Meg’s mind… be afraid… ha ha!

In my late twenties, and then again in my early thirties, there was an extended period of self loathing – mostly directed at my physical appearance, but not so strangely sparked by emotional negative belief systems. It was bad! In fact, in my late twenties, I actually removed every mirror from my house. Make up was quickly applied in the car, in the rearview mirror – before going in to the office – because it minimised having to look at myself. And yet I did the make up anyway… because I still cared how I looked. What a conundrum, right? Not seeing anything good, and yet still making the effort!

And in those awful periods of hatred, the people who knew me and actually loved me, were consistent in telling me that it needed to end. That I was not what I had been told I was. That I was different, and worthy, and beautiful. That in this self loathing period, they still loved me, but they missed me. That I was the sunshine in their lives, bringing a positive attitude to all circumstances… and they needed me back.
And in all of that, something in me was still the ‘never say die, prisoner of hope’, because although I was emotionally self destructive, I didn’t give up.

Nowadays? Those same people are still in my life. We don’t see each other very often, and the pandemic has almost wiped out our social time. But the odd phone call is usually accompanied by the statement, ”I just needed a dose of Meg (Meg is my name, in case you didn’t know). I needed to at least hear some sunshine.”

Sounds great, right? But here’s the thing, everyone who is reading this : I am NOT sunshine all the time.

I woke up with this blog post on my heart, but checked my email first. Regular readers will know that I often share posts from Letters To Pogue… and there was a new post in my inbox. So I went off to read it first, and I guess that in a way it confirmed the words in my heart.

Now let me explain why I made the statement I did, and repeat for those who may have missed it :

I AM NOT SUNSHINE ALL THE TIME.

Yes, if you knew all the things that have happened to me in my life, you would see a woman who definitely holds onto hope like it’s as important as the air she breathes, and you would probably see that my nature – despite everything that has tried to twist it to the contrary – is upbeat and happy.

And I generally am. Funnily enough, the pandemic has made me EVEN MORE SO! absolutely crazy, right?!?!?!

BUT if you could spend a day in my mind – if I dared to write an hour by hour account of the thoughts in my head? You’d be more confused than a chameleon on a smartie box (roll of Rockets, for my US friends)!

I love to make friends online. I love that the world has evolved to a point that it has been ‘made smaller’. I love that I have a heart that can connect with people ‘across the miles’, even if I never get to see them in person.
What I don’t love though is that this has also evolved us to a point where we struggle with trust even more, because people have taken advantage of being able to hide behind the internet and many have proven themselves to be dishonest to a frightening degree. It makes me sad.

In my posts, I am genuine. I promise. The words I write are where I am at on that given day. Honesty is important to me. I try to be as real as possible, without dragging you all down any negative emotional roads πŸ˜›

But this morning, as I reflected on words spoken by someone I love dearly : ”I was just saying that you always find the positive and are just so darn sunshiny, that it is sometimes nauseating, but I love that about you anyway” – this blog post was born. The person who said them? She knows me better than I sometimes know myself. She’s seen the good, the bad and the ugly – and yet she still said that about me? The funny thing is that I got all defensive! I had replied to that statement with : ”No, I don’t! You’ve heard me complain, and be miserable, and be angry!”

Further explanation and discussion revealed to me that ‘she knows those ugly sides of me, but in general my sunny disposition seems to win, and she loves that about me’.

Why on earth am I telling you all this?

Because this is me at my most real – some raw truth about Meg, which may disappoint some, I might add…. and oddly enough, I am telling you as a form of ENCOURAGEMENT! Wait, what?!?!?!

For every person who is still reading, who regularly reads, who is waiting for the explanation :

Yes, I have always been ‘full to overflowing’ when it comes to hope, and not given up when I should have.
Yes, I smile FAR TOO MUCH, that even the staff at the local store and gas station call me ‘Miss Smiley’.
Yes, my general disposition resembles sunshine.

And maybe those things make it ‘easier’ for me?

BUT GUYS!

