Posted on May 09, 2020

Lockdown life - Things that made me smile today

Boat

Belinda's lockdown journal daily gratitude posts

In reverse order, here are my daily ikigai inspired positive mindset posts from the start of the self-isolation then lockdown requirements in Portugal as a result of the global Covid19 pandemic. If you are someone who suffers from negative thought patterns at times, I hope they help to give an idea of how you could shift your thinking to a more positive outlook.


Today I’m grateful for:

~ my decision not to harvest the flowers from this thistle yet because I spent a very enjoyable 10 minutes watching a little bird happily flitting in and out of it, pecking away at the flowers 😍
~ the fact that the forecast rain held off so that I could weed the veg beds and pick & dry some more flowers without getting wet 😅
~ nature therapy helping me to think and problem-solve and grow and get more creative 💚

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Things that made me smile today:

~ the sun
~ the moon
~ tiny little olive flower stars

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Today I’m grateful for:

~ my bed! Just got in it after a long day and oh, it’s bliss 😃
~ homegrown spinach! 🌱
~ the moon! 🌕
~ not being afraid of spiders anymore, so I could catch the ENORMOUS one that decided to share the sofa with me tonight and release it to freedom 😳

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Things that made me smile today:

~ another interesting sky 💙
~ kids from the village being allowed to run free and into my garden to say hello again ❤️
~ birds chattering to me and fluttering round me
~ trees feeding me 💚

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Today I’m grateful for:

~ yoga, because through yoga I’ve met some of the loveliest people 🤗
~ Ellie Gill Natural Beauty & Wellbeing and Botanica Health for giving me the final push I needed to get the Relaxscape online Eco Loja (shop) going, bringing you a taste of Relaxscape into your home 💚
~ Inês Branco again because just look at these beautiful labels she’s designed for the teas! 😍
~ the wonderful people who have ordered from the shop already, I really really appreciate the support, thank you 😘 (your orders are on their way!)
~ Tomar Natural and Guincho Outdoor for being happy for me to stock their lovely products, thank you 🙏
~ Fatima Pedro because she’s helped & supported me & Relaxscape from day 1 and is a great cook 😋

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Things that made me smile today:

~ hot hot hot! Being able to wear shorts again & not much else 😎
~ trusting intuition & saying yes to chance encounters...you never know where they may lead 🤗
~ labels 🙌😍
~ watching the sunset with a glass of wine and listening to the night chorus on a warm, balmy night
~ NOT jávalis
~ my new favourite pastime of picking & playing with pretty leaves and wild flowers 😃🌼

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Today I’m grateful for:

~ gifts of homemade bread (obrigada Tia Alice & Dulce!) and homemade wine, from neighbours in my lovely village 🍷
~ it being warm enough (finally!) for a delicious dip in the silky waters of the river lake 💙
~ thoughtful friends 🤗

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Things that made me smile today

~ my sister Jocelyne 🤗
~ dancing, even if it was just for a little while 💃
~ growing things (that I can then eat or drink 😋) 🌱
~ creating new, pretty, exciting things (thanks to the help of the talented Inês Branco)
~ saudades of the Festa do Cardal this time last year ❤️

May 2020

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Things that made me smile today:

~ my lovely village neighbours, and the way they like to keep up local traditions, even tho this year they had to do it separately not together ❤️
~ finally found my way through the sky high grass to discover the bottom of my land again 😅💚
~ more vibrant wildflowers, I just can’t bring myself to cut them down so I hope I don’t get fined for not clearing all my land! 😁

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Things I’m grateful for today

~ having this time, to put things in perspective and have the space to reflect and plan and get things properly set up and organised instead of always feeling like I’m chasing my tail
~ a building team who helped me to plan ahead with extra fixtures & fittings that I might need “no futuro” which now it turns out are indeed going to be useful ❤️🙏 (thank you Electrogodinhos, Lda and José Vicente Building Contractor 😃)
~ nature, for being bountiful in so many different ways

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Things that made me smile today:

