Weekly Photo Challenge: Curiosity

16 02 2011

“I always wondered how it would feel to re-connect with my Inner Child!”

Day 47 – 365 Days of Celebration

Today I’m off to find my inner child and invite her out to play – again!





I Used to be Decisive – But Now I’m Not so Sure!

15 02 2011

“Procrastination usually results in sorrowful regret. Today’s duties put off tomorrow give us a double burden to bear; the best way is to do them in their proper time.” ~Ida Scott Taylor

I used to be decisive – but now I’m not so sure!

When I was younger, I was very impulsive. If something fired up my imagination I would just go for it…with no thought of any possible consequences of my actions.

I always had a great time and never regretted any of my decisions. With hindsight, they weren’t always the best decisions…but hey…at least I’d had a ball and learnt a few lessons along the way.

Now I’m rapidly heading towards my big 50, I just can’t seem to make the simplest of decisions without procrastinating for days…or weeks…before finally taking action.

What happened to the girl who always followed her heart wherever it may lead?

Now every choice is examined from every conceivable angle. Pros and cons are weighed up. Friends and family are consulted for their opinion and needless to say, their opinions vary hugely – resulting in more confusion than ever!

The incessant chatter inside my head goes round in circles until I am unable to think straight…let alone make any important decisions.

Eventually I will decide on a course of action – only to start worrying about whether this really was the right decision – before checking to see if there is a ‘get out clause’ in case I change my mind!

All this procrastination is very tiring…and so I usually end up doing nothing and putting off making decisions until tomorrow – always tomorrow – and one day there will be no tomorrow.

What happened to the trusting girl who had such faith in the universe that even if she made a mistake – it didn’t really matter – as she knew that everything would always work out for the best?

As I get older, I worry more about becoming the proverbial ‘bag lady’ – living on the streets if all my ventures fail and I can no longer afford to pay the rent.

This prospect scares me more now than it did in my younger days when all things seemed possible and I felt immortal.

Maybe it is because there is now more time behind me than there is in front of me – and less time for my mistakes to work themselves out…so I try to avoid making mistakes…by avoiding making decisions in the first place!

I recognise this pattern of procrastination in my mother who is the Queen of Worry. I used to listen to her talk herself into something one minute…and talk herself out of it the next. I understand her fear of failure and the frustration of not finding the courage to ‘feel the fear – and do it anyway’.

For many years I was determined not to be like my mother – so frozen with fear and worry that she chose to walk away from so many of life’s wonderful opportunities. I became the explorer of the family-  always chasing after the next exciting adventure.

I am a firm believer than we teach what we most need to learn. And when I started writing this blog at the beginning of the year, I talked about our DASH  (the line between our date of birth and date of passing from this world)…and how we owe it to ourselves to make our DASH count.

I have a neighbour whose mantra is…‘Yeah…whatever’…

ExactlyWhatever…! 

Life is a risky business and whatever our choices…we will all end up at the same destination!

So thank you dear neighbour – for reminding me to stop worrying about the future…to live in the ‘Now’…and focus on making every day a cause of celebration!

Day 46 – 365 Days of Celebration

Today I am going to celebrate by making the decisions I keep putting off and trusting that there is no such thing as a ‘wrong decision’.





I Shall Wear Purple

12 02 2011

When I began writing this blog, I imagined that I would be checking in briefly each day just to say ‘hello’ to my new friends and to post a few short words about what I was planning to do that day in celebration of my 50th birthday year.

My posts were intended to just be a light hearted look at my life and loves…and so I’m still somewhat bemused at how they seem to have evolved into a sharing of my thoughts on life, love and the universe!

I had thought that once I’d got a basic understanding of the mechanics of how to write and publish a post, the rest would be a breeze and my blog would only take a few minutes a day to manage.

Wrong!

Over the past couple of months, I’ve come to love – and resent – my blog…in equal measure.

Much to my surprise, I love having the opportunity to share some of my deepest thoughts and reflections on life. My blog has become very special to me and I treasure it dearly.

However, I also resent the amount of time it takes to look after and nurture it in the way it deserves. Time that I had imagined I would be spending out and about having ‘fun’ and painting the town red every night…not tied to my laptop until 3am every morning!

In an effort to lighten my mood a little this evening, I came across a photo I had taken outside Windsor Castle last year, of a group of fun loving ladies, determined to enjoy every minute living out the words contained in the well known verse below.

The photo and this poem reminded me to lighten up a little and to stop taking myself so seriously. After all, this year is meant to be all about celebration and the more uplifting things in life.

It is lovely to be able to reflect on some of the lessons I’ve learnt along the way…but it is also a time to be having fun and letting my hair down once in a while.

So, thank you lovely ladies of Windsor, for putting a smile on my face and reminding me that we are never too young…or old…to put on our red hats and purple dresses for a day of light hearted fun and laughter!

