‘Give us the serenity to accept what cannot be changed, the courage to change what can, and the wisdom to know the one from the other.’
More recently I have been focusing my life a great deal on accepting what I cannot change. It’s something when I was younger I struggled with greatly and nowadays, with practice, I am getting better at it. As someone whose personality type is ‘to always try to do something to make it better,’ this ‘acceptance’ has been an ongoing challenge.
However, in the last few weeks, it hit me that I needed to shift my focus across to ‘changing what I can’.
It’s been a crazy summer and autumn: very positive and highly inspiring, as both the Happynesshub and my TV company, Sixth Sense, enter new and exciting times. But those around me, especially my Mum, have watched me slowly grind myself down, working stupid hours, never stopping, driven by the wonderfulness of it all, but gradually draining myself of all energy, until I’ve been running on empty for a good while now. Repeatedly saying every Sunday to my parents (as I juggled emails and texts whilst rapidly devouring Dad’s delicious roasts), ‘I’m going to change this next week.’ But next week didn’t arrive.
So finally I decided to truly take action (proper action) and book myself into my ‘home from home’ magical haven, that for me offers solace and respite: Champneys Spa, Tring! My friends giggle when I say I am going there, “You’re off to your favourite place!”; my Mum breathes a sigh of relief; and, well this time, I had tears in my eyes at the relief of genuinely having some ‘me-time’. (Note to self, do not let it get this bad again!). As I arrived at this beautiful space nestled in green fields, woods and natural countryside, I had that feeling of ‘coming home’. And I wondered why? What is it about this place, from where I write to you now?
Some people come here to detox (the full-time juicers this morning looked ecstatic, almost euphoric, at the presence of some solid substance on their last day). Others are up at 0700 brisk walking, and can be seen after dinner on the treadmill. But for the most, people come for a bit of pampering, self-love and time to get away from the hustle and bustle of daily life.
My wonderfully wise and special friend, Tanya Wheway (who used to run Champneys herself!), believes many people visit spas to focus on the physical. But for her (and me) it’s about prioritising the emotional. When I come to away it’s to immerse myself in an environment, which is conducive to me focusing on my mind and heart. It’s like I give myself permission to reconnect with all the 21-Days tools, which when at work and home, with the ongoing demands of daily life, can be hard.
Here, there is a ‘no mobile phone’ policy in public areas. At first this involved me regularly popping back to my room to check emails and communications, but as the hours pass, this is happening less and less. ‘Digital detox’ tick… and ‘being present’ tick. It’s so clear how devices and tech take me away from the present, as does my ongoing expectation of myself to ‘multi-task’ to get stuff done quickly and immediately (and at the time I think efficiently; but I would suggest not now).
My gratitude diary is out – and being regularly completed; along with thoughts, visions, inspirations and dreams. Writing things down IN A BOOK (not on my laptop) has felt so good – as does having the space in my head to think creatively. ‘Don’t compare’ has come easily – everyone is dressed in the same white fluffy dressing gowns and plastic flip flops (a few have the superior cosy slippers but I’ll let that go!), us gals go ‘no make-up’, and much conversation centres around the beauty of the place and the treatments. I’m regularly quietening my mind (how can you not, having one of magnificent Michelle’s fabulous Indian Head massages?) and I’m finally being kind to myself. All of this means ‘choosing happiness’ is actually very easy!
Later today I am off for an awe-walk (very easy around here!), followed by a long soak in the bath with my top ‘happy songs’. Tomorrow before I depart I am going to do some visualisations and future goal planning (much of which will focus around how I better look after myself!).
Whilst holed away in my haven I’ve been reading Anthony Seldon’s “Beyond Happiness” (a book I’d highly recommend Hubbers). Seldon talks right at the start about 3 distinct levels at which we can live our lives:
Pleasure – Body – Animal
Happiness – Mind – Human
Joy – Heart – Spirit
For me I’ve realised, coming to my ‘home from home’ is about the second and third tiers. It’s about reconnecting, resting, reflecting and rejuvenating. So I guess you could say it’s giving myself a very special Happynesshub Retreat of my own (without the Magical Marta of course!).