Spirituality

 

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Love is at the heart of everything

“When you arise in the morning think of what a privilege it is to be alive, to think, to enjoy, to love.” Marcus Aurelius.

What is spirituality?

An individual practice which gives a sense of peace and purpose. The state of being concerned with the human spirit or soul. A broad concept which can take many forms. Our deepest values. It can be a belief in the supernatural i.e. communicating with those who have crossed over, personal growth, yoga, meditation, creative expression, spending time in nature and affirmations. The list is as long as the amount of people who exist.

“The spiritual life does not remove us from the world but leads us deeper into it.” Henri J.M. Nouwen.

When I say I’m spiritual what do I mean?

I measure my spirituality in three ways. Firstly that there’s more to life than meets the eye. It’s not just what I can see, hear, touch, taste and smell. I look beyond the physical. It’s the intangible. Something that can’t be measured. Secondly I believe I am a spiritual being first and a human being second. I look within to my mental and emotional state in the hope of gaining a better self-awareness. Lastly I live by my values of love, kindness, compassion and being empathetic as best as I can.

There are infinite ways to practice spirituality, so there’s really no definitive way of explaining what it is. We require spirituality in our lives, but there’s no way to categorise it. You can’t put it in a box. As long as you are being true to yourself and living life according to your values then you are being spiritual. If you are being good to others as well as to yourself you are being spiritual. If you say a good word to someone or do a good deed for someone, then you are being spiritual.

“I close my eyes in order to see.” Paul Gaugin.

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Virtues

Patience is a virtue I struggle with. I can go through periods of time when nothing seems to be happening in my life. Things are stagnant. I call it being in a rut. While work and my professional life overall is moving along at a fairly good pace, my love life for example has come to a standstill. I must admit I could do a lot more to move this along. I believe that “behind the scenes” the universe is preparing me for the next chapter. The reason nothing may be happening is because I’m not in the right place in my life right now. I’m waiting on opportunities to present themselves. I must practice the virtues of both patience and faith till the time is right.

“Quite the mind and the soul will speak.” Ma Jaya Sati Bhagavati.

How can I be more spiritual?

I can help others. If I see something is not right with the world. An injustice is being done to an individual or a group of people it is my obligation as a spiritual and human being to do something, say something. I believe we are all here on earth to help each other in our own unique ways. I need to listen to my feelings, always be truthful and have values I want to live by such as integrity, love, compassion and empathy. Be open to new experiences and laugh often. There’s no single way to be spiritual. It’s a personal thing. Whatever feels right for you.

“The unexamined life is not worth living.” Socrates.

 

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Love and blessings to all.

 

 

Being an introvert in an extroverted world

Being an introvert

 

“I love to be alone. I never found the companion that was so companionable as solitude.”  Henry David Thoreau.

 

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I totally resonate with this. Particularly the last line.  🙂

 

The saying “still waters run deep” describes me perfectly. Outwardly I am quiet and shy and yet I am deeply introspective. I am very self-aware which can be both a positive and a negative. A positive in that I know who I am and what I want. A negative as I become my own punching bag when things are not going right. Others will describe me as patient, committed and loyal. I’m a traditionalist with a strong belief in following the rules. I’m conventional and don’t believe in rocking the boat. I have a strong need to have close relationships, but I’m not easy to get to know. It’s like trying to get blood out of a stone.  🙂   I self-sacrifice and sometimes (who am I kidding!) most times don’t voice my own needs.

Dreamer

“Nothing can dim the light that shines from within.” Maya Angelou.

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Time for me

The world is a boring place in contrast to what’s going on in my head. I reach for the stars and feel let down when reality doesn’t match fantasy. I search for deeper meaning in my life. This has led me to explore spirituality. There’s more to life and I want to find out what it is. It’s a never ending quest. If I’m not using my imagination I will only put part of myself into anything I do.

Choosing words wisely

Wise men speak because they have something to say; Fools because they have to say something.” Plato.

