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Posts Tagged ‘Self Development’

“Life is not meant to be easy, my child; but take courage — it can be delightful.”

George Bernard Shaw from his book “Back to Methuselah.”

 

Life is complex. It is rarely straight forward. Each time we look around we find that things have been either subtly changed or intricately woven into a complex tapestry. Is it strange therefore to begin to wonder the reason for this apparent random upheaval of life? Life is a character building exercise and a spiritual means of growth and learning.

Former Australian Prime Minister, Malcolm Fraser, (1975 – 1983) coined the phrase “Life wasn’t meant to be easy” in 1983. Using only the first line made it sound somewhat unsympathetic, perhaps in keeping with the persona of Mr Fraser. As far as it goes, this simple statement is infuriating. Think about it for a moment. Such a simple statement of apparent fact says so much more. Each day we are faced with a multitude if decisions and situations which we have to solve in order to progress through our days.

If we accept the premise this simple statement provides we are accepting that, irrespective of what we do, life is going to be difficult. It has cemented into our sub conscious the probability that we have to fail at what we are doing, or if not fail, then we will have a really difficult time in achieving our goal. We “have” to struggle.

 

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

All of life, from its inception to its last hurrah, can be filled with challenges of one kind or another. This isn’t simply aimed at an individual or a select group of people either. It can also include each and every country on the planet. Can you envision what could happen if each country developed a mindset that “Life wasn’t meant to be easy?”

We see on a daily basis the armed conflicts on a global scale, the individual and group murders, brutal assaults and acts of cruelty and terror on a major and minor scale, and if we accept the premise of this simple statement, it could be the single, most heinous excuse for every unimaginable horror which could be perpetrated.

Yet, it need not be this way. “Life wasn’t meant to be easy” because “Life is easy”. As Shaw said, but take courage — it can be delightful.” I can hear the sounds of derision even now. There is no-one breathing down our necks to make life difficult. There is no-one telling us we have to make decisions which will ensure life be will be a struggle day by day. It is true that there are horrendous events occurring each day. There are people dying as you read this, some in the most sickening manner which could be imagined. Does it have to be this way?

Do people have to be forced to live on the streets, to spend days and nights with little or no food or warmth? Do entire countries or factions need to spend their days and nights contemplating the destruction of anyone who has different ideas to theirs?

#This is Life

you are always in my heart

“You connect yourself to the viewer by sharing something that is inside of you that connects with something inside of him. All you have as your guide is that you know what moves you.” -Steven Brust

These questions can reduced to an even simpler, single question, “Does this person, or these people, these countries or factions, have the right or necessity to destroy anyone’s life? We all have an unassailable right to life, to make our own decisions and choose whether we will have a life of struggle, strife and woe or a life filled with blessings, light and ease.

It can most definitely be challenging and so it should be. Anything which we find too easy to obtain or secure, to earn or to simply be, is rarely valued. It seems that we need to feel that we have earned our right to have a sense of ease in our lives. In this, there may be some truth.

As a spirit in human form we choose what lessons we have come to this place, our home, planet earth, to learn and also how we are going to do this. There are many reasons why these lessons may be so ‘hard’. There is one school of thought which says that the harder the lesson the more we learn from it and the less time we have to spend earning our “credits” in the school of life. I’m not entirely convinced it can be as simple as this, but it does make a certain skewed logic.

Perhaps I need to have a logical reason for why things happen the way they do. The shooting down of a plane of innocent travellers. The continued conflicts around the globe which create arguments on a daily basis – the beginnings of the next conflagration.

I don’t have the answers to even the simple question of “Why is life not meant to be easy?” All I have is the sometimes tremulous belief that life is….life. In all its good and bad, the beauty and horror, it is as it is. Whether it is meant to be or not starts to become meaningless.

As George Bernard Shaw said, “Life is not meant to be easy, my child; but take courage — it can be delightful.”

Yes, amidst the horror, “life can be delightful”. I’m happy with that.

