Words!

Quite simply put, words make the world go round!  I love them, always have.

I remember the first ever book that made me fall in love with the fantasy it held.  Enid Blyton wrote about girls heading off to boarding school in Mallory Towers.  I remember the first one I read, it was to my detriment that book that hooked me onto series of books.  During a family holiday to Ireland, my whole family, my 3 brothers, Mum and Dad stayed with my Aunt, Uncle and two spoilt cousins.

For me, a loner of old it was my first experience of making excuses to go to bed, just for peace and escape into the pages that included stories of tuck boxes, trunks and sisters heading off to school away from their families.  The excitement about uniforms and new friends, I remember holding that book.  I do believe now, the hard covered orange book, which now I think about it was probably from the original print of 1946 and I should have taken better care of it.

These books had me hooked, not just to the story and escapism but to reading in general.

There is a saying “Fiction was invented to combat loneliness” isn’t this truth?!  Many a night when I have felt alone, when I have been fighting a war I cannot fight within myself have I turned to comfort reading, the words that I already know, in books I have read many times before are like a warm blanket that can engulf me into its arms and I don’t have to think about anything.

We can use words to learn, although I am not a fan of self help books, I do learn so much from the fiction I read, the different way human beings cope with different scenarios has helped me deal with many people.

There are readers that just read the story, they just read to get from A to B without taking in the story or the lesson and there are readers that will take on board every word that is on the page.

Also there are writers out there that can tell a story, but they tell it to outwit the reader rather than engulf them into it.  They are so proud of their ideas that they forget to add emotion, detail, 3 dimensional characters.  It is just a means to get from A to B with them having one up on the reader.

Novels and stories aside, words are the window to the soul for many people.  They can make or break friendships, they can build relationships and they can break down barriers.  Words can also hurt, wound, and injure so easily if fired off in anger.  Words can apologise, explain and win back if they are used carefully.  Poets and lyricists are those that can write the most emotive, soul burning words that can bring your feelings and love to the forefront.

I love songs, but for the lyrics! I admire those that write with their heart on their sleeve.  I love to listen to Passenger, Ben Howard even, and I blush when I say this, One Direction.  The words of songs can take me back in time, can push me forward to wishes and hopes and can make me wish for someone in my life that can express themselves in that way (like 1,000’s of other woman).

Words are the oldest form of communications, written, spoken, sung.  Text messages, emails, old fashioned snail mail, postcards and notes.

Recently I found the notes my ex husband and I used to write to each other in the mornings.  In the first flush of love he would rise before me every day and often have left for work before I woke up, every morning without fail there would be notes left for me near the coffee machine.  I loved those notes; I loved knowing that although his day or morning was busy I was on his mind.

Now we wait for text messages to arrive, just to know you have not been forgotten.  We search our emails and social media.  We look decide if we are popular or thought of through a simple like of a picture or comment.  Instant gratification has made the sheen of words written on good paper with fountain pen mean nothing and a distant memory.

Hand written letters will always be my favourite, not that they appear anymore.  But for years I would scour the stationery shops, when I was away at school for different coloured writing paper to send letters to my friends.  Always about boys we liked, or the occasional band member.  But I have all those letters still, in my keepsakes.  I don’t have one email that meant something to me, I never keep them.  They don’t seem as special as letters.

Now that I am a grown up, my love of words has not changed.  I still enjoy reading books, often devouring one a week.  I write for a crust now, earning a decent living writing stories and media.  One day I will write my own novel, using words that I have held onto for many years.

Words are emotion; they can be a difference between what we think and what we get.  They can tell someone how special they are or how hurt they have made us feel.  But words, above all, can heal any pain if used correctly.

I have found an amazing cathartic release writing down how I feel, not always sending or aimed at anyone in particular, but releasing my anger and confusion onto paper has helped me heal my world, just release my feelings and I have been able to move on without that need to make sense or need answers for.

If we need to read words to learn, write or say words that teach and inform.  Be the answer that people need through the way you express yourself.   Sometimes we forget the written word goes far and above just at work.

I will continue to inhale books, reading everything in front of me, my escapism is there, on hand, no matter where I am.

Thank you, to all those amazing writers out there that have healed me, helped me and soothed me through the years.  Keep it up!

 

 

 

 

Does Karma Exist?

Does Karma Exist?

Like many people I have often responded to a bad situation with the words “karma will catch up with them” but does karma work that way?

