I believe in treating others as I wish to be treated. I'm here to live my best and fullest life, but it's not just about me. I believe in being authentic. The most important relationship I need to nurture is the one with myself.
“I do not wish women to have power over men; but over themselves.” Mary Shelley.
I was stuck for something to write for this week’s post. I saw the movie “Little Women” recently and it got me thinking about women’s lives. There was a time when women’s choices were limited. If a single woman was working and decided to marry she had to give up her job. If she had any earnings or inheritance at the time of marrying she forfeited her right to call it hers. It, like her and any children she had became her husband’s property.
“I am not free while any woman is unfree, even if her shackles are very different from my own.” Audre Lorde.
Men have had the freedom to determine their own destiny for hundreds if not thousands of years. I don’t have any resentment towards them for this. However women have had fight for every freedom they have earned. The women who have come before me have paved the way not just for me but for future generations of women to come. I am eternally grateful for this, but there’s still so much more to be done. Not all women in this world have the right to determine their own futures. The struggle for them continues even in the 21st century.
“I am a woman with thoughts and questions and shit to say. I say if I’m beautiful. I say if I’m strong. You will not determine my story-I will.” Amy Schumer.
It’s my choice
Women who are fortunate enough to have been educated will find the constraints placed upon them extremely frustrating. Women have had to work within these constraints to effect change. It started with the right to vote. The right to be educated. Even the right to decide what happens to their bodies. Self-determination shouldn’t just be a privilege afforded to one gender or any one group of people. It’s the prerogative of every member of the human race to determine their own destiny.
I hope I can inspire my nieces (the women of the future) not only with my words but my actions to be whoever they want to be. Live their lives in a loving, peaceful and compassionate way.
Love and blessings to all.
“I am a feminist. I’ve been female for a long time now. I’d be stupid not to be on my own side.” Maya Angelou.
My first post for 2020. A new year and a new decade is upon us. There’s a feeling in the early days and weeks of a new year that anything is possible. We hope that our year will be filled with joy and happiness. With goals set we go about trying to achieve them. We set out with the best intentions. I’m going to lose weight, get fit, get a new job and so on. These goals are great. It’s good to set goals and have something to aspire to. They give us a reason to get up in the morning. Anything we can do to improve our lives in some way is a good thing.
I believe while setting our goals we should include others too. Reach out to help those in need. Why not add this to your list of goals? Ask someone how they are feeling. Ask how can I help? It doesn’t need to be financial. At times all we need is someone to talk to. Let’s put ourselves in other peoples’ shoes and show empathy.
Trying to juggle many goals at once can be overwhelming. Tackle one at a time, then break that down into manageable baby steps. Do something each day towards achieving that goal. For example you may want to lose weight and start getting fitter and healthier. If you haven’t exercised for a while start with a fifteen minute walk and gradually increase this as you start to feel stronger and fitter. Don’t always follow the same route as this can get boring. Mix it up and try new locales.
What other physical activities do you enjoy doing? Perhaps join a gym or do yoga classes. I did Latin American dancing for many years. When I started doing them my weight dropped off quite easily and the great thing was I had a lot of fun doing it. Anything that gets you moving is important, but more importantly you need to enjoy what you are doing or you will soon lose interest and won’t stick to it. If you have a friend, partner or family member who can join you that’s a great motivation to get started and keep going.
Don’t give up
Finding a new job is an arduous task and a job within itself. Some are lucky and find work quickly while others plod on through endless job applications, interviews, etc and never seem to get anywhere. I know from my own experience that wanting to give up can sometimes feel like the easier option. When you don’t hear back from employers after sending applications and going to interviews you can start feeling disheartened. The only real advice I can give on this is to request feedback from employers. This can help iron out anything that you are doing that maybe sabotaging your chances of landing the job. Above all else persist, persist, persist. Don’t give up and you will soon find the job of your dreams.
Christmas is over and the new year is yet to come. At this time of the year I look back at the year that has just past. What have I done? My highs and lows. My successes and failures. What have I learned that I can carry forward into the new year? I’ve looked back at the goals I set myself in 2019. I’m happy to report that I’ve achieved many of them. The rest I continue working towards.
I look forward to the year ahead. What do I want to achieve both personally and professionally? I set myself goals. I write them down. I keep them where I can be constantly reminded of them.
“If you want to be happy, set a goal that commands your thoughts, liberates your energy and inspires your hopes.” Andrew Carnegie.
In 2020 I will continue working in child care three days a week. This is to ensure I have a steady income while pursuing other goals. My studies are now complete. I’ve started working on my memoir. This is a side project I’ve set for myself. I’ve taken the first tentative steps towards working as a freelance writer. I must admit I feel hesitant about this. I have no experience. Will anyone give me work? Am I good enough? It seems risky. I don’t want fear to prevent me from making my dream a reality. Once I establish myself and can make a steady income from writing I will transition out of child care altogether. I’m not a risk taker. I wouldn’t just drop my current job and hope for the best. I want to do this the sensible way.
