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When you say to yourself, ‘I am going to have a pleasant visit or a pleasant journey,’ you are literally sending elements and forces ahead of your body that will arrange things to make your visit or journey pleasant….Our thoughts, or in other words, our state of mind, is ever at work ‘fixing up’ things good or bad in advance.”
― Prentice Mulford, Thoughts Are Things & the Real and the Unreal: The Collected New Thought Wisdom of Prentice Mulford and Charles Fillmore

It is amazing that we can become so hung up on what has been said or done, without stopping for a moment to consider what thought has gone into that very same word or deed. We, in our constant state of rush and overwhelm, barely stop to consider that each thought we have can have many consequences.

Take, for example, the father, trying to get ready for a day at work, also trying to spend a few minutes with his family before they leave to start their day at kindy, school or day-care. The thought slips into his head that there is a big job to do today, and he will be more than lucky if he finishes before dark. He may not see his children before they have to go to bed. His toddler appears beside him, half crying to be picked up and cuddled. Before he has a chance to consider his actions, he snaps “I haven’t time to molly coddle spoiled little brats, go see your mother!” He gets up, stomps out of the house slamming the door behind him.

In one brief second, a thought about a possibly long job at work has spoilt a special moment with his little child and not only made her cry but also made him feel like a ‘bad Dad’ and set a train of events in motion which could very well ensure that the thought of the job which started all this, turning into a huge nightmare as everything seems to go wrong.

His one thought had disastrous consequences for his words to his child (and possibly her mother) and probably caused a string of events which make his day a veritable nightmare.

#thoughtworddeed

“In the spiritual life every person is his or her own discoverer, and you need not grieve if your discoveries are not believed in by others. It is your business to push on find more and increase individual happiness”

― Prentice Mulford, Thoughts Are Things

Now take a look at a harassed mother, trying to get her children ready for school, kindy, before she has to dash off to work. The little one is fractious and just wants to be held and she hasn’t the time if she is to reach work on schedule. She takes a deep breath and pacifies the toddler, distracting him with his teething rusk and she dashes off to get their lunches ready. Her phone beeps, and there is the reminder that she has a client arriving as soon as she reaches work. With the traffic as bad as it has been she is never going to make that appointment on time. She hates to be late for appointments. She feels annoyed that she always has to get the children ready. Her husband starts later than her, yet here she is every day, trying so hard to make such a tight schedule. It’s simply not fair!

There is a frustrated wail from the playpen and as she dashes in she sees the family dog slinking out of the room, rusk clamped firmly between his teeth, tail between his legs. Picking up the baby she is thinking that she will never get to work on time, only to see two rusk begrimed hands clamped onto her freshly ironed blouse. “Dammit” she cries, now I have to change, I’m going to run late all day!”

The blouse she chooses pops a button at work, the clients are feisty because she seems distracted, her boss is grumpy because the client are unhappy and she feels worse by the moment. She begins to wonder if the Australian dream is just a dream.

Her one thought at the beginning of the day, that it was unfair that she had the child rearing hassles followed by “I’m going to be running late all day” set her up for exactly that kind of day.

#thoughtworddeed

Stressed mother courtesy
http://www.sheknows.com

“But no one experience should be followed and dwelt in forever. Life in its more perfected state will be full of alterations–not a rut, into which if you are once set you must continually travel.”
― Prentice Mulford, Thoughts Are Things

 What so many of us forget, or have not yet found out, is that “Thoughts are things” and everything we put our energy into, with our thoughts, we have the ability to make manifest in our daily lives. With a small amount of energy used on positive affirmations we can make the day great from start to finish. It has been shown to do just that. Those problems we have been inundated with in the past, simply slide on by and we have an amazingly peaceful day.

With the choice of the right affirmation, and there are hundreds to choose from, we can turn our days into blissful ones. We can manifest wonderful things for ourselves and our loved ones. We can send loving thoughts to ill relatives, our sick planet and see our loved ones well and the planet regain its vigour and blossom again.

“Thoughts are things” and we need to remember that with each thought, each word and every single action we take because everything we do creates a reverberation around the planet. We can create miracles. Prentice Mulford, whose quotes I’ve deliberately chosen knows this. Check out her book, it is truly incredible.

“to say a thing ‘must be’, is the very power that makes it”
Prentice Mulford, Thoughts Are Things

Life can be a bed of roses – if you would like it that way.

Blessings, Susan ♥

© Susan Jamieson, 2015

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#LifeandChronicIllness

Image courtesy of Facebook

 

“Dare to dream! If you did not have the capability to make your wildest wishes come true, your mind would not have the capacity to conjure such ideas in the first place. There is no limitation on what you can potentially achieve, except for the limitation you choose to impose on your own imagination. What you believe to be possible will always come to pass – to the extent that you deem it possible. It really is as simple as that.”
― Anthon St. Maarten

It seems like a tired old story, doesn’t it? I mean, really, how many people are blogging about their illness or how they are managing it? Is it some, a lot, or too many? Hmm. Perhaps that means there are a lot of sick people out there and they need to be heard in one way or another.

Each person has some kind of tether attached to them, whether it be an abusive relationship, family problems or stress. Whether that stress is overwork or the actual job causing the stress, or simply the pressure of being the penultimate person in life, can find themselves in a situation where their body shouts ENOUGH! If that happens, when that happens, they may find themselves with a Chronic Illness.

