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Fresh Slate

It’s time for a change, people!

I have been writing this blog for almost 5 years now (wow – it actually feels like much longer…not sure if that is a good or bad thing…) and there are days when I feel really pleased about what I’ve posted.  But then there are other times when I read over posts and cringe inwardly.  Because I tend to overshare.  A lot.  Also, I tend to not really think about who is reading my blog, and whether anything I say could be damaging, either professionally or personally.

I recently discovered my fourteen year old niece reads my blog.  At first, I was delighted.  My beautiful, amazing, teenage niece is reading MY blog and telling me it’s “awesome”.  I mean, for an old fart like me who has never been cool a day in her life, that’s pretty rad.

Then I thought about it a bit more and went into panic mode.  There’s stuff on here I don’t want her to read.  Not because I have lived the life of a reprobate (far from it – I am LITERALLY the most boring person in the world.  I am certain if you look in the dictionary under the word “dull”, my name is there in italics somewhere) but because I am sometimes a bit too quick to spill my emotional beans and reveal things I shouldn’t.  And there are things I am not proud of.  And there are things that I should be more careful about keeping to myself.  Not because they are things to be ashamed of, but because they are private and personal and not meant for the world at large.

I’ve always been pretty open about stuff.  And while that is a good thing in relationships, I don’t know that it is necessarily wise when you are creating a blog that could potentially be read by millions of people.  Ok, so it’s unlikely that THAT will happen, but I still have to protect those closest to me and not share stuff that is really meant for private conversations.

When I was going through my marriage breakup, I spewed forth “woe-is-me” tales of my broken heart and feelings of abandonment.  I said more about my ex-husband that was necessary.  I don’t want that to be “out there”.  I don’t want to be that bitter and twisted ex-wife.  And I was, for a long time.  I tried really hard not to be, but this blog was an outlet and I needed to be heard some days.

But that need has diminished and now I just want to move on and not dwell on the darker days.  I don’t want that to be part of my story.  And the easiest way to prevent that, is just to delete it.  So that’s what I’m going to do.  I’m going to go back over old posts and remove anything that is no longer relevant or appropriate.  I want this to be an authentic blog, but a mostly uplifting one.  I’m not going to pretend I am full of the joys of Spring all the time but I am going to try and leave the gloomy, personal stuff out, as much as I can.  Because I think it will help me.  And I need to learn to be less over-sharey.  Or, at least, learn to open up more to the people around me, rather than sharing with strangers on the internet.  Because y’all don’t need to hear it.

So, anyway, I am going to changing some stuff and removing some posts.  I’m going to focus on good things and the stuff that makes life better.  I am doing it to protect myself, but also to project a better image to the young ones who are very dear to me.  Not lying or presenting a fake face, but focusing on the lighter side of life.  The world is so dark right now, the less misery and gloom we can bring into it, the better.

Hope that is ok with you all.  Feel free to send me a cyber slap if I regress 🙂

And to my gorgeous niece, and her equally amazing sister – your Auntie loves you to the moon and beyond.  Be yourselves and be proud of who you are x

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Quote for the Day : I am the Hurricane

“…I am not a Sunday morning inside four walls
with clean blood
and organized drawers.
I am the hurricane setting fire to the forests
at night when no one else is alive
or awake
however you choose to see it
and I live in my own flames
sometimes burning too bright and too wild
to make things last
or handle
myself or anyone else
and so I run.
run run run
far and wide
until my bones ache and lungs split
and it feels good.
Hear that people? It feels good
because I am the slave and ruler of my own body
and I wish to do with it exactly as I please…”

— Charlotte Eriksson

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Quote for the Day : You are not Everyone’s Cup of Tea

“…The world is filled with people who, no matter what you do,
no matter what you try, will simply not like you.
But the world is also filled with those who will love you fiercely.
The ones who love you they are Your People.

Don’t waste your finite time and heart trying to convince the people who aren’t your people that you have value. They will miss it completely.
They won’t buy what you are selling. Don’t try to convince them to walk your path with you because you will only waste your time and your emotional good health.

You are not for them and they are not for you.
You are not their cup of tea and they are not yours.
Politely wave them along and you move away as well. Seek to share your path with those who recognise and appreciate your gifts, who you are.

