Tuesday, 23 March 2021

Saturday, 20 March 2021

Checking in..


So the last few days I've been involved with the International World Summit of Positive Psychology. I'm delighted to have made some wonderful connection of similar minded people.

Also, I was pleasantly surprised to see that now Spirituality and Meaningfulness is having an equal table at the conference as there is now so much evidence of how we all need meaning in our lives and connection to something bigger beyond ourselves. 

One workshop was about experiencing the sacred, that connection we can feel in the moment if we allow ourselves to take a breath and just be.

Another workshop was on synchronicity and how much we can experience of that when we open ourselves to seeing it. E.g. when we think of somebody and they ring us, we bump into them or connect in some way even though we haven't seen or thought of them for ages.

How our lives often seem co-incidental and yet in hindsight we can see a 'plan' in it all, that it wasn't just a random path or decision we made, it brought us into other beautiful/valuable experiences.

I'm stepping a little bit away from the blog as I'm still catching up with the conference and another summit on how to bring my course to those who need it, but watch this space as I will keep connecting. Thank you for your attention and love.

Photo from a trip to Vancouver that I was privileged to visit a while back and connect with a number of Secondary Schools K6-K12 and Universities there regarding my Wellbeing and Happiness Skills program.

PS did you see my jerusalema dance moves I made for st Patricks day. Go to st Patricks day blog and you can connect there

Tuesday, 16 March 2021

What gets you out of bed?


We human beings function by optimism. Why would we get out of bed unless we believed something good is going to happen today? Unless we thought we could somehow make a difference in the world. Even if it's just by smiling to someone, that smile can make all the difference in someone's life. A feeling of acceptance and yes optimism. The world is a good place to be.

It can take an effort to access an uplifting thought but isn't that what gives us energy and purpose. We are part of the human race. We are part of something bigger and together we can help each other make this a good place to be.

And so the type of car, house or family I have isn't what makes the difference, it's the amount of optimism I have within me. The belief that I have something worthwhile to contribute and that I will eventually get a chance to do that even though we all have to lie low for the moment.

And there are ways: e.g.take on the Jerusalema dance challenge, there are plenty of helpful tutorials. Film yourself/others with your phone, doing a few moves and challenge others to do the same. Or volunteer to help somewhere. There are lots of possibilities if you're not already involved. Lots of interesting courses to take.

Currently, I'm signed up for the yearly Positive Psychology Conference this time taking place in Australia (virtual), the educational branch of it, in my optimism hoping that connecting with other people in this area will bring me closer to my goal of bringing the wellbeing & happiness skills into the Irish schools and beyond. 

Picture above of my friend 'Shep' who passed a few years ago but gave me plenty of sound therapy through her purring on my lap over her 18 wonderful years on this planet. 


Monday, 15 March 2021

When the Light comes in..


So many things can go wrong in life but where there is love, somehow everything becomes alright. And when there isn't love that's when we need to look for it and keep searching til we find it. 

Generally I'm not attracted to poetry, I don't get a lot of poems and wonder 'why don't you just say it as it is?' but I know there are people who relate deeply to poetry and I have to admit I was deeply moved by the Irish, Nigerian born, girl FeliSpeaks who recited her 'For Our Mothers' poem which has been included in the Leaving Cert Curriculum here in Ireland.

The poem describes the thoughts and sufferings of a Mother trapped in a loveless marriage and how she manages to live in that yet hoping that her own children will find true love. The way FeliSpeaks recites it is deeply moving, perhaps also because I know my own mother's marriage wasn't always easy even though I love my dad deeply. The sadness, yet the hope. And my own mother's ability to laugh at her own inability to cope with life's challenges I always found very healing.

And so today being a day of gratitude I am deeply grateful for my own mother and whatever she was able to share with me, or not. Without her I wouldn't be who I am, I wouldn't be😍

 

Sunday, 14 March 2021

Woop Problem-Solving


WOOP is a way of motivating yourself to dream big but also to consider the obstacles to fulfilling your dream and make a plan how to overcome them. 
Wish for something meaningful and wonderful for yourself
Outcome: Imagine vividly for a while the best  possible outcome of your wish. What does it look and feel like? Who is involved? What is happening?
Obstacles: Realistically speaking, what are the obstacles to your wish coming true?
Plan: Put a plan in place how to overcome the obstacles, write down what you're going to do when the obstacle comes your way.

Seemingly, people get a lot more positive results in their challenged area whether it's health, work or social connections, when they not only dream of a positive change or outcome but also consider the obstacles and make a plan to tackle them. Much more so than people who simply dream or imagine good things happening but don't expect difficulties, they might become disillusioned and never dream again.

I've downloaded the WOOP app, which helps the process as it guides you forward step by step, helping me to make the best of my fantasy of my wellbeing program being implemented in schools and homes all over the country and beyond.

You can also go onto the website woopmylife.org and find scientific research to support this process and lots of videos guiding you through.

Picture above: collecting my daily birch-sap from a birch tree in this short season before the leaves need the sap and I plug up the hole again. Very popular drink in Finland and Eastern Europe as it is full of minerals. I was dreaming of doing this for some years as I'm surrounded by birch trees in this area. That dream has come true and I'm sharing the abundance of birch water with various neighbours equally fascinated by the generosity of the birch tree.

 

Saturday, 13 March 2021

To be or not to be..Creative


Needs must is probably the greatest incentive to creativity. In interviews with actors or singers you often hear them say that they're shy in ordinary life but feel totally alive in front of an audience. Acting is their way out of shyness.

Anthony Hinton who was on death-row for 28 years for a crime he didn't commit started a little book club there where miraculously the prisoners were allowed to meet once a month. Here they started to listen to and help each other understand their lives in the light of love and forgiveness.