 

I feel drained after being around people. I need to spend time alone to regain my energy. One interesting fact I found about the brains of introverts and extroverts. They respond to dopamine differently.  Just thought I would throw that one in.  🙂

I believe I’m a good listener due to being an introvert. I process information internally. I think before I speak. I only speak when I have something to say. I detest chit chat. Small talk drives me crazy, yet I know I need to engage in it if I’m to get to what I really want to talk about. I choose my words wisely in person and online. I don’t just put stuff up randomly. It’s well thought out and considered. Although I don’t think so, people say I have quite a sense of humour.

“People empty me. I have to get away to refill.” Charles Bukowski.

How I feel about being an introvert

“Everyone shines given the right lighting.” Susan Cain.

I’m pretty picky about who I let into my life. If I let you in, that means a lot. I like to get to know someone before sharing intimate details with them. This applies to a potential new romantic partner as much as it does to friendships. I’ve often felt that being an extrovert would be so much easier. It’s a constant struggle being an introvert. When I was growing up I thought something was wrong with me. This wasn’t helped by what happened to me at pre-school.

My mother has told me that my teacher suggested to her that I get tested. My mother being young and inexperienced (as a mother) at the time took me to a psychologist who did tests on me. It was concluded that I was perfectly normal and fine in every way. Any wonder I developed a sense of being misunderstood. Extroverts who get their stimulation from being around people don’t get the need to be alone, but then again I don’t get the need to be around people ALL the time, so I guess it’s a mutual misunderstanding. 🙂

“I wish, as well as everybody else, to be perfectly happy; but like everybody else, it must be in my own way.” Jane Austen.

 

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This is for you. Have a wonderful weekend no matter where you are.

Love and blessings to all.

 

 

 

 

Assertiveness-valuing myself

“Having or showing a confident and forceful personality. Speaking in a way that respects the boundaries of others.”

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What I’ve experienced

Assertiveness is something I’ve always had issues with. I can recall many times in my life when I know I should have spoken up and didn’t. I consider myself an intelligent person. I know when I’m being treated respectfully and when I’m not. I think this lesson keeps coming up for me because my behaviour hasn’t changed. I find myself in different circumstances facing the same dilemma time and time again. Why couldn’t I have just said this or that? I go over and over it in my mind, but I don’t speak up. This in turn results in a passive/aggressive reaction I’m not proud of. I grumble under my breath, grit my teeth, bang doors, etc. It isn’t good for me to hold it all in. This frustration just builds up over time and results in resentment.

“The basic difference between being assertive and being aggressive is how our words and behaviour affect the rights and well being of others.” Sharon Anthony Bower.

 

Why is this happening?

I’ve thought long and hard about why it’s so hard for me to stand up for myself. Is it because I’m introverted, shy, reserved? Perhaps, but I think it goes deeper than that. It’s about my self-esteem. My feelings of self-worth and not thinking my needs are important enough to be heard. I don’t think I’m good enough. I don’t value myself as much as I should. I don’t want to “rock the boat.” I’m a people pleaser who will just do whatever is expected of me. I allow myself to be used by others who are stronger or more aggressive. Another thing I hate is conflict and confrontation. I do all I can to avoid it.

 

An example

Something happened in my workplace recently which is a good example of what I do when I know I should be assertive, but I’m not. My job is a busy and physical one. I’m not lazy and am happy to do my fair share of the work. This day started off fine, but as it went on I started to realize that I was doing way more than what I should. I started to feel used and unappreciated, but did I say anything NO! I found myself grumbling under my breath. While washing dishes I banged them on the drying rack (thankfully everything’s plastic!) Going in and out of rooms I was banging doors. Typical passive-aggressive behaviour. I went home that night angry at the person I believed was at fault, but most of all I was angry at myself for once again not voicing my feelings.

“Too many of us fail to fulfil our needs because we say no rather than yes, yes when we should say no.” William Glasser.

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Where to from here?

