Food, Fallacy and Foolishness!

As a society we have become completely spoiled when it comes to food.  We consume it with hedonistic abandon, and treat it with very little respect.  During the last couple of decades, our attitude towards food and eating has become completely skewed.  In short, we take it utterly for granted.

Growing up in Ireland in the 80’s, money was short and people learned to make do with what they had.  A pot of stew supplied four meals (two dinners and two lunches.)  Sunday’s roast was refashioned into casseroles, curries and sandwiches.  Nothing was wasted and nobody ever complained about eating the same meal two nights running.

I am now in the second week of a Lifestyle Coaching program I am running with a company in Dublin.  When we launched the program, I decided I would take part along side them, and “walk the walk,” as it were.  It came to the first weekend, and I was about to set off for my grocery shopping.  In readiness for this, I was standing at the fridge, with a thrash bag in my hand, preparing to throw away all of the uneaten food from the previous week.  To my astonishment, there wasn’t any!   We had eaten pretty much everything.  This is probably the first time EVER that this has happened.

My initial reaction was “oh my God, we nearly ran out of food, I better buy more this week.”  But then it dawned on me, this was the first time I had actually gotten it spot on.  If your fridge resembles Old Mother Hubbard’s cupboard come shopping day, you’re doing it right.  If, like me, you end up having to throw away a black bag of food, just so you can fit the new food, you are getting it terribly wrong!  When the realisation of this sank in, I felt both shame and stupidity in equal measure.

So where does this wanton wastefulness stem from?  I certainly wasn’t brought up with it, that is for sure.  I am beginning to think our generation is plagued by the paradox of choice.  So many available options causing us to devalue what we already have.  It is the classic thing of going and buying €200 worth of groceries and then hitting up the McDonald’s drive thru on the way home.  All of the food which was too tempting to leave of the supermarket shelves, instantly obsolete once a “better,” more convenient option has been presented.

Perhaps it is the remnants of our Celtic Tiger hangover, which has completely inverted our value system when it comes to food.  At its most fundamental level, food is fuel.  It powers every function in the human body from respiration to reproduction.  Should it be enjoyable, yes of course it should.  But pleasure is not its only function.  We, as a collective, to have managed to completely separate food from its utility.  We increasingly seem to want to eat purely for pleasure.

Clever corporations have cottoned on to this.  It is impossible to turn on your TV, scroll through your phone or even walk down the street without a barrage of advertising messages assaulting you.  Never before has overly processed, highly palatable, nutrient deficient “food” been so cheap or so readily available.  Fast food outlets churn out obscene amounts of food to us, while we let our fresh produce rot in our fridges.  It is not uncommon for typical families to be eating take out 2-3 nights a week.

We are being fooled into thinking that outsourcing our nutrition is the easy option.  Believe me when I tell you, it ain’t.  I brown bag my lunch every day, and have done for a good few years now.  I have a few tried and tested menu options, which I know will fill me up and fuel my training.  It does not bother me to eat the same few things all the time.  I know what I need to buy each week, I prepare it quickly and I don’t have to think about it.  It’s easy.  If I didn’t bring lunch with me, I would spend the morning wondering what I was going to eat.  I would have to go out to get it, which can be a pain in the ass.  I would create stress worrying if what I was eating was supporting my goals, and I would be spending a fortune.  The complete opposite of easy, if you ask me!

You might ask “do you not get bored eating the same thing?” and truthfully the answer is not really.  Breakfast and lunch, for me, are utility meals.  High quality food, in well constructed meals, designed to get me through the day.  I know only too well that I a have limited supply of both decision making ability and creativity, so I prefer to use these for pleasure meals.  Dinners with my husband and meals out with friends.  Not every morsel we consume needs to be worthy of a death row dinner.

The last few weeks has given me a real opportunity to evaluate my own food behaviours.  I have had some exposure to the homeless crisis in our Capital and wasted food really bothers me.  However, I honestly believe that unless we revert to the old ways, we will keep on filling up those black bags.  Unless we begin again to appreciate food and all that it does for our health and well being, we will keep allowing ourselves to be sold to.  Big corporations do not care about our goals.  It is up to us to be the gatekeepers of our own refrigerators.  Be well xxx







2016: Curves, Conflicts and Context

As the end of the year approaches, I find myself reflecting on the past twelve months.  Revisiting resolutions and making judgments on goals set this time last year.  I try to look back on the year about to close as objectively as I can.  I ask myself what have I learned?  What did I achieve?  Am I closer to where I want to be than I was back in the dark days of January?

