Writing from the Heart

18 02 2011

Why do we blogand who exactly are we blogging for?

Do we write just to get something off our chestor do we write with our perceived audience in mind?

Are we looking to attract a large number of followersor do we just say whatever is on our mind – regardless of whether anyone wants to read what we have to say?

Does it matter if we stick to our original blog ‘theme’or is it an evolving process through which our ‘theme’ develops as our blog unfolds?

 Perhaps I should begin this post by answering some of the above questions with my own thoughts on this subject.

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I began writing this blog as a way of sharing my 50th birthday celebrations with my friends and family in the mistaken belief that they were possibly the only people who would take the time to read my posts.

After all, why would anyone else be interested in the random thoughts of an (almost) 50 year old!

 

As things have worked out, hardly any of my close friends and family have read more than a just few posts (apart from my loyal friend Liz – bless you) and until a few short weeks ago my current readers were strangers to me.

Now of course, they have become my lovely Blogging Buddies and these dear friends have brought so much unexpected joy, laughter and inspiration to the whole blogging experience.

So does this mean that I now write with my new friends in mind? I do try not to do this, but as I write I can’t help but wonder what my new friends will think of this latest post. So yes, in some ways, I suppose I am beginning to write with my ‘audience’ in mind.

I do write to get things off my chest, hence my constant references to my on-going battle of keeping up my blogging commitments and my dilemma over whether to switch to a weekly post instead of a daily one to lessen some of the pressure.

I have resisted this so far as I would feel that I had let myself down after promising to commit to doing this for the entire 365 days (which feels like a lifetime at this present moment in time!)

It wasn’t my original intention to create loads of followers; although I have to confess that I’ve loved watching the visitor stats slowly begin to climb and it was a truly amazing experience to see them shoot through the roof after being ‘Freshly Pressed’ a couple of weeks ago!

It was as a result of the positive feedback I had been receiving, combined with the numbers of visitors that I decided to add a page to my blog called ‘Dancing with Dystonia’ to help raise awareness of this little known and incurable condition that affects so many people throughout the world.

If by doing this, I can help one other person to recognise this condition…or to find the support they need…then this entire blogging process has been worth the commitment.

As for sticking to a ‘theme’, the only constant throughout my posts is my daily ‘reason for celebration’. Otherwise, I have used different formats with – or without – quotations or poems…and I have written about whatever is on my mind at the time.

Ultimately, we have to be true to ourselves and by…

 Writing from the heart…we will reach to the heart.

We have stopped for a moment to encounter each other, to meet, to love, to share. This is a precious moment, but it is transient. It is a little parenthesis in eternity. If we share with caring, lightheartedness, and love, we will create abundance and joy for each other. And then this moment will have been worthwhile.
Deepak Chopra

 

Day 49 – 365 Days of Celebration

Today I am going to celebrate by taking a leaf out of Deepak’s book and enjoy every precious and transient moment.

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We’ll Look After You

11 02 2011

Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.
Leo Buscaglia

Yesterday I received a lovely comment from Marcia (Nuggets and Pearls) in response to my post ’40 Days and 40 Nights’.

She finished her comment with the words, “Hang on in there; we’ll look after you” 😉

Those few simple words really touched my heart.

It had been so long since someone said ‘I will look after you’, and I had forgotten just how powerful those few words can be.

As a free spirited and independent type of person, it is easy to forget just how comforting it is to know that there is someone out there with your best interests at heart…with no motivation other than unconditional love and acceptance. 
As I re-read those words, I could feel all the stress and tension of the past few weeks fade away as I imagined handing over my worries to another to look after whilst I rested awhile. It was such a blissful feeling and the sense of relief was overwhelming.

I have heard the words, “I will look after you” many times in my life. Sadly, they were rarely spoken by someone who genuinely wanted to take care of me, with no conditions attached.

What they really meant was…’I will look after you…and in return you will look after me.’

They weren’t interested in looking after me at all…their true motivation was in the meeting of their own needs.

Now Marcia and I don’t really know each other very well, but her caring comment was a lovely example of how we Blogging Buddies have connected on such a deep and genuine level, in a relatively short space of time.

As I was contemplating the reason why we have been attracted towards each other, I realised that it is because we are all speaking from our hearts. And when we speak from the heart…we reach to the heart.

When I contacted Marcia to say ‘thank you’, I think she was a little surprised that her caring words could have had such a profound affect on me.

Simple words of kindness, or understanding, can break through the toughest of barriers without us ever knowing the affect our words have had on the other. A well intended comment can turn someone’s life around – if it is delivered at just the right moment.

This experience has served to remind me of the power of our words and to be aware of how easily we can hurt and offend others – as well as uplifting them. Our written and spoken words need to be carefully considered before they are expressed.

How often have we wished that we’d taken a deep breath before speaking…or taken a few minutes to reflect on our written words before pressing the ‘send’ button!