May all your days be delightful.

#This is Life

image courtesy of dontgiveupworld.com

 

“The most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss, and have found their way out of the depths. These persons have an appreciation, a sensitivity, and an understanding of life that fills them with compassion, gentleness, and a deep loving concern. Beautiful people do not just happen.” -Elizabeth Kubler Ross

 

Blessings, Susan ♥

© Susan Jamieson, August 2014

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#In this Wonderful Life

image courtesy of wallpapers-xs.blogspot.com

“When someone loves you, the way they say your name is different. You know that your name is safe in their mouth.”
Jess C. Scott, The Intern

 In this wonderful life, this often difficult to understand existence we share with the world around us and all its inhabitants, we can be forgiven for wondering what is wonderful about it. It can drive us to distraction and also to the heights of ecstasy, all within the space of moments. It can make us question our reason for being, our reason to stay, and our reason for the apparently innumerable atrocities we are bombarded with daily.

I rarely watch the news broadcasts, the innumerable advertisements, radio broadcasts or read the newspapers. Good news is hard to find in any of these places and the horrors are far too many to count. It is difficult to find the “milk of human kindness” whilst being deluged with the nightmarish ability of some people to perpetuate abominable acts.

Yet, even accepting all of this, I still feel, still believe, that this life is wonderful. We have been gifted with an abundance of beauty, of goodness, kindness and the opportunity to share our happiness, gratitude and kindness with our fellow Spirits, our fellow travellers on life’s road. We have the choice, should we decide to do so, to make a difference in our world, even if it is only in a small way. Even the small acts of kindness and gratitude add up and make a significant difference to others and to our world. Without these simple acts of goodness we would surely be in a dark place.

 

#In this Wonderful Life

image courtesy of artorifreedom.deviantart.com

“I wanted a perfect ending. Now I’ve learned, the hard way, that some poems don’t rhyme, and some stories don’t have a clear beginning, middle, and end. Life is about not knowing, having to change, taking the moment and making the best of it, without knowing what’s going to happen next.
Delicious Ambiguity.”
Gilda Radner

 

I see the struggle some people have to endure, the hardships and terrors, homelessness and cruelty and I know that our small acts of consideration are immeasurably worthwhile. The “Thank You” to a waiter or shop assistant for serving us with a smile, helping us to find something we want and in doing so, making our day better. They deserve the same acknowledgement. It makes my heart light to return a smile, a “Thank You” and more, to let their superior know that they’ve done a good job. It takes but a small moment and can mean so much.

We can have no idea what is happening in their lives – the hardships or losses which might be lightened, even slightly, by a kind word or gesture. I remember one sad-looking lady, going about her job in the coffee shop, smiling in all the right places, going out of her way to help by bringing someone an extra jug of milk with a smile. A smile tinged with sadness – hiding the loss of someone dear. A gentle touch on her wrist, a connection between our eyes as I thanked her for her kindness and for just a moment, I saw that dark cloud lift, just a little. Letting her boss know how good the service was and seeing her smile again – worth so much to know I may have made a small difference for just a moment. Who knows how important such a moment may be?

These small acts of kindness, or “Random Acts of Kindness” as they have become known, are often as precious as gold or silver. They spread ripples out into the world, growing ever larger and with unknown consequences. I have even heard a story about how one small act of kindness stopped someone from taking their life. They later said it was this small thing which made them decide they would keep trying and then they helped someone else and they found the strength to keep going.

 

#In this Wonderful Life
image courtesy of flickerhivemind.net   Wonderful Life in Nature
“To love. To be loved. To never forget your own insignificance. To never get used to the unspeakable violence and the vulgar disparity of life around you. To seek joy in the saddest places. To pursue beauty to its lair. To never simplify what is complicated or complicate what is simple. To respect strength, never power. Above all, to watch. To try and understand. To never look away. And never, never to forget.”
Arundhati Roy, The Cost of Living
#In this Wonderful Life

image courtesy of robsmovievault.wordpress.com

 

We have all seen or heard of the film “Pay it Forward”. A beautiful film which has immortalised on-screen this effect of doing small acts of kindness and how it can grow beyond anything we may imagine. Yet, it is only one side of the coin. We can be selfish, self-centred and consumed by our own wants, ignoring everyone and everything else.

