Follow up post – matters!

I started writing this post yesterday. And then, due to a chain of events beyond my control, I had to stop. By the time 7pm rolled around, I was just too exhausted to ‘be present’, and so here I am…. editing as I go…. finishing what I started πŸ˜‰

On Wednesday morning, I wrote and published this post.
By lunchtime, in my mind, there was so much that could be added to it, so much more that needed explaining properly, the realisation that I had probably not expressed myself correctly.
And as I lay in bed in the dark, trying to still my mind and drift off to the place where all my dreams come true, ( gee, I wonder why πŸ˜› ) I concluded that the post should probably be deleted, for a multitude of reasons.

It wasn’t written properly – my posts are very seldom what could be called well-researched though : most of the time, I just speak from my heart.
It would probably be misunderstood because it may have come across as a contradiction to the other things I say.
It probably wasn’t ‘clear enough’ in general – no one would relate in any way, and the lack of clarity (and seeming contradictions) would probably unleash quiet judgements and disappointments in me/my character.

I woke in the morning, determined to log on and delete the post – hoping that those who had already read it would still visit my blog again sometime.
But first, I needed coffee. And I needed to attend to the ‘Mom’ side of life – so I got my daughter going, got myself ready, took the girls to school (my daughter and her friend), put a load of washing on and gave the dogs their breakfast.

I logged on to WordPress, and found a comment on my post that had me reeling, in a good way. From a regular reader whose blog can be found here.
Read. Love. Livethe above is why your words meant so very much to me.
AND…
Your words reminded me of something that has become so very special to me in the last few months – words from another dear friend and blogger :
If you helped one person from their brokenness and despair to the place where they realise their potential your life would be a life well lived.”
(I actually have this printed out and stuck on my bedside cabinet so that it is the last thing I see at night, and the first thing I see in the morning.)
Those words have come to mean so much more to me though than just ‘brokenness and despair”.

They are a constant reminder to me that I cannot change ‘the world’ for everyone, but I might be able to help make it a little easier for at least one person!
That I may not be able to make a difference to a multitude, but I can make a difference to someone, and that matters!

And so my post remained, because Read. Love. Live commented – and the real shocker for me was that they found it the most relatable post thus far!
I probably could have deleted it… because I had my ONE person. But I decided to let it stay, just in case there was someone else… and there was. And then I thought, ”Well, who knows… maybe in a few months someone else will stumble upon it and need it, so I’ll just leave it right where it is.”

Some feedback on all the ”perhaps” parts of the original post :

I reached out to two of my ‘close circle’ – who both live about twenty minutes away from me, but I don’t get to see them very often because our schedules seldom coincide. Ha ha ha! (And of course, there’s currently a pandemic!)

But I reached out to them realistically.
I knew neither one could actually practically help me. I also knew that they probably couldn’t help offer solutions simply because the things I have going on have not been a part of their own personal life experiences.
So there was no expectation that if they responded, things would magically disappear or change.
And I also didn’t expect ‘proper’ responses – because I understand ‘life happens’, being busy with commitments happens and has no reflection on whether or not they are ‘making time for me and love me’.

These two friends are a mother and daughter. They have been in my life for 24 years now. And yes, we have that friendship where we can go a month without talking, and you’d never say it when we do get together, or get to chat – other than the amount of time we spend together because hey, a lot happens in a month! πŸ˜›

The ‘mother’ friend is in her early sixties. She’s been like a mother to me, but most of all, like a friend. She’s young for her age πŸ˜‰ In fact, I often ‘forget’ how old she really is, until things happen with her health, or in the case of the pandemic, and someone has to remind me that it’s ‘because she is older now, you know’. On the odd occasion when we get to catch up, she’ll leave her house at 10am, telling her husband she is coming to me… and he’ll ask, ”What is there for supper, because I KNOW you won’t be home in time!” HA HA HA! And he’s right…. she usually leaves at about 8pm that night!
I sent her a message asking if she was free for a call, and she ended up calling me instead of replying. We spoke for just under two hours. We were apparently both on downhills, and we were both cross with each other for not letting the other one know πŸ˜› Neither of us could help each other with the issues at hand in any way, other than this : genuine sadness about each other’s situations, and then a brief trip down memory lane with a good few giggles.
And the agreement at the end of our chat was that we both felt like we had just had a great big hug.

