The winds of change have spoken . . .

change-your-destiny

 

I can’t believe we are heading for the middle of February already. It feels like an eternity since the last time I posted anything here. So much has happened over the last few months that it will be virtually impossible to try to fill you in on the details.

The short version is that in September 2017 I decided to sell my house and move to a smaller living space. Between all the negotiations, the packing and the moving life was one big mixture of feelings and emotions, sometimes tears, sometimes sadness for the loss of the life I was leaving behind but nervousness and excitement for the new chapter in life I was starting.

As much as we are not in charge of our destiny we can change our circumstances to live a life that is more in line with what will bring us joy and happiness. Sometimes this means that we have to leave others (and things) behind in the process.

“When the way you think, speak and behave resonate with your own deepest nature, life feels very good — you feel whole, content, in your power. But when these don’t align with your deepest nature, then things feel… wrong. Life feels uneasy. You feel out of touch, discontented, restless, unhappy.” – Melli O’Brien

In spite of the sadness and tears over the last few months, I do not regret the decisions I have made. I was forced into a position of having to get rid of most of the physical clutter that was actually weighing me down without me realizing it. In the process of physically letting go of all the clutter of the material possessions, I freed my heart (or at least tried to) of holding on to too much emotional clutter that was weighing me down too.

I feel so much better now. I sleep so much better now. I am at peace knowing that the decisions I made were the right ones for me. I can let go and let others take the responsibility now. I am free to live the life I am meant to live purely because I’ve been forced to let go emotionally and physically.

I have learned that we go through bad experiences to teach us wisdom and to give us the strength we need to continue on this journey called life. I have learned that the more you put yourself into a state of gratitude, the more you will attract things to be grateful for.

Be grateful for what you have, and you’ll end up having more.
Focus on what you don’t have, and you’ll never have enough.

I have learned that being happy won’t always make you grateful, but being grateful will always make you happy. It is almost impossible to sincerely appreciate a moment and frown at the same time. To be happy right now, does not mean you don’t desire more, it means you are grateful for what you have and you are patient for what is yet to come.

Gratitude enables true forgiveness, which is when you can sincerely say, “Thank you for that experience.” It makes absolutely no sense to condemn or regret an important life lesson. Gratitude makes sense of yesterday, brings peace to the present, and creates a positive vision for tomorrow.

We never need more than we have at any given moment. It has been said that the highest form of prayer is giving thanks. Instead of praying “for” things, give thanks for what you already have. When life gives you every reason to be negative, think of one good reason to be positive. There is always something to be grateful for. Good days give you happiness and bad days give you wisdom. Both are essential, because all things have contributed to your advancement, you must include all things in your gratitude. This is especially true of your relationships. We meet no ordinary people in our lives; if you give them a chance, everyone has something important to teach you.

 

cant-compare-a-tree-to-a-forest

 

We need to be grateful for the present changes in our lives. We need to be grateful for all we have now, because we honestly never know what will happen next. What we have now will eventually be what we had. Life changes every single day, and our blessings will gradually change along with it.

A grateful mind never takes things for granted. What separates privilege from entitlement is gratitude. The circumstance (or person) you take for granted today may turn out to be the only one you need tomorrow. As we express our gratitude, we must not forget that the highest appreciation is not to simply utter words, but to live by them daily. What matters most is not what we say, but how we live. Don’t just say it, show it. Don’t just promise it, prove it.

Gratitude includes giving back. In the hustle of everyday life we hardly realize how much more we receive than give, and life cannot be rich without such gratitude. It is so easy to overestimate the importance of our own achievements compared with what we owe to the aid of others.

The highest tribute to the people and circumstances you’ve lost is not grief but gratitude. Just because something didn’t last forever, doesn’t mean it wasn’t the greatest gift imaginable. Be thankful that your paths crossed and that you got the chance to experience something wonderful.

To be truly grateful, you must be truly present. Count the blessings in your life, and start with the breath you are taking right now. We often forget that the greatest miracle is not to walk on water; the greatest miracle is to walk on the green earth, dwelling deeply in the present moment, appreciating it and feeling completely alive.

Letting go of control multiplies the potential for gratitude. Sometimes we put too much weight into trying to control every tiny aspect of our lives that we completely miss the forest for the trees. We need to learn to let go, relax a little and ride the path that life takes us sometimes. We need to try something new, be fearless, but above all else, do our best and be OK with it. Clearing ourselves of needless expectations allows us to truly experience the unexpected and the greatest joys in life are often the unexpected surprises and opportunities we never expected.

“Life should be lived with a little more GRATITUDE

and a little less ATTITUDE.”

