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.

The big day

Time for celebration

Here we are

In an earlier post I said this milestone (turning 50) seemed such a long way off. Well boy did this one creep up on me. Here we are. No more looking back. It’s time to move forward. It’s the middle of winter and I hope that on this birthday I’m granted a sunny day. Every year I wish for such a day to mark the day of my birth, but I don’t really expect it. I check the weather forecast with my fingers crossed. On this special day, just this once give me a beautiful day.

Anticipation

 I wake up early (who can sleep in) and see sun pouring through my window. I have a big smile on my face. I’m like a child on my birthday and can hardly contain my excitement. I live with my parents. When they wake up they hug me and give me best wishes. My siblings text me and my Facebook friends post me. It feels wonderful knowing those that matter most to me, remember me on this day.

Preparation

A few weeks ago I booked dinner out for the whole family. Being Saturday I don’t have to work and study is on hold. I want to make the most of and cherish this day. Before lunch I get in my car and drive to the cake shop to buy my cake. I choose a red velvet with white cream and piping. I request a plaque saying “Happy 50th Birthday Flora.” I take it home, put it in the fridge and have lunch. I listen to eighties music as I dance around the house. I’m totally in the moment with no thought of yesterday or tomorrow. I get dressed, put on my make-up and go out for my celebration dinner.

Celebration

I’m the oldest in the family followed by a brother and two sisters. My brother wasn’t able to make it. My sister who I shall call D arrives with her husband and two of my nieces and nephew.  Not long after my other sister N arrives with her husband and my niece. D gives me a beautiful peridot (my birthstone) ring and a facial cleanser and moisturiser. From N I receive a box of miniature perfume bottles. They smell divine.  We all order our meals from the menu. I decide on a pumpkin risotto. They are all delivered to our table. I order a special cocktail for myself.  A Toblerone no less! Why not it’s my birthday after all. Everyone is talking and laughing amongst themselves. We leave and go home to have the birthday cake that’s waiting in the fridge.

Celebration continues

I arrive home and prepare the cake. Mum gets out plates and spoons plus a knife for cutting the cake. I add the candles – a 5 and then the 0 and light them. As everyone is singing Happy birthday to me the event is being photographed, videoed and posted on Facebook. A sign of the times. I’m smiling from ear to ear and loving this moment. The cake is cut and soon demolished. I’m toasted with champagne. The night goes on till I can safely say it’s not my birthday anymore. I will remember this birthday for a long time.

A celebration I will always remember

Turning 50

Just before the big day

I remember turning forty and thinking when I turn fifty my birthday will fall on a Saturday. What a perfect day for a celebration. Back then this milestone seemed a long way off. I had just got my certificate in childcare and was looking forward to starting a new career.  After twenty years as a secretary/receptionist and moving from one job to another I was ready for a change. I was ready for stable employment. My sisters having children influenced my decision to work in this field. I thought this would be a much more physical job than sitting in an office all day and much more hands on. I would meet new people and have many more interactions. I’ve never regretted this decision and enjoy my work to this day.

Moving out

In other areas of my life I prospered during my forties. After finding stable work I decided to move out of my parents’ home. For two years I lived with a friend and then two years out on my own. This was a scary experience, but I’m so glad I did it. It had a huge impact on me. I became stronger, independent and resourceful thanks to this experience. If you don’t step out of your comfort zone how can you know what you are truly capable of? In 2013 I moved back to my parents’ home for financial reasons.

Travel

 As far as travelling goes I had done some in my twenties, but not so much after that. In my forties I decided to fulfil a wish to visit every capital city in Australia that I hadn’t already visited previously. In January 2017 it was Hobart. In October it was Perth. The following year I went to Darwin and Sydney.

Although Darwin is a nice city it was much too humid for me and I don’t see myself going there again. Sydney is busy, hectic and chaotic. The highlight for me is the harbour and travelling on the water taxi. I must admit this made me a bit nervous, but once I relaxed I really enjoyed the experience. Perth and the surrounding suburbs is much quieter and moves at a slower pace. Just my kind of pace.  I absolutely loved Perth and Sydney and can’t wait to visit these beautiful cities again.

A photo everyone will recognize. Sydney Harbour Bridge.

Following my passion

At the end of 2017 I decided it was time to follow my heart and my dream of being a writer. I enrolled at Victoria University to do a Certificate 4 in Professional Writing and Editing. In 2018 I studied part time. I reduced my hours of work this year to be able to study full time. I’ve accomplished so much in my forties. I’m looking forward to turning fifty. A new chapter in my life. What do my fifties have in store for me? Only time will tell.

Writing a new chapter in my life