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Posts Tagged ‘inner peace’

image from therecord.com.au

“Duty is heavier than a mountain, death lighter than a feather”.                      Robert Jordan in The Wheel of Time Series.

“Pride comes before a fall. ” (British & Australian something that you say which means if you are too confident about yourself, something bad will happen to show you that you are not as good as you think you are.

For me it  has always been an old saying and one which holds a great truth. It’s also true that it is a foolish person who tries to hide that they have been an absolute ass. Yet we still try. I still try!

An apology costs little – occasionally a little pride but not too much, and a great deal more to be gained from offering that apology willingly, sacrificing that small amount of pride than allowing an unpleasant situation to continue to fester. I have watched some people go so far out of their way to avoid giving that  apology that in doing so they have made an even bigger fool of themselves.  Such is what being human is all about.

So, from someone who has spent a lifetime observing human nature, take it from me, if you find yourself in a position where, however inadvertently you have caused some offense, swallow your pride and apologise before it becomes big enough to choke you! It clears the air much faster and causes much less grief.

I have a “bad back”, which is an understatement. What it does mean is that I have a lot of pain, a lot of the time. It can’t really be seen so no one else really knows, except those closest to me, such as my husband.  Many inconsequential acts  which are taken for granted cause me varying degrees of difficulty depending on how bad my back is.  There are days when a simple shower is a huge challenge; getting dressed a nightmare, especially pulling anything over my head; and putting on a pair of shoes, even slip on shoes – well, enough said. Simple things you wouldn’t give a second thought to.

image courtesy of michaelsmindandsoul

Even more than this is the truly awful feeling of not being able to sleep well. It ranges from the simple act of trying to find a position which causes you the least amount of discomfort (not no pain!), to sleeping so shallowly each night that each movement you make drags you painfully awake. Instead of being able to look forward to sleep at the end of the day I almost dread it.

Stress causes havoc as we all know, and of late it has decided to see how much it can load me with before I break. Layer upon layer it has been growing until I want to scream in pain, yet I won’t because that would hurt too much. A nice irony, hmm.  So I foolishly try to remain still and silent so that my husband can sleep and not worry quite as much as he does.

More lunacy! Weeks of this rough sleeping and I’m exhausted. I look like a prize-fighter after ten rounds with Mike Tyson, black circles so deep under my eyes no amount of make up can hide them, and my face so grey I’m looking ancient. So I’m angry. Angry at myself and my inability to change things. But at present, and I can hardly be anything but present in this,  I’m furious that I’ve allowed my situation to hurt the one person it never should – my husband.

He is, without a doubt, the reason I try not to complain. He is the reason I try so hard to do the things I know I should not do because underneath all this, I know that I want, more than anything, to make his load a little lighter and not add to his with my ‘petty’ problems.  Yet that is just what I have done.  He has done so darned much over the Christmas New Year period to make things easier for me, whilst also keeping up with his work schedule that he too is really over tired and needs a few early nights to catch up. Yet the idea of an early night – horrifies me.

image from fsphealth.co.za

So what did I do tonight? I pouted! I moaned! I begrudged his ability to fall asleep easily and sleep soundly throughout the night whilst I couldn’t even toss and turn. How many married people or couples out there enjoy being able to cuddle up to their partners during the night?  Just to wrap your arms around each other and sleep?  I know I used to and I miss it! With the pressures of late I have really missed it more than ever.  So, for the past four nights I have carefully crept back into bed after dawn and snuggled into his arms and fallen into a deep and dreamless sleep. YES!  Bliss! Heaven!  At least it has been until he has had to get up and I have woken again. I have paid the penalty for my stupidity in full.  My foolish pride has paid a steep price.

In the blink of an eye as he has gotten out of bed, I have woken to Thor’s hammer pounding my head. My neck, shoulders, back and… well whichever side I slept on, has been a mass of molten pain. It has been so bad I have had to ungraciously agree to wear my neck brace because my head and neck felt as though it was going to part company, painfully.  I have had to yield and accept help to get to the bathroom and then back to bed, where he has arranged the mountain of pillows for me to try to rest on, and a cup of tea which says “I love you” more easily than anything I know.

image from cutcaster.com

Am I grateful? You cannot imagine how grateful I feel and yet I more than simply grumbled at him because he was tired. He carried my load without complaint or asking for anything in return and I bitterly and selfishly grumbled at his need for an early night.  Do I feel ashamed? You bet I do.

Oh yes, I apologised before he fell asleep, but is it enough?  He will say it is, but it isn’t for me. Not by a long way. He doesn’t deserve my lack of gratitude even for a moment. He tells me I would do the same for him if the roles were reversed, and he is right, but that is neither here nor there at present.  I shouldn’t blame myself either but it is hard not to. I feel like an ingrate. An ungrateful wretch and  wonder how I managed to deserve such a wonderful, generous and kind soul whose patience I must sorely test.