When I woke up this morning to the USA news (8 hour time difference means that chaos usually erupts while I am asleep!), my heart sank and I swore and I was instantly discouraged when I thought of how this will impact everything, all over the world. (I felt the same way with the UK Brexit news – except with only a two hour time difference I was awake for that!)
For a good half an hour, it felt like all hope was lost. My mind was a browser, ten tabs open, and it crashed.
I will never fulfill any of my dreams! My bucket list may as well get torn up and trashed! It’s all going to be downhill from here. I was afraid : what will the impact be? Every day just keeps getting worse – my own personal circumstances, the circumstances of those I love, the circumstances of people I have no knowledge of, my town, my country, this world as a whole.
And I cried. And I felt miserable. And angry. And I FELT hopeless. Exhausted. Ready to just go back to sleep.

And then I heard that quiet voice – barely a whisper as the waves of negativity tried to drown it – PLEASE STOP!

I still felt all those horrible things. I was still miserable about all of it. But I got up, and made my first cup of coffee. And as I took my first sip, I asked myself a question that I have trained my brain to ask when these moments come : ”Can you control it?”
And because this post is about being transparent, here’s what happened in my brain :

No. And I am f***ing sick of that question. Over it. Who the hell came up with that smart ass concept to start with, anyway? Like it’s supposed to just magically make everything better? I don’t want to play that game! There’s enough depression and anger in this f***ing world already! And now this! I can’t control it, but it doesn’t make me feel any better. I can’t change it either, and that makes me feel worse.
What CAN you change?
You know what? Just shut up! Take your positivity for a long walk off a short pier. I’m done!
No, you’re not.
No, seriously. I am. Everything just f***ing sucks.
Everything?
Yes, everything! I hate this! There’s no jobs here, we’re scraping by with no hope of anything getting any better, my friends are depressed, every time I leave my house I don’t know if I will come home unscathed because crime is so bad, I don’t want to die here, I want a future, I want my dad.
I thought you were upset about the US thing?
I am. But there’s a bunch of other stuff and it makes me just think of everything that is hopeless. There’s just no point anymore.
Hey, take a deep breath.
No.
Yes. And go get more coffee.
Fine. I need coffee.
You do.
What’s going to happen next? I am so tired of it all.
Well, what do you need to do today?
I don’t know… but I definitely need to vacuum my bedroom. I should probably think about what to feed the kids today as well, and I need to check email.
Okay, then that is what is going to happen next.
What?
Sometimes things just suck. You know this. It’s hard to understand when stuff defies logic. You don’t even know the question, but you’re looking for the answer. There might not even be a question. Who knows? You’re upset, concerned, afraid. You’re allowed to be. But it’s shifting you to think of everything else that is wrong. And yes, there is a lot. If you keep thinking of everything that is wrong, you will forget to remember everything that is right. Go write down three things that are right and think of them! It won’t magically make you feel better. You might still feel sad and angry and discouraged. But you still have sh*t to do. So do it.
Okay. *deep sigh*

And here I am. Doing it. The conversations in my head can get quite entertaining – but they DO make my heart hurt sometimes. I let myself feel it all, and process it. And in that process, I seem to calm down. Strange, right?
SOMETHING VERY IMPORTANT TO REMEMBER : your thought processes pretty much determine your life. Yes, circumstances play a big role and can often ‘dash our hopes and dreams’… but that’s why it is so vital for us to practice daily the ‘carry on’ concept. Eating right is important, but so is ‘thinking right’. I haven’t quite mastered it yet… but I am sure as heck going to keep trying!

How do I feel now, you may be silently asking?
I’m still sad, and a little bit worried about it all. I’m angry that this world is such a horrible place. I’m afraid.
But I have drummed into my brain, through daily dedication to doing so : I NEED to accept the things I cannot change and change the things I can. I NEED to not dwell on the negative. Even with my doubt and discouragement screaming the opposite, I NEED to carry on, regardless.
I need to remember that my life, my ‘small and insignificant existence’, STILL HAS PURPOSE!
Even if, in an overwhelmingly negative moment, the only purpose seems to be a clean bedroom carpet πŸ˜›

Dear ones, you may be afraid and discouraged. You may be feeling lost and alone. Sad. Angry.
I don’t know your circumstances, or what it is you have to choose from.

