Sand bags

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Photo credit : portfoliocollection.com

 

I read a short story this morning, which was being applied to a particular aspect of life. But the more I thought about it, the more I realised how applicable it is to so many other pieces that make up our lives. It has a lot to do with ‘unpacking’ – determining false limitations and letting them go; tackling and dealing with negative words spoken over us; revisiting and pretty much performing a ‘redo’ regarding the past and the negative emotions it may have developed within us; stopping long enough to find release from all of that – including finding a way to move forward (and sometimes letting go of others who are destructive for us) within ourselves.

The story I read spoke of a particular journey – but as I mentioned above, it can apply to many aspects.

It likened the road we ‘need to travel’ to a hot air balloon – or more particularly, taking a ride in one. This is not something I have ever even considered attempting, and I can hear you shouting, ‘Oh my goodness, Meg, come on! You can’t be serious?! Where is your sense of adventure?’
Well, apparently my sense of adventure is also aging πŸ˜› There are some situations where I have discovered that I am developing a ‘fear of heights’. I can still manage an aeroplane really well though πŸ˜‰ My guess is that it has something to do with ‘how secure I feel’. I did NOT do very well walking a narrow path down a very steep cliff, a couple of years ago. And so skydiving and hot air balloons are not on my bucket list, I’m sort of sorry to say πŸ˜‰

But let’s get back to that hot air balloon ride….

If you know anything about them, you’ll know that before they get to take off and celebrate the sky, they are first weighted down with sand bags. The hot air is released into the balloon, and then one by one the sandbags are removed – thrown aside – in order for the balloon to ascend.

And so the story goes (and I think it was a story by Jean Keys, but I stand to be corrected) that each sand bag is representative of an obstacle we are facing. And as we start to identify, work through/deal with, and ultimately are able to throw that obstacle aside, we are one step closer to being able to soar in that particular area of our lives.

I loved that analogy, and so I thought I would share it. Here’s to ‘hot air balloon travel’ where we only need to soar in our hearts and minds πŸ˜‰ (because I don’t think I could do it with my body πŸ˜› )!

I’m hoping your week brings you opportunities to throw off some of those limitations πŸ˜‰

Worth… again

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I just can’t stress this enough!

The last 24 hours have made me even more aware of this – not in my own personal life, but as I have interacted with others.

You may say, ”But you don’t understand.”

Hear me when I say this : I DO! If I shared some of the words that had been spoken over me, you would be horrified – and in total agreement if I told you that I felt unworthy.
ThereΒ is validation in your feeling that way if it comes from an abusive past….

There isΒ not validation in staying in that place though.

It’s not an easy road. Going back, identifying and dealing with that false belief system, and breaking through into a changed perspective on the essence of you is HARD!Β 

But it is worth it. Because no matter your circumstances, or what you have been told, YOU are worth it!

I shared a post back in February, which I feel strongly in my heart needs to be revisited by us all, especially in these troubling times, where we’re all feeling rather lost in one way or another. There is a lot right now that we cannot control, and unfortunately there are a lot of circumstances that are making us question our value as individuals (like the man who has lost his job because of Covid, and now cannot provide for his family – does this make him unworthy? NO! But it can make him feel that way!).

I also want to throw something in here real quick as well….

Your worth is not based on the opinions of others. But it’s also not based on the actions of others. Before we work on relationships ‘out there’, we need to work on the most important relationship that we have – the one we have with ourselves.

I spoke with someone yesterday who told me, ”It’s just another failed relationship. I guess I am not worthy of love.”
When I told them they were still loved, they referred back to the ‘romantic relationship’.
So then I asked, ”How do you see yourself from the perspective of being a friend? Are you a good friend?”
The answer was, ”I think so. My friends know they can rely on me, and that I have their backs – and they have mine.”
So I asked, ”Is that not love?”
”Yeah, I guess. But if you can’t have a partner to share your life with, then you’re pretty worthless when it comes to loving, aren’t you?”

The conversation continued, but I want to leave you with this :

Your worth is not based on what other people say and do.
Your worth is not based on whether or not you’re single, or a good partner in a romantic relationship.
Your worth is not based on how much, or how little you have.
Your worth is not based on the circumstances you are facing – not now, not in the future, and certainly not from your past.

