Looking for Ikigai

I’ve been reading the book ‘Ikigai’ written by Hector Garcia and Francesc Miralles. I highly recommend it. Ikigai is a Japanese concept in which they believe leads to a long and happy life. They discuss that ikigai involves having a life purpose. We all have one, it is just figuring out what it is. Ikigai is also about flow whereby you are completely absorbed in what you are doing that you have no concept of time, such as catching up with a good friend and talking for what feels like an hour, but turns out to be half the day. During that time together you haven’t worried about what you have to do later on, you are just enthralled in one another’s company. When I read about the concept of flow, whereby you are so immersed into what you are doing that time seemed to fly. You are 110% focused on the task at hand that no other thoughts enter. There is no dwelling on the past, or anxiety about the future. You are completely immersed within the present. I was taken back to a time where I was exactly like this. It was at the beginning of my career in child care. It was my happy place. From the moment I arrived at the centre any cares or worries that I had were left at the front gate, I would enter the premises and all that mattered for the 9 hours that I was there were those children. The time flew without me knowing where it had gone. I built beautiful strong relationships with the children and with their families. I felt like I had the best job in the world.

Fast forward 13 years and how much has that changed. Somewhere, for some reason I lost the passion, I lost my ikigai. Is it because I grew older and I had more responsibilities? Is it because of the increased use of technology and the ongoing need to be connected and multitask? Is it because we are on constant time restraints to fit in all of the things in the same 24 hours? Is it because my personal life turned upside down that I ended up suffering compassionate fatigue, where I just didn’t have the energy to care anymore? That last statement is very difficult to admit, and not one in which a lot of people will understand. Compassionate fatigue occurs in many careers where the primary role is to care, and I think when your own needs are not being met, and they are completely depleted it is very difficult to care for others when you are struggling to just care for yourself. Maybe it was a combination of all of the above as to why I lost my ikigai.

Now, your ikigai doesn’t have to be your job. It could be anything that you enjoy doing that allows you to be completely present. It could be a hobby – dancing, reading a good book, gardening, going out on a hike or a long walk, painting, volunteering at a nursing home, going surfing. Whatever it might be, do the things that make you forget about your past, and make you stop worrying about your future. Simply just be.

Do you have an ikigai?

Mindful Mel

The Online Dating Chronicles

Online dating has got me feeling very Ali Otjen, Bacherlotte style. Strutting down sun kissed streets, hair braided, an array of eligible Bachelors waiting to sweep me off my feet…ok, ok, it’s not quite as glamorous and staged as the reality dating shows, and who am I kidding? I can’t braid my hair! Online dating is purely just that until you meet in a face to face setting and you gage if there is chemistry and a connection. I wanted to take you on a stroll through the humorous things I have encounted during my brief journey with online dating.
Now, all of the examples I have listed below are all REAL. I promise I have not made any of them up or embellished the truth. I have literally laughed out loud when receiving these messages, cringed at others, and almost wanted to vomit at one in particular. Seriously…do these lines work on women? I don’t know…maybe they do, but it certainly takes a lot to charm the socks off me!
Enjoy my friends!
*All names have been changed*
Albert: “Hi Melissa how are you? You are absolutely, astoundingly gorgeous. Hey are u my appendix because I don’t understand how you work but this feeling in my stomach makes me want to take you out.” (Seriously? Does that work?)
Benji: “Hi Melissa What’s your last favourite question guys ask you on here?” (I don’t know…probably this one)
Charles: “Yo your a honey. Can I get a chance with you?” (Yo, no you cannot)
Dave: “Houston…do you read me?” (No, I do not)
Edward: “Do you like night markets and escape rooms?” (I haven’t done an escape room before, but the fact that this is your first question and I don’t know you, I am declining)
Fred: “Hi, the love of my life” (yeah…nah)
Gordon: “Could I interest you in an Irish man? Funny, smart, killer accent, can be good but prefers to be naughty 😉 Comes with loads of extras and a warranty provided with 100% Satisfaction 😉 (hahahaha)
Harry: “I am a photographer, looking forward to re-build my portfolio for portrait and model photography with natural light. You actually look beautiful and perfect as a model and I love to click your pictures.” (Thank you, but no thank you)
Ivan: “Hey what pair of shoes would you like? I would like to pamper you in some small way” (I’m not your shoes type of gal lol)
Jackson: “Cute smile and happy eyes. You surely seem cool, happy, confident yet serene and down to earth. Adore your simplicity/gracefulness and still you look elegant – just brilliant! I’d like to get to know you and can sense we’d have a lot to chat with given both Sagittarius ” (Ooooo na na eh, don’t act like you know me, like you know me)
Kel: “Hey hey…how are you doing? How was your weekend? OMG: you must be the most beautiful girl on here…but I am so confused, can I please ask you something??? ” (The old, can I ask you something trick and the next thing you know you are buying a life time worth of beauty supplies)
Leon: “So why are you single? Lol” (insert eye roll)
Marshall: “Seriously, have you ever peed on a guy?” (I think I just vomited in my mouth)
Nigel: “I can be your Prince William. I don’t have a castle but I do have a good heart. And I still have hair left on my head.” (Bahahahaha)
Ladies and Gentleman, it is not easy out there – let me tell you! And clearly not the Bachelorette glitz and glamour that you see. I don’t have a production crew weeding out the odd bods, but I’m not too bad at picking and choosing myself either 🙂  