But please know this : if you are reading this, you are here for a reason. You have value and meaning. There will be plenty you cannot change. But please change the thought pattern that says that all is lost. I’m living proof that it’s not true.
If you need help, reach out!
KNOW that despite everything, you are loved!

YOUR LIFE HAS PURPOSE!


(And now you know why my brother has always said : Nobody’s perfect, but some of us are closer than others, and you, little sister, are not one of them πŸ˜› )

Little Big

Photo credit : smallthingsmatter.org
Photo credit : Facebook

I love the little things in life. The simple things. And I love small random acts of kindness.
These are things you will sort of be aware of if you are a regular reader of my posts.
I want to do BIG things though…
Not quite like Pinky and the Brain
I don’t want to take over the world πŸ˜› But I’d like to help change it for the better.

The pandemic has taught me how much of a desire in my heart this actually is. I didn’t think the ‘love’ side of me could grow much more (love = kindness, compassion, sacrifice) …. I didn’t think it was possible for it to almost consume me.
But it has. And at times it has been overwhelming. Especially when I am not feeling up to doing much….
My mind is still ‘up to much’, ha ha!

I bumped into acquaintance – a lady who doesn’t know much about me at all. What was strange was that we ended up having a rather meaningful, deep conversation, centering around purpose and goals and personal growth. I expressed my frustration to her because I want to do BIG things, and at the end of our little ‘meeting’, she left me with this :

”Just an observation, Meg. You notice the little things – the things that other people don’t. You’re the same with people – you notice, while others just continue on with their day and their tasks. You did something the other day for someone, and I heard about it from that person. It was a random kindness and something small, but let me tell you that at the particular moment you made a BIG difference in that person’s life. Don’t underestimate YOUR small things – they’re achieving the BIG stuff.”

And my heart soared, and I decided there and then to keep doing the little things!

I had a big thing happen yesterday. And I can’t help but wonder if it is partly the little things I do that led to it. (But it’s mostly a person with an incredible heart who did a HUGE good deed for me πŸ˜‰ )
The pandemic has been tough on everyone, and many are suffering financially.
And let’s be honest, I have had more than my ‘unfair share’ πŸ˜› of troubles these last six months.
Without going in to too much detail, let me say this : thanks to someone with a kind and generous, very beautiful spirit, in this Summer heat I will be able to replace my fridge and fill it.
A BIG thing that made a HUGE difference.
A small thing that made a huge difference to me just this morning? A lady standing in the queue next to me said, ”I can tell you have a lovely smile, even though you’re wearing a mask – it shows in your eyes.”

BIG things. SMALL things. They ALL have value and make a difference! Please keep looking for opportunities to spread love! ❀

useless failure

I was reminded again, in the last couple of days, what a ‘useless failure’ I am. For far too many years, hearing this being spewed at me regularly, I not only believed it to be true, but I also found it extremely devastating every time it was said.

I know better now.

We all know about ‘unrealistic expectations’ that we not only set for ourselves, but sometimes hold others to. And we know how negative an impact they can have. Sometimes they are disguised as ‘my dream/wish/hope for you’… because sometimes those are just ‘pretty’ substitutes for ‘this is what I actually expect’.

Please don’t get me wrong : it is wonderful to have hopes and dreams for our children, our siblings, our friends. It can be quite empowering to share these with them – it can encourage and inspire things within them that they may have never even considered.

The danger comes in when we share that dream/hope/wish… and then turn it into an expectation in our minds.

I was supposed to get an Honours Degree.
I was supposed to marry a ‘professional’ (doctor, lawyer, accountant).
I was supposed to have two ‘perfect’ children.
I was supposed to be ‘successful’ by now. (Ah yes, but we may not measure success the same, right? πŸ˜‰ )

All of the above started out as ‘hopes and wishes’ for me – for my future. But somewhere in the passing years, there has been a noticeable shift to : this was what was expected of you and you have failed dismally.

