You

HEY YOU!

Yes, you.

You know who you are.  You are the type to put yourself last in an endless array of somebody else’s.  Maybe it’s your family or a group of friends or co-workers, maybe its all of the above and then some.

I know you. You’ll say that you are needed and that you really enjoy what you are doing. This is true and it’s just like you to say that.  You might say that doing good has its own reward and to that I must wholeheartedly agree.  You make a lot of sense and definitely you are earning some major good karma points.  You certainly have earned my respect and the respect from many others.

You could even say that I am inspired by you……In all this there is no problem…

You deserve much praise for what you do. In that, again, there is no problem, everyone you know can see this, even if you yourself cannot.

In all that you see as important, in all that you do, how much of that importance is invested in yourself?

Because YOU ARE IMPORTANT!  You are unique. There is only one you……and you can’t be there for them unless you are there for you too.

Take the time for yourself once in a while. Do something you like to do.  Do nothing if that’s what you need. The important thing is that you do it, for you.

This is so important that they created a day especially for YOU.

 HAPPY   MOTHER’S   DAY!

Strawberryindigo.

life’s little pleasures

 Right now

This very moment. This is just one out of a seemingly endless round of moments that make up your life.  How you fill these segments in time becomes your story.

It can be difficult sometimes to weed out the minutiae and  it’s easy to get caught up in the day-to-day trivialities and miss what is truly important.  This often happens with me.  Life in this modern world can get stressful especially during “interesting” times like these.

During my recent “bout of wicked overdoneness” I was forced to slow down.  This allowed me to catch my breath and really see what was truly going on.  I realised that little by little I was missing the small things.  Life’s little pleasures that I enjoyed so much.   I  didn’t notice they were disappearing until they were gone.

 I have been trying to appreciate the small things whenever and wherever I can find them. Sometimes it’s not easy, I’m a sensitive person and I have my share of bad news and bad days.   I find that it is after one of these bad days that I need  life’s little pleasures all the more.

About three weeks ago I made a plan of action. A basic outline of activities that I would try to incorporate into my daily life. These are very simple things.  They appeal to me personally. I have taken on each one of them.  Some are obviously easier than others. I am still working on the last one.

Life’s little pleasures plan of action master list.

Greet the day: Soon after waking I will greet the day by going out to the back porch for a breath of fresh morning air and a much-needed intake of some urban  nature in the backyard. 

Stretch:  I will stretch my body and my mind. I will explore new horizons and grow.

Walk:  I will walk, to move my body,no matter the weather. To get out into the community and out into the world. I will seek out natural areas.  I will go off the beaten path. I will explore.

Stop:  I will stop and notice the simple beauty that surrounds me everyday.  A bird, the sky. A smile from a child, the laugh of a loved one.  I will take it all in and try to find the goodness in everything I see.

Dance:  And sing and let it all out. I will embrace my inner child and go with those eccentric urges and just have fun.

Let go I will learn to let go of that which I cannot control and just simply Enjoy Life as it comes.

Wishing You an Amazing Day! 

Strawberryindigo.

Busyness

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 What’s the rush?

It seems most people are in a hurry these days, always on the run. A blur of activity. Many practically live out of their cars.  Ferrying themselves and their children from here to there, from work to home, to school, to activities. What’s for dinner is decided in the drive thru of a fast food joint and eaten in the backseat by sleepy children after a much too long day filled to the brim with busy.

Sleeping with no deadlines...There is literally no time. No time for this or that.  No time to talk..”gotta’ go”.  No time to eat, let alone cook a healthy meal. No time to say hello, or good-bye. No time for family or friends, no time to read a book or take a walk.  No time for improvement or creativity. Or fun?  No time for love. No time to stop and smell the roses or appreciate a beautiful sunset.

No time to think, or reason or ask why. No time to see the man behind the curtain.

Time ticks by and every moment; every second is a miracle. It is a gift and most of us, myself included, just plow right through it.  Always in a hurry.   Always a full agenda.  It can’t be helped, you know..I’ve said this to myself.  People have responsibilities.  I’m swimming in them and my life is full.   Sound familiar?

Busyness

How many times have you asked someone how they’ve been doing and your query was answered with “busy”  How many times have you said that?  I know I’ve said that.

It is the correct answer, most of us are busy. With jobs and families and everything else in this ever-changing ever evolving world.  Our society becomes faster paced and more complex.  The bar is set higher and higher and you better run faster and jump higher than the next guy because it’s a jungle out there.

BusynessEven when we are not busy, most of us say we are. Idleness is looked down upon. Busyness is related with importance.  An important man is a busy one and his time is more valuable than yours, so you wait.  The poor and insignificant spend a lot of time waiting.

