I was washing the Schnauzer Dog this morning and the young pup and rest of the family kept interrupting me, pushing open the door hitting me in the shoulder, when I was working with the dog in the tub, full of shampoo.
If it wasn’t the pup pushing open the closed door latch, it was the Moth a.k.a. ‘Man of the House,’ (New homes appear to have internal doors that don’t securely latch closed, unless you slam them).
Each time the door was opened, the very wet and soapy Schnauzer, now full of shampoo would repeatedly try to leap from the tub, and and you can just imagine how slippery a fully soaped up dog was. It was a slightly exasperating situation.
Dog washing complete, I then set about cleaning the laundry and the same scene repeated, much to my dismay. Newly cleaned floors covered with either Schnauzer paw prints or Moth footprints as suddenly everyone wanted to get into the laundry for some reason. Grr.
I felt the tension rising in my body. I was irritated by the door latch not staying closed and the laundry suddenly becoming busier than Central Station. After a few grumbles under my breath, I paused, took a deep breath and tried to remember the wise saying I read earlier this week:
If there is something you don’t like, you can either change it or change the way you think about it.
Each and every day, the real battle for freedom takes place in your mind.
Do you have a way of dissolving tension that works for you?
“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
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
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.
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.
My mind drifted to thinking of resolution referring to the conflict between two people or nations and as I was looking for a suitable photo to add to this post, I found this, in my photo library.
It’s a museum poster at the Beaconsfield Mining Museum in Tasmania, spoken by theminer who was trapped with his mate and a dead colleague for 14 days, 1 kilometre underground after an underground gold mine collapsed. The incredible story of survival and careful extraction by the Recovery team led me to contemplate what resolution might mean in circumstances where all hope appears completely lost. What would resolution look like, then?
Todd Russell and Brant Webb were 900m (3,000ft) below ground, in a tiny space four and a half feet square. They couldn’t stand or sit and had to take turns lying either on their backs or their sides, as sharp rocks cut into them from below. They had a small amount of light, but it was a hot and humid 29C (84F), in their bunker.To keep their spirits up, Russell and Webb sang songs and told stories to pass the time. Their only food was a muesli bar.
On the sixth day, they were found by thermal imaging cameras and a microphone. Yet for the rescuers, this was the start of more frustration. “We were struck by the psychological trauma that affected everybody,” the miner explained. One driller told me that it was easier when he thought we were dead and he could convince himself he was just doing a job, breaking rock.” Fourteen days of painstakingly slow and careful drilling later and the men were brought to the surface.
How would you survive for fourteen days in a tiny space, not knowing if you were going to die at any minute? When there isn’t any other choice?
Todd Russell explains, “I made the effort to go back underground only a week after we got out,” he says. “You fall off a horse, you get back on it. I get quite uncomfortable at times, but I’m not spending 12 hours a day underground.
An amazing story of resolution. What was that trivial thing we were complaining about in relation to a Corona lock-down, a minute ago?
A final word from Jack Nicklaus
Resolve never to quit, never to give up, no matter what the situation.
From The Treasury of Proverbs and Epigrams, kindly given to me by LeggyPeggy comes these wisdoms:
It may be hard to work, but it must be harder to want.
Employment is natures’ physician.
The confidence of ability is ability.
Learn the luxury of doing good.
Counteracting the Negative
Feeling pessimistic about the future of the planet and yourselves? Feeling like you are climbing the walls in self-isolation?
Useful work doesn’t always have to be renumerated in dollars.
If you are struggling with loss of work, are self-isolating, or feeling stuck in an endless loop of negative thoughts, fundamentals are important to acknowledge. You are doing loads of great things to keep going.
Make daily lists to remind yourself of:
Good things that are happening – For example: cooking healthy meals, helping family keep occupied with indoor activitites, staying at home, spending more time and conversation with pets and family, maintaining your room/garden/flat.
Good things about yourself – Eg: I am clever and capable. I have got this. I have survived up til now so I will get through this. I am good at …… ( insert whatever you are good at).
Things that you are accomplishing (even little things). Like clearing out that old cupboard, decluttering Marie Kondo style, creating a DIY project you’ve been meaning to do for years; Sorting and labelling the myriad of photos in the cloud/on PC, or even checking on a elderly neighbour/friend, over the back fence/through the doorway or telephone.
