blogging, Community

The Destination or Pathway of Life

That old adage… Life is a journey, not a destination! Have you heard it? I have been pondering my own journey, my own path, of late.

Many of us start keen, enthusiastic, running and jumping through the years, none too concerned about potholes or hazards dismissed as temporary obstacles along my path. I tended to follow the path where it took me, not too concerned with the destination ahead. I wasn’t big on long term planning.

I discovered several paths that did not turn out to be thoroughfares at all; in fact, they were dead ends. Other paths required me to take a u-turn, and still others that were so filled with darkness that I turned, then ran from them, back towards the light.

Impending family responsibilities might allow you the luxury of a rethink of career objectives. Mostly this occurs around he birth of children, sometimes it is caring for elderly relatives. The sandwich generation.

Again and again, I have taken paths, convinced that my future destination lay ahead. Some time down the track, the journey became so arduous, the scenery so different to what I had envisaged, that once again I had to admit, this was not the right path for me.

Australia

Now, as I explore a new path, a divergent pathway, I hope, crossing my fingers that not only this path will be a more enlightened one, but that I will also grow stronger with the obstacles that inevitably arise with any new challenge. That I will not trip and fall, but rather will be content, handle and perhaps, better anticipate any problems.

I have learnt many things and enjoyed accumulating knowledge on all the past paths that I have tread. But would it have been better to be a virtuoso of one path, or adept at the many potholes of the few?

Have I bettered my experience or that of others for taking a multitude of paths?

In the end, we all reach the destination and the imprint in history will be the judge.

What about you?

Would you take a different path given your time again? Would a long term vision have sent you in a different direction?

Is Joseph Campbell on the money? In stumbling, we find our greatest treasure?

I am interested in hearing your thoughts.

Good luck on your journey and may our paths cross someday.

Marsha explores more of her destination and features more ponderings.

sea grass
blogging

Dealing with that Inner Voice of Criticism

How do you treat yourself?

We are often harshest in our treatment of ourselves in the way our inner voice reprimands us for making mistakes.

Rather than an objective assessment of our actions, we strive for perfection in ourselves, and are disappointed or angry with ourselves if we cannot attain that desired standard.

Source: https://forestwoodfolkart.files.wordpress.com/2020/11/58006-1ye5vss3wrvp7nv7b51ldzw.png

Trying to be Perfect

Perfection is impossible, yet we continue to strive for it. Let us face it, we are all imperfect beings in some way. So it is a natural and normal state to be imperfect.

We may feel anger or diappointment when we judge ourselves to be useless, inadequate or ineffective.

If your critical inner voice is devaluing who you are, answer back with self-kindness … this is the antidote.

Medium.com
Singapore orchid gardens

Turn negative statements into neutral statements

One easy way to adjust our damaging self-talk is to change “always” and “never” statements into specific truthful ones.

“I always fail at ….” Really, is this accurate? Or, is this statement better?

“It seems like I fail every time I try something I find difficult, but telling myself that doesn’t help or support me in any way and each time it happens, I am learning something about what doesn’t work for me.”

Even in simple situations you might catch your self-talk saying, “You always forget where you put your phone/keys/wallet.”

Imagine how less disappointed you might feel if you change that self-talk to, “When life gets really busy, it is easy to forget where I left my phone/keys/wallet, but that is okay. Next time I might take more notice where I put them.”

If you make a mistake in your work, instead of labelling yourself, useless, using more nurturing phrases under your breath can feel less reproachful.

“I stuffed up this time, but that is okay because I am still learning how best to carry out this task and next time I might do better.”

“Talk to yourself like you would to someone you love.” –Brené Brown

Here is another example from medium.com

Let’s say your inner voice tells you that you’re fat, and you think:
I did gain five pounds. She’s right, I’m ugly.” You feel miserable, right? Neutralize that negative statement so you feel good about yourself. Paint the situations your inner critic is nagging you about, in neutral colors. Name the facts. Add what you think will help you to make it better.

“Yes, I want to lose a couple of pounds. Last week I was too stressed and tired so I ate more and skipped my exercises. I’m more relaxed now, and I can go back to my usual routine.”

medium.com

Be kind to yourself.

flowers
blogging

Overcoming Frustration

“Patience is a Virtue and I need more of it – NOW!”

