tentacles of life

Many years ago, as soldiers fought in the heat of the jungle, they experienced something very frustrating, to say the least. It was bad enough that they were hunting, and being hunted, by an unseen enemy. But they also had nature to contend with. There was a prickly vine that would attach itself to them, trapping them in such a way that the more they struggled to get free, the more the plant would send extra tentacles to entangle them. They named the plant the ‘wait-a-minute’ vine because they were not able to move forward and would have to call on their team members for help. “Hey, wait a minute, I’m stuck!”
Now if they didn’t ask for help, they’d probably die of starvation and thirst eventually.
They called out for help though. But what would the result have been if, upon arriving on the scene to help, the entangled soldier did not allow them to help? Yes, death, but this time with an audience. (we all know they never would have watched their man die, but for the purposes of this blog, let’s just go with my chosen outcome 😛 )

redsuspenders1

We all get stuck sometimes. Things happen in life that
send unseen tentacles our way that entangle us and
prevent us from moving forward.

Retrenchment, a failed relationship, the death of a loved one – these are only three in a very long list of life occurrences that can have detrimental effects on our happiness and general well being if we don’t handle them correctly.

Acknowledging that you need help and asking for it is NOT a sign of weakness – it is in fact a very strong and courageous thing to do. 

These occurrences will often have emotional responses attached to them. It’s important for us to be careful of the effects our responses may have on our hearts and thoughts, and the impact of that later on in our journey.

We shouldn’t make permanent decisions based on temporary emotions.

And getting back to those soldiers…. it’s easy, particularly in the blogging world, to pour out our hearts and our emotions and acknowledge that we may need help in certain areas because of external influencing factors. It’s easy to tell our friends, ”I lost my job today. I may need to call on you for some help at a later stage.”

The actual act of doing so is where it gets tough.

Because it makes us vulnerable. Because there may be a learning curve attached to whatever it is we are going through in that moment. Because we may actually have to deal with something painful within ourselves so that we can grow. And because human nature is proud and stubborn.

funny-stubborn-quote-2-picture-quote-1

Photo credit : picturequotes.com

Being able to admit you need help is half the battle won. But if you keep saying ‘no’, you’ll never win the war.

You’re going to stay stuck.

And if you choose to just give up on that tentacle that is weighing you down – ”I’ll never find another job with the current unemployment status of my country”?

You’re going to stay stuck.

The most important part of getting unstuck though is this : moving forward.

The soldier acknowledges he needs help – ”I’m stuck”! The soldier then accepts help – his mates thrash away at those tentacles and eventually free him. But then…the soldier HIMSELF is the one who has to move forward.

I wish I could tell you that moving forward when you’ve become unstuck is easy. It’s not. These tentacles usually bring with them a fair amount of emotional pain. But these tentacles are very often the obstacles that are representations of opportunities for personal growth. And we all know that personal growth can be painful. A big part of accepting that help is also accepting the need for change within yourself – a change in attitude, if you will.

It’s not the time for flight. It’s the time to fight. To reassess your values, put an end to the limiting belief that ‘it will never happen’, embrace your mistakes and challenges, and continue on in hope. In the words of Mahatma Ghandi :

It’s the time to be the change you want to see in the world.

 

 

 

 

 

anger apologies and love

A couple of weeks ago I was invited to be a contributor to Paul’s blog. It was quite an honour that someone wanted my voice to be heard on their page! 🙂 Paul writes a lot about relationships – and about his lovely Kath. And so I thought it was fitting to write him a post about the languages of love. You can read the post here.

As I mentioned at the end of that blog post, there are now other quizzes available for growth 😉 There’s an apology language quiz, and a personal anger assessment. I did both, but with all that has been going on I got sidetracked! (To check out the quizzes you can visit here and click on quizzes.)

Last night I revisited the results of both tests.. (Because that’s what this single mom does on a Friday night, in case you were wondering 😛 )

b3d7ecf61bd4bf914bedbec016c6d6bd

I wasn’t too surprised that my two strongest results in my apology languages were Expressing Regret and Accept Responsibility. To touch lightly on these, I’ll tell you this :

Expressing Regret is basically the simple ‘I’m sorry’ – obviously said in a genuinely heartfelt manner – without making excuses or deflecting blame.  And sometimes being able to tie it in with body language makes it that much more meaningful – eye contact, a gentle touch of the hand etc.
Accept Responsibility means being able to acknowledge I am wrong – which is no easy feat for our ego. It’s not easy to admit that we may have made a mistake. But in this form of apologising it is important – as it is important for all humans everywhere to be able to acknowledge the fact that we all do, and will, make mistakes at one time or another.