Be who you are. You are not everyone’s cup of tea and that is OK…”

— Unknown

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Perfectly You

You are so perfectly YOU!  You are!  As Dr Seuss once wrote “Today you are you, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is youer than you!”  

It’s hard to remember that sometimes – that you are YOU and you’re not supposed to be anyone else, or even try to be.  Because you were put on the Earth to be the best YOU you can be, not to try and be almost as good as someone else.  This is what I try to tell myself.  I fail, regularly, to believe it, but every day is a chance to start again (just like diets – they always begin tomorrow – it’s a known fact!) and just be YOU.

I made this little card with that sentiment in mind.  This little lady doesn’t care tthat she’s a bit rounded in some places, or that she has knobbly knees.  She doesn’t even mind that she doesn’t have arms!  She still thinks she’s a princess and a pretty damn awesome one at that.  She’s got the crown to prove – they don’t give them out to just anyone, you know.

Hope you are feeling good about yourself today – you’re exactly as you’re supposed to be and, if not, you’re heading in the right direction, bit by bit.  I know it.  Trust me, I’m a doctor.  Ok, I’m not really but I’ve watched ER lots of times so I know stuff 🙂

Thank you for dropping by and reading my silliness x

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Bricks

I have been feeling really cruddy the past few weeks (months/decades) and have been woe-is-me-ing a lot.  Which I really hate.  Most of the time I am a get-on-with-it kind of person.  Sure I have my crappy days but then who doesn’t?  Lately it’s been worse – whether that’s due to me coming off all my medications (duh – whose idea was that?  Oh wait, it was mine…double duh) or just life being slightly more annoying than normal.  I mean, I know I have depression, and that isn’t going to go away any time soon, but it is  sometimes harder to deal with and I get bogged down in wallowing and feeling shitty (sorry, lots of swearing today – feel free to censor).

A lot of my depression and general unease is due to anxiety – it is the root of all evil for me.  I know this, and yet I am not very good at doing anything about it.  I try not to worry, I try not to stress, I try not to absorb other people’s problems as my own.  I have conversations with myself about letting stuff go and not letting things get to me, not worrying about things that I can’t change.  But I am rubbish at not only listening to myself, but taking other people’s advice about de-stressing.

I’m also my own worst critic.  I think I suck, basically.  I compare myself to everyone else and beat myself up for “failing”.  Which is quite often NOT “failing” but just doing things differently.  I KNOW this – but still I feel bad and a bit useless.  Good enough isn’t good enough even though I think it is for everybody else.  I don’t treat anyone the way I treat myself.  If I was my own best friend, I would dump me.  I’m not very nice (to myself).

I’m going to try and sort that out this year.  I am.  I’m going to try very hard to be kinder to myself and accept me for me.  Which will be difficult.  It’s hard to see mistakes as lessons and “flaws” as individuality.  More than anything, I just want to be able to walk in a room and not feel like everyone is looking at me, thinking “Who’s this weirdo?”

The below extract was sent around our office by a colleague.  It’s from the book  Who Ordered This Truckload of Dung? by Ajahn Brahm, a Theravada Buddhist monk (he’s the Abott at the Monastery near my hometown…I think I may have met him once when he came in to my library a million years ago) who has written lots of books, supported the ordination of female monks, and basically been an all-round awesome guy.  He’s won the John Curtin Medal for his vision, leadership and service to the Australian community, and compiled an English-language guide to the Buddhist monastic code – the vinaya- which later became the basis for monastic discipline in many Theravadan monasteries in Western countries.  He’s a bit of an over-achiever really.  What a show off! 🙂

Anyway, the following excerpt is worth reading.  It makes you think about what “perfection” is (or isn’t) and how little negatives shouldn’t undermine the overwhelming, big positives.  I’m going to try and remember this, from now on : that I’m not perfect,
but that those little imperfections actually make me “me” and add up to the whole, not detract from it.  Wish me luck – I’m gonna need all the help I can get with this one.

Two Bad Bricks by Ajahn Brahm

“After we purchased the land for our monastery in 1983 we were broke. We were in debt. There were no buildings on the land, not even a shed. Those first few weeks we slept not on beds but on old doors we had bought cheaply from the salvage yard; we raised them on bricks at each corner to lift them off the ground. (There were no mattresses, of course — we were forest monks.)

