Life goals and Superhero’s

I saw this on me.me, and it made me wonder if I should reassess my life goals. Because apparently, Batman is it!

~ photo credit for the pic below : boredpanda.com ~

I also got it completely wrong! After finding a ‘boyfriend’ to kiss, I completely forgot to jump to step 3! (Must have been some kiss ๐Ÿ˜› )

I also found another picture on boredpanda.com, and I laughed out loud :

I remember someone saying to me once, ”don’t take life too seriously, none of us are getting out alive anyway”. It was a quote they had read, and it was said with a wink and a smile.
The other day, as I was reminded of ‘silly life goals that were just plain fun’ when I saw yet another shared meme, I remembered that statement.

There is, indeed, a time for everything. And there always has to be a time to laugh! ๐Ÿ˜‰

But what about serious life goals? (What? Being batman is not serious???? Good grief, Meg! ๐Ÿ˜› ๐Ÿ˜‰ )

We all know it, but I’ll share it anyway. According to an article on Mindtools.com, the reason why we should set goals is this :

Setting goals gives you long-term vision and short-term motivation . It focuses your acquisition of knowledge, and helps you to organize your time and your resources so that you can make the most of your life.

Have you ever looked at someone, at their life, and thought to yourself, ”They clearly don’t have any goals in life!” Or perhaps you have chatted with them and concluded, ”they really need better goals – they’re not going to get anywhere with those”.
You know what? If you have never thought that way or reacted that way to someone in your head? Then I really take my hat off to you!
Sadly, I have ‘misjudged’ a few people in this way, over the course of my life. ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

Recently, in my household, we have experienced the ‘Google is listening’ thing that seems to be happening. My son and I will talk about something, and suddenly we’ll start getting ads on our social media about that very thing!
I was comforting my daughter the other night through her heartbreak, and I went on to Facebook a short while later and suddenly a ‘suggested for you’ page popped up with a meme about heartbreak ๐Ÿ˜ฎ

It seems Google can read my mind too ๐Ÿ˜ฎ

I was sitting and thinking about this whole ‘life goals debacle’ and picked up my phone to scroll through Facebook, and the third picture I saw was this one :

I read it through a few times. It spoke to my heart in a way I can’t explain. And I shared it to my personal profile, with a caption, adding ” #lifegoals ”

If I have learned anything about myself the last few days, it’s that I have the audacity to believe, and hope, even when things are going wrong… or perhaps I finally have truly lost my mind ๐Ÿ˜›

Perhaps my life goals as listed above seem insignificant to you. Perhaps they don’t equal your interpretation of success.

But for me? I can think of no better reasons to be considered beautiful.
For me, these are my primary goals in life.
I want to come alive, while I am still alive โค

Advertisement

Cracked Pots

quotefancy.com

I also like to think that that is how the light shines through.

It’s a nice thought : some of us are perfect. But it’s not true. Even if that is how we may perceive some people to be.

I painted this weirdo about ten years ago :

My favourite thing about him was his cracks. I loved filling them in, and in the odd spot? Adding in some of my own. ๐Ÿ˜‰ For me, when he was finished, he was ‘perfect’. Just the way he was. He still stands in my home, and is one of my sources of joy.

This morning, I read (for the umpteenth time) this little story, and wanted to share it with you :

”A water bearer in China had two large pots, each hung on the ends of a pole which he carried across his neck. One of the pots had a crack in it, while the other pot was perfect and always delivered a full portion of water. At the end of the long walk from the stream to the house, the cracked pot arrived only half full.

For a full two years this went on daily, with the bearer delivering only one and a half pots full of water to his house. Of course, the perfect pot was proud of its accomplishments, perfect for which it was made. But the poor cracked pot was ashamed of its own imperfection, and miserable that it was able to accomplish only half of what it had been made to do.

After two years of what it perceived to be a bitter failure, it spoke to the water bearer one day by the stream. “I am ashamed of myself, because this crack in my side causes water to leak out all the way back to your house.”