If you watch the daily news, read the daily papers, even the internet, you can be inundated with the horror stories which can destroy any chance of peace of mind. Occasionally it is impossible to ignore the stories of cruelty perpetuated by other people. Children beaten so badly, like a young toddler today that he could not be saved. We can be brought down by these stories, these acts of barbarism to such an extent that we can find no answer to the question of “Why?” Why do these things happen to innocents before they’ve had a chance to explore this wonderful life?

 

#In this Wonderful Life

image courtesy of 1hdwallpapers.com  Magic is all around us – always.

“Every man has his secret sorrows which the world knows not; and often times we call a man cold when he is only sad.”
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

If this question is asked there is usually someone who will say they were angels, not meant to stay here on earth. Yet I find little comfort in this. Even accepting the premise that they chose this life, however brief it was, cannot lift the weight on our hearts at their pain and suffering.

Bad things happen because, at present, good people do not do enough to create enough ripples of kindness to prevent bad things happening. It is a wonderful life. It is filled with wonder and joy, happiness and kindness. We can and do make a difference if we chose to. We don’t need coaching to do this because we already know what to do. Being kind, grateful, generous, are already a part of us. We have to make a conscious choice to follow those beautiful parts of ourselves and we can effect wonderful change around us.

#In this Wonderful Life

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

When was the last time you smiled at a stranger, or dropped spare change into a buskers cap? When did you last smile at your waitress and genuinely thank her for serving you, thanking her for looking after your needs? When did you thank the lady at the checkout, the baker in the bakery, the butcher for selecting a beautiful cut of meat from the local farm or the stall holder who was selling fresh home-grown vegetables for you to enjoy? There are so many ways we can all make this world a wonderful place, our daily lives a “Wonderful Life”.

 

#In this Wonderful Life

image courtesy of http://www.care2.com

“Life will break you. Nobody can protect you from that, and living alone won’t either, for solitude will also break you with its yearning. You have to love. You have to feel. It is the reason you are here on earth. You are here to risk your heart. You are here to be swallowed up. And when it happens that you are broken, or betrayed, or left, or hurt, or death brushes near, let yourself sit by an apple tree and listen to the apples falling all around you in heaps, wasting their sweetness. Tell yourself you tasted as many as you could.”
Louise Erdrich, The Painted Drum LP
#In this Wonderful Life

image courtesy of theoldrectorydonard.com

 

So I would ask you – remember to be Mindful, be in the moment, stop to consider how you think and act and remember that one small act of kindness or generosity can indeed be the small seed to save a life or even save the world. In this Wonderful Life we can make magic happen.

 

Blessings, Susan♥

© Susan Jamieson 31 July 2014

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#My Husband, # My Lover, # My Friend

Ray and I on our wedding day May 11, 2011

“This is what our love is––a sacred pattern of unbroken unity sewn flawlessly invisible inside all other images, thoughts, smells, and sounds.”   Aberjhani, The River of Winged Dreams
My Husband, My Lover, My Friend

It’s been a rough week here and although I’ve tried to play it down, inside my head and in my posts, there have been times when the thought of simply ‘giving up’ wasn’t far away.  It’s very difficult to remain positive when you wake up and the moment of consciousness brings the awful knowledge that your entire body is screaming in agony.

It’s becoming a real nightmare, a waking nightmare and this morning was the worst to date. Let me explain, although it’s really hard for me to write this. I cannot move my legs, body, head or shoulders. I am fortunate that my hands and lower arms appear to be okay. I wake up feeling as though I’m in a roasting oven, on well done!  I cannot push the covers off and I cannot get out of bed, (I can’t move).