The ‘daughter’ friend is in her late twenties now – I met her when she was just five years old! Now she’s married, and has a little three year old boy of her own, who my teenage daughter adores. The ‘daughter’ friend is like the sister I never had – and like me, has two much older brothers and so she feels the same way about me. She’s my baby sister, and I am her big sister – I don’t think I ever fully appreciated my role in that until a month ago when she phoned me for advice, and I gave her my honest opinion based on personal experience, and she replied with, ”Well then that just confirms for me what I already knew – thank you. You are someone whose opinion I really value, and I know I can trust what you are saying. It’s so nice having a big sister to talk to!”
I had NOT reached out to her, because she was at work. Her mom got to her first, and that evening I got a surprise voice note from her! It made me laugh out loud :
”If Blake wasn’t sick at the moment, I’d have stopped at your house on my way home and slapped you upside the head! WHY haven’t you told me everything that has been going on? Mom filled me in, and I know I can’t help with the issues, but what CAN I do?”
A few voice notes later, reminding me of things from the past that had ‘worked out’, and made me a better person, and how hope truly never leaves this silly old heart of mine which is something she admires, and well? It helped me get off my butt on that downhill so that at least I was standing! ❀

And those conversations were exactly what I needed for yesterday’s chain of events when I got knocked down – because I just got straight back up again πŸ˜‰
(In my mind there is a medley right now…. ”I get knocked down; I’m still standing; I will survive) πŸ˜› πŸ˜‰

Interestingly enough, the song I Will Survive was originally released a couple of months after I was born πŸ˜‰ And I just copied the link and the last three letters in it are my short version for MY name! meg! (I’m still processing that little titbit! πŸ˜› )

I’ll end with these words that I have read a few times in the last few days, by a lady named Rachel Martin :

”Your day doesn’t have to be perfect to have meaning!
Showing up matters
Giving matters
Trying matters
Loving matters
Being there matters
Perfection doesn’t matter
YOU MATTER.”

Something I need to learn

I’ve been a bit out of sorts the last few days. Maybe you know the place I am talking about… where everything, and nothing, is actually wrong. Well, not exactly ‘nothing’, but they’re things you can’t control and so sitting and being worried or stressed because of them is a futile exercise.
But then something happens that you did have control of, and now there is stress because maybe you made a mistake, or maybe it’s left you questioning something about yourself…
And suddenly ‘everything and nothing’ affect you.

I can’t pinpoint the particular thing, or moment… but the last few days have been a slow descent, on my buttocks, over the rocky terrain of a hill – going down.

But if anyone saw me, or spoke to me, I’d appear calm, cool and collected – as if nothing was actually wrong….
Kind of like this image I saw on Pinterest πŸ˜›

My son picked up on it only yesterday. And commented, ”Mom, what’s wrong? You’re not yourself.”
And I listed a few things – he’s nearly 23, and it always amazes me that my ‘kid’ is so darn grown up!
When I ran out of breath, and just ended up sighing out loud, ”and….”, and not saying anymore, he responded with,
”Why didn’t you say anything?”
My reply? ”You didn’t ask.”

In saying the above, it sounds like I am a person who bottles up my feelings, right? Like I am someone who missed the value of the lesson, ‘a problem shared is a problem halved’.
Neither one is true…. and if you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you’ll know that I am actually quite an ‘open’ person – sometimes even to the point of overshare πŸ˜›

The thing is, I am one of those people that observe the question ‘how are you’ as someone merely being polite. Because isn’t it just a standard greeting?
”Hi! How are you?”
I’ll admit that there are times where I use it as such.
And most of us have accustomed ourselves to the standard reply – the polite response – the one that says something along the lines of : ” good, thanks, and you?”; ”fine, thanks. You?”
You know what I mean.

Sometimes though, there is a different response. And not just from friends and family. There have been times where I have done the polite thing with an employee at a local store, or an old school acquaintance that I may have bumped into. And what should have been a polite two minute exchange turns into a thirty minute conversation.
This doesn’t irritate me in the least bit, even if it makes me late for whatever else I am supposed to be doing.

Because that is MY nature. It’s a piece of who I am, and I believe it is a part of my purpose.
If YOU are a person who gets annoyed by it, it doesn’t mean there is something wrong with you! So PLEASE don’t take this as a personal dig, or beat yourself up over it, or feel guilty. NOT AT ALL.

WE ARE ALL DIFFERENT! Remember? And the way that you are different? There’s very likely something in that difference that gives YOU value where I am lacking – that brings value to those around you. I am NOT better than you. I am NOT right, and you are wrong. We’re just different.

There are many people who do the polite thing, and ask how I am… and there are many times that I give the generic, required, polite response. Not because there is anything wrong with the person asking… but most times it’s because I can see they are in a hurry, or experiencing their own stress, and I just don’t want to burden them. But perhaps in this, I am also wrong. Maybe they have been sent my way so that I can ‘burden’ them – because perhaps they have a solution, or a word of encouragement. Perhaps saying the words out loud to them will help me in processing what is actually happening in my situation, and I’ll provide myself with my own solution?

