Set yourself free – one way or another

Angel in the marble

I found some ‘wisdom from the masters’ on Pinterest today – the whole point of creating this blog, much as I have digressed in any old direction with the blog as well as the posts.

Isn’t that what we are all doing with our lives – carving ourselves until we set ourselves free? What does your day consist of? How do you carve? With diet and exercise, learning and study, working and earning money?

I’m going to create a conversation between Eckhart Tolle and Michelangelo.

In response to this quote, I imagine Eckhart would say that the angel was already free; he already existed in Michelangelo’s mind and didn’t need setting free. The angel didn’t need anyone to complete him. He didn’t need time or being carved or more of anything to be complete. The angel can just enjoy being, enjoy the now. Joy is now after all.

Eckhart is assuming that the angel has no ego and doesn’t need to show off his beautiful form. And Michelangelo, if he has an ego as most people do, might argue that it is his life’s work to follow his passion, to share his talents, to show the world what exists in his mind, to create and leave his mark.

So what are you creating today? Anything that will be remembered 5 years, a year, a month, a week from now? Will you remember today next week or will it blur into yesterday, a tiny brick in the life you are building? 

angel

Alternatively, do you go by Eckhart’s thinking, that you are already complete, that there is already a thin person inside you, that you are a brilliant and successful book writer, as soon as you carve your book and prove it, which you don’t need to, that you are already a rich person, meaning that you don’t need a thing? Future and time will not complete you, as you are already complete, so just relax and enjoy each day.

It’s your life.  Your choice.  You do what you like.  I hope you can think both ways.  It sure passes my years enjoyably toying with these ideas.

 

 

 

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Time to Clear the Decks

Clear the decks

 

Photo from Pinterest

Confucius say Tidy Computer Desk equal tidy Mind

Yeah, I know that’s not exactly it but it’s early OK? And I wanted a quote to express a little joy I got this morning. I moved 3 hats. Not earth shattering, especially as I only moved them 3 feet above to a shelf, and yet the joy of seeing the white chest of drawers again was inspiring. It was refreshing, and now every time I go in my walk in wardrobe (for 3 days while my brain gets used to it) I will be reminded that things have changed. Life is always changing.

I am soothed by knowing that I have just a little control in this crazy world and that part of the ‘Happy Life‘ which I no longer put off (since I’ve printed out 3 signs to remind me) is to create calm. If this means hiding everything I have in cupboards or throwing away 27 things a day for 9 days, or buying myself flowers (a very rare thing), I can do it. And it has a great return on investment.

If can keep this up, it means I’ll be ready for anything. I will know where things are, I will be inspired by finding new stuff that is really actually old stuff that I love, and maybe the gods of Feng Shui will smile on me if I accidentally get it right.

If I can examine my resistance to throwing or giving stuff away, I will know myself a little better and can wear down my silly beliefs about hanging on to stuff. Extreme Hoarders anyone? I am fascinated by their logic but only because I have those tendencies.

Chair hoarding

Photo from Pinterest

Anyway, it must be time to clear this out a drawer or something before work. Tidy Drawer, Tidy Mind 🙂

 

The difference between your brain and Leonardo Da Vinci’s

Great minds are interested in the commonplace

Little minds are interested in the extraordinary; great minds in the commonplace – Elbert Hubbard

When Leonardo died, the experts sliced his brain into thousands of infinitesimally small slivers in order to examine each piece for genius and to preserve for posterity and further learning. What did they find? They went through his notebooks with a fine toothcomb, each way ahead of their time, full of drawings and diagrams on a multitude of subjects. His painting skills were the least of his prolific talents. Each priceless collection of notebooks is distributed around the world in some institution or other. He was truly an extraordinary human being.

Actually I am lying. I am pulling your leg. I have no clue what they did to Leonardo’s brain. Probably buried it. It was was some other chap they sliced the brain of and studied endlessly in life and after death, because he had a disorder that made him lose his short term memory. He had no recollection each day of what he had done the day before, (much the same way that I cannot now remember his name). And yet, if he had learned to do something the day before, he was better at it the day after, even though the rest of his memory was gone and he did not recall learning it.