BUT I HAVEN’T! πŸ™‚


For far too many years I have allowed my worth to be based on my inability to achieve the things that I was always told were what would make me successful.
It had me carrying around a burden of unworthiness that was not mine to carry.
It had other implications too.

Thank goodness for personal growth, and the willingness to learn and grow πŸ˜‰

I may not have married well, I may not have obtained the ever important degree, and I definitely don’t have perfect children πŸ˜›

But it doesn’t make me less. And it doesn’t make YOU less if you’re in the same position. So here is my message to you all :

It doesn’t matter if you have not achieved all that others wanted for you. YOU STILL HAVE WORTH!
It also doesn’t matter if you have not achieved all that YOU wanted for you. YOU STILL HAVE WORTH!
There is still time. Circumstances may mean you need to ‘alter’ your dream… but you CAN still have a dream πŸ˜‰
Every day is a new day, to keep growing, and keep going…

Because you ARE worth it! ❀

Love Taps

Most people know a ‘love tap’ as being a ‘light punch’, usually done in jest.

I prefer the other meaning that someone once told me about. They said that a ‘love tap’ is when you get a little ‘sub conscious/pretend’ tap on the shoulder, either when receiving a form of love, or when you’re being prodded to do something to give love. Now THAT really appealed to me.

As I mentioned in my previous shared post, this last week has been a tough one. And yet every day, for the last five days, I have experienced love taps…. FOR ME! People who ‘were tapped’, and followed through. In little ways…. that encouraged me SO MUCH! An email that reminded me how very loved I am, and that I am NOT alone; messages to not only encourage me but thank me for who I am; and a video that was sent to me on Thursday.

This video? It carried a powerful message. And was sent by a ‘friendly acquaintance’ who had NO idea of anything I was going through – she sent it with the caption : ”I watched this and you came to mind, don’t know why. But I am sending it to you, and I hope you have a great day!” She followed through on her love tap…. and it made a HUGE difference to me!

The video spoke of a father and daughter who were driving home after a time away. The daughter was the driver, and having only just recently acquired her license, when a storm came up, she got nervous. Her dad said to keep driving. The storm got worse, and other cars and even a great big truck, all pulled over. But her dad told her she would be okay, and to just keep driving. And then they were through the storm. And her dad said,
”You can pull over now.”
She did, and she smiled and said, ”I know, Dad. You want me to stop and thank God for bringing us through safely.”
He replied, ”Yes, but there is something else too. Climb out the car, and I’ll show you.”
So they got out of the car, and he told her to look back the way they had come, and asked her what she saw. She replied that she could still see the storm back that way. He asked her to look again and tell him what else she saw, and she seemed a bit confused, and so he asked,
”Where are the cars, and the big truck, who pulled over? Do you see them?”
She looked back and slowly shook her head.
He said, ”You don’t see them, because they are still in the storm. You see, when you pull over, you make the storm last longer. If you keep going, keep moving ahead, keep believing that it’s possible, keep your hope and your faith…. then you will make it through your storm.”

Now, there may be plenty of ‘holes’ in this story. But for me? It was just another reminder of the general theme in my life : Hold on to your hope, keep pushing on… you’ll be okay.

And I needed to hear it, and know it, and feel it.

And I know that when we’re in the storm, sometimes the generic replies like : this too shall pass; you can’t have a rainbow without the rain; it’s just a bad day and not a bad life – sometimes those replies can be frustrating, and not very helpful for the place we are in.

But for me personally? I have learned that the even if I don’t like them, and even if I don’t feel them… I will keep saying them out loud anyway – because there comes a time where THEY become the first thoughts my brain has when the next storm threatens πŸ˜‰

And one more thing about love taps …..

