This last month of February has seen me join my cousin and a few others on Facebook, in a challenge to take a photo every day during the month, of something you are grateful for and post it on your profile. I was fairly grudging in mood at first, because I'd been in a bad place for a long time. But it was great to have one of my first thoughts each day being to grab my camera. And to always have in the back of my mind during the day, about something positive in my life. To shift my focus from how I was feeling inside, to a different perspective. I've heard of people doing journals like this of things they love or are grateful for each day. Even attempting them for only a few days. But if you stick with it, forcing yourself at first and even when you don't feel grateful, it's amazing how that subtle shift of focus can alter your outlook on life and overall mood after a month. I must admit I've been doing other things too, working hard on myself, to lift myself out of this funk. But I believe that this little exercise has been a big part in the change in me. Creative pursuits always work well for me. Why oh why do I let myself get so far down that I can't even find a spark of energy or motivation to be creative! Do I dare say never again. No - I'm too human for that *laughs*.
It is tragic just how fast, furious and ferocious the Bushfires down south were. And almost unbelievable the number of casualties. My cousin was having trouble getting her head around how many deaths there were, so one morning she went out and sat on her deck, and counted out 1 pebble for each death from her nearby garden, making them into the shape of a heart as she went. This really brought home how many precious souls were gone and just how much grief and devastation would be left in the wake of this tragedy. It is great how Australia has rallied with raising money for those affected. Even in the little town where I live, with a population of around 3,000 people, already over $10,000 has been raised with a Cattle Sale and other functions still to be held. This does not take into account personal donations, the truck loads of animal fodder being taken down voluntarily and people who have gone down to volunteer their time. It's truly amazing the capacity Australians have to give. Living in a small town, I am continually amazed at how much others give and how much money can be raised in a crisis. I should not be amazed, having lived here so long, but I always am. We can have a family afflicted by a tragedy and within a few weeks a fundraiser is arranged, held and up to $30,000 raised. That is truly amazing for such a small population. But I digress. Even with all the tragedy and the giving, there are those who struggle to live day to day and don't have much spare to give. Unfortunately at times these people can be made to feel selfish, or guilty or ashamed because they aren't giving as much as others. This isn't very nice, because if you look at the overall picture and everyone gives what they can afford, even buying a $1 raffle ticket or a cake at a cake stall, the monetary value adds up just the same. After all, what does that old saying say? It's the thought that counts. Well that is true. It's the heartfelt gesture behind the monetary value, giving what you can afford or even giving what you can't afford that week. It's a personal thing and should never be judged. Whatever anyone gives, whether it be money, time, services or second hand items from their home, it is needed by someone out there who has nothing. Someone who will appreciate the gesture, the love, the compassion and the thought behind each and every donation. So I hope nobody is beating themselves up because they (can't) give enough. Or that others aren't making you feel inferior because they may be financially better off than you and giving more. Embrace your loving giving spirit and know that that is more than enough.
I am the first to be a fan of technology. I like gadgets. I carry a mobile phone, especially when I travel. I use Facebook to stay in touch with relatives who live far away and old friends I'd lost touch with. I've used Instant Messaging in the past and am prone to sending off a quick SMS. Email - where would I be without email? But I think like in the rest of your life, these things should be used the same way you would treat people in person. I have found that it's easier for people to be mean to others and say things they wouldn't in person, via text message, email or post it all over Facebook. To say things in the heat of the moment, that they may consider more carefully in person, or if they had to get in the car and drive to the person's house before saying it. It's cowardly. It's mean. It's rude. The behaviour in many ways is worse than if done in person, as it leaves people without a comeback. Without being able to address the issue. Without being able to have a discussion and put their side across. And many times I find that if you were to address them in person about something they've said in some techno form, it makes it worse. They'll deny they meant that, or they phrased it badly or you're blowing it out of proportion. I am the last person to like confrontation. It literally brings me to my knees, I shake that badly. But I'd rather have a chance to have my say or defend myself, than be left hanging, hurt and wounded at the other end of a computer. I know I've been guilty at times of telling people things via email that I'd find difficult to do in person. But not necessarily mean things. Things that I'd find hard to find a moment to get them to listen. Or to hear me. Or for me to be articulate enough in person. But I won't do it in the heat of the moment. I take a long time to consider what I say before sending it. Give them time to read it and then meet up to talk about it. But they're not mean things - usually just issues deep and painful for me. People that use technology to harrass, insinuate, hurt, accuse, or make trouble, are bad mannered, rude and cowardly, hiding behind a device, with little thought for the people concerned. Literally people become objects, become without humanity, become impersonal and partly 'unreal', when technology is involved. And people aren't any of these things. Think everyone, before you reach for your favourite gadget and send out that hurtful barb to friend, family or foe.