#My Husband, # My Lover, # My Friend

image from autobio-blogs.plazilla.com

I’ve tried everything I can think of to get out of bed without waking my husband, especially as sometimes I wake really early and I’m ruining his rest. He needs it, he has to look after someone who is cranky because she can’t do the things she has previously done alone and I’m not in the right head space to “give in gracefully” and acknowledge that for the moment, this has to be my reality.

#My Huasband, # My Lover,#  My Friend

image from http://www.123rf.com Is this what is coming?

So let’s go back to this morning. I had a magnificent sleep, six hours of deep sleep. It’s a shame it was drug enhanced but I can’t fight that any longer either. But, I heard Ray get up and that was enough to wake me.  It was a world of hurt and I had no idea what to do. My entire body was locked in this agonising position and I had to move. I simply had to.

From a mental angle it is full on despair, a waking nightmare I cannot banish. Giving in is against my entire world view. I have always stood my ground, but that has become a joke since I cannot stand. Not first thing in the morning.

The first challenge is getting upright and Ray has to hold my hands and when I say “Pull” he has to pull me upright quickly. This morning I screamed as he did this.  (Going slowly is more painful.) Ray has to slowly pull each leg around until I can reach the floor and then once again, pull me to my feet. He has to make sure I don’t fall backward or forwards or I’ll be on the floor. I’ve mentioned the ‘damned stairs’ before but this morning they almost defeated me. But he wouldn’t let go, nor would he give in and we painfully made our way along the corridor.

#My Husband, #My Lover, #My Friend

image from owlsandorchids.com       Is this all that’s left?

It has brought home the simple dignity chronically ill people suffer which is taken by others as something they just have to get used to. I wonder if, in the same position, they would find it so easy or welcome! Well, we made the journey, back to bed and sitting back brought another stifled scream. (I have some pride left). It was not going to be an easy day. I swore I wouldn’t take the tablets but I was afraid, seriously afraid I might have to call the ambulance.  Maybe it’s the meds but that’s tantamount to throwing in the towel and I’d rather the unthinkable than that.

So, doped up and basically incoherent I remained in a land somewhere between reality and who knows? I do know that after Ray had left I felt someone sitting down and then a cuddling into my legs, but that’s another story.

We decided on a bath, detoxing again, but with added special things Ray thought up. He helped me to the main bathroom, (when we build I’m having a bath in the en suite!) and the most beautiful sight met my eyes. My special bath salts, lavender-scented had been liberally placed in the bath, extra Epsom salts, my coconut body wash, coconut scented body cream, candles, my bath pillow and my iPod. I could have cried. It was exquisite – and I forget to get a photo so this will have to do…

How can something so wonderful be so painful? Getting in and lying back caused another loud groan, but I wasn’t going to let it stop me. (Note to self – larger bath needed in our en suite). It was hot, as it needed to be and as I felt the warmth slowly seeping into my body, I felt a wonderful feeling enveloping me. I got my iPod and some meditation music and I was left in peaceful silence.

I came back to myself as the water lost its heat but over an hour had passed and I was a wrinkled prune – almost. Helped out and dried off and then the final surprise, the beautiful coconut butter lotion… He carefully and slowly rubbed it in from my toes to my neck and down my back. I had the most incredible massage of my back. His magical fingers caressed the painful knots and tender spots and relaxed the rest of my back. I was covered from head to toe with lotion and I felt amazing. Every muscle had turned to jelly.

Helping me dress and back upstairs we had a beautiful cup of tea.

I realised how lucky I was. I found in one inexplicable gift from the Universe, my soul mate who is my husband, my lover and my best friend. The pain notwithstanding, I realise I’m so darned lucky. To be loved and accepted by such a wonderful man, someone who not only stands by me, but helps me through my nightmare is a rare blessing. I don’t make it easy on him at times and my guilt becomes another torment. I feel stuck in this limbo, yet supported by a magical earth angel.

