What did I achieve last year?

We all start out the New Year with hopes and plans, even if they are not written down.  We may express our heart’s desire to our nearest and dearest – we are all hopeful for something.   I am aware that some people are just grateful to have survived the awful experiences of the previous year or maybe some recent bad health that has plagued their usual air of confidence and exuberance.

I wonder what your hope for 2014 is?

So, first things first.   I want to acknowledge my achievements before I look at any failures or things I could have done differently in the past year.

I set out last year with a plan of ‘less is more‘.   I wanted to reduce clutter and stuff and embrace more joy, love, acceptance and good use of time and space.  My hope was to have more order and contentment in my life, physically and emotionally.  I wanted to be available for new learning opportunities and beautiful experiences.

I thought it would be easier than it was.  Now here I am in 2014 and I look around me for evidence and clarity of the outcomes and achievements of my 2013 personal ‘strategic plan’.

When we are being self critical or minimising our achievements, evidence of good work is not easy to see.  With significant change there is always a transition period.  There is a time of transition from stage one to stage two.  From what was to what will be.  It is a bit like crossing a river or chasm, we need to first step onto the bridge and travel across before we arrive at the other side (or stage two).  During the transition period, self doubt creeps in and we don’t always feel confident or capable in our new way of being. Indeed we sometimes feel quite awkward and fake.   Our awareness and alertness is sharp, we are ready and prepared to notice any lack of progress or moments of relapse.

I choose to focus on the positive …

  • Last year I enrolled in a new ‘short term’ study area and have completed 80% toward that Diploma.  If all goes according to plan I will have achieved and completed this study by mid-year 2014.
  • I have continued in my ‘long term’ studies and have now completed (and passed) eleven units.  I am continuing in this during 2014 and have started study in a new unit this month.   I took some time off this study area during late 2013 to focus more on family, well-being and the ‘short term’ study previously mentioned.
  • I have sorted, organised and cleared areas of my house and home and moved some things on to be put to good use in another area of the community and society. That is, I have donated items to charity or the re-cycling process.
  • I have asked for help with adjusting my finances, superannuation and insurance arrangements and feel more confident that this area is in a much better shape than it was in 2012.
  • I have shared some dreams and plans with a good friend that has allowed me (and also my dear friend) to make progress, realise our steps towards our achievements and be motivated to continue positively with daily actions and weekly tasks.
  • I have made an effort each month to notice the good work I do in my ‘day to day’ job and thank the universe for the opportunity to nurture and support others in their ‘day-to-day’ job or life’s journey.  I also thank the universe and the powers that be for my weekly wage and purpose in my day.
  • I have maintained a healthier sleep routine.  Sleep is my sanity and my dream space, it is where I process the day, preparing and strengthen my physical and mental body to cope with the next day and any new challenge that I may encounter.
  • I have become more aware of the routines and rituals that I have (unknowingly) adopted over time.  Becoming more aware does not mean to me that I have to change right now – it means that I am more aware of the benefits and reasons to change (or to stay the same) and then I make the choice to do so (or not).  I still enjoy my morning coffee, but I now listen to the sounds of the early morning birdsong more than the early morning radio that I used to awaken to.
  • I use my Franklin Covey planner every day to plan my daily actions and tasks as well as prepare for social events, spiritual meditation and emotional nurturing.
  • I have tended my garden, planting, weeding, clipping and watering and have given up on the excuse that I don’t have time, I am not very skilled or any other neighbourhood reality – that when explored fully is just another excuse to not achieve or not create maybe from fear that someone or something will destroy or damage my creativity.  I accept and celebrate that my ‘being and doing’ is more important to my overall well-being and personal success than someone else’s ‘being and doing’.

… and I feel content in my progress and achievement thus far!

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Silence is within!

This week has been a beautiful week for me.

It started with a very social weekend with two days of numerous intimate and lively conversations with dear friends, both well-known and new.  I met with a distant cousin for the first time and we exchanged photos and facts on family history.  It seems that my mother’s mother was her mother’s father’s father’s sister.  Don’t you just love old family photos?  What year do you think this photo was taken?