There are so many questions in life that are very difficult to answer ‘correctly’. It’s not easy making the ‘right decisions’. Choices are sometimes limited, and none of the options are ideal. We stumble, we fall, we have moments (or days) where we feel out of sorts.

MY lesson in this blog post? Something that I have realised that I need to ‘learn’?

I don’t have many people in my life that I can go to. My circle is very small. BUT!!! I HAVE a circle! I have got a handful of people who truly love me – even though I am different to them, and don’t always do things the way they want me to. I expect them to let me know when something is wrong – I want them to call on me when they need something, even if it’s just a pep talk!
I don’t want them to wait until I ask how they are – I want them to reach out and tell me how they are, how I can help, what they need!

AND I NEED TO LEARN TO APPLY THAT IN MY LIFE... and maybe I can save my butt from that rough terrain of the downhill πŸ˜›
Maybe I feel so overwhelmed because I am so stuck in the problem, that I forget the lifelines of people who do love me that I have been given. They may not have a solution. They may not be able to help. But they might just remind me of the beauty of the stars in a very dark night sky.

No, I won’t be telling the public people who treat me with politeness. No, I won’t be posting my problems on social media. Because it is not who I am.
And again, there’s nothing wrong with taking that approach! I have seen many people helped because they had the courage to do so! (And it isn’t easy baring your soul to the world! It’s definitely a brave thing to do!)

But perhaps I need to start giving the people I love so very much the opportunity to love me back in all the ways that I love them?

my 4 ways to manage my stress

The stress management list is endless. And I find it to be yet another one of those lists with copious access to tools and ways, but they don’t all work – well, not for me, anyway.
The ones that help me may not necessarily help you. Why? Once again, it’s that necessity to acknowledge that WE ARE ALL DIFFERENT!

The 4 ways I am going to list here are things that work FOR ME. You’ve probably heard them before, but here’s a refresher anyway πŸ˜‰
And if you’ve never tried them, then it might be worth doing so πŸ˜‰
It works the same as it does with my kids πŸ˜› I always say : ”Don’t tell me you can’t do it, or don’t like it, if you’ve never tried it.” πŸ˜‰

You know the saying, ”Dance like no one is watching”? Well, I take it one step further, and I also laugh like everyone is watching me dance πŸ˜›
I’m not a great dancer. The last time I did ‘official dancing’ was when I went into high school, and I was still taking ballet lessons. I am still sort of able to co-ordinate though, and so if you teach me a dance, I can usually manage it. But there are just some moves my body can’t do. I’ve had to accept that… which is frustrating for my dancing daughter who finds it all ‘so easy’. I think she sometimes forgets I am not 16 anymore πŸ˜›
But even as I am getting older, I have found that in moments of severe stress, if a lively dance number (yes, ‘the kids of today’ have awful taste in lyrics, but there’s normally a great beat πŸ˜‰ ) busting a move (without busting my back πŸ˜› ) usually reduces that stress almost instantly πŸ˜‰
The problem doesn’t go away, but after a couple of songs, I am definitely in a happier place and better able to tackle it.

Fresh air and sunshine can be tough when you don’t see the sun all that much. And I guess that with all the pollution in the air these days, ‘fresh’ air is a little less likely. But I think you know what I mean.
Here’s what I have found : when I am feeling severely stressed, sometimes ‘stepping away’, even just for a few minutes, can be very beneficial. Except that for me, I need to be aware of ‘where’ I am stepping to. Closing myself in my bedroom with the curtains drawn just brings on more negative emotions, and pretty much only serves to increase my stress levels.
So while some of us may like the idea of a good old door slam (I have a teenage daughter – just a tip real quick : she hasn’t slammed the door since the time I told her ‘next time you do that I am taking it off its hinges and you won’t have a bedroom door’- and showed her the screwdriver I have to prove that I could πŸ˜› ) closing ourselves off completely, without sufficient air and light, can cause more problems than our initial intention of reducing our stress.