What can I learn from this? I need to value myself more. Remember that I am good enough and worthy. My needs are important enough to be heard. I need to build my self-confidence and engage in healthy communication if I want others to know where I’m at. I need to reduce the conflict within myself by opening up and voicing my opinions. It’s a load I don’t have to carry. I don’t need to be filled with frustration and resentment. There is a solution to this, but what? An assertiveness training course is a good place to start. This will definitely be a step in the right direction.

“It is naive to think that self-assertiveness is easy. To live self-assertively–which means to live authentically–is an act of high courage. That is why so many people spend the better part of their lives in hiding–from others and also from themselves.” Nathaniel Branden.

 

This week I thought I would add the lyrics to “My Way.” This is how I believe I live my life. Being true to myself. Living with integrity. At the end of my time on this earth I want to look back and know I did it the only way I knew how.

“My Way”

And now, the end is near
And so I face the final curtain
My friend, I’ll say it clear
I’ll state my case, of which I’m certain
I’ve lived a life that’s full
I travelled each and every highway
And more, much more than this, I did it my way

Regrets, I’ve had a few
But then again, too few to mention
I did what I had to do and saw it through without exemption
I planned each charted course, each careful step along the byway
And more, much more than this, I did it my way

Yes, there were times, I’m sure you knew
When I bit off more than I could chew
But through it all, when there was doubt
I ate it up and spit it out
I faced it all and I stood tall and did it my way

I’ve loved, I’ve laughed and cried
I’ve had my fill, my share of losing
And now, as tears subside, I find it all so amusing
To think I did all that
And may I say, not in a shy way
Oh, no, oh, no, not me, I did it my way

For what is a man, what has he got?
If not himself, then he has naught
To say the things he truly feels and not the words of one who kneels
The record shows I took the blows and did it my way.

Lyrics written by Paul Anka.

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This is my way. What is yours?

Love and blessings to all.

 

I’m a clairsentient. I can feel it!

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“The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched – they must be felt with the heart.” Helen Keller.

What is a clairsentient?

The word “clairsentient” means “clear feeling.” This is an extremely heightened form of empathy. This isn’t a lesson, but rather my experience of being a clairsentient. I feel and experience energy in an intuitive way. This can be other people’s feelings, inanimate objects and an onslaught of spiritual insights. I feel things very deeply. I’m not only a deep feeler, I’m also a deep thinker. I struggle with my emotions at times.  I feel drained after being in a large group of people. I need to be around people who don’t drain and exhaust me. I can empathise with others. I’m fascinated by ancient and historical events and often wonder what life must have been like in other times.

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“Be yourself. Everyone else is already taken.” Oscar Wilde.

Wisdom

Growing up I always knew I was different. I have an active and vivid imagination. I never trust what I’m told and what I see on the surface. I know there must be more to it than what I’m being told or shown. I only trust what I feel. I understand the pain I’ve felt in my life has been a gift. It’s helped me to grow in ways I couldn’t imagine when I was younger. I think that I gain wisdom as I learn by intuiting things.  I feel a deep calling to help others. I think people are suffering needlessly and if I can inspire them to become more self-aware and transcend their pain then that’s what I will try to do.

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“The things that make me different are the things that make me me. A.A. Milne.      

Intuition

I have a gut feeling about people and I can feel this physically especially in my solar plexus. I can feel a spirit is present. I can’t see or hear. It’s just a sense that there’s a presence around me. Sometimes I feel that I’m being watched by spirit. I can sense mood changes when I enter a room. I can feel others’ emotions or the energy of a place. Distressing stories are not easy to stomach for me. Emotional movies make me sad. I have difficulty making decisions. I procrastinate. Going over and over them in my mind because I don’t trust my feelings. This is something I struggle with and I guess I always will. All part of my learning curve.

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 Love and blessings to all.

 “Always be a first rate version of yourself and not a second rate version of someone else.” Judy Garland.

Transitions

“Sometimes God illuminates our intended path with a torch we experience as passion.” Eric Baldino.