My own writing came about after losing a precious friendship, where before I was trying to make someone else happy suddenly I had to dig deeper and see who I was. One of the wonderful things I discovered was the freedom I experience through writing and later making educational videos. 

During this corona time we are learning to connect with each other, to appreciate each other, to find meaningful ways of passing the time having been stopped from travelling. So I'm off on a cycle around the back roads waving and nodding to people on my way😀and later I'm connecting to two childhood friends who I haven't 'seen' forever, meeting on messenger group call.


Friday, 12 March 2021

To be or not to be Assertive


Being assertive does take energy but on the other hand so does anger and usually there's a better chance of getting what we need or want by being kind but persistent rather than angry and demanding. Of course, we might not choose to be angry, we just are, but in my experience most anger, at a closer look, is really directed towards ourselves.

As mentioned before there's a huge energy in anger and if we can tap into what it is that we care so much about, then we can choose the best way of pursuing it. Of course, we get angry when someone stops us, misjudges us or pushes us out of the way. The question is whether that really is the issue. So rather than pushing back, creating a fight or bad atmosphere we can look for ways to pursue what we want or need without necessarily counting on those who're not enthused in the way we are.

And if we do need something, to approach the person in question with respect and kindness. Yesterday, I made yet another call to a supplier in England whose delivery hadn't arrived after three weeks and who had said they'd get back to me, but after two days hadn't. For my own sake mostly, rather than putting pressure on them I just phoned and explained that it hadn't arrived. As it turned out it had been sent back to them and there was a problem with figuring out the right paperwork and the courier hadn't been able to help them. But they were doing everything they could as they want to be able to continue trading with Ireland. 

So I was glad I didn't give out to them for being unprofessional etc. they were obviously frustrated and disappointed themselves that what they thought was the right paperwork turned out not to be. And I know from talking to them that they're doing their best to rectify the situation. With this corona virus going around on top of Brexit confusions at the border there will be delays. Extra kindness has to be asserted😍

Thursday, 11 March 2021

How honest am I?


The character strength of honesty that we admire in each other is something we can always develop more of  it being take responsibility for our feelings and actions and being without pretence. 

As a child I vehemently denied having eaten sweets even though I had and was still claiming the weekly reward of fruit-money for not eating sweets during the week. It wasn't so much that I wanted the reward, it was more that I didn't want to look bad in my younger siblings and parent's eyes. 

Even though my dad re-assured me that he wouldn't get angry if I admitted it, I still went on to lie explaining that my friend's granny gave them to me and I couldn't say no. Of course, when my dad faced me with the fact of having seen me getting sweets out of a slot-machine up the town when he passed by in his military car, I couldn't deny it. I had been so careful not to be seen, but never counted on him being in a work vehicle! That was a sneaky one I thought!

There's great satisfaction though in taking responsibility for our actions rather than 'getting away with it'. To have the courage to say 'Yes, I did it' but also to know why we did what we did, and whether we still think it is a good idea or not, even though it seemed so at the time. Easier said than done. 

In the case of my over-developed sweet-tooth as a child, that was something that my parents could perhaps have helped me with, because at times I just couldn't help myself, I had to have some sweets😃 at least that's how I experienced it and it was my own pocket-money I used. But yes, I did lie and I did claim my reward which was dishonest so that was bad. 

Isn't that the story in the garden of Eden, it wasn't so much that Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit, but the fact that they lied and hid themselves away from God. They should've just faced him and said 'listen, sorry, we were curious and thought something good would come out of it but we were wrong. We failed to appreciate everything that you have given us already and we fell into temptation but we are sorry and we'll try to do better.' Easy for me to say😉but a challenge to live up to.

Wednesday, 10 March 2021

They widened the narrow road...


In memory of our dear mother who would've been 86 today and how near she, our dad and our great grandmother still are to me. Amazing how the 'invisible' ancestors can still communicate much love and support to us once we focus on the loving connection rather than all the short-comings of expressing that love.

We are so trapped in our human bodies, so influenced by our experiences and if we're not careful our bad experienced might overshadow the good ones. To keep alive our positive connections and build on those is so conducive to wellbeing.

By passing along the narrow road they widened it, and while they went along, trampling on the rough ways, they went ahead of us (from Augustin of Hippo) 

Of course, we should learn from our own and other people's mistakes. My dad always said 'if you can't serve as a good example, at least you can serve as a bad one' 😄

Neighbourliness is thriving during the corona. As we went up the country lane last Sunday and got talking to various neighbours, at a distance of course, we were handed 10 farm eggs by one of the farming couples. So later today I'm baking a pear cake and bottling up some fresh birch-water in order to carry on the positive communication they've offered. Isn't it in sharing our good fortune in whatever little way we can that we 'widen the narrow road and trample the rough ways' for one another?

Tuesday, 9 March 2021

Another Day for Optimism

Sometimes a bird's eye point of view is the only helpful point of view to avoid getting caught in the middle of other people's conflicts. There can be two opposing views and yet when one examines the 'drama' it's simply two different experiences. And how can you compare experiences except to learn something from one another?

As in the Meghan and Prince Harry interview. They shared their experiences and revealed some of the limitations of the Royal household and institution that they found hurtful and unhelpful. And that's their journey. Obviously, his brother and dad who're in line to become King have to live in a different world where freedom is restricted but where one benefits from an extremely privileged life. Never having to worry about food, shelter or clothing. Meeting with dignities from all over the world. Not having to earn respect but welcomed due to one's position.

So why take sides? Life is a process and we're only learning as we live. Looking back all of us have situations where we would re-act differently today, would make wiser choices if we knew what we now know. As human beings we all entitled to live our lives according to what we believe is best for us and those we love. But even then we might inadvertently hurt each other's feelings due to misunderstandings or different priorities.