The bearer said to the pot, “Did you notice that there were flowers only on your side of the path, but not on the other pot’s side? That’s because I have always known about your flaw, and I planted flower seeds on your side of the path, and every day while we walk back, you’ve watered them. For two years I have been able to pick these beautiful flowers to decorate the table. Without you being just the way you are, there would not be this beauty to grace the house.”

If you’re feeling a little bit broken…
(Side note : broken crayons still colour ๐Ÿ˜‰ )
If you’re worried that you may not measure up…
If you’re struggling to reach perfection in areas you are certain that you should have achieved it in…
If you’re feeling inadequate, and imperfect?

Please remember : Without you being just the way you are, there would not be ‘this beauty’ (the beauty of you) to grace the world!!!
You may feel like your light has grown dim, but it is still shining – and even dim light can brighten up the darkest room!

(And yes, we should all try to do better and be better… there is always room for improvement. But along the way, while you are trying, it’s important to remember that there is still beauty in you. You are loved โค )

On that day

I decided to even out the sadness of yesterday’s post by sharing what else happened on that day – yesterday, four years ago!

(But before I do that, just a quick note in response to an email received from someone : I neither completely lack intelligence, nor am I a full blown narcissist! Not able to properly articulate all that I say, perhaps! So let me repeat, hopefully more clearly : I have not ‘become’ Tess, in an effort to be a copy. The qualities have always existed within me – and I have countless Facebook memories with Tess, and others, to back this up. What I was trying to share was how odd I found it that since her passing, those qualities seem to have intensified within me! I suspect that this, in large part, has something to do with someone who has become a good friend as well, and has a very positive influence in my life, encouraging me to be a bit more open to ‘stuff’ in general and is teaching me without criticism or disdain.
I am still me – not a copy of anyone else! Moving on…)

On that day, I arrived at the funeral ‘strong’. I had done so much crying up to that point, that I honestly didn’t think there were any tears left. Boy, had I misinformed myself! If I hadn’t been sitting in the second row, reserved for family (to which I was invited), I would have got up and left, simply because I could not control the flow of tears! I didn’t even join in the tea afterwards, but pretty much ran from the church. All I knew was that I needed to get out of there because I could barely breathe! I drove home in a blur, to try and fix my make up and fetch my daughter.

(And here’s a bit of irony : One of the movies on my friend’s list of favourites was Four Weddings and a Funeral. Partly my fault. For some reason I watched it about one hundred times when I was pregnant with my son, and she was with me for half of them, ha ha! Her ultimate favourite movie though was Love Actually and so her revenge was to make me sit and watch it just as many times with her, ha ha ha!)

Exactly two hours after the funeral, my make up not fixed very well and my eyes looking rather disastrous, my daughter and I were seated in a different church, waiting for the bride to make her appearance.
Only the bride, groom, and their families knew what my morning had entailed. Other people gave me strange glances – I am sure they thought I was ‘crying over the preciously gorgeous bride’ already! Ha ha!

In all honesty, if it had been any other wedding, I would have stayed at home. BUT!

I have mentioned this particular young lady in my blog before. I became her neighbour when she was four years old, turning five. Her mom and I became friends – and I was a part of their family in no time! So many adventures to share, and stories to tell, ha ha!
But back to this young lady, K, on this day. I met, and was privy to, every boyfriend and every detail from her very first official boyfriend at age 13. All the excitement, all the drama. Every heartbreak! She found ‘the one’ at 24 years of age.

And when I stood, and turned to look at her entering the church on that day? Fresh tears fell. But they were ones of beauty and happiness – and a smidgeon of pride.
I am the type who immediately then looks at the Groom. I want to see his face when he sees his bride. I was not disappointed!

The very best part? Four years later, he still looks at her that way!!!! โค โค โค

Here is my takeaway from that day : even now, when I remember it (and it’s one I remember often) it serves as a reminder to me of something I find myself saying often :

There are mountains and valleys in life. I can’t just have the one, because then the other wouldn’t exist.
But there are definitely both – even though in trying times it seems like there are just multitudes of valleys! That day proved it to me. Overwhelming sadness consumed me… but then so did overwhelming joy!

