I found some old prose today…

“I burnt some of my dreams today – the pursuit of knowledge that I had loved, and I tried to let go.  I saw the sorrow of holding onto things.  A wise woman once said “Ain’t nothin’ but a thang” and she was right – it was just a ‘thang’.

So I hide in old comfort music, like a large well-worn, well-loved jersey that always fits, regardless of how much weight I’ve put on or taken off.  And it feels like arms of love, that always fit.

A tear, an empty glass, a wet cheek, an old plan and it’s happy dreams that I thought would carry me through – all reduced to ash.

This is my wake to an old life, an old dream that won’t be realised, so I’m gonna grieve – and do it now.  I don’t want to hold on when letting go is what must be done. I have laughed – and I will laugh again. I just need to let go.

This is my wake – to celebrate the promise of a dream; never promised, simply an expectation unfulfilled.

And on some quiet level, deep down, deep deep below what I know, it’s actually OK because maybe there’s something else that awaits”

 

Thought for the day: 29 September 2017

value of a moment

I think as I’ve grown older and experienced more of life, I’ve become more aware of the truth behind these words. 

I can think of times I haven’t really appreciated the value of the encounter or situation until days, weeks, in fact sometimes years later. Times when I didn’t truly appreciate the time I had with people that mattered to me. It’s as if the encounters were a gift that I now value but didn’t at the time. So there’s now a sense of sorrow and grief – not only are some of those people no longer here on earth, but I see the preciousness of opportunities that won’t occur again. Dynamics that have changed. Children who are now well into adulthood with children of their own. Friends who have come and gone, whose faces I don’t expect to see again. Things I willingly gave up at the time, only to realise that years later I mourn their loss. 

It seems crazy now, but hindsight is like that. Unmet expectations can cause such pain. It’s as if some precious jewellery has been stolen and I wept at its loss, only to realise it wasn’t stolen at all. In a moment of madness I gave it all away. The loss was totally my own doing. 

So reminder to self is to appreciate the good things, the good people, the opportunities that are before me right now, so that in coming weeks, months or years I can enjoy not just the memories made but also the knowledge that I didn’t waste a precious drop of life; I made the most the opportunities and experiences available to me. 

I care

These past couple of weeks I’ve been working through some stuff. I discovered that a friend had died last year; then I discovered that he’d committed suicide; then my husband’s brother’s best friend died last weekend (had a heart condition and didn’t wake up); was talking to a friend at work and she was telling me about 2 friends of hers, brothers of 17 and 19 that were in hospital after a car accident (they’d hit a tree) so I thought speed was involved and wondered if alcohol and/or drugs had also had an impact – well speed was certainly a factor it turned out. She told me this on Tuesday morning – both brothers in critical condition with the elder brother (the driver) not expected to live. That night he died – she came to work the next day and was a mess. She’s only 19 herself and I guess this is the first friend of her age who’s died. She went home and cried for several days. On Thursday evening I caught up with an old friend, we’d been drinking buddies from way back, and he shared with me about how tough this year has been for him. He lives on his own in a neighbourhood where I also lived alone (before I met my husband) and we are pretty honest with each other. He was telling me about how depressed he’s been this year, about a boss who bullied him, about drinking most nights, not looking after himself, not taking his drugs, not doing any housework…

And I’ve been thinking  – Graham died and I didn’t know. Phil is depressed and I DO know. I could help – or at least provide a helping hand. And if that means he has less reason or inclination to commit suicide, then it’s worth the effort.

For the past 4 – 5 months my house has not been really clean. I started the gardening business and was too tired to clean after I’d gardened (or – I didn’t care enough to do housework when I got home after gardening) – so my husband did the washing and tidied the kitchen most days. I haven’t done much in the way of housework for months.

Mid June my doctor said said he thought I might have had a TIA (mini-stroke) and initiated some tests at our local hospital and advised me I wasn’t to drive for the next 30 days. Thus postponing may gardening (that I drove to) and imposing a 4 week rest period. All in all not a bad thing as I had already decided I had been working too hard. I took a break from gardening – which was good for my body. Being a girl who likes to achieve things, I started making cot quilts instead (which I do during the winter sometimes) and managed to make about 6 cot quilts that I am planning to give away to needy families (through Women’s Refuge or church groups or similar – as long as they are not sold, and end up with families in need).