And so conflict is part of living and learning and the question is not how other people need to change but how I can live my life with the most purpose and love and having the courage to do so.


Monday, 8 March 2021

Appreciating Eco-Therapy


Take a moment to appreciate. Take a moment to look. Take a moment to listen. Take a moment to live. These are all positive commands that can bring us mental and physical health. 

People in hospital who see greenery whether it's looking out the window or a picture on the wall, heal quicker and have less re-curing illness. Crime goes down when green areas are introduced into build-up areas, less domestic violence. People start communicating around that area, bringing their dogs, nodding to their neighbours.

Eco-therapy it's called. Walking among trees can lift the mood as trees excrete feel-good hormones into the air. 

Tuning into the wonder of creation observing the miracle of life all around us can give such hope but it's up to us to listen and observe ourselves to see what is uplifting and wholesome for us personally. And then to seek it more often. To steal away to connect to the source of energy and compassion which is there somewhere for you.

It works for me... when I allow myself time out to do it.


Sunday, 7 March 2021

The Weakest Link..

According to the strength measure the least of my strengths is bravery, basically that I'm a bit of a coward. I tend to shrink away from conflict and so might avoid a lot of wonderful experiences out of fear yet I've somehow managed to make a wonderful life for myself. The fact that we're weak in some ways doesn't mean we're not strong in other ways.

And it doesn't mean that we can't become stronger but perhaps it's by building on our strong character strengths that we automatically become stronger in other ways. All my teenage years I wasn't brave enough to speak up in school when I disagreed with something. I guess my problem was that I could always see the other person's point of view, which is good for empathy but doesn't give the other person food for thought!

We all need bravery but the type of bravery we need depends on our personality. For one it can be bravery to shut up and connect with something deeper within themselves and for another it's to speak up and connect with something deeper within another person. And then for all of us it is to have the courage to connect with that deep inner goodness and love which connect us all no matter race, religion, crime or addiction. Having the courage to just be and see what happens😀

Saturday, 6 March 2021

A Day for Problem-Solving..


Inevitably life faces us with problems or let's say challenges. Getting out of bed can be a problem when the day seems gray and cold and it isn't the end of the world if we change our routine somewhat in order to cope with our current lockdown as long as nobody needs us at that hour of the morning.

My initial problem today would be that I feel uninspired, a problem because I do believe in feeling inspired, experiencing 'flow' and making the wellbeing skills available in whatever form possible. But let me welcome this feeling of emptiness and tune in to just being, if that makes sense to you.

And so rather than making my daily juice, I've decided give it a break on Saturdays and Sundays, too much of a good thing😀or is that an excuse 😉 I've decided to make a spelt pancake. I love using spelt flour as it's more nutritious than ordinary flour and so I proceed to add sunflower seeds, chia seeds, organic milk and an organic egg into the mix. And I feel better.

Sometimes our intuition kicks in, I've been reading about all the good fats we get from seeds, so I've intuitively solved the problem of needing to be as healthy as I can whilst enjoying it because if I don't enjoy something I won't easily do it again.

But sometimes problems have to be faced head on. My current problem e.g. is that my two main websites don't translate well into smartphones and that really bothers me, partly because I don't feel I have the skill or time to set aside to deal with this, yet I feel it's important to do something about it. So what I will do is to use some time on Saturdays to investigate how to go about solving this issue trusting that little by little this problem can be solved. So that's good, I've moved beyond a problem into the positive challenge of overcoming this and come out on the other side.

Every day of course we solve hundreds of problems: keep our house clean, keep ourselves and our clothes clean, keep ourselves fed with as much healthy food as possible, not becoming obsessive or anxious about any of that. If there is any issue regarding our survival physically, mentally or spiritually the sooner we address is the better, if nothing else we can decide to do nothing about it right now👌, but it won't play on our subconscious mind because we have faced it and made a decision. 

Accumulating problems only drains our immune system whilst enjoying the challenge of welcoming and 'kick ass' with our problems, do some brain storming and assessing the best way forward brings a sense of achievement and peace of mind. So what's your problem(s)? 


Friday, 5 March 2021

A Day to 'Flow'


For our wellbeing we need to experience Flow over the day, Flow being the state of being fully absorbed by something or somebody to the extent that we don't notice time going by. We are using our skills, like a surfer, someone painting, tuning in to the emotions of another person. There are endless possibilities.

We are challenged but not beyond or below our skills, we are living life fully. We are living the life we have been given exploring its potential, creating something beautiful and worthwhile in some shape or another. Even if nobody else notices or knows, it doesn't matter because we know.

One lady described her love of singing, song-writing and playing the guitar but she did it when no-one else was around, it was 20 years later that she eventually made a single and an album, but it was something she loved doing. She wouldn't make a living from it but for her it was a natural step forward, sharing her love for music, her message of hope through music.

So what is my flow? Well, I do love getting on the bike into nature. Just now harvesting the birch water, doing a bit of stretching and getting a nice photo, is a morning flow I enjoy. Then comes the juice-making which I could enjoy more as it's a privilege to get organic apple, celery, lemon and cucumber at such reasonable prices and to benefit from the hard work people have done growing and nourishing those plants/trees, transporting them, minding them in their shops and making sure we get the best produce possible.

And I could love cleaning the juicer more as it's such a beautiful amazing machine. And so the story goes on. I guess what I'm saying is that we can inject flow into any situation if we want to by connecting to the creative power and love that is within and in people all around us. That we are benefiting from at every moment of the day. 

So now I have to flow along. How about you, what is your flow?

Thursday, 4 March 2021

A Day For Character Strength


Character Strengths are the qualities we admire in each other, that gives us energy and contribute to the betterment of ourselves and others. And we all have them. Some more hidden than others, some gone a little, or quite astray, but it is who we are as human beings.

