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

 

 

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Do you believe yourself?

Believe yourself

Believe yourself

This isn’t a typing error. There should be no ‘in’ after believe in that sentence. We surely all believe in ourselves to some extent but do we believe ourselves and why does it matter? 

When I was a kid my siblings liked to stir me up by pretending they didn’t believe me when I told them something. I would get all upset about it and promise and swear on my Tiny Tears, in all earnestness that it was true.

It’s all too easy unfortunately to be mean to a child as they take things so seriously and believe in justice, right or wrong, black and white. It takes a while for them to realise that others sometimes like to be mean for the fun of it. It still eludes me today and I don’t enjoy practical jokes that can cause even a nanosecond’s discomfort to someone else.  Perhaps it’s because they have the tools to deal with that kind of thing, they assume everyone else does and that it won’t do any harm. Go pick on someone your own size!

Anyway it’s taken me a lifetime to realise that it doesn’t matter if others believe you as long as you believe yourself. If they say that red is green and you are an honest person yourself, not understanding why someone would lie, you might start to question yourself and look for proof that red is in fact green. What a waste of energy, better spent questioning why someone else would lie or try to stir you up. Better yet, accept that people are different, their journey is theirs and let it go. It doesn’t have to be part of yours. What they believe or what they tell you they believe is their business. Nothing to do with you. Have faith to believe what you believe until such time as you no longer do.  No one can take your beliefs away unless you let them.

This blog is for all the sensitive people out there on a journey to lose that sensitivity, see the rest of the world for what it is and accept that people do things which are incomprehensible to you. All we can do is get out of their way, not try to control or even change anyone else and work on our own filters, our own minds and our own stories. Most of all we need to believe ourselves. A lifetime of genes, experiences and decisions has brought us to where each of us is now, doing our best with what we have.  Further observation of life will take us onward, hopefully to a place of peace and understanding. All we ultimately have is our thoughts. Guard and protect them well.

guard your thoughts

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

Yin and Yang


Power tools

I haven’t blogged for a while as my energy seems to have gone into doing up my home. I have heard of the concept of masculine and feminine energy and I wonder which is the more masculine – writing blogs or using power tools! I tend to reject the outside world, including my boyfriend, when I have this huge energy for getting things done so my renovating is a masculine pursuit for me. But what is writing? If feminine energy is being sensual, loving, yearning and preparing for someone else then I would assume that writing is a masculine pursuit.

What constitutes feminine energy? Some people are quiet and softly spoken, good listeners, gentle souls. That’s easy to spot. I look the part, wearing mostly dresses, my long carefully curled hair, make up and love of pink and anything girly but I have a lot of energy (and calloused hands) which surprises people. Sometimes I just want to get things done, so everyone else can bugger off and did I mention that I swear (a lot on a bad day)? I get impatient with pfaffing around, wonder why people don’t just get on with things sometimes and probably come across as aggressive at times.

I actually had a quote about gluttony to write about today but I am so off track I give up on that one for now 🙂 The ultimate digress!

Anyway back to today’s digress. My probably very sexist comments here are just ramblings – exploring out loud, which is why I took to blogging in the first place – a journey not to teach but to discover.

And of what use is today’s outburst to you, the reader if you have gotten this far? I think this has been a reminder to me to become more balanced. I must remember to use all sides of my persona and not head down a masculine path like a woman possessed. Living alone with my kids and not seeing my partner very often (he is another independent creative) has allowed me to indulge my selfish side, which often involves getting things done. But once I am on this ‘kick’ I find it hard to stop. It was Mother’s Day yesterday and I spent the whole day physically working on the home and garden. But I had the best day! And what does it take to commute this energy back to blogging? I committed to myself to at least try today and it’s been hard. This post has been rewritten so many times. I am all over the shop. No beginning, middle or end; no satisfactory conclusion (yet?)

OK here’s the moral of my story. May you remember today to stop and become aware of where you are at – achieving at the expense of human relations, or indulging in love and friendship while the things you should be doing remain neglected and are slowly building up into crisis mode. May your energies be balanced and harmony be restored.

Playful

 

Are you a Sparkler or a Log?

Sparkler

I am sure you know what I’m talking about. We’re alive so we have a fire in us that is burning until such time as it goes out. We have energy, in fact we are energy of course. How you use that energy as you live is up to you.

I like to think I’m a sparkler. Enthusiastic, impulsive; I just LOVE life! … Until I don’t and I’m all flat again for a short while. Some people are logs. It might take them a while to ignite but once they do, they just keep on humming along, warm and cosy, glowing and reliable until the end.

So how do you cope if you are a sparkler? Life can be full on amazing; explosive even. When you’ve burned out, as you surely must at some point until the next time, what do you have left?

Bombe Alaska

Now if you were one of these desserts, your loved ones wouldn’t be left looking at a burned out sparkler each time your latest interest extinguishes itself. They would be left with what they know and love, someone inviting, comforting, sweet, wonderful; however else you would like to describe this confection.

