Catriona Futter – Equip For Life Coaching Becoming your best self and living life to the full – 07713 974138

Category Archives: The Power Of Thankfulness

Being thankful is a powerful way to shift your focus back on to what really matters, and to communicate that to those who really matter.

What do you see when you stop to look?

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  One of our favourite games at this time of year is counting Christmas trees in windows  whilst  we are out walking. There are rules to this game of course – the tree has to be lit  (unlit ones don’t count), and it has to be decorated (lights on outside trees also don’t  count). This game can make what is often a very familiar and routine walk along very-often-  trod streets more fun. And it was on a walk home with younger daughter whilst playing this  game (we reached 52 trees in about 10 streets, some way off in the distance, or up in a  third floor window) that it was observed that it is amazing what you notice when you really  stop and look. Often we chunter through life at full pelt, especially in the lead up to    Christmas, without really stopping to notice what is around us – in our homes, in our  communities, in our families, in our relationships. But when you stop to look, it is amazing  what you see – characteristics and abilities in friends or family that are normally taken for  granted; ways we choose to communicate unhelpfully with each other that we don’t always  notice or that are so ingrained we fail to spot them; little acts of kindness we can do along  the way that we might otherwise miss the opportunity to do. So as we approach Christmas  and all that the New Year will bring, why not stop choose to stop and look at all that is going on around you, and notice what normally passes you by. And be thankful for what is good, and encourage where there is a chance. And have fun counting trees!

Being thankful for Now

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So it occurs to me after a week of being especially aware of the power and importance of thankfulness, and a wonderful Thanksgiving meal, that this is a great way bring one’s focus back to the present and live in the Now. Learning to enjoy The Now Thing and not always be rushing headlong into The Next Thing is always going to be a tricky challenge as we live our lives at full pelt with all the wonders of 24 hour technology, instant this and instant that pressing for our attention whilst we simultaneously juggle what is actually important to us – family, friends, work commitments, time to recharge our own batteries. But this week I have been much more intentional and deliberate about being thankful throughout the day, for big things and little things. It takes time, discipline and practice, all things that run the risk of being less familiar in our instant world but which are unavoidable and inescapable truths none the less. But it is also fun – stopping in the middle of something to enjoy whatever it is, and then appreciate it, verbally or otherwise, especially when there is someone else involved and you thank them right there and then for them and their role in your life. It really does slow the moment, restore focus and allow just a wee breather in the middle of life. None of this is new of course, none of these are original thoughts, and awareness of the benefits of being thankful are well documented. That said, if you are like me, the odd reminder does not go amiss. What are you thankful for today? How many times can you express thanks in a day?

A good day to be Thankful

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Happy Thanksgiving! I think this is a tremendous tradition that we Brits generally miss out on – I like the idea of having a specific day on which we take time to remember and acknowledge all that enriches our lives and for which we are grateful. Our family are particularly delighted that we have an American friend who chooses to share their family Thanksgiving meal and thankful lives with us, and we give thanks for them because we love them and we love their food! So today I simply want to give you three challenges – 

  • say thank you to a work colleague (or someone you come into regular contact with in a work context, paid or unpaid) for something about them and how they do their job that you like
  • say thank you to a nearest-and-dearest for some aspect of who they are (NOT what they do) that you love and cherish
  • say thank you to a friend for enriching your life, and what it is about them that does this.

And I’d love to hear back about your experience –  Thank you!

Oh, and the photo – my husband’s homemade bread, for which I am daily thankful!

Want some more tips and ideas about how to value you those around you and change your perspective through being thankful? Have a look here at all you can receive free when you sign up for more!

Twenty years of I do

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Twenty years ago this week, I walked down the aisle to say “I do”. It was the start of a journey that, looking back, neither of us were prepared or equipped for. Twenty years of incredible highs, moments of blissful in-loveness, growing and sharing our lives, two amazing children. But also twenty years with some very low lows, deep valleys out of which I thought we might not be able to climb. Here we are, twenty years on, and both very different people. And we have changed and become who we are now because of twenty years of living, working, sharing, laughing, crying, celebrating, greiving together. Twenty years of looking below the surface of what is going on, not prepared to settle for mediochre, on-the-surface living, but striving to get to the root and pull it out. Twenty years of learning slowly how to put down healthy, strong, loving roots. Choosing to say I” do” when sometimes “I don’t” was how we felt. We are so grateful to faithful friends and family who have supported and encouraged us along the way, who have stuck with us as we have stuck with each other. And here we are, twenty years on, excited about the next twenty – excited about putting into practise all that we have learned about ourselves and each other thus far, about cherishing each other more, about wanting to be the best versions of ourselves for each other, and for those with whom we share our lives. And who knows what the next twenty years will bring – but I am content with enjoying today, now, this day. That is enough. 

