Have you ever thought of your catalyst for seeking change?
Are you ready to accept your new normal?
Join us together with Laura Morningstar as she reveals how she looks at new things and embarks into new experiences.
What are the reasons you see for making a change this year?
The catalyst for me seeking change this year has been my struggles with chronic illness. Although I have been diagnosed with Refractory Coeliac Disease, Dysthymia and Raynaud’s Phenomenon it is believed that I am suffering from an additional condition(s) for which I am still undergoing tests.
Since my health started to deteriorate in September 2016 it feels as if I have been wading treacle, always trying to push forward but being constantly held back. I was becoming increasingly frustrated by my inability to reach even the smallest of my life/work goals due to my health.
In April 2018 I had to accept that I could no longer serve my clients through the business that I had lovingly grown for 15+yrs, and although heartbreaking to have to walk away from it has made me reassess and look at what positives could come from that.
What sort of person would you like to become?
I have always been a pretty carefree spirit, happy to go with the flow of life and take each day as an adventure. The last few years have really tested me in this area and I have felt very reclusive.
In accepting my new normal I am having to learn to once again take each day as it comes, to wake up each day and listen to my body, and appreciate it for what it can achieve on any given day. It may not always be what I would like to achieve but rather than resent that I am trying to become the kind of person who is always grateful for the good ones, and accepting of the bad ones.
If things worked out in the best possible way for you, what would you be doing a year from now?
I would still be happy with my partner and we would continue to make memories together along with our children. I would have a better understanding of my health issues so that rather than feeling they control my life I can work within my needs.
On a professional front, my blog would be continuing to grow, I would still be finding enjoyment in writing and I would have finally put a pen to paper on my first novel. Well, fingers to keyboard!
How do you motivate yourself to get work done after trying many things and failing over and over again?
I look at each new thing I try as a new experience, when I embark on it I don’t expect it to fail, so if it does that can be upsetting. However I don’t see it as a failure, I don’t look at the experience as being something negative as it was right for me at the time. I also believe that knowing when to walk away is not failure it is an acceptance that the experience you are currently living is not right for you.
Every experience of your life is an opportunity to learn and to grow, which means I am more likely to ask is it ever really possible to fail? I am able to motivate myself because I am always open to the next experience.
Why do we willfully and consciously engage in self-destructive habits while ignoring our better judgment?
I think the main reason we repeat the same patterns and behaviors is fear of change. When we engage in self-destructive habits and behaviors it is often because we feel that we know what the outcome could be. These behaviors can often trigger a sense of happiness, i.e. when we eat chocolate it can cause an endorphin rush.
We can fall into a habit of chasing that feeling. Strawberries and grapes can do the same but are healthier. If I know that I get that feeling from chocolate then fear could prevent me from wanting to take the chance and make the switch from a potentially destructive habit to a healthier one.
What stops or reduces your motivation?
As previously mentioned I have a chronic illness which comes with a medley of symptoms, sometimes I can have all the motivation in the world and not be physically capable to do anything. Other days I can be almost symptom-free but my motivation will have sailed away.
The knack is catching me in the middle ground of being both motivated and capable at that point nothing stops me. As I learn about my new normal and accept that my health issues need to be taken into account each day I am finding it easier to manage my motivation and avoid those dips where it disappears.
What’s the habit requiring the least effort that makes the greatest difference?
Smiling – it costs nothing and can change not only your day but the days of those around you as a smile really is contagious. It is a small and simple act of kindness that can truly brighten someone’s day.
I often hide how much I am physically hurting to my kids, by smiling and because they see me smile they smile too. It can take effort when your suffering but it does make the day a little brighter to see a smiling face staring back.
What is your best advice on keeping the focus on the important when the distractions in our lives are constant?
Be sure of what is important to you. For me it is being the best mum I can be, so whether the other distractions are work, my partner, my health, money etc being a mum is my focus. Having a bullet journal has really helped me to manage my energy levels and what needs to be accomplished each day.
