Wednesday, 24 February 2010
Tuesday, 23 February 2010
So it is with my life sometimes. There is a decline in my emotional state followed or preceded by an emotional high – a forward motion. I often experience a seesaw effect.
There are many positive times, when the river is flowing, when it is present, when all is right with the world. The sun is shining – even in the winter, and the birds are singing cheerful songs outside my window as I snuggle up to the warmth inside.
And then there is the season of the ebb, the decline, the absence, when hope seems to have flowed away with the tide. At these times all I am aware of, all I am conscious of is the uncomfortable rocks, stones and pebbles at the bottom of the riverbed that I feel on the soles of my bare feet.
It is tempting to remember the ebbs in my life more than the flow as when I am in the drought it seems more pronounced. When I am visited by the reality of a lack in my life I stop and think. Sadness often accompanies these thoughts as my heart becomes thirsty for whatever it is I am missing at the time. This is usually the company of a particular person. A person who no longer features in my life in the way I wish they did. At times like this I either go into myself or reach out to friends.
I fight against my own internal tide. It is often hard to make myself reach out when I feel vulnerable, but I am learning to do so. It has proved to be better for me to talk to someone when I feel low. Failing communicating my feelings to a friend, sometimes accompanied by tears and halting sentences, I will find another activity to take my mind of the subject. I know that dwelling on that dry area, that past area, of my life will not bring forth fruit for me in my present presence so I make a resolution:
right now I grasp the weakness in me and send it out to sea.
If I stay with my sad memories I am allowing the matters that I am pondering to become a major part of my internal life. By constantly including the sadness in my thoughts I am giving it the ability to change me. It’s never easy, but it does get less painful with time. Even where I am now, how I feel today, I never thought that I’d reach this position when I first stood in the dry riverbed with only my tears for company. I know I still have a long way to go, but I feel I am moving in the right direction. A positive healthy destination for me.
When my life has swung towards the ebbing times I have reached back into my memory for an occasion when I felt presence not absence. A time when I was conscious of happiness in the ordinary things of everyday life. I reach into my immense sea of happy memories and reflect the blissful moments that I have experienced …and there are so many.
I have a tendency to forget this fact or not want to remember it when I am clouded with sadness. But it is usual that by the time I have revisited and enjoyed these events, the experience that seemed like a dry riverbed will have passed away.
And I will again be present in the bountiful flow of my life.
I will be the river that reshapes my own landscape.
Monday, 22 February 2010
True passion – for there is no other type of passion – is like an eclipse. The passion controls your attention as everything else fades to the background. Other things are not totally blocked out but, for a while, they are less significant in importance than this new interest.
New passions are always exciting. When a new passion grabs my attention I get swept along on the tidal wave of emotion. I want to immerse myself totally in this new subject, activity, or person. The adrenalin levels peak and most other things in my life become like the corona of the sun. The amount of time invested in an activity is directly related to the intensity of the passion.
Passion does not ever end - if an interest ends then I would suggest that it was just that, an interest, not a passion.
Even after the passing of time, the change of location, the alteration of circumstances, the passion will remain. It may smoulder out of the direct eye line of many, but within the heart of the one who feels it, the passion never dies.
With a familiar passion there are constant reminders of what first ignited that fire of desire. These things can occur at any time, in any place, and they are brilliant assailants. They storm my hidden places and the familiar excitement will make my pulse run faster, make my eyes shine brighter and graft that deep wide smile of satisfaction throughout my whole being.
Friday, 19 February 2010
A past relationship is like a painting. It is fixed, forever - in the past. There is no movement in it, no future. It is just a memory like the painting is merely paint on canvas holding the memory of a single moment in time. No feelings, no cares, no love, no future – no worries. The relationship is not alive. It is gone. It is past.
Like paintings you can still enjoy the beauty of that past time, but you cannot go back there. You can remember the joy, the fun, the happiness. They were all real and are part of your life. However, your greatest pleasure can be found in the present, your time is now. It is your responsibility to make a living art work from your life – for you to enjoy, right now.
Thursday, 18 February 2010
I remember the last time I was in a pub and the staff moved between the tables like they were on roller-skates picking up the empty glasses and bottles. There is a system to their routine. They remove the finished product and you replace it with a new one, a fresh one. As I watched them weaving between the tables, making increasingly impossible loads of empties balanced on their free arm, I began to question whether they would reach their limit before they reached my table. The calculation went through my mind quickly. Then, suddenly I realised that they are on a different agenda to me. There was a moment when I saw them coming directly for me and I knew what they are going to do, so I reached out, but I was too late – the bottle has been whisked away.