Let us consider how fortunate we are – let us consider it every day. The more we count our blessings, the more blessings there will be to count.

What are you grateful for today?

How has gratitude affected your life?

 

You may also enjoy the following posts written by me:

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6 Things you should love about your life

 

2991-abstract

 

You’ve got to dance like there’s nobody watching,
Love like you’ll never be hurt,
Sing like there’s nobody listening,
And live like it’s heaven on earth.

―William W. Purkey

 

This moment will be part of your story someday. It’s not right or wrong. It’s not perfect. It just is – a blank canvas – a completely unrestricted space that you can use as you please.

 

  • To laugh
  • To get rambunctious
  • To muse
  • To create
  • To express your freedom to be as you are

 

You have to live each moment consciously in your own way, design your own truth, and then share it with others. It’s a process of growth you gradually realize as an individual. You can’t acquire it from others; you can only share it once you’ve created it. You have to break out of your shell and do things. Do what moves you. Be who you are. Explore life’s mysteries until you figure out what matters most to you.

If you sit around for too long, blaming others for the things they did or didn’t do, or knew or didn’t know, you’ll remain sitting in one spot until you pass. Placing blame is easy, because it means you don’t have to do anything; you just have to sit around for your entire life. But that’s not living; that’s dying. To accept where you are without blame by seizing the present for what it is – for the opportunities it’s giving you every instant – that’s what injects life into your story and ultimately moves you forward.

 

 

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With all of this in mind, here are six things you should love about your life:

 

  1. Time spent on personal growth and goals:
    The wisest and happiest are those who are respectful of their time, annoyed at the needless loss of it, and use it dutifully to grow as they age. Sadly, too many of us age much faster than we grow. We spend so much of our lives going through the external motions of what society tells us ‘maturity’ is – getting married, buying houses, working our way up the corporate latter, etc. – that we fail to concentrate on our own inner growth and goals. We never allocate enough time just for us.

    Part of the problem is that we’re always waiting for some condition to resolve itself at some point in the future. We believe that the right time to take the next step is somehow going to magically happen tomorrow, next week, next month, next year, etc. But one day we wake up and realize we’re no closer than we were long ago. We find ourselves asking, “How did it get so late, and why haven’t I moved?” In other words, we’ve aged, but we never grew to our potential. We never fulfilled ourselves.

    Let this be your wake-up call. This is life. Right now. Indulge in it. Make it count. Because it’s happening. Read 1,000 Little Things.

 

  1. Living your truth every day:
    The world can easily be a tragedy if all you do is feel without ever acting. To feel something and believe in it, and not to live it, is lying to yourself. If you do this for too long you will never do more than exist meekly from one robotic motion to the next. You will live a lie every day as the truth haunts your thoughts every night. You simply can’t get away from your truth by moving dishonestly from one place to the next.

    If any of this hits too close to home, take a stand right now. Stop sipping the denial cocktail and take a shot of the delightful truth. Wherever your heart is, there you will find the reality that brings YOU to life. The time to act on your truth is now.

 

 

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  1. The joy and freedom of an open mind:
    Your perspective on things is important; it enables you to make sense of the life you lead. Always keep in mind, though, that different people have different perspectives, and yours isn’t the only one that makes sense. There are few black and white facts in this world. Most facts are simply interpretations. You begin to learn wisely when you’re willing to see life from other people’s perspectives too.

    Even as you grow wiser and wiser with age you must remind yourself that an understanding is never absolutely final. What’s currently right could easily be wrong later. Thus, the most destructive illusion is a settled point of view. Since life is continuous growth and movement, choosing a fixed point of view is essentially a declaration of death.

    Success in life does not depend on always being or proving that you’re right. To make real progress you must let go of the assumption that you already have all the answers. You can listen to others, learn from them, and successfully work with them even though you may not agree with every opinion they have. When people respectfully agree to disagree, everyone benefits from the diversity of perspective. Read Buddha’s Brain .

 

  1. Relationships that improve you:
    It’s not about finding someone to lose yourself in, it’s about meeting someone to find yourself in. When you connect with someone special – a friend or lover – this person helps you find the best in yourself. In this way, neither of you actually meet the best in the each other; you both grow into your best selves by spending time together and nurturing each other’s growth.

    When you honestly ask yourself who these special people are in your life, you will often find that it’s those who, instead of giving you things or taking things from you (advice, answers, material possessions, etc.), have chosen rather to share in your joy and pain, and experience life along with you through good times and bad.

 

 

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  1. The story you tell yourself every day:
    Forget what everyone else thinks of you; chances are, they aren’t thinking about you anyway. If you feel like they always are, understand that this perception of them watching you and critiquing your every move is a complete figment of your imagination. It’s your own inner fears and insecurities that are creating this illusion. It’s you judging yourself that’s the problem.