In a way, it is the ‘story of life’. And so I will keep turning the pages of that book, with a heart full of hope, knowing that ‘the mountains’ are in there โค

Worthy contributions

I recently found myself alongside an armed response reaction officer. (All is well, I am fine, in case you are wondering ๐Ÿ˜‰ )

In the moment, I was pretty darn angry, because I felt he was failing in something that to me was ‘just logical’. I controlled my anger well in that moment. And I am glad that I did!
(Practising self control when feeling infuriated by something is definitely not easy, and not something I am always very good at. But I have definitely improved over the years ๐Ÿ˜‰ )

The reason I am glad that I didnโ€™t โ€˜lose itโ€™ with this young man is this : when the moment was over, and I was able to sort through the compartment in my head that contained the details of โ€˜what had just happenedโ€™, the anger slowly dissipated. Because what I know kicked in. (Well, what I have been learning about and trying to train my brain to consider before responding!)

The more I carefully considered the situation, and the way the individuals involved (myself included) responded to each minute of that hour and a bit, the more the words of my friend came to me (I mentioned them in my last blog post) : โ€˜โ€™We interpret things from where we areโ€ฆ.โ€™โ€™

In this case, perhaps the young man alongside me had very little to draw from. His training had prepared him for certain situations, but this was not one of them. I know that if I were in his position on any given day in his job, my response to things would probably disappoint him โ€“ heโ€™d probably shake his head at me!
The view from my window of the world provided me with the knowledge and instincts necessary for me to be able to assist in a way that he could not, and possibly had not even thought about. But the view from his window of the world, should I have been alongside him in a different situation, would probably have saved my life!

It all brought me back to something I say often :

We are all different, even though some of us are the same, and there is nothing wrong with that!
This weekend, not only will I be pondering the above (different views from different windows), but I will also be focusing my thoughts (making it a habit for my brain to respond in this way) on the following :

โ€˜โ€™It is not our differences that divide us. It is our inability to recognize, accept, and celebrate those differences!โ€™โ€™ ~ Audre Lorde

The world needs me! But it also needs that young man! And it needs someone like you!
We all have something beautiful and worthy to contribute โ€“ we just do it in different ways!
So here’s to unity, instead of division ๐Ÿ˜‰

Have a great weekend, everyone!
Meg โค

Unbecoming

Definition : not fitting or appropriate; unseemly

The weeks have flown by, and I have failed miserably at the ‘art of blogging’. I am winning though… more about that to follow ๐Ÿ˜‰

The title word, and it’s meaning, is a word I can’t say I am too fond of. Growing up, I heard it far too many times! The sentence usually went something like this :

”That is unbecoming behaviour for a young lady!”

The year I turned five, I had a lovely birthday party at home with all my friends from pre-school. In those days I was not fond of wearing dresses, mostly because they were forced on me. (Nowadays I seldom wear them, but when I do wear a dress or a long skirt it is by choice, and I will admit that at those times dressing that way brings me pleasure.)
My mother had purchased a dress for me for the party, to add to all those hanging in my cupboard, much to my dismay! It was white (good grief, I don’t even wear white now because I still can’t keep it clean ๐Ÿ˜› ) with red polka dots. She made me wear my hair in pigtails, with bright red ribbons. The white shoes she purchased remained safe, as I kicked them off just a few minutes into the celebration! ๐Ÿ˜‰
There was a stern reminder shortly before my guests arrived that I was a young lady, and should behave accordingly.
And I was fine for the first little bit. Then all us children went outside to my front garden to play.

The girls flitted about, shyly giggling and picking flowers. The boys began a game of ‘touches’, and were soon running off some of their energy. Michael and James had other plans. (YES! I still remember their names – just not their surnames, and I can even tell you what they looked like, but I have no idea what happened to them after we left pre-school, or where in the world they are now!)
These boys were trouble for a ‘lady’, but they were who I chose to spend most of my time during school hours with, ha ha!
Their plan was to climb the Plumeria tree (also known as a Frangipani) in our garden… and I was all for it!
With a quick glance towards the house to make sure that my mother was still inside, I took off running behind them and soon I was climbing…. IN MY DRESS!
The trouble that would come my way if my mother caught me was nothing compared to the trouble I actually did get into in the end!
If only we’d stayed away from that one branch!
It was longer than the others, and we decided that we could all sit on it, in a row, and observe the others playing games and picking flowers. James went first. And all was well. I slowly crept towards him, and giggled when he said, ”We should get on the roof. Imagine the view then!” Safely settled, we motioned to Michael, and he hesitantly scooted along on his bottom. I saw my aunt come out of our house, and disappear quickly back inside. And I whispered to the boys, ”Uh oh, we better go! My mother’s coming!”
I believe the branch was busy dying… and our sudden panicked haste probably didn’t help matters, but the next thing there was a loud noise and we all fell to the ground, branch included!

