Who Do You Need?

 

mistakes

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 not 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 😛 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! 😛 😉

Perhaps I was striving for genius status – since we learn from our mistakes? 😛

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 😛 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 😛 (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 😛 )

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. 
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. 

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 😛

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!

 

vulnerable bridges

It’s been an interesting 24 hours. I’ve felt quite overwhelmed, with good things, and bad things. And loadshedding (read the post here) continues…although not quite as bad as it was – we’re down to only being without power for four hours a day – I can handle that!
The funny thing is that even though we’re conscientious with the scheduled times and switch off plugs etc to prevent damage from power surges, the surprise cuts seem to have affected things somewhat. My modem appears to be confused – it seems to think its function is now that of a strobe light 😛 It’s rather fun watching the internet light go on and off every minute or so. Green…red….green….red…. it’s a special kind of Christmas tree 😛 adding holiday spirit to my home 😉

With regards to yesterdays post :

Thank you to those of you who have offered support, prayers and encouragement. It is very much appreciated at all times, please know that.

Up until a few months ago, I wasn’t aware that I could be reached at my private email address through WordPress. This isn’t a problem for me at all – as you all know, I love to communicate and make new friends – and of course I am always there for support and encouragement. I’d like to thank one lovely lady in particular for emailing me – I won’t mention her name but she knows who she is – your continued encouragement and outpouring of love and prayers touches my heart deeply. 

I did receive another email though, from someone that I wasn’t even aware was reading my blog. The irony of this email is that it’s from an ex-South African, now living overseas, who only returns to SA every few years for a week or two on holiday. I haven’t responded… I guess I’ll do so a little later… or maybe I’ll just leave this here :

I am well aware that yesterdays post was rather negative, and reveals that I have ‘that side’ to me. Unfortunately, living with, working with, seeing and being emotionally involved with the atrocities that are occurring here daily, it sometimes does affect me in a negative way. My heart is not made of steel. While I have the ability to practice ‘tough love’ in situations where it is called for, this does not mean that I do not shed tears when I am alone, and that it doesn’t affect me in any way.

So in a round about kind of way, this post is actually about vulnerability.

I am an extremely vulnerable person. And no matter how you try to convince me otherwise, I will never see this as a weakness. 
I AM an open book. You can pretty much ask me anything, and I will answer you. But I won’t just give you facts. I will share in a way that exposes my emotions and will ultimately open me up to the possibility of getting hurt. How else will I connect with you?

And you see, that’s the thing…. I truly believe that I am designed for the purpose of connecting – not just with God, but with other people. In order to achieve that purpose, unfortunately, I need to make myself vulnerable. 

And yes, it means I get ’emotionally hurt’ sometimes. (Other times it is the most rewarding thing for me!) But through all those experiences, the rewarding ones and the hurtful ones, I learn life’s greatest lessons, and the crucial skills that I need to continue with living this life.

Raw truth is necessary to connect. But it has another function too. If I am not prepared to be vulnerable and share the truth of my experiences and failings, then how will anyone ever be able to walk away from me knowing hope, kindness, goodness, grace and joy? 

I am about to make a statement that many are going to possibly attack me for :
I understand and a part of me has to agree with Ghandi : ”I’d be a Christian if it wasn’t for Christians.”

Except I AM a Christian. And now you’re as confused as a chameleon in a bag of skittles.

So I’ll explain it like this : I grew up in the church. And there were some who didn’t preach God, but showed me who He was. But from a little girl, through various stages in my life, I was emotionally, physically and sexually abused by people in the church who were in positions of leadership. I left in my late teens. I have returned many times, to different places, and found much of the same, sadly – except now it has added judgment for some of the bends in the road of my life.
It has been preached to me on numerous occasions that I am a dying ember – because to be a burning light, I need to be with the coals in the fire – a church. While I understand what they are saying, and agree that it is an amazing thing to worship with a group, I remain a dying ember. I guess? Well, in the churches opinion (and the opinion of most of my family members too). That’s where it all gets confusing, even for me…and we’re talking about me… so confusion reigns! 😛

It has taken me a very long time to fully appreciate the statement that ‘God is God, and I am not.’ In the same way, all those people seated in church, as well as all their leaders, are also not God. Which means that like me, they also suffer from sin – hidden or exposed, their choice. They choose to wear masks, instead of being vulnerable enough to admit to their failings. And this means that they never learn anything, and can never be helped. It discredits any good that those who know their secret sins could ever glean from their words or their seemingly perfect lives. By not making themselves vulnerable, they have prevented growth, not just in themselves but in their ‘victims’, because many of those ‘victims’ have turned their backs on God as a result.