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What shall I write about?

What shall I write about today? Will I come up with what I want to say? Will the ideas flow? Will the words flow? Unblock me. Unblock me now. It’s the end of another week as I sit down to write this post. My course has ended. I’m left with a spare space. Like a hole in my life that needs to be filled. What shall I do? I don’t want to rush into finding writing jobs. I’m not even sure I know what to write. Write what you know. Write about your passion. Write about what brings you joy. That’s just it. Writing itself is my passion and joy, but I know I’ve got to be more specific. I can’t be vague. Just writing anything won’t cut it.

 

“Your life is a story of transition. You are always leaving one chapter behind to move on to the next.” Anonymous.

 

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The first step is always the hardest

I care for children three days a week. I could write about that, but I feel like if I do it will tie me to a career I want to leave one day. I think that if I do I won’t feel like I can move on and do what I truly want to do which is write. Being around children is great. Don’t get me wrong. It has brought me a steady income. It gave me stability and routine at a time in my life when I was in a mess. A relationship had just ended and I had no job. I felt lost and had no direction. Finding this job was a life saver for me. I’m truly grateful for it. I’ve met so many wonderful people. Colleagues, parents and children. I know one day I will have to leave. End this chapter and start the next. Transitioning from one career to another isn’t easy, but I have done it before. There’s a saying that the first step is always the hardest. Once you’ve taken it everything else just falls into place. I haven’t lived for fifty years without knowing this to be true.

 

It’s my purpose

Life is about changes and transitions. I believe I’ve been born in this time and place for a reason. I have a purpose and I believe that purpose is connected to my writing. Writing in one form or another has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. I tried pushing it away, thinking I can’t make a career of it. Do something else, but I’ve always come back to it. I’m drawn to writing like a moth is to a flame. The universe keeps reminding me this is what I’m meant to be doing. This is my purpose. Now what shall I write about?

Love and blessings to all 🙂

 

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“She knew this transition wasn’t about becoming someone better, but by finally allowing herself to become who she’d always been.” Anonymous.

We live in a world of duality

 

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We live in a world of duality even though it’s not as distinct or clear as it used to be. This is a paradigm instilled in us since time began. In human history this concept of all things having two sides has limited us. We base decisions on, “Is this right or wrong? Is it good or bad?” Why can’t there be elements of both? Let’s look at the choices we make and consider whether there may be more than two ways of looking at them.

“I am good. I am evil. I am solace. I am chaos. I am human and that’s all I ever wanted to be.” Song “Duality.”  Written by Brandon Hill Paddock and Cody Carson.

Contradictions

Duality can be described as simultaneously holding two contradictory beliefs. Two contradictory ideas or values. An oxymoron if you will. “Bittersweet” or “Deafening silence” to name a few examples.

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There’s a general consensus that there’s good and bad in each of us. As much as I would like to think we are all essentially good what I see around me disputes this. It’s naïve. It’s an ideal of mine. Mother Theresa and Nelson Mandela are names that come to mind when I think of the inherent virtuousness that lies in each of us and the capacity to make the world a better place for others. I then hear names that make me shudder with disgust. Adolf Hitler and Saddam Hussein who wreaked havoc in their own ways. These people in my mind are synonymous with evil. The very antithesis of what is good.

“Love is the recognition of oneness in the world of duality.”  Eckhart Tolle.

There is black and white and grey in between. There is gay, straight, bi-sexual and transgender. We as human beings are defined by the conflict within and how we deal with this duality.

“Only in love are unity and duality not in conflict.”  Rabindranath Tagore.

 

Love and blessings to you all.

Change is a comin’

“Imagine all the people living life in peace. You may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one. I hope someday you’ll join us and the world will be as one.” John Lennon.

 

What’s been happening

I haven’t been on for a while due to my studies in writing and editing. I’m pleased to say I’ve come to the end of my course. All my final assignments are handed in and I’m eagerly anticipating the results. I can now devote more time to this blog and will add content once a week. Well that’s the goal anyway.