I pray for the opportunity to be able to show him how much I truly do care for him, and appreciate all he does for me. I pray he knows how much I love him and wish him the success he has earned with all that he does.  I can barely wait until we can do all the things we’ve planned and talked about. I know it will happen because – as he loves to say…..”that’s the way, uh huh, uh  huh, I like it”.  lol  I simply know that it will be and I am grateful for that knowledge from the Universe.

So, for all of the humans out there, who make the human mistakes I make, rest assured, all will be s it is meant to be in the fullness of time.

Love and a beautiful day to all.  Bless <3

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image from atelier-ad.blogspot.com     It feels like a never-ending search.

“Home is the place that goes where you go, yet it welcomes you upon your return. Like a dog overjoyed at the door. We’ve missed you is what you hear, no matter how long you’ve been gone.”                                     MICHAEL J. ROSEN, Home

Ever since I came to Australia I have heard people talking about “The Great Australian Dream“,  the dream of course to own ones own home.  As far as dreams go it is totally understandable, though today it is becoming harder than ever to attain.  In reality it was probably one of the reasons my parents wanted to come to Australia all those years ago.  “Australia, The Land of Opportunity”,  the chance to be able to have a home of their own and offer a greater opportunity to their children to have a better life than they felt they could have ‘back in the old country’. Times were changing and the brightness of Australia beckoned to many.

Since nothing ever remains static, dreams change as much as people. The dreams of having your own house back when my parents were young is vastly different to the dreams of today’s generation. The “old” Queenslander, which would have been a wonder in those days has become a huge, four (at least) bedroom mansion. I suppose its all relative really, and who am I to say anyone is right or wrong since I have jumped on the bandwagon yet again. URGH!

As of a few days ago when we decided a move was indicated, we have begun the planning process.  Where to, what sort of house, how much land, the services available, which area to move to, and that’s all before the hard work begins.  Part of the hard work, for me at least, is trudging through so many houses until you find one which ‘fits’. We have a list we always use. It has been honed over time to cover everything we could want or need in the home we want, right down to power points and if there are enough cupboards and drawers in the kitchen – VERY important if you want to be able to do anything.

image from atelier-ad.blogspot.com They really do breed if you take your eyes away from them for a second!

Packing! A necessary evil – at least to me.  Days or weeks of packing boxes, tape, labels, paper cuts from the packing paper, and woe betide you if you forget to correctly label a box!  The very first move I ever made, a pure novice, everything seemed to go wrong.  I forgot to label everything down to the last detail. OK  I forgot to put any labels on the boxes.  I had boxes coming out of my ears in some rooms and none in others and not one in the right room! Everything had to be opened to try to find anything at all, and then move it to its real home. As a result it was hours before we could find something to use to for a drink, and let’s not think of a cup of tea or coffee – the kettle went into hiding! I couldn’t recall what had gone into any of the boxes, it was like a lottery – and there was no winner.  That is just the beginning.  After the unpacking has been done and you have hopefully managed to find ‘homes’ for all your things after they have been carefully washed again, you realise you cannot remember where anything is! I needed tracking devices to locate anything. Now that is an idea – I wonder if anyone knows where I can get some?

That is where I am at this moment, in the process of moving house, of packing boxes, wrapping everything in paper which always cuts my fingers one by one. OH NO! – OH YES!  To this day there are still some things we cannot find. Perhaps when we pack this time we might find them? Who knows. Time is running out and I desperately need to find somewhere to move to, somewhere which ticks off the majority of, if not all the boxes on my list. You know, THE LIST, which, if I can get it right will mean I have found my dream home, the one which fulfils all our needs and from which I will not have to move again.

image from oneplanetimages.com There, I knew it existed somewhere.

So, as you can guess, we’d like a place in the country. It has turned out to be a deal breaker, in fact they seem to be as scarce as hens teeth.  It must be somewhere that we can work from home, so both phone, internet and hopefully mobile access. Not too far from  a post office for mail access. Deciphering real estate jargon makes it even more difficult.  For example, this might be what we are looking for and have seen in the ad .

image from boutique-homes.com

When we get there , whilst charming, this is what we find.  (OK, literary license  has been taken here.)

