Inspiration in the shape of a card

If you´ve been reading this blog for a while, by now you will have probably noticed that I have a thing for inspirational quotes and phrases. I have gathered many of them over the years, in different formats: in the old times, I used to cut out newspaper and magazine clippings and keep them in a folder; nowadays I mostly take pictures of them, or copy them from the internet and paste them in a notepad in my computer or phone.

Inspiration can show up anywhere: on a blackboard at a shop or café, in a fridge magnet, in an advertisement… Even at the dentist´s office, or in a biology book from school (true story, I was so sad to lose that book).

Today I bring you four phrases in card format that I have at home (from Quotable Cards), which resonate a lot with me at this moment of my life, I hope they get to inspire you as well:

«Life isn´t about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself. (Unknown).»

– Oh, so I can create myself then? I can decide what to do with my life? That´s cool! But... Where do I start?

«Go confidently in the direction of your dreams! Live the life you´ve imagined. – Thoreau».

– Ahhh, walking towards my dreams, that sounds lovely. Living the life that I want, at last. But wait, to achieve that, one has to move, right? And I´m sooo comfy here...

«Life begins at the end of your comfort zone. – Neale Donald Walsch.»

– Ufff, getting out of my comfort zone, that´s something else. Of course, I want to achieve my dream, but, what if it goes wrong? What if I make a mistake? What if I look like a fool? I don´t like being in a situation I can´t control... What do I do now?

«Slow down, calm down, don´t worry, don´t hurry, trust the process. – Alexandra Stoddard.»

– Ohhh, so this is part of a process then? That explains everything 🙂. To be honest, this comfort zone where I am is very comfy (as the name suggests), but it´s also a bit boring; my dream is beyond here. And every time I dare to try something new, to put a foot outside, I feel a bit lost, insecure, even scared... But I already know that if I keep going, whatever the result, for sure I will learn something, and my comfort zone will become a little bit bigger, and that will get me another bit closer to my dream.

Reminder

Quite often it happens that, without realizing it, we set too high standards for ourselves, and then we self criticize for not reaching those standards… We let our personal saboteur (that little mental voice that keeps annoying us non-stop) take control and beat us up, not recognizing our true value. And that way, we become our own worst enemy.

For those moments, I bring you this reminder from my upstairs corridor:

Always remember, you are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, smarter than you think, & twice as beautiful as you´d ever imagined.

What goes through your head as you read this line? Do you believe it? What else do you need in order to believe it? If you were reading it out loud to your friend and they didn´t believe it, what would you say to them?

What if you could be your own best friend?

Go raibh mile maith agat

It was Saint Patrick´s day earlier this week, and all around the world there were celebrations of everything to do with Ireland and the Irish, including their very own language: Irish (or Gaelic).

I used to think that I was good at languages, but that was before I moved to Ireland and bumped into Irish… I find it really interesting as a language, but also very complicated to learn; it took me years to learn how to say something as simple as “thanks”.

Although, in fairness, saying thanks in Irish is not as straightforward as saying it in Spanish or English…

This mug was a birthday present (thanks Irene!), it literally says “a thousand thanks”. It´s one of the few things I do know how to say in Irish, together with the colours, counting from one to ten, and some of the most popular names for boys and girls, which I learned by meeting people whose names I had no idea how to pronounce 😊

Luckily, you don´t have to speak Irish in order to live in Ireland; English is more than enough for day-to-day life. Children do learn it in school from an early age, and even though it´s not going to help them to communicate with people from other countries, it will help them to preserve this country´s legacy and traditions.

Also, on top of that, learning languages in general helps to open our minds, because it forces our brain to think differently, and allows us to explore, through the use of words, other ways to see the world that are different from ours. So whatever we get to learn, be it a lot or a little, will be welcome.

For the moment, here is the message from the mug again, and let me take this opportunity to thank you for being here and reading me every week:

Go raibh mile maith agat

Like branches on a tree

Let me show you today another one of the pictures that decorate the walls in my house:

Drawing of a tree and some text
FAMILY: like branches on a tree, we all grow in different directions… Yet our roots remain as one.