YOU ARE WORTHY – so worthy, in fact, that you deserve to embrace every opportunity that you have to learn and grow and accept it! (And we have many opportunities, especially with the internet and the resources out there – we just sometimes avoid it because it seems easierΒ not to address the issues.)

And I’ll say it again : it’s hard! It’s painful. You may still have moments where you find yourself questioning your worth – I know I do – but for me personally I have found it to be a good thing, because it makes me stop, and really think… and I remember… I HAVE got worth, despite ‘whatever’.

As per the post I referred to above : Jump that fence! You’re worth it! ❀

Suddenly

Isn’t is amazing how quickly things can change?

On Wednesday, we were adjusting to the ‘return to school’ routine – very different to the usual school time routines, and not only because times had changed, but also from the perspective of the current pandemic and all the checks and sanitising, before and during school hours. Then of course, repeating it all upon returning home.

On Thursday evening, our President announced that schools would close again on Friday, for a month. My daughter got three days of ‘normalcy’, and then was thrown back into ‘stay at home’. I found myself singing Billy Ocean’s song ‘Suddenly‘, but of course only the word ‘Suddenly’ really applied.

I noticed the change in her after the announcement – like a switch had been flipped.Β 

She has been ‘fine’ throughout our situation here – despite not seeing anyone for more than 100 days (I believe our very strict lock down has been over 140 days now – crazy! That means it’s been that long since I have had any social time with my friends too! We’re not allowed to visit in each others homes – it’s against the law. BUT we can go to the casino together and expose ourselves there?!?!?!)
It’s been strange to have her coping so well, simply because she is the most social of the three of us. She is a teen girl who has always thrived being around others – definitely not an introvert by any means. It’s almost like she has always ‘fed off the energy of others’.
But two weeks ago, she had a melt down. She came to me, laughing about something, and I started laughing too – then all of a sudden, her face changed and she burst into tears.

I feared someone had said something to upset her – apparently not. Her words were, ”I don’t know what’s wrong. I think I am losing my mind. This lock down is making me crazy”. We spoke for a long while, and the upside for her was that in a week she would see people again, with the return to school. She was back to her bright, chatty, almost impossible ( πŸ˜› ) self when I fetched her that first day! The announcement had a huge impact.

A couple of months ago, she started with a strange breathing problem. I have stayed on the alert since then, checking for other symptoms, but it’s definitely not the virus. She would be breathing, big gasps almost, saying that it felt like that last little bit just wasn’t filling her lungs. Now… I get the same when I am too anxious… and I wondered if it was possible that she was now anxious because of the current situation.
I had to take her to the doctor for her shoulder on Friday. She did something to it during one of her Zoom dancing classes. Apparently the trapezius muscle is in spasm and is strained – I told her ‘I knew you were too funny’, and then had to explain – trapeze = circus = clown. It’s a running joke in our house how she misses the humor – and yes, she laughs about it too!
SO… while we were at the doctor, I explained about her breathing. He checked her oxygen levels, which were 99%!!!! And listened to her chest – no issues there. Then he asked her a few questions, and yes, it’s anxiety. He gave her a few tips, and suggested a proven, herbal pill to help her cope.

I found myself humming ‘Suddenly’ on the way home… and actually disappeared to my room to listen to it when we got home. And I found something in there for her, and I, and the anxiety and pandemic, ha ha ha! It’s funny how our brains operate, and find things in the strangest of places – like finding inspiration and a sense of peace in a love song, to apply to something that has nothing to do with romantic love πŸ˜›

(And please don’t get me wrong, this does not come from a ‘place of perfection’. I have not achieved the ultimate 24 hour peace and happiness, as such. I still have moments where I am tearful, or angry. I still struggle sometimes to make sense of it all, and it affects the way I am feeling. Sometimes it only lasts an hour, sometimes it lasts a day. But then I retake the stock in my attitude and emotions, and make a come back πŸ˜‰ Seeing the effects manifest in my beautiful teenage ‘baby girl’ hurt me deeply, and I was sad – and angry – about it on Friday, for a good few hours.)

