Where are you, Meg?

I am not sure who it was exactly who said it originally, but there is a very well known saying (slightly abbreviated from the original version) :

”Time waits for no man.”

And in case there is any confusion : sorry ladies, it doesn’t wait for us either ๐Ÿ˜›

The last couple of weeks saw me reaching a whole new level of being busy, because as I have mentioned before, life happens even when we are busy making other plans. ๐Ÿ˜› Circumstances out of my control meant that a lot of things happened at once, and I had no choice BUT to give them my immediate attention – trying my best to juggle a multitude of balls, and yes… I definitely dropped one or two. But I made it through the chaos, and that matters.

There were some friends who I remained in contact with during this period, although not as much as I would have liked to. I was honest with them about the demands on my time, and shared a bit of the ‘busy’ side of things. But I only shared what I guess would be considered the ‘physically’ busy side of things. ”Driving from here to there for ‘x’, meetings and endless phone calls to sort out ‘y’, etc.”

I have one particular friend with whom I am in very close contact – as in ‘every day conversation’ via messaging. I started to share the emotional side, I guess you could call it, that was absorbing my ‘other time/free time’ that I get given every day, and unfortunately it opened a door that caused me a lot of hurt and pain.

But it reminded me yet again that I have been shaped and molded the way I am for a reason.
That we are all DIFFERENT and that it is okay. And that my acceptance of that is not a weakness, despite who may think it is, but ultimately a strength.
That the ability to still see immense value in others just because they approach things differently and do what works for them is also a strength.
That still being able to love them with all my heart and treat them with kindness when they are adamant I am completely wrong and need to change my views, is strength.
That choosing to still treat those who have hurt me so very deeply, and tried to pretty much destroy the good in me, with compassion and respect is also A STRENGTH. And trust me, the fact that there is still a small spark of a love that I cannot explain for them absolutely astounds me.

Regarding that last statement in the paragraph above – a lot of people criticise me for it, and provide a host of reasons for it that link back to abuse. And while I can see the validity in what they are saying, and appreciate that abuse does shape certain things in us and spark reactions that are not natural, my ultimate reason for MY conclusion and my feelings is one that defies comprehension for many (including me sometimes) and is also one that is a PERSONAL thing and not something I can tell you how to do or even begin to properly explain.
My ultimate reason is this : part of this very painful emotional journey from the last couple of weeks has been the realisation :

I have needed mercy SO MANY times in my life, especially in times where I have hurt others in so many ways – even if my lashing out was deserved by them. What right do I have to not show it to others, even those who have done nothing other than to try and destroy me?
If I am willing, and live my life, being kind and loving to strangers who will not always return the same to me, then how can I not be willing to also extend mercy?

There IS a pill that I am struggling to swallow though – something I really struggle to understand. But there is a Voice that whispers to me that I don’t NEED to understand EVERYTHING. I try very hard not to argue. But man, oh man, it’s tough! I don’t fully understand why, when we all want respect and want people to accept that we have our OWN views and opinions, we fight so hard to force others to think exactly how we do… to a level that we disrespect their own views and opinions and choices.
I KNOW it’s a human condition, and something I have been guilty of in my younger years… but it still frustrates me trying to understand the why. , because I can’t even tell you why I used to do it ๐Ÿ˜› I really HAVE to just ‘let it go’.

I am hoping that somehow, some way, something in the above has been of help to someone. I don’t expect anyone to take anything ‘away’ from it though, simply because it is MY views and opinions, the choice I have made when it comes to living my life, and you may not agree. And guess what, I am okay with that. You still have value in this world. It’s not up to me to try and change you… it’s up to me to change ME, and just keep loving YOU for who you are.

I DO want a to share an image with you in closing though. Something I have had to remind MYSELF of EVERY DAY for the last two weeks, more than once a day….

Sending love to each and every one of you โค Here’s hoping you all get to experience LOTS of wonderful things this week.

HUGS

Some days I feel small. (I know, I AM short, so that probably makes sense ๐Ÿ˜› )

I feel unseen. Unnoticed, if you will. Like nothing I do matters. As if I don’t matter.