(And sometimes I embarrass my children, ha ha ha!)
I often have these moments where I will notice someone, and perhaps see that they have on a pretty dress, or a top that brings out their eyes, or their hair looks really pretty that day – but let’s stick with the dress for now πŸ˜‰ I say it in my head. But a minute later, they pass me again, and I have the urge to tell them, ”That’s a really pretty dress.” I hold back though. And then we’ll end up in the queue together, or they’ll pass me again, and the urge is too great… and I end up blurting it out,
”I’m sorry… but I just want to tell you, that is a really pretty dress that you’re wearing.”
Most times, they’re a little taken aback at first… and then I see the light in their eyes, and the difference my silly comment has made to them in that moment… and it makes it all worth it.

Follow through on your love taps…. it makes the world just that little bit better, for them…
and for you ❀

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 

 

Spaghetti

routine

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

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

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

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

quotes-about-good-routine

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

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

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

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

So why am I telling you this?

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

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

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

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

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

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

Routinely Singing

I was chatting on the phone to a friend of mine the other day and she was laughing with me about certain behaviours I have! It was regarding our current strict lock down, and she sort of stopped me midway through our chat, laughing at me and saying, ”I can’t believe you still have those routines in place.” I laughed too, because some of it is just so silly and unnecessary based on the current circumstances. And yet I can’t help it.

One of the things that was taught to me when I was a teen, working as a volunteer with children, was that childrenΒ need routine. That it helps them to understand what is expected of them, teaches them to respect boundaries and can actually make them feel safe and secure.

I am a fully grown adult, and yet there are so many childlike qualities that I still believe are important to have – things that are actually still quite important to me. I often get teased that I am not spontaneous enough – please don’t get me wrong, IΒ can be spontaneous. But I seem to lean more towards ‘how things fit into the life I lead. How will it affect my children? How does it affect my time? What will the effect of it be on my responsibilities?’

Super boring, right there, right? Same as boring, but I have a special cape for it πŸ˜›

But… you see… some of my routines tend to reduce my stress, either immediately, or they’re in place to try and reduce stressful situations that may come at a later stage. I’ll explain it like this : Before lock down, the routine in my house because of school was to get up at 5am on weekdays. Weekends, I would ‘sleep in’ till about 6:30am – because I usually used to have my daughter at dancing by 9am.
Our world has come to a standstill with lock down.
Most mornings now, I allow myself to sleep in till 6am.
And this was the very thing that my friend was laughing about.
”Why don’t you stay in bed and let yourself go back to sleep, silly Meg. There’s nothing else happening πŸ˜› ”

Why don’t I? Because if I break that routine, and sleep later, or go back to sleep after waking, then if and when things return back to normal hours, it will add to my stress : it will be difficult to fall back into the pattern of such very early mornings. I may even oversleep one day.
I know myself, so I need to keep working on reducing my stress, and that’s just one small way.

So many other things regarding my routines, stress management and productivity have fallen to the wayside – but due to factors I cannot control. And so I have accepted those ‘breaks in routine’ and have had to let go of them in the sense of not allowing them to make me feel bad, or unproductive, or stressed out. An example of this is that we only have one fully functional, working computer in the house – I need it, my son needs it for university, and my daughter now needs it for school. We can control the compromise regarding who gets to use it when, but if it means I have an afternoon where I have been unable to work on the computer, I don’t allow myself to feel that I have been unproductive.

Initially, this was not my attitude and it had started getting to me in many ways – all the little things that were affecting my routine.

And then I remembered one of the most powerful lessons that I have learned over the last few years,Β 

”Can you control this? Is there anything you can do to change this? If your answer is no, then let.it.go.”

It wasn’t easy. I amΒ not a control freak by any means – and when it comes to my house, I definitely don’t have any form of OCD πŸ˜› It’s chaos… mostly organised chaos… but still chaos.

But IΒ have always been a fixer, and I like ‘to know’. I also went through the stages of taking responsibility for things that had nothing to do with me, and allowing sadness and guilt to weigh me down.

