Brain Train

blankie

I know there are healthier ways to get my brain going in the morning, but there’s nothing like those first three cups of coffee in the morning for me πŸ˜‰

A few mornings ago, as I was dreamily drinking my first cup, my thoughts began to take shape. I am sure someone somewhere has shared something similar in the past, so I am not taking full credit for what I am about to say – I can’t declare it an ‘original thought by Meg’, because it’s entirely possible that it’s stored somewhere in my self conscious :

Instant coffee and filter (brewed) coffee both serve the same purpose (in a way) because they both have caffeine in them. But they don’t share the same amount, and instant coffee generally tends to contain half the amount of brewed coffee.
So, if there is nothing other than instant to drink, you’ll still wake your brain up and experience some form of energy boost…. but apparently it won’t be AS good.
Instant coffee has already been through a process, and all you have to do is add water.
Filter coffee requires some time while it goes through the process to make it drinkable.

It got me thinking….

There are days where I run on instant – do what I have to do, don’t challenge or feed my mind and spirit – basically just get through the day. An autopilot rush of sorts – safety being the only thing I intentionally accomplish in my comings and goings and runnings around.
But there are days (more often than not, thank goodness) where I run on a ‘brewed brain’. I intentionally seek small ways to feed my mind and spirit throughout the day.

At the end of all these days, no matter which course of action I have taken, I am tired. The difference comes in my level of content and sense of accomplishment.
And, to a large degree, how I feelΒ about myself.
On ‘instant’ days, I seem to be more inclined to get into bed feeling frustrated and irritable and disappointed in myself. I feel like I have let myself down and wasted a day – while still being aware that some days are more difficult than most, and as l close my eyes there is a determination to ‘do better tomorrow’.
On ‘brewed’ days, there are no thoughts at all at bedtime! Ha ha! I simply close my eyes, with a smile on my face, and drift off feeling like I am the most accomplished person in the world (and I am not, I can assure you πŸ˜› )

But this analogy has a twist!

In an effort to be a little less hard of myself (which is proving itself to be rather difficult at times πŸ˜› ) I have realised that on the instant days, I need toΒ first stop and considerΒ why my day was like that to begin with! Doing that has brought me to this conclusion :
Sometimes running on instant goes beyond what I can control. It is based on schedules that need to be kept due to my responsibilities and therefore there simply isn’t initial time to brew. My mind then flitters to the memories of small things throughout the day: small things that I acknowledged thanks about, or small things that I may have done even in auto pilot mode… and it suddenly dawned on me!

I say it a lot : it’s the little things that count! We all know that little things can equate to something huge!
And when I stopped myself from thinking I had wasted the day in my ‘instant’ mind, and truly unpacked what that day had contained by recalling the little things, the ‘brewed’ smile filled my soul!

There was also the acknowledgement and appreciation for this small fact : the more we do things intentionally, the more we ‘train our brain’ to be able to do them, even when we are not aware that we are!Β 

Happiness is! πŸ˜‰Β 

And now I need to go and have that third cup of coffee πŸ˜‰ Thank you for reading ❀

Awakenings

‘Leonard Lowe : We’ve got to tell everybody. We’ve got to remind them. We’ve got to remind them how good it is.

Dr. Sayer : How good what is, Leonard?

Leonard Lowe : Read the newspaper. What does it say? All bad. It’s all bad. People have forgotten what life is all about. They’ve forgotten what it is to be alive. They need to be reminded. They need to be reminded of what they have and what they can lose. What I feel is the joy of life, the gift of life, the freedom of life, the wonderment of life!

and……

β€œThe human spirit is more powerful than any drug, and that is what needs to be nourished: with work, play, friendship, family. These are the things that matter. This is what we’d forgotten, the simplest things.”
ROBIN WILLIAMS – Dr. Malcolm Sayer

The above are two quotes from the 1990 movie, Awakenings”.

I was a pre-teen when this movie came out (yes, I am old πŸ˜› ) and the day of my cousin’s wedding, we all headed to the movies afterwards to watch it. (all the cousins, except the one who had just got married, of course!) I didn’t fully understand the movie back then, but it still made me cry. And I was teased relentlessly for months afterwards because I was the only one in our group of 9 who did so.

In my twenties, I still remembered that early evening at the movies. I found that I could no longer recall the movie itself, or why it had me cry, and so I sought it out to watch it again. Yip! I cried again! I think it’s impact on me changed somewhat though, because I was more mature and able to understand better.

What made me think of, or reminded me of, this movie?