A few years ago, I watched an incredible short video, to motivate students in order to be able to ‘have the best for their future’. It was really fantastic, and there were plenty things in there that I found beneficial. But there was one part that had me shaking my head. He advocated for pulling all-nighters, claiming that ‘if you want it bad enough, you will sacrifice sleep for it’. My reply, in my head, was this : what’s the point of getting it if you won’t be able to enjoy it, or it ends up making you physically ill? Because THAT’S ME!
Extensive medical research shows that as adults, we should be getting 7 – 9 hours sleep a night. I wish this was possible, every night. Realistically, it isn’t. However….
Something I AM VERY disciplined on is my bedtime (much to most people’s horror πŸ˜› ) … and ensuring that I get at least 7 hours sleep a night.
I know myself, and I do not respond well to ‘lack of sleep’. Not. At. All.
But I also know many people, personally, who manage to function quite successfully on just 4 hours a night.
We need to make sure that we get enough sleep – the amount that is right for US – and make a conscious effort to make it happen! Because being well-rested definitely helps when stress comes along.
As does having moments when we unplug! Achieving the ‘unplugging for a day’ thing is really difficult in today’s world. But it also depends on your definition of ‘unplugging’. For me? It means this :
Not ignoring messages, but responding with something like, ”Can we talk tomorrow, please? I just really need today to focus on some other things. I’m fine, promise! I’ll message you in the morning.”
Staying off social media – and if there is something I really need to look up, then that is all I will go and do. Even though there is a lot of inspirational and motivational encouragement that awaits me there, it is too easy to get caught up in all the ‘other stuff’, and so I choose to just try and avoid it completely.
Choosing what I do with my time on that day – there are some commitments and responsibilities that cannot be adjusted, and so I have to fulfill those obligations. But for the rest of the time? Do my soul and mind need extra attention? Then I’ll read something to feed them good things, and help them grow. Am I feeling like I am on a soul/mind overload? Well then, mindless whatever on Netflix will do.
Getting enough sleep and unplugging are both doable – you just need to find what works for you, and the ways to make it happen.

What makes you amazing? When stress rears its ugly head, I find that one of the first things I feel is ‘out of control’. This could be because it usually happens when I actually am – when something has happened, and I have no control over it. When I am in a situation where I want to be a part of the solution, and not a part of the problem, but in order for that to happen, the other person (or the situation) needs to take part and be involved in some way (or change).
And one of my stress responses is to ‘feel failure‘, and pretty much ‘run myself down’- begin to feel inadequate and unworthy and incapable.
It really helps me to ‘take a moment’. (And if there is a mirror nearby, I use it. And my kids will be heard saying, ”Mom’s talking to herself again”! πŸ˜› )
Many times, I am NOT feeling it. But I do it, and say it, anyway. Three things. Just three things about me that are ‘good’. Not necessarily applicable to the situation – but three positive qualities, nevertheless.
To be honest, some days it’s so difficult that by the time I have named them, the stressful situation has actually been forgotten πŸ˜›
Again, this little thing that I do doesn’t change the situation – whatever is ‘stressing me out’ doesn’t magically disappear. But it does serve to remind me that I still have worth – I still have strength and positive attributes – yes, this will slow me down, but I’m still okay. I have to say that this one is my absolute favourite – it has benefitted me the last few years in ways that I cannot even begin to describe.
I’ll say it again – I don’t always FEEL it when I say it. And it is VERY far from easy, especially when I am stressed. But the more I have been doing it, and saying it, the more I am reaping the benefits of it πŸ˜‰

There are other techniques I have discovered over the years that also help me. But these are by far my top four. So, in short :

And just for fun, I’ll share a little statement I saw on Facebook recently, which made me laugh out loud.

”Don’t forget to drink water and get sun. You’re basically a house plant, with complicated emotions.” πŸ˜›

A Positive Attitude

I really love the above statement… and to add to it : I am 100% certain that something positive WILL happen today.

The important word to note in my little follow up statement is ‘something’.
Because my day could suck in general. I just never know. My attitude doesn’t have to.
And so, into my day, I bring a positive attitude that tells me : even when stuff goes wrong, even when you feel overwhelmed or sad or angry, even when a multitude of little things just don’t turn out right…. even then, I have the reassurance that if I take the time to stop and look, SOMETHING will have gone right and be a positive plus in my day.

And some days I truly DO have to stop and look. And REALLY think about the little things.
But when I choose to reflect, and do so in a way that is trying to find something GOOD, and just ignore all the bad for a few moments while I do so…. well, I never come up empty.

My ‘life attitude’ IS generally positive. It wasn’t always like this. And it definitely isn’t something easily maintained.
But I have found that leaning towards the positive is definitely far more beneficial for me than ‘reflecting on the negative’ and inviting bitterness and anger and sadness to rule my head and my heart.

Please don’t get me wrong…

My past has been very far from sunshine and roses – there have definitely been far too many dark clouds and thorns. And I wasted a lot of time dwelling on those – allowing thoughts in my mind and feelings in my heart that slowly began to eat away at me.
Not all those ‘situations’ have been resolved – but it’s amazing what a change of attitude can do!

Somebody mentioned that being ‘endlessly positive can be toxic’. But I think they have missed the point!

