Making Other Plans

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again… ”Life sometimes happens when we are busy making other plans”.

The original quote came from John Lennon, apparently. (There has been some speculation, and according to the Yale book of quotations, the origin is attributed to writer and cartoonist Allen Saunders.)

Whoever said it, whoever came up with it? There’s truth to it!

We all know that sometimes ‘life’ just happens. And let’s face it, in an ideal world it would happen the way we wanted it to… but we all know that at present our world is less than ideal. I have many moments (some good and some bad) where I find myself stopping to catch my breath, and thinking, ”Wait! What just happened?”

These days, it’s just too easy to ‘get busy and run out of time’. So many occurrences that dim the light of our passions.
Suddenly we notice that yet another week has passed us by, and in reflecting on it we suddenly become aware of the little things : there wasn’t a moment where I experienced a good old belly chuckle; that great thing happened on Tuesday, but I was so worried about the meeting on Wednesday that I didn’t actually take time to appreciate it; my days were so full of ‘being busy’ that I didn’t stop to breathe, and just be ‘me’. And the list goes on and on.

It’s a never ending ‘cycle of life’ for many of us, right?

In a world where bravery and strength only seems to be acknowledged when you’re doing it ‘out loud’, perhaps we should try and pause for a moment, and reflect inwardly, and try and remember that the bravery and strength that lies within our hearts is far more important than the ones that get ‘shouted about’.

There is power in holding joy in your heart
There is power in practicing restraint.
There is power in giving to others – not only in not expecting to get it back, but also in not needing to advertise it.
There is power in being kind – especially to those who ‘don’t deserve it’.

And the bravery and strength within your heart – if your heart is true and you allow these things to consume it (take time to reflect on THEM and educate yourself/absorb your heart and mind in THESE things) – will give you that power…

To ‘do’ life… when it happens…

To learn to live with grace, for yourself, and especially for others!

And to experience a joy that not many people can actually understand!

Please be good to yourselves this week – and to your hearts! Because you are worth it! ❤

A Positive Attitude

I really love the above statement… and to add to it : I am 100% certain that something positive WILL happen today.

The important word to note in my little follow up statement is ‘something’.
Because my day could suck in general. I just never know. My attitude doesn’t have to.
And so, into my day, I bring a positive attitude that tells me : even when stuff goes wrong, even when you feel overwhelmed or sad or angry, even when a multitude of little things just don’t turn out right…. even then, I have the reassurance that if I take the time to stop and look, SOMETHING will have gone right and be a positive plus in my day.

And some days I truly DO have to stop and look. And REALLY think about the little things.
But when I choose to reflect, and do so in a way that is trying to find something GOOD, and just ignore all the bad for a few moments while I do so…. well, I never come up empty.

My ‘life attitude’ IS generally positive. It wasn’t always like this. And it definitely isn’t something easily maintained.
But I have found that leaning towards the positive is definitely far more beneficial for me than ‘reflecting on the negative’ and inviting bitterness and anger and sadness to rule my head and my heart.

Please don’t get me wrong…

My past has been very far from sunshine and roses – there have definitely been far too many dark clouds and thorns. And I wasted a lot of time dwelling on those – allowing thoughts in my mind and feelings in my heart that slowly began to eat away at me.
Not all those ‘situations’ have been resolved – but it’s amazing what a change of attitude can do!

Somebody mentioned that being ‘endlessly positive can be toxic’. But I think they have missed the point!

Life is FULL of negatives! Bad things happen to good people! I cry, I get angry – I still FEEL those negative emotions. But when we can take control of our attitudes? When we can still find SOMETHING good, despite the chaos and turmoil? We find ourselves unleashing a new power within, and a new strength! Because even when things are out of control around us, we will have control within us… and that brings a peace and inner joy that defies explanation!

My hope for you is that this weekend you will be reminded of all that is good in YOU, instead of all that is wrong in your world!

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 😛

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. 😛 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 😛 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 ❤ Here’s hoping you all get to experience LOTS of wonderful things this week.