~ receiving this beautiful hand painted card from Lisa Bolden 😍👏😘
~ tiny little oranges starting to grow on the tree 💚🍊
~ being able to see the bottom of the garden again finally 😅
~ seeing things I’ve planted starting to pop up, but can’t for the life of me remember what it was I planted there! (Samba wasn’t much help either) 🌱
~ falling asleep in front of the fire after a hard day’s work which explains this late post 😄😴

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Things I’m grateful for today:

~ Susan and Paul Verdeyen for always being so lovely 🤗
~ having the courage to throw my life up in the air and start again in Portugal...and then to have the strength, resourcefulness and support from family & friends to start again in Portugal again 😅
~ being interested in learning different skills throughout my life that are coming in useful now (have you seen Relaxscape’s new online Eco Loja? 😁www.etsy.com/shop/RelaxscapeEcoLoja)
~ that not all the lenses are broken on my phone’s camera, so at least I can still take some photos of the beautiful nature in this beautiful corner of paradise 💚

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Things that made me smile today:

~ the smell of lemon balm and lavender
~ foraging borage
~ fresh physalis
~ tongue twisters 😛

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Today I am grateful for:

~ knowing some very creative and caring people 😍
~ olive blossom bursting like tiny little stars all over my trees
~ unexpected friendships
~ serendipity
~ making good progress with the never-ending bloody grass! 😅

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Things that warmed my heart today:

~ the kindness of people I have met here
~ speaking to real people out loud! 😅
~ lavender
~ tea
~ clouds lit up at sunset
~ making plans...things will work themselves out eventually

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Things that made me smile today:

~ my regular group of Monday/Thursday morning yoga pupils, who keep coming back for more even tho I made them do side plank for far too long today 😅🙏
~ treasure that the workmen yesterday discovered in an outbuilding they were clearing and couldn’t wait to show me 🤗😀
~ my curly kale which is looking and tasting great 👌💚
~ my potatoes that I was almost giving up hope on have finally burst though 😅

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Today I am grateful for:

~ being strong in more ways than one
~ the good times I’ve had and more good times to come
~ nature in all her tiny wildflower glory

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Things that made me smile today

~ ideas & plans and having people to share them with 🤓💡
~ oranges & lemons and my homemade limoncello 🍊🍋
~ too cloudy for meteor showers but nice to stand and listen to the night 🌚✨

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Things I’m grateful for today

~ that Florence came back even though she ran straight off again
~ the fabulous Susan Verdeyen’s green-fingered generosity and mask-making skills 💚🌱😷
~ David Aderneira for showing me my first ever firefly 🌟

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Things that made me smile today:

~ blue skies and oliveira buds 💙💚
~ encouraging friends 🤗
~ working by the plunge pool and thinking back to the people who helped me build it (and the laughs we had) and thinking ahead to a time when people will be able to come and enjoy it again 😎🍹🏖

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I’m grateful today for:

~ Being able to use Warrior 2 yoga pose to help me to balance on a steep bank while cutting grass with a sharp sickle! 😅
~ catching golden hour sunbeams again
~ the fact that every person I’ve met has in some way influenced my life or taught me something - it’s something I’ve been pondering on all afternoon while I’ve been cutting the grass down 🙂
~ karma

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Things that made me smile today:

~ it didn’t rain as much as was forecast 👍
~ but still was good to light a fire tonight to take the edge off, which was made possible by Helder Manuel José Cartaxo Obrigada 🙏
~ the roses are looking good thanks to some pruning advice I will always remember from Philip Oostenbrink 💚
~ camels (picture for illustration purpose only. Actual camel may vary)
~ a red squirrel that keeps chattering to me
~ the respectful Portuguese approach to Coronavirus, in fact, to life in general. We can learn a lot from their stoical, patient, “we’re all in it together” solidarity ❤️

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Today I’m grateful for being fit and healthy (and for having made the effort to learn about & do what I need to do to keep me fit & healthy) so I could spend all day digging and lugging stuff around the garden. It’s hard to explain unless you too enjoy gardening, quite how satisfying it has been today, just to clear and weed a big patch of ground. I feel great mentally & physically!