Tasmanian family history

Tasmanian family history

I visited a ‘spiritual friend’ whose company was delightful and inspirational.  We have similar interests in many things.  She shared with me about her experiences and a home that she lived in some years ago that was (wait for it)  … the home of my dreams, my fantasy home.  I was amazed!  It was like she was telling me about my home in a past or future life and it was quite an emotional moment for me.   Her garden at her home is also delightful and it is easy to see that she and her partner have spend many hours nurturing their garden and home.  It reminded me that planting a garden is for the benefit of the soil and the earth.   Yet so many times I hear people talk as if gardening is something you do to ‘sell’ a house – not because you live in that house and home and love it.

flowers of blue - surviving the generations

flowers of blue – surviving the generations

Then I met up with four (lifelong) friends for a delicious evening of food and companionship. We first met when our children were young, preschool years and we are still friends today.  At that time in the early days, we talked about education and school, maintaining and surviving relationships and how to discipline our children.  Now when we are together, we talk about travel, gardening, our delight in our children’s achievements and our concerns for the environment and politics.  It is very special to feel so safe with someone that you can comfortably express your political view or personal and individual disappointments.

I sat with my Mother Dearest to share the photos and the family stories from our distant cousin.  Mother recalled to me conversations and events of the past and how her mother’s sister would visit their home by horse and carriage.  My mother would rush out to open the gate of the long drive for her Auntie.  Auntie would sit in the carriage for the full visit and my mother (as a young girl) would take out a cup of tea for the visitor and her Mother (my grandmother).  A cup of tea to enjoy while they had their family and social chat.   Such special stories to hear and visualise. (if I close my eyes softly I can see a hazy picture of that long drive and the stately woman dressed in black and a beautiful hat sitting in the carriage, sipping tea from a fine china cup with a pretty saucer).  Mother Dearest told me that Auntie could not leave the horse unattended – so they had their cup of tea outside.

Then, before I dived into Monday I enjoyed a looooooooong conversation with my sister as we planned and contemplated an overseas family holiday.  How much fun would it be to travel together and visit places I have never seen before in this lifetime?  To create memories together and share in that beautiful relationship that is sisterly love.  I have collected some pictures and travel brochures to pin onto my vision board in preparation to conjure up this experience for my future.  Vision boards are such a fun thing and a reminder for me of what I hope and plan for the future.

So much conversation and so much companionable joy in those two days, that I needed to stop and absorb it all.  So that it would stay with me, to motivate and encourage me for the coming week.  And it has.   We all need a little spiritual propping up occasionally.

This week my heart and soul is content.  Silence is within me and I turn off the radio each morning as I instead revel in the quiet that is within my heart.  I am so grateful for the beauty in the trees and flowers that are around me, the garden of the Earth.  I listen to the wind rustling the leaves of the trees.  I am confident in the knowledge that I belong here.   I am content as I become increasing aware that I am connected with love to both the past and to the future – I am indeed a child of the universe.

Ah!  I stop and breathe in that silence!

This post is inspired by Daily Post Writing Challenge (February 17, 2014)

This week, we’re asking you to make “silence” a presence in your post. We promise, it’s not as counter-intuitive as it sounds! (Erica, DPchallenge)

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Weekly photo challenge ~ object

Weekly photo challenge ~ object

This object is a jar of possibilities and achievements!  It can be beneficial to keep track of all the great things that happen over a set period (for example the calendar year of 2014).  One way is to write each success or positive experience on a piece of paper and put it in a jar (or tin).  Then at the end of the year, you will have some great insight on the wonderful achievements and joyful moments of your year.  A tool, an object, a thing that can prompt you to remember those beautiful and inspirational moments ..  and celebrate!
This post was inspired by WordPress weekly photo challenge (January 31, 2014).

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A social life

The phone has not rung for a week (the requests for donations and invitations to participate in social research do not count).

A pile of unopened mail sits on the desk (why open them, I know they are just unpaid bills or work related newsletters).

There are no social appointments in the diary (unless I count the weekly family visits – and can I call them ‘social’, there is a social element to them).   Nothing fun or exciting is booked or planned for the next month!   What I am talking about here, is the face-to-face social life dear reader, as opposed to the community of blogging (see zero to hero).

This is not probably not a social life, my friend – this could be considered an isolated way of living.

But wait, maybe this is a good thing!  Being isolated from other, being reclusive.