Life is FULL of negatives! Bad things happen to good people! I cry, I get angry – I still FEEL those negative emotions. But when we can take control of our attitudes? When we can still find SOMETHING good, despite the chaos and turmoil? We find ourselves unleashing a new power within, and a new strength! Because even when things are out of control around us, we will have control within us… and that brings a peace and inner joy that defies explanation!

My hope for you is that this weekend you will be reminded of all that is good in YOU, instead of all that is wrong in your world! ❀

Meg’s Monday Musings, I guess

Over the last few years, I have become increasingly aware of how we are all different. I don’t just mean in physical appearance, or in our hearts… I have also extended my thinking to cover things like how we respond to things, what works FOR US, our opinions and the way we approach the situations life gives us, etc.
Something else I have become increasingly aware of in my own heart is the need to not only respect these differences, but celebrate them because, quite frankly, the world needs all of us. We just have different things to contribute.

Sadly, in some cases, there will be times where celebration falls short, because that particular thing is disheartening, saddening, confusing. Perhaps that person has been shaped by a particular experience in a negative way, and that is the reason for them responding in a way that elicits hurt, anger and bitterness though.
There is a saying that goes something like this : I still care. I still want to see you eat. Just not at my table.

I understand that. A part of me can agree with that saying. And yet….

I will always want people to eat at my table. Eventually. If at all possible. And of course saying that elicits responses like, ”You’re a sucker for punishment”, ”you’re weak and a doormat”, ”you clearly lack boundaries and deserve to have your peace thrown in turmoil, because you aren’t protecting it”.

What is really funny to me is that I CAN see the small bits of truth in those things. Thanks to technology we have an overload of information to teach us all of the above, especially when it comes to boundaries and protecting our peace. We have advice pouring in via social media in the way of articles and memes and short videos to make us strong and prevent us from becoming ‘doormats’.

I remember reading once : The heart of the problem is a problem of the heart.

And so, as my heart is changing radically (in what I deem as all the best ways) a lot of the advice and sayings out there are becoming things that I just can’t fully agree with. A sucker for punishment, indeed! Because this DOES make me MORE vulnerable, and more open to experiencing hurt and heartache. BUT it has also brought me a strange sense of peace, which I simply can’t afford to fight against to satisfy the countless items of advice to ‘protect my peace’ when I have found it in a way that is not in alignment with all these things.

I am able to agree to disagree. I don’t need to always be right. I also don’t need to force my opinions and advice on people in a way that I get frustrated and angry when they don’t do what I have told them to. I am ACCEPTING of the concept that WE ARE ALL DIFFERENT! One of the hardest things I have done, and have to do every now and then, is forgive people who are not sorry, will not say they are sorry, and live in a space where they truly believe that they have done nothing wrong.

And I have, in all of this, realised something that I think is important – TO ME : I actually don’t need apologies, or changed behaviour to prove that you’re sorry. It isn’t why I am still here roaming this earth – it’s not my purpose, if you will.
Other people’s choices, behaviour and the condition of their hearts is not my responsibility. But I AM responsible for my choices, behaviour and the condition of my heart.

There are people in my life who have hurt me deeply. Someone very close to me, my very own blood, has made a lifetime of ‘trying to destroy me’, when she was supposed to love me and nurture me. People in positions of power have abused me. But all of that? Whatever choices they made and whatever they tried to do to me? Well… that is on them. Not me. I have learnt that forgiving them, even though they will never say they are sorry… TRULY forgiving them in MY heart, brings ME peace. And pretty much introduces a freedom within me that I have struggled to grasp for so many years.

Jumping back to eating at my table : any wounds, dissatisfaction, or pain that they be suffering now might possibly be self-inflicted. It is not for me to judge them for that. Or to even rejoice in the fact that they are now possibly ‘getting what they deserve’. NOT MY PLACE. NOT MY BUSINESS.
And if those people reach a point in their lives where they show up at my table, WITHOUT apology, needing a little bit of kindness, compassion, or food for their souls to help them face the day because a particular choice they made or circumstance they are facing has caused them a deep hurt, despite warnings I may have issued or advice I had given? Well, who am I to tell them : Oh, I care… but off you go. Go and find another table. Love isn’t served here.

The last few weeks have not only shown me all the things I DON’T want to be…. it has taught me the greatest lesson of all time. The ONE thing I ABSOLUTELY NEED to be. LOVE.

And because I lack perfection, this is harder than just learning the lesson. Along the way, I am finding myself in situations where this is being put to the test. In most cases, I am getting it right. There are still the odd ones though where I need to iron MYSELF out, and be more determined about living out love, no matter what it costs me.