I love this picture because it joins two ideas that I find really interesting. Belonging to a family means sharing our roots: as its members, we all come from a common place, we share some history, the history our ancestors started and we get to continue.

But like branches on a tree, from that common root, each of us grows in our own way and in our own time. Some of us look more like other branches of the tree, and others, less so. Some of us grow closer together, and others, further apart. And that´s all good. Each branch searches for its own path forward, always getting nourishment, knowingly or unknowingly, from the roots and the trunk that hold them.

I guess I big part of our mission as parents is exactly this: being a solid base from which to provide our children with everything they may need, of course including physical and emotional nourishment, but also the space and freedom they require to grow and evolve following their own style, and trust in the knowledge that they will find their own way in life.

Dare to shine

Today I got my present from the family Kris Kindle (thanks Mercedes!), and I´m really excited about it, here it is:

It´s the kind of thing I would never have bought for myself, but that I loved receiving as a present… It´s my letter! With shining lights! And I think it looks super cool on my bedroom shelf 🙂

But why do I know that I would never have bought it? Because I don’t normally like being in the spotlight, I prefer to avoid standing out… That’s been my style in most situations for as long as I can remember: going unnoticed insofar as possible. But also doing my job really well, hoping that others would notice (which of course, sometimes happened and sometimes didn’t).

Reflecting on all of this now, I realize that I’ve spent many of my years tiptoeing through life, so as to not be an inconvenience. And now that I am conscious of my way of being in this world, I have the option to keep it as it is or change it, as I see fit.

That’s why I like this metaphor of switching “my light” on, to start shining. And I remembered this quote, attributed by many to Nelson Mandela, though in reality it is from Marianne Williamson:

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, 'Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?' Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.

What about you? Do you dare switching on your light? 😉

Another phrase up on the wall

Continuing with the art tour around my house, let me show you another phrase that´s decorating the walls, in this case in my daughters´ room. It was a present from their cousin Isabel:

No te estoy diciendo que será fácil, te estoy diciendo que valdrá la pena / I´m not telling you it will be easy, I´m telling you it will be worth it.

“I´m not telling you it will be easy, I´m telling you it will be worth it.”

I love this phrase for two reasons: one, I really believe this is true in many situations, and two, I think the choice of words here is very very clever. Because even though in theory this is telling us that, whatever it is, is not going to be easy, given that our brains find it difficult to process the “not” bit, deep down what this is telling us is that it IS going to be easy… or at least, not that difficult.

The words that we use when speaking (and thinking) do matter, and they matter a lot. Saying that something is difficult is not the same as saying that it´s not easy: the latter is somehow a “lighter” expression than the former, and our brains find it easier to digest… In fact, the practice of using the word “not” this way is a little NLP trick that I´ll tell you more about some other time.

And for you, what is this thing that may not be easy, but will surely be worth it? You decide 🙂

Friendships

Back when I was in college, my friend Merche had a poster in her room that I liked a lot. The drawing was a very colourful cartoon of a group of animals, I recall there was a giraffe, an elephant... And the phrase that went with it read: "Friendship comes in all shapes and sizes"

As we go through life we meet a variety of people, we make friendships, we share periods of time with some people or other. And although we usually thend to look for persons with whom we have things in common, when we make friends who are somehow different (and there are a thousand ways to be different), that friendship ends up being even more enriching: it helps us to grow, widen our world and see other perspectives.

Some friendships are lost as time goes by, others stay, and others change and evolve along the years. And it's completely natural: neither you nor them are the same you were a year ago, or ten, or twenty, and sometimes each person's path goes in a different direction. But that doesn't diminish at all the fondness and the time you once shared.

And then thankfully, without apparent reason, there are certain friendships that are not affected by time. It doesn't matter how long ago we saw each other for the last time, or if we have lost contact for months, or even years... When we get to meet again, we get back that same old closeness, that same old joy and fondness.

