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At home: Caring enough but not too much



Now, I've been happy lately.


And it's not just humming to the 'Peace Train' lyrics, it's a feeling of lightness and purpose that has been growing perceptibly over the last couple of weeks.


I turned to Siwan, founder of Cardiff Meditation, who often works next to me. She was feeling the same, as if a weight had come off and she knew exactly where she was going.


But why were we feeling like that? Was it because the sun's been out for weeks now?


Funny that we sometimes feel the need to justify a good mood, feeling carefree when there's surely something we should knuckle down and be working on!


I like to work hard as much as the next person, but maybe there's something the summertime is reminding us about. Maybe each sunny weekend helps to stop us forgetting that there's more to life to enjoy than is there at our desks.


A wonderful talk I attended by CreativeMornings featured Ceri Johnston of The Early Bird Bakery. Her conclusion, if you're going to achieve your dreams and survive to tell the tale, you need to 'give less of a s**t.'


Sounds awful right? Particularly when there are so many things in life we're meant to care about. There's family, careers, politics, the environment, our waistlines... Read the newspapers and each new headline is demanding you to care about something new.


An incredibly perceptive book by Stephen Pinker The Better Angels of our Nature talks at one point about a new culture of empathy in the present. It's one that's making us more altruistic as a population, more likely to care about protecting wildlife and standing up for the environment. But, he notes, a lot of what we do isn't because we directly feel what the washed up sperm whale full of plastic feels - we do what we do because we know it's right.


A battered book is a well-read book

To go further into that, have a read of his book and tell me what you think - it completely changed my perspective! What I want to take from it here, though, is that you can still do good in the world without ritually dragging your emotions through each and every feeling. You can care enough without caring too much.


David Gandelman is a meditation teacher based in the US. My two favourite recordings of his are 'Good Morning - Ground and Meditate' and 'Letting Go of Seriousness'. I've included the links so you can try them if you like! Two of the main points that David makes are 'You're not here in life just to get through it' and 'Be playful'.


Perhaps these seem obvious? I'd bet though that there are many times in life we forget this as we spend our evening worrying about the next day or a weekend pulling together bits of work for the Monday.


I went through a stressful patch a month ago. It was a time when I simply couldn't lift the weight of thoughts from my head to get a proper rest, let alone work productively!


So I've been trying it - that method of not caring quite so much.


Packaging more expensive than I thought? Didn't work the hours I wanted to? Oh well! That's founding a business. Let it go.


Maybe I do know then where that feeling of lightness is coming from, why in the face of our event next week and launch of the July Home Box, I'm not nervous, but happy.


My mentor told me a while back that founding a business has got to be about creating a lifestyle you will love. And I've been more playful with it lately, finding the aspects of Authentic House that mean a lot to me and enjoying them. Writing this blog that's personal to me is a big part of that, as is starting to try out all the new eco-friendly products I'm planning for the Home Box. As this lovely article by Stylist Magazine says, saving plastic can be both fun and inspiring.


This weekend we're washing the clothes in soap nuts

I care less, but we're still doing good. I'm keeping to Authentic House's goal of making sustainable living easy, but working in a way that's more resilient. I can work hard without my emotions going through the works as well.


And this definitely applies to everyone. To you too.


I spent the day with a friend who's working all hours for her career because she cares about it so much. She wants to have a voice about a big topic in her profession but thinks she needs a promotion for the right to speak.


If you watched the video I shared last week, you'll know what I think - just open your own door. The internet is a pretty big gateway for anyone who wants to speak about something. All too often we're brought up to think we need to climb the career ladder, but you can give yourself permission to have a successful career anytime if you simply find what you love in what you do.


And then there are the headlines about the environment. Antarctic ice is melting faster than ever and a fifth of Britain's wild animals are 'at high risk of extinction'.


Yes it's tragic and enraging and that feeling can help when it's channelled into petitions or putting pressure on wasteful businesses. That works - even McDonald's is starting to rethink its plastic straws.


Just don't nurse the outrage. 'Positive thinking' is a bandied about term, but there's a reason why it comes up again and again.


Or a quote I like even better, which I found stuck to my parents' mirror.


God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, Courage to change the things I can, And wisdom to know the difference.


So do what you can - yes! But look after yourself so you can get some rest, get up in the day and do what you're passionate about. And above all, enjoy it!

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