Posted in relationships

Wisdom in the Ordinary

If you were to grab a set of scales and measure how many ordinary days exist compared to the extraordinary what would you find? I have no doubt after spending over four decades on planet earth that the scales measuring the ordinary days would far outweigh some of the extraordinary times of our lives.

Life is jam-packed with ordinary moments. Grocery shopping is but one of them.  A lot of people I talk to express a certain dislike towards shopping, especially for the groceries.  We all have to do it, unless of course you have escaped it with the convenience of online shopping. Grocery shopping is one of the most ordinary weekly tasks we accomplish. Not too much thought is given for this vital and ordinary chore and until recently I hadn’t thought too much of it myself.

If you have been following my blogs in the recent months you would be aware of how much my life has changed. I live in a different state with my nine year old son as a single mum. All of my adult children live approximately 16 hour’s drive away. Given this huge adjustment everything about what my life previously was no longer exists. No longer can I simply hang out with my adult children. No longer can I pop over to my favourite shopping mall to do the groceries. No longer do I go to the same church. No longer do I go out for coffees with my daughter and have laughing fits enough to provide a serious abdomen workout.

A few days ago I saw a t.v. commercial which reminded me of the vegetable and fruit shop I used to go to. The ordinary suddenly held meaning!!!  All of a sudden I was transported to that particular shop in my thoughts and began picturing all the aisles filled with fruit and vegetables. I could picture the checkout that I would stand at to pay for my groceries. I remembered life as a complete family and re lived a moment as I carefully choose all the ingredients to cook a meal for dinner. My attachment to that fruit and vegetable shop is from a time when we were a complete family.

The fruit and vegetable shop is only one example of many ordinary moments that have recently invaded my thoughts. It isn’t easy to let go. Despite all of the hurt that I have been through in my marriage it amazes me how my mind can wander to everything that once was! It is difficult to let go of a family that once lived together sharing special moments. I loved being a mum to my children and I still do.

It seems that regardless of the hurt or pain of the recent past I often remember the ordinary. Little did I know that my usual grocery shopping would not only change location but would be downsized for feeding two? All of the ordinary moments hold extra meaning for me today. Perhaps remembering the previous ordinary moments helps me to adjust to the loss I have experienced providing a moment of connection to my adult children whom I miss a lot.

It seems that the ordinary days are just as important as the extra ordinary. In any given day the common thread connecting Monday to Sunday are people! People hold value, which is why it hurts so much when a relationship breaks down. I don’t think anyone intentionally sets out to ruin a relationship. Unfortunately life happens! People make choices. Those choices have consequences whether good or bad. It is the bad consequences which are very difficult to un~do.

The ordinary days provide opportunities to build trust and connection with the people in our lives. Often people forget or don’t realise there is consequences to what they do in the ordinary moments of a relationship. Consequences have a way of sticking around no matter how much you want them to disappear.

TRUST is a big one!

When a person’s trust has been broken too many times there is no magical super glue to put it back together. If I am in a relationship with someone who continually breaks my trust it won’t matter how desperately I try to trust them again, the consequence is broken trust. There will be reservation on my end. I will not open myself up to the other person completely. A relationship without trust is a disaster waiting to happen. It creates distance.

Relationships need trust, respect, honesty, support, love, care, appreciation, value and forgiveness. In the ordinary moments relationships are built on these qualities. Families fall apart when in the ordinary moments the essential values are neglected.

A healthy relationship or family need more than vegetables and fruit to thrive. Each person in the relationship must provide the qualities needed to keep it thriving. A relationship takes two people. Let’s face it we have more ordinary days than extra ordinary! What we do every day either builds or tears down. When one person in a relationship puts in and receives nothing but emptiness and hurt in return it is only a matter of time before a break up completes the struggle.

Wisdom tells us that since there are more ordinary days than extra ordinary we shouldn’t take them for granted. Ordinary days are the building blocks for the extra ordinary. What we do or say today will matter tomorrow. We need to take the time to consider what we want our tomorrow to look like?

Time is precious and we don’t get another practise run. People should be the focus of our ordinary days. Our relationships and families need to be on top of the list. While we can’t do anything about how others prioritise the most important people in their lives we can choose to do something about our own choices and priorities. Occasionally it can mean losing someone from your life. It’s never easy losing someone yet if there is anything positive that can come from it, is finding out what you do or don’t want in a relationship. In my young days I was broken and hasty! Now that I have lived life a little I’ve finally realised what it is that I do need. What I need is to live a life that doesn’t move away from trust, respect, honesty, support, love, care, appreciation, value and forgiveness.