Not quitting

ed mylett

Photo credit : edmylett.com

 

It’s been a strange few days. Our lock down, due to the virus, has been somewhat extreme – but I do realise how serious this is, so I haven’t complained, and I have complied in every way. While I am not completely self isolated, because I have four kids – two human ones and two fur babies – I have felt an effect of self isolation, nonetheless. And it’s been strange for me.

I am quite a social person, for the most part. I have learned to love myself and be at peace with my own company in the past few years. I am good on my own, but I am also good when dealing with people. I tease a lot about hiding from ‘peopling’ but in reality I truly do love the social aspects of others. Communication has always been a big thing for me – not necessarily in person, but somehow finding ways to connect to people.. even if just a brief messaging exchange. People are important to me – their feelings and lives have meaning.

People are important to me – their feelings and lives have meaning. This part has not changed. Not at all. But the last few days I have found myself withdrawing into myself. Naturally, there is still plenty of communication with my four kids and me – and not just about food 😛 😉
But I have found myself struggling with keeping up communication with most everyone else. I am not unhappy – my mood is stable. I don’t feel miserable, and I am not sleeping more than usual. I am really quite fine – I am okay.
It just feels strange for me to be able to feel okay, without the desire to communicate with others. How odd.

Maybe this is a ‘time out to talk to me’? Answering myself is sometimes amusing 😛 😉

I happened to visit Ed Mylett’s timeline this morning on Facebook. And found the picture above…. which had quite a lengthy caption, the gist of it being this :

”There’s probably an area of your life RIGHT NOW where you’re ready to throw in the towel. You’re ready to quit. ….
Decide you’re just not going to quit TODAY! Sometimes that’s all it takes is just deciding that at least for today, you are not going to quit. …
I’m challenging you today to just don’t quit for TODAY! I promise you all of your strength comes when you push past days and moments and thoughts of quitting. Remember, you’re probably on the brink of a breakthrough! ⁣….”

So here’s just a few of my thoughts on this …..

Decide you’re just not going to quit TODAY!
This statement is pretty much how I choose to live my life. There are days where I feel overwhelmed due to circumstances and on those days I make conscious decisions and talk myself through : ”Let’s just get through this hour. Do what you can now. Deal with the rest in a bit – leave it for the next hour.”
I make the choice to get through, moment by moment – and I’d say I am sort of successful… I’m here, aren’t I? 😉

Remember, you’re probably on the brink of a breakthrough!
My not-blood sister and I talk a lot – mostly through messages. Sometimes we do voice notes and calls. The greatest thing we share is based on the statement above. Because we both refer to it when we’re looking to encourage the other. 😉
It’s our go to, when it feels like it’s not just raining, but pouring – when everything seems to be going wrong all at once – when we feel down, or discouraged and momentarily forget to be kind to ourselves.
”Just remember, stuff happens, and sometimes it’s not in our control. Chin up. In all of this, there’s quiet strength building in the background. You’re going to grow. You’re being prepared for something bigger and better. Keep going. I love you.”

A Facebook comment…
Because naturally I shared the Ed Mylett post on my Facebook timeline 😉

Someone commented, ‘Sometimes you just don’t have a choice, hey?’
And I thought about it. And I replied with this :
‘And that in itself is a blessing in disguise, because it forces us to go on… imagine how awful it would be if we all just gave up! How much we’d miss out on! 😉 ‘

KEEP GOING, DEAR READERS! MAY YOU HAVE A TRULY MARVELLOUS MONDAY! 😉

A long version of dire straits

THIS IS NOT MY USUAL TYPE OF BLOG POST – and yet in it you will find the pieces of me that tie up with previous posts. I am apologising BEFORE you read it for the raw emotions that will come across as negative – but there are snippets of positivity and lessons to be learned in reading it. Thank you for taking the time ❤

I’ve been struggling. There, I said it.
I didn’t realise how bad it was until I bumped into an acquaintance on Friday who asked me how the New Year has been treating me so far, and my eyes welled up with tears in response. I swallowed a lump in my throat and shrugged. I don’t know who was more embarrassed, him or me. I do know that when I threw the question back at him, I found myself in a situation yet again where I was the counsellor. Half an hour later we parted, him saying how grateful he was to have bumped into me and how much better he was feeling. I paid for my purchases, got in my car, and cried the whole way home.