I wasn’t surprised because the above are usually the way I apologise. Perhaps not in the moment (sometimes I’m just too angry or hurt), but definitely when I have taken a few deep breaths and had time to think.

What I found the most helpful though was the little piece that said this : In the same way, it will benefit others to know your apology language in order to express apologies to you in ways that you interpret most sincere. This translates into better communication, increased understanding, and, ultimately, improved relationships.

It’s so easy to assume that the people who know us would then know exactly what we expect from them in their dealings with us – right down to if it ever comes to apologising. My children know, because let’s face it, in a family we spend a lot of time saying sorry! 😛

But they know because it’s something I often speak to them about – truly mean it when you say sorry and don’t add in excuses. Take responsibility for the fact that you have also messed up. Then we move on. Interesting to read that I should be sharing this with everyone I am in a relationship with – and by relationship, I am covering the whole spectrum – romantic, family, friends.

funny-anger-quotes

Photo credit : volganga.com

(Have I mentioned how much I love dogs? 😉 )

My Personal Anger Assessment results were a little bit of a surprise. A bit of background as to why : there are a lot of very painful things in my past, and for many years I struggled with the anger inside of me. It’s taken a lot of hard work, painful reflection and agonising growth to practise the correct measure of self control when it comes to my anger.

I was very happy when my result displayed that I’m doing well with my anger – then I read, ‘but you can improve‘. Sigh. Nothing too new when we think of life though, is it? There is ALWAYS room for self improvement! I do know that I am still okay when it comes to anger – because back then I wouldn’t have bothered to read the rest 😛

The explanations that followed were simply this :

I need to recognise the difference between good and bad anger – injustice and mistreatment being the former, and incorrectly perceiving and then reacting being the latter.
I need to be wary of implosive anger – internalising the anger completely, being silent and withdrawing myself which results in resentment, bitterness and eventually hatred further down the road.

I’d love to be able to say that the above is nowhere near being true. But it is. It’s not something I do often, but I have been known to get angry because of my perceptions as opposed to knowing the full truth and circumstances, and there are moments where my anger can definitely be defined as implosive… and yes, I acknowledge that the results listed above do then occur. Thankfully I am self-aware when it comes to that, and the moment they begin to rear their ugly heads, I am able to delve into their origin and begin a course of ‘self-care’ to heal them before they take over completely.

I’ve shared all this so that you can go and check it all out for yourself if you’re into self-improvement 😉 and also as an accountability note of sorts for myself 😉 Remember that growing oneself, and learning to know oneself, is often a painful process – but the results are very rewarding! Remember that sometimes growth will take you out of your comfort zone, because sadly we don’t only grow where we are comfortable. 

And just because I really like these :

inspirational-quotes-personal-development-ideas-and-self-improvement-tips      tumblr_p9d3nu7XKb1vyr6o2o1_1280

    Photo credit : quotesviral.net             Photo credit : motivatedaily.tumblr.com

And then, just for fun 😉

FB_IMG_1559332529695

Wolf Food

sound-effects-genres

Photo credit : asoundeffect.com

When it comes to music, books, films, series I am a multi-genre kind of girl. But am I really? It’s easy to get confused, because while I enjoy a bit of everything, there are some areas where I can be quite specific. For example, I generally don’t read romance. I can’t say I spent too much time on comedy either, which is strange because I am an always smiling, love to laugh, kind of person. I don’t do horror.

The funny thing is that when I was younger I thoroughly enjoyed all those things. Perhaps I overdid them? Or maybe as I have matured I have simply outgrown them? Whatever the reason, it’s immaterial, so it’s not something I spend a lot of time thinking about.

But if I had to choose my favourite genre – my favourite types of things to read and watch? They’d be murder mysteries, anything to do with crime, thrillers, psychological thrillers etc. My dad was a big influence – and my dear old Granny with whom I spent a lot of time as a child, watching many an episode of Murder, She Wrote.

Last week I got a message from a good friend, telling me that she had finished a really great series that was intriguing, mysterious and exciting – and I just had to watch it too. (She did also mention that her partner had not enjoyed it, and had told her that he didn’t think it would be something I would enjoy either. But, what does he know anyway? 😛 )

Where am I going with this? It’s been a rough seven days. I’ve had a few moments where one could almost say I have behaved a bit out of character – and I have felt unsettled and unusually anxious. I’ve allowed things to bother me that usually wouldn’t, and I have struggled a bit with staying focused. It was almost like the ‘peace’ of my mind had been disturbed.