Now? I’m just frozen. πŸ˜› (as in singing the Frozen song… ‘let it go, let it go’.… πŸ˜‰

I still have my weak moments… but I’m hellbent on continuing to sing… and I will keep giving myself stern lectures because I am still me, I am still productive and calm, and a fairly good person πŸ˜‰

This is tough on everyone – – – – –Β  but please give yourself a hug. Because you cannot control it. Just keep doing the best you can ❀

Liebster Award

screenshot_20200414-215638-e1587054864276

I was nominated πŸ˜‰ Big thanks to johnranjit for the nomination. He has a blog called Managing Yourself, some great soul food in there to go and have a look at. πŸ˜‰

Rules To The Liebster Blogger Award:

1.Thank the blogger who nominated you and give a link to their blog.
2. Answer the 11 questions given to you. (I only got 10 – promise I didn’t leave one out πŸ˜‰ )
3.Share 11 facts about yourself
4. Nominate between 5-11 other bloggers
5. Ask your nominees 11 questions
6. Notify your nominees once you’ve uploaded your post.

The Q and A for me is as follows :

Q1 When and how did you start blogging?
Goodness! I think my first ever blog post was back in 2006, but it wasn’t on the WordPress community. Blogging was almost an unknown in my country back then – very few people blogged those days. A computer whizz who knew I loved to write, and knew my bubbly personality, introduced me to the world of blogging. And so it began πŸ˜‰

Q2 What is your favorite quote?
I generally don’t like being asked to mention favourites…. simply because I have so many of everything. πŸ˜›
And each day is different, and sometimes it changes during the day, depending on circumstances and little reminders. For this morning though, the following quote pretty much describes how I felt.. so I’ll share it πŸ˜‰
“Fear less, hope more, eat less, chew more, whine less, breathe more, talk less, say more, hate less, love more, and good things will be yours.”β€” Swedish Proverb

Q3 Beaches or mountains?
There’s just no question here, and it’s something that never changes πŸ˜›
MOUNTAINS for sure πŸ˜‰

Q4 If you had an extra hour in the day, what will you be doing?
This is such a tough one, because there are just too many things to mention.
So I’ll pick one and go with it πŸ˜‰
Daydreaming πŸ˜‰ I mean, who doesn’t need an extra hour for that, right?

Q5 What is your all-time advice to my blog page?
To be honest, I don’t have any. You are you, and your blog is uniquely you. I enjoy reading what you put out there, and wouldn’t change a thing.

Q6 Would you rather read a book or watch a movie?
Definitely read a book.

Q7 How do you deal with stress?
I breathe. Yes, it sounds silly. But I actually physically and mentally stop myself, and just keep repeating, ‘breathe. in and out. there you go. just breathe.’ And admittedly sometimes I cry – I find that it is a welcome relief and is beneficial to releasing the negative emotions.

Q8 What appeals to you most, soul or appearance of a person?
Definitely the soul! Admittedly, there needs to be an attraction to the physical appearance in a romantic relationship… but for me the physical attraction is often related to the soul. It’s a little strange, I know. Personally though, I have experienced it a good few times. I’ll see an incredibly good looking man, but discover he’s self absorbed, and superficial – and honestly, he loses his appeal for me. I just don’t ‘see’ his outward good looks anymore. Strange, but true.

Q9 What message would you like to give to your future self?
Just eat the darn cake πŸ˜‰

Q10 What are you most thankful for in your life?

Life. In it’s entirety. With it’s ups and downs, and all arounds. I am just thankful that I have it, and everything that goes with it. Even the things that hurt and the lessons that suck. I grow. So they have purpose. I have purpose. Life has purpose.
It’s not always easy… but it’s worth it.
And the opportunities are endless.
So I guess the thing I am most thankful for in my life, is that I HAVE life πŸ˜‰ πŸ™‚

I’m also supposed to share 11 facts about me. That’s even more difficult than answering questions πŸ˜› Mostly because as you all know I am quite open here, so there’s not much mystery left to share πŸ˜›Β  I’ll try anyway….

