Doing Without

 

We all want, what we want. That’s all about being human, after all. The narcissists among us take that to the extreme. Instantly we can all think of people that do not settle for not having it all.

How much is enough? Will we find contentment in that sparkly item in the jewelry shop window, the newest vehicle of choice perhaps. Or, can we be happy with a nice warm bed and food in the cupboard.

I can look at my cupboards and say with all authenticity, that there is nothing to eat. That simply isn’t true. I should actually say, there is nothing in my cupboards that I fancy eating. That is the reality. In all honesty, there is probably enough food for several weeks if I want to be creative.

Is it just our perceptions then, that have us believing that we have nothing? I was speaking to my mother in law the other day. Within the chat, she mentioned that she has the flu. I don’t know why I did this, but when I finished the call, I was telling my husband that his mum was feeling poorly. Then I asked him, what he thought homeless people did when they got the flu. It isn’t as though they could go to the medicine cabinet, make up a Neo Citran grab a box of Kleenex and crawl back into bed until they feel better.

There are a multitude of reasons why people become homeless. It could be shear economics, addictions, escapism, self survival, or even just a case of plain giving up.
Ask any small child , what they want to be when they grow up . Usually it’s a doctor lawyer, perhaps a ballet dancer or actress. What you won’t hear is. I want to grow up to be a homeless person,

In every nation across the planet, there are people that are without. Without adequate food, shelter, or health provisions. It is a long day, when you have nothing. You experience the full 24 hours of each day. You can’t just pass time over a fancy Starbucks coffee, or let a few hours drift by caught up in the latest episode of Dateline, or binging of a season of your favourite program on Netflix. There isn’t wifi to entertain you, unless you have a computer.

Yes there are all kinds of programs out there to help people that are less fortunate. That might be a topic for a future post. For today, I challenge you to donate something. Something that you can do without, that could help someone else. Donate a toy that your child has outgrown, the sweater that you rarely wear or some of that food you don’t fancy or perhaps household items that you can’t remember using.

The next time that you are in a store and see a buy one get one free, if you don’t need the second item, and it is non perishable thing, make someone’s day and donate it.

BEING WITHOUT

The day lingers,
Countless seconds trapped within my existence.
Weary
Finding my way among the frightening unknown
Shivers cling to me like a well worn coat.
Invisible solitude.
Endless

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Caution Children Playing

 

When we look at things with childlike wonder, it can be a beautiful moment . Experiencing that amazement and utter joy in the simplicity of life. Children can play with all their heart. Running, jumping, skipping, it doesn’t seem to matter. The children are just being free, exploring their abilities, and learning how to play with one another.

Because children are learning about how to act appropriately with other people, they do get it wrong quite often. They might fight or grab a toy that isn’t theirs. That is forgivable, because they are only little. So as adults, we use that moment as a teaching opportunity. The little one is shown what the right thing to do is, they are told to apologize and we move on with the rest of our day. There might be consequences, a cherished toy taken away for a period of time, or perhaps an early night. At the end of the day though, the situation has passed.

Sometimes the same lesson needs to be repeated almost daily, eventually though we all learn that we must PLAY NICE. Unfortunately, even though everyone has been told the same thing either by their parents, family, school officials, or classmates, not everyone decides to confirm to socially accepted practices.

We still meet the mean ones, or the bullies from time to time even as adults. It is never a pleasant encounter, and you just want to get out of there in one piece. It took a very long time to finally realize that more often than not, the bullies are far more insecure than we give them credit for.

By and large, once we get out of school and become a young adult, we have better coping mechanisms and can stand our ground when we are backed into a corner. We also have a better sense of who we enjoy spending our time with.

The better someone knows us, the more ammunition they have to harm us. They have perfect positioning at the control panel and can push our button whenever the whim strikes. The thing is, because they love us, they don’t do that. They know what it takes, and find other ways to reach us in a kinder fashion.

Buttons can inadvertently be pushed, we still react the same way, simply because that is how we are wired. We have a better sense of forgiveness though, if the trigger was detonated by accident, rather than with malice aforethought.

As adults we clearly know what is right and wrong. It is our own moral compass that dictates which side we find ourselves on.

It might be a pack mentality thing, now that I think about it. When alone, a person might be nice and sweet and caring, yet in a pack they find it quite acceptable to be mean, say hurtful things or bully you into doing something you don’t want to do. This is wrong, in so many ways, that I could lose count.

If someone is truly a friend, then they are a friend in both your thoughts and your actions. Not just someone nice if they are in front of you. As an adult, if you want to play games, join a sports team and play to your hearts content.

Peoples emotions are not something to play with. Serious long term damage can be done to other people when you don’t value people’s emotions.

As Bob Marley once said, ”Everyone is going to hurt you, you just have to find the ones worth suffering for.” I really like that statement. I am blessed to know and love some amazing people that I would be willing to suffer for.

It is one thing to be joyful and childlike playing with toys or rolling in the grass. Then you want the Caution Children Playing signs to protect them, in order for them to savour the moment.

On the other hand, when you have to put up a caution sign because an adult thinks it is cool to act like a jerk and treat people like they don’t matter. Then that my friend is an entirely different matter. You know better.

