Finding your Happy Place

Quote of the day:

Quote 1 ‘God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference’ – Reinhold Niebuhr

Quote 2 ‘Find your happy place and go there in challenging times’ – Rachel Cummings

Two steps forward two steps back

Do you ever feel like no matter what you do you’re on this conveyor belt and don’t seem to be making any progress at all? For me recently it feels like that for every two steps forwards I have been making I end up taking two steps back.

Why is it at this point I have the lyrics to ‘Opposites Attract’ sung by Paula Abdul and MC Skat Kat currently going through my mind!  (Yes, I did have to google the cats name). The cartoon cat who bizarrely at the age of 9 I had some strange affection to. Although on reflection I think he was nothing in comparison to Jessica Rabbit in Who Framed Roger Rabbit. She was pretty hot.

For every bit of progress, I was making, it felt like it would shortly be followed by a set back whether that be in terms of mobility, seizures, medication or even a stay in hospital. However, I think of late what has affected me the most is that those I love and care about seem to be going through pretty challenging times themselves and that’s before I even look what’s going on with the rest of the world outside of my own little bubble.

Now I think there is some saying that if we threw all the world’s problems up in the air and you had to catch one you would be grateful if you caught your own. I definitely agree with this theory in that there is always someone worse off than you. That’s not to say the difficulties you are currently going through are insignificant it’s just to try and think of it from a different perspective.

Now don’t get me wrong if someone threw my current ‘set backs’ up in the air I’m pretty sure most people would try to avoid them like shit in a storm. However, there are certainly people far worse off than me, I am still here and for that I am grateful and will continue to fight and deal with each day as it comes. When we come across bad news it feels like everything, we hear is bad news and it’s hard to look for the positives. However, the positives are still there we just have to dig a little deeper and change our perspective. As harsh as it sounds there are only certain things we can change or have an impact on.

‘If you don’t like something, change it. It you can’t change it; change the way you think about it.’ Mary Engelbreit

Happy Place, Happy Place

A way I try to change my perspective when things aren’t going to plan or in difficult times is going to my happy places (at this point Ste may be phoning the mental ward if he’s not on speed dial to them already). Now for those of you that have watched ‘I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here’ you’re probably thinking right now of Jordan North. Those of you that haven’t to give you an insight he’s a Radio 1 DJ originally from Burnley whom when given tasks from Ant and Dec (the presenters that come hand in hand a bit like Bert and Ernie, the Chuckle brothers, Morecambe and Wise, Little and Large whom are all rarely seen without the other). Ant and Dec would set the celebreties with various different challenges such as to sit with a load of snakes in a pit, eat some hairy kangaroo balls or fermented fish eyes. Jordans way of trying to cope with the ‘situation at hand’ would be to chant ‘Happy Place, Happy Place, Turf Moor’. He did this as a coping mechanism and to deal with whatever task put in front of him.

A visit to Turf Moor

It’s this similar principal that I use when I’m having particular ‘challenging’ days. Now being that Blackburn and Burnley have been football rivals for years I couldn’t think of anywhere worse as my Happy Place than Turf Moor. However, having said that Archie was lucky enough to be Spurs mascot in Feb 2019 at Turf Moor when they played Burnley in the league. I honestly have to say the ‘Dingles’ sorry Burnley fans and staff couldn’t have been more generous and accommodating. The day didn’t exactly start stress free in that we had ordered a Spurs shirt in the hope Archie could get it signed by the players. The only place that we could get it delivered in time was from Very (other probably more reliable catalogue stores are available). The night before the game I went to collect the ‘shirt’ from one of the collection stores in town. I remember thinking this feels heavy. When I got home, we opened the package only to find a black leather jacket. I mean how on earth do you get a black leather jacket and a Tottenham shirt mixed up in the first place? I can imagine the look on Harry Kane’s face if we got Archie to turn up and say ‘hiya lads fancy signing this for me you might need a red pen though?!’