So it’s OK to be you. I’ts OK to be up and down, be labelled bipolar perhaps, get enthusiastic but not follow through to something more meaningful or money making. The joy was in the sparkle and the sparkle is always to be appreciated, no matter how short. You know what is left inside you to hold the sparkle. Hold it firmly in your hands and never let it go. The intensity is just one tiny aspect of your personality that people will either be drawn to or avoid. Let them go. We can’t hang on to everyone we come across in life and each interaction is meaningful, no matter how short.

Glowing log

And if you are a log? I applaud you and I envy you in some ways. Your interests will develop as you stick with them and be applauded and recognised. You are glowing, reliable, quietly burning and making the world a warmer place for everyone with your consistency.

There’s room for us all people. And thank goodness for that.

 

Le Tweak, C’est Chic!

Pretty young woman with arms raised standing on beach

We must rediscover the distinction between hope and expectation – Ivan Illich

Yes, I know it’s a big ask to marry up the attention grabbing title (you’re curious and reading aren’t you?) and this quote from the masters. What could they possibly have in common?

I have been away from blogging for a few days because I discovered on Pinterest a board called Tips (one of many no doubt) and magically if you click on any website named at the bottom of the image, it takes you directly to the actual information. I am sure everyone knew that but I assumed it would take you to the website mentioned and then you would have Buckley’s chance of finding the solution promised. Wrong. And there went even more hours of my life.

So for the last few days I have been tweaking my life, my home and my body. I have had fun tweaking my saucepan lids into submission, making homemade make up remover wipes, repairing reading glasses and generally improving my life in a myriad of ways. (Plus I fixed two leaking loos for 75c and 60c respectively, YAY!)

But here’s where the quote comes in. I hope these tips and instructions will actually work. I hope my life will be all the better for having discovered them and having spent so much time on them. I hope I will have the answers to all my small problems in life if I just keep looking. But do I expect everything will turn out perfectly? Do I expect they will all work, my time is being wisely spent and I will become this superwoman/goddess of beauty and domesticity eventually? Not really.

Maid

I will continue though because the fun is in the tweaking. Small victories, new ideas, opening yourself up to a chance of improvement. That’s where the excitement is. I never know what I am going to improve next. We all tweak I am sure. Being totally sexist here, do guys tweak their cars to run better, or tweak their weight training for that extra bit of muscle? Don’t we tweak our recipes to make them exactly how we like? Tweaking is fun! It says I have ideas or knowledge, I am original, I can improve things and change my life for the better. I can get a small part of my life organised even while the rest may be going to sh… I am in charge, I am in control and things are only getting better while I focus on making them so.

So do we expect life will bed a bed of roses until we leave this mortal coil? You can’t tweak a loss, or a car accident or a major life event. We can only tweak how we react to them. Take a deep breath, perhaps. Repeat “it’s only money, only a number on my bank statement” or whatever else may calm you in certain situations. How about ‘this too shall pass’ or ‘when one door closes…’?

Anyway I will tweak away, enjoy my journey of discovery, my small victories and improvements, the good feeling of hoping I am in control of something, anything, while I expect that I am probably not the master of anything at all. But who cares? Today I am merry, the best there is.

And if you now have the song in your head from which I so blatantly borrowed the title, I apologise but go dance!

Dance away

 

Just get wet

Some people walk in the rain, others just get wet – Roger Miller

What will you be immersed in today?

Will it be sunshine and light that you can really see and appreciate particularly well if it comes down like this?

Stream of light

Or will it be rain and water, that you can either hate as it makes your hair frizzy and your make up smudge or love because it gives you life?

Water

Look how both people are holding out their hands to accept what’s given!

I have nothing to give today except these lovely images. I hope they bring appreciation and a little inspiration for the great things we get for free. Funny how a little focus (streams of light and water), rather than the big picture (sunshine and rain) can remind you of the value of what we take for granted sometimes.

Don’t interrupt me, I’m on a roll!

Headphones

It’s pretty hard to be efficient without being obnoxious – KIN HUBBARD

Obnoxious. Even the word sounds obnoxious, like onomatopoeia or something. This is so true isn’t it?

At the moment I’m efficient. I have almost reached my diet goal, my house is looking less cluttered and fresh, my ironing is up to date. Yada, yada, yada. I start my day with a run and I am even today blogging before work again (yay) now that the clocks have changed and it’s lighter in the morning, my favourite time.

So why am I obnoxious? I called my sister in London and cut the call short (45 minutes, in my defence) to get my morning started. I should mention though that she has just completed ‘the works’ in terms of breast cancer treatment over the last few months 😦 and we don’t speak often enough.

