Those of you who know me well will know that I love to shop. I know it’s shallow and vacuous but I just love a bit of retail therapy. So it was a good indicator of how out of balance my life had been that I’d had a clutch of Liberty vouchers* burning a hole in my bag for four months. Now that I had the luxury of glorious time, top of my list was a day all to myself and an indulgent browse around one of my all-time favourite shops (mainly window shopping you understand, my budget far under weighs my desire).
Shopaholics among you will recognise the sheer delight I felt as I walked in to Liberty’s with money in my pocket to spend. I had a huge grin on my face and practically skipped through the doors. I wandered leisurely through my favourite departments, stroking the things I knew I couldn’t afford and pausing a bit longer around those things that were in budget. And then I started getting a bit fidgety, nothing was catching my eye. Nothing was giving me shopper’s delight. Don’t panic. Another wander around. Nothing. I had to stop for an emergency cup of tea at this point and take stock. After all this crap had I really lost the shopping bug? This was serious.
Feeling more than a little despondent I decided that today wasn’t the day and I should just take myself elsewhere. As I made my way out (in a right grump let me tell you) I walked through the stationery department. I love stationery. I couldn’t believe I hadn’t thought to come in here already. I felt the buzz return. And as I took my final turn around department, there it was. A large, heavy, hard-backed navy journal. Even though I hadn’t had it in my mind to buy a notebook, as soon as I caught a first glance at it I knew that this was what I had come to Liberty’s to find.
This isn’t just a notebook. It’s a Happiness Planner**. It’s solid, gold ring-bound and full of purpose. As soon as I opened the box it came in and turned the first page I was in love with it. I handed over my coins and skipped out of the store as happily as I had skipped in. Many of you may find this a stretch, but I have found in my life that there are times when objects find us. Important items of jewellery that have been lost; the forgotten £5 note in your pocket when you need it most. Well, the Happiness Planner found me just when I needed it most.
This is what I read when I opened that first page:
The Happiness Planner
Focus on what makes you happy
Life is never an easy road. Sometimes it’s hard to stay positive when things don’t go as we hope they will. If we allow ourselves to become lost in worry, negativity can consume us. However, with practice and intention, we can remind ourselves to be mindful, grateful, and to look at the positive side of things rather than letting ourselves get carried away by worries because they can consume us.
Those words went straight to my heart.
As soon as I left the shop I headed for the nearest café, paid a extortionate amount of money for a mug of builder’s tea and parked myself between the MacBooks with my big, fat, happiness journal. I got out my fountain pen (I am SO last century) and let it all pour out. The journal asked me: what makes you happy? what makes you unhappy? what are your strengths? your weaknesses? what are you grateful for? what habits do you want to improve? what are you proud of? what are your dreams?
I got lost in that café and I came out with a clear mind and strong heart. This journal was going to be my guide through this adventure. I religiously capture my weekly look ahead, and back, in it. It is a space in which I can step back, reflect. And I am certain that I wouldn’t be this far on in this journey without it.
So Mick really knew what he was talking about when he told us that we can’t always get what we want, but if we try sometimes, we might find, we get what we need.
* Because this is Liberty, they aren’t vouchers, or cards they are beautiful, solid, chunky coins that make you feel like the queen of everything
** I’m not on commission I promise! But if you want to kick yourself in to action I really would recommend a Happiness Planner