In the last few years I don’t think it does, not in a negative way anyway.  Karma works like many spiritual beliefs, in a quiet, often subtle way.  There are no big bangs, no burning at the stake, just subtle hints, or in my case not so subtle hints, that will push is into the direction we should be moving to be a happier more whole person.   I have learnt that if we don’t take the hint, if we don’t see the signs then we just keep repeating our lessons in karma until we finally get it!

For instance, in the last 4 years I had been unhappy, not crying in the corner or miserable just not particularly happy.

My experience with karma and spirituality has taught me firstly that such a thing exists, and secondly we don’t really need to know how or if karma comes to visit those that have crossed us, because my doing this we miss the signs that karma is visiting us and showing us the way forward that will give us happiness.

A number of years ago I decided that I wanted to move to the UK, I have spent much of my adult life in Australia and craved the history, the cold weather and what I thought was the love and closeness that I was missing out on being so far away here in Australia.   My children are now all but grown, I was divorced and thought maybe I need to realise my dream myself.

So I packed up, took a contract with a well known company, in a town where I knew all of two people and thought it was my chance to change my life.

What followed was one disaster after another, it took me almost a year to realise that these disasters were pointing me towards the fact that I wasn’t in the place spirit wanted me to be, I wasn’t fulfilling myself and I wasn’t happy.

The contract I had left my life for ended abruptly, due to things beyond my control.

I was devastated, shortly afterwards I found a temp job and then was approached about a permanent position that was looking good to lead me to a way of life I wanted.

When the position was offered my son was in trouble back in Australia and I took the opportunity to fly back to make sure he was Ok and taken care of.   I remember sitting on the bed after I had packed for my return to the UK with a nagging feeling that I was making a huge mistake that I should remain in Australia.  I ignored this and flew back.

The next sign I received was the job didn’t turn out to be what It was supposed to be, 30 days after starting the job they decided to pull the pin on that area of the business.  This happened on my sons birthday.  Surely I should listen to this sign now?!!

Nope, I found another job within a week, lasted 3 weeks and realised I hated them as much as they hated me.   That one ended too.

At this stage I honestly looked at booking a flight back and packing up my flat.   I seriously wanted to, but I had no money, no car no home in Australia and it was going to so hard to start again.  I had to try and at least make it work.

So I got another job, I was sat on a step, enjoying the sunshine discussing the fact that it was Easter with a friend on the telephone when an opportunity came my way.  I attended the interview the day before I had to make a decision and low and behold I was offered the job there and then.

This job lasted 4 weeks when they realised the department I was heading was not tangible (I had to point this out to them) and I left them on the 20th May.

Was that my final sign?  4 jobs in a year?  I was unhappy? I missed and craved my children and I was not getting any support from anyone to survive my stay in the UK.

So I made my decision and within a week I was on a flight back to Australia.  I had no money, I had no home and was going to stay in the spare room of a friend’s house until I got on my feet.  I hated it, not them but I hated that I was there and I was all but destitute.

How could karma be teaching me something?

Within a week I had been offered a large contract that would take me one week, it was going to pay me enough money to pay the deposit on a new home and furnish it with new furniture.  Everything I needed, bedding, beds, sofa’s, white goods would all be mine and I would have a home.  It would also allow me to pay 6 months’ rent on the house.

I was able for the first time in years to have a home.  Shortly after that I got a job, the job I am still in now that has grown my friendships and my confidence.

Is this karma at play?  Yes I believe it is.

I have a friend Will, he is what I like to call as my spiritual guide.   He is blunt, to the point and works as a psychic.  He has never been wrong with me, maybe a year out with dates but never wrong.

He told me that spirit will push you to live authentically, if you don’t and you ignore the signs, if you let your ego rule you rather than doing what makes you happy you will suffer until you learn your lesson.

For instance, I have another friend, she is an amazing business woman, has 4 children and was married for many years.  Her and her husband sadly separated and she struggled with this.  She met a man who was around 7 years younger than her, he wasn’t highly educated like her, he was incredibly attractive, kind, considerate and thoughtful, everything her ex husband wasn’t and she struggled with this man wanting to be with her.  Her ego was telling her that to continue to be seen by her friends and relatives as a business woman, to be seen by those she works with as serious she would have to walk away from this love that engulfed her.   She told this man that she had no feelings for him, that she didn’t want to be with him and they split up.  She was unhappy, totally miserable for 12 months.  She was however convinced that she deserved someone in her life that had equal standing to her in society and that irrespective of this connection she couldn’t be seen with a man so young.  This was her ego speaking, not her.  She wanted to be with him, but felt that she could not.