Now here I am, feeling like I really should return to gardening – and thinking about the deaths of people I know, thinking about suicide and my own encounters in the past – and not wanting anyone I know to have to experience the same despair and horrible  desperation that I’ve felt in the past…

This morning I started cleaning my home – just a few rooms – the bathroom, toilet and my bedroom – a mini-spring clean. It was a start. It was an effort that I hadn’t made for a long time but it was enough. A step in the right direction.

And I’ve been thinking about my friend Phil’s house – about offering to help him make things clean and tidy again. I know what it’s like to live on your own, to feel depressed, to feel like you don’t really matter in many people’s lives, to use alcohol as a way of numbing the pain… and I want to help him because it’s a little something that I can do for someone that’s not me. It’s a way to provide support and encouragement to someone else, a way of giving to another, of supporting another, of being their for someone else.

And (as I stated earlier) if this means Phil has less inclination to end his life, or has more motivation to … do anything (cook, clean, garden – anything) then maybe that’s worth it.

I want to believe I had an opportunity and I took it – for all the right reasons – regardless of the outcome. I tried. I cared. I did something….

Then maybe that’s enough.

I’m not responsible for Phil’s decisions, his choices, his outlook – but if I can be a friend in the best way I know how, then maybe that’s enough.

And if it’s not enough, then I will know that I tried.  I did something.  I tried to make his life just that little bit easier when he was depressed and not motivated because I’ve known that depression and lack of motivation.

I want to know that I tried. If nothing else, I tried. I tried to be the friend that he needed me to be; the friend that listened and didn’t judge; the friend that was there and tried to make life just a little easier. The friend that cared enough to do something… because if nothing else, she cared.

 

 

For Graham

I’m sorry.

I didn’t know you well.

But maybe next time I will make that effort.

Except I didn’t know.

I’m not good at people stuff, or rather I’m not always sure where to draw the line and then I realise I’ve let the colours become blurred and I don’t know how to get them back.

I didn’t know that we shared the same disease; the same dis-ease;  the same sorrow; the same anguish; the same anything.

I keep thinking about you and wishing I’d reached out

Before you were more than a memory

Perspective and Hope – a few thoughts

Everything we hear...

I’ve been thinking about perspective. Sometimes I find my perspective becomes my sense of truth,  and I forget that what I’m seeing is simply that: my perspective. If I can take a step back, a step away from the situation, just a little distance, then I can get a different perspective. But stepping away can be a big ask when you are depressed or anxious or fearful and my world (the way I’m seeing it right now) seems to be so real.

When I’m depressed, I’ve learnt that a different perspective is often all I need to be able to view my world differently. Sometimes a friend (or even someone who is not a friend) can help me get a glimpse of a different view. More often than not, just a little time out helps – like going and having a nap (or having a bath, or watching a movie or listening to some music) – and when I wake up/re-emerge, the world has changed a little – even if only a few degrees, and that’s sometimes enough to give me a different perspective on the world; a different perspective on my world.

That’s one of the insidious things about depression (and other forms of mental unhealth) – it fools us into thinking how I feel right now, that’s how life really is – when actually, it’s just my current perspective. The lie is ‘this is it and this is all life will ever be’ and it’s such a lie – but we can’t see that at the time, so we believe it. And that’s why we need a little alternative perspective – so that we remember that ‘these are just my feelings’ – nothing more, nothing less. These feelings might feel like my current truth, but they are just feelings and they come and go. How I feel tomorrow will not be exactly the same way I feel today. And deep down I still believe in HOPE. I wrote a poem earlier today about life without hope because I remember what that feels like. But this is my reminder that life, my life, my world, how I see the world – it’s just my perspective, it’s not my truth.

And actually I do believe in hope. I believe there is always hope – it may be hiding somewhere and may take some effort to find, but hope is there if we will search for it and take find it and take hold of it.

My encouragement to you, if you are struggling, is to remember that THERE IS HOPE. And that if the world looks bleak, take a moment, take some time out, so that you too can find a new perspective, a new way of looking at the world.

And if you take some time out and you still struggle with your view of the world, try making a list of all the things that you are grateful for, the people in your life, the experiences you’ve had, the things you’ve done that you have enjoyed and/or are grateful for. That can be a good place to start. Make that list and hold on to it, and let that list provide some hope – some sense of what there is to be thankful for, and what you might want to build on in the future.  And tomorrow, add to that list anything you can think of that brings you joy (a quiet walk in the forest, the feel of the wind on your face, having a bath surrounded by candle-light, the smell of vanilla or lavender, the taste of … you get the picture). Having a list of things you are grateful for and/or enjoy can give you something to hang onto when life seems bleak. There can be better days. And we can go on to enjoy new experiences.