Unfortunately, feeling and thinking all of the above means that there will be tables that I will be no longer invited to. There will not be an attitude of ‘agree to disagree’ and I will be viewed in an undesirable light, and criticised in many ways. And the feeling and knowledge of that? Well, it feels a bit like trying to swallow a pineapple whole.
But here’s the thing. It’s THEIR table. If I am not welcome there, then I need to respect that. I need to truly forgive so that I can find peace.
And if there ever comes a day where they approach MY table in an hour of need (even if only to just get them through that need and have them walk away again) I will set them a place, comfort them and show them kindness, and love them for as long as they let me.

NONE of these changed hearts attitudes have come without a price to me. NONE of the musings above have come easy. NONE of it is necessarily part of YOUR journey. But it is a part of mine. As are each and every one of you.

Here’s hoping you all have an incredibly special and wonderfully enlightening week ❀

the reflection

When you look in the mirror, what do you see? And no, I don’t just mean physical appearance. I don’t know about you, but glancing in the mirror at myself, I don’t just see my physical reflection. For some reason it sparks a quick ‘check in’ with my mind and soul too.

Looking in the mirror can be a tough one for many of us – and it may surprise some to know that the ‘us’ who struggle with it are not just women!

When you’re in a good place in your life, the mirror’s reflection will make you smile, as you will see everything good. For some, this is most of their lives.
But for many it isn’t so.
Especially when there has been a history of abuse.

I want you to know, if you struggle, that I hear you. And I feel you.
Many times I stared in that mirror with harshness. I was truly my own worst enemy, critical of everything about me. I seemed to remember every mistake I had made, and berated myself for all of them. I noticed every line, every wrinkle, every scar – and I felt ugly.
I could feel the anger growing – at myself, at those who had hurt me, at the world as a whole.
And I would walk away from that mirror feeling frustrated and sad, angry and rejected.

It takes time.

I intensely disliked that statement. ”It takes time”. I have always been a fairly patient person, but hearing that always sparked a response in my mind, ”Good grief! How much longer? What a farce!”

But it happened. Slowly, at first.
And it doesn’t just take time. It happened when my attitude began to change. And that in itself was extremely difficult!
I don’t even remember the beginning of the change.
All I remember is that I made a choice.

I had seen, and experienced first hand, the damage that bitterness does – not just to the individual, but to every person they ‘touch’. I also noticed how that bitterness spilled over into almost everything, and because it was not dealt with, it grew at an alarming rate. And it negatively affected all other emotions. I watched that individual for many years (it wasn’t me) and saw how the only emotions that seemed to ‘increase’ along with that bitterness that never stopped growing were dissatisfaction, anger, sadness, misery.

And some of those things ‘latched’ onto me. But I think I was in denial. Or perhaps I was so busy trying to survive my circumstances, that I didn’t give them the attention they deserved.

All I know is that about four years ago, I began my journey with personal growth. It was sparked by the thought, ”There has to be more to life than this”. And as I began to delve into parts of my mind that ‘just were’, I was horrified to discover that even though it wasn’t a permanent state of mind, I was definitely nurturing my own little garden of bitterness, and all the other things that came with it!

And I made a choice. Because I had seen first hand how destructive these things were, and I knew I didn’t want to ‘end up’ like that individual!

The journey has not been pleasant. I still have to find that path sometimes. And I share all this because I want you to know that THERE IS HOPE and it IS possible to break the cycle.

Most days now, I can look in the mirror and be gentle. But it took time for me to get here. And hard work. And a willingness to change my attitude.
I still see the scars and lines and wrinkles, but I also see the strength and courage… and the places that have creased my face from laughter πŸ˜‰
I see the beauty of compassion.
I see love and kindness.
I see a woman worthy of both.
I see a woman who still makes mistakes, but now views them differently. Who now looks for the lesson.

I am growing. I hope I keep growing. Because it gets better and better.

Life has a lot to offer! If we let it. ❀

Old Rock Day

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

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

Wrong Rock!

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

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

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

πŸ˜‰

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! ❀

Can you change it?

I have never viewed myself as a control freak. In actual fact, my history with narcissism has meant that I have always been the one who has been controlled. And sadly that took me into adulthood, and created a form of ‘inability to make decisions on my own’. Which in itself was terribly destructive – some people will help you make choices that are beneficial to only them, and not you.

There were so many issues that were borne of my childhood, and resulting adulthood, that I certainly kept my therapist busy. πŸ˜›Β  But eventually, because I was willing, small steps became giant leaps and I grew into a ‘newer, better’ version of ME. I also worked really hard on accepting the responsibility of being in control OF ME, and ended up even having to take a course in decision making – something that comes so naturally in others, and yet something that I simply couldn’t grasp on my own. And I haven’t stopped growing, because life keeps teaching me and I am very willing to learn, even though it sometimes hurts.