I am incredibly lucky to have found a good few of those friends for which time doesn't matter. And this week I've been able to get together with a few of them. Thanks a million guys (and girls), you know who you are ;-)

Original by Dani&She

Life, laughter, love

Continuing with the art tour of my own house, this picture is patiently waiting for us to hang it on my bedroom wall:

Irish words for Life, Laughter, Love, written with latin alphabet and Ogham

Beatha, Gáire, Grá are the three Irish words for Life, Laughter, Love… The only one I know how to pronounce properly is Beatha [ba-ha], and it’s a word I’m very fond of, those who work with me will know why ;-)

The lines are the same three words written in Ogham, the earliest written form of primitive Irish. The Ogham alphabet has twenty letters, each represented by one or more lines, and when it´s written vertically like here, it´s read from bottom to top.

Three simple yet powerful words, written in three different ways, reminding me to pay attention to what really matters.

Fridge magnets

I´m not sure how the tradition first started, but it was a long time ago: in my family, whoever goes on a holiday usually brings back fridge magnets as souvenirs. It may seem silly, but I think it´s a nice gesture... Every time I visit my parents or siblings, I spend a good while inspecting their fridge magnets, going over the old familiar ones, and looking for new additions. I have contributed with a few of them myself, of course. And sometimes the same magnet can be found in several houses, in either the same or a slightly different version.

That is perhaps why I have a soft spot for fridge magnets, which together with my fondness for magnetic whiteboards, results in a considerable amount of magnets at home :-)

Some of them I keep always on display, some others I rotate over time. Some of them are presents from family or friends, while others are presents to myself! Today I´m leaving these three here for you, with their cool messages:

Life does not have to be perfect to be wonderful
Worry is like a rocking chair. It will give you something to do, but it won´t get you anywhere
I literally love literature
  • Life does not have to be perfect to be wonderful.
  • Worry is like a rocking chair. It will give you something to do, but it won´t get you anywhere.
  • I literally love literature.

Being expert enough

Continuing with our art tour of the posters around my house, today I want to share with you this other manifesto. It used to inspire me some time ago, and it´s now resonating strongly with me again. I feel that, after spending over a year in a state of hibernation, the time is finally here to go out into the world again, to practice everything I´ve learned.

And what have I learnt? Among other things, that it´s not a question of having all the answers (or all the knowledge, or all the experience), but of having a genuine interest and willingness to learn, and above all, of being confident that you can do it, and that you´re going to do it well enough.

The EXPERT ENOUGH manifesto. We are all capable of so much more than we think. Most people never scratch the surface of what they´re capable of. Expertise is relative. Expertise doesn´t come from a piece of paper. Life is richest when we become good at a lot of different things. "Know'it'all", "Jack of all trades" and "Renaissance man" are compliments. LIFE IS AN EXPERIMENT. You don't have to wait for permission, and you don't need anyone else to grant you status. It's not about being the world's greatest expert. It's about being expert enough to accomplish your goals. The more you use creativity, the more you get. Brilliance lies within each of us. Go now. Live. Play. Explore. FOLLOW YOUR PASSION. Learn more. Do more. Be more.

Unfortunately there´s no Spanish version for this one, and the original website seems to have disappeared, but I can translate it here:

The EXPERT ENOUGH manifesto.
We are all capable of so much more than we think. 
Most people never scratch the surface of what they´re capable of. 
Expertise is relative. Expertise doesn´t come from a piece of paper. 
Life is richest when we become good at a lot of different things. 
"Know'it'all", "Jack of all trades" and "Renaissance man" are compliments.
LIFE IS AN EXPERIMENT. 
You don't have to wait for permission, and you don't need anyone else to grant you status. 
It's not about being the world's greatest expert. 
It's about being expert enough to accomplish your goals. 
The more you use creativity, the more you get. 
Brilliance lies within each of us. 
Go now. Live. Play. Explore. 
FOLLOW YOUR PASSION. 
Learn more. Do more. Be more.