Sunday, 26 August 2012

When a single flaw leads to multiple irritations

Ever noticed that the moment you see a flaw in something, there seems to be a sudden acceleration in your ability to observe ALL that is wrong with it?!
You fix a crack in your favourite vase and suddenly all you can see is the one minute area you lovingly repaired.
Your partner is late home two nights in a row, he forgets to call, he brings you a present you already have and you start ruminating over all that is wrong with him!
A dispute with a neighbour over who should cut the hedge has you wondering if this house is right for you after's amazing what torture our heads can cause!
No matter what the subject matter is, once we become disgruntled with one aspect of our lives, be it, our career, relationships, our homes, even our physical appearance we are at risk of descending into a landslide of unhappiness & dissatisfaction if we don't really pay attention to the real reason behind this exaggerated sense of frustration.  In order to maintain some sense of peace at a time when you may end up throwing the baby out with the bathwater, STOP! Sit quietly, or go out for a walk on your own and try to break down, bit by bit, what is truly behind you feeling this way?  Is it really over that question of who is responsible for cutting the shared hedge that boundaries your garden with your neighbours?  Or is there something quietly niggling you, causing you to feel frustrated with your lot? Be really honest and listen to that quiet truth telling part that lives inside all of us. Ultimately you only have yourself to answer to, and you deserve to be as content and filled with peace as is possible.
"Until you make peace with who you are, you'll never be content with what you have." - Doris Mortman

Thursday, 23 August 2012

Look up!

Watching sad faces in the street I notice they all have something in common.  The face owners are not really there.  They're in a world of thought, ruminating over all that is challenging them, all their troubles spread across their expressionless faces.  There's a depth in their eyes that seems to sink into a dark, light deprived abyss, a cave of sadness.  They could walk for hours wrapped up in their personal bubble of despair without noticing a single thing around them.  I've been behind those eyes.  I've been that pavement staring zombie.  Thankfully I'm not there now, but I can empathise with those faces passing me by and be reminded of what a heavy, dark place it is when you are that person.  I want to stop them in their tracks and get them to look me in the eye.  Then I'd tell them to simply lift their gaze. Stop looking at the ground, getting familiar with asphalt won't help free them from their tunnel of turmoil.  Look up and look at the other folk in the street passing by.  Simply making eye contact with others can stimulate a sense of belonging,  reminding them they are part of the world, no matter how detached they might feel right now.  Also, looking up can give our natural surroundings the opportunity to remind us of the constant life- everywhere! No matter what our own heads are doing to us, the flowers still blossom, the wind still races through the trees making the leaves dance merrily around, and the birds still sing and dart from place to place collecting food for their young.  Little by little by paying attention to what is going on "out there" we can start to gain an appreciation for the bigger world around us, and by doing so we can move away from that inward focus, which only serves to keep us absorbed in our own, very personal sadness.
"And when it rains on your parade, look up rather than down.  Without the rain, there would be no rainbow." - G.K. Chesterton

Wednesday, 22 August 2012

Effortlessly be your inspired self.

I wanted to write about inspiration, so I looked up the definition of "inspiration" in my dictionary (well of course I did because I'm such a highly intelligent brain box!)..the first definition reads, "Stimulation or arousal of the mind, feelings, etc, to special or unusual activity or creativity" and the last definition reads, "The act or process of inhaling; breathing in."
Over the years I have had the privilege of meeting folk who express their inspiration as effortlessly as breathing in.  I have come to believe that you can't force or make yourself feel or appear to others to be inspired - its either there or its not. There's nothing more uncomfortable than watching someone fake their excitement about a piece of creative work...when someone is truly inspired everyone feels it! Each of us has the capacity to feel inspired, but our busy lives often prevent us from really tapping into that aspect of ourselves.  One way to connect to that buzzing, simmering, patient part of you, is to make time to be quiet, go to beautiful places in nature or take yourself to an art gallery and just be present with your feelings.  With practice bit by bit you may start to feel a series of new feelings, and as you become aware of them you will start to recognise which direction or activity sparks your inspiration.  Living is one thing, but living while feeling inspired is quite another - and that capacity is within each and every one of us.
"One can be instructed in society, one is inspired only in solitude." - Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Sunday, 19 August 2012

No regrets.

When we spend time regretting choices we made in the past we are doing ourselves a great dis-service. 

In the majority of cases, even with the most cringe producing memories, there will be something positive that was gained from the experience.     

It may simply be that the learning was, never to go down that road again, nevertheless it's important not to beat yourself up repeatedly over something you did at a time that isn't now!  

Be kinder and more forgiving for past misdemeanours, and enjoy knowing that the direction you choose today may in fact be easier because of the choices you made in the past that you now spend time regretting!

"Never regret anything you have done with a sincere affection, nothing is lost that is born of the heart." - Basil Rathbone

"If we fill our hours with regrets over the failures of yesterday and with worries over the problems of tomorrow, we have no today in which to be thankful." - Anon

Saturday, 18 August 2012

The natural order of life

I was given a garden fire basket by a friend a few years ago. In the evenings and into the night I love to get bundled up in my cosy clothes, light the fire and sit watching it do it's thing.  It doesn't simply provide me with warmth, but also a beautiful, colourful piece of mesmerising art.
So off I go to collect the tiny twigs, the small kindling sticks..and a couple of bigger logs from my store. I'm always a tiny bit excited to be outside setting a fire - maybe it's just one of life's fundamental pleasures, I don't really know, I just know I love it!
The flames seem to lick higher than I expect, the wind, even the most gentle, can tease the flames causing them to swirl and twist changing direction suddenly and dramatically.
White pieces of ash fly around the basket, then up and up they go off into obscurity.  Only seconds before they were an essential part of the combustion process.  The warmth, colour and beauty would not have been produced without them. The role of those tiniest twigs, though crucial was short lived and transient in the extreme!  As the fire keeps burning through the smallest twig on into the biggest log the end product is the same.  Feathery grey and white pieces of ash jumping, leaping, swirling and dancing in the base of the fire basket.
Sometimes we can think of ourselves as crucial, essential parts of the world, be it in work, or within our community or as a member of our family.  It might serve us well to remember that no matter what we think we are, we are certainly not a vital or indestructible part of life.  It can bring humility to the fore when we recognise wherever we are, and whatever we do, the twigs, kindling and logs are all equally important and would struggle to produce fire without the support of each other.
"All mankind...being all equal and independent, no one ought to harm another in his life, health, liberty or possessions." - John Locke

Wednesday, 8 August 2012

Trapped in fantasy

We all have hopes and dreams - and so we should! But what happens to us when our lives go in a completely different direction? Some people simply go with the flow, enjoying the unexpected twists and turns that each year brings, while for others it can be a bitter pill to swallow when things don't go the way they'd imagined.  The headmind plays a torturous game, mulling over the whys and what ifs. A relentless series of teasing and tormenting over a life that never was and never will be.
This self-sabotaging cycle of thought can only end one way - badly! How can it possibly be useful to ruminate and ponder over what might have been?  It hasn't been..therefore it wasn't going to be.  
So if you find yourself slumping into a never ending battle of an imagined life versus reality, be clear with the truth.  You are here NOW!  What can you do differently TODAY that will make you feel just that little bit better, that fraction more fulfilled when you look back at it TOMORROW? 
You have a responsibility to yourself to stop dragging through old stuff, and pay attention to today...right NOW!
"Opportunities fly by while we sit regretting the chances we have lost, and the happiness that comes to us we heed not, because of the happiness that is gone." - Jerome K. Jerome
"You can clutch the past so tightly to your chest that it leaves your arms too full to embrace the present." - Jan Glidewell.