One of my character strengths - this is based on the free test taken at the Character Strength centre but also resonates with my own experience: Forgiveness. It does come fairly natural to me and sometimes I struggle to understand how some people don't just forgive because it makes life so much easier, but that person might have a Justice Strength that prioritises bringing someone to justice, fighting so others don't have to suffer the same as them etc. 

So while I just forgive and move on, I might not another person to change while the person who doesn't forgive as easily might help get justice for certain wrongs that have been done. Having said that, sooner or later one has to forgive in order to be well in oneself and it is possible to forgive and bring someone to justice at the same time.

But forgiveness as a strength can be helpful in preventing anxiety about the future because forgiveness does involve trusting that something good can come out of a situation. Something good can come out of a wrong, out a mistake, even out of war and destruction. 

And so by applying forgiveness to the anxieties I woke up with this morning thinking about how easily a small country like Ireland or Denmark could be taken over by Chinese, Russian or any Arab power, how helpless and vulnerable we really are. We don't know the future.

Perhaps, it was Boris Johnsons decision to ignore agreements about the Brexit border that got working in my subconscious. When those who are our friends suddenly cannot be trusted to keep an agreement.

Forgiveness calms me down, helps me to accept what I cannot change. Helps me to focus on my own work and how that might somehow change the world, gives me the incentive to do my best to create a world of goodness and love in my corner of the world whilst sending positive healing energy towards those involved in solving this 'unsolvable' Brexit border problem.

Wednesday, 3 March 2021

A Day For Positive Communication


 So to wish others well. To wish for them to connect with their deeper self, their loving self. That is my wish for those who were arrested, for those who were assaulted, for those who were watching the tragic event at the anti-lockdown demonstration in Dublin last Saturday.

Rather than taking sides or condemning anyone I wish them well. I do condemn unnecessary violence but I cannot afford to condemn anyone as I don't know what brought them to where they are. As I don't know, would I have behaved better, I hope I would have, but we don't really know until 'we walk in someone else's shoes' what would do in their situation.

To be mature I have to live with the paradox, to wish others well but still be able to condemn certain behaviours that create war rather than dialogue. 

Yet, non-violent, consistent assertiveness of what we believe in is important. We are responsible for sharing our corner of the truth as we see and experience it, but so are others. To be able to listen with dignity and kindness to the point of view we hate, enable our minds to remain open to solutions and possibilities of how to find a compromise/solution we can all live with. And so I wish all of us love and kindness in our hearts but also courage to be true to who we are today and always.


Tuesday, 2 March 2021

A Day for Optimism..

So the second skill in the wellbeing course is Optimism, and yes it is a skill that those of us who tend to be pessimistic can learn. Turning what seems a bad situation into an opportunity for learning and betterment.

Just watching Sophia Loren who is now 86 and still acting, she said that in her childhood she experienced extreme poverty but she gained a lot of wisdom. 

Not panicking when something goes wrong, that's the trick, not exaggerating when we experience adversity and pain. So today I'm going to feed myself with some optimistic thoughts when otherwise I'd feel blah...

I love the sun and it looked beautiful rising this morning when I cycled down to collect the birch water, half a liter today, not bad, seemingly trees can be tapped for water if we somehow run out of water 😏

But now the sun is gone and it's cold and grayish so what do I do with that feeling of loss and disappointment? Yesterday I could sit out in the sun and work on my pc😎, I could eat outside but today it's just cold. I accept it, of course, and that's the price we pay for pleasure is it not: when it's gone we miss it and yet we have to move on.

But I know that the sun is above the clouds and it'll come through again🙌 and so instead of saying it's cold and gray today, I'll say 'It's cold and gray now and that's ok because I need the contrast to really enjoy the sun when it's there AND I'll get lots of indoor jobs done, yeah'.

So rather than taking in future possibility of cold and grayness, today I will welcome what is, in this moment, and that somehow gives me joy. We are in this together. We are all challenged in some way or another. But as Sophia Loren pointed out, there was the pain of poverty but there was also the gift of love.

And even though my pessimistic mood/thinking😐 can seem ridiculously petty to those with far greater burdens to bear, Optimism is made up by a multitude of choices every day. I've shared just one area of many. All to be revealed😄

Monday, 1 March 2021

A Day For Gratitude...


So on my birth day a few days ago I committed myself to blog around the skills on my upcoming online course and how I use them myself. My initial plan is to dedicate each of the seven skills to a day in the week.

Skill one fortunately is around gratitude, and please if you want to share your experience today around using that skill please do, we can all learn from each other and it's always a lift to have companions on our journey to greater well-being.

So I am grateful for being in a nice place, even though it's slightly isolated, nature this time of year is beautiful especially when the sun shines. And what a morning, I got up early to collect the birch water/sap that I'm tapping of a tree, it turned out to be the most beautiful frosty morning, see the pic above.

Of course, it's easy to be grateful when everything is working well, we feel good and things are going our way.

So today I'm going to be grateful for something that doesn't go my way because that changes a difficulty into a positive challenge. So

I'm grateful that the creation of my online course is taking sooo much longer than anticipated😊

I'm grateful that I have to update my website and don't know how to 😏because I trust that it will all be revealed as I go along.

I'm grateful for the help I am receiving from the various organisations who are running the programs that I'm using to create my online well-being course, its content and tasks. I've found everyone I contact extremely approachable and helpful. I'm grateful for the corona situation from that point of view. There's a general increase and kindness and positive communication with the people we do see or communicate with, it's like we are making sure that everyone is okay.💖 For that I am truly grateful.

Thursday, 25 February 2021

A Birth Day Greeting


Working away in the garden today while a faithful friend lies by🐾. Significant birthday as I have now outlived my dear mum who passed away all too early and yet is looking down on us ever since.