Our bodies are incredible organisms which can do remarkable things. We have sent our bodies to the moon and back. We have climbed the highest mountain on Earth, Mount Everest (8,848m) in the Himalayas. We have sent them down into the deepest parts of the ocean. The Challenger Deep in the Marianna Trench was first explored by Jacques Piccard and Don Walsh in the Trieste bathyscaphe in 1960. They reached a depth of 10,916 meters. We can train to become incredible athletes and we can bring life into the world. We can, unfortunately take life out of the world also in too many wars.

#Life #ChronicIllness

image from http://www.petera.se The inimitable Mount Everest

We ask our bodies each and every day to do things they may not yet have evolved enough to do, but the pace of technological advancement means we need to force our bodies to do more to keep up. We have even “beaten” to a smaller or lesser degree most of the illnesses which have killed us in the past. The problem is, we have also created a host of new ones to take their place, some by accident and some by design.

Each and every action we ask our bodies and our minds to do can lead to the organism’s failure. It may lead to our body yelling ENOUGH! If this happens, or when this happens, it may be a minor or major catastrophe.

It may be as simple as an overwhelming fatigue which can be put to rights by a good long vacation.

It may be a ‘breakdown’ which requires much longer away from work to address the issues.

It may also be an insidious invader which slowly sucks the life out of you until it is impossible to ignore. At that point you have your “Chronic Illness”.

Unfortunately there are far too many people who, when faced with a spouse, family member, friend or co-worker with a chronic illness cannot cope with even acknowledging human frailty. The only way I can describe it is that they cannot face their own possible frailty, or their own possible mortality.

#Life #ChronicIllness

image from halsamt.wordpress.com

I have seen and worked with people who have turned and walked away from loved ones because they cannot deal with illness. Ultimately, their inability to deal with the situation is reduced to one thing – fear. Fear of becoming ill themselves, of dealing with the illness, fear of being tied down because of someone else’s illness. Whatever the final key element is, it is based on fear.

I saw it many times. Saw the illnesses, saw the injured, infirm, the helpless and counseled both sides of the equation. So one would think that when faced with the same situation I would have been prepared for whatever life had to throw at me. I know I did and I was wrong. I was so wrong that it took a decade of things slowly falling apart, one illness after another, one trauma after another and down some deep well inside I kept pushing all the pain and hurt, the fear and anger deep inside and capped that well.

My mother and my children kept me anchored to my life. They provided me with the lifeline I needed to convince myself that I had everything under control. That was when my husband learned we had been told that my mother was terminally ill. Then my personal volcano started to rumble. When I stepped up to the plate to look after Mum, he decided he’d had enough and left. My volcano really started to rumble and smoke.

#Life #ChronicIllness

image from nevsepic.com.ua

Her passing was a body blow and things escalated. No-one seemed to know. They didn’t appear to see the signs of strain, or stress, or perhaps they didn’t care. They may have been too caught up in their own dramas at that point. So I tried to cap my well once more but the cracks were already there. As the saying goes, “I soldiered on” but I could feel my hold on everything slowly slipping.

I even made an escape run by going to the Middle East. I’m still not sure if I intended being able to return from that trip. Nothing fazed me at that point. No careless act was beyond the devil may care attitude I portrayed. Yet my turn had not yet arrived and I did return and for a short time it appeared as if I had managed to shore up the weakened foundations of my well and life progressed.

That was until the dramas began again, different ones but with the same stress load. I struggled to hide it. I tried to deny it. It was no use. The volcano was not going to be denied this time. Slowly and then more quickly the volcano erupted as I morphed from fit and healthy to something akin to a helpless worm. My self-esteem plummeted and my desire to fight all but eliminated. I had a small flicker of light burning far in the distance, my children and my new husband.

#Life #ChronicIllness

image from tinyhappyfarm.blogspot.com

My guilt knew no bounds. I was caught on the horns of a giant dilemma, succumb or keep struggling with this “Chronic Illness” rubbish I was bombarded with each time I saw my doctor. (Primary Care Physician for my US friends). Me, a medical research sponge, needing to know all the ins and outs of everything, prognosis, treatment, end results, could not find the damned answer.

When I was finally told I had Lyme disease I was unsure if I was relieved or not. It did not feel right and after 12 months of the most putrid antibiotics I have ever had, it was decided I didn’t have it after all. I dread to think what it has done to my body. One simple test, always done at the beginning of Lyme testing had not been done. If it had I could have saved those 12 months and perhaps started to feel better.

But wishes are only granted in fairy tales and life moves on. The results when they arrived back have turned my life upside down. Yes, it’s still a Chronic Illness, but one with far reaching ramifications, and not just for me. At the moment the volcano is still running hot, the lava is destroying thoughts and ideas and new ones have yet to be made to replace them. I need to get a handle on this monster and beard the dragon in his lair.
I need time and yet time is not a resource I have in abundance. Decisions to be made and plans to make and I’m swimming against the tide, no small feat when I can’t swim.

#Life #ChronicIllness

image from cybershamans.blogspot.com

So I ask you, the ill and infirm, those with Chronic Illnesses, the fit and healthy, I ask everyone, to be aware of the little acts you do, be aware of how much difference a small gesture can make to someone who is ill. If you are ill, learn to take pride in the fact that you CAN ask for help. If it is turned down, it is their failing; not yours. If we want our world free from illness, we need to start by understanding its ways. We need to want to beat the monster at its own game. We can, but not alone. We all need to care and work together.

Those who don’t care, do they deserve our sympathy when they crash and burn? I have no answer yet. I try each day to send love and healing, gratitude and thankfulness out into the world, even now. Perhaps it is more important now. I know there is a question within this tale and in time I will be able to answer it, but only after I have accepted it fully.