Busy people are needed and wanted.  Busy people are in high demand. It is those that are the movers and the shakers in this world. It is the busy ones that get things done. The busier you are the more important you are and the more valuable your time is.

In Praise of Slowness

There is much to be said for slowness in our fast-paced society.  The fact that  the very concept of “slow” is seen in a negative light shows our need for the benefits that slowness brings.  It’s difficult to see clearly when your life in always in motion. Growth can only come with examination and reflection.

Life is not a road race or a competition. It’s the journey not the destination. Life is meant to be savored. The people in our lives are important, our children are important. You can do more for your child’s development and future success by talking and spending time with them rather than dragging them to a million activities and “enrichment” classes. Time spent together is essential.   Years from now when we are old and running out of it time will any of us look back with rue and regret about how we didn’t spend enough of it at Busyness?

 

Strawberryindigo.

A wicked bout of overdoneness

I have just now emerged mostly victorious from a wicked bout of overdoneness that has led to me being sidelined for the past month.  2011 was such an exquisitely ugly year for me personally that I needed a rest from it. A good long rest from everything.

2011 came on me hard and fast and I resolved to take it on with all the gusto I could manage. It was a year of “one damn thing after another”  and I’m glad that it’s over.

I did however learn a great deal from my experiences of the past year, though many of the lessons  learned still haven’t begun to gel in my stubborn brain. Perhaps some reflection is needed here or at least a semblance of reason on my behalf. What follows my attempt to do so:

I’d like to start with the bathroom scale. this haughty and taunting device has plagued me for years and I have thrown it out. Yes I have.  Really, and I will never get another one.

It’s destructive influence led me to exist on a steady diet of black coffee and nothing. That is bad enough but when mixed with constant and unusual stress, adding a few generous dollops of sleep deprivation, stirring in a flurry of creative manic activity with equal parts of needless worry and anxiety and you have the recipe, well I had the recipe all right, for a total breakdown of all systems.

Stress can be a killer and sometimes life can throw a lot of it at you.  That cannot be helped.  What really matters is how you react to it, what you do with it.  I bottled it all inside and it turned to anger and that can poison you if you let it. I’m trying to learn not to let it.

I’m also learning not to worry so much.  I am learning to let go of the things I cannot change and to act decisively on the things I can.  Be it about money or whatever, nothing is as important as my loving family and my health…nothing. Worry is useless and it’s toxic.

And sleep..sleep is wonderful, its wonderous and it will do wonders. Seven or eight hours a night really does the trick.  I used to think it a waste of time, but no more, it’s vital and very kind to my 42-year-old face.  Perhaps now I could pass for 35? With a full night of sleep behind me I know I feel 25. I cannot say enough good things about sleep and I recommend it highly.

I have turned off the morning news programs and the stock market reports. I have replaced them with relaxing music and good old-fashioned silence.  I allow myself time to ponder. I  have stopped being so damn hard on myself and I have turned off the ringer to my phone.

I have resolved to eat sensibly and try to find time for important issues such as bubble baths and naps. Life is not a race or a contest, it’s a journey and I got a little lost but now I have found my way once again.

I have learned that I am not remotely as smart or as powerful as I thought I was but I also learned that I don’t have to be.  I can sing just as loud. I don’t have to know everything or be everything or do everything, I can just exist and be happy.  Money cannot buy you that.

Happy to be back,

Strawberryindigo.

The power of magical thinking

Imagine the future, I dare you to look the future right in the face.  Imagine yourself 10 years from now….try to imagine.  Pretend you are gazing into a mirror, what do you see?

Are you pleased or petrified?  Does the future you envision make you feel happy and secure or does your future vision scare the wits out of you? Just being a rational person in this crazy world is enough to scare the toughest of us. There is no shame in fear.  Most of us do fear the unknown and the future is jam-packed full of the unknown.  While we have no control over future events, we have power over how we deal with them.  We have control over ourselves, more than some people believe.

What it takes is belief and the rest is easy.

I call it Magical Thinking and it is powerful.

It has changed me personally, profoundly.  Where once I walked in darkness, I now sing proudly in the light.  I have found magic in this simple thing, this simple belief. 

But it is more than a belief, it is much more.   It is a way of looking at the world.  It gives you control over your own destiny because you have that control.  The key is to conquer yourself. That, I believe is the hardest thing anyone can do.

I have spent much of my life in the shadows; shy, withdrawn, silent and lonely.  My self-esteem hit rock bottom and my only solace lie in the cold unforgiving brown glass of a beer bottle. I had a dark night of the soul, well… quite a number of them.  I looked at myself objectively for the first time and I couldn’t stand the sight of me.  How had I fallen so low?  More importantly, how do I crawl my way out?  I had all the reason in the world because by then I had 2 small kids and they needed me.

