Sunday, 21 April 2013

The Value of Being a Good Person

Reading The Sunday Telegraph’s Sunday Style magazine , I was moved by Sally Obermeder’s story about stage 3 breast cancer. Whilst her amazing strength, determination and positivity are an inspiration to all of us, it was her comment about being a good person which struck a chord in me. In case you missed it, here it is:-
“Having this disease made me realise it’s not about how much you tick off your to-do list, it’s about whether or not you’re a good person.” 

These simple words of Sally’s are extremely powerful. Her focus is now on the quality of person she wants to be and not about all those achievements. I wondered how we can get this message out there to more people.

I’ve struggled with the concept of being a good person. I like to think on most days, I am pretty good and treat people as I wish to be treated. I am by no means perfect. For me, it will always be a continual process and reminding myself to look for the good not only in myself but others.
Sometimes I struggle to find the good in others. In fact, I believe there is no good in some people. You meet these people from time to time and they simply drag you down. They want to pick apart every single thing you do and even when you are being a good person, doing good things, they take every ounce of goodness that you had.

They give you a reason to hate and to never want to trust anyone again. They make you ask yourself the question, “What is the purpose of being good?”
I believe life is short. Too short. We won’t always agree with everyone and everything in our life. However, we shouldn’t hold on to bitterness. Bitterness blinds us from seeing clearly. Isn’t it easier to try to get along and at least be polite and civil to each other?

If we are not being a good person, then are we the opposite, a ‘bad’ person?
What do we gain from being ‘bad’ to others? Is it that we are harbouring emotions, so deep and so entrenched that we are unable to see anything for what it truly is?

I believe that emotion blinds us, it can take over and make us become people we don’t recognise. People we aren’t always proud of. Maybe even ‘bad’ people, even if only for a moment. A moment is sometimes all it takes.
Is there ever any good that comes from being ‘bad’? Ironic, isn’t it. Is it that in sucking the goodness from us, these people become satisfied?

Satisfied they have hurt others.
What is being a good person?

I think it’s being a mature adult. I think it’s learning to move on, however hard that may be. I think it’s trying to learn to accept each other for who they are. I think it’s remembering who you are and where you came from. I think it’s something that is built into your value set. I think it’s being kind to others. I think from being good, comes love. Love for yourself and love for others.
My journey in being a good person is exactly that, a journey. There is no destination. It’s a continual process which requires a deep commitment. It also requires resilience, to never let those ‘bad’ people suck all my goodness away.

And sometimes I need those around me to remind me that being good is worth more to me than being ‘bad’.
I hope you are being good or at least, trying to be. It all comes down to what you want to remembered for in this world, your list of achievements or whether or not you’re a good person.

So tell me, what is your definition of being a good person?
Get on Facebook & Twitter and spread the word #goodperson
Jen xo

Monday, 15 April 2013

Toilet Talk - The one question that needs to be asked!

A time old question. A debate that spans the world and ignites the great toilet debate. Posteriors poised and four ply ready.
This is the sort of question that requires courage a plenty to ask. And by courage, I mean alcoholic courage. Name your beverage, drink it and ask away.
So what is it, you ask? Are you a scruncher or a folder?
I guess the answer to this lies in the generational gift given to you by your parents. After all, they toilet trained you.
I think what you are, can tell so much about a person.
A folder can be described as a meticulous person, detailed focused, neat, orderly, dedicated and committed. Someone who can take too long to do something (let’s think of the extra time they take on the loo as they fold away).
A scruncher, on the other hand, can be a bit dishevelled, efficient, haphazard in their approach, chaotic at times, but most importantly, resourceful.
Yes, this is a crazy post. But aren’t you the least bit curious?
Maybe this is something that we should declare on our drivers licence. Why not? We have lots of other important information on there, so one more bit won’t matter.
I can see it now. Address. Check. Phone. Check. Date of birth. Check. Folder or Scruncher. Check.
I wonder what the bouncers would say in nightclubs as they checked your ID for entry.
“ID please”. “Sorry, you’re a scruncher, not coming in. Goodbye.”
It would almost be worth me re-living my nightclub days just to see this.
What about when you go to RSL’s and Sports Clubs now? They take your licence and scan it, giving you a wonderful print out of all your personal information. When there’s a queue, that’s how they can divide you!
“Scrunchers to the left, Folders to the right.”
So, do you know what I am yet?
Being in HR, it would be a great question for job application forms. There it is, staring down at your potential company, etched in ink, sitting in your personnel file for years to come. It will almost certainly take discrimination to a new level. The legal world will have their posteriors parted. Pardon the pun.
I know you are going to look at people quite differently. The curiousity inside you will simply be too intense.
Maybe we should all swap. That would be a posterior pandemic. Folders should become scrunchers and scrunchers should become folders. Embrace change, I say!
What about the gender debate. Are there more women folders than men folders? Or does one gender favour one method over another?
Whilst I am on a question roll (another pun), let’s not stop there. Why not ask more?
Do you have a certain sheet limit? That’s right. How many sheets do you use?
I think that question and so much more is for another day. what am I?
I’ll leave that thought with you.