On Friday evening, I had a brief conversation with my neighbour. We’ve been living opposite each other in our housing complex for almost ten years now. And after a few years, we became friends. Even though we live so close, our schedules don’t always allow for social time, and so every now and then you’ll find us having ‘driveway conversations’ in passing. Once or twice, her husband has even brought us cups of coffee while we’re doing so πŸ˜› (And the best husband award goes to…. πŸ˜› )
Friday evening was a ‘scheduled driveway conversation’. Because we sometimes do that too! πŸ˜›
I had asked her to let me know when she came home and had time for a quick chat – yes, I can see when she comes home πŸ˜› But she has two young boys, so I prefer not to stop her on her way in to the house, but instead allow her time to say hello etc. She messaged me when she was free and we met on her driveway. I asked my question, she told me what she thought, and we moved on to a general quick catch up. We parted ways about thirty minutes later, and her parting comment to me was, ”I just don’t know how you do it… but I’ll say this : in all of it, you’re changing. In a really good way. Yes, you’re softer… but in ways that count… and it’s not a bad thing. Keep going, because it’s actually a strength.”

Those words have been a running loop in my brain ever since.

We all know that the world, and sometimes people closest to us, will tell us ‘you’re too this, or too that’- you’re too much, or not enough. We all know that sometimes that truly hurts us, or angers us, and bitterness momentarily creeps in.

And yet we are so quick to do the same to others!

I am definitely going through a ‘time of awakening’. There is no doubt in my mind of that! I can’t tell you exactly when it started but I know it is happening. I know because I am experiencing it daily.
I am just beginning to SEE things differently, in every way. And it has become a whole new journey on its own! It has its own rewards, but it is also probably one of the most difficult journey’s I have ever had to make. It is NOT easy, and I’d be lying if I said there were not times that I wish I could just go back. Especially since all of a sudden, daily, troubles are abounding – and not of the small variety either!

And having the very nature of my soul softening even more than what it has ever been, means that I am now open to being hurt more easily, as well as feeling more hurt on an even deeper level. It is increasing my levels of compassion and kindness and making me even more patient and tolerant than what I ever thought I could be. Even my reasoning is changing : a small example?
In the past, in a particular situation, I was known to ‘tolerate’ because if I didn’t, then xyz would happen and it would affect me – for all intents and purposes, giving that person a semblance of control over me; allowing them to use me because of the ‘carrot they could dangle in front of me’.
Now, I find myself tolerating even more than before, being more understanding, responding a little more gently because lashing out at them, saying my piece to purposely hurt them (because I really could), rebelling and excusing it as standing up for myself? NONE of those things would be a reflection of good character. None of those things would benefit the situation in any way, other than to make it worse. And it would disrupt my peace and joy entirely!

Please don’t get me wrong. I understand the concepts of ‘telling it like it is; not wasting time beating around the bush; brutal honesty is sometimes a necessity’. I know that there are many times in life that call for all those things. And if those things, delivered as is, bring you peace, cause you to grow in a positive way, help you move forward in life, and bring you an explainable joy even in times of trouble? Then that is YOUR journey and what works for YOU!

But I have begun to realise that in MY journey – those things don’t work for me. They disrupt my inner peace and attempt to steal my joy. They stunt my growth and stop me in my tracks.
Delivering what possibly needs to be said with brutal honesty/just telling like it is, knowing that I am deeply hurting someone else (especially when it’s under the guise of ‘I say it/do it because I love you’) is not the time for ME to have the attitude of ‘sorry not sorry’.

For me? I reserve the right to use ‘sorry not sorry’ in this way :
I will continue to try and be kind, and grateful, and understanding, even towards those who have hurt me, and are not deserving of my compassion in any way. (It is so difficult!!!) I will continue to be respectful and considerate of them for the most part. I will deliver things that do have to be said gently, without intention to hurt. This does not mean that their behaviour is being excused, or that I am ‘allowing’ them to treat me badly because I am ‘broken/a sucker for punishment/a victim of abuse/a doormat/unable to win at life’.
It just means that I want MY character to reflect something different to theirs.
It just means that I want to continue to grow IN MYSELF, in a positive way, spreading goodness and love and mercy – being this way is what brings me inner peace and joy in ways that I cannot explain.

And neither way is wrong. Because how we choose to be is what works for us, as INDIVIDUALS!

Which one are you? Which way do you choose to be? (Rhetorical questions!)
Parting thought on this post : a new week lies ahead and my note to self for it is this :

Dearest Meg, respect ‘the journey’. And not just your own!

And just keep being who you are, growing in the ways that bring you joy, peace, gratitude and appreciation for all the simple and beautiful things in life that YOU WANT! The things that matter to YOU! Stop letting other people’s opinions about your journey weigh so heavily on you! Don’t be distracted, or stand in judgement, of someone else’s journey. You’ve got your own ride πŸ˜‰


Good neighbours

I live in a townhouse complex. And sometimes the people can be pretty complex too πŸ˜›
We do not have a security guard at the gate or anything like that, but basically we each have our own houses with a small fenced in yard, within a larger boundary that is high walled with electric fencing running along the top. With the increase in crime here, and a few incidents of late, the decision has been made to install cameras at the main gate as well.
Living like this has its perks, and its downfalls. You can’t help but ‘know your neighbours’ because they’re not very far away from you.
I know the neighbour next to me quite well, because he’s been living here for six years now, and I know the neighbours and their beautiful adopted little boys well too – we’ve shared life for nine years now!

