Wednesday, 30 January 2013

On Gossamer Wings

"...once you have tasted flight you will walk the earth with your eyes turned skywards, for there you have been, and there you will always long to return...."
-Leonardo Da Vinci

I am a dreamer.  I often catch myself watching the butterflies in summer, flying effortlessly wherever they will, and as I watch they steal my thoughts and take my imagination along on their flight.  My family will often find me like that and with a jolt I will return to the here and now.  More often than not this was the very thing which got me into trouble at school.  Physically I was in the classroom, but my thoughts were miles away soaring on gossamer wings.....
Dreams are beautiful, wonderful, and despite what some people believe, very necessary.  Many extraordinary things have been discovered and invented by dreamers.  However, dreams are like Faith.  Faith is a glorious word, and by itself it is wonderful.  Faith is a gift, but Faith truly begins to mean something when we actively start doing what we confess to believe.  The same with dreams, they only begin to mean something when we start following our dreams. 
Yet, very few of us really, truly have the courage to follow our dreams.  Most of us can't even say our dreams out loud, some amongst us might get as far as writing them down, but only a small percentage will actually grab hold of them and make them real.  Why would that be?  Fear.  A little four letter word.  It should be classified as a swear word it is that ugly a word.  Fear of failure.  Fear that we will be ridiculed.  Fear that others, who are equally afraid to follow their dreams, will point and laugh.  Fear that we may actually succeed and have to face up to the responsibility.
Whatever the reason for our fears, they are dream-stealers.  They condemn us to a flightless life.  They leave behind the bitter taste of "if only".  The best antidote for fear is Faith.  Faith in God, who is the giver of dreams, but also faith in yourself.  If you can dream it, you CAN do it.  It does not matter what the world says about your dreams, what THEIR expectations are of you or your dreams.  It has nothing to do with the world, it has everything to do with you!
Yes, I am a dreamer, and for many years my own fears have kept my dreams in check, but today, right now I AM living my dream, and having the greatest fun while doing it.  It does not matter any longer what the world is saying or even whether the world is taking notice of me and my dreams.  I am soaring on gossamer wings and calling to you to follow me..... 

If you flutter by here, please feel free to share your dreams with me, I would love to dream them with you and encourage you along your way.  Just click on the words "no comment" or "1 comment" and follow the prompts.

Monday, 28 January 2013

What is Happening to your Dream?

This morning I realized, with a bit of a jolt, that the first month of the brand new 2013 is busy waving goodbye!  28 days, 4 weeks, have come and gone.  It is time to take stock of this first month.  Most of us have had certain goals and ideals for this new year.  Normally we wait for the end of the year before we consider what it is that we have or have not achieved.  That is too late, so let us do it NOW while (God be willing) we have eleven more months to achieve our goals.

What are your dreams, your hopes for this year?  What are your goals?  Have you started to set them in motion yet, or are you still in the Put-It-Off-Till-Tomorrow zone?  Are you still fresh and excited about this year or have your dreams already started to go stale with thoughts of "This is just another year of dreams that turn to nothing, because Life is just demanding too much of me"?  Then I have news for you - It is not Life that is demanding too much of you, it is you demanding too little from Life.  You are busy settling for the mediocre, you are settling for less than your dreams are worth.

 Yes, I can already hear you protesting, saying that I have no idea how difficult your life is, what struggles you are facing, and you will be right, I don't know.  What I do know, however, is that only you can make a difference in your own life, only you can make that decision to pursue your dreams with your whole heart no matter what.  I am merely the voice that nags you to make that decision, to remind you of the goals you have set!! 

Having dreams and setting ourselves goals give meaning to our everyday existence.  Achieving them gives us a sense of success.  It does not matter how big or small your dreams are, but it is important to daily work at making them a reality.  To dream is good, but to do them is better.  Taking action makes dreams into reality.  So, come on, take that first step today, don't put it off any longer.   It is time to soar with the butterflies.....

If you flutter by here, please share with us the steps you've taken to make your dream a reality this year.  To comment simply click on the words "no comment" or "1 comment" and follow the prompts.  I am looking forward to hearing from you.