What more can I say? Love is beautiful and found in unexpected place and at unusual times. Enjoy it anytime you can.

#My Husband, #My Lover, #My Friend

image from 2guysphoto.wordpress.com

I feel my love flowing to all my friends out here, and to all the people everywhere. Love will eventually change our world. It is too great to ignore forever.

Blessings and love to all.

Susan x

© Susan Jamieson  2014

~

For the Love of My Life and for the Love of Your Lives, whoever they may be.

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#Today

image from lionhearteagle.blogspot.com –

“Finish each day and be done with it.  You have done what you could; some blunders and absurdities have crept in; forget them as soon as you can.  Tomorrow is a new day; you shall begin it serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense.”  ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

Today

Today I gave in. For one brief moment which lasted an eternity I gave in. My body keeps going but my mind, that part which recognises the pain and despair; it had decided it had more than enough.  It said, “No More, Enough is Enough”.

Am I a quitter, I asked myself? I always thought I was strong and capable. I believed I could handle anything. I’ve heard of worse things than people should ever be expected to go through and felt their pain as I listened. I’ve seen some horrors I never thought I’d see and dealt with them as I needed to. I blindly walked through the path of domestic violence because I refused to believe it was happening to me.  I handled what was put before me and came through scarred but still me.

How do you explain to someone that, you thought that, being married meant “supporting your husband” and that everything he said you “had to do”, you had no choice in? I’ve carried bricks like a brickies labourer, carted cement like a concreter’s labourer. I’ve carried and rolled thousands of square metres of turf, barrowed topsoil and leveled it, built walls, sawn and carried timber and a hundred other things because, that’s what being married was all about. Doing things together and supporting your husband. It meant I was a slave to someone’s “ownership of me”.  Until the day my eyes were opened and I finally had enough and left.

#Today

image from facebook.com

What caused my back problems?

Yes, I’ve had two ‘minor’ car accidents and according to the ‘experts’ I had two “minor” whiplash episodes. They were so minor they refused to accept how much pain I had nor would they perform an x-ray. For years they refused until one day they relented, just to shut me up. Too damned late then and being proven right didn’t help at all.

Is it irony to acknowledge that in the beginning I was young and fit? Is it irony to say that because I went to the gym regularly, not only for fitness but as a stress release, that I damaged my body by doing too much exercise?  Is it irony to now say that my condition is age related? Are there any more excuses they can think up?

I believed, for one brief interlude, that being diagnosed with Lyme disease might answer all the questions, and eventually see me well. Now, since Lyme disease does not exist in Australia, (so say the powers that be), and my doctor, who specialised in infectious diseases, is actually registered only as a General Practitioner. He made a video announcing his treatment of his Lyme disease patients which caught the eyes of the Medical Association. Well, now he is restricted (banned) from treating anyone diagnosed with Lyme disease. They must be referred to someone else for treatment. Excuse me, treatment? How can they do that if they deny it exists in Australia? How much irony can one body take?

#Today

image from http://www.josephine wallart.co.uk

In one sense it doesn’t matter whether it is irony or not. No longer can the facts be argued. But what can never be ignored is the fact that they now say there is nothing they can do except load me with pain killers which rob me of the ability to think or act as the person I really am.

This morning I had reached the end of the road. At the moment of waking, a screaming throughout my body, of the pain of lying still, of having the chain mail weight of a light sheet and blanket over me was too much. Having to plead with my husband to PULL me quickly upright instead of gently brought an anguished scream from me.  Enough I thought, I’ve had enough.

But the end was too far away. If I didn’t want to soil myself I had to reach the bathroom. No dignity here.  Each painful slide of a foot forward speared pain up through every part of my body and into my brain. Two damned, bloody steps up that I loathe more deeply each day and then fifty agonising steps to the bathroom later, there is more pain. By the time I reach the vanity basin to wash my hands, I would breathe a sigh of relief, but I tried that once and it hurts too much. So I just think it instead.