We all have bad habits. There are so many to choose from. Smoking, chewing your fingernails, laziness, picking your nose, talking too much and on and on they go. I also think that the way my defense mechanisms are these days are now bad habits. Sure, they originated from need and from a very bad place as a child and subsequent traumas over the years. And while I need to address the core issues there, to a degree, the negative spiral of thinking and pathways of emotions that surround me every day, making life so very difficult and joy very limited, is habitual. While I know it doesn't work, I still do it. Do things without a conscious thought to stop it or intervene or change it. Just like a bad habit. It takes a lot of energy and conscious thought to change bad habits. As it will do with the way I criticise myself or judge myself on standards I've borrowed from others and from society. Using these things to beat and pummel myself, until I am weary and have no motivation or belief in myself. And fear. Fear is with me all the time. I live with a certain level of hyper-vigilance - one step away from panic it seems. But I accept this and assume I must get used to it. Yet I flee from the fear if I can, distract with not always healthy choices, avoid what I really want in life in case I ignite a flicker of fear or other negative emotional set, erect barriers of all sorts to keep me safe, control every possible thing I can and basically sabotage my own dreams and joys with old coping and defense mechanisms that are triggered far too easily and that I allow to run their course. Yes, they were born from great trauma. Yes, I need to deal with the inner darkness and the "root of all evil" so to speak. But the chaos inside can surely be turned down a few notches. The intensity of the fear tolerated by letting it in and realising I have nothing in the current moment to fear. The paralysing criticism/judgement reigned in, so I am freer to attempt the things I crave, the things I love, the dreams I want to pursue. Freer to live. To let joy in. Bad habits - far more than smoking or nose picking. And far more damaging and far reaching into daily lives.
I wonder what happens to good intentions? Even after a lot of work and time organising things or tidying up - what happens to the resolution to keep it that way? Internet Bookmarks, cupboards, drawers, the kitchen table, the inside of your car, even the garden - all have lives of their own, seeming to return to a state of chaos overnight. Must be the little devil sitting on the shoulder of good intentions. *laughs*
Old sayings often have great value and are being lost in our modern society. Not only in saying them, but practicing them. Our society is becoming more and more superficial where appearances and first impressions carry too much weight, having all the gadgets, the right car and new house are valued too highly, as is the academic and extra-curricula achievements of even very young children. What happened to getting to know people? Seeing beyond whether they are black, white, Asian, fat, thin or if they're wearing clean or name-brand clothing? What happened to working hard, caring for friends and family, valuing what you have, working from the bottom up, repairing and renovating your home as you can afford and as years go by? What happened to children being children without the pressure of achievement? See qualities in all of us beyond status, money and the highest achievement possible? I was driving home this morning and noticed an older man in very dirty raggy clothing, carrying all sorts of junk, walking along the highway with his head down, before disappearing from sight. He appeared to be homeless - something we don't see much in our small town. Instead of feeling disgusted at his appearance or scared because he looked different from the norm, I felt incredible sadness and empathy for him and made a mental note to keep an eye out for him in the following days, and to offer him a warm drink and direction to the local Salvation Army Depo, or help of a similar nature, that seems appropriate in the given moment. I felt proud of myself and a swelling of my heart, at the love I seem to have for humanity. And saddened too, that I judge myself too harshly on the exact same things I deplore when others judge or that I don't seem to judge others by Criticising myself for not working enough, for being fat, for wearing sloppy clothes or being ugly and lazy. A little reminder to be kinder to myself as I'm as deserving of self love as others are of my love.
How wonderous the feeling is when you get a glimpse of your true self. Of what you want in life, without what people have told you you should do over the years. Without voices of current or past people or societal issues intruding. Without your inner critic or judge rearing it's ugly head. Just a clear picture of what you want to do and the path you want to lead. This is your inner spirit, your inner self, which is so true and beautiful, speaking to you. And it's a feeling beyond description in it's wonder. It doesn't mean the path will be easy and stumble free. It just means it will be worth it.
Welcome to my Blog - Life's Rollercoaster. Due to life not being so kind to me, to put it simply, I struggle to have opinions and share what I like and dislike, even hobbies, with people. Having always tried to please people, guess their moods and give matching opinions, reactions and answers, I've stifled myself.
This is really a safe place for me to start practicing expressing my opinions in another place besides my head. They may change, they may be simple, they may be different to yours.
I'm not looking for conflict. I'm even afraid doing it this way. But it's a start, so bear with me.