 

Change is a comin’

“You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.” – Richard Buckminster Fuller.

 

I think there’s a new world order taking shape. Things are shifting. What was once acceptable, no longer is. I see this in the world wide protests for climate change. The old world order is holding on to the way things are. The thought of what’s to come scares them, but change is inevitable. I’m not saying just change for change’s sake. I’m saying real and justified change. It’s not change we fear. It’s the unknown. Will it be better or worse than it is now?

The new generation are rising up. They will be responsible for managing the economy, the environment, the infrastructure. What are we the baby boomers, Generations X and Y handing over to them? We want to be proud of what we’ve achieved. Life is an endless cycle of birth, living and death. Life is about change and we can’t hold it back. We the older generations have a responsibility to leave a world that cares, nurtures and sustains.

We can’t suck the world dry of its nutrients and then wonder why we don’t have enough. Is it any wonder the younger generation are rising up and saying, “What are you doing about this? Is this what you are leaving us and future generations? Well it isn’t good enough.”

 

“Never too old, never too bad, never too late, never too sick to start from scratch once again.” Bikram Choudhry.

 

Our world is so fast paced. Technology is moving ahead at an alarming rate. On one hand we welcome it, but then we get confused. As soon as we grasp one concept another comes along to takes it place. The internet, computers, smartphones, social media. We can get caught up in all of this and lose touch with who we really are. We are connected to each other, but disconnected from ourselves.

While it’s fine to demand change from others we need to start from the individual and work our way out from there. Are we living our genuine, authentic lives? If we aren’t then how can we expect others to. Practice what you preach. If you don’t then no-one will listen to you no matter how much you protest. If you want change, be that change. As Mahatama Ghandi said, “Be the change you want to see in the world.”

 

“I wanted to change the world. But I have found that the only thing one can be sure of changing is oneself.” Aldous Huxley.

 

The world is changing around us. It is swirling around us like a whirlpool, but we essentially haven’t changed. We all want the same things. To love and be loved. Compassion, kindness and forgiveness. Life isn’t measured by what we have, but by the quality of who we are. It should be measured by how we treat ourselves and each other. Let’s see beyond the facade, beyond the stereotypes, beyond the material things. We all live on this earth and we all have a responsiblity to it. Let’s do whatever we can to make a difference now and for future generations.

Love and blessings to you all.

 

“The only way we can change our world is to take responsibility for our part in it.” Rachael Bermingham.

 

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“Heaven is under our feet as well as over our heads.” Henry David Thoreau.

 

 

 

 

 

Milestones in our lives and what they mean

I’ve discovered that every time I’ve reached a milestone I think I’m there, but there’s another there waiting for me.

Sara Benincasa

What are milestones?

Milestones can be thought of as stages in our lives. A marker or a turning point. For children milestones are used to determine levels and stages of development. Milestones happen rapidly at this time and slow down as we get older.

“Remember to celebrate milestones as you prepare for the road ahead.”

Nelson Mandela

Transitions

As adults we experience milestones differently. We transition from childhood to adolescence, adolescence to adulthood. We go from living with our parents to living out on our own. We go from school to entering our working lives. We are like birds flying from the nest. We are ready to stretch our wings and have experiences that enrich our existence. Some of us marry and/or have children while others of us take a different path.

“The moon is the first milestone on the road to the stars.”

Arthur C. Clarke

Dealing with the unexpected

Milestones and what they mean to each of us varies. We all remember these important markers in our lives in different ways. Sometimes in the midst of celebrating a milestone something may happen to jeopardize it. Events that we have no control over. For example a birthday or wedding can be remembered for all the wrong reasons. We hear bad news someone we know is gravely ill, there’s an accident, someone dies. The planned celebrations are put on hold; put to the back of our mind as we try to grapple with the unexpected.

“Life is not a matter of milestones, but moments.”