Really though, the real description might say:

  • “a home with space, it has ‘x’ number of square metres under roof – which means – they have counted all the covered verandahs, car ports (not garages) and any covered walkways or external entertainment areas.   Is it possible to use any of that for a home office?  No way, so what it doesn’t say is the house may be enough for a single person but it has loads of covered areas outside or around it.
  • “it has charm and character” or “a little TLC is needed” – which means – it’s antiquated and may be held up by a few rusty nails. (see above).
  • “close to all amenities” – which means – it’s really on a major road and the constant noise would drive you insane, and deaf!
  • “the bedrooms are ‘spacious’ or ‘generous’ in size – which means – you might be able to fit a small bed in but forget anything close to a double bed unless you want a hernia.
  • “it has air conditioning” – which means – one room has a miniscule and ancient mover of air and the windows open in the rest of the house.
  • “it has 2+ car spaces under lock” – which means – there is  lock on the front gate of the property and a rickety roof over the cars, if you are lucky.
  • “country living at it’s best” – which means – possibly no garbage collection no phone coverage and unlikely to have internet access.

The list can go on and yes, I have chosen extreme examples just for fun, although some of them are not too far wide of the mark.   I don’t need a mansion, although it might be nice, yet I don’t want to spend forever cleaning it.  I really, really would love a place in the country but I have to be able to work from there, so it has to have all the accessories I mentioned.  A creek would be nice, but not so that I will be flooded out if there is a minor shower. I’d prefer not to share my home with poisonous snakes, but I guess I’m a chicken, then again maybe not, I’d certainly be dinner for them!

So what is it that I want which I find so hard to find? What is on my “Bucket List?”

A place with room to breathe, fresh air and somewhere to walk on my property.  Something of a reasonable size I can work from home comfortably in with phone and internet access. Peace and tranquility – oh yes – it would be marvellous to wake up and go to sleep to the sounds of the bush each day.

There is a place out there for me, which meets all the dot points more or less. I know it, I simply need to find it and soon, before the lease expires or I go insane.  I really hate moving.  After this I will only move one more time – to the house I build on acreage which will then have everything I want in it or on it.  It’s all there on my dream board which I look at every morning when I wake up and each night before I go to sleep, so as you can tell, it has been a goal for a while. I want to stay in one place, my idyllic place and put down roots.

My home is my castle, my refuge and my sanctuary. I will be so grateful on the day I find it or build it. I will be eternally grateful to the Universe when this dream comes true.  I’m following my instinct here and know I’m mindful that everything has to happen at the right time.  I will have my dream home with room to breath fresh air, walk in the country, hear the birdsong, perhaps a burbling brook somewhere, where peace and tranquility will soothe my heart and soul and my health will recover and there is time and space for my soul to grow.

So, if you know just the place for me, just let me know, I would be so very grateful.

image from sothebysrealty.com Yes, it really does exist somewhere.

“Do you know how hard it is to make a home?… That’s something that a woman does from inside herself. You do it in the face of all sorts of opposition. Husbands are very appreciative when it works out well. But they’re not that anxious to help. It’s understandable. They don’t know how.”

SAMUEL R. DELANY, Dhalgren

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Ray, Mum New Year Eve 2011, Moruya

They “year” began with New Years Eve at Ray’s parents in Moruya.  A beautiful day and night set the tone for the year to come.  It was a wonderful few days, seeing the sights – a finding a great little crystal shop. Needless to say I came home with bags of crystals. (We drove or it wouldn’t have been possible).

Tawny Frogmouth

A Tawny Frogmouth let himself be known early on and has been a visitor ever since.  We have at least four different owls living in the area, from a Powerful Owl, the Frogmouth and what looks like a Barn Owl, plus a very reclusive one we hear often but haven’t managed to get a good photo of yet.

Owls being my favourite birds, it was a real blessing seeing one so soon after we moved into our new home.

Presented to the guests, husband and wife

Presented to the guests, husband and wife

May was a brilliant month, and after months of preparation our wedding went off superbly. Here we are presented for the first time as Mr and Mrs  Jamieson, can you tell how happy we were – and are.  I’ve restrained myself to one photo, it’s hard to know which ones to use and there are so many!

Natalie and Christopher   Couldn’t pass the day up without showing off how fabulous my son and daughter looked on the day either.

One of my favourite gifts came from my husband shortly before we were to go away, a Nikon 150 camera. It is fantastic and even an amateur like me can get some marvellous shots. Most of all it made it super easy to have something to remember all the marvellous things which happened throughout the year.  A few lessons and I might make a reasonable photographer!

The Little Blowhole at Kiama, dodging salt spray to get a good picture.

The Little Blowhole at Kiama, dodging salt spray to get a good picture.

We had been so busy during the year that we hadn’t had a break – even after the wedding, so we spent a glorious week at Kiama, exploring the area and having a well-earned rest.  The Blowholes were in fine form and we saw lots of whales passing by.  Here’s the best picture we managed to get of the whales passing.

Occasionally I wished for a super zoom on my camera so I could get more photos – they really are beautiful creatures.