And you know how ‘you know something‘?
How afterwards you could kick yourself because the answer was so simple and it’s something you know so well, and yet it eluded you? 

At lunchtime yesterday, upon further reflection of the past seven days, it came to me and it all finally made sense.

Let’s go back to the suggested series by my good friend. I am not going to name it, because maybe some of you out there have thoroughly enjoyed it. To name it may cause offence, and that’s not what this post is about.

Needless to say, I didn’t.

Now usually, when someone recommends something to me, I do a little research first. This time I failed miserably. Without giving a thought to first checking it out, I happily settled in last Friday evening to start watching.
I have a very strong stomach, which was something that I actually only fully developed while working for a doctor – you can’t have a queasy stomach and assist with procedures and clean up afterwards.
And I am not a person who is easily affected by a lot of things – which may be due to desensitisation for a variety of reasons.

But those first two episodes literally made me feel ill to my stomach. This was nothing like what I enjoy watching and I almost messaged my good friend to ask if she was sure she had recommended it to the right person. I don’t see how it is as popular as it is because it is just so wrong on every level – but then again, considering the world we live in – that may be the very reason why. (Although a few reviews did say that the individual was disappointed in themselves for wasting their time on it.)

The problem is that on Saturday evening, and every evening thereafter until Wednesday, I watched another two episodes. Because the only kind, decent and beautiful thing about it had captured my attention and I wanted to know more about her. She was scarce though and so I had to sit through all the other rubbish.

If you don’t already know what negative character traits are, you’d be able to find them all in this series. Its filled to capacity with manipulation, dishonesty, disrespect, greediness, evil, aggression, hostility, violence, jealousy – and it throws in gore and disgusting displays of sexual acts just for good (bad) measure.

Now when I say I ”watched”, you need to understand I spent more than half the time only listening. (in the privacy of my bedroom with earphones in – I have an impressionable teenage girl) My son came in once and walked around to pet our dogs and saw the screen. It was during a particularly violent and gruesome part, which I wasn’t watching. I paused it, and his reaction was, “Flip Mom, what the heck are you watching?” To which I replied that I wasn’t going to tell him because it was absolutely awful and I didn’t want him watching it. He’s 21. That should have tipped me off to what I was doing.

So here’s the point : Garbage in, garbage out.

often refer to this story… it needs repeating today….

An old Cherokee is teaching his grandson about life. “A fight is going on inside me,” he said to the boy. “It is a terrible fight and it is between two wolves. One is evil – he is anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego.”

He continued, “The other is good – he is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith. The same fight is going on inside you – and inside every other person, too.”

The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather, “Which wolf will win?”

The old Cherokee simply replied, “The one you feed.”

My behaviour, and the unsettling and anxious feelings within me have been my own doing. I have been feeding the wrong wolf. I have been going against the core values I treasure and live by – and allowing the balance in my life to shift in a way that has been detrimental to my person, to my soul.

Sometimes it happens so subtly that it takes deep reflection to find out where we’re going wrong. This was a giant hammer hitting me on the head and it still took me too long to figure it out. I’m just glad I did.

Onward and Upward!

(And I guess my friends partner knows me better than we thought 😛 )

teaching learning moments

Yes, the pictures above ARE ME! (I usually avoid sneaky captures, so this is a rare moment 😉 ) What I am doing here, however, is not rare.

On this particular day about a month ago, I had collected three girls (one being my daughter) from school, and taken them to the dance studio they are all a part of. I’d been rushing around for two hours prior, and was desperate to relieve my bladder, so I accompanied them inside (okay, so me going inside with them IS rare – keep reading 😉 ).

The conversation in the car had been centered around a particular teacher, who had left them feeling rather uninspired and completely demotivated for the upcoming exam period. They needed to vent and have their own discussion, and so I didn’t interrupt. But I listened – partly because other than driving, there wasn’t much else I could do!

While I was in the bathroom and thinking about what had transpired in the car (because a bathroom is a place that inspires great thought), I remembered a story about a similar type of teacher that we had had when I was in high school. There was also a lesson in there, so I decided to share. Upon entering the room, the audience had grown and now there were two other younger beings, as well as the assistant dance teacher present. (The assistant dance teacher is the ”capture culprit”.)

To my daughters horror (oh the shame, my mother speaks, uttered by most teenage girls her age) I opened my mouth and began to recount what I remembered. I know it doesn’t look like it from the pictures, but they did all laugh with me at the end, including my kid 😉 I don’t know who it was who commented how lucky my daughter is to have a mom that is not only good at story telling, but is such an inspiration. Her reply was, “Yeah, well try living with it. Every moment is a teaching moment.” This was followed with a roll of her eyes – and then everyone was rushing about getting ready because their class was about to start.