  1. I think I am addicted to caffeine – I am at a stage where IΒ have to have two cups after waking for my brain to fully functional πŸ˜›
  2. I am a water baby – not a swimmer. I drink copious amounts of water. Too much, actually. Although it doesn’t seem to affect me, other than seemingly having a constantly full bladder, ha ha ha! (I drink about 3.5l a day – and that’s not including the coffee or tea consumed during the day.)
  3. As much as I love my coffee, there is a time in the day where my body seems to crave my cup of green tea with mint – no milk, no sugar.
  4. I don’t take sugar in my coffee either.
  5. I don’t play on my phone if I wake in the middle of the night/early hours of the morning. I may only touch it in order to see the time. I don’t check messages or scroll through social media. Even if I am struggling to go back to sleep. Ha ha ha!
  6. I don’t eat sushi. And yes, I have tried it. All of it. Even wasabi. But sushi just doesn’t seem to be built into my taste buds.
  7. As chatty and vivacious as my personality is, I am still able to just ‘be’. There are plenty of times where quietΒ is actually just quiet. I once had a friend over, and we were both sitting in my lounge with our knitting, and just kind of lapsed into silence. For an hour. But weΒ are women, so we got to talking again πŸ˜›
  8. I still love to dance – even though I am not very good πŸ˜›
  9. Although I don’t seem to give music enough credit, I cannot imagine my life without it.
  10. I took a kids quiz on a magazine website yesterday, ha ha ha ha! Because who wouldn’t want to know which Beatrix Potter character they were???
    I’m Squirrel Nutkin, in case you’re wondering πŸ˜›
  11. I am totally and utterly terrified of a dentist!

 

I’m not going to nominate anyone as such. Because you’re all awesome. So if you’re reading this, consider yourself nominated πŸ˜‰

BUT, I’d also like to share links to some pretty great blogs (this is off the top of my head, and please don’t be offended if I don’t mention you by name), and give them the award… but there is NO pressure to do a blog post about it if you don’t want to. πŸ˜‰
If you DO choose to participate, please answer my ten questions that I was asked, and for your eleventh, I’d like to know : ”What would you say is your strong point?”

Letters to Pogue is an extremely thought provoking blog, with a lot of humour thrown in. You should definitely pay him a visit πŸ™‚ He’s not limited by language or terminology (his words, not mine) and it shows. I love how when I read, I can continue to think ‘outside the box’. I am often encouraged and inspired πŸ™‚

Evan is not only a talented writer, helping us grow our minds – he is also a talented hobby-photographer. The pictures he shares with each blog post are just as good as his writing πŸ˜‰ You should visit him too πŸ™‚

Holly writes the most beautifully thought out posts that are of such great encouragement to me. Her blog also often contains great tips on ‘whole’ living – natural alternatives and the like. She has a truly beautiful soul and it shows in her writing.

Robin writes some pretty awesome poetry – and he has a great sense of humour. A lot of his stuff is related to mental health, and anxiety – but you definitely won’t be left feeling like you’re struggling with either one. Because even on days when he openly struggles? There’s sunshine in the clouds πŸ˜‰ I enjoy his Tornado of Chaos πŸ˜‰

Will’s Wisdom offers inspiration and motivation for life. There’s always a story. And a question. That gives you cause to pause and think. I kind of like that, you know πŸ˜‰

Vincent is a family man… a WordPress family man. He sees us all as family, and is just great about letting us know that we have value πŸ˜‰ His posts often bring a smile to my face – he truly is making a positive impact on lives.

So now you all have lots of reading to do. And I have a morning exercise routine (a quick one πŸ˜› 10 minute cardio – it’s a start, don’t knock it πŸ˜› ) to get through, because, well, I promised myself I would πŸ˜›

Stay safe ❀

 

Hospital window

As I lay in bed last night, my brain slowly winding down to allow me to sleep, I was reminded of the story that I managed to find, and am going to share below.Β 

”Two men, both seriously ill, occupied the same hospital room. One man was allowed to sit up in his bed for an hour each afternoon to help drain the fluid from his lungs. His bed was next to the room’s only window. The other man had to spend all his time flat on his back. The men talked for hours on end. They spoke of their wives and families, their homes, their jobs, their involvement in the military service, where they had been on vacation.