If one is looking to reduce clutter and waste in their day and seeking for a simple and more honest life then maybe a quiet month of self reflection and contemplation is what is needed in order to clarify that which is important and real.  It can be easy to prop-up the social calender with events and occasions that are based on other people’s interest, sense of duty or fear of loneliness.  If this is the case and a busy social life is based on activities to avoid honest reflection and integrity and also to avoid criticism from others (of what they think you ‘should‘ be doing), then maybe it is a gift that I have been given this week.  Plus, I have time for blogging and to share these reflective thoughts with you. (she smiles)

A gift of time – to stand tall, to be authentic and to live by my values creating a life I am proud of, not one based on the expectations and belief of others.

daily opportunity for integrity

January – daily opportunity for integrity

May you have time to connect with what is important for your well-being, based on the essence of your spiritual self.

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My Book …

“So, I agree to meet her!

In a Pub, in the city.  It is midweek and the after work drinkers are already at the bar enjoying their first drink, families are checking out the menu in preparation for an easy tea together.   It is 6pm.  It looks like a regular and routine occasion for all.

But, this is NOT routine for me and I sit awkwardly with a glass of white wine – away from the ‘happy hour’ crowd – waiting and trying to look comfortable and confident.  I shift in my seat.  I glance around hoping I will recognise her when she enters the room.

There she is.   She smiles as she walks toward me …”

This is my story of a long, uncomfortable and complicated relationship with ‘Cupid’.   Someone told me the truth once (their version) at the beginning but I did not hear, or maybe I was just not listening  -  I knew they did not understand either.

I tell you this story to protect you (although it probably won’t) and to heal myself.  Life is complicated and we all have our lessons to learn.  Life is also full of hope and sprinkled with many humorous and lovely moments.  Read on and I will share some of the amusing and weird stories during my friendship with ‘Cupid’.

Like the story of the young lover who was waiting in the garden shed …. or the passionate moment in public …  and that weird situation at the airport departure gate!

My apologies now if you recognise yourself in this book of love and relationships – let’s not make the same mistakes twice!

Hindsight is a wonderful thing.  Maybe I should have called the book ‘Hindsight‘.

I hope you enjoy reading about my discomfort and my complicated conversations.

~ This post was inspired by BYOB(ookworm) WordPress challenge. ~

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Weekly photo challenge ~ Window

Windows are fabulous things, windows to the garden and sea views, window to my soul …

Sometimes windows are placed strategically in a building to capture the view or frame a view as we might say.  Some windows are set to let in the light yet at the same time block out the view (of the concrete jungle or the windows of the neighbour’s dwelling) in a effort to maintain privacy and create a haven inside the building.

This post was inspired by Daily post, weekly photo challenge (January 10, 2014).

There is a building in Tasmania (Mona Vale) that has lots of windows, 365 in fact.  It is reported to also have 52 rooms.  It is a private dwelling and family home.  I went to visit Mona Vale property once many years ago.  It was one of those events that I remember fondly – a road trip with two Aunties.  Two people I have fond memories of spending time with their companionship during school holidays. There were some funny moments too but that is another story.

There were areas of the building that were open and information available on the property for the public on the day we visited.  My memory of the building is that it had 365 windows, 52 rooms and 7 staircases (there is a slightly different story on Wikipedia).  I recall we had a delightful picnic in the garden – salad with ‘hard boiled’ eggs, ham and fresh bread followed by cups of tea and coffee with homemade cake and biscuits baked by my Mother’s sisters.  It was a delightful day!

This is where the picture of Mona Vale would be, but I don’t have copyright of the picture I could include for you, so you will have to take my word for it in regard to its size and windows.   Perhaps you could research it, maybe visit one of the links above.  It is indeed a beautiful property and building.

Penny Royal, Launceston

Penny Royal, Launceston

Instead I will share one of my pictures (of a different building) instead.  This is part of the Penny Royal Complex in Launceston, Tasmania.

Family time and fun together is so important for our emotional wellbeing!

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Zero to Hero ~ day 14

Progress is good and it is timely for me to participate in this project.  The Zero to Hero project is a challenge set by WordPress for those bloggers new to the Blogosphere.

