Life Is A Banquet

Life Is A Banquet - Samantha Leith

Have you ever been at a breakfast buffet at a hotel and everything looks really, really good?

If you’re like me then you’ll probably move around the room, taking little bits of everything and by the end of the meal, you feel pretty sick, because all those little bites added up to a huge breakfast.

Or maybe you’re at the opposite end of the spectrum, so overwhelmed with choice, that you stick to a safe option and just have muesli and a coffee. You walk away with a full belly, but still not satiated because you didn’t try anything new.

Now why on earth am I talking about breakfast buffets?

I’m talking about buffets because I believe life is a bit like a buffet or a banquet. We have so many choices in life that the options are almost limitless. There’s just so much to see and do and consume in the world that life really is like a banquet.

There are stages of life where the choices come relentlessly like the courses in a banquet and other stages where you can look around you like at a buffet and see the endless options you have open to you.

Just like a buffet or banquet, we need to strike a balance between trying to do every possible thing we could be interested in and a repetitive two-course life of nothing but work and home.

So how do we strike a balance at the banquet of life?

TEN-TONNE TESSA

Let’s start with those of us who are greedy to try everything.

If you try to do everything, you’ll metaphorically be a ten-tonne Tessa and you’ll never be satiated. Trust me as someone that was nicknamed worse than ten-tonne Tessa and has literally tried (and eaten) just about everything, that it is not a great road to go down.

In trying so many different things, you likely won’t ever see anything through or give anything enough time to become great at it. You may also have a bit of a ‘shiny mirror ball’ syndrome, where you are so distracted by the next thing, or so busy being on the look out for something new, that you’ll never give anything the time it needs for you to fall in love with it.

In truth, we want to try new things. As they say, variety is the spice of life. Once again this is a balance though. You want to give something enough time to be able to say you gave it a proper go and to ensure you overcame any initial challenges.

New things should be hard and controlled adversity makes us stronger. Every time you try something new that’s a bit hard that you manage to conquer, it builds up your confidence muscle.

If you try something and hate it then you spit it out. As long as you’ve had enough of a taste to truly know that you’re not just making excuses because it’s a bit harder than you expected. If you have, then you let it go and move on to the next thing.

Because after all, life is too short to keep doing things you hate.

TWO COURSE LIFE

What happens more commonly in life is that we forget to try new things and find ourselves living the two-course life of work and home.

Your soul will become depleted pretty quickly with this kind of life. Maybe you’re paralysed by choice and don’t know where to start, so you stick to what’s safe. Maybe you’ve gotten out of the habit of trying new things.

Maybe you tried new things and just became too satiated. You became full, or comfortable and you switched off, signed out, or had the post lunch lull that went on a bit too long.

Whatever the reason, now is the time to taste something new. To get out, look around and decide what you’ll try next at your life banquet or buffet.

If there’s something that ever piqued your interest, even just a little bit, give it a go. Have a look online for a language class; ask a friend if they want to go with you to a dance workshop; order the materials to stay clay-making or just start running if that’s what you want.

As long as it’s easy to add to your menu, then there’s no reason not to go for it.

If you want to start something really huge and different, it may require planning and time, but even this will be adding something new to your life. Or you can start smaller and just take a little step, have a little nibble on something new to see how you like it, without upsetting the balance you have.

It’s a fine line of experimentation.

IT’S ALL A BALANCE

It really is just all a balance. We all at once want to try new things, give them enough of a go to know if we like or dislike them and avoid becoming satiated or bored.

Regardless of where you’re at, trying new tastes at the banquet of life will add to your experience, build your confidence muscle and hopefully, gain you new passions that will leave you happier and satiated, but always with room for more.

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Power Of Journaling

Power of Journaling - Samantha Leith

For many people, journaling can appear to be a waste of time, a bit wanky or even cheesy. The truth is, when you only undertake journaling sporadically, its power can certainly be underestimated.

There are endless great minds and hugely successful people who advocate for including journaling as a daily practice: Albert Einstein, Maya Angelou, Andy Warhol and Tim Ferris, to name a few.

This year I have dedicated myself to the art of journaling and have written in my Samantha Leith embossed notebooks almost every single day. Having completed this practice for a year, I can safely say that journaling makes a massive difference. It’s allowed me to work through my feelings when I’ve had a crappy day, to focus on my goals and to reaffirm the words I want to live by.