Every afternoon when the man in the bed by the window could sit up, he would pass the time by describing to his roommate all the things he could see outside the window.

The man in the other bed began to live for those one hour periods where his world would be broadened and enlivened by all the activity and color of the world outside.

The window overlooked a park with a lovely lake. Ducks and swans played on the water while children sailed their model boats. Young lovers walked arm in arm amidst flowers of every color and a fine view of the city skyline could be seen in the distance.

As the man by the window described all this in exquisite detail, the man on the other side of the room would close his eyes and imagine the picturesque scene.

One warm afternoon the man by the window described a parade passing by.

Although the other man couldn’t hear the band – he could see it. In his mind’s eye as the gentleman by the window portrayed it with descriptive words.

Days and weeks passed.

One morning, the day nurse arrived to bring water for their baths only to find the lifeless body of the man by the window, who had died peacefully in his sleep. She was saddened and called the hospital attendants to take the body away.

As soon as it seemed appropriate, the other man asked if he could be moved next to the window. The nurse was happy to make the switch, and after making sure he was comfortable, she left him alone.

Slowly, painfully, he propped himself up on one elbow to take his first look at the real world outside.

He strained to slowly turn to look out the window beside the bed.

It faced a blank wall. The man asked the nurse what could have compelled his deceased roommate who had described such wonderful things outside this window

The nurse responded that the man was blind and could not even see the wall.

She said, β€œPerhaps he just wanted to encourage you.”

Author Unknown”

These are trying times. May we continue to encourage one another as much as we possibly can. ❀

focus

new

(I’d hate to think who else’s underwear I could possibly be wearing!)

I’ve had an interesting two days, and there is much that has been learnt.
After my emotional and soul baring meltdown post, I felt guilty and very miserable. Yesterday, I realised why. So before I mention all the things I have learned the last two days, let me say this :

At the very forefront of my mind right now is the reminder that when we are out of alignment with our core values, we not only lose sight of purpose, but we become increasingly miserable and lose sight of everything else too. And that is what I allowed to happen.
The very real lesson, however, was how easily this can happen. And how long it can last. And how increasingly more difficult it makes day-to-day life as the misery descends like a cloud.

But it DOES happen. And we can’t fault people for it. And we also can’t blame ourselves when it happens to us. The important thing, as with many other situations in life, is to acknowledge that it’s happening/happened and work on changing it – changing ourselves – continuing with our journey in alignment with our core values.

The lessons of the last two days have been more reminders – mainly two of them – much needed ones, that have put me back on track and allowed me to feel calm again, despite the storms that continue to rage.

First reminder : Bad things happen, even to good people. Situations and circumstances that are validly negativeΒ will happen. And while we cannot ignore that and need to keep ourselves aware and prepared, at the same time we need to ensure that they do not consume our focus.

Second reminder : Honesty about where we are at can not only be a lifesaver, but a life changer. When the cloud begins to descend and the negativity is overwhelming, there will be some people who will shy away from you – and that is okay. But hold dear and appreciate the ones whoΒ are there. Listen to their hearts.

As I listened to hearts who reached out to me, I was once again overwhelmed. But this time with a joyous emotion and a comfort that I cannot explain. Nobody held me tightly in their arms and made me feel secure and loved. And yet it was as close as it gets. Distance is merely a physical barrier – and souls can still support each other despite it.

So to those who commented, have prayed, and emailed –

I know that ‘thank you’ suffices, and yet it doesn’t express how truly grateful I am. You made a difference. To me.
I was also completely overwhelmed by a phone call – the funny thing is that it didn’t dwell on the negatives, which inadvertently shifted my focus and served as a reminder of sorts all on its very own.

WordPress World – you are special to me.

Yes, the situation in my country is ”impossible”, dire, worrisome.

But in life? I am actually doing really well.

We have a roof over our heads; we have food to eat; We have people who genuinely care for us; We have clean clothes (although some are a bit religious πŸ˜› ) ; and we all still have a dream.

Shifting focus – thank you again for the love and reminders.

new1

quotemaster.org

Photo credit : Quotemaster.org