#Life #ChronicIllness

image from chronicillnessmemes.tumblr.com

Chronic Illness is not catching, but it is lonely and isolating. Please, if you remember nothing else, I ask that you remember this.

 

Blessings, Susan ♥

© Susan Jamieson 2014

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Pact
#The Pact

Image from xose00100.deviantart.com

“We have doomed the wolf not for what it is, but for what we deliberately and mistakenly perceive it to be –the mythologized epitome of a savage ruthless killer – which is, in reality, no more than a reflected image of ourself.”
Farley Mowat, Never Cry Wolf : Amazing True Story of Life Among Arctic Wolves

Silence

Weighed heavily as she waited

Hanging like a wet cloak on her shoulders

Wind

Whipped through the tops of the trees

Bringing gusts lashing the grass below

Rolling lines flowed away from her

As the wind blew the grass towards the plain

Confetti like fluttering heralded the autumn leaves

Fluttering

In colourful swathes around her head

In the silence she could hear them coming

Talking softly to each other

No need to shout

When the mind can say so much more

A pause

As they picked up her scent

Her family, her once family

Questions flickered swiftly through her mind

Why was she here?

Two legs could not be seen with the pack

Heart breaking silently she pleaded with them

Lift the promise she made

Her time with the two legs could end now

The pack was safe its territory secure

No longer was the bargain required

That one of the pack should stay with the two legs

Become one of the two legs

So they could feel safe

Safe that the pack would no longer bring them down

When they ventured into the pack’s territory

Puzzled they asked her

Why should the pact be broken?

Her family could hunt and kill the deer

The two legs no longer hunted them for their pelts

The cubs could grow in safety

Run with the wind

Play with the salmon

Raise their cubs in time

Two legs could never be trusted

If she returned

Two legs would hunt them once again

Thoughts were becoming fainter now

As the pack moved further away

Wait!

She silently cried to the night

Let me return! Let  Me  Return……

Silence

Weighed heavily as she waited

Hanging like a wet cloak on her shoulders

A heavy shroud for her heavy heart.

#The Pact

image from howlingforjustice.wordpress.com

© Susan Jamieson 2014

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#The Grass is Greener on the Other Side

image from shangrillama.blogspot.com             This is not a llama?

“Happiness is the consequence of personal effort. You fight for it, strive for it, insist upon it, and sometimes even travel around the world looking for it. You have to participate relentlessly in the manifestations of your own blessings. And once you have achieved a state of happiness, you must never become lax about maintaining it. You must make a mighty effort to keep swimming upward into that happiness forever, to stay afloat on top of it.”   ― Elizabeth Gilbert, Eat, Pray, Love

How often do we hear that people have uprooted their lives, their family, given up their jobs, homes, all they ever knew for the possibility that “the grass is greener on the other side”? Between 1915 and 1921 a total of 12 million people of Irish or British nationality left those shores to travel to America, Canada or Australia, the lands of ”milk and honey” for a better lifestyle. The government of the day thought they were relieving themselves of their paupers, a burden on society however, a large number were not the poor labourers but farmers looking to acquire land in the “New World”, because “the grass is greener on the other side”. Quite a mistake!

#The Grass is Greener on the Other Side

image from http://www.pbase.com      The English Countryside

This was by no means the first migration of people. Records of early man show the chalk images of man following herds of animals to secure food. Our history is founded on finding somewhere better because “the grass is greener on the other side”, in order to make life easier, more comfortable, a guarantee of survival better than that which already existed. That man has survived until now has, in some ways been through chance rather than through planning. Reliance on animal migration was no guarantee of survival, as many of the great herds were slowly decimated by other predators and to changes in climate due to natural cyclical climate change.

From the days of the Industrial revolution when farmers left seeking better conditions because “the grass is always greener on the other side” there has never been any certainty this was correct. Throughout Canada and America they had to contend with the native Indians. The pre-eminent predator of his time, they were only defeated through the illnesses brought by the emigrants, the addiction to alcohol, also courtesy of the white man, and the vast number of settlers supplanting them. For the Indians it was a war of attrition which they lost and for the settlers a war of survival which they won.

#The Grass is Greener on the Other Side

image from http://www.123rf.com                The American Countryside

In Australia the native Aborigines were nomadic and stayed away from the settlers where possible. They were content to live in the way their ancestors had and remained away from the new settlers – by and large. There is no denying atrocities were committed on both sides at different times, such was the way of man. Take by force or eliminate the competition or both.  It has happened throughout the world and is still happening.

I am not debating the rights or wrongs which have occurred during history. From what I have read, neither man nor beast has changed their methods of supplanting others of their kind to ensure their survival.  Why have they done this? Do  they have work on a conscious or subconscious belief that “the grass is always greener on the other side”.

The real question; is “the grass is always greener on the other side” correct?  The answer, Yes and No! It must be since there are always people moving back from whence they came. Some return again and others do not. Humanity is a sea moving back and forth and when they find their place they stop moving.

“The grass is always greener on the other side.” I wonder. If I had been asked that as we left England I would have shouted a resounding YES! When I hopped off the train in Brisbane I would have shrieked an appalled NO! At different times throughout my life I would have said Yes or No, all depending on how my life was travelling. There were times when I longed for…… snow at Christmas when it is so hot and I am a disappearing puddle on a chair. At Thredbo, Canberra and Sydney I was enchanted and entertained. Tasmania was a green delight for the senses – and I had snow!

