1 Way to Help You Meet New Readers: Meet and Greet

…this is me, trying something new…

Dream Big, Dream Often

imagesWhat day is it??!!  HUMP DAY!!  No, that is completely wrong…it’s Meet and Greet Day!

Ok so here are the rules:

  1. Leave a link to your page or post in the comments of this post.
  2. Reblog this post.  It helps you, it helps me, it helps everyone!  So don’t be selfish, hit the reblog button.
  3. Edit your reblog post and add tags (i.e. reblogging, reblog, meet n greet, link party, etc.), it helps, trust me on this one.
  4. Share this post on social media.  Many of my non-blogger friends love that I put the Meet n Greet on Facebook and Twitter because they find new bloggers to follow.  This helps also, trust me.
  5. And if you leave a link and don’t follow me, how about ya show ole Danny some love?

Now that all the rules have been clearly explained get out there and meet n greet your butts…

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Connectedness

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You know how some days you just wake up happy – there’s this underlying sense of joy? I want to explore that today.

Initially, I’d just like to say thank you for reading this! I have been blogging for about 2 months and the purpose is ‘self discovery’ – finding out about myself and recording those observations so that I’d have some written record to refer back to. As I read over some of my previous posts, I feel a ‘connection’ to what I’ve written – as if with some posts I’ve uncovered a sense of my own truth, and so I have a greater sense of who I am, what matters to me, and how I see the world; possibly even some of my core beliefs.

And what I’ve found really encouraging (and didn’t expect) was that others of you felt a similar way about some of the things I’ve shared. That positive sense of connection with others has really blown me away and provided not just more impetus to keep going but more importantly, that feeling that I’m not alone, and that others understand where I’m coming from, that maybe some aspects of what matters to me and how I see my world, is shared by others – that has been SO encouraging. So I want to say thank you. To each one of you who has read or liked or commented on a post – thanks!

I’ve said it before:

“Change always comes bearing gifts”

and the unexpected but very welcome gift I’ve received through blogging is a new sense of ‘connectedness‘. That connectedness has lead me to joy.  For that – I am SO grateful  😀

Self esteem… and Gratitude

 

My self esteem is fragile. Again. Still.

I’m aware of a lack of self confidence; a lack of belief in myself. I’m aware of the internal voice, the criticism, the negative self talk.  This past week I have been particularly aware of this lack of confidence and a negative internal dialogue. More aware than I usually am. Why is that?

Sometimes it feels like I’m a child in an adult’s body. I’m surrounded by lots of other adults simply being adults, while I appear to be an adult but feel very much like a child.

OK, so my self esteem is low. I’m aware of it. It sort of feels like I’ve been carrying this with me these past few days.

Sometimes I wonder if this awareness and self-observation is a first world luxury that I probably wouldn’t have if I had lived in a different era, or had chosen a different path. If my life was more busy, more crazy, more packed full of activities, would I have less opportunity for self reflection? (Partly because I might end up too tired to think, and would therefore lack the energy for self reflection.)

Having spent several days thinking about my self esteem…. I now feel like I’m a bit over it. I’m tired of thinking about myself in  a certain way and wonder if it’s time for a new focus and a new attitude. Time to think about something else, to pursue a new train of thought – and it can be anything I choose.  Given that in certain parts of the world this is a time to be thankful for what you have, I might try focusing on being grateful and see where that leads…

Here’s to gratitude!!  🙂

the open hand of forgiveness

Why is it that I’m better at forgiving other people than I am at forgiving myself?  Is that about having greater expectations of myself and my behaviour than I do of others?

When I forgive, I am letting go of something that I’d otherwise hold on to – when holding on is to my own detriment. When I let go of whatever it is, my hands are no longer fists, closed fingers whose job is to clasp. Letting go means opening my hands. To release the hold is to free my hands of a task and there is freedom in release. Freedom to go on and do something different. The closed fist becomes an open hand.

“Forgiving does not erase the past. A healed memory is not a deleted memory. Instead, forgiving what we cannot forget creates a new way to remember. We change the memory of our past into a hope for our future.”                                                                                      – Louis B. Smedes

Forgiveness alters the memory. I like that phrase: forgiveness ‘creates a new way to remember’.

Forgiveness leads to Freedom, and Freedom leads to Hope. Hope carries with it a positive expectation.

“Forgiveness is not an occasional act, it is a constant attitude.”                                                                                                             – Martin Luther King

The next step then is to be mindful of forgiveness, to carry it with me through out the day. To be aware of my ‘infringements’ and to forgive straight away rather than holding on. Holding on is wasting time. Give up, let go, move on. It’s not rocket science!

Forgiveness. Freedom. Hope.

 

 

 

 

 

Be Calm

When I anticipate a stressful situation, I have this sense of internal panic that occurs. As the time draws closer to the situation, my stress levels rise and my perception of the event (whatever it is) morphs from being like a quiet walk up a gentle slope into an impassable mountain range. At times like this my perception gets ‘out of whack’ with the reality of the situation as I anticipate what can only become a difficult event.

