Monday, 29 July 2019

Little Lessons(5) - Choose Happy

Today's life lesson I want to share with you is one which my dad taught me when I was about ten.  I was the baby of the family, so I often found myself in the company of older people and it was at this time that I often heard conversations about growing older and the resulting wrinkles.  It seemed to be a major concern, especially for women.  I asked my father about this problem which seemed to be a product of growing older.  I specifically asked his advice on how I could escape it since I was definitely planning to grow up.  He laughed at this and his answer stayed with me all through the years.  He explained that wrinkles were simply a part of life and that we do not really have much of a choice in the matter (of course he had no idea what an amazing skin my sister would have one day).  His advice to me was that it came down to choice.  No, not a choice about whether I would have wrinkles or not, but a choice about what type of wrinkles they would be.  Would they be angry wrinkles or wrinkles of laughter?  After some deep thought, I decided that every line would tell a story of joy, happiness, and contentment.
I am not really ecstatic about my acquired 'character lines', but whenever I observe them, I remember my dad's words and I remember the lines of merriment on his handsome face, and I hope he would be smiling at mine.  Every moment is precious, enjoy each one.  Find the joy, look for reasons to laugh, smile at people passing you on the street, share a joke with the weary workers behind the counters and even smile at those who greet you with long sullen faces.  Let happiness leave its mark around your lips, next to your eyes and in your heart.

Monday, 22 July 2019

Little Lessons(4) - Pause

This month I have been sharing a few life lessons with you, things I have been taught by my mom, my sister and my friends.  These little jewels of wisdom often help to guide us along the path.

We are living in a very fast-paced world, jam-packed with deadlines and the quest for ever-higher productivity figures.  Words like "now", "immediately", "instantly" and "at once" constantly ricochette through our minds.  We are bombarded by salespersons to immediately respond to their "once-in-a-lifetime" offer and service deliverers barely have time to make eye contact with their clients.  We are forced to make snap decisions.Is this your life?  Are you constantly in a hurry?  Then it is time to press the PAUSE button.  Take a breather.  Eat that wafer chocolate!

Yes, life is brief.  Yes, we might miss the bus.  That is exactly why we need to pause before we rush headlong into something we might regret.  Life is too short to make forced mistakes.  The pause button is a valuable asset. The time it affords us can save us from the regret which comes from hasty decisions. When you are pressured into doing something or when you are forced to make a decision, it should be a red flag.  Say no, pause and reflect.  Give yourself a moment.  Ask yourself if you really need it.  Do you really have to do it? If you really need it, then you will still need it tomorrow, and then you can say yes.  It would have been worth the wait.

It is important to practice the pause. Pause before you react, pause before you speak and pause before you decide.  Pause when you are in doubt, pause before you judge or condemn and pause before you dismiss.
Finally, pause before you panic.

Monday, 15 July 2019

Little Lessons (3) - Self-care

Most of us have been brought up to be kind and compassionate.  Many of us react with sympathy when shown the photograph of an abused animal or neglected child.  Quite a number of people donate to various charities and serve on committees to help alleviate the needs of others.  Many of us are empaths and many are rescuers.  The world needs each and every compassionate person.  It cries out for kindness and comfort.  However, the downfall of many compassionate people is that they do not take care of themselves first.  They harbour the false belief that taking care of oneself is being selfish.  Subconsciously they believe that other people and their needs are more important than their own.  They will even end up putting the needs of other people above the needs of their own family or loved ones.  However, this finally leads to emotional burn-out.  It drains the carer and depletes their energy stores.  This can eventually lead to the manifestation of physical ailments.  Therefore it is important that we learn to, first of all, be kind to ourselves.  We have to provide in our own needs before we have anything to give to others.  We have to fill our own emotional piggy bank before we can give to others.  One of my husband's quotes is that I can only give somebody ten bucks if I have ten bucks in my pocket. 

So how do I take care of myself?  First of all, make time for yourself.  On a daily basis, set aside specifically allocated time for yourself to do whatever it is which gives you joy.  Whether it is ten minutes or half-an-hour of yoga, listening to music or practicing your hobby.  make time for yourself.
Try to avoid negativity.  The television and newspapers make sure they supply us with a high dosage of terror, disaster and general negativity.  This constant bombardment finds its way into our psyche and weighs us down.  Then, evaluate where, how and in what way can you help others.  Understand what is within your power and ability to do.  Look at your sphere of influence and start there.  Be realistic.  You can most likely not do much about the plight of the refugees in some faraway country, but maybe you can help out at a soup kitchen.  It might not be possible for you to change the global danger of earth-warming, but you can try to live greener in your immediate neighbourhood.
Pick your battles carefully and never at the cost of your own health, or your family's wellness.  Yes, we should all try to make a difference in the world, but you owe it to yourself to practice self-care and compassion.

Monday, 8 July 2019

Little Lessons(2) - Do What is Right

You know that feeling you get? That wriggle at the back of your mind?  That little, almost inaudible voice whispering, which asks Should I or Shouldn't I?  Some call it unease or doubt, some call it their intuition or sixth sense, but whatever you call it, it is a nagging feeling that grows ever louder the longer you try to ignore it and eventually it causes you so much stress that it seems to take over every thought.  We often hope that by inaction it will eventually go away without you having to take any action or make any decision.  The bad news is that often, by not making a decision, you actually do make a choice which may lead to consequences you are not prepared for.

Instead of ignoring it, try to figure out what that nagging feeling is all about.  What was it that triggered that feeling of unease or worry?  Take a moment to listen to your inner voice and pay attention to your intuition or sixth sense.  Write down your thoughts and those things which are worrying you.  Make a list of the possible actions you can take to resolve the issue and what would be the result of each one.  Then take action.  Do what you have to do.  Do what is right.  Right for you, but also morally right.  Let your conscience and intuition guide you.

A Life Lesson my sister taught me is:


Monday, 1 July 2019

Little Lessons - Be Kind

Today is what in our house we call a real Winnie-the-Pooh day, blustery!  It is cold and very windy and wet.  The clouds are moving past at quite a speed, and our spaniels are snugly tucked up in their bed, not even a nose is sticking out.

The first day of July, and the first day of the second part of the year.
I thought it would be a good month to share a few of life's lessons with you, and I will be very happy if this month you would also share a few of your own life lessons with us, or maybe some wisdom passed on to you by your parents or grandparents. I believe that the life lessons passed on to us by our ancestors are far more valuable than any inheritance.

One of the things which my mom had taught me was that if I cannot say something kind it is better to keep quiet.  I always try to keep this valuable lesson in mind.  The times I have regretted most are the times I forgot this lesson.  The husband of a friend of mine says that sometimes we knock the guard in front of our lips out and we quickly get in a few ill advised words before he comes to!  I have to hang my head in shame, I am sometimes guilty of this, are you?

I think I need to put this life lesson in a spot where I can be reminded of it regularly:


Have a blessed day, enjoy the sunshine in your part of the world, and if you are in my part, wrap up warm.