None of us had any broken bones – but all three of us were winded. And my dress got torn! We caught our breath, and all began to laugh. Until my mother arrived to stand before us, hands on her hips, muttering about my behaviour and my dress! I was taken back into the house, to change and wash my face because it was dirty, and of course receive the stern lecture I knew would come if I got caught. I spent the rest of my party seated on the verandah with the other girls who were then playing with my dolls.
At bedtime that evening it was like someone had pressed play on a tape recorder as the words came again, ”That is not how a lady behaves. I am so disappointed!”

And I remember thinking as that little girl : ”But what if I don’t want to be a lady?”

The irony is that I tend towards being one anyway, ha ha! My friends often tease (and it really is a loving tease, and we laugh together about it) that I am sometimes so ‘prim and proper’, so ‘elegant and correct’, (although they always assure me that it is never in a stuck-up way!) and when I use big words my one young friend giggles and comments, ”Yes, Miss Cultured”. I remember going to a biker’s rally once and having one of the guys tease me that ‘a girl like me is too sophisticated and classy for a joint like this’ – that made me laugh so loud, I think he changed his mind ๐Ÿ˜›

There are times when I truly enjoy being a lady these days – but if I’m not wearing a dress and it’s a relatively easy climb, you might even find me up a tree ๐Ÿ˜‰

So that explains – in a rather long winded manner, sorry! – why the word unbecoming is not one I am fond of. ALL that said though, there is this :

And I happen to like the word as it is being used in the image above. There are things from childhood, from my teen years, and possibly even things drilled into me as a young adult, that have become, for me, ”limiting beliefs”. These things have contributed to the issues I have with self esteem – and have brought with them guilt and shame in so many ways!
And so, as the word stands in the image above, I have begun down the uneven and unknown path in my journey where I am trying to let go of a lot of those things, and acknowledge that there may actually be a chance that ”they” were wrong.
It’s not easy, and at times it’s quite exhausting. There are things that I don’t want to have arguments in my head about ๐Ÿ˜›
BUT…..

Back to the beginning of this blog post? I am winning, everyone! ๐Ÿ˜‰

I am not getting everything I want. I am not getting to avoid the hard things. I am not getting an immediate relief from guilt and shame. I am not getting the instant ability of undoing the limits.

BUT I AM GETTING SO MUCH MORE along the way, as I occasionally stub my toe on a rock I didn’t see. ๐Ÿ˜›
And this time, I am truly appreciating each of those lessons!

Thank you for sticking around to read ๐Ÿ˜‰ Here’s to unbecoming – in a ladylike manner ๐Ÿ˜› ๐Ÿ˜‰
I hope you are all well โค

Closer to beauty

Photo credit : cafepress.com

When I was ten years old, my brother had a sign like this stuck on his bedroom door. And every time he saw me glance at it, he’d be sure to tell me, ”You aren’t one of us”. At that time in my life, surrounded by a lot of rejection and painful circumstances, it hurt… and it was one of those hurts that I carried with me into my adult life.
It’s only now that I can laugh at it when I think about it, because I realise that his intention was to be funny, and not to add more pain to my life. It’s just his sense of humour!

This same brother (I have two who are much older than me, and he is the younger of the two) gave me something else to carry into my adult life, which has actually been quite valuable.

