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.





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!





A Trailer Trash Life

13 02 2011

When I first set my intention to attract the opportunity to live in my dream home by the river, I had no idea that this would include living in what my Dad lovingly refers to as my ‘Caravan-on-Thames’!

The correct term to describe my humble abode is ‘residential park home’. It is often described as a ‘mobile home’ – or in the case of a local reporter – a ‘90210 Winnebago’!  

My friends all thought I was crazy to want to take on a property that required so much work to make habitable again. They wanted to know what had possessed me to join a ‘trailer trash’ community, when I could have chosen to live in ‘civilisation’!

Dining Area - Before

Dining Area – After

‘Trailer Trash’ was a term that I was unfamiliar with and I don’t think it has quite the same connotations here in the UK that it does in the US, where I understand it is a term used to describe a stereotype of poor people (especially in the Midwestern United States) who live in trailer-homes.

My neighbours are mainly hard working folks, or happily living out their retirement in a peaceful environment. There are couples and single people – young and old. It is a lovely mix of different people with a multitude of backgrounds.

In fairness to my friends comments; the term ‘trailer trash’ may have been accurate at one time as the place had seen its share of unemployed layabouts, drug addicts, drunks and wife beaters – but at the first sign of any problems – Paddy (my landlord) and his henchmen ensured that the trouble makers were unceremoniously thrown back out on the streets.

Even so, my friends were unable to see past the fact that I had just agreed to take on a wreck of a ‘caravan’, on a  site owned by the infamous Paddy – a beer swilling, fist wielding, Irish traveller ‘made good’ – who ruled the place according to ‘Paddy’s Law’.

Irish gypsies live within their own culture and live by their own rules – so I had to suppress a giggle when Paddy said, “I want to make this place more up-market and I’m looking to attract more quality tenants like your good self. If I wanted to, I could just fill the site with travellers who would lower the tone of the place!”

Rich – coming from one of their own!

Having spent a good few hours negotiating a deal on the rent based upon the work I agreed to carry out, we sealed the deal – with a good old fashioned handshake – preceded by Paddy having spat on his hand to show that the deal was unbreakable!

Paddy is a multi-millionaire land and property owner who could afford to live anywhere in the world. But once a gypsy…always a gypsy…and he prefers to live in his own mobile home situated next to the security gate…rather than live on the river front…so he can spend his time policing the comings and goings on his property.

 

The site consists of 38 units and is run by a couple in their 80’s who have been working for Paddy for years. Gordon is a dear soul who will do anything for an easy life. Whereas his wife Jessie, is a real fireball and shoots from the hip, bawling you out before you’ve even opened your mouth. Her bark is worse than her bite although she is a terrible gossip.

If she’s not yelling at you…or disclosing details that someone had shared with her in ‘confidence’ …she is quite a character with loads of interesting stories to tell. You just have to learn to listen without telling her more than she needs to know!

Once you understand the rules and agree to honour these, it is a great place to live, within a caring and supportive community. I love my little home, painstakingly created after months of hard graft and numerous setbacks along the way.

Now the work is complete I have the pleasure of enjoying the fruits of my labour and every day I give thanks for finding the courage to follow my gut feeling that this was going to be a good place for me to live, despite initial signs to the contrary.

My home is situated on the curve of the river with water views in both directions.

I knocked down a wall to open up the vista and now have an open plan living space with a separate bedroom and bathroom – all condensed into a lovingly crafted 36 sq metres.

My friends had to eat their doubting words when they returned to visit last summer.

Driving through the site, past tiny gardens vibrant with colour and lovingly tended by the residents, they all agreed that the place had a ‘holiday feeling’ about it. I am just so lucky to live somewhere that feels like being on holiday every day!

When I lie in my bed watching the sun breaking through the early morning mist over the river and listen to the birds greeting the new day by calling out ‘good morning’ to each other, I couldn’t be further removed from living a ‘trailer trash life’!

Day 44 – 365 Days of Celebration

Today I am going to celebrate successfully completing my mission to make ‘Trailer Trash – Trendy!’





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!





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/





Reason, Season, or Lifetime

10 02 2011

This poem is dedicated to all my Blogging Buddies.