Friday, 25 January 2013

Peace Please

Yesterday I received an sms on my phone in which we were asked to join in a day of prayer for peace, and to wear white to show our support for peace.  Personally I think it is a wonderful idea, but at the same time I am very skeptical of such days.  We have hundreds of days like that - AIDS day, Women's Day, Anti-Abuse Day etc.  I understand the concept of such days, but the problem is that 9 out of 10 times, that is exactly where it stays.  One day a year that we become ultra aware of the problem, we focus our energies on celebrating the day, make pledges, but the very next day it fades away again, and only occasionally I'll find myself fleetingly (and guiltily) thinking about the plight of the thousands of AIDS orphans, the countries at war, the local unrests and my neighbour across the street's black swollen eye.
I am not saying we must not have such days, but I am saying that maybe we must not rely on such days to bring about the change we are hoping for, we must each one take the burden on ourselves to make the change happen.  Peace is not something only for super powers to negotiate, it is not the signing of peace treaties or hippies to chant about.  No, Peace is very personal.  It starts with me.  Talking about peace is beautiful, it falls comfortably on the ear, but it is time to stop talking about it, and time to actively start living peace.
From the earliest times people have been in search of peace, chasing after happiness, hoping that by finding it their lives would be changed.  Yet despite peace treaties and the hoisting of white flags, peace stays ever elusive.  The simple answer is that peace will never be found elsewhere, but in the human heart itself.  Before we can negotiate world peace we have to first of all be at peace with ourselves and at peace with our Maker.  When I am at peace within, then it is easy to pass it on to those around me.  Inner peace cannot be contained, it becomes like a fountain bubbling out through my words, my actions and even my smile.
My whole life will become a testimony of the peace I have within my heart.  A person at peace with himself and God will also live in peace with others.  Such a person will spread peace wherever he goes, and become an instrument of peace.
Am I such a person?  Do I silence those who incite others to aggression, or do I keep quiet, or even talk along?  Is my idea of peace to keep quiet when I hear others instigating dissent?  To live a life of peace does not mean sitting back and not doing anything. To live peace is to actively DO peace, to be an instrument of peace.  To quote St Francis of Assisi : "Lord, make me an instrument of your peace:  Where there is hatred let me sow love."

If you flutter by here, please share your thoughts on peace with us.  To comment, just click on the words "no comment" or "1 Comment" and follow the prompts, I would love to hear from you.

Sunday, 20 January 2013

A Beautiful Day

Today was a beautiful day, not too hot for January, and as we travelled we marvelled at the green fields, the flocks of lambs playing happily in the light breeze.  Unfortunately there was not a single cosmos flower to be seen next to the road.  Their season is past.   How you loved their pink, purple and white blooms dancing all along the road wherever we travelled. 
As we travelled along today, I turned my eyes up at the blue skies, the same colour as your eyes, and the fluffy clouds gathering on the horizon.  How I wish I could just once more look in your eyes, the way they crinkled at the corners.  How I wish I could just once more put my hand in yours and know you love me.
But I have your legacy written in my heart and your words of wisdom still echo in my memories.  Everyday I share these with my daughters, passing them on and hoping they'll one day pass them on too.
If I had but one word to describe you, what would it be?  Kind, gentle, loving, giving?  Selfless, generous, loyal?  One word could never do it, you were all of these and so much more.  You taught me to pray, to believe when faith seemed impossible.  You showed me how to love my children, treasure my husband, cope with unfairness and to be silent when words would only hurt.  You taught me to start each day with a smile and to wake my children with the sound of laughter.  Your life testified of putting others before your own needs. 
So many years have passed since I saw you last, yet I miss you still.  I often find myself telling you about your grandchildren, and think of how proud you would have been of each one of them.  I wish I could have been the daughter then that I am today, maybe you would have smiled more often when you heard my name.  Strange how having my own children has taught me to understand the depth of your love for me.  Now it is so easy to see that every word was said to teach, guide and protect me. Your selflessness puts me to shame everyday, your example is a tough act to follow.

Yes, today was a beautiful day.  It was your birthday. I hope you had a nice day in heaven, I hope you danced with butterflies in your hair, I hope you know how much we love you, and that our every thought of you would paint some cosmos in the sky.....