'Hey,' I say indignantly, ‘I hadn’t finished that.’
The staff member donned their most scornful look as they turned back to me with my unfinished drink in their hand. They looked at me, then at the bottle. The bottle was turned slightly towards the fading light that came through the window behind me in the cosy alcove.
‘Oh,’ they said, and then a reluctant obligatory apology without any real meaning, ‘sorry, I thought it was finished.’ Then they tipped the bottle towards me and feeling embarrassed but determined to hold on to my position, I reach for the bottle. I no longer want the bottle as they put their finger in the neck of it but it's at this point I begin to feel that it’s the principle that matters.
‘Thank you,’ I say, while wondering why I am thanking them when I know that they have just done me a disservice. Nevertheless, I still feel as if I should not have let the bottle go.
I reclaim my drink and feel just how light it is. I’m not sure that there is even a full mouthful left in the bottle, but I know I was right to claim it. The drink was mine, I had not finished with it. I know that I’ll give it up when I am ready, and not before.
The people with me smile those knowing smiles and shake their heads at the staff member who has decided that they will wait for the bottle that I have reclaimed.
‘It’s ok,’ I say sheepishly, ‘I’ll just hang on to it …’
‘Are you sure?’ comes the sarcastic response, ‘I could just wait, as it’s nearly done anyway …’
Suddenly this has become about more than the dregs of liquid in the bottle.
This is unfinished business.
I am not ready to let go. My time for closure with my beverage has not arrived. But another person has decided that they have a prior claim on the drink and they, without consulting me, have decided that my business is in reality now finished.
I sat there wondering how to resolve this ordinary situation that had somehow become extraordinary and was the focus of not just my attention, but several people on my table and the adjoining tables.
Did someone else really have the right to decide that my short connection with this bottle was over? Surely it was only down to me.
The pressure was building. Light conversations began around me but my only focus was on the soiled bottle in my hand and the overbearing staff in front of me who was becoming uncomfortable with the load of collected empties that they had already gathered.
I asked myself '... at what point am I willing to let go of things in my life or would I always hang on to remnants of the past?'
I could not see myself as a rat in bags of rags that I refused to let go of so I sighed deeply and accepted the truth. I had a tendency to burrow in the past but I needed to face the present and the future. I accepted what they said. It is finished now anyway, I thought. I smiled reluctantly and handed the bottle back to the staff. I had not made the decision but that didn’t matter any more. Circumstances meant that closure came - although not on my timeline - there was no going back.
‘It’s ok,’ I said with a resigned acceptance, ‘yeah, you’re right – it’s finished.’
Anyone involved can call time on the business. When it’s over for them, it’s over.
Wednesday, 17 February 2010
I have broken bones in the past – in the pursuit of sporting activities. I had committed my all to the quest for the ultimate goal of achieving victory. I always did exceptionally well, I was proud then, and I remember the times with pleasure. The fractures that I received are now constant reminders to me of those times.
The bones that I broke were never as firm as before the incidents. I do not see the breaks now but I feel the effects of them occasionally. And then in my mind’s eye I look back at a time of intense pain and discomfort.
Those breaks may be invisible to the eye but they are there, below the surface. Too much stress on those parts of my body and I know about it all over again.
They are like the road surfaces in our towns. For months the small cracks in the road are invisible. Then pressure is added to the break. Water is one of the main culprits. When the water on the road becomes ice it expands and the stress on the fracture from the water below and the vehicles above cause the road to crumble and holes appear.
These visual fractures in our road surfaces are no longer rare occurrences, unfortunately.
I know that sometimes I cause my fractures to hurt because I am the culprit. I do things I know will exacerbate the pain, yet still I persist – and then suffer.
This is my personal pothole.
I know I must avoid causing the damage and then I will not have to repair the site repeatedly. The same goes for my heart. If I look after myself I will not have to fix the damage I expose myself to. There is always a cost associated with experiencing a pothole.
Some potholes can be avoided, others just have to be repaired.
I vow to care properly for all the potential and actual potholes in my life.
Tuesday, 16 February 2010
What is present in most human interactions? Some of the common occurrences are love, desire, fear, hatred, anger, need and competition.