Humpback passing Kiama whilst we were there.

I found Nicole’s blog and became motivated to get back on track with my spiritual growth. It has been a wonderful year of rediscovery and discovery of new exciting things.

Full Moon Ceremony Aug 31 2012 (Copy)Thanks to Nicole we had a fantastic ceremony provided for the Blue Moon in August.  This was taken just after the “Releasing Ceremony” and the crystals were in the bowls of water. The next night we had a “Becoming Ceremony”  which finalised the entire ritual. It was an awesome feeling and really made us feel great.  My blogging journey began shortly after this.  Reading and writing have always been passions, now they are intertwined beautifully.

Cutting the birthday cake

With lots of work in between we went back to Moruya to celebrate my father in law’s 80th birthday bash in October.  It was a beautiful day and night – in fact they outdid the younger guests. It seems stamina comes with age!   The cake was superb, it was only spoiled by the fact we couldn’t bring any home with us!

Coffs Harbour, Crystsl Castle and home 034

On the way home we stopped at Coffs Harbour for the night and the next day were greeted by this beautiful water dragon on the decking near the water feature. He was so tame he let us get really close. Obviously very used to all the visitors, he’s probably quite the model by now!  See he even gave us a good pose for the camera.Getting friendly with the neighbours horse2012 022 (Copy)

Back home we were back hard at work but love to take a walk around the garden at the end of the day.  Here the neighbours horse came over to say hello and was really friendly.  My first ‘kiss’ from a horse – strangely enough it was a special moment for me and I’m blessed Ray got the photo and so filled with gratitude that the horse was so  friendly.

Ray hard at work, surprissed by the camera!

I’d love to know the identity of this little fellow but just love his colouring.

Blue flash honey eater

We have lots of honey eaters visiting with the flowering trees. Some like this fellow seem totally oblivious to our presence and let us snap away merrily as he feeds. His colouring is ‘electric’!

Kookaburra ready for a dip in the pool

We were graced by a family of kookaburra who came down several times a day to take a dip in our pool as the weather became hotter.  They made lots of noise but it was worth it.  Occasionally there would be a line up of all the different birds waiting to take a dip. It was really funny watching them take off one by one and then ruffling their feathers out as they waited their next turn.

Water Dragon sunning himself on our garden seat

We were surprised and pleased to find another water dragon sunning himself at home.  When he was in the pool area I “chased” him around the pool  – from the upstairs balcony, to get some photos of him. It was so funny seeing me trying to run around to capture a good shot. As soon as I had him in focus he would take off again after some other tidbit he’d spied.

Christmas surprises

Christmas seemed to arrive so quickly. It was a special time for us – the first one as a married couple (old-fashioned isn’t it?) and getting the decorating done together with the family coming down to celebrate Christmas Day together. We were grateful we could all be together and Ray and I felt blessed that our family could get together when so many couldn’t.

Full Moon 30th December 2012

The last full moon of the year, December 2012.  Even with the inclement weather we were able to get some beautiful photos of the moon through the trees and the weather remained fine for our ceremony.  The meditation from Nicole was a beautiful way to complete a wonderful year.

As always we are mindful that not everyone has been as fortunate as ourselves. Like most people we have had our ups and downs. At times it felt as though the downs were holding mired in one place for far too long, but 2013 will be a wonderful year – for everyone.  Throughout 2012 we have tried to remain mindful of what has been happening for us, being present at the important events was easy, how could we not. Being present when things were tough was harder, but we managed and it felt very heart centered in being able to do that. Ill health has been a drag but I’m hoping that with a new move, hopefully to a place with some space around it will give me the right atmosphere to get on top of things.  Country life seems to beckon.

For myself, the unconditional love I have been so grateful to find with Ray has made this a wonderful, love filled year. Heart centered and soul centered, we have felt the growing and stretching of our soul growth throughout the good times and the hard times.  We have also felt, and been awed by the presence of spirit, our loved ones who are no longer with us – in the flesh at least. It has made each special occasion that little bit more extraordinary and that is something I am incredibly grateful for.

The records for 2013 are now about to begin!

   Quote

Write it on your heart that every day is the best day in the year.    Ralph Waldo Emerson

HAPPY 2013 EVERYONE.                                              Blessings and stay safe.

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image from comments.funmunch.com Where would we be without friendship?

“Somehow, not only for Christmas, But all the long year through, The joy that you give to others, Is the joy that comes back to you. And the more you spend in blessing, The poor and lonely and sad, The more of your heart’s possessing, Returns to you glad.” — John Greenleaf Whittier

There are so many ideas on what Christmas “should” mean to everyone. I really don’t like the idea that “should” can enter into the reason why we think, feel believe or do something.  There has to be a more visceral reason behind our thoughts and actions, especially at such a time of year.

