Posts Tagged ‘gratitude’

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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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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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image courtesy of positivethoughtsonlife.wordpress.com

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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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

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couple in love

image courtesy of weheartit.com


Love is like a friendship caught on fire. In the beginning a flame, very pretty, often hot and fierce, but still only light and flickering. As love grows older, our hearts mature and our love becomes as coals, deep-burning and unquenchable.”   Bruce Lee


There are many choices throughout life, some are easy and some take a great deal of reflection.   The decision I made to become a police officer was one of the easiest I ever made. It was at a time when there was still a great deal of respect for police officers and there were few police women around.  I was determined to be a ‘real’ police officer, doing all the tasks a police man would during the course of a normal day. Not that there were many ‘normal days’. It is often very difficult for anyone to understand why I wanted to be a police officer, but the most simple explanation is that I wanted to be able to help those who were unable to help themselves, in the kind of situations where a police officer was called in.  Also, I truly believed that I was able to do something which not many people were able to, and this was by no means being derogatory towards anyone else or heaping praise on myself.  It was and still is a job where you see the worst of people and if you are fortunate, you get to see the best of people also.


From a time long, long ago.


That was a long time ago, but some things never change. That desire, that drive to help others remains to this day.  You find yourself in some strange and unforeseen situations because that ingrained belief still holds true.  I found myself chasing armed bank robbers dressed only in a leotard and tights (a long time ago!), tackling someone trying to evade the police in Roma Street whilst on the way home from work as burly men carefully stepped aside to allow the man to rush past, and  I also found myself  facing down a seven-foot tall angry Maori who wanted to take the heads off two teenagers with a tree branch because another young man had lost control of his car and crashed into a tree.  At the time he said someone could have been hurt – the fact was the two teenagers were in more danger than any bystander.  Then there was the bleak winter night when an elderly man tried to run across six lanes of traffic in peak hour to try to catch a bus and was hit by a car.


I wasn’t the first on the scene yet no-one wanted to go out there to help him, lying on a wet road in dim lighting with cars whizzing past.  I don’t recall seeing the cars as I dashed out to him, I’m sure they were there, but my focus was on the man lying in the road. He was unmoving, and I had a terribly bad feeling about it. He was obviously, very seriously hurt. Someone called an ambulance, but in peak hour…..  and the police!  A blanket was passed across, but his vital signs were barely there. This was just as  the era of the fear of aids and hiv were taking hold. Neither crossed my mind despite the blood.  I simply had to help.  The ambulance arrived eventually, after he had been resuscitated, and again by the ambulance officers.   Unfortunately he didn’t survive, but I did what I could, little though that was.

.The incredible ambulance officers.
car accident scene

image courtesy of gympietimes.com.au

A week later my son came home from school rather upset.  He had found out that day that the elderly gentleman I had tried to help was the grandfather of his best mate.  The funeral had been the day before and he had asked him where he had been. In such a simple way it illustrated how small our world is, how connected we all are, whether we know it or not.  His friend had talked about this unknown woman who had tried to help his grandfather at the accident but no-one knew who she was.  My son was shocked at hearing the news from his friend and also a little proud that it was his mother who had dashed out into the traffic that night.


Both of my children have followed in my footsteps to some degree. Both have ensured they have current first aid training and both, at some time or another have had call to use those skills at accidents.  Another circle has been created of people who want to make a difference, to help those who cannot help themselves and, often without thought, put themselves in possible harms way.  It is something I am very proud of, that my children care about their fellow-man, or woman, despite the prevailing feeling that “you shouldn’t get involved because of possible repercussions”.  Our litigious society may regret preventing ‘good Samaritans’ one day.

.Our hard-working firefighters

firefighters at accident

image courtesy of beaumontenterprise.com

.The amazing doctors and nurses.

doctors and nurses

image courtesy of masterfile.com

.The dedicated soldiers.

soldier in afghanistan
image courtesy of kotaku.com.au


My little tale has nothing to do with weddings, although both parties say “I do” and in that moment they are also saying that the welfare of the other is at the forefront of their mind and heart.  At that moment they are, often without really knowing it, acknowledging that at some future time, there will be other lives, lives other than their own, which they will place before their own safety trying to help them.  Parents can go to extraordinary lengths for their children time and again. Husbands and wives can find extraordinary strength and fearlessness in times of danger.  In fact, families have a tendency to extend that care to include all members of the family, not just the sons and daughters or spouse.

