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Posts Tagged ‘gratitude’

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“In ordinary life we hardly realize that we receive a great deal more than we give, and that it is only with gratitude that life becomes rich.”    Deitrich Bonhoeffer

It seems appropriate that whilst I wrote about “12 Days of Christmas – Gratitude Style”, that it should be remembered after all the Christmas festivities have finished, that gratitude is not something which is only to be thought of then but throughout the year and for many different reasons.

image from theclassywoman.blogspot.com

Christmas day dawned bright and early at our home – perhaps too early for someone who isn’t sleeping very well, but it was a special day and what’s the loss of a little more sleep?  The anticipation of having my son and daughter visit was, as always, tempered by the knowledge that my parents would not be there, nor could I see them. My parents have passed over and despite the passage of time it feels like yesterday and the wounds are still raw.

It was brought home even more by the shooting in the US – so many wasted lives.  The private tears I shed and the prayers I said were for all those souls and their families as well as for myself. Yet for all that, I felt incredibly selfish. Here I was with my beautiful family and I was mourning the loss of my parents with whom I had shared so many beautiful memories of this time and others.  But, I am only human, and this is what humans do. I feel blessed to have my children with me on Christmas day, or any other, and grateful that I shared so many glorious ones with my parents, and they with their grandchildren. Yes, I have been blessed.

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I know that grief has its seasons, from the raw and open wounds of its beginnings to the calm and soothed eve of acceptance. I also know that we can revisit these many times over.  Strangely I am grateful that I feel so intensely for those I have and those I have lost, and those of whom I know nothing at all beyond what I have seen and read,  since it means, to me at least, that my heart is full of love for everyone and full of gratitude for their presence in my life.

image from 100smilechallenge.wordpress.com

Especially in my prayers and thoughts are all those who serve our countries and lose their lives.  The many soldiers, sailors, firefighters, ambulance officers, policemen and women, nurses, doctors, and even the bus drivers, train drivers, teachers, people who give their time so that others may enjoy themselves – even the call centre operators who work on the telephones that we may talk with loved ones far away over the festive season. I am humbly thankful for their efforts and grateful for what they do for us.  I cannot thank them all, I only wish I could.

image from naturallyearthfriendly.com

Christmas Day is only one day though and gratitude continues every day. The development of the “Attitude of Gratitude” is something we can all practice each and every day and make our world a more beautiful place, and in this place and space I thank and am grateful for each person who reads this who may perhaps be moved to think of others and be grateful also.  In such a way can we “Pay it Forward“.

image from stopeatingyourheartout.com

For those with no home, living on the streets despite the weather, I pray for them also, sending them love and light and praying that the glow of warmth I feel in my heart may somehow keep them a little warmer, more loved than before.  I am truly grateful for my home, my family and that we can gather together at any time. Love and family are my treasures.

image from theprovince.com

Love and gratitude can be found everywhere – even amongst our beautiful creatures. The bonds of love and family are as close for them as it can be for us. I am grateful for the beauty of nature, the glorious sights I can see and the love I can feel between two incredible creatures. We have all been blessed to be able to see such wonderful images captured if not in fact.

image from mindfulnessmuse.com

This is a simple message, that we may all be grateful for the treasures we have.  My hope that, despite the challenges we face, the hopelessness we may feel, that we may turn the corner from the darkness into the light and remember how much we have to be grateful for.

“We can only be said to be alive in those moments when our hearts are conscious of our treasures.”     ― Thornton Wilder

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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.

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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 ❤

(c) owls and orchids: Susan Jamieson

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image from themutt.wordpress.com –   Even Snoopy had something to say.

Anyone who has lost track of time when using a computer knows the propensity to dream, the urge to make dreams come true and the tendency to miss lunch.   Tim Berners-Lee

Why do some people blog? Why do they spend their time communicating on a vast range of topics to an unknown audience? Is there some primal urge to “spread the word”, to “teach”, or simply to share our ideas with whomever they resonate with?

It’s a strange compulsion, this urge to write, especially when you sit down without the vaguest notion of what you are going to write about.  Nevertheless you get your computer out, sit at your desk, or in my case, ensconced in bed and start to ‘write’.  Why, I wonder, do we still refer to it as writing when it most obviously isn’t?  I suppose we have a need to create order and a point of reference.

image from http://www.coolpctips.com – Progress in effect.

Laptops have taken over with their ease, portability and ever decreasing size.  So in order to keep manual records will we always use computers in some form or another?

What happens when the world changes a little more and we no longer need letters, books, or computers to communicate our ideas to each other? When, for example, telepathy rules the day? Will we still have this urge to create using the written word, or will we perhaps have mind controlled computers?  Almost mind-blowing really.

