Rocking out, and Eating Elephants

Do you know the song, Party Rock Anthem?

(I am very familiar with a variety of party/dance music – and not just because I have a teenage daughter. The familiarity dates back to when she was a little girl. She’s a dancer, and thankfully their dancing teacher always finds ‘clean’ versions of songs for them to dance to, even now. Strangely enough, my whole life, this type of music has always been a genre that has ‘got me going’. If my house needs a good clean? Dance music will be blaring. Even though I am in my early forties ๐Ÿ˜› )

Back to the song I mentioned above…
There’s a repetitive line in it that says : ”Everyday I’m shuffling”.
Well, for me, I’m on the hunt for clown shoes, because I feel like ‘Everyday I’m JUGGLING’.
On any given day there are so many balls in my air space, all at once, that it takes a very large amount of effort for me to keep them there. I’d love to say that I am always 100% successful…. but like with any good circus clown, at least one needs to drop at some time, or else it wouldn’t be funny, right? ๐Ÿ˜›

I am relieved that most times, when I drop a ball, it isn’t too much of an issue. It’s minor things I may have let slip, or forgotten – no harm, no foul. Yesterday I dropped a ball though that could have been really serious. Thankfully, somehow, there was a Plan B (I still don’t know how there was a Plan B, because I had completely missed Plan A!!!) and so what could have been a serious problem, was just a minor bump in the road.

Last night, as my son was ‘passing through my space’, and heading to the shower, he made a comment about what had happened – which is odd because I had not said that I was open to discussion about the issue ๐Ÿ˜›
(In actual fact, when I briefly relayed a summary of events to the kids, I pretty much warned them that I was feeling super sensitive about it all, and so anything they were planning to talk about, even if unrelated, that they knew would add to my stressed out mind should probably be put on hold till today…. unless it was an emergency.)

And yet my son’s comment didn’t stress me out. It was one of those things that makes you stop and think, ”Who are you, and what have you done with my kid?” ๐Ÿ˜›
And it took my thoughts a little further too ๐Ÿ˜‰

I am definitely ‘pro having an attitude of gratitude’, and even though some days are truly landslide days, I still find something to be grateful for.
I am also a ‘little things’ person – I notice and appreciate the small things, and I believe they do count.
It’s definitely a ‘lifestyle’ for me – a mindset that I have that I do without even knowing that I do it half the time.

And yet, surprisingly, there are still things that I ‘forget’. Little things that I see, without seeing.
(Kind of like when I bump into someone who says to me, ”I’ve driven past you about four times this week, and I’ve waved every time. You looked right at me, but didn’t wave back.”
And I have to tell them, ”I probably wasn’t actually looking at you – I was probably watching all the cars where you were, trying to anticipate their next move for my safety sake. I’m so sorry…. if I had seen you, I promise I would have waved.” And there is always a nod of understanding and a sympathetic comment, and off we go. Because where I live, driving on our roads is treacherous, and we all know it.)

So… sometimes it is only after a time of TRUE and QUIET reflection on events that happen, that I am able to fully SEE what I already saw in the moment. You’d think I’d do better at seeing these things, because a lot of times they’re actually kind of repetitive… but each time, there is a new ‘take away’, in some way, and so I can’t help but wonder if perhaps it’s not so much about the repetition / learning the lesson of seeing them every time ‘properly’, but more about the additional small things that get added along the way.

Desmond Tutu said something once, regarding ‘big’ problems :
”How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.”
The meaning behind it is that pretty much most things in life that seem daunting or overwhelming can usually be accomplished or ‘solved’ by going slowly and taking on things a little bit at a time. But of course, this is not always perfect, because hey, as we all know, some things just aren’t in our control – no matter how much time we spend chewing ๐Ÿ˜‰
But I still agree with him for the most part, if there are no control issues.

That said…

When you are presented with more than one elephant, as in a few of them? Let’s face it, that means more than one bite at a time…. and you just aren’t going to have the space in your stomach for those first bites, no matter how much you love to eat ๐Ÿ˜›
And you ARE going to feel overwhelmed and out of sorts.
Probably even more so when you gain a new elephant the next day!
(Isn’t life just the funniest thing, the way everything seems to ‘go wrong’ at once?)

