If you read this soon after publication, I am on my journey somewhere between the far South of New Zealand and the East Coast of the USA to spend ten days with four other WordPress Bloggers. During this time there will be opportunities to meet up with other bloggers who will travel shorter distances to spend some time with us.
It’s very exciting, more than a little amazing and somewhat magical!
Before I go I just wanted to say thank you and to share a few thoughts – which for some reason, I feel are important to say at this time.
Thank you to all of you who have left messages and shared in the fun and enormity of this short, unexpected and totally spectacular adventure I am about to undertake. None of us have said much about it – but this is a trip that has been gifted to me by the incredible generosity of a group of fellow bloggers.
The word ‘lucky’ is often offered up to me these days. It is not a word I choose to use very often. I prefer the word ‘fortunate’. I have come to see that I live a most fortunate life!
Here is what is in my heart to say:
I live my life very simply and quietly these days. I’ve been there, done that, in terms of making my mark on the world, from needing to prove I am worthy of the air I breathe to more latterly, wanting to make a difference just because I can. Those of you who read the first installment of my memoir back in September 2013 know I’ve travelled a route from hardship, anger, frustration and blame to one of acceptance, responsibility, forgiveness and love. I work hard at it! I struggle, I fall down, I get it wrong again and again – then I get back up and stumble on…. I have been gifted a life that allows me to understand that life is what I make of it and that there is more depth and magic to all our lives than the modern western world would have us believe.
My life has taught me many things – these are some of them: I believe that as we sow, so we reap. I believe life is a circle and that life is also a classroom. I believe all life is connected from the particles of the big bang, to the silent creative energy that preceded it that we collectively know as God or the Void or Nothingness or the Inversion – or whatever other shape, description or scientific term [or sci-fi term] you prefer; to the commonality of our basic needs and feelings and talents. I believe we are here to learn the dynamics of being a soul living a physical existence and it is not easy. A sense of humour is necessary! I believe we need each other to know who we truly are and who we can truly become.
I also believe it is imperative that we not try to make any body else think, feel or see the way we think, feel and see. We all walk a different path. We come from different cultures who raise us with different values, different spiritual beliefs, different religions. We have different life influences gifted genetically, environmentally and socially. It makes the world a wonderfully vibrant and exciting place. None of it is wrong – it is just different. We should cease judging people based on age, gender, preference, religion, culture, appearance, education and perceived ability. We should walk a mile in another’s shoes – or bare feet! We should travel and meet these other people in other cultures and experience their life styles. We should stop thinking we are best, better or superior to any body else – or any animal for that matter. It simply isn’t true. We are just different.
[And I should stop saying ‘should’!]
As the French say say so eloquently “Vive la difference!” [Please put on your best French accent for that quote to atone for my lack of written accentuation.]
I learn slowly. I learn by examining my feelings, reactions and behaviour at the end of every day. I take responsibility for the good and the bad events of my daily life. I sigh and forgive myself for the million blunders I made, the judgments that were too quickly and harshly made and the words that were unkind. I know I will have better days practising these skills. I know hard times will pass and I know easy times will also pass. I look for the joy and try to be grateful for every day and if not everything in it, at least something! I know life is not about pursuing or finding ‘happiness’. I know happiness is already here if I remember where to look for it. It is all about CHOICE ~ about choosing to be happy, right here right now, no matter what. I know that the voices in my head, those things we refer to as ‘our thoughts’, often lie to me. They have the power to make me unhappy, sad, angry, fearful or depressed if I do not challenge the message they put out. I know that when I turned down the volume and challenged the messages sent by the ceaseless blither in my head I found peace and a quiet joy. And the more peace and joy I felt, the more of it life has sent me.
It’s all about changing the firing patterns of your brain – nurturing those neurons – which ones are you building more of, the angry ones the fearful ones or the happy ones? ‘Use it or lose it’ applies here!
This is the big secret that folk are seeking. It’s not about garnering wealth, power and material goods. You truly won’t be any happier at a deep, fundamental level when you have that new car, new husband, new job. Studies have shown that within a short amount of time happiness levels return to where they were before the material event that granted your wish occurred.
Basically we have two feelings coursing through our systems – fear and love. Anger, hatred, bigotry, control, nervousness, just to name a few, are all fear based. Serenity, peace, forgiveness, acceptance, tolerance, empathy, to name a few more, are all love based. We have the choice where to base our attention, which to feel.