Wondering how to proceed during this lock-down for the upcoming month of March as my videos are coming to an end and what I've decided is to dedicate each day of the week to each of the seven well-being skills that I'm advocating in my upcoming online course. I'll then share, God help me, how I get on with that particular skill on that day 😏 and if anyone wants to join in in anyway please feel free to do so.

In the meantime I'll share a few more videos on these last few days of February. May you be well and happy and thanks for reading to you who is still here at the end💓

This young man was travelling the world and decided to do a gratitude dance wherever he went while his girlfriend filmed it. They since got sponsored to travel even further and record more gratitude dances with people of all cultures.






Monday, 22 February 2021

Tolerating Discomfort...

The following video was created last April when restrictions were beginning to ease off. Let's hope this is equally the case this year. For a direct youtube link click here



Wednesday, 3 February 2021

Monday, 1 February 2021

Why Would I Want Humility...

For the next month I'll be uploading videos made during and for the lockdown, around Character Strength which are the qualities we admire in each other, whick make this world a better place for all of us to live in.


Sunday, 31 January 2021

Dream On..


Tommy Tiernan's interviews with surprise guests is my favourite RTE program. Last night Baz Ashmawy spoke about how he had experienced racism due to being half Egyptian and how he spent two years living with his dad in Egypt as a teenager. He spoke about a friend crying in his arms and the importance of being vulnerable.

Then Manchan Magan shared how he didn't fit into school. How he didn't fit into the world of competition and wouldn't be able to handle a mortgage. And so for the €10,000 he inherited from his granny he bought ten acres of land where he planted lots of oak tresses and built his own house out of straw and cement.

Interestingly, both Manchan and Baz spoke about being dreamers. Manchan spoke about connection to a different world and having to ground himself as he feels so connected elsewhere than here on earth.

Two wonderful men who are showing us that there are multiple ways of living our lives, two people who are being true to who they are and sharing a lot of goodness and love with the rest of us through their public appearances. 

May we all have the courage to dream on...and follow that dream wherever it takes us.


Saturday, 30 January 2021

Letting Go..


I do like, to my detriment, to be known to be perfect. And so it humiliates me when someone contradicts me in front of others, when someone ignores me on a zoom or when someone doesn't take an interest in me when I put myself out to be interested in them. That's one side of the coin.

The other side of the coin is that I'm good at forgiving and opening my heart to that very person but it does take a bit of processing. This is where my intense study of Jesus' life comes in handy because I experience that to be genuinely good and worthwhile. And then I think about how Jesus did everything to heal, be kind, be caring and helpful to people and yet he was ignored, rejected and eventually killed.

But what I love about that story is that he re-appeared and his story is still alive today. For me this is where I put my faith: that when a person loves, they cannot be destroyed. Not really, the body might be annihilated but the spirit will live on - for ever. 

And so it doesn't matter if I look the fool or if I'm ignored or insignificant to some people, what matters is that I love them. I look at their true self which is a loving heart covered up perhaps by childish fears or societal pressures. And so maybe I caught them at a weak moment but ultimately there is a caring inner core full of kindness and goodness within them, and everyone of us.

And so to forgive oneself and forgive each other for being so not tuned in at times, for forgetting what it's really all about. That each one of us is created in the image and likeness of love and goodness, and that really is all that matters.

Friday, 29 January 2021

Everything is Perfect?


'Everything is perfect in this imperfect world' was the motto of a dear friend Kevin Jacobsen who passed away some years ago. With a number of young people he founded the Servants of Love community a monastic community dedicated to seeing what they call God's goodness and love in everything. And the funny thing is, that once you keep looking for it, you see it.

And so when I get into conflict with somebody who for example puts down a person that I admire, and is not interested in hearing my side of the story, I get upset but I know that I need to somehow manage to find something good in that situation otherwise I remain upset.

And so I wreck my brain but nothing changes because pondering on the conflict only upsets me more. And so I realise that instead I need to activate my heart. I need to see behind the upsetting words of another, look at the passion they have to defend their point of view and be happy for them that they feel strongly about something because that's a gift. 

And so I cannot be happy about what they say but I can be happy that we human beings have the freedom to choose what to believe. I can agree to disagree and wish them well on their journey to wherever they are going. Wish them love because that is all that matters in the end for any of us.

Thursday, 28 January 2021

Courage to Being Who You Are..


Jane Fonda of all people, married to billionaire Ted Turner said she had to leave him in order to be free to be who she was. She still loves him, she lived in big mansions, had incredible clothes and could get everything she wanted and yet she decided to leave it all and end up in her daughter's little spare room with her retriever. But it was perfect, she said. She had to let go of needing to be validated by a man and instead take the freedom to be who she was.

James Joyce writes about his character Mr Duffy 'who lived a short distance from his body'. Isn't it a struggle we all have, to cut through the BS (pardon the language) and get down to who we really are. It's so much easier to blame others for what's wrong when really in life, nothing is wrong except when we are untrue to who we really are.

And who we really are, is a loving, caring entity. You see it in many older people, they soften, they start doting more on children and are grateful for everything. Some people of course become bitter and narky, perhaps because they haven't dared to connect to their inner goodness and love. They might somehow have gotten damaged, and it's not up to us to judge them, our job is to pour in so much more love to make up for what's missing.

As I get nearer the end of my one month blogs my blogs are getting shorter because the message is always the same: we are loved and our 'job' is to become a conduit of that love to those around us. Nothing more and nothing less.


Wednesday, 27 January 2021

What Do I Have to Give?


Something in our human nature wants to be generous and make a difference in the world but that can be quickly squashed by competition and negative comments. We're like a Jekyll and Hyde, part of us wants to be generous and share while another part wants to defend and hold on to what we have. What will it be?