But last night, I was reminded yet again :

I might feel like a clown (minus the shoes because I can’t find them) in a room full of elephants, juggling far too many balls to probably be considered ‘healthy’, and I might have the odd moment where I actually end up dropping a ball (which I do not find funny at all, sigh – until much later on ๐Ÿ˜› )

BUT there’s a bigger picture, and my hope and my faith (which may be different to yours, and that is okay) sometimes works behind the scenes, and I get blindsided by goodness, especially when I had NO plan to start with.

I’ll leave you with this little note :

It is always good to have a plan – to be prepared, to have a goal with a strategic step-by-step to get you there – and to have a Plan B… C… D – because you never know what’s going to work, right?
But somedays? Somedays you just need to breathe, trust, let go, and see what happens (quote by Mandy Hale)…. especially on the days where you forgot to make a Plan A!!!
And on those days? When things turn out okay even though you dropped the ball?


Don’t forget to breathe out a huge sigh of gratitude! It will give you a reason to smile at least ๐Ÿ˜‰


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 ๐Ÿ˜›

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 ๐Ÿ˜›

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 ๐Ÿ˜›
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?

Simple isn’t always simple

At least once a week I either cut my finger, or burn myself while cooking – I never burn badly, but definitely enough to get a blister. I’ve decided it goes with my ‘unprofessional chef’ territory, so there is a box of Band Aids that lives in the kitchen and there’s always ice in the freezer. On Sunday I had myself questioning why I even cook! ๐Ÿ˜›

I burnt my right index fingerย and cut a slice into my left thumb. I dished up dinner with a Band Aid on one finger, and ice held against the other.

On Monday morning, the Band Aid came off in the shower, as they sometimes do. I chose not to replace it because it seemed okay. I didn’t inspect it closely enough though and it wasn’t actually ‘healed over’. I caught it on something at around lunchtime, and it opened up again to being as bad as it was, and bled profusely. I grabbed another Band Aid, and I’ve been wearing one ever since – which is ridiculous because this morning I could see it had closed over…. I’m just not taking any chances. ๐Ÿ˜›

If I had given it enough time to heal though, it wouldn’t have been a problem.

The thing is, the healing process is dependent on other things – how deep the cut actually is, and how well your body does with healing itself. So I don’t always know how much time to give it.

And I think we’re kind of the same way emotionally. Our healing is sometimes dependent on how deep the hurt has gone and what the circumstances that followed were; and how well we do with dealing with things.

I know a girl who had an eerily similar childhood to mine – eerily so because she even made some of the same mistakes/choices that I did in my teens, and for the very same reasons I had. Her circumstances changed when she was 18 though –ย  she met the most amazing man who was the complete opposite to the limiting beliefs she had had imposed on her. And she embraced him. He encouraged her, inspired her, and loved her unconditionally. And it had a very positive result. The greatest achievement was inside her – she was confident, and loved herself, and no longer let the lies from her past define any part of her.
By the time she reached 40, she was the boss of her own company and was raising three beautiful children, still happily married, still confident and loving herself. She’s gained weight, and her face has aged quite a lot – and she honestly isn’t even worried.

Things weren’t the same way for me. I met, and stuck with, what I knew. And years of abuse followed. It’s no surprise that that led to even lower self esteem and I lacked self love to a terrifyingly staggering degree. (Which of course, in itself, paved the way for bad decisions and more mistakes.)

It’s only in the last few weeks that I can honestly say to you… Guess what? I love me! I AM worthy! I don’t just have the words to encourage others to believe it for themselves because I can believe it for me! I have the words FOR ME!ย 

About a year ago, someone who knows both the girl I mentioned above, and me, was overheard saying,
”Well, her childhood was pretty similar, but compared to Meg she’s a walking version of success. Guess Meg can’t be bothered to conquer her demons.”
I was devastated. It stopped me dead in my emotional tracks. I pretty much stopped trying. I let myself be defeated.ย 

So the point of me painting the picture above is this :

First of all – please don’t believe any comparisons. You can’t compare people because we’re all different – and we come out of different circumstances and come from different places. And try not to compare yourself either. Just because Peter or Mary got over it quickly doesn’t mean you’re supposed to. They are not you. They don’t feel like you do. They don’t experience things like you do. They can’t compare to you because they are not you!

