when you're chewing on life's gristle

“When you’re chewing on life’s gristle, don’t grumble, give a whistle”…

If you’re a fan of Monty Python, then I don’t doubt you’ll have instantly recognised “Always Look on the Bright Side of Life” from The Life of Brian.

Even if you have never watched a Monty Python movie, like me (I know! I hear you tut and see you shake your head in despair), then hopefully you’ll still be familiar with the song.

It’s one of those songs that tells you straight-up what it’s about – to always look on the bright side of life. There’s not a lot of depth, deep hidden meanings, or intellectual metaphors within the song.

However, that’s also the beauty of the song. And that’s also the beauty of life.

I can still remember the first time I came across this song. Like I said, I have never watched a Monty Python movie so the song wasn’t on my radar.

The first time I heard that song was on a tape that had been created for me by my boyfriend; a tape that I could listen to on my walkman as my parents took drove me to university. If you’re too young to know what either a tape or a walkman is/was, check out the photo above. (Nostalgia or confusion? That’ll tell me how young you are!)

My boyfriend, whom I had been with for 10 months already (and whom I would stay with for a further 8 years), was a year younger than me. I was heading across the Irish Sea to Scotland to study at university and, because of our age difference it would be another year before he would be able to join me.

If you’ve ever been young and in love (and I hope you’ve enjoyed both), you’ll know just how much my heart was breaking.

And, also, how confused I felt.

On one hand, I was excited to be heading away to meet new people, to live away from home, to become ‘independent’ (while financially still being supported by my parents).

On the other hand, my heart was aching leaving behind someone I truly loved and who made my heart sing.

True to his style, my boyfriend tried to turn my heart-ache around and make me smile. And the tape he recorded for me was jam-packed with songs to make me happy and make me laugh.

He was good like that.

No matter what challenges we faced in our relationship… and there were actually quite a number, he would always look to find the bright side, the positive side. And he would laugh and joke to me and at me until I opened up to that brighter side too.

Was it youth on his side? Was the naivety that accompanies youth? Was that why he could always find the positive?

I don’t think so, because I was pretty good at struggling to find the positive. If it hadn’t been for him, I suspect I would never have found the positive in many situations.

And now with many more years under my belt, I find I’m a much more positive person than I was in my late teens and twenties. Indeed, I’m a lot more positive than I was some 10 years ago.

But that’s not always the case.

What I’ve observed around me is a growing tendency towards finding and dwelling on the negative side of life.

People I meet or spend time with seem to veer more towards grumbling and complaining about life, seem more prone to talk about their struggles and hardships.

Have you noticed that too? Or, perhaps, have you noticed yourself going further and further down that path of negativity?

It takes a lot of energy to remain positive and upbeat around negative people. Often, they can be like energy-zapping vampires sucking away every drop of positivity you have in you, or like broken records repeating the same stories of woe over and over again, stories that now personify who they are.

And, often, I advocate creating space, a lot of space, between negative people and yourself.

However, what if that’s simply not possible?

Sometimes the negative people in your life can be parents, siblings, spouses… the very people you can’t always ‘get away from’. What can you do then?

Well, if you know you’re about to meet up with or have a phonecall with someone who has a more negative outlook on life, you can always protect your energy through bubbling up. Bubbling up is such a simple (and instant) technique that will protect your energy from being pulled down to the lower level of another person.

Bubbling up is something I encourage you to do first thing each and every day so your energy and vibe is protected and kept high throughout the day no matter what (or who) may come your way.

The other thing I encourage you to do is to cultivate a positive outlook on life.

When someone talks about having a positive outlook on life, a lot of people will couple it with the concept of naivety because, for many, being positive all the time in today’s world is something that means you’ve stuck your head in the sand, you’ve turned off to the turmoil and hardships happening throughout the world, and you’ve stopped being in contact with reality.

However, think about it. Which people tend to get caught up and pulled down by the world’s turmoil and hardships? It’s not normally those who live positively, it’s those who have a more negative outlook in life.