 

WHEN I AM AN OLD WOMAN I SHALL WEAR PURPLE

With a red hat which doesn’t go, and doesn’t suit me.
And I shall spend my pension on brandy and summer gloves
And satin sandals, and say we’ve no money for butter.
I shall sit down on the pavement when I’m tired
And gobble up samples in shops and press alarm bells
And run my stick along the public railings
And make up for the sobriety of my youth.
I shall go out in my slippers in the rain
And pick the flowers in other people’s gardens
And learn to spit

You can wear terrible shirts and grow more fat
And eat three pounds of sausages at a go
Or only bread and pickle for a week
And hoard pens and pencils and beer mats and things in boxes

But now we must have clothes that keep us dry
And pay our rent and not swear in the street
And set a good example for the children.
We must have friends to dinner and read the papers.

But maybe I ought to practice a little now?
So people who know me are not too shocked and surprised
When suddenly I am old, and start to wear purple.

Jenny Joseph

Day 43 – 365 Days of Celebration

Today I am going to celebrate by inviting my inner child to lead the way by reminding me of how to have fun…just for the sake of it!





Personal Freedom

5 02 2011

Everything can be taken from a man or a woman but one thing: the last of human freedoms to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.

Viktor E.Frankl

We hear a lot of talk about Personal Freedom – but what does this really mean?

In his best selling book, ‘Man’s Search for Meaning’ – based upon his experience of being incarcerated in a Nazi concentration camp during the second world war – Frankl observed that those most likely to survive these inhumane conditions were the ones who could still find some meaning to their lives – in spite of their external circumstances.

During my life, I have often found myself in difficult situations that I would have preferred not to be in!

Being challenged by outside circumstances beyond my control – I learnt that the only ‘control’ I do have – is over my own thoughts and emotions.

Whenever I find myself in such a place, I maintain my sense of Personal Freedom by disengaging from the emotion of the situation and releasing any desire to try and  ‘control’ the outcome.

My definition of Personal Freedom is remembering that I have the Choice – to honour myself and my needs – over and above any external demands being made on me.

And with this Choice comes Personal Responsibility. 

By learning to value myself and to understand that my time is precious – I am choosing to spend more time doing the things I love and to be with the people I care about the most. 

Knowing that I have the power to choose how I view and respond to a situation at any given time makes all the difference in the quality of my life’s experience. 

I can choose to see beyond the immediate drama and recognise the lesson – or opportunity – contained within the situation…

…or I can choose to get involved in the performance and let it affect my sense of self and my enjoyment of the moment. 

Personal Freedom…It’s Our Choice!

Day 36 – 365 Days of Celebration

Today I will be celebrating by choosing do to the things I love – with the people I love to do them with the most!





Riches of the World

2 02 2011

“In the world to come, each one of us will be called to account for all the good things God put on this earth, which we refused to enjoy” – Talmud

Wow…what freedom is contained within this message.

And how lovely to think that if we don’t learn to enjoy…there will be consequences!

What a gift!

It is a powerful reminder for us to take another look at all the things in our lives that we have come to take for granted.

We need to learn to embrace all the goodness in life – instead of merely giving it a cursory glance.

How easy it is to forget that we really are living in paradise as we look around with our eyes half shut at the beauty and abundance that surrounds us.

As I survey my little house, I am reminded of just how much I have in my life compared to that of my parents – and my grandparents before them.

It is so easy to forget that it wasn’t that long ago we didn’t have a television, let alone a colour flat screen TV – with a choice of so many channels. And central heating to keep us warm, instead of having to spend every winter shivering under layers of blankets.

In my life, I have been given so much…and appreciated so little.

From the simple – to the extravagant – we have so much these days…most of it rarely acknowledged – or appreciated. Instead of enjoying what we do have…we focus on what we don’t have…and our lives are poorer as a result.

“The riches of the world surround us – yet we cannot see”Susan Jeffers

As a society we have a habit of focusing on the bad news…and ignoring all that is wonderful about life. If bad news didn’t sell, our daily newspapers would disappear over night. (Hopefully to be replaced with a new breed of ‘good news’ newspapers!)

 And yet it is so easy it is to change our perceptions…and by doing so…to change our experiences – for the better.

Day 33 – 365 Days of Celebration

Today I intend to celebrate by fully opening my eyes and appreciating all the wonderful gifts that surround me.





Blog Baby

31 01 2011

One month into the WordPress PostaDay 2011 challenge…31 Days and approximately 18,000 words later…I’m still going strong!

I had no real idea of what to expect when I signed up for this challenge.

My original intention was to learn how to set up my blog and to post a simple daily celebration message. 

I asked my lovely daughter (who works in web design) to help me set it up and was met with the usual response of; ‘Oh mum…why don’t you just read the instructions on the Word Press site…after all – that is what they are there for!’