#The Grass is Greener on the Other Side

images from bluepowder.com.au              Thredbo

I am told that the outback has a grandeur and majesty unlike anything else on earth. In pictures it looks immense and otherworldly, yet in the ‘flesh’ I fear I would be unbearable as the heat and the flies destroy my equilibrium. Never having seen it I couldn’t say if “the grass is always greener on the other side” of the Black Stump. I’m not sure if I have the urge to find out.

#The Grass is Greener on the Other Side

image from http://www.genkin.org –           Australian Outback  –    Sturt National Park

I feel there will always be people who believe “the grass is always greener on the other side” and uproot themselves and their families because we need the constant ebb and flow of humanity. It ensures our gene pool is constantly mixed (seriously!), and it helps us to grow, as individuals, as a family, as a people, but more importantly as spiritual beings.

#The Grass is Greener on the Other Side

image from http://www.acrossoceania.com              The Kimberley Region   West Australia

We must constantly ‘taste’ all this world of ours has to offer so that we understand all its many varied aspects. We need our artists and novelists, scientists and unique individuals so that everyone is able to share in the majesty and splendour we are surrounded by.

So, No, I do not believe “the grass is always greener on the other side,” but I believe we need ‘the other side’ so that we can tell when we have found the place we want to call home.

#The Grass is Greener on the Other Side

image from properties.mitula.com.au –             Farmland at Byron

 “The most important thing is to enjoy your life—to be happy—it’s all that matters.”   Audrey Hepburn

Blessings,  Susan x

© Susan Jamieson 2014

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And so this is Christmas

image from creationinateapot.com       The Holly and the Ivy

False friendship, like the ivy, decays and ruins the walls it embraces; but true friendship gives new life and animation to the object it supports Richard Burton
And so this is Christmas

There is a certain element of “Why are you doing this?” It’s a question that surges through my mind often at midnight. Most people, or many people, are already in bed or at least preparing for bed. Their day is almost over and they are calm, relaxed and settled for the night. It is time to get into the rest and healing mode and allow our body to repair and recharge for the next day.

So I ask myself once again, why am I sitting here at this time of night?  The answer is fairly simple.

And so this is Christmas

Am I tired? – Well yes I am. It’s been a big day. In fact it’s been a five big days for me, and I struggle with having to accept the reality of that. After all, Christmas only comes once a year. This year my husband did much of the physical work getting ready for the big day. In fact we both shared the work of readying the turkey. What I couldn’t manage I instructed him on what to do. Not being able to do it all myself was irritating.  I’m sure it was quite trying for him too!

And so this is Christmas – Christmas Day

Technically, Christmas Day should have been relatively easy going as we were spending the day alone. There was neither family nor friends calling in that day, we were a duo of orphans for the day. Yet somehow, the very fact that it was Christmas, the expectations I had of the day, made it a day where, by days end I was feeling drained. Happy but none the less drained. I already know that this had to do with the change in my routine of many decades (oh I’m so ancient!) transitioning into a new phase. It’s something I have to work on and it is already part of my plan for 2014.

And so this is Christmas – Boxing Day

Boxing Day was a special day; my son and his girlfriend came down to spend it with us. Once again my husband did much of the work, under supervision, but by the end of the day I was exhausted. I had a beautiful day but I drastically under estimated how I was going to respond to the physical part of the day. From spending whenever I needed to resting, to spending all the day talking, joking and reminiscing. Including preparing, with help, the lunch, and afterwards, the clean-up, it was a surprisingly big change. Whilst being really happy to see them I was truly disappointed that I hadn’t coped better. Reality can be a harsh task master or task mistress.

And so this is Christmas – Friday

Hence, Friday was a mandatory day of rest. It had been decided beforehand when we realised my daughter would be unable to get down for Boxing Day and due to work pressures we agreed to travel up to Brisbane to see her. Once again I underestimated how much the mere trip would tire me. I find it frustrating, aggravating and annoying, and I have yet to come to terms with those feelings. We had a lovely lunch, more talk, laughter, reminiscing, and I also got to play with our dogs. One was mine but they have both been together since puppies and, since it would have been too difficult on the dogs, or was it on Natalie, she ended up with both dogs.  It was wonderful and nostalgic at the same time seeing them again. It is astounding how draining the emotions can be, and yet eliminating them reduces the humanity of a person. I’ll stick with emotions and learn how to deal with these things in the coming year.

So this evening I’m feeling ‘fried’.  The aches and pains are back and the brain fog is starting to creep from the corners of my mind with each passing minute. I knew it was going to happen when we arrived home and I could feel the stiffness as I tried to get out of the car.

And so this is Christmas – Today

I mentioned in an earlier post, “I’m a work in progress” and I accept that I am a spirit having a human existence. All these physical and emotional knots are things I have to learn to deal with. That’s not to say they have to be easy, nor even hard, they simply are to be learned. I have time, plenty of time in which to learn these things. There will be days when I wish I didn’t have to learn them, days when I wish it would all go away. I’m hopeful there will be days when I can sail through these lessons with equanimity and aplomb, but I have a way to go yet before I reach that point.

And so this is Christmas

quote by Audrey Hepburn

For now, I’m doing the best I can. I hope I see things realistically, without rose coloured glasses and without too much of the ‘poor me’ syndrome which I despise.  No, I don’t like this situation but I have to learn to deal with it, without becoming a psychoanalysing “Dr Phil”, and without feeling sorry for myself at every twist and turn. A little is okay, but too much is…. Well it’s too much. I’m sure my husband will let me know if I go too far down that track.

