It’s tough but…

never give up

When I saw this, I just HAD to share it. I hope you’re singing along with me πŸ˜›

If you’re a regular reader, then you know that this is something I truly believe in – no, not the hokey pokey πŸ˜› I truly believe that we should NEVER give up. No matter what.
But as I have said before, my advantage seems to be that I am a ‘prisoner of hope’. There’s just something in me that refuses to lose hope altogether. And I am, always have been, and always will be, extremely grateful for that! I have been through some terrible times and terrible things, and if it wasn’t for this part of me, I wouldn’t be here to share things with you today.

Interestingly enough, although we should exercise it every day, today has been chosen as ‘Never Give Up Day’.

The honest truth about this is that it’s easier said than done, I know. Because sometimes the circumstances are not within our control, and sometimes we are just too overwhelmed.
But I ask you to try anyway. To just NOT give up.

A friend of mine is really battling depression at the moment. We were talking and she was explaining to me how bad it is for her right now. She commented that she nearly didn’t bother to answer my call – that it took a lot for her to ‘summon up the will to speak to me’. And my words to her were : ‘But you did. And that’s part of the battle won. And I am proud of you for fighting that feeling, for not giving in, and for taking my call.’
There was a slight change in her mood when she realised that she did have a small win under her belt. She hadn’t seen it until it had been pointed out… because sometimes it’s so dark where we are that we struggle to see.
(Which is why it is so important for us to recognise and encourage others with the things WE see in them – even if it’s just something small.)

As I mentioned in my previous post, sometimes we need to just take time – put everything on hold and be still, and rest, and allow ourselves to replenish body, mind and soul. It can help us to gain a new perspective, and find a better way forward, making a wise choice that we possibly hadn’t seen before.

It’s also important to remember that, in the words of Zig Ziglar, ‘motivation doesn’t last… neither does bathing…. that’s why we recommend it daily’.
In order to stay motivated, we need to work on it daily. And we all have different ways and things that motivate us. What is yours? Now carve out at least ten minutes a day, and get to it! πŸ˜‰

It has been said that one of the main reasons that people ‘give up’ is because they haven’t been honest… with themselves! They’ve never questioned the belief systems they have and why they have them, and so they haven’t been able to identify the ones that are actually limiting them. There are also other people’s expectations that drive us to not be honest with ourselves : is that how I really feel? is this what I really want? is this who I really am?
For many years, I struggled with my own limiting (and negatively incorrect) belief systems, and looking back now, I don’t really think I had ‘my own identity’. I completely exhausted myself just trying to do, feel and be what was expected of me – to live up to someone else’s expectations.
It’s been a long road with many uncomfortable curves and bumps along the way, and it’s been a lot of hard work. I STILL have to do the work, daily. There is no ‘quick fix’ on this journey. It takes time…. it’s still taking time…
And yet the small rewards and celebrations along the way make it bearable. And I just know that the bigger picture will be a stunning masterpiece!
And I think it is partly THAT that keeps me going!
Even if you start small, be honest WITH YOU today.Β 

And remember Albert Einstein… a pure genius!
His father said he was a failure. He only started talking at age 4. At 16, he failed his entrance exams to a school in Zurich.
I truly believe that Albert Einstein’s secret recipe for success was that HE NEVER GAVE UP!

May you, dear readers and friends, make the choice today to do the same and NEVER GIVE UP!Β 

 

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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˜‰

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 ❀

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! ❀