I know some people  are of the belief that the ‘true spirit’ of Christmas can only belong to those who are in real need. To some extent that may be true. I feel deeply for the many who will spend their Christmas season in hospitals or care due to ill-health. I won’t categorise the level of need or ill-health since that feels shallow, to me at least.

Is the person terminally ill with cancer any less in need than someone needing a transplant or a heart valve replacement or a small child with an acute allergic reaction needing a respirator to breath? I don’t think so.  Yet there are those who are suffering from any kind of mental disability for whom the very joy around Christmas adds to their depression or malaise.

image from facebook.com Happiness is….

Yet I can understand these people all too well and I am totally grateful that they have a chance to start the New Year better than they finish this one. I pray that is the case, although there is also a measure of sadness in that wish, since for them to be better someone else has to have found a worse ending.  Life is like that; what is given on one hand is also taken away on the other, and who am I to judge?

The other people I think of at this time are those who don’t really fall into this group.  Their ailments seem trivial in comparison and yet they can be as devastating in their own way.

The person with a chronic skin ailment who has to spend all summer hiding from the sunshine whilst the newscasters joyously tell us will be hotter and brighter than the day before. It must be demoralising for them. What about the person in chronic pain, stumbling around their home, trying desperately to get all in order for the ‘big day’ yet knowing that within a relatively few short hours they will be left alone in their pain with none the wiser. These people I also think of and wish an easier time for. These people know that there is no cure for them and cannot, even tenuously, hold onto a hope that help may be around the corner.

image from lessonsinashell.blogspot.com

Yet I have found that I can ‘gift’ to the world. In the same way I can spread gratitude around the world – by intention, then I can also spread love , happiness and friendship around the world – by intention.

I visualise a beautiful rainbow coloured sphere encircling the world, coming from my heart and covering the world. I chose rainbow colours to represent all the chakras, but also to help ‘fill up’ any chakra which was a little flat or empty. After I firmly have this vision of rainbow light covering the world I imagine it showering down on everyone in the world, bringing love, friendship and happiness.  It can also cover love, friendship and understanding for the self as well as for others, and also all the animals, plants, spirits, in fact anyone or thing inhabiting out little planet.

image from facebook.com

This is my small way of giving a gift to everyone on the planet. Of course the gratitude is also there, that I have so many wonderful people to be grateful for; that I have so many creatures on this planet to spread all this to also.  In my own small way I am also blessed because I can help to bring some peace and joy to everyone.

image from fineartamerica.com              Puppy love at it’s best

“It is the personal thoughtfulness, the warm human awareness, the reaching out of the self to one’s fellow man that makes giving worthy of the Christmas spirit.”    - Isabel Currier

May your Christmas be filled with love and laughter, peace and understanding and happiness to fill your heart the whole year through.  Bless <3

(c) owls and orchids: Susan Jamieson

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image from myfairywallpaper.blogspot.com -

People are like stained – glass windows. They sparkle and shine when the sun is out, but when the darkness sets in, their true beauty is revealed only if there is a light from within.
Elisabeth Kubler-Ross

It is impossible to deny, there is both light and dark inside everyone. Each human being, each soul has the ability to perceive both the light and the dark.  This simple fact is explicit in everything we do and say. It provides the balance by which we grow as human beings and as souls in a human body.

There are times when, despite our best endeavors we are overcome by the dark, by “the bleakness”. I first heard this term in a novel I was reading.  In short, a race of people who were warriors, the Aiel,  detested another, the Tinkers,  who followed the ways of peace, who not only turned the other cheek but would sooner die than raise a weapon in their own defense. During a sacred Aiel ceremony, where a man would become either a clan chief or die, or a woman would become a wise one or die, they learned their entire people’s history. What they learned was the peaceful Tinkers were actually the original Aiel people.

Understandably, this sudden turning upside down of their world was overwhelming. Those who were unable to deal with this dropped their weapons and simply walked away. It was described as “being taken by the bleakness”.  For those who recognise the plot, it is from a Robert Jordan series, “The Wheel of Time”. For brevity I have shortened the explanation greatly.

image from    modernmartialartist.com.au

And the symbol used in the book:

image from http://www.comicvine.com -

It intrigued me, not only for the magic and abilities of the characters, but for the way the dichotomy between the light and dark within ourselves can be similarly described. It was also interesting that the Yin Yang symbol was adapted to illustrate the light and dark forces at play.

