If I tattooed my body…

…with messages, here’s what I’d write. 

Keep it simple. I’m a classic over-complicator, at work, at home and in relationships. When I achieve simplicity, I am much more able to execute a task, for example a lesson, to a higher standard.  

Stay hungry. Focusing too much on less important daily activities, be they cleaning, watching TV or procrastinating, means less time spent on what really matters. Doing one thing each day that moves me closer to my goals keeps my ambition and drive alive.  

Be present and check in.  1 minute of breathing. 5 minutes of sitting. 10 minutes of mindfulness. They are starting to become a bigger part of my routine and they allow me to refocus and be kinder, more productive and less blurry.  

Stop being so serious. Pretty self-explanatory this one.  

Don’t deny the stomach twist.  Generally, it’s trying to tell me something, and the sooner I learn to hear and acknowledge it, the better.  

I need constant reminding of all of these things and save tattooing my body or plastering my walls with messages, repeating my mantras to myself will hopefully make them sink in more.  

What messages would you tattoo on your body? 

 

 

Written by Rebecca Hatfield on 19th Feb 2018  

 

On ‘How to influence others’ 

The title really does sound quite evil I’m sure, but I’m putting it out there. No hiding. 

Let me set the scene. I teach English as a foreign language, and every so often, the weekly topic is an issue close to my heart – the environment. In class, we spend 5 days learning vocabulary like ‘endangered, solar and biodegradable’, reading articles on climate change and discussing the future of the planet. As a ‘greeny’, I get excited at having a platform to debate such issues. The little warrior inside me has an ulterior motive however: How can I make my students change their habits and be greener?  

I can admit that I have been a pushy person in the past, and I’m not proud of it. I wanted those around me to live in an ‘eco-friendly’ manner. But it wasn’t until others wanted me to change aspects of my lifestyle, that I soon realised how ‘being forceful’ can actually alienate others and drive them further from the issue. Even with the kindest intentions, you could shove gold in someone’s face and tell them it was the best thing in the world, but you’re more likely to end up repelling them. They’ll probably go out and buy some silver in spite of you.  

The thing is, that generally people just want to share. They find a great band, app or have an amazing idea, and they want others to experience it too. Sharing is good, don’t get me wrong, but if you really want to influence others (and not in a Dr. Evil sense) for their own good, or for that of the planet, a different technique is required.  

Back in the language classroom, my approach was to simply open the floor to discussion. I showed them the Stop Sucking video (StrawlessOcean.org) and hoped we’d be able to reach the conclusion that straws were unnecessary. After posing the question ‘Do we need straws?’, and discussing paper or metal alternatives, 90% of the class decided that plastic straws were still important. Not exactly what I’d hoped for. They admitted that they used straws to avoid bacteria or protect their teeth, and as I didn’t want to be too preachy or isolate myself from my students, I said that I used to use them, but that I was actually cutting them out of my life.  

I believe a teacher should generally remain neutral when touching on sensitive subjects. I try to lead by example and allow people to come to their own conclusions. But I feel like there’s still something I’m missing out. More experimentation is needed and hopefully, I can edge closer towards a balance between subtlety and persuasiveness.  

 

https://www.strawlessocean.org

 

 

Written by Rebecca Hatfield on 31st Jan 2018  

Mindfulness needs more than just enthusiasm 

 

The Mindfulness Summit is a platform where numerous experts in the field of meditation come together and share their knowledge. They sometimes put free videos and audio links to interviews with well-known speakers on their website. One particular topic from an interview with Professor Mark Williams, really stuck out. He talked about how the hardest thing, is to actually sit down and meditate. He posed the question:  

Does regular practise impact the outcome? For some people it did, for some it didn’t.  

However, he looked deeper and his research (published in the ‘Behaviour Research and Therapy Journal’ last year), showed that those who physically made the effort to meditate regularly, benefitted more than those who were simply enthusiastic about it, and mediated more sporadically. He found that enthusiasm didn’t affect how much people practised, but how much people practised did affect the outcome”. He also discovered that the people who weren’t even eager to meditate, reaped more benefits. He went on to say, “If you’re enthusiastic for mindfulness, I’m afraid it’s not enough”. 

So, it would appear that every day does count! And as for these elusive ‘benefits’, why not find out what mindful meditation can do for you.  

 

“You don’t have to like it, you just have to do it” Jon Kabat-Zinn 

 Information found via the link below between approx:- 23:30 – 25:30 minutes 

Professor Mark Williams – An Introduction to Mindfulness

Learn Mindfulness & Meditation from 31 World Class Experts. Free Online Event.

Written by Rebecca Hatfield on 25th Jan 2018 

Reflecting on the language of some of the greats  

I am a Language student and always have been. I shunned the concept of studying Literature, mainly because I didn’t feel I’d be able to enjoy some of the books on the syllabus, and I hate having to read something I’m not into. I thought I wouldn’t be able to understand the language of writers from the past, or that trying to get even the gist alone would be too much effort. 