I let her listen to the song – and after that she kind of rolled her eyes and said, ”MOM! That’s a love song!!!! How does that help me?”
The gist of what followed was this :

Suddenly, in this pandemic, life has new meaning – although some would say there is just no meaning at all. We look at what is happening in our country, and the rules and regulations that make absolutely no sense, and there is little meaning in it all.Β 
We cannot control anything that is happening around us and to us as a result.Β 
But we still have our own feelings, perspectives, attitudes – which we can control.Β 

As bad and sad as we may feel, we need to remember that there is still beauty in this world, and in our lives. Our vision is blurred by the situation and circumstances, and so we need to make an effort to seek it out, and we’ll find it. It may be in something small, but it’s better than nothing at all. It’s in the things we forget to take notice of – the silly things sometimes too. There may be little about the pandemic to love, but there is still much about ourselves and our lives that weΒ can love.Β 

She was quiet for a few minutes, and then she started laughing. I gave her my raised eyebrow / questioning look, and she answered me πŸ˜‰
”Well, I don’t have to see Jared and have awkward moments for another month (he’s her ‘ex boyfriend’); and I can shower and put on a new pair of pj’s when I don’t have dancing; and I can still video call with my friends and not have to stop myself from randomly hugging them.” Yesterday, she came through to my room laughing, because her and her two best friends had come up with four other advantages to the current situation.

Here’s hoping that we all find the parts of life that we can love, despite the circumstances. That we notice the beauty in our current stressful and unusual situations. And that when we find that we are lacking in reasons to laugh, that we find the courage to be honest, and reach out, and ask our friends and family to help us to.Β 

 

Spaghetti

routine

Life as a single mom, when the kids have their own schedules etc., means that a lot of the time, my life IS routine based. The above has some truth to it, in that there is definitely less of ‘my’ life and more of ‘dependent’s’ routines. A lot of my time has been based on scheduling what I need to do, around what they need to do and where they need to be.

Our intense lock down in my country, due to the current pandemic, changed a lot of that for the most part. But it also introduced ‘new routine’, that still meant that I had to make adjustments to my ‘living’. Tomorrow another new routine will begin, as my daughter is to return to school for a ten day cycle – and not the normal school hours as these have been adjusted.

But I think that the part about routine that this picture sort of misses is that some routines actually equal a good life. Without some of the routines that I perform, there would actually be ‘less life in me’. Roughly the first hour of my day is usually spent checking my thoughts, my attitude, my heart. It is usually spent in moments of gratitude, and reading through some inspiration. It is an important part of my day, and a routine that I am not prepared to change. For without it (and there have been days where I have been rushed and not taken the time to fully explore the above) I have had some of my worst days – frustrating and slightly miserable.

I really liked the following quote though, and I’ll explain why in a bit :

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I realised that for me, the key to it all is to let the routine not become routine. When I am grateful for the same three things every day for two weeks, without truly thinking about it and finding other things to be grateful for, then my gratitude has ‘lost its meaning’ – for me anyway. And that too could quickly lead to ‘less life in me’.

(And as a side note – see the different interpretations for that one picture/statement, at the beginning of this blog post? I’ve ‘read it’ differently twice in just this blog post alone – and I am sure if I read it in context with what was before and after, it would have another interpretation entirely. That’s some food for thought in there πŸ˜‰ )

In my late twenties, I read a book by Bill and Pam Farrel. I don’t know what happened to my copy of it, and it’s one I would actually love to read again. I DO remember that it was quite funny – and oh, so true! πŸ˜‰
It was called Men Are Like Waffles and Women Are Like Spaghetti.
(It’s clearly a good book, since there was a reprint in 2017 πŸ˜‰ )

The thought behind it was that men’s minds are like waffles – and they deal with one thing at a time – almost like boxing everything. Us women? We’re a bit more complicated πŸ˜› We just unpack everything, as such πŸ˜› Our minds are more like spaghetti – flowing from one thought into the next – we can go from thinking about mascara, and end up talking about scrambled eggs on toast in literally 5 minutes – and it’s our thought processes that take us there. What does mascara have to do with eggs? No idea! But we’re women πŸ˜‰

So why am I telling you this?

