Thursday, 30 April 2009

Reflecting On Our Words - April

It's a beautiful morning.........and here we are AGAIN at the end of another month. Hope the month of April brought you much abundance, excellence, discipline, faith, joy, balance AND success, adventure, courage, love, laughter, healing........

It is time again to reflect on our word for the year with my beautiful blogging buddies Annemarie, AVT Coach, Julie and Roban. It all began in January and continued in February and March.

This time we are each writing a short story about our successes our WORD is affording us. The quote below sums up exactly what I feel the word success means:

"Would you like me to give you a formula for success? It’s quite simple, really. Double your rate of failure. You are thinking of failure as the enemy of success. But it isn’t at all. You can be discouraged by failure or you can learn from it, So go ahead and make mistakes. Make all you can. Because remember that’s where you will find success."
Thomas J. Watson

Here are our thoughts about our WORDS.

Roban words are JOY and FAITH

Joy seems like such a simple three-letter word, but it is really so much more than that to me. It's not about being happy. It's not about everything being right in my world. It's just an internal sense of well-being that, despite what happens throughout the day, remains a part of me. I just have to be aware of it and look above, below, and through the din of daily life to see it sometimes.

When I chose my two words for the year, "faith" and "joy," I barely thought of the connection between the two, but as the year progresses, I am more aware of how faith and joy go hand-in-hand. To have faith means I can worry less. To worry less opens a window between my soul and the joy that surrounds me. I won’t say that I am now leading a worry-free life. No. I still worry. But I do know that needless worrying is using up more of my energy and crowding out the joy of life. So choosing to walk in faith and embrace the joy that is given to me is something I am learning to do… one step at a time.

Annemarie's word is DISCIPLINE

Discipline can sound like such a harsh word. It often conjures up thoughts of detention, grounding, the principal's office when actually it should be just the opposite. A person who lives a life of discipline is living a directed and goal oriented life - setting their sites on the prize and making sure everything that she does will lead toward that end.

When I chose Discipline as my word for the year, it was because I saw my life spinning out of control. I was completely living in the moment which is not always a bad thing. However, I was letting circumstances dictate my actions instead of the other way around. It was a life full of excuses and shortcuts. For example fast food instead of cooking because I had too many things to do.

A Disciplined life does not come over night. It is long journey, but it is one I am glad to make with my supportive bloggy friends.

Julie's word in EXCELLENCE

When I chose 'Excellence' as my word for 2009, I had a broad sense of how that directive could be applied in the upcoming year. I knew I wanted to bring a bit more care and finesse to some smaller areas of my life, such as housekeeping and chores. I knew I wanted to instill in the kids a deeper level of respect for working on their lessons with better attention paid to their penmanship, smaller assignments and the like.

I hoped to apply seeds of excellence to those more hidden areas of our lives. And I believe those seeds sown will bring a fuller harvest.

So often in pursuing excellence I have found myself focused on the big items, committing time and effort and high standard to those things that are most obvious, most seen, most noticed. But I've come to see that excellence requires a pervasive attitude that must wash though all aspects all of life, that the excellence I want to find in the grander projects must first be practiced on the smaller stage—a smaller stage in which I act for the benefit of the One who created me.

Because, really, that's what true excellence is, the commitment to doing one's best, even when no one is watching. When excellence is practiced at the smallest level, it becomes a true aspect of character. Anyone can act, on occasion, with great skill and adeptness, but true excellence should be found consistently, a thread of character binding all the pieces and patchwork of one's life.

And so our pursuit of excellence in 2009 continues.

AVT Coach's word is ABUNDANCE

The way I see it, I’ve lived a life of fortune: A college degree, a close immediate and extended family, and a quality group of close friends. These are the aspects of life that I had considered when I thought of abundance.

Still, I had the thought that I would “seek” abundance. I would “strive” for it. Since choosing the word I have intentionally lived my days with a certain assurance that my abundance was evolving. I put feet to it. I began new routines: yoga, more reading, more contact with friends and scheduling play dates with family and friends.

