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Dawn at home

“Each morning when I open my eyes I say to myself: I, not events, have the power to make me happy or unhappy today.
I can choose which it shall be. Yesterday is dead, tomorrow hasn’t arrived yet. I have just one day, today, and I’m going to be happy in it.”

~Groucho Marx

My morning started as it has for the past two weeks or so. I had decided to put a kick-start to my day, and since I am often awake very early, or late depending on how you look at it, decided a meditation either on getting up, or before I get a few hours snooze time would really put a zing in my day.  It has been working out really well. I have more energy, new ideas are flowing and seeing and being a part of that beautiful calm of pre dawn and dawn has had a magical quality for me. I have been more grateful for the small things in life and that has made some of the gnarlier issues a little easier to deal with.

This morning, after all the horrors of bushfires throughout Australia, and that’s not taking into account the multitude of other issues we are surrounded by, I wanted to spend time sending love and healing to everyone directly affected by these fires, the people and animals, the land devastated by fire and the tireless rural fire brigades which save countless lives whilst standing in the front line against those same fires.

It is a daunting thought, that we are all, in one way or another, able to be affected by natural disaster.  The sheer enormity of the love and healing the land and people need at those times is hard to comprehend.  At times I struggled to remain detached from some of the scenes of the tragedies I could not avoid over the past week, knowing it was possible for it to be repeated again and again before this fire season is “officially” over.

My rainforest songbirds usually blend into my meditation with their musical song.  This morning, for the first time, they found their way to the corner where I sit meditating.  I was brought back to myself earlier than usual. That’s ok, their song is always refreshing and was a nice finish to my meditation.  I decided it was time for a few hours of sleep and curled up next to the warm body of my husband and fell asleep.

All was well, apart from an unusual dream which I will share another time, until I woke up. The crushing pan from a migraine  was assaulting me.  So, I have spent the day cloistered in semi darkness and quiet whilst this monster migraine takes itself away.  Hence, the blog I had prepared has been postponed for this shorter one.

image from diamondheadache.com

For all the myriad problems we, as Australians, have to deal with due to our vast continent, its variable and unpredictable weather, the insurance companies whose only concern is their profit margin, and those NGO’s whose only existence appears to be to make it impossible to make saving life and limb, home and hearth, wildlife and domestic animals, more difficult to achieve, I hope and pray that the good vibes from everyone meditating, from sending their gratitude for our wonderful world  back to it, has the effect I, and others, are praying for.

Early morning from my balcony

“Through my love for you, I want to express my love for the whole cosmos, the whole of humanity, and all beings. By living with you, I want to learn to love everyone and all species. If I succeed in loving you, I will be able to love everyone and all species on Earth… This is the real message of love.”
Thich Nhat Hanh, Teachings on Love

Love and Happiness

Be beautiful, let your soul shine.  ❤

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image from therecord.com.au

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

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

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

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

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

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

image courtesy of michaelsmindandsoul

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

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

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

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

image from fsphealth.co.za

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

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

image from cutcaster.com

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

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

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

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

Love and a beautiful day to all.  Bless ❤

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friendship

There is so much talked and written about friendship. It is one of the greatest gifts you can give to someone.  It warms your heart, it is a place you can go to when you hurt and someone you can trust to hear your every thought when you are so confused you don’t know what to do.  It is one of the rarest treasures to be found.  It cannot be bottled or sold, it must be earned, because friendship is based on trust.

It can also shred your heart into pieces, leave you devastated and betrayed and make you want to curl up and forget you woke up that morning.

This is not confined to friends or acquaintances, it can also be family, loved ones. The people you most likely will never expect to ‘turn on you’ in your time of need.  Let’s face it, with the stresses and strains of modern life we all need more than a casual shoulder to lean on.  We need to know that if we have placed our trust and faith in a friend that they will not find something more interesting to do when you call and need to talk.