To be honest I feel uninformed and up until now, have been just doing the basics on my posts since I started blogging in 2012.  So as a blogger, I am still relatively new to the process.  I have now developed and experimented with a number of other aspects to my blog and posts, thanks to the daily WordPress assignments.  I have:

  • added and updated ‘doodads‘ – widgets is the correct term.
  • personalised my page with my own photo as a header.
  • connected with other bloggers a little more and created some links, made some comments to let those that I appreciate know and acknowledged the posts that I enjoy (by making a comment and adding a link on a ‘thank you‘ post) hopefully I did this correctly.
  • adjusted my ‘tags’ and ‘about’ post to be more informed and fresh.

It has all been a bit complicated really (learning new things and trying – making a mistake – correcting and trying again) a bit like life at the moment.  Do you find there are times when you feel like you are on a ‘hurdy gurdy ride’ (going round and round in circles and getting nowhere while someone else has the controls) and you just want it to stop for a bit so you can regain your balance and catch your breath?

It is quite an unsettling feeling.

The last month has been a little like that for me.  It is busy and that is a good thing – it is important to have something to do and a purpose in my day.  But, sometimes we can all feel a little bit too stretched and forget to make time for our health and healing – to refill our emotional tank (with positive energy) regularly.

I have been feeling a little ‘wobbly’ emotional and strangely enough it has also affected my physical balance and I have found myself holding on to the wall and the handrail more often than I usually would.  Maybe it is an attempt to feel and ‘be’ more grounded and stable.  I believe it is the ‘being’ that makes the difference.

Time to stop, take stock of where I am on my emotional and spiritual journey.  January is a good time to rest, reflect and recuperate – to get prepared for the next stage of the journey.

Confucius says …

“Study without reflection is a waste of time – reflection without study is dangerous!”

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Thanking you all …

Dear fellow readers, writers and bloggers,

It is with gratitude that I write to you today.  Firstly I must say I was surprised to receive your ‘letter‘ thanking me (reader appreciation award from Pomme Pal) when I indeed am in awe of the wonderful news that arrive in the ‘post‘ every week from you.

I did write this letter many months ago but only now are posting on to you ..  my apologies for the delay.

Everyday I thank the stars above for the good things in my life, love, family, sunshine, good food, friends, pets, enticing books, music, good health … and being part of the wonderful blogging world.  Each week I look for a letter, a poem, a song or a story of some important aspect of my fellow blogger’s life and I relish every word you write. The fact that you trust me sufficiently, to share with me both the happy and sad moments in your life -  it is indeed a privilege to read your ‘news’.  It is my favourite time of the day, to grab a cup of coffee and sit down to read my emails (question three).

Not only your words.  Your pictures, dear friends are also beautiful and inspiring.  Pictures of your journey along the road, your weekly photos, pictures of your garden, your family, your travels and not least of all, pictures of you.  Those poignant and funny pictures.  I delight in seeing photos of animals and native birds in their natural habitat (question two).

I hear about vehicles going in for surgery and cardboard cutouts going on holiday around the world.  I hear about things that you have given up for good and things that you have begun with passion and purpose.   I check out your bookshelf and I read directions on how to bake a cake, carve a pumpkin, make teacosies, use a knife and write on a mirror with glitter!!.   I learned about National Batik Day, Harry Potter’s invisible cloak and the corridors of learning.  Did I mention ghosts and spots?  I love spots and dots (question five).  I am sure my name was “Dot” or “Dotty” in a past life.

Now that I have been initiated into the blog-o-sphere, [sincere thanks go to my beautiful, talented, informed and educated daughter], I hardly have time for all those other social media tools and systems out there in the big wide world (question four).

Also dear friends, thank you for introducing me to Charles Azvenor, fun afternoons with friends (question eight) and the pleasure of colour.  I adore the voice of Mr Azvenor or maybe it is just the language.  French always seems like the language of love, even when the words may not be about love when interpreted to a language I do understand.

I have a few passions – family and books being two of them – (questions ten) and they both keep me motivated, connected and interested in life and people.

Sunday is a special day (question eight) for me!  It is a day of relaxing and a family day.  It is also the day that I like to pick a bunch of flowers (question nine) from the garden to put into a china jug on the table to enjoy for the week.  When arranging flowers I have been led to believe that an odd number of flowers in a vase look better aesthetically than an even number.  I think the number three (question seven) is a good number, three flowers in a vase, three daily tasks towards my goal and three fun activities planned for the weekend.

The other thing that is important to me is ongoing emotional and spiritual growth and development.  This is what I delight in – a little bit of new awareness and understanding each and every day.

