ThOse stEEp cliMbS

ThOse stEEp cliMbS

As you get older it seems that there are steeper slopes to climb. It’s not that you don’t have them when you are younger; I think that perhaps you are more equipped to handle the pressure. There is a treadmill that I often use (not as much as I should) which has a setting and you can adjust it so that you are walking on an incline. So rather than just walking or jogging on a flat surface using the incline gives you more of a workout. Personally I have only used the incline a couple of times as I don’t really like it that much. You see I am not that ecstatic about exercise it isn’t something I am all that passionate about. While I am completely aware that exercise is healthy it usually takes me a lot of psyching up to get me to actually workout. It tends to happen in spurts, so for me that can mean regular exercise for a couple of months and then stopping for some reason (excuse) or another.

The steep climbs we have in life often feel as though everything is working against us, so it takes a lot from you to keep climbing. Physically when working out on an incline you get exhausted a lot faster than walking or jogging on a flat surface. I would think that more muscles are being worked on at an incline setting, although I am no fitness expert! These steep climbs in life happen from time to time and they do tend to take more from you than what you would perhaps want to give.

These steep climbs also feel like you are swimming against the tide,  as though for no real reason you find yourself in situations in which it seems everything is working against you. It may last a couple of days to a week or sometimes for a few months. When you are in the midst of it all you can feel is pain. It could be in your marriage or another close relationship with siblings or family. It could be your finances, there may be more bills coming in then there is income for a period of time. This in turn creates more pressure as you may be constantly swimming against strong currents that are trying to push you back.

Personally I would rather have life flowing smoothly in every single area, yet this is not the reality we face. As much as I don’t get excited about the incline setting on the treadmill I don’t get excited when I feel as though I am climbing another steep hill again in my life. These steep climbs in life take perseverance, as you know deep down that you can’t or don’t want to go back to where you were so you must keep GOING….

In a marriage both partners can feel that they are climbing A steep hill with no end in sight. As I mentioned earlier the older you get these steep climbs take more effort. You might be more sensitive than you used to be or you may not be able to handle pressure the same way as when you were younger. I know that for my husband and I since we had four children under four some decades ago, we now have four adults working their lives out at the same time. Both of us can feel the weight and pressure of their maturing process. Every parent desires the best for their children so you may find yourself walking up a steep hill with your adult children as they are working their lives out, phewww.

On these steep climbs you may need to get rid of baggage so that it doesn’t make it worse! Old behaviours or old ways of doing things may not work in this season or this climb, so there might be some adjustments to be made in order to keep climbing, releasing the extra weight off your shoulders. In the same way athletes wear certain types of clothing that help them move faster in their sport. Their clothing is specially designed to minimise any resistance to improve their time and result.

Married couples going through changes in life both physically and emotionally need to adjust their routines and perhaps even their communication. What may have worked when they were younger may not work at an older age. While both go through the aging process differently they can feel the same pressure as they are climbing the hill of ‘midlife’. It can be such a vulnerable time that quite some effort is needed to avoid jumping off the hill and leaving your partner there. In the heat of the moment we may feel like giving up yet the truth is that you will eventually begin the descent back down the other side. Don’t we all prefer that side of the hill as the pressure is lessened instantly and you almost feel like you can start running? Suddenly life feels easier again and what was working against you isn’t affecting you the same way anymore.

Life is a journey that continues despite the flat roads, the bumpy roads, the hills, the obstacles, whatever it may be at any given moment in time. Life might run smoothly for a while and then you may be back to the steep climb, either way it is good to remember that it is a part of the journey. It is a process that cannot really be avoided as much as every cell in our body screams against it.

Sometimes I have even stopped during a hill climb and sat there for a while (and prayed) just catching my breath and then getting back up, dusting myself off and continuing the journey. The main goal is to continue on in the journey and remember that while someone you know might be happily walking the flat road right now  (slightly jealous) and enjoying their season in life your time will come TOO. We cannot control what the road is going to look like or how many hills we may have to climb, but be encouraged every hill you climb gives you strength and endurance and even more wisdom for the next climb that comes your way.