So, I’m hoping everyone has enjoyed the festive season thus far and is gearing up for New Year if they are going to be ‘doing it’. Personally I think I’ll be spending it quietly with my cards and books. There is a New Moon on the 1st of January and I will most probably get myself ready for that. It’s something my husband and I look forward to. That’s the plan at this point in time. You can have a drink for me.

Blessings.  Susan x

© Susan Jamieson 2013

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Spirit of Christmas

image from http://www.josephinewall.co.uk “Snow Flake” #spirit of Christmas

“Christmas, when observed with the right spirit, still has the power to call miracles from Heaven to Earth.”
Richelle E. Goodrich,   Smile Anyway

Spirit of Christmas

I’ve let myself down this year. More than this I’ve let everyone else down. I lost the spirit of Christmas.  After meditating for a long time to gain some perspective, some equanimity to look at everything I’ve made some remarkable discoveries.

  • As well as an existing back/neck problem which has seen me ‘confined’ for long periods I finally discovered:
  • I have Lyme disease and a host of companion diseases to confront.
  • From being “flat on my back” from the injury now I’m “flat on my back” from the medication, most of the time
  • I have been challenged to re-define my approach to the spirit of Christmas
Spirit of Christmas

image from caixinhadepirlimpimpim.blogspot.com

I found that I had allowed my existing beliefs about who and what I am, my beliefs about “how” Christmas should be and my role in it, the very spirit of Christmas, to push me into a position where I was severely depressed because I could not meet these expectations. What was more devastating was that I allowed this to almost ruin Christmas this year.

Spirit of Christmas

image from http://www.superstock.co Remember – if you were naughty you got coal in your stocking?

I have found, with the help and support from my husband and some very dear friends that this does not have to be my reality at all. The spirit of Christmas which is so important to me is still alive within me. Whilst this may sound such a simple thing it is, in itself, incredibly profound.  Anything which alters your perception in such a manner is life changing, if you allow it to be.

I found:

  • I have pain, at times intense and unremitting pain, but it does not define me, it is not ME
  • I have some nasty bugs running my internal programs but they do not define me, they are not ME
  • The lack of support for the spirit of Christmas I have always held as a family tradition is not defined by the presence of others, they are not ME

Most importantly I have found that:

  • I am a unique spiritual being having a human existence, my spirituality is not affected by any pain I might suffer, I am ME
  • My unique spiritual  being is not the zillion bugs attacking my human body because I am ME     and
  • It is my spiritual being which creates the magic, joy and belief in the Spirit of Christmas because I am ME

Such a simple and profound statement: I am ME.

Knowing who and what you are, is something which people search for their entire life. I have not found the full scope of Who, and What I Am, but I am content that I have found the ME who is here, right now.

I have always known and accepted I was a “work in progress” since that is the purpose of my spiritual presence here. I simply forgot that changes in the lives around me, which affected my own life, did not change my purpose. I had to learn how to adapt to those changes, to learn something new perhaps, but I retained the essence of who I am. I can retain the spirit of Christmas within me.

I am so grateful that this incredible appreciation has arrived now.  I have been struggling with my meditation but today I found it was there all along.  I have welcomed it back with so much happiness that it feels as though a great light has been re-lit and a beacon now shines in the place of the darkness the depression had enveloped me in.

Spirit of Christmas
“Beacon of Light” walking into sunshine  Spirit of Christmas
  • I am celebrating Christmas Day with my husband, our first alone together and it is going to be uniquely special because we are together.
  • I am celebrating Boxing Day with my son and his girlfriend, a first, which is another uniquely special occasion.
  • I will see my daughter when I can before New Year’s Eve, and I am grateful I can see her then. Whilst she cannot be here “at Christmas” she is here in spirit, in my heart, which is all I need at the moment.
  • Most importantly, my parents, Mum and Dad, will be here in spirit. I miss them more each year but I now know, beyond any doubt, that they will be with me as I sit at my dinner table with my husband eating our Christmas dinner.
  • In all of these and many more the spirit of Christmas I rejoice in is alive and well within me.

It may be the first time I have been ‘alone’ on Christmas Day but it will also be the first time that I have been able to put aside the crushing loneliness their absence brought – even if it is just a little. It makes it a little easier not to have my family physically with me at Christmas when I have always believed that family and the spirit of Christmas were synonymous with each other. I have no idea when or why that changed but since it has and I cannot turn back the clock, I have to “move with the times”.

As the saying goes, “life goes on”, and it does, whether we will it so or not. Whether it hurts or not, life always goes on. It is a spiritual lesson our human selves must accept. When we do, life isn’t as bad, even if just by a little.

Whilst my family may be moving in other directions, as their lives change, then so has mine. Now I have a wonderful and loving husband who spoils me, not just on Christmas Day but every day. As our love grows it encompasses all the changes which occur.  Our spirit of Christmas is alive and growing each year.

Spirit of Christmas

image from twu.ca

When we recall Christmas past, we usually find that the simplest things – not the great occasions – give off the greatest glow of happiness.”
Bob Hope

When so much seemed to have been taken away I looked and saw that I have so much to be grateful for, a family who are strong and capable individuals, who care enough to want to be around, and a husband whose love will wrap me round and always keep me safe and warm.

The Spirit of Christmas – what a wonderful thing to be grateful for,  I know I am. I hope you are too!

Blessings for a wonderful Christmas with the Spirit of Christmas alive in your own hearts.

