Tag Archives: peace of mind

Take care of yourself

Sometimes you have to step away from your routine to see yourself from another perspective.

I recently took a short trip and quickly realised how desperately I had needed to get away. Over the past six months my life started drifting in a different direction. For personal reasons I chose to accept these changes in circumstances to support others and fuel their wants and dreams but in doing so forgot about my own needs. It wasn’t until I was away that I was able to acknowledge how much this has affected me. 6b3fe97d5531e72826726979a1d99ac4-300x300

 

Automation kills compassion

Helping a loved one cope with anxiety is a difficult and confusing time. My heart aches as I try my best to support Jane through a low period in her life. It’s really tough watching a loved one go through this battle, while sitting on the outside, feeling helpless.

Anxiety disorders are different from ‘everyday’ anxiety; they are more intense and persistent and interfere with a person’s life. Such disorders share an extreme sense of fear and worry accompanied by physical symptoms that can affect all systems of the body. Anxiety disorders occur when someone has an intense and paralysing sense of fear or a more sustained pattern of worrying when there is no apparent real danger or threat.

I will do anything to help Jane feel better about her life and would swap places to save her going through this torment. As best I can I remain calm, firm and consistent and show her she is loved and supported. In addition to her family support network I’ve have urged her to seek professional counselling advice.

I started asking myself what should I be looking out for? What can I do to help? What support is out there for people on the perimeter of anxiety disorders? I rang the helpline of the most reputable organisation providing an information and support service helping Australians achieve their best possible mental health. This organisation is widely known for its helpline advice for people struggling with anxiety/ depression or who have suicidal thoughts. It was daunting to make the call as a supporter of a loved one so I can only imagine how overwhelming it might be for people feeling helpless to make the decision to reach out for help.

After deciding to call I dialled the number and heard a click followed by a long recorded message spruiking information about the organisation and the types of services they provide. Then came an automated message to press 1 for this, press 2 for that, press 3 for something else. Feeling confused about which number to select I had to wait to hear the message repeated so I could make the correct choice. Once you choose an option a further recorded message announces that calls are recorded unless you state your objection, and then invites callers to press another number to agree to stay on the line at the end of their call to participate in a survey. By now I was getting agitated and wanted to speak to a real person to ask for advice. When I was eventually connected with a counsellor she was helpful to a point and reassured me that I am doing and saying the right things to help Jane.

After making the call I felt disappointed with the unfriendly vibe around the process of getting through to speak to a real person. I doubt very much that people who genuinely need urgent help choosing between life or death would stay on the line long enough to speak to a counsellor to guide them in their time of need. I think this is really sad.

Another Autumn

55 springs and 55 summers gone now
Memories of past years held in faded photographs remind me how lucky I am.

And the seasons they go round and round
And the painted ponies go up and down
We’re captive on the carousel of time
We can’t return we can only look
Behind from where we came
And go round and round and round
In the circle game.
~ Joni Mitchell

Last year I stepped off the painted pony for a sojourn in Europe. Despite some initial apprehension I soon relaxed in the new environment and basked in exhilaration as the journey progressed.  My fondest memories of this trip occurred when the beauty of mother nature exhilarated my senses allowing me to feel her power seep into my soul with the intensity of a defibrillator. It was then that I truly understood these words by Lao Tsu

Empty yourself of everything.  Let the mind rest at peace.
The ten thousand things rise and fall while the Self watches their return.
They grow and flourish and then return to the Source.
Returning to the Source is stillness, which is the way of Nature.
The way of Nature is unchanging.
~Lao Tsu, Tao Te Ching

As I prepare to return to Europe people ask what I hope to see or buy but all I am thinking about is what I hope to feel.

Europe Trip Day 12 (51)

Europe Trip Day 15 - Grindelwald mountain hiking - peters camera - 132 (59)

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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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.

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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.”

 

Hold your smile

There were times during my mother’s life when things were not going well. Like most of us she had her fair share of dramas in her life but she always seemed happy and had a smile for everyone.  I could never understand why Smile was her favourite song.

Now I understand

Smile though your heart is aching
Smile even though it’s breaking
When there are clouds in the sky, you’ll get by
If you smile through your fear and sorrow
Smile and maybe tomorrow
You’ll see the sun come shining through for you

Light up your face with gladness
Hide every trace of sadness
Although a tear may be ever so near
That’s the time you must keep on trying
Smile, what’s the use of crying?
You’ll find that life is still worthwhile, if you just smile

That’s the time you must keep on trying
Smile, what’s the use of crying?
You’ll find that life is still worthwhile, if you just smile

Nat King Cole – Smile Lyric

Hear no evil

This post contributes to the The Daily Post Sound of Silence weekly writing challenge

Soon silence will have passed into legend.  Man has turned his back on silence.  Day after day he invents machines and devices that increase noise and distract humanity from the essence of life, contemplation, meditation… tooting, howling, screeching, booming, crashing, whistling, grinding, and trilling bolster his ego.  His anxiety subsides.  His inhuman void spreads monstrously like a gray vegetation.  ~Jean Arp

My joy is to bask in the ecstasy of silence. No thoughts, no manmade noise only the pure sounds of nature. It is only during silence that I feel the wind and warmth of the sun, smell the fragrance of the trees, taste the salt in the sea air and see the radiance of the natural world around me.

Noise has always bothered me. As a teenager I hated the music of Led Zeppelin, The Rolling Stones and Pink Floyd instead preferring acoustic folk music.

Truth be told I don’t relate well to a lot of people because I feel alien to popular culture. I’m an introvert.  I watch and listen, and I choose the people I allow into my life very carefully. This is why deciding to write a blog was a big deal for me.

It seems appropriate that my first tentative step into blogging was a post about my need for silence https://jennadee222.wordpress.com/2012/11/14/so-it-begins/

To me a day of torture involves milling crowds of people, pumping music, heavy traffic noise, phones ringing, television ads screaming, politicians bleating and air travel.

We listen too much to the telephone and we listen too little to nature. The wind is one of my sounds. A lonely sound, perhaps, but soothing. Everybody should have his personal sounds to listen for—sounds that will make him exhilarated and alive, or quiet and calm… As a matter of fact, one of the greatest sounds of them all—and to me it is a sound—is utter, complete silence.  ~André Kostelanetz

What is your personal sound preference and how does it make you feel?

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