Between the ages of 17 and 19, this brother spent a lot of his spare time with his music blaring, and either a Scrabble board, or a large puzzle on a board, on his bed. The love for Scrabble was thanks to our grandparents, and he and I were the only two in our extended family who grew to love it so much that we’d play against ourselves for hours! Would you believe, we never played a game together, even though we lived in the same house!
But that’s not what I wanted to tell you about…. I wanted to tell you about his puzzle!

He had a beautiful puzzle, a seemingly deserted island, with two palm trees and a hammock; blue seas and a sunlit sky. When he had finished building it on his large piece of firm cardboard, he grabbed his glue, and patiently (I think it’s one of the few time I remember him being patient ๐Ÿ˜› ) stuck the individual pieces to the card. But he left one off! Right in the middle of the puzzle! And then in the space at the bottom of the sheet, he wrote these words :

Even paradise isn’t perfect!

I saw it stuck up on his wall a few days later, and commented, ”Well, that’s just dumb. You left a piece off. It’s ruined!”
I will never forget his reply!

”Nothing, and no one, is perfect. And if you think something is ruined just because it isn’t perfect, you’ll be miserable!”

I’ll admit that I have not always applied those words! But here’s what I have learnt along the way :

Yes, it is good to have expectations of things and people; to know limits and forge forward. But when we are pushed to the limit, or our expectations are not met, it is important to focus on acceptance, instead of disappointment.

Wait, what? Are you saying I am not allowed to be disappointed?

Nope! Not at all!

Feeling is equally as important as doing. In fact, it’s usually how we feel that determines what we do next.

In small moments of disappointment, it is easy for me to ‘get over it and move on’. When disappointments are great, it’s a lot harder! And sometimes take a lot longer to ‘get over’. When the tears roll down my cheeks and I feel every bit of that disappointment weighing heavy on me both physically and emotionally, I let myself feel it. I don’t even question it. I just go with it. Sometimes it even makes me angry enough to scream into my pillow ๐Ÿ˜› And my thoughts are sometimes not even very pleasant either!

But I don’t stay there.

After a few minutes, I tell myself, ”Well, girl, even paradise isn’t perfect. Stop expecting everything else to be!”
And sometimes it’s a temporary fix, that just helps me get through the rest of that day! Some things are so overwhelming that they rear their ugly heads over and over, at the most inconvenient times!
So I become a shampoo bottle! Lather (let myself feel it), rinse (remind myself about the reality of imperfection) and repeat if desired (the next time it comes along)! ๐Ÿ˜‰

When I think of that puzzle now, even though there was a piece missing, I could still see the hammock, the palm trees, the blue sea, the sunlit sky. It was no longer a perfectly finished puzzle, but it still had incredible beauty and elicited a feeling of peace and relaxation.

So here’s hoping that in your week ahead, even though it might be slightly disrupted and less than perfect, you will still be able to see some of the beauty and feel some of the peace! โค

Awakenings

‘Leonard Lowe : We’ve got to tell everybody. We’ve got to remind them. We’ve got to remind them how good it is.

Dr. Sayer : How good what is, Leonard?

Leonard Lowe : Read the newspaper. What does it say? All bad. It’s all bad. People have forgotten what life is all about. They’ve forgotten what it is to be alive. They need to be reminded. They need to be reminded of what they have and what they can lose. What I feel is the joy of life, the gift of life, the freedom of life, the wonderment of life!

and……

โ€œThe human spirit is more powerful than any drug, and that is what needs to be nourished: with work, play, friendship, family. These are the things that matter. This is what we’d forgotten, the simplest things.โ€
ROBIN WILLIAMS – Dr. Malcolm Sayer

The above are two quotes from the 1990 movie, Awakenings”.

I was a pre-teen when this movie came out (yes, I am old ๐Ÿ˜› ) and the day of my cousin’s wedding, we all headed to the movies afterwards to watch it. (all the cousins, except the one who had just got married, of course!) I didn’t fully understand the movie back then, but it still made me cry. And I was teased relentlessly for months afterwards because I was the only one in our group of 9 who did so.

In my twenties, I still remembered that early evening at the movies. I found that I could no longer recall the movie itself, or why it had me cry, and so I sought it out to watch it again. Yip! I cried again! I think it’s impact on me changed somewhat though, because I was more mature and able to understand better.