This blog post came from this : I was reading a post that reminded me that it’s okay to not keep focusing on ‘the outcome’. I’ve had two days where I have been running myself ragged – a vet trip, and a doctor’s visit (everyone is fine πŸ˜‰ ) and the usual household stuff…. and I haven’t got to doing the things I felt I needed to do…. things that would have good outcomes (I hope! πŸ˜› ) and are quite necessary. And I’ve been so focused on not seeing the results I felt I should be and not accomplishing what I felt was important – looking for tangible outcomes and feeling like a failure because there weren’t any. All I could see was two days of ‘wasted time’.
And in that blog post was a reference to faith – ”faith is detachment from outcome and a confident belief in the source of outcome” – to quote it directly.

(And although my ‘interpretation’ is possibly not quite what the intention was behind the post, it made me think all these things – above, and my further explanation below, ha ha ha!)

Then I got to thinking about faith. What it truly means to me. And how I have no choice but to live in it. And I got to wondering when last I was grateful for that – the fact that I have it. And how maybe these days weren’t wasted, because they meant a lot of driving time, and waiting time, where there was little else to do other than sit and reflect. It was time spent with my Source… not wasted then, right?Β 

And then I thought of sauce! And remembered that I had forgotten to buy the one my son requested from the store earlier today when I was there. That made me think of my ‘pre-pandemic’ normal routine of popping in at ‘my store’ daily, and how that has changed. Which introduced the ‘routine’ side of things, spurred on my by a picture message image, which is the first image I shared here.

Talk about spaghetti! My goodness, it’s sort of exciting to think where my mind will go next – although the rumbling in my tummy is a bit of a giveaway πŸ˜‰

I’ll end with this : in our lives, we all have routines and schedules, and we make choices and decisions hoping for positive outcomes. There’s a saying that says : Life happens while we’re busy making other plans. And so sometimes our routines and schedules gets disrupted, and we don’t get the positive outcomes we were hoping for. But perhaps we shouldn’t lose heart. Perhaps in that disruption we had the greatest opportunity of all which always leads to the best of outcomes- to feed our souls and practice our faith, and just be with our source.Β 
May you all always find time for that! ❀

Calm in your heart

On Sunday, my friend, Wic, published a post called I Choose Peace.

It was, like so many of the Letters to Pogue, thought provoking, and contained many nuggets of wisdom. This particular statement from that post has sat with me the last two days :

”PEACE. It does not mean to be in a place where there is no noise, no trouble or hard work. It means to be in the midst of those things and still be calm in your heart.
Anon”

As I’ve mentioned before in previous posts, my country is one of high crime, high unemployment, huge issues with corruption within the government, and poverty – just to mention a few.

I wasn’t surprised to discover that South Africa is ranked as the second most stressed out country in the world, losing first place to Nigeria. We gained our second place standing Β based on homicide rates, Gross Domestic Product (GDP), income inequality, corruption,Β unemployment, pollution and life expectancy.

I found an article from 2019 – which means it was researched, tests were done, and it was written all BEFORE the current pandemic.

There is a meme making its rounds on social media that states that ‘living in SA should be allowed to be listed as a skill on my CV’. And yes, most of us here DO laugh at it – but we know the truth in those words too.

In the article I mentioned above, I also happened to have a good belly chuckle at the following extract – because it is just so true :

Bring out the stress balls – South Africa is a mess! A recent global study has revealed the main factors which have South African citizens living in a perpetual state of anxiety and despair. Let’s take a look at the findings.

It has been said that there are two types of people in South Africa: those who can handle massive amounts of stress, and those who need bail money. As South Africans, we even find it stressful to avoid stress, and end up stressed out in anyway. We wake up screaming, and then realise that we haven’t even fallen asleep yet.”

I knew the info in the article. It’s hard not to when you live it, although it’s worse than when the article was written. I also know that my American BFF wouldn’t know any of what was going on if it wasn’t for me – she doesn’t get to see our ‘true news’ in her country, as such. I send her newspaper article links and keep her informed, and she is always shocked at how they (in the US) know nothing about most of it.
I don’t like politics. I don’t like to be negative. But let’s go back to that statement I shared above –
”PEACE. It does not mean to be in a place where there is no noise, no trouble or hard work. It means to be in the midst of those things and still be calm in your heart.
Anon”
Life, for me here, is stressful – not as stressful as it is for multitudes of others in my country – but it’s still stressful. It’s also quite exhausting – constantly having to be aware of every person who moves, looking over your shoulder in broad daylight, wondering about your safety when you’re putting groceries in your car etc. We live in a constant state of awareness – and that’s tiring.