It’s really about choosing to be happy with what is and who we are, right here, right now. In any given moment our lives are just fine, if we do not feel okay, it is only our thoughts that make it less than perfect. Being regretful or angry about the past or fearful of the future stops us experiencing how great Now is, or how great we are, coping with a less than delightful Now. And then we miss the opportunities to know ourselves better, learning and growing through our experiences in life, walking our paths to become the best possible version of ourselves.
Sometimes we suffer really awful things – the loss of loved ones, attacks on our bodies or souls, things that make us question the purpose of life. It is hard to see any joy in that right? For myself I know that though it can take many years, and be a long and pain filled process, I will eventually find myself again, richer for having survived, endured and grown through the experience. My empathy factor is deepened and I can, at the very least, be there for someone else. And I am often grateful for that!
This is why I say that our experiences – the good and the bad – are opportunities for growth. Sometimes bad stuff happens to release something for us so we can move to the next level – ‘there is always a silver lining’. Sometimes it takes a while to find it.
When we understand that we move into trust. And living in trust that everything will work out the way it is meant to work out just makes everything so darn easy!
Here is a recent example from my life: I get in a blither when having to travel alone. It doesn’t matter how short the journey, I am uncomfortable and the level of my discomfort rises according to the length of the journey. I know where the fear comes from, but that doesn’t seem to help. It seeps upwards slowly but surely and begins to tinge the adventure with a sour hue. The fear is often voiceless, but when I dig a bit and uncover it, it is all about ‘what if’ and ‘back when’, ‘look out’ and ‘don’t trust’. When I hear that last one ‘Don’t trust’ there is an enormous shift in me. Fear evaporates and a sort of peace descends once more. Because ‘don’t trust’ is anathema to me. That is the path to insanity. I acknowledge the past and it’s many hard adventures in trust and know I have moved on. No need to go back. Whatever happens will happen whether I go fearfully or confidently. I have the power to call in the experience I will have and the manner in which I will deal with it. I’d rather follow the advice Nanette gave me in the comments of the previous post and look up and out, prepare myself, ask for help as required and trust that this part of my journey will be just as wonderful as the parts where there are friends travelling with me.
I’ll let you know how I do on that!
But really, where I am going with all this is that I have been surprised by the extent to which blogging has corroborated my life choices and beliefs.
The world is full of wonderful people and many of them blog! I have met so many amazing folk. In many ways when we share bits of our lives, our thoughts, our feelings and experiences it is like sitting down with a good friend over a cup of coffee or a glass of wine and doing what women are really good at – sharing! It doesn’t matter all that much that it is done virtually. Back in the ‘good old days’ we did it via letter writing with the responses taking weeks to make it across the miles, be read and the next missive written, mailed, received and read …..It was called having ‘pen pals’.
Here in our speedier modern world we ‘blog’. For me it has widened my quiet world out again and brought in your amazing personalities to brighten my life, make me smile, frown, think, empathise, sympathise, reach out, condole, laugh, share my thoughts, opinions and feelings and begin to uncover you – the real you. Getting to know you is a very real joy for me. Friends of my heart. You all have encouraged me in my journey as an artist, the encouraging words, the patronage, the enthusiasm have been wonderful gifts to me. I have blossomed and bloomed beneath your kindness and eloquence. You have encouraged me to return to old crafts and pick up new skills. I have read books you recommend and listened to music you sent my way. I follow your adventures and misadventures with interest and applaud when you arrive somewhere wonderful…….. I am so grateful to be getting to know every one of you!
And now I’m off to meet up with a small selection of my special friends and to have whole days when we can just be together and drink coffee and tea and maybe a wine or two and enjoy each others company, pick up on some of our on-going conversations and deepen our understanding of each other and share whatever is in our hearts. Magic!
It is my first trip to the USA, my first time living amongst American accents – my travel agent warned me some would not be understand my broad, flat Kiwi twang. I am practising trying to remember to speak higher in my throat and with a bit of a lilt and quite a lot slower than I normally do. I’m rather afraid I sound a little like Vivien Leigh as Scarlett O’Hara :-)
There are cultural differences and social differences and language differences. I’m looking forward to exploring them all with these women who are so dear to my heart!
And again and again I ask myself, how does it get any better than this?
Here, to finish, are my beloved babies, my little fellas, my boys. Wrapped in warmth and love and trustingly placed into the loving care of my equally beloved YD while I swan off on my latest adventure.
Forgive me if you don’t receive an immediate response to your comment or if you don’t see me on your blog posts for a couple of weeks. Normal service will resume soon. :-)
Thanks for coming by today, I love that you did!