The retracing of my journey is the same except going down those two damned stairs becomes a farce. ‘Enough’ my mind screams at me. ‘Enough’ I say! I would cry, but self-pity is useless and apart from that, crying is too damned painful. More irony!

I want an end to this. I want to be able to walk again, just like I used to. I want to be able to laugh and smile and not know that it is just a cover for how I really feel. I want to not feel that I’m an ingrate for complaining when so many are worse off than I.  I have too much to be grateful for.

I have a husband I love more than I would have believed possible. I have two wonderful children who have become incredible adults. I have a roof over my head. I have a beautiful ocean to see from my deck (if I can get there) and I have my beautiful orchids which are flowering again. I also have ‘my’ owl who visits me even here. I have too many things to be grateful for and no right to talk about giving up. I am reminded daily of how many wonderful things I have in my life to be grateful for. I have a journal I complete daily to remind me, if I should forget. I am grateful.

Today, I have had enough. Today this is too much to handle. Today I want an end to this. Today I want an end – not in some unknown future but now. Now. Today.

In the event that anyone needs an explanation; the beautiful pictures from Josephine Wall Art are to symbolise that I recognise that even in the midst of a shitty and awful day, I know that beauty and Spirit exists. It is there to help me to grasp that reality and find an even footing to go forward with. I hope it may help some of you also.

Today is almost over and tomorrow, my new today will be better, if only because I have coping mechanisms in place to haul me out of those depths before I drown. This is my fervent hope.

There are those who will understand my words, inexpertly written as they are, yet this is not for them alone. It is for everyone who decides to read it.

To those I say:

Blessings always,  Susan x

© Susan Jamieson 2014

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“Do not believe in anything simply because you have heard it. Do not believe simply because it has been handed down for many generations. Do not believe in anything simply because it is spoken and rumoured by many. Do not believe in anything simply because it is written in Holy Scriptures. Do not believe in anything merely on the authority of teachers, elders, or wise men. Believe only after careful observation and analysis, when you find that it agrees with reason, and is conducive to the good and benefit of one and all. Then accept it and live up to it.”      Buddha

Creative Direction: It’s a valuable insight at this time of year, it empowers people. We have just taken our first really deep breath after the hustle and bustle of Thanksgiving (for those in the US), and Christmas for everyone else. Many of us managed a gulp or two as we were swept between Christmas and New Year before the celebratory madness had its final fling with us.

Now we are into our first week of January and still taking stock, looking for that Creative Direction. Many of us have returned to work or are juggling work and children. Some are fortunate to be on vacation, a wonderful chance to take stock if you are single, but those shops, bistros, clubs, all calling to have more fun whilst we can. Well, thoughts of the year ahead will fall into line when we become more organised; when that Creative Direction is called for to empower us.

Creative Direction

image from siobhanb.blogspot.com

For some this can be barely a second thought, and if you can wing it in this way and have a successful year, then all power to you! There are others who have different methods of preparing themselves for the year ahead, meditation, asking or seeking direction from a Higher Power, or another way they have found after years of trial and error which works for them. Empowerment comes from many sources.

As with any varied group of people, you find as many opinions and ways to do things as there are differences between the people in the group. With the best will in the world many people acknowledge that without a ‘plan’ they find themselves drifting along and at the end of the year they haven’t really achieved any of their goals, hopes or dreams. They need to be empowered in order to succeed. It’s one of the reasons journals have become popular again. People realise that keeping a journal imparts a degree of accountability.  It is the same encouragement which holds people to keeping to a limited period challenge, such as a Gratitude challenge, a fitness challenge, weight loss challenge and a self-development challenge or a Creative Direction.