I can say now that I HAVE a life of abundance. I now have a habit of abundant living that carries me through even some stressed days. It is not that my life is perfect, I don’t live in perfection but I do celebrate each moment that I smile when I could frown, say a good word when I could speak ill, listen to music, read and meditate when I could fill my hours with slothful acts.

I love that no matter my financial or relational state my life of fortune continues. I will grow and evolve in many other ways on the journey but I do so abundantly.

My word is BALANCE

Leading a balanced life I have discovered IS in my control!

Very bold statement.....but when all is said and done it is not as difficult as we make it out to be. Let me explain how it works for me.

I begin each task with a purpose and give my attention fully to that task. Some tasks are easier than others to focus on, so I have learnt to slow down, whether it be driving, talking, entertaining, working, exercising......
I recognise when I am off balance and this is when I stop and reflect and often ask for help.

For example my love of blogging sometimes interrupts my other interests/chores/work and when I feel it is taking over I discuss the problem with a friend who helps clarify what I want to achieve and gives me other options to ponder upon.

The easiest way to lose our balance is to cling to fixed beliefs or notions of how things should be. The only constant in this world is change, so the more things we cling to, the more we will be thrown off balance when they disappear. It is like trying to ride a bike while balancing an enormous weight on your shoulders. It is much easier to maintain our balance if we lighten our load.

I would not achieve BALANCE in my life without DISCIPLINE....thankyou Annemarie for choosing that word and explaining how important your word is in all aspects of life.
Keeping the FAITH that balance is achievable and not to give up when the going get tough...and JOY that it brings when successful....bless you Roban for those words.
Of course an ABUNDANT life is then grateful to you Coach for leading the way.
And then EXCELLENCE in all aspects of a balanced life becomes possible.....Julie more than anyone I know shines through with this word.

Please join us in reflecting on your word by commenting or posting on your blog and linking to this post. The blogosphere is a wonderful community, a place to share, dream and smile!

"Making your mark on the world is hard. If it were easy, everybody would do it. But it's not. It takes patience, it takes commitment, and it comes with plenty of failure along the way. The real test is not whether you avoid this failure, because you won't. it's whether you let it harden or shame you into inaction, or whether you learn from it; whether you choose to persevere". Barack Obama

This is a photo of my gorgeous Aunty Mary who reached the wonderful milestone of 97 years young on 30 April me she apitimises how to live a successful life.

Wednesday, 22 April 2009

Decisions, Decisions, Decisions

When I look back there will be things I will regret.

I made the wrong decision.


I made the right decision.

Life is about decisions.

1. Am I going to have the practical car or the fast car?

2. Shall I go to college or get a job?

3. Will I have wine, beer or water?

Whatever decision I make is the only one I could make.

Otherwise I would make a different one.

Everything I do I choose.

So what is there to regret?

I am the person I chose to be!

I choose to live on my own so if I need a photo I have to take it myself! 16 April 2009

Thursday, 16 April 2009

Messages and Truths

After a while I lose track of where messages and truths come from. This quote "What you give out you get back" is a popular one I hear at many workshops and from many people.

You may know this universal truth as "Like attracts like" or "What goes round come around" or "All that I give, I give to myself". This statement, in its various forms is the one I have stubbed my toe on from time to time. It is the one I remind myself to absorb, so I can stay on course for inner peace.

If I want love in my life, love is what I must give, and not just to the object of my affection - to all people.

If I want others to be honest and trustworthy with me, I need to be scrupulously honest and trustworthy with everyone.

If I want support for my ideas, I need to support others in their dreams...encourage them to be the best they can be.

If I want people to be generous with their money, time and affection, I need to give generously in these areas myself.

I am learning to do none of these actions with the thought of return or reward. This would be an attempt at blackmailing my soul.

I think the Universe is not as picky as I am. It receives the messages that I am kind, caring, loving, happy, considerate and generous human being and decides I only want people like that in my life too.