This year, for the first time, I am having trouble answering these questions.  You see, the goals at the start of this year were pretty much the same as they are every January.  I am always very interested in making improvements to my overall health and fitness, and so I set goals to work towards this.  Namely, I wanted to lose weight and I wanted to increase my fitness.

Did I achieve these goals?  The answer is, not really.  I started the year at about 62kg and I am finishing it at about 60kg.  So, nothing too note worthy there.  2kg weight loss in an entire year is slow by anyone’s standards.  What about the fitness then?  Did I make some noticeable progress in this area?  Am I able to go faster, or longer, or harder?  Again, the answer to this is not really.  If I was being completely honest, I would say I would be lucky if I have managed to maintain the level of fitness I had when I rang in 2016.

In the past, this realisation that I have “failed” to achieve my goals would have sent me spiraling into self pity, self loathing and self destruction!  I would have been lamenting and crying and declaring myself a hopeless case.  I mean, I only had two things I wanted to achieve, and I succeeded at neither.  What the hell happened?  In a word, LIFE!

I have come to understand that taking a snap shot of where you are at either end of the year can be a useful tool, but it is extremely limited.  It doesn’t take into account the other 363 days, when life is actually happening.  It doesn’t allow for any context.  Neither does it reflect the learning and growth which has occurred in other areas.  Just because you didn’t write something down as a “goal” at the beginning of the year, doesn’t make it meaningless.

Let me explain what I mean.  In January, this blog was just an idea and the YouTube channel was yet to be conceived of.  I hadn’t even contemplated giving cookery lessons.  I was blissfully unaware that I would have an injury, which would significantly restrict my training.  I had no idea that I was about to embark on two distinct and completely different courses of study.  In short, I had no idea of everything which was about to come my way.

These may all sound like excuses for not having achieved my goals, and truthfully, it is hard for me not to dismiss them as such myself.  A huge part of me wants to scold myself for allowing distractions to get in my way.  Surely if I had been truly committed, nothing could have stopped me?

In the stillness and quiet, I have spent time trying to reconcile this conflict.  How can we stay committed to our goals while remaining open to new opportunities which come our way?  How can we prevent our determination from turning into dogmatism?  The answer to this, for me, is to change the way I look at goals, and goal setting in general.  Instead of listing out thing I want to achieve, and dutifully ticking them off, I have tried instead to look at where I want to be, and use this as the litmus test when deciding to pursue a certain course of action.

In Simon Sinek’s book, Start With Why, he refers to this as the “celery test.”  It is the process of determining whether your actions move you closer to your overall goals or not.  So for me, I could ask if doing physio for my hip injury, and listening to the professional advice of restricting training, would ultimately help me to get fitter and stronger.  I think it will.  I could also ask myself if taking courses, writing blogs and teaching classes moves me towards my goal of helping other people to achieve their own fitness goals.  Again, I believe the answer to be yes.

Regular readers will have heard me say before that progress is often non linear.  We can often feel like we are taking one step forward and two steps back.  Putting emphasis on one aspect of life, naturally means something else may move out of focus.  Growth and improvement present learning curves, often steep ones.  But if we can try to put our goals at the centre of our actions, we won’t veer too far off course.

When I think now about the year just gone, I can’t be disappointed with my progress.  I feel like I have learned so much in the past twelve months, and that I am now far better equipped to handle whatever the future has in store for me.  So as it comes time to pen those resolutions, think hard about where you would like to be come Christmas 2017.  Choose actions through the year, which support this.  But remember, nothing is set in stone.  Life has it’s own plan, so be ready to roll with the punches.  Be well and Merry Christmas xxx


Seasonal Sabotage!

The time to Eat, Drink and be Merry is just about upon us.  This is the time of year when we get to relax and enjoy spending time with family and friends.  A time when the diet relaxes and the training tends to wind down.  I think it is important to have this time as a psychological break.  A season of feast and plenty, before getting right back on it in the New Year.  But, how can we manage to avoid ruining an entire year’s hard work, while still having fun?  How can we avoid feeling like we are missing out, without ending up with a stocking full of regret?  This is probably the tenth Christmas I have spent in  “weight management” mode, so I have learned a few things to help me over the years.