Have you heard anyone say that recently?

  • Did you ever feel frustrated when someone pushed ahead of you in a queue?
  • How do you feel when someone takes longer than expected to do a simple task at work, or doesn’t complete it in a timely manner despite repeated requests?
  • What if your kids or partner refuse the food you have laboriously prepared and cooked all afternoon, only to raid the cookie jar later that evening?
  • Has someone walked all over your newly mopped floor in muddy boots?
  • Has your final attempt at resolving a bureaucratic problem been quashed by uncaring authorities?
Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels.com

Frustration

Frustration is an intense emotion we feel:

  • when our needs aren’t being met at the time we expect them to be.
  • when we feel trapped.
  • when we are not listened to.
  • when our efforts are not respected or appreciated.

The Instant Gratification Society

How do you react when you waiting for an answer to an urgent email?

Are you someone who responds by sending a follow-up SMS text asking for an update? If they still don’t answer immediately, do you call them directly?

We have come to expect a fast resolution to our needs and experience frustration if that or some other achievable goal is thwarted.

Do you want to know a fact you have forgotten? Google will end our frustrations quickly and efficiently. There’s no need to rack our brains anymore. What does that teach us? That we can quickly solve our own problems?

Society has groomed our vulnerabilities and we now expect a rapid response to our wants and needs.

If we invest more time and effort than we think justified in reaching a goal, the resulting emotion is often frustration and impatience.

Patience is a coping skill we need to navigate a world where gratification is instantly demanded.

How Does Developing Patience Help?

Developing more patience in frustrating situations can improve health and free us from feelings of stress and anger.

However, patience doesn’t mean you will become a people-pleaser or dishonour your personal boundaries, which I posted about last week, but rather it gives you the power of waiting, watching and knowing when and how to act, in order to build compassion between individuals.

  • Patience helps you to be kind and compassionate.
  • Patience improves your health and wellbeing
  • Patience lowers your stress
  • Patience frees you from feeling angry emotions
  • Patience enhances self-respect by staying centred no matter what
  • Patience develops an eye for details

Showing patience offers us extra moments of time in which we can choose how and when to respond to a given event. This may avoid that detrimental knee-jerk emotional reaction. Challenging situations can be dealt with more flexibly.

Practising Patience in Everyday Life

Start out small and practise patience regularly. The following ideas may help:

  1. Practise letting someone go ahead of you in a queue.
  2. Deliberately choose a long supermarket queue. Use that time to practise long slow breaths in your busy day.
  3. Drive the long way home and listen to a podcast or relaxing music.
  4. Actively listen to exactly what is being said/requested by others. Rephrase their request back to them to double-check for understanding. This helps to put your frustrations aside in order to focus on solutions to the problem you are trying to solve.
  5. Let a provocative or controversial comment slide.
  6. Know your weaknesses and avoid letting them become your hot buttons or triggers.
  7. Build your self-discipline by creating new habits and leading a less complicated life. Studies show that people with self-discipline are generally happier people.
  8. Challenge your perception about willpower. Recognize that it is normal to feel frustrated, but believe in your ability to choose to direct your energy in a different way.
  9. Turn your attention inward until your needs are met. This is a good way of practising a form of meditation until you receive the gratification you are searching for.

“Like everything else that brings progress, the greatest struggle is always within ourselves.”

Entrepeneur.com

Go through your life practising patience with grace, and avoid pent up anger or frustrations.

Something to Ponder About

slow down siogn for cyclists
blogging

Chronic Stress

One thing to remember about chronic stress is that it’s only because our thoughts deem something to be stressful that we can actually feel the sensation of stress. 

“Viewed mindfully, no situation is truly chronic. There are always calm moments to notice and be present for,” [amidst the chaos.] “Moments that can be lived in with ease.” (Stacy Young)

Do you Agree?

Can you ever totally eliminate stress from your life?

sun rising over water at the baech
Philosophy

Ways to Improve Life during the Year of Covid

“Few will have the greatness to bend history itself, but each of us can work to change a small portion of events. It is from numberless, diverse acts of courage and belief that human history is shaped.