I can honestly say that I was mistaken.  

Scott Fitzgerald’s 1925 novel ‘The Great Gatsby’, was an incredible read. One of my favourite messages is – “Whenever you feel like criticizing any one,’ he told me, ‘just remember that all the people in this world haven’t had the advantages you’ve had”. I later devoured ‘The Call of the Wild’ by Jack London and am now onto ‘White Fang’. London, like Fitzgerald, writes in such an accessible way that I sped through it. Even though it was written over 100 years ago, it was such a pleasure to read. It also wasn’t filled with complicated words that feel like they’re intended to trip you up.

This idea is summed up by George Orwell in his essay on ‘Politics and The English Language’; “Bad writers…are nearly always haunted by the notion that Latin or Greek words are grander than Saxon ones.” (1945: 7). I often felt like some writers would use Latin words just to appear more intelligent. In my experience this can sometimes create distance between the writer and the reader.  

I think this quote from Orwell is a clear example of this issue. “An interesting illustration…is the way in which the English flower names…are being ousted by Greek ones, snapdragon becoming antirrhinum, forget-me-not becoming myosotis etc…it is probably due to an instinctive turning-away from the more homely word and a vague feeling that the Greek word is scientific.” (1945: 7).  

I may not have studied Literature formally, but I am definitely experiencing the wonders of past works now.  

 

The Great Gatsby F. Scott Fitzgerald 1925 

The Call of the Wild Jack London 1903 

White Fang Jack London 1906

Politics and The English Language George Orwell 1945 

 

Written by Rebecca Hatfield on 24th Jan 2018

 

Why are we affected by the personal choices of others?

 

Here’s a fictional scenario.  

A friend is having a baby. She’s been in labour for a good few hours and when her newborn finally arrives, she gets straight on Facebook, posting beautiful pictures and sharing her happiness. She doesn’t tell you directly, but you get a call from someone else, filling you in.  

Let’s look at the facts first. The new mother made the decision about how to express and share her news: on Facebook. You received the information: not from the direct source, but from a mutual friend. It’s possible that she was exhausted and felt that the most efficient way to share her news was with one quick post. But actually, it doesn’t matter why she did it this way. She doesn’t need to explain herself. It was a choice about how to do things in her own life.  

Why is it then, that we can get so entangled in our own emotions and feelings of upset? We can become rather judgmental and label it as the right or wrong way to do something. In this case, it might be that we just wanted to feel special; to be called directly and know that we were thought of. In an ideal world, we’d be considered 100% of the time. But when it comes to how an individual chooses to run their life, well, can’t we accept and respect their decisions? By no means am I in that mind frame as yet, but we can say that I’m aiming for it. It would definitely save a lot of heartache and energy.
  

 

Written by Rebecca Hatfield on 23rd Jan 2018 

Green Cycles

After about 16 years of having periods, and a lot of experimenting, I’ve finally arrived at a place where I feel at my most natural and comfortable. It also isn’t a coincidence that I now have a very eco-friendly cycle. Here’s my brief story.  

I tried numerous pills, condoms and eventually the copper coil, but none seemed to feel right. Either I was pumping hormones into my body or living with a foreign object in an incredibly sensitive area. Sanitary products weren’t a pleasure either – uncomfortable tampons left synthetic fibers behind, and the possibility that pads could have been whitened using chlorine bleach was horrible (1). 

These days I am using Natural Cycles, an app which basically tells you which days you could get pregnant. It uses an algorithm to work out when you are fertile, and these show up as red days on the app (2). All I have to do is take my temperature, with a basal thermometer (to two decimal points), before I get out of bed every morning. I’ve been doing it for about 6 months now and it fits in really well with my routine.  

In terms of sanitary products, I use a mooncup (3) and reusable, cloth sanitary pads – personally, I recommend the Noras (4). I have to admit, if you’d asked me to consider either option 10 years ago I’d have listened politely and made a swift exit. But I have to admit, that once you’re in the swing of things, they’re both very hygienic, easy to use and clean.  

The BBC created a calculator to estimate how much a woman might spend in a lifetime on sanitary products and my figure came out as £1,433.33 (£68.25 of which is on VAT) (5). That shocking figure, along with the fact that “one woman can use up to 15,000 sanitary products (in her life) most of which end up in landfill…or on our beautiful shores” (4), makes my decision to ‘go green’ seem even more worth it.  

I now not only feel better about helping the planet, but am saving money and have learnt a lot about my body and monthly cycles.  

 

(1) https://www.huffingtonpost.com/dr-mercola/feminine-hygiene-products_b_335958

(2) https://www.naturalcycles.com 

(3) https://www.mooncup.co.uk/

(4) https://www.totsbots.com/bloom-and-nora 

(5) http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-42013239 

 

 Written by Rebecca Hatfield on 22nd Jan 2018