“I don’t think there’s anything on this planet that more trumpets life than the sunflower. For me that’s because of the reason behind its name. Not because it looks like the sun but because it follows the sun. During the course of the day, the head tracks the journey of the sun across the sky. A satellite dish for sunshine. Wherever light is, no matter how weak, these flowers will find it. And that’s such an admirable thing. And such a lesson in life.” – Calendar Girls
With the onset of spring and the promise of sunshine everything is beginning to come alive. The daffodils with their shock of bright yellow amongst the backdrop of greens and browns, and the delicate primroses that indicate the sun is on its way.
As you can see I’m a sun lover. Spring is one of my favourite times of year because of the new beginnings it promises and the powerful source of heat and light we know it will bring. It’s a time to look forward with renewed energy and passion and to re-asses life so that we are able to harness the optimism and positivity the new season brings.
Like the sunflowers we too have our own personal radar, telling us when to change direction. Far too often, however, we turn our backs on our inbuilt satellite, tuning out from the quiet voice within us that knows the answers. Instead we choose to put up with the status quo because it feels safer than changing direction, choosing to remain in the shade rather than stepping out of our comfort zone to bring about excitement, energy and new opportunities.
We choose not to change for many reasons:
– The fear that the unknown future will be worse than the present
– That inner critic that tells us we can’t, it wouldn’t work, we’re not good enough
– What will other people think
What would happen to the sunflower if it lived according to our rules?
At best it would lose strength and vibrancy and it’s life expectancy would be considerably curtailed. The sunflower knows instinctively that to survive it has to change, it must move and continue to face the direction that gives it strength, energy and life itself.
So, how can we learn from nature and re-assess our lives this spring so that we step into the summer with optimism, energy, and open to the possibilities life has to offer?
5 easy steps to increased energy:
1. Be Positive
Ahhh…. and you thought I was going to harp on about diet and exercise! I’m not saying that’s not important but the key to increasing your energy is your mind. If you don’t want it badly enough, you won’t get it!
The most important step to increasing energy is to love life and all the possibility that it brings. For me this involves being in touch with nature, preferably the sea but countryside is great too. I was brought up in Devon near the coast and I am always in awe of the relentless drive of the waves, powerfully crashing against the shoreline in an eternal display of energy and excitement.
Where do you feel at your most positive, most energised and most at peace with yourself? Take a trip there, write about it, choose pictures of it as your screensaver on your computer, talk about it, meditate…. Allow it to permeate into your very being so that you can harness the energy and positivity it creates in you.
2. Look after yourself:
Ok, so this bit does involve diet and exercise…. you knew it was coming! You’re not going to feel an increase in energy if you live on a poor diet and don’t move around very much. This doesn’t mean you have to reinvent yourself. Make small changes this week. Don’t dwell on the negative feelings you have on this subject. Focus instead on how you want to feel and go and do something that will take you on the path to feel like that. Don’t set yourself a totally new and punishing regime if it doesn’t make you feel good. Remember the sunflower… however weak and feeble it may have become it knows that to survive it must harness all its energy to turn to the direction of its life-giving source. Decide how you would like to feel and take the first steps in the direction that will take you to that feeling. Everyone has to start somewhere!
3. Treat yourself:
Life is for living, enjoying, and feeling good. What would make you feel nurtured, cared for,fantastic? Treat yourself this week to a massage, a walk in the country, a pedicure or facial, bunch of flowers, new CD or download some new music that has that feel-good factor, afternoon sex ( but do remember to lock the back door, ensure the window cleaner isn’t due and arrange for the children to go out with friends!)
4. Get rid of energy drains:
Oh yes, we all have them! That pile of paperwork we keep meaning to go through, that cupboard/garage that’s full of junk and needs sorting, the fridge that’s going to crawl out to great you if you don’t go through it soon. Every time we see these things we’re putting up with we can feel our energy draining away as we think …. ‘really must sort that out soon…’ So, make a list of all those jobs you’ve been putting off and let’s just see what we’re up against. Just having a list, however long, will give you a sense of containment. Then watch and see what happens. Extraordinary though it sounds you’ll review the list in 3 months time and find you’ve crossed off a huge section. The fact that you have a list will mean you’ll start doing something about shortening it. One by one you’ll just do it. Even better, each job really won’t take as long as you anticipate and you’ll get a great sense of achievement…. and more energy!
5. Build in more fun!
Does the sunflower look as if it’s having a really dull time? I don’t think so. It looks beautiful and you almost get the sense that it’s got sunglasses on and is sipping cocktails dancing to reggae ( I have no idea where that image came from but thought I’d share it with you anyway!)
The fifth step, and probably the most important, is to have fun. There are times in our lives when we’re not happy. Sad things happen and we shouldn’t be surprised. Life has a rhythm to it, a cycle of ups and downs and different people seem to have different degrees of this. But the one thing we all know is that we can take responsibility for how we feel. We can choose the thoughts that dominate our head. When we’re going through bad times we often need time to come to terms with it but, when that time has run its course, we can choose to relive those bad times and replay them over and over in our heads or we can choose a better thought. Personally I choose to learn from the sunflowers and will turn to something better, a thought that will make me feel stronger, more positive and energised. Then, I can bring the fun in!
Do something fun every day. It doesn’t have to be big, or even cost anything, but do something to lift your mood to one of energy and positivity. Music is a great for lifting a mood, as are certain foods, funny films, your favourite sitcom…. Build in to every day mood-busters that are fun and make you laugh…. bring out the child within and get back in touch with the real you, the one you are meant to be!
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