Each time a man stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope, and crossing each other from a million different centres of energy and daring those ripples to build a current which can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance.”

Robert F. Kennedy
water
The ripples that might build a current

Are you wanting to find more peace and contentment in your life, in this the year of instability?

Giving and assisting others is one way in which you can make people’s lives better and simultaneously feel a sense of satisfaction, achievement and contentment.

If you want to make a difference in your own world, start with the world around you.

If making a difference, all at once, seems a too tall an order or impossible for you, or the process of trying too stressful, consider that we can instantly make a difference, fairly easily. 

Start by focusing on one person at a time – maybe that is the person closest to you.

When we don’t have time or cannot visit elderly relatives or neighbours because of work or Covid constraints, or even personal inclination – (a lack of interesting conversation), a small note, text message or phone call will always be welcomed by them.

Spread loving thoughts to cherished ones.

It is all too easy to assume family members are going to be there for us and thus, we might forget to make any kind of effort towards them. Ironically, those relationships are the ones we often need to nurture the most.

5 Easy Ways to Improve Humanity

  • Pay it forward – pay for the next person’s coffee in the queue, without expecting anything in return.
  • Donate to a charity something that you value – something that might bring joy to someone in unfortunate circumstances.
  • Give a homeless person, a home-baked treat or a fresh meal, a warm coat or bag of toiletries.
  • Help out at an animal shelter for a day or a week. Animals are incredible healers of the human spirit.
  • Smile at each person you met in a genuine time considered way – (being cognizant of cultural and social norms).

“The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honourable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well.”

Ralph Waldo Emerson
Photo by Daria Shevtsova on Pexels.com

You do not need to convince anyone, only yourself.

Break Down Goals into Smaller Pieces

Always useful is the tip to break down seemingly impossible tasks or goals into baby steps, and work steadily towards your goal. This is a great life skill and a way to move forward when negative feelings overwhelm us.

happy smile-beach

If you make one person smile, or laugh, even just for a moment, their smile just might make others smile too.  In this subtle way, you can touch the masses with thoughtfulness.

Aim to make a bunch of small splashes, and let the ripples spread naturally. 

If you want to change another person’s mind or mood, you might have to change a little of yourself, at first and then work on enhancing the environment and the people around you.

waterlilly
Motivational

Playing the Devil’s Advocate

Why do we think negatively when we know better?

“If I expect the worst, I am pleasantly surprised when something turns out well.”

Such an approach to life situations, is modus operandi for some members of my family.

I do get why people do get into the habit. I used to do this myself.

Some don’t like to get their hopes up and experience disappointment. They would rather enjoy the pleasant surprise when everything works out well. Sounds plausible and positive, but is it good for our mental health?

Is this a productive way of thinking – in that it supports us in dealing with our daily issues?

If you do this, does it work for you?

Image

You might even be a “prepper.”

Not the kind that are preparing for the apocalypse, but those folk that prepare for the worst-case scenario, exploring alternatives, or problem-solving the task or situation at hand in order to understand everything that can go wrong, so they can handle it better, when or if, it does go pear-shaped.

In preparing for the worst-case scenario, they feel they begin to process their own grief reaction to crises or adverse circumstances in their life.

Thinking negatively, expecting “the worst,” seeing the downside of positive situations, and even downright expecting failure, all convey a kind of backwards-thinking, emotional insurance policy.

Marc and Angel

When things work out well, people use this mental strategy to feel good about the uncontrollable nature of life.

They are innately rewarded unconsciously for this way of thinking.

This leads them to use this technique to deal with life again and again. Then it becomes entrenched as a habitual response. A habit like this can be extremely hard to shift.

sunset

I used to think more often in the negative, thinking I was preparing for unfavourable outcomes. I would worry about things, trying to process them, and by so doing felt I would be better prepared for the worst of the worst outcomes, if that eventuated. In the meantime, was I setting myself up for a self-fulfilling prophecy?