‘Sticks and stones can break my bones

But words can make…or break me!’

Day 42 – 365 Days of Celebration

Today I will be celebrating by sharing only uplifting words with everyone I meet and connect with during the course of the day.

http://nuggetsandpearls.wordpress.com/





Make Them Hate You!

7 02 2011

“I will permit no man to narrow and degrade my soul by making me hate him.”

 ~Booker T. Washington

Someone said to me recently…”If you want to hurt someone – make him hate you”.

Rather harsh…but true.

When I look back to the times when I’ve been hurting badly, I was invariably holding onto my hate of the person whom I believed had betrayed my trust in some way.

Yet I was the one – not them – who was suffering as a result of the negative feelings I was harbouring.

No matter how much anger I would project in their direction, they just merrily went about their business, totally unaffected by my hateful thoughts – and oblivious to how I was feeling towards them.

If I had continued to hold onto these hateful thoughts and negative feelings – ultimately it would have been me who paid the price of my resentment

My anger would have festered, causing me stress and angst…possibly resulting in a bout of illness or dis-ease.

Forgiveness is the key in ALL instances…no matter how badly someone may have treated us. I learnt this lesson many years ago and I am now quick to forgive people.

Sometimes I was my own worst enemy by forgiving someone to such an extent that I allowed them back into my life – when I really needed to let them go.

And if no lessons were learnt the first time around – the whole destructive cycle would kick off all over again. 

The first time I allowed this to happen…it was a mistake.

The second time…it was total stupidity

The third time…it was just complete madness

There is a lot to be said for ‘loving someone from a distance’…and this has been a hard lesson for me to learn as it often means saying ‘goodbye’ to people who I still care about in many ways.

But…for their sake…and for mine…it is important to recognise when it is time to break the cycle and to kiss them goodbye…with love.

So from now on – if the transgression is serious enough – it will be one count and they will be out

…after I’ve forgiven them of course!

Day 39 – 365 Days of Celebration

Today I will be celebrating the power of forgiveness – for setting me free.





Conscious Commitment

3 02 2011

“When someone makes a decision, he is really diving into a strong  current that will carry him to places he had never dreamed of when he first made the decision”   Paulo Coelho

After the earlier excitement of discovering that I had been ‘Freshly Pressed’ and exhausting myself from dancing around the room in celebration – I have finally sat down to focus on writing today’s post.

This is a post that may never have got written if I’d listened to my ego and thrown in the towel weeks ago when my little gremlin was sitting on my shoulder shouting –‘enough is enough’.

I decided before Christmas that I was going to write a blog – if I could figure out how to set one up in the first place – believing that I had made a conscious commitment to seeing through this Postaday2011 Challenge.

This was before I realised just what this conscious commitment actually meant in terms of the sacrifices I was going to have to make if I really wanted to succeed in writing and publishing a post every day – for 365 days.

In my naivety, I had thought that once I had understood the technical side of things – it would be a breeze and would only take me an hour or so a day to maintain.

Thankfully I had no idea of what I was letting myself in for and sometimes ignorance really is bliss; otherwise we would never get past the starting post!

Even though I’ve been telling myself for weeks that the price of success was too high and I was no longer prepared to follow this commitment through – somehow I’ve managed to hang on in here.

And the main reason for this – apart from having the support of my wonderful ‘blogging cheerleaders’ – is due to what I am beginning to recognise as  emotional commitment.

 

On one level, I had believed that the conscious commitment I’d made could be broken at any time.

Yet my heart knew differently and had other plans to keep me here. And once my heart had got involved in the story, there was no hope of escaping.

For what the heart really wants – the heart usually gets!

 

I am now beginning to understand that no matter what my conscious mind believes it wants – if my heart is set on a different destination – I may as well say ‘bye bye’ to my little gremlin friend and his constant chatter and open myself up to following the dictates of my heart’s guidance.

I trust that my heart knows – what my mind has yet to grasp – and it will guide me well.

We must be willing to get rid of the life we’ve planned, so as to have the life that is waiting for us.  ~Joseph Campbell

Day 34 – 365 Days of Celebration

Today I intend to celebrate by sending my little gremlin on a well earned holiday and begin listening to the whispers of my heart.

 





Man’s Best Friend

1 02 2011

My Beloved Molly

“A man awoke to find himself dead one day. 

He knew he was dead because his old dog was there to greet him and the dog had died many years ago. 

And like the faithful companion he was, the dog had waited for the man to come.

“The two headed down the trail together which was fair but after a few hours they were getting tired and thirsty. 

And as their need for food and rest and shelter grew to the point where they could not go any further, a golden palace appeared on the horizon.

“They made the effort to go the extra distance though it wore them to the depths of their soul.  And when they reached the gates of the palace, there was a golden man in flowing white robes there to meet them.

“Where are we?” asked the man.

