Tuesday, 21 May 2019

You May...(1)

Good morning!  So great to see you here!  Today is the first day of the last ten days of May.  Today I want to tell you that you MAY be...SILLY!

Do you remember how you, as a child, would just for the slightest reason burst out laughing?  Do you remember those times when you would be so filled with an abundance of energy and would twirl around, arms stretched out in a crazy butterfly dance?  I still remember how my friends and I would battle stifling our giggles in the back of the auditorium.  What it was that set us off, I can't recall, but I do remember collapsing outside on the lawn.  A pile of laughing teenagers.
And then we grew up, we entered the world of adults where laughter, pranks and silliness were frowned upon.  We became control freaks and we put on the masks of seriousness which was soon permanently melded to our faces.  We have forgotten how to just be ourselves and in the process we have lost our birthright of happiness.  Being yourself is the origin of happiness, and with happiness comes silliness and unbridled laughter.  Laughter of course is the best medicine, it is good for our hearts and minds.
So, today claim your right, you MAY be silly!  Laugh at yourself, write silly jokes and leave them all over the office for your colleagues to find, say hello to random strangers and wish them a happy day.  Wear that crazy tie your five year old painted for you, put flowers in your hair or wear that outrages coat you bought at the jumble sale.  Host a party for your six year old self or invite friends over for a games night, instigate the silliness in them too.  Being silly is a great antidote for stress and the bonus part is that it costs nothing.  What a bargain.  Go on, don't act your age, and infuse today with a bit of silliness!  have FUN!

Monday, 20 May 2019

May you have a Great Day!

Today there are only 11 days left of May.  It is day 139 of 2019.  Now, let us be honest, how many of us have kept up with the plans we have had for this year? I personally am lagging a tad behind.  So I thought that it might be a great idea to just get our momentum going again, and I hope you will join me.  Every day we are bombarded by all the things we should do and have to do, as well as being told what we may not do, things which are not deemed fit for this adult and very serious world we are living in.  We are under so much pressure to perform and to live life as expected by the society in which we live.  We rush from deadline to deadline and we seldom take some time just for ourselves.  In the end we forget who we are, and what dreams we have.  We are so busy with the responsibilities of "adulting" that we have no time to let our inner child run wild.
So for May I put together a list of things which you MAY do.  For the next ten days I will share them with you and challenge you to have fun.  Are you ready?  Then drop by my blog tomorrow for the first thing you MAY do.
Have a great day!

Monday, 13 May 2019

Too Short

This week-end it was Mother's Day in my part of the world.  Once again I realized what an amazing privilege it is to be a Mommy.  I enjoyed every moment I could be with my daughter, and thoughts of my other daughter swirled in my mind all day long.
However, amidst the happy moments I was sharing with my daughter, I was also intensely aware of the how transient life was.  The sadness of life's frailty washed over me as I heard of a friend of ours being taken up in hospital while another friend of mine's mom passed away.  Yet another friend's daughter fell ill. Another dear friend spoke to her son in the morning and by nightfall received the news that he had passed away.   Life is beautiful, it is wonderful to be alive, yet it is fickle.  It never asks us if we are ready for this new direction, it never asks us for our opinion, nor does it consider our wishes or dreams.  It never waits for us to catch up and it seldom gives us an opportunity for a do-over.
Especially when it comes to relationships.  How often do we not think that I must make some time to visit that old friend, call that old colleague or contact that favourite uncle, but we believe we still have so much time.  Maybe tomorrow I will drop by for a visit, make a phone call or send a letter.  However, before we know it another year has passed until there is no more time.
Maybe we should get into the habit of seizing this moment.  Don't wait for tomorrow, do it NOW.  Make that call, write that letter.  Paint that picture, write that poem, use your best crockery and bake that pie.  Life is too short for regrets.

Wednesday, 1 May 2019

May for Mums

Today my daughter reminded me that soon it will be Mother's Day.  Again.  It felt like yesterday that it was Mother's Day.  In fact thirty years feel like yesterday when I found out I was to be a mom.  Time is like liquid on a down hill.

Motherhood.  It sounds so grand and formal.  It has a ring of perfection to it, as if you have everything under control, sorted and every little detail in its perfect little place.  It conjures up visions of Supermom, her super-hero cape perfectly ironed and blowing brightly in the breeze and her beaming smile topped by elegantly coiffed hair.
I still remember meeting my friend for a quick lunch.  She managed to make time for me between two corporate meetings.  She slipped into the booth carrying an elegant genuine leather briefcase.  She cast a quick glance at my toddler sleeping in her stroller.  There was a thinly veiled look of pity in her eyes.  We quickly ordered something and then we both did a heavily edited recap of our year so far.  My head spun with all the board meetings and overseas trips she had fitted in over a six month period.  She finally took a breather with "what on earth do you do with yourself all day long?"