Cultivating a positive outlook in life doesn’t mean you turn off to reality, it means you keep your energy and vibe high so you don’t add to the turmoil and hardships in life. Rather, coming from a high vibration linked to emotions such as love, joy, gratitude, you positively impact the world.

And it doesn’t mean you walk around each day with a grin on your face, oblivious to the hardships of others. It means you don’t let the darkness in the world pull you under so you add more low energy and vibration to an already low energy and vibration circulating the world. Rather you seek to find ways in which you can positively made a difference, no matter how small that difference may be.

In a world where we have been taught throughout life to come from the low vibration of fear, cultivating a positive outlook is truly challenging and takes time and effort. Because, throughout our life, we’ve been trained to come from a place of fear, coming from a place of love can make us initially feel off-balance, can initially make us feel strange because it goes against so many years of programming.

However, think about a world where the go-to, programmed emotion of every human being (or even most human beings) was the high vibration of love. Think how different that world would look. Think how different that world would feel. Think how different that world would be.

And all it takes is for each one of us to cultivate a positive outlook.

If you wish to live in a world where the majority of people you meet, hang out with, and spend time with are positive and uplifting, if you wish to feel good every day because you surround yourself with people who vibrate at a similar frequency to you, then you need to be proactive, you need to instigate the change within yourself by cultivating a positive outlook.

And how do you do that? Well, as always, the best advice comes from the very beings who vibrate at the highest possible frequency – the angels, our spirit team, the divine; the energetic beings who always walk the talk.

Are you ready to hear what they have to share? Are you ready to take that first (or next) step?

Can creating a gratitude practice help you create a positive outlook?

I wrote an article recently, one of a number of articles I share with anyone who joins my Start Monday with Gratitude experience. And that article talked about (and debunked) some of the myths surrounding the concept of gratitude.

One of those myths is that gratitude is just another form of positive thinking, that it’s all sunshine and unicorns all the time, that happy thoughts are all that’s focused on.

According to this myth, gratitude ignores reality because it ignores negativity, it excludes the concept of suffering – there’s not an ounce of negativity or suffering to be found in sunshine and unicorns, right?

However, this simply couldn’t be further from the truth.

Research has shown that people who truly practice gratitude, who make gratitude a daily ritual, they understand and appreciate just how interwoven and interconnected our lives are. And that means that if someone on the other side of the world is suffering, that suffering touches you also.

However, gratitude also teaches and trains us to look at things from a different perspective. One of the world’s leading scientific experts on gratitude, Robert Emmons, has concluded, "When people are grateful, they aren’t necessarily free of negative emotions—we don’t find that they necessarily have less anxiety or less tension or less unhappiness. Practicing gratitude magnifies positive feelings more than it reduces negative feelings."

Alongside the desire to cultivate a positive outlook, wouldn’t you also prefer to have your positive feelings magnified?

Creating an attitude to gratitude is much more than saying thank you when occasions and situations present themselves. It means embracing gratitude and making it part of your very essence, part of your core.

And that’s something I offer through my Start Monday with Gratitude experience.

Making something part of your very essence, something that comes as naturally as the air you breathe, isn’t something that you can cultivate overnight. It takes time, patience, and commitment. And only those who give it that time, patience, and commitment can, at the end of this experience, walk away a different person.

However, just because something takes time, patience, and commitment, it doesn’t mean you can’t fit it into your life, that it’s all-consuming. Changes you make in your life, gradually, tend to last whereas overnight changes quickly fade. So, whilst you don’t need to devote a lot of time each and every day to cultivating an attitude to gratitude, it does require commitment over time. And that’s why I have created this year-long experience.

If you are ready to change your life for the better, if you’re ready to live a life that is more fulfilling and more abundant, then take your first step.

Through the Start Monday with Gratitude experience, you shall receive musings, inspirational quotes, upbeat music to dance to each and every week. And based on that you’ll be guided through short daily exercises which will cement your attitude to gratitude.

On top of that are articles you can digest about all things ‘gratitude’ and an amazing, in-depth 1hr 45minute masterclass all about energy.

The doors of the Start Monday with Gratitude year-long experience are waiting for you to open them and walk through. I invite you to open them, walk on through, and change your life?

Viv xx