We might feel quite inadequate, and we are, and yet when we tune in to that loving goodness that lives deep within each one of us, when we allow this unconditional love to come to the surface and guide us, we suddenly are fulfilled. We suddenly feel powerful and safe. We suddenly have a direction: the direction of pouring love and kindness into the world in whatever shape we can manage. 

Everyone is in need of love so let's reach out to one another in love and with love in whatever form that makes sense to us.

 



Tuesday, 26 January 2021

You'll Never Be the Same..

Edith Eva Eger, the wonderful Holocaust survivor and specialist in post-traumatic stress disorder, still alive and kicking at the age of 93 describes in her memoir how she and her sister supported each other and the girls around them. 

At the end of the war they ended up buried alive in a heap of dead bodies. Somehow with a can of sardines they hadn't been able to open Eva was able to catch the flicker of a light and make one of the liberating soldiers aware that they were still alive. She and her sister were pulled out and nursed back to life as both were like skeletons. Her back was broken, but somehow she managed to never view herself as a victim. 

She always remembered her mother saying to her 'No one can take from you what you put in your own mind'. And she would keep saying to herself 'if I can survive today, I'll live another day'. 

Eva keeps repeating that it's not what happens, but what you do with it that matters. She emphasises that suffering can give you strength. No, you'll never be the same, she'll never be the same lovely young woman going to the Olympics as a gymnast, planning a beautiful life with her boyfriend, but today, she's a better person, a stronger person. 

Suffering and loss does change you. You'll never be the same, but when you connect with the power of love and goodness within and around you, you'll be stronger. You'll be better.

Monday, 25 January 2021

Trusting the Emptiness..


I'm not good with doing nothing but I'm learning. Trusting one's intuition to wait and ignoring the pressure to act can feel humiliating. The duty-bound person in me wants to come up with the goods, to keep working on a project, but I need to embrace the emptiness of the moment and trust that there's a reason why inspiration isn't there now. There's something within that needs to mature in order to know the next step.

With the covid pandemic, there're many extra factors at play which we must allow ourselves to absorb. Not being able to travel to see family and friends. Not being able to meet up to chat. Not knowing how quickly a friend will recover from the virus, not knowing if a flight for a necessary journey will be cancelled. Our hopes of travelling keep being postponed. 

We must go easy on ourselves - even though we don't feel anxious, there might be an underlying anxiety that needs to be addressed before we can expect to be back to 'business as usual'. An anxiety that can only be calmed through a continual renewed reminder that we're all one man- and womankind. We all have an invitation to connect to that loving kind presence within and around.

By travelling beyond our feelings of emptiness into the reality of a loving presence inside of us, by opening up to the presence of an amazing powerful love we can experience a sense of safety and purpose beyond the material world. We can discover a warmth and beauty that will sustain us and those around us. No matter what happens we're safe and we will be safe.

Sunday, 24 January 2021

Our Story..


To be happy for someone else's success, for someone else's dream to come true, for someone else to succeed where we might have failed is a great challenge but also rewarding. Bitter sweet perhaps, but a challenge to be more true to ourselves and who we are.

Whether other people think there's competition is irrelevant, we can choose not to view the world in terms of winner or losers, success or failure, but rather thinking win/win. Rather believing that there's room for all. We can learn from each other, help each other and there's plenty to go around!

So rather than thinking we've been eclipsed by another, to believe that really, we are all the one. My success is your success and your success is my success. My failure is your failure and your failure is my failure. It is a beautiful way to live. A compassionate way to live where we travel with each other in goodness and love, rather than competing or calculating. We're sisters and brothers journeying and working apart but together towards a better world for everyone.

Saturday, 23 January 2021

My Story..


When I was 16 years old living in Norway I didn't really find education that helpful but I thought it would be most useful if I chose a language line even thought I'd rather have done the math's line with all the boys. And so to help my french I saved up for a language course in Vichy, France for a week.

In Vichy I was installed in some huge dormitory with 35 other young women. I had enough money to rent a bike for a day but never thought I needed much more until I discovered that everyone else spent the afternoons chatting and ordering drinks in the local cafes. And so I found myself alone in the dormitory with Barbara, who like me didn't join the gang.

It turned out that Barbara was reading the Bible and she asked if I wanted to join her. She seemed a nice young woman a few years older than myself and I thought 'well, I am a Catholic, so why not?' Something unusual started happening to me when we were reading, I suddenly discovered how interesting Jesus' life was in that he used kindness and love rather than violence or force to get his message across. He healed people and invited them to think for themselves what was the right course of action.

Looking back I can see that it happened at the time in my life when my mother had had a mental breakdown and had become unavailable to me regarding guidance or understanding. Nevertheless, it changed my life completely from the point of view that I started using Jesus' message of love for one's enemies and everyone else as a guiding voice in my life. From then on I read in the Bible every day to help me understand and remember it.

I don't think it matters much which religion or non-religion one has, what matters is that we each find a way to access that inner and outer goodness and love that exists in the world. Life is too short and painful not to.

Friday, 22 January 2021

Who Will Guide Me?


Animals seem to have an inbuilt guide enabling them to live in the moment and move forward when inclined to do so. We however seem to get easily confused about what direction to take. Perhaps, we don't want to lose out, perhaps we feel we might be judged by others if somehow we take the wrong direction. 

A priest recently assured me that their would be animals in heaven, I had to laugh and wonder why he was so eager to give me this message. He's usually quite rational but obviously he had discovered the innocence and beauty of animal and I thought it was wonderful.

But how do we know which direction to take, how do we have the courage to make a decision and move forward rather than allowing fear to paralyse us? For me it's difficult until I remember that there's a loving goodness available to guide me on my way. When in doubt I weigh up pros and cons and then allow that loving presence to tell me where to go. 