“Don’t ask yourself what the world needs – ask yourself what makes you come alive, and then go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.” 
Harold Thurman Whitman : Philosopher and Theologian

~

The thing that keeps people motivated is that they have mini goals to reach and rewards to recognise they have made an improvement in some way. The program teaches them that they need to do this, then, this followed by that, in order to end up so. By no means are they molly coddled or have their hands held, but the guarantee of a reward of some kind as they reach towards their goals is ….. empowering.

I understand that. Some people need to understand each step of the journey and a simple one line instruction or advice is insufficient to get them to stay the course.  They need a structured plan, a Creative Direction, which helps them to see what they need to do and can measure the changes as they occur.  It’s wonderful there are people who have been at the self-improvement ‘game’ long enough that a simple piece of encouragement is all that they need. We need these people so that there is room for those who need the extra motivation.

Anyone who embarks on a weight loss challenge knows it will not be easy. They acknowledge that they may slip up and there are little ‘tricks’ to get them through the special dinners and breakfasts they cannot avoid. Once they are learned and implemented then they can navigate through the smorgasbord of life with more finesse.

Creative Direcion

image from ffffound.com

The same thing applies with self-development, self-improvement, personal development and even business development. Sometimes coaches or plans are needed to hit the mark. I don’t need a New Year Resolution. The statistics for their success are woeful, almost as bad as a successful marriage. I don’t need those bad vibes dogging my footsteps.

So I’ll stick with a plan, or program which I can keep a record with, so that I know if I’m going astray anywhere. If I make my goal early I can add something else to my plan. Fantastic! From working in various fields I know that a plan which is professionally drawn up, proven and I pay for will keep me motivated to achieve the right ends. My ends!

It’s all too simple. I asked for some help with achieving my health goals, business, family, and so on this year. I asked my Guide and meditated on it. The answer was beautifully simple.

 “Follow the plan Susan, the one you helped create; Life Change 90. You know it works.”

That’s one of the things which can happen when you try too hard to keep business and personal separate… I forgot to think. I had my Creative Direction there all along.  Then again, that damned brain fog has been pretty rugged recently.

 “It takes a lot of courage to release the familiar and seemingly secure, to embrace the new. But there is no real security in what is no longer meaningful. There is more security in the adventurous and exciting, for in movement there is life, and in change there is power.”    Alan Cohen
Creative Direction
image from supersomebody.com –  The Perfect Example

 That’s it… now I’m putting it all to work.

Blessings,  Susan x

© Susan Jamieson  2014

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Through the Looking Glass

image from gamesfortrainers.blogspot.com

“Every ceiling, when reached, becomes a floor, upon which one walks as a matter of course and prescriptive right.”    Aldous Huxley

~

A couple of weeks ago I told you about the planned trip to Mount Tambourine so we could have a “time out” to use as a forward planning session for next year. You can read about it here.

Initially I wasn’t a whole-hearted supporter of the planning session as I felt tired and still unwell from the Lyme medication and pressured by the proximity to Christmas. In fact, both issues were learning exercises for me. Being ill is not a natural state for anyone to be in and I’m no different to anyone else. I fight it, which is counterproductive. By this I don’t mean that if you are ill you, or I, should simply lie down and give in to it. Definitely not! But fighting an illness is not helpful. Understanding it and then making the most of your time and resources, is the better way to manage it. Fighting it just exhausts you and leaves you open to many other problems because of the exhaustion.

Similarly, letting the fact that Christmas was so close unsettle me, to the extent that I felt overwhelmed, was a fruitless exercise. In reality, when I had time to look at what I had already done and what was remaining, it allowed me to realise that I was as ready as I needed to be before the big day. I allowed my struggle with ‘brain fog’ to start running a destructive program in my mind which could have ruined Christmas. Fortunately my “time out” sorted through these issues.

Through the Looking Glass

Outlook from Tambourine over the mountain

More than that, after I had my shower and dinner, settled in and allowed myself to unwind, it in itself was an enormous gift. I found I was ready and able to focus on planning for next year. Yes, next year which is now only twenty-four hours away, and as such the reason I felt I should finish “Through the Looking Glass.”