Happy hill climbing my friends you will get to the other side

 (Speaking to myself too)

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When remaining unsuccessful is comfortable

For some people success seems to follow them wherever they go and whatever new venture they put their hand to. I have always admired those types of people as they often come across very motivated and enthusiastic about life.

What success means to me can be different to what success means to you.

 I can confidently say that I’m successful in having raised five incredible children. Of course I’ve had my imperfect moments yet never have I felt that being a mum was something I failed at. Whether it was the practical side and or the nurturing of little human beings I felt good at being mum. The nine months of pregnancy to the labour/nursing has always worked out for me which is very fortunate and I do feel blessed in that regard.  There are couples that try hard to get pregnant with no success and for them it would be extremely disappointing and painful. While none of my five children are perfect they each do possess a sense of right and wrong and have morals that any parent would be proud of and for that I am also very grateful. Each of them have been travelling through various stages in life and  I have watched them make mistakes and have also watched them learn from them and become better for it.

There are however other areas in my life that have not been as successful. And that is not to say that these successes cannot happen at some point in the future. Due to the lack of success in particular areas it has required more effort from me to continue persisting and moving forward when my natural tendency would be to believe the worst or to settle and accept it for what it is, believing that there will never be change or success. When you are used to particular areas in life not moving forward quite the way you would like them to, you become almost accepting of that. It is almost scary to believe that it could ever change as your reasoning tells you that these issues have remained that way for so long despite your best efforts so what hope is there for it to turn around.It can become so grounded that it is as though whenever you are looking at that area a big sign with flashing lights comes on displaying the words  “face it you will always suck at this”.

In my life I have noticed how almost frightening it is to believe for success and accept that something could actually work out for me. I am so used to certain areas not working out. These areas I am referring to in my life are finances, friendships with other women and my own personal achievements in the areas that I am passionate about.

When it comes to finances I am used to many challenges and while I am aware that money isn’t what defines you I still would of liked things to be at a better place for us in that area. When I start to compare myself with other families that seem to have it all together in that department, I can quite easily become frustrated and feel that we are very unsuccessful financially. If I were to compare our finances with people in other countries who cannot even find enough food to feed themselves or their families, then I can be grateful and realise that we are in fact rich. The lessons learned in the financial struggle have built a foundation for success, whereas previously we had no foundation or understanding. We have learnt to be generous with the little we have had, which I believe is of great value.

How about female friendships?

From my younger days until now I can say that I have had quite a struggle in this area. It has not come naturally or easily for me. Growing up I was so used to only having a couple of good friends and even then finding it difficult to fit in completely. While my self- esteem has become more balanced over the years it is almost scary to consider having true female friends that I could confide in and count on.  With my natural tendency to gravitate towards the belief that females don’t really plan to be friends with me; puts me in a position in which it requires more effort on my part to take steps in the direction of friendships. It is very comfortable to settle and not make any efforts, as success for me in this area is so foreign and one which I am not so used to. When you have experienced instances in which you thought you were making a friend and sometime later found out through their actions they only considered you as an acquaintance it only adds to the hesitancy of pursuing friendships.  While this area remains as a construction zone in progress I have made some inroads that have been shifting my core beliefs from failure to success.

Four years ago I would not have believed that I could actually complete university units and pass let alone get high distinctions for units relating to maths. This personal achievement has exceeded all of my expectations. There were many mind sets I needed to overcome as I began study, and if they had of been videoed it would have kept people entertained for hours. The new found success that I have achieved in my studies gave me motivation to begin writing. At this stage my writing has been developing along by blogging. It has given me ideas about the future books that I intend to publish and has been equipping me with the skills to connect with people I have never met through my inspirational stories.

It is often far easier for me to believe in other people being successful than believing that I could ever truly go too far ahead of myself. It is always more comfortable to settle by convincing yourself that your success is going to be limited. That there is no point going beyond what you feel comfortable with as you may set yourself up for disappointment.

The question we need to ask ourselves is “will I be satisfied with myself if I don’t at least give something a try”, whatever your something is!

How we measure our own success is going to look different for each person. What I have had to overcome may look different to your challenges. Either way we can settle staying in our comfort zones or turn past failures into successes.