Of course I could just be imagining that there is such a guide, and I do imagine that Mary who was the mother of one of the greatest lovers of all: Jesus, who was willing to be killed rather than using violence or anger. I imagine her to be extremely wise and extremely tuned in to what's the most loving and sensible way forward.

I imagine her to give a direction when I'm not sure which path to take. And I have to say that it has always worked out. And I don't believe it matters much what we call, who we imagine, or how we get guidance, what's important is to tune in to that unending care and love that's there for me and for others, in me and around me. Nothing else really matters. All roads lead to Rome. All roads lead to more love, if we let them.

Thursday, 21 January 2021

Is There Really A Here-After?

My brother 'passed on', as I like to put it, in the summer of 2019 and my dad in the winter of 2020. Some people believe there is nothing after death while others continue communicating with the persons gone before us. They speak to them, listen to them and spend time in their company. I'm one of those.

Of course, it's all in the mind. You could say the memory of the person triggers our imagination, a fantasy world that helps one deal better with the loss of a loved one. But to me it's not important whether other people believe I'm imagining it or not, I smile when I think of my dad and brother and all the other wonderful people I imagine them to meet and play with on 'the other side'. 

Perhaps, I'll get the shock of my life when I pass on that I just go into darkness and that's it, but in the meantime I've been happy and to me that counts for a lot. We can go through life focusing on our loss or we can go through life focusing on the gain those people might have, the beautiful place of goodness and love where we imagine them to be.

One way or another their spirit can live on through us, we can take on some of the good habits we so admired in them. Joe Biden who lost his wife and child and was left nursing back his two boys from the accident talks about honouring the memory of the loved ones by engaging in activities that they would approve of.

When Joe Biden's son Beau died in 2015 Joe overcame his grief by committing himself to continue the protection of children charity that his son had started in order to help abused children. 

Perhaps the important thing is not what we believe but that we connect with that inner and outer goodness which can heal and permeate our own and other people's lives, if we let it.

Wednesday, 20 January 2021

May the Healing Begin

Suicidal thinking is often linked to an accumulation of problems that haven't been addressed. Sometimes a deeply disturbing experience keeps haunting a person. In Ireland the 'Mother And Baby Homes' report is a welcome beginning to a belated healing process of the women who were thought the lowest in society and treated as such.

And yet, the men and families that put them in that position, the often cruel treatment in the 'homes' which really were institutions as most of them were overcrowded and impersonal. How can I dare say that there can be healing when some of these women and children have suffered for so long? Have been living as wounded souls among us for so long?

All I know is that love is the healer, listening and trying to accommodate their wishes as much as possible is a start. Helping each person to feel of value. For them it would've been difficult to discover that loving presence within and around as they didn't have a choice where to go or who to live with. The voices of cruelty could've been deafening, a sort of brain-washing into erasing one's personality and goodness.

And so may we offer whatever love we can to these woman, children and families. May we show them that they matter and that for what it's worth, they are loved and admired. They are one of us and may we embrace them virtually until we can embrace them personally, whether it be on this side of the big divide between heaven and earth, or on the other. May they experience the truth of the loving presence that embraces them and all of man- and womankind.


 

Tuesday, 19 January 2021

Prolonging Pleasure

We want to hold on to the good moments. The delicious meal. The pleasureful encounter with another. The perfect job. The comfortable underwear. The perfect hairdo. The fabulous film. The beautiful new car. The approval of peers. The harmonious love in the family. The trust in our government. The consolation of the church. The sunny day. The snowball fight. The youthful look. 

And yet, little by little we're asked to let go. Painful as it is we have to accept the human condition of never being able to hold on to anything for very long. Even the best of friendships changes. But it's okay.

It's okay because the letting go actually gives space for something else. Our loss and emptiness can open us to something new and beautiful: a trust in that loving goodness which is to be found deep within and all around us once we dare look.

Sure, it's hidden but only until we choose to look for it. The problem is that our mind cannot contain very many visions at the one time and if we choose to keep looking at what we lost we'll miss out of what is to gain. 

There's a deep running river within which is bursting to embrace the moment as it is. Sit with it and slowly a new direction will emerge. A beautiful path will unfold as long as we keep stepping into the present.

Eckhart Tolle describes how he lost all interest in life and ended up sitting on a bench in a park in London. For several days he didn't move, he just sat there, and suddenly he started to experience the power of the moment, the loving presence that's there behind everything and everybody. That presence has many names, but it is all the one. We are all the one in that deep loving consciousness ready to be experienced.

Monday, 18 January 2021

Something Better Around the Corner


Realists tend to suffer with depression whilst the person with positive 'illusions' does very well. It has to do with the way our humanity works. To participate in life we need dreams and hopes for the future. Why get out of the bed unless we thought we could make a difference today, unless we thought we could do some good somewhere?

Trusting that there's a purpose to everything, a loving purpose gives us energy and creativity, our minds open up to finding some good somewhere. Sure, there're negative situations and cruelty but everything can be turned around once we have energy and vision of something better around the corner.

Having dreams doesn't mean that we sit around waiting all day for things to work out, no, it means getting off our bum and do something which brings us closer to the fulfilment of our dream. Do something to improve a bad situation.

The person who believes in calling forth a better world for themselves and everyone else will see possibility that others don't see, will think outside the box while the rest of us are walking around in circles. That person will inspire us to give something another go, or leave something or someone behind in order to make things better. 

The more each one of us believes that there's something better around the corner and apply ourselves to doing whatever it takes to get around the corner, the more wonderful the world becomes to all of us. Even if that something better is simply a deeper awareness of that inner love and goodness that exist within everyone including oneself.


Sunday, 17 January 2021

Nailed to The Cross


The human condition is crucifying one way or another. Our need for food, water, shelter and affection leaves us pitiful beings. When push comes to shove, will we put others before us? And more to the point, why would we?