Sometimes, as foolish as it sounds, we’d rather be right about our negative predictions than have a positive outcome prove us wrong.  And since negative thinking leads to negative actions, or no action at all in many cases, by thinking negatively we create a self-fulfilling prediction for ourselves that confirms that we were right about the circumstance all along.

In other words, we think negatively, predict a negative outcome, act negatively, and then receive a negative outcome that fulfils our prediction. Of course, none of this is what we truly want or need in our lives.

Marc and Angel

It seems that our desire to want to be right, or feel in control of the changeable nature and vagaries of life is one reason why we subconsciously choose this negative strategy, through no fault of our own.

In fact, whatever it is we are seeking will rarely ever come in the form we’re expecting, but that doesn’t make it any less wonderful.

Afterthoughts

Choose to ignore negative thoughts because they do not support you but do not feel guilty if this is not easy or achievable.

Life can be good even if it isn’t perfect.  Too many people miss a silver lining because they’re expecting pure gold. Life can be good even if it isn’t perfect.

Positive thinking isn’t about expecting the best to always happen, but accepting that whatever happens, is the best, for the moment.

Someday, the negative voice inside you will have nothing left to say.

National garden Japan
Community, Mental Health, Motivational, Philosophy

Sunday Sayings – Hurtful words

This week in Australia, there has been many hurtful words slung in the fight for supplies in supermarkets – primarily panic buying on toilet paper. The premise is flawed as we have enough supplies and manufacture it here. But still, folks panic buy a trolley load! Brawls have erupted in the toilet paper isles of the major supermarkets! Hurtful words have been said.

beach

Feeling Irritated

A few weeks ago I was discussing what happens when we feel irritated by someone else’s words.

I asked:

What do we gain by feeling irritated? Is there any kind of benefit in this?

  • We get to feel like a martyr – meaning I AM still okay so you are NOT
  • We get to blame others for our feelings
  • We get to feel unhappy and it’s someone else’s fault

Ultimately, all of us need to take responsibility for our own feelings and aim to be more accepting of other people, their temperaments and priorities.

But what about the other side of irritation? The fall out from those spiteful words said in a moment of anger that are often regretted? It is not always easy to repair the damaged relationship, nor unsay what has already been said.

Hurtful words are often said when we do not have, or cannot find, the words to clearly express our needs, clearly or succinctly. It seems like frustration and pain often lie behind the words that are spoken.

Te Mata Peak New Zealand

Weekly Quotes

“Let your hopes, not your hurts shape your future” – Robert Schuller

The Hidden Meaning Behind Hurtful Words

from pamfullerton.com

“In making hurtful comments, we are usually trying to communicate strong, unresolved feelings. However, this seems to work against us as it causes pain in ourselves and others.”

And if we don’t transform pain, we might transmit it.

Thinking about what it is that we really want to communicate when we say hurtful words to, someone we know, is useful.

Some examples:

Angry statement: “You never spend time with me anymore – you don’t care about anyone but yourself!”

The real meaning: “I miss you and sometimes I feel unloved & lonely when we don’t spend time together”

Said with frustration: “Calm down”

The real meaning: “I’m at a loss, I feel inadequate because I have no idea how to help you”

Said with hurt: “I’m done – I want out”

The real meaning: “I don’t want to be hurt anymore and I’m at a loss as to how to make things better between us”

Said in exasperation: “Get over it and just deal with it”

The real meaning: I can’t help anymore, as I am out of useful suggestions.

Expressing our true feelings can makes us feel vulnerable, and if the other person fails to respond to our admissions, with empathy, or begins to accuse or blame, the hurt will be felt even more acutely.

IMG_8851

“Spiteful words can hurt your feelings, but silence breaks your heart.” Source – unknown

Do you ever get the silent treatment in times of conflict? Phone calls that are blocked or remain unanswered?

Could this communication breakdown be a method of coping with the situation or possibly freezing you out so that reconciliation is impossible and the other party will be seen to be right? Are they finding it impossible to find any words to convey their true emotions?

Hurtful words damage the trust we feel in any relationship.

Quotes and proverbs provide us with some wisdoms:

“There is only one thing more painful than learning from experience and that is not learning from experience.”

