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Sally Sees Herself As She Really Is

I was under the impression that I was quite a relaxed person until I watched the video of my sister’s wedding. As I watched myself, I realised that I am not the cool, calm, sophisticated woman I thought I was. In fact I’m the opposite. I fidget. I talk non-stop, fiddle with my hair, scratch my nose, wave my hands around like a lunatic, bite my nails, and I never sit back on a seat, I sit on the edge of it, ready to jump up and go somewhere else.

So it was no surprise when a friend gave me The Little Book of Calm for my last birthday.

I read the blurb on the back cover. ‘Feeling stressed?’ it asked. ‘Need some help to regain the balance in your life? The Little Book of the Calm is full of advice to follow and thoughts to inspire. Open it at any page and you will find a path to inner peace.’

So I opened it at any page and read the advice: ‘Wear white.’ Wear white! I haven’t worn white since my first child was born. This is not good advice for someone who has to deal with young children and their dirty fingers every day.

I turned to another page. ‘Take a lesson in calmness from children. Watch how children live every moment for the pleasure of the moment.’ Do you know my children? When one of them is screaming, ‘Aargh! He’s pulling my hair!’ and the other is screaming, ‘She’s taken my sweets!’, the feeling I get is not calmness.

‘Make an appointment with yourself to deal with worries at a specific time in the future.’ Make an appointment! I’ve already got too many appointments. I don’t need another appointment to worry about.

‘Get up early and watch the sun rise.’ Well that’s nothing new. I wake up at the crack of dawn every day, thanks to the children. I haven’t had a lie-in for years.

‘For every ninety minutes of work, take a twenty-minute break.’ Yes, I like that. But there’s a problem. Who’s going to tell my children ‘Don’t disturb Mummy now, she’s having a break.’?

‘Use a soft voice.’ With fighting children? I don’t think so. In fact, my voice is getting louder every day. I decided once more. ‘Rediscover milk.’ No problem. I love milk and I drink it all the time . . . with a shot of strong Italian espresso coffee in it, of course.