Merry Christmas,  Susan x

© Susan Jamieson, 2013

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Christmas Calling

image from
josephine-wall-fantasy-paintings.co.uk

“Christmas waves a magic wand over this world, and behold, everything is softer and more beautiful. ”
― Norman Vincent Peale

~

“I know what I really want for Christmas.
I want my childhood back.
Nobody is going to give me that. I might give at least the memory of it to myself if I try. I know it doesn’t make sense, but since when is Christmas about sense, anyway? It is about a child, of long ago and far away, and it is about the child of now. In you and me. Waiting behind the door of or hearts for something wonderful to happen. A child who is impractical, unrealistic, simpleminded and terribly vulnerable to joy.”
― Robert Fulghum, All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten

~

The Christmas of times past seems to have vanished like the snow from my door. Snow is never likely to fall in front of my door again, but it really has only a small part to play in the changes in Christmas. I would that I could offer everyone the intense joy and happiness I knew with each and every Christmas. The fact that it has changed for me is a matter of great dismay. The fact that it has changed for so many others is daunting.

As a child I knew so much happiness and excitement as Christmas drew close. It wasn’t for the fact that the stores were filled with toys and lollies and Christmas decorations. It was for the joy and wonder my parents and grandparents created each day leading up to Christmas day. I was fortunate that the shops didn’t put out the decorations, cards and toys until much closer to Christmas. The unique ‘specialness’ of Christmas had not been inundated with the bombardment of the commercialism of Christmas. It yet held that special air of magic. The pleasure of a nativity calendar!

I remember one year, being so convinced that my parents had to be helping Santa by hiding our gifts somewhere at home. After all he couldn’t really get them all round the world to every boy and girl on Christmas Eve, could he? I searched the house from top to bottom (I was very excited). I found nothing of course. My parents knew me well – they had hidden everything at my Nanny’s since she lived next door. It was a thrilling time none the less.

I remember when I was old enough to start sending Christmas cards to my friends. It was a sign, an indication that I was getting older and able to understand the real meaning behind Christmas. It meant, to me at least, that Christmas was a time for family, and for friends, and more than that for everyone I met. It was a time to share happiness, even if it was only a smile or a card.

Christmas Calling

image from theearthconstitution.org

I remember when my children were born and the excitement I felt when I gave them cards and gifts. I remember the fun we had as we made up Christmas hampers for the Salvos and for the RSPCA.  I remember with a sigh, when they too became old enough to want to give their friends Christmas cards.  Yet, in what feels like a few short years later the world itself has changed. Somehow, Christmas has lost some of its magic and sparkle and we are the poorer for it.

People  no longer want to send cards, if you are very fortunate you might get an e card. I haven’t yet found a way to hang it up though. What does that card mean? To me it meant that I cared about the person I was sending it to; I was thinking about them even if I couldn’t see or speak with them on Christmas day – or perhaps over the few days of Christmas. So a card, especially when money was tight, was a true gift of the heart to say…I miss you and I wish you all the best and that you were here. We made cards which held a stronger magic of love.

The other day I heard someone refer to themselves as an orphan and having an ‘Orphan Christmas’ because their parents had divorced. I felt so saddened by that. I thought of all the children who have never had parents, are living on the streets, or whose parents have passed away and therefore cannot have any part of the physical Christmas with them. I understand, I think, what they meant, but I couldn’t stop the tears forming, as I thought of the fact that my parents were no longer here, my brothers not speaking with me and my children unable to visit this year. I was selfish, I know, but the words hit like a barb bringing all the other barbs to play.

What hit the hardest was knowing that this move from giving Christmas cards means that I don’t even have the joy of a card to say – Yes, they are thinking of me. There is a part of them here too. Of course, they are in my heart, but I have to wonder why people are so reluctant to spend a few dollars sending a card.  What has happened to the feeling and magic of Christmas?

Oh, I know, its expensive sending cards today, and if you are giving someone a gift why spend a few extra dollars on a card? Better yet, why send a card when the postage costs more than the card? Perhaps it’s the thought, why send a card at all, we don’t see or hear from them most of the year? Somehow this just sounds like excuses or miserly thinking. (To me). The Christmas Spirit seems to be vanishing, or has the Christmas Grinch caught up with most people?

I am often heard wishing for snow at Christmas, the feel of the crisp air and the crunch of snow underfoot. The robins and tinsel, mistletoe and fairy lights. My mother’s fantastic Christmas tree decorated, which eclipse mine to this day, I can never see again, except in my memory. The paper decorations we all made as children – do you remember the strips of coloured paper, we glued one end to make a circle, then added more? Paper chains, we had a houseful one year. 🙂  I have beautiful cross stitch ornaments and sequin balls made at school by my children. Yet there is a hollow feeling in my heart. The Christmas magic is being stolen.

If I was allowed only one Christmas wish I would give it to –  all of you. I would wish you; a Christmas filled with joy and magic, the excitement of family or friends, or someone who cared, to make your Christmas special. If I could I would make sure that everyone received at least one Christmas card, with wishes for a safe and happy Christmas, filled with love and that you would all return safe and sound in the New Year.  

~

Wherever you are, my wish is that you receive the joy and magic from my heart to yours. That you feel the love and happiness of Christmas, of time shared however briefly together.

~

This, is my Christmas Calling to You.

~

Blessings, Susan x

© Susan Jamieson 2013

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Through the Looking Glass

image from gamesfortrainers.blogspot.com

“A good plan of today is better than a great plan of tomorrow. Look back with satisfaction and move forward with confidence.” – Ritu Ghatourey

As some of you may know, I am the director of a self-development program called Life Change 90. One of the tried and proven methods in self-development is the review phase.  For some it’s a lot easier than others.