The abbot had the best door, the flat one. My door was ribbed with a sizeable hole in the center where the doorknob would have been. I joked that now I wouldn’t need to get out of bed to go to the toilet! The cold truth was, however, that the wind would come up through that hole. I didn’t sleep much those nights.

We were poor monks who needed buildings. We couldn’t afford to employ a builder — the materials were expensive enough. So I had to learn how to build: how to prepare the foundations, lay concrete and bricks, erect the roof, put in the plumbing — the whole lot. I had been a theoretical physicist and high-school teacher in lay life, not used to working with my hands. After a few years, I became quite skilled at building, even calling my crew the BBC (“Buddhist Building Company”). But when I started it was very difficult.

It may look easy to lay a brick: a dollop of mortar underneath, a little tap here, a little tap there. But when I began laying bricks, I’d tap one corner down to make it level and another corner would go up. So I’d tap that corner down then the brick would move out of line. After I’d nudged it back into line, the first corner would be too high again. Hey, you try it!

Being a monk, I had patience and as much time as I needed. I made sure every single brick was perfect, no matter how long it took. Eventually, I completed my first brick wall and stood back to admire it. It was only then that I noticed— oh no! — I’d missed two bricks. All the other bricks were nicely in line, but these two were inclined at an angle. They looked terrible. They spoiled the whole wall. They ruined it.

By then, the cement mortar was too hard for the bricks to be taken out, so I asked the abbot if I could knock the wall down and start over again — or, even better, perhaps blow it up. I’d made a mess of it and I was very embarrassed. The abbot said no, the wall had to stay.

When I showed our first visitors around our fledgling monastery, I always tried to avoid taking them past my brick wall. I hated anyone seeing it. Then one day, some three or four months after I finished it, I was walking with a visitor and he saw the wall.

‘That’s a nice wall,’ he casually remarked. ‘Sir,’ I replied in surprise, ‘have you left your glasses in your car? Are you visually impaired? Can’t you see those two bad bricks which spoil the whole wall?’

What he said next changed my whole view of that wall, of myself, and of many other aspects of life. He said, “Yes. I can see those two bad bricks. But I can see the 998 good bricks as well.’

I was stunned. For the first time in over three months, I could see other bricks in that wall apart from the two mistakes. Above, below, to the left and to the right of the bad bricks were good bricks, perfect bricks. Moreover, the perfect bricks were many, many more than the two bad bricks. Before, my eyes would focus exclusively on my two mistakes; I was blind to everything else. That was why I couldn’t bear looking at that wall, or having others see it. That was why I wanted to destroy it. Now that I could see the good bricks, the wall didn’t look so bad after all. It was, as the visitor had said, ‘a nice brick wall.’ It’s still there now, twenty years later, but I’ve forgotten exactly where those bad bricks are. I literally cannot see those mistakes any more.

How many people end a relationship or get divorced because all they can see in their partner are ‘two bad bricks’? How many of us become depressed or even contemplate suicide, because all we can see in ourselves are ‘two bad bricks.’ In truth, there are many, many more good bricks, perfect bricks — above, below, to the left and to the right of the faults — but at times we just can’t see them. Instead, every time we look our eyes focus exclusively on the mistakes. The mistakes are all we see, they’re all we think are there and so we want to destroy them. And sometimes, sadly, we do destroy a ‘very nice wall.’

We’ve all got our two bad bricks, but the perfect bricks in each one of us are much, much more than the mistakes. Once we see this, things aren’t so bad. Not only can we live at peace with ourselves, inclusive of our faults, but we can also enjoy living with a partner. This is bad news for divorce lawyers, but good news for you.

I have told this anecdote many times. After one occasion, a builder came up to me and told me a professional secret. ‘We builders always make mistakes,’ he said, ‘But we tell our clients that it is “an original feature” with no other house in the neighbourhood like it. And then we charge them a couple of thousand dollars extra!’

So the ‘unique features’ in your house probably started out as mistakes. In the same way, what you might take to be mistakes in yourself, in your partner, or in general, can become ‘unique features,’ enriching your time here — once you stop focusing on them exclusively.”

You can read more about Ajahn Brahm HERE.

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