Challenge Accepted!

As I mentioned a few blog posts ago, I’m not a big believer in New Years Resolutions. I much prefer to set myself mini goals that I know I will be able to work towards and achieve that sense of accomplishment. I decided this year I would set myself some mini monthly challenges (it seems achievable now, but come back to me when I am back studying and working…but I have faith in me, so I shall push on! 😉

These mini monthly challenges will involve the following:
*Fitness Feb: This ties in well with the gym’s 6 week challenge – I make the commitment to workout 4 times a week at the gym, go for a run 2 times a week and of course walk Ted Balls (for those reading along at home Ted Balls is one of the nicknames for my dog Teddy).
*Minimalisation March: Minimisation all the way – minimise the amount of spending I do and take the opportunity to get rid of anything that “no longer serves me” or doesn’t “spark joy” as Marie Kondo would say, such as donating old clothes, books etc.
*Appreciation April: Each day write down 5 things that I appreciate, and that I am grateful for.
*Meditation May: To meditate everyday in the month of May. That’s 31 days of mindful meditation.
*June: TBA
*July: TBA
*August: TBA
*Spend less September: To only spend money on the necessities – food and hygiene products, bills. No random crapola. No clothes, no mani’s or pedi’s, just the bare necessities…the simple bare necessities…Forget about your worries and your strife…(Bare Necessities, The Jungle Book).
*October: TBA
*Net-Free November: Detox from social media! *Conditions apply* The only social media I will be able to use is for my business. All other forms will be logged out of for the month of November – good for the body and soul! Plus I will probably get more shite done…
*December: TBA
Now clearly I have a theme going on here…using alliterations to create the challenges! If you have any ideas or suggestions for challenges in the other months that state TBA please let me know…Will I accept your challenge?

Back When…

I’ve found myself having the feeling of nostalgia lately. When I find myself in these moods I question myself why? Usually there is an underlying cause for the reminiscing, for the longing of what was, or what has past. Sometimes it is a conscious thing, but other times it is embedded in the subconscious and it’s not until you do some digging around that you realise the why. For me, I believe that it is because it is coming up to a year since I left my old home, or maybe it is because of the first grey hair that I found (although if I am honest with you, I am actually proud of this grey hair and I’ve been showing it off to all the people lol)…Back to the house, while I haven’t been having thoughts about my old house in particular, I’ve thought about different stages in my life, a wishing and longing to be younger, to be back in the “good old days” where responsibilities were left up to the ‘grown ups.’ Here we are…now we are the ‘grown ups’ left to work out all of the things, and quiet often than not just floating along like a jelly fish with no clue of where we will end up, making it up as we blob along.

I’ve found myself wishing that I didn’t take those moments for granted. Wishing that I was completely present and immersed in all of the moments. This is where I have found my struggle lately, in the attempt to be totally present and focused on the moment; however my mind has been running 100 miles an hour of worries, and all of the things that I still “have to do.” This is a battle between being present and worrying about the future.

Another struggle is comparison…in this day and age where social media is the in thing it is so easy to get caught up in comparing your own life to those that you see on social media. I am guilty as charged. Some of us women compare our bodies to other women wishing that we “looked like that” or the lifestyle of others “oooo they look like they have so much fun all the time” then the thing that gets me – the family photos. You know the ones – the engagement photos, the wedding photos, the we are expecting a baby photos, the baby has arrived photos (now, I must be clear here. I am not talking about my own family and friends, not at all; I am talking making the comparison to strangers, to celebrities). These are the ones that remind me I am a 32 year old single woman who is so far removed from that reality. It appears to be a life for everyone else, but not for me (despite my longing for that life). This is where the comparison is a killer. Nowhere, and I mean nowhere does it say you have to be married or have a baby by a certain time. We are our own worst enemy in that we put times and schedules on when we think we should have achieved certain things. There is no right or wrong. I’ve tried to put my faith into the Universe and know that when the timing is right, I will meet my person and we will be ‘that’ family. Furthermore, these photographs that we see on social media are purely just snap shots. It doesn’t show the fighting, the bickering, how tired and stressed an individual or family is. It is purely just a snap shot in time.