I am no longer angry about the abuse I suffered personally. It’s been a long and very difficult road to get to that place. The circumstances surrounding those different types of abuse affected the options that were open to me – and while I could have made different choices, at those times the circumstances affected me negatively and I made a long list of bad choices.

In the past few years, I have grown. And here’s what I know :

I will never come into contact with someone who isn’t loved – I need to be kind always.

I have learned NOT to judge – because I don’t know what choices you actually had. And here’s an additional thing to add to that – take time to find the person they are at that very moment, and not who they were yesterday or last week – based on fact or rumors. Change takes time, but the choice to change takes a minute. By judging and making it known, you may just undo that choice.

Don’t preach it – be it. At the end of the day, my words are meaningless if I can’t show you.

Unconditional love. The hardest of all. So important though because it sums up all of the above, and so much more. I struggle with this particular one a lot. It is hard to love others, especially those who have hurt us. It’s a journey all on its own. 
I love my children dearly – but they know when they disappoint or upset or anger me – a statement often used in my house is this : I love you, but I don’t like you right now because…..
And my children have free reign to use it on me. And they have. I have learnt from those moments – sometimes I am unreasonable, and sometimes I have worded things in a hurtful way. If they did not have the opportunity to tell me, “Mom, I love you but I don’t like you right now because…”, we would all live in a war zone in our own home right now. Being able to say this, and then walk away, leaves time for what has been said to sink in. When the initial anger and hurt has passed, there has always been apologies, calm discussions and resolution. And the freedom to continue loving and liking one another.

So yes, I am vulnerable, even with my kids. How else do I teach them that not everyone is right all the time, and that even parents/adults fail?

Vulnerability HURTS sometimes! It opens me up to judgment and criticism, and nastiness and negativity. But it also grows, helps and heals.
There may be ten people judging me, attacking me, and hurting me when I am vulnerable enough with admissions of guilt and failings. But there may be ONE person who is listening…. and hurting…. who connects with me and experiences hope in their seemingly hopeless situation; who somehow finds healing in a broken piece of their heart; or feels a kindness that no one else has ever shown them and sparks a ‘kindness seed’ that they in turn sow themselves. 

Vulnerability is also sometimes VERY REWARDING! I would not make the beautiful connections and friends that I do along the way if I wasn’t. And many of them patch up broken pieces of my heart in their own way.

And that, for every person who is reading this, is MY purpose in life.

Words and actions WILL hurt me. I WILL spend time crying and experiencing a form of brokenness. I WILL wish that I had a steel heart. And I will have my moments where I fight being ‘good’. I have tried being bitter and angry – I even think nasty thoughts. I have the potential to be all those things – and I’d probably be very good at it. In my head, I do great…for about twenty minutes.

But I WON’T change. And I have come to accept that. I am, and always will be, vulnerable. 

(there’s green light on the modem, so I’m hitting publish! 😛 😉 )

striving for seed-ship

I was introduced to someone new the other day.
“This is Meg, my friend that I was telling you about.”
Pretty standard introduction, although it usually somehow elicits the panicked thought, ”Uh oh! What exactly has been said?”

The reply was not standard.
”Ah, Meg… the seed.”

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Photo credit : quotes.yourdictionary.com

In that moment, I certainly felt that I had achieved genius status! I have a very expressive face and so I knew my confusion was evident, but I followed up with,
“Um….hi. Seed?”

Yeah, I know, really eloquent!

