Connecting the dots

In the past year I have learned so much – about writing, blogging, social media, about people and about myself. And it couldn’t have been learned in a week, even if I read and wrote 24 hours a day, clocking up the same amount of hours as over the past year. It doesn’t work like that.

Sometimes you need to see a snapshot over time and I feel I am now beginning to connect the dots. What I have learned is that I am not alone in my ups and downs. I experience great highs and lows and unless the entire blogging world of writers are all bipolar, then nor am I! (Actually, don’t answer that). I read and get to experience wonderful highs in others’ posts, words of joy, wisdom, encouragement, faith and now I look on them not with skepticism, knowing that it will crash back at some point, but with love and connection. I read about people’s lows also, interpreting what’s between the lines and only guessing at the depth of pain contained therein.

But my aha moment today is seeing the ebb and flow of it all. Our inner worlds simply can’t remain the same; it’s not possible. I want to get out there and hug every blogger, whether they are at their peak or wondering how they let the joy slip away without noticing and wondering what on earth to write about if they felt their blog should be all joy and roses.

Here is my hug people, whether the sun is shining, your world is simple and the decks are cleared, ready for the fun times ahead to be enjoyed or whether you are wondering why you are bogged down and nothing seems to interest you these days. I truly believe we are ultimately all the same and there is nothing wrong with that. Remember to connect your own dots and see the picture you are creating.

need a hug

need a hug

 

 

How to attract the creative

It is better by far to speak with a person than to a person – J.D. Boatwood

Speak with you darling

Ouch! I am guilty of this one. Sometimes I go into warp speed, all excited about my latest subject and off I go, like a cork out of post Grand Prix champagne. There is no ‘with’ about it. The unwitting listener goes through Continue reading

Watch how you do it

Weighing it up

It’s a fairly regular occurrence it seems. You see it on TV and in the movies and you even do it yourself. You have an item you need to place somewhere else, say a piece of paper or an item for the laundry basket. Unfortunately you are not close to the bin or basket, but you are within throwing distance you reckon. So what happens next and what does this say about you? There is even an app or a game for your phone to chuck paper balls in the bin. It’s so satisfying, a little win in your day if it gets there. A little excitement, a little risk. A little finality. Think how nearly all sports involve getting a ball of some sort into a final resting place. Final, done, no questions asked (usually). Some certainty in this otherwise very uncertain life.

Anyway, there I was this morning, throwing dirty sexy lingerie (I’m joking, boring cotton underpants) into the laundry basket….. I assessed the distance, the wind speed, how hard I would need to scrunch the undies so they wouldn’t unravel in flight and slow themselves down. I looked at the direction, considered underarm and overarm throws and other items they might bounce off on the way. I aimed carefully at the basket and….

Waste paper

Do we often take this much care in life when doing things? Do we prepare ourselves for ‘flight’, decide how we will make our next move, aim ourselves in the right direction and give ourselves just the right propulsion, not too much, not too little? Or do we take no risk at all and simply walk over to the basket, using perhaps more energy than we need to do the same work and without the excitement? What if we throw the item and fail? What if we miss? Are we resigned, laugh, decide it was worth the fun and then walk over? Do we leave it for next time we are passing by or hope someone else will clean up after us?

There seem to be signs everywhere about who we are, how we do things, what mood we are in. We manifest in every little thing we do and I mean every thing, even as simple as this. Take a look at how you do things and wonder perhaps if there’s another way…

As for me I missed the basket. I forgot to factor in my unco-ordination. It was off to the right and fell short of the basket. All the more reason to try again next time 🙂

paper slam dunk

 

I like to think…..