    You judge yourself by telling yourself a story inside of your head. Every moment of every day you’re telling yourself this story. You are building your future around this story, so tell it right. Create a positive narrative about your dreams and goals that include only the circumstances that matter. What you think others are thinking about you is not part of this narrative, and neither are your negative self-judgments. Read Uncertainty .

 

  1. The positive spin of life’s surprises:
    You are never at the total mercy of life’s surprises. No matter what life throws at you, you can decide what these events mean to you in the short term, the long term, and how you will integrate them into your life. Everything that happens is subject to your interpretation of it. Thus, far more important than what happens, is what you choose to do with what happens, and your options are abundant.

    The life you live is ultimately the life you choose. Choose to focus on the negative, and negativity will indeed surround you. Turn your focus to the positive possibilities, and these possibilities gradually become realities in your life.

    ~ From Marc and Angel Hack Life
    http://www.marcandangel.com

Journaling as a mindfulness practice for thoughts and emotions

animal-cute-kitten-cat-medium

Journaling is the practice of self-discovery by writing to yourself.
– Chade Meng Tan (Google)

In today’s busy world, finding physical and mental space for peace and calm amidst the competing demands of work, family and friends can be a challenge. Mindfulness is a simple and powerful practice that can help you cut through the noise and reclaim tranquillity, wherever you are.

Mindfulness can also be described as “taking an active, mindful stance by paying moment-to-moment, non-judging attention to thoughts and emotions as they arise; and facilitate their flow by putting them on paper.”

Working with your hands is one of the best ways to soothe anxiety and eliminate stress. How can you do this?

Mindfulness Journal – Exercises that help you find peace and calm wherever you are
Colouring book (for adults) – The latest trend these days. For those who prefer the pen and paper version, there are many options available in stationery shops and at online shops like Amazon:

. For the electronic gadget boffins – there are apps available which you can download to your favourite device to work on the next time you’re waiting in a queue somewhere.

How to Journal or Blog:
• Choose an amount of time you can spare each day (3, 5, or 15 minutes)
• Choose a prompt (subject/topic) – see below for suggestions
• Play! For the amount of time you have chosen, write down whatever comes to mind relating to the prompt you have selected for the day.

Brook_Water over rocks

The best approach is not to think about what you are going to write – just write it! If you run out of things to write about . . . write about the fact that you have run out of things to write about until you have something to write about again.

Suggested prompts:
• What I am feeling now is . . .
• I am aware that . . .
• What motivates me is . . .
• I am inspired by . . .
• Today, I aspire to . . .
• What hurts me is . . .
• I wish . . .
• Others are . . .
• I made a happy/sad mistake . . .
• Love is . . .

Self-inquiry prompts:
• Things that give me pleasure are . . .
• My strengths are . . .
• Things that annoy me are . . .
• My weaknesses are . . .
• My core values are . . .
• I stand for . . .
• Who are you and what are you doing?
• How I feel today . . .
• What people say about me is . . .

For more prompts check out this link:

Frangipani_Single

Adult Journal Prompts
1. Childhood Aspirations
What did you want to become when you were a child? Are you pursuing that dream or have you chosen something different?

2. Regrets
What regrets do you have? What could you do to change them?

3. New Place
Describe a time when you were in a new place or situation. How did you feel and what did you do?

4. One Day
If you could live one day over, which day would it be and what would you change?

5. Child Influence
What was the most influential aspect of your childhood on the person you are today?

6. New Project
What is one project or activity you’d like to start? What’s been keeping you from doing it?

Sea Shells

How to use technology (from cellular phones to social media) with mindfulness, meaning and wisdom.
Find out more here:

Finding your “WHY”

Change is a process

Every single organization on the planet, even our own careers, always function on three levels. What we do, How we do it and Why we do it ” – Simon Sinek

When we know the reasons why we do certain things, it gives us a filter through which to make decisions. It provides a foundation for innovation and creativity. When we look at what we do, how we do it and why we do it, we will know who we are – we will know what we stand for.

Very few people can clearly articulate WHY they do what they do. Why is a purpose, a cause or a belief. It provides a clear answer to “WHY” we get out of bed in the morning and why that should matter to anyone else.

When we are clear about our purpose or our WHY, everyone can understand it. This clarity allows everyone who interacts with us to become champions of the cause i.e. people will be willing to help you with your life goals if they have a clear idea of where you want to go.

Life of the rich

Do you have a vision (plan/direction) for your life? Having a vision for your life gives you focus and clarity, it helps with decision making and stops you getting side-tracked and distracted when “life” takes over.

