Tag Archives: acceptance

Nothing but the truth

I would have laughed if someone told me circumstances in my life this year would present challenges beyond my wildest dreams . Boring old predictable Jenna. Ever-reliable Jenna. Unruffled Jenna. My life felt settled, but I guess Jon Shedd’s words became popular for good reason. Ships in the harbor are safe but that’s not what ships are built for. The only problem was I didn’t know I was boarding the ship.

Fast forward twelve months and I feel like I’ve gone through the wringer multiple times. I’ve faced my soul. I’ve looked it in the eye and didn’t like everything I saw.

There is no coming to consciousness without pain. People will do anything, no matter how absurd, in order to avoid facing their own soul. One does not become enlightened by imagining figures of light, but by making the darkness conscious.
~  C.G. Jung

Teetering around the edges of my comfort zone isn’t new for me but this year I catapulted so far away I landed in uncharted waters without a life vest. Extraordinary family stresses as well as emotional and physical breakdowns relentlessly roared in my face. I sought counselling and tried medication to help tame the ugly beast but in the end discovered it’s up to me to find a way to progress. I’ve made mistakes and said things I regret. I’ve seen things I didn’t want to see and swallowed unpleasant truths. For the first time I’ve opened my eyes and looked the beast square in the eyes. For the first time in my life I’ve faced the truth warts and all. It doesn’t sit well but it feels authentic. For the first time I’m telling the whole truth.

I’m pretty tired I think I’ll go home now ~ Forrest Gump

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Life goes on

Time marches on relentlessly, can you believe it is mid May already? This post focuses on the ups and downs of everyday life and celebrates my acceptance of letting life flow as it pleases.

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Six weeks have passed since Game Over when I walked away from my city job feeling humiliated but very relieved to be out of the unfriendly environment. After that brief encounter everything at home seemed more appealing and I welcomed its comforting embrace.

How proud we were to attend the ceremony to see our youngest daughter graduate from University and receive the revered Vice-Chancellor’s award for her contribution to University life. Peter and I are in awe of the positive influence our daughter has on others, she is mesmerizing and a motivator to all. As Laura walked on to the stage to receive her awards I thought my heart would burst with joy.

One day I suddenly decided to track down my old school friend Libby through Facebook. We hadn’t seen each other for 30 years and met up to catch up on all the news on our lives. There is something special about old friends, they remember and see you as a younger person. The best mirror is an old friend.

Four weeks after the city office saga a former colleague invited me to return to work at the suburban campus for one day a week with further hours working from home. This offer suited me perfectly and I eagerly accepted. So for now I have the best of both worlds.

Every year I look forward to Mothers Day and cherish our family celebrations but this year was extra special when all three of my adult children joined Peter and I for a lovely homemade dinner.  My children each gave me a card and wrote personal and heartfelt   messages that I will treasure forever. These are the words people often say at funerals when it is too late for the person to hear. I’m so proud of the loving and sensitive nature my children exude. Being a mother is the most rewarding experience imaginable.

My poor old Dad had a setback recently. He stumbled and fell over while visiting my mother’s grave to lay red roses to honor her birthday . We later learned he had a heart attack, which restricted blood flow to his leg causing it to give way underneath him. He had surgery to dislodge the clot and his progress has been slow because he has lost strength in the leg. Next he is off to a rehabilitation hospital to help try to reinstate his independence. My Dad is old and tired and it breaks my heart to see him struggling to walk.

Peter and I have been talking about life being short and making the most of every day and have decided to return to Europe in September this year to discover more of Germany, France, Austria and Switzerland. Just like last time I’m a little tentative to leave my dog, my family and my home for seven weeks but I know how lucky I am to have the chance to see more of the world and grow with new experiences.

 

 

 

In a good place

It’s been a while since I’ve written a personal blog post but now feels like the right time to share. I’m not the same person I was two years ago and continue to evolve every day. It is only now when I read my earlier blog posts that I fully comprehend the extent of the insecurity I lived with.

I thought changing my thoughts and attitudes would be easy as long as I was determined to change. I was wrong. Transformation is a slow process making it difficult to know change is taking place. For every step forward there are many backward and sidewards steps that sometimes become unexpected benefits and sometimes they are just setbacks. Some days I felt confused and wished I’d never rocked the boat. I thought I was losing my identity which it turns out was exactly what I was trying to do. For me the glass was always half empty and I’d convinced myself that was all it could ever be.

When I decided to change I wanted to generate a new mindset so I started reading daily blogs and Facebook inspirational pages about happiness, gratitude, positivity and peace. At first they seemed fanciful but I kept on reading them like using flashcards to teach children to read, hoping they would infiltrate my way of thinking. Every day I’d try to incorporate the tone of the messages into my life. At first it felt unnatural but I persisted until the words started making more sense and gradually made way for positive change within.

Any type of life change is difficult. Life is not a fairy tale with everything resolving at the end leaving everyone to live happily ever after. Life is interesting and complicated  with a random mix of joys, obstacles and challenges. I’ve learned that it’s not what happens but how we react and deal with life that makes us who we are. Now I see opportunities where I once saw challenges. Instead of feeling hurt or intimidated by people who are rude and disrespectful I now pity them. I’ve learned to be honest with myself and live happily in my own skin. I trust my heart will guide me.

Anyone determined to make changes to their life should accept it is not easy but understand we are all capable of far more than we imagine.

you-have-to-be-your-own-hero2Whether you think you can or you can’t, you’re right. ~ Henry Ford

The mind is everything. What you think you become ~ Buddha

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Enjoy the little things

Not yet old but way past young I’m staring another birthday in the face still wondering where I fit in to this crazy world. Life is a mystery I’m unraveling as I go. In my heart I’m still a little girl looking for acceptance.

