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Staying grounded

Life itself can sweep us off our feet catapulting us into ‘cloud nine’ or send us hurling into the mud.  Often you hear people say, “I feel so happy I’m on cloud nine”. Cloud nine in this context represents an experience which puts you into your own private bubble floating above all of life’s troubles.  Perhaps an open door to fulfilling your dreams has sent you into this ‘cloud nine’ experience. It could be a long awaited financial break or win! The bubble could represent a new relationship with someone special. It could also represent the excitement of walking into your own new home. No matter what has sent you floating into ‘cloud nine’, most people agree that these moments are filled with excitement and joy.

Who would ever wish to leave the ‘cloud nine’ bubble of floating fun and excitement? No one in their right mind would try and escape these wonderful moments in life yet without our consent we often experience times in which it’s as though we have been hurled into the depths of mud.  That’s when you experience the opposite of floating on ‘cloud nine’ from happy emotions to angry, sad, and hurt and so on.   I’ve only ever felt my feet stuck in mud but haven’t actually gone beyond my feet. I’ve seen movies in which people are sinking into quick sand struggling hard only to often disappear. When cars get stuck in mud a huge rescue effort is put in place as the tyres just spin along with the mud unable to grip onto anything solid. Then the hole gets deeper and the car becomes completely stuck! Often in these situations people put something solid underneath the tyres providing the grip that’s necessary to get out of the mud.

What’s the ground got to do with it? The ground represents stability. The ground is there when you wake up in the morning and when you go to bed at night. The ground is there no matter your mood! You can count on the ground to be there when you step out of a car or out of your front door of the house. Imagine for a moment if we stepped out onto nothingness…. I don’t like the idea of free falling. There is no way you would ever get me jumping out of plane even with a parachute. The point is that the ground is there full stop!

With the two extreme life experiences of ‘cloud nine’ and mud which happen to everyone I present you with two thoughts.

Why do we need to stay grounded in a ‘cloud nine’ experience? And what do I mean when I say staying grounded in the mud?

Each of these life experiences represents the extremes of life. Cloud nine is at the top end of positive and muddy messes sit at the bottom end in the negative zone.

While the cloud nine experiences are amazing we know deep down that they don’t last forever. We should certainly enjoy those moments cherishing every minute yet we can remain grounded even while floating. Remaining grounded happens on the inside. Remembering that our identity is not within that bubble as eventually that bubble will pop. If we attach our identity to those bubble moments we will pop too! It can be tempting to start believing you are better than everyone else when you are floating in a bubble since everything is going so well. It’s a time to remember not to get prideful or insincere when others are not in their bubble. It’s about appreciating those moments while remaining the person you are without it getting to your head. Stay grounded in the bubble not allowing the amazing moment to prop yourself up becoming unreachable to others.

The opposite lurks in the mud moments of life. This is when our identity can come under attack. Mud is messy and very hard to clean. Mud covers and buries. It is strong enough to keep heavy cars stuck for hours. It’s in the muddy moments that we can begin to question ourselves. We may start to believe the worst. That perhaps we deserved to be in the mud. We may feel like we will never get out of the mud that it will bury us alive. Perhaps we feel helpless and useless. If it’s not bad enough to be stuck in mud there are times in which people may start throwing mud at you. Again that is a time to remain grounded on the inside and remembering who you are. It’s always easy for others to assume who they think you are. The trouble is people’s opinions of you can change in any given moment. To rely on people’s opinions is dangerous. You need to know who you are for yourself.

After all no one knows you like you do!

Bubbles pop and mud sticks! Who you are on the inside is what will get you through every situation in life. Your values, your character, your integrity, your motives, your beliefs is what makes you, YOU!

Your values, character, integrity, motives and beliefs are with you when you go to bed at night and when you get up in the morning. Just like the ground you walk on which remains the same and is always there, so it is with who you are as a person.

Keeping grounded in all of life’s extremes helps you to remain balanced. Keeps your perspectives in check! Who you are on the inside will always outshine those bubbles as wonderful as they are and give you the strength to overcome the mud we can find ourselves fighting against.

 

Remain true to yourself and most of all stay grounded.

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The outfits we wear speak volumes…

An item of clothing bought decades ago does not always qualify for the fashion of the current day. Equally relevant is the fact that what I was able to wear as a teenager decades ago does not work for me anymore. If I were to attempt to wear a short skirt I can guarantee that it would look ridiculous and out of place. As much as I would love to fit into today’s teenage fashions the reality is it just isn’t going to happen! Yes, sad I know….