Asking yourself these five questions will guide you through creating your personal vision and prevent “mind blank”, writer’s block and overwhelm that hits you when you’re faced with a question like “what is your vision for your life”?

1. What does success look like to you?
How will you know when you’ve “made it”? Describe your idea of success: use your imagination, instincts and/or intuition to express your “big picture”. In other words, describe what it would be like when you have reached your ultimate personal goal.

Write down what you want to become but make sure you include some big numbers that you can measure i.e. how much do you want to earn every month? Do you want to work for someone or do you want to own your own business? What business do you want to start? Why do you want this business? Who will be your clients/customers? Where will you find your clients/customers? How much will you need to charge your customers to earn what you want to earn every month? Will you charge per hour or per project? How many hours do you want to work?

Do you have a “vision board”? – more about this later.

Vision Board

2. Why is success important to you? Why do you do what you do?
• Are you trying to make your life and that of your family better?
• Are you trying to save the world? Trying to eliminate poverty, suffering, child abuse etc?
• Are you trying to educate yourself so you can find a job? What job? Why do you want that job? Where will you find the job? What will you do when you have the job?
• Do you want to own your own business? Why do you want to own your own business? What kind of business do you want? How will you start the business? Who will be your customers/clients? Where will you find your customers/clients? How many hours will you work? What will you charge your customers? Will you charge per hour or per project? How much money is enough? What is the driver behind having your own business?

3. What difference do you make in the world or what difference do you see yourself making in the world?
• What do you want to bring into the world? Do you want to make a difference to the environment? Do you want to eliminate poverty/suffering/child and women abuse etc?
• Do you want to make life easier for mothers or for women in general?
• Do you want to help other women fulfil their potential?
• Do you want to help women feel gorgeous and get their self confidence back?
• Do you want to help women create a beautiful home (interior decorator)?

It doesn’t have to be big and life changing but there will be a reason (or several why you will want to and can make a difference in the world.

Your present circumstances

4. Who is most likely to support your vision for your life?
• Who “gets” you?
• Who would you like to mentor/coach you? Who’s a really good fit for you?
Think about the kind of individual they are, where would you find them, what problems could they help you solve? These questions should all be easy to answer and you will definitely have an answer even if you’ve never thought about this before.

5. What are your milestones?

What are the achievements you want to reach along the way that will show you you’ve moving forward and making progress?

Milestones could be:
• Completing your studies and finding a job
• Completing your studies and starting your own business
• Completing your studies and taking a gap year travelling overseas
• Spending time working on a kibbutz for a year

Waterfall

There may be smaller milestones like:
• Getting some practical work experience by volunteering at an organisation
• Working part-time during school, college or university breaks to gain some practical working experience.

These milestones are personal to you and they will keep you on track when you’re feeling lost or overwhelmed. Write them down and tick them off as you achieve them WHICH YOU WILL!

Who you are, is more important than what you do. – Anonymous

River of Life – A Time for Reflection . . .

Waterfall

The river is a meaningful symbol for many people.

The flowing element of a river symbolises purity, healing and cleansing. Rivers also symbolise irreversible passage of time, going with the flow, indicates the need to take some important decisions to shape your life, represent pleasures, peace and riches and flow of energy.

The source of the river (where the river starts) can be seen as the symbol for the early years of life.

Your present circumstances

The twists and turns in the river as it flows away from its source can be seen as the different periods of life (the wild and stormy times, sometimes murky, turbulent and fast flowing). Then there are the peaceful times (where the river runs gently and is cool and refreshing).

Various tributaries branching off from the river represents the major influences in life.

The twists and turns in the river are shaped by the various people, experiences and events which have been important influences in our lives.

Candle & purple flowers

Have you ever taken some time out to reflect on your life?

Would you consider using the River of Life exercise to do this? Allow me to explain how the River of Life exercise works:

1. Take a sheet of paper (as big as you need it to be)
2. Get some coloured pens, pencils or wax crayons – as many colours as you need
3. Draw a river – showing the source (this represents your birth – where your life started)
4. Show the flow of the river indicating the different periods of your life (the wild and stormy times, the murky, turbulent and fast flowing times). Show the peaceful times (where the river runs gently and is cool and refreshing). Examples: the teenage years, your 20’s, 30’s and any other milestones in your life, rites of passage etc
5. Show the different tributaries (name each tributary) indicating the major influences in your life.
6. Draw pictures around the river to show the people, experiences and events which have been important in your life (and helped shape you into the person you are now).
Use as many colours as you need. Make your river as large as you need. Reflect on each stage as you do your drawing.