In the end she gave in, she admitted her love for him, told him why she felt it couldn’t work and they talked.  They are now happily married and totally in love.  She told me recently that for the first time in her life she realised what she needed to make her happy and she felt complete.
By giving in and letting go of her ego, she found the happiness she deserved and is now living life to her full potential.

We all get these messages, whether it is being unhappy at work, hating the place we live in.  We have to listen to the signs.  If we don’t act upon them then we are setting ourselves up for more and more unhappiness and disappointment in this world.

Some people will lose a job, see it as a bad thing when in fact it is the perfect solution to bring them happiness.

People will lose friends and see it as a slight on them, but this is to bring them in people that serve them better.

Some people will never learn their lesson and allow their ego to rule their life decisions.  They deserve what they deserve and nothing less.  When in fact by failing to learn their lesson they don’t grow and find their real happiness.

I have learnt a huge amount about myself in the last few years.  Happiness comes from me, nobody else and allowing my ego to drive me meant that if someone treated me badly I felt bad.  Karma has paid me the visit I really needed and not in the way I thought it would.

I have learnt my lesson in life, and I am ready for the next phase!

How about you? What lessons is karma trying to teach you?

Tips to get through stressful situations with positive thinking

Life can take many twists and turns along the journey. Everyone has hard times; everyone struggles from time to time.   It is not necessarily what happens to us along the way, but more how we learn to deal with the things that life throws at us.

If someone had said this to me 3 years ago, I would have thrown something at them, but today after nearly 5 years of hell I can actually understand that sentiment more than most.

For a while I was in full on victim mode, nobody understood what I was going through and nobody really helped me.  This didn’t change, nobody really understood the load I was carrying and nobody really understood the immense pressure I felt or the total roller coaster I was going through.  What changed was me.

After 5 years of what individually are classed as the most stressful events to happen in anyone’s life, but collectively knocked me off my feet for a great deal of time I suddenly woke up.  It was like a veil or fug was lifted from me.  I simply changed my attitude and although still suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder I am functioning on a normal level for the first time in years.

During this time my Mother got sick and passed way, meaning that I took up the carers role for some months, I got divorced, moved to the UK to care for my Mother and later to take up a career opportunity, was stalked and harassed by a family who seemed to have nothing better to  do, constant emails, sms messages and phone calls, my son was slowly going off the rails and later I discovered he had a serious addiction and mental health issues and I had to restart my life again, twice over.

Some decisions I made during this time were made under pressure and carrying a responsibility for another person.  This person I begged to notice what I was going through and the responsibility I was carrying.   They had chosen to step back and not carry the load, or make anything that I was doing easier for me.  When I was overwhelmed with the legal issues surrounding the stalking i simply thought he would step up and assist me in other areas, take some pressure off so to speak.  Sadly he never recognised my struggle but could only recognise his own.  He expected me to see his pain but was unable to see mine.

For a long time I held onto this, I was so focused on him seeing what I was going through and after some years realised it was never going to happen.  I simply re focused my energy on getting myself in order to get myself through things as although I was expected to look after others it was clear that this was not reciprocated.

This brings me back the reason for this post; it is simply not what happens to us, but how we cope with it.   Some people can cope and see others needs as well as their own, some people are not as self aware and can only focus on themselves.   This is an individual choice or ability if you like and separated the wolves from the sheep.  Which are the sheep and which are the wolves I have yet to work out, as although I felt wolf like at times, it was clear that I was a sheep as I put others first.

My strategy changed just on a year ago and my focus shifted almost immediately.   Instead of waking up every day with a dream in my stomach and a fear of what may or may not happen I wake up and am thankful for my life.

I learnt to manage my own expectations of others, cut those that only take from my life and to structure my life around my needs and facilitate others rather than put them first.

I realised that surrounding myself with people who think like me is important.  Those that give as much as I do.  The smallest kindness is recognised and shows that people can be thoughtful.

Someone making a meal to make sure I eat, knowing that I had been focused on my son.

Someone that offered to drive me to an appointment, knowing I was exhausted.

Someone just calling to ask what I needed rather than saying they couldn’t do anything

Friends that simply send a message telling me they are thinking about me.