I’ve been pondering about it all day, and about how this confinement is affecting us all in different ways. I think it really highlights the importance of being able to live in the moment, just for today. To understand the difference between “being“ and “doing”. To understand that our purpose in life is not necessarily wrapped up in what we do, what we can achieve, but rather, how we have made the most of today. The society we live in has conditioned us to define ourselves by what we do. How successful we are, how much money we earn, what we can provide for others, how we can keep ourselves busy every day, working to maintain our lifestyle, “living the dream”. Defined by our roles in family, work, society. I think that’s why so many of us are struggling with it all being brought to an abrupt halt, suddenly we have lost our identity.

But what I’ve finally learnt I think, is that actually what serves us better, is to just be, not do. To understand who we are, what we need, not just what we do because that’s what society tells us that’s what we need. Satisfaction comes from a day well spent, absorbed in whatever activity that allows you to just be. One day at a time, until it becomes every day. And then all the other stuff that you thought you needed, just doesn’t seem so important. We only think we need it because that’s what society tells us. Try listening to what your inner self is telling you you need instead. And then you’ll start to understand who you really are too, and won’t need to be defined by what you do anymore.

One of the reasons I’m concentrating on transforming this patch of land is because it’s a great spot to watch the sun go down - I’m enjoying getting it ready for future guests to sit & have a drink & soak up the view from here...yes we need to live in the here and now, but dreams, goals and hopes are still important to keep us going and focused. 🙂 And I’m looking forward to being able to share all this beautiful restorative nature with others again 💚

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Things that made me smile today:

~ wine mostly.

I’m kidding!! 😄 Honest! 😜

~ finding €5 in a patch I am digging over to create an aromatic herb & flower garden 🙌
~ this little purring bundle of fur who relaxes with & trusts no one but me ❤️
~ my first almond I have ever grown!! 💚
~ the olive trees are about to burst into blossom - although that’s a double edged sword as they set off my hayfever something chronic 😭

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Ah man! Today I am thankful for this! All this! The sun came out at the end of a grey day, I am so lucky to be able to just step outside and climb a hill straight into the forest. On top of the world, cradled by trees, the river below. Heart singing. 💚

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Things that made me smile today:

~ raindrops on roses
~ a rainbow coloured salad
~ crows and dolphins (they made me sweat too!)
~ a supersized snail (didn’t make it go any faster though 😜)
~ making people laugh

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Today I am grateful for:

~ music
~ my crazy cats who stalked me round the garden all day making me laugh
~ satisfying manual labour digging and planting a new veg bed (we’ll see if my back agrees tomorrow!)
~ sun kissed olive trees and pink tinted clouds

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Today, lots of things made me smile, but this the most ❤️ A Zoom Friday night drinks in Scotland, London, Portugal & Spain with friends from Uni, some that I haven’t seen for 13+ years

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Things that made me smile today:

~ the talented Inês Branco 🙌
~ more raindrops
~ wildflowers out walking
~ riverside reflections

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Today I’m grateful for:

~ being able to just step outside and pick ingredients for dinner 💚
~ the sheer beauty of raindrop jewels on nasturtium leaves
~ camouflaged grasshoppers
~ the journey that I have been on so far that has made me who I am now (and knowing that there is still more to learn)

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Things that made me smile today:

~ sunshine after rain 🌤
~ my lovely river Zêzere 💙
~ not very pink moons 🌕
~ a bear 🐻

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I’m grateful tonight for my electric blanket 😛🤗
And for yellow tea
And for thoughtful people and kind gestures