I believe it was an auspicious start to the event as it was the night of the full moon. You may have already gathered that I love the full moon and from the top of the mountain it was interesting. Even with the cloud cover the views were amazing.

We had a table brought up to the room so we could spread out our writing material, and set to work with the check list of questions from the Life Change 90 Program. We each had our own monthly and yearly review sheets which we filled in alone and as an exercise discussed later. It was enlightening to see where we were completely in sync with each other and the small areas where we had a slightly different viewpoint. It isn’t necessary to do this but it was a good exercise from our perspective since I’m the director of Life Change 90.

Through the Looking Glass

The review in Progress

It was also good to see where we were both on the same track; most of the ‘differences’ were in reality, terminology. Which brought home the importance of making sure you and your partner really listen to each other and understand what each other are really saying, not what we think they are saying. If that rings a bell, it’s because we use the same ‘formula’ with our children when we want to make sure they are really listening to us and following our requests, at least when they are small enough to pay attention!

Obviously, our reviews were slightly different as my focus was tilted towards my perceptions of how my illness affects what I do, Ray and us as a couple. Ray’s was naturally tilted towards his viewpoint as the person who carries a larger share of the daily activities since I am unwell a lot of the time and the changes that entails. He also focused on his activities and us as a couple.

Through the Looking  Glass

image from projectavalon.net Everyone sees things from a different perspective

Our forward planning went into three stages, as individuals for next month, next year and as a couple for the same periods. Then we looked at it from a business perspective.  It sounds onerous but in fact, it was relatively easy. There is a degree of overlap between each which cuts down the planning steps. Once again we worked on individual sheets to begin the process and then began to combine them.

Whilst it was important to schedule the goal setting for the business, it is something which I do at home and therefore it directly affects and impacts on what we, as individuals, are able to do. I am fortunate that Ray is the Chief Blogger at the moment for Life Change 90. (One Chief Blogger at a time is enough, don’t you think?)

Through the looking Glass

image from Life Change 90

One of our major goals is to move in the first quarter of the year, onto our farm somewhere relatively close to here. By it’s very nature it is not something we can have concrete steps for, since there are many things which need to fall into place first, such as my health. I start my new regimen of Lyme medication at the weekend and my response to it will affect some of our plans.

Through the Looking Glass

image from properties.mitula.com.au

Another interruption (or irritant as I call it), is having to visit my Lyme doctor every six weeks. It would have been nice to be told he was changing his routine when I saw him last.  Instead, we found out when the advice he inserted into a Christmas card fell into our laps as soon as we had finished our planning session. Plus my appointment had been moved to 7.30pm and when it is three and a half hours away from home, a late appointment isn’t really what I would prefer. Traveling is not my strong suit. I arrive like a bent pretzel and feel as though the least movement will snap off an offending arm or leg completely. But, this too shall pass.

Through the Looking Glass

image from deltasdazzlingcostumes.com.au –

There is a big family birthday coming up in February, but we need to be flexible until we see how these meds affect me, so we have a mini monthly review planned for mid-January to see how we are going.

I hope you now have an idea of how we went about our review and planning. It is, I feel, important to make the most of the time you have and this way I feel we maximise what is possible.

Make the most of your New Year celebrations; the New Year is almost upon us. Roll in 2014!

Through the Looking Glass

image from blog.grandchancellorhotels.com

“We will open the book. Its pages are blank. We are going to put words on them ourselves. The book is called Opportunity and its first chapter is New Year’s Day.”    Edith Lovejoy Pierce

May you reach all your goals in 2014.

Stay safe. Stay well.

Blessings,  Susan x

© Susan Jamieson 2013

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

~

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

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

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

~

~

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

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

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

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

Cats and Dogs

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

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

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

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

~

~

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

Blessings,  Susan x

© Susan Jamieson 2013

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