Small kindnesses have made me who I am today, not fighting for recognition.

Realising that others people’s choices are their choices, they don’t have to be kind or thoughtful, but neither do you in return.   Everyone has the freedom to make choices, but nobody has the freedom to escape the consequences of those choices.   That is my new favourite motto.

Showing my vulnerability has also been a steep learning curve.  Sadly someone I knew very well and was close to me used to make me feel guilty and over emotional if I showed my vulnerability.  I was berated for it and made to feel abnormal.  No! What I went through over those 4 years, it would have been abnormal not to show emotion.  I allowed someone else to stop me showing this and therefore others could not help.

My girlfriends have held my hand and had no expectation of me.  Once I told them, once I showed how scared I was they stepped up, the claimed me as their own and showed me what real people do when someone close to them is in trouble.  Showing your vulnerability allows you to feel the sadness and fear but also allows in joy too.  This is something we don’t learn if we are taught to hide our emotions from others.

Don’t protect other people who are not willing to protect you. 

I hid from others that another person was not stepping up, this meant that not only was I unsupported, but others thought I was supported.  This meant that I was losing out on so many different levels.   I protect him against other people’s opinion of him, so that he did not suffer.  This is a lesson I will never repeat again.  I have learnt now that nobody in any situation is more important than me.  How can I be expected to care for other people when nobody is caring for me?!

So my tips for coping with undue stress and anxiety are

  • Be grateful for what you can be grateful for, wake up every day and list 5 things you are grateful for. For me it was my home, my family, my job, where I live, maybe something that happened the previous day. Anything, even if it is something that you don’t feel you should be grateful for. It puts life in perspective and changes your way of thinking within weeks. I smile now when I say these. Often I do this as I get in the shower and it is as simple as being grateful for that first sip of coffee in the morning and the feeling of the water on my body. They are all sensations that we forget to notice over time when we are overwhelmed with sad sensations.
  • Seek out those that WILL support you. Don’t judge your worth on how other people cope, not everyone is emotionally intelligent or can see past their own needs.   My favourite saying recently is “someone who has their head up their arse will only ever see their own arsehole” This makes me smile, you have friends that you trust, everyone does, even if you don’t think you do. Someone will listen to you.
  • Allow yourself to be vulnerable, being vulnerable is a strength not a weakness. Showing other people your needs is important and if they cannot see them then move on, they are not good enough to be your friend as they will only reach out when they have a need.
  • Seek medical help if you need it. This was important for me and has taken 2 concurrent counsellors to deal with my issues as they were both very much different from one another. At one time I said I did not have time, but it was pointed out that I didn’t have time to NOT do this. I learnt so much about myself, why I reacted or allowed things for a long time and again changed my way of looking at myself and life.
  • Be kind to yourself! Nobody else will if you are not. Stand up for what you need and want and also take time out for you. As ridiculous as this sounds I gave up exercise for 12 months. I may be a few kilos heavier but It was an added pressure i didn’t need to fit into my life. I took up television instead and the amount of box sets I watched over winter is embarrassing, but it wasn’t alcohol or drugs, it was my distraction.
  • Talk, talk to friends that will listen and listen. I listened to the wrong person for many years and realised I had put my loyalties in the wrong place. If I had talked to others about this I would never have hung on for so long. I finally opened up and someone that really cared for me told me what they thought without holding back. I didn’t want to hear it, but she was right and her advice has helped me heal.
  • Don’t be scared, you can get through whatever it is and it will pass, nothing lasts forever and unless you adopt a new way of thinking you are going to lose many more years to the fug you are living in. It is not normal to not be happy, to not feel content. It is not normal to blame others for your emotions, you are responsible for your happiness and waiting for another to recognise things and blaming others will only make the depression last longer. Admit your failures and learn a lesson. Once you have done this, you will heal and feel much better.

Those are the tips that worked for me, I am lucky!  I am grateful and feel fulfilled for the first time in years.  Although i am grateful for those friends that did support me, I am so proud of myself and all I have achieved in the last year.  I am unrecognisable to those that new me previously.  I wake up every day with a spring in my step and looking forward to my next challenge.  I love my home, my job, my kids, my friends and I smile and laugh.  Something I had forgotten to do.

Good luck to everyone going through a journey that is testing you, but start thinking positively, even when you don’t think it possible, you will be amazed at how much it will change your life.