Sunday, 7 April 2013

The Day I Tried Yoga

I enjoy exercise. Weird, I know. I’m certainly no athlete but push myself to workout as I know how good I feel afterwards. Lately, I have struggled with motivation. However, I figure if I am going to sit on the lounge and watch TV, then I may as well do it on the bike at the gym. So far, that’s working fine.
However as the big 4-0 rapidly approaches, my body seems to crave stretching. It may be more that I can’t exercise to the intensity that I used to, but that’s the line I’m going with. Muscles ache and tense up a little more than they used to and flexibility simply isn’t what it used to be. Potentially the flexibility was never there to begin with, but I’m blaming age!
So in order to assist my maturing body, I decided a little Yoga might help. That and of course as all good personal trainers and exercise books recommend to incorporate some sort of stretching into your training, I thought this would be a winner.

After doing an exhaustive amount of research, yes, probably not necessary but a classic procrastination tactic of mine, I decided on a studio. With an extra hours sleep for my body and a dinner full of garlic the night before, I set off for my first class. I was hoping there was no partner work required given the dinner consumed the night before.
I got to the studio in plenty of time, which is quite unlike me. I walked nervously up the stairs and was welcomed by the lovely instructor who took my money. She kindly suggested I find a spot near the front of the class so she can help me. Look let’s face it, any first-timer to anything will tell you, we usually try to be anywhere but the front of the class so we can pretend to be inconspicuous and well, hide.

I took my shoes and socks off, grabbed a mat and walked into the room. I then heard the instructor say, “you’ll need a block and a strap”. As a first time yogi, I was most concerned. This was yoga I had come to, wasn’t it? Or were going to be re-enacting a scene from “Fifty Shades of Grey” and Christian Grey is suddenly going to appear. Now there’s a wonderful, lustful thought! Anyway, not quite sure what I would need a block and a strap for however a lovely other yogi assisted me with locating these intriguing items.
Sitting on my mat waiting for the class to being, I suddenly chastised myself. Looking down at my embarrassingly dreadful feet, how could I come to yoga with feet like these? Where do I start?

Firstly, the old nail polish hadn’t quite been removed so the toes were looking quite scrappy with the last remaining scatters of colour on the toes. Secondly, thanks to some inherited bunions, there was some gross dead skin which I hadn’t pumiced off in probably quite a few months. Thirdly, I now need to remind myself that a razor should extend to the toes and not just finish at the ankles. They weren’t gorilla toes, but there were a couple of hairs which were probably not for exposing in such an environment as this.
At least the rest of me was okay. Though I was a little concerned at the ¾ tights I had on, as my muffin top has a tendency to spill out at very inappropriate times.

So beauty feet faux pas aside... The class commences with some gentle breathing to focus yourself. I surprised myself by managing to forget I was at the front of the class and under the watchful eye of the instructor. However, the mind wandered a little as the little voice in my head kept thinking about the coffee I would be having after the class. Focus Jen...back to the class....listen to the instructor. Where were we?
That’s right, we then loosened our shoulders, arms, wrists and ankle joints. I was introduced to various poses such as downward dog, warrior 1, garland pose, bridge pose and one-legged King Pigeon Pose (which I loved although my hips were as tight as a camels arse in a sandstorm). One stretch which involves bringing the knee to the chest and taking it slightly out to the side, is apparently particularly good for bloating. You’ll be pleased to know there were no “good vibrations” omitted when performing this pose. I bet if you ask a yoga teacher, there’s a “good vibration” story in all of them.

I always judge how I am going as a newbie in a class by how many times the instructor feels the need to correct me. Well, I am very proud to report I was only corrected once. Yep, that’s right, just a mere one time only during the class. Clearly a natural, wouldn’t you think?
I hear you asking, what did you use the block for? The block was used when we performed the bridge pose. Lying on your back, with knees bent and heels drawn close to your buttocks, hands flat on the floor by your sides. You press down through your feet to lift your buttocks off the floor, while pushing your arms into the floor and extending through your fingertips. You then place the block (on it’s side) under your buttocks to provide support. Simple really!

Now the strap was used like a personal trainer to assist when stretching your hamstrings. I have used a towel before at the gym, to extend the stretch and ensure I am really feeling it.
We did some interesting breathing where we closed one nostril, inhaled through the other, then closed that nostril, open the other nostril and exhaled. This could have been a frightfully embarrassing experience with snot snorted in all directions. I am pleased to report this was not the case.

The last part of the class was some meditation with focus on the breath and the chant of the classic word, “om” to completely relax the mind and body.
In the end, my body felt relaxed and muscles stretched to alleviate any tension. I can only describe the feel ing afterwards as complete bliss and a sense of calmness felt which is both refreshing and invigorating. Rest assured my body was ever so thankful for the session and I have to say, a potential yoga devotee is on the way.

(Always consult your doctor before commencing any exercise program).
Jenster xoxo