What made me think of, or reminded me of, this movie?

On Friday evening, I had a brief conversation with my neighbour. We’ve been living opposite each other in our housing complex for almost ten years now. And after a few years, we became friends. Even though we live so close, our schedules don’t always allow for social time, and so every now and then you’ll find us having ‘driveway conversations’ in passing. Once or twice, her husband has even brought us cups of coffee while we’re doing so ๐Ÿ˜› (And the best husband award goes to…. ๐Ÿ˜› )
Friday evening was a ‘scheduled driveway conversation’. Because we sometimes do that too! ๐Ÿ˜›
I had asked her to let me know when she came home and had time for a quick chat – yes, I can see when she comes home ๐Ÿ˜› But she has two young boys, so I prefer not to stop her on her way in to the house, but instead allow her time to say hello etc. She messaged me when she was free and we met on her driveway. I asked my question, she told me what she thought, and we moved on to a general quick catch up. We parted ways about thirty minutes later, and her parting comment to me was, ”I just don’t know how you do it… but I’ll say this : in all of it, you’re changing. In a really good way. Yes, you’re softer… but in ways that count… and it’s not a bad thing. Keep going, because it’s actually a strength.”

Those words have been a running loop in my brain ever since.

We all know that the world, and sometimes people closest to us, will tell us ‘you’re too this, or too that’- you’re too much, or not enough. We all know that sometimes that truly hurts us, or angers us, and bitterness momentarily creeps in.

And yet we are so quick to do the same to others!

I am definitely going through a ‘time of awakening’. There is no doubt in my mind of that! I can’t tell you exactly when it started but I know it is happening. I know because I am experiencing it daily.
I am just beginning to SEE things differently, in every way. And it has become a whole new journey on its own! It has its own rewards, but it is also probably one of the most difficult journey’s I have ever had to make. It is NOT easy, and I’d be lying if I said there were not times that I wish I could just go back. Especially since all of a sudden, daily, troubles are abounding – and not of the small variety either!

And having the very nature of my soul softening even more than what it has ever been, means that I am now open to being hurt more easily, as well as feeling more hurt on an even deeper level. It is increasing my levels of compassion and kindness and making me even more patient and tolerant than what I ever thought I could be. Even my reasoning is changing : a small example?
In the past, in a particular situation, I was known to ‘tolerate’ because if I didn’t, then xyz would happen and it would affect me – for all intents and purposes, giving that person a semblance of control over me; allowing them to use me because of the ‘carrot they could dangle in front of me’.
Now, I find myself tolerating even more than before, being more understanding, responding a little more gently because lashing out at them, saying my piece to purposely hurt them (because I really could), rebelling and excusing it as standing up for myself? NONE of those things would be a reflection of good character. None of those things would benefit the situation in any way, other than to make it worse. And it would disrupt my peace and joy entirely!

Please don’t get me wrong. I understand the concepts of ‘telling it like it is; not wasting time beating around the bush; brutal honesty is sometimes a necessity’. I know that there are many times in life that call for all those things. And if those things, delivered as is, bring you peace, cause you to grow in a positive way, help you move forward in life, and bring you an explainable joy even in times of trouble? Then that is YOUR journey and what works for YOU!

But I have begun to realise that in MY journey – those things don’t work for me. They disrupt my inner peace and attempt to steal my joy. They stunt my growth and stop me in my tracks.
Delivering what possibly needs to be said with brutal honesty/just telling like it is, knowing that I am deeply hurting someone else (especially when it’s under the guise of ‘I say it/do it because I love you’) is not the time for ME to have the attitude of ‘sorry not sorry’.

For me? I reserve the right to use ‘sorry not sorry’ in this way :
I will continue to try and be kind, and grateful, and understanding, even towards those who have hurt me, and are not deserving of my compassion in any way. (It is so difficult!!!) I will continue to be respectful and considerate of them for the most part. I will deliver things that do have to be said gently, without intention to hurt. This does not mean that their behaviour is being excused, or that I am ‘allowing’ them to treat me badly because I am ‘broken/a sucker for punishment/a victim of abuse/a doormat/unable to win at life’.
It just means that I want MY character to reflect something different to theirs.
It just means that I want to continue to grow IN MYSELF, in a positive way, spreading goodness and love and mercy – being this way is what brings me inner peace and joy in ways that I cannot explain.