I asked around but not many northerners support Spurs as you an imagine…they support Blackburn or most kids now support whoever happens to be winning in the league at the time. Disappointingly nothing came into fruition. This left us with bringing a programme from a previous game to get signed. We did try to go to some sports shops in Burnley in the morning but we would have had more chance of finding unicorn poo and a Blackburn shirt (probably in the same aisle).

When we got there, we were seated in the club lounge which I can only describe as some mix up between Phoenix Nights minus Brian Potter with the offering of tea, coffee, bacon and sausage butties which Archie, Daisy and Ste gladly took up. There was a bit of a prize draw in which I bit my lip at the Blackburn jokes. However cowardly as it may seem I certainly didn’t declare my allegiance to their No. 1 rivals.

Anyway, we had a great day out despite Spurs getting beat. Archie managed to meet some of his heroes and although didn’t get a signed shirt or leather jacket, he got his programme signed and something I hope he can cherish with fond memories and realise how lucky he was for the opportunity.

My Happy Places

Now I’ll let you into some of my happy places (not all mind as despite being pretty open and honest about most things there are some things, I like to keep to myself). In no particular order;

  • North Wales – in particular Pwllheli, Abersoch, Llandbedrog, Nefyn
  • Entwistle Reservoir
  • Jack Keys lodge
  • Darwen Tower (not in it’s current ‘insulated rocket state though)
  • The view of Darwen Tower from a particular spot in my garden
  • My writing and journaling desk surrounded by my thoughtful gifts and presents.

Each one of these ‘Happy Places’ are so for various different reasons. For instance, North Wales is where generations of family have been going for years. Before it was ‘proper posh’ and has since featured in Cheshire Life magazine I believe. For me what makes it so special is the happy memories of sandy packed lunches, big games of bowls and cricket at the Warren Beach down by the rocks with family, camping in my mum and dads orange Dandy trailer tent, playing football for hours on the farmers field with my cousin. Walking down to the pub and sitting outside sharing chicken in a basket with my sister. It’s a place where even now younger generations of our ever-extending family seem to migrate for their holidays. It’s great that as a family of four we’re still discovering new places for the first time that hopefully Daisy and Archie will take their kids to visit.

Entwistle Reservoir is where I would often walk round and chat with close friends and not so long ago my mum whom I was so proud of. This at the moment is an aspiration for both of us but I will get round it soon and I will also drag my mum round with me when she’s on the mend.

The point is you don’t have to actually go anywhere to tune into your happy place. You just have to think of those places and how they make you feel. See if you can’t change what’s happening to you or those around you there is no point wasting your efforts worrying about it. By that I don’t mean that you don’t care what I do mean is concentrate in ways you can be more positive and maybe that’s how you can help those you care about as well as yourself in the process.

On reflection despite my opinion of 2 steps forward and 2 steps back deep down I know that I am my own worse critic and if I put on my positive pants (which today I pleased to say they are on). I have come so far in such a short space of time. I just need to learn to accept there are going to be shit days and that when there are I need to go to my Happy Places.

Lessons Learnt

  1. Don’t purchase a Tottenham shirt from Very
  2. Life’s is all about perspective for instance what is seen as a challenge in some countries can be seen as a delicacy in others. However, I’m not about to attempt to try a hairy kangaroo ball any time soon.
  3. There are some things in life we unfortunately can’t change so we just need to learn to accept and concentrate our efforts on the things we can.
  4. Happiness is not always a destination it’s a state of mind.
  5. Sometimes what are perceived as your ‘rivals’ can in fact be the total opposite.

2 Comments

  1. Nat Rickers
    07/04/2022 / 22:40

    Glad to have shared some happy times with you in Abersoch over the years Rach. Love reading your blog. We all need perspective don’t we?

    Sending you love and a great big hug. Nat xx

  2. Ben Kenyon
    08/04/2022 / 08:04

    Reading this in the lovely morning sunshine and smiling! Thinking about those happy places. And hoping you get to go ‘down Aber’ soon with your lovely family. You have a wonderful way of reframing everything. We could all do with even an ounce of your positivity and equanimity, Rachel. Stoicism that would make Marcus Aurelius look hot-headed!! Sending you all our love!! xxx

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