no guarantees

I don’t have a whole lot to say today – but every word in this picture rings true…. especially with this pandemic!

And in case you are wondering, I am grateful for all of you in this very large blogging world! ❀

Important side note : not everyone will love you back. Even the people who are related to you, and ‘should’. Keep loving them anyway, even when it hurts. We are not responsible for others, but we are very responsible for ourselves.
And remember that sometimes the people who are acting ‘unloveable’ are sometimes the people who need our love the most ❀

Be safe out there, please, everyone! ❀

flighty feelings

While my attitude always seems to lean towards positivity, my emotions do not. What I mean is that in any given day, I can experience moments across the entire spectrum of emotion – sadness, anger, guilt, happiness, hope, love, fear etc. Every. Day. There are moments. Some are very short lived – appropriate to just that moment. Some last a little longer.

Somebody commented a few months ago, when I shared the above with them, that there must be something wrong with me – an ’emotional ticking time bomb’ who is on a permanent emotional roller coaster. I considered what they said, decided there may be some truth to it, and added it to my ‘personal challenges list’- things I need to look into ‘fixing’ and changing. The list is now an A4 page, and I am not even halfway with crossing things off… so it might be a while before I address the comment they made πŸ˜›

BUT… (yes, there is always a but… πŸ˜› )

I happened upon an article this morning that reminded me of the notation on the bottom of the personal list that I am working my through. And it made me smile.

Now according to this article, which is apparently evidence based and well researched, I am actually psychologically sound (for the most part πŸ˜› ) because of this tendency to feel all these different emotions. Wait, what?!?!?!

And as I continued reading my smile got bigger and didn’t leave my face, and now my cheeks hurt πŸ˜›

Have you ever experienced a moment in time where something makes you ‘self assess’, and suddenly you realise that in that particular thing, your progress is very noticeable? Doesn’t it feel good? To be able to recognise an ‘error in your ways’ from your past/younger self, and get a full grasp on the way you have changed? FOR THE BETTER?

For me? It is one of the most amazing FEELINGS in the world, that is backed by evidence, bringing a very loud and affirmative fist bump in the air ‘YES!’ πŸ˜‰

Years ago, I got lost in my emotions. Half the time, I didn’t even know where they were coming from. For example, I’d wake up in the morning feeling angry – angry at myself, life, the world. And so that is how the rest of my day went. I never reflected on why I was feeling that way. I didn’t bother to try and change how I was feeling. And my actions and reactions for the rest of the day came from that place of anger.

Part of my personal growth journey has been to ‘get a handle on my emotions’. Not to harden my heart and not feel them, but to be more aware of them and WHY I am feeling them…. and to NOT base actions and reactions on the emotions themselves.

Trying to control emotions is actually futile – we are created to be beings that feel and so whether or not we want them, emotions are here to stay. But, for want of a better word (because some may be uncomfortable with this one) we could learn how to channel them. Like maybe letting our excitement about something motivate us, or allowing our guilt to spark change.

When it comes to attitude, we often see the word choice. Choosing to change a bad attitude, or the way we see things, for the better. In fact CHOICE pretty much sums up everything in life, right?
And for me personally? I have come to realise that it applies to my emotions as well.
I allow myself to feel them – but I also choose to not allow them to control my whole day. I pause for thought, try to determine what has triggered them, and find a way to use them to benefit a healthier me!

I don’t always get it right. I’m still working on identifying all my emotions, trying to understand them fully, managing them correctly and using them appropriately… but I am definitely MUCH closer to it than what I was a few years ago.

Hence the sore cheeks πŸ˜›

And who knows, perhaps some day I will graduate to ’emotional ninja’ status πŸ˜‰

Meg’s mind… be afraid… ha ha!