There was a slight shrug, and a knowing smile exchanged between my friend and the ‘new person’. Her reply knocked me off guard completely,

“I’ve been told that you’re a great encouragement and inspiration. That you’ve been through so much, and yet you continue to smile and spread love and kindness. Your friend here says that you’re the one she turns to when she needs joy.
My husband and I call those sorts of people ‘seeds’. Because they inspire and encourage growth.”

This morning, I saw a picture on Facebook and had to smile :

encouraging-quote-planted

Now I have to be honest here, I am sometimes a bad seed. Although I don’t quite fit this description! 
a person who is dishonest, evil, or unprincipled by nature : an innately bad person

I’d be extremely dishonest though if I said that I have never had a moment of being any of the above. Worry and negativity creeps in every now and then, which messes with my character and sends my whole being into chaos. I then become frustrated/angry/disheartened/disillusioned and ‘act out’ because I am not in alignment with my core values.

And this is why I KNOW how very important it is to continuously be aware of, practice and educate ourselves to handle correctly whatever bad thing comes our way. 

The words that were spoken about me above definitely boosted my ego a bit – but they also spoke to my core being in a way that I very much needed at the time.
(And I have to stress that while they were lovely, and very true of my relationship with this friend because we’ve been in each others lives for 20+ years and that has always been my place in her life, I don’t think that everyone views me that way. In fact, I know that they don’t.)

So this is not a boasting moment.

Instead, it was actually a type of ‘wake up’ moment for me.

Do I want to inspire and encourage growth in everyone I come into contact with? YES!
Am I doing that? Sadly, no…. not always and not everyone.
Can I change that? YES!

But it’s going to require courage and commitment. It’s going to mean hard work. It’s going to mean some pain. But this is an area I NEED to grow in. And so I have to accept all those things.

And I am not saying that I need to be perfect. It’s in my imperfections that I can actually inspire others – but I need to handle those imperfections correctly in order for them to achieve the purpose of helping others to grow – in their lives, in kindness and in love.

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Photo credit : bigcommerce.com

 

I want to be THAT beautiful!

funny fat stuff

 

Sing with me…..

 

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The above was sent to me by my friend of 20+ years. She knew I would appreciate the humour in it. And of course I do….even though some of it is true for me 😛

I discovered recently that I have a very toxic relationship that I am truly struggling to let go of – the relationship I have with my body. It’s a recent discovery for me because I have never viewed my poor physical self image in this light. It truly is a ‘woman thing’ (although, sorry girls, we’re not exclusive! There are men who suffer too!) – we all experience it at some stage or another. But my stage has lasted way too long. For me, it is linked to what can only be described as emotional baggage – a culmination of negativity, lack of support, stressful events and criticism dating back to childhood. The result was poor self esteem in every area of my life. And while I am managing quite successfully to learn lessons and grow in all other areas in a positive way, I am still struggling with this one thing – my body.

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And I have to admit that the funny image above carries with it a semblance of truth – because I have always felt fat, fussing over finding something to wear that doesn’t make me look it has never been an issue.

Strangely enough, this has never sent me along the path of having an eating disorder. And I am truly grateful for that.

But it is still an unhealthy obsession to have, and it is definitely a toxic relationship to be in. It’s understandable when your body is quitting on you due to ill health – my body is slowly giving in to a variety of health issues, and so to be upset with it for that reason still carries a small amount of justification. But to be mad at my body because of fat? Well, that’s just ludicrous! Because my fat is not entirely owing to medical issues.

And here’s the really funny part….. I’m actually only 10 kilos (22 pounds) ”overweight”.
Before my daughter was born, I was at what I thought was MY perfect goal weight – 55kg’s (121 pounds). It was my perception of what ‘looking good’ would be for me. No big surprise that even then I was critical of my body, claiming that I was still too fat. *rolling my eyes here*
Last week I found a photo of my son and I from those days, and I was horrified. And my children agreed… I looked terrible!!!! That ‘thin’ me didn’t suit me at all. My body looked great, but my face looked gaunt and drawn – I looked ill! It gave me some perspective.

I’m not designed to have a body like all the other ladies I want to look like, because it doesn’t suit my face! 