And neither way is wrong. Because how we choose to be is what works for us, as INDIVIDUALS!

Which one are you? Which way do you choose to be? (Rhetorical questions!)
Parting thought on this post : a new week lies ahead and my note to self for it is this :

Dearest Meg, respect ‘the journey’. And not just your own!

And just keep being who you are, growing in the ways that bring you joy, peace, gratitude and appreciation for all the simple and beautiful things in life that YOU WANT! The things that matter to YOU! Stop letting other people’s opinions about your journey weigh so heavily on you! Don’t be distracted, or stand in judgement, of someone else’s journey. You’ve got your own ride ๐Ÿ˜‰


With Compliments…

This is all I have for you today… and no, I am not looking for compliments ๐Ÿ˜›

It’s just a small reminder of the things that really count – what really matters!

For me, it’s always great to hear that I have pretty eyes, or that I don’t look old enough to have an adult son ๐Ÿ˜›
But that feeling I get is nothing in comparison to the warmth I feel when someone compliments the matters of my heart and positive attributes of my personality!

Because at times like that I know that they have taken the time to truly see ME!

Please try and get out there today and SEE the people around you – and if you feel brave enough, maybe give them a compliment ๐Ÿ˜‰ Because they matter….

AND SO DO YOU! โค

random acts of kindness

”Actions speak louder than words.”

I understand that this age old proverb is wise and valuable. But we need to be careful when and where and how we choose to apply it. To be honest, it is actually a proverb that I don’t like. Not at all. Partially because it has been ‘thrown at me’ way too many times, and in situations that actually made it meaningless. I’ll give you an example – but not from my own life. I saw someone share this proverb as an image on Facebook this morning, and while it brought back so many bad memories for me, it also made me think of an old friend of mine – probably because she shared my sentiment about the proverb itself! So here is a piece of her story, we’ll call her Jess.

Jess was bright and talented. She was a girl who was going places. She was outgoing and lively, and one of those types of people who had a very clear path mapped out for what her life was going to look like.
Towards the end of her final year at high school, at 18 years of age, Jess fell pregnant. She was not married, and not in a relationship either. She completed her high school education, and gave birth a few months later. Her baby boy was put up for adoption.
And the people who ‘knew her’… knew her personality and her plan for her life? Well, they judged accordingly.
“Being that outgoing and lively, and I guess flirtatious? Well, I am not surprised she ended up pregnant! And as for giving the baby away? Well, he didn’t exactly fall into her mapped out plan for her life, did he?”
And in some ways, their words and judgements seemed to fit.
I met Jess three years later. I heard the background from the mutual friend who first introduced us. He added, ”I don’t know how much of it is true as such, but she’s never disputed any of it, so I guess it must be.”
A few years later Jess told me ‘the story’ – her story. And it made me cry for her.
Jess had been very involved in rowing when she was in her final years of high school. There was a huge regatta, with teams from all over the country. Afterwards, there was a social function. Jess had said her goodbyes, and made her way to her car. It was dark, and the light she thought she had parked under happened to have a blown bulb. One of the guys from a visiting team, who had had too much to drink, had followed her. He raped her. And she fell pregnant.
Her parents were sickly, and poor. They left the decision up to her, but told her that they could not help with the baby. She soul searched and got counselling for months, and decided that it was best to give him up. She never had anymore children, and to be honest, I don’t think she ever quite got over giving her little one away.
After she told me her story, I asked her why she had never defended herself when the rumours began.
Her words were, ”People will believe what they want to – even when you tell them the truth. It’s their choice. And let’s face it, my actions – who I was – seemed to match up pretty well with their version. I also didn’t want everyone to know that I had been raped. Or how poor we really were. I was ashamed. So I just left it alone. But Meggy, the lesson in there for me was this : never judge another because you really don’t know the things they had to choose from. There is ALWAYS a story. There is always a reason. And unless you know it in it’s entirety, don’t listen to others, don’t judge, don’t assume.
And I can say with absolute certainty that she truly lived that lesson in her life!