Competition is there in the desire for improvement in comparison with others. Also present is the need for attention and affection which are usually learnt as a child – from an early age we hone the skills needed to seek and gain these things in our lives. Because people consistently have different points of view there is an ongoing battle for the resources - natural and manufactured - to do better than the next person in order to achieve each one’s personal aim. This means that there will always be conflict.
Is all of life destined to be a competition?
From the cradle to the grave people are competing for something. We live in a competitive world and what we have others want, so they compete for it. Our time, our affiliation, our intelligence; how we vote, study, worship can all become affairs for personal advancement.
American Senator Henry Clay wrote, “Of all human powers operating on the affairs of mankind, none is greater than that of competition”.
21st century television is awash with shows based on competition: who is fastest, who can last longest, and who has the most, who is biggest, who is smallest, and who can endure the most. It seems that for every human interest there is some contest for supremacy.
How then does humanity decide the differences of religious faith?
Is global terrorism the answer to the competitions of which religion is right, which faith follows the truth, what belief holds sway against the errors of the masses? Will this ultimate competition lead to the end of all contests as humanity destroys each other to prove that their own creed is the basis of light and truth?
How can we cease religious rivalry? Can we cease religious rivalry? Is there only one right way or are there many ways to illumination? Is the only way to answer this found in the annihilation of all opposition? Will there ever be one supreme religious conviction on this earth? Questions continue because the terror continues relentlessly in the name of devotion to one’s belief.
There is no dispute from me … terror in the name of faith is always shown as hostility and destruction, not a demonstration of holy persuasion and love. With religious terror there are no winners. Religious terror is destructive. That competition will never have a winner.
Monday, 15 February 2010
I chided myself yesterday evening.
I needed something, and as I instinctively reached out to fulfil my need I recognised that I was going for an option that I would not consider if I was doing this same thing for ANY body else. Thankfully I caught myself and said ‘You deserve better,’ and without feeling that I was on the edge of insanity I smiled and said to myself, ‘Yes, I do.’
Too often I think myself into the second-best position in my own life.
I deserve better.
Celebrating the uniqueness and brilliance of my own life is something that I do not do that often. I do not mean that I should go around professing my greatness at each and every opportunity instead I mean that I should cast off the inferiority complex that has beset me for so long. The voice that tells me that I should focus on others and their happiness more than my own joy, the voice that objects – out of bad habit – when I dare to choose my own pleasure for even a short while. The nagging feeling that it is not all right to spend time in pursuit of the activities that make me remember why I feel joy in my being.
In this new month, I resolve to remember that … I deserve better.
Friday, 12 February 2010
Have you ever lost something? You know you had it one moment and then, imperceptibly, it slipped away from you. The next time you wanted it, needed it, looked for it – it was gone.
How do you feel when you acknowledge your losses? Do you blame yourself for … being careless, stupid, too busy, wasteful?
If you are at fault then you can resolve to do better the next chance you get. You can choose to behave differently.
If the blame lies elsewhere – remember that the loss is not your responsibility and DO NOT take the burden of the loss on as your own personal punishment. There is a time when things end. It may not be our timing, but it may be the right time.
Things change, things pass, things are lost.
The time you have to make a difference is now. The people you have in your life are here for a reason. Enjoy your day. Make good memories – to keep.
Thursday, 11 February 2010
Gifts. What are they? They come in all shapes, sizes, colours and are often indescribable.
I love to give gifts. Home made, shop bought, anything. The pleasure on the face of the receiver is a gift in return.
Today I’m giving myself a gift.
A present of time. Presence in the moment. Reflection and peace.
I receive it with utmost pleasure. My personal gift to myself.
Wednesday, 10 February 2010
When someone decides to share their secret it means that they need someone else to know what they have been keeping to themselves for a time. Being chosen can be an honour or it can be a burden. If you think you cannot bear the weight of a secret then tell the person, if you can. It will be better for them to know and feel that initial shallow disappointment than for you to take the secret and spread it far and wide and thereby deepen their sorrow.
When a secret is revealed the impact can go on for ages like an avalanche. If you’ve been entrusted with a secret – keep it.
Tuesday, 9 February 2010
Reflection is a good thing. Looking back has its benefits, however, we must be careful of spending so much time looking backwards that we miss the good that is in our present and the openings to a better future. With our hearts and minds constantly cast over our shoulders we can stumble past a bright opportunity to happiness in our future.
