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

 

Advertisements

Being ‘in the flow’

I recently discovered an interesting book titled Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience by Psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi. It was first published in 1990 by Harper and Row.

Here is a description of the book I copied from Amazon.com (where I purchased the book).

Psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi’s famous investigations of “optimal experience” have revealed that what makes an experience genuinely satisfying is a state of consciousness called flow. During flow, people typically experience deep enjoyment, creativity, and a total involvement with life. In this new edition of his groundbreaking classic work, Csikszentmihalyi demonstrates the ways this positive state can be controlled, not just left to chance. Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience teaches how, by ordering the information that enters our consciousness, we can discover true happiness and greatly improve the quality of our lives.

I am finding it easy to read and a refreshing change from much of the (wonderful) literature about mindfulness. Sometimes words like mindfulness become so over used that they lose their sense of meaning. The writer talks about giving our attention to whatever is before us.

Although I haven’t finished reading it yet, I feel comfortable in recommending it to readers interested in experiencing more flow in their day-to-day lives.003 (Copy)

It sounds like I was paid to review this book, but I promise I haven’t! It was just a link in an article I was reading online and before I knew what I was doing, I ordered a kindle edition as well as a hard copy 🙂

What do you like to talk about?

The idea for this post came from some questions raised by Eric Tonningsen‘s blog Awakening to Awareness.

So, what do you like to talk about? I don’t mean the casual exchanges and polite conversations with people who pass through our lives.

I have a real desire for deep and meaningful conversations – usually in a one on one situation. I like to think about possibilities for our shared future. I search for answers to the questions about why we still go to war knowing the enormous costs – especially to loss of life, property and our shared interests and history.

I also love talking to children aged from about three years old and above. I love the simplicity of how they see the world and I marvel and how much a child can see from such an early age.

It is also good to hear the wisdom of people who have lived a long life without becoming embittered by it. There is so much we can learn from our elders.

People who have hit rock bottom in their lives can also have a great clarity about what is important and how to do it – or at least where to start that journey.

Issues such as euthanasia, the death penalty, the customs and beliefs of other cultures and religions are also stimulating topics. I do not like to argue and very much believe in the philosophy of ‘live and let live’. I can sustain a conversation with someone whose views are totally different than mine and accept that they have the right to believe as they choose. I also hope others will offer me the same respect.

Scientific topics are interesting but my depth of knowledge is limited. I try to keep an open mind. I also  hope the scientists will keep an open mind as well and not defend their ideas for the sake of protecting a point of view. Science itself is evolving and we learn new things each day and sometimes dispose of past beliefs in the process.

I also like to listen to good jokes. I am not very good at telling them though 🙂DSC00512

 

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

NaPoWriMo 2014

I read about NaPoWriMo (National Poetry Writing Month) 2014 in the WordPress News email and here is a link for more information.

April is Poetry Month

I decided to set up a blog specifically for April intending to write a poem a day. You may ask “What makes up a poem?” and I would not be able to give a good answer. I used to write poems many years ago and found it to be quite cathartic. Let’s see how I go with this challenge for April. My poetry blog can be found at http://www.andrewmarvellfan.wordpress.com

Andrew Marvell is my favourite poet and His Coy Mistress is one of his best, I believe. There is a link to this poem on the other blog  under the TAB for About this Blog if you would like to read it.

You may also like to join the challenge! I hope you do 🙂

birthday flowers 003 (Copy)

Torn …

Today I was thinking about the times when we are torn between two people, two job options, a parent and child, to diet or not, two roads …

The more I thought about it I realised that just about every moment we are having to choose which way to go. It is in navigating these choices that makes our journey what it is. It can be a pretty uncomfortable place to be if our loyalties are being tugged in different directions. Especially if you are trying to keep everyone happy :-).

I guess it is one of those Universal feelings we all experience from time to time.

The Third Age

How does one gracefully move from one stage of life to the next? Transitions can be hard work!

I never really bought into the capitalist idea of working extremely hard to gain a lot of money so that I could keep working hard to gain more money and possessions.

Spring in the Village 014 (Copy)

I worked primarily to:

  • provide a home for me and my three sons
  • pay the mortgage, the utility bills and food and clothing
  • meet some good outcomes for the unemployed and disadvantaged members of society
  • try to make a positive difference through the work I did each day.

IMG_0914

Now I am no longer in the workplace I wonder how I can make a contribution. Sometimes I “go with the flow” but at other times I feel an urgency to do something useful or to make good use of my time and this stage of my life.

I am exploring being more creative; I am studying; I get some contract work from time to time; I joined a few not-for-profit community groups; but I still have time and energy on my hands. I even have a vegetable garden now but it doesn’t take much looking after.

Melbourne Cup Day 2012 022

My extended family aren’t in need of my support and both of my parents have passed away. I can enjoy learning new things such as calligraphy, taking videos and photos, sewing … and I will do those things.

I don’t think western society makes the most of the resources of our ageing baby-boomers. Many people my age are still working or busy with their families. Some are happy to follow their hobbies or to travel the world.

Roses 004We gain useful skills and knowledge in life and work and then we fade into the sunset without finding adequate use of our experience. It seems such a waste of resources. I only wish I could come up with an idea to capture these resources (mine and those of many other semi-retired people) and use them to the good of our society.

IMG

Any ideas are welcome on where to from here?

Zero shades of grey

Sometimes, perhaps when I am not at my best, I see things as black or white; good or bad; wrong or right etc.

photos 196

It is good for me to remember that there may really be some shades of grey and that is OK. What is right for me may not be the same for you. Each person and each situation is unique.

It is just a matter of stopping our thinking for a moment and being objective about the possibilities. Being objective encourages me to be more tolerant and more philosophical about life in general.

photos 193

Do you think there is a place for black and white thinking? Are there some situations where it is universally clear what is right and what is wrong?

cheers

Lorraine

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!

Belief

Albany and Denmark July 2011 017There was a time when I had a really strong faith in God. I went to a Catholic school as a child but, as an adult, I changed over to the Anglican Church. It was a powerful, spiritual experience and a very important part of my life.

Many years have gone by and my faith has gradually disappeared. I try to keep an open mind, especially in times of difficulty when I want help from on High. I always used to feel that at least I can pray for others, when I am powerless to do anything else.

I used to believe that God gave each of us special gifts and that we would only find fulfillment in our lives by using those gifts to make the world a better place. I still quite like the sound of that one.

The best I can come up with now is that maybe God is the source of energy experienced by all of nature. I accept that as a mere human I don’t know all the answers – I can’t see the BIG picture.

Today I learn from some of the teachings of Buddhism, philosophy and keeping life simple – accepting what I cannot change and changing what I can. I still see great wisdom in many of the teachings in the Bible and the beauty of the psalms and so forth. However, it is nature that feeds my soul and sustains me.