In my late twenties, and then again in my early thirties, there was an extended period of self loathing – mostly directed at my physical appearance, but not so strangely sparked by emotional negative belief systems. It was bad! In fact, in my late twenties, I actually removed every mirror from my house. Make up was quickly applied in the car, in the rearview mirror – before going in to the office – because it minimised having to look at myself. And yet I did the make up anyway… because I still cared how I looked. What a conundrum, right? Not seeing anything good, and yet still making the effort!

And in those awful periods of hatred, the people who knew me and actually loved me, were consistent in telling me that it needed to end. That I was not what I had been told I was. That I was different, and worthy, and beautiful. That in this self loathing period, they still loved me, but they missed me. That I was the sunshine in their lives, bringing a positive attitude to all circumstances… and they needed me back.
And in all of that, something in me was still the ‘never say die, prisoner of hope’, because although I was emotionally self destructive, I didn’t give up.

Nowadays? Those same people are still in my life. We don’t see each other very often, and the pandemic has almost wiped out our social time. But the odd phone call is usually accompanied by the statement, ”I just needed a dose of Meg (Meg is my name, in case you didn’t know). I needed to at least hear some sunshine.”

Sounds great, right? But here’s the thing, everyone who is reading this : I am NOT sunshine all the time.

I woke up with this blog post on my heart, but checked my email first. Regular readers will know that I often share posts from Letters To Pogue… and there was a new post in my inbox. So I went off to read it first, and I guess that in a way it confirmed the words in my heart.

Now let me explain why I made the statement I did, and repeat for those who may have missed it :

I AM NOT SUNSHINE ALL THE TIME.

Yes, if you knew all the things that have happened to me in my life, you would see a woman who definitely holds onto hope like it’s as important as the air she breathes, and you would probably see that my nature – despite everything that has tried to twist it to the contrary – is upbeat and happy.

And I generally am. Funnily enough, the pandemic has made me EVEN MORE SO! absolutely crazy, right?!?!?!

BUT if you could spend a day in my mind – if I dared to write an hour by hour account of the thoughts in my head? You’d be more confused than a chameleon on a smartie box (roll of Rockets, for my US friends)!

I love to make friends online. I love that the world has evolved to a point that it has been ‘made smaller’. I love that I have a heart that can connect with people ‘across the miles’, even if I never get to see them in person.
What I don’t love though is that this has also evolved us to a point where we struggle with trust even more, because people have taken advantage of being able to hide behind the internet and many have proven themselves to be dishonest to a frightening degree. It makes me sad.

In my posts, I am genuine. I promise. The words I write are where I am at on that given day. Honesty is important to me. I try to be as real as possible, without dragging you all down any negative emotional roads πŸ˜›

But this morning, as I reflected on words spoken by someone I love dearly : ”I was just saying that you always find the positive and are just so darn sunshiny, that it is sometimes nauseating, but I love that about you anyway” – this blog post was born. The person who said them? She knows me better than I sometimes know myself. She’s seen the good, the bad and the ugly – and yet she still said that about me? The funny thing is that I got all defensive! I had replied to that statement with : ”No, I don’t! You’ve heard me complain, and be miserable, and be angry!”

Further explanation and discussion revealed to me that ‘she knows those ugly sides of me, but in general my sunny disposition seems to win, and she loves that about me’.

Why on earth am I telling you all this?

Because this is me at my most real – some raw truth about Meg, which may disappoint some, I might add…. and oddly enough, I am telling you as a form of ENCOURAGEMENT! Wait, what?!?!?!

For every person who is still reading, who regularly reads, who is waiting for the explanation :

Yes, I have always been ‘full to overflowing’ when it comes to hope, and not given up when I should have.
Yes, I smile FAR TOO MUCH, that even the staff at the local store and gas station call me ‘Miss Smiley’.
Yes, my general disposition resembles sunshine.

And maybe those things make it ‘easier’ for me?

BUT GUYS!