When you finally figure out what you need then it’s time to hold onto those values tightly. Don’t let them go or be trampled on by anyone. There is nothing more painful than being in a relationship with someone who holds different values.

Choose wisely in the ordinary moments.

Posted in Inspiration

When life puts you [on hold]…

Most people agree that life is satisfying when it flows in sync with everything considered to be important such as; family, relationships, career, health, spirituality and finances. When all these important areas of a person’s life are syncing together it produces momentum. It provides a sense of satisfaction as you experience life moving forward in the direction of your dreams, purpose and values in life.

Every person on planet earth has been granted a set of gifts to use. These gifts are unique and suited perfectly to each individual. Often we can go years not recognising what our purpose in life looks like let alone how it will unfold over time.  We may even get stuck on finding one thing we are good at.  At times we may see a tiny peak into our future yet we can never truly grasp the complete picture.

It usually takes courage to step out into an area we believe is our calling or natural gift. It’s also valuable to remember that gifts need to time to grow. They don’t grow unless we start using them. We may sit waiting and hoping that the gift inside of us will miraculously start sprouting by itself. Everything living needs to be nurtured and looked after. Plants would never grow to their full potential if left unattended. Weeds on the other hand don’t need any attention; weeds have their own ability to grab our attention once they have taken over a garden bed.

Do we want to be a plant or a weed? Plants have more purpose and length of life compared to weeds. Weeds might spread like crazy however they can choke the life out of healthy plants.

Once you finally take the first step into your purpose courage arrives begging you to take more steps. Every step heads you into your purpose allowing for you to grow and learn what it is that makes you who you are.

Along the journey of walking out your purpose there are times in which ‘life puts you on hold’….

Despite our best efforts in living out our purpose occasionally life happens and we are put on hold. It’s as though someone has come along and shot us with an ice gun so we stand frozen while everyone else is moving around you or past you. In this frozen state you are aware of intense restriction. Your mind and heart are filled with purpose and a desire to move on with life however life has happened and has put you on hold.

Life just happens….

Life just happens moments can be anything from financial failure, marriage failure, job loss, sickness, grief, emotional struggles and family problems.

These life just happens moments vary in effect, they can be fairly manageable at times meaning that we don’t experience too much disruption in our daily lives. Then on other occasions they are more severe causing all sorts of disturbance. The trouble with the more severe type of ‘life just happens moments’ we are usually taken by surprise. They are quite unexpected and can hit hard. When you get hit hard getting back up can take some time. For each of us the time it takes varies.

No one likes to be put on hold……… I don’t like being put on hold.

Given the past four months of my journey I have felt frozen and unable to achieve much in terms of my purpose. When I consider that I am almost half way through my psychology studies frustration sets in as I have had to make the choice to put it on hold. It would be too much for me given the current circumstance to continue studying. This does not mean it will be on hold permanently only temporarily.

When life puts you on hold you have several choices as to how you will manage yourself at that time. You need to activate patience. You need to remind yourself that no matter what has happened life will get back into sync. This is not the end of you. In fact it can be a new beginning.

When life puts you on hold you may be itching to get back into what you were previously doing however depending on what has put you on hold determines when you are ready to continue on. While I may feel as though I have gone backwards there are areas in my life that are moving forwards. I am no longer attached to an unhealthy marriage causing me to question every minute of the day. I can live in peace. I am able to walk into my little two bedroom unit feeling safe and comfortable. I may not have everything that I need however I have my family and friends who lift me up when I am down. I have the time to work on my own hurts and heartache ensuring a better future.

Ultimately our careers or dreams so to speak are not as valuable as what happens on the inside of us. Our quality of life, our families and friends rank right up there in importance.

So really what I am saying is that when life puts you on hold it is not necessarily a bad thing!!! It may feel frustrating for a time. It is only temporary. It won’t last forever. When you are released back into the world you will be a stronger and focused person once again.  You will know what it is to experience hardship and you will be of much value in your community. You never know who needs to hear your story!

Life can hurt so I’m keeping it real….

Posted in Uncategorized

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.