Thinking child

  • that this blog will be of comfort to my kids if I died suddenly and they would read it, feeling like I am still there talking to them…
  • that my ancestors might even be interested in these little snippets of my current thinking from 2013
  • that if any potential employer sees my blog, they will be able to work out if I am right for their organisation in whatever capacity, mostly because I’m a ‘nice’ person and not afraid to be me
  • that one day I will be truly organised, with nothing in my house I don’t truly need, a recipe book full of tasty, easy, nutritious, inexpensive, one pot (little washing up) meals and a folder of photos of my outfits, carefully assembled so I know what to wear every morning and have some hope of looking polished
  • that one day I will not judge each mouthful I eat against my figure and each dollar I spend against my need to be thrifty; actually that I will lose some of my perfectionism

 

Think

  • that I will get to meet my favourite bloggers in person one day such as Yaz in Doha, Diane in America, Little Miss Wordy in Puerto Rico, Sarah Jane in Malta, Colin in America, Adriana in South Sydney etc etc. Hey what a trip that would be!
  • that my kids will live their lives doing what they love and have a gift at; that they are better prepared for life mentally than I was at their age
  • that I will never stop thinking and dreaming and making these lists
  • that anyone who reads this will make their own list and perhaps then take steps to examine some of their unspoken dreams

 

Examine your dreams

Clear as Mud but Twice as Satisfying

Look around you

The young have aspirations that never come to pass, the old have reminiscences of what never happened – SAKI

When I was younger I dreamed of being many things and not once did I want to be a writer, as I do now. At seven I wrote stories about magical dolls based on my Tiny Tears and ‘April Love’. I wrote about talking bluebells and I even penned a LOT of poems which I haven’t done in years (unless you count the rap song my boyfriend and I wrote together, 2 lines each at a time, as a series of playful text messages recently). I even won a local council writing competition at seven; the pinnacle of my career thus far.

Although my childhood aspirations never came to pass, it’s only because I didn’t want them enough. In fact I never even tried – ballerina, tv actress, hairdresser, air hostess, artist, model, psychologist and more; quite the array. Instead I got an Economics degree and NOT ONCE did I aspire to be an Economist or Mathematician, despite studying those subjects at great length!

So I believe my aspirations are waiting in the wings now that my ‘second life‘ as Barbara Sher puts it, is here. There will be an empty nest someday soon, I am older and wiser, still full of energy and my focus is to a large degree on me now; not on building home and family. This second life is our gift to do with as we please and I am grateful to Barbara for writing a great book on this subject. It’s only too late if you don’t start now.

Anyway I digress. I really picked this quote because I have been thinking a lot recently about how we clean up our reminiscences; or our stories. I have this unfortunate need to tell everyone my life story and also to ‘talk in detail’ when I am not aware of myself, not present. I do waffle, as you would know if you follow my blog! When I am ‘present and aware of myself’, I can summarise, just a little. In order to relay as much information as possible in the shortest time we try to capture the essence of our stories. We miss out details and clean the stories up. Quite often if we are presented with any written evidence of our past such as diaries, we realise that we have changed the story as well as forgotten large chunks, perhaps subconsciously. You only have to hear 5 eye witness versions of the same event to know that they can’t all be right and yet each witness genuinely believes they are recounting what happened.

So we can give ourselves the benefit of the doubt in many cases, due to an unpredictable memory, and in other cases we have to forgive ourselves for rearranging the story to protect our egos, our image of ourselves.

My story of my marriage and its eventual dissolution is quite different to my ex husband’s. The story of our current financial situations are so different that you would hardly know we were the same two people. Of course it’s how we see things.

So how do you want to see things? What image of yourself are you clinging to? Battler, Tragic, Lucky, Brave, Unlucky, Martyr? See how your stories are shaped by this.

Have you ever been at some course where you have to turn to the stranger next to you and tell them your life story in one minute only? Try it. What are the bones you pick out? Your age, marital status, kids, job, tragedies or triumphs that changed your life course? Now try it again but relate the essence of who you think you are inside, what your hobbies and aspirations are, your current joys and anxieties. Your face as you recount this second version will more likely be real, showing emotion, being present and aware. That’s how connection is really made; between real, vulnerable people.

I think I digress again but my point is to be aware of our selective memory and the fact that things aren’t always what they seem – for others or ourselves. Our stories are as clear as mud; as fake as the imperfect egoic mind they are created and rearranged in. For they are arranged to satisfy the ego, whether to say Look at Me or Poor Me or Lucky Me. Each has its purpose.

It’s only when we are here, now that everything is real and true. Look around you. Enjoy this moment and the clarity of what’s around you. You can’t doubt that lovely colour you see, or the friends near you or your home, or the sky or the music you hear. The smells are real, the tastes and the feelings. Clear as a bell and music to your soul, if only you realised it.

 

I dare ya!