When I woke up this morning to the USA news (8 hour time difference means that chaos usually erupts while I am asleep!), my heart sank and I swore and I was instantly discouraged when I thought of how this will impact everything, all over the world. (I felt the same way with the UK Brexit news – except with only a two hour time difference I was awake for that!)
For a good half an hour, it felt like all hope was lost. My mind was a browser, ten tabs open, and it crashed.
I will never fulfill any of my dreams! My bucket list may as well get torn up and trashed! It’s all going to be downhill from here. I was afraid : what will the impact be? Every day just keeps getting worse – my own personal circumstances, the circumstances of those I love, the circumstances of people I have no knowledge of, my town, my country, this world as a whole.
And I cried. And I felt miserable. And angry. And I FELT hopeless. Exhausted. Ready to just go back to sleep.

And then I heard that quiet voice – barely a whisper as the waves of negativity tried to drown it – PLEASE STOP!

I still felt all those horrible things. I was still miserable about all of it. But I got up, and made my first cup of coffee. And as I took my first sip, I asked myself a question that I have trained my brain to ask when these moments come : ”Can you control it?”
And because this post is about being transparent, here’s what happened in my brain :

No. And I am f***ing sick of that question. Over it. Who the hell came up with that smart ass concept to start with, anyway? Like it’s supposed to just magically make everything better? I don’t want to play that game! There’s enough depression and anger in this f***ing world already! And now this! I can’t control it, but it doesn’t make me feel any better. I can’t change it either, and that makes me feel worse.
What CAN you change?
You know what? Just shut up! Take your positivity for a long walk off a short pier. I’m done!
No, you’re not.
No, seriously. I am. Everything just f***ing sucks.
Everything?
Yes, everything! I hate this! There’s no jobs here, we’re scraping by with no hope of anything getting any better, my friends are depressed, every time I leave my house I don’t know if I will come home unscathed because crime is so bad, I don’t want to die here, I want a future, I want my dad.
I thought you were upset about the US thing?
I am. But there’s a bunch of other stuff and it makes me just think of everything that is hopeless. There’s just no point anymore.
Hey, take a deep breath.
No.
Yes. And go get more coffee.
Fine. I need coffee.
You do.
What’s going to happen next? I am so tired of it all.
Well, what do you need to do today?
I don’t know… but I definitely need to vacuum my bedroom. I should probably think about what to feed the kids today as well, and I need to check email.
Okay, then that is what is going to happen next.
What?
Sometimes things just suck. You know this. It’s hard to understand when stuff defies logic. You don’t even know the question, but you’re looking for the answer. There might not even be a question. Who knows? You’re upset, concerned, afraid. You’re allowed to be. But it’s shifting you to think of everything else that is wrong. And yes, there is a lot. If you keep thinking of everything that is wrong, you will forget to remember everything that is right. Go write down three things that are right and think of them! It won’t magically make you feel better. You might still feel sad and angry and discouraged. But you still have sh*t to do. So do it.
Okay. *deep sigh*

And here I am. Doing it. The conversations in my head can get quite entertaining – but they DO make my heart hurt sometimes. I let myself feel it all, and process it. And in that process, I seem to calm down. Strange, right?
SOMETHING VERY IMPORTANT TO REMEMBER : your thought processes pretty much determine your life. Yes, circumstances play a big role and can often ‘dash our hopes and dreams’… but that’s why it is so vital for us to practice daily the ‘carry on’ concept. Eating right is important, but so is ‘thinking right’. I haven’t quite mastered it yet… but I am sure as heck going to keep trying!

How do I feel now, you may be silently asking?
I’m still sad, and a little bit worried about it all. I’m angry that this world is such a horrible place. I’m afraid.
But I have drummed into my brain, through daily dedication to doing so : I NEED to accept the things I cannot change and change the things I can. I NEED to not dwell on the negative. Even with my doubt and discouragement screaming the opposite, I NEED to carry on, regardless.
I need to remember that my life, my ‘small and insignificant existence’, STILL HAS PURPOSE!
Even if, in an overwhelmingly negative moment, the only purpose seems to be a clean bedroom carpet πŸ˜›

Dear ones, you may be afraid and discouraged. You may be feeling lost and alone. Sad. Angry.
I don’t know your circumstances, or what it is you have to choose from.