.Family generations.


image courtesy of living.msn.com

Yet the “I do” which I refer to is the one where the ordinary, average person is saying “I do” to the acceptance of doing what may not be possible for everyone, helping in heart wrenching situations, and sometimes, although not often, putting themselves in harm’s way.  I think about the Rural Fire Service, Careflight helicopter rescue, Coastguard rescue, and so many others who put their lives on the line to help save others.  There are many others, nurses and doctors, firemen and paramedics, any recur organisation who go beyond the call of duty, to try to ensure our loved ones are returned to us. These are the ties that bind us, the circles we create which hold us together and which prompt some of us to offer to go that extra mile to ‘protect and serve’.

.The Rural Bush Fire Brigade.

bush fire fighters

image courtesy of perthnow.com.au

.RACQ Careflight Rescue chopper.

rescue helicopter

image courtesy of qt.com.au


Two small words which can have such far-reaching consequences and yet without them these wonderful people would not be doing the jobs they have undertaken. No-one twisted their arms to do this, it has come from a deep-seated conviction that someone has to be prepared to say “the buck stops here’ and I am here to make things right.  They are the unsung heroes of our society, they have said “I do” and we are all better off for them saying this, for believing as they do.


I am eternally grateful for their dedication, their care and the love they show to everyone who crosses their path in time of need.  Their loss is everyone’s loss.


“The thing about a hero, is even when it doesn’t look like there’s a light at the end of the tunnel, he’s going to keep digging, he’s going to keep trying to do right and make up for what’s gone before, just because that’s who he is”.   Joss Whedon

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trials and tribulations

image courtesy of holisticwords.com

I don’t think that anything happens by coincidence… No one is here by accident… Everyone who crosses our path has a message for us. Otherwise they would have taken another path, or left earlier or later. The fact that these people are here means that they are here for some reason”…”
James Redfield, The Celestine Prophecy: A Pocket Guide to the Nine Insights


Some of us believe we have one life only and the end is simply that. Some of us believe we return to earth to learn whatever lessons we have chosen for this earthly incarnation. The Earth is our school room, although I also believe that there are many school rooms and we have a choice when we choose what we wish to learn.  It stretches the imagination to think on that sometimes.  BEing present and mindful are essential qualities for learning.


I have often found that lessons come in different ways. The ones which slide by, hardly making a ripple in the surface of our lives are lessons which make up a small part of the whole.  Then there are lessons which, as they occur make you sit up and take notice.  We usually have to do something in order to manoeuvre our way through them and emerge relatively unscathed. However, we remember the lesson because it has made an impact on us.  The lessons we don’t forget are the ones which arrive like a cataclysm.  They may sneak up on us but when they are ready they are unmistakable. We can choose to decline the lesson but we will have to repeat it later. If we pay attention we can neither ignore them, change them nor evade them. They make a lasting impact on our lives and we remember the lesson forever. Fortunately, once learnt we don’t have to repeat them.


It seems a hard way to learn, but it is in fact, the substance of our nature and how far we have evolved which makes the lessons easy or more difficult. We have all chosen which lessons we have come here to learn. Our earthbound existence is the spirit’s school room. When one of the lessons we have come here to learn arrives, Spirit gives us a gently tap on the shoulder to draw our attention to it. If we pay attention, we learn the lesson with a minimum of fuss – and no pain or discomfort.  It’s a nice way of learning and the lesson is imprinted into our cells, our soul, never to be forgotten or repeated.

easy way to learn
image courtesy of  myspace.com


However, we are sometimes too preoccupied with our earthly existence. We are concentrating on our day to day lives and not paying much attention to our spiritual development.  The lesson arrives, we have ignored the gentle tap on the shoulder from Spirit and gone on our merry way. Hmmm, this isn’t good enough, we’ve come here to learn and like all students who fail to pay attention we need to be reminded to listen to the signs. I like to describe this reminder as a “Gibbs Slap”.  Anyone who watches NCIS will recognise the term. It is a quick but smart cuff on the back of the head.  “Pay Attention NOW!”


image courtesy of lynnhugginsblackburn.blogspot.com


The quintessential wake up call. Unfortunately I seem to have missed a few of these wake up calls in the past. Where was Gibbs when I needed him? So what happens when we need that BIG wake up call to pay attention and learn? My reminders have been many and varied.  I wasn’t paying attention one day and didn’t check to see if my son had closed the rear door of the car before I reversed out of the garage….. CRUNCH – one door perpendicular to the car!   Another time I was at the gym, but paying little attention and managed to roll both ankles whilst doing step ups.  I thought I had managed to get away with it since my muscles were well and truly warmed up, but once I stopped (yes I continued exercising), the swelling and pain started and I somehow managed to drive home with both ankles bandaged, praying that I didn’t have to stop at any lights before I reached home and limped inside.  Needless to say I didn’t get much sympathy at the time.