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This Sunday last year it was also bucketing down with rain but the house was filled with the sunshine from all the people who came to celebrate the opening of Relaxscape with me. So many people helped me to get to that point, my beautiful sister Jocelyne & team of friends Jane, Rebecca, Ellie, Lizzy, Eliana (and gorgeous mum!), Lisa who came out the week before to help me clear up & ready after the building work; the incredibly hard working tradesmen themselves José Vicente Building Contractor Daniel Godinho Electrogodinhos, Lda, Rui pintor and his team, Nuno Santos carpinteiro and his team, Joaquim, Manel, Fernando, Gabriel & Jorge who were all still working right up to the Saturday night and who clubbed together to hire this great band Mini Brigada as a housewarming thank you for me. And then of course all my wonderful supportive neighbours who have welcomed me into this village, I am so happy to be part of this community, thank you. It was a day of pure joy and continues to be the most wonderful adventure. Let’s see what the next year brings! 💚

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Things I’m grateful for today:

~ piano teachers and lessons! 🎹🎶
~ nature, every day something else makes me pause and appreciate. Today was poppies and the other wild meadow flowers 💚 And that the cicadas are still chirping away! At nearly midnight! 😍
~ that I have this time to explore, create, catch up and contemplate.
~ the olive blossom is just about to start and we all know what that means!

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Things that made me smile today:

~ old friends, new friends, people in general (I must be mellowing! 😜)
~ the lovely man who came to install my satellite internet, turns out he’s also something to do with Red Cross & insisted on leaving me a surgical mask & gloves “in case of emergency”, so I sent him home with a load of my clementines & lemons in return
~ making good progress with my never-ending grass cutting 😅
~ a little gecko I shared a moment with 😍
~ my first strawberry of the year is nearly ripe 🍓
~ a tasty chickpea, carrot & lemon soup to finish off the day

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Things that made me smile today:

~ picking a tree full of bounty, and thinking about the person who planted it, all those years ago
~ everything has a story to tell, if we stop and listen
~ people’s resourcefulness and resilience

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Somehow I’ve managed to wipe the calendar off my phone! It feels quite liberating - who needs to know what day it is! 😜 It’s today that matters...I’m also quite enjoying the challenge of thinking more creatively and “waste not want not” about food, using up every single leftover, and ingredients I have in my cupboards that I might not otherwise cook with that often. It’s very satisfying seeing things being used up and knowing that there is plenty there with a little imagination (and fresh ingredients from the garden, I am of course very lucky with that!) to nourish me. Because after all, that’s all that’s needed. Nourishment. And since we are mostly moving a lot less than we usually do, we don’t actually need to be eating so much!

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Things that I’m grateful for today:

~ that postmen and delivery drivers are still hard at work
~ because I received this today from my mum, to let me know that she’s thinking of me
~ my family

April 2020

Things that made me smile today:

~ a toasty fire (temperatures here have plummeted today!)
~ but even then after two grey days, the sun came out at the end of the day

The sunshine always comes back, peeps, remember that. Sunnier times are ahead 💛

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Things that made me smile today:

~ lemon pasta, another tasty way to use the bountiful lemons from my trees 😋
~ bees in the orange blossom 🐝
~ a physalis that I had to transplant twice during the building work last year and thought had died is flourishing 💚

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Today, every day, I’m grateful for being here. I’m grateful for this time. For the space to breathe. To be. To think. And learn. I’m grateful for having enough, which is less than some, but far more than others.

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Things that I am grateful for today:

~ that I live here, in this magical place surrounded by trees (see the white building in the middle of the picture? Relaxscape is in amongst the trees just below it) 💚

~ Ellie Gill Natural Beauty & Wellbeing for reminding me to be true to myself 🙌

~ neighbours always willing to help out, and also for putting on this amazing display of flowers that I get to admire every day

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Things that made me grateful today:

~ my lovely Chãos yoga gang, we did our first online class together 💚
~ vitamin C straight from the tree (there’s a reason why I suffer the orange blossom 😅)
~ knowing I needed a rest day and being able to take one

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Things that made me smile today:

~ yoga at the start and at the end of the day (even tho Tomas Tealdi nearly killed me tonight with his Strengthening Drills class! 😅)
~ some left over spinach & kale that I chucked into a patch of ground that the jávalis had churned up under a tangerine tree and then forgot about are flourishing!
~ bees
~ that we are more resourceful than we might at first realise

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My day today:
~ sunny start & meditation 👍
~ fell into a black hole of grappling with technology & slooow frustrating internet connection 👎
~ neighbours being neighbourly 👍
~ listening to music & singing along 👍
~ finally got round to cutting some of the grass 👍
~ kept having to stop & repair/replace strimmer cord. Frustrating 👎
~ whenever I stopped I noticed something beautiful or heard a bird singing its heart out 👍
~ I got to be outside away from it all in beautiful surroundings 👍
~ messages from friends and shared laughter & warmth on social media 👍

Way more 👍 than 👎. Life is what you make it.

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Things that made me smile and that I am grateful for today:

~ the sun shone mostly 🌞, but
~ a rain storm happened just as I was about to start watering the garden 😜👍
~ another beautifully-scented freesia has blossomed (excuse the blurry photo, my camera is broken!)
~ I could pick some homegrown chard to have for dinner (and it was delish!)
~ because of our new online- connected, self-isolating world I got to enjoy a Yin yoga class with Tibetan bowls, in the UK with one of my favourite yoga teachers ever Yoga with Yinny (thank you Yinny, it was fab) 🙌

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Things that made me smile today: my fig tree springing into life

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Ahaha this made me laugh today, messaging with my brother: “Just need to work out how to ferment all these sodding vegetables. Alcohol kills this virus and I'd prefer to take it internally” 😄

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Bom dia! Your daily dose of Relaxscape nature for those of who you are stuck inside or in a city. And my thoughts for the day (sorry, I’m waking up very early at the moment, so it’s giving me plenty of time to meditate and think! 😅). I’ve spent some time recently doing some 1:1 coaching with a woman who wanted to understand her relationships with others better. This is one of the things we discussed:

If we are feeling hurt by someone, focus on the lesson it’s teaching us, not on the hurt we’re feeling. It makes us stronger. Also, bearing in mind that what we reflect out is what we receive back, could we have communicated better, been clearer about our needs, or our boundaries? We should try to treat everyone with loving kindness, and that includes ourselves. That means being kind and supportive, but not letting people take advantage of our good nature.

Not everyone is meant to be in your life, so we must learn to let go. And the ones who are meant to be there will make it clear 🙂 Like my friend and occasional neighbour Maria Bela Branco who painted this beautiful fox for me, and gave it to me to welcome me to the village. Now every time I look at it I smile and think of her and have a warm feeling. Thank you 🤗

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In Portugal at least we are still allowed out, provided we do it in an extremely responsible manner following all the restrictions/guidelines in place and avoiding contact with others. So go for a walk! The beautiful outside world is still there for us to enjoy and learn from. And if it’s raining, make your own sunshine. 😃

It's at times like this that you find out who is there for you. Thank you for all of you who over the last few days, have shown me that you are. It makes all the difference. We have to stay focused and positive. Things are changing but we will get through it and come out the other side. Sending love to you all xx

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Today I panic bought some Vitamin B12, a hosepipe and some cord for my grass strimmer. And went for a swim in the (really quite cold!) lake, to remind myself of how good that feels 💙

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Something I’m finding heartening is how quickly some parts of our planet seem to be repairing themselves due to the decrease in pollution and human contaminants/over-consumption, in a relatively short space of time. Please let’s try to heed this lesson. I hope we won’t all go back to our wasteful, destructive ways as soon as we are clear from the Coronavirus restrictions.

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I love the light at this time of day

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Things that made me smile today: what a sunset!

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Cheering me up today: seeing the pot of marigolds bloom that Lizzy O'Connor, Eliana and Ellie planted and thinking back to the fun we had when they were staying here in April last year, and all the help they gave during the opening of Relaxscape.

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Things that make me happy: a basket of smiling violas, dancing lavender and my camellia tree

March 2020

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