But I sleep well at night (although if there is a report of someone suspicious within our complex, or sirens on the main road outside, or people screaming, or gunshots, then it may take a while to get to sleep) – but I sleep. I wake during the night with my dogs, but I have no problem going back to sleep unless something ails me.

I don’t worry as much as I possibly should.
I still spread kindness and a smile.
I may not have achieved complete inner peace – there are still some things I need to wrestle with – but I certainly think that peace, the kind that keeps my heart calm, is a very large part of me.
My grandparents sang in the church choir my entire childhood. Grandpa had two favourite hymns, and the one was, ”It is well with my soul”.
In the pandemic, with all that is happening around me, I find myself referring to that hymn a lot in the sense that even though I seem to have had physical ailments (not the virus, no), I have taken comfort in the fact that it is still well with my soul.
There are difficult days – where it is an hour by hour motivational talk to myself to get me through. And it is on those days where I remember how important it is to feed my soul, so that it can be well.
I do not bury my head in the sand and not acknowledge that the problems exist. Outside influences DO affect us…. but it’s how much we are willing to let them affect us where the ‘answer’ lies. I also know that there are places in the world that are worse off, and it hurts me every time I think of them.
My hope for all of you is to achieve that inner peace that can help keep your hearts stay calm in the midst of the storms of life. To pursue a path that will give you the assurance of ‘it is well, despite the circumstances’.
Keep going, dear friends. Peace ❀

Piece of Peace

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I have a hope that the pandemic has taught us all how very true the above really is. Every new morning that presents itself to us is a gift. And it truly is the greatest gift.
It’s probably the only one that I have no difficulty receiving – I embrace it with open arms; no matter how bad the weather is, my health is, how sleepy my brain is etc. I am always truly happy at being given ‘another shot’ – a whole new day full of possibilities and opportunities. And reasons to smile.

I am a giver, naturally. It’s just something I do, and have no problem doing. I struggle with taking – even when a gift is freely given. This is something I have been made very aware of that needs work. It’s a mindset that needs changing. For if we freely give, then we should also be prepared to freely receive.

And I received a financial gift from a friend who is very dear to me, which enabled me to purchase a new laptop. My previous laptop had lasted almost ten years, but was finally going on the blink more than what it was working. And eventually, it died. And my friend decided to give more than they already do, and sowed into my life financially.
(This friend blesses me daily, with laughter and smiles and excellent soul food – introducing me to things that count and help me grow! It was already more than enough for my hungry heart.)

I have spent the last two days trying to come up with a ‘killer blog post’, to do the gratitude in my heart for this amazing gift justice. I wanted to present you all with a masterpiece that would wow you. A true work of reading art that would encourage, inspire and motivate you as you dip your own paintbrushes into the colourful paint pots for your life canvases.

I came up empty.

But here is a parting thought for you to take into this day with you, and one that I hope you will remember and possibly even dwell on for a while each and every day :
Master Peace

In each day, pause for a moment and focus on peace – inner peace, if you will.
There is turmoil in the world around us, and no doubt we will face trials each day – some small and possibly insignificant, and some that threaten to overwhelm us.
But in each day, we also need to take a moment to ‘see the peace’ as well.
It isn’t unattainable, despite what is happening around us.

But we need to be aware, and sometimes we need to just work a little harder to seek it out, in order to find it. Sometimes all it takes is that pause in the busyness to just breathe. It’s a one step at a time kind of thing – one minute, one hour, one day.

And so I end with my hope for all of you : may you all experience contentment and pure joy starting today and extending into forever ❀

The Gift

”The meaning of life is to find your gift, the purpose of life is to give it away.”
Pablo Picasso

I love giving. Most times, all I have to give is ‘me’… and those who value and appreciate that warm my heart immensely.

I read this post this morning, on a rather appropriate day…. and decided I’d like to share it. Because, as usual, there is a lot of good stuff in these Letters to Pogue πŸ˜‰

It was also a good reminder to me of areas that need growth in my personal life – I find it a lot easier to give than I do to receive, ha ha!

Happy reading and pondering! πŸ˜‰ Hope you all have a wonderful weekend!