The next time my ‘lesson’ arrived I was in a car.  My ‘friend’ Johnny Depp as Jack Sparrow shows clearly how I felt that time. Unfortunately I didn’t have his aptitude for slipping out of trouble as easily.

Jack Sparrow
image courtesy of mirahashmi.wordpress.com


At some point in time since then I realised that I had learned what I was meant to as I have had no more ‘lessons’ given to me. My accident prone existence has become one of relative normality. I am eternally grateful my attention was caught and I listened  carefully. Since I am still ‘recovering’ from my failure to pay attention earlier, I am also grateful that we get to choose how we are reminded to pay attention.


Some people are not as fortunate. Some lose everything they hold dear, health, wealth, family, friends, even their lives. How the lessons eventuate is something we have already decided before we reach this mortal coil. We are given the tools we need to learn what we have come here for. It is up to us to learn these things or not. We are never forced to learn something if we don’t want to, although we will have to return to learn it in a future life.


One thing we all learn is the truth and magic real love brings us.  Acceptance of who and what we are, our faults and imperfections as well as our capacity to forgive and offer our heart, our love without condition is a huge thing but the rewards are immense.  Receiving that unconditional love in return is like being wrapped in the silkiest fabric, held in strong arms and knowing nothing can harm you – ever.  When you have felt that love your capacity to extend your love to the world and people around you is increased exponentially. It brings a wonderful glow to all that you feel and do.  My wish for you is to find that wonder yourself.

love is a many splendid thing

image courtesy of home.comcast.net


“The minute I heard my first love story, I started looking for you, not knowing how blind that was. Lovers don’t finally meet somewhere. They’re in each other all along” – Rumi.

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beautiful sunrise

image from soundcloud.com

“The timeless in you is aware of life’s timelessness. And knows that yesterday is but today’s memory and tomorrow is today’s dream.”
Kahlil Gibran, The Prophet


One of my earliest memories is hearing my mother say the following words to me after I’d had a bad dream, “Don’t worry Darling, everything will be better in the morning”.  How that was meant to happen I’m not sure, but there’s no denying it had the desired effect of soothing whatever had caused the upset and let me drift off back to sleep again.  It often makes me wonder what happened to that little reassurance which soothed so many worries and troubles during the daylight or dark.  Since I’ve ‘grown up’ it doesn’t seem to have the same effect, for me at least, although it has worked on my children in the past.  Perhaps it’s the calm reassurance from an adult,especially a parent to their child, which holds the magic.  Whatever the reason, there are times I could wish it worked as well now as then.


nightmare meaning
image from fairytalefacts.tumblr.com


Dreams are simply reflections of our mind sorting out the facts from today, and all the other days and making a scenario trying to explain all that information. Any wonder it gets “Lost in Translation” and we wake feeling unrefreshed and confused about what we are supposed to do with ourselves? If our brains are the mighty computers of our body, and we are overloading all those memory chips, is it any wonder we get some garbled code at the end of the ‘data input’?


Bad news has been battering at my door and I feel like saying, “Go away, I don’t want to hear any more”.  Of course that’s not going to happen.  The storms in Brisbane have cut a swathe of damage yet again and many friends and family have been affected. No-one hurt for which I am grateful and I pray that no-one else suffers too badly. Yet it seems it always happens at this time of the year.  A time for thinking about celebrating not repairing broken homes and lives. Memory drives me without mercy.


storm damage

image from AAP, taken in Brisbane Sunday.


So I go to bed and all the thoughts of people who are not under a sound roof, safe and dry, who are ill or no longer with us, begin to pass through my mind and as I drift off they tangle into a story totally different from the reality of the situation.  I cannot control what happens to anyone else, not even my children who have their own homes and lives. No matter how much I wish I could protect them, I cannot. It is a hard concept to finally accept, and so my dreams populate themselves with ‘what ifs’ and ‘maybe’s’ because I still want to protect my ‘babies’, and because I cannot do even this I may say something to my husband which is unfair because I’m trying to reconcile my safety against theirs.  I have to find acceptance, self acceptance that I cannot control everything, even if I would wish it so. I have to be grateful for what is and accept what I cannot change. Such is life and balance must be sought always.