But please know this : if you are reading this, you are here for a reason. You have value and meaning. There will be plenty you cannot change. But please change the thought pattern that says that all is lost. I’m living proof that it’s not true.
If you need help, reach out!
KNOW that despite everything, you are loved!

YOUR LIFE HAS PURPOSE!


(And now you know why my brother has always said : Nobody’s perfect, but some of us are closer than others, and you, little sister, are not one of them πŸ˜› )

Keeping on.. again and again..

This pandemic has sparked huge changes in the world – and they haven’t generally been very positive ones either.

There has been a lot of ‘stuff’ happening… things that have extended beyond the scope of even MY imagination. Bad things. Horrible things. Disheartening things. Things that stir up anger in the hearts of even the mildest of people.
Stuff has happened that is directly affecting me and my little household. Despondency is setting in for even the strongest people I know, who have never uttered a negative word in the past, despite their circumstances.

My heart is feeling heavy. There is only so much I can do. But I know this : I need to keep doing it. People who know me, and even here in the blogging world, know that I often make the statement, ”Just keep on keeping on”.

That little statement is something I live by, not just something I say. Yes, I may pause to cry, or feel angry. Yes, it isn’t all sunshine and rainbows every minute of every day.

Because we HAVE to allow ourselves to FEEL… even the bad stuff. We just need not stay there… which reminds me of the little story that goes something like this :

Life is a journey, and sometimes you’re faced with a steep mountain and rocky terrain, which makes the journey difficult to continue with. Sometimes you will need to stop and rest, sit on a rock, cry or be angry. But then you need to stand up, and keep going… for the journey is not over yet. Stop for a moment and rest, but don’t pitch your tent and stay. There is so much more ahead.

Life in the pandemic is feeling like continuous rocky terrain and endless mountains. It’s brought more tears and anger in the time it has been around than what some have faced in their entire lives.
There are no guarantees… and I have no promise that things will get better.

But, dear hearts who are reading this…
Please keep on keeping on.

You are loved. You are needed. Your contribution to this world counts – even if it’s just sharing the warmth of your smile.
YOU make a difference!

Old Rock Day

So amongst many other days being celebrated today all over the world (like the precious little boy who lives across from me who turns a whole eight years old today!!!) today is also Old Rock Day!

I was excited because I love listening to some good old Rock ‘n Roll…. BUT….

Wrong Rock!

They meant all things fossilised and stony! So I am guessing Geologists and amateur rock enthusiasts will be cracking the champagne this evening in celebration πŸ˜‰ (Unless they live in South Africa, where alcohol is still banned as part of ‘disaster management protocol for Covid πŸ˜› )

So here are some great rock ‘life’ quotes for you – minus the guitar πŸ˜‰ (I got them from Pinterest)

And I really loved this one…. it made me laugh…. so let’s keep on going into our 2021 year and….

πŸ˜‰

Seeing

I’ve had it confirmed by more than two people in the past two months. Something I have actually never thought about, but after the first person made the observation, I DID think about it… and have come to realise that it might possibly be true.

I SEE PEOPLE.

And no… not in that creepy kind of way where I see what isn’t actually there πŸ˜›
(although one time I wasn’t wearing my glasses, and in the waning light of dusk, I could swear someone was standing in my neighbour’s house, staring at me. I called my kids, and they laughed so hard at me, they were actually in tears! Both of them! It was the tied back curtain and the lamp that I was seeing πŸ˜› πŸ˜› πŸ˜› )

The interesting thing is that my brain seems to be selective with ‘who’ I see. It has happened far too many times that my teenage daughter shakes her head in disgust because I DIDN’T see the ‘good looking’ guy in the store with us – even when she describes his clothing, or tells me he was with us at the dairy section. πŸ˜› Her final statement is usually something along the lines of, ”because you were too busy greeting and chatting to all the staff”.