As souls having a human existence we strive to reach the light, to increase its presence in our lives, in our bodies and souls.  We practice drawing the white light of the universe down, through the crown chakra, flooding our body with positive energy and removing any negative energy.

image from soundofheart.org

In meditation I follow this daily, and as a practice in the shower it is soothing and energising.  There are times when I can only reach that feeling of calm whilst I am meditating or showering ( a shower meditation), but the dross of the day sometimes overwhelms me again. It irritates me and I try to remind myself that I am only human, a soul in a human body and I am a long way from perfection. Anyone who knows me will recognise that I have been going through my own form of “the bleakness” of late.

Yet that in itself is also comforting – eventually! I am like a Willow, I will bend before the storm but I will not break like the mighty Oak. We draw our inspiration from strange places, places which are important to each of us but may have no relevance to another.We have to acknowledge our dark side, those undercurrents of “bleakness” so that we are able to see the light in all its glory when it occurs, just like the sunlight after a storm.

It is a measure of our soul growth that, in the midst of chaos and despair we still strive for the light.

Like a protagonist in any battle we often feel thrown from one extreme stance to another. It is somewhat like being a tennis ball or a basket ball, any ball in sport, we are tossed, seemingly at whim to and fro until we are unsure where up or down is.  I know that anyone reading yesterdays blog will wonder if the same person is writing this. Change can happen quickly or not, a slow return or smashing volley.

image from http://www.odt.co.nz – The Nadal, Federer match.

Like a small bud opening to the suns first rays, we are small and fragile but can open to be a beautiful bloom. Even though our ‘life’ may be short there are more buds on our tree and we will continue to grow and flower with the sun, the light shining on us. We can only wake each day, or take a deep breath during the day and make that decision to keep going. Find something, even something small to be thankful for. Grateful for the scent of the opened roses, freshly mown grass, the laughter of children playing, the warmth of your husband’s hand in yours. It may even be a simple ‘thank you’ from someone for something you thought too insignificant to remember, yet it was important to them. They are often hard to remember when things feel grim, but like the turning of the seasons we cannot stop them if we continue to be mindful of everyday things and grateful that we can be resent to experience them. No, the battle may not be over, but then neither am I.

image from jbeachyphotography.blogspot.com


May you too find your heavenly fire to light your way out of the darkness, my blessings and gratitude for you will continue each day, hopefully brightening your day knowing that there is indeed someone out there who truly cares for you for no other reason that you are there.

“There is in every true woman’s heart a spark of heavenly fire, which lies dormant in the broad daylight of prosperity; but which kindles up, and beams and blazes in the dark hour of adversity.”  ~Washington Irving, The Sketch Book, 1820

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image from duskyshadow.blogspot.com It’s hard to see the light when you feel oppressed by the darkness.

Life is filled with unanswered questions, but it is the courage to seek those answers that continues to give meaning to life. You can spend your life wallowing in despair, wondering why you were the one who was led towards the road strewn with pain, or you can be grateful that you are strong enough to survive it.”   J.D. Stroube, Caged by Damnation

There are twelve days to go until Christmas and I have  begun to reflect on the past year.  It has been a crazy year, at times a crappy year, sometimes insanely fabulous, filled with enormous highs and unplumbed lows, this year more lows than highs it seems. There were times when I didn’t think I would make it and yet, underneath all that, I knew I had to, I had no choice. I have several very important reasons why failure is not an option, why the ongoing struggle must continue no matter what, and they are and have been constant for many years now, but I will admit it becomes harder and harder each time I feel knocked to the ground again.

Last Christmas I was in a state of total overwhelm.  I was trying to pack, look for a new place to live (at Christmas of all times), continue to work in a cramped space and get everything ready to produce that once a year treat, Christmas dinner with all the trimmings, lots of love and of course gifts.  There were difficulties with getting money paid which was owing to us, knowing that if it didn’t make it in time it wasn’t going to come through until well into the New Year.  The fact that it was a substantial amount, dragging on for months, didn’t make the situation easier to handle.   It was not an auspicious way to bring the New Year in, but I managed to keep that from everyone and we had a fabulous day. I simply collapsed after they left. A four-hour visit after a marathon effort – who decides if it’s worth the effort? Broke and needing to move, not able to physically move much, I questioned my sanity on a daily basis. Of course, there is much more to this story, many more things which added to the mounting stress, and there were times I felt I would have sold my soul to have someone to talk to. It’s all the other “stuff” left unsaid which pushed me to the brink.

image from christmas.lovetoknow.com The ultimate indulgence. I wonder what it is really like?

Of course, as my doctor warned me, stress and tension are no good for me – or anyone else, and my back was telling me just that, thanks to the car accidents I had  been involved in.  Movement of any kind was agonising, bands of intense pain lanced through me each time I moved. Even trying to rest in bed was impossible, since stillness simply allowed the muscles to seize completely. I questioned the sanity of continuing the struggle, disgusted with my ‘failure’ to overcome this obstacle, so I continually searched for some enlightenment or explanation which might help.  I was lost in a dense forest, dark and lonely and desperate for answers. I was drowning under the weight of the circumstances and exhausted from fighting to find a way forward.

image from deborahswift.blogspot.com It’s not the night which is dark, it’s the despair in your soul. The despair comes from the deep longing to find that light at the end of the tunnel.