There is no excuse for saying something hurtful, not to someone you love, even if you know you don’t mean it and it is worry which has caused it.  Once those words are out they cannot be taken back.   So tonight I think of all the things which have happened over the last forty-eight hours. My friends Nana passing, my cousin ill with cancer, being reminded of my father’s passing at this time every year, my children in the path of the storms and hail, and the careless words I spoke to someone I love so dearly I’d give anything to take back.  To make the pained look vanish from their eyes.  To love deeply and well is to risk pain and loss, so I suppose I’m very lucky since I feel the possibility of pain and loss  because of a careless word, yet in acknowledging that I know that our love is deep and strong and will carry on long after we’re gone, long after morning comes, and it will be “Better in the Morning” for unconditional love allows this. For this and so much more I am eternally grateful.


Lao Tzu
“Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage.”


two people in love

image from aha-now.com


“Today well lived makes every yesterday a dream of happiness and every tomorrow a vision of hope. Look well therefore to this day.”
Francis Gray

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“Just an observation: it is impossible to be both grateful and depressed. Those with a grateful mindset tend to see the message in the mess. And even though life may knock them down, the grateful find reasons, if even small ones, to get up.”
Steve Maraboli, Life, the Truth, and Being Free

lonelyu girl in the woods

image courtesy of charadestyle.com

To say the past few days have been a trial would be an understatement.  Why has it been a trial?  I could start to list all the things I’ve perceived as being wrong, made me unhappy, not gone the way I wanted them to or cannot see how things are going to be the way I want them to be in the future.  Will this make them any different? An easy answer – no, it most definitely will not. Why? For the simple reason that it will not change any of them, for all of them are now in the past, if only just.

All the texts I’ve seen have stressed that the way forward, the way to make the most of the day you have, is to be grateful for the small things you have. So what happens when the “attitude of gratitude” seems to have flowed out of the “hole in your bucket?”  If you follow the lyrics to this little song you are led in a circuitous ditty back to the beginning again, which is of no value to anyone at all.  Perhaps the analogy is that you cannot fix what has already been broken. If one adopts that premise then the struggle to fix the broken, meaning whatever happened in the past to cause the unsettled or upset feelings, becomes, all at once becomes superfluous,  waste of time. It is an exercise in aimless stupidity.

Is this what life is all about? Is it the meaningless day by day trial of trying to make ends meet, watching the paperwork mount up because you haven’t the heart or will power to get in there and get it sorted out? Is it the wish that you simply don’t wake up this morning so the dreadful reality of the barrenness of your day cannot tear the heart and soul out of you yet again?


image courtesy of theage.com.au

No, I don’t think so, I can’t think so, I refuse to believe it is so! I refuse to accept this as my reality! I may feel that I am simply plodding round an endless spiral, going nowhere and achieving nothing, but that is not my reality, not any longer! It has been an aberrant thought which has crept past my defences, wormed its way past my reality of gratitude for the endless things which are occurring continuously in my life, day by day, all day and every day.  The reality may be that I am working my way through a tedious maze. Yet the maze has a beginning and an end. Curious that the end is the centre of the maze, the centre of all things. Interesting.

So, I may feel that life has beaten me down, I may find it difficult if not almost impossible for a time to see the wonders around me. I may feel that life has used a great big stick and had a really good time thumping me with it, but I am still standing. I’ve managed to get back up,  starred the blackness of despair in the face and yelled “Begone you woeful waste of space, let my sunshine back in NOW! I want my sense of gratitude back in place RIGHT NOW!”  OK, so I’ve picked a day when it’s overcast and looks like rain. That’s OK too. In fact hearing the rain thrumming on my roof, smelling the scent of wet dirt and freshly mown grass will be sweet nectar to my overburdened heart.

looking out rain soaked window
image courtesy of  rajdeeppaulus.com

In fact it will be truly healing. Perhaps the healing I’m searching for and not the information that I have this wrong or that wrong, but it’s ok now, until the next time and there is something else to be found. It’s finding that if “friends are flowers in the garden of life” , well my garden is bare since I don’t have any… flowers or friends. My garden is bare.  It’s coming to terms with the fact that my family has lost its way since my mother passed away and we seem to have lost the glue which held us together. I’m not sure IF I can fix it or IF I am meant to try to fix it. Perhaps it is also part of the change necessary for me to grow.

So for now, when it’s a tough row to hoe, I am concentrating on the small things, the simple things. The sound of the baby birds in the trees around my garden.

Beautiful and shy Koel making a home in my garden.

The appearance of shy native birds who like my garden as a place to call home. The Buff Banded Rail who is still shy and in hiding since the Magpies chase him unmercifully.  The Kookaburras, Pee Wits, Butcher birds and Magpies who sit on my balcony and tilt their heads as I talk to them.  I am surrounded by life and am grateful for their presence and company.  I am grateful for the Nikon my husband bought me because I can take photos of my visitors, perhaps not brilliant photos but they are blessings for me.