I have noticed, over a period of time, as I practise this enthralling mastery of myself, that the people I once thought important could now seem shallow and petty. Others, who dwelt on the border of my life and seemed not to share my attitudes, slowly gained in credibility and interest to me.

One day I looked at my former colleagues and friends and realised either they had changed, or that I had. I found there were plenty of others walking my new path. I was not alone.

I have learnt to look critically at the things that annoy me in relationships, at work and at home. These are the issues I haven't learnt to deal with yet!

Celebrating a birthday at my house with my closest friends - November 2008

Monday, 13 April 2009

Crabby Old Woman - Young Soul Within

Food for thought......this is for all who have ever had anyone in a nursing home or older parents.....think as you read.

"When an old lady died in the geriatric ward of a small hospital near Dundee, Scotland, it was believed that she had nothing left of any value. Later, when the nurses were going through her meager possessions, they found this poem.

And now, this little old Scottish lady, with nothing left to give to the world, is the author of this "anonymous" poem winging across the Internet":

Crabby Old Woman

What do you see, nurses?
What do you see?
What are you thinking,
When you're looking at me?

A crabby old woman,
Not very wise,
Uncertain of habit,
With faraway eyes.

Who dribbles her food,
And makes no reply,
When you say in a loud voice,
"I do wish you'd try!"

Who seems not to notice,
The things that you do,
And forever is losing,
A stocking or shoe.

Who, resisting or not
Let's you do as you will,
With bathing and feeding,
The long day to fill?

Is that what you're thinking?
Is that what you see?
Then open your eyes, nurse,
You're not looking at me.

I'll tell you who I am,
As I sit here so still,
As I do at your bidding,
As I eat at your will.

I'm a small child of ten,
With a father and mother,
Brothers and sisters,
Who love one another.

A young girl of sixteen,
With wings on her feet,
Dreaming that soon now,
A lover she'll meet.

A bride soon at twenty,
My heart gives a leap,
Remembering the vows,
That I promised to keep.

At twenty-five now,
I have young of my own,
Who need me to guide,
And a secure happy home.

A woman of thirty,
My young now grown fast,
Bound to each other,
With ties that should last.

At forty, my young sons,
Have grown and are gone,
But my man's beside me,
To see I don't mourn.

At fifty once more,
Babies play round my knee,
Again we know children,
My loved one and me.

Dark days are upon me,
My husband is dead,
I look at the future,
I shudder with dread.

For my young are all rearing,
Young of their own,
And I think of the years,
And the love that I've known.

I'm now an old woman,
And nature is cruel,
'Tis jest to make old age,
Look like a fool.

The body, it crumbles,
Grace and vigor depart,
There is now a stone,
Where I once had a heart.

But inside this old carcass,
A young girl still dwells,
And now and again,
My battered heart swells.

I remember the joys,
I remember the pain,
And I'm loving and living,
Life over again.

I think of the years,
All too few, gone too fast,
And accept the stark fact,
That nothing can last.

So open your eyes, people,
Open and see,
Not a crabby old woman;
Look closer - see ME!!

"Remember this poem when you next meet an older person whom you might brush aside without looking at the young soul within. Remember, too: We will one day be there too"!

My 97 year old Aunty Mary and my 87 year old Mum (with hat) - March 2009 - Harbord Beach, Sydney. What a wonderful outing we had reminising about the 'old days'.

Sunday, 12 April 2009

Funny Bunnies

"I got a chocolate rabbit
For an Easter treat,
A great big chocolate rabbit,
Big enough to eat.

So I ate his ears on Sunday,
His nose I finished Monday.
Tuesday, I nibbled on his feet.
I ate his tail on Wednesday.
Thursday I kept on,
By Friday he was going.
Saturday he was gone.

Oh, I loved my chocolate rabbit
From the moment that he came,
And if I get another one,
I'll love him just the same"!