Firstly, be realistic:  There is very little point in promising yourself that this year you absolutely WILL NOT over indulge.  Swearing to yourself that not one Quality Street will cross your lips and the Christmas Dinner will consist only of meat and veg.  In my experience, trying to be overly restrictive in the run up to Christmas only leads to me end up diving head first into a trifle and reaching for the stretchy pants.  I have found that a far better strategy is to decide, ahead of time, which of the Christmas treats I absolutely must have.  I then allow myself to have these and actively avoid the rest.  For me, this is the turkey and ham sandwich on Christmas night, made by my super sister, I look forward to it all year.  You can keep the dessert, but if I don’t get my sandwich, did Christmas even happen?

Beware of the Bargains:  Growing up, the tin of sweets at Christmas was a really big deal.  It was the only time of year you could get them.  They would be bought ahead of time, but on pain of death, we were never allowed to open them until Christmas Eve.  Since I have moved out, I never bother buying them.  Between work and our family homes, there is more than enough junk floating around to satisfy even the sweetest tooth.  This year, however, I began to wonder if this was a little churlish.  Was I a complete Grinch to not even have a single sweet in the house.  I thought to myself I will pick up one tin, sure what harm?  I went to the supermarket and saw they were 3 for €15!  Wow, what a bargain!!  In the space of about 4 seconds, I had gone from not buying any, to buying 3 whole tins.  Luckily, I came to my senses and abandoned my purchase.

I will never forget a leader in Weight Watchers talking about buy one get one free tins of Pringles.  She said when she looked at it all she saw was “44 points for the price of 22.”  It really isn’t a good deal if you end up eating more than you intended to and feeling bad about it.  Don’t let the marketers draw you in to ruining your progress.

Let work days be “normal” days:  I will admit that routine is an absolute saviour of mine.  Automating as many decisions about food as I can has made maintaining my weight so much easier than relying on will power alone.  Every work day I have the same breakfast, and one of 2-3 different homemade lunches.  I don’t deviate from this just because it is December.  It helps me a lot to feel like at least some parts of my diet can be consistent regardless of the season.  If I were to abandon this for the month, I know I would feel completely out of control.

Offices are a minefield for the diet conscious at the best of times, and Christmas is the worst.  Across the country mince pies and selection boxes are being passed around with abandon.  My advice, and something I have always had to do, is just give it a wide berth.  I would always prefer to indulge in sweets and treats consciously.  Sitting at home relaxing with a nice cuppa and the fur babies.  Not while on a conference call and trying to get a balance sheet worked out.

Practice the one bite rule:  If you take a bite of something, (especially if it’s calorie laden) and you don’t really love it, stop eating it.  If you take a slice of grannies fruit cake and it’s as dry as the Mojave desert, proclaim it delicious and yourself still full from dinner, and leave it alone.  Calories are too precious to be wasted on things which don’t make you make yummy noises.

Remember that Christmas is ONE DAY:  I have lost count of the number of times I have heard people saying that there is “no point trying to be good in December!”  This simply is not true.  When you think about it, it is one day, one dinner and maybe a party or two.  When you consider that on average in December, we will eat over 100 meals, it puts the big one into a little perspective.  There is only so much damage you can do in a day (even if you do my trifle dive) a whole month ,on the other hand, is a completely different story.  If you make a decision to abandon all your good habits in December, you can expect to have a significant backslide with your results.  If you make this decision, accept that it is a decision and own it.  Christmas did not do it to you!

Move on:  Whatever happens over Christmas, it’s not the end of the world.  Even if you eat and drink far more than you had intended and if the scales calls you out on it, it’s not terminal.  Win, lose or draw this silly season, allow yourself to move on.  The worst thing we can do is fall into the familiar negative feedback loop of self loathing.  When 2017 comes in, be mentally ready to attack it, not wasting energy worrying about what you ate last year.

Lastly, enjoy:  I for one am so ready for the break at Christmas.  Having a few days away from work, watching old movies in my pj’s sounds like just what the doctor ordered.  This is the time of year to catch up with friends and family and relax.  Reflect on the year just gone and get ready for the one to come.  However you will be spending this holiday season, enjoy it, for it comes but once a year.  Be well xxx



Half Weigh!

