#howtoloveme

I recently watched a video about ‘why relationships fail’ which highlighted how too often in relationships people miscommunicate or don’t even advocate for what they need from others in order to feel loved. This applies to romantic relationships, as well as those between family and friends. Maybe this happens because people are too afraid to ask, don’t know how to communicate their needs properly, or don’t even recognise what they want/need from others.

Having the self awareness to understand what makes you feel loved and being able to communicate this directly and honestly to others is a good step towards getting what you need. As partners, friends, children, parents, siblings, etc. we can also take better care of our loved ones if we know what really makes them feel loved, appreciated and secure. We can’t assume that because one person likes a certain thing that the next person will like the same. And we also can’t assume that everybody knows how to accommodate our needs without us having expressed them.

I really enjoyed hearing about this topic and taking some time to consider what needs I have when it comes to feeling valued in any sort of relationship. I encourage anyone interested to do the same!

The woman who created the video is getting people to use the hashtag #howtoloveme and publish their lists on social media to share their needs with others and to promote this discussion. See my list on the new instagram for The Space Between here: https://www.instagram.com/thespacebetween.live/


Watch the video about ‘why relationships fail’ here:

 

Take a test to find out what your love language is here: http://www.5lovelanguages.com

 

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Clearing the Closet, Clearing the Mind

Wow it’s been a long time since I’ve been motivated to write something on here. Between work, studying my masters, and seeing my mom off on a year long journey in New Zealand, I have become very distracted. My mind has been full and my mindfulness practice and other self care has often been neglected.

Things have calmed a bit in the last couple of weeks, and I have been able to think about my next chapter (another 5 months down the line yet, but time is going quickly). I’ve been thinking about what I want to carry forwards with me, both materially and emotionally.

I’m in a wave of letting go of things that don’t serve me and making more time and space for things that truly do. I decided to start with a major clear out of my closet! I now reckon there’s no point saving things for special occasions or making cheeky purchases on a whim of momentary pleasure without any real consideration for how/where/when I’ll wear it and if it goes with anything else I own. Not only is this a drain of my bank account but it quite honestly is a waste of my physical and emotional time and space.

I’m not brave enough to minimise in the form of a capsule wardrobe (at least not yet) but I’ve decided to be more clear with a colour pallet that I like to wear and with items that I know I can wear together. After a few passes at my wardrobe I now own approximately 100 pieces of clothing (this is excluding: undies, socks, bras, bathing suits, sleeping and exercise wear). This may still sound like a lot but if you look at it – it doesn’t look too excessive (I think!)

This feels so refreshing; simplifying my clothing choices to truly suit what I like and feel good in. I am also noticing and appreciating the fabrics and patterns on the items of clothing that I love. This may sound weird but it’s really grounding to acknowledge the true feel and look of an item that you are putting on your body.

This clear-out goes in line with my evolving commitment to be a more sustainable consumer. Often times this means spending more money on an item (that will last you longer), or shopping used. I’m fine with this because it’s a good challenge for myself to stop and consider items rather than almost mindlessly chomping up unsustainable pieces with no real connection to their origin (the image of pacman comes to mind).

This clear-out has been a nice opportunity for me to refocus on mindfulness and gratitude; practices that I’ve found to be an ultimate form of self care as they ground me in my humanness, in connection to the world and other people.

With that being said, if any of this resonates with you I recommend a clear out of material items and emotional drains! No point wasting any more time on things that don’t serve you. Start small if this seems a bit scary, a bit of research never hurt anyone. So…

Where can I get rid of the clothes I no longer want?

  1. Local Charity Shops – always up for donations!
  2. Donate nice dresses to organisations who will loan/give young women dresses for special occasions (e.g. prom) who would otherwise be unable to afford them. Such as: https://www.promally.co.uk (this is one example I found after a quick google. Look up similar organisations in your area!)
  3. Donate smart attire to organisations that help individuals unable to afford outfits for job interviews & work, such as: http://www.suitedbootedcentre.org.ukhttp://smartworks.org.uk
  4. Sell your clothes on eBay or Depop

 

If interested in learning more about capsule wardrobes you can read here : https://bemorewithless.com/goodcloset/ (or google for yourself!)