For example: a single person may find it easy to schedule enough time to review the  month, quarter, half-year or year in the space of an afternoon up to a weekend. They have only themselves, as a rule, to concern themselves when they are scheduling the time and focusing on their results, achievements and next plans.

For a couple without children, it may be possible for them to do their individual reviews in a similar manner, but when they review their joint, couple oriented goals, they may need to schedule a weekend and for that they have the ability, without constraints, to go away for a weekend to really focus on where they want to head in the coming time frame.  I should also add that there are no limits with respect to the time frame when they are doing their plans. They can have short, mid-term and long-term plans. Some plans may stretch into a few years in the future or longer, it depends on what they are working towards.

Through the Looking Glass

image from projectavalon.net

However, when you think about a family, the parents of young children have the same aspirations with their goals but their time availability may be drastically curtailed. They are reliant on finding someone to look after their children for however long they can afford to get away. In this context, afford has several meanings, from financial to time and all manner of things in between. So for a couple, with children it may be a bigger challenge than for a single person – and then again, it may not.

However, I’d like to show you a specific example of how easy or difficult this can be.  Our children are all adults, we have the ‘empty nest’ syndrome, but that does not mean that we are time rich. Due to the limitations created by my health issues, finding time when I can truly focus on planning is severely restricted. That is, if I wish to be a contributing partner in the planning.  Add to this, the very real-time challenge presented to my husband who does so many other things to help me in the house and to ensure our relationship remains as vibrant as possible under the circumstances. (I help here too).

Through the Looking Glass

image from preparetochange.com

This weekend has been the first opportunity I, personally, have had when I have been able to give the time to this planning since before I became ‘really ill’.  We had made plans earlier, right up to the time when the wedding took place. However, since then, probably because of the extra stress I put myself under, I haven’t been up to the challenge of planning the next phase.  It’s also been a case of consolidating all that we had planned to that point and those things which were still in motion after that. But, we were ready for a review; it was simply awaiting my ‘availability.

I have to be honest, brutally honest; I really wasn’t totally behind the idea. I haven’t felt ‘good’ for quite a while, Christmas is just around the next weekend and I feel woefully under prepared.  That too is an exaggeration, but it is my reality. I happen to be one of those people who need to have everything arranged down to the last gasp.  Hence the series of heel taps I’ve had all day.

Getting away from home was a nightmare. Nothing wanted to work out right and we were later than we had planned.  Then we were held up in Brisbane when it should have been a quick stop. The traffic on the way to Tambourine was sluggish to say the least. By the time we arrived on the mountain I was tired, sore and not in the mood to start reviewing!  However, I’ve now had dinner, relaxed, watched a little TV, showered and feel ready to do what we came here for.  Tomorrow we start.  I’ll let you know how we go.

To Be Continued…………..

Ciao,  Susan

© Susan Jamieson 2013

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“I would rather trust a woman’s instinct than a man’s reason.”
Stanley Baldwin

~

I wasn’t sure if I would be writing tonight since my sudden decision to retire last night had its own strange carry over to this morning. In fact, it was more like lunch time before I really reached the point of being conscious. That is bad enough, at least from my perspective, after all that’s half a day wasted doing nothing but sleep or snooze in a semi catatonic state.

The truth is that the new medication the doctor prescribed is, what you might call, a trifle heavy handed. Great if you want to spend a day in delightful slumber, but if you are like me, then you spend all your time struggling against its soporific effects to wake up. So why on earth take the medication if I’m going to fight against it, and have a headache as a result?

The answer is incredibly simple. When the pain becomes bad enough that I’m in tears and I would desperately like nothing more than to go to the hospital for some help, I reach for these Dopey Dora tablets. Yes, they eventually make me too cotton woolly to think but I’m left with this strange urge to be doing something because it doesn’t hurt as much. As far as logical thought goes, it’s pretty ridiculous.

~

~

Yet when I tuned in to my inner critic, I heard a song from a favourite movie, My Fair Lady. It was a slapstick piece of complaining from Dr Higgins to Colonel Pickering when Eliza has left after her success at the ball. It was that beautiful soliloquy: “Why can’t a woman be more like a man?”

Because it’s been rattling around my head all day I decided to really listen to it and it’s quite funny. All of the ‘lovely’ attributes he is bemoaning woman of the era do not have and men do, are the very essence of the difference between men and women. Women are emotional, feeling creatures who feel things deeply in a different way to men. Men, of that era especially, are somewhat cold, unemotional and aloof, and definitely believe the ‘fairer sex’ should be seen as a trophy and not heard. Ugh! Not my cup of tea at all.

The same thing is apparent from the early twentieth century. At present we are being inundated by a plethora of movies and soapies about the late, great gangster imitations in Australia. The ‘underworld’ and organised crime have perpetuated this myth that there was something glamorous about being a ‘possession’ of one of these mobsters.

Now, I’ll admit to being one of those ’pioneering types’ and would more than likely have been carted away in handcuffs because I’d chained myself to the railings advocating voting for women. That’s a funny enough thought on its own, but doesn’t address the fundamental differences between men and women. Men are all for the rough and tumble, fists flying and if anyone else gets hurt, too bad mate, she’ll be right! Women on the other hand have all those nurturing abilities which see them sacrificing themselves, for their children and their miscreant husbands.