Change is a process

Questions:
1. Has this exercise been helpful?
2. How did you feel while doing this exercise? What emotions were evoked during this exercise?
3. What did you learn about yourself during this exercise?

The pain of watching a parent age

Nursing (Life of love and compassion)

I’ve been battling to find time to post these last few weeks. I’ve scribbled a few ideas on paper but have not been able to actually finish them off.

This post today has been prompted by a television programme I watched recently where an elderly father wanted his son to take him across State lines to visit a friend and colleague he worked with in his younger days. The friend is dying and the old man just wanted to make sure he saw him before he died. The son is addicted to his job and resented having to tear himself away from his job to help his elderly dad.

Watching this tug-of-war between father and son just brought back so many memories for me of my own relationship with my mom in the last fourteen months before she died. From the time my mom got sick, I made sure my work and my entire life came second and mom came first – always! and watching this tug-of-war between this father and son tonight made me realise how precious our last few months and hours are with our elderly parents.

Nursing Care (how compassion can make a change)

My mom was not really old (she was seventy one when she died) but her illness caused her to be confined to bed for the last few months of her life. Most of what I experienced with mom was part of the natural ageing process but in my mom’s case, was accelerated by her illness. Let me share some of these with you and hopefully you will get the picture.

Loss of short term memory: This is part of the natural ageing process and usually progresses slowly until, in some cases, Alzeimers disease will set in – but not all ageing people end up with Alzeimers disease. In my mom’s case, her short term memory loss was age related but was accelerated by the brain tumour so as the tumour grew, the short term memory was almost completely taken over by her long term memory i.e. she could remember things that happened years ago but could not remember what happened that morning.

Nursing Care (hands)

The urgency of doing things NOW – not being able to wait until later: This is also part of the natural ageing process and gets worse the closer they get to death. Again, in my mom’s case, this was accelerated by her brain tumour to the point where five minutes seemed like an eternity to her, which means I was kept on my toes all the time because mom immediately felt abandoned if left alone for too long.

Child taking the role of parent: I think this is the most difficult part of the ageing process where the child has to take over the role of bed bathing, brushing the teeth, combing the hair, dressing when the parent can no longer move around freely and is confined to bed. This, I think, was the most difficult part of mom’s illness for both of us, when mom had to resign herself to the fact that she just cannot do this herself anymore and also brought home to me just how ill mom really was. I did, however try my best to do this part with as much dignity as possible.
I had to be very subtle in the way I suggested replacing underwear with diapers to avoid soiling the bed and had to ensure this was done in the most dignified way possible.

Nursing Care

Spending time just listening: The closer mom got to her final days, the more she just wanted me to be with her to just listen – telling the same old stories I’ve heard a million times before going as far back as her primary school days. To listen without getting impatient, without saying “yeah, yeah, I’ve heard that so many times before”. I just kept quiet and listened for as long as it took. Preparing the next meal, washing dishes or doing the laundry just had to wait, I had to listen. In the end I was glad I took the time to listen because it kept mom calm and stress free to the end.

This television programme I watched recently showed how impatient the son got with his father when all the father wanted was for his son to spend time with him. The look of sadness and abandonment in the father’s eyes made me feel so sad because even just five minutes would have meant the world to the father and yet the son was not even prepared to sacrifice that five minutes of his time.

The night before mom died she was very restless and could not get to sleep. I continuously had to go into her room just to be there, to lay down next to her, just to hold her hand and tell her everything will be alright. Right up until the morning of her death, mom was like a little girl just needing comfort and reassurance that everything was going to be alright. That’s all that mattered in the end.

My job and my job title did not matter – the only thing that mattered was being there.

Candlelight

We, the younger generation need to slow down, stop and “smell the roses”. We need to stop trying to rush our parent(s) into handing over everything to us so we can take over and control their lives. We need to help them live a life of independence and dignity for as long as possible instead of trying to control them because we want to make things easier for ourselves.

Parents feel they need to be parents right up to the end and that is why we, as children need to take control without them losing their dignity as parents.
We should allow them to remain parents and we should continue to respect them as such right to the end (even though we have taken control of their worldly goods).

Nursing (Love & Compassion_Dalai Lama)

Additional note:
Children are often in too much of a hurry to take over the parents’ house and entire life thinking they are making things easier for the parent when, in fact, the parent struggles to let go because they see this as losing their dignity and freedom which they want to hold on to as long as possible.

Role reversal is as difficult for the parent as it is for the child. As children we need to remember that even though we are having to parent our parent(s), we still need to treat them as parents and not as children. Still speak as a child to a parent and not the other way around.

Children need to be more tolerant and patient when this stage comes and gradually take over once the parent is ready to hand over the reigns – but not to rush in and try to grab everything from the parent(s) all at once.