“Remember that not getting what you want is sometimes a wonderful stroke of luck.” We date, we meet people, and we think that maybe this person is “the one,” but it doesn’t end up that way. We can feel heartbroken and defeated, feel that love was not destined for us, or that we are just absolute hopeless at choosing prospective partners, but when you look at it from the perspective that not ending up with that person, or in other areas of our life – not getting that job, or not getting that house is actually making way for the person, job, house etc that is meant for us.

Whilst it is nice to revisit to the past, to reminisce on what was, it is important not to get stuck there. Remember how you got to where you today and make a plan to keep moving forward. One step at a time. One day you will look back on this day and remember it for what it was.

I’m going to leave it here with the chorus of a song by Tim McGraw “Back When”

Back when a hoe was a hoe
Coke was a coke
And crack’s what you were doing
When you were cracking jokes
Back when a screw was a screw
The wind was all that blew
And when you said I’m down with that
Well it meant you had the flu
I miss back when
I miss back when
I miss back when


Abundance – the word abundance is not new, but may be considered a bit ‘woo-woo’ these days. Often when people think about the term abundance they think about prosperity in the material form, how wealthy they are, how much they own, what their house is worth, or the expensive car that they drive. Something I have learnt is that abundance is so much more than that. The Universe provides us with many forms of abundance, for instance, we may find ourselves abundant in time. These days we can often feel time poor. We are stressed that we can’t fit everything that we need to do into our 24/7 day. However, the universe hears us, and will offer us time in other ways – getting all the green lights on the way to work, a business meeting that has been postponed, a friend cancels a catch up – whatever it may be, you are now abundant in time, you have more time than you had intended.

Abundance comes in the form of love, not just the romantic kind, but love from our family and our friends. I’ve been reading the book “The 5 Love Languages” by Gary Chapman. While this book was initially published for married couples as a way of understanding your partners love language, it has been extended to singles, because each of us has our own love language and we feel more loved by those who speak our individual love language. The way in while someone expresses their love either by words of affirmation, acts of service, quality time, physical touch or gifts makes us feel appreciated and loved by that individual (providing they are speaking our primary love language).

Abundance also comes in the wealth of knowledge that we have – the books we read, the information that we search on the web, even the people that we meet in our everyday lives. Everyone has different experiences and from this have different knowledge to share.

Look around you today and think, what am I abundant in? You might be pleasantly surprised!

Sunshine, Lollipops and Rainbows,

Mindful Mel xo

2019 – Letting Go of Fear

Here we are, almost a week into 2019. Now, I’m not really one for New Years Resolutions. They tend to be spur of the moment ideals that we struggle to stick to. I am more one for goal setting, and this is something that I do personally throughout the year.

I’m not sure about everyone else, but I really struggled between the Christmas and New Year period because it didn’t seem to go fast enough. I wanted everything to be happening NOW! and I just wanted to achieve all of the things straight away. My head is clogged with all that I want to do and achieve, while also arguing with myself to calm the heck down! Be present, enjoy the moment, it is future Mel’s problem *exhale*

So I have been thinking about what I would like to achieve in 2019. A wise friend of mine who knew of my stresses sent me the following quote “Psychology says: Go with the choice that scares you most, because that’s the one that’s going to help you grow.” (unknown).

Fear is something that holds us back and something that is so individual. What seems like a totally rational fear to someone seems completely irrational to someone else. We are often fearful of the unknown, and of change. These things are scary because we don’t and can’t control everything that happens in our lives. Having said that, if we don’t take action we are stuck. At a stand still. Nothing happens and nothing changes as much as we wish it would. It all starts with us. With ourselves putting plans and changes into action no matter how big or how small.

My goal for 2019 is to face my fears and to step out of my comfort zone. I have done a lot of this over the last 2 years and have seen my life change dramatically, in the most positive way. However, I am also aware that fear is holding me back in particular areas of my life. For instance, I quit my job to pursue a completely different career where I am a business owner – whoa! when did that happen? and because of this massive change I have had to make sacrifices, particularly in my way of living. In relation to this fear, it is to make sure that I work hard. That I know at the end of each day I have done all that I can in order to ensure that my business is up and running and is growing, and that it is steadily going to be successful.