I’ll admit it. I was a little disappointed with her reaction, and her comment. But it wasn’t new to me. I also know that she really didn’t mean any disrespect , nor was there the intention of emotional harm. I know this, because I know her. She’s often frustrated with me, and queries, “Why does everything have to be a teaching moment with you?” We had a long conversation about it a couple of weeks ago. I understand her frustration – she’s 14, and I am ‘the mother’. At 14, any instruction offered by those in authority (even when intended to help, inspire or uplift) is always taken as if it truly is a bitter pill. And since my daughter simply doesn’t swallow pills (we’ve tried in jam, cheese, chocolate, yoghurt – that small thing simply isn’t going down her throat) it’s a little more difficult with her.

FB_IMG_1573553967023

Photo credit : Facebook

(Ah yes, teenagers! Don’t get me wrong – she’s a great kid. But she’s still growing, and tends to be a little more defiant when it comes to seeking out lessons to learn. But then again, look how long it’s taken me!)

And she’s sort of right. Because I suppose there comes a time when it can get really annoying. She has also pointed out to me that I am ‘worse’ these past few years when it comes to teaching moments.

I think that this may be because in the past few years I have opened myself up to experiencing more learning moments. As I have mentioned in many previous posts, something has shifted. And although this process is painful, it’s bringing with it a lot of very positive outcomes. It’s changing my character, for the better.

While the word purpose is inclined to draw our focus to goal-based achievements – the type where we set a target that is usually ‘verb’ orientated (get a promotion at work, gain new customers, publish a book) – I have allowed myself to broaden my thinking 😉 Yes! Goal-based achievements are important. They are long term, future focused and give us a direction in which to head, often with a  tangible result.

But what about the other types of goals? While those achievements are great, if they never happen in your life it doesn’t mean that you lived a life without purpose, or that you somehow failed to achieve in your journey.

I have many ‘verb based goals’ and, truth be told, I happen to be falling behind. Tomorrow is not promised and I may never reach them. This thought is a little bit frustrating for me. BUT…

I am already aligned with the greatest purpose of all that I can hope to achieve when I choose to act in kindness, compassion and love. This ‘personal purpose’, while it is based on verbs, may not always have a visible outcome. I may not see the end results. I won’t always know if I was able to help guide someone, or influence them in a positive way. I won’t always know if I helped others change the course of their lives to a better direction, or whether my smile that day was the one thing that changed their mind about taking their own life. I won’t always know.

But it won’t stop me from being kind, sharing a smile, showing compassion.

And in the same way, as frustrating as my teaching moments are, I won’t stop dishing them out.
(Although I may need to be a little more sensitive regarding their frequency 😛 )

Most importantly of all, as painful as the learning moments are, I won’t stop being more aware of me and my surroundings in an effort to find them and determine what it is I need to know about them. Because it’s an ongoing process, and I am very aware of how it affects my emotional, intellectual, spiritual and physical health.

So, for me? I am quite happy being a goal setter, go getter, in matters pertaining to the heart. And who knows, the rest of it may just follow 😉

It’s Time

You know that expression, ”I feel like I’ve been hit by a bus”? Well, yesterday afternoon I nearly was that expression!

A bit of background : It’s been raining non stop, a steady drizzle interrupted by the odd downpour, for the past 40 hours. I am celebrating. And not just because I love the rain. 😛 Water restrictions came to town last Friday. September is our heavy rainfall month around here – we didn’t see more than a few drops. Our main dam is now sitting at less than 35% capacity. The last census in 2011 showed that there are 267 007 people living here – we have largely increased in numbers since then. This rain is nowhere near to filling the dam, but it sure is helping!

And the roads are very wet as a result.

So I leave the house at lunchtime to perform Mom’s Taxi duties with a smile on my face. The garden beds in front of my house are overflowing with water. The bucket next to it is almost full.

My celebration of happiness has been extended.

Now, as ridiculous as this may sound, one thing I don’t do is break the speed limit. That doesn’t mean I am a slow driver though – because I hit the speed limit in the given areas. 😉 But when it rains? I stay in the slow lane where possible and I drop my speed by 10 or 20 – depending how fast I’m allowed to go in that spot 😉  I suppose you could call me a careful driver, who isn’t a hazard on the road.