“Success is the progressive realisation of a worthy goal or ideal.” Earl Nightingale.
I would love to meet someone special this coming year. I’ve been single for six years and it’s time for this to change. Being introverted and somewhat shy this isn’t the easiest thing to do. Over the past two years I’ve joined several MeetUp groups and have been to some events. I need to ramp this up. I want to meet as many new people as possible. It’s the only way I’m going to meet someone. I’ve got to push myself out of my comfort zone if I want to change my current situation.
I want to make new friends as well. I’m slow to warm to people so I’ve had very few friends over the years. It would be lovely to have a friend to hang out with. Go out to a movie, catch up for coffee and so on. Someone I can open up to and share my ups and downs with.
“You can do anything if you set goals. You just have to push yourself.” RJ Mitte.
As I get older I’m becoming more conscious of my weight and the affect it has on my health. I love going on long walks so that’s a good start. I need to pay more attention to what I eat. I’m an unconscious eater. I just eat whatever is around to prevent hunger. I’m not mindful of how I’m fueling my body. This needs to change.
“Everybody has their own Mount Everest to climb.” Seth Godin.
May 2020 be your best year yet. Happy New Year to everyone.
“Christmas gives us an opportunity to pause and reflect on the important things around us.” David Cameron.
Ah well..it’s that time of the year again. I wonder where all the time has gone. So many Christmases come and go in the blink of an eye. For me this time of the year is special because it’s about being with those who mean the most to me.
“Peace on earth will come to stay, when we live Christmas every day. Helen Steiner Rice.
My childhood Christmas
The festive season of my childhood was about believing in a man in a red suit who made presents magically appear at the front door. Mum told me years later it was she who would place the presents at the door, ring the bell and quickly run around the side of the house to escape detection. I remember trying to catch “Santa” out but he was much too fast for me. Being brought up Catholic there was of course the religious significance of the season. Every Christmas Day morning my siblings and I would dress in our finest and go to mass. It was obligatory.
The Christmas tree went up on 1st December. I would assist with decorating it with bought ornaments as well as ones made by the children. As presents got wrapped they were placed under the tree with name tags on them. Mum loved Christmas then and she still does now. She would adorn the house with Christmas decorations. On Christmas Day after attending mass we came home and prepared for our visitors. The table would be set and look so festive. The house was filled with the smell of the turkey or chicken cooking in the oven, while salads were being made. A fresh fruit plate was prepared and placed in the fridge for after lunch.
“For Christmas is tradition time. Traditions that recall the precious memories down the years. The sameness of them all.” Helen Lowrie Marshall.
The door bell rang numerous times as our guests arrived. They brought presents and more food for everyone to share. Soon the house was full of chatter and laughter as we sat down to the feast. It began with a bowl of ravioli pasta covered in a delicious rich red tomato sauce. After we polished this off out came the turkey or chicken and the salads. Dessert was usually something light like a plate of freshly cut fruit for the adults and ice cream for the children.
“Seeing is believing, but sometimes the most real things in the world are the things we can’t see.” The Polar Express.
The men would move into the lounge room in a food coma while the women cleared away the table. Several Moka pots were brought out to make coffee. A Moka pot is an Italian style stove-top or electric coffee maker that brews coffee by passing boiling water pressurized by steam through ground coffee. A staple of the Italian household. If you didn’t have at least one of these in every size you just weren’t Italian. The smell of brewing coffee is something I will always associate with growing up. When I smell it now I’m reminded of my childhood. I loved the smell of it, but I wasn’t allowed to drink it till I was well into my teens.
“Christmas isn’t just a day, it’s a frame of mind.” Valentine Davies
Passage of time
This was a time for the adults to chat about adult things while the children played with their new toys. It was a joyful and carefree time. Now time has passed. I’m an adult as are my siblings. It is now our turn to pass on the traditions of yesteryear to the next generation. What’s most important is the giving and receiving. I’m so blessed to have my family to share Christmas with. I am mindful that not all people are as lucky as I am. There are those out there who are alone at this time of the year. Those who may be feeling sad. I remember them in my prayers.
I wish you all peace, love and joy at this time no matter what your beliefs may be. May it be a joyous and blessed time.
Love to all.
“Christmas is the day that holds all time together.” Alexander Smith.
“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.
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.
“I love to be alone. I never found the companion that was so companionable as solitude.” Henry David Thoreau.
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.
“Nothing can dim the light that shines from within.” Maya Angelou.
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.
“Having or showing a confident and forceful personality. Speaking in a way that respects the boundaries of others.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
“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.
“Be yourself. Everyone else is already taken.” Oscar Wilde.
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.
“The things that make me different are the things that make me me.“ A.A. Milne.
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.
Love and blessings to all.
“Always be a first rate version of yourself and not a second rate version of someone else.” Judy Garland.
“Sometimes God illuminates our intended path with a torch we experience as passion.” Eric Baldino.
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.
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 🙂
“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 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.
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.
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.