I do know that there are many things thatΒ I cannot control – and I think that the past 80+ days have caused far more frustration than what they should have. As mentioned in a previous post, IΒ have continuously reminded myself that I can only control MY reactions and emotions to what is going on around me. But for some reason, I remain frustrated.

I was called on recently to ‘assist’ a couple who had decided to part ways. Except that I am friendly with them both, and so while I am always honest and will offer my opinions when asked, I don’t like to get involved at times like these. But they both asked. Under our current restrictions, I am still not able to ‘work’, or help others, as I would like to – I prefer personal interaction, one on one. But (once again, thanks to the beauty of world wide web inventions) I was able to do the next best thing. I did a video call with each of them, individually. The end result, sadly, is that they will not be getting back together. Because, they both agree, that the love is gone. Add to that a multitude of other things (including that they both want completely different things for their lives) and we all realised that it was never going to work.

But I was reminded of something of great importance to me personally.

THIS MAY NOT BE APPLICABLE TO YOU – this is all my personal experiences and journey, and perhaps food for thought for you.

I hopped on here, to write this blog post, and decided to pop in and check on a blogging friend. I was surprised to find the same sort of theme. And it made me want to share this even more.

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The words in this picture used to be me.

Up until about five years ago, I complained, a lot! Kid whining, instead of adult wining πŸ˜› πŸ˜‰Β 

There were times where my complaints were valid though – like the time my entire town was without water for five whole days. By the third day, I was having to buy expensive bottled water, and use it to flush the toilet – and our municipalities and water workers were giving usΒ no indication of how much longer things would be that way. Yes, my household adjusted – we took bucket showers, and used the basin spillage for the loos, wherever possible. I put buckets outside, just in case it rained. I didn’t let it devastate us completely – but I complained about the expense, and the lack of response from those whoΒ were in control. Something in me says though that I reallyΒ shouldn’t have complained at all because it was out of my control and so complaining was futile.
But there ARE times where just being able to voice our complaint about certain circumstances bring a form of release.
And, sorry guys, I AM human, after all πŸ˜›

The problem came in where I complained about a lot of things that I ACTUALLY could have changed. Things IΒ did have a semblance of control over. Now let me tell you, THAT is futile!Β 

I spent an entire year, at one stage, complaining about someone I had viewed as a close friend, and yet had not bothered to reach out to me – I complained about her neglect, and her lack of caring about how I was. I pretty much complained every time someone mentioned her name, or I saw something that reminded me of her. I was hurt and angry. And I made sure to voice it. But I never voiced it to her. I never told her how I felt.Β I DIDN’T REACH OUT! I just complained, and gleaned sympathy from others, which sort of became a driving force for more complaining.
Two years later, I actually sent her a message and organised a coffee date, and spent the first twenty minutes of that coffee date, apologising.

Because in my learning, and in my growing, it hit me that I hadn’t bothered to try and change things. I hadn’t bothered to reach out to her either. Complaints may have carried a small amount of weight and validity IF I had reached out more than once, and she had just blatantly ignored me. But I was so caught up in me, myself and I, that I had not once considered sending the first message.

I am no longer that way. I learned from the experience. I worked on ME and effected CHANGES IN ME, and so now I am different.Β 

It’s very easy to place blame on other peoples shoulders. It’s very easy to knit pick their actions. It’s very easy to see the weaknesses in others. It’s VERY DIFFICULT to do the same with ourselves. But oh so necessary if we want to grow into the next, and better, version of ourselves.

There will always be hope, so long as you are willing to try. And willing to see that perhaps there is something within you that needs work.

I was asked the other day, ”What’s with this being ‘the next best version of yourself?’ Aren’t you happy with who you are?”

I smiled.

I am happy with me. Sometimes, I may still do or say things that cause me to be a little bit disappointed in me, but I have the tools to effect change, and I work through those moments, and do better.
What I have discovered for me PERSONALLY, on MY journey that I am on?
Every little bit of growth and new realisation in an area of personal development? It unlocks something new in me. Each one seems to unlock a new gift/reward. It not only benefits me as a person, but takes me to a new level, and opens up a new window for me. I used to just stare at the closed door – I personally wasted far too much time doing that. The open windows are bringing freshness and newness and light.
So yes, I am happy with me.
But there is so much more potential to unlock. And who doesn’t like a gift/reward?Β 

Who Do You Need?

 

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Photo credit : sayingimages.com

 

“Nobody’s perfect, but some of us are closer than others.”

The above statement about perfection was written on a wooden board sign hanging in my brothers room while I was growing up. Every time he caught me looking at it – which was usually about the same time he caught me in his bedroom (his room was no man’s land, and definitely not a place that I was allowed to be) he would say to me, “Sorry for you, but you’re notΒ some. Now get out of my room.”