My other fear is dating. What even is that? I have compared myself to the likes of Ted Mosby from How I Met Your Mother. A 30 – something – year – old, living in one of the most liveable cities in the world in search of true love. While I am surrounded with family and friends who are happily married, have children, or are in long term relationships, I’ve found myself over here not having a clue where to even begin! I have assessed my situation – while I do enjoy my own time and being at home, I am also quiet social – I go out to public places, I love going to cafes and restaurants, I love going on nature walks and to the beach, I go to a gym that has the biggest community feel you will ever come across and I go to meditation classes. What is my point? I put myself in situations where I met new people, where I am around people. However, I have still struggled to meet anyone on the romance front, or anyone that I would consider doing life with. Last year I attempted internet dating. I thought, well this is the way of the world, I will give it ago. Any time someone suggested that we meet up…I deleted my account (counterproductive, self sabotage right there). Why? Why did I do this?

1. Out of fear – fear of the unknown, fear of the person I would be meeting, media

2. It felt forced and unnatural – like scrolling through a catalogue, but instead of food or clothes…it was men.

3. Because this in not how I imagined my life to be – I imagined that I would just meet my own Ted Mosby by accident, through a friend, at a party, in a café….just not online.

So I’ve decided to face my fear. I have re-activated my account. I don’t have the expectation that I will meet “The One” online, but it will give me the opportunity to date again, to go out and get to know someone. Maybe I will make new friends out of it. Maybe it will help clarify exactly what it is that I want, and what I don’t want.

“If you’re not scared, then you’re not taking a chance. If you’re not taking a chance, then what the hell are you doing anyway?” Ted Mosby.

So here is to 2019 – the year of growth, the year of facing fears!

May it be full of excitement, positive lessons and fun!

Sunshine, Lollipops and Rainbows

Mindful Mel xo

Is that health?

Looking after your health is essential to optimal living. We have all been granted with the body that we have, it is important that we look after it! Too often than not, we only start really appreciating our body for all that it can do, when things don’t work so well any more.

As the saying goes “prevention is better than cure” and this week I did all the things of embracing my body and taking those “preventative” measures to ensure that my body is in tip top condition. It’s like getting your car serviced. Once your car is serviced, it seems to drive differently, more smoothly, and I’m sure if cars had feelings they would be smiling from the inside out. It is the same with our bodies. I went and had my eyes tested (I can’t stand anything to do with eyes, it freaks me out…eye drops, puffs of air – no thank-you! But in the name of preventing diseases in the future I persist!). Visiting the dentist is one of my favourite things to do – nothing like being told you are looking after your teeth well, and them getting in there with all of their tools to give them that deep clean!

Ladies, it’s important to look after all of your womanly bits, just as it is for men to look after your bits too. While these procedures are uncomfortable and can be slightly embarrassing, they are there so that we can have peace of mind that we are in a full bill of health!

Furthermore, there’re the specialist treatments that we generally will feel the need to visit to fine tune our bodies – the osteopath, the chiropractor, podiatrist – whatever you need it is available to you! The best thing about visiting these professionals is that while they take out all of the kinks in the bod, they also provide you with exercises that you can do at home to help improve your condition – the key is sticking to it 😉

A wise friend said to me the other day “Eat your food as your medicines. Otherwise you have to eat medicines as your food” (Amatellah). Again, another preventative measure – if you eat healthy and nutritious foods, your body is certain to thank you for it. All of the fruit and vegetables that are good for us are full of nutrients to nourish every part of our body, and to aid in the healing process. It’s such a shame that our supermarkets are full of food that is bad for us, and ultimately killing us slowly. I’m not going to pretend that I only eat fruit and veg. I don’t. I binge on chocolate, chips, ice-cream. However I am aware of my actions, and do try to mindfully limit my consumption. It is also extremely frustrating how our catalogs are full of “specials.” Most of the time these specials are junk food.

While the preventative measures I have outlined above are purely physical, there is constant information and research coming through about taking a ‘holistic’ approach to wellbeing. This includes not only your physical being, but also your mental, social, emotional and spiritual wellbeing. That is a whole other topic!

Whilst I reflect on what I have written above, some may say that some of these preventative measures are taken out of fear. Fear of getting sick, fear of going blind, and the fear of dying. While some of this might be true, I know that I would prefer to have peace of mind that I have professionals about to assist and guide me in the right direction, as well as for me to know that so far – I am on the right track.

Sunshine, Lollipops, Rainbows and an Apple a day keeps the doctor away!

Mel 🙂