I am certain of nothing but the holiness of the heart’s affections and the truth of the imagination. 

~  John Keats

Here is a lovely picture of the award badge that I borrowed from Gypsy Life.  I hope it shows up well in this letter and in the widget on my blog page, it is so pretty and I really like yellow.  Although green is probably my most favourite colour (question one).

note:  I was going to include some money in this letter so you could buy yourself something nice, but I had already licked and sealed the envelope so I will send it next time (joke joke).  It is such fun giving as well as receiving presents, isn’t it (question six)?

another note:  I hope I have completed the tasks and rules according to those in the know.  (a link, a logo, 10 questions answered and share ‘nominate’ 10 blogs that I enjoy reading).

The 10 Questions:

  • Your favourite colour?
  • Your favourite animal?
  • Your favourite non-alcoholic drink?
  • Facebook or Twitter?
  • Your favourite pattern?
  • Do you prefer getting or giving presents?
  • Your favourite number?
  • Your favourite day of the week?
  • Your favourite flower?
  •  What is your passion?

Thanking you all …

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Zero to Hero ~ Day 10

Today’s assignments is to add and customise two widgets.

This task has reminded me that I have a draft post ..  sitting in the archives ..  from some time ago that I never published.  I think it is time to publish that as it has a definite link to the task (as stated above) that we are required to do for day 10 in the Zero to Hero wordpress challenge.  It is time to correct the function and link on the ‘doodad‘.  Some study and reading might be required first!!

Some time ago when I was starting out in the blogging world I received a couple of awards.  I was getting to know the blogosphere, getting to know the wordpress program and the blogging process.  I was grateful to share in this new world of blogging and really appreciated the encouragement from the wordpress community each week.   But, sometimes it is easy to forget the little things that make for an enjoyable and respectful community in the blogging world.

So today, I want to say “thank you” to you for being here with me – for encouraging me and supporting me.  “Thank you” to those who follow my blog and post comments.  “Thanks” also to those who stop by for a quick visit and post a link on their blog to a post on holistic complications.

Also thank you to pomme pal for her ‘reader appreciation award’.  So now I am off to complete the assignment, do the tasks and set up the appropriate link to the award logo (widget / doodad) and answer the questions as part of the blogging community respect and appreciation action and attitude.

” .. let there be spaces in your togetherness

and let the winds of the heavens dance between you ..”

Kahlil Gibran

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Why am I blogging? Remind me again..

In the last few days I have been tweaking my blog and repairing some of the old and tired parts of my pages and posts.  I have also added a new header photo to my page (do you like?).   The reason I am making theses changes and adjustment is that I have decided to participate in the 30 day challenge offered by WordPress called Zero to Hero.

Tasks so far are to introduce myself and decide on what my name is – who I am, why am I here (in the blogging world that is).

I first started ‘blogging’ in 2012.  I have always been a fairly private person, kept my thoughts to myself and often didn’t say what I probably should have at the time (more about that later).  So, my aim was to step out of my comfort zone and to share some of my thoughts and experiences with other people.  I usually give myself one brave challenge each year, something that even my best supporter think I probably won’t be be able to achieve.   My main goal for 2012 was to blog for a full twelve months.

One of the important parts of making goals is to be accountable, that is share the aim or goals with others and enlist them to support and encourage you and keep you on track.  So I let a couple of people now about my plan, people with knowledge of the blogging world and could give me feedback on my writing.  To be honest when I first started I thought I would still be fairly anonymous and that no-one would actually read my blog  ..  that is it would only be accessed by people who knew me really well.

 PRIVATE AND CONFIDENTIAL

I was wrong!  I was surprised to find that people actually read my posts!! I was so surprised in fact when it became apparent that it was not my family members and friends reading my blog but strangers.  Most of those who read and respond to my blog are people I have never met and probably never will (unless I travel lots and knock on your door, ring on your bell and tap on your windowsill in the process).

I am aware I have lots to share about my emotional and spiritual journey and what has worked for me along the way.  I have been my own best coach and worst critic and have made many embarrassing mistakes in life – my hope for others is that they learn from their mistakes and do not have to repeat the same mistake over and over .. and over  ..  and over again ..  like I have!

I have been blogging for two years now and I plan to continue in 2014.  Thank you dear friends for your support and encouragement.

I am proud that say that I accomplished my initial 2012 goal!

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