Today is ”Random Acts of Kindness Day”

The story above may seem extreme, and I am sure you are wondering how it ties in to ‘the day’ we are supposed to be celebrating….

Well….

When it comes to ‘random acts of kindness’, there is often reference to ‘paying for a stranger’s coffee’, or ‘smiling at and complimenting someone you don’t know’, or ‘baking cookies for an old age home’ etc.
And these are all very valid and very beautiful things to do.

But what if, inwardly, instead of judging or being irritated by the tramp, the alcoholic, the drug addict, the prostitute, we stop for a moment and actually see them? What if we do ourselves a kindness by opening that box in our hearts that contains compassion and understanding? What if, instead of only seeing the action, we choose to see that perhaps something truly terrible may have happened to them in their youth, or at whatever stage in their lives, that has actually caused the action we are seeing now?

Some people may never actually tell their story. But most times, there will be something in their actions/behaviour that will confirm that there is definitely a story to be told, and that it isn’t pretty.

Not judging others, even in small ways, is difficult to do. It is something I have wrestled with many times. Especially when their actions are hurtful to me personally. As I have got older though, I have carried the words Jess said to me in my heart, and find myself more easily able to refer to them and practice them. Especially now that so many parts of my own story tie in with it.

On this day (and every day, really) I will not only find ways to be kind to others….
I will also be kind to myself…
By acknowledging how unfair and hurtful it is when others judge my actions or behaviour and shun me, without knowing my story, or even caring to ask my why…
And not doing the same to the people I encounter in my life.

butterflies

Nope. I am not experiencing the flutter of excitement that comes with a new love interest.
Sorry. Not sorry ๐Ÿ˜›

But I learned something new today, and you’re probably going to laugh when I tell you what I have learned because it’s quite possible that you already know. It fascinated me though, and added to my perspective on butterflies and humans ๐Ÿ˜‰

First though, I want to share some of my favourite butterfly quotes :

There are two ‘things’ that I absolutely love. Butterflies… and the colour purple. My friends often comment how easy it is to pick out a gift for me – if they can’t find anything with a butterfly on it, then they just buy something purple. Anything purple! ๐Ÿ˜› My dad gave me the best thing I have in my kitchen – a clingfilm hard plastic holder…. IT’S PURPLE ๐Ÿ˜›
If I ever got to immigrate, it would be packed in my suitcase! ๐Ÿ˜‰

When it comes to butterflies, and likening them to humans, I usually say this :

A caterpillar gets one chance. There is one process of change. And then it goes from being what some consider ‘ugly’ to a creature of great beauty. In that process of change, the caterpillar thinks its life is over, and yet its life is just beginning again… giving it wings to soar.
And I have told more than one person how grateful I am that we get those processes and opportunities to change and become more beautiful MORE THAN ONCE in our lifetimes! That sometimes to us, when we are in a bad place or feeling down and depressed and anxious? Well, let’s admit it, we have actually all been there at some stage or another and the burden is heavy and we feel that life has no purpose, that this moment will never end, that there is no point and that true beauty will elude us forever. BUT THEN? Something blows on that tiny flame of hope within us that is still flickering, and it suddenly flickers a little stronger and we are able to carry on. How wonderful is that? We find ‘new wings’ and are able to soar once again.

What I learned this morning just added to what I have told more than one person!

I did not know that during the caterpillar’s process of becoming a butterfly, in the Chrysalis, the caterpillar ‘melts’ almost completely! :O It releases enzymes that literally digest nearly ALL of its OWN BODY!
So basically, it dissolves into a disgusting pile of gooey substance before it can transform into a beautiful butterfly!

My new addition (and takeaway from the process above) will be this :
So you think you’re having a meltdown? It’s okay! Let yourself FEEL it! Pull the covers over your head and hide if you need to. Take a little time.
Just don’t stay there too long! Remember to emerge!
You may still feel ‘sticky’.
Keep going!
But what if I fail?
Well, what if you fly? ๐Ÿ˜‰