Yesterday I read this quote by JK Rowling : “Is ‘fat’ really the worst thing a human being can be? Is ‘fat’ worse than ‘vindictive’, ‘jealous’, ‘shallow’, ‘vain’, ‘boring’ or ‘cruel’? Not to me.”

I’ve read it before – a few times, actually. I think that the self growth journey I have been on and working so hard at in recent years may be starting to influence my body image too, because yesterday the words finally made sense deep within me. As I stared down at the tyre tube formed in the place that used to be my waist, a new appreciation in my spirit formed.

Summer is here and I have a built in flotation device for swimming! 😛

Okay so, no, that was not the appreciation.

This morning it was confirmed for me : I need to at least try to, in everything, practice what I preach. I can’t keep pushing, ”you’re beautiful on the inside and that’s all that counts”, when I lack appreciation for that in myself.

The world will always make me feel physically inferior, for as long as I keep allowing it to make me compare my physical attributes to others.  

My physical body is not my character – who cares if I am known for having a stunning figure? Does it really matter that much to me that I have a great figure if my character is ugly? In all honesty?
NOT AT ALL!

Most important to me is to be known for my heart.

And from personal experience (mentioned above when my body looked great) I also know that no matter what my body looks like, I won’t be satisfied. I really need to end this toxic relationship – so yes, I’ll be looking for ways to do that….if you have tips and tricks, feel free to leave them in the comments.

I ALSO KNOW THAT….

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Two babies, actually 😛

Health and age may be motivating factors for the extra pounds piling on…. but I have to take some form of responsibility too! I don’t exercise enough, and although I try and eat healthy I also have a tendency to give into tasty temptation a little too often. And I definitely need to change that!

While self care and self reflection in an effort to grow and build positive character will always be of the utmost importance to me, I need to remember that there should always be a form of balance – and physical me needs attention too (and not just for appearances sake).

But then again…. there’s always this 😛 :

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What’s Really Important?

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We all have a heart condition – it’s just not always physical. And the condition of your emotional/spiritual/soul heart is very often based on what you put in. These things will form your thoughts and in the end they will shape you. When you allow the wrong things to room in your heart with free board and lodging, all they’ll do is continue to steal from you.

Confucius said : “When you see a worthy person, endeavor to emulate him. When you see an unworthy person, then examine your inner self.”

Examining our inner selves and continuously revisiting our personal core values, being receptive to learning lessons even when they hurt, taking responsibility and turning our pain into something powerful – all these things bring change… growth. All these things affect our hearts.

And my heart is my responsibility. The same way that yours is, well, yours.

We grow everyday. We make mistakes and learn lessons. We give each day our best, and the next day we give our best in an even better way – because in growing we learn new things, and the new things raise us to new heights of achievement. 

I love this part in The Lion King :

Simba: Going back means I’ll have to face my past. I’ve been hiding from it for so long…
(Rafiki whacks Simba on the head with his stick)
Simba: OW! Geez, what was that for?!
Rafiki: It doesn’t matter! It’s in the past! (chuckles)
Simba: Yeah, but it still hurts.
Rafiki: Oh, yes, the past can hurt. But the way I see it, you can either run from it, or… learn from it.
(Rafiki swings his stick, but Simba ducks)
Rafiki: Aha! You see? So what are you going to do?
Simba: Well first, I’m gonna take your stick. (grabs Rafiki’s stick)

 

When we are prepared to learn the lesson, we will grow, and our hearts will change.

In most cases, this takes time. It’s a process. And it can be painful.

We all have our own journey. Our own hearts. Our own painful lessons to learn.

Be kind to others, because you never know which part of their past is busy growing them.

And always try to remember that even if you knew a person before, they may just have changed in a good way (we all know that this is very likely because as we grow on our own journeys we see the positive changes within ourselves) –

don’t use their past to invalidate who they are now. 

Let’s yank our hands back and try to remember what is important!

anger apologies and love

A couple of weeks ago I was invited to be a contributor to Paul’s blog. It was quite an honour that someone wanted my voice to be heard on their page! 🙂 Paul writes a lot about relationships – and about his lovely Kath. And so I thought it was fitting to write him a post about the languages of love. You can read the post here.