So there I am, pulling onto the highway, still in the euphoric state brought upon by this much needed and beautiful rain (and cooler weather – added bonus!) and I see that on the bridge up ahead, in the fast lane, there is a massive truck that has come to a complete standstill. This is a two lane highway, and I’m in the slow lane, so no problem.

Big problem, when there’s a massive bus coming up fast in the same lane as the truck! It was a good thing I glanced in the rearview mirror to see if I needed to warn anyone. I put my hazards on and slowed a little – but that didn’t help the bus. When you have that much steel at that sort of speed, and the roads are wet, braking hard isn’t going to do anyone any favours. So he did the next best thing, and swerved. While the front of his bus was in the clear and one could just say that he ‘cut me off a little’, I think he’d forgotten that there was a back side that would follow. I was reminded when I saw it coming to meet me at my drivers side window, and braked a little harder than I like to in wet weather.

Of course you know that my car skidded a bit – but the side of the bridge came nowhere near me. If I had been going faster, this ending would have been very different, and I’d be celebrating wetness in the river below that bridge. Although, as my son pointed out, if I was a speedster, I may have cleared that truck way before the bus arrived on the scene 😛

Admittedly, I was in a small amount of shock – but as I continued on my way, I actually laughed because I thought, “My gosh, I nearly was the back of a bus”! My friends often tell me that my reactions to close calls, where I laugh and think of something funny, is a very dark and unhealthy coping mechanism. Well, it is what it is, and I am what I am.

Right, the point of sharing this silly story with you is this :

I am not totally afraid to die. Fear of death is a very real thing, and is known as Thanatophobia. It affects people so deeply that even the thought of death gives them an anxiety attack. This is one thing I cannot completely identify with, but because I have other phobias I can understand and be sympathetic to their plight. I say ‘cannot completely’ because there was a time when I admit that I couldn’t think of anything worse than dying!

My journey in the past four years has been filled with epiphanies. The turning point for me was looking back on my life and accepting that my pain had purpose – I had lessons to learn and painful roads of the past to travel, because I needed to grow.

When I made the choice to accept the pains and hurts of the past, changed the way I viewed them, and turned them into opportunities of growth, changed for the better.

Please don’t get me wrong. I do not mean that I will put myself in dangerous situations or do anything intentionally that will cost me my life. Neither am I advocating that you do, if you’re not afraid to die. It’s not about suddenly being irresponsible. And it’s certainly not about taking life for granted.

And I am not saying I want to die.

There’s just been a shift in me. I still will say, ”I don’t want to die”, but I will not allow that to be my focus or make me negative. Time’s a-wasting, and life is short, and you just never know. So while I’d like to have the mercy of being around for a very long time still to come, I’d also like to LIVE while doing so.

Living means different things to different people. And it means different things to me, depending on the context in which I am saying it. The context today means this:

I want to feel alive. In order to do that, I need to remain in alignment with my values. I must not waste my days. I need to change lives, one life at a time. My values mean that I have an insatiable need to show kindness, motivate and inspire, and be courageous even in the face of pain and grief – especially when dealing with areas that need tweaking in my personality…to never stop growing and learning! These are to just name a few. And these are some of the reasons that I get up every morning – they put purpose in my life… along with the kids and dogs who kind of NEED me to get up every morning 😛 😉

My friends, think about what it’s like to be alive. What drives you? What are your values at this moment in your life?

Because it’s TIME TO BE ALIVE!

Chase after the things that get your blood racing, follow your dreams, reach out if you have a need, spread kindness like a disease, feed your soul.

TAKE CARE OF YOU! 

Because YOUR LIFE MATTERS, YOU MATTER, and despite what you may think or feel, YOU make a positive difference in someone’s life and they’re very glad they have you!

today is not your day

attention-i-can-please-only-one-person-a-day-today-14702205Photo credit : me.me

The wording in the above picture is for entertainment purposes only. Well….not completely.

I’d like to draw your attention to : Today is not your day. Tomorrow doesn’t look good either.

Those are the words that I am meaning to say to you right now.

Today is NOT your day and tomorrow isn’t either……

It is NOT your day to give up.

It is NOT your day to stop dreaming.

It is NOT your day to dwell on your past and the mistakes you may have made.

It is NOT your day to stop growing and challenging yourself.

It is NOT your day to rob the world of the beauty within you, and all you have to give.

It is NOT your day to stop trying, or believing.

It is NOT your day to give in to fear.