I think I still owe her an answer.  Before I could reply, she announced that she had to run.  We air kissed goodbye and I finished my cappuccino as she hastily left, her high heels clacking over the tiles.

Her question stayed with me as I drove home, as I made supper, as I nodded absently while my husband told me about his day, as I cleared the dishes and finally bathed a squirmy and giggling two year old.  As I tucked her in and sleepily read "The Faraway Tree" the answer came to me.  I did Mommy Stuff.  All day.  Everyday.  I was so blessed.

No, I was no Supermom.  I was far from perfect.  My go-to hairstyle was a bun twisted messily on top of my head.  My nails were short and unpainted, but clean.  I could sing, mostly off-key, all the nursery rhymes Mother Goose ever penned and I could give a passable performance as a giraffe, or bunny or whatever animal my daughter dictated I be for the day.

Motherhood.  It has been my greatest achievement, my highest calling and my most treasured blessing.  I gave the best I could, I put in a valiant effort, yet what I received was much much more.  I nurtured my daughters, but they showed me how to love; I was their teacher but they taught me about life;  I raised them but they helped me to grow into the best version of me.

I still remember the first smiles, their first words and encouraging them to take that first wobbly step.  I recall the cuddles of their feverish bodies, drying their tears, and laughing at their silly antics.  I watched them grow from adoringly cute, to awkward and gangling to blooming into beauties.  Then the hardest part of all, to slowly let them go, slipping silently from my embrace into a big big world.  Watching them from the sidelines as they stride confidently into society and carving their own place into life, into new relationships and finally a family of their own, is not easy.  Every step takes them further away, to a place we can only see from afar.  Yet, it is exactly what we raised them to be - independent, capable and confident adults.  Like butterflies we set them free and watch as their wings shine in the rays of the sun.  In between tears of pride there are also tears for the end of an era, a time that has passed all too quickly.  But it was all worth it.  Every bit of Mommy Stuff.  I would do again and again.

For all the moms out there: Well done, you are awesome!  You raised princes and princesses and amazing human beings. 

Wednesday, 13 March 2019

The Difference Between

Recently a little student in one of my art classes asked me what the difference is between blue and purple.  My answer was : a single drop of red.  Blue is a primary colour, a pure colour.   It cannot be made by mixing two colours, it is what it is.  The colour red, of course is also a primary colour.  However, when one tiny drop of red is added to blue, it is no longer pure.  Blue plus any amount of red becomes purple even though the drop might be so small that we cannot see the effect with our naked eye.

Of course, being the over-thinker that I am, my thoughts carried me further along this path.   I thought about love and hate.  Both of these are strong emotions and they are seemingly far apart.  Yet they are as close as the sides of a coin.  There is a very thin line between them.  Many debates have been had over what exactly that thin line might be.  I have come to the conclusion that it is simply a shift in direction, a change in my point of view.  It is a tiny spot of red added to the mix.  A girl falls passionately in love with a man.  All she sees is how handsome he is, how accomplished he is and she hangs on his every word.  A young man falls in love with a girl and suddenly his whole world revolves around her.  Yet with time the pendulum turns, their viewpoint changes.  Just a slight tilt and a drop of dislike enters the mix.  A fissure starts to open.

And then there is life and death. What separates the two? A few mornings ago I found our new little kitten hanging onto life by a thin thread.  She was not breathing and I could only detect the faintest heartbeat.  Whatever episode she had had must have just occurred.  I gave her CPR and miraculously she revived.  A single breath separated her from death.  One moment in time.  I was awed by the enormity of that brevity in the vastness of eternity.  In that moment of my desperation to help this tiny creature, begging her back to life, I was overcome by thoughts of parents standing at the beds of their children, spouses holding onto their loved ones hands and soldiers hopelessly calling to their friends to hold on, hold on!  Lives in the balance, hanging on to that thin line between life and death.  Most of us, most of the time, are completely oblivious to this delicate tether.  We take life for granted.  Time seems plentiful.  So much so that we think nothing of wasting it on anger, grudges and insignificant issues.  We are so quick to take offense and very slow to make amends.  If we could for one moment just pause and ask ourselves if that quick, hurtful retort is worth it if we were never to have another chance to tell our loved ones or our friends that we love them?  If we were never granted another minute to say sorry would winning an argument still hold so much satisfaction?

