It ended before it started …

Since late 2019 I have been preparing to deliver a Course for our local University of the Third Age called “Unleash Your Creative Spirit”. I put myself through the course for the second time and allowed all sorts of creative ideas to flourish. In some ways I turned my house upside down in the process. I have already shared some of those experiences in previous blogs.

Eighteen people enrolled and I divided them into two groups – morning and afternoon. It was due to start this Thursday 26 March and run for eight weeks (2 hours per fortnight).

I don’t think I need to tell you the cause of the cancellation! We can never predict what is going to happen from one day to the next. I am sure that is a lesson we are all coming to terms with in the time of this pandemic. It is really challenging my expectations of how I would like the world to be. I am trying to accept the things I cannot change and change the things I can. I have taken comfort in the Stoic philosophers and the following quote in particular:

THE BEST RETREAT IS IN HERE, NOT OUT THERE!

The Daily Stoic message for 21 March says:

“People seek retreats for themselves in the country, by the sea, or in the mountains. You are very much in the habit of yearning for those same things. But this is entirely the trait of a base person, when you can, at any moment, find such a retreat in yourself. For nowhere can you find a more peaceful and less busy retreat than in your own soul – especially if on close inspection it is filled with ease, which I say is nothing more than being well ordered. Treat yourself often to this retreat and be renewed.’

Marcus Aurelius, Meditations.

Former Roman Emperor and Stoic philosopher.

Photo by Akil Mazumder on Pexels.com

A SPECIAL GIFT

The pretty blue fairy wrens had nothing to do

When one of them spotted a pretty blue stone

One said “I will fly close and inspect it for you”

He soon called out for help to carry it home.

Just at that moment very close by, a little girl is born

She is very sick and might not live

Her parents are indeed quite forlorn

The fairy wrens decide they have something important to give.

They magically carry the precious blue stone to the babe

And cleverly hide it in her tiny navel

They disappear quickly into a nearby cave

And wait for news via twitter or cable.

The little girl is now better and going home to stay

Her lovely eyes are becoming a pretty shade of blue

The tiny blue stone glows within her each and every day

As she gets older the wrens decide to give her a clue.

She learns that the little blue stone

Is full of love, wisdom, truth, beauty and kindness

It is always there to help her when she feels so alone

It frequently helps her out of a mess.

Inside she becomes beautiful, wise, honest, loving and kind

But others don’t seem to know about her little blue stone

She wants to tell them, if they look carefully, they too will find

There is a special gift inside each of us waiting to lovingly bring us home.

NB. Looking back through my old writing files and came across this one I thought I would share.

A Recipe reflecting Life

bake baked basil broccoli

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

I was cooking dinner this evening – Tuna Mornay – an old favourite. Now, over time I have been careful about particular food items and sensitivities. The mornay starts with cooking the onion in butter. Next is to add flour to make a roux (butter and flour mixed together to make a paste). I used gluten-free flour. All good so far.

Next item to add was the milk – soy milk of course. Then I added the tuna, cheese, spices, corn and peas.

An then I laughed at myself. Why did I bother with the gluten-free flour and the soy milk when I had already included a whole onion?

red brown white and purple onions and garlic displayed

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Then I got philosophical. We take so much care in looking after very specific aspects of our lives while we cannot see the bit that really needs attention (the equivalent of the onion) in our lives.

I guess this is how most of us manage day-to-day life. We are not always attentive to the bigger picture – especially if our thoughts are busy with a million distractions. We keep hearing about the importance of being mindful of the present moment but it often alludes me still.

 

1000 posts: So much to say, so little time!

Aviary Photo_131134943141317825 (Copy)

This is my 1000th post!

It has taken me a seven years to get here. It has become part of my day-to-day life. I don’t write all that often now but love to read other bloggers’ adventures and do the Photo Challenge most weeks.

On 8 May I will be leading (as a volunteer) a University of the Third Age class of eight people (seniors) in Blogging for Beginners. I hope to be able to share in eight hours (two hours a week for four weeks) what I have found out over the past seven years.