I tell you this because today, among other days to be celebrated, is ‘Good Neighbour Day’.

I can remember the times when I lived in a ‘freestanding house’, on a road, along with other houses. I still knew my neighbours then, simply because when we moved in, I would go to the houses across from me and both sides of me and introduce myself. Many times, I think people thought I was just plain weird.
Someone once commented to me that it’s a good thing to do because at least you ‘know them’ if something happens to you, or if there’s a break in etc.

But that was never my reason. I’m a people person, and I like to ‘know’ – to try and connect. (So no, the reason was never out of curiosity or nosiness either πŸ˜› ) I also wanted people to ‘see me’, so that if they needed help they could approach me.

Your neighbours are not just the people living next to you, or in the vicinity of your home, though.

My theory is this : ‘home is where the heart is’, so wherever my heart travels (wherever I go, whether it be to the shop, or to the bank etc. my heart is inside my body and goes with me) and therefore every person who comes into contact with me could be considered my neighbour. Because I live in my body – it is a home for my soul.

And so yes, we get back to the familiar tangent I always seem to be on, ha ha ha!

Having a good house neighbour that you know you can call on to borrow some sugar, or feed your dogs if you’re away, or bring home bread and milk if you are ill etc, is fantastic!

What if, when we are out there in the world (away from our ‘living in’ home) we still practice being a good neighbour? A smile, and a greeting, to the person who we happen to catch the eye of; assistance for the lady juggling three bags of groceries and her keys; an offer to assist someone who seems to be wandering aimlessly around a grocery store (it can be fun to BOTH be searching for the same thing, ha ha ha!).

Sometimes this means stepping out of our comfort zone. For some of us, it isn’t easy to ‘go boldly and just do’ because it isn’t in our nature.

But the rewards of kindness, for both the person performing the act as well as the person on the receiving end, are simply out of this world! And they make your heart/home a little happier and lighter.

So once again….

Let’s leave footprints of love and kindness wherever we go! πŸ˜‰

Flourish

go

I saw this picture a couple of days ago, and it made me giggle. My teenage daughter has a tendency to ‘take her time’, and I find myself saying, ‘Oh my gosh! Are we on a go slow here?’ quite a bit!

Her most recent ‘phase’ has me rather amused though. I am not sure how she does it (probably an app or something) because the words are not distorted at all, but she now listens to ‘slowed down’ songs. So she will take one of her hip hop numbers for dancing, and listen to it as a ballad. Her theory is that she has discovered that so many of them are ‘prettier’ when they’re slower.

On Friday, when I went to collect our bottled water for the next few days, the lady who owns the ‘water shop’ gave me a small gift. We have built a friendship of sorts over the past year, and every now and then we give something small for encouragement. So on Friday, she gave me a Kit Kat.
The Kit Kat slogan is ‘have a break, have a Kit Kat’.
(Although these days I feel more like a Bar One – for a 25 hour day πŸ˜› )
Her comment to me, when she handed it over, was ‘Don’t forget to have a break this weekend’.

And my thought process was this : Sometimes, having a break and just slowing down is necessary. It makes us ‘prettier’. I’ve even heard it said that slowing down sometimes can make you that much more successful in the long run.Β 
Because sometimes when we take the time to slow down, we’re also allowing ourselves the opportunity to ‘just be’, and maybe even ‘just think and ponder’. This can benefit us in so many ways – helping us get clarity in certain situations that we might find ourselves in; helping us not only get in touch with our emotions, but perhaps granting us the time to identify the ones that need to be dealt with and let go of; and ultimately helping us to make better decisions. Because if my mind isn’t racing, then I guess I am giving it time to absorb and assess and process.

I also can’t do anything I need to or want to, if I’m dead. (Now I know that I cannot control when that day will come – but I also need to be careful about contributing to bringing it about by NOT taking care of me.) Slowing down for a period of time every day gives my mind, soul AND body time to rejuvenate. I am here for a purpose, and I have many things that I still want to and need to do. But if I run myself ragged and forget to ‘slow down and rest’, then eventually it will start affecting my health. And what good will I be then?

There was a time where my attitude was, ‘there isn’t time for ‘me’. Slowing down is not an option’. I’ve had to learn that taking time for me is NOT a luxury, but a necessity.Β 

After all… I can’t pour from an empty cup.

So yesterday, when the wind dropped for a few hours and the sun was warm, I headed for my small garden. I do not have a green thumb, or a brown one… in fact, I am questioning whether or not I have a thumb at all when it comes to my garden. And yet I find it very therapeutic to be out there, in the dirt, pottering around. And I remembered something else while I was out there – I don’t remember who said it though – but here’s a reminder for the start of the new week for all of you :

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Photo credit : juliestuckey.com