And tomorrow isn’t looking good for you either 😉

WUAuPCSLgrPhoto credit : faxo.com

 

effort to grow

Last night I was reminded of the lesson of the butterfly. I had read the story many years ago, but somehow it had got lost in the back of my mind somewhere. It was a story written by Paulo Coelho :

A man spent hours watching a butterfly struggling to emerge from its cocoon. It managed to make a small hole, but its body was too large to get through it. After a long struggle, it appeared to be exhausted and remained absolutely still.
 
The man decided to help the butterfly and, with a pair of scissors, he cut open the cocoon, thus releasing the butterfly. However, the butterfly’s body was very small and wrinkled and its wings were all crumpled.
 
The man continued to watch, hoping that, at any moment, the butterfly would open its wings and fly away. Nothing happened; in fact, the butterfly spent the rest of its brief life dragging around its shrunken body and shrivelled wings, incapable of flight.
 
What the man – out of kindness and his eagerness to help – had failed to understand was that the tight cocoon and the efforts that the butterfly had to make in order to squeeze out of that tiny hole were Nature’s way of training the butterfly and of strengthening its wings.
 
Sometimes, a little extra effort is precisely what prepares us for the next obstacle to be faced. Anyone who refuses to make that effort, or gets the wrong sort of help, is left unprepared to fight the next battle and never manages to fly off to their destiny.
 
(Adapted from a story sent in by Sonaira D’Avila)

In life, we are so often presented with situations and circumstances that restrict us. The things that we face sometimes require great physical and mental effort on our parts to break free from those restrictions, and it’s exhausting!

I know that for me, sometimes those things come as a result of my own choices, based on a particular set of circumstances. Those times I have bruised shins from kicking myself 😛

Other times, they seem to come out of nowhere!

There was a time that I looked at the struggle, conceded defeat and wallowed in my misery, asking myself over and over, “Why me?”. I never learnt anything, and it affected who I was as a person in a negative way. Admittedly, it was easier to be miserable about it because then I didn’t have to own anything. Ownership requires great responsibility, and I had enough responsibilities as far as I was concerned!

An attitude adjustment was needed, but denial was so much more comfortable. And soon the heart of the problem, became a problem with my heart.

I can’t pin point an exact moment when my attitude shifted. But I can tell you that I am very glad it did, in fact, shift. Heads rolled….well, mine did 😛

It wasn’t just a case of making better choices despite the circumstances, it was having a whole new attitude with regards to the things that seemed to hit me out of nowhere!
The activation of positive changes in my life happened when I started to view each struggle as a ‘learning curve’. When things happened (as they so often do) I was more inclined to pause and reflect – behaving like a raging bull (or cow, since I am female 😛 ) always had such negative results!

Viewing the obstacles in a different light inspired growth within me (I’ve also grown on the outside, but that’s just because I’m getting older, and I like food 😛 )

I won’t lie. Growth and change hurts a lot of the time. (Ask my jeans 😛 ) The lessons can sometimes be painful. It’s NOT the easy way out and doesn’t happen overnight. But as with the butterfly, with the extra time and effort, we can not only get over the hurdle, but gain wisdom for the next hurdle that’s going to come our way – and it will!

In the growing, I have learnt that the important things of life WILL come to me
…and that they’re not things at all!

I’ve become more compassionate – more understanding towards those around me. I’ve become a little wiser (and not just because I am getting older 😉 ) and I am more inclined to think things through in an effort to eliminate hurting others.
My thought patterns have changed and I no longer want to know ‘why me’ – these days it’s more like ‘why NOT me?’- because I realise that ‘this thing’ has happened to inspire growth within me. Somewhere there is a lesson I need to learn. Somewhere there is a piece of my heart that needs changing.

For me, at the stage of life that I find myself in, the most important thing of all is that all the pain, and misery, and growing, makes me empathetic to so many situations that other people find themselves in. And people matter. Parts of my story help others.

And that is the key to the essence of me. 😉

But here’s a shocking little piece of info for you : I don’t always get it right! There are moments where I fail miserably to do some or all of the above. But that is the only failure. Because I try again.

There are times where the negative emotions resurface, and I need to forgive myself for that, and remind myself of how far I have come. I need to remember that there is a bigger picture – pick up my backpack and push through the thorny brush on my journey. I need to stop being so hard on myself and give myself a break – growing pains aren’t easy. Not sure who said it, but I think about it often 😉 : If life was meant to be easy it wouldn’t have started with something called labor!

cff5bfeae354004c4e9b29bf7144bf7a

Jail Bail?

Every now and then, I take a break from my usual blog posts and post something lighter and less inspiring, more unusual. This normally contains word definitions or idiom explanations – things of that nature. Today isn’t all that interesting, but I did find it kind of funny 😉
Today was inspired by none other than my 14 year old daughter.