So if I start to think about  “Gratitude When the World goes to Hell in a Casket” I will look at my photos and think of my small blessings – with heaps of gratitude.

Buff Banded Rail shyly looking for Magpies as he crosses the garden

Butcher bird sharing my early morning balcony.

Kookaburra checking out the landscape.

“If having a soul means being able to feel love and loyalty and gratitude, then animals are better off than a lot of humans.”
James Herriot

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“Language is the blood of the soul into which thoughts run and out of which they grow.”
Oliver Wendell Holmes Sr.


image from writelife.net

Our whole lives are made up of words. For most of us they are the medium we communicate through, and at times I wonder how on earth I would manage if words didn’t exist. The deaf cannot hear what is said but must rely on sign language to bring what is said to life, but the richness of the words is lost somehow. The blind can hear what is said but cannot see what is described, and must rely on braille to read. I wondered what it would be like to have, what to me is an integral part of my life, removed from me.

I had always been blessed with 20/20 vision, read copiously, did craft work and always wondered what I would do, or how I would react if I was unable to do the things which made me happy, and more importantly, relaxed me and fed my imagination. As fate would have it, in a small way I was about to find out.

When I was pregnant with my second child I suddenly found I was getting a lot of headaches when reading. The same thing happened with my tapestry and crochet work. Headaches! It annoyed me since I was getting too huge to do some of the things I had been used to doing.  (Gardening, especially weeding becomes problematic when one is unable to bend down and get to the ground, far less get back up again!) Now I was having trouble reading and doing my craft work. I was not happy. A hippopotamus was lumbering around my home or a beached whale was inhabiting my lounge room. It was all a matter of how I felt at the time. It was a time when you are more present than at any other because your awareness of the changes within your body are a constant reminder of life.

pregnant lady

image from bigstockphoto.com

In desperation I found myself at my optometrist. As far as I was concerned he wasn’t very helpful. The pressure of vitreous fluid inside the eye changes during pregnancy, hence affecting vision. Wonderful, not only did I have to share my home with a beached whale I also had to put up with a sightless mole blundering around! I was slightly mollified to hear that in “most” cases it went back to normal after the birth.

Humpf! After my daughter made her appearance, not a moment before the nine months was up, my eyesight became much worse.  More bad news was to follow, I had to wait at least three months before anything would be considered, in case it returned to normal.

I blundered around, barely able to see and unable to focus, terrified of sticking a safety-pin into my daughter as I changed her nappy. Worse still was changing my son, who at eighteen months was like a live eel on the change table. I’m not sure what was worse, fearing I would stab him with a safety-pin or him falling off the table as he writhed around and I tried to catch him. Stepping on him as I tried to move around and he crawled faster than I could walk. That too was a nightmare.

wearing large glasses

image courtesy of flickriver.com

So I got some glasses, eventually, and both my children survived. I was the only person to get stuck, repeatedly, by the safety pins, fall over the toys and bang into cupboards. All in all, a good outcome for most.

It did however, give me a miniscule taste of the difficulties faced by the blind and the deaf.  I know that the challenges I had almost drove me crazy.  I applaud anyone with any kind of challenge handling those situations.  I complained about my glasses, bitterly at times, as I became hot and they repeatedly slipped off my nose! I cursed as I had to wear them to dry my hair (heated up again, and fogged up) and because of pure vanity, had to wear them to put make up on – too hilarious for words. At times there was more make up on the glasses than on me! Not to mention the millions of fingerprints from my adorable children who thought they were the goal to grab each time they got close enough to them, especially if they had food on their hands!

Quite a few years later I had lasix surgery and put away my glasses for good. It is reassuring to be able to see unaided again, although I will never forget what it was like for that brief year. I am grateful for the advances with eye surgery. When I first began wearing glasses it was impossible to correct my vision with the lasix surgery.  It was a test to my patience waiting until they developed the process whereby they could do it.  Patience never was my strong suit!

I now listen to my husband cursing his glasses as he peers over the top of them to see me as we talk and curse again as he goes back to work and they aren’t where they should be – or more often he has put them down and cannot find them!

autumn colours

image courtesy of nationaltrust.org.uk

The colours of life are almost too beautiful for words.

A tangerine and russet cascade of kaleidoscopic leaves, creates a tapestry of autumn magic upon the emerald carpet of fading summer.

Judith A. Lindberg

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