Happy Birthday, Mamma.

If you flutter by here and want to share some thoughts about your mom, please feel free to do so by clicking on "no comment" or "1 comment" and follow the prompts.

Wednesday, 16 January 2013

This Moment

I remember a favourite childhood game of mine was playing "Make Believe" .  My friends and I would dream up all sorts of scenarios in which we would all take turns to be the star.  From owning shiny fiery red sports cars to elaborate fairy palaces to wearing long silver gowns dipped in liquid diamonds.  The more fanciful the ideas, the more excited we would become and we would feel euphoric with happiness.  There was nothing we could not become.  Of course this earned me the reputation of a dreamer.
Today I am still that dreamer, and I am a great advocate to follow your dreams and to live them, but last night, after spending some time with a friend of mine over the telephone, I started looking at it from a different point of view.  I realised that we have to be careful that our dreams do not take over our lives, our existence to such an extent that we forget to live in the here and now.
The reason I say this is that Lucy, my friend of many years, has yet to find happiness.  She's been poor, she's been rich, she's currently financially comfortable, she's been single, married, single again and very popular with the male species, her son is a qualified doctor and her daughter a successful designer.  From the outside she lives everybody's dream life, yet Lucy is always dreaming of something more.  She always begins a sentence with "If only".  "If only" I can get that promotion, "if only"  I could meet somebody as financially well-off as myself, "if only" I can buy that car...... ended of with "then I would also be happy".
Needless to say, all these things have at some time or another come true for her, but the happiness has never followed.
Why?  It is a question I have often pondered.
The answer lies in this simple truth.  Lucy has never learnt to appreciate one of life's greatest gifts, the gift of now.  This very moment is what I have.  When I appreciate this moment, then I can also count the blessings I have in this moment.  There is no need to drive a bigger car, have more money in the bank if I am able to value what I have right now.  Happiness is here right now.  Happiness can never be found in having the things you want, happiness is when you want the things you already possess right now, right in this perfect and beautiful moment.  Start right now and count your blessings and see the abundance you already have in your life.
By all means dream, and dream big, but never forget to also be absolutely aware of what is around you now, embrace and appreciate it.  Do not let this moment just pass into the lost moments of time. Treasure it.

If you flutter by here and would like to share what it is that make you happy right now, please feel free to do so.  Just click on the words "no comment" or "1 comment" and follow the prompts.  I am looking forward to hearing from you.

Monday, 14 January 2013

Be Brave, Little Dreamer....

I have a dream.
I know you have a dream too.
Dreams to humans are as sunlight is to plants.  It is woven into our DNA.  It is the way our spirit reaches out to something more, something better, something higher than ourselves.  Yet few, very few, of us ever realise our dreams, live our dreams.  Our dreams get stifled and wither away to mere long forgotten fleeting thoughts.  Just as plants cannot grow in darkness and cannot thrive in the shadows of the trees, dreams cannot see the light of day when they are over shadowed by fear, doubt or negativity.  The acid rain of unbelief dissolves the fragile wings of our dreams and cripple them mercilessly.  Our dreams become ghosts with names like "I-Wish-Had", "If-Only" and "It-Was-Not-Meant-To-Be".

Doubt, Negativity, Unbelief, Self-Sabotage, Fear are all Dream-Killers, and we are their accomplices.  We enable these thoughts to destroy our dreams, to relegate them to File 13.  We allow our internal dialogue to accuse our dreams , find them guilty without a fair trial and sentence them to a life in limbo.  Many years later we find the Cold Case of our dreams on the shelf and we wonder why we ever let go of them, and we are left with the bitter taste of regret in our hearts.

Let us no longer be Dream-Killers.  Today is the day of your dream, whatever it may be, however small it might be, or huge.  Today is the day to give voice to it.  Write your dream in BIG BOLD letters on a brand new blank page.  There is nothing that stands between you and your dream except for that which you allow to stand between you and your dream.  Look at your dream. Imagine what it will feel like to live your dream.  Feel it, taste it.  Write everything about your dream down.  What it is you would need to make your dream come true.  What is the first step you would need to take to make your dream come true?  Write it down, be honest.  Look at your dream from all sides.  Is this truly your dream?  It is never any use to try to live someone else's dream for your life, it has to be authentically yours.  Remember it is YOUR dream, you need nobody's permission to dream it, no-ones stamp of approval or endorsement.  Don't be embarrassed by your dream, or think it is too small or insignificant, or too outrageous or impossible.  Don't compromise your dream.