At work I guess this quote pans out also. As a customer service consultant I start every call with ‘how are you going?’ and my callers also ask me how I am too most of the time. This is hardly efficient and I used not to do it but I realise it’s a good way to build rapport, just by showing that you are spending those extra few seconds exchanging pleasantries and I like to vary my response when they ask me from ‘Great!’ to ‘Excellent!’. I even tell the full truth sometimes! My colleague usually says ‘I’m so well, it’s scary’ which always raises a laugh with the rest of us. There is always a way to inject your personality. Have you ever said ‘Fine thanks’ when they didn’t even ask you, or worse, had them do that to you, so you feel you should make them feel less stupid? We have so many laughs at work on the phone! I do love my job.

Anyway I digress. At work, the less ‘popular’ people are the more efficient ones it seems. They don’t always reply to your emails or your calls, or make conversation at the coffee machine. Basically they don’t take time to connect, which is what life is all about to me. 

How else can we be obnoxious? Cut in front of someone else’s car while driving, not give way when someone has clearly been waiting a long time, steal someone’s parking spot, why don’t you? Leave the toilet (or anywhere used by others) in a mess. Tell your kids not to even talk to you while you are blogging?  (oops!) All my examples seem to involve time and being efficient which proves this quote.

So are you going to be efficient or obnoxious today? Will you take an extra few seconds of your day to ‘give’ to someone else? Will you be a little more considerate on the roads, or take the extra time to clean up after yourself?  Will you dress or behave in an inoffensive way, thinking of the good of all or will you be on your own little mission?

Better still, will you realise that most people aren’t actually obnoxious, they are just caught up in their heads, thinking that they have to be perfect, do everything to the absolute best of their ability and that the race to the end is what counts? A kind word to someone so ‘efficient’ may make a big difference and release them perhaps.

time to do it right

And because I’d rather end with a picture, how could you ever look obnoxious doing this?

smell the roses

Minute to Minute, Lock it in!

Up and Down

What a day-to-day affair life is – Jules Laforgue

I like this quote but I would like to change it to ‘what a minute to minute affair life is’. I’ve heard that each day is like a mini lifetime, between waking up and going to sleep. I’ve appreciated and pondered on that too. However, recently I’ve been getting caught up in my own head again, trying to attain goals and reach destinations instead of appreciating the day to day or the minute to minute or even second to second. The first step to ‘recovery’ is awareness so I’m going OK.

Over Easter and the last week while housebound with my daughter who has just had a tonsillectomy I got this idea to have a huge purge of my belongings so that if I ever rented out my house as a holiday home, I could hide or remove what’s left of my stuff in an instant at short notice.

It makes you take stock of where you are at in this minute – surrounded by old projects, unworn ‘fat/thin’ clothes, sentimental keepsakes, inherited items, things which might just be worth something if only you knew who to ask, old tapes and DVDs of home videos etc . The list goes on. I once read a fascinating article on why we keep stuff that isn’t ‘beautiful or useful’ and it made so much sense. I have plenty in each category.

So I did well. A lot went to the tip and a similar amount went to the local Op Shop, Salvation Army. I was as ruthless as I could be given my thrifty nature, huge imagination for what something could be used for and a history of having lived in 6 countries, each with their own collectibles and memories.

Where the quote comes in is that I had to keep remembering that short of getting a skip and having someone else just come take it all away, I would never reach my destination as such. The best I could come up with was blocking off a larger bedroom and creating a store room out of it, which I think is the way to go.

I have moved house enough times to know that what looks like a few books on a shelf translates to loads of very heavy, large boxes. I just had this story playing in my head that I would be able to purge it all, live out of a suitcase, take off and travel the world again. I don’t need anything! But then I would pick up one item at a time and find reasons to keep it. I am still going and learning now to enjoy each minute, each item discarded. Joy is now after all 🙂 Each item I discard only makes a fraction of a difference with all that I have accumulated but it’s a little win each time; a little victory to let it go.

This translates to ways of thinking also. We have accumulated our stories, beliefs, ways of looking at things and things which stress us, and our lives will never be ‘problem free’. Silly things pop into my head when I first wake up. So I can only let each little stressor go. My daughter will eventually want to get a job in her spare time around her studies when she has something she really wants to save for. My son will stop playing computer games and join the world when the course of nature demands he become interested in getting to know the (opposite) sex. And these stressors will be replaced by other ones I’m told. My elderly friend John, with his age 50 and 60 something kids said the kids’ problems just get bigger as they get older. They could marry someone who treats them badly, go broke, get divorced etc etc.

Thus I will never arrive. My house will never be completely fixed (think leaky taps, rotting wood and every noxious weed present in my garden). My kids will never live life the way I do. My finances will never be such that I spend with abandon and without guilt. I happen to have just whipped my body into shape, thanks to my other blog but that can change in an instant 🙂

So Jules, if life is a day to day or minute to minute affair, in this minute I am proud of myself for letting small things go. I am proud of not letting the messy rooms stress me, or the holes in my sofa covers, or curtain linings. I am enjoying purging one item at a time, getting organised and decluttering. As long as I have the energy and will to even do this, life is great! That’s what happy is to me; being engaged.

This day’s affair then is to be filled with as much laughter as possible, as much letting go as I can manage and as much simplicity and peace as I can create.

do more