So here I am, exactly half way through my 28 day cutting phase.  At the start of the phase I weighed in at 59.9kg, and today the scales read 58.8kg.  A drop of just over a kilo so far, and almost exactly  on target to achieve my goal of 2kgs weight loss by the end of the cycle.  This however, does not tell the whole story.

I have spent a lot of time writing about and talking about the fact that weight loss is often non-linear.  I have also spent a lot of time talking about how sometimes no matter how on point you are with your inputs (diet, exercise, fluid intake, sleep etc.) the outputs are not what you would have expected.  All of this knowledge and experience, however, didn’t really prepare me for what has happened in my body over the past few weeks.  Let me tell you how it’s really been going.

The 28 day cut officially started 2 weeks ago.  I spent the week before it started getting myself organised.  I tested out meals and menus to make sure they fit my calorie and macro targets.  I worked on getting my mindset sorted.  I cleared out any foods from my home, which I felt threatened to derail me.  (I generally don’t keep junk food in the house, so this wasn’t hugely difficult.)  I used this week to plan and prepare so that when the cut kicked in, I would be as ready as I could be.

I have to say I found this first week (week minus 1) a bit of a challenge.  I experienced hunger, low energy and brain fog for the first 3 days in particular.  Some of this hunger was undoubtedly real, as I was in a caloric deficit, but some of it was definitely in my head.  When we start any diet or cut, we spend a lot of time thinking about food for the initial few days.  This can make us feel hungrier than we really are.  By about day 4, this had passed, my energy levels were recovering and I was settling in to things.

The next week (week 1) presented a different challenge for me.  I was on a very rare week off from work.  I was determined to eat as well as possible, which I did.  However, as we were on holidays, I had a drink or two most evenings.  This would have put me at my maintenance calories, or perhaps a little over.  I track my weight each morning, so I could see it was holding fairly steady, apart from the small daily fluctuations that you would expect to see.  I was not expecting to achieve weight loss during this week, so when I weighed in that Sunday at 59.6kg, I was totally fine with it.  Nothing could have prepared me for what happened next.

On Monday morning I got up early as it was my first say back in work, stood on the scales and it read 61.4kg!  I couldn’t believe it.  I had literally put on 2kg overnight.  Now rationally I know that this CANNOT be possible.  In order to put on that amount of weight in one day, I would have needed to over eat by about 15,000 calories.  I certainly did not do that.  I tried not to freak out.  I tried to tell myself it was a weird blip and that all would be fine by the next day.  Imagine my horror then when on Tuesday the scale said 61.5kg.  This is when I started to sort of lose it. What the hell was going on?  I haven’t weighed over 61kg in months and now suddenly, when I am actually trying to lose weight, tracking my food and doing everything as close to right as I can, I PUT ON  2 KILOS!!!!!

“Breathe Arwen, just relax, trust the process and you will get the prize.  Resist the urge to say F This and reach for the nearest chocolate bar.  Give it time, you have 3 more weeks to do.  See what happens at the end and make a decision about what to do then.”  This was my mantra and believe me when I tell you, I repeated it to myself numerous times over those couple of days.  Wednesday came and the scales happily reported 60.5kg.  Phew! It looked like maybe things were starting to normalise, thank God!  For the rest of last week, my weight continued to drop each day until by Friday, I had reached 59.8kg.  Almost my exact starting weight, after nearly 3 weeks of hard work.

Why did this happen?  I don’t know for sure, but I do have a theory.  While I was on my week off, I made the decision to change my birth control.  I had been using a Mirena coil for about 8 years, and I decided to have that removed and start using oral contraception instead.  Both of these birth control methods contain hormones, but very different ones.  I think that making this change may have resulted in some fluid retention, but honestly, who knows!

So, why am I telling you all of this?  I could have posted a 2 line update saying “everything is great, 1.1kg down and on track for my target weight loss!”  This would have been the truth, but it would not have been the whole truth.  There are far too many voices out there trying to convince us that changing our lifestyles and our bodies should be easy.  I am here to tell you that it’s not.  There will be times when you will feel frustrated and deflated.  You may feel, like I have during this phase, that your body is working against you.  The difference between success and failure during these times is in keeping your head.  Patience, persistence and consistency are what is going to get you to your goal, not lotions, potions skinny teas.