Letters To Pogue

Dear Pogue,

You and I have little problem giving each other things. Gifts. You’ll agree that it’s nice to receive something especially if it’s unexpected. Flip the coin and I think it’s always uplifting to give a gift that is well received and, I believe, brings as much pleasure as receiving one.

But not everyone is the same as you and I. Here’s the rub. The whole area of giving and receiving is such a big issue for a whole bunch of people. Can you believe that? Here’s some of the issues that I have encountered.

No one has ever become poor by giving.

Anne Frank

There’s the feeling of unworthiness, the β€˜now I’ve got to reciprocate’, the β€˜I have to act’, or maybe react, β€˜to keep this relationship in balance’ approach. To my mind, when I witness this I’m thinking what sort of relationship is this? Is it really…

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Big Wins

We all have those moments. The ones where there is a ‘straw that broke the camel’s back’ moment, and everything just seems to crumble. Staying afloat is a struggle and sometimes we find ourselves gasping for air. More so in the current pandemic – the stress that it is bringing to our lives is something none of us have ever been prepared for.

I was speaking to someone the other day, and laughing (yes, actually laughing) about all the terrible things I have been through in my life, and having been made an entirely single mom with no financial or emotional support 12 years ago, and how I have learned and worked so hard at finding tools for survival and implementing coping strategies and mechanisms that are healthy – and that I felt that I was doing okay and could pretty much cope with anything. And then? Covid19.

It’s a whole new ball game.

No one has ever taught me about what to do in a worldwide pandemic, when you live in a third world country that was falling apart even before the crisis hit. No one has prepared me for it, or offered me applicable coping mechanisms. And I really thought I was doing okay in the beginning. But I think that as with many other aspects in life, my sub conscious needed a little bit of a ‘reprogram’.

And it was in trying to help someone else last week, that I actually helped myself. Which should come as no surprise to many of you. Because isn’t that just the ‘circle of life’ –

showing kindness begets kindness;
giving freely begets receiving;
helping others emotionally begets assistance for ourselves

And I found myself wondering….

What if I apply all I know to this unknown situation as well – whether I think it’s applicable or not? What if I continue to live as I always have, despite the circumstances? What if I do as much as I can, with what I have, and what I am allowed to do legally (I can’t pop in for a coffee with a friend who is struggling)? What if I just keep being me and celebrate each new day without worrying about the next one?

I have always been someone who has an ‘attitude of gratitude’. I try NOT to complain a lot, but sometimes we do just need to get things off our chests. But even after moments of grumbling, I am still mindful of gratitude for what I DO have.

What we sometimes forget is that our ‘small wins’ and the little things, are things of monstrous value to others. I think that taking things for granted is a human condition, and not always something we do intentionally. I slip up many times – it doesn’t make me an ungrateful and bad person. When I realise what I have done, it creates an awareness to be more grateful for that particular thing – which is good! (And I can’t help but wonder if that’s the point πŸ˜‰ )

In my country there are far too many people who don’t have access to clean running water. I live in a built up residential area and so this is not a problem for me. And although my heart aches for those people, and I get angry at my government infrastructure that has failed them, I don’t think I ever fully understood their reality until we were without water for six whole days. It certainly changed things up for me and as silly as it sounds, I am now grateful every time I shower, am able to flush the toilet, wash dishes, do a load of washing in the washing machine etc. Previously, I would have seen these things as small wins – now I know how big they actually are! (And it has also led to us being more aware of the amount of water we use, developing good habits to not waste πŸ˜‰ )

I can also tell you from personal experience, the small wins that are celebrated for what they truly are (big wins for others) attract something powerful.

In the same way, the small things that we do for others attract something powerful too. In EVERY aspect of our lives. The more we think about good things, and do good for others, the more we invite it to attach itself to us πŸ˜‰Β 

Every day is different. Some days are ‘bad’, where everything seems to go wrong. But even on those days, I challenge you to find three good things too – because you WILL find them if you consciously look for them πŸ˜‰

And don’t forget to give something away every day – even if all you have to give is a smile, or ten minutes of your time. Little things to you may signify big wins in someone else’s life ❀

Vincent Ehindero Blogger Award

blog-awaard

 