 

Sustainable Gifting; 7 Tips for the Holiday Season

As the Winter holiday time approaches, why not challenge yourself to be as sustainable as possible with all the gifting you do this year!

Giving thoughtfully and sustainably is something my mom instilled in me from childhood. When we were little kids at Christmas time we would donate toys to local drives for families unable to provide the same comforts for their children as we received. Over the past couple of Winters me and mom have organised packages for street homeless people, to give out during London’s coldest months. (I will probably write a blog post on the London Community Homeless Project during our preparations and outings this year. You can check out the Facebook page for it here: https://www.facebook.com/lchp2016/)

Giving thoughtfully and sustainably is something we should ideally strive for in our everyday lives, but the holidays are a good time to remind ourselves and spread cheer.

So (Ho Ho Ho)…

Here are 7 great ways to be a sustainable gifter this winter time…

1. DIY rather than BUY

If you enjoy the challenge of hand-crafting things yourself, then making DIY gifts can be really fun and is extra meaningful! Hit up google for endless ideas.

Baking/Cooking for people comes under the DIY umbrella and can make a delicious project for the holidays.

Examples:

https://uk.pinterest.com/loriclem/homemade-christmas-gifts/ https://uk.pinterest.com/explore/homemade-candy-recipes/

2. Seek out treasures from used and vintage stores

Rather than feeding the non stop consumer machine, support the reduce and re-use movement by considering a perfectly good, second-hand (cheaper) version of the thing you were planning to buy brand spanking new! Plus you’ll miss out on rummaging around and chatting with the quirky shop owner if you choose to buy gifts whilst sitting on your booty in front of a screen.

3. Donate to a good cause on behalf of a loved one

Help support someone less fortunate than you, and share in the good vibes with your loved one.

Examples:

http://shop.unicef.org.uk/Shop/Inspired-Gifts.html

https://www.kiva.org

4. Give the gift of TIME 

Organise a special date with your honey, plan to cook dinner with your grandma, take your parents out to see their favourite band, spend the afternoon getting to know your sibling better (without the regular buzz of your mobile), volunteer at a local homeless or animal shelter, etc. Be creative. Reconnect. Make memories. Be supportive. Engage.

5. Buy gifts from charity sites

Some charities have nice shops online, where all the goods will be ethically sourced and the proceeds will support their cause. What a great way to give to someone you love, while also giving to a charity you like.

Here are a few examples:

https://amnestyshop.org.uk

http://www.oxfam.org.uk/shop

http://shop.rspca.org.uk/gifts.html

6. Shop Local

What if you put your money back into the local community, and had an awareness of the origin and maker of your goods (as opposed to a huge corporation whose goods are made overseas and whose workers’ conditions and materials you know nothing about)?! Radical, I know right?

Examples:

Folksy in the UK – https://folksy.com

Esty in the US https://www.etsy.co

Your Local Farms/Farmers Markets

Family-Owned Businesses

7. Arrange a Secret Santa Exchange 

Play a game of guess who got who, and reduce the amount of consumption for your entire group. This could be done in immediate and extended families, groups of friends, or in the workplace. Celebrate abundance and don’t place importance on receiving a large number of gifts,  but rather on celebrating with the people in your life.


If anyone follows these tips it would be fab to hear how you got on!

London Stories Made By Migrants

Last night I attended an event called London Stories Made by Migrants; True Stories, Told by the People who Lived Them at Battersea Arts Centre. Six different people invited me to hear their stories about connections to England and other parts of the world, about their struggles and the quirkiness of life. It was very special.

I can hardly do justice to the connection evoked in sitting directly opposite people telling such diverse and emotive lived experiences. But I hope in sharing brief parts of the stories I heard, that you can imagine these people and recognise a shared sense of humanity. This is especially important in combating fear and hate of the ‘unknown’ that is driving many interactions currently.

I learned from a Syrian man who travelled to Italy by boat, and then to England by truck. He is proudly training to be a dentist, and has found making friends and settling into London easy but he often worries about his family who are still in Syria.