Monday, 8 February 2010
This morning I did something I do with regularity but the outcome was different and changed the course of the next hour considerably. While opening the bamboo blinds in the kitchen I reached up and straightened the roller. Ouch! A splinter embedded itself into my finger. I quickly let go of the blind and the unsymmetrical shape no longer bothered me as the sharp pain coursed through my finger. I tried to convince myself that nothing was in there that my skin just caught the edge of the wood but the reality of the increasing throbbing pain told me otherwise. Leaving the blind I inspected my finger in the rising light from outside. It was getting redder and darker. Frantically I searched for a needle to get it out. Grateful that I could use my stronger hand I began to break the skin around the dark patch on my finger. The imperceptible hole that it had made to enter my finger was now getting larger as I stabbed around trying to dislodge it. I was squeezing it and gently pushing the sliver of wood back to the surface of my skin. It seemed to hurt more as I tried to get it out than when it went in.
Splinters are almost on a par with stones in your shoe for being the most uncomfortable experience caused by a small item in your life. They are there. You can feel them – constantly causing you discomfort and try as you might you cannot dislodge them so the pain continues until you can be free, somehow. Eventually the stone is shaken loose or the slither of wood is squeezed out from under the skin and you are liberated from the suffering. But even when the obstacle is removed, the phantom stone or splinter remains in the same place causing you distress. It is as if nothing has changed for a while, until you become accustomed to a pain free existence.
Now with the splinter removed there is a small flap of loose skin as a reminder of the foreign body that was temporarily implanted in me. It caused pain and I will remember it – for a while – then everything will be back to normal again.
Friday, 5 February 2010
Perspective. What is it?
A different viewpoint. Looking at the same subject matter with at an alternative mental relationship. Giving something its correct amount of importance.
Sometimes is as simple as trying to put yourself in someone else’s shoes … not possible in reality, but as a temporary exercise it may just work, to imagine what this same situation MAY just look like from their eyes, with their history and way of thinking.
Get some perspective today. I’m doing so.
Wednesday, 3 February 2010
Each day, it is possible to learn something new. It should be mandatory.
Today I learnt something new about my feelings and I learnt a new way to look at an old situation, a different way to approach it.
Someone suggested a fresh attitude to something and it was as if a light bulb was switched on in my head! I had an Eureka! moment ... and it was all good.
New things are not always fearless, that is an aspect that we have to deal with as we move along life's path. I believe that we are equipped to deal with these challenges because of what we gain in all our yesterdays.
I will look at this particular situation differently now. I believe it will be better for me, and all concerned.
Thank you to my friend for suggesting a novel idea. It's good to be open to receive fresh perspectives.
Tuesday, 2 February 2010
I was reminded yesterday of something I have been saying to my younger sister for years, I have been telling her to think about saying ‘yes’ to people all the time because she is effectively saying ‘no’ to herself at the same time.
My advice to her seems to have helped her. I’m pleased for that.
Now it’s time for me to take my own advice.
I have been a people-pleaser for too many years to count: if you make them happy then they’ll like you – right?
But the flip side is they may like you for the time when you are pleasing them and making all their dreams come true, but will you like yourself?
Are you happy saying ‘no’ to yourself repeatedly?
Is it fair to deny yourself when you really want to say ‘yes, yes, yes’ to the things, time, space, peace … that you crave?
I think ... balance is required.
A little more ‘me time’ so that the resentment will fade and the happiness can be shared between you … and me.
Sounds fair, don’t you think?
Monday, 1 February 2010
Well, another month is here. Another step into the new year and all I am doing is remembering the past. Just last month masses of people all began to look forward to the new decade, new year, new start. I joined in as well. It's easy to go with the crowd. However, some things pull on my heart and mind a great deal more than prospects of the future (but, don't get me wrong, I am looking forward with hope and great anticipation).
Past loves, people who I have lost contact with, friends who I thought would be in my life forever. I sometimes sit and wonder where they are. Why we don't speak any more. Is it best to leave it all well alone?
I guess some of it is about accepting that I just did not fit into their lives the way they wanted me to. I still miss them though.
I am really, really bad at letting people go.
Maybe it's because I had to let go of my mother really early (when she died) and I didn't manage that at all well. Still not managing it well now. Who knows?
Sometimes I regret decisions I made that have led to this loss but I must accept that I made the choice at the time - whatever it was I did, I chose it - and there must have been a good reason then, even if I don't remember it now.
I will stop beating myself up and start making room in my life for new friends, new memories and happy times.
I will not, however, ever forget the past loves. My life is forever marked with our times together - and I miss you, still.
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