-Archibald MacLeish

Weekly Proverb

A gentle word opens the strongest lock

– Old English Proverb

Sunday Sayings – Something to Ponder About

Norrheimsund
Motivational, Philosophy

Be Less Judgmental

embroidery craft  bench seat

Do you think Frank needs a job?”

No wonder Lucy doesn’t present well, her clothes are so old-fashioned.”

You should take more care with your car.

How often do we hear judgemental comments about others, analysing what folks should or shouldn’t do? These comments or suggestions are often negative and critical in nature.

Making a judgement about someone else effectively puts up a barrier between them and us. So if we stop, or at least aim to reduce, judging and analyzing commentary towards others, we might find communication improves, and we might begin to feel closer.

If we minimize judging and analyzing, the spin off can also be a greater peace of mind for us.

When we complain about other folks, we are actually sabotaging our own peace of mind. This is because we allow ourselves to be disturbed that things are not as they “should be.

Ron Mueck
Ron Mueck

The Taoists say,

“It is possible to appreciate people for their uniqueness – like you might enjoy a certain song. You don’t have to analyse and pull it apart.”

In being more open, flexible and accepting, you let others be the master of their own lives.

PEACE OF MIND CAN COME MORE FROM A CHANGE OF ATTITUDE, THAN A CHANGE IN CIRCUMSTANCES.

Making Mistakes

We learn so much from our mistakes, don’t we?

Therefore, it is sensible to let others make mistakes and not rob them of that learning experience opportunity that might be so valuable to them.

We are also taught, via our education system, to analyse and have an opinion. But it is perfectly okay to have no opinion at all.

Question: –“Do you think Frank should get a job?”

Answer: – “I think Frank should do what he wants.”

technology

Judgement Challenge

This week I will set a challenge for myself and for anyone who cares to join in to:

Spend a week not judging anything or anybody.

When I meet someone who talks about others, complains a lot or doesn’t work, under my breath, I will say something along the lines of:

I give you the space to experience life as you choose.

It’s not for me to judge you.”

Let’s see if life is a lot easier that way.

Will you join me in trying this?

It doesn’t mean you have to like everybody.

Being less judgemental means you can maintain your own particular preferences in life, but remain more calm in your attitude.

If you are around a complainer, you might choose not to be in their company, but this is coming from a position where it does not feel right for you, rather than open condemnation of their differences.

If you spend your whole life being irritated by others, it is obvious that there is going to be a lot of people who don’t see things your way.

You can wait for people to start thinking like you or you can grant them the right to live their lives the best way they know how.

YOU GRANT THEM THE RIGHT TO LIVE THEIR LIVES THE BEST WAY THEY KNOW HOW.

Unknown
alone

Evaluation

Let’s check back in a week to see how we are doing with this.

StPA

Cedar Creek, Australia
Community

Sunday Sayings – Meditation

snow cottage sweden sverige skellefteaa
A Cottage in sweden

Weekly Saying

Man kan sola sig en hel dag i en varm tanke

One can lie in the sun a whole day with just warm thoughts

Swedish proverb

Thoughts and Meditation

pensive thoughful looking upward

One of the benefits of incorporating a regular meditation practice into your life is in helping to settle the mind.

With the constant expectations and intense stimuli around us in the modern world, thoughts may easily race out of control and threaten to consume us. Or, when all is quiet and we’re alone for too long, our mind and thoughts can worry us and give us no rest.

Relief may be found in relaxing the mind. Recurring or troubling thoughts may elevate our mental state and encourage the release of adrenaline and stress hormones in our bodies. Clearing the mind, or stilling those thoughts, especially the recurrent ones, may give the emotional self attached to those thoughts, a much needed break.

Sometimes it is impossible to ‘clear’ the mind; to just think more positively.

That’s when it may help to step back from one’s thoughts and see them as separate to your own self. Because they are!

You are not your ‘thoughts,’ alone! There is a person and a body in there too.

Looking at your thoughts as if you are an observer, as a silent witness can help quieten a tumultuous mind.

When I felt like the emotions deriving from troubling thoughts, especially negative ones, were consuming my thinking, I found the following analogy helpful, in promoting mental stillness and calm.