An all-year-round holiday mentality?

A relaxing holiday has furnished me with time to stop, be still and enjoy the moment (eurgh, I sound like an advert for something). It has enabled me to get off the mad gerbil wheel of The Next Thing and take a breather, to enjoy The Now Thing. A very wise person once said “Do not worry about tomorrow for tomorrow will worry about itself” (Jesus, in Matthew chapter 6) – but often we choose to live our lives like this, so focussed on what is happening next, or what we need to do/organise/plan/finish next that we miss the beauty of the little moments happening now, right at this moment, in the present. Maybe it’s just me, but I suspect not. Practicing being present in the moment is another spiritual discipline that takes, well, just that, practice. But the rewards can be huge – living in and celebrating the moment, no matter how seemingly insignificant, and being thankful for that moment. Living the full life now and not letting it pass us by because of the need to get to the next thing. A holiday mentality all year round? Is that possible? I don’t know, but it’s worth a try.

Celebrating others

This has been a week of connecting with precious friends, lovely folk who have known me years and years, have seen me change and become more comfortable in my own skin, and who have remained faithful friends throughout that (often prickly and difficult) process. Friends who really listen. Friends who do get inside my skin and walk around (not literally, or all at the same time you realise – that would be truly revolting). Friends who challenge me, encourage me, laugh and cry with me, don’t let me get away with being stubborn or trapped in my own head for too long. Friends who encourage me to be my best self. And friends who, yup, you guessed it, allow me to see my own world with fresh perspective. Our lives are so enriched by friends like this, who bring joy and depth to our world. And how much do we need to be this kind of friend to those in our lives who would call us friends. How often do we stop to appreciate them, tell them we love them (how un-Scottish), and affirm them for the role they play in our lives? How often do we stop and say, d’you know what, I wouldn’t be who or where I am now if it wasn’t for you? Try it – it’s fun! 

Silently listening or listening to silence?

Stop. Listen. What can you hear? Background noise, white noise, traffic, music, work noises, the cat scrabbling around on the floor (oh, that’s just me – she’s only got three legs, so makes an odd noise when she walks). So many noises competing for space in our heads, but how often do we actually stop and listen. Really listen. How often do we stop and take in the silence, so precious in our noise-packed-instant-world. And appreciate it, appreciate the moment before rushing on to the next thing. And how often do we stop and really listen to what someone is saying to us – to what is going on under the surface, to what is being communicated but not said, before we respond, and in so doing make the conversation more about them than us .

10 Things I Like About You

Perspective. One of my favourite words (see previous posts like The Mona Lisa trick and Try something unpredictable). How often is it the case with our nearest and dearest, those who know us best or we are at our most familiar with, that we sometimes get stuck in negative cycles of behaviour or words, particularly when discussing or revisiting something important….I say something, you react negatively, you say something back that puts me on the defensive, I react badly and say something destructive and whooosh, off we go again, round and round and we’re stuck inside a washing machine of negativity, battered, bruised, sometimes managing to surface for air but generally left feeling like we are drowning a wee bit. And like being in a washing machine, it’s hard to get out from the inside, we just keep going round and round. We need a helping hand in the form of some Fresh Perspective. Try my new game called Ten things I Like About You. The rules are very easy – instead of the usual game of ten rounds with negativity, we take turns to list ten things we like about each other, but also ten things we like about ourselves (oooh, that can be a bit tricky too). It seems to stop the normal negative pattern mid-cycle and allow a bit of breathing space to reflect, re-group and re-focus on what is good, likeable, positive, and dare I say, loveable, about each other.   

To encourage takes courage

This past week has brought several unexpected encouragements from often unexpected quarters or at unexpected times. None of them were sought, they just popped out at me in passing, as if to say – hey, you’re doing OK and I love who you are becoming. Equally, I have had the opportunity to encourage or have affirming conversations with several people, and it is just such fun and so exciting. Often, the opportunity passes me by and I miss it, but crucially on these occasions, I opened my mouth and spoke out words of love, support, affirmation before I chickened out for fear of looking silly or being too unScottish and over-emotional. And that is why encourage has courage at the centre; sometimes we have to overcome our natural inhibitions or fears to tell someone we love them, or that they are beautiful, or that they are persevering with grace and integrity despite the hardship of their circumstance. To listen to someone, hear their heart and then affirm and encourage them for who they are is to give a precious gift – to whom can you give it this week?

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