Regret is the most useless emotion, it comes at a heavy price and can never undo what caused it in the first place.  That line between life and death is as fragile as the chrysalis of a butterfly, it is the thickness of a whispered breath.  Life is to be treasured and it is to be lived, but be careful how you live it.  We should never take it for granted, but we should live it in such a way that we leave behind beauty and joy.

Saturday, 5 January 2019

You were there...

Last night we visited on the farm, I am so sorry we did not get to see you, we seemed to have just missed you, but I know you were there.  You see, I went from group to group in search of you, but you must have just left, they were still talking about you, laughing about something you said, or something you did.
I saw your shadow as you left your granddaughter's room, but could not quite catch up with you.  I followed the sound of laughter coming from the living room, the smile on your wife's face told me you were just there.  I lingered a while listening to some of your escapades.  How fondly I remember all the ones we shared with you.
I caught a glimpse of you in your sons' eyes, in your granddaughter's shy smile and in the faces of your grandsons.  I could feel the warmth of you coming from the earth you love and the smell of wood fire. 
We had to eventually leave, it was getting late, I was sure I felt you hug me in the way the night-air suddenly felt warmer just before I got into the car.  Sorry we did not get to see you, but I know you were there...

I would like to share this poem by Henry Scott-Holland:

Death is nothing at all. 
It does not count. 
I have only slipped away into the next room. 
Nothing has happened. 

Everything remains exactly as it was. 
I am I, and you are you, 
and the old life that we lived so fondly together is untouched, unchanged. 
Whatever we were to each other, that we are still. 

Call me by the old familiar name. 
Speak of me in the easy way which you always used. 
Put no difference into your tone. 
Wear no forced air of solemnity or sorrow. 

Laugh as we always laughed at the little jokes that we enjoyed together.
Play, smile, think of me, pray for me. 
Let my name be ever the household word that it always was. 
Let it be spoken without an effort, without the ghost of a shadow upon it. 

Life means all that it ever meant. 
It is the same as it ever was. 
There is absolute and unbroken continuity. 
What is this death but a negligible accident? 

Why should I be out of mind because I am out of sight? 
I am but waiting for you, for an interval, 
somewhere very near, 
just round the corner. 

All is well. 
Nothing is hurt; nothing is lost. 
One brief moment and all will be as it was before. 
How we shall laugh at the trouble of parting when we meet again!

Source: https://www.familyfriendpoems.com/poem/death-is-nothing-at-all-by-henry-scott-holland

Wednesday, 2 January 2019

Ten Butterflies

The sun has risen over a brand New Year.  We have been blessed with a soft drizzling rain.  The earth laps it up like a hungry puppy.  It is beautiful.  Most of us are excited about the prospect of a new year.  It is part of human nature, we love new beginnings even if they sometimes terrify us.  It is also a time of reflection and making new resolutions.  However, often those resolutions do not last long.  I believe that one of the reasons of their quick demise is the fact that we do not take them seriously, so I thought, instead of jotting down a few resolutions, I will go a step further and make a covenant with myself for myself.  I came up with a list of ten "I Will's".  You could call them my ten commandments.

Here is my list, but you are welcome to make your own list.

1.  I will laugh more, even at myself.
Laughter has healing qualities.  It relieves our stress levels and releases endorphins.

2. I will leave the past where it belongs.
Dragging the issues and the pain of the past with us changes nothing about what happened, but it  steals our joy of the present.

3.I will fill my mind with positive thoughts.
Every thought we have has an impact on our happiness, on our actions and on our lives.  Our thoughts can steer our lives toward joy or sadness, the choice lies in what I allow myself to think.

4. I will look for the good.
Not only will I look for the good in people, but I will look for the good in my circumstances, the world, as well as within myself.

5.  I will have an open mind.
I will be willing to listen to other people's ideas, opinions and advice.  I will be open to new possibilities and solutions.

6. I will love people for who they are.
 I will treasure their unique gifts and value their role in my life.

7. I will cultivate a spirit of tolerance.
Tolerance leads to peace and harmony.  It says that we value diversity and we accept that the sun shines on all people in equal measure.

8.  I will think before I speak.
Our words have power to comfort or inflict pain. Words, once spoken, cannot be unsaid and they cannot be unheard.  We only have control over our words before they are spoken.

9.  I will be grateful.
Focusing on the things we are grateful for draws our attention away from the negative things around us.  When we have a grateful heart it is difficult to complain about anything.

10.  I will not quit.
Sometimes life is difficult, sometimes we face obstacles or hardships, but never grow weary, never give up. Keep going, one step at a time.  Making a promise never to quit, helps to keep us focussed on the end goal.

Print your list out, stick it on the fridge as a daily reminder for the year ahead.  Have a blessed 2019.