“Why, Heaven of course.” replied the robed figure.  Come on in, we’ve been expecting you. 

 

“But as the man went to enter, the dog stepped back and whimpered for the man to stay.  And the golden figure held out his hand and gently said, ‘I’m sorry.  You can enter.  But dogs are not allowed.’

“Tired and dejected, the man turned to his dog, then to the golden, figure.  ‘Sorry.  But I can’t leave my companion.  I’ll take my chances and see what we can find further along the trail.’

“And as they headed off, they were barely over the next hill when an old farm came in sight.  There was no gate and the farmer was covered in dirt from working the fields.

“’Excuse me please’, said the man.  ‘Would it be possible to get some water for my dog and myself?

“’Of course,’ said the farmer ‘Help yourself at the pump over there.  There should be a bowl for your friend.

“As the man and his dog quenched their thirst and rested, they asked the farmer what this place was.

“’This is Heaven’ replied the farmer matter-of-factly.

“’But there’s a big mansion down the road that says it’s Heaven?’ questioned the man.

“’That place?  That’s Hell.’ answered the farmer.

“’It didn’t seem like much of a Heaven when they wouldn’t let my dog in.’ the man confirmed.

“’Your dog wouldn’t go in even if invited.’ corrected the farmer.  ‘Dogs smell the sulphur and brimstone and won’t enter.’

“’Don’t you mind them using your name?’ questioned the man.

“’No.’ replied the farmer, “In fact, they help us weed out those who would leave their best friend behind.’”

Extract from ‘Shadow’ – by Bob Johnson © 2007

My thanks go to Papa Joe for introducing me to this beautiful story which has touched my heart. 

The full story can be read at http://www.quidmont.com/images/Shadow.doc

The story had originally been shared by Papa Joe with fellow blogger Seashell  in the hope of bringing some her some comfort over her recent loss of a beloved pet. Something that many of us have had to come to terms with at some point in our lives.

I have lost a number of pets over the years – most recently my beloved Yorkshire terrier Molly – who was loved by so

Molly and Me

many. I miss her still.

She was my faithful companion for a very long time and like the man in the story, I would never have left her behind in order to enter the gates of heaven.

The bonds of friendship – animal or human – are very strong and I for one would always chose the love of another over the promise of entry to paradise.

The power of love is so strong it can transcend death.

Shirka, another of my beloved dogs – a beautiful little white Maltese terrier who passed away a number of years ago – remains with me in spirit and I always sense when he jumps on my lap to bring me comfort at the times I need it the most.

Our best friends are never left behind. We carry them in our hearts enveloped in the warmth of our everlasting love.

Day 32 – 365 Days of Celebration

Today I am celebrating by remembering the love and loyalty each of my beloved pets brought into my life. You are still with me and I can feel you close to me now.





Love & Friendship

24 01 2011

“A friend is someone who knows the song in your heart, and can sing it back to you when you have forgotten the words.”

Anonymous

 

I’ve just returned from the airport after dropping off a friend for her flight back to LA. Sadly, my friend’s visit to the UK on this occasion was to say goodbye to her mother, who recently passed away.

My friend and I have known each other for nearly forty years and we have shared some amazing experiences along the way.

Having met up two or three times a year for many years; saying our goodbyes this time around was a very bittersweet experience as we have no idea when we will meet again.

Living in LA for the past 20 years, my friend has spent every vacation returning to the UK to visit her aging parents. Now they are gone, this is her time to go travelling and to have the adventures she has always wanted.

Whilst driving home I got to thinking about the value of friendship and the precious time I’d just spent with people I love. The weekend had been a very special time spent with my LA friend, my daughter and another close friend whom I’ve also known for many years.

It was the first time my two friends had met and it was great fun exchanging our stories. Sharing our experiences brought back many lovely memories…the kind you only build with those who have been part of your life for a long time. My daughter enjoyed hearing all these anecdotes of her mother’s miss-spent youth; particularly as the tales were being told by others’ who know me well…too well perhaps!

Knowing that it could be a long time until I meet with my friend again made me value every minute we spent together over the past couple of days.

 

Sitting here now and reflecting on a very special weekend shared with some of the most treasured people in my life, I realise how important it is to value time spent with our loved ones and to make every minute count.

I said ‘au revior’ to my other friend last night and waved my daughter off on the train to London this morning with the normal expectation of seeing them both of them again very soon.

However, we never really know what life has in store for us and every parting could be for the last time. Whether they are boarding a plane to LA, driving home to their partner, or heading off to their place of work…I want them to leave knowing how special they are and how much I love and care for them.

Sometimes we only get to spend a limited amount of time with those we care deeply about and it is so important to really value this time together. I believe that the greatest gift we can give our loved ones is to be really present with them in the given moment and to focus on enjoying every precious second we have together.

Day 24 – 365 Days of Celebration

Today I celebrate the priceless gift of love and friendship.

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