This entire blog post will seem like a senseless contradiction – but there are moments where we just have to share what we’re going through and so that is what this is.
Because guess what? You are never going through anything alone.
I have no doubt in my mind that someone out there who reads this is probably in the same place as I am, but with different circumstances.

I read a blog post last week where someone listed their reasons for being depressed. I commented about them all being quite valid and I loved the response : ” I’m all for positive thinking and all that, but also believe in fully feeling and expressing our emotions so they don’t fester.”

It’s no surprise that the picture below is one that I agree with completely :

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Photo credit : onsizzle.com

I am WELL AWARE that things could be worse. I KNOW we could be suffering more. And hearing/reading about other situations and circumstances certainly makes me grateful if I am not facing the same – but just because my struggle is ‘less’, doesn’t mean that the hurt, anger and frustration that I feel has no validity. It also doesn’t mean that no one else can rely on me to be there for them and help them through their struggles.

I DO take time to self care, and just be. And I don’t know quite how to explain this next part, other than that this is my purpose – for some reason, even in my pain and tears, I will always make a way and be strong for those who need help. Yes, it’s a momentary distraction from my own circumstances, but that isn’t why I do it. And the strength to do it is not mine. My friends know better than to say to me, ”I didn’t want to ask you because I know you have a lot going on.”
Yes, I have boundaries. And there have been times where I have had to say to them, ”I’m sorry, I just can’t.” My levels of endurance are far too great though – and as much as I fight discussing religion and politics because of the damage that has been done to so many due to both, I KNOW that my help comes from above.

Recent events have left my faith feeling somewhat shaken – but unlike James Bond (shaken NOT stirred), something within me has stirred too. 

To be completely honest, things are looking grim. But I’m NOT giving in!

To outline some of the circumstances surrounding these things, I screenshotted a dear friend’s shared Facebook post – she is one of the most positive people I know, and very seldom dwells on the negativity of our country as it stands right now.

SAA is our airline. Eskom is our sole electricity provider. SABC is our broadcasting commission. Transnet is the custodian of ports, rail and pipelines.
The Eastern Cape is hit the hardest by all of the above – and that’s where I live.

With major infrastructure falling apart, it is no surprise that the effects are being felt astronomically by small business. There are no jobs available – the ones that are advertised have to select 1 employee from over 180 applications. Employers are offering very low salaries and wages because they know how desperate people are.
Here, if you work for one hour at minimum wage, you will be considered fortunate to be able to use that one hour’s wage to purchase one loaf of bread and one litre of milk.

I have lost four people in these 27 days of January to suicide – the reason being financial.

There has been a recent outbreak of a terrible stomach bug here – people have been hospitalised, and I believe that in the rural areas there have been deaths. It’s no surprise when you see my town’s main water supply – and consider the amount of chemicals that need to be added to make it run clear in the taps (pic from November last year)

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My children and I DO NOT drink tap water – which means we have to PAY for drinking water. And the three of us are water babies when it comes to drinking preferences (as well as coffee for me).

If it wasn’t for my brother, the children and I would have starved to death by now.

But all doors are closing, fast.

Small business closed. 😦 No jobs available. The chain of payment for services rendered is completely broken – A didn’t pay B, so B couldn’t pay C, so C couldn’t pay D, so D closed its doors – which left E, F, G completely stranded etc.

I have extensively researched moving overseas. Those doors are all closed too. I cannot go anywhere without securing employment first – a company that will petition their government/immigration procedures and possibly give me a chance to be approved. The list of candidates and people doing their utmost to follow this route is extensive, to say the least. Their advantages? They are gainfully employed and have some sort of university degree behind them.