Sometimes we just need a little perspective.

The real voyage of discovery

Life Without Hope – a poem

Its a game and I’m losing

A swimming pool and I’m drowning

It’s a wood fire and I’m burning

The end’s coming around soon

 

It’s ice and I’m skating

From on high and I’m falling

A volcano and I’m erupting

Almost time to fade away

 

A butterfly whose hours are numbered

A fledgling about to be attacked

A fish about to swim into a net

The game is almost over

 

Just a dusty piece of string

It could have meant anything

Just swaying in a gentle breeze

It was supposed to mean something

 

So you light the piece of string

At once ablaze, simply burning

I wasn’t made to be that way

But I succumbed and here I lay

 

It’s a game and I am losing

A pile of leaves and I am burning

And when the embers are cold and black

The remains will scatter with the wind

 

What chaos brought me here?

Divine plan and haunted history

A few friends, a few smiles and tears

And what will be left when I am gone?

No legacy to call my own.

Thought for the Day: 5 April 2017

remember-me

These words speak to me of love and parting, of tender affection and memories. It might relate to romantic love but it could also describe a dear friendship, and implies a closeness,  a gentleness; a relationship that the author will always remember with fondness.

I have been clearing out a spare room and going through old paperwork and small treasures from my past, and I came across this poem on the back of a card given to me by a good friend almost thirty years ago.

With the benefit of age and wisdom (I hope), time, perspective and hindsight – I think it’s fair to say that I appreciate the sentiment in this poem so much more now than I did then. I have an appreciation of the gentle tone the author has used, the tenderness of the affection expressed, and the softness or weightlessness of the language – like a description of the touch of a feather, or the texture of silk. I appreciate the sense I have of an impending separation without the need to specify the facts; the reference to how someone might be perceived from an earlier chapter of one’s life.

Looking back, it was a beautiful verse to be given, and I feel honoured to have been held in such regard.

And today the words are still beautiful and I just wanted to share them with you. I guess it’s always good to take a few moments every now and then to appreciate those who have come and gone from our lives, and to appreciate and be grateful for those who remain.

 

Grip of the Grape – a poem

Wine-stained memories, shards of which –long since extinct;

Money, time and memory’s folly,

Splintered picture can never be restored,

Crumpled dreams – broken glass and rubble;

Life repaired but what is lost remains lost.

Glance into the future – an unwritten history of what might be,

The hourglass continues to run its course,

What is unseen, unknown, remains lost to us

Unless we make it so: Create and Live!

Or sit and sup and wait to die.

Expectations of prior generations already drowned,

Fewer possibilities survive, – like seeds

The chance of life if only one would take and plant them

And take the time to let them grow,

Before winter comes and we are lost,

Our lives reduced to endless snow.

A few of my favourite things

The following are some of my favourite photos, all of which I’ve taken in the past 3 months.  I love vibrant colours but I also love soft tones. Five of the six photos were taken either in my garden or in the reserve behind our house. All photos were taken in Wellington, New Zealand and all taken on my iPhone 4S. These are a few of my current favourite things:

IMG_5045 (3)

IMG_4796 (3)

IMG_4882 (5)

 

IMG_6297 (4)

IMG_6604 (3)

IMG_5527

Thought for the day: perfection

theres-no-need-to-be-perfect

Ok, I screwed up. I take full responsibility. I made some unwise decisions. I went out with a group of girlfriends and let myself get drunk, and not just drunk – I got totally written off. “One step away from being legless” I was told. I’m supposed to be an adult, old enough to know better, etc, etc.  I woke the next morning feeling embarrassed and ashamed. This explains yesterday’s poem ‘Legless’.

Hindsight is a wonderful teacher. I’ve felt my own emotional pain. I’ve acknowledged my error. So in order to move on from here, I need to forgive myself and then shut the door to that memory – not revisit it every five minutes or every half hour. I need to close the door and walk away and leave it there. That doesn’t mean I forget, but simply that choose not to revisit the memory and the associated negative feelings. To forgive myself and move on.

This morning I found this quote. It sums up how I want to feel. I’m not there yet but I’m working towards it. I’d like to be a friend, to comfort, care and maybe even inspire others – so this quote is for me. It’s fits me, right here where I stand today.

And I will move on. And I will close that door and walk away. And I will hope that my behaviour, how I deal with my imperfections can still be an inspiration to others.

Feeling humble, honest and imperfect.