In conclusion, we all know people that won’t play nice unless everything is their way, and done on their terms. If you are a victim of such behaviour, hold your head high, walk away from the situation, take whatever time you need to restore your sense of a positive self and embrace life.

These bullies are larger than life, because we let them be. Don’t let their poor choices define who you are. Tell a trusted friend, that will not judge you, and allow yourself to heal. The mean ones are not worthy of your kind nature.

 

Emotional GPS

 

We have all kinds of ways to find where we are physically, Maps, street signs, house numbers, and the Cadillac of these aids the mighty GPS. Rockets can be guided to distant planets, that we can’t even see in the sky. We are technically an advanced species.

When it comes to our emotional centre though, we are pretty much on our own. Don’t get me wrong, there are psychologist, social workers, sociologists, psychiatrists therapists etc. All doing good work, in their chosen fields.

What I am getting at, is that physically, there are people that choose not to see a doctor, for too many reasons to list, but we know, if things are bad, we get ourselves to the doctor. If it is urgent we can even be transported by medical personnel with sirens flashing and be taken care of at a local hospital.

Unless I have missed something entirely, I do not ever recall going to my DR. for an emotional wellbeing check up. In my most difficult times, I could have easily received anti depressants. Personally for me, I want to know that I am having a good day, because I am having a good day. I don’t want to question if I am only thinking I am having a good day because of medication. That is just me. Obviously, there are a large amount of people, that prefer,medication, or should I say need it.

Ask most people what they have done lately for their emotional health, and you will likely be met with silence, and that deer in the headlights look. You could literally stop people in their tracks with that question.

Face it, most healthy adults, likely take our body functions for granted. The body just is. I never for example, dwell on if my colon functions well, or if my spleen, is happily doing its thing. The main attention grabbers are, the stomach. It aches when it is not pleased. The head might pound, and old injuries can return at the most inopportune moments. Then again any pain or discomfort is never a welcome intrusion.

We have some clues that the body isn’t happy. They might begin small, and build until we actually can no longer ignore them. So the priority shifts, the situation is dealt with, and the crisis passes.

Our emotional self gives clues as well, but we are so programmed to ignore them. So,much so, that our emotional selves might as well be wrapped up in some sort of magical invisibility cloak. Perhaps that’s why we hear people say, “I felt invisible.”

The down side of mental wellbeing, is that for many, we are self diagnosing. You go through anything traumatic, which we all do at some point. Suddenly there is probably PTSD. Or you do something more than once, and it is an obsessive compulsive disorder. The next thing you know, you find yourself googling your new condition, and you take that on going forward.

Yes I took my physical being for granted probably my whole life. Now I am thinking about such things as spinal waves and fluid movement. Creating physical balance, rather than accepting the life long fact that my balance until now, was never functioning as it should.

In this day and age, so many people are checking out. Mind altering drugs are a global multi billion dollar business. Available almost anywhere. Wether it’s to reach a new high, or to experience the numbness that people search for. Drugs are never going away.

It isn’t just drugs that people turn to, when dealing , or is it running away from, our thoughts and realities, There are all kind of replacements out there. Gambling, drinking, eating, you know, what your own defence strategy is. It might even be a blend of a few things, depending on your mood.

If you aren’t doing any of those things, does that mean you aren’t’ checked out ? Look again, is your escape route, some sort of social media connection, so it is acceptable?
Is your social life, checking Facebook and everything everyone else is doing? is it just a harmless connection, or are you actually losing more than you are gaining?

Are the people around you really less important than the latest status update on a friends Facebook page? We would all probably say of coarse not and mean it. The thing is, what are our actions saying?

My internal lie detector mechanism is set, so that whenever, someone’s words, do not match their actions, it is never the actions that are the lie, it is the words. Are you believing that you are present in the moment, connected to those you love, and yet truly closing yourself off. Only you know that.

So before researching local mental health professionals, or buying the latest books on psychology, first take an inventory of your coping mechanisms. Friends….. check. Long walks …. check….. hot cup of tea or favourite beverage of your choice….. check. Don’t forget to do a mental check in. Look to see if your words and actions are harmonious.

Our best selves thrive in a harmonious balance of mental and physical wellbeing. When we continually separate the mental and physical , it is like saying , my heart is my heart, but my body is my body. Neither functions independently. It is that balance that makes us whole. Together we thrive, apart, we can never find the contentment we all search for.

 

The Holiday Effect

 

As another holiday is upon us, I can’t help but be reminded, of how difficult a time it is for many people. Ask anyone, and you will hear entirely different accounts of why they struggle around holidays from each person.

A common theme, is missing family or friends. Being alone, when everyone else has somewhere to go or someone to be with. I get that, for me, my family lives all over the map. When we get together, rarely, is it over a traditional holiday. It’s logistics more than anything. If you were to ask, we would all, like nothing more ,than spending quality time together. Is it going to happen any time soon? The answer is no. We just make up for it when we do get to be together.