Anyway I digress because this quote by Elbert Hubbard is all about appreciating the commonplace. It’s easy to be fascinated by the extraordinary, such as Leonardo da Vinci, the newest Apple product or medical finding. It’s harder to be interested in the common leaf, as these kids are.

Children surely have great minds then. Artists and bloggers also! We haven’t lost our sense of wonder at the common word of the common people. We take time to read blogs by ‘amateurs’, able to glean wisdom from the smallest of things, the rearrangement of words into concepts or the sharing of a personal experience.

So what is the difference between your brain and Leonardo’s? Nothing, folks, now you remember that and go use it!

 

Do you have plans?

I was planned

 

When I go to my computer each day, I have plans to blog, to reach deep inside myself, see what I find, hopefully like what I find and put it out there.

Sometimes life doesn’t go to plan like with these adorable boys and you like what comes even better!  I’ve had a great time on Pinterest today.  I am taking some of my own advice from a little while ago which is so good I reckon that it is my goal for today.

Dont put off your happy life

 

I hope you enjoy your happy life today, and that if your plans change, you enjoy them even more.

 

Loving Words

Loving the written word

 

I used the word love as a verb, not an adjective but both will do.

I found this great advertisement by Australia Post on Pinterest yesterday and I rushed to save the image because I love the written word, as I assume all bloggers do.

I have also saved every love letter that I have ever received, back in the days before marriage, when I specialised in long distance relationships.  There are quite a few! When I got each letter, the first thing I would do is rush to the end, like cheating when reading a book. All I really wanted to hear was how much they loved me, how secure our relationship was. Only then could I start reading, feeling safe. They could have saved the bulk of the letter, really.

I did once get a ‘Dear John’ letter from the first chap in Sweden who was supposed to emigrate to Australia to join me, having been together for 2 years at University in England. He wrote ‘I love you but I don’t think I could live with you’, which gutted me. Remember that feeling where the blood drains from your face?

Luckily I had a housemate with actual self esteem who said ‘What kind of weak rubbish is that? Move on immediately’ and that’s what I did, throwing myself into dating again. When he eventually called to follow up three weeks later, I was like Who?? So easy. All that worrying and letter cheating was so daft. I guess I was so afraid of not being lovable. Age sorts that one out hopefully. I’m good now 🙂

Anyway this blog is supposed to be about learning from the Masters, not from advertisements so I leave you with this. As writers (and readers), this little reminder goes without saying.

learn to read

 

You’ve got me? Who’s got you? – Lois Lane to Superman

mother and child

I give full credit for my title to the 80s version of Superman. It’s a fantastic line, used in the trailers I seem to remember and used for the comedy value of it, but full of truth anyway. We laugh because we know that his strength ‘has’ him, that he is all powerful.

I wanted to use the actual image but it may be subject to copyright so here’s the next best thing.

Actually this may be a better image because that’s what it refers to. No, not Botticelli, or Jesus but a child looking up to a parent.

As small kids we think our parents have it all under control, that they are there to support us. How exactly? Financially perhaps, with love, protection, guidance maybe.

And just sometimes I feel like my kids should be asking ‘You’ve got me, who’s got you?’

That’s all. One little manifestation of my irrational mood these days……

 

 

Who’s singing now?

Birds Singing

A bird doesn’t sing because it has an answer, it sings because it has a song – Lou Holz

What does it take to make the birds sing every morning? Will they sing, good mood or bad, cold or wet, tired or afraid? I suspect they will, because they have a song and nothing will deter them from it. They are preprogrammed to sing. They know that’s what they do and it doesn’t occur to them to do otherwise as the sun comes up each day. And it probably makes them feel great! I learned that even faking a smile raises your happiness levels so those birds are probably on to something.

 

Let the Birds Sing

 

The birds in Sydney are noisy. The Kookaburras compete with the screeching Cockatoos, who drown out the Whip Birds and I think the rainbow coloured Lorikeets make a terrible racket, to be honest, much as I am in awe of their looks. With flowers, the sweetest smelling seem to be the plainest and perhaps so it is with birds; that the most beautiful make the worst noise and vice versa.