Author Unknown

Apparently this poem is popular with small kids and is sung in nursery schools at Easter time. For children Easter is all about fun, feasting and sharing great moments.....Hope Easter is the same for you.

Charlie and Joseph having their turn with the rabbit at Charlie's preschool when the petting farm animals came to visit - June 2008

Tuesday, 7 April 2009

Thoughts Have Wings

The greatest albatross with which we burden ourselves is fear. It blocks us. It stops us. It paralyses us. It sits so readily and well-practised on our shoulders, around our hearts and in our minds that we scarcely recognise its presence.

I'm not thinking about the fear of parachuting and the like. I'm thinking about being scared to take that extra step, the one which in hindsight would have made a difference.

Sometimes we need to step outside what others tell us to do - the conformity and security of the approved way - and follow our hearts. We are then prepared to be ridiculed and to fail. For some people, the alternative is to live mediocre lives and to be paralysed by indecision and inaction.

As a teenager I was shy. So shy I assumed others didn't know or remember me. I often avoided making eye contact or saying hello. From time to time I would cross the street to avoid speaking to people I knew. Fear of rejection had its albatross wings firmly wound around me.

Now I recognise that we teach best what we need to learn ourselves. I spend most of my life now encouraging others to communicate from the heart. The way to do it is to hold that heavy albatross in your hands and go forward anyway. Soon the albatross will struggle to be free, to find a quiet resting place where it can be comfortable on someone else's shoulders. No albatross likes movement it can't control.

In business, and in life, I tried new ideas. I did some of the things I've always wanted to. Who knew where it will lead? Until I decided to give those things a go, nothing was going to change.

I have learnt that I will never completely fail. If nothing else, I have learnt how to do things better.

As I began to stretch and push my fears further away, I grew in awareness, confidence and strength. It has been a wonderful adventure and a great journey and I know it will continue to be.

This quote from the German philosopher Goethe speaks volumes.

"Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness......
The moment one definitely commits oneself, then providence moves too.
All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred.
A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one's favor all manner of unforeseen incidents and meetings and material assistance, which no man could have dreamed would have come his way.
Whatever you can do, or dream you can,
Begin it.
Boldness has genius, power and magic in it.
Begin it now."

— Johann Wolfgang von Goethe - 1749-1832

This photo was taken at the top of Kings Canyon, Northern Territory, Australia in June 2007. It took quite a lot of effort to reach the top and I was so pleased that I took up the challenge.

Kings Canyon is situated within the Watarrka National Park, Northern Territory, and is a huge canyon 270m high.

The line below is from The Killers song "Read My Mind". I loved this song from the first moment I heard it! The music is so tender and the lyrics just wonderful.

The stars are blazing like rebel diamonds cut out of the sun.

Wednesday, 1 April 2009

Connecting Together

In quite powerful ways, this blog is with me a good deal of the time. I think about it - and you (my blog friends) - when I am walking in the early mornings, when I am out and about listening to stories from friends or family, or in quiet times at home.

Lately I have observed that writing and reading are essential to how our lives interconnect. They are particularly part of the tentative, questing conversations that touch on or open up our deepest connections: the relationships, dreams, yearnings, desires, losses and sorrows that matter most.

That's why the quality of what we read matters. Reading can help us think about life more confidently. It lets us benefit from the experiences of people who are otherwise strangers.

It brings us together around issues that matter.

With that sense of conversation very much in mind, I observe, listen, watch, reflect - and then write. But if writing is the "talking" part of that dialogue, there is also "listening". Each of us will read and reflect in our own characteristic way.

As a avid reader myself, I know that reading lacks encounter, but it does give something else. At its best, it gives me the distilled rather than the superficial thoughts of the person who is writing.

Just as valuably, it gives me the chance to "listen" at my own pace, to question, reflect and add my own thoughts and inner commentary, engaging more actively not just with what someone else has said or written, but with what I myself now think, believe or want.

My 87 year old mother and my brother's dog Darcy, connecting on her birthday in March 2009