Tag Archives: honesty

Cosmic journey

The best experiences usually arise out  of the unexpected. Reading The Alchemist is one such twist of fate I stumbled upon after a blogger recommended it as a good read.  Something led me to find Paulo Coelho’s book in my local library. Naively oblivious to the  notoriety and hype surrounding The Alchemist I had no expectations. My only thought was it might be a welcome change to read something outside of my usual preferred genre of Asian history stories.

Right from the first page  a feeling of calm enveloped my body as I connected with the simple prose and captivating story. As the tale unfolded I traveled to a new level of consciousness, a feeling I’ve never experienced before except perhaps briefly during guided meditation. I was floating on a magic carpet and wanted to hold on to this  euphoric  feeling forever.

Since finishing the book I’ve read other readers’ comments saying they draw personal meaning from The Alchemist. Many people discuss the clear message received to follow their dreams. My experience was more simplistic; I felt peaceful, at peace with my own uniqueness and comfortable knowing that every person in this world needs to walk their own path, from beginning to end. It reinvigorated my self-belief. This book made me see  that no person’s life is any more significant than any other person’s life. It’s amazing how something as innocuous as a fable could finally break down my insecurities.

We are travelers on a cosmic journey, stardust, swirling and dancing in the eddies and whirlpools of infinity. Life is eternal. We have stopped for a moment to encounter each other, to meet, to love, to share. This is a precious moment. It is a little parenthesis in eternity.
~ Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist

I have inside me the winds, the deserts, the oceans, the stars, and everything created in the universe. We were all made by the same hand, and we have the same soul.
~ Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist

Whoever you are, or whatever it is that you do, when you really want something, it’s because that desire originated in the soul of the universe. It’s your mission on earth.
~ Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist

The simple things are also the most extraordinary things, and only the wise can see them.
~ Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist

 

 

 

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.

Untitledbabyface.JPGgracie dee quote1743674_613409502071892_114140895_n

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

 

 

Be true to yourself

The concept of human awakening (spiritual or personal) sparks extraordinary interest considering the number of books, websites and YouTube videos that exist on the subject.

The definition of awakening is ‘an act or moment of becoming suddenly aware of something’. Once aware we strive to create positive change in our lives, and from experience I know that this is not easy. Like the lion in The Wizard of Oz I once lacked courage to face truths and react to a new perspective.

In my early twenties I was in a loveless marriage but refused to face reality. On holiday my husband and I were caught in a fierce cyclone. At first I was terrified but eventually I had an overwhelming feeling of calm and knew without a doubt my husband was not the person I wanted to spend my life with.

When we returned home I ignored the warning by convincing myself our marriage would improve if we started a family. It didn’t go well, the marriage fell apart and I became a shattered single mother with a baby who ultimately suffered as a result of the doomed marriage.

A while later I was vulnerable during the legal process of ending the marriage. At every meeting I felt bullied and manipulated to resolve the issues. I have never felt so powerless or weak.

It was during one of these meetings that I knew I could challenge the pompous lawyers and stand up for myself. I momentarily lost my fear and this experience was liberating.

However instead of seizing this change in attitude and going forward living without fear, I reverted to my previous demeanor and spent many more years being submissive.

Turning 50 was a milestone I saw as another opportunity to be courageous and shatter the protective box I had imposed around myself.

One night I awoke during the quietest hours and knew the only way I would be content was to regain my individuality and rebuild my confidence.

I wanted to revert to using my name at birth rather than be known by my second husband’s family name, which I had used for 22 years. This was difficult because I deeply love my husband and my intention infuriated him.

I thought about the times I’d previously ignored the signs from awakening experiences and I knew I couldn’t let myself down again. So after many weeks of upsetting and confronting discussions I told my husband I was going ahead and changing my name.

It wasn’t easy contacting the relevant authorities to prove that I was the person on my birth certificate, it was demeaning but I persisted.  Telling family, friends and work colleagues I had changed my name made me uncomfortable and the subject of whispers about whether my marriage was in trouble (which it never was).

I felt I had let everyone down and crushed expectations of who I should be, but I held firm knowing my decision was right for me. It took all my strength to push away fear but it was liberating and ultimately made me whole again.  (My post I am who I am describes more of this story)

From then on I tapped into an infinite reserve of courage and slowly started living with confidence and being true to myself. Freedom is bliss.

