March madness

So March has appeared and I feel like I posted photographs of New Year's Eve yesterday. Apparently time flies when you are having fun, I must be having the best year ever.

Meanwhile in Scotland, where a record amount of snow has fallen this month, even I am thinking when will this persistent cold miserableness be over? (#beastfromtheeast) I actually ventured out with my camera and took some shots in Stirling. They were, disappointing, and I am ok with that. There are good lessons when things don't go well.

Slight tangent, when I say things like that I am reminded of when I was young(er) and had a No Fear t-shirt that had "Second place is first loser" emblazoned on the back of it. Sadly, and embarrassingly, I actually believed it at that point in my life.

Anyway, back to being disappointed; I am finding that I am pushing myself to get out and take photographs when I am not in the right frame of mind.  So I go out in a negative mental attitude and end up taking mediocre photographs that I am not happy with. I have to get back to taking photographs for fun and with friends that inspire me and to stop stressing that I haven't posted anything on Instagram or my blog for a week or two.

I read an inspiring blog post from Annie Au, a yoga teacher that shared three basic rules of being happy. She writes her post from a view of being trapped (by work, partner, family, house etc.) and how this trap is your own creation. Her rules, I think, are applicable to any situation in which you are unhappy. I paraphrase her rules below but I strongly recommend reading her blog post about it too.

1. Replace negative thoughts with positive ones.
Before feeling anger or frustration with someone try thinking of three good things about the person. By thinking of their good qualities you replace your anger/frustration with that person and bring your self back to a place where you can communicate consciously.

2. Keep a gratitude journal.
Many of us focus on what we don't have or are striving to get and forget to be grateful for the things we have, Annie recommends writing 5 things down everyday that we feel grateful for. I have started writing 1 - 5 on a post-it note each morning and filling it in during the day.

3. Be Mindful.
It is very easy to have negative thoughts and feelings that can arise in our mind each day. Annie suggests that there is no need to lambaste ourselves over it (see above mediocre photographs). We can develop an awareness of our negative thoughts and train our mind to choose positive thoughts and over time it will become a habit.

As simple as these rules are, they are easily written but a little harder to practice. With time and patience I think they can help everyone and I am really grateful for finding this blog post. Incase you are wondering being grateful for finding this blog has did appeared on my post-it note.

I promised some of the photographs from yesterdays post so here are a couple from Stirling Bridge. Click for the larger version. 

As always, thanks for reading!


I'll start by explaining the photograph, it is the entrance to the harbour (haven in Dutch) at Scheveningen, The Hague. It has taken me what can only be described as a ridiculous amount of time to learn Port (left)  and Starboard (right). Even now I laugh at myself about how very simple things can trip me up. As a geographer probably the most embarrassing thing to admit is that I still sometimes use NESW (never eat shredded wheat) when I think about east and west. 

So back to the point of this post, apart from the pretty photo of a storm brewing.

All my living in the moment went straight out the window when I realised that December is here and good lord where the hell did the rest of the year go? No seriously, where the hell did the rest of the year go? I have stuff to finish and do, December is not a productive month. To many mince pies to eat and sweet tea to drink. :-)

I reflect once again on achievements made over the year, the new people I have met, reconnecting with those that I had lost touch with and personal achievements that I feel good about. It's easy to look and find the things that I feel good about, so I have been trying to deconstruct the parts of the year that I don't feel good about or that went wrong.

I was once taught to remove my emotions from criticism and to try to look at criticism objectively and rationally. It's amazing how useful this has been throughout my life. It has allowed me to think about any problems or criticism and not react "all guns blazing". It has provided a useful technique in thinking about what I could have done better and how this could have been achieved and can be avoided in the future.

In every December I look forward to the winter solstice. I have always felt that this is a much more significant day in the calendar than any other, the general thought of our planet spinning through a vast universe in almost perfect balance makes me laugh at how insignificant we are. So spare some time on the 21st December at 16:28 for the point where the day starts getting longer again.

Thanks for reading!