But even on those days, I still try. I still show up. I am still me.
(Even the times I am an exhausted pigeon with an injured wing ๐Ÿ˜› )

On those days, I may not try as much as I should… and I don’t get around to doing all the things I want to.
But I still show up.
And even if I can only show up for my kids, it matters.

Despite the circumstances – and I don’t just mean the pandemic – I can’t seem to stop myself.

I can’t stop loving, and giving, and hoping. I still see the good… and I still see a bright future. (Most of the time. I can’t lie to you – it’s not ALL the time.)

I get criticized for it a lot. And the handful of those who love me will tease me about it.

”You’re too soft. You need to be harder. You shouldn’t be so tolerant. You should pick up your sword and fight like a warrior woman.”

This morning I smiled when I realised that gone are the days of old – the ones where I was angry, with a hint of bitterness; the ones where I was too cynical and less tolerant. That those were the days where I would brandish my sword.
But guess what?

I realised this morning that I actually have two swords! They are my arms! And I use them for hugging!!!!
I am still a warrior… of good.
And there’s nothing like a good hug ๐Ÿ˜‰ (except maybe a giant cup of coffee which is a hug for my soul first thing in the morning ๐Ÿ˜‰ )

This pandemic has prevented me from using my weapons of choice.
I still have my other sword somewhere, I am sure. But I don’t really have the desire to use it anymore.

SO… I will use my weapons… in my mind…

You’re all getting a giant hug right about now ๐Ÿ˜‰

A bit of a nothingness post… but feel free to pass on the hug I just gave you.
Who was on your mind as you read that? Check in with them, send them an encouraging message, or a funny joke… and don’t forgot to add in that you are hugging them in your mind ๐Ÿ˜‰

Let’s keep trying to make this world a better place โค

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 ๐Ÿ˜›

If you’re a regular reader, then you know that this is something I truly believe in – no, not the hokey pokey ๐Ÿ˜› 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! ๐Ÿ˜‰

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.ย 

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!ย 

 

Mean Girl Moment

Yesterday, I had to put my inner mean girl on time out.

I have a teenage daughter, and so a couple of years ago we watched the movie ‘Mean Girls’ together – no judgement, please ๐Ÿ˜›
There was much discussion before, during, and after the movie – and now sometimes we’ll refer to a particular behaviour or situation by saying, ‘Nope, don’t be a mean girl’!

Now, I’d like to say that I do not have a mean bone in my body – that I am ALWAYS kind and never cruel. I’d like to say it… but it wouldn’t be true.

But I really am not an unkind and cruel person.

Except to myself, sometimes.

And I know I am not alone. And that it’s not just a girl thing.
Each and every one of us are hard on ourselves at some stage or another, for a variety of reasons. It may be due to the past and limiting beliefs or words spoken over you; it may be due to your present situation and someone who perhaps said something; it may be due to ‘thoughts of the future’ that have overwhelmed you and suddenly make you feel ‘useless’. (I have also had to learn to correctly identify the moments where I should be hard on myself – because there are times when that is applicable too!)

But whatever the reason, we’ll turn that ‘mean girl’ behaviour on ourselves.

As we grow in grace (being merciful and charitable and kind), and focus on learning a ‘better way’ to deal with certain things, and start to be able to apply all these things more often, the ‘mean girl/boy’ moments become less frequent.

Because we need to learn how to show ourselves a little grace,ย even in a world where we are told that we are not good enough for whatever reasonย – the same way we would towards someone we love dearly and don’t want to see them tormenting themselves.
And it isn’t easy.

Yesterday, I overwhelmed myself – by myself. I was digging a hole with my thoughts, pondering all the wrong things – and instead of using the sand I was digging to create a new pile to get me out of the hole, I was sidestepping and spreading that sand everywhere…. and so my hole just kept getting deeper.

My response to it all was natural – I got even more frustrated, angry, and despondent. With myself. Sigh!ย 

The good news is this : there is always hope. Even when me is being mean to me ๐Ÿ˜›

Some days, reigning in our thought processes and changing them requires us to take action – and not just in our minds.
I looked in the mirror, and said out loud, ‘Mean girl, you need to go find something else to do.’
And then I sat down at my desk and grabbed a pen and paper.

