My Survival Kit for Christmas/New Year/anytime!

Sometimes I find life overwhelming. I don’t think I am alone in that experience! Just thought I would put together a list of some easy things to remember when feeling stressed/depressed etc.

  • Remember there are some things in my control and others are not (inspired by the Stoics)
  • Remember that it is not things that upset us but our beliefs/judgements about them (Stoics)
  • Be grateful for life, health and the many good things in my life
  • Be in the moment, as in “when doing the dishes, just do the dishes”
  • I sometimes break the day down to hours or minutes e.g. “for the next hour I will shower and make my bed” I can do more if I want to but the goal is to just get one or two things done. (works for me).
  • I try to remember that others are fighting their own internal battles (we don’t know what it is like to be them) so try to be compassionate and try to see where they are coming from.
  • I find something to do that lightens my mood – I love taking photos of flowers or editing photos so I can set up a small project (go out to the garden and snap away and them come inside and edit the photos) and it can help me lift my mood.
  • Listen to a podcast. I am currently into learning about Stoicism and there are heaps of podcasts and YouTube video to watch or listen to.
  • If every thought in my head is coming out bleak I need to consider it might be my thinking that is out of kilter and not the rest of the universe!
  • Sometimes I write in my journal and maybe do a mind map (in my journal) to get a more objective picture of where my life and thoughts are at the moment. See what I can change and what I can’t.
  • I try to resist making big decisions when stressed. I sometimes want to do something straight away but encourage myself to review the idea at a later date – maybe three months, depending on the issue.
  • If all else fails, I go and have a rest for a while. Often I feel better afterwards!

Unhelpful Thinking Styles

Lately I keep catching myself thinking about some unpleasant things from the past (I am sure we all have them). The other day I objectively looked at it and realised that my thoughts were 40 years in the past! I keep reminding myself to look forward and not backwards. Even better if I can spend my time in the present moment.

Last Semester I ran a course for U3A called Retired:Now What? As part of that course we looked at unhelpful thinking styles by looking at and thinking about a resource I found online. Click HERE for a link to the site and for more information.

I identified that recently I am personalising anything and everything and thinking it is my fault. I sometimes joke to friends about the extremes I take this to –  e.g. conflict in the Middle East!

The point is that I have identified this recent pattern and can be on the alert when these unhelpful thoughts invade my thinking and choose to think differently!

A Little Bit of Love

Sometimes it is hard to come to terms with the increasing rhetoric of hate and fear that is found in society. Has the world always been like this? When has it become OK to vilify people because of their religion, race, gender …

The challenge, as I see it, is to remain hopeful that there is more good than bad in people and not to respond to hateful attitudes in a way that fuels them to grow but to remain optimistic that love will overcome.

Poverty of Spirit

When I look at the conflict in the world I despair about our future.

I think the quote below sums it up very well. I include myself in this. I really do value the opportunity to connect with other bloggers in the international community. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if our politicians  could do as much?

Martin Luther King Jr

Be who you are – you don’t need fixing!

Capture 6For as long as I can remember I have tried to fix myself and make myself a better person. Even in my first ten years I collected sayings and quotes about life and how to live. I was a bit of a rebel in my teens and tended to listen to the wisdom of the Beatles, Bob Dylan, Jimi Hendrix and Janis Joplin 🙂

In my 20s I was overwhelmed with life and sought wisdom from other sources. The one that helped me most was Helen Steiner Rice. It is a timely reminder as my favourite was “A Prayer for the New Year”.

New Year Prayer

God grant us this year a wider view,
So we see others’ faults through the eyes of You.
Teach us to judge not with hasty tongue,
Neither the adult … nor the young.

Give us patience and grace to endure
And a stronger faith so we feel secure.
Instead of remembering, help us forget
The irritations that caused us to fret.

Freely forgiving for some offense
And finding each day a rich recompense.
In offering a friendly, helping hand
And trying in all ways to understand;

That all of us whoever we are …
Are trying to reach an unreachable star.
For the great and small … the good and bad,
The young and old … the sad and glad

Are asking today; Is life worth living?
The answer is only in, loving and giving.
For only Love can make man kind
And Kindness of Heart brings Peace of Mind.

By giving love, we can start this year
To lift the clouds of hate and fear.

~Author- Helen Steiner Rice~

The lines that really spoke to me were … “Are asking today; Is life worth living?
The answer is only in, loving and giving."