For those of us, looking from the outside in, at all the other people having “fun” I will let you in, on a rarely shared fact. Not everyone will be having a great time. You can feel more alone in a room full of people than when you are actually alone. There is a reason why, when all those happy photos that are posted on line, are being taken, someone is invariably saying SMILE. That is a prompt, because not everyone is feeling like smiling.

If you base how your day should play out, on what everything looks like, you just might be short changing yourself. It’s sometimes an obstacle course to pull off the perfect holiday. I can say the usual, meet with friends, serve at a neighbourhood outreach centre. Find a good movie on Netflix, make a good size bowl of buttery popcorn, and settle in and escape in the telling of the story. More than that though, give yourself permission to feel good.

There are people, that actually prefer to be alone, rather than adding to the difficulty of the day, by surrounding themselves with people. There is no wrong decision, as each is individual.
Holidays might be tough, but are you making it tougher than you need to?

If you will feel better after a good cry, then grab the Kleenex and let the tears flow. It might be good to remember, as you put things in perspective, while wiping the freshly created tear on your cheek,  that someone somewhere, is having their worst day ever, while others are having their very best day, for most of us though, we sit somewhere comfortably in the middle.

NYEPI, The Bali day of silence

 

I have a keen interest in learning about other cultures, and different religions around the world. This weekend, I had the pleasure to get to know a delightful woman that was from Indonesia. She was telling me about the Bali day of silence.

It is a yearly Hindu celebration that is commemorated every Isakawarsa (Saka new year) The date changes yearly. The next NYEPI festival is March 17 2018. On that day, while the Irish will be making merry, celebrating St Patrick’s day, the Balinese people will be spending the day in silence, fasting and meditating. Everyone literally stays home, no one ventures out of their houses, there is no working. Even the only airport is closed. The only exception is for security personnel and emergency services responding to life threatening situations, or for women that are in labour. There is no travel, even beaches are off limits. For the strict followers, there is no TV, radio, computer use, electricity, or food consumed. No speaking, just spending the day in self reflection. It begins at 6:00 AM to 6:00AM the following day.

The fact that the whole island of over 4,000,000 does this, fascinates me. It seems almost impossible these days just to get people to put down their phones. You need only look at the countless cases of texting and driving to see that things have gotten out of hand.

Face it, the only time most of us ,would go an entire day without speaking to our spouses, is if they were out, away, or we were so darn mad at them ,that speaking just stops. Yet here we have a culture that celebrates the silence.

How would you do? I can go without food for a day, TV no big deal. Electricity deprivation would be interesting, but I would miss being able to go outside I think most to have a nice walk or tandem ride. Right now I am listening to music, that would go too. Experiencing the day authentically, would be much harder than one would think.

I would happily try it once. The chance to meditate for an entire day would be rewarding. Experiencing the silence. How about you? Would you make certain to leave town, so that you can avoid the whole thing, or would you adhere to that old saying, when in Rome do as the Romans do? It certainly is a topic for conversation. That is, as long as it is any other day than NYEPI.

 

Cause And Effect

It has been a long time since I turned my thoughts to writing a blog, yet here I am.

I was asking myself this question, Can we alter our reality, no matter how bad that reality is?

It is simple to be overwhelmed by commitments, and issues in our daily lives. We can easily loose track of how many times we hear friends, co workers or even just passing acquaintances say how no one understands, or how what they are going through, is the worse thing ever.

Are we really wanting to compete to find out who has the worse baggage to deal with? Who wants to win that argument? Not me! If someone is literally having the worse time in the world, then you have my sincere sympathy. The last thing I am looking for, is to see how I can top that.

No matter how hard things appear to be in this moment, are we going to hoard all the negativity, so that we can justify how badly we are feeling? That is just too much work for me. What would happen, if we allowed ourselves to put equal effort into being positive? Can we begin feeling better just by deciding that we want a good day?

Most of what we hold onto, that holds us back, are things in our past. Why spend our precious now, reliving what was then. Each moment is as individual as a snowflake, we can fill each moment with as much negativity as we can muster, or choose to let in joy.

Joy might be a stretch for some, if so, accept that maybe a smile is the best you can do for today. Then build from there.

Have you ever had a day that you thought was going well, until it is derailed by someone or something? it was a great day, until ….. we got the phone call that all the computers were down… until that jerk cut me off …. or it was a great day until someone else in a bad mood contaminated my space with their poor attitude..

Take for example, the being cut off scenario. You can either let it take over your thoughts and actions from that moment on, or put it into perspective, be thankful that a collision was avoided, and let it go. Is that incident, likely not more than a few seconds in real time, really going to dominate the other 23 hours and 59 minutes in your day?

In simple terms, we each effect our day by our own choices. When life feels like a tsunami of crap, don’t allow the magnitude of the tsunami to drown you. All storms pass.

Begin each day with an attitude of gratitude. Not just because it is Thanksgiving, but because even in the darkest days, we have things to be grateful for. Friends, family, a pet, or perhaps just being grateful that you made it through another day.

If you find yourself believing that today is going to be a bad day, it likely will be. So try believing that it is a good day, you just might be pleasantly surprised by the results. Wouldn’t that make a lovely change!