As I mentioned at the end of that blog post, there are now other quizzes available for growth 😉 There’s an apology language quiz, and a personal anger assessment. I did both, but with all that has been going on I got sidetracked! (To check out the quizzes you can visit here and click on quizzes.)

Last night I revisited the results of both tests.. (Because that’s what this single mom does on a Friday night, in case you were wondering 😛 )

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I wasn’t too surprised that my two strongest results in my apology languages were Expressing Regret and Accept Responsibility. To touch lightly on these, I’ll tell you this :

Expressing Regret is basically the simple ‘I’m sorry’ – obviously said in a genuinely heartfelt manner – without making excuses or deflecting blame.  And sometimes being able to tie it in with body language makes it that much more meaningful – eye contact, a gentle touch of the hand etc.
Accept Responsibility means being able to acknowledge I am wrong – which is no easy feat for our ego. It’s not easy to admit that we may have made a mistake. But in this form of apologising it is important – as it is important for all humans everywhere to be able to acknowledge the fact that we all do, and will, make mistakes at one time or another.

I wasn’t surprised because the above are usually the way I apologise. Perhaps not in the moment (sometimes I’m just too angry or hurt), but definitely when I have taken a few deep breaths and had time to think.

What I found the most helpful though was the little piece that said this : In the same way, it will benefit others to know your apology language in order to express apologies to you in ways that you interpret most sincere. This translates into better communication, increased understanding, and, ultimately, improved relationships.

It’s so easy to assume that the people who know us would then know exactly what we expect from them in their dealings with us – right down to if it ever comes to apologising. My children know, because let’s face it, in a family we spend a lot of time saying sorry! 😛

But they know because it’s something I often speak to them about – truly mean it when you say sorry and don’t add in excuses. Take responsibility for the fact that you have also messed up. Then we move on. Interesting to read that I should be sharing this with everyone I am in a relationship with – and by relationship, I am covering the whole spectrum – romantic, family, friends.

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Photo credit : volganga.com

(Have I mentioned how much I love dogs? 😉 )

My Personal Anger Assessment results were a little bit of a surprise. A bit of background as to why : there are a lot of very painful things in my past, and for many years I struggled with the anger inside of me. It’s taken a lot of hard work, painful reflection and agonising growth to practise the correct measure of self control when it comes to my anger.

I was very happy when my result displayed that I’m doing well with my anger – then I read, ‘but you can improve‘. Sigh. Nothing too new when we think of life though, is it? There is ALWAYS room for self improvement! I do know that I am still okay when it comes to anger – because back then I wouldn’t have bothered to read the rest 😛

The explanations that followed were simply this :

I need to recognise the difference between good and bad anger – injustice and mistreatment being the former, and incorrectly perceiving and then reacting being the latter.
I need to be wary of implosive anger – internalising the anger completely, being silent and withdrawing myself which results in resentment, bitterness and eventually hatred further down the road.

I’d love to be able to say that the above is nowhere near being true. But it is. It’s not something I do often, but I have been known to get angry because of my perceptions as opposed to knowing the full truth and circumstances, and there are moments where my anger can definitely be defined as implosive… and yes, I acknowledge that the results listed above do then occur. Thankfully I am self-aware when it comes to that, and the moment they begin to rear their ugly heads, I am able to delve into their origin and begin a course of ‘self-care’ to heal them before they take over completely.

I’ve shared all this so that you can go and check it all out for yourself if you’re into self-improvement 😉 and also as an accountability note of sorts for myself 😉 Remember that growing oneself, and learning to know oneself, is often a painful process – but the results are very rewarding! Remember that sometimes growth will take you out of your comfort zone, because sadly we don’t only grow where we are comfortable. 

And just because I really like these :

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    Photo credit : quotesviral.net             Photo credit : motivatedaily.tumblr.com

And then, just for fun 😉

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teaching learning moments

Yes, the pictures above ARE ME! (I usually avoid sneaky captures, so this is a rare moment 😉 ) What I am doing here, however, is not rare.