To remain unsuccessful can feel very comfortable when you are used to things not working out, however I don’t think it can last, the time will come when you will feel uncomfortable with your lack of progress. It does require a lot of effort and hard work to move beyond our internal core beliefs that keep us sitting in the same spot from one year to the next. After I decided to begin facing the uncomfortable situations my life has grown in purpose and satisfaction. One by one the thoughts I have believed about myself have been changing from negative failure to positive success.

Breaking the message down looks like this:

Comfort now → Uncomfortable later

Uncomfortable now → Comfort later and for longer

This = Success

 

Put your bling back on

After I turned 40 a sort of desire for wearing ‘bling’ began growing. What is bling you might ask? Anything that sparkles such as shoes, necklaces, earrings or bracelets and not limited to only clothing this fascination for bling covers cushions and household items. I find sparkly things pretty. I have also begun blinging up the garden with coloured lights and pretty statues which are solar powered and turn on as it gets dark.

As I was thinking about the idea of ‘bling’, it sort of dawned on me how pretty things over time can begin looking worn out. I don’t own much silver wear yet I do know that even silver wear needs polishing on a regular basis to keep it looking shiny. Our cars need a good clean too! It doesn’t matter whether you have a brand new car it will need cleaning and polishing after some time of use otherwise the colour becomes very dull and the overall appearance is not so appealing, cars get dirty on use.

Everyone knows that housework never runs out, it always keeps coming back. In our home we have a family of six so there is always plenty of cleaning to be done. I would not be able to comprehend what the house would look like if I decided to not clean it for a week. Everything imaginable would start growing in the kitchen and moving in. Hygiene would be at its lowest and perhaps every member of this family would slowly stop coming home as the environment would become more and more uncomfortable. I personally would go crazy being in this house if it got out of control as I like organisation and living in a clean environment.

The point is that everything gets dirty over time and needs a clean. The more the item is used the more often it needs cleaning.

No doubt everything that I have mentioned so far makes sense, right?

It can be easy to ignore what’s going on inside as the people around us see the outside. We can look the part on the outside quite easily. We can smile so others think we are happy, we can put on our happy faces to hide the pain that may be going on in our heart. I mean who likes to see someone down and out? We may try so hard to hold it all together so that others don’t know that there is something wrong. I can understand why people do that as it is not easy finding someone to talk to these days and we usually can’t guarantee a favourable response.  I know from my own experience how many times I felt frustrated at the need to just talk without feeling judged. The truth is whenever I have had the privilege of hearing about another person’s struggle it has given me some sort of assurance that I was not the only one going through troubles. Troubles are not limited to socio economic status or titles, whether you are rich or poor, a male or female.

My own experiences have taught me that if someone feels comfortable about opening up to me then I am going to listen. Often time’s people don’t need all the answers they just need to know that someone genuinely cares about what is going on and cares about them as a person.

When we can find someone to share with it helps the healing process. It may be so deep and painful that it requires a professional and that’s ok too.

Everyone in life is going to experience challenges and difficulties which in turn can affect our hearts and attitudes. This means we all need a bit of polishing from time to time. Life can get overwhelming as it is, so when our hearts get too full of unnecessary items then we need to get rid of them otherwise we become overwhelmed with more than we can handle. This will then begin showing up in our relationships and interactions with other people. While we may try hard to smile so that others don’t see our pain it is so much easier to pull off a genuine smile when we off load some things that are weighing us down.

Just this week I had to take one of my boys to the hospital and we were there for five hours and during this time I was watching how clean everything had to be. A cleaner just kept cleaning the whole time we were there. A hospital would need to keep everything extremely clean to prevent the spread of germs and bacteria. Especially in an operating room the hygiene and cleanliness has to be at the highest standard for the sake of the patients and the staff.

When we allow hurts to sit too long they can become toxic and dangerous. We may start lashing out at those closest to us or start doing things we would not normally do as a means of escaping the pain we are feeling.

If the house (heart) is overdue for a massive clean you may have to start in one place first. When you begin and slowly work your way around all of the mess the organisation begins to come back and you can see more clearly. Your perspective improves and becomes more whole and healthy. You may even find that some reorganisation is needed to improve things further!