Posted in Uncategorized

Authentic You

To be authentic means to be an original rather than a copy of someone else. In a world bombarded with subtle and unattainable messages of what it takes to be accepted it can become all too easy to fall into the trap of wanting to be someone else. As a young person many decades ago I was striving hard to be noticed which meant that it was of utmost necessity to be seen wearing the latest trends in clothing, especially the correct style of Jeans! I can remember as though it was yesterday the intense desperation I felt to get my hands on a particular pair of branded jeans. Back then the branded jeans were very pricey $$$ as they are today, and the fact that the jeans were from a particular store made them very popular. I remember the moment and how I felt when I got home and put those jeans on, it was so cool and I was very excited to join all the other teenagers who were wearing these trendy jeans.

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The excitement was short lived once I decided that I didn’t look as good in those jeans as others did, my bum was too flat! All of a sudden I was so focused on the issue of body shape that I began to dislike these expensive jeans. Every time I put them on I was thinking about how ugly I looked in them. Somehow I had convinced myself that if I didn’t have the right shaped body then I was a reject and would not be as cool as all the other girls who were perfectly proportioned. The desire to have the right clothing and the body to go with it felt like a never ending marathon.

If it wasn’t clothing or body shape that spoiled my week then it was my hair! The teenage girl magazines to this day feature photos of young girls with amazing hair do’s. I would look through these types of magazines and imagine how I could get my hair to look as good. Occasionally I would pick a photo and take it to a hairdresser asking them for the same hairstyle that the model in the picture had. Each time I left the hairdressers feeling disappointed as it was apparent that the look that I saw in the magazine was completely different to the look that I saw in my bedroom mirror. If it wasn’t the 80’s spiral perm that failed me it was the flicky thing we did with our hair back in the day.

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One side of my hair flicked back perfectly while the other side was always temperamental and did everything BUT flick back. The obsession to fitting in and being accepted ruled my life and I would say that my struggle with ‘low self-esteem’ was of no help either.

When I think back to those younger days and my desperation of acceptance one can only imagine how much harder that would be in the current climate we live in. For this reason I am writing this particular blog in the hopes that I can remind individuals younger and older that we only need to be ourselves. To be someone we are not means that we can lose sight of who we are supposed to be. Changing to be like someone else is not limited to clothing or looks, this need to be like someone else can move into the area of our behaviour.

Individuals can end up so desperate for acceptance that they may even go so far as disowning their own values and begin behaving unlike themselves, believing they will be more accepted or popular. This only highlights the great need that humans have of being accepted.

Personally I believe that if acceptance requires you to throw out your true values then something is wrong, whether it is with a group of people or the acceptance of that one person.  Ultimately it is really difficult to continue living a certain way when you know deep down it isn’t really you.  Everyone needs to feel that they belong. If belonging to a group means you have to change who you are and all that you value it is worth looking at finding another group.

Guard your values and your own unique sense of self, whether that be your own personal style of dress or interesting personality. Anyone worth having in your life will accept you as YOU! Imagine a world in which young people or older felt comfortable and content in being authentic.

If we get distracted and focused on becoming someone else we tend to forget what we are good at and our own unique purpose in life. I can remember times in which I would be too consumed with the idea of who I wasn’t that it stopped me from trying anything. It was as though someone had come along and pushed the pause button on my life and everything just stood still with nowhere to go.

When I was at my worst with low self-esteem I used to think that it was only me suffering as it appeared everyone else was doing just fine! You would be surprised how many struggle with not feeling good enough or matching up to the other person we seem to fixate too. Of all the blogs that I have written so far since December 2015 the most views have been on the topic of ‘low self-esteem’. That tells me that there are many people around the globe who are feeling frustrated with themselves.

When you decide to live as the person you truly are in other words be ‘authentic’, it may mean that some people will not want to hang around anymore. I decided some time ago that I was not going to keep forcing relationships with people if it meant that I had to change who I was or the values I held. That can be difficult for someone who has felt rejection throughout their lifetime afterall who wants to feel left out. These are the choices we face to live authentic. Not everyone is going to applaud you when you live by your convictions and decide to do things differently to the rest of the crowd.

My own conviction is that as long as my heavenly father (God) is pleased with me then that is great. After all he made me in the first place and knows better than anyone what I was designed for and where I fit in the best.

All that we need to do is put our best efforts into what we are good at and the rest will work itself out along the way. Every person’s life is different including their purpose; while yours may look different it doesn’t mean there is no value in that. While there is an endless sea of people all around the globe I can guarantee that there is something unique about you. Start thinking about what that could be and then put that uniqueness to good use and you will find yourself getting more satisfied at being who you were made to be rather than wasting your precious energy on being someone you are not.

What is unique about you?