What life has taught me . . .

View from 34th Floor(1)

In my journey called life, I’ve learned . . .

• The best classroom in the world is at the feet of an elderly person.

• When you’re in love, it shows!

• Just one person saying to me, “you’ve made my day!” makes my day.

• Being kind is more important than being right.

• You should never say “no” to a gift from a child.

• I can always pray for someone when I don’t have the strength to help in some other way.

View from 34th Floor(3)

• No matter how serious your life needs to be, everyone needs a friend to act goofy with.

• Sometimes all a person needs is a hand to hold and a heart to understand.

• Simple walks with a good friend on summer days or nights does wonders.

• Life is like a roll of toilet paper. The closer it gets to the end, the faster it goes.

• We should be glad God doesn’t give us everything we ask for.

• Money doesn’t buy class.

View from 34th Floor

• It’s those small daily happenings that make life so spectacular.

• Under everyone’s hard shell is someone who wants to be appreciated and loved.

• God did not do everything in one day. What makes me think I can?

• To ignore the facts does not change the facts.

• When you plan to get even with someone, you are allowing that person to continue hurting you.

• Love, not time, heals all wounds.

• The easiest way for me to grow is to surround myself with people smarter that I am.

• Everyone you meet deserves to be greeted with a smile.

View of Cape Town Stadium(1)

• No one is perfect until you fall in love with them.

• Life is tough, but I am tougher.

• Opportunities are never lost, someone will take the ones you miss.

• When you harbour bitterness, happiness will dock elsewhere.

• Telling my mom (more than once) that I love her before she died, left me at peace with her death.

• We should keep our words both soft and tender, because tomorrow we may have to eat them.

Life_Hand releasing butterfly

• A smile is an inexpensive way to improve your looks.

• I can’t choose how I feel, but I can choose what I do about it.

• That everyone wants to live on top of the mountain, but all the happiness and growth occurs while you’re climbing it.

• It is best to give advice in only two circumstances:
– When it is requested
– When it is a life threatening situation

• The less time I have to work with, the more things I get done.

The Red Wheelbarrow

Red Wheelbarrow (solo)

How observant are you? When a tragedy strikes, how observant were you to the little details that led to the big tragedy? Could the tragedy have been avoided if you had paid attention to the little details leading up to the tragedy?

These questions came to mind when I found out about a little poem called The Red Wheelbarrow by William Carlos Williams.

Red Wheelbarrow (The Poem)

The red wheelbarrow
By: William Carlos Williams
so much depends
upon

a red wheel
barrow

glazed with rain
water

beside the white
chickens

What does this poem mean? What exactly is the poet trying to say?

Is he saying:-
The redness of the wheelbarrow makes one think of a childhood toy? Why is it outside, left in the rain? Did something happen to cause it to be abandoned? Was it a tragedy of some kind?
“So much depends upon” – what exactly is it that depends on the wheelbarrow? Could the tragedy have been avoided? Did the incident happen recently or long ago?
Was the poet an adult who should have known better and could have avoided the tragedy? Was the poet a child when this unspoken incident occurred? Was the poet somehow responsible and could this thing that depends so much on the wheelbarrow be the long sadness that he’s felt because of his involvement?
The colours red and white – why those colours? If there was a tragedy, then red and white could symbolise blood and bone.

Red Wheelbarrow with chickens

Perhaps the poem is saying that whatever it is that depends on the simple wheelbarrow is like anything else in life – that big important things depends on little details like the wheelbarrow and the chickens?

Maybe big tragedies or big things happen because we ignore and don’t pay attention to the little details.

What do you think?

I am a house of four rooms . . .

House_Green

There is an Indian belief that everyone is a house of four rooms – a physical, a mental, an emotional and a spiritual.

Most of us tend to live in one room most of the time, but unless we go into every room every day, even if only to keep it aired, we are not complete.

It has been almost one year now that I have spent most of my time in my emotional room. I’ve been on an emotional roller coaster for eleven months now and some days it is more difficult to suppress the emotions wanting to come to the surface. Why the need to suppress these emotions, I hear you asking?

• Cannot cry at home because I don’t want mom to feel like she is causing me stress or feel that she is a burden to me (because she is not).
• Cannot cry at work because I don’t want to have to explain to everyone why I need to cry. Not everyone will understand which will make me want to cry even more.
• I usually shed a tear or two while driving home or on my way to work or on my way to the grocery store. This, however, has to be suppressed as quickly as possible because it usually happens in the last five minutes before I reach my destination and I don’t want to walk in with red swollen eyes.
• Cannot cry when I’m alone in bed at night because mom could call me at any time and . . . (see first bullet point)
• Cannot ask someone to stay with mom while I go off somewhere by myself to cry – just seems daft to do this and I will worry more about what’s going on at home in my absence i.e. if mom’s condition should deteriorate in my absence.