I look forward to enjoying our friendship…for however long we chose to share our journey together.

It is great to have you on board!

People come into your life for a reason, a season or a lifetime.
When you figure out which one it is,
you will know what to do for each person.

When someone is in your life for a REASON,
it is usually to meet a need you have expressed.
They have come to assist you through a difficulty;
to provide you with guidance and support;
to aid you physically, emotionally or spiritually.
They may seem like a godsend, and they are.
They are there for the reason you need them to be.

Then, without any wrongdoing on your part or at an inconvenient time,
this person will say or do something to bring the relationship to an end.
Sometimes they die. Sometimes they walk away.
Sometimes they act up and force you to take a stand.
What we must realize is that our need has been met, our desire fulfilled; their work is done.
The prayer you sent up has been answered and now it is time to move on.

Some people come into your life for a SEASON,
because your turn has come to share, grow or learn.
They bring you an experience of peace or make you laugh.
They may teach you something you have never done.
They usually give you an unbelievable amount of joy.
Believe it. It is real. But only for a season.

LIFETIME relationships teach you lifetime lessons;
things you must build upon in order to have a solid emotional foundation.
Your job is to accept the lesson, love the person,
and put what you have learned to use in all other relationships and areas of your life.
It is said that love is blind but friendship is clairvoyant.

— Unknown

 

Day 41 – 365 Days of Celebration

Today I celebrate the priceless gift of friendship and give thanks for all the love and joy my friends have brought into my life. Thank you all.





40 Days and 40 Nights

9 02 2011

It’s been 40 Days…and 40 (Very Long) Nights!…

 

…since I began writing this blog – and I thought this would be a good moment to stop and reflect on my journey thus far.

Now feels like the right time to take a look at some of the lessons I’ve learnt; insights I’ve shared; pay tribute to the friendships I’ve made and to recognise the highlights of the of the past couple of months.

I’ve learnt that it is okay to ‘stand up and stand out’. To be myself and let others decide whether they want to hear what I have to say.

I’ve learnt that is okay to no longer hide behind other’s opinions and views of the world – and that my opinion also counts.

I’ve learnt to reconnect with myself and my own world – and I am beginning to understand myself better than I have ever done before.

I’ve learnt that it is possible to be heard in a noisy, overcrowded world and that by remaining true to myself, others will stop and linger awhile – to connect and sometimes leave a comment – before moving on to share their thoughts with others on the same path.

I’ve learnt that I can be totally focused and that I’m more resilient than I realised.

I’ve learnt that if I want something badly enough…and it is the right thing for me to do…heaven and earth…will move to ensure that I am heading in the right direction.

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Last week I was at the point of throwing in the towel when my post – Blog Baby – was Freshly Pressed. This amazing recognition of my writing and the excitement of seeing my ‘views’ shoot through the roof…helped to renew my enthusiasm and gave me the boost I needed to keep going.

Another highlight was participating in a TV programme for ITV called ‘May the Best House Win’ which was broadcast last month. It was quite an eye opener to see myself in this way and what I saw…was not what I see when I look in the mirror!

Plans for my new business, Naked Dragon, are coming together slowly and beautifully. I believe that I was being asked…for some as yet unknown reason…to slow down; let things take their own course and to give the business the space it needed to come together in its own good time.

Going ‘public’ with my Dystonia was a huge leap of faith. Talking about my condition between friends and family is totally different to actually ‘putting it out there’ and I almost changed my mind a dozen times before I decided to ‘face the fear…and do it anyway’ by pressing the ‘Publish’ button!

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The Greatest Gift…and one that was totally unexpected when I began this journey…are the friendships that I have made through this wonderful blogging community. You all know who you are and I know that I am very blessed to have attracted you into my life …for however long we choose to walk this road together.

“People come into your life for a reason, a season or a lifetime” Author Unknown

(I will publish this poem – a favourite of mine – in tomorrow’s post)

 Day 40 (and 40 Nights!) – 365 Days of Celebration

Today I am going to celebrate by scheduling the above poem for my next post and take some time out to step back and enjoy the achievement of making it to this significant milestone.