It houses everything for me from daily gratitude notes, to-do lists, positive quotes, habit trackers etc. It is my own little book of positivity and with it I am able to focus on what is important for me, stay on track and build everything else in my day from there.
What’s the wisest thing you have ever heard someone say?
I am not religious but The Serenity Prayer from theologian was Reinhold Niebuh and commonly quoted as: “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference.”
I am not religious so I drop the word God, however, the rest of this prayer is basically my life mantra. It has helped me in so many situations from relationship breakdowns, the death of my sister, health issues etc. It gives me the strength to really look at a situation and decide how to move forward.
What is the most important quality you look for in another person?
There are so many qualities in the people around me that I look for I am struggling to pick one but I think overall the one thing that shines forth, again and again, is compassion. The ability to be genuinely aware of others in mind, speech, and body, to think of how to ease the suffering of others and take active steps toward that direction.
I am lucky that in all my closest relationships and friendships the people around me have this trait, they are a really positive influence on my life as well as the lives of those around them.
What life lessons do you wish you knew 10 years ago?
Life is all about change. It doesn’t stand still. You have to be prepared to grow and adapt.
Almost 10 years ago I lost my little sister in a road accident when she was just 23. Up until then, I had never really had to question my own mortality or how life can change in an instant. With her death that changed.
I had to accept that none of us know what tomorrow will bring and that we should never take our current circumstances for granted. It is a lesson I have been reminded of in recent years as my own health has declined and I realized that I have taken it for granted. Since once again getting that reminder I am learning to accept my new normal and use that as an opportunity to grow and explore new/different dreams.
Do the people you love most know how much you love them?
Yes, they do. I am very open with those that I love how I feel and will often tell them. Whether the words are returned or not is of no consequence but I feel it is important to let those you love know how you feel. I tell my loved ones that I love them at the end of phone calls, when saying goodbye, and when saying goodnight.
I also try to never go to sleep on a disagreement where that be with family or friends. As mentioned previously almost 10 years ago my sister died and I don’t remember what our last words were, I know she knew I loved her, but I couldn’t remember when I had lost told her.
Do you say ‘yes’ too often when you really want to say ‘no’? Why?
Yes, I do and often because it is easier. I’d rather put myself out than see disappointment from someone else, whatever the circumstances. My health issues have meant that I have needed to learn to say no and has been something I have felt rather resentful of.
However the saying “You can’t pour from an empty cup” is written in my journal and is a constant reminder that saying no is not necessarily a bad thing. Especially when it means that I can be more present for the things that I do say yes to.
Do you think it’s too late to do certain things in your life? Why?
Never. My Nan who is 85, over-weight, has arthritis, type 2 diabetes and many other age-related issues recently took up Tai Chi as a hobby because she had always fancied it. I look at her and know that I can always follow my dreams and the opportunities to do so will appear when the time is right.
If you could offer only one piece of advice about beginning, changing habits, or starting fresh, what would it be?
You are perfect as you are. Honestly, you don’t have to change. But if you want to do so because it is what you are called to do rather than something you feel forced to do. If you’re scared, start small, once you’ve reached that goal then set the next one. Focus on and celebrate all the wins whether small or large and you will soon see the changes occurring around you.
Blogger: Laura Morningstar
Blogger Bio: I’m a mum, a book-worm, a geek, a lover of good tattoos, gym enthusiast and I have Coeliac disease. I adore huge mugs of tea (need it to function), music, unicorns, log fires, daisies, dancing in the kitchen while I cook, playing RPGs, owls and hawks, a bloody good tumbler of Whisky or Rum (hold the ice) and long walks.
What else can I tell you about me? Well, from an early age I set out to show that living inside the comfort zone doesn’t always create inspiring and extraordinary results. The odds were against me and I have survived some pretty shit life stuff, experiencing some of the worst of what life can throw at a person. Through all those experiences though I have proven that I can do and achieve whatever I set out to.
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