I was nominated for the above award by a young lady named Chloe. I visited Chloe’s blog after Vincent Ehindero gave her a stellar recommendation.
What had impressed me most was her age! She’s only eleven years old.
When I was eleven, I loved writing too – but we didn’t have internet in those days. I somehow doubt, even if we did, that I would have had the courage to start a blog though! She describes herself as being a little….. energetic. That made me smile for sure. πŸ˜‰
You should definitely stop by her lovely blog, especially if you enjoy poetry πŸ˜‰

Thank you for the nomination, Chloe πŸ™‚

The Rules:

1. Thank the person that nominated you with a link to their blog

2. Make a post of the award (with photo)

3. Post the rules

4. Ask 5-10 questions of your choice

5. Nominate 10-30 other bloggers (or more) and notify them.

6. Follow Vincent Ehindero @Β vincentehindero.wordpress.comΒ (to qualify for free blog promotion and shoutout) and more blogging opportunities

Here is my Q & A from Chloe :Β 

What’s the best thing you like about blogging? And your advice.

It’s a place to express my thoughts and feelings, and enables me to connect with others all over the world.
I guess my ‘advice’ would be to remember that even in the blogosphere, everyone has a right to their opinion, and that most times, if you don’t have anything nice to say, it may be better to say nothing at all πŸ˜‰

Who is your favorite author?

I have no answer. Because I have so many, for so many different reasons πŸ˜‰ As a child, my answer definitely would have been Enid Blyton πŸ˜‰ (and my adult mind still escapes there sometimes) As I have got older, the world of books has opened up and my list of favourites has definitely grown.

What is that one thing you are very grateful for?

As cheesy as it sounds? My life. All of it. The ups and the downs, the good and the bad circumstances, the successes and the challenges. In the bad moments, I may scream into my pillow, or rant at the bathroom mirror… sometimes I even cry! But I am still VERY grateful for MY life, and the fact that I have it! ❀

Why do you blog?

Well…. why not? πŸ˜‰

What is your favorite fragrance?

Another question with a multitude of answers. But I shall give you five since I ducked the favourite author question, ha ha ha! πŸ˜‰
Vanilla
Freshly cut grass
Sandalwood
Pine needles
The ocean

Now unfortunately, as most of you will know from previous blog awards, I don’t nominate other blogs. I feel it’s a personal choice to participate, but also don’t want to put pressure on anyone πŸ˜‰
IF you find the questions appealing though, then please DO participate… consider yourself nominated πŸ˜‰Β 

  1. Is music a big part of your life? How/why? (this question inspired by this fantastic post on Letters to Pogue πŸ˜‰ that you really should check out)
  2. Do you have a sweet tooth, or are you more of a savoury lover? (inspired by Granny1947’s love for Lindt dark chocolate πŸ˜‰ Her blogs are amusing and informative – you should visit her too πŸ˜‰ )
  3. What is your favourite way to boost your mood? (Holly’s question on her latest post – a great blog for tips and advice and general inspiration. Definitely worthy of a look see πŸ˜‰ )
  4. What is something new that you would like to try out? (I keep thinking about Evan’s post on outdoor rock climbing! He has some other great blog posts as well, focusing on a motivational mindset, goals, and life in general πŸ˜‰
  5. Do you have a hobby? What is it? Pictures please πŸ˜‰ (This is just me being curious, ha ha ha!)

 

Here’s hoping everyone is well, and happy! Be safe, blogging friends!

Loving and Living

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I saw this image on Facebook, and what struck me the most was ‘but with intention’.

According to Wikipedia, ”Intention is a mental state that represents a commitment to carrying out an action or actions in the future. Intention involves mental activities such as planning and forethought.”.

I remember reading once that living our lives with intention means to live life ‘on purpose’. Not just on auto-pilot. To actually take responsibility for ‘us’ in the sense of throwing out what we have been taught (discarding the book of ‘rules’) and making our very own decisions, choices, changes.
A lot of business blogs will tell you that in this day and age with so much advancement, the surest way to get left behind and ‘kill your business potential’ is to use the words,
”We’ve always done it this way.”

This can be true for our personal lives too. We get taught to do things a certain way from young, and they become ‘something we just do’, pretty much forever.
Please don’t misunderstand – there are some traditions that are very worthy of continuance.
But there are many things that become habitual, and lose meaning altogether.