On this particular day about a month ago, I had collected three girls (one being my daughter) from school, and taken them to the dance studio they are all a part of. I’d been rushing around for two hours prior, and was desperate to relieve my bladder, so I accompanied them inside (okay, so me going inside with them IS rare – keep reading 😉 ).

The conversation in the car had been centered around a particular teacher, who had left them feeling rather uninspired and completely demotivated for the upcoming exam period. They needed to vent and have their own discussion, and so I didn’t interrupt. But I listened – partly because other than driving, there wasn’t much else I could do!

While I was in the bathroom and thinking about what had transpired in the car (because a bathroom is a place that inspires great thought), I remembered a story about a similar type of teacher that we had had when I was in high school. There was also a lesson in there, so I decided to share. Upon entering the room, the audience had grown and now there were two other younger beings, as well as the assistant dance teacher present. (The assistant dance teacher is the ”capture culprit”.)

To my daughters horror (oh the shame, my mother speaks, uttered by most teenage girls her age) I opened my mouth and began to recount what I remembered. I know it doesn’t look like it from the pictures, but they did all laugh with me at the end, including my kid 😉 I don’t know who it was who commented how lucky my daughter is to have a mom that is not only good at story telling, but is such an inspiration. Her reply was, “Yeah, well try living with it. Every moment is a teaching moment.” This was followed with a roll of her eyes – and then everyone was rushing about getting ready because their class was about to start.

I’ll admit it. I was a little disappointed with her reaction, and her comment. But it wasn’t new to me. I also know that she really didn’t mean any disrespect , nor was there the intention of emotional harm. I know this, because I know her. She’s often frustrated with me, and queries, “Why does everything have to be a teaching moment with you?” We had a long conversation about it a couple of weeks ago. I understand her frustration – she’s 14, and I am ‘the mother’. At 14, any instruction offered by those in authority (even when intended to help, inspire or uplift) is always taken as if it truly is a bitter pill. And since my daughter simply doesn’t swallow pills (we’ve tried in jam, cheese, chocolate, yoghurt – that small thing simply isn’t going down her throat) it’s a little more difficult with her.

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Photo credit : Facebook

(Ah yes, teenagers! Don’t get me wrong – she’s a great kid. But she’s still growing, and tends to be a little more defiant when it comes to seeking out lessons to learn. But then again, look how long it’s taken me!)

And she’s sort of right. Because I suppose there comes a time when it can get really annoying. She has also pointed out to me that I am ‘worse’ these past few years when it comes to teaching moments.

I think that this may be because in the past few years I have opened myself up to experiencing more learning moments. As I have mentioned in many previous posts, something has shifted. And although this process is painful, it’s bringing with it a lot of very positive outcomes. It’s changing my character, for the better.

While the word purpose is inclined to draw our focus to goal-based achievements – the type where we set a target that is usually ‘verb’ orientated (get a promotion at work, gain new customers, publish a book) – I have allowed myself to broaden my thinking 😉 Yes! Goal-based achievements are important. They are long term, future focused and give us a direction in which to head, often with a  tangible result.

But what about the other types of goals? While those achievements are great, if they never happen in your life it doesn’t mean that you lived a life without purpose, or that you somehow failed to achieve in your journey.

I have many ‘verb based goals’ and, truth be told, I happen to be falling behind. Tomorrow is not promised and I may never reach them. This thought is a little bit frustrating for me. BUT…

I am already aligned with the greatest purpose of all that I can hope to achieve when I choose to act in kindness, compassion and love. This ‘personal purpose’, while it is based on verbs, may not always have a visible outcome. I may not see the end results. I won’t always know if I was able to help guide someone, or influence them in a positive way. I won’t always know if I helped others change the course of their lives to a better direction, or whether my smile that day was the one thing that changed their mind about taking their own life. I won’t always know.

But it won’t stop me from being kind, sharing a smile, showing compassion.