That's the amazing thing about us humans too, women suffer childbirth to give life to another, men and women work in horrendous situations to feed their children and put a roof over their head. Every day people are voluntarily sacrificing themselves for others, why? Because in the end that's what's truly human: to dig deep within accessing that beautiful loving and caring presence that wishes everyone well.

We are at our best when we serve each other, not from having to survive, but from that generous place that wants to do what we can that others suffer less, that others get a chance to flourish and be happy. That others feel those nails of the human survival needs less and open themselves to experiencing that ever loving goodness within and around them.


Saturday, 16 January 2021

Admitting Defeat..


 'I can't do it' how often do I whisper these defeatist words to myself? 

Accepting my own powerlessness gracefully, that's the challenge. Not giving out, not blaming but simply taking a moment to process my defeat. Like a young child who falls smack on its bum and just sits there wondering what happened. To take that moment.

Biting more than we can chew is such a human quality, for good and for bad. If we never took any risk, never committed to anything, we'd never fall on our bum, we'd just sit there, so it's a good sign that we have gotten ourselves into this 'impossible' situation. 

It's a good thing to allow the situation to unfold rather than expecting everything to go to plan and everyone to get onboard. Yes, we've lost confidence, but perhaps we can create a deeper confidence from within ourselves which is not built on what we can do or not do, but built on accessing that personal goodness and love from deep within. And then apply that to the situation. 

Ask myself, 'what is now the most loving action to myself and other' because there should be no conflict. Love yourself as you love others - that's the tight-rope upon which we're invited to walk- or dance;-)


Friday, 15 January 2021

Silent Bullying...


Up to the age of fourteen I loved school, mainly due to the banter and good atmosphere that I experienced in the classroom. Then I moved to Norway and everything changed. I remember standing in the school yard in what I thought was my best outfit, purple trousers that I sewed myself, worn with a lovely pair of boots, ready to meet my new class-mates. 

I observed two closed circles of pupils, the 'in' gang who wore the most expensive ski-jacket imaginable, and equally top fashion expensive brand jeans. And the other gang in long sweaters, huddling together perhaps trying not to compare themselves with the 'in' gang but certainly not giving me a look in.

In hindsight I should've just approached one of the 'gangs' and asked them some sort of question or presented myself, who I was, where I was from etc. But I didn't. I allowed myself to be 'bullied' into a corner by other people's silence and lack of attention. I felt I was a nobody, I didn't exist. 

But of course moments like that don't last for ever and I did make one friend whose mum was Danish and who wasn't afraid to approach me. And I became involved in a youth club outside of school. But rejection does leave a scare until we allow ourselves to re-live the situation whilst we include that loving goodness that resides deep within each one of us. 

I now imagine myself as a happy young person approaching one of the 'gangs' telling them how delighted I am to meet them, asking their names. In other words take charge of the situation and be the one to break the ice rather than waiting for others to take the risk. Be the 'big' heart that I am behind all the facade of wanting to be loved and admired. To be the one who reaches out and show kindness to others rather than expecting others to take the first step. 

Thursday, 14 January 2021

The Beauty of Anger

 


I used to avoid anger until I discovered that feeling angry about something is an invitation to get to know myself better, get to know what I truly care about. We might think we know ourselves, but maybe there's a deeper, caring side to ourselves that anger can help us explore.

I feel angry when somebody disturbs my work flow with what seems to me an unnecessary question or irrelevant remark. Why? It feels like the person is questioning what I do or who I am. But the real question is whether I believe in what I do and in who I am? Because if I do, would it matter so much if another person doesn't? 

I think when we examine ourselves, mostly our anger is really with ourselves. We don't love ourselves enough. We don't take time out to discover and enjoy that loving goodness which abides deep within us. The goodness who says 'oh hi, how are you?' and takes an interest in another rather than expecting the other person to understand. 

When we truly understand the beauty of our own being we'll automatically appreciate the beauty of that other human being also.

Wednesday, 13 January 2021

You're Not Alone...


The illusion of aloneness is probably the biggest fallacy ever. So many people have been fooled into believing that they're alone in their pain. Okay, you might be with no-one right now. You might have huge problems, you might have done something horrible or someone might have done something horrible to you. BUT YOU'RE NOT ALONE.

Research on trauma shows that if other people are experiencing the same difficulties, pain or suffering as ourselves it is much easier to bear because we can talk about it, we know that others understand.

But there is a bigger community, a bigger sister- and brotherhood. The sister- and brotherhood of those who choose to love. Love unites us with people and animals that we don't see or hear because love opens us up to a much bigger world, the world of an enormous goodness and care around us and within us.

But there is a veil hiding it all, our human survival instinct can prompt us to hold on to the belief that we have to fend for ourselves and that nobody cares. However there is a loving providence ready to spoil us. I once tested this with a friend of mine. We wanted to see if the loving providence would take care of us.

We set out on the road without any money, food or plan. Just hitching and sharing our story with people who gave us a lift. I've never eaten as much, the amount of meals we were offered. The convents in Ireland that put us up for the night and the people who opened their doors when we needed a bathroom. Just random knock on a door and we were welcomed, cake was brought out and cups of tea.

Not everyone was welcoming but we just moved on and tried somewhere else, asking for a glass of water, the use of the bathroom. One night we ended up sleeping on the floor of a hospital. Sometimes we found whole packets of food just left somewhere. 

I've never been let down when I've trusting in the loving providence. Millions of times in my life it has stepped in and proved life so much more wonderful than I imagined.

It does take that step of fearlessness and trust and being willing to seem foolish by those who only believe in what can be seen. But when we suffer, there is always someone who suffers the same, there is someone somewhere to send good wishes and healing, to journey with. We just can't see them right now.