I have done my homework on the technical side but the actual writing side of things is not so straightforward. I have meandered over a wide range of topics over that time. I guess my blog is really about my  life, thoughts, ideas etc. I have got more into including photos in the past year or so. I love doing that but wonder if I am a bit lazy with the writing!

I would really value any ideas or tips you have for new bloggers that I can pass on to those in my group. Thanks in anticipation 🙂

Transitions take time …

My old office

My old workplace

I gave up full time work six years ago and I am still adjusting to the changes brought about by that decision.

Many, many times I dreamed I was back at work – usually late and a bit lost – people had moved around and I couldn’t find them.

This week I dreamed my old boss fired me! I was actually pleased, especially when he gave me a cheque for $14,000 (only in my dream)! I thought this might signal an end to my dreaming about work.

Not so! Last night I dreamed we had a work reunion and I woke up with the idea of setting up a Facebook page for my former colleagues. That idea wore off by breakfast time!

I hadn’t realised how much hold the workplace had on me. Hopefully I am ready to let go of the life I had in the workforce and enjoy in the life I have now.

How much time is there?

There are 168 hours in one week. Do you know what you do with them all? Does it match what you would like to be doing? Even when we can see a mismatch it is hard to change our habits.

On another level, how much time do we have (in total)? Unless we have an appointment for voluntary euthanasia we would have to admit that we don’t know. We also don’t know how much time we have with our families, friends and acquaintances.

I started thinking about this after someone I know passed away last week. It is sad, but we were not close – however it made me consider whether I give enough thought and care to those I am close to.

It is so easy to put off telling people how much I care or asking questions about how others are really dealing with life. There is a sense that we have all the time in the world to do that. We don’t! At least I don’t.

Once again I am reminded to be awake to the  present moment and not to get caught up in thoughts about the past or fears about the future.

The present moment needs my full attention.

present moment

 

Something to think about …

consciousness

I was taken by a reading in my online philosophy class. It is as follows:

I have now reigned about fifty years in victory or peace, beloved by my subjects, dreaded by my enemies, and respected by my allies. Riches and honours, power and pleasure, have waited on my call, nor does any earthly blessing appear to have been wanting for my felicity. In this situation, I have diligently numbered the days of pure and genuine happiness which have befallen to my lot. They amount to fourteen: O man! Place not thy confidence in this present world.

Abd Er-Rahman III, who ruled Cordoba in Spain in the 10th Century

Now what do you make of that?

The inner critic – an interesting twist

criticism

No doubt you will know what I mean when I talk about my inner critic. It is that ever present voice in my head that tells me I should …

  • do better
  • say or not say something
  • lose weight and exercise more
  • work harder
  • achieve more
  • be happier
  • help others more
  • and so forth

I am aware of my inner critic some of the time and at other times it has full rein.

This is where Donal Trump plays a role! I dreamt last night that I was working for him and no matter what I did it wasn’t good enough. I was nearly fired every time I encoutered him in my daily work. When I reflected on my dream this morning I interpreted it to mean that my inner critic has a lot of Mr Trump’s characteristics. I am basing this on his reality TV show The Apprentice.

So now I will have no hesitation in naming this inner critic, Donald, and showing him the door and saying ” You are fired!”

 

 

 

Life’s lessons

I have heard the following expression at various times in my life. Are you familiar with it?

” Whatever or whoever is in front of you is your teacher.”

It is not always easy to remember this when I am in an uncomfortable or awkward situation. Sometimes I might get caught with someone talking about things I don’t believe in. I try to stay silent and listen – after all, they may have some greater insight into the issue than I do.

Or maybe someone doesn’t turn up on time when I am on a tight schedule. Maybe I need to learn patience or that some things are more important than punctuality.

What about when it is a really tough situation and I don’t feel like learning? The word compassion (for myself and the other person/s) comes to mind plus the ability to distance myself from the situation and try to be objective.

Not an easy thing to do, however I acknowledge there are still plenty of lessons for me to learn in life and I try to remain open to them. Just because I am in my sixth decade doesn’t mean I can put my feet up and relax! And yes, sometimes I get it wrong.

wisdom