Cats and Dogs

image from thegenealogycorner.wordpress.com –  The looks say it all.

So when Higgins asks, “Why can’t a woman be more like a man” it’s a simple case of nature versus nurture. Some men get it and some don’t. But don’t get me wrong, in an ironical twist, there are some wonderful men who are great at rearing children whilst the woman is great in the high pressure stakes of business.

In short, I believe there are blurred lines in the roles between men and women today. We are seeing a great upheaval in thought, attitude and cultural mores. It brings an added dimension to life, sometimes good and sometimes bad, but that is the tenor of life and learning. We have to take the good and the bad and learn from it.

So Mr Higgins, a woman should not be more like a man, life would be boring indeed, and at the end of the movie, if she wasn’t different, he would never be able to say, “I’ve grown accustomed to her ways”….. Isn’t that the way it’s supposed to be?

~

~

I hope you enjoy my  wander down memory lane , mixing it up with today’s dilemma.

Blessings,  Susan x

© Susan Jamieson 2013

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Identity

Image from http://www.bizarbin.com
Best friends

“Never forget what you are, for surely the world will not. Make it your strength. Then it can never be your weakness. Armour yourself in it, and it will never be used to hurt you.”
― George R.R. Martin, A Game of Thrones

Identity… what is it?

Identity is what makes you who you are and it makes me who I am, two totally separate and unique individuals. There can be no other person exactly like either of us and that is why we are unique, and it is this very uniqueness which gives us our wonderful identities.

Amongst the many definitions of Identity Wikipedia say this in relation to “identity formation” –

“the process of the development of the distinct personality of an individual”.

I had to question the reason why there are so many differing ways to define “identity”. There are personal, corporate, country, sexual, gender and philosophical “identity” and whilst they all have some resemblance to each other they are all also very different. Perhaps the easiest way to understand this abundance of differentiation is to acknowledge that as an individual we are complex creatures and in order to understand something as simple as a person’s identity, it has become necessary to view identity in context to the subject being discussed.

Identity

Image from ecofriendszz.blogspot.com
More best friends

So, What is identity?

The above is however, a very clinical way of viewing someone, breaking the very characteristics and behaviours which make people unique into small bite sized chunks of individuality. I believe an identity is the sum total of those characteristics and behaviours which makes an individual unique in comparison to everyone else.  Just as no two people can be the same then no two identities can be “identical”. Even copycats cannot be identical because it is impossible to remove all the individuality of the copycat. Even identical twins are not absolutely identical.

The complexity of ‘identity’ can be seen if you look at the “national/public holidays” a country has. Labour Day is ‘celebrated’ in many western countries. It has created an identity unique to itself by creating a movement to raise the standard of labour laws which had not been seen before. It therefore became part of the national identity to celebrate the ‘global’ change in national identity.

Identity

Image from webtaj.com
Rabbit, mouse, kitten and puppy friends

What is identity in Australia?

In Australia we, as a nation, are known by the colloquial saying of “She’ll be right, mate”. We are also known as a nation of sun worshipping surfers and athletes. This however is only a small part of the picture. There are many more people who are not sun worshippers, not surfers and definitely not athletes. The national image has corrupted the true individual identity, and also the national identity since it has taken away our ability to be unique.

What is identity in America?

In the US, Thanksgiving has just been celebrated (or is still being celebrated). There is discussion on the relevance of celebrating it, in the manner it is currently. It seems there is always some disagreement over what or how, certain celebrations occur. In context it is a good thing.

Identity

Image from advocacy.britannica.com
Thanksgiving Day

Thanksgiving originated after the Mayflower had landed, half the people had died from illness and the local Indians had helped them to learn how to survive in their new land. At that time it was the creation of a new national identity which is still celebrated today, even though many individuals have changed since then and the national identity has changed, as much as the individual identities have changed to reflect the times. The celebration is one of identity, unique circumstances and the forging of a partnership with the inhabitants of their new land. The celebration remains although much of the original import has been forgotten or changed.

What really is identity?

Identity is the sum total of all the parts which make us who we are. It is the ability to choose our path through life, our spiritual path as well as our family path, career path, life path.   We, as human beings, are unique on the planet in that we can choose to change, to grow, to become more than we are right now.  If we are not happy with who we are, or how we see ourselves and our identity, we can choose to become more.  We can choose to learn more, to understand more, to grow and evolve.  It is human nature to grow and evolve, and we can direct our growth and development, as we choose the identity we wish to present.

Societies, human beings, our unique spiritual beliefs, all form a part of our “identity”.

When we choose to band together, our identities merge to form a group of people with a common bond, purpose and identity.  It may be to celebrate one of these national holidays, or a religious festival.  However, we remain individuals within the group, always with free will, always with the ability and capability to decide to be different, unique, truly an individual, because we do have our own unique identity.

Perhaps this is the most important part of ‘identity’ that needs to be remembered.  Regardless of the group, the bond or the cause, at all times, we have that free will to choose to step out of the group.  We are ‘united’ by the common beliefs, but not necessarily ‘bound’ by them.  It takes strength and courage to be an individual, to accept your own uniqueness, but then, that courage and strength is also part of your identity.

Celebrate it.

identity

Image from eeryelegance.blogspot.com
My best friend is ducky!

I believe that identity is a multifaceted and unique part of each person. It makes us a spiritual being unlike any other. The very complexity of our identity is what makes us a global and spiritual masterpiece.

Blessings, Susan x

“We know what we are, but not what we may be.”
― William Shakespeare

© Susan Jamieson 2013

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