I started to make a list of the little things – the GOOD things, the small achievements, the small victories. And then I started to dig a little deeper, and I looked back at my past – but only to see how far I have come. Here I was able to list ‘bigger things’. And you know where I ended up? Stuck in gratitude. And making a new list of those little, and big things (to me, the way I perceive them) of all that there is to be saying thank you for.

It sounds like such a silly thing – but you know what? It made me feel heaps better! And I climbed out of my hole ๐Ÿ˜‰

These ‘silly things’ make great (and healthy) coping mechanisms in life.

So if your mean girl/boy is telling you something today, and it’s making you feel downright rotten, then please take a moment and start making a little list of your own! Every little bit counts โค

Worth… again

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I just can’t stress this enough!

The last 24 hours have made me even more aware of this – not in my own personal life, but as I have interacted with others.

You may say, ”But you don’t understand.”

Hear me when I say this : I DO! If I shared some of the words that had been spoken over me, you would be horrified – and in total agreement if I told you that I felt unworthy.
Thereย is validation in your feeling that way if it comes from an abusive past….

There isย not validation in staying in that place though.

It’s not an easy road. Going back, identifying and dealing with that false belief system, and breaking through into a changed perspective on the essence of you is HARD!ย 

But it is worth it. Because no matter your circumstances, or what you have been told, YOU are worth it!

I shared a post back in February, which I feel strongly in my heart needs to be revisited by us all, especially in these troubling times, where we’re all feeling rather lost in one way or another. There is a lot right now that we cannot control, and unfortunately there are a lot of circumstances that are making us question our value as individuals (like the man who has lost his job because of Covid, and now cannot provide for his family – does this make him unworthy? NO! But it can make him feel that way!).

I also want to throw something in here real quick as well….

Your worth is not based on the opinions of others. But it’s also not based on the actions of others. Before we work on relationships ‘out there’, we need to work on the most important relationship that we have – the one we have with ourselves.

I spoke with someone yesterday who told me, ”It’s just another failed relationship. I guess I am not worthy of love.”
When I told them they were still loved, they referred back to the ‘romantic relationship’.
So then I asked, ”How do you see yourself from the perspective of being a friend? Are you a good friend?”
The answer was, ”I think so. My friends know they can rely on me, and that I have their backs – and they have mine.”
So I asked, ”Is that not love?”
”Yeah, I guess. But if you can’t have a partner to share your life with, then you’re pretty worthless when it comes to loving, aren’t you?”

The conversation continued, but I want to leave you with this :

Your worth is not based on what other people say and do.
Your worth is not based on whether or not you’re single, or a good partner in a romantic relationship.
Your worth is not based on how much, or how little you have.
Your worth is not based on the circumstances you are facing – not now, not in the future, and certainly not from your past.

YOU ARE WORTHY – so worthy, in fact, that you deserve to embrace every opportunity that you have to learn and grow and accept it! (And we have many opportunities, especially with the internet and the resources out there – we just sometimes avoid it because it seems easierย not to address the issues.)

And I’ll say it again : it’s hard! It’s painful. You may still have moments where you find yourself questioning your worth – I know I do – but for me personally I have found it to be a good thing, because it makes me stop, and really think… and I remember… I HAVE got worth, despite ‘whatever’.

As per the post I referred to above : Jump that fence! You’re worth it! โค

Loving and Living

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I saw this image on Facebook, and what struck me the most was ‘but with intention’.

According to Wikipedia, ”Intention is a mental state that represents a commitment to carrying out an action or actions in the future. Intention involves mental activities such as planning and forethought.”.

I remember reading once that living our lives with intention means to live life ‘on purpose’. Not just on auto-pilot. To actually take responsibility for ‘us’ in the sense of throwing out what we have been taught (discarding the book of ‘rules’) and making our very own decisions, choices, changes.
A lot of business blogs will tell you that in this day and age with so much advancement, the surest way to get left behind and ‘kill your business potential’ is to use the words,
”We’ve always done it this way.”

This can be true for our personal lives too. We get taught to do things a certain way from young, and they become ‘something we just do’, pretty much forever.
Please don’t misunderstand – there are some traditions that are very worthy of continuance.
But there are many things that become habitual, and lose meaning altogether.