I need to cry, I need to have one good old crying session – just me and my box of tissues. Having some chocolate or ice cream in the same room is not a bad idea. They are my comfort foods. I love teddies too, so maybe a teddy to hug is not a bad idea either.

What else would I need to have in my room? My PJ’s and slippers. On the day that I have this crying session, I would not want to get dressed. I would want to walk around in my PJ’s and slippers all day. Needlesss to say I will not want any visitors coming around on this day. I would want the freedom to not need to open the door nor answer the telephone.

What will happen after I have had this crying session? Well, it will free me of all this pent up emotions I have been suppressing and will enable me to move on with my life. It will enable me to take better care of my physical, mental and spiritual rooms which have been sadly neglected these last few months.

I have not completely abandoned my physical room, I have been in and out of that room every week, but I have not given it as much attention as it deserves. My mental room is very closely linked to my emotional room so once I have my emotional room sorted out, my mental room will automatically sort itself out.

My spiritual room? Well, I’m afraid to say that this one has been sorely neglected for a while now (for various reasons, the current reason not being the major cause).

How about you? Which room of your house are you spending most of your time in?

Which room would you prefer to spend more time in?

When will you be moving to the next room?

Dear Diary: Finding peace through forgiveness . . .

Forgiveness (butterfly)

“Recognise the stages of grief (denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance) and honour wherever you fall in the process”

Archbishop Desmond Tutu and his daughter Reverend Mpho Tutu have written a book called: The Book of Forgiving: The Fourfold Path for Healing Ourselves and our World. I read about this book in the You Magazine (http://www.you.co.za) dated 15 May 2014 and thought I should share some of this with you.

In this book the authors speak of the fourfold path to forgiveness, i.e.
1) Telling your story to the person you have to forgive
2) Naming the hurt
3) Granting forgiveness
4) The renewal or release of a relationship

Forgiveness is not something we give to the other person. In reality, it is something we give ourselves – we get to cut the chains holding us to the person who hurt us. Forgiveness is not easy – to be angry, devastated and grief-stricken are all valid and appropriate responses – they are all part of the journey of forgiveness.

Forgiveness doesnt excuse behaviourpg

How do we start the journey of granting forgiveness or being forgiven?

The authors talk about The Revenge Cycle:
“Whenever we’re injured we face the choice of whether to retaliate or reconnect”, the authors write.”

The revenge cycle looks like this:
• Hurt, harm or loss
• Pain
• Choosing to harm
• Rejecting shared humanity
• Revenge, retaliation, payback
• Violence, cruelty
• Hurt, harm or loss

The forgiveness cycle follows a fourfold path.
In choosing to heal . . .
• We tell the story
• Name the hurt
• Grant forgiveness (recognising shared humanity)
• Renewing or releasing the relationship

The authors then give very useful and practical exercises to be completed. (I’ve heard of similar exercises like writing a letter to the person who hurt you and then to throw the letter into a fire or to burn the letter to release the feelings of hurt and to move on with your life). The exercises provided in the book are as follows:

THE STONE RITUAL:
Carrying the stone:
• You need a stone the size of the palm of your hand
• For one full morning (about six hours) hold the stone in your non-dominant hand i.e. if you are right-handed, you will need to carry the stone in your left hand and vice versa. Do not put the stone down for any reason during this six hour period.
• At the end of six hours, proceed to the journal exercise (the journal will only be read by you).

JOURNAL EXERCISE:
• What did you notice about carrying the stone?
• When did you notice it most?
• Did it prevent you from completing any other activities?
• Was the stone ever useful?
• In what ways was carrying the stone like carrying an un-forgiven hurt?
• Make a list of people you need to forgive in your life
• Make a list of all those you’d like to have forgiven you

THE CLOAK OF SAFETY (Mindfulness Exercise):
Forgiveness can sometimes feel like it’s too much work, when all you want to do is to be still and feel safe. Create a cloak of safety that will always be within reach.

• Start by sitting comfortably. You may prefer to close your eyes lightly.
• Pay attention to your breathing. Don’t direct it – follow it. (Think about how your chest moves up when you breathe in and down when you breathe out).
• When you have settled into the rhythm of your breathing, allow yourself to feel the cloak of safety surrounding you like fabric.
• What is the texture of this cloak? Does it have a colour? Does it have a fragrance?
• Settle into this cloak. Does it feel warm or cool?
• Describe this cloak in your imagination as fully as you are able to. Pull the cloak around you and settle into feeling safe.
• When you need this cloak, know it is there and you can just reach for it.