HANDWRITING VERSUS APPS

It is proven that your ideas and thoughts seep in more when you write them down. Writing something by hand increases your focus, so that you think more intensely about what you’re writing. It stimulates more areas of your brain, including boosting long-term memory and having other important cognitive effects.

Typing simply doesn’t have the same impact – your brain just doesn’t have to work so hard, so you have less focus and won’t remember the things that you type in the way you would had you hand written them. So even though there’s an app for everything, journaling by hand is the best way to go in my opinion.

Consider also the control and emotion offered with a blank page. You have the freedom to put down whatever you’re feeling that day, and in whatever way you wish. Some days you may feel more creative and want to draw, other days you may want the tactile feeling of underlining a word emphatically. For many people, handwriting allows for a more cathartic journaling experience.

WHERE DO I START?

There are many ways to journal and it’s intensely personal what you write. Below I have detailed the major categories I cover every single day. Some days, these will be dot points, some days long form with more information, but I always cover off the same major themes daily. You can borrow as much or as little from the below, but work out a list of things you want to cover every day.

The Day Before

I always journal in the morning and so I start with the day before. Just a few lines usually, but it can be more depending on the day just gone. If you choose to journal at night, then you can write about the day you’ve just had.

If I’m feeling really emotional or angry about something, then it’s cathartic to express myself on paper. There are things that we as humans simply can’t express in healthy ways if we try to do it physically or verbally, so it can be a blessing to be able to get it out on paper.

If something incredible has happened, it’s a gift you can give to yourself to get to relive that event. Writing it down also means you can revisit it in the future as a pick me up, for inspiration, or just to enjoy the memory once more.

Affirmations

I always write few positive affirmations. ‘I got this’, ‘I’m brave’, ‘I’m happy’. I write these every single day. You may choose different affirmations or not use them at all, but affirmations are an incredible ways to increase your confidence and help you overcome negative or self-sabotaging thoughts.

Five Things I’m Grateful For

The simple act of gratitude proved to improve happiness, positivity and reduce stress, so this is a no-brainer to include as a part of your daily journaling.

It doesn’t always have to be huge life events that you’re grateful for. In fact, acknowledging the small, daily events can be just as helpful as being grateful for something huge like good health. Some days I may write that I’m grateful that the day was sunny and my washing dried or that I slept really well the night before.

Finding gratitude and appreciating the little things in life focuses your attention on those events you may otherwise take for granted. This will ultimately help to create a mental balance and to avoid focusing on the negative aspects of life, leading to a happier and more stress-free existence.

Big Dreams

These are those big, hairy, almost scary dreams that you have for yourself. You can write them in list or dot point form if you’re running short on time or if you just want to jot down where you are in your journey. If however, you want to refocus and really emphasize that dream, write down how you’ll feel when you get there, how you’re feeling about it now.

Current Goals

Your current goals are different to those big scary, hairy dreams. They’re what you’re working on right now, planning to get done in the next 6/12/18 months.

Always write these goals in the affirmative, ‘I am’ or ‘I have’ so it registers in your brain that it’s done and dusted, it’s completed. Again, consider how handwriting activates that cognitive function, how it stores your words in long term-memory.

Writing your goals in the affirmative every single day will ensure that your focus and attention is always on those objectives; will increase your confidence and ensure your emotions are geared positively towards them.

Something Heartfelt

This is a statement that is just for you. It might be your vision or your purpose, but it’s something heartfelt and it’s not for anyone else. I write the same thing every day and it’s only 11 words, but it’s something I want to see and be reminded of every day.

WHEN TO JOURNAL?

As I mentioned earlier, I always journal first thing in the morning. I see it as a way to leave the day before behind me and to set my intention for the day ahead. By journaling in the morning, I also ensure I go into my day with gratitude and with my goals in mind, meaning my objectives and clearer and everything that I do that day will be with my goals in mind.

This may not work for you and there are many positives to journaling at other times of the day. Journaling at night means you can clear the day just gone and set your intentions for the next day. You’ll sleep well having reset yourself, meaning you’ll wake refreshed and rejuvenated.

Regardless of the time that you do it, the most important thing is that you don’t wait to start. Find yourself a piece or paper or a blank notebook and start journaling today.

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