Habits that are constructive are good things – like perhaps introducing small daily habits to your schedule that have purpose, that are things that reflect your values. Maybe starting your day with ten minutes of meditation, or jotting down your goals for the day, or perhaps spending ten minutes stretching those sleepy muscles.ย 

But when I did some self reflecting regarding ‘living life intentionally’, I had to face some difficult truths. I discovered that there are areas in my life where I am pretty much living on auto-pilot : my daily routines had become predictable (before the pandemic), and although they have changedย because of the pandemic, they’re now quite predictable, yet again. I find myself moving through each day, going through motions, and doing things without even really having to think about them.

Now… I DO know myself… and I know that when it comes to some aspects of life, I am like a child in that I really DO need the routines. This is not a bad thing by any means.
Where I have started feeling, and seeing, that it may be ‘bad’ is that it seems to be a pattern that traverses throughย most of my day.
And while ‘going through the motions and not needing to think’, I am truly missing out on ‘the more‘ that life has to offer. Especially the simple joys.

And you know me and my silly examples ๐Ÿ˜‰ Well, here is one that I think is actually really good ๐Ÿ˜‰
The pandemic has been good to my laundry basket ๐Ÿ˜› I now only need to do a load of washing every second day ๐Ÿ˜‰
But putting a load in the washing machine and waiting for it to finish, then lugging the basket outside to the washing line to hang it all out for a few hours, and then heading back out there to take it allย off the washing line again…. this is all rather habitual – it is something I do without even thinking about it. In fact, it is so terribly done on auto pilot, that some days I forget that I have even put the washing on to start with! I have no recollection of adding the washing powder and fabric softener, turning and pressing buttons etc.
And many days, I shake my head and question my memory… wondering if I am already losing my mind. But it’s usually followed by a laugh and a shrug, and I just move on…. to the next thing… in auto pilot mode.
This is something rather trivial… but it brought to home the ‘living life on purpose/intentionally’ with regards to living my life better in order to feel more fulfilled, satisfied…. and finding the happiness in the simple things.
Because what happened was this :

I love butterflies. And not just for what they represent/the meaningful stories that surround their existence. I also happen to think that are amazingly beautiful little creatures. Sadly, for whatever reason, I don’t see them very often here where I live. Not real ones, anyway. I have plenty of decal ones, and printed pictures, stuck up in various places in my house though ๐Ÿ˜‰ Evenย they make me happy when I see them.

I came in one day, after hanging up the washing, to find my son sitting in the lounge staring at the part of our small garden where I had been busy. He made a comment that had me running back outside as fast as my legs would take me. He said, ”You must be happy, Mom, having the butterflies to help you hang up the washing.”
But by the time I got to the washing line, they were gone.
He told me when I returned to the lounge that there had been three of them, two small ones and a larger one, with quite striking colours in their wings. He was genuinely surprised that I had missed them, because they were flying ‘right there’.ย 
As strange as it sounds to most of you, this really made my heart feel sad… in that moment, just because I had missed seeing a few of my ‘favourite things’.ย 

The self reflection brought this memory to the forefront of my mind, and I was sad all over again when I fully grasped what it meant.
Sometimes we get so caught up in life as we know it, tasks that need doing, getting through the day (most times on auto pilot), that we can so easily forget to be present.ย 
We definitely need to work on mindfulness – the greatest aspect of this ‘to simply be present”.ย 

I can’t help but wonder what else I have missed in all these days. Which is a sad thought, yes. And it would be incredibly devastating if I sat here ruminating about it.
Instead, I am choosing to be more mindful, and more present, in as many ways as I can and as often as I can.ย 
These days, hanging up the washing takes longer…. because I am slower to start ๐Ÿ˜‰ I first look around me, at each tree and each bit of my garden – because there may be something incredible out there just waiting to brighten my day ๐Ÿ˜‰

I’ll touch very briefly on the image I shared above – I know it doesn’t speak of LIVING intentionally – it instead calls for us to love intentionally.
I don’t know about you, but I sort of feel that we can apply the concepts of living intentionally to the aspect of loving in the same way. Being mindful of those around us, and being present with them.

I’ll end with an interesting heading that I found regarding loving others intentionally….

”Purposefully loving ourselves so that we can intentionally love others.”

Some food for thought in that statement alone ๐Ÿ˜‰

Don’t forget to look for the butterflies ๐Ÿ˜‰ and be well! โค