Can you imagine a think tank where everyone is telepathic and ideas are shared at lightning speed? Just thinking about the time gained which can be better utilised to – blog!  Yet that doesn’t really answer the question of why some of us decide to blog.

It’s true that few of us will ever be published authors, yet the urge to write is still there.  Could this be the reason for so many scribblings?  At times I have sat down and typed out my blog, only to find that someone else has written almost the same thing, but managed to publish already. For a while I found that very disturbing, and I wondered if I should publish my work at all. With an established blogger  who has already gathered a following ‘your’ attempt may go completely unnoticed. A writers worst nightmare, to have a ‘published’ work and be largely or totally ignored. Quite a conundrum.

In reality, the urge is a deep desire or need to speak to another person, to communicate your ideas, thoughts, feelings, and hopefully, not just have someone like what you are saying but also to comment on it. It then truly becomes a communication.

Whilst satisfying publishing your blog, is there much rationale behind it if it is unread by anyone else? Receiving a comment about it is an amazing feeling. It means that somehow I have managed to reach another person.  In truth, everything I write is a statement about something which is important to me. So like all writers there is a part of my heart and soul in the words I write.

So, I blog because I care if something I say has a meaning for someone else. It may be that some little thing I’ve written may help someone in some small way, and in a large part it eases the loneliness of being stuck in bed, without the energy to get out and about as I would like. It is my tenuous link to an outside world I feel cut off from.

So I may not be a Pulitzer prize winner, I may never receive any great recognition for what I say, but it is better than losing the ability to think, to communicate and interact with someone ‘out there’. If I can get that message to those who need that lifeline then I would count my blogging a success.

Blog away my friends, we are making history and this may be a lasting record of who and what we were and thought in times to come. I am grateful I can be a part of history in the making and live my life to its fullest learning whatever comes my way until I can get out there and find it for myself.  Even then I will still be blogging – it must be in the blood!

“I tried always to do better: saw always a little further. I tried to stretch myself.”    Audrey Hepburn

Being an awesome human being is a part of everyone’s awards in life.

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“When you express gratitude for the blessings that come into your life, it not only encourages the universe to send you more, it also sees to it that those blessings remain.”      Stephen Richards

Christmas means many things to many people and no one person can say that they are right any more than another.  I thought about what goes through my mind when Christmas is drawing close.  “The Twelve Days of Christmas” is an English Christmas carol that enumerates a series of increasingly grand gifts given on each of the twelve days of Christmas. Textual evidence suggests the song, first published in England in 1780, may be French in origin.  My little story is very loosely based around this.

On the first day of Christmas I collected up my things, a pen and notebook for my list.  I settled down to write and got my list just right after thinking of the gifts I’d like to give to all of those I love in my life. When I’d finally done, and I read through my list, with each thought I saw the person clear and bright, and I was filled with Gratitude for I knew I’d got the gift just right and I was blessed to have my loved ones on my list.

On the second day of Christmas I settled at my desk and turned on my computer to take my “test.” I searched through many pages and checked all through my list to make sure I found the gift which I required.  As I ticked off each gift I found, and where to go to buy that perfect gift  for each person, I found my heart was filled with Gratitude, which grew with every tick I made upon my list.

On the third day of Christmas I set out on my rounds to begin to gather all the gifts which I had chosen. It wasn’t quite so easy as I found it rather slow, to get the ticks I needed on my list.  Yet with each one I made, another gift which I had found, I also felt a burst of Gratitude inside, since I saw with perfect ease the people I would please and how they’d feel as they each received their gift. However, by the end of the day I hadn’t finished off my list and I knew I’d have to set out at least once more.

image from worldofdifference.vodafone.co.uk

On the fourth day of Christmas I set out nice and early and found amongst my travels quite a few surprises. The gifts that I had thought would be perfect for someone, with surprise I found an even better one.  So with each new tick I added, I found a flush of Gratitude that I hadn’t found the gifts I first thought so good, because I now  knew inside that these new ones were just right and my steps had been guided by the Universe. I was being blessed by the help I was receiving and my task was becoming easier each day.

image from lush.co.uk

On the fifth day of Christmas I found myself distracted, by the sound of all the Christmas carols played in the stores. As I browsed along the rows of cards, with scenes of snow-covered landscapes, I found myself yearning for a drink. So I headed for my coffee shop and had myself a treat, a beautiful hot chocolate, complete with marshmallows, and of course it wouldn’t be the same without a piece of cake, so I sat and relished every crumb.  As I sat there and watched the crowds, all milling to and fro, I found my heart filled with Gratitude for the magic to be found in the simple things we take for granted. Our memories are a gift, free to share as long as we care, and it was a beautiful day to rejoice.

image from tescomagazine.com

On the sixth day of Christmas I set off once more, since I had to catch up on gifts I hadn’t bought whilst day dreaming away the time as I sat with my hot chocolate the day before.  But it was more than worth it I found, as my heart was filled with joy and Gratitude for all the memories I had recalled.  Childhood snowmen with carrot noses, snowball fights with my brothers and the warmth of the fire in the house. With the tinsel everywhere and the tree glittering bright, our home was always a beautiful sight.

