Tough times

quiet night sea

I’m aware that this is a time of year which can be difficult for some. Christmas and New Year often trigger reminders of those who have gone from our lives.  Within the first ten days of 2015 I attended a wedding and 2 funerals. I also have a friend whose partner suicided during this period and 2016 will mark the third anniversary of her death.

When I think about those who are no longer with us, I feel for the friends and family I know (and all of those I don’t know) who will undergo further pain as the anniversary looms. The wounds may not be raw and bleeding, but the wounds still weep and the sorrow lingers.  For those who lost loved ones at other times of the year, Thanksgiving, Christmas & New Year continue to arrive reminding us of those we used to share these holidays with, those who we can no longer celebrate with. Reminding us that life goes on regardless. Whether we want it to or not.

While I don’t want this post to be negative – I do want to remember those who are finding life tough (for whatever reasons). Whether it’s a difficult time because of the loss of a loved one, or due to poor health or incredibly tight finances;  a slump of some kind that is difficult to get over; a stumbling block, illness or addiction that keeps tripping you up – I just want to encourage you. I’d like to give you a virtual hug, to offer you a place of peace, a listening ear, to offer my hope that what life brings in the coming weeks and months will outweigh the struggles you’re currently facing. I wish you hope; I wish you the hope you need to keep going. I wish you rest from anxiety; I wish you the time, ability and opportunity to be able to view life from another perspective. I wish you a holiday from worry (even if it’s only for a few moments, a few minutes, a few hours).  I wish you optimism in the face of negativity and pessimism.  I wish you positive thoughts and that you will be treated with dignity and compassion by your fellow humans. I wish you healing. I wish you friendship, and the knowledge that someone cares.  I wish you overwhelming kindness. I wish you light in the darkness; a place of peace during conflict.  I wish you freedom from sorrow and pain.

I wish you hope. For tomorrow.  And the next tomorrow.  And the tomorrow after that…

Christmas, holidays & family

The past 4 days have been public holidays and sadly, I am returning to work tomorrow, while most of the population (in New Zealand) enjoys their summer holidays. We have had the most awesome weather – it has been ‘absolute summer’ this Christmas/holiday period – fine blue skies and summer heat. Beautiful days.

I have had the opportunity to fulfil a lifelong dream of helping with a Christmas lunch for the poor and needy ( – these days referred to as the lonely and those who can’t afford to have a Christmas dinner). We (hubby and I) worked really hard for a number of hours but it was SO rewarding. I got to meet and work with some great people, and we served Christmas lunch to about 250 people. By the end of the day my husband and I were sore and tired – and that’s ok. It was a good reason to be tired. It was a good feeling, like we’d really contributed to something bigger than just ‘us’ and contributed something positive to others in our community.

The next two days were spent resting and relaxing [thus my posts about taking time to breathe, and in so doing, to relax.]  Today we hosted a family bar-b-que at our house. As some of you may know, I sometimes feel quite conflicted when it comes to family and have some issues around trust, and the feeling of being judged etc – but we try to invite family over a few days after Christmas for those who are nearby and haven’t gone away on holiday. Normally I get a bit stressed in the build up to people arriving – I want the food to be sorted, everything laid out nicely (outside but in the shade), and the house to be tidy.

This is not the only time I see family but one of the regular events that I participate in (principally because I’m hosting it) and it’s a good time to catch up with everyone. As we have grown older, family ends up being several of my brothers and their wives, some of their grown kids and their partners, and now some of their grandchildren as well (which is quite delightful!)

These past few months I’ve been trying to learn to take things as they come, take time to breathe, and to look at the big picture (ie, does this little thing really matter in the big scheme of life?).  So today instead of stressing, I worked hard getting ready, and making sure my guests were looked after but I didn’t get so uptight about cleaning the house and making sure everything was perfect.  I didn’t spend time worrying internally about who may or may not have been judging me or what they were thinking, or what they thought of my not particularly tidy house, or my housekeeping. I just let go.

Perhaps I didn’t spend a great deal of time just sitting chatting to my family (in fact I know I didn’t), but I did enjoy the day and the atmosphere; I enjoyed that my family didn’t really have to do anything, – they could just enjoy being here and being with each other. And I particularly enjoyed the presence of the children. Five children between the ages of 5 months and 6 years – the children seemed to enjoy themselves, and each other, and they were LOVELY!

So while I might have some unresolved family issues that tap into my history; I made an effort with my family (by having them over) and I enjoyed it!  And I didn’t overly stress and I was pleased we’d all been able to get together.

I am quick to judge my own character flaws and inconsistencies, my lack of confidence and lack of wisdom – and all the negative stuff I perceive in and of myself. But right now it seems appropriate to acknowledge the good things, the positive steps, to just enjoy the feeling of accomplishment.

So I think it’s time to take a moment to relax. And breathe. And enjoy.

How I see the world

grain of sand

I know you’ve heard these words by Edward Blake before but this piece is one of my favourites and I think it’s important that I take a moment to dwell on this.

…a world in a grain of sand… on a beach surrounded by many hundreds of thousands of grains of sand – so many thousands of possible worlds…

…to see heaven in a wild flower…  this resonates with me because I have at certain times seen instances of what appears to be minute but perfect beauty (a very very tiny plant starting to unfold, a perfect miniature seahorse, an exquisite infinitesimal shell or some other minuscule wonder of nature) that has left me speechless and in awe, filled with wonder and joy and overwhelmed by this tiny beautiful thing that I could so easily have passed by without noticing… but for some reason I did…

…hold infinity in the palm of your hand – so beautifully poetic but nope, I  can’t get my mind around that – or eternity in an hour…

What this speaks of to me is perspective. How might my world be if I were to take a look from a totally different perspective? Instead of seeing the world I know as it, as Earth, perhaps I imagine many hundreds of possible worlds, be they parallel universes or not, what if…

What if those other worlds existed in a universe I can’t see with my eyes, or through a telescope or a microscope but I could start to see it in my imagination or in my spirit or it were present in a dimension that is not able to be observed by my physical senses…

What if I could see the world in a leaf – to see at a microscopic level all of the microorganisms dependent on that leaf – whether flora or fauna – what if I was aware of the microbiology around me which I unknowingly encounter every day?

What if I were more aware of the cosmic beauty of the galaxies and solar systems that my senses can observe – if I just took the time to do so – or if I were to learn about all the strange and wonderful sea creatures which live in the ocean depths?

What if I were to see my neighbour as a part of his own unique world, rather than simply seeing my assumptions about his life?

What if I took the time to view my world afresh – with new eyes – what if I observed the clouds and the colours in the sky through out the day, not just at sunset; if I look for life where I don’t expect it, I might begin to perceive inspiration and joy where I haven’t seen them before; I might begin to see beauty in the mundane; the extraordinary in the ordinary…  a world in a grain of sand…

Old and Wise

Today’s message is simple and is one of my husband’s favourite sayings:

“In order to be old and wise,           first you must be young               and stupid!”

We’ve all been there haven’t we? But the positive outcome from those dumb things we did when we were younger?  They have helped shape the people we are today. 

Older, and hopefully, wiser.