My fourth awakening experience was spiritual and inspired an overwhelming feeling of peace and optimism that things are as they should be. This day I knew I’ve  found  the right path after being lost for so many years.  (My post Serenity describes more about this)

It took me 50+ years to learn the truth in the following quote. I hope everyone else discovers it long before I did.

The best day of your life is the one on which you decide your life is your own. No apologies or excuses. No one to lean on, rely on, or blame. The gift is yours – it is an amazing journey – and you alone are responsible for the quality of it. This is the day your life really begins. Bob Moawad

My post today is part of a series of posts about awakening experiences by various bloggers initiated by Barbara of Me My Magnificent Self. Further details 

Live life with innocence

Today I’m sharing some simple and wonderful life lessons that I aspire to follow this year, thanks to PIXAR

Love can be as simple as holding hands
PixarLessons_WALL-E

Take a minute to reminisce about childhood friendships
PixarLessons_ToyStory

Add a few spices to your life. Literally and figuratively
PixarLessons_Ratatouille

Be open to unlikely friendships
PixarLessons_MU

Never discount the small guys
PixarLessons_BugsLife

Take a chance on the adventure (and friendship) of a lifetime
PixarLessons_FindingNemo

Hold on to your family
PixarLessons_Incredibles

Embrace your own strengths
PixarLessons_Brave

Laughter > Fear
PixarLessons_MonstersInc

Take a break and drive in the slow lane sometimes
PixarLessons_Cars

True love never gets old
PixarLessons_Up

Serenity

As last year drew to a close I became more pensive than usual, spending time silently reflecting on my landmark year of change, remembering how it unfolded.

Taking plenty of time to re-read all my blog posts (including the comments other bloggers had made) I re-traced my journey, seeing and understanding where I had tripped up and when changes within started emerging.

Several days later on the eve of the New Year I was drawn to a sacred place and sat down to absorb the beauty of nature while breathing in the ocean breeze.

Time stood still and I have no idea how long I sat. Everything around me ceased to exist while an overwhelming feeling of tranquility enveloped my soul.

There are no words to adequately describe what I was feeling.  All I can say is that the experience was peaceful and surreal.

When I stood up I silently thanked the guidance of Lao Tzu who has shown me the Way.

Be careful what you water your dreams with.
Water them with worry and fear and you will produce weeds that choke the life from your dream.
Water them with optimism and solutions and you will cultivate success.
Always be on the lookout for ways to turn a problem into an opportunity for success.
Always be on the lookout for ways to nurture your dream.

― Laozi

I  now feel ready and energised to welcome 2014 and eagerly anticipate a new year of spiritual growth and personal development.

Acceptance

Closure is something most people desire and I am no different.

As another calendar year nears the end it seems natural to look back and reflect on how the days unfolded.

I acknowledge 2013 as my first year of change after challenging myself to wake up and pay attention.

Jenna DeeIt took many months and multiple attempts but eventually I found closure on some life situations that had been holding me back for too long.

So it is with satisfaction and a feeling of content that I  close the door on these events and walk towards a new year of challenges.
No regrets.

This morning I read this poem on http://smallactofkindness.wordpress.com/ that eloquently expresses the essence of my post today.

You are not your age,
Nor the size of the clothes you wear,
You are not a weight,
Or the color of your hair.
You are not your name,
Or the dimples in your cheeks,
You are all the books you read,
And all the words you speak,
You are your croaky morning voice,
And the smiles you try to hide,
You are the sweetness in your laughter,
And every tear you’ve cried,
You’re the songs you sing so loudly when you know you’re all alone,
You’re the places you’ve been too,
And the one that you call home,
You’re the things that you believe in,
And the people that you love,
You’re the photos in your bedroom,
And the future you dream of,
You’re made of so much beauty,
But it seems you forgot,
When you decided that you were defined,
By all the things you’re not.
~e.h

Getting to know you

A year ago I found it difficult to disclose things about myself. Perhaps I was fearful of judgement or maybe I doubted my qualities and uniqueness.

After a series of monumental life situations I experienced a physical and emotional reaction and knew I needed to re-evaluate my existence. My body was screaming at me to find a better way of coping with stress.

My search within led to blogging as an outlet to explore emotions and interact with others about the ups and downs of everyday life.  Initially I was guarded about exposing my vulnerabilities but gradually started sharing personal stories, which began the regeneration of my self-confidence.