Perhaps it’s just me, I’m no longer sure. I may be too difficult to get along with.  I may have more thorns than a prickly pear let alone a rose and no one wants to be bothered picking out the prickles any longer.  The pathetic and sad fact is that I don’t have a friend I can call or write to any longer.

image from therockatbc.com

I had a friend I wrote to without fail, every year for nearly forty years. We never missed a birthday or Christmas. Since coming to Australia it has been confined to letters, but that’s okay, I’ve always enjoyed writing letters.  Two years ago I had the Christmas card and letter I sent returned,”Not known this address”.  How odd I thought and checked the internet.  Nope, they were still registered at the same place.   Two years later they are still registered at the same address and I have no idea what, if anything, has happened to cause the sudden change of heart.

However, she was my last friend.  I had slowly over the years, found that one by one they had dropped off. Divorce has a way of culling friends very quickly.  Some would say it showed how much of a friend they really were. Perhaps that is so. However, at a time when I needed a friend more than ever before, I found not one of my quite large circle of supposed friends willing to take the time to speak to me or to meet me for coffee, and the last time I dropped around to see someone, I was made to feel so unwelcome (the icicles were forming on the ceiling) that I haven’t tried again. No  I haven’t heard from them either.  I didn’t know the heart was able to shrivel that way, but it certainly feels like it. One hurt wasn’t enough, it needed company it seems.

image from glogster.com

It’s not the end of the earth, I hear you say. There are many ways to make friends; join groups, start a class to learn something new, say hello to people in your street, join a church group or an interest group. The lists are endless.  Most good friendships, in my opinion, are either started whilst at school, during your intense work period when interests bind you first and then develop, childbirth and rearing, or through a crisis of some kind.  What happens when they are exhausted, or perhaps worse, you are exhausted from the effort and rejection you have already been through. You close down to save yourself from more hurt.

I don’t have the answers to this one. You see I’m rather tapped out with my previous efforts and failures. Does this mean it’s me who is the ‘square peg in the round hole?” I don’t know.  I do know that when I was challenged recently to take five minutes to call, write or be with a friend my heart melted one more time.

Rusty

I am longing for my dog who passed away, Rusty, …. with him I had a friend who never turned away when I needed a cuddle, a sloppy kiss if I was sad or simply sat with me if I was feeling low.  The best friend a girl could ever have. I miss him so much, to this day, especially this day.

So for all those who recognise themselves in this blog, or find the challenge of calling, writing or being with a friend today, beyond your abilities, I will be your friend, because I know what it feels like to have that hollow feeling of emptiness inside.

image from dostoyreflects.blogspot.com

Welcome, one and all.

“No one can be happy without a friend, nor be sure of a friend until he is unhappy”. –Thomas Fuller

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

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

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

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

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

image from facebook.com Happiness is….

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

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

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

image from lessonsinashell.blogspot.com

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

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

image from facebook.com

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

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

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

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

(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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image from alisoncarydesign.com

“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 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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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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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easy way to learn
image courtesy of  myspace.com

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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!”

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gibbs
image courtesy of lynnhugginsblackburn.blogspot.com

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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.

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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.

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Jack Sparrow
image courtesy of mirahashmi.wordpress.com

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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.

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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.

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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

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“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

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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.

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nightmare meaning
image from fairytalefacts.tumblr.com

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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’?

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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.

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storm damage

image from AAP, taken in Brisbane Sunday.

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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.

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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.

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

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two people in love

image from aha-now.com

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“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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“The most precious gift we can offer others is our presence. When mindfulness embraces those we love, they will bloom like flowers.”
Thich Nhat Hanh quotes (Vietnamese Monk, Activist and Writer. b.1926)

2 business people backs to each other
Have you ever been in the situation where an innocuous statement has been totally misunderstood and you have  found yourself  hot water as a result?  It’s not very pleasant and sometimes, even with the best will in the world you cannot get the other party to see what you were trying to say.