OK, so some of the above sounds a bit melodramatic looking on from the outside but when I’m actually in the thick of the situation, my perception is my reality. And if my perception is skewed, then that becomes my warped and chaotic view of reality. And from the inside, all I can see is a blizzard of feelings and a sense of panic taking flight, feeling trapped and scared, fearful that I’m going to lose it all, and fall down in a pathetic heap and emotionally crash and burn.

So what I’m trying to say is that the view from within this turmoil is a TOTALLY, TOTALLY different landscape from what one sees from outside it. This is probably a fairly accurate picture of how I see my own issues with anxiety and depression. It’s probably also how I would describe mental health issues to someone who hasn’t experienced them but wants to try and understand where someone else is coming from.

The reason I’m writing this is that this coming weekend I have invited some friends from out of town to come and stay. I’m not sure how many nights they will be staying. I’m not good at having other people in my space so this has the potential to be a challenge. Add to that, that my friend is bringing her new husband who I have met but my husband hasn’t. We have a family birthday this weekend and some of my husband’s family coming to town for a few days. On top of this I had invited my nephew and his girlfriend for dinner over the weekend (forgetting I had invited my other friends to stay). At the time it all seemed manageable, but as this weekend approaches I sense the stirring inside me of little fingers of panic. I want to clean and tidy the house in a manic and obsessive manner in an attempt to keep control over my world -which at any point might spin off course and totally out of control.

So in an attempt to keep sanity in both my house and my mind, I have chosen to stop. To be calm. To take stock of the situation and see it for what it really is.

  1. I don’t need to race around the house like a mad woman and clean and tidy everything in an attempt to control my world.
  2. I have called my friend from out of town and they are coming Friday night only and heading off to do other things on Saturday morning. We agreed that we were getting together to catch up on our friendship so there is no need for me to race around and clean the house to within an inch of it’s life. This is about friendship, and I am not being judged on my housekeeping.
  3. I have a call in to my nephew to see when they can come over for dinner – if necessary I can always postpone this for a few days.
  4. That just leaves the family birthday which will predominantly take place on Sunday at a restaurant (not at my house for which I am thankful). Even if this takes most of the day, that still leaves me some time to myself on Saturday afternoon.

OK, so life is now in order and there is space to breathe. The trick was to BE CALM, and to take a step back in order to evaluate the situation, and then to alter/manage my expectations of accordingly. I explained to my friend about my sense of panic/anxiety and emphasized that I want her to come and stay, I just need to be mindful of the internal stuff that may be going on and try to manage those feelings and the associated self-talk. So far, so good.

I want to leave you with this delightful quote:

“You can’t calm the storm so stop trying. What you CAN do is calm yourself. The storm will pass.”                                     –   Timber Hawkeye

 

Life is Fragile

I’ve been thinking about this today: life is fragile.

We are here, and a moment later, we can be gone. Situations change and life changes. Life can change forever in the blink of an eye. The occurrences in Paris this week are reminders that life changes. And the changes made can’t be unchanged. And then, rude though it is, life goes on.

I heard yesterday that a friend is losing her job. It’s not life and death but it’s one of those sudden unplanned changes that have the potential to turn your world upside down. I think of another friend whose world hasn’t been the same since his partner suicided, or an work colleague who didn’t come into work one morning – she’d had a brain aneurysm at the age of 39. We never know what’s just around the corner. I often think of that saying, “there but for the grace of God, go I” when I see a homeless person or a stumbling drunk, or hear of a gambling addict or someone in a car accident – that could have been me.

Life Is Fragile. And in acknowledging the fragility, we also acknowledge that what we have is precious.

I imagine an egg with a tiny hole in the top and bottom of the egg where the white and yolk have been blown out, leaving the hollowed out shell in tact. The shell is all that’s left.. and it is beautiful but fragile – easily broken by one stray move, one unintentional trip on the footpath that is life.

I’m not coming at this from an pessimistic angle – it’s more along the lines of ‘stuff happens’ – life happens, whether we’re ready for it or not. Your life and mine, and what we have or don’t have, will not stay the way it is right now.

We. Are. Fragile.

I am fragile. Life is fragile. Life is precious.

Take time – to think about what you have; to appreciate what you have; to appreciate who you have in your life right now.

Take time to remember the ‘you’ that you are today. Be gentle with you- treasure and nurture you. Because life is fragile and you are precious. And who knows what tomorrow holds?

Joy II

Today I started painting again. I haven’t painted for about a year… but it was glorious. It was release, relief, freedom, forgotten joy. I finished a painting I began last year and I am really happy with the result – it is not exquisite, but it is ME; it is what brings me JOY. It is my version of peace – which is what most of my paintings are about.

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There’s a lot to love about Cats!

There’s a lot to love about cats!

These are just a few photos of my lovely natured little feline ‘Scout’

If I had to use only a few words to sum her up I’d say:

Independent,   Self contained,   Explorer,  Hunter,  Lover of the outdoors.