Now that you have been brave enough to write your dream down - in BOLD letters, I want you to make yourself some flash cards.  Put these all over the house, in your car, at the office to constantly remind yourself about your dream and the steps you have to take to realize it.  Come on now, don't be shy, don't give in to fear.  Yes, I know, it is daunting to have it out there in the open, but be BRAVE!

Next it is time to take the first step.  No! Don't say you'll do it tomorrow!  NOW is the time, the time to stop dreaming and to start DOING.  Only ACTION can turn your dream into a reality.  Don't put it off for another day, for tomorrow, we don't own tomorrow, we have just this moment.  What is it you have to do right now to start your dream journey?  Is it putting out that newly lit cigarette?  Saying no to the piece of cake sitting on your desk and waiting for you to take the first bite?  Signing the registration papers for the course you've been dreaming about taking for so long?  Cutting up your credit card?  Signing up at the gym? Whatever it is, do it NOW!

Remember, you can be whatever you dream.  You have no limits, God created you to be all you want to be.  You are not who you think you are, you are everything God knows you can be.  Make this the year that you will not only dream, but the year that you will live your dream!!  Be like the butterfly that leaves the coccoon , reach out with tender wings and fly.  Be brave, little dreamer....

If you flutter by here and would like to share your dream with us, please feel free to do so.  Just click on the words "no comment" or "1 comment" and follow the prompts.  I am looking forward to hearing from you.

Wednesday, 9 January 2013

The First Day

Early this morning I stood at her bed and watched her sleep, the curls on her pillow dancing around her head like dozens of butterflies, baby-like innocence still visible in the sleepy contours of her face.  Soon I'll have to wake her, but I put the moment off a little while longer, knowing that when I do, she'll be waking up to the first day of her last year at school.  My baby girl is now in grade 12!!  It seems impossible.  Where have the years disappeared to?  Minutes and hours, days and seasons, all have slipped back into Father Time's treasure chest.
As I watched her sleeping, time fell away and I recalled that first day of school 12 years ago.  The excitement was running high!  When I got to her room that morning to wake her up she was already awake, slipping on her crisp new, tiny little uniform on an even tinier body.  She flashed me a big toothy grin.  Her blond hair, usually an untame-able mass of curls, hanging loose over her shoulders.  The new ribbons were lying neatly folded next to her brush, waiting for me to tie them up in two ponytails.  How my heart fluttered at that sight, and how my heart flutters still!
I left her to sleep a while longer, and went to the kitchen to prepare her a breakfast of eggs and yogurt.  When I got to her room with the tray she was awake.  Excitement was again in the air, but a more contained and grown-up excitement. Oh, my girl!!  Do you know the love I have in my heart for you?  Do you feel my prayers following you wherever you go?  May this be a special year for you, my little butterfly.  May the winds ever be gentle beneath your wings and may you only find life's sweetest nectar.  You are dearly loved.

If you flutter by here, please feel free to comment.  Maybe these thoughts stir up your own memories of your children's first day at school, or maybe this year is that first day for your child, then please share them here with us.  Just click on the words "no comment" or "1 comment" and follow the prompts.  I look forward to hearing from you.

Monday, 7 January 2013

Be Still.....