And in the same way, as frustrating as my teaching moments are, I won’t stop dishing them out.
(Although I may need to be a little more sensitive regarding their frequency 😛 )

Most importantly of all, as painful as the learning moments are, I won’t stop being more aware of me and my surroundings in an effort to find them and determine what it is I need to know about them. Because it’s an ongoing process, and I am very aware of how it affects my emotional, intellectual, spiritual and physical health.

So, for me? I am quite happy being a goal setter, go getter, in matters pertaining to the heart. And who knows, the rest of it may just follow 😉

Unicorns and Sparkles

I received a picture message from my friend this morning. We don’t often get to connect because our lives are busy. In fact, even though we live in the same town, we actually only get to see each other once every four months or so, when our schedules are in harmony. Those are the greatest times, and always filled with moments that make for the best memories. We ‘do’ those times properly, and pretty much block book five hours or so for each other. When her husband hears we’re getting together, he pretty much sighs and tells her, ‘I’ll see you tomorrow – I’ll be asleep when you get home’. 😛 (He adores me, so that’s a plus for our together time 😉 )

Her message to me this morning was such a special one – and I consider it one that we all need to hear from time to time. I’ve delved a little more deeply into it for blogging purposes and added some ‘stuff’.

The message was simple : You’re important and you matter to me, and I hope you will always know and remember that. You can call on me at anytime. I will always be your ‘mental’ friend – there to help care for your mental health when you need me, and there to just act crazy with you when you need me to.

Sadly, the message didn’t just ‘come out of the blue’. It came in the wake of an acquaintance we both have in common who went missing day before yesterday. This young lady is a mother of two (aged 10 and 3) but prone to depression. Drugs and alcohol have not done in her any favours as mood stabilisers. And she’s one of those girls who refuses to ‘talk about it’, because she’s ‘too strong for that’.

*Side note* When it comes to mental health, seeking help and speaking out are the bravest and strongest things you actually can do!

She was found last night – no harm to her person. Had apparently done a runner ‘to think’. And is still refusing to talk with friends and family about what is going on inside her head. The perception of many is that by choice, she is very much alone, locked in to herself. Those of us who are more aware know that when you are in a place of mental instability, there really are no conscious choices. 😦

The whole situation sparked an outburst of messages around town; everyone reassuring one another that ‘you’re not alone, you are important’ etc.

And although I don’t actually know any of you, I wanted to ‘put something out there’ for ‘my’ blogosphere to read. Perhaps someone will come to mind who could really use a quick message of encouragement and reassurance from you?

You need to remember that you’re important. Somehow, some way, you will always be a part of someone’s life, and that makes you important. I like to think that I’m a lot of people’s reason to smile….but I may also be the reason some people drink. 😛 Who knows? I’m all over the place 😉

But I matter. YOU matter. Because there will always be someone who will value you, and fill up the empty spaces in their life with pieces of you. (I am not speaking romantically – this is about all other relationships)

(And in my humble opinion, this is a really good reason for us to always try and have a positive impact on those around us. Not always easy, because we all have those moments where our spirit is downcast, and our attitudes suffer a bit and can be referred to as bad…but definitely worth not giving up – continuing to try, even if we fail. )

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photo credit : quotefancy.com

It’s easy, in times of trouble, to question our existence. It’s important, in those moments, to remember that someone out there actually needs us. That we have something to offer. Perhaps not to the entire world, but that doesn’t make us any less important.
Because the thing is that even as an individual, your existence still impacts the world.

Max Lucado once said something that I really liked, and actually printed out for my wall – he said that we are valuable because we exist. Not because of what we do, or what we have done, but simply because we are.

Anonymous once said something too that resonates such truth :

Your value doesn’t decrease based on someone’s inability to see your worth.

And…..just for fun…..

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Source : Facebook

So keep shining, my friends! 🙂

Today

They say you have two choices when it comes to biking :

Ride at your own risk. Don’t ride at all.

The same can be said for life. And here comes that favorite line of mine from the movie Shawshank Redemption :

Andy Dufresne: [to Red] I guess it comes down to a simple choice: Get busy living, or get busy dying.”

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Forget about yesterday – you cannot change it.

Don’t worry about tomorrow – it hasn’t happened yet.

Live today : Be kind to others, and yourself.