after becoming parents. We chose co-sleeping as it felt right for us and were inspired to do so by some friends as well as studies and writings on the continuum concept.

So 5 years ago I began my journey of learning to sleep next to a feeding baby that turned into a (sometimes) kicking toddler. The guest room saw me visiting several times each week during that transition and it took over 18 months for me to master going back to sleep after waking. Our guest room is still seeing me in the early hours on nights before my early start commute, as we’re currently in repeat mode with our newest addition. I have glowing admiration for my wife Mandie, I’m astounded at how she keeps going some days (I’m nowhere near as strong and functional a parent on little sleep).

What I’ve recently realised is there are always other reasons behind not going back to sleep, which is my most common issue. Being woken up by babies and children is common for all parents, it’s the being unable to fall back to sleep that’s not as common, so why is this?

It seems among the myriad of reasons for types of insomnia the most common are our thoughts. If we have things going on in our lives that we think of often, then it’s likely we’ll be waking up and finding it hard to resume sleeping.

Stress seems to be one of the most common factors. Millions of people suffer from insomnia due to stress, many don’t even realise they are stressed as it comes in many different forms. I don’t feel stressed, though realise when our first son was born I’d recently started a new job in London that came with a commute, and we’d also bought a house, turning our lives somewhat upside down for a while.

Late last year I actually did it all again, moving jobs with a commute (even longer this time) and right now we’re in the middle of selling our home and moving to Denmark, perhaps this plays a part in my current waking at night? I feel ok and in control so who knows?

Outside of the obvious I’ve found a few other reasons people wake at night / earlier than usual, and then find it difficult resuming sleep, here are 3 that stand out.

So it turns out the answer to a good nights sleep is becoming a non coffee drinking hermit who wears socks to bed. Not as practical a solution as I’d hoped.

All in, whatever sleep I achieve on any given night, I’m super grateful for it. There are many people who don’t have a comfortable bed or a roof over their heads and I try to remember this fact as often as I can.

5 share Friday – 13 April 2018

1. Quote I’m pondering this week “Sometimes your only available transportation is a leap of faith.”Margaret Shepherd

2. App I’ve been using – 1Blocker on my iPhone. It’s an amazing content blocker and now on all my Apple devices. I use the paid version I’m so impressed. If you have an Android device there’s an alternative called Ghostery which receives great reviews.

3. Change the world – Only 15 days to world wide Pay it Forward Day. April 28th sees this initiative hoping to make a difference by creating a huge ripple of kindness. Visit the website and see a list of things you can do to help change the world that day.

4. I’ve been enjoying the latest issue of Flow magazine. A magazine celebrating creativity, imperfection and life’s little pleasures. It’s an inspiring read covering topics such as freedom, love and the simple life. Good news is you can subscribe from anywhere in the world.

5. Happiness – If you saw my post here you’ll know I’m moving to Denmark in June. Denmark is the 3rd happiest country in the world (US is ranked 18th and UK 19th). As such, I’ve been reading this year’s World Happiness report, it’s a fascinating read and you can find it here: http://worldhappiness.report/ed/2018/

Have a great weekend!

Life can be really simple, when you make it that way

As I write this I’m sat next to a window on a train whizzing through the British countryside. The sun is shining its warm rays on my face and I’m remembering life doesn’t always go to plan, and when that happens making the best of what we’re given leads to greatness. I’m thinking this as my life isn’t quite going the way I expected right now.

I was lucky to have terrific friends as a kid (I’m grateful I’m still friends with many of them). At that time this meant the trials and disasters of my childhood were regularly softened, and looking back it turns out I needed them more than they needed me.

Life is about choice. Who you choose to devote time with, what you do from minute to minute and how you react to the choices you make. I chose my friends back then and luckily they chose me too.

“The strong bond of friendship is not always a balanced equation; friendship is not always about giving and taking in equal shares. Instead, friendship is grounded in a feeling that you know exactly who will be there for you when you need something, no matter what or when.” Simon Sinek

Life for me began to change as a teenager, when I started to crave solitude. I began to look at Clint Eastwood characters and Batman as role models. These characters didn’t need others to live a life, they didn’t need anything.

So my life of not needing began. I wanted, I just made sure I didn’t need. Needing meant when something wasn’t there I’d be in trouble or feel pain, I didn’t want that.

This wasn’t restricted to just things, it covered people too. I made sure I didn’t need people, I wanted them instead. If I needed them and they left, pain would set in. I’m still like this in many ways and it’s not something I’ve shared often as when I have, people have taken offence. For me, wanting a person in my life is far more valuable and rewarding than needing them.

Thankfully the people I spend time with prevent me from going it alone to the extreme. There are many people I want in my life and I’m lucky enough for them to want me in theirs. Sometimes I think if it weren’t for these people I’d be in some home made hut on a remote island off the Pacific. Eating ants and berries Bear Grylls style.

“Wealth consists not in having great possessions, but in having few wants”Epictetus, Stoic philosopher

I’m a simple person at heart, a person who doesn’t do complicated well, i.e. my preference is for an uncomplicated life. The problem I’m now facing is that life for me is more complicated than ever, so I’ve started to look at why.

Since 2015 I’d been living the life of an essentialist, that is understanding I could have anything, just not everything. A life of less, but better. This ties in with not needing but choosing to want instead (and limiting that want).

I’d learned about essentialism after reading the book by Greg McKeown. From the food I ate, to the people I spent time with and the media I digested, I started to choose more carefully, making sure to eliminate the non essential. As I was doing this I noticed I was creating a calm and happiness in my life I’d never experienced before, it was possibly the most mindful and stress free time I’d ever had.

“Possession isn’t nine-tenths of the law. It’s nine-tenths of the problem”John Lennon

Then the issue of predictability appeared. My life had become predictable, comfortable and lacking adventure.

So when the opportunity to turn everything upside appeared I took it. I moved jobs towards the end of last year and everything changed, almost overnight.

It’s not just the long commute or the culture shock of going from a large organisation to a much smaller one. It’s that everything was suddenly different and that difference was like night and day. I started to need things, like the trains running on time, tribal information from others at work and feelings of accomplishment. Things I hadn’t felt the need for or relied upon in a long time.

I began to crave the company of others, people I wouldn’t normally spend time with and it felt good, it still does.

So life is difficult and it’s supposed to be, an easy life is not a fulfilling life.

“The best things in life are often waiting for you at the exit ramp of your comfort zone.”Karen Salmansohn

So when another opportunity recently appeared, one that would change life dramatically again, my wife and I decided to go for it. We’d agreed that life for us must include adventure, as well as the passing on of adventure to our children.

I’d also figured out I was beginning to need and that’s not something I’m totally comfortable with. I’m now actively working on not relying on, or needing things. I am heading back to freedom.

So, we’re off to Denmark in June, relocating our lives with the Danes, working for Unity in the capital Copenhagen. I’m not entirely sure where this will lead, though it does keep me on track for being out of my comfort zone. It also gets me to a place where I can experience more than life has to offer from the usual suburban lifestyle.

“Life begins at the end of your comfort zone” Aubrey Marcus