Anyway, back to the premise of this lovely quote, which is that we all have a song within us somewhere; a talent, a love for something, a gift perhaps. How often do we sing though? What stops us? What increases our confidence to new heights, full of ideas and certainty and inspiration one minute and then whips it all away?

I think that finding what you love, be it reading blogs or books, or admiring painting or photography etc will eventually lead to getting the confidence to create your own. Baby steps, a few notes which hopefully burgeon into a song or even an album.

I’ve read this morning of some people starting their blogs because they just enjoyed reading others’ blogs and wanted to have their own, and having to look for a subject to ‘sing ‘about. They found their voice and sung. Yay for them.

For others like me, it’s an outlet, a voice. I must sing, I simply must. My song is unfolding.

 

Find your song and sing it

Wishing you all a lovely song today and a bumptious and joyous rendition!

 

 

 

Did you earn anything today?

Loving Grandparents

Old age takes away from us what we have inherited and gives us what we have earned – Gerald Brenan

I do not remember ever seeing this quote yet it came from last year’s desk calendar. It speaks to me today because I was pondering yesterday on whether I would jump at the chance of living a human life again.

No life is untouched by want, need, joy, tragedy, love, work and sacrifice, among other things. If I look back on the days when I had 3 kids under the age of 4 at once and the sleepless nights and helplessness I felt as a parent in the face of their tears at times, I might wonder if I wouldn’t mind missing those years out, no matter how adorable it all looks now in the photos. If I look back on these days, where I am a single parent, working full time, trying to pay the bills, manage the house, garden and pool with elbow grease, 3 teenagers and a low budget, I might wonder if I could miss these years out instead. If I look back on when I was waiting to see if I could emigrate to Australia and couldn’t get my life started, I might want to skip that year instead.

But the list goes on and on, and each phase of life has its moments – merry, marvellous and tough. Of course I wouldn’t miss out a moment. There are trying and horrible events, and deaths and testing people and depression but these particular tribulations are behind me now, and I came out the other side, brave enough to see what transpires next.

Anyway I digress. Gerald is saying, I believe, that we are born with physical attributes and personality traits and hopefully at least one parent to love and take care of us as we grow into adults. As we leave the nest and find our own way in the world we ‘earn’ a second family, jobs, friends, money, status, lifestyle, health and happiness.

Old age, while stealing our looks and youthful health, replaces it with a sense of accomplishment and wisdom if we have chosen to grab it, an understanding of how things will likely play out, a sense of our own strengths in the face of adversity and hopefully less reactivity to everything around us. We may have lost our ancestors and parents by then but we will have replaced it with the next generations, or great friends and community bound to us by all we have done for each other.

Baby hands

With any luck we have replaced uncertainty with happiness, angst with confidence borne of the years.

Can I take my current knowledge to my next life? Would you replace youth for all you know now? I value what I’ve been through to get here. I hope you do too.

 

 

You owe me for this!

Owes me Big

As a kid, maybe thanks to fairytales I had this general idea of karma; of good winning over evil; of cause and effect and people owing something to other people if they did something for them.

So for example with my penpal, I sent her a letter and then she owed me a letter. Simple, right? I think we often still live by this rule; some people more than others and in more ways than others. Take a minute to think about where this may be true for you; what your hidden agendas are. If you make your partner a cup of tea, does he then owe you the next one? Because you’ve sacrificed to bring up your children, do they owe it to you to look after you in your old age? If you go to work for someone do they owe you money?

Aha! Yes, one would expect to get paid for going to work. But here’s the difference. It is clearly laid out, hopefully; what you will and won’t do for that money. There is no hidden agenda, it’s quite visible. We may need that money to live on, so we make sure we receive it. Society has made this quite acceptable and we are stressed if we don’t get paid.

So many hidden ‘you owe me’ agendas are exactly that – hidden. Things come unstuck if the other person doesn’t know that they owe you. Trying telling a teenager that they owe you because you pay the bills, do all the gardening and upkeep of the house, or gave them a lift! I do try but it doesn’t really work, to be honest.