Focus on what you ARE doing, rather than on what you’re NOT doing.’
In this regular Sunday post, I welcome discussion of traditional proverbs and sayings, their metaphorical layers and the many different interpretations found within their succinct words. Not only do they have an ability to transcend race, religion, opinions and age, they may also impart knowledge; a 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 to interpret it how we see fit and how we pass it on.
Caution minimizes loss
– Filipino proverb
Fake news has been systemic for several years now, and the pandemic has seen masses of digital misinformation, from conspiracy theories to suggestions that only old people are affected. Social media is one of the usual protoganists.
So it begs the question:
Will history books be the only truth-tellers of our time?
I think we risk becoming the best informed society that has ever died of ignorance.”
The great enemy of communication… is the illusion of it.
— William H. Whyte
Where do you get your information from and how is it communicated?
Do you know much about the people behind the company who conveys your news? Their agenda or background?
Who do you believe? And Why?
How do you verify your news is not fake news?
You are welcome to join in the discussion. All comments are welcome.
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.
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.
“Let your hopes, not your hurts shape your future” – Robert Schuller
The Hidden Meaning Behind Hurtful Words
“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.
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.
“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.”
“A successful man is one who can lay a firm foundation with the bricks others have thrown at him.”
If your only tool is a hammer, you will see every problem as a nail. — Gambian proverb
A recent article suggests that those who can weather the storms of life have the ability to perceive events in a different way to those who feel stressed and negatively impacted by trauma and life’s challenges.
Whether you can be said to have resilience, or not, might depend on the way your life unfolds. If you are lucky and never experience any adversity, you don’t really know for sure how resilient you might be. When you come across obstacles stress and environmental threats, you discover how well you can cope with life’s challenges.
Reacting to Stress
Do you see a stressful event as traumatic, or a problem? Or is it a chance to learn and grow?
Why do some kids thrive in awful circumstances and yet others crumble despite hailing from more comfortable backgrounds?
Predictors of Resilience in Children
Who will be resilient?
According to the article, support networks are essential to resilience. A strong bond with a supportive caregiver, parent, teacher, or other mentor, who believed in them tended to be more resilient, when life threw them a curve ball.
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.
“The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago.
The second best time is now.”
Sayings, quotes and proverbs 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.
A child is like an axe; even if it hurts, you still carry them on your shoulders.
Several years ago, I created ‘Proverbial Friday’ on my blog, now ‘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.
These wise words 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.
“One can lie in the sun a whole day with just warm thoughts“
Thoughts and Meditation
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 finallyout of your sight.
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.
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.
The MOTH and I were discussing the situation of the Tamil Family- the subjects of failed applications for refugee status, in Australia. This, despite country Queensland being their home of many years and the small community of Biloela wanting, and indeed fighting, to keep them in Australia. Federal court injunctions were heard and precedents for Ministerial intervention which had been allowed for others in a similar plight, (by the Home Affairs Minister) were denied for this family.
AS the MOTH is retired, he watches a lot of TV and is exposed to a steady diet of Murdoch influenced press. When presented with information from alternative or independent sources, he tends to dispute the premise of my often opposing argument. That said, our difference of opinion brought up an important point.
If someone wants has overly contrary views or even xenophobic views, is it always our right to convince them otherwise? We can of course, disagree with them, but arguing against them with logic, or other ammunition – isn’t that preventing them from expressing their own view, even if we think it is highly flawed?
If every news report has some subjectivity, how can any of us be so sure that our opinion, or counter argument, has not been formed without bias? Do others have a right to hold an illogical opinion, even if it is seems ridiculous?
Keeping an Open Mind
Could we in fact, learn something from listening to their (potentially alien), rationale? Especially if, and this is my Key Point, we should listen to opposing views in order to keep a balanced and open mind?
We might attempt to persuade others with facts, figures and irrefutable evidence, but will it win over their hearts and minds?
Because if we succeed in doing so, aren’t we then becoming oh-so-similar to that one-sided subliminal press story that I am so critical of? The ones that do not present all the facts in an inpartial way, or allow any difference of opinion at all?
To offer a balanced view, one has to offer bits of both sides of the argument, without judgement, don’t they?
What do you think? I would love to hear your thoughts and comments.
Every closed eye is not sleeping and every open eye is not seeing – African Proverb
I feel this proverb has much relevance to today’s thoughts.