Of course she was right – and this is exactly what I did.

I had been hoping that she would have given me a crash course on the subject, lead me through some short cuts and share some trade secrets with me – instead of forcing me to plough through so many complicated instructions (for a technophobe like me anyway!)

With no other choice, I settled down with said instructions and spent a few days learning what I needed to do to set up a basic blog. While everyone else around me was sleeping off the excesses of their New Year’s Eve celebrations; I was writing my first post.

Pressing the ‘publish’ button, I felt like I was pressing the button on a whole new adventure. I was excited…and terrified…in equal measure!

I was now officially a ‘Blogger’ – and part of a whole new world!

Apart from a few loyal friends – bless you all – I had no idea whether anyone would even want to read my posts…let alone feel moved enough to leave me a comment…or subscribe to my blog.

I was amazed to find that within the first few days the blog had an energy and a life of its own. To discover that comments were being left by people from all around the world was such a thrill!

One month on and I’m even more excited to see how this journey is going to unfold over the coming year.

I am determined to succeed in this challenge; even more so now that I realise just how huge an undertaking this is going to be.

The greatest challenge is not the actual writing, as this is a real pleasure and brings me great joy. It is my time management skills – or lack of them – that are proving to be my greatest adversary.

 

While I’m happily sitting at my laptop for hours on end – writing or researching my next post, reading other blogs, clicking through to links for recommended websites, responding to comments, obsessively checking the stats to see if anyone has visited during the previous 10 minutes(!), or exchanging ideas with other bloggers…

…the rest of my life is beginning to fall by the wayside.

Letters and paperwork are growing into large piles; my inbox hasn’t been cleared for weeks; my social life is taking place mainly on line; my ‘to do list’ is growing longer by the day and I’ve not seen my bed before 3am for ages!

I need to get on top of this and put some discipline into this process. I am addicted…and need to do a ‘blog detox’.

Trouble is – my blog has become my ‘blog baby’ and I want to nurture and protect it above all else (or maybe I should just buy a kitten – much lower maintenance!)

What has truly delighted and surprised me has been connecting with so many lovely people from all around the world.

The blogger community is a wonderfully supportive one and whenever one of us has been flagging – or losing momentum – someone always steps up with words of support and encouragement to keep us on track.

I have learnt so much over the past few weeks and my world has opened up overnight. I’ve joined a community of people who really care about each other and it feels so good to be here.

From Classy Rose’s wonderful blogging tips and easy to understand technical know how; Papa Joe’s warmth and gloriously simple words of love and wisdom; Eliz’s daily posts of mirth and motivation; to Piglet’s ‘toilet’ humour and fantastic photos…each of you…and many others who’ve stopped by to say ‘hello’ along the way … have brought so much joy into my life that I don’t know how to thank you.

You have all freely given of yourselves and for whatever you have chosen to share with me, I am truly grateful. Blogging has brought me a wealth of unexpected gifts and I look forward to continuing my journey with you all.

I may well be sitting here in a year’s time with my neglected house falling down around my ears, suffocating under piles of dirty laundry, gazing wistfully at food that has become fossilized and looking in the mirror with waist length hair turned completely white…but if I still have my laptop and my blogging friends to nurture and sustain me…I will know that it will have been a year well spent.

Now that will be a real cause for celebration!

Day 31 – 365 Days of Celebration

Today I am celebrating the gift that is this wonderful blogging community – I am so proud and humbled to have been invited to join you all. Thank you for making me so welcome.





The Rose and The Bees

27 01 2011

A rose longed for the company of the bees, but none would come to her.


Even so, the flower was still capable of dreaming. When she felt all alone, she would imagi­ne a garden filled with bees that came to kiss her.

And so she managed to resist until the next day, when she opened her petals again.

“Aren’t you tired?” Another rose asked her.

No. I have to go on fighting

“Because if I don’t open up, I wither.”  – Paulo Coelho

I love this little story by Paulo Coelho…one of my favourite authors.

As someone who thrives on connecting with others, the story reminded me of the times when the phone has stopped ringing, my email inbox is clear (very rare) and no-one has left a comment on my blog, or on FaceBook!

The ‘bees’ have stopped visiting…and I am bereft without their company.

 

Connection with others’ is my inspiration and my reason for living. This exchange of thoughts and ideas feeds my soul; giving me strength and motivation.

No matter what curve balls life may throw me, I will continue to open up my petals every morning and reach out to connect with another soul. Without this daily contact I would wither like the beautiful rose and my life would lose its meaning.

No man (or woman) is an island – John Donne (1572-1631)

Rare is the person who is so totally at home in their own company that they don’t feel the urge to reach out to connect in a meaningful way with another human being.

Day 27 – 365 Days of Celebration

Today I celebrate all the beautiful bees in my life whose presence fills my garden.