This ‘You owe me’ attitude can lead to a lot of heartache, especially if you are too anxious about what others think, to lay down any ground rules first. I have to question why I do stuff ‘for’ my kids and be sure that I am doing it in the right headspace, without them owing me anything. I say ‘for’ because for example when I was cleaning the pool and sewing bench seat cushions over the weekend, I realised it was actually for me, not them. I have to do it because I want to, to be at peace in my own head. And when I don’t want to, I simply don’t. I might go on cooking strike for weeks on end, or refuse to give them a lift again until their room is tidy. You find your own way and your own boundaries.

So back when I was a kid, I would get quite upset at all sorts of things which now no longer bother me. Nobody owes it to me to keep in touch or to return

my phone call or text or email, or make me a cup of coffee. I am far from perfect though. My weak spot can still distress me. If someone owes me money I generally want it back unless I can rationalise it in my head with all they’ve done for me. I’d like to lose that one, one day.

Owe me money

Blogging taught me a lot about letting go of ‘you owe me’. I hope you realise you don’t owe me a thing by the way! If anything I owe you – eternally. I owe you life lessons which will hold me in good stead. I owe you thanks for giving me any attention and your precious time. I owe you for your lovely comments and support.

We don’t owe it to each other to follow those that follow us, or to read everything another writes. I selfishly try to blog each day for myself, and I can’t possibly demand that anyone takes time out of their precious life to read my ramblings every day! If I comment on your blog, you don’t owe me a reply. I comment if it solidifies something for me and makes me happy to comment at the time. If I get the bonus of a reply, that’s a gift; not something you owe me.

Have you looked at your internal beliefs and rules of where you think you owe other people? Sometimes we are pretty harsh on ourselves. We think we owe something to someone even if we would not expect it of them, should the roles be reversed. Watch out for that!! That is surely the path to being used or feeling guilty and stressed all the time, wasting valuable memory with a balance sheet of what you ‘should’ do.

So I hope you realise you don’t owe me. No one actually owes me anything and life is a lot calmer and simpler that way. No hidden agendas, only nice surprises.

Do me a favour

The Best Advice

Beautiful Old Woman

My 80 Year Old Self

I was reminded on my walk today of my 80 year old self. I totally believe I will live to a ripe old age, thanks to an unbidden Palm Reader in Paris who accosted me, made some predictions which came true within a month of meeting her, and because I love what she said. “You will live to be very old and will be very loved”. Maybe she says that to everyone but who doesn’t want to hear it?

Anyway I was reminded of my 80 year old self on my walk by suddenly looking up at the trees framed against the cloudless deep blue sky. These trees are in blossom (Summer here) with reds and oranges, and they looked amazing grouped together like that against the blue. I had never noticed them before even though I try to do this walk every day. I was climbing a steep path between two houses, about 1.7m wide, with 6 foot wooden fences either side of me. It’s easier to look down and concentrate in case you slip as it’s so steep than to look up. This sudden vision reminded me of my 80 year old self because I realised that I may not still be able to climb this hill at 80, so I should appreciate the hill and the unexpected view, all the more.

I love to dwell on my 80 year old self. When I find myself critical of my body, I have my 80 year old self tell me that I will always be beautiful at 46 and look at my skin now at 80, no longer so smooth, firm or relatively evenly toned. My 80 year old self reminds me when the girls are singing and playing the piano downstairs (like last night), that the music is extra special because I won’t always get to hear that once they move away and they may not even continue to sing together.

The old biddy likes to remind me at work that the point of working is not to get through today to make another dollar to pay the bills, because that just continues until you retire and then eventually become 80. The point is to enjoy each day that I can be well enough to work and converse with the lovely people there and feel useful and needed, adding a little of my energy, time and goodwill to the business.

Sadly I don’t have time to expand on the wisdom she imparts today as my 46 year old self smashed her passenger wing mirror over Christmas and is off to get it fixed before work, but my 80 year old self will have forgotten it anyway. She is very forgiving too of anything I’ve done so far!

Have you listened to your 80 year old self recently?

Old Ladies Rebellion