Reorganisation can involve taking a good look at what you are spending your time on and perhaps letting go of something that is not really beneficial. Perhaps it is a distraction or a means of escape whatever it is, letting go can bring more clarity and focus to where you should be headed.

Sorting things out internally can give you a natural ‘bling’, your smile will shine again, your eyes get their sparkle back and in general your life is at peace inviting joy to come back. The natural ‘bling’ doesn’t cost anything except some time and courage to take a look at sorting things out.

Beauty is so much more than looking good on the outside it is about shining from the inside out.

A sneak peek over the fence

A sneak peek over the fence

There are two areas that I can talk about when I think of taking a sneak peek over the fence. The first is about competing with others and the second thought is about peeking over the fence at what we could do or have, yet not take any steps to head there.

Everyone knows that it is always easier to just observe rather than to do. In fact we can get so caught up in observing what others are doing with their lives that we forget about ours. If we are not careful we can get caught in the trap of competing or comparing ourselves to ‘that someone’ who seems to be doing everything that we could only ever dream of doing. On one hand it can be a motivator providing one with inspiration to get up and start heading in the direction of your dreams.  Then on the other hand there is the danger that we focus too much on what ‘that someone’ is achieving that we can become intimidated and start believing that what we are doing is insignificant and simply not that interesting.

Ah humans we always want what we do not have!

The world is a very large place and yes it can get very competitive if we want to start sprinting against other people. The trouble is that when we get into that mindset it is easy to lose focus on what it is we are good at. No two people are the same just as no two snowflakes are, yet we struggle with the idea of being our own person and developing the skills we have been given.

There have been times when I have been ‘peaking over the fence’ at other people’s achievements and felt completely unsatisfied with my life. The glamour and glitz has a way of drawing attention! In the mundane everyday moment of life there is not all that much to brag about. It requires a lot of hard work to get somewhere. When we observe the glamour and glitz in people’s lives we see their outcome or the result yet do not know how many hours, months or years it took for them to be whom they are today.

There are seasons in life that require us to be patient and do the hard work. It is in the ground that a plant starts to grow roots and I would imagine that in the ground there is not much of an audience. It is dark and isolating. Without roots all our best efforts will fail. We need something to stand on whether that be years of study, experience or just the everyday mundane routine.

What about when we are taking a sneak peek at the life we could have yet are afraid to take steps to get there?

As I mentioned earlier it is easy to observe other people’s achievements.

What about the areas you are good at?

It is always safer to watch others and not take any steps forward as this means less chance of failing. From my personal experience I can confidently say it is not satisfying to live that way. When we bury our gifts and talents it is like burying ourselves. Even IF no one notices what you do you will be more satisfied doing what you do best than just existing.

We don’t really know what our end result will be until we get there so that should not be the main focus. It is great to dream and believe for bigger and better yet it is the everyday that really matters in life. The everyday is what makes us who we are and it helps us to stay grounded.

The majority of my life so far has been galaxies away from glamour and glitz. Does that mean my life has been unsuccessful? I don’t think so. Every experience that I have lived through up to today has given me something to stand on and something to share about.

Each small step that I have taken has led me to something more. It has opened me up to the possibilities that are available as I just keep going, one day at a time.

Had I not started the psychology course three and something years ago I would not be blogging today. Had I not started blogging I would not be practising writing. While I know my writing is far from the skilled abilities of other writers I continue on, as I know that it will give me the foundation for the books that are yet to be written. You see I don’t have a desire to be a famous writer; I have a desire to help people. What I write about is written to touch hearts and lives with messages of hope and inspiration! I have a desire to connect with people so that they can pick themselves up from a dark place and keep going.

Most people don’t have a cheer squad that runs alongside them, so I want to be that cheer squad, the person that says, “You can do it”.

In reality we often struggle to do and be what we are good at so there really is no point in competing with others to try and be them.

If peeking over the fence brings you inspiration that’s great just don’t stay too long peeking and don’t wait decades before you decide to jump that fence to live out your purpose.

 

Don’t waste precious time wishing to be someone else,

 be who you as no one else can be you.