I believe it happens for a reason, not that we appreciate the lesson at the time, but it is usually a very good lesson to learn.  We are all individuals and we operate from our  own unique frame of reference. We have to simply because we all have different things to learn, at different times, and thus we have gaps in understanding each other   Having said that it most definitely doesn’t make for harmonious living or relationships.  In fact it can tear friendships or relationships apart.

business people arguing
image courtesy of  123rf.com

Humans are  strange creatures. We can wander through our lives in , barely aware of what is occurring around us, unless of course it happens to impinge on something we  have a vested interest in    Take for example, an accountant who is busily preparing his client’s tax returns. It is a busy period and his focus and attention is firmly fixed on getting those returns done, as quickly and efficiently as possible since his clients would like their refunds as soon as possible. If they are fortunate  enough to be receiving one that is.

What would happen if someone from , lets says, the ATO makes an appearance at his office and announces that the rules have  changed, not only that but it means that some, or perhaps all of the work this hard pressed accountant has already done will need to be reviewed or re done!    “Danger Will Robinson!”

The probably hard-working and mild-mannered accountant becomes hot under the collar at the cavalier way in which all his hard work has apparently been undermined. He gets upset and annoyed and heated words are exchanged. He hasn’t advanced his cause with the ATO in any way and may have  ensured his name has been noted for further scrutiny. Not a propitious outcome, is it?

So what has really happened?  The accountant has been preoccupied with his work and perhaps misinterpreted or misunderstood an innocuous statement by the ATO. representative.   The representative on the other hand has been upset at feeling attacked for delivering an insignificant  or perhaps a significant piece of information to help the accountant. Both parties are feeling aggrieved . Misunderstanding is an understatement!

confused person

image courtesy of bigisthenewsmall.com

If either person had been fully present with the other, paying attention to what was occurring around them the misunderstanding  would have been averted.  From this point the situation has two ways of developing: it can either degenerate further or common sense may prevail and it may be smoothed over .  The sad fact is that if each person had paid attention to the other, been fully present with the other than no misunderstanding could have occurred.  It also means that each person would have been showing respect towards the other paying the other the attention they deserve.

The  unfortunate part of this story is that it is repeated often, daily, hourly, by the moment because we have fallen out of the practise of fully being with another.  Our conscious mind is elsewhere and the subconscious substitutes what it feels may fit the bill at the time.   We need to be mindful of our thoughts, our words and our actions and the effect they may have on another.  We need to remember that if we want to have the attention we deserve we must also  give that respect to others.

respect

image courtesy of facebook.com
It is, at the end of the day, only moment of time to ensure we have heard the message being delivered and we do that by being fully present with whomever we are engaged with at the time.  If we pay attention to what is said, ensure we understand what is being said, confirm the message if we are unsure, we are, in essence, in fact, showing that the person and the message  are valued. Wouldn’t that be a fabulous thing to offer everyone we had dealings with, be they work colleagues or family and friends?

I know that I personally would be much more grateful for the time and effort being shown to me, to allow me to remain fully up to date with whatever was occurring.  Being able to be fully present with someone, perhaps even enjoy the exchange, forge a better relationship, make future work together something pleasant and not to be avoided sounds ideal. The benefits far outweigh any possible downside. Is there a down side?

dog sled team

image courtesy of hammerweb.co.uk

Even a dog sled team must work in unison, harmony, despite the “pecking order” to achieve the result of forward motion.
So what do we need to do to ensure that the situation doesn’t arise where someone says, “Did I say That?”  It’s simple, we need to be fully present in the moment, pay attention to whomever or whatever is occurring and hear the message before we start to interpret it. If we can all do that there would be much less angst, misunderstanding and ill will floating around.  The world would be a better and more harmonious  place for all. It’s definitely worth pausing and thinking about.

happy multicultiral group

image courtesy of myspace.com
“The unthankful heart… discovers no mercies; but let the thankful heart sweep through the day and, as the magnet finds the iron, so it will find, in every hour, some heavenly blessings!” ~Henry Ward Beecher

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happy picture

image courtesy of facebook.com

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