Habits that are constructive are good things – like perhaps introducing small daily habits to your schedule that have purpose, that are things that reflect your values. Maybe starting your day with ten minutes of meditation, or jotting down your goals for the day, or perhaps spending ten minutes stretching those sleepy muscles.Β 

But when I did some self reflecting regarding ‘living life intentionally’, I had to face some difficult truths. I discovered that there are areas in my life where I am pretty much living on auto-pilot : my daily routines had become predictable (before the pandemic), and although they have changedΒ because of the pandemic, they’re now quite predictable, yet again. I find myself moving through each day, going through motions, and doing things without even really having to think about them.

Now… I DO know myself… and I know that when it comes to some aspects of life, I am like a child in that I really DO need the routines. This is not a bad thing by any means.
Where I have started feeling, and seeing, that it may be ‘bad’ is that it seems to be a pattern that traverses throughΒ most of my day.
And while ‘going through the motions and not needing to think’, I am truly missing out on ‘the more‘ that life has to offer. Especially the simple joys.

And you know me and my silly examples πŸ˜‰ Well, here is one that I think is actually really good πŸ˜‰
The pandemic has been good to my laundry basket πŸ˜› I now only need to do a load of washing every second day πŸ˜‰
But putting a load in the washing machine and waiting for it to finish, then lugging the basket outside to the washing line to hang it all out for a few hours, and then heading back out there to take it allΒ off the washing line again…. this is all rather habitual – it is something I do without even thinking about it. In fact, it is so terribly done on auto pilot, that some days I forget that I have even put the washing on to start with! I have no recollection of adding the washing powder and fabric softener, turning and pressing buttons etc.
And many days, I shake my head and question my memory… wondering if I am already losing my mind. But it’s usually followed by a laugh and a shrug, and I just move on…. to the next thing… in auto pilot mode.
This is something rather trivial… but it brought to home the ‘living life on purpose/intentionally’ with regards to living my life better in order to feel more fulfilled, satisfied…. and finding the happiness in the simple things.
Because what happened was this :

I love butterflies. And not just for what they represent/the meaningful stories that surround their existence. I also happen to think that are amazingly beautiful little creatures. Sadly, for whatever reason, I don’t see them very often here where I live. Not real ones, anyway. I have plenty of decal ones, and printed pictures, stuck up in various places in my house though πŸ˜‰ EvenΒ they make me happy when I see them.

I came in one day, after hanging up the washing, to find my son sitting in the lounge staring at the part of our small garden where I had been busy. He made a comment that had me running back outside as fast as my legs would take me. He said, ”You must be happy, Mom, having the butterflies to help you hang up the washing.”
But by the time I got to the washing line, they were gone.
He told me when I returned to the lounge that there had been three of them, two small ones and a larger one, with quite striking colours in their wings. He was genuinely surprised that I had missed them, because they were flying ‘right there’.Β 
As strange as it sounds to most of you, this really made my heart feel sad… in that moment, just because I had missed seeing a few of my ‘favourite things’.Β 

The self reflection brought this memory to the forefront of my mind, and I was sad all over again when I fully grasped what it meant.
Sometimes we get so caught up in life as we know it, tasks that need doing, getting through the day (most times on auto pilot), that we can so easily forget to be present.Β 
We definitely need to work on mindfulness – the greatest aspect of this ‘to simply be present”.Β 

I can’t help but wonder what else I have missed in all these days. Which is a sad thought, yes. And it would be incredibly devastating if I sat here ruminating about it.
Instead, I am choosing to be more mindful, and more present, in as many ways as I can and as often as I can.Β 
These days, hanging up the washing takes longer…. because I am slower to start πŸ˜‰ I first look around me, at each tree and each bit of my garden – because there may be something incredible out there just waiting to brighten my day πŸ˜‰

I’ll touch very briefly on the image I shared above – I know it doesn’t speak of LIVING intentionally – it instead calls for us to love intentionally.
I don’t know about you, but I sort of feel that we can apply the concepts of living intentionally to the aspect of loving in the same way. Being mindful of those around us, and being present with them.

I’ll end with an interesting heading that I found regarding loving others intentionally….

”Purposefully loving ourselves so that we can intentionally love others.”

Some food for thought in that statement alone πŸ˜‰

Don’t forget to look for the butterflies πŸ˜‰ and be well! ❀