I never fully understood until my other brother, the oldest of the two, explained that he was telling me that I was nowhere near perfect. I can remember that for many years, this hurt me. Looking back now, I laugh about it – and regret the time I wasted in my growing up years allowing it to upset me.

Because here’s the thing : while I sound like I know what I am doing, the only reason I can be this way (and sort of know what I am doing) is because of the mistakes I have made – sometimes the same one a number of times. It used to be ”classic Meg syndrome”. Make a bad choice/mistake – say sorry. Get another chance. But everyone knew I would do it again a few more times.

I never struggled with learning at school, unless I was being lazy πŸ˜› And although I don’t think I have a brilliant IQ, I do think that I am intelligent enough to be able to hold my own. A comment I often heard growing up, and in adult life too, was, “You’re a beautiful girl and you’re not stupid. So WHY? It just baffles my brain.”

Unfortunately, a lot of bad choices were circumstantial. And a lot of those frustrated people who made that comment about me were the greatest ‘influencers’ of the circumstances.
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Photo credit : therandomvibez.com

They say that life is all about making mistakes – there was a time where I was succeeding beyond my wildest dreams! πŸ˜› πŸ˜‰

Perhaps I was striving for genius status – since we learn from our mistakes? πŸ˜›

Here’s the thing though : while I have always been a responsible and caring person, with a kind and loving heart, I have not always been very wise – and I have had my moments of my own form of rebellion, and have done and said things that I cannot take back.

In the past few years I have aged greatly. Apparently I still look young – even though I don’t feel it. My son is very complimentary with regards to this, and was not surprised when a 27 year old asked me on a date. I was horrified – as was my daughter, because I am old πŸ˜› And yet, when I say I am probably best suited for a man in his fifties, she tells me I am too young for that. Kid can’t make up her mind πŸ˜› (My son agrees with me though – but always tells me I look younger than what I am. He’s not just flattering me, which makes me feel good. But not good enough to date a 27 year old πŸ˜› )

But I have aged greatly – and not in years (or looks apparently). In the past few years, I have gained a lot of wisdom and insight, and I have grown a lot.Β 
Much more than many people my age. I’ve always had a bit of an old soul, so that has already sort of set me apart. An elderly lady I encountered a few days ago told me, “You are not like the youth of today. You have a lot of wisdom. You’ve obviously had a challenging past.”

Yes. I have had a challenging past. Yes, I have done things, and said things, that I am not proud of. I have had things happen to me that have caused pain beyond just their occurrence. The things kept coming, and the circumstances wouldn’t change, and I kept making bad decisions. And it made things challenging. And I was too busy playing the blame game and making excuses and wallowing in my misery to face those challenges.Β 

I’ll admit – when it comes to my physical appearance, I still don’t see anything worth writing home about. I still struggle with poor self image when it comes to my outer being – partly, a woman thing; partly for other reasons. I do work on that, and am trying to change it. I will say that I have grown to love my eyes – I do see, when I look in the mirror, that although they are a boring brown, they are far from boring. I know how expressive they are, and acknowledge that physically they are my best feature. People who see me speak – my friend in the US only on video calls – have always told me the above. I have only accepted in the past few years. And that’s as far as I have got with physical image.

I am too busy with matters of the heart – my main focus is on what is going on inside of me. Who I am. Because on my blog pages, and in emails to distant new friends who I may never meet, who I am inside is what shines through.

I have worked hard the past few years, at facing my mistakes and taking responsibility where I needed to. And learning. It’s been difficult, and I have suffered. The pain has been insurmountable at times – particularly when having to forgive and move on with people who will never say they are sorry.

Because of my mistakes, I am able to counsel and advise others in many areas.
Funny enough, a lot of the time, I learn something new while doing so.

But please don’t ever be under the impression that I have always been the way I am depicted here. While my core has always been good, there have been many moments of bad. When I write here, I write from personal experiences and my ‘wisdom and goodness’ come from having made some awful mistakes. This alone should terrify you a little πŸ˜›

And the thing is, I still make mistakes. Thank goodness. Or there would be nothing left for me to learn! Some of those mistakes come from choices I willingly make : being too trusting, and too honest; my willingness to accept, acknowledge and embrace the fact that everyone is different, and that everyone deserves kindness and consideration, and as many chances as it takes for them to heal and ‘get it right’.

Yes, I leave myself exposed and vulnerable. And get hurt. But I’d rather be making these types of choices and mistakes, than be selfish and bitter and wallowing and blaming, like I tended to be in my younger years.

One of the things that had the greatest influence on me (there have been many), and brought about HUGE changes was a picture I saw on Facebook a few years ago – I googled and found it :

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‘Nuff said!