As my first year of discovery draws to a close I’m stepping further outside my comfort zone and revealing more about myself that I haven’t blogged about this year.

I’ve written some questions and answers that may connect more of my personality puzzle pieces together. I would love readers to answer the same questions as a post on their own blog or in the comment section to my post. Feel free to answer one or all of the questions, or add new questions, as you wish.

What is your real name and where do you live?
My name is Jennifer Donovan but I prefer Jenna Dee.
I live in Melbourne, Australia

What makes you sad?
I was a lonely child and yearned for a sister close to my own age. As a mother I had a son followed  by two daughters close together in age who grew up as great friends. As adults my daughters are not as connected as they once were and this makes me a little sad.

Seeing the loss in my Dad’s eyes because he misses the love of his life, my mum, who died seven years ago.

What are your major mistakes?
Although I’ve learned to let go of regrets I believe their acknowledgement as a part of our lives is important.

Getting married at 18 remains my biggest mistake. Although legally an adult, I was an unworldly child with no idea of the enormity of my decision. The marriage lasted 7 years and finally failed after we decided to have a child.

When I was pregnant with my first child my husband started ignoring me and staying out all night. I was upset he didn’t want to share the joy of having a baby. I am ashamed to say I began a relationship with a married man I worked with. To me it was nice having someone pay attention to me but to him it was more. He talked about leaving his family to be with me, which freaked me out. I ended the relationship abruptly and broke his heart, which I am not proud of.

When was the last time you cried?
Recently I cried tears of being overwhelmed when I attempted public speaking (described in my post Closer to the Edge) . Sometimes sad movies cause a few tears to fall.

When my mother died seven years ago my tears flowed freely There are only three times in my life I remember sobbing uncontrollably; when my first marriage finally ended, when I lost a baby early in a pregnancy (the first baby for my second husband and I) and when my mother died.

What makes you angry?

  • Arrogant people who feel they are superior to others.
  • Every type of injustice.
  • I feel upset that my daughter who is a lesbian is not entitled to the same privileges as heterosexuals.

What is your most recent happiest memory?
Celebrating our 25th wedding anniversary this year in Shanghai, China. We travelled to Tongli in rural China to the ancient houses and gardens that hold mystical power over me. As we entered one of the courtyards light fluffy snow started to fall making it a magical memory.

When were you most scared?
Being in Fiji during Cyclone Oscar in 1983. This was the only time in my life that I thought I was going to die and at the moment of realisation a bizarre feeling of peace and calm filled my body.

When my relationship with my son disintegrated and he left home. I was terrified for his safety and well-being.

The night my mother fell and the emergency hospital staff told us that her injuries were the worst kind.

When were you most brave?

  • Making the decision to return to university as a mature age student when I was 37.
  • Knowing I needed to reclaim my individual identity and revert to using my family name Donovan, even though I knew it upset my husband.

What haven’t you done that you wished you had done?

  • Lived independently as a single adult.
  • Participated in a study abroad program.
  • Taught English in Japan.

What makes you different from most people?

  • I don’t like being around a lot of people. Situations such as airports, trains, crowed pubs and shopping malls make me uncomfortable. I like my own company and love being with my family but I don’t have a large circle of friends.
  • Unlike most people I prefer silence rather than listening to music or the radio.
  • I’m not easily led towards fads, fashion and trends preferring to enjoy my own treasures.

Who has influenced your life?
I met my husband Peter when I was 16 and he was 18 and formed a close friendship. We married 12 years later after my first marriage ended and have now been married for 25 years.

We are different in personality and ideals but it seems to work for us. Peter is my steadying influence and is tolerant and kind. As the person I am closest to, Peter often bears the brunt of my frustrations.

We are a team and I am proud of the parents we are to our children. He is my soul mate and I would be lost without him in my life.

My mother also influenced my life. She was quirky and had an uncanny ability to see through the falseness of some people. My mum saw the best in me and gave me confidence to believe in myself.  After she died I struggled to maintain my self-confidence without her input. My mum was the kindest, most understanding and wise person I have met in my life.

What is the greatest lesson you have learned?
This year has been by far the most influential year of my life creating possibilities for many changes within.

The greatest lesson I have learned is that to change your life all you have to do is change your attitude. It is that simple.