I needed to be strong for them. For the first time in my life I had to be strong for someone else even when I couldn’t be strong for myself.  I had no one to help me and so I began to help myself.  

I started slow.  I started to tell myself good things about me, even when I had to make things up.  I would set up little challenges for myself and then I would literally pat me on the back for a job well done.  I consumed the knowledge of a growing pile of books. I filled in some gaps and smoothed out my rough edges. 

You are stronger than you think.

I convinced myself of my self-worth and I started to actually like me for the first time ever.  The magical thinking continued.  I finally quit a twenty year drinking habit.  I became more confident and more capable all the while telling myself “Yes, you can.” The more and more I believed the stronger I became.

I started to meditate and through visualization I found that I had more control over my life than I ever thought possible.  I found that often in life you get what you expect and positive thinking can go a long way.  It is we who shape our future by what we are today.  We are all connected and we influence each other enormously.  A kind word or deed may come back to you in ways you’d never imagine.

It is magic and it is ready for the taking. All you need to do is believe. The more you practice it, the easier it gets and the more effective it becomes.  

  I believe that words can hold magic, the following words are a perfect example…..

“Your beliefs become your thoughts

Your thoughts become your words

Your words become your actions

Your actions become your habits

Your habits become your values

Your values become your destiny.”

Mahatma Gandhi *******************

Have a magical day!     Strawberryindigo.

 

Sick

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S I C K... A RANT By Strawberryindigo…

This is usually the magical time of the year when one or both of my kids bring home from school something they did not take there; this comes as the form of a virus that if not carefully contained infects the entire household.

It all starts with a cough, just one, then another and another. The coughs get deeper and deeper.  I know, MM knows, we look at each other..”Oh no, not again.”  We know the drill, It happens every year, flu shot or not.

We are lucky enough to work at home so it is no problem keeping our kids in when they are sick.    This year it was my daughter who first fell victim.  I kept her home for 4 days.  She rested, took in lots of fluids and basically sat around waiting to get better.

On the morning of her last sick day I received a phone call from the school. To my surprise it was the school psychologist. She inquired about my daughter’s state of health.  I told her that my she had been ill but that she was “getting better and that she would be returning the next school day”.  The psychologist then, in a breezy offhand manner told me that “something was going around”… and then she became way too serious when she said that my daughter had stayed out longer than anyone else.

I was a bit surprised.  4 days?  This warrants a call from the school psychologist?

I said what she wanted to hear and  somehow I felt that I had barely passed some test of hers.  We said our goodbyes and the next day I sent my still coughing daughter to school.

The words of the psychologist echoed in my mind and the more I thought about it the angrier I became.  I thought back to the beginning of the year to a speech given by the Principal during Back to School Night.  She was bragging up the school’s achievements from last year and justifiably so. My daughter’s school is fantastic, it is one of the best  in the city and we are lucky to be able to have our daughter attend it.

It was something she said specifically about the school’s attendance record…”which was and still is…award-winning”?

Did I hear correctly?  The schools compete with attendance records, the ones with the fewest absences “win”.  What do they win?  The winning school and apparently the winning principal get bragging rights, which I say are well deserved… but in hindsight I can’t help but wonder if the school is a bit over-zealous in their commitment to achieve perfect attendance.

I thought of my daughter and all the make up work she must do just to catch up.  I think of all the valuable school days missed.  School is important and the quality of her education suffers when she must miss school because of illness.  However, I think my daughter’s health and the health of all the people in the school are more important than an attendance record.  It seems that this prevalent attitude among the schools fosters a climate that encourages families to send their sick children to school where they infect others…and the cycle continues.

It is amazing how one small seemingly insignificant action or non-action can affect so many.  One properly sick child can infect a roomful of people and through that action can affect so many more.  We are all connected, even in sickness.

I realise that many people have to work and have no choice but to send their sick kids to school as well as coming to work with obvious illness themselves.   Maybe an attitude adjustment would be appropriate for bosses and the bosses of bosses as well. Maybe an attitude adjustment for everyone, public school systems too.

We all know firsthand that sick people are not at their best and do not perform well, at school or on the job.  Sick people make more sick people.  This seems to have a snowball effect; making more people perform at sub par. It also turns people off.  When the teller at the bank sneezes on my money or the grocery clerk coughs all over my celery, I’m turned off.

What I’m trying to say, in a long-winded round-about way, trying not to offend anyone but I need to say, really plead….You. (you know who you are) If you are sick and you are able to, please stay home. If your child is sick, try to keep him or her at home, If you can’t do that please wash your hands and do what you can not to infect everyone.

And in a personal note to one school psychologist; keeping my daughter home when she is ill is a consideration to you as well as everyone else.

And so to everyone: Have a great and healthy day!  Strawberryindigo.