Meditation Exercise – Be an observer

Find a quiet place and:

Imagine that you are sitting on a riverbank and that you see a leaf or branch, stick or even a flower, (if that suits you), floating along with the stream’ s current.

That leaf/twig/flower is floating down the stream towards you. You see it approach, floating on that gentle current, and you continue watching it, in your mind. It continues to float by and eventually you see it pass in front of you, the current then taking it further downstream and then finally out of your sight.

stream

Each branch/leaf/petal, is a single one of your thoughts.

Sometimes that floating stick or branch might get stuck on a rock, or the riverbank itself for a while, before the current again catches it and it floats away out of sight.

Each thought is a different leaf or stick that will pass by on its way. You remain calm, staying out of the way, a silent observer on the riverbank but watching this from a distance.

In this way, you see yourself as separate to your thoughts, a silent observer.

Keep your thoughts positive because your thoughts become your words. Keep your words positive because your words become your behavior. Keep your behavior positive because your behavior becomes your habits. Keep your habits positive because your habits become your values. Keep your values positive because your values become your destiny.

-Mahatma Gandhi

The emptying or observing of emotions is like pressing a reset button on all the stress hormones and neurotic needs caused by daily life situations and experiences.

We can all use a Reset button at times!

There are many other methods of meditation that are useful to still the mind. I found mindfulness and bead meditation to be most useful for me.

meditation
Bead meditation and mantras

You have to find the method that suits you best.

Happy Sunday

Community, Mental Health, Philosophy

Sunday Sayings – Holding on

Weekly Proverb

“Insignificant damage accumulates.”

Strauss, Emmanuel (1994). Dictionary of European Proverbs, Volym 1. Routledge.

Weekly Quote

“It is the set of the sails, not the direction of the wind that determines which way we will go.”

Jim Rohn
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

I read this somewhere: Sometimes you have to walk away from people, not because you don’t care, but because they don’t. 

When someone repeatedly hurts you over and over again, you might have to accept the fact that they don’t really care about you.

That is hard to contemplate or hear, especially if you really care about them but sometimes it is necessary for you to hear this in order for you to let them go. 

Do NOT strive to impress them any further. Waste not another second of your time trying to prove something to them. Nothing needs to be proven.  Do not act with any thought of them ever again.

Give yourself permission to let those folk go from your life……

A sobering thought for Sunday Sayings.

Several years ago, I created ‘Proverbial Friday’ on my blog.

I became fascinated with traditional proverbs and sayings, their metaphorical layers and the many different interpretations found within just a few, succinct words. I marveled at their ability to transcend race, religion, opinions and age.

They offer us knowledge; knowledge that is passed to us in much the same way relay runners might pass a baton. Once it’s handed over, it is up to us what we do with it and how we pass it on.

Community, Philosophy

Sunday Sayings – Contentment

Bättre en fågel i handen än tio i skogen.

Better a bird in hand then 10 in the forest.

Swedish Proverb
bird

“Be thankful for what you have; you’ll end up having more.

If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you will never, ever have enough”

― Oprah Winfrey

Are you constantly seeking contentment?

Marc and Angel stated that there are two variations of contentment in life – fleeting and enduring. 

“The fleeting type is derived from instants of material comfort, while the enduring type is attained through the gradual growth of your mind.  At a glimpse it might be difficult to decipher one from the other, but as time rolls on it becomes vividly obvious that the latter is far superior.

Enduring contentment sustains itself through life’s ups and downs, because through them your mind remains confident and at peace.  On the other hand, when life’s fleeting changes have the ability to ruffle your mind into a frenzy, even the most elaborate physical comforts won’t make you any happier for very long. “

“We are not rich by what we possess but by what we can do without.”

― Immanuel Kant

Several years ago, I created ‘Proverbial Friday’ on my blog, which morphed into Sunday Sayings.
I became fascinated with traditional proverbs and sayings, their metaphorical layers and the many different interpretations found within just a few, succinct words. I marveled at their ability to transcend race, religion, opinions and age.
They offer us knowledge; knowledge that is passed to us in much the same way relay runners might pass a baton. Once it’s handed over, it is up to us what we do with it and how we pass it on.

Something to Ponder About this sunday.