I was planning my wedding, struggling with unpacking, trying to work and get all the arrangements in place for May. I had chosen my mothers birthday since she had passed away and I knew it would bring her closer to me at that time.  It is still a raw wound, one I have no idea how to begin to heal, my mother, my best friend, and when I believed I had finally found my corner of heaven she wasn’t here to share it with. Oh, I know, in spirit they were here, but their physical presence, the ability to talk things through with them….Time, a great healer I am told, is scant comfort.

Perhaps I’m too stubborn by nature but failure was not an option and I had no-one I could call on to help. In this day and age it seems strange to admit that. It was a beautiful day. My dress was all I could have hoped for, my daughter, as my attendant was beautiful and my son gave me away – looking so strong and tall. The groom and his son (best man) were just as resplendent, but then I am biased. It was the only highlight of my year.

Avalon Gardens

So what happened after that?  The ongoing struggle financially began to erode my self-confidence and despair crept in.  I found  the blog of someone I admire greatly and I took it to be a sign, the one I had been asking for. It became a challenge to read her blogs every day. How on earth did she manage to write every day I wondered when some days I couldn’t string together two coherent thoughts?

Some days I found it hard to get myself together before mid afternoon. What incentive was there to do otherwise?  I thought no-one would want to read my “dark and twisty’ thoughts, and they were all that consumed me, all that I could see.  I followed a gratitude challenge and kept going.  It had started to life that dark cloud and I was  grateful for all it was teaching me, mindfulness, being present, unconditional love, amazing insights each day. A way out of the dark labyrinth I thought.

I started blogging a long time later. It began as a challenge for me, since I didn’t believe I could do it, and ironically, I didn’t think anyone else would want to hear what I was saying.  I needed an outlet for what I was thinking and feeling. I was tired of the never-ending struggle to sleep, wake, find that motivation to do something, even an interest in doing something.  I needed to feel what I was doing was making a small difference somewhere, in some small way. It was an attempt to find the light inside me and share it with others. I’m not sure if I have been successful with that yet.

image from bloggergeeze.com The urge to blog

Christmas is so difficult. My father passed away on January 2nd and that last Christmas was so hard. Sitting by his bedside, alone at the end was something I will never forget.  Then, the cycle repeated with my mother and my last anchor was gone. Now, I had to be the sole “stanchion” in my family, for the sake of my children and my brothers. The cracks appeared. I could see them, feel them, but I had become very good at “painting on my face” and putting on a good front, papering over the cracks.  I was told I was “unemotional and cold” because I couldn’t cry at her funeral. My tears were dammed up inside.  They still are in large part. Perhaps the truth is that the dam is finally breaking under the strain.

So, once again, what happened to the fairytale?  So much and since it’s not just “my story” it makes it difficult knowing what to write. There is so much it would be another blog in itself.  Although it is a part of why I’ve lost my tenuous grasp on who I am and why I’m here. Whatever the reason I’ve slipped, my roller coaster has fallen off its rails and the forest has enmeshed me in its thorny bushes and if I cry I’m not sure I can stop.

Sometimes, honest people are hard to find, especially in the finance game.  Licensees can be pariahs and this one is withholding thousands of dollars. Money which was earned after a lot of hard work, money they take 10% off the top of and then almost $2000 a month for the privilege of being under their license. Why? Because they can under a pretext and here we are again, after a hard years exhausting work,  “on the bones of our asses” trying to find money just to pretend Christmas is still Christmas.  I’m not sure if we will even have anywhere to live after the next couple of weeks. I’m tired of the never ending struggle.

image from proactiveinvestors.com.au

I desperately need to hear another voice, someone to let me know I’m not really insane, we will “make it through the night”, but I’m terribly good at scaring people off.  I’m even better at not asking for help, a lesson someone taught me many years ago when I was young and impressionable and found that asking for help gave them the power to use that to hurt you more deeply that you thought possible.  Of course, the one person who matters most I can’t ask. Well I can and have but I knew the answer before it came.  I need an outside perspective, but is that possible? I don’t know the answer to that any longer either.

image from funnycutestuff.com Everyone needs a hug

At the end of the day we must, I must, believe in something. I choose to believe this!  And this is the closest I can come to my tenuous hold on life. I crave to feel the warmth and love from “my puppy”, to love unconditionally, who will always be there, always loving and never hurting. My last dog passed away at age 17 and a half.