On the seventh day of Christmas I received my first Christmas card, and my amazement grew and grew. The very card I’d seen as I drank my hot chocolate, of the snow-covered village lit by Christmas lights, was the same one I held in my hand, sent by my wonderful friend and my Gratitude knew no bounds. Yet once more I knew for sure that I was being blessed even more and I smiled my widest smile.

image from pazzles.net

One the eighth day of Christmas I set off once more and found the final things which I would need to make my Christmas feast, the one whichmy family love best, a traditional roast turkey and all the trimmings. A favourite in my home and a tradition we’ve had for years, one which I’m Grateful I have kept going for my parents, and for me! Even though they wont be there, they will be watching where we are, and I know they’ll be wishing us joy and happiness.  Their presence will be felt and their kisses butterfly soft as we spend our day remembering those days long past. Another blessing in my basket and I’m feeling that special spirit grow as Christmas overtakes us once more.

On the ninth day of Christmas as I wander through the malls, I see the signs for donations at every turn.  My heart is overflowing with the blessings I have received and, with Gratitude for my own Abundance, I fill my shopping basket and drop off all the items as I go so someone else can share in my happiness.  I wish with each item I leave, that whoever receives these parcels will receive my gift of gratitude and blessings.  It’s not a gift I can wrap but my wish for them will be, “Love, Miracles, Gratitude and Abundance” to flow to them all year.

image from pumpkinpatchcreation.com

On the tenth day of Christmas my list was finally done and each item had a tick alongside it. I laughed with joy and Gratitude that the day was nearly here when my family would gather together for the day.  For although we see each other often there is a special magic to Christmas day and I’m blessed each year we are all together. The house is filled with love, happiness and joy and the stories start to flow as we relax. We remember those not present and tell stories of their time and regale each other with stories from our year.  A family is so special and I’m blessed that I can say, my family is still together and each loves the other dear.

image from purplevishion.co.uk

On the eleventh day of Christmas my excitement grew and grew. I laughed with unbound joy and I gathered up my things to wrap each present carefully.  For each present which I wrapped I chose the paper carefully, and matched it with the ribbon and card.  As I filled in each and every one, I saw the faces of my loved ones clearly, their smiles shining as they received each wrapped gift. Each paper fold and piece of tape had been placed with love and care, and the sight of the pile under the tree just grew. I said a little prayer, for the Gratitude in my heart, that Christmas was being shared with my family once more. I remembered all those people, whose families would not be together, the soldiers and nurses, police and ambulance officers, all those we depend on whilst we relax. I asked for a huge blessing to be sent to each family in Gratitude for keeping us safe.

image from gregjudge.blogspot.com

On the twelfth day of Christmas the sun dawns bright as always, my heart is filled with happiness and Gratitude so huge, it overflows my heart and I send it round the world for everyone to share.  My husband’s hand rests softly on my arm and he looks at me and says,”Merry Christmas Darling” and we share a Christmas kiss. We wrap our arms around each other,  and heart to heart share our Gratitude with each other, for our families, friends and loved ones who will join us around our tree.

It’s the simple joys we’ll remember the most. The presence of our family, the smiles on all their faces, the time we spend talking and reliving our beautiful memories. It’s the love we share around the room, as we exchange our small gifts,  the blessings for the food we share and most of all, that we all care – for each other, for our friends, for the people around the world. It’s in this spirit of caring that we will make our Christmas bright.

image from firelitesfire.com

My wish for you is to share my joy. I offer you my Gratitude, that you are here with me today, sharing my small story and my wish for Christmas Day. Peace, joy and happiness, and blessings every day, that Gratitude fills the heart and soul of everyone on earth. Love, Miracles and Abundance today and every day.

“Gratitude means to recognize the good in your life, be thankful for whatever you have, some people may not even have one of those things you consider precious to you (love, family, friends etc). Each day give thanks for the gift of life.You are blessed”   ― Pablo

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image from psychicconnextions.blogspot.com

Time is passing and never so quickly as this lead up to the festive season.  The original countdown of “the Twelve Days of Christmas” was  something played in all the shops, churches and homes all around me when I was growing up.  At times I miss the reminders from my childhood, they had a certain familiarity to them. We could, with absolute certainty, mark down the days to “the big one”  after hearing this song every day.  Like the Advent calendars our children used to love opening up each day, they formed a reliable measure of time, time already passed and time still to go. It had its own way of engaging the mind, heart and spirit and increasing that wonderful anticipation of what was to come.