THE BOX OF SORROWS:
You may want to surround yourself with the cloak of safety you created.
• Create a safe space. Think about a place of safety. It could be real or imaginary. See this place fully and inhabit it. Relax into this place.
• Someone is calling for you. The one who is calling for you speaks in a voice filled with warmth, love and delight. When you’re ready, welcome this person into your safe space. Who is your companion? Is it a loved one, a friend or a spiritual figure?
• Between you and your companion sits an open box. Tell your companion the story of the hurt you carry. Tell the truth about how you have been wounded, disdained, disrespected, shamed or disregarded in as much detail as you can remember. As you speak, see the hurt and the words pouring out of you like a stream. Watch the stream being poured into the box. When you’ve said all there is to say, close the box of sorrows.
• Take the box into your lap. When you are ready, hand the box to your trusted companion. Know that the box is in safe hands. You don’t need to carry those sorrows any longer.
• When you are ready, you may leave your place of safety. Know that your trusted companion will take your box of sorrows from the place but will return it should you have a need for it.

HOW TO ACKNOWLEDGE THE HARM DONE:
If a friend comes to you asking you to help them with their process of forgiving you should do the following:
• Listen
• Do not try to fix the pain
• Do not minimise the loss
• Do not offer any advice
• Do not respond with your own loss or grief (don’t tell your own story)
• Keep confidentiality
• Offer your love and caring
• Empathise and offer comfort

JOURNAL EXERCISE:
Forgiveness is a process of letting go:
• Think of the things you must give up or let go in order to forgive. The list might include things such as the right to revenge or the expectation of an apology. It might even include having to give up an expectation that the person who hurt you will understand the pain they have caused.
• As you make your list, pause with each item and offer thanks for the ability to let go of what you don’t need in order to forgive.

NAMING THE HURT:
• Identify the feelings within the facts. Remember, no feelings are wrong, bad or invalid.
• Recognise the stages of grief (denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance) and wherever you fall in the process.
• Find someone who will acknowledge you and listen to your feelings without trying to fix them.
• Accept your own vulnerability.
• Move forward when you are ready.

Forgiveness not done for others

GRANTING FORGIVENESS:
• Forgiveness is a choice
• We grow through forgiving
• Forgiving is how we move from victim to hero in our story
• We know we are healing when we are able to tell a new story

RENEWING OR RELEASING THE RELATIONSHIP:
This is a stone ritual in which you decide whether you should release the stone and all it symbolises or turn it into something else.
• Decide whether you will turn your stone into a new thing of beauty or release it back into nature.
• If you have chosen to renew the stone, decide how you will paint it or decorate it. You may also choose to turn it into something useful in your home or garden.
• If you have chosen to release your stone, you may take it back to the place where you found it and put it down or you may take it to a new place that is meaningful to you.
• Nothing is wasted. Everything, even a stone, has its purpose.

JOURNAL EXERCISE:
• Was it possible to make something beautiful from what you had?
• How difficult was it to do so?
• What did you learn about the renewing and releasing [of a relationship] as you completed this exercise?

WHAT TO DO IF YOU NEED TO BE FORGIVEN:
• Get the support you need.
• Admit the wrong (although the path to making it right may or may not include telling your story to the person you have injured. Revealing an unknown betrayal may cause a deeper injury to the victim than that person’s ignorance or your deed. If this is the case, tell your story to a trusted counsellor).
• Witness the anguish and apologise.
• Ask for forgiveness.
• Make amends or whatever restitution or reparation is called for or needed.
• Honour your victim’s choice to renew or release the relationship.

STONE RITUAL: SETTING DOWN THE STONE:
• You will need a heavy stone. You want to feel its weight as burdensome.
• Walk with this stone some distance to a private place.
• Admit to the stone what you’ve done.
• Then tell the stone the anguish you have caused.
• Apologise to the stone and ask for forgiveness. You may imagine the person you have harmed in your mind’s eye or ask God for forgiveness.
• Decide what you can do to make amends to the person you harmed or how you can help others.
• Then set the stone down in nature.

Forgiveness_Life becomes easier

Wow, this sure is powerful stuff. There is so much food for thought here. The exercises are simple yet practical. Just reading all of this makes me want to go out to buy the book, don’t you?

The Book of Forgiving: The Fourfold Path for Healing Ourselves and the World by Desmond Tutu and Mpho Tutu (Harper Collins) is available through http://www.kalahari.com

PEACE
It does not mean to be in a place where there is no noise, trouble or hard work, it means to be in the midst of those things and still be calm in your heart.
– Unknown