Skull oil lamp

How do we keep our blogs burning? I spend a lot of time on the blogging world because I read every post of every blog I follow and there are quite a few. Something I have noticed though is that many I am drawn to started within a few months of when I started. Do we have the same level of freshness/enthusiasm/naiveté? Are we on this journey together and how fast do each of us travel? Some have exponential growth in followers, and some none at all. One has only written two posts but I wait with baited breath for the third. Others have years of archives I long to explore.

The other thing I noticed is that some people appear to have stopped writing their blog. I follow a few diet type blogs because my other blog is helping me lose a little weight. What happened to those people who stopped? The last post of one implies that he has fallen off the wagon and started to eat unhealthily again. What are the consequences of stopping a questioning, feel-good type blog like I hope this one is? Could it be that I have become depressed and have nothing in my oil lamp to keep it burning? Would you continue to follow after a year if I didn’t post?

Perhaps I am drawn to the kind of blogs where the humble writers don’t have all the answers and are seeking them, or maybe that describes all of mankind, in some way or another. I have a passing interest in non soul searching blogs such as how to be a blogger and the latest trends and photography. I satisfy my curiosity for the new on Pinterest more now also. But there is no connection there except where the blogger posts comments on my posts and I feel I know them and care about them as people. The information only blogs only attract my attention sporadically. This is why it’s called social media I expect!

So back to you, my wonderful blogging friends. What does your oil consist of? How are you today? How does your mood affect whether you blog or not? Do you take the time to keep putting oil in the lamp, however you enrich your soul, enough to dare to blog? For it is a dare, really, a great act of courage to say anything at all and hit publish. I have looked back at some of my past posts and think ‘what rubbish!’ but the point is the confidence with which we write, not what we actually say. The confidence to hope that one other soul (or our own soul) gets some benefit from it. I applaud every post I have written, rubbish or otherwise and all of yours! You did it!  The lights are on!

Light bulb lamp

Just some random thoughts from a scrambled egg mind. I didn’t think I’d blog today….

Don’t tell the host!

Be my guest

A guest sees more in an hour than the host in a year – POLISH PROVERB

This made me laugh though it can also be quite serious. I once stayed somewhere and discovered that the host was making late night calls and cheating on his wife. It was later confirmed. But I won’t go there.

What does the guest get to see that the host does not? Children playing up behind the weary parents’ back, partners doing sneaky things, ways of living that tell a lot about a usually dysfunctional home and worst of all, unhealthy ways of communicating between the family perhaps which will likely lead to misery down the track; runaway teenagers or divorce.

It’s not like hosts don’t try to put on a good front. When guests come to my house is when you will find it at its cleanest. I tell them to please take a good look around on this, their first visit as it will likely never look so clean again. I like to think I don’t keep up with the Joneses however I realise I do have some hidden agenda of standards that I want to meet. In fact I am the Joneses. And so I clean and tidy with fresh eyes – the eyes of my guest. This is daft right there because guests are either meticulous and I can’t live up to their standards, (a couple of girlfriends once said they couldn’t live like this because I had a broken but decorative lamp and picture frames askew), or they are oblivious and would tell me not to bother cleaning up at all before they come, like the lady I did the house swap with.

Actually I take delight in showing my childrens’ rooms at their worst, just to show that I am real, with messy teenagers, and that I can cope with massive imperfection in some areas. I choose my battles.

Anyway what the guests see or judge is up to them. What we see and judge is up to us. It might be fun to borrow the ‘fresh eyes’ of a guest for a day to see what we think they see. Are my kids out of control, my house unsanitary, my garden positively neglected? Have my standards relaxed too much? Am I loved and admired by my children or being walked all over? Are my habits likely to lead to eventual chaos?

I think it’s true; it’s easier to see ourselves when we pick this new state of consciousness; guest versus host. How we judge ourselves and what we do about it is another thing, but it is usually easier to take criticism from our own inner Mrs Jones than anyone else’s. We are hopefully criticising constructively and from a place of self love. We might even glean some joy from refreshing our lives. Only we can ascertain how far we need to go.

I hope you’re feeling refreshed today. Life is never dull if we can take on new personalities. Who will you be after reading this?

normal, not normal

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 🙂

 

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