I didn’t get a university degree because I fell pregnant, and after being abandoned by the father, I chose to keep my baby. I then chose to get married. Youth, and the struggle of being a mother and a wife and working full time blurred my vision. As did the after effects of abuse. I should have done more. I take full responsibility for that, and understand that my complacency in the years that counted is the reason I am where I am now.

Stuck. Stressed. Frustrated. Angry with myself. Hurting. Sad.

I can’t afford to study now. And with our education system being what it is, there is a very real fear that in the three years it will take, any degree issued here will be worthless anyway.
I am deeply concerned for my son. He finishes his degree in July. There are NO JOBS. Many young people finished their degrees two years ago (I know three personally) and are still without employment. My only hope is that HIS degree will somehow be enough to open an overseas door for him – but he doesn’t want to leave us behind. There is merit in that – but at the same time, I need him to at least have a future.
(I’ll admit that recently I felt more pro New Zealand, for the simple fact that we could all go together – his age would allow him to still fall under me, 24 being the cut off. He can’t go with me, as my dependent, anywhere else. I don’t want to leave him behind either.)

My daughter has been selected for two dancing competitions this year – qualifiers for world championships. My mind is racing with regards to fundraising – I cannot carry costs and will not ask my brother – he does enough. And in the back of my mind there is that voice screaming, ‘how will you fundraise when people have nothing to give’. Impossible.

I’ve looked extensively at further study – diploma wise – with overseas correspondence institutions. I even went so far as to first search the possible industries and fields of jobs available to me in the US and the UK, and then find qualifications relating to those. The financial implications make all of this impossible.

There is a saying something along the lines of this : ‘Sometimes when one door closes, we are so busy staring at the closed door, that we miss the window that has opened.’

And based on the recent reblogged post, how dare I limit God???!!!

My mind is reeling – and I am trying to make sense of it all. Last night, I was just quiet. A meditation of sorts. But there has been no great revelation – I do know though that good things take time 😉

And for now we have food to eat and a roof over our heads – something NOT to be taken lightly in our country at this time.

It’s all hopeless. It’s all impossible. It’s all every negative emotion that you can possibly think of.

BUT

While I have no control over the circumstances and all economic indicators show that it is indeed looking dire, and hopeless – I have control of me. I may be a walking contradiction at this time, because I FEEL hopeless – and yet, I remain the prisoner of that beautiful word : H O P E. I want so desperately to just give up, because I really am exhausted. BUT I CAN’T. And not just because I have two beautiful ”children”. It’s just not in me. My spirit refuses. It simply will NOT.

The negative emotions are screaming loudly at me at the impossibility of it all. The choices I made in my youth, and as a defiance to everything I probably knew because of hurt and abuse that once again were not in my control, add fuel to the fire of those emotions, screaming belittlement and blame on me – leaving me feeling guilty and downtrodden.

But every tear, and every pain in my heart (and yes, it is almost a physical heart pain), whisper to me : It IS possible, there IS hope, keep going. You’ve come too far to give up now. 

And so, dear reader, do not doubt… I may FEEL that I want to give up.

But I won’t.

optimist-someone-who-figures-that-taking-a-step-backward-after-taking-a-step-forward-is-not-a-disaster-its-more-like-a-cha-cha

Photo credit : Facebook

 

I’m going to look for my dancing shoes 😉

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. )

183822-Robin-S-Sharma-Quote-The-only-failure-is-not-trying

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! 🙂

Courage

Today is an unhealthy day for me.

And I was sitting at the doctors surgery, eagerly awaiting my appointment, when I received a notification for a new blog post on one of the sites I like to regularly visit.

(It’s an excellent post and you should go and read it)

The question in the blog post loomed at me, because at the moment the only thing keeping me from writing right now is my health. And time.
Because ill health means there is even less time than usual.

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A Perfect World

Let’s face it : life is not as pleasant or as safe as what it was in the past…and if things continue as they are, I don’t see that much will improve in the future.

“What’s the world coming to?”

A rhetorical question often asked in relation to negative changes that occur in everyday life – from television to radio, music to movies, health, safety – the list is endless.

world

But seriously……

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