Already the new year is bustling with activity as people return to work, children prepare to return to school.  Desks are overflowing with work that piled up during the festive season, sport activities resume and everyone wants things done by yesterday.  The peaceful moments of the holiday season blur quickly into oblivion.  The rat-race is on again.  It is easy to loose our focus, to loose sight of our goals for the new year and to forget all our many new year's resolutions when faced with the non-stop demands of everyday living.  We get swept up in the adrenaline pumping through everyone around us and soon all our plans, our ideals get lost in the constant mantra of "go go go".
Let me then be the voice that calls to you that says: "Be still".  Take a breath, smell the fresh morning air, marvel at the beauty of the day, take 5 minutes to just be still, quiet and reflect.  Remember your promises to yourself, your family, that this year will be different.  Focus.  Be still.
Yes, it is true, life as we know it today is hectic, more and more demands are made on our time, we have to deliver more, and at a faster tempo than ever before.  We have to constantly be ahead of everyone else to succeed, we cannot afford to miss a step, yet all this comes at a price.  The question is : am I prepared to pay the price,  is it all truly worth it?  When all is said and done, will I be happy with what it all cost me?
It is up to each individual to answer these questions. Only I can decide, only I can say "STOP".
Easy?  No, nothing that we want to do differently to the norm, to what we are used, to what others expect from us, is easy.  Change is never easy, but it is worth the effort.  My own sanity, my family is worth it.  The world and its demands will always be there, shouting ever louder for my attention, but I have only this moment, this now, this family, once.  Be still....
My wish for you this week is 5 minutes everyday of absolute quiet, a 5 minute refuge from the bustle of life...... to really listen and hear the whisper of your soul.....

If you flutter by here, please feel free to share any comments here with us.  Just click on the words "no comment" or "1 comment" and follow the prompts.  Thank you for fluttering by, and I wish you peace and stillness this year.

Saturday, 5 January 2013

Peace to All

We have been blessed with wonderful rain early in this new year.  As I sat outside after another rain shower, I marvelled at the peacefulness of the early evening.  An almost holy quietness have settled on everything.  I thought that this perfect and beautiful moment is exactly what humankind the world over crave.... 
 For centuries people have debated over peace, they have fought wars over it, beauty queens have tried to think up clever answers to it, peace treaties have been signed for it, yet it stays ever elusive. 
Peace is not something you can wish for and it will magically manifest itself, you cannot buy it and nobody can give it to you.  Peace is an internal component, it lies within the individual.  It can only be found within.  It is a mind set. 
Peace is my responsibility, it begins with me.  Before I can even begin to be at peace with others I have to be at peace with myself.  I can only share something which I have in my possession.  Talking about peace means nothing, most people have wonderful thoughts about the topic, I have to live it!!  My words and actions have to be a testimony of peace.
Inner peace starts with my thoughts.  What thoughts do I harbour?  Are they thoughts fuelled by anger, or negativity?  Are they filled with resentment or prejudice?  I have to clear my mind of such thoughts as thoughts lead most often than not to actions.  The saying "You can change the whole world, by changing your mind" is profoundly true!  I have to recondition my thoughts.  Thoughts on love, forgiveness and patience will lead to actions of the same kind.  I can maybe not give peace to the world, but I can certainly share it with my family and with everyone I encounter.  Mother Theresa has been quoted as saying " You want world peace?  Go love your family."

I share with you this prayer by Rabbi Harold Kushner - 2003
(author of 'Why bad things happen to good people')

Let the rain come and wash away
the ancient grudges, the bitter hatreds
held and nurtured over generations.
Let the rain wash away the memory
of the hurt, the neglect.
Then let the sun come out and
fill the sky with rainbows.
Let the warmth of the sun heal us
wherever we are broken.
Let it burn away the fog so that
we can see each other clearly.
So that we can see beyond labels,
beyond accents, gender or skin colour.
Let the warmth and brightness
of the sun melt our selfishness.
So that we can share the joys and
feel the sorrows of our neighbours.
And let the light of the sun
be so strong that we will see all
people as our neighbours.
Let the earth, nourished by rain,
bring forth flowers
to surround us with beauty.
And let the mountains teach our hearts
to reach upward to heaven.

If you flutter by here, I wish you Peace for 2013.  Please feel free to share your thoughts here, just click on the words "no comment" or "1 comment" and follow the prompts.

The Wednesday Mixed Media Challenge is up and running again.  The challenge for January is "PEACE" to be submitted by the 30th of January 2013.
The Thursday Poetry Challenge is also on the go again.  The tile is "PEACE", to be submitted by 17 January 2013.  Visit these pages here on my blog to find out more.