I learned from a South Londoner whose grandfather travelled from Nigeria to England and trained as a solicitor, but had to return to take up his duties as Oba of his area. His father subsequently travelled to London where he settled and raised his children, but now also has to consider his responsibilities in Nigeria.

I learned from a woman whose father came from Pakistan and dedicated years of his life to working in a shoe factory in England to provide for his family, who hoards ‘useless’ objects but chooses not to hoard items that represent different stages in his life, except for his own father’s obituary.

I learned from a Ugandan woman who survived the brutal killings of her entire family, who later traveled to England where she once burnt the cassava she was cooking, and thought ‘that’s ok, I’m alive’ and went for a big mac.

I learned from a Hungarian holocaust survivor, who retained her mother’s gold charm necklace by hiding it in her shoe and later in a piece of bread she had been given to eat. She wears the necklace every day.

I learned from a British-Iraqi woman, born in England but when her parents separated she moved back to Iraq with her grandparents. She had no official documents of her birth from Iraq, and her grandparents forged themselves as her parents onto documents so that she could live with them. She has now returned to England and works as an artist.


Want to feel more connected to the humans around you? I challenge you to:

Hold the gaze of a stranger on the tube for 5 seconds, or hold the gaze of someone you are close to for 30 seconds ; visit a gallery/show/pub alone and don’t spend the whole time looking at your phone but just observe the buzz around you and be open to whatever connections might come of it ; give a family member or a good friend a phone call to check in ; search for charities/local groups who address a cause you care about and get involved ; get into a conversation with someone and actually listen to hear them, don’t just wait for your turn to speak.

Any other good ideas? Comment below.

 

Women Act for Climate Justice, 2016

What is Women Act For Climate Justice?

October 28th – November 6th (2016) are dedicated to action and communication by women on behalf of global climate justice!

This is an opportunity to harness our attention onto local and global environmental issues before the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change – COPP2 occurs, in  Morocco in November. This is where governments will meet to discuss action, and will reflect on concerns that face normal people.

So during this ten day period women and girls are encouraged to share photos and statements about environmental issues that affect them locally, along with action they are taking individually or in community.

Why Women? 

Mainstream society still promotes male suppression of emotions, while women across the world still face many disadvantages because of their gender. The feminine energy is an undervalued resource.

But it has been shown that empowering women with more opportunities can benefit the wider community. Feminine qualities such as empathy and nurture have huge potential to heal trauma and to care for the earth.

So we should look to women and girls who are passionately and dedicatedly fighting for their rights and for global climate justice for everyone.

What Can I Do? 

Whoever you are – I encourage you to consider what environmental issues affect you on a local level, and what action you could take to combat these.

This could be pledging to be a more eco-friendly consumer in your lifetime, reducing waste in your own home, or something larger like joining a local environmental group and protesting/campaigning/brainstorming for change on a societal level.

I also encourage you to spend some time getting in touch with your emotions and connecting to the earth. Try short meditations focusing on your breath, journal or draw to explore self-expression, take a walk through a park or forest and acknowledge the trees. (And you should really give your mom a hug and thank her for bringing you into the world, an example of feminine strength if there ever was one!)

Do not underestimate the positive impacts you can make for the planet – on the flip side, do not underestimate the negative impacts you can make for the planet. Every little helps.


For more writing on sustainability / environmentalism / power of the feminine check out:

Shout Out to my Girlies

Living a More Sustainable Life; 5 Simple Choices I Make

Environmentalist and Civil Rights Movements Meet.


Resources to check out:

We Can International

http://wecaninternational.org/pages/action-2016-detail

He For She

http://www.heforshe.org/en

Women Climate Art- Tumblr

http://womenclimateart.tumblr.com

Women’s Environmental Network

http://www.wen.org.uk/#news-updates

Exploring Mindfulness

Mindfulness is something I’ve been thinking about and practicing over the past couple years in one form or another. Over time and where I’m at now, it has become a more tangible and definable state of being. The more I strengthen my mindfulness practice the more engrained it is in my every day life, and is something […]