I guess that has always been ‘my thing’….
But this past year, with the pandemic, it’s become even more of ‘a thing’.
Medical professionals and personnel/healthcare workers have rightfully earned the lion’s share of attention this past year – they are on the front lines, and by the time people get to them, exposure to the virus is a guarantee. They’ve put in extra hours to care for the sick, and despite sheer exhaustion, they have shown up. They deserve our thoughts, prayers and gratitude – and my next statement is in no way meant to detract from the amazingly difficult work they have had to do, so please don’t misunderstand me.

It struck me, as I watched yet another complaining customer get rude with the manager at my local store because of an out-of-stock item, and he very patiently let her verbally attack him, and continuously apologised until she had worn herself out, and marched off. And the thought that came to mind was,
”What about him? And the rest of the staff? Has anyone actually thanked them?”

Because in this pandemic, they have all shown up too. They’ve arrived at work, and stocked the shelves, and stood at the tills…. for me! And so many others! And they have done it, not knowing if some careless customer HAS the virus and just isn’t saying anything – not knowing if they are going to be exposed. And yet they are there, every day.
And it reaches so much further than the grocery store. Because it made my mind travel to those who provide transport, and those who are waiters and baristas, and those who are educators etc etc… the list goes on…
They’re still providing a service to us all…. not knowing if on THAT day they are going to be exposed.

But it’s not just about the virus. Or the gratitude to the people who show up and expose themselves, day after day.

It’s about life. I felt this way before the pandemic, and I will still feel this way after it has passed. Yes, I feel it more strongly in the midst of the chaos in the world because of the pandemic. But it will ALWAYS be in my heart….

Let’s try and SEE PEOPLE! Not just the ones who are pleasing to the eye, not just the ones with the fancy cars and the expensive clothes, not just the ones who have important jobs and job titles…. let’s try and see the ones who, because of circumstance, are ‘less attractive’ than the list above. Let’s try and see the ones who have nothing to offer us. And let’s offer them the greatest gift of all – hope.

Because any act of kindness, even if it is just a broad grin on your face when you catch their eye because in that moment you have nothing else TO give? That one small thing could be the reminder they needed…

”Somebody sees me. There is still hope.”

New what?

Somebody shared a meme with me that they thought was hilarious.
It stated : ‘has anyone else noticed that this new year, when you say it out loud, says that 2020 won!’

I could see the humour in it, yes. But I didn’t laugh. Because to be honest, it made me think of war. And isn’t that just what fighting this pandemic has been for us?

The thing is that in my humble opinion, no one wins in war. Because I look at lives lost, particularly innocent ones, and I just see LOSS.

There is a New Year looming… and I struggle to admit this, but I don’t think much will change with the ‘pandemic situation’. My country has put us back on curfew, and we need to be in our houses by 9pm – so my bedtime works to my advantage πŸ˜› They’ve banned alcohol again – yes! I have no champagne for midnight! Not wearing a mask is still a criminal offense – who would have thought that going into the bank WITHOUT a mask would send you to jail over here?!?!?

A young friend of mine shared a picture that said : No one claim 2021 as your year. We’re all going to walk in real slow. Be good. Be quiet. And Don’t. Touch. Anything.
And I smiled at that… because I have never really ‘claimed’ any year as being my year.

In fact, I haven’t had ‘proper’ New Years resolutions for many years – and here’s why : Many years ago I did the generic, ”I’m going on a diet in the New Year”. And I am sure you can guess the next part : 2 weeks later, I went to a birthday party, and my diet was history. But that wasn’t the problem. The problem was that I had been so focused on this one thing that would be a huge change in that particular year, and so focused on being a slimmer, sexier me, that when I failed, I was crushed. I was not only disappointed in myself, but despondent in the year that had come to be, and it definitely affected my attitude. I was younger then πŸ˜‰
Over the years I have learned that we all make mistakes, and we all eat that extra piece of cake because life is short πŸ˜‰ BUT when I get given a new day? I am just going to try a little harder – I can’t undo yesterday’s errors… but I can change the forecast for today!