Secondly, please stop putting pressure on yourself to achieve someone else’s timeline.
Yes, we need to have goals and dreams and aspirations. We have to have something to work towards. But again, we are all different. We work at different paces. Just because you stuck with the plan that someone else laid out, and they succeeded and you didn’t, doesn’t mean you’re a failure. Maybe you just need a little more time than what they did?
It works the same with our emotions. Some of us ‘get over’ things more quickly – and there are those of us who have to deal with the root before we can successfully pull the weed… and that takes time. ‘Simple’ problems are not always simple.
Please try and love yourself enough to give yourself grace – you’re not a failure, you just need some more time.

And remember that it takes time to recover and rebuild… so if it doesn’t happen in a specific time frame that you have in mind or have as an example from someone else, please don’t give up. Keep at it!

Slow progress isย stillย progress.

And you’re still way ahead of people who aren’t even trying ๐Ÿ˜‰

effort to grow

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

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

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

I know that for me, sometimes those things come as a result of my own choices, based on a particular set of circumstances. Those times I have bruised shins from kicking myself ๐Ÿ˜›

Other times, they seem to come out of nowhere!

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

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

I can’t pin point an exact moment when my attitude shifted. But I can tell you that I am very glad it did, in fact, shift. Heads rolled….well, mine did ๐Ÿ˜›

It wasn’t just a case of making better choices despite the circumstances, it was having a whole new attitude with regards to the things that seemed to hit me out of nowhere!
The activation of positive changes in my life happened when I started to view each struggle as a ‘learning curve’. When things happened (as they so often do) I was more inclined to pause and reflect – behaving like a raging bull (or cow, since I am female ๐Ÿ˜› ) always had such negative results!

Viewing the obstacles in a different light inspired growth within me (I’ve also grown on the outside, but that’s just because I’m getting older, and I like food ๐Ÿ˜› )

I won’t lie. Growth and change hurts a lot of the time. (Ask my jeans ๐Ÿ˜› ) The lessons can sometimes be painful. It’s NOT the easy way out and doesn’t happen overnight. But as with the butterfly, with the extra time and effort, we can not only get over the hurdle, but gain wisdom for the next hurdle that’s going to come our way – and it will!

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

I’ve become more compassionate – more understanding towards those around me. I’ve become a little wiser (and not just because I am getting older ๐Ÿ˜‰ ) and I am more inclined to think things through in an effort to eliminate hurting others.
My thought patterns have changed and I no longer want to know ‘why me’ – these days it’s more like ‘why NOT me?’- because I realise that ‘this thing’ has happened to inspire growth within me. Somewhere there is a lesson I need to learn. Somewhere there is a piece of my heart that needs changing.

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

And that is the key to the essence of me. ๐Ÿ˜‰

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

There are times where the negative emotions resurface, and I need to forgive myself for that, and remind myself of how far I have come. I need to remember that there is a bigger picture – pick up my backpack and push through the thorny brush on my journey. I need to stop being so hard on myself and give myself a break – growing pains aren’t easy. Not sure who said it, but I think about it often ๐Ÿ˜‰ : If life was meant to be easy it wouldn’t have started with something called labor!

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Chocolate Medicine

Today is one of those days. A day where my identity seems to exist solely on problems. It started with something simple, but sparked a thought. Instead of stopping my mind in its tracks, I went with that thought.
(Youโ€™d think Iโ€™d know differently by now!)

And we walked hand in hand down a road that used to be well travelled in my life. I got stuck in the regrets of the past, mistakes I had made.

This, naturally, led to anxiety over my current situation โ€“ I suddenly began to worry more than I should about the future, about the things that are happening in the now. Worry and anxiety that changes nothing. It just made me sick.

By eleven oโ€™clock this morning, I had a pounding in my head, and a throbbing in my neck. Only to discover that the medicine cabinet held nothing to ease the aching. And so I sat on my bed, and cried. No, actually, I didnโ€™t.

I did sit on my bed though. And I wondered about โ€˜the mess of this thing we all have in commonโ€™ – life.
(I wrote an article about that a while back that you can read here)

I remembered that life will never actually be simple. But every moment of it is a chance to let go a little. To accept it, for what it is. A beautiful mess.
I read my article again, was thankful for my โ€˜work-of-artโ€™ life, and grabbed a bar of chocolate on my way out the door.

Life lesson #(who knows, I lost count)

Always make sure that you have enough chocolate ๐Ÿ˜‰