Fashion changes from one year to the next, which is similar to our lives. We go from one season to another. Each season presents us with new challenges and opportunities for growth. Besides the obvious physical changes our bodies go through we also change as a person. We mature and develop emotionally and are better equipped to handle life’s responsibilities.

You will find that in my blogs I refer a lot to my teenage years. The reason being is that my teenage years were filled with so many struggles. I remember as if it were yesterday the utter frustration that I felt on most days! Most of the frustration I had revolved around my identity. My best efforts at feeling good about myself always failed before they got started. At the time I had no idea what was going on nor did I have any answers for how to navigate the season more productively.

Going back to the topic of revolving fashion there was a certain fashion that never seemed to out date itself in my life. Let’s just call this piece of fashion my negative outfit. There could of been a better choice of outfit however,  I chose  the negative outfit each day as it almost called to me.

The topic of outfits or suits puts images in my mind of super heroes.  One of my all-time super heroes when I was young was ‘wonder woman’; her outfit represented the power to save the world, she was confident and was not focused on herself.  The outfit I put on every day was the complete opposite it represented a person who was afraid to be themselves and preferred to hide.

Perhaps the only common feature between my outfit and wonder woman’s outfit was that they were indestructible!  My negative outfit was day and night wear at its best. The comfort of that outfit resembled the comfort one feels in their most favourite pair of jeans. Not only was I comfortable in the negative outfit it provided me with the idea of safety, the safety of not being hurt again.

The truth was that the outfit was quite destructive it had the power to put me in a foul mood very quickly. It also kept me trapped as my world was so small inside that suit.  In other words between me and the world the negative outfit was my protection.  In the event that a possible threat could present itself then my negative outfit was suitable for keeping enemies away.  A threat for me was anyone or any situation that had the potential to bring out my insecurities to touch those raw areas that hurt like hell when someone came too close to them.

The outfit represented the person I was; it had almost become my identity.

In high school I found myself confused and  consistently questioned myself  as to why it seemed so difficult to connect with others. Wearing that outfit kept me hidden. People didn’t really see me they saw only what I was living in.  So rather than  seeing the real me others  saw the outfit of negativity.

What does negativity look like?

The first most obvious thought here would be that being negative is the opposite of being positive. To be more specific I looked it up in the Merriam Webster Dictionary which gives the simple definition as:

  1. Harmful or bad; not wanted
  2. Thinking about the bad qualities of someone or something; thinking that a bad result will happen; not hopeful or optimistic
  3. Expressing dislike or disapproval

When I had a look at the full definition of the word negative the main one that described me or my outfit perfectly was this:

Marked by features of hostility, withdrawal, or pessimism that hinder or oppose constructive treatment or development.

While I was never someone that got into fights at school I was always on guard just in case someone had the intention of being nasty. The only exception  for the guards to come down would be for those I knew well. My approach was quite distant and defensive.  In the back of my mind I would analyse the other person’s true intentions and purpose. Almost waiting for the moment when they were going to come out with what they really wanted to say. And of course that would be something negative!

Being a positive person was definitely not natural for me. As I started dealing with my internal hurts my choices of outfits started to change. This change took place over several years and I am still on a journey.

While I would like to say that I am never negative the truth is that occasionally when life gets tough I go looking for that negative outfit and put it back on for a while. The difference between now and the past is that in the past I wore the outfit every single day for years. Today I may put it on for a short while only to realise that it is no longer comfortable to wear. There is no joy wearing that outfit. I recognise that when I wear the negative outfit it always puts the brakes on in my life. My world becomes all about me again and that is when life has no purpose.

It still requires effort from me to be positive. I have to work at it regularly as it has never been a strength of mine. In the past it would have been almost impossible to find something positive in bad situations yet these days it never takes me long to see the good among’st the bad.

As I have journeyed along in life and allowed for my inner hurts to be healed or have chosen to let go of what I can’t control the choices of outfits in my wardrobe have considerably increased and improved, you could say they are more fashionable!

Even with more options of outfits I am aware that they do not define me. It is about who I am on the inside. The more comfortable I am about myself the less I rely on anything external.

Today it doesn’t matter so much what I wear as I am content in who I am and the clothes don’t make me!

 

What is your favourite outfit?