How Big Is My World?

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I work in an environment where I am surrounded by older women. I see in them a variety of opinions, differing lifestyles, patterns of behaviour, and a variety of responses to aging. In some I see a reluctance to embrace new things – whether new technologies, different beliefs or concepts, new ideas, styles & fashions, or a reluctance to accept different cultural and religious perspectives. They are creatures of habit and known habits attract predictability and a sense of surety.

On the other hand, some of my colleagues are much more open to new ideas and technology; will try something new, go to see new movies, try different hairstyles and clothes, try new restaurants and strange food. These women seem more aware of what’s going on around them; the needs of others, their own needs and limitations; are not scared of change; don’t have a tendency to panic; they always attempt to keep things light and fun, and exhibit a willingness to laugh, even at their own expense. They are not always ‘nice’ because they no longer see the need to be nice; they choose to be honest. They might miss things and people from their pasts but they look forward to a positive future.  These women are fun to be around and I am very grateful to have them in my world.

Change, like aging, is inevitable. There’s not much point in fighting it because change is a constant, so we might as well go with it. We have to be willing to change too if we want to continue to play a role and be relevant in the current world.

Every day we have a choice -do we choose to keep our world just as it is, or do we choose to explore, to step outside of our current experience; do we limit our world by not being willing to change, not being willing (or able) to adapt and evolve and grow. Do we limit our experience of the world because it takes an openness, effort & energy to be willing to learn new things, to choose to adapt, and be prepared to expand our world. As we age, do we have a tendency to resist change, to cling to what we know, to the familiar patterns of behaviour or views that have served us well in years gone by.

change. grow. adapt.

be open to new ideas.

When I make an effort to change/adapt/grow/be willing to think through new or different ideas, in so doing I am opening up my world so that as I age my world becomes bigger, not smaller; has new life, new colours, new growth rather than old wallpaper, worn carpets, and the decade-old props we cling to for comfort.

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Solitude

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Solitude is the soul’s holiday, an opportunity to stop doing for others and to surprise and delight ourselves instead                                     – Katrina Kenison

Maybe it’s the introvert in me, but there are times I long for solitude.

But what if I choose to create it when I need it and to take it with me into whatever I’m doing and where ever I am.

Today’s definition of solitude at 9.19 am on a Sunday morning:

Solitude = peace, contentment and happily being in my own company

I’m going to choose to take that with me as I go outside to potter in the garden. To potter alone, and be at peace with myself, to be content, and to enjoy being happy with myself, enjoying/luxuriating in my own company.

I’m going outside into my garden – to enjoy solitude; to give my soul a holiday; expectant for opportunities in which I might find surprise and take delight  🙂

[P.S. My time in the garden was great!!]

family

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I took this photo a few days ago as the ducks were resting on a neighbour’s front lawn. As I’ve shared in previous posts, it’s very much spring here in Wellington – the days are often cool in the early mornings but sometimes the afternoons are  pure summer. The days are getting longer and the gardens are alive with growth. The number of birds seems to have increased and they are noisy and playful. Instead of a hint of green on the trees which only a few months ago were bare and brown, they are now awash with differing shades of greens. The colours are richer and have more depth, the blue of the sky is a brighter blue and the greens are more varied and vivid.

When I look at the picture above I see “FAMILY”. It warms my heart – and the feeling that goes with that is one of protection, safety & security; acceptance, contentment and nurture (in addition to cute, soft and fluffy!)

When I think about my own sense of “FAMILY” it’s one of those words I’m never  quite sure how to approach. I’m fairly confident that I have issues around family: trust, judgement, and possibly a misplaced sense of disappointment ie, I feel that potentially I am a disappointment because I’m not the role model I was expected to be – or something along those lines.  However I also accept that that’s my stuff, not anybody else’s, and one day I might choose to delve further into some of that.

What if I’m not the disappointment I think I am? What if my assumption is just that? What if it is misplaced and therefore totally not how I’m perceived? If perception is reality (and to me, it is) then maybe I need to alter my perception. Maybe I choose to let that sense of disappointment go. Maybe it ties in with the sense of failure I referred to a few weeks ago. Maybe it relates to a core belief, and maybe that belief is unfounded and therefore untrue. Can I change who I am simply by choosing to NOT see myself as a disappointment and failure?

So, some of this is about how I see myself, and some of it relates to my feelings around the word ‘family’. What if I choose only to focus on the positive aspects of family I’ve described above: protection, safety, security, acceptance, contentment and nurture.  What if I try to apply the same words (protection, acceptance etc) to how I view myself?

What if I carry a (psychological) plaque that says  “I am Lovable and Capable.” And I add to the plaque  “I am also safe, I am protected; I am Accepted, Nurtured and Content.”

Can I change my world by changing my view of myself? Can I change my world by attempting to nurture, accept and protect myself more? I have no idea but I’m going to try it today and see what happens…