I was brought up in the Catholic faith but had left that behind in my teens. As an adult I returned to Christianity and spent many happy years there. The faith in God and the fellowship with others was a great support and strength in my life during that time.

In more recent years I have studied philosophy and eastern belief systems. I guess I am still in that phase of my life now. I realise now that I don’t need fixing as much as I thought I did. I also realise that even with the many hours trying to fix myself, I am still much the same person as I was many years ago.

I would hope that others realise they are OK as they are! Sure, we sometimes need to tweak aspects of our personalities to make it easier to live in society.

Fundamentally though, YOU ARE OK AS YOU ARE!

If I had one wish…

so many people around the world - the same and yet different in interesting ways

so many people around the world – the same and yet different in interesting ways

Fellow blogger, Nancy from Spirit Lights the Way did a post recently titled “If I had one wish…” and it got me thinking. If I had one wish, then what would it be?

I know that wishing for world peace is often scoffed at however I am amazed that we are in the 21st Century and there is still so much conflict and suffering in the world. Just think about how much money is spent on people fighting and killing each other. Then there are the mega dollars spent on space exploration. We spend a fortune on science (and rightly so most of the time).

It doesn’t matter what age the archaeologists study – there are always weapons found and mass graves. We could say that, yes, that was thousands of years ago and they didn’t know any better, BUT we are still doing it today with more sophisticated and expensive weapons. We can even wage war via remote control.

Obviously money is not the answer to solving our world’s self-destructive behavior. We have come so far and yet we have changed so very little. My wish is that we could use our financial bounty plus scientific, and spiritual wisdom and experience to find a way we could all live together in harmony.

What would you wish for if you had one wish?




Do you have an inner wimp?

I do and I am not happy about it!

IMG_0002 (Copy) I sometimes get angry with myself when I allow my inner wimp to have its way. I feel ashamed of myself when I take the easy way out and avoid a situation. I shared this with a friend and she suggested that we all experience this from time to time. I am reminded that when I try to resist something it only becomes a stronger force within me. I think it is time I had some compassion for that wimpy part of me. I can’t see it having any useful purpose but, who knows, it may well be doing some good.

What do you think?



Anzac Day and the first Dawn Service

In 2011 we visited Albany in the Great Southern region of Western Australia. It was a beautiful sunny day and Albany was picture perfect.  We spotted a very old church that was open to the public. There was a member of the congregation present who he gave us a tour and some of its history in relation to the ANZAC troops from World War 1.

He told us that a dawn service was held here for the troops, the Australian and New Zealand Army Corp who left Australian soil in a convoy of ships in November 1914 for their tour of duty in World War I. This was the very first of what has become an Australian tradition on Anzac Day (25 April each year) where a dawn service is held to remember those who lost their lives in this terrible war.Albany and Denmark July 2011 025 We visited the memorial at the summit of Mt Clarence, overlooking the ocean where the troops departed Australian soil. We remember today on Anzac Day, 25 April 2013, that  many of those young men did not return home again.

Albany and Denmark July 2011 023Lest we forget


Any port in a storm

IMG_0016I found this ticket among my photos and had a chuckle at the memory of that night. My work colleague and I attended the function as we shared office space with the Small Business people plus we thought we should show our support. It was a formal affair so Chris and I had to find something suitable for the occasion. We both found lovely formal gowns at the right price. Their earlier life was in a Formal Wear Hire business and they were as good as new.

The food was great and there was plenty to drink – probably too much! We knew a lot of the people at the function as they were local business people – so generally a great atmosphere. We had a Local Shire Councillor at our table who was very tipsy. I wasn’t drinking so when the glasses of port were handed out he took mine for himself. That was fine by me, however… the next thing I saw was the contents of the glass flying in my direction down the front of my evening gown!

Who knows why he did such as silly thing. I was so amazed that I didn’t get angry. A lot of people around us were horrified. The night got a lot worse for our Councillor friend and he ended up on the front page of the West Australian newspaper the next day. It seems he continued his drinking spree after the function and took guests back to the Council Chambers and created some mayhem there.

Next day I had the Mayor on the phone wanting me to take action against the Councillor but I am not vindictive and couldn’t see the point. The said Councillor sent me a dozen long-stemmed red roses and offered to pay for the cleaning of my evening gown. I was happy with that outcome 🙂



Figure of a Woman (Before the Theater)

Figure of a Woman (Before the Theater) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)