I have to say that being part of the group, has really helped me to stay the course during this up and down week.  I didn’t want to let the other guys down by throwing in the towel.  Whether they knew it or not, they were holding me accountable and keeping me focused.  My advice for anyone trying to make a change, whether you are just starting out or you are a seasoned veteran is this:  Trust your process.  Leverage your network and as the wise man says “All will be well.”






Locked In

A funny thing happened to me last week at the gym.  I had popped into the bathroom before class, and as I was leaving the key got stuck in the door.  It literally only took me about 5 seconds to unstick it and release the lock, but in that time I had managed to work myself up into a frenzied state.  Panic rose up in my chest and I could feel tears threatening.  The experience left me feeling a little shaken and very foolish.

I mentioned it to one of my coaches, sort of making a joke out of it.  He innocently asked me if I had ever gotten locked in a bathroom as a child, and funnily enough I had.  I had almost forgotten that as a young child I had locked myself in the bathroom of a family friend’s house.  I ended up having to throw the key out the bathroom window, so my mother could retrieve it and rescue her traumatized child!  My mother never liked locked doors.  She feared that in the unlikely event of a fire, she wouldn’t be able to get to us.  So, I would have been quite unused to the feeling of being trapped somewhere.

Having spoken to my coach, it amazed me to realise that almost 30 years later, this experience is still effecting me.  Don’t get me wrong, it’s not “ruining my life” or making me want to run to a shrink or anything, but it has clearly left a little imprint on me.  It made me start to wonder how many other marks I might have picked up over the years.  How much of my current behaviour is determined by past events?  How often do we repeat the same patterns of behaviour, without even realising we do it?

One such pattern of behaviour that I seem to be locked in to has revealed itself recently.  As many regular readers will know, I have struggled with my weight for many years.  Lately, I have come to realise that each and every time I get to within a kilo or two of my goal weight, I just stop.  I stall at first and then I actually begin to go backwards.  I start doing ridiculous things like ordering take out twice a week and drinking far more than I normally would.  I can’t focus on my training, and I get into a negative feedback loop.  I feel like a loser for not being able to continue making progress.  I question my commitment.  I ask myself how could I be so stupid?  I know full well that my actions are not in congress with my goals, but yet I can’t seem to straighten myself out.

Why is it that I do this?  Truthfully, I am not entirely sure.  One theory I have is that I am scared to reach the finish line.  What if it doesn’t feel as good as I thought it would?  What if I am still not happy with myself?  What will I do then?  Maybe it’s because I have been actively trying to loose weight for so long, that I don’t quite know what I will do with myself when this is over?

Truthfully though the why, in this case, doesn’t really matter.  Sure it’s certainly interesting and possibly insightful to know that the reason I freaked out about being locked in was because of a past event.  However, knowing this isn’t going to set me free any sooner!  Life puts obstacles and stumbling blocks in our way all the time.  Some are external and some are internal.  Understanding the reason they got there is all very well and good, but knowing how to get around them is far more powerful.

I have come to understand lately, that each time this obstacle cropped up for me, I have tried to tackle it in the same way.  Like the very definition of insanity, continually doing the same thing and expecting different results.  I would fight and struggle and push and strain trying to get this damn thing out of the way.  Like the unstoppable force when it meets the immovable object, I was relentless.  Until eventually, my energy depleted and I would be left exhausted, defeated and no closer to the goal.

Sisyphus, in Greek mythology, was a sinner.  As punishment for his sins, he was condemned to spend all of eternity pushing a heavy boulder up hill, only to watch it roll back down again.  Forever locked in a cycle of exerting enormous energy, only to see it all come to nothing.  I can’t help wondering just how many of us have condemned ourselves to the same fate?  How many of us continually try to force the obstacles we encounter out of our path, instead of trying to find a way to simply go around them.

For me, encountering this same stumbling block again, I have decided to face it with a different perspective.  It’s a familiar adversary by now, and I have come to know how it plays the game.  I have decided instead of trying to tackle it head on, I will go under it, or over it, or around it.  I will, in short, do the exact opposite of what I have done until now.  In the past, I would have beaten myself up for all of the things I felt I was doing wrong.  This time, I am keeping a gratitude journal, and writing each day about the things which I felt went well.  During previous battles, I would have tortured myself for hours each night in the gym.  This time, I am focusing on enjoying my workouts and having fun.  I take walks at lunchtime to clear my head and get into the sun, not to “burn calories.”