Memories of defining moments dotted throughout my life randomly flash through my mind at the oddest times.  I never want to forget these memories because they make me who I am, for better or worse.

In this snowballing culture of greed and excess I strive to live my life simply and with compassion. Sometimes I satisfy my own expectations but other times I let myself down.  That’s okay, I’ll keep trying. Every day brings another chance to try again.

I live a comfortable life and want for nothing. Possessions are nice to have but they are just things. The love of my husband, my three children and my little dog mean more to me than anything else in the world. These people give me purpose and make my life worthwhile. They make me laugh, love, hurt and swell with pride.  They make me feel.

My wish is for people to take time to enjoy the little things that make them smile. A smile brightens everyone’s day.  I’ve chosen some picture quotes reflecting  messages I’d like to share with you on my birthday 26 June 2014.

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cm246thumb-enjoy-the-little-thingsHappiness-chinese-proverb

 

 

Eternal love

The creaking sound of her rickety rattan chair comforts Nina as she sinks down into the seat. Every afternoon she enjoys sitting and admiring her garden.

Familiar sounds echo as she breathes in the earthy pleasures of rich soil and damp leaves. A cool breeze blows gently on her skin. Sitting and watching she feels alive, in harmony with nature.

Nina’s garden is her haven, a place of renewal where she nourishes her soul. Silently she thanks each plant and ornament for bringing her joy,  they are valued members of her extended family.

Nina lives alone in a modest old timber house. A wooden nameplate bearing the name Akiko,meaning Iris; light and bright, hangs at the cottage entrance.

Her life is quiet and sometimes lonely. Most days she gardens and preens her tiny house. She does this for her own satisfaction and because she is grateful for everything she has.

As she sits looking at the garden her gaze is drawn to her flourishing Suma bush. She involuntarily gasps at its radiance. An affectionate loving smile spreads across her face. This plant tells her story.

As a young woman Nina spent her lunch breaks in the tranquil Jenku Gardens. This peaceful daily experience inspired her to create her own garden. She knew little about gardening but was eager to learn.

Nina planted a Suma bush near her front entrance so she could admire its soft beauty and smell its subtle fragrance each time she came in and out of her house.

Despite meticulous care and constant love her Suma failed to thrive. The foliage thinned and the vibrant green leaves faded to an insipid yellow.

Nina felt a deep sense of failure and loss. It broke her heart to see her Suma in such a bad state. Reluctantly she moved the plant to the back garden.

Weeks later she noticed new green shoots sprouting on the Suma’s spindly stem. Nina’s heart filled with thanks knowing her plant was showing signs of regeneration.

It dawned on her that this species survives better in the shade. She realised her Suma could not flourish where she’d wanted it to grow no matter how much care she lavished on the plant.

This lesson taught her to respect the inherent needs of each species. Over years her garden grew and matured into a place of natural beauty with thriving plant and bird life coexisting within her garden sanctuary.

Drawing her attention back to today a Pipi bird swoops under the Suma plant searching for food in the rich soil. Nina smiles and thanks every element of nature for keeping her company her whole life.

She feels tired and closes her eyes letting her head nod forward. She feels like she is floating.

“Nina?”

Nina hears her mother’s voice. She must be dreaming. Such a lovely sweet sound.

“Mum?”

Their arms instinctively embrace in a warm hug. Neither wanting to let go.

Nina’s tears flow freely as she recalls all the times she’d felt lonely and longed to talk things over with her mother.

“Take my hand Nina, it’s your time to rest with me.”

Months after her death Nina’s family sold Akiko cottage for a high price to a land developer. It took less than a day to bulldoze the house and garden leaving an empty block prime for multi story town houses.

Nina’s granddaughter Mai stands motionless looking at the barren land where her grandmother’s cottage and garden once were. She feels like she has been punched hard in the stomach sucking her breath away.

Mai closes her eyes and imagines all the times she sat chatting with her grandmother while looking at her precious garden.

Mai releases a primal scream and falls to her knees.

“They can destroy everything you created Grandmother but they can never destroy how loved and valued you made me feel.”

 

Get groovy

Have you noticed how everybody seems to be extraordinarily busy?  Every day I see people swept up in the momentum of life relentlessly pushing themselves to satisfy all of their self-appointed tasks.

Getting caught up in the pursuit of busyness comes at a price and usually results in a loss of freedom.

We all have the same  24 hours (or 1440 minutes) in each day we live. How we choose to spend it is entirely up to us.

During 2013 I revisited my past many times in my blog posts but now choose  to write only in the present. I’ve spent enough time thinking about past mistakes and will not waste another minute doing this. What’s done is done and I’m leaving it behind.

If you live with regrets, have a crappy job, are trapped in a loveless relationship, have lost your creative edge or lack motivation to do anything fun in your life, then snap out of it right now. This is your life and you should make the most of every day.

My challenge for you is to press  play on Feelin’ Groovy and sing along as loud as possible (see lyrics below if you weren’t around in 1966).
I guarantee it will bring a smile to your face and almost two minutes of joy to your day. How you choose to spend the remaining 1438 minutes is up to you.

The 59th Street Bridge Song (Feelin’ Groovy)

Slow down, you move too fast
You got to make the morning last

Just kicking down the cobble stones
Looking for fun and feelin’ groovy

Ba da, Ba da, Ba da, Ba da…Feelin’ Groovy

Hello lamp-post
What cha knowin’?
I’ve come to watch your flowers growin’
Ain’t cha got no rhymes for me?
Doot-in’ doo-doo
Feelin’ groovy

I’ve got no deeds to do
No promises to keep
I’m dappled and drowsy and ready to sleep
Let the morning time drop all it’s petals on me
Life, I love you
All is groovy