Rose Kennedy

Making a decision

As we cope with what’s happened we feel a sense of guilt. Should we go ahead with the celebration or delay it for a better time? When is a better time if we are dealing with a death for example? The best thing to do is to ask ourselves what our loved one would have wanted. It isn’t an easy decision to make, but I believe our loved ones would want us to celebrate. To get on with our lives and not put anything on hold for them.

“I look at victory as milestones on a very long highway.”

Joan Benoit

Life is a gift

No matter where life takes us we will have milestones marking our journey. Being born in itself is a milestone as is dying. Everything in between reminds us that life is for living; so enjoy those wonderful, precious moments and be grateful for this gift we call life.

Hmmm… What is the meaning of life?

Six weeks after my birthday (and still going strong!)

All ready for my photo shoot

A special gift

Every year around the time of my birthday I give myself a gift. It can be clothes, perfume, handbags or cosmetics. I may pamper myself with a facial or a massage or go away for a few days. I thought this year it’s got to be special. How often does one turn fifty after all! On my 25th birthday I received a voucher from my parents for a photo shoot. Why not honour my 50th with another photo shoot. This time it’s at my expense. I can see myself doing this again for my 75th. Notice a theme emerging here.

Preparations

I book and pay for my photo shoot. This initial cost covers hair and make-up and the photo shoot itself. Four weeks after my birthday a day and time is booked. The night before I decide what to wear. My mother who is a fashion icon in my eyes gave me a few pieces from her collection (ha! ha!!) and I’m set to go.

Morning of shoot

The morning of the shoot arrives. The clothes are ready on coat hangers. Mum makes sure to remind me to be especially careful with these pieces of clothing as she has spent a considerable amount of money on them. I re-assure her they are in good hands. As parking is difficult in the area around the studio Dad offers to drive me there. He drops me off. I later find my own way home.

The shoot

My hair and make-up is done. I’m ready. I’m nervous, but I need not be as the photographer is friendly and professional. Many shots are taken in various poses and altered backgrounds. Once this is done I’m asked to wait. I wait and hope for great results.

My photos

It comes time to look at the results of my shoot. The photos are projected onto a wall. There are forty photos in all. I whittle my choice of photos down to six and that isn’t easy. They are all so lovely. Two weeks later and now I have the photos. I’m now in the process of deciding which to put in frames. I love this special gift to myself and will cherish them for years to come. What a great way to mark my 50th.

Reflections

Relationships

  In August I marked my fiftieth year on this earth. I’ve met many people on this journey of life. Regardless of my experiences with them I’ve learned more about myself through these interactions. In past romantic relationships I felt that there was always something missing. I couldn’t put my finger on what it was till much later. What I was missing was a connection. A feeling that this person got me. I believe now that I didn’t really know what I wanted in a relationship because I didn’t know myself. Who am I? What makes me, me? I know now that I’m a whole being as I am and don’t need someone to ‘complete’ me. When that special someone comes along they will compliment me, not complete me.

Family

I feel lucky and truly blessed to belong to the family I’ve been born into. I’m the eldest of four as I mentioned earlier. I have a brother born two years after me. A sister that followed a year later and my youngest sister. I along with my brother and sister thought it would always be just the three of us. My ‘baby’ sister was unexpected, but certainly not unloved.

Me (on the left) with my sister and brother on the right. Love the wallpaper!
Here is my beautiful youngest sister with my niece when she was a baby.

Highs and lows

 Now that my siblings and I are adults we share a close bond. This is thanks in no small part to my parents who raised us to believe in the importance of family. We share all our highs and lows with each other. Our good times and bad times. Other people may come and go from our lives, but family is always there to pick us up and carry us through.

The night of my birthday with my family.

Evolving

I may be alone on this journey at the present time, but I’m happy in my own skin and accept myself flaws and all. I’m older and wiser. I don’t have to ask who I am. If I don’t know the answer to this by now I never will. This doesn’t mean that I’ve stopped learning and growing. This process continues. I’m still evolving.