I know that this phase will pass, so I will conserve my energy for when I come out the other side.  Will this strategy work?  Who knows!  But at least I will know I have tried something different this time.  As unpleasant as the thought may be, our past experiences shape us.  Like tiny threads, woven into the fabric, trying to unpick them may cause more harm than good.  However, when we become aware of a pattern of behaviour, which we have become locked in to, we have an opportunity to choose to do something else instead xxx



Big, Fat BUTS!

My father was born in California and has always held some of the wide-eyed optimism associated with America’s West Coast.  I lost count of the number of times growing up I heard him proclaim the Irish to be a “Nation of begrudgers!”  Unfortunately, I must admit that I have often found this to be the case myself.  People never seem to like to see their neighbours or friends doing well, or getting “ideas” about themselves.  It is only recently, however, that I have begun to notice how often we do this to ourselves.

We cheat ourselves out of celebrating our achievements with alarming regularity.  I remember the Weight Watchers meetings.  Sitting there waiting on the others to be weighed in.  They would come back and take their seats to a chorus of “well, how did you get on?”  It seemed that no matter what the weight loss was, the person always followed it up with a big fat BUT!  “I lost 5lbs, BUT I was expecting more,” or “Down 2st now, BUT still a long way to go.”

Slimmers do this too when they buy new clothes.  They will slide into a sleek size ten and no sooner then they have it zipped up then they will start exclaiming “Ah, BUT the sizes are big in here!”  Ok, yes, I acknowledge dress sizes can be whacky at times.  You can pull two seemingly identical dresses off the rack and one will fit and one won’t.  This can be frustrating and certainly I wouldn’t be surprised to fit into a dress one size bigger or smaller than normal.  However, if you were a size 18 in the past and you are now strutting around the fitting room in a 10, this is not a sizing issue.  This is what I call a “Hell Yeah moment!”

Believe me when I tell you, these moments don’t come around too often, so enjoy them to the fullest when they do.  I am not sure what it is that prevents us from doing exactly this.  Is it that we don’t want to be perceived as vain or arrogant?  Could it be that we don’t want make others, who may be struggling, feel bad?  Or is it simply that we feel we don’t deserve it?

Other areas of lifestyle change can also suffer these effects.  It seems that every time I try to learn something new, be it double unders or pull ups or handstands, I say to myself “if I could just get one, I would be so happy”  What happens in reality, is that no sooner have I done one, than I want to string ten together!  Of course a certain amount of this is healthy.  It’s good to keep pushing yourself and to want to progress.  But there is also a lot to be said for taking a beat to celebrate what you have just achieved.  You don’t need to run around the gym high five-ing everyone in sight, but a little Hell yeah is definitely encouraged.

This self deprecation, whatever the cause, is not limited to health and fitness.  We take the wind out of our own sails in work, relationships and personal achievements too.  In fact, I would find it difficult to find an area of my own life, which has not been subjected to this treatment.  You know how it is?  Yes, it’s great that you got a new car, BUT it’s not brand new.  Yes, it’s wonderful to get a promotion, BUT it didn’t come with as big a raise as you were hoping for.  We constantly begrudge ourselves our own happiness.  It’s relentless and it’s crazy.

Mindfulness and gratitude are very topical at the moment.  Everyone is reminding us to appreciate all we have.  I can’t help wondering though, if we may be forgetting something important.  I wonder do we ever take the time to be grateful for ourselves.  To celebrate the milestones and to acknowledge the work that went into bringing them about.  I saw a Robin Sharma quote recently that said “Don’t live the same year 75 times and call it a life.”  I was struck by how simple and powerful this message is.  These little achievements, that we are so quick to but away, are what will set the years apart from each other.

In life there will always be someone ready to talk you down.  Try not to add your own voice to the dissenting rabble.  I am just as guilty of this as anyone else.  So, I am setting myself a challenge.  For the next 30 days, if I receive a compliment, I will just say “thank you!”  I will not try to brush it off, or even tell the person that it was €3 in Penneys!  More importantly, for the next month every time I achieve something, no matter how small I will be grateful.  I will acknowledge the moment and be present in it.  NO BUTS.  Why not try this with me?  Perhaps we may see the world reflected more positively when we stop trying to take the good out of it xxx