We all know what teens are like. They have their very own language – in fact each generation seems to 😛

Each country too, as a matter of fact. It’s no surprise then that words and expressions used in different countries are, well, different. So I can’t claim what I am about to share next as a guide to ‘teen speak’.
(Interestingly enough, my son’s teen speak was similar to what I grew up with, carrying the same definitions. My, how times have changed in the last seven years!!! Enter my daughter. 😛 )

We got out the car at a local store, and she exclaimed, ”Oh my word, Mom! I need to bail!”

Entering the store, I asked, “Who you hiding from?”

I turned around and was greeted with a blank stare.

A little further into the store, I asked, “Why did you need to bail from the car so fast?”

The total look of confusion on her face told me we weren’t talking about the same thing!

In ‘my days’, bail was pretty much defined as I need to go; bounce; take off. 
My usual go to place when it comes to trying to find the more trendy meanings of words is the Urban Dictionary (although I find the language inappropriate a lot of the time). After checking it now, I see it wouldn’t have helped me this time though anyway since it seems to be in line with my definition. Therefore not cool. Not trendy. “Way back when you were a teen, Mom….”
(It really wasn’t that long ago 😛 )

Seeing her confusion, I naturally asked, “Okay. What does bail mean to you kids then?”

She shushed me, blushed (the cute guy nearby had turned to look our way) and pulled me to a quieter corner of the store. There she stammered out,
“Well…uh… it means to…um….you know? When your undies get…um…..and you need to…um….”

From that completely unhelpful explanation, I somehow got the drift of what she was saying. So I whispered back, “You mean when you get a wedgie and you need to pull your panties back where they belong?” She nodded, shrugged her shoulders, and replied with,

“Yeah, you know, bail.”

I think I am going to have a tough time understanding this new teen speak of our local kids! 😛 😉

1 grateful person tag

I got tagged! 🙂 Thank you to herrychiccounsels for the honour 😉

I have to be entirely honest here – I am not one to post about religion or politics. These are very sensitive areas, and best not argued about on any social media platform or blog.

I have been criticised in the past for this, particularly when it comes to religion. I have been accused of being ashamed of what I believe, and that is very far from the truth.
But my own upbringing makes me a little wary of how and when I share my beliefs.

Probably one of the greatest things I have learnt in life (other than the time that I learnt that I will never be able to moonwalk like Michael Jackson 😛 ) is that we are all different and should respect each others differences and embrace them. Being critical and nasty and refusing to consider that others have different views to us doesn’t benefit anyone.

I had the Bible shoved down my throat growing up. It wasn’t about relationship, it was about religion. I promised myself that I would never do that to anyone.
The religion vs. relationship thing also taught me that people don’t care to hear the words if there are no actions to support what is being said.

AND THIS IS TRUE OF LIFE IN GENERAL. Don’t just say it, show me that you mean it.

So if you’re averse to Christianity, you can stop reading. I’m certainly not going to hold it against you. I’m thankful that you stopped by anyway 😉

On with the tag :

The 1 Grateful Person Tag is based on Luke 19 and the account of Jesus with the 1 out ten lepers he healed who came back to thank him. Let us aspire to be like the 1 who thanked Jesus and not the 9 who did not.

The ‘Rules’:
1- Share what you are grateful to Jesus for.
2-Share a passage from the bible about gratitude that means something to you.
3- Tag whoever you wish to.
4- Please share a link to my original post. 1 Grateful Person
5- Use any picture in your post that expresses gratitude
6. Share the intro

1 Do we have till the end of the next year? Could any person really read for that long? 😛
Yes, that is my way of listing that there is just so very much – simple things and complicated things. A myriad of things.
But I guess I’ll share this one : I am grateful for the difficult times. No, don’t scoff. I really am. When I look back at them 😉 When I have been in those dark and difficult places, I’ll admit that I didn’t like them, and I certainly wasn’t grateful for them. But when I look back and see how far I have come and learnt along the way that has made me a better person, I can’t help but be glad that I had them. I still experience difficult times, and I still don’t like them..even though I know that there’s going to be a rewarding change for getting through them. I don’t always tackle them gracefully, and I am definitely still inclined to complain in that dark place – even though I know the outcome will hold valuable lessons. But these days (after years of practice and tough times) I am more inclined to react with, “What am I supposed to be learning from this? I wish there was a better way of teaching me!”
Would you believe, it STILL sometimes takes me a ridiculous amount of time to learn the lesson!!! Sigh!