The way to do is to be

Blogging has opened a part of my mind that I’d managed to squash down for some time. It  challenges me to think about some things I’d rather not think about.

For me writing blog posts is therapeutic and helps me greatly at the time of writing by encouraging exploration and expression of my feelings. It is like cleansing my soul.

I’ve discovered that it is quite easy to write or say words but the really difficult part is making meaningful changes in my mind, feelings or attitudes. The actions are a lot harder than the words.

Fairly regularly I re-read my past blog posts and ask myself if have I brought about the changes I promised to modify since writing the post.

The truth is that the answer is usually no, not really, I’m still trying.

But today I gave myself a break by gaining inspiration from ancient philosopher Lao Tzu through his words that tell me to trust myself and just be me.

Always we hope

Always we hope
someone else has the answer
some other place will be better,
some other time it will all turn out.

This is it.
No one else has the answer
no other place will be better,
and it has already turned out.
at the center of your being

You have the answer,
you know who you are
and you know what you want.

There is no need
to run outside
for better seeing.

Nor to peer from a window.

Rather abide at the center of your being;
for the more you leave it, the less you learn.

Search your heart
and see
the way to do
is to be.
        — Lao Tzu

Love you forever

Some days I see my older eyes staring back at me in the mirror, imploring me to stay calm and trust in the universe.

My mantra is to cherish to every beautiful moment before they slip away and to know that troubled thoughts will fade in time.

I acknowledge but find it incredibly challenging to accept that nothing is permanent and  genuine happiness can only be achieved by accepting life as it evolves.

Love Your Forever CollageMotherhood brings me joy, contentment and peace. It is the one perfect part of my life that I have never doubted nor wanted to be any different.

Each of my children is precious and unique, my love for them is unconditional and eternal. They are all adults now following their own pathway in life.

This stage of motherhood is so hard, harder than I ever imagined.

It’s not easy letting their hands slip from mine.

Listen to your heart

My heart kept telling me everything would be okay as I struggled to stay strong throughout many years of personal adversity.

My extended family remained silent but I felt their judgment and heard their cruel whispers about my troubled relationship with my son.

I withstood this implied criticism for ten years until they lost interest and pretended we no longer existed.

Over the years I had sporadic contact with my son but it was usually strained and traumatic for both of us.

Only my husband knew the extent of my anguish, only he was supportive.  We both believed one day my son would find his inner strength and conquer his problems that steered him away.

We always hoped he would want us back in his life one day, but knew he had to figure out how to do this in his own way and in his own time. He had to learn to navigate his way back over a very rocky road.

My heart was right.

It started with a couple of upbeat phone calls.

Then one day it was a warm heartfelt hug.

A genuine smile.

Real laughter.

Illustration by Aaron Pocock
Illustration by Aaron Pocock

And the latest puzzle piece, a picture of his childhood teddy bear with a message saying that Teddy reminds him of so many happy memories.

That old teddy bear and my son Chris have been through a lot together.

I am so happy they have found the path that is leading them back home.

Blogger’s block

Is anyone else struggling with the commitment of writing a regular blog post?

When I started blogging  I found it exhilarating and liberating to share my experiences and  thoughts with imaginary people.

Blogging gave me new-found confidence, it gave me a voice in the wilderness and when people started responding to my posts I felt validated and accepted.

The discipline of writing regular blog posts keeps me accountable to continue facing truths and gives me courage to be open and honest.

But somehow along the way I got caught up in the thrill of the ride and started to lose sight of why I started blogging.

The last little while I’ve struggled with writing posts and this has bothered me. Writing shouldn’t be a chore, but thanks to my insecurities I started to make it one.

The problem was I started anticipating what people might be interested in reading rather than writing about things I wanted to say. I started seeking articles about successful blogging and attracting readers. I tried to write blogs about topics that I didn’t relate to only to scrap them in frustration.

The truth is I temporarily lost my focus on why I write a blog, which is to accept myself for the person I am not to accumulate likes or be popular.

So at the risk of being self-indulgent I will continue to write from the heart about things that matter to me, which I apologise in advance may or may not be interesting to anyone else.

I will return to treating my blog as an online journal that I share with my blogging friends.

Blogging gives me courage to face the challenge of accepting what is, to let go of what was, and to have confidence in what will be.

For me that is enough.