I’d love to be able to say with absolute assurance that this new year WILL be new – that things will change. Sadly, I think it may be a little bit more difficult than the one that has passed. But I want to focus on that word MORE and not the negativity.
This year, I want to meet that more difficult head on, and I want to BE more!
To be MORE compassionate, and kind.
To be MORE aware, and sensitive.
To believe MORE, and hope MORE
To be MORE graceful.
And MORE grateful!

Because like with cake, there is ALWAYS room for more πŸ˜‰

My dear fellow bloggers, and friends, I am sending love and thoughts to the blogging world as a whole :
No matter what lies ahead in the year that is coming, my hope is that you will all find the strength to carry on and face each new day with the thought to at least TRY and be more. And in the words of Tony Robbins, I think it is, even if you make mistakes and your progress is slow…. please remember that you are still way ahead than those who AREN’T even trying πŸ˜‰

HAPPY NEW YEAR, EVERYONE!

❀

‘Twas the season…

Christmas has come and gone. I didn’t do a ‘traditional Merry Christmas to all’ blog post.
And it will seem surreal, but I genuinely did think of all my regular readers on Christmas Day… strange, but very true. It’s how I roll πŸ˜‰

Christmas Day is over… I know some who have already packed away their trees and decorations. And I am reminded of this, which I thought I would share…

Perhaps we can NOT put away all the things that truly count? Unless you’re filling a box with air that has had kisses blown into it to represent love, and are giving it away πŸ˜‰

I trust you all had a wonderful Christmas – even though times are hard and circumstances were limiting.

Please remember to keep loving and giving, spreading kindness as you go.

And also remember you are cherished, and you matter!

Holiday Wish List

Everything is different this year. Birthdays were celebrated, and yet not. New life happened, but there were no hospital visits and flower deliveries. Lives were lost, and a text message/phone call became the new way to comfort.

Christmas is different too. And yet… is it? Admittedly, my usual Christmas spirit seems to have gone on a vacation all by itself. We’ve had some dreadful humidity these last few days so perhaps it has sought out a cooler climate. I wish it had thought to take me with it!

Last night, as I sat thinking about Friday – Christmas Day – (my goodness, how did it get here so fast!!!!) I also started thinking about seasonal things. I had shared the following on my personal Facebook page last Friday, with just one week to go till the ‘big day’ :


I went to look at it again, and it suddenly struck me that this has been my wish list all year, for a few years.
If someone asked me what I would like my life to look like, it would be all of the above. Circumstances are not always conducive to these things… but I could still make the effort.

Here is hoping that in these difficult times….

May you all have the least of the less… and an overwhelmingly encouraging abundance of the more! ❀
Not just for this holiday season… but every day πŸ˜‰

A Christmas Letter

I had every intention of writing a blog post today… using my own words… and then I hopped onto WordPress and visited my friend Wic’s page first.
HIS words stirred my heart in such a way that I have lost all my own.
So today I am sharing his post with you, instead of writing one myself. May you see the hope ❀

Letters To Pogue

Dear Pogue,

I got all seasonal and thought I would write you a Christmas letter. Bit like a Christmas card but low on pictorial content and a lot more words. All in all, much better value I’m thinking.

Some years ago I spoke in a church at Christmas. I spoke regularly then. Anyway, I always looked forward to the challenge of Christmas as there is only limited and exceedingly well known material to use. You know me. I want original and I’ll walk the long way around to find it. Leave the audience with β€œI didn’t see that coming” on their lips as you vanish. Who was that masked preacher? πŸ₯·πŸ»

So I searched for original.

I found what I was looking for in a part of the Christmas narrative that rarely gets more than a passing mention. The account of King Herod and his reaction to the news that…

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