            “A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.”
                                                    Proverbs 17:22

Wait, what? It’s supposed to be a verse or passage about gratitude?!?!?! Well….to me, it is. I’ll make my explanation as brief as possible. If I can somehow manage to keep happiness in my heart despite my circumstances or the bad situations I encounter, I am more inclined to express gratitude. When I sit in the dark depths, my spirit very much does feel crushed and I am more inclined to lean towards feelings of bitterness and despair – and we all know that those don’t push us towards gratitude.
That doesn’t mean that when something devastating or bad happens that I don’t feel sad or angry, that I don’t hurt. A ‘happy heart’ is not immune to bad feelings. It just has a quiet type of joyful peace that manages to draw on gratitude despite it.
(Okay, so I am not very good at explaining it 😛 )

3 Hopefully there will no offense in this… I’m not tagging anyone. BUT..if you WANT to do it then you are definitely worthy of the grateful person tag. Please tag me if you do – I’d love to read your choices 🙂

4 Here’s the link to the lovely lady who nominated me 😉

5 The image I chose kind of goes with my chosen verse of scripture 😉

images
Photo Credit : soulutionary.com

And I’ve already completed task number 6 at the top of this post.

 

Unicorns and Sparkles

I received a picture message from my friend this morning. We don’t often get to connect because our lives are busy. In fact, even though we live in the same town, we actually only get to see each other once every four months or so, when our schedules are in harmony. Those are the greatest times, and always filled with moments that make for the best memories. We ‘do’ those times properly, and pretty much block book five hours or so for each other. When her husband hears we’re getting together, he pretty much sighs and tells her, ‘I’ll see you tomorrow – I’ll be asleep when you get home’. 😛 (He adores me, so that’s a plus for our together time 😉 )

Her message to me this morning was such a special one – and I consider it one that we all need to hear from time to time. I’ve delved a little more deeply into it for blogging purposes and added some ‘stuff’.

The message was simple : You’re important and you matter to me, and I hope you will always know and remember that. You can call on me at anytime. I will always be your ‘mental’ friend – there to help care for your mental health when you need me, and there to just act crazy with you when you need me to.

Sadly, the message didn’t just ‘come out of the blue’. It came in the wake of an acquaintance we both have in common who went missing day before yesterday. This young lady is a mother of two (aged 10 and 3) but prone to depression. Drugs and alcohol have not done in her any favours as mood stabilisers. And she’s one of those girls who refuses to ‘talk about it’, because she’s ‘too strong for that’.

*Side note* When it comes to mental health, seeking help and speaking out are the bravest and strongest things you actually can do!

She was found last night – no harm to her person. Had apparently done a runner ‘to think’. And is still refusing to talk with friends and family about what is going on inside her head. The perception of many is that by choice, she is very much alone, locked in to herself. Those of us who are more aware know that when you are in a place of mental instability, there really are no conscious choices. 😦

The whole situation sparked an outburst of messages around town; everyone reassuring one another that ‘you’re not alone, you are important’ etc.

And although I don’t actually know any of you, I wanted to ‘put something out there’ for ‘my’ blogosphere to read. Perhaps someone will come to mind who could really use a quick message of encouragement and reassurance from you?

You need to remember that you’re important. Somehow, some way, you will always be a part of someone’s life, and that makes you important. I like to think that I’m a lot of people’s reason to smile….but I may also be the reason some people drink. 😛 Who knows? I’m all over the place 😉

But I matter. YOU matter. Because there will always be someone who will value you, and fill up the empty spaces in their life with pieces of you. (I am not speaking romantically – this is about all other relationships)

(And in my humble opinion, this is a really good reason for us to always try and have a positive impact on those around us. Not always easy, because we all have those moments where our spirit is downcast, and our attitudes suffer a bit and can be referred to as bad…but definitely worth not giving up – continuing to try, even if we fail. )

183822-Robin-S-Sharma-Quote-The-only-failure-is-not-trying

photo credit : quotefancy.com

It’s easy, in times of trouble, to question our existence. It’s important, in those moments, to remember that someone out there actually needs us. That we have something to offer. Perhaps not to the entire world, but that doesn’t make us any less important.
Because the thing is that even as an individual, your existence still impacts the world.

Max Lucado once said something that I really liked, and actually printed out for my wall – he said that we are valuable because we exist. Not because of what we do, or what we have done, but simply because we are.

Anonymous once said something too that resonates such truth :

Your value doesn’t decrease based on someone’s inability to see your worth.

And…..just for fun…..

download

Source : Facebook

So keep shining, my friends! 🙂