It didn’t matter if you were religious or not, the celebration would go on and the true roots of the celebration and songs were lost in the annals of time. It’s how religions overtook each other and left only remnants behind.  It’s also only in recent years that the arguments over what we are celebrating and who the celebrations belong to have arisen to cast a cloud over what has been a joyous time between the darkness and dreariness of winter and the coming of spring. Perhaps it is easier to remember why Christmas was celebrated with such joy when you recall the old days, the conditions people lived under and how the turning of the seasons held such an importance to them.

Yet that is another story in itself.  Battling my demons, and when I say this I think of a children’s animated movie called “Sword in the Stone”.

image from tumblr.com

After a monumental and hilarious battle between the witch and Merlin, the witch finds herself bested, confined to bed , green with purple, red and blue polka dots covering her and the antidote – sunshine.  On hearing this there is a wonderful rant and she screeches “I hate  horrible, wholesome sunshine”.  I’m sorry to say sunshine and I don’t mix. I burn like flammable material, finish up looking like a well cooked lobster minus the butter sauce, but nowhere near as tasty! I hide from one air conditioned place to another throughout the heat of the summer, grateful for the sunshine and rain, in moderation, but equally grateful to return to cooler days as autumn finally arrives.  But I digress, these were the demons I referred to.

The Universe looks after us at all times, even when unasked, even if we don’t believe.  I do believe and I was immensely grateful that I was paying attention to what was happening today.  I was in one of my favourite haunts, a bookstore, searching for a gift for my daughters boyfriend.  No hardship there, it took my attention from aching back and feet and the truckload of packages we were juggling. I had seen the book I thought would be ideal but decided to ponder a little more as I lost myself amongst the shelves of books.  With time and my back  telling me I needed to make a decision I asked Ray to collect the book I had seen an hour earlier.

He was standing not two feet from me with the book in his hand when it suddenly flew out of his hand and landed in the aisle. The lady standing next to him looked startled to say the least, but then again, so did I.  Rule number one, and totally inviolate, you cannot buy a book or give one as a gift if it has been on the ground before being given to the recipient. Especially if it may have, heaven forbid, a crinkled edge. A dog-eared book is a sacrilege! Yes I have strange “rules”.   The book was fine but for me that was it, that book would not be leaving th shop with me. It was also the only one of its kind in the store.

image from thebaremidriff.blogspot.com

We left, one gift not purchased and I was sore and disappointed.  On the way home my phone rang. I was not really inclined to answer but I knew it was my daughter calling, “thank heavens for little girls” (Maurice Chevalier), and I knew I needed to take it.  We talked of Christmas and shopping and gifts, and books, a book for her boyfriend.  I could buy David Gemmell or Raymond Feist, (I almost bought this), but put it back when I saw a Brent Weeks omnibus. It was the omnibus which went flying.  This was the ONLY book I could not buy she said – because she had already bought it for him, but Raymond Feist would be brilliant!

I may have to make another trip to a bookstore – such a hardship for me (ahem!) but I know what I will be buying. (Well, at least one of the books I will buy).  I am so grateful Spirit was watching over me today and helped me from buying the wrong thing. Talk about ‘right timing’, I was trying to be so mindful of all the recommendations she had passed on previously and had started to get tired. I was fully present with the situation, in my favourite store I am always fully present. Ok, I was fully present with the task at hand.  Even in a bookstore I eventually still get tired.  I was concentrating on her boyfriend, being fully present with all I knew about him and what I was trying to do, because buying a book a really important, it has to fit with the receiver or I’ve failed!  I thought I had succeeded when, whoosh, through the air it went. I got the message, and I fully accept that without Spirit’s help I would have bought the wrong thing and would have had to exchange it – if I could.

I am very happy, truly grateful for my Guidance, love shopping with my husband (it’s a special treat), have that wonderful feeling of peace inside because I know Spirit is with me always, and I can spread my attitude of gratitude around the world for everyone to share. Thank you Nicole, thank you Ray and thank you, my wonderful spiritual helpers and Magical Beings everywhere.

image from virtualbeauties.blogspot.com

May you find magic in your life today and everyday within the small or large appearance of gratitude in our lives.

“When we become more fully aware that our success is due in large measure to the loyalty, helpfulness, and encouragement we have received from others, our desire grows to pass on similar gifts. Gratitude spurs us on to prove ourselves worthy of what others have done for us. The spirit of gratitude is a powerful energizer”. – Wilferd A. Peterson

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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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