My logical self is telling me this is the wrong time to post this. My heart tells me I have to. I apologise for the hopelessness I feel flowing from these words.  I hope someone out there is listening.

Two qualities are indispensable: first, an intellect that, even in the darkest hour, retains some glimmerings of the inner light which leads to truth; and second, the courage to follow this faint light wherever it may lead.  Karl Von Clausewitz

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image courtesy of positivethoughtsonlife.wordpress.com

“Old friends pass away, new friends appear. It is just like the days. An old day passes, a new day arrives. The important thing is to make it meaningful: a meaningful friend or a meaningful day.”      Dalai Lama

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Each day is a mystery, an unopened present. We have only an idea of what the day may bring. Some follow each other like soldiers marching along in unison, with little change and either reassuring in their sameness or boring in their lack of difference.  Some, take our breath away with the explosions of unexpected news, loss and sadness we can do little to avoid.

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I struggle each day with patience, or I should say my lack of it.  I want so much to be able to Do – anything, everything, something!  The endless sameness of each day make the hours, minutes, even the seconds feel like an eternity. I am grateful for each day since it gives me an opportunity to grow. I know this sounds more like I’m not sure what I want or talking about, but it’s an accurate reflection of how I feel.

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Each day brings with it its own sweetness, the dew on the grass, the bright sunshine as the sun rises shining on the bright colours of the buds opening on my rose bushes, the birdsong caroling the start of the day. There is a magic in the air at the moment the sun crests the horizon, a hush in the air where, for a time, there is the feeling that anything may be possible.

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image courtesy of http://www.deviantart.com -

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What better reminder of unconditional love than when I see this rose blooming in my garden. Yellow, my mothers favourite colour for roses, and also for me the same in this, the Peace Rose, a perennial reminder of all that she meant, and still means to me, even though she is no longer here with me.

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For me it is also another reminder that I struggle for patience which she teased me about and the search for peace, peace of mind since her leaving, which, whilst a blessing, is still a raw wound. Life is so full of contradictions.

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image courtesy of http://www.dreamthisday.com – None of us truly know what each day will bring.

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I often wondered how she managed to retain her inner strength of mind and will, when she undoubtedly knew what the day would most likely bring.  Her gratitude for another day, her happiness that she saw her children and grandchildren one more time, her acceptance that life is impermanent and each moment to be cherished for the tiny miracles it brought.  All of this countered with the knowledge that she was marking time, her health was not going to improve and time was a vanishing gift, one to cherish like a fragile snowflake, beautiful  yet gone too soon.

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All the things I struggle with, she had in spades. (old Yorkshire saying). I struggle against the inactivity brought about by not being well, and even though I’m doing all I can to become well again, meditation, chanting, praying, none have really brought me closer to the patience I hope to achieve. The inexhaustible patience she appeared to have, I know is also not quite true.  She railed against her ill-health, being unable to walk around her home or garden, not able to leave her home because the short trips by car were too exhausting. She was human, as human as I and struggling with the same things I do.

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My mother was a “Yorkshire Lass” and had all the hallmarks that entails. She was strong and unyielding, refusing to allow the state of affairs to bring her low. She was the epitome of all I could wish for. The word “indomitable” always comes to mind...Impossible to subdue or defeat: “indomitable spirit”.  Despite the passage of time, I am like her in so many ways.

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I struggle for the patience she had to learn over many years.  Many would think me unyielding, more because I refuse to yield if there is a chance of success, which I feel is different.  The gratitude, love, happiness, joy and contentment with my family and husband, I am overwhelmed by the unconditional giving and receiving of these treasures.

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I have been reminded once again of the impermanence of life, of its fragility.  My aunt has been struggling with cancer. A strong lady whom I pray for daily. Thus far she is winning her battle and I am grateful for this.  A wonderful friend and mentor is once more struggling with her fragile heart. A heart so full of the love of life, of the people in her life, her life in its entirety, and I pray for her also.

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These wonderful people are my inspiration.  I will find that elusive patience and I will continue to cultivate the ‘attitude of gratitude’ for all the many blessings I have in my life, in each day.  My grandmother always said, ” We are never given any burden to bear which we don’t have the strength to carry”. She was another indomitable lady whom I admire. So many wonderful women for me to emulate.

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image courtesy of magicalmysticalmimi.blogspot.com –     Dig deep and find the extraordinary in the ordinary of your day and be grateful for the miracle of sharing one day.    Being Mindful of all there is in each moment.

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Gratitude should not be just a reaction to getting what you want, but an all-the-time gratitude, the kind where you notice the little things and where you constantly look for the good, even in unpleasant situations. Start bringing gratitude to your experiences, instead of waiting for a positive experience in order to feel grateful.” – Marelisa Fábrega

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